Wendy Cicchetti's Commentary

Archive for the ‘Inspirational’ Category

Peace – The Forgotten Secret

by on Friday, August 23rd, 2013

Since the beginning of time man has sought power and dominion over others.  Greed, hatred and vengeance are not new. From Biblical stories to mythology, we have a basis of understanding of the good and the repugnant aspects of the human condition and psyche.   The secrets to achieving peace in the world were given long ago, but humanity and its rulers have lost their way.

Astrology is based on thousands of years of empirical data and through that recorded knowledge we are given the knowledge of the effects the astrological signs and planets have on the personality and the understanding of the actions one may be inclined to take. We can see how there are those who are more predisposed to creating power through evil and covert works and then those who are more inclined to create love and peace, and every emotional and mental place in between. Even though we all see the world through a different natal lens, and we bring different Karma to the table, is it possible to put destructive unconscious drives aside and follow our God centered soul and eventually shift the world to a peace centered reality? I believe through reaching a critical mass, (approximately 15% of the world population. A term which indicates that when critical mass is reached, then all the world will follow a train of thinking or action) of those actively seeking a peaceful world, we can make sweeping changes for good on Earth, utilizing the ancient tools we have been given.

A New Generation


The new maturing generation of young people are more sensitive and peace centered than any generation before. They seem to more instinctively apply the formula while typically unaware of its application.  By way of example, there is a wonderful and soul filling video from The X Factor.  View here.  As you watch, see if you can guess what the formula may be.  Can you see how powerful the words of peace can be, particularly on the young, but in this case on all who view? This is a powerful example of the life force that will eventually bring peace to the world. What is needed are large groups willing to take a stand for what is right, of conscious believers in peace, dreamers who believe that the miracles we seek can be attained.

The Earth has been given a world altering and simple formula through numerous powerful teachings over eons of time.  It can be easily applied to every area of our social lives and relationships.  This formula is actually considered a secret because it has been disregarded and forgotten over time.  It is not part of our core teachings anymore. If governments applied the formula and corporations and politicians, and fathers and mothers and yes, if even organized religions truly applied it, we would indeed have peace. There would be no wars, no corporate greed, no Monsanto type conglomerates trying to take over at the expense of humanity and the planet.  Every corruption and evil one could conjure, would not exist. No Hitlers, no nuclear bombs, no wars for profit at the expense of all life.

Enlightened Practice

The world is at a critical point and the decisions we make now, utilizing the wisdom at our command, can mean the difference between evolving and advancing to the next level of our achievement or the destruction of all we hold dear.  This wisdom was once understood by only the highest initiates.  Our history is full of stories and legends of those Masters who understood its power and evolved to the point of spiritual practice which achieved extraordinary results, Jesus being the chief among them.  It is now time for all of us to master the formula and create a world based on the laws of compassion and peace.  We need enlightened individuals to come together and manifest the loving world of our dreams and to consciously evolve.

The Power of The Internet for Good

Find Kony and bring him to justice

We have the added ability of the internet to make sweeping global changes.  We saw this happen with the ground breaking social media campaign to try and capture the war lord, Joseph Kony, a year or so ago.  He is the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), guerrilla group which operates in remote regions of Uganda and is guilty of stealing children and forcing them, through torture and mutilation, to be a part of his killing army.  This brilliant internet plan was designed to mobilize millions of individuals and youth from all over the world to make Kony famous and thereby visible enough to ferret him out of his hiding places and bring him to justice. Read about it here. All of these peace centered types of grassroots campaigns have within them the backbone of the formula. Now more than ever, we need bright savvy minds to create strategic social media campaigns for peace.   Then we, through our involvement, can become part of the miracles in action.

The Golden Rule

The secret formula, is so simple, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, The Golden Rule, is truly golden and the key to peace.  Its fruits are peace, trust,

The Key to Peace

and prosperity.  Just think, you wouldn’t need to worry about another’s motives, because his standard would be based on if he would like it done to him.  We could trust everyone.  Financial prosperity would be based on helping each other! What a concept.  To begin, each of us must think first about how to apply it within our families, neighborhoods, community and work place. It must be practiced until it becomes an unconscious application and the standard in the mental process which creates all our actions. And when it becomes an unconscious process, you will automatically do the right thing. May it become so ingrained in each individual heart, that we would never think of using any other standard for our actions.

Our planet has arrived on the brink of collapse and destruction through our collective decisions and actions.  It can be turned around through conscious application of this eternal wisdom.  So be it.

