Tag Archives: Life Path

Now. Here. This. – How to Stay Present to Your Purpose

be present.By Jay Forte

How present are we?

Most of us move through life entirely unaware – we move from thing to thing with little intention and focus. At the end of the day we fall into bed, barely remembering what happened during the day.

What if, instead, we truly showed up to each moment? Now. Here. This. (Right) now. (Right) here. This (exact moment).

See, each moment has the two things we need most:

  1. Our actual life.

  2. Information.

By being present and conscious in each moment, we fully connect with our lives. We experience what life shares with us – we are really part of life. After all, what other purpose do we have in life other to be present and experience it? Letting it pass by without really noticing seems a terrible waste of something so amazing.

The other important thing that happens in each moment is we gather information. As we show up present to each moment of our lives, we learn about life, ourselves and how we fit. The more information we have, the better our choices and the more amazing our lives.

I regularly say in my workshops that we were not born with an owner’s manual; at birth we don’t know what we are good at, passionate about and what matters to us. For this information, we need to intentionally show up to each day of our lives because we gather this information as we live. We learn what we rock at and stink at. We learn what moves us and bores us. We can see places of interest and adventure and places that we want to stay away from. All of this is in front of us in every moment. But we have to be present in order to see it, be part of it and learn from it. Now, here, this has all the information that we need to know how to be able to choose wisely in all aspects of work and life.

When we don’t take the time to discover what we are good at, are passionate about and what matters to us, we are unclear of what makes us unique and different. Without this information, our lives start to look like others’ lives instead of our own.

When we don’t know what our voice says (because we haven’t tuned in to now, here, this), then we take others’ voices on as ours. This will always lead us to others’ roads in life. As I tell my three daughters, if you see footprints on your road in life, you are likely on someone else’s road. Reconnect to now, here, this and get back on your road.

Life constantly presents each of us with everything we need; we just don’t seem to see what it offers. Most of the time it is because we are rushing and don’t make time for information and experiences that are right in front of us. Slow it down and all of a sudden life opens up. Slow it down to see what is right in front of us.

My father used to say that life is not a superhighway – it is a meandering path. Though the shortest distance may be between two points, life is not about getting someplace quickly; it is about the quality of the experiences while on the road. The meandering path gives different views at each turn; every event is larger, more interesting and has more to see and learn. But to enjoy the view you have to tune in – you have to make the time to be present, aware and conscious. You have to be in the now, the here and the this.

Showing up present not only is how we experience life, but it is also how we gather information to improve how we experience life. We have everything we need – it is always in front of us. We just need to train ourselves to slow things down to be part of it. So what’s the rush if all we do is get faster to someplace in work or life that doesn’t fit us?

Now. Here. This. Pay attention to right now. Be right here. Watch this. These are the steps to both learn about and experience a great and terrific life.

5 Ways to Transform Regret into Healing

Love Shines Through The Darkness free creative commonsRegret is like clutter. It can mess up your mind with tiny cumulative details creating cobwebs in the brain which darken your thoughts. Similar to managing physical clutter, periodically you take inventory of regrets to let go of what weighs you down, obscures your space and makes you feel stuck. Moreover, as soon as you throw out the first element of clutter, you feel better. This immediate gratification spurs you to continue.

However, don’t regret that you feel regret. Your regrets serve a vital purpose: They bear witness to your personal evolution, how you have grown from your past mistakes. You are now a better person with more experience to overcome and succeed. Note that every stressor which you conquer makes you stronger. The goal is to go stronger, longer.

5 typical patterns of regret which can power up your personality:

1. You regret breaking up or losing touch with a previous love because of bad timing or an error in judgment. The good thing about love – whether lost or won – is that you can always hold it in your heart. And your heart is big enough to love many people, expanding your spirit with their best attributes. You are sure to encounter another love with whom you will inevitably connect. Your regret will make you ready!

2. You regret not telling a loved one who has passed away how much you loved him or her. You feel guilty not having done enough for this person, particularly a parent. Challenge these irrational thoughts. Your regret is actually grief. No one teaches people how to lose, only to amass and possess. Consequently, loss is hard. Give yourself permission to grieve without a time limit. When I feel regret about my parents’ death, I dedicate a good thought, recall a funny conversation or anecdote from my parents to recall their memory in a positive frame.

3. You regret a career road not taken. Perhaps, you did not pursue a higher education, or make a bold career change. Most people put too much emphasis on being extraordinary and often have unreasonable expectations about success. If it is feasible to pursue a passion or longing, do so now. My friend Delia left a career in computer science and took out student loans to become an ER physician. If you cannot take a new career path at this point in time, reinvent and revitalize your job to see it in a larger context. For example, my friend Antonio loves his job as a postal clerk because he gets to greet and say something nice to the people tired of waiting on line. He feels like a spiritual transformer.

4. You regret not having your say. You feel that you should have said “___.” Most likely you were trying to please others. What a relief to remove your mask, and speak your natural truth! Unleash your natural energy to get back in balance between doing for others and yourself.

