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Meditation has many goals, there are various processes and results that can come from meditation. Meditation is simply a tool and a tool can have many uses. The goal of the information I am providing is meditation for mindfulness and awareness. This mindfulness and awareness leads to stress reduction and a new prospective on life.

One of the primary benefits of awareness is the ability to see the truth of a situation. When involved in stressful or intense situations it is easy to get pulled into the emotion of the moment and incorrectly interpret a single event to be the deciding factor in our survival. Fundamentally we are creatures of instinct. And those instincts have taught us to handle stressful situations with responses of our nervous system.

Typical responses include fight or flight. Either of these responses will cause adrenaline to course through our systems preparing us for battle or for a high speed run. But in our daily lives it’s frowned upon to battle everyone. Additionally if we left every business meeting 5 minutes in by running out of the room, we’d start to develop a less than favorable reputation around the office.

I will cover more on stress and responses in later installments. But this gives a general feel for the type of situations meditation is intended to assist in. When we have prospective on these situations we can see clearly that our in most situations our survival isn’t at stake. Better yet, when we don’t jump into survival mode, we are better able to handle each situation calmly and appropriately.


This week I was listening to dust in the wind By Kansas. It is amazing how timeless concepts age very well in music. Check out the lyrics if you’ve never heard the song or want to refresh your memory. I’m sure I’ve heard the song a hundred times or more. But this time a new piece of the lyric caught my ear:

Now don't hang on
Nothin' last forever but the earth and sky

As I listened, I was reminded that all the effort we do, everything we put our hands to, will eventually pass away. It may pass 5 minutes after we are gone, or 500 years, but it all passes into shadow. There is nothing that we can do in the physical world that will last beyond a few moments.

With this in mind I was thinking about the underlying value of our tasks, the spiritual growth. Each time a task is performed, the task doesn’t change, but we do. It’s this growth, and the growth of those around us that I believe has lasting value beyond our ‘dust in the wind’.

There are many times that we perform things that we perceive as tedious or menial. And often that impact of our actions is lost to us in the demands of the moment. If we take the time to step out of the emotion of the moment and view the larger picture, that we can see our true value and impact.

So when our activities feel like building sandcastles, remember the ultimate benefit. The physical and tangible results of our efforts are only the tip of the spiritual iceberg.



Sand castle destroyed by the surf. Black Sea coast. Space for text.

Sand castle destroyed by the surf. Black Sea coast. Space for text.

building yourself up trim

We live in a world that is constantly telling us we don’t measure up. This can be obvious as the person honking at you because you didn’t see the green light soon enough. Or as subtle as an advertisement showing someone eating an order of French fries surrounded by beautiful people.

We are surrounded by messages of lack, inferiority and want.

Worse yet, the messages are often so subtle, or so persistent, that we become numb and lose awareness of these negative messages. We know we are uneasy. We can’t place why we feel out of place. Sometimes the answer is as simple as identifying the connection to this subliminal nagging.

When you are provided with this constant input, it can be challenging to stay in tune with reality. In reality, You are amazing! You are abundant! And you are loved! But sometimes it’s easy to forget how much you rock.

So when you consider self improvement, you may feel it’s selfish or inappropriate to spend time yourself. Is not self improvement, by definition self importance, a vain task?

But the truth of the matter is you can be more effective and valuable to the world if you realize, and I mean really believe, how effective and valuable you are. Everything you touch can be positively impacted if you simply believe in yourself and have a real connection to your value.

It’s often said that pride comes before a fall. I also believe that pride must arrive before success. If you don’t really believe you’re working on something of value, if you aren’t really proud of what you do, why do you bother doing it?

So why don’t we spend more time on ourselves?

Possibly because of another message the imbalanced world bombards us with, “Don’t be selfish”. “Don’t focus on yourself”. There are starving children in (insert country X here), you should focus your energy on helping them.

While I agree we should help starving children in country X, I also believe we should consider where we are coming from when we help others. The energy we put into something is impacted dramatically and directly by our own personal pride, confidence, beliefs and motivations.

If you try to help someone else from a place of imbalance, you are really offering them imbalance.

If we come from a place of abundance and balance, we offer them that same abundance and balance.