Inspirational ~ Finding Your Voice

by on Monday, September 6th, 2010

Finding your voice

Everyone is born with a perfect self expression, a unique “voice” so to speak, that is the perfect expression of who they were born to be and what they were born to do. I am often consulted to assist my clients in finding their voice, their life purpose. For those of you who have found and know your unique voice, I applaud you. Most people don’t have a clue as to why they were born and what they were meant to do while here. Astrology can indeed give clues to these burning questions by defining a person’s strengths, talents and gifts, however, taking advantage of opportunities, letting go of fear and doubt and living life with confidence, all play major roles as peoples’ lives play out before them.

What others think

We often believe we are the only one who is plagued with fear, and uncertainty. That everyone else has a more clear picture of who they were meant to be. Not so. It is actually part of the human condition to wonder about these important questions and feel fearful and self conscious about putting ourselves out there for possible scrutiny and ridicule.  In truth, what others think simply doesn’t matter. Each of us has within us a personal mission, an unfolding of our soul which will bring us great satisfaction and joy. Why miss out on all this because we care about what others will think?   I like Terri Cole Whittaker’s quote, “What other people think of me is none of my business.”

Think about how much time you have wasted worrying about what others think and doubting your value. Doubt can be a constant companion. Practice ignoring that doubting voice in your head that says, “Be careful what you do. You don’t want to take any risks. You don’t know what will happen. It’s better to just do nothing rather than risk being hurt or rejected.” We all battle with these voices. But now as we awaken during these rapidly evolving times, it is time to see them for what they really are, our fears in self-protective clothing.

Overcoming fear

Our biggest challenge is overcoming the fear.  Fear paralyzes and renders us impotent.

Paralyzed by fear

But yet it is really only bluffing and is completely dependant on you and your emotions to keep it operative. It is almost impossible to manifest your dreams if you bring fear into the present moment. It blocks the flow of your connection to the infinite realm of all that is possible. That realm carries a very high frequency and fear and doubt generate a low frequency. They are at odds. You must eliminate low frequency emotions to be in harmony with Divine infinite intelligence where the miracles happen. High frequency emotions are love, gratitude, joy, happiness, playfulness, acceptance, awe and wonder etc… If you can stay in that frequency then you will be attracting those things into your life that are comfortable in a high frequency and you will be able to more easily tap into that sweet creative realm of infinite possibilities.

What does your heart want?

Ask your heart what you would want to become if you could achieve it without any blockages in your way.  What would bring you the greatest joy? What would fill your soul? Once you have identified your desire, you must proceed as if there were no impediments. There aren’t actually, they only exist in your own mind. You can immediately hear the internal mental battle. “ There is no way I could possibly…” Now if you can change that dialogue to “Everyday I am moving closer to being that new person as nothing is impossible” then you will begin to make great progress toward finding your niche and sharing your unique voice.

Pablo Picasso - Jacqueline with Flowers

Your perfect self expression need not be grandiose or a media stage production. And you don’t need to be the most talented person in your field. You just need to be aware of your unique voice and what you have to share. I had a client, an art student, come for a consultation. During our visit she shared with me what her teacher had expressed to her. She reassured my client that it was not her perfection of the principles of art that would make her a famous artist, it was knowing her voice and doing her art with confidence that would propel her and make all the difference. Look at the works of Picasso as an example. He knew his voice.

George Seurat was a struggling artist in Paris in the late 1800’s. His voice was quite unique as he created works of art through a method he created called pointillism. There were no brush strokes, only little dots of paint creating a large and complex image. He became very famous for his unique style. He struggled mightily with fear and confidence to find his niche.

George Seurat - Sunday afternoon on the Isle

The play depicting his life, Sunday in the Park With George, is moving and inspiring. In one of the scenes, his wife sings encouraging words to him during a time of intense depression. Some of the words stuck with me and have been very meaningful as I have worked on developing my voice, “…Just keep moving on, anything you do, let it come from you, then it will be new, give us more to see.” (Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim) You might think what you want to do has been done before so why try. But, when it comes through you, then it will be new as it takes on your inspiration, personality and style.

What does your heart tell you? Your desire may be simply to awaken possibilities in others or to inspire others to greatness. You may want to read to children and see their beautiful eyes shine and come alive as you treat them to new worlds of possibilities. I heard it said, and I wish I remembered who, that the joy this person experienced was measured by how many shining eyes were glued to her as she spoke. Empowering others and making an impact was her voice. Our uniqueness can be little or big, it doesn’t matter. What is important is your knowledge that it is what you were meant to do and that it brings you joy.

Reading to children

What may seem small and insignificant to you now may change everything for someone else in the future. Your love and kindness, your example, your wisdom could change someone very important who may one day change the world or you could change and sooth the battered heart and soul of another and create hope.   Nothing good we do, no matter how small, is insignificant. We are all an extension of God and each of our “voices” is carrying forward the work of the Divine.

