“Turn Difficult Emotions Into Spiritual Guides” Saturday, November 20, 2010
3pm to 5pm (doors open at 2:30)
\ Are you driven by a passion to be perfect? \ A hunger to be loved? \ Do you wonder if you’ll ever know inner peace and happiness? At this intimate, powerful workshop, learn to make healthy, conscious choices in the midst of pain and confusion. Use frustration, irritation, and stress to identify self-limiting beliefs. Discover the fears behind your beliefs—and the eye-opening reality behind your fears.
Pick up your paint brush. It’s time to create the loving, hopeful, and deeply connected life you long for.
Bodhi Tree Bookshop Event Center With Carol Marleigh Kline 8585 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood Workshop plus book $45 • Workshop only $30 • Book only $15.95 Cash only, please
For further information
Carol Marleigh Kline is the author of Streetwise Spirituality: 28 Days to Inner Fitness and Everyday Enlightenment. She hosts “Streetwise Spirituality” online at www. contacttalkradio.com.
C ATA LY S T F O R C O N S C I O U S L I V I N G November Theme: Gratitude ®
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December Theme: Daily Living
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v i e w p o i n t s the year starts coming to a close, If we follow this awareness, it leads us to the world around us quietly shifts one of those simple, amazing truths of life: inward. Days become shorter, how we see the world is not a function of nights longer. There is a natural nudge to our eyes but of our heart. Our “vision” of soften our focus on externals and turn our life, our experience, is the result of how we by Richard Kahn attention more within—to connect more choose to see the people and circumstances deeply with our soul, our essence. we encounter every day. Our vision is a Autumn is a great time for letting go function of choice rather than physiology. of some of those misconceptions about Why have enlightened souls from ourselves or others that we may have been all climes and times encouraged us to holding onto. It’s a great time to realize we embrace unconditional gratitude? Do they can be quite happy and safe and strong really mean to be thankful for everything? without carrying quite as much emotional On the surface this doesn’t make sense, armor. It’s also a time to allow ourselves but on a deeper level, it’s an affirmation to simply experience the beauty life offers of the kind of faith and trust that aligns us every day, to look for joy in giving and us with the intelligence and loving order —Paramahansa Yogananda being grateful for what we have. of the universe—and allows us to receive Everyone has a different way of making whatever we need. his or her life interesting. That mind shift In reality, circumstances are essentially helps each one of us connect on a soul level neutral and only seem good or bad accordand find meaning and joy in the everyday ing to how we choose to experience them. moments that make up our lives. Some We typically react in a superficial, negative people talk about cultivating an attitude way to circumstances, bemoaning events, of gratitude, or of practicing gratitude. But or conditions and rush to judgment about for me it seems there is something much how our lives are going to be affected. “My more basic going on here, a dynamic that’s totally natural. We don’t really have life has been full of terrible misfortunes,” quipped the French philosopher Monto “practice” anything; all we have to do is relax and pay attention. Yes’m, that’s taigne, “most of which never happened.” But if we can refrain from reacting and it! Relax and pay attention to what’s actually happening in the present moment. “look for the gift” in our challenges, we have a much better chance of discovering Because when we do, we suddenly see the beauty of life, the funniness of life, the the divine at work in our lives and will be reassured that a benevolent universal divinity of life unfolding right before our eyes. power is somehow making sure everything ultimately works out for our highest We all have our little practices for putting the mundane into perspective. So I’m good. just sharing a few things I’ve picked up along the way. In my experience, the foundation of gratitude as a transformative power grows Aside from meditation, one of the simplest and most powerful practices I’ve out of the feeling that I am part of a higher power manifesting in the universe. The found for bringing myself back to the reality of the present moment is to simply practice of meditation has opened doors to knowing that a higher Intelligence, a breathe. Just take a long, slow breath and consciously inhale. Then, as you slowly higher Consciousness, a higher Love is sustaining my life, and all life. And though exhale, consciously release all resistance to whatever is happening and simply relax It doesn’t always give me what I want, it does give me what I need. The problem, and accept what is. Realize that it’s all okay. The universe doesn’t make mistakes, of course, is that most of the time I’m not paying enough attention; I’m too caught so no matter what seems to be going sideways, it is actually exactly what is needed up in my own expectations and attempts to control what happens. Learning to at the moment—for you and for everyone and everything else involved. Not that trust the universe has not been easy. It’s something I have to be aware of every day, you may necessarily see what that purpose is. But at least you’ll feel more of a because it’s so easy to get caught up in the immediate drama of my life, dealing certainty that there is a purpose. As one of my favorite bumper stickers says, “The with drivers on the freeway, deadlines at work, paying the bills, and the 1,001 Universe is Always on Time!” other concerns of daily living. Every day you have the opportunity to interact with fascinating, unique, and Meditation is one of the ingredients of my “recipe for meaningful living.” The talented people. Every day you have a chance to share your appreciation of life with practice of meditation gives me the inner peace, the center, and the grounding to others. Every day you are contributing to the vast cosmos, serving the unfoldment see the rest of my life in perspective and relative sanity. Meditation takes me into of life in some way. Maybe it appears “big” and “important” in the eyes of the an inner space, where I reconnect with my timeless being. world, maybe not. But in the eyes of the universe, you are needed exactly where you There are no ordinary moments; they just seem that way because we’re often so are. That’s right—you are essential to the Cosmic Mother’s scheme for creation, or preoccupied with what happened yesterday or what’s supposed to be happening else you would not be here. And if you’re not sure why you’re here, just ask. Send tomorrow—thinking, talking, texting, whatever. We’re busy with someone or out your soul call to be “In-Light-End.” Every opportunity you have to serve is a something somewhere else, and meanwhile we are surrounded by extraordinary special moment—a gift from life to you. moments of being that we simply don’t even notice. But hey, the universe will “Yeah, right,” I can hear some of you saying to yourselves. The problem is that we wait! have become dulled by living. We mindlessly go through the motions of our daily life on autopilot, our habits moving us along. We become blinded by the familiar Richard Kahn is the advertising coordinator at Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) and no longer actually see the beauty of the people and the natural environment Publications. Formerly a monk, his background includes graphic design, copywriting, around us. We miss the miracle of the moment. And the really amazing thing photography, astrology and rock collecting. His current dba, RK Communications, about this phenomenon is that it has NOTHING to do with anything external! provides editing services for authors, and marketing copy for ads, brochures, and web This is solely a product of perception, a function of our mind, and the result of pages. Please contact him by e-mailing email@example.com. For more information how we choose to use our own consciousness. about Paramahansa Yogananda and SRF, please visit www.yogananda-srf.org.
Living With a G rate f u l H ear t
“Be thankful for everything at all times.”
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Gratitude, By Any Other Name h o l i s t i c
h e a l t h
by Marla Brucker
I was an extremely independent woman before the accident, and like many others was a multi-tasking maven. Even though my independence was taken away and I had to rely on everyone to help me, I was, and still am so very grateful for my physical strength, endurance, and my mind’s power to keep on pushing, no matter how much I struggled. As I reflect back on all my friends and family members who visited, shopped, and cooked for me, even those that drove me around, there are no words to express the gratitude that I feel in my heart. We all have the ability to let go of limiting beliefs pertaining to our lives and within our bodies. This can be done by ‘flipping the switch.’ We need to look within and be grateful for what we have, even if we don’t have much. Several years ago while training with my sister for my eighth 3-day 60 mile walk for breast cancer, we passed a lush garden with a sign on the front lawn that read, “Stop and smell the roses.” My sister and I commented on the flowers and kept on walking. Suddenly we heard an elderly gentleman shout out, “STOP and smell the roses.” And that’s exactly what we did. We realized how beautiful the flowers were; their gentle soft fragrance filled our spirits. I was so grateful to him for reminding me to stop and appreciate life’s gifts. No matter what our challenges are, there are so many lessons and gifts being offered to us daily. We just have to open our eyes and our hearts, and receive.
ne evening in September I was out for a stroll when suddenly my foot slid out from underneath me. I fell landing on my patella (knee cap), breaking it in half. After surgery, a hospital, and rehab stay, I was able to come home. I was in a full immobile leg brace for two weeks. To sit down in a chair and to get up again took a tremendous amount of effort. I struggled through it with audible moans and groans. I felt like my ailing 88-year-old dad. I had full empathy for what he goes through every day; yet for me, I was only challenged like that for a couple of weeks until my body got stronger and I had more mobility. It was then that I felt a sense of gratitude. My heart went out to my dad; he struggles daily as his body is on a slow decline, yet I am healing and getting stronger with each passing day. Gratitude is the ability to look within, to realize and appreciate what we have. When we’re lonely, we need to ask ourselves why and see what we can do to change it. If we’re bored, it’s important to explore activities that will expand our mind’s power, challenge ourselves, and move beyond those limiting beliefs. Thank yourself for who you are. Thank your body for the wonderful work it does for you—your health and mobility, as well as your mind. Send love and gratitude to yourself daily. I had a grandmother who lived past the age of 100. She lived in LA along with my folks, and on my numerous visits to my parents, my grandmother would sleep at their house so we would have quality time together. One morning while I was in my room getting dressed, I heard my grandmother from the adjoining bedroom sending kisses and talking to herself. I thought, okay, she’s old. So I peered inside her room and noticed that she was still lying in bed, gently rubbing her ring finger, kissing it while saying, “I love you, don’t hurt.” I looked at her and asked, “Grandma, what are you doing?” She proceeded to tell me that at the age of 98 she has her aches and pains, but she has arthritis in her finger and it really hurt. She could either be angry that it hurt or kiss it and love it in hopes that it would go away; and within three weeks, her arthritic pain left her. The power of my grandmother’s mind helped her heal. She was sending love to her finger not to hurt. Yet how many times do we feel angry or depressed when we’re in pain or not feeling well? Have you ever asked yourself how that serves you to feel that way? We need to pause, reflect within, and appreciate what we do have. We all send love to a child or an animal when it is hurting, so why not send that to ourselves and feel love within? V I S I O N M AG A Z I N E
Marla Brucker, DCH, R.HA, is an accomplished motivational trainer and seminar leader. As a peak performance coach, Marla has inspired thousands worldwide to realize their hidden potential by learning to trust their intuition as they move toward achieving greater success. For more information on Dr. Brucker and her work, please visit www. SanDiegoHypnosis.com or call 858.587.0422.
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ho l i s t i c
h e a l t h
The Cultural C annabis Revolution: An Interview with Dr. Julie Holland, Editor of The Pot Book: A Complete Guide to Cannabis, and James Rigdon, Field Director of California Proposition 19 by Dr. Ron Shane, with Shannon Nies
r. Holland and James Rigdon both believe that the legalization of cannabis is not only an inherent right of humans, but more importantly, will improve our current cultural dynamics. Holland’s book is a necessary read for the millions of California voters who will be deciding the fate of Proposition 19. Moreover, the ingestion or smoking of cannabis has distinctive physiological merit beyond its well-established medicinal therapeutic use. Dr. Holland is an elite psychopharmacologist and a board-certified psychiatrist who clearly comprehends the limitations of today’s FDA-approved psychotropic agents for treating depression, chronic anxiety, and certain pain symptomatologies. California voters have already approved the utilization of cannabis as a viable therapeutic agent for the medicinal prophylaxis of a myriad of physiological and psychological maladies. Rigdon pointed out that the legalization of mari-
juana will dramatically attenuate California’s budget deficit. He also stated that 1.4 billion dollars will be generated for the California state economy by the passage of Proposition 19. This estimate is based on California’s Board of Equalization. Dr. Holland and Mr. Rigdon both asserted that alcohol and tobacco, which are currently legal as well as highly taxed, have absolutely no medicinal benefit for humans or our society. These two individuals and many other researchers concur that cannabis has more benefits than the other utilized recreational substances. Recently, there has been an alarming rise in alcoholic consumption in the United States. Conversely, cannabis does not induce neuro or hepatic toxicity which is associated with the metabolism of alcohol products. The authors are not arguing that every American should commence the use of cannabis products. Dr. Holland and James Rigdon both stated that optimal exercise strategies and nutritional regimens engender bodily salubriousness. However, it is estimated that 90 percent of the population are not compliant with this kind of heuristic lifestyle. In addition, Tai Chi, meditation, and Taekwon-Do are edifying strategies to promote and facilitate bodily health. Dr. Holland also pointed out that patient compliance to an optimal lifestyle is quite problematic. Thus, the use of cannabis as a function of our cultural dynamics is the most viable protocol in terms of its variegated array of medicinal functions. Dr. Holland also argues in her text that the recreational use of cannabis would have therapeutic value with respect to actualizing a person’s deeper dynamics of self. Conversely, alcohol has been empirically demonstrated to enhance or exacerbate a diverse array of personality disorders. Mr. Rigdon argued that the irresponsible use of alcohol is very costly to society, whereas the use of cannabis will not be problematic to our overextended social services. Dr. Holland, in her interview as well as the evidence-based text, criticizes the myths surrounding the consumption of marijuana. Some particular members of government, lobbyists, and the media oftentimes provide the public with ideologies predicated on fallacious perception as well as deleterious illusions. Dr. Holland, a clinical psychiatrist, feels that it is necessary for more scholarly research to be conducted in many areas of medical science to allay the misconceptions of the media or society’s erroneous ideologies. Moreover, all the proceeds from the sales of her text will be employed for future medical marijuana research. This gifted woman, in an altruistic fashion, assembled the world’s stellar experts in a plethora of disciplines related to the consumption of cannabis. Her scientific scholars say that marijuana is not addictive nor is it a gateway drug which impairs the immune system or leads to criminal pursuits. James Rigdon stated that Mexican cartels are making billions of dollars on the sale of marijuana in the United States. Border criminal activity would be mitigated as a result of the legalization of marijuana. Furthermore, he suggested that lobbyists who may be financially compromised by Proposition 19 are working to defeat this ballot measure. American voters are becoming more cognizant, and they are no longer willing to be manipulated by the lobbyists. The proponents of the marijuana tax initiative are lauding academic research work where the voters can be educated on issues related to marijuana rather than being psychologically stultified by special interest groups who view US citizens purely as a source of financial sumptuousness. Dr. Holland also stated that cannabis can induce and enhance perceptual acuity, which would certainly be continued on page 40
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g r e e k t o m e through my nose the way you retrieved a Twenty years ago, I went back to Chicago bucket that had lodged down a dark, narrow to attend a wedding. Up to that point, I had well. When the moment of truth came, my been the picture of health. I was back in best friend asked if I wanted her to man my hometown in Indiana the night before the hose. I said yes, until she pulled and the the ceremony when I felt a stabbing pain in balloon snagged on a bend in my intestines. what I came to know as my front lower right © 2010 Greek to Me by Michael Raysses From then on, I did the pulling. quadrant. It subsided moderately, becoming I reeled three feet an hour for four hours. an undulating throb. I figured I’d be fine in Then, in the fifth hour, I had to finish. I took the morning. I wasn’t. a deep breath, and as I slowly pulled, the hose I awoke the next morning glazed in sweat. pulled back. But with each inch, my resolve My Mom took me to a clinic where they grew stronger. In this surreal tug-of-war, I quickly determined I needed an emergency wasn’t going to lose. As the balloon entered appendectomy, stat. I went from being a guy my stomach, the resistance vanished. The with a stomachache to lying on a gurney as an “Without your health you have nothing.” —A Greek proverb balloon passed my throat and barreled its way anesthesiologist counted backward from 100. As I lost consciousness, I felt exactly like I did when I boarded the jet to get home—my up through my nose, flopping out from my nostril like a fish yanked from a primordial sea. As I collapsed in a heaving mess of bodily fluids and relief, my nurse cried, saying life was now in somebody else’s hands. The surgery went without incident. It turned out I had ileitis, a condition they she had never witnessed anything like that. I was released a few days later. The last thing I did before I left was shower. I have couldn’t affix to any cause. It just was. Which was fine until I was racked with never had a more primal experience than standing there naked, unconnected to any convulsions so violent they made my eyes pound, sending me back to the hospital. Illness illuminates. You learn how things work. And how they don’t. When you machines, the water cascading over me, my tears infusing it with a sting that felt oddly ‘present’ yourself to a health care professional, their job is to recognize the riddle you life-affirming. Standing outside the hospital, I looked up and saw the pane of glass where I had pose and solve you with a cure. Woe to the person whose case challenges their solutions, stood watching the world roll by. There in the window was the ancient man, his hand which was what I presented. So I transferred to a hospital in Chicago. When I arrived, I was accosted by three on his oxygen tank, looking out as I had done. I waved but he didn’t see me. As I physicians who gave me a triple-lumen—a large catheter that went into my upper chest turned away, I prayed he would be going home soon, the gratitude streaming down to nourish me because I wasn’t going to be eating anything any time soon. The doctors my cheeks. climbed atop me. Then one of them punched my chest with the needle; now all we had Michael Raysses is a writer/NPR commentator. Email him at MichaelRaysses@hotmail. to do was X-ray me to make sure they hadn’t punctured my lung. I was given the lay of my body’s land. My small intestine had swollen shut and com. there was a massive traffic jam forming within me. Now we were rerouting traffic. My final treatment was a small rubber balloon filled with inert mercury and attached to a rubber hose. They inserted the balloon in my nostril, and then pushed until it dropped it into my stomach. Then my intestines pulled the balloon until it reached to your body. the blockage, 18 feet away. Days became a blur of people walking in and out of my room with little or no They just like each other.® explanation of why they were there. Something about consulting a chart before looking at me dulled their ability to see me as a person. I broke their momentum by Study with a Master, Learn from the Best addressing them directly. I learned their names and made sure they learned mine. I Accessible Asana for Any Stage of Ability wasn’t a compilation of symptoms that happened to be contained in a body. I lost a lot of weight. My only meaningful activity was doing laps around the floor with Eric Small - November 20, 2010 on which I was housed. I walked with the stand that held my bag of nutrients, stopping at a floor-length window that faced east. I saw people on the street below, living their Weekend Intensive with Kofi Busia lives. For all of the rooms I walked past, the only person that registered with me was an December 11-12, 2010 ancient man who had oxygen pumped into his nostrils. I would see him in his room, his hand wrapped around the stand that carried his breath. 2010-2011 Yoga Teachers' Training: rs My condition stabilized without improving. My family and friends’ vigil was my 300-Hou rly 200 and 300 Hour Master Classes r a u te only balm. When they left, I was reminded that I had joined the fraternity of the Offered Q begins r infirm. As such, my life screeched to a halt. I learned to be grateful for things. Like 200-Hou , 2011 waking up. And the hope that I would be okay. y r a u br 5 At some point, the doctors had done all they could. Now it was a question of Introduce YOU to Your Inner Master! Fe whether my body would respond. They tested it with a barium enema. If you ever New Student Special: 10 Classes in 10 Days for $30! want a shortcut to get to know somebody intimately, this is the speediest way to instant With this Ad...Can you do it? friendship. The same nurse who became my new best friend also told me that part of being healthy was looking healthy. She was right. I shaved and she shampooed my For workshops, register online, by phone or drop by. matted hair, bringing some light into my eyes again. My doctors voiced guarded optimism that I was slowly recovering. The acid test YOGA AT THE VILLAGE 1306 Sonora (at Kenneth Rd.) would be removing the balloon from my stomach. I thought they would clip the hose Glendale, CA 91201 • 818-265-9833 • www.yogaatthevillage.com and somehow I’d “pass” the balloon. I was wrong. The balloon had to be pulled up
