I cannot believe it’s the end of 2009 already! It’s been a year of intense changes, compelling challenges, devastating losses and great sparks of light and divine love. I certainly don’t have the answers for the future, I admit I’m clueless as anyone else these days. No matter how “spiritual” you are – an open heart will not grant you certainty of the future. It does however give you grace – that ineffable quality that allows you to approach life with deep acceptance and love, no matter the circumstances.
So as we move through another holiday season – I wish for you three things: grace, patience and space – qualities that will allow you to face any situation in life with gratitude and clarity. Perhaps next year will be the year we cultivate these qualities together and make a commitment to be the change we would like to see in our world. And on a personal note – I’d like to share my gratitude for all of you, our connection, and the loveliness that you add to my life each and every every day.
As for news, you’ll notice that I’ve added a wonderful Yoga retreat for February in Cartagena, Colombia (my dear friend Jhon T is teaching, do watch his video on the right). It’s one of the most beautiful historical colonial towns in the Caribbean and the perfect winter get-away. (<– That’s the mansion we’re renting for the trip!) Also, if you’re interested in our spiritual journey to Israel & Jordan – registration is now! There are two trips to Sedona this year and we’re still waiting for dates for Teotihuacan and Bimini!
BTW: This month’s article is about Gratitude. Hope you enjoy it.
DO POST YOUR COMMENTS BELOW (they won’t show up right away until they are approved)!
Truly a gem of the Caribbean – the port town of Cartagena de Indias, Colombia has been a beauty and delight to visitors for centuries. Between the sultry sounds and the warm ocean breezes, Cartegena is the perfect place to slow down, relax and sooth the mind, body and spirit – and to enjoy a very special yoga retreat and winter get-away! Filled with delightful little shops, intimate cafes, charming colonial buildings, and quaint restaurants – you will be inspired by this Caribbean town.
We’ll spend 7 days in our own private heavenly mansion, centering ourselves and deepening our yoga practice. Each day yoga teacher Jhon T (owner of Atmananda Yoga Center in NYC) will guide us into the sacred vinyasa practice – opening ourselves to the power of transformation, quieting our minds, and opening our hearts. By the time we go home we will be refreshed in our bodies and our souls ready to make positive changes in our lives.
Truly you’ll be staying in one of the most stunningly beautiful and oldest historic colonial homes in Cartagena. This majestic mansion was renovated by the famous master architect Alvaro Barrera in 2007, and it is considered one of the most prestigious and exclusive residences of Cartagena. During your stay, you’ll be taken care of by dedicated personnel who will give you all the special attention you need and deserve as if you were in a grand luxury hotel. Trip cost: $2629.00 USD per person single occupancy only (until we reach 15 people – then we will allow doubles) – $2169.00 USD per person double occupancy. Details for our Yoga retreat here!
IMPORTANT: YOU MUST REGISTER by JANUARY 1st!
ISRAEL & JORDAN: Walking in the Footsteps of the Masters
Israel: March 3-12 & extension to Petra, Jordan: Mar 12-15, 2010
Of all the sacred sites in the world, The Holy Land is certainly one of the most inspiring and emotional. It’s remarkable that three of the largest mono-theistic religions were born in this tiny area: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Consider that Jerusalem is where Solomon built the Great Temple, Christ was crucified, and the Prophet Mohammad came during his famous night journey. Indeed the Holy Land has been a place of great faith and hope – and terrible war and sorrow.
During our spiritual journey to Israel we’ll travel through time and immerse ourselves in the footsteps of the great spiritual masters. By connecting to these sacred and holy spaces we’ll find our own internal heaven-on-earth and divine consciousness. Your heart will open as you move through these places of prayer and devotion. 2010 trip cost is: $3995.00 USD per person double occupancy for the journey to Israel (many meals are included). If you’d like to join us for the extension to Jordan and Petra, the cost would be an additional $1395.00 USD per person double occupancy. Details for Israel here!
