June, 2013

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision striking down the so-called Defense of Marriage Act is a cause for celebration around the world, as it strikes a tone that legally legitimizes love between all people regardless of gender, and sets a standard that other nations are now going to be hard-pressed to ignore.

The day will come when it will seem, in retrospect, amazing that it took so long for such a thing to happen in our world — yet this is not a time for criticizing the past, but for celebrating the present.

From this day forward, all Federal Government benefits available to opposite-gender married couple in the U.S. will now be offered to same-sex marrieds as well. President Barack Obama lost no time in ordering his country’s Dept. of Defense and other branches of his government to rewrite regulations to immediately reflect the court’s decision.

The Supreme Court’s additional action in striking down as “unconstitutional” a ballot initiative passed by California voters prohibiting same sex marriage also blazed across the dark sky of intolerance as a comet of hope to all those who believe that the expression of true love between any individuals, announced and demonstrated through the entering into a commitment of lifelong partnership, should never be prohibited, but encouraged in a global society ravaged by a sociology of increasing separation.

With the astonishing increase in the divorce rate among heterosexual couples over the past 20 years, the ironic joke among gays has been that all they want to do is to get into what straights want to get out of.

The High Court’s decision did nothing to change the fact that gay marriage is still illegal in 34 U.S. states, but it makes it very clear that the gender composition of a marriage should have nothing to do with the flow of important Federal benefits to spouses — and, as noted above, it sends a huge message to all states, and to people throughout the world who are watching and listening, that legal prohibitions against gay couples are simply not appropriate.

Conversations with God, of course, made it clear in its messages nearly 20 years ago that “there is no manner in which the expression of a love which is pure and true is inappropriate,” directly addressing the loud announcements that had been made by some religious leaders over the years that homosexual expressions of love are against the Will of God and will be punished by everlasting damnation.

(Such denunciations came from the same kinds of people who swore with equal vehemence not very many years earlier that inter-racial marriage also violated the Will of God…and that left-handedness was a sign of the Devil.)

The human community is at long last evolving out of its primitive notions of an intolerant, judgmental, condemning and violently punishing Deity. What is perhaps most notable about the U.S. Supreme Court’s two decisions regarding gays is that they came from a largely conservative panel of judges. This makes it difficult and more than a little inconvenient for hard-core conservative Republican politicians in America to find cover for their previously highly visible and loudly intolerant views regarding gay marriage and equal rights for gays.

For those who believe in, and still see, America as the “land of the free,” it seems that it is about time this major social adjustment was made. Love is, after all, the basis of all healing and the foundation of all caring societies. It seems remarkable that anyone could have ever argued against it. Especially those who claimed to be articulating the Will of God.

For all those who love Love, this is a happy day.


Right here at The Global Conversation and even across the globe, teens and adults are calling for a new world order. We’ve started to apply this in many aspects of our own personal lives, but what we have yet to do is to apply this in our cultural lives.

We want a New Cultural Story, and Muhammad Yunus  seems to have the right idea on where to start. In a June 5th, 2013 article of The Christian Science Monitor, the recipient of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize stated that the world is in need of ‘social fiction’ – that is, media that envisions better societies. If we create novels, television, movies, and the myriad amount of other mediums started telling of a better world (sounds like our New Cultural Story), then these ‘new patterns of thought’ and ‘new ways of living’ can reach the heart and soul of the people. Through time, as ‘science fiction’ seems to become more and more of a reality, it is also contested that such ‘social fiction’ (and so our New Cultural Story) can just as easily become our reality as well.

In an interlude of all the political and religious chaos of the past few weeks, I decided to post my shot at this ‘social fiction’. With some focus, awareness, and massive creative outpouring, what I ended up with was a piece of (hopefully) our New Cultural Story called “Spare Some Change, Mister?” in its unabridged form:            

The final rays of a forsaken October sun grazed the top of the distributed roofs along the full stretch of Ashland Avenue. In their fading light, the rays smoldered themselves into the small cardboard signs scribbled in untidy sharpie and into the glaring neon machined to an untold perfection a few blocks ahead. For there was lower Ashland Avenue, and there was upper Ashland Avenue, and there was not a middle.

