Archive | April, 2009

Soul Lab Radio: Robert Waggoner, Author of “Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self”

30 Apr

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Check out my radio interview with dream expert and author Robert Waggoner. He experienced something transformative and unexpected while lucid during the dream state. He was and able to act and interact with dream figures, objects, and settings. He was able to consciously be within the dream itself with the dream observer or what some people call the Inner Self. In other words he was consciously aware of dreaming while in the dream state.

Robert is president-elect of the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD) and a graduate of Drake University with a degree in psychology. He is also the coeditor of The Lucid Dream Exchange . Robert has over 30 years of extensive experience and experimentation in lucid dreaming, including over 1,000 lucid dream experiences of his own. He is a frequent speaker at national and international dream conferences, undergraduate and graduate college classrooms, and will be appearing as an expert in the upcoming WFYI / PBS TV series DREAMTIME. Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self is his first book.

Reality Check Books: Real Housewives of New York meet “The Soul of Money”

29 Apr

This is the first in a new series I am calling Reality Check Books, a place where I can make book recommendations specifically for stars of reality shows (and those who truly identify with them). In this column, I will discuss (admit) the shows I watch and then (with deep sincerity) I will offer a book prescription for their madness.

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NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 11: (L-R) Reality T.V. stars Kelly Killoren Bensimon, LuAnn de Lesseps, Jill Zarin, Bethenny Frankel, Ramona Singer, and Alex McCord attend "The Real Housewives of New York City" season 2 premiere party at Gilt at the Palace Hotel on February 11, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/Getty Images)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First of all, they are neither real, nor housewives. Discuss.

The “reality” is that I just can not figure out why I am so entertained and fascinated by The Real Housewives of New York. Is it that I get to feel smug, emotionally superior, that this is the sort of trainwreck I like to see? Do I love to see silly people in weird designer clothes get all riled up about who said what to whom and when? That would be horrible and terribly unenlightened.

These episodes are case studies in human psychology that blow the lid off Survivor. Everyone is utterly preoccupied and transfixed with protecting their egos, or hurting other people’s. They are the poster ladies for looking externally to what joy– real joy– can actually be. In one fell swoop Jill bought a $16,000 handbag and the next day went on  BBC Radio discussing how she just “raised” $50,000 to improve an African community. Hmmm. This is the behavior that drives viewers to sit with jaws dropped at the hypocrisy of elite society which has been rightly reduced to sociological spectacle and cultural curiosity.

I think one aspect of the show that is so intriguing is the sheer lack of self awareness these ladies parade. They take “me” time to cosmic heights far beyond the realm of healthy self-care. Does LuAnn know how presumptuous and insensitive she appeared to be when talking to inner city girls about following their dreams (not of all them can be models and travel in exclusive circles in order to achieve this)? Does Alex know how sad her social climbing seems and how that looks to be an obvious demonstration of her intensely low self esteem? Does Bethenny realize that her preoccupation with herself and her ability to attract conflict is a reflection of her own inner conflict? Does Jill get that life is about more than parties, events, charities and shopping? Does Ramona understand that she has the emotional intelligence and maturity of a seven year-old? Does Kelly fully comprehend what a meanie she is?

The show is a social disaster area propped up by trendy restaurants, vacuous personalities, soulless conversation and silly emotional antics. It’s so unlike the trainwrecks of, say, press conferences during the Bush administration which had actual real-world ramifications. This is a lesson in manifesting prosperity and abundance in all of its incredible potential.

And just for the record, I don’t hate the rich. In many ways, I am the rich– not Rodeo Drive rich but I’m not at all adverse to accumulating that level of wealth. But screw $16,000 habdbags. That’s totally dumb.

So what is my book recommendation for the ladies?

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They should try on Lynee Twist’s The Soul of Money. Twist, a global activist and fundraiser, has raised more than $150 million for charitable causes. Through personal stories and practical advice, she demonstrates how we can replace feelings of scarcity, guilt, and burden with experiences of sufficiency, freedom, and purpose. In this Nautilus Award-winning book, Twist shares from her own life, a journey illuminated by remarkable encounters with the richest and poorest, from the famous (Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama) to the anonymous but unforgettable heroes of everyday life. 

