New Year 2020

Do New Year’s Resolutions Really Work?

New Year 2020

Bringing in 2020! With the beginning of this new year, you have been given a new start, a fresh slate, an opportunity to kick off the next twelve months of your life with hope, love, and healing. But New Year’s resolutions may not be the best way to turn over a new leaf.

The Reason So Many Resolutions Fail

For many people, a fresh start involves making New Year’s resolutions—goals or promises to yourself for improvements. Many common resolutions include losing weight, getting a handle on an addiction, saving more money, or moving up in your career. The problem is that many New Year’s resolutions are externally motivated, arising from outside you – from your parents, or partners, or society, and are therefore set up for failure from the get-go.

Resolutions that are born out of a need to please others rather than being born from a deep desire for yourself are often not realized. How can they be? They don’t reflect the true you. And yet, when you abandon them, the cycle of self-blame and shame makes you feel worse than if you’d never made any resolutions at all! Does that sounds like a good way to start the year—with a vow that is unrealistic from the start because it’s inauthentic and only makes you feel worse when you don’t meet it? You deserve better.

Focus on Intention

So this year, I’d like you to break the cycle of bound-to-fail resolutions and instead, make non-resolutions that are less about the end result and more about the journey. Rather than trying to plan goals, focus on intention. What is the reason behind the goal? That’s what you need to pay attention to. When you are clear on what your purpose is—your intention—it’s much easier to make decisions that support that purpose.

For example, let’s say your resolution is to lose weight. When you make a resolution, it’s usually a simple statement: “I will lose 20 lbs this year,” without a crystal clear plan in place. If you use energy healing techniques to dig deeper and understand the emotions behind the weight gain, your chances of success increase exponentially. Thinking about why you want what you want, why it has not yet happened, and how you will move toward your desired result are essential for transforming yourself this year.

Here are a few ways to figure out what you want your intentions to be for this year and how to go about making those intentions a reality in your life.

  1. Practice energy healing.
    Energy medicine is the single best thing you can do for your emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing. Energy healing expands your awareness, brings you into closer contact with Source and your higher self, and helps to clear your chakras and energy field of any negativity that might be causing you problems. (like not being able to lose weight) Energy medicine gives you the tools you need to get to the root of your problems so that you can address the cause of your bad habits, or the self-sabotaging or addictive behavior you’d like to change. Attending healing courses and working with a spiritual teacher is a great jumpstart to healing yourself, and journaling, meditation, and being of service are a few of the other methods of self-healing you will learn in energy medicine that will help you clear your chakras and reveal the real you. Uncovering the real you that lies underneath the expectations from others that so often color your resolutions is just one of a million life-changing benefits of practicing energy medicine.
  2. Find your true purpose.
    With energy healing, you will be more and more able to connect with your higher self, who intimately understands the deepest parts of you and knows your life purpose: the reason you incarnated in your body at this time. Your life purpose is the driving force within your soul, and lining up your intentions with your soul’s plans is the best way to speed up your spiritual progress, heal yourself, and actually manifest your intentions. Try journaling about your true feelings, wants, and desires, writing down your most honest thoughts, and see if you can’t discover an intention for the new year that comes from you and not from anyone else. Trust your intuition, which is from your higher self and your guides, the best source of guidance.
  3. Consider adding rather than subtracting.
    So often resolutions are about stopping something, which can feel limiting and may make you resistant. But adding something positive feels happy and fun, like Christmas all over again. Perhaps your intention is to lose weight in order to get in better shape so you have more energy to do the things you love, so try adding a walk after dinner each night, before TV time. Maybe you want to intend to be happier or more fulfilled, so try scheduling in one thing you love to do for an hour each day, or join a group of people who have similar interests.

Remember, do not feel bad if you “fail.” You can’t fail at trying! Or rather, failure is part of trying, it is a part of the process of succeeding, so when you intend to improve your life you aren’t making a vow that can be broken, but rather a choice to move toward a new way of interacting with one particular part of yourself or the world. That simple fact gives you hope and decreases self-blame, and is why intentions are so much more effective long-term.

I hope you’ll try intentionality rather than resolutions this January so you can enjoy a happier, healthier, more light-filled year ahead. Happy New Year!

