The Shamanic Healing Process

Jon Rasmussen, Contributor

In this video, Shaman Jon Rasmussen describes the shamanic view of the healing process and how it is performed. He talks about how we create our reality with our beliefs and goes on to demonstrate how we can let go of problems using the help of shamanic tools and spirit beings through the healing power of ceremony.

Jon Rasmussen
About Jon Rasmussen

Jon has over 35 years of experience in the fields of ancient and modern shamanism, healing, science, spirituality, and consciousness. He’s the author of the book Dreaming Your World Into Being, the CD’s Shamanic Journeys to Empower your Life and Practical Meditation for the Modern Lifestyle, as well as the DVD Let Success Find You. After several near death experiences at an early age, and extensive shamanic training and initiation, Jon leads a life of service for the healing of humanity primarily through the principle of the return of the powerful Feminine as spoken of in the prophecies of his Q’ero shaman lineage.  He travels extensively to conduct sessions, teach, and lead ceremony for individuals, couples, families, groups, and organizations.  Learn more about Jon’s work at dreamingintobeing.com and connect with him on Facebook. You can book sessions with Jon in person or by phone and Skype by sending an email to jon@dreamingintobeing.com.

Achieving the Unachievable

Dr John Demartini | Demartini Institute

Have you ever achieved or completed a long sought goal that you had set and then immediately felt a surge of confidence and began setting the next new one? Probably so! It can be quite an exhilaration to accomplish a significant goal that you have set for yourself in life. But, did you ever notice that for this next new goal that you set out to achieve, you probably raised the bar on it and made sure it was a bit more challenging or even a lot less attainable. Our expectations and standards tend to climb as our goals become accomplished.

Some philosophers have even claimed that nothing of our senses tend to satisfy our soul. Our soul just keeps us striving upward and onward; possibly even toward what some have termed as the ‘infinite’.

Goals have a way of climbing in height from those that are more easily reachable and almost immediately attainable to those that take either more effort and / or greater time. In most cases it has been shown that as our ability to attain our goals grows so does our confidence and their heights. In some cases we can even begin setting goals that are unachievable.

How high can you climb you might ask yourself? That is a great question, for some have achieved some seemingly unbelievable feats. Often their sheer determination and patient perseverance have seen them through to their desired outcomes. But, is there a part of us that can set goals that are unreal, misaligned with our true higher values and therefore unattainable and as a result set ourselves up for an internal moral dilemma, the big let down, a crash or simply a feeling of defeat and burnout? This can and has certainly happened to some.

It is like in the sport of gambling for some people. If they win they probably bet again and often a little or lot more goes into the pot. But the odds are not really in the favor of the gambler and so the emotional high from their run of wins can become the very source of their lows the moment they begin their series of loses or crash. Most people can handle approximately 10% fluctuations in their emotions without too much reaction. This means if they gain or lose 10% of their money they can handle this predicament without being too elated or distraught. But when those percentages climb higher so do their emotional reactions.

So when your setting your goals, which I am assuming you already know are very powerful and useful in living a more fulfilling life, set them with reason and graduate them moderately and realistically as you make your climb. Make sure they are realizable and set on stable and steady ground, for the higher your expectation the greater your let down can become. This is not to say that great expectations are not healthy. They can be. But they must be backed up with firm planning and methodical actions.

To assure that you have set reasonable goals work through a goal planning worksheet to make sure that what goal you have set is truly achievable in the time frame that you have set it in. Work through any possible obstacles that might arise. Guidance or mentorship from someone who has already been there or done that can be immensely helpful. The more details that you plan the less likely you are to fail and the more you are able and likely to achieve.

Read the rest of the article…


Older and Wiser? Four Steps to Finding Wisdom at Any Age

CJ Rising | the change blog

“Wisdom is the supreme part of happiness.”

– Sophocles

Now at the end of my forties I expect that I am wiser than I was 20 or so years ago. Isn’t that what’s supposed to happen?  Age brings wisdom?

Often, however, I still feel like I am muddling through life on a daily basis, not really sure of what I am doing or where I am going. And of course it’s true that I don’t have all the answers.

At the same time, I also have to recognize that I do know a lot more than I did when I was in my mid-20s or mid-30s or even early-40s. I am beginning to acknowledge my own wisdom, and that feels great!

But you don’t have to wait until “middle age” to seek and find wisdom. It’s a life-long process that begins when you’re young. I’m convinced that the key to wisdom is how you approach life and yourself.

Being wise has a lot of benefits. It doesn’t mean I don’t make mistakes every day. It doesn’t mean I’ve answered all of life’s questions.

It does mean that I know myself better than I ever have. It means that my self-confidence is growing because I’m learning what I’m good at and what I enjoy. It also means I am learning what is good for me, what makes me joyful and content.

So if you crave wisdom, here are a few places to start on your journey:

1. Recognize and accept constant learning.

The trick to learning is that you have to actually listen to the lesson presented to you. My simple approach is to first acknowledge that I learned something and then consciously add it to my collection of self-knowledge. I always say to myself “Lesson learned,” just to reinforce that I really got it.

2. Practice compassion.

Learning a lesson means accepting that we made a mistake, however big or small. And many of us can be really hard on ourselves when we make mistakes. Wisdom will not come from self-criticism. Wisdom can only come when we accept who we are, with all of our flaws and all of the beautiful uniqueness we add to the world. Be gentle with yourself. Forgive yourself and collect another piece of your wisdom puzzle.

