The Owl Magazine Autumn 2022

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A Sacred Stories Magazine The Autumn 2022 UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL with Max Tucci A SPIRITUAL RENEWAL OF SCIENCE A Pattern Guiding Us Toward Unitive Consciousness An Algorithm for Healing Write for Good LIVING CONSCIOUSLY Honoring the Dead Día de Muertos THE SPIRITUAL LEVEL OF FORGIVENESS

WELCOME

to The

A collaborative sharing of contemporary ideas, fresh perceptions, art, beauty, Universal wisdom, and modern inspiration across traditional and nontraditional spiritual and religious teachings. We invite everyone to the table to share in the rich feast of Life and Living.

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Welcome
Owl!
PUBLISHER Sacred Stories EDITORIAL TEAM Ariel Patricia Lindsey Brooks GRAPHIC DESIGNER Vik Leigh COLUMNISTS Franne Demetrician Mary Ellen Lucas Laura Staleysacredstories.com Cover photo credit: Noah Fecks
Come On In & See What's Inside features Up Close and Personal with Max Tucci 6 The Spiritual Level of Forgiveness 20 A Spiritual Renewal of Science 26 An Algorithm for Healing 42 A Pattern Guiding Us Toward Unitive Consciousness 48 Living Consciously 60 in every issue A Sacred Story 4 WisdomKeepers 32 Artist in Residence 38 The Heart of the Matter 54 Write for Good 66 Book Excerpt: The Way of Inanna 72 Sacred U Courses 80 3 A Sacred Stories Magazine The 20 26 32

A Sacred Story

He appeared vividly in my dream, whispering from behind me. Sister …Sister, where are you going?

He was polite, inquisitive …and yet insistent. He hurried to catch up to me as I pursued my journey uphill along a lush path. I turned. I knew his voice, this man. I had met don Oscar Miro-Quesada Solevo many times in the waking reality of my life. I had even prayed with him in shamanic community circles and a large shamanic intensive, where I was ceremoniously initiated into the tradition. Years later, I became a sanctioned teacher of shamanism.

As I turned to see his familiar face in my dream, my anxiety grew. In the distance behind him, I saw his wife engaging deeply with a large group around an enormous, blazing fire circle as flames leapt into the air. Ah, shamanic community, my thoughts reminded me, treasuring the “belonging” I was witnessing.

Sister, where are you going? he queried again.

Despite my apprehension, I responded with, “I am walking this way. I need to walk this way now,” and pointed to Peru, Bolivia, and the mountains and sacred sites there. He peered into the path that stretched out before me and without speaking, he faded

back to the community and fire circle as my dream ended. When I awoke, my higher self knew I was being called by the lineages of Peruvian masters—the altomisayoks My rational mind reminded me of so many doubts and feelings of unworthiness, and I let the dream calling recede from my conscious awareness. don Oscar Miro-Quesada Solevo is an altomisayoq. But why was he coming directly to me in a dream? A man of great status in the shamanic world, a highly respected maestro and kamaska curandero of finely honed skills. I deeply admired his wisdom, as did a large international community of shamanic followers.

I was yet to fully understand the dream calling of the ancestral lineage and how they work through the dimensions of reality that we exist in as multidimensional beings and souls. Over the next four years, I would come to understand.

In my waking reality, I fervently continued my explorations of Peru and Bolivia, traveling two to five times a year from Florida to the magical mystery of the lands I loved. They pulled me like a magnet. I walked the land, I communed and prayed with the apus, the mountain spirits, and I set my intentions with my ofrendas, my ritual offerings. I explored the plantas maestras sacred plant medicines—as I paid reverence

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to all. I embraced every moment, feeling enormously blessed with Pachamama under my feet and in my heart.

I was doing exactly what I had promised don Oscar I would do. Yet within a year’s time, don Oscar appeared in another dream. Sister, where are you walking? Sister, we are over here! And he flung his arm out and waved his entire body in the direction of the blazing fire, showing me the vast community circle again, this time with an insistence in his voice, much louder and much closer.

“Yes, don Oscar, I see you. I am walking this way.”

Sister, can I walk with you? he persisted, as he simultaneously appeared on the path by my side. I was shocked and abruptly turned to face him.

“Me? don Oscar, you want to walk with me?” I was feeling imperfect, not worthy. Yes! Please Sister, I want to see where you are walking!

Oh my gosh, I thought in dismay. Me? I was so honored that he would be interested in my journey. I acquiesced. “Yes, I will show you.”

Astutely, his skilled shamanic sight peered between the veils of reality and into my life as we strolled together for a bit.

Ah Sister, I see now, he said softly, slightly bowing and honoring my soul’s journey. And when you are ready … we are waiting for you over here. Again, he pointed to the

community, fire, and his wife.

I was whisked to the blazing fire. I felt the intensity of it on my skin! My face was still burning from the heat when I awoke. That dream visitation, that “shamanic calling,” left me transfixed. I now understood the ancestors of Peru were speaking to me about much more of my soul’s work.

Sister, when you are ready, we are over here. Those were don Oscar’s words in my dream. The “calling” foretold my destiny within the Pachakuti Mesa Tradition, the shamanic community my soul longed for, the place of my service for the next seven generations upon Pachamama. Story excerpt from SHAMANISM: Personal Quests of Communion with Nature and Creation

Mona Rain is a sanctioned teacher of the Pachakuti Mesa Tradition, earth steward and ceremonialist for Gaia-Pachamama. Humbly and with reverence for all, she shares her healing, teachings, and Peru vision quests. chacarunahealing.com.

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AND

with Max Tucci UP CLOSE
PERSONAL
Photo Credit: Jerry Aneglica

Max Tucci is the author of The Delmonico Way: Sublime Entertaining and Legendary Recipes from the Restaurant that Made New York!

Published by Rizzoli New York. Max is a writer, TV and radio personality, award-winning producer, and host of

Max & Friends. He is known for being a food and entertaining enthusiast. Max is a philanthropist, historian of the Delmonico legacy, and owns the largest collection of Delmonico's memorabilia. He resides between New York, Florida, Colorado, and Florence, Italy.

Ariel Patricia: Welcome Max. Please tell us, who is Max Tucci?

Max Tucci: Who am I? Through the journey of life, I've discovered that I am all that is on the spiritual realm. On the earthly tone, I’m an author, host of Max & Friends, producer, director, Renaissance man, bon vivant, friend, inspirational thinker, and motivational speaker—boiled down to a spiritual gangster!

AP: There is so much fullness in life in that answer. Let's start from the beginning. Tell us a little bit about your childhood, your family of origin.

MT: I often refer to my life as the movie Big Fish, which is about an old man who shares bizarre stories. The movie is filled with wondrous storytelling, and seldom do people actually believe the stories. They

seem so outrageous. But then at the end of the movie, when the old man dies, everyone he mentioned is at the funeral. Each character who was in his story, showed up. I feel like that's kind of how my childhood was. It was an adventure, a beautiful mix of The Greatest Showman and Big Fish.

I was born into the Tucci family, half-Italian, half-Lithuanian. My father's side of the family comes from Firenze, Italy. My mother's side comes from Lithuania. Both sides of my family craved the American dream of freedom and opportunities. My mother's side, the Tiskus family, craved freedom from 1943 occupied Lithuania. They were WWII refugees who escaped their beloved Lithuania. My mother spent her first five years of life in a displaced persons camp in Germany, and it was an absolutely traumatic

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Up Close and Personal with Max Tucci

experience. The Tucci side craved more opportunities. My grandfather Oscar had traveled with my greatgrandfather Oreste numerous times to the United States, before calling it home. My grandfather knew that America had a lot to offer. He saw opportunities around every corner— especially on the corner of Beaver and South William Streets in New York City, where the iconic Delmonico’s building stands. America offered to my grandfather the opportunity to take over America's first fine-dining restaurant, Delmonico's. The restaurant was originally created by the Delmonico brothers in 1827. They had a successful run until 1923, when the beginning of Prohibition forced them to close. My grandfather had daydreamed of owning the building and restaurant. His daydreams became his realities. In 1926, he purchased the building and all things Delmonico related. He breathed new life into the forgotten restaurant. He resurrected it, saved the building, and restored it. At its peak, Delmonico’s served 1,000 lunches a day, which afforded me the sublime childhood that I had.

Delmonico’s was a family affair. My father, Mario; my Aunt Mary; and my Uncles, Gigi and George, all worked tirelessly there. Their efforts made Delmonico’s grand again. By the 1950s, it was the place to see and be seen. Celebrities filled the dining rooms and private clubs. Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, Gypsy Rose Lee, Eva Gabor, Cary Grant, Lena Horne, and countless others dined at Delmonico’s. My father became the front of the house, welcoming guests as my grandfather taught him, “the Delmonico Way,” where all are welcomed to the table. My father was the producer and director of my phenomenal childhood. We grew up between New York City; Greenwich, Connecticut; and Florence, Italy. I was afforded a beautiful exposure to the finest things that life had to offer, because of my grandfather’s, my Aunt Mary’s, and my father's hard work—and naturally, my mother's work as well. My mother was the first woman to be an executive vice president of a fashion house. Her career in the fashion industry was legendary.

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Max in Firenze Mary and Sesta Mario, Oscar, and Mary The Tucci family on one of many sea voyagesbetween Italy and New York-Oscar in the centerwith Mario to his right and Sesta to his left Helayne McNorton, Red Buttons,Eva Gabor, and Richard Brown in the Palm Room at Delmonico's in 1959 Nicoletta and Max with their mother Gina Nonna Sesta and Nonno Oscar at Delmonicos Max and Nicoletta with their parents and nannies Max and Grandma Letty Militana

My childhood was lavish. It was the story of Richie Rich growing up in a gated, private neighborhood in Connecticut with celebrities and dignitaries as neighbors. And then growing up in Florence, Italy, in my ancestors' majestic villa, which was filled with magic and the refinement of the Renaissance era, the Medicis. The energy of art, style, power.

AP: Max, was there a specific event that impacted your life or shaped you as a young child?

MT: Yes. On my eighth birthday, my father had a massive stroke and subsequently died.

AP: How did that affect you and your family?

MT: As a child, I thought my father was just going away, because he went to Italy so often. I thought he was just on another trip and was going to come back. I didn't realize until I was maybe nine or ten years old that he wasn't coming back. His absence was confusing.

