Last Minute Gift Guide

January 01, 2017

Happy Holidays to you! Tis' the season to be jolly and indulge in all of it's magic. As the countdown to Christmas + Hanukkah is quickly unfolding, we felt called to offer you a last minute GIFT GUIDE. It has become very clear within us, that it is more important to give a loved one something that will have long term meaning in their life + a gift that honors Mother Earth. As we all know, there are many options out there and lots of them are quirky and fun. By all means, enjoy gift giving and receiving! AND when you are shopping for any last minute gifts, please take a second to consider the impact this gift will have on another's life now and for generations to come.  Are the ingredients clean and safe? Does this touch their life in an uplifting way? 

Without further ado, please enjoy our top 10 list of thoughtfully sourced brands with a unique + inspiring mission. There will be many of these under our tree this year! May your week of holiday shopping and preparation be full of love and lots of fun!

Living Wholly's TOP 10 for holiday shopping:::
(all are equally awesome!)
1. Ajai Alchemy - loving the Grace
2. Zenbunni - check out all of their Chocolates, Coco + the Holy Smoke
3. Moonjuice - love all the Moon Dusts + the Moon Pantry
4. Agnes Baddoo - the handbags are gorgeous!
5. Conrad Men's - gift a chic meditation pillow + Men's bags
6. The Sattva Collection - the Sri Yantra necklace is powerful
7. Beyond Yoga - Love their mission + all of their yoga apparel
8. Parsley Health - MDs + Health Coaches offering accessible options for optimum health
9. Kit + Ace - love their cashmere shawls, scarves + Men's collection
10. Rishi Tea - their Matcha, teas + teaware are excellent

Blessings of light to the completion of 2016!

love,
Living Wholly

Stephen McGhee is at the forefront of mind-opening new directions in leadership. For the past 25 years, he has guided business executives and influential leaders across the globe, to go beyond self-imposed limitations to new levels of leadership. Stephen is an international keynote speaker and author of three books on leadership, he has transformed accomplished individuals around the country and initiated cultural change with major corporations such as Microsoft, Merck, Georgia Pacific and Firestone. He recently completed his first film, Climb For Freedom, a documentary about the transformation of seven men summiting one of the world’s highest peaks and the profound impact of that journey on their lives and relationships. 

With a graduate degree in Spiritual Psychology and a background of working in both investment banking and as an ecumenical minister, he brings an engaging, diverse perspective to life and leadership.

photo by Seth Beckton

 

LW: At what point did you consciously commit to the path of awakening?

SM: I was five years young, when I first felt attuned to the path of awakening. I remember hearing my parents arguing and I asked for God to help them and my siblings. At that age, I didn’t have the wit to commit to my awakening. I do remember an experience of equanimity and peace as I talked to God. Since then, there were many times I stepped away from the path of awakening, and this was the moment I remember committing to the path.

LW: Did you find that comforting?

SM: Yes, it was incredibly comforting. I felt that these prayers would go straight into the heart of God.

There was a Grace that came forward at these times. I learned later, that Grace can be defined as “unmerited favor”. At this time in my life, when I send a prayer up, I ask for ease and Grace no matter what is going on.

LW: What was the defining experience that supported you in believing the unbelievable was possible?

SM: It was a somewhat painful experience. In 1994, I decided to leave a very prosperous position as an investment banker. In theory, I had it all. However, for me the work I was doing was not integral. Our business practices were out of alignment. I left banking to pursue the entelechy of my Soul. I let my insurance lapse and found myself in the emergency room, from a weight training accident. They gave me a strong medication to remove a blood clot and I can remember leaving my body. I spent the next 8 days in intensive care. This was a great gift to me, because I had time to ruminate on my life.

This experience was clarifying for me and I feel as if I received information on leadership that I have been teaching ever since. It was a pivotal time for me, as I left the finance world and came away with a sense that anything is possible.

LW: Were you scared?

SM: There was tremendous fear and freedom in the same breath. Have you heard the phrase? “Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose” by Janis Joplin.

A big part of my former identity was lifted. The question then became, how am I going to be in the world without that identity? I was a newborn. Then, I began to see the freedom in what had happened. It was as if, Spirit gave me a clean slate. And the truth is, we all have a blank slate each and every day and I simply wasn’t seeing it at the time.

I do remember listening to a man in the bed next to me, with his labored breathing. I could hear him struggling to live. I heard him take his last breath. The blessing he gave me was the experience of how deeply precious each breath is. Moreover, the great gift of experiencing this life as a “spiritual being having a human experience”. By Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

LW: What has been the most challenging experience in your life that turned out to be the most meaningful opportunity to your life's path?

SM: I went through a divorce in 2014. I was hanging on tight to my own ideal scenes of relationship, marriage and family. I am in my fifties and getting a divorce. I was embarrassed. I felt so vulnerable that I could not make the marriage work. It was a push and pull experience of wanting out and at the same time, feeling that I needed to stay. It took me to my knees and this was another life experience of going deeper, becoming more vulnerable and opening my heart more.

LW: What inspired you to become a Leadership Coach?

SM: I was on the succession plan at the bank. Because of that, I received world-class training on leadership. The problem was that I felt the business practices at the Company were not in alignment with the principles I was learning.

From there, I became a real student of leadership. After over 20 years, I am just now feeling that I am integrating all that happened in that hospital bed in 1994. Either, I am a slow learner or the planet is just now ready for a more progressive model of Soul Centered Leaders?

LW: What guided you to specifically support and coach High Level Executives + Leaders?

SM: I can relate to that type of person. I understand the drive and ambition for material wellbeing, while having a desire for Soul Level fulfillment. This combination, helps to create an extraordinary life.

LW: How do you inwardly prepare to work with your clients each day?

SM: The way that I choose to live my life, is the greatest preparation I have for my clients each day. And that includes the mistakes that I make and how I deal with them. Every step I take is a progression.

LW: What are the practices you are committed to?

SM: Spiritual exercises, Yoga, healthy food, having fun, participating in the lives of those I love.

Before a session, I clear my mind. I let go of anything that no longer serves me. I ask for the Light to fill me, surround me and protect me. I ask that I might get out of the way and allow the Spirit of God to work through me for the highest good of whom I am serving. I pray to Lead with Love and be filled with Living Love.

LW: What teachers have you worked with and/or currently work with to inspire and support your evolution in consciousness?

SM: The greatest teacher of my life is a man named John-Roger. He transitioned on October 22nd two years ago. I don’t miss him though, because his teachings live on inside me.

Dr’s Ron and Mary Hulnick of the University of Santa Monica have been an amazing demonstration to me of what is possible, when leaders work together, toward a higher mission. The work they do is of the highest caliber on the planet, in terms of developing people. I graduated from the University in 2002, with a Masters in Spiritual Psychology and went back in 2016 to add an emphasis in Consciousness Health and Healing. And after all of that, I am now on the faculty co-leading a program on Soul Centered Professional Coaching at the University. It’s an amazing experience for me.

And I would be remiss to not mention the petty tyrants in my life. Those individuals that brought “material” for me to see myself more clearly have been great teachers in my life. These are the ones that I was angry at, or judging them. I have learned a great deal from all those that have come into my life on any level.

