Celebrating the Vedic New Year

Vedic New Year: Global Traditions and Our Relationship with Time

Celebrating the Vedic New Year

Calendars are flexible and so is time. The Gregorian calendar, the solar dating system commonly used today, was created by Pope Gregory XIII in the late 16th century. It is itself  a revision of the Julian calendar, established by Julius Caesar.

“I like to think of a new year being possible at any moment, as every moment is a kind of doorway,” said Joy Harjo, the United States poet laureate. “You can go any direction.”

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, arrived this past year in September with the sounding of the shofar.

Sometimes I think of time as fluid, almost reversible, the way that music can be. Playing the scales, I can play them forward or backward, and lose myself in them, for a moment, not having a sense of direction, or, for that matter, a sense of time.

December 31, which comes from the Gregorian calendar, is an internationally accepted marker of the shift from the old year to the new. However, many cultures adhere to different dates and traditions. The Chinese Lunar Calendar, for example, is based on the cycles of the moon and the sun. In 2023, New Year’s Eve celebrations in China (and in Chinese ethnic communities around the world) will begin on January 21 and end on February 5, the day of the Lantern Festival.

Celebrating the Vedic New Year

In India, there are multiple days and festivities associated with the new year, depending on the region, culture, and calendar that one consults. These traditions began to emerge approximately three millennia ago. To fully understand New Year’s within Indian history requires study.

Here we look at some of the most significant differences and Vedic traditions. In each case, celebration of a new year is a time for joy, spiritual reawakening, new beginnings, and the release of bad karma.

A Short Overview of the Vedic New Year(s)

Celebrating the Vedic New Year

Per the Vedic calendar, Ougadi (Ugadi), the New Year, will take place on March 22, 2023, and is a public holiday, though states and regions may differ from the federal government regarding which days are officially recognized. Ougadi is primarily celebrated as the official New Year by the Hindu Telugu and Kannada communities, though celebrations occur across India with great fanfare.

In Vedic astrology, the timing of the new year corresponds to the movement of the Sun into Aries and the start of the first month (known as the Chaitra month). This is an auspicious time for karma removal, spiritual dedication, and new projects. The Vedic New Year also recognizes the day on which Lord Brahma, the Creator, created the universe. 

Diwali (or Deepawali), known in English as the Festival of Lights, is another tradition associated with the concept of a new year and the need to celebrate and reflect. Diwali began as a celebration of the summer harvest and takes place in the fall season. The next Diwali will take place between November 12 and November 16, 2023. 

Let me emphasize that India is an extraordinarily diverse country wherein regions may differ culturally, linguistically, historically, and ethnically. Western states, such as Gujarat, and areas in northern India are most likely to associate New Year’s Day with Diwali, as described above.

Other regions and/or cultures may celebrate the New Year at a different time. For example, the Marathi New Year (Gudi Padwa) will take place on March 22, 2023, as per the Hindu calendar. Sikh Indians in Punjabi celebrate the New Year (Baisakhi, sometimes known as Vaisakhi) on the 13th or 14th of April each year, to recognize the birth of Sikhism as a faith and to ask for good fortune in the coming year. As with the Vedas, comprehending the richness of India can take more than one lifetime’s worth of effort!

Celebrating the Vedic New Year

Several gods and goddesses are evoked in Vedic New Year’s celebrations, again depending upon the region and cultural traditions. For many Vedic believers, Diwali reveres the Goddess Lakshmi, the wife of Vishnu and the goddess of wealth and prosperity. Meditation is one way to honor the power of Lakshmi.

Ganesha, the elephant-headed son of Parvati and Shiva, is also evoked by many Vedic believers as he is the god of new beginnings and good luck and has the power to remove obstacles. The mantra Om Gum Ganapatayei Namah roughly translates as “I bow to Ganesha, who is capable of removing all obstacles. I pray for blessings and protection.” This is a devotional mantra to use when asking for protection and guidance as you navigate the challenges of a new year.

Celebrating the Vedic New Year

Diwali has spread from India to include countries such as Guyana, Fiji, Sri Lanka, and Singapore (though dates may differ), as well as many adherents of Buddhism and Jainism. While dates and traditions may differ widely, common to all these celebrations is a focus on family, spiritual reflection, knowledge, hope, and joy. Indian tradition holds that adherents should begin to prepare for Diwali thirty days in advance through various cleansing and organizing rituals and customs that clear out the old and make way for the new.

Some Final Thoughts

Vedic philosophy is rich and complex, spanning such interrelated concepts as vedic astrology, ayurveda, meditation, and the chakras. It requires sincere devotion, a spiritual teacher, and a commitment to stay the course even when things become challenging. This brief overview of the New Year in the Vedic tradition can give you only a glimpse of the bounty that awaits careful study.

One way to become more familiar with the wisdom that the Vedic New Year brings is to seek out Diwali celebrations. Diwali is celebrated throughout the world and the spectacle of food, generosity, and beautiful colored lights can inspire and uplift. I love the unique traditions and history of this area of the world and enjoy sharing them with you.

In closing, you may also find the Lakshmi Gayatri Mantra to be a powerful way to honor Lakshmi and the New Year and to seek abundance and good fortune: Om Mahalakshmyai Cha Vidmahe Vishnu Patnyai Cha Dhimahi Tanno Lakshmihi Prachodayat.

