The Hidden Source of Amazing Love

“We are ultimately at home in the world not through dominating or explaining or appreciating, but through caring and being cared for.”—Milton Mayeroff, On Caring

“Every time the other person does something well, something in the direction of change and growth, we should congratulate her or him to show our approval. It is important to not take things for granted.”—Thich Naht Hahn, beloved philosopher and monk, from Teachings on Love

Most all of us want to love and be loved. And so in the beginning of any loving relationship, we feel exhilarated, exuberant, and even ecstatic. Love has potential here! I am gonna be happy! But as some of this early enthusiasm wanes, our interest may begin to waver a bit. It...

The Secret Power of Thought & Thanksgiving

Welcome to our four part series of inspirations devoted to miracles of the mind and the incredible power behind thought and feeling. Join Luann in the exciting weeks ahead as she discusses how: YOUR MIND IS A POWERFUL TOOL.

“ …Everything can be taken from a man [woman] but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”—Victor Frankl, concentration camp survivor (Man’s search for Meaning).

Frankl endured years of unconscionable horror in Nazi concentration camps, and lived to share his findings from a most remarkable experiment: That one could maintain sanity, human dignity, and ultimately life itself, no matter what the external circumstances, by exercising freedom of mind...

The Magic and Miracle of Fear

“The greatest miracle you will ever experience does not lie outside of you. It lies within.”—Paul Ferrini

In our most optimal state we realize the significance of these words. And when we are feeling vulnerable and afraid we are tempted to look elsewhere for comfort and solace in an attempt to feel good about who we are on the inside.

Many of us have searched and found what we thought would provide relief, only to inevitably discover our solution to be false and doomed to fizzle. Ah, not to worry, we can look again. There must be an answer out there. Over and over again, we keep seeking. Sometimes our search is relentless and exhausting. We are definitely tenacious, persistent, and resolute...

Transforming the Habit of Fear into Genius

“Despite our overt resolve, we are still creatures of habit. Resolve is activated by self-confidence, which in turn depends on the self image we have.”—Stephen Batchelor

“As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.” –John Wolfgang Von Goethe

“And so it goes, and so it goes, and you’re the only one who knows.”—Billy Joel

If you are a living, breathing creature reading the words on this page, you have the ability in this moment to distinguish the difference between what causes you to suffer and what brings you joy and happiness. There isn’t another human on the planet that can do it for you. No guru, teacher, workshop, or class has the answers. It is only you who knows....

Fear and Fate or Power and Choice?

“As a species, we should never underestimate our low tolerance for discomfort. To be encouraged to stay with our vulnerability is news that we can use.”—Pema Chodron

In last week’s dialogue on Fear and Triumph, we opened a discussion on where we are as a species, particularly related to what scares us and how we respond when we are shocked by an unexpected event. Recent scientific studies have provided empirical evidence to suggest that there are more active pathways carrying messages from the lower regions of our brain (reptilian brain) going toward the cerebral cortex (higher areas of reasoning), than there are leading back to the brain stem.

And so what does this mean? In simple terms, it suggests that when we...

On Fear and Triumph

Greetings and welcome to this week’s message!

“Fear is a gift of nature for our survival. What is destructive is the spirit of fear, which consumes and immobilizes us even when there is no specific menace. We must overcome the spirit of fear by cultivating the confidence…and courage…which enables us to face and overcome every obstacle.”—Dr. James Forbes, Jr.

Most of us when faced with feelings of fear will often react with some type of avoidance, or attempt at protecting ourselves. This way of responding is a reflection of our conditioning as human beings. For eons, we were trained to expect the catastrophe (ferocious flooding, saber toothed tigers, etc.). And at this stage in our evolutionary development it is possible that the...

Reflections on Peace

Greetings to my dear friends and family,

Over the past few weeks we have been focusing on the subject of peace and how to create more feelings of harmony, not only in our own lives, but in the lives of everyone we touch. Starting with the week of September 11, 2006, we launched this series of discussions by noticing how we might offer peace to another in some way, every day, making note of any internal conflict, which could interrupt the intent. And then being sure to pay attention on how pivoting toward peace, rather than reacting with some less favorable emotion, could end up serving us every bit as much, if not more than the person, group, etc., for whom...

Choosing Peace Through Forgiveness

Greetings to my dear family and friends.

Most of us are now familiar with the tragedy that occurred in the Amish township of Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania. Sally Kohn recently wrote a thought provoking article (What the Amish are Teaching America) on how the village responded to the violent event, which took the lives of five innocent little girls, leaving others in critical condition. In the piece, Kohn reported that mental health counselors helping families cope were deeply touched by one of the community’s most pressing concerns: How could they help the family of the one, who had perpetrated the unconscionable crimes?

With their genuine desire to choose compassion instead of hatred and revenge, the parish had already begun the process of forgiveness...

You Are Making a Difference

Interesting time of the year… autumn. As I look out my window I can still see remnants of beautiful golden leaves adorning the hillside, while others have turned brown and are falling to the ground, ready to become the compost that will fertilize new growth in the spring.

As we notice the changes that are taking place in our lives, both individually and collectively, how can we join together to create a collective compost that can alchemize the past, building the foundation for a positive future?

The green leaves of spring will inevitably turn brown and fall to the ground. And then, the cycle will repeat itself. The leaves come, the leaves go. People come. People go. And you want to be...

Finding Gratitude

Greetings and welcome to our dialogue on peace.

Last week we talked about the inner wars…or the internal conflict in which we can be tempted to engage when we go against ourselves. We were invited to take a look at how we could stand back and watch those little wars within, rather than participate in them, and then notice how we might be able to bring in more harmonious thoughts, eventually moving back to peace.

