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They Went Their Own Way

By Jo Mooy

“The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. …. The gift is yours, it’s an amazing journey and you alone are responsible for the quality of it.”—Bob Moawad

I got an email recently from a man I helped. Without going into the particulars, he wrote that what I did for his son had “made a big difference in his life, and it helped to straighten him out.” It’s the kind of compliment that anyone would love receiving, especially when the things we consider to be little things actually turn out to be big thing in someone’s life. 

That email brought up memories from a long time ago of three individuals who Went Their Own Way. I’d tried to help or influence each of them, but their life paths took them in another direction. Though our time together was very brief, meeting each one turned out to have been a big thing in my life. Forty years later I often wonder what happened to Katy, and also Heather and the little boy with no name.

KATY: She was a 22-year-old young woman that I met while staffing a new office in Pittsburgh. The company only hired recent college graduates, and Katy didn’t have a college degree. But, she passed all the other tests in the high 90s. I went to bat for her, telling my superiors why she should be hired even though she had no degree. She didn’t disappoint.

Katy was pleasant and had an excellent work ethic. She needed minimal direction. She learned quickly and was soon a team leader on many projects. I saw her potential and wanted to mentor and sponsor her for management. Everything progressed well for about six months. Her performance reviews were stellar. Her projects were done in record time saving the company thousands of dollars. When I told her she was being recommended for a management position she was thrilled.

Twenty-four hours later she returned to work a different young woman. The sparkling Katy was gone, replaced by one who moped around the office all day. At the close of business she asked to see me. The night before, she’d gone home to tell her husband of two years about her good fortune at work. She was excited to tell him that the company would pay for her college education, and that she’d be on the “fast track” to a management position. Sadly, Katy’s husband didn’t share her excitement. He worked in the steel mill and didn’t like the idea that his wife “would make more money than him and have a more important job than his.” With tears streaming down her face, she told me her husband wanted her to quit the job and get one at Kmart. When she resigned that day, I wept too. I think of her today, knowing all the steel mills closed and Kmart declared bankruptcy.

HEATHER: She’d been hired along with 99 other young graduates for a big IT project in New Jersey. They were the cream of the crop at their respective universities, and 99 of them (except Heather it turned out) were thrilled to be hired by a leading technology company. Because so many had been hired at one time the company referred to them collectively as “The Class of 1980.”

Heather graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in IT from a well-known New England university. She was quiet and reserved. She didn’t stand out as a project leader, but her assessment rankings were at the top of the range and most managers thought she’d be a great addition to their team. She was, for about two months. Then one day the vice president of the IT project asked me to meet with Heather and “change her mind.” It seems Heather wasn’t happy in the IT environment and wanted to quit the company.

We talked for two hours. She danced around why she wanted to leave. I focused on why she was making a huge mistake, and how this company could set her up for life. Finally she broke down and told me why she really wanted to leave. When the Tall Ships sailed down the Hudson in the Bicentennial of 1976, it captured her imagination of being an officer on The U.S .Coast Guard’s Barque Eagle. Heather’s dream of sailing persisted through four years of college. I told her to resign and follow her dream to New London. She submitted her resignation that afternoon. I hope she’s still sailing the Barque Eagle on Long Island Sound.

THE LITTLE BOY WITH NO NAME: Sobbing, his face was pressed to a towering Ponderosa Pine in a California state park. He’d been placed there in punishment by his multi-generational family. All of them were eating a spread out lunch at a picnic table near the tall tree. When his sobs grew louder his mother got up and slapped him hard across the back, twisted his arm, shoved his face into the tree, and pushed him to his knees. His sobs grew even louder.

When I went to find a ranger, I came across the mother coming out of the bathroom. I confronted her about how she treated the boy. I asked her what memories she wanted this child to carry into his life—one enjoying a family vacation or the abuse he was suffering at her hands. I told her I’d contacted the ranger. She hurriedly moved to the picnic table where the entire family, having heard our conversation, was gathering up all their things to leave. Hoping they’d left the boy, I saw the grandmother gather him into her arms and kiss his tears away. The family got into several cars and left before the ranger arrived.

I wonder about that little boy often. He’d be in his twenties now. I still see him sobbing into the face of the tree. I pray that he got away and that he remained safe in the arms of his grandmother. I am ever hopeful that the cycle of abuse he suffered ended, and that he treats his own children with love and caring.

Maybe these three got away. Maybe they didn’t. In any case, I listened, and they made their own life decisions and They Went Their Own Way. When I think of them, I see them in their best life roles—Katy supporting her husband, Heather on the bridge of the Barque Eagle, and the Little Boy With No Name loving his own children without malice.

