Let go

3 Tips to Renew, Recharge and Clear Blockages to Your Energetic, Emotional, and Physical Systems

Let go

While much of the regret we harbor inside comes from our own actions (infidelities we’ve had, accidents we’ve caused, debt we’ve gotten ourselves into) as well as from those important things in life we failed to do (opportunities unexplored, love not shared, forgiveness unspoken, once-in-a-lifetime events not attended), sometimes regret stems from something that has nothing to do with us. Something we have absolutely no control over or say in. Sometimes regret—those feelings of grief, sorrow, and remorse—come from our exposure to the world’s innumerable tragedies and devastations.

Let go

We all feel how small the world has become through the advances in technology. With a mere click of the mouse or remote control, the whole world comes into our lives and living rooms. On a daily basis, many of us witness unimaginable violence and suffering. Kidnappings, murders, suicides. Genocide, terrorism. Natural disasters that leave millions in their wake. Public figures coming to tragic ends as they lose battles with drug addiction or disease. And, of course, a national and global economy on the brink of depression. The daily news provides no shortage of things to feel empathy for, and for those who continually tune in with an open heart, this constant negative input eventually takes its toll on their psyche and physical health.

The mind-body connection dictates that what enters our consciousness also enters the rest of our being. When we take in the energy from the outside world, and attach to it emotions such as sorrow and remorse, that energy has to go somewhere. Unless we release it—which few know how to do—it goes into our body, where it blocks our energy field, causing stagnation and, ultimately, a physical or mental disease condition. I hear this complaint all the time at my energy healing workshops. I see the havoc too much empathy is having on people’s lives.

At one seminar, for example, 20-year-old Jen joined me on the stage, complaining of recurring bladder infections. Talking with her, I learned that she was a passionate, empathetic young woman who worked for an animal rescue while attending school part-time. Her frequent health problems kept her from work at times, and she regretted that she was not able to devote more of herself to saving the plethora of homeless animals.

Jen is clearly a person who feels deeply. Not only does she advocate for the animals at the shelter, but she also regularly goes to disaster zones to help animals there. As we talked about her terrible regret over the current devastation and displacement happening to people and animals in a current warzone, the picture of her health became clear.

In Jen’s energy field I picked up a great deal of bitterness, the result of frustration about all the animals she felt powerless to help. This unprocessed bitterness was the cause of her bladder problems. While her heart was in the right place—she wanted to do her part to alleviate the suffering in the world—she wasn’t aware that she was allowing her need to help overpower her ability to help, leaving her feeling frustrated and bitter.

Let go

Many people, like Jen, feel that selflessness is the only way to be a “good” person, that anything less is narcissistic or self-centered. I adamantly disagree. I see all the time the kind of toll this takes in people who come to me for help; it’s in their energy fields and in the various dysfunctions of their life, including emotional pain and, for some, like Jen, illness of the body.

Please don’t get me wrong, empathy and compassion are high virtues. They stir us to alleviate suffering and to uplift others where we can. But we all have to know the point at which it becomes too much to handle. As we’ve seen, getting bogged down in the tragedies of others, distorts our energy centers, or chakras, blocks our healthy energy flow, and lowers our own vibration to the point of disempowering us and making us susceptible to dysfunction and disease.

So, what can you do if you’ve already depleted yourself to the point of anger and resentment, disempowerment, and/or illness? The following 3 simple steps can help pull you out of a regretful state and reverse any blockage accumulating in your energetic, emotional, and physical systems.

3 Ways to Renew Your Energy

Take time for yourself. We all need time for ourselves, time to just be—to relax, unwind, socialize, play. We need time to enjoy being alive without an agenda of getting something done. Otherwise, life tramples our boundaries and some of our essential needs go unmet. Talk about the perfect recipe for anger and resentment! Bottom line: Before we can give to others, we need to first fill our own wells.

Let go
Let go

Tune out some of the negative and tune in more to joy. Go on a “news diet,” cutting down on the amount of death and destruction you take in and adding in its place something lighter, like play. While it’s important to know what’s going on in the world (which you can do, by the way, by skimming Internet news sites for about two minutes), you don’t have to witness the replay of every mass shooting or every moment of COVID news. Instead, add to your day some laughter and joy. I watch one rerun of Seinfeld every night an hour before going to sleep to get my laughter quota and to take a few minutes to relax my mind. You’d be amazed at what a powerfully renewing “therapy” this is.

Uplift the planet by raising your own consciousness. Instead of trying to rescue the world in person, which will eventually deplete you, try uplifting the world by raising your consciousness. The easiest ways to do this are through journaling, meditation, and prayer. Writing in a journal helps you clear out your emotions on a daily basis. It’s great emotional hygiene!

Let go
Fifth Chakra

The Key to Get What You Want in Life: 5 Ways to Strengthen Your Voice

Fifth Chakra

There is a very specific element of your personality that is vital to getting what you want in life. Not developing it, or even suppressing it, actually holds you back from becoming the person you were put on this Earth to be (and makes you vulnerable to the whims of others!). This element is: your voice!

Finding and using your voice is an essential part of living the life you came here to live. Your true voice is guided by your higher self, who knows your life plan and can whisper advice that will lead you down the path you were meant to take. Your voice is also one of the main ways you express yourself to the world, so what you say is really important. It should come from an authentic place within you.

Fifth Chakra

If you have trouble speaking up for yourself, or find your voice is too small to be heard, you may have distortions in your fifth chakra. As a spiritual teacher and energy healer, I can’t tell you how many people come to me with issues that stem from dysfunction in their throat chakra and corresponding problems with its ruling principle of communication.

Many students in my energy healing courses, especially women, worry that speaking up for themselves is the same as being aggressive or confrontational, but it’s not! We all know those types of people who make a fuss about everything, constantly complain, and are always getting riled up and in other people’s faces for even the smallest things. No one wants to be that guy or gal. But there is a big difference between picking fights and refusing to let yourself be railroaded. You deserve to be heard, and energy healing can help you not only find your voice, but train it to be strong.

Here are 5 ways to strengthen your voice:

  1. Practice.

    One of the best ways to make your voice heard when it counts is to practice speaking up when the stakes aren’t as high. For example, if you want to ask your boss for the raise or promotion you deserve, practice saying a few versions of your main points. This can be to the mirror, or to yourself in the shower or your car. You can even practice with a friend or partner who feels safe to you. The point is to get used to the act of asking and speaking up for yourself in a comfortable environment first, so you are better prepared for the real thing.
Fifth Chakra
Fifth Chakra
  1. Listen.

    This may seem counterintuitive—to strengthen your voice by not speaking—but your throat chakra is the seat of your inner guidance, the wise voice inside you that always gives advice tailored to you and in your best interests. Your job is to listen to this voice so that you may act in alignment with your soul’s purpose. How can you express your true self if you’re unsure who that self is? Listening to your inner voice can help you find the real you so you can speak as the real you. In fact, routinely ignoring your inner guidance can cause it to eventually stop guiding and create problems in your throat chakra.
  1. Tell the truth.  Lying is the greatest obstacle to a heathy, vibrant fifth chakra. Even little white lies can be detrimental, especially if they begin to pile up, which is what tends to happen to lies. Telling your truth is the most important—from coming out to your family to admitting to your partner that you have feelings for someone else—because each lie that comes out of your mouth allows a little bit of darkness to enter your energy field. Lies can only take you farther from the light, but the truth will set you free.
Fifth Chakra
Fifth Chakra
  1. Journal.It’s not always possible to tell the truth directly to someone else. Sometimes the potential fall-out is not worth it, or sometimes you’re just not ready, and that’s okay. But in those cases, it’s essential that you write your true feelings in your journal. You need to have a place for those emotions and thoughts to go in order to release them before they get stuck in your chakras. Your journal is the place for one hundred percent honesty. As you become more and more comfortable expressing yourself in your journal, it will become easier to express yourself out in the world.
  1. Believe in yourself.