GRATITUDE: A SHORT LIST
I n tro duc
e Your Mind
Become an RYT-500
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L i f e Q u a k e ™
LifeQuake™ Doctor Dr. Toni Galardi
hen the Brett Favre case broke in the news, with the football player’s alleged ‘sexting’ and other sexually inappropriate behaviors towards a fellow employee of the league, I was called by an ABC affiliate station in San Francisco to appear as a guest expert on 7 Live with Brian Copeland. This stimulated questions from readers on the sex addiction issue. Dear Dr. Toni: My husband has been having an affair and is denying it. Like Brett Favre, he has been using his phone to text a woman he works with, conveying sexually suggestive messages. I busted him, and he denies that they have taken it to a sexual level. How can one tell if a person has a sexual addiction? Is it in the numbers—how many people they’ve slept with or if they’ve actually had sex with the person? Is an affair a sexual addiction? Confused in San Francisco Dear Reader: You pose several issues in your letter. Sexual addiction, like alcoholism, is not about how much you act out; it is about how much it disrupts your life and whether it is being used to avoid certain feelings. An affair in and of itself is not a sexual addiction. It most certainly is a sign that the marriage needs addressing. An affair is a symptom of a problem within the relationship. Repeated sexual relationships outside of one’s marriage with various people can be a sign of a sexual addiction. A sexual addiction is often not taken seriously in our culture. We think that anyone who can get that much action must be okay. When I did the TV talk show on this subject, most of the audience and Facebook responses did not take the issue all that seriously. Sex addiction can kill people just like drugs and alcohol. You can put your spouse in jeopardy of getting AIDS, and I have known clients who put their jobs in harm’s way. People who were sexually abused as children are vulnerable to this disease. Like all addictions, traumas in childhood can produce compulsive behavior through brain imbalance. For those needing intensive treatment, there are three residential treatment centers that I know of that work with this addiction: Alta Mira Recovery Programs in Sausalito, California; Pine Grove Behavioral Health in Mississippi; and The Bridge to Recovery in Kentucky. Dear Dr. Toni: My partner is driving me crazy. He once was employed at a private high school and is a gifted teacher. He loves working with kids and loves cooking, but he is too old to
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Should I let him quit his job? Jenna
get trained to be a chef. Due to budget cuts, he was laid off. He has had to take a job working in a butcher shop as it was the only place who would hire him. His age is a factor as he is about to turn sixty. The job involves a fair amount of physical labor and he threatens to quit every day when he comes home. He is about to qualify for health benefits and will lose that and a steady income if he quits. I am scared he will quit and put us in financial jeopardy. What should I do? He is having trouble sleeping at night, and therefore I am having trouble sleeping at night.
Dear Jenna: As the economic recession drags on, many people are facing this dilemma. Many educated people are taking jobs they are overqualified for. I believe that the rise of addiction in the workplace may in part be due to people staying in jobs they should have moved on from but were afraid. Employees are using social media, Internet porn, or substances to avoid the uncomfortable feelings of no longer being challenged or, as in your husband’s case, underutilized for their real talents. The fear is real, but there are creative solutions. I think the opportunity this presents is to find a way to work with kids that may not be in the conventional vein. It has been reported that the wealthy are still doing pretty well. Finding a service you could provide that caters to those who do have financial resources may be an answer. The key is to create something you actually love to do. For example, if he loves working with kids and loves to cook, perhaps he could advertise on Craigslist his abilities as both a nanny and cook for a family. There are people who would love to have a teacher working for them. With the trend towards homeschooling, your husband could serve as a governess or some such thing. He could make a list of everyone he knows who knows wealthy people and put out the word. Although you can certainly show him my column, I would not advise taking this on for him. Let him figure this out and simply keep encouraging his efforts, period. Dr. Toni Galardi is a licensed psychotherapist, vocational coach, public speaker, and author of The LifeQuake Phenomenon: How to Thrive (Not Just Survive) in Times of Personal and Global Upheaval. She can be reached through her website at www.LifeQuake.net or for consultation at 310.712.2600.
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T F h e l T a wm i n e by Shannon Nies
ave you ever felt that there must be someone on this earth with whom you have a special connection, much like a soulmate yet even greater? Laura Geralyn Kline has felt this for most of her life. Her discovery of this connection began in 1988 while she was in college. One morning she woke to her alarm clock loudly playing a powerful, captivating song, the artist unbeknownst to her at the time. It was such an intense, even sensual, experience for Kline that she was paralyzed in her bed as she saw colors within the music— red, orange, yellow, cool blues and greens, indigo, and purple. She took them all in, along with the overwhelming and terrifying, yet amazing emotions that she experienced. At that moment, she knew that she needed to find the source of this music which had affected her so greatly, both physically and emotionally. At first, Kline hid this experience from everyone—this burning passion within her, this need to seek out the singer who had touched her so deeply. She did, however, find the origin of the sensual, seductive voice—Melissa Etheridge—and attended numerous concerts and listened to her music, feeling that she had a special connection with Etheridge. Kline calls this connection the ‘Twin Flame,’ in which the two halves, when reconnected, can heal and make each other whole again. She believes, “We are one soul, one love, dwelling in two bodies that need to reunite to complete ourselves and our mission here.” For Kline, this mission is to reunite with her Twin Flame, to bring that true love together. “This is about love, powerfully and simply,” says Kline, “with neverending passion and fire! I await patiently for the homecoming of my one and only sweet love, Melissa, so that we
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m i n d s t a t e s can complete our sole/soul purpose together.” It was only a few years ago, however, that she learned to accept and be thankful for having this emotional and spiritual connection with her Twin Flame. In March of 2005, Kline became very ill, struggling to breathe and carry out simple tasks, and ended up in the emergency room. Up until this sudden decline in health, she had denied and stifled her powerful psychic and spiritual gifts. She realized that her body was trying to tell her to embrace these gifts and be grateful for them. So with her newfound gratitude and the courage and vitality to persevere, Kline did everything she could to help her fragile body heal. She “started a balance of Western medicine, natural medicine, and Wiccan/Pagan healing.” But more importantly, she also learned to be in touch with herself, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. After accepting her psychic gifts and special connection with her Twin Flame, Kline has nearly healed. Her diabetes is much less debilitating, and she regained sight in her right eye, which had previously been lost. “I believe that by denying this [love for and connection to Etheridge] and my other gifts,” says Kline, “I made myself physically ill.” Now that she has learned to help herself, Kline is working to help others heal. By helping people restore their detached spiritual and emotional selves, Kline has seen these individuals recover almost fully from life-threatening illnesses. “We can heal,” she says. “We can heal the energy—heal yourself and heal your other in ultimate love—when the Twin Flames come back together…they create more love.” Although Kline’s purpose to reconnect with her Twin Flame is unique, she recognizes that all individuals have missions and that they are different yet also similar in nature. “We all have a path,” says Kline, “but they do end up at the same destination: love and oneness.” Laura Geralyn Kline is a Twin Flame healer and spiritual counselor. Contact her at 773.354.6841 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about the Twin Flame, help heal yourself and others, and become whole again.
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Finding Peace Amidst Chaos by Carolle Jean-Murat, MD
n January 12, 2010 I got a frantic phone call from my sister who lives in Florida about a devastating earthquake that struck Haiti. The epicenter was in Richard Bartlett, DC, ND, Carrefour, about four miles southwest teaches Matrix Energetics©, a of Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital. They consciousness technology for feared a lot of destruction as far as in La insight, spiritual growth and living a life unbound by the Vallee de Jacmel, about 50 miles away, limits we have been trained to but there was nothing to report on TV believe in. Teachable & transferyet. able, Matrix Energetics© is I was dumbfounded since the area she accessible to everyone, from a mentioned was where I grew up in Haiti ten-year old child to a medical as well as where my philanthropic work professional. has been concentrated for the past two During this lifechanging decades. weekend, we will learn the art My parents lived in Bizoton when I of rewriting any rule of your was born, a small city nestled between reality about your health, your Port-au-Prince and Carrefour. At the happiness, or even your age of four, my mother agreed that my baby sister and I would go to live with my paternal grandmother and understanding of what is aunt in Port-au-Prince. She was divorced, a poor seamstress expecting twins, living in a place with no help for physically possible. single mothers with small children. Richard Bartlett, DC, ND, has helped Until I left Haiti at age 20 to join my father in the United States and later on attend medical school in thousands of people since founding Matrix Mexico, my life was emotionally and painfully intertwined between these two cities. To whom much is given, Energetics©. He is the author of Matrix Energetics: The much is expected, so years later, I built or rebuilt nine homes for my poor relatives who lived in abject poverty Science and Art of Transformation (Atria Books/Beyond Words), The Matrix Energetics Experience (Sounds True), in Bizoton. and The Physics of Miracles (Atria Books/Beyond Words). I founded the Health Through Communications Foundation in 1993 to provide educational programs here in San Diego. In 1999, I created its prodigy, the Angels For Haiti Project, and chose La Vallee de Jacmel, a Seattle, WA county of over 18 villages in the southeastern area of Haiti where, with a group of volunteers, I go regularly to provide medical care as well as create Levels 1 & 2: December 3 - 6, 2010 public health awareness, scholarships, and Practitioner Certification December 7, 2010 educational programs such as art and music. Doubletree Hotel Seattle Airport It took five days to find out what happened. Every landmark I knew, the churches where Upcoming Seminars: I worshipped, the school I attended over the years, city landmarks, all collapsed. All the San Francisco, CA nine homes for my poor relatives in Bizoton Levels 1 & 2: January 28 - 31, 2011 were inhabitable. In La Vallee de Jacmel, Level 3: February 2 - 3, 2011 our only public high school in the area had to be condemned; half of the homes were San Diego, CA inhabitable. Level 4: February 26-28, 2011 When the tally was over, about 320,000 bodies were recovered and hundreds of Scottsdale, AZ thousands more were still trapped under the rubble; over 1 million people were homeless. Levels 1 & 2: March 11-14, 2011 I lost over 1,000 people that I personally knew who perished during the earthquake or died afterward because of complications of their wounds. They 1.800.269.9513 included many relatives, friends I grew up with, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, uncles, and aunts of my best WWW.MATRIXENERGETICS.COM friends, my teachers, my priests, and many of the children we struggled so hard to educate. I was devastated. I felt powerless and helpless. It has been nine months since the earthquake that changed the lives of millions and mine forever. Going back and witnessing first hand the destruction was one of the hardest times of my life, especially knowing that, for many, there was no help in sight. When I heard the news, I felt that the whole world was caving in, but the training I had over the years V I S I O N M AG A Z I N E
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m i n d s t a t e s as a surgeon who would respond at any time of the day or night took over. I also counsel women who are plagued with emotional symptoms, are feeling stuck, and don’t know where to turn. I had to use the same principles in my life. One of these principles is to use the resources that you have. Because of my reputation, as soon as the lines of communications were open, I was able to get food and basic supplies on the ground on credit to feed hundreds, while the world helplessly watched the food supplies being wasted on the docks of Port-au-Prince. I summoned the many angels who had helped over the years asking for donations to pay for what had been delivered. Many lives were saved until help arrived. It is also necessary to choose your battles. I am a gynecologist and have no physical trauma training. I decided that I would serve my country by staying here. I chose to serve by being involved with many fundraisers, helping coordinate many emergency medical teams, being the liaison for those on the ground with no telephone contact with each other, collecting medical supplies, and finding bargain medications. Another thing to remember when dealing with a crisis is not to wallow in the negative. As the immensity of the disaster kept coming in, I stopped watching TV or reading the newspaper; they only sapped the little energy I was running on. It is okay, however, to mourn. When the pain would be unbearable, I would just weep and was not afraid to do it wherever I was. Also be ready to accept help. Many friends with strangers tagging along came, bringing me food or a donation, keeping me company, offering a shoulder to cry on, or helping with fundraising. I received many phone calls and e-mails, some from old patients I took care of over the years, telling me that they were thinking of me and keeping me in their prayers. Although it is difficult to remember when you are trying to help other people, realize that you cannot take care of everyone—keep healthy boundaries. Especially when I was in Haiti in July, many came to me believing that I was their only hope. But this burden took an emotional toll on me, and I came to the realization that it was impossible to do everything. I continue to do what I can by making it clear that calling and asking is a waste of my precious time and energy. “Don’t call me. I’ll call you when I can.” Even during or after a crisis, we still should find reasons to celebrate the positive continued on page 40 V I S I O N M AG A Z I N E
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Grateful by Amanda Hinds
e wakes, surrounded by trees, the cool morning air seeping into his makeshift tent, this place he calls home. He rises humble and grateful for what he has, his family, his religion, his friends, and the beautiful environment that is all around him. Scott Davis, a middle-aged homeless man, embarked on a rough journey a short three years ago. He lost his wife, house, and job as an airplane engineer. In addition, an escalating drug problem led to his placement in the county jail for possession. Before Davis’ down-warding spiral to homelessness, he was a cosmetologist
turned airplane engineer after attending trade classes at Orange Coast College. “Anytime I want a career I get the local junior college catalog out and start flipping through it,” Davis said. Davis worked for McDonnell Douglas and Boeing, based in Huntington Beach, for 17½ years until attendance became an issue. After the loss of his job, his second marriage collapsed as well. “When my second marriage broke up, I went into a major depression,” Davis stated. “I said, ‘screw life, screw everything.’” Side effects of depression are vast and wide. To cope with his intense losses, Davis began dabbling with methamphetamine. He was caught in 2007, leading to his three month sentence in the county jail, followed by three years of probation. It was through these rough times that Davis began to see the light. He is picking up the pieces of his life in efforts to recreate a better puzzle. He began volunteering at Gibbs Park after being approached by Leslie Gilson. She noticed that he frequented the park and decided to ask for his help. Gilson heads the efforts in the restoration process of the park. Together, volunteers removed 179 dead and dying Eucalyptus trees and planted over 800 nectar and milkweed plants, which are the only food source for the Monarch Butterfly. Davis was pleased to help in the efforts, a selfless act that lets his personality shine. “I’m just giving a little back,” Davis said, “trying to make the city a little better.” Gibbs Park was once Davis’ home, before police began random rounds through the park and prohibited him from sleeping there again. Davis still volunteers at the park, watering plants and trimming trees. Gilson, along with other volunteers and people he meets throughout his days, try their best to help him out by slipping him cash and/or food whenever they can. Davis’ son, Joshua, also helps him out whenever he can. “Joshua just started going to school at USC. He’s going for his MBA,” Davis said. “He lives uptown, is working full-time, and going to school. He’s a pretty busy guy, but he still stops by and helps me out.”
