Showing posts from 2013

Daily Inspirational Message for December 31, 2013

Whatever you want to do, do it now. There are only so many tomorrows. - Michael Landon As you contemplate the brand new year ahead of you and perhaps make a list of resolutions, I hope you decide to live this year like it could be your last. Tell your friends and family how much you love them every day. Smile at that person you’ve had a crush on forever and invite them to have coffee with you. Take a chance on those big dreams, and act on those brilliant ideas. Let yourself have more fun than ever. Plan that trip you’ve always wanted to take, and make it happen. Reach out and connect with new people and explore new ideas. Relax and let go of worrying. Above all, let yourself be happy. :)

Too Precious to Waste

This is your life, so don’t settle for a cheap imitation. Live each moment of it with substance. Life is too precious to waste even a little bit of it on meaningless junk. Give your time, your attention, your efforts and your energy to what really matters. If something doesn’t concern you, don’t let it consume you. If something doesn’t really matter, then let it go. There are only so many hours in this day. Choose to spend every one of those hours in the service of what truly matters. Your priorities are based not on what you say or intend, but on what you actually do with your time. Choose positive, meaningful priorities by spending your time in positive, meaningful ways. Devote yourself to what truly matters. And add more richness to your world with each passing moment. — Ralph Marston Read more at

A Story of Grace & Grit

"I don't look at myself as a healer, but I do know healing when I'm in the presence of it. And it's mysterious, magical ... It's not dependent upon the action of any one person, but it arises from the conglomerative energies. It's a team effort, always. It comes about with great love, and it gives great love." Dr. Grace Dammann was a frontline AIDS physician who survived a devastating accident five years ago. Wheelchair-bound and faced with a drastically altered reality, she continues to live and give in stunning ways. As we say farewell to 2013, here is an extraordinary story of courage, compassion and great love, reminding us of what the human spirit is capable of.

8 Ways to Find More Meaning at Work

Approximately two-thirds of our waking life is spent at work, and yet only one-third of employees report that they are engaged with their work. Yet, the opportunities for finding or amplifying meaning at work are abundant. These range from finding a sense of purpose, receiving prestige, actualizing one's self through learning and accomplishment, and being part of the social fabric of a work community. In this article, the Greater Good Science Centre presents eight possibilities for being attuned to or creating value at work.

When Intuitive Memories Tap Your Consciousness

“Whether your memories delight, inspire, sadden or haunt you, you should pay attention when they suddenly pop into your awareness. Ask the question: ‘Why am I remembering that now?’ When a significant event occurs in your present life, the past may return with fresh insights. For example, you may have a memory of watching a movie from the 1970s and realize that the movie dramatizes a remedy for your health issue. You may realize that a memory of a business opportunity that you overlooked six months ago is trying to tell you that the business opportunity before you is a great second chance.”

Four Intuition Responses that Impact Your Life

“Learning how to pay attention and respond to your intuition can be both easy and challenging. I’ve faced days when my intuition ruled and days when I over-analyzed everything, but the latter diminished as I grew in understanding of how my intuition is always trying to steer me to happiness and opportunities, and away from frustration and danger. When receiving messages from your intuition, your life is impacted by four main responses.”

Listen to Your Body and Make Wise Decisions

“Your intuition helps you make wise decisions through intuitive feelings and sensations that rock your body without external stimuli. Whether you consider buying or selling a home, establishing or closing a business, continuing or changing a career, or starting or ending a relationship, notice how your body intuitively feels when you decide for or against an issue.”

Daily Inspirational Message for December 30, 2013

Forgiveness will set you free. Forgiveness is the great elixir of all time. In every spiritual tradition, it is taught as one of the most transformative powers of change and healing. Forgiveness is a vibrational frequency that allows us to shift out of patterns of shame, guilt, hatred, and anger. It even gives us pause to love better and, ultimately, live better. To practice forgiveness, we must begin to allow the possibility of letting go of what does not serve us. Letting go is the key. In Hebrew, the word ‘forgiveness’ means to literally drop it – to drop whatever burdens we are carrying sets us free. - Jenai Lane Law of Attraction experts teach us that one of the greatest blocks to manifesting all we desire in our lives is a lack of forgiveness. If we are holding back from forgiving ourselves or others, we are holding ourselves back from manifesting all that we desire in all areas of our lives. One of the most powerful things we can do to align with a higher level of experience is

Right Where You Are

Start where you are, and do what you can. Make use of what you have, in the time available to you, and there’s much you can get done. Don’t waste your time waiting for conditions to be perfect, for they will never be. Go ahead, with things as they are, and begin making real progress. The place to aim is as high as you can imagine. Yet the place to start is right where you are. Let go of any concerns about not having enough time, or money, resources or anything else. Focus instead on the great value and potential of what you do have and of what you can do right now. See the real treasure that exists in your opportunity and ability to make good, effective use of this moment. Claim that treasure by going ahead and putting forth your very best effort. Today is your day to achieve and to make your world a better place. Start where you are, and get yourself solidly on the way to wherever you wish to be. — Ralph Marston Read more at

Daily Inspirational Message for December 29, 2013

Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known. - Carl Sagan Whether we believe in life on other planets or not, whether we believe in reincarnation or not, whether we believe that there are worlds beyond this dimension where our souls can continue to explore all sorts of wonderful experiences, I don’t think any of us can deny that life on Earth is an incredible blessing. Earth is a beautiful planet bright with natural beauty, exciting adventures a

Rumi, Grace & Human Friendship

"Tami Simon speaks with Coleman Barks, a leading scholar and translator of the 13th century Persian mystic, Jelaluddin Rumi. Coleman's work was the subject of an hour-long segment in Bill Moyers' Language of Life series with PBS. In this episode, Simon speaks with Coleman about the extraordinary friendship between Rumi and his teacher Shams Tabriz.

