Prayer has been defined as “a solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God or an object of worship.” Whether or not you have faith God, a god or no god, the practice of asking for help and expressing gratitude is an important one for everyone. It is how we begin the conversation of what is real and true for us as individuals. It is in the act of prayer that we quiet our souls and get honest with ourselves which is why it is our intent to take time to pray.
All parents are looking for the silver bullet to parenting. We know we need to give our kids continual instruction on honor, truthfulness, integrity, kindness, patience and loving the unlovable. They need to be held accountable for their actions. Learn to restrain their impulses to throw temper tantrums. Be able to resist peer pressure to experiment with sex, drugs and alcohol. But the question remains, “What can we teach our kids that will prepare them for any crisis that is sure to impact them some time in their lives?”
Because there will be days, months even when everything seems lost. When they suffer the inevitable heartbreak. When they fail to make the team. When their friends have deserted them. When they’re rejected by their favorite college. When even God seems far away. And these are just the teen years.
We all know there will often be times in adulthood when money is tight. Jobs are lost. Marriages are rocky. Health is failing. Loved ones leave us. And loneliness collapses souls.Continue reading →
I had the wonderful opportunity this week to travel to Aruba for a vacation with my fiancée and future stepchildren. One evening, while sitting alone on the balcony of our room, gazing out in awe at the beautiful landscape and feeling warmed the balmy breezes, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of gratitude. I’m blessed with so many things – family and friends who love me, opportunities to meet and work with amazing people and the daily opportunity to express how grateful I am to God for giving this recovering addict a second chance at life. I’ve been in very dark places and know that my story could have ended differently. But this night in Aruba, like all of the days since I made the commitment to be clean and sober, offered another moment to reflect on the reality that if you do the right things, hang in there and choose to live God’s way, all of those blessings are possible.
Since I renewed my commitment to God and a life of meaning and purpose dedicated to helping others both professionally and personally, I’ve developed daily prayer, meditation and journaling rituals that help me get into the right spiritual mindset. I’ve been doing this ever since I got sober. I wake up by 6 a.m. at the latest and spend 30 minutes on a combination of praying (sometimes on my knees on a clean floor, but sometimes even at my kitchen counter having my morning coffee) and doing affirmation readings from books of positive quotes and writings that inspire me to live that day and be present. I spend a lot of time on gratitude. Whether it’s dark or light, I always light a candle. It’s just my way of bringing spirituality into the moment and connecting with God. My morning journaling is simple, just writing thank you to God for another day He has granted me. Continue reading →
In my practice, many people seek my guidance on their spiritual progress. They want to live more positively and many incorporate prayer into their daily routine.
A client came in the other day to discuss meditation. Like many novice to the practice, she kept telling me that she simply didn’t have time for it. She also told me that there had to be a quick, easy way to have God answer her prayers. I studied her for a moment and then asked:
“Praying is asking a question and meditation is listening for the answer. Do you often ask questions and run off?”
“Then how do you know you are being heard?”
Meditation is a rewarding way of connecting prayer with a higher power. It doesn’t matter whether you label that higher power your Higher Self, God, Source, or anything else, you will still need to hear beyond the experience of listening with the ear in order to truly hear the energy within. When we are in a prayerful state our spirit is communicating with that higher power and it is something greater than what we perceive in everyday life. Prayer then becomes a spiritual dialogue, (the intention) and if you do not incorporate the act of mindful listening (meditation), you will most likely lose the essence of the complete message and miss out on the answer on a deeper level.
So, when you are praying, remember to also give pause to hear beyond your surroundings to deep within the nature of the you within your spirit. I have found incredible insight comes to me when prayer and meditation are understood as companions: Prayer indulges the question (the intention) and meditation (the answer) is provided through silence.
Our present world is one that moves at an incredibly high-stress, fast pace. Many of us are used to working fast, typing fast, and living fast. We focus on social media streams rather than streams of consciousness. Switch that up and give yourself the time to reward your intentions by allowing the connection of meditation to accompany your prayers and you will shine your light brighter.
Like Linda’s post? Check out these similar intents on Intent.com
Linda Lauren is a fourth-generation psychic medium, Color & Energy Consultant, Author and Reiki Practitioner, who connects with people who come to her for guidance through the color and energy she senses around them. Linda, known as the ‘Travel Psychic™’, also uses that energy to guide her clients with their travel plans.