SEDONA: Goddess Healing Spiritual Retreat
March 19-24th, 2010
Join Shanti during this unprecedented time of spiritual awakening – when the cosmic scales of light are balanced in perfect equilibrium – when night is equal to day. With winter behind us it’s time to celebrate our blossoming life force, to transform our inner darkness to light, and to plant the seeds of a new dream of deeper personal wisdom, understanding, patience, abundance, health, love, and peace.
The Mago Retreat Center, located on 150 acres of vortex energy, is a nourishing and intimate place to treat yourself to a much needed rest and rejuvenation. Serving a delicious vegetarian (and fish) menu, their staff supports the health and wholeness of each visitor. Healthy food, morning stretches, walking to powerful vortexes, sacred ceremonies, and self-nurturing will be our focus. The Birthing Cave and our vortex sites will hold many of our ceremonies where we’ll birth ourselves anew, free of old storylines, agendas and dogmas.
You’ll participate in pipe, fire and springtime celebration ceremonies. Each person will receive a bodywork treatment from Joumana, voted the best massage therapist in Sedona – and have their astrology chart interpreted by Rosine Fievet, who’s been charting for over 3 decades! In addition you’ll experience one of Mago’s signature therapies – a very special treat. The intent of our retreat is to release and dissolve old repressed emotions, played-out dramas, self-sabotaging and limiting habitual life patterns, and to open to planting the seeds of true joy, love, forgiveness, compassion and self-love. To be reborn, and step into the next chapter of our lives, for our personal and planetary awakening.2010 trip cost is: $1795.00 USD double occupancy, most meals included. Details for our Goddess Retreat here!
LISTEN TO OUR ARCHIVED TELECLASSES!
A NEW OPPORTUNITY for 2010
In 2010 I won’t be offering Dreaming – instead we’ll have personal intensives. The intensives take place in my home in the mountains of north Georgia. It’s a very quiet place to take time to reflect upon your life and the local hiking is amazing. You’ll stay here during your intensive and have full access to your own kitchen and space. Figure we’ll spend around 3 hours together in the morning and then you’ll do your assignments in the afternoon. Then we’ll catch back up for 1-2 hours in the evening to re-cap. Details here.
Listen to Sheri’s interview on A WOMAN”S SPIRIT
Sheri will share how we can discover the current agreements we have with ourselves and how The Four Agreements® can enhance our lives. Want to increase your feeling of freedom? Join radio host Vanecia Wills-Leufroy, Life Facilitator & Spiritual Practitioner & Sheri.
CONFESSIONS OF A SINNER (A letter from any of us to Spirit)
Dear Mother, Father, God, Spirit, Infinite Consciousness,
I feel the need to share with you what is in my heart today. I’ve been working hard on my spiritual path and I can see all the miraculous changes in my life as a result. And I feel so blessed. I am grateful and happy for all the good in my life. Yet, I feel I must be honest with you – gratitude is not always in my heart.
I understand gratitude on an intellectual level. I know that I “should” feel gratitude for all the blessings in my life. I can even list all I have to be grateful for: my friends and family, the support in my life, the food on my table – truly the list is endless. Yet – Mother, Father, Spirit – I still complain about the very things I’m supposedly grateful for! The attitude I live my life from does not always reflect my gratitude, only my selfishness and I feel ashamed.
I often have judgmental thoughts that cross my mind, for example: That stupid gal at the check-out counter is SO slow!!! And then a moment later another thought will come in my mind like this: Well, you’re lucky you have the means to shop in the grocery store – you could be destitute or be in a refugee camp somewhere in the world. I often feel like a war is going on in my head and no one knows about it but me, and I feel so alone.
I realize that I cannot feel grateful at the same time that I’m being judgmental and opinionated. When I behave that way I can feel my heart closing and my unconditional love shrinking away – I despise that feeling, yet I do it anyway. It’s as if I can’t stop myself – I can actually see and hear the words coming out of my mouth, yet I feel powerless to change them.
I often wonder; why do I focus on what’s not good enough in my life rather than what is beautiful? I know that if I truly had gratitude for everything I’d laugh when my mind proposed a judgment because I’d know there is no bad or good only the “what is.” I’d be able to know the truth of your perfection and recognize that I don’t have access to the bigger picture. I want to have faith in your truth Father, not my ego-mind’s limited and frightened viewpoint!
