"Need Some Healing Light?"

Every evening for many years, I continue with this little ritual that I’d like to share. Although it’s quite simple, I find it’s really powerful to have an intended thought powered by light. The simple act of lighting a candle every night for me reminds me that all thought has power, and keeping a candle lit safely for a while helps me to send and keep positive thoughts on a desired intention.

Candles have been used since the dawn of time for meditations, blessings, spiritual and religious ceremonies, healings, prayers, celebrations, abundance, psychic development, to feel comforted and protected, to hold the memory of a loved one, and yes … even romance! The uses are endless.

Many people choose candles by scent, some choose by color, while others are simply fine with a plain candle, or even a tea light in a votive purchased from a dollar store. You don’t have to spend a lot of money. No matter what you choose, it’s the positive use of the candle that makes it special.

Every day people use candles in a positive way without even knowing it. Ask yourself: “How many times have you blown out a candle on a birthday cake?” What you’re actually doing is that when you close your eyes to make a wish (holding that special thought) and then blowing out the candle, is that you’re actually sending off the wish while bringing your desires to light.


Continue reading

The Blame Game – How to Take your Power Back Today!

BLAME

Man is this a tough one for some of us. It sure was for me.

Blame was my go to. It was my only recourse many times. “It’s not my fault or don’t blame me” were common responses when I was in “trouble” both as a child and even as an adult. I found a senses of freedom in blaming someone else… for my bad day or bad mood, my ruined event or experience… It was “easier” to blame someone for the seemingly bad things in my life…

Continue reading

Is Your Self-Help Helping?

Market studies show that the personal development/self-improvement industry is growing at a rapid pace. More and more people are spending more and more money to help them lose weight, improve relationships, manage stress, attain success, increase productivity, achieve balance, and find fulfillment.

Yet despite the increase of people investing in self-help tools, techniques, technologies, teachers, and coaches, daily I hear from people who are stuck. They feel helpless, resigned, and frustrated after months or years of: 

  • being on diet and exercise routines yet not seeing a shift in their weight or inches
  • trying to adhere to a budget yet never getting out of debt
  • practicing yoga and meditation daily yet still being consumed/paralyzed by stress and anxiety
  • looking for “the one” yet finding no one special
  • wanting to start, ramp up, or change careers yet continuing to sit at the same desk or lie on the same couch

Continue reading

Expanded Awareness: Turning the Tables on Your Brain

Sometimes the enormous success of science leads to some wrong assumptions. In the case of brain science, the advent of sophisticated brain scans opened a window to the brain as never before. It used to be said that figuring out the human brain was like putting a stethoscope to the roof of the Astrodome to figure out the rules of baseball. That's no longer true.

In neuroscience, as brain function becomes more and more illuminated, the assumption grows stronger that our brains control our behavior. This idea isn't true except in a limited sense that needs to be carefully defined. There are things that your brain controls, such as the fight-or-flight response. But for the vast majority of brain functions, you have a choice how to respond. "My brain made me do it" doesn't hold water even when it comes to things we want to blame it for. Take mental disorders, for example. If you are depressed, there may be a family history involved, which suggests a genetic component, and the drugs to treat depression act on the brain, without a doubt. But consider the following:
Continue reading

Let Toxic Relationships Go For Good

Have you ever severed a relationship, but even though the person was no longer in your life, you still continued the relationship in your head? Consider that the very act of keeping it alive even if only in your mind means you are still in it. Perhaps that happens when you feel a relationship is unrequited, and you’re not letting go, or you’re nursing a resentment because you won’t, or lack the self-awareness to see your part in the dynamic.

This is not about self-blame at all. It’s about self-accountability and freedom.

Continue reading

How can we Heal our Heart when it Closes?

When I talk about opening the heart, what exactly do we do?

Well, one thing you do, is you acknowledge that you feel ‘closed.’ That’s the first thing. You don’t make believe you’re open hearted, which most people do much of the time. They’re making believe they are open-hearted, while they’re aloof a little more than they’re feeling themselves to be. They always end up feeling a little hypocritical.

First thing is to acknowledge what you’re feeling: “My heart is closed.”


I’ll tell you there are numerous practices for this, and you have to find one that’s comfortable for you. For example, I work a lot with my breath, and I breathe in and out of my heart, and when I’m breathing out in my heart, I allowed whatever love I can muster for anything to be offered to people, to beings around me, and when I’m breathing in, I’m taking the existence of the universe into myself, and I keep feeling this breath going back and forth, and the breathing out is, “May all beings be free of suffering, may all beings be peaceful, may all beings be happy,” and I say:

“Hard-hearted though I am, and closed hearted though I am, I am going to use my energies to the extent that my mind and my heart can do it for the benefit of others. I’m gonna wish them well.”

