Category Archives: Spirit

Can Wisdom Save Us? Why It Has To

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There’s always a sense of crisis in the air generated by whatever bad news is making the headlines. At the moment, the greatest alarm is being stirred by terrorism and the spread of Islamic extremism. Yet at a deeper level, our anxiety centers on something much deeper, the possibility that the human experiment has reached a dead end. A set of enormous problems face us, from climate change and overpopulation to epidemic disease and global water shortages, that test the limits of human nature.

The terrible possibility of moving backward in our evolution as a species seems possible to many observers.  We occupy a unique place in Earth’s evolutionary history, being the only creatures threatened not by natural selection but by our mindset. Pessimists point to climate change as a stark example. Despite the overwhelming scientific evidence in favor of global warming, no solution is being acted upon quickly enough. The American public has become numbed by issue fatigue. Deniers have political clout, and ordinary citizens feel helpless to the point that many feel doomed. We continually prefer to either ignore the problem or push it away as the consumer lifestyle adds more and more to the underlying problem of greenhouse gas emissions. Continue reading

Can Science and Religion Save Each Other?

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A flurry of controversy surrounded the astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson two weeks ago when he took a jab at religion in the name of science. It began Christmas day with a mischievous tweet: “On this day long ago, a child was born who, by age 30, would transform the world. Happy Birthday Isaac Newton b. Dec 25, 1642.” Then deGrasse Tyson felt that he needed to be more pointed in a follow-up tweet: “QUESTION: This year, what do all the world’s Muslims and Jews call December 25th? ANSWER: Thursday.” Continue reading

The Fight for Freedom (Quotes From the Greats)

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It was over this last holiday season that a media giant like Sony had to seriously consider pulling a new film as a result of threats against theaters showing “The Interview” and movie-goers seeing it. Why the threats? Because it depicted the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Many had things to say about the situation- was is wise to safe-guard human life by simply withdrawing a film? Was it an act of cowardice to cave to the demands of terrorists? Strong language either way and you could argue both points. Who would’ve expected that a Seth Rogen and James Franco movie would be something having to be discussed by the President and his cabinet?

Now, only a day ago, it is believed that militant extremists are responsible for entering the French offices belonging to cartoonists of the renown satirical magazine Charlie Hedbo, gunning down 12. The outpouring today has reflected not only grief over the loss of dear human life, but on something even greater- the attack on freedom of human expression. Cartoonists all over the globe released tributes to their fallen artists, one citing humor as a dangerous profession, but it’s more than just humor. It is our words, our freedom to feel and create some to explain what is going on in our heads and our hearts.

Today we share words of freedom and liberty from those who have and are still fighting for it in so many ways in every corner of the globe.

Continue reading

A Universe of Dots.

by Paul Koidis Jr.

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What do you see when you look IN?

It takes some time, I know, but you can do it. You may need to re-adjust your stance, back up, inch forward, bend your antenna, slide the exposure a little, twirl the focus, even change the camera, but you will get there, eventually and at last, and finally see it. Continue reading

37 Life Lessons in 37 Years

Today is my 37th birthday.  And, I must say, it’s been a pretty interesting ride so far.  As I look back over the years and 8874397636_8fce870bcf_omany phases of my life, I realize how each stage, success, stumble, triumph and heartache has had a significant impact on where I stand right now.  And despite the rough patches, I love it all.

From a shy yet studious little girl, to an artsy and somewhat rebellious teenager, to a happy-go-lucky big-dreaming twenty something with a bit of a wild size, my metamorphosis were plentiful in my early years.  Now into my thirties, my heart has grown a few sizes larger and overflows with motherly love as I’ve discovered what matters most in life.  And, my entrepreneurial experiences have been a crash course in lessons of life, business and self that, at times, brought me to the brink of what I thought I could handle, only to be rewarded nicely for sticking it out and seeing it through.

As I continue to step more fully into myself each day and bring to light my mission of helping others build their own dreams with joy and ease, I’ve racked my brain to think of my top 37 life lessons so far. On this day of celebrating another trip around the sun, I share these with you and hope you find inspiration as I have. Enjoy!