5. You regret cheating someone. Often people who cheat, lie, or fool someone feel happy that they got away with it. However, when your cheating causes hurt, then you will most likely feel regret. Confessing and making amends are the ultimate spiritual cleanse. The next best thing is learning from your mistake and changing for the better.  Undoubtedly, you will be vigilant about acting with integrity and will find a way to give back to your community.

The Best and Worst Advice I Ever Got in College About Work

.Labor Day Weekend in Boston means two things. Most working people with the day off flee, emptying the streets, taking to the highways, and soaking up the long weekend somewhere outside city environs, preferably with ocean or mountains and without discarded couches littering the sidewalks.

Meanwhile, most students from the city’s many universities (and recent grads from schools everywhere) are moving in, bloating the streets with their moving trucks and subjecting their dads to too many flights of stairs. (A retroactive and eternal thank you to my own father who did this countless times, including when he hoisted a table through a window to fit into a tiny Cambridge apartment, after cutting my box spring in half so that we could maneuver it up the stairway and reassemble it once in my new room. One could say I learned a thing or two about patience and problem-solving from that guy).

This year, I fell into neither category. I’m a long way from college, and I just moved this winter and don’t plan to do it again anytime soon. I no longer subject Dad to being Macgyver on moving days; I spring for movers. I also labored on Labor Day, teaching yoga to a packed house of enthusiastic, sweaty, come-and-get-me-September yogis at Inner Strength Studio. I planned for a video shoot with Runner’s World magazine this weekend. I did a little writing.

Yet, the momentum around me got me thinking about labor and the best and worse advice I got about work while in college. Two key moments come to mind, both of which occurred while I was choosing my major. English.

And I’d choose the same way if I were to do it all over again. Despite getting advice like the following, from the father of a young girl I tutored regularly as a side job. I remember the scene in their impressive Virginia home well. The older son was on the verge of an exciting milestone: his bar mitzvah, and the living room in which I helped his younger sister with reading and writing was overrun by elaborate party favors. I wouldn’t see this many gift bags again until my time as a marketing executive at Boston magazine, while planning massive events like its annual Best of Boston party.

“You have to think about the things you want to have and figure out the job you can do to get those things.”

At this, he motioned around the beautiful home at the things his work had materialized. I didn’t argue. He made a valid point. It was a beautiful home, and they were a lovely family. They seemed happy. If you want a nice home, you have to work to get it. This much I knew, and it’s in my DNA to work hard anyway. But I disagreed with other aspects of his statement. The pursuit of things wasn’t going to inspire me to study subjects about which I didn’t care or in which I didn’t excel. And who’s to say that once I got these things, I’d be happy?

Thank you, sir. Have a wonderful time at the bar mitvah. Little Sally, nail that spelling test, girlfriend.   

Needless to say, this was the worst advice I ever got.

The best came from my friend, Doc, one year behind me in school but infinitely wiser in many ways. He became a bit of an urban legend in the English department at the University of Richmond. First, he was male, and they were hard to come by in our course of study. Second, his memory borders on photographic. For the first few weeks of September during the fall that we met, I thought he was a total slacker. He never took notes, while I busily detailed everything our professor said. He seemed a little aloof, sitting back in his chair and occasionally glancing out the window at the blossoming trees outside. Why was he even in this class, I thought, my body pitched forward so that I wouldn’t miss anything. Craning myself closer to the Shakespeare lecture would obviously implant the information into my brain more effectively.

When we ended up in a study group together, the other girls and I expressed skepticism before his arrival… until he showed up and schooled the sh** out of us by remembering pretty much every lecture, quotation, theme, historical context, cross-reference, and footnote we’d covered that semester. Thus, Doc became my new best friend—and the source of the best work advice I ever got in college.

“College is not job training. When you get a job, they’ll train you. College is for studying what you love, enjoy, and want to think critically about. It’s about learning and learning how to learn—so that you can learn to be an expert at what you choose to do.”

I’m paraphrasing of course. I don’t have Doc’s memory.

So, I chose English. I minored in Women’s Studies. I was a class shy of an Economics minor, and if there’d been a major in Eastern Philosophy and Religion at the time, I’d probably have that too. I loved these courses, and they led me to work in industries I enjoyed, including education, marketing, media, and, yes, yoga, until merging what I enjoyed most and was best at into my work today.

The way my brain functions is no doubt influenced by how it learned to organize and convey information learned in college. However, the world changes drastically over a lifetime, and the best career investment one can make is the desire to work hard and tirelessly on a chosen path. The quickest way to burn out and become miserable is to work at something you don’t like for things that can’t make you happy.

I don’t have a lot of things, but I have all the things I need, which means that in a weird way both pieces of advice worked for me. Or, better yet, I worked for them.

What do you think? What’s the best or worst career advice you’ve ever gotten? What did you study in college, and how has it moved you through life?  

Originally published on my website, Om Gal.

