The Spirituality of Comedian Jim Breuer

Jim Breuer, used with permission

Breuer has been doing comedy for decades — from his “Goat Boy” and Joe Pesci impersonations on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” to his recent Epix special “Jim Breuer: Comedy Frenzy” — and was named as one of the greatest standup comedians of all time by Comedy Central.

In Breuer’s movie “More Than Me,”Breuer described how he used comedy to cope with different situations including his late father’s declining health. And so while many people know that Breuer can use humor to cope and help others through difficult times, fewer people know that he uses another strategy to understand and manage difficult life situations — a deep sense of spirituality.

For Breuer, this spiritual side is something with which he can connect when he needs to do so. “The faith world to me is like a radio station. It’s there,” he explained. “And if you want to plug in and listen to it, kind of tune into it, it can definitely be helpful. I don’t know if it’s an energy? I don’t know what it is, but it fascinates me.”

“And when I say about the radio station, I mean: ‘Do you want to hear it?’ If you want to hear it, it’s there. Some people say it’s stupid, don’t acknowledge it. That’s OK, whatever journey they’re on. It’s pretty awesome when you tap into it. It’s really awesome.”

Breuer finds that this practice helps him cope with difficult situations. “And I know that the stories I’ve had or the moments that I’ve lived by, where I’ve set aside and I’ve talked to G-d or meditated or begged for guidance. It’s worked 100% of the time,” he said.

“I have bizarre coincidences; I don’t believe they’re coincidences. The bummer talking about it is that people get so turned off. But there’s something. And that’s why I never go, ‘Well I’m this, and I’m that,’ because I hear it from all different types. I just know, whatever it is, I just know the way I say it. I’ll beg, and I’ll say, ‘Please guide me this way. Guide me to help. Just show me what I’m supposed to do. Tell me how I’m supposed to speak. Show me how I’m supposed to act. What can I do to help?’ Always — 100% — I get the answer.”

“And I don’t know what that is. To me, I call it faith, a deep spirituality.”

Breuer’s belief in the power of his faith is consistent with research demonstrating the health benefits of religion and spirituality. In one study of 142 patients, a week prior to heart surgery, results showed that individuals with stronger religious beliefs had fewer subsequent complications and shorter hospital stays. A recently concluded 10-year study of 114 adults found that those who considered religion or spirituality more important to them were significantly less likely to be depressed over time.

For Breuer, his spirituality started with his family. “I could be wrong, but I’m going to say it started at a fairly young age. You know my mom had that. I’d think I’m something, and she’d just belly-laugh in my face and just exploit whatever I was trying to accomplish with my holier-than-thou attitude,” he said. “And you learn through trial and error, and you start realizing you’re not really as in control and as powerful and as almighty as you really think you are as you move along through trials and errors.”

“I think it’s a big growing process. Life just keeps moving.”

What Breuer is describing could be considered humility, which he identifies as an important aspect of his spirituality. Positive psychologists define humility as the ability to view oneself in a non-defensive and open manner. Initial research suggests that people with higher levels of humility have higher levels of self-rated health.

“Humility is one of the key aspects of spirituality, and along with comedy, a key component of healing,” he explained. “We always had comedy and humility. Humility’s really important. If you can’t find that, then you’re really going to have some major issues with yourself and life. I found that at a young age. My whole family’s been that way forever.”

“Vulnerability, humility, relatability — those three are very close and very similar to keep you going. When you’re in conversation with people, and they can relate to you, or you start talking about how vulnerable you are and didn’t expect to be, or you think you’re better than what you think you are, and you’re humbled by it, and you find some humility, it helps you move along. And a lot of people have too much pride and ego to allow that in,” he said.

More, for Breuer, it was a sense of humility that helped facilitate some of his favorite comedic moments in his personal life. “I remember one of the greatest moments in my life was getting a TV show. Couldn’t have been higher — on the cover of TV Guide, the commercials were out. We were spinning off the Tim Allen show,” he explained.

“It was huge. I was going to make half a million to $1 million a year. I was a 25-, 26-year-old kid. And I flew my best friends out for the premiere of this thing. And I remember that about four days before it was supposed to air, they fired me. They let me go. And I remember coming back to the hotel room,” he said. “I was devastated, in shock. I didn’t understand it. We’d already filmed the show. The commercials were still on the air. I didn’t get what was happening. And I just remember my friends; we were blue collar, didn’t have much growing up. A whole village raised a family, everybody looked after each other.”

“I remember coming to my hotel room and I didn’t know what to do, and they go, ‘What happened?’ I said, ‘I got fired.’”

“And it was very awkward. It was the first time they really saw deep pain in me. And I just remember my friend, and he laughed, and he rolled his eyes, and he went ‘Well, I rented a limo for tonight so let’s go out. We’ll stay out all night because you don’t have to get up in the morning because you ain’t got a job!’ and he just belly-laughed.”

“Then we all just started belly-laughing.”

“It was a very humbling moment. I was humiliated. But it was probably the hardest I’ve ever laughed and probably one of the best times I’ve ever felt in my whole life.”

For Breuer, part of the reason that his sense of humility allows him to see the humor in situations is because he is able to put certain life events in perspective. “See, what we do is, we make it like this is the end of the world. To you, this is the end of the world. Nothing could be worse than this. I couldn’t lose this person. They couldn’t have died. I couldn’t have lost this job. Where he made it simple — it’s no different than when you’re 15 years old. Like, ‘Oh, great! What are we doing? What are you complaining about? Now we can go out. We have the whole night ahead of us. Let’s do this,’” he said.

But soon Breuer experienced situations that were truly tragic. Over the course of his life Breuer has dealt with many tragic moments, including the loss of his sister and father, and his wife’s ongoing battle with cancer.

Breuer explained: “I have a deep respect for life in general; just a huge, deep respect for life. And I have definitely grasped onto the fact that every minute, every moment, to be grateful and thankful for. Because we really don’t know what’s two seconds away. We really don’t. It’s so unpredictable. And again I learned that at a young age through death,” he explained.

“You lose someone when you’re young, you realize, ‘Wow, we really are on borrowed time.’ No matter how much we love them or how much we think we’re invincible, that ‘[t]hat could never happen to us,’ it happens. There’s no stopping it.”

For Breuer, his first loss was the loss of a close friend.

“I think the first big one was a friend I had in Florida. The circumstances that led to my personal journey with her was somehow a faith-based, an energy-based thing that was very healing and powerful for me. She was a dear friend of mine, a neighbor; we were best friends,” he recalled.

