When the News Makes Us Miserable: Remembering a Fuller Presence and Larger Truth

People ask me regularly about how spiritual practice can guide us in responding to the state of our society. They tell me that while the teachings of compassion are alive and helpful in other parts of their lives, they seem out of reach when they read the headlines each day. In a recent e-mail from one of our DC community Spiritual Friends groups, members asked:

  • How do we stay compassionate when it feels like so much harm is being caused to vulnerable people?
  • Isn’t acceptance a kind of complacency? Isn’t “letting go” like condoning?
  • How do we call on meditation practice when we’ve become fearful, angry and disheartened at the hatefulness and viciousness that is so evident in our society?


I’ve had many waves of anger, fear and aversion in reaction to the harm being perpetrated in our society. In my own practice, it helps to keep starting right where I am, not judging my own reactions, thinking “I shouldn’t feel this.” Rather than trying to let go of these feelings, I often reflect that “this belongs,” it’s the inner weather of the moment. Then I can feel the fear or aversion with acceptance and kindness.

Continue reading

The Inconvenient Truth

In the past few weeks I have been fixated on the news and stories surrounding the world of USA Gymnastics. Like most of us, I have looked on with horror, disbelief, and heartbreak as well as a profound sense of admiration for the 156 women and girls - "the army of survivors" - who shared their victim impact statements and testified against former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. I also cheered when Judge Aquilina sentenced Nassar to 40 to 175 years in prison and so matter-of-factly said, "It is my honor and privilege to sentence you. You don't deserve to walk outside a prison ever again." Just yesterday, Nassar was sentenced to an additional 40 to 125 years in prison after a second sentencing hearing where more than 60 young women and teenagers read or presented victim impact statements. 


Like many of us, I can't help thinking about the other people and organizations involved in this situation who were told or put on notice about Nassar's behavior and did nothing to stop it. Whether it was Michigan State University, USA Gymnastics, the U.S. Olympic Committee, or private training facilities, I am a huge proponent of the investigations that are and should be conducted as to how these entities and people - these enablers - ignored or mishandled the sexual assault complaints lodged against Nassar. It's chilling to realize that he could have been stopped decades ago. 


Being a mother of three daughters the same age range as many of the women I watched testify, what stops me in my tracks are the victims and survivors who shared that they told their parents what was going on and, for whatever reason, their parents dismissed or minimized what their child was saying and did not advocate or did not advocate strongly enough to put a stop to Nassar's sick, destructive, abusive behavior. 


Although, I would like to think that as a parent I would have listened and taken charge, and now there is no question that I would, 15 years ago when I was a newly divorced, single mother of three girls trying to juggle so many aspects of life, the truth is I don't know how I would have responded...And that haunts me. Doing a good deal of soul searching, I have been asking myself questions like: 
Continue reading

Copyright

© I have included your affiliate link for the program indicated in the transformational action steps.

How To Forgive Yourself and Let The Past Go (Video)

We have all done things that we felt bad about and judged ourselves for.


Whether it was:


Bad relationship choices.


The way you handled a break up.


Unwise financial decisions.


What are you still judging yourself for?


Maybe you have been holding yourself hostage, thinking you are a bad person or that God is judging you?


Consider this:

God doesn’t forgive.

Because God never judged you.


And if this is so, then why are you still judging you?


Judging what you did in the past keeps you stuck in the past. You can’t change the past no matter how much you judge.


Holding yourself a prisoner to your past only robs you of your present and limits your ability to create your future.

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

My fresh start to 2018- My journey from forgiveness to freedom

I started my new year with the commitment to forgive everyone in my life and drop all the "baggage" that I have carried for all my life. As January 1st was a full moon day, I decided to do a full moon forgiveness meditation as per my spiritual teacher's teachings. My intention resulted in many emotional roller coaster rides throughout the day complete with numerous instances of being triggered. I was very angry and impatient with my son for not getting ready on time, and then later on, I was angry and resentful at myself for my behavior. That evening, in presence of the beautiful full moon I started my full moon forgiveness meditation with four mantras to help me with my intention.

1.     I love myself and everyone unconditionally.

2.     I accept myself just the way I am and I accept everyone just the way they are.

3.     I forgive myself and everyone easily.

4.     I am grateful for myself and everyone's contributions in my life.

The next morning, I woke up again to the beautiful full moon –the first sight from my bedroom window. I felt that this was the sign that my forgiveness meditation was successful and I had dropped all my baggage.