My mother, obviously devastated by his loss, grieved. She became a widow at

forty-four, with two children. How she missed him! How we all did. Not only did my father leave us, but he also left behind the restaurant. My Aunt Mary, who was my father's sister, was also the “iron fist” of Delmonico's. Mary and my mother now had the responsibility of operating a restaurant that the New York Times referred to as "Superlative, a memorable, first-rate experience." These two powerhouse women knew they had quite the legacy to continue. My Aunt Mary, "Zia Mary," became the cornerstone in my life. She taught me everything she knew about my ancestors, Delmonico’s, and my father. Mary picked up were my father had left off, continuing to prepare me to take over the restaurant, the industry I referred to as "the ball and chain."

After my father’s death, I was given new roles in the family which included father, husband, brother, uncle, godfather—every role that my father had. And so, as I grew up, there was a burden on my soul, those heavy labels, those heavy roles that were not mine.

AP: Max, that must have been difficult and confusing for a young child. What was your relationship with your mother and her role in your life?

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Up Close and Personal with Max Tucci

MT: My mother always allowed me to be me and to explore life. She wasn't going to allow me to be burdened with the workload that my father's death gave me. My mother would always say, "It's just the three of us." She had that war mentality because she had fled Lithuania with her mother and her father, and it was just the three of them. Now, it was my mother, my sister, and I. "It's the three of us, and we're going to thrive," she would insist. Never survive—we were going to thrive as a family and individually.

My Aunt Mary, was a little more rigid. She always wanted me to remember my father, my grandfather, and the legacy. We would watch Turner Classic Movies together just because Delmonico's was in them. She wanted to explore the world with me, take me to Italy, take me overseas. She knew that Delmonico's was already ingrained in me and how that legacy was going to continue. She would say, "We're going to enjoy life's gifts." She was my Auntie Mame!

So growing up, I had this beautiful duality of suffering with the loss of my

father and thriving and exploring, with my mother, my sister Nicoletta, and my Aunt Mary.

AP: So your mother allowed you the freedom to be you, and your aunt provided you the foundational legacy of the Tucci family, which was a defining and wealth-generating aspect for you.

MT: Correct.

AP: The two dualities of your life came from the two women who stepped forward.

MT: Yes, I was raised by two powerful women. And of course, my beloved nannies, who taught me their wisdom.

AP: Max, once you realized your father wasn’t coming back, how did you feel?

MT: As a child, I felt angry. The anger was because the childhood that I knew wasn't the same, because my father wasn't present. My thoughts were, "Where is he? Why aren't we going horseback riding? Why aren't we going to Italy? Where is he?" So, it was confusion rather than anger at first.

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The anger came later when expectations rose about the roles I was to take on. My mother would say, "Your sister's not home. Come with me, let's go find her." My Aunt Mary would say, "When are you going to start working at the restaurant?"

I'm like, "Wait, this is not the life I want!"

AP: There was a lot of responsibility being put on you in different ways. The roles of the father, the brother, the restaurant. What age was that?

MT: It's hard to pinpoint exactly when. I would say my early teens.

AP: What impact did the anger have on your life?

MT: The anger wasn’t an everyday feeling. It was in the moments when those responsibilities were given to me. I was always involved in horseback riding; my father wanted me to be a perfect English gentleman on horseback. I loved it so much that I still ride today. When not on a horse, I was in the darkroom. Photography became a passion of mine. Both horseback riding and photography were wonderful outlets for me. I would

be able to go on the horse, ride in the woods, and kind of just get lost in nature. And I think that played a huge part in why my anger never turned into rage, because I had an outlet, and the outlet was nature.

And then, when I got involved in photography, I was always in the darkroom creating. I loved to create. In retrospect, horseback riding and the darkroom, let's say, really curbed any anger and gave me a platform to express myself.

AP: You were fortunate to have supportive outlets that helped you. At the beginning of our interview, you described yourself from a spiritual perspective. Share how spirituality has shaped your life.

MT: There was always a curiosity. I was raised Catholic and then I became curious about Christianity outside of Catholicism. I had a wonderful nanny who was very much involved in the Baptist Church, and she would always read me Bible quotes. At about fifteen or sixteen years old, that curiosity deepened to other religions. I started questioning how are there so many gods and what do god and religion mean?

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Up Close and Personal with Max Tucci

AP: I love that as a teenager you were exploring these deep questions. Now bring us current. What moved you to become the creative, deeply spiritual individual you are today?

MT: Meditation.

My name is Oscar Maximillian, and as a child, people would call me OM. I don’t think they understood the meaning of OM, but in a yoga class, I was introduced to it by a special lady I called Grandma Letty. Sitting there in her sarong with a flower wreath on her head she said, "Max Tucci, is your father Mario Tucci? I was supposed to be your nanny."

She was supposed to move to Italy with us, but that didn't happen. She became a special ed teacher. Years later, we met at her yoga class, and she became such an important person in my life and in deepening my spiritual path.

AP: What a beautiful, cosmic connection for you. Let’s loop back to your legacy. You're still a Tucci. Are you helping with the family business?

MT: Yes and no. I’m not running a restaurant, for now, but I wrote a book

about my family's restaurant. I'm going to let the whole Delmonico world unfold naturally in my life, trusting that where I am now is exactly where I am supposed to be.

AP: Your father's death had a major impact on the future of the family business.

MT: Oh, big time. My aunt had worked in the industry since she was about fifteen years old, and she didn't want to continue it. And my mother was in fashion, and she didn't want to continue it. They did the best they could, until they could no longer.

But as far as business goes, my Aunt Mary was always guiding me to do something with the restaurant. The way that she structured the Delmonico brand and the Delmonico legacy was to always remind me of it. I think she ingrained in me a desire to take it over. I flirted with the idea—Should I do it? Shouldn't I do it? What should I do? But it was never my passion to want to open a restaurant then. Currently, with the writing of my book The Delmonico Way, I'm flirting with the idea.

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AP: Your new book The Delmonico Way: Sublime Entertaining and Legendary Recipes from the Restaurant That Made New York is a beautiful tribute to your family and the legacy they created for you and the city of New York. Tell us more about the inspiration for the book.

Her gift to me was educating me on this rich history of Delmonico's. Her role, and the roles of my father, my grandmother, my grandfather, and my uncles—the ancestral role in Delmonico's—was ingrained in me since the death of my father to her death. So, I have this vault that I've been carrying, the storage unit of Delmonico's memorabilia.

At one point I questioned, "Do I just get rid of it?"

MT: Before we can talk about the present, we have to revisit the past. Aunt Mary died when I was in my late teens, and her death had a huge impact in my life. Mary Tucci was the keeper of the Delmonico legacy. She passed that on to me by always telling me the stories and by saving almost everything that was ever printed about the restaurant. She had menus from the 1800s that were printed on silk, which my grandfather found when he took over the restaurant.

But when I really started going through all this stuff—the memorabilia, the archives—I was blown away. All the stories, treasures, and gifts; the menus, the guestbooks, the newspaper articles, the pictures of Eva Gabor, of Gypsy Rose Lee. What did all of that mean? The energy of the Tuccis, the Delmonico’s, Gypsy Rose Lee, Eva Gabor were reaching out to me.

I was in my twenties when I first started thinking about creating a cookbook about the legacy of my grandfather. It wasn't until fifteen years ago that I started wanting to make the book happen. I started organizing materials and putting everything together.

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Up Close and Personal with Max Tucci

The journey of this book, The Delmonico Way, was and is an epic journey. I always dabbled into the curiosity of continuing my dream of the cookbook. The powerful energy of Delmonico's was always around me. And one day, I started turning the daydream into a reality. I made the decision and a commitment that I was really going to do this book. And then I looked into how to do it, and every step led to the next. In the last five years, I had numerous agents, numerous leads, and numerous no's. As Sheri Salata would say, "beautiful no’s." I thought, the beautiful "no’s" will lead me to a yes! A beautiful, yes!

And then when the beautiful yes happened, it was magical. It was actually in the original Delmonico's. I threw a book signing party for my pal Whoopi Goldberg, who wrote her book, The Unqualified Hostess. Charles Miers, who is the head at Rizzoli, New York, came to the book event, and he saw me in action. I felt this energy there, ancestral energy. I'm in this space my grandfather loved, my father adored, a space that my aunt commanded and worked in. And so, in that energy

Charles says, "Why don't you have a book?"

And I looked at him and paused. My thoughts raced. Do I say something, do I be still, should I be bold?… All of a sudden, I blurted out, feeling an ancestral push, "Because you haven't published it yet! My agent is here and we would love to discuss the idea further."

I introduced him to my agent at the time, and he gave me and my agent a meeting. At the meeting, Charles said, "Here's why the book isn't going to work—because it has to be your experience, what you were taught, everything your aunt taught you that your father taught her, that your grandfather taught them. I need to see it through your eyes, through your stories. Not through your grandfather or the restaurant, but through you."

And then I got it! Charles gave me a gift. He acknowledged me. All these years, I was trying to tell someone else's story, and that's why it could never work. I had to tell my stories, my experiences, my knowledge of The Delmonico Way.

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AP: Max, it’s remarkable and your book is beautiful. Your family legacy, your ancestry has shaped you from a young boy. Even though you were able to create your own expression of your life, you're coming back full circle to the legacy of your father, of your family. What an incredible tribute.

What do you hope your legacy as Max Tucci will be?

MT: I would love for it to be that I expressed love, I expressed light,

FUN FACTS

AP: Coffee or tea?

MT: Macchiato—preferably in Firenze.

AP: Book or movie?

MT: Movies on the big screen.

AP: Favorite book or movie?

MT: Favorite movies are The Color Purple, Big Fish, and The Greatest Showman.

AP: Beach or mountain?

and I continued the conversation. Everyone is welcome at my table, just like the tables at Delmonico’s that my grandfather set for all. I want to be remembered for creating a space in time where people felt seen, heard, and know that they matter!

The validations of life that we all want. In a time when things are moving so quickly, I took the time to say, "I noticed you."

AP: Max, thank you. It’s been a pleasure.

MT: Depends on my mood.

AP: Homebody or globetrotter?

MT: Both, plus a dash of Gypset. A Gypsy/Jetsetter.

AP: Early bird or night owl?