    If your voice is timid out of fear, remind yourself that your ideas are valid. Your thoughts have value, your suggestions are worth mentioning, and your truths are yours to express as you see fit. People will believe in you when you believe in yourself, and your confidence will command their attention. Remember that your voice is an extension of you, so if you’re strong, your voice will be, too.
Fifth Chakra

The benefits of strengthening your voice go beyond the ability to ask your boss for a raise or speak your mind to your overbearing sister—though, those are great, too. These tips will help to strengthen your fifth chakra, which helps to heal and charge your energy field and your whole being. That’s the wonderful thing about energy medicine and your chakras: they hold the key to healing your mind, body, and soul, while making practical improvements in all areas of your life.

If you’re interested in learning more about your energy field and your chakras, check out my free Chakra Wisdom video training series.

Self mastery

Self-Mastery: Ten Keys to Achieve Success in Every Areas of Your Life

Self mastery

Today we’re going to be putting our virtual spotlight on a fascinating topic: Self-Mastery. What is it and how do we achieve it? Self-mastery is a path, an orientation you choose for yourself and your world.

First, you have to get rid of the incorrect belief that self-mastery is about controlling your basic impulses. That’s not the case: instead, it’s about getting to know those parts of you intimately, and then going beyond them. Once you do that, the natural process of inner development will take place

Self mastery

Carlos Castanenda’s teacher, Don Juan, said “A warrior must cultivate the feeling that he has everything needed for the amazing journey that is his life. What counts for a warrior is being alive. Life in itself is sufficient, self-explanatory and complete.” 

Although you may refuse the call to adventure, developing your innate capacities is your destiny. Ignoring your destiny can bring depression and anxiety. Embracing this destiny leads to freedom and to your highest expectations.

So stop and ask yourself: What is the biggest obstacle you’ve already overcome? Was it getting into college despite the obstacles? Or was it raising a child on your own, without much help from a partner? Or how about taking care of an aging parent? Or perhaps you’ve lost a job and then gotten back on your feet? Or maybe, like me, you’ve dealt with a challenging health problem? If you think back to what you have already overcome, you know you already have what it takes to be in self-mastery!

So, let’s talk about the two drives inside of you:

First, there’s the drive toward growth – it’s easy to see it in a baby, who is focused on learning to walk and talk. Now look at the adults in your life: Some are committed to developing new skills. There are self-actualized people in virtually every field, from physics to music and the arts, from philosophy to computer science, from politics to sports. But there are also many people who are simply surviving; they are not embracing the opportunity, it seems, to work toward their highest potential. You will hear them say things like, I never have time. I’m too tired. Or, and I hear this one a lot from my students, I don’t know what I’d be good at.

Self mastery

So what is blocking their growth? The force opposing growth is the drive for safety. The need for safety keeps you where you are now, afraid to take chances. This safety seeking side is afraid of the new and the untried—the very things your growth side is eager for.

Self mastery

Abraham Maslow, a famous psychologist, said: “You must want to be t he best, the very best you are capable of becoming. If you deliberately plan to be less than you are capable of being, then you’ll be unhappy for the rest of your life.”

To reach a level of self-mastery that will make you a real powerhouse in your own life and in the lives of those you want to enhance, I’ll share ten keys to help you break through whatever resistance you may be experiencing.

Self masteryThe first key is to acknowledge the resistance you’re feeling but to do so with love and compassion. Every change brings resistance, even positive change. So, give yourself a little time to realize you’re beating yourself up because you’ve been standing in your own way for so long. Give yourself permission to move away from self-blame into the winning game. I remember doing that very thing when I was young and wanted to master energy healing; I first had to get out of my own way. To quote Napoleon Hill, “Out of resistance comes strength.”

Self masteryThe second key is to create a compelling vision of the life you want to lead or the next goal you want to achieve. The operative word here is compelling. It has to be a vision that is so clear and attractive to you that you can already see and feel it as though it’s already been accomplished. You practice actually feeling the way you’ll feel when it manifests in your life. It has to be powerful, like the tractor beam on Star Trek. Your intention is the tractor beam. By the way, Nasa is currently working on a Star Trek style tractor beam, a gravitational beam emitter, so let’s not retire that delicious image just yet!

Self masteryThe third key is to commit to long-term practice and persistence. Transforming your life and reaching cherished long-term goals requires constant practice and persistence. By dedicating yourself to forward progress, you are rewiring your brain to make the changes you need to achieve whatever it is you want. Whether you want to learn music or a language or meditation, you’ve got to practice/practice/practice! As Walt Disney famously said, “If you can dream it, you can do it!” And the biggest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that our aim is too low. Consider for a moment the persistence of Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani girl who persisted in her goal for girls’ education in Pakistan despite being shot, now that’s resolve!

Self masteryThe fourth key is to expect yourself to take a few steps backwards along the way. On the road to self-mastery, back-sliding is part of the journey. You won’t get everything right the first time. So, when backsliding happens, practice self-kindness, self-acceptance and self-compassion so you can kick-start your progress again. I did that with a host of things I wanted to learn, from skiing to mountain climbing to learning a foreign language. When you fall off your diet for a day or a weekend, that doesn’t mean you’ve failed. You’ve just backslid. Like who hasn’t! Start again. Start again and again, as many times as it takes to reattach to your compelling vision about what your life will be like when you’ve succeeded. I only quit drinking once, and I succeeded, yay for me, but I quit smoking, I’ve gotta admit, 32 times, before I got it right.

Swami Vivekananda said, “Never mind these failures, these little backslidings; hold the ideal a thousand times, and even if you fail a thousand times, do it again and again!”

Self masteryThe fifth key is to live by the principle of moderation. Self-mastery isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon. This has always been the hardest one for me: We Type-A people can find ourselves sprinting out of the starting gate at full bore, only to exhaust ourselves and be unable to proceed. When we can see that the world we want or the goal we want is just at the end of our exertions, we want to get there as fast as possible. But self-mastery takes time, and you only have so much energy. So, give yourself permission to give 75% instead of anything more. By pushing or straining yourself, you deplete yourself and it’s hard to keep your eyes on the prize when you can hardly get out of bed in the morning. Speaking of that, let me encourage you to get way more sleep than you are probably currently getting: fatigue is a deal breaker when you’re trying to achieve self-mastery. Honestly, if you can get into the habit of little 15 or 20 minute power naps, and take them before 3pm so they don’t disturb your rest at night, it will really open your creativity, plus make your life a heck of a lot more joyful and fun!

Self masteryThe sixth key is lighten up! C’mon, this is a fun key. It’s far too easy to take ourselves and our desired growth too seriously. Have fun along the way. If you don’t, your mind or body will revolt. We are human beings, not human doings. Allow yourself to be in ways that make your life meaningful and fun. Stay light-hearted. Laugh at yourself. Be playful, even as you’re evolving into self-mastery. My fav example at the moment is Alex Honnold, the American rock climber who climbed El Capitan in Yosemite National Park in just under 4 hours without a rope! Talk about self-actualized! I spent an entire summer trying to climb El Cap with a rope, with no luck, so go, Alex!

Self masteryThe seventh key is to set mini goals. There is, unfortunately, no shortcut to self-mastery. The route includes setting mini goals, or what I like to call baby steps. Baby steps take you to the next solid place. Baby steps are the steps that lie within reach. Reaching each one helps measure your progress so you can celebrate along the way. Celebrating your advancement at each step is important. Anything you dream can be yours by simply focusing on each step along the way, not the overall journey. Another great example of youthful self-mastery would be Greta Thunberg, who, despite her autism, has managed to grab the world by storm on the subject of the climate crisis. If you know her story, she took step after step to achieve her goals, and imagine the resolve it took for a 15-year-old girl to protest so loudly outside the Swedish parliament that she got the government to change their carbon emission standards. Now, that’s self-actualization!

