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11 Jun

What’s Your Purpose? Much More Than Your Job

The Mayan Calendar comes to a close, and many predict the end of times. But I see that 2012 is a year that promises change, new beginnings, a shift in thinking. We are moving away from the information age, and moving towards an inspiration age. And as we are transitioning our behaviors from those of consumers to those of citizens, we are looking at what is really important in our lives and asking ourselves big questions — such as: What is my purpose in life?

“Dharma” is a Sanskrit word meaning “purpose.” Dharma actually has 16 different translations, one of which means teachings, or lessons. This seems appropriate because in many ways, our life’s purpose is our lesson, and vice-versa. We each come to feel at some point in our lives that there is something important for us to do, or learn, or experience. We understand that there has to be something more than just living day to day. Another meaning of dharma is truth. As we grow in awareness, we seek to know truth, that deeper meaning to life, and what it is all about. We seek our dharma, to fulfill our purpose, to somehow have our lives make sense in the context of everything that is going on in the world.

When we talk about “purpose” it is clear that we each have our individual purpose — a reason why we’re here on this planet in this specific place and time — and that’s up to each of us to figure out for ourselves. Our purpose is more than our vocation. We can experience our purpose in everything we do, and everywhere we go.

In the west, we think of yoga primarily as a form of exercise. Although physical postures make up one branch of this philosophy, yoga in general is so much more. The Sanskrit word “yoga” means to yoke, or to unite. The purpose of yoga is to experience the connection we have with the divine. In Vedanta there are four different yogas, or spiritual practices, to help us to accomplish this feeling of connection. The yogas can be practiced individually or in combination, as each one balances and strengthens the others. Each one is a kind of path to discovering our divinity. We can map out our own course using our particular interests and strengths, based on the direction that Vedanta provides us.

The four yoga paths could be thought of as bridges, bringing us from a limited understanding of who we think we are, to the greater understanding of who we really are. These paths help us to be aware of and express our purpose, our dharma, through love, work, knowledge and meditation. Yes, we can, and do, learn through each of these paths. However our personalities will guide us more toward one path or another, so that we can focus our attention and use the strengths we have to understand these spiritual concepts in a way that makes sense to us.

Bhakti Yoga is the path of love and devotion. Bhakti is the love of all creation. It is about loving what is, without expectation. Through our relationships with people we can experience a greater awareness. There is a power, a positive energy that comes with love, that we can utilize for our spiritual growth. Vedanta explains that our love for others is unselfish and without motive when we can see the spirit within them. It is this spirit whom we truly love. So we can learn to look beyond the limiting qualities of the human to the transcendent qualities of the divine, and fully experience love heart to heart. Love is available to all of us, and it is an irresistible force! We spend our time, and emotions, developing a kind of bond with a person. Our energy goes into these connections, along with our emotions, our hopes and our human vulnerabilities. With Bhakti Yoga, we learn through our relationships, and through our primary relationship, which is with ourselves.

Karma Yoga is the path of work, or the path of service. This is work without attachment to the end result. Rather than working for a paycheck, it is performing the work we do as a spiritual offering. Karma Yoga teaches us that working merely for money, or promotions, or praise, leads us to disappointment, because we can never meet all of our expectations; it is never “enough.” However, working as a service to ourselves and to others allows us to experience spirit in everything we do. We are connected to our work, and the actions become effortless. We feel that God is working through us, and this gives us both energy and peace of mind. We learn to love what we do.

Jnana Yoga is the path of knowledge. This is knowledge in the higher sense, knowing who we are, and being aware of our relationship, our connection, with God. Knowing is different than believing, it uses reasoning to help us shed the veil of illusion. Vedanta gives us tools to achieve this through affirmations that help to remind us of what is real, and to see the truth. Jnana Yoga teaches to become more discerning, recognizing the difference between what is temporary and what is eternal, so that we understand that we are pure, perfect and free.

We are all students, and we are all teachers. Our learning never ends. It is through this process of learning that we grow both intellectually and spiritually. We come to understand that the only thing we really take with us from this life experience is the wisdom that we garner. We learn to love what we learn and also the process of learning itself.

Raja Yoga is the path of meditation. By stilling the mind through meditation, we can experience more of our true selves. Raja Yoga explains that we need to settle down the mind, which is constantly stirred up with thoughts just as a lake is muddied through activity. When the lake settles down, the water becomes crystal clear, and so it is with our mind. This tranquil state of mind lets us think more clearly, and to see what is important in life. Through meditation we have direct experience of our connection with God. And Vedanta teaches us that we can integrate this experience into all aspects of our life. We don’t have to live in an ashram or renounce our worldly belongings. Our spiritual self is our true self and we can operate in society more effectively and efficiently when we understand this. We learn to love who we are.

There is wisdom to be gained from each of these paths. They all end up taking us to the same place, to the recognition of our union with the divine, to the discovery of our dharma, our purpose. The paths work in harmony with one another. We find that there are aspects of each path that we relate to. Yet quite often one of these paths will resonate with particular individuals more than the others. One will seem to offer a more clear direction, a more personal journey. All paths lead to the same destination. In Vedanta that destination is said to be an awareness of our union with the divine. We can see this as a deeper understanding of ourselves, and a greater wisdom that comes from experiencing our purpose. We learn to enjoy our lives, and embrace our dharma.

Take the quiz to determine your dharma, or purpose in life: What’s Your Dharma?

For more by Lissa Coffey, click here.

For more on yoga, click here.