Daily Inspirational Message for December 28, 2013

When you are praising, when you are appreciating, when you are acknowledging value, when you are looking for positive aspects, when you are laughing, when you are applauding, when you are joyous, when you are feeling that feeling of appreciation pulsing through you, in those times, there is no resistance within you. You are, in those moments, vibrationally up to speed with who you really are. - Abraham-Hicks I love the spiritual teaching that when we feel bad, it’s because whatever we are thinking is not in harmony with our true nature. It is said that our true nature is naturally aligned with bright love and appreciation; it sees the beauty in every situation and it embraces all with love. When we are annoyed, irritated, upset or angry, we feel bad because whatever we’re thinking is not in harmony with our true nature. Basically, the better we feel, the more we are tuned in to our higher selves, and the more empowered we are to create whatever we’re wanting in our lives. It’s a sur

Worry Is A Waste

Worry is a waste. Find something better to do. Worry achieves nothing, and it eats up your precious time. Let go of the worry, and use the time to create some real, meaningful value in your world. Instead of worrying that the worst things will happen, work to make sure the best things happen. Instead of worrying about whether someone will give you a break, work to put yourself in a position where you don’t need a break. It’s smart to act on your concerns, but foolish to simply worry about them. The best way out of worry is action, so find something positive you can do instead of letting the worry build. You have the wonderful ability to act and to make a difference. As such, it makes absolutely no sense to worry. The next time you feel worry, stop it immediately and start taking action. Whatever may or may not happen, you can turn it into something great. — Ralph Marston Read more at

The Million Dollar Scholar From Southside Chicago

When Derrius Quarles was four years old, his father was murdered. The following year, he was taken away from his mother's custody. Growing up in the Illinois foster care system for nine years and in the south side of Chicago, higher education seemed far out of reach for Derrius, and the challenges of inner-city life almost led him down a path of crime and fast money. Everything changed one morning in high school when a caring biology teacher spoke to Derrius about his potential -- and the fact that he was wasting it. Her words sounded like a wake-up call that catalyzed Derrius to be awarded with over $1,000,000 in academic scholarships. Having completed university, Derrius now serves other young people to pursue higher education and attain their full, flourishing potential. This article shares Derrius' incredible journey and the work of his organization, "Million Dollar Scholar."

Daily Inspirational Message for December 27, 2013

Nothing comes unannounced, but many can miss the announcement. So it’s very important to actually listen to your own intuition rather than driving through it. - Terence McKenna We all go through times when we’re more tuned in, and times when we’re so caught up in mundane outer experiences that we miss the subtle signs that are trying to show us the way. This is where regular spiritual practice can bless us with a relatively smooth journey to the fulfillment of our dreams and desires. When we are in the habit of going within – of meditating, practicing yoga, or simply dialoguing with the Universe and listening for answers – we experience more magic, signs and synchronicities. Maybe they are there all the while and we just notice them more when we tune in, or maybe tuning in encourages more guidance to flow to us. I don’t know; I just know that the more I practice listening, the more I’m able to sense what I need to do next in order to end up where I want to go.

Live Proactively

The best time to solve a problem is before it becomes a problem. Get out in front of life and live it proactively, and you’ll be free to set your own agenda. When you earn money before you spend it, you’ll avoid debt and make yourself financially secure. In the same way, when you do what must be done before it must be done, you avoid having to play catch up and can spend your time doing what matters. Every moment gives you the opportunity to get ahead of life’s demands. The more wisely and productively you use each moment, the more you’ll be in control of your own destiny. It feels good to take it easy and do nothing. It feels much, much better, though, to take it easy when this month’s work and next month’s work are already done. It’s great to be able to deal with a problem when it arises. What’s even better, though, is to already have the solution in place before the problem ever comes. Look ahead, plan ahead, and work ahead. Live proactively by valuing every moment for the

16 Habits of Exuberant Human Beings

Martin Seligman, the father of positive psychology, theorizes that while 60 percent of happiness is determined by our genetics and environment, the remaining 40 percent is up to us. Through his research, Seligman discovered that happy people have consistent habits which may be introduced into our day to day life.  Take a moment to read this delightful article, in which Seligman introduce the 16 habits of exuberant human beings.

