Archive for December, 2011

Paramahansa Yogananda’s Inspiring Message for the New Year

December 31, 2011

Paramahansa Yogananda in 1924 (Courtesy of Self-Realization Fellowship, Los Angeles, California)

Indian yogi and guru Paramahansa Yogananda gave these remarks on New Year’s Eve, 1934, at the International Headquarters of the society he founded, Self-Realization Fellowship. Yogananda’s timeless wisdom is as fresh and relevant today as it was seventy-five years ago. May his words help you begin the new year with hope, joy, empowerment and determination.

by Paramahansa Yogananda

Make new determinations as to what you are going to do and what you are going to be in this next year. Set a program for yourself; carry it through, and you will find how much happier you will be. Failure to keep to your schedule of improvement means you have paralyzed your will. You have no greater friend and no greater enemy than yourself. If you befriend yourself, you will find accomplishment. There is no law of God preventing you from being what you want to be and accomplishing what you want to accomplish. Nothing detrimental that happens can affect you unless you sanction it.

* * *

Let nothing weaken your conviction that you can be whatever you want to be. There is no one obstructing you unless it be yourself. Though my master Swami Sri Yukteswarji again and again told me that, it was hard to believe it at first. But as I used the God-given gift of will power in my life, I found it to be my savior. Not to use the will is to be inert like (more…)

Grateful for Grampo

December 30, 2011

Grampo and me

Forty years ago today I was in the kitchen when the phone rang. It was the V.A. Hospital, letting us know that my dad’s father, whom my sister and I affectionally called Grampo, had died. He was seventy-six and had been suffering from dementia for a number of months. I rode the two-plus hours to Ortonville with my dad to break the news to his mom. It was the first time I ever saw Grammo cry.

Four days earlier, in his hospital room, Grampo had given my sister and (more…)

Jose Feliciano’s Star-Spangled Controversy

December 29, 2011


Jose Feliciano

On October 7, 1968, twenty-three-year-old singer Jose Feliciano and his guide dog walked onto the field at Tiger Stadium and sang the national anthem before Game Five of the World Series between the Detroit Tigers and St. Louis Cardinals. Ninety-eight seconds later, he had unwittingly ignited a national controversy, derailed his career, and set in motion a series of events that would lead him to find the love of his life.

Jose had nothing but good intentions that day. He wanted (more…)

That’s the Ticket!

December 28, 2011

At yoga class today, a woman from Israel named Rivka told us that her daughter Aliza had received a dollar bill in change on which someone had drawn a swastika and written “Heil Hitler!” Disgusted, Aliza said a prayer asking God to change the energy of the bill from toxic to positive, then used it to buy a scratch-offf ticket for her son’s birthday. Since Andre’s birthday, December 26, coincided with Hanukah, she bought three more tickets for a present for him.

That evening, after dinner and observance of Hanukkah, the family lit the Hanukkah candles and Andre (more…)

How Free Will and Divine Intervention Coexist

December 27, 2011

"Earth Angel" by Josephine Wall (

If you wonder why God allows people to do evil things to other people, what you’re really saying is that you don’t believe in free will. Throughout history, people with malicious intent have exercised their free will to hurt others. God does not directly interfere because, by definition, free will would be rendered meaningless if it were interfered with.

Yet, Divine intervention is also at work. The Divine is always speaking to you, guiding you, nudging you toward your highest good, but it is up to you whether or not you choose to listen. Both free will and divine intervention come down to this: You (more…)

Of Heartache, Hope and Heroes

December 26, 2011

In this three-minute video from Guideposts, author Tricia Goyer recalls how she collected inspirational stories of World War II veterans for her novel, Remembering You.

Goyer, who lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, shared the behind-the-scenes details of her meetings with World War II vets in Guideposts magazine. By wading into the soldiers’ pasts, she unintentionally set in motion a poignant coda to a powerful story.

A romance novelist listened to the memories of World War II veterans whose inspiring stories were waiting to be told

Tricia Goyer

With every one of the 12 hours it took me to get to Kalamazoo, Michigan, my doubts grew. I was a young mom of three, an aspiring romance novelist who’d yet to commit more than a few chapters of a book to paper—let alone get a publisher interested. What business did I have attending a reunion of World War II vets, interviewing them about one of the most troubling times in human history? Now here I was, at the hotel, wondering if my trip was a big mistake. These veterans might not warm up to you right away, I warned myself, walking into the lobby.

A man saw me and rushed over. “Are you (more…)

The Power of One

December 25, 2011

Knowledge is power. Well, kind of sort of. Knowledge opens the door to wisdom, which spiritualizes experiences, which is the gateway to enlightenment . . . and when you reconnect with the Source of all that is, you will finally know true power.