What is mindfulness and how do we incorporate it into our lives? Being “mindful” can mean different things to different people. Some practice yoga, others pray, others contemplate nature or do community service. Regardless of the medium, though, mindfulness is a mode of awareness that can give foundation to all the work we do, and to every moment of our lives.
Today kicks off Mindfulness Week in Google+’s #SummerRefresh campaign series, and we begin with a panel discussion on mindfulness, lead by Mallika Chopra. Join Mallika and a knowledgeable panel of experts as they look at the role of intention and other mindfulness practices in living a more meaningful and healthy life. The discussion will help answer questions about how to turn goals and aspirations into reality; understanding the difference between an intention and a goal; and the relationship between intention and other practices that lead to mindfulness such as meditation, prayer, service, and yoga.
Join us right here, where the Hangout will be live-streamed on Monday August 19th at 2PM Eastern (11AM Pacific)!
What mindfulness techniques do you practice? Let us know in the comments section!
Follow the Living+ #SummerRefresh campaign, and enjoy the upcoming mindfulness hangouts later this week!
We don’t have a letter this week and I thought I’d try something a little different. Something sort of extraordinary has happened that has inspired me and I’d like to share it with all of you.
I’ve been a writer all my life. Not always professionally, but a good pen (preferably blue) with college ruled notebook paper has been where I’ve felt home since I was a child. I’ve gone through several evolutions with how writing would fit into my life – taking turns as a journalist, wannabe novelist, “hobby”-est – you name it and I tried it/thought about it/didn’t make it through. It was in a dark movie theater in Queens that it all sort of clicked into place – screenwriting. After all that time it was strange how easy it was to see that’s what I needed, that’s where home truly was. It just made sense.
So I packed up my bags and I moved west. It took a year to get my feet on the ground and off of generous family members and friends’ couches, but I finally found a job that would allow me to have my own place, afford to live and give me time to keep chasing the dream. I started taking classes and soon the dream started evolving. I developed a new-found confidence on stage and performing started edging its way in to my frequent success fantasies. I found the story I wanted to write, knew the part I wanted to play, all I had to do was get out my pen, put it to paper and write my way to where I truly felt I belonged.
Of course, especially in this town, self-doubt creeped in with the new desires. Do you know how many aspiring screenwriters there are in Los Angeles? More than you can count, and those are just the ones that managed to make it into city limits. And acting? I had no experience outside of high school drama. I sure as hell didn’t look like someone meant to be in front of a camera. The doubt made me bitter and negative. Even though I had a great job that afforded me so much I felt miserable because it wasn’t exactly what I wanted. I hated myself for being so ungrateful, for not being more motivated, for not working harder. Maybe I didn’t want it as badly as I thought, and just that idea made me sick to my stomach.
I began bargaining with the ordering forces of the universe, begging for a sign that I was doing the right thing. I wanted it so badly but the obstacles seemed insurmountable. I just needed some help. I was already on the trail, I just needed a magic dose of courage to put on my shoes and really chase what I wanted.
Then I heard from a friend that she was leaving her steady job to pursue her passion project full-time (you’ll actually be hearing about it quite soon!). I was in awe of her courage – the journey she is about to embark on will be challenging and daunting and beautiful and will save lives. She said she knew it was what she wanted for a while but it took a few other things to push her into taking the plunge, and now that it was here she was terrified but invigorated. She hadn’t worked so hard on anything in a long time. The passion was evident – it radiated off of her. And while being so happy for her, I found myself feeling jealous. I wanted to feel that passion again, as I had when I was sitting in that movie theater, when I first moved to Los Angeles, so sure and so excited.
That’s when I remembered a scene from the Steve Carrell movie, “Evan Almighty.” It is mostly a physical comedy about a man who is tasked with building an ark by God himself. In the midst of the madness, Evan’s wife, played by Lauren Graham, gets some unsolicited advice from a kind stranger that has always stuck with me.
We are not just handed the answers, but given the opportunity to find them for ourselves. My friend was creating her own opportunity, and my envious feelings stemmed purely from me waiting around for someone to hand me my dreams with a bow wrapped around them. She stopped floundering or wondering and decided to just do it.
