Category Archives: Daily Zen

Famous quotes from eclectic sages, across cultures and ages. Posts to inspire and motivate you to live well and be your personal best.

The Breadth of Life

broad_grandcanyonIs it the length or breadth of life that matters most? Would you rather lead a life that’s long and inconsequential or a life that’s shorter and full of purpose? These questions are existential in nature, but they’re meant to provoke a deeper evaluation of what it means to be alive, to matter, to make a difference, and indeed, to be happy. I think the best way we can serve the world is to find personal happiness, which means different things to different people. I realized a while back that I needed to please myself to be happy. Not in an egotistical way, but in a way that honors the world and myself. I found out that I didn’t need to please others or help them or serve them in some way to make them like me or to feel a sense of self-worth. I discovered, through much soul-searching, that I needed to enrich, enlighten and heal myself in order to help heal the world, enrich it and enlighten it – through my being a good example – by loving myself fully. I also came to the conclusion that you or I can earn, gain or win anything we want in life – but we have to give up the fight, let go of our defenses and accept what is true now to receive the good of what we’re meant to experience.broad_bucket Some things are just “meant to be” and others are not. Flowing with change requires an open attitude, nothing more. I think when we can accept that life is constant change, when we can adjust without resistance, we can move on to greener pastures more easily and peacefully. Then real learning and growth takes place and the soul become free to express itself as genuine. But first, we have to feel safe and free doing so. We have to feel bold enough to take risks – to live confidently and courageously – and manage our fears and doubts as they come up. Learning to trust in your truth, your special and unique message, can help you live a broad and meaningful life.  Then you can scoop up all the best parts of life and embrace the best parts of you consistently.

broad_angeldevilTo be fully present and purposeful in life, one has to be brave enough to face their demons and faithful enough to embrace their angels. Then a true diversity of experience and knowledge becomes available, as if by magic. Fear and doubt, anger, shame and guilt should never become an immoveable object obstructing one’s path to happiness, to the fulfillment of their dreams. Those emotions are just guides telling us we’re heading in the right or wrong direction. You can see fear as excitement – as a signal that you’re approaching something that means a lot, that is purposeful and a new direction you should head in with courage to overcome the fear and grow from it. I always like the quote, “feel the fear and do it anyway.” broad_fearsThat’s how you become stronger – that’s how you experience the breadth of life. It is a choice and can become a positive habit with practice. Untie any knots that conflict with your ability to move forward with the changes you have faith will make your life happier, healthier, wealthier and more whole.

With the diversity of experiences I’ve had in my one small life, I am coming to realize there is very little I should be afraid of. I’ve faced many things, tried to hide from others, but still my fears and anguish have been brought to the light to be healed. Pain can’t be escaped, it must be faced in order to heal.  I’ve learned discipline of mind and body to cope with those times of doubt and regret, of worry and fright. I’ve also learned that if you don’t restrict yourself in how you think and lead your life, life will find a way to restrict you – mainly from doing harm, intentional or not. Freedom comes from such discipline of mind, body and emotion. It sets the spirit free to experience a greater self and to enlighten and enrich the world. Restricting the limits of your mind will never allow your full potential to blossom.  We want to think big to succeed.  Being broadminded enhances your courage and keeps you open to opportunity.  Actions and habits are different.  We want to have self-discipline over how we act. broad_discipline Restricting how you behave can give you stronger wings so you can fly higher.  Discipline helps to set goals and to achieve them, not to set limits on what’s possible.  It defines your actions and opens the door to greater accomplishment, service, healing and creativity.  As Mark Twain said, “Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often.  Suffering is the result of resistance; so much better to simply embrace people, things, feelings… as they are. Intolerance is a habit we’ve been taught, but it can be unlearned. Changing habits requires conscious practice.”  Changing your life requires focus, awareness and willingness to rearrange aspects of yourself.  Nothing can be denied or avoided forever – it all comes to the top as life boils away the excess so you can see the essential truth. So, isn’t it better to try, to attempt fulfillment, to face what’s uncomfortable or unknown, to strive for your dreams fruition, to design your destiny? Or is a passive course the only safe way? I think the greatest risk is not taking any risks at all. Courage leads us to our best destination. Fortune favors the bold.

broad_zip_line1I encourage you to find more breadth (and thus more breath) in your life. Try something new to diversify your soul. You never know if you’ll discover a greater part of yourself until you allow new experiences to flow in. If you’ve always been afraid of doing something or going somewhere, find a way to convince yourself that you are safe and free to trust and be that person, living in that moment, experiencing a whole new you. Follow the bliss of your dreams and uncover their hidden meaning – that you are far greater than the sum of your experiences so far. If you always wanted to go zip lining but never had the guts, research it and then make plans to do it. Then follow through so your inner self knows you mean business when facing your apprehensions. See if you enjoy flying by the seat of your pants. It may open up a whole new world of adventure for you and introduce you to a whole new you.

broad_paradiseMaybe you love to travel but have neglected to make that special destination a priority. Save up some money, take time off work, set aside your worries and relinquish your duties to everyone else so you can meet yourself again in that new place. If it’s an educational or career opportunity that you believe would broaden your enjoyment of life, seek out the knowledge and experience you desire until you find it. Make yourself available to others, too. We find our greatest happiness and widest understanding through our relationships – romantic, familial, communal, professional or platonic. Volunteer your time and energy toward a good cause if you want to manifest a greater, more generous part of yourself. broad_attemptGet way out into nature every so often to breathe deeply and see how far the universe stretches to meet your eyes. Take an art class, sing in a choir or join an organization you think would benefit your self-expression. Clean out your closets and donate your old clothes and shoes to charity, “feng shui” your home or start a vegetable or flower garden if you want to revive the feeling in your personal sanctuary. Get involved with more meaningful activities, get help with personal issues or get a pet if you want more love, joy and healing in your life. Learn to laugh at your flaws, allow yourself to be moved to tears when needed, appreciate the miracle of each moment and feel how incredible your life really is. Agree to let life in so you can get the most out of it. There’s a million ways to make your life better if you want to. Change is always available. Just don’t let yourself stay stuck in your habits or you’ll shortchange your dreams and wind up cancelling out broader possibilities.

