Archive for December, 2010
If you are familiar with Caroline Myss, you will love this lecture she gave on “Healing and the Mystery of Grace” at the Omega “Being Fearless” conference in New York City in April 2008. If you’re not familiar with Caroline, you’ll be a fan after watching this eighty-minute presentation.
HEALING AND GRACE—PART 1 OF 11
HEALING AND GRACE—PART 2 OF 11 (more…)
Would you brave an electric fence to step between an enraged bull and the woman he’s mauling? Would you go back once, twice, three times into a burning, sure-to-explode car to save its unconscious passengers? Would you jump into the track bed of a subway station as a train was rumbling in to save the life of an unconscious man on the tracks?
These people did. That’s why they were honored as heroes. Would you (more…)
Eleven weeks ago, during a walk in the woods, I made a decision: I would leave Minnesota, the only home I’d ever known, and move to California. I had wanted to move for years, but the quicksand of inertia and fear of the unknown had held me fast. Staying where I was, no matter how much I wanted to be elsewhere, was easier. Most importantly, my daughter and mother were in Minnesota and I couldn’t imagine living so far away from them.
Now that I’ve made the move and am happily ensconced in Encinitas, my favorite place on earth, everything feels right. I’m exactly where I should be, and Skype video enables me to see my family members at any time. Skype is like the Jetsons’ picture phone come to life. It’s free, it’s amazing, and did I mention it’s free?
So many people have told me that they envy me for changing my life so dramatically and embarking on such a great adventure. Guess what? You (more…)
If you’re like most people, you’ve found yourself yearning to be free of a job or relationship but just didn’t have the courage or confidence to push the eject button. And if you’re like most people, if and when you finally quit that job or ended that relationship, your reaction was, I wish I would have done that years ago.
The first time I realized that I was in a situation that no longer served me, it took me (more…)
A week ago, after the Sunday service at the Self-Realization Fellowship temple in Encinitas, my friend Laurie Baum was looking for two little chocolate-loving souls she knew from Sunday School who would appreciate the little transparent bags of Christmas goodies she had assembled to commit random acts of chocolate. Spotting their parents, she approached the family as they exited the temple. When Laurie offered the three-year-old boy a bag, he lit up like a Christmas tree. Accepting it joyfully, he raised (more…)
This story about a Christmas Day miracle sounded too good to be true when I heard a minister relate it last Sunday. I Googled it and found that it was written by a woman named Elizabeth English. The story was originally printed in Guideposts magazine sometime in the 1950s and reprinted in the 1989 book New Guideposts Christmas Treasury and the 2000 book, Christmas in My Heart, Volume 9. Given that stamp of authority, I choose to believe it happened. After all, Christmastime is a magical season and, well, believing in stories like this makes it that much more magical!
WAITING . . . WAITING FOR CHRISTMAS
Herman and I finally locked our store and dragged ourselves home to South Caldwell Street. It was 11:00 p.m., Christmas Eve of 1949. We were dog-tired.
Ours was one of those big, old general appliance stores that sold everything from refrigerators and toasters and record players to bicycles and dollhouses and games. We’d sold almost all our toys; and all the layaways, except one package, had been picked up.
Usually Herman and I kept the store open until everything had been picked up. We knew we wouldn’t have awakened very happy on Christmas morning knowing that some little child’s gift was back on the layaway shelf. But the person who had put a dollar down on that package never appeared.
Early Christmas morning our 12-year-old son, Tom, and Herman and I were out by the tree opening up gifts. But I’ll tell you there was something very humdrum about this Christmas. Tom was growing up; he hadn’t wanted any toys—just clothes and games. I missed his childish exuberance of past years.
As soon as breakfast was over, Tom left to visit his friend next door. And Herman disappeared into the bedroom, mumbling, “I’m going back to sleep. There’s nothing left to stay up for anyway.”
So there I was, alone, doing the dishes and feeling very letdown. It was nearly 9:00, and sleet mixed with snow cut the air outside. The wind rattled our windows, and I felt grateful for the warmth of the apartment. Sure glad I don’t have to go out on a day like today, I thought to myself, picking up the wrappings and ribbons strewn around the living room.