5 Essential Questions to Lead You to Your Calling

o-FIND-YOUR-CALLING-570I was talking to a son of a friend of mine who is 16 years old and rather evolved for his age, and I asked him, “Michael, why do you think we are here?” and he said to me, “To wake up.” He proceeded to elaborate on that thought by saying: “I think most people are asleep — they don’t know who they are. I think we need to wake up to who we are.” He then asked me, “Agapi, why do you think we are here?” I had no hesitation replying, “I think we are here to evolve and transform, and I think that everything that happens in our lives, and everything that doesn’t happen is the journey to our transformation… I think fundamentally I totally agree with you, that we are here to wake up.”

This conversation prompted this blog.

There is an underlying and maybe sometimes not so underlying question, which is in all of us: What is the purpose of my life and what am I here to do? Obviously, each one of us has to find our own unique and personal answer to these questions.

“How can I find my purpose?” That’s a question I get asked a lot from people who are successful to unemployed, happily married to single, etc. “I don’t feel connected to a purpose,” they say.

I like to think of our purpose as our individual calling. It does not have to do with our accomplishments or our resume; it is a deeper thing that connects us to our heart’s pulse. When we find it, it adds meaning to whatever we do and helps us feel the true sense of what success is.

Either way, when we connect to our heart’s calling, everything starts to have meaning. So I have come up with five questions that as you answer can bring your calling closer to you.

What am I here to learn?
What am I here to teach?
What am I here to overcome?
What am I here to complete?
What am I here to express?

If you take a moment to answer these questions from an authentic, truthful place, the answers may be very different from what you had previously thought. These questions are meant to break down self-imposed standards we have bound ourselves with.

The answers to these questions are ongoing and evolving. At different stages in our lives, we are here to teach and learn different things. Nothing is set in stone. As you answer these questions, you may find that there is a blueprint that emerges that can guide you to what calls you, and as you follow that thread you start to experience more of an inner fulfillment. Going through life knowing that we are all teachers and we are all students, and we all have something to contribute, alleviates a sense of separation we often feel.

That knowing can bring a solace and comfort to the basic question: “Why am I here?” It helps us create a bigger arena where we can explore the dimensions of our lives. It adds tremendous creativity in our existence and makes us welcome the unknown instead of fearing it. It also puts us in the driver’s seat where we become the creator of our lives. Seeing that everything that happens in our lives, the good, the bad and the ugly, becomes part of life’s tapestry. Our life’s experiences are the alchemy that helps us transform and awaken to who we are. My mother used to say, “We are all born an original, and it is a challenge to stay an original in a world that tries to mold us to fit in.”

I personally started my life thinking that I was here to become a successful actress. I went to a prestigious drama school and was acknowledged and validated as a very talented actress, moving on to Hollywood to do a movie. When the movie did not work out I went through a soul-searching journey only to discover years later that my calling was not to become a successful actress and perform others’ scripts, but to write my own script, create my own life, and design my own set. I found my calling in a NY bus, performing for a stranger, realizing that I had to share my gift of expression unconditionally. I had restricted myself with expectations of what life should bring me until that moment.

Learning to become resourceful within myself was and is an extraordinary process, and the joy it brought me is invaluable. So often when I feel stuck about something the question I ask is, “How can I create a desirable outcome?” I return to the basics: “What do I need to overcome here?” It always leads me to taking a positive action. Sometimes it’s overcoming a misconception of inadequacy, or fearing to even try in case I don’t achieve the outcome I was hoping for. Overcoming that in itself creates a huge amount of space for all sorts of possibilities that you may not have even thought of to surface.

The mistake we make as human beings is how we attach ourselves and our well-being to external circumstances for validation. The irony is that some of the greatest awakenings we often have are triggered after things don’t work out.

I have often heard statements such as, “Breaking up with this person and going through my divorce led me to find myself and who I really was.” “Leaving the job that I thought was it, lead me to find out what I really wanted to do,” etc.

I hope that these questions bring you a lightheartedness to what can be the serious quest for our life’s purpose because they are meant to bring clarity. I see these questions as a compass to our center, out of which we can enjoy our lives no matter what.

The funny thing is that I am writing this blog as I am sitting with my Greek friend Stavroula, who works with me, having a glass of wine, some mozzarella and tomatoes in NY’s Little Italy. I’m watching people in the summer evening walking about at a slow pace, licking ice creams, couples holding hands and kissing, children running around, men cruising and tons of people sitting on the pavement having dinner, stress-free, enjoying life in the moment. As I am witnessing these rich moments in others’ lives, I can’t help but think to myself that maybe the sixth and most important question is: “Are you enjoying your life, my dear?” and if the answer is no, ask yourself why not. If not now, when.

 

For more, visit my website: www.unbindingtheheart.com

 

Photo credit: Getty images

Why Love is the Answer to Living a Life with Meaning

Don't Let Go.While at dinner night one night, I had a discussion with an accomplished and influential man who has touched the lives of many millions of people in a very positive way. He was sharing how at the ripe old age of 10 he first realized that he was conscious. It led him to the conclusion that “there must be some meaning or purpose as to why I am here.” He became determined to live his life from that vantage point.

