Saturday, February 20, 2016

Wondering About Medical Issues? New Animated Videos by Doctors Can Explain

If online medical searches are turning you into a hypochondriac, these doctors may have the cure for what ails you.

“Doctablet”, which was launched this week, is a series of animated, online videos hosted by respected physicians that explain basic health issues through storytelling.

Dr. Jose Taveras and Dr. Christopher Palmeiro created it as an alternative to boring pamphlets, inaccurate search engine results, and uninformed health blogs.

Doctablet’s videos provide accurate, factual medical information in an entertaining format. They’re free of medical jargon and explain health matters in easy to understand illustrations — such as comparing diabetes to the workings of an old-fashioned locomotive or heart attacks to your car’s engine.

“I’m a jokester and I love breaking things down in a novel way,” Dr. Palmeiro said. “This method is not only more fun than, ‘here, read this pamphlet,’ it keeps with educational practices of today. How do we learn? We go online.”

They unveiled their Doctablet website with four videos to start — in addition to the ones mentioned above, there’s one about how carbohydrates and processed foods affect your body and another explaining abnormal sugar levels.

Each video features both English and Spanish language versions. They’ll be adding more in the future to address more medical issues. There’s even a countdown timer to let you know when the next video – on cholesterol – will be available.

The Most Worldly Awareness Comes Out of This 11-Year-old After Illness (Listen)

Dramatic seizures aren’t enough to dampen this 11-year-old’s quest for knowledge – and this interview suggests they have actually piqued the boy’s spirituality and love for friends and family.

After the seizures started about a year ago, Benny Smith had to leave school and be tutored at home. That’s rough for a brilliant kid who has an insatiable thirst for learning–but it is also tough on his sister who didn’t get equal attention at home. Benny pointed out this fact to his mother, hoping to change it, which shows he’s more worried about his family’s well-being than his own.

In a candid, thoughtful interview recorded by his mom for the StoryCorps website, this smart-as-a-whip child reveals, “I’ve got a yearning.”

“It’s like the call of the sirens from Odysseus, but instead of flesh-eating monsters, it’s like a treasure-trove of knowledge.”

As you can see, Benny is not your average sixth-grader.

He’s going back to the classroom this year and throughout his ordeal kept a positive outlook on life, saying he has stayed focused on the “galaxy of experiences” life holds for him.

He believes–with the support of his friends–he’s invincible.

“Nothing can stop me!”

It’s Grrrreat: Wild Tiger Populations On the Rise in Thailand

Thailand’s tigers are coming back from the brink — with their numbers nearly tripling here — thanks to heightened protections.

An eight-year long “census” tracked the big cats across Southeast Asia between 2005 and 2012, and found tiger populations nearly tripled in size in Thailand, where the government has carried out tough anti-poaching efforts.

The study, published in the journal Conservation Biology, was the first ever long term study of tigers in the region. It identified 90 Indochinese tigers in Thailand’s Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary — up from their all time low of 35 just a few years earlier. Only 350 of the subspecies existed in a handful of countries in the wild in 2010.

The Wildlife Conservation Society and Thai government have worked together for nearly 15 years to step up anti-poaching efforts, such as armed guards regularly patrolling in the sanctuary. Conservationists believe those protections have created an environment where not only tigers are safe, but their prey is multiplying too, which enables the tiger population to expand with the food source.

Tribute To Harper Lee (1926-2016): 10 Intriguing Things About The Author

Harper Lee experienced immediate success with the publication of To Kill A Mockingbird in 1960.

Then it was more than a half-century until the publication of her next work, Go Set A Watchman.

While To Kill A Mockingbird was hailed as a masterpiece, and sold some 40-million copies, Go Set A Watchman was widely considered by many critics as little more than a curiosity.

It enjoyed an initial printing of 2 million, despite often weak reviews.

Here are 10 things about Pulitzer Prize-winning Lee, who died peacefully on Thursday at age 89.

Hop to It! Adorable Baby Kangaroo Demands Its Milk NOW (WATCH)

This hungry little joey’s patience is wearing thin.

The little guy is a resident of The Kangaroo Sanctuary Alice Springs, created by Chris ‘Brolga’ Barns in 2005 to care for orphaned baby kangaroos.

Barns was nominated for “Australian of the Year” in 2014 for his work to rescue the country’s iconic animals. He has written a book called Kangaroo Dundee, which is also the title of a BBC Documentary about his hopping-good works.

His refuge cares for more than two dozen joeys at a time, but this one isn’t interested in waiting until the rest are at the dinner table. Watch the animal’s insistence in the cute video above.

“I Got You a Hamster!” Sister’s Love Brings Boy to Tears (WATCH)

What’s better than a new pet hamster? …How about a hug.

That’s what this little boy gives his sister after she surprises him with a gift bought with her own birthday money.

Abby Stout’s parents asked her what she wanted to do with the $55 she’d received from friends and family, and the little girl never faltered in her answer.