Continue reading

An Attempt to Solve a Problem

I first learned about Dr. Gabor Maté through his groundbreaking book In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, which explores his work with addicted individuals living on Vancouver’s skid row, as well as being an exceptionally comprehensive delineation of just what the hell addiction is, its causes, its effects, and so, so, so much more. Aside from that, Dr. Maté is a renowned speaker and bestselling author, highly sought after for his expertise on a range of topics, including addiction, stress, and childhood development.

 

I’d heard that Gabor believes addiction is not the problem but rather a person’s attempt to solve a problem in his or her life. I reached out to him because I wondered, among other things, how he would define addiction and what his perspective was on people using addiction to solve their life problems.

Continue reading

What looked like a suicide attempt was the start of my recovery

I can’t breathe. F#$k. F#$k. F#$k. I can’t breathe! My eyes pop open as a full-body panic attack sets in. Through my haze, I see my hands strapped to the bed. Oh, f#$k. Not again. I’m gasping for air.

 

There are tubes coming out of my mouth. This is new. I raise my head and realize I’m in a hospital. But where? How did I get here? What the f#$k happened? That’s when I see my parents sitting in chairs at the end of my bed, near a window. The heartbreak and despair in their eyes are unmistakable. A nurse stands nearby. She’s telling me to calm down and let the tubes do the breathing for me, but I’m too panicked. I begin thrashing in the bed, trying to break the woven nylon straps that are keeping me from ripping the tubes out of my mouth. Later I’ll find out this is the reason I was restrained in the first place.

Continue reading

Sometimes All I Am Is a Dark Emptiness

Because I have lived so much of my life caught in a cycle of addiction, recovery, relapse, repeat, a quote from Zen master Ikkyū Sojun—Sometimes all I am is a dark emptiness—sums up and shades much of my experience. I’m no stranger to relapsing and the pain, shame, guilt, confusion, and heartbreak that come along with it. Nor am I a stranger to detoxes, rehabs, emergency rooms, jail cells, and psych hospitals. What is strange for me is that after my last relapse, I began to care about relapsing. In the past, when I found myself in a place where I was willing to pick up a bottle of vodka or succumb to depression, I didn’t give a damn about the consequences. Fights, handcuffs, lies, withdrawals, self-cutting, hospitals, vomiting, and pissing blood—none of it mattered. I meant nothing to me.

Continue reading

The Power of Healing

I know, I know. I know what happened yesterday. An American woman joined the royal family. Yippee!

I actually got up to watch Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s wedding. Yes, I did. I watched it because I’m a romantic at heart. I just love love stories, and theirs is an especially good one because it’s about more than just two people in love. It’s also about acceptance, race, second chances, overcoming differences, old rules and new traditions. That’s what love can do for you. It can let you see the world again with a fresh set of eyes. When two people take a stand for love, other people can see the world differently through their example.

Meghan Markle’s story is quite the American story. She is a child of mixed race who grew up in California. Now, she is the Duchess of Sussex and a woman recognized around the world. Markle has a huge opportunity in front of her to rewrite the definition of a royal for young women everywhere. My hope is that she continues to use her voice for causes she believes in and that she uses her American grit and strength to overcome whatever balls get thrown her way (because there will be many).

Continue reading

Welcome Joy.

Joy lifts the heart and nourishes inner peace.

What’s the spark and what’s the fuel?

The Practice:
Welcome joy.

Why?

Positive emotions—such as feelings of gratitude, love, and confidence—strengthen the immune system, protect the heart against loss and trauma, build relationships, increase resilience, and promote success. Based on studies that have already been done, if a drug company could patent a happiness pill, we’d be seeing ads for it every night on TV.

Technically, emotions can be organized along two dimensions: intensity (how strong they are) and hedonic valence (how good they feel). Tranquility, for example, has low intensity but can feel really really good, a profound inner peace.

Continue reading

From Monkey Mind To Mindfulness

Although it feels like New Years was weeks ago, we are still very much in the conversation of "New Year, New You!" Even though every January we tend to engage in a dialogue about what we can do to revamp or upgrade our lives, each year we see a few new concepts or practices added to the "what's trending now" lists. In the past few years, the concept of mindfulness or being mindful has become a crucial part of the self-care conversation. 

From the boardroom to the kindergarten classroom to centers and apps dedicated to the practice, mindfulness trainings are widespread and have become mainstream. Credited with reducing stress and anxiety and having several other physical and mental health benefits, mindfulness is often defined as the practice of bringing your full mind to a singular object or situation or, as Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, a professor of medicine emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and leader in the field of mindfulness, defines it, mindfulness is "paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally." 

