When Others Lay a Guilt Trip

by Gwen Randall-Young –

Do you have people in your life who make you feel guilty when you do not do what they want you to do? Do you feel like you are walking on eggshells because you do not know how they will respond?
I am not talking about times when you forgot to do what you said you would do or otherwise dropped the ball. Rather, I am thinking of times when others are trying to manipulate you into doing what they want.
This seems to happen a lot when someone is trying to set clear boundaries or is trying to learn to say “no.” When one who has been a pleaser tries to bring some balance back into their dealings with others, they may run into resistance. Sadly, this is often enough to get them scurrying back to their pleasing way.

“He who does not have the courage to speak up for his rights cannot earn the respect of others.”  –Rene G. Torres

If you are going to be your own person and truly take care of yourself, you must learn to be comfortable with the unhappiness or disappointment of others. You even have to accept that some will not like you. 
Think about it: 

If someone only likes us when we take care of them and dislikes us if we take care of ourselves, what kind of relationship is that?
Part of growing up and becoming an independent adult is having the ability to know what works for or is comfortable for us and to be able to express that. 
It is being able to do so without second guessing ourselves because of the reaction of others and finally, it is recognizing that we are not responsible for the way others choose to respond to our speaking our truth nor do we have to fix it.

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Setting Clear Intentions

Daily Affirmative Prayer:

by Gayle Dillon – 


What a glorious morning to realize that the Infinite Spirit is as close as my breath; for I know that God is always breathing me, breathing each and every one of us. The wondrous Source of all there is manifests itself in and through and around all creation. There truly is not a place where the true essence of the Divine does not exist. I claim this as my Truth. 

I know that we are all have choice to make any decision we choose, negative or positive, for I know that God does not judge; God just IS. The natural world responds to the Law of Cause and Effect, so we are allowed to make any choice we desire knowing this Truth. 

So knowing this Truth of free will, this Truth of the Law of Cause and Effect, this Truth that we are all manifestations; individualized and unique, of this One Source I declare right here and right now that I will choose not to assume anything. 

I take responsibility for clearly stating what I want, when I want and how I want my life to unfold; not only in my earthly relationships but in my relationship with the Divine. I know that when I clearly communicate in my relationships then no one has to read my mind or guess at my meanings. 

I also know that when I clearly communicate my intentions with feelings knowing only the highest and best for myself and all concerned that the Universe provides. For I know that just as in relationships, I will receive and if I am not clear with my desires I may receive something that I really do not intend. 

I give thanks for this wondrous day. I give thanks for choosing not to assume anything. I give thanks for all that I have, all that I receive and all that I give – for I am so grateful to be living in God’s abundant Universe and for knowing I am living an abundant life. I release, I let go, I let God and so it is.


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Essential Truths You Need to Know


by Alex Blackwell –

It is never too late to bring about lasting change for your life. No matter your present circumstances, not matter what has happened in your past; no matter your age, gender or socioeconomic status, you are the creator of the life you want to live.
Dr. Gordon Livingston, author of Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart, a Vietnam War veteran and practicing psychiatrist has experienced, first hand, the tragedies life can bring upon us. He has also found the necessity to keep joy and comfort alive regardless of the pain endured.
After learning more about Dr. Livingston’s life and the circumstances regarding how he lost his two sons within a thirteen month period, I have been moved by his commitment to preserve hope in a world capable of inflicting such great tragedy. His ability and strength to move forward in spite of the obstacles is inspirational.
‘Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart’ provides 30 essential truths to remind us that while we can’t escape who we are or what has happened to us; we are responsible for who we would like to be and where we want to go. I see incredible value in learning and living these truths. 
Here is how each truth touches my heart; I hope you find hope and value in these, too:

If the map doesn’t agree with the ground, the map is wrong. We are given mental maps as children. Our parents and other adults tell us what is right and what is wrong – sometimes they don’t always get it, well, right. Now as adults, when we find the maps we have relied on for so long can get us lost, we need to recalibrate and create more reliable guides based on what we now know to be true and where we want to go.

