You advocate self-love. What does that look like?

Recently a Human Being Training student asked the question: "What does self-love look like?" And here's the short answer to that wonderful inquiry: Self-love looks like doing only what you want. Only what makes your mind-heart-body thrilled (and sometimes a little scared).

This is where people get confused. Unfortunately, people in general (including those who consider themselves highly spiritual) are usually aghast at the idea of doing what they want. It would mean accepting their absolute power over themselves as the creators of their own lives, along with the tremendous responsibility that comes with this ultimate, inherent freedom. 99% of people want no part of that. They want to be told what to do by their religions, their governments, their parents, their schools, their friends, their local law enforcement--they automatically perceive any voice of authority outside of themselves to be more powerful than their own (if they even acknowledge that they have power).

Now, along with this information, I have to explain what "doing what you want" looks like. Two main things:

1. It's not something that happens from a big Eff You kind of attitude, although this can get you started. It's more like this: "Hey, I'm going to do what I want, and I hope you do also, because I want nothing but the best for you." True doing-what-you-want comes from a very loving place. You can't help anyone if you're a total wreck of exhaustion, resentment, and bitterness. We all know sad-sack martyrs. How much are they really contributing to the world?

2. It can often take the form of a major shift in attitude. So, as a CalPoly student said the other night, "I went from saying, 'Damn, I have to do my homework," to "I WANT to do my homework so I do well in X class so I can become the best X in the world, which is my overarching goal." Or my personal favorite, "Wha. I have to stop at Trader Joe's on the way home," becomes "I GET TO stop at TJ's on the way home so I can buy good food with the money I awesomely have, and carry it home in my MINI Cooper car that I love. I'm so effing lucky."

See?

I hope this helps. And I hope you can see now that while this is a very powerful self-love practice, it's also perhaps the least selfish thing you can do. Those who don't understand yet will call you selfish, invariably. But as you learn to take your power back through this practice of being in charge of your own happiness, you'll teach the others around you to as well. Or at least give them a glimpse that something different and wonderful is possible. And that's really what the world needs most right now.

One of my favorite lines from the music I've been listening to lately is "Come down from your cross, we could use the wood." :)

I think martyrdom and socially conditioned "self-sacrifice" are among the most damaging and selfish ideas out there.

But don't take my word for it! Try it out yourself, and please let me know how it goes.

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Understand this in your bones.

The following is something I felt compelled to write down immediately before giving a Human Being Training last weekend. I read it during Corpse Pose at the end of class. These are several dominant themes of my teachings, which are the same ancient ideas the masters have brought to us over the millennia, but in my own voice. Several people wanted me to make it available publicly, so here it is. Thank you for asking!

______________________________________

What I really want you to understand--like, even down into your bones themselves--is that there is no label, or name, or description for how magnificent you are.

The Ego likes little names and categories, because more than anything, it wants you to stay small and docile. Society and all forms of authority outside of you approve and reinforce this process at every opportunity, offering the illusion of safety as a powerful lure to obedience.

There's nothing wrong with the Ego. It's not evil, and you don't have to squash it. What will happen, though, is that as you allow yourself to grow and learn, the true, unlimited You will naturally begin to overshadow the Ego and put it in its proper place: as your servant. It's been your master until now. And that's all that's wrong with the world.

You have a choice of love or fear in every single moment. The Ego chooses fear every time. Your true, beautiful Self will always choose love. Sometimes making decisions from love is absolutely terrifying! But that kind of fear comes from knowing you're being called to play the Big Game.

So quit playing small!

It doesn't help anyone for you to cover up What You Are. In fact, it diminishes us all.

And as you allow your Real Self to emerge comes the opposite of Ego. There comes profound humility, because you realize that everyone, everywhere is also the same unknowable, indescribable vehicle for outright magnificence.

Let your power begin to come through you and overflow.

Use it freely, spread it generously.

You are without limit! Act accordingly.

Meanwhile, remember to rest when the body-vehicle needs rest. Take good care of your physical vessel--your spacesuit--so it can keep up with you. There is great power and beauty in skillful rest.

Namaste.

Inner Space: The Final Frontier (CalPoly051315)

Note: This is the first in an ongoing series of articles documenting the extraordinary evolution of my now two-year-old, weekly Human Being Training program at the California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, CA. I'm deeply grateful for the 35+ humans who participate in these yoga-based, music-driven adventures, since although I'm the titular instructor, the synergy we create together is what makes possible some truly jaw-dropping alchemy.


The energy of the community this week was crackling, edgy. It reminded me of the feeling I had recently during an autocross race when the back end of my car broke loose on a diabolically uneven, extra-long sweeping turn. The 360 that followed was epic, but disorienting. I was borrowing a magnificent, AWD turbo and forgot that the one thing to do with an all-wheel-drive car when its back end slips is to Floor It. And so we did in class what I failed to do on the race course. It was a sweaty, glorious mess.

Not my EVO, but you get the idea.

Not my EVO, but you get the idea.

I often have a theme of the week for Human Being Training (although I let the details fill themselves in as the class unfolds) and give a short talk on it before we get moving. This week, fueled by this life-altering Eckart Tolle video I've been studying, we explored the metaphorical concept of Inner Space: The Final Frontier. (I'm a total Star Trek dork, so this is how the Info presented itself to me.)

As always (OK, as often as I remember), I was practicing relaxing, setting down my ego, and letting the Information come through me as accurately as possible.

