The Awesome Benefits of Kindness

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Kindness is making a comeback - in popularity - though I believe there are always people in this world who regularly and quietly do kind acts with no intention for reward.

At Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens, we champion in kindness, which contributes so easily to inner (and often outer) peace.

That’s why we are celebrating World Kindness Day, November 13.

“World Kindness Day is celebrated annually on 13th November. On this day, participants attempt to make the world a better place by celebrating and promoting good deeds and pledging acts of kindness, either as individuals or as organisations.” Awarenessday.com.

We never know when a kind comment, kind gesture, smile, or small deed makes a macroscopic difference in a person’s day. Plus it feels good.

So this week, we are inviting you (and ourselves) to start the practice of doing one small “random act of kindness” daily - and discover the magic that can happen!

Here are suggested World Kindness Day activities (as reported on their website):

World Kindness Day Activities

1. Commit at least three random acts of kindness today
Give compliments. Smile at strangers. Hold a door open. Give up your seat on a crowded train. Do at least three random acts and see what magic follows!

2. Give extra and (extra-long) hugs today
Kindness and connection go hand-in-hand. Take a few extra minutes to hug your loved ones and friends today. They'll wonder what got into you, but after the first 10 seconds of they hug, we promise they're going to melt.

3. Write a love poem to yourself and read it out loud
We're serious about you being kind to yourself, today, too. Write a short (or long) poem highlighting the things you appreciate about yourself and your life. Read it out loud to yourself, in front of a mirror. You may just fall in love!

4. Share kindness on your social media
#WorldKindnessDay is real. Share quotes and inspiring pictures on your feed on Nov. 13 and let the internet help spread some love.

5. Get creative - make up your own!


Join us November 13 for: The Awesome Benefits of Kindness Workshop, 7:30pm at Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens.

Service in Action – FUNdraiser for Venezuela [with Photos]

By Gaby Grigorescu
Photos by Doren Sorell

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I am very happy to share with you about a beautiful activity that took place on Sunday, October 28 at 2:30 p.m., and that arose from an idea that Skyler Patton had through the Heartfelt Foundation to raise funds for Venezuela. So it was that Vanessa Zoghbi and I joined together with Skyler to make this event since we are both Venezuelan. The idea was to collect funds for Hogar Bambi, SenosAyuda, San Francisco de Asís Animal Shelter and San Juan de Dios Hospital, all Venezuelan non-profit organizations that suffer the consequences of a financial crisis where there is a shortage of food, medicines, personal hygiene products, among others.

The idea was to have a Venezuelan afternoon at the Peace Awareness Labyrinth and Gardens along with the support and presence of Ros Cachitos, Mathy’s Shop, Helping Children in Venezuela, De Provincia, DJ Victor X, 3 For Rent, David Whitaker’s Pottery, Splash the Ink, Moccian, and Golden Studio. All are Venezuelan talents who wanted to join this beautiful cause.

We started the activity with a meditation in the labyrinth where we asked for peace for Venezuela, then our guests enjoyed live music by Venezuelan musicians, food, and desserts from my country, and we finished the event with the raffle of incredible prizes. The energy that was present was a mix of joy, solidarity, spontaneity, brotherhood, service, love, and peace. In particular, it was incredible to be able to see a group of people united by the same cause and know that we are all one.

I also want to thank the volunteers who supported us that afternoon with our activity. Without you, it would not have been possible to hold the event. Infinite thanks to Elizabeth Baralt, Galia Corie, Alexander Gonzalez, Omar Gutiérrez, Héctor Ojeda, Nélida Chávez, Lizet González, Ned O’Neill, David Jaramillo, Angela Parkes, Vanessa Zoghbi and Skyler Patton, you were our little angels that afternoon. I also want to thank Susan Valaskovic, Paul Kaye, Mark Lurie, Vincent Dupont, for the support they gave us to fundraise for Venezuela.

We set the goal of raising $2,500, but thanks to the generosity and kindness of the Venezuelan and MSIA community we managed to reach $7,721! Thanks to this, the organizations will receive more resources. Thank you again! I feel happy and blessed to have exceeded the goal thanks to the generosity of so many people.

Hopefully, we can organize more events like this where we can support those who are in need. It is nice to be able to serve and support other communities. Thanks to our beloved John Morton for his unconditional Love, and Light.

God bless us all and fill us with blessings!

Photos by Doren Sorell



Gaby Grigorescu
Photos by Doren Sorell

Pretzel Poses Not Required: Yoga Yourself into Peace

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“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” ~Leonardo da Vinci

Perhaps the quote explains Mona Lisa’s mysterious smile. Maybe she adopted her creator’s philosophy and practiced yoga!

Fast forward in time from the Italian Renaissance to a smiling lady at an Italian Beaux Art villa in LA. Her name is Jennifer Herrera. Besides her degrees in law and spiritual psychology, she’s applied her smarts to brand building. (Think Gap, American Eagle Outfitters and Sony Electronics.) “When I was in the prime of my first career and stressed out, I found yoga again,” says Jennifer. “It saved my life.”

A decade later she’s a yoga teacher. In fact, she’s teaching on Tuesday, August 21st at 7:30 pm in the backyard of the aforementioned Beaux Art Villa. (The historic mansion is headquarters to - PAL&G - Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens.)

To clarify, the PAL&G backyard boasts a 3-tiered meditation garden and a Chartres Cathedral inspired labyrinth. (Sometimes called a Moving Meditation.) By day, the labyrinth is carpeted with those contemplating life. On the evening of August 21st, yoga mats will crisscross the labyrinth.

Jennifer says, “Yoga at the labyrinth is a beautiful opportunity to say "YES" to the body, mind and spirit. We will be touching all of those dimensions during our experience. I would also add that all levels are welcome. If you were ever to begin yoga, there's no better place than the sacred ground of Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens.”

My interview with Jennifer about yoga and life follows.

 Q: What forms of yoga do you practice?

JH: I practice and teach a combination of hatha and vinyasa that is also heavily influenced by Iynengar. What this means is that I slowly build my practice from the ground up consciously awakening the body, holding in postures and linking breath to movement. I am not a power yoga teacher. I can enjoy those classes from time to time and I have found that my peace is in the slow build.

Q: What can you guarantee or almost guarantee students will walk away with after Yoga at the Labyrinth?

JH: All willing and open participants will absolutely walk away with an experiential reference of peace within themselves and their bodies.

Q: How often do you practice?

JH: I practice 3-5 times a week and sometimes that is a 20 minute evening restorative practice.

Q: What’s the greatest gift you’ve received from yoga?