The Soul of Money has changed my own view of my relationship with money and how it has affected every decision and nearly every aspect of my life. Twist challenges readers to understand their influence and purpose outside of the power we give to money. She also gives us historic perspective on how human beings slipped into a consciousness of competition, scarcity, limitation, status , power, greed and war (both internal and external) based on a system of profit and money that can be alienating and destructive. She takes the reality of money and turns it on its side to introduce a healing process that is life-changing.

Happy Reading, real housewives.

Soul Lab Radio: Interview with film critic Brent Marchant

28 Apr

get_the_picture_brent_marchant_coverWhat can the movies teach us about how we lead — or could lead — our lives? That’s the focus of Brent Marchant’s book, Get the Picture: Conscious Creation Goes to the Movies. Marchant explores how movies illustrate the principles of conscious creation (also known as the law of attraction) and how we can put them to use to lead more fulfilling everday existences. He explores the idea through all movie genres, from classics like It’s a Wonderful Life and The Wizard of Oz to sci-fi thrillers like Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan and Contact, and documentaries like What the Bleep Do We Know? and The Secret

Check out our interview on Soul Lab Radio…

Don’t Be a Selfish Ding Dong: Fast for Darfur

28 Apr
Darfur child in refugee camp

Darfur child in refugee camp

I watched Mia Farrow on Larry King Live tonight as she announced her 21-day hunger strike to raise awareness about the situation in Darfur. She is inviting anyone interested in joining the fast to choose a day (or more) to either drink water only, take refugee rations (there are suggested guidelines) or liquids only.

The website, http://fastdarfur.org/, states “Darfur Fast for Life was created so that you and many more around the world can participate in saying no to the status quo on Darfur. Mia will be blogging here and at www.MiaFarrow.org. Others will join by participating in water-only and/or refugee rations fasts to bring attention to the immediate humanitarian crisis in Darfur created by the expulsion of aid organizations by the government of Sudan. Darfur Fast for Life demands from our leaders around the world to be ambitious and work on creating lasting peace in Sudan and guaranteeing the respect for the human rights of all.”

I signed up for a few scattered days to do rations and liquid fasting.

Good Vibes: Free Online Inspiration

27 Apr

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My colleague Pamela Theresa Loertscher Ph.D. showed me where I can read a free online copy of Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda at Ananda.org. They have a nice section there where you can read a variety of inspirational books free of charge online. Check it out!

Well-being Q&A: Carole Coombs, Green Valley Spa

24 Apr

 

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Green Valley Spa was established in 1986 by Alan & Carole Coombs. Carole, a Master Esthetician, has been called the “Grandmother of Spas” and has worked in the spa business for more than thirty years. Carole has played a vital role in the development of the Green Valley Spa and the Green Valley Laboratories where all of the products used at the spa are manufactured.

Green Valley Resort & Spa caters to guests from the U.S. and around the globe. It has been named 3rd best Spa in the world by Travel & Leisure magazine. I had the chance to ask Carole about Green Valley Spa, and some of products that are made from ingredients harvested directly from the nutrient-rich red rock country in Utah where the spa is located.

JHR: Last night I took a bath with your Sweet Dreams Fairy Dust and I was so relaxed I almost slipped into a coma. Do you think you should have a warning label on the package that says “may delight and relax you into oblivion?” What’s the secret?

CC: That’s a good question. Our bath salts contain ancient sea salts in powdered form that were fossilized a long time ago and now offer a full spectrum of mineralized elements that we need to operate at a top level. When used before and after physical activities, our bath salts can lighten and strengthen muscles and other tissues crucial to mobility, flexibility, and reflex response capabilities.

Our Fairy Dust Bath Salts come in seven colors and are a testament to our color therapy philosophy in which every color offers a different healing power with a special blend of pure essential oils. How do you choose a color? By your mood, of course.

Red — For a romantic evening, to enliven the senses and turn the heart toward magical moments of affection and delight.

Orange — To celebrate life’s special moments and to arouse warm feelings and bridge the space that holds us apart from others.

Yellow –- Clears troublesome thoughts and mental confusion, while pulling the past into the light of day where new possibilities appear.

Green –- Helps prepare for a busy day or lively evening while energizing tired muscles and reviving the spirit.

Blue –- A heart remedy that chases away the blues and discouragement for emotional stability.

Indigo –- A sleeping potion for peaceful dreams and visions.

Violet –- Reaches into the spiritual realm and appeals to artistic and creative endeavors.