Daily Inspirational Message for December 26, 2013

“Great people do things before they’re ready. They do things before they know they can do it. And by doing it, they’re proven right. Because, I think there’s something inside of you – and inside of all of us – when we see something and we think, ‘I think I can do it, I think I can do it. But I’m afraid to.’ Bridging that gap, doing what you’re afraid of, getting out of your comfort zone, taking risks like that – THAT is what life is. And I think you might be really good. You might find out something about yourself that’s special. And if you’re not good, who cares? You tried something. Now you know something about yourself. Now you know. A mystery is solved. So, I think you should just give it a try. Just inch yourself out of that back line. Step into life. Courage. Risks. Yes. Go. Now.”- Amy Poehler

Life Without Limits

There is no limit to how much you can love. So give your love every opportunity you get. There is no limit to how high you can aim. So aim for the highest, most meaningful goals, and your achievements will be amazing. There is no limit to what you can imagine. So imagine and expect the very best for your life and your world, and let what you imagine inspire you to make it so. Limits are only for those who fear their own strength. Let go of your fear, let go of the limits, and discover how truly strong and effective you can be. Step boldly outside the comfort of your self-imposed limitations. You have many good and worthy things to do, so put all your focus on making them happen. Live your life without limits. And fulfill the beautiful, unique purpose that is you. — Ralph Marston Read more at

8 Creativity Lessons From An Animator

Whether it is sharing ideas, working hard and being persistent in your efforts, or having the ability let go of your own ego, amazing things can be accomplished when you allow yourself to become a true team player. Bernhard Haux, who has worked on blockbuster motion pictures such as 'Up,' and 'Monsters U', offers up some inspiring thoughts that can help everyone work together to achieve a common goal.

Daily Inspirational Message for December 25, 2013

Simply give others a bit of yourself; a thoughtful act, a helpful idea, a word of appreciation, a lift over a rough spot, a sense of understanding, a timely suggestion. You take something out of your mind, garnished in kindness out of your heart, and put it into the other person’s mind and heart. – Charles H. Burr The greatest gifts we can give one another are of course immaterial: they arise from our efforts to really understand, our willingness to appreciate others even in the ways they’re very different from us, our devotion to being there when those we love make crazy decisions or behave badly. Today, I hope you take the time to give those you love gifts that will bless them forevermore. Long after the boxes and ribbons have been swept into the recycling bin, people will remember your words of love and appreciation for them, so write a letter, make a toast, or find some other special way to express the love in your heart.

Living More Fully

Life is precious, beautiful, wondrous, joyful, overflowing with positive possibilities, and yours right here and now. On this Christmas Day of joy and giving, commit yourself to living life more fully, richly and lovingly than ever before. No, things are not perfect and there are plenty of difficult problems and painful circumstances. Yet even when there are all kinds of reasons for despair, there is always a more effective and affirmative choice. That choice is to see, appreciate, celebrate and support life’s inherent goodness. Feel the reality that it is truly good to be alive, and choose to live the best possibilities that spring from that reality. Just imagine the difference you can make when you see each moment as a blessing, no matter what it may hold. Then go beyond imagining and experience the joy of making it happen. This is a great day to pause and reflect on what truly matters at the deepest level of your existence. This is a great day to choose a life that is true t

A Christmas Wish From Beyond The Grave

This Des Moines radio station had run a "Christmas Wish" program for over 20 years, but nothing had prepared them for Brenda Schmitz's request. The wife and mom of four lost her battle with ovarian cancer two years ago, at the age of 46. Then..."About a week and half ago we got [her] letter in the mail," shares station brand manager Scott Allen. Brenda wanted the station to do something wonderful for her husband, David, and their children, after she was gone. And so, David was asked to come into the station to have a wish granted, but was told nothing further. As the stunned dad attempted to hold back his tears, the host started to read his wife's letter..."

Daily Inspirational Message for December 24, 2013

“Sometimes I tease people and ask: ‘What makes you so adamant that there’s no life after death? What proof do you have? What if you found there was a life after this one, having died denying its existence?’ Those of us who undertake a spiritual discipline – of meditation, for example – come to discover many things about our own minds that we did not know before. For as our minds open more and more to the extraordinary, vast, and hitherto unsuspected existence of the nature of mind, we begin to glimpse a completely different dimension, one in which all of our assumptions about our identity and reality, which we thought we knew so well, start to dissolve, and in which the possibility of lives other than this one becomes at least likely. We begin to understand that everything we are being told by the masters about life and death, and life after death, is real.” - Sogyal Rinpoche

Positive Experiences

Positive experiences create positive momentum. And positive momentum brings even more positive experiences. Give yourself the gift of a genuine, meaningful positive experience. The benefits of that time will continue long after the experience has ended. Be good to yourself and it will be great for your life. Truly enjoy the world around you and you’ll see opportunities that were previously invisible. Joy is always possible. Allow a little joy to flow out from your life right now. Being good to yourself is not selfish. Because the more fulfillment you experience, the more value you have to give to others. Have fun with what you have and enjoy where you are. Life’s great abundance is yours when you can truly feel that it’s there. — Ralph Marston Read more at

How Sleep Makes You Smart

About one-third of our lives are spent in reverie, and yet little is known about how sleep is linked to intellectual and emotional intelligence. Researchers are unravelling this mystery and are finding that sleep - especially deep sleep - confers emotional balance, opens us to learning, cements memory, and strengthens our ability to make meaning of facts and experiences. Sleep, as it turns out, is just as essential as eating for humans and for many other species. This article shares some of the latest findings that'll awaken you to the fascinating power of sleep.