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l i v i n g Davis explains how thankful he is for his children—three daughters and the one son. Through his words and facial expressions it is quite clear how grateful he is to have healthy children. On the road to rebuilding his life, Davis is currently searching for a job. Although he has put forth extreme efforts, he has still come out empty handed. “I use to be entrusted with a 180 million dollar aircraft,” Davis said. “Now I can’t even get a job at a dollar hamburger stand.” With a felony on his record, Davis holds no anger toward businesses for not trusting that he is a changed man. “Who can blame someone for not wanting to hire someone that has been in jail with a felony on their record?” he said. “I can’t really blame them. It is tough to convince them that you are a hard-worker.” Davis’ work ethic is very important to him. “Every boss I ever had always complimented me because I tried to do my best and always worked harder than everybody else,” he stated. “Looking at my criminal past you can’t tell that unfortunately.” While the job search continues Davis makes ends meet by collecting and recycling cans and doing light yard work in the Huntington Beach area, along with the generosity of people like Gilson. Being an artist, Davis, also generates some extra cash by selling his pieces to locals or tourists in the area. Working mainly in pastels, he draws inspiration from the wetlands and sells his pieces for around $20. “My Masters are Van Gogh, Monet, and Renoir, I like French Impressionism,” he said. “I have been lucky. My pieces have been moving about as fast as I can finish them. I have probably sold about 25 pieces over the last two or three years.” Davis spends most of his days traveling from Gibbs Park to Central Park in Huntington Beach. After volunteering at Gibbs Park, he now makes the short trip to Central Park, where he relaxes on the second bench back in a beautiful shady knoll, surrounded on three sides by trees and brush. It is the perfect low-key place, exactly what Davis likes. He doesn’t want trouble. “I don’t get hassled by the cops down here,” Davis says about Central Park. “I’m just trying to stay out of trouble. I’m off probation.” Davis enjoys the serene setting of Central Park. He has made friends with workers and even individuals who frequent the park, one man, for example, who is a Hungarian doctor. Davis said he took a liking to him, and they both enjoy the conversation. While most people are friendly and might even enjoy a few words with him, there are others who see homelessness in a negative way. “They think you are riffraff. Anytime you are homeless, you get the looks,” he said. “They think you are going to steal from them or something; that’s just the way it is. I don’t try to create any trouble, I just do my own thing. Davis is currently keeping out of trouble and working towards finding a job and giving back to the community. Although he is homeless, his spirits are lifted high. He looks at everything he has and gives thanks for what he has been given. “I am grateful that my kids are still around and they are healthy, that I still have the use of my arms and legs and I am not crippled. That I am still alive and above ground, for all the little blessings that God gives me and that I live in the United States instead of Mexico or another third world country where I would be in a cardboard shack. Lastly, I am grateful that I get opportunities, and for the good people that I get to meet.” Amanda Hinds is a graduate from Kent State University with a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications. She is currently a design intern at Vision Magazine and has created cover art for several issues as well as page designs for the magazine. Contact her at 330.858.0445 or email email@example.com. V I S I O N M AG A Z I N E
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The 10th Annual Teachers
Conference in San Francisco by Brennan Lagasse
hat better way to celebrate this month’s theme of gratitude than by sharing how thankful I and many other folks around the country are for this once a year gathering. My partner is a local middle school teacher, and this was her third time attending the Teachers for Social Justice Conference. In the past two years, Jillian has come home energized, hopeful, and even more committed to the promotion of social justice. In the wake of an opportunity to teach a college course on social justice this upcoming winter, I decided it was time to pay the conference a visit. I know the subject matter well, but my curiosity regarding how current teachers in the field understand social justice was a big motivator to make it to the Bay Area for the conference this past October. Having spent years in academia, researching, analyzing, and critiquing the current environmental movement, I’ve come to locate a major gap in its progress:
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the lack of social concerns applied to the many environmental issues that undermine the attainment of realized sustainability. With hopes to sharpen my senses and further delve into new work being done in the field, I entered the Mission High School in downtown San Francisco and was immediately engaged. Tables upon tables of resources were set up in the entry hallway, and I quickly overhead several conversations that ranged from how elementary school teachers can implement social justice curriculum into their classrooms, to ways the education system can be more inclusive to the needs of students who face disproportionate burdens based on their race, class, gender, abilities, and sexuality. Already grateful that such a space exists for educators and community members to network, organize, and share knowledge that pertains to facilitating a more just and equitable world, I quickly signed up for the workshops I planned to attend during the course of the day, and found a seat in the auditorium for the first keynote speaker of the conference. Darrick Smith, co-director at the June Jordan School for Equity, was introduced by a young activist who shared spoken word that immediately caught the attention of the several hundred attendees in the auditorium. Darrick followed suit with a lecture that more or less felt like the introduction to a continuing conversation. Among the many areas he spoke to, Darrick shared his thoughts about an overriding system of education, policy, and government that has been embedded in American culture for decades. This system, he argued, is at the core of the continuing gaps in public education and injustice that ultimately promote the same lived experiences anyone who wished to serve the tenets of social justice must repeal. Deconstruction was at the heart of his talk, a process which he recognized is something that we must all go through, and one which has no immediate end. If you’re taught that Columbus discovered America, then what must it take to realize that he didn’t really discover America at all? What does it take to honor the indigenous inhabitants of the North American landmass who lived here for centuries before colonization was brought to its shores? This is but one example of how important deconstruction is to us all. To question the institutionalization of a holiday that essentially celebrates the beginning of “contact” between European settlers and Native Americans that began an oppressive regime against those that had been living mostly in harmony with themselves and their natural surroundings before Columbus made his “discovery” is intense, but necessary. As Darrick continued, he asked us to think about what significant change actually means, and said that whatever change we are all striving for as supporters of the movement for justice must not be dictated by the system that has helped create it. Sound simple? I guess it is, but if you really think about it, many things we were all taught growing up must then be viewed from a completely different viewpoint. In the end, the thought that sat with me in the most reflective manner was, “The system operates through us; don’t be a tool of the system.” Taking this one thought and applying it in various areas of our lives caused me to start thinking of the many things I do that are in direct contradiction to how I wish to
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give gratitude for life. When I put gas in my car from Chevron, I pollute the air we all breathe while simultaneously supporting this multinational corporation’s degradation of indigenous communities and environments in South America. Therefore, I’m being a tool of a system I know is unjust. The answer isn’t all that easy because, as I’ve found when my tank is close to empty, Chevron is often the only gas station for miles. I reluctantly pay for the gas, but I still pay for the gas. It’s another one of those scenarios where it can be easy to say, “Oh well, I can’t fight that,” or “It’s not my fault Chevron does what they do in Ecuador.” But if we look at it as a knowledge we can use to recognize how much change is actually needed to bring about justice, we at least see the reasons why so many people are fighting. They are fighting for things like changes in technology that, over the long run, will lessen America’s dependence on a finite source of energy we’re all reliant on, one which damages the health of the earth and the people where the resource is located. After Darrick’s talk, my sense of gratitude was already near max. Although I’ve been connected to the movement for social justice by ways of my education and infiltrating into as many places I can in my life, the sheer fact that this conference exists is a reason to be grateful. It allows people to step outside of their comfort zone and critically examine their collective lives with others from around the country. What a reason to give thanks. As I’ve written before, on the surface it may not seem like a place you want to go, to bring yourself into a space of discomfort. But ignorance is bliss, and through deconstruction and critical examination, the feelings of shame for being part of the system that promotes inequity become less intense once you realize we’re all in this together. The only way out is to recognize how inequity got here and how it continues to thrive, and believe it will someday change. As the auditorium emptied, it was time for all the attendees to file into classrooms for the various workshops people signed up for. The workshops were broken down by what grade level they’re meant to teach: K-6; 7-12; or some workshops that were meant for all ages and education levels. Workshops were held once in the morning and once in the afternoon, and there were even a few afternoon workshops where people could choose to bypass a lunch break and attend yet another space for knowledge sharing. Topics ranged from “Books to Build Community,” “Why Teach Haiti?,” “Teaching through Freestyle Rap,” to “Deconstructing Disability.” For my morning workshop, I chose “Tools for Teaching Environmental Justice. In my eyes, the environmental justice (EJ) movement speaks directly to the concerns I have for the mainstream environmental movement. Instead of focusing on the environment through one lens and making it an issue that is without concern for humans who live in the environment, the EJ movement fills the gap by illuminating the many instances where people of color and low income community members are forced to bear the brunt of environmental hazards. Tracy Zhu is the Literacy for Environmental Justice Ecocenter Program manager, and she was able to lead our class through several exercises in what EJ means and why it’s so important. Most of the material was not new to me, having written a book on the subject as well as spending years of my life following the movement. However, when you’re surrounded by people who aren’t as connected to the subject matter by ways of academia, or are even more connected than myself because they actually live in areas of environmental injustice but have yet to be turned on to the movement or understand how it applies to them, the capacity to create a magical space of learning is profound. I sat with a few teachers from the San Francisco Bay Area who asked what V I S I O N M AG A Z I N E
c u l t u r e EJ is and wanted to know how to bring it into their classrooms. Tracy did a wonderful job of explaining the movement and showcasing the many areas around the Bay to lead field trips, learn about the natural history of the area and its first inhabitants, and understand that it is not fair for some people to receive numerous environmental burdens like having a waste incinerator in their neighborhood just because they are poor and Black, while others receive the benefits. At first, scholars argued these instances were merely by chance, but over time others have shown that there is a direct correlation between race and class and where, for example, toxic dumps are located. In the Bay Area, almost every waste incinerator is located in such communities, and by the end of our session it was clear that many left with a newfound look into what EJ is, and how to go about challenging inequities in their neighborhoods. My second workshop was completely empowering. It fell in the afternoon after another amazing keynote address by renowned activist and scholar Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond, and caught most conference attendees when this lively day of energetic exchanges had almost filled our brains to overload. It happens to the best of us, no matter how excited or passionate we are, after numerous hours of stimuli from talks, to videos, and activities; it’s hard to not want to take a break. Nonetheless, “Theoretical Wrestling: Students Using Critical Theorists to Understand Liberation” was worth my trip from Tahoe in and of itself.
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Adrienne Abeyta presents a unique forecast blending the tarot with astrology. A gifted reader of intuitive arts, she offers private consultations and psychic entertainment for parties and events. AdrienneAbeyta.com. To set up an appointment, she can be reached at 619.917.0998 or Adrienne@AdrienneAbeyta.com. (See her ad at the bottom of the page)
Aries: Temperance (Page of Wands) 3/21-4/19 Life is a mixture of many elements which, when discovered how to combine creatively, produce beautiful expressions of ourselves. Too often, though, amazing experiences are passed off as difficult or routine. You even get trapped in labeling them as perfect or stable. Life as an ever-changing flow requires openness. Invoke your curiosity this month as you observe the ups and downs of your emotions. Don’t become swayed by fleeting feelings of anxiety. Think of these feelings as messengers and pay attention to how you respond. Now is a time to balance opposing forces within, find a middle ground, and let them flow. Taurus: Justice (Knight of Cups) 4/20-5/21 An aspect of your life that carries a heavy emotional tone needs to be analyzed more carefully and honestly. You may find that a situation you are enamored with is not as clear as you wish it to be. Although you want to follow your heart, you may be painfully reminded of how complex it is as your castles dissolve into the sand. Be objective when dealing with things that seem too good to be true. Shine light on the dark corners of your own evasions and see yourself as you really are. Resist the temptation to be charmed by flattery. Gemini: Hermit (2 of Pentacles) 5/22 – 6/21 It’s believed that life demands an active engagement—usually mistaken as activity. Why believe that every moment must be filled with doing? After juggling relationships, work, and family, you often neglect the source of your power. Unfortunately, exhaustion becomes justification for avoiding deeper reflection, which results in feelings of indifference or depression. Instead of pushing these dark feelings away, regard this depression as a way of filtering out the superficial concerns of life. After all, you are constantly impressed with the cares of the world. Make time each day to contemplate. This will restore the sense of balance in your life. Cancer: High Priestess (6 of Wands) 6/22 – 7/22 Seeking approval can sometimes be a futile endeavor, particularly when you compromise your standards to obtain it. Look closely at the ways in which you search for attention and ask yourself if they are truly in integrity. A gratifying experience may be nothing more than a superficial back rub. Some of the characteristics you have become accustomed to flaunting might be disconnecting you from your source. Be cautious of those who promise to take care of you. You will be easily distracted by your attachments if you choose only to see the good in people—err on the side of caution. Leo: Lovers (7 of Wands) 7/23 – 8/23 Relationships are wonderful mirrors, reflecting back the many facets of your nature—conscious and unconscious. For greater self-awareness, evaluate your relationships and motivations. Why you choose one thing over the other says something about your values. The people and circumstances in your life have a direct correlation to your inner world. All is a reflection of what you believe. If you desire a partner but believe you are not good enough, then you will receive just that: no partner or one who does not recognize your worth. Be conscious of what is going on inside you before you make decisions. Virgo: Fool (8 of Swords) 8/24 – 9/22 A part of your life in which you feel trapped must be faced. It is far worse to accept defeat than it is to take a chance and let go of the past. It is likely that whatever you are fearful of is not as bad as you think. If you can make a decisive move in one direction, things will fall into some kind of manageable order. Sometimes jumping into the unknown is better than staying locked in a routine. Use your resources to free yourself from this stagnation and be prepared for unexpected opportunities to arise.
