Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Meditation and Financial Fitness

Today I will be doing a radio interview on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (at 6 p.m. Central Daylight Time) The topic is "Meditation and Financial Fitness." The interview is related to publicity work I am doing for the world-renowned spiritual and humanitarian leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who will be making a rare public appearance in Minneapolis on April 22 at Wayzata Community Church.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar & The Art of Living
A Nobel Prize nominee, Sri Sri has been named by Forbes Magazine as one of the five most powerful leaders in India today. His Art of Living Foundation, the largest non-government volunteer organization in the world, offers a wide range of classes and workshops that combine conscious breathing techniques, yoga movements, silent meditation and coping skills.

For well over three decades, I have pursued a path of self-development, self-improvement and self-actualization. I have done everything from yoga to meditation to training in energy healing, to training and practicing as a psychotherapist, teaching college psychology, and studying both Western and Eastern approaches to healing and spirituality.

The Science of Success
I have also studied and taught The Science of Success (developed by Napoleon Hill, author of the bestselling book Think and Grow Rich), and read thousands of books on self-help, motivation, success, psychology, healing, spirituality, philosophy, and metaphysics.

Change Must Be Holistic (Body and Mind)
There is a strong physiological component to success and well-being and no matter how much we know intellectually and how much we try to change, if we do not engage in practices that change us at the fundamental physical level (i.e., the brain and body), we are bound to revert to old habit patterns and behaviors.

What does this have to do with our finances? And what does it have to do with meditation?

Your Hidden Mental World
Each of us has an internal mental world, of which most of us are not aware. We may get glimpses of what we really are thinking all the time, but unless we really take time to stop and observe our thought patterns, we will never know what is going on in this mental world. Hence, the importance of meditation.

The Importance of Controlling Your Thoughts
In the book The Answer by John Assaraf and Murray Smith, they state, “The secret to our success lies in controlling our thoughts.” However, how can you control your thoughts if you do not even know what you are thinking?

Your Thoughts Are Creating Your Life
The book The Answer also shares insights from modern science, which have revealed that thoughts actually create matter, that thought is where everything comes from, and that the most powerful force in the world is your thoughts, your beliefs. Modern science is illuminating the fact that our thoughts are the controlling factor in what we manifest and create in our lives.

So, in fact, our thoughts and beliefs about money are the keys to our “financial fitness”. 

Do You Know What You Are Thinking?
When I took the Oprah sponsored web-based course "A New Earth" with Eckhart Tolle (author of The Power of Now), he emphasized that we need to get into the "now." And to do this, we were to sit quietly and allow ourselves to just be in the "now." Tolle said that when we do this we become aware of our mind chatter. (click to download replays of The Oprah and Tolle "New Earth" classes)

Now, unfortunately, the human mind tends to be negative and focus on fears, anxieties, worries, and past and projected traumas. 

For many, if not most of us, the patterns of our thoughts are negative and limiting. And many people have what is called "poverty consciousness."

Meditation Can Help You Focus the Mind
Meditation can allow you to perceive the mind with greater clarity and it can also help you to learn to focus the mind. New research in neuroscience has proven that the mental and emotional changes we can cultivate from focused attention can produce physical change to the brain.  We can change our neural pathways and stimulate growth in areas of the brain that are very important for our mental health.

Meditation Can Help You Change the Structure of Your Brain
One of the most exciting scientific discoveries of the last two decades is that we can change the structure of our brain through focused attention. Developing reflective skills through such practices as meditation can activate the circuits that are foundational to resilience and well-being.

How we think effects the body through the nerves, the hormones and the immune system, and meditation has been scientifically proven to lower the effects of stress. 

Meditation Practiced by Both Religious and Non-Religious People
Although many associate meditation with the East, in fact, there have been writings about meditation in almost all of the major religious traditions, and today both religious and non-religious people all over the world practice meditation.

The Power of Breath
Breath is a powerful tool for stilling the mind and can activate the physiological relaxation response. I recently completed an Art of Living class and was very impressed with the unique breathing technique developed by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, which he calls Sudarshan Kriya. I have noticed a great release of stress in my nervous system, first coming with some dramatic emotional release, and now, with my daily practice, a release on a more subtle level. 