“I want to surprise Daniel and buy him his hamster,” she told them. “He has been working soooo hard.”

Her mother, Rachel, caught the surprise on video as Daniel hugged his sister and cried tears of joy over her kindness.

The video has been shared more than a million times. It even brought tears to their dad at work.
“I am literally crying at work…,” the elder Daniel Stout wrote on his wife’s Facebook page. “Our kids are incredible.”

Maker of OFF! Donates $15M and Cuts Price to Help People Avoid Zika Virus

The maker of one of the world’s most popular mosquito repellants is ramping up production, cutting its cost in Argentina, and donating millions to help people around the world avoid the Zika virus.

Wisconsin-based S.C. Johnson, maker of OFF!, is giving $15 million dollars over the course of this year to the Red Cross and governments of countries affected by the mosquito-borne disease.

Zika is usually a mild disease–most people won’t even know they’ve had it–but in some cases it can cause severe birth defects if a woman contracts the disease while pregnant.

Production of the repellant has been increased at three factories to supply nine times the normal demand in both Brazil and Argentina where the virus has spread fastest. They also cut the cost of OFF! by 25% after a request from Argentinian leaders.

CEO Fisk Johnson says the company is running round-the-clock shifts seven days a week. He also says the family-owned company has shifted its focus from profits to making sure there is a steady supply chain to places that need their product so there are no shortages.

Daily Inspirational Quote - February 20, 2016

“Do one thing every day that scares you.”

I don’t think this means to literally scare you but more that you should do something that gets the blood pumping through your veins. Something along the lines of perhaps joining a group that you’ve wanted to join for a while but getting to know a bunch of new people scares you. Or just getting on a bus or train to somewhere you’ve never been before but have always wanted to explore, etc. You get the picture? We all put off or dismiss things we’d like to do but are too scared or nervous about the reaction of others. Why put it off any longer, make a resolution to do something every day that scares you. Even if you only do it for a week, a month, won’t it be fun and, who knows, what it could lead to in the future. Exciting times.


The World's Happiest Man on Altruism

Matthieu Ricard, also known as 'the world's happiest man', spent the best part of 25 years in the Himalayas with barely any contact with the Western world he was born into. At 26-years-old he left behind his molecular biology studies and settled into a life of serenity and spiritual training. However, he is now very much back on the Western scene. When I ask Ricard why he returned, he sighs and says: "When I was in my hermitage I thought, if I can do something useful, maybe I should come down for a bit"

This piece shares more about Ricard's perspectives on life, business, and altruism.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Daily Inspirational Quote - February 19, 2016

“The first to apologize is the bravest. The first to forgive is the strongest, and the first to forget is the happiest.”

I’d like to think that I could be all three wouldn’t you? That would be great and would say a lot about how nice and how sensible I am……. However, I have to be honest and confess that I find I can’t always be this nice, but I’m working on it. I think that’s the only thing most of us can do and that’s to work on being the first to be brave, strong and happy. At least if we are aware that this is what we need to be doing then we are half way there so good for us and, if everybody thought the same, well wouldn’t that be just wonderful?


The Principle of Sufficiency

Lynne Twist, author of "The Soul of Money," shares the distinction, as she sees it, between sufficiency and abundance and why understanding this distinction can help build a future that will serve us all. "We can move our money, or the money we are entrusted with, toward that which will serve us all from a sense of our own wholeness rather than a desperate longing to be complete. I call this living in the context of sufficiency. This is not the same as abundance (abundance is more than we need-- it is excess), and in the context in which I'm speaking, abundance is merely the flip side of scarcity. You strive to get more than you need because you believe or fear there is not enough."

We can learn to invest the resources that flow through our lives in a new future for all of us. We can direct those resources, whether they are like a rushing torrent coming through our lives or a small trickle, to our highest commitments and ideals. We can move our money, or the money we are entrusted with, toward that which will serve us all from a sense of our own wholeness rather than a desperate longing to be complete.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Students Design Refugee Coat that Becomes Tent, Sleeping Bag

A group of interior design students have created the ultimate outerwear for refugees — a poncho that converts into a tent or sleeping bag, while safely storing important documents.

The wearable shelter features large, waterproof pockets for carrying vital papers and supplies, and it offers the convenience of an easy folding method to create a warm sleeping bag or, by adding a few kite rods, a personal tent.

Students at London’s Royal College of Art took part in an intense “hackathon,” working with guidance from Doctors Without Borders to create what they’re calling “wearable habitations.”

WALL Fashion London paid for factory-ready prototypes of the final design and the students have launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the money needed to bring their idea to market.

They hope to have their design available to the public in June.

“While our wearable won’t solve the whole problem it addresses a small part of it,’ Dr Harriet Harriss said. “Its conspicuous, provocative design also acts as a kind of spotlight on the crisis, serving as a reminder to us all about the need to continue to press forward in finding an integrated and lasting solution to the problem.”