Healing the relationship with my body. Through my practice of yoga, learning about and feeling into parts of my body I never had prior, I began to relate to my body as an apprentice. Instead of constantly evaluating it externally, I began to steep in the wonder of its miraculous nature. I am so grateful for this new context, awareness and healing.

Q: Advice for the inflexible or stiff jointed?

JH: Gentleness - with your body and with your mind. The physical practice of yoga is really a distraction to reduce the noise of the mind. Yoga is not about flexibility. That is a misnomer. Actually bodies that are very flexible or hyper-mobile can injure themselves if they don't know how to back off. I begin almost every day feeling a bit stiff and inflexible. Yoga has actually supported me in better listening to my body so I know how to gently wake it up and support blood circulation to the joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles. Whenever possible use props during your practice. A simple blanket or thick towel can make all the difference.

Q: What’s been the greatest challenge in practicing yoga? How do you or did you overcome that?

JH: Growing my patience and learning to quiet the mind. There are metaphorical opportunities arriving all throughout a yoga practice if we are open to them. For example, how we relate to ourselves and the world while on our mat is a reflection of how we relate to ourselves and the world off the mat. Allowing that to be okay rather than a space to judge ourselves is when the practice takes on a whole new level of growth and expansion. Although the practice of yoga can be and feel rather serious, it's so important not to take ourselves too seriously. When we can loosen up and allow for the space our practice deepens. When I have tried to force a posture that my body is rejecting but my mind is attached to "doing," I struggle and get uptight. When I heed my body's communication and back off, I soften and relax. These two paths of relating impact my entire practice and often what occurs after. Over time, I have learned to leave it all on my mat, to use the entire experience to let it all go. It's literally my physical therapy, spiritual practice and self-care all in one. I am never sorry I did yoga.

Q: Who’s been your biggest influence, inspiration in yoga?

JH: My teachers. The first one was a woman I began practicing with around 2008 in Manhattan. Her classes were like mini-workshops. I didn't know that at the time and she has been the single biggest influence on my practice and my teaching approach. She weaved in depth and breadth into every 75 minute class and I found the teacher in me by being her student. They say, “When the student is ready the teacher arrives.” I am so grateful.

Q: Besides, Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens, where is the most exquisite place you’ve done yoga?

JH: In the lush forest of a small town in the south west part of France. Just me and nature. It was Heaven on earth.



Curious novice or consummate yogi, you are welcome to enjoy Yoga at the Labyrinth at 7:30 pm on Tuesday, November 6 on the heavenly grounds of PAL&G.

Visit http://www.peacelabyrinth.org/events/yitm110618. Wear comfy clothes. And remember your yoga mats! Blankets and large beach towels work, too.

Service in Action Fundraiser

 Fundraiser organizers: Vanessa Zoghbi, Skyler Patton, Gaby Grigorescu

Fundraiser organizers: Vanessa Zoghbi, Skyler Patton, Gaby Grigorescu

Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens is partnering with the Heartfelt Foundation to aid causes in Venezuela that serve those desperately in need.

Why Venezuela?

If you've been following the news, you'll have heard of the hardships befallen Venezuelans. Food is scarce. Families wait hours in line or pick at rotten meat in order to eat. Hospitals and orphanages do not have medicines or basic supplies. Family pets are being abandoned because their owners cannot care for them and are starving in the streets.

Can we help and make an impact? Yes, we can!


Ways to Support: 

♥ Donate "In Kind Goods" & drop off at Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens (PAL&G) by October 30th. (See a list of goods below.)

♥ Monetary donations can be made here (select HeartFelt Foundation).

In-Kind Donations We're Collecting:

(Drop off by October 30th at:
PAL&G, 3500 West Adams Bl., Los Angeles, CA 90018)

-Diapers
-Baby formula
-White crew socks (kids)
-Underwear for boys and girls (ages 4-12)
-Dog and cat food
-Dewormers for animals
-Non-perishable food items
-Vitamins (multivitamin, B complex and iron)
-Baby bottles

Who Are We Serving?

Proceeds from this event will go to: 

Bambi House
Provides holistic and nurturing care to more than 125 children and youth between 0 and 18 years of age who are not able to live with their families, separated from their family environment due to abuse, mistreatment or economic hardship.

 San Juan De Dios Hospital
Offers medical attention in integral health, especially to children of lower economic resources, manifesting the charisma of mercy and hospitality.

Senos Ayuda
Fights against breast cancer through activities of information and early detection; networking with groups dedicated to the same cause, as well as guidance and emotional support to patients and family members.

San Francisco De Asis Animal Shelter
A foundation that has been helping and protecting over 100 animals at risk for 30 years in Coro State Venezuela.


Questions?

You can contact Skyler Patton for questions: 323-328-1925 | serve@heartfelt.org.

Slowing Down

By Jennifer Herrera

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“Relax. There’s no need for rushing today. Slow down. Really, slow down today.”

Dr. Paul Kaye, our facilitator, must have offered this gentle reminder at least ten times at our Silent Retreat at Peace Awareness Labyrinth and Gardens. Unplug – Relax, Refresh and Recharge, and I clearly needed it. I say this because each time he said it, I felt my body respond like it was hearing his offering for the first time, and each time I took a deeper breath. Towards the end of the day, when I was walking up the Meditation Garden stairs, I started to vividly see my natural pace is rushing.

That was rather eye opening.

I know that breath and breathing is a tremendous gateway into relaxing, health, and vitality. I also know that when I am relaxed, I am more open, more loving, more creative and more able to receive. I am just a better person inwardly and outwardly when I am relaxed. And cultivating this as my natural state is where I have some opportunity.

I sense this is where many of us have opportunity. We have been habitualized and seduced with the allure of achieving, of getting things done and making things happen. This often requires moving fast, or falling asleep to our awakened consciousness and being in auto pilot. However one describes it, I sense many — if not most of us — have some relationship to the paradigm I am speaking of. With that — and given we live in such a busy, full, techno-charged world — taking time to interrupt these habits in a place of beauty and peace like Peace Awareness Labyrinth and Gardens is essential.

Paul is a skilled curator and master facilitator, and with the support of some lovely assistants, he took us on a restorative journey at our one-day Silent Retreat. We handed over our phones. We traveled. Inwardly and outwardly. We were fed healthy, delicious and thoughtful meals. We journaled. We walked the labyrinth. We had several opportunities of deep meditation which were often accented with a sound bath cleansing our energy fields. And, we participated in learning the art of some ancient cultural customs that are significant instruments of slowing down, being on purpose and breathing more consciously.