I try to listen to what my mouth says during Human Being Training, because when I let the Energy speak through me, it's generally pretty useful in the sense of providing instruction on how to become a Real Human Being. (This is how I think of folks like Jesus, Buddha, The Dalai Lama, Allah, Krishna, The Flying Spaghetti Monster, Yoda, Your Favorite Avatar Here, etc.) And above all else, I'm passionately keyed in to removing as many layers of my Not-Self as I can in this particular lifetime. (Side note: I just saw the new Mad Max: Fury Road movie today--they call Real Human Beings "shiny" or "chrome." Cool.)

The excellent thing is that each of us is already Shiny. And most of us forget this surprising fact as we tool around in our little daily worlds, lost in a wilderness of jibber-jabbering, meaningless, constricting thoughts fueled by our raging egos and untrained but powerful five senses.

Most of us have forgotten that the Brain Mind is the servant of the Heart Mind and the Gut Mind, not the fucking boss of us. (Guess where your terrified, tyrannical, torturing ego lives? Mmm-hmm.) And most of us have also forgotten that each of our senses is a big red button in our spacesuit bodies, which are tools for exploring Time/Space. When you use them correctly, you can play the Game. When you don't know how your spacesuit works, you don't know there is a Game, and how much crazy-ass fun it is.

So here's the crux of what we learned this week: To create some space inside you, some deep peace and relief from the incessant, maddening barrage of the Monkey Mind (have you noticed all that internal noise?), to train your Brain Mind to do the will of the more intelligent Heart and Gut, you only need to watch your body breathe. Or feel the inside of your left foot or hand. In other words, feel the Life that you are. Observe that you are not the nerve impulses that create thoughts. You are what watches the thoughts arise.

Until next week, Human Beings, have fun and for God's sake don't take my word for any of this! I'm continually flabbergasted by the amount of stuff I don't know. Maybe, if you want, try some of these ideas for yourself and see what happens.

All my heart,

Amanda


Things to Practice with Your Spacesuit This Week

1. V-e-r-y....s-l-o-w yoga pushups, with elbows in and a good plank going on (aka chaturanga). 10 seconds down, 10 seconds up. I can do 2 so far. Remember, slowness is a path to mastery and tremendous strength.

2. The hip mobility work we did. I found the exercises here. Love these guys.

3. As many frog leaps as you can do in 30 seconds. Do them like this!

4. Party trick o' the week: sit-throughs.

PLAYLIST

The Great Cartwheel Conspiracy of 2013

Note: All entries earlier than this one refer to Human Being Training's predecessor, Flash of White. I still like the articles, though, so I'm leaving them up. - AL

From the "news" (hope you're not still watching that!) to public schools to conventional medicine to government to corporate consumerism to law enforcement, there are many factors working to suppress the tidal wave of awakening humanity and make us feel very....frickin'....serious. Very threatened, small, and powerless.

And that's OK: it's all part of the cycle. According to Alan Watts, a hero of mine, we're exactly on track.

One of the most powerful things we can do to expedite the process of our evolution—of becoming Real Human Beings—should we care to, is to have some eff'n fun. Many, many people are beginning to figure this out and have started spontaneously dancing in public, offering free hugs on the sidewalk, developing alternative economies and ways of living together, and generally having a great time.

They're looking where they want to go, not where they don't. Cisco's dad taught me that key concept years ago while we were mountain biking on single-track, right after I climbed back up a steep, thistle-grown hill.

And in that spirit, conspire with me—literally, "breathe with me"—to have fun now. If it's not a cartwheel, make it a somersault, or a frog leap, or a hug, or a heart-felt compliment.

Dare to come alive! Do the unexpected. Be your weird, wild, wonderful self. Do what you want! And in doing so, inspire and alight those around you with the warrior courage it takes to walk the Earth as a Real Human Being.

Let us know how it goes! And PS: By not watching the news, we're not burying our heads in the sand. Nope. Know what's happening (without the corporate spin), and then look where you do want to go! Choose where to send your energy, is all. :)

Watch our video here!

The Plank of Doom

I guess my definition of "fun" is a little unusual.

My students have learned that when I say, "OK, so let's try something fun!" some serious shit is about to come down on them. There are usually moans and groans, and sometimes there are flops onto the floor as dread overwhelms.

Most of them, though, surprise themselves by rising to the occasion and finding that a good old-fashioned challenge is, yeah....fun. I love seeing the furrowed brows transform into smiles of discovery as they take on the challenge and win.

In this coddled, automated society, we've forgotten how glorious and gratifying it is to test ourselves, mentally and physically, against an opposing force—even if it's "just" our own bodyweight. And then how fabulous is it to watch ourselves quickly adapt, get stronger, and want to have even more fun?

So, here's Cisco's and my latest quick-workout video for you, which I call the Plank of Doom. Make sure not to commit the rookie errors of sticking your butt up or letting the hips sag. If that happens and you can't help it, just try to hold a good plank for 30-60 seconds until you get stronger.

You're awesome. Mwa!

When sheer panic is a good thing.

When was the last time you literally fought for your life? I mean, literally. Like if you didn't do something intelligent with your body—immediately—it would die or take major damage? I'm not talking about the pervasive, toxic adrenaline dumps that many of us endure multiple times on a daily basis. The wife yells, the boss is suddenly distant, the past-due bills pile up, the idiot in the beige Taurus crosses into your lane while texting, the kid breaks curfew. Again.

Kind of like this.

Kind of like this.

All of these unpleasantries provoke the much-maligned (but truly wondrous) flight-or-flight response, a torrent of chemical and hormonal reactions designed to move our bodies into a place of safety. The thing is, unless there's a lion a claw's-length away or you're running as fast as you can to catch something for dinner, your incredible body dumps its magical survival brew into the bloodstream and it stews there—all that power and potential swirling around with nowhere to go. This is bad.

