When You Know Better, You Do Better

In early December, I read a book that I would put into the ‘life-changing’ category. It is called, “Medical Medium” and was published just one month earlier. In it, Anthony Williams shares his story of being tapped by Spirit to diagnose the health issues of all who he would come into contact with, beginning with his grandmother. At the age of four, he heard a voice external to him that told him repeatedly to go to his grandmother, place his hand on her chest, and say the words “lung cancer.” At the time, she displayed no symptoms. His family was taken aback. But when she visited her doctor several weeks later, an x-ray revealed that she did indeed have lung cancer. Every day since, he has been visited by Spirit and by the age of eight, Spirit was always accompanying him. He learned that this particular form of Spirit represented the word Compassion (which precedes Faith, Hope, Joy, and Peace). Williams’ life was made very difficult by this constant voice and its diagnoses and he often wished to be free of this burden. He finally relinquished when Spirit saved both himself and his drowning dog one day as a young adult.
William specializes in diagnosing and understanding chronic “mystery” illnesses such as Adrenal Fatigue, Autism, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Depression, Fibromyalgia, Digestive disorders, Lyme Disease, Migraines, MS, PSTD, Thyroid disorders and more. Western Medicine will not have an understanding of these illnesses for another three or four decades. No one has that kind of time to wait. He writes, “As with any addiction, the first step is for the medical communities to admit they have a problem.”

Just as Dr. Jesse Stoff understood and wrote about in his book, “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: The Hidden Epidemic”, published in 1990, William acknowledges that the Epstein Barr virus is the cause of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, and several other maladies including thyroid disease. (Many other researchers have also come to the same conclusion). Today, there are 60 varieties of this virus. The medical community is only aware of ONE version. While over 70% of Americans have this virus, only some become ill. [Dr. Nicholas Hedberg says that over 95% of the world’s population is infected with Epstein-Barr, most contracting it before the age of three. He also says that the first step in its progression to an autoimmune disorder is a genetic deficiency in CD8 T cells). In its earliest, most dormant, and most vulnerable stage (when it can’t be detected by antibody levels, causes no symptoms, and remains unknown), it floats in the bloodstream. It can remain in this stage for over a decade. At some point, the virus will look for a home in one or more of the organs. In this stage, the virus will still elude tests as it is not presently active in the bloodstream. Tests to detect its presence in organs have not yet been invented. Meanwhile, it is creating three types of poison: toxic waste matter, toxic corpses at the end of each cell’s 6 week life cycle (creating fatigue as the army grows), and neurotoxins that prevent the immune system from attacking it. These poisons affect the liver’s ability to flush out toxins and cause the intestinal tract to become toxic. The virus can remain in this stage for a very long period of time. When an extremely stressful event such as surgery, a car accident, or pregnancy occurs, putting the body in a very vulnerable state, the virus springs and makes a run to another organ, drilling into the tissue- commonly the thyroid gland. (5% of thyroid disease is caused by radiation while the other 95% is caused by Epstein Barr). The immune system then elicits a response, causing inflammation in the body, but can not completely destroy the virus. Rare, aggressive forms of EBV create cancer. When the thyroid is stressed, it places stress on the endocrine system. More adrenaline is generated from the adrenal glands, which EBV feeds on. Its next target becomes the central nervous system. Because Epstein Barr has existed for over 100 years, it has had many generations to mutate and evolve, creating more and more severe strains, which are affecting people at earlier and earlier ages. The medical community is only aware of one of these strains in Group 2 (a relatively mild one).
William also points out that the body does not attack itself! Viruses attack the body’s tissue.
He also discusses Lyme Disease and its true cause- viruses! Neither ticks, nor the bacteria they carry cause Lyme disease! In 0.5% of Lyme cases, a tick bite can be a trigger for Lyme, but it does not cause it! “Hundreds and thousands of people who have never been near a deer tick receive Lyme disease diagnoses.” The medical community, just as in many other instances, does not want to admit it made a mistake. Antibiotics given to Lyme patients create even more harm, as viruses love and feed off them! They also cause damage to the gut and immune system. A bull’s-eye rash (which can be caused by any type of insect bite) is a result of part of the creature being lodged under the skin, causing a normal skin infection. In these cases it is okay to use a mild antibiotic.
He writes about the causes of menopause and perimenopause symptoms in women (also due to viruses, radiation, and pollutants in the environment and in our food, and which are now occurring in women in their twenties and thirties), as well as numerous other ailments, including depression and PostTraumatic Stress Disorder. He says that Alzheimer’s Disease is caused by toxic levels of mercury in the brain and can be reversed by detoxifying the body of heavy metals. (ADHD and Autism are also caused by high levels of mercury and aluminum that settle in the brain’s midline cerebral canal). Mercury is able to be passed down through each successive generation.
He dedicates an entire chapter to discussing the current fear of fruit because of the sugar in it, which he thinks is preposterous. Fruit is the number one cancer fighting food. It also kills viruses. The sugar in fruit is very minimal and is not present in a form that can do harm to the body. He argues that high levels of fat and protein (especially in meat) is what actually causes and allows diabetes and other illnesses to persist by causing the liver to lose its store of glucose.
Some of the worst foods a person with a chronic illness can eat are corn, soy, canola oil, beet sugar, eggs, dairy, pork, farmed fish, and gluten. And one of the worst supplements to ingest is fish oil due to its toxic levels and form of mercury! This concentrated amount of mercury can easily cross the blood-brain barrier and enter sensitive organ systems. It also strengthens and feeds viruses and bacteria. (Ugh! So many things that we are told are “good” for us and that we need are actually toxic!!).