Jo Mooy has studied with many spiritual traditions over the past 40 years. The wide diversity of this training allows her to develop spiritual seminars and retreats that explore inspirational concepts, give purpose and guidance to students, and present esoteric teachings in an understandable manner. Along with Patricia Cockerill, she has guided the Women’s Meditation Circle since January 2006 where it has been honored for five years in a row as the “Favorite Meditation” group in Sarasota, FL, by Natural Awakenings Magazine. Teaching and using Sound as a retreat healing practice, Jo was certified as a Sound Healer through Jonathan Goldman’s Sound Healing Association. She writes and publishes a monthly internationally distributed e-newsletter called Spiritual Connections and is a staff writer for Spirit of Maat magazine in Sedona. For more information go to http://www.starsoundings.com or email jomooy@gmail.com.

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Focus Within

By Arielle Giordano

“The tests we face in life’s journey are not to reveal our weaknesses but to help us discover our inner strengths. We can only know how strong we are when we strive and thrive beyond the challenges we face.”―Kemi Sogunle

Are you experiencing challenges and difficulties? Do you find it hard to overcome them and move forward?

A challenge is defined as something new and difficult that requires great effort and determination. When faced with such a scenario, most people spend a excessive amount of energy on fixing the problem or finding a solution.

But is that the best way to overcome and move through obstacles in life? Not necessarily. The true answer is to sit quietly and be okay with what life has presented to you; go into the depths of your heart and know that this is where you create your reality and all that is in it. What you generate from within you will bring into form. When you are in difficulty you become difficulty. When you are in joy, you become joy.

When something “big” happens, there are many forces pulling on you. You can let that energy distract you or use it to propel you to delve deeply within to find profound honesty and clarity. You have the ability to encompass great awareness through this process if you stay focused.

Focus with strength and intensity, but remain relaxed and trust your inner knowing. When we move from thinking to inner knowing we can find our true purpose. All that happens in your life is meant to help you grow—but you will not learn unless you are clear. You get to choose the direction of your awareness—within your heart center or scattered to the winds of the world. It is up to you.

“If you expect life to be easy, challenges will seem difficult. If you accept that challenges may occur, life will be easier.”―Rob Liano

Transformational Life Coach Award-Winning Author & Speaker, Professional Dancer. Arielle’s Award-Winning book for Best Self-Help Award: Dancing With Your Story From The Inside is available on http://www.Amazon.com. Her professional career includes the Lead Faculty Area Chairperson and Professor for the College of Humanities, History and the Arts at the University of Phoenix. She is a published co-author of Transform Your Life Books 1 & 2 and author for Tampa Bay Wellness, Conscious Shift & Transformation magazine. She has published her 4th book, an Instructor’s Manual for Barlow Abnormal Psychology 4th ed. and authored Psychology, A Journey 3rd.ed. Study Guide published by Nelson Education, Toronto, ON. She has also studied philosophy at the College of Integrated Philosophy with John DeRuiter for twenty years. Arielle has been a featured guest on radio and television, in newspapers, and the media across the US and Canada. She is a certified Essentrics Stretch and Dance Instructor. Arielle offers coaching sessions, classes and workshops and a free 30-minute Consultation. Websites: http://www.dancingfromtheinsideout.com,
http://www.ariellegiordano.com. Email: agbeautifuldance@gmail.com

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Open to Inspiration

By Mary Boutieller

Nine life lessons we can learn from hiking.

Once again, my husband and I were out hiking in the North Georgia mountains. When we first arrived, the trees were just starting to bud; as we left to return home, there were more flowers blooming than I could count or identify. Such is the beauty of nature. We get inspiration from so many places if our eyes are open to it, and the woods are the perfect place for these lessons to come unbidden. As my jaw slackened and my head cleared, I thought about the similarities between hiking and life. Here are a few lessons I gathered along the way.

Lesson #1: In hiking, as in life, there will be “ups” and there will be “downs”, and both have their challenges and rewards. We all have those times when our hearts hurt or when things don’t go the way we planned. Sometimes it seems as though the downhills will never end. And when we get down in those valleys, it can feel intimidating to look up at the mountain ahead and find the reserves to keep going. Yet, in placing one step in front of the other, we slowly but surely realize that we are capable.

All of this might make it sound like the “ups” are better, right? Well, maybe…maybe not! You see, the ups can be challenging too. We can go too fast and lose steam; we can feel inadequate in our attempts to get to the top. We can get lost, give up and turn around, deciding that it’s just not worth it. However, if we persist, we reach our goal, arrive at our destination, and learn that we are stronger than we thought.

The question is: What do we do once we arrive?