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07 May

Living a Balanced, Beautiful Life With Ayurveda

Imagine you’re outside by a beautiful lake, enjoying the perfection of your surroundings. You feel comfortable, relaxed, as if you are an important part of it all. You are so in tune that it is as if you can hear nature speaking to you.

You see a swan glide past, and the swan is thinking to itself, “How wonderful it is to be a swan. I can take my time. Life is serene. I am graceful and lovely. All is right with the world.”

And then you notice an eagle flying high overhead, and the eagle is thinking, “Ah, what a joy it is to be an eagle. I am strong and free. This is the life!”

A hummingbird flits past, and you can hear the hummingbird is thinking, “I’m having so much fun on this glorious day. There’s so much to see and do. I’m so glad I’m a hummingbird and can move easily to all the things I love.”

Everything in nature has a purpose. We’re all connected. Sitting amongst the trees and looking at the clear blue sky you know that you are an important part of this connection. You breathe deeply and feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude and peace.

Now, imagine you’re in that same place, same time. When you hear nature speaking to you, things are a bit different.

You see a swan glide past, and the swan thinks to itself, “Oh, my. Why am I stuck being a swan? I would so much rather be like that little hummingbird. I want to flit around like that! I feel so dumpy just floating here on this silly lake.”

Then the eagle flies overhead, and you read its thoughts, “Wow. Look at that swan down there. He’s got the good life. Why can’t I just hang out on the lake? Instead I’m up here working so hard. This isn’t fair. I’d rather be a swan.”

Then the hummingbird flits by and thinks, “Really? That eagle is so lucky. She’s way up there with a great vantage point. She can go so far without even flapping her wings. I’m down here pumping away a million beats a minute! Man, I want to be an eagle.”

Somehow, this second scenario just doesn’t make sense, does it? Because this is not how nature operates! And yet, this is exactly what we do as human beings all the time. We fight our own nature. We compare ourselves to one another. We think we need to always be thinner, more beautiful, more successful, more something, anything! When the truth is that we are inherently perfect. If we are carrying around excess weight or stress or feeling bad about ourselves, it is because we are out of balance, our lives are out of balance in one way or another. We can find that perfect state of balance and regain our strength and confidence and energy to be the best that we can be.

The most important thing we can do for ourselves, to be our healthiest and happiest body, mind and spirit, is to know who we are. Some of us are swans, some of us are eagles and some of us are hummingbirds. Each being is valid, each being has value and each being brings his or her unique gifts to the world. When we know ourselves, and our own nature, we allow the best of ourselves to shine through. Nature operates through us. So why are we fighting it?

Ayurveda is the 5,000 year old “science of life” from India. It explains the nature of everything in the universe. It teaches us how to live in harmony with nature, knowing the connections that we share. Ayurveda is all about balance, and this is something we are in dire need of today.

There are a lot of things that take us away from our state of balance. We are overstressed and overworked. We overeat and are overweight. We overexert ourselves and overspend so that we end up tired, hungry, in debt and living in a mess. Look at all the extra “stuff” we carry around with us. We need to lighten up! We need to shed the stress, the pounds, the debt and the distractions and focus on what is good for us, what serves us. Food is a huge part of all this. We use food to soothe our emotions and to fill up our tummies when we feel a lack in some part of our lives. We fall into habits, with food and otherwise, that we think are easy, and they become mindless and robotic so that we don’t see any other possibilities or potential for ourselves.

It’s time to get back to nature, to get back to basics, to get back into balance. And what better way than by turning to a practice that has been tried and true for all these centuries? Ayurveda is a “sister science” with yoga and meditation. As we experience the benefits of these practices in our lives we naturally want to learn more — and that’s where Ayurveda is positioned right now.

Twenty years ago or so here in the West, feng shui was a somewhat foreign concept — but now it’s a part of our everyday vernacular. If you haven’t heard of Ayurveda yet — now you have! And if you haven’t lived the Ayurveda lifestyle yet, I encourage you to try it now.

Lots more info in my new book: “The Perfect Balance Diet: 4 Weeks to a Lighter Body, Mind, Spirit & Space” and on my new website: perfectbalancediet.com

For more by Lissa Coffey, click here.

For more on mindfulness, click here.

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08 Apr

How We Can Help the Homeless

Getty Images/Flickr RF

Sometimes a day starts out like any other — and then something happens that stops you in your tracks. I had one of those days last week. Totally unexpected, and it left me changed. Here’s what happened:

After some meetings, I stopped by my local grocery store to pick up some food for dinner. This is something I’ve done hundreds of times. I’m so familiar with the layout, the people, I can buzz through and get what I need almost without thinking about it. I entered, turned the corner towards the produce department and came face to face with a woman. This woman was clearly out of place in this upscale market — on a hot summer day she was wearing a sweater and a coat, a knit hat, and sandals. Her clothes were dirty, and she was carrying several plastic bags. Our eyes met and I gave her a big smile. She smiled back, and to my surprise she said: “Lissa!” I turned back and she took a step towards me. “You’re Lissa, right?”

I did not recognize her at all. I asked her we knew each other and I never got a clear answer. She talked and talked, about various things, but nothing that helped me to figure out who she was. Although she didn’t say so, I could tell she was homeless. She hadn’t had a shower in a long time, and she acted a bit confused and scattered. It seemed that she needed a friend, and my heart went out to her. I tried to give her some money, but she refused — and after some time I told her I needed to go, but that I would feel better knowing she had some money. I tucked a twenty-dollar bill in her hand and she didn’t seem to notice. After following me through the store for a bit, she was gone.