William says that while research will eventually catch up to the information he has listed about the above illnesses, the workings of gut health “may never be uncovered by medical communities on this earth”! (Possibly because we will destroy our planet before that time comes!). He says that Leaky Gut Syndrome is actually a very serious disease that causes severe blood infections and raging fevers. Most people who have been told they have leaky gut actually have ammonia permeability. If hydrochloric acid in the stomach becomes low, proteins that reach the lower intestine won’t be broken down and cells will not be able to access their nutrients. Instead, the food will just sit and rot, creating ammonia gas. This gas then drifts into the bloodstream and is carried throughout the body, resulting in fatigue, skin problems, anxiety, and other problems. Chronic stress is enough to create low levels of hydrochloric acid. So are antibiotics, immunosuppressants, overeating of protein (animal meat, nuts, seeds, and/or legumes) or foods that combine fat and sugar. William says that the first step in fixing ammonia permeability or in addressing any other gut health issue is to restore the stomach’s supply of hydrochloric acid and strengthen the digestive system. The most effective way to do this is to drink a glass of straight celery juice first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. (I have been doing this for several weeks now. I noticed that it immediately lowered the amount of stomach gurgling I was having). The second step in addressing gut health is to remove toxic heavy metals from the gut, which are prime food for viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, and worms. “When these pathogens consume the toxic heavy metals, they release a neurotoxic gas that attaches itself to the ammonia gas and travels through the intestinal lining.” They then inflame the gut, release their poisons, leading to disorders such as IBS, Crohn’s, and colitis. The third step is to restore the gut flora and maximize production of B12. Good bacteria produce most of the body’s supply of B12 in the final section of the small intestine (the ileum). It is this form of B12 that is most recognized by the brain. When the good bacteria in the body dies, the ileum becomes inflamed and severely weakens the immune system. It also ceases the production of B12. Medical labs can not detect the levels of B12 in the gut, organs, or central nervous system, which critically needs it. The best way to restore good bacteria to the gut is through elevated microorganisms that are found on above ground fruits and vegetables. They must be consumed directly picked and unwashed (something that is not possible in the winter in Boston!). Most of the microorganisms in fermented food and yogurt will die in the stomach and never reach the small intestine! (Kimchi and kefir are not so beneficial, after all!).