Self masteryThe eighth key is Cultivate Your Physical Energy. Whatever road to mastery you take, you will need a healthy reserve of physical energy to get from where you are to where you want to go. Without it, whenever you backslide, or feel stressed, or whenever you need to overcome resistance, you’ll be too depleted to lift yourself over the hurdle. Your willpower will only last as long as the energy you have in the tank!

You can increase your energy by eating super nutritious food, by having 4 or 5 or even 6 little meals a day to keep your blood sugar even, by getting enough sleep as I mentioned earlier, by meditating every day, and, this is maybe most important, by doing some regular fun physical activity. It doesn’t matter if you like to walk or swim or play a sport, or prefer to do yoga, or tai chi, or dance, but whatever you enjoy, set a reminder on your watch or phone, so you have time set aside for some movement to gather more energy.

Self masteryThe ninth key is to be really honest with yourself. Making excuses is your ego’s way of deflecting blame and shame to make you appear to others as better than you actually think you are, inside. And feeling worse about yourself (ego deflation) is also not helpful. Taken to extremes, both ego inflation and ego deflation can be a problem. To pursue self-mastery, an honest self-assessment is crucial. Honest self-assessment frees up the energy that our egos are accustomed to stealing in attempts to maintain the lies that we tell ourselves. So, start by honing in on your true feelings by keeping your thoughts somewhere private, like your phone or a locked app on your laptop, where you can honestly write out your hopes, dreams, and especially your fears. Or share these really personal thoughts with someone you trust will keep them confidential – perhaps your energy medicine practitioner. And remember what Franz Kafka said: “Don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions relentlessly.”

In a nutshell, we to be really honest with ourselves about what we want, and then take risks, instead of lying to ourselves and making excuses so we don’t have to step out of our comfort zone.

Self masteryThe final key, #10, is Establish Empowering Rituals. If you’re into sports, like I am, you know how the greatest athletes have rituals that put them into a state of peak performance so they can execute at their absolute best. Or, if you’re into spirituality, like I am, chances are you’ve read all the great spiritual teachers and you know what special practices they adopt to get into that same zone. I can assure you, the zone for peak physical performance is the same zone for properly practiced prayer and meditation. But more on that another day! When it comes to self-mastery, establishing rituals to perform can be just the key you need to reach the next step in your journey. Daily practice is an absolute requirement. By making it a habit, you re-wire your brain to operate at greater and greater levels of refinement. That is what rituals are for. We engage in spiritual ceremonies, like Deborah King Live on Facebook that we engage in every other Tuesday at 2 pacific, in order to create a safe place to work through our most complicated feelings, so we won’t have to carry those feelings around with us forever.

I absolutely love what Joseph Campbell had to say about all of this: “A ritual is the enactment of a myth. And, by participating in the ritual, you are participating in the myth. And since myth is a projection of the depth wisdom of your psyche, by participating in a ritual, participating in the myth, you are put in accord with that wisdom, which is the wisdom that is inherent within you at your deepest level.” People have traditionally turned to activities like my Facebook Live, being in community and sharing through stories and prayer and song, to help us on our forever journey toward self mastery, to help us live in the daily paradox of trauma mixed with joy.

Finally, one more thought: discovering a great talent, capacity, or strength within yourself that demands nurturance can be exhilarating, but it can also bring feelings of danger and responsibility. It may demand that you stand alone, cultivating inner strength instead of seeking support from your environment. The path to growth and self-mastery is invariably difficult at times. It’s uncomfortable moving out of the known into the unknown. Even if the known is not ideal or even desirable, it’s at least familiar. And since we all have a need for safety, there will always be an attraction to staying within the familiar. So still honoring your need for safety, let me help you further on your journey into the great unknown. Enjoy practice for practice’s sake. Transform yourself slowly, steadily, daily, and next thing you know, you’ll be in self-mastery!

Attaining self-mastery first starts with truly understanding yourself on a deep level. What drives you? What’s holding you back? What emotional road blocks must you overcome to break through and achieve the life you are meant to live?

A good place to start is our bestselling course: Inner Secrets of You. It is designed to help you not only understand yourself, but also give you the knowledge (and power) to understand those around you on the deepest level. Click here to learn more about this course >>

Insanely happy

How To Be Insanely Happy (Even When Everything Sucks)

Insanely happy

When I was in my last year of law school, my lawyer father, on whom I doted, was in his 70s. Hearing on the family grapevine that I was in some kind of trouble, Dad came to the law school one day and took me out to lunch, telling me he had heard “I was unhappy.” Had I had a clue what I thought back then, which I did not, I’m sure I would have said I was insanely happy. After all, I was a size 4, what more could any 20-something want? Plus, I was at the top of my class; I thought Dad would be thrilled. Now, if truth be told, I was pushing a few things “under the carpet:” although engaged, I was having not one, but two affairs, I had serious issues with alcohol, drugs, and extreme sports, and, oh, I forgot to mention, I had just found out I had cervical cancer.

Over the fish course, Dad, out of the blue, volunteered, “the secret to life is simple, just don’t think about yourself. If you are always helping others, you’ll be happy your whole life.”

At the time, I thought, what does he know? All I wanted was to get done with lunch so I could get out of there and have a drink! At that moment, I was in complete agreement with the comedian George Burns, who said: “Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family… who all live far, far away!”

But you know what? It turned out, “father did know best.”

Insanely happy

There’s an old Chinese proverb that says “If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.” 

For centuries, the greatest thinkers have suggested the same thing: happiness is found in helping others.

So, let me ask you, how happy are you? Right this moment. Well, let’s think about it. For starters, chances are, like me, you’ve cut way back on your social life and your travels because of the pandemic. There’s a lot less getting together than before. Maybe you’re still working from home but you’ve got kids or other family members under foot. Or worse, maybe you’re alone and screaming for companionship. Or maybe your partner was laid off and you’re trying to hold it together to pay the rent and the two of you are practically at each other’s throats these days. And to top it all, maybe you’ve got some health problems that you’re worried about.

So that can mean that you are pretty focused on your personal happiness, right? Your health, your finances, your relationships. I mean, isn’t that what we’ve been taught culturally, to focus on our own happiness, right? Actually, though, focusing on ourselves doesn’t make us happy.

Now, I bet right now you want to remind me that Thomas Jefferson wrote about the “self-evident” truth of our “unalienable right” to the pursuit of happiness. Turns out, if you read about him further, that he didn’t mean you need that Tesla you’ve been dreaming about to be happy! In the 18th century, the happiness the founding fathers wanted us to pursue was public happiness. They were interested in something much bigger conceptually that personal happiness: they wanted a country that would allow all its citizens a good life.

Insanely happy

So what are the steps to that kind of happiness?

STEP ONE is giving – just like Daddy taught me.

Scientific research absolutely shows that giving to others is the path to real, permanent, happiness. In fact, the act of giving activates the same sweet spot in your brain that food and sex do. And we all know how good those two activities feel! Altruism is hardwired into our brains and giving to others does more than make us feel good; it turns out, it’s also the secret to a meaningful life.

If you look at history, you’ll find this theory born out, time after time, culture after culture:

Insanely happy

Let’s start by looking at my field of expertise, the Vedic texts of East India. In Vedic times, over 5,000 years ago, the Vaidas, or Vedic physicians, taught that being happy in life was the key; helping others related to doing our dharma, our life work. They believed the main way to reach a supreme state of happiness was to serve the gods, the ancestors, and all living beings.

