For most of my life, I lived in darkness. I lived a life void of purpose and meaning. I chased outward success and thought that material possessions and achievements would bring me the life of happiness and joy I craved.
But I was wrong.
As the recipient of horrific bullying in middle school, I lost nearly all of my self-worth. My confidence had been so badly bruised and I thought that the only way to regain self-esteem was by attaining outward material success. And that is how I lived my life for two and a half decades.
I was out to prove the bullies wrong, that I was not the loser they said I was, and thought material possessions would be proof of my success, thus restoring my self-worth that had been stripped away from me years earlier.
The problem with this though was that I defined my existence through the eyes of the ego, as so many people tend to do.
And when we look at life through the lens of the ego, we measure our value from three pivotal viewpoints. First, what we have. Second, what we do. Third, what other people say about us.
The ego loves labels. And we fall victim to believing these definitions and living our life according to them. This inevitably leads to a life void of purpose and meaning. In fact, this will prevent us from ever discovering our true life’s calling 100% of the time.
For most of my life, that’s exactly what I did. I lived my life according to these definitions and labels. The problem was that each time I succeeded by material standards, I was left feeling even worse than before. My successes came and went. They were always fleeting because success gained on the competitive plane of existence is rarely, if ever, permanent.
My life lacked meaning and purpose. It lacked pure joy. It lacked time with those I love.
And I reached a point where I just knew there had to be more to life than this. As a result, I started out on a quest to find out who I truly was and what I was put on this earth to do. I started questioning my very existence and in the process discovered many truths that were previously lying dormant in my soul.
See, I spent my whole life trying to BE ACCOMPLISHED until I decided to BE FREE.
What I discovered is that each of us comes into this life with a purpose, a dharma, and it is up to us to find out what that dharma is.
It is up to us to find out what we signed up for when we came into this human life. All too often people get sidetracked. They get stuck living a life they don’t love void of meaning and purpose. And then it’s too late.
Imagine if tomorrow was your last day on earth. Could you comfortably say that you fulfilled your destiny? Or would you be filled with regret that you never did or accomplished what you really wanted to – what they knew you could do, what you know you were meant to do?
In her book entitled, “The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying,” palliative care nurse, Bronnie Ware, interviewed her patients who were on their deathbed, literally, and asked them if they had any regrets.
The number one regret that most people had time and time again was not living up to their full potential and following their dreams.
And this is what “Don’t die with your music still inside of you” means, and that’s why living a purpose-filled life is so important
But what if you don’t know what your dharma is? How do you find out? Where do you being?
I have identified a three-step process to discovering your dharma and living a purpose-filled life.
Step 1: Turn Inward
To begin, you must first turn inward and connect to your true essence.
Discovering your dharma is an inward process. It must come to you rather than you going and finding it somewhere else, somewhere outside of yourself. The best way I know how to do this is to meditate. You must quiet the chit-chat of your own inner dialogue and let Spirit, Source Energy, the Divine, speak TO you.
When you listen to the Universe you will always be led in the right direction. It’s when we think we are smarter than Spirit that we run into problems. And when we meditate, transcend to Source, and allow Source to speak to us, many of our questions are answered.
Step 2: Surrender
Second, you must surrender to the care of the Universe and let the Universe lead the way. In doing so you can feel confident knowing the answer will come to you.
“If you knew. If you knew who walked beside you at all times on this path that you have chosen, you could never experience doubt or fear again” says a Course in Miracles.
So be gentle about it. Don’t try to force it. Be gentle with yourself and let go and surrender.
Step 3: Enjoy the journey!
It’s all part of your Divine plan and the journey can be just as fun as the actual discovery itself if you allow it to be.
Remember the wise words of Buddha who said, “Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it.”
“There is a thinking stuff from which all things are made. And which, in its original state, permeates, penetrates, and fills the inner space of the Universe. A thought in this substances produces the thing that is imaged by the thought. We can form things in our thoughts and by impressing our thoughts upon formless substance can cause the thing we think about to be created.” — Wallace D. Wattles
Many of us have heard the phrase, “That which you focus on expands.” In other words, “thoughts become things.”
But how many of us actually understand what this really means and why it is true?