MT: Oh, that's tough, it changes.

AP: Favorite time of day or night?

MT: The quiet of the morning and the stillness of the night.

17 The OWL Magazine
Photos courtesy of Tucci Family Archives
For you,
a
thousand
times
over. —
Khaled
Hosseini

SPIRITUAL LEVEL of FORGIVENESS

THE
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Forgiveness. The Webster dictionary defines it as “to go as before.” You might ask, “To go as before what?”

To forgive is to “go as before” the incident or upset that you felt about yourself or someone else, or even God/ Universe/Great Spirit. There are many levels of forgiveness, but the one I want to speak about is the highest level of forgiveness … unconditional forgiveness and the realization that there is nothing to forgive.

Many of us do not want to forgive ourselves or others because we think that, if we do, we are saying it was “okay” that the person hurt us. That is not forgiveness at all, because if someone hurt you, it was NOT okay. Conditional forgiveness is where we say, “I will forgive you, but you’d better not do that again.” This type of thinking stems from believing the illusion that anyone can hurt us without our permission on some spiritual level.

The spiritual teacher Babaji says, “We are all actors in our own scripts. We are the writer, director, producer, and lead character for every script. Everyone else plays in our creation—exactly as

we direct them to. So, if you think that you’ll be poor and robbed and cheated, an actor will come and surely oblige you. Because remember, you are the actor, director, and producer. If you recognize that these people that you hold grudges against, including yourself, are actors in your own creation, then it’s really easy to forgive, and then life is for-giving love.”

This describes unconditional forgiveness, the highest form of knowing that we are all creators of our own lives. Whatever happened, on some level, we created it. If we accept that thought is creative, we cannot adhere to that belief only when things are going well in our lives. Forgiving oneself seems to be the most difficult. Guilt and shame are the two culprits of the inability to forgive ourselves. In other words, if we are feeling guilty or ashamed, then we need to go within and find out why so we can return to our true nature, which is innocent and accepted. A Course In Miracles says “guilt demands punishment.” If we feel we are guilty or ashamed about something, we will absolutely attract

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punishment, either from ourselves or from others.

We create experiences in our lives that can add to the layer of guilt and shame that we learned during our formative years. We “should” on ourselves—and it gets messy! We “should” be a certain way, we think, or we “should’ve” done better by now. We might enter into a relationship and feel we are letting the other person down. Or maybe we feel we aren’t doing our best at our job, or we are afraid to move forward for fear of failing. Often, these feelings and beliefs stem from the programming we received as children.

Obviously, we don’t walk around saying, “Gee I’m going to sabotage myself today or attract someone to hurt me.” Or “I’m going to set myself up for failure so I can feel guilty and ashamed.” Shame and guilt can be extremely debilitating, and much of it is unconscious. Instead of feeling shame, we might think, “I’ve made a mistake in my thinking to allow another person, including myself, to seemingly hurt me. I recognize that other people are merely doing what I invited because I’m projecting what I subconsciously believed about myself. Therefore, neither that person nor myself can hurt me. I’m perfect now, always have been, and always will be.”

To support you in believing you are perfect, stand in front of the mirror every morning, preferably naked, just as you were as a baby. You are going back to that time when you were innocent and accepted yourself, before any of these outside influences projected their beliefs on you. Look into your eyes, and say ten times, “I love you.” The whole time you are doing this, you are looking into the mirror and breathing it in. Be mindful of what you are feeling… Be

The Spiritual Level of Forgiveness 22

present… Don’t just stand there and repeat the words over and over. That defeats the purpose. Try to see yourself as the little child, that innocent baby. Put a picture of yourself as a little girl or boy in the bathroom where you can see it. Look into their eyes and tell them you love them. This helps to reframe any thoughts that you have had up to this point about beating yourself up. It’s called a “pattern interrupt” because it stops that pattern of sabotage for your guilt and shame. A pattern interrupt releases the need to blame yourself and allows you to be willing to see the fact that you are innocent and perfect, just the way you are. If you start your day with loving thoughts about yourself, it reminds you that you are innocent. It allows you to accept yourself totally and completely. Suddenly, those triggers that happen to you daily, will not trigger you— either at all or very little—because you’ll be falling in love with yourself again. You’ll be accepting yourself as perfect, yet you’ll still see that you can be so much more. When you stop the self-sabotage, you can begin to unconditionally forgive yourself.

Here is the philosophical question of the day: “If God and the Universe are perfect and this Great Spirit created me, and I am part of that creation, wouldn’t I be innocent and perfect?”

In my teachings around the world, I have found that every person— no matter what religion, race, sex, or culture—wants the same thing: People want to know that they are loved, accepted, and safe, and that they make a difference.

At the World Parliament on Spirituality with Marianne Williamson, all of the major religions were represented with seventy-six nations present.

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I was a keynote speaker. The Peace Initiative we are creating with Peace Ambassadors around the world has the message of forgiveness, love, and prosperity. It was powerful to see so many leaders together creating a sense of peace through forgiveness and reminding us we are all the same: We are all human.

When I taught in Malaysia in 2015, I had no idea what to expect from this primarily Muslim community. I worked with children, men, and women. I was blown away by their stories of pain, suppression, and injustice. They all were like sponges soaking up new beliefs about themselves, including beliefs that are fundamentally challenged at times through culture and religion. They could honor their culture and, at the same time, realize that forgiveness is a process. They were able to absorb the intrinsic beliefs that we are all innocent, loved, and powerful to create change in our lives.

We launched the Conscious Leadership Academy on three continents. In Africa, we built a school from the ground up. I teach live classes there twice a month to more than 300 children, hoping to keep them out of the sex and drug

trade. It was incredibly humbling to hear a teenager say, “I have a new skin and can finally love myself and create a new life.”

I encourage all of us to say, “I am perfect and innocent, and I accept myself for who I am.”

We have the power to rewrite our scripts and attract the “actors” and experiences we deserve in our lives. Truly, we are the world.

Burge Smith-Lyons founder and CEO of Essence of Being®, Inc., the Healing Forest Foundation, and The Conscious Leadership Academy. For more than 40 years she has helped thousands of men, women, children, and companies globally with emotional and spiritual healing, self-development, communication techniques, relationships, abundance, team building, and leadership development. https://essenceofbeing.com

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A Spiritual Renewal of Science

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Can science and religion ever be on the same side? Some of the world’s great thinkers have explained why the rift between these philosophies exists and where it might be heading.

Some 400 years ago, the relationship between religion and the then-budding western sciences got off to a bad start. The Roman Catholic Church deemed Galileo and Copernicus were heretics because their scientific discoveries challenged religious doctrine and authority. The church decreed that nascent science couldn’t study the non-physical—the spiritual— because scientific ideas and discoveries were contradicting church teachings.

As a result, science was hamstrung right out of the gate. An entire world of potential exploration was closed off; the church also lost out as an odd consequence of the decision to keep these areas of knowledge separate. By disavowing interest in the physical world, the Church divorced itself from potentially deepening its own understanding of the mystery of human, earthly incarnation.

The legacy of conflict between religion and science continued. Over the centuries, scientists went from knowing the spiritual existed but that it needed to be avoided in their work, to

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Renewal of Science

now having entire generations of scientists who don’t believe in the spiritual at all. They disavow that something exists beyond what we know as the material world, because their methods can’t prove it exists. This active denial of anything but the physical is commonly called materialism. Richard Dawkins, perhaps the world’s most famous materialist, author of The God Delusion, wrote, “There is no spirit-driven life force, no soul nor

consciousness... we are simply the sum total of our genes.” This common and deeply embedded mindset has greatly limited the potential for meaningful discoveries in a broad range of the sciences.

Having materialistic scientists means the individuals that societies have tasked with using the richness of the scientific method to make discoveries to provide insight into the nature of our existence first must deny we have an existence beyond the material world.

28 A Spiritual

The dogma of materialism has essentially blocked the scientific community from exploring all things esoteric and mystical, many of which provide deep meaning to and insight into the experience of being human. In his well-researched and fascinating book Esotericism and the Academy, Professor Wouter J. Hanegraaff tracks how all things esoteric and mystical were purged from our philosophical and scientific traditions throughout history. All such topics became the “Other,” to be scorned with contempt and avoided at all costs by academics. Academics who have ventured into these zones, while no longer persecuted as heretics, are persecuted in new ways, being labeled “pseudoscientists” or “woo scientists.” They sometimes become objects of campaigns to discredit them and their scientific research.

Leon Kass, the former chairman of the President’s Council on Bioethics, says the culture of “soulless scientism” is a great threat to our human nature. He defines scientism as “a quasi-religious faith” that “eliminates all mystery,” “giving purely scientific explanations of human thought, love, creativity, moral judgment, and even why we

believe in God.” Rupert Sheldrake, he writes, even describes the “scientific priesthood.” This is highly unfortunate and in some ways mirrors in reverse what took place during the birth of Western science. Today, science not only avoids studying the spiritual but actively denies its existence, thus implicitly ridiculing the very foundations of the church.

To be fair, many materialistic scientists truly believe in their worldview and believe science has the responsibility to protect society from scientific quackery. This is an understandable position. Dr. Cassandra Vieten at the University of California San Diego thinks humanity has been subjected to a collective, post-traumatic stress from the dark ages and the inquisition. She's shared that it’s hard to imagine how bad it was, how much they relied on the perversions of religious beliefs to make these terrible choices about the Crusades, the Inquisition, and other instances of terrible things that were done to people in the name of religion.

Once the enlightenment period began, there was a kind of collective, unconscious agreement that we

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Renewal of Science

would never be that blind again about our beliefs in the unseen. Many scientists then, think it’s their job to make sure the scientific endeavor does not venture into any of those “Other” topics. While I understand and appreciate this, discernment is a vital attribute of good scientists, but closemindedness is not.

Fortunately, not all scientists are materialists who fervently discount the spiritual. During the past few decades, much has been written about the need to heal the rift between science and the spiritual, to heal science of its ideology of materialism. Recently, we have begun to have insight into the actual spiritual lives of the scientists who are doing this “bridging” work. They are beginning to share personal insights and transpersonal, metaphysical, and mystical experiences that happened once they were willing to venture beyond the material.