On the drive home I kept going over the conversation in my head, trying to figure out if I knew this woman. She was about my age, and she could have been a mom at my kids’ school when they were little. She could have gone to my church. She could have been a neighbor at one time — after all, she was in my neighborhood. Although I showed her kindness and respect, I questioned what I could have done differently, how I might have been able to help her.

At my next stop I called Social Services to get some advice, and see if there was anything that they could do to help her. They basically told me that if this woman wanted their help that she would need to call, that there was nothing that they could do unless she reached out to them herself.

So I went home. And sent up a prayer of thanks that I had a home to go to. Whenever I count my blessings, or write down gratitudes, I include my home among the top of my list. Now I felt a new sense of deep compassion for those without a home. I wanted to help but didn’t know how. But I knew that somehow the answer would come. And it did.

The next morning as I was going through my email I followed a link that led me to a video someone posted explaining how he found a way to help the homeless by distributing backpacks. This guy and his friend filled backpacks with basic necessities: toothpaste, shampoo, a towel, socks, some food, and gave them to homeless people in their community. The video showed how much these backpacks were appreciated, and the recipients expressed how much this kindness meant to them.

I did a bit of research online and found that several others have done this same thing. They shared their stories, and ideas of what to put in the backpacks. Now I had my answer – now I had something tangible to do to help this woman, who saw herself as my friend, and for whom I had so much compassion.

I assembled my own list of items and headed out to the Goodwill store. One of the articles I read said that people who are homeless prefer backpacks that are a bit worn over brand new ones because new ones tend to get stolen. I bought several gently used backpacks and loaded up on scarves, hats and hoodies. Nothing that I bought was more than $5. Most items were around $2.

Then I went to the 99 Cent Store. My goal was to get 10 of each item on the list to fill 10 backpacks. This is what I ended up packing in each backpack:

BACKPACK BASICS

• A bar of soap
• Shampoo
• Comb/hairbrush
• Toothbrush and toothpaste
• Body/hand lotion
• Flashlight with batteries
• Socks
• Medium sized terrycloth towel
• Protein bar
• Box of raisins
• Jar of peanut butter and plastic spoon
• Bottle of water
• Toilet paper
• Notebook and pen

At the 99 Cent Store I was able to get everything really cheap — and these are full-sized bottles of shampoo and lotion! Then in each backpack I put a warm scarf, hat, hoodie or blanket that I got at the Goodwill. All in all it cost less than $16 per backpack. I put some of the smaller items in a zippered plastic bag. Other items that I would like to put in the backpacks as I find them or get them donated include: a manicure set, gift cards to grocery stores or restaurants like Subway, and bus tokens. These are small and could definitely fit in with everything else.

Basically I sorted everything out and went down an assembly line to fill up the backpacks. From beginning to end the whole process took less than half a day, including the shopping, and I ended up with 10 filled backpacks.

My plan is to keep some backpacks in my car, so that when I see someone who is homeless I can offer them one. I also went online to find out what resources are available to people who are homeless in our area and found a great place that both helps to prevent homelessness, and helps people who are homeless to get back on their feet with jobs and housing. I will be working with them to help distribute the backpacks to those most in need, and to help them in their efforts to keep their pantries stocked.

I have learned a lot from this experience and would like to share this information with you. Rather than giving money to panhandlers, support solutions by giving to organizations that are working to help the homeless on a daily basis. For every person that is visibly homeless, there are many more that are at risk of becoming homeless, or have been homeless at some point throughout the year. Preventing homelessness is cost-effective as well as morally compelling. It costs far less to prevent homelessness than to help a family that has already become homeless. Here are some additional ways we can all help:

• Find a local non-profit organization that serves the homeless and make a donation of money or items such non-perishable foods and hygiene products, or blankets, hats and socks. Bus passes are also appreciated so that people can get to job interviews, healthcare appointments and dinner sites.
• Share your strengths. You can give of your time and talents – organizations can help match your strengths with the needs in your community. There are many places that will welcome you as a volunteer.
• Conduct food drives for local food banks.
• Spread the word. Provide learning opportunities at your workplace or club to help others understand the most effective ways to assist the homeless and those at risk of homelessness, and to dispel misconceptions about homelessness.

We all share a home on this planet. We are all connected, and we’re here to help each other learn and grow. When one of us suffers, it affects each and every one of us in some way. I encourage you to do what you can to help those who are struggling with homelessness in your own area.

Making backpacks is one actionable step we can take. Reaching out to an organization that is already helping the homeless is another. You don’t have to do much. But I think we each have to do something if we really want things to change for the better for all of us.

I made a video that explains more about how to make the backpacks and distribute them, and to find resources in your area. You can see it here:
http://youtu.be/W5VPF-XTQ6Q

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26 Feb

The Seven Attitudes of Mindfulness: An excerpt from Turbo Metabolism

Guest post by Pankaj Vij, MD, FACP

As the modern Western lifestyle spreads around the globe, so too does metabolic syndrome — a cluster of symptoms that increases the risk of developing heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other conditions. The good news: metabolic syndrome can be tamed by a sensible program of exercise, natural foods, stress management, and quality sleep. In his new book Turbo Metabolism, Dr. Vij distills a mass of medical research into a simple, effective program for vibrant health. Avoiding fads and gimmicks, he provides practical advice, case studies of ordinary people, and brief sections that debunk common medical myths. We hope you’ll enjoy this short excerpt from the book.

 

# # #

 

Managing stress requires being mindful about the here and now. The barrage of stimuli we endure every day from all our electronic gadgets is the antithesis of mindfulness. Technology is constantly distracting us with stimuli from outside our current time and place.