That was the thought process I had upon reading this enchanting parable told by Hazrat Inayat Khan, a Sufi teacher from India. I hope you enjoy it!


A young lad was sent to school. He began his lessons with the other children, and the first lesson the teacher set him was the straight line, the figure “one.” But whereas the others went on progressing, this child continued writing the same figure. After two or three days the teacher came up to him and said, “Have you finished your lesson?” He said, “No, I am still writing ‘one.'” He went on doing the same thing, and when at the end of the week the teacher asked him again he said, “I have not yet finished it.” The teacher thought he was an idiot and should be sent away, as he could not or did not want to learn.

At home the child continued with the same exercise, and the parents (more…)

If You Worry, You’ll Be Weary

December 24, 2011

Are you such a worrywart that you’re exhausted from all the worrying you do? If so, you’re burning up a whole lot of emotional energy for nothing. In fact, worse than nothing. Worrying saps your life force, ages you, and weakens your immune system. If you are not actively trying to abolish your worry habit, then at some level you value being consumed with worry and fear more than you value being happy and healthy.

Fretting about what could go wrong is a self-fulfilling prophecy that needlessly produces suffering. To make maters worse, worry bumps you out of the present moment, stripping you of your capacity to feel peaceful and loving. Worrying never helps and always hurts; it ruins good times, intensifies (more…)

Dog Days in Encinitas

December 23, 2011

In an earlier post, I shared my experience at the decidedly quirky La Paloma movie theater in downtown Encinitas. Tonight I attended the 6:00 showing of Moneyball, starring Brad Pitt. I thought it odd that there were two dogs in the lobby strolling casually about. After taking my seat, the dogs began roaming the aisles and walking between the seats, ducking under the legs of surprised patrons. At one point, engrossed in the movie, I was startled to feel (more…)

Dear Santa

December 22, 2011

Here’s a fun story about Christmas, Santa, a little boy, his grown son, and sixty-three years in between them. It was written by Mary Devine of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.


David Wulff, of Minneapolis, found his father's 1948 letter to Santa in a Richfield thrift store. "I called my dad from the store, and I said, 'You're not going to believe what I just found,' " he said. (Pioneer Press: Scott Takushi)

Christmas miracles can happen anywhere this time of year.

David Wulff was shopping last week at Arc’s Value Village thrift store in Richfield when a letter to Santa caught his eye.

“Dear Santa Claus,” the letter read. “Please bring me (more…)

Santa’s Helpers Pay Away the Layaway

December 21, 2011

If you’d like to help out families who are truly in need this Christmas season, here’s a creative and wonderful way to do it. Christmas is all about kids, and I can almost feel the joy and gratitude of the parents who had sadly accepted that their children would go without presents on Christmas day. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus!

By Margery A. Beck

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – The young father stood in line at the Kmart layaway counter, wearing dirty clothes and worn-out boots. With him were three small children.

He asked to pay something on his bill because he knew he wouldn’t be able to afford it all before Christmas. Then a mysterious woman stepped up to the counter.

“She told him, ‘No, I’m paying for it,'” recalled Edna Deppe, assistant manager at the store in Indianapolis. “He just stood there and looked at her and then looked at me and asked if it was a joke. I told him it wasn’t, and that she was going to pay for him. And he just busted out in tears.”

At Kmart stores across the country, Santa is (more…)

Astrological Predictions for 2012 for Each Zodiac Sign

December 20, 2011
Laurie Baum

Laurie Baum

These astrological predictions for each zodiac sign for 2012 were written by my good friend Laurie Baum, MSW, a psychological astrologer and psychotherapist in practice in Encinitas, California. As you can see from her article, Laurie integrates the wisdom of natural patterns in the heavens with spirituality and psychological insights.

Click here for Laurie’s comprehensive astrological forecast for 2012.

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. 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 a former newspaper and news magazine reporter who is profiled in the books Psychic New York and The 100 Top Psychics in America. She is the author of five books:

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

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.

SPECIAL NOTICE—Laurie is now offering 2012-specific astrology readings tailored just for you. Ask her for details.

To make an appointment with Laurie, click here to e-mail Laurie or call her at (760) 753-7676. Click here to visit Laurie’s website for more information.


The Winter Solstice on Wednesday, December 21 is a time of celebration of the return of the light in many cultures. In Celtic tradition, the Winter Solstice is celebrated as the moment when the world emerges into the light from the womb of the Cosmic Mother. Saturnalia was the ancient Roman feast celebrating the return of the light with gift-giving, bonfires, feasting and drinking. The Winter Solstice marked the birth of Mithra, the Persian angel of light and truth, in the Zoroastrian religion. Sankranti is celebrated in Hindu tradition as the transition of the Sun from Sagittarius to Capricorn. And candle-lighting accompanies the Hebrew tradition of Hanukkah at this time of year.