I left this day feeling more me than when I arrived. What does that mean? For me, I felt like I let go of layers of activity that were attached to over responsibility and doing, and I opened my heart more fully to the splendor of the present moment. It may sound a bit cliché, and I say give yourself the gift of the Silent Retreat and then let me know how you feel.


Silent Retreats are offered several times a year at Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens. For more information, email Registrar@peacelabyrinth.org.

International Day of Peace at PAL&G

 Daniel Tamm, Representative of Mayor Eric Garcetti presents Peace Award to Dr. Paul Kaye, President of PAL&G.

Daniel Tamm, Representative of Mayor Eric Garcetti presents Peace Award to Dr. Paul Kaye, President of PAL&G.

On Friday, September 21, 2018 we celebrated the United Nations International Day Of Peace at our Peace Awareness Labyrinth and Gardens (PAL&G). Staff, residents, and visitors gathered around the labyrinth at noon holding hands as we held for one minute of silence with a focus on peace. This minute of silence was held across the planet by individuals and groups choosing to focus on peace. At PAL&G, we were proud to participate in this global moment of peace. And what better place to do it than around our own Peace Labyrinth?

We had invited Los Angeles mayor, Eric Garcetti, to join us in celebrating this occasion. He was out of town and sent a representative, Daniel Tamm, who presented us with a certificate from the mayor himself. I was taken by surprise by how touching Mayor Garcetti’s words were. It gave me goosebumps. The certificate was a colorful and beautifully designed piece of art. This is what it said:

(This) Certificate of Appreciation is hereby presented to Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens on the International Day of Peace, 2018, in appreciation for all that you do for the development of inner peace, and nurturing attitudes that promote the expansion and integration of peaceful principles.

On behalf of the people of Los Angeles, I say, “Let Peace Begin With Me.” Eric Garcetti, Mayor

Afterward, we treated visitors with a delicious meal, including ice cream for dessert, which David Funk had lovingly prepared with the cooking team of Ned and Elizabeth. This was followed by a beautiful concert in the marbled Prana foyer, performed by Merrill Collins on piano and her ensemble of professional musicians – cellist, Maksim Velichkin, flautist, Laura Halliday, and vocalist, Elizabeth Matson.

Before the concert, we were presented with another certificate. This time from the Mr. Herb Wesson, president of the LA City Council. Councilman Albert Lord came on Mr. Wesson’s behalf to present the award to us. Mr. Lord was touched by the concert and our facility. At the end of the program he left with a handful of books by PAL&G founder, John-Roger, and a special request to be included in our mailing list to let the City Council know of our upcoming events!

It was a beautiful and sacred day, coordinated with style by Sylvia Giussani and her dedicated and loving team of volunteers. We were all grateful to celebrate this day of peace. And it was a fulfillment of the vision that our administrator, Susan Valaskovic, has held that we would have an event that would include the community and local government.

Albert Lord, Representative of Los Angeles City Councilman, Herb Wesson, presents peace award to Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens (PAL&G), as received by Dr. Paul Kaye, President of PAL&G.

“We are Inter-dependent” - Interactive Peace Song

"We Are Inter-dependent," sung by Elizabeth Matson, with Merrill Collins, Maksim Velichkin, Laura Halliday - interactive with audience singing chorus in their language, from the Peace Concert.

View Slideshow


Article by Dr. Paul Kaye.
Videos and photos taken by Kim Guisinger.

The Sounds of Healing

“I love you” heals hurts. Liszt’s Lieberstraum lilting lullaby is a stress soother, too. So is a child’s laughter. What remembers you to goodness?

Presents are always welcome. When outside circumstances or people are not reflecting preferences, though, direct access to the inner Royal Road is rather handy.  Good news: There are simple techniques to get there. You’re probably using some of those tools already. Are you open to expanding your repertoire?

 

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Acclaimed author, Paul Kaye teaches meditation techniques which tune participants in his classes to the beautiful true self. He’s thrilled people from all over the world with his methods. Lucky for those in LA, Paul Kaye’s Introduction to Meditation & Sound: A Deeper Experience is held on a monthly – sometimes bi-monthly  – basis.

Here are just a few endorsements from past participants:

“Best meditative experience I’ve had this decade and one of the best of my life!” ~WF

“People should know that this is one of the best healing events in town.” ~EG

“It seemed that I went high in many different spiritual realms.” ~KP

The next Introduction to Meditation & Sound: A Deeper Experience is scheduled for Tuesday, August 28, 2018 at 7:30 pm at Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens. Click here for details and tickets.

Wishing you the sounds of healing and happiness.

1.    Here’s a small sample of books Paul Kaye has co-authored:

Living the Spiritual Principles of Health and Well-Being

Momentum – Letting Love Lead

What’s It Like Being You – Living Life as Your True Self!

Love and a Silent Retreat is All You Need

 
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Once upon a time, in the sixties, there was a very popular band called the Beatles. Titles like All You Need is Love spun on vinyl records. Centuries before them, a bearded man with the initials, JC said, “Love one another as I have loved you.”

Great advice, right? What happens though when texts, e-mails and phone calls are vying for your attention? When paper and projects are piling up digitally and on your desk? And your family demands you play gracious host to a third cousin once removed? The brain scrambles, Edvard Munch’s The Scream surfaces. “Stop the world I want to get off!”

Well, now you can. Popular meditation teacher, soundscape artist and acclaimed author, Paul Kaye is leading One Day Silent Retreat participants back to the sacred self that breathes and sustains you. Your precious self will thank you. Your husband/wife, colleagues, cat and dog will also appreciate your attending this Saturday, September 8 event.

This autumn day is an opportunity to meet your true self again. Already meditate? Fantastic! You’ll be cradled in a deeper way by the Divine. The serene Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens will reflect your inner beauty.  

Sound too good to be true? Think again. See below for a sampling of the gifts you’ll receive during the retreat. And take home with you long after the silence is gone.

·       Tools for clearing unconscious blocks and tension

·       Moving meditations, the labyrinth

·       Freeing yourself with forgiveness and gratitude

·       Accessing harmony and peace, Japanese tea ceremony style

·       Finding center through a Sound Journey

Even our smart devices need recharging. Take time for you on Saturday, September 8, 2018 at Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens. Click here for details.

 

 

Blessings Here and Now

“What’s the blessing here? Keep looking until you find it’s there.”
~John Morton

When in Eeyore days of the deep blues, a reminder to look for blessings makes me want to roll over and go to sleep. Or at the very least, roll my eyes.

