Archive for August, 2010

Two Sisters with Cystic Fibrosis Inspire and Entertain on “America’s Got Talent”

August 31, 2010


Two sisters, both plagued by cystic fibrosis, had the night of their lives on June 23, 2010, when they auditioned for America’s Got Talent. In a moving and inspirational performance that brought the audience, as well as judge Howie Mandel, to their feet, Christina and Ali sang their message of hope, strength and courage for all the world to see. I cannot watch these girls sing without being moved to tears.

Ali, 20, says in the video:

The average life expectancy [of cystic fibrosis] is mid-to-late thirties, but we can (more…)

Dr. Ibrahim Jaffe’s Minneapolis Lectures and Workshop SEP 23-26

August 30, 2010

Dr. Ibrahim Jaffe

Sufi healer Dr. Ibrahim Jaffe will be in Minneapolis from Thursday, September 23, through Sunday, September 26, to lecture and conduct a weekend workshop. All the events are designed to introduce participants to Sufi teachings.

He will be speaking at All God’s Children Metropolitan Church in Minneapolis Thursday evening, September 23, and then presenting a weekend workshop Friday night through Sunday at Unity Christ Church in Golden Valley.

Click here to register for these events.

Ibrahim is a licensed medical doctor as well as a spiritual (more…)

My Video Interview With Dr. Ibrahim Jaffe on Principles of Sufism

August 29, 2010

Dr. Ibrahim Jaffe

It was my pleasure, privilege and honor to interview Sufi healer Dr. Ibrahim Jaffe about the principles of Sufism. I’ve known Ibrahim for a dozen years and I always enjoy our discussions. He is a man of great love and wisdom and I am always happy to share his insights and loving energy with others.

The following interview was conducted on August 25, 2010. I asked him six primary questions about Sufism. Because we wanted each of the questions to function as a standalone video, each video begins with an introduction and an opening prayer.

Here is Ibrahim’s bio:

Dr. Ibrahim Jaffe is a licensed medical doctor, as well as a spiritual teacher and a gifted master healer in the sufi tradition. He is the leader of the Shadhiliyya Sufi order in the United States, and the founder of both the Shadhiliyya Sufi Center and the University of Spiritual Healing and Sufism. Ibrahim lives in northern California, where he continues to teach, travel and work on his forthcoming book.

I was fortunate enough to attend one of Ibrahim’s weekend workshops back in 1998 and I can attest that the experience was life-changing. The lessons I learned about love and healing in those three days still resonate deeply within me today and inform much of my work.

if you are interested in learning and studying with Ibrahim, or wish to schedule a one-on-one healing session with him, click here to visit his website. You will also find free audio downloads.

Click here to visit the website of the University of Spiritual Healing & Sufism website.

Many thanks to Pat Aylward, Ibrahim’s loyal devotee in Minneapolis, who arranged the interview and supplied the questions. Thanks also to Steve Walsh, who provided the video equipment and technical expertise.

Here are the six videos, which range in length from nine to sixteen minutes. Also included is a two-minute bonus video in which Ibrahim shares a story that illustrates the inherent perfection in apparently less-than-perfect events. (more…)

Walk, Don’t Run

August 28, 2010

Walking a spiritual path is called just that for a reason. It’s not called running a spiritual path. It takes time to drink in new ideas, to integrate them into your perspective and consciousness, and most importantly, to reflect them in your relationships with God and with others. I like how Paramahansa Yogananda conveyed the importance of patience for spiritual aspirants:

A thirsty man coming upon a lake craved to swallow all its waters. Naturally, he could not drink more than his stomach would hold. Likewise, many thirsty seekers of limited understanding sit by the lake of truth and aspire to drink all of its vast waters and contain all of its mysteries. They do not understand even this truth: that to swallow (more…)

The Vanished Flowers of a Hundred Years Before

August 27, 2010

Rabindranath Tagore: poet, novelist, musician, painter, playwright and Nobel Prize in Literature winner who reshaped Bengali literature and music in the late 19th and early 20th centuries

I just happened to read this excerpt from a Rabindranath Tagore poem called “The Gardener.” The brilliant Bengali writer wrote it in 1915, which is ninety-five years ago. In it, Tagore speaks to a future reader, one who will read the poem a hundred years after he wrote it. That would be me.