So this week I say let’s all take a page from her book. Let’s stop waiting for answers in signs or feeling sorry for ourselves when our lives don’t take the immediate direction we want them to. See each turn as an opportunity and take it. Find your passion and follow it.
Tell me how it goes lovelies. I’ll see you again in two weeks, but as for now I have to head out to get a box of red hair dye, a gym membership and new box of blue pens.
I often witness friends and clients overspiritualize their issues without dealing with them in an honest way. Some folks throw affirmations over their problems without getting to the root cause of their discomfort, while others spend hours talking about forgiveness with no real desire to let go. In this video I’ll help you get honest about how you handle your feelings and give you a concrete tool for truly moving through your issues.
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Feeling inspired? Check out my other recent videos:
I grew up thinking being religious meant you were spiritual and vice versa. When I walked away from organized religion in my early 30s, I thought I was walking away from spirituality, as well.
When I would experience blissful moments of peace, connection, or unparalleled stillness on my yoga mat, I had no word for it. This is just yoga, I thought. When I was introduced to mantra and chanting and started to look forward to it at the end of a class, marveling at the higher resonance I experienced through it, I again thought to myself, This is just yoga.
When yoga teachers talked about the Universal or mythical gods and goddesses, it made me a little uncomfortable because it started to sound a little too “spiritual.” This part’s not for me, I thought. Yet I could feel myself drawn to classes with an emphasis on philosophy more than hot yoga classes.
The more I began to focus on meditation and living and moving mindfully, the more I began to run across the word “spiritual” in my research and in my search for like-minded people. My practices of yoga, meditation, and mindfulness were bringing me home; home to a body I had never inhabited before. They were delivering me to my fullest life and preparing me to handle life and loss like an inhale and an exhale.
Due to my deeply religious upbringing, I would see parallels everywhere. Practices that existed on opposite ends of the spiritual spectrum seemed to me to have a lot in common. The humility and reverence at times present in both prayer and meditation. The devotional feeling present both in singing and chanting. The trust in a marvelous higher source called the Universal or God. The life force of prana and the life force of the Holy Spirit. Buddhist concepts like right effort, right speech, and respect sounded just like what I’d learned Jesus to teach.
When I first heard the suggestion that violence is the result of humanity “forgetting who we are,” or forgetting our inherent true nature, our universal oneness, I was reminded of Jesus’ dying words: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
According to professor of psychology David N. Elkins, Ph.D., “The word spirituality comes from the Latin root spiritus, which means ‘breath’ – referring to the breath of life. It involves opening our hearts and cultivating our capacity to experience awe, reverence, and gratitude. It is the ability to see the sacred in the ordinary, to feel the poignancy of life, to know the passion of existence and to give ourselves over to that which is greater than ourselves.”
I see many people redefining spirituality these days, allowing it to exist and thrive as an internal state, independent of organized religion. Others would call that kind of talk sacrilegious.
And I see many people struggling to find an acceptance and a validity to being spiritual without being religious. For some their religious roots haunt them, and for others the stigma of “spirituality” blocks their curiosity, even though they often find themselves face-to-face with a yearning for a deeper connection to life.
The dispute over whether yoga is religious and should be allowed in schools continues to create controversy. I personally don’t feel yoga is religious. It is not a religion. It may, however, allow you to have some deeper experiences of being that some would call “spiritual.” It is largely our labeling that creates divisiveness.
If I have a non-dualistic experience of universal connection through yoga or meditation, and you have a dualistic experience of universal connection through church and prayer, and mine prepares me to live and die in peace and yours to live in heaven, who’s to say I am right and you are wrong? The two of us are here on earth, side by side, striving to be the best human beings we can be.
Many people become spiritual seekers in the wake of loss, trauma, or in old age. The reality of death seems to wake up a sometimes dormant spiritual need.
We will all die one day. I’m more interested in how you choose to live than in how often you go to church or how often you meditate.
In the words of English-American revolutionary Thomas Paine, “The World is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.”
In light of the recent events in Boston, many of us are walking around with heavy hearts. We search for answers. Why? How can such evil exist in our world? We grieve for the lost lives and suffering felt by our one human family.
