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mindfulness

126 articles in mindfulness

Time For Death And Rebirth

Time For Death And Rebirth

I have always loved Easter. Not because of the gorgeous painted eggs or the magic bunnies delivering them or even the marvelous laughter of children on treasure hunts. I love Easter because it is a time of death and rebirth for all life including each and every one of us. Of course, the death part of these natural cycles is what we fear greatly. Not only is this fear unfounded; it greatly limits our inner growth. It also prevents us from experiencing the most valuable process in life during which we can discover who, at the deepest level of our being, we really are. I invite you, this Easter, to explore the magnificent gifts available to you when you embrace death/rebirth experiences in your own life. UNIVERSAL CYCLES Death/rebirth cycles are fundamental to all living things—plants and trees, animals, our own bodies and minds, even the stars in the heavens. Easter holidays are a celebration of these cycles which Jesus himself is said to have experienced between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. The origins of Easter also have even more ancient roots in pagan death/rebirth festivals celebrated long before the Christian era. In Sumerian mythology, the goddess Inanna was hung naked on a stake, killed and resurrected as she ascended from darkness into light. The Easter Bunny, whom we all so love, is a modern day manifestation of another pagan festival of death and rebirth involving Eostre, the great Northern Goddess whose symbol was a rabbit. Moment by moment, day by day, year by year, even the cells of our body undergo a death/rebirth cycle so we can go on living. WHY I LOVE EASTER Easter Season is a fine time to lay aside fears of death and darkness, and give thanks for rebirth and renewal which continues to be offered us. The thing I love most about Easter is it reminds me that if we want to live a life true to our essential nature, each of us must be willing to experience death and rebirth—to leave what is old and no longer useful in our own lives so we can bring light and expanded consciousness into our lives. Of course this can be a challenge for us humans. We so love to cling to what is most familiar even if doing so prevents us from experiencing new realities. PREGNANT DARKNESS The dark realms are transcendent domains about which our materialistic culture remains naïve. Darkness is a place where seeds lie dormant, a realm of incubation, the womb in a woman’s body where a new being is nurtured so that it can be born. In dark spaces what is old and outdated becomes compost to feed tiny seed of new life. When they open, husks fall away, freeing new plants to grow towards the sun. Within our own psyche, a thousand such seeds lie waiting to break open and grow. They urge us to nurture them, to trust them, so they too can come forth. If we are riddled with fear we remain deaf to their call. Of course our greatest fear is invariably the fear of our own death. Yet the death/rebirth cycles I’m speaking are not involved in destroying the physical body. They are nature’s renewal transformations in service of new life. After all, the old, decayed leaves of the forest must die to fertilize its saplings. And whatever we still carry about which no longer serves us must be allowed to die to make way for new ways of being. Death/rebirth initiation shappens to us again and again throughout the whole of our lives. They also happen as the moon dies and is renewed every month. And you can see them in the way a snake sheds a skin when it needs to grow. THE HERO’S JOURNEY Joseph Campbell’s Hero With a Thousand Faces talks a lot about coming to terms with the experience of these deaths and the rebirths. They are central to the growth and spiritual development of human beings in every culture of the world he says. Throughout history, tribal societies have created rites of passage to celebrate the death/rebirth cycle at times of important biological change like puberty. Initiates are put through rituals involving non-ordinary states of consciousness during which they can connect with the energies of numinous realms in order to experience the power and the meaning of the process. Such rituals celebrate dying to the old role one has been playing in their society—that of a dependent child—and being born into a new one as a powerful and independent adult. A boy dies. A man is born. From that moment onward, nobody in the tribe treats the initiate as a child anymore. For most of us, the death we fear is not death of the body (although we often think it is). It is the death of outmoded beliefs and ways of living our lives that no longer serve us. And, in order to allow an influx of our deeper soul energies to emerge from the darkness and recreate our life anew, we need to become aware of them and welcome change. It is this experience that Campbell describes so well in his mythological hero’s journey. There death and rebirth represent the membrane or interface in the psyche between the domain of the personal and the vast spiritual realms of the universal. Death becomes a frontier to a new way of being. Once we realize this, the whole death/rebirth process becomes a friend. In truth this is a sacred experience with rewards so great it is not possible to put them into words. By the way, one of the most exhilarating gifts that comes with welcoming any death/rebirth process is an experience of authentic freedom that arises from within us. GATEWAY TO NEW LIFE Our own culture lost touch with death/rebirth transformations. This is why we fear them. Sooner later death/rebirth comes to each of us. It can be triggered by the ending of a love affair, the recognition that one is addicted to alcohol, drugs or work, a dawning awareness that what you have always worked for and what you have achieved no longer holds meaning for you, the loss of a job or reputation, even the unexpected release of intense emotion and the spontaneous entrance into altered states of consciousness which challenges every notion about what is real and what is unreal. We approach any kind of death or crisis with anxiety, embarrassment and denial. Thankfully this is beginning to change. The work of Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, Stephen Levine and Ram Dass— all of whom have written wisely about death—is gradually altering our attitude. So is the in-depth research into near-death experiences where people consistently report the survival of consciousness as well as spontaneous experiences of illumination when the soul separates even temporarily from the body. THRESHOLDS The confrontation with birth and death we experience can introduce us to new realities. It can happen in a literal sense to a woman in the act of giving birth or a man sitting at the bedside of his wife who is dying of cancer. It can also happen in your life when you have to face the abandonment at the end of a marriage or the disruption in your ordinary life that accompanies the loss of a job. For many it comes in a life-threatening situation, for instance in a car crash, when you find yourself standing outside your body looking down on what until then you assumed to be the only reality there was. It can even occur in some kind of spontaneous eruption—often labeled a psychotic break—through which the volatile world of expanded consciousness emerges, full-blown, to shake the very foundations of your life. Such events lead people into the transpersonal realms experienced by mystics, great artists and other visionary beings. They are invitations to new ways of thinking and new ways of experiencing reality not through the mind but through the heart. So much for fearing the magnificent darkness which brings forth life. When I tuned into the nature of the death/rebirth cycles in operation this Easter Season, with all the cosmic energies now bombarding our earth, here are the words that came to me. I’d like to share them with you. I move in velvet silence within forgotten spaces of your being. Fear me not. For when you fear me, you fear your own beauty and your own creative power. In the light all is separate. Within my darkness all is One. Whenever your soul calls, I am here to wrap my silent wings of transformation around you. Enter me in friendship. I will introduce you to the magic of angels and archetypes, deities and your own profound essential being. Look carefully at each of these things, no matter how fearsome its face may feel to you. You will find each and every one is a window to the divine truth unique to you alone. I am the Spirit of the Dark