On my drive to work, I was guided coincidently to listen to Panache Desai's Grace online immersion about forgiveness. According to Panache, there is nothing to forgive, because everything is unfolding in Divine order. Instead of forgiving, it is important to feel everything that is arising and respond, instead of react. It is not about forgiving others, but forgiving ourselves for our immature and unconscious reactions to others in the past. All we need to do is to meet ourselves with compassion, as we did the best we could with the awareness we had at that time.

Continue reading

Do You Have a Guilty Conscience?

It’s something you hear in this season, when so many have to face that they are not going to fulfill that well-meant New Year’s Resolution.


Is that your conscience, or do you just feel guilty?


Conscience is something bigger, the sense of Right and Wrong. It seems to be innate, but flexible to nurture. Admittedly, some people appear not to have one, or have resisted it long enough that it doesn’t impinge on their actions.


When I was a kid watching the (original) Mickey Mouse Club, Jiminy Cricket had a song, moralistic as much of Disney was, about conscience:


      “Take the straight and narrow path

      And if you start to slide,

      Give a little whistle…Give a little whistle…

      And always let your conscience be your guide.”

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

Empowering Bad Behavior - #TimesUp Now!

Happy New Year! I have been thinking a lot about this first newsletter of 2018. In a perfect world, I might be using this post to share with you some profound, uplifting, spiritual experience that I had ringing in the New Year and setting the tone for the upcoming year, but the fact is I cannot. I rang in the New Year experiencing emotions that ranged from horrified, shocked, and speechless to feeling victimized.

I was at what I thought was going to be a sweet get-together which quickly got hijacked by the bad behavior of a 40-year old woman who, in a nutshell, was committed to proving that she was right and everyone around her was wrong because they were not adhering to her demands and doing and acting as she wanted them to. Although I've only known this woman for a relatively short time, from what I have seen, this woman's bad behavior had nothing to do with New Year's Eve. It has been on display since the day I met her and from what I have heard from people closest to her, it has always been ever-present in her life – igniting toxicity, trauma, and trouble where ever she goes and with whomever she is with.

Yet, just as troubling as this woman's consistent bad behavior has been the reaction of everyone around her. Not wanting to have to "take on her stuff," they let her stuff dictate and infect every move, moment, and mood. That was until New Year's. Seeing the horror, hurt and humiliation reflected in the eyes of people like myself and others who were bystanders as we watched the events of the evening unfold, the people closest to this woman could no longer ignore the proverbial elephant in the living room. It was painfully obvious that the air and joy was being sucked out of the room and that their tendency to choose "harmony" over truth had landed them in hell and empowered bad behavior as well as a negative, venomous presence in the space. 

Interestingly, if I have seen any theme so far in 2018, it has been very much in keeping with the one I just described. I have already received numerous calls and messages from people who can no longer tolerate accepting or enduring the bad or inappropriate behavior of others to rule the roost, be it their children, spouses, co-workers, employers, or friends. They've had it with living in denial, turning a blind eye, trying to make it better, or being blinded by their own wishful thinking. The cost of living in an environment of constant judgment, righteousness, and pessimism has not only brought them down, but also been downright depleting. 

Continue reading

How To Let Go of Negativity and Be Happy

Negative thinking is a prison that leads to a limited life.

The more you focus on the negative, the more you give power to what you don’t want.

The more you give power to what you don’t want, the more what you don’t want will manifest in your life.

How you view a situation, person or place will determine your reality. Your reality is created by how you see it.

If you are not conscious, your mind will rob you of happiness and cause you suffering.

Negative thinking serves nothing other than to keep you from being open to possibilities and keeps you small.

Continue reading

Spiritual Growth and Sexual Abuse

A new kind of power – authentic power – is replacing the old kind of power – external power. Authentic power is the ability to distinguish love from fear within yourself and choose love no matter what is happening inside you or what is happening outside you. External power is the ability to manipulate and control.

From the perspective of external power villains are powerful and victims are powerless. From the perspective of authentic power, the callous lust of one who abuses others to satisfy his (or her) destructive desires and the rage of those who are abused are both experiences of powerlessness. There is no power in abuse or revenge.