Top 37 Life Lessons So Far…

  1. Happiness comes from within.  We spend way too much of our lives looking for outside validation and approval that eludes us. Turns out, it’s been an inside job all along.  Go inward.

  2. Be grateful for everything.  The good, the bad, the ugly.  Our entire life is a precious gift.  The pleasure, the pain – it’s all part of our path.

  3. Subtle shifts in perception will transform your entire life. When feeling fearful, angry, hurt – simply choose to see a situation differently.

  4. In being true to yourself, you can’t possibly make everybody else happy.  Still, it’s better to risk being disliked for living your truth than to be loved for what you are pretending to be.

  5. The world is our mirror.  What we love in others is a reflection of what we love about ourselves. What upsets us about others is a strong indication of what we need to look at more closely within ourselves.

  6. Everybody comes into our life for a reason.  It is up to us to be open to the lesson they are meant to teach.  The more someone rubs us the wrong way, the greater the lesson. Take notes.

  7. Trust.  In troubled times, just know that the Universe has your back and everything is going to be alright.  If you’re not there yet, trust in hindsight you will understand.  Your higher good is being supported, always.

  8. Never take things personally.  What others do is a reflection of what’s going on in their own life and probably has little or nothing to do with you.

  9. A walk in nature cures a lot.  Taking in some fresh air and the beautiful landscape of this earth is amazingly head-clearing, grounding, and mood-lifting.  Bonus:  you can learn a whole lot about life in your observation of the awesomeness which is nature.

  10. Hurt people hurt people.  Love them anyway.  Although, it’s totally okay to love them from a distance.

  11. You have to feel it to heal it.  Bring your fears and weaknesses front and center and shine a blazing spotlight on them because the only way out is through. The hurt of facing the truth is SO worth it in the long run, I swear.

  12. Perfectionism is an illusion.  A painful one at that.  Ease up. Strive for excellence, sure, but allow yourself room to make mistakes and permission to be happy regardless of outcome.

  13. Take the  blinders off.  Don’t become so laser-focused on your own goals and desires that you miss out on the beauty in life and the people around you. The world is stunningly beautiful when you walk around with eyes wide open.

  14. Celebrate the journey.  It’s not all about the destination.  Savor all of your successes, even the small ones.

  15. Forgiveness is not so much about the other person.  It’s about you and for you so that you can gain the peace and freedom you deserve.  Forgive quickly and often.

  16. We are all incredibly intuitive.  When we learn to become still and listen, we can tap into some pretty amazing primal wisdom.  Listen to the quiet whisper of your heart. It knows the way.

  17. Let your soul shine!  Be authentic. There  is nobody else on this earth just like you.  Step into your truth wholeheartedly and live and breathe your purpose.

  18. We are powerful creators. Seriously, bad-asses. With intention, focus, and persistence — anything is possible.  Know this.

  19. I am full of light.  You are full of light.  We are all full of light.  Some cast shadows on their own brightness.  Be a beacon of light to others and show them the way.

  20. Don’t take life too seriously! Nobody gets out alive anyway. Smile.  Be goofy.  Take chances.  Have fun. :)

  21. Surround yourself with people who love and support you.  And, love and support them right back! Life is too short for anything less.

  22. Learn the delicate dance. Have big beautiful dreams and vision.  Chase them with much passion. But, also hold on to them all ever so lightly.  Be flexible and willing to flow as life comes at you.

  23. Giving is the secret to receiving.  Share your wisdom, your love, your talents.  Share freely and be amazed at how much beauty in life flows back to you.

  24. On that note, be careful not to give too much.  If you empty out your own cup completely, you will have nothing left to give.  Balance is key.

  25. Say ‘YES!’ to everything that lights you up.  Say ‘no’, unapologetically, to anything that doesn’t excite you or you don’t have the bandwidth for.  Time is one of our most precious resources that we can never get back. Manage it wisely.