If you want to be financially fit, you need to reduce the stress in your nervous system on a regular basis. This will relax the body and the mind and help you make better decisions and be more positive.  It also can help you to actually change the neural pathways in your brain and become the master of your life rather than someone who is controlled by thoughts and beliefs that lie beneath the surface of your consciousness awareness.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Dear Success Seeker & the True Meaning of Success

Last week the book Dear Success Seeker: Wisdom from Outstanding Women by Michele Wright, Ph.D. was released (published by Atria, a divison of Simon and Schuster). I was very honored to be among the women featured in this book, which includes advice from such remarkable women as:

  • Civil Rights Pioneer Rosa Parks
  • Actresses Della Reese & Shirley Jones
  • Faith leaders Joyce Meyer & Reverend Johnnie Colemon
  • Tennis champion Billie Jean King
  • Philanthrophist & Educator Camille Cosby, Ed.D
  • Oprah Radio & Oprah Show personality Gayle King
I have read countless books on success over the years and many people focus just on material success.However, the messages in Dear Success Seeker set it apart because they have a depth and richness to them that go far beyond superficial success. The messages get to the real heart and soul of success, which is the mastery of one’s self and one’s life and the fulfillment of the potential that lies within each individual.

My success letter, and many of the letters featured in the book, touch very much on the psychological and spiritual aspects of success. To me, success is so much more than material success or achievements.


When I was young, I was very ambitious and wanted to have grand achievements in my life. When I graduated from college, I secured a fantastic job and in less than a year, I was promoted to a very high level position. I loved my job and was quite successful in the eyes of the world.

Although I was doing well in my work, I was not able to have a committed and close relationship with a man. I made work my life and lamented about not finding the “right man.” After a few years, I had a personal crisis that led me to get some counseling. My therapist helped me understand that my drive to succeed was based upon my ego’s need for achievement as an overcompensation for my core feeling of inadequacy.

My therapist also helped me realize that my inability to have a close relationship with a man was based upon these same feelings of inadequacy. Working on my psychology was tough, but I had no other option if I wanted to find peace and self-acceptance. The rewards for doing this work were enormous.

I began to feel genuine self-worth and have an inner peace I had never before experienced. My relationships improved and I met the love of my life and we got married. New opportunities opened to me and my motive for achievement changed.

Now it became about serving and being the best I could be, not for ego aggrandizement but in the true spirit of contributing to the greater good of my family and the community.


The book can be purchased at bookstores or online at and other online booksellers.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

How to Increase Your Luck

For well over a decade, Dr. Richard Wiseman has been the head of a research unit at the University of Hertfordshire in England and has conducted research into unusual areas of psychology, including deception, luck and the paranormal.

One of my favorite books is Dr. Wiseman's bestseller called The Luck Factor, which summarizes his ten-year research project about how luck operates in the lives of individual. The book has been published in 14 languages and over 25 countries.

You Can Change Your Luck
The exciting news is that based upon this research, Dr. Wiseman concluded that luck is something that can be learned.

Dr. Wisemen lists the four essential principles of luck as:

1. Principle One: Maximize Chance Opportunities
Lucky people are skilled at creating, noticing and acting upon chance opportunities. They do this in various ways, including networking, adopting a relaxed attitude to life and by being open to new experiences. Being an extrovert, which means you are more sociable and have more social "magnetism", is correlated to being more lucky. Lucky people smile twice as much as unlucky people and have more open body language. And perhaps the biggest role in their success is that lucky people are effective in building long-term, secure relationships with other people. And they keep in touch with these friends and colleagues and this network of people bring opportunities.

2. Principle Two: Listen to Lucky Hunches
Lucky people make effective decisions by listening to their intuition and gut feelings. In addition, they take steps to actively boost their intuitive abilities by doing such things as meditating and clearing their mind of other thoughts. "Almost 90 percent of lucky people said that they trusted their intuition when it came to their personal relationships, and almost 80 percent said that it played a vital role in their career choices. Far more lucky than unlucky people were relying in their intuition when it came to making important decisions in their lives. It was a simple message - when it came to luck, intuition mattered."

