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Spring 2018

BORN BAFFLED A Conversat ion about Pract ice wit h Parker Palmer

WELCOME to a sharing of contemporary ideas, fresh perceptions, art, beauty, and Universal wisdom. Relax, there are no wrong paths is a message I heard very clearly a couple of years ago. It was delivered by my angels and guides at a time in my life that I was stressed about which decision I should make or direction I should take. Now I am a firm believer in complete support from the Universe, so I wasn't worried about them. I was worried about me! "What if I make the wrong choice?" I cried. There are no wrong paths was firmly and lovingly repeated. So I took a breath, a deep breath, okay several deep breaths, and understood. As conscious beings we will create the experiences for ourselves that will lead us forward regardless of the individual decisions along the way. The experience is what the soul longs for. The decisions are minor details. So friends, relax and enjoy this read and your journey as there are no wrong paths.


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Pat r icia Caggan ello Editor Patricia is an interfaith interspiritual minister and CEO and Founder of Sacred Stories Media, which includes book publishing, a telesummit, podcasting, The Owl, and an online learning division Sacred U.

Fr an n e Dem et r ician Associate Editor and Creative Coordinator Franne is an interfaith interspiritual minister, spiritual counselor and relationship mentor, holistic health practitioner, teacher, writer, photographer, and artist.

M egan Br ook s Assistant Editor Megan has her degree in Advertising and Public Relations. She shares her editorial and design skills across many of the Sacred Stories Media platforms.

Come On In & See What 's Inside feat ur es Ref lect ion s on t h e Way of Bein g Lost | 6 Love is t h e Saf egu ar d | 30 Bein g Joy | 38 Th e Raisin g of Con sciou sn ess | 44

in ever y issue A Sacr ed St or y | 4 Ar m s Ar ou n d You | 16 An gel in t h e M ar ble | 20 Wisdom Keeper s | 34 Righ t Act ion In Act ion | 42 Reader s Wr it e | 48 An Excer pt f r om Empathic Sensitivity | 50 Sacr ed St or ies Of f er in gs | 56

A Sacr ed St or y The Truth is Within... From a very small age, I knew I was being held by a force that was greater than me. A force that showed itself early on, when I was 11 and found the first of many shiny 10 pence coins that were ?left?for me in the same spot everyday day as I walked to school. My ?pennies from heaven?, that I saved up to buy Just Seventeen magazine where I learned all about life and love, and was my reward for being a ?good girl?. Then came the daydreams in class and the drifting off to another world beyond the confines of the Catholic school system that wanted to put me in a box. I was always outside looking in, the quiet observer, who felt she didn?t belong. I could sense and feel beyond my physical body and connect with others in a way where I felt their pain and suffering, and the light inside me wanted to take it all away. I knew back then that I was destined to be of service to others, but part of me wanted my freedom. And freedom came in the form of travel and years exploring India and

South East Asia where I got to serve only me for a while. I was a child of the world who loved adventure and felt a deep sense of connection to Mother India, who was calling me home. But as the East took my heart and soul, the West held my body and mind, and they needed to be tamed. I returned to London in my mid-20s and embraced my chardonnay drinking ?Sex and the City?lifestyle with the full abandonment of my soul who was crying out for another way of being. I had many lessons to learn, and the greatest came to me through death. By the age of 44, I had buried 3 partners all young men in their 40s. The first died of suicide, the second a sudden heart attack, and the third was through alcohol-related illness. The dark destroyer had cast a deep shadow on my life. Death had come to pull me apart and put me back together again, but she also came to teach me about love. And so, it was, in my despair and heartache, that I turned to the silent voice within and asked for help. ?I?ve been waiting for you? she whispered as

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her tenderness caressed my soul and held me tight. She hadn?t gone far. She taught me how to heal mySelf through yoga, meditation, and therapy. I was finding the ?middle way?as I started to integrate my Being back to wholeness through Eastern practices and Western psychotherapy. She walked with me through the darkness into the creatrix of the womb, as I released a lifetime of wounds that were held deep in my psyche.

trusted the process, the more beautiful, synchronistic events appeared out of nowhere and my 2nd book just sort of wrote itself. She is the divine goddess within. And what about me? Well, all I know is, love is stronger than death, and in the end, death has led me to where I am now.

And as I walked beyond the darkness, she introduced me to the gifts and magic that were locked inside me. The magic that is inside everyone if they just dare to step beyond the darkness into the truth within. And in 2016, she brought me back home to India, where I built a new life for myself and my young son. But the brutal murder of a young Irish girl stopped me in my tracks once more. As I felt the girls pain and suffering in my heart, something deep inside me began to stir. It seemed that death had a way of following me. I was being called into service. I knew I had to write about my experiences with death, as a way of healing my heart, but also to dispel the taboos and fears we have about death in our society today. And so, as I sat at my laptop every morning at 5 am the silent voice within began to write. She was weaving her story through me, and the more I

Dee Delaney lives in Goa India where she is writing a trinity of books on unity consciousness called The Truth is Within. Book One: The Truth ? My Journey to the Other Side deals with how she survived the sudden and unexpected deaths of 3 partners, all vibrant men in their 40s. How she picked herself off the floor and asked for help. And how she gazed into the eyes of her soul and questioned why she was surrounded by so much death. Visit deedelaney.co.uk

Reflections on The Way of Being Lost An interview with author, inspirational speaker, artist, and interspiritual & interfaith minister Victoria Price.

Pat r icia Caggan ello: What is the way of being lost? Vict or ia Pr ice: The way of being lost is the long and winding road on which we learn how to come home -- to our truest selves. On the way of being lost, we have to become willing to lose all the ideas of who we thought we ?should? be when we began listening more to the voices of others ? our parents, our teachers, our peers, the media ? and less and less to the guidance of our hearts.

I discovered the way of being lost by finally acknowledging just how lost I felt in my own life ? and then by becoming willing, day by day, to let go of anything that did not feel heart true. Those untruths were not real, but they sure had come to feel like they were. They were the guilt and shame and unworthiness I seemed to have accumulated over a lifetime ? and they spoke in old voices steeped in fear. Those voices came to sound more like me than the language of my own heart.

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When I first discovered the way of being lost, I had to invite in Love to clean house at the same time as I had to re-learn the language of my own heart. For me, that language is joy. Joy, as I experience it, is the pure and simple delight in being alive. When I am in joy, I feel connected, hopeful, and heart-based. Joy is my native tongue, my reset button, my sweet spot, my litmus test for what feels true or untrue. Creating my daily practice of joy changed my life, but it also unearthed many of the joykills that had stopped me from listening to my own heart. So I had to excavate those joykills at the same time as I began to reprogram my inner GPS with joy. On the way of being lost, I have had to learn to invoke the faith and face the fears of living in the ?I don?t know?. As I have learned first to tolerate ? and later to invite the unknowing ? that is the unraveling of all the old false fear-based stories I carried inside me blocking Love, I began to feel the freedom of living in the ?I don?t know?. Faith, fear, and freedom are the mileposts we pass every day on the way of being lost. By being willing to lose so much of what the world has told all of us to preserve, promote, and protect ? my home, the business I had built up, my old sense of identity ? I discovered the freedom that comes from knowing that

