A Rebel’s Broken Heart

It’s not news that life is difficult or as the Buddha put it, “life is suffering”. I’m certainly not alone in my experience that true love has a way of diminishing much but not all of the suffering. My recent loss of a most special loving relationship has triggered intense suffering in me.

I fell deeply in love over 4 years ago with a beautiful, smart, absolutely wonderful woman. It was a magical connection, almost mystical in how familiar we immediately felt about each other, like we had been together before in a past life. Ours was a deep intense love and we had great communication. We had lots of fun, often laughed hysterically and enjoyed phenomenal love making.

We recently broke up, primarily because we have a 21 year age difference and are at totally different stages of life. I’m a new grandfather with 3 grown kids in their 20’s, she has 3 kids at home ages 10, 13 & 15.

I’m struggling with a badly broken heart, it feels like a death has occurred. I’m in mourning yet know that I have to go through feeling all of the sadness, loneliness, the deep sense of loss and grief. The days and weeks pass yet the sorrow lingers. Often the pain of my heartache is so intense it manifests physically.

I’m all too often stuck up in my head perseverating about how I could’ve done better, given more, somehow made it work. As a spiritual man, I get that everything in life occurs for a reason and that only by accepting what is can the healing begin.

I do have many useful tools to assist me in the healing process. Meditation, prayer, physical exercise, connecting with my close friends & family along with focusing on my work and writing.

There are some times and days in which I feel some relief usually right after a swim or long bike ride. Naturally the best is the time I get to spend with my 5 week old grandson Micah Leo.

Romance awakens the love within us and often doesn’t last forever. I feel deep gratitude for the phenomenal love we shared and am hopeful that my broken heart will break open to deeper love.

The truth is that God is Love, and that love is who we are on a soul level. The challenge is to have the intuitive sense of how to stay awake, transcend the attachments of the ego and connected to the source of all true love.

public.jpeg

Reflections on Fatherhood & Grandfatherhood

Undoubtedly Fatherhood has been absolutely transformational in my life. I am now blessed to experience a profound love with the birth of my grandson Micah Leo. I continue to grow everyday in ways never imagined before my eldest son Adam was born. Now my role as father to my three amazing grown children and grandfather to my newborn grandson is paramount to me. Nothing else in life is more important, Being truly blessed to have been raised by an amazing, kind and loving father who was always there for me. In fact he still is at the age of 100! His consistent presence in my life had the effect of stabilizing and making me feel loved unconditionally and safe. He undoubtedly inspired me to become the best father I can be.

We live in a very scary world today. Much of what we once counted on for stability has changed dramatically or been totally destroyed. Chaos appears to be the new norm which doesn’t bode well for our collective sense of safety and security. We see a lack of civility everywhere and tremendous anger. All of this makes the role of loving calm fathers all the more critical in our children’s lives.

As I reflect on the relationships I have with my daughter Mikayla and 2 sons Adam & Nate I feel a deep and profound love for them and am deeply committed to their well being. Adam with Sunny and Mikayla with Theresa live far away now. Thankfully Nate with Sara and Micah live close by. I cherish all of them, they are always on my mind and in my heart.

There are many stages of fatherhood and we get the opportunity to grow up as we raise our children. I’m not the same man I was when when I first became a father in 1991. My commitment to being a truly good father, inspired me to go deep within in order to transform myself so I could love,nurture and care for my kids.

By grace my soul is guided from within to love, cherish, guide and protect my children who are the greatest gifts God has bestowed upon me.

public.jpeg

How to be happy again: 16 tips to get your life back on track by Lachlan Brown

Regardless of the reason you feel unhappy, all you really want to know is that you can be happy again, right?

You feel trapped and unsatisfied with the way life is treating you right now, or the way life has turned out and all you want is an escape from the hurt and pain. You’re not alone.

Happiness is often a goal that people don’t believe is achievable.

The human life is riddled with pain and discomfort and it seems sometimes that no matter how hard we try, we can’t get ahead.

If you are feeling lost and full of sorrow instead of happiness, you can turn things around.

Unfortunately, you won’t find happiness outside of yourself. It’s not at the bottom of a beer bottle or in the arms of another person.

Happiness really does come from within, which is why it is elusive for so many people.

We think things and people make us happy, but the truth is that we can make ourselves happy.

Here’s how. These are the 16 most important steps to find happiness in your life again.

1) Identify When the Change Happened.

The first step in getting back to happy is to determine if you have ever really been happy in the first place.

If you agree that yes, you have been happy at one point or another, you need to determine what happened and what changed.

What was the moment of change for you? Did something happen at work? Did your spouse leave you? Did you get into debt? Did you just wake up one more and feel blah?

You need to know when your life shifted.

In Bronnie Ware’s bestselling book, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, she reported that one of the most common regrets people have at the end of their lives is that they wish they’d let themselves be happier.

This indicates that people feel happiness is in their control if they allow themselves to do things that make them happy.

According to Lisa Firestone Ph.D. in Psychology Today, “many of us are more self-denying than we realize.”