Lesson #2: So often after reaching a goal, we take a quick look around and move on, aiming for the next step in the ever-exhausting ladder to find validation or love. Imagine instead of rushing onward, we stopped long enough to take off our packs, have a seat, eat a snack and take it all in. In other words, what if we savored our achievements? What if we paused long enough to do a little dance and celebrate how far we’ve come? Our goal might be as simple as learning something new, keeping our commitments, or speaking our truth even when it’s hard. It’s those small victories, like each and every hill in life, that build our resilience and remind us that we are worth acknowledging.

Lesson #3: Figure out what you can control and what you can’t, and then act accordingly. When hiking, we can’t control the weather or the terrain or the bugs that fly alongside us. What we can control is our attitude and the way we frame our experiences. We can eat well and stay hydrated (aka take care of ourselves along the way) so that our journey is the best it can be.

Lesson #4: It’s okay to ask for help. Out in the woods, it’s always nice to have a friend along, especially when the ups and downs are kicking our butts. Same thing in life. When we surround ourselves with lovely, awesome people, they will be there to lift us up, especially when the going gets tough.

Lesson #5: It’s never too late to change directions. Maybe the path we’ve chosen just isn’t what we thought it was! And if that’s the case, we can pull out a map, chart a new course, and find a new adventure. If we trust our heart and move in that direction, we will always find our way.

Lesson #6: Each day is different. If we expect today to be the same as it was yesterday or 20 years ago, we will be disappointed. Some days will go our way from start to finish and some will not. This is life. Fighting it just makes us miserable, so why do that to ourselves? Why not accept that this is just going to be “one of those days?” The interesting thing is that once we acknowledge our present experience, we take the sting out of the fight, the struggle lessens, and we find a way through that we might not have seen otherwise.

Lesson #7: Life is awesome even when it isn’t, and we are so fortunate to be alive in this moment. Cherish each day and make it your best day. Find your happy place and go there often. Resolve to be content most of the time and stay open to everything around you.

Lesson #8: This one took me years to learn and is one of the most important. In hiking, the less we carry on our backs, the easier it is to hike. The lighter our load, the less pain we have in our bodies and the more enjoyable the trip. Same thing with life. The more weight you put on your shoulders, the more obligations you take on, the harder the path will be to travel. So every once in a while, take an inventory, then ask yourself if there anything you are still holding on to that no longer needs to be carried. Only you can decide but, trust me, it makes the whole trip a lot more fun!

Lesson #9: It really is about the journey, not the destination!

Maybe take a moment or two to ponder the lessons you have learned walking down the path of life. How often do you celebrate your own wonderful self? Where do you go when you need solace or peace? And what (or who) inspires you and lets you know that you aren’t alone?

Mary Boutieller is a Registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Alliance. She has been teaching yoga since 2005. Her work experience includes 22 years as a firefighter/paramedic and 10 years as a Licensed Massage Therapist. Mary’s knowledge and experience give her a well-rounded understanding of anatomy, alignment, health and movement in the body. She is passionate about the benefits of yoga and the ability to heal at all levels through awareness, compassion, and a willingness to explore. She can be reached at: SimplyogaOm@gmail.com.

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The One Law of Creation

By Owen K Waters

The universe is built upon three Original Principles: Thought, Feeling and Motion.

Before Creation, there existed only Infinite Being. No universe, no Creator exploring itself through its own manifestations, not even any motion of which to speak. Just the silent, reflective beingness of the all-encompassing consciousness that is the very essence of completeness and perfection.

From this unchanging, pure beingness of Infinite Being emerged the potential for action as God, the One Creator.

Infinite Being, as the all-encompassing consciousness behind all of Creation, is not ‘an infinite being’ or ‘The Infinite Being.’ Any prefix before the name would suggest the existence of more than one. As there is only one, it is referred to simply as, ‘Infinite Being.’

From Infinite Being, the One Creator emerged, bringing with it the potential for exploring itself from all possible perspectives. In order to achieve this, the One Creator ‘divided the waters’ of its consciousness into two equal parts. These aspects of Original Consciousness were then set into complementary motion in order to make Creation possible.

The universe is therefore built upon three Original Principles. In their most fundamental form, these are the Principles of Thought, Feeling and Motion.

The Principle of Original Thought can also be thought of as a Principle of Creative Will. Traditional terms for this principle include the Divine Father, Brahma, or God the Father.

The Principle of Original Feeling can also be thought of as a Principle of Preservation. Traditional terms for this principle include the Divine Mother, Vishnu, or the Holy Spirit.

God, the One Creator, has a triune nature of thought and feeling set into complementary motion. It is the active face of the underlying, unchanging perfection which is Infinite Being.

God can be thought of as equal parts Divine Father and Divine Mother, expressing both aspects in equal balance. You can be assured that they are in equal balance because, were they not, the universe would go unstable and collapse!