Our amazing bodies live in a time way back when we still had to smash invading hordes over the head and somehow procure a bit of animal protein to survive. Sometimes simultaneously. The problem is, with rare exceptions, our bodies can't tell the difference between an angry husband and an apocalypse-level event. So it helpfully downloads, almost instantaneously, everything you need to blast through the Level-Red Crisis....and then you go sprawl on the couch to watch American Idol. And stew not only in all those powerful chemicals, but in the emotions that triggered them.

I've got an idea for you. I've got a better way.

Watch this video and change your life. Teach it to others and become the change you wish to see. Your time is now.

Time is short. Be magnificent.

arrow_flying_FB_cover

Last week, after dialing in (again) just what I'm doing here on God's green earth, I changed the official Flash of White tag line to "Time is short. Be magnificent." (Thanks to Robert Greene and his transformational and eminently practical book, Mastery, for the turbo boost.) My thinking on that: Why else are we here than to become the most spectacular manifestations possible of our limited-edition, one-time-only-ever selves? Whether you believe in reincarnation or not, there's never, ever, ever going to be another you just like you are right now. Talk about a precious resource!

Maybe, like me, you feel an increasing sense of urgency. I could chalk this up to a mid-life crisis, I suppose. But I don't think that's what's going on, because I'm seeing people of all ages in "the fight of their lives," as Ben Harper puts it in his "I Believe in a Better Way" anthem.

When I say "urgency," maybe that's not the right word. This is closer: I have the most peculiar, uncomfortable, and exhilarating sensation that I'm a waterfall being directed, via an intricate series of baffles, into a straight, narrow pipe. Are you also encountering the perception of time speeding up and the intensity of everyday life...intensifying?

Who or what is doing that and why? Maybe we are. Maybe Source is. Maybe we're working together on it. I really don't know.

What I do know is that every one of us who participates in the shift that's occurring is going to become a lean, beautifully efficient, and unlimited version of ourselves. In other words, a real human being!

And while it's tempting and very reasonable to get stressed during this refining process, something I'm beginning to realize is that the single most effective way to ride these waves of transformative energy  (which can can look like job loss, illness, housing crises, death, relationship breakdowns, natural disasters, and financial distress), is to r-e-l-a-x. Get out of the "Why me?" mindset and ask "What is this for? How is this designed to help me become my best self? What can I do with this?"

Here's another approach: The other day I came across a website called GTMetrix that's helping me optimize Flash of White. You plug in your URL and it produces a list of all the elements that are keeping your site from loading quickly. I thought to myself, "Wow, I wish I had this for my life!" (And then I discovered I did when I came across Mastery.)

digging

So what would GTMetrix say is holding you back from being all you can be, to quote the Marines? Make a list and "optimize" it all: relationships that are weakening you, storage units and excess stuff, fears of all varieties, negative people, addictions, limiting beliefs, energy drains, shoulds and would-if-I-coulds. Now is the moment to get light and fast.

Remember why you came here? It's back there in your childhood memories somewhere, and it's never too late.If you're unhappy, it's because you forgot why you're here. So let's do some digging and get on it!

Time is short. Be magnificent.

How to Do Yoga Sun Salutes for Health, Happiness, and Stress Relief

Ever despair that because of time and money concerns you'll never manage to work yoga into your life, despite knowing how good it is for your mind, body, and spirit? Well, despair no more!

In this video, I show you how to do Sun Salutations, one of the most effective strengthening, stretching, and stress-relieving yoga sequences, in the privacy of your home (or at the park or in your garage, etc.). It's wonderful and very helpful to go to a lovely yoga studio (like mBody, my home studio in San Luis Obispo, CA), but when you only have a few minutes or are short on dough, don't let that stop you from getting healthy and happy on your own!

One of my main reasons for getting up every day is because I LOVE empowering people (including myself) to do things that they believe they can't do. Now, in your case, that belief may be:

a) "I can't do yoga because I'm too old, stiff, klutzy, injured, overweight," etc.

b) "I can't do yoga because I have to spend many hours and dollars every week to learn how. And I ain't got either of those things."

c) All of the above.

Sometimes, all that's required to break down that "I can't" barrier is for someone to tell you, "Yes, you can," and then show you how. Others really like to argue for their limitations. If you're the first kind of person, I can help you. If you're the second kind, I wish you peace and release you!

So, Type Ones, here's what you do. Shift your focus from A and/or B above to this new belief: "I have 5-10 minutes to practice Sun Salutes on most days because I want to be strong, flexible, and relaxed. I'll enjoy a full-length yoga class with an experienced teacher when I can, and in the meantime, I practice on my own or with friends/family at home.

See? Easy breezy. Next, watch Cisco's and my video this week and give it a try! I'll show you two versions of the Sun Salute: one for regular folks and one for people with twingy backs or who are working on building strength. Have fun and send any questions that come up. Namaste!

The Joy of "No"

Squeegee your Third Eye

Squeegee your Third Eye

Our children can be our greatest teachers. Many of us grown-ups suffer from a form of ageism in which we believe that unless someone's a certain age, they can't be wise, or thoughtful, or aware. The way I look at it, kids are much closer to Source Energy than I am, having just emerged into this plane of existence. I, on the other hand, have spent nearly five decades here and occasionally forget to squeegee my third eye. (Thanks, American hero Bill Hicks; and please note that I employ other methods from what he recommends—not that I object to his methodology :).