“We weren’t talking for a couple of weeks, and it was driving me crazy. And I pulled over and asked what I should do. Just go over there and lay it all out there. I remember going over there, and I saw her one night, and that voice that I keep asking the questions to — there she was. I’m going to go over there and start talking to her. And it was one of the greatest conversations we ever had in the time that I knew her. And she was explaining to me how all of these amazing things she was hoping for in life finally happened. And at the end of it — I still cannot describe it to this day — there was a deep soul connection.”

“I can still feel it now when I think about it. It was as close as you can get to being intimate without being intimate. And that was the last time I saw her.”

“And I remember being at the funeral, and it was so sad and so depressing. I’d never seen so many kids crying, parents devastated. And I just thought about her, and I went outside and I literally asked, ‘What do you want? What’s supposed to happen here? What happens? And I just kept hearing ‘Just make everyone laugh!’ I don’t want to see them all like this. Make them laugh.’”

“And that was one of the moments that changed me. And I remember being at the funeral parlor, imitating her, what she’d probably be doing right now. And it was a blind moment — I don’t know how long I went on for. I just remember stopping, and there was just a circle of people around me — a big circle of people around me howling and laughing. And then when I stopped, and I said, ‘We shouldn’t be doing this’ They’re like, ‘No! No! Keep going! Keep going! This is the greatest! This is what it’s supposed to be like.’”

“That was the first moment where I realized —‘Let’s celebrate and keep the spirits high.’ And that was a powerful moment. And I realized how many people I was healing in that moment alone with myself.”

Later on, Breuer felt that his spirituality also helped him cope with his sister’s death. “I still have the texts that I sent to her. She was really down, and she knew she was dying very soon. And she tried not to allow that in. And I knew that no matter what, she was going to be dead soon. There was no way of stopping what she had. She was in complete denial of how much cancer she had; 100 percent denial between her and, I think, some of her family. I knew she knew that. And I knew she knew that I knew it,” he recalled.

“My job then, too — ‘Don’t worry about anything. We’re going to ride this straight out the way we always do.’ Just like coming up to the plate. I’m going to swing really hard at fastballs. Even though you know we’re going to strike out. And you know the season’s over. We’re still going to go up, and we’re still going to swing at those fastballs. I would bust her balls all the way until the end. We’d laugh hard.”

“It’s like ‘Titanic.’Keep playing that song even when you’re wiped away in the ocean. You go down with that instrument in your hand if that’s what makes you happy.”

Interestingly, Breuer’s spirituality can be understood as consistent with his musical preference — heavy metal. Contrary to stereotypes of “metalheads” as being closed minded and even aggressive towards others, research suggests that people who prefer heavy-metal music display personality styles that are more “open to experience.”(link is external)Further, far from making people more aggressive, studies suggest that among people who prefer more aggressive music, listening to metal actually appears to help improve mood and cope with anger. More, a recent study shows that not only were people who were heavy metal fans from the ’80s not dusfunctional as adults, but also they appear to be quite happy in adulthood.

In light of this research, it perhaps makes more sense that Breuer is a heavy metal fan; His sense of humility naturally dictates a tendency to accept rather than avoid negative experience. And Breuer appreciates that heavy metal musicians similarly embrace rather than gloss over the more upsetting parts of life.

He described: “For me, you’re connecting on a deeper level — old Metallica, [Judas] Priest and just metal in general — it would make me think. Especially Metallica. It helped me think about what my dad went through in war,” he said. “Metal is truth for me. And also, there is a deeper awareness. Is ‘War Pigs’ evil? Or is it the only genre that has the ’nads to put it right out there in your face?”

“It’s a truth, a raw truth; And sometimes, people don’t want to acknowledge the raw truth. Sometimes, the truth is dark and ugly and hurts,” he explained. “And that goes with death and everything else. And that music allows you to acknowledge and be aware of it. Because it’s part of everyday life. It’s a part of life where people want to say, ‘That doesn’t exist. I’ll just stick my head in the sand. I know every circle of life. And all of it exists. And sometimes it’s not pretty. Some of it’s just plain evil.”

“That music — it didn’t make me want to be evil. It made me aware of evil. That music would explicitly explain everything and give you warnings and tell you what’s going on. I always thought I had one up on everyone’s thinking patterns because of that music.”

Breuer found his spirituality was so fierce that even when his father challenged Breuer’s spirituality, Breuer stayed very sure of his own spiritual beliefs. “It was interesting, because I remember asking him, like, ‘Dad, what do you think happens to us?’ He says, ‘Nothing. There’s no G-d, there’s no time, you’re gone. People forget about you.’ I couldn’t believe how dead serious he was about that. So, you just die, and you just forget about shit. They pretend that they don’t forget about you, but they do. They forget about you. You’re just gone.’”

“And that was the moment that I said, ‘I don’t know if that will happen to you. Maybe you just don’t remember, or you become something else, or your soul becomes a tree or energy.’ He says, ‘No, that’s stupid. No.’”

“So, although he was completely ‘no,’ I disagreed, and I continued to use spirit and use guidance to make his life better.”

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Eileen Fisher’s Bold New Path

This post appeared in Conscious Company Magazine in July 2015.

Eileen Fisher designs from her heart. Long before sustainability really got going as a business movement, this giant of the fashion world created clothes inspired by her love for natural fibers and her desire to make pieces that were timeless and long-lasting. As her company grew, she began educating herself on the environmental impacts of the fashion industry and decided to do more. For over a decade, Eileen and her 1,200 employees have gradually transformed Eileen Fisher Inc. into one of the largest sustainable fashion brands anywhere, yet the company’s frank marketing materials are the first to tell you that more action is needed. Focusing on six key areas – fibers, colors, resources, people, supply chain mapping, and reuse – the company’s Vision 2020 initiative promises that all of its styles will be sustainable by the year 2020, or it won’t sell them.

We had the pleasure of chatting with Eileen for several hours at her home in New York about everything from her personal story to the value that mindful breathing at meetings adds to her company. She also opened up about the struggles and sacrifices required to integrate sustainable practices throughout her company, the tension between minimizing her impact and selling products, and how her search for purpose led to success.

Can you tell us about the conceptualization of the Eileen Fisher brand? Was there a moment that you remember that you actually decided to really go for it?