One way to shift from what is going wrong (in your mind), to what is going right, is to find a way to have gratitude for something in your life. You could start with being grateful for your ability to see the words or images on this...

Creating Peace

Greetings and welcome to our ongoing conversation on peace.

Perhaps we would all agree that the opposite of peace is war. And so how is it that wars begin? What is really the root cause of hostilities and fighting? Is there anything that we ourselves can do, right now, to help put an end to unnecessary conflict…forever? Perhaps such an idea appears to be a lofty goal, and yet, it would probably amaze us to realize how much our own thoughts can influence peacefulness in the world.

If you are inclined, take a moment to reflect over the past twenty-four hours. Have you experienced any internal conflict, self-doubt, or feelings of shame or personal skepticism? What are your victories and successes? At...

Practices for Peace

There are many things happening globally, in our communities and in our personal relationships that can tempt us to shift our focus of the need for peace to other places, and to think about what others could be doing, or might have done, in order to be more peaceful. On Monday, every single American remembered the tragedy that took place in New York City five years ago on September 11th. In reflecting on that tragedy, it is tempting to think about those who perpetrated the unconscionable crimes, and to concentrate on what they should or should not have been doing. Perhaps it would be useful when we have those thoughts to ask ourselves how helpful this thinking is in eliminating...

Being Right Here

Greetings!

Last week we visited Rumi’s beautiful poem, The Guest House (for review, click here). What he seems to be saying is “welcome all guests (feelings, situations, etc.)” who come to your house (or to you), regardless of how you may perceive them to be at the time.

When we find ourselves unhappy with certain circumstances in our lives and feel that we would rather be “over there” than “right here,” it may be useful to examine what it is we think we would gain by changing places.

Maybe you would like more money, a different job, an improved relationship (or a new one). Perhaps you want to be younger, slimmer, or healthier…all reasonable desires. Good. There is nothing wrong with having a...

The Guest House

Greetings! Welcome to The Guest House

This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor. Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they are a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes because each has been sent as a guide from beyond. —Rumi (Coleman Barks, 1995, Harper Collins, pp. 109)

Can you relate to Rumi’s words? Have you ever been able to make meaning out of a temporary “depression...

The Benefits of Ho'op in Action

Last week we were introduced to a Hawaiian ritual called Ho’oponopono (interesting to note how many Hawaiian syllables are repeated twice…perhaps for emphasis?) This simple method for healing requires only our willingness to embrace in ourselves, the potential to be all of the things we resist in another. And then, ask for our own healing of those qualities. That is all. That is it.

I practiced Ho’oponopono as many times as I could last week (and, admittedly…sometimes I forgot!). I tried to remember to embrace and accept in myself that which I might be resisting in someone else… when I was driving, walking, sitting, or waiting...particularly when I was starting to fume. What I noticed, is that doing so immediately put me...

The Magic of Ho'op

Last week we began discussions regarding life/personality patterns and were given the option to ponder possibilities. What are your greatest strengths? What are your challenges? And in looking at these, can you notice any prevailing life-themes? Who are the people and what are the situations in your life that bring you joy…and how can you increase your chances of having more of those people and circumstances in your life? Are there situations or people that crop up occasionally (or frequently) that seem to cause difficulty? Can you notice any threads of similarity in these people and situations? If so, are you ready to look at what may be going on? In having the courage to do so, you position yourself...

Path To Freedom & Joy

During the next six weeks, we will be taking a look at how we can liberate ourselves from the personality patterns, which no longer serve our development and growth. It is time to claim our full and most optimal potential and let go of anything that is interrupting progress…now! Not just some, but all of our misery can be eliminated if we are just willing to take a look at what we ourselves might be able to do to adjust, alter, eliminate and expand.

Here are some questions to ponder as we explore together what we need to emphasize or adjust in order to embrace all possibilities for joy and happiness… now! Can you identify 10 strengths? Can you notice any prevailing life-themes...

Coming To Peace

During the past few weeks, we have been taking a deeper look at the condition of happiness, and how we can come to experience that state of being in more regular doses…eventually, all of the time… no matter what. We have used the advice of some wise teachers, who tell us that much of what causes our misery is directly related to our perception in any given situation. And, that in order to avoid suffering, we have to keep digging for the truth. What is really going on here? (It’s possible that we can be carried away by either bliss, or disaster. Our minds are subject to massive error depending on a multitude of factors, starting with our emotional state...

Momentary Pleasure or Happiness & Inner Fulfillment

“Happiness is a state of inner fulfillment, not the gratification of inexhaustible desires for outward things.”—Matthieu Ricard (pp. 31, Happiness, by Matthieu Ricard, 2003)

In our ever ending search to obtain happiness, the very act of striving will itself frequently take us further away from the joy and fulfillment we are so hoping to find. And often in this seeking of ours, we will come upon a “momentary pleasure” or delight, which we may mistake for our deliverance to that state of eternal bliss. Of course, it is possible that this “momentary pleasure” can extend for seconds to even days or weeks. Nonetheless, we willnot experience this event in the same way that we did the first time as time passes, no matter what the...

Learning To Stay

Greetings and welcome to our ongoing dialogue on how to make happiness a priority in your life… right now.

“[Sometimes] we feel that there is a large problem and we have to fix it. [Instead,] stop. Do something unfamiliar. Do anything besides rushing off in the same old direction, up to the same old tricks.”—Pema Chodron

Last week we began our discussion by looking back at our lives to times of difficulty, and then noticing the successes, which followed. We challenged ourselves to review how we had actually used loss as a launch pad for success, even if we hadn’t been fully aware at the time of what had facilitated our process of transcendence.

Ultimately, each of us has an innate awareness that...