Sacred Truth Ep. 54: Live Your Truth

Sacred Truth Ep. 54: Live Your Truth

We are poised at a moment in history where one age is dying and the next is about to be born. Each of us is being faced with a choice. As we sense the foundations of our world shaking, do we withdraw in anxiety and try to hang on to what we once believed to be “the way things should be?” Do we become paralyzed, and attempt to cover our fear with apathy? Or do we embrace the courage being offered to us by a Universe in flux, and, step-by-step, commit ourselves to discovering who in essence we are at the deepest levels of our being and decide to live our lives from there? How do you feel about this? Can you to honor your instincts? Will you choose to face the challenge of entering into the realms of your innate creative power and forging a new life for yourself in the midst of all the chaos, confusion, and deception with which this crazy world surrounds us? I believe we can. The choice we are being asked to make is either joining the “sheep” and conforming to established belief systems, even though they no longer offer a sense of safety that we once believed could be counted on, or taking a chance on discovering our own truth. Of course this means leaping into the unknown for which there is no precedent. What are the rewards of choosing the second possibility? They are immense. This makes it possible for each of us to tap into the immense joy and power of our own creativity and begin to live our lives from it—for our own the benefit, and the benefit of those we love as well as the world we live in. Authenticity—being true to yourself at the deepest level of your being—is the greatest gift you’ll ever experience. It’s all about discovering how unique you really are. This brings the greatest joy and satisfaction possible. After all, we can only collect so many BMWs, university degrees, and new lovers. All of these things are great, but none of them lead to a sense of self-worth, simple joy, and genuine freedom. I believe that freedom is the birthright of every human being. Realizing you deserve it is the first step in claiming it as your own. For some people this can seem the most difficult step to take, because it means coming to respect and honor yourself enough that you allow your unique truths to arise from deep within. In the past seven years I have personally worked with men and women all over the world. When many begin their Cura protocol, more often than not their minds are filled with the false notion that changing their weight and expanding their health and their lives with joy could never be more than a pipe dream. They soon learn otherwise. When they follow their protocol to the letter, they discover for themselves how exciting it can be to live one’s life in wholeness. The program brings body, mind, and spirit together in a harmonious way, and they experience a natural clearing away of limiting beliefs and false notions that they may have carried for years. This process clarifies and expands their experience of the world around them. This is because every blinkered view of reality blocks freedom, entraps our creativity, limits bliss, and disconnects us—not only from our essential beauty but also from the Universe as a whole, in all its wonderment and the power it can bring for growth and transformation for our own lives and for the world. Connecting with who you really are, accessing authentic power, and living your freedom require that you expand your consciousness in a major way. As human beings, we have a natural capacity to move beyond our limited experience of five-sensory three-dimensional reality. We can learn to enter expanded realms of consciousness. This new expanding worldview is called holism. It looks upon the Universe as holographic. Holism was named after the work of scientists who demonstrated that living organisms are integrated energetic systems within an integrated whole. Even your brain and body are holographic. Each small part of us, like each part of the Universe, is not only connected to the rest, it but actually embodies the nature of the whole within it. The tension between the new holism and the old mechanism—which depended on a belief in a separation of Spirit from matter, form, and substance—must be urgently resolved if we are to break out of the self-imposed prisons that have been forced upon us by restrictive rules and conventions. I believe that every one of us is now being called upon to let go of our preconceived notions about what’s real, in order to explore the further reaches of a wider, more exciting, and transformative reality. For reasons I still don’t fully understand, Cura’s Inner Circle has been an ideal opportunity for most people to discover this. To experience real freedom you only need to welcome more and more of your essential soul nature into your everyday experience of life—through dance, through ritual, through prayer, through your work, your relationships, and in your interactions with the world around you—in ever more direct and fearless ways. I have long loved a saying that I first heard when I was twelve years old. It goes like this: “Tell the truth and shame the devil.” In regard to how it relates here, what I’ve been describing is nothing more or less that discovering your own truth and choosing to live your life from it at every level, whether or not it fits with what you have been taught you are “supposed” to do. The more you dare to do this not only brings you an immense sense of joy and natural confidence; it becomes easier and easier to trust yourself. There is nothing more fun than being who you truly are. Dance your unique truth, and the Universe dances with you. The rewards of living this way can be virtually infinite.