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JHR: Your Good Medicine product line comes straight from the red rock country of Southwestern Utah . Can you tell me how you discovered the rejuvenative properties of the ingredients you use?

CC: In the beginning, our Green Valley research team began hunting for ingredients that would not only beautify the skin’s precious surface, but also allow the body’s natural systems to function fully to release toxic waste, absorb nutrients, activate the cell’s innate ability to rejuvenate, and enliven the sensory components.

Our team was composed of a plastic surgeon, an ethno-botanist, a consultant specializing in organic formulations, highly-trained therapists, and Native Americans, among others. Their discoveries eventually led us back to the wild plant life in our local, red rock desert. We call our skin care line “Good Medicine,” which is a term used by the Indian Nations to describe anything that uplifts the spirit and brings pleasure and wholesome nourishment. We thought it was fitting.

Our Good Medicine products include extracts of desert botanicals, such as Larrea, Sage, Juniper, and Yucca. These plants grow in the wild, are nurtured by sunlight and rain, remain free of many harsh chemical substances so prevalent in plant life today, and are neither crossbred, chemically fertilized or even irrigated. This is why we say our skin care products are “wildcrafted” straight from nature.

Because our products are made with organic ingredients, they not only neutralize toxic waste materials, but their nutritive properties are easily broken down and assimilated by our cells. We gather our desert ingredients locally, combine and prepare them in our on-site laboratory, and then bottle them with loving care to preserve their beneficial properties. Every Green Valley Spa product is fresh with no preservatives.

A variety of our products include aqueous extractions from native plants that grow in the nearby foothills and uplands of the Mojave and Great Basin Deserts . These plants include Utah Juniper (Juniperus utahensis), Banana Yucca (Yucca baccatta), Larrea (Larrea tridentada) and Sagebrush (Artemisia tridentada). Gathered from their native habitat, the raw botanical materials retain their natural qualities and are truly organic.

Some of our products, including the Breeze, Radiance, Sand and Clarity products from our Good Medicine line, consist of compounds extracted from Larrea –- often called Chapparal. These compounds, including Nordihydroguiaretic Acid (NDGA), are powerful antioxidants and have been found to have strong antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and even anti-protozoan properties. While the healing properties of these Larrea compounds have only recently come to light in modern medicine, its traditional Native American use is thousands of years old.

NDGA is actually one of the most highly antioxidant substances known to man –- a concentrated extract form of the plant may immensely help several types of tumors, and it can inhibit several enzyme reactions, including lipo oxyginase, which is responsible for some unhealthy inflammatory and immune-system responses. It has also been shown to reduce inflammatory histamine responses in the lung, which is good news for asthma sufferers.

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JHR: What sort of experience can people can expect when they visit Green Valley Spa?

CC: Our vision for the Green Valley Spa Treatment Center was a place where the senses combine to create that magical state within ourselves. The process used here at Green Valley is really very simple: It is a total sensory experience, one that uses the senses as a guide to discover that special condition of lightness and clarity. It is simple because it just happens — the senses respond and carry us along without our having to figure out or understand the process. We simply feel.

Each day we refashion the Treatment Center with fresh flowers, aromatics, music and even subtly-flavored and scented water to tantalize and impress the senses. All the sounds, images, smells, and tastes correspond to a certain color that represents a quality or dimension of life around us — one we may not have noticed or experienced before.

As the senses respond with pleasure, they bring impulses of delight deep into the innermost part of ourselves, dissolving all that is tense and tight into a condition of repose, resolution, satisfaction and contentment. We hope a Green Valley Spa visit will leave you feeling fit and full — like a vase filled with special moments that continue to bloom long after you leave. When you see a craggy mountain top rising above the desert floor or a flower brushed with dew, I hope you will remember with affection and delight the walks, majestic moments, and the colors, smells and tastes you experienced here.

JHR: Have there been any surprise “big sellers” in your product line and what’s your current favorite?

CC: Along the way, we have had several best-sellers that surprised us all. Two such products that really took off are our Muscle Balm and Essential Oils. Our Muscle Balm is infused with intense, muscle-heating pure essential oils to rejuvenate sore joints and muscles. These carefully chosen oils target the nerve tissues and effectively heal and warm the affected area.

Our Essential Oils come in all colors of the rainbow and are created around the spa’s color therapy philosophy as explained above. Our studies indicated that essential oils differ in molecular structure and metabolic function, and when blended together, the activation of multiple response centers simultaneously is much greater than that of single oils.