 

The next time you are walking in a park on a spectacular sunny day, note how many people are staring at their electronic devices, sending or receiving messages or checking social media, when they could be enjoying the present time and place. Our modern-day addiction to devices that are supposedly “connecting us” is actually taking us to a place other than the here and now. Why are we so afraid to observe our own thoughts that we constantly need to fill our mind-space with busywork?

 

The Seven Attitudes of Mindfulness

Here are seven attitudes that define or contribute to mindfulness: nonjudgment, patience, beginner’s mind, trust, nonstriving, acceptance, and letting go.

 

Nonjudgment: Take the stance of an impartial witness to your own experience as it happens. This is the ideal “witness state” of a human being. Notice the stream of thoughts and judgments: “This thought is good/bad/neutral.” Become aware without trying to stop the flow. The mind is constantly judging situations and people, but mindfulness means seeing things as they are without adding judgment.

 

Patience: Let things unfold in their own time, and practice patience with yourself. A child may try to help a butterfly emerge by breaking open a chrysalis, but this will likely harm or kill the butterfly. Why rush through some moments in order to get to other, “better” ones? Your life is what you experience in each moment. No particular experience is better or worse than another; only our judgments label them as such. Be completely open to each moment, accepting its fullness, knowing that, like the butterfly, things will emerge in their own time.

 

Beginner’s mind: Too often we let our thinking and our beliefs about what we “know” stop us from seeing things as they really are. Cultivate a willingness to see everything as if for the first time. Be receptive to new possibilities. Don’t get stuck in a rut of your own expertise. Recognize that each moment is unique and contains unique possibilities.

 

Try cultivating a beginner’s mind with someone you know: Ask yourself if you are seeing this person with fresh eyes, as he or she really is. Ask yourself the same question with your problems, with the sky, with your dog, with the clerk in the corner shop.

 

Trust: Develop a basic trust in yourself and your feelings. Trust in your own authority and intuition, even if you make some “mistakes” along the way. Honor your feelings. Take responsibility for yourself and your own well-being.

 

Nonstriving: Practicing mindfulness means seeking no goal other than being who you already are. Pay attention to how you are right now, whatever that is. Just watch. The best way to achieve your own goals is to back off from striving and instead focus on carefully seeing and accepting things as they are, moment by moment. With patience and regular practice, movement toward your goal will happen by itself.

 

Acceptance: See things as they actually are in the present. If you have a headache, accept that you have a headache. We often waste a lot of time and energy denying what is fact. We try to force situations into how we would like them to be. This creates more tension and prevents positive change from occurring. Now is the only time we have for anything. You have to accept yourself as you are before you can really change.

 

Acceptance is not passive; it does not mean you have to like everything about yourself and abandon your principles and values. It does not mean that you should stop trying to break free of your own self-destructive habits or give up your desire to change and grow. Acceptance is a willingness to see things as they are. You are much more likely to know what to do and have an inner conviction to act when you have a clear picture of what is actually happening.

 

Letting go: Letting go is a way of letting things be, of accepting things as they are. Let things go and just watch. If you find it particularly difficult to let go of something because it has such a strong hold on your mind, you can direct your attention to what “holding on” feels like. Holding on is the opposite of letting go. Looking at the ways we hold on will show a lot about its opposite. You already know how to let go. Every night when we allow ourselves to fall asleep, we let go.

 

 

# # #

 

Pankaj Vij, MD, FACP, is the author of Turbo Metabolism. As a doctor of internal medicine, he has helped thousands of patients lose weight, manage chronic health conditions, and improve their physical fitness. Visit him online at http://www.doctorvij.com.

 

 

Excerpted from the book Turbo Metabolism. Copyright ©2018 by Pankaj Vij, MD. Printed with permission from New World Library — www.newworldlibrary.com.

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27 Oct

The Magic of Vibration: 20 High-Frequency Acts and Mindsets to Change Your Life for the Better (and 20 Others to Avoid)

When negative thoughts and actions lead your life, bad health (and bad news!) follow close behind. The good news is you can avoid behaviors, attitudes, and circumstances that lower your vibration and embrace others that raise it. Stephen Sinatra, MD, FACC, and near-death-experience survivor Tommy Rosa explain how.

          New York, NY (October 2017)—When you’re stuck in negativity, nothing in life seems to work. Try as you might, you can’t seem to change the factors that are holding you back from what you really want. Over time, you get depressed and listless…maybe even sick. It doesn’t have to be this way. If you want to improve your health and well-being (not to mention your love life, finances, career, and more!), you’ve got to start vibrating on a higher level.

High vibrations are the key to bringing positive change and wellness into reality, say integrative cardiologist Stephen Sinatra and Tommy Rosa, a plumber-turned-spiritual-counselor whose near-death experience (NDE) left him with some divine insights on the subject.

“Everything in the human body, every cell, organ, system, thought, and even every emotion, vibrates to its own natural rhythm,” says Mr. Rosa, coauthor of Health Revelations from Heaven: 8 Divine Teachings from a Near-Death Experience (Rodale Books, 2017, ISBN: 978-1-635-65066-2, $14.99). “When our energy vibrates at a high level, we attract better health and improved life circumstances. When it vibrates at a low level, the opposite happens: Pathogens and toxins are more likely to enter the body and make us sick. Not only that, but low vibrations also attract other negative experiences and prevent us from thriving.”

