Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Tale With a Storybook Ending

A Tale With a Storybook Ending

A hidden connection is stronger than an obvious one. --Heraclitus

Inspiration of the Day

They met on Boston Common - two men with little in common. One a well-heeled, high-powered attorney, the other a street-schooled, often ignored homeless person.

Rob slept on a sidewalk. Peter had a swank condo in the Back Bay. But every morning they would cross paths here in the park and over the course of several months, actually became good friends.

How did that happen? Such contrasting men, living such disparate lives. You'd think after the weather and box scores they'd run out of things to talk about. And indeed, they did run out.

"So I gave Robert a copy of a book I really loved called 'Water for Elephants' and we would talk about that," Peter said.

Discussing the book became their way of connecting, and a friendship was born.

"And then one day I asked him, 'What'd you do with the book?' and he said, 'I gave it to a fella over there,'" Peter said.

"I knew there were a lot of people who read," Rob said.

"So it occurred to us that there was an interest out here that could draw people together," Peter said.

"You'd be surprised by how many people actually read," Rob said.

About a year ago, Peter and Ron started the Homeless Book Club. The group was dissecting a group of short stories by O'Henry. They meet every Tuesday in a church conference room. Peter buys the books. In the beginning he offered to bring in lunch too, but the members said "no thanks." They wanted this to be about more than just another free lunch.

"For me it's a place to go and escape," said Donald, a member.

"And to question things," said Betsey, another member.

"Yeah, I feel more sophisticated," said Jamie, a member, laughing.

Unlike the others, Jamie, who lives in a rooming house, says he never used to be a reader. His addictions were the priority.

"I picked up the first book and started reading it and I couldn't put it down," Jamie said.

Addicted still, only now, to literature.

"If I keep reading, and keeping my mind occupied, I'm less likely to hurt myself in life," Jamie said.

Testimonials like that are now inspiring other people in other cities, even other countries, to start putting together their own homeless book clubs.

And as for the homeless man who started it all - Rob - turns out, the only reason he couldn’t get subsidized housing was because he had an unresolved moving violation on his record. Fortunately, he knows a good lawyer.

Peter was able to clear up that traffic ticket, which is why tonight Rob is no longer on the streets. He's housed and working as a church custodian.

Be The Change:
Look out for a hidden connection in your own life and deepen it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Shoulda, woulda, coulda by Pam Thomas

Shoulda, woulda, coulda by Pam Thomas

"I should ..."
"I would have ..."
"I could have ..."

Does the beginning of those three sentences sound familiar? Let’s flesh them out a bit more in case you don't recognize them.

"I should lose weight."
"I would have been happier if I had been more successful in my last job."
"I could have done a better job if she hadn’t distracted me and made me angry."

What do you think now? Kinda familiar like an old pair of shoes two sizes too small?

Not to worry, you aren’t alone. We all shoulda, woulda, coulda all over ourselves particularly when it comes to goals, dreams, and intentions. Here’s the good news, when it comes to goals, dreams and intentions, believe it or not, the shoulda, woulda, couldas serve a valuable purpose; they are great little indicators as to how important what we are trying to achieve is to us personally.

Yep, that's right, they are our own little pocket gauges but sadly we don't use them as such. We often use them as the proverbial 2x4 upside the head. OUCH! A means to make us feel wronged or worse, feel like failures.

So I'd like to ask you to do me a HUGE favor right here, right now (it's a three part favor, by the way). The first part of the favor is to step away from the 2x4, put it away, shred it in the wood shredder, burn it on a bonfire. Do whatever you need to do, just get rid of it. The next thing is that you become aware of your shoulda, woulda, coulda vernacular. And the last part of the favor is, if you are shoulda, woulda, coulda-ing all over yourself, please ask yourself one of the following questions;

- "On a scale of 1-10 (one being a low score) how important is this goal, dream or intention to me?"
If your response is a 5 or less, please be honest with yourself, how likely are you to carry out whatever it is you are shoulda, woulda, coulda-ing yourself over? Things that score low on the importance scale also score low on the priority scale and are more likely to be placed on the backburner, in the back of the closet, or stuffed in the back of our minds.