broad_limitsIf you tend to get caught up in your day-to-day habitual existence you may forget how much variety there is in the world. So many different people, cultures, languages, environments, foods, dance, art, music, spiritual practices, social traditions, scientific endeavors, hopes, desires and dreams exist all around us, everyday. Take inspiration from that and break your shell, knock down your walls and dare to be and feel more of that diversity, especially the uniqueness within yourself. Dare to grow and change into a greater you with broader experience and understanding, for that is what trying new things does – that “risk” emboldens and strengthens you and makes you more patient, tolerant and accepting of all the world’s gifts and wisdom, no matter how strange they may seem to be at first. In the world, or inside yourself, a stranger is indeed just a friend you haven’t met. broad_horizonsLetting go of expectations, releasing experiences of the past and giving up control of what’s outside your sphere of influence can help you bridge the gap between what you know and what makes you uneasy. Becoming the CEO of You, Inc. and only needing the approval of your executive self in all your choices will set you free to make bolder decisions and pave new, broad inroads to success and fulfillment. Only when you cherish the best and most interesting parts of who you are and forgive your frailties can you claim the wide, wonderful world as your oyster.

HKeller_AdventureWe can get lost in our own little world of needs and desires, of obligations and responsibilities, of devices and distractions. We find crutches and excuses, ways of denying our purpose and burying our light. We get pushed and rushed and stressed into doing things we often simply don’t understand our part in or even wind up resenting. But if it doesn’t feel right, intuitively, don’t let yourself be forced into a negative pattern. If you need to slow down and unplug – do it – or life will find a way to slow you down. Certainly the point of life is not to see how fast you can lead it. Every now and again we need to detach and reconvene with our more basic nature. Praying, meditating, listening to melodic music or just taking quiet time for yourself can help. broad_beliefLeaving time to dream and making space to live largely with brave resolve to be your personal best and bless the world with that power is a divine way to live. Teach your fears that they have no power over you, use them as a barometer for identifying exciting new challenges to overcome, nothing more.  Let your fears die as you are reborn stronger and wiser for confronting them. Risk taking a chance on making your life fuller, on making yourself happier. That, in turn, becomes a blessing to the world. Perhaps the greatest responsibility one has in life is the development of one’s self and to share that unique gift with the world for it’s growth. We are each one piece of an enormous puzzle, each resolving the picture of humanity’s beauty and truth. We have so much to offer each other in this journey of life, but we must be willing to give and receive – to share – to experience life broadly and openly, to learn and grow together. We must be willing to give up our fears of being different and diverse. For that is what we each have in common – we are all unique – we all share the fact that we are all different. Being special and unique is what makes us all alike.Broad_Thoreau Embrace your special, precious self and share it with the world. Share and celebrate in the breadth of the world’s diversity and in your own unique experience. Be thankful for all you’ve come to live and know for therein resides your richness and fullness. As you meditate on these ideas and breathe in life’s daily miracles, take in the breadth of life – feel how powerful it is – and feel that its true source of good begins within you. Finding peace and contentment in life isn’t about closing off or leading a small life. It’s about being open and daring yourself to try big things. You never know what good may come or how the road may wind… but that’s half the fun of taking the adventure.  May your horizons be ever broader!

Be well and live broadly! Namaste.  Yoga silhouette virabhadrasana II warrior pose

“Once I thought helping to fix, heal or save the world would bring me peace. Now I know I must first find peace inside to help fix, heal and save the world.” ~DJ

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Celebrate You!

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When you are full of love there is no room for fear.

When you give freely there is no space for lack.

If you’re open and receptive no door will remain closed.

If you’re forever grateful there is always more to be thankful for.

Inspire, illuminate and elevate the world with your special magic and so you will be encouraged to spread more of your love and light.

There is a miracle inside you awaiting expression; a wonder and beauty beyond measure.

Celebrate the greatness you have to share.  Only good can come of your generosity.

~DJ

Martha-Graham-quote

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Carving Out Your Good

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            Good things can happen any day.  Or it can go the other way.  Yet we do have an active role in deciding how our days go.  Accepting a passive destiny is no way to ensure you’re leading the life you want.  Taking what you’re given and making something great out of it or learning a valuable lesson from it is the essence of creative adaptability.  It’s the idea of turning lemons into lemonade. You have to remain an active participant in your life and do more than accept what you’re given to reach your goals.  If a sculptor is given a lump of clay and wants to make a great work of art from it, he first needs a creative vision but then he needs to sculpt out what isn’t needed to find the art beneath the clay. sculpting1 Letting go of those things which stand in our way, our fears, inhibitions, self-imposed limitations or negative habits allows us to move forward with our visions, carve out our future good and attain our goals.  Nothing good comes easily or quickly in this world, but whittling away what blocks us from what we want is a way to ensure progress and success over time.

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            Carving out your good takes time and patience, planning and consistency.  But we have to be willing to let go of the scraps of material that don’t serve us.  Finding health and fitness in your body requires you to carve and sculpt out the potential masterpiece underneath what ever you wish to let go of, like excess fat or flabby skin, a bit everyday.  A fit and healthy, sexy body doesn’t come from eating potato chips.  It’s an unrealistic expectation that a diet pill or shot will make you look and feel your best either.  Breaking into a business or career takes special carving to find the niche market or appropriate audience for what you have to sell or share. Similarly, developing a good relationship of any kind takes some creative sculpting to find what works and what doesn’t, to compromise, bridge gaps and reach an accord between you and someone else. I want to share some insights that have helped my clients to release what is wasteful or restrictive in one’s life and embrace what’s good in one’s experience or to make more of it.

