Monday, January 25, 2010

Multi-Dimensional Art by Kseniya Simonova

This video is amazing - a mesmerizing piece of multi-dimensional art. It's of Kseniya Simonova, winner of Ukraine's Got Talent, drawing a series of pictures on an illuminated sand table showing Germany conquering Ukraine in WWII. She brings calm, then conflict. If you haven't seen it, you must. It's stunning...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Stories Worth Telling by Alan Cohen

Stories Worth Telling

by Alan Cohen

In the spirit of the holiday season, Dee and I went to a liquor store to purchase a gift of wine for a friend. There we asked the store owner, a congenial fellow named Ali, for some recommendations. We were pleasantly surprised to find that Ali is a world-class wine expert. He went into fascinating, poetic details about each wine, describing its subtlest nuances and mesmerizing us with stories about the history of each winery, some of which went back over a thousand years. I was rapt. Finally I commented, “I guess all wines have a story.”

Ali smiled and shook his head. “Not exactly,” he replied. “All good wines have a story.”

His comment got me thinking about the stories we tell. Some stories are worth telling and others are not worth telling. Some stories empower us and others disempower us. Which of your stories bring you life and which deaden you?

The end of this year might be a good time to decide which stories you want to leave behind and which you would like to take into the new year and amplify. One of the most powerful exercises I have ever done in a seminar was to ask the participants, “What story are you ready to let go of, and what story are you willing to have take its place?” The answers were quite revealing: Participants declared they were ready to let go of their victim and abuse stories; poverty, lack, and struggle; loveless relationships; fear, resistance, and many variations on “poor me.” In their stead they were ready to tell new stories of living with conscious intention; relationships that yield reward and joy; abundance and success; trust, flow, and creativity; and “blessed me.”

Every time you tell a story, you reinforce the feelings and experience associated with the story; you amplify the themes in your consciousness; and you increase the chances of a similar story repeating itself in your world. That is quite enough reason to carefully choose the stories you tell.

If you find yourself telling a story that is taking you to a place you would rather not revisit, stop and consider what story might effectively replace it. I patronize a video store that has a computer program that alerts the clerk if I am about to check out a video I have already rented. The clerk asks me, “Are you aware that you’ve already watched this video?” If it was a good video and I want to see it again, I proceed with the checkout. If I remember that I didn’t really like the movie, I send it back to the shelf and pick out another one.

How helpful would it be if you and I had a little computer program in our head that reminded us, “You have already told this story. Are you sure you want to tell it again?”

Many of us keep telling non-productive stories because we get perceived mileage out of them. They do not bring us reward, but they are familiar and we build a presentation and identity around them. One of the movies I have checked out several times is The Heartbreak Kid (1972 version with Charles Grodin). In the film, Lenny has a canned spiel he gives most people to impress them. “I think it’s time we quit taking from the earth and we started giving back to it.” A good idea, for sure, but for Lenny it is purely hot air.

Over the course of his journey, Lenny impresses a number of folks with his rap, to the point that he manipulates to marry the girl he has been pursuing. In the final scene of the film we see Lenny at his wedding reception, sitting on a couch with a couple of eight-year-old kids. “I think it’s time we quit taking from the earth and we started giving back to it,” he tells them. The kids simply roll their eyes, get up, and walk away. Like many children, they live too close to truth to be impressed by a hollow story.

Holiday gatherings offer great opportunities to be at choice about the stories you tell and listen to. What a wonderful season this will be if you use it to tell a new story! You can turn around lifetime patterns of negative conversation by pointing your story in a new direction. You may discover that no one is too old or too stuck to get a new story. Bill, a carpenter who works at my house from time to time, is a straight-arrow kind of guy. A military retiree, Bill is a devoted family man and conservative in many ways.

Last week Bill told me that, due to a health crisis, his wife picked up a book on spiritual healing. She got really excited about it, and so did Bill. As we stood in my back yard, Bill went into a long discourse about how spiritual healing works. Although I have understood (and taught) these principles over many years, I listened fervently, absolutely impressed by the new life Bill had discovered. He got a new and better story, and he is loving it!