Anyway, Cisco blew me away a couple of weeks ago with his pure-hearted, spontaneous, and utterly direct response to a question I posed. So refreshingly original was his response that I had a real sqeegee moment, smacked upside the head by the idea that you can just say "No!" to something you don't want to do.

Gasp. Pause.

What if we all did this? What would that look like?

In talking this over, a friend commented, "Well, if John does something for me, I HAVE to do something back for him. It would be rude not to."

Isn't that a nutshell version of our conditioned thinking so much of the time? And, uh, raise your hand out there (moms, I see you!) if you have a wee bit of resentment simmering (boiling?) constantly in the background as you force yourself through yet another day of doing things that you imagine will "make" others happy—even as your own soul dries up like an autumn leaf.

My response, in a precious, brief space of bright awareness (remind me I said this later, please): "Well, what if John did something for you because he wanted to? Because it brought him joy to do it? What if his gift to you was its own reward? Would you still feel obligated to do something for him even though you didn't really want to? How does that help him or you?"

So next time someone asks you do something that doesn't "light you up," just say "No!' (Optional but almost always appreciated: give them a hug and tell them you love them.)

Cisco's expertly rendered "No!" á là YouTube star Smosh will crack you up, crack up your "No-ee," and generally remind everyone involved not to take everything so damned seriously.

Let's repeal the unspoken prohibition on "No!" that has caused more misery, misunderstandings, and general chaos than the colossal failed ban on alcohol in the US from 1920 to 1933 (or, I might add, the perennially stupid War on Drugs).

shine_from_within

Let's resolve to remember that it's the ultimate responsibility of each and every human being to make themselves happy from within, and to quit looking to others' actions and behavior for it. Because guess what: as Cisco would put it, "that's an epic FAIL!" Every time.

We hope you like our video this week. Please tell us how your own "No!" practice is going! (Also, see below vid for a quick note.)

PS: Parents, lest I be misinterpreted, the Joy of No! technique applies neither to chores nor homework at our house. However, as a side note, I do believe strongly in providing incentives for children to do what you require of them on a daily basis, rather than demanding, criticizing, and bullying. (Do you like being treated that way?) With incentives, the chore- and homework-doer is empowered to achieve something that he or she wants (TV or game time, special event with family, sleepover, etc.) and thus has an active role in the outcome. Then the child has a chance to transform a "No!" moment into a "Yes!" one all by himself. Yea, sighs of relief for everyone. :)

Arms of Steel and an Open Heart

golden_sphere

This exercise grew out of a form I learned in Qi Gong with Master Zhou in Ojai last year. Somehow I started thinking of it as a process of creating a golden sphere of protective light around me, and so I call it "the Golden Sphere." I imagine drawing loving energy from the world as I inhale and sending loving energy back to the world as I exhale, forming a beautiful ball of light that enfolds me in that love. (Hey, I'm a yoga teacher too, so forgive my brief woo-woo.)

Somewhere along the way, though, I started really focusing on the delicious feeling of what I call "lighting up" my arms. I began extending strong energy out through my fingertips on each rotation, feeling each muscle, tendon, and ligament filling with blood and light. I noticed it was very challenging to activate every big and little muscle in my arms with each extension and on each return.

Within a few weeks I started to get comments that my arms looked really sculpted and defined. I'm very much into functional fitness, which precludes the time-heavy, gym-dependent development of bulky, movement-restricting muscles. So I was pleased with this. I'm all about creating (reclaiming!) bodies that move with grace, power, and fluidity in daily life--not doing 2 reps of a ridiculous weight and going home to watch the Lakers with a bag 'o chips.

Having discovered this nifty exercise that also powerfully tones the core muscles of low back and abdomen, along with major work in the postural muscles of the upper back (rhomboids and trapezius), I thought I'd share it with you!

Guys, before you turn up your nose at this, I've taught Golden Sphere to a number of men now. Generally I hear something like this after a few reps: "Damn, that's harder than it looks!"

Also, for those of you who found last week's exercise (alternating arms and legs from plank) to be a little too challenging, this is a great place for you to start—same muscles engaging, just in a more gentle way. Alternatively, if you loved last week's schtick and want to add in this super-quick little twisting, strengthening, and energy-enhancing exercise, you'll definitely build a longer, leaner, more sculpted physique in 4-8 weeks.

Here's the vid! Make sure you read my few quick tips below the video so you get this all dialed in. Thanks for watching!

help_button

Remember 1. Keep your hip bones strictly facing forward through the entire movement! That's the key to the core and upper back strengthening here.

2. Turn as far as you can on each side, but don't force it. Patience, young padawan, your range of movement will increase.

3. Ground your feet about hip-width apart, slightly bend your knees, and tuck the tailbone a little to engage the core.

4. Try for 10 reps on each side, for 20 total. Make each one count, so you should have a strong "activated" or working sensation in the arms, core, and back muscles throughout the movement. If you feel nothing, you need to move more energy out through your fingertips and feet.

Let me know what you think! And above all, do something. Lots of love.

PS: No, I don't lift weights. Everything I do is body-weight based.

Sit-ups don't work. Here's what does!

Seriously, quit it.

Seriously, quit it.

If you're still a devotee of sit-ups and crunches, I have some bad news and some good news.