1) Set intentions or goals.  Have a long or short-range trajectory of what you want is the most important key to eventually reaching your dream.  It is the forerunner of all plans, strategies and tactics.  But be specific – really go for what you want with gusto.  Envision what would make you satisfied.  Rehearse it!  See and even feel yourself getting what you want more everyday.  Put actions in place that will get you closer to your goal, day by day.  Take those actions consistently as if your life depended on their importance.  Before you know it, you’ll have reached your destination and you’ll feel proud of the journey you took to find what you were looking for.  takeachanceYou’ll also quickly discover what you needed to let go of – what you didn’t need – to get there.  Shed it and be glad of its lesson.  There’s more good on the way, set by your needs, desires and intentions.  Goals are like light through darkness; intentions are steps toward the light.


2) Let intuition guide you.  Your gut instincts are usually right.  Inside each of us there is an inner voice, a guide – the most positive part of ourselves – that always knows what’s right.  It also knows what’s wrong and what we must let go of,  avoid or diminish so that we can reach our higher purpose and do more good in the world.  The voice in your head is your intuition.  Footprints in the sand on beach near San José del Cabo, Mexico at sunriseIf you believe something is coming or you feel funny about a certain person or situation, you may well be correct.  Don’t dismiss that powerful inkling, it’s your sixth sense taking to you.  The more you listen to your intuitive voice, the stronger it gets.  Practice listening to what you know is right and what doesn’t work will also become obvious.  If your gut says, “yes” – go for it!  If the answer is “no,” respect that guidance and honor it by choosing better.  Your intuition wants what’s best for you, so allow it to lead you to carving out more good.

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3) Trust the process.  Nothing worth having comes overnight or without work and commitment.  We impose a lot of limits on ourselves, restrictions to what would make our lives better, because we don’t trust that our efforts will be rewarded.  Well, the result never comes first.  It takes perseverance to reach what we want.  Accepting that everything comes with a process and has an ultimate purpose, helps us get where we want to go.  Setting up systems for success allows you to track your progress and adapt it as needed.  The process is the way goals are met and successes made.  We set up challenges and we knock ’em down in order to move ahead.  Some of the great business people, artists and leaders of the world admit that they had to fail many times in order to find success.  trailRWEIn the process of failure they learned what they needed to do to succeed.  Like Tony Robbins says, “sometimes you’re just a millimeter off from what it takes to reach your goal.”  That’s the worst time to stop going for it.  Letting go of a need for perfection or instant gratification can help also you in the process of finding success.  Also, remember to trust yourself to make the journey, to learn and grow at your own pace.  Be true to you and who knows what you can do?

4) Show fear who’s boss.  Fear can become a paralyzing restriction in attaining your goals and carving out what you want from life.  We have fears for good reasons: to protect, defend or avoid harm.  Fear is part of our evolutionary survival mechanism, but it often doesn’t serve us all that well in modern life.  Fear is the root negative emotion.  It can turn into avoidance, escapism, intimidation, shame, frustration, anxiety, depression, hatred or rage.  fearchangeFear should never be a wall between you and what you want, as long as what you want does no harm.  If you intend something negative, then you should be afraid of your intentions.  Sloughing off fear is cutting away the dross that doesn’t serve your greater goal.  A big fear a lot of folks have is that in sharing or expressing what they want or their truth that they will be judged poorly and that they will reveal what they actually are afraid of.  Or they’re afraid they’ll share what makes them vulnerable or what they least like about themselves and be rejected for it.  Such fears come with being human and wanting to belong.  fearfalseevidenceBut we are each unique individuals and must add our special color and texture to the fabric of humanity for its betterment.  Facing your fears takes away their power, too.  Letting go of fear is essential when carving out what’s good for you and the world.

5) Don’t over-think it.  Over-analyzing is the #1 killer of creativity and mastering what you need to get what you want out of life – your good.  Creativity and criticism cannot operate in the same space at the same time.  One over-rules the other every time they meet.  Thinking about something too much or dwelling and worrying is about as bad as procrastinating in keeping you from what good you deserve.  It also becomes a form of repetitive stress on the central nervous system.  Ruminating too long actually blocks the good will of the universe, which is truly here to support your good efforts.  overthink2Having faith that what’s good for you is really for the good of all is one way of beating the need to over-think.  Take action, whatever small step you can to make your dream a reality and then step away from it.  Go for a walk, eat some pie, pet your cat and then go back to problem solving.  Either you control your thoughts or they control you.  Again, it can’t be over-stated that perfectionism and procrastination are forms of wasteful, worrisome emotion and over-analysis.  If you trust yourself enough to give yourself even 75% credit that what you want or need is actually GOOD for you, just do it!  Get off it, get over it and get going already!

6) Be open to guidance.  Be it an expert or specialist in your field, a trusted friend, a teacher, spiritual leader or yoga instructor, take in whatever advice comes your way with an open mind.  You never know when inspiration will strike or what bit of advice will spur you on to greater things.  Dreams are wonderful guides to the subconscious needs we have.  Listen to what your mind and heart are telling you and you’ll realize many of the answers you need are within.  Let go of judgment and accept everything you’re told as help.  I often say. “I’ll have to consider that” or “I’ll take that under advisement” when I encounter a new idea or bit of wisdom, no matter the source.  We are truly each others reflection and all a part of the same sphere of consciousness.  teacher1So, let go of any thought that you and only you know what’s best and lovingly accept the messages that wind up on your desk.  You never know when a little bird might give you the few inspiring words you needed to find your fuller self.  Some people actually love to help you carve out your good!


7) It’s all temporary and you’re not done growing!  If life was static and we all were exactly who and what we’re meant to be, I think life would be pretty boring and perhaps the world would stop turning.  Sometimes we just have to step out of our own way and accept that we have more to learn and nothing is set in stone.  Everything is temporary.  There is no constant but change.  Being flexible and rolling with the punches is a bedrock behavior for those who wish to find fulfillment.  Ask for what you want and then find ways to get it.  If you reach a dead end, you turn around, dig under or learn to fly over your obstacle.  Be willing to learn and grow everyday.  Try new approaches and be adaptable – be willing to change – and you’ll find what you’re looking for.truetoyourselfDrS  It’s got to be worth something to you, so let go of what ever is holding you back – fear of change, old messages of lack or limitation, whatever makes you feel insecure – and lock onto what will enrich you if you dare to make the journey.  Be willing to grow past what you know, past your ego and even what you think is true and you’ll find everything is relative, temporary and contingent on your willingness to try something new.