Most of us believe that doing activities that “light us up is seflish or irresponsible.”

According to Firestone, this “critical inner voice is actually triggered when we take steps forward” that reminds us to “stay in our place and not to venture out of our comfort zone.”

If you can confidently say that you have never been happy in your life, you need to release yourself from that hold and give yourself permission to allow happiness to come from within you.

2) Don’t Fake it.

The next step is to not try to fake happiness. Fake it ‘til you make it is not real life. And we are trying to cultivate real happiness here.

Happiness doesn’t mean being happy all of the time, by the way. Life is full of ups and downs, so don’t strive to feel good all the time.

In fact, according to Noam Shpancer Ph.D. in Psychology Today, one of the main causes of many psychological problems is the habit of emotional avoidance as it “buys you short term gain at the price of long term pain.”

Being alive means having the privilege to feel all of the feelings and have all of the thoughts humans can conjure up.

When you try to block all of the feelings that are allocated to you as a human, you don’t get to experience life to the fullest.

Happiness is just one piece of the puzzle, albeit an important one. So don’t fake happiness. It’s worth waiting for.

3) What’s Standing in Your Way?

In order to discover your happiness and allow yourself to experience the full gamut of being human, you need to determine what is standing in the way of your happiness?

You might be inclined to point the finger at another person. You might even think it’s your job, lack of money, lack of opportunities, childhood, or even the education you got because your mother suggested it to you 20 years ago; none of that is real.

You are standing in your own way on this one.

As mentioned above, happy people aren’t always “happy”.

According to Rubin Khoddam PhD, “Nobody is immune to life’s stressors, but the question is whether you see those stressors as moments of opposition or moments of opportunity.”

It’s a tough pill to swallow, but once you get on board with the fact that you are the only thing standing in your way of happiness, the road forward gets a whole lot easier.

After all, there are many different definitions of happiness. What’s yours?

4) Be Kind to Yourself.

As you carry on throughout this journey, you need to recognize the points in which you can be kind to yourself. It’s easy to beat ourselves up and declare that nothing is good enough.

The Harvard Health Blog says that “gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness.”

“Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”

Practicing gratitude as you follow your own lead will help you see that there are lots of things in your life that are worthy of your attention and work to create happiness in your life and in the lives of others.

You need to be nice to yourself. That doesn’t mean having bubble baths and buying new clothes, although that stuff does make you feel good.

Being kind to yourself is about giving yourself the space to figure things out for yourself.

Gratitude is not just one of those hippy-dippy things that people do to be cool. Gratitude is something that can profoundly change your life for the better.

Even when the cards are stacked against you, the way in which you play them and approach the game can mean the difference between a happy life and one filled with regret and shame.

If you are working on being someone who is happier in their life, gratitude is going to help get you there.

This includes being grateful for the difficult and uncomfortable times.

There are lessons in every aspect of life and when you let yourself experience them fully, you get to where you want to go.

5) Determine What Happiness Will Look Like for You.

Rubin Khoddam PhD says that “regardless of where you are on the happiness spectrum, each person has their own way of defining happiness.”

So many of us are chasing other people’s definitions of happiness. In order to find happiness again, you need to determine what that looks like for you.

The hard part is that we often adopt our parents’ or society’s version of happiness and strive to achieve those visions in our own lives.

That can lead to a great deal of unhappiness as we come to find out that what others want is not necessarily what we want.

And then we have to be brave as we decide to step into our own lives and figure things out for ourselves.

What do you want your life to look like? You need to know.

6) Accept the Difficult Things into Your Life.

Remember that life is not all butterflies and rainbows and that you only get rainbows after it rains, and butterflies only appear after a caterpillar has gone through a tremendous transformation.

Struggle is required in the human life in order to find the sunshine.

We don’t just wake up happy, we need to work for it and work on it.

When you allow struggles into your life and don’t dramatize them, you can make the most of any situation and grow from it, like the caterpillar turning into a beautiful butterfly.

There’s no point in feel ingbad about feeling bad, says Kathleen Dahlen, a psychotherapist based in San Francisco.

She says accepting negative feelings is an important habit called “emotional fluency,” which means experiencing your emotions “without judgment or attachment.”

This allows you to learn from difficult situations and emotions, use them or move on from them more easily.

Once we see the rainbow – or the result of our struggles – we often forget how bad the rain was.

While most people searching for happiness want to get to the fun faster, they are not willing to sit in discomfort and learn things about themselves.

People who are truly happy are those who have come through the fire and lived to see another day.

We don’t live happy lives tucked into bubbles and closed off from the hurt and pain of being human.

We need to feel all that there is to feel as human beings in order to be happy.

Afterall, without sadness, how can you know when you are happy?

7) Believe You Can be Happy.

The most important step in finding your happiness again is to truly believe that you can be happy.

It might look different from what you imagined, especially as you start out on this journey equipped to go forward with a new attitude and new goals of what your life can look like.

But you need to believe it is possible. If you continue to tell yourself that you’ll never be happy, you’ll never find your happiness again.

