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Inspiration - The Keyword for 2017

If you think that another keyword describes what is going on with news and views out there, then you are spot on. However, what keyword is needed for 2017 to balance things out a bit?  This is an invitation to get inspired this year, even in the midst of uninspiring news.

We all need inspiration for happiness, good health, and to enjoy life. To live life without being inspired is just not as fun. Inspiration is like a waterfall. It is always flowing beautifully into the river of life below, waiting to be discovered and enjoyed.

Here's ten ideas to get inspired or remain inspired for the rest of the year, if this is something that you want more of in your life.

1) Take time for your inspiration
It is important in our busy schedules to make time for inspiration. Block out an hour or two half hours and turn off the cell phone. Manage your inspiration time as well as you manage the rest of your day. You deserve it. 

2) Love
Love can be experienced in so many ways to receive as well as give inspiration. Use love with the ideas that follow, and possibly as an ongoing reminder of the joy it can bring and is bringing every day.

3) Music
Not just any music. Music that is inspiring. Music that you love. Your favorites. Google it if you want more ideas.  Some classical music can be very inspiring. Pachebel Canon in D Major, Elgar Nimrod from "Enigma Variations", Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, and many others.  Using headphones could be another idea, while sitting, focusing on just the music, and letting go of all other thoughts.

3) Inspiring quotes
Your favorites, new ones, printed out to view daily, or used in your communications. Sharing inspiring quotes. Googling inspiring quotes. Checking out Goodreads as a source of hundreds of inspiring quotes on any topic. Sign on to the daily emails that send out inspiration into your inbox every day.

Brene Brown - The Power of Vulnerabilty
4) Inspiring YouTube Videos or Movies
On YouTube there are quite a large number of inspiring videos such as singing flash mobs, people overcoming challenges, or your favorite songs being performed. The most popular Ted Talks of all time has some inspirational talks such as Brene Brown's "The Power of Vulnerability".  View a Google search result for lists: "most inspirational movies"

 5) Get Out in Nature with Friends or Family
The ones who will help support your inspiration. You know who they are. Any activity together that is inspiring such as a sunset walk, a hike to a waterfall, a scenic road trip, or even a week in Cancun or Hawaii. 

6) Stunning photography and Art
A photography website such as can be searched based on your preferences. Search for waterfalls, flowers, ocean, rivers, and other inspiring topics. Enjoy the view.

7) Books
Enjoy an inspiring story with a new novel, or great novel that you loved can be read again. Self help books are abundant and there's so many to choose from on  Goodreads, your Amazon wish list, or browsing a bookstore or library. Books can be very inspirational and take us on a journey that we have not been on before.

8) Animal companions or contact
If you own a pet, share the love in new ways that inspires both of you. If you don't visit a pet store or zoo.

9) Church, or Other Organizations and Events
Based on your preferences there are many places to get inspired. Seminars, workshops, support groups are a few ideas.

10) Meditation, prayer, spiritual inspiration
Whether it is a guided meditation on a CD, or your own meditation or prayer, inspiration came come up from the depths within your soul. Depending on your beliefs or faith, a Divine Spirit is always a source of inspiration.

Although inspiration can be important at any time, it is especially needed now, individually and collectively. The adventure of discovering new inspiration every day, and throughout the day can be a fun and rewarding experience. Inspiration is the keyword for 2017.

"The invitation of the keyword “Inspiration” is to ask how we can be uplifted, encouraged, motivated, and moved deeply in ways that allow us to be invigorated or energized to love our life and live with more passion, awareness, confidence, creativity and happiness."
 ~ David Lawrence Brown,  333 Keywords to Change Your Life 


Sacred Activism - Why I Stand in the "Eye of the Hurricane"

published March 15 2017
John Lennon's song Imagine is a song of sacred activism

The eye of the hurricane is that calm center surrounded by turbulent winds. As a metaphor, it works for me as to how I show up and choose to be with news and world events.

On November 12 2016, the day after the election, I posted some modified lyrics from the song Imagine by John Lennon on Facebook. The whole country was in an intense emotional state. That intensity continues to this day. The lyrics that I posted were : 

"Imagine ALL the people in our country
praying for healing our country every day
When there is a will, there can be a way
It isn't hard to do or say, or is it? we choose our own way
You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
 Thank you, John Lennon, for the lyrics...I changed them a bit just for fun."
David Brown

In 1973 I walked into the student union of Chico State University and told the organizers who were planning another "peace" anti-war march the next day that the march will not be effective if they are yelling negative slogans to the public and other students such as "1-2-3-4 we don't want your f____ing war" which happened the day before.