Life as we know it, therefore, was designed to be the interaction of thought and feeling through constant change.

In the physical world, the stage upon which the theater of life is enacted employs two essential concepts of consciousness—space and time. These concepts exist in order that life may be experienced from an unlimited number of locations along an unlimited number of timelines. Every coordinate in space and time provides another potential viewpoint of the underlying, unchanging, Eternal Here and Now which is behind all reality.

In the beginning, was said to be the ‘word,’ a decree issued forth by God the Creator. In the deeper states of meditation, mystics hear the sound of Creation being constantly transmitted by the Sun. They define this etheric, non-physical sound as “A-U-M.” The ‘A’ is thought, or creative will. The ‘U’ is feeling, or preservation. The ‘M’ is the motion that intertwines and activates the combined thought and feeling aspects of consciousness.

The Principle of Thought or Creative Will transmits consciousness outwards while the Principle of Feeling attracts and brings consciousness together. The tension between these opposite forces of projection and attraction is carefully balanced in order to determine key factors such as the speed of light, the size of the universe, and the exact density of consciousness experienced by each realm of existence.

For example, the afterlife is a less dense layer of existence than today’s physical world. In the afterlife, the mind has more influence on the quasi-physical matter that exists there. Magic, as portrayed in the Harry Potter novels, doesn’t work that way in the physical world but, as everyone knows from their nocturnal out-of-body adventures, it does work that way in the afterlife or astral world, and you don’t need a wand. This is why magical dramas such as Harry Potter are so compelling. People forget their nighttime adventures when they awake, but they still know intuitively that such drama can be real in another reality.

To summarize, here is the single, all-inclusive Law of Creation: “The universe is one conscious being, observing the effects of its own thoughts, feelings and actions from all possible viewpoints.”

Author’s Note: Next month: The underlying concepts implied within the one Law of Creation.

Owen is a cofounder of the Spiritual Dynamics Academy, where a where a free spiritual growth newsletter awaits you at: http://www.SpiritualDynamics.net. He is an international spiritual teacher who has helped hundreds of thousands of spiritual seekers to understand better the nature of their spiritual potential. Owen’s life has been focused upon gaining spiritual insights through extensive research and the development of his inner vision. For the past 12 years, he has written a spiritual metaphysics newsletter which empowers people to discover their own new vistas of inspiration, love and creativity. Spiritual seekers enjoy his writings for their insight and clarity.

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Never Doubt Divine Wisdom

By Gregg Sandeson

How three flat tires prevented a disaster.

It was toward the latter part of the 20th century when the touchy-feely aspects of the human potential movement were at their peak. A group of novices from a community called “The Next Step” went to lead a workshop at a conference of the 3HO Foundation. They loaded up their VW Camper and off they went into the New Mexico hills.

“3HO” stands for Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization. They’re gentle people, who follow the Sikh teachings of Yogi Bhajan. They were friendly, helpful, and oh-so-impressive dressed in white from turban to toe. That should have been the first clue, dutifully ignored by the enthusiastic little group.

THE 3HO men pretty much hung out with the men and the women with the women—another missed clue. And who knew their teaching eschewed physical contact to the point that even married couples were allowed to have sex only once a month? Certainly not this little band, eagerly preparing for their first big event. Like all their workshops, it had intermingling, hugging, touching and warm inter-gender communication.

It was a perfect setup for a spiritual train wreck.

Enter the Divine Comedian. With the workshop scheduled for 2:00 pm, it was noon when one of the group realized they hadn’t brought an essential prop for the workshop. They had to run to the nearby town to pick it up.

While still a few miles from town along the dirt road, the camper developed—not one—not two—but THREE flat tires. With but a single spare, the first tire had to be changed, rolled into town, repaired, then rolled back and mounted. The same with the second tire, then they drove the third one in for repair.

The “Next Steppers” arrived back at the conference in time to apologize profusely, but with no time remaining to reschedule their workshop.

Wow! What appeared to be a disaster actually turned out to have prevented one. It’s worth remembering that the Universe has a different perspective than we do, so our best response is never to doubt Divine Wisdom.

When the members of the group later learned more about the 3HO teachings, they performed the ritual smack on the forehead and gave thanks for the three flat blessings.

Then we went home.

Gregg Sanderson is author of Spirit With A Smile, The World According To BOB. He is a licensed practitioner in the Centers for Spiritual Living, and a Certified Trainer for Infinite Possibilities. His earlier books were, What Ever Happened To Happily Ever After? and Split Happens—Easing The Pain Of Divorce. His latest project is the New Thought Global Network, where subscribers can enjoy the best in New Thought presentations from anywhere at any time. You can see it at http://www.newthoughtglobal.org.