Why Pray? Does it Work?

by on Monday, March 22nd, 2010

For all those who are searching for a personal one-on-one connection to the Divine whether you are in an organized religion or have migrated away from organized religion, this article may be helpful.  I have many friends and clients on both sides of the aisle. Some of you may have thrown out all of your formal teachings and traditions in an attempt to open the space for new resonant information. I actually went through this process as I broke away from the religion of my youth in the late 80’s. It was a huge and painful house cleaning. I “threw the baby out with the bath water!” Everything mental, emotional and spiritual that was tied to that religion was purged, and prayer was one of them. Now, after 20 years experimenting on my spiritual journey, I more thoughtfully consider what is meaningful to me and feels like truth.

Dr. Larry Dossey

Today, there are volumes of research available on the viability of prayer. Larry Dossey, M.D.,the worlds leading authority on prayer, for the past 20 years has made it his priority to carefully study this topic and disseminate his findings. How comforting to know there is a body of scientific proof –if you are one that needs it– that prayer works. Dr. Dossey has written 9 books and numerous articles about his work, with Healing Words, The Power of Prayer and the Practice of Medicine, receiving global acclaim.

An education steeped in traditional Western medicine does not prepare physicians for patients who are blessed with “miracle cures,” remissions that clinical medicine can not explain. The focus of Dr. Dossey’s work is scientific legitimacy, what does the data show that can help explain the basis for these miracles. As a result, his colleagues in medical schools and hospitals all over the country trust him, honor his message, and continually invite him to share his insights with them. He has lectured all over the world, including major medical schools and hospitals in the United States –Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Cornell, the Universities of Pennsylvania, California, Washington, Texas, Florida, Minnesota, and the Mayo Clinic.

Before his book Healing Words was published in 1993, only three U.S. medical schools had courses devoted to exploring the role of religious practice and prayer in health; currently, nearly 80 medical schools have instituted such courses, many of which utilize Dr. Dossey’s cogent works as textbooks. His website at http://www.dosseydossey.com/larry/default.htm is filled with insightful information.

He was not always a believer, and actually the opposite was true until he was sent a copy of a well conducted double blind study on prayer from Korea on women with fertility problems. None of the women knew they were being prayed for. Half the women received prayer the other half did not. The prayers were sent from Canada, Australia and the US. None from Korea. The group that was prayed for had twice the success rate over the group that did not receive prayer. This was the first study he reviewed and it led to his in-depth investigation into numerous studies. His findings have been amazingly significant and the impact of his work has changed how countless people and professionals view the importance of prayer.

The implications are mind bending. None of the prayers were local and none from family or friends and the person being prayed for didn’t need to be aware they were being prayed for, for the prayer to work; no tangible direct connections. Yet, the connections were made and often the results from various studies were astounding on heart attack and cancer victims and even advanced AIDS patients. The scientists claim the reasons prayer works are mysterious. There is much hypothesis, but no one knows for certain how it all works, only that it does.

So what makes for a successful prayer? It has been well documented that mindlessly reciting a memorized prayer is not effective. An important fact coming out of the studies was that it didn’t make any difference how many people were praying. In other words, 10 people praying for the individual wasn’t 10 times more potent. The quantity is not as vital as the quality in these cases. Just one sincere prayer, from the heart, lovingly felt and offered, was really all it took. It is the belief, emotion and love behind the prayer that makes the difference. It is the feeling and emotion that connects you to the Divine, not the actual words.

Dr. Dossey, as he prays for his own patients, always asks for “The best outcome to be done in this instance”, or the “Thy will be done” approach. As humans, our overall vantage point is myopic at best. The infinite God’s eye view or the Divine perspective sees the most appropriate answers for personal growth, fulfillment and happiness. Dr. Dossey has found this prayer formula to be remarkably successful with his patients.

So, what about the pleading and gimme prayers often based on grasping and fear? This is how I prayed in my youth. The focus was on a big “Santa” figure in the sky and if I was found worthy to receive, I would get what I wanted. An acquaintance of mine for years prayed for a red Alfa Romeo sports car. At every gathering, she would talk of her obsession with this car. Year after year she actually prayed for the car. To my knowledge it never materialized. The Divine doesn’t seem to care about the type of car one drives or how you get around as it is not necessary for spiritual growth. The health of mind, body and soul gets the attention.

This isn’t how prayer works. I’m certain anyone reading this has stories to tell of unanswered pleadings and how happy and grateful you were with hindsight that those gimme prayers went unfulfilled! Often we wish for that trouble-free, straight line upward to the happy state we have envisioned. But the straight line isn’t necessarily the best path for learning wisdom. Our visionless desires could well cause great unnecessary suffering we cannot foresee or take one in a wrong direction. There seems to be an important need for overcoming obstacles and adversity for meaningful growth but we don’t want to create it unduly. So, we express gratitude that we were protected from our ignorance, and that we were given the opportunity to learn and grow.