I said that the example of Martin Luther King to march in silence would be ten times more powerful and that people would "listen to the silence" rather than being offended at being yelled at. I left the meeting after saying what I felt compelled to say. The next day there was a silent march. Hundreds participated and experienced it. It was a powerful expression of "sacred activism".

Today I stand in the eye of the "hurricane" in full awareness of the turbulent winds of opinions, news, fear, negativity, and divisiveness. This is not a passive stance. I choose what organizations, events, and people that I want to support. I choose what thoughts, vibes, prayers, and feelings that I have towards the "turbulent winds" of the hurricane. These are ways in how I engage in sacred activism. The other is meditation.

Today I stand for love and respect, forgiveness and compassion, justice, happiness, health, freedom, and life for all of humanity, including all world leaders.

Sacred activism, for me, is not being against something. It is for something. It is unifying not divisive, loving, not fearful, compassionate, and not violent. I love the vibe.

Conscious spirit-led activism honors the divine spirit (or whatever name is chosen for that subtle connection) within all humanity and all living things, including the earth, which supports all living things.

I honor and have a deep respect for those leaders who have demonstrated this in their own lives and changed the world, including Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, the Dalai Lama, John Lennon and Mother Teresa, to name a few. I honor and respect all views, including those different than mine, recognizing that everyone has the right to believe, choose, and have their own opinions, whether they are informed or not, or have studied all the issues or not. There is no shame or blame or judgment, as this seems to perpetuate divisiveness. 

I acknowledge that a spiritual revolution is going on that is affecting all areas of life in positive ways, and it is not organized or controlled or led by any one movement, organization, or faith or belief system. It is a global conscious awakening to new possibilities, solutions to challenges, economic sustainability, and a blessing to all people in the world, especially children. 

" Imagine all the people, Living life in peace". (John Lennon, Imagine)
Peace in our lifetime is already starting to happen now. Can you imagine it? Feel it?

Why Meditation is Amazing

Back in the day, I taught Transcendental Meditation as part of the popular trend at that time when the Beatles had moved on from drugs and decided to pursue a spiritual path. Many followed in their own journey. Between teaching it to hundreds of people in Pasadena, California, I was able to go on retreats where we would meditate and do yoga extensively. Three years before that, I was given the book Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda and learned about meditation then.

Over the years, I practiced various forms of meditation. In recent years I had gotten out of the regular practice every day. Scientific research in the early 1970s showed promise of relaxation as a benefit of meditation. Today's research, with advanced MRI monitoring of brain activity during and after meditation, shows much more positive information about the effects of meditation on the brain.

It was not until October 2016 that I finally established a regular meditation practice twice a day for about 24-30 minutes each. Before then, it was sporadic and not consistent. Now it is a daily practice. If you feel that you want to meditate and yet everything else gets in the way, who is allowing things to get in the way? That was my epiphany.

Meditation is a perfect practice for everyone, especially seniors and baby boomers, as life can become one of reflection in middle age, and going deep might work for some folks. For others, maybe not. We each have our own choices as to what we enjoy.

Why can meditation be amazing? Deep, Silent, Relaxing, Subtle, Opening, Insights, Breath, Awareness, Releasing, Joyful, Peaceful, Stillness, Being, Health benefits, Spiritual inspiration, Consciousness growth, and Creative ideas to name a few.

There are many different types of meditation techniques. We seem to be guided sometimes to what we need to learn about anything, meditation included. If it becomes too structured, then it may not allow that spontaneity of Spirit to open up. It may be a combination. The structure of setting aside the time and space and length of meditation and what the intention or purpose is can be helpful in our busy lives. We need to be gentle and loving with ourselves and how we approach meditation. It is usually in meditation that we receive insights into different areas of our life, including creative ideas about our life, our work, our relationships, spiritual inspiration, or how to let go of those busy thoughts and use subtle thoughts, mantras, or words that resonate with our soul on deep levels.

Meditation may take on a "life of its own," and we may only be a witness to where it leads us, even though we had thought before the meditation started that we knew where we were going with it. That is a fun part of the journey.

A few things that I enjoy doing during meditations, in general, are acknowledging the reality of the Divine Spirit, acknowledging the oneness of my Spirit, using subtle or quiet thoughts at deeper levels as affirmations, prayers, various mantras, and gratitude. I also enjoy feeling love opening up as I do this, love of myself, my body, my life, of others, sending love out to certain people, leaders, countries, love of the Divine Spirit, and forgiveness of myself and others that may come to mind that needs forgiveness. Specific prayers, either spontaneous or favorites, can be used. By mixing it up, and also allowing for spontaneity by letting go of a structured or planned meditation, it opens things up and sometimes allows for a more profound experience. 