We are what we do. We are not what we think, or what we feel, or what we say, we are what we do. Actions do indeed speak louder than words. If you are unhappy with a particular part of your life, take a strong look at what you are doing to be happier.

It is difficult to remove by logic an idea not placed there by logic in the first place. By nature, we are emotional creatures. Often we live and react based on feelings, not logic. Feelings are wonderful, but when we become tied to a particular thought or belief we tend to ignore the fact that change might be necessary. If a negative behavior is driven by an emotion, then we must find a way to still satisfy the emotional need while putting an end to the destructive behavior.

The statute of limitations has expired on most of our childhood traumas. For some, childhood was pleasant, almost idyllic. But for others, when there has been serious physical, sexual or emotional abuse it is important to recognize this and process this with a trained professional. No matter your past, change is the essence of life. In order to move forward in life we need to learn to live in the present.

Any relationship is under the control of the person who cares the least. When relationships end it is typically because of unmet expectations or one person is not feeling love or cherished by the other. For relationships to grow and last both members have to be equal with the love they give; and both should do it, not because they think they have to do it, but because they want to do it.

Feelings follow behavior. No matter how hard we try, we don’t control what we think or what we feel. But, we do know which actions bring us happiness, pleasure and confidence. So, we do the actions that make us feel good. It is the action, the behavior that comes first. Take the next few days to notice how you feel after doing a particular behavior. If you like the feeling, do more of it. If not, change the behavior.

Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid. When we step out and claim what we want from the world a wonderful thing happens – the Universe responds.

The perfect is the enemy of the good. While it’s important to have control over our lives, it can be counterproductive to attempt to control our lives. The energy spent trying to be perfect can keep us from enjoying and appreciating all the good things that exist right before us.

Life’s two most important questions are “Why?” and “Why not?” The trick is knowing which one to ask. Understanding why we do certain things is the first step to change. Until we understand what motivates us, what we get from doing a particular behavior, there is no momentum to begin the change process. Likewise, by asking “Why not?” we begin assessing the risk versus reward aspect which can lead to bringing about productive change in our lives.

Our greatest strengths are our greatest weaknesses. One of my biggest strengths as a person is I’m caring, sensitive and emotional – it is also my greatest weakness. While this strength helps me to build and maintain healthy relationships, it can also make me too reactive and less effective when dealing with conflict. This can create a confusing paradox for me from time-to-time, but having the awareness of the thin line between the two better prepares me to either use my strength or be mindful of my weakness.

The most secure prisons are those we construct for ourselves. What is your fear of change costing you? Too often what keeps us stuck is the belief we can’t move forward. Our head-trash tells us we are not worthy to have our heart’s desire. This fear; this incarceration, prevents us from breaking free and having the life we desire. Remember this: Before you can do anything, you must be able to imagine it. Imagining who and what you want to be, and then taking action, is the key to begin freeing yourself of what is holding you back.

The problems of the elderly are frequently serious but seldom interesting. The thought of our own mortality and demise can be a frightening one. Therefore, our attitude towards the aging can be callous because they are unwanted reminders of what’s ahead for us. However, the elderly can hold great value and wisdom for us. We must remember to show respect and gratitude for those near the end so the cycle can be repeated when it is our turn.

Happiness is the ultimate risk. No matter how painful, sometimes what we know is more comfortable than what we don’t know, even if we are depressed and miserable. Our misery can feel safe because it has been a part of us for so long. To seek happiness, to do things to break free of the depression, is a risk because we don’t know what it looks like or feels like to be happy. The antidote for this is hope and faith.

True love is the apple of Eden. “When I look back, the Garden is a dream to me. It was beautiful, surpassingly beautiful, enchantingly beautiful; and now it is lost, and I shall never see it any more. The Garden is lost, but I have found him and am content. – from Mark Twain in Eve’s Diary. True love is fair compensation for the obstacles and burdens of being human.

Only bad things happen quickly. When we think about the things that can change our lives in an instant we usually think of the negative ones first: accidents, our employer going out of business, or the news of a loved one becoming seriously ill. There is plenty of room; however, for good things to happen too, we just have to be more patient. Losing weight, improving a relationship, or creating a rewarding career all take effort, but the life-long satisfaction these bring can help to fill our souls when they are emptied-out by the bad.