Even in the barren “what’s the use?” desert, a stream of hope murmurs underground.  Maybe it has something to do with my attendance at events featuring John Morton.  He’s  nicknamed The Blessings Man. And the acclaimed author of You Are the Blessings and The Blessings Already Are.  (He’s also the Spiritual Director of the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness.)

I’m not doing cartwheels. Still, whilst lying supine on the couch, a willingness to consider that maybe Life has my back bubbles in my brain. Case in point, last Sunday; as salty tears dripped onto my husband’s shirt, I had an OMG moment.

Decades ago I was in despair because I was 31, divorced and kissing only frigging frogs. My heart felt like a dartboard. I was praying to God for a proposal from an abusive boyfriend. (#Crazy!) I thought it was the best I could do. Fantasies of being a step-mom made me linger too long, too. Breaking up with the person was brave. But it was a smart move.

I met Prince Charming in dance class after years of showing up at studios with no romantic outcomes. Today I am married to the man of my dreams and mommy to two furry cat babies. As my husband will confirm, I continue to dip into droopiness. Maybe though with a couple of more John Morton seminars I’ll see more Blessings Here and Now. To quote Eeyore, “Sure is a cheerful color. Guess I’ll have to get used to it.”

If you’d like to multiply your blessings and see a few more bright hues, register for Blessings Here and Now with John Morton. Here’s the link: http://www.peacelabyrinth.org/events/jmseminar082518

Wishing you blessings of Love, Light and laughter.

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Lights, Sound, Soul!

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What is Soul Transcendence? How do you become aware of your Soul? Recognizing Soul moments is a valuable key says Dr. Pauli Sanderson, counselor and acclaimed co-author of When Are You Coming Home?

Posture perfect, Dr. Sanderson scans the crowd gathered in the mansion at the Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens (PAL&G). Despite all her degrees, Dr. Sanderson looks approachable. (The twinkle in her eyes suggests a sense of humor.) “Soul moments,” she says, “are moments that come to us more or less bidden, when we feel something within us respond with recognition or joy or sudden and unexpected loving.”

So that serenading bird who perched outside my office on the Romeo and Juliet-ish balcony is a soul moment? Pretty sure the answer is yes! The songbird filled me with unexpected delight. Lightness filled my being as I watched it sing. Softly I poured praise on the petite one. Flattery, however, only got me so far. When I approached the little one, it flew away. But the joy stayed for hours.

According to Dr. Sanderson, it’s all right, too, to “Make up a wonderful, glorious soul moment you would like to have!”

Soul moments, as I understand it, are glimpses into our true nature. It’s a reminder that we are oh, so much more than our bodies, thoughts or emotions. “Every human being is a beloved child of God: A Soul on a human journey,” says Dr. Sanderson.

This planet is a place to learn that we are sparks of the Divine. Dr. Sanderson concedes, “Kinda tricky around here on Earth; So many choices (on) our journey towards positivity.”

A reassuring smile crosses her face. Dr. Sanderson references her lifelong friend and teacher, John-Roger. “J-R said, ‘If you would learn the secret of Soul Transcendence, look only for the good, for the Divine in people and things, and All the rest leave to God.’”

She encourages people to suspend disbelief and entertain the idea that, “All experiences are designed to bring us closer to God.”

Dr. Sanderson then invites us to take an inner journey. The lights are dimmed. Thunder – representative of the Earth realm– roars. Dr. Sanderson’s voice remains serene. She directs us to lift higher. Crystal lakes are evoked in my consciousness. Do I hear flutes? More music plays. During the guided meditation, she encourages us to, “Let that sound settle peacefully into you.”

I do. Enchanted, my eyes refuse to open, my hands rest on my legal pad. Dr. Sanderson tells us to return to the room. Time for cookies and tea…Life is back in session. Yet a stillness inside assures me a reply was given to the question, “What is Soul Transcendence?”

More answers may also arise on Tuesday, August 14th when popular teacher and soundscape artist Paul Kaye presents Introduction to Meditation & Sound: A Deeper Experience. Click here or visit PeaceLabyrinth.org/Events for details.

In the meantime, I wish you millions of sparkly Soul moments.

Soul Moments

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New York Times best-selling author, John-Roger says, “The Soul is that essence of us that is a pure extension of God.”

If God is Love, we’re part of the divine spark. Lovely! All settled. Life is fantabulous. Unless under the burden of sorrow, surprise attacks of judgments from self or others become buried shrapnel. 

Digging deep to discover a blessing or a lesson can bring healing.  Prayer is a great tool, too. Here’s one of my top ten:  Dear God, I’m tired of turning the other cheek; my favorite MAC blush is out of commission. Please help.

Maybe the words don’t matter. What is important is that Step One in 12-Step vernacular is taken. The white flag of surrender is raised. Falling to my knees seems to allow a portal for Soul moments.

What is a Soul moment? Beethoven’s music on the radio? One of his compositions evokes rumbling thunder with the whisper of a rainbow.  Perhaps it’s the streak of a divine paintbrush of white clouds against a sky of blue. Or your darling pet licking wet kisses onto your hand.

On Tuesday, August 7th, Dr. Pauli Sanderson will address the question of What is Soul Awareness? (And awareness of Soul moments.) The 7:30 pm evening event will take place at the Guasti Villa, currently the headquarters for Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens. (Scroll down for details.)

Dr. Sanderson is the co-author of When Are You Coming Home? She also holds an M.S. in clinical psychology and a Doctorate in Spiritual Science. She is well versed on the subjects of human shenanigans and spiritual Rx. Dr. Sanderson also has a B.A. in dance from UCLA. She is one Bruin who can bust a move!

Visit peacelabyrinth.org/events for $10 tickets to What is Soul Awareness? With Pauli Sanderson. Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens is located at 3500 West Adams Boulevard in
Los Angeles. The event begins at 7:30 p.m. 

Looking forward to more Soul moments…hopefully with you!

A Field of Dreamy Gardens

Did you read the exquisite write-up about Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens in The New York Times? The PAL&G piece is by best-selling author, Reif Larsen! (His books are also popular movies.)

Mr. Larsen’s depiction of PAL&G tours’ Guardian Angel is perceptive and accurate. “I was greeted at the villa’s entrance by a kind man named Juan Roberto.”

Through heat waves and cold spells, PAL&G’s bespectacled greeter, Juan Roberto Schulz gazes upon each visitor as if welcoming a long lost cousin. He also answers FAQs with great patience. Mr. Larsen remarks that at the end of his exchange with the PAL&G greeter, “Memories of Interstate 10 bedlam began to evaporate.”