Before I discuss how our thoughts create our reality, I need to take a step back so we can understand precisely WHY this is true.
Stick with me and I promise this will all make sense in the end and you will have the keys to manifesting anything you want.
Enter the weird world of quantum physics.
For most of my life, I was caught between the worlds of science and spirituality. I wanted to believe what the great spiritual teachers were preaching — it felt so right and natural, and it made perfect sense to me. But just when I was on the verge of becoming a believer, my scientific intuition would kick in and make me want to prove everything these masters were teaching.
Luckily for me, I was raised by a self-proclaimed quantum psychics fanatic for a father.
If you aren’t familiar with quantum mechanics, let me explain.
You have probably heard that everything in the Universe is made of atoms, right? And for centuries, scientists believed that the atom was the smallest unit of measure. They believed that all physical matter was made of these atomic particles. But it turns out, there is nothing really physical about these atoms at all.
Using particle accelerators, physicists have been able to break down the atom into smaller units called subatomic particles. But what they discovered is that subatomic particles are not really particles at all.
They are simply impulses of information and energy. So everything we perceive as solid matter is actually not solid.
What this really means then is that everything we perceive to be in our physical reality is made up of non-physical material!
The only difference between one material thing and another material thing is the quantity and arrangement of the subatomic particles. Everything in the entire universe is made of these amazing subatomic particles in different quantities and arrangements.
Moreover, what makes these subatomic particles even more fascinating is that they can behave like both a wave and a particle at the same time and they have the ability to be in more than one place at the same time.
OK—so if these subatomic particles can be a wave or a particle, how is it determined which one they will be?
Turns out, this impulse, or vibration, of quantum energy remains a wave of energy and information until the moment it is detected by you or me. At the moment our attention is put in them, the wave becomes a particle! And then it attracts other impulses of energy that vibrate at the same frequency. This literally means that we create something out of nothing simply by placing our attention on it. And then it expands by attracting other things that are similar to it. Pretty astonishing when you think about it, isn’t it?
And, when I realized this, my two worlds of science and spirituality came dancing beautifully together. Suddenly, I understood what the phrase “thoughts become things” actually meant—and why it is so.
We can use the same principles that science uses to create physical reality out of non-physical essence and use it to have, do or be anything we want and experience happiness and fulfillment to any degree we choose.
So now let’s examine our thoughts. What IS a thought?
A thought—like a subatomic particle—is an impulse of energy and information. The only difference is that we experience thought waves as language in our minds. But before we experience a thought as language, it is nothing but an impulse wave of energy an information. And so the only difference between the waves of energy and information inside our heads and those outside our heads is that we interpret the ones in our heads as language.
And so, just like when we place our attention on a subatomic particle and it changes from a probability wave into a particle, the same is true with our thoughts!
So while our reality may appear to be just happening to us, we are making it happen by the quality and direction of our thoughts. So whatever we put our attention on manifests into our reality! And now we don’t just have to hope this is true—we can prove it with science!
Take a moment an examine your own reality for a moment.
Think back to any of the major events in your life—good or bad. And ask yourself if you consciously had your attention on those experiences? See, for me, nothing was truer than this. Even though I was raised by a quantum physics junkie, and now consider myself one too—I had not made the connection between quantum physics and my thoughts until much later on in life.
But when I did, it was like a tidal wave that came crashing into my face!
I immediately saw evidence of this in my own life—unfortunately, for all the wrong reasons. I was so scared of being a failure as a result of the horrific bullying I experienced that all I focused on was what I didn’t want to happen. But you know what? Everything I didn’t want to happen was exactly what ended up happening because it was where I was placing my attention!
What I didn’t know then that I know now is that we are all the creators of our own life’s experience, whether we know it or not, and whether we want to be or not.
This knowledge is truly a gift for anyone who recognizes and knows how to apply it to their daily lives. With this knowledge, you can use your thoughts to become the deliberate creator of your own life experiences rather than leaving your life to mere chance, and know why it works.
As quantum physicist Niel Bohr has said, “Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real. If quantum mechanics hasn’t profoundly shocked you, you haven’t understood it yet.”