Here are a few more inspiring thoughts that may also help you carve out your good and let go of what no longer serves you:

“Everyday, just find two things: something that inspires you to do more good and something that you feel immense gratitude for, and you’ll begin to live your own miracle.”

“If you don’t want to open the front door to see what good may come, afraid of the bad air that may accompany it, at least crack open a window and take a breath of the prevailing winds.  Some good may blow in!”

“Swim as though there are no life preservers.”

“If you never show and share your true self and never strive for what you want, how will anyone know you or learn to love you?  How will you ever help, heal, enrich or enlighten the world or yourself?”

“Everyday I am challenged and enriched as much as I allow myself to be.” trynewthings

 

 

 

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Want Power Over Your Stress? Under-react!

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            Folks are leading more and more complicated lives and having to deal with more stress than ever these days.  Is it the same for you?  Have you flipped, freaked or fallen ill due to stress in the past year?  Even with more conveniences, more tools for communication and a better overall quality of life, we have more on our plates than ever.  Whether it’s work, family, finances, travel, health or any other part of life, we have lots to juggle and never enough time in any given day to keep all the balls in the air without stressing out.  Stress is the number 1 killer in the U.S. and contributes greatly to an increasing prevalence of heart disease, cancer and diabetes among our populace.  We are all becoming more prone to overreaction and anxiety than ever before, it’s literally killing us, but we can fight back.   So, how do we get off the stress conveyer belt and stay healthy without neglecting our responsibilities and aspirations?  I have practiced and instructed others to do one simple mental technique when stress becomes unmanageable: under-react.

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            It takes practice, but when you’re stressing, give yourself a mental cue to stop and take a moment for yourself to process everything that’s going on around and inside you.  Breathe and take your emotional reaction down a few notches by will.  It may seem too easy, but it really works.  Simply taking a deep breath and realizing that you are only one person, everything’s temporary and the world will keep on turning whether you stress out or not can give you enough perspective to relax.  The human condition is evolved for and demands relaxation time to deal with stress, but we often forget to give ourselves a time out.  Not resting and relaxing enough creates a pressure-cooker within the body and mind.  Eating wrong, taking stimulants and other drugs, drinking and not working out makes things even worse.  Whenever we stress out, adrenalin and cortisol surge, finger nails can get bitten, friends and family can get their heads bitten off and our bodies can get very sick.  Then we feel even worse for having our over-reactive stress response and hurting others and ourselves in the process.  It can become a vicious cycle of pain, lowered immunity, self-abuse, social rejection, anxiety and depression – but we can off the not-so-merry-go-round of stress with some simple mental redirection. 

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            Since we don’t have sabre-toothed tigers or cave bears trying to eat us every other day, we use our adrenalin to battle traffic, worry over bills and tense up when our boss micro-manages.  That automatic, defensive streak is meant to protect us and has been a benefit to our survival until the present.  But allowing that fight-or-flight energy explosion to surge only depletes us, adding to the negative feedback loop initiated by what set us off.  The best thing is to stop the melt-down before it begins.  Working out, eating right, sleeping eight hours, long walks, peaceful music and positive thinking aren’t always enough to combat stress, especially when we have no control and no power to change what effects us.  Often we have to change how we think about stress and better understand our reaction to it in order to manage and alleviate it, which we thankfully have some power over.

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            When something stresses you out, try under-react.  I know it sounds simple, but that’s the point.  Let me elaborate: turn down the volume in your head and dial back your emotional reaction to the most minimal response possible when you feel stress growing inside you.  If heavy traffic gives you “road rage” or having your mail delivered late makes you want to “go postal” ask yourself, why am I losing my cool?  Then give yourself a rating on a scale of 1-10 of how irate you feel.  You have to slow down and catch yourself for this to work.  Once you do, see where you fall on that scale and scale back your reaction.  If you get a 7 to 10 reading, your blood pressure has definitely spiked.  Take at least three deep breaths, exhaling completely with each.  Remember that you are only in control of you.  Regain your composure and sit down if you can.  See if you can calm yourself to a 3 or 4 rating.  Practicing this stress-relieving technique over time works wonders as you see potential “ten+” reactions shrink down to one’s and two’s.  When I encounter a lot of stress or my coaching clients bring up their stress levels, I’ll ask, will this issue matter in ten years time?  Is this a life or death issue?  If the answer is “no,” then it isn’t worth the upheaval.  If it’s a “yes,” then perhaps you ought to feel some pressure to fix what’s stressing you and start making changes in your life to mitigate stress.   

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            One of my clients loves the term “un-bothered,” which I now use to describe the under-reaction technique.  She says it helps her to remember that it’s up to her whether external stressors bother her or not.  The less she is bothered by potential stress the lower degree of negative emotional response she has.  Put another way, the less reactive energy and emotional focus we give to stress the less power it has over us, the less it effects us.  Cancelling some of what might normally irk you gives you emotional power to overcome greater obstacles, too.  When you don’t know how else to dial down your angst, remember to ask yourself, is the issue at hand really such a big deal?  Did you really see the earth shatter under your feet?  Will it actually matter someday?  Try under-reacting the next time you want to freak out and see if you feel better and can handle the stress better for doing so.

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“If you don’t like something, change it.  If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” ~Maya Angelou

Be well!  ~Namaste.