I want live my life honestly Father, I want to walk my talk Mother – yet my thoughts betray me and I get impatient and irritated with myself. I don’t want to be living a lie. How can I live my life in truth?
My Beloved Child,
Truth is a funny thing for the human ego-mind – it gets so confused between the personal truth of a limited belief system and my truth. My truth, which lives in hearts of all living beings, can be alluded to by one human concept: Love. I say alluded to, because the truth of Love is infinite and no human concept or word can capture the glory and majesty of it.
When you allow my truth to express through you, the reaction of your human body is gratitude and bliss. And the only thing stopping Love from being your reality every moment of your life is where you choose to place your attention. When you shift your attention from your heart to your mind you are no longer living my truth, but instead living the truth of your ego’s concepts. And child, those concepts can never be my truth as they are limited which is against my nature.
Your mind, the ability you have to be conscious of your consciousness, is my gift to you. You can either let it reflect the power and glory of infinite possibility, or you can fill it with lies. It’s your choice, that’s what free will is about. If you choose to believe in what is not truth, you will suffer. If you choose to believe in what is truth, you will be free.
Child, have faith in my power which lives within you and use it to take control of your attention. Once focused on my truth, heaven on earth will be yours forever. This is my promise to you. I love you and I bless you always and forever.
MY NEW FAVORITE MEDITATION ASSISTANT
Centerpointe Research Institute!
I just wanted to introduce all of you to my favorite meditation tool. Before recommending this product – I decided to give it a try myself to see how it works. I have been experimenting with this program for 10 months now and I highly recommend it! I could go into how the sound technology works – but it is better if you read their material yourself.
Centerpointe Research Institute has created a proprietary audio technology called Holosync® that instantly (and gently) puts you into deep states of meditation (in fact, even deeper than those achieved by veteran Zen Monks), at the push of a button. This means that you can now start enjoying and profiting from all the recognized health benefits of deep meditation beginning the very first day you use it instead of waiting through years of hard practice. Just click to order a free demo disc.
RECOMMENDED MUSIC OF THE MONTH
Millions will rejoice this holiday season with the much-anticipated release of Andrea Bocelli’s My Christmas. The first-ever Christmas recording from Andrea is a heart-warming collection of seasonal favorites produced by the legendary David Foster. The lush, beautiful arrangements alongside Bocelli’s unmistakable soaring vocals make this a must-have holiday recording.
Highlights include “White Christmas,” “Oh Holy Night,” “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” “Jingle Bells,” “Silent Night,” “The Christmas Song,” and “What Child Is This” among others. My Christmas will also be a major component of a PBS Great Performances special to air on Public Television this December, featuring Andrea and David Foster with additional special guests. This CD makes a fantastic holiday gift for anyone who loves Bocelli’s heart-felt voice. Pick up a copy on Amazon today: My Christmas
SPIRITUAL CINEMA CIRCLE
If You Love Movies, You Are About to Be Inspired AND Entertained!
When you join Spiritual Cinema Circle you will be making an important contribution to your world. You are encouraging talented, visionary filmmakers to continue in their efforts to add life and meaning to our movies and to raise the consciousness of the world by supporting and experiencing truly nourishing entertainment.
This month’s feature film is: Ocean of Pearls. This brilliant first feature from Sarab Neelam, M.D. depicts the universal quest for identity. As a Sikh in North America, Dr. Amrit Singh is of two worlds, but belongs to neither. When he is offered a prestigious position at a Detroit hospital, the young surgeon sees an opportunity to start fresh, only to discover that his appearance may threaten his success. What happens when our dreams seem to clash with our heritage? Perhaps it is through the collusion of the old ways and the new that we find out who we are. Watch the preview of this feature film plus the 3 shorts!
Great news from our friends at Spiritual Cinema Circle – you can receive this full feature film plus 3 great short films for FREE when you sign up for a trial membership at no charge. (Just pay a small shipping fee). This is the only DVD service dedicated to films about love, compassion and inspiration: one of the many reasons we wanted you to know about them. Each month you receive 4 features and shorts on DVD. You may cancel your membership at any time. Join the Circle today!
