Are you neurodivergent?

Would you like to discover how “normal” your brain is or are you neurodivergent?

But before we get going here, let’s define a couple of terms.

Because there is no fixed definition of “normal,” researchers and educators have produced terms to help identify the different assets and challenges that human brains can include. The term “neurodiversity” describes a model for understanding how our brains function and takes the position that diversity is normal, that some brains just work differently.

Neurotypical is the term used to describe people whose brain function and development fall within the “typical” (most often seen and recognized) range.

Neurodivergent (ND for short) is the term used to describe people whose brain function differs in identifiable ways from the typical range. Those of us who identify as neurodivergent may recognize one of the conditions listed below. But since there aren’t any medical criteria or definitions of what it means to be neurodivergent, other conditions can also fall under this term. Here’s a list of what’s typically included:

  • Autism spectrum disorder (including what was once called Asperger’s Syndrome)
  • ADHD (Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder)
  • Down syndrome
  • Dyscalculia (difficulty with math)
  • Dysgraphia (difficulty writing)
  • Dyslexia (difficulty reading)
  • Dyspraxia (difficulty with coordination)
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Mental health conditions (bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, etc)
  • Prader-Willi syndrome (a rare genetic condition that affects metabolism. PWS causes individuals to have a robust, insatiable appetite so they never feel full after eating)
  • Sensory processing disorders
  • Social anxiety (a specific type of anxiety disorder)
  • Tourette syndrome (identifiable as the result of uncontrollable movements and vocal sounds called tics. TS shows up in early childhood and improves in adulthood)
  • Williams syndrome (a rare genetic condition characterized by unique physical features, delays in cognitive development, and potential cardiovascular problems)

ND isn’t a disorder or a defect. ND folks aren’t broken and don’t need “fixing.” Their brains simply work differently, quite frequently in ways that enrich all those within their orbit.

ND folks are incredibly diverse. No two ND individuals, even identical twins, have the same experiences or requirements to be able to live successful, fulfilling lives.

Although some ND people have medical disorders, learning disabilities, and other conditions, vast numbers of ND people do not, and may also boast superior memories, the ability to mentally envision 3D objects easily, the ability to solve complex mathematical calculations in their heads, and other similar gifts.

ND folks may also have difficulty making eye contact or reading body cues, sometimes stuttering is an issue, may have trouble focusing and have issues with self-control and remaining flexible in changing circumstances. They may also have trouble with certain stimuli (light, sound, heat, cold, travel, etc.)

An example of ND versus a typical human brain in everyday life would be comparing the following two people with a talent for playing the violin:

  • Person #1: A pre-teen with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who really struggles in social situations. His main ASD identifiers are social problems coupled with an unusually intense interest in playing the violin; it’s all he wants to do all day. Plus, his teachers say he is naturally better at the violin; taking classes and accumulating experience isn’t as crucial in further developing this extraordinary skill as it would be for a normal kid.
  • Person #2: A 40-year-old neurotypical adult; he is comfortable in social situations and makes friends easily. The adult consciously developed the creative skill of playing the violin throughout his life; his talent developed from much education, training, and practice, and took many years to develop.

    No one would say that the adult described above is abnormal because he (still) can’t play the violin as well as the pre-teen kid. At the same time, we don’t need to describe the child as anything other than “different,” or “neurodivergent,” since it’s natural for both the adult and the child to develop differently as they deal with their own unique abilities and struggles.

A great many ND people struggle in social situations, which makes it hard to find work because they tend to not have a stellar experience during the job interview. However, if they pass the screening and get the job, their attention to detail keeps them engaged in tasks that neurotypical folks might find tedious (record-keeping, accounting, data analysis, script-writing, coding, drawing, audio editing, etc.).

Some ND struggle simply because some systems and processes don’t give them the chance to highlight their strengths or don’t offer novel, ongoing challenges for them.

Also, some ND people can become overwhelmed in noisy environments or in chaotic, communal situations like open-office designs, emergency rooms, newsrooms, restaurants, backstage at rock concerts, and heavy construction sites. A pair of noise-canceling earpods (when safe) can help them sidestep the distractions so they can focus exclusively on their daily tasks.

Astonishing data point:

An estimated 15-20 percent of the world’s population exhibits some form of neurodivergence.

Are you “on the spectrum”?

The biggest category of NDs is found “on the spectrum;” this refers to the wide range of characteristics and abilities found in individuals with autism.

An example:

  • Unique strengths: Your vivid imagination and attention to detail make you an incredible artist. You create beautiful drawings that capture your imaginative world. You seem to have been born with this skill, so learning how to draw was never an issue for you. You’ve seemingly always known how to draw. (Savant: a person with an exceptional natural aptitude in a particular field, like music or mathematics or art, despite being impaired in other areas of intellectual or social functioning.)
  • Social challenges: You sometimes struggle to understand others’ emotions or to make friends easily.
  • Repetitive behavior: You have an obsessive interest in animals, and you love to learn about unusual species. You can spend all day reading books and watching educational videos about animals and then spend your evenings drawing them.

Every individual on the spectrum has their own set of strengths and challenges, which can vary greatly.

Difficulties with social interactions (understanding emotions or making friends) are common for individuals on the autism spectrum.

Many individuals on the spectrum exhibit repetitive behaviors or intense, even obsessive, interest in specific topics.

Although some ND characteristics (e.g., difficulty with organization, sensory issues) present challenges in traditional work or educational settings, countless ND individuals possess unique strengths that can improve productivity, quality, innovation, and engagement.

By Now You’re Probably Wondering…

If you’ve never thought about neurodivergence in these ways, you may be wondering if your brain is “typical” or if you’re perhaps an undiagnosed member of the ND tribe.

There are probably millions in the ND tribe who have gone unidentified because their unique internal/unspoken challenges haven’t been recognized or identified by their parents, teachers, partners, counselors, or peers.

Or, you may have discovered that someone you know and love may well exist in the ND world, which heretofore has seemed “off limits” or confounding to you.

Either way, here are some things you can do to embrace the ND individuals in your orbit, including yourself, if the above characterizes your lived experience and mindset:

Embrace neurodiversity. Recognize the unique perspectives and talents. Encourage/understand/accept yourself or your loved one as a unique individual.

Discern your/their specific needs so everyone gets the support required.

If you’re a ND type, develop ways to help yourself communicate effectively so you can advocate for yourself as the need arises.

Continue to explore and develop your unique passions so they can help you succeed in the ways you were designed to succeed.

Don’t be afraid to approach neurodivergent individuals in the same way you would neurotypical folks: with an open mind, empathy, and understanding. Ask questions. Get to know them. They will frequently surprise and delight you!

If you’re an employer or a mentor to ND individuals, proactively offer remote work flexibility, Zoom connectivity, noise-canceling earpods, and other options (examples: alternative lighting, full-spectrum, or natural lighting products; written forms, prompts, and instructions; recorded directives, messages, and materials, etc.) that will help them produce with the least amount of personal anguish. (ND conditions are covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, so reasonable accommodations are to be provided.)

Finally, many who are ND are accomplished and successful. More and more ND people are coming forward and self-identifying, including climate activist Greta Thunberg, oscar-winning actor Sir Anthony Hopkins, musician Florence Welch, scientist Temple Grandin, and Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles.

Experts would also suggest that Nobel Prize-winning chemist Marie Curie and theoretical physicist Albert Einstein, artist Vincent Van Gogh, inventor Nikola Tesla, and author F. Scott Fitzgerald, would today likely identify as ND.

Finally, the Harvard Business Review published an article a few years ago that detailed the benefits of hiring those who are neurodivergent, stating it had been found it was a competitive advantage across many industries.

Great thanks to the National Cancer Institute for many of the insights I’ve expanded upon here, and here are links if you would like to read more:



2023 Martin Luther King MLK Day

Celebrating Martin Luther King’s Legacy

2023 Martin Luther King MLK Day

January is a month for reflection and hope. From festive celebrations on New Year’s Eve to the widespread tradition of making resolutions, January gives each of us an opportunity to pause and consider how we might best use our time and energy to thrive. It is so easy to get caught up in the busyness of life, in the ceaseless daily demands that pull on our attention and distract us from the bigger picture. Taking a moment in January to envision and write down your goals for personal and spiritual growth is a gift that will pay dividends over time in terms of a life that has purpose.

In the United States, commemoration of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday (January 16, 2023) is in keeping with this spirit of reflection and renewal. The federal holiday was established in 1983 and recognized in all fifty states by the year 2000. Martin Luther King (MLK) remains America’s most globally famous and influential civil rights leader. Hiroshima, Japan, for example, acknowledges MLK Day each year, due to King’s unwavering commitment to nuclear nonproliferation. MLK Day is also officially recognized in the Canadian provinces of Toronto and Ottawa.

2023 Martin Luther King MLK Day

The Civil Rights Movement in the United States took place between 1954 to 1965. It began with the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education that segregation in the public schools was unconstitutional and culminated in passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Martin Luther King’s public career dovetailed with this crucial period of American history. Already prominent in the Black community as a Baptist minister, King reached national fame—largely via the then new technology of television—as the leader of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. This successful 381-day organized protest resulted in the Supreme Court striking down segregation on Alabama public transport as unconstitutional in November 1956.

Following this victory, King continued to lead civil rights marches throughout the segregated South. He was instrumental in creating the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), headed by Black clergymen, and in organizing the movement around the principle of non-violence. Non-violence, in this case, did not simply mean refusing to meet aggression with a counterattack (though that was crucial).