Flash forward to about 400 years before Christ, to the Greeks; they had a similar concept of happiness. Plato wrote that happiness stemmed from fulfilling our role in society and that determined happiness more than wealth or pleasure. So again, the Greeks pushed public, not personal happiness. Aristotle, a great thinker at the time, called happiness “human flourishing.” One of the prime virtues was bigheartedness, meaning charity and generosity. Yep, giving.

The Mayan civilization, which was from about 2000 years BC until the Spanish pretty much took over around 1500 AD, believed that a thing could only be good as long “as it harmed no one.” Compare that to our current corporate greed! In the Mayan language, the word “happiness” meant “having a glad heart,” and showed their central belief that the happiness of the other was critical: they greeted each other by asking “how is your heart?” And unlike our superficial “hey,” “how are you,” they actually meant it! Or think about what Chief Maquinna of the American Indian Nootka nation said after he heard about the banking system that we white people have, he said “We Indians have no such banking; when we have plenty of blankets, we give them away to other chiefs, and by and by, they return them to us, with extras, and our hearts feel good. That’s our bank.”

Insanely happy

Interestingly, history shows us that up until the 1700’s, happiness meant prosperity, thriving, and wellbeing of the whole society, not individual pleasure. So, when did society move from Jefferson’s “public happiness” to the contemporary concept of individual happiness? That happened in the 1800’s, when “individualism” became the new way to look at things. Turns out, though, that worrying about ourselves does not make us happy; giving to others is what creates joy.

So, how to get started?

First, think about giving your time. Sounds weird, but giving money is actually a distant second when it comes to making you happy. Let’s face it, our time is our most valuable commodity, whether it’s an hour of giving, or a day, or maybe, you will find out, as I have, that giving turns into a lifetime. Give whenever and wherever you feel inspired, as your happiness set-point totally depends on your motivation. When you feel somehow forced into giving, you will find it doesn’t do much to boost your happiness. Find the person, place, or thing you are most aligned with— relative, friend, neighbor, an organization, it’s whatever calls to you to help—and feel the warm glow. I remember being just big enough to get up into Daddy’s pickup when he would drive around the small town we lived in after work on Friday nights, giving away the bags of oranges he raised to those who looked hungry. And every time he would come home without his coat, having handed it to some poor soul who looked cold. Daddy taught generosity in action, not theory. During the day, Daddy took me down to the State Capitol, to his job as a Democratic Representative, working comfortably across the aisle to build programs of social justice for the poor and needy of our state. Back home, Daddy teamed up with a couple of other town leaders to build a private school. He hired a headmistress and told her to admit as many children whose parents could not pay tuition as those who could. When I became a young lawyer and joined Daddy in his small-town law practice, he taught me that for every couple of paying clients, I needed to take in someone who couldn’t pay, and help them as well. Daddy was all about giving in action, and he set the bar high.

Insanely happy

Now, let’s talk about giving money, not as powerful, but another way to increase happiness. When we see people who have lost their homes in a fire or flood or hurricane, and we send money, it sure beats, as Will Rogers put it, “spending money on things you don’t want, to impress people you don’t like.” You can also give money to any cause that appeals to you, from social justice to the environment, to whatever inspires you.

Keep in mind, we do get something back when we give, and that’s OK: whether it’s social approval or a boost in self-esteem, or a new skill, or new friends. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, it’s part of why giving makes us happier.

STEP TWO to being happy is accepting what is.

I remember waking up one morning 5 years ago in a hospital in Mammoth after I fell mountain climbing, and learning that I was going to spend a year flat on my back, with both my arms and legs immobilized. For once, unable to work much, and forced, out of the blue, to just kick back, I started listening to music part of every day. My normal type A++ personality would have never allowed that kind of seemingly purposeless activity, but thank God, over-achieving Deborah had, for the moment, been taken out of the picture. I was so happy it was hilarious!

When you look in a mirror, does what you see make you happy? How much happier would you be if you looked in the mirror and accepted that yes, you are a certain age and shape and, over time, things happen to the body. And that goes for every aspect of your life that cannot be changed. Aging is inevitable. Economic upswings and downswings occur. Loved ones come and go. Accidents happen.

When I was that unhappy young 20-something, addicted to booze and pills, I joined A.A. as the first step in my healing. What I learned there I can share right now: it’s one day at a time. I know it sounds easy but think of all the times you don’t do that, instead obsessing over what might happen tomorrow, like what if you get Covid or the forest fire gets even closer, or you never find work. You get my drift. As the Serenity Prayer of A.A. goes, “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

I’ve worked my way through so many rough situations, one day at a time, from illnesses, to family feuds, to lawsuits, to a whole slew of hospitalizations, wheelchairs and walkers, hey, I’ve lost count! And I’ve been happy enough the whole time, by doing it one moment at a time. Just this week, I was helping a student with stage 4 cancer, helping her find happiness in the moment, and I totally forgot all about my own aches and pains. Let me help you raise your happiness set point right now, simply by making “one day at a time” one of your favorite mantras.

Insanely happy

Here’s a corollary to that idea, that comes from South African human rights activist Desmond Tutu, who said “the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.” If something is overwhelming, right in the moment, or even seems impossible, just use that one bite rule.

Another totally helpful trick to staying insanely happy in the moment is, believe it or not, through meditation. And I don’t mean guided meditations; they’re nice, but you need the real McCoy to get deep enough to eliminate all the stress and hassles from the day that keep you from feeling happy. These days, that means a mantra-based meditation, like the one I teach, so you get deep enough. Meditation allows your mind and emotions to quiet down and plants you squarely in the present moment. It may seem passive, but actually, meditation is an active way to clear out the imbalances of your energy system and to erase anything that may be holding you back from true happiness. It is there, sitting inside yourself, that you can come to understand your worth, your purpose, your self-respect… and allow you to feel the joy of connection to everyone and everything. It’s the real deal! I encourage you to try my meditation.

STEP THREE is to develop strong intentionality.

I teach intentionality the way other people teach reading and writing and ‘rithmetic. It’s absolutely essential to your forward progress in life. If you intend to to be happy, you will be. It’s that simple. As Abraham Lincoln put it, “Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” In other words, it’s your own state of mind, not what’s happening in your external world, that determines whether or not you are happy. And the best way to enter that state of mind is by staying in the present. Not reliving the past; not fearing the future. Intend to live in the moment.

The Dalai Lama tells the story of how he became the head of his country, Tibet, when he was a teenager. And how the Chinese then overran Tibet and killed millions of Tibetans, making him run for his life. So, they took away his country, his people, and the entire plan for his life. When asked if he was angry about it, he said, “Why should I also let them take away my happiness.”

Focused attention is how you create healing; that’s what I teach in my energy healing school. There, I teach you how to use your intentionality to attract the light, then run it through your own energy field and body, and then conduct and transmit that light to the person who needs it. Remember that acronym: ACT – attract, conduct, transmit. It’s all based on intentionality. I remember the first time I actually got it to work and saw a woman’s broken wrist heal before my eyes, wow, that was a super powerful moment, and taught me the incredible power of intention. We can actually can move mountains if we want to!

What is your role? How do you shift your focus from your own problems, to what is happening with others, and actively give in a way that will make you happy?

Stop for a moment and think: What are you most passionate about? What news items really catches your attention? Which threads on social media do you notice? What is calling you? What do you enjoy doing? Do you slog through your work-day and light up with pleasure when you enter the kitchen to bake that perfect loaf of bread? Maybe you could take that passion and that bread and whip up some hearty sandwiches to take to the firefighters battling a blaze near you. That’s activating your passion. Turning what you love to do into a way to help others.

And, at the end of the day, let’s all go with the advice of Charles Schulz, the father of Peanuts, who summed it up by saying: “Happiness is a warm puppy.”

Pets
Cleanse home

8 Ways to Heal Your Home

Home is where the heart is, or so the saying goes. But, what if your home makes your heart race and when you return home feels like you are standing in front of you like a bridge you’re afraid to cross…another obstacle to overcome.

