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Sara Miles’ radical conversion to a radical faith

Sara Miles’ conversion to Christianity not only opened her eyes to Christ, but opened the eyes of now fellow Christians

Sara Miles never expected to convert to a religion and worship a God she didn’t believe existed.  Strange as it may sound, but that’s conversion. Former atheist editor of Mother Jones magazine, Miles found herself mysteriously drawn to a mysterious God.

In an interview with David Ian Miller, Miles detailed her conversion beginning with receiving communion at an Episcopal Church. One day Miles spied St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church in San Francisco, attended a liturgy, and took communion.

Miles’ meditated on what she had received, what appeared as simple bread and wine, and how this sacred banquet was a reception of faith. And what’s equally interesting is the way Miles’ — a lesbian — challenges ‘traditional’ ideas about faith and identity in the midst of the schism in the Episcopal Church over the status of same-sex relationships.

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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.

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How to create spiritual love scenes

How to create spiritual love scenes

I makenamaste” my daily mantra for all of my relationships

GUEST COLUMN: REV. CRISS ITTERMANN, 2nd of two parts —The Sanskrit term “Namasté” (nah-mahs-tay) is loosely translated to mean  “I honor the Spirit in you.”  It is a word for the feeling of our Higher Self greeting or recognizing the Higher Self of another.

It is recognizing the divinity in others, the connection between all things, the reflection of our own sacredness when we see the sacredness of another.  I suggest using Namasté when you mean it, when you feel the connection with another person and are sourced in your own sacredness.

During this celebration of sacred and unconditional love, remember to be sourced in your own sacred higher powers, and to recognize that higher power in others.  Use this day as an opportunity to go out of your way to honestly say, “Namasté,” to everyone you greet.

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Angela Brown “tu lips”

The search for the magical Other

A Jungian psychologist’s take on Eros and Valentine’s Day

BY PAUL KAIHLA — This is the one day of the year in our secular society where a celibate Catholic gets top-billing, marquee treatment. There were probably three saints called Valentine, one of whom history says is entombed in Rome’s catacombs.

But the origin of Valentine’s Day is in a medieval social custom, so it’s not like a long, lost high-holy-day has been hijacked by capitalist consumerism.

The custom marks the first day of spring mating season, so let’s hand over the mike to psychologist James Hollis for his take on how we modern humans channel that energy — eros, in Greek mythology:

Eros is dynamic and shape-shifting . . . always going somewhere, seeking to connect, to fill in, to transcend. Just as nature, we are told, abhors a vacuum, so our psyche is terrified by emptiness. Seeking to fill that emptiness, we all too often fill it with ourselves. Wheresoever space opens, into that hole flies projection . . . Eros substitutes as it seeks the Cosmic Other in the frail vessel of the Beloved.

Illustration, “tu lip,” courtesy of Angela Brown

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How to make every day a sacred day

Rev. Criss Ittermann is a quadruple-threat: Interfaith minister, shamanic practioner, Reiki master and life coach. Here, she coaches you out of singleton “panic mode”.

GUEST COLUMN: REV. CRISS ITTERMANN, 1st of 2 parts Valentine’s Day is not just for lovers, and doesn’t consist solely of icons like chocolates, flowers, diamonds, and romantic engagements.

Together we can transform it into the holiday of sacred and unconditional love.  It is possible to take an over-commoditized holiday and turn it into a sacred celebration of the spiritual side of love.

Rather than turning the day’s passion inwards to only the very closest people in our lives — or worse, making it into a pity party for the single person without a date — why not go to great lengths to expand the circle of those you love, express love to, and experience a divine connection with?

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My first taste of control came in my grandfather’s lap

In the second part of a Soul’s Code exclusive from the book Sins of My Faith, Marina explains that what seems like denial is self-protection

BY MARINA GIULLIANI (read part one) : “It hit me like a cold slap. That’s when it all started!” I made the connection on a chilly February afternoon, but didn’t realize the impact it made on the last forty-four years until two days later.  I’d been in Vancouver, with my best friend of over twenty years, trying to get perspective on my life. We had shared a lot of memories, but this particular piece of my life story never surfaced until after I returned home.

“I never told you this before. . .” I stated bluntly in an e-mail conversation with her, “. . . because it was never a concern and because it wasn’t traumatic, but, when I was a little girl, my grandfather used to touch my genitals. I loved the way it felt, so I never thought much about it.”

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Were you born to win? A non-Olympic definition

Drawing on techniques from modern medical hypnosis, psychotherapist Nancy Irwin shares tips on how to reprogram your unconconsious mind

GUEST COLUMN: DR. NANCY B. IRWIN — As a doctor of psychology and a therapeutic hypnotist, I know for a fact that we are all born to win.

By “win” I don’t mean necessarily winning an Olympic medal or having major achievements.  You win by being the best you possible, however you define that.  Whether you subscribe to a spiritual or intellectual theory, we are all here to learn, and thus we are all here to win.  In psychology we call it the tabula rasa theory the blank slate.

We learn to lose, and what we learn, we can un-learn.

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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.

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An Ash Wednesday confession: You are stardust

An Ash Wednesday confession: You are stardust

If happiness equals slimming-down the ego, the Imposition of Ashes on the first day of Lent is a powerful and public ritual of spiritual self-immolation

BY ANONYMOUS — I did confession (Ash Wednesday) and received the imposition of ashes. I’ve never felt so stripped naked in public as when I kneeled below the altar, and the priest made the sign of the cross on my forehead with ashes and said: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (or ‘stardust’, as I like to say…)

It was a shock to have the fact of my mortality announced so officially and openly. Truly humbling to realize this me is a fleeting illusion… It feels overwhelming when everyone else in the church is acknowledging their mortality, too, one by one.

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Love is the antonym of separation

“How I use every single experience to teach me about expanding my awareness of love”

GUEST COLUMN: CARI LA GRANGE MURPHY — How do we allow the love in our hearts to permeate our experience and enhance the quality of our lives? From personal experience I have learned that a daily, conscious choice is necessary for me to actively engage the spark of light within me and within everyone I encounter throughout my day.

When I approach every interaction with the intention of finding commonality and equality between us, I experience a feeling of unity and connection.

Conversely, when I judge an individual or a situation, I feel a sense of anxiety and separation that doesn’t resonate well with my heart and my spirit.

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