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The wind of change is blowing on Italy. Following the Pope’s step down, on February 24, 2013, the Italian political elections took place with astonishing results.

The M5S or “5 star movement,” guided by the standing comedian Beppe Grillo, has unexpectedly become the first political force in the Italian Parliament, with 25.55% of the votes.

It is extraordinary that one person, a comedian, who has for more than 20 years brought to the attention of his audience the most incredible facts that were affecting people in Italy as well as in the rest of the world, is now leading the most powerful political movement in Italy. Millions of people have started to support the 5 Star Movement, guided by common sense and the desire to change, independently of any ideology or political affiliation. Internet, with all its social networks, and the very effective use of streaming TV, have been the simple, democratic and revolutionary tools used by them.

These are citizens who, out of generosity, have chosen to use some of their time and resources to give their contribution to the rest of the people in their country. In the last 5 years or so, Beppe Grillo and his Movement have provided independent and transparent information, which is much needed, given the fact that all of the media, including newspapers and TVs, are owned and manipulated by a few individuals and interest groups.

By creating a spontaneous movement for change, Grillo has inspired people to participate in the reconstruction of the country, by taking responsibility and giving a new sense of democracy and citizenship based on transparency and communication. At the moment, Beppe Grillo and the M5S are the most followed streaming TV on YouTube. They, like Obama in the U.S., are requesting that internet be made freely available to every citizen in Italy, as this is the main instrument of knowledge and information, and free right to information should be a birthright for everybody, like the right to have a house and a job, and a minimum income if temporarily out of job.

Unfortunately, all of these fundamental rights are not guaranteed for the majority of people in Italy. The Italian social and economic situation is very dramatic. Many families are struggling to get to the end of the month and small businesses are closing down every minute mostly because of heavy taxation, which has reached 70%. But rather than complaining and just playing the victim, M5S have taken action to start changing this situation, with small but significant steps.

For example, M5S representatives who have been elected in the regional parliament of Sicily have voluntarily cut their own salaries by 70%, creating a fund to sustain the small and medium-sized local businesses. The candidates who have been elected to the National Parliament less than 2 weeks ago will do the same, and there are 163 of them!

One of the main points of the M5S electoral program is to guarantee a minimum salary for everyone. People should not be left alone in this difficult moment, and because there is no money left in the government funds, the M5S is proposing to cut the pensions of those people who get up to 90 thousand euros a month. A little sacrifice is asked of those who have more. By fixing a ceiling of 4000 euros a month for pensions in the next 5 years, the remaining money can be given to those who need it most.

By reducing and cutting the costs of the Italian huge and useless bureaucracy, much needed funds can be made available to those who really need it. Rather than cutting education and health funds, a rationalisation of the current expenditure would create, according to the M5S, enough funds to alleviate the dismal poverty of those who have less. These are just few examples of the many proposals M5S is making to tackle the Italian economic crisis.

According to Beppe Grillo, if everyone will do his/her part in the next 5 years, change will occur faster and with the least effort. He is inviting the population to take responsibility and participate in any possible way, a bit like Obama did in his presidential speech in January 2009. One of the slogans of the M5S is: we are the State and everyone counts as One.

Everyone would agree that this is the true meaning of Politics and the State. Politics does not have to be complicated, in fact, it is very simple, only if there is the willingness to address and resolve the real problems of the majority of the population. It is another thing when the politicians are trying to defend the interests of a minority of the population: that’s when they start to write laws and rules that are impossible to follow, to create a jargon that is impossible to understand, and a cast that is difficult to remove. But this is no longer acceptable: humanity has grown up, change is already happening, and we are loving it!!

marielle guillermo2(Mariella holds a PhD in Agricultural Economics from the University of Modena Italy. She also is a Reiki Master and founded a Meditation Centre in her hometown in Matera, Italy. She is currently living in Brighton with her two children and her partner Guillermo. Guillermo has worked successfully in the IT & Electronics field covering from developing to marketing roles in Argentina Italy and Switzerland. He graduated from the Silva Life Method in 1994 and has been interested in healing and spirituality since then. He currently works in Brighton as a carer for people with learning disabilities.)

(If you would like to contribute an article you have authored to the Guest Column, please submit it to our Managing Editor, Lisa McCormack, for possible publication in this space. Not all submissions can be published, due to the number of submissions and sometimes because of other content considerations, but all are encouraged. Send submissions to Please label the topic: “Guest Column.”)

Your season

“To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind
than to be hopelessly in love with spring” ~ George Santayana

At this time of the year in the Northern Hemisphere it is wonderful to see buds tentatively expose themselves to the elements, taking their first step in the journey to full bloom. It is also lovely for us, not only because it announces the arrival of spring, but because it reminds us what this time of year—spring in the Northern Hemisphere, autumn in the Southern Hemisphere—can mean to everyone.

We often hear about the “seasons of life,” like middle-age that is referred to as “autumn,” implying that spring is a distant memory, summer is long gone, and winter is just around the corner. Indeed, when applied to the human life cycle, the analogy of the seasons appears to imply a sense of inevitability and powerlessness over the age and eventual decay of our bodies, like the tiny buds that in their flowered state will fall into the Earth and then become part of it.