There appears to be a difference in the pattern of prayer if praying for something on a large scale with a group. This is where the quantity of people praying is more potent. In studies conducted by The International Peace Project of the Middle East, which appear in the 1988 journal of Conflict Resolution, groups of people came together and prayed for peace in crime infested areas, and a significant and measurable decline in the crime rate in the area occurred. Not only did the crime rate sharply decline, so did traffic accidents and hospital emergency room visits. In the atmosphere of peaceful energy, it seems all that could happen was peace. When the praying was discontinued, over time the crime and accident rates increased back to normal levels. So we see that connecting with the group mind in prayer is effective. Many more pertinent studies have been done in this area. An informative book on the topic is Secrets of the Lost Mode of Prayer, by Gregg Braden.

My personal experience with prayer has yielded many truths. The most important being, that the power of belief in the outcome, as though it already exists, sets the actual miracle in motion. The Bible states in St. Matthew 17:20, “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” The faith is your belief and the mountain is the miracle. So the pattern for prayer that really works are the prayers that focus on the feelings of love and gratitude for what you believe has already occurred; for receiving the fruits of the miracle you set in motion through your faith. The words you use are not important. (Yes, you often need to believe it and see it in your mind as real before you actually see it in this physical dimension).

At a time of seeking early on in my spiritual journey, I desired to have a lovely basket of pine cones to place on my fireplace. I visualized them in the beautiful basket I had waiting for them to occupy. I actually love pine cones and so there was much emotion associated with this desire for me. When I removed myself from my religion, I also left behind much of my stuff! I had pared down to bare minimum and moved to a different state. And with all the inner change going on, what I truly loved and identified with were things of nature. Pine cones brought me joy. When my children asked me what I wanted for Christmas that year, all I could think of was that basket of pine cones! I had hoped a trip to the mountains to find some to bring home was in the cards, but the opportune time never came. I let the desire pass and stopped thinking about it.

On Christmas morning as I was driving to my daughter’s home, I rounded a corner on a street I had driven down many times before. Sitting on a stone wall beneath a huge scruffy pine tree were a couple of young boys. As I slowed into the turn, one of the boys threw a large pinecone at my car. I slammed on the brakes which startled them, but I yelled out my window, “Are there any more pine cones?” They replied that there were and that I could have all I wanted. (I think they were very happy that they weren’t in trouble.) I excitedly gathered as many as I could get into my trunk, filled with overwhelming joy and emotion that somehow, something in the universe knew of my desire and had answered my prayer through those young boys! How simple and yet remarkable to me. This was more than just a Christmas gift, it was a beautifully orchestrated lesson for me on the true nature of prayer. It was my first experience with an answered prayer. And to my good fortune there have been many since. I still have several of those pine cones to this day as a reminder of my connection to the Divine and what beauty can be created by loving emotion and desire.

I have also received great Divine guidance when asking for assistance when I couldn’t see the next step, expressing gratitude for the help in advance, believing I would receive it. I personally believe there are many who watch over us; be they angels, guides, or deceased family members, whomever they are, they are there and available to us. We live in a multi-dimensional world with much we can not see unless these helpers choose to make themselves known. In desperate times during my life my guides have made themselves known to me and the answers I needed have come in truly beautiful and surprising ways.

We all need answers and direction and having perfect faith that you will receive what you need is a true blessing. A peaceful prayer of thanks for the guidance is much more satisfying than a fear based pleading for help.

Do prayers work? Yes, most of the time. Do they all work? No. Will they always work in the way we expect? No. Remember, the power that answers prayers is intelligent, far-seeing and has an agenda; our spiritual growth. We trust in this Divine power to protect us from those desires that are not ultimately beneficial for us or for those we pray for.

Therefore, the true power of prayer is found in the feelings and beliefs the prayer stirs within us. Our prayers open the doors and brighten the path of that which we desire and inspire visions of that yet unseen. With these proven prayer patterns available to us we can not only help ourselves and others, we can truly help shape and share in the outcome of our chaotic world. As we see in the case of Dr. Dossey, one person can truly make a powerful difference.

When There is No Vision – Getting Unstuck

by on Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

This is a synopsis of a talk I was invited to give at the Crossroads New Thought Spiritual Center in Carlsbad, California, on January 31, 2010.