It’s always surprising to me how many people don’t focus on creating a supportive space to live. Most of us don’t organize our living spaces around our well-being, like the feng shui experts of the world say; rather, we live in homes that are largely a happenstance creation that is reinforced by daily habits.

If your home doesn’t support your own healing efforts, it’s time to heal your home.

8 tips to heal your home

Cleanse home
  1. Clean out clutter It should come as no surprise that the concept of cleaning out one’s closet (both literally and figuratively) will have a positive impact on both your energy and the energy of your home. The philosophy of purging items that don’t “spark joy” can find origins in both ancient Feng shui practices and modern human behavioral studies.

    For thousands of years, feng shui has been used to balance one’s internal energy with that of their environment. As an energy healing practice, feng shui seeks to balance the physical elements of the universe, earth, and humanity – and, yes, this includes the furniture in your living room – with invisible forces that bind everything together. When there are too many physical elements, feng shui energies are unable to move naturally and freely.

  • Household clutter and mess can feel incredibly overwhelming, only adding to the stress of everyday life that already leaves many people struggling. In fact, a research study at UCLA found that stress hormone levels increased significantly in female homeowners that had a high density of household objects. Basically, the more stuff they had in their homes, the more pressure and anxiety the women felt.1
  1. Give your home a breath of fresh air
    Fresh air is invigorating and refreshing for both moving and still life. Since your home isn’t able to attend your Pranayama yoga class with you, throw open your windows and let it breathe a deep cleaning breath!For your home to reap the benefits of fresh air, be sure to open your windows every day. Yes, even if it is February and your home is in a cold climate, allowing your home to take a deep cooling breath every day will release built up anxiety and stale air, transforming the energy inside.
Cleanse home
  • Don’t let opening your home’s window become mundane and routine (like making your bed or brushing your teeth); take the opportunity to practice your own breathing techniques. Pranayama is the formal practice of controlling the way you inhale and exhale, helping you to manipulate your vital energies to activate or soothe your mood.

    When practiced regularly, Prana breathing builds life force energies and rejuvenate healing efforts in both you and your home. Every Prana breath taken does so much more than simply taking in air; you are taking in stimuli of all forms—from sights and sounds to smells, feelings, ideas, and knowledge. Prana breathing provides the initial burst of energy that sets things in motion, enhancing your appreciation and zest for life, opening your heart and mind to new possibilities, and reinvigorating your desire for relationships that illuminate your spirit.

Cleanse home
  1. Detox toxic cleaners
    When it comes time to clean the physical dirt out of your house, be sure you aren’t exacerbating the problem by using toxic cleaning agents.

    Many people are unaware of the dangers of using widely-available home cleaners that contain toxic chemicals. Whether the cleaner makes your eyes when you spray it or you have to open the windows to air out the room because of the strong smell, these reactions are not normal and dangerous. Your body is telling you the cleaning agent you are using is highly toxic and can harm you — listen!

  • Natural cleaners, like hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and vinegar, are easy to use and cheaper than most commercial chemical cleaners. And, yes, they work just as well! You can add essential oils like tea tree, lavender, eucalyptus, and lemon if you want to purify your home with a fresh scent. After all, the “scents” and “fragrances” from commercial cleaners aren’t natural; they are created from chemicals in a lab and inhaling them can be dangerous.
  1. Bring the great outdoors inside
    Whether you live in the middle of a big city or the mountains, your home will benefit from bringing some of the outdoors inside. One way to do this is by adding some green plants to your home; not only will your home will look beautiful, but it will be brighter and have better air qualify.

    Plants improve air quality by adding additional oxygen to your home and absorbing harmful pollutants, some of which occur naturally just by breathing. You don’t have to have a greenhouse or degree in botany to reap the benefits of plants. Palms, ferns, ivy, chrysanthemums, and spider plants are all easy-to-care-for plants that will improve the air quality of your home.

Cleanse home
Cleanse home
  1. Eternal sunshine of your mind
    When you fill your home with sunlight, you can’t help but feel lighter, body, mind, and spirit. With your house is illuminated, it will begin to heal and radiate the type of energy that makes you feel good. Sun on your mind brings warmth to in your heart (and remember our saying? Home is where the heart is…).

    Moreover, your new plants can’t survive without some sunshine, so draw back those curtains and let that big healing circle in the sky provide you both some natural nourishment. Like a warm cozy embrace from the sky.

  1. Turn off the TV and play some music
    If you are someone who falls asleep to the TV— or enjoys having it on as white noise in the background— try swapping it for some soothing music.

    Music is made up of vibrations, which are simply different types of energies. These waves of music will reverberate throughout your home and play a role in the positive vibrations you’ll feel as a result.

    Music can have a powerful and immediate impact on your energy and mood, both positive and negative. Classic orchestral music, with sweet violins singing alongside violas and cellos that join in harmony, promote positive healing vibrations. As a result, your body will relax and you’ll feel peaceful.

    However, music can have the opposite effect, too.

Cleanse home
  • Heavy metal and hard rock, with screaming guitars shredding chords accompanied by angsty and emotional song lyrics, have the opposite effect on energy and our bodies: you will be anxious and tense after the song ends.If you are looking for a music playlist that will help your home feel more zen (vs. Zeppelin), there are many great options on Spotify, YouTube, iTunes, Apple Music, and SoundCloud.
Cleanse home
  1. Scents and aromas
    In addition to the sights and sounds throughout your home, your sense of scent can have a profound impact on your healing capabilities and well-being.

    Different scents have the ability to instantly remind us of past experiences (both positive and negative). If you don’t have a scent that brings you comfort or peace, pick one! Just make sure that you are choosing a fragrance made of essential oils; many candles and diffusers available today are nothing more than chemicals that were created in a lab and will pollute your home’s air when burned/released.

  1. Dedicate a sanctuary for healing
    While your entire home should be a place where you feel at peace, be sure that you have a place inside that always allows you to be peaceful and serene. It can be a small nook in your bedroom, a water fountain next to your bedside, or a candle in your living room. One of the best ways to heal your home is to meditate in it.

    You may want to go a step further and fill the space with meaningful pictures and items that make you happy. When you need to rest and restore yourself, this is the space you should turn to.

Cleanse home

Start healing your home today

Many people don’t think about how they can improve the energy in their home, but having a healthy home can make a difference in your life. At its most basic, your home is a reflection of the state of your well-being, something that you can actively change if you aren’t happy with its current state. The tips listed in this article are all easy things that you can do to heal the energy in your home quickly.

And if you already find serenity and peace in your home, share some of your practices with us on our Facebook page.

Let in the Light

Follow the Light

Your eyes are closed. Warm, humid air nestles on your cheeks. The air feels palpable. You lie still, rocking on what feels like water, yet, oddly, you remain dry.

You open your eyes. It’s dark. Warmly dark. Enveloping dark. Above you: a warm darkness. Below you: darkness. In front and to the behind, more dark.

It’s pleasant. Like a warm summer’s night, just as the breeze dies down when the sun finally sets.

Where are you? Where are we?

We are at the beginning. The beginning of where all consciousness begins on the journey to enlightenment. In the dark.

You blink once, twice, three times for good measure. A small dot in the distance. A dot that stands out against the darkness. You can see it. In fact, it’s the only thing you can see. It is, in fact, light. Illumination. Unsure why, you find yourself drawn toward the light. Pressing forward. Pushing through the darkness.

As you lean into the illumination, your own body becomes apparent. You can feel your legs walking forward. You can now see the ground beneath your feet. Behind you: shadow. You turn your head around and see that the darkness has grown more pronounced. More defined. Delineated between what is light and where there is no light.

For the first time, you feel fear of this dark. Even though, before, the dark was all-encompassing. Now, split by the light, the dark feels stronger. You can even see yourself reflected in the dark.