Now that he is quite a bit older, he is considering whether there is still a purpose for him and even if what he had done had been useful. I, of course, seeing the value in his work, chimed in with a resounding “Yes!” I could clearly see there was still plenty of purpose and meaning to be found in the years that lay ahead, no matter how many or few.

Another man I know is 15 years younger than the first and also looking back on his life trying to make sense of it all. He can’t seem to understand that there are still plenty of moments left for him in which meaning can and will be found, even if his past wasn’t all he wanted it to be. Instead, he is running laps in the playground of his mind, which from my perspective is different than gaining awareness and altitude. But hey, it’s his playground.

In my early twenties, I read Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning.” In it, the author introduces what he calls an existential vacuum, a condition that exists when one’s life is empty of meaning. When this vacuum is present, it is as if existence has a large hole in it that cannot be filled. A friend of mine at that time was a psychiatrist interested in levels of consciousness and why people felt this vacuum inside. In his quest for awakening and awareness, he introduced his friends to a veritable garden of spiritual teachers, each with a different take on the subject.

From that point on, I was fascinated by the existential, the spiritual practices of all religions, the experiences of mysticism, and the many ways people look for meaning and purpose in their life. Like my friend, I found my spiritual teacher and my spiritual practice. The sense of isolation I hadn’t previously understood shifted almost immediately. The emptiness related to my food addiction was more complicated and took many years to overcome.

As for my meaning and purpose, I spent decades searching for the answers. In the end, it all boiled down to “Whatever the question, love is the answer.” I discovered that the greatest gift I could give someone was to really listen to them and let them know that they mattered. To let them know that they were not alone – that someone cared about them. That in fact, all of us are part of a grand whole in which we are all interconnected.

I found new meaning when I shared my authentic experiences by helping others to understand that while we are different, we are the same. That each of us is ordinary, doing the best we can with what we have been given, and with what we have chosen to develop. And when I am communing in that way with others, I am in touch with what I have come to know as Spirit.

By loving and offering support wherever I can, in whatever small way I can, I find meaning in the moment. And since life is made up of moments, I can focus on those, and not have to ponder the imponderable or drive myself nuts with how many angels can actually dance on the head of a pin. Rather than get stuck in that place of no return, I return to the spiritual experiences, the transcendence of this level that I can have in the quiet when the peace descends and love enfolds.

We live in stressful times with people searching for significance in the chaos and peace in the turmoil. I think it can be helpful to look at the ways in which each of us finds meaning and then share that not only with everyone we know, but also with anyone who is looking. To that end, my daily questions to myself are, “Did I partake in the opportunities for loving that were presented to me today?” “Was I grateful?” and “Did I listen to and act upon the wisdom of my heart?” This wisdom tells me to always be open to the possibilities of new meanings, awareness, and new awakenings.

 

Originally published July 2010

Be the Author of Your Own Life Story

Too young and eager to die from H1N1As a youngster I never felt young. I remember teenagers and adults speaking freely in my presence under the pretext that my seven-year-old psyche was much too naïve to understand such grownup subjects. I let them believe that, but I didn’t miss a thing. Quickly learning straight A’s said I was smart, being athletic meant I was popular, and hanging with the boys made me cool. As I got older, I equated partying with fun, money with success, and a sparkler on an all-important finger with security.

Despite my quick-witted, adventurous, yoga sculpted, high-kickin’ and high-falutin’ life, I repeatedly found myself in a pool of tears on the floor of the beachfront home I shared with my Internet pioneer boyfriend.

In my limited scope of consciousness, I blamed my man. Obviously he wasn’t doing enough for me… for us. This prompted a stubborn case of the “when we’s”, that ruthlessly hijacked me from the present moment. When he stops working so much, then we’ll be happy. When we stop partying so much, then we’ll be happy; when we get engaged, then we’ll be happy. After all, didn’t I have all of the other ingredients that are supposed to create a happy life?

It wasn’t until years after we went our separate ways that I recognized the real source of my sadness. I’d been unconsciously following a script based on the messages I’d soaked up from the fabric around me, and internalized them as my own. Turns out, I wasn’t as savvy as my seven year-old self would have you believe.

My narrow script left little room for creative risks because taking chances might expose my character as not being the image of perfection I was used to portraying. Of course I had no idea I was doing any of this; I just assumed the creative gene had unceremoniously passed me by. So instead, I partied. And believed myself to be a rebel in doing so, unable to grasp that real rebels don’t escape. They seek truth, and challenge the status quo with the audacity of the truth they’ve uncovered. Rebels walk the walk of the change they wish to see in the world, despite how uncomfortable it may be.

Rather than cultivate my own unique genius and inner beliefs, the competition element in my script attracted me to the smartest, most athletic, most successful alpha male. It read: basking in his glow, girl feels secure. Vulnerability, gratitude and authenticity weren’t traits that had been written into my part, which made fulfillment for much of anything nearly impossible. Looking back, I sometimes wonder how I got along at all with that befuddled script.

