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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11 Books to Help You Grow in Life

woman-reading-a-book

If you want to be successful, reading books to help you grow in life is a very important discipline. I’ve been reading for a minimum of one hour a day over the past 53 years.

As a result, I’ve read more than 3,000 books in the fields of personal development, psychology, motivation, creativity, financial literacy, economics, relationships, communication skills, parenting, spiritual growth, health and fitness, leadership, marketing, social media, sales skills, social change, and environmental sustainability.

Today I want to talk to you about the importance of reading every day as part of your daily disciplines for success. I’ll share with you 11 books I highly recommend that have also helped me.

The Way I Choose Books to Help You Grow

As you probably know, I divide my life into seven specific areas:

  • Job and career
  • Financial
  • Relationships
  • Health and fitness
  • Fun and recreation
  • Personal
  • Contribution

The personal area of my life includes education, spiritual development, and any possessions I want to own or experiences I want to face. Contribution means making a difference, such as through philanthropy and leaving a legacy.

As you’ll see from the 11 books I share with you today, they cover most of these areas.

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It’s Never ‘If Only…’ Because Divine Flow Keeps Our Cup Overflowing

overflowing

Do you know people who are constantly saying things like…

If only I had a better job…

If only I had more money…

If only my partner was [fill in the blank]...

If only I was blessed like [fill in the blank]...

Perhaps you sometimes feel this way, too. If so, don’t beat yourself up; it’s a fairly common human response to challenges and setbacks. 

However, I’ve realized that the truth of Conscious Living is that it’s never “If Only…”

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How Changing the Perspective of Your Past Can Help You Live Better Now

alaskalandscape

If you are old enough to vote, chances are, you have accumulated life perspectives and stories that impact your current expectations of life. Occasionally doing a life review is healthy. It’s like cleaning out the closet of your beliefs, keeping what fits, and gleefully throwing out what you no longer need.

Keep reading and discover if changing your perspective of the past, can help you live a better life now.

Twenty years ago, to the day, I was flying into Anchorage, Alaska. I had an eleven month old daughter and a three year old daughter sitting next to me.  I was excited and a little nervous about the next chapter of my life. My focus was providing for my daughters. As a single parent I planned on overcoming any, and all challenges on my path.

I think my mindset of hard work and challenges cast a deep shadow on the life I created in the 49th state.

I have decided to clean the closet in my mind. I’m doing a quick life review of my last twenty years. A large factor is because my husband still spends much of his time in Alaska. In fairness to our relationship, I need to let go of the challenge mindset.

There is no coincidence in life. I received a call this morning from a client struggling with her emotions. Her youngest child moved out this week. It is perfect timing for her to check in on her belief system and receive guidance for moving forward.

Here are some easy tips to reframing (cleaning up your perceptions) on your life experience.

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Do Freely

dofreely

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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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: The Craft of Perception

craftofperception

The aim of art is not to represent the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.

Aristotle


Jennifer Blessing, a curator at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, has said that “artists pursue various methods of liberating the mind in order to access the marvelous.” We are all looking for ways to widen our lens of perception so that we can be more alive. The Black Mountain poet Robert Creeley declared in the 1950s that form follows content. And so we keep searching for forms of expression that will open and liberate the confines of our mind, so we can access and inhabit the marvelous. What we do to find the form that keeps us close to life constitutes the craft of perception.

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The Protective Personality: Don’t Take it Personally

personality

There are more than seven billion people living on this planet which means more than seven billion personalities, opinions and ways of seeing the world. With so many diverse and varying ideologies and socio-cultural milieus, someone is bound to act in a way, or say something that upsets another.

The question is: Do we always have to take everything so personally? If not, how do we make what seems personal, impersonal?

Ego: Why We Take Things Personally
From the time we are young, usually before we’re even ten years old, situations or moments in life occur where we feel unsafe or insecure, or someone says something that makes us feel unlovable. When this happens, we begin to develop a second self, or a false self. That false self is often the “ego,” which I like to call the “protective personality” because no one likes to have an ego, but people don’t seem to mind having a “protective personality.”

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Learn to Welcome the Strange and Wonderful Goodness in Challenging Conditions

Guy_conditions

There do come to us in our lives, for any one of innumerable possible reasons, certain conditions that challenge the very fabric of our being. Certainly, none of us would think to ourselves, "I wish upon myself these difficult circumstances," and yet the truth is it is through and because of these same unwanted moments that we are granted the opportunity to meet parts of ourselves that would otherwise remain invisible for the extent of our physical existence.  

There is no "magic" -- no individual or so-called asserted "powers" -- that can transform your life back to some preferred condition you may have enjoyed in the past… and this is as it should be. We are not intended to "return" to who we have been, but to use whatever happens to us as a point of inflection -- a moment where forces meet to produce possibilities that exist in no other way for us in that same moment. What is created out of these encounters of what I call “the truthful kind" all depends upon our willingness to see the good in them.

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Leadership, Love, and the Power of Vulnerability

Leadership, Love, and the Power of Vulnerability

There is always only one thing happening in your life… 

It may not be evident at a glance. Yet, the one thing that is always happening is—the various aspects of your consciousness are continuously attempting to reunite.