Some scientists were deeply sensitive to nature as a child or had innate telepathic abilities. For others, it was trauma, a mental illness, or a death in the family that prompted their opening into the metaphysical. Still

others first encountered the mystical through the use of psychedelics or meditation practices. In some cases, they were drawn to the mystical by a profound and abiding desire to know themselves and their place in the universe.

Scientists have reported experiences of transcendence of their personal self and a union with the universe and/or the godhead, kundalini awakenings, clairvoyant perception of what lies beyond the material universe, perception of the etheric body and chakra system, encountering personal divinities, astral travel, prior lives, and permanent transcendence of identity with the egoic self into what is commonly described as non-dual, or unity consciousness.

I think it's time for science to reclaim its heritage and turn its attention to fully study the metaphysical and mystical. What could be a more meaningful gift from a renewed science than to provide humanity with a greater understanding of ourselves and a deep understanding of our spiritual natures? The mystics and spiritual teachers have been trying to awaken us to such knowledge

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Spiritual

and experience for millennia. For the scientifically minded, such a science would be able to fulfill its legacy as a method to help illuminate the nature of our consciousness and of the metaphysical and the mystical.

Scientific research in these areas now is a repudiation of the premise of John Horgan’s book The End of Science, which argues that the era of truly profound scientific revelations about the universe and our place in it is over. I believe further profound scientific revelations will indeed be had when we recognize that the spiritual is the final frontier for science.

In my new book, Science, Being, & Becoming: The Spiritual Lives of Scientists, I share interviews from scientists doing this bridging work. The book’s material is derived from intimate interviews with more than thirty scientists as they describe the circumstances under which they had their transpersonal, metaphysical, and mystical experiences and how those experiences expanded their consciousness, transformed their belief systems about the nature of the world, and changed their scientific work.

Paul J. Mills, Ph.D. is author of the book groundbreaking book Science, Being, & Becoming: The Spiritual Lives of Scientists. Paul is Professor of Public Health and Family Medicine, Director of the Center of Excellence for Research and Training in Integrative Health, and Former Chief of Behavioral Medicine at the University of California San Diego. He has more than 400 scientific publications in the fields of pharmacology, oncology, cardiology, psychoneuroimmunology, behavioral medicine, and integrative health. His work has been featured in Time magazine, The New York Times, National Public Radio, US News and World Report, Consumer Reports, The Huffington Post, Gaia TV, and WebMD, among others. He’s presented his work at hundreds of conferences and workshops around the world, including at the United Nations.

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Honoring the Dead Día de Muertos WisdomKeepers

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Our ancestors build and shape our identity, both in the here-and-now and in the eternal cosmos. Our identity is tangible and intangible, matter, and spirit. In the tangible, we are also made of the four sacred elements: earth, water, air, and fire (energy). We are made of water which blesses us from the time we are born, and also when she falls softly on our crops or lets us glide on her waters. We are made of air, inhaled and exhaled by millions of creatures simultaneously, however unaware we may be of this fact—for perhaps in our life we will only observe our first inhale and last exhale.

The life energy that we feel is the warmth generated by the pulsations of all our cells as they co-vibrate with galaxies, stars, the Milky Way, the Sun, the planets, the Moon, and with Mother Earth. Our Earth generously births, nurtures, embraces, and shelters every single one of her earthlings.

We don’t need to understand rationally how all of this has come to be... how a fish, a fungus, a rock, a mountain, a river, a lake, an eagle, or a star were created or what or who they are.

When we allow ourselves to live in the mystery, we can fully celebrate life in all her beauty and manifestation. This sounds easy, but it requires a lot of inner work. First, we need to shift this sense of “me” and “myself ” to a sense of “we” and “ourselves.” Becoming conscious that we are one more in the web of life is key to this inner work. It helps us build our identity, interiorize who we are, and answer within why ancestors matter so much.

When everyone participates in such a community, observing their contribution to the common good, it cultivates a deep sense of belonging. This is the most important aspect of identity. When you can proudly say “I am from this community,” you are acknowledging all that has made you be the integral being that you are.

Our sense of who we are comes from our participation in activities like fishing, sailing, cultivating, beekeeping, weaving, herding, horse riding, cooking, playing music, dancing, making pilgrimages, partaking in or watching ceremonies, and much more. We love playing our part in these activities because they reinforce the sense of belonging to a group; and we

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acknowledge the way that the group produces and reproduces interactions with nature, especially when they honor the original principles of living in harmony with everything that is.

Ancestors with strong spirits are capable of appearing in the dream world, and those of us who have the capacity can see, listen, and speak with them. But there are multiple other ways in which they manifest and support us in our life process. They help us evolve so that we can expand our consciousness about who we are and what our tasks and responsibilities are in this world. They show us all of this in what we dream but also in how we feel and taste, and in how we act or perform a song or a dance or any kind of task—especially when it is done with care and love. We can sometimes even see signals in the sky, in the air, in the water, and in minerals. Ancestors are omnipresent, ever present, everywhere present. Our ancestors tell us how to live in sacred connection. For this, it’s important to feel beautifully and it’s necessary to think beautifully, but it’s much more significant to connect beautifully. Through that

kind of connection, you remember who you are, you know who you are, and you celebrate who you are. You are star dust. You are the balanced combination of the sacred elements. You are at the meeting point of the four directions and a dew drop in a fine thread of the web of life. You are the result of a sacred “touch” from the Divine source.

It is important to celebrate and acknowledge our ancestors in general and in particular our direct ancestors from our lineages. Since ancient times, Mexico has honored its ancestors in a major celebration that takes place every year in the month of November. In the highlands of Mexico, where the Otomi-Toltec tradition prevails, forty days before, in September, utensils and drinks are prepared and the cempaxúchitl flower is planted so it will be ready for the offerings. In most houses, the offering is prepared at the altar, which becomes filled with decorations of papel picado of bright colors such as Mexican pink, purple, blue, green, orange, and yellow. Flowers, candles, and food fill the space in a beautiful array.

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Honoring the Dead, Día de Muertos

The colors, flavors, and aromas that make up the offering are varied, according to the region. The offering is decorated with flowers. In some places, boughs are prepared. Living spring water, or holy water, is an important feature. Candles also are part of the offering; each one represents the soul of an ancestor. The first souls are expected to arrive on October 29. These are the souls of ancestors who died in accidents. On the 30th and 31st we receive those who went to the dark space, who died and did not get a name. On the 1st, children and those who died without

getting married are received. On November 2, older people or adults are honored.

In the first days, the most basic of the offering is placed: flowers, candles, water, fruit, and a little food. To receive the children, tejocotes, sweet potatoes, chayotes, oranges, peanuts, and sweets are set out. Sweet tamales and atole and a hot chocolate drink are prepared for them, among other traditional drinks. Over the night of November 1 and into the dawn of November 2, the offering is completed with fruit. Turkey or chicken mole is prepared and drinks such as mezcal, tequila, or pulque are

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Honoring the Dead, Día de Muertos

placed at the altar. Candles are also added to welcome adults.

At dawn on November 1, a path of white flower petals is placed from the sidewalk to the altar. Prayers are made with an incense, copal, to prepare for the coming of the ancestors, and the door facing east is left ajar. Then, at dawn on the 2nd, yellow flower petals are placed on top of the white ones.

In some localities, breads for the dead— made with pumpkin seeds—are placed at the altar, too, as well as the fruits that people liked during their lifetime, such as orange, guava, and boiled camotes.

It is important to mention that the passing of the dead is not to be lamented at this time; the holiday is a ceremony to celebrate our connection with our ancestors, acknowledging that they have transcended. People are happy because they are going to receive their ancestors, and a deep connection is cultivated with them in that level. Some people go to the cemetery during the day to light candles and leave flowers. In other places, the ritual of lighting candles and placing flower

petals around the grave takes place at night. The relatives of the people who have left, both adults and children, visit each grave, and the cemeteries become filled with candles and surrounded by the aromas of the cempaxúchitl flowers. It is a spectacular view. This memorable experience is a chance to spend time with the ancestors who have transcended. During the vigil, the elderly take care to keep the candles upright, with dignity.

At dawn on November 3, everyone returns home and the offerings at the altar are gathered. Elders say that fruits, breads, and drinks have already lost their aroma and their essence, but that they have to be shared, so baskets are filled with mole, tamales, breads, and fruits and shared with nearby neighbors and compadres. Some food is brought to the home fireplace or kitchen to heat it up on the comal (hot clay pan) or in clay pots. Everybody gathers at the dining table to share and complete the celebration.

There is a tradition in which children ask for "their little skull." They go from house to house asking for a piece of fruit or a coin to help them enjoy these festivities. The Day of the Dead is a celebration

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of ancestors, but also celebrates the continuity of life. The ancestors return to where they had lived and have an opportunity to contact their relatives. How beautiful it is to live those mystical moments of joy, where our living relatives gather in communion with their beloved ancestors.

Mindahi Bastida is author of ANCESTORS: Divine Remembrances of Lineage, Relations and Sacred Sites. He is the Director of the Original Nations Program of the Fountain, a caretaker of the philosophy and traditions of the Otomi-Toltec peoples,

and an Otomi-Toltec Ritual Ceremony Officer. He is a consultant with UNESCO on issues related to sacred sites and bioculture. Mindahi has also served as Director of the Original Caretakers Program at the Center for Earth Ethics.

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ARTIST IN RESIDENCE

“You have breast cancer.”

I heard these four words—the words every woman dreads hearing—on August 10, 2022. A few days later, I sat in a surgeon’s office with my husband to learn about my future.

According to the National Cancer Institute, one in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.

We hear those odds reported on the news, in magazines, in our doctor’s offices or chatting with friends. And then we try our best not to think about them when we sit in that tiny room shrouded in a little pink surgical gown, waiting for our annual mammogram. I had sat in that room at a radiology center, as I do each year, with the slightly shaky confidence that I’d hear, “See you next year” after the obligatory

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squashing of “my girls.” But this time, the radiologist said she needed an additional ultrasound. Of course, that awakened my spidey senses, but I’d had ultrasounds as a precaution in the past. I thought it would be fine.

When she returned, I heard the first truly alarming words: “You need a biopsy.” They were like a clanging bell reverberating in my head, and I felt my stomach drop to my feet. Even with her assurance that it was probably nothing— and if it was something, it was early and very tiny—I sensed something else coming. In retrospect, I owe a great debt to the radiologist who caught a very slight change from my previous year’s test that prompted her to look deeper.