Not all who wander are lost. When we were children we were told what to do. In our jobs, we are assigned tasks and projects. Our culture even has expectations of what we should do. It’s OK to step outside of the lines in order to follow what your inner wisdom is suggesting you do with your life. It’s not that you are lost when you wander, it’s just the opposite: You know what you want and you are only attempting to find the best path to your destination.

Unrequited love is painful but not romantic. Love is meant to be shared. When you give your heart to someone who is uninterested, it will only result in loneliness and disappointment. Instead find someone who will share love with you. When you do, you will feel the real power of love.

There is nothing more pointless or common, than doing the same things and expecting different results. This truth also provides a very good definition for insanity. When things are not working in your life, try different things. The rub comes when we become so comfortable with the familiar we refuse to try something new. To grow we must also embrace change. The question then becomes what level of fear you are willing to walk through in order to change, grow and create the life you want.

We flee from the truth in vain. Somewhere along the way there are truths about ourselves we never allow to see the light of day. Shame, guilt or embarrassment keeps these truths hidden and locked away. But remember, we cannot change or heal what we do not acknowledge.

It’s a poor idea to lie to oneself. We may say the words, the words of a lie, but inside we know better; we know the truth. The most damaging lie we can tell ourselves involves making a promise. While good intentions are important, living the truth has far greater value in our life. Do what you say you are going to do, not just to improve the quality of your life, but to be able to live your life with confidence and self-respect.

We are all prone to the myth of the perfect stranger. Unless you are being victimized by your partner, chances are very good there are plenty of reasons to love your partner or spouse. It takes maturity, patience and trust to look across the fence and know your grass is greener.

Love is never lost, not even in death. To lose what means the most to us is the ultimate test of helplessness and survival. I have been very fortunate to not yet experience the death of a close relative. That day, however, will come. When it does, my hope is I can transfer all of the love I have for that person to others still with me. In that way, the love for the person lost will always be alive.

Nobody likes to be told what to do. As a parent it’s easy for me to sometimes tell one of my children what to do instead of just listen and offer advice, if requested. My need to control can trump their need to be heard and grow on their own. When this happens, communication is strained and trust can be eroded. Rather than telling my children what to do, my job as a parent is to give them hope that they can be successful in a very uncertain world. This can be achieved by limiting my lectures and by giving them the time and space to “figure it out,” while I’m standing by with a safety net.

The major advantage of illness is that it provides relief from responsibility. In an ironic twist, the days we feel under the weather can be some of the healthiest for us. We push, we rush and we often don’t take time to take care of ourselves. But when we are feeling ill, we are forced to to slow down, perhaps call in sick at work, and take it easy.

We are afraid of the wrong things. For the first 18 years of my marriage I feared the wrong things. I feared not earning enough money or not advancing quickly enough in my career. I should have feared losing my wife and family instead, because I almost did. Now, I try to live in the present moment and appreciate all I have. When I do this, I stay centered with hope and not distracted by fear.

Parents have a limited ability to shape children’s behavior, except for the worse. My wife and I often hope our greatest legacy to our children is to be able to break the cycle of pain and doubt we experienced as children. Our hope is our children will have the self-love and confidence needed to live a rich and full life. With that said, we are far from being perfect parents. But our focus is to help them be as happy as possible in a world that takes and demands so much of them.

The only real paradises are those we have lost. Too often we may view the past with a special fondness, perhaps reverence, too. But the past for most of us may be no different than the present, it just feels that way. To be honest, we may not always see the past for what it actually was. This view can be dangerous and it can keep us from living fully in the present, in the here and now.

Of all the forms of courage, the ability to laugh is the most profoundly therapeutic. Yes, things can go wrong in life. Yes, there are issues and problems to solve. But we have a choice. We can choose to become pessimistic and not see the value in what we experience, or we can choose to laugh as an admission to the fact we are not perfect and life can get the best of us at times. What a relief to know that no matter how bad things may look, a smile or a rift of laughter can begin to make the circumstances feel better.

