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How Meditation Changed My Life
By Camille Bennett

Several years ago, my older sister became extremely ill, subsequently passing away.   She suffered all of her life from complications due to Type 1 Diabetes, which then ended her life after a long struggle with this illness. We were so close; the pain of her passing seemed unbearable and I was overwhelmed with sadness and depression after her passing.  Working fulltime and married with two young children, I knew I had to get help with my depression.  I recognized how unfair it was to my family to allow myself to be consumed by this negative emotion; I was not myself at work either.

Then one day, when I was at my doctor’s appointment, I must have appeared desperate.  He asked if I would consider meditation to help me. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | enlightenment, healing, meditation, self improvement
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This Little Light Of Mine
By Christine Durrant

You know that song, “This Little Light of Mine”? That’s my “theme song”. I’m Chris and I’d like to share my light with you.

My childhood was horrendous. My father was an animal lover but as far as humans, he was a tyrant. He was a raging alcoholic, extreme racist and just plain rotten to society. He was afraid of no one and always ready for a fight. He would do so much for animals but abused and neglected his family. I’m not here to judge him or dwell on his behavior, I am sure he has his demons and I’m sad about that but I’m just trying to paint the picture. He was violent and unpredictable and I would hide in the closet, usually with one of our dogs. He would never hurt an animal so I was usually safe with one of them. My love for animals blossomed from this life I was stuck in. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | animal companion, animal wisdom, children, learning, self growth
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You Are Enough
By Heather Klem

When I was a high school freshman I was tender and malformed.

I ached for acceptance and validation. I had received the message, as many of us had, in our formative years that we must always be in the business of doing more and doing it better. Behaviors were moralized and the nebulous “good enough” always seemed right outside my grasp, just beyond the next honor roll or cheerleading squad slot. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | bulling, children, enlightenment, learning, self growth
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Mirror
By Tanya Sousa

 Hundreds of Berliners moved passed me, a tourist, in cars, on foot, by bike — moving along as if there was nothing strange about a hollowed out, wrecked stone building towering in the midst of more modern structures. It was a church 1000 years old and still standing after storms and bombings; the German people left the wreckage as a reminder of war’s horrors and how amazing it was to survive.

My Berliner-born Aunt lead the way and spoke of history and struggle, shared family stories and bits of trivia; she twittered beside me as my feet brushed over cobbled side streets. I didn’t hear her at one point, though, when I saw a cannon, the iron silent and cold now, a killing machine now a work of art. Astride the formidable reminder of human hatred was a starling. Her plumage was still speckled from winter, and she raised her head to the sky and sang strains I’d come to love. Read more

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COMMENTS (2) | enlightenment
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Rebirth: After A Home Invasion
By Chris Shin

One day when I was about six years old, my uncle, my mother’s younger brother, was murdered and my brother, three years older, attacked with a knife in our house by the same perpetrator. We were living in Korea at the time; my father was in Vermont alone, pursuing a master’s degree. Miraculously, my mother and I were spared as we had left the house in the morning. Earlier that morning, my mother had gone over to a friend’s in the neighbourhood. I wanted to go with her but recall being afraid to ask for fear of being scolded. After she left, I mustered the courage to ask her if I could come over too. She said, “Of course you can” with such warmth and welcome, I wondered why I was afraid to ask.

Later that day, while my mother and I were protected in a neighbour’s home, a deranged man rang our house, pretending to be a salesperson, entered, demanded money from my uncle, stabbed him in the back and then attacked my brother. By a miracle, my brother managed to defend himself, escape and find us. I recall a lot of commotion in the neighbourhood, then standing out on the street and seeing my brother run towards us, crying and screaming, covered in blood. Everything else is a blur. Read more

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COMMENTS (6) | enlightenment, healing, spiritual, trauma
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Dear Support Person
By Johnny Mackay

It was all unexpected. Sure, life wasn’t grand but you know it was pretty good, I thought. In retrospect it seems like the changes took place overnight though I am not sure that is true either. My best friend and lover of 5 years decided to take up relations with another man. This was enough to force me to explore my own personal difficulties, shortcomings and relative commitment issues. I discovered that I loved her more than I loved life, more than I loved myself. Unfortunately, my new found passion for a life of solid relations with her and her alone, fell on deaf ears and I was told it was too late.