As I panned out to a much wider view of reality, I was able to see that while I didn’t necessarily write the script, I’d followed it blindly for years. By identifying the illusions that caused pain, I was able to let go, and open my mind and heart to the possibly of creating a new script. With the understanding that life is merely a reflection of our inner thoughts, I awakened to new information and aligned with spiritual truths. As I did the inner work, I watched in amazement as my life transformed into an vibrant expression of gratitude, acceptance, creative passion and wonder.

Are You Trying To Find Your Purpose?

Enjoying the sunHas trying to find your purpose ever stressed you out? Do you feel some sort of pressure to make something meaningful with your life? In the past, when I heard people talk about their purpose, I would feel stressed and believed I was supposed to be doing something different or more with my life.

I thought that I needed to be clear about what that purpose looked like in the physical world. I then realized that by searching for this clarity, I was missing the life that was actually given to me as this present moment. I realized I had been missing the opportunity to express what was most important to me while I was searching.

What if it’s not as complicated as the mind makes it out to be? What if in the larger picture, what you’re doing is not as important as how you are being while you are doing it and the quality of energy you are putting out into the Uni-verse?

We are all hooked up differently to feel alive and sometimes it’s just about paying attention to what already lights us up. One thing that has helped me get clarity around this, and that I often recommend to clients, is having what I call a Joy Journal. It consists of taking some time every night to simply write down your favorite part of that day: this could be connecting with a coworker on a break, teaching a child how to ride a bike, or even being in nature or with animals.

Over time I was able to become more aware of the themes that spoke to me and I consciously created a job that brings in those elements and that feels aligned with my values. I knew I enjoyed connecting authentically with people, creating environments where people could more deeply discover who they are and ask meaningful questions.  I loved being a part of an inspiring community, and I knew I loved Bali.

So… I created a Wellness Retreat to Bali and over the last four years have been leading groups there on an immersion retreat where we do yoga, daily meditation, we get massages, eat raw food, get inspired by each other and also express our creativity. At the heart of these activities I could see that what I truly value is consciousness work, genuine relationships and supporting people. It’s no surprise that I also work as a psychotherapist because these qualities are expressed in that work as well.

It’s not that my purpose is my work, but my work supports me in expressing what I hold as most important to me. The invitation is to first clarify what you truly value. If at the heart of things you hold important in life is love, then discover how love expresses itself in your life moment-to-moment, person to person. Or if what you really value is service, then simply asking yourself everywhere you go, “How can I best serve here?” is a way of embodying your purpose. Then watch as life unfolds by honoring what is truly in your heart.

You can trust that the intelligence that holds the stars and the galaxies in the Uni-verse is also orchestrating your life… you can rest in that. A flower doesn’t know where it is going or its ultimate purpose, and yet it still blooms… something in it knows.

Goals are fine, and if you already have clarity about a specific expression your life is taking, then follow that, assuming it’s aligned with your heart. Just don’t get lost in the goal, thinking that getting “there” will somehow deeply satisfy you. It’s easy to have the end in mind or believe you have a purpose and then lose sight of the other 90% of your life, brushing your teeth, driving to work, meeting people at the grocery store, etc. This 90% is as much a part of life as the other 10%. By mentally living in the future, we miss out on the opportunity to express what we truly value now.

Often what we actually deeply yearn for is the creativity and spontaneity that arises out of the present moment. I invite you to enjoy this discovery as you let go of the stressful ideas about how you believe life should be, and experience the fullness of following what you truly value in your heart moment-to-moment.

“We can do no great things, only small things with great love.”  ~ Mother Teresa

Radical Responsibility

radical-responsibility

 

“Why would God allow this to happen?”

I heard this questions, in many forms, in many variations many, many times. At last I responded. This time it was about a five-year old girl who was raped with an iron rod and died. Why would God allow this to happen?

“Maybe because God considers humans to be responsible adults who don’t need supervision, but can make their own choices, design their own lives and create their own reality” I responded “maybe because God acknowledges their freedom to do so. Humans are free to choose, some choose pain, others don’t — all create their experience of life with their choices.”

And the inevitable response came:

“But the 5 year old little girl didn’t choose all of this for herself. What does God have to say about that?”

 And … and it gave me pause. It gave me pause not because I didn’t have an answer to that – I have an answer and it is a good one — but because I was not sure my answer would be an acceptable one. I was not sure it would be a hand-able one.

I said:

“God might say: you choose your own faith, you create your destiny and your life in ways you don’t yet understand. You chose where and how you will be born and you choose how, and when, you die. Your life is called ‘your life’ not ‘God’s life’ for a reason. That you are not aware of choosing and creating doesn’t mean you don’t choose and create.”

Is that too much? Is it too much to say? Is it too much to expect from a five year old, from a fifteen year old, from a fifty year old?

But, you see, God just might see humans differently than humans do. God just might know the unlimited power humans wield and with which they create their reality, their world, their life. God might know that there is no limit to what humans can do, to what they can be. God might know that the human world looks and works like it does because humans say so, believe so, relate so.

God might know, at last, that it is nothing more than an outward projection of humans themselves. A name, a concept to which humans assign that which they, themselves, truly are — the ultimate, unlimited creators.

