Wednesday, December 31st, 2014 Focus: The more I change, the more my world changes.

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Release just one unproductive habit for a week and see what happens. Let’s take complaining as an example. Instead of grumbling when something goes wrong, don’t make a fuss about whatever happened. The issue here is to challenge your everyday habits.

When you don’t go along with your customary reactions, you’re setting into motion powerful forces that will change you internally. This same energy will also attract new conditions and new people into your life who, likewise, will be less complaining. Remember, that the inner determines the outer. The more you change, the more your world changes.

Give yourself permission to experiment with different ways of reacting. Don’t shortchange yourself by using the same emotional response over and over again in every situation. Try something new. Keep in mind that each event has its own set of circumstances and that each requires a distinctive reply.

Excerpted from the article:
Dirt As A Spiritual Path: Finding Your Inner Compass
Written by Patrick Drysdale.

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RECOMMENDED BOOK OF THE DAY

The Dance of Reality: A Psychomagical Autobiography
by Alejandro Jodorowsky.

The Dance of Reality is autobiography as an act of healing. Through the retelling of his own life, the author shows we do not start off with our own personalities, they are given to us by one or more members of our family tree. To peer back into our past is equivalent to digging into our own souls. If we can dig deep enough, beyond familial projections, we shall find an inner light–a light that can help us through life’s most difficult tests. The Dance of Reality is the book upon which Alejandro Jodorowsky’s critically acclaimed 2013 Cannes Film Festival film of the same name was based.

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Tuesday, December 30th, 2014 Focus: I have a powerful inner spirit that can be further released and empowered.


According to Erik Erikson, you first began to absorb family teachings about initiative when you were about four or five years old. At that time, you naturally became more assertive and active, and your family’s reactions to the choices you made were important in shaping your self-image. If they encouraged your efforts, applauding your successes and minimizing your failures, you learned that when you took initiative and planned well you could carry out your intentions successfully. If they discouraged your initiative, ignoring what you did well or criticizing or punishing you for what you did poorly, you learned that exercising your personal power was associated with pain and guilt.

The consequences for you as an adult if you absorbed negative teachings about initiative in childhood include indecision, hiding your talents, lack of direction, and blaming yourself when things go wrong. John Bradshaw, in Bradshaw On: The Family, describes the result of family-learned shame and guilt as “disabled will,” a blockage of your sense of power and purpose. To release such a block and to learn how to take initiative now, you must free your will by engaging your feelings. You can’t know what you want to do until you know what you feel.

No matter how much your family circumstances either helped or hindered the development of your self-esteem, independence, and initiative, you have a powerful inner spirit that can be further released and empowered. As that spirit becomes freer, you will have a much greater range of creative responses to life.

Excerpted from the article:
Is Your Sense of Personal Power Limited?
Written by Carolyn Foster.

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RECOMMENDED BOOK OF THE DAY

Living Big: Embrace Your Passion and Leap into an Extraordinary Life
by Pam Grout.

Boldness, service, kindness, commitment, creativity, happiness, spirituality. These are the subjects of the chapters in this book and the BIG ways we discover our own passion, love with every ounce of us, and reclaim our wildest dreams. It’s a book about visionaries, dreamers, crusaders, and ordinary people doing extraordinary things. About how to shift our attitude, seize the day, and grow into the person we were meant to be. Featuring profiles of everyday people who are living fully and completely and filled with suggestions for life-changing activities, this book will get you thinking BIG, dreaming BIG, and asking the right BIG questions.

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Monday, December 29th, 2014 Focus: I pay attention to the signals & messages in my life.

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When we find ourselves going against the current, or when we find that everything is going wrong in our life, we need to stop and ask ourselves what is really going on. We may be headed in the wrong direction and the Universe is trying to “straighten us out” by sending all kinds of challenges…

We need to pay attention to the signals in our life. They are constantly there… When something is a struggle, there is a message there… Perhaps we need to handle the situation differently, perhaps we’re at the wrong place at the wrong time, or the right place at the wrong time… Perhaps we need to change direction… A struggle or any challenge always comes with a gift — a message, a lesson, a blessing.