However, it appears that although our lives do follow a cycle, beginning with birth and ending with death, it would be untrue to assume that what happens in between is completely at the behest of nature. After all, we are God beings who co-create our reality moment to moment, so assuming that each stage of our lives blindly follows nature’s intrinsic rules is not only misleading but reduces our consciousness to nothing more than little buds.

I would argue that although we experience the seasons in our lives, we do so not as a linear sequence of events but rather as a mishmash of happenings derived from conscious choice. In which case the experiences associated with spring can occur at any age, like my neighbor who, at 62, learned how to drive following the death of her husband, or my own mother, who holds thrice-weekly dance classes at 75 years old.

Then there is my nine-year-old cousin, who enrolled in piano lessons alongside his grandmother. And let us not forget the artists and composers who created masterpieces in their 80’s, or the middle-aged women who, after their children leave home, start a whole new life with as much gusto and energy as though they were heading off to university, which some also do.

So when we look at those who started a new career, journey or relationship in later life, we see that their enjoyment is no less than if they were 30 years younger. I believe that this is because we can feel passion at any age. Enjoyment, pleasure and the thrill of achievement is not confined to youth, but can be experienced to our last breath. For this reason, there really is no age, season, or particular time for anything. There is only the space that is held by our conscious imagination that, depending on its openness to change, can create and recreate all manner of experiences for us to enjoy, to love, and to remind us that we are all seasons in every moment.

Gemma Phelan Head SHot

(Gemma Phelan lives in Ireland where she works as an editor. She is also the author of “A Different Understanding,” a book which explores alternative ways of looking at the world.)


(If you would like to contribute an article you have authored to the Guest Column, please submit it to our Managing Editor, Lisa McCormack, for possible publication in this space. Not all submissions can be published, due to the number of submissions and sometimes because of other content considerations, but all are encouraged. Send submissions to Please label the topic: “Guest Column.”)

If God created the universe in six days, and on the seventh day he rested, can God also fix the universe in a week, or less? Rhetorical questions and doomsday predictions aside, the 7 billion people occupying earth are all sinners and saints in global sustainability. As much as we don’t like to admit it, humans are an imperfect species, particularly in our relationship with the natural world. However, it is understood that the fate of the natural world and of our own are one in the same. The fundamental element of the universe (as “we” know it) is “people” and our ability to work together, or at odds with each other, toward a purpose-driven life and global society.

Being able to think beyond ourselves requires patience, humility, a strong capacity for listening and learning, and an ability to separate ego from our true “self.” Sustainability, then, is very much tied to spirituality, and how we choose to embrace, or not, our journey of self-discovery, enlightenment, and living life with sense of purpose. Understanding that spirituality goes beyond the practice of religion, and that we all are part of a generation living within a context of time and fate which is requiring more accountability from each of us, is a perspective toward how people can begin to embrace sustainability from personal point of view.

I have been a sinner, and I remain far from being a saint. However, I feel an obligation to live a life with a strong sense of purpose, passion, and balance. In doing so, I hope that my life will show more good deeds than bad in its final ledger. My personal passion is to help others find their role, as citizens and consumers, in creating a more sustainable world. While I may be passionate about sustainability, I am not naïve. For example I don’t believe that “sustainability” can ever be fully reached, in part because there is not one singular definition to what it is, and because our the needs of our generation are always in flux, changing as we age and mature throughout life.

Further, there are as many definitions of “sustainability” as there are people, 7 billion and counting! And for each of us, sustainability means something different, and manifests itself in our daily lives in unique ways. For example, who says and controls what sustainability is, or isn’t? For some people the gift of living another day is “sustainability.” For others, sustainability is a desired utopian state yet to be achieved. Whether it is a state of mind, an oasis in the sand, or a physical realization of perfection, sustainability can seem to be a far away land from where society now resides. The “Arab Spring,” “Occupy Movement,” and “London Riots” represent recent reflections within society of our distance from each other, and sustainability.

But, amid all of the chaos the “24-7” news cycle would like us to absorb, we should not be discouraged from trying to get there. As much as it may seem ludicrous to have God “clean up our messes,” it should be equally as absurd for our generation to push social, economic, and environmental challenges onto our children and future generations. Kicking the proverbial “can down the road” will only perpetuate the sinners in each of us. And, to succeed as a societal “norm,” sustainability cannot be dictated, mandated, or regulated.

Our generation should be grateful for the world we occupy and in its current state, with all its distorted warts, bumps, and bruises. Gratefulness is a lost virtue, and one that challenges our capacity to flourish in life. In gratefulness toward the world, we need to rediscover what it means to be selfless stewards of the earth, and friends to each other. At its core, sustainability is about how humans interface with each other and the natural world, and in a manner that has us consider not only our needs today, but it also challenges us think beyond ourselves toward the needs of future generations. That requires selflessness, gratefulness, and mindfulness. The act of working toward “sustainability” will require that each of us choose to be personally accountable to our individual lifestyles, and that we collaborate as conscious citizens and consumers, on achieving more of those “good deeds.”

