Life’s Trump Card | Touchstones Of The Sacred | Touchstones of the Sacred


Life’s Trump Card

September 28, 2011 By: Michael Nagel Category: Living with Intention, Mind Body Spirit, Teachings

cards crop

Imagine you’re playing a card game. A very unusual card game. Matter of fact, it’s a game you play every day. It’s called, “Life”. Every day, you’re dealt the cards of your life situation. Every day the same other player wins. Here’s today’s play.

The cards are dealt: today’s life situation.

The first player throws out a judgment. “It shouldn’t be like this!”

The next player tosses in an expectation. “I’m disappointed.”

The third player slams down an argument. Read more »


July 10, 2010 By: Miranda Macpherson Category: Living with Intention, Teachings


What ultimately matters is what our inner awakening actually produces in the living of our everyday lives. I call this embodiment. Once we know we are love, we are peace itself, the ongoing challenge is to live from that awareness in a way that embraces all of life.

This is living with the open question: How does love and truth wish to express itself now? A life lived awake to spirit is not about walking around in a pastel vapour, but about learning to be profoundly open to whatever life brings us in each present moment. To fully be here:

Our feet firmly grounded in the body upon this earth

Our mind surrendered to its Source

Our heart wide open and undefended

Embracing all of life with equal acceptance

Letting love live and move through us

In this degree of openness, our heart and our life become a birthing chamber for profound grace. We recognize that there is literally nothing to fear, and love is free to express itself naturally in everyday ways that heal, touch, uplift and inspire everyone. Selfishness and neurosis soften to reveal natural kinship and compassion. Heaven touches earth. The sacred comes alive in the mundane.

from Awakening with Miranda

5 Steps to Break Down Negative Thinking

June 28, 2010 By: Janna Chin Category: Living with Intention, Mind Body Spirit


Stop Beating Yourself Up!

Do you pay attention to everything your mind tells you? Our minds can take us on a wild goose ride with all the “What if’s” and “I should have’s.” The mind is the main cause of the “Worrier” in us and is the culprit for our automatic tendency to “beat ourselves up” at the first sign of problems.

Psychologists believe we have between 60,000-70,000 thoughts a day and approximately 80% of those thoughts are negative or self-damaging. Negative thoughts have been developing in our subconscious for years, often stemming from incidences in our lives when we were “put down” or criticized.

In fact, until you actively try to identify these negative thoughts, you’re probably not even aware they’re there. Negative thinking starts from childhood. It’s hard to realize how negative self-talk can be detrimental to your self-esteem, self-concept, and confidence when it’s so automatic.

For instance, if something happens that doesn’t turn out the way you expected, the automatic negative thoughts could be, “I’m so stupid. I should have known better.”

Habitually thinking negatively or “beating yourself up” results in the real belief that you’re “not good enough,” stupid, or can’t do anything right. With negative thinking, you’ve probably settled for less and compromised your integrity more times than you prefer to remember. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to feel confident and successful when you’re constantly “beating yourself down.” Read more »

Daily Practice: Tapas – the Heat of Mindfulness

June 20, 2010 By: Michael E. Crowley Category: Mind Body Spirit, Yoga


The image of my late great-grandfather was in my mind as I practiced yoga this week.  Wilbur McKenna, or “Mac” as his co-workers called him, was a railroader who drove steam, diesel, and electric locomotives for the Milwaukee Road through southern Montana and the surrounding states.

His constant companion, whether hauling passengers through mountain passes at three a.m. or freight through the grasslands at mid-day, was his fireman, the man who kept the boilers stoked and operating at enough pressure to keep the trains moving.  That’s as clear and as basic an illustration of the precept of tapas as I can think of: Maintaining the energy needed to keep moving forward. Read more »

Vairagya: Reactionless Awareness and the Yoga-Sutra

June 13, 2010 By: Michael E. Crowley Category: Mind Body Spirit, Yoga


I started reading The Yoga-Sutra of Patañjali as translated by Chip Hartranft this week on the advice of a friend.  I like to start from the ground up when I learn things and The Yoga-Sutra is the root of the tree as far as yoga goes, I’m told, so I’ve been keen to get my hands on a copy.