The biopsy confirmed cancer. It's difficult to describe the reaction to hearing that you now have a potentially life-threatening condition. I experienced shock, disbelief, and a sort of mind-numbing catatonia during the few days later before we met with the surgeon, a no-nonsense woman with a huge, kind heart. She set our minds at ease as she detailed my case and what was ahead. Thankfully, my husband asked all the

right questions, since my mind was still vibrating with the reality of cancer and I could barely manage lucid thoughts. Most of the cancer had been removed with the biopsy, the surgeon said, though I would need surgery to remove the rest and some surrounding tissue. Then I might need radiation and medication. I’d be okay, she said. In fact, this was probably a best-case scenario. Hearing that was a great relief.

Surgery was on September 12. I feel tremendous gratitude for the people who have cared for me – the doctors and nurses – and for all of those who are supporting me. I am lucky to have an amazing family, precious friends, and especially my devoted husband and daughter.

To keep my perspective throughout the process, I have been referring to my situation as “a little tiny cancer” or “a blip on my radar” and “nothing compared to what others have been through”. I try to minimize my condition to keep myself from going off the rails. And it’s been helpful. However, when speaking with a good friend and cancer survivor recently, she pointed out that regardless of the

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Artist in Residence

size or scope, cancer is a frightening diagnosis, and there is nothing small or tiny about it. She reminded me that I am equally entitled to all feelings associated with my diagnosis. It has been a life-altering, perspectiveshifting, awe-inspiring experience. I’ve been thinking about how this journey could become a vehicle for service and waiting for some sort of artistic inspiration to come to me. So far, I’m not clear how either path will manifest, and I am okay with waiting for whatever comes through. I admit that I am still processing the magnitude of it all. One moment it feels like something I have already moved beyond (although I still have some follow-up treatment ahead), and the next, I am struck dumb by what having cancer means. Cancer has shown up in my family on both sides. I’ve seen the ravages of it up close. I’ve also witnessed triumph in defeating it and continuing to live life fully. What more can I share with you now, as I continue along this journey?

• Women: Get your annual mammogram without fail.

• Listen to your body. If something doesn’t feel right, pay attention and seek medical advice.

• Love yourself enough to care for your body, mind, and spirit.

• Live your life from as much joy as you can muster.

• Invite all the energies of Mother Earth and Father Sky to move freely through you and pay attention to how they change your perspective.

Each day is a precious gift. That might sound trite, but I am here to tell you that it’s the absolute truth. The trajectory of your life can change in a micro-second. Take nothing for granted.

Love freely, forgive easily, and be a mensch. That, my friends, is the fine art of living well. Until next time. Rev. Franne Demetrician is an interfaith minister. She has been a licensed holistic health practitioner since 1995 and wrote a spiritually oriented weekly blog from 2015 -2018. Franne is a working artist, photographer, writer, spiritual counselor, mentor, and teacher.

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AN ALGORITHM for HEALING

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It was kismet. When I met Moon Cho, we both knew we were soul sisters. Our instant connection included a common passion for energy medicine and an intuitive understanding of human beings. But it was more than that. Our energetic blueprints—which determine who we are and how we can help one another—seemed to be a perfect match. This alignment would allow us to work together effectively. But what was this blueprint, this soulanimating energy of connection? Could it be quantified, or even captured in an algorithm, so we could use it to help others?

If ever a time existed when people needed to find their energetic matches among the world’s energy healers, that time is now. As our planet and its inhabitants go through an unprecedented time of upheaval and change, more people seek alternative healing modalities to help them cope with stress and anxiety. This idea arrived at the perfect moment.

Recognizing that our level of energetic connection had provided a deeper relationship and experience, we wanted to create a platform that matches

people with energy medicine (metacine) practitioners from around the world. Om Heals was born.

THE GIFT OF ENERGY HEALING

Energy healing is a modality based on the belief that our bodies are made up of energy, and that this energy can become blocked. When our energy is blocked, it can lead to physical, mental, and emotional problems. Energy healing can help to unblock this energy and restore balance to the body.

Types of energy healing include:

• Quantum energy healing, which uses the energy of quantum particles to promote healing. The theory behind quantum energy healing is that our bodies are made up of atoms and molecules, which are in turn made up of quantum particles. These particles are constantly in motion and exchange energy with each other. By harnessing the power of quantum particles, it is possible to promote healing on a cellular level.

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An Algorithm for Healing

• Bio energy healing is based on the belief that our bodies have an electromagnetic field that can be used to heal. Bio energy healing is said to work by balancing the energy in our bodies and restoring our natural state of health.

• Chios energy healing uses the flow of energy to heal the body. Energy flows through the body in channels called meridians. In Chios energy healing, practitioners use their hands to direct the flow of energy along these meridians to promote healing.

TESTING AND REFINING

We began a six-month journey of designing a mathematical formula to mirror not only our natural intuitive gifts, but to encapsulate the information we had derived from many years of studying people and different psychometric programs. We first investigated how each practice determined viability and codified it so that it was reproducible and therefore could be reliably tested.

After many spirited discussions, we created a questionnaire that

embodied both the essence of nonintuitional information we used to make effective connections as well as the hierarchy of weights we placed on each attribute. Using proven matches made in the past, our team ran hundreds of tests, exercising the process to confirm the algorithm results were valid and consistent. Minor adjustments were made to the algorithm after each series of tests, and we created testing benchmarks to make sure each alteration consistently provides accurate results. Our clients answer the questionnaire to help us determine their energetic blueprint. This is then used to match that person with the practitioners who have similar or compatible energetic blueprints. This matchmaking process allows the session with the practitioner to be optimized, so the patient is most receptive to the healing and the practitioner can most easily provide guidance.

DOES IT WORK?

As this project continued to evolve, the algorithm became more refined.

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Users around the world have engaged in more than a hundred sessions; more than 92 percent of them expressed deep satisfaction with the process.

Om Heals began beta testing in December 2021. We gifted sessions to numerous veterans in the United States. One such veteran shared that the single session he had with a healer on Om Heals made a bigger difference for him than more than thirty years of anger management meetings and PTSD therapy.

Om Heals continues to grow. We are creating a community of both holistic practitioners and users that uplifts, supports, and connects people to the Divine healing that is their birthright.

Om Heals.com was co-founded in 2021 by YouTube influencer, Moon Cho, and Jennifer K. Hill. Anyone can answer the program’s questions and use their proprietary matchmaking algorithm to receive their matches, free of charge.

Jennifer K. Hill is an Evolutionary Leader, entrepreneur, author, speaker, and TV host. She has hosted popular shows with Dr. Deepak Chopra, Dr. Rollin McCraty, Dr. Dain Heer, and many other leaders from around the world. After selling her first company in 2018, she recently co-founded a new company in the wellness space, www.om-heals.com

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Your decision to walk creates the path ahead.
— Paulo Coelho

A Pattern Guiding Us Toward Unitive Consciousness

Perhaps there is a pattern set up in the heavens for one who desires to see it, and having seen it, to find one in himself. – Plato

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Could there really be a pattern found in the heavens and within us as well?

What would the implications of such a universal pattern be for the way we might live our lives?

If such a pattern existed, it would emerge and become evident as all things in the universe are seen as tied together, operating according to an overarching principle of wholeness. Derived from a holistic worldview of balance and unity within the whole, this is expressed in the Hermetic principle of “That which is Below corresponds to that which is Above, and that which is Above corresponds to that which is Below, all things accomplishing the miracles of the One Thing.”

This principle integrates all levels of reality from the macrocosm (the universe as a whole) to the microcosm (i.e., the human being, a miniature universe) and is upheld by the latest science and the earliest spiritual wisdom. It bridges the divide between duality and nonduality. It confirms that the individual and the collective mirror one another in their essential nature and processes and explains how all things are interconnected.

Imagine what it may have been like for the first indigenous people seeking wisdom to live by. They seemingly observed a “pattern set up in the heavens” and wove this understanding of wholeness into the heart of the stories they told.

Now known as “myths,” their ancient stories established great truths and held communities together. Whether through metaphor, symbol, pattern, or repetition, their narratives offered a unifying framework for living within the flow of the natural world around them. These were unitive narratives, essential to their individual and collective well-being.

Across many millennia, however, communities expanded, spread out, and became more diverse. They experienced conflict and disorder. Out of this discord emerged divisive narratives framed by a consciousness of duality that maintained separation and challenged the trajectory of the evolutionary impulse. Most of humanity’s history has consisted of competing narratives fighting for the minds and hearts of people everywhere.

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A Pattern

Us Toward Unitive Consciousness

As we approach a consciousness of global integration, a new story of our wholeness is needed to frame this emerging interconnectedness. Humanity has arrived at a time when it is necessary, for our own survival, to come together again through unitive narratives. Such narratives would represent the unified nature of reality. Because reality always has and will continue to exist as a unified field—and the earliest mystics and seers saw this and incorporated this understanding into their stories to live by—the story of such wholeness is not new.

What is “new” is that we now understand better the spiraling effect of the evolutionary impulse. We know what our evolving consciousness might be leading us to, and that there might be an innate, archetypal pattern within our unconscious making all this possible. As more of us are now becoming aware of this as a “new” story of wholeness, there might be a new way of getting to and living in the wholeness that always is.

Stories that convey an inherent wholeness across all life forms, the natural world, and the entire creation are found in every indigenous culture

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Guiding

and mystic way of viewing the world. These are designed to lead to the realization of a unitive consciousness, the goal of our evolving consciousness.

Unitive narratives invite us to embrace the wisdom of the complementarity, balance, and wholeness of seemingly opposing forces. This is one of the most effective ways to recognize unity in the diversity of forms and expressions we encounter in this world on our way to a consciousness of wholeness. Binaries, like feminine and

masculine, become more valued when they are viewed as human attributes rather than as a reason to divide us along gender lines.

Unitive narratives are needed now more than ever as we shift our focus from individual well-being to the collective well-being of the whole. In our time, exclusive emphasis upon any one part endangers the whole.