During Mr. Rosa’s NDE, he visited Heaven, and there, eight revelations of good health were imprinted on his psyche. These revelations dovetailed with the knowledge that Dr. Sinatra had gained throughout his studies of scientifically and medically validated clinical research, as well as his own experiences as a cardiologist. One of their most powerful insights? Our positive or negative thoughts influence the circumstances of our lives, including our health and our happiness. And of course our thoughts are supported and generated by the actions we take.

The good news? You can change your life, often in dramatic ways. It starts with a simple choice to cultivate a positive outlook and reap the higher vibrations it brings. Keep reading for a list of high-vibration actions to embrace, followed by a list of low-vibration ones to avoid.

Things That Raise Your Vibration

· Having faith
· Loving yourself and others
· Forgiving yourself and others
· Gratitude
· Creating biological and spiritual family connections and building romantic relationships
· Letting go of anger, fear, ego, grief, and selfishness
· Spending time with children and animals
· Praying and/or meditating
· Mind/body interactions like tai chi, qigong, and yoga
· Positive thinking
· Volunteering
· Not using illegal drugs and limiting alcohol intake
· Pursuing a favorite hobby
· Listening to music
· Being flexible and fluid
· Drinking clean water with minerals, preferably out of glass containers
· Eating a clean, non-GMO, organic foods-based, non-inflammatory diet
· Detoxifying your body and surrounding environment
· “Grounding” by walking barefoot on sand, grass, or even concrete as often as possible
· Taking targeted nutritional supplements that support Vital Force energy

Things That Lower Your Vibration

· Telling a lie (or knowingly not telling the truth)
· Thinking negatively, pessimistically
· Lacking love
· Remaining isolated and being lonely
· Lacking faith
· Having aggressive behavior
· Being selfish
· Staying angry
· Lacking a purpose
· Unresolved grief or sadness
· Not forgiving self or others
· Envy
· Greed
· Laziness
· Lacking activity and physical movement
· Drug use
· Drinking alcohol
· Eating GMO (genetically modified organism) foods
· Consuming excess sugars
· Overexposing yourself to the chaotic, unseen frequencies of cordless and cellular phones, Bluetooth monitors, cell phone towers, computers, and other wireless technologies that create the invisible toxicity surrounding the Earth

Whether you are seeking health, wealth, or happiness, keep in mind the state of your thoughts and actions and the vibrations they create. Once you begin observing how your actions and general outlook affect your life, it becomes easier to drop negativity for good.

“Remember that negative thoughts are toxic to the body and that whatever you dwell on most expands,” says Dr. Sinatra. “So talk back to your negative thoughts and avoid actions that will lower your vibration and attract more illness and struggle. Instead, dwell on the good in your life, as well as what you want from life. When you do this, goodness expands, you raise your vibrations, and your desires will manifest themselves. It’s not magic, but the transformation it can bring about is magical.”

# # #

About the Authors:
Dr. Stephen Sinatra and Tommy Rosa are coauthors of Health Revelations from Heaven.

Stephen T. Sinatra, MD, FACC, is a cardiologist and psychotherapist with 40 years of clinical experience treating heart disease. He is the host of HeartMDInstitute.com and the creator of Vervana Marketplace (vervana.com), which offers wholesome, high-quality products from all over the world. He lives in St. Petersburg, FL.

Tommy Rosa is a spiritual counselor who helps people conquer their fear of death. He is also the founder of the Unicorn Foundation in Stuart, Florida, a nonprofit foundation dedicated to educational endeavors and community outreach projects. He lives in Stuart, FL.

About the Book: 
Health Revelations from Heaven: 8 Divine Teachings from a Near-Death Experience(Rodale Books, 2017, ISBN: 978-1-635-65066-2, $14.99) is available from major online booksellers. For more information, please visit www.healthrevelationsbook.com.

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13 Oct

The Power of Choice

By Ilona Selke

 

At dinner one night in Ubud, an artist town in Bali, it turned out that the person sitting next to me had worked in the early years with Harry Palmer of Avatar to help “put him on the map.” He was older now, and had accumulated a sizable amount of wisdom, which was shining through his eyes.

 

I couldn’t help but ask, “What is the quintessence of your life’s studies? If you were to put it into one sentence, what would it be?” He liked my questions, so he was kind enough to answer. He said, “It is our ability to choose! It is the power of choice!”

 

He explained that, at any moment, we can stand back and choose which way we wish to respond, or feel, or focus on what we really want. Something tingled in me. A good cosmic coincidence arrangement was going on here!

 

The power of choice.

He hit the nail on the head! In fact, that was the name of the magical personal growth course developed by Dr. Rod Newton, for which I had been invited to take over international marketing. We’ve been teaching the course worldwide since 1990, calling it the Living From Vision (LFV) course. Many graduates from LFV have told us the same thing: the training to choose and to refocus their vision amidst adversity has helped them realize that we live in a dreaming universe.

 

I am reminded of one graduate in particular who had studied under a couple of Indian gurus with intense fervor before he began studying Living From Vision. He told me that one of the most valuable life tools he had ever received was the STOP-LOOK-CHOOSE method LFV teaches. Here’s how it works.

 

When you find yourself in any situation you don’t agree with…

  1. Step Back: In your mind, transport yourself to a serene, peaceful place such as a beautiful beach. Really see yourself there and allow all anxiety to leave your body until you feel completely at ease.
  1. Take a Look: Observe the problem area while remaining completely outside of it in this peaceful place. As you begin to get an overview of the situation, you feel even more relaxed.
  1. Define Your Goal: Take the position of being the director of your life’s film. Refocus on what you really want. Describe your goal clearly.
  1. Imagine and Feel Your Success: Allow yourself to feel exactly what it is you really want as if it has already happened. Use all of your senses and imagine yourself experiencing the sensations that go along with your goal. Hold the vision of your success until you can feel it with 100% certainty all the way to your core.
  1. Let Go: Let go and let the universe rearrange itself for the highest good of all concerned.

