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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How to Breathe in the Wake of Suicide

The beginning of October holds the anniversary of my brother’s death. He committed suicide before I turned 20, on his 25th birthday. Even after all these years, I have complicated feelings about his death. I am still learning how to breathe in the wake of a suicide, and not for the reasons you might think.

Every year I think about my brother and the role he played in my life. On his birthday this year, I received acupuncture. Could this energy work help me let go of any suppressed grief or other emotions? The session included tuning forks, sound bowls and needles. The goal was for an opening to be found somewhere in my psyche, that would help release unhealthy energy trapped in my body, and mind.

One tiny needle, called a Press Tack, was left in my wrist. It was secured under breathable tape, and would last for a couple days. This little needle would possibly help me continue processing old emotions. The tiny tack caused more discomfort than the longer needles. Was this an indication of what was to come in the near future?

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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: The Café Life

I have always loved the café life where I can sit by the endless river without leaving the river, where I can remove myself from the sweeping current but still drink from life. Known as “schools of wisdom,” the first cafés were opened in Damascus, Mecca, and Istanbul in the 15th century, places to stop before making the trek across the continent.

The English word coffee comes from the Italian word caffè, which in turn comes from the Arabic term qahwa, which originally referred to a type of wine. But after wine was banned by Islam in the seventh century, the name referred to coffee.

I wonder: Who was the first to brew and open his door? Who was the first to stop and share his story? And what was that story? Was it one of wonder or betrayal? In 1640, a coffeehouse opened in Venice. Twelve years later, Pasqua Rosee opened the first café In London in St. Michael’s Alley. By 1739, there were 551 coffeehouses in London. They were known as “penny universities.” Patrons told stories, played checkers, sketched portraits, and read poetry. Weary travelers listened and laughed before picking up their burdens.

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Is It Time to Press Your Pause Button?

Have you lost your spark or feel uninspired lately? Has the stress of your job or family drama taken all you have left? Are you becoming more pessimistic about the monotony of life, the people around you or even yourself?

This is when you need to press your Pause Button!

When you begin to lose sight of your purpose and direction, your soul will be there—nudging you with signs and signals to step back from the relentless pace of your routine and rediscover your true nature.  

I believe one of the purposes of my “Soul Inspirations” newsletter is to remind us that there will be times in our lives, even moments, when we forget that we’re a part of something greater than ourselves. We forget that we’re a Divine expression of God. This is when we need to make a conscious effort to remember who we really are at a soul level. How do we that? By hitting our Pause Button, taking a break from all the activities in our outer world and going within to connect with our souls.

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It's Time

There’s something about deep wounding that can be a pathway to deep, deep love.
It’s a very beautiful thing when the wound becomes the doorway."
—Henry Shukman

I've Been Thinking...

Dear friend,

How are you? I’d truly love to know.

How was your August? Did it go by slowly or was it way too rushed? Did you travel or stay home? Did you gather with friends or spend time alone?

Have you immersed yourself in the news of Afghanistan? Have you read the stories of the brave soldiers who gave their lives? Do you live in an area ravaged by Hurricane Ida or the fires and need support? (See below for ways to help.) Did the Texas ruling make you angry? Has the Delta variant got you isolating again? Have the ongoing vaccine and mask wars left you discouraged? (I’m happily vaccinated, and I see wearing my mask as a public service.)

However you feel at this moment, try to pace yourself and breathe. There is a lot going on in our world at large, and that’s probably true in your personal life as well. My hope is to always meet you where you are. I hope my words each Sunday help you feel seen, supported, hopeful, and less alone on your journey to what I call The Open Field.

As for me, I find myself feeling a whole range of emotions about our country and about life right now. But I am in a good place overall. I’m in a place of self-compassion, self-love, and self-acceptance.

These days, I greet myself in the mirror with words of gratitude and appreciation, not with a self-critical voice like I used to do. I’m calm, at ease, and at peace, which is huge for me. This is all despite my deep concern about Texas, the California recall, and about our country’s deep division, which I have a real desire to help heal.

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Commitment to Hope

“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without words
And never stops—at all”
—Emily Dickinson

A key component in any transformative life experience, personal or planetary, is hope. Not half-hearted or faint hope, but hope that is steadfast, sturdy, resilient, like that in Emily Dickinson’s poem. Hope within the human soul cannot be extinguished, no matter the hardship or loss. Despite the challenges of life, we humans endure because of that intangible something within us that holds us to life. Yet, there are times when hope seems shaky—as tenuous as a single candle flame wavering in a strong wind. Times such as now, when political discord, a deadly global pandemic, or personal crises erode our belief in a positive outcome. This is when hope is needed most.

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What is your choice for today?

What is your choice for today?