we are all rooted and grounded not in stuff, but rather in Love. Letting go may feel scary, but it brings a sweet freedom that comes from leaning wholeheartedly on the Love and Truth that set us free. PC: Why did you want to take this journey? VP: I had no choice. Over and over again, the Universe told me that something wasn?t working. I heard the message loud and clear, saw its effects in my life, and then ultimately chose to keep doing what I had been taught to do ? accumulate, accrue, acquire. Every time my life fell apart, as it did over and over again, I rebuilt it. Then one morning in 2011, looking myself in the mirror, I heard myself touting everything that was going right. I was living in a beautiful place with a beautiful person I loved and a beautiful job in a business I had rebuilt. I was doing everything right. Yet I heard my heart say to me, ?And you?re miserable.? It was true. I had done everything right to rebuild my life after it had fallen apart six years earlier, and despite that, I was miserable. I realized that if I had to keep going ?doing everything right?, I wouldn?t make it. In that moment I knew I had to change my life. I just didn?t know how. The way of being lost showed me how to embrace the paradox that I believe we all come to feel at some point or

another in our lives: Sometimes what the world tells us is ?right? feels nothing but wrong in our own hearts. Only by learning to listen to our truest selves and losing the world?s ideas of who we should be can we finally show up to life in Love. PC: Let's talk special moments. What is a laugh out loud moment? VP: On the way of being lost, I pray a lot. For decades, I pretty much always prayed the same way. On the way of being lost, by being willing to lose all my ?shoulds?, I finally allowed myself to try all different ways of praying. Although I don?t think God is a Person to pray ?to?, sometimes when I felt desperate, I sometimes asked God for some clear message. This happened one day while I was working in Dallas. I woke up really needing some spiritual answers, and as I journaled, I was almost frantically praying for some clarity. As I got dressed to go out for my morning walk, the anxiety to ?know? ratcheted up. As I left the hotel, I heard myself pleading, ?Please God, seriously. I really need an answer here.? As I walked, however, all I could hear was an old song in my head ? a song by Genesis. It was so irritating, and I kept trying to figure out where I had heard it ? on the radio, in some store. But I hadn?t heard it anywhere. I was sure of that. So why this song, and why couldn?t I get it out of my head?

Then suddenly, I stopped in my tracks and burst out laughing. I realized that the song was my message. It was a song about shame, and the answer I needed was the recognition of the shame that had been ruling my life. That morning on my walk, I streamed the song on my phone and listened to it over and over again, until what I needed to hear about shame came through. Each time I did, I burst out laughing. ?Seriously, God,?I thought, ?Genesis?? The combination of the message, the hilarity of the ?messenger ?, and the laughter broke through that morning?s huge anxiety, and also gave me my spiritual work for quite a while to come. It was a huge healing moment. Less than a month later, I was back home in Santa Fe up in the wee hours of the morning with my dog, who was feeling ill. I was praying about her when a song popped into my head. Another pop song ? and one I was sure I hadn?t heard anytime recently. This one was Billy Ocean. Billy Ocean! It was SO irritating. I kept trying to clear it out of my head and get back to the business of praying. Then suddenly I remembered the Genesis song, and burst out laughing again. Then I began to go over the lyrics in my head, and sure enough, there was the answer I needed. I closed my eyes and began praying with the clarity of the message from that silly song, and next

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thing I knew, it was morning and my dog and I had both had a wonderful night?s sleep. On my morning walk with my best friend and her dog, I told her what had happened. ?Billy Ocean,?she said. ?Seriously?? ?I know, right?? ?Well, like I always say,? she replied, ?God is HILARIOUS.? Then I played the song for her, and we literally danced all the way home listening to it.

Now, whenever I hear lyrics in my head ? this week it was a song by Orleans AND a Christmas carol ? I listen first and laugh later. We all get the messages we need in whatever way we need them. For me, on the way of being lost, it?s been a lot of song lyrics to songs that aren?t necessarily very good songs ? but they?ve given me exactly what I needed right when I needed them.

"Most days I feel like this is why we are alive: To risk living from our hearts, to try to connect with others however we can, to live on this beautiful planet and love all of it every day." ~ Victoria Price

"I have invited ?I don?t know? to lead me to what matters most" ~Victoria Price

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PC: A heartbreaking moment? VP: When I realized that I was being called to live the life of intentional homelessness I have lived for the last two years, I had a 16-year-old Dalmatian named Jack who I adored beyond measure. But he was too old to travel with me. While I was working on the road, Jack had been cared for by a few incredibly loving people. But none of them had signed up to take care of an older dog with some issues. That was my responsibility ? and one I took really seriously. Although all the right people and solutions had always come to fruition in my care of Jack ? including a random email from someone who never wrote to me about a South African woman who specialized in taking care of older dogs FOR FREE in exchange for a free place to stay ? my sense of duty to my beloved dog filled me with fear and guilt and shame. In order for the right solution to surface, I had to lose those useless emotions. So I spent a week just praying. Not looking for an answer, but just praying. When I felt the fear clear, I got on the phone ? and in three phone calls, the perfect solution came. I had gotten Jack from a woman who had rescued him after he was supposed to be euthanized. Jack had survived a botched home neutering, after which he

was abandoned, and then mauled almost to death by wild dogs. This woman ? Elaine Price ? had rescued him and then hand nursed him back to health. Although she was no longer doing rescue, she remembered both Jack and me, and wanted to bring Jack back ?home?. Together Elaine and I made sure Jack had the perfect care at the end of his life. And on the day when it was time for him to go, Elaine knew it ? and we were both there with him. I know for a fact that Elaine gave Jack a far better and more stable last six months than I ever could have ? and grateful doesn?t even begin to cover what I feel about her love for Jack. Letting Jack go was absolutely the hardest thing I have had to do on the way of being lost. But it taught me that love isn?t about attachment or clinging. It is about doing the nearest right thing we can do at any moment by listening to our hearts, and joining together in Love for the good of others. PC: Who are some of the people you have met along the way and why are they special? VP: So many people. All of the people who come up to me at my talks or book signings and share the stories of their own journeys in such vulnerability and honesty crack my heart open and keep me doing the hard work of staying on the way of being lost.

The people who have hosted me ? in their homes, in their AirBNBs, in their bookstores, at their events. The generosity and kindness of people continually blows me away. We are bombarded in the media by all these messages of fear. We are constantly being told that there are whole groups of people ?out there? that we should be scared of. . .and yet I keep finding, over and over again, that people?s hearts are so loving and so good and so kind ? when we approach one another in kindness, compassion, open-mindedness, and with a desire for genuine connection. I keep such sweet little vignettes in my mind of encounters with seat mates on airplanes with whom I have talked about death, raising children, following your passion. I am always asking other people to tell me about what they love and what they know best ? and what I have learned, what they have shared in pure generosity of spirit ? has been a gorgeous exchange of Love. I love connecting with people when I am out in nature. Whether it is with a fellow bird lover or hiker, or just someone gardening in their yard with whom I chat about their flowers, it is always wonderful to find the common ground of beauty and love with others. One time I almost ran out of gas on the back roads of South Carolina, because my GPS had directed me to a gas station that was closed. By the time I had found

a station on the backest of back roads, I was on fumes. I rolled in to find the station filled with pick up trucks with shotgun racks and a lot of guys who I was pretty sure were on the opposite end of the political spectrum from me standing around shooting the breeze. They looked at me and knew I wasn?t from there. The thought occurred to me ? Should I be scared? But the moment that thought came, I saw an older guy wearing a Green Bay Packers jersey, and I couldn?t help myself. I called over to him, ?What are you doing wearing a Packers jersey in South Carolina?? He looked over at me in surprise and then walked toward me. I was sitting in my car with the window down waiting for the tank to fill, and he put his hand on my forearm ? and then he smiled a toothless smile. ?What did you say?? ?The Packers,? I replied. ?I didn?t think there were many Packers fans down here. How?d you get to be a Packers fan? You from Wisconsin.? ?Oh no,? he responded. ?I?m from just up the road. I?ve just always loved the Packers.? ?I love the Packers, too,? I told him. ?When my team doesn?t win, I root for the Pack.? He smiled again. ?Who?s your team then??