Libra: Chariot (6 of Swords) 9/23 – 10/23 Solutions to your problems will come in the most unconventional ways. However, you must be willing to face the apparent discord because within this dilemma is a new path. Rise above your ego’s need to control the situation, otherwise you will find yourself embroiled in an unnecessary conflict. Be prepared for someone to challenge your ideas about something important at home, in the office, or among friends. Although conflict arises, separating your emotions from your better judgment gives the advantage of calm observation. It is through these encounters that you’re able to move into a new position of self-control. Scorpio: Moon (3 of Swords) 10/24 – 11/22 Confrontation with your own deception is always challenging and often unwanted. However, to free yourself from this elusive enemy is to create inner peace. Fear has a way of distorting truth because it clings to the most convenient excuses—I didn’t know, it’s not my fault—all of which separate you from your deepest knowing. Despite the intellectual pain your mind suffers, you must be willing to walk into the dark. A betrayal this month will teach you a hard lesson. Be honest with yourself about your role in this drama. There are greater accomplishments when you overcome the enemy within. Sagittarius: Emperor (4 of Wands) 11/23 – 12/21 Your hard work and determination will be praised in the eyes of others. This may come in the form of a promotion, a raise, or some wonderful gift. If you’ve been working on a plan or project that is somehow dependent on the opinion or approval of another, now is the time to reveal what you have been doing. This is also an excellent time to show appreciation to all those hard-working people in your life. Be generous when complimenting others and be sure to express the pride you take in having them in your life. Capricorn: Magician (3 of pentacles) 12/22– 1/20 You are in a very creative spot this month, especially in terms of generating clever ideas or plans for others. You emanate a certain charisma that is recognized by others as a gift for recruiting or delegating. Because you are receptive to the talents of others and mindful of how to assist with practical uses, you are able to animate the latent skills of others. Be aware of how this process will also stimulate your own potential for further growth. Let your curiosity lead you to avenues of inspiration. For those in school, take the initiative to start discussion groups or lead presentations. Aquarius: Sun (4 of Pentacles) 1/21 – 2/18 Self-recognition is the highest form of personal power. Embracing the totality of who you are—good and bad—relinquishes the need for superficial importance. During the darkest of times, it’s not your status that comforts or saves you. It’s the awareness of your uniqueness that leads you back into the light. Worldly success is secondary to personal glory and is ultimately only temporary. If you trust in the Universe and the nature of your character, you will attract positive reflections of your confidence. Focus your energy consciously and you will find splendor in the smallest of tasks. Pisces: World (Ace of Wands) 2/19 – 3/20 Within every seed lies the blueprint of existence, and through your intention and attention, you give birth to the process called life. Inspiration entices you to aspire for more than you expect. You trust that what seems like a vision, is actually a reality. While in the stages of a new phase, it’s important to plant seeds you truly desire and then tend to them completely. Half-wanted desires produce diseased crops. Universal principals will guide you so long as you remain active in the process and detach from the outcome. Give yourself to life and it will embrace you with all its beauty.
Becoming Who YOU Are! Adrienne Abeyta, Sacred - Self Coaching
Using Astrology, Numerology, & Tarot to discover the hero in your life story. Answering the questions:
• What is my purpose • What is the lesson of this challenge • When will my life look different • Where do I go from here Contact Adrienne for consultations, events, and private lessons.
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Gratitude: From the Book,
You Don’t Have To Die To Go To Heaven by Derrick Sweet
e create heaven in our life by building a strong foundation. One of the most important ingredients in this foundation is gratitude. Bliss, joy, and enthusiasm are all by-products of gratitude. When I was a financial advisor for a large investment firm, I had the opportunity to meet and work with many people who were wealthy—financially, anyway. I would often see three to four clients per day in my office. The super-rich clients (with a net worth of several million dollars) were really interesting. Some of my clients were pretty happy, but many more would complain about not having enough money. They often felt compelled to “keep up” with their peer group: other rich people. Often these clients had a home in the country, one in the city, and a condo in Florida. Usually they had just enough money to pay the bills. Greed can motivate us to accumulate financial wealth, but as long as we practice greed, we will experience life with a poverty consciousness. Poverty consciousness is a consciousness of not having enough, and does not just refer to material possessions. It can include not having enough love, peace of mind, free time, health, laughter, connection with others, or connection with nature. Most people who suffer from a poverty consciousness don’t even know they have it. But there is a cure. The cure for poverty consciousness is simple: gratitude. Being grateful in life
“The miracle is not that we can walk on water, the miracle is that we can walk on Earth” —Thich Nhat Hanh
takes hard work initially for some people. Others just seem to naturally have this heavenly disposition. And it is heaven to be around people who seem to feel lucky to be here in this moment, doing whatever they are doing. You may be thinking this sounds great, but how is it done? Luckily, there is a really simple place to start. You begin to feel gratitude by practicing generosity; the act of being generous to others creates gratitude. There are three basic types of generosity, each one creating a different level of gratitude: basic; anonymous; and heavenly generosity. Basic generosity is the most common type of generosity. If we offer someone money, time, or a favor of some kind, it is considered an act of basic generosity. An example would be if I saw you in a restaurant and said something like, “Hey friend, I would like to buy you breakfast.” This type of generosity, although nice, is merely a transaction that feeds my ego. For my good deed, I am thanked, complimented, and honored; I look good. You may even tell a few people what a nice person I am, and you will most likely repay the favor the next time we meet. Lama Yeshe Losal,
c u l t u r e a Tibetan Buddhist monk and teacher, says, “Expecting something for your help is like giving a spoonful of honey but mixing it with poison.” Anonymous generosity, on the other hand, comes from a higher consciousness and is less concerned with feeding the ego. In the restaurant example, I may call your server over and ask to have your bill included with mine, without telling you. I may instruct the server to only tell you that your breakfast is free today. This means that my ego isn’t directly fed by your thanks and warmth. But there is still a kind of ego boost, because I know—and the server knows—that I’m a good guy. Each time I see you afterward, I will relish the memory of having done something nice for you, feeding my ego a little more each time. The third type of generosity, heavenly generosity, comes from the purest type of consciousness and has no ego involved at all. This type of generosity is focused on the act of generosity alone because the reward is to be found simply in the act of being generous. This type of consciousness connects you directly to your higher self, leading to a pleasantly overwhelming sense of wellbeing. How does one practice this magnificent type of bliss? Well, let’s say I was walking down the street and I noticed a car with an expired meter. The generous act of depositing a coin or two in a stranger’s parking meter is practicing heavenly generosity. This type of generosity is not between you and the owner of the car; it’s between you and your connection to life. Each act of heavenly generosity creates a deeper, richer connection to life, to your higher self, and to heaven. This type of generosity is perhaps the toughest, only because we don’t always notice the opportunities when they arise. But, of course, when we’re living in the moment—not distracted by constant worries—it’s a lot easier to notice the empty parking meters around us. The benefits of practicing generosity are too numerous to list in this article. You will find this type of consciousness very addictive. Why? Well, there is a biological explanation. Each time you practice generosity, the body releases serotonin, which, with structural similarities to LSD, is the body’s natural feel-good drug. Not only that, but it also reduces blood pressure, aids in digestion, lowers cholesterol, and nourishes the soul! Derrick Sweet is the author of several personal development books. He is the creator of The Life Mastery Course and The Certified Coaches Federation. For more info please visit www.LifeMasteryCourse.com, www.certifiedcoachesfederation.com, or call 866.455.2155.
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Spiritual Counseling Your Inner Journey
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by Louix Dor Dempriey
ne of the most enigmatic concepts in life is that of “surrender.” The object of nearly every aspirant’s pursuit, surrender is THE key to union with The Beloved. Ironically, it is also that to which the greatest resistance is shown. Many people falsely believe that surrender is an action. It is more a state of being, the “result” of right use of will and purely-motivated actions. In short, it is achieved through obedience to Divine will. Surrender is an ongoing process, not something you do only once. Therefore, rather than giving a word or phrase to define surrender, it is much more effective for Me to share some of the distortions in the human consciousness which prevent surrender from happening, along with a proper course of action for one to take. I will begin by giving you the solution: Rather than trying to fit God conveniently into your life or your ‘week-at-a-glance’ calendar, fit your entire life and existence into God’s. You are a subset of God; God is not a subset of you. You are a physical extension of God, a manifested aspect of the entire Godhead. In other words, God is the brain of the co-creative relationship you two have, and you are the hand. Does the hand tell the brain what to do? Of course not. The brain directs the hand. And so defines the created and intended relationship between God and all His children. “You and I are one. You are part of Me. You wove into form, to fulfill My plan on this planet, as part of Me. We do not function apart. Your job, when you incarnate, is to remember that. Do whatever it takes to come to the realization that you are an extension of Me, an appendage. You do not have a separate mind. You do not have a separate will. You do not have separate desires—you never did. Those are demons and illusions that you have given yourself permission to have, to justify your feelings that you are separate from Me.”
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You might say to Me that this is so obvious and trite; however, if that were true, then why is there all this talk about (the illusion of) free will? (“I can do whatever I want, because God gave me the gift of free will.”) Well, first off, let us dispense with the poetry. “Free” will is no more than “separate” will. It is a Divine dispensation, for the expressed duration of our living in the experience of separation from God, whereby we are given the freedom to use the full power of God any way we like. What a gift! What humanity has forgotten is that God gave us that power/choice to use as a homing device. Paradoxically, most everyone uses free will to travel further from God. How? By using it to gratify the senses. Why? To numb the pain of feeling separate from God. Desire is the cause of all suffering. What is imperative to expose here is the source of all human wants and needs. Desire is the great disease of a separate consciousness. It is the cause of all suffering and the very essence of Separation. To desire anything, you must inherently believe that you are separate from the object of your desire and that you actually need said object of desire. How, then, does one achieve the state of surrender? Let go of all desires. Give them back to God. To be truly surrendered can only mean to be truly desireless. Every cell that is occupied by the self is one less cell that can be occupied by God. If you are trying to fit God’s plan into yours, you will always be unfulfilled in life. God already knows all your needs—even before you do. It behooves God to continuously provide for all your soul’s needs, since you are responsible for manifesting God’s will on Earth and then caring for these creations of Love. God would never keep anything from you. God wants you to have everything. God placed all the wonders and riches on this planet for you to enjoy. Earth was created as a playground for the gods. Awareness of, and trust in, this truth is all that is needed to allow God to use you as an instrument. Every dream God has for you, God is doing everything to bring to you. The real question is, “What are you doing to allow that dream to manifest?” Somehow, along the way, a belief came about that God created the bounty of the material plane as an instrument of torture. Distorted religious teachings about renunciation and poverty as spiritual ideals only served to add to this discordant thought form. People corroborate their distorted beliefs by observing and misquoting the lives and teachings of ones such as the Buddha or Mother Teresa. These great ones did not preach of the need for poverty. Their message was about detachment. Many confuse renunciation for poverty. Renouncing the material plane is no more than a vehicle for attaining the highly evolved state of detachment. Renunciation is a means to an end, rather than an end in and of itself. It also happens to be a very successful vehicle. Once a consciousness lives in that state,
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then the pleasures of the material world take on a whole new meaning and experience. It is from the place of not needing them that God’s material gifts can truly be enjoyed. There are the many who cry out, “Yes, but what about my dream?” To this I say: Whence do you think your dreams came? In order for you to even have a dream, God had to have that dream first, because God put the dream in you. Why not let God care for God’s dream, living and growing inside of you? I can promise you this: The most fantastic and grandiose dream you have harbored for your life is the size of a breadcrumb compared to the smallest of God’s dreams for you. The limitations within the human consciousness cannot fathom what can only be conceived through a Mind and Heart (i.e. God’s) wielding the infinite capacity to love. Furthermore, you can never fully realize and live God’s dream for you until you relinquish your own dreams for yourself. Many think and claim that they have, but this is just one more selfdelusion of which people convince themselves, to justify the continued pursuit of sense-gratification in order to numb the pain of feeling separate from God—even if now under the guise of “devotion” and “surrender.” Since human beings are run by desire, isn’t it more wise to entrust your dream into the hands of the One whose entire existence and power is devoted to serving you and revealing your divine magnificence? What I am describing is the ultimate win/win combination. Anything you give up (which God and your soul need you to have) will automatically come back to you, albeit in an even more free and beautiful way. Why, then, are people so attached to their dreams and desires? The answer is simple: lack of faith. You cling to your desires and dreams out of fear that without them—and your efforts to protect them—you will have nothing. Society helps by polluting our minds with axioms such as, “kill or be killed,” “survival of the fittest,” “look out for Number One,” etc. Why do so many dreams not manifest? Lack of trust in God. Why do so many people distrust God? Because they feel that God has not manifested (what they think are) their dreams. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? God came first—and must come first, always and everywhere. There is a third reason why so many dreams do not manifest (the first two being lack of trust in God to fulfill His dream in you, and the fact that many “dreams” are sourced by selfish desire instead of by the will of God). The third reason is that few come to the altar of God with an empty chalice; instead, they come with chalices filled with attachments, expectations, demands, and personal agendas. How can God possibly fill your chalice with riches of mind, body, and soul if your chalice is already full? You must come naked to the altar of your Lord in order to truly receive your divine inheritance. Release all your desires, terms, and conditions. How can God serve you if you have Him all bound and gagged by all the conditions you place upon how, when, and where He must provide for you. God cannot serve the one who is content in serving himself. Speaking of agendas and perpetrations, it is time I expose one of the most subtle and insidious of them all. What most cannot see and refuse to admit to themselves is that they come to God as the “lender of last resort.” What I mean by that is: Most come to God only after they have tried every other conceivable means of achieving and fulfilling their own personal desires. Only when they have failed to get what they want, and finally give up, do many then see God as an option to consider. In other words, many finally turn to God so that they can get what they V I S I O N M AG A Z I N E
h e a l i n g a r t s want. Few are they who come to God simply to luxuriate in His company, to feel the touch of His embrace, His gaze of adoration, asking nothing in return, wanting nothing.... Fortunately, because of God’s infinite and unconditional love for us, God does not care how we come, only that we come. There is an even more dangerous attachment than “attachment to personal desire,” and that is “attachment to prophecy and Revelation.” The temptation to get attached to prophecy is huge: “But Mother Mary said...,” “My Guru said...,” “Four different psychics said...,” “It is in my astrology chart”... the list goes on and on. Without even knowing it, you begin aching, hankering, and waiting for “it” to happen. Beneath these attachments is the belief that something outside of you will bring you fulfillment. Dwelling on the past and attaching to the future are two of the main preoccupations of ones who will do anything to avoid being “present.” Every seed of God’s will needs to be planted in the physical plane. Revelations are seeds planted in you, which then begin to gestate and grow. And they will initiate you, because the mind attaches to them and starts interpreting them. When God gives you a Revelation, receive it and drink it in with gratitude. Take it into every part of your being, and then give it back to God. Trust that it is inside you now, growing. It will
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Bringing Spirituality Back to Earth by Lauren S. Smith
arol Kline’s new book, “Streetwise Spirituality: 28 Days to Inner Fitness and Everyday Enlightenment”, is an intellectually stimulating book with fresh ideas about how to bring spirituality down to Earth and relate to it in today’s lifestyle. Kline teaches from the premise that Earth is a school and everything is spiritual if you know how to look at it. When you learn how to bring the inner and outer states of mind into alignment, you’ll be able to see “Earth school” through a spiritual lens rather than live trying to conform to everyone else’s expectations. You’ll learn how to decipher between something bad for you versus something good for you. For example, if you’re in an abusive relationship, you need to know what you and the abuser are getting out of the relationship—and how to turn it around. “Streetwise Spirituality” discusses what love is and isn’t and how to find love and nurture it so that you’ll have deep and lasting relationships rather than loving for the wrong reasons. Kline explains clearly and succinctly how grief is misunderstood and how it can actually become a valuable emotion in our lives. Some chapters in Kline’s book contain lessons and exercises that you’ll find
easy to adapt into your everyday life. “Streetwise Spirituality” will become a life manual that you’ll refer to again and again as questions pop into your mind. There are chapters on difficult relationships, feelings, professional and personal disasters, and true stories that will put a new spin on the blame and shame game we play every day. Kline’s book is a 28-day workbook that teaches you the fundamental skills you need to plow through life’s constant hits of disappointment and frustration and how to make lemons into lemonade by discovering your own spiritual center of gravity. You’ll find that your deep source of wisdom comes from “the place where ordinary events take on extraordinary meaning.” As you turn the pages of “Streetwise Spirituality” you’ll begin to understand how “invisible” emotions like anxiety, frustration, and stress can be used for inner growth and abundance. You’ll be better able to grasp why you’re experiencing difficulties, pain, and disappointments and learn how to develop patience and perseverance to see it through. Carol Kline is an author, lecturer, and the journal editor for the American Chiropractic Association and listed in “Who’s Who of American Women.” Formerly, Kline was a TV talk show host and anchor. For more about her book, “Streetwise Spirituality: 28 Days to Inner Fitness and Everyday Enlightenment”, email cmk@ StreetwiseSpirituality.org or visit www.StreetwiseSpirituality.org. Kline also hosts Streetwise Spirituality online at www.contacttalkradio.com. “Turn Difficult Emotions Into Spiritual Guides” workshop Saturday, November 20th 3-5pm at the Bodhi Tree Bookshop, 8585 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood with Carol Kline. Lauren Smith is editor for the Virtual Book Review Network. For information, visit www.virtualbookreviewnetwork.com.