Vet Crawls Into Rescued Dog’s Crate to Show Her How to Eat (WATCH)

A veterinarian won over a jittery stray dog — and the hearts of millions of people — after he crawled into the pup’s crate and shared a meal with her.

The little rescue dog that Dr. Andy Mathis would later name “Graycie” was brought into his office about two weeks ago, emaciated and in poor health. The vet was afraid he’d have to put her down, but decided to ask his Facebook followers for advice.

The dog made improvements but still wouldn’t always eat — until Dr. Mathis started climbing into her crate and having regular breakfasts with her.

Dr. Mathis has been documenting Graycie’s progress on his Facebook and Instagram pages and she’s doing better — perhaps proving breakfast really is the most important meal of anyone’s day.

Daily Inspirational Quote - February 18, 2016

“Don’t ruin a good day today by thinking about yesterday’s bad day….let it go.

This should be a mantra for us all. Easier said than done though. However, yesterday is gone, there’s nothing we can do about it, so why not concentrate on the new day ahead and make it a good one? Every time a wee niggly, troublesome thought about the day before comes into your head just push it away as it doesn’t belong in your head anymore, it belongs to yesterday so wish it back there and have a great day instead.


Dignity Village: Homes For Portland's Homeless

"On a frigid January morning in Portland, Ore., a tour through Dignity Village follows the same path its residents are required to travel. All were, or are, homeless. Newcomers to this homeless refuge huddle in the warming station, a small portable with photos of smiling former residents and where they are required to stay during a 60-day probationary period. They hope to graduate to a small makeshift home like Karen, a three-month resident whose boisterous laugh carries through the village...'There's a real sense of pride here, a real sense of community that you don't find elsewhere,' she says. Called an "intentional community" by its members and a homeless encampment by outsiders, Dignity Village is a step toward curbing Portland's skyrocketing homeless population."

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Daily Inspirational Quote - February 17, 2016

“We do not heal the past by dwelling there; we heal the past by living fully in the present.”

Good advice isn’t it? Basically telling us to move on and turn our energy into making the present a much better place to find ourselves living in than the past turned out to be. It’s knowing when to let go and move on that we find difficult. It can be difficult to release our past in order to move on as everything we go through in life becomes part of us, whether we wish it to or not. We are made up of everything that happens to us since we first draw breath and this becomes who we are. However, as we travel through life, we need to realize that when our present has done what it is supposed to, it then becomes our past, so we’re always moving, never still, so should live fully in the present not the past.


Our Shortened Attention Span & 3 Ways To Stay Focused

"In the digital age, where the news is limited to 140 characters and conversations take place in the form of emojis, our attention span has shortened. A recent study has found this digital lifestyle has made it difficult for us to stay focused, with the human attention span shortening from 12 seconds to eight seconds in more than a decade....Humans now have less of an attention span than a goldfish (nine seconds average)....A weaker attention span could be the side effect of the brain having to adapt and change over time in the presence of technology. However, there are ways to improve our attention span amid the ongoing texts, tweets, and other interruptions."

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Girl With Half Her Brain Becomes Speech Pathologist as Adult (Video)

An 8-year-old girl who had the right side of her brain removed in a life-saving surgery has grown up to earn a Master’s degree and become a speech pathologist.

Christina Santhouse was suffering from Rasmussen’s encephalitis — an extremely rare autoimmune disorder that caused 150 seizures every day.

With the condition worsening, doctors agreed the only way to save her life was to remove the right half of her brain.

As she was wheeled into the operating room, Christina was upbeat and excited about getting her life back after having experiencing so many seizures. Dr. Ben Carson — who would one day run for President — performed the surgery.

People who undergo the radical procedure — called a hemispherectomy — usually have very limited options for the rest of their lives. One of Christina’s teachers believed her job options would be limited to answering phones.

But as Christina grew up, she held on to her goals. Even though she lost motor skills on the left side of her body, the use of her left hand, and half her vision, she was determined to do everything her classmates were doing.

Paralyzed at Columbine, Shooting Victim Forgives Mother of Gunman

Saying she looks to the future and at what’s positive in her life, a woman paralyzed in the 1999 Columbine, Colorado high school shooting has publicly forgiven the mother of one of the killers.

Anne Marie Hochhalter says it took her years to get over her anger and move beyond the tragic events that left her paralyzed from the waist down.

“I have forgiven you and only wish you the best,” Anne Marie Hochhalter wrote to Sue Klebold in a Facebook post Thursday.

Hochhalter’s decision to go public comes as Sue Klebold is releasing a book about her son Dylan, who was one of the two shooters. All the profits from the memoir, A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy, will go to help people with mental illness.

Hochhalter admitted that mental illness is a common bond between her family and the Klebolds’. Her own mother struggled with it before committing suicide six months after the shooting.