  26. Sometimes we outgrow friendships.  It doesn’t mean they’re bad or you’re bad.  It just means you’re on different paths. Hold them in your heart, but when they start to hurt or hold you back, it’s time to give space or let go.

  27. Fear is often a very good indicator of what we really want and need in our life.  Let it be your compass and enjoy the exciting adventure it leads you on.

  28. Overcoming your fears is one of the most empowering things you can ever do for yourself.  You’ll prove to yourself you can truly accomplish anything! Major self-confidence booster.

  29. Our bodies are our vehicle to our dreams.  Treat them with love and fuel them with the best health to feel vibrant and energized.  But, never obsess over image.  Looks are subjective and will fade in time, anyway.  Feeling good, healthy, and comfortable in our own skin is what matters most.

  30. Let those that you love know it often and enthusiastically.  You can never say it or show it too much. Your time, total presence, love, and genuine concern for their wellness is the greatest gift of all.

  31. The present moment is where it’s at.  It’s the only one promised to any of us.  Learn from your past & enjoy the beautiful memories, but don’t cling or let them haunt you.  And, dream big and be excited about the future, but don’t become obsessed.  Love this moment, always.

  32. Life is full of highs and lows.  We need them both to grow to our fullest potential. Just hang on tight and enjoy the ride.

  33. We are all connected as one human family. Nobody is better or worse than anyone else — just at different stages of our journeys and dealing with life the best way we know how.  Recognize that the other person is you.

  34. Practice daily gratitude for all the blessings in your life, large and small. Not only is this a high vibe practice that feels amazing, in practicing regularly you are creating space for even more abundance – of joy, love, health, and prosperity.

  35. We are not the center of the Universe, although our ego can make us feel that way at times.  Step outside of that way of thinking and see the world and other people’s perspective in a whole new beautiful light.

  36. The world needs more love, light, and laughter.  Go be love. <3

  37. You are the guru.  For much of our lives, we have been told what do, how to think, what looks good, what “success” is. You don’t have to buy into any of it. Feel free to peel back the layers. Think for yourself.  Break the mold. When you stop doing what everybody else wants you to do and start following your own intuition, you will be ridiculously happy.

In looking back at your own life, realize that every high and low is all part of your amazing story. Own it!  Take cues and guidance from the Universe and you will continue to go on an incredible ride as you fully step into your truth and power.

Age is just a number, but the higher it gets, the more wisdom and life experience we’ve amassed.  You are never going to be younger than you are in this present moment again.  So embrace it, love it, and enjoy it fully!

Here’s to many more beautiful years of seeking-truth, questioning all that does not sit right, and making your greatest impact in the world!  I look forward to adding more lessons as life continues to give me the opportunity to learn, grow, transform, share and expand.  Hope you will too.

With much love,
Dawn

(For more inspiration, visit the Dawnsense site and sign up for weekly love letters. Also, join the supportive Dawnsense community on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram).

This One Goes Out to all the “Nobodies”

girl with dandelionI’m a house frau.  I live a relatively ordinary suburban life in New England.  Technically speaking, I’m a nobody.  My name has never been in lights, I have about 14 Twitter followers, I have a moderate talent for writing.  But I do have something that makes me very special.  God lives inside of me.  Yep.  Crazy, right?  I mean, I’m not religious.  I don’t even go to church.  I’ve never read The Old Testament and I don’t celebrate Ramadan.  But God still hangs out in my heart.  Who’d imagine He’d make time for a nobody like me?  But He does.  Somehow He remembers me.  Everyday He encourages me to be better, to try harder, to do the best I can with the time I have.

I’m a writer.  I write about spiritual awakening.  I hope to share my experiences in hopes of inspiring others to live more mindfully.  This is my small contribution to world peace.  I’d like to grow my audience and make a larger contribution to world peace, but that’s hard to do when you’re nobody.  But I keep on posting blogs and mailing submissions to Oprah and creating slightly embarrassing YouTube videos because I care.  Because I want to do my part.  Because if God is going to grace me with the opportunity to live a whole lifetime with His beautiful energy in my heart, I want to do my very best with it.