 

This technique allows you to actually step out of the “movie,” the drama, the story. As you make space for a new awareness to come in, you realize that this movie unfolding around you is affected by (yet separate from) the light that brings the scene to life. From there, you can refocus on what you really want, make a choice, then re-enter your life movie. The changes will be noticeable. I love to practice this over and over when faced with anything that is less than beautiful.

 

When you are able to pull out of a negative or less-than-satisfying situation, you exercise a very important aspect of your being. By becoming aware, we take one of the most important steps in our spiritual evolution. First and foremost, you are the essence of awareness itself. Outer reality is secondary to that awareness; it responds to that awareness. You have the power to change your inner movie script. Once you have mastered stopping the movie and stepping out, it will become easier and easier to choose in your mind, heart, and soul what you really want.

 

Practice daily how to focus on what you want and manifest it. (This free app can help.) In doing so, you will unify the left and right hemispheres of your brain and begin to access higher levels of consciousness. Merging the two halves of our brain results in a singularity from which we can co-create a new reality.

 

Refocus. Imagine a better outcome. Then reassemble a new reality. The secret ingredient that is vital to your success is embodying the feeling of your ideal outcome as though it has already happened. As always, “practice makes perfect.” Awareness can accomplish miracles. It is the hidden power of the unseen universe. It is what quantum physics is trying to describe.

 

In the beginning of any practice, start with small goals.  With time, practice, and in cases of true need, you will learn to shift larger aspects of your life to express more harmony, more beauty, and more fulfillment. Much like yogis are able to create miraculous manifestations, healings, etc., you can co-create an ever more beautiful reality simply by using focus and the power of choice.

 

251-ilona-selke-in-white-jacket-bctfeAbout the Author: Ilona Selke is an international bestselling author, seminar leader, lecturer, musician and CEO/cofounder of Living from Vision. Over 30+ years, Ilona has inspired thousands of people worldwide to discover the power of their consciousness and create a successful life. Her new book “Dream Big: The Universe Is Listening” offers real-life stories of transformation as well as practical tips anyone can use to shapeshift their lives from the inside out. For more information, visit www.IlonaSelke.com and www.LivingFromVision.com.

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30 Jun

Your Heart: The Gift of Inspiration

An excerpt from Reclaiming Your Body by Suzanne Scurlock-Durana

While the English language frequently refers to what our bodies know — “gut feelings,” hearts “reaching out” to others, etc. — many of us have learned to ignore, deny, or even mistrust our body’s inherent wisdom. Even worse, a lot of people don’t like their bodies very much at all.

 

As a result, we often cut ourselves off from one of our greatest allies. In Reclaiming Your Body: Healing from Trauma and Awakening to Your Body’s, author Suzanne Scurlock-Durana provides the tools and guidance necessary to reconnect with our body’s inner guidance system of sensation, imagery, and inner knowing. Her book includes chapters for each main “wisdom area” of the body — the heart, gut, pelvis, legs and feet, bones, and brain — and explores each area’s unique roles in the process of developing full-body presence.

 

We hope you’ll enjoy this short excerpt, which speaks to the wisdom of the heart.

 

# # #

 

The heart is the wellspring of our inspiration for life. The characteristic wisdom of the heart is in how it inspires us to live more deeply and fully and to create from our gifts. The energy of love resides throughout the entire body. It is the foundational energy upon which our creative inspirations are born.

 

Although the energy field of the heart has been proven to be quite powerful, in our culture today the voice of the heart is often muted or ignored altogether. When our heart’s intelligence isn’t activated, we can easily feel confused, or we may listen only to the voice of the head telling us what we should do. The inspiration of our deepest heart’s knowing is then lost to us.

 

There is a distinct feeling when we drop into our heart and let it open up. When we share from our heart, there is an authenticity and vulnerability that create a feeling of connection and intimacy if the listener is open and receptive.

 

There is also a distinct feeling when we are not connected to our heart. This could manifest as “coldheartedness,” which might be experienced as a chill in the room or a conversation killer, and it will create a block to genuine intimacy.

 

Another feeling occurs when we are in our heart in an overly sympathetic manner. These kinds of interchanges often feel cloying, sometimes suffocating, and frequently invasive.

 

Yet another experience occurs when our heart resonates with another person’s heart. A warmth in meeting, ease of connection, feeling deeply seen and heard — these are the empathetic connections that may become lifelong relationships or enduring imprints on our heart.

 

What is the quality of energy that our hearts generate? The heart expresses warmth, compassion, forgiveness, empathy, loving-kindness, and most of all inspiration. A full-hearted person is a happy person.

 

In Chinese medicine, the element of the heart is fire, and there is a distinct sensation when this element is balanced. We feel excited, creative, and “on fire” for life. The heart is the birthplace of our deepest inspirations, so when it has been suppressed or exhausted, we may have a flat, muted experience. Burnout approaches when our creative fire has gone out.

 

Priming the Deep Well of the Heart

The heart is the home of compassion. When I work with someone in the helping professions, especially healthcare providers, their genuine concern for others is apparent. Their warmth and caring is frequently the original inspiration that moved them toward their profession.

 

However, when I sit with them long enough, I often discover that they are much better at giving than receiving. The front of a caregiver’s heart — the part that they radiate love from — feels warm and wide open.