3. Principle Three: Expect Good Fortune
Lucky people are certain that the future is going to be full of good fortune. These expectations become self-fulfilling prophecies by helping lucky people persist in the face of failure, and by shaping their interactions with others in a positive way. "Lucky and unlucky people have amazingly different expectations about the future....Lucky and unlucky people seem to be living in different worlds. No matter how hard they try, unlucky people seem unable to obtain their goals while lucky people effortlessly achieve their lifelong dreams and ambitions."

4. Principle Four: Turn Bad Luck to Good
Lucky people employ various psychological techniques to cope with, and often even thrive upon, the ill fortune that comes their way. For example, they spontaneously imagine how things could have been worse, do not dwell on the ill fortune and take control of situations. "Lucky people are convinced that any ill fortune in their lives will, in the long run, work out for the best...Unlucky people tend to dwell on the bad luck in their lives"....and..."Lucky people take constructive steps to prevent more bad luck in the future...they treat their failures as opportunities to grow." Unlucky people, however, are reluctant to learn from their mistakes and more likely to repeat them in the future.

Learn to Think & Behave Like A Lucky Person
Using these principles, Dr. Wiseman was able to show a group of people that considered themselves unlucky how to think and behave like lucky people. The results were astounding with almost all participants reporting significant life changes including increased levels of luck, self-esteem, physical well-being, confidence, and success.

"The Luck Factor" Contains Easy Exercises to Change Your Luck
The book contains several easy exercises for determining how lucky you are and for actually changing your luck. There is detailed advice on how to use a "scientifically proven way to understand, control and increase your luck."

Chance Opportunities Can Change Your Life
One of the most important keys I took away from the book is that lucky people "create, notice and act upon the chance opportunities in their lives."

Don't Be Passive - Take Action
How many times have all of us gotten some intuitive message to do something and have not followed through for any number of reasons. The key is to take action and have the courage to look silly or even feel a little self-conscious doing something that is out of the ordinary.

Follow That Inner Voice of Intuition
When I look at my own life and examine those times that I followed my inner voice, my strong promptings to take action, I can see that almost magical things have happened.


Dr. Richard Wiseman web site at

Purchase The Luck Factor book at

Friday, June 13, 2008

Be A Master of Something (Lessons from the Dog Whisperer)

Yesterday I watched a highly entertaining television program called The Dog Whisperer. The star of the show is Cesar Millan, a man who has extraordinary mastery in rehabilitating behaviorally-challenged canines.

Cesar Millan Had A Goal to Be World's Greatest Dog Trainer
Cesar’s life goal was to be the world’s greatest dog trainer, and what is so evident is that Cesar just loves dogs. He just loves what he is doing. And it is a pleasure to watch him do what he does so well.

Try to Do Something You Love
Now, this makes me think we should all try to be doing something we love. When we do something we love, time stands still and we become very focused and very energized. And this is when we can really become good at something, become a master of something.

If It Can't Be Your Job, Do Something You Love as A Hobby
If we can’t find that exact job that allows us to work at something we love, then we should take up a hobby or avocation that is something we love. In fact, many times a hobby can actually turn into a successful business or career.

Pour A Lot of Energy into One Thing
For me, being the best at one thing is a little challenging because I have so many interests and have had so many different facets of my career. But after seeing The Dog Whisperer, I think there is something to be said for narrowing one’s focus and pouring a lot of energy into one area.

My Focus to Learn How to Use the Internet
Actually, one area where I have poured a lot of my energy is learning how to use the Internet. Way back in the early days of the Internet (1995), I started building commercial web sites and doing online marketing. Since that time, I have probably logged well over 200,000 hours online and have read hundreds of books about all aspects of working with the Internet. I have led workshops, given speeches and consulted with numerous individuals, businesses and organizations to help them best use the Internet.

My Desire to Use the Internet
When I started using the Internet, I wasn’t really thinking about trying to gain mastery with it. I just know that I loved it and had a strong desire to get better and better at using it as a powerful tool and to help others to do the same.

Master Something and People Will Notice
To become really, really good at something, you will need to invest a great deal of energy. That energy creates a strong forcefield that radiates out to others, to the community and to the world. This is a powerful force and you can use this energy to attract like energy. This is the principal of the Law of Attraction.

Master of the Internet
Recently I had an experience that helped me to clarify a goal for my life. A book was published titled "Online Marketing Heroes: Interviews with 25 Successful Online Marketing Gurus." I was featured in this book and the book's recognition for my work made me realize that although I had not started out with a conscious goal of becoming a master of the Internet, my passion and love for the Internet had led me down a road of mastery.