Much can be learned from the Vedas, including mantras, which can be leveraged to enhance (and often simplify) your daily meditation practice. It is this sort of meditation that is taught in our bestselling Vedic Meditation course, through which you can also receive your very own personal mantra. Click here to access it  now >>

Celebrating the Vedic New Year

I wish you a happy and abundant New Year.

2023 Happy New Year

New Year, New Light: Five Ways to Make This Your Best Year Yet

2023 Happy New Year

Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties. —Helen Keller

What makes it feel so good to turn the page on a new calendar year? The open days ahead are waiting to be filled with exciting new adventures, voyages of learning and discovery, meaningful new connections with fellow human beings, the joy of serving those in need. It’s the hopeful promise of new beginnings. The calendar waits for you to chart a course and the possibilities are endless and exhilarating!

There is just one vital ingredient necessary for creating a joyful new chapter in the book of your life. It’s both an awesome responsibility and a glorious opportunity. You have the power to make what you will of your new year. Will it be bright with love, laughter, hope, happiness, faith, and dreams? Only you can decide.

You know it’s true that your mind and thoughts have a say in the future. You are a creator of this world. You came here to contribute to the betterment of all. There are a vast number of ways that you can serve to lift humanity out of the lower energy frequencies that feed fear, greed, and violence. It is in your hands to generate a better world through the power of your heart in alignment with a focused mind. When you align with the love in your heart, you immediately begin to see life with new eyes.

How can you make yourself ready to turn a new page and create new beginnings? Meditation and prayer put you in direct communication with Source. Journaling will put you in touch with your own emotions, and along with forgiveness, will help you keep negative energy from blocking your way. Strengthening your connection with Source is the first step to creating the purposeful and meaningful life of your dreams.

As a light-filled spark of the Divine, your soul longs to experience good and to help others do the same. By focusing on the positive and the good, you’ll be able to bring more of it into your life.

Here are five ways you can shine new light on your life and make this your best year yet:

2023 Happy New Year

1. Focus on positive thoughts – Use your powerful creative mind to imagine all the good things that could happen, rather than fearing what could go wrong at every turn. Look at yourself and your endeavors with the eyes of a kindly parent who hopes every good thing will come to their beloved child. Create a dream of your happiest, most purposeful life and nurture it. Use affirmations to reinforce your goal of always thinking positive. “Wonderful new doors are opening for me all the time.”

2. Seek out positive people – Build a circle of like-minded friends. Look for people whose spirit lifts you up and inspires you. Have a beautiful dream and gather together with those whose dreams match yours and who offer support and encouragement. Who is living a life you admire? Who is doing work you love? Who is teaching what you long to learn and how can you become a student in that field? Open new vistas by attending courses and workshops that will expand your life’s possibilities.

2023 Happy New Year
2023 Happy New Year

3. Speak positive words –Words have power so use them to your advantage. Use your words as affirmations to create self-respect, confidence, and good will. Speak kind words. Practice kindness in order to feel good and be a comfort to yourself and others. Be a role model for loving, respectful behavior. Be “for” something rather than “against.” Mother Teresa declined to join a march “against” war but said she would be happy to support a march “for” peace. Read the work of a spiritual teacher you admire to help build your vocabulary of positive words and ideas.

4. Take positive action—Find ways to serve others while pursuing your dreams. Whatever you love to do, make, build, or create contains an aspect of service and empowerment for others as well. Focus on making a contribution by doing something you love. What would you love to see and do? Expand your vision and understanding with a visit to a new neighborhood, a new city, or a new country. Experience a culture or cuisine that is new to you. Make a new connection with the world in a positive way. Counter negative, destructive forces in the world with a focus on those who are working to make it better. How can you help them?

2023 Happy New Year
2023 Happy New Year

5. Channel positive energy – Be a role model for well-being in the world. Spread joy and compassion. Take good care of yourself. Notice what makes you feel good. Create a happy mood when you need it—smile often, laugh, dance, sing, hike, swim, head for the playground and swing! Release negative emotions. Make unconditional love your set point emotion.

In your bright new year, you have the power to create the life you want and to help heal the world, as Gandhi said, by being the change you want to see.  If you would like to learn more about the field of energy healing and its role in building the life of your dreams, check out my LifeForce Energy Healing I Certification Course here.

And I will be so honored to be with you at the beginning of a bright new year. Join me for my weekly Facebook Live show starting January 24, 2023.

Meditation sutras

Your Healing Connection: A Vision of Oneness

Meditation sutras

“All differences in this world are of degree, and not of kind, because oneness is the secret of everything.”
― Swami Vivekananda

Many years ago, when I first began seeking to expand my consciousness and grow in Spirit, I discovered the power of meditation. I needed a healing connection, and meditation appeared. It was the key to my spiritual growth—the one true constant in my life—and has brought me more of everything I could ever have wanted. Did I know in the beginning all the gifts that expanding consciousness could bring? I knew that I was looking for something and Spirit knew the way.

I began doing everything I could to cultivate an expanded consciousness, and here’s what I found. Besides the fact that it feels really good, it’s also the best state from which to get guidance and direction for your life, to have your energy field recharged (resulting in better health), and to get the information and instructions you need for transformation. All of the concerns that your “small self” doesn’t know how to address, as well as all of your bigger life questions, can be answered by tapping into the universal energy field shared by all, the unified field, your connection to Spirit.