Setting Free Your Magnificent Self Part 2

Setting Free Your Magnificent Self Part 2

The response to my recent blog “Your Magnificent Self” was enormous. Last week I published PART ONE of my reply to your having asked for more. Here is PART TWO . I hope you enjoy it... One of the most important keys to connecting with your essential self lies in learning to pay attention to your peak experiences. These are times when you perceive reality through fresh eyes, experience the world as a whole and everything in it as being right. All of us have peak experiences yet too many of us don’t even stop to notice they are happening to us. EPIPHANIES The occurrence of these small moments of awakening can be tremendously enriching, for you are temporarily set free from habitual ways of thinking and behaving that tend to stifle your creativity. Look for peak experiences, surrender to what is happening to you, enjoy them when they come. Then record them in your notebook. The occurrences of both small and large moments of awakening can be tremendously valuable. You are temporarily set free from habitual ways of thinking and behaving that may be stifling your creativity and joy. Stay open to epiphanies. Sometimes they can be life-changing. Let me share with you how I discovered the power of peak experiences which many times have completely changed what, at the time, I believed to be true. AWAKENINGS When I was 18 years old, in my second year at Stanford University, I fell in love for the first time in my life. It was not long before I had to leave California to live in New York. His name was Dick Givens. He and I had never spent a night together. Now we would have twenty-four hours together in San Francisco before I had to catch a plane. We walked through Golden Gate Park. I had been there many times before on my own—visiting the Japanese garden, lying on the grass in the sun, looking at the paintings in the museum. But I'd never paid much attention to what was around me except in the vague way I had always appreciated being amidst the trees, grass and flowers. Today was different. He and I wandered aimlessly, aware that, in a few hours, we would probably never see each other again. REALITY SHIFTS I could feel death sitting at my shoulder. I loved this man with such intensity that I could hardly bear the fire that burned in my flesh when he touched my face, nor the surges of bliss which flooded my heart and body when we made love. Then, without warning, my whole world shifted. For reasons I will never understand, my consciousness – my awareness of the ordinary world – became transfigured, luminous. I had never experienced anything like it. As I walk with him, the structures of ordinary reality crack wide open. We come out of a wood, cross a road and step onto the curb. Old men are bowling on the green. Absorbed in their game, they pay no attention to us. Without warning the trees, the grass, the small knoll behind the men rising to a copse above, turn into a wondrous but terrifying universe. Space expands in all directions as though a million tiny holes are piercing the fabric of reality. Each one emits brilliant light. The air, the grass, the pavement, the bodies of the men, the clouds above us, the trees around us – everything trembles with a radiance. It breaks over me in great waves, simultaneously wiping me out as though it is even bringing me to birth in a new form. I understand nothing of what’s happening. DEEP MYSTERY In the presence of this overwhelming beauty, I sensed I’d tumbled into a deep mystery. Discovering love with my son, Branton who was born several months before. had been my first epiphany—my first peak experience. That day in Golden Gate Park brought my second. I am quite sure that the intensity of the love I felt for this man had triggered it. But the experience itself was far greater than either of us. I knew for the first time that by own essential being was urging me to live a different kind of life than I had lived until then – deeper, richer, larger and more connected to all living things. This was my first experience of something overwhelming which, instead of being terrifying, it carried with it a sense of exhilaration and excitement. It brought me incredible hope. That was the day I became certain that the universe is a place far greater than I had ever imagined. TELL YOUR TRUTH What are your own peak experiences? Think back and record them. Stay alert to when they arrive and enter into them. Epiphanies come in all shapes and kinds. Some overflow with bliss, others are brimming with sorrow, still others can be funny revealing to you something important about yourself that you were not aware of. Write them down whatever they are. Be as honest as you possibly can. Telling the truth first to ourselves and then, when appropriate, to some others, has enormous power. Too many of us lean in the direction of being diplomatic