Mental health requires freedom of choice. No matter how bleak or desperate a situation may appear to look, we always have choices. Even with the absence of answers or direction, we do have the power to choose what our next action is. We can choose to ask for help; we can choose to pray; we can choose to get up in the morning, get dressed and forge ahead. The ability to choose gives us power. We can use that power to begin removing the obstacles that confront us.

Forgiveness is a form of letting go but they are not the same thing. To be clear, the purpose of forgiveness is not to let the person who harmed you off the hook, the purpose of forgiveness is to end the grief it has cost you. Don’t just let go, forgive and truly surrender the feelings of anger and pain. This may seem difficult, almost impossible, until you attempt to do it.

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The Masquerade Ball

by Dan Joseph –

Imagine that you are invited to a masquerade ball.
You spend weeks deciding upon a costume for the event. Should you dress up as royalty? As a villain? As someone famous? As an angel? You eventually settle on a costume, and go to the ball. There you find hundreds of other people, dressed in the widest variety of outfits. The party is all in good fun, and you play through the night in your chosen role.
Then, around midnight, a strange thing happens. Everyone in the costume ball suddenly falls asleep. When they awake, their memories have vanished. Where am I? everyone asks. And silently, they wonder: Who am I?
People look around the room, and begin to sort out the situation. Over there is someone dressed in gold finery, with a crown. She must be the queen of this place. And look at him over there – he has knives and swords. He must be dangerous. And look at that one: she looks like some sort of animal. Maybe she’s crazy.
There’s a great scramble. People flock to the “good” people, away from the “bad” ones. Some of the good people bravely begin to round up the bad ones, using the weapons at their disposal. For a while there’s a chaotic melee. Eventually, after a struggle, things settle down. The bad people are subdued, and they sit – tied together – in the middle of the room.
Then, abruptly, part of a man’s costume falls away, and a woman cries out. “Wait,” she says, “I remember now. That pirate – he’s my husband. He isn’t really a pirate.” The memories begin to return. “She isn’t a queen – she’s just dressed that way. And he’s no priest, I’ll tell you that.”
As the costumes come off, people begin to remember their true relationships. “I’m sorry, I didn’t recognize you,” they say as they untie their friends and family. “Please forgive me – I forgot who you were.” “I don’t know what came over me.”
The party-goers shake their heads at the strange turn of events. They tear off their costumes as they walk out of the party, concerned that they might forget again. “How easily we are fooled,” remarks a man as he tosses away a mask. “A little cardboard, a little paint, and our loved ones are gone.”

COSTUMES

As strange as this story sounds, it’s similar to what happens in this world. Each of us comes into the world without a stable human persona. Then, as we “mature,” we work to “find ourselves.” This usually means that we try out a variety of worldly roles, until we find one that feels comfortable.
The problem is that these roles are as flimsy as costumes at a ball. If we were to recognize this, we could have a bit of fun. But like the partygoers who fall asleep and confuse themselves with their roles, we tend to forget who we really are.
Let me give a personal example of this.
 When I was in college, I considered myself a student. After that I saw myself as a spiritual seeker, and a writer. Then a businessman, a writer again, a teacher, and so on.
The problem is that a student has to study – otherwise, his identity begins to fall apart. A seeker needs to seek. A writer needs to write. A businessman needs to make money; a teacher needs students. So there was a great deal of pressure that arose from these roles. When I was twenty-one years old, and my time in college ran out, I fell into a panic. I was a student! And there were no more classes! What would happen to my identity? It was rather terrifying.
Almost immediately, I made the shift to writing. But what happened when a writing project was done? I couldn’t exactly be a writer unless I was writing, right? I became almost manic in my pursuit of new writing projects. And so on. 
The deeper I identified with my worldly roles, the more pressure I felt to strengthen them. 
It was like being at the masquerade ball, and finding that my costume was continually falling away. I had to be constantly vigilant to keep it all together – constantly reinforcing the stitching and the buttons. What a horror to lose one’s costume!
The other problem with this dynamic was that everyone became distanced from me. I was a student, after all; but he was an executive. We couldn’t possibly have much in common. I was a spiritual seeker; she had no interest in spiritual things. Might as well not talk. I was a writer; they barely read anything at all. What a waste of time, trying to connect.
The roles were all that mattered. The costumes were the thing. As I slipped into this confusion, I became very isolated. There came a time when I felt all alone in the world.
What I didn’t realize was that I was being fooled by the masquerade. 
The student, the spiritual seeker, the writer – these were nothing but roles. They were not who I was. The executive, the agnostic, the non-reader – these were costumes as well. Regardless of how strongly people identified with them, they were merely thin coverings, ready to fall away. Until I began to consider this, I never thought to look deeper.