In an expanded state of awareness, you perceive beyond the limitations of your body and mind and feel that you are part of the vast universe around you, connected to All That Is. You might experience the unified field while hiking in the mountains or watching the waves roll in at the beach—nature can certainly ease you into an expanded state of awareness. Or maybe you’ve reached it through exercise or prayer or music, or through making love or being present at the birth or death of a loved one—events where you feel deeply connected to another person. Oftentimes, an expanded state has come upon me while mountain climbing or cross-country skiing in the wilderness. But the surest route to heightened consciousness is meditation.

Meditation sutras

By expanding your awareness—by bringing yourself into balance, experiencing greater peace, raising your consciousness, and connecting with the Divine light—you are actually assisting every other person and creature on the planet to do the same. We’re all connected. The ripples that you send out into the world are reflections of your inner state of being; they touch and affect others.

If you’re uplifted, you uplift others. If all human beings are in a higher state, we’ll very likely feel more inclined to come to creative and harmonious solutions to our global problems. That’s what is going to give us: a world without war, terrorism, polluted air, or toxic water. Simply put, enhanced consciousness can bring about a better life for all. Meditation matters not just for healing individuals but for healing the planet as well.

All beings on Earth communicate through consciousness. That’s why what you think and feel is so important—with every thought and emotion you have, you’re sending out energy that makes its way into the fabric of humanity’s consciousness. This is one reason I have my students meditate together at workshops: our state of mind produces waves of energy that affect not only the people in the group or our next-door neighbors. The larger and more powerful the group, the farther the energy radiates, affecting those at greater distances.

Early in my training, I had an extraordinary group meditation experience.  I was on a yearlong meditation retreat with a spiritual teacher, receiving instruction in ancient Hindu sutras, the highly condensed spiritual texts (usually short phrases or even single words) that are memorized in order to produce powerful awakenings. Students are instructed to focus on these sutras while meditating.

Having been admitted to the program at the 11th hour, I’d had no opportunity to read books or quiz friends as to what I could expect. And since the 200 students were instructed not to discuss the sutras among themselves, I simply showed up each day ready to sit silently and await instruction.

Once the last sutra had been whispered to me, I began quietly repeating it in my mind. Suddenly, I noticed my whole body become very hot, as if it were on fire. I started to feel heat coming from my hands, up my arms, up my neck, and into my head. I remember thinking, I’m too young to be having a hot flash.

The heat became more and more intense, and I began to vibrate—just a little at first, and then a great deal. I felt my body expand…and expand…and expand …until it seemed that there were no longer 200 separate people sitting on the floor. All of a sudden, I saw in my mind’s eye an amazing vision of one body in the room; we were all so connected that we became one. I gasped in delight as I merged into this vision; I could feel one heart beating inside of me, and it contained the hearts of all the people in the room.

Meditation sutras

It was as if we were so linked that we were all one, beating with one heart. Although I didn’t know it at the time, I had, for a brief moment, experienced the unified field, where we are all intimately connected.

Once you have experienced a direct connection to this energy, you will not want to live without it. It truly feels like home.

I have never forgotten that first experience of oneness, and for several years now, Spirit has been guiding me to teach the sutras in a way that I can reach many people. These ancient teachings are the most advanced learning I have ever experienced.

While it took me over a year to learn them myself, and many years to learn how to teach them, I found a way to teach YOU the sutras in an amazing 5-session program. Until the end of December, you can find my course in a collection with 3 other offerings at reduced holiday pricing. It’s the second collection down on the page and it’s called the Spirit & Soul Collection >>

Light & Dark

The Cycle of Light and Dark

Light & Dark

I wake in the early morning hours, when I can still see the stars, to bring in the light of day with meditation. It has always been important, in all the ancient spiritual traditions, to greet the dawn of a new day, to give praise for having come through the darkness yet again.

The ancient Egyptians believed the Sun God, whom they called Amun-Ra, created and then sustained life itself, and ruled as the first king of Egypt. Each day Ra arose as a beautiful child, climbed into a boat and swept across the sky. At the zenith of the day, high noon, he was at the height of his manhood and strength. By late afternoon, he was exhausted, and by sunset he was a feeble old man. At night, he entered another boat and the gods took him through the 12 perilous provinces of the underworld, the hours of the night, when the serpent monster of darkness threatened to swallow him in his weakened state. Somehow, Ra always survived the battles of the night and emerged once more into the brilliant light of a new day. Praise be!

If you look at the cycles of your life, they are much the same as Ra’s daily journey. You come through whatever darkness strikes at your heart—whether that’s depression, or illness, or financial difficulties, or any distress or unhappiness—and, with the help of energy medicine, are born again into the light of day, where you grow stronger in wisdom and inner illumination as you get more connected to your inner Sun, your Higher Self.

Light & Dark

In the cycle of light and dark, the dark symbolically evokes negativity and the unknown, while light conveys the positive aspects. The Bible is full of light as the symbol of divine presence and salvation. Jesus became the “light of the world,” while Satan, originally an angel of light, became the prince of evil and darkness and ruled the underworld.