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Pray it Forward

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            I think prayer is a fantastic tool for connecting with the divine part of you and experiencing a more whole sense of personal wellness.  Unfortunately for most modern people who do not subscribe to traditional religious practices prayer is often left out of one’s daily health and wellness regimen.  Prayer does not have to be about worshiping a religious deity.  You do not have to say “Hail Mary” or “Our Father” to connect with your spiritual guides or your creator.  I, myself, do not adhere to prescribed religious doctrines or their corresponding prayers.  Rather, I have developed my own spirituality and a connection to the “God” I believe is within all of creation.  Though I have faith in a creator or power beyond what I can sense and believe in the best aspects of most religions, I have no faith in their dogma.  So I created a set of prayers that work for my worldview and spiritual understanding.  I want to share that spiritual perspective with you so that you may be able to invite prayer, meditation and faith into your life no matter what your beliefs might be.  I’ve witnessed prayer’s miraculous effects improve my life and the lives of those I counsel on such matters and believe the self-generated practice of customized prayer can do the same for you.   

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            For many years I have recited the prayer at the end of this post in times of deep spiritual need.  It has brought me great comfort and solace through the years and I hope it may do the same for you.  When I need a spiritual lift, I find it’s best to both pray and meditate.  Let’s take a look at how those two practices differ.  I think prayer is our way of asking for higher spiritual; guidance whereas meditation is patiently waiting for the answers.  Meditation is how we listen for God’s advice, the answers to all our hopes and doubts – how we receive inspiration.  Meditation requires that one become “empty” or fully open and receptive, without distraction.  It is a void-like state when time and the world go away and there is only you in the space of divine understanding.  Be it through applied hypnosis or NLP, Transcendental Meditation, Buddhist prayer, native chants, or any circumpunct New Age guided visualization, the effect should be the same.  You become relaxed and blank enough to hear or feel what you need to know while normal thoughts, cares, worries and problem solving fade away.  It lies in the subliminal or sub-conscious part of the mind where experiences can feel like lucid dreams.  It takes many years practice to achieve and there’s always more to learn.  Meditation’s reward is the fulfilling and profound sense of peaceful serenity one develops from its practice and its ability to strengthen the focus of the mind.  Prayer is more about the heart, about asking God for what we want, for declaring our hopes, dreams and wishes and asking for guidance or help with what we fear, doubt or don’t understand.

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            Prayer, to me, is a way of talking to God or making sure the universe knows your good intentions and asking it to have your back.  We pray for what we want and what we feel we need but don’t have yet.  That can include prayer for your own good health and wealth or the peace and prosperity of others.  Prayers can include a pay raise, a promotion, a new job, a new car, a new house, a vacation, a million bucks.  They can also be used for promoting healing energy, to show compassion or mercy, to learn patience or forgiveness, to protect and guard those we love or feel sympathy for.  They can be for the person you sleep with each night, for your family or friends or strangers, near or across the globe.  The person praying decides prayer’s value, how well it helps them cope or improve.  They can be as specific or general, as trite or as meaningful, as greedy or philanthropic or as terse or verbose as you like.  They can be from a group or an individual and group prayers seem to carry more weight in positive effects.  If mind is over matter, then more heads are better than one.  But an individual can make powerful and consistent prayers that do make a difference.  Prayers are our way of asking for divine intervention and their energy and intent can have far reaching effects, including healing the sick or dying and keeping those you love from harm or pain.

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            The prayer below is partially inspired by the work of author and hypnotist Dick Sutphen, author Louise Hay and by my own ministerial and eclectic spiritual studies.  It’s part prayer, part affirmation, which keeps it from feeling like “begging.”  I always say, if you want to change the world and make it a better place, start with yourself and become part of the solution.  So this prayer is about self-help and spiritual maintenance, a practice of self-empowerment that I often use in my own life and have given to my life-coaching clients and to those who seek my spiritual advice, with many success stories who still recite it aloud.  If you like it and can relate to it, you can do it as often or as little as you like, but it is powerful.  You’ll find over time that it helps you clear your head, re-prioritize and get closer to your spiritual self – the place all ultimate life energy and personal power comes from.  It can also bring you the healing and guidance you might need to take that next spiritual step to upgrade your life or heal from that spiritual wound you might be nursing or neglecting.

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            Prayer should make you feel better, to feel that someone does have your back and that you are being supported, even when there’s evidence to the contrary and you’re looking up from the gutter.  Things can get bad so we have to turn to someone we ultimately trust and believe in.  I wrote this in my twenties, to help myself out of a depression and confusion about my life, and I’ve found it helps others get out of dark times, too.  It always makes me feel better when I recite it aloud.  I feel more spiritually energized and aligned when I speak a prayer, so I suggest reading it in a commanding voice the first few times to feel its power.  I find doing it outside is even more ideal because there I feel more open and connected to creation.  Whatever helps you feel the energy of the prayer best.  We all need help and I believe we’re each truly here to teach, support and uplift each other, so that became part of the prayer as well.  But, who are we praying to, again?

            What we’re really talking about is your relationship with God, in all of his or her many forms and faces through human history.  If God created us in his own image and we have the free will to “co-create” our existences together, as his children, then we are each a part of God and sharing in his consciousness, reflecting it to each other for its growth and expansion.  Like those of you who have children know, they are a part of you – you did create them and are spiritually linked to them – but they are separate creations unto themselves. I think our relationship with God is like that.  We go to God like we would a parent or grandparent – for wisdom, guidance, protection and to receive approval.  But God is more than the parent; he/she/it is also the child and lives in the air they breathe, that we all share and breathe.  God is the relationship and interconnectedness of all things.  God could be one deity or many, all encompassing and omniscient or specialized and finite or could be truly universal and we’re all part of that mega creation and thus part of the creator and thus all one in the same.