You deserve all that you want in this life, but you need to believe it. Nobody is going to make you happy.

No object, thing, experience, advice, or purchase will make you happy. You can make yourself happy if you believe it.

According to Jeffrey Berstein Ph.D. in Psychology Today, trying to find happiness outside yourself is misguided as “happiness based on achievements does not last long.”

8) Don’t rush through life.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but you can’t see the beauty if you are rushing through life.

Research suggests that being “rushed” can make you miserable.

Yet on the other hand, some studies suggest that have nothng to do can also take its toll on you.

However, the balance is just right when you’re living a productive life at a comfortable place.

Therefore, it’s important to have goals, but we don’t need to be in a hurry all the time to get things done. It leaves so much wasted time on the journey not soaking in life.

Happy people feel their way through life and they allow the good and the bad to penetrate into them so they can have the full human experience.

Stop and smell the roses isn’t just some old-time advice that sounds nice, it’s real-life advice that can help you be happier.

Don’t miss 9-16 on this link to the Hack Spirit web site

Written by Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 6 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you to want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.



public.jpeg

The God You Don’t Believe in Doesn’t Exist

I don’t “believe” in God. What I mean by stating to Atheists or those that question the existence of God is that the super hero, long white bearded judgmental God sitting up in heaven doesn’t exist.

God  is far beyond any form we humans have tried to put on him (she or it) The word God has been terribly misunderstood from the beginning of time, in fact the sheer magnitude of the universal divine force defies comprehension of the human mind.

Many religious fundamentalists who claim to be following God’s teachings are simply spewing dogma as a means of controlling people.

God is life itself, beyond all form and ideology, available to all, manifesting as pure love.

I am a spiritual seeker, have been for most of my life. That being said, I have some of the most compelling spiritual conversations with friends who profess to be atheist. Recently I had lunch with one of my atheist friends. He is retired doctor who shared with me that he couldn’t believe in a God that allowed so much of the horrible suffering in children he treated as a pediatrician in his early career. We do however agree that there is a “force” that is greater than we are that just may have created and now sustains the universe.

My true essence could only start to be realized by becoming a spiritual rebel. I had to question the rules of my Jewish heritage in order to come to know a power greater than my small ego. This Self or Soul is the guiding light of my life. It has been the healing force of my life in recovery.

Everyone of us has this “Higher Self” within us that can be experienced typically in moments of deep silence. We each have a unique path home to our soul. Mediation, prayer, quiet time in nature, music and art are some of the ways.

What has been taught by the saints, sages and prophets of all the true religious traditions is that God is Love, simple pure Love that is accessible to each and every one of us.

IMG_5091.JPG

Making Room to Know God by Jacqui Stack

A compelling post from Life Coach

@Jacqui Stack

When we make little room to know who God is and what he says about us, we make a LOT of room for what people have to say about us. I am falling asleep peacefully tonight feeling secure that I am worthy, loved, seen, fearless, and enough! This is how Jesus sees me, and that’s life-changing and perspective shifting for me.

Lately, I’ve struggled to lay down the unrealistic expectations to exceed expectations at work, in my marriage, in my relationships, even in doing counseling work above average (hah!). That leads to burnout and placing my fear in what others (and myself) say about me. But I continue to remind myself that life is not about doing enough. In all that I do, it is about the relationships I have around me. Why do I work? To find relationships and be invested and steward those relationships well. Because at the end of the day, that is what I will remember and that is what will matter.

I will not remember the deadlines I made or the hours I spent working on perfecting the spreadsheet. I can do things with excellence, but when people come secondary and a thing that is “in my way of getting something done,” my priorities need shifting.

I’m always learning. Right now, I’m learning what being fearlessly me looks like, and that has been so rewarding to unfold. It means being more open to interruptions, and making people a priority above the task. It means knowing people get annoyed or think a certain way about me, but still loving who I am becoming and choosing to be fearless as I learn!

#nofear

public.jpeg

Why Getting Started is More Important Than Succeeding by @JamesClear

As a follow up to yesterday’s “Breaking Through Resistance is Rebellious” post here’s a great article from Habits expert and NYT Best Selling Author of Atomic Habits

James Clear

In 1991, Lindsay Davenport played in her first professional tennis match. She was 15 years old.

Over the next 20 years, Davenport would go on to have one of the greatest tennis careers in recent history. She won three different Grand Slam titles. She won the 1996 Olympic Gold Medal. She was ranked the Number 1 female tennis player in the world eight different times. In total, Davenport earned over $22 million in prize money throughout her career.

I had the chance to meet Davenport at the 2012 US Open. Later that night, she fielded some questions from our group and I asked her this…

“Lindsay, sports can teach people a lot of lessons. What lessons did you learn during your time as a professional tennis player that you didn’t learn as an amateur?”

Full disclosure: I had a personal motive with this question. I played baseball in college, but not professionally. So I wanted to know, “What did I miss?”

Davenport's first response was to talk about how she had to grow up fast. She mentioned the power of the media and learning to live her life in front of a crowd.