But there was a subway. A subway needed by the furious progress in upper Ashland, but not by the fatigued stench of the lower Ashlanders, which, though only the blatant disregard of the city developers to demographics, had owned the stop for the vital hub of transportation. The desire for cars was strong, but the desire of the City and the monopoly of the City on travel restrictions, were even stronger. And so every day the upper Ashlanders came marching through, day after day of strutting, swaggering, and vaunting their haves over their lowly conterparts. In response, the lower Ashlanders could do only one thing; sit there, but stay still, look dumb, but hopeful, have your cup out, but keep your head down, and NEVER ask for more. NEVER ask for more. And so was the interaction of Upper and Lower Ashland, of the Alpha and the Omega, of fortitude and destitute.

And then came that forsaken sun, whose warmth could not reach lower Ashland Avenue even as it extended its remaining heat. The streetlights flickered, on and off, on and off, giving a man squatting below just enough light to steal a glance at the luxurious passerbyers strut home once again. Within the flickering light, another Upper Ashlander strutted past, but this man was exceptional. The finest furs, the sharpest suit, the crispest manner in his walk.  Perhaps his address was 320, 250, or even in 110, if he was that exceptional. But as that man, more than a man some might say, an empire, walked by the decrypted block of 6670. Without even raising a muscle in his eye, the squatting man began to speak.

       “Spare some change mister?”

“Begging for change again? Is that all you miscreants of lower Ashland do? Day after day all I see is your huddled masses, your wretched refuse, bugging us pitying Upper Ashlanders for our money, so that you may squander it on streetwalkers and meth. It’s pathetic, and I simply cannot stand another sight of it. If it were up to me, I would blot Lower Ashland right off the map, and rid ourselves of your miserable destitute. Lower Ashlanders have nothing, do nothing, and are nothing.”

The squatting man looked up. He stared directly into the face of this man, this penguin of a man, clumsily waddling, pecking, and trying to fly.

“Don’t mind me sayin’ this, mister, but that’s not who I’s am.”

“Oh Really? Then, pray tell, who is that self you speak so highly of? But wait, you don’t even have to answer that one, because it is just so painfully obvious. You’re just another one of them, lost in the system of bad birth, genes, and location, aren’t you? And so, every day, you use your pity to use people. Isn’t that so, blaming the world for your problems, and yet you know that you’re just stuck in the desperate cycle that every reprehensible Lower Ashlander lives.”

“It’s deeper than that, mister. Who I’s am is more than what yo’se a seein’. Lookie deeper, mister, and tell me what yer sperit is a sayin’. ‘Cuz I ain’t seen anyone so lost as you, mister.”

“By God, I see it now. You’re one of those curbside prophets, spewing out verse after verse for the desperate, because they have nothing else. ‘The meek shall inherit the earth’, that’s a nice little lie you give them, a nice little radical idea. It gives them hope, and it gives you a spare dime. I give you credit, sire, capitalizing on righteousness to do the ‘Good Father’s work’. You probably don’t even have to beg for change, do you?”

The squatting man sighed. A long, deep sigh. A sigh so full of exasperation that it resonated against the shards of the few remaining windows that dotted the lower avenue.

“I ain’t a preacher, mister. But they’s are my people. They’s a good people, if they’s a given a fightin’ chance. They’s a just needin’ some help, more help than just what I’s can give ‘em. If they’s were given some help, somethin’ good, then they’s would be proud and strong, just like you, mister.”

“Why, you leftist freak. I see the red in you now! That help you’re muttering about is a distribution, of my stuff to your stuff. That’s what you want, isn’t it? Because life should be fair. And just. And equal. But it’s not. There are the haves, there are the have nots, and that’s all there is to it.”

The squatting man closed his eyes from the artificial blaze of the haughty leer above him. He inhaled, and took in every ounce of light, love, and life from the streets knew so well. He opened his eyes.

“Mister, I ain’t talkin’ ‘bout stuff here. I’s a talkin’ ‘bout people. People who love, die, and love again. People who dream, create, and wish to be a lil’ happy in this world. Tell me, mister, are you happy? Not with ya’ stuff, not with ya’ titles, but with who you really are?

The squatting man watched him deflate, watched the helium of years upon years of galas and corporate excellence escape the man’s fragile frame and lose itself into the wind. A long pause followed.