EARLY REGISTRATION A MUST!
SACRED BRITAIN & SCOTLAND: A Women’s Journey to Avalon
Sacred Britain: June 2-11th – extension to Rosslyn: June 11-14th
Within the heart of every woman is the desire for a grail quest for personal freedom and internal peace. On this sacred journey we’ll be visiting Glastonbury, otherwise known as the Isle of Avalon. Glastonbury Abbey, the birthplace of Christianity in England is often referred to as the “holiest earth in England.”
We’ll visit to the enchanted Dozmary Pool where we come into the presence of the Lady of the Lake at her mystical and watery home. Get ready for a private visit to the beautiful and tranquil gardens of Chalice Well, one of the true healing places in this land where you are encouraged to drink from the holy well. Join us for a private visit to Stonehenge, plus so much more! This trip is being led by Madeleine Marentette, founder and creator of Grail Life Academy and Grail Springs, Canada’s leading health spa and transformation centre. She’s also author of “Grail Springs Holistic Detox: For Body, Mind & Spirit.” 2010 trip cost is: see the website for details (approximately $3500.00 USD for Britain and around $1300.00 USD for the extension to Scotland which includes the roundtrip flight from England to Scotland) Details for Sacred Britain here!
TEOTIHUACÁN: “The Place Where Humans Become as God”
Using the layout of the city as a model for transcendence, we spend four days changing our dream of frustration and suffering, to a dream of inner peace and heaven. The energy here is perfect to support our personal growth and development. Discover all the things that have been preventing you from expressing yourself fully and authentically in this lifetime. Just as the ancient Toltecs did here at Teotihuacán, we too will practice the three masteries for personal freedom: Awareness, Transformation and Intent.
On this journey we’ll be focusing our attention on “The Medicine Bag” – a powerful process that allows you to see your mental map and its limiting aspects (designed by my teacher don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements®). You’ll need to bring a couple of specific items with you on this journey to create your medicine bag – but you can bring your magical creation home with you so that you can continue your process there. 2010 cost: $1150.00 USD per person double occupancy, all meals included. Details for Teotihuacan here!
SWIM WITH THE WILD DOLPHINS: A Women’s Retreat of the Heart!
Ladies, come join us for a truly magical adventure of heart and spirit to the Caribbean Island of Bimini for an intimate and touching experience with the wild spotted dolphins. During our time with the dolphins we’ll have the opportunity to open our hearts and practice unconditional love and acceptance, for these marvelous creatures, ourselves and each other. Although they do not speak our language, dolphins are natural empaths who respond to the emotions we radiate and the judgmental thoughts or clarity of mind we possess. These are wild dolphins and when we approach their pods they make the choice to come and join, swim and connect with us. Connecting with their wondrous spirits can be a profoundly moving, deeply healing and life altering experience.
This week we will spend time looking at our communication skills, self-judgments and the limiting thought patterns which are interfering with our most important relationships and preventing us from becoming the true manifestation of Spirit that we really are! This is a profound and heartfelt trip – there will be plenty of time for swimming with the dolphins, snorkeling the reefs, meditating, group class, group discussion, swimming, journaling, resting, and sharing. The 2010 trip cost: $2095.00 USD per person double occupancy or quad occupancy (one room is a quad – the “giggle room”) including most meals. Details for Swimming with the Dolphins here!
HAVASUPAI FALLS GRAND CANYON: Living Fearlessly
September 8-13th, 2010
On this adventure you descend into one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, into the heart of the Grand Canyon at Havasu Canyon, where we will hike and explore this incredible landscape, swimming in travertine pools of turquoise blue, enjoying the evenings at our comfortable permanent camp (with exclusive arrangement with the Havasupai tribe) searching for stars, having great meals and sharing our experiences during our adventure.
It is this spiritual energy that forms the basis for our 5 days of heart-felt transformation and personal expansion. The focus and intent of this journey is to transcend any fears we have about what we can and cannot accomplish in our lives and within the depths of the canyon and the heart of the mother earth – we will find our answers. Some say you haven’t lived until you’ve taken a journey through Grand Canyon. This journey takes you through the heart of the canyon and will leave you with a sense of accomplishment, awe and a true appreciation and love of the grandest place on earth. Within the depths of the canyon and the heart of the mother earth we will find our answers. 2010 trip cost is: $2095.00 USD per person double occupancy, most meals included. Details for Havasupai Falls here!