But many thousands of years ago, the Vedic seers in ancient India saw the cycle of light and dark in a much “bigger picture” way—as a vast cycle of time, a great spiral of creation that brings mankind and our planet close to the source of light, then we move farther away into the darkness, and finally return to the light again in great cycle composed of four yugas (great ages). These ages are based on the movement of our solar system within our galaxy—a 12,000-year “descending” time period when our solar system is moving away from the galaxy’s center of magnetism and the strongest light, and 12,000 “ascending” years when our solar system slowly returns to the point closest to the “central sun.”

Stay with me. I know this may seem complicated, but it’s worth understanding because it relates directly the spiritual awakening that is happening these days.

The four yugas are: the Satya yuga, the Golden Age with its direct perception of spiritual truth; the Treta yuga, when spiritual perceptions are less clear; the Dwarpara yuga, when humankind is focused on conquering space and electrical energies; and the infamous Kali yuga, when humanity is not able to perceive anything beyond the physical, material universe.

Light & Dark

According to some modern spiritual teachers, well-versed in astronomy and mathematics, we started to cross the threshold into the ascending Dwarpara yuga around 1700 AD, the beginning of the Age of Enlightenment, and now we are finally starting to come out of the Kali yuga, which darkened humanity’s knowledge for 2,400 years. It’s the journey to more light, more consciousness, and more awakened beings on the planet.

If you’ve wondered why you have a certain pull towards spirituality now, why teachings about energy medicine are starting to enter mainstream awareness, and why so many of the patriarchal beliefs and institutions that came out of a Kali yuga mentality are now crumbling before our eyes, it’s because we are on the path back to the light. Sort of like Amen-Ra, we are waking up as children of the light. We’re taking our first steps into higher consciousness, or we’re here to guide others along in their awakening process. Enlightened beings, after all, are those who have merged with the light.

Light & Dark

As we leave the Summer Solstice behind us, it’s a good time to think about these cycles, what season comes next, and what part we can each play individually to bring the world closer to harmony, balance, and enlightenment over time.

While it may not seem like it, this is the general trend of the world (although sometimes it’s two steps forward, one step back). But we each have a part to play to make it so.

What will be your part?

If you have a hard time answering this question, consider joining our flagship Level I program, which provides an introduction and base for LifeForce Energy Healing.

Or, if you already have some experience and knowledge, dive into our most transformational, year-long Master-in-Training program. It is our most life-changing, and most exclusive, program. Space is extremely limited but doors are currently open for registration, and you can find out more by clicking here >>

Spring Equinox

Spring Equinox: Planting Your Soul Garden in 5 Easy Steps

Spring is just around the corner and the flowers have gotten the word! At the vernal equinox, the equilibrium is perfect—night and day, light and dark are balanced on the brink of change. The shorter days of winter are past and the longer days of summer are approaching. Just as the natural world is poised for a season of new growth and rebirth, so is the human spirit. Spring is the perfect time for cleaning, clearing, balancing and beginning fresh. I’m sure you can feel the urge to open your heart to brighter and better times ahead. Why not plant the seeds of new spiritual growth today? Think of the beautiful blooms and life-giving plants that nature is calling forth right now. You can be blossoming, too, and nurture a garden for your soul.

What spiritual growth would you like to experience this spring? What do you need to be happier, healthier, more loving, and more giving? As a spiritual teacher and energy healer, I can suggest a dizzying array of ways for you to nurture your soul, discovering new life and vitality where you might not expect it. Just acknowledging your connection to the Divine source of all life is a great beginning. All growth, all healing, and all awareness are yours for the asking when you draw closer to the ultimate energy of creation. Let’s look at some of the seeds you can plant right now for a blossoming future.

Spring Equinox
  1. Clear and balance your personal energy system. Since all the universe is made of energy, the best way to keep flowing and growing is to make sure your connection to the power grid is solid. Your chakras, your personal power stations, work best when swept clean of the negative energy, the debris of last season’s traumas and disappointments.
Spring Equinox
  1. Rediscover your connection to Nature. There’s no denying your deep attachment to the natural world. You are as much a part of the green and growing flow of life as that lovely daffodil blowing in the spring breeze. Treat yourself to regular visits to a favorite natural place—a park, a grove of trees, a beach, a hillside, or even a leafy neighborhood block. Make this your place to observe closely and know well. Your place will welcome you as a regular and offer the grounding energy of Mother Earth, the blessings of fresh air, sunlight, and infinite sky overhead.
Spring Equinox
  1. Start a course of spiritual study. Whether you read spiritual texts, study the wisdom of ancient or modern masters, or take classes and workshops, you can embark on a program of learning that feels good to you. When faced with the greatest challenge of my life, I studied energy medicine and found not only healing but my soul’s purpose and the path to profound joy.
Spring Equinox
  1. Keep a daily journal of your observations, your feelings, and your blessings. One good thing about regular visits to your favorite spot in nature is that you will always have something to write about. You can begin with your observations of things you notice with your practiced eye: a new bird, a friendly squirrel, new plant growth, a blossoming flower, a spider web, colors, patterns of light. Then move into your feelings and thoughts each day and finally record all the things you have discovered to be grateful for. Your gratitude creates a positive and healing energy that attracts even more reasons to feel blessed and beloved by the Universe.
  1. Learn to meditate. With the help of a trained instructor who can guide you, you can create a meditation practice that will stay with you and open amazing avenues to peace, joy, and understanding. If you always suspected there was more to you than the material world was seeing, there is! Meditation offers an opportunity to travel deep within and discover the astonishing connection you have with the Universe and all that is. If you have questions, the answers can be found and a path can be opened to the life of your dreams.