Who are you, reader, reading my poems a hundred years hence?
I cannot send you one single flower from this wealth of the spring, one single streak of gold from yonder clouds.
Open your (more…)

Phillip Moffitt on Finding Joy Amidst Your Suffering

August 26, 2010

Phillip Moffitt

I have long admired Phillip Moffitt, who at the age of forty, to the astonishment of the New York publishing community, honored his intuitive guidance by abandoning his professional identity as CEO and editor-in-chief of Esquire magazine to seek greater joy, meaning, and authenticity. As his path unfolded, Moffitt found peace and purpose as a Buddhist meditation teacher and as founder of Life Balance Institute, a nonprofit organization devoted to helping people lead more balanced, meaningful lives.

The following story is from the Introduction to Phillip’s 2008 book, Dancing with Life: Buddhist Insights for Finding Meaning and Joy in the Face of Suffering. I found it very insightful and inspiring. I know there are many people who can relate to Sarah’s circumstances and I hope that her journey from suffering to joy will help them get to a better place as well.

Sarah had an adult autistic son who had been violent all his life. She had suffered greatly because of this child, whom she loved dearly, and was heartbroken over his condition. I listened to her story with tremendous sympathy, for is there anything worse than caring for a child whose suffering you cannot relieve? And yet at the same time, I pushed her to consider a different perspective: She—not her son—was responsible for her misery. Therefore (more…)

Al Horner: Saving Lives With “Not Me!” Self-Defense Training

August 25, 2010


After hearing about Al Horner’s self-defense classes for women, I sat in on one of his training sessions and came away determined to publicize his work. That resolve resulted in this feature article I wrote for Twin Cities Business magazine.

This is perhaps the most important article I’ve ever written. I wish Al could reach every woman out there with his critically important, self-empowering message and techniques. Please pass this link along to the women in your life.

NOTE: “Not Me!” online training is now available. CLick here for details.

Former Navy SEAL Al Horner is on a mission to train people how to avoid or escape life-threatening assaults

Al Horner: A man on a mission

It was 3 a.m. and Carrie Donovan couldn’t sleep. She and a friend had flown to Manzanillo, Mexico, to spend a few days at a private residence in a beachfront gated community. Since she had the luxury of sleeping in, she slipped downstairs in the dark to gaze out at the moonlit ocean. Outside by the pool, a man walked by. Must be the security guard, she thought. He wasn’t. The next thing she knew, the man had come through a side door and was in the living room. “I jumped up and said, ‘What the bleep are you doing in here?’” Donovan recalls. “He grabbed my throat in one hand, pulled out a machete and backed me down on the couch. I thought, ‘Oh, my God, this is a bad movie, this can’t be happening.’”

Reeking of alcohol, the intruder started to slide Donovan’s pajama bottoms down. In that instant, Al Horner’s face popped into her mind. She heard Horner’s voice saying, “Do something now or risk getting killed.” Reflexively, she grabbed the machete blade with (more…)

As You Are, You Are

August 24, 2010

When you commit to a life of integrity, you are concerned with your integrity and yours alone. You are your own harshest critic as well as your most ardent supporter.

There is nothing noble in being superior to some other person. True nobility comes from being superior to your previous self.
Hindu wisdom

Your sense of self is not affected one way or the other by what others may think or say about you.

Do not let your peace depend on the hearts of men; whatever they say about you, good or bad, you are not because of it another man, for as you are, you are.
Thomas à Kempis

Should circumstances besmirch your (more…)

Virtue Vs. Comfort

August 23, 2010

Commit to a life of integrity, and you are not deterred from doing what is right even if the outcome may be personally detrimental.

‘Tis better to suffer wrong than do it.
Thomas Fuller

Integrity begets bravery. When Lewis Morris was warned that the British Army was within cannon shot of his estate and that signing the Declaration of Independence would almost certainly lead to his financial ruin, he (more…)

Journalist Mike Celizik Bravely Faces Cancer

August 22, 2010

One of reporter Mike Celizic’s first questions after being diagnosed with cancer: Would he be able to wear his trademark hat in the CT scan? (Photo courtesy of

I just read Mike Celizik’s three poignant posts about his battle with cancer on He is facing the end of his life with courage and grace. He loves life but has found some measure of peace in his final weeks. I hope you find inspiration in his essays as well.



