Archive for August, 2011

Greater and Greater Things

August 15, 2011

Do not fear adversity. Every squall you are forced to navigate better prepares you for the next storm brewing just over the horizon.

Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.
African proverb

Indeed, it may be advantageous to find yourself adrift in (more…)

Two WIngs to Fly

August 14, 2011

Every tussle with adversity is designed to further buff the perfectly formed diamond of your soul.

If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished?

An athlete elevates his game not by practice alone, but by competing against stronger opponents.

He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper.
Edmund Burke

Embrace your inner David and (more…)

Summon the Hero Within

August 13, 2011

Celebrate the difficult moments, for they are where the missing pieces of your greatness can be found.

Things don’t go wrong and break your heart so you can become bitter and give up. They happen to break you down and build you up so you can be all that you were intended to be.
Charles (Tremendous) Jones

Greeting every challenge as a character-building exercise (more…)

Thinking and Reading Cannot Lead You to God

August 12, 2011

Studying scriptures and spiritual writings can be tremendously inspiring and rewarding, but know this: The mind is incapable of leading you to God. The exalted state of conscious unity with the Divine cannot be explained; it can only be experienced.

In the CD, Is Meditation on God Compatible With Modern Life?, Sri Daya Mata echoes that sentiment, as you (more…)

A Harsh Nurse

August 11, 2011

How you feel about a challenge depends on how you choose to deal with it. You can call upon the best in you, or let it get the best of you.

Providence has hidden a charm in difficult undertakings which is appreciated only by those who dare to grapple with them.
Madame Swetchine

It matters not whether you are caught in a spring (more…)

Calling All Parents!

August 10, 2011

This morning in the gym, I got to talking with a young guy named Matthew who is two months away from becoming a first-time father. I asked if he was interested in hearing about some wonderful ways to deepen and celebrate the experience of parenthood. He was, so I shared with him a few of these parent-friendly posts:

Click here to learn how and why to capture all the (more…)

Until Your Last Breath

August 9, 2011

In a talk this week at the Self-Realization Fellowship World Convocation in Los Angeles, a monk recalled how more than thirty years before, the senior monk in charge of training the new monastic initiates inspired him with these words:

I pray with all my heart that with my last breath I (more…)

Caroline Myss on Change, Upheaval and Sacred Contracts

August 8, 2011

Caroline Myss: brash, bold and brilliant

I very much enjoyed this seventy-seven-minute talk by Caroline Myss (rhymes with “grace”), an author, medical intuitive and superstar on the spiritual lecture circuit. Presented in Phoenix in 2010, How Times of Change Influence Your Sacred Contracts is full of Caroline’s trademark wit, wisdom and sauciness (which I find delightfully endearing).

I especially liked this excerpt about dealing with crisis and change:

When a crisis comes, when you’re frightened, you will instinctively look to your (more…)

Leaving October

August 7, 2011

Rare is the song that offers perfectly crafted lyrics, music that perfectly complements the lyrics in style and tone, and vocals that perfectly capture and evoke the “soul” of the song. Leaving October by Sons of the Desert is such a song. It is a haunting and mesmerizing tale of love, loss and longing. Each time I listen to it, its beauty astonishes me.

Click on the audio player below to listen to Leaving (more…)

Finally Home

August 6, 2011

The Westin Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles, site of the annual Self-Realization Fellowship Convocation

It’s Convocation Eve, the Saturday night before the annual, weeklong Self-Realization Fellowship World Convocation commences at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles. Arriving at the Westin always feels like a homecoming, like I’ve stumbled upon an oasis of peace, love and devotion hidden away among six-lane freeways and towering skyscrapers.

At a meeting for volunteers, an SRF monastic who has been in the order for more than fifty years, related the story of how he came to the organization. He had shown up a few minutes late for his first service in the small chapel inside the SRF International Headquarters atop Mount Washington in Los Angeles. The first thing he saw was devotees pranaming. His first thought was, “This is weird.” Yet at the same time, he felt a deep peace and (more…)

The Schoolmaster of Life

August 5, 2011

The road to salvation is by no means a linear path; adversity and triumph melt into one another until they are all but indistinguishable.

Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Kahlil Gibran

Thus, while you do not necessarily rejoice whenever life steers you into a ditch, you (more…)

My Visit With Nathaniel Branden

August 4, 2011

Nathaniel Branden and I share a laugh in his Los Angeles home

I was honored to meet with psychotherapist and philosopher Nathaniel Branden in his Los Angeles home today. Nathaniel is a renowned lecturer, practicing psychotherapist, and author of twenty books on the psychology of self-esteem, romantic love, and the life and thought of Objectivist philosopher Ayn Rand.

I had interviewed Nathaniel twice for my blog and had thoroughly enjoyed our discussions. He and his wife, Leigh, graciously welcomed me into their home upon my arrival from Minneapolis. Jenny, my college friend, picked me up at LAX and we headed right over to the Brandens.

I’ve long admired Nathaniel’s work in the fields of romantic love and self-esteem. I also throughly enjoyed reading his account of his days with the legendary Ayn Rand. During our talk today, I told him how mesmerized I was by his account of the day his then-wife, Devers Branden, visited Ayn Rand at her New York home and went toe (more…)

Every Cloud Is an Angel’s Face

August 3, 2011

By definition, the circle of life demands that we experience the full range of what this life has to offer. Adversity is an integral part of the natural order of things. No one escapes its bittersweet embrace.

To round itself out, life calls not for perfection but for completeness; and for this the “thorn in the flesh” is needed, the suffering of defects without which there is no progress and no ascent.
Carl Jung

While you cannot prevent adversity from knocking on your door, you can prepare for its arrival by (more…)

Carless, Homeless and Loving It!

August 2, 2011

This is me and Mr. Ocean, right around the corner from where I lived in Encinitas last winter

Today I sold my car to a friend from college for his son. On Thursday I head back to California for nine months. I don’t yet have a place to live but I do have a couple of good leads.

And so the adventure begins anew!

At this point in my life, I enjoy living out of a suitcase. I rent a room wherever I go and live simply. I don’t need a car in Encinitas, which is great because I get at least a couple of miles of walking in every day. I’m living according to a simple dictum:

You don’t have to fight to (more…)

Bill and Moira

August 1, 2011

Here is another nice story of a life-after-death encounter between loved ones, as told by author Trudy Harris for Guideposts. I have read or heard hundreds of such stories. Click here to watch a video of Dr. Jannis Amatuzio, author of Forever Ours, brilliantly recount such stories from her own experience.

In my view, life after death is not a question of belief. An enormous amount of evidence overwhelmingly supports it. If someone chooses not to believe in life after death, they haven’t read the thousands of stories like this that are out there and available to all. To dismiss all such stories is to state that all the storytellers are either lying, hallucinating or deluded. Those who have experienced such post-life visits know that what they saw, heard and felt is as real as the computer you’re reading this on.


Bill and Moira were married for more than 40 years. They lived in a beautiful home overlooking a lovely lake and garden.

You could count on seeing them together at Mass each Sunday, and it was only at (more…)