William lists the highest nutrient foods for healing each of the illnesses he discusses, as well as the supplements needed to attack the viruses. (He does not give dosages, however). He also gives case studies for many of the illnesses he discusses. Unfortunately, the healing times for chronic illnesses are still very long (but much shorter than if nothing was done at all!). A person with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome who follows these protocols will typically take a year to a year and a half to see major improvement. There is a lot of information in this book and I highly recommend it to anyone. It is a fast read, and as time progresses, more and more people will be needing to heed this advice in order to heal themselves!

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What do all Great Spiritual, Thought-Changing Methods Have in Common?

“I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.” -Harriet Tubman

Our lives are ruled by our subconscious minds. Beneath our conscious, rational mind, a program of long held patterns of thought, beliefs, and behavior that were fully developed by the age of 7 runs continuously in the background. For most of us, these learned patterns are limiting and fear-based, and they hold us back from living the lives we were destined to live. They hold us back from our potential.
No matter how aware we become of our behavior, we will not be able to actually change our experience in the world until we learn to reprogram this extremely powerful subconscious mind. Otherwise, we will continually fall back into our old habits and ways of being and remained trapped and stuck. We will resort to blaming others and not empower ourselves.
Fortunately, today there are a number of methods to help us examine our thought, behavior, and belief patterns and shift them to ones that release us from our self-created suffering. They range from courses that are designed to take over a year of daily practice (A Course in Miracles), to a brilliant method of inquiry consisting of the same four questions that can be applied to any thought that is causing one to suffer (Byron Katie’s ‘The Work’ http://thework.com/en).

While each form of spiritual psychotherapy or thought changing program has its own specific form, content, and method, I have noticed many commonalities between them.

1) At their core, each of these methods holds the belief that only love is real. All else is illusion.

2) Fear is the opposite of love.

3) The ego tries every possible method of keeping us in a fear-based state, which generates anger, depression, sadness, and violence. It does not want us to know the truth that only the love you have given and the love you have received is real because then it would lose all of its power. Marianne Williamson says, “The ego both tempts us to do stupid things and then punishes us severely for having done so. It is suspicious at best and vicious at worst.”

4) Suffering brings awareness. It gives us an opportunity to examine our minds and our beliefs and allows us to see that most of our thoughts are not true. We are not seeing accurately. We are creating our own suffering.

5) Forgiveness brings great peace. “A Course in Miracles” says that you can have either a grievance or a miracle. You can’t have both. Forgiveness allows us to be in an open state where we can receive miracles as expressions of love.

6) Only the present exists. There is no past. The past only exists in our memories which are influenced by our long held patterns. They are colored. They are an illusion.

7) The breath allows us to experience the present moment. In nearly every language, the word “breath” is also the same word for “spirit”. Connecting with the breath allows a connection with the spirit. The breath is also a link between the body and the mind.

8) Believing comes before seeing. Our thoughts create our reality. Perception precedes form.

9) Each method involves disciplined practice. This practice can come in the form of meditation, or in a specific form of study. “A Course in Miracles” consists of 365 days of lessons, as well as a huge volume of text. Byron Katie’s ‘The Work’ consists of a “Judge Your Neighbor Worksheet”, four simple questions, and a turn-around. Discipline creates accountability and repetition.

10) The morning is the optimal time for practice. This is when the mind is most fresh and open to new impressions, unencumbered by the stress and events of the day. It also allows the entire day to practice.

I highly recommend a disciplined, spiritual practice for bringing more freedom, ease, and peace into your life. When we change ourselves, it has an effect on those around us, creating a ripple effect into the world. The world will begin to heal when the collective consciousness is brought to a higher level.

