3 Ways Our Brain Messes With Us & 3 Powerful Antidotes

Thinking, re-thinking and thinking some more before making a decision. Ruminating over something, whether it was something someone said, didn't say, did or didn't do. Telling stories and not the fairytale kind.


Do any of those sound familiar to you?


I raise my hand.


I can be the queen of rumination. I will chew on something until it's lost all its flavor. Oh, and don't get me started on story-telling. The stories in my head can be some real doozies. I'd like to blame the stories that I tell myself on my creative writing background, but then I'd just be telling another story.


Here's the deal-o…we're human. I know, shocker…bet you didn't see that coming. But we are, and as human beings we're trained, taught, pre-disposed, born, to think. However, when it comes to overthinking, rumination, and story-telling, we weren't born to do those things. I'm pretty sure those are things we learned from our environment and from others. (Not to place blame here by any means.)
Continue reading

Our Children Are Our Change

For the past ten days I have been traveling outside of the United States. We had a packed itinerary and my intention was to disconnect and just be where I was with the person I was with. Halfway into my trip, the Parkland shooting occurred. Since these horrific acts of mass violence have unfortunately become part of our daily life, I realize that I've actually developed a pattern of how I digest these heartbreaking events. I tend to watch hour after hour of commentary, making sure I check in from the morning shows to Jimmy Kimmel Live’s opening monologue. Since Parkland is less than an hour drive from where I live and I know people who live there, I am sure that had I been home, I would have been that much more fixated on learning more. Being in Europe, I actually felt a bit guilty about not being more on top of the subject. Yet every time I entered a designer store in Paris, I was consistently struck by the lack of gun control and safety precautions in our schools. How was it that to enter a designer store my bag would be searched and in some cases an armed guard would stand at the door, but in most schools in the U.S., people can walk in carrying anything? 
Continue reading

What I’m Giving Up For Lent This Year

On the Sunday before Ash Wednesday, my pastor asked all of us at church to start thinking about Lent. What might we do this Lenten season, and what might we give up, he asked?


His sermon really got me thinking. In the past, I’ve used Lent as an opportunity to give up things that I loved. Things that might sound simple and slightly ridiculous, but that were actually quite hard for me to cut out. It was Swedish fish one year. Popcorn and licorice another. Last year, I gave up chips and guacamole (my all-time favorite).


What I’ve learned from Lent over the years is that stopping something cold does make a difference. It doesn’t matter what you give up. Your relationship with whatever has a hold on you will change, no matter what it is. And so, as I thought about all of this last Sunday, I wondered: what vice do I have right now that has too much of a hold on me? Then, out of the blue, it came to me. The answer is self-doubt.


Yes, I have self-doubt. Yes, I question myself. Yes, I question the decisions that I make — big and small — way more than I care to admit. But, I’ve come to think and to feel that self-doubt is really harmful. It’s cruel, it’s critical and it’s mean. It’s also bad for my health — my physical health, my mental health, and my spiritual health.


And so, I decided right then and there to kick the habit. Then Ash Wednesday came —  the day I was to begin — and the school shooting in Parkland, FL, happened. That led me back to church, trying to make sense of such a senseless tragedy.


I sat there trying to think about whether I should stick with giving up self-doubt for Lent. It just seemed so trivial in the wake of 17 people being killed. Then, I stopped myself cold. No, I was sure. Self-doubt is exactly what I should give up during these confusing and troubling times.


Giving up self-doubt is the right thing for me for many reasons, but it’s especially important now because I don’t want to spend any more of my precious time alive on this earth doubting myself.

Continue reading

Conscious Leadership

 As I am watching the campaigning on television for the Governor of Illinois where I currently reside, I am wondering about concept of conscious leadership. To give some background, in Illinois four out of last seven governors went to jail. We have a severe budget crisis due to budget stalemate that started in 2015 and went on for 793 days and finally ended in July 2017. Illinois was the first state to have credit rating go to “junk” status. State agencies have had to cut back on many essential services including healthcare for the people who needed the most care, which I experienced first-hand while taking care of my patients.