Letting go means trusting that the process of life is always in balance and that whatever the outcome, it will be for the best. Active let-go, means following one’s inner wisdom (or intuition) and doing what feels right, while trusting that whatever action one takes will bring us to a solution… whatever that may be.

Excerpted from the article:
Bashing Down Walls and Flying Freely
Written by Marie T. Russell.

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RECOMMENDED BOOK OF THE DAY
The Door of Everything
by Ruby Nelson.

Twelve short chapters cover the gamut of living by spiritual values – a pocket-size manual in easily readable style. “This little book can be read in one afternoon and/or for the rest of your life. I read it many times and will re-read it many more times. It is a treasure beyond words.”

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December 26, 2014Bill White TESTIMONIES OF A MOTHER AND FATHER

On December 2, 2014, Margot Head and Bill Williams, parents of William Head Williams, who died at age 23 from an accidental overdose of heroin, each presented Senate testimony in support of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2014. Video of their testimonies is available at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOfmklxbMw2jZt_7h07ejmw. Bill Williams’ testimony is shared here with his permission.

With Thanksgiving barely behind us we would do well to recall that nearly 400 years ago, when the Puritans landed, they immediately set about constructing jails to detain transgressors, scaffolds for public shaming or physical chastisement, and dedicating land for cemeteries. They were thus prepared to treat addicts. Offenders could be marked or branded with a ‘B’ (blasphemer), ‘D’ (drunk), ‘F’ (fighter), ‘M’ (manslaughterer), ‘R’ (rogue), and ‘T’ (thief). Or an A for adultery, such as Nathaniel Hawthorne’s fictional Hester Prynne wore.
Years of being shunned and rejected as an outcast by her community, years of living alone on the outskirts of town, allowed Hester to recognize the ridiculous legalisms of her time and to rise against them.
We’ve progressed little since the setting of The Scarlet Letter in 1642 or its publication in 1850. The Scarlet Letter of our time remains an A, for Addict. We still fear the disease in our midst, much as the Puritans feared demons, witches and other spirits of darkness. We are ashamed to admit we have the disease. We are afraid to talk about it. It feeds on silence. Uncomfortable and unable to address this disease directly, we shun, punish, and treat those afflicted with substance use disorder with anything from indifference to outright contempt, all the while hiding behind our legal system to do so.
In our time, blessedly, there are those like Hester Prynne, who are resilient and have progressed well beyond their circumstance. They are leaders who beckon us to follow. They reject the shame of stigma and rejoice openly in their recovery. They are an impressive, sometimes anonymous legion, in long-term recovery. They provide ample evidence that the time to move from the 1600’s, the time to live, not as we’ve been but as we can be; that time is upon us.
Our son, William, died two years ago on this very date, December 2nd, 2012. Almost two years prior to that, we became aware that William was using heroin. At the time he was already seeing a psychotherapist. Over the next two years we added an addiction psychiatrist, out-patient treatment, treatment with Suboxone, in-patient detox, in-patient treatment, out-patient treatment, out-patient detox, treatment with Vivitrol, more out-patient treatment, another in-patient treatment, more out-patient treatment, a revolving door of well over a dozen trips to and from the emergency rooms of at least four different hospitals, an attempt to work with another addiction psychiatrist, Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and a home life fraught with tension, despair, sometimes hopeful during intermittent periods of sobriety, and always filled with the apprehension of misfortune. That apprehension became fact when William accidentally overdosed shortly before his 24th birthday. Six weeks of comatose and/or heavily medicated hospitalization followed before the ultimate realization that William was consigned to a persistent vegetative state.
Since William’s death, Margot and I have been introduced to many brave parents who have lost children to addiction. Parents whose lives, like ours, are filled with collateral consequences. One parent posted recently: “Addiction isn’t a spectator sport. Eventually the whole family gets to play.” This was and is certainly true for our family, even as we’ve played a man down for the last two years. As everyone here knows, addiction now consumes communities, cities, entire counties and states. It is a deadly sport that may well deserve the title of our unspoken national pastime.