But then she shifted gears and talked about improving at her craft and the lessons of competition, hard work, and perseverance. Those things, she said, were learned long before she became a professional.

In other words, to learn about what it’s like to live as a professional athlete, you need to be a professional athlete. But to learn the lessons of playing sports, you just need to play your sport.

Excellence Isn’t Required for Growth

Our world is becoming more and more obsessed with comparison and validation. The style of thinking that is becoming dangerously common is “If you can’t be number one or number two, then you might as well not play at all.”

(This belief was actually celebrated in my MBA program, which may or may not surprise you.)

But according to Davenport, you don’t need to be a professional to learn the most important lessons in sports. You just need to bust your butt as an athlete, regardless of the level you're playing at. I’d say it’s that way in the rest of life as well. Mastering your craft isn’t nearly as important as pushing yourself.

To put it another way, you'll learn more from the process of pursuing excellence than from the products of achieving it.

It's More Important to Start, Than to Succeed


What if the choice to be curious was all that was required to become smarter, stronger, and more skilled? What if the willingness to try something new, even if it felt uncomfortable, was all that it took to start the slow march towards greatness?

  • Are you curious enough to get in the gym and try it, even if you’ll look stupid?

  • Are you willing to be vulnerable and put your skin in the game to start your own business?

  • Are you eager enough to improve your work that you’ll battle through the frustration of producing something mediocre?

It all boils down to this: Whether you’ll end up being the best or the worst, are you willing to start?

The more I look at things this way, the more I believe that the willingness to startis the littlest thing in life that makes the biggest difference.

Step onto the field. Stand up in the meeting. Raise your hand in class.

Get under the bar. Walk up to the podium. Ask the first question.

Take a risk, get started, and contribute something. To your team, to your family, to your job, to your community. Whether or not you end up being number one in the world is irrelevant. Most of the time, the value you provide isn’t nearly as important as pushing yourself to provide it. This is especially true at first.

Having the courage to get started is more important than succeeding because the people who consistently get started are the only ones who can end up finishing anything.

Get Started: Life Isn't a Dress Rehearsal

I often write about what it means to live a healthy life.

I can't think of any skill more critical to the active pursuit of a healthy life than the willingness to start. Everything that signifies a happy, healthy and fulfilled existence — strong relationships, vibrant creativity, valuable work, a physical lifestyle, etc. — it all requires a willingness to get started over and over again.

Take note: being the best isn't required to be happy or fulfilled, but being in the game is necessary.

Life isn't a dress rehearsal. Only one person lives in the spotlight, but everyone benefits from stepping on stage.

Which stage will you step onto? What game will you play? How will you get started?

P.S. If you want more practical ideas for how to build new habits (and break bad ones), check out my book Atomic Habits, which will show you how small changes in habits can lead to remarkable results.

public.jpeg

Breaking Through the Resistance is Rebellious

There are many things I know I should do or really want to do and all too often resist doing. I intend to become an accomplished writer yet I don’t sit down to write regularly. I make excuses, procrastinate, waste time on social media or just fail to focus..

Resistance is rebellious yet it frequently manifests negatively. We resist what works, enriches and uplifts us. We do unproductive things rather than doing what will bring us closer to accomplishing our goals.

So here I sit writing about resisting the act of writing, taking a step toward rebelling against the very resistance that holds me back.

I would like to wake up every morning, set an intention and actually fulfill it. Make the calls that need to be made and touch the lives that could use my assistance.

Become laser focused on creating powerful uplifting content that resonates on a soul level with the people that read it.

I ask myself what is the payoff for not manifesting the song of my soul, why do I hold myself back and how can i break through this resistance.

Fear of failure or success or both? We’ve heard those excuses forever. I get the fear of judgment, am I good enough and will people resonate with what I’m trying to convey?

It’s been said that we procrastinate out of a fear of performing badly on the project or task we’re putting off. This plays right into our sense of self esteem and self worth.

I usually know when I’m resisting what needs to be done. I sit here right now, knowing that the whole reason i’m writing this BLOG post is to kick my ass out of my inconsistent writing habit and get myself back on track. This rebel has much to share and the time is now to breakthrough all my excuses and get on it!

public.jpeg

Insane Courage

Loved this from the Daily Stoic:

In 2006, Benjamin Mee bought a zoo. Literally a zoo. It was broken down and in desperate need of a caring owner. Mee and his family were struggling too. Things hadn’t been going well for them either. But in one scene—immortalized by Matt Damon in the movie version of the story—Mee explains to his son that our lives are defined by the moments when we put ourselves out there. When we take a risk that, if we had thought about too much or been too deliberate about, we’d never have been capable of taking.

“You know,” he said, “sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.”

Read more.

public.jpeg

In Between

Melody Beattie’s insights and writings never fail to strike a cord:

Sometimes, to get from where we are to where we are going, we have to be willing to be in between.

One of the hardest parts of recovery is the concept of letting go of what is old and familiar, but what we don’t want, and being willing to stand with our hands empty while we wait for God to fill them.