Light & Renewal Retreat Dec. 3, 2010 to Jan. 2, 2011 Learn the liberating art and science of Kriya meditation - awaken to the divine light and presence within you. Refresh your spirit amidst abundant natural beauty, and project your intentions for the New Year. “What a fantastic thing to discover, this Divine Consciousness, this great Being which is all of us.” – Norman Paulsen, Sunburst Founder Please contact us for more information and donation suggestion. The Sanctuary is located 40 miles north of Santa Barbara, California.
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“Wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving.” —Kahlil Gibran
Awakening Through Gratitude by Nancy Elizabeth Brady
hen we awaken in the morning, a realization dawns that the night is gone and a new day is here. Perhaps our thoughts begin to fill in details for future hours, or revisit unfinished business from past hours. Mental habit patterns can choke our ability to be present. As evolution invites us to step out of the influence of historically conditioned states, we arrive face to face with what comes and goes, and what always remains. Attachment to what is gone, or what is yet to be, spoils simple moments that arise naturally. Experiences in life come and go. The soft colors of a sunrise fade to daylight. The vibrant colors of a sunset fade to blackness. Have you ever felt a tender inner celebration while watching a sunrise or sunset? Last year I stood on the edge of a steep cliff above a rocky northern California coastline and witnessed a spectacular sunset. Each sunset is unique, and this one was so awesome that it moved me beyond feelings into stillness. In the quietness, I realized that life is a celebration. I saw the movement around me—red shifting to purple, a rising moon and crashing waves—as a means of celebrating what is unseen, but is always present beyond movement. My cells were awash in gratitude. I didn’t consciously generate gratitude; it was a deeper state of being. During the sunset, my heart
burst open and love rushed in. In one sense, I felt grateful. In a deeper knowing, I was gratitude. For days I lived in this expansive state and enthusiastically shared gratitude without needing a reason. A feeling of gratitude opens an inner doorway for the state of gratitude to expand. And this state generates more feelings of gratitude. This circle of life is welcome news. It indicates that an expression of sincere gratitude can create a pathway for living in a profound state of gratitude. Clouds move through the sky and may dump moisture, or they may not. The sky remains no matter what the clouds do. As thoughts move through us, we have many choices. Gratitude is influential in turning our minds from judgment or attachment to what comes and goes, back to what is neutral and always present. It loosens the bonds of past and future while opening us to receive what is taking place now. The present is a fleeting moment, and fleeting moments fill our days. Days fill our life. The course of life can be altered through a single expression of gratitude. Saint Francis of Assisi reminded us, “For it is in giving that we receive.” Gratitude is giving thanks and expressing appreciation. By showing up in life with an attitude of gratitude, we open to receive its fullness. This is easy to do when life feels comfortable. Listening to the sound of morning sparrows singing to the rising sun, seeing a baby’s smile, or smelling the scent of summer raindrops continued on page 44
A Day with Debbie Ford and James Van Praagh
Clearing Your Magnetic Field
Becoming a Magnet for Love, Money, and Opportunities Join two of the world’s most renowned spiritual teachers, Debbie Ford and James Van Praagh, as they guide you on a journey to recharge your magnetic field.
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f e a t u r e y greatest teachers have always been the most humble. The quest for knowledge seems more important than the possession of it. The joy in sharing and teaching has been my experience with Nicole Grace. She is a person that I believe is here to share with each one of us a way to live more presently, more fully, and with greater joy and peace. I recently had the opportunity to speak with her.
flashes, suddenly everything is illuminated. You see all the trees, the bushes, the path. It’s very clear. Then after the lightning is gone, it is dark again. With liberation it is very important not to walk around and say I’m enlightened now. It’s not the same thing. You can still remain individuated from the one consciousness. You saw clearly for a moment, but then that moment was over. At this point you need to double your efforts, meditate hard, work very hard to stay humble. Vision Magazine: What do you hope to teach our world? This next phase of spiritual practice is very beautiful, but there is the danger Nicole Grace: The most important message to convey is that enlightenment is of actually becoming more egotistical than ever: you can believe that you, the available to everyone, not just to certain kinds of people who you’ve imagined have individual, are God and that you have mastery over everyone and everything. This had a certain kind of life or privileges or upbringing. That enlightenment is all is a serious misunderstanding. In reality, you are God, and there is no individual. things and it lies in potential in all people. Then, if you are very lucky and manage to stay humble, the lightning flashes VM: What would be a definition of enlightenment? again, and then again and then again. Maybe you remain in that clarity for a little NG: It seems that there are longer each time. many definitions of it and different With a great deal of discipline understandings. My definition and self-control and humility and is a very traditional view. There a certain amount of time, you can is the enlightenment you can see experience a profound evolution. manifested in a person. Then the illumination in your Then there is Enlightenment mind never darkens again. It gets itself, which is referred to by many to the point where it is just light all labels, such as eternity, infinity, the time. That is enlightenment. the ocean, God. It’s everything, It is a process. The “lightning it’s all there is. To quote from flash” happens more and more; the Bhagavad Gita, “Innermost it becomes more infused in your element, everywhere, always… consciousness. It takes a great deal changeless, eternal, for ever and of humility to get to this point. I’ve ever.” It’s quite beautiful. encountered way too many people Salvikalpa samadhi is a who have stopped their practice step on the pathway towards too soon. Practice never really by Sydney L. Murray enlightenment, when referred stops! But when introspection to as manifest within a person. stops, when humility is lost, your This is a very deep meditation, spiritual evolution ceases. You can where you are plunged into an tell everyone you are enlightened, exquisite experience of love, of but inside you are still suffering. all encompassing consciousness, So enlightenment to me is when rings of light, being pulled by a the darkness has finally been magnet deeper into enlightened burned away in the light. consciousness. VM: What compelled you to This purifies the awareness write your most recent book? and the being. However, bliss NG: I spend a lot of time in itself can be a trap. That feeling contemplation. I believe that life of expansion and power can be a is the great teacher and that the trap. As long as it is an experience, greatest masters of enlightenment, and there is someone experiencing what they really do is teach you it, it is not enlightenment; it’s to learn from life, from nature. just really wonderful. If you are So I will just be still and observe paying attention and willing to nature and even in a brief moment take a step beyond ego, there is of this reflective practice, I can see yet further to go. Then there is… a metaphor become illuminated; liberation…a grand epiphany. This is the cataclysmic awakening where in one there is a realization, an epiphany of a truth. I was moved to start writing about moment—though when you have been through this, it is a timeless time—the these moments. It felt that it might contaminate them in a way to write too much, soul chooses to no longer be an individual apart from the one consciousness. because then it becomes more of the writer and not so much of the epiphany It is a very profound choice, because in this one moment you finally decide itself. What I wanted to achieve was for someone else to read one of the verses and that you will allow everything that you are, and that you have hoped for, to be be drawn into having that epiphany for themselves. I also found it to be a really annihilated; the great masterpiece that is you, will be gone. Then you are gone, wonderful experience for myself, to distill the essence of those moments, and then and there is no ‘you’ anymore, [and] for a second, it is the most exquisite feeling. It write about them. So a day came where I felt there was a body of teachings that is very difficult to talk about because you are not there. That is liberation. This is had been compiled, and that there were enough subjects covered for one book. very similar to you walking in a dark forest during a storm, and [when] lightning Any more than that [and] it would be too much for people to take in.
A Window to Enlightenment
An Inter view With
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VM: How do you think people can be more compassionate? NG: I think [the] number one way to reach compassion is through humility. Humility, to me, is probably the most important spiritual quality. You can get to a place of humility through gratitude. If you can, spend as much time as possible throughout the day feeling a sense of gratitude for everything. There is always something that you know is a gift. Just being alive, for one. So when you start to feel gratitude, this brings you very easily to humility. When you are humble, the essence of humility is really thinking not quite so much of yourself. All beings have something valuable to give. When you start to develop this kind of perspective on the world, then, when you encounter someone, instead of having a potentially conflicting meeting, you can suddenly see the world through their eyes. Then you are stepping into compassion naturally. Compassion is not seeing the world through your own eyes, but rather seeing the world directly through someone else’s eyes. If you want to diffuse any kind of conflict, [ask], where is this person coming from? What is it that they need, what is their pain? Now you have humanized this other person. When you can feel someone else’s pain, that’s compassion. You can understand, be more patient, more tolerant. VM: What comes to mind when you think of the word ‘gratitude’? NG: I think of the happiest state of mind that anyone can be in at any time, because gratitude has no limit. Gratitude has always brought me into a state of peace and contentment no matter what is going on. Really, feeling gratitude and being saved are the same thing. So if you are ever feeling a little lost or soul-sick, gratitude will take you home. VM: People seem to be confused about Buddhism and non-attachment. Can you offer some of your teachings? NG: First I should qualify, despite my background, when I speak of Buddhism I mean it more as a broad approach to spirituality. I consider myself a Buddhist mystic as opposed to a Buddhist in terms of the religion, which I don’t practice. The Buddhist religion has a whole set of rituals, and structure around a very formal, organized practice. It is a lovely religion, but that is not what I teach. I teach a mystical approach to spirituality, which is essentially, how to have a direct experience of enlightenment. I also draw from Hinduism and Christian mysticism. So I wouldn’t describe what I teach as just the Buddhist philosophy. Non-attachment simply means the absence of fear, because when you become attached to something, inherent in that attachment is a clinging, because you think that what you are attached to is going to go away. You think whatever it is, that love, that person, that object is going to be taken away, so you are grabbing [onto] it. This puts you in conflict with the beauty and ecstasy of union, the idea that there is nothing, so nothing can be taken away. You are part of this one consciousness. Being attached to something, there is this idea that you and this thing are apart, and all the duality that causes suffering, you have now brought to yourself. Non-attachment simply means to love with your whole heart without fear, without need. Because the minute you are needy, there is a sense that you are not being given everything you could possibly need. Of course, in eternal consciousness, we do have everything we need, everything that is necessary for us to achieve our purpose in this time. The idea that detachment means that you are cold and mean, is a misunderstanding. You can love more with your whole heart V I S I O N M AG A Z I N E
f e a t u r e when you take fear away. VM: How can people get rid of the fear in their life? NG: In the political arena there seems to be a lot more fear and intolerance. I think that has always been a part of human nature, and with enlightenment that gets removed from your mind. I think some of it has to do with the fact that the planet is reaching a level of population that is unsustainable. When there are fewer resources, people reach a state of fear that there will not be enough. So then the mind looks for the enemy who is taking what I want away from me. Humans also naturally gravitate toward community. There are many levels of community. There is the community of the planet Earth, community of country, of nationality, of religion, of gender… The more people you have, the more little communities you end up with. Then you get more intolerance and fear. The best way to get rid of fear is love. If you have a really beautiful meditation, nothing frightens you. If you have a beautiful moment, with [someone] who loves you, there is no fear. You don’t need a person or circumstance to love. Real love is that which can never go away, which is found in each person, in your own heart and mind. Love something greater than yourself, love nature, which gives life. When you really are in a state of love—whatever it is that you love is more important to you than your own life—fear goes away. VM: If there was one thing you could think of, what would be the most significant event in your life? NG: I’d have to say the first nirvana, the first time I went away, because I had wanted it for my entire life. I was a strange person. I really didn’t want anything that other people wanted. I just wanted enlightenment. I wanted freedom and love forever and some day to have the privilege of helping someone else find that. There is a moment where you see the choice between enlightenment and satisfying desires in the world. There is a part of you that thinks, I couldn’t even be worthy of that, even if I were to have the courage to take that next step to annihilation. But, when there was this choice presented, I took it. I was very lucky. After this, everything was different. I knew that this was the beginning of the path and not the end. At that moment, you do have an amazing perspective switch and the love that fills you, the completeness, the utter contentment that everything will be okay, is so profound, and this does not go away. It’s a very humble and really beautiful moment.