- "Is this something I wish to do or something someone said I should do?"
Let's face it, when we are trying to accomplish a goal that is someone else's and not our own, we are less likely to see it through to fruition. Why? Because it's not ours. It is not in alignment with who we are and our core values.

- "How will this serve me in being my best self?"
If your answer is, “It won't" then please reconsider your reasoning for trying to take action on a goal, dream, or intention that will not serve you.

Here is to using the shoulda, woulda, couldas as success tools, (as opposed to the opposite) until you don't need them anymore.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

You are beautiful !! by Pam Thomas

You are beautiful!! by Pam Thomas

What worth has beauty if it is not seen?
- Italian Proverb

There is not one person on this planet who does not possess a great beauty. We all have the capacity to share and show our beauty; sometimes we choose to hide it away. Sometimes we mask it in fear that our beauty is not good enough or as wonderful as someone else.

When we compare ourselves to others, when we self deprecate, when we don’t share our true amazing selves, we are depreciating our own beauty, devaluing its worth and our own. We are depriving ourselves of the chance to share something really incredible with the world and in turn we are depriving ourselves of opportunities for growth and potentials.

My friends, it does not matter if you are bone thin, overweight, have a small nose or a big nose, hips that are too small or too big, you are beautiful. You possess a beauty that no one else does and that makes you incredible and unique.

Come out from hiding, stop the self deprecation, cease the comparisons. When you feel the urge to do any of the things mentioned, please stop yourself and please find one positive thing about YOU that you can share with the world in that very moment. Maybe you have a killer smile, so stop and smile at someone. Maybe you give incredible hugs, so stop and hug someone. Maybe you have a beautiful giving heart, so share some love with someone. Embrace your beauty, you will be utterly surprised at what happens when you do.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Subject: Trip to Rome

Subject: Trip to Rome

Here is something to think about when negative people are doing their best to rain on your parade. Remember this story the next time someone who knows nothing (and cares less) tries to make your life miserable...

A woman was at her hairdresser's getting her hair styled for a trip to Rome with her husband. She mentioned the trip to the hairdresser, who responded: "Rome? Why would anyone want to go there? It's crowded and dirty. You're crazy to go to Rome. So, how are you getting there?"

"We're taking Continental," was the reply. "We got a great rate!"

"Continental?" exclaimed the hairdresser." That's a terrible airline. Their planes are old, their flight attendants are ugly, and they're always late. So, where are you staying in Rome?"

"We'll be at this exclusive little place over on Rome's Tiber River called Teste."

"Don't go any further. I know that place. Everybody thinks its gonna be something special and exclusive, but it's really a dump."

"We're going to go to see the Vatican and maybe get to see the Pope."

"That's rich," laughed the hairdresser. You and a million other people trying to see him. He'll look the size of an ant. Boy, good luck on this lousy trip of yours. You're going to need it."

A month later, the woman again came in for a hairdo. The hairdresser asked her about her trip to Rome.

"It was wonderful," explained the woman, "not only were we on time in one of Continental's brand new planes, but it was overbooked, and they bumped us up to first class. The food and wine were wonderful, and I had a handsome 28-year-old steward who waited on me hand and foot.

And the hotel was great! They'd just finished a $5 million remodeling job, and now it's a jewel, the finest hotel in the city.

They, too, were overbooked, so they apologized and gave us their owner's suite at no extra charge!"

"Well," muttered the hairdresser, "that's all well and good, but I know you didn't get to see the Pope."

"Actually, we were quite lucky, because as we toured the Vatican, a Swiss Guard tapped me on the shoulder, and explained that the Pope likes to meet some of the visitors, and if I'd be so kind as to step into his private room and wait, the Pope would personally greet me. Sure enough, five minutes later, the Pope walked through the door and shook my hand! I knelt down and he spoke a few words to me."

"Oh, really! What'd he say?"

He said: "Who messed up your hair?"

author unknown

Listening to your inner guidance by Christy Whitman

Listening to your inner guidance
by Christy Whitman

There are so many opinions of what is right and wrong. There are so many people that want to tell you how to do something. The only way you will know if something is right for you is to listen to your own inner guidance. How do you know you are in alignment with your own inner guidance? You feel good.

As Dr. Wayne Dyer has said (and I paraphrase) "To feel good is to feel God. Good and God are interchangeable."