and discreet—adjusting our opinions and answers to fit with what we think others want to hear. This leads to a sense of confusion where instead of bringing you closer to your essential being and allowing it to guide you, you become confused—not sure what you genuinely think about anything. LOST TEENAGER That was very much the state I found myself in when at the ago of 13 an embarrassing epiphany forced me to turn away from what I had been taught and decide for myself what mattered to me. Here’s how it happened: I was sent away to a school called Castilleja and thrown in to a clique of privileged girls with whom I was quite sure I didn’t belong, I was terrified. I hoped being at this boarding school would give me the time I needed to work out the kind of human being I was supposed to be so I could survive. I was desperate. It was do or die. Once a month, as part of our ‘cultural development’ we girls were packaged in best dresses, shoes and crinolines and ushered off to view paintings, hear opera, or take part in something else which the school considered an essential part of our ‘intellectual, artistic and social development’. I learned that the trip this month was going to be to the San Francisco Opera House where we would be forced to listen to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, conducted by some Englishman called Sir Thomas Beecham. LESLIE THE PARROT Having been brainwashed by my opinionated musician father to believe that any music written before the twentieth century was ‘irrelevant to now and therefore a total waste of time’, I had taken on his beliefs as though they were my own. All the way to San Francisco I blabbered on about what a stupid idea it was for us to be spending time listening to ‘that old stuff’. When we arrived at the opera house, I was still seething with disapproval at having been press ganged into being there at all. In short I made an ass of myself at everyone else’s expense. THE CURTAIN RISES Then the music begins. No more than three minutes pass before my mouth drops open. I am scared to breathe, afraid that the sound of my breath will prevent my immersing myself in this wonderful sound. Incredible. Magnificent. Beethoven. In the presence of this music something occurs that has never happened to me before. His music cuts through my fear, my rage and my confusion. It fills the hollowness inside me with something so stark, so real, so vital, I can’t begin to describe it. The music and I become one. So long as it is playing, I am no longer alone. For the first time in my life, words come to me – words which will return again and again in the years that follow: ‘If such things exist, I want to go on living.’ Thanks to that experience I would come away from that night with a great gift. It opened up a world of music that had been hidden from me until then. It gave me spiritual nourishment and encouraged me to seek my own values in the world. Decades later it would also lead me to spend four and a half years writing my first novel Ludwig... A Spiritual Thriller. TAKE RISKS To free the Magnificent Self which is who you really are, consider new ways of doing things instead of mechanically following the same old patterns. Never be afraid of making a fool of yourself. When you do, as I did then (and have done many times since it must be said) you can learn some wonderful things about yourself while shaking off a lot of old baggage. Risk standing out from the rest—your own natural way of living, thinking, dressing, working may be quite different from the way you have been trained to do these things. Your opinions may differ greatly from those of people around you. Be courageous about seeing things your own way. Dare to be different in what you say and do if you feel different. The sense of freedom this can being is exhilarating. Listen to the whispers from within you. Find out what you want and then go about getting it. Whatever you work at, work hard and wholeheartedly. This brings a sense of self-reliance and also frees a lot of otherwise frustrated energy for constructive use. DISCARDING ROLES Take a look at the roles you play. There are dozens. We all play them—the 'intelligent woman', the 'man to be reckoned with', the 'expert’ the 'sexy lady', whatever. Some may be useful in getting what you think you want Most are irrelevant. They do nothing but sap your energy. As you become conscious of your own ‘roles’ you discover that have free choice to decide if you want to go on playing them or let them go. The more you leave roll playing behind, the freer you become from the hold they have exerted over you. This lets you come closer and closer to living your own authentic life with self respect, celebration, creativity and freedom. Your unique Magnificent Self is calling to you. Set it free. Discovering who you really are becomes be the most exciting thing you can do The time is now. Just do it.