As we tap into this unitive consciousness, telling our own story of how we’ve experienced this wholeness, we become the social artists needed today to ensure Earth’s

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A Pattern Guiding Us Toward Unitive Consciousness

well-being as a living organism. The Earth reveals to us the necessity of collaborative relationships and dynamic, co-evolutionary partnerships on a planetary scale. Our personal and collective evolution of consciousness depends on the stories we tell.

The pattern “set up in the heavens” and imbedded within us constantly assists our conscious evolution, confirms our wholeness on all levels, and helps carry out a process of transformation that is central to mythology, mysticism, rites of passage, and psychology.

The universality of this pattern defines inner transformation and serves a greater purpose in preparing us to be transformers of society by guiding us toward contributing to the good of the whole. Collective and individual transformation are so interdependent upon each other that they cannot be separated. This inner pattern identifies the qualities and characteristics of a new narrative of the evolutionary impulse. Within the core pattern

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of transformation, we can conceptualize our own journey from separation to union, from the many to the One, toward a recognition of our inherent wholeness.

In A New Story of Wholeness, along with chapters illuminating the primary principles involved, there is a Blueprint for Living Our Story of Wholeness—a summary of the microcosm of a “pattern set up in the heavens”—that serves as a roadmap of our entire journey to wholeness. This blueprint of the story of our evolving consciousness might help us recognize how our life is part of something much larger. The core outline of this “pattern set up in the heavens”—and within us as well—follows an ancient, universal and, at the same time, new narrative form that we can all reclaim in this critical moment. Living and telling about our own unitive narrative is the important work of conscious storytelling.

We are the storytelling species. Let us reclaim our identity as whole beings living in harmony with all things around us and share our deeply lived stories of wholeness, to bring us back together as a human family.

Adapted from A New Story of Wholeness: An Experiential Guide for Connecting the Human Family by Robert Atkinson (November 2022)

Robert Atkinson, PhD, author, educator, and developmental psychologist, is the author of A New Story of Wholeness: An Experiential Guide for Connecting the Human Family and The Story of Our Time: From Duality to Interconnectedness to Oneness, and eight other books. robertatkinson.net

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The Heart of the Matter for Spiritually Conscious Parents

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A popular nursery rhyme, taught with accompanying hand gestures, began with “Here’s the church. Here’s the steeple. Open the doors and see all the people….” Opening the church doors today would reveal more empty seats than people, for many Americans are no longer regular church attendees. (For purposes of this column, the word “church” is used to also encompass worship places like synagogues and mosques. “God” is used to encompass Spirit, YHWH, Allah, Buddha-nature and other sacred names.)

When church services resumed after the pandemic, many people just didn’t come back. According to the Pew Research Center, virtual attendance had increased, but it remains to be seen whether online services will be maintained or continue to grow.

Are You a None?

If you once attended church, but no longer do, you would check the “none” box on forms. Nones describe themselves as atheists, agnostics or “nothing in particular.” Over the last

several years, many people no longer identify with a religious affiliation nor see themselves as religious. As of December of 2021, according to Pew’s research, this growing trend reports three American adults out of ten consider themselves to be a None. Without debating the opinions about why this happened, I would like to address the Nones who are raising children. Questions I ponder: What, if anything, are you teaching your child about what is holy or sacred? Who are we meant to be to one another? Does the social contract reflect the sacred contract of how we belong to each other? If that language doesn’t resonate, then do you teach ethical values—and if so, which values do you emphasize?

Expanding a Spiritual Vision

Just as the view of the cosmos above us has expanded, thanks to the phenomenal pictures taken by the James Webb Space Telescope, it would behoove us to continue to explore new ways of imagining in order to evolve our spiritual consciousness, expand our notions of

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The Heart of the Matter for Spiritually Conscious Parents

God, and decide what, if anything, the church means in the 21st century. The tidy summary of “I’m spiritual but not religious” needs to be discussed more. If we want to live meaningfully and soulfully, our eyes need to perceive beyond the surface of the ordinary and the teachings of religious institutions.

One day, a seven-year girl I know emphatically exclaimed, “What a world to be born into! There’s a pandemic going on and a war!”

My response was, “True, but that could be why you are here.”

She literally sat back in her seat, her eyes big as saucers, considering this new thought. You might find your children are more open than you expect to having conversations about the meaning of life and the universe, or why we are here.

A Universal Language for God

When I create wedding ceremonies for couples, and they desire prayers, I ask, “What is the language preferred to address the holy?”

Young people, more often than not, do not want me to say “God.” But

there are many words for God. Cellist Pablo Casals said beauty and kindnesses are just other ways to describe God. “In music, in the sea, in a flower, in a leaf, in an act of kindness….I see what people call God in all these things.”

If we call God Creative Energy, Love, or All Goodness, are we describing an intelligent Source? Do you know how you would explain God to your child when they ask about friends whose families attend church or practice religious customs?

Moving Beyond Brick and Mortar Churches

Two progressive thinkers—Barbara Brown Taylor, an Episcopal priest, academic, and author and Wendell Berry, a writer and poet—inspire evolution from traditional beliefs.

Reverend Brown Taylor said, “The whole world is God’s House.” But what does this visionary concept mean, exactly? It means church is no longer the only place where God abides, because church is everywhere. The sanctuary is open to everyone. With this mindset,

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walking in the world would completely shift, because we would see the altar as the holy ground we stand and walk on.

For almost twenty years, Wendell Berry devoted solitary Sunday mornings to walking through the woods, simply observing the world. A Timbered Choir was the book he birthed from these walking meditations, which he referred to as “Sabbath poems.” Walking in the woods, being in a natural environment, helps invoke the awe and wonder of “God’s House.” Often people tell me church for them now is outdoors. The natural environment provides what churches did (and some

still do): sustenance, inspiration, and opportunities for praise and abundant worship. Walking in the woods with a child can be likened to going to church. Open your eyes to see things as they do, with delight, wonder, and gratefulness.

Growing a Spiritual Consciousness for the Gift of Life

Even if you are a None, it’s important to instill in your child what a blessing their precious life is. We don’t deserve anything, yet what a gift we have been given. A child understanding this reverence for life might lead their life as if it is a prayer in ongoing thanks to the Universe. The poet Mary Oliver said,

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The Heart of the Matter for Spiritually Conscious Parents

“Sometimes I need only to stand wherever I am to be blessed.”

Despite waning church attendance, I would not want to lose the language of the holy. Sacredness, or what is holy, reveals love. Standing on hallowed ground, love is the communion of connection we extend to each other, to the Earth, and to the Universe to keep holiness alive.

“The world needs us to bless, kneel, and recognize the holiness. That we are willing to bless one another is

miracle enough to stagger the very stars.”

— Barbara Brown Taylor

Mary Ellen Lucas, an Interfaith / Interspiritual Minister, believes we can learn to make wiser choices that create pathways of connection and collaboration to ensure a better world for our children. Life on Little Puddle Pond is a series of children’s books she wrote with silly goose playfulness along with meaningful lessons. The books are pre-chapter books and appropriate for children four to eight years old. Available from online retailers worldwide.

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COMMON SENTIENCE

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Read one or all of the books in this uncommon series… and feel the presence of the Divine in and all around you.

ANCESTORS: Divine Remembrances of Lineage, Relations and Sacred Sites

Mindahi Bastida ISBN: 9781945026997 | $16.99

Spiritual leader Mindahi Bastida explains the consciousness of ancestors is interwoven through the web of time and space and we are the synthesis of all that has ever existed. Understand ancient traditions and walk in reverence to feel the deep connection of your ancestors. Learn blessings and ceremonies you can practice today and develop the wisdom to heal ancestral karma.

AVAILABLE: SEPTEMBER 06, 2022

ANGELS: Personal Encounters with Divine Beings of Light

Tricia McCannon

ISBN: 9781945026959 | $16.99

Tricia McCannon, a lifelong mystic, and bestselling author invites you to explore what angels are, and how they connect with us, their purpose, the Nine Orders of Angels, the mystery of angelic lore, and famous angelic encounters from throughout history. Learn how the angels are at the heart of a celestial awakening, and when you call upon them, you begin to awaken the angelic nature within yourself.

ANIMALS: Personal Tales of Encounters with Spirit Animals Dr. Steven Farmer ISBN: 9781945026867 | $16.99

Renowned “animal spirit guy” and bestselling author Dr. Steven Farmer brings the medicine of spirit animals to you and shares how you can connect with them and discern their messages. Discover how these spiritual allies can guard, aid, heal, and guide you in the most unexpected and delightful ways.

ASCENSION: Divine Stories for Awakening the Whole and Holy Being Within William Henry ISBN: 9781958921012 | $16.99

Investigative mythologist William Henry teaches ascension is our quest for wholeness, completion, and ultimately, perfection which means to be holy and pure of heart. Expand your awareness of ancient ascension writings, sacred art, the Rainbow Light Body, the Blue Pearl, and the hero’s ascension journey.

AVAILABLE: DECEMBER 01, 2022

GUIDES: Mystical Connections to Soul Guides and Divine Teachers

Marilyn Alauria

ISBN: 9781945026973 | $16.99

Psychic medium Marilyn Alauria explains how all of life offers information for your personal journey, and your guides are here to help communicate it to you. Learn what soul guides are, how they connect with you, their purpose, and how they answer the questions inside of you and help you remember who you are and why you are here.

MEDITATION: Intimate Experiences with the Divine through Contemplative Practices

Sister Dr. Jenna

ISBN: 9781945026911 | $16.99

Acclaimed spiritual mentor Sister Dr. Jenna expands the concept of meditation to the highest level—from simple relaxation to ecstatic union with Source. Her wisdom will enhance your understanding of how listening to your inner silence can help you overcome life obstacles, reclaim your spiritual power, and immerse in the presence of the Divine.

NATURE: Divine Experiences with Trees, Plants, Stones and Landscapes

Ana Maria Vasquez

ISBN: 9781945026935 | $16.99

Nature intuitive Ana Maria Vasquez leads you into the landscape of remembrance, the era of which ancient teachings have spoken. Learn grounded processes that will move into a state of presence so you can receive clear and concise messages from nature. Practice forest bathing, stone gazing, sacred herbal baths, and work with a medicine wheel to deepen your relationship with our sacred allies.