Eileen Fisher: I started in 1984, so I’m going to say it was 1979 when the idea was forming. I’d been working in design and graphics at that time and actually doing some branding work – logo design and packaging and things like that. I had a Japanese partner and had the opportunity to travel to Japan, and while I was there, I got really excited about the kimono – the whole idea of a garment that they wore in only one shape for a thousand years. The whole idea of timeless clothing intrigued me. The simplicity in the whole Japanese aesthetic just really attracted me. So, this idea began to form and it was just about really simple clothes – simple shapes and natural fibers. I was into cotton and linen and silk at that time. It just had to be natural fibers. That was clear to me.

When I first decided to do it, I
 had a friend who was a jewelry designer. He took me to a boutique show where he showed his jewelry to small stores. I just remember walking around there and seeing these little booths and seeing other designers presenting their work and small companies presenting their wares to little boutiques around the country. I remember looking around going, “Oh, I can do this.” I felt like I could see my idea there and it felt whole. I could picture it.

I’m probably not a good salesperson, so I couldn’t picture going around to stores and standing in line at Bendel’s or Bloomingdale’s to talk to the buyer and then being rejected. That was too disturbing to me, plus I didn’t know if they would understand what I was doing. And I guess I never saw myself doing runway shows – I wasn’t that kind of designer. It was more like I wanted real clothes for me to really wear. It wasn’t about the show or red carpets or anything glitzy. It was simple.

Was there any fear involved in that decision?

EF: I think it was foolish non-fear. 
I really had nothing and so I had nothing to lose. It was coming through me, this idea. It was clear to me. I was sort of uncomfortable and not a confident person, but a shy, introverted person. But this idea was powerful and I was confident about it and I was sure about it. I would talk to people about it with confidence. It was almost like I didn’t recognize myself because I felt so sure of myself in that arena. So I would say I had no fear – maybe foolishly had no fear.

Was it your intention from the get-go to make Eileen Fisher a sustainable brand or was that a gradual awakening?

EF: I would say it was gradual in
 terms of deepening the work around sustainability. In the beginning, it was all about natural fibers, and I was under the impression that natural was biodegradable and natural was safe
 for the environment. What happened over the years is that I drew in a lot
 of people who had similar values 
and cared about natural fibers and probably even understood things that I didn’t. I remember this woman, Sally Fox, who was one of the first organic cotton people. She was growing organic cotton in these subtle, natural colors close to 20 years ago. People like that found us because they knew we were on the same wavelength somehow, even if we weren’t fully understanding organic yet.

I guess you could relate it to food. People who eat healthy just instinctively wouldn’t eat at McDonald’s because it just wouldn’t feel right or they wouldn’t want to 
eat a lot of packaged foods. They would eat real food. To me, it was real clothes. That was where I was coming from without fully understanding the difference between organic cotton and conventional cotton, and not understanding how damaging conventional cotton is to the planet.

So, we hired Amy Hall. We actually hired her to be an assistant at first and then she moved into being Director of Social Consciousness 15 years ago. She became passionate about some of the human rights work in the factories, how we monitored the factories, and how we ensured that our people were treated fairly. That was really how we entered social consciousness. We got involved with Social Accountability International, which does the SA8000 standards 
for operating in factories around the world. Amy is now on the board of directors there.

From there, things would just happen. For example, the first cotton I did, I just didn’t like the finish. The vendors told me there was some kind of chemical finish that they put on the cotton, and I didn’t like the way it felt. I had them not put the chemical finish on it, and I felt that the fabric just came alive. It was much more organic. It was just an intuitive thing that I liked it better.

Another time we got involved with this group in Peru that was doing organic cotton. We just fell in love with the yarn, but their capabilities weren’t great in terms of design. Even though in the beginning we were offering some products from them because we wanted to support this idea, the garments didn’t necessarily sell and they were more expensive. It was probably 30 percent more for the organic cotton at that time and we were troubled by that. Some of our designers got really excited about this yarn and they went down there and they started really designing into the product and working with the people down there to actually create what we wanted and making the product really compelling. Today this is an amazing project. It has some of my favorite pieces that I go to because they’re so beautiful and this cotton is just 
so compelling. People today will pay the price for those pieces, probably because the design value is there. It’s not just funky, hippie clothes. It’s something really beautiful and really special.

I think this whole thing has kind of been a building process over the years. A few years ago, we started doing organic linen and trying to bring in more organic cotton. We’re on a path to try to move more of our products to be more local – back to this country. We’re not there yet. We have a long way to go, but we’re trying.

I think there’s just so much passion and it’s so deep in the company.
 It’s not that we just have a Director of Sustainability or Director of
 Social Consciousness. Now we have somebody mapping the supply chain. That’s her whole job. We have a Director of Human Rights. We have these different positions. What’s actually happening is that throughout the company lots of people are really encouraged to be passionate about these things and are given permission to care. At our company meetings, we do things like talk about the
 water crisis and ask everyone what they might do, and get the company engaged.

“Throughout the company lots of people are really encouraged to be passionate about these things and are given permission to care.”

Was there something that really inspired this shift?

EF: A few years ago, I got involved in the Gross National Happiness project with Otto Scharmer. I ended up going to Bhutan and the Amazon and started really thinking about purpose – my own purpose and the company’s purpose.

It’s interesting because we’re a clothing business, and although we’re not a typical fashion business, we 
are still caught in that thing where the customer wants new – she wants to feel special. We want her to feel great and give her something new, but we also want to create things
 that are timeless and that last a long time. These are weird lines that we’re walking.

I don’t think of myself as leading this company. I never call myself CEO or anything like that. It just feels like it’s such a collective, group effort. And a few years ago, when I started on this project, simultaneously there was work going on in sustainability and there was a whole team building around that asking, “What else can we do? How can we get rid of the plastic hangers? How can we use less paper? How can we ship more by sea rather than by air?” These conversations were happening everywhere and there started to be these large gatherings at off-sites.

So, after I started doing my own purpose work with the Gross National Happiness project, I was on a boat in the Amazon and I met this guy, Marcelo Cardoso, who blew my mind. He was talking about purpose and companies having a larger purpose and individual purpose and how that works together, and personal transformation. I was like, “Yes, I want more of this. How can you help me do this?”

I started bringing him in and we were doing these prototype workshops. One of them was around purpose and I had this really powerful experience. He does these exercises where you just sit in a chair and you embody your purpose. You sort of talk to yourself as your purpose, like, “What are you doing with your life? Why are you doing this? What really matters? Why are you forgetting about me?”