SEDONA SPIRITUAL RETREAT: Embracing At-one-ment
September 16-21st, 2010
Join us for a magical and introspective retreat to the red rock country of Sedona, Arizona. For six days we’ll have the opportunity to experience the beauty, majesty and energy of this unusual location on our Mother Earth. Each day we will visit a different vortex to reflect the limiting beliefs and concepts that are keeping us from this self-realization and oneness.
The time frame for our September retreat happens to be during the sacred Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur (September 17th) is the Day of Atonement (the at-one-ment with Spirit/God), and during this time the veils between the worlds are thin – making it a perfect time to reflect on the past year and to commit to dreaming a healthier future filled with our deepest and highest intent. It’s time for forgiveness and living our life from a place of wholeness and love. Indeed – you don’t have to be Jewish to appreciate this mythology (as this journey is not about religion, but about expressing our divine nature). You only need the desire to open your heart and mind to more powerful opportunities for love and light in your life.
We’ll be gathering at the lovely Sedona Mago Retreat Center. The center serves a healthy vegetarian diet (they do serve fish) and is located on land that vibrates at a high frequency. As part of this retreat we will engage in a fire ceremony, multiple ceremonies in beautiful locations, and a therapeutic healing massage which is part of the retreat package. If you are looking for a place to open your heart and to gain clarity of your mind, this is where you want to be. Shanti Gilbert is co-teaching with me on this journey. 2010 trip cost is: $1795.00 USD double occupancy, most meals included. Details for Sedona here!
KENYA, AFRICA: Into the Heart of the Motherland
October 4-15th, 2010
Connecting with the energy and wildlife of the motherland of all humanity is the focus of this amazing spiritual journey to Kenya, Africa. Here we will have the opportunity to witness some of the most powerful animals on our planet; lions, leopards, cheetahs, elephants, buffaloes, giraffes, antelopes, zebras, wildebeest, and gazelles, befriend members of the Masai warrior tribe, and give deeply of ourselves at the Kids Alive Children’s Home and the Kamatongu Primary School.
Traditionally, the Maasai rarely hunt and living alongside wildlife in harmony is an important part of their beliefs. From July to October, the promise of rain brings more than 1.3 million Wildebeest together into a single massive herd. They pour across the border into the Mara, making a spectacular entrance in a surging column of life that stretches from horizon to horizon. Truly, this will be a powerful journey for us, an opportunity to open our hearts to nature and to those in need. 2010 trip cost is: $5695.00 USD per person double occupancy 6-12 participants OR $52855.00 USD per person double occupancy >12 participants – most meals included. Details for Kenya, Africa here!
TEOTIHUACÁN, MEXICO: A Photography Workshop
October 7-12th, 2010
It is said that the layout of Teotihuacán is a model of the ascension of human consciousness; one that spans from the limitations the human rational mind to that of the absolute limitlessness of the infinite. Using the layout of the city we will spend four days shifting our attention from what we think we are suppose to photograph (the place of the mind), to a place of no expectation and of true creativity (the place of the heart & consciousness of the infinite).
The energy of this sacred place is perfect to support our creative transformation. Through ritual, ceremony, photo excursions, discussion and meditation you will learn ways to focus your attention and bring new life into your photography. Our emphasis is on noticing the sacred in every moment and less on the technical aspects of photography. A good understanding of how your camera gear works is essential for this journey led by award-winning photographer Catherine Just. The 2010 trip cost is: $1295.00 USD per person double occupancy, meals included. Details for our photography workshop here!
DAY OF THE DEAD, Oaxaca Mexico – A Women’s Celebration of Life!
October 30th-November 7th, 2010
Mexicans love Day of the Dead, it’s a revered holiday where folk celebrate their beloveds’ who have passed. Families create altars filled with pictures, food and items that belonged to the deceased. The atmosphere is festive, with music, eating and the celebration of life! During our 8 days together we’ll learn how to enjoy life as it is – to cultivate our joy and vitality and explore our manifestation as true “Artists of the Spirit.” Indeed, becoming a supreme artist of the spirit involves creating from the heart, not from a mind filled with fear-based beliefs about what we can and cannot do.
