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Serenity in a blizzard

Serenity in a blizzard

How I survived a near-death road trip with my hillbilly Zen Master

BY AUGUST TURAK – I was 21 years old. And for the first and only time in my life, I was sure I was about to die. I was in the passenger seat of my 1963 day-glo green Ford Econoline van with a bubble-shaped skylight on the roof and a madman behind the wheel – a West Virginia hillbilly who happened to be my Zen Master. We had been on our way out West when he’d gotten news that his son was in trouble back in Wheeling, and now he was barreling home with me in tow to do what he could.

The trip had started out two days before on an almost comical note. On a cold dark morning at 5:30, his usual starting time, I was coming up his front steps to pick him up. My van was parked across the street and according to his careful instructions, was full of enough tools, extra tires, and spare parts to rebuild it on the fly if necessary. And because of the Arab oil embargo that year, it was stocked with fifteen gallons of spare gasoline in three five-gallon cans.

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What to feed a marriage

What to feed a marriage

To make a relationship work, forget about needs. Love is fueled by desire – the kind that comes from the heart, not the hormones.

BY DAVID RICKEY — John Mellencamp is hurting so good, splitting from wife number three after 20 years together. Tiger Woods and Sandra Bullock made headlines in 2010 as the antagonist and victim (respectively) in two other, particularly nasty celebrity breakups. For the general population in the U.S. the rate of divorce is 2.5 times what it was 20 years ago. As for the 100 million or so Americans over 18 who are unmarried, how many just can’t be bothered?

Marriage is falling out of favor, and from my perspective there are two prime reasons for this. First, there are the legal issues — both of getting married and getting unmarried — that make people skittish about entering into the contracts marriage entails, and seeing the huge difficulties of breaking those contracts. But the second reason is what concerns me here.

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EGYPT: When political revolution represents a cosmic evolution

EGYPT: When political revolution represents a cosmic evolution

Karmic consequences of Egypt and the West

BY DAVID RICKEY — Americans play a role in the political crisis in Egypt. Politically, we find ourselves wanting to support the emerging democracy, but fearing what the loss of Mubarak would mean for our own security. This is a perfect example of how Karma plays out in our world. I believe that the whole Middle-East conflict is a Karmic result of our own choices.

Our economy has prospered partly as a result of how we have been able to exploit the riches of other countries (the exploitation of others, as demonstrated in the huge divide between the “haves” and the “have-nots” has been the major fuel for both our economic prosperity and subsequent financial melt-down).

We have supported leaders who have stabilized countries like Egypt, without regard to their treatment of their own people. Or we have worked to overthrow leaders who threaten our access to the resources these countries possess. This political game has worked for us economically, but the evolutionary principle of self-determination is now changing the game, adding a very powerful new dynamic.

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The DNA of addiction

“The greater the disparity between our healthy needs and our childhood environment, the greater our focus on survival rather than maturation.”

BY MARY COOK — “But I’ve always been like this.”

“I’ll be hurt if I become vulnerable.”

“I’ll have no power if I don’t intimidate.”

“Without my character defects there’ll be nothing left of me.”

Those kind of thoughts usually come out in therapy. But many of us run on auto-pilot, and such archetypal ‘beliefs’ loop in auto-pilot in our unconscious mind — the operating system of our psyche.

And out of fear we hold ourselves hostage to defense mechanisms that keep us dysfunctional.

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the-office-dwight

Spiritually $urviving job loss

The Secret‘s wishful thinking, versus the reality of 7 million American jobs lost. Soul’s Code introduces its own guide to balancing job security — and inner security

BY PAUL KAIHLA —  Oprah’s endorsement helped make a viral, online video called, The Secret, a mainstream hit a couple of years ago.

The theme of The Secret is that the good or bad you see in your life situation is a reflection of the contents of your consciousness. No, not your intellectual property — your intention. The producers of the indie Internet phenomenon co-opted the phrase, “the law of attraction” — as in, you have what you believe in.

Or more to their point: your affluence equals your attitude.

By that measure, many Americans — and good people all around the world — must have been thinking some very, very bad things, indeed, since September, 2008.

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The Ice Storm still

Living in fear: We appeared to be the perfect family

My mother’s first hospitalization for attempting suicide came before I even knew what the word meant

BY SUEANN JACKSON-LAND — I can close my eyes and see myself at around 8 or 9 years old, sitting with my knees scrunched under me on the floorboard of a 1974 Dodge Coronet. The first poem I wrote was a prayer. Rounding the corner in that same old big brown boat that disguised its ugliness as a car, I can also clearly remember hanging on to the interior door handle as the door swung open and I looked at the pavement racing past me.

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10 things that make a workout spiritual

10 things that make a workout spiritual

A real hockey mom shares her search for exercise that tunes her body and soul.

BY MICHELLE MORRA-CARLISLE I am not tough. If a gang of men with sticks repeatedly pelted me with a rock-hard projectile you might find me on the ground in the fetal position, pleading with them to stop.

What I actually mean by that is that, unlike Sarah Palin, I am a real hockey mom. I live in Canada. And when I first saw my husband play goal and assume the iconic, fearless “bring it on” stance, I was in awe. As well-rounded as I consider myself to be, in that moment I saw that in my non-athletic development I had missed out on something important.

The fittest of the fit are sublimely aware that for the mind to be in optimal shape, so must the body, and vice versa.

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The King’s Speech? We analyze the King’s pain

The King’s Speech? We analyze the King’s pain

Loving someone hurts when we can’t slay their monsters. The King’s Speech is about coming through the worst of it alone.

BY MICHELLE MORRA-CARLISLE – Movies want audiences to sympathize for their characters, and I usually oblige. My heart sank right along with Leonardo DiCaprio in the Titanic. I ached for Jamie Foxx as his character battled schizophrenia and homelessness in The Soloist. I even mustered some emotion for Angelina Jolie as she screeched about her stolen son in The Changeling. Pretty heavy subject matter compared to public speaking – yet I have never felt such agony for a character as I did for Colin Firth in The King’s Speech.

The actor reportedly had a similar response when he watched a newsreel of the real King George VI stammering through a speech. Though the King did a good job of making his stutters sound like dramatic pauses, his obvious struggle brought tears to the eyes of Firth and director Tom Hooper.

This isn’t a story about someone being mocked for his impediment. The King had support. The British masses in stadiums and in their livingrooms sat with bated breath, respectfully rooting for the King. Yet all of their collective good will and that of his loving wife and daughters could not help His Majesty get those words out smoothly and painlessly. For me, it’s a story of not only the King but those who loved him.

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mimetic-desire

A Gift from Stanford philosopher Rene Girard

“Understanding reality as a religious mystery is an event that rejoices God”

Some have called him ‘the last prophet.’ Whatever you call him, French-born Stanford university philosopher Rene Girard is one of the great academic sages of our time — and a challenge not just because his work entangles the ideas of everyone from Georg Hegel and Friedrich Niestchze to William Shakespeare and Feodor Dostoevsky. The author of Things Hidden Since The Foundation Of The World, and I See Satan Fall Like Lightning is resolutely Christian, for starters.

Don’t let that put you off, however, from Girard’s core idea: that every person should “trust that he is a very important man for God, and his understanding of reality as a religious mystery is an event that rejoices God.” Take it from a guy who was born on December 25th, and speaks with the same certitude as Jesus: here’s a YouTube clip of Girard shedding light on some of his ideas, which include ‘mimetic desire’ and our hard-wired impulse to scapegoat .

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