I’ve also learned from the strangest teachers. For example, a shoe shine man in Atlanta. The way he shined shoes could bring me to tears. It was an art to him. He was creating something special with every pair of shoes he shined. There was a line of customers waiting and he didn’t care, because all he could see was the person and the shoes that were in front of him. He demonstrates excellence.

Teachers are everywhere all day long! For me, that is a great lens to see the world through.

LW: In your words, how are you serving the world and contributing your gifts?

SM: I see myself as a Minister to Leaders. I combine the beauty and the Grace of spiritual context with the details of the business day. I feel that this is the gift that God gave me. I assist men and women in finding the inspiration inside of themselves to contribute at the highest possible level, while being true to Self. I believe in exponential growth on both the Soul Line and the Goal Line of life.

LW: As an Entrepreneur, what words of wisdom would you offer so many of us that are passionate about sharing our gifts and contributing greatness on the planet?

SM: I would say to them that being an entrepreneur is a journey of Self growth. You cannot hide from your Self as an entrepreneur. One of the great gifts is that you are learning about who you are and what’s possible as a human being. There is great wealth in that and some people miss that.

Entrepreneurship offers tremendous freedom. I know many entrepreneurs that project fear into the future. Some good questions to ask yourself, as you’re building your business would be:

  1. Do I have shelter?
  2. Do I have food?
  3. Do I have people that love me?
  4. Am I breathing in and out?
  5. What is my greatest priority for my business in this moment?
  6. Do that thing.
  7. Rinse and repeat.

“Be as steady as the North star and as flexible as the wind.” by John-Roger

LW: When you climbed Mt. Aconcagua, what was the most significant learning you experienced while you were there?

SM: The mountain was in charge, not me. It’s a 23,000 foot climb, so there is plenty of room for learning on the ascent and descent. The great guide, Augusto Ortega, says “Mountains aren’t scary, it is the people that climb them that are scary”.

I had conversations with the mountain and asked her: Will you allow me to climb you? Those that don’t respect the mountain seem to have more challenges in climbing them.

LW: What does living wholly mean to you?

SM: Living Wholly means embracing all of life. Embracing the shadows and the light, the sadness and the joy. It means putting myself forward spiritually, emotionally, physically and mentally as I learn and grow. It includes trying new things constantly and consistently. Freedom and discipline are integral elements of this path. All of that connects back to the beauty and grace of life.

LW: What are your top 3 suggestions for living an extraordinary life?

SM:

  1. Have some form of a Spiritual practice.
  2. Be a part of a community that you love.
  3. Don’t wait to be great! You are already great, perfect and whole as you are. You don’t need any more permission. Choose yourself.

LW: What is your daily Spiritual practice?

SM: Breathing is good! I use all the tools I have learned, including daily intentions, Spiritual Exercises, forgiving myself for my judgments of Self and others. And daily gratitude is a very important part of my day.

The greatest practice is in life. How am I approaching my life as caring and loving for Self and others? Am I going to send an email that came from a place of reaction or pause and respond when I am residing more fully in my heart?

LW: What are you reading right now?

SM: “How to Live a Good Life” by Jonathan Fields

LW: If you could share a mantra from your journey thus far, what would that be?

SM: Trust Self.

LW: Is there something you’re currently working on that you’d like to share with us?

SM: Yes, I am working on a program to encourage women to Lead. We are at a critical time on the planet and I want to encourage the natural elements in the feminine to stand forward and lead. It’s time for greater balance in this area. I am going to take the subtle areas of leadership that I have experienced for 20 years and apply them with a team of women leaders. I am planning on launching this program in early 2017.

Dr. Mary R. Hulnick, Ph.D., is a pioneer and innovator in the field of Spiritual Psychology. She is Chief Creative Officer at the University of Santa Monica. Together with her husband, University President Dr. H. Ronald Hulnick, she has served as USM’s Founding Faculty and Co-Director, designing the curriculum in service to Awakening the human spirit inherent in each student. Mary and Ron have co-authored the book, Loyalty to Your SoulThe Heart of Spiritual Psychology and several online courses. Their latest book, Remembering the Light Within: A Course in Soul-Centered Living, is set to be published by Hay House in February 2017. A Licensed Clinical Psychologist and a Marriage and Family Therapist in the state of California, Mary is described by all who know her as unconditionally loving, deeply compassionate, and highly supportive to the evolution in human consciousness.

LW: At what point did you consciously commit to the path of Awakening?

MH: I knew there was something more from the time I was a tiny child. I was aware of a deeper meaning and purpose—opportunity for a deeper conversation. Awakening for me has been a life long process. Experiences and events occurred; opportunities were presented that were catalysts for Awakening. It has truly been a natural unfoldment. Nonetheless, there has been a guiding presence assisting me in recognizing the opportunities and resources being presented to me.

LW: What subject matter sparked your interest when you started your studies in college?

MH: During my undergraduate at the end of my sophomore year, I needed one more credit to achieve junior standing. I decided to take an independent study in existential psychology. This included reading the works of Abraham Maslow, Viktor Frankl, Rollo May, and others. I was reading amazing books with life changing ideas. I loved the information and the experience that was happening within me. The requirement for completing the course involved writing a 30-page paper. My professors told me that my paper was beyond undergraduate psychology work. They strongly encouraged me to keep going. 

I also had a great love of English Literature. I ended up with a double major in English Literature and Psychology. I loved English literature because of the character development, the deep insight into psyches, and my love of mystical poets like Blake and Wordsworth. These two majors were compatible for me as I was always interested in people and consciousness. As a young child, I would find myself in situations where adults would spontaneously talk with me about their challenges. From a very early age, I was attuned to empathy and compassion and was good at listening.

Through choosing to pursue graduate work in psychology, I knew I would be relating with people in ways that were deeply meaningful and purposeful. Pursuing graduate work in English Literature, seemed like a more isolative kind of life that didn’t appeal to me at the time. Though in retrospect, it would likely have led to a mystical life focused around poetry and spirituality.

When I completed my Master’s Degree in psychology, my professor asked me if I had thought of getting a doctorate. After sitting with it for a couple of days, I decided that I would do it. Again, there was the natural unfoldment.

LW: What teachers have you worked with and/or currently work with to inspire and support your evolution in consciousness?

MH: John-Roger is the only spiritual teacher in the physical form that I’ve worked with. I’ve read books or heard talks by other teachers, but J-R is my teacher. I experienced inner recognition and knowing when I met him. J-R is an incredible embodiment of love, and freely shared the inner wealth of spiritual wisdom and knowledge to which he had access. He was a conduit. My experience with J-R was the constancy of his loving. Two years ago on October 22, he passed. His spirit is more present than ever. He is still my teacher.

And, of course, life is for learning, and I have learned so much through the many people I have known and loved.

LW: How did you transition from the study of traditional psychology to Spiritual Psychology?

MH: It was a natural consequence of my own spiritual Awakening. I realized that loving is truly the healing agent and that as human beings our essential nature is loving. Much of the mental anguish and emotional suffering that people experience is due to spiritual amnesia - forgetting who we are and why we’re here. The shift was a natural progression through waking up myself.