While me may never get all of the answers we seek, and despite the senseless tragedy, it’s important to keep our faith in humanity and our spirits lifted. Yes, while some people out there have lost their way, we are all generally good at heart and this goodness far outweighs the bad. Now, more than ever, it is important that each of us do the work to be the change. Only light can drive out darkness. You matter. We all do. Everything in this world around us is made of energy. You better believe yours affects the world around you. Even seemingly simple actions can help raise the vibrations we emit around us, and thus contribute to collectively raising the consciousness of the world.
Here are a few suggestions that can help us be responsible for the energy around us in a positive way:
1) Limit the amount of news we intake. Yes, it is important to stay informed, and we all want answers and updates. However, our media tends to focus on the very negative. Balance your need to know with your need to keep your own spirit lifted. Instead of focusing on gruesome details reported over and over by the hyped-up media, seek more uplifting and heart-warming stories (yes they do exist!). In Boston, many put their own safety aside to run towards the explosion to help others. Think about our brave first responders and how selfless they are every day of their lives. Make a conscious effort to turn the channel or surf to another page so that you can fill your mind with more of the goodness that surrounds us all.
2) Mellow out. We can all get overstressed at times, which tends to bring out our very worst. Maybe it manifests in laying on the horn in traffic and giving a one-finger salute to a fellow driver, or perhaps it’s a grumble and a furrowed brow at the grocery store when somebody gets in line a split second before us. In any case, it feels so much better to just be happy and is also better for the world around us. Try some proven funk-lifters:
Practice deep breathing, which sends a message to your brain to calm down.
Go for a walk and soak in some nature. Exercise is a natural mood-lifter and being close to earth helps you to feel more grounded.
Jam out to your favorite music.
Laugh it up. Call up a funny friend or watch a silly video. Studies show that laughter reduces stress hormones.
3) Let it go. When we bottle up our emotions, the pressure builds up inside. If we don’t let off some steam… it’s not going to be pretty! A journal can be your best buddy to confide in. Let all of those toxic emotions out via pen or keyboard before somebody else feel the wrath of them. Just the act of outwardly expressing our feelings can help to heal the hurt.
4) Practice random acts of kindness. Even something small can have a huge impact as the ripple effect ensues. When you do something nice for someone, they are touched and want to pay-it-forward and do something nice for someone else and so on! Here are a few kind gesture suggestions to incorporate into your routine.
Stop to hold the door open for someone.
Make a point to smile at everyone in your path
Let someone in front of you in traffic
Buy a stranger a cup of coffee or pay for the order of the person behind you, if you are feeling generous and have a little extra cash.
5) Power of Prayer. Even if you don’t consider yourself to be religious, there is a great power in surrender, the acknowledgement that there is a force beyond us all. Whatever your beliefs, it can’t hurt to take a few moments to visualize sending your light, love, and blessings out to those who need it. Ask for guidance on what you can do to help make your own positive impact on the world.
6) Be love! This can manifest itself in so many ways. Call an old friend out of the blue, let your loved ones know how much you care, reach out to someone in need, hug your family a little tighter and be totally present for them – turn electronics off and really be with each other.
These are just a few suggestions. I’d love to keep this list growing. What are some of your thoughts on keeping the vibrations ringing high? Please share some of your own ideas in the comments below!
Photo credit: Getty images
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Dawn Gluskin is a multi-passionate entrepreneur and author. Despite her experiences as the founder & CEO of a technology firm that has experienced rapid-growth and national press recognition, her definition of “success” is not defined by these accolades, which have oftentimes come at the price of high-stress and misalignment. Instead, she believes in listening to the whisper of our souls which gently tug us towards our life’s true purpose. She finds much joy in her writing and coaching, sharing her journey and truth with others. She feels blessed to be “mommy” to two sweet little girls who teach her so much and she lives with her loving family in sunny Florida.
You know what makes me feel like a not-funny person? A conversation about faith and spirituality. There is something so humble and vulnerable about admitting to faith in something unknowable, a force, a power greater than ourselves, if you will, that it takes the wind out of my comic sails. Unless I am making fun of faith, mine or someone else’s, which is a slippery slope to mockery. I think I am not alone in my understanding that you can’t deeply believe in something and mock it simultaneously. So, in the interest of being honest about my spiritual journey, don’t expect to laugh much here.
