Archive for August, 2009

When Did I Become Such a Delicate Flower?

August 15, 2009

profanity-symbolsSomeone showed me an SNL video of Natalie Portman performing a very profane rap song. It’s a YouTube favorite and everyone seems to love it.

I certainly saw the humor behind it—sweet Natalie Portman acting completely against type—but I couldn’t help cringing every time she spewed out another vulgarity. It was painful to watch.

I felt the same way last fall at a cocktail party when I was talking to a guy I had just met. Every other sentence was punctuated with an F-bomb or two. I felt physically uncomfortable and excused myself as soon as I could.

I don’t know when I became such a delicate flower. It’s not like I (more…)

Tim McGraw Honors Our Fallen Heroes

August 14, 2009

On May 15, 2007, Tim McGraw eschewed tradition at the ACM (Academy of Country Music) Awards in Las Vegas. Instead of performing his current hit song, as artists always do on such shows, he sang a song that had never been heard before, and in doing so, created a lasting and profoundly moving moment that won’t soon be forgotten.

According to an article provided by World Entertainment News Network:

Tim McGraw stunned guests at the Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas with an emotional tribute to the families of dead soldiers. The country star donned all black to perform I’m Already Home towards the end of the event, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house when the darkened stage was lit up at the close of his song to reveal a group of grieving U.S. soldiers’ families.

Under the banner Families of Fallen Heroes, the group stood proudly, some clutching photos of their loved ones who lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. The awards show guests (more…)

Jessica Cox: A Life WIthout Limits

August 13, 2009

Jessica Cox is, in a word, fearless

Motivational speaker Jessica Cox has earned two black belts in Taekwondo, plays the piano, and on October 11, 2008 became the first person without arms to earn a pilot’s license. Yep, you read that right. Jessica does everything with her feet, including putting in her contact lenses!

Here is Jessica being interviewed on Ellen. (more…)

Conclusive Proof of the Nature of Hell

August 12, 2009

hellAccording to spiritual sages, hell is not a physical reality. it is a delusionary state of consciousness produced by our belief that we are separate from God—and the reflection of that consciousness in the life we create for ourselves here on Earth.

The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a Heav’n of Hell, a Hell of Heav’n.
John Milton

God does not punish us; we punish ourselves when we ignore God’s universal laws of right living.

We are our own devils; we drive ourselves out of our Edens.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Then again, if hell does physically exist, questions arise. Such questions are creatively  answered in the following apocryphal story of a hellish college exam!

A thermodynamics professor had written a take-home exam for his graduate students. It had one question: “Is hell exothermic or endothermic? Support your answer with a proof.”

Most of the students (more…)

Even Failed Relationships Are Successful

August 11, 2009

couple-sitting-down-ending-a-relationshipLove is not always enough to sustain a relationship. Such is life. People change; desires change. Sometimes hearts are broken and there is nothing to be done except express gratitude for the gift you were given and move on.

Just because a relationship ends does not mean the whole relationship was a failure. Each relationship showers us with gifts. For example, joining our heart with another’s allows us to express and experience our deepest desires for emotional and physical intimacy.

When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north
wind lays waste the garden.

Kahlil Gibran

Every relationship, no matter how long it lasts, (more…)

You Can Shine!

August 10, 2009

This is the most moving and inspiring shampoo commercial you will ever see. Yep, you read that right. It’s a commercial for P&G’s Pantene Chrysalis shampoo, created by (more…)

Eat, Pray, Laugh

August 9, 2009

two-buddhist-monks-laughingI’ve noticed lately that a number of people are surprised to learn that I have a sense of humor because of my interest in spirituality. That makes me laugh! Far from being at odds with each other, spirituality and laughter walk hand in hand. Indeed, great sages throughout history could crack a one-liner with the best of them.

Does God have a sense of humor? I would certainly hope so. Otherwise, why would there be so many things in this world that make us laugh? Laughter, as journalist Norman Cousins so famously pointed out, is the best medicine for whatever ails us. Unquestionably, spirituality and laughter are (more…)

My Video Interview With Victoria Baum

August 8, 2009

I enjoyed visiting with Victoria Baum, an author, speaker and licensed clinical professional counselor. Victoria is also a Disaster Mental Health Supervisor for the American Red Cross. We discussed a variety of topics, including the key to transforming your life, the value of persistence, the need for enlightened self-care, and the illusion of external security.

Click here to visit Victoria’s website.

Click here to visit Victoria’s blog, Positive Adaptation.

Click here to follow Victoria on Twitter.



Danny MacAskill—Wizard on Wheels!