In addition, my teacher, John-Roger was extraordinary. I witnessed him working with people for more than 35 years before he passed. He worked within the context of spiritual reality and I witnessed miracles of healing Grace. I experienced people letting go of difficult patterns they had carried all of their lives. I realized it was truly possible to assist my self and others in Awakening into the Spiritual Context and the Love, Joy, Aliveness, Creativity, Wisdom, and Freedom of their Essential Nature.

In my experience, the more you do the work to dissolve the barriers that block you from the awareness of your own Essential Loving Nature, the more you become an instrument of Divine Love.

LW: What is your definition of Spiritual Psychology?

MH: To distill it all down, it is the study and practice of conscious Awakening.

LW: When did you meet your husband, Ron, and at what point did you realize he was your life partner?

MH: We met in New Mexico in the fall of 1974. I had just moved to New Mexico six weeks earlier to begin a faculty position at New Mexico State University. One evening he came to my classroom door and introduced himself as a doctoral student who would be entering the Program during the next quarter. He wanted to sit in on my class. I recognized him immediately. Based on that brief encounter, I knew he was going to be important in my life, but I didn’t know how. He enrolled in one of my classes a few months later. Over time it became very clear that we had similar interests and orientation. One thing led to another; five years later we were married.

LW: What has been the most challenging experience in your life that turned out to be the most meaningful opportunity to your life's path?

MH: It happened within a few months of marrying my husband, Ron. Ron and I were now both on the faculty in the same department. The Universe began to move—big changes began to occur. At that time, the University wanted to develop women in leadership. I was being groomed to become the Department Chair, Dean of the College and perhaps eventually Academic Vice President. There were policies regarding nepotism, so if I were promoted, it would not work for Ron to be in the department where I was Department Chair.

Ron was offered positions in other departments, but none of them really had heart for him. Our dream and intention was to work together. He declined the positions and to everyone’s dismay, I resigned. We then embarked upon a yearlong honeymoon. We were married, in love, and had no idea what our next steps were going to be professionally. That year gave us time to deepen in our relationship and we had time to catch up inwardly. The unknowing was unfamiliar and uncomfortable, yet it was a beautiful and precious time. And there was always the lingering question of “what now?”

LW: How did the clarity for your next steps come to you?

Some months after completing our employment at the University, J-R came to our city to offer a seminar. One afternoon we had a meeting with him and he told us about a school he had founded. We listened and talked mostly about other things we were thinking of doing. Nothing really moved inside us at that time. We shared with him we would be going to California soon for a month to participate in some his seminars. J-R told us that things would become clearer when we returned home after the month in California.

Shortly after returning home from our month in California, I woke up one morning at 5 am and went outside to reflect on a powerful dream I had just experienced, which indicated we were to run the school J-R had mentioned. Soon, Ron came outside and asked what I was doing. We went back inside, had tea, and talked. In the past, I have experienced dreams of inner knowing numerous times in my life that had guided my direction and choices.

Later that morning, we called J-R’s office to arrange to meet with him about the school. The next day we were driving to El Paso, Texas, to catch a flight to Los Angeles for that meeting. On our way, there was a beautiful double rainbow in the sky—which to us was an incredible sign of Spiritual Promise. We met with J-R, agreed to become the founding faculty of the school, and moved to California a few months later. The rest is history.

LW: What was the defining moment that led you and Ron to be significantly involved with the University of Santa Monica?

MH: My dream that provided the deep inner knowing that we were to breathe life into the school. Since that time and for the past 35 years, we moved forward creating Programs assisting students in Awakening Spiritually while also living lives of greater meaning, purpose, and fulfillment. 

The school was named Koh-e-Nor, meaning Mountain of Light. It was a nonprofit that J-R had founded in 1976 that was waiting to have life breathed into it. The name was later changed to the University of Santa Monica, and we offered Master’s Degree Programs in Spiritual Psychology for the past 35 years.

LW: In your words, how are you serving the world and contributing your gifts?

MH: Through two primary intentions---

  1. Awakening into my Loving nature.
  2. Sharing of my gifts in service to the greater Awakening that is taking place on this planet at this time. The expressions that support this are:
  • Through the University of Santa Monica’s current offerings including the Soul-Centered Living I Program.
  • Co-authoring our latest book: Remembering the Light Within being published by Hay House that will be released on February 21, 2017.
  • Serving the USM Community of graduates through weekend workshops, coaching, and counseling.
  • And through simply bringing forward the Strength of my Heart and sharing it with others.

LW: How can people work with you privately?

MH: It is very rare that I work with someone that hasn’t gone to USM. USM’s 10-Month Program in Soul-Centered Living is a beautiful way to learn the Principles and Practices of Spiritual Psychology. The result is a transformed consciousness and a transformed life.

LW: What is your daily spiritual practice?

MH: In the morning, I begin with a prayer. I call myself into the Light and place the day ahead in the Light along with people and situations on various Light Lists. I read Discourses, which are foundational teachings of John-Roger. I listen to J-R seminars and meditations. I practice a form of meditation daily known as Spiritual Exercises that has to do with silently chanting and listening to the Sound Current.

At this stage, perhaps the most ordinary, outward Spiritual Practice is my intention to live my life as the Presence of Love whether I’m working with people or spending time in my garden.

LW: Do you have a daily affirmation that currently supports your evolution?

MH: I am accepting and expressing the Loving heart that I am remembering that I am the Presence of Love.

LW: What does living wholly mean to you?

MH: Living Wholeheartedly. Living all in with reverence and respect for the sacredness of life. Serving Spirit.

LW: If you could share a mantra that supports you, what would that be?

MH: Father, Mother God, I surrender unto Love. This life is for you.

Bristol Baughan deeply inspires with her brilliance, soulfulness and vulnerability. She is an Executive Producer of Emmy-winning and Oscar-Nominated films, Author, and Private Coach. 

She has gone on pilgrimage with Tibetan monks in India, studied Tantric & Hatha Yoga in Thailand, and experimented with both ancient and modern healing modalities around the world. She reports from the front lines of inner space for Poppy + Seed and also facilitates vulnerability workshops for TED.  Bristol spent over ten years in the film and media business making relevant stories entertaining through film at GOOD for HBO, Paramount, Showtime, and Dreamworks. She is a TED Fellow and served as a delegate for the State Department Documentary Showcase in China. Bristol holds a B.A. in International Studies from the American University School of International Service and an M.A. in Spiritual Psychology from the University of Santa Monica. She founded Inner Astronauts to support people in becoming fully alive in service to the world.

 

 

LW: As a child, what did you think you were going to be ‘when you grew up’?

BB: I remember being around 7 or 8 and writing in my journal that I wanted to be a human rights lawyer, like Martin Luther King Jr., because that’s what I thought he was. I would dream of fighting for justice.

LW: What was the defining moment that guided you to filmmaking and storytelling?

BB: Growing up, my family and I watched movies. That was kind of like our church and experiencing the world from where I lived in San Diego and New Hampshire. When I would go to the theater and watch the trailers before a film, I would have moments of being in my soul resonance, an experience of feeling energy moving through my body and the feeling of being really alive. The story would transport me into a new experience. It was these feelings of aliveness that made me follow my resonance into film making and story making.

LW: At what point, did you make the clear decision to shift from filmmaker to private coach, writer and facilitator of workshops? Was that a leap of faith? Was it challenging, scary and was there a process of grieving?