My question is, what makes a great leader? Is it education, wealth, charisma, power or strength? In my opinion, the 3 requirements for conscious leadership are personality, vision and values.


“A leader is the one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way”--John C. Maxwell.

Continue reading

Discovering Your “WHY” In 14 Days Or Less

“Knowing your 'why' is the key to fulfillment. When you are clear about it, your intention will then be a magnet for miracles.” - Colette Baron-Reed

I recall a time in the not too distant past when I was unsettled, unfulfilled, unhappy, and just plain tired. Tired of my life the way it was. I was chasing my tail, eating my feelings (literally and metaphorically). I was living off of credit cards to make ends meet, doing odd jobs that were just that, odd and not fulfilling.

I was not only miserable, but I was desperate.

It was not what I had envisioned for myself when I graduated from college many years prior. I envisioned a life filled with direction, purpose, fulfillment, and fun.

PURPOSE, SHMURPHOUS

If you had asked me what my purpose (my "why") was, I would have furrowed my forehead and said, “My purpose? What purpose?”

Continue reading

How can we positively embrace change in our future?

It’s interesting to observe your own reaction when change presents itself in life.


It may be economic change in your circumstances, it may be a change in the way you spend your life. A lot of people, as their children grow, have an opportunity to change their lives, but they have such strong habits in how they’ve always done things and who they’ve always been, that they get frightened at the freedom to change when an opportunity presents itself.

Up until now, they justified their existence by what their karma commitments are; “I have to be this way,” and I would say that doesn’t have to be the case. They don’t have to wait for their kids to grow up, because that waiting becomes their daily routine.

How much of who I was yesterday is defining who I am today? How much can I allow who I am today to be totally open and tuning and responding to the situation, which includes everything I was yesterday, but also all that I will be tomorrow?

Continue reading

Start Your Day Off Right With The Hour of Power

The morning is the most important time of the day. If you spend an hour a day to do these three things you will be happier in life, healthier, and more motivated than you’ve ever felt.

I call this my hour of power. Every morning I wake up and I spend 60 minutes doing three things. They've helped contribute to a lot of my success.

So what is this Hour of Power exactly?

It’s a full hour that is broken up into three 20-minute sessions:

  • 20 minutes of exercise
  • 20 minutes of meditation
  • 20 minutes of reading (positive, uplifting material)


The benefits of doing just these 3 things are great.


The Benefits of the Hour of Power

Continue reading

3 Easy Ways to Practice Mindful Writing and Creation

What do you think of when you think of the perfect creative space? The space where you have the peace and inspiration to write to your heart’s content? I’m not necessarily talking about writing a novel. It can be meditative journaling, creating content for your blog, or even writing a love letter to someone special. Is your perfect spot a sun-soaked beach with the sound of waves creating a thunderous soundtrack? Maybe it’s a coffee shop in the middle of a bustling European city where you soak up culture and sophistication. Or, perhaps it’s a mountain retreat deep in a snow-capped mountain range.

 

Now look out your window. Where are you? Are you in your ideal writing and creating location?

 

If the answer is yes, then kindly go back to what you’re doing and revel in the perfection. I’m sorry to have disturbed you. However, chances are that you’re not in your ideal writing location. Am I right? Your view may be of a dumpster, the neighbor’s swing set, or a front yard that really needs to be mowed.

 

Continue reading

Ways to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day Without Drinking

Even for those who aren’t Irish, St. Patrick’s Day is one of the most joyful holidays of the year. More than just a “Hallmark” holiday, it is celebrated in many countries around the world. This even led to Time Magazine calling it “the Most Global National Holiday.” Although St. Patrick’s Day is associated with Ireland, where St. Patrick is the patron saint, the holiday itself is perhaps most popular in the United States.

 

Sadly, many people only think of St. Patrick’s Day as an excuse to drink. The truth is that this holiday has a complex history based in actual facts. There are many ways to honor St. Patrick and honor the holiday without drinking. Why not use this holiday as an excuse to explore your own religious and spiritual beliefs, spend time with loved ones, and bring more fulfillment into your own life?