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Find Your True Self

By Jessi Franz

The journey to find our authenticity begins by loving ourselves for who we truly are.

If you are not living for yourself, you are living for everyone else.

Think about that.

When you start living your life for you, the world around will start to shift.

It sounds selfish, right? Living your life wholeheartedly for you?

As humans, we tend to strive for acceptance. This is a natural response to the world and people around us. We want people to enjoy our presence We want love. It’s psychology.

Then, we get sucked in. We get sucked into this world and start changing who we authentically are to “fit in” with the crowds around us. If we let this go on for too long, we inevitably lose sight of who we truly are, what our soul desires, and what we need to lead a happy and whole life.

Maybe you fall into the large group of people who never even took the time to discover what that looks like because your sole purpose has been trying to fit into the mold!

We seek approval from those we cherish most. At an early age, it’s from our parents and close family members. Later, we look to our teachers, our friends, our teammates. Further down the road, we seek approval from our employers and employees, potential significant others, and new groups of adult friends. All this time, as we’ve been seeking acceptance, we lose sight of our true selves. We conform to what society deems acceptable and successful at the expense of our authentic expression.

My dad used to constantly tell me growing up, “You are who you hang with.” Those in your circle have a huge impact on how you act, dress, talk, and how you interpret the world around you (positive and negative).

We identify ourselves with the roles we play. Whether it is a parent, professional, wife, husband, etc., our identity turns into our persona. We no longer recognize who we are outside of those roles. Some of us go our entire lives not even taking a moment to recognize and understand what that even looks like!

The first step to discovering who you authentically are—what makes you YOU—is being open to the journey. The journey begins by loving ourselves for who we truly are. But to do that we must know who we truly are.

Start by making lists. Make lists of things you like and things you do not like. Make a list of your goals and dreams. Make a list of things you want to change about your current situation. Make a list of things that you love about yourself, and things that you want to work on. List the amazing qualities that you have within yourself. Be vulnerable, be honest and be real with your lists. Next, start incorporating these into your everyday life. Make a point to embrace them, or work on them.

The freedom that comes along with intensely loving exactly who you authentically are is indescribable. Part of the practice of loving yourself is paying attention to self-talk. Are you feeding your mind, body and soul positive words and affirmations? Are you harsh with yourself, or do you hold yourself to unrealistic standards based on what society tells you? Positive self-talk is critical on your journey. Instead of saying and believing, “I am not good enough,” challenge your thinking! Reverse that thought to “I am worthy. I am good enough. I am me—and I am amazing.”

Make sure you are double checking your standards. Setting them too high can cause the feeling of defeat. Setting your stands too low will prohibit you from the challenge needed to fuel growth—and growth should always be a central goal.

This leads to me the last step: Do things that intimidate you. Do things that scare you, that make you nervous. Do things that you know you need to do but have not done out of fear of rejection or failure. You know that amazing feeling that you get in the pit of your stomach when you are excited and scared all at the same time? That is your body and soul telling you to take the leap of faith!

All these things are beneficial for your personal growth. It is time to start living for yourself, and not everyone else. You can be selfish. By being true to who you are and knowing what that looks like, it will allow you to be a better you for everyone you surround yourself with.

Now is your time. Start the journey, flourish and thrive.

Jessi Franz is the wife of an amazing, supportive husband, TJ, and she has four beautiful children. She is a public speaker, university graduate with my BA in Behavioral Sciences, certified Master Life Coach, Recovery Coach, Relationship Coach, Goal Success Life Coach, Happiness Life Coach and Life Purpose Life Coach. Jessi has made it her life’s mission to help as many people as possible, in all walks of life, to find peace during chaos and confidence in their authentic Self, and to help them embrace their personal journeys. She has completed extensive studies on many therapeutic techniques to help beautiful souls overcome adversity, whatever it may be, and to reach their full potential. Contact her at jessifranz90@gmail.com.

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The Breakthrough

By Nathan Bynum

When things happen that are out of our control, we can use them to adapt to our circumstances and see the positive side of life.

I knew writing my book and helping change people’s lives for the better wouldn’t be easy, but I thought it would be simple. I was wrong.

I’ve always had an entrepreneurial mindset, ever since I was a little kid on the playground selling pencils and gum to the other kids. I didn’t know at the time what that would lead to, but I knew I would start my own business one day. 

Later, I realized how I could combine that mindset with my passions—learning how to improve myself, productivity, and most of all, helping people—and thus began my journey to writing my book. I wanted to find an area in which I could use my expertise to teach people something critical to their lives in a market that wasn’t synonymous with a thought leader’s name (i.e., habits and James Clear). I decided on Goal Setting: Habits to Achieve Your Goals and Succeed in the Life You Want.