BB: It was a terrifying leap of faith, when I knew that the old way of working and doing was no longer possible, like my body and spirit couldn’t play that game anymore, what I call “the old game.” I had no idea how I would make money or what I would do, but I knew it wasn’t the old way. I knew I wanted to write, but I didn’t know how I would live. It was scary and a total leap of faith. It was very humbling having to ask support from friends and family. From there, things started to open up. People started to call and ask to talk and then it was continuous. I said to myself, I think this is a thing. I had a friend that was a coach and she taught me so much. The experience was graceful but there were definitely moments that were unknown and terrifying.

    LW: What led you to doing the deep, inner work and your devotion to transformation?’

      Burnout on addiction to external validation and achievement as my primary way of being. Really healing from that which led me to the ground and having no energy. I had to get on my knees and discover the underlying assumptions for what I was doing here, what being alive meant to me.

        LW: What has been the most challenging experience in your life that turned out to be the most meaningful opportunity to your life's path?

        BB:

          1. Death of my father
          2. Heartbreak of Soul mate in love
          The death of a dream or the idea of finding one’s Soul mate and it isn’t the one, burns off the illusion of control and ego power. It destroys your whole construct so you’re forced to be vulnerable and permeable in new ways. It expands us beyond where we are.
            LW: What teachers have you worked with and/or currently work with to inspire and support your evolution in consciousness?

              BB: Alyssa Nobriga was my first coach, Drs. Ron and Mary Hulnick, and Gangaji

                LW: To you, what does it mean to be vulnerable?

                  BB: It means to tell the truth in every moment about what I desire, what I want, what I am afraid of, what is real in the moment, and to be willing to keep my heart open no matter what. It means admitting the truth that we’re human and underneath all the armor, we are all vulnerable and innocent little creatures.

                    LW: In your words, what is Inner Astronauts?

                      BB: It’s constantly evolving. Right now, it is a coaching company for those seeking personal and professional mastery in service of the world.

                        LW: How did the name Inner Astronauts come forward?
                          BB: I was writing and I had the thought, buy the domain for innerastronauts.com. So I did, then I forgot about it. Later, I realized it was fitting. It was a total surrender experiment.

                            LW: How are you serving the world and contributing your gifts?

                            BB: I am living all in, telling stories and offering opportunities for others to do the same. I have a one woman play called “Judge-a-holic.” It is a way that I serve by getting super vulnerable and sharing my story. I do workshops and offer people the opportunity to see what stands between them and their vulnerability. I just wrote a guidebook around harnessing heartbreak.

                              LW: What does living wholly mean to you?

                                BB: Living wholly to me means to honor both the light and dark as love. It is to embrace all parts of ourselves as part of this mystery that no one can fully explain and to play with all of it.

                                  LW: What are your top 3 tips for living a healthy, fulfilling life?

                                  BB:

                                    1. Inquire within, whatever way that works for you. Whether it is writing poetry or working with a coach or therapist. Discover the beliefs you’re carrying and if you don’t like your reality then rewrite it.
                                    2. Take care of yourself. Put on your oxygen mask first kind of idea. Feed your soul. Find ways to do this and prioritize it.
                                    3. Get into your body and move your body. The only way you experience health and fulfillment is by feeling through body not mind. Connect to the body in movement, yoga or orgasmic meditation --- whatever serves you.
                                      LW: What are you reading right now?

                                        BB: I am reading "Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion" by Jeffery Kripal. and a lot of Rumi.

                                          LW: Is there something you’re currently working on that you’d like to share with us?

                                          BB: I am working on "Harnessing Heartbreak". This is my book that just launched. It is inspired by my experience of healing from a Soul mate that wasn’t meant to be my life partner. It is a 23-day guidebook/companion guide for someone healing from heartbreak.

                                            LW: If you could share a mantra from your inner wisdom, what would that be?

                                            BB: My value is inherent and consistent regardless of anything external.

                                             

                                             

                                             

                                             

                                             

                                            In the presence of Gina Murdock, life is expansive, full of enthusiasm + infinite possibilities. She has a gift of bringing people together and showing up in a way that supports loving connection.  She is a yoga teacher, writer and community organizer. She is the Founder of “The City of Wellbeing” in Aspen in partnership with Deepak Chopra. She is the Founder of the Aspen Yoga Society, a nonprofit organization dedicated to uniting community through yoga and offering acts of Seva (service) for the greater good. We are excited to partner with her on the Lead with Love - Mind, Body, Spirit Rx Retreat on October 25th - 28th in Aspen. Check out the website and join us in the Rocky mountains for a stellar line up of presenters and an experience that will uplift and inspire!

                                            (Photo by Kate Holstien)

                                            Murdock has her Master's degree in Spiritual Psychology at the University of Santa Monica and a Founding member of Dr. Deepak Chopra’s Self Directed Biological Transformation Initiative. Gina is an International Editor at Origin Magazine and a contributor at Mantra Magazine. Read on to learn more about Gina and how this journey has unfolded for her.

                                             What led you to living in Aspen and becoming a leader in raising consciousness?

                                            There is a quote that my husband often paraphrases, “Most of us are born to believe a leader is someone else in the room.” I believed that to be true until recently. I was the last out of four kids in a large Italian family. I was lovingly referred to as “Gina Bambina” because I was the little sister, the littlest cousin and the “baby of the family”. I really embraced that role! I was doted on and became very accustomed to people doing things for me. As I matured, I learned how to take care of myself and have always been independent and resourceful, but I never thought of myself as a leader. Within the last 6 years or so, I noticed that people kept showing up for meetings I was hosting. I would try to get other people to take over when I would travel, but it never seemed to work. I realized at that time that I had some sort of “skill” in bringing people together. I never really realized it was a skill, because it came so naturally to me and I enjoyed it. It felt natural.

                                             I was born very enthusiastic about life; I have a giddiness about it all. That enthusiasm, and my belief in what “could be”, seems to be contagious. It was just this year, interestingly, that I realized I am not only a community leader, but also a social entrepreneur. This awareness came when I was invited to speak on a panel about entrepreneurship and I explained that I’d be delighted to, but that I’m not an entrepreneur. After listing off all of the organizations or movements I’ve started the man who invited me explained that I am indeed a social entrepreneur and one that has a story to share. I was happy to hear this! I sat on that panel and I’ll tell you, I did have a lot to share and I LOVED sharing my journey because I finally understood I have learned a lot along the way and that those lessons could be helpful to others. Everything I had done up to that point was so organic, never had I written a business plan or gotten coaching or gone to school for business, so I didn’t really recognize how far I’d come, or the things I’ve created until I was asked to reflect on that entrepreneurial journey in front of 100 or so people who were looking at me as if I knew what I was talking about. These things just happened as I followed my heart and my conviction that I want to make the world a better place for being part of it. That’s the driving force behind all that I do. Does this bring me and others joy? How can I navigate in such a way to experience the most resonance in my work, relationships and life? What am I grateful for? What is my Truth? How can I be of service? These are the questions that guide my life and I believe inspire people to work with me for the greater good. 

                                              Have you always been in a yoga influenced lifestyle?