I woke up as I always do with the words “THANK YOU”  rolling off my tongue and flying off on the wings of joy into the universe.

I wish I could put all the enthusiasm for life I feel upon awakening into the hearts of all sentient beings. 

I know that regardless of what life is throwing at me today, I still get to choose gratitude.  My focus is my choice.  

I get to focus on what have or what I don’t have. I get to focus on sickness, or health.  Employed, or not employed.  In love, or in envy, in pain or not……. My focus is my choice.

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Leaving Well

“Today is the day you rid yourself of anything that distracts from your best life."  
—Joshua Becker



I've Been Thinking...

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about leaving. I don’t mean leaving on vacation (although I am looking forward to my annual August break). I’ve actually been thinking more deeply and broadly about the different ways we all leave a piece of ourselves behind each and every day. 

We leave jobs or careers that no longer bring us joy. We leave relationships that don’t work for us anymore. We leave religious or political affiliations that no longer stand for what we believe. This week, under President Biden’s direction, the U.S. announced plans to leave Afghanistan. Former President Bush said it was a mistake, but Biden said it was the right move. Meanwhile, Texas legislators dramatically up and left the state capitol while the legislature was in session to protest voting rights suppression.

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Embrace the Challenging Conditions that Change You

Do you feel like you can’t embrace anything these days? You go to the store and encounter a scowling face. You hear some bad news, or you get a call, and you have a terrible reaction. You don’t want to embrace it. You want to erase it! How many of you wish you had a giant eraser? And isn’t that what we’ve been trying to do most of our lives when things go wrong?

Wouldn’t it be nice to live from something that, at any moment, never feels like whatever it’s looking at is too much for it to embrace?

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How To Make Peace In Your Life

The balance of peace in the world can seem overwhelming, as if huge forces outside our control are in charge. But you can take a different perspective, setting yourself the goal of creating peace all around you. The source of violence, war, discontent, rebellion, and unrest lies inside each of us. When you become a unit of peace consciousness, exemplifying the quality known as Ahimsa (harmlessness) in Yoga, you have added in a unique way to bringing the world to a state of peace.

In the coming week, you can develop your peace consciousness by focusing on a different habit every day.

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Dear America

"We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it."
—William Faulkner

I've Been Thinking...

Happy Fourth of July, dear America! It’s your birthday! Happy, happy birthday to you!

Lucky are those of us who live within your shores and get to call you home. You get another turn around the sun, and I, for one, am grateful you are still here and still standing.

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Be the Creator of Your Own Happiness

In every human being is a limitless reservoir of power which can overcome anything in the world. Tapping into this is the true essence of the human experience. 

CLEAR REALIZATION
The day you realize that you can overcome any weakness, you are the winner. You should accept that your subconscious can solve all your problems,  heal your body, and prosper you in every way. 

LEARN TO TRUST
Trusting the power and wisdom of your subconscious mind is essential. By living in this fashion you are creating a superstructure for happiness. Since happiness is the ultimate and only goal of the individual, focusing on it completely is extremely imperative. 

CHOOSE HAPPINESS
When you wake up in the morning,  it is essential for you to repeat to yourself "Divine order takes charge of life and things are working for your good, Divine Love enfolds me and I move forward in peace" 
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Manifesting Your Best Summer Ever

After the more than a year of lockdown and the global nightmare we’ve all experienced, it’s time we dive into a summer of fun and celebration.

You deserve it.

Your family deserves it.

And, like all successful manifesting, we must begin with a clear vision of what our heart’s desire is.

Begin by thinking about all the things that represent summer to you: Activities, Food, Special events, things to see and do.

Since we don’t have any major vacations to Tuscany or Bali planned,

I desire my Summer 2021 to be a daily celebration of love, life, and lots of fun and I’m declaring that my Summer begins TODAY.

In no particular order, here’s what is on my list:

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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: View at Seventy

I’m standing on a bridge

near the top of a mountain,

looking back at the winding

path that took years to climb.

And there, below, the chasm

I thought I’d never cross, so

much more beautiful on this

side of the rise. And in the

vastness that seemed like

heaven on the way up, all

those I’ve loved and lost.

And in that pocket of fog

that seemed like hell when

I was in it, the truth in all

things I sighted on the way

that kept me going. I could

lean on this bridge forever

but for the view the next

step will bring.

A Question to Walk With:  Describe a passage in your life and how it looked before you experienced it and how it looks to you now on the other side. 

This excerpt is from my book of poems, The Tone in the Center of the Bell.


Remain Vigilant for Love and Life with Divine Guideposts

Most of the people in our Humanity’s Team community would probably say that they’re very familiar with practices of gratitude and appreciation and that a commitment to these practices is foundational to their conscious journey. I would say it’s true for me.