I had this really interesting experience in which I recognized 
that I just needed to be more fully 
me. Actually, I used the stools in my kitchen, and I found that when I would sit in this purpose chair, I was sort of embodying my purpose. I just started to take that into my daily practice of sitting on a stool and feeling that I’m in my purpose rather than just my ordinary me.

A year and a half ago, I had just come back from two back-to-back conferences and I was tired, but there was a company sustainability meeting off-site. You could feel a lot of energy building around all this great work 
that was happening. I was supposed to go. I thought I was going to go for the first few hours and just kind of set it off, give permission, and let everybody know that I supported this whole initiative. I was sitting in my purpose chair that morning and I thought, “I have to do this. I don’t care if I’m tired. This really matters.”

I went upstairs and packed my bag for the whole four days. I went and while I was there it was amazing the work that was happening. This is where the Vision 2020 came out. It was not my idea, but it came up that we should make a radical commitment that we would make all of our clothes sustainable by 2020.

And whoa. I just remember realizing that I could say, “Yes!” My name’s on the door. Even if we don’t get there, saying yes gives people permission. It was just this powerful understanding that there was a place for me to really use my voice and that this was an important area for me to do that. The work was already happening and it was maybe going to happen if I hadn’t said yes, but me saying yes that day was another, deeper layer.

The Pope Just Released A List of 10 Tips for Becoming a Happier Person and They Are Spot On

This post originally appeared on The Higher Learning on July 31, 2014

pope-francis-672x372
In a recent interview with the Argentine publication Viva, Pope Francis issued a list of 10 tips to be a happier person, based on his own life experiences.

The Pope encouraged people to be more positive and generous, to turn off the TV and find healthier forms of leisure, and even to stop trying to convert people to one’s own religion.

But his number one piece of advice came in the form of a somewhat cliche Italian phrase that means, “move forward and let others do the same.” It’s basically the Italian equivalent of, “live and let live.” You can check out the full list below.
The Pope’s 10 Tips for a Happier Life

1. “Live and let live.” Everyone should be guided by this principle, he said, which has a similar expression in Rome with the saying, “Move forward and let others do the same.”

2. “Be giving of yourself to others.” People need to be open and generous toward others, he said, because “if you withdraw into yourself, you run the risk of becoming egocentric. And stagnant water becomes putrid.”

3. “Proceed calmly” in life. The pope, who used to teach high school literature, used an image from an Argentine novel by Ricardo Guiraldes, in which the protagonist — gaucho Don Segundo Sombra — looks back on how he lived his life.

4. A healthy sense of leisure. The Pope said “consumerism has brought us anxiety”, and told parents to set aside time to play with their children and turn of the TV when they sit down to eat.

5. Sundays should be holidays. Workers should have Sundays off because “Sunday is for family,” he said.

6. Find innovative ways to create dignified jobs for young people. “We need to be creative with young people. If they have no opportunities they will get into drugs” and be more vulnerable to suicide, he said.

7. Respect and take care of nature. Environmental degradation “is one of the biggest challenges we have,” he said. “I think a question that we’re not asking ourselves is: ‘Isn’t humanity committing suicide with this indiscriminate and tyrannical use of nature?’”

8. Stop being negative. “Needing to talk badly about others indicates low self-esteem. That means, ‘I feel so low that instead of picking myself up I have to cut others down,’” the Pope said. “Letting go of negative things quickly is healthy.”

9. Don’t proselytise; respect others’ beliefs. “We can inspire others through witness so that one grows together in communicating. But the worst thing of all is religious proselytism, which paralyses: ‘I am talking with you in order to persuade you,’ No. Each person dialogues, starting with his and her own identity. The church grows by attraction, not proselytising,” the Pope said.

10. Work for peace. “We are living in a time of many wars,” he said, and “the call for peace must be shouted. Peace sometimes gives the impression of being quiet, but it is never quiet, peace is always proactive” and dynamic.

What Color Is Your Consciousness?

This post by Christine Horner originally appeared in OM Times on June 28, 2015.

True equality is not material, but is the indelible truth of who you are as part of the totality of Creation.

Compassion for another human being regardless of race, socioeconomic status or mental/physical state requires an emotional intelligence and maturity that most people will not achieve within their lifetime.

We could blame our educational system, culture and conditioning, and even the ongoing oppression by a few, but we would be wrong to do so. The world is merely a reflection of the fundamental misunderstanding that continues to perpetuate human servitude and suffering – the belief that we are separate from one another.

Another name for what ails humanity is Separation Consciousness. Since the physical third dimension consists of up and down as well as high and low, mankind’s primitive mindset has it that due to the appearance of space and time, you and I are not connected. Yet, how can this be? Where does the thread that binds us together begin and where does it end?

The belief in separation is so entrenched in culture and sub-cultures, social systems and even religion, that it has been the excuse to treat each other as undervalued and disposable depending on the ideals of the day. There is no act of violence where inequality (the thought of separation) is not at the root.

What is Equality?

Where does true equality arise? It arises from within. If you do not recognize the interconnectedness between you and me and the world we live in within you, you will not see it outside of yourself. True equality is not material, but is the indelible truth of who you are as part of the totality of Creation.

You can begin to nurture an expanded self-awareness by cultivating mindfulness. Being mindful means to intentionally pay attention to or put your focus on something. Mindful living is living your life consciously, awake and present on a daily basis. Rather than reacting habitually, on automatic pilot without thought and choice, you begin to live your life on purpose and from the heart.

There are those individuals that have transcended education and man-made conditions by looking within to find the unity of all life that is the true nature of the Universe. This is the reward of mindfulness. Martin Luther King, the Dalai Lama and even John Lennon have asked each one of us to imagine and examine the world from the inside out and to see life for what it truly is – not us and them, but we.

Of the same source, there is no part of Creation that is more or less valuable than any other. Once this is understood internally, it can then be experienced externally as your conduct in the world begins to build a new reality for yourself and others. Even if others around you do not see that what you do for another you also do for yourself, it is imperative that you remain steadfast within the larger picture or universal prime directive of our oneness.

King himself said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Trumping race is the strength of character you display as your behavior when you interact with the rest of the world.

Responsibility + Integrity = Sustainability

Synonymous with responsibility and sustainability is integrity. Becoming mindful as to whether your choices unite or divide, ask yourself if you are choosing proactive sustainability or destructive reactiveness. The right choice makes you an enabled and empowered human being, transcending skin color and the outdated beliefs of others.