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Good thing I was sitting when reading Mr. Larsen’s Finding Yourself in Los Angeles. His masterful portrait of PAL&G is swoon worthy. He describes his labyrinth experience: “As you walk, the city becomes a distant dream, a movie half-remembered.”

Mr. Larsen also mentions shinrin-yoku ( 森林浴 ) – Japanese for forest bathing. He delights in being “serenaded by the gentle babble of small fountains.”  (Be still my heart!!)

Insights about other LA gardens and photos are offered, too. (PAL&G takes top billing.) Scroll down, and you’ll see two people familiar to PAL&G regulars: Anna Sugai and Jeffrey Morgan. An aura of confidence trails the duo walking the labyrinth. Maybe my admiration colors the lens. Anna Sugai is a Brazilian beauty who speaks three languages. Her good looks and smarts are surpassed, however, by her depth. Ask anyone who has seen her co-facilitate a PAL&G evening event. Jeffrey Morgan is an attorney who knows a thing or two about international and integrative law. He’s also quick with a reassuring smile. He serves on the Transcendent Leadership faculty at Peace Theological Seminary.

Mr. Larsen’s Finding Yourself in Los Angeles in The New York Times illuminates the spirit of PAL&G.  It is impressive. The masterful wordsmith’s work strikes my heart with awe for another reason, too. I came to this country from Japan a few decades back. The Guasti Villa stood proudly like a Grande Dame on West Adams as it does today. The mansion, however, was sans labyrinth and gorgeous gardens. It was an isolated island of beauty enjoyed by a few.

Two important men in my life – my beloved teacher and boss – inspired the creation of PAL&G: Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness (MSIA) Founder, John-Roger and MSIA President, Paul Kaye. They are both role models of living from the inside out.

Remember the 1989 film Field of Dreams? An Iowa farmer builds a baseball field at the bidding of his inner guidance.  Trouble ensues. Tears are shed. A happy Hollywood ending prevails.  “If you build it, he will come.”

Voices are tricky business. Is the whisper well-intentioned or rooted in illness? “Check it out,” is a phrase which John-Roger repeated on many an occasion. 

Clearly, John-Roger was listening to a heavenly messenger about a LA labyrinth. A French accented angel, perhaps. Paul remembers the conversation with John-Roger about a labyrinth at 3500 West Adams Boulevard was ignited in Chartres Cathedral.

Maybe Paul’s whispering angel was from the East. MSIA’s President was instrumental in the birth of an Asian accented garden. He had a vision of something “mad, chaotic, and green with lots of water features.”

The French artisan crafted marble labyrinth was consecrated by John-Roger and MSIA Spiritual Director, John Morton in 2001. The following year, Paul’s idea for the garden was realized. A handful of spiritual warriors roamed the Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens (PAL&G) upon its creation in the New Millennium.

Today sold-out tours prevail as peace seekers strengthen Soul practices. Including a New York Times best-selling author.

Do you hear a voice whispering? “Be a PAL&G docent…The visitors will come.”

Check it out. Call Program Director, Carol Jones at (323) 737-4055.

Click the link below to read Reif Larsen’s Finding Yourself in Los Angeles in The New York Times.

Stickybeaks & the World of Awe

Your luggage is checked to your destination. But you’re stuck at LAX. There are only so many laps you can take around the food court, right? Give yourself a sweet treat. Grab an Uber, a Lyft or a taxi and make a beeline for a place of peace, such as Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens (PAL&G.)

As a guide of countless tours around the PAL&G labyrinth, meditation gardens, and historical mansion, I’ve yet to figure out the magic of the place. Always a pleasure though to watch shoulders relax and smiles emerge after a dip in the verdant meditation gardens. No matter the mood, songbirds soften my rough edges, too.

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Our Australian visitors say I’ve got a “stickybeak.” (Nosy in American English.) I’m fascinated by travelers who are drawn to PAL&G hours before they fly home. Like a mother/son team who love their English labyrinths. They stumbled last minute into our Chartres Cathedral-inspired creation.

Another women from Hawaii was en route to Finland. She was wilting in the shade waiting for the 3 p.m. tour. She may have questioned her choice of spending her layover at PAL&G. Sixty minutes later her body language said something else. Shoulders slightly stooped, deep in contemplation while ambling the eleven concentric labyrinth circles, her posture straightened as she emerged. No elixir did she slip from her purse. Only the willingness to open to Spirit is my guess.

When feeling like Mr. Shakespeare’s Hamlet (in Act 1, Scene 2), “O God, O God, how weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable seem to me all the uses of this world!” Run; don’t walk to the PAL&G labyrinth. (All right, walk briskly. Don’t want you slipping into the gorgeous reflecting pools.) Peace can occur when a prayer of surrender is said before twisting and winding through the labyrinth. That’s what someone very close whispered in my ear anyway.

If you’re a flexible type, or a yogi or yogini-in-training, check out Yoga at the Labyrinth. Or if you prefer an er, um less bendy approach, click the Visit tab at PeaceLabyrinth.org. Dare to explore the beautiful environment inside and outside of you.

You HU Superhero

Los Angeles is ablaze in a fiery heat wave. Tempers can flare as temperatures rise. Escape to air conditioned theatres featuring superheroes is one option. But what if others have the same idea and all seats are taken?

Dive inside and discover the superhero in you.  (By all means, take a cold shower; soak in an ice cube bath, whatever it takes to feel relief before taking the inner trek to claim your superpower.) Yes, I’m suggesting the free and powerful tool of meditation.

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The only kryptonite you’ll likely encounter are past hurts. But if you chant HU, the ancient Sanskrit name of God, you may experience a soothing balm. And a restoration of super you!

When Ani  – pronounced “ah-nigh” – the tone of empathy is combined with HU - pronounced "hugh" - magic truly happens. You may have to resist fidget fairies the first few times. But chanting Ani-HU will eventually steamroller away irritations.

Maybe you already have a favorite mantra. Great! Or perhaps closing your eyes – unless it’s sleep – is just not your thing.

Are you willing to breathe? I’m not joking. By altering how we’re taking in air, we can better control our emotions. Check out this short and charming YouTube.  

Simply touching your hand to your heart can also create miracles. Of course, a stroll to the center of a labyrinth can produce tranquility, too. It’s known in some circles as a “moving meditation.” (Note: Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens is closed until July 24.)


Here's another cool idea for finding or strengthening your inner superhero:

What Is Soul Awareness?, August 7, 2018 at 7:30 p.m.

Held at Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens
3500 West Adams Blvd. LA CA 90019.