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?The Broncos,? I told him. ?Well, we LOVE Peyton down here,? he told me. He motioned to his friends. ?She?s a Broncos fan!? A few of them came over, curiously. And then we all proceeded to talk football. When I finally drove away, we all waved goodbye ? fast friends in football forever! PC: What is most surprising to you on your journey? VP: How much it has changed me. Before I began this, I was on the road 200 - 250 nights a year. So I think I thought this would feel like an extended version of that. But there is something about not having a home to come home to that has changed not only how I think about home, but how I think about people, belonging, connection, loneliness, and who I am in the world. I feel both rootless and totally rooted and grounded in Love. Because I spend so much time alone, I treasure my time with people more. But I also know who I am so much better than I did, because there?s nowhere to hide when you?re out on the road, not as many habits you can fall back on. You have to answer to yourself in a way you don?t otherwise ? and hopefully that self is your truest self! And you have to find a connection to

things larger than yourself ? the planet, your Higher Power, Life, Love, Joy. At least that?s how it?s worked for me. I think I thought I would have all the answers after this time on the road, and I had a little script in my mind about how things would transpire. None of that has happened, and yet I feel like I always have every answer I need right when I need it, and I feel more hopeful even as I know less and less about all the shoulds that used to make me feel safe. I have invited ?I don?t know? to lead me to what matters most ? and that is how the way of being lost has led me home to my heart. PC: Tell us about Allie. VP: I could not have taken this journey without Allie, my 22-pound Poodle mix who goes with me everywhere.

She is my brave companion of the road, my Love ambassador, a Bodhisattva, a mischievous imp of joy, and my daemon. She joined me when she was 10 months old. By the end of May, she will have been to 40 states ? and she is only two years old. She has never had a ?real home? ? so she finds home wherever she goes. She is my icebreaker when I am in awkward situations, my introduction to new neighbors wherever I go. Everyone loves Allie. She is a pure bundle of joy. She is always by my side with her love energy, and she reminds me every day to stay present to where we both are and to our hearts. PC: Please leave us with your reflection on your time spent and what you will keep with you moving forward. VP: I thought that by the end of the two years that I had committed to living on the road that I would know where I was going next and what I would be doing. My two years ended May 15, and I am still on the road, still on the way of being lost, still intentionally homeless, still inviting the faith and fear and freedom of ?I don?t know?. Some days I feel like I am certifiably nuts ? in the best ways, of course. Most days I feel like this is why we are alive. To risk living from our hearts, to try to connect with others however we can, to live on this beautiful planet and love all

of it every day. And to learn, however we can, to be present to the Presence of Love all around us. I am beyond grateful for this experience ? and I know I will never be the same because of it. . . And that?s a very good thing!

Victoria Price brings her unique story to the national and international stage as an author, inspirational speaker, interspiritual & interfaith minister. and writer of the column Angel in the Marble in The Owl Magazine. Turn a few pages to read it! Her new inspirational memoir, The Way of Being Lost: A Road Trip to My Truest Self is available from her website and booksellers worldwide. Victoria's popular blog, Daily Practice of Joy, chronicles the journey back to joy which began in 2011 -- the year in which the world celebrated the 100th birthday of her father, Vincent Price, with Vincentennial celebrations around globe. Visit victoriaprice.com

All photos in this article by Victoria Price.

By Fr an n e Dem et r ician A few weeks ago my husband and I, along with our little Havanese pup, Sophie, moved into our new home. This was the second move in three years and, as far as I?m concerned (and many people in my family who helped us) the last! On the list of the five most stressful life events, moving is right there in the middle, and with good reason. I think it would be great to have a manual for moving that includes therapeutic strategies for how to manage your stuff. Maybe a chapter dealing with the disarray of your living space, or one called ?Keep, Trash, Give ? Making the Hard Decisions?. And one that

helps with the emotions that go along with leaving things, places and people behind. To say the least this move has been part of a long journey that has finally brought us home. And while it was indeed stressful, painful to both body and mind, and difficult, I?m happy to say that it has brought us full circle to our own home once again and we are happy to be here, in one piece, ready to settle in and continue this wonderful life we?ve been given. Looking at that top five list of stressful things Death of a loved one. Divorce. Moving. Major illness or injury. Job loss. ? I realize I have experienced four of them

in the last five years. These are things we go out of our way to avoid, understandably since they are usually a source of pain, sadness, loss or suffering in some way. But taking another look at these five I?m also struck by the fact that most of them are part of our human condition, part of the journey that we all agreed to take when we incarnated into these bodies. As I reflect on these five, all of which I have encountered at some point and some more than once or twice, I am able to see how each one of these experiences has served me well in my journey. Each one has shown me something about myself.

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Each one has shown light on parts of me that I hadn?t yet seen. Each one has given me the opportunity to grow, to show up, to stand up, to learn, to heal, and to be compassionate toward myself and others who are also on the same life journey. In her landmark book ?Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow? , Elizabeth Lesser talks about ?Bozos on the bus?, which reflects back to a story teaching that we are all ultimately on the same journey ? that we are all

?bozos on the bus? taking our own particular trip with our unique humanness as the driver. I read that book many years ago, and it changed my life. It underscores the fact that we are all human having human experiences, we are all going to be ungraceful at times and that?s OK, we are not alone, and we can have a sense of humor about it all. The Bozo Perspective applied to the Five Most Stressful Life Events somehow makes it possible for me to see my way clear to keep my feet

solidly planted on my path, putting one foot in front of the other, knowing that alongside me are all the other Bozos on their buses doing the same. Look around you. If you look really hard you?ll see millions of big red noses bobbing along with yours, and maybe you?ll hear a few ?beep beep?s? too. Keep going. You?re doing great. And don?t forget to laugh once in a while. Until next time.

Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. Lao Tzu

?I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.? - Michelangelo We are taught that practice is about getting better at something - doing something over and over until we get it right. But practice is about practice - chipping away at anything that obscures our true purpose and passion.

In these interviews, I talk with people who practice something they love. They teach us that every time we practice, we catch glimpses of our inner angels and begin to set them free.

By Victoria Price

BORN BAFFLED A Conversation about Practice with Parker Palmer We?ve all had this experience, I think. There are certain writers whose work we read while nodding like a bobble head doll in vigorous recognition of what we feel to be the powerful common ground we perceive. Parker Palmer is one such writer for me. I have never not read his books without thinking what fun it would be to talk to him about our similar and mutual odysseys of getting lost and being found, of joy and discovery and learning. So, when Parker Palmer agreed to have just such a conversation with me about practice . . . in particular three practices which we share ? writing, teaching, and our love of reading poetry . . . I was over the moon! And our brief chat was every bit as connective and illuminating as I could have hoped. Vict or ia Pr ice: I think about practice not as something that we slave away at laboriously in order to get ?better ?. Rather, it?s about chipping away at what blocks us from knowing our own hearts and being able to show up to the world in authentic loving connection. Do you have a definition of what practice is to you? Par k er Palm er : I think practice takes many forms. I?m always reaching for a generic definition, which I think has a lot to do with consciousness, awareness, spirituality ? these overlapping words which point to

something big and essential in human life, but manifest in many different ways. This is the operating definition I?ve had for many years for spirituality, which for me is not restricted to any one tradition or practice. Spirituality is any way a person has of responding to the eternal human yearning to be connected with something larger than one?s own ego. Because to be connected only to one?s own ego is to be in a very lonely place. We are connective creatures. Some of us are connected to other people, some to nature, some to the work of our hands, some to the world of spirit. What I want to be connected with is my fellow human beings, nature itself ? of which i am a part ? and behind all that, I want to be connected to my own soul.