In the past year there has been a great deal of focus in the U.S. and in Europe on the financial crisis, and the “fiscal cliff.” There is no doubt that the state of the global economy is in turmoil and our financial futures very uncertain. The financial markets have seen sinners and saints in the past decade. Sinners have laundered billions, ruined lives of many, and negatively impacted global economies. Saints have begun to redefine the object of money and wealth, and are creatively working on business models that can be a win-win for people’s pocketbooks and for the planet. But finance is but one aspect of the challenges before the world’s sinners and saints. If a fiscal crisis does not crush this generation’s sense of entitlement, a sustainability crisis will. For far too long, the consumption-driven model of developed nations has lived with a sense of entitlement over natural resources and the natural world. Given this one must ask, in doing so, we have created too much distance between what God created 4.6 billion years ago and what we consume during our “24-7” hectic lifestyles to fully appreciate the true value of life?

Our notion of success and what it means to be responsible stewards of the planet might not truly align with the “developed world” that has been created. We are no longer dreamers, doers, or creators. We are consumers first, and “fixers” of the holes we created from our consumptive lifestyle second. In this self-defeating model of evolution the holes we dig are only get wider and deeper, and our ability to “patch and fix” our troubles less plausible. This gets back to the fundamental element which driver our capacity to be sustainable: people. The common denominator to a more or less sustainable world is “you, me, and we.” We must relearn what it means to be grateful for a world of bounty and beauty. We must also recognize that there is richness to life, beyond what we consume, that can bring meaning and pleasure to us as individuals, and as an entire generation.

As individuals, we are the stewards of our own lifestyles. We have the power to make decisions that impact our health, spirituality, and sense of self. The equation for a more sustainable world is complex, and there is a certain amount of sinners and saints in each of us. The challenges impacting our generation mount as competition for the world’s energy, water, food, and other natural resources intensifies. Global competition is causing disruption and challenge in our economy, environment, and throughout society. As much as we should be grateful for the bounty and beauty of the world, we should equally be grateful for the life and wisdom of each other.

As individuals, and as a generation, we do not have to fall victim to negative behaviors and influences within society, or events which impact the world. “You, me, and we” are the “Sustainability Generation” living in the here and now, and that can take action toward a more civil, balanced, and accountable world. By discovering who we are as individuals, and being accountable in roles as parents, citizens, friends, neighbors, teachers, and leaders we can lead a purpose-driven, productive, and sustainable life. And, by better understanding our sense of self, and our views on spirituality, we can collectively become better stewards of our individual behaviors, our interactions with each other, and our generational impact on the earth. Let’s begin by being grateful that as individuals, and as an entire generation, we are lucky enough to continue to have the ability to have choices for our future. We should also recognize that we can deliberately choose the path of a sinner, or that of a saint, in our gift of life.


(Mark Coleman is the author of the book “The Sustainability Generation: The Politics of Change and Why Personal Accountability is Essential NOW!”  Visit his website here:  Throughout his career Mark Coleman has developed a strong focus on the critical areas of energy, environment, and sustainability. His career has spanned strategic and leadership positions in government, applied research, technology development, and management consulting organizations.  This rich and diverse experience has enabled Mr. Coleman to have access to, engage, and work with a broad range of regional, national, and international leaders on the subject of sustainability. Mr. Coleman resides in Auburn, NY with his wife Aileen and two sons Owen and Neal.)

(If you would like to contribute an article you have authored to the Guest Column, please submit it to our Managing Editor, Lisa McCormack, for possible publication in this space. Not all submissions can be published, due to the number of submissions and sometimes because of other content considerations, but all are encouraged. Send submissions to Please label the topic: “Guest Column.”)

Teacher:  I am looking for an exceptional student.

Prospective Student:  What are the requirements for the position?

Teacher:  Failures!  The student needs to have come through many failures.

Prospective Student:  You’ve found the right person!

People are not necessarily forthcoming when it comes to discussing their failures, but there is so much to be learned if we properly analyze them.  Some of the most important lessons you will ever learn will come from the analysis of the failures you have had and the application of the lessons you have learned from them.

Everyone will have an opportunity to fail at some point in life.  It is unpleasant, and for good reason.  Failures are the one of the Uni-verse’s main methods of education.  When we fail, it is our time to re-assess our actions, our information and our desires.  We are being asked to learn something.  Every failure gives us an opportunity to learn humility, which is one of the greatest and perhaps most overlooked assets.  In today’s world, who wants to be humble?  It’s like a 4-letter word.  And yet, humility simply means the ability to see clearly what we are and what we are not, where we begin and where we end.  It is a great thing to work on.

The ego dislikes failing.  The very idea of being humble makes the ego cringe.  Notice your ego when it flares up, thank it for sharing, and re-commit yourself to learning what you need to learn so you do not have to revisit the same failure more than once.

How can we best learn from our failures?  Let’s look at the “3 Ds” – Desire, Direction and Discipline.  These are what I call “the three necessities.”  These are the required ingredients for success in any venture.

