Caregiving: Trading Solitude for a New Place of Wholeness

For many years, I looked to solitude as a sacred space for nurturing my soul. My routine was to get up early, retreat to a small desk by a window, light a candle, and then meditate while waiting for the sun to rise. I found this morning ritual deeply satisfying and helpful in setting an intention for the day. I never posted an actual “Do not disturb” sign, but I certainly relished this time alone for meditating, reflecting, and journal writing.

But then things changed. My husband became chronically ill, and I became his caregiver. This meant being available and responsive to his needs 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
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Keeping the Fire Alive: One Man’s Renewed Life Commitment

Since my first vision quest 18 years ago, I’ve made a commitment to go out into the wilderness every year alone and fast, typically for three days and nights. This sacred time gives me the opportunity to contemplate my life and to renew my commitment to my life’s purpose. But this year I did something different.

Inspired by a teenage experience as an Eagle Scout and perhaps by that pivotal line in so many adventure movies, “I’ll take this watch!” I decided to create a primal challenge: to build a fire at sunset and keep it burning until sunrise.

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Our Shared Journey through Life

Imagine our entire life story being one that has already been sketched out, like a predestined game of Chutes and Ladders. There are going to be trials and tribulations, but life is a game and it must go on. There is no telling which move you take is going to lead you to a downfall or a tremendous surge of success. But that’s it right there, the most important rule of the game: in order to live and experience all the tremendous bounties of life, you have to consciously move forward, abandoning fear of the consequences.

Picture also each and every person you meet in your life in this world to be a player committed to reaching the same end as you. Each relationship we form offers a unique platform, helping us refine, acknowledge, or grow in one way or another. Therefore, treat every relationship you forge as a sacred one -- be it a parental, sibling, marital, or platonic one.
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Are You Wasting Your Time Feeding Negativity?

There is a parable commonly attributed to the Native American Cherokee tribe which says that virtue and vice fight for supremacy inside us all time.
A grandfather is talking with his grandson and he says there are two wolves inside of us which are always at war with each other. One of them is a good wolf which represents things like kindness, bravery, and love. The other is a bad wolf, which represents things like greed, hatred, and fear.

The grandson stops and thinks about it for a second. Then the boy asks, “Grandfather, which one wins?”

The grandfather quietly replies, “The one you feed.”
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Psychology Around the Net: December 26, 2015

Ah, you survived -- and possibly thrived in -- the holidays, sweet readers, and we've got just what you need to unwind and catch up on what's going on in the world of mental health.

Grab a cup of joe (or hot chocolate...unless you're experiencing this weird heat wave here in the U.S.), and read up on how music therapy can help depression, a therapist's answers to pressing anxiety questions, what we can push for regarding state mental health legislation next year, and more.

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Grief and Loss

How to Find Spiritual Strength During Times of Illness

Some people awaken spiritually without ever coming into contact with any meditation technique or any spiritual teaching. They may awaken simply because they can’t stand the suffering anymore. -- Eckhart Tolle
Sometimes in life, we face pain so great that we must focus on surviving one day at a time, or even by the hour or the minute. During these moments, it feels as if our hearts naturally gravitate toward the spiritual, as there is only so much sadness, fear, bitterness or grief a human heart can hold before it cracks.

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Learning to Accept Your Soul Under Construction

For most of his life, my father was a plumbing instructor in a trade school and was one of those people who can build a house from scratch. I envy that ability and regret that I didn’t learn some of his skills: plumbing, electrical, carpentry.

He was a master at hanging wallpaper and could plaster a ceiling silky smooth. I tried plastering a wall once, and it turned out looking like something you would see in a distorted mirror.

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Using Karma to Recognize Difficulty in Our Relationships

With origins in ancient India, the term karma stems from the sanskrit word for “action, work or deed.” Karma not only applies to tangible actions like our words and deeds, it also applies to unseen energies like thoughts, intentions and emotions.

Under the spiritual law of karma, our intent and actions (cause) directly influence our future, and therefore our present (effect). For example, good intent and good deeds contribute to good karma and future happiness; bad intent and bad deeds contribute to bad karma and future suffering.

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5 Common Spiritual Ego Traps (and How to Avoid Them)

Though many of us may have a love-hate relationship with our ego, it’s necessary to remember that it serves an important spiritual role. In the positive, it gives us a distinct personal identity that helps us fulfill our life purpose, allowing us to share unique soul gifts with the world while working out our karma.

In the negative, the ego fools us into becoming overly identified with our bodies, thoughts and emotions. This attachment tricks us into believing we are fundamentally separate from God, one another and even our own souls, which leads to suffering. Over time, enough profound suffering eventually leads us back to God, completing the cycle.

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