Gratitude. It’s a word we hear a lot these days. In most personal development teachings, we talk about gratitude and the incredible power that gratitude harnesses. In my book, Give A Shift: 10 Simple Steps To An Abundant Life, I devote an entire chapter to gratitude.
In this chapter, I go to great lengths to distinguish what I call “convenient gratitude” from “deliberate gratitude.” Convenient gratitude, I argue, is when people wait for major milestones in their lives before they stop and show their gratitude for what has happened. A new job. A new home. A new baby. A new relationship. You get the idea. These are the things that cause people to pause and recognize the wonderful blessings that have been bestowed on them.
This, I write, is in contrast to deliberate gratitude. Deliberate gratitude is training your brain to be grateful for the seemingly small things that we experience in our lives each and every day. These are not things that happen to us, but rather things around us. The miracles that surround us every day. The feel of the warm sun on our face after a long winter. The blossoming of the flowers. The magic of a sunset. The miracle of reproduction—from plants to animals to people. And on and on.
When we stop and show gratitude for these miracles, more of them tend to show up in our lives. And the more we show gratitude, the higher we are able to raise our vibration and come into alignment with Source Energy.
As it turns out, this is only part of the story.
This past weekend, I was fortunate enough to attend my first Abraham-Hicks workshop. It was more powerful than I could ever have imagined!
Not surprisingly, the idea of gratitude came up. But not in the way I thought it would.
Abraham said that most people approach gratitude from the standpoint of acknowledging what was previously missing from their lives. From this standpoint, they are putting themselves in a negative vibration. Wow! I had never even considered that. This type of gratitude is, in fact, similar to what I call convenient gratitude; the “getting” of things previously missing from one’s life. But I had never considered this a bad thing, but rather just not the only thing.
Abraham continued to explain that not only does this type of gratitude focus on what was or is missing and causing a negative vibration but that this negative vibration will only keep more wonderful things from happening – the exact opposite of what most people think would happen by showing gratitude in these situations, myself included!
Furthermore, Abraham said that gratitude in this nature is usually based in resentment. Resentment! I was trying to wrap my head around what Abraham was saying. Yes, I agree that this kind of gratitude isn’t the best, but mostly because opportunities to express gratitude in this sense are typically few and far between, not because the basis of it was resentment!
I needed to stop and think about this some more. And when I did, it all made perfect sense.
What Abraham was saying was that when we finally show gratitude like this, what we are really saying is, “I was waiting for this to happen because I wasn’t really happy without it.” Bingo. There’s the resentment. And with resentment comes the negative vibration. With the resentment comes more things to be resentful for, as the universal law dictates. You attract the very things that match your vibration. Negative vibration, negative experiences.
Instead of using the term gratitude, Abraham suggests we use the word appreciation or satisfaction.
When you show your appreciation for someone or something, it is not based on the prior absence of it. Rather, it is based in the true sincere recognition and enjoyment of it. And this stance is only one of positivity. And this, in turn, raises your vibration and brings your vibration in harmony with your Source thus attracting to you more things to be appreciative for!
I suppose this viewpoint is more in line with what I refer to as deliberate gratitude, but I still feel there is a subtle yet important distinction. Appreciation has a more positive sound to me. It just feels better. It feels more natural. Deliberate gratitude almost feels like work, not at all what I had intended.
Thank you, Abraham, for this critical clarification. I sincerely appreciate it!
In order to live your best life personally, professionally, and spiritually, you have to live what is called a God-conscious life. Don’t get thrown off by the term “God.” Call it whatever you want. The term refers to the invisible intelligence that created the entire universe–the omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent energy that is the source of everything else.
But what does it mean to live a God-conscious life, and how can it help you become the best version of yourself you can be?
First of all, it is a way of life. In fact, it’s something the happiest, most prosperous people on the planet deliberately strive for each and every day.
Second, it is a state of being that gets stronger every day. It is not a chore or a task. Eventually, it will radiate from the inside out.
Third, it is not a destination that is ever actually reached. Rather, it is a path, a journey that you continue throughout your life. You will walk towards but never reach. Reaching it would imply an end and Source Energy has no beginning nor end.
But even if we can’t get “there”, wherever there is, it’s still a way of life worth pursuing. Why? Because it is from here that you can ultimately have, do, or be anything you want and it is from here that you will see miracles show up time and time again in your life.