The first ingredient we must have to succeed is desire.  Desire fuels our day-to-day journey and makes our work enjoyable even through the challenges.  If we lack the desire to do something, if it is not in alignment with our ultimate goals, we will most certainly fail.  Even if we get the thing we are working towards, it will be a vacuous attainment at best.  We will have been pursuing something for the wrong reasons.

I have an amazing friend who pursued a financial career, and had great “success” with it until he was so miserable inside that he woke up to the reality that what he had pursued was out of alignment with his heart.  Due to his ability to analyze and correct his alignment, my friend was able to take this failure and turn it into many future successes.

Now, if we have the desire, we will then need direction.  How do we get it done?  What do we need to know?  Who can help us?

Perhaps you have set out down a path toward a goal that you did not know how to reach. You make mistakes. Occasionally you get lucky.  You get knocked down and you get back up.  With persistence, you may eventually reach your goal, but it is always best to seek direction from people who have been where you are trying to go.  These are teachers, guides, mentors.  They light the way.

With desire and proper direction, you are well on your way to success.  Yet, without the ability to apply desire and direction in a strategic way, you may find your goals remain just out of reach.  This brings us to the third necessity, another four-letter word in our society known as discipline.

Ironically, discipline is the precursor to joy.  When you sit down to learn the piano, you start by learning scales.  It can be tedious, boring and frustrating.  You apply discipline, you keep showing up, and you develop skill.  Eventually, you sit down at the piano and your teacher says, “Now, just play.”  You experience a profound joy and liberation in playing piano, but it required discipline first.

Coming off a failure, we can feel a sense of desperation to jump right back in and make something work.  We must be careful not to rush into the next thing until we have completed a period of assessment, adjustment, and sometimes grief-work if necessary.  In time, we will become naturally ready to receive the teaching that Universe has for us. With patience, we will be able to do the necessary work so that our failures will become catalysts for many future successes.  Put another way, when you lose, don’t lose the lesson!

I wish this for you.

Love, Peace and Light.

Tommy Rosen

Tommy Rosen

Tommy Rosen

(Tommy Rosen is a yoga teacher and addiction recovery expert who has spent the last two decades immersed in recovery, yoga and wellness. Tommy is certified in both Hatha and Kundalini Yoga and Meditation. He is one of the pioneers in the burgeoning field of Yoga and Recovery, which utilizes yoga and meditation to help people overcome addictions and build fulfilling lives. 

Tommy is the Co-Producer and Host of The Recovery 2.0: Beyond Addiction Online Conference, which features 35 talks with globally recognized experts offering diverse perspectives on addiction and is attended by tens of thousands of people from over 70 countries:  Tommy is also co-founder and producer of Tadasana: The International Festival of Yoga & Music, an annual multi-day festival in Southern California.  

 As a respected expert, Rosen teaches and speaks regularly at yoga conferences and festivals, including Wanderlust, Hanuman, Tadasana and many others. He also teaches annually at Esalen, Omega and Kripalu and runs yoga/recovery workshops and retreats internationally.  Tommy’s blogs and articles have appeared in The Daily Love, LA Yoga, Huffington Post, Elephant Journal, and to name but a few. He is also a featured GAIAM TV yoga teacher.

 Tommy’s first book, “Recovery 2.0:  Beyond Addiction,” will be out from Hay House in the Spring of 2014. The Recovery 2.0 DVD series is launching in the spring of 2013.  Tommy and his wife, noted yoga instructor Kia Miller, live in Venice, California where they teach yoga, and grow organic vegetables in their backyard.)

(If you would like to contribute an article you have authored to the Guest Column, please submit it to our Managing Editor, Lisa McCormack, for possible publication in this space. Not all submissions can be published, due to the number of submissions and sometimes because of other content considerations, but all are encouraged. Send submissions to Please label the topic: “Guest Column.”)

Be happy…NOW

What will happen if you decide to be happy…NOW? According to what God tells us through the author, Neale Donald Walsh, in his book Communion with God, it is the decision to be happy that creates the experience of being happy. What does that really mean? From my own life experience, I understand exactly what this means.

We create our life with awareness, or without. When we decide to be happy and really commit ourselves consciously to being happy, we will create the experience of being happy. This sounds too simple to be true but not so easy to execute when the circumstances surrounding you feel like hell. This is where consciousness comes in to play. Our thoughts create our feelings, and our feelings create our experience.

Many family members, close friends, and I are facing huge challenges such as serious illness, death of a loved one, unemployment, horrible work conditions, financial ruin, and divorce. So how is happiness possible under these circumstances?  The answer is happiness develops when the decision to be happy is made in our consciousness. What we look for in life affects what we see. I understand, firsthand, how difficult this appears. Impossible you might think. But I also understand, from my own experience, just how making the decision to be happy really works.

Only you control your thoughts. During difficult times, greater effort must be put on feeding your mind positive thoughts. Focus on something that is good in your life, no matter how small, because what we focus on expands. Keep something in front of you to trigger a happy thought when you need one. Allow yourself to imagine something great that may happen, or how you will feel when this episode is past. Force yourself to think of things that make you feel good. Your feelings are in your control when you make conscious decisions. When you feel good, you are creating a better world.