                                              I didn’t discover yoga until I was in my mid 20’s. I had a boyfriend in Telluride who showed me the Bikram sequence in our bedroom one day. I thought he and it was so weird, especially the strange breathing they do at the beginning of class. He had experienced Bikram Yoga in Boulder and was so excited to share. There was no yoga in Telluride at the time. I took my first yoga class in Basalt, CO about a year later, emerging drenched in sweat, smelly and exhausted and still very skeptical of the practice. It wasn’t until many years later in 2007 that yoga became my “savior’. I had been in a car accident and gotten a concussion. Life became very difficult. Yoga was the one thing that made me feel like myself again, centered and connected. Later that year I quit my job as a news reporter and became a yoga teacher. I’ve had a devotional love affair with the practice ever since. I founded Aspen Yoga Society in 2010 to bring the yoga community together using acts of Seva or service. This is part of my dharmic path and something that truly brings me joy.

                                               

                                                What has been the most challenging experience in your life that turned out to be the most meaningful opportunity to your life's path?
                                                  I would say the concussion that led me to quit my job and become a yoga teacher was a really challenging time, but a blessing in disguise. Yoga is SUCH a gift to me and to the world. That accident brought me closer to God/Spirit by creating the circumstances for me to become a devoted practitioner. I didn’t do it because I wanted to, I needed to do it and I still do. My life is so much richer and more balanced when I practice asana, pranayama and meditation daily. I don’t always do that, but I certainly feel the difference when I do and when I don’t! The Yoga practice helps me to remember I am a Spiritual being having a human experience. I experience that knowing every time I’m on the mat, out of my head and in my heart.
                                                    In your words, how are you serving the world and contributing your gifts?
                                                      It's interesting because I always wanted to “save the world”. I was the quintessential “angry activist” in college and in my 20’s. Everything was unfair and I was the judge and juror. I wanted to change the world and I did it by bitching and protesting what was wrong - from war, sex slavery, environmental degradation to factory farming. I remember waking up one morning when the war in Iraq was in full swing, listening to NPR news as I did every morning and feeling pissed off; I was so upset that we were involved in this unjust war. This is how I would start my morning. Me and Amy Goodman pissed off about the war. I made the decision then, for my own health, to actually stop listening to the news. I realized I was becoming angry and in that I was becoming part of the problem. The world needs more love, not more anger and upset. I needed to be the change I wanted to see. Since that time I’ve been more careful how I receive information; I limit how much news I take in and am much more discerning about it. When I stopped taking in all the bad news I realized I could be of service more by working on myself and being a conduit of love and light in my community. I went from global activist concerned and overwhelmed by all the challenges in the world and almost paralyzed by it to someone who became truly interested in how to see love and be love in all situations. This is my inward journey that started with my yoga practice in 2004 and became so much more pronounced when I enrolled in University of Santa Monica’s Masters in Spiritual Psychology program in 2013. That program, more than anything else, has allowed me to understand that the only person that needs saving is me and what makes that even more poignant is the knowledge that the only person I can change is myself. Peace begins with me and I know that in my quest to evolve and become more aware I am uplifting others. A rising sea lifts all ships. It’s the most effective form of “activism” I know to be the change you wish to see from a place of love and non-judgment. It’s much easier said than done, but it’s a journey that I embrace as a life long student in the school of life. I would say I made a profound shift from trying to “save the world” to learning how to truly serve the world.

                                                      (Photo by Kate Holstien)

                                                        What does living wholly mean to you?

                                                          I am a person that wears many hats – a daughter, sister, wife, friend, student, teacher, board member, philanthropist and founder and director of several orgs. With these different hats I sometimes feel like I’m being pulled in many different directions. Living Wholly to me means that no matter what I am doing, in any of these roles that I play, that the “starring role” in my life is that part of me that is LOVE. I let the part of me that is connected to God or Universe or Spirit lead. This is the part of me that I touch into during meditation and when I’m “in the flow”, not thinking or doing, just being. It doesn’t matter what I am doing, if I am led by love, with a clear intention to be of service, I feel I am Living Wholly, in balance, acquiescing my will to Thy will and living from a place of gratitude and joy.

                                                            What are your top 3 tips for living a healthy, fulfilling life?
                                                              • Daily spiritual practice – Yoga, meditation, prayer, reading uplifting material, gratitude journal, etc.
                                                              • Connection with community/friends/family, in other words, your tribe. Data suggests that the number one indicator of wellbeing is our relationships. Its important to cultivate meaningful relationships and surround yourself with people who lift you up!
                                                              • Purpose – What is it that brings you joy, that truly resonates with your heart? Do that. Every day. As much as you can.
                                                                Do you have a daily spiritual practice that currently supports your evolution?

                                                                  I practice some sort of yoga and meditation almost daily. This is the foundation for me. I do free form writing often to work through issues or emotional upsets and I reach out for help when I feel stuck. Clearing unpleasant energy, either through my own practice or with a coach or therapist, is extremely important to me and something I’ve only recently embraced. I used to think therapy was for crazy people or wimps who couldn’t handle their shit. Now I see the most powerful people are the one’s who are wiling to receive guidance and assistance and ask for what they need to evolve and grow. It isn’t weak. It is bad ass.           

                                                                  I often read uplifting spiritual material, yoga philosophy or any myriad of self help books. Michael Singer’s two books: “The Untethered Soul” and “The Surrender Experiment” have been influential to me as well as Carolyn Myss’s work. I Love “Sacred Contracts” and “Anatomy of The Spirit”. The art of surrender and acceptance have been my biggest life lessons and teachers so far. It’s a daily practice for me to take responsibility for my life, without blame or upset, and to empower myself by releasing limiting beliefs or patterns to be the most embodied, empowered and authentically loving (and bad ass) woman I can be.

                                                                  Most importantly, I forgive myself when I feel judgment and I always try my best.

                                                                   

                                                                    What teachers have you worked with and/or currently work with to inspire and support your evolution in consciousness?

                                                                      Seane Corn, Hala Khori and Suzanne Sterling, the founders of Off the Mat Into the World, have been influential to me. I attended one of their leadership courses in 2010 and it helped me get clear on what I wanted to do in the world. I’m grateful to them and their vision with that org. I think they’ve inspired many, many yogis to take their practice “Off The Mat” which really resonates with me. I’ve led several yoga retreats with a service component and find that to be the most meaningful part of the trip. Kerri Kelly who used to run OTM and founded CTZNWELL is also a mentor and friend. I’m inspired by all of their dedication to making the world a better place.

                                                                      I met Deepak Chopra about three years ago and I’m now on the board of The Chopra Foundation. Before I met Deepak, I thought he was kind of funny and commercial. After knowing him, I feel like I’m in the presence of a real master and someone with a deep desire to alleviate suffering in this world through raising consciousness. I admire and respect him and absolutely love hanging out with him. He’s “in the flow” of life and just being with him it rubs off. The Universe is in charge!

                                                                      I never met BKS Iyengar, but have been studying his methodology for about 7 years and love his writings and teachings. He and my teacher Trishka who has taught me Iyengar yoga over the last 7 years have been a such a gift. I highly recommend “Light on Life” and “Light on Yoga”.

                                                                       Rod Stryker is one of my most revered and respected teachers. He walks the talk and is a deeply devoted yogi who I admire, and just an all around great guy. His wife “The Other Gina” is one of my guru’s too;-) She is ALL Love.