Yet, a day like today gives us hope. We have met other parents whose lives, like ours, are scarred with the collateral consequences of addiction. We’ve seen them establish scholarships, endow lectures, raise money for research, share their wisdom and strength with others who are battling substance use disorder right now. This past Saturday William’s sister, Elizabeth Hope, ran a half marathon and raised nearly $11,000 for the Where There’s A Will Fund, a fund we established at the time of William’s death. Families are already doing at a grassroots level what the Addiction and Recovery Act will do on a national scale. Urgency is in the air. I’m reminded of a lyric from 1776, the musical. When John Adams is talking about Congress, he says, “We piddle, twiddle and resolve, not one damn thing do we solve.” It’s time to solve.
Last March I spoke at the organizational meeting of a group in New Jersey, now known as Community In Crisis. After the meeting I chatted briefly with the local police chief, Brian Bobowicz. In June, at the first public meeting of Community In Crisis, with several hundred people in attendance, Chief Bobowicz was generous in saying he’d learned something from me. He’d learned that substance use disorder is a disease. He still has to arrest people. But now he and his department also provide people with a pamphlet giving them advice on treatment options, legal resources, drug court, family assistance and more. They are now trained to administer Narcan. His compassionate work is a model to be emulated.
We made the agonizing decision to remove William from life support and contacted the New York Organ Donor Network. Our admiration for their dedication, compassion and professionalism knows no bounds. The night before the organ harvesting was scheduled two uniformed NYPD officers showed up at Will’s bedside, Brian and Edwin, beat officers who knew and liked William, who cared for him and helped him out, who wanted to see him one last time. I rode home that night in their squad car.
There are good people out there. People who understand. People who care. People who vote. People who want change. Policemen, lawyers, nurses, doctors, teachers, community organizers, parents, children and friends. They need support from our elected leaders. We as a nation need to get over the fiction that will power is the cure for a brain disease. Will power needs to be exercised, not by the helplessly afflicted, but by policy makers who can alter the course of the epidemic in our midst.
Organ donation for someone in a vegetative state requires an expedient demise. William did not expire within the necessary one-hour time frame, though his mother, sister and I were with him in the operating room, singing to him, telling him he could let go. Rather, he lasted another 21 hours before drawing his last breath in our arms. Determined that his death not be in vain, his mother, sister and I made a gift of his body, an anatomical donation to the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University.
Two years ago our vigil at William’s bedside ended at 12:29. At 12:29 today, please take a moment think of William. Make it a moment of hope. For his sister, named Elizabeth Hope. For his niece, named Josephine Hope. For our family a new vigil begins, as we await the passage of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2014. Thank you. We WILL prevail.
1. Regarding Puritan branding (See Jack Lynch – http://www.history.org/Foundation/journal/Summer11/prison.cfm)

Sunday, December 28th, 2014 Focus: I see myself as a spiritual master and a divine being.


Does the caterpillar think that it’s going to become a butterfly? Who knows? But its evolution is to be a butterfly. The tomato seed has everything within it to become the tomato. Also innate within you is all that you need to become who you are. Take a few breaths and allow your awareness of yourself to become current with who it is that you have become. When this process feels complete, stretch your body, and when you feel ready, return to this time and place.

We invite you to begin to think of yourself as a spiritual master. Perhaps you feel far away from this concept or perhaps you feel close. Begin in earnest to develop a relationship of reverence with yourself that is based on seeing yourself as a spiritual master and a divine being.