The invitation is to remain steadfast within the seat of personal courage even when others around you lose their way. By this, you lead in no greater way. Being the first to change, you change the world. With new awareness of what is no longer working, the arising leader in you realizes to fight darkness with darkness bears the same fruit. Instead, be the light. Others cannot help but see your example. The time is upon us to live fearlessly and choose courageously as we were born to do.

Nothing can exist without your support. Humanity will advance much more quickly toward ending the wars both private and public. Creating the world we know is possible when we let go of separation consciousness for the rewards of unity consciousness. You are the one the world is waiting for. Will you answer the call?

How to Cultivate Qi Energy

This post by Dr. Paul Haider originally appeared in OMTimes

qi-energy_OMTimes
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, there is a form of energy that runs through and around all that exists… including human beings. This energy is called Qi. Qi energy is the life force that gives us the vitality and energy to go about our daily lives and boosts our immune system. Here are a few ways to cultivate Qi energy and feel great again.

One of the spiritual texts from the Orient states: “There is nothing between Heaven and Earth but Qi and Tao (The laws that govern Qi). Tao itself is based on Qi. Everything in the Universe relies upon it. When the Qi is outside Heaven and Earth, it embraces them. When Qi is inside Heaven and Earth, it circulates through and sustains them. Planets depend on Qi for their brightness; weather is formed by it, and the seasons are caused by it. Man cannot stand outside of Qi. Qi supports him and permeates him as water is contained within the ocean.”

Ways to Cultivate Qi Energy

Qigong – Qigong is a form of martial arts that cultivates Qi energy. It’s a process of visualization, movement, and breath work that brings vitality and life giving energy into the body. Those who are Qigong Masters are also able to use their Qi energy to bring about miraculous healings that go beyond our understanding. This martial art is very simple yet takes practice, but over time and with persistence large amounts of Qi energy can be brought into the body with amazing results.

Live, Whole Foods – There are some foods that bring Qi energy into the body. Especially the green leafy vegetables, which are full of life force energy. When we cook food we lose the Qi and thus it’s important to include many raw leafy veggies in our diet. This can bring about healing… not only of our Qi but also of our liver, kidneys, heart, and blood by detoxing the body.

Herbs – Herbs also bring about an increase of Qi energy. Ginseng is great for increasing Qi energy and thus helps the average person to have more stamina and vitality and it is a good tonic for the nervous and endocrine systems. Codonopsis is another herb that also helps build Qi energy and increase life vitality especially of the lungs along with, Astragalus, and Gynostemma, which are energy building herbs for stress. Also, licorice root supports and protects the adrenal glands and helps with stress created by emotional challenges.

Other Foods – Longan berries are also great for slowing the aging process and revitalizing the skin and especially bringing Qi energy to the heart area. Schizandra fruit also helps to vitalize the sex organs and enhances libido and sexual function. Here are some other foods that may increase Qi energy when consumed in moderation… chlorella, brown rice, lentils, grapes, figs, oats, squash, dates, and tofu.

Meditation – Meditation also helps to build vital Qi energy by taking care of stress and cultivating peace within. All the stress hormones decline while meditating thus allowing for the correct function of the body and the peacefulness of the mind, which in turn results in a long life.

Acupressure – We have meridian points throughout the body and those points allow the vital flow of Qi energy. When there is congestion at certain points or the flow of Qi energy is stopped altogether there can be pain, lack of energy, and the start of disease. This is why acupressure and acupuncture are great for increasing Qi energy. One can learn to do acupressure on their own body… it’s very simple. Just massage every area of the body including the hands, feet, legs, arms, and ears… any area that has pain when pressure is applied usually means there is a blockage of Qi energy. By using mild pressure on the tender area, the blockage can be released.

Tuina Massage – This is a powerful form of massage that works with the meridians of the body to move energy around and unblock meridian channels. A person is fully dressed and the Tuina massage therapist moves his/her hands while doing a visualization of moving energy throughout the body. Moving energy from one place to another. This is a rather simplistic explanation, but this type of massage is amazingly powerful. In fact, I’ve had Tuina massage myself and had powerful results.

Self-Esteem – When we have self-esteem we turn off the negative voice and start moving in the direction of doing what we know is right deep down inside. All the negative distracting voices of those around us don’t matter anymore. So building self-esteem is vitally important to also building Qi energy because lack of self-esteem leads to the loss of life force and eventually to depression. Think only good thoughts about yourself, take a martial arts class, and increase Qi energy within.

Try as many of these Qi-building processes as possible to feel great and have improved energy.

An Estimated Million Celebrated International Yoga Day…Did You? Here’s A Recap

This post originally appeared in YogaDork on June 22, 2015.

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Here it is…it happened. The very first International Yoga Day. While the world participated in the official day of global yoga celebrations (or in some cases organized protests) we have to wonder, dear readers, if/what/how did you celebrate?

International Yoga Day was June 21, which was also the Summer Solstice so you might have already had plans to celebrate with a ritual of sun salutations or an annual pilgrimage to Times Square. In the U.S., the event also shared the date with Father’s Day this year so there was something, or someone, else to celebrate, too.

Here’s how the world went about making their mark on World Yoga Day. Just a little million people practicing yoga around the world recap.

There were organized events in just about every major city across the globe and some in between. In Taipei, over 2,000 people practiced 108 sun salutations. In Dubai, a man held his headstand for 61 minutes, likely adding to the Yoga Day Guinness World Records.

Hundreds gathered at the Eiffel Tower in Paris for practice on color-coordinated yellow mats.

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Korean yogis came together for a public event in Seoul.

image credit: Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

In NYC, an estimated 13,000 yogis practiced throughout the day in Times Square. The all-day event, indubitably sponsored by Athleta, drew yogis of all ages, shapes, sizes, and experience. A live webcast served the yogis at home with a dose of “mind over madness” and a glimpse into the solstice practice, which was accentuated by a few interesting soundtrack choices — did anyone else catch the odd “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)” by Jamie XX during the morning session? Google the lyrics. It wasn’t the G-rated version, we can confirm that much.

image credit: Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

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Rajashree Choudhury was on hand for the Bikram Yoga portion despite being connected with her husband’s rape cases.