Time for a New Year

2015 was a tough one for our planet and for many of its inhabitants. For me, it was no different. Four days into the new year, I was hit with the worst stomach bug of my life. This virus weakened me so much that my eye was infected and remained so for weeks. At the same time, I was dealing with chronic gut issues and a very painful torn meniscus. I had knee surgery the second week of February and worked very hard to regain flexibility and strength in that leg over the next couple of months. To the surprise of my surgeon and physical therapist, I was still feeling a sharp pain that was similar to the one I felt pre-surgery weeks later. By mid-April, when I returned to yoga, I was struck with a new (and very scary) problem. Two days after my period ended, I began to bleed heavily every day for the next 10 weeks. (The doctor made me wait 6 weeks before he would perform a simple 10 minute test). In May, while I waited, I started experiencing debilitating migraines for the first time in my life, frequent nausea for no reason (making it very hard to try to do yoga), abdominal pain, and loss of energy. By early July, my body completely ran out of energy. I felt like I was dying. I couldn’t stay awake for more than 5 hours per day. I didn’t have the energy to say hello to a clerk or person on the street. It took me 3 and a half days to collect enough energy to go out and get groceries, after which I immediately had to go back to bed. I didn’t know what was happening to me. But I knew I didn’t want to live that way. I was ready to die.
At the end of July, I had my second surgery of the year. I had a polyp removed and the insides of my uterus blasted with microwave radiation to burn and destroy the lining. I woke up crying and confused. Part of me had thought that if they gave me anesthesia, I wouldn’t wake up. My body was too tired.
I anticipated that my energy would gradually return in the following weeks, but it did not. One night, while looking up the typical recovery time for my procedure, I read a long list of complaints from women who wished they had never had it. Many suffered from painful abscesses from pooled blood that could now not escape. I began to regret my decision.
By the end of August, I figured out that I was suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Luckily, after posting this finding on Facebook, a fellow long distance hiker wrote to me about her own experience of contracting this disease when she was 27. It was one of the best letters I had received in my life. It reaffirmed some of the things I had been learning myself. By this time, I had occasionally tried doing some yoga at home with the result of rendering myself bedridden for the next several days or week. My body had completely lost its ability to recover. I had lost the ability to access my strength in the only way I previously had been able to access it. A simple flat walk on the beach would send me straight back to bed. I had a few remaining talks scheduled, but didn’t know how I would manage to even drive over two hours to give them. At the same time, my brain was paralyzed with a fog that I had never experienced before. I couldn’t read or write. I couldn’t even reach out for help.
By the end of October, I knew that I had to drastically change my diet in order to even have a chance at healing. I had to give up coffee, sugar, all grains, all beans, all dairy, eggs, nuts, seeds, and nightshade vegetables. Two months into the diet, I was beginning to see some improvements in my digestive tract and brain fog, but I was disappointed with my lack of progress in regaining energy or my body’s ability to recover.
I have never been this sick for such a prolonged period of time. In many ways, having a chronic illness is similar to suffering from the flu every day consecutively for six months or years. It renders your body so weak that you are largely confined to bed. There was not one day this year (or in the last 2.7 years) where I felt healthy.
I also learned that very, very few people try to understand or sympathize with someone suffering from a chronic autoimmune illness, while they  become VERY responsive to those who have received a diagnosis of cancer. Cancer has been very well studied, funded, and publicized, whereas chronic “mystery” illnesses have not- even though more than 5 times the number of people have an autoimmune disease than have cancer and even though those who have been diagnosed with cancer are often able to live a much higher quality of life than someone with a chronic autoimmune disease.
I wondered throughout the year if I was experiencing the worst year of my life, but the truth is, I can’t remember when I haven’t had a very tough, challenging, and sorrow filled year. Some people’s lives are filled with an exorbitant amount of tragedy and strife. The playing field is most definitely not level. On the other hand, the human spirit is capable of tremendous resilience. I feel like this illness is giving me the opportunity to turn my life around. Not only am I learning to change my thoughts, perceptions, and therefore experience in life, I am learning that good things can be found in the most difficult places. I am learning that one’s biology and early life does not determine one’s destiny- that everything in life, including the expression of our genes can change when provided with the right environment.
In this past year alone, I spent many weeks unable to see, unable to walk, and unable to move my body at all (another name for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is System Exertion Intolerance Disease). I know very well that there can be no “shoulds” in life. Exercising (or doing yoga) is NOT good for everyone. Being a vegetarian (or any other lifestyle of eating) is NOT right for everyone. Walking or reading or engaging with others is not possible for everyone. We all have different chemistries, abilities, injuries, and illnesses which determine what is possible for us. Only we, ourselves, know what is best for us. Our own intuitions and experiences are our greatest authorities.
I am hopeful that in this coming year, I will continue to heal, to learn more about autoimmune diseases and their causes, and to use my knowledge to help others. It is projected that the number of people who suffer with an autoimmune or other chronic “mystery” illness will double or triple with every decade to come. What I have been going through is not without purpose. Neither is anyone else’s suffering.
I wish everyone good health,  hope, and an abundance of courage in the new year. And thank you to everyone who has shown me support in this past one!!