WHAT LIES BENEATH

To offer another example of this idea, imagine that you have a young child whom you love. He invites you to attend his school play. You sit in the audience, watching the play unfold, until – there, dressed up as a ferocious lion is your child.
You grin widely, delighted to see him up on stage. As he plays out his role, you see him for what he is – not a lion, but your beloved son. He’s dressed as a lion, of course – and he growls and prances around like one. But you’re not fooled for a minute. What your eyes show you doesn’t deceive your heart.
This is what happens as we begin to look past our worldly costumes and roles. 
He looks like your political nemesis. She seems like a threat. He might be your ticket to happiness. She appears powerful and bold. But this is all just a play of roles. Beneath the costumes is something that transcends them all. As we begin to treat the surface wrappings like the flimsy coverings that they are, we begin to catch a glimpse of what lies beneath.
For a moment, our hearts are touched by a flash of beauty – perhaps we see it in a friend or family member; perhaps a stranger. But for a moment, we find a glimmer of something that we didn’t know was there.
For a moment, there’s a shimmering of glory that makes the costume seem ridiculous. It might be gone an instant later, but we saw it. And we can see it again. As we let our vision be led past the outer trappings, the light within begins to emerge.
A Course in Miracles frequently reminds us that we will see what we want to see. 
Either a costume, or the truth. A role, or reality. Our vision will align with our desires. And what we choose to focus on in another person, we will see more clearly in ourselves.
By seeking for the truth that lies beneath the costumes, we will increasingly find it. 
This may, of course, take some practice. We may need to frequently remind ourselves that we’re being fooled by a costume. But as we peer beneath the covers, and find a hidden glory beginning to shine forth, the process becomes like stepping from a room of shadows into the light.
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Hearing the Whisper Underneath the Noise

by Madisyn Taylor –

There is beauty and power when we listen to the whisper. You may have noticed that if you want to speak to someone in a noisy, crowded room, the best thing to do is lean close and whisper. Yelling in an attempt to be louder than the room’s noise generally only hurts your throat and adds to the chaos. 
Similarly, that still, small voice within each of us does not try to compete with the mental chatter on the surface of our minds nor does it attempt to overpower the volume of the raucous world outside. 
If we want to hear it, no matter what is going on around us or even inside us, we can always tune in to that soft voice underneath the surrounding noise.
It is generally true that the more insistent voices in our heads delivering messages that make us feel panicky or afraid are of questionable authority. They may be voices we internalized from childhood or from the culture and as such they possess only half-truths. Their urgency stems from their disconnectedness from the center of our being and their urgency is what catches our attention. 
The voice that whispers reassurances that everything is fundamentally okay simply delivers its message with quiet confidence. 
Once we hear it, we know it speaks the truth. Generally, once we have heard what it has to say, a powerful sense of calm settles over our entire being, and the other voices and sounds, once so dominant, fade into the background, suddenly seeming small and far away.
We may find that our own communications in the world begin to be influenced by the quiet certainty of this voice. We may be less inclined to indulge in idle chatter as we become more interested in maintaining our connection to the whisper of truth that broadcasts its message like the sound of the wind shaking the leaves of a tree. 
As we align ourselves more with this quiet confidence, we become an extension of the whisper, penetrating the noise of the world and creating more peace, trust and confidence.
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The Breath of Oneness


by Anakha Coman and James Twyman –

“All the principles of heaven and earth are living inside you. Life itself is truth, and this will never change. Everything in heaven and earth breathes. Breath is the thread that ties creation together.”
—Morihei Ueshiba
“Ancient lovers believed a kiss would literally unite their Souls, because the spirit was said to be carried in one’s breath.”
—Eve Glicksman
“Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts.”
—Thich Nhat Hanh