 

However, often they have much less awareness of the back of their heart, the heart space of self-love and nurturing. I think of this as the deep well that feeds the rest of the heart. Like any well, when it is not primed and replenished, it runs dry and burnout starts to take hold. The front of the heart — the part shared with the world — needs connection to the deeper well of the heart in order to survive and thrive.

 

This means self-care is mandatory, not optional. The airlines truly do have it right. You must “put your own oxygen mask on first” before helping those in need around you. What the flight attendant doesn’t say is that if you fail to care for yourself first, unconsciousness or even death may result. Yet many of us have been taught to ignore our own needs as we focus on caring for those around us. This is a sure recipe for disaster. Now is the time to turn this paradigm around and treat our own heart as a primary resource that is to be treasured and deeply valued.

 

The heart is the home of our deepest inspiration and the well of our love for life. Having respect for the wisdom of the heart and living from its rich depths is essential.

 

# # #

 

Suzanne Scurlock-Durana, is the author of Reclaiming Your Body and Full Body Presence. Her Healing from the Core curriculum combined with CranioSacral therapy and other bodywork modalities creates a complete, body-centered guide to awareness, healing, and joy. She teaches around the world and lives in Reston, Virginia. Visit her online at www.healingfromthecore.com.

 

Excerpted from the book Reclaiming Your Body: Healing from Trauma and Awakening to Your Body’s Wisdom. Copyright ©2017 by Suzanne Scurlock-Durana. Printed with permission from New World Library — www.newworldlibrary.com.

 

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06 Jun

Excerpt from the Freedom chapter in The Book of Truth

Selig jacket

Excerpted from The Book of Truth by Paul Selig with the permission of TarcherPerigee, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Copyright © 2017 by Paul Selig.

Now, we will say this for you. Some things are required. You hold yourself in a body, you are required to care for the body, you have a livelihood at this time because you’ve agreed to a world that operates in commerce. As you bypass the systems of control or agreed upon ways of exchange, you actually call higher ways into manifestation. At this juncture, we will say, few of you are prepared to release the life that you’ve claimed in worry or in expectation to what might be born as you and for you in a higher way.

Here we go:

“On this day I choose to release myself from all expectations of how things should be, or what they should look like as perceived by the small self. And in this claim of freedom, I realize myself as the one who is independent from the foils and beliefs of collective agreement that would seek to hinder me from my true expression as my True Self. I know who I am in truth. I know what I am in truth. I know how I serve in truth. I am here. I am here. I am here.”

 

This is a claim that is made by you to re-create the self outside a fixed agenda or outside of the perceptions that you are holding in investment because you cannot imagine yourself without being realized in certain ways. Even the identity you hold that was prescribed by you as who you should be seeks to impale you in a series of ways upon the intractability of physical manifestation.

What this means is that if your belief that your progress is dependent upon anything in form, you are using that thing to justify and claim you in a small way. It can be anything, you see. “When I have the perfect marriage, or the perfect employment, the perfect practice, the perfect insight, the perfect realization, I will be here as I truly am. But until that moment, I will wait and claim this thing as what I require to be free.”

The only requirement for freedom is realization of what you are, because the moment this is understood, all ties and tethers to what was created for you or by you to be in agreement to a system of control is leaving, is gone, is eradicated in truth.

Now we come back to the idea of truth for one reason only. The systems of control that we speak of, or the ways that you would seek to realize yourself through external manifestations, are never in truth. And we will tell you why. All that is in truth is present now in this very moment, in the eternal now that you have encountered in the reading of this text and through the alignment to the what that you are. The Divine Self operates as what you are in the eternal now. And anything that is not present as you is simply an idea of what is required to call you forward.

Now, this is confusing for Paul. “But there are things we need, and we call them into being. We require food, we go to the market. Don’t tell me my needs are met now if I have an empty kitchen.”

We are telling you something very different. The idea of expectation as something to strive to, or claim for, or bring yourself as in consort to at the cost of the present moment you stand in, is what is being addressed. The infinite now is always here. It is here as you, as you walk to the market, as you prepare your meal. But the justification of what you should be as predicated on some future event—“when I am this or that, have claimed this or that”—is never true because your realization only happens in the moment you stand in.

The path to enlightenment, if you wish to use that term, is always now because enlightenment is now and not on some prescribed date at some other point in time. Until you all understand that what you have done so far is prepare the way for manifestation that is already present as what you are, you will be confused by this. In a higher octave, the Divine as you is fully present, and the realization of this and the knowing of this is the creation of what you are in manifested form. You are not becoming what you are not, you are claiming what you are. And as you come to be at this alignment, in this awareness, the release of the lies that you have given credence to will claim you in freedom.

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30 May

The Four Obstacles and How to Beat Them

By Randall Bell, Ph.D.

There are two great lies. The first is that it can’t happen to us. The second is that there is no hope. The truth is that it can happen to us. And the truth is that there is hope. We can change and transform ourselves through our choices. We choose not only what we do and say, but how we perceive the world and ourselves.

Disappointments are inevitable. As much as we may try to make life perfect, disappointments affect all people. It could be any one of the difficult Ds, such as disease, death, divorce, disability, drugs, defeat, or being dumped. Sometimes people directly cause these disappointments. Other times they come unexpectedly, apparently without any reason.

But in almost every case the solution is the same. Post-traumatic thrivers fail forward. They are resilient and come out stronger than before. What makes a person a post-traumatic thriver? There are four basic transformations that define post-traumatic thrivers.

So what are the four obstacles and how do we use them to transform?