“It means a lot to me that you wouldn’t keep those proceeds for yourself, but to help others that suffer from mental illness,” Hochhalter wrote on her Facebook page.

It’s Random Acts of Kindness Week: The Health Benefits of Being Kind

Did you know that people who are kind produce 23% less cortisol (the stress hormone) and age slower than the average population? It’s true. Engaging in acts of kindness actually lowers blood pressure and reduces stress.

Science also shows that being kind rewards everyone with increased energy and well-being–even people viewing the kindness are infused with positive benefits.

Formally recognized by President Clinton in 1995, Random Acts of Kindness Week has been spreading goodness each February (14–20 this year) for more than two decades, but the general trend goes back even farther.

A magazine article in the 1980’s by Anne Herbert – and her later book, Random Kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty (first published by Conari Press in 1991) – began the ‘random acts of kindness’ craze that is abbreviated for social media to #RAK. Ms. Herbert was sitting in a Sausalito, California restaurant when she was first inspired to scribble these words on a place mat: “practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty.”

The idea has been carried into communities and churches and even picked up by a non-profit foundation.

This year, The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation is asking individuals to sign a Kindness Pledge and spread the word via social media about their #Pledge2BeKind. The organization would also like to collect as many personal stories as possible.

Kindness also has a natural way of spreading, without any organization at all. Stanford University studies show that when people are the recipients of kind words or deeds they are automatically more likely to behave kindly toward others–thus spreading the original generosity even further.

If health benefits and happiness aren’t enough for ambitious youth, consider a new report from Harvard that recommends that college applicants focus on kindness instead of overachieving.

Start Your Own Ripple… Try These Random Acts of Kindness This Week:
For People on Streets: Carry umbrellas or bundles of new socks in your car and hand them out when you see someone who could benefit.

Driving Through Restaurants and Tolls:  Pay the bill for the next car behind you at a toll booth or a coffee shop, and you will get a delightful feeling.

Talk to Someone Waiting in Line with You:  A simple gesture like talking to someone who is alone in line with you is an act of kindness. Be courageous the next time you get an inner nudging urging you to strike up a conversation. Most people have things in common and this kind of interchange can lead to happiness and even laughter, which others in line will envy.

Send Someone a Random Note or Email of Appreciation: Enhance your work relationship or reconnect with a beloved friend by dropping a quick note to them on their Facebook page or by email. Even better, send a card through the mail.

Compliment Others: Whether it is about how you look, or how they you feel, everyone enjoys hearing an unexpected compliment. Try to point out something good about each person you talk to this week.

Smile at Everyone You Pass: You will get health benefits just by smiling at people; and you never know when you will turn around someone’s bad mood with a cheerful hello and generous smile.

New App Turns Phones into Earthquake Alert System

When an earthquake hits, even a few seconds advance notice can be precious. Because digital communications can outrun seismic waves, scientists at the Berkeley Seismological Laboratory have designed and released MyShake, a free Android app that crowdsources earthquake detection.

The app uses the same built-in accelerometers that tell your phone when to flip its screen orientation. They’re sensitive enough to register quakes starting at magnitude 5.0—when shaking typically begins to damage built structures. After the scientists have tested it under public use, they plan to add an early warning feature, complete with a timer counting down to impact. At that point, perhaps a year from now, MyShake should be able to sense, report and alert users to an earthquake in less than a second. That would be a crucial heads-up, especially in parts of the world with no other seismic sensor network.

The brain of the app is an algorithm that picks earthquake vibrations out of the ordinary bumps, jumps and drops that phones endure daily. In tests on a shake table, the program correctly picked the vibrations of past quakes about 93 percent of the time. Once the app sees a match, the researchers explain in a paper published February 12 in the journal Science Advances, it reports to a central server along with its location. If a majority of nearby devices send the same report, the earthquake is confirmed.

“We want to get thousands of people using the app and record a couple of earthquakes to be sure that everything is working properly,” says Richard Allen, the project lead and director of University of California, Berkeley’s seismology lab. “We see this as rolling out a very dense seismic sensor, so it’s as much about recording data as it is about sending early warnings. That data will help us better understand earthquakes, how buildings respond to earthquakes and how to improve our earthquake resilience.”

Depending on their distance from the epicenter and the strength of the quake, users would get alerts anywhere between a few tenths of a second to several minutes before shaking starts.

A few seconds is enough time for people to get to a safe place, like under a table, says Allen. During California’s 1994 Northridge and 1989 Loma Prieta earthquakes, he adds, furniture, light fixtures and other falling hazards caused more than half of all injuries. It’s also enough time for automated trains to slow or stop, for elevators to go to the nearest floor to avoid trapping riders and for sensitive data servers to protect valuable information. “Early warning can reduce the overall impact so that fewer people are affected and the region as a whole can pick itself up more quickly,” says Allen.

