Archive | Personal Journals RSS feed for this section

Together at last: sound and meditation

A podcast producer blends mindfulness meditation with her love for sound, to create a new process called “Soundwalking”

GUEST COLUMN: VICTORIA FENNER — A few years ago I took the time to deliberately slow down.   Part of this process involved taking a course on “Mindfulness Meditation” based on the writings and theories of Jon Kabat-Zinn. His books: Wherever You Go, There You AreFull Catastrophe Living; and Coming to Your Senses, (among many others) explain how to apply mindfulness in traditional medical settings for pain management, depression and even relief from psoriasis.

I’ve always liked the idea of meditating, but I have trouble staying still for any length of time.  Shutting down my senses, in particular my hearing, is not easy for me, as I make my living as a radio and podcast producer.   There’s just too much to experience out in the big, wide world. And I like to be on the move. As I came to discover, mindful mediation is a practice I can combine with a process I call “soundwalking” to increase my ability to relax and be immersed in the moment.

Read more

The end of desire II: Passage to India

Inspired by female mystics, Pamela Wilson and Neelam, a medical student drops out, has a peak experience in India, and becomes “Nirmala”

(Read the first part of this two-part series)

GUEST COLUMN: NIRMALA — After being in the presence of Pamela and Neelam, I just couldn’t let this desire for Freedom go. I had the sense that there was surgery going on in my chest, like it had been ripped open.

Despite the fact that I absolutely knew there was nothing I could do about it, now that I had admitted I wanted this freedom more than anything, I could never turn back to my old life.

So, I gave my share in our house to my wife and quit medical school.

Read more

How a spiritual teacher learned to let go of his last desire

A man at a crossroads stumbled upon a mind-body technique called the Sedona Method. It spawned leading spiritual teachers and made him one, too

GUEST COLUMN: NIRMALA — In 1997, I was busy attending naturopathic medical school and, I thought, happily married. And then out of the blue my wife told me she was leaving me for another man.

The intensity and types of feelings that surfaced in response were unexpected.

I was aware of feeling equal and opposite feelings: amidst an overwhelming and paralyzing fear was an extreme excitement over all the new possibilities created by the space that had opened up in my life.

Read more

The Dalai Lama and his teen rebel without a cause

The Dalai Lama confirmed a boy from Spain as his reincarnation and successor as the guiding spirit of Tibetan Buddhism. Then Osel Hita Torres turned his back on both His Holiness and his way of faith

BY DAVID RICKEY — In the story of  Osel Hita Torres, a young spiritual prodigy was chosen by the Dalai Lama as a reincarnation. Torres then turned his back on the Buddhist order.

Which in no particular order raises two interesting questions:

Did they get the right boy?

And is there such a thing as karmic regression?

The process of finding and choosing a reincarnated lama is complicated — and I say that as a professional priest schooled in an Episcopal seminary and so-called “high church.”

Read more

My Mother’s Day journey

How a shamanic teacher overcame her fears of having children

GUEST COLUMN: DAWN DANCING OTTER — Mother’s Day is such a celebration in my family. It brings me to tears every time. I get completely sentimental around the births of my sons because it highlights to me how very much I have been loved, helped, nurtured, and supported in my life.

As a mother, I have come to embrace my beginner’s mind. I gave birth to Gabriel in 1998 during a flurry of confusion, feeling disoriented, in pain, surrendering to others to help me through the process. Having children has helped me truly to understand nature. It is both perfect, and messy, with the opportunity to experience just about anything.

Read more

How I deal with the pain of separation and saying goodbye

A doctor of life coaching for women discovers the art of letting go

GUEST COLUMN: DR. JEANINE AUSTIN — Part of my job as the Department Head of Social Services when I worked for a skilled nursing facility was to have regular client contact. One morning, I stopped by to see how Mr. and Mrs. Carol (not their real names) were doing.

As soon as I stepped in the room I felt I was entering into a combat zone.  The couple was sparring loudly about which television program they were going to watch:  People’s Court or Sally Jesse Raphael.

Not five seconds into the debate,  I watched in horror as a cup of hot tea, launched by Mr. Carol, flew past my head, only narrowly missing Mrs. Carol, his bride of more than 60 years.

Read more

Technically speaking, everyone around you is a projection

How to use the prism of trans-personal psychology to find yourself in the people and things you see around you every day

GUEST COLUMN: SUE FREEMAN When I come into contact with my authentic self, I discover my innermost critic, sage, child, lovestruck groupie and friend.

All these characters and more live within each of us, and represent an aspect of ourselves we either embrace or deny.

Then we go out into the world, come into contact with other people, develop or end relationships. We see in these people aspects we are drawn to or behaviors that repel us.

But in truth, we are seeing a mirror.  Other people’s actions reflect a version of ourselves.

Read more

An artist’s journey of creation: Klassic Koalas: The Book of Valentines

Like Alice down the rabbit hole, Joanne Ehrich leads us along the path that helped her to reconnect with her true calling and create Klassic Koalas: The Book of Valentines and Other Loves

“A picture is worth a thousand words”, and Klassic Koalas: The Book of Valentines and Other Loves is no exception.

In her recently released book, Klassic Koalas: The Book of Valentines and Other Loves,  Joanne Ehrich has taken seemingly disparate elements such as treasured old love letters, snapshots of long-departed family and friends, and images of koalas cuddling their babies — romantic love, the love of family and companions, and the love that exists even within nature — and woven them through her artwork into an enchanting book that will delight lovers, friends, and individuals.

This publication’s visuals are not only intended to entrance the viewer, it reminds us of our true nature — not just the love between lovers or among friends or family members, but the love we feel for creatures we hold dear and for the wonders of the earth.

Read more

A child’s false God

My first “faith”: Catholic guilt, playing Purgatory, Priests who molested, and kissing cousins

BY MARINA GIULLIANI — Read part 1 and part 2 of this Soul’s Code exclusive from the book, Sins of my Faith

Outsiders would say I’m a serial victim of sexual abuse. I reject the word victim because I consider myself a champion and I resist being labelled at all, as such a complex experience can’t possibly be generalized.

Having said that, when I realized my stolen innocence created the havoc that became my future,
my mind raged with the minute details of experiences long forgotten. . .

Read more

Oscar special: The glee inside me

New York theatre critic Retta Blaney discovered the spirituality of film stars when she interviewed Vanessa Williams, Liam Neeson and Kristen Chenoweth (Hey, she was on Glee!)

GUEST COLUMN: RETTA BLANEY —  As I researched and wrote my book, Working On The Inside: The Spiritual Life Through The Eyes Of Actors, I found that my personal faith was greatly influenced.  The wisdom of the actors I interviewed brought me a great deal of growth, healing and transformation —  and I pray it will do so for others who want to work on the “inside.”

The idea for the book came from my many years of interviewing stage actors like Kristen Chenoweth.  Time and again they brought up the need for a spiritual life.  I have covered many beats in my life — politics, education and business to name three — but I never encountered anyone in those fields who spoke about spiritual matters in relationship to their careers.

Read more