Instead, non-violence as a tactic drew from a deeper moral and spiritual worldview. In promoting nonviolence, King incorporated the teachings of Jesus and the recent example of Gandhi’s peaceful and successful resistance in India to the British Empire to argue that civil rights activists had to lead by example. Meeting violence with violence ultimately reduced the humanity of everyone involved and provided antagonists with a pretext for yet more aggression. In his own words, now etched in the south wall of the MLK Memorial in Washington, D.C., “darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

2023 Martin Luther King MLK Day

To end the cycle of violence, and to embody the righteousness of the civil rights cause, King urged those who participated to remain nonviolent. While by the late 1960s, many activists began to waver in their commitment to passive resistance, King held firm that long-lasting change could only be achieved through sustained non-violence. Indeed, in 1966, following passage of the Voting Rights Act, King moved the marches to the segregated neighborhoods of Chicago and other Midwestern and Northern cities, making the case that segregation was not only a Southern problem but an American one.

2023 Martin Luther King MLK Day

It is easy to forget today how radical some of King’s ideas were in their time. As with anyone who is commemorated in a statue, a stamp, or a holiday, the edges of history tend to blur a bit. King was a revered figure in his day, but also a polarizing one, and he was certainly a complicated man who worked under near constant public pressure. By the late 1960s, he began to link the cause of racial justice to social justice and started work on a planned Poor Peoples’ Campaign. His involvement was cut short by his assassination in Memphis, TN, on April 4, 1968.

Yet while King, like all consequential figures, often divided his audience, the lasting impact of his life and work is assured. King was on the front lines of the mid-century Civil Rights Movement from Montgomery to Selma to D.C. to Chicago. He believed that reconciliation was not only possible but inevitable, and, in this, he continues to represent the best of the United States. Just as he drew on the deep heritage of Christianity, and the long history of non-violence, King grounded his speeches and writings in the United States Constitution. He did not seek to work outside of that framework, but rather to have the United States live up to the ideals contained in the Declaration of Independence and the 14th Amendment.

As we pause for a moment in January to reflect, to plan, and to think about our own spiritual journeys, it is relevant to remember that King’s actions and writings do not sit frozen in the past but provide inspiration for the present and future of peace and justice. As he wrote, in an August 1967 address to the SCLC, “we must walk on in the days ahead with an audacious faith in the future.” When we celebrate MLK Day in the United States, we are not only looking backwards at our history, but moving towards a more perfect union.

2023 Martin Luther King MLK Day
St Francis Assissi

St. Francis: Why We Celebrate this Early Activist

St Francis Assissi

I want to tell you about one of my favorite people of all time and talk about the environment at the same time. If you’re an animal lover and nature lover, like I am, and you’re as worried about the state of our environment as I am, then this guy and his energy is for you. I’m talking about Saint Francis, the patron saint of animals and the environment. Francis’s journey from rich spoiled kid to one of the most amazing people who ever lived is a story worth hearing about.

As a child born into a very wealthy family in the late 1100’s – his father was a landowner and a cloth merchant and his mother was royalty from France, so an upper-class family, — Francis was far removed from the daily grind that the rest of the world had to face to survive at the time. It reminds you of Buddha’s early days, doesn’t it.

By age 13, Francis had a serious drinking problem, he was into gourmet food, and, if there were drugs back then, I’m sure he did those too. If you have ever had addiction issues, like I have, you’ll relate to him big-time. He dropped out of school at 13, a rebellious kid who ignored the city curfew and drank himself into a stupor every night. He managed to get away with this behavior because of his charm and his father’s wealth.

St Francis Assissi

As he got older, Francis became highly skilled at archery and on horseback. And although his father expected Francis to go into the textile business, he dreamed instead of becoming a knight. He clearly wanted to achieve hero worship status, which is why he honed his skills as an archer and rider. Ironically, he became a major hero for very different reasons.

Soon, a war broke out between Assisi and Perugia, and Francis leapt on that moment and joined the cavalry. However, during his first big battle, he was captured and, because his family was wealthy, held for ransom rather than killed. It took his father almost a year to pull together the enormous sum required for his release.

It was during his time in prison that Francis began having visions. After he got out of prison, he told everybody he could hear the voice of Christ, who told him to redeem the church, which was, of course, corrupt, (what’s new), give up his profligate lifestyle, and live like the poor.

The defining incident that separated Francis from his father forever was the time he stole a bolt of cloth from his father’s shop and his father’s horse to raise money to rebuild a fallen-down church. Upon discovering the theft, his father delivered him to the local bishop and reported the theft. The bishop told Francis to return his father’s money. He did so, but at the same time he also stripped off his clothes, stood there nude, and declared that God was the only father he would recognize henceforth. The bishop gave him a rough tunic to cover his nakedness, and Francis headed out of town. He was attacked almost immediately by a bunch of thieves and badly beaten, but he took it all in stride, feeling elated because he had finally been fully freed from the expectations of others. If you’re one of those people who had to fight your father or mother to become the person you really wanted to be, you’ll relate to him. After this incident, the Francis that so many of us have come to know and love, embarked wholeheartedly on the road to his true destiny.

Francis’s radical embrace of poverty wasn’t mainstream at the time (any more than it is today). The church itself was enormously rich, as were the people at its helm. This wealth didn’t sit well with Francis; he felt it diverged from the original ideals Christ had decreed. So, he went on a personal crusade to change this, visiting up to five villages every day. His charisma and the purity of his message drew thousands of adherents into his orbit. These became the very first Franciscan friars. He even preached to animals, how cool is that!

St Francis Assissi

By the time he died on October 3, 1226, at 44 years of age, many predicted he would be canonized as a saint. As his health deteriorated, he returned to Assisi to die. Knights were sent from Assisi to guard him and guide him safely home since, at the time, the body of a saint was viewed as a valuable relic that would bring glory to whichever town it rested. He was canonized as a saint on July 16, 1228, and in 2013, nearly 800 years later, the current Pope honored Saint Francis by taking his name and becoming Pope Francis.

Because of visions he had, or actions he took which were counter to the sensibilities of his times, some regarded Francis as crazy, while others considered him as close to Christ-like as they had ever encountered before. One example of his counter-cultural inclinations was his care for and kissing of lepers, whom he said were really Christ in disguise.

Clearly, Francis was an early activist. If you’re obsessed, as I am, by prejudice or unfairness or the assault on the natural world that’s happening, you will relate to Francis.

St Francis Assissi

Now another important point about Francis: Once he found his path, he was obsessed with nature and animals and the environment. He was so attuned to the animal world he could easily hear animals speak to him. If you’re totally into animals, like I am, I bet you can hear them too – I still remember the first time a horse ever spoke to me – I was on my boy, Influence’s back one hot morning, when I clearly heard him say “it’s too hot and my feet hurt.” I jumped off, looked him in the eye, and could see he was really laughing it up – horses have such a great sense of humor!

So back to Francis: his annual feast day is coming up soon, and it’s a custom in many cities to bring your dog, cat, hamster, horse, or you name it from the animal world, to the steps of a local church for a blessing. It’s a very cool ceremony, I used to ride my horse down to the local church, with the dogs following, for us all to get a blessing.

Francis totally wore himself out, fasting and living in rough conditions, in abandoned churches, without any heat. That’s why he died so young, at 44. Now, here’s a really interesting point: he got the stigmata of Jesus, that’s the wounds that Christ got on the cross, making him the first person to every have that happen. Wow, what an achievement!

So, how does Francis relate to our present-day environmental crisis?

For those of you who live in rural or suburban areas of the world, I’m sure you can remember driving in the countryside where your windshield was smeared and spattered with the massive remains of bugs that collided with you. How long has it been since you’ve encountered that? I simply can’t remember the last time it happened to me it has been so many years. That tells an ominous tale about what has been happening just during our brief lifetimes. Insects feed countless other creatures that fly, swim, crawl, and burrow. Given fewer insects, fewer species survive.

Back when I was a kid, it seemed like every few rhododendron leaves hosted a green tree frog. Not anymore! And garter snakes, salamanders, pollywogs, bullfrogs, dragonflies, and bees, not to mention rattlesnakes, were easy to find just about everywhere if you kept a sharp eye out for them.

The environmental crisis that we find ourselves in today didn’t happen overnight, but for a lot of us, it certainly has escalated enough that even we can remember multiple “before and after” scenarios that are disquieting.

For at least the past 75 years, environmentalists across the globe have been sounding the alarm about the destruction of Earth’s natural habitats.

St Francis Assissi
St Francis Assissi

You have certainly heard of some of the earliest ones: Rachel Carson, whose book “Silent Spring,” served as the first canary in the coal mine was a big wake-up call for all of us. First published in 1962, the book documented the damage that man-made pesticides were inflicting on the environment. Its publication is considered by numerous historians to be the genesis of the modern environmentalist movement in America.

Fast forward to today. Let’s visit with a few latter-day Saint Francis types from across the globe who have made saving the earth and all its inhabitants their life’s work:

Jane Goodall, the late Dian Fossey, and Dr. Mary Galdikas, have studied and worked closely with chimpanzees, mountain gorillas, and orangutans respectively in their natural habitats in Africa and Borneo, becoming the world’s foremost authorities on these great apes. They have documented each species’ social networks, amazing skillsets, intelligence, and the ever-present challenges that face them as humans continue to invade and negatively impact the places they count on to continue as viable species.

One gorilla, Koko, raised and taught sign language by Penny Patterson, made it clear to those of us who are paying attention that these magnificent beings experience pleasure, pain, sadness, and deprivation every bit as much as we do. When Koko’s pet kitten died, Koko became very sad and signed to Penny, “My heart hurts.” And when Fred Rogers of the show, Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, visited Koko, she immediately took off his shoes, as she had seen him do so many times on her favorite TV program. The look they shared with each other was priceless.