E x e r c i s e

Practice  becoming aware of your breath, expanding it throughout your entire body. Allow your breathing to organically circulate, connecting cells and organs, blood and bones. Feel the beauty and elegance of your body’s intricate design. Through each inhale and exhale, allow yourself to be filled by the Spirit and filled with Oneness . . . then permit yourself to become empty, in Spirit and in Oneness.
The Hebrew word for breath is ruach, it also signifies spirit and wind. It is your breath that connects you with Spirit and your Soul. It sustains your Soul. Now with your breath, animate and give expression to your Soul, knowing that breath and Soul are from one origin. 
Allow yourself to be filled with the breath of Oneness, which is love, joy, peace and unity. 

Exhale separation; inhale Oneness. Exhale fear and anxiety; inhale God’s loving presence and power.
Imagine that you’re breathing with every living being and organism on the planet and in the cosmos. 
Breathe with the trees and with the ocean. Breathe with the children in Africa. Breathe with the monks in Tibet. Breathe with the saints and mystics from the past: Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, Moses, and Muhammad. Breathe with your friends, family and community. Breathe with those you consider “different.” Breathe with the planets and stars. Breathe with all of creation and know the truth of “I AM One. We are One.” 
Come alive with the breath of Oneness! 
Dedicate your breathing as a prayer for all sentient beings. Allow a single word or phrase to arise on your lips, and send it out to the world through the breath of Oneness. In this practice, your breathing becomes a prayer and a profound act of sacred activism.
Practice the breath of Oneness for at least five minutes at the beginning and end of your day and your Soul will settle into a heavenly peace. Return to it often throughout the day in order to practice the presence of God wherever you are and in whatever you’re doing.

A f f i r m a t i o n s

I AM breathing Life and Life is breathing me.

I AM forever connected to my Soul in the Spirit of Life.

I AM, I AM, I AM.
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The 5 Principles of Authentic Living

by Robert Rabbin – 

I would like to share with you The 5 Principles of Authentic Living, which represent nearly 50 years of self-study and self-expression.