“No. No. I have done everything, everything, for this position, to have the means to be happy. I bout the penthouse, the exclusiveness, the luxury, but I don’t feel anything. All I feel is lonely, and so the only time I do to feel something is when I devastate Lower Ashlanders, because it is just so plain mean. So…No. I’m not happy. I thought I was happy, but I’m not. I want to feel that love, that dream, that piece of myself lost so long ago, but I’m out here all alone. Separated from those feelings, I feel nothing.”

“This is what I’s see, mister. Ya’ think that you’re all alone in this here world, and ya’ try pretty hard to keep it that way. But we’s all apart of a community, a big ol’ family that’s all reachin’ to share some of those feelin’s. I ain’t so different than you, ‘cept them rags ya’ wear and them stones ya’ got weighin’ ya’ down. Ya try and deny this by callin’ me a beggar, a preacher, a commie, ‘cuz you’re afraid our differences ain’t so different afterall. When ya’ get down to it, we’s a both just people, just lookin’ for some love, some life, somethin’ that’s far more than just ourselves. So see me in ya eyes, feel my love in ya love. If we be’s it and do’s it together, we’s a lot less lonely.”

The streetlights finally had enough power to stay fully lit. From its light, the squatting man saw a face that had been stripped of its mask of arrogance; one that had finally remembered what it was like underneath the endless day of pompous isolation.

“I.…I don’t know what to say. That sounds so….good. And it feels so….good. Can I give you something? Here. 10,000 City bank notes. It should be enough for you, and four our community of Ashland Avenue, our children of Ashland Avenue.”

“Thanks mister, but you already given me ya’ change. I think our conversation was just what ya’ needed. If ya’ feelin’ the sperit move you, ya’ be somethin’ and ya’ do somethin’ about. Farewell, mister.”

The squatting man rose from the ashes and walked away. The man of industry, bewildered by every little moment and every little word, stood there for a while. Slowly, he turned around, and started to stumble forward to a new Ashland Avenue.

As these two characters, seemingly different in every way possible, were able to have some (albeit extended) open communication and conversation, they realize that they can understand and relate to each other on a level that far transcends their differences. Though this is just a mere piece of social fiction, its theme is one that is right in tune with the direction of The New Cultural Story we all wish to create. Because once it is spread, reality is not stranger, but better, than fiction.

(Lauren is a Feature Editor of The Global Conversation. She lives in Wood Dale, IL, and can be reached at Lauren@TheGlobalConversation.com)

I have two good friends who, on the night they got married a few years back, placed a large custom sticker on the back of the window of their car which boldly and playfully exclaimed “Love Explosion.”  I have always thought it to be so wonderfully fitting to describe their relationship as a “love explosion” and still find myself smiling, even today, many years later, at the mere mention of it.

At this moment, I can’t think of a more appropriate phrase than a “love explosion” to describe what has happened in our country today, June 26, 2013, as the Supreme Court of the United States of America overturned the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a federal law passed on September 21, 1996, which allowed states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed under the laws of other states, effectively barring same-sex married couples from receiving federal marriage benefits. The victory means the federal government must recognize the marriages of gay and lesbian couples married in the 12 states that allow same-sex marriage, plus the District of Columbia, and give them the same benefits that they had been previously denied under the DOMA.

This landmark decision is cause for celebration not only among those in the gay community, but for anyone who counts themselves among those who yearn for the day when all human beings on our planet will be able to freely express and experience love, absent judgment, absent restrictions, a day when everyone will be afforded equal opportunities in every aspect of their lives. And this historic ruling today by the United States Supreme Court is a very good indicator that we are indeed headed in that direction.  Perhaps not as swiftly or speedily as many of us would truly desire, but, yes, the shift is definitely happening.

Events like this in our human experience help us to understand more clearly just how vast and limitless and immeasurable Love is.  How silly for us human beings to think for one nanosecond that we could contain Love inside any kind of container, and somehow then attempt to keep it there by sternly guarding it with our narrow rules and stiff laws.  How naive of some people on this planet to believe that we could place boundaries on that which is boundless and eternal.  How peculiar that so many people thought they could define in human terms that which has demonstrated itself time and time again to exist outside the limited parameters of our language.


Love is all there is.

There is nothing but Love.

