Archive for August, 2008

Coincidence and Caroline Myss

August 31, 2008
Caroline Myss

Caroline Myss

In December 2006, I was writing a paragraph about Caroline Myss’ concept of symbolic sight, a process that included paging through her groundbreaking book, Anatomy of the Spirit. As I was finishing, I heard the beep of an incoming e-mail. Guess who it was from? Yep, Caroline just happened to pick that ten-minute window to reply to an e-mail I had sent her more than three weeks before. I couldn’t help but laugh. Nothing she does surprises me anymore. She is the most remarkable person I know.

Caroline was kind enough to (more…)

Live Your Life as One Long Prayer

August 30, 2008

joyous-woman-on-beach-arms-raisedWhat is devotion? It is the unceasing practice of acknowledging God’s presence, with the ultimate goal of living your life as one long prayer.

Is it possible to maintain awareness of God’s presence in every moment? Think of it this way: When you fall in love, you hold the thought of your beloved in the back of your mind throughout the day, even while concentrating on difficult tasks. It is not outer activity but inner (more…)

Be Your Authentic Self!

August 29, 2008

After reading my blog, a friend told me today that he was impressed with my courage to write so openly and honestly about my views. I told him it wasn’t courage at all, that I was simply being myself.

Then again, it wasn’t too long ago when I would have hesitated to share my thoughts on life and spirituality with anyone and everyone. I worried about what people would think and wanted everyone to like me. (Good luck with that!)

What changed? I guess I simply decided that life was too short not to be authentic in every moment. Sure, I might alienate some people, but that loss would be more than offset by the deeper connections I would forge with people who valued emotionally intimate relationships.


The Illusion of Security

August 28, 2008

work-from-home-womanLinda, a fellow freelance writer, told me at work one day that she was leaving the freelance life to take a full-time job. I asked why. She said she wanted more security and the benefits that a full-time job would provide. I politely pointed out that a full-time job actually offered less security because, through no fault of her own, she could find herself out of her “secure” new job very quickly with no other options to fall back on. A freelancer, on the other hand, has multiple clients so the loss of just one isn’t a big deal; you simply shift gears and keep on earning money. As for benefits, she could likely pay for her own out of the extra money she made as a freelancer and still come out ahead.


Follow Your Guidance

August 27, 2008

angel-walking-in-oceanThe inner voice of your conscience is constantly guiding you. You will “hear” that voice in any number of ways. It may manifest as an unpleasant feeling in the pit of your stomach. It may express itself as a flash of insight that helps you make a difficult decision. Or you may feel nudged in the right direction at a crucial fork in the road.

While some people hear that voice more clearly, it is accessible to anyone who chooses to listen. Indeed, the challenge is not to further develop your intuition but to (more…)

Pick up the Phone

August 26, 2008

woman-on-phoneWe get so caught up in our lives that the days, weeks and months roll by like highway mileage markers, each one blurring seamlessly into the next. Zip, there goes another one.

How many months has it been since you were going to get together with that friend you haven’t seen since forever? Pick up the phone.

If someone you loved met an untimely end tomorrow, would there be anything left unsaid between you? Find the courage to say it now.

Sure, I know. There’s always time. Until there isn’t.

Take (more…)

Neale Donald Walsch on the Myth of Betterness

August 25, 2008

Neale Donald Walsch

I love this essay by Neale Donald Walsch. It eloquently expresses the “ego vs. spirit” and “cooperation vs. competition” conflicts. Walsch, author of the groundbreaking Conversations with God books, also contributed a story to my book, Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything. Read an excerpt here.

by Neale Donald Walsch

A “cultural story” is a story we tell ourselves about how life is. It is based on fiction and has nothing to do with reality, yet it persists, because it is told over and over again – and acted out – by the members of our species who have an interest in perpetuating it. Others follow the model.


Living in Synchronicity City

August 24, 2008

Barbara Winter

In the course of a writing project, I e-mailed Barbara Winter, author of the classic Making A Living Without A Job, to ask her where I could find the passage in her book where she introduced the concept of multiple income channels. She e-mailed back:

Someone just mentioned that very passage to me. But where? You won’t believe this . . . there’s a letter on my desk that has the answer! I got this lovely letter from a woman in Ohio and she said, “I thoroughly embraced the idea on page 214, ‘start thinking of your job as one of your profit centers.’ So what are the odds of that?”


Our Daughter’s Eyes

August 23, 2008

My little bear cub

When my daughter was three, a terrifying thought struck me: If something happened to Kate and me, Erin wouldn’t even remember us! In my view, that would be a tragedy of epic proportions. She was the center of our world and the joy of our lives. I couldn’t stand the thought of someone else raising Erin and her having no memory of the parents who loved her more than life itself.

I couldn’t get that thought out of my head, and finally had to express it on paper. The result was a song lyric called Our Daughter’s Eyes. I worked on it quite a while before I was satisfied that I had given it my best effort.