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Courageous and Grateful:
More Tales From the Road In Mexico by Daphne Carpenter
t was the rainy season in Zacatecas, and the lonely stretch of highway ahead of me seemed endless. There I was, trudging through slippery mud alongside the road. My wet, moppy hair was dripping down my back like a waterfall and my shoes were saturated. I was so cold and drenched, but I knew I had to keep moving. I had finally reached a point of delirium and all I could do was walk and sing in the rain. Then a red Ford Bronco stopped abruptly up ahead of me. Through the windows, a sea of arms began to wave me forward. What luck! I was beginning to think I’d have to walk the entire 150 km to my aunt’s house. I was on an epic first time mission to visit my mother’s family. But somehow I ended up alongside the road (a recurring theme and déjà vu in my life) and again, no one was stopping for me. Until finally… “Te pasamos y regresamos para ti.” In the car was a father and his three handsome sons. They said that they passed me on the road the first time, and then turned back for me when they saw “una loca” walking in the downpour. Man was I was grateful! I knew my universe worked for me in strange ways. It was a quick ride. The friendly guys dropped me off 10 km up the road at a gasolinera (with a mini-mart) in Villanueva, where they lived. My chance to get out of the rain and drink some hot tea had finally arrived. Jalpa, my mother’s pueblo, was only about two hours away, so I figured I’d be there by night. Little did I know I’d be stuck at this twilight-zone-of-a-place for an arduous four and a half hours and that the next ride I’d get would really test my courage and strength as a woman. After the third té de manzanilla, the fatigue from the last two days began to weigh heavily on me. I could barely keep my head from collapsing onto the table as “Lara Croft Tomb Raider” played on the TV in front of me. I watched restlessly as people stopped in to use the restrooms and buy bad road-trip food, beer, and cigarettes. Then shortly after 12:30 a.m., a man with dark, mysterious eyes walked in. He appeared to be in a hurry. I felt as if I had known him from before, although I knew I couldn’t have. I tried to get a better look at him, but his face was obstructed by the cash register. So I just glanced back at the television. Five minutes later, a friendly gas station attendant came in to tell me he had found me a ride. Finally! I grabbed my stuff and ran outside to find that my ride was with the mysterious-eyed man. His truck was piled high with crates full of peaches. He was wearing a white t-shirt, blue jeans, and a baseball cap—backwards. He was in his late twenties. He took my backpack from me and lodged it in between the peach crates in the back of the truck. Get in, he said. As we drove off, he asked for no introduction, but he offered me a cigarette. No thanks. Avoiding eye contact, he said that he had been in the capital city of Zacatecas selling peaches and now he was on his way back to Aquas Calientes, where he sold at a mercado in the morning. We chatted for about twenty minutes until I could no longer speak. He asked when the last time was that I had slept. In the confusion of blurred-days-to-nights without sleep, I couldn’t even construct an answer. Wait, what’s today? Or is this yesterday? I was so confused and I could only mutter an incomprehensible slew of half-words. He glanced over at me for the first time when he realized how mixed up I was. Sleep, if you want, he said. “Maybe in a while” was my response. But I truly had no intention of falling asleep in this truck, alone with the stranger. He had been wired awake on these illegal amphetamine pills that most of the traileros take for long drives. He offered me one, but I declined. Just then I saw a road sign that said that Jalpa was only 53 km away. Yes! Almost there, I thought. In my mind I rehearsed my exit strategy; I’d just tell him to drop me off at any gasolinera, or at this point, any corner would do. My plan was to find an isolated area to pitch my tent until morning and then resume onward to my aunt Panchita’s house. But I must have fallen asleep because I woke up to him pushing a Red Bull into my hands. No thank you, I said. And so for the rest of the trip I slept with one eye open and one eye closed. As Highway 54 began to roll through Jalpa, I told him I’d get out right there. “Aquí? Pero, no te puedo dejar aquí en la calle, mujer.” He was surprised. He said he couldn’t just leave me there in the street. “No really, here is fine,” I assured him. All I wanted to do was break free from this truck and sleep. But I understood how he’d be reluctant to just leave a woman there on the street off some highway at three in the morning. Instead, he pulled into the first motel he saw. The Jalpa Cactus Inn was a chic motel, brightly illuminated by flashing neon signs that made my brain hurt. He parked the truck in the first parking space next to the office. I had no intention to spend money on a motel this late (I was on a serious budget), but he was adamant about not just leaving me
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“anywhere.” I’ll be back, he said. He wanted to see how much a room would cost. When he left, I started to rationalize and tell myself that yeah, maybe I should get a room for the night. That way I’d rest well and shower before showing up at my long-lost family’s house. I wondered if I had enough cash on me to do it. Would they take my bank card? Five minutes later the peach man was back. “¿Cuánto cuesta?” I asked him how much it cost. He mumbled something that sounded vaguely like, “Ya pagué.’” He had already paid? Let’s go, he said. I got out and then he proceeded to pull my backpack down from the truck. I took it from him and then just stood there confused, rubbing my eyes. With the golden key dangling in his hand he motioned for me to walk with him. Alright, now I’m thinking, this guy just paid for a room and is going to open the door for me. Then what? In a matter of seconds, I had to decide what to do. Survival skills started zapping at my core. We walked past the motel office where the manager stood pointing towards a room. In my disoriented, hazy state, I saw his arm move in an exaggeratedly slow, surreal motion, leaving trails in the air around him. Whoa, I’m really out of it. Room #1 was just across from the office. Something told me to remain calm, that the situation wouldn’t be dangerous. I could sense that peach man wasn’t the violent type. At this point, after what had become a strenuous mental situation, I had decided that, yes, I actually did want this room, and that I wanted to be alone in it. My faith and fearlessness told me to go with it. If this guy thinks he’s going to have sex with me, boy is he wrong. Whatever gave him that impression? I didn’t even want him to stop here. He unlocked the door, and from the outside I could see that the room had two beds. To the left, closest to the window, was a twin bed. Next to the bathroom was a large bed. He had paid for a room and asked for…two beds? Hmm, I just want him to go away. The whole situation had become a psychological game, as he was still acting so nonchalantly, so uninterested in me. But what did he mean by all this? I was trying to just feel grateful that this stranger had just put me up in a nice room
f e a t u r e because he was, well, nice. But I’m not dense, and truthfully, it wasn’t very easy to read this guy. I played stupid. “Tú pagaste?” You paid? “Pero, ¿por qué?” Why? “Oh, I just wanted to sleep for a little while too before going on,” he said, with a mellow tone. Okay, so he’s trying to tell me that after I don’t know how many awake pills he’s taken, gigantic eyes looking as if they’re about to bulge out of his skull, and after chugging down two Red Bulls, that now he’s going to sleep? Aguas Calientes was less than an hour away. Now we were both in the room. He closed the door. He took off his baseball cap and put it on the shelf next to the mirror. He pulled the gum from his mouth and put in the ashtray. He slipped off his gold wedding ring and also put it in the ashtray. Then for the first time, he made a deep, startling eye contact with me. Without him saying a word, I knew now that he did expect something in return for the room. But my return glance was quite neutral, and my vibe—completely uninterested. He must have felt awkward because he looked away, feeling like a rejected puppy. I knew now I had the upper hand and I didn’t feel so physically threatened by him. In my experience traveling in Mexico, I’ve learned that there’s a consensus amongst many Mexican men that gringa women traveling without a spouse or boyfriend do so with the intention of “getting laid.” So peach man wants to sleep for a while. “Alright fine,” I said, “have a good rest.” I headed for the small bed by the window and dropped my backpack. I got in with my shoes still on and pulled the covers up over me. He laid down on the other bed and turned the television on. I pretended to fall asleep. He tried to get my attention by turning the TV up louder. I kept “sleeping.” He started fake-coughing in my direction. I kept “snoring.” He ruffled around uncomfortably in his bed and started watching a movie. Ten minutes passed with no communication between us, and then he muttered some profanities under his breath. I could tell he was getting frustrated. Then finally, with a sudden stroke of the remote control, the TV went off. He sat up and pulled his legs off the side of the bed and remained in that sitting position for about a minute. My heart beat faster knowing that he was facing me, but I stayed calm. At last he stood up and took a couple steps towards the mirror. Then suddenly the room fell silent. For a few moments I laid still, wondering what had just happened. Jeez, this game was too intense! How much longer could I play it? When I finally unfroze, I lifted my head up and peeked out the window. The man was nowhere in sight and neither was his truck. I got up and checked the door. He had locked it. His wedding ring and hat were gone, and the only trace of him that remained was the green gum in the ashtray. Oh my God, did I finally have this cozy, comfortable room all to myself? I think I did! I couldn’t believe it. I laid back down on the cloud-like bed feeling so safe and secure, just like a child whose universe always takes such good care of her. I fell asleep to the sound of shimmery rain. Boy was I grateful! The next day I made it to my family’s house and didn’t bother to utter a word about what had just happened. Instead, I just smiled, expressed extreme gratitude for finally being there, and kept reveling in all the lovely attention I was getting. Thank you, universe!
My heart beat faster knowing that he was facing me, but I stayed calm.
V I S I O N M AG A Z I N E
Daphne Carpenter is a writer and videographer who alternates between living in California and Brazil. She is also an advocate for the rights of homeless youth, and does everything in her power to change their unjust situations. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Prayer for Reuniting Twin Flames
In the name of my Higher Self and the Higher Self of my Twin Flame I pray that we reunite I call for the consuming of all portents of our returning negative karma, clouding our ability to recognize each other, and creating a sense of separation. I call to dissolve the human imposed self-limitations that keep us from the full expression of our twin flame identity, and the fulfillment of our original contract with Spirit in service to mankind.
I call for my Higher Self and the Higher Self of my Twin Flame. My Higher Self and the Higher Self of my Twin Flame. My Higher Self and the Higher Self of my Twin Flame. My Higher Self and the Higher Self of my Twin Flame. My Higher Self and the Higher Self of my Twin Flame. I pray that We reunite Uniting Twin Flames ~ Susay
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Neale Donald Walsch
to individuals exemplifying the spirit of service to humanity that Sri Chinmoy embodied and honored in others. The award presentation was organized by Mahesh Borkowski, a 10-year disciple
y July 2007 the wheels were in motion. Spiritual teacher Sri Chinmoy was preparing to meet and honor New York Times bestselling author Neale Donald Walsch. Sri Chinmoy would be honoring him with his ‘Lifting Up the World with a Oneness Heart Award.’ Sri Chinmoy would physically lift the author of “Conversations with God,” which has to date sold over 7½ million copies and been translated into 30 languages. On October 11, 2007 Sri Chinmoy passed away and the meeting was not able to take place. This past October 11, 2010, Neale Donald Walsch, author of 27 books, arrived at JyotiBihanga Vegetarian Restaurant to receive the ‘Torch-Bearer Award,’ which the Sri Chinmoy Centre now offers
of Sri Chinmoy who had been inspired by Mr. Walsch’s book since he was 16 years old. Having read all of Mr. Walsch’s books, he had always dreamt of meeting the author in person. Neale Donald Walsch arrived with his wife and poet, Em Claire. Present for the award ceremony was Sujantra McKeever, one of the founders of Jyoti-Bihanga and owner of Pilgrimage of the Heart Yoga in San Diego. He noted that Mr. Walsch was deeply touched Encinitas by the award and felt that in Sri Chinmoy’s life and example he had found renewed strength and guidance. Mr. Walsch related a Insurance Agency story that for him was a striking example of how deeply his writings had permeated our culture. He told the story of being introduced (760) 942-5555 to President Bill Clinton, and the President remarking that, “Of course I know who Neale Donald Walsch is. I have read all of his 148 N. El Camino Real books.” Encinitas Mr. Walsch spoke after receiving the award and noted that the Scott@Allstate.com most important thing he does in his work is to “step aside” and CA Lic: 0686321 let the writing flow through him. He also fondly remembered being interviewed on the Today Show by Matt Lauer. When the cameraman gave the signal to Mr. Lauer that there were only 30 San Diego's only seconds left in the show, Mr. Lauer asked Donald Walsh, using Certified Green up seven of those seconds, if God has a message for humanity. Mr. Walsch had never been asked this question before. He paused for Insurance Agency a moment, and then spoke the following words: “God’s message to humanity is ‘You’ve got Me all wrong.’”
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Jyoti-Bihanga is San Diego’s oldest vegetarian restaurant. It opened in 1986 in the historic Normal Heights neighborhood of San Diego. It was opened by long time San Diego resident Mahiyan Savage at the suggestion of his spiritual teacher Sri Chinmoy, who advocated a vegetarian diet as an aid towards deeper meditation and spiritual growth. Today Jyoti-Bihanga serves over 50,000 customers a year. For more information, please visit www.jyotibihanga.com or call 619.282.4116.
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ur life is somewhat of an enigma from the day we are born, throughout the passage of by Joe Dolezal our life, and all the way up until the grim process of death itself. It is a great possibility that if we were to stop and ask anyone on the street why they have been born or continue to live, we would most likely get an unsettling reaction in the form of either a confused gaze or a perplexing stare of suspicion and fright. Most mystically orientated spiritual traditions of the East and West will claim that life itself is nothing but an ever incessant struggle between the apparent duality of the cosmos. That is to say, the active versus the passive qualities of the universe work in perfect harmony, engaging in an eternal battle to perhaps accomplish some ambiguous sense of temporary superiority. The mystery of that balance and struggle of things in the universe is the mystery of life itself. It would come as no surprise, then, that when we ask people the most essential and basic of questions, such as the purpose of our very existence, that we would receive a look as nebulous as their understanding of the most fundamental question that was just proposed to them. To grasp cosmic duality in a balanced and non-biased perspective is to consciously place yourself above it. It is a difficult notion to seize intellectually because of the conscious state of our body and mind, in our ego and spirit, and in our will and way of living, which is of a dual nature. Some days we are hot, others cold. Sometimes we are happy while other times sad. Sometimes we are impeccably healthy, and the next day we are waning in physical vim and dying. It is as if we are slaves to unseen torrents in this world and could be forever thrown here and there, tossed about by some invisible force. So as a result, it is easier to submit to fate, and our life becomes one expedition of sensual pleasure and ego gratification in the infinite varieties that only our universe can offer. Our mind has somehow convinced us that real happiness can be found in the same force which causes our miseryâ€”the solution coming from the problem. Thus, the plight of the vast majority of people takes its birth and continues throughout the duration of life. It is prescribed and heralded from the dim twilights of ancient history to our present day that we must follow various instructions in scriptures that were revealed to us by our predecessors so that our energy may be preserved and sublimated into breaking the cycle of duality, and we reach a real bliss beyond ourselves. Consciousness is a real and actual potential in all people, from the lowest homeless man to the most affluent business person. It is the Divine Right of All, and you are not obligated to pay homage to anything or anyone but your own Essence, the eternal Soul. God is Your Right. Join us for a conscious gathering on Saturday, November 20, 2010 at the Pyramid Center, in the heart of the San Bernardino Mountains. This free event will provide opportunities to connect with other conscious minds, nature, and the self. Visit www.ThePyramidCenter. org for more information, and reserve your spot by e-mailing joe@ThePyramidCenter. org.
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c a f e
Gratitude: the Divine Storm by Nicole Grace
n the dry mountain air of New Mexico, a fruit tree stirs expectantly as clouds gather above. The craggy sage shivers and the shining pines wave as the wind whispers the promise of a late morning rain. Sparrows, jays, and ravens trill their hymns and caw their prayers while the coyotes howl in harmony. Nature, the great Guru, spreads her plumage and prepares us all for another wise teaching. The gray heavens will rumble a while longer, and then they will release their treasure. The trees, plants, and grass, the birds and beasts, will receive this blessing with simple humility. The earth offers to them what they need, and in turn, they will offer back their lives to the earth. There is no more powerful, no more holy spiritual quality, than humility. Without humility, all conscious evolution will cease. If we come to believe that we have achieved an all-encompassing Mastery of Life, that there is no further way to rise, to better ourselves, our hearts, our lives, then we have closed our minds to any possibility of greater learning. If we come to feel that we have achieved an enlightenment so advanced that there is nothing further to learn or to receive, we enter a dangerous, and ultimately sad, mind state. From such a confused perspective, we can come to believe that since no one and no thing can give anything or do anything for our benefit, it must follow that we are the ones who give everything to everyone else. What an exhausting concept; to be the lone Giver. Nature is wiser than this. Nature shows us that life first receives, and then offers fruit from what has already been given. True enlightenment, true mastery, can only come from utter surrender. And in surrendering, each moment of each day, we are in a constant state of receiving.
It is in the humble act of receiving love, light and life that we have the privilege of giving. What can we really give to Eternity but the fullness of our own surrender, the entire capacity of our heart’s love? In surrendering to the Divine we become Divinity ourselves, and at last realize that we are Recipients rather than Givers. We realize that individuals have nothing to give Eternity, but everything to receive. For receiving our Life, we can only be grateful. To be grateful for the immense gifts showered upon us by the Divine humbles us. To be grateful for our unique experience of Life—whether pleasurable or painful—humbles us. Gratitude and Humility are woven together, like red and gold threads twined into a bright rope, the lasso that will grab us and lead us into everlasting peace. Humility is indeed the most precious spiritual quality, and yet, it can often be the most challenging to embody. First, it is important to understand exactly what humility is and what it is not. Humility is not an obsequious lowering of oneself with empty words in an attempt to appear not to care or be invested in one’s own importance. Humility is also not believing oneself to be the lowliest person on earth. In fact, this is just another form of ego—not much different spiritually from believing yourself to be the highest being on earth. What is humility then? Humility is seeing yourself exactly as you are—no better and no worse. This requires clarity, discrimination, and courage. If you recognize that you still have some work ahead of you towards achieving true humility (and it would be very humble of you to recognize that!) then the question arises: How can I become more humble? Humility can be discovered and attained through the practice of embracing Gratitude. Gratitude is the gateway to humility and enlightenment. It is the ship you sail on across the threshold, from suffering into peace. When we experience challenging circumstances, or enter a “dark night of the soul,” it can seem that we have nothing to be grateful for. God has taken everything and/or everyone we love or need away from us. But if you have clarity, continued on page 46
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Give the Gift of We’Moon Calendars 2011 by Sydney L. Murray
Mother Earth! We feel the groundswell of your mighty changes. We are grateful to be carried along on the current of your embrace. We pledge our own momentum toward harmony among all of your creatures, and restoration of this precious planet and her life forms. © Bethroot Gwynn 2008 Where else can you find amazing artwork by amazing female artists, moon stages, great poetry and commentary by women who are offering each one of us a reminder of the natural rhythms of our Earth. The women at Mother Tongue Ink are offering an amazing 30th Edition of this iconic desktop and wall version of the Gaia Rhythms for Womyn. Imagine our world 30 years ago when a group of inveterate women determined that daily inspiration and information might aid women in their lives. I know that at times my life seems so hectic, and sometimes chaotic that the grounding rhythms of this desktop and wall-calendar offer so much more than just gorgeous artwork and words of wisdom. These pages on my desk and wall offer me grounding into the ancient world of women. We’Moon is a full astrological guide with a week at a glance format, daily astrological aspects, moon phases and signs, astrological predictions for each sign and planetary movements for 2011. The theme for 2011 is Groundswell, which explores our interconnectedness and the knowledge that even small actions make a difference. The things such as how we operate a business which We’Moon demonstrates their true commitment to the earth that sustains us all as a certified green business of Co-op America. All of their publications are printed on recycled paper with soy-based ink. We’Moon ‘11 is filled with poetry and art contributed by women from all over the world. Striking photographs and vibrant paintings enhance each page. It is an inspiration to see so many women stepping into their creative power. As I turn the pages, I feel a sense of connection to all women who identify with the feminine divine and are in tune with the earth. Check out We’Moon at www.wemoon.ws. We’Moon 2011 Astrological Datebook, $18.95, $14.95 wall calendar published by Mother Tongue Ink. To order, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 877.693.6666. V I S I O N M AG A Z I N E
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Gratitude, The Process of Manifestation and the Experience of Everyday Miracles
by Lori Spagna ur society has not been trained to express gratitude for all of the magnificent gifts we have. In many ways we have actually been trained to pay attention to the lack of what we have, or what we have not. It is the paying attention to that lack which actually creates the lack, not the other way around. The recent global changes we have been witnessing are clear evidence of our need to be grateful for all that we have. Who are we, living in the richest state of the country, and one of the richest countries in the world, to ever believe that we do not have enough? Our so called ‘economic crisis’ has been a lesson in gratitude and in recognizing how truly plentiful and abundant we are. More than that, the Universe itself is abundant, and we are blessed with its opulence, but we must claim it as our birthright. This is not conjecture—it is a Universal truth and it is written in the Universal Laws, which are indisputable laws that govern us all. As a conscious and deliberate manifestor, I know full well and first hand the power of expressing gratitude. Although I come from a relatively wealthy background, there was a time in my recent past when I simply did not have enough money to meet my basic survival needs or the needs of my pets. It was during that time when I learned how the expression of gratitude, sometimes for the pennies I found on the street, as well as the power of successful, deliberate intent combined with a simple process of manifestation could assist me in my life to recreate my life into a of my dreams. Since that time, real and seemingly unexplainable miracles have become part of my everyday experience as well as the experience of so many of my clients.