I have an affirmation card hanging on my refrigerator that says, “It’s happening.”  I love that card.  It’s powerful.  Every morning I pull out my Stoneyfield Farm Banilla yogurt and think, “Oh yah.  I’ve got to pull my load today because it’s happening.  Can’t let God down.  He knows that I know that I know that He knows.  Time to work.”  So I pick up my phone and reach out to people who know I’m a nobody and cross my fingers they’ll see that God lives in my heart.  If I can’t convince them to return my calls, maybe He will.  I send emails and fumble around over-designed social media sites, strike up overly-honest conversations after yoga class and take advice from my brilliant sister – all to create connections with the just-right people to help me on my mission.  Sometimes it works (ding ding ding!) and sometimes I’m rejected.  But the rejection doesn’t feel like failure to me.  Rejection isn’t personal.  It’s just a sign that I’m not ready for that experience yet or that I’m sniffing out the wrong lead.

I’m not afraid.  Nope.  No way.  I’m not afraid to try.  Trying is risky because buried deep inside of the word “try” is the word “fail”.  But also hidden in that word is “Congratulations!  You did it!  You passed!  Now jump back in the game and try something else – there’s a lot of work to do with your life and time’s a-ticking!”  This Nobody’s got her eyes trained on the latter.

Building Self-Confidence: 6 Key Steps to Find the Bravado Within

ready for actionHave you been looking for professional and personal success? Do you want to make an uplifting difference in your life? Would you like to maximize your potential?

If you are tired of feeling anxious, discouraged and afraid then pay attention because this one’s for you!

Did you know that self-confidence affects your thoughts, feelings, behavior, body, the way you look and, most influential, your decision making process? That’s right…self-confidence affects a persons choices in life.

Question: Can someone with low self-esteem develop self-confidence?

Answer: But of course! 

So let’s get started! What does it take to have the confidence you’ve been looking for?

Think about the things you do best and why you are so good at them. Literally take a second and really think about the specific things that you do better than good. Focus for a second on those few things you do great and why. Chances are, you are great because you have devoted endless hours to practicing the craft. Regardless of formal or informal training the thing you do best is something you’ve done often.

A great starting point to boost your self-esteem is to begin by addressing your areas of low self-confidence. In order to find a solution you must admit that something needs to be resolved.

  • Admit your weaknesses.
  • Focus on what you are good at.
  • Always be you and honest about who you are.
  • Never use labels because you are what you think and say.
  • Find comfort in new situations.
  • Develop an optimistic outlook on life.

Self-confidence may not happen overnight yet the possibilities are endless. Defeat your fears and doubts by stepping into the unknown. Typically you find yourself feeling weary and doubtful when you are uncertain what may happen. The next time you find yourself feeling lost and confused it’s okay to act as if you’re overflowing with confidence. Act as though you are in control and your entire mood and day will shift in a positive direction. I guarantee it!

A highly effective way to develop confidence is to act like you are confident. Believe me, most people you stumble upon during a typical workday are insecure persons acting as if they are secure. They are simply stepping into the unknown with self-confidence and now it’s your turn.
I would like to conclude by sharing a bit of advice a girlfriend gave me more than a decade ago, “Walk the walk and talk the talk and you will own the room!”

Photo credit: Micah Esguerra
Originally published May 2010.

Deepak Chopra: Why Does God Allow Evil?

slide_292101_2341733_freeEvery senseless, horrific act of violence brings up the question of good versus evil, and when you read that children have died by violence – a common thread linking the Newtown shootings and the Boston Marathon bombing – there’s even more reason to shudder and doubt. In fearful times maintaining the most minimal idea of “God is good” becomes harder. If it is blasphemy for believers to think God isn’t good, it betrays humanity to let God get away with turning his back while innocents die in random acts of terror.