Perfect Christmas

Christmas is a time when you get homesick

Perfect Christmas

Are you looking forward to a holiday right out of a Norman Rockwell painting, with the whole family singing around the piano or enjoying a spirited snowball fight before gathering, rosy-cheeked and glowing, around the holiday table? Or are you dreading long days of forced togetherness, the rehashing of old grievances and the airing of new ones as your family falls into its old, dysfunctional patterns? For most, holiday gatherings with family fall somewhere between the two scenarios. These three tips will help you to navigate though the family minefields, large and small, with your spirit and sanity intact.


Put the power of forgiveness and unconditional love to work for you:


As a spiritual teacher, I encourage my students to give themselves and those around them the gift of forgiveness and unconditional love. This holds especially true during the holidays.

If you know in advance that you’ll be seeing a family member who has wronged you, take the time to forgive them before the event. Close your eyes and imagine the person standing in front of you. As you breathe in, silently say, May you be happy. May you be well. May you be safe. May you be peaceful and at ease. This powerful Buddhist exercise, called “Metta,” dissolves anger, resentment, and guilt, and will help you to feel more loving and in control as you journey “over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house.” When you arrive, don’t undo the good you’ve done by telling the person that you have forgiven them—that will only bring the old issues back to the forefront and put them on the defensive. This processing is for your benefit. Simply send them love, and move on!


Stay outside of the emotional fray, and celebrate your own spiritual progress:


The holidays are not the time to resolve old issues, or confront other people. Enjoy the time with family, and set the limits that you need to keep yourself healthy emotionally, spiritually, and physically.


Take care of yourself. Take walks outdoors, meditate and consume alcohol, sugar, and caffeine in moderation. If you’re tired, give yourself permission to leave a family event early. You’re not obligated to stay till the bitter end. Fighting and drama tends to escalate as it gets late, especially if the alcohol is flowing. If there is family drama, step out of the fray and observe; pretend you’re watching a play, rather than allowing yourself to be pulled in.



Finally, capture the holiday spirit by looking outside of yourself and your family circle:


Are you trying to recapture the breathless excitement and holiday magic that you remember from your childhood? Or do you have old, traumatic memories of the season that you’re desperate to replace with happier ones? As an adult, you can experience the very best of the holidays, the spirit of joy and love, but you might not find it wrapped in a box, or around the table with your extended family. For many people, the formula for a light-filled season includes not just family time, but time spent alone and time spent helping others.


Gandhi said that the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. Don’t depend on the “big event” to fill you with the holiday spirit. If, despite your best efforts to forgive and forget, an overdose of family time is causing you to dwell too much on past hurts and disappointments, shift your focus outside of yourself. Figure out a way to help others, and by doing so, you’ll nourish your own spirit. Serve holiday dinners at a homeless shelter, deliver gifts to the lonely or sick, visit a nursing home to sing carols, send cards and packages to the troops, and remember what the holidays are really about—bringing more light into the world.  Doing that is a sure way to fill your own soul with the spirit of the season!

Winter Solstice

A Long Cold Night: Healing with the Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice

Here’s a riddle for you:

When is growing darkness and disappearing light a reason to give thanks?

When the sun moves south toward the Tropic of Capricorn and the shortest day of the solar year arrives in the Northern Hemisphere—in other words, the winter solstice.

This annual planetary event—which comes this year on December 21—has been celebrated for its spiritual importance since ancient times. The days grow shorter and the nights longer until the solstice.

At the winter solstice, the balance of dark and light tips, and the sun begins a return trip that promises such good things as new life, new growth, increasing warmth, and those bright spring blossoms that gladden your heart! Whether your longest night is truly frigid or just chilly, those hours of darkness are a gift and a time for special spiritual reflection.

Are you ready to pause for a prayer of gratitude for the gift of another year of life and love?

As a spiritual teacher and energy healer, I invite you to celebrate this seasonal cycle by creating your own personal rituals to mark the passing of darkness and the coming again of healing, life-giving light. The winter solstice is a time of rebirth, a special window of peace and renewal. The quiet calm of a long winter’s night welcomes you to look within and nurture your connection to Source. Now is the perfect time to honor your own inner light with renewed attention, awareness, and gratitude.

What are some healing gifts that you can give your spirit this December?

Winter solstice healing practices:

1. Give thanks for the sheltering night

Meditate on the blessings of restful darkness when the busy daytime work is done. Reflect on the amazing spiritual gift of being able to restore your strength and energy whenever you need to. You can create light whenever and wherever you need it. Embrace the quiet, the calm, and the peace you have been given.

Send forth prayers for all who need rest, including yourself, and give thanks for the wisdom to recognize your need to reach out for loving assistance from the Source of All Being.