Dark Spirits of Hearth and Home

“If you wish to look with your own eyes on the passage to the land of the dead, you have only to find an ancient Welsh farmhouse, step inside, and stick your head inside the kitchen fireplace. Twist your head and look up into the black flue. Can you see a light at the end of the tunnel? For many a Welshman who had died or been laid out at home, this was the way to the afterlife. It was bad practice to carry a corpse out the same door used by the living, and the windows were too small to accommodate a coffin. There was, however, plenty of room to hoist one up and out the massive brick chimney.” /

So You Want to Buy a Troll

“Because they’re such terrible cooks and too stingy to order in, trolls are always glad for a free meal on Christmas Eve. If you want to prepare dinner for a troll, you must include a generous helping of meat. A few trolls, having converted to Christianity, promised they would no longer eat human flesh, but you can hardly expect them to be vegetarians. Leave the trolls’ meal out in the woods, far from the house. You don’t want him peering in the window when you open your Christmas presents.”

The Scandinavian Household Sprite

“If you are of Scandinavian descent, there is a remote chance that you might already have one of the old fellows living in your home. If your family does not hail from that part of the world, or if you come from a side branch of the family, it’s not too late to acquire your own domestic goblin. The best place to do so is at a Scandinavian Christmas market. While there is nothing intrinsically Christmassy about the boggart, the nisse, tomten, and tonttu are the epitome of Yule. Yes, you could order one online, but picking them up in your hands and patting their knitted caps will help you choose the one that is right for you.”

Daily Inspirational Message for December 23, 2013

What would your life look like if you acknowledged the truth that working nonstop for 10 hours, taking care of other people, leaves you so spent and weary that there really isn’t much left of you for your kids, let alone yourself? What would your life look like if you realized that you need to set aside time every day to fill yourself up — even if it’s only by taking a few 15-minute breaks during which you stare at nothing or go outside or lie down? What would the pace of your life be if you went on ‘soul time’ instead of clock time, even just a little? – Geneen Roth I just spent an evening talking with some amazing women about our lives and what we are hoping to create in the future. One after another, we shared how we are tired of doing nothing but working, of endlessly answering emails and texts and trying to just keep up with the mundane tasks of daily life. We long to do more of what’s really important, what makes us come alive, what truly nourishes and inspires us. I believe this

When Success Happens

When and where do success and achievement always happen? They always happen here and now. This is the moment when you can choose to either work toward your dreams or to let them fade away. Now is when you take the specific actions that create the reality of your life. Successful achievement is not some far off, future concept that might happen someday. Achievement is very real, and comes about as a result of what you do now. You will not ever get anything done if you keep scheduling it for someday. What you do with right now is what truly makes a difference in your life. Your future consequences are determined right here, right now, based on what you do with this day. This is when you can put real life and substance into your dreams. Delight in this moment and give your very best to it. For in this moment is when you are creating your life, and in this moment is when success happens. — Ralph Marston Read more at

Six Life Lessons from Leo Tolstoy

Leo Tolstoy, the author of literary epics such as 'War and Peace' and 'Anna Karenina', is most often thought of as one of the 19th century's greatest novelists. However, "few are aware that he was also one of its most radical social and political thinkers. During a long life from 1828 to 1910, Tolstoy gradually rejected the received beliefs of his aristocratic background and embraced a startlingly unconventional worldview that shocked his peers. Tracing his personal transformation offers some wise -- and surprising -- lessons for how we should approach the art of living today."

Daily Inspirational Message for December 22, 2013

“Philosopher Alan Watts used to talk about how the whole world is wiggling all the time. Clouds, trees, sky, water, human beings: Everything’s constantly shimmying and jiggling and waggling. One of our problems, Watts said, is that we’re ‘always trying to straighten things out.’ We feel nagging urges to deny or cover up or eliminate the wiggling. ‘Be orderly,’ we command reality. ‘Be neat and composed and predictable.’ But reality never obeys. It’s forever doing what it does best: flickering and fluctuating and flowing…I encourage you to rebel against any natural tendencies you might have to fight the eternal wiggle. Instead, celebrate it. Rejoice in it. Align yourself with it.” - Rob Brezsny

How To Make Stress Your Friend

Stress. It makes your heart pound, your breathing quicken and your forehead sweat. But while stress has been made into a public health enemy, new research suggests that stress may only be bad for you if you believe that to be the case. Health psychologist Kelly McGonigal urges us to see stress as a positive. If you believe that your body is energized and preparing you to take action, your physical stress response changes, with no negative effect on your heart. Watch this TED talk, in which McGonigal reveals a surprising mechanism for stress reduction: reaching out to others.

Daily Inspirational Message for December 21, 2013

You have to take seriously the notion that understanding the universe is your responsibility, because the only understanding of the universe that will be useful to you is your own understanding. – Terence McKenna It’s no wonder so many people are anxious and depressed these days, for a life that leaves no time for spiritual practice will naturally suffer a lack of peace and well-being. We aren’t meant to be endlessly busy working, playing or even being passively entertained. As we are body, heart, mind and spirit, a good chunk of each day’s waking hours are needed to nourish our spirits by dialoguing with the Universe, contemplating deep questions, and communing with the divine. If you’re unhappy, lost, or merely bored, make more room in your life for Spirit. The more you reach out for guidance and support, the more Spirit will help you find your way.

