Archive for May, 2009

Facing the Fear, Finding the Blessing

May 15, 2009

Laurie Baum in the Self-Realization Fellowship Meditation Gardens at Paramahansa Yogananda's ashram in Encinitas, California

My friend Laurie Baum, who, like me, follows the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda, author of Autobiography of a Yogi and founder of Self-Realization Fellowship, is a clairvoyant intuitive. I love the stories she’s told me about her angelic encounters and alternative healings, so I asked her if I could share them on my blog. To my delight, she agreed to write them up. Today’s post describes her physical and spiritual recovery from cancer. Click here to read how Laurie was protected, guided, and mentored by her angels.

I’d like to mention that Laurie is also a licensed psychotherapist and astrological counselor in private practice in California. She is a former newspaper and news magazine reporter who is profiled in the books Psychic New York and The 100 Top Psychics in America.

Laurie is the author of A to Z Acrophonology: Discover the Power of the Letters in Your NameEverything You Need to Know About Your Astrology Sign, Whispers from the Cosmos, Sacred Mysteries of Egypt, and Astrological Secrets for the New Millennium.

You can visit Laurie’s website for more information. For counseling appointments, click here to e-mail Laurie, or call her at (760) 753-7676. Thanks again, Laurie, for sharing your stories with me!

When the doctor told me the cyst-like lesion under my eye was skin cancer, I felt a wave of spiritual love and protection flow through me. I imagined everything would somehow be okay.

I remembered my Kriya initiation through Self-Realization Fellowship more than a decade ago, when I faced another health challenge. Still on a high a week after my spiritual initiation, I was in a serious bike accident in upstate New York. While flying through the air, about to land head-first on the black pavement street, I felt invisible hands reach (more…)

Fading Away

May 14, 2009

father-and-daughter-sepia-photo-1800sI spent the last four days cleaning out a downstairs room in my mother’s house that was crammed with a lifetime’s worth of my dad’s stuff. He died four years ago and had been a pack-rat extraordinaire. A big percentage of what I sifted through was family history, which I will organize in the very near future.

As I turned the pages of an old photo album, long-gone relatives, youthful and smiling, stared back at me. Many of the photos were from the 1800s and it struck me how their lives back then were just as vibrant and alive as our lives are today. Yet their sepia-toned world doesn’t quite seem real; it’s hard to imagine a time when people dressed and looked like that. Unfortunately, I can’t truly connect to that world because the vast majority of photos are not labeled and we have no idea who these people are. The years flew by and now these “sepia people” who I owe my very existence to have faded away into the mists of the past, almost as if they had never been.

My mother is seventy-seven. My sister, single and (more…)

Dance to Your Own Music

May 13, 2009

black-woman-dancing-joyfully-drawingSpiritual awakenings are often met with resistance from friends and loved ones who are bewildered by your desire to reinvent yourself.

Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who could not hear the music.
Angela Monet

Yes, people closest to you are concerned for your well-being, but also for their own—you stepping out of your comfort zone nudges them out of theirs. Why? On some level, they fear that as you learn and evolve, your relationship with them will change. They are right; it will.

Do not allow others to define your capacity for greatness. What they see in you matters not; (more…)

Are Spiritual People Better Than Others? Not So Much.

May 12, 2009

Eckhart Tolle

It’s a pothole on the spiritual path that is easy to fall into: “Now that I’m awakened, I’m a better person than people who are living unconsciously.”

Umm, no. Doesn’t work that way. The more you grow spiritually, the more humble you become. If you feel superior to “non-spiritual” people—and let’s be honest, most of us fall into that pothole at least briefly at the start of our journey—then your ego is still calling the shots.

I like how Eckhart Tolle explains how the ego hijacks our spiritual journey so cunningly that we are oblivious to its control. Here is an excerpt from his book, A New Earth:

Many people don’t realize until they are on their deathbed and everything external falls away that no thing ever had anything to do with who they are. In the proximity of death, the whole concept of ownership stands revealed as ultimately meaningless. In the last moments of their life, they then also realize that while they were looking throughout their lives for a more complete sense of self, what they were really looking for, their Being, had actually always already been there, but had been largely obscured by their identification with things, which ultimately means identification with their mind.

“Blessed are (more…)

Eckhart Tolle on the Circular Trap of Consumerism

May 11, 2009

Eckhart Tolle

I really like the way Eckhart Tolle explains why our materialistic society has so many of us running ever faster on the hamster wheel of consumerism. I am particularly impressed by the analogy he makes in the last sentence. This excerpt is from his book, A New Earth.