The first led to self-realization based on direct experience; the second led to unfettered forms of actualizing that realization in the world. These five principles comprise 10 simple words: two words per principle. They are my scripture, the profoundly holy and profusely practical book I use to guide me along the pathless path of an authentic life. The value of this book isn’t so much in the reading of it (10 words, after all, doesn’t take long), but in the doing of it.
Embodiment. The value of these 10 words is in direct proportion to the degree we embody them.
At the age of 11, I began questioning things, especially myself. Who the hell was I? What is truly going on here? What should I do, and how should I live? So, I began to wander in search of credible answers.
When I was 23, I found myself in India, where I walked into the ashram of Swami Muktananda to visit a friend—I thought for a few days. A few days became more than 10 years. Muktananda’s basic message and teaching was simply this: Meditate on your own Self. God dwells within you as you.
Easy enough, I thought. Find the truthful core of my own Self, speak to that inner God, and I’d know all the answers to all my questions. I began to meditate on my own Self. It wasn’t that easy. There was this little thing called “mind” which seemed to wreak all kinds of havoc with my simple plan of meditating on my Self and chatting with God.
Nonetheless, I persevered as best I could. 10 years went by. More years. Then and I don’t know exactly when it happened, I was taken by silence. My mind was no longer an impediment. Everything just settled. I can’t say how or why, because I truly do not know how or why.
I suddenly had my answers, but they were different from what I thought they would be. Instead of planting my flag on the summit of absolute truth and certainty, I found no mountain and non-answers, or anti-answers. My questions dissolved and then disappeared—and so did my confusion and anxiety about life. So did I, in a certain way.
I can’t write more about what I found. I’m not that brave or foolish. I can, however, tell you where I found everything I was looking for: The five Principles of Authentic Living. You see, over the years, my teacher’s simple “Meditate on your own Self” became these five principles and God and Self became an authentic life. The principles reflect how I continued to explore the inside while expressing on the outside.
With these five principles I found the fulfillment of my search for self-knowledge, for meaning and truth, for my place in the world. These five principles revealed the answers and they continue to illuminate my path, moment by moment, effortlessly and flawlessly. 
I am never lost or confused. I always know where to go and what to do, just as I know when to be still and do nothing.
With these five principles as my mentors, I know how to live authentically. I am able to remain awake and alert and keenly aware of life from the inside out, and from the outside in. I know how to tap into and touch the very core of my inner creative consciousness and power, and I know how to express the many facets of that core in unique and enlivening ways.
Today, I live within the nuclear emptiness of these principles; they are my default posture in life.
I am convinced that we each have within our own self the blueprint for living authentically, for discovering from within our self our own deeply personal and truthful responses to Who am I? and How shall I live? These 10 words are not a prescription for what, but how. I cannot tell you who you are, what to want or what to believe, where to go and what to do, or what is real.
Even if I could, I’d say that for the sake of authenticity you ought to find out for yourself. I will, however, tell you that my own search for “self-realization,” for a truthful and heartfelt life, came to fruition in these 10 words.
Over the years, I have been told that my spoken and written words have touched the lives of many people, and that many are the better for it. And I will tell you that all my words and actions have come from within the creative and expressive hub of these five principles set out in 10 words. The contributions I’ve made to people in my professional roles—as author, organizational consultant, leadership adviser, self-awareness teacher, public speaking guru, spiritual activist, and life mentor—flow from these 10 words.
Virtually every issue I’ve helped clarify, every problem I’ve helped solve, every condition I’ve helped improve, every insight I’ve helped generate—whether for myself or with individuals, couples, groups, teams, companies—has originated in one or more of these 10 words. These 10 words, these five principles, serve me well. They are the source of my knowing, feeling, and acting.
If you live with any doubt, confusion, or conflict about who you are and how you should live, these ten words may likewise be a gateway for you to live authentically, to live the life that only you can live. In this regard, I feel that we all share a common purpose: to tell the truth of our authentic self without fear, and to live this truth with as much energy as we might like to muster. This is how we become a blessing to our self, and to others: to tell the truth that only we can tell. This is living authentically, and in this we are each best suited to know what to say, what to do, how to live.
We know. We come in knowing. We can never completely forget, though sometimes we might need a reminder. I certainly did. 
The 5 Principles of Authentic Living
1. Be Present
Be Present means to not be defined or determined by the thoughtstream—the constant flow of thoughts, images, beliefs, and emotions. Be Present is the blessing we need in order to experience our self and the world directly, unmediated by the content of the thoughtstream.
2. Pay Attention
Pay Attention means to notice what we’re doing in real time. It means to notice the effects we produce. It means to notice everything that’s happening—inside and out—while it’s happening, in real time.
3. Listen Deeply
Listen Deeply means to hear the constant stream of wordless clarity that comes from beneath the surface of the thoughtstream. The silence beneath the thoughtstream is a language of insight.
Speak Truthfully is how we bring what is inside, outside; how we mark the world with our presence. This is how we announce and represent our authentic self to others and how we are heard and known by them. Speak Truthfully reveals, rather than conceals, our authentic self, purpose, intentions, and motives; it shows the strength of our spine and quality of our character.
5. Act Creatively
Insight without action is delusion. When the great Sir Lawrence Olivier was asked where he learned his acting technique, he laughed and said it wasn’t learned but developed and refined over countless moments of inspiration, experimentation, risk, and creativity.
Authentic acting, as in action, and authentic living are one and the same. Many, if not most, people on various paths of self-knowledge neglect this; they discount action. I don’t. It’s where and how we demonstrate the truth of our insight and attainment. Speaking about bullfighting is very different from being in the ring with the bull!