More than anything the ‘weight’ of the hole inside me was incapacitating, the darkness was unbearable, the pain relatively inescapable. Read more

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COMMENTS (2) | depression, empowerment, self growth
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Quotes That Help You Make It Through Today: Addicted To Words
By Keith Needham

Hi, I am a recovering addict and alcoholic who has also suffered with depression, anxiety and OCD.  I enjoy reading self-help books and articles about recovery.  These writings give me hope and I wish to do the same for others.  I feel that one quote can touch your heart as much as a whole book.  I have compiled an article with quotes to inspire one to achieve greatness and maximize their potential.    

KEITH’S MOTTO:

Once you begin to believe in yourself, others will begin to believe in you.
Once you place a high value on yourself, others will value you as well.
Your dreams and goals become a reality to the extent that you pour yourself into them.
Create your own belief system and feel the power of the words “I can” and “I will.”
Change your thoughts and you will literally transform your life and the world.
Everyone who has achieved greatness or fulfillment in life started out with a dream . . . an unlimited power to create lies within you.
There is always a way to make victory out of adversity, so long as you keep focused on answers and solutions.
To get to where you want to go, it’s important to understand where you’ve been.  But don’t let what happen yesterday affect your positive outlook today or your hopes for the future.
The means create the ends – and the ends will be great if the means is love.

****** Read more

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COMMENTS (2) | addiction, enlightenment, healing, renewal
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A Transformative Moment In Sweden
By Diana Carr

When my son, Ryan, went to Sweden in 1998 as an exchange student for his senior year in high school, he fell in love with the country. So much so, that he moved back there a few months after returning home with the other AFS students.  He got permanent residence, then his citizenship, and now calls Sweden home sweet home.

I’ve gone there nine times, and I understand why my son wants to live there.  Old World charm, cobbled streets, thousand-year-old marvels of architecture, outdoor cafes where people linger for hours, and ancient traditions like lighting bonfires on May 1 to keep the witches away.

But as charming as all this is, I have always found the people to be distant and unfriendly. They seem to pull into themselves, not talking to anyone they don’t know or making eye contact with them, or lending a helping hand if need be. So I had gotten into my head, an image of a people who were even colder than their climate. But that all changed one day in October of 2010, when I went to visit my son and his new baby. Read more

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COMMENT (1) | enlightenment, tolerance
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Y Yoga Movie
By Michelle Morgan

On 13th September 2001, film-maker Arthur Klein received an email from a friend of a friend, who had escaped the collapse of World Trade Center Tower One, and had decided to put his feelings into words.  The email was poignant, heart-felt and amazing, and after forwarding it onto some friends, Arthur left his desk in the middle of the day, and walked out into the Santa Monica sun.

“I left the office in my street clothing and went to a 1:30pm yoga class around the corner from work”, remembers Arthur.  “It seemed like a far better idea to regain a sense of peace and wellbeing, instead of going to the mall and shop or go on vacation as the American leadership advised.  The teacher was Ashley Turner and her words were magic… I went to that class every day for many months after that…”

Walking into the yoga class that day, literally changed not only Arthur’s life but his career too. Read more

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COMMENT (1) | enlightenment, self realization, spiritual
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Expert Series: Ten Steps To Personal Transformation
By Amara Rose

The quest to discover and live our truth is the Hero’s Journey, a sacred pilgrimage home to ourselves. It’s the high road — and a rigorous one. We may try to camouflage our fear of the unknown with bravado, workaholism, or apathy. There’s another way: following the path of the heart. How do we find it? With a transformational road map. I invite you to join me on a mission to remember and reclaim your life purpose.

Step One: Give Yourself Permission to be Passionate 

Our resistance is the Refusal of the Call. Change whispers in our ear, and we attempt a high-tech tune-out: call waiting, call forwarding, on hold, voicemail…

We fight change because acceding to it feels like stepping off a cliff into an abyss. Out of touch with our vital, intuitive nature, we panic and crawl safely back into the shopping center mentality. We resign ourselves to buying the leopard print pants because we’re afraid to be the leopard.