Rather than wishing you a traditional holiday greeting, I wish you a good story. I wish that the most wonderful aspects of your current story expand, and if you have any painful or empty stories, that you find new ones to launch you into a new year. May your new year place you smack dab in the middle of the greatest story you have ever told.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Brush with Greatness by Alan Cohen

Brush with Greatness

by Alan Cohen

One evening when I picked up my voicemail. I heard a message from my friend Kinnie, who works as a massage therapist at a luxury hotel: “Call me ― I have to tell you about my brush with greatness.”

I phoned Kinnie immediately and asked what had happened. “I massaged Dustin Hoffman today,” she reported proudly.

Well, that was cool. Yet something bothered me about her phraseology, “My brush with greatness.”

“Dustin Hoffman is a great actor,” I told her. “But when you say, ‘my brush with greatness,’ it sounds as if he is great and you are not, and you were lucky to touch greatness for a moment. In my opinion you are just as great as him. You are an outstanding massage therapist and an awesome person. It saddened me to hear you portray yourself as less than him. Who knows, maybe after his massage he phoned a friend and reported, “Let me tell you about my brush with greatness . . .”

Kinnie thanked me for my affirmation of her worth. Yet the lesson goes far beyond that one encounter. We have all have been taught that greatness lives outside of us and we need to rub up against it or import it so we can become great. That’s exactly the opposite of how true greatness operates. Magnificence resides within all of us, and we need but tap into it and bring it forth. We don’t need to brush with greatness; we need to simply brush from greatness.”

We give our power away when we bestow exalted attributes upon people we worship, at the expense of recognizing our own. Former child star Shirley Temple Black recounts, “I gave up believing in Santa Claus when I was six. When my mom took me to see him, he asked for my autograph.” You can imagine the child running to be validated by the god of all children, only to find the god dashing to be validated by the star he adored. While we seek approval from the outside world, if we do not respect ourselves, the gifts bestowed by others fall on barren soil. Rather than importing affirmation from those we adore, we need to claim the good we seek right where we stand. Then we can appreciate and celebrate others’ magnificence side by side with our own.

You cannot acquire greatness by association; you can recognize it only by identity. People who habitually name-drop or flaunt photos of themselves with famous people do not appreciate their inherent worth. It’s not who you know that counts; it’s who you are. When you stand firmly and unapologetically in your own dignity, you attract powerful and worthy comrades. They are drawn to you magnetically, and your conversations are not about what you can get from them, but what you can co-create.

People who brush from greatness, not toward it, are simultaneously humble and powerful. They recognize that the talent that flows through them is seeded from a Source far grander than their ego. When a reporter asked twelve-year-old tennis sensation Jennifer Capriotti, “Do you intend to be the next Chris Evert?” she answered, “No, I intend to be the first Jennifer Capriotti.” Ten-year-old art prodigy Alexandra Nashita, called “the next Picasso,” affirmed, “The difference between me and others is that I am willing to do what I am good at.” Mozart put it this way: “It is when I am, as it were, completely myself, entirely alone, and of good cheer . . . that ideas flow best and most abundantly. Whence and how they come, I know not, nor can I force them.”

Many years ago while Ram Dass was under the influence of mind-altering substances at the Newport Jazz Festival, he found his way backstage. There he noticed a hole in the tent and decided to peer out of it. To his surprise, he saw another eye looking back at his. The other eye had obviously ingested similar substances, and the two eyes just stared at each other for a long, long time. Finally a voice accompanying the other eye spoke from outside the tent: “Wanna get in?” The irony, of course, was that Ram Dass already thought he was in. Yet the other guy perceived himself as in. So “inside” and “outside” are relative indeed!

In high school I envied student body president Dick Brown, who was good-looking and popular, offered everyone a smile and kind word, and had a cheerleader girlfriend. I liked Dick but envied him for being in the in-crowd ― actually its leader. By contrast, I judged myself as a less-than, dithering on the outskirts of coolness.

Years later I bumped into Dick and we hashed over high school days. I confessed that I envied him for being in the in-crowd. He laughed and told me, “That’s weird ― I always thought you were the in-crowd and I was out. I envied you.”

How powerfully we upgrade all of our relationships as we let go of seeking external validation, and recognize that the only in-crowd worth penetrating is the one that lives inside us. There and only there will we find the artist’s hand that brushes with greatness.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

How Easy Can It Get? by Alan Cohen

How Easy Can It Get?

by Alan Cohen

For a long time I have respected the work of Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len, a psychologist Joe Vitale applauds in his book, Zero Limits. Dr. Hew Len was assigned to duty in a ward for the criminally insane. The ward, Dr. Hew Len reports, was a highly undesirable place to work or visit because the patients were often violent. The staff had high absenteeism and turnover.