When you are feeling good about a decision, that is the right decision for you.

When you feel good about an action to take, that is the right action for you.

We need to get back to trusting ourselves, and the connection that we have with our inner being. How do we build trust? We practice. Like with anything the more you do something, the more confidence you have in your ability. The more you practice listening to your intuition the better you will be at recognizing it and the more you will trust it.

How do you get in touch with that inner guidance? There are many ways. I find that meditation helps me connect instantaneously. Just find a space of silence and intend to connect will do wonders.

..... Spend some time in nature. Nature has a very healing effect on the mind, body and spirit. Just watching the leaves blow in the wind, or waves crashing on a beach can be a spiritual experience.

Also, when you hear a voice inside your own mind give you a direction to go in, listen to it. For example, if you hear that inner voice tell you to charge your cell phone, charge it. If it tells you to take a different road home, take it. There have been so many times when I heard this voice and didn't do what it said and I regretted it later. Once it told me to charge my phone and I didn't listen, later that day I received an important phone call and I did not have enough batteries. The call cut off and I lost out on an opportunity. I started to listen and each and every time I hear that voice (no matter how strange it may sound) I do what it says. It always works out in my favor. That is how you build trust.

What is trust? Trust is opening your heart, believing in yourself and in the abundance of the universe. It is knowing that the universe is loving, friendly, and supports your higher good. Trust is knowing that you are part of the process of creating, and believing in your ability to draw to you want to want.

What does trust mean? To Rely Upon Spirit Totally

Go within and connect with your Infinite Wisdom. Ask your inner guidance for direction in your life. Follow that guidance as long as it feels good to you. Believe that everything will work out the way you want it to. What you believe will ultimately turn into your reality. If you believe that the universe is always supporting you then that is what you will experience. If however, you believe that the world is against you, you will also experience that.

Only you and your inner guidance know what is right for you. When you are in alignment with this inner guidance you are in a pure positive state. By the Law of Attraction positive life experiences will then be reflected back to you.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Gift of Anger By Cheryl Richardson

The Gift of Anger By Cheryl Richardson

Almost every day I post an affirmation on my Facebook Fan Page to support visitors in staying on track with living awake and authentic lives. I enjoy the real time, interactive nature of Facebook and I love that I can personally connect with friends from around the globe. You can join us by visiting:

This week, one affirmation in particular, raised a few questions. My post read:

"I allow myself to embrace my power by fully expressing my anger in healthy and productive ways."

Several people had questions about "healthy and productive ways" to express their anger. As I read through the posts, I was reminded of one of the first times I learned how to do just that. And in doing so, connected with the power hidden beneath my rage. Here's what happened:

In 1991, my friend Lucy died of cancer. She was 83 years old and for three months we walked the path of completing her journey together. It was a life-altering experience for me having never been that close to death and dying. And I was blessed to be with her when she took her last breath.

For several months after her passing I was pretty busy. As the executor of her estate, I was charged with the responsibility of getting her home ready to be sold. It was an emotionally turbulent time. As is often the case when we experience a major life crisis, the floor beneath my feet started to shift and life as I'd known it began to change dramatically. A five year relationship ended. I was forced to leave my apartment. And my work started to move in a whole new direction. During this period there were lots of tears, frustration, and exhaustion.

One day, as my friend Bill and I were going through Lucy's house boxing up her belongings, he listened patiently as I cried and complained about losing my friend and the subsequent uprooting of my life. After listening to me for more than an hour, he asked me to follow him to the basement. Once there, he showed me a large box of light bulbs he had gathered in a corner of the room. "I'm going upstairs" Bill said, "and I'm going to turn up the stereo full blast. When I do, I want you to empty this box, one by one, into the corner of this room." I looked at him as if he were crazy. "And as you smash each lightbulb I want you to scream and yell as loud as you can to get the pent up rage out of your system. Don't come up until all the bulbs are gone."

As Bill climbed the basement stairs, I stood looking at the box. "Was I really that angry?" I thought. I didn't think so. But, honoring his request, as soon as I heard the music kick in I picked up the first light bulb and smashed it in the corner. It made a loud, popping sound. Then, I picked up another and let it rip. By the third lightbulb I was screaming like a mad woman desperately grabbing for the next bulb. By the time I emptied the box, something significant had shifted inside me. I felt both exhausted and exhilarated. I ran up the basement stairs looking for more glass :).