                                                                       By far, Ron and Mary Hulnick and the University of Santa Monica have been the most influential teachers in my life so far. Their curriculum is brilliantly designed to allow for greater freedom, joy and love in life.

                                                                       I’ve met His Holiness Dalai Lama, and as you would expect, he radiates Love and spreads so much joy and compassion. He and his writings have had a positive impact on me. Thich Nhat Hanh is another one of my favorites as well. Peace is Every Step is so true.

                                                                      My parents are great teachers to me and my husband and close friends, too. Those closest to me provide the “mirror” and reflect back to me the things I need to work on in myself to be the person I want to be, one who is genuinely loving, kind, inspired and grateful for the amazing gift of life!

                                                                        What is the inspiration for the upcoming Mind, Body, Spirit Rx Retreat?

                                                                          All of the things I mentioned above: The teachers (most of whom are teaching at the retreat) and my reason for being -to create a better world- are an inspiration for the retreat. I am SO excited, honored, humbled and blessed to be hosting such amazing teachers in such an amazing place, AND, it happens to be my 40th birthday so I am about to explode with blessings as I embrace this new era of life, gray hairs and all... Not to mention this incredible band Con Brio that came to me through friends and seem to be taking the world by storm right now! This is a retreat that if I wasn’t hosting it I would be going to for SURE no matter where I lived. Its my “dream team” including so many amazing speakers, like Goldie Hawn and Gretchen Bleiler, who are friends and have inspiring stories to share.

                                                                            For those thinking about joining the retreat, what words of encouragement and overall intentions of the retreat would you share with them?

                                                                              All I can say is GET THERE!! This retreat is a reflection of my heart, all of the best teachers I know in one place, an amazing yoga/conscious tribe you get to be a part of forever, and a heartfelt intention to raise the vibration of LOVE all while supporting Aspen City of Wellbeing, the non profit I started that is dedicated to measurably improving wellbeing for all. I was asked once what the world would be like if I was “World President” and this would be it: Deeply intentional gatherings and meaningful connections, uplifting yoga, meditation, pranayama and ritual, music, dancing and singing and lots of hugging + inner work to free ourselves from limiting beliefs and truly shine, and LOVE. SO MUCH LOVE. That’s what this gathering is to me. We will all be co-creating a little world full of love and light for four days which will be an inspiration for all of us to continue to live that way more fully wherever it is we return to. This event is my offering to you, from my heart, and with deepest gratitude to all the amazing people that have helped me bring it together, including Living Wholly.

                                                                                What are you reading right now?

                                                                                  I am about to attend a meditation training so I’m re reading The Bhagavad Gita. Its an aspirational book that teaches us how to live without suffering. I feel myself resist the teachings at times that are about renunciation or coming to a place beyond desire, especially from any external objects. I love the sensations of being human, the pain and the pleasure of it. I still rejoice in that and yet I do see that being on a path of non attachment, purity of Loving what is and acceptance without desire is a place of freedom. I often think of one of the main lessons of the book which is “perform action without regard to the fruits of that action”. I try to live my life that way: I always try my best; I have a strong intention to serve and to be the Light and see the Light in others (The essence of the yogic greeting Namaste). My hope is that this event reflects that. 

                                                                                    I know you travel often and love exploring the world. What is the last place you’ve traveled and what is one learning you experienced while there?

                                                                                      I was in Italy for a while in Sept and into Oct. I learned I am a champion in The Eating Olympics. I crushed it!!

                                                                                        What is your favorite quote?

                                                                                          “Be The Change You Wish to See in The World” – Gandhi 

                                                                                          (Photo by Brian Clopp)

                                                                                            Living Wholly continues to follow and receive inspiration from ethereal alchemist and visionary, Amanda Bacon. The thought of digging a little deeper with her initiated lots of curiosity and even more connection to her journey. She is the Creator of Moon Juice, Mama, world traveling chef, sustainable lifestyle leader, passionate food educator and an influencer of beauty, brain, body and spirit at the deepest level.

                                                                                            In 2006, Amanda began studying the power of raw, medicinal foods to heal the hypothyroid condition that she had had since she was a teen. Although she was still working as a chef in fine dining, at this juncture her whole diet changed. She ate primarily vegetables and legumes from the farmers market, and foods that would serve as hormonal adaptogens. These live, medicinal foods changed her from the inside out and her transformative experience – backed up by extensive blood tests, the scrutiny of several physicians, renewed feelings of vitality, and a shift in her personality, immunity, appearance, and thought – inspired her to create Moon Juice.

                                                                                             

                                                                                            What was the defining moment that led you to your vision with Moonjuice?

                                                                                            The morning I woke up and realized I couldn't go another day without committing to the calling

                                                                                            What influenced your cosmic relationship to the moon and building a brand around this?

                                                                                            Being human on this earth, especially being an intuitive woman. I can remember the moons leading me forward through tough spots as a child, and then living in countries where I didn't fully speak the language or sink into the culture (before the days of smart phones!) and having the waxing and waning moon always there with me wherever I was on the planet. I don't know that I can do anything and not include the moon.

                                                                                            What was your inspiration to exploring wellness with such depth?

                                                                                            The burning desire to thrive despite the odds

                                                                                            How did you manage to have a baby and build your brand so actively?

                                                                                            You just get up everyday and do it, there's little room for fear, rest, and socializing

                                                                                            In your words, how are you serving the world and contributing your gifts?

                                                                                            This may be easier to answer in ten years. Right now I try to keep an energized and open vessel to let nature come through and direct my actions

                                                                                            What does living wholly mean to you?

                                                                                            Letting love, success, and your highest calling run through you

                                                                                            What are your top 3 tips for living a healthy, fulfilling life?

                                                                                            Meditate, eat enough good whole plant foods and fats, use adaptogens in your daily life

                                                                                            What teachers have you worked with and/or currently work with to inspire and support your evolution in consciousness?

                                                                                            Bobby Klein, Harijiwan, Guru Jagat, Thom Knoles, Kaypacha

                                                                                            What has been the most challenging experience in your life that turned out to be the most meaningful opportunity to your life's path?

                                                                                            Having a baby while exiting the partnership with his father, and opening Moon Juice, all at once

                                                                                            Who inspires you?

                                                                                            Anandamayi Ma

                                                                                            What music are you currently listening to?

                                                                                            I'm flipping between George Harrison and Sanskrit mantras

                                                                                            What are you reading right now?

                                                                                            Last night was a dive into Carl Sagan

                                                                                            If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

                                                                                            India, always, it is my heart.

                                                                                            What are your "must-haves" while traveling?

                                                                                            I've been chipping away at that list, trying to let the location provide its wisdom rather than importing what I know.... But I do bring goodnight dust for jet lag, and omica stevia drops so the local "wisdom" isn't sugar!

                                                                                            What is your present state of mind?

                                                                                            I feel present and like I could happily stare at the white wall ahead of me despite the millions of things I need to do and the fact that I am running late to a meeting.

                                                                                             

                                                                                            Interview by Rose Miller

                                                                                             So grateful for the the opportunity to connect with Light Watkins and share his interview with you all. Light has been operating in the meditation space for over 15 years. He is based in Santa Monica, CA and travels the world teaching everyone from bankers, artists, politicians to CEOs, caretakers, and comedians how to meditate in a self-sufficient way.