The Berkeley Seismological Laboratory already helps oversee a network of 400 buried seismic stations in California. They’re tied into ShakeAlert, a West Coast warning system that’s under development. When a magnitude 6.0 earthquake hit South Napa in August 2014, the system sent a five to 10 second advance notice to nearby recipients such as the Bay Area Rapid Transit railway.

“ShakeAlert warnings automatically slow down all the trains. And if there is actual shaking, accelerometers on the tracks stop them,” says Taylor Huckaby, a communications officer for the railway. “That mitigates a large disaster like a train derailing. When Berkeley approached us about it we were all aboard.”

Rather than replace buried sensors, MyShake will support and multiply the data they provide. In parts of the world with no traditional seismic network, the app has the potential to quickly and cheaply increase public safety. “Nepal is a good example,” says Allen, citing the earthquakes there in April and May of 2015 that killed nearly 10,000 people. “They have no seismic stations, but there are 6 million smartphones in the country and 600,000 in Kathmandu alone. There MyShake has a real opportunity to make a difference.”

The app would be useful in such places, says Denis McClean, spokesman for the U.N. Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, so long as people know what to do once they get an alert: “They also need to understand how to react in those circumstances in a way that is safe. That is why earthquake drills are so important,” he says.

Of course the app will only work if people install it. Allen says MyShake needs at least 300 users in a given 68-square-mile area to work well. With an eye to retaining users, the scientists worked with Silicon Valley Innovation Center, part of Deutsche Telekom, to design the app to use as little memory and battery power as possible. The researchers’ dream is to get earthquake detection built into all phone operating systems, a goal that would probably require moving both heaven and earth to achieve.

Principal Announces Snow Day With Soulful Adele Cover Video (WATCH)

As principal of Moses Brown School, Matt Glendinning decided to get creative when announcing to the kids of Providence, Rhode Island that school was canceled due to bad weather.

The community was hit by a blizzard with 3 feet of snow – but they also got a hilarious Adele cover.

In a sepia-toned parody video, Matt tells his students to stay home to the tune of Adele’s “Hello”.
“Oh it snowed a lot out siiiiiiiiide,” Matt crooned, ”and now it’s not safe to driiiiiiive.”

With his surprisingly soulful voice and witty replaced lyrics, is it possible that Matt did Adele better than Adele?

Daily Inspirational Quote - February 16, 2016

“When the dark clouds of doubt, anger or worry begin to move upon you, steady yourself in the knowledge that, in time, the storm will pass.”

It’s something I try to do whenever I’m facing a problem, feeling angry, worrying, or occasionally when the dark cloud of just feeling down seems to hover over my head. I’ve learned, from experience, that because time passes no matter what’s going on in our lives, it all eventually fades into the past. So, no matter how dire things appear, I can be reassured it’s a transitory phase and I just need to focus on this fact until the “weather” forecast becomes more promising for the future.


Karen Armstrong on Leading from the Heart

"It is difficult not to feel helpless as we witness the widespread cruelty, poverty and injustice that human beings inflict upon one another. It is tempting to harden our hearts or to dwell only upon the suffering that we have endured. But this can no longer be an option. Compassion is not emotional feeling of goodwill; it does not mean pity; it is rather the principled determination to put ourselves into the place of the other. One of the most urgent tasks of our generation is to build a global community, where men and women of all races, nations and ideologies can live together in peace."

Monday, February 15, 2016

You Live in a Multidimensional Reality

An Excerpt from Seven Cups of Consciousness by Aleya Dao

The world you live in is made up of multiple dimensions. The physical dimension is just one floor of a multistory building. Each floor or dimension holds different energies and levels of consciousness.
The physical dimension contains solid objects, a linear time line, finite resources, and limited space. You can only accomplish a certain amount in a day, depending on your energy level, the amount of time you have, and the resources available to you. It is a finite experience.

The nonphysical dimensions are more etheric realities. Time is not linear, space is infinite, and resources are endless. For example, when you dream, a few seconds may seem like several hours. During a meditation, you may grasp a concept in seconds that might otherwise take years of study to fully comprehend. When you use your imagination or fantasize, you are accessing different dimensions that contain different layers of information and perspectives.

Let’s take a quick dimensional trip. Imagine standing in the lobby of a hotel. You step into a glass elevator and press the button for the sixth floor. As you ascend and look down at the lobby, you have a different vantage point. You see things that you could not see before. When you arrive on the sixth floor, you are able to access information that would have been otherwise unavailable. Once you have gathered all the information you need, you travel back down to the lobby. When you use your energetic glass elevator, you may find yourself traveling faster than light and receiving profound wisdom. You will see your challenges from a different angle. You will come up with solutions and receive new insights.

The information you access can be viewed as physiological (simply a function of the human brain), as spiritual (a connection to God), or as an energetic multidimensional reality, depending on how you view the nature of the Universe.