That day taught me about a safe and productive way of expressing anger. Until that time, I had done things like written rage-filled letters that I never sent, or talked about my anger with friends. While these methods were helpful, they never left me feeling empowered the way moving my body did. I suddenly understood that using my intellect to express anger wasn't enough. I needed to physically get the anger up and out of my body to actually feel the power hidden beneath. For days after that experience in the basement I felt lighter, emotionally stronger, and better able to face the job before me.

Since that day, I've thrown light bulbs in my own basement, taken a kick-boxing class when I needed to vent, moved furniture around in my family room so I'd have the space to dance my anger out, or visited a batting cage with Michael to smack baseballs.

There is enormous power hidden beneath your unexpressed anger. Don't use your head to get it out. Use your body instead. Check out this week's "Take Action Challenge" for safe and healthy ideas.

Take Action Challenge

If you have hidden anger or rage (who doesn't?), then find a physical outlet.

Here are some ideas:

Visit a driving range and hit golf balls.

Take a spin class and ride your way to freedom.

Kick a soccer ball around your yard.

Crank up the music at home and scream at the top of your lungs while pounding the sofa.

List your frustrations on a bunch of rocks and throw them into a lake one by one.

As you move, feel the rageful energy leaving your body. Then, wait for the power to emerge. It's there. It's always been there. It's just waiting for you to let it out.

A bumper sticker philosophy by - Judy Campbell

A bumper sticker philosophy by - Judy Campbell

"If anything can go well, it will"

The quote above is on a bumper sticker created by Gene Whitford, The bumper sticker is available at various locations in Orlando, I picked mine up from the Avalon bookstore, Gene says they are also available at Leaves and Roots, and the Spiral Circle. The point of view presented on this bumper sticker is far more optimistic than another one we have all seen. According to the law of attraction the energy we put out into the universe creates our experience. So who would want to drive around attracting s#*! happening?

Now there are many whom are skeptical of the whole philosophy of we create our own reality or the law of attraction. This is particularly true when situations do not turn out the way we would like. In circumstances that we label as "bad', we're pretty quick to absolve ourselves of any part in the outcome, we are equally quick to blame God though. In situations with a favorable outcome we're sure it's because of our genius or our personal worthiness. For some reason human beings seem to believe God makes mistakes, and not the other way around, which would mean we the humans are mistaken. If we create our lives based upon our use or misuse of Universal energy, it would be in our best interests to travel in an attitude of positive energy.

Wayne Dyer in his new book and PBS feature, Excuses Begone!, makes the point that unless we are 100% sure of something being true, about ourselves or life, then perhaps we would be better served by erring on the side of a thought or idea that will take us where we want to go. Energy is flowing around us... to us...through us. Our experiences are determined by how much we allow this Universal energy to flow into our lives unimpeded. Abraham-Hicks calls this "The Art of Allowing", A Course in Miracles says "you can wait, delay , paralyze yourself, or reduce your creativity almost to nothing. But you cannot abolish it."

Gene Whitford says that when he came up with this slogan for a bumper sticker, shortly thereafter, if not that same day, he received money from a trust fund. Coincidence... maybe , but once again are you 100% certain? In either case the power of decision is our own. As we venture out into the world, in whatever vehicle (physically or spiritually), we travel in and if we wish to carry a slogan along the way, why not choose one with positive energy because you know,

"If anything can go well, it will"

Saturday, August 1, 2009

On “Growing Wings” by Martha Beck, from Oprah, January 2004 The Phases of Human Metamorphosis

On “Growing Wings” by Martha Beck, from Oprah, January 2004

The Phases of Human Metamorphosis

I used to assume caterpillars became butterflies by weaving cocoons and then sitting inside growing legs and wings and so on. I was wrong. In fact, the first thing caterpillars do in the cocoon is shed their skin, leaving a soft rubbery chrysalis. If you were to look inside the cocoon early on, you’d find nothing but a puddle of glop. But in the glop are DNA-coded instructions for transformation to the butterfly, the angel of the dead caterpillar.