Doing What You Love or What Interests You Can Lead to Mastery
What are your interests? What are your passions? You might have to try several things before you discover this, however, when you really connect with something you love, try to make time in your life to do that thing.

Become A Master
Mother Teresa said it is not what we do, but the love we put into something we do, that really counts. Find something you love, do it and become a master.


Read Joan Holman Interview in "Online Marketing Heroes"

The book "Online Marketing Heroes" is available for purchase at


The Dog Whisperer is on the National Geographic Channel

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

What Life Wants of You

Last night I viewed the final live web broadcast of Oprah Winfrey's 10 week class featuring author and spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle and his book A New Earth.

Since March, I have joined millions of other people in the participation of Oprah's groundbreaking series of webcasts of
A New Earth.

One of the most important points I have gotten from Eckhart Tolle's teachings is about getting in touch with what life wants of you.

When Oprah asked Tolle where his inspiration came from to write the book
The Power of Now (which she said is one of the most important books of our time), he said it came from the space of stillness within, where there is no mental noise and where all creative endeavors are born.

Tolle stated: "Out of that stillness, when the time is right, sometimes an impulse comes, a feeling that something wants to be born into this world. Rather than me wanting to write a book, there is a book that wants to be written."

Tolle said the book "was inspired, but not channeled." Every day he set aside time for writing the book, however, on some days the flow was not as strong.

The lesson for all of us is we must ask life what purpose it has for us. And to find that purpose, we need to go beyond the superficial level of our human ego and human mind and act from deeper impulses that come from our higher mind, our higher self.

When we invite stillness in our life, when we find a space of stillness within, spirit flows through us more freely. However, stillness does not happen until the mind becomes still.

One of the most important keys to the true fulfillment of our destiny is learning how to create not from the human ego, but from the higher self, from a place of Creative Intelligence, Infinite Intelligence, the Source, the Creator, or God, or whatever we may name it.

On my personal life journey, I have found that an understanding of my higher purpose has not come from a one-time revelatory experience.

Instead, trying to fulfill my life purpose has involved an ongoing process of daily creating a place of stillness and inner peace as the foundation for all my decisions and actions.

The more I can live my life from a place of stillness and inner peace, the more my life can contribute to the greater good of humanity. And I believe that a contribution to the greater good is the highest and best purpose for my life.

Intellectually, I cannot figure out how to best contribute to the greater good, but I believe my higher self knows exactly what I can do to fulfill this purpose for my life.

My goal is to try to elevate my consciousness to that level where it connects to my higher self, and the study and practice of the teachings found in the Eckhart Tolle books have been very helpful for working on that goal.

I commend Oprah and the corporate sponsors of the classes who have made these webcasts free to millions of people in the world.

You can watch or listen to webcasts of the entire 10 week New Earth online series at

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

A New Year's Resolution: Do Not Drift with The Tide

Half the wrecks that strew life's ocean
If some star had been their guide;
Might have long been riding safely,
But they drifted with the tide.

Robert Whitaker

For the year 2008, find some “star” to be your guide. That star should be a strong purpose or focus for the year which will produce specific, measurable results.

To come up with the purpose or focus for the year, you should first seek to raise your consciousness to the level where it can connect to Spirit, or Infinite Intelligence, or God, or whatever you may call it.

The level of consciousness that corresponds to the Supreme Creative Power is where you can be inspired with the highest and best vision for your life.

Connecting to this Supreme Creative Power involves a stilling of the mind, a calming of the emotions, and a quiet listening to the inner voice. Some people access this state through meditation, others through talking a walk or a run, others through spending time in nature. The key is to enter a relaxed state, which is essential for the creative process to take place. Personally, I do this with long, hot baths that help me completely unwind and de-stress.

Close your eyes and visualize yourself reviewing your life at the end of 2008 and feeling gratitude and joy that you achieved your aims for the year. The more clearly you can see and feel this vision, the more power it will have to change your life.

You should write down the results you desire in 2008 as specific statements and review them at least once every day, since this will keep your mind focused on what you want.

Some examples:

In 2008, I enjoy love and harmony with my family and friends.