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            Whether your religious or spiritual experience has been traditional or liberal, agnostic or humanist, devoted or non-practicing, unsure, in denial, disenchanted, reborn, reluctant, reincarnated, sinner or saint, this prayer can help you stay strong in your times of need.  It may not help you if you believe in nothing or that life is meaningless, which probably means you need a spiritual overhaul and could use the prayer anyway.  Atheists and existentialists may not get it.  People who believe in UFO’s may not get it or may just feel left out.  Kidding aside, you’ve got to believe in something!  Something is holding us all together – holding life on this Earth, sustaining us in this reality – keeping our existence, experience and history, as we know them, in balance.  It is something greater than “just us” – it’s all of us and everything we are, all that we can perceive and imagine or sense and all that exists as a part of the super macro-universal consciousness that is God, the creator and the creation, the father/mother and the son/daughter.  God is life, in all its variety, diversity and potential.  In many ways God is like a shepherd who teaches us to shepherd others and to help ourselves so he can better help us to help ourselves and the world to heal and grow.  God is love.

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            I wanted to talk to you about spirituality for a sec to prime you for this prayer, but I digress.  I’ll suggest doing this prayer every morning for a few weeks to really start seeing the benefits in your everyday life.  You will feel more at ease; you’ll feel more grateful and happier in general, like a weight has been lifted of your shoulders and you’ve cleared your heart and head.  Enjoy it and be well with it and much like good voting, do it early and often.  I think God appreciates a sense of humor and humility in your prayers, so don’t get too serious, just be open to the process of reaching out with your mind, feelings and sense of wonder.  If God had no sense of humor and wanted us to be stoic and business-like all the time, would he have made life so funny and strange?  Would he have invented the platypus, lost socks or bed head?  Try this prayer and see if you find more light, love and levity in your life… I have faith that you will!

“I call out to the positive powers of the universe… to my guides, guardians, masters and teachers… to my angels, ancestors and animal spirit guides, to all who would support me, living or dead, past, present or future… to God, my Creator, father and mother of all that is… hear me!   Divinely guide me and protect me, bless me and keep me in all my travels and endeavors… let me be clear, calm, confident and positive in all I say, do, think, feel, have, know and in all that I am, let me be blessed, so I may be a blessing in the world…

…Make me an open channel for your healing light and love, wisdom, joy, peace, prosperity, goodness, abundance, beauty, truth, great health and wealth and creativity and all else I can be for the greatest good of all.  Help me to help others and myself to the riches of this universe.  Help me to heal others, to heal myself and help others heal themselves.  Help me to be a light, a guide and an inspiration in this world for all the world’s greatest good.  Help me to find peace and help others find their peace.  Let me truly embody the qualities of honor, dignity, integrity, compassion, patience, appreciation, forgiveness, generosity, grace, strength, serenity, success, confidence, courage, humor, humility, faith and understanding of humanity so I may help this world and myself to learn, heal and grow…

…Bless me and help me to put the gifts you’ve given me to good work so I may enlarge my territories and help others to be enriched by my being.  Let your hands be with me and walk with me so I cause no harm and feel no pain.  Bless all those who’ve passed before me with peace and comfort in your keeping, forever.  Bless all those whom I love and encounter with all the blessings I ask for myself and even more.  Bless me with great achievement and prosperity, love and inspiration, health and wealth, wisdom and happiness and great worth in this world so I may make this earth a better place for all to live.  Let me be more grateful everyday for all the blessings in my life… for all the kind, generous, loving, wonderful people, animals and experiences in my life and for all I have to give to them, receive from them and share with them for the greatest good of all….

…I am truly blessed by and grateful for all the love and light in my life – for all my income of good and all the many miracles in my life.  So it is the light indwells within me and surrounds me, so it is I am divinely guided and protected, so it is I help and heal others and myself, so it is all is well in my world and I am a blessing to all those who’s lives I touch.  I am grateful for my life, my breath, my will and my power to change.  So it is I am truly grateful for all the support, guidance and love in my life and I am blessed beyond my fondest dreams.”

“We are blessed not by what we have received but rather what we have to give.” ~DJ

~Namaste

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Gratitude List

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              So often when we feel down or blue we don’t know where to look to find solace.  Some turn to their family and friends for support when in need while others practice a faith to curb their bad feelings.  Exercise, spending time in nature, volunteering, playing with children or pets, getting creative with drawing or painting, singing with the radio, watching a funny movie or reading a good book can all help us to feel better when times are tough, too.  I love to write when I’ve had a rough day – it really allows me to dump my emotions on the page so I purge those feelings and can move on.  But what if none of those activities do the trick?  I turn to my Gratitude List.

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            A Gratitude List is simply what it implies: a list of things you’re grateful for.  I count mine every time life gets me down and I immediately feel better.  It’s enriching and enlightening – healing, in fact – to count your blessings.  Praising and being thankful for what’s good in your life acts like a magical elixir, washing away whatever takes you to a “dark place.”  Whether it’s a feeling of fear or doubt, depression or anxiety, guilt or criticism, a welling up of anger or aggression inside or simply a feeling of lack or limitation, gratitude is the cure!  You see, negative emotions cannot breathe in the same space as gratitude – they get choked out and have to leave the room. Gratitude is like an emotional panacea – it just takes a few drops to see your life is really quite wonderful.  Life becomes much more pleasurable when you stop and take stock of all the good you encounter everyday.

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            Really appreciating what you do have versus focusing on what seems wrong in your life turns your mind toward better things and that shift in concentration allows for more good to flow your way.  It creates a channel of receptivity, putting you in the right place and time at all times.  When the position of your mind goes sour, switch it up and adopt an “attitude of gratitude” and you’ll see all will become well before you know it.  It is a practice and takes time, but with some patience and perseverance, you can squash any set of negative feelings before they can sink in and fester.  Start small, with the blessings you can most easily count and build from there.  You’ll be amazed how much you have to be thankful for.

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            Everyone, no matter their circumstances, has something they can feel grateful for.  That is the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel that can guide you through any crisis of faith or challenging situation.  Take a look at my Gratitude List below and find some inspiration for your own list of things you’re thankful for.  Rehearse it every time you feel glum and I guarantee you’ll have a much better day and feel empowered by your choice to see your metaphoric glass is at least half full and getting fuller all the time.  Your perspective will shift and you’ll realize how truly blessed you are and the blues won’t matter!