St Francis Assissi
St Francis Assissi


On September 23, 2019, Swedish teenage environmentalist, Greta Thunberg, spoke at the United Nations about climate change, angrily and tearfully accusing world leaders of half-measures and outright inaction. If you haven’t seen her speech, I encourage you to google it. In it, she makes no bones about the fact that the environmental crises we face right now are the direct result of the powers-that-be looking the other way or placating us with inadequate half-measures, despite the fact that what whole industries are doing to the earth right now is unsustainable — and lethal not just to us, but to every creature that shares the planet with us.

I’m sure David Attenborough is familiar to you: his documentaries have been shown on TV for years. Check out his Extinction: The Facts (2020), which depicts how the world is in the midst of a sixth mass extinction, where human poaching, illegal wildlife trade, and overfishing are pushing one million out of eight million species on the planet to the very edge of extinction.

St Francis Assissi

Hans Cosmas Ngoteya: This Tanzanian conservationist has lived in the Serengeti since his childhood and has always had a passion for wildlife and the environment. But instead of becoming a ranger or tour guide, he has opted to protect the Serengeti environment and its irreplaceable wildlife.

Julia Hill: Between 1997 and 1999, Julia Hill (nicknamed Butterfly) decided to live on the branches of a 180-foot redwood tree for over 700 days to keep loggers from cutting it down. The tree in question, which Julia named Luna, was estimated to be 1500 years old.

Considered among the most fiercely committed environmental leaders, Julia Hill has continued to fight environmental shortsightedness by being involved in the writing of a number of books on saving the environment. Interestingly enough, her passion for the environment began after her near-death experience in a car crash. Ever since, she has since been a devoted advocate for the environment and natural habitats.

These are just a handful of the environmentalists whose ethics and activities recall to mind Francis’s efforts to consider all God’s creation sacred and worth preserving.

And here’s a poem that is often set to music, Make Me a Channel for Your Peace, also called the St. Francis Prayer:

Make me a channel of your peace
Where there is hatred let me bring your love
Where there is injury, your pardon Lord
And where there is doubt true faith in You
Make me a channel of your peace
Where there is despair in life let me bring hope
Where there is darkness only light
And where there’s sadness ever joy
Oh, Master grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console
To be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love with all my soul
Make me a channel of your peace
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned
It is in giving to all men that we receive
And in dying that we are born to eternal life
Oh, Master grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console
To be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love with all my soul
Make me a channel of your peace
Where there’s despair in life let me bring hope
Where there is darkness only light
And where there’s sadness ever joy

In keeping with the spirit of St. Francis, we encourage you to take the time and explore which environmental cause really speaks to you. Whether it’s animal-related, global warming, whatever it may be…research which non-profit organization you think is worthy of your support and donate. Even if it’s a small amount. If we all play our part, together, we will move the needle forward.


The Divine Feminine: What the World Needs to Create a Just and Balanced Future

If you remember your early American history, you may recall a letter which Abigail Adams wrote to her husband John, who had finally managed to wrangle out of a cranky Congress a declaration of independence from Great Britain. Part of what Mrs. Adams wrote was this: “In the new code of laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make, I desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of husbands. Remember, all men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.”

Apparently, Abigail’s letter fell on deaf ears. And that ladies’ rebellion she referenced? Well, it still hasn’t really happened. As a result, yesteryear’s women lived in the shadows. And sadly, today’s women haven’t yet walked entirely free of them. It has been an uphill climb, gals, there’s simply no skirting around that fact. (no pun intended ☺︎)

A key reason for this fact is that our academic and mass media-driven western cultural history has, until relatively recently, been entirely white male-defined and dominated. Only recently has there been any backlash against the authorities who ordained and established the practice of the male “white”-washing of history.

In school history books in the United States women, people of color, Native Americans, and non-European immigrants occupy the back seat behind the exploit of white men. That’s why we learned more about John Adams than his wife Abigail, more about Charles Lindbergh than Amelia Earhart, more about John, Robert, and Edward Kennedy than their wives, daughters, sisters or nieces who also dedicated their lives to public service, and more about the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. than his mother, Althea, who was also assassinated and a major influencer and contributor to the movement at the time.

In fact, among the scant few times when women’s activities have been mentioned in western histories are the instances in which they were accused (at the time) of behaving in an “unwomanly” manner (as witches, “possessed of the devil,” or as prostitutes, contrarians, or out-and-out insane). The homemakers, children raisers, and life partners of most men have come and gone from the world largely unheralded, undocumented, forgotten. I am reminded that my poor mother, may she rest in peace, had a terrible time keeping me in the Catholic boarding schools that she favored for high school. After I had been unceremoniously expelled from yet another high school, worse, in the final year, she arranged an interview for me at a prestigious school run by some nuns in San Francisco. My mother and I arrived, all white gloved and hatted for the interview, and the sisters suggested I go into a side room for half an hour and write a little piece on any topic I desired while they and mother had tea in the parlor. I brought my little piece back shortly after, and read it aloud: in it, I took the position that Joan of Arc was more than a saint – she was a transgender war hero, or whatever the polite word at the time was that would convey that concept. My mother and I were quickly escorted off the property and the next interview was at a decidedly not Catholic high school for young ladies of refinement.

Throughout our history, noteworthy women have (during their times) been egregiously mischaracterized as outlaws or outliers of patriarchal white society: from Susan B. Anthony, Harriet Tubman, and Rosa Parks, to Gertrude Stein, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and Jane Fonda. These women, as well, as other human rights and women’s advocates and activists, are often castigated as contrary, anti-patriarchy individuals because they dare to present themselves as equal members of, and contributors to, the human race. As singer/songwriter Caryl Simon wrote, “A really strong woman accepts the war she went through and is ennobled by her scars.”

It is a sad fact that until the mid-20th century, outspoken women were frequently committed to mental hospitals for refusing to silence themselves and adhere to their male-designated second-class status. Among the reasons stated for committing women to asylums — are you ready for this? — were ill treatment by husband, intemperance, immoral life, jealousy, laziness, masturbation, suppressed masturbation ( that is, damned if you do, damned if you don’t!), novel reading, overaction of the mind, tobacco use, political excitement, excess religiosity, inadequate religiosity, loss of law suit, desertion of husband, bad habits, decoyed into the army, domestic trouble, epilepsy, excessive sexual abuse, women troubles, superstition, feebleness of intellect, and hard study. The list goes on, and most of it is similarly unbelievable. Freud originally announced to an alarmed male audience of fellow physicians that his research had revealed that most women who were accused of the crime of “hysterics,” were in fact victims of sexual abuse by a family member, most often, their own father. He was castigated so severely by his colleagues and threatened with the immediate end of his career for taking that position that he promptly retracted this position, never to voice it again.

If we have any doubts about the position of women, they didn’t even win the Constitutional right to vote across the United States until 1920. And the Equal Rights Amendment still sits in the wings, waiting to be enacted.

What western history books and Judeo-Christian holy books have neglected to mention (except to decry them as superstitious pagan cultures) is that there have been a great many matriarchal societies on Earth, and many patriarchal societies with female Goddesses. In passing, I should mention that the Vedic culture I’ve immersed myself in is one such heavily patriarchal society that, like Catholicism with its Mary figure, has many female gods that soften the story but don’t, in fact, give women any sort of equality in real time.

As a sad result, we’ve been taught far less than half of the human story, which has made far more than half the human population appear to be less consequential, less powerful, and therefore less visible than we instinctively know them to be, and which is why movies that correct the history books to include brave, valiant and powerful women, and why superhero movies like Mulan, Wonder Woman, and Black Widow, and why authors like Maya Angelou (the beloved author of the poem “And Still I Rise”) and researchers and scientists like Jane Goodall, Marie Curie, and Katherine Johnson, make us want to offer fist bumps and high fives to their high-profile notoriety and courageous contributions. As Marge Piercy once wrote, “A strong woman is a woman determined to do something others are determined shall not be done.”

Now is the perfect time to revisit The Divine Feminine and The Divine Masculine, two energies that exist in all of us and which (when balanced) create a culture in which everyone can thrive. These two energies are the perfect antidote to the toxic masculinity that has marginalized and minimized the contributions of literally billions of people across time and that is so visible today.

The Divine Feminine is a both a spiritual energy and a concept which serves as a counterbalance to the patriarchal historical and worship structures that dominate Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. The Divine Feminine goes beyond a single belief system, so it can be embraced by anyone who is interested in co-existing in peace with others.

Despite its gendered name, The Divine Feminine is an aspect of every human being, as is the Divine Masculine. These complementary energies exist in all of us humans. The Divine Feminine is characterized by receiving, doing, and acting in powerful, loving, and caring ways. (Mother Mary and Eleanor Roosevelt are representatives of this type of energy.)

The Divine Masculine, on the other hand, is characterized by giving, doing, and acting in powerful, loving, and caring ways. (Abraham Lincoln and the Dali Llama are representatives of this type of energy.)

But when masculine energy is toxic/aggressive, it goes beyond mere assertiveness, determination, and action- and goal-oriented practices, which all too often results in environmental degradation, societal segregation, and national disintegration.

The Divine Feminine, when it dominates or becomes toxic, although less destructive (because it isn’t driven to compete or to assert), allows phrases like “boys will be boys” and “as long as there are greedy people in high places, there will always be wars and injustice” to enter the vernacular to help convince ourselves that “it is what it is and no one can change it,” which is patently untrue and reduces the desire to work to make things better. The Divine Feminine is immensely powerful and change-making, but only when it’s named, claimed, and activated by intention.