Read more.

public.jpeg

Rebel, It’s Time to Care Less

These days it’s difficult not to focus on the vast array of outrageous news that bombards us from far too many sources. There are the President’s non stop mostly ridiculous and outrageous tweets that cable news and social media are intent on repeating ad nauseam. What if we consciously decide to stop giving up our serenity by paying so much  attention to him? I have wasted countless energy discussing how he and his administration are going to destroy our democracy, the environment and start World War III! I’ve recently come to the realization that we will endure this presidency, survive and most likely thrive in the future.

All the mass shootings are tragic and quite disturbing indeed . And what about the threat of terrorism that politicians want us to believe we are in imminent danger of at any moment. These two issues are are almost one and the same.  While they are real dangers, chances are we are more likely to have a piano fall on us than be killed by a terrorist attack or mass shooting. Don’t misunderstand me, I am an advocate for reasonable gun control. What I am trying to convey is that these issues loom so large because they have become viral, grabbing our attention from whatever screen we happen to have our face in. If we gave much less attention to them, they wouldn’t necessarily stop occurring but much of the energy that fuels them would dissipate.

You see whether it’s Trump, the Terrorists or the Mass Shooters, what they all share is an obsession with being the center of attention and the media especially viral social media only feed their obsession. 

When we place too much of our focus on the sensational and all too often disturbing events that are in our daily news feeds, we give up our connection to our soul’s inner tranquility. I’m not saying to bury your head in the sand, I care about mankind’s well being. Just place more of your focus on truth beauty and goodness and care about the  best things in life that really matter. 

video Block
Double-click here to add a video by URL or embed code. Learn more
IMG_6092.JPG

Giving Back is Rebellious

It’s Sunday, the day after another phenomenal Tour de Cure that I repeated as #1 fundraiser for the fourth time. It is the major fundraising event of the American Diabetes Association and the cause that I am most dedicated to.

When my son Nate was diagnosed with Type I diabetes in 2011 at the age of 15, I made a commitment to do all I could for the cause that supports diabetics as they worked towards the cure.

I’ve discovered that I feel most fulfilled when I’m working towards a goal that is truly helping people in need. It started as one father wanting to do all I could to help my son live with this life long diagnoses at a young age. I learned what a critical health crisis the diabetes epidemic had become and made a commitment to be a leading fundraiser for our local tour. Friends, relatives and colleagues responded generously to the passion I had to support my son and and work towards a cure.

What has transpired in 8 years is a large dedicated team in a small Upstate New York city that now leads the nation in caring about improving the health and wellbeing of all diabetics. I’ve seen countless lives changed by being involved in Tour. Men and women started training for the ride and transformed their bodies while helping support their fellow diabetics along the way.

Like most people, unfortunately what I think about most is myself. By being passionately involved in this volunteer and charitable work, I rebel against compulsively focusing on my egoic self centeredness. I put my heart and soul into serving others and in the process feel tremendously uplifted. While we are cycling for the cure all of us that are involved enjoy a wonderful sense of camaraderie. It’s a rapidly expanding movement that I hope and pray will lead to a cure for this horrible disease.

Solitude is Rebellious

Our lives today are constantly bombarded by noise and distraction. Smartphones, computers, radios and televisions are almost never off. Notice how challenging it is to go a minute or two while waiting for anything without checking our e-mail, newsfeed or social media. This lack of quiet has created an epidemic of stress,anxiety and depression in our society. It is difficult to be alone and quiet with our thoughts for even five minutes. We are habituated to fill every moment with some form of stimulation that ultimately influences all of our thoughts, emotions and actions.

For this rebel,spending quiet time in solitude on a daily basis is imperative for my peace of mind. Closing my eyes and breathing consciously in mindful meditation and contemplation have liberated me from much of my day to day neuroses’,self-doubts,fears and phobias.

We must embrace solitude in order to come to know ourselves on a soul level. True inner growth can only occur when one spends time alone listening to the silence. I’ve come to view my time alone as a gift, an opportunity to experience potentially deep levels of awareness that turn out to be transformational.

Time spent in solitude experiencing the serenity of silence is far different than loneliness. To allow oneself to be alone can be uncomfortable until we get in touch with a higher self awareness. This can only happen by tuning out all the noise and transcending what we are afraid to see that blocks us. Often it takes considerable time and discipline staying in solitude and silence to cut through all of our baggage and deep seated pain to see the light of our true selves in the present moment.

Most of us, myself included have spent so much of our lives searching for the truth outside of ourselves. Once we realize that the answer lies within, we get to know where real contentment and true happiness lie.

On My Mind...

  The optimist in me sees and hears the beginning of spring. Listen quietly and the birds are telling us that the worst is over. That the likelihood of 20 degrees and lower is dwindling and that while we may get a bit more snow, that for the most part precipitation will be rain and it will begin the cycle of sprouting buds and greening lawns.

The optimist in me watches the winter of our discontent (to borrow the phrase) begin to turn into a season of retribution and correction, and restatement of purpose. The compounding of egregious acts by our lame-brained President will accelerate as a sign of impending comeuppance and as his path becomes narrower and narrower, with fewer and fewer sycophants hanging on as they too begin the scramble for their political and ideological lives.