Soul is another one of those words that goes by a thousand names. Buddhists call it big self or no self, Thomas Merton called it true self, Hassidic Jews call it the spark of the divine in every being. Secular humanists call it identity or integrity. I?ve always said that I don?t care what you call it but that you call it something. Because if we don?t, what we lose is the being in human being. We become empty vessels to be filled with someone else?s wisdom or knowledge. My practices are all aimed at keeping in touch with this preciousness in the human self, however you name it. Staying connected with my own soul is the prior condition of staying connected with other people or with nature or with anything else. If you?re not connected to your own identity or integrity, your own soul, then how can you possibly be connected to other people or to the larger world around you? One of my primary practices in staying connected with myself is my writing. Writing for me is a form of contemplation. It?s a process by which i discover what is going on inside of me. VP: While you were speaking, I heard you wrangling with something I think all writers face ? the intersection between the beauty of language and its limitations. How have you balanced your love of words while relinquishing

control of how they land on your readers? PP: All serious writers feel a real obligation as well as sacredness and certainly joy around language. I am just coming out with a new book. When I first started to talk to my publisher about it, the marketing people asked me, ?Well, who?s this aimed at? Who are you writing to?? I told them the same thing I?ve said through ten books: I cannot tell you who I am writing to, except to say that it?s anyone who picks it up and reads it. All I can tell you is where I am writing from, which is the deepest I can reach into my true self, my own soul, into the reality of my experience. I?m always looking for solid ground on which to stand. When marketing people say who?s this for, I?m on shifting sands, quicksand. There?s no reliable answer to that question. The only solid ground is this: I know what I am doing inwardly when I write ? and the only truth that I have to tell is the truth that emerges as I write. I?ve always said that the key to my writing is that I was born baffled. I think I came out of the womb and they slapped me into my first breath and I started looking around and screaming, ?What?s this all about?? I?ve been looking around and asking that question ever since. So I write back the next layer of bafflement from a

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question that truly baffles me. When I?ve peeled back the first layer, I find another layer to peel back and another and another. Because everything in life is like an onion. If I write from the deepest place that I can reach in myself through a process that is for me not just called writing but also contemplation, practice, then I increase the the odds of reaching the same deep place in other people. I?ve spent my whole life claiming the only ground on which any of us can truly stand. Whether or not anyone else can see or recognize or even value it. It?s my ground. It?s Martin Luther ?s famous declaration: ?Here I stand, I can do no other.? VP: How do we not treat answering the call of our own bafflement or peeling away the layers of of our own onions as a selfish narcissistic act? How do we not just feel like one one more seeker gazing at their own navel? PP: I?m a Quaker. We sit in silence. People sometimes arise in the silence to speak some truth that has come to them. That?s our very simple form of worship ? just people rising and speaking out of the silence. At a Quaker meeting years ago, I heard a woman stand and say, ?You know, we keep trying to connect with each other at these higher and higher levels of abstraction as if that?s where human beings could connect. That?s the wrong way to go, because the higher

we go, the less we?re able to breathe. The less oxygen there is. If we want to join lives, we need to create environments in which we can each dig as deep as we know how into our own wells, so that eventually we hit the source of the living water that feeds all the wells.? I?ve always loved that image, because experientially it?s always been true to me. If you and I sit together and we both dig deep into the well of our own experience, we will come out of that conversation knowing the particularities of each other, but also knowing how much we have in common. What we have in common is being human ? our fears and hopes and loves and hates and joys and angers. Simply to know that about each other is the most unifying thing there is. I think this is why personal truth telling is so compelling to people. I?ve suffered three major periods of clinical depression in my life. Two in my forties and one in my sixties. I felt called to write about it and speak about it, but not until that experience was fully integrated into my sense of self ? before I was no longer embarrassed by it or ashamed by it or afraid of it. Ten years later, I was ready to say, ?This is who I am. I am not ashamed of it. It has helped shape me. I wouldn?t wish it on anybody. But there are certain ?gifts?? even in the worst of human experiences.?

If wewant tojoin lives, weneedtocreateenvironmentsin whichwecan eachdigasdeepasweknowhowintoour own wells, sothat eventually wehit thesourceof thelivingwater that f eedsall thewells.

I?ve written ten books and hundreds of thousands of words. Yet a little chapter in Let Your Life Speak called ?All the Way Down,? which focused on my experience with depression, is the piece that I?ve heard more about than anything else I?ve written. Nothing has drawn more personal commentary, questioning, desire on the part of other people to connect than that little chapter.

VP: There?s another fine line. It?s the beauty and the peril of what I call the Oprahfication of America, which finally allowed us to speak about things that were buried and hidden, that created a place for recognizing our commonalities and eliding our differences ? but also gave us permission to bond on our woundedness. How have you navigated that?

It?s that digging deep into our own wells that allows us to look at each other and to say, ?I am part of you, you are part of me ? and we?re not afraid of our commonalities.?

PP: It?s about balance. The question for me is: Who am I trying to serve with my story? Am I trying to serve my own needs and babble about myself? Or am I telling my story in order to make the

Th e Ow l | Spr in g 2018 | Page 25

space safe for other people to wrestle with their own challenging issues? The greatest need of the human soul is not to be fixed or saved. It?s to be heard or seen. We aren?t very good at doing that with each other. But we can learn. Who am I in service of? I think that honest answers to that question can either save you from your own egotism or can orient you more deeply and fully to that life of service. If your story isn?t serving anyone but you, you should shut up, stop telling it, and find a different way to do what you?re doing. But if it is serving, if you?re telling it in a measured way, a contained way, but still a true way that invites other people to reflect deeply on their stories, then I think you can say, ?My story is serving.? VP: Circling back to the peeling of the onion metaphor ? how do you not judge the process or the progress (or lack thereof) of your practice? How do you stay present in the practice instead of seeing practice as necessitating progress ? when sometimes it?s actually the opposite? PP: It?s taken me years to get to this, but I don?t believe in progress very much. I believe that we circle around the most important questions of life. You can prove that by going back one two three millennia and realize that

people back then were wrestling with the same questions we?re wrestling with now, and we just keep coming at them in different ways from different directions. So rather than linear progression, there?s this kind of double helix circling down and entwining and going deeper in through different iterations of experience. And then sometimes, of course, we back up. The one thing I settled on really early in this writing practice is that I?m not really a writer but a rewriter. I don?t think I?ve ever published anything that was short of eighth, ninth or tenth draft. That?s not because I?m a perfectionist. It?s because I keep discovering new ways of unfolding whatever mystery I?m working on. For me, everything is a work in progress ? emergent, evolutionary, organic rather than logical and linear. I think of writing prose the way poets must think of writing poetry. You?re not just laying words out until they reach the moon. One of the biggest sensibilities I have about writing is to just let that organic process flow. I?ve never written that I know where you ought to be going and I?m now going to tell you. I?ve rather written with the notion that I?d like to provide a way for you to move forward with whatever the imperatives of your soul may be. I?d like to maybe cut away some thickets, hack a path, blaze a trail through the

underbrush that then you can walk toward whatever destination you want so that you can keep that process going. I work with an agricultural model, a gardening model. I?m interested in the faithfulness that it takes to be a gardener of the human spirit. The fidelity that the farmer has going through the same cycle every year, knowing that there will be seasons when an unexpected hailstorm wipes out the crop, and still you return to the task. You don?t lose heart. You start over again. You?re doing the work in which not all of the key elements are

under your control. If you?re gardening, you?re not in control, because external variables either come along and undermine everything you?ve done, or they aid and abet your work. There?s a great Marge Piercy poem called ?The Seven of Pentacles? about gardening and about life. One of the great moments of that poem is when she says that more than half a tree is spread out in the soil under your feet and you can?t even see it. There?s a lot of underground growth happening that most of us can?t even see. It doesn?t show up right away. That is the true nature of practice.