1. Bad news first: They don't work. You can't "spot reduce" that area to magically reveal a nice, tight six-pack. Also, they put tons of strain on your delicate neck and upper-back vertebrae. Are your neck and legs often more tired than your abs after a killer crunch session? Your body's super smart--it's recruiting those muscles in an effort to help you slog through your session. Its job is to make everything you do as efficient and easy as possible. So we have to shake things up! Also, by working those muscles in isolation, you exacerbate the imbalance between a tight front (abs, hip flexors) and a weak back that most Westerners suffer from, which generates chronic low-back pain.

2. Good news: You hate sit-ups, don't you? So cut that out. Let me show you something way more effective. By recruiting both your entire abdominal sheath of muscles AND the rest of your whole darn body, you'll burn off the fat that's covering your glorious six-pack (we all have them, but if you have some "padding," they won't show) and transform yourself into a sleek, powerful, graceful god/goddess.

Jogging, treadmilling, Stairmastering, ellipsing, and all those other tedious hamster-wheel exercises cause fat retention, increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and extreme boredom. That's because human bodies aren't designed to work that way! We're meant to run from threats and chase prey. Because our genes still haven't caught up with the Information Age, if we want to stay fit and lean our whole lives, we need to simulate our hunter-gatherer ancestors and incorporate short bursts of intense activity into our daily lives.

Doing conventional crunches is also ineffective and a complete waste of your precious workout time. So let me show you what to do instead that's fun, fast, and—above all—effective! Here's Cisco's and my video of the week. There are a few additional instructions below the vid, so don't miss those for enhanced wonderfulness with this exercise.

A few extra tips for refinement:

1. In my martial art, we use the term taijutsu, meaning "body mechanics." Good taijutsu is very simple, but essential to make this effective for you. "Tuck your tailbone down" means, in other words, to stretch the base of your spine back toward your heels. I had a yoga student once whose back kept looking very swayed in plank pose. Turns out she was very carefully (and literally) pressing her tailbone toward the floor, causing her back to bend. Don't do that. As you press your tailbone back toward your feet, also draw your bellybutton toward your spine. This has the effect of firming and stabilizing the entire core area. Still don't get it? Picture a spiral of energy drawing the front of your body toward your face and the back of your body toward your feet.

2. If you're new to fitness and have been relatively inactive for years, PLEASE (yes, I'm yelling) start with the "easiest" version of this exercise, i.e., on your hands and knees. Neither of us will be happy if you hurt yourself and have to stop before you even get started. I'll come find you and box your ears!

3. Remember, you now have no excuses not to exercise! You can do my workouts anytime, anywhere. Depending on your level of ballsiness concerning working out in public spaces, the world is now your gym. Last week I did a quick workout on a pier over the ocean before a meeting. If people stare, invite them over to join you! You'll get laughs and smiles, and they probably won't, but I bet you'll inspire folks to get off their butts! This is revolutionary work, I tell you. :)

Next week: An amazing, spirit-boosting exercise that also sculpts your arms into beautiful, high-tensile steel (men and women both). No weights or pushups required!

The beauty of involuntary simplicity

Don't let this happen to you!

Don't let this happen to you!

After two years of paying $125. a month to store stuff I didn't need or want (or even remember I owned, in most cases), I finally took a day off last week to empty my 10x10 storage unit and give it all away. It was a heart-breaking, exhausting, and wonderful day.

The term "involuntary simplicity" has been floating around the Internet for a while now, so I can't take credit for it. But last week, as I tearfully watched dust bunnies swirl around my newly empty storage unit and the thrift store truck lumbered away, the phrase suddenly came home to me powerfully.

Always an advocate of simplicity and decluttering, I used to take the odd afternoon to clean out the closets or cabinets in my former big, beautiful house and take stuff to the thrift store. I loved the light, free feeling I got from reducing the number of possessions I had to organize and maintain. I realize now how relatively luxurious it is to pick and choose what you give up.

Far from being a doomsdayer or end-of-the-worlder, I avidly believe that humanity is perched on the brink of a gargantuan evolutionary leap from material-based to spirit-based creatures.

How many of you feel as though you're being funneled into a white-water rapids riding a broken-down wooden canoe with a hole in the bottom? And no paddles? Do you have a sense of shrinking material means (personally and globally) even as you experience your spirit emerging from the cocoon in the form of greater intuition, increasing glimpses of your own personal power, and awakening awareness of your essentially divine nature?

new_dawn

Or you might just feel, like so many of us do right now, that you're going crazy. In which case, relax! Despite apparent proof to the contrary, all is well.

This is all part of The Plan. And (hold on here): I think we're causing this chaos collectively, as a species, to make our evolution an absolute necessity.

Why? Because The Stuff, and our addiction to it, now owns us. And it's not even the kind of abundance we really needed or wanted.

So, voluntary or involuntary, we've got to strip back down to make room for what's coming, which is beautiful beyond belief.

It is easy? Is it fun? Maybe not. It's like birthing pains, I think. But we can either fight to hold onto our stuff or help the process along by focusing on what true abundance looks like: deep, self-generated happiness, living your soul purpose, time to spend with friends and family, growing and eating real food, and connecting more and more with Spirit, however that looks to you.

I pray for squashed bugs.

Yesterday I witnessed something beautiful: I got to watch a master yoga instructor work his way through a roomful of students who were experiencing different areas of stiffness ("resistance"). He guided each of them to a personal realization of how to heal themselves. Peter Sterios, cofounder of mBody Yoga in San Luis Obispo, California, is a 500-hour registered yoga therapist (RYT), and has been studying, teaching, and practicing for more than 30 years. As a former self-described stiff guy, he's uniquely qualified to teach about compassionately overcoming resistance in the mind-body-spirit complex. I feel privileged to be continuing my own lifelong training with him at his beautiful studio.

violent_universe

Among all that I learned yesterday during Peter's three-hour Yoga Mentoring class, one thing really jumped out at me. Here it is:

The Universe is a violent place. And that's OK.