Humans do such transitions too – not physically but psychologically. All of us will experience metamorphosis several times during our lives, exchanging one identity for another. Even after you’re all grown up, your identity isn’t fixed. You may switch careers, change marital status, become a parent, get sick, win the lottery. I don’t know if this is stressful for caterpillars, but for humans this can be hell on wheels. The best way to minimize trauma is to understand the process. Here are the four phases.

Phase One – Dissolving

The first phase is the scariest, especially because we aren’t taught to expect it. It’s the time we lose our identity and are left temporarily formless. Sometimes it is just a “blip” and at others we run into a welter of “dissolving” experiences. You’ll get through it; you won’t have a choice. It’s scary though. Many so-called primitive cultures have rituals designed to teach the art of dissolution. They obscure faces with paint or ash, take names away, or are sent to spend time in wilderness or dark womblike enclosures. We don’t have such traditions, so when we’re dissolving we may get hysterical, fight our feelings, try to recapture our former lives, or jump immediately toward some new status quo. These measures actually slow down Phase One and make it more painful. Here are 4 strategies that work better:

~ Live for one day (or ten minutes) at a time. Focus on the now.
~ “Cocoon” by caring for yourself in physical, immediate ways.
~ Talk to others who’ve metamorphosized – a wise relative, friend, or therapist
~ Let yourself grieve; cycle through denial, anger sadness, acceptance many times.

Dissolving isn’t something you do; it’s something that happens to you. The closest you’ll come to controlling it is relaxing and trusting the process.

Phase Two – Imagining

Phase two can be as welcome as rain after a drought. This is when the part of you that knows your destiny, the imago in your psyche, will begin giving you instructions about how to reorganize the remnants of your old identity into something altogether different. You’ll know you’re beginning when your mind’s eye starts seeing images of the life you are about to create. They can’t be forced, and they are never what you expect, they just happen. You’re becoming a new person and you’ll develop traits and interests your old self didn’t have. You may feel like changing your clothing style or redecorating your space – the old no longer fits. You begin to reorder your outer situation to reflect your inner rebirth. Here are some ways you might want to respond:

~ Cut out magazine pictures that appeal, or draw/sketch/list/write something.
~ Let yourself daydream. Your job is to try out imaginary scenarios until you have a clear picture of your goals and desires. Save time, effort, and grief by doing this in your head before you attempt it in the real world.

Phase Two is about images; making them up, making them clear, making them possible. Writing down both dreams and schemes to create them leads to an action impulse.

Phase Three – Reforming

The itch to make dreams come true signals Phase Three, the implementation stage. You take steps like submitting work or inviting others. You’ll feel motivated to do real, physical things to build a new life. And then… (drum roll please)… you’ll fail. Repeatedly. Through my own experience and that of hundreds of clients, I’ve never seen a significant scheme succeed on the first try. Inevitably there are problems you didn’t expect. Phase three demands not the starry eyes that are so useful in phase Two, but the ingenuity of Thomas Edison and the tenacity of a pit bull. So:

~ Expect things to go wrong and to keep working through lack of success.
~ Be willing to start over. You’ll return briefly to Phase One feeling lost and confused, but this is an opportunity to release some of the illusions that created hitches in your plan.
~ Revisit Phase Two to include the truths you’ve learned.
~ Persist. Keep de-bugging and re-implementing your improved plans.

If you’ve followed all the steps above, your plans will eventually work.

Phase Four - Flying

Phase Four is like crawling out of your cocoon and waiting for your wings to dry and expand. It’s the payoff, when your identity is fully formed and able to fly. The following strategies can help you optimize this delightful situation. They are about fine-tuning:

~ Enjoy! You’ve just negotiated a scary and dramatic transformation. Savor your new identity and focus on gratitude for your success.
~ Make small improvements, little techniques for less stress, more pleasure.
~ Know that another change is just around the bend.

Don‘t attribute your happiness to your new identity; security lies in knowing how to deal with metamorphosis whenever it occurs. Phase Four may last for days or decades.

As the Buddhist Nun Pema Chodron writes, “We are always in transition… If you can just relax with that, you’ll have no problem.” At times you may feel it’s the end of the world, but remember that dissolution of the caterpillar leads to the butterfly.