Mike Celizic is’s ace morning news reporter as well as a sports columnist for He is known for his ability to write compelling, accurate stories at lightning speed, as well as for his trademark hat, which he never removes, even when appearing as a guest commentator on MSNBC.

This week Mike was diagnosed with T-cell lymphoma. As a dyed-in-the-wool journalist, his first instinct was: Report on it. Thus he is sharing this cancer journal with and readers as he turns his reporting skills to one his most difficult subjects: himself.

“Sloan-Kettering? How do you spell that? What city is it in? It’s not showing up in our system.”

This is not the way I wanted to begin my Adventures in Cancerland.

The diagnosis had been confirmed on Monday. That big lump in my groin that the doctors insisted on calling a “mass” was not, as initially suspected, a hernia. It was instead an enlarged lymph node, a manifestation of non-Hodgkin’s T-cell lymphoma: cancer.

Now it’s Tuesday, and I’m calling my health insurance provider, UnitedHealthcare, to find out if they cover treatment at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

My doctor friends told me it’s the only place to be treated. It’s world-famous. So I’m more than a little flustered when the helpful representative keeps asking me if (more…)

When Selflessness Becomes Selfishness

August 21, 2010

An online friend told me recently how overwhelmed she was by her job and family responsibilities. She was on the brink of shutting down the daycare business she ran because she was miserably tired every day and the very thought of continuing such a demanding schedule exhausted her. But she felt she had to keep grinding away because her family’s needs were more important than her own.

I told her that taking care of everyone else without also taking care of herself was doing a disservice to everyone in her life. I asked her to take a step back and think about how her feeling so perpetually sleep-deprived and miserable was affecting the quality of her daily interactions with her husband, her children and her customers. Even worse, slogging on so “selflessly” would mean she’d have even less to offer in the years to come.

I said that living selflessly is a noble cause but it’s guaranteed to backfire unless (more…)

Be Someone, Not Something

August 20, 2010

When you live with integrity, peer pressure does not constrain you. You live your life, as psychologist Abraham Maslow taught, “independent of the good opinion of others.”

I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.
Frederick Douglass

You recognize that going (more…)

Keeping Your Soul Alive

August 19, 2010

Living with integrity does not mean that every choice you make is nonnegotiable. Most decisions are open to compromise, from where you decide to live to how you spend the holidays.

In matters of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the current.
Thomas Jefferson

The only issues not open to bargaining are (more…)

The Sun Rises for Everyone

August 18, 2010

Spirituality encourages direct contact with God, yet without a disciplined commitment to self-awareness, seekers on the road to truth may miss the turn for humility and veer off toward arrogance.

Once the game is over, the king and the pawn go back in the same box.
Italian proverb

Yes, the further you move down the path of enlightenment, the more distance you create between your (more…)

Construct Your Personal Mission Statement

August 17, 2010

Do you feel like you’re adrift in life with no clear aim or purpose? Writing a Mission Statement can help you clarify your values and define your vision for what you want your life to look like.

Do you feel confident that your life is on track and you’re where you need to be, doing what you need to be doing? A Mission Statement can strengthen your resolve and serve as a daily  reminder to stay on course.

I’m not talking about a generic one-sentence Mission Statement that can apply to two-thirds of the people on earth. I recommend a three-pronged Mission Statement that details who you are, why you’re here, and what you can do every day to ensure that you live your very best life.

Once you draft your three-part Mission Statement, treat it as a living (more…)

How to Meditate for Beginners

August 16, 2010

Paramahansa Yogananda, founder of Self-Realization Fellowship

Over the years, many people have asked me how to meditate. They want to start but are not sure how to begin. If you would like to start a meditation practice, I heartily endorse the instructions given on the newly remodeled Self-Realization Fellowship website.

Click here for How to Meditate—Beginner’s Instructions. Follow the steps to advance to Correct Posture and A Beginner’s Meditation. You’ll also find links to information about prayers, affirmations and devotional chanting.

As a bonus, click here for a handful of very short Q&A videos on meditation. Plus, click on Guided Meditations under the Meditation & Kriya Yoga menu at the top of the site and you’ll find three fifteen-minute audios of Guided Meditations.

To commune daily with God in deep meditation, and to carry His love and guidance with you into all your dutiful activities, is the way that leads to permanent peace and happiness.
Paramahansa Yogananda

If this material interests you, click here for information about SRF’s Lessons on Meditation and (more…)