Just as a healthy garden needs a connection to the universal elements that nurture and nourish life so does a healthy soul. Take steps to provide the optimum conditions you need for your spiritual growth, blooming health and abundant happiness by starting a meditation practice with me!

2021 Thanksgiving Gratitude Holidays

7 Reasons to Embrace Gratitude

Thanksgiving is, quite literally, a holiday of giving thanks, so most people have some tradition of gratitude. Whether it is making a list of the things you’ve been grateful for this year, or sitting down at the family table piled with turkey and all the fixin’s with each person expressing thanks for one thing in their life, you probably consider gratitude as important a part of the Thanksgiving festivities as the turkey and pumpkin pie. But what about practicing gratitude the rest of the year?

Gratitude Is Not Just for Thanksgiving

Study after study has shown that gratitude is good for your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health, so the more often you do it, the better you’ll feel! Gratitude has been shown to have numerous benefits, from increased life satisfaction and happiness to more compassion to better rest. And in energy healing, gratitude goes a long way toward keeping your chakras clear and balanced.

The best way to practice gratitude is to add it to your spiritual routine. Just as you set time aside each day for meditation, set time aside each day for a gratitude session. Journaling right before bed about what you are thankful for is ideal, but any time of the day will work, and if you would prefer to speak your list, that’s fine, too. The most important thing is to keep it up. Here’s why:

  1. Gratitude can help you through tough times.
    Listing what you are grateful for seems like a small thing, but it carries so much weight. It’s so easy to forget how lucky you are, how much there is to appreciate even when things are rough. Think about how often someone who goes through a trauma comes out the other side with a new zest for life—this is the power of gratitude in action. When you are aware of and thankful for the small joys of being a body on this planet as well as a soul born out of light, you create a reserve of happiness that boosts you through tough times.
  1. Gratitude is a natural sleep aid.
    If you’re worried and anxious as you drift off—or toss and turn trying to drift off—the level of stress hormones in your body wreak havoc with your sleep quality, which results in you waking up feeling like you need another night of sleep. And a worried mind is restless, making it difficult to drift off. Gratitude improves your sleep quality and duration by keeping you calmer and less stressed, and having a positive attitude when you get into bed helps you fall asleep faster.
      
  1. It lowers your stress.
    Stress is responsible for so much damage to your mind, body, and soul that you should do whatever you can to help combat its negative effects. Just as energy healing is a natural stress buster, so is gratitude. When you are being thankful, you are in a positive frame of mind and you are focusing not on your troubles, but on a little piece of happiness. This moment of respite increases your ability to cope with the stressors in your life.
  1. Gratitude deepens your relationships.
    As part of your nightly gratitude list, try recognizing the qualities and behaviors of the people you are thankful for. Maybe your best friend always sends you birthday flowers or your partner makes you coffee before you get up each morning. Being thankful for the little things your family and friends do makes you appreciate them more, and improves your interactions with them. This shift in focus also helps train you to see the best in people, and the best in yourself, which makes you warmer, kinder, and better liked, because you are a better friend, spouse, sibling, etc. 
       
  2. It speeds up your spiritual progress.
    In my healing courses I often talk about the importance of service to others. It’s one of the best ways to increase your chances of an initiation by providing a solid base for the new energy. Gratitude makes you more compassionate and empathetic to others, which means you are more likely to engage in random acts of kindness and help others in need. Thinking of others also brings you out of thinking about yourself, which makes you happier and speeds up the process of processing old wounds and traumas, an essential part of energy medicine.
  1. Gratitude helps you live longer.
    Grateful people are usually more optimistic, and optimism has been linked to longer life spans, greater immune function, and lowered blood pressure. Studies have shown that people who are grateful and optimistic are also more likely to exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight. Being thankful for all the small things makes you feel inspired, which turns into a desire to take better care of yourself, which can add years to your life.
  1. Gratitude begets gratitude.
    When you begin to notice all the little things there are to be grateful for each day: the unconditional love of a pet, your health, the sun in the sky, a thoughtful email from a friend, the smell of freshly brewed coffee—whatever small and large things make you smile—you begin to feel even more grateful to be alive and experiencing all this world has to offer. Your happiness makes you more appreciative, which makes you happier and kinder to others, which then rubs off and makes them grateful and happier. Gratitude is a win-win, a vital part of increasing the love on this planet.
     

Do you see how gratitude affects all areas of your life and builds on itself? Thankfulness is an upward spiral. Being grateful makes you happier, which makes you kinder and more compassionate, which means others respond to you with more compassion and kindness, which makes you even more grateful. As an energy healer and spiritual teacher who has seen the power of gratitude, I’d love for Thanksgiving to be a spring board for you to begin your daily routine of giving thanks. Try it for a year, and I guarantee that next Thanksgiving, gratitude is what you’ll be most thankful for.

Breathing like ocean waves

Divine Utterance

How nature reveals the hand of our creator

Breathe in. Breathe out. What do you hear?

You hear the sound of your breath.

What does your breath sound like? Breath sounds like breath.