And try as we might to control, manipulate, restrict, quell, morph, or ignore the ways in which Love is choosing to be expressed in our lives, Love will pour forth, Love will radiate from the heartbeat of the universe, and Love will explode from the purest place of peace and joy.  It will not differentiate between a man and a woman or a man and a man or a woman and a woman.  It will not subdue or enhance its presence based on differing skin colors or countries of origin or religious preferences.  It simply cannot.  We can imagine that it can.  We can believe that it can.  And if we do not stop the insanity of thinking we get to choose who is allowed or who is denied Love, then our experience of Love will be one that reflects those narrow choices.

Thankfully, on this day, these revolutionary words were authored by United States Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, reflecting the New Tomorrow that we here at “The Global Conversation” are honored and overjoyed to stand witness to and share:

“DOMA undermines both the public and private significance of state-sanctioned same-sex marriages; for it tells those couples, and all the world, that their otherwise valid marriages are unworthy of federal recognition. This places same-sex couples in an unstable position of being in a second-tier marriage. The differentiation demeans the couple, whose moral and sexual choices the Constitution protects, see Lawrence, 539 U. S. 558, and whose relationship the State has sought to dignify. And it humiliates tens of thousands of children now being raised by same-sex couples. The law in question makes it even more difficult for the children to understand the integrity and closeness of their own family and its concord with other families in their community and in their daily lives.”

(Lisa McCormack is the Managing Editor & Administrator of The Global Conversation. She is also a member of the Spiritual Helper team at www.ChangingChange.net, a website offering emotional and spiritual support. To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at Lisa@TheGlobalConversation.com.)


In The Times yesterday, the headline “End Nears for Mandela” caught my eye. The subtitle said it all, “Nelson Mandela, 94, has become critically ill after 16 days in hospital.”

Reading on further, it made me chuckle when I read that the seven doctors traveling with Mandela were “in full control of the situation.” How preposterous!

When the life energy withdraws from the physical expression, doctors are anything but in control. What can they do? The Soul energy has chosen to withdraw, to die… to Dissipate Identifying Energies.

Rather than a morbid report, however, Nelson Mandela’s critical condition presents us with another opportunity to remind ourselves of the Sacred Passage of the Soul, and to remind ourselves of the precious Gift of Life that we have been given.
One thing is certain: all of us must pass through the window of death, just as we have chosen to pass through the window of birth.

In human terms, we enter at “conception” or “birth,” move along an imaginary timeline, and then experience “death.” This all seems very real to us, and so it should be, else the purpose of the Grand Illusion would be lost! However, as we grow in consciousness, we realise that this timeline is linear, so life and death exist because of it.

Spirit moves in a circle… Is a circle… And we are part of Spirit. As part of that consciousness and energy, we are not bound to the linear timeline of decay and death.
For those who have forgotten the Soul’s journey, who think that this life is all there is, Mandela’s death will be a tragedy. It will be a great loss.

For those who have remembered the Soul’s journey, his passing over will be a triumph. It will be a celebration!


Nelson Mandela has certainly accomplished his Soul’s purpose, rising to the challenge of being here on Earth, and even surpassing his own expectations of what was possible. Only a Great Soul could have chosen such a path, demonstrating forgiveness and compassion so consistently, that the Giant Wall of Indifference and Separation (“Apartheid”) came tumbling down.

Now it is time to let him go, with gratitude for all he has done for us.

And so it is.

(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 www.energytherapy.biz)

(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 Lisa@TheGlobalConversation.com. Please label the topic: “Guest Column.”)


Look, the problem is simple. The honey bees are dying. Look, the cause is obvious. It’s us. Honey bees had no problem living and multiplying until we came along. Even then they had little problem until we decided to fill the air and cover every flower and foliage in sight with pesticides and poisons.

The honey bees are dying all over the world, and we are killing them. And if we don’t turn this thing around, that is going to kill us. Many of us. Because, you see, humans depend on the Earth’s ecosystem to survive (whether you believe it or not) — and the Earth’s ecosystem is going to be irrevocably damaged if the bee population drops at the rate that it is now dropping.

Why? Because honey bees are responsible for nearly 80 per cent of all pollination across our planet. So what? So this: More than two-thirds of the world’s top 100 food crops are pollinated by bees. So what? So this: those bee-pollinated crops supply almost 90 per cent of humanity’s nutrition.