Given this refreshing new perspective, the Divine Feminine and the Divine Masculine, when in balance, are the perfect solution to the troubles and challenges that face us as a species and as a planet.

Those of you familiar with Chinese philosophy will recognize the similarity to the yin and yang energies. The yin and yang symbol, in which the black and white shapes swirl into and out of each other instead of appearing as harshly bordered no-fly zones, show us in visual form that the divine masculine and feminine complement and balance each other. It is when one side dominates that a culture suffers from imbalance and injustice.

Again, masculine, and feminine energies are ever-present inside every individual, at every moment, everywhere on earth. When they’re divinely inspired by Spirit/Source, they work together to create cultures of lovingkindness and practices that restore and replenish the planet.

National divine feminine conversations and actions revolve around caring for the earth and its inhabitants (human and non-human), promoting racial and gender equity, and advocating universal health care. Each of these conversations and actions emphasize nurturing and creating balance within a supportive society built on lovingkindness and the recognition that other human beings exist and are rightful heirs to identical rights and needs, and that denying one is an abrogation of our responsibilities to care for all. Amy Tenney wrote, “The world needs strong women. Women who will lift and build up others, who will love and be loved, women who live bravely, both tender and fierce, women of indomitable will.”

And harking back to the wild, wild west, Calamity Jane said, “I figure, if a girl wants to be a legend, she better start now.”

That’s the spirit, and the formula! High vibrational energy, can-do/will do attitude, and pure intention – the three key ingredients to making sure the things happen that you want to have happen!

The Divine Feminine is active, loving, compassionate, and forward-looking. It anticipates the next best thing that can occur and works to ensure its fruition. It nurtures, fosters, and promotes wellbeing and lovingkindness. It doesn’t compete: it completes.

With that being said, to find balance in all aspects of your life, it is necessary to focus on both energies. And our bestselling Awakening the Divine Feminine course can help you do just that. If you’ve ever felt that something in your life just isn’t right – out of balance – then this might just be the solution that you’ve been searching for. Click here to learn more about this course >>


Back to Coat Hangers and Back Alley Abortions


When Roe v Wade became law back in 1973, I was in my last year of law school. For those of you who have read my first book Truth Heals, a national bestseller, you know I wasn’t in a good place emotionally, having been sexually assaulted by my father since early childhood.

But, given my youthful experiences with sexuality, by the time I reached the age of consent, I certainly realized the immense power that sexuality held over men, and I used mine to pole vault higher and faster than many of the men in my class. (There were very few women in law school at the time)

I knew the key to power wasn’t just brains and good grades. I knew that short skirts, and more, would aid men in positions of power to help me up the corporate ladder. I eventually outgrew the technique when cancer came calling at age 25, and I realized that what Daddy had taught me was on course to kill me.

In my earlier years, I suppose (and I confess my unwillingness to admit this) I wasn’t terribly different from notable powerful men who flaunt their sexuality, men like Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh.

But of course, the rules are different for men

Men’s excesses – even when blatantly coercive and unsought — are explained and excused as “young men simply sowing their wild oats,” innocent of any true intention to subjugate their conquests, while I was enlisting my sexuality as a useful tool to get ahead. I remember well my mother excusing the boys and men in our family for any indiscretions, with her offhand “boys will be boys” remarks. Men can use their bodily autonomy to press their power and manhood, no matter the cost to the women they mistreat, while I was negotiating with men who knew exactly what they wanted. (For me, it was Let’s Make a Deal, as opposed to Let’s Take From Women What We Want!)

Imagine what could have become of me had I become pregnant during the times I was “negotiating” my way to early career success, had there been no Roe v Wade ruling to ensure another medically safe way to set myself free of the results of my father’s early training? I would have had to drop out of law school and the trajectory of my life would have taken a tumble that may well have been impossible to recover from.

Fortunately, I never had to make such a gut-wrenching decision due to my bodily autonomy, but millions of women have, and I am firmly in their court because I could have ended up standing in their shoes, and I know it would have been a dismal and shame-inducing decision, no matter which way I decided. I would have felt obligated to hide that decision from nearly everyone else for my entire life.

My story isn’t unique. A friend of mine back then was able to get a medically safe, legal abortion when she needed one, thanks to Roe v Wade. She went on to have four children later in life after she could afford to raise them. (Her husband, a freelance illustrator, raised the children while she brought home the bread and bacon that sustained them all those early years, before his career took off.) She does not regret her early abortion decision.

The Defining Difference

For men, youthful indiscretions get “attaboys” in this patriarchal culture, while sexually active women get branded as “sluts,” “gold diggers,” “seductresses,” or “party girls.”

This twisted and bizarre prevailing attitude — that men should be able to do whatever they want with their bodily autonomy, but if what they do results in a pregnancy, then the women they impregnate should carry their pregnancies to term — has brought us perilously close to losing our precious (and hard-fought) right to remain the masters of our fate. Are you aware that, already, in 31 states, rapists can gain visitation or custody rights to the children produced by their felonious conduct? Can you imagine the emotional upheaval that rulings like these cause the female victims of their violent acts? It’s enough to turn your stomach.

If “settled law” can be overturned (which the present majority of Supreme Court Justices deemed Roe v Wade to be during their confirmation hearings, but have since conveniently forgotten), so can marriage equality, the rights of LGBTQIA+ folks, and even women’s voting, credit card, and property-owning rights.

We already see what’s being done right now to keep people of color from voting in so many states. Individual “settled case” human rights laws which are subsequently deemed by the powers to be “federal overreach” are also on the chopping block. Where will it all end? I shudder to think.

Suddenly, Margaret Atwood’s description of a society in which women fall under the total control of autocratic white men, as seen in the TV series, The Handmaid’s Tale, appears to be on the cusp of coming to life, step by calculated step.

The right to bodily autonomy, as determined by the Roe v Wade decision in 1973, is a single domino. But watching it fall into additional human rights dominoes will be our undoing. We are an exceedingly fragile democratic republic. It’s rulings like these that will determine our ability to remain so. Autocracy is waiting in the wings to replace what we’ve been on course to correct and perfect for hundreds of years.

If Roe v Wade is Overturned

If the pending decision can’t be overturned, there needs to be an immediate outcry over the three most recently appointed Supreme Court Justices who intentionally misled Congress on their way to their present positions.

Additionally, there needs to be the first steps toward an increase in the number of Supreme Court Justices which a President who is in touch with the wishes of the American people can put into place to counteract the extremist positions that threaten women’s rights to bodily autonomy.

Something to consider: Establishing mandatory vasectomies for unmarried, financially insecure men would violate bodily autonomy, too — no one gets pregnant without sperm — and I don’t see a single law on the books, or pending, that subjects men to any such responsibility constraints. What’s good for the goose should be good for the gander. That’s what equality is all about.

And — parenthetically — why is the Equal Rights Amendment still not the law of the land? Is it because equality scares men who want to control women’s bodies and fates? It’s time to push back.

The Supreme Court has recently been barricaded against a potential backlash

The Capitol police are anticipating fired up women doing what the former president’s mostly-male adherents did in Washington D.C on January 6th, 2021. If ever there was sufficient justification for such an action, this might be it. But invasion and violence aren’t options; they just inflame and solidify positions.

Consider Laci Wooten-Holway who has been bravely protesting outside Brett Kavanaugh’s home. She is going it alone (usually) and she is being both applauded and vilified.

She is taking a terrible chance. 

But it is long past time — for those of us who believe that women should not be dictated to when it comes to their bodily autonomy — to take some terrible chances, and I applaud her courage.

With Laci’s courageous, unilateral act in mind, I encourage those of you who can, to show up at local and regional protests in your area. There are many happening in the next few days. Here is a link to help you find out more about them. The protests started on Mother’s Day and will go for a week. I urge you to join one near you. Do a search on “Roe V Wade protests” and your zip code to find the one(s) nearest you.

And join me on Facebook where you can comment on a post and thus stand up and be counted.

The Bottom Line

Every child who is born should be wanted, cherished, and adequately supported by their parents. Sadly, if Roe v Wade is overturned, unwanted and inadequately supported children will be the result. I simply can’t imagine a worse fate for them, or for the world.

There are enough humans already, and far too many of them already feel marginalized, abandoned, and hopeless. Overturning Roe v Wade will only compound the tragedy.

If you’re with me on this crucial issue, please don’t sit this one out.

2022 Earth Day

Earth Day Calling: How to Heal the World

2022 Earth Day

The History of Earth Day

On April 22, 1970, Earth Day began as an annual event to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth’s environment. (Here in the U.S, Earth Day is celebrated every year on April 22nd, but the United Nations celebrates Earth Day on the date of the spring equinox, which usually occurs every year on March 20th, give or take one day.)

Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson founded Earth Day after he traveled to Santa Barbara immediately following a major oil spill off its coast. He was appalled by the death and destruction he found there.

So, on September 20, 1969, he announced his idea for a nationwide “teach-in” on the environment during a speech to a newly established conservation group in Seattle. He hoped that a grassroots outcry against rapacious exploiters and despoilers of the environment might prove to the powers that be in Washington, D.C. just how deeply concerned Americans were about the environment. And when grassroots activities ballooned beyond the capacity of his Senate office staff to handle them, he staffed a temporary office with college students and appointed a coordinator of activities. But it quickly became clear to him, and everyone beyond him, that Earth Day had become a mass movement in support of protecting and defending Planet Earth and all of its species of inhabitants. Autonomous groups were springing up in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Minneapolis, Des Moines, Albuquerque, and in countless other cities and towns, large and small.