3. Live consciously.

You won’t be able to recognize lessons learned unless you pay attention. Pay attention to physical clues—I have butterflies in my stomach; I had a hard time sleeping last night. Try to figure out why you are having a significant reaction to a situation.

Pay attention to your emotions and ask yourself why you are upset or happy or fearful.

Pay attention to connections (seeming coincidences) in the world—I just said that or thought that yesterday and now I heard the same idea on the radio. Tune into these kinds of connections; they may be trying to tell you something. (But you have to pay attention to figure out the message.)

Read the rest of the article…

World In A Sentence [Awesome 2Min Video]

Source:Shots of Awe

The syntactical nature of reality, the real secret of magic, is that the world is made of words. And if you know the words that the world is made of, you can make of it whatever you wish.” – Terence McKenna

Join Jason Silva as he freestyles his way into the complex systems of society, technology and human existence and discusses the truth and beauty of science in a form of existential jazz.

Impressions of Inferiority

Ida LawrenceContributor

Darkness brought us alive. Deep, rich, restorative darkness; filled with infinite potentiality, fertility, beauty, information of the ages… the magnificent pattern of it All. Beloved darkness. And we turn our face away from the word ‘darkness’ and from the thought of darkness. The light is what we value, the light is what we need, we need tomorrow morning, there is no light in darkness, or so we believe. But yes, there is light in the undervalued darkness.

We all know the yin/yang symbol… the dark in which the light is embedded, and the light in which the dark is embedded. These are the dualities of the natural world, spoken of by everyone from scientists and philosophers to nutritionists and cooks, and certainly martial artists. The indivisible whole in constant movement, and yet, they say, too much of one can weaken and consume the other.

Can we agree that after thousands of years of expansion of yang in the form of patriarchy, darkness has become not only undervalued but greatly feared, and light in its preponderance is seldom enlightening but woven with deception, which is its own form of darkness.

Let’s look at the pure energies – darkness: love, light: truth. Imagine these polarities in harmony, balanced within ourselves and all things. Heaven on earth comes forth. But we are not in heaven. We are in disharmony and imbalance, and both polarities are corrupted. The natural world is suffering, and we know it and feel it. We try to create little pockets of heaven… heaven in the bedroom, heaven in the home, heaven in our creations, heaven in the community. We try because we remember… there is a way it should be.

As we envision the return to balance, what is it that we envision returning? Is it the light within the dark… the divine love within the yin, expanding, revealing, healing? Is it consciousness passing the barriers and entering the divine dark void? Is it the light of truth unraveling the dark matrix of deception?

I want them all, but slowly, lest we poor humans lose our sanity.

Let’s look first at what we have been conditioned to undervalue as darkness. I’ll share with you some beliefs that were impressed upon my own mind, and these are with regard to the woman. She is the negative polarity, the deceptive, the hidden, the darkness. She makes herself beautiful and draws the man into her, thereby weakening him. She is necessary and valuable, so tend to her, but be aware. Your task with her, is to bring her into the position of helping you attain your goals. She can be an enjoyable companion, a reflection of your light, but remember always to maintain your position, otherwise her magnetic pull can control you can make you ‘soft’.

Did you enjoy that paragraph? Obviously no flow of energies between polarities there, and it’s uncomfortable to read. Uncomfortable to believe as well. We’re going after wisdom… a word that was left out of the paragraph, but not left out of the woman. So let’s bear a little discomfort for the sake of wisdom, and let it settle in.

I’m ready to move on to another conditioning that we see throughout the earth and far back into the patriarchy… the undervaluing of humans with dark skin pigmentation.

Where in hell did the caste system come from? Who or what imposed racism? Where did the ‘impression’ come from that darker pigmented people are more dense and slow, more inclined to physical labors, lacking civilization? It certainly didn’t come from truth. Even the brief weighing in our minds of the condition of Europe when the Moors brought science and mathematics, metallurgy, astronomy, agriculture, medicine, cleanliness, architecture and philosophy should tell us that something has gone wrong in the realm of reason. Perhaps racism came as a means of diminishing elder wisdom, as I suspect elder wisdom would not have allowed the polarities to fall so far out of balance.

We’re looking at the dark and the light, and our ‘impressions of inferiority’. Let’s return again to the fact that these dualities exist within every human: both the male and female of all races embody these polarities. So this is not yang-bashing (or underhanded white man bashing). There is yang in me, and why would I bash that light? I want balance… I want us to be able to envision and create heaven on earth, and I don’t believe we can leap there, dragging error with us.

Reverence for the duality, and understanding of the polarities and the constant flow of energies between them… most people haven’t thought about it or questioned it much. I know I didn’t for a good long time… I just accepted what I heard and tried to sort from that batch. Sorting from that batch gets you nothing but struggle to escape enslavement, and longing for light and liberation.

When we look at what is accepted, we are shown a system drip-feeding us religion-based ideas frosted with political correctness, constraining us within prejudiced systems, titillating us with perverse appetites, offering us new ‘genius’ problem-solving inventions, making us argumentative and confused. And what is This? This is the darkness of deception… the human subconscious is filled with the pain of it. And it is quite different from the divine darkness I might say.

We confront an upside down and inside out conditioning that can be looked into and corrected, but ever so lovingly and wisely and truthfully. Full blast would not be kind, nor would it result in accuracy.