The optimist in me watches in amazement as the horror of a mass killing of children and their protectors spawns an activism never before expressed in the land. Perhaps indeed it will be the children who lead us towards a sensible solution of the gun debacle. After all, we adults have crumbled in the face of the gun lobby and its protectors. We have stood by as a Congress, bent on a selfishness of massive degree, has removed itself from any believable positive posture on the issue.

The optimist in me watches the rousing kindling of the women in our nation as they proclaim that "they have had enough and will take no more" when it comes to protection of their bodies and of their life's missions. Undoubtedly, they too will rise in defense of their children and for the children next door, around the corner and across the land.

As the earth shows sign of warming and of giving life in this early spring, take a moment to listen for the birds and to examine the buds. Peek in your back yard and see the crocuses and dandelions pushing through the soil saying "here I am". Soon to stand tall and be counted they await all of us, yes every one of us, to also stand and be counted...let's put value on the lives of our children, on our personal goals and ambitions, and on the country that has so much more to offer than our present decline...

Happy 2018

Happy 2018! The winter season and new year are excellent opportunities to reflect and look inward. In that stillness and from a place of self-love, I invite you to consider your intentions for this year.

What are you happy to leave behind? What are you committed to no longer tolerating? What are you excited to let in? What are you motivated to make space for? I made specific lists for each of those questions and when I finished writing, I felt like a huge weight had been lifted and I was genuinely enthusiastic about the opportunities I would create in 2018. Writing these lists helped me to take a big step forward and release what no longer serves me and acknowledge what I want to manifest. Recognizing and committing to new intentions is so empowering!

Here are a few highlights from my lists:

I am happy to leave behind fear of what other people think of me. I am committed to no longer running myself ragged and ignoring self-care. I am excited to let in a new loop of positive affirmations and abundance. I am motivated to make space for forgiveness of myself and others. While New Year’s Resolutions tend to come and go, setting clear intentions and showing up fully each day to do our best, sets us up for awesome success day after day. As you consider your intentions and the questions above, I encourage you to focus on moving away from what has held you back. Take some deep breaths, grab a pen and paper and write to clear out and release the thought patterns and habits that no longer serve you in a positive way. Take more deep breaths and write to get clear on how you want to live and where you’ll focus your energy. You’re worth this effort, so fill your mind with new thoughts and your heart with positive vibes, and take a step forward.

I’d love to hear from you! What are your intentions for the new year and how did you gain clarity around them? If you’d like support, reach out and schedule a free Discovery Call, I look forward to chatting with you.

Xo, Meg

Living a Magnificent Life is Rebellious

I frequently hear people expressing how challenging they feel life is. Many say they are frustrated, depressed, anxious, or downright angry. So the very idea that life holds the possibility of being magnificent may seem outrageous. You may ask how can life be magnificent when there is so much suffering on the planet right now? My answer to that is REBEL! Face your challenges and struggles by making your life truly magnificent. I am typically not a fan of the holiday season craziness. This year I chose to focus on the “Christ Consciousness” that abides within all of us and I found December almost enjoyable. Why is this Jewish man talking about Christ Consciousness? It matters not what religion we happen to be, a Divine Spirit lives within all of us. Beneath our personality and egoic mind dwells our holy soul, the shechina as it is known in the Hebrew Scriptures. We have the opportunity to access this amazing state of consciousness by keeping our focus in the here and now, savoring the precious moments experienced along the way. While this may seem simple, it is hardly easy. Our egoic minds tend to obsess about the past or future, frequently missing the magnificent moment. We touch our souls by focusing on and really experiencing the truly special moments of life. Speaking truth and living with integrity enrich our states of being as well. Being honorable and known as a person that can always be trusted goes a long way towards magnificence.

Discover what ignites your passion, it is a sure path to magnificence. Sing, dance, play, write, paint, plant a garden just do the things that get you fired up about life. For this rebel, downhill skiing in the winter and road cycling in the warmer months afford me a tremendous sense of exhilaration in the present moment.

The spiritual path is not all seriousness. It’s imperative that we have lots of fun along the way. What good is it to raise our consciousness if we aren’t enjoying life and seeing so much of the humor in it? Laugh long, hard and often. Go out there and live, a magnificent life awaits you!

Reflections on the Positive Effects of Gratitude

I spent much of Thanksgiving this year focused on the multitude of blessings in my life. There is no doubt that gratitude is very good for your health. Countless scientific studies have discovered that an attitude of gratitude is highly beneficial to our mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing. Personally I’ve noticed that simply stopping to think about two or three things I’m grateful for can relieve anxiety and lift a dark mood. In a post I wrote in August I suggested that gratitude is rebellious, how it frees us from our self absorbed egoic attitude of what’s lacking, affording us with the liberating sense of abundance that is our soul’s/higher Self’s true nature.

Among the discoveries in the aforementioned studies on gratitude are: an increase in vitality and energy, improved sleep, more fulfilling relationships, a reduction in physical pain and depressive symptoms along with boosts in careers.