2022 Earth Day

The first official Earth Day occurred on April 22, 1970, marking the beginning of the modern environmental movement. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Approximately 20 million Americans participated.

Water Under the Bridge

2022 Earth Day

Had the governments in D.C. and elsewhere heeded the warnings and acted immediately back in 1970, they would have begun establishing ways to create alternative energy sources then. But vested interests in the continued despoliation of the planet certainly took notice of the Earth Day mass movement. They initiated a concerted counter-offensive campaign to deny their negative impact on the planet and its inhabitants. Major oil companies and other despoilers paid enormous sums to generate biased “environmental analyses” to pull the wool over the eyes of policymakers, even as they lined the politicians’ pockets to help fund their campaigns for reelection.

It’s a common tactic, and it continues to this day —on steroids — following rules changes by the Supreme Court that allow corporations to act more aggressively and unscrupulously and “personhood” statutes that protect them from being called onto the carpet for despoiling the earth that we all rely on to survive.


As a devout advocate of all living beings, including Mother Earth, it’s upsetting to all of us to see how little has been done to date to re-envision and establish our energy systems to make them as renewable and carbon neutral as possible. Solar, wind, and other source-given energies are here for the taking (with no ability to exhaust them, ever!), but since they don’t offer exorbitant returns to corporations, they haven’t been on many to-do lists. As a result, we are already experiencing the advance wave of the direst of consequences: mass extinctions, climate catastrophes, refugee flights as land disappears beneath ocean waves, and other perils, including the rapidly approaching incapacity of the only planet in this solar system designed to sustain and provide for us all.

We can still remain optimistic. People are rallying to the cause as never before. That’s because we have nearly three entire generations of students who learned about our ecosystem and how interdependent we are on it for our survival in ways previously not recognized. They know what we’re facing if we don’t do something fast, and their future is on the line. So, each and every time a man, woman or child acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, we help change the dystopian nightmare that is looming beyond our doorstep.

2022 Earth Day

Earth Day is the perfect day to remember that … and to act.

2022 Earth Day

From now on, Earth Day must be every day until we witness the change we need to ensure Earth’s recovery and continuing vitality.

Here at the Deborah King Center, we are on a mission to heal the world. If you believe that’s a goal worth pursuing, then the ideal first step is to focus on healing yourself first. It’s difficult to worry about the entire planet when you have your own “stuff” to get through. In fact, “Heal Yourself Heal the World” is literally the title of one of Deborah’s bestselling books. But where do you start?

A great first step is to join our LifeForce Energy Healing® Certification Course. It is the introduction into our very special form of energy healing and will jumpstart your journey towards healing yourself…your community…the world.

Click here to learn more about LFEH I >>

Woody Allen Family

The Arc of Justice

Woody Allen indicted in the court of public opinion

I can’t imagine watching a Woody Allen movie these days.

Everywhere you look, there are fingerprints of a finely-hidden monster, scrawled like graffiti tags, pulsing in the background of every film.

Barely ten minutes into his old comedy, Bananas, he makes a joke about “advanced child molesting.” And that’s not the only instance, not by a longshot. His scripts are peppered with disturbing and obsessive jokes about abuse, sexual and familial. It’s a real red flag.

I can’t watch his movies anymore, but I did watch Allen v. Farrow – the new HBO docuseries that takes a much-needed critical eye to the story of Woody Allen’s abuse of Mia Farrow’s adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow.

Now, many of you may not remember, but news of Woody Allen’s abuse hit the press back in 1992. At the time, this was a strange and salacious case, filled with “he said’s,” and “she said’s,” and “oh, she’s been coaching her,” and “this is blown out of proportion,” until the whole thing became a weird, unresolved footnote.

Woody Allen kept making movies and winning Oscars. Mia Farrow dropped out of the public eye. Then, in 2014, Dylan Farrow published a letter in The New York Times, pressing her case that Woody Allen had abused her. Again in 2018, she went public, detailing Allen’s abuse and asking, “Why hadn’t #MeToo come for Woody Allen?”

Now, three years later, here we are, with a withering documentary that strips away all of the “he said’s” and “she said’s” to reveal a stark and unflinching view of Woody Allen as a predator and a master manipulator. This is a chilling story of much more than rapacious pedophilia; it’s the story of the unbridled abuse of power.

It starts with Mia.

As I watched the documentary, I was struck by how insidiously Woody Allen dismantled Mia Farrow’s agency over their relationship. Over their thirteen years together, Woody cast Mia in thirteen of his movies. At first glance, that sounds innocuous. But then you realize that Woody Allen was Mia Farrow’s boss. He was writing and directing these movies, which meant he could nix her at any time. He changed her working arrangement so that his agent represented her. Think about that: her husband was now her boss, and she was required to use his agent.

He effectively had her under his thumb. Any money Mia Farrow made was through a Woody Allen project. This is a classic tactic of an abuser: cutting off independence.

Of course, as we know, it doesn’t stop with Mia Farrow. Through the documentary, it is clearly shown how Woody abused Dylan and then orchestrated a clever and forceful PR campaign to hamstring the investigation. To pre-empt the story of child abuse, Woody went public with his relationship with Soon-Yi Previn – Farrow’s other adopted daughter. This PR coup allowed Woody to reframe the abuse allegation as a form of retribution by Mia Farrow: the “spurned woman” who was trying to get revenge against Woody. For having sex with his other daughter. Seriously.

Look at that: Woody Allen turned an abuse allegation against himself into a weapon to hurl back at Mia Farrow. This is abuse of power on steroids.

It is difficult to parse out all of the wrinkles and turns in the investigation, but it becomes quite clear that the vaunted Yale-New Haven Hospital report, which proclaimed that Dylan Farrow was not a credible witness, was a sham. Nine times, a seven-year-old girl was forced to be interviewed by investigators about Woody Allen’s abuse to determine if her story had “any inconsistencies.”

Nine times!

If the story matches nine times out of nine, they cry “coaching.” If anything is inconsistent, they cry “she made the whole thing up.”

Tellingly, all the notes from each of these interviews were destroyed – something very much out of the ordinary. As this part of the documentary aired, it became quite clear that there were serious missteps in the execution of this report. While the documentary hints at potential cover-ups and potential political pressures by the Dinkins mayoral administration in New York City to quash the Allen inquiry, we don’t have the evidence . . . yet.

Woody Allen weaponized this Yale-New Haven Hospital report. He wielded it like a cudgel, suing Farrow for full custody of their children, and suggesting Farrow had coached Dylan and was an unfit mother. The judge, thank God, would have none of it; the court confirmed Mia as a fit parent and said Woody was a threat to Dylan Farrow’s safety.

Look at that. When Allen’s smoke-and-mirror defenses were put before a court of law, they came crumbling down. Which is why it was so disturbing that Woody Allen has never been tried and convicted. For the last thirty years, he’s used his celebrity power to dodge the court of law and has confused the court of public opinion.

This is why Allen v. Farrow is such an important documentary. Through this unflinching lens, the series dismantles Allen’s defenses on small screens across the country, cutting his defenders off at the knees.

It is said that the moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice. Woody Allen has managed to keep that arc at bay for thirty years. But thanks to perseverance from Dylan Farrow, and the investigative journalism of Allen v. Farrow, that moral arc has broken back toward justice. Once again, the court of public opinion has become the court of last resort.

When Mia Farrow and Woody Allen were in the midst of separating, he told her that she’d never work in this country again. He blacklisted Mia Farrow for speaking out against his abuse. To this day, she still fears him.

Now, the truth has finally caught up to him. As a result, he’s not found an American distributor for his recent movies. His publishers have pulled out of book deals. I don’t know if he’ll ever see the inside of a jail cell, but, with this documentary, that’s okay, as sunlight is the best disinfectant. The light of truth is wiping away the obfuscation of his abuses against Mia and Dylan. And in bringing these charges to light, Allen’s power withers away.

I invite you all to watch Allen v. Farrow to fully understand how serious and credible these allegations are. Then shake your head that, once again, we, for a bit, let celebrity trump our own instincts for truth. Now, may the truth heal Mia Farrow and her children.

Yantra mantra meditation

A Yantra in the Snow

It was a cold, bitter day, many years ago, that I found myself walking through New York City during a snowfall. For those of you who haven’t seen New York in a snowfall, it’s beautiful for about ten minutes. Then it melts into a mudslide. Suddenly, there’s brown and black mud-snow everywhere. Cars whoosh it up onto the sidewalks. Slurries pool at crosswalks, threatening to engulf any pair of shoes (and half of your pants) as you foolishly plunge in.

I didn’t know this. But I quickly learned when a pair of my jeans went from indigo to khaki thanks to a speeding cab. And I was not happy. My energy field, in retrospect, became muddied, as I repressed these feelings of irritation. As I walked through the streets of New York, I found myself becoming more frustrated. Colder, wetter, dirtier. Not a hot chocolate or caroler in sight.

Fran Lebowitz on her new Netflix special said, “it would only take one subway ride to turn the Dalai Lama into a raving lunatic.” Friends, I’m not proud to say it only took a few blocks walking to make me feel the same.

That is, until I happened upon Lincoln Center. I was walking up Broadway, battling the muck, when I looked to my left and saw a scene practically out of a snow globe. A perfectly framed plaza, covered in sugary snow, flanked by the ballet on one side, Juilliard on the other. Holding the whole scene together: The Metropolitan Opera, gleaming with its modernist arches and welcoming glass.

