Archive for September, 2009

Your Heart Can Heal the World

September 30, 2009

two-hands-holding-a-glowing-heartI had no idea that Jennifer, a woman I had just met, would be the catalyst for an incredibly powerful and moving experience.

Right before the lunch break in Dr. Ibrahim Jaffe’s workshop on Sunday, he asked us to choose a partner for an exercise in sending love. Jennifer was sitting closest to me so we partnered up, adjusting our chairs so that we were facing each other knee to knee. Per Ibrahim’s instructions, I began sending loving energy to Jennifer, who was supposed to describe what she was feeling.

Years before, I had participated in a similar exercise in a Reiki II class, an experience that erased any skepticism I had about my (more…)

Open Your Heart and Listen

September 29, 2009

It was a joy to attend Dr. Ibrahim Jaffe‘s Creating a Life of Love workshop this past weekend. I had first attended one of Ibrahim’s workshops in 1998, which was truly a life-changing event. Not only did I come away with exciting new insights about love and healing, but Ibrahim also worked with me personally to open my heart more fully. Since then, I have made much progress, although my ultimate goal of always coming from my heart seemed like a distant dream more than an attainable goal.

On Sunday, while Ibrahim was talking about going deeper and further opening our hearts, it struck me that the major obstacle in my way was me. Or more precisely, my ego: that part of me that was more concerned with impressing others and gaining their approval and recognition.

You will not make significant progress on a spiritual path until you align ourselves more with spirit than with ego. The more you empty yourself of ego and your own self-importance, the more room there is for spirit.

Spirit and ego are polar opposites. When the soul identifies with the mind and body, it (more…)

Echo Bodine’s Heartbreaking Sacrifice

September 28, 2009

Author and psychic Echo Bodine told me a very powerful and very intimate story for my book, Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything, that emphasized the importance of listening to and heeding our intuition. May Echo’s experience inspire you to find the strength and courage to listen to that still small voice within. Here is an excerpt from her profoundly moving story, beginning with her bio.


Echo Bodine

Echo Bodine, a psychic, spiritual healer, ghostbuster, and author, offers psychic development and healing classes at her Minneapolis teaching and healing center. Her abilities include clairvoyance (the gift of seeing), clairaudience (the gift of hearing) and clairsentience (the gift of sensing). Her nine books include Look for the Good and You’ll Find God, Echoes of the Soul and The Gift. Click here to visit Echo’s website.

When I was a sophomore in college, I found out I was pregnant. When my boyfriend and I talked about getting married, my inner voice very adamantly said, No! But I pretended I didn’t hear it and kept on trying to make this really difficult situation more workable for me, my boyfriend, and our families. Our premarital counselor said that, even though we were both young, we could probably make it work. But all along, my intuition kept saying, (more…)

Stay Strong, God Is Just a Thought Away

September 27, 2009

boy-bowing-down-in gods-handsIn your darkest hour, you may feel desolate and abandoned, but solitude is an illusion. God is just a thought away.

Indeed, the thought of God will lead you directly back to your own soul, that individualized spark of the divine within you.

I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being.

The moment you reach for God’s hand, you gain clarity and perspective. You begin feeling stronger, wiser, and less fearful.

Not asking for God’s help and guidance is like choosing to sail across the ocean on a rickety raft instead of a luxury yacht.

If you do not feel God’s hand in yours, (more…)

Happy Birthday, Jack LaLanne!

September 26, 2009

The one, the only: Jack LaLanne

Fitness pioneer Jack LaLanne is ninety-five years old today! I love me some Jack LaLanne! I watched his TV show when I was a kid and was always mesmerized by his upbeat attitude. His vibrancy, vitality and enthusiasm are contagious and inspirational.

In a 2002 interview with Share Guide, a free holistic health magazine and alternative medicine directory, publisher Dennis Hughes asked Jack. “What do you think about social interaction and spirituality?” Jack said:

You have to be pretty stupid to think there isn’t a Supreme Being to put all this together. Do you think that man could ever make a heart that is indestructible? Do you think that man could make a calculator like your brain? Do you think that man could ever make a machine that the only way you could hurt it is don’t use it? Could man make a machine that in every ninety days practically every cell changes? Think about this. Look at all the creatures, the snakes, the worms and the birds, and the entire universe and everything that goes on. Don’t you think there is a universal power, that there is some Supreme Being that put this all together? You don’t have to call it God or Jesus. That’s religious humbug to a lot of people, but you’ve gotta believe that nature and spiritual things surround us. That is what put us here! I thank the universe for that every day of my life.

