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Getting My Self-Care On at The Crossings

30 Jun

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Note to self: Even the most beautiful, fluid, tranquil place in Texas can not protect you from the harsh rays of the sun if you forget to put on sunscreen.

A couple of weekends ago my friend and I decided to take a self-care day at The Crossings here in Austin, TX. For years I had been meaning to go there to take a class, relax, rejuvenate, meditate and sleep. Ironically I, well, never had the time. Even after my friends Renee and Carrie insisted it would do a world of good for me, I still couldn’t get it together. After a week of sleepless nights due in equal parts to a restless toddler and my own inability to unwind from the constant inner chatter, I couldn’t take it anymore. My life had become a whirlwind of reading, writing, cleaning, working, Mommying, wifing, organizing, planning and doing. Mostly it’s all just a blur of constant doing. I’m done.

I’ve been lucky to have always been surrounded by women who are all a bunch of smartypants overachiever types. And I’ve seen this group transform over the years from obsessively working to making time for the art of self-care. Yes, it’s an art because real self care (not just facials and truffles) is a series of choices planted in moments of clarity and true purpose. For me, maybe parenting finally pushed me to it, but mostly I think it’s a choice– an awakening that happens when fatigue, doubt and “being stuck” just won’t do anymore.

So I was grateful when I got the chance to take a day to get my relaxation on.  First, we meanderedspa_hallway200x200 along a trail dotted with beautiful small gardens bursting with native plants, seasonal herbs and wacky sculptures both whimsical and beautiful. We made our way to the pool area where a marvelous infinity pool would be our BFT (best friend today). Before we jumped in, we had an intense few minutes in the spa steamroom which made jumping into our BFT all the more satisfying. The spa building was a glistening mixture of eco-friendly materials, original artwork and maze-like hallways that added to the private and mysterious feel of the space. We were secluded.

I took a water aerobics class (well, it was a brave effort to get my circulation going) while my friend looked absolutely blissed out reading Vanity Fair and lounging by the pool. I quit the class (I liked it, but I wasn’t in the mood) and we sat in the hot tub talked about life, creativity (a little business) and relationships. It was nice to unwind at a pool without the threat of a two-year old hurling himself into the deep end screaming “Crash!!”

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In our spa robes and wet hair we went to the dining hall for an organic buffet and had an amazing, healthy lunch on the outside patio shaded by majestic oak trees and overlooking a stunning view of the Texas hill country. The veggie quesadillas, curried squash bisque, spinach salad, roasted potatoes, and other delights left both of us feeling very nourished and extremely happy.

sanctuary2After lunch we took a golf cart tour of the facilities. Honestly, it was way too hot to really enjoy being outside unless you were two feet from the pool or a cool shower. So the golf cart would have to do. Our guide Buddy was very friendly and knowledgable and he took us straight to the labyrinth and non-denominational chapel/meditation hall called Solidago Sanctuary. Though only a few years old, it was built with an eye toward the ancient, and it felt that way. I particularly loved the open garden embraced by stone high walls creating a spacious, yet cocoon-like outdoor retreat.

We then had a chance to peek at a room– unfortunately we couldn’t stay the night, but if you happen to attend a wellness retreat, a conference, a wedding or just want to get away, you’ll have simple and elegant accommodations most likely with that pristine, treetop view of the beautuful surrounding hills. The room we visited felt like a quiet treehouse escape. I happen to love that none of the rooms have televisions. “That’s part of the experience here,” Buddy confirmed. Nice.

He took us back to the pool and we spent a little more time there… probably a bit too much because we were both burnt red like free range lobsters saved by PETA. But before we left we checked out the charming spa store and book store filled with unique goodies including jewelry, audio books and every lotion and potion you’d ever need.

It was a good day, at first brought on by a need to aggressively relax but evolving into an active and pleasing foray for all of one’s neglected senses. The mind got a rest, and the senses went to town.

So, yes, I recommend The Crossings as your personal escape… just wait until the triple digits subside and you can enjoy the full range of outdoor offerings.