I was reading this week in my copy of Moving into Stillness, by Erich Schiffman, about balance. I’ve always thought of balance as calm, stillness, or inaction. However, after reading Erich’s description I think I’ve had it wrong. He describes balance as a top spinning at very high speed. When we are unbalance we are actually in a lower state of energy (picture a top spinning too slowly, about to fall over and crash). When we are in our higher states of energy, read that as confident, self assured and balanced, we are actually metaphorically spinning faster. The result can be stillness and balance.

With this in mind take the time to focus inward. Find your peace, find your purpose, and change the world in the best way that you can, by being Yourself!



To aid in this task here a few tips:
-Find a mantra, saying or slogan that empowers you, and repeat it to yourself.
Chakra Clock is an iphone app that you can create alarms and custom messages in. You can setup an alarm to remind you throughout the day to repeat your mantra. available here

-Take time to meditate and focus inward to allow your body to express needs and take the time to address those needs.
Chakra Chime is a iphone and android app available to help you time meditation and set the meditative mood with soothing chimes. available here

-Allow yourself the freedom to be you. Accept who you are, what you are, how you are, exactly as you are and love yourself. You are the only You there is.


I went for a bike ride last weekend. Riding my bike always shifts my brain into a calm state, especially when I get into a steep climb. There isn’t room for my mind to worry about bills or politics, it’s just me, the bike and the hill.

I also love the exhilaration of the downhill run, after the long ride up the hill. If there is any bit of fun in life, that you can feel like you’ve totally earned, it’s riding down a steep hill you just worked your butt off to climb.

When I’m out riding I always keep an eye out for cyclists in need. I have been helped by random cyclist myself, so it’s nice to pay it forward. Making the world a better place through service has always been something I connect with.

On this particular occasion I saw a red 1970’s bicycle laying on it’s side next to the road, with a big saddle bag on the ground next to it. Something looked odd about it, but I couldn’t see anybody around, so I decided to just leave it alone assuming the owner would return soon. As I kept riding, I was wondering in the back of my mind what had happened. I found I didn’t have to wonder long.

About 100 yards up the road was a man in cycling gear walking back and forth looking down at the ground. I asked if he needed help. He replied that his back tire had broken loose and he’d lost a small part he needed to reattach it.

A little background on this hill. It’s called Mount Eden and it is in Saratoga, California. Coming down the back side of this hill, where we were, I have managed to get up to about 40 miles an hour. It’s a very curvy road with a sharp turn right at the bottom of the hill. I usually reach the turn and my top speed at about the same time.

I’d also like to point out the obvious. When you’re on a road bike going 40 miles an hour, and you come up on a sharp turn, it’s not an ideal time for your back tire to come off… Come to think of it, I can’t think of any ideal time for your back tire to come off. But that turn would be the worst.

As I stopped to help out, I got more of his story. He was coming down the back side of Mount Eden. At the bottom of the hill, just before the turn, a car was in front of him, forcing him to hit the brakes hard! During this braking maneuver his back wheel had broken off and gotten tangled up in the rear fork of the bike.

This could have easily been a fatal accident. With a back tire that was no longer rolling he managed to go off the road, avoid a big pile of rocks, and stop on the grassy edge of the road 200 yards later.

As I listened to his story I became more and more impressed that I was seeing the aftermath of a miracle. Instead of needing an ambulance or worse, this man had managed to put down his bike and walk away. He had pulled out his mobile phone and calmly called his friend while he proceeded to search for the part he was now missing from his bike.

I wanted to grab him by the shoulders and shake him till he came to his senses and saw the truth of this moment. As I was still in touch with my sense I knew that was a bad idea. But I did manage to ask if he happened to get a good look at who or what was holding up his back tire as he came careening around the corner.

It really hadn’t occurred to him that anything miraculous had happened. At the time of the accident he was simply focused on avoiding the rocks and trying to land his bike. Then, possibly in a state of mild shock or denial, he was simply searching for the 2 dollar part he didn’t want to lose.

When looking back at this story I come away with these two main thoughts.

  • When you find yourself worrying about the small stuff, remember that means the big stuff, beyond your control, has been handled for you. AKA: If you can spend your time looking for a 2 dollar widget you may want to remind yourself you’re still alive.
  • Miracles happen every day, but sometimes it takes an outsider to see them.