I didn’t know where I was. I looked to my right, and all I saw was a streaming line of cabs, brown snow, and palpable anxiety. To my left: a pristine palace. I meandered on over, kicking my way through the snow, across the plaza and into a grove of trees, bereft of leaves. I looked down: where my feet had not yet stepped, the snow lay as pure as pristine powder. I looked behind: where my feet once were, the snow had been compressed. Compressed, but still pure and white.

I don’t know what energy came over me, but I put my foot out, and began moving it across the snow. Slowly. Slowly in deliberate lines, I found myself weaving a geometric picture underneath the trees. A picture of a few interlocking triangles, then a star.

The drawings didn’t stem from my conscious mind; rather, it was the pull of my unconscious that manifested onto the snow.

You’ve heard of the term mantra. Mantra refers to a word or sound that is repeated in meditation. What you may not have heard of is yantra. Yantra is a mystical diagram used as an aid in worship, ritual, or meditation. While the term comes from India, we certainly could use “yantra” to describe mystical symbols we create all the time. A drawing of the cross. The Star and Crescent. The Star of David. Magic Circles. When we focus our energy through these drawings, we augment our own energy as well, as tap into sacred energies beyond ourselves. The act of drawing and ruminating upon the drawing is ritual. It is meditation. Connection.

And that is what I was doing, moving my feet in the snow. I was drawing upon that clean, unvarnished energy to clear, charge, and balance my energy field that had been contaminated by my unprocessed emotions. I was channeling myself into this subconscious yantra: blessing myself, blessing the land, and giving thanks to this respite in the middle of Manhattan.

The snowfall quickened as I finished my design, and even the prettiness of Lincoln Center couldn’t thaw my frozen fingers, so I bid adieu to the plaza, and headed back uptown to my hotel.

As I walked away, with the snow quickening, I couldn’t help but wonder, “would anyone happen upon my drawing?” If they did, would they appreciate it? Would this design grant them the same serenity that it had granted me?

Or, perhaps, would it be best that it be covered with new snow and washed clean again? Would it be best that it be returned to a blank slate so that another weary traveler could marvel at the unexpected grace of an undisturbed block of New York in snowfall?

Give thanks for the unexpected. Embrace the energy of a gift freely given. Plant the seeds of another for a stranger.

Be the snowfall in a forest. Be radiant. Be peace.

Collective Unconscious

The Collective Unconscious – Our World Tree of Emotions

I was driving through Colorado last year, on my way to a wedding. I love weddings: young love in full bloom, familial love growing stronger; weddings are beautiful celebrations of love’s connectivity. The love is infectious.

As I was driving to the wedding, driving away from Denver and into the thin air of the Rockies, I passed groves of aspen trees. Thin, white, spindly. Like a whispering wood of spirits that guarded over the mountains themselves.

I had seen these groves before, and I certainly wasn’t the first to be moved by their quiet gravitas – John Denver beat me to it in Aspenglow by a few decades. But as I passed the aspen, I couldn’t help but feel that there were fewer groves than I’d seen previously. Where once there were ranks of groves of aspen – like a silent army of trees – there now appeared sparser outcroppings – a scouting party of aspen.

It turns out that aspen trees aren’t individual organisms. In a grove, each “tree” is a genetically identical “shoot.” All shoots are connected through an extraordinarily rich and detailed root structure. When you look at a grove of aspen, what you’re actually seeing is one giant organism – one giant tree dispersed among the thousands of shoots.

Aspen have been fading in Colorado mostly due to severe drought. When the waters dry up, the aspen die. Because they are interconnected, death affects the entire grove. The pain is experienced by the whole, connected organism – not just the individual shoot.

We wouldn’t know this simply by looking at the trees. We’d simply marvel and wonder how all these individual trees died all at once. Because we’re only looking at the surface. It’s only when we dig deep enough to see the vast, collective consciousness of these aspen can we see how they live and thrive and wilt and die as one.

I am reminded of the retreating aspen when I think about us today. We, all around the world, are hurting. Many of us are sick. Many have died. And many of us mourn the loss of the ones we love. We’re suffering. And while we know that there are millions around the world – just like us – carrying this burden of suffering, we somehow believe that our pain is contained only within ourselves. Our sickness is contained in just our own little shoot. Even though the shoot next to us is also in pain. All the shoots are sick. But we believe that the pain, the grief, the anguish is individual.

Carl Jung, one of the founders of psychology, posited that there existed a vast collective unconscious. Each individual’s psyche was a persona that emanated from this collective unconscious. This “world spirit” was the birthplace of our archetypes of father, mother, safety, danger, hero, and countless others. We, then, are primed to analyze our world through these hard-wired archetypes.

I want to take this one step further. This collective unconscious isn’t merely responsible for how we perceive the world; it’s a profound energy feedback loop that connects us all with each other. It’s our aspen root network. Look around: even in people who have been lucky enough to avoid the coronavirus, rates of mental illness have been skyrocketing. Anxiety, depression, and substance abuse have all increased. As individuals, we suffer when the whole of the world suffers.

There is a blight upon our connected unconscious – a blight that began with a virus whose initial pain sent shockwaves and secondary tremors through our collective psyche. We’re feeling the anxiety of the world.

Why is it hard to recognize this? Perhaps it’s because we’ve come to respect our own crucial roles in this pandemic. Each of us knows to mask up, wash our hands, stay six feet away from each other. We’re critically in tune with our own, singular bodies. But because we’ve been so focused on how we operate as individuals, we’ve lost sight of how we operate as a collective. And therefore we get surprised and confused when anxiety or depression is upon us. “I’m healthy,” we think. “I exercise, I wash my hands. I do yoga and take my probiotic. So why am I so scared?”

We’re scared because the grove is scared. We’re anxious because a soul we’re connected to is anxiously awaiting to see if her mother will make it off a ventilator. We’re depressed because another connected soul can’t see his grandchildren for the holidays. We’re sad because our collective soul is sad.
So what do we do when we know that there is a blight upon our grove?

I think back to my trip to Colorado, about driving away from the aspen and up to the wedding. I think about all the smiles, the tears, the dancing, the kisses, and the relationships strengthened at this celebration of love.

And I remember feeling invigorated and filled to my fingertips with love and generosity.

So my answer is to love. Love yourself, love your neighbor. Love your dog, your cat. Push the love out there like rain in a drought. Replenish your grove, because it’s the only grove we’ve got.

Join me, if you can, on a journey where I show you how to focus the energy of love and light into healing. Our medical intuition course will help you activate your higher heart, so that you can share that positive healing light with the world. Our class just began, but there’s still time to jump right in! We’re saving you a seat!

Connect with yourself. Connect with the world. And let the healing begin.

Ground yourself

4 Healing Practices to Ground Your Base Chakra & Thrive in Uncertain Times

Whether it’s the global pandemic, racial injustice, or personal challenges you’re dealing with, fear can seep into your energetic system and wreak havoc.

With all that we’re experiencing, around the world and especially in the US right now, it’s hard to know what’s coming next — and that uncertainty can feel like walking blindfolded toward the edge of a cliff. Many people are struggling financially too.

If you know about your first chakra — also called the base chakra or the root chakra — you know that it’s the power center that deals with security and survival…

What you might not know is that the Earth has a chakra system too, and her base chakra is deeply off balance in all this upheaval.

People are feeling this profound disruption in themselves and the Earth whether they know it or not. Feelings of anxiety and being on edge are easy to blame on the nearest little thing, but in fact you’re absorbing the energy of everyone and everything on the planet, and everyone in every country is deeply anxious right now.

From jobs and health to finances, family, and groups we care about — these are all base chakra survival issues. So are disruptions in the Earth — tropical storms, wildfires, you name it.

The good news — and we REALLY need good news, right? — is that you can release fear and anxiety from your base chakra and replace it with useful energy… and stop fear from taking hold in your power centers and energy field.

You can also send healing energy right into Mother Earth. And when you do this, the positive effects reverberate, which can help ease the tumult that’s running rampant on our planet.

A quick word about fear: To some degree, fear is necessary to life on this physical plane. Fear can keep you safe from threats — whether it’s heights, snakes, water, or any kind of injury. Your ancestors relied on fright as a warning system to protect them from falling off a cliff, getting bitten by a poisonous reptile, drowning in a river, or being hurt by someone or something. Your brain continues to use thousands of years of programmed fear to shield your body from harm.

But what happens when you live in fear every day? All day? Fear of a world seeming to fall apart, fear of loneliness, fear of failure — these fears can burrow into your psyche and prevent you from helping to advance humanity or live a meaningful life full of positive relationships and experiences. These fears can damage your chances — and humanity’s chances, and the planet’s chances — of living in light and love, so let’s get some relief! It’s long past due.

The power of your base chakra for releasing unproductive fear.

Fear’s primal place to live is in your first chakra. This base chakra is located at the base of your spine and it’s connected to your security and survival. It’s your foundation, and it has the power to ground and connect you to the physical world. But when it’s unbalanced, you might not feel safe in your body or your place in the world. You might not feel grounded or present. You might find yourself stressed, to say the least.

Childhood traumas can stay stuck in your base chakra until you discover strategies to release them. Fear of illness, global calamity, brutality — the things we’re seeing in our world today — combined with personal fears about safety, security, and stability can disrupt or distort the free flow of energy in your base chakra.