How do we answer this call to reclaim our connection to what’s true for us? We start by giving ourselves permission to be passionate, to dream beyond our self-imposed boundaries. Read more

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COMMENTS (4) | empowerment, renewal, self realization, thriving
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Expert Series: Learning To Live My Light
By Amara Rose

One of the hallmarks of any spiritual journey is that at some point, you will be asked to surrender who you think you are. The Call seldom comes in an obvious form. For me, the invitation to reawaken to my true essence, to reclaim the sacred feminine within myself, wore a brilliant disguise: debilitating arm pain. I was being asked to lay down my arms, to relinquish all the roles I’d been taught that had enabled me to arm myself against knowing who I am, in order to embrace something I couldn’t outwardly touch.

It was a colossal summons. And I wasn’t willing to answer — at least, not without putting the caller on hold a few times, letting it go to voicemail, or pretending I’d erased the message.

I lost the use of my arms for over a year at the start of 1993. The pain had been building for some time but, stoked on my burgeoning marketing communications business, piano lessons, and a ninety-miles-an-hour lifestyle that spelled “freedom” from the drudgery of nine-to-five, I ignored the warning signs. I was too busy; business was too good. Read more

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COMMENTS (4) | enlightenment, health, self growth, self realization
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“Nice To Meet You. I’m Lesbian”
By Reilley Olexson - 16 Years Old

My favourite colour is red. It always has been. My hair has always been curly, and my eyes have always been hazel. I am not a science experiment, or some new invention. Don`t introduce me as if I am some new species you have discovered. To exploit one aspect of who I am to the magnitude of a flying pig, reduces every other ounce of my body. Do not refer to me as “the lesbian”. I would even rather to be referred to as “curly”. Read more

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COMMENTS (6) | empowerment, enlightenment, self realization, tolerance
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Expert Series: The Need For A Men’s Liberation Movement
By Joel Brass

It’s tough to be a man. I know. I’ve been one all my life.

Though extremely varied in the circumstances that have brought them to seek help, the men who I see on a daily basis in my counseling practice are all living one common story. They have spent their adult lives doing their utmost to live up to a script that was handed them a long time ago about how to be a good man.

At the core of this male instruction manual is one central “commandment” – to serve, to provide and to protect others (originally territorially, these days materially). They have placed all of their focus and every ounce of their energy and strength into its achievement. While certainly necessary and beneficial, this has compelled them to be warriors in action on the battle plains of the outside world; to know, deal and prepare for only that which is outside themselves. Do this. Fix that. Be successful. Make money. Wield power. Keep your eye on the competitor. Anticipate the next curve ball that the world can throw at you.

It is with shock, and inarticulate but deep and real confusion, and disillusionment that a horrid realization has come to the men sitting across from me in the counseling session. It is the mind-numbing realization that the very methods and strategies that they have been praised and rewarded for in the marketplace, have failed them miserably in their private lives. No one wants a boss of any kind at home. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | enlightenment, relationships, self growth
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Getting To Know You, Getting To Know All About You
By Sharon Carmichael

Discovering the truth about ourselves isn’t easy. Too often we suppress our emotions, leaving them dormant in our minds awaiting to pop out at us when we are most vulnerable. I know firsthand – I’ve spent most of my life avoiding my feelings. My father was murdered when I was fifteen-months old, and I traveled through life imagining it didn’t bother me. I told myself things like, “I was too young to remember him,” and “I never knew him so there’s no way this could affect me.” Little did I know this resistance was shaping itself inside of me forming a home within my identity. Read more

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COMMENTS (6) | empowerment, enlightenment, self worth
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How A Near Death Experience Changed Everything
By Eva R Marienchild

For many of his 50-something years, a severely depressed Bill Smyth* was living his life as if it didn’t matter. “Looking back,” he says, “I don’t know how I kept going.” 

In 2000, he and his then-wife lost a son who was less than a year old.  As happens with many marriages where the loss of a baby is involved, the marital union came undone.  “My ex said she was miserable having me around.  She couldn’t look at me without seeing a baby,” said Bill. “In order for her to be happy, we parted.  We’re still good friends.” 