This information came to light while we were all kneeling with our toes bent back. For a really...really...long...time. (OK, maybe it was a minute or so. You try it and get back to me, tough guy!)

At this precise moment, just as I was calmly (from the outside, anyway) observing myself about to blow a gasket from the intensity of the sensation, Peter brought up the topic of ahimsa.

Ahimsa is a concept in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras that is often translated as "nonviolence." It's become the basis of many a vegetarian and vegan diet, as well as countless personal practices that seek to cause as little pain and suffering in the world as humanly possible. Have you heard of the monks who won't bathe because they might kill microorganisms on their skin or in the water? I think that's beautiful in its earnestness, but then I get a little panicky because I think of the millions of microscopic organisms that I'm breathing—right now—that I just killed. There go some more! Aaaahhhhh!

germ

However, as Peter pointed out, "we live in a predatory universe." Everything living, in order to survive, is required to destroy something else, whether plant, mineral, or animal. Therefore, if we look more closely at the concept of ahimsa, and translate the ancient meaning more accurately, it really means something closer to "restoring balance." In my opinion, avoidance of and guilt over all kinds of "violence," even if it's the kind we use to feed our bodies or defend ourselves, is out of alignment with Nature and the natural order of things.

As an instructor of yoga and fitness and a practitioner of the martial arts, I've often told students, "If it hurts, don't do it." Pain causes a sharp, electrical, stabbing sensation that's the body's way of yelling, "Hey! Knock that s--t off!" But I also believe there's a critical difference between "pain" and "intensity." We don't want pain; we do want intensity. Intensity, whether physical or emotional, is where growth and rebalancing can occur.

Hey, I'm doing it!

Hey, I'm doing it!

So when we work with our bodies to keep them in their natural state of flexible strength; when you tell a coworker or partner that no, it's not OK for them to abuse your good will and generosity yet again; or when we eat (hey, those organic sprouts were loving life, too!), maybe you could see that as a rebalancing of energy, not being violent.

You have a right to thrive, too. And as a human, you have the unique option to do so with wisdom and compassion. So pray for those accidentally squashed bugs! Thank your sautéed chicken with greens as you sit down for lunch. Take back your power from those who mistreat you. Enjoy the intensity of the yoga pose that always frustrates you. Practice ahimsa on your path to becoming a real human being!

Thanks for reading, and please let me know what you think. I'd love to hear from you!

Parking Lot Pranayama

upanishads

I watched my video last night before posting it here, and some words stuck out to me: "We're all so stressed out these days." Now, I could come up with a number of reasons why that seems to be the case, but it occurred to me that "being stressed out" might just be a matter of choice. And then, wouldn'tcha know it, I was reading this morning in my new Essence of the Upanishads by Eknath Easwaren (one-word review: wow) about the origin and causes of stress. Briefly, it appears I am on to something, according to this timeless Indian spiritual classic.

Apparently, in addition to the untrained human mind's default setting of living in the past (anger, regret, resentment, etc.) or the future (anxiety, fear, anticipation, etc.), our minds tend to react to circumstances and events based on an extremely narrow set of requirements that make up our definition of what's "acceptable."

It's kind of like if your body needed the temperature to be always 72-75 degree outside for it to survive. Anything outside that tiny range would prompt extraordinary, life-or-death measures to neutralize the threat.

That's pretty much what our untrained minds are doing when we feel the emotional and physiological symptoms of stress: high blood pressure, pounding heart, anger, depression (anger turned inwards), headache, upset stomach, and eventually the whole range of illness that can come with chronic, unrelenting stress.

Our untrained minds are reacting to a perceived threat to our survival. Common examples today include losing a job, a house, or a spouse, and hostile encounters daily with other peoples' hair triggers.

Easwaren writes, "Stress is not caused so much by difficult conditions as by what we think of such conditions.... [T]he world does not impose stress upon us; we impose stress on ourselves.... [W]hat brings on stress is often no more or less than our strong, self-centered desires and self-will—the fierce need to have what we want when we want it, and in the way we want it, too. If you look at anyone who seems chronically under stress, you will often find that person subject to rigid likes and dislikes which he or she cannot stand to have thwarted."

Easwaren goes on to tell the story of a famous surgeon whose reputation as high strung and opinionated was legendary. He often used to complain, "My life is at the mercy of any rascal who chooses to annoy me." He died of a massive heart attack one day immediately after a colleague contradicted him.

Can you relate? I know I can. How many of my days have I allowed to be ruined by a harsh word, an unintended slight, or even (gasp!) constructive criticism delivered with love?

Here's what we can do: train the mind through meditation. According to the Katha Upanishad (in modern language courtesy of the brilliant Easwaren): "When your mind is calm, patient, and compassionate, you do not respond to life with anger.... All the vital functions of the body keep their appropriate pace [despite the circumstances you find yourself in]. This is the kind of control I am interested in, for it has a direct bearing on living in full health, free from rigidity and destructive ways of thinking."

Well, here's Cisco's and my (poorly lighted) video of the week, which sparked my little epiphany! We hope you like it and benefit from it. Please let us know your thoughts!

It's Remember Who You Are Day!

Whenever I'm like, "D'oh! I totally can't work out today because my gerbil just threw up/the plant leaves are dusty / last week was the solar eclipse / my period's due in 20 days," etc., I reach for one of my favorite tools in my "Get-Your-Ass-Up-NOW" toolbox.