Depression is Not Always a “Bad” Thing

I’ve been suffering both physically and mentally these past few days. I think I was infected with another stomach bug the Monday before Christmas and for the past nine days, I lost all progress that I had been making with my digestive system in the last 2 months. The intense abdominal pain and diarrhea that I had suffered for the last 2.5 years returned. (The fact that I ingested several things on Christmas that are not Autoimmune Paleo approved didn’t help either, and left me feeling like I still have a very long way to go in terms of healing my digestive system alone). And yesterday, my visit with a new primary care physician left me feeling very depressed. She was no more sympathetic or compassionate than the last one. She did not want to repeat any blood work “because nothing would be different than it was in August”. She blamed the massive amount of hair I have been losing for the past 2 months on my new diet and did not want to have my T3 tested like the last doctor. “Why do you want that?” she asked.
“Because sometimes, T4 is not converted to T3,” I said. I told her I wanted to have a full thyroid panel done (free T3, reverse T3, etc), but she said insurance would not cover those tests.
She asked me if I was working and when I said no, asked “Why not?”. I realize that very few people can understand what it is like to have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome if they have not experienced it themselves, but I would hope that a doctor would at least be able to listen compassionately and try to understand. I had explained that I was sleeping 19 hours per day in the summer, that I was not able to even say “hello” to someone, that my brain fog was so strong that I could not read or reach out to anyone for help. “I felt paralyzed,” I told her. “I felt like I was dying.”
She had NOTHING to offer me. Her only suggestion was to see a GI and get a colonoscopy (which I do not want). I asked to see an infectious disease specialist, as I know that viruses are responsible for the onset of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. She did not think that was necessary. She denied I had any problems with my adrenals and instead tried to make me feel like I had an eating disorder. “Have you been losing weight? Do you think you need to lose any more weight? What is your ideal weight?”. When I showed her the list of lab tests from the book the nutritionist I follow in California wrote, and asked her if she would consider taking any of them, she flipped to the cover, saw “The Loving Diet” and smiled dismissively. I quickly tried to defend the author, but realized neither I nor she had any power in this place. She asked what medications I was taking and I told her none- only vitamins. She wanted to know where I got these vitamins and what they were. I started to list some off the top of my head: Astragalus, Ashwaganda, Cat’s Claw, Vitamin B12, L-Glutamine…
“What are they for? I don’t know anything about these.”
I asked if there was anyone in the network who knew anything about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. She said she didn’t know- that she would have to ask and get back to me later.
I went downstairs to register and wait to have my blood drawn. An anger rose in me about the medical establishment as a whole. More than 50 million Americans suffer from an autoimmune disorder and an estimated 2.5 million have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Western Medicine has NOTHING to offer these people. NOTHING. They are left to fend for themselves, are forgotten, and left to live the remainder of their lives in pain and an unfunctional state. I am grateful that I have found some resources that have started to help me, but I can’t help thinking about all those who haven’t. From my experience, I have learned that anything that falls outside of the standard training that doctors have received is immediately dismissed. Patients are not being listened to, and resources that they have discovered are rejected and actually blamed for their symptoms! (My first doctor tried to blame my vitamins and the second one tried to blame my diet! For the record, I have never eaten this many vegetables in my life and I have cut out many of the harmful foods I had been eating!). This kind of attitude is not only an unfortunate consequence, it is unacceptable and harmful. I have been learning a lot of science in these past couple of months, and most of it I hear about from a nutritionist who stays on top of all the latest research, works with people who suffer from autoimmune diseases, and who regularly attends trainings by knowledgeable doctors in the field. Had I not started the AutoImmune Paleo Diet, my brain would not be working well enough for me to write this now. While I still have a long way to go, I have brought my sleeping hours down to 12-14 hours per day from 16-19, cleared a great deal of my paralyzing brain fog, and started to heal my intestines. During this time, I have also read books that dispute much of what doctors have been taught. Most of the bloodwork that they are performing is completely meaningless. Private companies are now offering much more accurate tests in a number of areas, but these tests are not covered by insurance, are very expensive, and they are not testing what the doctors have been trained to look for. This doctor asked me why I wanted to be tested for Epstein Barr and not Lyme. “You were in areas with ticks. It is more likely you have that.” I simply told her that according to the research I had done, I was not worried about having Lyme. (Besides the fact that I did not have those particular symptoms, I now know that Lyme is also caused by viruses [not bacteria!], and is not even caused by ticks!).