All humans, even those who are five years old.

Is this too much?

Pennies From Heaven

They say when an angel misses you, they toss a penny down from heaven. Sadly, not everyone knows how much truth there is in this old adage.

Spirit has many interesting ways to communicate with us, and always on a very personal level. Your spiritual signs and signals can range from the truly spectacular to the very mundane. And sometimes they can be found in the most unusual places, or when they are least expected. Two of the most commonly sighted phenomena are coins or ‘pennies’, as well as feathers. Depending on your personal belief system, these items are left around for us by loved ones, animal guides, angels and spirit guides.

No matter where you believe your signs may be coming from, they are most certainly meant especially for you, and they always have a sincere and personal meaning, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant they may appear to be.

 

So, don’t pass by that penny, When you’re feeling blue. It may be a penny from heaven, that an Angel’s tossed to you – Charles Marshburn

 

Of course, many skeptics doubt that these phenomena exist, and it is often discounted as mere superstition or urban myth. I have, however, had several powerful personal experiences of such signs over the years, and I also hear frequent reports from friends and clients who experience the same thing. Spirit has indeed taught me some very valuable lessons through different signs and signals, and these personal, first-hand experiences contradict the most one-dimensional or misguided opinion of any skeptic.

A dear friend and client recently received very compelling confirmation of the signs she had been questioning for years.* She is currently in the midst of a major life transition and a personal transformation. For quite some time now we have been discussing the signs she has been receiving in the form of popular songs. She keeps hearing them: over the radio, in the gym and in the shopping mall. Once she even heard it on the phone, after she was placed on hold by a call centre. The signs keep coming consistently; every time she asks for them, she receives them. But the doubt secretly creeps back into her mind soon after. What if it was just her imagination?

Two days ago she messaged me, wanting to know if the latest incident was another sign. There is a specific song she has always associated with a certain special person in her life, for a very particular reason. She had now heard this song on three separate occasions at very significant moments. Each time it happened she was either with this person, or she was specifically thinking of him, or she was asking for a sign about him.

 

When suffering comes, we yearn for some sign from God, forgetting we have just had one – Mignon McLaughlin

 

I explained to her that we sometimes receive the same signs more than once, in order to overcome our doubt or fear. In her case she was getting her signs in three’s. But I also knew that she had to see proof of this for herself, before she would feel truly content. I therefore suggested she ask for a confirmation of the fact that important signs come to her in three’s.

The answer came sooner than anticipated. She was in a public place when she received my response. She did not even have to ask for confirmation. The minute she opened my text message on her cellphone, even before she had finished reading all of it, she discovered three pennies on a seat she was about to sit down on.

She immediately sent me the news and I then assured her that pennies are a well-known sign for many people all over the world. I also urged her to keep the pennies in a safe place and have another look at them later, because sometimes the dates or other engravings on them also have special meanings.

The next day I received a follow-up: “Thanks Anthon! You wouldn’t believe this, but later yesterday I saw three feathers. Well, actually four, I saw one at first and did a double take – but dismissed it, then an hour or so later saw a cluster of three feathers together on the floor.”

 

The angels are so enamored of the language that is spoken in heaven that they will not distort their lips with the hissing and unmusical dialects of men, but speak their own, whether there be any who understand it or not – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Messages from the spiritual realm are potentially life-changing, but they so often pass us by, unnoticed, mostly because of our lack of awareness. In fact, some of us are so stubborn or oblivious to our metaphysical reality that we first have to receive a pebble, then a rock and finally a ton of bricks, before we eventually sit up and pay attention! First there is a message, then a lesson and finally comes the crisis.

If you have never experienced the wonder of witnessing the effect of such miraculous signs and signals in your life, I highly recommend that you consider giving it a shot. What do you stand to lose? All you need to do is heighten your awareness and increase your consciousness. Don’t allow yourself to let your mystical reminders and spiritual signposts pass you by forever.

Signs and signals from the spiritual realm always have a purpose. Most often they are important guideposts or ‘traffic signs’ along our life path, confirming our choices, decisions and actions. Sometimes we receive these messages to console us in times of distress or sadness, while at other times they come as warnings, urging us to proceed with caution.

Reading your special signs and signals is your divine right, and a basic skill that anyone can develop. Some gurus would have you believe that this is a complex art or science, or that it requires special psychic abilities or years of study and practice. The truth is that this is a blessing freely available to all of us, regardless of whom we are or what we believe in. All you need to do is ask, and it will be given.

 

The whole visible universe is but a storehouse of images and signs to which the imagination will give a relative place and value; it is a sort of pasture which the imagination must digest and transform – Charles Baudelaire

 

The best way to start reading signs is by simply becoming more aware. Take more notice of the small wonders that happen in the world around you every day. Look out for patterns and synchronicities, because there are no ‘coincidences’ in life. Everything happens for a reason; there are no windfalls, only godsends.