2. Reflect on the need to let go

At the winter solstice, the sun changes course and begins to move in a new direction. It’s a perfect time to think about the course of your life and decide if you, too, are ready to change direction. With the return of the sun and the longer days to come, what will you do with your “new light”?

Use your journal to reflect on ways you might deeply long to change course.

  • What would you do with a new chance to reinvent your life?
  • Do you need to let go of negative thoughts and beliefs that are holding you back?

Let go of fear and let feelings of love and gratitude rise and refresh your spirit.

3. Imagine ways to re-engage

The return of the light that follows the winter solstice has long been seen as a time of awakening for higher consciousness. The growth of your inner light reflects the growing return of sunlight to a world in need of healing energy. The time is right for you to nurture your spiritual practice, to diminish your personal darkness and increase your light.

  • How will you move forward in the months ahead?
  • How will you contribute to your own healing and thereby help to heal the world?

Honor the solstice by spreading light to others who are in need.

4. Remember the natural world

What’s going on outside as winter begins?

Find time to observe the night sky and study the wonder of the stars in the cold, clear air. Look for bird and animal visitors to your yard and neighborhood. They may be looking for shelter and sustenance that you can help provide. Notice how the trees and plants adapt to a new season. Like them, you are connected to the cosmos.

Can you restore that feeling of connection by getting outside for a while each day?

5. Cultivate joy

From ancient times, the winter solstice has been a time of celebration. The dark that has been building will now retreat. Light begins its return with all the gifts that longer daytime brings—warmth, color, and the power to grow! The year-end gathering of friends and family, the food and drink, the music, and the traditions are all part of the seasonal longing to celebrate happiness and community. Taking good care of your spirit is part of the healing promise of a new season.

You can make your winter solstice a turning point and a time of renewal. Use these spiritual practices to shine your light of love and peace into the world!

Los Angeles Light Pollution

Light Pollution: What it Does to Your Body/Mind/Spirit and 5 Easy Ways to Reduce It

Los Angeles Light Pollution

In 1994, just before dawn, an earthquake hit LA and caused a city-wide power outage. Many residents who ran out of buildings for safety called 911 to report a mysterious cloud overhead in what was an otherwise clear night. That cloud turned out to be the Milky Way, our own galaxy, hidden for many years by the city’s lights.

We try to light up the night sky for a simple reason: we humans don’t see very well in the dark. But where a little light is a good thing, too much light, or the wrong kind, negatively impacts us, causing a host of undesirable effects, most notably, breast cancer.

The 24-hour cycle, or circadian clock, affects physiologic processes in all living things. These processes include brain wave patterns, hormone production, cell regulation, and other biological activities. Disruption of that rhythm results in ill health, unhappiness, and angst at the soul level.  

Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone which is released in the dark and inhibited by light. While any light at night can interfere with its production, the short blue portion of the light spectrum suppresses melatonin the most.

Exposure to our artificially extended daytime in the modern world leads to sleep problems and sleep problems cause weight gain, stress, depression, diabetes, and cancer. The American Medical Association has recognized light at night as a carcinogen.

The excess light we create in our environment endangers all ecosystems by altering biochemical rhythms that normally ebb and flow with normal light patterns. Perhaps more importantly, we’re losing our connection to the night-time sky, a sky that our ancestors depended on for connection to the cosmos. We lose something essential, some part of ourselves, when we fail to connect to the dark sky and its planets and stars.

Though it’s not as dramatic as a chemical spill, light pollution now rates at the top of the list of chronic environmental issues. In 2016, reputable scientists reported that 99% of the United States and Europe experience light pollution. A third of the planet can no longer see the Milky Way and light pollution is increasing at the alarming rate of 2% per year.

Perhaps even more disturbing is the absence of awe when the night sky is no longer part of our lives. Philosophers have long written about the sacredness of the night sky and its impact on us; somehow a half-lit smoggy sky filled with light pollution just doesn’t take our soul to that place of wonder.