Heaven on Earth May Be in Your Backyard

The Land of the Rising Sun, Japan, is a country of contradictions. Dichotomies of gracious smiles quiver on a balance with steel grit. Gleaming towers scratch the sky. Shadows may fall; still ancient temples maintain their dignity. 

In Nagoya, taxis buzz like bees collecting honey. Business people scurry from trains to buses. Yet, smack dab in the center of the city is Atsuta Shrine. Bow, step through the winged torii gates and Nagoya noise disappears. A serene hush embraces the sacred grounds.

Atsuta Shrine is a spiritual oasis in the city. It’s one in countless shrines across Japan which offers refuge from the world. Or should I say refocus visitors on their spirits? (Meiji Shrine in Tokyo is another example. The shrine resides right next to Harajuku train station – aka the gateway into the mecca for the fashionista.)

Many of the magical entry points into nature and spirit in Japan are surrounded by eateries. Entrance into Nagoya’s Atsuta Shrine is free.  However, a meal at the renowned eel restaurant, Atsuta Horaiken will cost you a pretty yen. (But well worth the visit according to satisfied Yelp subscribers.)

A trip to Japan – for most of us – demands saving dollars. Good news: While you are plunking pennies into your piggy bank, you can still enjoy a spiritual oasis in the City of Angels.
111 Places in Los Angeles That You Must Not Miss states that Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens is the perfect place to “Find Your Self.” Indeed, the tiered garden and the labyrinth offer opportunities to bask in the tranquility which is ever present. If you like Asian accented gardens, you’ll love the bamboo and Japanese koi goldfish pond.

On Wednesday, June 27, 2018, there is an added bonus. A Heaven on Earth Summer Concert & Luncheon will take place at Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens. Doors open at 12 noon. A summer feast will delight the eyes and stomach at 1 pm. Tours of the gorgeous gardens and historic home are available. Docents can offer tips for walking the Chartres Cathedral inspired labyrinth, too.

Delicious music will also dance through the halls of the mansion. Award-winning composer and keyboardist, Merrill Collins will play the piano. She’s a voting member of the Grammy Foundation whose works have been hailed as “Gifts of Service to the World.” Adding her heavenly talents to the concert is acclaimed violinist, Nicole Bush.  Nicole has played with prestigious orchestras such as the LA Philharmonic and is heard on Frank Sinatra and Barbara Streisand recordings.

Are you in LA on June 27th? Claim your Heaven on Earth with a visit to Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens. See the link below or click here.

http://www.peacelabyrinth.org/events/summerluncheon2018  

Wishing you heavenly experiences wherever Life may take you.

Exercising Conscious Direction

This article by PAL&G and MSIA Founder, John-Roger, was originally published in the Movement Newspaper, November 1982.


If you just want to get along with people, have success and gain wealth, you have to have a positive approach. No matter what your goal is, you will come closer to accomplishing it if your attitude is positive.
— John-Roger, DSS

The quest inside us is an eternal quest. We may speak different languages, go to different churches or worship different forms of God, but we all still want to experience joy and love inside ourselves because that’s the nature of the Soul.

It’s true that when people come together in a group, there is often an agreement which says, “We’ll function this way while we’re in this group because that’s the way it will work best for us.” But later you may go to another group or another job and assume another function or role there. Then you may go to yet another activity and assume still another role. But while you’re doing this, you should never lose track that inside of you there resides the eternal One—the One that always exists.

The problem is, however, that sometimes you will say, “If there is this eternal One within me, then why don’t I already know it?” My response is, “Why don’t you listen? Why don’t you hold still within yourself for just a second and open your awareness?”

And then you want to know, “How do I open my awareness?” One way is to close your mouth, eyes and ears so that you’re not distracted by all the distractions of the world. Once you can control the body, you can start moving into higher levels of awareness.

The physical body may be the first level to bring under conscious direction and control. You can hold out your hand and shake it and then you can stop it. And you might wonder who stops it. Does your body stop it? Maybe not. Maybe the body wants to keep shaking it. Does an emotion or a feeling stop it? Not necessarily, because you can feel like shaking the hand and still control the body and do the opposite action. So, obviously you’re more than your feelings. Perhaps it’s the mind that says, “Shake it,” or “Don’t shake it.” But your mind doesn’t really do the action. It can only have a thought about the action or potential action. All of these levels can function independently of one another.

You can be talking to someone while you’re looking at something in the opposite direction, and your hand can still be shaking. Different levels perform independently. The feelings can be independent of the mind. The body can be independent of the imagination. But when you stop all of those things, what is it that stops them? You stop them. That which is beyond all the other levels is you. Much of the time your expression is on the periphery of the real you because the mind and emotions kick up and the body gets upset, which pulls you into those lower levels.

What you must do is quiet the body, emotions and mind. You can do this through the processes of meditation, contemplation, spiritual exercises, chanting a mantra or personal tone. Often it is suggested that you take between 10 minutes and two hours a day for individual spiritual practices. The time varies with individual teachers, preferences, schedules, etc. Spending some time in meditation can be a tremendous key to self-awareness.

Another key to self-awareness is a positive mental attitude. If you want to learn to direct yourself consciously, bring yourself into a positive focus. You might say, “Well, how can anybody have a positive mental attitude in the mess I’ve created?” Nobody said it was going to be easy. Look at it this way: If you develop a positive mental attitude when there is no challenge, what have you really developed? If you develop a positive mental attitude in the face of a lot of negativity, you have developed great strength and integrity.

If a person says, “I’m going on a diet,” when he’s just finished eating a big meal, how long do you think his “diet” will last? There is no challenge in dieting when your stomach’s full. There’s no challenge to stop smoking after you’ve just had a cigarette. But how about the next moment coming up? How about the next time you’re hungry and you think, “Do I gorge myself or not?” If you are to gain in self-awareness, you must exercise a conscious direction and hold to it. At some point you must restrain yourself. It’s often easy to hold a positive direction for awhile, but do you have the ability to hold and hold and hold until the old negative patterns get tired and give in?

Too often you give in first—and that may be what you hate. Not having the strength inside that you’d like to have can bother you because you don’t feel worthy of all the goodness that can be in your life. Some people think that in order to feel worthy you must do worthy things. Spiritually you are worthy, just in your own beingness. But to experience the sense of worthiness, you must do worthy things. It’s difficult to feel worthy if you’ve been angry and resentful, screamed at everyone around you about how wrong they are, and generally behaved like a madman.