Vintage Jack LaLanne!

I also loved it when (more…)

Learn How to Write Greeting Cards!

September 25, 2009

Writing greeting cards is a great way to satisfy your creative urges and earn some extra money to boot. If you’re like most people, you’re convinced that you could write Birthday cards just as good as the ones down at the local drugstore. But, like most people, you don’t know how to get started.

By the time you finish reading this eBook, you’ll not only know how to get started in greeting card writing, you’ll know how to be successful at it too.

Click here to order this content as an eBook on Amazon for just 99 cents! In it, you’ll find:

• Nine basic rules that must be followed when writing greeting cards
• Eight insights that will help you better understand the greeting card business
• Eleven business tips that will help you present yourself as a professional
• Sixteen techniques that you can use to write greeting cards that sell
• Techniques for writing T-shirts, buttons, coffee mugs and Post-it notes
• Dozens and dozens of examples of cards and related products I’ve sold to all the major greeting card companies

Below are excerpts from the book to give you an excellent idea of what to expect.

Unless otherwise noted, all the card ideas presented in the book were written by my weekly card-writing group or an individual within the group. All these ideas were sold to a major greeting card company. Click here to gain some insight into how our group operated.

Click here to read my Q&A interview about greeting card writing with the Renegade Writer website.

Click here for a funny story about me hearing Wayne Dyer mention one of my birthday cards during an interview.

This post is the entire contents of my book, How to Write Humorous Greeting Cards.

Let’s start with the nine basic rules that must be followed when writing greeting cards. Some are more important than others but all of them must be taken into consideration.

RULE #1: A greeting card has to be sendable. This is the cardinal rule in the greeting card business. When you come up with an idea for a card, stop and think for a moment: can you envision yourself sending this card to an actual person? It may be very funny but if it’s not sendable you won’t sell it. Let me give you an example that a friend of mine submitted to me: (more…)

A Double Shot of Monkey Knife Fights!

September 24, 2009

monkey-knife-fightThis synchronicity stuff is getting out of hand! After nearly two years of piling up my Writer’s Digest back issues, I finally opened up the most recent one. One of the articles I read featured well-written query letters to literary agents. In response to one of the actual letters, the agent it was sent to (whose name I paid no attention to) commented:

I then requested and read the full manuscript and proceeded to call up the author and tell her I would “get into a monkey knife fight” to represent her.

The agent’s “monkey knife fight” comment amused me; I didn’t recall hearing that phrase before.


The lovely and talented Lissa Rankin

Fast-forward thirty minutes. In using Google Images to search for an image to accompany yesterday’s blog post about surrendering to the universe, I clicked on the first image that caught my attention: a woman in a green dress raising her arms toward the sky in serene surrender. Wondering if it was copyrighted or in the public domain, I began reading the accompanying text on Owning Pink, the website it came from. The post I was reading by Lissa Rankin pulled me in and, a few paragraphs later, to my astonishment, I read:

After receiving a gazillion rejection letters from literary agents, Barbara Poelle called me and said, “I would get in a monkey knife fight to represent this book.”

Whoa! Deja vu. I picked up the Writer’s Digest I had just been reading, flipped the pages until I found that first “monkey knife fight” reference and sure enough, the agent was Barbara Poelle, although the author was someone other than Lissa.

Now, the (more…)

Focus On Your Work, Not the Results

September 23, 2009

Detaching from results does not hinder your enjoyment of doing the work you feel called to do. Instead, it liberates you from worrying about the outcome, which frees you up to savor the present moment instead of looking past it.

Buddha stated that the core message of his teaching was, “Nothing should be clung to as me or mine.” Indian guru Nisargadatta Maharaj sagely added that enlightenment was also reachable through the mindset of “Everything should be clung to as me or mine.”

Contradiction is not a sign of falsity, nor the lack of contradiction a sign of truth.
Blaise Pascal

These seemingly competing statements present a compelling paradox of perspectives; yet, upon closer examination, they coexist in perfect harmony. Buddha’s dictum (more…)

Larry Julian’s Walk In the Desert

September 22, 2009

When I interviewed Larry Julian for my book, Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything, he told me a deeply personal story about faith, fear and family. Here is that story, beginning with his bio.