Let’s try looking at the duality from another angle… ‘feeling: yin’ and ‘intellect: yang’. We like to think of the intellect as the master of facts and reason. I like that – it’s a pleasure to know facts and to use reason. But intellectualism, aka the mind in love with itself… not only is it boring, it’s dangerous.

Here’s an example: I just listened to an interview with the esteemed genius Michio Kaku. He talked about how with the right computers and technology we ‘wonderfully’ are going to be able to upload digitized memories into our brain and/or take a memory erase pill to rid ourselves of traumatic memories. And most astounding of all, he says, we’ll be able to put on headphones and through technology our brains will be able to communicate with each other, conveying thoughts, feelings and images.

Dear Michio… you have gone too far down the ‘yang insane’ road. Stop thinking. We already are able to communicate thoughts, feelings and images telepathically, and we don’t need headphones and computers. It’s done in the ‘still’ mind, the heart/mind. Quite likely it has been done for a long time… it and much more along with it. With regard to traumatic memories, love/light works there too, along with some courage… no memory erase pill needed.

This past week is what has brought me into these thoughts about darkness. It is a difficult subject, differentiating between the divine principle of the natural world, and the darkness of the human subconscious. The divine principle has been turned into confusion, disharmony and imbalance, and as we seek to return to balance, we encounter the darkness of the human subconscious.

When it comes to the personal subconscious, it is best to take it in bits, lest we get caught in the cycle of repetition and obsession and add darkness to darkness. We shine the light there to resolve personal experience, take what we need for our healing, and then let it go. With regard to the collective human subconscious, we shine the light there in bits as well, lest we get caught in the cycle and add to it. Don’t hate the darkness, and don’t fear it.

For the past week I’ve been talking with two young men who experienced abuse at the hands of their mother and father, and deception at the hands of their entire family. So much darkness… so much that was hidden. It is enough to make the grandmother energy moan, and weep, and pray for all of the children.

The uncovering was painful for them, and it will continue to be for a time, as they find ways to incorporate their memories and somehow turn this experience into strength and wisdom. It is a forgiving self, loving self, trusting self process. I can’t say that there is a forgiving others involved, at least at this point; only a handing themselves and their energy back to them. And then moving on to put some victory into life experience… some light.

We are the light of the world… all of us are… and we shine in different places. Recognizing imbalance is not a new thing, but there is more to be found as we continue to evolve. Here we have the return of the divine feminine: we talk about love… this is She returning. And the divine masculine – truth – how could spiritual evolution occur without that? Love and truth: herein is an exchange of energies between polarities; no weakening on either side… simply an ever moving flow. We all embody these polarities, and in our relationships we experience these polarities. Such is heaven.

Imbalance cannot come into the new world, so what must we do? I’d say… rescue and restore. And then soldier on! Do your thing!

About the Author

cropped - IdaIda Lawrence is an author, blogger, copywriter and editor based in Atlanta, Georgia. She has contributed to and edited two books on racial justice and human rights, and numerous articles on human rights, self-empowerment and related subjects. Her latest book is entitled The Warrior’s Way to Heaven on Earth. Ida has also published a companion book of blog favorites from https://talk2momz.com/. 



April’s Uncertainty and Your Next Big Leap


Most likely you are feeling a bit restless and uncertain as April begins – not knowing how the month’s intense energies will play out in your life.

To be sure, as I’ve been writing about on Facebook recently, April’s energies can leave even the most grounded person unglued and in a state of ongoing disquiet. Two eclipses in one month – any time – will catalyze a roller coaster ride. In April, though, with the additional rare grand cross planetary configuration building for decades, it may feel more like an upside-down wild mouse ride.

Here are some suggestions for moving through this cycle with more ease and fewer missteps you will need to address later. If you did not see my last article with specifics on April’s wild ride – including dates of eclipses and the grand cross – please see the Archive on the home page of www.Selacia.com.

Use Uncertainty as a Gift

No one likes to be uncertain, unable to figure out current and future happenstance. It’s in our conditioning to want to know what’s up and where we are headed. When we feel like the road in front of us has a huge fog bank spreading out in all directions and obscuring our view, we can panic. There are gifts, though, described here.

Gift One. Consider the blessings of the fog bank. Yes, there are some. One gift is that the voice of uncertainty within you can catalyze your next big leap forward!

How? If you pay attention with consciousness to this voice, it can catalyze a deeper questioning within. This can give you an expanded understanding of what is not working in your life, and help you to see new remedies not visible before.

Gift Two. Here’s another gift. Uncertainty you feel in April can be a signal from your intuition to steer clear of something not in your highest good. Perhaps you have had intuitive hunches for months about a decision or potential action, but you misread them as signs the timing just wasn’t yet right. April could be the month, however when you finally have clarity with a long-term view – indicating that your planned action would not get you where you want to go.

Keep in mind, of course, that uncertainty is sometimes your ego. That’s different and you want to learn to discern the difference. Feeling uncertain with ego running your mind and emotional responses can lead to a circling of unproductive thoughts that keep you stuck and afraid to take action.

If you discover this happening, there is a solution. You can break the circle by overriding this self-created loop and taking action on what is in front of you – one thing at a time. This is how you take back your power.

Here’s an interesting dynamic to note. It is human nature to feel uncertain when things suddenly and sometimes unexpectedly change. The energies of April are catalyzing these kinds of changes.