I was raised with zero talk of God or faith. My mother was a post-World War II kid raised in New York City. Her friends had tattoos from concentration camps on their arms so to this day it is tough for her to believe in God. Which is especially hard, I think, given that she is turning eighty, racked with fear, and sadly alone most of the time. I do believe she would get a lot of comfort from having some kind of spiritual/religious community. But for a myriad of reasons, including being identified as “the widow,” she rarely walks in to a house of worship.
It wasn’t until my late twenties that I found out that my father did have faith, he was just very private about it. I was on the road understudying Jennifer Grey (coincidentally one of our special guests on “Perfectly Imperfect Parents“) on a Broadway tour of a show called, “The Twilight of the Golds,” by Jonathan Tolins. We were spending six weeks in Austin, Texas. The first Sunday after we arrived was Yom Kippur. Even though I was raised with no religion, I knew I was a Jew and that it was the holiest day of the year for Jews and given that there were very few other ones around, I felt like I should go to a Temple and check in. I had no idea with whom, but still. I called down to the front desk of the hotel.
“Hey, hi, do you happen to know if there’s a Synagogue nearby?”
“It’s a Church for Jewish people.”
“Oh right. Yeah, we don’t have one of those,” a perplexed female voice with a Southern twang said.
I hung up and called my father.
“Feeling kind of stranded out here on Yom Kippur, Dad, thought maybe I’d find a Temple to go sit in but no luck.”
Then my father, who fought in both World War II and the Korean War, but had never talked to me about God before asked me,
“Well, Sweetheart, you wanna know what we used to say in the Army?”
“Sure,” I said, “of course.”
“A place of worship is in your heart.”
Huh. Who knew that my father had ever thought about God? Let alone that there was a whole expression about “worship” that he shared with his Army buddies. Very touching, and helpful words to this day. He died a year later, 18 years ago in May, and I will never forget that conversation.
Having a personal relationship with God is key, but I have also found that being part of a spiritual/religious community to be helpful. And I wanted my children to at least have an introduction to God and the concepts of prayer and community. So we joined Temple Israel of Hollywood for pre-school. Since then, I’ve learned more about Judaism than most of my relatives, which if I am being honest, sometimes makes me a little tense. I’m just not a rule person and seem to reflexively resist being told what to do or when or how. I also believe that there isn’t only one path to creating a relationship with God. But, “on the other hand,” (to quote Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof), being a member of a Temple also makes me feel a profound connection to a far reaching history of Jewish people, who are undeniably, my people.
Most of my early life I hated that I was Jewish, largely because I was never exposed to anything positive about it. There was no pride of survival, no appreciation for Jewish values of social justice, education and a love of culture, not to mention some very funny comedy writers. All I was told is that we were “other.” Not just told, but isolated because of it. One time in 4th grade, I was chased around the school by a kid calling me the word so ugly I can’t type it, but starts with a “k,” and sounds like “like”. I’d never heard the word before and couldn’t figure out why I was being chased because of it. That night at dinner, my parents turned white when I told them. But it’s not like they busted out the challah and danced around the table to offset my bad feelings. And the Adam Sandler songs hadn’t been written yet.
But back to my children, not only did Tod and I want the boys to have a strong Jewish identity, we also wanted them to be happy about it, unlike my childhood. And although Temple Israel does a great job with this, it turns out, given the history of Jews, what with the slavery, the pogroms, the Holocaust, and all those songs written in minor keys, the Jewish religion isn’t exactly a primer for mindless joy, joy, joy! The sense of loss, past or pending, seems to be always interwoven with celebration. And yet, I have to say, my boys giggle when they eat matzo and love telling people, “No Santa for us, we celebrate Hanukkah!” in December. That certainly never happened in Connecticut in 1974.
Although not always a spiritual experience, we also love to remind the boys to be grateful for all that we have. There weren’t a lot of family discussions about “gratitude” growing up. Like none. Appreciation wasn’t big on our list of family activities. This was not good, because how can you ever be happy if you never see how great you have it?
Without having been given any tools, it’s pretty much a miracle that most days I manage to have faith. Unlike Mallika, who was brilliantly lucky to have been born in to a family with such a strong spiritual foundation, I have lived my life both without faith and with it. I do believe it’s a better life with it. Of course I have no idea if any of this will matter to my boys, but I will always be glad to have opened their minds to the importance of community, prayer, and a power bigger than us mere mortals.
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