Pema Chodren


At a time of personal difficulty a couple of years ago, I found myself quite stuck. As I was searching for answers and some motivation, I happened to find a downloadable lecture by Pema Chodron, entitled, Getting Unstuck. The title struck a resonant chord and so I purchased it and downloaded it on my ipod. I was not familiar with her, but I was immediately taken by her.  Pema is a delightful, witty, humble, smart and personable, Tibetan nun.  She is American, been married, had a family, divorced and then chose a completely different and difficult path.  She has become quite well known helping hundreds of thousand of souls seeking self-mastery. Pema is now director of Gampo Abby in Nova Scotia, Canada and is a Master teacher. I recommend her teachings to all.

I am not a Buddhist. I do, however, like to seek and find truth wherever it may be found. I find Pema’s teachings appeal to my practical nature as she offers very usable tools and solutions for dealing with difficult problems. The basis for my talk is her teaching. My wish is that through passing along some of her vital information, you will be motivated and empowered to apply these helpful tools to your day-to-day challenges. The goal, of course, is to experience greater amounts of happiness and joy.

The heart of Pema’s teachings focuses on Learning to Stay. But first, let’s explore what it means to be stuck. It means different things to different folks. It is common and normal to feel stuck. It can be caused by any number of things but usually centers around feeling a need to numb out, or feeling aggressive thoughts about self and others or giving into cravings, wanting and needing. We can easily identify with these symptoms in some way and we can generally expect them to manifest in the following forms:

Destructive patterns: defensiveness, comparing self with others, avoidance, critical and judgmental thinking of self and others, isolation, self hatred, and fear with paralysis.

Addictions: substance abuse, shopping, sex, food, critical mind, gambling, life becoming unmanageable because of the addiction.

Depression: hatred of life, not feeling worthy, don’t want to play at life anymore, no inspiration, no goals.

These are but a few of the issues that keep one stuck. There are as many reasons as there are people. Many addictions can be horribly destructive while others are more subtle in nature but keep us stuck nonetheless. The goal here is to see yourself clearly without judgement and identify those challenging areas that need work so you can move forward.

I am continually impressed with Pema’s humanity for herself and others. She is immensely kind, patient and always finds humor as she looks at herself with complete honesty and awareness. But, this is part of her teaching, to lighten up, and be very gentle with yourself as you work at overcoming those things which hold you back from happiness and a full life. The goal is to interrupt the momentum of that which keeps you stuck, the shenpa.

Shenpa is the Tibetan word which describes the urge to want to move away from or escape that which makes us feel uncomfortable. It is the feeling of restlessness, unease that keeps us distracted. If one has the skin disease Scabies, and continues to scratch the itchy blotches, it spreads and bleeds. The more you scratch, the more it spreads and bleeds. This desire to scratch the itch is shenpa. Shenpa is that sticky urge that keeps us hooked, when we want to scratch even though it is not in our best interest to do so.

Pema relates the story of her daughter-in-law who was dying of liver poisoning from alcoholism. She describes her physical appearance as awful, puffy and orange in color. Pema was often called to take her to the hospital to have the built up fluid drained from her body. When they allowed her daughter-in-law to leave the hospital, she would return home and hit the bottle once again, even though she had been given only a short time to live. “Why?” Pema asks. “ It is stupid.” But, what keeps us hooked is that we tend to imbue our addictions with some type of comfort for short term symptom relief and we become self-destructive, yet again. We have desperate associations and attachment to the comfort. You have to eventually reach a place where you don’t want to bleed to death from scratching because you are unwilling to heal. There must be a willingness to feel and stay with the pain.

I like the tangible concept of shenpa. It is that tightening you feel when someone says something mean or threatning and you become defensive, or when you begin to feel restless and uncomfortable for whatever the reason and you want to move away from the discomfort. It is so very helpful to have a tangible way to describe those feelings and self destructive urges that make us want to scratch and feel comfortable once more.

Unfortunately, we mindlessly strengthen what we dislike about ourselves through repeating our habitual patterns. We strengthen what we do. Pema calls this our ignorant dance. At times we are so deep into the scratching before we notice that we are bleeding all over the place. When the pain gets so great, when the shit hits the fan, at that time it becomes necessary to move toward the pain and stay with it to heal. This is where real healing can finally take place. While in this mental space you can take joy in the pain because you have reached a point where you don’t need one more scratch. You can experience the shenpa and not act it out. There is greater self-appreciation and no more self-deception. You see yourself and shenpa clearly and can refrain, interrupting the chain reaction.

I find it helpful to ask, “If I follow the urge what will be the result?” It will only get worse. There will come a time when you will identify more with the wisdom of seeing than with the scratching. When there is enough love for self and a desire to heal, one will have a willingness to follow directions: acknowledge and see clearly, without judgement, and refrain, learning to stay.