Larry Julian

Julian, a consultant and speaker, specializes in Biblically-based leadership development and strategic planning. He’s authored two nationally acclaimed business books: God Is My CEO, God Is My Coach and God Is My Success. Julian’s mission is to help businesspeople integrate their work and faith to be the success God intended them to be. Click here to visit Larry’s website.

I have a strong faith, but a few years ago, I went through “a difficult walk in the desert.” My wife and I were trying to have a child and had already experienced a miscarriage. I had also had five years of nothing but failures and discouragements in trying to get my book, God is My CEO, written and published. I had wanted to quit a hundred times.

In November 1998, I got hit with a one-two punch that literally put me on my knees. I had (more…)

My Most Unforgettable Person

September 21, 2009

For a story for Twin Cities Business magazine, I asked prominent Twin Cities businesspeople this question: Who is the most unforgettable person you have ever worked with? This person may have been a boss, a subordinate, a peer or an external business partner (but not a family member). He or she may have been a mentor, a tyrant or an inspiration. Here are four compelling stories from a former governor, a best-selling author, a world-renowned investor and CEO, and the founder and chairman emeritus of one of the top retail tire chains in the country.


Chairman of the board, RiverSource Funds
and former two-term Governor of Minnesota

arne-carlsonIn the Fall of 1956, I was invited by Professor James MacGregor Burns of Williams College to join him at a dinner with Eleanor Roosevelt at a hotel in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Obviously, I was deeply flattered. She was the most deeply respected woman in the world and even though her husband had passed on eleven years earlier, she was immensely active in the United Nations and had a nationally syndicated column entitled My Day. She was a relatively large woman wearing a long shawl, but when she came into the room it was her captivating smile that instantly drew me towards her. During the conversation I was so impressed by her level of candor, lack of ego, and deep concern for the future. Although advanced in years, her thought process reflected energy and creativity. If there is anything I took from that moment it was her enormous sense of decency. Today’s more polarizing world clearly needs more Eleanor Roosevelts who have the ability to reach beyond the moment and embrace the realization that our world is one.


New York Times #1 best-selling author (more…)

Your Turn, Yogananda

September 20, 2009

The image of Paramahansa Yogananda I keep on my desktop

One of the word processing files I had open on my laptop Friday was obscuring much of the image of Paramahansa Yogananda that I always keep visible on my desktop. Like I’ve done a thousand times before, I clicked on Yogananda’s image to bring it to the front so I could see it clearly.

Much to my amazement, the instant I clicked on it, the image began to move. It rotated to the right an eighth of a turn, paused, then continued rotating until it came to rest at a full quarter turn from where it started.

I gaped at the screen, not moving for a full thirty seconds, while I tried to process what I had just seen. If there was a logical reason why what just happened happened, I could not for the life of me figure out what that might be.

Yes, there was a Rotate Right command in the pulldown menu under the Tools menu at the top of the screen but I hadn’t even come close to clicking near the Tools menu, much less the pulldown menu that would have followed, which also would have required a click. And even if I had miraculously clicked on the Rotate Right command, the rotation would have been instantaneous, not gradual with a pause halfway through.

My mind raced back and forth: Was it a computer glitch or did something profound just happen? After all, I had had amazing energetic experiences regarding Yogananda before. Ultimately, I (more…)

Artist Joe Paquet on Artistic Authenticity

September 19, 2009



Joe Paquet at work

Joe Paquet is an artist and teacher. He is a signature member of the Plein Air Painters of America, The Salmagundi Club of New York and the California Art Club. His work is featured in galleries on the East and West coast and he has been featured in The Washington Post Sunday magazine, American Artist, Artist MagazineSouthwest Art and The Villager.

Joe maintains a studio in St Paul, Minnesota. Click here to visit Joe’s website.


Suza Francina Helps an Elderly Friend Die Peacefully at Home

September 18, 2009

When I interviewed author and yoga instructor Suza Francina for my book, Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything, she told me about her experience helping an elderly friend of hers die at home. It’s a sacred and powerful story, which I’ll start with her bio:


Suza Francina

Suza, who prefers to be known by her first name, is a pioneer in the field of teaching yoga to seniors. She is the author of The New Yoga for People Over 50, Yoga and the Wisdom of Menopause, and The New Yoga for Healthy AgingShe is a graduate of the Iyengar Yoga Institute of San Francisco, a certified Iyengar yoga instructor, and a member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists. A consultant for medical research studies on yoga, Suza teaches yoga internationally to people of all ages in a wide variety of settings. Click here to visit Suza’s website.