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Midway through the day, just after being a part of a special ceremony and practice at the United Nations, India’s Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, U.S. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, and the Art of Living’s Sri Sri Ravi Shankar joined Times Square Alliance President Tim Tompkins to share a few words.

In the face of “ignorance and hatred,” we can “reflect and call for the spiritual wisdom and spiritual love that is found in yoga,” Gabbard said.

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Earlier, the crew had appeared at the United Nations HQ where even Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon joined in the yoga session.

And of course, in India, a massive potential World Record-making yoga demonstration involving a purported 35,000 people from school children to the members of the government joined in the practice as part of a campaign costing somewhere from $5 million to more than $15 million, according to local news reports.

First International Day of Yoga

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Children in Bangalore with Modi and Yoga Day logo painted on their faces. | image credit: Aijaz Rahi/AP

There was so much yoga in India, that it literally took flight. SpiceJet, a regional budget airline, held 15 minute in-flight yoga sessions for about 25 flights  led by the cabin crew who also handed out pamphlets and CDs with more information on the benefits of yoga.

That’s just a sample of yoga, yoga everywhere day, which shaped up to be an interesting one at that.

It’s all pretty spectacular looking, but that may just be what it seems on the surface, or what some of us might want it to be. But there are political and cultural woes surrounding Prime Minister Modi’s big yoga push. This wouldn’t truly be a balanced roundup without sharing articles that highlight the unrest that this day of awareness and peace was/is supposed to instill.

If you’re looking for more photos, Time.com has a few more shots of the Yoga Day events around the world.

Until next year, yogsters…

The Secret to Making Yourself Happier? Give Your Money Away

This post by  originally appeared in Huffington Post on June 12, 2015.

Donate

According to the World Bank’s most recent estimate, more than one billion people live on less than $1.25 per day. UNICEF estimates that an average of 18,000 children die every twenty-four hours from easily preventable causes. That’s equivalent to losing a young life every five seconds.

Faced with these figures, it’s easy to despair. But that’s a mistake. The world is steadily getting better. The percentage of people living in extreme poverty has declined dramatically over the past twenty-five years. Compared with 1990, 17,000 fewer children now die each day. What’s more, you and I can each make a significant contribution to improving the lives of the world’s poorest people.

Inspired by this idea, a growing number of people are choosing to donate a significant fraction of their income to the most effective developing world charities. I’m one of them. I am the assistant director of Giving What We Can, an international society whose members pledge to give at least ten percent of their earnings to whichever organizations do the most to help others. More than a thousand people have signed our pledge and our membership is growing every day.

Is giving really for me?

You might think this is admirable, but not for you. You’re a good person, but there are limits to what you can be asked to do for others. The idea of giving away as much as ten percent of your income might seem impossible. Wouldn’t this mean taking on a significant burden?

Well, would it? It’s worth thinking seriously about this question. After all, it would be extraordinary to be able to look back on your life and know that you had saved the lives of hundreds of people. What’s more, the answer to this question isn’t as obvious as it might seem.

How much you can afford to give depends ultimately on your personal circumstances. It’s something you have to decide on your own terms. However, it’s important that you be aware of the fallibility of your own intuitions. You are worse at making predictions about your own future happiness than you might think.

We don’t know what makes us happy

A significant body of work in social psychology shows that we systematically overestimate the impact that various life-changes will have on our sense of happiness, especially for those life-changes we expect to make us unhappy. Psychologists express this by saying that our affective forecasts (that is, our predictions about our future happiness) are subject to an ‘impact bias’.

A person’s level of happiness is more stable and resilient than we expect. For this reason, people overestimate the unhappiness of individuals with disabilities, academics overestimate how bad it will feel to be denied tenure, and voters overestimate the negative impact of having their candidate lose the election. The impact bias works with money too. Studies showthat people significantly underestimate the happiness of people earning lower levels of household income.

So if your gut tells you that giving a lot to charity would be a serious burden, it’s very likely that you’re wrong. It will cost you less than you think. Your expectations about the extent to which your happiness hinges on enjoying a certain level of income aren’t as trustworthy as they seem. Don’t let the impact bias fool you.

So does giving actually make us happy?

If we can’t trust our intuitions, how can we know what it would be like to give away a significant fraction of our earnings?

One thing we could do is to ask people earning different levels of income how happy they are, giving us a sense of how much income really matters for personal well-being.

Surveys of this kind have been carried out in many countries. They generally find that
the richer you are, the more likely you are to report being happy or very happy. Even so, the differences between people earning different levels of income tend to be slight. The correlation between income and happiness is small and much smaller than most people expect. In his bestselling book Happiness: Lessons from a New Science, economist Richard Layard estimates that lowering household income by one third means a fall in happiness of just two points when happiness is scored between ten and one hundred. It turns out that the effect of income on happiness is overshadowed by many other factors, such as health and personal relationships. These are the things that really matter.

When you give, you’re spending money, not losing it

Here’s something else to consider. Why assume that giving a significant fraction of your income to charity is like earning less? In reality, you won’t have a lower income, just one that’s spent differently. Otherwise you’d be just as happy (or sad) giving money to charity as you would be simply throwing that money away. But that doesn’t really make sense – if you’ve read this far, you presumably care about the welfare of people in developing countries and would be glad to know that their lives are being improved as a result of your actions.

So if your income doesn’t affect your happiness all that much and we know you’ll gain some amount of life-satisfaction from the knowledge that your donations are improving people’s lives, the key question is: how much?

There is evidence to suggest that spending money on others can make us happier than spending on ourselves. To start, we can point to some striking correlational data. One recent study examined survey data gathered from one hundred and thirty-six countries. The authors wanted to see whether donating to charity was correlated with greater feelings of happiness, even when controlling for household income. They found that, in almost all countries, those who gave to charity were happier. If fact, donating to charity had a similar relationship to individual happiness as a doubling of household income.

Of itself, this doesn’t prove that spending money on others is what causes greater happiness. However, there are experiments which suggest that this is in fact the case.

Imagine the following scenario. You are given an envelope containing a small sum of money, which you are asked to spend within 24 hours. You can spend the money on yourself (paying a bill or buying yourself a treat) or you can spend the money on others, giving it to charity or buying a gift for a friend. Which would bring you greater happiness: spending the money on yourself or on others?

When a group of scientists carried out an experiment like this, most participants thought they’d be happier if they could spend the money on themselvesThey were wrong. The people who were asked to spend their money on others ended up happier as a result.