Talking about his son’s death still hurts, says Bill.  “Joseph’s little lungs hadn’t developed.  A decision was made to take him off life support.”  He pauses, his voice far away.  “The only time he smiled was right before he died.  Then, he just seemed to relax and let go.”

That observation was a striking forerunner of what was to follow.  Read more

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COMMENTS (2) | enlightenment, NDE, self improvement, spiritual, thriving
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Expert Series: ADD(Attention Deficit Disorder) Is Not Who I Am, It Is What I Have
By Brad Worthley

I had a lot of friends growing up so I enjoyed school from the social standpoint. I went to all the sporting events and if there was a party within 20 miles, I was there. Scholastically, I struggled with my grades, so I was about a “C” student. Out of embarrassment, I masked my inequity from my friends, so you would be hard pressed to find anyone in school that did not believe I was an “A” or “B” student.

As I sat in classrooms, I would try very hard to pay attention to what the teacher was saying because I knew we would be tested on it, but I struggled with retaining the information. I had the same challenges with reading text books in class or at home, because as I was reading, my brain kept drifting away, and I would have to re-read the same page two or three times in order to understand it. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | ADD, empowerment, learning, self realization
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Reading: A Love Story
By Joseph Longo

I did not come from a family of readers.

My parents were Sicilian immigrants. My mother read an occasional magazine, but she never read a complete book. My father was semiliterate. Though he bought the New York Daily News every day – mainly to see what horses won at the track.

My first reading memory was comic books. I collected them and had a towering stack in my closet. My hero was Superman. I read that many gay boys growing up in the fifties considered him their favorite because he lived two lives.  I also liked True Crime and Classic Comics. As a teenager, I worked for an Italian grocer and spent all my money on comics. I waited each month for my favorites to come out. I still read comics, but now they’re called graphic novels.

My Aunt Josie was the only one in my family who was a reader. She is ninety and she still reads, mostly romance novels. In fact, she keeps a notebook of the books she’s read so that she doesn’t buy the same book again. Read more

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COMMENTS (2) | empowerment, enlightenment, self realization
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Standing In Line
By Liz Barney

Standing in line at the post office was not my plan for the afternoon, and so when I found myself still shifting from foot to foot after waiting 20 minutes, I grew restless. Looking around, it wasn’t difficult to see the same feelings mirrored on my line-companion’s faces; wrinkled brows, tapping feet, bulging eyes, and sweat-drenched brows all seemed to cry out together, “Can we just be done already?”

The line had been moving along at a slow, but steady pace that resembled the sludge of half-dried concrete crawling down the spout of the mixer, when suddenly it came to an abrupt halt. “Lo siento, no hablo Inglés,” the voice faltered, apologetically. I silently groaned inside, as I watched the short little man with weathered hands and thick black hair try to negotiate some form of meaning with the clerk.

“If you don’t speak English, move,” muttered an older man in front of me, and several people nodded or smiled with their eyes in agreement. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | enlightenment, tolerance
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Expert Series: Loneliness: Our Greatest Fear And A Portal To Peace
By Joel Brass

“When we are alone and quiet we are afraid that something will be whispered in our ear, and we so hate the silence and drug ourselves with social life.”

Friederich Nietzsche

As a psychotherapist for the past quarter of a century, I am included on a daily basis in peoples’ greatest fears. Which ones do you think are the most common? Which send shivers down our spines? If you think the answer is the fear of dying and death, I actually rarely hear that one. The fear of rejection? Now you’re getting warmer. The secret, private fear of feeling unworthy, inadequate or not good enough? This is one of the most common for sure. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | enlightenment, self improvement
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My Unemployed Life: I Felt Emasculated
By Shane McConnaghy

My name is Shane and I’m unemployed.

I’m one of the millions of people trying to find a job in a stagnant economy. As a former mortgage broker, I witnessed first-hand the collapse of the real estate bubble, and experienced the anguish of losing my job due to cutbacks.