Taste The Goodness

Relax, let go, be thankful and live this beautiful life that is yours right now. Feel the goodness that is your nature, and let that goodness fill your awareness. Be where you love to be by loving where you are. Enjoy life by enjoying the moment you’re in. See the beauty that is all around you, in even the most ordinary of things. Feel the truly astounding miracle that is your existence on this day, in this place. Allow yourself to be filled with wonder and appreciation for all that is. Know that there is unique positive value to be discovered in every turn of events, and choose to make the most of that value. There is every reason to expect the best of yourself and your world right now. There is every reason to live this moment with passion, purpose and love. Open yourself fully to life, and see how truly good it is, right now. Taste the goodness, and let it grow more abundant within you. — Ralph Marston Read more at

6 Boys, One Cop: A Story of Restorative Justice

In one of Frank Baum's Oz books, Dorothy winds up in prison in Oz and is treated to luxury, kindness and warm cookies. When she asks why, the guard says, "Why would we treat people meanly when we want them to be kind?" The prison system in the US often runs counter to this notion of kindness and rehabilitation. This article focuses on a town in Longmont, Colorado where restorative justice that promotes rehabilitation and creative sentencing is closing the gap on racism, and needless incarceration. It shares an inspiring real-life example of how this approach works.

Daily Inspirational Message for December 20, 2013

Have compassion for everyone you meet even if they don’t want it. What seems conceit, bad manners, or cynicism is always a sign of things no ears have heard, no eyes have seen. You do not know what wars are going on down there where the spirit meets the bone. – Miller Williams It’s amazing how things shift when we sit down and really talk to someone on a soul level: suddenly, the rude, selfish or angry behavior they’ve been spewing out begins to make sense. As their tears start to flow and we feel their pain, we stop judging them as bad or wrong, and begin to empathize with them instead. When a deep, soulful conversation isn’t possible for some reason, it’s helpful to imagine it taking place. When someone lies, we’re wise to assume that they are afraid to tell the truth; when someone takes more than their fair share, it’s because they fear they won’t have enough; when someone lashes out in anger, we can remember that they’re acting that way because they feel emotionally unsafe. We must

Something Good In It

What appears to be a problem is not just a problem. It is an invitation to explore new positive possibilities. What seems impossible is not entirely impossible. It is challenging you to look at the situation from a different perspective. The obstacles that block you are also doing you a favor. They are guiding you to become more creative, more innovative, more determined and purposeful. Each negative thing has a positive element. That’s because you have the amazing ability to learn, to adapt, to create and to transform life according to your unique, positive vision. There’s really no need to worry about what might or might not come. For no matter what may come, there’s a way for you to create more goodness and richness from it. Enthusiastically embrace each moment with open arms. There’s something good in it, waiting for you to bring it to life. — Ralph Marston Read more at

Are We Losing Our Focus?

Daniel Goleman, renowned author and psychologist, writes that the ability to focus on one task to the exclusion of others is a lost art for many. Yet the skill of focus is connected to greater happiness, better relationships, and increased productivity. He writes that balancing inner, other, and outer focus are keys to success. Inner focus involves paying attention to our values, intuition, and ways of responding, other focus translates to presence and empathy for others, and outer focus refers to being aware of systems and trends in society. One key to finding that balance is understanding how our minds and hearts work. This article shares more.

Daily Inspirational Message for December 19, 2013

I believe in signs. What we need to learn is always there before us, we just have to look around us with respect and attention to discover where God is leading us and which step we should take. When we are on the right path, we follow the signs, and if we occasionally stumble, the Divine comes to our aid, preventing us from making mistakes. – Paulo Coelho I know many, many people who feel like this past year was extraordinarily difficult, and can’t wait for it to be over. I’ve had a number of conversations with various individuals about this, and some key themes have emerged. It seems like a whole lot of us were being taught to let go of illusions regarding how much control we have over how things unfold. The more we held tight to whatever we thought had to happen, the more difficult things got. I think sometimes, the Universe has a funny way of helping us: it makes the wrong path more and more painful in order to wake us up, shake us up, and force us to move in a new direction. http

Joyful World

Put some real joy into what you’re doing, and what you’re doing changes for the better. Put some genuine joy into the situation, and new, positive possibilities come clearly into focus. Instead of assuming that you cannot possibly enjoy what you’re doing, find ways to add your own joy to it. Instead of expecting joy to be given to you, make as much of your own joy as you can. Energize your moments by living them joyfully and enthusiastically. You can choose the way you relate to life, so choose to do it with joy. Don’t poison your attitude by compiling a list of things that get you down. Commit yourself to lifting life up no matter what kinds of things might be going on. By all means, live in the real world, and live with authentic joy. Be realistic and joyful at the same time, and your reality will get better and better. This is a day, this is a moment, this is a life that could benefit from some real joy. Give some joy now, and as often as you can, and live in a more joyful

An Awesome Way To Help Kids Be Less Self-Absorbed

Malala Yousufzai, Craig Kielburger, and Ryan Hreljac are some of the many young people in the world who are trying to transform the world in positive ways. However, research suggests that a large percentage of youth are becoming less empathic and more disconnected from others. Getting children and young adults to be less self-absorbed has also been a subject of research, and as Dacher Keltner explains one particularly positive emotion may help inspire young ones: awe. Awe, it seems, helps people feel a sense of vastness that in turn, gives them a fresh perspective on the world and their place in it. This article from the Greater Good Science Center suggests how teachers, parents, and anybody who spends time with children can help nurture a sense of awe in their lives.