Continue reading

Discovering the Divine Gift and Abandonment Isolation

For many people who are experiencing rapid spiritual growth, isolation may be a necessary part of the learning curve. One reason for this is that the cellular pain comes to the surface it is hard even for those who are consciously aware not to project it to those around them.  Another reason for the isolation is that company can distract us from facing what we need to so we can move on.

Continue reading

The Power of the Moment

The other day, I was sitting at lunch with my kids as they started to discuss the Texas shooting and started to wonder why the news had moved on from this story so quickly.


My son said, “Wow, that Texas story was wild. Why aren’t more people talking about that? Isn’t it weird that it just came and went?”


I thought about that. Stories used to stop us all cold in our tracks. Now, they just seem to come and go. Moments that used to bring a collective sense of grief—a collective sense of oneness—now seem to come and go without landing.

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

Anger: Responding, Not Reacting

Anger is natural, intelligent and necessary for surviving and flourishing. Yet when we are hooked by anger, it causes great personal and collective suffering. This talk explores how to transform patterns of reactivity by bringing a mindful and compassionate attention to the unmet needs that underlie angry reactivity. When we learn how to pause and connect honestly with our inner experience, we are then able to respond to others from our full intelligence and heart.


“Getting angry with another person is like throwing hot coals with bare hands: both people get burned.”  Buddha

Continue reading

Stop Covering Your Butt!

Last Saturday when I was taking a bootcamp class at my gym, I noticed this adorable twenty-something standing next to me. Although I have seen her before, I have never talked to her. Truth is, she generally works out every morning at 6 AM, whereas I stumble in at 7 AM. I have in the past overheard some of her conversations. They generally revolve around what she is eating and her asking advice from others since she is "starving herself and not losing any more weight." Having been in that situation for a huge portion of my life, I have had tremendous empathy for her. Although part of me wanted to jump right in and save her, I could hear my three daughters (who are also in their twenties) in my head saying, "Mom, don't be scary!" So beyond complimenting her whenever I could and was appropriate, I kept my scary-self quiet.

Continue reading

Let's take a look at what happens inside a woman who has been through trauma...


If you've been following the news, a flood of women speaking out on harassment, abuse and rape are making their presence known.

And as a woman who has experienced it, I wanted to offer some thoughts on how we can move through this with grace and really make a shift.

I also wanted to give a little insight into the mental and emotional gymnastics that a woman might go through as she tries to rationalize and accept what has happened.

It's ok to no longer be ok with what you once thought was acceptable. I changed my mind, and you can too.

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

How To Stop Worrying and Have Faith

Worry is a waste of time.


It changes nothing.


Most of the things you are worrying about now, you won’t remember in a few years.


Stop focusing on the small stuff that you won’t even remember a week from now, and certainly not on your death bed.


Life gives you no refunds for the time you spent worrying.


What you focus on expands, so focus on what is truly important and meaningful to you. Decide to constantly feed what is beautiful about yourself and your life rather than what isn’t.


The quality of your life will be determined by the quality of your attention. And this is your choice.


By trying to furiously control life, you often end up controlled by it.

Continue reading

Shiva, Irma…and Faith

Shiva is the power of destruction, dissolution, or transformation in our lives. Nothing entirely new and innovative can be created without this strong, and often unsettling, force that turns the tables on the status quo, normality, and habituation. Without Shiva, our lives would be dull and uneventful—one long Groundhog Day, playing the same scene over and over again. Yet the word destruction strikes fear in our hearts; we freeze at the very thought of losing what is dear to us. Of losing everything.

Hurricanes like Irma, Maria, and Harvey embody this extreme aspect of Shiva. Monumental raging winds and rising water completely obliterate the old, often leaving thousands homeless and grieving the deaths of friends and family. In the aftermath, something new is eventually created, but loss of home and loss of life are not easily assimilated or accepted. Those affected may experience emotional trauma as well as financial burdens. These human crises break our hearts. How do we face life at times like these?

Continue reading

How does your reaction to change affect your life experience?

At this moment, you and I are living in an information age. We are living through shifts in the meta-structures of the game that are very profound. We haven’t even begun to grow into it.

Our mythology is so based on our previous ages and consciousness, that we haven’t even understood it yet. I mean, we’re just beginning the dance of understanding what it means when we have a collective unconsciousness, when we have information moving at the rate it is. We’re still getting overloaded trying to collect it. But it’s obvious – you can’t collect it.

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