Fast-forward six years. I was so impressed with Dr. Bernie Siegel’s landmark book, Love, Medicine & Miracles that I sent him a copy of Our Daughter’s Eyes because I thought it was in sync with the subject matter of the book. Bernie wrote back to say that he couldn’t read it without crying and wanted to include it in his next book. I happily agreed.


Goodbye Baseball Cards, Hello Life

August 22, 2008

willie-maysWhen I was twenty-three, financial challenges forced me to sell off my baseball card collection. I realize how trivial this may sound to some of you. But I had been collecting cards since I was six years old and they were precious to me.

I remember biking home from the drugstore at seven years old with a box of baseball cards—filled with twenty-four packs at a nickel each—and sitting at our family room table lovingly opening each pack, checking each card against my checklist, and organizing them into appropriate piles. My happiness could not have been more complete. Saying goodbye to my baseball cards felt like I was losing my best friends—and a big piece of my youth as well. I miss them to this day.

In hindsight, however, I am glad I had to let them go. If I hadn’t, I would have continued to (more…)

John Challis Lived For One More Pitch

August 21, 2008

FIve days ago, I wrote a post called One More Pitch. Here is a story about an 18-year-old baseball player who, against insurmountable odds, stepped in for one more pitch himself. You want to know what the embodiment of bravery looks like? (more…)

Do You Ever Forget to Breathe?

August 20, 2008

stressed-out-office-workerEvery day, I remind myself to slow down and breathe.  I start taking a few deep breaths and then I promptly forget and go right back to being fast-paced Phil. It’s maddening! What’s even more disconcerting is that taking a long, deep breath feels foreign to me. That bothers me. A lot. I want to slow down my pace, slow down my rhythm, slow down my life and be fully present. I know how important it is to take in enough oxygen and to be, as Paramahansa Yogananda wrote, calmly active and actively calm. 

Just a few years ago, I was living a calm, peaceful life. Then a gust of busyness blew me off course and I haven’t yet found my way back, even though I know that living a spiritual life is inconsistent with moving and thinking at warp speed.

I came across a quote in a magazine article that nailed it: “A wise man never rushes.” It makes perfect sense—when you rush, when your mind is racing, you lose focus and you no longer are in the moment. Acting slowly and deliberately allows you to keep your awareness high and stay attuned to the divine current. 


“Autobiography of a Yogi” Changed My Life

August 19, 2008

Reading Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda at the age of forty-two was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life. From the beginning chapter, I felt like I had finally come home. This was the life I had always wished was possible but never dreamed it could be! After finishing it, I sent away to Self-Realization Fellowship, the organization Yogananda founded in 1920, for the three-and-a-half years’ worth of bimonthly lessons on “right living” and follow Yogananda’s teachings today as part of my daily spiritual discipline.

autobiography-of-a-yogi-book-coverI just now finished listening to Chapter 23 in my car. I’ve listened to the audiobook version, read by Ben Kingsley, three times now and it never fails to thrill me. Everything in this book resonates in harmony with who I am and who I wish to become. I was already teaching spiritual classes by the time I encountered this book and was amazed at how much deeper it took me in my knowledge and practice.

Yogananda teaches that direct contact with God is (more…)

Wait For It . . .

August 18, 2008

god-bless-you-mr-rosewater-coverEight years ago, I drove to Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park to see my friend, Joe, who was battling liver disease. When I walked in his room, his girlfriend, Beth, was standing over him, sprinkling water over Joe while she said a prayer.

I asked her what she was doing and she said she was blessing Joe with rose water. I couldn’t help but smile. I reached in my briefcase and pulled out the book I had brought to read in case Joe was sleeping.

It was . . . wait for it . . . (more…)

Coincidence? I Think Not!

August 17, 2008

rotary-phoneAbout ten years ago, I was at the airport, looking forward to spending a weekend in Denver with my old high school buddy, Tom, and his wife, Sandy. When I found out my flight had been postponed from 1 PM to 6 PM, I hopped on a pay phone and called their home number. When Sandy answered, I gave her the message and she called Tom at work to tell him not to leave for the airport yet. She caught him just in time; another few seconds and he would have been out the door. He was an hour away from the Denver airport so he would have been stranded there; after all, it wouldn’t have made sense to drive back and forth twice just to get another couple hours of work in.

What’s cool is that when I got to Denver, Tom told me (more…)

Dads, Cherish Your Kids!

August 16, 2008

dad-throwing-daughterSoon after my divorce, I realized I had a choice. I could either spend prodigious amounts of time and money on pursuing romantic relationships or I could direct those resources toward deepening my relationship with my teenage daughter. Talk about a no-brainer. There would always be time to date. My daughter would be young only once.

Dads, if you’re looking for love, if you’re looking for meaning, look no further than your own living room. Whether they’re toddlers or teenagers, your children will soak up as much love as you can give them and return it tenfold.

The first step is to listen to them with full attention. And don’t just ask what happened at school that day. Ask them how they feel about it. (Closed circuit to dads with daughters: she doesn’t want you to solve her problems, she just wants you to listen to them. Trust me on this one.)

Think up some fun ways to demonstrate to your kids how much you love and cherish them. For example: (more…)