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An unlikely love connection

How to turn MySpace into Our space: A contemporary shaman’s response to hate-mail

GUEST COLUMN: DAWN DANCING OTTER — Everywhere I go, in every moment, the ongoing mantra in my mind is a repetition of the four graces of Ho’oponopono — “I am sorry, I love you, please forgive me, thank you.”  What I have come to realize is that my life is transforming miraculously as a result. Whatever situation, whomever/whatever is in my field of observation, whatever thought or sensation that is in my present awareness, I am constantly reconciling, acknowledging, forgiving, and integrating.

The miracle to me, is that each moment I live is a lesson, a gift, an opportunity to love myself even more; to reconcile with the parts of myself that have been forgotten, disassociated, unloved. . .my shadows.

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Winter Rhapsody: a meditation by David Rickey

How to savor lasting impressions of beauty in the present moment

DAVID RICKEY — I am sitting by the window listening to a recording of Le Tombeau de Couperin, by Maurice Ravel, performed by Pascal Rogé. Ravel was one of the great French impressionist composers. The music lends itself to drifting in thought, and. . .well . . .impressions.

I gaze out the window, seeing the bare trees of winter outlined against the flat grey sky. I see the mottled brown crumpled leaves lying dead on the newly green grass. And I see a robin perched on a branch, perhaps looking for a worm to emerge from the cold, damp earth. This season, especially in California, is such a wonderful mixture of color and dullness, life and death.

And it is all good.

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The gift of surrender

“I can feel the years of fears, abandonments and hungers. And then, I let it all go in acceptance.”

GUEST COLUMN: JULIA TUCHMAN — I have never been very good at surrendering. I have been the fighter — the hold-on-to-the-side-of-the-cliff, fight-for-your-life, never-give-up and “go down with the ship” kind of soul. It was exhausting work, and with no apparent end in sight.

Surrender is one of the most essential lessons I needed to learn, and I have been given a legion of opportunities to learn, grow, and finally accept the wisdom of surrender. But I am stubborn. The lessons for surrender kept coming into my life, but I continued fighting, resisting surrender at any cost.

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The bearable lightness of being Roni Lipstein

An experience with altered consciousness provides a wellness coach with the strength to leave an abusive relationship, and an opportunity to learn to “love self, first”

BY RHONDA SHERYL LIPSTEIN — As an author, I realize that we all could write a book, since life itself is a series of experiences that expand our consciousness.

The only difference between one who “walks the talk” and one who does not even talk at all is whether we choose to be aware of this fact — of our expressed experience of being.

During my life I’ve had several experiences of expanded or altered consciousness, beginning when I was a child, continuing as an adult with the birth of my son — and later, when extricating myself from an abusive relationship.

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Will Shari Arison be the first major self-help star of the new decade?

The self-improvement industry is dominated by a dozen multi-millionaire celebrities, and a big guru has not emerged since 2004. Shari Arison is already a billionaire in her own right, and may have the inner right-minded stuff to break out

The wealthiest woman in the Middle East, Shari Arison ranks 234 on Forbes magazine’s rich list and presides over an estimated $3-billion fortune and Israel’s largest bank.

An excerpt from her new book, BIRTH: When the Spiritual and the Material Come Together — For most of my life I have received messages—images and worded communications, sometimes even in an ancient language—that come to me from above. In the past, I used the help of channelers who interpreted the messages for me, but today I know how to receive those messages directly, without the need for interpretation, without the inevitable bias that takes place when information passes through someone else’s filters . . .

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Fighting seasonal depression with song

Many people feel intensely sad during the winter months; here’s how a 23-year-old musician copes with his depression all year round

GUEST COLUMN: BLAKE BLISS — When I experience depression it’s a lot like watching a nightmare in endless rewind.

It closes in on me and keeps me from feeling anything positive.

I feel so alone most days that the sick feeling of isolation seems like my only reality. It’s strange, but it seems that when I’m lonely, the best cure is solitude.

The problem is, my demons often creep in from the shadows and raid my mind, plaguing me with dark imagery and worry.

My depression goes way back; I never faced my feelings as a child.

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Meetings with Remarkable Men and Women

David Rickey reports on the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Melbourne, Australia, and his dialogues with the Dalai Lama, Pujya Swamiji, Amma, and other leading lights of enlightenment

BY DAVID RICKEY — I’m happy to report back on an amazing week I spent at the Parliament of the World’s Religions where I saw and heard, up close, the Dalai Lama, Swami Chidanand Saraswati (Pujya Swamiji), Amma Sri Karunamayi (Amma) and many others. Those others included some wonderful young people who are not potential leaders of the future, but leaders now!

There were two significant messages which I brought home with me, and which I offer to you: First, you as an individual, have the power to change the world. And second, it is important that  we all begin doing so immediately.

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A spiritual author’s personal journey to awakening

A near death experience gives Cari La Grange Murphy her life’s purpose and opens up a portal to creativity

GUEST COLUMN: CARI LA GRANGE MURPHY —  As a spiritual and inspirational author, I’m often asked when, where, and how my spiritual journey began. As a child I grew up on ten acres of land in south Texas surrounded by loving parents, siblings, and a large extended family. We were devoted Methodists, who attended church every Sunday, while I simultaneously attended Catholic school during the week. It’s fair to say that I was fully ingrained in organized religion.

Although much of it was a beautiful experience, I still sought something “more” in life. My elders’ and teachers’ answers did not quench my thirst for deeper spiritual knowledge, understanding and connection. In fact, they seemed to steer me away from questions that went beyond the traditional teachings. Their responses confused me but aroused in me a greater interest in seeking the answers.

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How I choose love over the norm, i.e. fear

An interviewer asked me if I knew the meaning and purpose of life. I answered in the affirmative, footnoted by Monty Python, Boston Legal, Animal House and philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg

GUEST COLUMN: VAISHALI — The interviewer was somewhat taken aback. He admitted that he did not fully expect me to be able to answer that question. He had posed the same question to Timothy Leary, Ph.D. Leary was surprised by the question and, after stumbling through an awkward response, admitted that he did not know the answer. Needless to say, not exactly the climactic moment the interviewer was anticipating.

It does illustrate the fact that most intelligent people, when asked the “big question,” feel at a loss for an immediate, direct and concise response.

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When in Rome: My Thanksgiving Pilgrimage

“At that moment, language, distance and time were transcended. Where the sacred brings the past and present together is the point at which each experienced traveler knows that any one of us is open to meeting the next person.”

BY KOHL GLAU — When traveling abroad, I strive not to be just another tourist, either on the inside or the outside. But what else could one possibly be? Stepping foot into another country, by definition, implicitly means you’re a five-year-old again: open to meeting all good people, open to unanticipated ideas, fresh ways of life, speaking a new mother tongue — and like, blending in as much as possible.

So why go through all this trouble as an adult? To paraphrase the great Harold Bloom, we can never meet enough people, and we learn something new about ourselves when we learn something original from another. If this is also the merit of reading great literature, doesn’t the same hold true of travel?

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