In 2008, I attract many helpful people whose wise counsel and assistance help me increase my income (by...................percent). Here you can put in the percentage increase you desire. Pick a number that you believe is possible since "true belief will induce relaxation, lower tenseness and anxiety, and allow the creative process to take place."

Recommended Reading for 2008

The Power of Intention by Dr. Wayne Dyer
Psycho-Cybernetics by Dr. Maxwell Maltz
The Law of Success by Napoleon Hill
The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace D. Wattles

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Minnesota Extreme Home Makeover & Community Spirit

Just recently, I personally witnessed an amazing and wonderful life-changing experience for a very deserving family here in our Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota community. (Minneapolis-St. Paul is also known as the Twin Cities to those of you reading this blog outside the United States)

The family had been recently devastated with tragedy involving the murder of a family member.

Husband and wife Erik and Vicki Swenson are both schoolteachers, Vicki’s sister was murdered last year by an ex-boyfriend. Erick and Vicki took in the four children of Vicki’s sister even though they already had three children of their own and are expecting a fourth child soon. The sister's childrens' father had also died - in an automobile accident - and so the children were left parentless.

The Swenson’s home became a tight squeeze for this now very large family, and students at Hopkins High School, where the Swensons teach, decided to make a video and nominate the Swensons for an “Extreme Home Makeover.”

On August 21, 2007, the Swensons, who reside in Minnetonka, Minnesota, (a suburb of the Twin Cities), got a surprise when Ty Pennington pulled up in the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition bus in front of their home and told them they had been selected for this makeover. In fact, it was going to be the biggest home makeover in the history of the television series, which has been on the air since 2003.

The popular ABC Extreme Makeover: Home Edition television program, viewed by millions of people, has left a legacy of greatly improved and even entirely new homes for U.S. families who have experienced hardship.

One of the most wonderful things about the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition program is that the local communities become very involved with the process. Countless volunteers as well as donations of materials and goods make these home makeovers truly remarkable and infused with community cooperation and community spirit.

I had no idea a huge, million dollar home could be built almost overnight.

But I saw it happen with my own eyes.

The bus pulled up on a Tuesday. The Swenson family was shipped off to Disney World for a week and then the work began.

The house was torn down by Thursday. A new foundation was then laid and by Saturday, when I visited the site, the house was pretty much up. There were 200 contractors and subcontractors working on the house. There were large trucks and trailers everywhere. Small crowds of people cheered the workers on.

This monumental effort was quite a site to behold.

Two days later, on Monday, the furniture was being moved into the house and I realized I had witnessed the complete building of a beautiful 5,600 square foot house in 99 hours. That is a little over four days.

I saw the house at several stages during the building process. The weather was beautiful and cooperated with the effort. There was so much joy and such high energy and I feel like this home has anchored a special energy of community spirit here in the Twin Cities.

Obviously, Erik and Vicki Swenson love children. They choose to be teachers and parents. They generously opened their home and hearts to children in their extended family.

As a former psychotherapist, I was trained in the school of psychology developed by Dr. Alfred Adler. He viewed human beings as being confronted with life tasks that involve communal life. He said that psychologically healthy people have
"Gemeinschaftsgefuhl". This is a German word that means "community feeling".

Erik and Vicki Swenson demonstrated community feeling by taking in four orphaned children.

The Minneapolis-St. Paul volunteers and donors demonstrated community feeling by helping to make this amazing home makeover.

You can view the new house and its makeover on November 25 on ABC television.

Extreme Home Makeover Links

Sorrow to Joy in the Extreme

TJB Homes Photos of Makeover

The Swenson-Lee Family

TJB Homes Gives Extreme Makeover

from Wikipedia: "gemeinschaftsgefuhl" -- a profound sense of caring for others and a desire to improve the world



Adler had found his empirical and clearly definable solution in gemeinschaftsgefuhl - people drove towards healthy social interaction. He defined gemeinschaftsgefuhl in german alone - so English translations are difficult. However, we can recognize this concept as:

a profound caring about others
a positive feeling towards others
the desire to improve the world
healthy social interaction

Adler was optimistic, and felt everyone was born with this drive. (See Fromm) But, unlike Rousseau and Fromm, Adler felt that each of us had to work hard to foster it.