This is your shadow. Notice how it grows larger as you walk forth into the light. Notice how the shadows of all the lit rocks, hills, trees, and people grow greater as the light shines forth.

The light illuminates all. That is what light does.

From the ancient religions of Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, Judaism, and Orthodox Christianity, great teachers have understood that light is divine. Light, is the source of all life and consciousness. Thousands of years before scientists understood how stars fused hydrogen to helium – releasing tremendous energy and life-bringing light, primitive humans knew that the light was life.

And it is. Without the brilliance of light, we’d have no home for life. We’d have no plants to photosynthesize and produce oxygen. We’d have no warmth. We’d be cold and in the dark – huddled around the few sources of heat our planet produces.

But we have light, and we give thanks to the light. We celebrate Diwali, the festival of light that honors the victory of light over darkness. We celebrate Easter, where Christ, light incarnate, arose from the dead, having gained victory over death and Hades.

I love these celebrations. And I love that we celebrate these victories of the light over darkness yearly. Because while the religious events that we celebrate may have occurred once, the journey of light over darkness is continual.

And that is because the darkness is but the absence of light. And the greater the light expands, the more darkness we are able to see.

Return, for a moment, to our warm, humid darkness. Imagine you hold but a single candle. It extends a circle of light around you – just one foot wide. Around that: darkness. But how much darkness is there? It’s hard to say. From where you’re standing, it appears to simply be where the light stops – 1 foot away.

But grow that light. When the light grows to ten feet wide, we can see so much more. We see so much light! But we also see the limits of that light. And we see that the darkness expands far more than we originally understood. Now, darkness surrounds our circle for 10 feet instead of 1.

This is why we always celebrate the victory of light over the dark – because the light’s illumination is continually expanding. And as the dark retreats, more is uncovered. Our shadows grow longer. This growing darkness may give us pause – may make us yearn for the days when our light was smaller – when the world was simpler.

When these moments feel overwhelming, when the pull of the darkness feels so warm, I want you to do one thing: find the light. Find the tiny, pin-drop light that was there at the beginning. And hold that light true. That light is your compass. Stand in the light. Sit in the light. Lie down in the light. Bask in that one dot of light, until it overwhelms you with safety and security.

And when you’re ready, walk toward it once again.

It’s a long journey, and the shadows the light raises may be imposing. But the light is life, and by journeying through the light, your true self will be illuminated.

Follow the light, bathe in the light. Come celebrate the light with me.

If you’re a guy or a gal ready to bring more light into your own world, and into the world of those closest to you, join Deborah for a transformational seven week journey as she helps you Awaken the Divine Feminine – an energy source essential for light…and enlightenment. Click here to join the journey now.

Divinely humble

The Price of Pride: Pinkerton the Pig and Jesus on a Donkey

“Who would care for a sand witch?”

That’s the opening line of one of my favorite children’s books. Hey! Adults can love children’s books too!

It’s called Me First, and it tells the story of a pig named Pinkerton who has to be first for everything. I know we all know somebody like that in our lives.

Anyway, in his haste to be first, Pinkerton thinks he hears someone asking if he’d like a “sandwich” (you know, lunch), while in reality it is a Sand Witch: a mysterious magical creature asking if he will take care of her.

Of course, in his haste to be first, he gets trapped being the servant of the Sand Witch, who ultimately teaches him that first is not always best.

It’s a cute story for growing minds, but the lessons it teaches can resonate with us through life: humble yourself, be kind, first is not always best.

I’ve been thinking a lot about being humble these days as we head into Spring, and with Spring, major holidays for the Abrahamic religions: Passover, Easter, and (later) Ramadan.

In all of these religions, we see the common theme of humbling oneself, as well as the dangers that befall those who choose pride.

Let’s take a look at the Passover Story. Moses leads the Hebrews out of captivity, eventually leading them into the promised land. Moses, a man who humbled himself before his God, was vested with great authority and power in order to save a people, who had been toiling under the crack of Pharaoh’s whip without mercy.

But take a look at Pharaoh for a moment. Here’s a man who when Moses says, “let my people go,” decides “absolutely not.” “Your people are my property.” Pharaoh considered himself to be a living incarnation of Horus, a powerful Egyptian God, and rejected any attempt by this foreign God, to mettle in his affairs.

What happened as a result? Famine, plague, pestilence, death. After every curse, Moses begged Pharaoh, “let my people go,” but this prideful, arrogant man could not humble himself before this foreign God, no matter the might this God showed. Pharaoh, blindly, thought himself to be greater. Ultimately, he and his armies were swept away in the Red Sea and drowned as divine punishment for his inability to see reason and accept defeat with grace.

This is the price of pride. This is the price of looking at the divine and saying, “my way or the highway.” Pride cometh before the fall.

As an inversion of this story, I am struck by the true humility that the Christ showed in his ministries. This coming Sunday is Palm Sunday, a day that Christians mark when Christ rode into Jerusalem.

How did Christ ride into Jerusalem? On a donkey.

I need you to get in the mindset of a citizen of Jerusalem back then. The Messiah was a promised figure who would restore Jerusalem’s independence. He would come in as a conqueror and expel the invaders who had Israel under their yoke.

What do conquerors ride in on? Horses.

Here’s a man – a man who calls himself the Messiah, the savior, who rides in on an ass.

What? That’s not what the Messiah is supposed to look like!

Less than a week later, Christ is executed – crucified for blasphemy. At first glance, you might think, “I don’t get it. He humbled himself and he was still killed. You exalt yourself, you humble yourself; death still comes for you.” In response, I’d ask you to look deeper.

The death of Christ is a sacrifice: it is an inversion of a man who carries the highest god-like vibration, sacrificing for his fellow man. It is the ultimate act of humility. This act of selfless sacrifice was done for humanity, and in the process, the Christ ascended. The lesson: selflessness and humility are righteous. They who exalt themselves shall be humbled. And those who humble themselves shall be exalted.

The Muslim month of Ramadan, coming up in April, is a month of fasting and introspection. The fasting is done to achieve taqwa, or fear of God. Fear meaning awe and reverence. An understanding that the divine is greater than we are, and yet that we encompass it. And this understanding draws us closer to the divine.

No matter your creed, we all understand that these tenets are universal: the first shall be last, and the last shall be first. Think of how many leaders and politicians we’ve seen whose pride has consumed them. Governor Cuomo? Last year, he was the Covid whisperer, with his talks being the fireside chats of the pandemic. Now, he’s battling an inquiry that he deliberately miscounted Covid deaths and sexually harassed employees. He thought he was untouchable. Now, he’ll be lucky if he sees out his term. Or consider “Ellen” who has lost over 1 million viewers, or over 40% of her audience, after acknowledging that there was significant misconduct at her business. So much for branding yourself as the “Be Kind Lady,” a lofty title indeed.

I too have had this very dynamic happen: who among us has not had the experience of pushing ourselves to the top, only to later fall to the bottom, where we have plenty of time to master humility.

Pride cometh before the fall.

I invite you all, as the warmth of Spring melts away the dark of Winter, to keep these truths aloft: those who exalt themselves shall be humbled, those who humble themselves shall be exalted.

Or, as Pinkerton would say, first is not always best.

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.

Sleep Paralysis

Sleep Paralysis

Sleep Paralysis

In energy medicine, we teach that nightmares come from an imbalanced sixth chakra – the “third eye” which connects us to higher wisdom. Sixth chakra imbalance can come from denying the truth or running away from our obligations.

Could it be that sleep paralysis attacks also come from an imbalanced sixth chakra?

It was in the corner of her room sometime between midnight and daybreak.

It lunged at her, fangs bared, a dark void of anger where a face should have been.

She tried to fight back, but couldn’t move. She was paralyzed, lying in her bed as a vicious and deeply terrifying creature stalked her from the edges of her room – lunging, then receding, biting at her arms.