And that is the magnificently simple and amazingly effective Hindu Squat. Why is it Hindu? I don't know, look it up. Something about wrestlers way back when in India. All I know is, this exercise beats the freakin' pants off pretty much anything I can throw at my body without a massive investment in equipment, gym memberships (you already know what I think about those), or personal training. Or even stuff I can do around the house, for that matter. I'm telling you, people with a 5,000-year-old culture tend to know a thing or two we American babies have no idea about.

The Hindu squat is one of them. (And also a little thing called yoga, which I teach, doncha know).

Anyway, I thought this handy-dandy ass-kicker of a do-anywhere/anytime exercise would be just the thing for my Remember Who You Are Day gift to you.

One thing I forgot to mention in the vid: try to tighten your abs every time you return to the start of the exercise. That gets more challenging as you go, what with gasping for breath and all, but try at least to do it in the beginning.

K, here ya go. Let me know how it goes!

"Thanks for borning me, Mom!"

I loveloveLOVE this expression, coined on Mother's Day by my then 5-year-old boy, the Amazing Cisco.

You moms out there know what it's like to "born" a baby. But do you know how to "born" (or even "re-born") your powerful, authentic warrior self? Warriors of all kinds (and make no mistake--every mom is a warrior!*) need strong, supple bodies. Workouts like these, particularly in combination with yoga, will get you there fast.

Cisco and I made a special video today for you moms (or anyone) who want to tone up those typical problem areas of the triceps (back of upper arm), tummy, and rear end. Like all of our workouts, this one is simple, fast, and fun!

In my yoga and fitness classes, you'll hear me harp on the importance of having a strong "General." In Chinese medicine, that refers to the midsection of the body, i.e., abdomen and low back. When you have a strong General, the troops (arms, legs, etc.) follow orders and life is good! A weak General leads to back problems, slouching, and often a defeated, victim-mindset attitude inside and out.

So Cisco and I hope you like this video (below) and that by Mother's Day next year you feel and look stronger, healthier, and more like the warrior goddess you truly are!

*To clarify for anyone who gets a Thor-like image in their mind when I use the term "warrior," here's my favored definition of the word from Freedictionary.com: "Warrior: One who is engaged energetically in an activity or cause." Sounds like a mom to me.

Blown Away

The wind this week has been crazy where I live! The wind is an apt metaphor for how tons of people are feeling these days: blown around and buffeted like a leaf ahead of a thunderstorm, with no end to the chaos in sight.

So this week I felt inspired to offer several ways to reduce your stress levels—methods that I use personally throughout the day. Each of them resets chronic hyperventilation patterns (shallow chest breathing) to deep, natural belly breaths, eliminating or reducing the confused, anxious, irritable feeling that so many of us have come to accept, tragically, as our normal state.

Remember: you don't have to go to yoga class to experience the benefits of this ancient practice! While we'd all like an hour and a half to dive into a bamboo-floored, lotus-scented spa experience, if that's not an option for you right now, you can get virtually the same stress-relieving effect from incorporating these few techniques into your daily life for a minute or two. Real magic can happen when you make these and other fitness and stress-relief techniques part of your daily existence!

Share these with your kids, your parents, your love, and watch as your inner and outer worlds transform into oases of calm. Find the eye of the hurricane and enjoy a rest, even as the storm swirls around you!

Drilling down

These days, I'm really into simple. Simple makes me happy. Life seems to be getting faster and more complicated, and sometimes I feel like the greens I pack into my trusty blender after I hit "puree." My solution to handling these stressful times? Simplify. Drill down to what really matters.

When it comes to my workout plan, which matters a helluva lot to me because it's the cornerstone of my stress relief program, lately I've simplified even more. I've compressed my workouts into short, intense bursts that leave me relaxed yet invigorated.

The Tabata Drill fits perfectly into the space occupied by the kids' bath, or the husband's Nascar special, or anywhere you have 10-15 minutes. I've done these drills at gas stations during road trips, while cooking chicken for dinner, in parking lots waiting for a friend, at an airport, in a field at sunset (see below, in fact).

Am I super disciplined? Mmm, I guess. But what makes me that way is knowing how I'll feel after I work out, versus the way I feel right now. That's what keeps me going.

Two things about this kind of approach to fitness. OK, three:

1. Be forewarned: You might stop caring what others think. (In fact, you may be surprised how you inspire someone by stepping outside the workout box). Ever drive past a big gym at night and see all the little hamsters on their treadmills? Quit it. Don't be a lemming.

2. You no longer have any excuses not to exercise. Anyone can do this, anywhere, anytime. Period. If you don't do it, it's because you plain ol' don't want to. Your decision.

3. Not so much with the grains and sugars. But one step at a time.

OK, so here's how you do a Tabata Drill (also see below for a few pointers):

To recap: 20 seconds of squat leaps, 10 seconds off, 20 seconds of pushups, 10 seconds off. Do that 6 more times, for a total of 8 sets. You can do whatever two exercises you want, or just do one! Last night I just did 8 sets of Burpees.

He's picked YOU out for dinner, lucky duck! What're you gonna do about it?

Some key points to remember:

1. Warm up for 5 mins. and cool down for 5 mins! This is critical. Focus on active warm up work (push-ups, squats, side bends, lunges, neck rolls, etc.), not static stretches. Save the traditional stretches for after.

2. Only go as fast as you can while maintaining good form! Speed is important for the effectiveness of the workout, but form must always come first. Build speed as you get stronger. Modify the movements as necessary. If you can't yet do a full squat leap or pushup, do a half or a quarter. Your body will get stronger FAST!