I was thinking about how “breath sounds like breath” as I was walking along the beach, listening to the waves crash on the sand. They have a push and pull. A roar and a groan. Like your breath. In a way, it is your breath. The oceans produce some 50 to 80% of the oxygen in the air – allowing you to breathe. It’s amazing. The oceans are the lungs of your world. You breathe in what they breathe out.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Breath itself is an act of transference. Oxygen is brought into your blood and carbon dioxide is returned to nature. The oxygen in your blood is used to break apart chemical bonds in your cells, providing you with energy. It’s the fuel that powers you. And the waste, carbon dioxide, you transfer to all of the plant matter around the world that use carbon dioxide as their fuel. Transference.

This transference is fascinating. Because while your inhale and exhale breaths are opposites, they facilitate the inhale and exhale of others. You are taking reciprocal breaths with nature. In short, your breath out and the ocean’s breath out cancel each other. There is no opposite. There is just breath.

Breath sounds like breath. Breath is breath. It just is.

Sanskrit, the oldest language in the world, spoken some 5,000 years before Christ, gives us the yogic mantra, Soham, which literally translates as “I am [s]he” or “I am that.” In the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad there is a verse that describes how, at the beginning of the universe, the Self became aware of itself as “I” (slightly modified):

In the beginning this universe was the Self alone…
[S]he, the Self, reflected and saw nothing but the Self. [S]he first said,
“I am.” Therefore, [s]he came to be known by the name aham.

The name aham indicates that God experiences itself subjectively as “I.”

In the Old Testament, when Moses meets the burning bush in the wilderness some 3,000 years before Christ, he asks, “Who are you?”

The response is “I am that I am.” Not “I am God” or “I am the creator.” Just “I am that I am.”

Jesus said some 2,000 years ago, “Before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58)

Why would the “I am” define itself this way?

The sound of your breath is the same concept. Call it God, call it the creator, call it the universe’s divine force, whatever it is, it is so all-encompassing that it cannot define itself except by itself.

We call this tautology. Defining something by itself. I am that I am. Breath is breath.

Breath is breath. Why do I keep bringing this up? It’s because we can see the shadows of the divine tautological creation all through nature. In the ocean. In your breath.

The ancient Sanskrit word for God – Soham – describes God in two syllables that mean “I am.”

Two syllables. Two beats. In-out. In-out.

Like your breath. Like your heartbeat. Like the ebb and flow of the ocean’s waves. The name of the creation is reflected all throughout nature in these push-pull moments of transference and creation.

I thought about this as I finished my walk along the beach, as I listened to the roar of the ocean reflect back the divine utterance. I thought about how each heartbeat and each breath we breathe are unconscious prayers, connecting us to the source of eternal creation.

Isn’t it magnificent? The sound of our breath is the same sound of our ancient, divine verb “to be.” And that ancient divinity reveals itself as “I am that I am.”

What this means is that the act of being yourself is divine. Existence is all-encompassing. This is why we see the word Soham reflected back through all of our existence. Our breath and our heartbeat reflect back “I” and “am,” which means “existence.” It means “to be.” And our heartbeats and our breath are the key fires of our existence. Each breath sings “I am. I exist.”

I am that I am. Your existence is boundless. Any attempt to define “I am” for yourself, with anything other than “I am,” will be confusing.

Don’t let yourself be defined in confusing terms. Don’t allow yourself to be boxed in by any definition that removes a single element of your boundless self. Instead, listen to your breath.

Each breath you take, repeat the ancient phrase, Soham, “I am that I am.” You are what you are. Embrace your limitlessness. Embrace your divinity. God is within you.

Yantra mantra meditation

A Yantra in the Snow

Yantra mantra meditation
Artist: Simon Beck

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.

2020 Winter Solstice

Standing Still in the Solstice

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about standing still. About pausing, breathing.

We’re approaching the Winter Solstice, the time of year where the day is shortest in the Northern Hemisphere. At the arctic circle, it’s completely dark for 24 hours.

I know that many of us have felt that we’re facing our own, personal winter solstices. Our communities feel fractured. Uncertainty, loss, and grief are now part of the atmosphere.

We all want to know, “when will this darkness end?”

But the word solstice doesn’t refer to this darkness. It refers to something different.

Imagine, for a moment, an invisible line in the sky. Day or night. It bisects the sky into the North and South, just like the equator around our planet. We call this the celestial equator. Twice a year (at the equinoxes), our Sun crosses this equator. Right now, it is heading South. On the Solstice, the Sun reaches its southernmost point in our sky. It takes a pause.

It stands still.

That’s what the word “solstice” refers to. The Sun “standing still.”

With the Sun’s pause comes a host of other occurrences. The shortest day, the longest night. It’s easy to look at these extremes and feel a sense of foreboding – that somehow night has enveloped the day, and the Sun itself has become frozen. But this sense of foreboding ignores the beauty and hope that the Winter Solstice represents. And embracing this beauty might be the key to us breaking through our own Winter Solstices.

Like a wayward traveler who has voyaged to a distant land, the Sun finally stands still on December 21st. It pauses, holding its place in our sky, before finally returning North.

Think about it. The Winter Solstice is only the shortest day because the sun stands still and then returns North. It’s only the darkest day because the next day is slightly brighter. It’s only the lowest point because the light turns back.

The Winter Solstice is the Northern Hemisphere’s rock bottom. It’s the “darkest before the dawn moment.” And this “darkest before the dawn” can inform how we journey our own, Spiritual Solstices.