…And then she woke up.

This was the memory that a student came to me with: a terrifying night attack that had haunted her for a great deal of time. What was it? Where did it come from? And why had it selected her for torture? Together, we worked to discover that it was an episode of “sleep paralysis,” where you find yourself almost awake but unable to move as your dreams turn against you. It’s an awful middle-ground: you feel trapped in your body as you’re being attacked.

It’s terrifying. But the good news was my student wasn’t alone. Throughout history, many cultures have discussed, analyzed, and interpreted sleep paralysis. In China, the attacking spirit is known as a “sitting ghost.” In Egypt, these visitors are seen as evil djinn who are exacting a curse upon you.

Sitting ghost, djinn, demon. What they all have in common is a profound sense of despair as an intruder invades your sanctity and attacks you.

What’s more troubling is that these intruders are all in our own heads.

This was of little comfort to my student, who felt betrayed by her own mind: “How could my body and brain conspire against me like this,” she asked.

What could she do? What should anyone do when you’re having an episode (or recurring episodes) of sleep paralysis? Is it really as simple as writing it off as a bad dream? Or are there steps you can take to protect yourselves from these night-bound terrors?

Sleep paralysis attacks occur in up to 40% of people at some point. They’re normal. They’re like super nightmares. The idea that these attacks are manifestations of darkness may be rooted in cultural traditions, but those beliefs might also be doing more harm than good. In countries where sleep paralysis is understood to be a natural phenomenon, the rates of recurring attacks are lower than in countries where it is thought to represent real evil.

These dreams only have as much power as you give them.

In energy medicine, we teach that nightmares come from an imbalanced sixth chakra – the “third eye” which connects us to higher wisdom. Sixth chakra imbalance can come from denying the truth or running away from our obligations.

Could it be that sleep paralysis attacks also come from an imbalanced sixth chakra?

Was this “intruder” perhaps a representation of denied truths or an unwillingness to listen to her own intuition? Was my student, perhaps, feeding this intruder by running away from her truth or not listening to her inner guidance?

When we run from our dreams, we cut off the good and the bad – the nightmare and the vision. We replace a healthy relationship with sleep with one of fear and dread, feeding the darkness. I helped my student recalibrate her sixth chakra. I guided her to her inner voice. She found her higher wisdom and silenced her inner critic. From there, she took the brave step of embracing her dreams – both beautiful and scary.

This intruder only had as much power as she was willing to give it. And her inner wisdom helped her cede none. She gave power to herself instead.

To this day, she’s never had another attack.

We give fuel to our inner demons. Or we can snuff them out. We can do so by following our inner voice, living our truth, and following the wisdom of our higher selves.

It’s time to learn how to listen to ourselves – our intuition. Our medical intuition course specializes in how to tap into our own intuitive healing powers – our own higher wisdom – in order to bring peace and wellbeing. Our class has already started, but there’s still time to join us on the journey.

Follow along, and learn how to tap into the healing wisdom you already possess.

2020 Winter Solstice

Standing Still in the Solstice

2020 Winter 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

2020-EmbracingtheLiminalityof2020Blog

Embracing the Liminality of 2020

Embracing Liminality

I want to talk with you about liminality. About thin places. Thin times.

Liminality refers to a state of transition or of a rite of passage. It is an innate quality present within a space, a time, or a person.

Perhaps the most popular date of liminality would be Hallowtide – the three days making up Hallowe’en, All Saints’ Day, and All Souls’ Day, which I wrote and spoke about at length last Fall.

We see the liminality of Hallowtide reflected in our celebrations. We embrace our fears of death as we cuddle on the couch watching the latest horror film. We embody our fears as we dress in the clothes of our monsters and ghosts. We commune with death as we make offerings to our departed loved ones.

Hallowtide is a thin time. I want to talk about another thin time.

Friends, this year has been (for all of us) a very trying time. Many of us have lost loved ones. Many of us have had close calls with death ourselves. Destruction, anxiety, and illness have been more present this year than in many generations.

It appears that this year itself has been a thin time. The veil between our worlds feels gossamer where it once felt heavy.

It’s an uneasy time. This feeling of thinness between our worlds has made everyone feel uneasy.

As we depart from Hallowtide and move toward the Winter Holidays, it can be tempting to try and ignore the thinning of the veil. The Winter Solstice has always been a spiritual and natural “reset” for our world, bringing new vitality as the sun begins to increase in strength again.

So many have thought “2020 is going to be a year not to repeat. 2021 is my 2020 do-over.”

What you’re hoping for is to simply “patch up” the veil between our worlds. It’s a natural reaction to such a complicated time. It’s not fun being uneasy. You want that unstable feeling to end.

But these thin times are rare, and it is important to understand the opportunity, wisdom, and enlightenment that thin moments and thin places can offer.

Just as on Dia de Los Muertos, you commune with your ancestors, during the waning weeks of 2020, you must commune with the energy flowing between our worlds.

I know that is a difficult choice. After all, it sometimes feels that far more energy has flown from our world to the spirit world this year. It can be vulnerable to open yourself up to the other world. But embracing the power of liminality allows you to cultivate understanding and enlightenment, helping you start the new year on the right foot.

So how do you embrace liminality?

Find thin places. Thin places are physical, real places where the distance between our world and the spirit world is at its closest. These places may not be the same for everyone.

For some of you, these thin places might be as simple as a hill in an empty forest. For others, a grand ruin in a far-off country might be the thinnest of places. It’s a place where there is an immediate sense that a greater power is present. You feel connected to a force, an energy, a divinity that you can’t discern elsewhere.

Stand still in the thin places. Don’t interrogate. Be present, and allow yourself to become a vessel, a conduit for wisdom and light. Imbue yourself with the energy that crosses over.

As you approach the Winter Holidays of Christmas, Hannukah, Yule, Kwanzaa, and many others, fully enmesh yourself in the ritual of these holidays.

Ritual without meaning is ceremony. Fully realized ritual allows you to tap into the energy of this thin time.

Your rituals, whether it be lighting advent candles, burning the yule log, or baking Christmas cookies, further thins the veil between our worlds. Use your rituals to glean insight from the thinness of 2020. Use this insight to position yourself for 2021.

Let the thin times roll!

2020 Thanksgiving

Perpetual Thanksgiving

2020 Thanksgiving

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” –Marcel Proust

2020 has been a hard year, I know. You have been affected, to a greater or lesser degree, by powerful forces, including a pandemic, sweeping the globe. However difficult this year has been for you, is exactly why it’s so important to reflect on all you still have to be grateful for.

You are most likely not gathering this year for a traditional Thanksgiving feast, complete with a raucous game of touch football during half time. Here at home, how about we all go back to the true meaning of Thanksgiving . . . and give thanks.

Gratitude is more than a quick thumbs up for the pumpkin pie; true gratitude is a path to the divine. Henry Ward Beecher, the 19th century clergyman and social reformer who always focused on Christ’s love, said: “The unthankful heart discovers no mercies; but the thankful heart will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings.”

The ancient root of the word gratitude, gwere, means “to be in contact with the Divine.” Gratitude is a way to unleash a flow of positive energy in and out of your heart, and to open to the love of the universe that is available to fill you. Gratitude can transform your mood, shift you into your Higher Self, and connect you to Spirit.

So what do you have to be grateful for amidst the fears and worries that travel through the air as surely as droplets of the virus?

Start with your health. It may not be perfect, but you’re alive and breathing on your own (unlike so many of our fellow citizens on this planet today, who are on ventilators). Thank you, thank you for the chance to still be here, to appreciate the stark beauty of a winter sunset, the smile of a happy child, the ability to give praise.

Maybe you’re grateful for having a week or a month or, thank God, a year of sobriety under your belt. Being thankful for one day at a time is a good practice for everyone.