See if you can spot the miracles in your own life today.

If you are having trouble seeing them, ask someone around you to point them out.



Female cyclist biking on a country road on a lovely sunny day (m



Growing up in a family connected with an organized religion has advantages. You have a community of people that care about you and want the best for you. And you have the benefit of the wisdom and experience of that community to teach you. And for a while that was enough… However, even during my early years I questioned the disconnect between what I was told and what I experienced.

I have always been driven to deepen my spiritual life. However disillusionment with main stream religion sent me down unexpected paths throughout my life. I don’t feel that I have any horror stories about being abused by religion. The organizations I was connected with never directly traumatized or persecuted me. But the stories that I was told were so powerful, and the experiences I had were so not. My attempts to connect on a spiritual level with my religion failed and as a result I began to search for truth outside of that framework.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I don’t hold ill will toward religious people. I believe there are religious beliefs that empower and enliven people to become all they can be and truly enhance the world. But it didn’t do this for me. So my search continued.

This is where yoga and meditation entered my life. I had a misrepresentation of yoga in my head. When the idea was first suggested to me I was under the impression that yoga was for women who wanted mild exercise, I had no concept of the history or the experience that yoga offered. My education began 8 years ago and has continued since. A highlight was in 2006 when I became a certified yoga instructor. I took a 200 hour certification program here in California.

Yoga was a different world to me. I was surrounded by people having their own intimate experiences with the spiritual world. The movement and fluidity of Vinyasa Flow yoga centered me in a way I had never felt before. I was able to find peace in the midst of my mental chaos. This is an experience that I never would have had, if I hadn’t tried yoga.

I’m sharing this in an effort to highlight the importance of experiential spirituality. In life we will find many people that will try to tell us how things work and even what we are experiencing and feeling. These guides can be beneficial, but they can also rob us of what is really happening. I invite you to experiment and find a spiritual path that works for you. Find something that you are experiencing and feeling for yourself, not something where you have to depend on someone Else’s interpretation. This is your path! No one else can walk it for you.

It is important to highlight my use of the word experiment. Be prudent. Be cautious. Use your instincts. I’m not encouraging anyone to try anything harmful or damaging. I am encouraging people to live. This is your chance to grow. You only get one shot at this moment, embrace the opportunity and let the universe guide you.



Portraits of people thinking

Chakras are the primary centers or power in our subtle energy body. There are 7 primary chakras each corresponding the generalized colors of the rainbow ROYGBIV (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet). They are also associated with a specific aspect of our physical and spiritual bodies. The 7 chakras align with the energy channels (or nadis) in our spine. They are the hubs of our subtle energy body.

These 7 chakras are:

(from above the top of the head to the base of the spine)

The Crown Chakra – Color Violet – Just above your head
The Third Eye Chakra – Color Indigo – Located in your forehead
The Throat Chakra – Color Blue – Located in the throat
The Heart Chakra – Color Green – In your Chest
The Solar Plexus – Color Yellow – base of your ribcage
The Sacral Chakra – Color Orange – Belly
The Base/Root Chakra – Color Red – Groin

Image of woman with chakras overlaid. root, sacral, solar plexus, heart, throat, third eye and crown.

This is a good place to step aside for a minute and discuss the model of the energy body. This is an area I had difficulty accepting when I first was introduced to the topic. I know that talking about energy can be a hang up for many people from a traditional western upbringing. The western treatment of the body as a purely physical creation leaves little room for talk of energy and the subtle aspects of the human body that haven’t been explained by science.

Ironically, growing up a Christian, which points to the spiritual body of human beings, talking about the energetic body was rather taboo. We were allowed to talk about the body in terms defined by the doctrines. Any other discussion was deemed “from Satan”. It feels funny even describing it now. Did I really grow up in a framework that considered a Chakra taboo? But the answer is yes, if it wasn’t explicitly discussed in the Bible, it was probably someone trying to lead me astray. Further discussion on this topic is appropriate for another time. Suffice it to say treatment of these concepts of metaphor helps put the model into the appropriate context.

So, my recommendation, to those that are being introduced to this topic for the first time, is to treat it as a metaphor. Even in hardcore scientific discussions metaphors are heavily relied upon.