Stress? What Stress?

Stress? What Stress?

What goes up must come down. These words should be engraved on everyone’s brain, particularly those of us who live full and busy lives. We worry about stress, wonder why we don’t do anything about it, and wish it would go away. Seldom do we even stop to ask what it is. If stress gets out of hand it can wear you down, ruin your looks and destroy your peace of mind. Yet stress is the spice of life, the exhilaration of challenge and excitement, the ‘high’ of living with heavy demands. The big secret about stress is that it is not what appears to be causing it that does the damage. It’s how you respond to it that does that. Change your attitude to stress and you can make it work for you rather than against you. In short, chill out. Stress is hard to pin down: fatigue, overwork, loss of blood, physical injury, grief and joy can all produce stress, but none of them accurately describes what it is. The word stress comes from the language of engineering meaning ‘any force which causes an object to change’. Austrian-Canadian scientist, Hans Selye, first coined the word stress in relation to humans back in the 1930s. In human terms it refers to your body’s response to physical, chemical, emotional or spiritual forces that ask you to adapt to them. Selye discovered a typical physical reaction to stress which he called the General Adaptation Syndrome. Its function is to keep your body in a steady state, known as homeostasis. Every stressor you come into contact with threatens to destroy this steady state. The General Adaptation Syndrome has three states: alarm, where the body becomes alert; resistance, where all systems go in order to meet the challenge and protect you from harm; and exhaustion, which happens if stress lasts for too long and the body’s weakest systems begin to break down causing illness, chronic fatigue, even death. you are unique Everyone responds differently to stress. This depends to some degree on your conditioning, and on the amount of adaptive energy you were born with. This is why some people seem to breeze through stressful situations while others quickly reach exhaustion. Selye believed that once adaptive energy is used up, nothing can be done to restore it. We now know that this is not altogether true, but adaptive energy is certainly precious. This makes it imperative to examine carefully how yours is being used and if it is being burnt up unnecessarily. It also makes it important to remember that what goes up must come down. For making stress work for you means being able to switch off at will. This is something that most of us have to learn to do. Learn to move easily between stress and relaxation, and you will begin to experience your life as a satisfying and enriching challenge like the ebb and flow of the tides. Then you will never again have to worry about getting stuck in a high-stress condition which saps your energy, distorts your view of the world, and can lead to premature aging and chronic illness. Humans are natural seekers of challenge. Primitive man faced the daily challenge of survival – when in danger, the body reacted instantaneously to provide the energy needed to fight or flee, then relaxed again when the danger passed. We may no longer need to worry about meeting a saber-toothed tiger, but we still react to stress with the same physical responses – raised blood pressure and breathing, a rush of adrenaline throughout the body. The trouble is that modern life, with its noise, quick pace, social pressures, environmental poisons, and our tendency to sedentary, mental work, presents many of us with almost constant threat situations. This is particularly true in the business world where someone, instead of moving rhythmically in and out stressful situations, remains in the danger state for long periods, with all the internal physical conditions that accompany it. balance it The automatic, or involuntary, functions of your body are governed by the autonomic nervous system. It looks after the changes in the rate at which your heart beats. It regulates your blood pressure by altering the size of veins and arteries. It stimulates the flow of digestive juices and brings on muscular contractions in the digestive system to deal with the foods you take in. It makes you sweat when you are hot and is responsible for the physical changes in your body that come with sexual arousal. This autonomic system has two opposing branches: the sympathetic and the parasympathetic. The sympathetic branch is concerned with energy expenditure - particularly the energy involved with stress and meeting challenges. It spurs the heart to beat faster, makes you breathe hard, encourages you to sweat, raises your blood pressure, and sends blood to the muscles to get you ready for action. The other branch of the autonomic nervous system - the parasympathetic - is concerned with rest and regeneration rather than action. The parasympathetic branch slows your heartbeat, reduces the flow of air to your lungs, stimulates the digestive system, and helps relax your muscles. When you are in a state of stress, the sympathetic nervous system comes into play. The parasympathetic branch is dominant when you are relaxed. A good balance between the two is the key to making stress work for you. Balance makes it possible for you to go out into the world to do, to make, to create, to fight, and to express yourself, as well as to