This means learning to stay present in the pleasant and the unpleasant und uncomfortable, and refrain from acting out the mindless dance for short term relief. This is the essence of Pema’s teaching.  Pema says, “A further sign of health is that we don’t become undone by fear and trembling, but we take it as a message that it’s time to stop struggling and look directly at what’s threatening us.”

She adds an additional element I have found to be extra helpful. This is learning and practicing the ability to be gentle and loving to yourself as you self-correct. I find that I personally respond better when I speak to myself with respect and kindness. Much like how others respond when we treat them with kindness. As I encourage myself and ask the tough questions I now treat myself the way I would lovingly treat others and I give myself the same amount of wiggle room. This concept has propelled me further in my healing journey.

The Dalai Lama was featured at a conference in our country. His presentation was full of wonderful concepts and idealistic philosophies. During the question and answer portion of his presentation, a woman asked his holiness if he was aware that everyone in this Western audience would use what he said against themselves as we in America have a strong need for perfection and struggle with feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness. He was baffled and proceeded to ask the other participants if what she said was true. They unanimously validated her claims. He just couldn’t comprehend this idea of self-hatred and poor self-esteem. His culture doesn’t take things into the realm of guilt and shame. He said there aren’t even words for these concepts in his language.  Our Western culture stands to learn much about gentleness and loving kindness toward self from Eastern disciplines.

Then the goal is to see yourself clearly with compassion and without judgement and comparisons, as a child in training. This is the doorway to liberation, taking delight in the seeing, with compassion and humor. Lighten up, most of the issues are not life or death. Learn to play with your responses. You may not always refrain from scratching, but you can delight in the seeing and revel in the miracle of mindfulness and the magic of seeing. Rejoice when you have the capacity to see your habitual patterns and to refrain from scratching, to refrain from short term symptom relief. True healing can take place when you have a firm desire to live from a place of wholeness, not grasping. When your strength and awareness become stronger than the shenpa, knowing you are progressing, working from a place of loving kindness not a straight jacket. Often, we gain a few steps forward and then a step back. This too is the norm.

Remember these four R’s: recognition, refraining, relax into the uncomfortable feeling, resolve to stay present.

This whole process is very humbling. None of us has been given much instruction. We are all up against it. But it gives us such compassion for others, for the human condition, how all people are struggling. There are millions of types of shenpa and a bazillion ways to scratch it! The goal is to reach a place where no one or nothing becomes a threat. We are no longer grasping and afraid of the pain and discomfort.

Where do we go from here? What must one do to move toward greater vision? Ask yourself two questions. First, what brings you a feeling of passion and joy?  Second, if you could do anything and there was nothing standing in your way, what would you do? The answers to these questions should give you a good place to begin as you gradually feel more whole and unstuck with a desire to show up and move forward. The things that bring you a feeling of joy are the things you came here to do in this incarnation.

This process takes time but the self-discovery is well worth it. Take delight in the process. Learn to listen and do your best to eliminate useless thoughts of the past and stay present. Everyone struggles with something and gradual is good. After a while, you can look back and marvel at how far you’ve come. Exposing all of your shenpa is a life long pursuit. Just work on your own, even when you see it in others. You can only change yourself.

Follow the principles of successful intentions and work with focused visualizations daily. There are limitless possibilities. See yourself being what you desire, free from the bondage of your particular brand of shenpa and achieving your dreams.

You don’t have to walk on water to do good in the world. No one is perfect. Let’s look at Oprah. She has put her challenges right out in the open. She has admitted to being a comfort eater. She has gained and lost large amounts of weight in a very public forum. Is she still struggling with her shenpa? Yes. And she openly admits this. Does she still do huge amounts of good in the world? Yes. And she has done much good heavy and thin alike. She keeps increasing in power and influence no matter her size. So you see, challenges often makes us stronger and certainly give us greater compassion for the struggles of others.

In the play, Sunday in the Park with George, Bernadette Peters sings a inspiring song to the struggling artist George Seurat, played by Mandy Patinkin. “When it comes from you, then it will be new. Give us more to see.” These words from the song struck me in a profound way as I struggled with putting myself out in a more public way and finishing my first book. When you put your talent and personality heartily into what you do, you are giving the world something new and wonderful to see.  There are unlimited possibilities. It takes bravery and courage to find a new comfort zone even if initially it feels uncomfortable. May you successfully embody these teachings.

The only difference between try and triumph is a little umph!

Seize the day!

Successful Intentions – What Makes Them Work?

by on Monday, February 15th, 2010

This is a synopsis of a talk I was invited to give at Crossroads New Thought Spiritual Center in Carlsbad, CA, on November 1, 2009.