At age 45, trying to find another job in the housing market was a study in futility and frustration. No one was hiring. Companies were letting people go, and not in the mood to take a chance on new hires.

Adding to my anxiety was the fact that my wife, Raven, and I had had our first child a year prior to me losing my job, and we now had another little boy on the way. Read more

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COMMENTS (2) | enlightenment, thriving, unemployed, work
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A Lump Of Flesh
By Dr. Manjiri Prabhu

 

In India, (and perhaps all over the world) street dogs are at constant risk from humans in one form or another, whether it is starving to death, or being considered a menace or a parasitic nuisance in society. Either way, they are condemned to a life of misery and pain.

I would like to recount an experience, which completely changed me. Read more

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COMMENTS (11) | abuse, animal companion, enlightenment
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The Invisible Student
By Casey Lee

Don’t reveal anything about your personal life.

Lock anything that matters to you in the trunk of your car, and make sure that no one knows which vehicle belongs to you.

Don’t worry about their personal lives; if something seems sketchy, refer it to the guidance department and forget it ever happened.

And most importantly, whatever you do, don’t even think about cracking a smile before Christmas.

No, these are not instructions for one’s first week on the job at a maximum-security prison facility. These are supposedly helpful tidbits of advice that I received from seasoned teachers before diving headfirst into one of the most chaotic and stressful experiences one could possibly embark upon: my first year as a high school English teacher. Read more

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COMMENTS (2) | abuse, children, enlightenment, teaching
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Saving My Marriage
By M. LaVora Perry

What happens when you’re already in deep with a partner—way past the “getting to know you” phase—but lately you feel certain that you blew it by hooking up with this person, and now you’re stuck with him or her.

We all know about some of the most radical options, especially the big “D” or the big “B” (divorce or breakup). There’s also the big “I”—infidelity. Other options are marriage counseling, or individual counseling if your partner isn’t game. And perhaps the least appealing choice of all is to simply continue suffering.

However, there’s another option: decide way down deep inside yourself that you’re going to turn your situation into a mind-blowing victory. Read more

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COMMENTS (11) | empowerment, marriage, relationships, self improvement, spiritual
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Hundred Pounds Of Love Healed Our Family
By Denise Morini

It seems to me that there are two kinds of people in this world, dog lovers and cat lovers. A dog lover, I was not. On my son Joey’s sixth birthday, my husbands’ parents presented Joey with a puppy, without my knowledge and permission. A Jack Russell Terrier, just what my husband had requested. My husband wanted a small dog that would not shed. No one bothered to look up the highly energetic disposition of Jack Russells or that some of them are not recommended for small children. We named him Jack (very original, I know); he sure was a cute fellow though.

Fast forward to a few months down the road: Jack was still not house trained. Everything was chewed up, including woodwork and the wall to wall carpeting. One night he peed on me as I slept. The worst, though, was when he constantly nipped at my son.  I could not leave the room for fear of him injuring my child. It was during this time that my mother, Joey’s beloved grandmother, was diagnosed with 2-60 days to live. I decided that I could not live like this any longer. Read more

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COMMENTS (8) | animal companion, animal wisdom, parenting, self improvement, spiritual
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Out Of The Rat Race And Into Bamboo
By Greg Pfeffer

I’m not sure which benchmark in corporate America can be credited as the straw that broke the camel’s back; the final event that caused me to “go bamboo.” The chorus of seemingly uniform co-workers wishing me things like “Happy Friday” and “Somebody could use another cup of coffee!” The almost perverted detail I took in studying the walls of my cubical, attempting to conjure up ideas of how any postcard or picture could ever camouflage the walls of the plastic box I worked in.

Most likely, however, it was the unenthusiastic chatter of my fellow 20-somethings every morning on the R5. IPod in ears, the front page of The Metro shielding their face from the morning glances of their fellow commuters; they are ushered from the suburbs like unwilling passengers on the river Styx. As the doors on the regional rail opened it was as if the hand of Charon himself ushered them off at 30th and Market East, putting on the last leg of their daily journey towards an office, a firm, a corporation somewhere in Center City. I wanted out of this Hades, so I broke free.

Read more

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COMMENT (0) | empowerment, thriving, work
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