Connectionsaremadeslowly, sometimesthey growunderground. Youcannot tell alwaysby lookingwhat ishappening. Morethanhalf thetreeisspreadout in thesoil under your f eet. Liveasif youlikedyourself , andit may happen: reachout, keepreachingout, keepbringingin. Thisishowwearegoingtolivef or a longtime: not always, f or every gardener knowsthat af ter thedigging, af ter theplanting, af ter thelongseason of tendingandgrowth, theharvest comes. -excerptedf romMargePiercy, ?TheSeven of Pentacles?

Lo v e Even with change, conflict, and chaos, the direction of evolution?s arrow has been toward wider and wider circles of unity. Life has a trajectory that creates order out of chaos, and builds complex systems of cooperation and harmony out of simple and random interactions. Daily circumstances bring to light spontaneous expressions of empathy, altruistic care, compassion, reconciliation, and service to humanity. Love, in all its forms and disguises, still flourishes in a world wounded by hatred. Through it all, ignorance and knowledge, doubt and certitude, disbelief and faith, the ever-present force of love endures. Love is the underlying force of evolution. Separation, duality, and conflict-based perspectives reign in the temporal world. Yet, when we shift our perspective from the temporal to the eternal realm, we experience changelessness, as past, present, and future become one continuous moment. From this vantage point, emotions such as happiness or love can

i s t h e Saf e

become lasting. In the temporal world, they are often fleeting. Mother Teresa said, ?We have been created in order to love and to be loved.? This means we are made for transcending the illusion of separation, caring for whom we are connected to, and knowing that our true security lies in the good of the whole. In this holistic consciousness, our greatest act in this world is to express love, compassion, caring, and charity, in all things we do Now, scientific evidence from the field of neuroscience is helping us understand that human beings are not only ?hardwired to connect,? we are also hardwired to cooperate, and to be empathic. All the related virtues, like love, compassion, caring, charity, mercy, service, sacrifice, helpfulness, cooperation, courtesy, kindness, and thoughtfulness, are also hardwired into who we are as spiritual human beings. The overriding rule of natural selection and evolution is not ?survival of the fittest,? but rather ?generalized reciprocity,? or ?reciprocal altruism.?

gu ard f or Hu m an Di versi t y by Rober t At k in son Ph .d Evolutionary psychologists believe that various impulses designed for the ?practical purpose of bringing beneficial exchange? (such as: generosity, gratitude, and empathy for those who reciprocate) are built into us. These are found in all cultures, they say.

the consciousness of humanity: caring for and giving altruistically to any and all members of humanity in need. A long arc of justice and altruistic love, though not without great struggle and resistance, has made all human rights issues the universal standard.

Across the cycles of human evolution, altruistic love has become the standard, progressing over the centuries from a feeling of emotional warmth toward others to the practice of unconditional love directed toward seemingly unconnected others. It is an attractive force operating according to certain timeless laws and principles, which we become more aware of and subject to as time moves on. Acceptance of the other without judgment or conditions, characterizes the highest levels of moral development.

Even the concept of the human race has evolved. About 5 centuries ago, race was first used as a term to separate us. It was thought that there were many ?races,? which created privileges for some and disadvantages for others. This resulted in racism, the most challenging social issue of our time.

Understanding its evolutionary nature, we can see how love, with enough time, could eliminate all forms of prejudice. Since the late 18th century, a rising tide of humanitarianism signaled a new goal in

But again, scientific evidence from the discovery of DNA has shown us that all human beings alive today are the descendants of ancestors who set out from central Africa some 70,000 years ago. It was not biology, but rather environment, or geography that caused genetic variation and differences in skin tone. This new information from our DNA changes how we see each other, as the interrelatedness of all human

beings is now evident. We, in fact, all share the same common ancestors. With over 7 billion of us today, no human being? of any so-called ?race?? is less closely related to any other human being than 50th cousin; most of us are a lot closer than that. Linked to our common biological heritage, confirmed by the discovery of DNA, is our common spiritual heritage, which is being confirmed by an emerging consciousness of oneness. The knowledge that we are one human family creates a consciousness of selfless, altruistic caring for all other members of our family. This is what will propel us toward building a culture of oneness, enabling love to become the safeguard for human diversity, and the most powerful force leading to the rise of a spiritual civilization. All the prophets have come to support this strongest of universal forces, and to teach the principles of a morality upon which an inclusive and compassionate civilization can be built. ?Close your eyes to racial differences,? is Baha?u?llah?s counsel, ?and welcome all with the light of oneness.? Recognition that humanity is a single people with a common destiny will cause a shift in society as a whole, and give practical expression to the primary principle of equality for all its members regardless of color, greed, or gender. This will enable all individuals to realize their inherent potential and thus

contribute to an ever-advancing civilization. Mystics and saints have long known that Love is a transformative power, the highest truth, and that the universe comes from Love and is sustained by Love. The power of Love unveils the illusion of the physical world and takes us beyond birth and death to the world of spiritual wonderment. Rumi put it this way, ?All because of love when it arrived my temporal life from then on turned to eternal.? Abdu?l-Baha, son of Baha?u?llah, captures the meaning of love as the underlying force of evolution that will ultimately overtake and dissolve all forms of prejudice: Love is the ?living link? that unites ?God with humanity,? that assures ?the progress of every illumined soul.? Love is the greatest law ruling our time, the ?unique power ? that binds together the diverse ?elements of this material world, the supreme magnetic force? that directs ?the movements of the spheres in the celestial realms.?

Robert Atkinson, Ph.D., author, speaker, and member of the Evolutionary Leaders Circle, is a 2017 Nautilus Book Award winner for his best-selling book The Story of Our Time: From Duality to Interconnectedness to Oneness. The Story of Our Time is available from Sacred Stories Publishing and booksellers worldwide. Visit robertatkinson.net

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It's about how you're like a lighthouse, always searching far into the distance. But the thing you're looking for is usually close to you and always has been. That's why you have to look within yourself to find answers instead of searching beyond. SusaneColasanti

WisdomKeeper s A r ecur r ing visit w it h one of t he wor ld's w isdom t r adit ions.

Explor e w isdom f r om A Cour se In Mir acles. By Rev. Dian e Ber k e

THE CHO ICE TO LOV E Th e Pr a c t i c e o f Fo r g iv en ess Especially in times of darkness, that is the time to love, that an act of love may tip the balance. - Aeschylus

A Course in Miracles is one specific form of a universal spiritual teaching, a spiritual path designed to help us awaken to our true Self through healing our relationships. The emphasis on relationships as our primary vehicle for