Daily Inspirational Message for December 18, 2013

To the poet, to the philosopher, to the saint, all things are friendly and sacred, all events profitable, all days holy, all men divine. - Ralph Waldo Emerson Someday, I hope I am able to get past my endlessly judging mind and, like a jolly, laughing Buddha, peacefully smile upon all transgressors, bless those who curse me, and laugh in the face of danger. Maybe I will be able to love all of myself – my cellulite, my know-it-all tendencies, and my endless hunger for more – and maybe I won’t. I do know that when I stop trying so hard and simply look for the beauty in everything and everyone, when I am kind to myself and everyone else for not being ‘perfect enough,’ the whole world softens. I then remember that walking a spiritual path may not be easy, but it is ultimately simple: it’s just a matter of choosing love in each moment, of choosing love again and again and again.

Offer Encouragement

You cannot force other people to do the right thing. What you can do, and what is extremely effective, is to encourage them. If you offer threats, intimidation and low expectations, you’ll get resentment and poor performance. When you assume and expect the worst of others, you’re very likely to get it. A better choice is to expect the best, and to offer opportunities for those expectations to be met. Though it’s true that people won’t always live up to your positive expectations, it’s also true that most people would prefer to do what’s best for everyone concerned. Just about everyone responds positively to positive, genuine encouragement. Let others know, clearly, precisely and in positive terms, what you expect, and let them know you have faith that they’ll meet those expectations. Instead of looking for ways to control, look for opportunities to support and encourage. Instead of conducting detached transactions, seek to build ongoing relationships. Offer the encouragement

The Art & Science of Conquering Your Fears

Aristotle believed courage to be the most important quality in a man. "Courage is the first of human virtues because it makes all others possible," he wrote. Today, it's one of the more neglected areas of positive psychology, but recent research has begun to move toward an understanding of what courage is and how we might be able to cultivate the ability to face our fear and make decisions with greater fortitude.  This article shares six ways to loosen the grip of fear on your life, and become more courageous than you ever imagined.

Daily Inspirational Message for December 17, 2013

Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along. – Rumi If you’ve ever met a soul mate or experienced love at first sight, you know the power and magic of a deep soul connection. It seems to me that we need only experience this one time to know that there is some mystical force that draws us back toward those we have loved before time and time again. Knowing this, we can relax and trust that if there is someone out there whom we already love and are destined to meet again – be they a lover, a child, a teacher or a friend – then that reunion will happen in its own perfect time and way.

Making Hope Real

It’s good to hope for the best. Yet it’s infinitely more effective to put your thoughts, actions, commitment and genuine love into actually bringing about the best in life. Hoping, wishing and dreaming can be very positive experiences. It is important to remember, though, that such experiences are starting points, not ultimate destinations. You can very realistically experience what you hope for. The way to do so is to go beyond mere hope, and to put your life into making that hope real. Hope can matter very much, and have an extremely positive impact. The way to make it matter is to do something about it. Give time, effort and substance to your hope, to your dreams, wishes and visions for life. If something is important enough to hope for, it is absolutely important enough to work for. Experience how good it can be to feel the hope. Then experience how very much better it feels when you put your life into making the hope real. — Ralph Marston Read more at http://www.grea

Saving the Kind Barber and His Street Cats

With two hefty sacks of cat food in her arms, Manuela Wroblewski can't stop smiling as she whisks toward the familiar shop. Hussein, the Turkish barber, clasps his hands in gratitude as he eyes the bags of food and the two hurry over to the tiny food dishes lined up in the alley. Soon the sound of kibble clinks against the bowls and several stiff tailed cats begin to appear. But Hussein was in trouble after diminishing customers caused him to lose his lifelong barber shop in Turkey. Things were looking quite dire for this lovely man and while he didn't express any worry for his own future, he was in knots over what might happen to the street cats he feeds each day. He probably hadn't even dreamt that people from half way around the world would help.

Uncomfortable Feelings

Too often we shy away from a strong emotional experience in life that brings up old, unpleasant childhood memories. What we don't realize is we are stronger now and can handle the emotions with a better outcome. We may even find a beautiful thing... -- Joe Michael Kulbago

Wild Justice and Moral Intelligence in Animals

“Consider the following scenarios…Eleven elephants rescue a group of captive antelope in KwaZula-Natal; the matriarch elephant undoes all of the latches on the gates of the enclosure with her trunk and lets the gate swing open so the antelope can escape. A rat in a cage refuses to push a lever for food when it sees that another rat receives an electric shock as a result. A male Diana monkey who learned to insert a token into a slot to obtain food helps a female who can’t get the hang of the trick, inserting the token for her and allowing her to eat the food reward.

Usually Know When It’s Time to Say Good-bye

“Let’s thank our animal companions for who they are. Let’s rejoice and embrace them as the amazing beings they are. If we open our hearts to them, we can learn much from their selfless lessons in compassion, humility, generosity, kindness, devotion, respect, spirituality, and love. By honoring our dogs’ trust, we tap into our own spirituality, into our hearts and souls. Sometimes that means not only killing them with love, but also mercifully taking their lives when their own spirit has died and life’s flame has been irreversibly extinguished.”

Pets Are Good for Us: Where Science and Common Sense Meet

“Watch a Lassie movie and spit into a cup. It doesn’t sound like it, but this is cutting-edge research. By analyzing saliva, researcher Cheryl Krause-Parello can tell that merely watching a dog in a movie lowers people’s stress. In recent years, research has demonstrated the healthful benefits of pets…[Researchers] learned that people feel better after watching a Lassie flick because their levels of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress, take a free fall.”