Some of what will be occurring may throw you off guard, even if it has no direct impact on you. It’s simply unsettling to know that so much is happening so fast around the world or to people you know – things that you did not expect to happen.

Likewise, some of what will be occurring will in fact be welcome news, evoking feelings like you might have when the sun comes out after a long gloomy winter. An outer world example could be hearing that a loved one you haven’t seen for years is coming across the country on an unplanned business trip. You love the idea of spending time with him or her, but the unexpected visit means that your already full schedule needs to be adjusted.

Gift Three. Here’s a third gift. April’s wild ride of energies can feel like your undoing or you can approach it with an open mind and a willingness to shift old methods. Consider, then, how you can be more allowing and in the moment with what shows up. Become mindful of when you are in your head and intellectualizing solutions – and invite spirit to help you let go.

Life is an evolving process that you can only truly appreciate from your heart space. Your rational mind cannot make sense of the quantum eternal realms, but it will try to figure things out and control every detail. Enjoy more peace with a heart focus. Your gift is shifting to a new fueling system that is heart centered.

There are many things you simply cannot know in advance. Some things, however, are constant and eternal – you can count on them to exist when you get to future points in time. Among these: your true nature is divine, you are light, and you exist as a multidimensional being. You can forget these things, but at each juncture, they are intrinsic to who you really are. No one can take them away and you cannot lose them. Trust this.

selacia_min_400About the Author

Selacia, internationally acclaimed author of Earth’s Pivotal Years, is an intuitive healer and guide to others on the path of spiritual awakening. A former foreign correspondent with The Wall Street Journal and other media, she has decades of experience in the areas of world politics, social change, healing, consciousness, and spiritual transformation. In her journalism career, Selacia covered the White House, US Congress, G8 meetings, economic summits, and world trade talks. In her global healing work, she has addressed the United Nations (SEAT). Her writings are read in sixty-four countries. She is a pioneer in DNA intuitive healing, serving people everywhere who desire wholeness and a heart-centered life. Selacia has dedicated her life to spirit, and to opening the way for others to progress on their path of enlightenment. Visit her at www.Selacia.com.

Astonish Yourself: Harness the Power of Your Heart – Free Intro Workshop in Los Angeles Tonight (April 8th)

 CLN Editor Note: I met Patrick Pope in February 2014 at the Conscious Life Expo.  He is one of the most serene and loving people I’ve ever known.  In less than 15 minutes at the Expo, he showed me how to “TAP” into the power of my heart and connect with him heart-to-heart.  It was amazing.  Earlier this month, I attended his full day workshop in San Diego.  I truly believe in the power of the heart and in Patrick’s teachings.  If you live in the Los Angeles area, I recommend you attend one of his intro nights that are coming up on April 2 and April 8, in which Patrick will show you his “TAP” Your Heart technique. -Ross Pittman

Heart Opening Workshop with Patrick Pope – FREE Introductory Nights in Los Angeles on April 2nd and 8th

Patrick Pope

Patrick Pope

Join Patrick Pope at his FREE Introductory Night being held in the Los Angeles area onTuesday April 8th in Los Angeles at the LA Float Center: 22041 Clarendon St, Woodland Hills, CA 91367.  Come and experience the power of your Heart as Patrick shows you how to “TAP” your heart.  To book your seat please contact Patrick on 310-895-1121 OR email him @ paddy@astonishyourself.com.au.

Patrick Pope was in Peru on a spiritual journey of self-discovery in August and September 2011, his Heart awakened. He experienced a series of visions during meditations there that provided him with tools and techniques for living an abundant life full of joy, peace, energy, happiness and love.

He was shown by his guardian angel and spirit guides what his “Life’s Purpose” is.

In Patrick’s words “I was put here on earth to share with others what I had learned so that they, too, may break through the barriers that hold them back, reach their fullest potential and live the lives they dream of. Lives free of fear, doubt and guilt (three of the most common traits that block people from emotional freedom and abundance). Lives rich with joy, peace, prosperity, happiness and love.”

Astonish Yourself: “TAP” Your Heart

TAP Your Heart Front CoverPatrick is the author of the book Astonish Yourself – TAP Your Heart.  Within 10 weeks of connecting with his “Heart”, Patrick released 40 lbs of excess weight. He cured himself of a Thyroid disease for which he had taken medication daily for 10 years and he believes that you too can achieve astonishing results. Trust and Believe and you will achieve.

Your mind is a very powerful instrument. This instrument must be directed to carry out its duties. It is not meant to lead you. Your mind has got you to where you are now, it is also trapping you where you are today. Your “Heart” is not controlled by your mind. You just have to learn how to connect with your “Heart” & how to use it.

Learn to harness the power of your Heart and watch your life change. Your life will be a joy to live each and every day. You will be free from fear. You will heal yourself.  And, you will experience guidance in every area of your life.

Experience the power of connecting with your Heart at one of two FREE Introductory Nights being held on Wednesday April 2nd and Tuesday April 8th in Los Angeles at the LA Float Center: 22041 Clarendon St, Woodland Hills, CA 91367

To book your seat please contact Patrick on 310-895-1121 OR email him @ paddy@astonishyourself.com.au

Note that for those who are interested in learning additional techniques for harnessing the power of your heart, Patrick is holding a “Heart Opening Workshop” on Sunday April 13th at the LA Float Center.  Download a flyer for the event here: Heart Opening Workshop Flyer

Building Trust in the Divine

Openhand | 2nd April 2014

Titanic460In spiritual evolution you’ll often hear of the need to develop trust. Trust in what? Trust in the divine perhaps or trust in oneself. Or maybe we need trust that everything will turn out fine – whatever ‘fine’ actually means. Clearly it relates in some way to letting go and accepting the flow of life. But does that mean acceptance of anything goes? So what exactly is this thing called trust that we should be developing…

The Opposite of Control

Of course we’re very used to a world of control. Society is configured on pretty strict rules and regulations of how things work – step out of line and it tends to come down on you like a ton of bricks. So from an early age, in order to function in society people are conditioned to conform, to be bent and molded to fit the ‘right’ patterns.