Being open to a deeper experience are those moments of meditation in which I am not "doing" anything, such as those things listed above, and just "being in the moment" without thoughts, allowing the silence and stillness of the perceived or known or mysterious presence of the Divine Spirit to reveal itself in whatever ways without expectation and sometimes with expectation.
Another type of meditation that may be included as a part of the experience is visualization. This can be subtle and specific or a planned story. There are so many types of visualizations and creative ideas about how, why, and what. We choose from our own menu of visual possibilities that we might want to use in meditation.

A theme or focus for the entire meditation can also be another approach. For example, a love meditation would only focus on feelings and thoughts of love during the whole meditation. Any ideas or feelings that come up that are not related to your intention of love can be loved and then let go. A visualization of anything related to love can also be used, such as seeing yourself loving your life, the different areas of your life, another in your life, family, friends, co-workers, everyone. 

Meditating in nature can be a powerful experience. Sitting next to a waterfall, or in the early morning at sunrise, individually or with a group. The fresh mountain air, nature's sounds, and silence can be conducive to a deep meditation.

 Forgiveness is a powerful process, and when done with love will allow for the release of energy that you may have had about another person and have carried for years. A "forgiveness meditation" would focus on just that - forgiveness - on anything that comes up that needs to be forgiven. It can be amazing how something can be released when recognized as it is coming up in meditation, with love and forgiveness about anything that was said or done. It is a healing process to love those things that are being held in your heart towards any person, political leader, different beliefs, events, or anything that comes up that needs to be loved and forgiven and let go. Another theme would be gratitude. A meditation combining love, forgiveness, and gratitude as the main focus can be powerful and healing.

Research is showing how meditation improves overall health, brain functions, reduction of stress, and other benefits. Then there are those benefits that are not measurable by science yet.

Prayers for yourself or others, affirmations, visualizations, mantras, and just being still are some of the various ways that we can meditate. It does not need to be structured or even timed. I use a timer for 24 minutes. Today I did not use a timer at all and just let go. Sometimes with a timer, I had reset it after I had had so many random thoughts that when they finally settled down, then I re-started from there. Being flexible and spontaneous with meditation is always a good balance to the structure and planning of it. 

An Ancient Practice- Yoga and Meditation
The yoga of meditation is experiencing or acknowledging the oneness of our Spirit with the Divine Spirit. It is a celebration of eternal love and light that is already here and now. It is joy, bliss, awakening, and a type of devotion that is unique to you and your relationship to the Divine Spirit. It is an ongoing journey of going deeper into the heart of life. For those seeking more depth and a variety of benefits on a spiritual journey, meditation can be amazing.
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My Dog Shaman Spoke to Me (after he had passed)

Can animals communicate to us after they have passed?

I met Amy Miller at a pet grieving meeting after our dogs had passed about the same time last

October 2016. She is an expert at subtle communications with animals during life and after they have passed. She published a fascinating and inspiring book about it -  Beyond Companionship - Connecting with Kindred Souls of Animal Companions. After reading that book I was convinced even more that this is possible with Shaman.

This is a story that must be told. It is also on my author profile on Amazon.

Some Background

Shaman was the name that just came to me intuitively in Powell's bookstore in Portland Oregon while looking at pet names books. He was a majestic collie with the soul of a wolf. He would howl like a wolf sometimes (as pictured) and it was so cool to hear him do that. I would howl with him (in private not in public) We were together for ten and a half years. He wandered onto a farm at six weeks old and they took him in but needed to give him away after a year as they already had too many dogs. I found him at a Humane Society shelter in Corvallis Oregon with a letter describing his first year. It was love at first sight. He awakened a part of my soul and will always be with me in spirit.

An Amazing Experience
Although he passed on in October 2016, I felt that his spirit is still strong and connected to me. In Feb 2017, while walking on the Bear Creek bike path next to my home, I had an experience that I will never forget. I told myself before I went out for a walk that if I saw any dogs I would ask the owner if they are friendly and if I could say hello. Within fifteen minutes

on the bike path I met a woman who had two Aussies. One of them started to become very friendly and she said that she had never seen her dog Ruby respond like that to a stranger. Then while I was scratching the dog's back, the dog rubbed against my leg and put her head and body halfway through my legs. The woman was amazed and had never seen that before during Ruby's entire life of over ten years. Then it occurred to me later that Shaman's spirit was there because that is exactly what he did when getting a back scratch.

There are so many types of non-verbal communication. Even body language is considered to be a major part of communication, and on the spiritual levels, all possibilities exist for communication. I guess I may not have been receiving them from Shaman or conscious of them, so he showed me through another dog that he was there and is with me in spirit. I am so grateful for his doing that. I'm leaving his photo with me on my Facebook profile. I have a large poster that I made a few years ago with his name on it since I knew that one day it would be a memorial.