As the aspects of you, both on the “inner” and in the “outer” world bump into each other and begin to weave together, a common question arises in life. We look “out there” and wonder, “How do I…put this piece together with those pieces?

In a given moment, we each may have a part of us that—

  • Wants to say yes, but another part that hesitates 
  • Desires to show up for that new project engaged and excited, but another part that is frustrated 
  • Is ready to lean deeply into a relationship and another part that struggles in it 
  • Says, “I’m just not dealing with this uncomfortable feeling or even this exciting opportunity.” 

We create a wobble in the flow, an obstacle or “gunk” on the path, when life becomes about right and wrong—the “me-ness” and the “you-ness.” What we have to do is bring the “pieces of us,” the me and the “you that we project out” back together into the oneness. 

As we attempt to move from me-ness/you-ness to oneness, life shows up like friction. 

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A Major Cause of Stress

stressful

Discover that stress is NOT being caused primarily by people or situations, but by your own thoughts and actions.

We tend to think of stress as something that occurs because of outside events, such as having financial problems, relationship problems, health problems, or from having too much to do. Certainly events such as these are challenging, but they are not the actual cause of stressful feelings.

Stress Is An Important Message

Stress is your inner guidance’s way of letting you know that you are thinking thoughts or taking actions that are out of alignment with what is in your highest good, or that you are trying to control something that you cannot control – such as how people feel about you or the outcome of things. Stress may also be letting you know that something in your body is out of whack – you are on medications or substances that are affecting your brain and causing the stress, or you have eaten foods such as sugar, processed, or pesticide-laden food that is causing brain toxicity, leading to feeling stressed.

When you are operating from your wounded self and trying to control something over which you have no control – such as others’ feelings and the outcome of things – your stress is letting you know that you are hitting your head against a wall and not accepting reality. The opposite of stress – inner peace – is the result of accepting what is, learning to take loving care of ourselves in the face of what is, and practicing gratitude for the big and small blessings on this incredible journey of life – even in the face of all the challenges. And as many of us have experienced, gratitude offers us a stress-free way to manifest what we want, and works far better than trying to control others and outcomes.

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Adjusting To The New Normal

newnormal
Many of us are going through a super level of metamorphosis, trying to adjust to the new normal, that has become a way of life for us now. 

Slowly and steadily as the truth of our existing situation is settling in within us we are silently settling within. It is actually a subtle shift. We are learning to accept now the new normal we are living in. Over the years, the human mind has learned to be malleable in order to succeed. It knows how to adjust to its ever-changing circumstances and environment, so that it could be in a more productive phase constantly. 

NEW INFORMATION MEANS NEW BELIEFS
Slowly as we assimilate all the new information we have been provided with, we have been working on changing our own belief system, so that we can be at an amicable level of adjustment to the world around us.This is the only way we actually have of being viably productive, as we need to feel comfortable in all levels of functioning in society,  in order to feel like winners. We are winners if we are allowing a channelized flow of our energy in the right direction. 
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Confessions Of A Former Busy Addict

workaddict
“You are the sky. Everything else — it's just the weather.”  —Pema Chödrön


I've Been Thinking...

“Busy is back,” the news blared. “Mask mandates are over. Airports are jammed.

Planes are packed. Billionaires are going to space. People are partying like it’s the ‘20s.”

Wow. As I heard all that this week, I could feel my anxiety rise.

Then the next story blared, “Vaccination rates are plummeting. People are stressed about returning to work. Some are refusing to even return at all.”

“We are,” the anchor said, “in uncharted territory.”

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Clarity and Sharing

clarity

What you share is not as important as why you share it. For example, sharing with the intention to impress people with your generosity, intelligence, or good nature is not the same as sharing with the intention to support another with no strings attached, or sharing because sharing with love is healing and natural to us, or consciously sharing with love your presence with others. Your intention for sharing determines the consequences of your sharing and your experiences of sharing.

Clarity allows you to identify your intentions, distinguish among them, and to understand their effects. When you share to change someone so that you will feel better about yourself or safe, you strive to manipulate and control. You pursue external power. This creates painful and destructive consequences. When you share to contribute to Life without thought of self-benefit, or share from your heart without second agendas that benefit you first and others second, or share the compassion, wisdom, and love that you were born to share, your frequency increases, you shine brighter, and your choices contribute constructively to the collective consciousness.

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How to Stay Calm in Stressful Situations

farmer Life lessons from a farmer’s story

Back in the late 1800s, there was an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day, his son left a gate open and his three horses ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically. 

“Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t,” the farmer replied.

The next morning the horses returned, bringing with them 40 other wild horses. “How wonderful!” the neighbors exclaimed. 

“Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t,” said the old man.

The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown off and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. “This is terrible news,” they said.

“Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t,” answered the farmer.

The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the farmer’s son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated for his good luck. “Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t,” said the farmer.

The moral of this story is, of course, that no event, in and of itself, can truly be judged as good or bad, lucky or unlucky, fortunate or unfortunate — only time will reveal what a situation will bring into your life.