Our journeys this year have been unexpected and perilous. Oftentimes, it feels like we’re a passenger in our journeys, as opposed to a pilot. But we have a choice that we can make – an action that can give us insight, strength, and (hopefully) some community in these fragmented times.

We can pause.

On December 21st, I encourage all of us to pause – collectively, though separated. I want us all to feel the faint rays of the Sun and imbue ourselves with the energy of a star and a planet who have paused in extremity.

Absorb this energy. Coax out the intuition of this celestial stillness.

Let’s pause each of our journeys – for just that brief day – to take stock of how far we’ve gone, where we’ve come from, and where we wish to go. Let’s stand in our stillness, and look back at the joys we wish to recapture.

We can examine our choices, our habits, our relationships; and decide how we will carry forward.

The Winter Solstice is a blessed time! It’s a rare time for introspection, reflection, and change. This energy is mirrored in our cultural celebrations around winter. New Year’s Resolutions? What is that but a pause and a change of direction?

I know that the Winter Holidays can be a circus. We all work double-time to purchase that perfect Hannukah gift, make that perfect Christmas roast, and plan that perfect New Year’s celebration. It’s hard to pause when there’s so much to do!

But your spirit deserves a Solstice.

Embody that energy of the Winter Solstice in order to become an active participant in your own journey. It feels counter-intuitive, but by simply taking a day to be still, you will gain unprecedented agency and insight into your own voyage through life.

It’s always darkest before the dawn.

Deborah

Meditation toward self-discovery

A Powerful Practice for Self-Discovery: 3 Ways Meditation Helps You Connect to the Real You.

Has life in the Information Age ever made you feel out on a limb, disconnected, out of it? The great irony of modern life is that heaps of factual information can sometimes leave you feeling short of human information—understanding, insight, self-knowledge, and purpose. Beyond trying to remember your password or pin number, you struggle to make sense of your life. Traditional ways of connecting to our divine Source, the true treasure trove of information, have dwindled in our technologically-advanced and secularized world. More people are feeling unsettled and anxious, restless and discontented, forever searching for something that will make them feel happy and whole.

Our Source connection holds the key to the highest and best information needed for life. So what’s the best way to make sure that connection is strong and ever-ready? As a spiritual teacher and energy healer, the tool I’ve found to be absolutely the most important, effective, and long-lasting is meditation. Recognized for its power to relieve stress, meditation is the practice of focusing your attention to help you feel calm and give you clear awareness of your life. Meditation involves turning your attention inward and focusing your mind to a place where you are connecting to Source and to your universal self. Meditation is a tool with huge potential for personal development and growth and many successful and happy people swear by its benefits.

Your connection to Source, achieved through meditation, gives you exactly what you need—information about you! To release any inner darkness and bring in more light, you need information about your true self. How hard do you work at really getting to know yourself? Meditation can help you discover the deep cause of what’s off, whether it’s long-buried negative feelings, unexpressed grief or anger, and then find the most effective path for releasing it. The wisdom and insights that come from meditation can assist in healing every area of your life.

Here are 3 ways making meditation a regular part of your spiritual life can help you grow and improve your capacity for health, happiness, and healing:

  1. Meditation keeps you grounded. The state of being grounded comes naturally from connecting to Source energy. When grounded you are fully present and completely focused. Like a sturdy platform on which to stand, this state of groundedness gives you strength, confidence, and stability. You are connected and present and ready to give your best to any endeavor.
  2. Meditation helps you make better decisions. The self-awareness and mindfulness you gain from meditation gives you insight into who you really are and where you want to go. You are able to make healthy, productive, and loving choices. The present awareness you experience clears away fear and worry, past and future concerns. Decisions made with a grounded, focused awareness will help heal you in body, mind, and spirit.
  3. Meditation gives you more confidence in your natural abilities. As you plug in to the light and love that is your divine origin, what is bound to happen? You will experience the knowledge of who you are and where you came from. Connecting to higher-vibration energy is your birthright. It’s always present for you, accessible and waiting. It rejoices in your connection to it and passes on its blissful feeling to you the moment that bond is formed. Feeling your connection to Source through meditation can restore your sense of purpose and give you confidence in all that you are capable of accomplishing with the power of unconditional love.

Meditation is the perfect antidote for Information Age anxiety—if you are suffering from too much information that really isn’t helping you live, love, and prosper. How much better would it be to learn to connect with the divine intelligence that created the universe and everything in it? Meditation can help you tune in to your waking life in a way you never thought you could experience. It paves the way for emotional healing, boosts self-knowledge and is also an excellent method to balance your chakras.

[su_note note_color=”#FFF8b7″]If you’d like to improve your life by making meditation a daily practice, make sure to enroll and go through Learn to Meditate course now.

Starting Monday, October 19th, we will be going through a live 10-day challenge open to anyone who has ever taken this course and received their mantra from Deborah. If you are new to meditation, the challenge will help you build a meditation habit; if you are a current meditator, it will revitalize your practice.

Click here if you don’t yet have a mantra and want to Learn to Meditate.

Meditation benefits

Benefits of Daily Meditation: Turning Back the Hands of Time

Have you ever daydreamed of turning back the clock to a more youthful, more energetic, more carefree time in life? Or perhaps having at your disposal a magical cosmic “Undo” button that could erase certain effects that have accumulated over the course of time—from stress, abuse, and destructive habits that have left you with less than perfect health or a waning enthusiasm for life.