Soon you will begin to discover your unique set of personal symbols and patterns. Your special signs could come in the form of dreams, colors, words, numbers, sounds, songs, computer messages, clouds, images, animals, people, places or specific objects, like coins and feathers. They could also come in a certain order or they may be repeated a certain number of times. The list of possibilities and combinations is truly endless. It is also very different for each individual, depending on your belief system, as well as your cultural background and your unique personality and interests.

Always keep your expectations simple and don’t expect weird riddles or complex messages. The message is always very clear and direct. The intention is after all to communicate and guide, not to confuse, frighten or mislead you. Also, use some common sense. If you never listen to the radio, you certainly cannot expect it to become a conduit for spiritual communication. Your signs will show up in accessible ways that complement your lifestyle, or match your personal outlook. All you need to do is become more aware and be open to the process.

 

Look after the pennies, and the pounds will take care of themselves – English Proverb

 

Finally, we need to be thankful for every sign or message we receive. Express your gratitude by being kind to yourself and others, and show your appreciation by caring for all living creatures, as well as our magnificent planet. Count each and every blessing.

The Universe is an abundant and interactive place of wonder and magic; it is ready and waiting to respond to your needs. You can heal your life and make all your wishes come true. Spirit wants the opportunity to guide you and protect you on your journey through life.

Acknowledge your higher self and learn to trust your intuition. You have inside of you a deep well of wisdom and you are connected to everything in the Universe. You are part of an infinite and ever-expanding grid of spiritual consciousness.

Use your signs and godsends to re-design your life and create the destiny you truly want; learn to apply your divine ‘early warning system’ to avoid unnecessary obstacles and setbacks along the way. All you need to do is ask. Reclaim what is rightfully yours.

* Dedicated to my friend ‘Ms C’. Thank you for allowing me to share your story with the world.

© 2010 Anthon St Maarten

Ol’ Boogeyman Still Comin’ To Getcha?

BoogeymanIn my line of work there is often an unhealthy obsession with the concept of evil. It appears we are simply not able to rid ourselves of this ‘thing’ we seem to have for the boogeyman (here in my country known as the tokoloshe).

Just the other day I was listening to a radio psychic scaring the living daylights out of his unsuspecting caller. She just wanted some career advice, but instead he was hell-bent on convincing her that her home was infested with evil entities. His charming co-host also jumped in to offer some old-wives’ cures for getting rid of all the demonic forces. Truth be told, the only disturbance I was picking up on was the fact that the poor, freaked out woman would not be getting much sleep for weeks!

Now, don’t get me wrong. The struggle between good and evil is very, very real. It is a fundamental component of the human condition. It is also the basis of all Creation. It stems from the duality found in every important aspect of our expanding Universe: dark versus light, life versus death, night versus day. Light needs the presence of darkness to be truly visible and meaningful.

 

A belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness –  Joseph Conrad

 

The co-existence of good and evil is also the basis for an inner conflict that each of us have to resolve in this lifetime. It is part of the reason why we are here. Both good and evil therefore do serve a purpose in the greater scheme of things. No doubt about that. But blaming the spiritual realm for the darkness of men is my idea of heresy and blasphemy.

Our morbid fascination with all things dark is as old as the hills, but it is still very much de rigueur. Just the fact that psychics and mediums are today still being accused of doing the devil’s work is sufficient proof in itself. In many religious circles ‘fire and brimstone’ remains the height of fashion. Not to mention the latest 2012 doomsday prophecies, conspiracy theories and apocalyptic visions of evil forces, undercover aliens and secret societies; all hype eagerly spread by fear-mongers, spin doctors and social entrepreneurs.

But those are the most obvious kinds of evil mania. What truly amazes me about our obsession with all things evil is that it is not something you only find in traditional churches or conservative circles. No, some truly gifted, spiritually aware and highly intuitive people, with whom I share many beliefs and blessings, are also fanatic about finding evil spirits, curses and dark entities under their beds, inside their closets …and deep-down in the purses and wallets of their clients.

 

The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance – Socrates

 

Yesterday a wonderful client called me, devastated and in tears. She had been persuaded by a well-meaning friend to “try out” another psychic she knows of… just for fun. The self-proclaimed ’spiritual advisor’ had a field day predicting doom and gloom for her current relationship and warned her that another woman was doing magick to steal her man away. She also offered to do spell work for her to fix the problem, to the tune of $400! Meanwhile my client’s love life is perfectly on track and they are in fact a very happy couple. How dare someone mess with the lives of others out of sheer greed? It truly disgusts me. May God have mercy on her soul.

It is deeply disappointing that many who share in the collective consciousness appear to be obsessing about evil entities and dark forces all of the time. In fact, they are so busy doing this that they hardly have any time or energy left to be co-creators in our spiritual evolution. They seem to miss the point that evil is about regression, destruction and reversing into the past. Evil is the antithesis of creation and expansion, and they seem to forget that what they focus on, sadly, does become their reality.

The good versus evil ‘battle’ has been waged one way or another since the dawn of civilization. It is an ancient archetype that is one of the most recognizable themes in literature and the arts. Let’s face it; ‘good guys versus bad guys’ is the stuff that bestsellers and box office hits are made of.