If you are at all metaphysical in your spiritual philosophy, you are aware of the power of intentions and affirmations for planning and goal setting. But why are some intentions successful and others not?

There have been millions of fans in the past couple of years of the DVD and book The Secret. Many of those followers, however, have since complained that the formulas presented seem to be flawed. Several of the participants in The Secret have jumped in to defend their positions and stepped forward with helpful suggestions to assure a higher percentage of success. But, doubt and skepticism still linger. Why?

Back in the mid 1970’s — long before I knew anything about metaphysical thinking and at the time very solidly

Dr. Maxwell Maltz

entrenched in a powerful and controlling organized religion — I was drawn to study famous motivational personalities; Zig Zigler, Og Mandino, Norman Vincent Peale, and one that stood out more than the others, Maxwell Maltz, the originator of Psycho Cybernetics. He taught a most important truth that resonated with me and has stayed with me all these years. “The brain can not tell the difference between a vividly imagined experience and a real one”. And through intense visualization and focus one can come to actually believe what they imagine. The qualifier is, of course, the focused visualization. More than just simple affirmations.

This point was verified by studies done on prisoners of war after returning from long incarcerations after World War II. Many soldiers had kept their sanity through practicing over and over in their minds the sports or musical talents they enjoyed before the war. The results were clear, all came home more accomplished in what they practiced mentally than when they had left for war. The results of these studies have been used by sports trainers to catapult athletes throughout the world into continuing higher levels of performance. These successful practices continue with even more intensity and widespread usage. During the recent Olympic games in Vancoover, it was common to see competitors doing visualizations just prior to their performance. So, we see that visualization needs to be intense and focused over a period of time, which takes consistency and perseverance.

Also back in the early 70’s while living in Boise, Idaho, I was approached to run for the Idaho State Legislature in my district. I had been lobbying the Education Committee about questionable textbooks at the time and had made a favorable impression on some legislators on the committee. They approached me to run wanting me to knock out a ten year incumbent who was creating difficulty. As I contemplated the proposition, I would visit the legislature and sit in the balcony and observe the session activities. I knew I had the ability to do the job and I could see myself down on the house floor participating. There was never any question in my mind that I would be successful. There was great passion behind my intention to win. I lived it mentally for the next year and did all within my power to make it a reality. I was successful and won three consecutive elections. As I look back, I see how unknowingly, I had applied some powerful basic principles that were ultimately very successful.

A few months ago, Oprah featured the story of an African woman, Tererai Trent.

Tererai Trent

In her village, girls were not allowed to go to school. Her brother attended and she loved learning to the extent she would do her brothers homework. Officials finally allowed her, at age eleven,to attend. But within a few weeks her father married her off and her brief public schooling was over.

A few years later, Heifer International came to Tererai’s village with humanitarian aid and help to give the women hope. One of the Heifer staff spoke to the women telling them that it was ok to dream and instructed them to write down their dreams. Tererai wrote down her deep desires to go to school in America and get a college education and even a PhD. Her mother told her to bury her list of dreams under a rock. She wrapped her paper in a piece of tin an plastic and hid it under a rock by the base of a tree.

Tererai now lives in America with her children and a new and loving husband and is only a few months away from achieving her goal and receiving her dreamed of PhD. What made her intentions more successful than the other women in the village who wrote down their dreams that day? Passion, she had that all important fire in her belly!

Repeating intentions or affirmations by rote is not enough. Many write down desires and create vision boards hoping that seeing their desires on the wall and in their journals will create them. It is not enough. You must live your dream within your mind before you see it materialize. Wayne Dyer wrote a book entitled, “You’ll See it When You Believe it”. That is the true formula. Remember, the brain can’t tell the difference between a vividly imagined experience and a real one. You must condition your brain to believe it is a reality through repeated focused visualization with as much emotion and passion as you can muster before it becomes a reality.

This also applies to the focused intention of the masses. Noetic Science address this phenomenon.

Lynne McTaggart

Noetic author Lynne McTaggart has proven that focused thought can affect literally anything. In her book, The Intention Experiment she describes the studies’ findings and her ongoing web based study, TheIntentionExperiment.com continues to document that human consciousness is a highly ordered energy capable of changing the physical world. The experiments show that it can affect the growth rate of plants, the direction fish swim in a bowl, the manner in which cells divide in a petri dish, and the chemical relations in one’s own body to name just a few. These studies continue to prove that human thought can transform the physical world and that this process is not just New Age hocus pocus. We are literally masters of our own world.

I conclude with a quote from Mike Dooley,  from his daily web blasts called Notes from the Universe at www.Tut.com.”When it comes to setting aside a little time each day to visualize, look at it like this:

No matter how distracted you become or how confused you are about the process, the simple fact that you gave your dream this time and attention means you did it correctly, you did it longe enough, and that by the time you open your eyes, already in the unseen, huge wheels have begun turning.”