Although being totally present to one thing for even five to ten minutes might seem like a no-brainer, for many it is a challenge. Described as a practice that takes practice, many beginners are encouraged to practice mindfulness by bringing their attention to day-to-day activities, even something as simple as drinking a cup of tea or eating food. We are urged to smell the food, taste the food, chew the food, and truly be in the experience of the food. 

Continue reading

Let Us Not Forget the Healing Power of Touch

With the recent #metoo and #timesup movements, I’ve been thinking a lot about touch.


The focus lately, of course, has been on the wrong kind of touch.


The kind that makes us feel shame and fear and anger.


Used, violated, helpless, traumatized.


Powerless.


The uninvited kind.


The kind that crossed a line.


The kind that has put women on guard, time and time again, and made them leery of being touched.


The kind that destroys a healthy relationship with touch.


A world full of women are walking around with PTSD of one level or another from being touched inappropriately.


And yes, many men, as well.


Say what you will about social media, but it has helped birth a movement which is determined to change this story of power and disrespect.


But today I want to say good things about touch.


How it heals.


How it’s a basic human need.


How living without it can make us emotionally and physically sick.


I learned a great deal about touch when I studied Ayurveda.

Continue reading

How The Divorce Diet Became The Integrity Advantage

As you may know, this past week, my first book, The Integrity Advantage, was released. It was a pinnacle moment filled with a smorgasbord of emotions. It quickly turned into a somewhat surreal experience watching this baby being birthed out into the world, seeing people holding the book in their hands, and knowing that they would soon be reading my words.


Many people have asked me why I committed to this concept of integrity as a way of life a few years ago. I was recently invited to write a guest blog addressing what motivated me to write this book and what I hoped the reader would get out of it. Since it was my own pain and chaos of living out of integrity that brought me to living and realizing the advantage of living an integrity-guided life, I thought I would share the blog here. 

Continue reading

Does Everything Really Happen for a Reason?

When we are going through a difficult period in our lives, or are dealing with a crisis, it can feel like our lives are over. I’m sure that these last few months have felt very challenging for you, as they have for me, with the hurricanes, fires, earthquakes and, the most recent, the shooting in Vegas! During these challenging times, many well-meaning people will say things like “well, everything happens for a reason,” or “behind every gray cloud, there’s a silver lining.” Oftentimes, it is these types of statements that make us want to scream at the top of our lungs, “you just don’t understand, nothing will ever be the same” or “leave me alone … you have no idea.”


When we are in the midst of such periods, these age-old sayings can be difficult to hear, and even more difficult to believe. I get it. I have been the one to say it … and the one to scream … all at different times.


But, what if it were true? What if everything really does happen for a reason? What if we lived from a perspective that every experience that we have in life is designed to be an opportunity for growth, expansion, awareness, and dare it be said … for Love?


Most of us have, at some point in our lives, been lucky enough to have had some rough patches; but, experiences that, when looked back upon, can be seen with appreciation. Others have lived through downright catastrophes – where there seems to be no good reason whatsoever. Broken hearts, financial ruin, abuse or even the death of a loved one can leave us with more questions than answers. The why’s of it all, no doubt, cause pain, sadness, anger, illness and depression. We all see these challenges differently. For some, the pain is so devastating that they can’t get out of bed; while others can take what happened, and turn that energy into motivation. Why such different responses in similar circumstances?

Continue reading

Transforming Suffering Into Grace

When you look back at your own life, you see that with the suffering you went through, you would have avoided it each time if you possibly could, yet when you look at the depths of your character now, and the fact that you’re sitting here doing this work, you see it’s all a product of those experiences.

Continue reading

The Freedom of Yes – Allowing Life to be Just as It Is

I often quote the psychologist Carl Rogers, who said, “It wasn’t until I accepted myself, just as I was, that I was free to change.” In other words, this acceptance — this recognizing what’s going on inside us and this deep unconditional tenderness — is the prerequisite to change.

Continue reading

Where Does It Hurt? Healing the Wounds of Severed Belonging

I recently heard about a man who attempted to sneak his pet turtle onto a flight by placing it between two buns and wrapping it in a KFC wrapper. When he was discovered, he told the officials that he just couldn’t leave his beloved pet at home.

Continue reading

Is It Time to Let Go of Being a Victim?

There comes a time in our lives where we make a decision. Sometimes it’s a conscious choice and sometimes it stems from an experience that we can no longer deny. Either way, we arrive at a point in our lives where we know or feel that it is time to move forward.

Continue reading

30 Simple Ways to Create Balance and Connection

Join Soulspring for conscious insights...

...on all things life, wellness, love, transformation and spirituality...

 PLUS! Get your FREE Guide: 12 Mindfulness Practices to a Peaceful Mind