I returned home three hours later feeling defeated, powerless, and no better off than I went in. I sunk back into a tired depression. Later that night, I listened to Marianne Williamson’s latest lecture. To my surprise, she was much softer and more empathetic than usual. In response to someone’s question about constantly feeling depressed and anxious, she mentioned a study by an anthropologist on depressed chimpanzees. As in humans, a similar percentage of chimpanzees display characteristics of depression such as social withdrawal, hyper-vigilence, trouble sleeping, etc.. In this study, the chimpanzees who displayed depressed qualities were physical removed from their tribe. Marianne asked the audience what they thought happened to the remaining chimps when no longer around their depressed members after the researchers returned within a year.

It turned out that all of the remaining chimps were found dead! It was hypothesized that the depressed chimps served as a warning system to the others! They were the ones who were watching for predators, who stayed up and were more vigilant. Without them, there was no one to sound an alarm!
This story instantly perked me up and reminded me that my feelings were valid. There was a good reason I was feeling this way! I also remembered a similar story that Glennon Doyle Melton talks about: canaries in the coal mines. In the old days, miners used to take caged canaries down with them in the mines. When the canaries stopped singing, the miners knew the air was getting too toxic to breathe and that they would die if they didn’t get out.
Sensitive people who easily get depressed are the world’s alarm system! We know when something is wrong. There are a lot of harmful things happening on the earth right now, and one of them is the lack of attention being paid to the toxins in our environment and in our food, as well as the propagation and mutation of viruses that are making us sick. Right now, 1 in 50 children are autistic. It is projected that in the year 2030, which is only 15 short years away, 1 in 2 children will be autistic! This is a staggering figure! The children are warning us. We NEED to listen. Women have also been historically dismissed and labeled crazy for their physical symptoms. 70 years ago, women did not suffer from the menopause systems they do today. The problem is NOT women’s hormones. The problem is the radiation and toxicity that our earth is filled with today. Today, 20 and 30 year old women are experiencing the symptoms of menopause! We can no longer ignore these warnings!

The first thing that we need to do to begin to address these issues is to actually hear one another with complete openness and a beginner’s mind in order to gain an understanding of the root causes behind these diseases. There is no room for ego, no room for an “I know more than you because I hold an MD and you do not.” We must listen to those who are presently struggling with chronic illnesses, to stay on top of the latest research studies, to hear what those who are working with chronically ill patients are learning from the use of supplements, nutrition, and perception changes. The only way that we can begin to heal the earth and ourselves is to open our hearts fully so we can learn from one another and make changes to reverse the harm that has been done. Our emotions are valid. They are telling us very important things.