Paradoxically, what keeps the so-called consumer society going is the fact that trying to find yourself through things doesn’t work: The ego satisfaction is short-lived and so you keep looking for more, keep buying, keep consuming.

Of course, in this physical dimension that our surface selves inhabit, things are a necessary and inescapable part of our lives. We need housing, clothes, furniture, tools, transportation. There may also be things in our lives that we value because of their beauty or inherent quality. We need to honor the world of things, not despise it. Each thing has Beingness, is a temporary form that has its origin within the formless one Life, the source of all things, all bodies, all forms. In most ancient cultures, people believed that everything, even so-called inanimate objects, had an indwelling spirit, and in this respect they were (more…)

Best. Love. Story. Ever.

May 10, 2009

man-and-woman-clinking-glasses-in-restaurantWhile looking through audio books in the library, I came acrossI Thought My Father Was God: And Other True Tales from NPR’s National Story Project. I love stories so I checked it out. I was not disappointed. The stories, contributed by NPR listeners, ranged from hilarious to poignant. Ah, and then came Lori Peikoff’s story, which turned my body into one giant goose bump and brought a huge grin to my face. It’s the love story everyone dreams of, and it makes me happy to know that sometimes dreams do come true.


In 1947 my mother, Deborah, was a twenty-one-year-old student at New York University, majoring in English literature. She was beautiful—fiery yet introspective—with a great
 passion for books and ideas. She read voraciously and hoped one day to become a writer.

My father, Joseph, was an aspiring painter who supported
 himself by teaching art at a junior high school on the West
 Side. On Saturdays he would paint all day, either at home or
 in Central Park, and treat himself to a meal out. On the 
Saturday night in question, he chose a neighborhood restaurant called the Milky Way.

The Milky Way happened to be my mother’s favorite
 restaurant, and (more…)

Todd Silva is “Secret Dollar Man”!

May 9, 2009

Todd Silva

I really enjoyed interviewing Todd Silva, who two years ago began giving away a dollar a day. This simple practice not only brought him joy every day, it transformed his life. Todd’s idea eventually grew into Give Away A Dollar A Day, a worldwide generosity movement that spans the globe. 

Check out Todd’s Give Away A Dollar A Day website as well as his blog, which focuses on the power of giving.



There Are No Enlightened Couch Potatoes

May 8, 2009

man-on-hill-looking-up-at-purple-skyWhen you commit to walking a spiritual path, you commit to a life of continuous self-improvement, what the Japanese call Kaizen. Every step forward leads to another step, and another step beyond that. You must shove complacency to the side of the road and keep moving. The journey is unending.

Exhausting? No, exhilarating! The pleasure of self-discovery quickly becomes self-motivating. Each meditation beckons you to go deeper; each thought-provoking new book leads to another; each session of affirmations ends too soon.

As you expand the scope of your awareness, the scope of your non-awareness expands as well. You glimpse the vastness of how much there is to know and humbly realize how little of it you comprehend.

Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.

If answers to crucial questions continue to elude you, do not despair. Rather, be (more…)

Caroline Myss’ Remarkable Encounters with Sai Baba

May 7, 2009

Caroline Myss

Caroline Myss was kind enough to write the Foreword for my book, Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything, as well as tell me a knock-your-socks-off story for it. Here’s an excerpt:

The first time I called on Sai Baba was more than ten years ago during a health scare I had when I was in northern Scotland. You have to understand that I’m in the middle of nowhere and nobody but my friends know I’m there. I said, Baba, I don’t even know why I’m praying to you. But if you’re there and if you’re listening, I think I’d like some of that vibhuti (holy ash that Sai Baba reportedly materializes at will). Now why would I ask for vibhuti? I’ve never asked for that in my life. Holy water, yeah. Holy oil, uh-huh. Holy ash, no. “Ash” to me is Ash Wednesday. Ash has its own sacred place in the Christian tradition. But in India, ash is the sacred element.

So the next day—the very next day!—this little tube the size of a 35mm film canister arrives filled with vibhuti with a note that reads, (more…)

A Doctor With a Heart, a Prom to Remember

May 6, 2009

Dr. Mike makes good on his ten-year-old promise to Stephanie

Right before eight-year-old Stephanie Pentiuk’s heart transplant surgery at the Mayo Clinic, she looked up at pediatric cardiologist Dr. Mike Ackerman and asked, “Am I going to live, Dr. Mike?” He smiled and said, “Of course you are, Stephanie. And not only are you going to survive this transplant, I’ll be dancing with you at your prom.”