I can distinctly recall emerging from such a restrictive prison. Trust was something that you seldom did. But then as I rediscovered the inherent interconnectivity of life and the flow through the moment. I discovered that as I progressively let go of this control, then I’d align with that flow. As I stretched my ‘wings’ outwards, somehow the universe would rise to support me.

But you have to know what the flow is. If the control aspect is still hanging on to a degree and needing the outcome to go a particular way, then it limits our ability read the flow, align with it and thereby develop trust in the divine. So the key is to understand where the flow is going.

Where does the flow take you?

We often speak about this on Openhandweb and in our work. It seems we’re often heading against the spiritual mainstream, and in particular the concept of using connection to the divine in order to shape the life people might want. But who exactly is wanting? And how is this trust in the divine if it still has to go a particular way?

What if the purpose of life is to reveal the magnificence of who you are? What if there’s nothing else going on? Ever. When you burst through the ego, you touch the place of this infinite potential. It’s like crystal clear clarity and you realise you ARE that. What’s more, there is nothing else. All that you’ve struggled and efforted for falls away. The bubble of the illusion bursts.

So then there comes a point where you’ll probably realise it’s not worth being anywhere else other than in this hallowed space. In which case, any limitation or contraction – lack of trust for example – would be confronted by this One Self – it would invite you to burst through your limitation, by configuring events to confront the limitation.

Meeting the universe halfway

If you begin to switch perspective in life from trying to gain an outcome from it, to instead observing yourself; looking to expand into any contraction that arises; to keep unleashing true beingness, then something truly miraculous happens – you begin to experience the unseen hand of the universe supporting your every move.

But you have to meet the universe half way to do this. And denial of the quiet directive doesn’t serve either – it leads to a false, intellectual enlightenment, a shadow of the real thing. Meeting the universe half way takes surrender – trust. It’s the universe waiting for your initiation, for you to make the first step. Hence you have to go out on a limb to break down the fear and need to control.

You have to be prepared to make yourself vulnerable.

Opening up to the moment

If you can accept the moment to the degree you need no outcome from it, then you begin to open to the moment. But it’s not an acceptance of anything goes. It’s not giving up. You find instead, that as you soften and open, increased sensitivity and awareness arises. You start to pick up, amplify and channel the energy of the divine. You unleash gifts of beingness you could never have predicted you’d have.

As you ride this arising wave within,
it sweeps you through the outer world with increasing ease and effortlessness.

But to me trust is no on/off thing. There’s progressive levels of it. If you start with the little things in life (“Shall I take this route to work or that one?” for example) then you start to notice how the universe is coaxing you to a greater expression of yourself. It will be risky yes, it will push the boundaries yes. But that’s the point of life – to develop you as a being.

Developing trust

So what can you do to develop more trust in the divine flow today?

  • Notice that if you’re truly following the flow, then you’ll be brought to a point of challenge, of confrontation. There’ll be all the excuses in the world why not to follow the pull. Watch this place of denial and contraction
  • At some point – assuming you want to progress – you’re going to have to start breaking into these resistances – to follow what you know you’re really given to do. Ask yourself does it serve you to continue with the limitation?
  • Watch the physical/emotional impact of the resistance. Your body may get tight, breathing short, attention is distracted from full awareness of the moment. Think to yourself “what’s the worst possible outcome that could happen here?”
  • Contemplate this deeply and all the time, remember that you are the inviolable source of all that is. That you created this victimisation to expand into the fullness that you are
  • Now soften into the tightness, feel through them, know yourself as the One
  • As you open into this void of emptiness, let true beingness arise, then follow through with the fullest expression of truth that you can. Even if this means simply committing to a different pathway home.
  • Watch the synchronicity as the universe comes in to meet you.

A greater possibility of yourself

What have you got to lose? Why stay in the limitation? Why not expand a greater possibility in yourself?

I guarantee that if you do this, you’ll discover things about yourself you never dreamed possible. Your trust in the divine will escalate. And what’s more, trust in yourself – as a being – will flourish too.

That’s what I get from this amazing video about trust which came to me recently. It speaks to me of pushing the envelope. But not recklessly. Rather to do so with awareness and surrender into the moment – feeling and intuiting exactly what wants to happen next. How might it inspire you in your life today?…

from my heart to yours

(on behalf of Openhand)

Why There’s No Such Thing as “Unhealthy” Emotions

Hannah Braime | the change blog

“The more you hide your feelings, the more they show. The more you deny your feelings, the more they grow.” – Anonymous

When I first started exploring personal development and digging down past my defenses and conditioning to find a more authentic version of myself, I thought the aim was to “fix myself” so I could be “happy”.

Not having any clue about what “happiness” really meant at that time (or what I wanted it to mean to me), I remember going into my first therapy session thinking that, if the therapy was a success, when I finished I just wouldn’t experience uncomfortable or challenging feelings anymore.