Dr. Hew Len, however, had been trained in a Hawaiian healing method called ho’oponopo, which translates as “healing by restoring balance.” Ho’oponopo teaches that the world we see is a projection of our own consciousness, and if we intend to make changes in the outer world, we must first restore balance and clarity in our own mind and heart. So Dr. Hew Len regularly took each patient in mind, and spoke to their spirit: “I’m sorry for creating you by seeing you as ill. I love you.”

The results were amazing! After a few months, shackled patients were being freed, medications were lightened significantly, and patients who had been afforded no hope of being released, were going home. Eventually the ward was closed due to attrition!

The message of this experience runs deep and has life-changing potential for all of us: We can heal the world by changing our mind about the world. Since I became aware of Dr. Hew Len’s work, I wanted to learn more about it and possibly meet him. Yet he was living in California and I was in Hawaii, and both of us were busy with travels, so I did not have the opportunity.

Recently when I was in Japan presenting some seminars, my sponsor told me, “There is going to be a lecture in your hotel ballroom this evening. Would you like to attend?” When I asked her who was presenting the lecture, she told me, “Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len.” I was amazed! Here was a man I wanted to meet showing up in the hotel I was staying at in Tokyo on the one night I had free in my schedule! All I had to do to see him was ride down an elevator!

I attended the lecture, enjoyed it very much, learned from it, and had the pleasure to meet. Dr. Hew Len. As I walked out of the meeting room I commented to my sponsor, “How easy can it get?”

As we move more deeply into a season when new school and work ventures begin, we might do well to remember Dr. Hew Len’s healing experience. If you face a difficult situation or a challenging person, your first impulse might be to try to manipulate that person to change their behavior to accede to your hopes and desires. Or get them to try to go away. Or you might be tempted to just leave. Such a moment, however, would be an excellent opportunity to heal the situation by changing your mind about it.

The ho’oponopono method is quite simple, and you can gain its benefits from even a simple understanding of it: The world you see is nothing more or less than the projection of your thoughts about it. No one outside you is doing anything to you, for you, or against you other than what you are doing to yourself. Shift your vision of that person or situation, and the person or situation will shift in accordance with your vision of them or it. Take the person or situation into mind and heart, and say, for example: “I accept responsibility for creating my experience of you by way of how I have thought about you. I now wish to change my experience by changing the version of you I am holding in my mind. I now choose to see you as loving, wise, healthy, and kind. I recognize your higher, better, and whole self. I see this situation as working out to everyone’s well being and benefit.”

The words you use are less important than the intention you hold. When you accept one hundred percent responsibility for setting the situation up as it has been, you gain one hundred percent of the power to create an outcome that works for you and everyone involved. It’s as simple as that. As Dr. Hew Len said in his lecture, “I wish I could make it more complicated. But that’s just how simple it is.”

A Course in Miracles teaches the same principle in this way: I am responsible for what I see. I choose the feelings I experience, and I decide upon the goal I would achieve. And everything that seems to happen to me I ask for, and receive as I have asked. Now that’s quite a premise to accept. But that’s the level of responsibility you and I must accept if we wish to attain mastery in our life and make the world a better place.

It’s time for all of us to question our assumptions about how hard it is supposed to be. We have been taught that the way to success is through struggle and sacrifice. But that just reinforces the belief that we win by moving external pieces about with toil and difficulty. How much simpler would it be to change your mind? When you do, the person you most want to meet might be as close as an elevator ride away.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010



"How does one become a butterfly?' she asked pensively. 'You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar." -Trina Paulus

Empowerment means going beyond our comfort zone. It's reaching within to find what it takes to move us beyond where we are to where we want to be. We have that power, but whether it lies dormant or it is put into action is completely up to us. -Lissa Coffey

Monday, January 11, 2010

Energy Vampires Be Gone by Pam Thomas

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent" - Eleanor Roosevelt

...we are going to be slaying (not literally) energy vampires. Before we delve into ways to help protect you from getting it in the neck, let’s briefly explore some of the behaviors and characteristics of an energy vampire. Energy vampires are those folks that:

Always take more than they give
See the glass as half empty a good majority of the time
Like to share their woes and gain support, but are very rarely around or have time to listen to others
Often think, “What about me? What do I get?”
Talk a lot about themselves and rarely express interest in hearing/learning about others
Want others to pick up the pieces and clean up the messes they make
Rarely take responsibility for their own actions and behaviors
Have a victim mentality
Are very critical of all that you do

As you continue to travel through life you will come across people who are so centered deeply in self that they are always looking for support from others, always talking about who they are, what they’re doing, and who they are involved with, without much thought to the person they deem as a friend, lover, or colleague. Energy vampires will suck the life force out of you if you let them.