For example, the model of an atom relies highly on a conceptualized physical construction of an atom. The description of atoms with shells of electrons and the protons and neutrons in the nucleus is a metaphor, or a model. Constructed to help people visualize the characteristics and behavior of an atom. Interestingly if you ask the average person they would say that this is what an atom actually looks like. The model of an atom has been derived from countless observations, experiments and experiences, but it is only a model. If we were able to actually view an atom large enough to be visible to the naked eye I am sure the appearance would shock you, differing dramatically from the artificial construction in your head.

We have never even seen anything as small as an atom, we’ve just observed its impact on the world.

I say all this to warm you up to the topic of chakras and our energetic body. If you dig into different belief systems, you will find discrepancies and even outright contradictions. These problems would appear to invalidate all such ideas. If this is a real part of the human body, why don’t they all agree?

The answer is, “Because it’s a model.” It’s a system of descriptions and details put together based on countless observations, experiments and experiences. The conflicting models were constructed by people looking at humans from different perspectives.

When you talk about the number of bones in a hand, how many kidneys a person has, or the number of teeth in your mouth, there is a discrete and precise answer.

When you get into the more abstract areas of our existence we have to rely on models and metaphor to explain what we see. This is where the chakras and subtle energy body exist, in the abstract. They are models constructed to explain behavior and observation.

According to traditional Indian medicine, the chakras are a number of wheel-like vortices or spirals which exist in the subtle body of living beings. Together they form part of the subtle energy body. The subtle energy body is made up of energy channels (or ‘Nadis’).

Though the model may not be an exact match, you can visualize the nadis in a similar way to our vascular system. But they are not directly visible in the same way that we cannot directly observe an atom.

Our blood flows through our bodies in big blood vessels (arteries) and then the blood flows out to smaller vessels to provide fuel to each cell in our bodies. The blood branches off into smaller and smaller vessels till at last the blood is delivered to each cell.

The energy channels work in a similar way we have the inflow and outflow of energy through the nadis (energy channels). The primary nadis runs up and down and spine and the other nadis branch off from here allowing energy to flow throughout our entire body.

In most ancient texts, the total number of nadis in the human body is stated to be 72,000. So the chakras are a core component of a model used to describe the subtle energy body.

It’s okay to talk about them, it’s okay to learn about them, it’s okay to share. The universe is vaster and more complicated than we can possibly imagine. Some day we may be able to directly observe what an atom looks like. Some day we may be able to directly observe a chakra. Until then, it doesn’t mean they don’t exist. So let’s keep discussion open and allow for any tool that can help us gain understanding.

Don’t be afraid, it’s only a model.




Happy 4th of the July to my U.S. readers. I just finished watching the 4th of July parade up here in Crescent City, CA. Fun parade and great practice being in the moment. A parade is a fun display of people supporting their organizations and you get to keep your attention right on the activity in front of you as it passes by. It’s easy to forget the activity just before it and not worry about the next coming float. Focusing on the people waving in front of you and enjoy the energy.

So for today I recommend you find a quiet spot and watch the world go by, even only for a few minutes. The past is gone and the future will tend to itself. Enjoy the now.



Before we all get too excited, I should start with the disclaimer, I haven’t figured it all out yet. So I don’t have the answer to life the universe and everything. But I do have some feel for what it isn’t. Possessions don’t seem to fill the gaps. Volunteer work is wonderful, but it doesn’t seem to pay the bills. And everybody seems to be running down a different path to the finish line.

We can’t all be pastors, stock brokers, software developers or restaurateurs. So what is the perfect job? The Perfect role? How do we connect the longing of our souls with the needs of this world?

Our primary job is to understand ourselves. For some understanding comes quick and their path is obvious. They see an automobile and want to learn everything about it and focus their life’s work on cars. Or they see a person building homes in Mexico and decide they must do whatever it takes to perform that task. Or they simply find something they are passionate about and connect with that. But for others, like myself, it takes time. It takes attention and inner focus to try to determine what drives you and how that could be applied to a vocation.