I am not suggesting you ignore the issue at hand to be happy. If you are sick, you need to take measures to get well, but at the same time find a positive focus. Read or watch funny and uplifting stories. Be grateful for something good in your life and focus on the positive. If you are living or working in a bad situation, place a trigger in front of you:  a photo of a happy memory, a positive statement, or anything that will trigger a happy thought. Send love to whatever or whoever is causing a problem. Think thoughts that make you feel good. Imagine how you will feel when this experience passes.

Our inner world creates our outer world. The inner world is the cause and the outer world is the effect. Find a way to be at peace with whatever is happening around you. Happiness is not always laughter and bliss, but happiness does survive with acceptance and peace. In difficult times, to live in the moment consciously is our best defense but is often traded for worry over what the future may hold. Worry is a misuse of your imagination. Peace, happiness, and joy only live in the present moment. This I know for sure.

NOW, I urge you to give some thought to your own happiness. In my opinion, happiness is underrated. When happiness is the priority — that is, FEELING GOOD — everything in your life gets better to some degree, no matter what the circumstance. When you feel good. you will attract more things that match that feeling. My wish is health, wealth, and abundance for all; and my hope is that everyone may discover the miracles that happen when you are grateful for what you have at this moment and decide to be happy…NOW.

(Terri Lynn is an expert at choosing happiness and using the Divine navigation system which she shares in her first book Journey to my Soul.  Currently, Terri is Sales Manager at Otto’s BMW in West Chester, Pa. where she motivates and coaches the sales team. Her intention is to share with others the importance of putting happiness first. She shares her thoughts on her website – Terri Lynn’s Happy Talk.  Terri resides in Newtown Square, Pa.)

 (If you would like to contribute an article you have authored to the Guest Column, please submit it to our Managing Editor, Lisa McCormack, for possible publication in this space. Not all submissions can be published, due to the number of submissions and sometimes because of other content considerations, but all are encouraged. Send submissions to Please label the topic: “Guest Column.”)

What would it take to create a free-sharing, sustainable, open source planet without copyrights and limits of use? Arguably, there has never been a time in history when the awareness of so many people has been directed to the possibility of a planet beyond competition, capitalism, and even money itself. For those who believe in the potential and value of this concept of sharing and collaborating on every aspect of our coexistence, the internet has provided the path to successful coordination and mobilization of our groups and ideas.

“If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.” ~ George Bernard Shaw


As One Community, we think global transformation is possible when even 1-2% of the population is collaborating, open sourcing, and free-sharing for The Highest Good of All. The amount of information, resources, and tools this would make available is hard to even imagine. For example, when you look at the impacts open source collaboratives (like the Khan Academy and Wikipedia) are already creating, the possibility of multiplying resources like this 100 or 1000 times is staggering.

Open sourcing and free-sharing, however, is difficult for most people to do if they are struggling to meet basic needs. For this reason, we feel the ultimate collaboration and open source model currently needed is one that sufficiently supports people to remove the financial foundations of scarcity while simultaneously operating as teacher/demonstration models.

We are calling these open source villages, and the first will be called One Community. The purpose is to design, build, and open source free-share what is needed for duplication of food self-sufficiency, off-grid energy, sustainable housing, and a superior living experience. All components will be able to be duplicated modularly or as a complete self-sustainable teacher/demonstration community, village, or city model. Teacher/demonstration villages modeled after this initial open source village will operate to further evolve, open source, and free share the model with others.


For a model like this, which is designed for and capable of creating global transformation, these are the open source and free-sharing aspects that we feel are foundational:

> Superior living experience
> Globally accessible and duplicable
> Sustainable and reduces cost of living
> Business model for financial freedom
> Affordable with clearly defined cost to establish
> Diverse open source options to meet diverse needs

As we see it, putting these foundations together and open source free-sharing the process is demonstrating not just a model solution, but a solution creating model capable of duplicating itself for exponential growth. This is what the One Community Non-profit Organization is doing while building a global collaborative of people who want to see a model like ours open source and free-shared.

(Jae Sabol – Executive Director, The One Community Non-profit Organization.  Visit or just Google “One Community” for complete details on infrastructure, non-profit model, business model, open source model, how you can get involved, and more.)

(If you would like to contribute an article you have authored to the Guest Column, please submit it to our Managing Editor, Lisa McCormack, for possible publication in this space. Not all submissions can be published, due to the number of submissions and sometimes because of other content considerations, but all are encouraged. Send submissions to Please label the topic: “Guest Column.”)

Oh, what a time we live in that we see psychological distress of “stars” of society plastered across the media platforms like fresh graffiti.

Manti Te’o and Lance Armstrong are just two of our latest media darling examples being in the bright hot spotlight. While the content regarding their plights and alleged conspicuous situations in some cases is most completely delivered in a very “entertainment driven” package, there are some great nuggets for us to explore if we step away and suspend judgment for a bit.

If we learn to examine these situations more objectively with a great sense of self- curiosity, we have some opportunities for glances into our Authentic Selves. By observing how things can appear to be going so well on the outside (as it appeared for our latest celebrities- Lance and Manti) – until challenged or threatened, we have the opportunity to see that this foundation is likened much more to the straw rather than the brick house in terms of foundation. This is a real classroom opportunity for most of us!