From personal experience I know that gratitude has transformed my life in many ways. I work in a business that is highly competitive and remember times that I would compare my accomplishments to my colleagues and think they were doing so much better than I was. What I’ve come to realize is that by self acceptance and gratitude for what I’ve done and have I experience far greater overall life and career satisfaction.

Gratitude is one of the most effective tools for dispelling negative moods. God’s loving presence can be experienced when we embrace the present moment with gratitude.

Positive psychology suggests that Gratitude is if fact an emotion and scientifically the effects of gratitude can actually be measured.

Years ago I was told that “Thank You”is the most perfect prayer. From personal experience that is absolutely true. The only other prayer that comes close is silence.

In closing I’d like to quote the great Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”

Rebel....Put down the self help books you are enough!

I have read countless “self-help” books and attended more trainings & seminars than I can quantify. I have been a spiritual seeker for most of my life. In the last five years through a renewed commitment to consistent daily meditation, contemplation and prayer I have let go of seeking God, the answer or truth outside my Self. I am intrigued by how much self help material is promoted on social media, and through e-mail campaigns.  “Click bait” is everywhere online. You know them: “10 ways to a pain free life”, “8 ways to total enlightenment in less than a week” etc. etc.

I get that positive support and inspiration are being offered. Still much of what’s being hocked out there is fluff if not total garbage. I do click on a few of these sites from time to time. Once in awhile I learn something somewhat compelling. Most of the time it is like watching TV, sometimes entertaining or educational, other times like annoying infomercials. I have to ask myself what it is that I thought I might learn or discover? What it always tends to remind me once I hear the sales pitch is that I am enough without buying another book, training  program or audio tape series.

Self-Help and Personal Development are both huge industries perhaps two of the hottest categories on the internet. I know there are plenty of positive helpful materials and programs out there. People are searching today more than ever. We live in troubled times. Anxiety, depression and stress are rampant.  We seek solutions and meaning in our lives. The pursuit of material success and physical comfort is proving to be very unfulfilling. Men and women across the generations are asking the existential question:why are we here?  In my  experience I’ve sought Personal Development, wisdom, direction and a deeper purpose to my life for as long as I can remember.

The challenge is having the intestinal fortitude to go through the process. All your shit will come to the surface, and you need to do a thorough personal inventory. We inhabit a world full of distractions and constant noise. Ultimately it’s in the silence that we find our true Self, Higher Power, God within.

Anxiety: How to Deal With It

Anxiety is a real thing. Yes, you heard me. I recently came across a set of statistics that 40 million U.S. adults suffer from an anxiety disorder, and 75 percent of them experience their first episode of anxiety by the age of 22. That number really struck a cord with me. At the age of 21, I can absolutely say I have experienced my fair share of anxiety. I have no shame in admitting it, nor should anyone else. I believe it is a normal thing to feel anxious about various things going on in your life because of the world we live in. For me, I had never experienced anxiety until more recently. Trying to balance school, work, family and friends, all at the same time as I am trying to figure out my future and what my next chapter of my life after college will look like. How could I not feel anxious?Although I have moments of feeling extremely anxious, I have worked really hard on ways to help myself cope with it and how to move forward with my life. It is so easy to shut down and ignore how you are feeling, but eventually you will have to face your emotions. Once you figure out ways to help with your anxiety, it makes it that much easier to find a healthy balance and live your happiest life. Now, I am not a doctor by any means, but I have come up with a list of tips that are very helpful for me personally, and maybe they will help you, too!

1. Exercise

I could give you the thousands of statistics out there that back up the fact that exercise is so good for your mental health, or I could just tell you from my experience. Any time I am feeling extremely anxious about something, it's so easy for me to want to just crawl into bed and turn my mind off by taking a nap. That being said, that is usually a temporary solution. Once I wake up from my nap, I am right back to where I was before. On the other hand, every time I head to the gym and do a killer workout, my mind is always way more clear afterwards. Even taking a small run around the block does wonders!

2. Meditation

Meditation is a great way to get your anxiety and stress levels down. When I first experienced episodes of anxiety, I researched different ways to help cope with it, and meditation was number one on the list. I had never really meditated before outside of a yoga class, so I did not know how to do it myself or where to start! Luckily, there are so many apps out there to help guide you and you can download them easily on your phone. Headspace: Mediation is highly ranked and it is the one I personally use.

3. Read a Book

Now, I don't mean read a school book. Go out to the store and buy a book of your choosing. Something that will help you get your mind off of whatever is going on in your life. I am trying to do this more because it is so effective. It allows your mind to be free of everything you have to accomplish the next day, and you can just immerse yourself in the story. Even if you read one chapter each night, I am telling you, it truly makes a difference!

4. Make a Playlist

This one sounds silly, but I have a playlist on my phone dedicated to when I am really stressed and anxious. The playlist consists of uplifting music that literally forces a smile on my face. Music has such a huge effect on our moods if you think about it. When we hear a sad song, we become sad. When we need motivation, we listen to pump-up music. So, when you are feeling anxious, listen to some happy songs.