As you begin to recognize that you are not separate from your Source or your origin, you will see that you are human and human is implied in the definition of Divine. The language here is funny because it is speaking as if spirit and matter were different, or human and divine were different, when in actuality they are the same.

Excerpted from the article:
Open Your Heart & Unlock Your Birthright as a Divine Being
Written by Danielle Rama Hoffman.

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RECOMMENDED BOOK OF THE DAY

The Council of Light: Divine Transmissions for Manifesting the Deepest Desires of the Soul
by Danielle Rama Hoffman.

Offering an opportunity to form a direct connection with the Council of Light, this book provides practical tools to move from a life of worry, debt, exhaustion, and isolation to one of joy, abundance, purpose, ease, and connectedness, with a team of Divine supporters to assist you along the way. These direct transmissions of spiritual technology from the Council include activations for the 11 Rays of Light, guided journeys and meditations, and written, spoken, energetic, and breathwork exercises. The Council explains how each Ray of Light has a specific vibration and application and can assist in removing any blocks to achieving your soul’s purpose.

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Saturday, December 27th, 2014 Focus: I practice letting go of thinking too much.

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Thinking all of the time is a habit, a destructive one at that. In my opinion, thinking is one of the most harmful habits on the planet. It causes a huge amount of conflict, self-violence, stress and suffering. As you let go of the mind you naturally rest back into the deep, clear and infinitely loving sea of consciousness that has been holding you your entire life. For many, it feels like coming home.

Meditation provides a safe arena to practice letting go of thinking too much. You can sit in the safety of your own home and in the comfort of your favourite chair (but not so comfortably that you will inevitably fall asleep!) and explore what it is like to rest in the still silent context of your conscious awareness.

Cultivating the habit of context awareness requires the investment of your time and the courage to stop and meditate for about 10 minutes, 2 times each day. Irrespective of how busy your mind says that you are and how much you need to get done, you do it anyway. With this kind of commitment, you can move mountains.

Excerpted from the article:
Get Motivated to Meditate: Closing Your Eyes To Wake Up
Written by Sandy C. Newbigging.

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RECOMMENDED BOOK OF THE DAY

Thunk!: How to Think Less for Serenity and Success
by Sandy C. Newbigging.

Ever wish you could stop your mind from working overtime? Your mind is a remarkable tool that you are meant to ‘pick up’ and use when required, and then ‘put down’ when you’re done thinking. With this fun and enlightening book, meditation teacher Sandy C. Newbigging shares advice and exercises for changing your relationship with your mind so that you can enjoy the serenity and success that comes from freeing yourself from thinking too much.

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Thursday, December 25th, 2014 Focus: On this Christmas day, I manifest the most valuable present of all: inner peace.

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Santa Claus is not a person, but he is a principle, a dynamic, a universal idea that goes far beyond a person. Santa Claus represents a benevolent universe that knows our needs and can and will deliver our good to us. Santa is a cultural form — a local permission slip through which we allow ourselves to receive the blessings we desire and deserve.

This holiday season you can get Santa to deliver. Sure, you can manifest stuff, but why not manifest the most valuable present of all: inner peace. When you are at peace with yourself, you bring healing to everyone you meet.

Peace is not something you import from the outside. It is an inner state that you claim. Sort of like writing yourself a love letter from the universe and then discovering the CEO has already signed it.

Excerpted from the article:
How to Get Santa to Deliver the Most Valuable Present of All
Written by Alan Cohen.

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RECOMMENDED BOOK OF THE DAY

Enough Already: The Power of Radical Contentment
by Alan Cohen.

In a world where fear, crisis, and insufficiency dominate the media and many personal lives, the notion of claiming contentment may seem fantastic or even heretical. In his warm, down-to-earth style, Alan Cohen offers fresh, unique, and uplifting angles on coming to peace with what is before you and turning mundane situations into opportunities to gain wisdom, power, and happiness that does not depend on other people or conditions.

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