Here are 4 Healing Practices to Help You Clear Blocks in Your Base Chakra — and the Earth’s Base Chakra:

  1. Do a Grounding Meditation
    When you’re ungrounded, you’re vulnerable to fear’s draining energy and you can get blocked. Fear walks right through those open doors of stress and strain and settles in your mind and body. Meditation is one of the best ways to ground yourself so you can keep those doors closed to fear and open to love.Meditate every day, and your fears — along with those fear-in-disguise feelings like anxiety and hopelessness — will start to subside.

    Start by sitting with your eyes closed — either in the traditional lotus position on the floor, or with your feet planted on the ground as you recline in a chair. Keep your hands on your knees — this in itself is very grounding.

    Focus on your base chakra, right at the base of your spine, and see a red cord from it planting itself firmly in the ground.

    As your cord drops down, visualize the energy of the Earth’s base chakra radiating in every direction and spinning rhythmically as it glows with ruby-red light. This base chakra of the Earth is usually thought to be located at Mount Shasta in Northern California, which Native American tribes considered to be a geyser of upward energy.

    Watch its radiating energy spread up through your grounding cord and into your physical body. Breathe deeply as you absorb the strength that the Earth always holds for you. Like the most resourced mother, the Earth always has the capacity to hold and nourish you — as she replenishes herself with infinite love and a profound connection to the whole of the universe.

    It’s now time to visualize this energy saturating the entire planet and flooding your own base chakra with life. As you visualize this vibrant red energy,, observe how its healing flow flushes away fear, old systems and ways of life that need to be released, negative thoughts and patterns, and stale energy. Watch stuckness release from your body and the Earth’s body — into a vacuum of light, where it’s being transmuted into golden love.

    Now visualize the Earth’s base chakra as a red flower. Watch that flower bloom. Visualize its radiant energy travelling up your grounding cord until your own red flower blossoms at the base of your spine. Try to spend about 5 minutes visualizing the flowers spinning and radiating stability, comfort, and safety. Watch fear, negativity, and everything you and we don’t need fall away.

    After a few minutes, rest your hands on your heart chakra and feel the corners of your mouth raise as you smile with a sense of security that you and the Earth are well.

  2. Work with affirmations
    Affirmations are powerful chakra-balancing tools. Consciously repeating positive declarations while focusing on your base chakra helps you cement its natural power to ground you and make you safe..Affirmations also have the added benefit of rewiring your brain. Chronic negative thoughts (“This world is insane — we’ll never have equality,” “The virus is still rampant — it’ll never go away,” etc.) are not only symptoms of an unbalanced base chakra, they can also add to stress and blockages. Productive affirmations help you more easily replace fear-focused thoughts with love-focused thoughts.

    To use the following affirmation, meditate on your base chakra, and either out loud or in your mind, repeat the words:

    I am safe, secure, and deeply rooted to the world. I belong here.

    Repeating this affirmation throughout the day will help you feel protected and secure. Write it down and post it on your mirror, refrigerator, or dashboard. Another idea is to set reminders on your phone to repeat the affirmation every couple hours. You can even write it down on a slip of paper you tuck under your pillow at night. Let its power seep into your sleep and dreams. After all, your sleep connects you to Spirit, which, like the Earth, is always there to nourish you.

  3. Play With Color
    A simple way to restore your base chakra’s balance is to use color. Red is the color of your first chakra, so wear more red. Incorporate ruby hues into your home environment — get a red lampshade, pull out that red blanket for a cozy nap, or paint your living room a warm, deep red. Wear a garnet ring, a coral necklace, write with a burgundy pen. Sprinkle rose petals in your bath water, paint your nails the color of red wine, try a bright red lipstick, trade in your yellow tea kettle for a red one. The important thing is to consciously work with the red items you choose, linking them with your base chakra. To do this, just repeat the affirmation to seal the connection.
  4. Eat Healing Base-Chakra Foods
    Since your base chakra is all about grounding you to the Earth, adding root vegetables to your diet can help strengthen your connection to the physical world. For an easy, delicious grounding meal, try roasting any of the following with salt and olive oil: beets, rutabagas, potatoes, garlic, ginger, turnips, onions, parsnips.If you eat meat, earthy stews and bone broths can be very nourishing for your base chakra. Don’t forget about grains like oats, mineral drops from the Great Salt Lake or elsewhere, red fruits like berries, or spices like paprika for extra flavor and rich, red goodness.

    Again, think of sending nourishment to your base chakra as you eat the healing foods. Perhaps include the affirmation in your prayers, thanking Mother Earth for sustenance. This will infuse the foods even more with nurturance for your base, filling you with a greater ability to thrive even in these times of tremendous transformation.

Feeling Rooted, Firm, and Secure in the World Is Your Birthright.

Always remember that it’s natural for your base chakra and ALL your chakras to be in a state of balance. It can take a short time or a while to restore that natural balance — depending on a lot of factors. No matter what, you deserve to experience the safety, security, vitality, and JOY that comes from practicing these exercises. As you spend more time grounding yourself in your base chakra and that of the Earth, you’ll begin to develop a deeper feeling of security on this beautiful planet that’s been troubled for a long time, but is rife with potential.

Earth Day 2020

Earth Rising: How the Pandemic is Breathing New Life Into the Planet

Today is Earth Day. And the Earth is smiling. It’s saying, look at my clear skies in cities known for industrial smog and air pollution as people stay home and fewer cars are on the road and fewer planes are in the sky. It’s saying, look at my waters running clearer than they have in ages. It’s saying, look at how animals are reclaiming their habitats. You can hear the birds singing in places that have heard only the sounds of traffic for eons. Look at how the hole in the ozone layer is closing. The economic slowdown has been hard for people, but look what it has done for the planet!

And then the smile stops. Earth says, can you see it now? Can you see how humans have created climate change? And can you see how this coronavirus, this Covid-19, is related to climate change?

Climate change matters. It’s as real as the struggle to breathe is for those suffering a bad case of the virus. The more we humans pollute the earth, the more the planet heats up, the more risk there is of pandemics. Recent decades, with a burgeoning human population and a more polluted earth, have seen more infectious diseases, most of which enter humans from animals. And since we live in a global community that travels far more readily than any previous time in history, these diseases are also globetrotters. And the density of humans living in cities makes for fertile ground for sharing an infected sneeze.

Cutting down large swaths of trees, especially deforestation of the Amazon (which acts as the lungs of the earth), changes animal habitats. When animals migrate, they share germs with other animals and people. When the forests in West Africa were cut down to grow palm oil trees, the bats that carried the Ebola virus lost their home and wound up transmitting the virus to humans. A virus that doesn’t harm its original host can turn into what we are seeing today with Covid-19, with projections of hundreds of thousands of human deaths.

Air pollution, a major factor in climate change, has been clearly shown to worsen the risk of pneumonia. Those who breathe dirty air have double the risk of dying from respiratory infections, as do smokers. Even the short-term decrease in greenhouse gas emissions as people around the world “shelter in place” has shown us what can be done if we stop using fossil fuels and harness electricity from wind and solar energy. Imagine what a major decrease in air pollutants we will have. Fewer heart attacks and stroke, less diabetes, fewer untimely deaths.

The U.S. spends over three trillion dollars a year on health care. By reducing air pollution, as well as eating less meat, stopping smoking, and exercising, we could pay fair wages to all workers, invest in education, take care of crumbling infrastructure, and make life a lot better for everyone. What we can’t afford is not to do anything about climate change.

As an energy healer, as a spiritual seeker, you know how energy works in a person. You can extrapolate that understanding to the way energy works on the planet, to seeing the connection between climate change and viruses. And today, on Earth Day, take a moment to send your thoughts, prayers, and meditations toward all of Earth’s inhabitants—its people, especially it’s health care workers, animals, and plants—that we may all work together towards a cleaner, healthier, lovely blue planet.

Los Angeles Light Pollution

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

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.

Global Warming

Our Collective Future is in Our Collective Hands (What Part Will You Play?)

Here’s a scary thought: what if reincarnation is real and in your next life you will be living on a planet that’s been decimated by global warming? If you don’t believe in reincarnation, just think about what it’s going to be like for your kids/your siblings’ kids/your friends’ kids.

Cities you once knew and loved under water. No snow in Alaska. Even the mighty dollar couldn’t save Wall Street as lower Manhattan sank beneath the waves. Whole swaths of what was once farmland are gone, burned to a crisp by the unrelenting sun or swallowed up by rivers permanently overflowing their banks. Florida is a thing of the past. Category 6 hurricanes have leveled all the Caribbean islands, making them uninhabitable. Wildfires have destroyed the last remnants of California and the Rockies. Whole species have vanished. Drinkable water is scarce.

It’s an apocalyptic horror movie. And we see the early warning signs everywhere we look.

Scientists all say that the Earth’s climate is warming up. Glaciers are melting, causing oceans to rise. Your local climate might be getting colder winters with bigger snowstorms, while other places get torrential rains, or more powerful hurricanes, or unbearable heat.

The Earth’s climate is always going through changes over long periods of time. Some of those changes are natural. A volcano erupts and darkened skies cause cooling. But we humans are also changing the climate, and on a much vaster scale, with our cars and trucks, with our heating and cooling systems, airplanes, cooking, all through the use of fossil fuels: coal, oil and gas. And let’s not forget methane from cattle, another giant problem that comes from our outrageous demands for beef. The greenhouse gases that enter the atmosphere cause the air to heat up, and change the climate; we call it “global warming,” both locally and around the planet. Carbon monoxide, the main heat-trapping gas, stays in our atmosphere for centuries.

We still may be able to limit the worst effects of climate change, but only if we can reduce the amount of greenhouse gases going into the atmosphere, and by learning to adapt to the changes that are already in motion. And because it is an exceedingly complex global problem, we all have to agree to cooperate with each other. And to forego the pre-eminence of the profit motive over the welfare of humanity as a whole.