Denny’s Gratitude List: “I am grateful for…”

  • My health – my beauty, strength, resilience and fully functioning body and mind.
  • My wealth – the goodness and abundance within me and all around me – the people in my life: my special someone, my friends, family, clients, students, neighbors, employers, co-workers, co-creators, collaborators, readers, fans, champions and all the people who support me and my causes, my two adorable cats; my lovely home, my car, my clothes and shoes, my food and drink; my physical activity, my yoga and meditation practice; my favorite books and movies; my appliances and electronics, my laptop and internet service; my conveniences and amenities like running water and electricity; my money and investments; things I grow: my creativity, my writing, my blog, my music, my garden, my work, my travels, my past, present and future successes +++.
  • My wisdom – the knowledge, education, experience and enlightenment I’ve received, will receive and receive now.  I’m grateful for the wisdom of my dreams, too!
  • My happiness – all the love, joy, peace, prosperity and healing in my life.
  • My service – my ability to help others find their greatest success, peace and happiness, my gifts of healing, intuition and empathy.
  • All I have to give, receive and share with others.
  • All I have to express and feel, think and believe, say and do, learn and grow.
  • My connection to the Universe – my divine relationship with God.
  • My writing – all the productivity, imagination, storytelling, creative ideas and projects I’m developing, all the creative people who help me to do so and all who benefit.
  • Nature – the air, water, earth, animals, plants, sunshine, clouds, rain, wind, sky, stars and all the wondrous parts of the living world that inspire me and sustain my life.
  • Divine guidance, protection, endeavors, travels and actions that make the world and myself better so I can do and be even more to feel grateful for.
  • I’m grateful for having and practicing the winning emotion of gratitude to quell all lower vibrating feelings so I may experience bliss in my life and help others to do the same!
  • All the generosity of the people I meet – all their goodness, kindness and compassion.
  • I am grateful for all that is – for all is beautiful, perfect, whole and complete just as it is and I am blessed and alive!  I’m living happily, healthfully and well – blessed beyond my fondest dreams!!!

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“If you’re thinking, also be thanking!” -DJ

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Have You Been Inspired Today?

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Inspiration is everywhere!  If we’re on the lookout for it, we can find find the motivation to be our best and get what we want out of life – no matter what our current station or situation may look like.  Pay close attention to the moments of your life and you’ll discover miracles all around you.  Maybe it’s a kind word or gesture you pick up on that makes you feel good about life.  Perhaps seeing someone reach for their dreams and goals may inspire you to do the same.  The beauty of nature, an enthusiastic friend, a new book, a great workout, a pet’s loving gaze or a talk with your spiritual self can bring out the charm in your day, too.  A great work of art or music often inspires me to create more and give more of myself.  Even a lovely meal – a new food or recipe I haven’t tried before – can make me feel inspired to live a better day.  But you can’t wait for inspiration to strike out of the blue.  I believe you have to seek it out and only then will it appropriately present itself.

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Look for what’s good in life and you’ll find more to be thankful for everyday.  Being positive, peaceful, joyful, grateful, generous, healthy and well is a matter of practice – of choice – not derived by chance.  You decide what graces your life and what doesn’t lift you up, you can simply let go of.  Release those things that don’t serve your good and embrace what does.  Be inspired by the magic that is life and dare to dream and do what it takes to feel good.  The power to be inspired – to breathe in the best of life and do better with your time, effort and energy – is in your hands!

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The quality of your life experiences depends on how you look at them.  What you believe and perceive defines your understanding of life’s adventure.  If you think life is unfair, unsafe or unfulfilling, that will be your life experience.  If you choose to see your life as exciting, interesting and inspired, your optimism will imbibe an enriching life.  Look at the state of your mind and you’ll realize how the state of your affairs is created.  Imagine you’re a detective and the case you’re working on demands that you see the most positive, proactive and encouraging aspects of life around you to solve it.  The case is you, the clues are what inspiring evidence takes you forward and the solution is staying true to yourself and active in the pursuit of your dreams.

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Awaken yourself to what really drives your will to achieve satisfaction.  Follow that path over hill and dale and enjoy your journey of self-discovery and empowerment.  On your travels you’ll surely find the inspiration you’re looking for to keep moving ahead.  You’ll also serve as an inspiration to others and be blessed for your efforts.

~Namaste.

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Life Amplified! By Helping Others…

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I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be singing at the one-year anniversary of the Life Amplified talent showcase is this Saturday, January 25th.  The show is called “Metamorphosis” and all acts will be performing inspirational themed material.  A variety of poets and spoken word performers, comedians, singers and musicians will be strutting their stuff to once again benefit the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay and local victims of rape and abuse.  Did you know someone is victimized with sexual assault every two minutes in the U.S.?  54% of all attacks go unreported.  It’s time to remove the stigma victims of rape, assault and human trafficking feel so we can address this epidemic openly and prevent further violence and abuse.  Hopefully this showcase will bring some healing to those in need.  I’ll be singing one of my favorite inspirational pieces, “You Raise Me Up,” made famous by Josh Groban.

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*Pix from September’s patriotic showcase benefiting K-9’s for Veterans. I’m in blue on the lower left… looking all serious about my song, “Anthem” from the musical Chess.

I decided to sing “a cappella,” as I love the raw emotion of the human voice without any musical filter.  I love listening to a cappella singers, too.  I find the inherent vocal purity conveys feeling and tone so directly.  Singing a cappella is also a personal challenge for myself to keep my musical ear honed.  The first note is always the tough part, then its easy sailing.  The song, “You Raise Me Up” is like a gospel number to me in that its about those emotional moments when you don’t know what to do with the energy you’re handed and you need to talk to God.  Whomever “God” is to you.  I think of God as my “higher self” – the best, greatest, wisest part of me that is also part of God.  It’s my spiritual self that aligns with inner wisdom and compassion, with goodness and right action.  I think all questions of the human condition have a spiritual answer.  It’s usually the answer you know is right inside. Sometimes you do have to have a conversation with that part of you that inspires you to do, be and give your best.  I believe the wise counsel you receive in such moments leads you to the best choices.  I’ve come to realize that giving generously without expectation sincerely amplifies my life experience.  If you’ve been thinking of volunteering your time, talent or energy to a good cause, I encourage you to do so.  It feels amazing!