retire into yourself for regeneration, rest, recuperation, enjoyment, and the space to discover new ideas and plant the seeds of future actions. make stress work for you The secret is getting the right balance between stress and relaxation, between the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches. Unfortunately, few of us get it right by accident - we have to learn. Take a look at the kind of stress you think you are under, eliminate unnecessary stressors, and discover new ways of working with stress. Second, begin to support your body physically with food, exercise and natural stress relievers to enable you to face stress with ease. Finally, learn to relax fully so that you can find the right balance between stress and relaxation and keep it. Not only will this help your body stay in balance and increase your level of overall vitality, it can bring you a sense of control over your life that is hard to come by any other way.

Inner Enemies

Inner Enemies

Heavy emotional stress from anxiety, resentment or depression can drain us of energy. Such delinquent influences also lower your immunity, make you vulnerable to catching colds and flu, and susceptible to premature aging and the development of degenerative conditions. For lasting high energy the energy thieves in your life need to be cornered, collared and dealt a fatal blow. the energy drainer scenario A woman is in a job which she hates. She feels unmotivated and resentful (inner energy-drainers). After work she goes out to drink (alcohol-addiction drainer). Sometimes she drinks too much and this creates friction with her husband (relationship energy-drainer). She feels bad about herself as a result of arguing (emotional energy-drainer). Her poor self-image leads her not to care for herself (poor self-esteem energy-drainer). She eats badly (biochemical energy-drainer). She feels worse and suffers depression. Nothing in her life seems to work and she has nothing to look forward to... You see the pattern. She is stuck in a rut. The energy-drainers have stolen her personal power and she can only see everything in the worst light. Now let's look at the flip side. Energy-enhancers tend to attract other energy-enhancers, creating positive feedback loops and making you feel empowered and in control of your life. Compare the following situation with the previous sketch. the energy enhancer scenario A woman is in a job which she hates. She discovers an inspiring exercise class (physical energy-booster). The class makes her feel good about herself and inspires her to eat better. (biochemical booster). She loses a few pounds, feels better in her body and begins to dress in a more flattering way (self-esteem booster). She meets some new friends whose company she really enjoys (relationship booster). As her self-esteem increases, the people she works with begin to appreciate her more. Her job becomes more enjoyable (work booster). She feels excited about her life and confident about looking for a new job, something she will really love. Identifying your own blockers and drainers, and making the choice to let go of even one or two, sows the seed for more positive feedback loops in your life. It is an important step to take in accessing more core energy and developing your personal power. Sometimes even awareness itself is enough to get the ball rolling. wasting anxiety On an internal level few emotions drain energy like anxiety. While you dash about (either physically or in your consciousness) feeling unsafe and unstable and trying like mad to make everything all right, you deplete your body and your creativity. Where there is anxiety there is a high level of electrical, electropositive magnetic activity and chemical acidity which affect the sympathetic nervous system and encourage feelings of fear, irritability, nausea and headache, as well as an inability to concentrate, muscle pain and insomnia. Even minor attacks of nervousness can dramatically undermine your work performance and make it almost impossible for you to enjoy yourself. Anxiety is frequently related to food allergies. Realigning your diet can help. So can physical exercise which calms electrical and chemical overactivity, replacing it with a more balanced energy, which you can call on, and a feeling of mental and physical well-being. Depression can be a big energy-drainer as well. Sometimes depression develops as a result of blocked emotions which you may not even be aware you are feeling - like grief. Often depression is rather like an anger turned in on yourself to block you from doing harm to anyone else. To break through and release the energy that has been blocked by depression you may need to examine your experience of depression carefully as well as change your lifestyle. Resentment, too, can be an enormous energy-blocker. Anger immediately felt and expressed keeps energy flowing. As adults we tend to swallow our anger, turning it into resentment. Fear can also block energy. In a measurable physical way it freezes you into inactivity and makes all things seem impossible. So can negative feedback loops. When you feel low in energy you tend to attract energy-drainers which in turn attract other energy-drainers and before you know it you find yourself caught up in a negative feedback loop. You feel helpless - a victim of circumstances over which you have no power - and you lack the energy or the incentive to break out of the loop.