So what can you do? Each one of us needs to take a step a month. I just got solar. Maybe you can go for an electric car or plant a tree. Trees have an almost magical ability to pull carbon dioxide out of the air and capture it, and, in exchange, to release oxygen into the atmosphere. They clean up our mess and provide pure breathable nourishment. It’s the reason everyone was so horrified at the massive burn in the Amazon rainforest, which has been likened to the lungs of planet Earth, providing carbon offset and a source of clean air.

But did you know about The Great Green Wall of Africa? This initiative, along 6,000 miles at the edge of the Sahara desert, will eventually be the largest living structure around the world. The local population was facing the impact of climate change with long-lasting droughts, not enough food, and there was fighting over the remaining natural resources, so they decided to plant trees—a lot of trees. A decade after it was started, those trees are growing fertile land, providing food security for millions of people, refilling wells for improved water security, empowering women with new work opportunities, giving families green jobs with real incomes. Here, where temperatures are soaring upward faster than anywhere else on the planet, the Great Green Wall is a symbol of what can be done to support the Global Sustainable Development Goals.

Earlier this year, a million Indians planted 220 million trees in one day. A few years earlier, 50 million saplings were planted in a single day. Last year, China assigned 60,000 soldiers to plant trees in the province that circles Beijing, an area the size of Ireland, in hope of combatting some of the smog that frequently blankets the city. In the U.S., organizations like The Nature Conservancy are tackling climate change through natural solutions—growing trees, protecting grasslands, restoring wetlands, and improving agricultural practices and soil health.

There are so many ways to be part of the solution. Join me on Thursday, 10.24.19 at 2:00pm on Facebook Live to learn of other ways you can have a positive influence on the future of our planet, she’s all we have!

California is burning

California is Burning

California is burning, and it’s all too much. One day a dozen people are gunned down a couple of miles from my home during a college country music night, and the next day fires erupt on both sides of me. Lives and homes are turned to ash while politicians point fingers of blame.

I’m still under a mandatory evacuation order, as the Woolsey Fire rampages through my portion of the California dream. I have heard my house is safe, so far. Fortunately, I have a temporary set-up that’s working as well as possible from the inside of a van. Tiffany, who has worked for the Deborah King Center for a decade, has lost her home. You can help Tiffany get back on her feet here.

My heart bleeds for the sorrow and loss so many are experiencing—sometimes loss upon loss: a loved one murdered while dancing followed by the loss of a roof over your head and all your belongings going up in smoke.

Think for a moment. What would you take given less than five minutes to pack and evacuate before the flames reach you? Without a doubt, after securing “everything with a heartbeat,” your phone and laptop are at the top of your list of inanimate necessities, even before underwear and a toothbrush. But you can’t be too attached to anything or you won’t get away in time.

It’s far too much to think about for being cremated in a car like those poor folks in the Camp Fire in Paradise. Those images will continue to haunt us all.

Fire has to be respected. And so does air—the autumn Santa Ana winds that fan the flames and send sparks and cinders in all directions. And water, that life-saving element that can douse the flames. And earth—the poor scorched landscape that actually needs fire to regenerate. And ether, the most subtle of the elements, the space filled by the other elements. We have lost touch with the elemental parts of our lives.

Each element is vital to our life. When we die, there is a progression of how each element leaves our body until we exhale that very last breath of air.

But what we are seeing these days is “it’s all too much” in terms of the elements. Fire, which gives us energy and transformation, explodes in massive firestorms. Air and water, necessities in life, become deadly hurricanes and widespread flooding. The earth is telling us something, but are we listening? The clock is running down before climate change turns our world yet more inhospitable.

It’s too much really. It’s hard to take it all in: the death from guns, the death from fires, the death of the way in which we used to know our planet.

There is a silver lining, however. When there is a disaster, like the wind-driven blazes we are experiencing here in California, for a moment in time all hearts beat as one. Doors open and strangers are invited in. The ordinary becomes the extraordinary and heroes arise. A drive someone has taken every day of their life suddenly becomes a passage through the inferno of hell, while singing to a child in the back seat to keep her calm, and those who watch the video have to be hard-hearted indeed if tears of compassion don’t well up and spill over.

Does your heart cry out to help those impacted by the fires? Here’s what you can do:

  • Help Tiffany – giving a hand to one person is giving to all.
  • Donate to the Wildfire Relief Fund, a California Community Foundation.
  • If you are in the local area, volunteer to help. Go to ca.gov to learn where your services might be best put to use.
  • If you want to sign up to host emergency shelter in your home, the Airbnb Evacuee Program for the survivors of the fires in Ventura, Butte, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and San Diego counties is looking for temporary housing through November 29th.
  • If lost and frightened animals call out to you, the Humane Society of Ventura County needs your support.
  • Don’t forget these valiant firefighters who risk their lives and their health for our safety. Donate to the California Fire Foundation to provide emotional and financial assistance to families of fallen firefighters and to victims of the fires. Over 50 firefighters have lost their homes in Butte County, and yet they are still out there battling to save others’ homes. And the Disaster Relief Fund of the International Association of Fire Fighters helps those on the front lines and their families.

We really are all in this together. Today it’s us here in California. Tomorrow it could be your neck of the woods, your loved ones, your home, your life. Give something, do something; be part of the change for the better.

Dead worshippers

Pipe bombs, assault rifles, and dead worshippers

The time has come to take the bull by the horns and deal with a situation none of us likes and yet many don’t know what to do about it. I’m talking about the difficult and dangerous rhetoric being spouted in every direction that leads directly to pipe bombs, assault rifles, and dead worshippers in a house of God.

As a spiritual teacher, I usually remain neutral, seeking the good at the heart of all. But we are headed down a treacherous path and it’s time for each of us to take a stand, express our opinions, make our voices heard to try to save our country and those who live here. Those who are trying to get here to escape precarious conditions in their own country may find themselves facing military personnel bearing arms rather than the open arms of Lady Liberty.

Actions start with words, and these days civil discourse has all but died. In the past, there was an arcane concept called public debate, where opposing arguments were put forward, the matter was deliberated, with each side putting forth the best defenses of their position. Each side listened to and responded—politely!—to the other. The two sides might have disagreed, but neither party reacted with hatred and vitriol to the other. You could have a difference of opinion without being enemies.

Now we find ourselves in an era of incredibly nasty name-calling, horrific personal attack ads, and in-person physical attacks that are praised by those in power.

Politics and culture wars have become so divisive and destructive we’ve become untethered from our values. And it starts at the highest level of government, with a head of state who attacks the opposition—the opposition being anyone and anything that doesn’t kowtow to him, doesn’t kneel and touch the ground in submission. By labeling his opponents as evil, by mocking them publicly, by refusing to recognize the truth, by leading with fear and divisiveness, our so-called “leader” has inspired the violence we see today. He has inspired the unhinged folks who seek death to the enemy—whether that enemy is a politician, a journalist, or a group of brown-skinned women and children.

When the populace isn’t well-educated, when reading has given way to sound bites and memes, when the country’s “leader” speaks from the gutter, with no moral ground to stand upon, he gives the crazies all the permission they need to kill. It’s a well-known fact that human beings imitate behavior and that is a key problem today.

Recently Chris Matthews, a political commentator on MSNBC, shared a story that got me thinking. He’d returned to his hometown in Pennsylvania for an event and had a chance to speak with a number of middle school teachers. What he learned was troubling. Teachers told him about how disrespectfully and hurtfully teens talk to each other these days, in ways these veteran teachers had never seen before. Even worse, these teachers bemoaned what happened when they called their students on such unacceptable behavior. They responded with a shrug of the shoulders and a chilling defense: “Everybody does it, even the President.”

Our past presidents, red and blue, unlike this one, didn’t encourage getting down and dirty by duking it out in the mud. Truth mattered and was valued by people on both sides of the aisle. Our cherished first amendment—freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom to assemble peaceably, freedom of religion, and freedom to petition the government for a redress of grievances—have all been shoved aside. Only one thing matters to this presidency . . . winning. Winning personal accolades, personal wealth, and unchecked personal power.

When politics is untethered from values, it debases all of us. When immorality, disrespect, and unprincipled standards are encouraged, when fiery words incite violence, when personal power is upheld at our expense, we are on the road to ruin.

So what can each of us do?

Right now, the most important thing we can do is to VOTE on or before November 6th. And we must align our vote with our core values to counteract the amoral standards being set before us as the example to follow. If we vote for candidates who support this kind of demagoguery (a demagogue is a political leader who seeks support by appealing to prejudices), we are condoning violence.

What else can you do besides vote? Encourage others to vote. Knock on doors for candidates you believe can steer us in a better direction. Volunteer to drive others to the polls. Talk and FaceBook and blog about your concerns. Don’t hate on the opposition. Talk about what you like about the candidates you support instead of dumping on the ones you don’t like.

Whatever you do, whatever your politics, seek the high road rather than the low one, and align your choices with your higher self.

If you’re looking for endorsements, you’ve come to wrong place. Each of us will vote red or blue, yea or nay in the privacy of the voting booth, which is our right, our responsibility, and our privilege.

Last week’s rash of pipe bombs, an act of domestic terrorism and political violence, the recent devastation at a Pittsburgh temple by someone who blamed Jews for that pathetic migrant caravan, are but the latest worst-case examples of why our private decisions in the voting booth couldn’t be more important.

Let’s vote for more light, a higher consciousness, and heartfelt consideration for all. But above all, vote!