Slowly, through steps that felt like crawling, I came to understand the intersection of all my paths and my passion. I have gained enough understanding of myself to know what energizes me. I have developed enough vision to create a plan for how I can utilize skills and ability toward a path that I am best suited. And I have come to this place that I am now, writing to you.

It feels fantastic to be in this place where I am focusing my energies on realizing a dream of helping others live more fulfilled lives.

One of the most important part of being where I am, is accepting that I’ve only made one more step down the path. Next month or next year I may find I have to correct coarse, I have to re-evaluate what is working and if I’m still in my strength. But the steps must be taken and now must happen for then to occur.

I wanted to write this up, not just to tell a piece of my story, but also to encourage others to find their story. I believe that we are here in this life to discover our own personal story. Every step we take in our daily lives is part of our education. The mindful awareness of the lessons, as we are taught, can help us with our forward momentum.

I encourage everyone to continue down the path to determine why they are here as an individual. Identify your passions, abilities and the threads that tie your life so far together. Identify the patterns or themes. Don’t be afraid to ask for outside help and analysis. Armed with this information go forth boldly and exercise your passion.

I have this written on my office wall to remind me to be true to myself
“In a world where you can be anything… Be Yourself.”

Go out to the world and be yourself





In meditation discussions today, when we talk about the moment we seem to revere it as the end all be all of existence. Most of meditation today, popular books, references on talk shows, and dialog in other forums focus on how we need to be in the moment. In a way, the world of meditation appears to be obsessed with that idea of the moment. But, in truth, we are creatures of balance. We require all elements, the past, the present and the future.

In general, I agree with the focus of meditation on the moment. But I also feel it is important for those beginning at meditation to be aware our lives are not all about the moment. I think the focus on the moment can be a stumbling block prevent those that can benefit from meditation from going further down the path of meditation.

Releasing expectations about the past and the future is fundamental to the meditation experience. It also helps us properly interpret those past experiences because they can be viewed through a clear lens when the mind is quiet. Our mind interprets everything we see and this can alter our perceptions and muddy the truth.

However, there are several negatives that can come out of the apparent obsession with the moment. As I mentioned earlier this focus on the moment can provide a roadblock to beginners entering the practice. Also the discipline of the moment, if improperly applied can lead to tension and stress. Momentary awareness must be applied with release and not tension.

I was recently with a friend who was very stressed and was using mindfulness and meditation to help with her stress. She was commenting how difficult it was for her to stay in the moment and verbally berating herself for not being in the moment. In this case, the obsession with the moment was in fact degrading the moment and not providing the desired benefits. We should not obsess about the moment any more than we should obsess about the past or the future. All three need to be in balance to fully and properly experience life.

Meditation and moment based awareness are crucial to proper interpretation of our experiences. But we are here to experience this world as beings that can prepare for the future and reflect on the past. Without utilization of these abilities we are not fully realizing our lives. If we never dealt with anything but the moment, we would never allow for the full expression of our human experience. Time is here as a tool for us to use. Learning from the past and applying that knowledge to our future is fundamental to progress and growth.

If you are going to obsess about anything, obsess on moderation and balance.

Yes, that statement is intended to be ironic. The real take away should be moderation in all thing especially balance.




In my evening walk with the dogs, I came across a young couple out for a walk. I offered a friendly “Hello” and the response came from the young man of the couple, “Good morning”. I was immediately aware of the mistake offered by the young man. Being in a pleasant neutral place myself, I simply returned a friendly smile and I continued on my walk.

This experience immediately engaged my thoughts in multiple directions. First I felt pleased that I was in the moment enough to be aware that it was not indeed morning and that the young man’s mind was somewhere else entirely to have offered this greeting up. Additionally I was happy to have not been critical of the greeting. This would likely not have benefited our momentary friendship. So I was delighted that I managed to both be aware of the mistaken greeting, and aware enough to not offer criticism in response. I thought on this for some time as I walked away, pondering the dialog, the possible outcomes and my ability to stay in the moment.

It was some minutes later that I realized that I was about half a mile away from the lovely young couple and still talking with them in my mind. The dogs I was walking were still in the moment, the moment was continuing to occur around me, but I was no longer with it. A healthy appreciation of the present moment requires letting go of the past moment, so we don’t miss each moment as it occurs. If you never let go, you will never be in the moment.