Daily Inspirational Message for December 16, 2013

The world is giving me constant feedback on the thoughts I hold in my mind. It provides clues to where I might find what I am looking for. I pause. I listen. I follow my heart. – Carol Bridges When something really significant is happening – when we’re about to conceive a child, meet a soul mate, or stumble upon a powerful new spiritual path – there are always signs guiding us there. The more consciously tuned in we are, the more aware we are that something important is about to happen. It’s exciting to know that we can tap into the same guidance that tells us big things are brewing in smaller ways. The same inner compass that guides us to a soul mate can direct us to the quickest route to take on our way home from work; it can help us call someone we need to talk to at a time when they’ll be available; it can give us just the right words to say to make amends and promote new peace and harmony. In every moment, we have only to stop and listen within to tap into an endless source of wis

Better Than Ever

If you’re in a pattern that’s taking you nowhere, it’s time to create a new pattern. That’s not nearly as difficult as it might initially sound. You are the person who is keeping yourself stuck in an unproductive pattern. You are the person who can move quickly, decisively and permanently to something much better. Stop and take an honest, objective look at what you’re doing. If you had a good friend who was doing the same kinds of things, think of the advice you would give that friend. One big reason you keep doing what doesn’t work is because it feels comfortable. So remind yourself that continuing in a negative, unproductive and unfulfilling pattern will make you extremely uncomfortable in the long run. Comfort feels nice, and yet fulfillment and meaningful achievement feel thousands of times better. Your life is meant to be filled with the richness of new experiences, not just the comfort of familiar routines. Get yourself out of that same old pattern and get yourself on a

Material World: A Global Family Portrait

"Photojournalist Peter Menzel's visual anthropology captures the striking span of humanity's socioeconomic and cultural spectrum. In 'Material World: A Global Family Portrait', Menzel traveled to 30 different countries, found a statistically average family in each country, and photographed them outside their home, with all of their belongings. The result is an incredible cross-cultural quilt of possessions, from the utilitarian to the sentimental, revealing the faceted and varied ways in which we use 'stuff' to make sense of the world and our place in it." This piece showcases some of these stunning photos that pose interesting and profound statements about the material world.

A Formula for Happiness

HAPPINESS has traditionally been considered an elusive and evanescent thing. To some, even trying to achieve it is an exercise in futility. It has been said that “happiness is as a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but which if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.”

Daily Inspirational Message for December 15, 2013

The shaman is not merely a sick man, or a madman; he is a sick man who has healed himself. – Terence McKenna I often find myself wondering what I’m doing wrong to be going through whatever I’m going through. For example, if I get sick, I start to question what’s going on with my vibration that is making me vulnerable. Am I not serene enough? Am I not listening to my body and inner guidance? Am I giving too much attention to illness? Am I somehow doing something wrong? The more we work with natural spiritual law to successfully mold our course of experience to our liking, the more we may start to feel like we can control everything and should be invulnerable to all heartache and illness and free of all negative emotion. It’s important to remember, however, that without stress, there is no new growth. Every challenging experience nudges us another step along the path; each one offers us an opportunity to see ourselves and life from a slightly new and different angle. Every time we walk t

Let Us Begin With Courage

The Okanagan People practice bio-regionally self-sufficient economies and believe that the total community must be engaged in order to attain sustainability and survival. The word "cooperation" is insufficient to describe the organic nature by which members of this community nurture the voluntary care of each other and of other life forms, the practice of which they hold to be an essential foundation for everyday living. Jeannette Armstrong, who was born into the Okanagan living community, shares more about this deep philosophy in which she was raised.

Daily Inspirational Message for December 14, 2013

So there are people whom you are strongly connected to whom you’ve not met yet, but the chances are you’ll make all the right choices, and so will they, so that you will come into each other’s lives, where you’ll remain there for a ‘reason, a season, or a lifetime.’ The force of these connections can be strong, I believe, so that the effect is like a whirlpool in a river pulling your boat towards it. Chances are, wherever you paddle, you’ll end up there! – David R. Hamilton I have many times met someone and had that special feeling like I knew them from somewhere. I don’t always know if I am remembering them from a past life or if I am sensing that I am going to know them well and spend a lot of meaningful time with them in the future, I just know that something momentous is happening and that this person is going to prove important to my journey. To me, it’s really exciting to know that there are more of these people out there whom I’ve yet to cross paths with. There are new/old frien

Unwelcome Interruptions

You have great plans, and yet life is always getting in the way. You intensely wish to move forward, but all sorts of things seem to constantly interrupt and impede that movement. But do those unexpected and unwelcome interruptions really have to hold you back? The fact is, you don’t have to let them. Sure, you must regularly deal with the urgent, pressing matters that come your way. But that doesn’t mean those unwelcome interruptions have to take over your life. Instead of seeing those interruptions as negative, distracting influences, you can just as realistically choose to see them as positive, empowering opportunities. Just because they weren’t in your plans doesn’t mean they have to upset your plans. Decide that there’s something positive to be found, and you’ll find something positive in anything. Decide that the interruptions won’t really interrupt you, but will in fact provide you with additional ways to move forward, and that’s exactly what will happen. Learn to welc

The Thinking Habit That Changed My Life

Writing out a gratitude list can be a simple, yet profound act. "It's interesting, because so much of our lives are spent in unconscious mental habits. Without knowing it, we complain, we nitpick, we stress about little faults; we see the bad in people and situations. Changing that doesn't happen immediately. However, you can change a little at a time. Start with a small gratitude session, and really be thankful. Really feel the happiness that something or someone is in your life."