For this perfect mini-vacation:

Day passes for just $35 a day Monday through Thursday, $55 a day Friday through Sunday.

Your Crossings experience includes:

  • Access to the resort facilities including the infinity edge pool, steam room
  • Two miles of hiking trails
  • Daily activity classes
  • A healthy lunch
  • Breath taking patio views

Reservations required. For more details call 877.944.3003

Soul Lab Radio: Scott Blum, Daily OM founder and author of “Waiting for Autumn”

25 Jun

ScottBlumSometimes when I do a radio interview, thirty minutes seems like just the right amount of time to get to the bottom of something. Today was not one of those days. I wish my interview with Scott Blum about his new novel Waiting for Autumn could have gone on for another hour. But alas, even in thirty minutes, I managed to learn a thing or two. Specifically, we got to the heart of why intuition should be relied upon for life’s big decisions, instead of intellect. We also dicussed the dynamics of shamanic soul retrieval and what inspired him to write this novel in the first place.

Scott is the co-founder of DailyOM– one of the premiere on-line destinations for non-denominational inspirational content, products and courses from some of today’s best-selling authors and luminaries. But before that, Scott was a pioneer in the interactive Internet entertainment industry where he was one of the first American Nintendo programmers and eventually entered the music business producing Peter Gabriel’s critically acclaimed “Eve” CD-ROM. He then founded and was president of iMusic in 1995 and has worked with bands including Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Smashing Pumpkins, No Doubt, and Ben Harper.

In 2004 Scott and his wife Madisyn Taylor founded DailyOM (www.dailyom.com) after wanting to merge their personal interests in spirituality with their professional lives.

In “Waiting for Autumn” we follow the inquisitive main character, Scott, as he finds himself in a parking lot in Ashland, OR where he meets a cardboard sign-toting homeless man named Robert— who would soon become Scott’s spiritual navigator and guide. In the tradition of novels like The Alchemist and The Celestine Prophecy, “Waiting for Autumn” is about a man embarking on a spiritual awakening and attempting to heal his past by confronting the spirit of his dead fiancée, learning the power of nature, exploring the spirit plane, and discovering the power of universal laws.

Download the first three chapters for free…

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: Stuart Wilde

21 Apr

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Author, lecturer and veteran metaphysical teacher Stuart Wilde has written 19 books on consciousness and awareness. Originally from Farnham, England, his humorous and straightforward style in explaining complex metaphysical subjects has earned him a loyal readership which has resulted in millions of books sold in 15 languages. A modern steward of the English mystical tradition, Wilde has been an advocate for raising global consciousness since the early 1980s.

Among his most famous writings are the Taos Quintet (Miracles, Affirmations, The Force, The Quickening and The Trick to Money is Having Some!) After the publication of Miracles Wilde began lecturing publicly and regularly appeared with Deepak Chopra, Dr. Wayne Dyer and Louise Hay– leaders in the New Thought movement.

Wilde believes through use of the theta state of meditation individuals can enjoy better command over their emotional well-being and begin to experience visions and extrasensory feelings that lead to a greater sense of balance and freedom.

In his later work, Wilde has addressed more in-depth metaphysical principles considered controverisal to many. Though some people might dismiss his bold concepts as pure science fiction, Wilde claims that his unorthodox theories regarding other spiritual dimensions, dematerialization and parallel worlds are real. He supports Paul Dirac’s hypothesis of parallel antiparticle worlds which human consciousness can access through trance meditation. Wilde also follows Stephen Hawking’s theory of transverse light waves as a indicator of other spiritual dimensions not readily experienced by people. Over two thousand students worldwide have reported entering these dimensions with great success.

gaiaIn his most recent book, Grace, Gaia and the End of Days: An Alternative Way for the Advanced Soul (Hay House, March 2009), Wilde describes a level of metaphysical comprehension and sophistication not normally understood. Stuart says that we are in the Kali Yuga, the Age of Destruction, when the self-correcting intelligence of the planet (Gaia) will take back Earth on behalf of the animals, nature, and the little children. He says there are battles currently raging in the spiritual worlds between the forces of light and the ghouls (dark entities) in order to free us all. He describes a power he calls the Solar Logos, which he says comes to Earth to deliver a rebirth he calls the Renewal. As such, he calls this time the “End of Days”—not because the world will end, but because it is the end of the world as we know it.