You are here to go through life and experience it, not to experience everything or fall in temptations of negativity, but to consciously make choices in your life that serve to uplift you. You unfold according to your divine right. When you meet the demands of life as they are placed upon you, and overcome them, then you are exalted because you have been tried and found worthy. Then your inner strength lifts you up. You stand higher, the body feels better, the emotions feel good, and the mind clears.

You meet the demands of life as they are created—this is your responsibility. If you create a dishonest situation, you meet it and clear it in whatever way comes forward. If you’re going to worry about what’s going to take place tomorrow and if you’ll get caught, don’t do anything that will lead to being caught. If you think, “Should I do this? What if this is bad? Which way do I go?” all you’re doing is swinging back and forth in your consciousness. Some people think that it is Spirit coming in and moving them. But it may actually be indecision moving you. Move toward what you are worrying about and see what it is.

If the action does not seem clear for you to do—don’t do it. If you are going to worry and be concerned about the outcome, don’t go into that area. Be smart in your approach to life. If you think of embezzling some company funds, but you’re losing sleep over what happens if you get caught, don’t embezzle. If you’re flirting with your neighbor and worried what your wife will do if she finds out, don’t be the flirt. Move if you have to, but don’t go into that area.

If you’re willing to put forward effort to increase your awareness, Spirit will move with you. You don’t get healthy, wealthy and wise with a negative attitude. Even if you’re just looking to be happy, you won’t get there with a negative attitude. If you just want to get along with people, have success and gain wealth, you have to have a positive approach. No matter what your goal is, you will come closer to accomplishing it if your attitude is positive.

Why not make your goal God consciousness? Why not learn about the inner realms before you die so you can know where you’re going? If you don’t move in that direction, you won’t get it. And if you do move in that direction, you’ll be moving that way all the time, every moment of your waking consciousness. And as you start moving into it, you’ll start making wise choices. As you make wise choices, your environment will settle down, and you’ll begin getting free of it. Then you’ll start to say, “Life is good.” It’s really been the same life all along. It’s just your attitude that is now creating peace and harmony.

Find your freedom by seeing what is going on right now and how to make life work for you, rather than seeing what is going against you. How can you make your life work better for you? You may not have a solution right now, because you might be in a level of experiencing a situation. You may still have to internalize it more and allow it to shake things loose inside of you, until you finally say, “I don’t need this anymore. I’m free of it.” Then the “negative” experience becomes positive as you use it as a stepping stone. Life is a challenge. You knew it before you came here. It is a challenge of fulfillment and a challenge of awareness.

More and more we are moving into a new area. Some people call it the Age of Aquarius or the Golden Age. It’s actually the age of greater loving. We’re living in the time of Biblical prophecy. It is said that in the latter days God will…”pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.” (Joel 2:28)

Force isn’t going to make the changes you want to make. If you try to force someone, they’ll use force back on you. If you try to be the authority with them they will show you that they are as authoritative as you. The thing that will create the changes you’re after is when God’s energy of love flows through you and activates your love. You combine that with other people’s love, and it starts overflowing. It becomes an “epidemic” of loving. People are no longer afraid to love and they’re not afraid to say, “I love you.”

Life is to be lived. It is meant to be shared. It is not to be abused or inflicted upon anyone. It is meant to be joyful, not evil or sinful. Life is being present and just breathing in and out. The knowledge of how to solve problems, how to grow and change is within you. But you are the one who must come into the awareness of yourself to such a degree that you can activate that knowledge and use it for your own and others’ upliftment.

Baruch Bashan.

Keys to Creating Heaven on Earth

As I'm flying over the Pacific Ocean, I’m transported listening to the “Keys to Creating Heaven on Earth Seminar” with John Morton, MSIA’s Spiritual Director, that was Live Streamed from Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens (PAL&G). It was an invite to dive into God’s infinite ocean of love and mercy.

Even as rioters surface on the Gaza Strip (as is happening in the news right now), “Heaven on earth is a decision,” says John. “If I find any peace in the Middle East, then there is peace in the Middle East.”

One candle can spark a holy blaze, which warms cold hands and fills hungry hearts with comfort. All right. Maybe such idealism belongs to the Lovers, the Dreamers and Me (and Kermit the Frog!). However, given the alternative, I’ll say, “Yes, please” to John’s keys to creating heaven on earth.

Please Note: The following keys are this writer’s interpretation of information presented at the seminar.

1.  Get Creative!
   “We can create it [Heaven on Earth.]”
   ~John Morton

John’s seminars have always had creative contributions. Last night was no exception. PAL&G’s staff, George Scott (in his late 80s) and LeAnna Sharp (a beautiful millennial) performed like Fred and Ginger dancing "Cheek to Cheek." Their song and swing dance sparkled with Spirit. I jumped to my feet to join in a standing ovation for the duo who brought so much joy.

Amazing how a dash of imagination and a dance or two can elevate life to another level. Next time the doldrums hit, maybe I’ll turn up the music and foxtrot around the room.

2. Change the Channel
“Guess what? This is Heaven on Earth.”
~John Morton

How we relate to ourselves, each other, and our experiences informs our realities. A subtle switch of focus softens the rough edges. I’m not an advocate of sweeping emotions under the carpet and painting on a Pollyanna smile. But I believe in asking, WWTNTTHTYT? That’s how my great Uncle George would sign his letters. (Yes, dear millennial, once upon a time when dinosaurs roamed the earth, handwritten letters existed.) What is WWTNTTHTYT? What was the nicest thing that happened to you today?

3. Twinkle, Twinkle Divine Star
“Let us consider the Kingdom of Heaven is already here.”
~John Morton

Maybe heaven is always here. As hard as it is to swallow, I’m the one responsible for not seeing it that way. I agree with John that, “God is love; and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him.” (1 John 4:16 KJV)

What happens though when rage and reactions to unjust accusations or attacks arise? “Call ourselves forward into the Light,” says John. 

Part of claiming heaven on earth (as I understand it) is allowing the divine to dance with us. To ask for the Light is to remember that we are one of the Creator’s precious kids. (Even when our oh so delicate ego begs to differ.) Enter the most excellent of tools – spiritual exercises (a form of active meditation).

4. Surrender, Dorothy
“We lay down whatever stands in the way of serving God.”
~John Morton

The big “F”…Forgive! The payoff is more freedom to have fun. Of course, there’s a caveat: Surrender pissed-offness and release resentments. My great Uncle George’s second favorite phrase was, “There ain’t no free lunch.”

“Patience is a virtue that will never hurt you” was his first favorite saying. So, when forgiveness seems impossible it’s time to double down on TLC from you to you.