We’ll be visiting the graveyard, and creating our own altars – whether they are to our own loved ones who have passed, or to a relationship that we want to let go of, or even an aspect of ourselves we’re ready to let go of. We’ll also go to the local market, visit the sacred ruins of Monte Alban & Mitla, and so much more. By the end of this journey you’ll have the tools to re-create your reality and to face your greatest fear – expressing your life with integrity, honesty, fearlessness and joy. Join HeatherAsh & Sheri on this spiritual journey of the heart and let’s celebrate and honor together all we can be and create in our lifetime. 2010 trip cost is: $2465.00 USD per person double occupancy, some meals included. Details for Day of the Dead here!
PALENQUE, MEXICO: 2012 Mayan Prophecies – Bringing in the Light
Dec 17-22, 2010
Here we’ll travel back in time from the remains of the Olmecs at La Venta to the incredible structures of the Maya at Palenque and Tonina. The most striking aspect of this set of ruins is their connection with the underworld which had a very profound significance to the Mayans. During our week together we’ll be preparing for the 2012 Mayan prophecies by using these sacred underworld sites to birth a dream of world peace into the light. In addition, we’ll have the opportunity to meet with a Mayan elder to talk more about what the 2012 prophecies mean for them.
We’ll immerse ourselves in the mythology of the underworld exploring the aspects of ourselves long abandoned or forgotten, leading to the rebirth of our integrity and oneness for ourselves and for the world. Utilizing the energy and intent of these structures we’ll delve into our own underworld and then burst forth to merge with the sun and the light that we are. 2010 cost: coming soon. Details for Palenque here!
BHUTAN: Blessings of the Heart, Meditation & Service
December 9-21st, 2010
Not many people have actually heard about Bhutan – Land of the Thunder Dragon, or even know where it is located. For many years this little country about the size of Switzerland has been off limits of foreigners. You must realize that Bhutan is not like any place you are likely to travel to.
The people are Tantric Buddhists who also have a Shamanistic background called Bon – and a fantastic history filled with legends and mythology. In fact, one of the highlights of our journey is hiking to Tiger’s Nest where Guru Rinpoche flew to on the back of a flaming tigress! Indeed, the monasteries are magical and beautiful in ways that I cannot begin to describe.
Thankfully we will have the opportunity to spend a day at one of the annual religious dance festivals, to immerse ourselves in ancient tradition. As part of our journey a Lama will be preparing a special prayer and blessing ceremony for us. We’ll also be giving of ourselves and helping some of the nuns by being in service. Through meditation, chanting, prayer and ceremony – we will expand our consciousness and cultivate the compassion of Buddha within us. 2010 trip cost is: $5195.00 USD per person double occupancy, all meals and roundtrip airfare from Bangkok to Bhutan included. Details for Bhutan here!
WHAT I LOVE – LOVE – LOVE THIS MONTH!
Take a moment to watch this video
About Nic Askew – Creator of Soul Biographies
NIC ASKEW is many things. Film-maker, storyteller, musician, composer – a commentator on life. In his latest film series, Soul Biographies, he captures the experience of being human. And in doing so, offers the viewer the opportunity to be moved to tears and laughter, and to move into a deeper experience of themselves. At 45, Nic is an Englishman living in Minneapolis, USA with one wife and four children under 6 – if you count the dog, which he does. He works from his attic, finding peace amongst the chaos.
Words of Wisdom for the Heart
“What causes war – religious, political or economic? Obviously belief, either in nationalism, in an ideology, or in a particular dogma. If we had no belief but goodwill, love and consideration between us, then there would be no wars. But we are fed on beliefs, ideas and dogmas and therefore we breed discontent. The present crisis is of an exceptional nature and we as human beings must either pursue the path of constant conflict and continuous wars, which are the result of our everyday action, or else see the causes of war and turn our back upon them.”
~ Jiddu Krishnamurti