I don’t want to parse theology. Every faith argues for a just and merciful God, which means finding a reason why evil persists under the gaze of a loving deity. If the reasons satisfy you, you stay with your faith. If they don’t satisfy you, you may stay with your faith anyway. There are real benefits to being part of a religious community, and no one is forced to confront cosmic questions that have baffled centuries of debate.

In the aftermath of mass violence, after the horror and shock recede, all of us cobble together a truce with good and evil. But why not confront the issue head on? Our emotional revulsion against evil is powerful; it’s one of the main reasons that moral people are moral: They want to identify with good. They want to oppose evil. So where does evil come from? If we break this question down, it’s not so monolithic.

Evil has many explanations that sound plausible, each taking a different tack. Here’s a sampling.

  • In ancient India, evil is whatever leads to suffering.
  • In the Old Testament, evil is sin born of disobedience to God.
  • In the New Testament, evil is complicated, since in some gospels Jesus speaks like a rabbi promoting the Old Testament model of Satan versus God, while in other gospels evil is the absence of love. The redemption of the world, where all sin is forgiven, would abolish evil through an act of divine love.
  • In the medical model that’s usually dispersed by mass media after a violent tragedy, evil is mental illness. Bad people are sick.
  • In the minds of countless everyday citizens, evil is what “they” do, and “they” is simply defined as “not us.”

Instead of trying to settle which definition is true – a totally impossible task – I’d point out that each explanation is paired with a solution.  You can counter evil with good from any angle.

  • If evil is due to sin, the solution is not to sin.
  • If evil is whatever causes suffering, go out and relieve suffering.
  • If evil is the refusal to accept God’s love, find a way to experience that love.
  • If evil is a mental disorder, help those who are afflicted.
  • If evil is us-versus-them, remove the walls that divide us from them.

I can’t think of any explanation for evil that doesn’t imply a solution, a way for good to prevail. This, for me, is the best answer to the issue of good versus evil. It isn’t necessary to excuse God, run into the arms of militant atheism, or seek revenge as if revenge is the answer that goodness gives to evil. It isn’t. Revenge may be a lesser evil or a necessary one – every nation that wars against its enemies adopts its own justifications – but it can’t be called an absolute good like love and compassion.

In other words, I’m a pragmatist about evil, because at heart I believe in the ancient Indian definition of evil as anything that creates suffering. I don’t have to go cosmic; I only have to be useful in relieving suffering wherever I can. Where does God fit into this scheme?  He can no longer coast on his reputation. If God is good, he needs to be good here and now. Also, God can’t be a blind eye who ignores suffering, because that merely excuses our own blind eye.  Evil is a human problem, not a cosmic one. If God reaches down to help us be good, he’s part of the solution.

I realize that millions of people doubt that God does reach down. The Holocaust, the killing fields of Cambodia, 9/11 – pick any mind-numbing episode of evil-doing and you clear the stage for rage and doubt directed against God. Wasn’t it his responsibility to save us, to protect us as a loving Father should? Sadly, that metaphor has worn out. Evil has become our sole responsibility, a pollution of the heart akin to pollutants in the atmosphere. Only after we take up the burden to foster good, even when our lower instincts howl for revenge and hatred, do we have the right to enlist God.  The divine is a hidden power, a silent voice, an invisible ally. For some people, that will never be good enough.  Our best hope are the witnesses who testify that at the most unexpected moment, what was silent and invisible suddenly manifested itself, and then God began to be clothed in reality.

www.deepakchopra.com

Follow Deepak on Twitter

Photo credit: John Tlumacki / The Boston Globe / Getty Images

Don’t Destroy Anything

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“When you awaken, the personal self has been destroyed,” he said.

“All that has been completely annihilated,” he said.

“No, not really,” I thought.

The personal self is still there, only now you are clear that you are not it. It will fade away eventually from disuse if you don’t use it, but it is there. And why not?

There is no need to destroy it. There is never any need to destroy anything, to annihilate anything so long as you can see, clearly see, that you are not it.

As long as you see what you are, as long as you are what you are – there is never any need to exclude anything.

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