As Carl Jung pointed out, the Ego represents the conscious side of our overall psyche. The Persona indicates the outer layers we all experience representing those roles we take on – father, wife, business person, student, wise person, athlete, etc… You get the idea. These roles that we use to describe ourselves when asked are often of this more “outer layered” nature. In our quiet moments, sometimes we realize we are so much more than these aspects. But the temptation to stop here in our explorations into our self is tempting, and maybe even more when so much attention is given to this persona aspect, as is the case for celebrities.

But, for folks like Lance and even Manti, who have been recognized, celebrated, and even adored as and for those roles they have taken on, there are opportunities and temptations (albeit often unconscious) to believe in the validity of the “story” that this is really all they individually are. So when the world appears to crumble around these shaky foundational perspectives of self, a crisis appears.

Often, we are greatly surprised by how much emphasis on self identity has been wrapped around these outer coverings of who we truly are. Our “potential” gets lost in the attention and spotlight that has been seductive for so long.

The lesson for us to embrace and understand from Lance and Manti’s plight is that beneath these roles in which we think we know them is a whole and complex person, both conscious and unconscious. We truly know very little of who they authentically are.

Just as we are complex and way beyond who we think we are (especially much more than the things “we do”), so are all celebrities, athletes, and persons garnering great shares of media attention. We know very little about each of these individuals as we have limited access to who we truly are – most being unconscious and outside of our limited Ego awareness.

So take it easy on these celebrities. Instead, pay close attention to your own reactions to them. Your unconscious is most likely speaking to you more loudly than to them!

Use these and other stories like this for your own inner growth and knowledge and begin to increase your self awareness by suspending judgment on others like Lance and Manti and all others that will inevitably fall from our projected graces in the future.

Don’t just watch these stories for drive-by entertainment. Allow them and their plights to act as your teachers and lessons on way to a more Authentic you.

(Joseph Noecker, MA, LMHC is a Certified Life Coach and Licensed Psychotherapist who helps individuals and organizations reach goals, balance, and peak performance by designing and implementing individualized plans that reflect inner balance, emotional intelligence, peak performance and authenticity. Visit his website at or contact Joseph via e-mail at

(If you would like to contribute an article you have authored to the Guest Column, please submit it to our Managing Editor, Lisa McCormack, for possible publication in this space. Not all submissions can be published, due to the number of submissions and sometimes because of other content considerations, but all are encouraged. Send submissions to Please label the topic: “Guest Column.”)



I got married for the second time a little over a year ago. Just before our wedding, my wife and I decided to pack all our belongings in storage and take an extended four-month honeymoon to Southeast Asia. We wanted a real adventure together before we settled back into our day-to-day lives as a working couple. After losses in both our immediate families, we were in the mindset of following our mutual passion for travel to create a powerful and meaningful experience together – an adventure out into the world and a journey deeper into our own hearts.

After several weeks of lying comatose on a beach, catching up on sleep and decompressing from the crazy-pace of American life, what emerged for us fairly quickly was this question:

What do we really want for our lives NOW… individually and as a couple?

And a second question came quickly after that one:

What truly brings each of us alive; fills us with joy and passion?

These felt like variations of the classic philosophical question: “Why am I here? “

And then the deer-in-the-headlights follow-up question: “If I did find that out, now what the heck do I do about it?”

We asked these questions of ourselves and literally sat with them, and then chewed, journaled and brainstormed on them. What emerged for me in working closely with these questions was a way of looking at my life to better navigate it toward greater meaning, purpose and fulfillment.

After returning from the trip, I was able to see more clearly the steps I’d taken at times throughout my life, and on the trip, too, to help me best explore these big questions and gain clarity for what’s really important to me in my life.

What I got clear on were four key principles for navigating life toward more meaning and a sense of purpose:

  1. 1.       Take the time to REFLECT on your life as it’s happening.

What I notice in my busy daily life is that it’s tough to take the time to reflect on what’s actually happening in the moment… at a deeper level. If I stay in the‘doing-mode’ all the time, then I miss the more subtle messages or that softer inner voice, that trusted source, that has unvarnished truth for me. For me, being alone in nature, taking a walk in our neighborhood or meditating all provide me that reflection time I need to look more deeply at my life – to notice what is being called forth in me in each moment. Not easy to do consistently, but always important to come back to for experiencing this place of self-knowing and trust.

  1. 2.       Don’t let the HOW take you down

This one is so hard for our logical and hyper-planning minds. It nearly shouts at us: “Now HOW the heck are you going to do that?” It’s the phrase that kills so many amazing ideas, possibilities and creative endeavors. So the key is to talk back to your own doubting, ego-mind and say: “Thank you for sharing, I know you’re concerned about me, but I’m choosing not to worry about the HOW for now.” And then keep moving with the exciting possibilities, the brainstorming of what brings you alive, and what you really care about that you want to finally take on. The big ideas that bring your imagination to life.