This wasn’t an isolated result. The same researchers conducted a long-term study of employees at a Boston-based company who received a profit-sharing bonus. They found that those who devoted more of their bonus to prosocial spending experienced greater happiness later on.

Giving to others > spending on ourselves

We should obviously be cautious in trying to extrapolate from these results. Even so, these findings lend weight to the idea that giving our money to help others can be a source of personal satisfaction that outweighs whatever minor frustrations we might experience from having less money to spend on ourselves.

Anecdotally, that same idea is borne out when I talk to the members of Giving What We Can. Far from feeling like a sacrifice or a burden, most people say that joining Giving What We Can is an incredibly positive experience. Certainly, that’s been my own story. Given the evidence that income itself doesn’t matter all that much and that helping others often makes us happier, it wouldn’t be surprising if the same could hold true for you.

Ultimately, of course, it’s not about you or me. It’s about helping others who are malnourished, or suffering from terrible diseases like malaria, through no fault of their own. As it turns out,  we can each afford to give a lot more than we might have thought. I can, and so can you. So let’s do it.

Every week, she sings in a prison. And the crowd of women go wild.

This post by Andrea Garcia-Vargas originally appeared in Upworthy on May 24, 2015.

Every week, Naima comes to the San Francisco County Women’s Jail to hold “music sessions.” For one hour, she sings her heart out to the incarcerated women.

Strong, empowered, talented, compassionate — these are all things you can tell about Naima when she goes up to perform in front of the county jail.

Watching her sing and play the guitar is quite the thrill.

But what’s more thrilling for her? Hearing the reactions from the incarcerated women she’s with. In an interview with AJ+’s Dena Takruri, Naima recounted some of the beautiful feedback the women have given her:

“Thank you for being my hour of freedom every week.'”

“My peace and freedom.'”

“I came into class not feeling great, feeling discouraged, and now I’m a lot better. And I feel I can get through my day. And somehow, even with the struggles and me missing my kids, I feel like there’s hope.”

There are three main things Naima hopes all people can take away from her album:

  1. The ability to critically think and ask themselves, are our systems restorative and transformative? Do they really allow for rehabilitation?
  2. The power of music in the act of healing and restoration.
  3. For people to feel heard and for the message to resonate.

If you’re inspired by her and her music, feel free to spread her message and energy around.

Also, stay tuned to her upcoming album, “Borderlands,” which will be released in summer 2015. Bonus! 50% of proceeds from it will go to re-entry programs for incarcerated women.

How Mantras Work

This post by Amarjit Singh originally appeared in DoYouYoga.com on June 7, 2015.

Mantras are repetitive sounds used to penetrate the depths of the unconscious mind and adjust the vibration of all aspects of your being. Mantras are vibrated through chanting aloud, mental practice, or by listening to them.

The experience of how sound vibrations effect your being is Naad yoga. Naad means “the essence of sound” and yoga means “union.” Naad yoga uses sound vibrations to raise your consciousness and tune into the sound that began creation and is constantly vibrating. This universal sound is known as Anahat.

In yoga, mantras are typically chanted in Sanskrit. The Sanskrit word mantra is derived from the root of man which means “to think,” and tra from trai which means “to protect or to free from bondage” or “to free from the mind.”

In Kundalini yoga as taught by Yogi Bhagan, most mantras are recited in Gurmukhi. The words guru-mukh literally mean “from the mouth of the guru.” Although mantras can be chanted in any language, certain languages are designed to have more of an impact in creating targeted psychological and spiritual effects.

How Mantras Impact You

1. Chanting mantras stimulates the endocrine system.

The act of your tongue pressing against the palate of the mouth stimulates the hypothalamus, thalamus, and pituitary. When you recite a mantra, you hit the palate with your tongue. In the palate, there are 84 meridian points: 64 in the hard palate and 20 in the soft palate.

This vibration emanating from the hypothalamus directs the actions of the pituitary gland and governs the endocrine systems. It is also in charge of releasing chemicals and hormones throughout the body and to the brain. This vibration releases chemical hormones that balance the body and have healing effects.

Moreover, the pituitary gland is stimulated through the tongue, hitting the different meridian points. Interestingly, the pituitary gland is formed in the fetus from cells of the roof of the mouth that rise into the brain. This is why pressing the tongue against the roof of the mouth stimulates the gland.

2. Chanting mantras help focus your attention.

Often when we sit down to meditate our mind jumps from thought to thought, making it difficult to focus our attention. Chanting distracts the mind from frivolous thoughts, helping to anchor the mind in concentration.

3. Chanting mantras is an effective way to release emotion.

Emotion that is not accepted represents an aspect of the self that is being judged. This emotion causes sensations in the body that you either crave or have an aversion to.

Either way, you are reacting and reinforcing the pattern. Chanting is an excellent way to let go of the reaction to the sensation through the throat and heart chakras; in essence, releasing the emotion through self-expression.

4. Mantras align your vibration to create awareness.

The vibrations from mantras have the power to rearrange your molecular structure. Each sound has a distinct vibration, and as a result, each mantra has a different effect. All sound affects your molecular structure.

Furthermore, all your thoughts, feelings, words, and actions impact your consciousness. Think about how certain music puts you into a particular mood. Or consider how you feel when there is a lot of noise or when someone is yelling. Mantras are designed to adjust your experience through the subtle vibrations they cause in your being. Each mantra is designed to have a distinct effect.

5. Mantras adjust your vibration, aligning your awareness with aspects of the self and the infinite.

Everything you seek is within. When you feel that you are not experiencing something, it is because you are not tuned into its vibration. When you are vibrating something, you are tuned into it.

For example, if you are vibrating love, you will see it everywhere. If you are not, this vibration lacks. This is also how you are attracted to people and how you can experience that alignment with your karmic vibration.

6. If you want to overcome your karma, change your vibration.

Chanting a mantra tunes you into the experience of the particular mantra. This alignment allows you to experience this vibration by becoming the vibration. The more sensitive you are, the deeper you will experience the effects. Also, the longer and more focused you chant the mantra, the more impact it will have on your consciousness.

It is not only mantras that have a strong impact on your being, but every vibration is crucial. When you think negatively, you create a subtle vibration. The longer this vibration persists, the more it effects your being; the vibration of the thought then creates an emotional vibration, which generates a vibration in the physical body. This is where all the sensations come from in the body.