JHR: What prompted you to write Grace, Gaia and The End of Days right now? Was it simply the “right time”?

SW: When I write a book I do so very fast. My book God’s Gladiators took me ninety-one hours, writing more or less non-stop. I sit calmly and hear the words then I type in my hunt an’ peck style.

So when I could feel Grace coming through from my Inner Mind I began to write it down. The book took seven days as this time I slept a bit here and there.

JHR: You talk about a battle raging between Gaia (Earth) and dark spirits. Can you explain how these battles are manifesting on earth right now?

SW: We have seen many thousands of visions of what people call Armageddon, which we understand from watching it in the Mirror-Worlds is a battle in the those hyperspace dimensions between the light celestial beings and the forces of dark. Vast forces are fighting night and day.

But we can also see there is a personal Armageddon inside each of us as we struggle to accept and go beyond our darkness. Each of us stands at the edge of redemption or destruction, the tussle is to see which way we will jump.

I wrote many years ago in a book called Whispering Winds of Change that the Global-Ego will take a big hit as is happening now and that will make the human shadow come out for all to see. It has to be enticed out in order for the evil to be destroyed, so we see that in a phenomena we call the Swivelers. People that are normal that suddenly turn overnight and become cruel, mean and dishonest for no apparent reason.

JHR: You describe “grace” as being informed by the principles of quantum physics and “quantum mysticism.” In your view, what is “grace”?

SW: It is golden light that is data driven. It has trillions of terabytes of information in it. We see that information as fractal codes– we learn to decode it but it is way too complex for us to get but a small bit of it and we learn to direct it to help people in need of emergency healing.

JHR: How has your personal definition of spirtuality evolved since writing Miracles in 1983?

SW: My perception has become very much more technical because of 200,000 + visions I have documented and then in another way it has become more simple. I realized the spirituality is the act of becoming ever more normal. Dropping all pretences so that is also what I teach. It is the Taoist teacher in me returned two decades later with a message of serenity, simplicity and respect.

JHR: You’ve been a controversial figure in the field of metaphysical studies almost since you came on the scene. Do you feel that your views on extrasensory perception, transcendental 90 ° perception and parallel worlds has experienced more or less understanding or acceptance?

SW: People that are sophisticated understand it but the crystal-lilac-New-Age find it too complicated so they only get bits of it. So I write a blog– www.stuartwildeblog.com– to help people understand in more simple terms and this has helped a lot.

JHR: You’ve written extensively about emotional and financial freedom. How are these two aspects of life linked, and how can readers begin to experience true freedom now?

SW: Money is just energy and people are scared so they push it away or they lurch and make mistakes. Again I teach simplicity… less expenses and a simple life style one meal a day, humble dwellings and hard work so the two graphs of income and expenditure cross in the right direction. People imprison themselves and I’ve worked hard to get them to see there is way out once one drops the seriousness of it all and all the silly rules we impose and once one becomes disciplined and humble.

JHR: What are a few books that have influenced you in your life that you would like to recommend to people who connect with your work?

SW:
Arthur Waley: The Way and Its Power: Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching and Its Place in Chinese Thought
Manley P. Hall: The Secret Teaching of All Ages
Stephen Hawking: The Universe in a Nutshell
C.S. Lewis: The Chronicles of Narnia
And the first Matrix film which is very accurate in describing the Aluna world and the battles we have with entities there– sentient beings of an evil disposition.

Free Mother’s Day Book Download from Renee Trudeau

17 Apr
From May 8-10 Download this Book FOR FREE!

From May 8-10 Download this Book FOR FREE!

Download a free copy of life balance expert Renee Trudeau’s award-winning book  The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life for 48 hours: May 8th-May 10th at http://mothersguidetoselfrenewal.com Sign up today!