Th e Ow l | Spr in g 2018 | Page 35

awakening is one of the Course?s major contributions to the world?s spiritual wisdom. The Course claims to have no corner on the truth, but says of itself that it is only ?one path among thousands.? While it offers a complete and sophisticated theology and metaphysical system of thought, its emphasis is on experience - the experience of healing our suffering at its source, which according to the Course is the belief that we have separated from God. The goal of the Course is inner peace ? the peace of God, ?the peace that passes all understanding.? What it means by a miracle is a shift in perception that restores our minds to peace. From that state of inner peace, we naturally recognize how to be helpful to others and to the world, which shares our need for peace. And the way to peace, the Course teaches, is through forgiveness, the primary spiritual practice of the Course. The Course defines forgiveness as ?the healing of the belief in separation.? It is a process by which we heal our experience of being separate from others, from our true Self, and, ultimately, from God. First and foremost, forgiveness is a willingness to look at and release the thoughts of judgment within our own minds that reinforce the ideas of separation,

inequality, and differences we use to justify turning others into enemies. As we let go of these thoughts, we allow our deeper thoughts of connection, equality, and essential oneness to dawn again in our awareness and perception. In this process, we come home to the experience of peace and of love that are our true nature and our birthright as sons and daughters of the Divine. Every one of the great religions emphasizes the importance of forgiveness. Yet forgiveness continues to be one of the most misunderstood of all spiritual teachings. We confuse forgiveness with condoning behavior that is negative, harmful, inappropriate, or even morally or ethically wrong. Or we believe that forgiveness means putting on a smile and pretending everything is fine when it really isn?t. Or that forgiveness means not acting to change or remove ourselves from situations or relationships where we are being mistreated, disrespected, or abused. Or finally that forgiveness means believing we are self-righteous or spiritually superior, and continuing to judge and separate ourselves from the other under the ?guise? of forgiving them. True forgiveness is none of those things. Perhaps the single most powerful statement in the practice of forgiveness as the Course defines it is this: I want to see this differently. The practice is

simple, but not easy: Whenever we notice that we are not at peace, that we are attacking or condemning another or ourselves, we recognize first that we have been listening to the voice of the ego, the self that believes it is separated from God. This is a false self, and does not represent the truth of who we are. But, the Course teaches, there is also a Divine Presence within our minds that we can turn to for help. The Course calls this Presence the Holy Spirit. When we are fearful, angry, or upset, we can ask the Holy Spirit for help to see differently, and when we are open to it, we will receive a thought, perception, or new understanding that will restore our

minds to peace and help us to remember who we really are. It does not matter whether we think of the Divine Presence as the Holy Spirit, Jesus, our Higher Power, true Self, or Buddha nature. We simply accept that there is already a Wisdom within us which is greater than that of our ego - a perception and way of thinking more whole than we have been experiencing. And we seek to join with that Wisdom and share Its perception. Forgiveness is the choice to see the world through the eyes of Spirit, through eyes of love, compassion, and clear understanding, rather than through the eyes of the ego, eyes of judgment, attack, and hate.

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The ego represents the thought system of fear; the Holy Spirit represents the thought system of love. The Course teaches that these are essentially the only two emotions there are. Anything that is not love is fear, no matter what form it takes. All fear, the Course teaches, is a call for love, and the only thing that heals fear, whatever its form, is love. To respond with love to a cry for healing and help is the true meaning of forgiveness. When we forgive, we learn that love is in us, that love is true strength, and that love is what we are. What else could we possibly want to learn?

Rev. Diane Berke is the Founder and Spiritual Director of One Spirit Learning Alliance and One Spirit Interfaith Seminary. A long-time student of the world's religious and spiritual traditions, she is a respected pioneer in the field of interfaith and interspiritual education, as well as a popular workshop and retreat leader and a psychotherapist and spiritual counselor in private practice. onespiritinterfaith.org


Jo y

O pen i n g a d o o r t o a j o y f u l l i f e.

Ar e you h appy? My sister asked me that same question not too long ago. Nobody has asked me that recently, so I had to take a pause and think how to answer that seemingly simple question. I took a deep breath, and to buy some time; I asked her how she defined happy? ?Well, you know, are you happy?? she replied. As I knew that was the best I would get, I took another deep breath and went within to get a response. Happy is transient and temporary. Happiness is dependent upon the external environment for the stimulus to interact with the brain and the mind. The brain-mind process sends signals to the glands, organs, and cells to release the chemicals to the body that makes one ?feel? a certain way or a familiar way. This feeling is what many would consider happiness. This

?happiness? is also a function of the amount of chaos, or how one?s life is ?working.? When things are working well, the bills paid, and the body is healthy, one is happy. When the job is a hassle, the kids have the flu, and there seems to be not enough time, one would not consider themselves happy. Again, the happiness is dependent on the external. As happiness is a function of the external to the internal, Joy can only be found in the present moment. Joy is a state of being vs. an emotion or a triggering from the external. One does not create joy. One is not in joy. One is j o


Joy is a balance of body/ego, spirit, and soul. As one resonates with and claims joy, one is in their knowing. The knowing of the truth of who and what one is; an aspect of the divine in manifestation.

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Wh at does it ?f eel? lik e t o be

jo y ?

Being in joy is being in the flow of creation, and all that one has created. A oneness with the divine. This is the joy of being and the passage through the door of a LIFE O F JO Y. Ar e you r eady t o cr oss t h e t h r esh old t h r ou gh t h e door of j o y ? The door is a metaphor for your intent of reclamation. To cross over the threshold, and go through the door is the YES agreement, the claim of assumption. The agreement to change. To go beyond what you have known, beyond previous agreements, beyond who you think you are. Beyond the labels, you have ascribed to and identified with to know thyself. Are you ready to let go of the Who and What you think you are to know yourself from a higher perspective, a higher octave? If t h e an sw er is yes, com e w it h m e on a

jo y

jou r n ey.

Sit or lay down in a comfortable position and close your eyes if you wish. Imagine you are walking down a long corridor or hallway. In front of you is a white door with the word Joy inscribed within the door. You sense the door is warm and glowing, with a silver handle. You reach for the handle and pull the door open towards you. As the door opens, there is a subtle brush of a warm

wind crossing your face as you cross the threshold. You are in a peaceful, healing, and safe space. Look around the room. Notice what the room looks like, the sounds, the smells. Does it have a taste? You notice a place to sit in the middle of the space, you proceed and take a seat. In this healing space, you are wrapped with the warm glow of peace and harmony. Place your awareness in the center of your chest. Now say out loud to yourself. ?I am joy. I am joy. I am joy. I am word through knowing myself as joy.?Feel the energy in your entire body as you radiate in the flow of joy. Next, take a deep breath - and as you exhale feel appreciation or gratitude for being in this space as joy. Feel the flow. Do this for as long as you wish. When you are ready find the door you entered. Grab the handle and push the door open, exit and close the door behind you. Open your eyes if they have been closed. Feel what is going on in your body. If you ever find yourself unbalanced, bring to mind the door of joy and know you are supported. I called my sister yesterday and thanked her for her question. I told her that yes, I am happy, appreciative of being, and I am j o y . Joel Johanneson is a speaker, life coach, and entrepreneur. Visit hiviber.com

ACTION ON TH E GROUND H ow to h el p.

"Once we believe in our selves we can r isk cur iosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any exper ience that r eveals the human spir it." e.e. cummings

RIGHT ACTIO 25 U.S. st at es p l u s t h e Di st ri ct of Col u m b i a h ave l aws al l owi n g t h e u se of m ari j u an a f or m ed i cal p u rp oses.

3 st at es are p en d i n g.

1953 The last time a North Korean leader set foot in South Korea until



4/ 11/ 2018 Stop Enabl i ng Sex Traf f i ck ers A ct also k n ow n as SESTA, w as sign ed in t o law. Th is m u ch -n eeded legislat ion w ill h old w ebsit es accou n t able w h en t h ey k n ow in gly f acilit at e sex t r af f ick in g on lin e.

Th e Rai si ng of Consci ousness th rough th e Cycl e of L.I .F.E.

We are here to experience and express who we are through the life experiences we create. The more we realize who we are and always have been, the grander our experience and expression of Self. It is within this realization process that we move through an ever expanding horizontal and

upward spiral of personal and collective consciousness that offers an opportunity to gain a greater understanding of our truth as it relates to the Truth. This spiral consists of four phases of experience and expression I refer to as the Cycle of L.I.F.E. The four phases are reflection, revelation,

reconciliation, and resurrection. We can experience all four phases several times in a single lifetime or we can experience them once in a single lifetime. We can also experience all four as they are spread out over the course of several lifetimes. How quickly we move through each phase is dependent upon the experiences and

Th e Ow l | Spr in g 2018 | Page 45

expression of Self our Soul desires and chooses during each incarnation.