Okay, here come the naysayers. Nonsense! You eco-panickers are all the same! Everyone knows that grains are primarily pollinated by the wind.

Yes, that is true. Everyone knows that. But vegetables, fruits, and nuts — arguably the healthiest, best food — are pollinated by bees, writer Rex Weyler tells us at the website Nation of Change. You do not want to miss the article, which contains a great deal of important information.

“The bee collapse is a challenge to human enterprise on the scale of global warming, ocean acidification and nuclear war,” Weyler says. And he’s right. There is a way to stop the collapse, he says. There is something that humanity can still do. But we all have to give a darn. We all have to care.

I hope you care enough to read the article at Nation of Change. You’ll find it here.

I remember from reading the CWG books that Neale mentions here and there the concepts of building and maintaining a conscious relationship. However, I was wondering whether there is any specific material out there that is solely focused on this topic. Blessings and joy to you…Annalisa

Dear Annalisa…Neale addressed a similar question in our Spiritual Mentoring Program call on Saturday by saying this:

“1. Need nothing.  2. Understand everything.  3. Love all.”

Please allow me to elaborate:

1. In a relationship if we Need nothing specific from the other, we can save ourselves a lot of grief. For example, I have found that with my family, sometimes we are pulled in different directions, each of us having our own agenda, especially around the holidays. Things run much more smoothly for me if I don’t attach myself to any particular plan—if I don’t Need anything in particular to happen—allowing Life to lead me where it will. This appeases everyone, so therefore, I am at peace as well!

2. Entire relationships, indeed, entire lives have been ruined by people who misunderstand the actions of another and hold grudges against them, rather than sitting down, talking things out, and arriving at mutual understanding about why they did what they did. When we Understand the reasons why others do what they do, forgiveness is automatic. Neale calls this “Forgiveness Forgone” because forgiveness is a foregone conclusion when we Understand the reasons people do things we might consider negative.

3. To Love all doesn’t mean “free love” in the 1960s sense, as the hit song from that era, “Love the One You’re With” recommended. Rather, it means, Love everything that shows up. Byron Katie’s book Loving What Is explains this beautifully. Another author, Rick Steves, who is my favorite travel writer, says, “If something isn’t to your liking, change your liking.” This is a very profound statement that takes on a much deeper meaning than simply what to do while traveling. If we learn to love Life exactly as it is showing up—if we can see the perfection in all of Life—then we live the path of least resistance. This is not to say we are not at choice in every moment. We are, and we’re always invited by Life to Choose Again… to re-create ourselves anew in the next grandest version of the greatest vision ever we held about Who We Are. Yet, to do this while living a life resisting nothing is to walk the path of the great Masters.

(Annie Sims is the Global Director of CWG Advanced Programs, is a Conversations With God Coach and author/instructor of the CWG Online School. To connect with Annie, please email her at Annie@TheGlobalConversation.com

(If you would like a question considered for publication, please submit your request to:  Advice@TheGlobalConversation.com where our team is waiting to hear from you.)

An additional resource:  ChangingChange.net offers spiritual assistance from a team of non-professional/volunteer Spiritual Helpers responding to every post from readers within 24 hours or less. Nothing on the CCN site should be construed or is intended to take the place of or be in any way similar to professional therapeutic or counseling services.  The site functions with the gracious willing assistance of lay persons without credentials or experience in the helping professions.  What these volunteers possess is an awareness of the theology of Conversations with God.  It is from this context that they offer insight, suggestions, and spiritual support during moments of unbidden, unexpected, or unwelcome change on the journey of life.

Pillow Talk

There’s a beautiful inaccuracy I’ve been shown over and over again in the last year:  how we assume we can know another human being simply through the few, or many interactions we’ve had with them over a few or many years.

For example, people believe that they know my husband, perhaps through his work, or his parenting, or his friendship, or by how many successes or failures he’s acquired over a lifetime of near seventy years of being human.

But they can’t possibly know who this same person is at the level of Pillow Talk. No amount of interviews, or long, close talks with friends, can reveal the kind of person who is so sacredly revealed to me when we are alone, held in the safety and sanctity of romantic relationship.

The other day I wondered, What would it be like if, instead of “knowing” someone by their outward appearance, habits of survival, or armoring, we were afforded the blessed experience of knowing them at the level of Pillow Talk?  What kind of world would we be living in, then?