When we talk about blocks in the physical or subtle body, such as in the chakras or the nadis where the prana flows, we are referring to areas where the vibration is out of alignment; areas that are vibrating slower than they should and where the flow of vital energy is impeded.

The same way that chanting mantras impacts your being, so do your thoughts, words, and actions. This is how habit in your life become patterns. You create vibrations and then, consciously and unconsciously, you react to them. Repeating mantras can help liberate you from these ingrained patterns.

Illuminate! An Example Of Writers And Filmmakers Who Are Not Looking For Hollywood Deals

This post by  originally appeared in Conscious Evolution on June 2, 2015

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There are countless talented writers and filmmakers with important messages to share, whose only goal is to help educate and enlighten. They are not looking for Hollywood deals, except perhaps as a means of spreading their ideas about consciousness to the masses. I went to Sedona to attend Illuminate, a festival dedicated to such independent productions, with an emphasis on transformation and healing.

Illuminate is “the world’s premier film festival for conscious cinema. Dedicated to spreading enlightened ideas and pushing humanity forward, Illuminate is poised to become a landmark destination event and centerpiece for conscious content.”

All of the films and events at Illuminate were focused on consciousness and transformational themes, with an additional dimension of healing rifts and schisms within ourselves and within society.

The award winning feature SOLD was the opening night film, with Gillian Anderson (of The X Files) and the director/writer Jeffrey Brown in attendance and available for questions after the showing. SOLD is the story of a Nepalese girl who is sold into an Indian brothel, with Anderson playing a photographer who sees her plight and works, along with a team of rescuers, to free her. According to Brown, while the film goes through many of the material aspects of her situation, including brutality, it is really about healing and consciousness.

Brown stressed the need to use this consciousness to heal the massive spiritual rifts on our planet – and to save our species – by honoring the divine feminine as sacred healing energy.

Another young filmmaker, Fenullla Jiwani, explained that the young girl who was the protagonist doomed the systemic brothel from the moment of her arrival by bringing with her the light of a different level of consciousness. Fenulla is an Indian actress, writer, and producer, with several films devoted to transformation and consciousness already under her belt. One of Fenulla’s films, echoing SOLD, is about the casting couch in Indian Bollywood productions.

There were also seminars about empowering the creative process and other issues of concern to filmmakers.

Barnet Bain is the producer of such films as What Dreams May Come and The Celestine Prophecy, and the author of The Book of Doing and BeingAt the festival, he spoke about his current passion for “rediscovering creativity in love, work and art” (the book’s subtitle).

Barnet removed his eyeglasses and held them up as a symbol of the massive inner conditioning our young selves undergo which teaches us the “agreements” of our reality and also squashes the inner life that is the womb of creativity.

Barnet said that our imaginations are structured and that filmmakers and artists need to develop an intimate relationship with their structural conditioning. For Barnet, the “big game” is only Consciousness.

He compared our left brain of logic and reason – comprising a world of mental stories – to the tiny sliver of the electronic spectrum that is visible – leaving an infinitely vast subconscious netherworld of chaos and emotion to be explored via conscious cinema.

The real work for Barnet is the pursuit of oneness and healing of the self. He offered that the love affair with intellect is fundamentally disruptive and that all is received in the body as a gift.

Emotion is energy in motion. Thoughts are scary but they are not actual emotion. Rather, they are our conditioned thoughts about our sensed emotion in the body.

He listed the three main imperatives of the ego/mind:

Getting enough
Am I good enough
Figuring out what is the destiny of soul

When the Ego dissolves (see Dying to Know next) the destiny of the soul can unfold.  That is the premise of his work and actually also the mission of the festival – to open to consciousness through cinema.

Dying to Know

This was the film that drew me to the festival, and by the end I had laughed and wept with equal intensity, which is quite unusual for me.

The film sets the record straight, as the director said, of how Ram Dass and Timothy Leary were turned into caricatures by the popular media, and it provides a real context and background for their massive contributions as individuals, as friends, and as co-journeyers.

What the movie did for me, besides give me a profoundly helpful perspective on death (“die before you die” – something I have also heard from Eckhart Tolle), was help me to connect my dots and fill in many blanks. It helped me to understand the source of my seeking and also such a huge part of the tradition of wisdom, along with Alan Watts and others.

My need to figure out what else is “happening” is so much more understandable now knowing and understanding (as I did not at the time) the true force of their impact – how they paved a trail that culminated with my own inner discoveries.

As Gay Dillingham said after the movie ended, the discoveries of these two men are now in our “Zeitgeist,” but as I watched the film I had to remember my own shock and subsequent guilt when these realizations first hit my own nervous system – or awareness system as I like to call it.

Ram Dass was such a big shot in his field and described how he dropped all of his roles, letting them fall away one by one, as the chemicals dissolved his ego.

But Tim Leary was so profound and hysterically funny that I felt in him such a kindred spirit. He reminded me of Steve Jobs in many ways and his testimony in front of the Senate is both brilliant and heartbreaking, especially when one considers the cluelessness of the politicians he spoke with. Where Ram Dass let the rules and roles of society dissolve, Leary just never even considered them – a complete iconoclast, through and through.

Among the delicious ironies of the film and the only one I will mention here is that when Leary was imprisoned they gave him the Psych Profile that he himself had created as a famous psychologist.

Down to Earth

This film blindsided me because I “happened to meet” the director on the first day of the conference. I was immediately intrigued. Down to Earth is brilliant in its depth and simplicity, but for an audience steeped in technology this film takes you to the edge of the earth, and the revelation that we are all One is made so apparent as to be self evident. At the fringes of the film are the darker forces that threaten our planet. Seeing this film will be a great step in our “collective” evolution

The wisdom keepers made me think of Eckhart Tolle’s mention of “frequency holders” in A New Earth and the role of even unheralded individuals in our destiny.

Saturday night’s main event was a showing of Paulo Coelo’s Best Story, a biographical tale about the author of The Alchemist.

A sense of purpose and community was created through a Conscious Filmmakers’ Summit moderated by Kia Kiso, where we brainstormed and charted trends that would support the vision of transformative media in the future.

The theme of healing permeated the conference and there were practitioners of various kinds available throughout the conference.  One pair of sisters, Jewels and Shondra, gave readings, and Jewels, who works in Tarot, will be seen on an upcoming reality show – look for her in “Real Psychics of Sedona.”

There were other excellent movies that deserve more attention than we have space for here, all with significant social and culturally transformative and uplifting themes. Please check out the Illuminate web site for more information.