Your pets may be providing the companionship you can’t enjoy with other humans during this trying time. Their unconditional love (in the case of dogs) and noble tolerance (cats) of your perceived flaws are certainly worthy of thanks (and treats). Being grateful for their safe and non-judgmental love opens your heart effortlessly.

Gratitude is how you make your heart sing. When you are occupied with remembering those who have helped you along the way during this past year, your heart is happy. It’s interesting to note that you can’t be feeling grateful and unhappy at the same time. And as Piglet long ago noticed (thanks to A.A. Milne), “…even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.”

Just last evening, I reconnected with an old friend and spent an hour doing something utterly frivolous: singing! Seriously, just the two us, singing to each other over Zoom, doing hilarious, impromptu duets, and laughing at our mistakes and off-key moments. Let’s all be grateful for Zoom!

Like everything else, there is a spectrum of gratitude, ranging from being thankful the sun is shining to down-on-your-knees, head-bowed gratefulness when your life or that of a loved one is spared. It includes your attempts to be grateful for those who have made your life more difficult; that challenge can humble your ego and give you the opportunity to raise your own vibration.

When you are filled with gratitude, you are connected to everyone and everything in the web of love that sustains the universe. Giving thanks for all that you yourself are, for those in your Covid bubble, for the people, plants, and animals in your environment, and around the world, brings you into the present moment and into the presence of spirit. In the words of Shakespeare, “O Lord that lends me life, lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.”

Above all, dear student, my heart is full of gratitude for you, for generously sharing your spiritual journey with me. We are one in Spirit, and I am grateful for your companionship and support as, together, we walk toward home.

2020-TheRealMeaningofEmpathyBlog

The Real Meaning of “Empathy”

empathy

When I was a child, I learned a very important lesson from my father. I was barely big enough to climb into Daddy’s pickup after he was done with work on Friday nights, when he’d drive around our small town to give away bags of oranges to the hungry. Along the way, much to my mother’s chagrin, he would often hand over his coat to someone who looked cold. A lawyer in our little town, and a Representative at the State Capitol, he used his influence to develop social justice programs to help the needy in our state. And when I became a lawyer and joined him in his practice, he taught me to take on pro bono (for free) clients along with the ones who could pay. Daddy was a sterling example of empathy in action.

We need a lot more empathy in the world these days. With 50 countries around the world ruled by dictators and despots right now, the concepts of representative government, respect for civil liberties, and human rights, have morphed into a general attitude of “let them eat cake.” Unfortunately, today’s authoritarians seem to be, more and more, supported by the middle class. The result is untold suffering for millions of people.

Empathy is a word we’ve heard tossed around a lot lately. But what does it actually mean?

It means that when your friend’s aunt dies of Covid, you don’t say, “She’s in a better place.” When your neighbor loses his job, you don’t cheerfully announce, “See the glass as half full.” How many times have we all said when there has been a disaster, “our thoughts and prayers are with you,” instead of actually helping those who were impacted, thereby effectively bypassing the real work.

“Spiritual bypass” is a way to avoid or escape from uncomfortable emotions. Spirituality becomes a defense mechanism when it sees only “light and love” and does not acknowledge the authentic nature of all the elements of life, including the terrible truths of pain, suffering, sickness, and death. It’s like a politician flying over the scene of a fire or flood that caused massive destruction and loss of lives. It might make a memorable photo-op, but from that great height you can’t see the pain of a child who has lost a parent, feel the grief of a family that has lost its home, or inhale the stench of burnt carcasses.

So how can you react in a truly spiritual way to the suffering of others?

You can say, “I understand how hard this is for you. I know how sad I felt when my favorite aunt died a couple of years ago. What can I do to help: want to take a walk or can I bring you a casserole?” You empathize with their situation because you have experienced pain in your life and you connect through your common humanity.

While hugs are off the table right now, remember what you felt when you saw Princess Diana stop to hug a child? It wasn’t only her dazzling smile that made people love her; it was her compassion and her ability to connect with people. The Nigerian-born Baron Adebowale, a member of the House of Lords in Great Britain, saw the face-to-face work Diana did with the homeless and said, “Her humanity spoke to their humanity.”

That’s empathy. Your humanity speaks to someone else’s humanity. Your heart goes out to their heart, energetically. It’s like seeing those exhausted and overwhelmed nurses crying in the hospital hallway after they have held a phone up so the loved ones of a person dying alone of Covid can say their goodbyes. Your heart aches for the nurse, for the person who died of this viral scourge, and for the person on the other end of that crushing phone call. And for the others you know who will experience that pain until this pandemic, which has already killed over 1.27 million people around the globe, is over.

In January of 2010, a major earthquake in Haiti killed over 300,000 people and left 1.5 million without homes. A few days later, Hollywood actor Sean Penn landed in Haiti. He saw tens of thousands of people living in tents and lean-to’s and he set about digging drainage ditches and latrines, getting food and water supplied to the camp. Penn stayed on the ground in Haiti for months and continued to return there over the last 10 years. The nonprofit he started to focus on Haiti has now been expanded to respond to natural disasters in the Caribbean and Florida. Penn backed up his humanitarian ideals with both his money and his time (a far more valuable resource).

Empathy shows an understanding of someone else’s experiences because you yourself have experienced pain and can relate. Identification is the key. You connect to another, looking past differences and appreciating your commonality. You hurt; I understand because I have also experienced being hurt. Skin color, political affiliation, religion, gender—those are just the trappings on top of our common humanity and are irrelevant in that moment.

Katie Couric, when she was a co-host on NBC’s morning show, Today, did an incredibly empathetic act when she underwent a colonoscopy on air to underline the importance of testing for colon cancer; her young husband had died of the disease and her concern for others’ health led her to transform her personal tragedy into public good. That’s empathy, showing the unglamorous aspects of her personal life in order to help others avoid the same loss and grief.

Many young stars, who often come from very humble beginnings, are conscious of their ability to direct attention and empathy towards those who need help, and many do a lot of in-person volunteering along with writing checks. Taylor Swift teamed up with the Governor of Tennessee to combat internet sex crimes. Miley Cyrus works with underprivileged kids in the US and Haiti. Emma Watson, the Harry Potter actress, is known for her work in girls’ education in Bangladesh and Zambia. Selena Gomez is determined to help stop hunger for children in Africa. Popstar Nicki Minaj donates both time and money to a small village in India.

Empathy in action is not the same as sympathy. Sympathy means you feel sorry for what someone else is experiencing, while empathy means you actually feel what someone else is experiencing. The more we develop empathy – personally, in our institutions, and in our governments, the better our world will become. And empathy is different from being an empath. An empath is an emotional sponge, the opposite of energy healing: it is one of the first things I teach my energy healing students to avoid, as it is the opposite of the energy exchange desired.

Empathy may be the most important thing you can teach your children, as my father taught me. George Clooney, who often works for social causes, became a father for the first time in his 50’s. He said about his twins: “I want them to be interested in things. I want them to be compassionate about other people’s plights. Because that’s the thing, you know? You have to have some sort of empathy.”

So empathy is what we need. And you’ll feel better about yourself and the world. Empathy increases your communication skills and allows you to connect with others. When you can feel what another person is going through, when you listen more than you speak, you can respond in the best way possible. It helps you regulate your own emotions when you see a situation from another’s perspective. From an energy medicine perspective, your heart chakra energy is going to their heart chakra energy, and since energy knows no bounds of space or time, it’s instantaneous and effective. And did you realize that developing empathy is one of the best ways to benefit your health? When you see the world through the eyes of compassion, you are better able to handle stress, are happier, have less depression and anxiety, and a stronger immune system. You’ll be spreading a more positive and caring energy. When we all come from a place of empathy, it will create that same loving vibration in our families, our communities, our governments – in the whole world.