If we knew without a doubt—without for one moment being hoodwinked by the personality in front of us—that this person, too, wakes in the night, crying out from a bad dream, that they curl into the fragile body of their mortality in high fever, in ill health, that they sometimes wish or ask to be held.

If we could assume that no one “has it together”, knows all the answers, or is comfortable in the human cloth but instead, yearns to know Home and return to it or return to a time when somebody told them, “Everything’s going to be okay,” and could still believe it…

I think that it would be a different world. Leaders of countries, the person next to us on the subway, our co-workers, our stepchildren; the parent, the sibling—we can know that there is a level of vulnerability that this person may show only one other person, ever, in a lifetime.

But that level of vulnerability exists in all of us, perhaps and unless we have become enlightened, which, for most of us is not the case.

So, this is an invitation to remember that whoever stands before you is a practiced personality, that can’t possibly share with you that level of intimacy reserved for the safe territory of the one who shares their bed—and if they can, it is the rare and blessed and evolved one.

There are glimpses of sacred tenderness we sometimes get to see:  The soft pat on the backside of the wife, by the husband, as she passes through the kitchen, a child in her arms.  The soft smooch placed onto the forehead of the beloved one who writes at the computer. The smiling eyes and impish grins on the faces of the young couple, exchanged ever-so-briefly at the family gathering, whispering of where they have recently been, or are going to later…

I think we all yearn to know and be known at this sacred level, and one day, I believe we’ll be living in a world in which we can.

For now, let’s believe it in order to see it.

You are Love, You are Loved,

em claire

by Beth Anderson

I’m not vegan or even vegetarian every day. I still eat some chicken, sushi, and a few dairy products. But I’ve reached the point in my journey where I want to know how the animals are treated that produce my food. One of the largest groups of animal products you may consume is dairy products – cheese, yogurt, butter, or milk – and I am disturbed by the way the cows are farmed and cared for. It’s not healthy for us and it’s even worse for the cows.

How much dairy do you consume and why? How much calcium do you really need? These are extremely important questions when looking at your own eating habits. Most of us eat or drink dairy because we have been told that we need the calcium for strong bones and health. Here are some important things for you to consider.

The United States is one of only a few countries in the world in which adults drink milk. The facts show that countries with the highest consumption of dairy products (including the United States) have the highest incidence of bone fractures and osteoporosis. The countries with the lowest consumption of dairy products (including Japan) have the lowest rates of bone fractures and osteoporosis.

We have been blasted with marketing campaigns telling us that we need milk in order to be healthy. There is an increased risk of ovarian and prostate cancer if you consume 3 or more servings of dairy per day according to the Harvard School of Public Health. Dairy can also cause allergies, mucous, asthma, and skin conditions.

Dairy cows are farmed in unnatural ways and using hormones, antibiotics, and GMO feed. Cows are kept pregnant throughout their lives to ensure that they continue to produce milk. Their hormone levels are already completely out of balance. They are packed into tight, filthy living quarters. If you choose to consume dairy, please consume organic dairy to ensure that there have been no added chemicals, hormones, or antibiotics to the cow’s diet.

If you feel you need extra calcium, there are plenty of plant-based sources of calcium and other necessary nutrients such as green vegetables and sea vegetables. Plant-based sources of calcium do not have the negative impact that dairy has on our health. We also need to consider that we need many other minerals such as magnesium, phosphorous, other vitamins, and especially collagen. Too much calcium will make your bones brittle, but increasing the collagen in your body will make bones more flexible.

It might be time to rethink the amount of dairy products you consume. Take some time to think about it. Find out where your dairy products come from and how the animals are treated. We have to stop using ignorance as an enabler to continue unhealthy practices.

(Beth Anderson is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and a Certified Natural Health Practitioner. She is the founder of Holistic Health Hotspot in Evansville, Indiana and author of The Holistic Diet: Achieve Your Ideal Weight, Be Happy and Healthy for Life. Beth received her training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. An expert in holistic and alternative health, Beth thoroughly enjoys educating and inspiring people to learn about the truths of food, consumer products, environmental issues, and life choices. She speaks nationally and publishes articles regularly on several internet wellness sites. Beth provides individual and group holistic health coaching and works with companies to provide wellness programs, workshops, and individualized coaching services for employees. You can find Beth on Facebook  or email her at beth@holistichealthhotspot.com)

By savoring every moment as a gift from heaven for what you are learning about yourself, you will one day ascend from the ashes to victory. As you stretch your new wings and shake off the debris from the fires that extinguish your suffering, you will have been transformed into a greater being than before.