Do you know of anyone in your life that demonstrates any of the characteristics and behaviors described above? If so, let’s start protecting your energy stat!


1) Dealing with energy vampires requires first (and probably most important) an understanding that everyone is where they need to be at that given moment. You may not like what the person is doing or even who they are, but being able to accept them and accept where they are will help you to protect your own energy.

2) Draw boundaries and uphold them. There are three main components to drawing boundaries and all three should be present in order for a boundary to protect you from an energy vampire.

a. Establish the boundary and the consequences if the boundary is crossed. For example, one boundary might be not allowing another to be critical of you and what you do. The consequence is to stop the current conversation.

b. Educate the person you are setting the boundary with as to the boundary and the consequences. For example, “It truly makes me feel bad when you criticize me so I am asking you to please stop. If the criticism continues I am going to stop the conversation and speak with you at a later time.”

c. Be consistent in upholding the boundary set. No one will take a boundary seriously if the boundary is not upheld.

3) Speak your truth. Sometimes all it takes is telling someone how you feel in a constructive and loving way. You may find the person is not even aware of their energy-zapping behavior and once made aware will endeavor to change it.

4) Cut the ties that bind. Don't be afraid that if you cut loose an energy vampire that you will be deemed as selfish and uncaring. By removing or limiting contact with an energy vampire you are creating the space to attract people in your life who are willing to equally give and receive. Oh, and here is the fabulous part, by cutting the ties you are sending a strong message to the Universe and those around; that message is that you matter and that you want people in your life who support you just as much as you support them.

5) Inventory YOU. Is there an area of your life where you are being an energy vampire yourself? Just by recognizing where we may be sucking energy helps us to become more aware of when someone is doing the same.

I am here to tell you that it is OK (more than OK) to preserve energy for receive. Healthy relationships whether they are romantic, friendship based, or business all need and deserve to have a healthy balance. My wish for you is to treat your energy as a precious commodity.


Peace, Love, and lots of Energy,


Pam Thomas, Author and Publisher

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Law of Least Effort by Deepak Chopra

Law of Least Effort
by Deepak Chopra

If you observe nature at work, you will see that least effort is expended. Grass doesn't try to grow, it just grows. Fish don't try to swim, they just swim. Flowers don't try to bloom, they bloom. Birds don't try to fly, they fly. This is their intrinsic nature. The earth doesn't try to spin on its own axis; it is the nature of the earth to spin with dizzying speed and to hurtle through space. It is the nature of babies to be in bliss. It is the nature of the sun to shine. It is the nature of the stars to glitter and sparkle. And it is human nature to make our dreams manifest into physical form, easily and effortlessly.

In Vedic Science, the age-old philosophy of India, this principle is known as the principle of economy of effort, or "do less and accomplish more." Ultimately you come to the state where you do nothing and accomplish everything. This means that there is just a faint idea, and then the manifestation of the idea comes about effortlessly. What is commonly called a "miracle" is actually an expression of the Law of Least Effort.

Nature's intelligence functions effortlessly, frictionlessly, spontaneously. It is non-linear; it is intuitive, holistic, and nourishing. And when you are in harmony with nature, when you are established in the knowledge of your true Self, you can make use of the Law of Least Effort.

Least effort is expended when your actions are motivated by love, because nature is held together by the energy of love. When you seek power and control over other people, you waste energy. When you seek money or power for the sake of the ego, you spend energy chasing the illusion of happiness instead of enjoying happiness in the moment. When you seek money for personal gain only, you cut off the flow of energy to yourself, and interfere with the expression of nature's intelligence. But when your actions are motivated by love, there is no waste of energy. When your actions are motivated by love, your energy multiplies and accumulates.

--Deepak Chopra, Seven Spiritual Laws of Success