 

Here are some creative ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day that aren’t focused on drinking.

 

Continue reading

Death, Dying and the Soul’s Transition

Nikola Tesla states: “If you want to find the secrets of the Universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.”

We are souls/spirit having a human experience.  We are energy.  We are spirit embodied.  When we die, we drop the body … The spirit, the soul continues and lives on.  Energy can never be destroyed. It only changes forms.

“Death in the physical world is rebirth back in heaven” – SDJ

My goal with this blog is to help you consider a different perspective of death.  Not to stop the grief, but perhaps put a different perspective to it. So many people struggle with the death process and with a sense of loss – and understandably so.  This sense of loss can then hold them back from living life fully.  So many people feel guilt, pain, shame and the tragedy of loss … and this can block them from the light and the love of the soul connection.

Continue reading

The Best of Us

Earlier this week, my brother sent me a link to this commercial for the Winter Olympics that features skier Lindsey Vonn and ends with the tagline “The Best of U.S.”


It’s an inspiring, uplifting and motivating video. And, as usual, it got me thinking. It got me thinking about the best of us, and about all of us.


This was a week when political leaders told us about the state of our union — in other words, the status of “us.” Media pundits argued over whose point of view was valid, who could take credit for what, and whose facts were right.


I watched and listened to it all, and as the week wound down, what stayed with me —what really rose above the noise — were the stories I read or heard about the best of us. The men and women that President Trump singled out in the House gallery, like Preston Sharp, who at just 12 years old has made it his mission to lay flags and carnations on the graves of all veterans. The hard-working Americans from Fall River who gathered to hear my cousin Rep. Joe Kennedy III give the Democratic response. Americans who, as Kennedy said, quietly serve, rescue, help and heal every single day. What stayed with me were these people’s stories. They are the best of “us.”


As I wrote last week, the division of “us” is what really breaks my heart. Especially all of the news that highlights the worst of us. I believe that highlighting the best of us is what this newsletter strives to do on a weekly basis. That’s not naive. It’s a point of view. It’s a perspective.

Continue reading

Why Greece Is The Perfect Destination For A Spiritual Journey

Every year, millions of tourists from around the world travel to Greece to experience its vibrant culture and stunning landscapes. But many miss Greece for what it really is: one of the world’s most sacred destinations.

To experience this hidden side of Greece, travellers must dig deep into their own spirituality and explore the country through a pilgrim’s eyes. This means looking beyond the surface of its magnificent ruins and spectacular vistas to connect with the land’s sacred essence.

When this happens, the true nature of Greece (and of the traveller!) are exposed. What makes Greece such a perfect destination for a spiritual journey?

1. Its ancient sites are imbued with sacredness


Greece is home to hundreds of sacred sites, including temples and shrines that have housed sacred rituals and attracted pilgrims from around the world for millennia.

A few of these ancient sites, like the Acropolis of Athens and the Parthenon, have become common tourist destinations, while others are away from the large crowds.

Places like Agora, Delphi, the Temple of Apollo, the 13th century monastic site of Mystra and the ancient citadel of Mycenae are just a few of the many sites where sacredness is palpable for those willing to feel it.

Continue reading

Can You Hold Others as Able?

Can you hold others as Able?


This is a powerful concept that is desirable but must be handled with extreme care – it is as sensitive as gelignite.


It is faith-based. That is, you believe it or you don’t, you want to move in that direction or not. It’s completely up to you.


It is validation of another person.


It is the position that that person is capable, in all respects, to deal with what comes their way. They are Able, in your consideration.


One obvious example is: babysitting. Let’s say you are the parent of twin 14 year old daughters. One is studious, makes her bed in the morning, is organized and already knows a lot about cooking; the other is slovenly, inattentive, irresponsible. If you let the first go babysitting in the neighbourhood, you are holding her as Able. Able to get along with the kids, able to handle tasks like getting them to bed, able to handle any emergency that might arise. That is holding her as able.