The Tao Te Ching teaches us that there are 4 virtues to live from and Lao Tzu promises that if you live your life according to them you will live a God-conscious life.
In other words, practicing these 4 things every day will help you become the very best version of yourself you can be and live your very best life. Isn’t that what we all want?
1: Reverence For All Life
Having reverence for life meaning loving all life forms including all plants, animals, and people. We must revere all life forms and see all life as individual expressions of God. When you do this, you instantly remove all forms of judgment from your life which blocks the flow of the Divine Spirit from coming to you. Live from a place of unconditional love for all life, including yourself and watch the miracles start appearing in your life.
Gentleness is exactly what you think: being kind to everyone and everything and having a deep sense of compassion for others. Kindness, gentleness, compassion, and love are at the heart of this second virtue. And when you live a God-conscious life, you will always put gentleness above all else. This means letting go of false beliefs your ego wants you to hold onto, beliefs about right and wrong, good and bad, and so on. There is no room for being right when you live from a place of gentleness. When you have the choice to be right or kind, always choose kind.
3: Authenticity and Simplicity
To live our best life, we must be true to ourselves. We must live from a place of authenticity and simplicity. Don’t over complicate your life by trying to be someone you are not. At the same time, you must also follow through on what you say. Be the person you say you are; don’t be a phony. Walk the walk and talk the talk.
This virtue teaches us to put giving and serving at the heart of everything we do. Each day, you must ask, “How may I serve?” And when you do so without expectation of reward, you are living from your highest self, and the Universe will respond by saying, “How may I serve you?”
If you look closely at all four virtues, and what it means to live a God-conscious life, it all boils down to one essential element: always choose love over fear.
To live a God-conscious life according to the 4 cardinal virtues you must let go of your ego, your false sense of self, and connect to your true authentic nature, your Divine source, your Spirit. And when you are connected to Source Energy, you become what I like to say is a magnet for miracles!
In fact, true God-conscious people actually become miracle workers themselves! They can create and manifest virtually anything they want. As Joel Goldsmith said, “In the presence of the God-realized, the laws of the material world do not apply.”
I encourage you each day to be mindful of these 4 virtues and live your life according to them. I promise you that when you do, your life will be overflowing with blessings and you will truly become the very best version of yourself you can possibly be! xx
Did you know that June 8 was World Oceans Day? According to worldoceansday.org, this day was dedicated to “Preventing plastic pollution and encouraging solutions for a healthy ocean.”
I refer to the ocean as my love potion. (I think that I first heard Dr. Dyer coin this phrase and it has stuck with me ever since!)
The ocean has always been a source of healing to me. It draws me in like a magnet: I live near the ocean, I vacation on the ocean, I need the ocean.
And I’m not the only one.
As a matter of fact, we all need the ocean. Life on earth would not exist without it, yet we as humans give it such little regard that we are all but destroying it at an alarming rate. In fact, I am embarrassed to say that I didn’t realize how badly I was contributing to the problem until recently.
Did you know that approximately 16 billion pounds of plastic enter the ocean each year, according to Science Magazine?
That’s right, plastic. Something we have all grown up depending on. Something that is as ubiquitous to our everyday lives as watching television or brushing our teeth. Something we use in so many ways each day, without even thinking about it. And something that, while making our lives easier or more comfortable, has sickened our planet — in particular, our oceans, and the plants and animals that call it home.
The ocean covers over 70% of our earth’s surface. Its vastness is almost too great to comprehend. The majority of marine life, nearly 90%, has yet to be discovered or explored. And yet, garage patches in the earth’s oceans are growing at an astonishing rate.
These garbage patches collect in what are called the five gyres; five distinct areas in the earth’s oceans. According to National Geographic, a gyre is a large circular area of stationary, calm water. Picture a gyre as basically a swirling vortex created by the underlying currents of the water. While there are many smaller gyres across the globe, the five major ones reside in the North Atlantic, South Atlantic, North Pacific, South Pacific, and the Indian Ocean.
I think you can see where I’m going with this.