Structure and strategic processes have always appealed to me in achieving my goals, and so I figured the process of writing this would follow suit. The first couple of months went according to plan, and I wrote a certain number of words per day, had my interviews with experts in different fields scheduled, had my publishing process mapped out, but then something happened.

Nausea and vomiting became a daily thing, and the doctors couldn’t figure out why. I spent weeks in and out of doctors’ offices and hospitals with no answers. My energy was drained, and my morale was down, yet I still had to continue to stay on schedule with my book. It finally got bad enough that I had to spend a few days in the hospital being tested the whole time. But that same week was when I needed to finish my book because the next week was when I had my book launch scheduled. So, I finished the rest of my writing from the hospital bed.

I was out before the day of my virtual book launch and powered through the Facebook live event. The doctors had finally given me an answer to what my condition was but were clueless about what was causing it. They gave me medicine and a diet to follow. Little did I know that they gave me horrible advice about what foods to eat and the wrong amount of medicine. So for the next few months, I was just getting worse.

Being only 24 at the time, I had never gone through so much medical mess. I had always been healthy and full of energy, so the constant symptoms and medical visits to try to understand what was causing this was getting to me on an emotional level in addition to the physical level. I was in constant pain and had no idea why. 

My motivation and energy were waning, but I kept going. I had to keep growing my business so I could reach and impact more people. My next step was to undergo a program to become certified in goal success coaching through a program taught by Transformation Academy. This would allow me to coach online entrepreneurs on how to create their websites and create a recurring stream of income and new clients for their business. While going through it, I was mostly concentrating on what my clients could get out of the lessons I was learning. Considering how the lessons I was learning could apply to myself and my own mentality was an afterthought. 

It wasn’t until I was having another horrible day that I started thinking back to a lesson that Natalie and Joeel Rivera had emphasized in the training. The lesson was on the reticular activating system (a common thought to pop in our heads when we’re in pain right?). To explain what this is, think about the last time you bought a car. After your purchase, you kept noticing that same type of car a lot more going down the street than before you owned one. That is because of the work of your reticular activating system. 

The information we allow into our minds is the information our subconscious focuses on. Have you ever had the experience where you were in a conversation with someone, you couldn’t think of a witty comeback at the time, but then hours later, the most clever response pops in your head? That’s because our reticular activating system was given a command to think of a witty response, and it kept working on finding one long after we were consciously thinking about it.

What we put into our minds has a powerful impact on our lives. I’ve heard this before but never put much thought into how powerful it could be. In the book Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill teaches the power of how our thoughts attract into our lives what we desire and concentrate on the most. I didn’t understand the validity of his teachings until learning about the reticular activating system.

When I thought about this on the day I was feeling so sorry for myself, I decided to look at my circumstances in a different way. If I kept feeling like a victim, then that was what I would continue to be. What I noticed in life would align with that thought pattern, and I wouldn’t get better. I started thinking about the blessings I had and how lucky I was to be living in a time with the medical advancements we have; regardless of the horrible medical system in my area, I had access to the Internet where I could learn from medical professionals worldwide and figure out what to do. And I was blessed to have a supportive family and girlfriend willing to help me through it.

Once I changed my thinking, I changed my life. I started feeling more energetic and more motivated to better myself, so I could help others learn these lessons. I started noticing more opportunities open up and seizing them. I began to notice the good days I had and be more thankful for them.

Goal setting is a systematic process that can be done time after time to achieve successful results. But we must realize that things happen in our lives that are out of our control. This shouldn’t scare us. It should instead motivate us to prepare our minds to adapt to our circumstances and see the positive side of life. If we start feeding our minds now with healthy thoughts, we will be prepared for whatever may come our way.

Traveling the world and living in many countries blessed Nathan Bynum with the opportunity to befriend successful people from all walks of life. From these remarkable people, he has learned priceless lessons not skewed by a singular view on the world, which he shares with his readers through his website http://www.reachfuelpotential.com and his book Goal Setting: Habits to Achieve Your Goals and Succeed in the Life You Want. He is also a certified Goal Success Coach who specializes in helping entrepreneurs create a website to launch their online business and trains them how to continue to grow their business and reach more clients.

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Balancing Act

By Linda Commito

How to stay centered and focused and steadily put one foot in front of the other.

Do you sometimes feel like your life is a balancing act as you try to find that middle ground and keep yourself upright?

Yesterday, I watched the ease with which a giant osprey landed on the tiniest broken branch of a tree that will likely not make it through the next hurricane. There he had the proverbial “bird’s eye view”—able to keep watch for his prey or to call for a mate, all while deciding his next direction.