Little did I realize then that an important part of my journey would be learning to accept that those feelings, as uncomfortable as they might be, are in integral part of the human experience. Over the past few years, I’ve learned that so-called “unhealthy” feelings like anger, envy, and frustration are not only natural experiences but they can actually be helpful.

What makes or breaks our relationships and experience of life isn’t whether or not we feel these emotions, but how we respond to them.

To feel or not to feel?

Early on in my self-discovery journey, I became confused. I was reading a lot of self-help and New Age wisdom that talked about letting go of feelings like anger, jealousy and bitterness in order to reach a state of enlightenment. At the time, the way I interpreted this was that it was wrong to experience these emotions and that, if I wanted to be a healthy person, I needed to reach a point where I didn’t feel them anymore.

At the same time, I found that I couldn’t stop myself feeling what I was feeling, and my therapist was encouraging me to focus on accepting these feelings rather than trying to get rid of them.

I felt stuck. I wondered whether there there was something wrong with me and I wasn’t quite getting it. After all, I was still experiencing anger, I still felt jealous of other people, and I still got frustrated.

The reality of “unhealthy” feelings

What I also realized, however, was that there was wisdom in these experiences. When I questioned my philosophy, I realized that, for me, these feelings were full of information about my values, needs, and desires.

I also didn’t find that I was consumed by these feelings: in fact, I noticed that when I was willing to accept and make peace with my experience, these feelings were transitory. It was only when I tried to push them away that I started to suffer. Over time, I realized that feeling these feelings wasn’t the issue. It was my resistance to feeling them that was ultimately stressful.

The truth is that we can’t stop ourselves feeling certain things or get rid of certain emotions. What we can control, however, is what we do next.

My experience has left me concerned with our tendency as a society to label certain feelings as “healthy” and “unhealthy”. Feelings are just feelings, and the danger with labeling them is that we start to reject our own natural internal process.

When we push down or reject the emotions we think we “shouldn’t” feel, they don’t go away. In fact, they get stronger.

All feelings are helpful, it’s how we respond to them that matters

In certain situations, anger is a just and healthy response to feeling threatened, attacked, or wronged (or seeing this behavior inflicted upon others). Other times, we might experience anger because of false beliefs we have about ourselves or the world, or because someone behaves in a way that reminds us of past hurt.

Whatever the root cause of the anger, exploring the “why” behind the feeling helps us gain a deeper understanding about ourselves. Then, we can make a more informed decision about how we want to respond to that feeling of anger: do we lash out, blame, judge, and shame, or do we use the feeling as an opportunity to learn more about ourselves, our beliefs?

As a coach, I notice that many of my clients struggle with this concept of healthy and unhealthy feelings. When I hear someone say “I know it’s wrong to feel that way…”, my experience has led me to ask “Why is it wrong?” and explore the beliefs underneath that statement. Without exception, when people start learning to accept these feelings, rather than labeling them, the feelings become less intense.

Read the rest of the article…

Scientists Identify Rare Brain Disorder Linked to Kirtan Chanting

Brenda Patoine | thebhaktibeat.com | April 1 2014

Scientists have definitively identified, for the first time ever, a rare but rapidly increasing brain disorder affecting the frontal lobes, amygdala and hippocampus of people who regularly chant kirtan.

Publishing in Journal of Neuroscience and Non-Duality, lead author Baba Bhavakirtananda, a former saddhu who spent 20 years chanting the Maha Mantra nonstop in a cave near Braj, India, before accepting a research position at the University of Vrindavan, even coined a term for the condition: bhav brain.  Symptoms of bhav brain include markedly decreased attachment to one’s self-identity, blurring of the demarcation between “self” and others, disillusionment with materialistic gain, and reduced anxiety about what the future may bring.  In extreme cases, Bhavakirtananda said, bhav brain can produce symptoms that can mimic intoxication or drug use, including inexplicable elation, stumbling or aimless wandering, or general “spaciness.”

These symptoms, he said, explain why people who have been chanting for many hours — as is common at kirtan festivals — are sometimes described as “stoned on the bhav.”

The scientists reported that they had also identified a potent neurotransmitter that seems to be expressed in excessive quantities after prolonged chanting, which they have accordingly named bhavatonin. They found bhavatonin-specific receptors in the hippocampus, where the biochemical seemed to trigger a remembrance of one’s own divine nature, and in the amygdala, where it apparently tamped down fearful reactions and anxiety.

Long History in India, But New to the West

That’s no coincidence, says Bhavakirtananda.  He said he had long suspected there was a signature biological “fingerprint” associated with the syndrome, and was frustrated that no serious scientist had attempted to investigate it. So he took it upon himself, first investigating it in a pilot study at India’s legendary Kumbh Mela festival before traveling all the way to Southern California to study attendees at a 4-day festival where the chanting was virtually nonstop.  His team recruited 100 men and women ranging in age from 16 to 97 (median age 39), and conducted functional MRI scans before, during and after the festival.

[If you like this, you might also like “10 Signs You Might Be a Kirtan Addict”]

Prevalence is Rapidly Increasing

In the article, the authors noted that the prevalence of the condition — virtually unknown in the West until recent years — has been rapidly increasing in step with the growing popularity and “mainstreaming” of bhakti yoga, an obscure form of yoga from 15th century India that eschews the Western yoga world’s fixation on having a really great butt in favor of an emphasis on loving devotion and seva, or selfless service.