And here is a reprint of an interview I did with Renee:

At one point or another many of us come to a crossroads in our professional and personal lives. We sit back, sigh deeply and ask ourselves “is this all there is?” For Renee Trudeau, the deep inner calling of her life became louder and louder until one day she decided to leave a successful corporate career and change the direction of her life forever. What happened next not only took her own family in an entirely new direction, but her powerful message of motherhood and self-care has changed the lives of thousands of women worldwide. Now, Renee is exploring the world of everyday spirituality. And somewhere in the process of being a student, she has become the teacher.

CL: You left behind a lucrative and very stable career in order to pursue your passions. Can you tell me about that decision, what you decided to do and how leaving the corporate environment changed your life?

RT: Gregg Levoy, author of Callings: Finding and Following An Authentic Life says “Generally people won’t pursue their calling until the fear of doing so is finally exceeded by the pain of not doing so. But, it’s amazing how high our threshold is for this type of pain.” I knew after a stable, 14-year career in the marketing communications field that there was another way I was meant to use my gifts and talents.

I had coached professionals (for free) for years on how to develop and leverage their personal brand and I had a strong desire to help others express their potential. So, after much soul searching—more on this journey in my book– I launched Career Strategists in 2000, based on my strong belief that we are truly meant to integrate “who we are” with “what we do” in the world. Yes, like all that make the leap to self-employment, I had a lot of fear come up. But I knew that the life I desired (one where I was the master of, not the slave to my life) was more important than the fear. Ultimately, I had no choice but to take this leap.

I believe we all receive these taps on the shoulder throughout our life. The question is, next time you receive a tap, will you shrug the feeling off, or say yes (to your life)?

CL: How did the concept of personal renewal groups and your book, The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal, initially come about and what has been the response?

RT: After having my son at age 37, I was shocked to realize how profound the transition to parenthood is. I believe having a child, literally changes you on a cellular level. Who you are will never be the same. And, at the same time, it really rocks you to your core and challenges you to get clear on why you’re here, what is your path and what does the life you truly desire—look like? (My video talks more about this.)

After searching for resources and books that support mothers in nurturing their essence while taking care of their kids, I found nothing and was ultimately guided to start a Personal Renewal Group (self renewal circle for women) in 2003. Five years and countless groups later, after repeated requests from my Personal Renewal Group members, The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal was born. Now thousands of women around the US/Canada and beyond are leading these groups, which are based on the Guide, and supporting women in nurturing their emotional well-being. The response has been phenomenal (many therapists, coaches, doulas and women’s empowerment advocates are being called to lead groups.) Everyone seems to immediately get how important and needed a life coaching program like this, is. The book will be published in Korea later this year. It seems that the messages that came through me are resonating on a universal level.

CL: When people come to a crossroads in life, they are often told to pursue their passions and the money will follow. Do you believe that’s true?

RT: Yes! After working now for more than 20 years in this arena (I started helping family/friends with career strategy when I was eighteen) and having supported thousands in both big and small career and life transitions, I absolutely believe it is our job, our responsibility, to give birth to the best that is within us. And when we do this from a place of truth and authenticity, we will prosper.

I also work with clients a lot on marrying their passion with their brilliance (what you innately “do best”). This is where the magic happens! When we leverage our innate God-given talents, we’re in flow. We’re doing what we were put on the earth to do. And, when this happens, we can’t help but prosper financially. Interestingly, for most of my clients, the hard work isn’t around manifesting, it’s around “receiving” (believing that you’re worthy to be paid for these gifts).

CL: We all know how important it is to take good physical care of oneself in order to be effective in life. What else do you advise people to do to take care of themselves? What is your definition of self-care?

RT: Self-care is the practice of self-nourishment and self-nurturing. It’s essential to feeling whole and to being human. Cancer survivor/activist Audrey Lorde says “Self care is not about self-indulgence, it’s about self-preservation.” Taking time to fill our cups first before helping others is essential to our well-being and to optimal living.