Holy Days

I’ve learned a lot from Marianne Williamson this past year. Christmas is not just about the birth of one man two thousand years ago. It is about the birth of Love in all of us. We all have the light within ourselves to pave a path out of fear and darkness. We all have the potential to bless one another and to see the divinity within each other. We all have the power to alter our thoughts and to create miracles as the expression of love. Christmas is a time of remembering and re-birthing these parts of ourselves. We are already whole. Merry Christmas and Happy Holy Days to all!

I would like to share an article from Marianne that was published in the Huffington Post a few years ago.

“The holidays are only holy if we make them so.

Otherwise, the assault of modernity — from crass consumerism to a 24-hour news cycle to the compulsivity of the wired world — wrecks whatever we have left of our nervous systems, making the true spiritual meaning of Christmas seem as distant as the furthest star. It’s only when we consciously carve out a space for the holy — in our heads, our hearts and our lifestyles — that the deeper mysteries of the season can reveal themselves.

The holidays are a time of spiritual preparation, if we allow them to be. We’re preparing for the birth of our possible selves, the event with which we have been psychologically pregnant all our lives. And the labor doesn’t happen in our fancy places; there is never “room in the Inn,” or room in the intellect, for the birth of our authentic selves. That happens in the manger of our most humble places, with lots of angels, i.e. Thoughts of God, all around.

Something happens in that quiet place, where we’re simply alone and listening to nothing but our hearts. It’s not loneliness, that aloneness. It’s rather the solitude of the soul, where we are grounded more deeply in our own internal depths. Then, having connected more deeply to God, we’re able to connect more deeply with each other. Our connection to the divine unlocks our connection to the universe.

According to the mystical tradition, Christ is born into the world through each of us. As we open our hearts, he is born into the world. As we choose to forgive, he is born into the world. As we rise to the occasion, he is born into the world. As we make our hearts true conduits for love, and our minds true conduits for higher thoughts, then absolutely a divine birth takes place. Who we’re capable of being emerges into the world, and weaknesses of the former self begin to fade. Thus are the spiritual mysteries of the universe, the constant process of dying to who we used to be as we actualize our divine potential.

We make moment-by-moment decisions what kind of people to be — whether to be someone who blesses, or who blames; someone who obsesses about past and future, or who dwells fully in the present; someone who whines about problems, or who creates solutions. It’s always our choice what attitudinal ground to stand on: the emotional quicksand of negative thinking, or the airstrip of spiritual flight.

Such choices are made in every moment, consciously or unconsciously, throughout the year. But this is the season when we consider the possibility that we could achieve a higher state of consciousness, not just sometimes but all the time. We consider that there has been one — and the mystical tradition says there have also been others — who so embodied his own divine spark that he is now as an elder brother to us, assigned the task of helping the rest of us do the same. According to A Course in Miracles, he doesn’t have anything we don’t have; he simply doesn’t have anything else. He is in a state that is still potential in the rest of us. The image of Jesus has been so perverted, so twisted by institutions claiming to represent him. As it’s stated in the Course, “Some bitter idols have been made of him who came only to be brother to the world.” But beyond the mythmaking, doctrine and dogma, he is a magnificent spiritual force. And one doesn’t have to be Christian to appreciate that fact, or to fall on our knees with praise and thanks at the realization of its meaning. Jesus gives to Christmas its spiritual intensity, hidden behind the ego’s lure into all the wild and cacophonous sounds of the season. Beyond the nativity scenes, beyond the doctrinal hoopla, lies one important thing: the hope that we might yet become, while still on this earth, who we truly are.

Then we, and the entire world, will know peace.”

-Marianne Williamson

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marianne-williamson/christmas-for-mystics_b_2288340.html

Our Chance to Directly Help Refugees with Small Acts of Love!

One million dollars was raised in 31 hours by 40,000 people!

Collectively, with small acts of love, we have the power to create miracles.