It makes me wonder how the birds and animals find such ease while we humans often struggle to find balance. In my life, it’s been the times that I have been over-thinking, over-committed, excessively worrying, and doing way too much that throw me off kilter. And when I don’t get that message, I get a wake-up call!

Stress has always been the signal for me to pay attention, but sometimes, like the Aries ram, it takes a whack to the head for me to get it. I remember the time when I was so stressed about the 10-year anniversary of my business, spending excessive hours preparing for a major gift show, that I decided to squeeze in a quick massage to just relax. After the massage, I quickly jumped off the massage table and ran right into the corner of a wall, giving myself a mild concussion. Ouch!

Learning when to quit or to stop has never been my strong point. And there is no one that has pushed me more than I have pushed myself. One day, I had gone for a hike to relax, but later hauled boxes and groceries to a cabin to open it for the summer season. Working nonstop, I glanced at the clock at 9:20 pm. and noticed it had stopped. Of course, I had to fix it right then! As I stood balancing on a wicker chair, suddenly, I went one way while the chair flipped the other. Crack! Lying on the floor, I felt a collar bone protruding. I thought about going to bed, but was a little concerned that I wouldn’t wake up. I called Rhonda, my neighbor, who kindly drove me down dark, mountain roads to the nearest emergency room, waiting ‘til midnight to learn that I had indeed broken my collar bone.

Life has an interesting way of imparting valuable lessons and, fortunately, if we live long enough, we actually learn some of them. I have learned through illness, loss, and a pandemic that nothing is worth losing your health or peace of mind over—if you can help it. I understand that it’s not so much what happens to us, but how we deal with it, how we talk to ourselves that makes a difference and helps us to find the balance and grace that we need to weather through.

We don’t have to be a circus performer to find balance. We just have to stay centered and focused and steadily put one foot in front of the other.

What has helped me to have balance has been a positive attitude and a lot of gratitude. And prayers, meditation, a healthy diet, yoga, lots of fresh air, and the love and support of family, friends, community, as well as the kindness of caring strangers, make all the difference.

May you find and create the balance in your life that will bring you peace and joy.

Linda Commito, author, speaker, entrepreneur, consultant and teacher, is passionate about her vision to leave this world a kinder, more loving, and interconnected place. Linda’s award-winning book of inspirational stories, Love Is the New Currency, demonstrates how we can each make an extraordinary difference in the lives of others through simple acts of love and kindness. Her latest project, the card game Just Ask 1 2 3, was inspired by a desire to connect people of all different ages, beliefs and lifestyles to share our individuality and find commonality. Linda also created “Kindness Starts with Me,” a program, book and website for children. For more information visit http://www.LoveistheNewCurrency.com or visit the Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/Justask123game.

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Hospitals Get Healthy

By Dr. Carol Wentz Randaci, OMD, AP

The attitude “what we eat doesn’t matter” is completely wrong, and healthcare institutions are starting to change their food policies.

On March 1, 2021, something monumental and truly wonderful happened in Beirut, Lebanon. The Hayek Hospital began serving only vegan whole-food plant-based meals.

“Patients will no longer wake up from surgery to be greeted with ham, cheese, milk and eggs—the very foods that may have contributed to their health problems in the first place.” Instead, the hospitals spokesperson said, “Adopting a plant-based diet has been scientifically proven not only to stop the evolution of certain diseases but it can also reverse them. We have the moral responsibility to act upon and align our beliefs with our actions…”

When the staff at the Hayek Hospital read that the World Health Organization had classified the processed meat they served to their patients as group 1A carcinogenic (causes cancer), and that classification is the same group that includes tobacco, they decided to call out the insaneness of their current policy. When they found out that red meat is classified as a group 2A carcinogenic (also cancer causing), they knew there was a bigger quandary then they initially realized. When the directors of the hospital really let that information sink in, they saw the necessity for change as a moral dilemma and realized if they continued to serve animal products in the hospital … “then serving meat in a hospital is like serving cigarettes in a hospital,” said the spokesperson.

The hospital continued by pointing out that according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), three out of four emerging infectious diseases come from animals—and it is now a scientifically proven fact that a whole-food plant-based diet not only stops the evolution of certain diseases, but it can also reverse them. The hospital posted: “We then have the moral responsibility to act upon and align our beliefs with our actions. Taking the courage to look at the elephant in the eye.”

It Matters

The attitude “what we eat doesn’t matter” is completely wrong. There’s an elephant in the room, and many knowingly ignore it. Simple truth: Yes it matters—it all matters. It’s time to call out the elephant, and Hayek Hospital did just that. Bravo! They made a very bold decision and moved their institution into a new type of “Health Centered Hospital.”