Start by cultivating an awareness of how you talk to, treat, think about and care for yourself—physically, emotionally and spiritually. I have found the practice of self-care is a portal for many of us to our deeper selves. Loving ourselves and treating ourselves as if you would treat a small child, requires a deep honoring of spirit, of our essence (you can learn more about the transformative power of self-care in The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal). Begin with baby steps, be gentle with yourself and know that developing a self-care practice takes time and being around others who believe this is essential, too.

CL: What are you reading right now? What are some books that you can recommend for people interested in personal/spiritual growth?

RT: Life coaches Jennifer Louden and Cheryl Richardson are two of the original self-care advocates/pioneers and all of their books are wonderful and highly recommended, particularly if you’re just getting started on your self-care journey. In terms of physical self-care, I am reading Quantum Wellness by Kathy Freston and The Wisdom of Menopause by Dr. Christiane Northrup—both are very holistic and integrative in their approach to physical/emotional/spiritual well-being. I am also reading (I’m a multiple books at one time reader) Practicing The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, Soul Signs by Diane Eichenbaum, Conversations with God (again) by Neal Donald Walsch, This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women and Open Heart, Open Mind by Father Thomas Keating (who will be in Austin Feb. 21-22).

CL: I understand you are working on a new project. Can you tell us about that?

RT: Since last summer, I have been researching and exploring the theme of “everyday spirituality”—the idea that the sacred is present and accessible everyday, through simple daily rituals and activities like walking in nature, playing with our kids and artistic expression, etc.

I think most Americans are overwhelmed, overworked and overscheduled. They are craving meaning in their lives, but when they hear the term “spiritual practice,” they think forget it, who has time to go on a ten day silent retreat or go sit on a mountaintop! I’ve got kids to get to soccer and bosses to appease! I believe strongly that there are many avenues for nourishment on the“spiritual practice” continuum and that each of us just needs to get quiet and hear what spiritual renewal looks like to us.

I was raised in a very interesting family (my latest blog posting on Spirituality talks about this)—I have a brother named Shiva and a sister named after St. Theresa. Questions around spiritual renewal and fulfillment have been sitting with me for a long, long time. I believe this is the direction my work will be taking me over the next 5-7 years.

Women’s Journeys Better Than Fiction

12 Apr

on-the-way-to-satoriLately I have been thinking about some true life stories of women who have tackled the tough task of leaving it all behind and embarking on incredible journeys of self-discovery. I stumbled upon a book I once loved and it got me thinking that I’ve always loved these stories and soaked them up like great fiction. But in these cases, the stories are documented and real, and here are just a few I highly recommend.

On the Way to Satori was written by Gerta Ital, a German-born actress who entered a Japanese Zen Buddhist monastery late in life. She recorded her experiences in two books, The Master, the Monks and I: A Western Woman’s Experience of Zen, and the one I read, On the Way to Satori: A Woman’s Experience of Enlightenment. Both books were published in German in the mid-1960s, but were not translated into English until much later. She recounted the physically and emotionally harsh conditions of being the first Western woman admitted to a Zen monastery.

Then there is The Sorcerer’s Crossing: A Woman’s Journey written by Taisha Abelar with a forward by Carlos Castaneda. Abelar, an anthropologist, recalls the mysterious and mystical journey which took her on many leaps of faith into the world of sorcery. In the late 60s, she was sketching in the mountains around Tucson, Arizona when she met a Mexican woman named Clara Grau. With intensity, gravity and fortitude, Grau convinced Abelar to visit her house in Sonora, Mexico– right then, and right there. Facing her own feelings of being directionless and confused about her future, she went. What followed was a powerful entry into a family of sorcerers which produced powerful healers and wisepeople like Castaneda.

eatpraylove1And more recently, Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert hit a major nerve with women seeking purpose, meaning and real clarity in their lives. Though she didn’t shave her head or become inducted into a secret world of magic, Gilbert did have life-changing moment after moment in a global trek which spanned Italy, India and Bali.

The bottom line with all these fine reads is that the real experiences of these brave women have produced books that are as mesmerizing, surprising, enchanting and deeply inspiring as any novel you could crawl into. Check them out.

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