Longing For Freedom

Longing For Freedom

Far too much vitality lies stillborn beneath patterns of addictive behavior, fear and heavy psychological baggage—the kind of stuff we all carry around with us which thwarts our energy and makes life hard work. One of the most moving accounts I have ever read of discovering freedom came from a political dissenter imprisoned in a concentration camp in the early 1940s. He wrote about how he came to experience the true nature of freedom, creativity and wholeness while living in the most inhumane conditions of physical incarceration imaginable. He discovered his freedom in the only way any of us ever will—by coming to live from ever deeper layers of himself. Eventually, he wrote, the very soul of him and his outer personality became like echoes of each other. REBIRTH BEGINS When the distortions we all carry—the false beliefs, destructive parental training, or negative habit patterns formed throughout our lives—begin to fall away, exciting things replace them. Rejuvenation begins to take place—emotionally, physically and spiritually—liberating life-energy and shifting the way we look upon reality, all the while allowing us just to be who we are. Any pretensions or self-limiting assumptions we have been carrying no longer diminish the experience of being fully alive. This is an experience available to everyone and one which I have discovered often takes place in men and women on Cura Romana. I have given a great deal of thought to why and how Cura Romana’s protocol initiates an expanded sense of freedom and possibility in the lives of those participating in out Journey Program, as well as those who work closely with me personally on our Inner Circle Gold protocol. I have no definitive answers. But I suspect that it has a lot to do with a couple of things. The first is the intention with which you enter into and follow your program. A few people are only interested only the fast and effective weight loss as they begin. Others tell is they are at a place in their life where they feel ripe for transformation on many different levels. Meanwhile, many first decided to do the program for weight loss alone report that their Cura Romana experience has spurred in them a desire for expansion and spiritual deepening which they could never have anticipated. BIOCHEMISTRY TRANSFORMS The other factor, which I suspect has a lot to do with the sense of freedom that the program engenders, is most certainly the result of biochemical, physiological and energetic changes that take place in the body and the psyche as greater hormonal, physiological and emotional balance progressively take place in central parts of the brain. It’s important to remember that the diencephalon deep in the brain represents the core of the autonomic nervous system. As it functions better, so do sleep, one’s sense of self, and one’s view of reality on many levels. I always tell people as they begin either of our programs that it is time to consider what you want from your Cura Romana experience. For, like many who have gone before you, you may find you get a lot more from the experience than successful weight loss. Four years ago, when Aaron and I began to work with our Cura Romana programs, we would never have dreamed that the most commonly reported non-physical benefit felt by participants completing the program is an experience of expanded freedom. Many insist that, for the first time in their lives, a burden of “conformity” they long felt themselves saddled with has been lifted away. ‘I am lighter,’ they say, ‘not just in my body but in my being. I feel free just to be me.’ Others say that long-held limiting beliefs have vanished. Others report that their lives and the world look different now—‘like everything is brand new’. Freedom has always fascinated me. I love the smell of the word. I like its sense of possibility. I taste freedom when I listen to the music of Aaron Copland—music that could only have been written in a country that once had vast prairies and seemingly infinite wilderness. I feel freedom in my body when I run along cliffs in the rain. I rejoice in the sense of freedom that comes when, after hours of shifting dead words and sentences, something suddenly comes alive and beauty spills out all over the page. A PASSION FOR FREEDOM I believe that each of us longs for greater freedom. Rightly so. Like air, food and water, freedom is a human birthrights. Yet we often have little idea how to go about finding it. In the search for freedom, some end up sniffing cocaine or drinking too much alcohol. Others dance all night at a rave. A few turn to philosophy. Or maybe they head off to India or California to sit at the foot of some guru, hoping he or she will hand it to them. All these things—from rum and cocaine to raves and yoga —offer a taste of freedom. Some, such as drugs and alcohol, are more transitory than others. When they wear off, so does the sense of liberation they once promised, to be replaced by what I call a false-freedom hangover. Others run deeper. The taste of freedom they offer encourages us to pursue them. The move towards the freedom they offer may be slower, but the liberating gifts they offer lasts longer. What’s important is that every experience of freedom, whether temporary or long-lasting, brings in its wake a sense of our being released from imprisonment—our being able, even for a short time, to respond to life spontaneously with the whole of our being. ENDING THE WEIGHT STRUGGLE When beginning their Cura Romana program, most participants have been struggling with their weight. They dislike—even hate—their bodies, and suffer a sense of shame about themselves. These are heavy burdens to carry. Often, people labor under false beliefs about the impossibility of changing things. They can be plagued by frustration or anger. And—although seldom aware of it until this begins to change—they experience a deep disconnection between mind and body. Some feel imprisoned by cravings and addictions—not only to foods, but to other things too, such as wine or cigarettes. They feel themselves at the mercy of compulsions and unconscious habit patterns which undermine belief in themselves as autonomous human beings. They’ve forgotten that, like all of us, they have been born with free will. The most freedom-restricting belief of all is the notion, which many people have, that what they want and need can only be found outside themselves. This false belief, more than any other, is what prevents us from experiencing the depth and power of our magnificent essential being which enables each one of us to forge the life we want. For many, Cura Romana has begun this process. It is the satisfaction that Aaron and I get from helping people discover and live out their natural birthright to freedom that makes us so passionate about the work we do with our participants. AUTHENTICITY AWAITS US Freedom is a unique state of being. There is a boldness to it. You dare to say what you think and feel, yet you can listen to the words and hearts of others who think differently. It brings with it a sense that you trust yourself, as well as the Universe, even if you comprehend neither. It liberates you from the slavery of conforming to other people’s rules, imprisoning ideologies, life-draining addictions to foods that do not support high-level health, and from the crippling influences of negative emotions that may once have strangled you. The way in which such authentic freedom blossoms in each of us is unique to the individual and full of surprises. However it takes place, the freer we become, the more self-determining our lives become, and the more exciting. When challenges arise, instead of looking upon them in fear as crushing forces, we start to see them as worthy opponents. We discover that wrestling with them helps us break through to an even wider experience of liberation. In an outer way, to be free means to enjoy liberty of action under a government which is not despotic and does not encroach on individual human rights. More important, in an inner way, becoming free means liberation from the relentless forces of doubt, self-criticism and fear that we all inherit from growing up in emotional and educational environments that split our mind from our body and teach us not to trust ourselves. These environments tell us that we are supposed to put our faith in ‘experts’. They teach us not to honor the splendor of the individual human soul. They say that each of us teaches what we most need to learn ourselves and creates what we most love. This is certainly the case with me and freedom. The most important thing I have learned from listening to my own longing for freedom is how essential it is that each of us learns to live our life in authenticity right from our the very core of us. We come to trust ourselves and honor who we are without ego or comparison. The more we live this way, the more beings around us are encouraged to do the same. I’ve also learned that, when we become aware of the sea of powerful cosmic energies in which every one of us is immersed, it supports our individual journeys towards authentic freedom in ways we have never dreamed possible. GIFTS FROM THE UNIVERSE The Universe is filled with compassion on which each of us can draw when we need support. Each of us has the power to create whatever we want. Authentic freedom knows no age-barriers—no limitations. Neither is it the province of an elite few while the rest of us ‘get by’ hoping that a few crumbs of this precious stuff will fall our way—if only we are patient enough, virtuous enough, or spend enough money buying all the right products. Here’s the bottom line: freedom is free. It belongs to all people. The demand for it is encoded in our very genes. This is what makes us long passionately to discover it. Go for it. It may well be the greatest gift of all.