What can you do to preserve the night sky and your health and well-being? Here are 5 easy steps to take:

  1. Get new light bulbs. LEDs are great for saving energy (and money) but check to ensure that your bulbs are not using the blue-white spectrum. Find lower temp LEDs and compact fluorescents.
  2. Turn off blue light devices an hour before bedtime. That’s your TV, your iPad, your phone. If you use a reader, use an app that filters out the blue wavelength. That absence of blue light which normally would begin at sundown will allow melatonin to increase, which will lower your body temp, slow your metabolism, and increase leptin, the hormone that reduces appetite. (It was important for early humans that they didn’t get hungry in the middle of the night, because if you’re out foraging for food, you become food) Increased leptin levels play a role in avoiding cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, and cancer, especially breast cancer.
  3. Make sure your bedroom is completely dark. (Turn off the TV!)
  4. Turn off or shield outdoor lighting at your home.
  5. Talk to the governing agencies about light pollution in your area; be the one to spear-head a light ordinance or enforce the one already on the books.

Finally, if it’s been a long time since you’ve seen a truly dark night, make plans to go somewhere soon where you can. I spent the Thanksgiving holiday camped at Joshua Tree National Park and I can still feel the grandeur of that night sky. Try it for yourself, it will fill your soul.

Bikram #MeToo

Bikram: Me Too Yet Again

Bikram #MeToo

Media moguls, Hollywood stars, Olympic doctors, sports coaches, priests, politicians (left, right, and center), Buddhist teachers, Indian gurus and yogis, are all mighty trees felled by the hatchet of the #MeToo movement in recent times. Strongmen have all wielded their patriarchal power—what they considered their god-given rights—over the lives of women and children (and the earth). But thanks to the growing willingness of women to speak truth to power, a global conversation about sexual violence and gender balance has sprung to life and continues to expand.

The latest of these grimy exposures can be found in the Netflix documentary, Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator, which documents the allegations of sexual misconduct against Bikram Choudhry, the founder of Bikram yoga. In the “paternalistic” yoga culture, it is presumed that the teacher knows what is best for his students, who simply follow whatever the teacher says, even if it means ignoring their own intuition that something isn’t right. Other influential yoga teachers, like Patthabi Jois, Manouso Manos, and John Friend, have all been accused of some form of sexual assault, from inappropriate sexual touching of students’ bodies during class, all the way up to, as in the instant story, rape.

It’s everywhere in the “spiritual world”

These yoga teachers join a long list of “spiritual” teachers who have abused their power and authority, who think that the rules don’t apply to them. 

Amrit Desai, the founder of the Kripalu Centre, had to resign over sexual allegations as the spiritual director of his own ashram. The charismatic leader Osho (Bhagwan Shree Ragneesh) was known as the “sex guru.” Accusations of sex with devotees have cropped up relentlessly over the years about Swami Muktananda, Swami Satchidananda, Swami Rama, Swami Kriyananda, and Sai Baba, not to mention Buddhist lamas and teachers like Sogyal Rinpoche and Lama Norlha. Even more disturbing are rumors swirling about both living and deceased teachers at what was formerly the leading publishing company in the US of all things spiritual. 

Yes, the list of those in my field who well deserve to be in the #MeToo spotlight is long and disappointing. How can so many supposedly “enlightened” spiritual teachers sexually abuse their followers? More importantly for us, however, is how we delude ourselves about abuse when it’s right square in front of us, in our families, in our office, in church, or even happening to us.

Women, still, are relentlessly trained by the culture to allow men the upper hand. “Obey” may have been taken out of modern marriage vows, but it’s still implicitly there. The voice of authority is most often male, and women, if they have any sense, do not routinely confront men head-on.

Perhaps you are new to the spiritual scene, and your expectation is that everyone is pure, holy, a worthy vessel of Spirit—especially your teacher. He oozes charm, claims a special connection to the divine, and inspires devotion. You can just feel the power radiating from him. He is in command, and you listen to what is said, especially to you personally. And if he touches you in a way that makes you uncomfortable, or invites you to maximize your spiritual potential and receive “secret teachings” by sharing his bed, in your zeal to be a good student, to advance, and yes, because it makes you feel special, you capitulate.

So back to Bikram: in terms of the basic facts, Choudhury’s story is all too familiar. He is largely responsible for yoga becoming commonplace in the United States, as he franchised his Los Angeles studio into a global network. At the height of his influence in the last 20 years, he was the darling of talk shows and media in general. His movement was called “McYoga,” as he made a fortune franchising his method.

As he rose to prominence, Bikram franchises became very desirable; Choudhury would hold massive nine-week training seminars around the world. According to litigation on file, he used these seminars as his way of finding, grooming, and forcing himself upon women whom he then raped.

Hopefully, the film will force Jackie Lacey, LA District Attorney, to stand up for women and bring Choudhury to justice, as well as encourage each one of us to confront truth in our own lives where ever we find it.