  • 3.       Bring your COURAGE online

This one follows closely on the heels of Number 2 in that you will need to draw up your courage to move into action around those things that you realize are most important and exciting for you. It’s about being willing to take the risk in your life to live the way you want, bringing your gifts, talents and passions forward to make a difference.  When you consciously bring your courage forward to move through the fears and doubt, then you’ll have more energy, capacity and trust to go for what inspires and opens you.

  1. 4.       Keep moving toward what brings you ALIVE

Why are you here? For what purpose? You get to answer those questions any way you want. You get to choose and then claim it. It’s actually as simple as that. There is no right answer. And the primary markers that let you know you’re on track are your joy and your passion. If you’re miserable, numb, and lonely, then you are most definitely off track in your life.  And stepping up to make courageous choices to move toward that which brings you aliveis the pathway to knowing your Purpose. And to answering that age-old question: “Why aren’t you playing outside?  It’s a beautiful day.”

I have found that when I actively cultivate these principles, amazing and unexpected opportunities show up in my life. I become more aligned inside myself with how to best navigate through both the daily challenges and the daily miracles of life while feeling more on purpose in whatever I choose to do.

(Chris Kyle is the creator and co-host of the Power of Purpose Summit, a free 4-day global online event geared for men (women are welcome) with 14 authors and teachers, including Neale Donald Walsch, Dan Millman, and Jack Canfield, all sharing their ideas about how to access and activate your purpose. It’s sponsored by The ManKind Project®, a global non-profit organization committed to supporting men to grow, heal, and fully live their purpose in the world. To learn more, go to: Power of Purpose Summit)


Fear or Love, that is always the choice before us as we walk in duality. Yet those two polarities will determine very different choices, behaviors, and even outcomes.

Fear separates us from our eternal Source, locking us into miserable patterns of low self-esteem and victimization and, ultimately, it keeps us separate from each other. Love, on the other hand, unifies us into wholeness and brings us to trust in the magic and mystery of life again.

So many of our institutions are still rooted in fear, however, and so many of us are programmed to follow the voice of an external “authority” even when that advice may be detrimental to our physical, mental or emotional well-being.

Too often we blindly give our power away to medical “facts” or “statistics” that have no basis in reality.  We buy into the illusion of fear – fear of “loss” of some kind – and there is no greater fear than death.

A couple of weeks into 2013, a dramatic headline in the UK papers caught my eye: “Drug That Prevents Breast Cancer for 20 Years.”

It seems that Big Pharma now want thousands of healthy women to be given breast cancer drugs, such as tamoxifen or raloxifene, to cut their chances of contracting the disease, despite possible nasty side effects that include hot flushes, nausea, indigestion, weight gain leg cramps, depression, tiredness, headaches, blood clots, vision problems, voice changes and, even though rare, womb cancer!

These drugs have not been designed to be used as preventative medicine by the way. Yet they are being put forward, based on a change in policy.

We need to ask, how will they – the faceless, stern voice of “authority” –  determine which women to give it to? Who will be labelled as ‘high risk’? What about the side effects?

The wide ranging side effects of today’s medical drugs are tolerated by those who are ill, but now we are asking otherwise healthy women to tolerate unnecessary side effects just because they will be labelled as being ‘at risk’ by ‘those in charge.’

SPIRIT says we do not inherit disease, only the potential for disease.  The new science is now saying the same thing, but the old dogma refuses to die.

Aside from the fact that Big Pharma is, most likely, rubbing its greedy little hands together, this is a nonsensical approach driven by fear, reinforcing the victim mindset that says we are are the mercy of our genes, and which blatantly ignores the latest discoveries in science – epigenetics – which demonstrate that our environment is the key to determining our health, or lack of it.

Perhaps we should all cut off our limbs before they get gangrene?

Jaime Tanna

(Jaime Tanna is the founder of Energy Therapy and an active Reiki Master and Spiritual Mentor, Healer and Teacher. Together with his wife Jennifer, their unifying vision is to empower others through spiritual education and energy-based healing treatments, to help them become aware of their true natures, and to live more joyfully and consciously. You can visit their website at

It was a breath of fresh air to hear that the pope has chosen to step down, the first pope in 7 centuries to do so.  What he and his predecessor wrought to the Catholic Church as we know it is nothing short of devastation.  But as a Christian I see their 42 year reign as so destroying the church we know that now the Holy Spirit can give birth to a community far more attuned to the revolutionary Gospel of Jesus than the current and dying structures ever could be.  Those structures are as passe as the Berlin Wall.

Thinking of Benedict the man, I think this was a very wise decision indeed for before he “meets his Maker” he surely has a lot of soul work to accomplish.  Below is a short list of some of the issues history will hold him accountable for both as cardinal and as pope.  Were I his confessor, I would start work on them very soon.  (Since this is a list, I offer page numbers of my study on his life and papacy to see the back up evidence.)