As I travel down the road to recovery from my stroke, I think about what I’ve been through, where I am and where I’m headed. My stroke was not just a physical situation. Yes, on the physical level, I had a hole in my heart that allowed a blood clot to pass through and land in my brain, causing an ischemic stroke, which paralyzed my right side.

BUT there was a huge spiritual component to why I had a stroke. I went through a total transformation of self, moving from an ego-based mindset to a more heart-centered consciousness, the final goal being to find an inner balance between the masculine and feminine principles within. This was my karma, the road to a more enlightened way of being for me.

But having such a life-altering experience so that one can be elevated to a new level of consciousness is certainly not what I wanted or expected. I didn’t think it would have to be that hard. Boy, was I wrong! Trying to become a more conscious soul, at any level, is not an easy task, nor is it for the delicate spirit. It takes a lot of fortitude, a lot of perseverance and a lot of faith! It also takes the ability to align your vision of what you want with what the universe has destined for you, since you are co-creators of your life.

As you follow your path to fulfill your destiny, you know you will encounter obstacles along the way, bumps in the road that will cause diversions, distractions and downright disruptions to your progress. You might fall umpteen times into the psychological chasm of doom, and claw your way out just as many times. And each time you feel yourself falling, you grasp for something to hang onto to avoid falling into the depths of the mire.

You may start by replacing the negative thoughts that are responsible for your plight with positive thoughts. Dis-ease, whether physical, emotional, mental or spiritual, begins with a thought. The energy of a negative thought can reverberate throughout your entire energy field and manifest into an imbalance that becomes an energetic blockage, giving rise to any number of afflictions. By replacing these negative thoughts, which come from your “egoic” fear-based mind, with positive ones, which come from your heart, you are giving yourself a chance to heal the mind-body connection, where one’s thoughts and emotions affect one’s health through chemical changes in the brain that have an impact on the immune system.

On a more profound level, and most importantly, is your connection to your divinity, the source of all of creation that is always there to support you through thick and thin. But to fully commune with this inner power that shows us the way to our own magnificence, to our absolute truth, you must disengage yourself from your egoic mind that feeds on fear, and move to your heart center, where your divine essence resides.

Having both a positive outlook and a genuine relationship with your own inner sacredness will help uplift you as you find your way out of the darkness and into the light, to your own brilliance where you shine brightly in your own glory.

But the journey to your radiance is not a swift one. It is not a race to the finish. It is a process, one that could take a lifetime, depending on how deeply rooted the obstacles in your path are, and how many you have. Do not try to take the quick route to that inner light, as there is none. You will always be confronted by some sort of gremlin just waiting to throw you off track. This is how you grow into your own full potential, by confronting the encumbering monster, possibly battling with it, but ultimately dancing with it as its partner. It’s better to make your enemies allies instead of adversaries, as it makes the path to your illumination much easier. All your obstacles will become sources of encouragement instead of deterrents, since, in truth, they are simply facets of your psyche, showing you what you need to do to reach that inner sanctum.

By taking it one step at a time, savoring every moment as a gift from heaven for what you are learning about yourself – who you are at the deepest soul level – you will one day ascend from the ashes to victory. As you stretch your new wings and shake off the debris from the fires that extinguish your suffering, you will have been transformed into a greater being than before. You will have reached a new level of awareness.

(Erica Tucci had a full life as a corporate manager of a Fortune 500 company, a healing arts business owner and an author. It all came to a screeching halt in June 2011 when she had a stroke. During her recovery, she gained much wisdom about what’s really important in life and she re-entered the world with a new mission in life. She now wishes to use her story as an inspiration for others facing life challenges, which we all have, big or small, as well as continuing the work she was doing before her stroke, helping women find their “yin radiance” through their authentic voice and their own healing. She considers herself the Radiance Muse, inspiring you to live your life brilliantly. For more information, visit www.ericatucci.com and www.radiantsurvivor.com.)

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