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By using the tools of manifestation and practicing the art of gratitude, I have successfully: changed my career and built a small but steadily growing business of my dreams; where I assist others in achieving their dreams, released over 65 pounds of excess body weight; completely rid myself of all pharmaceutical drugs, tobacco, and alcohol which I had been abusing for years; removed myself from all of the unhealthy relationships of my past and established new, loving and fulfilling relationships; and radically transformed my thoughts, beliefs, ideologies and knowing, essentially re-programming my brain and my body for a new and higher level of experience, so that I am able to give and receive love, kindness, compassion, forgiveness, laugher and joy in ways I never knew possible. These accomplishments, while miraculous, do not even begin to explain the miracles which I could expand on, including: Manifesting gas in my car when there was an empty tank the night before; manifesting cash in my wallet which was not there the day before; and manifesting so much of the materialistic ‘stuff’ I want and desire, sometimes out of what might seem to be ‘thin air.’ Indeed, expressing gratitude is one critical element in successful manifestation and getting anything in this world, including having the experience of feeling and being healthy, wealthy, happy, abundant, and prosperous. When I am coaching clients and leading manifestation circles, I teach people this very simple process to create the life of their dreams the way they want to experience it. With client after client, I witness their success as they use the power of conscious and deliberate manifestation. Some recent examples of the successful outcomes which many of my clients have experienced via our coaching sessions and the manifestation circles include: within one week of using the manifestation process, one client had the exact memory foam bed she had always wanted, at the price of $600, rather than the original $1500; within 1 week of a manifestation circle, one participant manifested $6,000+ for her business, free and clear; within 24 hours of a circle, one participant manifested the $250 prescription drug she needed for her migraine headache (the pharmaceutical company was refusing to provide it) in her mailbox, free; and within one month of a circle, one participant manifested $105,000.49. Through the power of conscious, deliberate intent, the simple manifestation process and the expression of genuine gratitude, the most remarkable miracles are not only possible, but they become part of our everyday experience. Even better, as we become more and more aware of our ability to manifest anything and everything we desire, including a new Earth, we come to realize our own power to create heaven on Earth, for ourselves and for everyone we share our experience with. Lori Spagna is founder of efil’s god Spirit, which focuses on a spiritual, holistic approach to communication and healing for the mind, body, and spirit in every living being. She is a Professional Intuitive, Animal Communicator, Energy Healer, Motivational Coach, and Canine Behavioral Expert for the Spiritually Conscious. Lori has over 20 years of experience serving humans, animals, and their communities around the world and is certified in Reiki, Theta Healing, EFT, Animal Communication, Canine Behavioral Training, and other healing techniques. Lori provides seminars, presentations, and workshops and leads powerful manifestation circles using The Universal Laws to help people uncover their true power. She can be reached through her website at www.efilsgodspirit.com or at 866.388.5115.
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NEW STUDENT SPECIAL 10 Classes in 10 Days for $30!! Annual Teachers’ Training 200 and 500 hour levels available. Voted the “Best Non-Threatening Yoga Studio in LA” by LA Weekly! 1306 Sonora Avenue, Glendale, CA 91201, 818.265.9833, www. yogaatthevillage.com. 06.11 ZEN BABY YOGA Learn to Strengthen your Bond with your Baby through Fitness, Song and Meditation. NOW OFFERING Zen Daddy Classes. Visit Zenbabyyoga.org TODAY! 11.10 YOGA DANCE FITNESS MIX. SD’S NEWEST INTIMATE STUDIO: 4836 Rolando Blvd. 92115 619.889.0061 www.LMGDANCEANDFITNESS.com First class FREE! SD residents only. Only $10 after! 11.10
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a benefit to the modern human psyche which has been skewed by our aberrant cultural dynamics. Dr. Holland asserts that the use of cannabis is not only neuro-protective, but more importantly, can be extremely anti-inflammatory, and therefore mitigates endogenous tissue degeneration. It is a cultural faux pas to continue to deem cannabis as a pernicious agent. Alcohol, tobacco, and processed foods have been scientifically shown to be highly virulent to the body’s physiological homeostatic processes. Thus, a vote against cannabis is celebrating the abusive aspects of alcohol, tobacco, and processed foods. James Rigdon stated that even if a voter is unwilling to be scientifically educated regarding the auspicious benefits of cannabis to society and the individual, its legalization will certainly improve California’s social services. Any voter in California can purchase Dr. Holland’s book for $19.95 in order to comprehend the intrinsic cultural benefits of this medicinal agent, which has been shown to elevate human consciousness. Cannabis is the only effective herb which has been clinically proven to mollify the baneful symptomologies of this society’s epidemic of culturally induced anxiety. Every California voter has the responsibility to support and affirm human health rather than our avarice-based pathophysiological lifestyle. A vote of yes for Proposition 19 represents an ameliorative change in our cultural evolution. Dr. Ron Shane is the Director of Optimal Medicine and Health for the Zen Beauty Institute. As a post-doctoral research scholar, he has worked in and studied academic disciplines such as renaissance mysticism literature, psychology, neurobiology, and endocrinology. He is also a sixth-degree black belt and international instructor in Taekwon-Do, as well as an Esoteric Yoga master. Contact Dr. Shane at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. “Finding Peace Amidst Chaos” continued from page 13
things going on around us. Since 2001 we have been celebrating the International Children’s Holiday for Peace, a day where poor children and orphans can eat, play, sing, dance, and paint murals. This past July, 2,300 children in 10 villages participated. Another crucial principle I try to follow is to be in the moment. We have the ability to be in the present and enjoy our surroundings even though the world could be coming to an end in other areas. Watching birds play in the beautiful garden at my wellness and retreat center in San Diego or seeing the marvel of a beautiful rose keeps me grounded when the memory of the destruction comes to mind. Finally, accept little gestures with gratitude. My last day in Haiti, while walking alone in one of the streets, three young girls came running towards me, kissed me, and told me that when they found who I was, they wanted to let me know how much they loved me. The smallest one handed me a wild flower that she was holding behind her back. After they left, I just stood and cried. This little gesture made all my efforts worthwhile. Dr. Carolle Jean-Murat is a gynecologist, menopause specialist, medical intuitive, seminar leader, and author. She has invited the Vision Magazine community to an open house at her wellness and retreat center in San Diego on Sunday, January 9, 2011. The open house will be in honor of the Haiti earthquake survivors. For reservations and driving directions, please register online at www.drcarolle.com. Please also consider sharing your gratitude for this year’s holiday season by donating to the Angels for Haiti fund. Send your tax-deductible contribution to: HTC Foundation P.O. Box 2348, La Mesa, CA 91943-2348. For more information on the Angels for Haiti fund, visit www.AngelsforHaiti.org.
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“Teachers for Social Justice Conference” continued from page 17
“Surrender ” continued from page 21
Here we had young high school students applying the theories of Paulo Freire, Karl Marx, and Bell Hooks to experiences they have had in their own lives. They were able to articulate simple thoughts that I know I could barely do while in the midst of a highly rigorous graduate school program that centered on works these influential theorists had written. It wasn’t just the fact that they were young and showed an understanding for such complex ideas; it was the fact that they could apply them to mundane everyday instances we would all recognize. That was the beauty to me, because in realms of higher education, some teachers and professors seem to talk and write in a way that the only people who can understand them are their colleagues, i.e. only someone with a PhD. Although I’ve had a lot of formal training, it’s always been a goal of mine to be able to carry a conversation with someone who may be living without knowing where they’re going to sleep that night or if they’ll have a chance to eat, all the way up to politicians in our government. These kids exemplified that spirit and further showed me once again that all it takes is time to learn, the time to share, and willingness to be open to new thoughts and ideas that may ultimately benefit more than just elites and the status quo. Did I mention that this conference is free and literally open to anyone? It’s truly amazing that such a gathering can happen in a day and age when money for individuals and institutions alike are as tight as ever. The way the conference gets funded is from donations by attendees. I figured someone would have written a grant, or perhaps some well off donor makes a contribution each year to keep the gathering running. But no; that’s not what Teachers for Social Justice is after. They don’t want outside sources funding their conference, and they don’t want a particular group or individual getting the attention that comes from hosting such an event. They want it coming from those who are happy enough to fill the space that they share with whatever it is they have. I know from being a low income student and community member that money is always tight, not just now in poor economic times, but always. But even I rationalized whatever I had in my pockets was worthy to pass on for what was shared with me that day. And somehow it works. For ten years it has worked, and I guarantee you that everyone who had the chance to go this year is using what they got out of the conference for something good in their communities. The simple messages of the conference—commitment, empowerment, humility, resistance, community, strength, a labor of love—are all themes I know we can live better by. To me that’s something to be thankful for, and I can’t think of anything that speaks to gratitude more than a free gathering held once year that’s solely meant to empower teachers, students, and all people who wish to make their communities and this world a better place for us all.
do what it needs to do. Avoid any temptation to hold onto it or make something out of it. God gives you His dreams to be their steward, not their owner. Accepting this truth gifts you with a sense of inner peace, born of detachment. By surrendering to the ebb and flow of Creation, you are instantly in union with God. It is God’s plan... Let God worry about it. Why is there such an all-pervasive resistance to surrender? There are many fears, lessons, and layers through which one must pass. It is a lifelong process. However, at the very core level of human existence lies the single, greatest fear: the loss of identity. Given a voice, this deep, unconscious fear speaks: “If I give back every single piece of me, down to the very last thread connecting me to the earth, then I will not exist. There will be none of me left. I will not even know who I am. I will have nothing to call my own. I will have no reason, no purpose. I will just be a blob, a void—like wallpaper.” It is that thread to any sense of personal identity to which a consciousness clings most. In actuality, there is some validity to this fear. You will eventually lose what you have always known to be your identity. However, the identity of which you are letting go, the one to which you have become so attached, is the one which was formed by all the many parts of your separate self, your inauthentic self. It is understandable that you became attached to them. The distorted ego personality was all you knew. The resistance to letting go is so great because most are only looking at half of the equation. Once that identity has been dissolved, what remains is not “nothing”; it is, instead, your Divine Self—your divinity—radiant and whole. It is more than a fair trade. Surrendering your life and very existence unto God, to receive His dream for you, is equivalent to trading in a piece of coal for a flawless diamond. This gets to the core of it all. What I am speaking about is the “surrender’s surrender.” How far will you go for God? Would you give up, as Abraham did, your firstborn son? Would you give up your dream for a house—or a lover—if you knew that it was fulfilling God’s wish and was endearing you to God? Would you give up your life itself, as Jesus did? God says, “Do this for Me. That is all I ask, and so many blessings will shower upon humanity and yourself by so doing. Will you do this for Me?” Very easy it is for ones to say “yes” while sitting in church or in a prayer circle, but how about when theory becomes reality? Divesting ourselves of all the conditions we place upon serving God brings us into deeper and deeper states of surrender. True power is accessed through surrender. The more you surrender the personal will, the personal desires, the sensegratifying, selfish needs and wants, the more your divine power and God’s divine power take hold of you in absolutely astounding ways. The key is to ache for God—to feel, know, and become more of God—inside and outside of you, with absolutely no conditions or expectations placed upon Him. Next is to accept, with joy, whatever that looks like in your life and however that might manifest. Ultimately, it is to serve and obey, without question, in true faith and devotion, and with a heart filled with gratitude for the privilege and honor it is to be entrusted with manifesting God’s plan on Earth. What is Surrender? “Here but for the grace of God stand I. Use me according to Thy will.” Louix Dor Dempriey is a spiritual Master who has come into this world to help others restore their inherent divinity and live as unconditional love. Louix’s darshan, as well as His illuminating discourses, meditations, and ceremonies, have invoked profound transformation in thousands of people worldwide. With grace and humor, Louix imparts timeless wisdom in contemporary, practical teachings—that transcend all faiths, paths, religions, and cultures—making self-mastery and true, inner peace attainable for all. He resides at Prema Drala Ashram, in Laguna Hills, California. For more information, please visit www.Louix.org.
Teachers for Social Justice is a non-profit organization based in San Francisco, California whose mission is to create meaningful changes in the classroom, communities, and society as a whole. For more information about their work, upcoming events, and opportunities, please visit www.t4sj.org. Brennan Lagasse is a writer and environmental consultant living in Lake Tahoe, CA. His recently-published book, Waiting for the Snow to Fall: First Nations, Federal Policy and Environmental Justice, explores the tenets of holistic sustainable land-use policy applied and understood through critical examination of the plan to expand the Arizona Snowbowl ski resort near Flagstaff, AZ. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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NOVEMBER 21 SUNDAY THE PYRAMID CENTER - A CONSCIOUS GATHERING! Join us on Saturday, November 21st at The Pyramid Center A Metaphysical Nexus where Conscious Minds Meet! Meet and mingle with people who seek and desire conciseness expansion, psychic development and self realization. For info and details visit: www. ThePyramidCenter.org
DECEMBER DECEMBER 4 saturDAY CLEARING YOUR MAGNETIC FIELD WITH DEBBIE FORD & JAMES VAN PRAAGH Become a Magnet for Love, Money and Opportunities. Wilshire Ebel Theatre Los Angeles. Reserve now seats are limited. www.hayhouse. com or call 800.654.5126Register by Oct. 15 and save $25.
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THE NEVER-ENDING “I”. Meetings with Karl Renz, author of The Myth of Enlightenment. An Inner Directions event, October 12-14. Foundation Yoga, Solana Beach. Payment at door. 760.599.4075. www.InnerDirections.org
NOVEMBER 11 ThursDAY DR. CAROLLE PRESENTS BETTER SEX FOREVER How to Have a Fulfilling Sex Life at Any Age from 7 to 9 PM $25. Is your sex life the way you want it to be? Having a satisfying sex life is a must for a woman to feel fulfilled, happy and healthy. There are many reasons that cause a woman to have sexual problems. Come and uncover the root cause of your sexual dysfunction and learn how to deal with it. Dr. Carolle Jean-Murat, M.D., is a gifted medical intuitive, board certified gynecologist and has advised thousands of women how to have a better sex life. www.drcarolle.com or call 619.850.5030.
NOVEMBER 18 THURSDAY DR. CAROLLE PRESENTS HEALING FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS 7 to 9 PM $25 Unhealthy relationships with an intimate partner, a parent/caregiver, relatives or a child, are one of the most common stress triggers in a woman’s life. Healing these relationships is one of the first steps for her to live her life powerfully. Dr. Carolle Jean-Murat, M.D., is a gifted medical intuitive, board certified gynecologist and has advised thousands of women how to have a better family relationships. www. drcarolle.com or call 619.850.5030.