Reactions from the bhakti community have been mixed.  Kirtan musician Dave Stringananda said he was not surprised.  “I’ve been fascinated for years by how chanting might be affecting neurotransmitters like anandamine and serotonin, so the idea that there is a brain chemical called bhavatonin that is specifically ramped up by kirtan makes so much sense. I am elated.” Stringananda immmediately set to work incorporating the findings into a new workshop series.

Skepticism in the Bhajan Belt

In Woodstock, N.Y. in the heart of the Bhajan Belt, long-time kirtan wallah Sruti Ramananda dismissed the findings as overhyped hogwash. “Symptoms of a disorder?  Pshaw! Here in Woodstock, these kinds of behaviors are as common as peacocks in Vrindavan,” he said.  “If ‘bhav brain’  is a disease, then I’m a monkey-god’s uncle.”

The Bhakti Beat asked the members of the popular ensemble band The Hanumen, fresh off a regional tour that included stops at a prison and a psychiatric treatment facility, to comment on the research, but a spokesperson said the band was covered in mud on a beach somewhere and couldn’t be reached.

The Chant and Chill Foundation issued a statement praising the research as an important step forward in understanding what’s going on in the brain of a bhakta:  “This continues to be one of the deepest mysteries of the universe — just look at those Hanumen.  We are delighted to see that someone is finally putting some real effort into it.” The foundation plans to start a campaign encouraging hard-core bhaktas to donate their brains to research in hopes of advancing scientific knowledge about bhav brain.

Stay tuned to TheBhaktiBeat.com for more on this developing story. Because no one knows bhav brain like we do…

Mom Invents Device for Disabled Kids to Walk with Parents

Antonio Pasolini | gizmag.com | April 3 2014


To arrive at the commercial version of the product, the Firefly team worked closely with Debby to further develop her prototype. It was a multidisciplinary effort started in 2012, combining the expertise of engineers, designers, textile experts and therapists.

The adult belt is available in one adjustable, standard size. The child harness comes in various sizes in blue or pink while the sandal comes in one standard size as well as infant, which is available in combination with the extra-small harness only.

Continue reading to learn where to buy this inspiring product starting April 7

Netflix Star Reveals Stark Reality of Criminal Justice System

Alyssa Figueroa | AlterNet | April 4 2014

Piper Kerman leaned back in her chair on the stage at San Francisco’s Norse Theatre and reflected on the “odd lineup of opportunity and time” that put her in prison, pushed her to write the book that became the blockbuster Netflix series, Orange Is The New Black, and now has her speaking for humane prison reforms, especially for low-income women snared by the system.    

I often think of it as an odd lineup of opportunity and time,” said Kerman, reflecting on the before, during and after phases of her journey. “Just crossing paths with my ex-lover at a time where I was willing to do something risky, dangerous, outside of my experience.”  

My goal in writing the book was quite simple. It was for people to recognize the millions and millions of people in our prisons and jails as human beings who are complicated and interesting and compelling and worthy of recognition as human beings,” Kerman said . “And I think the show does a good job of portraying each of the characters as rich, interesting human beings.”

Making Connections in Prison

Kerman had an ordinary, middle-class childhood, and in some ways, an ordinary coming of age. During her transition into adulthood, she made adventurous mistakes as many do, though hers were influenced by her ex-girlfriend, a drug dealer who belonged to an international drug cartel.

Her education about America’s criminal justice system began long before she started her sentence. She saw that many other people facing charges and jail had been marginalized by racism and poverty long before they walked into court. Eighty percent of criminal defendants are too poor to afford a lawyer, she said.

After waiting six years from the time she was indicted, Kerman had no idea what to expect when she finally set foot in prison. But one of her first observations was the institution’s shocking disparity.

The single biggest thing that I walked out of prison with was a completely reality-based sense of inequality because you can’t go through that experience and not see on stark display that some prisoners are treated one way and other prisoners are treated another,” she said. “And we’re supposed to be all equal in front of the law, but nothing could be further from the truth.“

Aside from unfair treatment, Kerman noticed other divisions in prison. As depicted on the TV series, race can divide prisoners either through choice or by the prison’s enforcement. But then many of the prisoners slowly realized what they have in common. “As time goes on, the distinctions between people are far less important than what they have in common,” she said . “And people forge friendships over all kinds of things. Might be work, might be affinity, a shared interest.”

Read the full article

Wikipedia: the New Flat-Earthers?

Steve Bhaerman | Notes from the Trail Blog

Posted on March 23, 2014


This is a great opportunity for us. Let’s seize it together!

Warm regards,

Debby and Bob

, Debby Vajda, LCSW, DCEP

 Robert Schwarz, PsyD, DCEP
 Executive Director

Steve Bhaerman is a writer, humorist and political uncommontator who has been writing and performing comedy for the past 25 years as Swami Beyondananda. On the more serious side, he is author with Bruce Lipton of Spontaneous Evolution: Our Positive Future And a Way to Get There From Here, and he is about to launch his new blog and movement, Evolutionary Upwising.

Subscribe to Notes From the Trail for free here.