Because of the currents underneath the surface of the water, the calm water on top, and diminished winds, garbage and debris are drawn into the gyres and can stay there for years, even decades, building up over time.
The largest garbage patch is in the North Pacific Ocean located between Hawaii and California. It is often called the Pacific trash vortex or the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. It was first discovered in 1997 by oceanographer Charles Moore when he was sailing from Hawaii to back to California. He noted that “In the week it took to cross the subtropical high, no matter what time of day I looked, plastic debris was floating everywhere: bottles, bottle caps, wrappers, fragments.” This patch is now said to be three times larger than France!.
And this problem? It is only getting worse.
One reason for this is that people underestimate the severity of the situation, especially if they live inland away from the coast. Studies have shown, however, that inland plastics tend to wind up in our oceans anyway, making their way into rivers and streams and eventually being carried to the seas.
Another reason is that people put too much faith in recycling. Recycling, while a fantastic concept, often has severe limitations in practice that many of us are unaware of. The cost of recycling plastic is expensive and, without a profitable market in which to sell the recycled plastic, most recycling companies don’t even recycle it. Instead, they sell it to developing nations who in turn, don’t recycle the plastic either.
Many people also claim that they themselves don’t see any floating plastic and therefore conclude that it must not really be as big of a problem as reported. This is also a flawed premise. Aside from the vast masses of plastic that collect at the water’s surface, wind, waves, and other movement convert larger plastic material into microplastics which can be smaller than a grain of rice.
Good news, right? Wrong.
Plastic never “goes away.” It stays in landfills or oceans indefinitely. Just because the material changes into smaller particles doesn’t make it any less harmful to life on earth. Why? Because microplastics are either consumed by marine life or settle into ecosystems below, often destroying or severely impacting the marine life that makes these ecosystems their home. These smaller plastic particles are often called the smog of the ocean, if that gives you an idea of how unhealthy they are!
But enough of the problem. Let’s focus on the solution. As Mother Teresa said when she was asked to march in opposition to the war in Vietnam: “I will never take part in an anti-war rally but when you decide to have a pro-peace rally, I’ll be there.”
I have adopted that philosophy in my own life as well, bringing my attention and focus to what I want rather than what I don’t want. Remember, what you focus on expands, whether you know it or not; whether you want it to or not.
In this case, I want clean oceans, so let’s turn our attention there!
Green Ocean Wave
1. Reduce Your Use
The #1 thing we can do is to reduce the amount of plastic we use or buy. This was the most significant change I made once I learned of the devastating impact that single-use plastics have on our oceans. I now shop at stores that offer a paper bag option and use reusable bags whenever I can. Instead of relying on plastic sandwich bags, I reach for tupperware, especially when it comes to my children’s school lunches. This helps to teach them the importance of re-use as well!
I am also more cognisant of the amount of plastic used in packaging, especially toy packaging. I can think of very few toys that truly need to be protected as though they were a Tiffany diamond! Not to mention, so many of these packages are nearly impossible to open — it’s just such a needless waste of plastic! These days, I try to choose products with little to no packaging.
Things like drink boxes with plastic straws destined for the garbage or snacks packaged individually in plastic wrappers have just about been removed from our consumption (and, as an added bonus, we’re often eating far more healthily as a result!).
Lastly, my family and I now all have reusable water bottles for both hot and cold beverages. Now, even our Starbucks run is garbage free!
2. Get involved!
Partnering with organizations dedicated to preserving and protecting the oceans is something else I am now committed to — and you can join me! I’ll even help you get started — check out Coastal Living's 11 Amazing Organizations Dedicated to Saving Our Oceans.
3. Focus on Progress Not Perfection
I have adopted a “progress not perfection” mindset so I can feel good about the changes I have made and will continue to make as I focus steadfastly on protecting one of the most valuable resources on earth. I am committed to doing all I can in order to continue to bathe in the beauty of the oceans, my love potion, for years to come. Maybe it seems daunting to you, to make so many changes at once. Trust me, I get it! But remember: you don’t have to be perfect, or 100% consistent, 100% of the time.
You just need to take the first step.
We all have goals.
We have dreams. We have desires.
We have an idea of where we are — and where we want to go.