 

Eternal good is eternal becoming or eternally moving forward to greater life. Eternal evil is to cease becoming and “to be” that which was in the past – JJ Dewey

 

I guess it therefore comes as no surprise that some spiritual seekers are forever obsessing about the evil they fear may be creeping up on them. One only has to tune in to a few podcasts, or watch the latest online videos, to witness the spiritual community’s fixation on everything evil. Indeed, fundamentalism is not only found among the religious and the dogmatic. Some of the ‘spiritually enlightened’ and ‘intuitively evolved’ seem to insist on clinging to medieval concepts and out-dated superstitions.

Instead of being fully devoted to unconditional love, kindness, generosity, selflessness and the greater good, much energy, time and money is being spent every day fighting evil entities and keeping the ‘darkness’ and its ‘extremely powerful forces’ at bay. Potions, spells and candles are actually the very products that keep scam psychics and fake mediums in business. All this while the true battle of Armageddon is being fought right here under our noses, in the streets in front of our houses.

There is no dominating source of evil, because if there was, we would not exist, nature would not exist and neither would the Universe. It is counter-productive to assign so much influence and power to something that is in fact just vast emptiness, non-entity and anti-matter.

 

To rid ourselves of our shadows – who we are – we must step into either total light or total darkness. Goodness and evil – Jeremy P. Johnson

 

I have often said, and will say it again, if you want to know true evil just switch on the evening news. If you are curious to see the real face of Satan, you will find him lurking on the cover of celebrity magazines, in newspapers and on political campaign posters. The battle between good and evil is not being fought in the spiritual realm. Spirit knows no anger, envy, fear, violence or hatred. The real war is happening in mundane places, like the television set in your parlor or at your child’s school.

If you want to find demons, shadow people or anti-Christs, look for them in our educational institutions, communities, churches and governments. If you truly want to find evil incarnate, seek it among the school bullies in our midst, those who drive their peers to suicide or post vile online jokes about their deaths.

Stop hunting ghosts, witches, psychic vampires and energy thieves, and rather expose the narcissists among us who dominate, dictate and destroy so many relationships, families, careers and lives – devoid of empathy and compassion. Search also the boardrooms, public offices and parliaments. There you will find among our leaders and kings many ego-maniacs who abuse their power, corrupt their economy and violate the basic human rights of their people, while they wage senseless wars on their critics and each other.

 

It is a man’s own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways – Buddha

 

Evil, darkness, threat and fear are not spiritual forces… they are the evil creations of man. JJ Dewey writes that “all forces, powers, and energies are neither good nor evil in themselves. They are completely neutral, but only become good or evil when they are intelligently directed.” He also states that “all energies and creations vibrating in their pure state are good.” And that is the whole point. Focusing so much of our thoughts, feelings and intentions on evil, instead of that which is good, is counter-productive and contrary to our Divine Purpose. We are here to serve each other and grow, expand and become, not to cast an exaggerated, ominous shadow over all that is potentially good in the world.

The spiritual realm is much like the natural world. It is in essence breathtakingly perfect, completely harmonious and utterly flawless. I have yet to meet an evil animal or discover a satanic plant. The only evil I have ever witnessed among plants and animals are the scars left on them by the inhumane, dark deeds of men. It is certainly not the devil who is trashing the environment, abusing the animal kingdom or trampling the hearts of loving women and breaking the spirits of brave men.

The Divine Light that you and I come from, and will return to one day, knows no evil and does not recognize the power of these shadows that some so willingly fear and follow. Believing in the supremacy of evil entities and dark beings implies that we all come from a spiritual place of imperfection. It suggests that the Divine Source is somehow diseased, that Creation is riddled with flaws and falsehoods that dwell among us. And, worst of all, that we are so far superior in our human state that we alone are capable of fixing this broken, dysfunctional or chaotic spiritual mess.

 

The reason our definition of good and evil changes over the ages is because our capacity to understand and experience freedom changes – JJ Dewey

 

I realize that for some it must be fun to indulge in this paranormal soap opera, but most of us simply don’t have the time, or the inclination. We know we have much work to do, gifts to offer, blessings to share. We are the Wounded Healers, the Empaths, the Shamans, the Indigo Children, the Starseeds, and the Lightworkers. We speak to the Angels, listen to our Spirit Guides and trust in the guidance of our Ancestors, Ascended Masters and Loved Ones. We fight true evil by saving the planet and healing humanity, by drying one tear at a time.

We have no need for spells, talismans or obsessive-compulsive psychic defenses, for we are surrounded by the everlasting and indestructible shields of Love, Peace and Harmony. The phenomenal power of our Spiritual Heritage surges through our being every moment of every day. We are illuminated by the Divine; there is much Light around us.

The spiritual evolution of mankind is our ultimate aim, our Divine duty. As we continue to expand the Universe, this dazzling, bright Light we carry will continue to emanate from us with much Glory. And we know that there shall come a time when there will be no more evil among men. And we shall know that all is Good.

© 2010 Anthon St Maarten

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