When one of Ruth’s friends called and said that Ruth wanted to see me, I didn’t think anything of it. When I walked into her apartment, her neighbor Betty, who was helping Ruth with her meals, was dumping oatmeal down the sink. She told me quite casually that Ruth was going to starve herself to death. Apparently, Ruth had had another stroke, was having memory lapses, and didn’t want to wait so long that she couldn’t make this decision.

Betty said that Ruth had considered this a few times before, and even had fasted for a short while, because she didn’t want to become dependent. The fact that she had lost control of her bowels and bladder was the last straw. She didn’t like people having to come in and change her diaper.

When I went into Ruth’s room, she was relaxing on her bed. I sat with her and she explained to me that she was ready to stop eating and that she wanted to (more…)

Brad Stokes’ Third Chance at Life

September 17, 2009

Brad Stokes—on the road to recovery!

As far as Brad Stokes is concerned, liver transplants are like potato chips—he can’t have just one. I wrote in an earlier post about Brad’s first liver transplant back in August 1994 as well as his courageous wife, Heidi, who has lupus, and their mature-beyond-his-years son, Christian, who has type 1 diabetes.

Brad’s liver disease returned with a vengeance a few years ago and, barely hanging on to life, Brad received a second liver transplant on August 14, 2009. Today, more than a month later, his recovery is going well and he is grateful to be back among the living.

You can read all about Brad’s amazing journey in his CaringBridge journal, which began on August 8, six days before his life-saving transplant.

Here is an August 30 excerpt from that jornal written by Heidi:

I am sitting on the floor in Brad’s room with a mask on—I might (more…)

My Worst Day at Work

September 16, 2009

boss-yelling-at-employeeAs the right-hand man for a hot-tempered entrepreneur, I had thoroughly prepared for a crucial weekend meeting at his Minneapolis home. As soon as the meeting convened, he asked me to give copies of specific documents to the other two people there—the writer of the investment newsletter we produced and the copywriter of our promotional material who had flown into town expressly for this important strategy session.

I I had indeed brought those documents, but hadn’t thought it necessary to make copies for everyone else. Big mistake. Much screaming and swearing ensued. My two colleagues remained stone-faced and silent. I was ordered to return to our  office to make copies and gather even more documentation.

That was one long fifteen-mile car ride—I felt humiliated and furious. Hoping to avoid another tirade, I lifted all the Pendaflex files out of my desk drawer and put them in the trunk so I’d have access to every last shred of information. The rest of the meeting went off without a hitch—except for him yelling at his wife because she hadn’t prepared dinner just the way he liked it.

I was only twenty-six, with a young family to support. I took his abuse because I was afraid of losing a good paycheck. Still, within a year, I found the courage to quit and landed a much better, much calmer job. Looking back, I don’t regret working there at all. It (more…)

Out of the Mouths of Babes!

September 15, 2009

Jim and Emily

My longtime  friend Jim Barry just sent me an e-mail. He said he signed up for a free dating website and when Judy, an attractive woman, put him on her favorites list, he contacted her. They went out for coffee and Judy told him about a fundraiser that Jim’s ten-year-old daughter Emily might enjoy. Jim will be seeing Judy again this weekend. After he told all this to Emily and she met Judy, her response was, “There must be a lot of guys who want to date her. Why did she want to go out with you?” Ouch!

Unfortunately, I can relate. When my daughter Erin was nine, I was sitting on her bed yapping before tucking her in. I mentioned that I only had two girlfriends before I met her mom and that neither one lasted more than a week. Erin thought that was pretty abnormal. She asked me, “Did people just hate you ‘cause you were ugly or they just didn’t like you?” Ouch!


Erin and me

I e-mailed the above anecdote to Jim and he responded with another Emily classic. When she was three and had just seen Cinderella for the first time, she took one of her toy wands, waved it at her dad and said, “Bippety-boppity-boo, I’m going to turn you into a handsome guy.” Once again, ouch!

And once again, I can relate. One night when Erin was seven, we were all watching Magnum P.I. My wife Kate was swooning over Tom Selleck and I asked Erin if she thought I was as handsome as Magnum. She paused, trying to figure out how to be as diplomatic as possible, and finally said, (more…)