The key lies in your ability to focus on your inner world, using your imagination and intent as a way to connect to other dimensions. When you close your eyes and focus on your breath, you take your awareness off your outer physical life and move into an inner dimensional one. This shift in awareness opens you up to a multidimensional reality.

The Cosmic Two-by-Four
During my first enlightenment experience in 2001, I was engulfed in a multidimensional reality, which felt just as real as the physical world. It was an amazing, overwhelming, clarifying experience that took me years to fully comprehend and integrate.

Your first experience of a multidimensional reality may be just as mind-blowing. Any time your perception of reality radically shifts in a positive way, it is a moment of enlightenment. You may have many mini-moments of enlightenment in your life, or you may have one big one. To give you a taste of what a “big one” feels like, I will share mine in more detail.

My awakening moment came while I was receiving a sound healing session. As Mary McLaughlin’s “Bring the Peace” pulsed through the sound table, and I took a deep breath, my consciousness abruptly altered.

My awareness instantly shifted from the physical realm into a higher realm. A white light flashed over me, and I found myself standing on a platform of light looking down at the planet. I felt an exquisite vibration of love. I saw thousands of light-beings full of love and compassion surrounding Earth. Millions of lines of light encircled the planet, creating spheres and grids that held uncountable numbers of vibrations and consciousnesses.

I felt peaceful, warm, safe, and connected to this exquisite fabric of love. There was a profound sense of support and strength inside me. I had clarity and a deep understanding about the nature and purpose of life that reached far beyond the simple knowing of my mind.

I felt a group of light-beings around me, and a surge of energy pushed me off my platform of light. I instinctively curled into a tight ball as I accelerated down a tunnel. The music became louder, and I felt myself passing through thick blankets of light, the energetic veils that separate the dimensions.

I became aware of my body and felt a current of energy rushing down the back of my neck and down the front of my spine. I could feel a river of light flowing through the top of my head, down the front of my spine, through the center of Earth, and looping up behind me into the heart of Source, where my divine spark resides. I could feel and hear a group of energetic beings around me. I would later refer to this river of light as my divine line, and the angelic ones as my Team.

I felt my body tingling and radiating with energy. I could literally feel the light emanating from my fingertips. My awareness of the other realms activated. I felt the exquisite vibration of love encompassing everything. I had a deep inner knowing of my own essence and of my journey that extended far beyond my earthly years. All that I had known quietly faded away and a deep peace, connection, and inner knowing of who I truly am came into being. From that moment on, I was aware.

Many mystics have talked about this experience as an awakening or as enlightenment, and I can see why. I literally awakened to a new reality. Everything was different. I could see through the veils, the energetic curtains that separate the dimensions. I perceived swirls of color, light, and sound representing subtle energies. Information flowed to me via channels that had just opened up for me. I could see and understand a new conception of reality.

I slowly got off the table and instantly felt dizzy. I sat down for a moment and collected myself before I quietly thanked the practitioner and headed for the door. As I stood outside, taking deep breaths of cold air, I felt my Team surround me. I got in my car, and heard them say: “Now drive.”

I thought to myself, “Sure, no problem. I just shifted my entire reality. I have had a massive spiritual awakening, and I am now able to perceive multiple dimensions simultaneously. My body is tingling and shaking with energy. And they want me to drive?” I made it two blocks before I had to pull over and walk the short distance home.

That night as I lay in bed vibrating, I thought about my new reality. I could feel a river of light inside me. I could feel how the river is connected to Source. I could perceive other realms and beings in other realms. I could hear other people’s thoughts and feel their feelings. If I had not been an alternative medicine practitioner and a doctor of Oriental Medicine, I might have thought I was experiencing a psychotic break. Fortunately, I had read about all the potential symptoms of an enlightenment experience.

Of course, it’s one thing to read about these experiences, but to actually have them...? Well, there is no comparison. Your journey is yours, and yours alone.

Working with Your Team

An Excerpt from Seven Cups of Consciousness by Aleya Dao

You may remember that as a child you sensed a presence around you. You might have called this presence by a particular name or just thought of it as your imaginary friend. You may have had several “friends” you talked to during the day. Perhaps they were there for you in the middle of the night if you woke with a fright.

Your friends — your guides and your Team — are all still around you. These beings of love and light can help you. They can support and buffer energy for you. In fact, the primary purpose of your Team is to protect you and to model a connected, balanced, and supportive energy to you. (I capitalize Team when referring to this group of energy beings to emphasize their importance in your life.)

Your Team is similar to your angelic guides, but they never leave you. Your guides, who are beings like archangels or Ascended Masters, come and go, depending on your needs and circumstances.

Your Team is unique to you. Each one of your Team members is here to grow, evolve, and assist you as you journey through life. They are not fragments of you. Rather, they hold their own consciousness, which is similar to your level of consciousness. Your Team may be a little less or a little more evolved than you, but not by much. Think of it like a baseball team. You would not put individuals from a Little League team in with professional players. You are all players on a field holding similar interests, agendas, and levels of mastery.