You can read more about the aid already given from the donations collected during a 24 hour “Love Flash Mob” in November in (my heroine) Glennon Doyle Melton’s moving post. http://momastery.com/blog/2015/12/18/saving-lives/

“We have a plan. You are a part of it.

Today’s refugee crisis is the worst humanitarian emergency the world has seen since World War II. Just as the Greatest Generation’s response to the holocaust defined them, so will our response define us.

We want to be remembered as the generation that chose Love over Fear.

As you read this, thousands are fleeing terror and war – forced from their homes into tiny boats with nothing but the clothes on their backs and the children in their arms. They will cross the sea, walk for days, holding tight to their families and their hope for safety and a future.

This moment in time is asking us a critical question. How will we respond? Let us answer: with compassion.

Compassion will guide us. Compassion is humanity’s North Star. It will always guide us out of the dark, back toward peace, hope and each other.

Today’s Questions:

Should starving women be fed?
Should homeless babies be sheltered?
Should freezing men be warmed?
Should drowning children be saved?

If your heart says YES: Join us.

Join us in a circle of humanity standing shoulder to shoulder, together saying:

In a fearful world, I stand with love.

WE ARE THE COMPASSION COLLECTIVE.

Our symbol is the compass. We vow to let compassion guide us, one step at a time.”

And an update from Elizabeth Gilbert:
“WHY ARE WE DOING THIS?

Dear Ones –

I want to tell you the exact reason why I am trying to raise money right now to help with the refugee crisis.

I want to tell you exactly why I’ve gathered together with my friends Brene Brown, Cheryl Strayed, Rob Bell and Glennon Doyle Melton to try to meet the audacious goal of raising a million dollars for this emergency.

I’m doing it because of this quote, which came to my attention through an organization called HELP REFUGEES, whom we are partnering with, and who are working on the ground in Greece, right at the heart of this crisis. This quote came from a volunteer doctor they are working with, who ended a recent phone call from the island of Lesvos with this desperate plea:

“There are thousands of children here and their feet are literally rotting, they can’t keep dry, they have high fevers and they’re standing in the pouring rain for days on end. You have one month, guys, and then all these people will be dead”.

I can’t know about this situation, and not do something about it.

I can’t know about children facing the winter — cold, homeless and hungry and with rotting feet — and not do something about it.

I am doing this because of kids like the beautiful little boy in this photo — who our team has already assisted — because they need our help.

I know you want to help, too…and you can!

Already today, over 10,000 people from this Facebook page (and Rob’s Facebook page, and Brene’s Facebook page, and Cheryl’s Facebook page, as well) helped us to raise almost $270,000 toward our goal.

Over a quarter of a million dollars…in just a few hours!

Not a penny of it will be wasted.

This is where your money is going:

BLANKETS.

BABY CARRIERS.

LIFE JACKETS.

FOOD.

WARM CLOTHING.

FLOOD LIGHTS (for pulling people out of the water at night)

LAMPS.

WOODEN SHELTERS.

LIFE.

This money is going to to life — to save human lives.

Like: IMMEDIATELY, in real time. You have no idea how efficient these people are, who we are working on the ground, helping out. They’re amazing.

Let’s save more lives.

Let’s keep going, Dear Ones. Let this be your best Christmas gift, dedicated to the poeple you love most. IMy own donations are in the names of my beloved family members.) Let’s use our holiday hearts full of love to show up for some of the most desperate people in the world right now. Let’s make a difference.

Keep donating, keep giving, keep caring.Most of all, keep SHARING these posts, and inviting the big-hearted people in your lives to stand with love.

The more you share, the more love will pour in.

Those of us who are warm and dry and safe and well-fed must show up for those who are cold and wet and endangered and hungry. That’s a rule of life. Every ethical and religious and spiritual tradition in the world agrees on that rule.

Nothing matters to me more right now than helping these people.

My entire Christmas this year = THIS.

Please join me in this miracle of love.

THANK YOU!

Here is the link, to join us, and to donate:

http://bit.ly/1NyoLf1

LOVE YOU ALL,

LG”