From Complexity to Simplicity. Some problems are mind-bogglingly complex. We may find ourselves in a hopeless tangle, whether in business or family life. We may look at this mess and think that the solution will be just as messy. The opposite is true. Complex problems require simple solutions. Most of the time, our troubles are foundational. For example, many relationships or jobs fall apart because of an initial, foundational dishonesty or miscommunication.

The solution is to set aside time each day, preferably in the morning, for solitude and clear thinking. Put aside the smartphone, turn off the television and the computer, and connect with your gut and your conscience. All strong buildings sit on a solid foundation. Where is your foundation? Where does your mind go? Simplify things to their essential elements and let the dust settle. There is great wisdom inside all of us, if only we are willing to listen.

From Isolation to Connection. Any one of the difficult Ds can lead to isolation. Whether in business or our personal lives, we turn inwards, thinking that if we got ourselves into the mess in the first place, then we are the only ones who can solve it. However, we are social animals. Many of those situations that drive us to isolation and seem to require only our own thinking are solved by reconnecting with those around us. It is difficult to see ourselves and our circumstances truthfully if we shut ourselves off from others.

The solution is to connect. Even when things are going great, we call a friend or family member every day and exchange a few kind words. That way, when things get tough, we will have somebody to talk to. How are our relationships? Who can we rely on? Who can rely on us? Here we reach out to people in an authentic way and open ourselves to the wisdom of those people around us.

From Inertia to Action. When disappointments hit, we may feel useless and ineffective. Our confidence drops. We start hesitating. The longer this goes on, the more inertia we build up, until taking any action seems impossible. When we want to get in shape, we go to the gym on a schedule, not just when we want to be fit. We don’t just shower once in January and expect to stay clean for the remainder of the year. Likewise, when struggling, we need to stay in action.

The simple solution to this is to make your bed every morning. The point, of course, is not to have the bed made (though you will be thankful at night!). The point is to start the day in action. You will start the day having accomplished something, however small. If you managed to make your bed this morning, then what can’t you do? Here we tap into the wisdom of small but significant actions.

From Myopia to Imagination. Disappointments can often lead to regret, but they don’t have to. Much regret stems not from something that happened to us, but from how we responded. We rarely regret a natural disaster or a disease, but we may regret how to acted in those situations. Repeated disappointment from one of the difficult Ds can lead either to increasing narrow-mindedness (myopia) or greater awareness. Post-traumatic thrivers cultivate an active imagination. They have a broad sense of what is possible. They may even seem crazy at times.

The easiest habit to counter myopia and to cultivate a sense of timelessness and imagination is to keep a journal or a diary. We think of the big picture. We connect with that part that is, not the part that does. We think of the to be list, not the to do list. By keeping a record, we use time to create the timeless. We give ourselves permission to think big and set goals.

To make things happen, we need to know who and what we are dealing with. We replace each conflict with a new, effective habit. As Thoreau once wrote, “Simplify, simplify.”

 

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13 Apr

Going to church: Is it worth it? Yes! New study says it lowers risk of suicide among women

By Joy Stephenson-Laws

Despite the increasing awareness surrounding mental health issues, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. However, a study published in JAMA Psychiatry sheds light on an unexpected source of suicide prevention — church!

 

Researchers studied more than 20 years’ worth of data from nearly 90,000 women ages 30-55, looking for any associations between religious service attendance and suicide. What they found? Attending a religious service once a week or more was associated with an approximately five times lower suicide rate compared with those who never attended religious services! Most of the women who attended church were Catholic or Protestant.

 

When drawing their conclusions, the researchers noted that they were careful to account for other factors that would affect suicide risk, such as lifestyle, medical history, depressive symptoms and social integration.

 

While an association does not prove a cause and effect relationship, it is certainly worth keeping in mind. Perhaps the women felt a greater sense of meaning, belonging and support from their church communities.

 

Another way to prevent suicide is to look for the signs.

 

Suicide warning signs may include:

  • Talking about wanting to die or wanting to kill themselves
  • Talking about feeling empty, hopeless or having no reason to live
  • Making a suicide plan by searching online, stockpiling pills or buying a gun
  • Talking about a great amount of guilt or shame
  • Talking about feeling trapped or feeling there are no solutions
  • Feeling unbearable pain (emotional pain or physical pain)
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Using alcohol or drugs more often
  • Acting anxious or agitated
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Changing eating and/or sleeping habits
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Taking great risks that could lead to death, such as driving extremely fast
  • Talking or thinking about death often
  • Displaying extreme mood swings, suddenly changing from very sad to very calm or happy
  • Giving away important possessions
  • Saying goodbye to friends and family
  • Putting affairs in order, making a will

 

If you or someone you know may be at risk, reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline1-800-273-TALK (8255). You can also text The Crisis Text Line: 741741. The  deaf and hard of hearing can contact the lifeline via TTY at 1-800-799-4889.

Find more resources here.

 

Enjoy Your Healthy Life!

 

Joy Stephenson-Laws is the founder of Proactive Health Labs (www.phlabs.org), a national non-profit health information company that provides education and tools needed to achieve optimal health. Her most recent book is Minerals – The Forgotten Nutrient: Your Secret Weapon for Getting and Staying Healthy, available through Amazon, iTunes and bookstores.  All proceeds from the book will be donated to The Bili Project Foundation, an organization devoted to reducing the incident and improve the outcome of Hepatobilary cancers, which are cancers of the liver, gallbladder, or bile ducts.  Connect with Proactive Health Labs on FacebookLinkedInInstagramPinterestGoodreads, and at www.phlabs.org.

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