The odds are lower on the other twin, but it’s one of the mysteries of life that holding someone as able even when you have doubts can sometimes have surprisingly positive results.

Continue reading

I Tried To Run Away From #MeToo

I often write articles about consciousness, mind, and science. Usually, I try to paint the big picture, questioning the very way we see ourselves and the world around us. But over time, I'm seeing that if I'm going to write about a deeper perspective on life, I can't not write about the very real movements that are happening in the world around us. Awakening to life has to include awakening in and through life.


One of those very real movements is #MeToo. I've been watching it from afar, noticing it make its way through our society. I began to notice that it was making me silently uncomfortable. When I looked closely, I saw that I was avoiding it, as though it were coming after me. Why was I running?

Continue reading

Mortality: If You Die, Will You Forget Me?

There is nothing like being a mom, to make you come face-to-face with mortality.

 

In all I have survived in this life thus far, I am still alive and kicking -  figuratively and relatively. But, there is nothing. And I mean, NOTHING - That has made me look Mortality dead in the face – screaming – I AM NOT READY or NOT NOW -  like being a mother has.

 

Our night time routines are rather long with our children. Well, I should say, my bedtime routine. I have a series of loving steps that I like to take each night with both of my littles to remind them that they are cherished and loved. Appreciated and heard. Unique and special.

 

We start with our prayers and then go into – what I like to call positive affirmations. Continue by talking about our day and acknowledging that maybe we made some not-so-great decisions, but tomorrow is the start of a new day and the slate is wiped clean.

 

One particular evening recently, during my bedtime routine with my oldest, Mortality crept in there in the most unexpected way. Usually, I will wander off into the future of possibilities for my littles. Flash forward and I see them graduating college, finding their way, learning new skills, getting married, and possibly having children of their own. Naturally, in these thoughts of the future – a time that has not yet occurred; I face Mortality – heaving from its dark cavern.  I can feel the chill of its cold breath breathing on my skin. But then, I quickly jump back into my daydream or lock on ever so tightly to the present moment.

 

Continue reading

It’s Not Too Late to Make It Happen

So…we are now officially one month into a New Year – how’s it going so far? Are you making progress on fulfilling your heart’s desire or did you get sidetracked?


Here are a few super easy things to do that will keep you on track:

  • Write it down!  Make it simple:  “Before the end of 2018, I commit to myself to accomplish (or substitute be, do or have – whatever makes sense to you) to __________________.”
  • I commit to doing ___ things each day towards accomplishing this. (I find that doing 5 little things every day is doable and works best for me.)
  • I promise to enroll someone to be my accountability partner (research shows if you do this you have a 90% better chance of being successful!)
  • Give yourself a weekly reward for the steps you took all week.
  • Spend 5 minutes each day dropping into your heart and feeling what it feels like to have what you say you most desire.
Continue reading

Time to Regroup and Dream

Life at the beginning of the New Year is such a funny thing, isn’t it? It’s like we’re split in two. There is one side of us which is aware that we’ve set intentions and made resolutions and we feel driven to get things done in order to prove to the world we’re going to change! We think to ourselves; life in this New Year is magical and filled with P*R*O*M*I*S*E ! Now is NOT the time to waste!


Then there’s this other inconvenient self that wants to curl up and rest and dream and perhaps not move so fast too soon. That part of us can seem lazy, and not at all in alignment with our highest intentions!


Or, is there wisdom in this self? Maybe we need to listen to this need to regroup and dream?


The tension between these two selves, two perspectives, creates a kind of guilt for some of us.  We start thinking that we better get off our butts and prove that we mean business! The treadmill calleth! We have dutifully thrown away the leftover holiday sweets and have begun a new and healthy plan.


Regrouping and dreaming can seem like a waste of time at the beginning of a new year when we put pressure on ourselves to perform miracles right out of the gate. The truth, however, is that taking time is exactly what we should be doing. Whether you are in the dead of winter like we are in the Northern Hemisphere or midsummer Down Under both these seasons ask us to stand still and contemplate what we’ve set in motion and refine our intentions slowly and honestly.