                                                                                              Light Watkins has taught meditation to roughly 2,000 people. He is the author of "The Inner Gym" book series; the first volume of which has been released, and the rest are coming. Light is a regular contributor to mindbodygreen.com and has given a TEDx talk titled "Debunking The 5 Most Common Meditation Myths". In 2014, he founded The Shine Movement in Los Angeles. It is his passion to introduce others to a practice that he has personally benefited from in every area of life.

                                                                                             

                                                                                            How are you serving the world and contributing your gifts?

                                                                                            I help people find happiness inside where it truly resides and I do that through meditation and inner practices, inspiration through the Shine, writing, etc. 

                                                                                            What was the pivotal experience that led you to practicing and teaching meditation?

                                                                                            Meeting my teacher. I was inspired by the fact that he embodied the happiness that I was seeking.

                                                                                            What was your inspiration with the Shine?

                                                                                            It was the inspiration itself. It ties along with the quote by Emerson, "Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be."

                                                                                            It is about creating an experience built by people for each person to be who they know they can be. 

                                                                                            What is the one quality you want to be remembered by during this life?

                                                                                            That I left the world a better place then when I found it.

                                                                                            What does living wholly mean to you?

                                                                                            Living in alignment with nature, being inclusive, being socially and environmentally responsible.

                                                                                            What are your top 3 tips for living a healthy, fulfilling life?

                                                                                                1. Surround yourself with healthy people

                                                                                                2. Meditate

                                                                                                3. Follow your heart

                                                                                            What is your self-care practice?

                                                                                            All of the above

                                                                                            What teachers have you worked with and/or currently work with to inspire and support your evolution in consciousness?

                                                                                            Currently Tom Knoll, meditation teacher.  

                                                                                            What has been the most challenging experience in your life that turned out to be the most meaningful opportunity to your life's path?

                                                                                            Being rejected as a model when I worked in fashion. I got rejected a lot, but it  helped me develop thick skin and learn to not let anything stand in the way of following my heart.

                                                                                            What is your super-natural gift?

                                                                                            The ability to explain complicated concepts in a simple way. 

                                                                                            Who inspires you?

                                                                                            Anyone who follows their heart

                                                                                            What music are you currently listening to?

                                                                                            I listen to a lot of stand up comedy when I work out. When I listen to music though it is usually Kanye West.

                                                                                            What is your present state of mind?

                                                                                              Trying to be in the moment as much as possible.

                                                                                              What are you reading right now?

                                                                                                Walter Isaacson's biography of Einstein, Einstein: His Life and Universe

                                                                                                If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go and why?

                                                                                                  I would go to South America, because I have never been there.

                                                                                                  What has been your most memorable revelation while traveling?

                                                                                                    That you're never alone.  

                                                                                                    What are your "must haves" while traveling?

                                                                                                    Smart phone and eye mask

                                                                                                    What is your favorite quote?

                                                                                                    "Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be."
                                                                                                    ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


                                                                                                     Interview by Rose Miller

                                                                                                    Living Wholly is excited to connect more deeply with the inspiring, determined and radiant, Kelley Sibley, health expert, mama, and creator of Bamboo Juices.

                                                                                                    The idea for an organic, cold pressed juice shop was the manifestation of Bamboo’s CEO, Kelley Sibley's, 15 years of experience studying the diets and cultures of people across six continents. Through her personal experience and studies, she learned there are a few basic principles that enable people to maximize their health and longevity that include a plant-based diet, and eating in moderation. Taking these principles, the idea for Bamboo was born in her mother's kitchen to provide her community dietary options that mimic those of the world’s healthiest people through fresh, delicious health tonics and elixirs.

                                                                                                    How are you serving the world and contributing your gifts?
                                                                                                    Most importantly, I would say inspiring people to get healthy. I own a juice company in Atlanta, Georgia. My knowledge and passion for health are teaching and inspiring others to take health into their own hands, inspiring them to want to be healthy, to see what food and juice can do to help them become their best selves.
                                                                                                     
                                                                                                    What does living wholly mean to you?
                                                                                                    I think living wholly is being the best version of you, so for me the best version of myself is the healthiest, the most authentic, the most calm and intuitive.
                                                                                                     
                                                                                                    What are your top 3 tips for living a healthy, fulfilling life?
                                                                                                    1. Definitely meditation.
                                                                                                    2. Cold pressed-juice.
                                                                                                    3. A mostly plant-based diet
                                                                                                     
                                                                                                    What is your self-care practice?
                                                                                                    My self-care rituals that are very important are juicing every day, daily meditation and daily physical exercise. I have a baby so long walks, bike rides and running.  
                                                                                                     
                                                                                                    What teachers have you worked with and/or currently work with to inspire and support your evolution in consciousness?
                                                                                                    My greatest teacher right now is my Course in Miracles teacher. We meet every week, and we talk about the Course in Miracles. Currently she is my biggest support. In the past it has been world travel, which to me is a Course in Miracles on steroids. You see how other people live and you get a sense of how there is something bigger than yourself and of how valuable life can be.
                                                                                                     
                                                                                                    What has been the most challenging experience in your life that turned out to be the most meaningful opportunity to your life's path?
                                                                                                    I used to be really unhealthy while feeling defeated + exhausted with the overall sense of what am I doing on this planet. This health fear led me to become the best version of myself:::super healthy, educated on having a health body, and to creating Bamboo Juices.
                                                                                                     
                                                                                                    What is your super-natural gift?
                                                                                                    I operate really quickly, like get sh*t done so fast. I will get things done incredibly fast, days before anyone else is doing it. I think this is the reason I have been successful.
                                                                                                     
                                                                                                    Who inspires you?
                                                                                                    My baby, she is so inspiring. She inspires me to be in the moment until I find the awe in the things that I don’t pay attention to anymore. She is great teacher to teach me to stop and find amazement in a flower or in a roly poly.


                                                                                                     
                                                                                                    What music are you currently listening to?
                                                                                                    I am not a big music person. I love podcasts. I love information. I will listen to music when I meditate like gongs or Kundalini music.
                                                                                                     
                                                                                                    What is your present state of mind?
                                                                                                    I feel super excited! I am working right now on launching a national brand for Bamboo. I have been on calls all morning so I am pumped on that.
                                                                                                     
                                                                                                    What are you reading right now?
                                                                                                    A Course in Miracles, The Success Principles by Jack Canfield, and I always have the magazine wellbeing journal around, I have it next to me right now.
                                                                                                     
                                                                                                    If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go and why?
                                                                                                    Indonesia. I love beaches and surfing and I love South East Asia, I just love that region of the world.
                                                                                                     
                                                                                                    What has been your most memorable revelation while traveling?
                                                                                                    In India, the sacred place on the Ganges River where people travel from all over India to bring dead bodies. I was there and they burn 2 thousand bodies a day, so seeing the mound of dead bodies was a moment of –there must be something bigger in myself. I just couldn’t wrap my head around bodies just being there, like they didn’t matter. There must be something else. It was a firm realization that made me believe that there is more.