More and more hospitals are examining the abundance of scientific studies and research demonstrating specifically how and why what a person eats either creates health or causes problems. Anyone with GERDS, acid reflux, IBS, Crohn’s disease, or an any troublesome digestive condition can attest to how it matters. Hayek Hospital is a shining example of an institution that has opened the door into preventative health care—promoting health instead of only servicing illness and treating symptoms.

Similarly, thousands of medical personnel across the United States have joined together to back the Make Hospitals Healthy campaign. The group offers chef training and tool kits to help hospitals make the transition.

The American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates also issued a new policy statement encouraging hospitals to start serving meals that are healthier for patients. It calls on hospitals to eliminate processed meat and offer plant-based options instead. The hospitals that changed their menus are receiving positive feedback for the choice of food they now offer. “There’s more variety, food is fresher and the flavors are actually delicious—and I can’t believe I just said that about hospital food,” said one former patient.

Along with better food, these forward-thinking hospitals now provide nutrition and cooking classes for free. It’s such a wonderful way to help patients heal and reduce their risks for negative health outcomes. After returning home, patients continue to receive nutrition counseling, a five-week series on diabetes, and an upcoming healthy cooking program.

Whole-food plant-based menus are finding their way into many hospitals around the world. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Oldways, and Health Care Without Harm are letting their voice be heard. PCRM has been a leading voice in the shift from a harmful to a healthful diet in New York Hospitals. With more than 12,000 medical community members, PCRM is working to provide more vegan meals to patients: “The Physicians Committee’s Hospital Toolkit provides the different steps a hospital can take to adapt menu options, win over the staff, and educate the patients. The Physicians Committee also has countless healthy plant-based recipes to share. Guaranteed plant-based options.”

As reported in LiveKindly [https://www.livekindly.co/] news, “PCRM has bolstered laws that guarantee vegan options for hospital patients. In October 2019, the Washington D.C. Council introduced the Healthy Hospitals Amendment Act of 2019 [https://www.pcrm.org/news/news-releases/dc-council-bill-would-ban-bacon-hospitals]. The proposed bill would ensure that Washington D.C. hospitals provide plant-based meals that are low in saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars. PCRM supported similar legislation in California. Gov. Jerry Brown signed the law guaranteeing hospital patients healthy vegan options in September 2018. This year, PCRM will help New York hospitals introduce plant-based meal options. Governor Andrew Cuomo signed bill S1471A/A4072, which guarantees vegan options at mealtimes, into law last December.

Evidence-Based Research

With the “abundance of evidence-based research” regarding the health benefits of a plant-based diet, hospitals recognize the need to lead the health movement by offering more options to patients and staff,” according to Dr. Susan Levin, Director of Nutrition Education at PCRM. Healthy, plant-based meals can help individuals “fight heart disease, diabetes, and obesity; not only do they feel better while in the hospital, but it is an opportunity to teach patients how to eat once they leave the facility,” she added.

When asked if changing a whole hospital to a whole-food vegan menu was a hard decision to make, the response most often was, no. Patients also reported astonishing affects, from lowering their meds to having more vigor.

Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States. It was responsible for 840,768 deaths in 2016, according to the American College of Cardiology. And death rates have experienced an 18.6 percent increase year over year. Dr. Kim Williams, a vegan cardiologist and former president of the American College of Cardiology, explained in an interview with Health Science that a plant-based diet comes with additional benefits. “Hypertension shows one of the fastest improvements following the adoption of a plant-based diet,” he said. “This way of eating also lowers cholesterol and insulin requirements so that type-2 diabetes improves dramatically. And as a result, the reliance on medication decreases. In short, all of the major risk factors are diminished with plant-based nutrition.”

Indeed, research suggests following a plant-based diet can mitigate some of the risk factors associated with heart disease. These include high blood pressure and inflammation. Moreover, recent research has uncovered that a whole foods, plant-based diet can effectively reverse the side effects of type-2 diabetes as well.

Before You Go

If you need to take a hospital stay and you are already vegan, be sure to begin early in the admission process to let them know you are on a specific diet. Write it down, tell those in charge. If at all possible, find out before you go if the hospital dietitian is familiar with vegan nutrition. If not, ask how your dietary requirements will be met, and keep at it until you are served complete healthy whole foods, they will make a significant difference in your recovery.

Dr. Carol Wentz Randaci is the director of the Vegan Culinary Institute in Sarasota, FL, a board certified Oriental Medicine Doctor and Acupuncture Physician, Energy Therapist, Naturopath and Hopeful Human. Dr. Carol has trained with alternative medicine’s finest physicians and has practiced Raja Yoga meditation under the guidance of Ram Chanrda, Babuji Maharaja for 36 years. You can reach Dr. Carol at AiZen Healing Center by emailing aizenhealing@gmail.com or calling 941.284.8894.

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