1. His silence for years about the notorious pedophile priest Father Maciel who was so close to Pope John Paul II that he was invited on his plane often and was feted to a mass ordination of his seminarians by the pope in St Peter’s Square.  This man, who sexually abused dozens of his seminarians and had two wives on the side and sexually abused his own children (though a priest with vows of celibacy), was not fully investigated until 2005 even though a New York bishop wrote Ratzinger’s office in 1995.  (125-130)

2. His and the previous pope’s unwillingness to divorce themselves from the politics of Father Maciel who was a great admirers of the blood-soaked dictator Pinochet in Chile.

3. His attacks when head of the CDF (formerly “Office of the Holy Inquisition”) on theologians the world over who dared to do their job which is to think.  He denounced, fired, hounded, at least 105 theologians not only from his chair of CDF but also as pope (they are listed on page 238-241 of my book The Pope’s War ).

4. He and his predecessor brought back the Inquisition and in fact killed theology, reducing it to 1) a catechism and 2) Saying Yes to whatever the pope (or his curia) said.

5. His unrelenting attacks on base communities and Liberation Theology (thus fulfilling Ronald Reagan’s plans to “split the church” in Latin America) even though this movement, like the civil rights movement of the U.S., was the most Christ-like movement for democracy and justice and freedom in centuries.  One side light of these attacks has been a void of genuine Christianity in Latin America, a void being filled by Pentecostal (and right wing political) churches there. (pp. 41-62)

6. His (and the previous pope’s) complete pushing of neo-fascist sects as the new “religious order” and shock troops of the pope beginning with the secret “Opus Dei” which is embedded in places of great power including cardinals and bishops all over the world and also financial headquarters of EU, the US Supreme Court, the CIA (especially under George Bush the first), FBI, and the US mainstream media. (pp. 106-124)

7. His and the previous pope’s rushing the founder of Opus Dei, Fr. Escriva, a card-carrying fascist who actually praised Hitler, into canonization faster than any saint in history (and destroying the age-old process of canonization in the process by eliminating the “devil’s advocate’s” role which is to bring up the shadow side of the candidate). Books by former Opus Dei members include his personal secretary of 7 years were completely ignored and their testimony was never asked for.

8. The cover-up of pedophile clergy in the US, in Ireland and elsewhere.  The recent HBO film tells the facts about some of these horrors and how the buck stopped with Ratzinger.  All the cover up put an Institution ahead of the rights of young children.  (pp. 134-174)

9. His and the previous pope’s putting wind in the sails of extreme right wing groups from Maciel’s Legion of Christ to Communion and Liberation to Opus Dei and their support of zealots such as neo con and theo con George Weigel. (pp. 130-144)

10. The end of religious ecumenism.  Ratzinger as pope managed to insult Islam; Judaism; all Protestant churches (he says they are not churches); also as cardinal Thich Naht Hahn (whom the Vatican called “the anti-Christ”) and yoga—wrote Ratzinger—Christians should not do it because it “puts you too much in touch with your body.”

11. The dumbing down of the church not only by condemning thinkers but by appointing  Bishops and cardinals world-wide whose only qualification for the job is to be a loyal Yes man, thus the loading down of church decision makers for generations who don’t have a conscience, an intellect or a clue about the spiritual needs of people.

12. A complete reaffirmation of a “morality” of Sexism (no women priests ever; Catholic sisters in America are now subject to investigations like theologians have been); and of  Homophobia—Ratzinger composed not one but two documents as head of CDF that were mean-spirited and spiteful about gay persons and ignored scientific research even as pope that has created another Galileo moment in church history.  He stuck by his “no condoms even in an age of AIDS” position that is all about St Augustine’s silly sexual ethic and not anything Jesus ever taught.  Even birth control in a time of excessive human population on a crowded planet remains, in his rigid world view, the law of the church and any theologian (or bishop) who questions such matters is suspect.

13. The interference in the presidential election of 2004 wherein Ratzinger instructed American bishops to read his declaration that any “catholic politician” (i.e. Kerry) who did not denounce gays and abortion could not receive communion.  The result was three states had very unusual Republican votes from Catholics—if just one of them had had more normal Catholic vote, Kerry, not Bush, would have been president.

With such a trail of devastation as this, Father Ratzinger, ex-pope and ex-Inquisitor, is right to retire.  Hopefully, beginning in this time of Lent, he will do some soul searching and asking for forgiveness.  Unfortunately, because he and his predecessor appointed only Yes Men as cardinals, one should not expect any improvement in the next pope.  Instead we should recognize that history has passed the papacy by and that now is the time for the Holy Spirit to push the restart button on Christianity, both Catholic and Protestant versions, so as to strip down to the essence of Jesus’ teaching and the Cosmic Christ tradition.

Toward this end, Andrew Harvey and myself are starting up a series of “Christ Path” seminars available on line or in person (see  This restart of Christianity can be done without basilicas on our backs but mere backpacks.  Travel lightly.  Walk humbly.  Do justice.  And peace will follow.

(Matthew Fox is a former Catholic priest who is the author of Original Blessing and the creator of the “techno-mass” he developed at the University of Creation Spirituality. His newest book, The Pope’s War: How Ratzinger’s Crusade Imperiled the Church and How It Can Be Saved, details much of what he has summarized above. Fox is a member of the Advisory Board of the interfaith Network of Spiritual Progressives —

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