And then it began. Something I’d never experienced before. A strange, (more…)
In the spirit of the true meaning of Christmas, I am pleased to share this excerpt from Metaphysical Meditations by Paramahansa Yogananda. May you have a wonderful holiday season and may 2011 bring ceaseless blessings your way.
MEDITATION FOR CHRISTMAS MORN
Celebrate the birth of Christ in the cradle of your consciousness during the Christmas season. Let His vast perception in Nature, in (more…)
I was privileged to attend the memorial service for Self-Realization Fellowship president Sri Daya Mata at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium on Sunday, December 12, 2010. The service was warm and intimate, filled with reverence, reflection and reminiscing. Thanks to this professionally produced video footage, you’ll feel like you were right there yourself, on center stage for the complete 150-minute ceremony.
Click here to read my account of visiting Sri Daya Mata while she lay in state at Forest Lawn.
Click here to read a brief bio of Sri Daya Mata.
Click here to learn how to order the Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons for home study, a course I highly recommend.
SRI DAYA MATA MEMORIAL SERVICE (1 OF 11)
SRI DAYA MATA MEMORIAL SERVICE (2 OF 11) (more…)
I have always been impressed and humbled by stories of courage in the face of devastating illnesses or accidents, particularly when those stories involve young people who have barely begun to live. Even when fear threatens to overwhelm them, so many of those stricken respond with transcendent courage and faith that those left behind are forever changed by the depth and intensity of the love that was shared before the final flicker of life was extinguished.
The wedding of cancer-ridden Katie Kirkpatrick is one such story. The bond between sixteen-year-olds Sabrina Parker and Matt Scozzari is another. Here is their story, written by Allen G. Breed of The Associated Press.
SABRINA AND MATT: A LOVE STORY
JACKSONVILLE, N.C. — As she walked through the door, Sabrina Parker’s big hazel eyes flared with surprise and she raised a hand to her mouth to stifle a gasp. She was a huge fan of the “Twilight” book and movie series, and her friends and family had transformed this greasy garage into a Sweet 16’s dream.
Homemade strobe lights illuminated walls decorated like the night sky and plastered with cast posters. All around were balloons in red, white and black. An enormous cake, iced to look like the chess board on one of the book jackets, held 16 blazing candles.
The crowd began chanting for Sabrina to blow them out. She bent in close and blew, but the flames barely flickered. She straightened up and shook her head. Realizing her distress, Matt Scozzari stepped closer and told her they would do it together. On the count of three, they leaned in and snuffed them out together.
In the three months since he’d first asked her out, Matt had noticed small changes in his girlfriend: The shortness of breath, the slurring in her speech, the weight loss. When he’d ask what was going on, Sabrina would just shrug it off as nothing serious.
But Sabrina knew her (more…)
These astrological predictions for each zodiac sign for 2010 were written by my friend Laurie Baum, MSW, a psychological astrologer and psychotherapist in practice in Encinitas, California.
Click here to read another post that includes Laurie’s comprehensive astrological forecast for 2011. Click here to read Laurie’s suggestions for keeping calm, centered and balanced during the turbulent times ahead.
Personally, I never had much of an appreciation for astrology and just didn’t care enough about the subject to investigate it further. Then two things happened.
First, I happened to read a chapter in a life-changing book that burned off the fog of ignorance and answered every question I had about astrology. It was written with clarity, precision, wit and wisdom, and I felt the subject come brilliantly alive for me as I read it. Click here to read that excerpt on astrology.
Second, I had an hour-long astrological reading with Laurie Baum today. We discussed every area I could think of: health, relationships, finances, lessons in need of learning, major life changes to come. Not only did she nail everything—and I mean everything—about me, but she provided very helpful insights that will help me navigate the years ahead with more confidence and authority. It was uncanny: everything she told me aligned perfectly with what my intuition had long been telling me; but she also went far beyond that point and gave me much to think about. This reading with Laurie gave me a much deeper appreciation of the value of astrology and a more profound respect for its power. Thank you, Laurie!
NOTE: After this post appeared, Alan, a very spiritually minded friend of mine, e-mailed me: “Given your glowing recommendations I just sent Laurie an email requesting a reading.” Three days later, Alan sent me this note: “I had a wonderful astrology reading experience with Laurie. She was able to deliver insightful information in a comprehensive and compassionate manner. I found it timely and useful on many levels so I thank you for introducing me to her.”