SHAMANISM: Personal Quests of Communion with Nature and Creation

Oscar Miro-Quesada

ISBN: 9781958921005 | $16.99

Oscar Miro-Quesada, an earth-honoring ceremonialist and respected kamasqa curandero invites you to the Spirit-honoring way of shamanism. Discover the realm of mystery, magic, and medicine of shamanic states of consciousness. Explore the shamanic healing arts and practices to evolve your soul from the perspective of universal shamanism.

AVAILABLE: OCTOBER 25, 2022

LIVING CONSCIOUSLY

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You are what you consume. While we have come to understand that this principle applies to the food we eat, it extends to many other aspects of our consumption as well, including daily media intake and engagement with our relationships.

Each of these forms of consuming has a profound effect on our lives and wellbeing; physically, mentally and spiritually. They affect us as individuals and as societies. That is why it is paramount for us to take a close and conscious look at what we allow into our bodies and minds.

We can most easily see and measure the effects of our consumption when it comes to food. The well-known phrase “You are what you eat” is a simple enough equation: when we fuel ourselves with high quality, nutrient dense, whole foods, we are able to enjoy a healthier, higherperformance body. When we eat junk food, empty calories, and highly processed substances, our bodies will deteriorate and get ill. There is mounting evidence that our dietary decisions affect more than our physiques; they also are

inextricably connected to our states of mind and our emotions. Studies by Harvard University have shown a direct correlation between the health of our gut and the health of our brain. The trillions of bacteria that live in the digestive tract represent the majority of the complex community of microorganisms in our bodies that we call the microbiome. The healthier our microbiome is, the healthier we are. A healthy gut flora made up of diverse, beneficial microorganisms is not only crucial for a well-functioning digestion; it also fosters a strong immune system, balances our hormones, and ensures our brains work properly. An unhealthy gut flora has been linked to anxiety, mood disorders, and even depression. A diet rich in vitamins, healthy fats, and plenty of organic, plant-based foods that are high in fiber supports a healthy gut flora. This kind of food keeps our bodies’ pH levels balanced and strengthens our natural ability to perform at an optimal level. We can help detoxify and strengthen our bodies, greatly lessening the risk of disease, by reducing or even

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eliminating animal proteins from our diets and adding the occasional green juice, super foods, and tonic herbs to our daily routine.

Epigenetics, which is currently one of the hottest fields in life sciences, focuses on the study of heritable changes in gene expression not encoded by the genetic sequence. Epigeneticists believe we can literally influence our genes via the food we put on our plates because of this surprising truth: Factors such as lifestyle choices, behaviors, and diet cause chemical modifications around our genes which can switch these genes “on” or “off” over time. For example, overeating processed foods can impact our DNA, triggering those genes influencing obesity to become “switched on” while at the same time “switching off” genes that affect longevity.

And according to Epigeneticists, the repercussions of our choices are farreaching. The decisions we make will epigenetically be passed on to our children and even our grandchildren. This means that the fast food you eat today might ultimately shorten the lifespans of your offspring tomorrow.

But what about the “unwholesome diet” of information we take in?

The increasingly negative and sensationalist news cycle can have a disastrous effect, wreaking havoc on our mental health. Were we to believe mainstream news, our world is under constant threat, rattled by global instability, viruses, economic woes, and wars. News reports make it sound as if we are worse off than ever before.

The negative headlines served up by the news media can warp our sense of danger. That’s why many of us are more afraid of being eaten by a shark than getting into a car accident, even though the latter is statistically much more likely to kill us.

While we do have many pressing problems to solve, there also are plenty of good things happening daily. The problem is, most of these positive stories never make it into the news. Why? The answer lies in our biology. Through evolution, our brains have been wired to pay immediate attention to anything we perceive as a threat. This mechanism has helped us survive. Unfortunately, this same mechanism has been used to make us give rapt attention to bad news—

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and the commercials surrounding it—even though bad news is bad for our mental health. Since the effects of negative news don’t usually manifest immediately, we often don’t see the damage that is done until it is too late and we are suffering from anxiety, confusion, depression, and heightened aggression. How can we stop the madness? We don’t have to be uninformed, but we do need to make better

choices and adjust our information consumption habits. A good start is to search out stories that inspire and uplift us and that are constructive to the conversation about current events. We live in an unprecedented time of information. For better or for worse, we have at our fingertips a constant stream of news coming at us from all angles, at all times. It is not only an opportunity, but our responsibility, to consciously choose what we consume. Information alone is not wisdom.

63 The OWL Magazine

Whatever we choose as our source for world news, our worldview will become defined by it. Another aspect of our lives that impacts us deeply is our personal relationships. As American business philosopher and bestselling author Jim Rohn wrote, “You are the average of the five people

you spend the most time with.” In other words, “You are the company you keep,” a concept that originated thousands of years ago in a fable by the famed storyteller Aesop of ancient Greece. Modern science corroborates this old wisdom with some revolutionary, recent findings. Researchers from New York University and Utrecht University discovered that our brainwaves will likely align with those of the people we spend time with. This means that our everyday social interactions provide the platform for brain-to-brain synchrony, adding a completely new level to the meaning of “being on the same wavelength.” Additionally, and perhaps even more profoundly, the Center of Functionally Integrative Neuroscience at Denmark’s Aarhus University reports that our heartbeats can synchronize with the heartbeats of those we are close to.

These findings suggest that social bonds between people manifest even more powerfully than we thought. We are indeed, literally and figuratively, the company we keep. If we spend most of our time around people who

64 Living Consciously

complain and are driven by a worldview of lack and fear, this attitude will eventually impact us in negative ways and might even transfer to us. Setting healthy boundaries in personal relationships, therefore, is important to our well-being. When we keep our mind and energy in a high place and surround ourselves with people who uplift us, we create a powerful source of support that opens our lives up for success and happiness.

The things we take in determine what we become, whether for the good or the bad. Let’s choose wisely and not allow our choices to consume us. Let’s consume things that will not only keep us alive, but will ignite within us the fire of passion for life and compassion for other living beings. Our intake of food, love, and information can help us thrive, becoming the best potential version of ourselves. This is the greatest work of our lives. When

we elevate ourselves, we elevate the rest of humanity.

Ariane Sommer, is a critically acclaimed author, vegan biohacker and wellness entrepreneur. She has passionately dedicated the last 15 years of her life to create the ultimate human experience based on the most powerful ancient teachings and cutting edge modern discoveries and technologies. She shares this knowledge on The Superhumanize Podcast, featuring conversations with global thought leaders in health, personal development, science and spirituality. Ariane is plantbased and has coined the philosophy AVAP, the acronym for As Vegan As Possible. Ariane grew up in a diplomatic household in places as diverse as Sierra Leone, India, Spain, the US, Germany and the UK. She presently spends her time between her homes in Los Angeles and Berlin. www.superhumanize.com

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The OWL Magazine

Write for Good

A couple of nights ago, I found myself in an uncomfortable conversation. A man I know kept asking, “How do you experience me? Don’t you experience me as loving?” I quickly discerned these questions came in emotionally loaded.

I had committed two months earlier to rigorous truth-telling to myself and other people. My answer to this person revealed a variety of experiences, vivid memories, and reflections as I spoke as honestly and forthrightly as I could. While I began with many wonderful qualities about him, I also shared that I no longer trusted him.

I felt scared by his unpredictable anger. I told him he seemed stuck in a “flight and fight” mode. He had spoken about how unsafe he has felt. He also called his anger “frustration,” a common way angry people minimize

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their impact. He has admitted he has trauma, but then backpedals from this truth by projecting his own feelings onto me. He is struggling to face his own difficult truths.

I told him, as I have before, “I don’t have the bandwidth for the continued healing of my own past traumas and yours. I just don’t.” He finally heard me and is impeccably respecting my boundaries.

I will continue my work at a safe distance, so that I can love myself and love this individual. Healthy boundaries matter. Many people on the planet right now are navigating through traumas, past and present. If you are one of them, I offer you some insights I’ve gleaned over the years. Trauma is a shock to the body and nervous system. This can happen during sexual molestation, physical assault, a car accident, a fiery argument with a boss, colleague, or family member, violence, emotional or psychological abuse, scapegoating (consistently blaming and shaming one person for other people’s cruel or unkind behavior), gaslighting (making a person feel they are at fault and the cause of another person’s bad behavior), witnessing the violent assault of a beloved one,

being bullied as a child by other children, and many more. PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and persistent post-traumatic stress can happen to anyone, not only soldiers returning from war zones. People in any of the above situations can be impacted.

Unhealed trauma lives in the body and the body remembers it, as Bessel Van Der Kolk masterfully describes in his NYTimes bestselling book, The Body Keeps Score. In my own experience, I could eloquently describe my triggers. I knew I got angry. Yet, until I engaged in somatic work, I felt helpless to interrupt my reactions. I could say affirmations in my mind, and write down everything I was grateful for, but these mental/ emotional tools did not stop my intense reactivity. I need to drop into my body to release the layers of past traumas, along with engaging in the other practices I continue to glean from professionals. I had to get support, and I’m very grateful I did and still do. If you know you have unhealed trauma, I urge you to seek professional support from traumainformed therapists. Fight, flight, freeze, and fawn are the four reactions identified so far as the ways a person reacts to a traumatic happening. The amygdala—a small,

The OWL Magazine 67

walnut-shaped part of the brain—fires up when a person gets triggered. Triggers often show up as sensory information related to a past trauma. In a professional setting, you can gain tools for the regulation of your nervous system including specific ways you can engage “the Pause” between a stimulus and your body’s reaction. A triggering sensory experience—such as smelling the cologne on someone in a coffee shop that takes you right back to the cologne your rapist wore—can make you react with the same fear you felt during the assault. But therapists can teach you to go to a neutral place in your body instead of reacting with flight, fight, freeze, or fawn.

Meditation and movement can support you in healing your trauma. Acting in a theater production, taking improvisation classes, learning tai chi, qigong, and/or yoga, and engaging in rhythmic movement of many kinds— such as walking, running, swimming, bicycling, and dancing—can allow the body, mind, and heart to find greater peace. You can only heal your own unhealed traumas. You are not responsible for the inner work of any other human being, including a parent, a boss, a colleague, a spouse, or your best friend. You can only and forever

engage fully with your own healing and transformational journey.

Finally, I offer my favorite version of the Serenity Prayer:

God grant me the serenity to accept that I cannot change another person, the courage to change the one person

I can, and the wisdom to know that one person is me.