Th e Four Ph ases Ref l ecti on is the questioning phase. We question why things are the way they are, why we are the way we are, or why things happen the way they do. We question the purpose and meaning of events in our personal lives as well as events around the world. We question our beliefs about life and more specifically, about our Self. In this phase we notice the limiting beliefs we hold that have prevented us from living in full experience and expression of Self. We question our relevance and purpose. It is also the phase in which we consider how we individually and collectively fit into the Divine design and perfection of all things. Reflection causes us to consider where we are in

life in comparison to where we thought we would be at a particular moment. Reflection is not about right or wrong, good or bad. It is the acknowledgment of what has been and what is to this moment. We consider our life experiences without judgment and recognize they are just that, life experiences. Reflection is the key that opens the door to revelation, the phase of L.I.F.E. in which we recognize life doesn?t have to continue in the way it has to this moment; there is always a choice.

Rev el ati on is the phase in which we begin to experience more of who we are. We gain a deeper understanding and meaning of the purpose of life. Even though we gain awareness during the phase of reflection it is in the phase of revelation that our awareness becomes more expansive. We become more aware of who we are in relation to

life and all of creation. We begin to gain an understanding of the power within us to consciously create our life experiences as we desire them to be. We begin to take responsibility for our life experiences by becoming consciously aware of the correlation between our thoughts, beliefs and feelings and how life unfolds. We begin to see and accept our connection to the Divine and all that is.

Reconci l i ati on is the phase in which we accept our expanded knowledge and experience of who we know ourselves to be. Our awareness continues to expand and therefore our knowledge and acceptance of who we are continues to expand. We gain a greater understanding of our place in the Universe and our purpose for living in human form. We have begun to more consciously experience and express the integration of our

Lif e is ?the progressive realization of the truth of who we are?

spiritual aspect with our human aspect. Even though these two aspects of Self have always been present within us it is the activation of these two aspects of Self functioning as one. We accept the truth of how powerful we are, of who we are and we create new, more desired life experiences from this knowing. We consciously exercise the power of choice.

Resurrecti on is our rising up from the metaphorical death of our previous expression of Self that we experience as we move through this four-phase process. The resurrected or enhanced expression and experience of Self is a result of the expanded knowledge and awareness gained through the experiences

of the other three phases. Resurrection is the integration phase in which we more fully experience and express our Divinity as we have come to know it in that moment. We resurrect our experience and expression of Self from the illusion of who we thought we were to the experience and expression of the truth of who we are. We trust life in all of its expressions knowing its intention is the progressive realization of our truth individually and collectively. As we move through this four phase cycle we do so seamlessly. There is no line of demarcation that tells us we have moved from one to another. More often than not, it is only after we

return to reflection that we become aware of this greater sense of Self, thus beginning the new cycle.

Jim Phillips is a L.I.F.E. Strategist, author, speaker and entrepreneur. Jim is the author of, ?The Key to Life?, published by Sacred Stories Publishing. Jim is one of the featured experts in an upcoming movie; Becoming the Keys featuring don Miguel Ruiz, and Dannion Brinkley. Visit livinginfullexpression.com

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Reader s

e t i r W

Lit t le Walk

Listen deeply to the

I will walk quietly upon the Earth.

symphony of hearts.

I will walk quietly

They are not peaceful, but raging.

when needed. I will walk quietly when balance and harmony are the overarching resonance penetrating my inner blueprint and my natural extremities,

Their song is as beautiful as ever. But listen sweet child. Listen to its words. Listen to the spaces in between. Feel the gentle, fierce warning.

legs, arms, roots, branches arteries, veins

You?ve fallen off the path.

fractals of reality, an infinite pattern

Little deer,

in Perfect Alignment.

that path is ridden with fear and manipulation.

I will walk quietly in the web of coherence.

Come, come come

But now, my children is not the time

follow me back

to walk quietly.

to the waters of compassion.

Our Perfect Alignment

Little salmon,

is under grave threat

that path is ridden

of massive & irreversible collapse.

with corruption and greed.

Th e Ow l | Spr in g 2018 | Page 49

Come, come

I will not walk quietly


upon this Earth

follow me back

while the powers of Heart

to the rivers of pure abundance.

rage with caution.

Little snake,

I will not walk quietly

that path is ridden

while the little ones and

with waste and toxins.

the big ones purposely or aimlessly

Come, come

walk down the paths of destruction.

come follow me back to the forest of balance and purification.

Hear my rage and hear my cry. Come, come come

Little bear,

follow me back.

that path is ridden with inequality and injustice. Come, come come follow me back to the mountains of heart. Little lion, that path is ridden with separation. Come, come come follow me back to the oceans of oneness.

The rainbow path just needs your feet, your roots, your songs. I will not walk quietly upon this Earth until the Rainbow stops bleeding and the heart stops pleading. Come, come come follow me back to peace. - Lindsey Uluwehimailani Morriss

an excerpt from

Empathic Sensitivity To t h e sen sit ive people of t h e w or ld. Remember who you are so that you may do what you need in order to thrive.

Being an empath means that you can sense and feel the emotions and energy of others within yourself as if they are your own. This is different from being empathetic and feeling compassion toward someone else and what they are going through. As an empath, you can actually experience the emotions and/or physical pain of another, and it can be quite a confusing task to be able to tell what is your own and what is someone else?s. Empaths can also feel

the pain of animals and can even sense the pain and imbalance of planet Earth. You can sense the pain, but you can also sense the joy. It is a gift, not a curse. Remember this as you read through this book. If you do not already see it in this positive light, I think you will by the end. Another word for empathic sensitivity is clairsentience, which means ?clear-feeling.? Empaths often can feel

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sudden moments of physical or emotional pain (grief, anger, fear, etc.), which seem to come out of nowhere. When empathic people live without awareness of their sensitivity, they can experience many different, often un-diagnosable ailments. They are often labeled as mentally ill, bipolar, depressed, hypochondriac, autistic, having chronic pain conditions, or ADD. Holding onto the energies of others can eventually lead to physical disease in empathic, sensitive people. In order for me to take you deeper into a more authentic meaning of empathic sensitivity, you have to know some very basic concepts about how energy works and how you fit in with that. Having knowledge about energy and energetic boundaries is absolutely vital for empathic people to live in a thriving, healthy, happy state. Energy exists in different forms and on multiple levels simultaneously. Energy, in its different forms, comprises our universe and everything in it. All of this energy is connected to itself; it is one thing? energy. We are connected to each other and to everything in our universe because of this energy. Essentially, we are the energy ourselves.