When the hurt feels too deep: Besides therapy and crying to my husband, I hit my knees and free-form write like crazy. (Free-form writing is a technique to release negativity and unconscious blocks.) Then I repeat the process. Through gritted teeth I’ve also prayed for the allegedly antagonist one(s). Warning: Be ready for miracles!

5. Have Fun with Dick and Jane
“Come into the expression of loving regardless--it’s not the lamb ready for slaughter. It’s more, what would love do?”
~John Morton

The brilliant Master of Ceremonies of the “Keys to Creating Heaven on Earth Seminar” was David Bransky. He referenced one of the greatest mystery series of all time, Fun with Dick and Jane. (At the American School in Japan I attended, every first-grader read the books.) David spoke of the wonder on his child’s face as he poured over the big question, “Where is Spot?”

Spot was the dog. Dog is God spelled backwards. (Stay with me.) In the midst of growing pains, even saints like Mother Theresa have been known to cry out and wonder where the Loving Creator is hiding. Maybe we just need to keep turning the page. Along the way perhaps we’ll get glimpses into the Divine design. As we close the book, we very well may realize that God has placed the keys to creating heaven on earth in each and every one of us.


Plug Into an Oasis for the Soul

Let’s be real. We’ve all got addictions.  Don’t drink, swear, smoke or touch that white substance called sugar? Congratulations. How long can you go without checking your smart phone? Or binge watching your favorite Netflix show? Most of us need some form of comfort. On planet earth a lot of curve balls and challenges are thrown our way. (If this is not your experience, please send the address of your cave pronto!) 
How cool would it be though to upgrade our addictions to God?  (Higher power, Spirit, you know what I mean.) In the City of Angels, there is a place to plug into the oasis of your Soul. It’s called Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens (PAL&G.)  In the gardens, celestial melodies courtesy of the birds lift the gaze heavenward. Multiple water features sing soothing lullabies.  There’s the ancient labyrinth, too, which is sometimes referred to as a Moving Meditation into the Heart.
Evening events like An Introduction to Meditation: A Deeper Experience led by Dr. Paul Kaye are also a beautiful way to de-stress. Although Paul’s approach is lighthearted, his training is serious. From Lao Tzu to Rumi, from tai chi to yoga and countless other disciplines, Paul has thoroughly researched the subject of healing through meditation and sound. 
Due to numerous requests, PAL&G is now opening its doors, too, for a one day silent retreat entitled Unplug – Relax, Refresh, Recharge. Paul will lead the charge into stillness: “The purpose of the retreat is for you to completely relax, let go of worldly concerns and connect more deeply with who you are and with what breathes and sustains you.”
To ensure the clearest, truest connection, all participants are required to abide by PAL&G’s smoke-free, drug-free environment. If you’d like to attend, please e-mail paulkaye@msia.org with Silent Retreat in the subject line. To uphold the serenity fostered in the retreat, a maximum of 20 participants will be accepted. 

There Is Only Success

 
 John-Roger, DSS, PAL&G Founder

John-Roger, DSS, PAL&G Founder

Have you ever set a goal for yourself only to find yourself falling short of it? Maybe you have come very close but haven’t reached into the success of completion. Use the theater of the mind to envision your success—your accomplishment, completion and achievement. If you create this vision strongly enough it can happen for you. Even when a part of you seems to give up—consciously or otherwise—there is another part that can hold the vision. Then, perhaps when you least expect it, you will “suddenly” have accomplished your goal.

Once you have set a goal or direction for your self, you may experience a fear of failure, a fear of being unable to measure up and reach that goal. You’re in good company. I’m sure that everyone on the planet has experienced this fear. There are no real failures, however. The word failure is only your interpretation of a test you aren’t prepared to handle yet.

Perhaps the reason you aren’t prepared to handle it is that you haven’t imaged-in enough correct information. You haven’t gone over it enough in your mind, placed it in your emotions as confidence, or placed it in your body as a skill that you can produce when the test comes. These so-called failures aren’t recorded against you. You can simply say, “Yes, I failed that course. I guess I had better repeat it.” Or, “I guess I’m not cut out for that. I’ll start in another direction.”

The test does not record your failure; you record your failure. The test records your lack of preparation and reveals to you the work necessary for your success. Understanding this, you may see that your job is to go back, review the material you didn’t understand before and learn it this time. When you can approach life with the attitude that each step is a preparation for the next step, you’ll be in good territory.

How would you like it if, on the ladder to heaven, someone went ahead of you and built each rung perfectly so that you and each succeeding person could go up easily? That would be nice, wouldn’t it? How would you like it, however, if the person in front of you couldn’t even hammer a nail straight and left the rungs crooked and loose? Would you want to follow that person? You would probably prefer to follow the one who does things right, is careful and checks their work. And even when you follow such a person, you must be responsible for your own progression.

While it is wise to follow the best example you can find, it is also wise to check things out for yourself. At each step of the ladder, test to make sure that you are still firmly supported. Watch the step in front of you; make sure it’s solid. When it comes toward you, take it, and keep your eyes on it until it is below you. Then watch the next step as it comes. That way, you won’t be unsure of the step you’re on; you will already have prepared yourself by watchfulness, thoroughness and constant checking. You won’t stumble and fall over your work and the people below will be able to follow you safely.

When the time is right, you will awaken to the Light consciousness within you. One aspect of your awakening will be assuming responsibility for yourself and your actions. Suppose your neighbor recommends a car, you buy it and it turns out to be a car in need of repairs. Whose fault is it? Your neighbor’s? No way. It’s your fault. Why didn’t you check it out? Why didn’t you take it to your mechanic? Why didn’t you go through it more thoroughly?

The only true answer is simply that you didn’t. Don’t blame your neighbor. You don’t even have to blame yourself. Let the experience be your teacher. Learn from it; it’s been a valuable experience. When you get sick and tired of making dumb mistakes you’ll get a little smarter in your approach. I have often said, “When you get sick and tired of being tired and sick, you’ll change.” It’s rare that you’ll change prior to that point, however, unless you have someone who loves you enough to push you out of bed in the morning and get you on your way.

You were put here with something special inside you: the ability to contact Spirit within. With that spiritual energy you can contact universal mind and place success images into it through your own mind. When you have done this long enough, your positive images will weigh upon the universal mind and they will start to precipitate down into reality. To implement these positive images, universal mind chooses people whose minds are open-architects, engineers, scientists and similar individuals who have within them the creative urge to be open to what is new.

Baruch Bashan.
John-Roger, DSS


This article by John-Roger was first published in the Movement Newspaper, June 1987.