Which leads us to the million dollar question: why don’t most people achieve what they set out to do? Why do so many people fall short of living the life they want to live, or becoming all they know they can be … all they know they were meant to be?
When trying to reach their goals, people tend to rely on two main strategies:
- Hustling as hard as they can — long hours, no weekends, 100% focus
- Trying to coerce the universe into giving them what they want by demanding it through The Law of Attraction
Unfortunately, both of these methods are severely flawed. Why? Let’s take a closer look.
Of the two methods above, this is the camp that I fell into.Growing up in middle-class America, I was taught to “lean-in” even before it was a thing. I was raised to compete fiercely for corporate positions, to strive for the highest levels of success, and to cultivate a hard-core work ethic. While I did manage to build a successful agency, I certainly didn’t feel fulfilled!
My problem was that I based my value on external success, but I was never able to reach a level of success that made me happy. Every promotion I got, every raise I earned, every new account I landed, every accolade I was given – they only made me look ahead to the next milepost. I felt like I had to work even harder than before to get to the next goal.
So, I worked 12-hour days. I traveled a LOT. I worked through my weekends. Hell, I even brought my laptop on vacations and worked from the beach. The crazy part? I thought that I was doing this for my family, even though doing this took me AWAY from my family. Sure, I told myself that it would all be worth it one day, but look at what I was missing in the meantime!
The constant hustle method? I can tell you from experience — it’s exhausting!
This brings us to second method …
The Law of Attraction
Many people try to achieve their goals by attempting to put this “law” to work in their own lives, only to find themselves coming up short time and time again.
But why? Is it the law itself that is flawed? Or is the problem in how people try to use it?
It’s both, actually.
In many ways, this method is the exact opposite of hustling.
Proponents of this method often have it very much confused — but not exactly their fault. We’re all taught to believe that all we have to do is make a wish upon a star and — poof — our desires will magically manifest into reality.
It sounds lovely, right?
Unfortunately, thing aren’t so simple. When people attempt this method and their wishes fail to come true, they’re left feeling worse than before.
Don’t misunderstand me — while this specific method is ineffective, visualization is still a valuable and crucial practice. Thoughts really do become things, but there’s always action associated with those thoughts and that’s usually the missing element here.
This simplified “Law of Attraction” approach is just a misunderstanding of how the process really works. I'ts a misunderstanding that leads to people trying to force their desires into reality through manipulating the universe, Source Energy, God, whatever name you have for it.
And this will never ever work.
The underlying truth behind this law is rooted deeply in both spirituality and science, something that many of the mass manifestors of today know virtually nothing about. Their misunderstanding leads to misuse, which ultimately leads to nothing at all — rather than everything they wish for.
So, these are the two methods that people fall back on when trying to achieve their goals.
Method 1 involves working a gajillion hours a week and missing out on life along the way, while method 2 involves nothing more than wishful thinking…
BOTH stem from the scarcity mentality.
BOTH are rooted in control and force.
BOTH are rooted in fear.
BOTH are driven by the ego rather than the spirit.
The truth? It’s turns out, God has far greater plans for us than we can ever know, but too many people never know what they might be.
Because they’re not paying attention.
Most people allow their egos to drive their actions. They allow their egos to control their path. More importantly, to control their destiny.
Most people’s egos are yelling so loudly that they can’t hear their souls speaking them. They can’t feel the gentle guidance of Divine love because they are pushing as hard as possible through force. And then they let fear drive most of their decisions.
Instead, we must learn how to quiet the chit-chat of our own internal dialog and let the Source speak to us and through us. We must stop paddling upstream as hard as we can. We must stop thinking we are smarter than God.
The guiding system that will take you where you are meant to be.
The actions you take will be based in love, not fear; in abundance, not scarcity; in spirit, not ego.
And it is only through this process that you will ultimately become all you were meant to be. You will achieve greatness by giving up control and instead giving into divine guidance. You will accomplish MORE by forcing LESS.
When you do this, ideas and inspiration will become crystal clear. You will be compelled to take meaningful and purposeful action towards the expansion of your life and your potential.
And this will take you so much further than you can ever get by hustling or relying on the Law of Attraction. In sum, you will become the very best version of yourself you can ever possibly be.
So … which strategy do you choose?