Fast-forward ten years, to April 25, 2009. Stephanie, who lived in Leland, Michigan, had (more…)

Reframe, Reflect, Rejoice!

May 5, 2009

man-on-rocks-beach-arms-raised-to-sky-cloudsPeople often ask me how I stay so happy and positive. The short answer is:

Imagine the worst thing that can possibly happen in your life. Step into it and feel the horror of what that must be like. If that terrible event did indeed happen, would you give everything you own—would you give your very life—to have your old life back, the life you have right now?

Keep this thought in the back of your mind and (more…)

Have You Galloped?

May 4, 2009

horse-galloping-on-the-ocean-beachPeter Shaffer‘s play, Equus, tells the story of Dr. Martin Dysart, a psychiatrist who is treating Alan Strang, a teenage boy who has a pathological fascination with horses. At one point, Dysart, who is searching for his own sense of purpose, laments:

But that boy has known a passion more ferocious than any I have felt in my life. And let me tell you something, I envy it. That’s what his stare has been saying to me all this time, “At least I galloped, when did you?”

Have you galloped? Or do you trot along day after day, year after year, never feeling the wind rushing through your mane, umm, hair?

Me? I gallop at (more…)

The Urgency of Destiny’s Call

May 3, 2009

beckoning-angelIn an e-mail discussion with Rachel, a new Twitter friend, I mentioned that I felt a sense of urgency to advance my life’s work, that this was the season of my life to be as productive as possible. Rachel, who is twenty-six and lives in Costa Mesa, California, asked why I felt a sense of urgency.  I replied that I don’t want to waste even a minute doing something other than my life’s work. What I’m working on now is my gift to the world and I feel a responsibility to finish it sooner rather than later, and that I considered urgency a good thing. She responded:

I just finished The Art of Happiness and am now thinking about urgency because the Dalai Lama touched on it.  I know what you mean about it being a good thing now. How do you keep it in the front of your mind?  I intellectually know I need to accomplish my life’s work sooner rather than later but I spent last night watching hours of TV because I couldn’t get any momentum up to do things–even meditate and just clear my mind!  I’m really stumped here but I know it’s because I can’t find a way to think about it objectively.

That’s a big question that can be answered from any number of angles. First, what is (more…)

Naomi Shihab Nye on Kindness

May 2, 2009

Naomi Shihab Nye

Poet Naomi Shihab Nye points out that it is easy to be kind when life is kind to you. In this wonderful poem from her book, Words Under the Words: Selected Poems, she beautifully expresses how we can—how we must—find refuge, hope and joy in kindness even as darkness threatens to swallows us whole.


Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know

Unexpected Kindnesses Are Long Remembered

May 1, 2009

Image by © Dex Image/Corbis

My daughter was twenty-one and living away from home for the first time, in an apartment she shared with another young woman. I stopped by for a visit and found her in a foul mood. When she snapped at me, I quietly left. I drove straight to a floral shop, then returned to her apartment and presented her with a rose and a note that said that, no matter what she said or did, I could always see the beauty and purity of her soul shining through. In an instant, her bad mood vanished as if it had never been and she was her normal kind, wonderful self again. We had a good talk and a good hug. And the rest of her day was better than it would have been.

Many years before that exchange with my daughter, I was battling a co-worker over her smoking habit. As hard as it is to imagine now, smoking used to be allowed in the workplace and Kathy’s desk was close to mine. It was a battle I couldn’t win; she wasn’t about to quit smoking and I wasn’t about to quit my job. One day I went to a flower shop and had a rose delivered to her at work. If I recall, I wrote on the card something to the effect that what I was objecting to was her smoking, not her as a person, and that I hoped we could get along better. She was absolutely floored, and our relationship was instantaneously transformed.

Choosing kindness is always an option. Especially when you are treated unkindly or when people are expecting you to be upset. Not only will your unexpected kindness be deeply appreciated, the remembrance of it will likely occupy a special place in their heart, a place they can return to for comfort and peace—and for sharing that peace with others when the opportunity arises.

Choosing kindness is both selfless and selfish. Years ago, even though I already immensely cherished my daughter, I (more…)