The Winter Solstice both marks the longest night of the year and a turning point for the sun, when it begins its northward journey—from our perspective. The changing angle of the sun at the Winter Solstice presents a powerful opportunity for us all. It is a law of physics that light is stronger when it bends. The power of the bending light of the sun strengthens our thoughts, prayers and affirmations—and fortifies our spiritual, mental, emotional and physical energies at this pivotal time of year. So use the powerful energy at this time of year to make positive progress in your life. Sit quietly in the days and hours leading up to the Winter Solstice—the last season change before 2012—and focus on your intentions for the coming season. Your power to manifest is infinitely greater at this special time of year!


Illustrations by Kagaya, a Japanese digital fine artist.
Click here to visit Kagaya’s website.

ARIES (March 21 – April 19)
With fortunate Jupiter in Taurus until June 12, 2012, you will build energy and financial resources in the first half of 2012, and then expend those energetic and financial resources in the second half of the year. It is likely you will need the funds you accumulated either for travel, classes, gadgets, or other learning tools while Jupiter transits the mentally curious sign of Gemini until mid-2013. It is time to develop your mind so you can apply your skills to an important project. Your impulse to take on a complex task will intensify while Mars, your planetary ruler, travels through the industrious sign of Virgo until July 2012. Use this enterprising energy to (more…)

Mona Simpson’s Eulogy for Her Brother, Steve Jobs

December 19, 2011

Mona Simpson

Novelist Mona Simpson was twenty-five years old when she learned she had a long-lost brother. He turned out to be Steve Jobs, the brilliant and iconic founder of Apple Computer. They developed a close relationship and made up for lost time. When Jobs died on October 5, 2011, Simpson delivered this eulogy at his October 16 memorial service at the Memorial Church of Stanford University.


I grew up as an only child, with a single mother. Because we were poor and because I knew my father had emigrated from Syria, I imagined he looked like Omar Sharif. I hoped he would be rich and kind and would come into our lives (and our not yet furnished apartment) and help us. Later, after I’d met my father, I tried to believe he’d changed his number and left no forwarding address because he was (more…)

The Sweetness in Their Soul

December 18, 2011

If there is someone whom you regard with disdain or scorn, know that someone else views that same person in the opposite way. Yes, your counterpart may not know what you know or see what you see, but their perception is equally valid, for they choose to see the sweetness in your adversary’s soul rather than the negative qualities that you have so single-mindedly zeroed in on.

Remind yourself that it is also true that some people view you with great affection while others consider you an object (more…)

The Mysterious Mechanic

December 17, 2011

Apparently, a full squadron of angels is deployed on the nation’s highways every winter. How else do you explain this story from Claudia Scott or the following story from Amy Brady of Charlotte North Carolina, which appeared in the January 2012 issue of Guideposts.

A policewoman, stranded on an empty interstate highway on Christmas, receives some very unexpected assistance

There’s one good thing about being on the road Christmas Day, I thought, driving from my parents’ house in Richmond, Virginia, back to Charlotte, North Carolina. No traffic. I’d barely seen another car on the interstate all day.

Most people were home with their families. But not me. I was a policewoman, new enough on the force that I didn’t get a choice of shifts. I’d managed to score time off Christmas Eve, but I had to be back on duty tonight.

My sergeant made it clear: “Be here for (more…)

Snow Tow

December 16, 2011

Some stories are so unbelievable that they strain credulity. The following story, which was featured in a Guideposts e-letter, is bound to raise an eyebrow or two. Yet, with all I’ve learned and experienced, I believe anything is possible. Frankly, I hope it is true, because I love what it represents. The storyteller is Claudia Scott from Carlsbad, California, just up the road a few miles from me.

Click here to sign up for Guideposts‘ free Mysterious Ways newsletter. You’ll also be able to download a free e-book, Mysterious Ways: 9 Inspiring Stories That Show Evidence of God’s Love and God’s Grace.

When the snow forced us off the road, I didn’t know how I’d get my two babies home. Until a mysterious stranger pulled up

The snow often fell hard and heavy during the winters I lived in Colorado. It was coming down like crazy one afternoon when my boss closed the office and sent us home. I hurried to my car. I had to stop at the sitter’s house to pick up my two baby boys.

I made it the sitter’s house without too much trouble. “Be careful,” she said, as I strapped Nick, six months old, and Jon, 22 months old, into the backseat of the car.

“You know I will,” I said.

But almost as soon as her house was out of sight, (more…)