And as I’m guessing it is the same for you, I wake up in gratitude every morning. I bring that deep sense of gladness into the day, intentionally tapping into the feelings of awe, wonder, and appreciation. 

I notice the glorious sunlight shining upon the spiderweb just below the gutter when I let Sadie out for a quick run around the house. I hear the melodic sounds of birds singing in the neighborhood trees and bushes as I sip on my coffee. 

I feel the connection with all of life. It is my communion with the Divine.

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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: Inside the Pandemic

Now that we can’t touch, I am awash

with all the ways that touch sustains us:

like an electricity from one heart to another

or the ancient rush of water down a falls into

the basin of a village. I’m thinking of how you

wiped my brow in the hospital and the time

you stroked a fallen bird, its beak aquiver,

and the time your mother held your face,

saying, “I saw how loving you are the day

you were born.” Or the moment I caught

a stranger in the parking lot as her groceries

splattered, her cart wobbling away. Earlier,

it was Grandma hoisting me to my feet in

her Brooklyn alley and the hands of my

father guiding mine as he taught me to

use a chisel. Now I’m seeing Whitman

as a medic in the Civil War wrapping a

bandage around a corporal’s chest. And

now I close my eyes to send my touch

like a Shaman across the dreamscape,

hoping it will reach you.

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The One Karmic Lesson We All Face On the Road To A More Peaceful Life

This week I had an experience that made me think about my triggers and personal life story.  I believe that ultimately we all face one karmic lesson, that if mastered, helps us live a peaceful life.

I was out on the trails with my very energetic pup.  It was early morning and cloudy.  We almost had the entire preserve to ourselves.  My companion lets me know when bobcats, bunnies, or other wildlife are near.   On this particular morning we heard some coyotes off in the distance.  My dog paused and looked in the direction of his cousin’s song.

After the howls and yipping, our world returned to calm.

Before long, the tranquility was shattered by a very large, off leash dog baying loudly as it chased a coyote across the desert floor.   The coyote was running for it’s life.

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50 Things I’ve Learned in My 50 Years of Life

Life passes by slow and fast. We have both good and bad times. Happy and sad experiences. We walk through life and experience joy and loss, as well as happiness and death. There is contrast through it all. As I arrive at my 50th time around the sun, I took the time to sit with SOME of what I have learned. These are in no particular order and are certainly not all I have learned. I am sure I have forgotten some BIGGIES, but it’s a good start; and more importantly, on my birthday day, it is a good reminder to me of this amazing life I have been blessed to experience and all that I have journeyed through … on both sides of the contrast.

Enjoy ~ Sunny Dawn Johnston

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Poignancy and Gratitude

When you are in your teens and 20s, life seems to extend into the future like an endless expanse of potential experiences. You can’t imagine not having the opportunity to visit places you love again or see friends and family regularly. As you grow older and encounter both loss and change, life takes on a quality of uncertainty, sweetness tinged with sorrow. A favorite uncle or a parent dies, friends move away, you yourself may move multiple times. The tapestry of life is always shifting, and we too shift with the changes. At a certain point, you may realize that the years ahead are possibly fewer than those behind. It may awaken a deep sense of appreciation for every moment you are given. This is how our lives teach us gratitude. Yet now, at this time on the planet, that lesson is coming up in unexpected ways.

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The Gift of Failure

When things don’t go according to plan or work out how you intended, it can be a huge disappointment and let down, especially when you have invested so much time, energy, and money.

It’s easy to judge yourself as a failure and beat yourself up harshly. But this serves nothing.

When you try so hard and your dreams don’t happen, it’s easy to question yourself and even want to give up on the dream itself.

But what if there was no such thing as “failure”? 

Consider that every experience is feedback to you from the universe and every moment is an opportunity to learn something more about yourself.

Failure is simply an interpretation of reality based on your current level of consciousness.

So – What if things not working out were really a gift from the universe designed to take you deeper into yourself, forcing you to question, reflect, and let go of anything not in alignment with your highest?

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A Year of Turmoil and Transformation

One year ago, we went into lockdown.

Covid -19. The Corona virus. A global pandemic. Holy shit!

They said lockdown would probably only last three to four weeks, possibly six.

We were told to wash our hands, wear a mask, social distance so we could “flatten the curve.”

What happened next doesn’t need to be repeated here.

We’ve all been through our own personal trauma.

For the first few months the loss of freedom to come and go and do as I please, including making future plans, had me cycling through the five stages of grief at a rapid pace.

Although I felt physically “bulletproof,” I worried about getting and passing along the virus to my husband or mother, both with underlying conditions.

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30 Simple Ways to Create Balance and Connection

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