Your Team has influenced your life since birth. We have all had previous lives and will have future lives in this world or possibly in other realms. If your Team has been with you for several incarnations, you will share experiences and memories.

As your Team members encircle you in another dimension, they influence your state of being and what you create. You will empathically feel the vibrations, emotions, and consciousness they are holding inside themselves. When your Team holds a peaceful energy, you will feel peaceful. If they are anxious, you will feel their anxiety. When you invite your Team to cultivate the inner qualities that support them, you will be positively empathically affected.

When you get acquainted with your Team, you will no longer feel alone on the playing field. Life stops being such a struggle. You can ask your Team to hold energies that assist you instead of limiting you. Using your Team gives you access to amazing resources in different dimensions.

If you are feeling unsupported, your Team might be sleeping on the job. Like any team members, they need coaching, leadership, direction, and purpose. You are the leader. If you would like greater support in your life, now would be a good time to wake up your Team members and get them to huddle around you.

Use this protocol for a quick Team huddle: “I ask my Higher Self to connect with my Team Members’ Higher Selves, and I ask my Team members at the level of their Higher Selves to encircle me in the higher realms in a way that is loving, supportive, and empowering. I ask that they hold connection, love, and peace in themselves.” Take a moment and imagine your Team encircling you in the higher realms.

After my awakening, I could clearly hear and feel my Team members. They would tell me things that were about to happen. They would advise me on big and small matters, such as what lettuce to buy, what meditation I should do to help release a particular challenge, and whom I should date. I ignored the guidance a few times, and suffered the consequences. After a few calamities, I decided that listening to my Team was in my best interest.

Working with Your Team
Your Team may appear to you as a group or as individuals. I have seen as many as fifteen members on a Team, and as few as two. Honor however you perceive your Team. Furthermore, your Team members have their own divine lines and divine sparks in the heart of Source. They also have Higher Selves that use their energy fields to shift their energy.

Ask your Team members to increase their connection to their own essence and their own divine lines. Urge your Team members to acknowledge and appreciate themselves to a greater degree. When each member acknowledges his or her own presence, you will have a much stronger sense of your Team.

Spend time talking with your Team. Invite your Team to go on a walk with you. When you go to sleep at night, make a request that you and your Team heal, release, align, and connect in healthier, happier ways.

Invite your Team members to help you. Ask them to gather appropriate information and resources. Invite them to engage in specific behaviors will that support you in your daily life. When it is tax time, I ask at least one of my Team members to put on an accounting hat so that I can engage in the task of number crunching with joy and confidence instead of dread.

When I was studying for my pilot’s license in 2006, I sent my Team off to master takeoffs and landings. The next day, I found that my piloting skills had improved dramatically. My flight instructor had no idea what had happened. She just attributed it to something inside me “clicking.” I have to give the credit to my Team. They held a certain level of mastery regarding flight. They modeled that to me, and I was empathically affected.

Developing Your Energetic Senses

An Excerpt from Seven Cups of Consciousness by Aleya Dao

Being aware of and feeling the energy in the other dimensions is different from feeling and being aware of energy in the physical dimension. It is not something you can tangibly see with your eyes, touch with your hands, smell with your nose, or hear with your ears. The energy in the other realms is subtle. It may feel like little wisps of energetic wind, a flash of light, a tingle on your arm, a quick high-pitched ringing in your ears, a weird swirling sensation in your head.

Your body’s five senses give you information about the physical dimension. In addition to your five physical senses, you have five energetic senses. When you develop your energetic senses, you will be able to perceive other dimensions.

The easiest way to develop your energetic senses is to identify your strongest physical sense. When you talk, do you describe things by the way they look, sound, feel, smell, or taste? Are you more sensitive to light, sounds, smells, taste, or touch? When you determine your strongest physical sense, you can focus on strengthening and opening this sense at an energetic level.

Imagine having energetically sensitive eyes, ears, nose, mouth, or hands. Think of these energetic senses as your sixth sense. They pick up information in dimensions other than the physical. Clairsentience is energetically feeling, also know as empathic sensitivity. Clairvoyance is using your energetic eyes, also known as your third eye. Hearing energetically is called clairaudience. Clairgnosis is clear knowing. The ability to energetically taste is clairgustance. And having an energetically awakened nose is clair-alience. Everyone has the ability to energetically feel, hear, see, smell, and taste. You may have already developed a few of your five energetic senses.

When you are just beginning, I recommend using your imagination. Imagining your energetic senses puts them into your conscious awareness, where you can pay better attention to them. The sensations are so subtle that, with all the noise of life, they can be easy to miss.

The more you use your Higher Self, imagination, and intent, the more you will develop multidimensional awareness. The energetic protocols and meditations in this book will also help you develop your energetic senses. I recommend doing this slowly and carefully. It can be intense if you go too quickly.