When life throws you a curve ball, whether it appears to be “good” or “bad”, the wiser move is to stay as calm as possible. To help you do this, here are three simple tips for you to follow whenever you find yourself in a stressful situation.

How to Stay Calm in the Presence of Stress and Chaos

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You're Worth It

worthiness
It’s time to raise our energetic, financial vibration!!! I want you all right now to download the song, “I’m Worth It” by Djsleazy and listen to it often. I realize you may not be a pop music fan, but my 3 year old daughter this week, MaryKate, is walking around the house blasting this song, wiggling her little hips dancing and singing “I’m worth it. Yeah, I’m worth it.” I understand this song could have a couple messages, but the fact that my 3 year old is internalizing that she is “Worth It” will go for miles during her lifetime.

Many of us have life experiences that have helped us feel like we are not worth it. We’ve created habits that don’t necessarily put us farther down our path to our soul work on this earth. Financially speaking, this comes about in various ways. We spend more than our income, we carry credit card debt and we keep choosing car loans over and over again. All things that deplete our energy and suck the life out of us as opposed to feed us more uplifting, positive energy. Then on top of that we pump ourselves up with Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts large coffees cream and sugar please, that keep us it the bad habit cycle of distracting ourselves to what’s really going on in our lives.

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Life Lessons from a Turtle

turtle

Sometimes when I’m out for a walk in the woods with Koda, I see a box turtle trudging forward through the leaves. Don’t you love turtles?

I was always taught that if you see any turtles in the middle of the road, you should try to stop and put them on the side of the road where they’re headed. You must also pick them up carefully and try not to handle them too much. You can use a t-shirt or towel to lift and move them away from the traffic.

As I watched this turtle during my walk, I thought about how connected we are to these amazing creatures and how many lessons they can teach us. Here are a few that came to mind.

  1. Slow down and live in the present moment. Turtles are never in a hurry and take their time to get where they’re going. They remind us not to rush, but to appreciate all of the beauty and blessings that surround us.
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Water Your Fruit Tree

fruit-tree

What would bear lots of fruit?

The Practice:
Water your fruit tree.

Why?

My wife and kids tease me that the title of this practice is corny – and it is. Still, I like it. If you don’t nourish the things that nourish you, they wither away like a plant in dry stony ground.

Looking to the year ahead for you – a year that can begin whenever you want – what’s one key thing that will bear lots of fruit for you if you take care of it?

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What is PACT?

pact
Today, many of us create our financial lives by building it from the outside in. Why? Because the entire way our system is set up today from our educational systems, our career systems, our family structures, etc teach us on some level that something outside of us is better than the version that we are. Our systems teach us that we are flawed on some level. That we need to improve what we are not good at as opposed to really focusing on what we are inherently really good at and amplifying those talents.

What we are missing is that we were each put here on this earth for a specific calling. We’ve chosen our careers, and the money we make, to be the center of every decision. Money has become a core value and every decision pushes out from that. So if you don’t have money, you are of no value and if you have a ton of money, you have huge value. I’m here to tell you that this is a bunch of rubbish.

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Your Life Is Your Medicine

lifeismedicine

I have been contemplating life and the arc narrative of the Hero’s Journey. In these stories, and in the experience of my own life, and through experiencing the lives of other people, the worst thing that ever happened to me was the BEST thing that ever happened to me. 

The angels I am most grateful for were the ones that delivered the hardest experiences, the most painful, gut wrenching, and the most heart-breaking experiences. I feel like we don’t give those angels enough credit. I feel like we don’t celebrate the tough times or the hardships we’ve gone through. We don’t celebrate the necessary discomfort we had to experience to be agitated into awesomeness. 

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Your Imagination Can Take You Where Knowledge Cannot Go

Imagination
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”
–Albert Einstein
Knowledge, in this quote by Einstein, refers to the learned information we have acquired over the years of being on the planet. It is the information that is stored in our left brain, the facts that we may need at any time, as well as the false beliefs that are stored in our amygdala in our lower brain, the home of our wounded self.

When Einstein stated that “Imagination is more important than knowledge,” he meant that the wisdom we access when we open to our right brain – the seat of our imagination – is vaster, broader, and far more profound that any knowledge we acquire though our left brain. When we open to learning and go into our imagination, which is where we access our higher guidance, we open ourselves to “all there ever will be to know and understand.”
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Stay Right When You’re Wronged

mother-having-a-serious-talk-with-her-daughter-picture-id1156873294

There’s been mistreatment or injustice – now what?

The Practice:
Stay right when you’re wronged.

Why?

It’s easy to treat people well when they treat you well. The real test is when they treat you badly. (Much of what I say here applies to concerns about injustice or mistreatment that threatens or happens to others, from someone bullying a child to an oppressive government, but I will focus on the personal level.)

Think of times you’ve been truly wronged, in small ways or big ones. Maybe someone stole something, turned others against you, broke an agreement, cheated on you, or spoke unfairly or abusively.

When things like these happen, I feel mad, hurt, startled, wounded, sad. Naturally it arises to want to strike back and punish, get others to agree with me, and make a case against the other person in my own mind.

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30 Simple Ways to Create Balance and Connection

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