Continue reading

What Breaks Your Heart?

The other day, I had the chance to speak with Architect of Change Dr. Tererai Trent about her new book, “The Awakened Woman.” In addition to being an author, Tererai is an internationally renowned scholar and humanitarian whose voice and incredible life story have inspired millions, myself included. 


After Tererai and I finished our Architects of Change interview, she turned to me and asked a very simple, but profound question.


“Maria,” she said, looking me dead in the eye. “What breaks your heart?”


I stared at her for a bit, knowing that this was a big question to be asked. I knew this was not a question for my mind to answer. This was one for my heart and soul.


“What does your heart ache for?” Tererai asked, expanding upon her initial question. “What do you envision for the world, and for yourself?”


Over the years, I have interviewed many Architects of Change. I was also raised by two formidable Architects of Change. All of these individuals, in their own way, have asked themselves this kind of question — a question that has led them to their life’s purpose. But, no one I’ve met has ever posed it to me quite the way that Tererai did.


What breaks your heart? What does your soul long for? And, how is that connected to how you are living your life now?

Continue reading

Welcome to the Society for the Suppression of Curiosity

The secular world is built upon science, which overturned the world of faith. Exchanging spiritual beliefs for objective facts looks like a clear-cut choice, but it isn't. In all our lives there are values like compassion and loving kindness that are not scientific, and so everyday life straddles two worlds. In one world having a compassionate heart means something important. In the other compassion has no meaning unless it can be reduced to data on a brain scan.

 
A mature person can live in both worlds comfortably, because they don't need to clash. Dr. Francis Collins is a physician and geneticist who is the head of the National Institutes of Health, but he also happens to be a devout Christian who has written movingly about his religious awakening. Besides straddling two worlds, which we all do, Collins has explored them both, in keeping with his bent for inner and outer discovery.

  

Yet some religionists can only tolerate one view of life, and they insist on fundamentalist beliefs, such as the belief that God created human beings in their present form and reject all scientific claims to the contrary. In the other world, some science-minded people cannot tolerate faith and mystery, and they reject any thing that cannot be proven as experimental fact.

 

In both cases, there is a total suppression of curiosity and a rigid insistence on "right think," to adopt the Orwellian term for beliefs enforced by punishment from higher up.

 

Continue reading

12 Ways I Would Live if I had a 24 Hour Redo on Life

What is the greatest marvel? Each day death strikes and we live as though we are immortal. ~The Mahabharata

 

On the morning of January 13, 2018, out of the blue, the people of Hawaii were confronted with apparent catastrophe. Every radio, television and cell phone in the state received a message that a ballistic missile was heading inbound towards the islands. People were advised to seek immediate shelter. The chilling last words of the messaged warned that “this is not a drill”.

 

For the next 38 minutes, facing what appeared to be a nuclear attack, people were forced to make decisions about how they would spend the last moments of their lives. Videos posted online showed people running through the streets in a panic. Twitter was inundated with tweets from people reaching out to say goodbye to those they loved. One woman wrote that she, her husband and infant child were sheltering in a closet, the husband shielding the baby. A reporter who had just dropped his son off at the airport wrote about having to decide whether to go back to the airport to be with his son, go to his wife’s place of business or head home to his two youngest children. He couldn’t possibly get to them all.

 

After almost 40 minutes, a second message was sent stating that it was a false alarm. There was no inbound missile. There was no nuclear war. No one would die in a conflagration of unimaginable proportions. Life would go on, at least for now.


Continue reading

Already Here: A Doctor Discovers the Truth about Heaven

Already Here: A Doctor Discovers the Truth about Heaven

Already Here tells of the death of Leo Galland’s son, Christopher, at the age of 22; the direct visual evidence Christopher showed him that our souls do go on; and the communications he received from Christopher’s spirit that dramatically changed Leo’s understanding of life and its meaning.

Free Virtual Event - Sat. Feb 24

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