Charisma—What It Is & How To Get It

Charisma—What It Is & How To Get It

What gives any woman charisma? The Chanel suit she wears? The car she drives? The way she has been taught to use her body or speak her words? Not really. For stylish or charming as these things may be, they are ultimately externals—things put on from the outside. As such they offer a woman little more than the appearance of charisma. And, like pastiche, appearances never deceive a discerning eye. What are the characteristics of real charisma? Where does it come from? How do you get it? And what is living with it all about? Charisma—the real McCoy—has certain characteristics: expansiveness for instance, and energy, joy and creativity. It is not only a way of being which calls forth all the powers of a woman— from the pragmatic to the inspirational, the intellectual to the intuitional. It is also a way of relating to yourself, to those you work with and play with—even to the planet itself—through all of these modes. That is why at its core, charisma is both disarmingly simple and immeasurably complex—neither more nor less than living day by day from a full and honest outpouring of your own individuality—the spirit which is unique to you. CHARISMA—YOUR UNIQUE ENERGY This unique nature, which each woman has but most of us have yet to discover, can be expressed in a myriad of ways from the most simple and playful to the most profound—in the colors you like best for instance, in the way you choose to have your hair cut, the kind of make-up you wear (or prefer NOT to wear). It is also explicit in the way you think and talk, and in the kind of deep values you embody, the dreams you dream and the things you create, whether they be works of art, intellectual or physical feats, or simple day-to-day ways of being. Charisma is also evident in the rhythms and fluctuations of this energy. How different you are, for instance on the tennis court, than when you hold a child in your arms, produce a piece of work, get involved in an intellectual discussion, or embrace a lover. Yet in each of these circumstances, provided you are true to yourself, you will have charisma—the originality of your spirit will shine through. IT COMES FROM WITHIN Contacting that unique spirit, coming to respect it and having the courage to live from it, is what gaining charisma is all about. Sometimes challenging, frequently exciting, this process can be a lot of fun too. As it takes place, the externals—the clothes and make up you wear, the way you move and how you relate to your world, cease to be arbitrary, like things you pick up with uncertainty to carry around with you. Instead they seem to unfold and develop beautifully and mysteriously—almost organically—from within, as ever more honest and potent expressions of who you are. Whatever forms or shapes your individuality takes, one quality tends to permeate every facet of charisma as it unfolds: aliveness. That is where health comes in. Health is right at the core of charisma. The more fully and honestly your unique nature shows itself, the more charisma you will have. Simple? Nothing could be simpler. Yet in our 21st century crazy world, it would seem that our every encounter with the world around us—from breathing increasingly polluted air, to interacting with a media intent upon selling us things we don't need or don't want at prices we can often ill afford—contrives in one way or another to interfere with the process. Decide not to let it interfere with your discovery of who at the very core YOU are. I firmly believe that each of us is being called to become a creator of a new world—for ourselves then for the planet as a whole. I hope you will join me in your own process of becoming, in essence, who you are at the deepest levels of your being. For along with all the horror in our world there is such great promise. Has there ever been a more perfect moment for your charisma to come into its own?

The Health Process

The Health Process

Within each one of us lies an essence, a core of self, with one and only one intention—that it may be fully expressed while we live on this earth. With each passing year I become more and more aware that illness, lack of energy, a sense of confusion or lack of meaning in someone’s life stems from a basic frustration of the expression of their unique essential being. So often these experiences are calls from the soul. They ask us to become more aware of who we are at the deepest level of our being. They try to awaken us to our unique soul nature. All real healing is a transformation. Energy, power and authentic freedom grow as we engage in the process of connecting with our essence and begin to discover our values and our soul’s purposes and to express them in our lives. To do this we can call on all sorts of tools and techniques, from detoxifying body and mind to herbs and natural treatments to exercises for expanding awareness. Take energy. Being able to live out your energy potential depends on how well you nourish yourself—physically, emotionally and spiritually—day by day. It helps to develop a lifestyle that incorporates pleasurable exercise, good food, restorative sleep and other helpful practices—from hydrotherapy to taking super nutrients—that support vitality. But more than anything else, energy depends on living from your core, not by other people’s rules. It depends on living what you love most in some way, what feeds you most at the deepest levels. Live your soul’s passion and you call on virtually endless energy. For health not only depends on how you eat and what exercise you get and how you deal with stress. All of these things are important. Each of us needs to develop a way of living unique to our needs. But real health doesn’t stop here. For ultimately health is nothing less than the process of unfolding which each one of us goes through to become more fully who we really are. Once you begin to align your life with your own truth, the universe supports you in ways you may never have dreamed possible. Working with people through their own health process, helping them discover whatever is most appropriate to their needs on both a physical and spiritual level and teaching them how to work with these things has always been the most exciting thing in my life. Each of us carries a divine spark of soul which we are here to live out to the full, bringing our own individual brand of spirit into material form as we walk the earth. The beauty of watching this happen those I work with is like walking in a garden and witnessing unique flowers and plants, trees and rocks that I have never seen before. I am forever dazzled by their beauty.

Write It Out

Write It Out

If you can't sleep, keep a pen and paper next to the bed.  When you awaken, rather than lying awake worrying, write down all the things that come into your mind. Don't worry if you jump from one thought to another, just keep jotting down thoughts, ideas and worries. When you run out of things to write, you can assure yourself that you can let go of all those concerns for the night because they will be right there on the paper when you wake up. A good friend of mine awakened each night for several years just before menopause, and would lie silently beside her husband in bed brimming with anger, although she didn't know at what. Finally she decided to get up in the night instead of just lying there. She would go to the kitchen and sit down and write out whatever came to her without even reading what she put down and without trying to make sense of any of it. After several weeks of this, she noticed that the anger seemed to become transmuted into new ideas. New plans and solutions to problems would come through her pen. For her, rising from her bed and writing built a bridge between the inner world, which was trying to make itself heard, and the outer, conscious, world in which she lived. A good night's sleep, as Shakespeare knew, can "knit up the ravell'd sleeve of care."

Leslie Kenton’s Cura Romana®

Fast, Healthy Weight Loss

Leslie Kenton’s Cura Romana® has proudly supported 19,000+ weight loss journeys over the past 14 years. With an overall average daily weight loss of 0.5 - 0.6 lb for women and 0.8 - 1.0 lb for men.

Yesterday’s Average Daily Weight Loss:

on the 25th of January 2023 (updated every 12 hours)

-0.74 lb
for women
-0.78 lb
for men
-0.74 lb
for women
-0.78 lb
for men

Yesterday’s Average Daily Weight Loss:

on the 25th of January 2023 (updated every 12 hours)

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