5. Look Through Pictures

One thing that always helps me is to look at old pictures. While this might not help everyone, it works really well for me. I look back at all of my memories with the ones I love, and it helps remind me of how grateful I am to live the life I do. It allows me to feel centered, and realize that this too shall pass and I will get through whatever is making me anxious.

Next time you are experiencing anxiety, give one of these a shot! Anxiety is most definitely real, and it is not fun, but the most important thing about anxiety is learning how to cope with it. Don't just ignore it. Don't shut down. Face it head on and learn which coping mechanisms work for you so the next time you experience it you can walk away feeling better than ever.

Lastly, I am going to challenge you. I decided today that I am going to take a little break from social media for a few days. Personally, social media never helps me cope with my anxiety, it actually makes it worse, and I am sure I am not the only one out there. So, I challenge you to take a little break with me! See how far you can go without it. I'm sure it will help clear your mind and allow you to focus more on what really matters.

On My Mind...

  Clearing skies ahead?

Yeah, for every appearance this country is in a meltdown. Even prior to the horrific natural calamities, the unlikely election of Trump, a man of unnatural needs, had occurred.

We've gone from bad to worse as far as he is concerned and we find ourselves so far off base that little adds to the surprise. Each malicious act is followed by another and each day brings its own hand-wringing, OMGs, and ire.

We've never experienced such a display of Democracy's fault lines, nor have we witnessed the exposed throat of Lady Liberty.

Compounding the Trump phenomenon, truly of greater risk, is the abandonment by Congress (Republicans) of its role to serve and protect. We have witnessed incompetence in both the Executive and Legislative branches of government as never seen in my lifetime. Destructive urges rule the moment. Checks and balances have been replaced with passive acquiescence, if not emboldening silence, as the country can no longer even tread water.

So, with all signs of the setting American sun, where do we look for solace, for hope, and for a resurgent future?

While Trump works his way to final ignominy, signs of weakening alliances have emerged, including evidence that Congress has been sufficiently alarmed (fearing for themselves, of course) that we are hearing open discord with a tremor of mutiny. Best guess, is that they have solution to rid us of the "deranged one", unless they are unprepared to even try and save themselves (unthinkable). Something is afoot in Congress and it must play out before the shellacking that 2018 will bring to the Republicans, if nothing happens to thwart it.

Mueller is quietly, but quickly, working to secure his information for others to follow should he be fired. His investigations are in both political and criminal arenas and he has put together a powerful and experienced team of political and criminal prosecutors.

As utterly inconceivable as it seems, our Executive Branch is being held together by former US General Officers, who have sworn loyalty to our Constitution. They have led exemplary lives of commitment to our nation and, as unusual as it seems, they are rock solid in their determination to continue their roles.

Lastly, "We The People" are taking on a slowly awakening role, not called for perhaps since the Civil War, to mobilize and secure our founding principles. There is a growing sense of urgency. A declaration of renewal is becoming apparent.

The timeline for an unfolding challenge to the current chaos has begun.

First Milestone: Tillerson (for better or for worse) has stated that he is going nowhere. The former Generals, Kelly, McMaster, and Mattis have signaled their intent to "protect" this nation. That's close to a 100 years of combined service and loyalty speaking. The containment of Trump and the White House has occurred.

Next, Congress will force Trump to exit (perhaps an offer of indemnity) or be removed (Article 25) for incompetence. This drumbeat is quickening and leaks in Congress are beginning.

Our role in this disengagement will be to keep pressure on our legislators, to encourage centrists on both sides of the political aisle, and to vote in all elections that we can.

The most powerful repudiation of our current anomaly is the vote...

Observing Your Mind is Rebellious

I have been practicing meditation for many years. As I listen to the silence I realize that observing  the intrusive thoughts that arise with detachment is rebellious. Our egos constantly create states of restlessness and discontent. Who is doing the observing when we become aware of our thoughts and simply watch them pass through our minds?  How do we discern the difference between egoic thinking and the intuition of our spirit? For me it has taken a long time and a lot of practice just to come close to the awareness of the difference. I pray for guidance to be led and inspired by a power greater than myself. When thoughts are agitating, critical or negative, I perceive them as egoic and do my best to observe and let them go. When thoughts are uplifting, generate feelings of truth, beauty, goodness and serenity during meditation they are most likely spiritually inspired. I work on sitting in the observers seat no matter what and attempt to not become attached to the non stop movement of my mind.

This level of awareness can often be experienced simply by stopping and breathing deeply right where we are. For many this is known as " Mindfulness", becoming fully aware of what is going on with you in the present moment. Our egos seem to thrive in regrets of the past and fear of the future. The simple act of observation and becoming present is a powerful yet peaceful act of rebellion, our most natural state of being!

For this rebel, challenging my Ego's stranglehold on my consciousness requires vigilance and a determination to become truly liberated. The ego is a tyrant that I choose to rebel against to become free. This rebellion takes us on a journey to the deepest depths of our souls. We must dive into the silence and listen for the voice of God.