                                                                                                    What are your “must haves” while traveling?
                                                                                                    Nothing that is the great thing about traveling! You don’t need anything.

                                                                                                    What is your favorite quote?
                                                                                                    “Be the change that you wish to see in the world” -Gandhi

                                                                                                     

                                                                                                    Interview by Rose Miller

                                                                                                    We are so honored to share our exclusive interview with the internationally acclaimed spiritual author, lecturer and personal inspiration, Marianne Williamson. She has so much wisdom to share and truly touches the hearts of so many people all over the world. We are looking forward to reading her newest book, "Tears to Triumph", The spiritual journey from Suffering to Enlightenment. 

                                                                                                    Marianne Williamson has been a popular guest on television programs such as Oprah, Larry King Live, Good Morning America, Charlie Rose & Bill Maher. Six of her eleven published books have been New York Times Best Sellers. Four of these have been #1. The mega best seller "A Return to Love" is considered a must-read of The New Spirituality.

                                                                                                    Marianne is a native of Houston, Texas. In 1989, she founded Project Angel Food, a meals-on-wheels program that serves homebound people with AIDS in the Los Angeles area. To date, Project Angel Food has served over 10 million meals.  Marianne also co-founded the Peace Alliance. And she serves on the Board of Directors of the RESULTS organization, working to end the worst ravages of hunger and poverty throughout the world.

                                                                                                     

                                                                                                    How are you serving the world and contributing your gifts?

                                                                                                    I think we best serve the world by simply trying to be more loving, more positive, more forgiving in any moment. Love makes us conduits for miracles and receptive to miracles. From that, all else follows.

                                                                                                    What does living wholly mean to you?

                                                                                                    Living Wholly means “holy.” When I remember I’m a spiritual being, a creation of God, here on the earth to do God’s Will, i.e. channel Love, then I’m in my whole mind. Outside that space, we’re neurotic, psychically dismembered, scattered.

                                                                                                    What are your top 3 tips for living a healthy, fulfilling life?

                                                                                                    1) Meditate and pray.

                                                                                                    2)  forgive and have mercy.

                                                                                                    3) exercise, eat and sleep well.


                                                                                                    What is your self-care practice?
                                                                                                    All of the above.

                                                                                                    What is your super-natural gift?

                                                                                                    There are no supernatural gifts. All gifts are natural. And all of us have an infinite supply. No one is special and everyone is special.


                                                                                                    Who inspires you?
                                                                                                    Everyone inspires me, when I take the time to listen to their story. 

                                                                                                    What music are you currently listening to?

                                                                                                    Barbara Streisand has a beautiful DC of duets that I keep listening to.

                                                                                                    What is your present state of mind?
                                                                                                    Good. Peaceful. Happy.

                                                                                                    What are you reading right now?                                      

                                                                                                    I just read a wonderful novel called “Broken for You” by Stephanie Kallos that I highly recommend. Also, “The Book of Strange New Things” by Michel Faber is a masterpiece. I’m looking around for my next good read.

                                                                                                    What has been your most memorable revelation while traveling?
                                                                                                    That people are the same everywhere. And how good and noble they are.

                                                                                                    What are your “must haves” while traveling?

                                                                                                    An open, flexible, curious attitude.

                                                                                                    What is your favorite quote?

                                                                                                    “The light has come.”
                                                                                                    A Course in Miracles.
                                                                                                    Interview by:  Jenny Emblom Castro

                                                                                                    Living Wholly is honored and excited to share an exclusive interview with Doula, Yoga Teacher, Meditation Guide, Facilitator of Women's circles and Mother, Paula Merritt Mallis. Find out Paula's tips to living a healthy, fulfilling life and her self-care rituals.

                                                                                                    When Paula was pregnant with her daughter and traveling on her own journey into motherhood, she experienced a spiritual awakening that allowed her the opportunity to choose a more conscious way to approach life as a woman and Mother.

                                                                                                    In her practice, she blends together her experience as a Mother, expertise as a Doula and her extensive training in yoga, as a Meditation Guide and Facilitator. Her deepest passion is sharing her knowledge and supporting women as they make their own journey into motherhood.

                                                                                                     

                                                                                                    LW: How are you serving the world and contributing your gifts?

                                                                                                    PM: I am a Doula. I am working with my pregnant clients and families and supporting them and bringing their child into the world. I am supporting the transition from maiden to mother and Papas into Fatherhood. I am also in service as I lead and facilitate women circles to support them with manifesting heart-felt dreams. I create a sacred safe space for woman to come together in community

                                                                                                    LW: What does living wholly mean to you?

                                                                                                    PM: For me, it means fully living in Authentic Truth. Being open to experiencing my Highest Potential and my Highest Self.

                                                                                                    LW: What are your top 3 tips for living a healthy, fulfilling life?

                                                                                                    PM:

                                                                                                    1. Meditation or some type of spiritual practice, breathing, etc.
                                                                                                    2. Eating medicinally, looking at food as medicine.
                                                                                                    3. Doing the inner work to help heal any unresolved issues, upsets or negativity.

                                                                                                    LW: What is your self-care practice?

                                                                                                    PM: Pretty much those three things. I have a spiritual practice and what I put in my body is medicine for me as far as food and herbs. I also have a Pilates movement practice that is very mind-body centric. It is the physical piece for how I take care of myself. I do acupuncture and get bodywork as well.

                                                                                                    LW: What teachers have you worked with and/or currently work with to inspire and support your evolution in consciousness?

                                                                                                    PM: Ron and Mary Hulnick, my daughter and my husband

                                                                                                    LW: What has been the most challenging experience in your life that turned out to be the most meaningful opportunity to your life's path?

                                                                                                    PM: My brother’s death in the year 2000 and the birth of my daughter. They were both life changing and the biggest opportunities for spiritual growth.

                                                                                                       

                                                                                                    LW: What is your super-natural gift?

                                                                                                    PM: Not going to give one of mine away, that’s for sure. It’s the place that I am getting to in my journey at USM and on my path. It is this super natural power of love, unconditional love. It is heart opening and the fullest expression of love.

                                                                                                    LW: Who inspires you?

                                                                                                    PM: All the women that I have had the opportunity to facilitate and work with, pregnant mamas, woman giving birth inspires so much in me. My grandma when she was on the planet inspired me

                                                                                                    LW: What music are you currently listening to?

                                                                                                    PM: Either listening to mantra or electro music – chill station on Sirius XMU or Kundalini mantras

                                                                                                    LW: What is your present state of mind?

                                                                                                      PM: Patience

                                                                                                      LW: What are you reading right now?

                                                                                                         "The Surrender Experiment" by Michael A. Singer

                                                                                                        LW: If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go and why?

                                                                                                          PM: I would go to India because I’ve never been there and I would love to experience what it is like to meditate and process there.

                                                                                                          LW: What has been your most memorable revelation while traveling?

                                                                                                            PM: First thing that comes to mind is peace and contentment within myself and realizing wherever you go, there you are.

                                                                                                            LW: What are your "must haves" while traveling?

                                                                                                            PM: I always bring rose water for the plane, it’s hydrating, I bring a scarf, and an inspiring book.

                                                                                                            LW: What is your favorite quote?

                                                                                                            PM: Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” –Marianne Williamson

                                                                                                             

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