Get In Your Divine Line
Before you jump into pumping up your five energetic senses, I recommend first learning how to connect with your divine line. My expanded awareness of other dimensions was overwhelming; I needed to find a place where I could go that would be quiet, safe, peaceful, and calm. That place was in the inner waterfall of light: my divine line. You will need a place of refuge as well.

I learned the importance of connecting with my divine line from my angelic Team. One night I was having a hard time sleeping, which was not unusual, since sleep was hard to come by those first few years after my enlightenment experience. As I gazed up through the skylight at the starry sky, I felt the familiar presence of my Team. A soft shimmering vibration radiated around me. I felt a swirling in my head that made me dizzy as I received the energetic information. (I quickly learned that the fastest and easiest way to receive energetic information was to relax, close my eyes, let go of my need to know what the information was, and just feel the energy coming from my Higher Self.)

I felt my Team members come closer and heard their gentle, loving words, inviting me to take a deep breath in. As I relaxed, they pointed to the light flowing up and down the front of my spine. My Team said, “This is your divine line. Hold as much of your awareness as possible here. Connecting with your divine line is the safest way to travel to higher dimensions.”

With each inhale I pulled myself more and more deeply into my divine line. After a few minutes, I felt a warm flow of energy gently pulsing up and down the front of my spine. I could see a beautiful, pure light flowing in this column, and a sense of peace and calm enveloped me. I felt myself standing in an exquisite shaft of light.

As I held my awareness on my divine line, my Team instructed me to firmly attach my divine line, which was bubbling off, to the front of my spine. I used my breath and asked my Higher Self to use my energy fields to firmly attach my divine line to the front of my spine.

If your divine line is not fully attached to the front of your spine it will negatively affect your chakras, your ability to be grounded, and your connection to your body. Imagine driving your car while simultaneously holding yourself off the driver’s seat. If you have resistance about being in a human body, your divine line will not be firmly attached to the front of your spine and may bubble off, as mine did initially. This resistance makes for a bumpy ride.

You can use your breath, intention, and imagination to energetically glue, Velcro, clip, or button your divine line to the front of your spine. Use whatever energetic mechanism you wish to attach yourself to the front of the spine, as long as it feels comfortable and empowering.

The more awareness you hold in your divine line, the bigger and brighter it will become. In this inner river, you are perfect.

Daily Inspirational Quote - February 15, 2016

“Forgiveness doesn’t mean that what they did is okay. It means that you are no longer willing to carry toxic anger in your heart.”

All of us, at one time or another, have known betrayal by someone else. Be it in a relationship, workplace, an acquaintance, a friendship, etc., and, no matter, how many times it happens it always causes us pain. It’s because we believed that whoever betrayed us was a lover or a friend and had only our best interests at heart and now we look back at our relationship with them for signs we may have missed that showed them for who they really were. It’s very easy to dwell on how much they hurt us and spend time thinking of ways to retaliate in order to inflict the same hurt and pain on them. However, let’s forget them for a moment and think about the best way forward for us. Is it to let this hurt fester and grow unchecked within us, like a dark weight we then carry forever, or to believe, as I do, that what goes around, comes around, and that karma has a way of evening things up? Better to be kind to ourselves and let it go don’t you think?


Sitting By the Well: Stillness in Times of Chaos

"When all is in confusion, when I don't know what to do next or where to find inner quiet, I go and sit down by the well. Usually I'm at a point where nothing else works before I give up and just sit and listen to myself and the world, saying goodbye to all the permutations and combinations of efforts that seem to have brought me relief in similar past situations. There's nothing more to do. Just sit. And wait. The well is deep. I know that. Perhaps it's bottomless. I don't know if that's true although it certainly feels that way."

This reflective piece explores a counter-intuitive way of responding to times of confusion.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

5 Lessons On Love You Can Learn From Your Pooch For Valentine’s Day

Another Valentine’s Day when it appears that everyone in the world has a perfectly happy committed relationship. In other words, a day when most of us writhe in disappointment.

It’s not that we’re saying we’re not loved at all, or that we don’t love, or that we’ve never tasted love. The frustration I hear most (in my office, in the media, and from friends) is that, “No one loves me the way I need to be loved.” And sure enough, as spring blooms, scads of those happy couples around us will break up or divorce for just this reason – at least one person didn’t feel adequately adored.

But ask if they’ve ever felt loved in the right way–even by an animal–and you’re bound to hear,  “Oh! Well sure. My dog loves me unconditionally, but no person can do that.”

Really? Ask a four-year-old how they feel about their mother. You won’t hear a lot of conditions. Or, more relevantly, ask a new parent how they feel about their teething six-month-old baby at 3:15 a.m. Would they actually make a trade for freedom and give up their bundle of joy? “No way!”

Why not? Because their love is unconditional.

So why are we so damnably bad at giving such love to each other?