I haven’t been disappointed, even though I’ve only gotten through Mr. Hartranft’s Introduction and the first section, “Integration.”  I did have a moment at first when, after I took a good long look at what the book covered and its emphasis on consistent internal discipline and meditation and conscious effort, when I thought to myself, “I want to run with scissors instead.”  The end goals of an enlightened attitude and transformed consciousness just seemed impossibly abstract, and unconnected with anything that I had experienced up to that point in my life.

I ended up re-reading the first section several times before I began to see the real merit of it.

Vairagya: Reactionless Awareness

I posed a question in a post before my trip to Chicago last month: “What if having a hard time holding a certain pose, or sustaining my focus, was just an observable fact that could be recorded, understood, and then dealt with by continued, mindful effort over time, rather than being a reflection of my personal worth?”

It turns out I was unwittingly describing the precept of vairagya, defined in Mr. Hartranft’s translation as “the willingness to let a phenomenon arise without reacting to it.” Patanjali makes the point that our reactions to events rise out of learned responses to experiences, like my reaction to a life of meditation and discipline and mindfulness.  I learned, somewhere in childhood, that no one who does anything disciplined has any fun, has any friends, and never gets to play.

This is, of course, not true but then I’ve had some intervening decades in which to rethink the whole concept of reward vs. effort.  And, I’ve realized that I haven’t learned helpful lessons from some of my experiences, so there is validity to the idea that learning to let go of a preconditioned response “reveals the newness and originality of the unfolding moment”, to quote Patañjali.

Mindfulness: A Beautiful Life

June 11, 2010 By: Matsya Siosal Category: Living with Intention, Mind Body Spirit


It’s too easy to identify with “being busy” – don’t we all use this phrase at least daily?  When we say this what do we really mean?

We feel we have too much to do and our experience of life is overwhelmed by activities, thoughts, and limited perceptions about time. Often what we need is a spacious moment to step back from all the things we are busy with and come home to ourselves.

One way to create a beautiful spacious moment for yourself is to mindfully cultivate an eye for beauty. It is all around us and I find it’s one of the best ways to cut through the buzzing tunnel vision of “I’m too busy”. We all have varying tolerances for the usual demands of daily life. When we pay attention to the things that stress us out as well as the things that soothe and relax us we are one step closer to joy; we are making space for it in our lives.

Take a Beauty Break

The joy that I experience in nature is tremendously nourishing. After several hours at my computer my favorite break-time ritual is to stretch my body while a pot of tea steeps. I take a fragrant, steaming mug into my garden and walk slowly with wide open senses visiting all the plants and creatures that inhabit this patch of land with me. I delight in the wild tangle of nature that grows along the periphery of my slightly-less-wild flower and vegetable beds and return to my work with more focus and creativity.

Beauty is a breath of fresh air that sweeps open the door to possibility. Surrounding ourselves with sacred art or listening to sacred music is another way to cut through the narrow-eyed gaze of “busyness” and connect with the timeless flow of being.

How do you connect to beauty?

Whatever it is that inspires you, settles your heart, and captures your imagination is a good place to start.

Mindfulness and Death

June 09, 2010 By: celedra Category: Teachings


This past Friday, my sweet Little Lhasa Apso rescue dog, only eight weeks old, left this world.  My granddaughter Samantha had named her Padu, which means “puffball” in Tibetan.  Of course, she had to have a Tibetan name, given that she was, indeed, of Tibetan origin.

We’d been looking for the right dog for over a year when Sami discovered this breed and fell in love with a Lhasa Apso that she met while vacationing with my daughter.  “It’s the perfect dog!  You love Tibet and all the people there and it will remind you of being there”.  All true, so ahead we forged looking for a rescue site that had a Lhasa Apso.   Sami sent off an e-mail to a large rescue site in California and the next day I got a response stating that, yes, there was a rescued Lhasa Apso mom that had just had puppies, one of them female.  It seemed so easy and right.  We had found our baby!