I wish you deep and lasting healing from the inside out, so you can live with greater serenity, mental clarity, and unshakeable joy.

The founder of Cherish Your World, Laura Staley passionately supports people thriving by guiding them to a holistic transformation of space, heart, and life. Laura is the published author of four books including Live Inspired which reveals the brave and deep work of self-discovery and her book of short writings and poetry Abundant Heart

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Write for Good

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Those
who don't believe in
magic
will never find it.
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EXCERPT FROM

Gate One THE CALL TO SPIRIT

THE MYTH

The Descent of Inanna

Inanna’s ascension begins with her descent. Things to that point had been going smoothly for the Queen of Heaven and Earth. With a temple erected in her honor in seven cities, her beloved Dumuzi at her side, and devoted

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friends attentive to her needs and wishes, she was both powerful and comfortable. But then she realizes that something about her situation is lacking. Compelled by an intuitive signal that comes from her soul, Inanna recognizes that she must submit to her deepest, darkest fears and descend to the underworld. An inner pressure to transform grows within her. Spirit knows Inanna is ready to understand the mysteries of the underworld, but Inanna herself is not without reservations—she cannot yet see the bigger picture. Confident in the process, however, Inanna gathers her courage and prepares to leave her holy office with its comforts and security. She gives herself over to the pull of the Great Below.

Before she goes, Inanna collects seven Divine powers: the seven me . These are her shugurra , which is her crown; a single strand of lapis beads; a double strand of lapis beads; a breast plate; a gold bracelet; a lapis measuring rod and line; and her royal robe. She knows

she must take these with her as the armor of a goddess. One by one, Inanna places these items on her body. Deliberately, as though engaged in a ritual, she dons her queenly apparel.

The process by which she does this is instructive. First, she places the shugurra on her head. She then arranges her bangs across her third eye and places her single strand lapis necklace around her throat chakra. Next, she situates her double strand of beads at her breast and dabs alchemical makeup on her eyes to enhance the allure of her gaze. Then she covers her chest with her breastplate and slips her golden bracelet over her wrist. Finally, she puts on her royal robe and picks up her measuring rod and line.

Dressed and ready, Inanna summons Ninshubur— her wise assistant, servant, and guide— to prepare a plan in case she does not come back from the underworld. Inanna knows she is venturing into a place from which no one has ever returned. Always respectful of the process of death,

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Inanna first instructs Ninshubur to mourn and lament her if she does not return. Following that, Ninshubur is to locate Inanna’s three father figures—Enlil, Nanna, and Enki—to ask for their help in her resurrection. With this escape plan in place, she descends. First, Inanna comes to the outer gates of the Great Below. She bangs on the door with authority, loudly declaring her presence. The gatekeeper, Neti, asks Inanna to state her reason for arrival. Still not entirely sure, she recalls the impending funeral of her sister Ereshkigal’s husband, Gugalanna, deciding on the spot to state this as her official reason. Ereshkigal is the Queen of the Underworld. Neti tells Ereshkigal about the brazen visitor, describing Inanna’s powerful accoutrement in detail and depicting her breathtaking presence as larger than life. Ereshkigal cannot contain her anger, jealousy, and resentment. She is described in the myth as a petulant child who: “slapped her thigh and bit her lip” upon hearing of Inanna’s arrival. We assume that there must be something deeper to her response than just jealousy

and, in The Epic of Gilgamesh , we learn that Inanna had a role in the death of her husband, which we explore in detail in Gate Seven. Ereshkigal is appalled that Inanna presumes she will be allowed to leave the underworld once she enters. As ruler of this domain, Ereshkigal pauses to consider all that Neti has told her. She listens to her intuition about what steps she must take in response. She then commands Neti to lock the seven gates to the underworld and then to prepare to unlock them one by one. She instructs Neti to force Inanna to remove one of her items at each entry point, so she ultimately arrives, “naked and bowed low” without her seven powers. Neti opens the first gate and instructs Inanna to remove her crown. He does this at each gate for each of her seven royal attributes. Once Inanna has finally gained entry, the judges of the underworld encircle her. As Inanna moves closer to the throne, Ereshkigal fixes the “eye of death” 21 upon her and delivers a violent blow, effectively killing Inanna. Ereshkigal then

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hangs Inanna’s corpse on a nail to rot on the wall of the underworld. Clearly, Inanna is now at her weakest and lowest point. But will she rise?

Thank Goddess for the Back-Up Plan

After three days and three nights, Inanna does not return to her temple. The faithful Ninshubur carries out the plan devised by Inanna before leaving. She goes into mourning and prepares a holy lament. She then seeks the help of Enlil, but he refuses her. Enlil reasons that as a goddess with many powers, Inanna knowingly ventured into the land of no return. She must deal with the consequences on her own, he says. Ninshubur then visits Nanna, who responds the same way. Only Enki, her grandfather and the God of Wisdom, comes to her aid.

Moved by compassion, but also pride in his granddaughter’s willingness to face the unknown, he takes dirt from his fingernails to create two magical beings— the kurgarra and the galatur .

They are neither male nor female. Enki equips each one with a specific power to alchemically restore Inanna. He connects the kurgarra with “the food of life” and the galatur with the “water of life.” He instructs them to enter the Great Below in the form of flies. Enki knows that Ereshkigal will be playing out the interpenetrating nature of life and death when they find her, symbolically mourning, while enduring simulated labor pains. Her process here underscores the rebirth of both herself and her sister self in the figure of Inanna. Enki instructs his two messengers to mirror Ereshkigal’s birth pains by repeating the words of her suffering, thereby appearing to support her with compassion and empathy. Enki knows this kind gesture will elicit a gift from Ereshkigal. He instructs the kurgarra and galatur to ask for the gift of the “meat” hanging on the wall.

As they arrive, the kurgarra and galatur find Ereshkigal lying naked with her hair

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spread out around her in a wild mess, clearly in distress. She is no longer the composed queen of the underworld. Her discomfort overrides her modesty. Moaning in pain, she insists she hurts inside and out. The kurgarra and galatur meet Ereshkigal in her suffering and mirror her lament.

Astonished at being truly heard with apparent sympathy, Ereshkigal asks: “Who are you, Moaning— groaning—sighing with me?” Then, as Enki predicted, she says, “If you are gods, I will bless you, If you are mortals, I will give you a gift.” Once the kurgarra and galatur receive Inanna’s corpse, they sprinkle the food and water of life on her, and Inanna is instantly resurrected.

THE MYTH EXPLAINED Sacred Sevens

When Inanna opens herself to the Great Below, she experiences a longing to be reborn. Unknown to her, this is a move toward her initiation into mastery and wholeness. The story begins with a powerful incantation that immediately draws the reader into

the experience with its rhythm. The spellbinding incantatory process is every bit intentional. Inanna wants us to learn with her to reap the benefits of her initiation. As it does throughout her myths, the number seven figures prominently in this story. The seven gates Inanna confronts are the seven levels of initiation in the process of ascension. They relate to the seven chakras, which are connected to the seven notes of the musical octave. Harmonizing their resonance can directly impact our reality. The number seven is also reflected in the seven planetary spheres of the sun, moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, offering a cosmological map calling attention to these centers within as a central aspect of our initiation.

Inanna adorns herself with her seven me , her earthly possessions. The me are also universal laws that govern reality. They are spiritual powers and arts of civilization that support our physical growth and processes. An explanation of Inanna’s seven me will give us insight into the symbolism and

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significance of your own gifts and powers.

We can interpret Inanna’s crown, or shugurra, as the symbol of her mastery, not only as a leader to her people but also on a spiritual level. Placed upon her seventh chakra, or the crown chakra, it underscores her role as a spiritual teacher. The single strand of lapis beads placed at her neck highlights her capacity to use her voice in a commanding way. These radiant blue beads, positioned to activate her throat chakra, relate to her freedom to speak her truth. Lapis lazuli is a stone believed to promote creative self-expression and communication. The fact that the double strand of beads falls at her breast emphasizes the ways Inanna nourishes her people in activating their own clear thoughts and expressions.

The breastplate covering her heart chakra can be seen as an activator of this center of wisdom. It both highlights the heart as well as protects it. All that she has acquired as the Goddess of Love is further enhanced by this breastplate, which broadcasts her heart wisdom. The

gold bracelet is a symbol of her wealth and the jewels she has acquired in this life. It is also a symbol of unity, the circle that connects us—a representation of unity consciousness. The measuring rod and line relate to the ways in which Inanna physically supports her people through surveying the land for its areas of abundance. Similar to the staff of a wizard, the measuring rod and line help Inanna alchemically transmute and create. Finally, Inanna’s royal robe is symbolic of her cloak of protection. It is also a part of her majestic beauty. Its seven pleats convey a signifi c ant message about the sacred number seven and the way this number is woven into the tapestry of the initiate’s journey.

Inanna must relinquish these seven royal items as she passes through each gate—a profound teaching about letting go of attachment. Each gate presents an opportunity for Inanna and, by connection, the readers of her myths, to examine the corresponding chakra in order to

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assess any wounding therein, and to bring healing to the area.

Wounding in your chakras can accumulate over time and is connected to your karmic issues. As such, what is built up in your chakras may be lifetimes old.

By stripping away an item, Inanna is, in eff ect, purifying her wounds. She is symbolically releasing whatever had accumulated therein and, as such, is purifying her chakras. Th is process enlightens us, allowing us to shift toward a higher vibration—the very thing necessary for rebirth.

Every time we deepen our healing, we replace the lower vibrational frequencies that were associated with wounding with the higher vibrations of peace, acceptance, and empowerment. Whenever we surrender to anything, there is an element of faith that is necessary. As Inanna releases her me , she surrenders to the laws of the underworld, and demonstrates a faith in herself. Indeed, even stripped naked, she is still equipped with this embodied assurance in herself.

END OF EXCERPT

Seana Zelazo is a psychotherapist, intuitive channel, spiritual coach, mentor, and teacher. A licensed clinical social worker, Seana began her social work career in end-of-life care as a hospice social worker before transitioning into private practice as a psychotherapist. For the last decade, Seana has focused on providing clarity and support as an intuitive channel, connecting with the higher realms to offer guidance, spiritual coaching, and mentorship.

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80 Allow Your Highest Potential to Emerge Where Learning is Experienced
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