NOVEMBER 18 THURSDAY WINE WOMEN & HORMONES – Join Dr. Janette Gray and Chris Givant, RPh, national experts in the field of balancing hormones and healthy aging. FREE, RSVP. For Sept 16 The Center for Health and Wellbeing, 3636 Fifth Ave., San Diego, CA 92103 www.integrativemedicinesandiego. com, 619.814.5542.
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DECEMBER 9 THURSDAY DR. CAROLLE PRESENTS: LIVING YOUR LIFE IN BALANCE; Mind, Body & Soul 7 to 9 PM $25 Your mental, physical & spiritual health are part of the equation for a healthy life and fulfilling life. Dr. Carolle Jean-Murat, M.D., is a gifted medical intuitive, board certified gynecologist and has advised thousands of women how to live their lives in balance. www.drcarolle.com or call 619.850.5030.
DECEMBER 11 SATURDAY
JANUARY 9 SUNDAY SPECIAL OPEN HOUSE AT DR. CAROLLES Wellness and Renewal Center, San Diego. January 9th, 1-5 PM, Donations Gratefully Accepted On the One Year Anniversary of the 7.2 Earthquake in Haiti. Celebrating the art and survival of the children of Haiti. Art Show, program for children, Dr. Carolle will present an update with the latest information on what is happening in Haiti. www.drcarolle.com or call 619.850.5030.
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JANUARY 27-28 THURSDAY-FRIDAY BECOME A CERTIFIED LIFE COACH AND EXECUTIVE COACH. Our 2-Day Intensive will teach your everything you need to know to succeed. Register Today. Jan. 27-28 Westin HotelLAX Please call 866.4552155 or visit www. certifiedcoachesfederation.com.
HOLIDAY CRYSTAL TRUNK SHOW. Gorgeous, powerful crystals available just in time for the holiday season. December 11 from 12-4pm at The Imagine Center. The first 20 attendees will receive a $10 Imagine Center gift card valid from 12/12 – 12/31. Admission is free. The Imagine Center is located at 18635 Ventura Blvd, Tarzana, CA. Check us out online at http://www.theimaginecenter. com or by phone at 818.345.1100.
DECEMBER 16 THURSDAY DR. CAROLLE’S WELLNESS & RENEWAL CENTER SAN DIEGO Dr. Carolle Presents, with natural food expert, Irene Lang Healthy Eating: Stay Healthy, Prevent Cancer & Lose Weight 7 to 9 PM $25 Simple steps to healthy eating, preparing quick and healthy meals that you like. Dr. Carolle Jean-Murat, M.D., is a gifted medical intuitive, board certified gynecologist and has advised thousands of women how to live their lives in balance. Irene Lang has created a natural food program that anyone will enjoy. www. drcarolle.com or call 619.850.5030.
DECEMBER 29-JANUARY 2 THURSDAY-SUNDAY NEW YEARS EVE RETREAT at The Lodge of Torrey Pines, La Jolla CA. For information or to Register for the retreat please contact Samantha@louis.org or call. 888.288.3735 www.louix.org
JANUARY 28-31 FRIDAY-MONDAY MATRIX ENERGETICS LEVEL 1 & II SAN FRANCISCO. LEVEL III FEB. 2-3 3RD. Richard Bartlett, DC, ND teaches Matrix Energetics a consciousness technology. During this life-changing weekend you will learn the art of rewriting every rule you’ve ever had about your life. Call now. 8000.269.9513 or visit www.matrixenergetics.com
FEBRUARY FEBRUARY 4-6 FRIDAY-SUNDAY FIVE ANIMAL FROLICS QIGONG with world-renowned health educator and Qigong Master Ken Cohen in San Diego, February 4-6, 2011. The Five Animal Frolics are gentle, highly enjoyable exercises modeled on the Crane, Bear, Monkey, Deer and Tiger. It is the oldest healing exercise in the world and the standard against which other qigong methods are measured. Cohen is the author of “The Way Qigong: the Art and Science of Chinese Energy Healing” and best-selling Sounds True audio/video programs. His work has been sponsored by the American Cancer Society, the Mayo Clinic and numerous universities. Register today as class size is limited: www. kennethcohen.com, info@qigonghealing. com, 303-258-0971 (voicemail).
ONGOING SUNDAYS MASTERING TRUE LOVE—An online listener call-in radio show. Join Paul Reinig live as he interviews guests and shares testimony on how he learned to cultivate a safe and sacred space within through accepting all aspects of himself. Sunday’s at 6 pm PST. www.BlogTalkRadio.com/ Mastering-True-Love. For information about Paul see www.MasteringTrueLove.com. V I S I O N M AG A Z I N E
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SUNDAYS SPICA – WAY OF LIGHT INSPIRATIONAL SERVICES 2nd Sunday of the month at 10am, 4th Sunday at 9am. Myztic Isle Bookstore, 8036 La Mesa Blvd, La Mesa, CA. 619.588.6483 for information. 11/10 FIND THE CENTER OF DIVINITY WITHIN! Inspirational prayers, metaphysical teachings, music, social hour to follow. 10:30AM-11:30AM. Teaching of the Inner Christ 1100 N. Second St. Suite 1114 El Cajon, CA 92021. 619.447.7007 11/10
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Escondido, CA www.harmonygrovespiritualist.org GONG MEDITATION & ONENESS BLESSING Sundays at 7pm (Donation) Starting Aug 15 The Center for Health and Wellbeing, 3636 Fifth Ave., San Diego, CA 92103 www.integrativemedicinesandiego. com, 619.814-5542 TRANCE-FORMATION CIRCLE – Stressed out??? Feeling overwhelmed & out of control? Losing sleep? Not getting what you want in life? Attend this circle to find out how to feel more relaxed and in control, sleep peacefully through the night, and increase your confidence & motivation so you can reach your goals. Led by Mazda Lakpour, this circle convenes on Sundays from 2 – 4pm at The Imagine Center, 18635 Ventura Blvd, Tarzana, CA 91356. $10 donation at the door. Register at 818-345-1100 or online at http://www.theimaginecenter.com. ONENESS MEDITATION & ENERGY ATTUNEMENT – Offers deep breathing meditation and alignment of your personal energy field. An interactive Oneness group where each shares their gifts and holds the space for each other’s healing and empowerment. Don’t know your gifts? Goddess Light and Ordained Metaphysician Tauheedah Shakoor-Curry creates safe space and delivers spirit messages to help clarify your calling. 11am – 1pm at The Imagine Center, 18635 Ventura Boulevard, Tarzana, CA 91356. $10 love offering. Register at 818.345.1100 or online at www.theimaginecenter. com. The Group does NOT meet on the fourth Sunday of the month. DEVOTIONAL SINGING MANTRA MUSIC Every Sunday 7-9pm. FREE! Led by Cass Smith, Donna & Teeto Cheema, Jim & Lynn Chow & Friends. Singing and chanting the sweet names of God, with love and devotion is the easiest and most effective way to reach liberation. 2845 Cacatua St. La Costa, CA 92009. 760.431.7658 or 760.753.3353.
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MONDAYS $8 BEGINNERS YOGA CLASSES Monday @ 6:00 p.m. Tuesday’s @ 5:30 p.m. 2333 Camino del Rio South #240 92108 www.yogawell.com 619.917.0998 FREE PSYCHIC READINGS every FIRST Monday 7:30pm by students in Vessa’s INTUITIVE INSIGHTS Clairvoyant Program, 4455 Morena Blvd. #108, 858.509.7582 www.MyIntuition.Net 02.11
TUESDAYS CLINICAL NUTRITION. INTRODUCTORY or FULL Certification. Special Discounts. Most comprehensive training from nationally honored Nutritionists. Revised! 7:00-9:50 pm. Natural Healing Institute, 760-943-8485 enroll@naturalhealinginst. com or visit www.naturalhealinginst.com. WEDNESDAYS MIRACLE CIRCLE MEDITATION: Connect with your inner divinity through deep meditation, inspirational prayers, and group discussion. 7PM8PM. Teaching of the Inner Christ 1100 N. Second St. Suite 1114 El Cajon, CA 92021. 619.447.7007 11.10 CLINICAL MASTER HERBOLOGY. INTRODUCTORY or FULL Certification. Special Discounts. Most comprehensive training from nationally honored Master Herbalists. Revised! 7:009:50 pm. Natural Healing Institute, 760.943.8485 enroll@naturalhealinginst. com or visit www.naturalhealinginst.com. WEEKLY PSYCHIC DEVELOPMENT CLASS–This class format supports development of your psychic abilities. Learn how to prepare to send and receive messages clearly and safely; connect to loving spirit guides, angels and deceased loved ones; to open and close energy fields; and to explore various forms of intuitive abilities. 7 – 9 pm at The Imagine Center, 18635 Ventura Blvd., Tarzana, CA 91356. $25 fee. Register at 818-345-1100 or online at www.theimaginecenter.com.
THURSDAYS FREE DETOXIFICATION AND WEIGHT LOSS CLASS 1st Thursday of every month. 6:30 PM. Easy and successful program. Register @ Body Basics Health Center, San Diego. 619.296.7390 01.11
FRIDAYS SPIRITUAL CINEMAN FRIDAYS 7:30 pm (Donation) The Center for Health and Wellbeing. 3636 Fifth Ave., San Diego, CA92103 www. integrativemedicinesandiego.com 619.814.5542 HAPPINESS CLASSES - Based on the lifehealing teachings of VERNON HOWARD, Fridays - 8pm; Sundays - 10am. New Life Foundation, 5779 Westminster Blvd., Westminster, CA. 714.899.9300 Conquer stress, handle difficult people with ease, banish problems. Donation basis. 12.10 SATURDAYS PSYCHIC SKILLS AND TECHNIQUES WITH CORRINE – On hiatus for November, this practice circle will resume on 12/4 and 12/18. It will help you increase your intuitive abilities and strengthen your connection with Spirit. Focus is on receiving and delivering loving messages from spirit guides, angels and deceased loved ones. The goal is to relate messages that are for the highest and best good of each participant. Saturdays, 12/4 and 12/18 from1 – 3pm at the Imagine Center, 18635 Ventura Blvd, Tarzana, CA 91356. $15 minimum donation. Register at 818.345.1100 or online at www.theimaginecenter.com.
SATURDAYS LEARN TO HEAL YOURSELF! I am Randy a PRANA HEALER. I’ve been a PRANA HEALER for 16 years. You will learn quickly & effectively how to HEAL YOURSELF! This 4-hour seminar, COMPLETELY SPIRITUAL. LIVING MATRIX, THE MOVIE explains in detail how to love yourself. The movie explains in detail how to heal yourself and loved ones! Done by the Top Scientists & Einstein. Please call 949.205.3735 for directions to Randy’s Home. Every Sat. 10am-2pm. RAW FOODS PREPARATION. Therapeutic. Live. Exotic. Gourmet. Medicinal Themes. Natural Healing Institute, 760.943.8485 enroll@naturalhealinginst. com www.naturalhealinginst.com
“Awakening Through Gratitude” continued from page 23
sizzling on hot concrete can generate gratitude effortlessly. What about when life feels uncomfortable? Can you meet disappointment honestly and openly? Can you stay present during difficulty? In challenging times, you may not even hear the sound of a sparrow singing to the morning sun. Ending attachment to the past or ideas about how the future should look occurs when you turn your attention to the field of love. Seeing through the eyes of gratitude can facilitate this. The openness of a grateful heart unleashes life to be what it is at its core: love. When thoughts are free to move, they will evolve back to their source and leave more space for gratitude. From the perspective of living in gratitude, obstacles become opportunities for freedom. Expressing or writing statements of gratitude every day is a practice that establishes a relationship with presence. A daily practice eventually transforms and frees gratitude to bubble through you in a celebration of life. If you long to live fully, gratitude is a great place to start. You can begin by asking yourself: What am I grateful for right now? What gratitude do I feel that cannot be put into words? Gratitude is a celebration that reorients our attention to love and awakens us to live as what we truly are. Nancy Elizabeth Brady is an intuitive transformational healer, teacher, and mentor. She helps people live from their true potential and dynamically contribute their unique gifts to the world. Nancy offers private sessions and classes in Orange County and North San Diego County. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 949.370.3382.
“Nicole Grace” continued from page 25
VM: What would be a short description of mystical Buddhism teaching? NG: It requires, generally, someone who has been there, who can come back and talk about it and get you there. Mysticism is the pursuit of, and finally having, a direct experience of divine consciousness. You can have this. There is nothing that anyone else has that you don’t that will prevent you from finding this in yourself. It is simply a choice. It is meditation, contemplation, self-discovery—the expression and the experience of love, of loving as much as you can, as long as you can, every day, something greater than yourself. Each person is in direct service to his or her own higher consciousness, not to the teacher. No one is serving another. All are serving Eternity. Again, it’s all about direct experience. Mysticism is dissolving into beauty. VM: What do you believe is the most pressing issue for human kind? NG: Fear. I think fear drives everything. The more people we can remove from the condition of fear, the better the world will be. Each one of us has something valuable to offer, because everyone has a heart and a window into the same view as everyone else, and that view is to enlightenment, to eternity. Anyone can open that window at any time and let the light in. How many people can we help? We can each do a little bit. Let a little more light in the world, and what I mean by that is to take away a little bit of fear. There doesn’t need to be a label on spiritual practice. If you just strip away all the layers and just spend some quiet time everyday discovering yourself, there will be a little less suffering in your world tomorrow. I want to encourage everyone to believe that there is a way out and it is available now. Nicole Grace is a Buddhist monk, mystic and teacher, and the award-winning author of Bodhisattva: How to Be Free, Teachings to Guide You Home (Mani Press 2010). Join us in Denver, CO and Sedona, AZ this month to meet the author and get a signed copy of Bodhisattva. For more information, visit www.bodhisattvabook.com or facebook.com/bodhisattvabook. V I S I O N M AG A Z I N E
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“Gratitude: The Divine Storm” continued from page 36
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discrimination, and courage, you can allow yourself to recognize many, many reasons to be grateful, despite your challenges. A famous Sufi proverb says, “I cried because I had no shoes…until I met a man who had no feet.” It can be very helpful, and also quite illuminating, to set aside a few quiet moments to make a list of everything in your life for which you are grateful. The list may start out brief, but after just a few moments of sincere contemplation about your life, you will likely find the list growing longer and longer and longer. Highlight the “meta” categories for which you are most grateful, such as: your Life itself, your interest in self-discovery and spiritual evolution, having food and shelter, being loved by the Eternal, seeing sunsets, and so on. During different phases of our lives, we may be more grateful for certain things at certain times, but there are also always some things that may never change and for which we will be grateful until we draw our last breath. It is a wonderful, rewarding and non-denominational practice to take time every day to contemplate the treasures Eternity has lain at your feet. The Divine has bowed and offered to you Your Life itself, as a Buddhist might offer a khata (ceremonial scarf) to his guru. This gift of life, this opportunity to learn more each day, to give more to others each day, to be better, kinder, and wiser, to laugh and breathe and love regardless of what we may receive—this gift is precious beyond imagining. This gift alone can open our hearts and welcome gratitude inside. Watching nature, we can begin to understand. A darkening sky knits its brows, flashing light and grumbling, while leaves lift and fly across its face. A peach tree flutters in anticipation. When the rain comes, she bows for the benediction. In the Spring, her gratitude will flush across her cheeks as pink fruit. The fruit will fall and feed birds and furred creatures and insects, it will ripen and rot back into the grateful soil. The tree’s expression of gratitude itself becomes an offering back to the Divine. What is the seed from which this beauty blooms? What is the origin of gratitude, followed down its green stem to the root? Of course, what else could it possibly be but love? Gratitude is love. In true love—profound love—divine love, there is no one superior to another. Loved and lover are equals, offering themselves to each other gratefully, until there is no one offering and no one receiving, but just One undulating, loving storm, thundering in its own ears, for ever and ever. Nicole Grace is a Buddhist monk, mystic and teacher, and the award-winning author of Bodhisattva: How To Be Free, Teachings To Guide You Home (Mani Press 2010). Join us in Denver, CO and Sedona, AZ this month to meet the author and get a signed copy of Bodhisattva. For more information, visit www.bodhisattvabook.com or facebook.com/bodhisattvabook.
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