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It’ll be nice to get up and sing again after a couple months hiatus.  I find singing to be the freest and truest expression of my artistic ability and I love to share it.  Its always exciting to give that emotional gift back to the world for its reflection and transformation.  Music and spoken word are as much a part of how we feel and heal as anything else we love and listen to for inspiration, pleasure or understanding.  I think that what we give in life is what we receive in return.  The reward usually matches the investment.  It can be our voice, talents, time, energy, effort, money or simply good will that we give.  It all makes a difference.  The point is to give what you can and help others with the gifts you’re given.  To me, that’s what the showcase is all about: giving back to help those less fortunate.  It always feels good to do something selfless that benefits someone else.  Plus, it’ll be a fun way to kick off the new year and celebrate the virtually limitless potential in all people for growth, healing and prosperity.  I hope this year is one of positive metamorphosis for you and I appreciate your support and your help with this great cause.  Please come on down this Saturday at 1:00pm if you’re nearby!  See flier at the top of this  post for show details and donation options.

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May you bless others as you are blessed! ~Namaste.Blessing2

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Praise the Good!

              man in praise

“Find the good and praise it…” was the personal motto of writer Alex Haley, taking a twist on Biblical psalm, “see the good and praise it,” that encourages us to think positively and look on the bright side of what we have in our lives.  The power of giving praise cannot be over-rated.  Praising a child gives them more confidence.  Praising your employees makes them want to do a better job.  Praising yourself makes you feel and do better, too.  When you praise the good in your life and appreciate it fully there is no room for negativity in your sphere of consciousness.  Fear, doubt, anger and worry simply can’t exist in the same space as gratitude.

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Science has shown us that even praising a plant makes it flower and grow.  So often we look at what we don’t want in life and wind up putting too much energy toward what’s negative.  But that focus just brings us more to complain or worry about.  When we start praising and showing gratitude for what we do have that we love or enjoy, we wind up with a more positive mental and emotional focus, leading us on a rosier path of more to praise and feel good about.  Yes – every time we switch focus from what we don’t want to what we really do appreciate, we find there’s even more in our lives to cherish and praise.

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Habitually giving praise is a simple practice that changes your perspective, which changes your awareness and then your circumstances.  Praise is related to the Universal Law of Increase/Growth that states “everything will find or attract to it that which it needs to grow and nothing remains stagnant.”  This keeps us learning growing and evolving toward better choices.  Metaphysically, we’re all operating on an energetic and vibrational level with every thought, feeling and belief we have, whether we realize it or not.  In quantum reality, vibrations attract their like and repel their opposite, like magnets.  If there’s something you don’t want in your life, you really don’t want to put too much mental or emotional focus on it – you’ll probably wind up getting more of what you’d rather avoid!

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What we concentrate our energy and attention on grows – so be careful what repetitive thoughts and feelings you have for those seeds become flowers or weeds.  Life’s energy seeks harmony; so all energy will harmonize and vibrate according to its own signature, attracting the same energy to itself, either positive or negative.  Our predominant thoughts choose the frequency to which that energy aligns itself, good, bad or indifferent.  A basic rule of metaphysics states: as above (in the mind), so below (in the body, relationships and circumstances of the thinker).  If you don’t want it in your life, keep it out of your mind!

            focus

What we do want something in our lives to grow – good health, loving relationships, robust finances – we must praise what good we do have and allow it to increase through our awareness until it manifests from the creative thought realm into the material world.  Every invention and convenience, every tool and material we utilize, everything we create was once just a thought and through tenacious focus became some-thing.  I do believe thoughts are things, too, and that they shape and form all the substance of matter around us into recognizable, tangible and useful material.  When we’re grateful and humbly praise the good in our lives with positive thoughts and emotions as reinforcement, we find even more goodness in our lives to praise.

            cornucopia

Praise what you do, what you have, who you are and especially what you want – and see your life filled with greater riches of health, wealth, wisdom and happiness.  Life offers us a cornucopia of things the praise and cherish: our loved ones, our work, our health, good food and drink, the beauty of nature, friendly smiles – our very breath!   Imagine and feel yourself receiving good and eventually, through committed mental and emotional practice, it will come.  Praise is also related to the energy of love – the more you pour love over a thing, the more it will grow toward the love it receives, like a plant turning toward the warm sun to flourish.  Actively seek out the good, the best in your life and discover your endless resources for knowing and having more good.  The source of supply for such power is limitless and indeed spiritual in nature, so everybody gets a fair share according to what they stake as their claim.  Much of that claim comes from praising what’s good and increasing that good in one’s sphere of consciousness.  Praise and acknowledgement of good in your life also keeps you moving forward to build the future you want with positive actions aimed at having even more to be thankful for.  Optimism is contagious and sharing the good you find will uplift others and also bring you more of the good you choose to see and express.

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From time to time take a look at what you love in your life, what you feel good about, and notice how your feelings and thoughts change – becoming lighter, warmer, freer and more creative.  Self-evaluate, take an inventory and make a spiritual assessment of where you are in life and where you want to be or go.  Will your most often repeated thoughts, feelings, beliefs and habits lead you to where you want to be?  See if what you have to praise is greater than what you have to fear or doubt or whine about and you’ll realize you’re on the path to spiritual enlightenment and the wisdom of giving praise to the wonders of what your life truly is – a miraculous work of art in progress – with your mind as the creator of what it will become.  Learn to praise the good in your life and watch it increase!  See how much better you feel about your life every time you appreciate the good already in it.

Check out this video for more inspiration on all the good you have to praise in life: Meditative Moments.

Be praised, be well and be the answer you seek. ~Namaste.

 

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