We couldn’t get her until the first week of July, and I just couldn’t wait that long to see her.  So last Wednesday off my friend Eileen and I went to make the eight hour drive to meet her.  Read more »

Abundance and Mindfulness

June 02, 2010 By: celedra Category: Awakening Feminine, Feminine Wisdom, Living with Intention, Mind Body Spirit


What nourishes you?

What breaks your heart open?

What makes tears burst forth in a blaze of overwhelming gratitude?

Aren’t those tears delicious!  I love the way they have a life of their own, gathering momentum for just a moment and then ever so gently  flowing over and warming my cheeks.  I used to brush them away, almost with embarrassment, but now I cheerish their short sweetness.

It seems that, in the process of being mindful, we can be deeply nourished.  After all, there is such  abundance waiting for us at every turn.  It is a choice of attention.

During a recent filming for the Women’s Global Awakening, we asked women this question “What nourishes you?”.  What is the answer for you?  Singing, dancing, gardening, writing, being with friends, reading poetry, being alone?  Because we women have the tendency to give to others, to care for others, it is vitality important to also give and care for ourselves.  Without this, we do not have the very vitality we need in order to cultivate the deep feminine nature within us.  We could ask this question for our Mother Earth.  What nourishes her?  What does she need in order to have the vitality to cultivate her deep generous nature so that she can survive?  Ask your self the question:   What can nourish me in this moment?  It is not selfish.  It is not indulgent.  It is essential.

And what breaks your heart open -  allows you to sink in and touch that deep warm soulful part of you that can get covered up so easily in the midst of life.  There is so much everywhere all the time for all of us.  Today this famous poem was my gift:

Even in our sleep
pain which cannot forget
falls drop by drop upon the heart
until in our own despair
against our will
comes wisdom through the awful
grace of God


What is your gift today?

Mindfulness & Gratitude: A Lovely Pairing

May 26, 2010 By: celedra Category: Living with Intention, Mind Body Spirit, Teachings


This morning I heard a serenade of bird songs as I strolled through a garden with my grandson.  I imagined that they were speaking some universal language that this preconditioned mind of mine had long lost the capacity to understand.  But I knew, if I could understand, their message would break open my heart with a celebration of beauty and joy.

I made the intention to listen – all day. And all day the birds sang to me (and of course to anyone else who happened to be listening).  It’s the ‘happening to be listening’ part that obviously makes such a difference!  We could say, ‘happening to be listening, feeling, seeing etc’.  It is mind boggling that so much is here for us all the time, things that would make us weep with joy, laugh with delight, cry with sorrow, burst open with awe – but never notice.  Probably too busy texting, or on the phone (yes, I’m speaking for myself). Read more »

Daily Practice: Rethinking Safety and Security

May 21, 2010 By: Matsya Siosal Category: Living with Intention, Mantra, Malas, Meditation, Mind Body Spirit, Teachings


This morning I found myself thinking about a day I spent with my 4-year-old niece. We walked to a park near my house and she ran from tree to tree bestowing hugs and proclaiming her love quietly to the rough bark. She was determined to master the play structure and I helped her climb. Whenever she reached a point that felt too high, too unsteady, I felt her small body tense up, the vibration from her tightening grip moved through her slender limbs to my own body and I could feel her confidence falling like dominoes.

During those shaky moments I held her firmly and said that I had her safe, I wouldn’t let her fall. Sometimes this reassurance was enough for her to rebalance, find a foothold and climb higher still. Sometimes though she found she really had gone too high and she would fall back grateful and laughing into my arms.

Can’t we all relate to joy of a pair of strong arms to fall safely into?

In Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living Pema Chödrön shares with us why she practices Buddhism:

We can discover the process of letting go and relaxing during our lifetime. In fact, that’s the way to live: stop struggling against the fact that things are slipping through our fingers. Stop struggling against the fact that nothing’s solid to begin with and things don’t last. Knowing that can give us a lot of space and a lot of room if we can relax with it instead of screaming and struggling against it.”

As my mind chewed on this revolutionary approach to life I began to see glimpses of what it would feel like to let go like this. It was both liberating and deeply comforting. I think one of the biggest ways that we resist letting go is by chasing perfection or in another way never reaching to climb higher because we fear failure. Read more »

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