August 7, 2009

According to YouTube user inspiredbicycles, this video of Inspired Bicycles team rider Danny MacAskill was filmed over the period of a few months in and around Edinburgh, Scotland by Dave Sowerby. It features perhaps the best collection of street/street trials riding ever seen, and pushes the envelope of what is perceived as possible on a trials bike.

I am not a biking enthusiast but I was absolutely transfixed by what I was watching Danny MacAskill do on a bicycle. He seems to be defying the laws of gravity and physics! No matter (more…)

My Video Interview with Michael Chase of the Kindness Center

August 6, 2009

It was a privilege to speak with Michael Chase, founder of The Kindness Center and author of am i being kind: how asking one simple question can change your life . . . and your world. Michael gave up a successful career in photography to devote his life to encouraging people all over the world to adopt kindness as a way of life. Click here to read more of Michael’s inspiring story.

Check out the one-year-later update from Michael at the bottom of this post.



Brothers In Arms

August 5, 2009

Dartanyon Crockett and Leroy Sutton are high school wrestling teammates and best buds. Dartanyon is legally blind and Leroy lost both legs in a train accident. I found their story of faith, friendship, trust and triumph profoundly moving and inspiring.

Perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave.
Rainer Maria Rilke

The video above and companion story below are courtesy of ESPN reporter Tom Rinaldi and producer Lisa Fenn.

“Leroy, touch your toes.”
Leroy reaches his arms out in front of him in mock effort, and says, “They’re at home.”
And then, the boys laugh.


He didn’t know they were gone.

Staring down at the sheets of his bed, the morphine starting to fade, Leroy Sutton was still numb, but he had a feeling something was wrong.

“It was when I tried to sit up,” Leroy said, remembering that day nearly eight years ago. “I pulled the covers up, and that’s when I figured everything out.”

It was Dec. 7, 2001, the day that shaped Leroy’s body, and his life.

He was 11 years old at the time, walking to school with his brother along the Wheeling and Lake Erie railroad tracks near his home in East Akron, Ohio. A freight train approached, and Leroy got too close. His (more…)

A Statue for Johnny Barnes

August 4, 2009

Bermuda greeter Johnny Barnes (video courtesy of YouTube poster JoeMrFire)

Eighty-five-year-old Johnny Barnes has been welcoming visitors to Hamilton, the capital of Bermuda, for the last fifteen to twenty years by blowing kisses, waving and saying “I love you” to passing traffic at the Foot of the Lane roundabout one mile east of downtown. He’s become such a fixture from 3:45 AM to 10 AM every Monday through Friday that the city immortalized him with a statue adjacent to the roundabout!

According to Wikipedia, Johnny Barnes was born John James Adolphus Mills in Bermuda in 1924. He was an electrician by trade and worked on the Bermuda Railroad as an electrician until the railroad closed in 1948. He then drove a bus for a living. One day, on his way to work, he stopped at the Crow Lane roundabout and began waving to traffic.

Barnes, who is sometimes called (more…)

The Dalai Lama Teaches the Four Noble Truths

August 3, 2009

The Dalai Lama

How does an ordinary person become a buddha? According to Buddhism, enlightenment is achieved by embracing the Four Noble Truths:

1. Life means suffering

2. The origin of suffering is attachment

3. The cessation of suffering is attainable

4. The path to the cessation of suffering

These six hours of video, filmed over two days in July 1996 at the Barbican Theater in London,  mark the first time His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama has taught the Four Noble Truths in such detail in the West. Click here to purchase this video set from




When A Man Loves A Diva

August 2, 2009

Dane Stauffer, who now lives in Los Angeles, has been a fixture on the Minneapolis theater scene for nearly four decades. I invited Dane to visit today so he could tell us about his new show—When A Man Loves A Divaat the Lab Theater at 700 North First Street in the Minneapolis warehouse district.

When A Man Loves A Diva is a high-energy wonderful show with great songs, great humor and great performances. I cannot emphasize enough how much fun you’ll have at this show. If I didn’t know about it, I’d want somebody to tell me about it because I would not want to miss this show!

The show runs on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM and Sundays at 7 PM through August 16.

When you order or pick up your tickets for any show,
just say “Phil sent me” and you’ll get (more…)

My Interview With Weldon Long: From Prison to Paradise

August 1, 2009

Weldon Long

Weldon Long is an entrepreneur, author and speaker who broke a twenty-year cycle of prison, poverty and addiction after experiencing an Aha! moment in prison. After his release, he built a multimillion-dollar heating and air conditioning business within thirty-six months.

Today, Weldon, who’s known to his friends as Wally, is building a second career as an expert in personal development. His new book, The Upside of Fear, has been praised by Stephen Covey and Tony Robbins and won first place in the New York Book Festival.