Our essential oils fulfill a particular function, which include sedating the respiratory rate or stimulating the rapid response mechanism. Each special blend recharges receptor patterns where they are disengaged or blocked, and clarifies emotional upset and mental confusion to make way for new insight and understanding.

JHR: What is true beauty?

CC: When we see aliveness, we see true beauty.

JHR: What are a few books that have influenced you in your life that you would like to share with readers?

CC: Anything by John O’Donohue Anam Cara, Eternal Echoes and Beauty: The Invisible Embrace.

EDITOR’S NOTE:

Visit Green Valley Spa’s online beauty store, www.goodmedicineshop.com, to receive 25% off all green-colored essential oils, soaps, Fairy Dust bath salts and bath teas in celebration of Spring renewal. Discount is good through April 30, 2009.

Good Vibes: I Love Oracle Cards

24 Apr

I’m relatively new to the world of oracle cards and what they are designed to bring to a personal development/meditation/self-awareness practice. The only cards I really ever had any experience with were tarot or regular playing cards when I would get a psyhic reading once a year.

2375_c1But after I read “Ask Your Guides” by Sonia Choquette I discovered the accompanying oracle cards and I was intrigued. The card meanings were gentle, clear and above all extremely relevant. I was incredibly impressed with the overwhelmingly pure insight that Choquette provided in the guidebook that came with the deck and thought “how can something that looks like a Valentine’s Day gift include such simple and sustaining advice?” This is amazing! Whether I am pulling one card or doing a simple spread, I always find crystal clear guidance from my spirit guides, particularly if my own mind chatter or physical exhaustion is preventing me from hearing these messages through meditation.

druid-deckI am also a big fan of animals and Celtic folklore, so I had to check out The Druid Animal Oracle Deck created by Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm. Inspired by Native American medicine cards, this uniquely Celtic take on power animals has managed to build on the past while exploring the changing tradition on Druidry in ways that are compelling, rich and accessible. A combination of real and mythical animals (there are several dragons), the card deck is really inspired by an understanding of psychology and well as traditional lore. The illustrations by Bill Worthington are beautiful.

I also love Doreen Virtue’s decks which at first seemed a little too “out there” for me. But I was guided to get both the “Messages from Your Angels” and the “Ascended Masters” decks from my extremely gifted neighbor and from a medium, respectively. 3047_c1What I’ve experienced is that all of the decks synchronize so perfectly when I ask a specific question. I am able to go from deck to deck seamlessly and find information, guidance and insight which is inspired by great spiritual masters who have passed or highly beings or streams of thought– the angels– who can provide positive perspective which I sometimes have difficulty grasping through my personal ego lens at given moment. If anything, the cards have the ability to efficiently direct me back to my true still small voice inside that resides separate and apart from the ego that wishes to direct me through hesitation, fear and worry. The “Ascended Masters deck “includes gorgeous paintings of 44 male and female cross-cultural deities, such as Ganesha, Merlin, Saint-Germain, Apollo, Pallas Athena, White Buffalo Calf Woman, Jesus, Moses, Yogananda, Green Man, and Kuthumi. The enclosed guidebook gives expanded explanations of each card’s meaning, and a brief history of each ascended master. As with each of Doreen’s oracle-card decks, the messages for each card are positive, accurate, and life-affirming.”

maya-deckI also discovered an unconventional deck that leaves the world of angels, fairies and animals behind. The Maya Deck by Dr. Ronald L. Bonewitz features carved illustrations by Achim Frederic Kiel. Being from the Southwest U.S. and part Mexican-American myself, I was very interested in understanding how my Mexican heritage could be represented in something as esoteric as a card deck. Then, of course, Mexico is a culture that celebrates magic, mystery and beauty. Mayan daily culture was driven by spiritual beliefs. They lived in a state of constant divination, forever communicating and listening to guidance from gods and heavily influenced by the power of numbers. This deck reflects those influences and the accompanying 80-page booklet makes it easy to intrepret simple three card spreads.

Cards are tools only– they have no inherent power other than being the microphone for Source Energy to communicate simple human truths in order to keep you in the current of universal truths that can positively impact our experience on the physical plane. In my experience, there is no separation from “out there” or “in here.” It’s a beautiful thing to be plugged into universal intelligence and positive personal development tools like these are uplifting and energizing to the seeker.

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