It ?s All Abou t Vibr at ion s When I was in the midst of struggling with my health years ago, I kept asking, ?Why is this happening? How is this

Empathic sensitivity is the gift of being able to clearly sense and feel the connections between ourselves and all of life and of energy in its multiple forms. happening? And if I can?t understand it, how can I explain it to anyone else?? I kept hearing in my mind, ?It?s all about vibrations.? As a classically trained musician and teacher, I?d had plenty of experience teaching about vibrations, but combining what I already knew with scientific information was something different. After many years of reading about quantum mechanics and doing my own channeling, I can tell you that it really is all about vibrations. Science shows us that everything is made up of vibrations, which exist as patterns or waves. The simplest way to conceptualize vibrations is to think about the strings of a violin or guitar. When a string is plucked, it can be visibly seen moving back and forth rapidly or vibrating. If part of the string is blocked from vibrating, by placing a finger upon it, the area of the string that is free to vibrate is made smaller. When plucked, this shorter area will vibrate at a faster rate, resulting in a higher-pitched sound. Plucking a string will also cause another string, which is an octave (eight tones) higher or lower

...some energies are low-vibrational; that is, they are toxic and harmful to your own energy. These toxic energies cause a dissonant or nonharmonic reaction when they come into contact with your own. than that pitch, to vibrate as well because it is vibrating in resonance to the first pitch, as they are directly harmonically related. Each person has a unique vibrational signature that makes them who they are. Knowing this concept allows you to identify and use other energetic vibrations to support you in your highest good; that is, vibrations that are in harmony with your own. Energetic vibrations make up food and body products, colors and designs of clothing, friends and animals in your life, places that you go, and entertainment that you listen to or watch. You do not have to consciously know your vibration with your mind, but in reminding yourself that you have a unique vibration, you are acknowledging and honoring your true state of being. As you remember this, you are allowing yourself to step into a more authentic way of living. You will benefit from bringing to yourself vibrations that vibrate in harmony with your own.

This leads to harmony, which is the blending of vibrations into one complete, perfectly balanced whole. Harmony and dissonance describe the ways in which vibrations can exist together. To our ears, when two or more tones vibrate together in certain intervals (the distance between the tones), and the sound is nice and pleasing, they are said to be harmonious. When notes are combined in certain ways, they either produce harmonious sounds or the opposite: dissonant ones. The way our ears perceive sound in this way is important because it is a message to remember that vibration is everywhere and that some combinations of vibrations do not sound or feel good. Your energy is innately highly vibrational. Although you are connected to everyone and everything, in that all is made of energy, some energies are low-vibrational; that is, they are toxic and harmful to your own energy. These toxic energies cause a dissonant or non-harmonic reaction when they come into contact with your own. This can manifest within you as pain and illness on any level. Remember that your body is a natural, organic vehicle in which you, your soul essence, live your life here on Earth. Essentially, these toxic energies are not from purely natural sources as you are. I share in more detail about these toxic energies further in the book.

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The different forms of energy interact constantly in different ways and on multiple levels. Sometimes you can know what you are interacting with and sometimes you cannot. This is due to the concept of quantum entanglement. Entanglement shows that when pairs or groups of particles are entangled, they become entwined, communicating with each other, affecting each other, and correlating with each other without regard to the distance between them. Scientists have observed actual correlated physical properties between them. Albert Einstein called this ?spooky action at a distance,? because he did not really understand why it was happening? but it is not really spooky at all. It is just the way things work. The problem for people is that we cannot see these connections with our eyes to be able to know what is entangled with what or whom. But remember, we can only see about 5 percent of everything that exists. The lines of entanglement lie within the 95 percent that we cannot see. As you interact with different energies, you experience something. These experiences of interaction occur on multiple levels within you. I will simplify this in terms of five basic levels: physical, mental, emotional, etheric, and spiritual. The mental level includes thoughts and beliefs; the emotional level includes emotions and emotional feelings; the physical level includes all

that can be sensed with the five senses; the etheric level includes all energetic processes that occur outside of the realm of our five senses; and the spiritual level is the soul essence. As you experience interactions of energy on these different levels, energy communicates with you. It is like a dance that is ever-evolving and changing in each moment to accommodate the dancers?every movement, sensation, and thought. The music shifts and tempos speed up and then slow down according to what is being communicated between the dancers. Even the backdrop of the room will change and their costumes will change as they change and interact with each other. It is intended to be a beautiful and graceful exchange of energy. However, because people have forgotten about how energy works and how all are interconnected with everything, the dance has turned into more of a street fight. Now, when interactions occur that do not feel good, we tend to reach for medications or call a doctor to try to get rid of them. When interactions occur that lead us in a different direction that might not make logical sense, we call a psychologist because surely, we must be going crazy. Instead of this beautiful, inter- active, communicative dance, we are roughly reacting, judging, doubting, and fighting off all that we do not like or desire to experience. However, there are much

gentler, easier, and more effective ways to exist, some of which I share with you in this book. If you understand pain as your energy systems?alert that something is dangerous to you in some way, you allow for so many more options to resolve the pain. If these messages are interpreted with presence and clarity of mind, you can see that when you feel pain, you can care for yourself either by removing yourself from a toxic situation or environment or by clearing lower vibrational energies away from you. The first step is simply to become aware that you are interacting with some kind of energy that is not in harmony with your own. Unfortunately, this is not what most people do. We have been conditioned to either ignore the pain or to worry, panic, and rush to a doctor or to the medicine cabinet for pain-killing medicine. Yet the pain is simply a message, which will continue to repeat itself in whatever way necessary until it is heard and resolved. The more that people change in their own lives and in our world to benefit the greater good of all, the less low-vibrational energies we are going to experience and feel as pain and illness. You have the power and the right to learn to reinterpret these messages and to change your conditioned reactions so that you can respond in different and more honoring ways.

Th e Au t h en t ic Def in it ion of Em pat h ic Sen sit ivit y With all of this in mind about energy, we can see a new definition of empathic sensitivity emerge. Empathic sensitivity is the gift of being able to clearly sense and feel the connections between ourselves and all of life and of energy in its multiple forms. Unfortunately, the gift of empathic sensitivity has been extremely misunderstood. When an empathic child cries because her class is writing letters to soldiers in Iraq and she feels the loneliness, pain, despair, and violence that those soldiers and their families are feeling, she is told that she is ?too sensitive,? or ?needs to have a thicker skin.? People who are sensitive in this way to energy can feel the energies of other people and other things on many levels, including in their thoughts, emotions, and physical body. Empaths can walk past a grieving person and become overwhelmed with sadness or melancholy; they might begin to feel nauseous, afraid, or feel physical pain in their bodies. This does not deserve a diagnosis of depression, moodiness, hypochondria, or bipolar disorder. What is really happening is that they are reacting to fear-based energies and vibrations that are not their own, and they are becoming ungrounded. Many are taught that allowing oneself to feel and to be

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sensitive are negative, and this lesson is reinforced through educational systems, medical systems, social interactions, families, and in the work place. However, all that you need to do is to simply learn how to move the energy away that does not feel good, and to keep as much of it away from

you as you can in the first place. Then you will have allowed yourself to live more authentically. You will feel peaceful acceptance of your gifts. The gift of empathic sensitivity reminds us of the interconnections between ourselves and all of life.

Janice Carlin, PhD, CNHP, CHNP is an author, intuitive channel, teacher, and mom. She has a Ph.D. in Holistic Natural Health and Nutrition. She is a certified practitioner of Natural Health, Holistic Nutrition, and Holographic Sound Healing. It is Janice?s passion to empower people to live thriving lives in natural ways and to heal themselves and their children. Janice has deep experiential knowledge about the challenges of living on planet Earth as a highly sensitive empath. Janice's book Empathic Sensitivity is available from Sacred Stories Publishing and booksellers worldwide. Click image for more info.

Janice has created a new online course Masterful Empath: Holistic Tools and Support to Empower You to Thrive for Sacred U. Remember your ability to feel so much is a gift. Learn what it means to be an empath and a highly sensitive empath and gain vital information and tools you can use to live with vitality! Click image for course.

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ar ds f or M or e In f o!

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Profile for The Owl Magazine

The Owl Magazine | Spring 2018  

A collaborative sharing of contemporary ideas, fresh perceptions, art, beauty, Universal wisdom, and modern inspiration across traditional a...

The Owl Magazine | Spring 2018  

A collaborative sharing of contemporary ideas, fresh perceptions, art, beauty, Universal wisdom, and modern inspiration across traditional a...