You think I’d make it hard?
Your humble servant,
The Universe

The Response Factor – Taking Control of Habitual Patterns

by on Saturday, February 13th, 2010

This is a synopsis of a talk I was invited to give at the Crossroads New Thought Spiritual Center in Carlsbad, CA on August 23, 2009

Years ago as I was leaving formal religion, looking for a more fluid form of spirituality, I was led to a belief system called A Course in Miracles by the Foundation for Inner Peace. I began a course of study in this doctrine which dramatically changed and improved my life, completely shifting how I viewed myself, others and the world around me.

There were 3 teachings our instructor introduced which stood out as exceptionally meaningful, among the many.

First: “If you always do what you’ve always done then you will always get what you always got.”  Something needs to change (the patterns)  in order for improvement to be made.  This was huge as I had never thought of life as a system of created patterns.

Second: Continuing to do the same things and expecting different results.  This has been termed a definition of insanity.

Third:  The instructor also introduced an powerful tool called the Competency Formula. This teaching made immediate sense to me and was something that included measurable steps so I could identify my progress.  (below)

Through my studies I began to see that the challenges were within me and how I responded to life and others.  It sounds impossible to think that at my age, I had never before recognized these plain and simple truths, that I was always looking outside of myself for solutions and resolution to difficulties.  I was finally branching out, thinking for myself, evolving.  I was beginning to awaken and see that I could not change other people, I could only change how I responded to them and to life in general.


The following is a helpful formula for consciously monitoring your thoughts and responses. The description of this formula is as follows:


This is where you start, unconsciously thinking and doing only what you know without regard to how incompetent it may be. This is a continuing circle of responding in an unproductive and detrimental way. (If you always do what you’ve always done then you’ll always get what you’ve always got).


This is the state of becoming consciously aware of your responses, identifying undesirable patterns and observing the way you interact in your relationships and how you manage challenging times. This is the first and most important step. In order to improve, you must become conscious of your patterns of incompetent and undesirable behavior.


This is the state of awareness where new and improved response patterns are consciously put into practice. These patterns are now used as you work to improve your daily interactions and challenges.


This is the final stage. New response patterns have been practiced to such an extent that they have become an unconscious process. You no longer have to think about what you do. Your responses to life automatically come out loving, productive, and competent.

The fulfillment of this process takes time and practice, don’t expect it to happen overnight. You may experience some shock as you analyze your thoughts and actions, and identify inappropriate patterns. Unconscious and incompetent behavior is very normal and a part of the human condition. Forgive and love yourself and treat less than desirable behavior with loving kindness. Then, gently move on to conscious competence. You will find that you spend considerable time bouncing back and forth between conscious incompetence and conscious competence. This is also normal. With consistency and commitment more and more areas of your life become unconsciously competent.

With change as a constant companion, watch your behavior and be wary of slipping back into negative patterns as you are faced with unexpected issues. The one thing we can all truly count on is change and it is happening so rapidly at times, it is hard to catch a breath.  Stay mindful and in the moment, which is the place of your greatest power.

Remember, this is a process where proficiency develops through practice, and as undesirable response patterns are exposed and replaced by acts of love, the process moves more rapidly. The most important thing to consider as you think about this formula is that we are all in Earth school.  Our lives are labratories for experimentation. We tend to judge our thoughts and actions as either good or bad or right or wrong. These comparisons are not productive and ineffective in furthering our spiritual goals. The best measuring stick is: “Does this response or choice serve my highest good?”

What truly defines us is how we overcome challenges. Very few choices are ever life or death.  It is time to lighten up, relax and experiment. Reaching UNCONSCIOUS COMPETENCE is a satisfying level to attain even in the little things.  We no longer need to consciously think about changing things anymore as making the most productive choice has become automatic. Experiment, have fun with the process, and take joy in becoming more conscious of your thoughts and behavior.

Relationships tend to be the best training ground.  I call relationships the trenches of life. All of our emotions and fears are tied up in our relationships. When times get tough, the question, “How can I respond differently?” should be a constant thought.  I like the saying, “None of these things move me.” When involved in an adverse situation, be undisturbed by it and it will dissolve. An inharmonious situation comes from some disharmony within.  When there is no inharmonious response,  the situation falls away. Try this the next time you feel your emotions and defenses rise. When you can relax and not take yourself so seriously, it becomes fun to experiment. A Course in Miracles teaches, “The best defense is defenselessness”.  When there is no defensive argument, it defuses the anger and emotion. There is no place for it to go.