MUST SEE: Chris Hedges on “Israel’s War on American Universities”

Chris Hedges Speaks in support of the NOW BANNED “Students for Justice in Palestine” chapter at Northeastern University.  The above video contains excerpts of the speech, while the video below contains his speech in full (and includes an introduction by a Northeastern student regarding the “Students for Justice in Palestine”):

Accepting Yourself as an Introvert and Loving Your Inner Tortoise

Ritu Kaushal | Tiny Buddha

“We can’t underestimate the value of silence. We need to create ourselves, need to spend time alone. If you don’t, you risk not knowing yourself and not realizing your dreams.” ~Jewel

Tortoises are out of fashion. They are no longer the wise ones, taking one patient step after another, coming out victorious in the end. Today, they are the ones who can’t cross the road fast enough, the ones most likely to get hit by a car.

There is shame involved in being a tortoise.

And so I have spent a considerable chunk of my life trying to turn into an extroverted hare, coming up with rationalizations for why I am not, most definitely not, an introverted tortoise.

For one, I don’t move slowly. In fact, I love to dance. I am quick in perceiving and understanding what people say and mean. I am not slow-witted.

But these explanations don’t quite cover what it means to be a tortoise—how their rhythms are slow and deep, how they enjoy taking in the scenery instead of rushing past, how they need the shell that protects their most vulnerable, precious self.

As introverts, today, it’s easy for us to get alienated from our own nature because of the extrovert bias in the culture at large. So, how do we reconnect with and start celebrating ourselves? It starts with self-awareness and living our own truths.

The Way We Manage Energy

As opposed to extroverts who turn to other people to recharge and renew themselves, too much interaction saps our energy. Introverts turn inward and need quiet spaces to recharge. This is why we turn to nature, to prayer, to solitary hobbies.

We already know this from our own experience. What we often struggle with is the validity of this preference for time alone. I’ve wrestled with this too, thinking that there is something wrong with me if I am not excited about going to a party or socializing at the end of a hectic day.

It’s only recently that I’ve begun to let go of this internal dialogue. By going deeper into my own creativity—writing more, doing photography—I’ve realized that what I am actually lonely for is a connection with myself. When I’m taking a photograph, for example, I feel present and whole.

Engaging in activities that make us happy helps us focus on all that is right with us, instead of wondering whether we are faulty. 

As introverts, we need to start giving ourselves permission to go deeper into our own nature. If building legos, reading books, or watching birds gives us joy, that’s what we should be doing instead of going along with what other people think is fun.

It might be fun for them, but is it fun for us?

Another thing that I’ve learned is that although I need time alone, not all interactions affect my energy in the same way. While many social interactions leave me feeling depleted, there are some that have the opposite effect.  In her wonderful book, The Introvert’s Way, Sophia Dembling discusses this with Cognitive scientist Jennifer Grimes.

Grimes says that the real issue is not how much energy we put in a situation, but whether we get an adequate return on this energy investment.

She says, “There are people who like to invest a lot of energy and get a lot back. Some people don’t want to invest a lot and don’t expect a lot back. The people who are deemed the extroverts in pop literature, the people who are social butterflies, what they get back on an interpersonal level is sufficient for them.”

As introverts, we need to be aware of this. While small talk is draining for us, meaningful conversations are energizing. They require us to expend energy, but they also give us energy back.

Haven’t we all talked for hours about something we are passionate about, and been at a loss about what to say when we are talking politely with an acquaintance?

The Rhythms of Social Conversation

As an introvert, social conversations can be a challenge for me. I didn’t realize earlier that one of the reasons for this is the difference in the rhythms of how introverts and extroverts communicate.

When we are asked a question, introverts usually pause to think about it before replying. We need this space to formulate our answers. This is different from extroverts, who formulate their answers while talking.

Because of this difference, when we are silent, extroverts can perceive this as meaning that we have nothing to say and rush in with their own thoughts. And while they are talking, we can’t think. This dynamic renders introverts mute.

For me, understanding this has been extremely important. Instead of getting frustrated that I didn’t get a chance to speak, I’ve started responding differently. By showing the other person that I am still thinking by providing visual cues (like furrowing my brows), I hold my ground better in a conversation.

I’ve also started letting myself interrupt the other person. And in the case of those people who are extreme talkers, I’ve understood that it’s okay to disengage and simply walk away. By doing these things, I’ve created more space and freedom in my interactions.

While understanding this basic difference between extroverts and introverts is important, we also need to be aware of the mistakes we can inadvertently make in social situations. One of these is being too quiet in a new group setting. Introverts don’t realize that it is the silent person in the group who gains more and more power as the conversation goes on.

Elaine Aron talks about this dynamic in her wonderful book The Highly Sensitive Person. She says that if we remain silent in a new group, other people can be left wondering if we are judging them, unhappy about being part of the group, or even thinking of leaving the group. As a defence mechanism, the group might reject us before we have a chance to reject them.

So, in a new group, it becomes extremely important for introverts to communicate what they are thinking, even if it is just to say that we are happy to listen and will speak up when we have something to say.

The Focus on all That’s Right with Us

As introverts, most of us have heard messages about all the things that are wrong with us. We are too intense, too solitary, not fun enough. We may not have asked our own questions back.

What’s wrong with thinking deeply? What’s wrong with solitude? What’s wrong with enjoying one-on-one conversations instead of a big party? And fun according to whom?

Once we give ourselves permission to ask these questions, we can also start seeing our own strengths more clearly. What the culture considers an aberration is what makes the best part of us.

Thinking deeply gives us new insights. It helps us see new relationships between things. The solitude that we love is also the spring-board for our creativity. It gives us the chance to imagine and re-imagine our world.

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