I experienced the need for a second chance at a clean slate earlier in life than most. I was just out of law school and not even 25 when I received a diagnosis of cancer. That cancer was just the last in a whole host of serious problems I’d had. Those of you who are familiar with my story know that I had a horrendous childhood filled with sexual and emotional abuse. I’m certain I had post-traumatic stress disorder by the time I was four. By my teenage years, I was a complete wreck. At that point, I began doing everything possible to numb my feelings and run from them—I smoked, drank, took drugs, and acted out all over town. I was anxious. I was depressed. When my cancer announcement came, it was really time for a change. By then, I needed some truly powerful help to undo all that I had been through so that I could continue to live.

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Amazingly, I found it—the way to turn back time and release the many effects of all of the stress that my mind and body had endured. That way was meditation. A daily practice of 20 minutes, twice a day, gave me much more clarity to address my disease and ultimately helped me to heal my cancer, release my addictions, end my destructive streak, and get on my true life path. I can honestly say that meditation is the best thing I have ever done for myself.

I am not alone in this discovery. Science and religion alike have studied and documented the vast numbers of benefits of meditation, revealing that meditation has a positive effect on people suffering from or at risk for many physical and mental health conditions, including high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, congestive heart failure, stroke, diabetes, menopause, ADHD, memory loss, anxiety, obesity, and much more. It was even found to be twice as effective in helping people to quit smoking than the other popular remedies. Given that smoking is the number one cause of preventive death in the U.S., this is no small benefit! The studies also show advantages in other areas of our lives, such as making us more effective on the job and in school. Later this week, I talk about these studies and more in this free webinar.

So what is meditation and how does it create so much good for our bodies and minds?

meditation buddha

A big part of meditation’s success on improving conditions like those listed above is its powerful ability to reduce and release stress, as stress is often a precursor to so many of our physical and emotional problems. But the manner in which it does this happens at a lot deeper level than many people might think. Meditation works at the level of our consciousness.

There are four states of consciousness: waking, sleeping, dreaming, and meditating. So, meditation is actually a different state of consciousness from our waking life. It is a far more expanded state. Many people think that the purpose of meditation is to tune out, to get away from it all. While that’s partially true, the real purpose of meditation is actually to tune in—to take the journey into expanded consciousness that meditation provides.

Meditation expands our consciousness by helping us to get into the space, the gap, between our thoughts and taps into the incredible energy that exists there. So you have a thought, and then another thought, but between the two, there’s a little space. According to the ancients, this space between the thoughts is the portal to the infinite intelligence of the universe, our Source. Some people call this energy “Spirit”; some call it “God”; some call it the “Universal Energy Field” or the “Unified Field.”

Once you get into that gap, you’ll find that, through this all-pervasive web of energy, everyone and everything is connected to everything else. You also discover that this universal field of energy is unlimited; it’s pure potential, and anything can be accomplished when you’re connected to it.

When we connect to the Unified Field through meditation, our bodies and psyches are cleared, leaving us refreshed, restored, and balanced. Just 20 minutes of meditation offers as much rest as 1-2 hours of sleep! The effect is truly a turning back of the clock, where we look and feel healthier and younger.

We can experience other profound changes by tapping into the Unified Field through meditation. To heal ourselves and fix our lives, we need information. We need to root out the true cause of what is ailing us, and find the most expeditious and effective route to a cure. I certainly learned this with my experience of cancer. When you tap into the Unified Field, you are accessing life’s great encyclopedia—where every fact of the universe, past, present and future, exists and is accessible.  You are also connecting to your own highest wisdom., and the insights that come from meditation help us to heal every area of our lives.

In this way, meditation paves the way for emotional healing. On an energetic level, it helps to remove any blockages that come from holding on to anger and resentment. Meditation thereby ushers in what is perhaps the most crucial part of the healing process, forgiveness. It opens us up to our connection to other people, and to All That Is. In this way, meditation also paves the way for global peace and well-being.

That brings me to the most important reason I can think of to meditate. Even after all of the benefits I’ve touched upon here—the better health, becoming wiser, doing better at school or work, experiencing forgiveness, and having less anxiety, more creativity, greater joy, looking and feeling younger—I still haven’t told you the real purpose of meditation.

The most important outcome of your meditating every day is that by expanding your awareness, by bringing yourself into balance and experiencing greater peace, by raising your consciousness—you are actually assisting every other person and creature on the planet to do the same. Remember, we’re all connected by one vast field of energy. The ripple of energy you send out into the world is a reflection of your inner state of being. Your ripple touches and affects others. If you’re uplifted, you uplift them too. If we’re all in a higher state, we just might feel more inclined to help one another and come up with some harmonious and creative solutions to our global problems. What a different world that would be!

I can’t recommend enough that you learn to meditate—for your own well-being, for those you love, and for making a positive difference on the planet and fulfilling your life’s potential.

If you’d like to know more about meditation, register for this free event:

Clear Energetic Chaos and Create a Better Base for a Meditative Practice.

This event is perfect for beginners looking to establish a proper base for their practice. But is also great for the advanced, experienced meditator that wants to revitalize their current practice.

Click here to register >>