Daily Inspirational Message for December 13, 2013

Don’t mire up in self-despair of your losses, learn from them and move on to other good things in life. Don’t stop allowing the sunshine in because of the fear that winter will come and engulf the warmth. Hold it close to you to help you through those cold winter days. – Belinda Taylor There is a long winter ahead of us here, and though I’ve gotten better at enjoying it over the years, I still sometimes find myself dreading the cold, dark months ahead. When I catch myself staring sadly at the sun outside, longing to hold on to it, I realize that it’s pretty silly to squander the happiness available to me in the now by worrying about potentially darker days in the future. When I realize I’m dreading some inevitable unpleasantness, I try to remember that it is winter that makes summer so delicious; it is endings that enable new beginnings; it is cloudy days that make sunny ones feel so good.

Clear Direction

Decide where you will go, and then go there. When you live by intention, there is no limit to the rich rewards that life can bring. To get somewhere, you must first know precisely where that is. To achieve, you must zero in on the specific details of your intended achievement. Whether it is for an hour, a day, a month, five years or five decades, clear and purposeful direction makes a profound difference. The highest level of fulfillment comes to those who can envision precisely what that fulfillment looks like. Yes, it’s difficult to hone your scattered ideas and desires into a positive, coherent direction. Yet you most certainly can do it, and each time you do the results will be amazing. Give yourself a clear direction for this day, for this week, for this beautiful and unique life of yours. Give yourself a clear direction and you’ll have a workable path to your own special greatness. In whatever you’re doing, choose a direction that will express your highest, most treasur

The Truth About Love & Vulnerability

"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable." See the words of C.S. Lewis come to life through the cartoons of Zen Pencils artist Gavin Aung.

Daily Inspirational Message for December 12, 2013

Sometimes the door closes on a relationship, not because we failed but because something bigger than us says this no longer fits our life. So, lock the door, shed a tear, turn around and look for the new door that’s opened. It’s a sign that you’re no longer that person you were, it’s time to change into who you are. It’s going to be okay. – Lee Goff Imagine that you were still hanging out daily with your six-year-old pals from the playground, that you were still working in the first job you ever had, or that you were still dating the first boy or girl you ever kissed. When I imagine those things, it doesn’t feel great – it actually feels alarming – for that would mean that I didn’t get to meet all the new friends I’ve met, have the new experiences I’ve had, or love the new loves I’ve loved over the years. If there is some relationship or situation that isn’t working for you anymore, relax and let it go. It may feel a little scary, but doing so will free you to meet and love new people,

Give Care

If all you care about is what’s in it for you, there won’t be much in it for you. If all you care about is what other people think of you, people won’t think very highly of you. What you care about has a powerful impact on the way your life unfolds. So instead of caring so much about what you think you need, put your energy into caring for all that you have. You have life, and great possibilities, and other people with whom to enjoy it all. You have a universe filled with beauty and wonder, and the opportunity to create new meaning and value. Give loving care, attention, gratitude and support to the abundance with which your world is filled. Take good care of the good things, and they will grow even more beneficial. Give care, focused thought, attention and awareness to whatever you’re doing, and whatever you’re doing will bring meaningful, valuable results. Give your care to making a difference, and continually put that care into action. Lift up life by caring for it. Give t

7 Lessons For Leaders In Systems Change

Creating systemic change is increasingly imperative in our times as we seek ways to improve the way that we live and relate to each other and to the earth. This large-scale thinking recognizes that, "Individual things - like plants, people, schools, communities, and watersheds - are all systems of interrelated elements. At the same time, they can't be fully understood apart from the larger systems in which they exist." What does it take to change the systems in which we live today? This piece offers seven lessons for community leaders, politicians, and teachers, and others vested in nurturing ecological conditions that are ripe for change and awakening.

Relaxation Techniques

“Guided imagery, autogenic training, biofeedback, and hypnotherapy are all techniques that can enable us to reach deep states of relaxation. It was once thought that the autonomic nervous system and things such as heart rate and blood pressure could not be voluntarily controlled. But it turns out that with proper training we can, for example, be trained to slow our heart rate and lower our blood pressure. We can dilate our peripheral blood vessels and make our cold hands warm. This type of training can also be used to control our response to pain and thereby change our experience of pain.”

Spirituality and Religion

“It used to be that the terms spirituality and science could not appear in the same sentence. There was no room in science for a spiritual self. However, some recent developments in science are changing this paradigm…Research shows that people who have a regular religious practice, regardless of which practice it is, live longer and healthier lives. We can suppose that the predictable aspect of a regular religious practice and the calm and meditative aspects of it are responsible for the health benefits. Other aspects of religion often included in the discussion of spirituality are more controversial, such as intercessory prayer, the practice of having people pray for the health of others.”


“There are many different types of meditation. Some use concentration: you focus your attention on only one thing, such as a sound or mantra. Some employ mindfulness: you quiet your mind by excluding outside thoughts and plans, and you focus on the awareness of everything you are experiencing in that moment and from moment to moment. People think of meditation as something they have to sit still for. That appeals to some, but others just don’t ‘have the time’ or ‘get bored.’ Some forms of meditation involve stillness and some involve movement. ‘The real meditation,’ says Jon Kabat-Zinn, ‘is how you live your life.’”