You, too, can benefit from Laurie’s wisdom. She writes a free astrological newsletter about how planetary alignments affect our lives on earth. Click here to e-mail Laurie to subscribe at no cost, or visit Laurie’s website and click on “Free Email Newsletter.”
Laurie is the author of A to Z Acrophonology: Discover the Power of the Letters in Your Name, Everything You Need to Know About Your Astrology Sign, Whispers from the Cosmos, Sacred Mysteries of Egypt, and Astrological Secrets for the New Millennium.
Laurie also offers counseling appointments by phone. She will answer your questions about major life decisions and talk with you about the reasons you have incarnated, the lessons you are here to learn, where you are on the wheel of karma, and the psychological developmental cycles you have been through and are going through. She will look at current influences on your health, finances, relationships, career, and any relocation plans that may be necessary. She also will look ahead with you at the next seven years of your life. A reading with Laurie can help you take the next step in your life. Sessions, which are available via landline phone or Skype (audio or video), are digitally recorded.
YOUR PERSONAL ASTROLOGICAL PREDICTIONS
December 21, the Winter Solstice, is the shortest day of the year, when the earth is the farthest point away from the sun in its annual orbit around the brilliant star that provides light and energy to earth. The moment that the Winter Solstice begins—when Earth’s orbit crosses from the constellation of Sagittarius (autumn) to Capricorn (winter)—heralds the return of greater light to the earth as the days become longer and we begin to orbit more closely to the sun.
The angle at which sunlight reaches the earth makes a marked shift at each equinox and solstice, providing an opportunity for stronger meditation, contemplation and prayer. It is a law of physics that light is stronger when it bends, as it does at each equinox and solstice.
It is a spiritual time of year because, as Paramahansa Yogananda noted, the vibrations of Christ Consciousness are much stronger at this time of year and are available to those who tune in.
ARIES (March 21 – April 19)
You are embarking upon an exhilarating period of your life with both lucky Jupiter and innovative Uranus in Aries! Jupiter is in Aries from January 22 to June 4, 2011. Uranus is in Aries from March 11, 2011 to March 5, 2019! You will gain new insights and perspectives, meet new people and participate in group activities. You may meet some unusual people in the coming year or engage in (more…)
Mindfully engaging in your right livelihood with a spirit of humility and service is an integral element of your journey toward enlightenment.
True Dharma seekers who live in the world use their daily activity as a polishing tool. Outwardly they may appear to be very busy, like flint striking steel, making sparks everywhere. But inwardly they silently grow. For although they may be working very hard, they are working for the (more…)
Over the years, I often drove by Alice Smith, the grade school that my daughter, Erin, had attended in Hopkins, Minnesota. While waiting at a stop sign in front of the school, I’d imagine my sixth-grade girl in her safety patrol uniform dutifully extending her flag to halt traffic. I’d remember sitting in my parked car half a block away, proudly watching her in action.
Little did she know back then that her twenty-years- (more…)
After nineteen days in Encinitas, California, I still find myself walking the streets with a skip in my step, a smile on my face and a song in my heart. Walk along with me and I’ll show you the sights!
If I leave my front door and hang a left, walking north toward C Street, here’s the view of the ocean I have from the end of the block.
Once Swami Bhavanandaj told us: “Seeking God means expressing God.” To me, this summarizes the entire sadhana or spiritual discipline we go through. We are striving for (more…)
A religious or spiritual path that demands that I follow an external set of rules based on the experience of others does not appeal to me. I value paths that encourage me to seek my own experiences through inner exploration and discovery.
Many a doctrine is like a window pane. We see truth through it but it divides us from truth.
Sufism is one such path. Guidance is required but it is up to the spiritual seeker to do the work necessary to gain enlightenment. Click here for my video interview on the principles of Sufism with Dr. Ibrahim Jaffe, 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.
Self-Realization Fellowship is another path that demands much of its followers. As founder Paramahansa Yogananda said in a Thursday evening talk at the Self-Realization Fellowship temple in Encinitas, California, some sixty years ago:
Most religions try to hold followers by rousing their emotions or intellect, or insisting on blind belief in theological dogma. But the Masters of India hold you by (more…)