3. Act like a tiger's chasing you or you're chasing your own dinner. That's how your body is meant to work. Miraculous things will happen.

4. Don't do this more than 2-4x week. Not only not productive, but counterproductive.

5. Have fun! We're all too frickin' serious around here.

PS/Disclaimer: This can be an intense workout. If you're new to exercise or have pre-existing health problems, go easy and extend the rest period as long as you need, but not to the point of completely regaining your comfort level, or you're losing the benefits of this workout! Check with your doctor, blahblah, etc. Just use your head and stay at about a 5-6 on an effort scale of 1-10, with 1 being sitting on your ass and 10 being puking. On the other hand, if you're already fit and want to get fitter, go for it! :) Aim for 8-10 by the end of the set.

Bust Out of the Workout Box, Beautiful!

I just launched a new series of classes for 2012 based on the nutty workouts I've been doing on my own for the last two years.  Well, people say they're nutty and that I'm nutty for doing them. But then they do them with me and (when they can put a sentence together again) go, "Oh, man, that's GOOD!" It's like your body finally gets the thing it's been craving for so long.

Watch video demonstrating moves and modifications.

 

 

Bonzai the Border Collie & Why You Remind Me of Her
Our bodies (and our minds, too) are like my border collie, Bobo, may she rest in peace. Those of you who know working dogs know that they go crazy when they don't have a job to do or a challenge to surmount. They get all weird and start pushing furniture around with their faces and barking at the corner and stuff.

These astronaut suits we call our bodies are meant to WORK, not sit for eight hours a day and then go home and sit for another 2.5 hours in front of the TV. (That's the average amount of time Americans spend in front of the television in 2012, by the way. The average. And how much do we complain that we don't have any free time to—ahem—exercise or practice yoga or meditate? Just saying.)

But Wait, There's More! So in my fearless search for the best way to get fit and stay fit without a gym membership, a huge contraption that will end up with clothes on it in the corner, or a closet full of Home Shopping Network Ab-zer-cizers or whatever they are, I've discovered that the cutting edge of exercise science points to short-burst, high-intensity, body weight workouts. Please benefit from my many hours of research and experimentation on my own personal self.

And Now, My Point Below is the handout that handed out to my new workout buddies at our first class this week.

Give it a try and see if it doesn't light you up! There's a short FAQ section after, too, in case you have questions. I think it's pretty entertaining as well, if I do say so. (For those of you who don't know the moves listed below, Jim and I are making a video this week to show you! Hopefully, he won't have to go to the bathroom in the middle of it like my last cameraman. UPDATE 1/14/12: My spectacular kid Cisco did do the video this week, and added his own special flair! Thanks, Cis!)

Rocket Fuel Renegade Fitness Burst (Week of January 2-8, 2012)

5-min. active warm-up: squats, side lunges, pushups, side bends, ankle/neck rolls

Main workout (each for 30 seconds); 1.5-min. break after each set, i.e., all 4 exercises in a row, for two minutes total; try for 3-8 sets

- Burpees

- Plank (hold with good form or add toe lifts)

- Lunge steps forward and then backward; add front kick if you want or weights

- Mountain climbers (bottom down, core stable, knees come way in toward nose)

5-min. cool-down: walk, half squats, stretches

Watch video demonstrating moves and modifications.

THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND DURING YOUR RFR WORKOUT:

  1. By the second set, you should reach a Level 8 on a scale of 1-10 effort, with 1 being a slow stroll and 10 being throwing up. HINT: Conversation is not possible at Level 8. Throughout the workout, you should never be comfortable. You should be working hard at all times, even during the rest interval (i.e., breathing hard).
  2. Go as quickly as you can with good form. Don’t let your back sag in plank/pushup or get sloppy with your mountain climbers.
  3. NEVER skip the warm up or cool down. Trust me.
  4. Maintain awareness of the core (abdomen and low back) at ALL TIMES. You’ll never see me do a sit up. The RFR makes them completely redundant. Besides, they’re a waste of time and not very good for your back and neck. Also, six-packs come from removing the layer of fat over your upper abdomen. Everyone already has a six-pack—that's how the muscles are shaped.

FAQs

Why is RFR a really good idea? Short-duration, high-intensity workouts are what your body is designed to do. It’s how it’s supposed to work. We evolved to run away from a lion or run after a deer for dinner, and then move slowly and steadily for the rest of the day. How do we know that? Because of how powerfully and quickly our bodies respond  to the demands this workout places on them! You'll notice  rapid release of fat stores (particularly the dangerous deep kind that surrounds your organs), quick muscle building and definition, an increase in human growth hormone (HGH: our biochemical fountain of youth), heightened feelings of well-being, and reduced stress hormones. (Did you know that the stress hormone cortisol actually signals your body to store belly fat? Talk about stressful...)

How often should I do these crazy workouts? Please note that too much of this workout will largely reverse the benefits (see my note above about cortisol)! Do not do the RFR workout more than 2-3 times per week, especially if you're a beginner. This is why I don't endorse those intense, 6x-week workouts that are so popular right now. Too much of a good thing. Rest is equally important to work, and critical if you want results! Also, once you get to a relatively high base level of fitness, you'll feel like the border collie above when it's time to work out—just TRY and stop ya! That's a good barometer. You should always feel better after your RFR workout, not worse. If you feel worse, take a day or two off, go for some nice walks, and start slower until you get that border collie feeling again.

What should I eat/drink to maximize my benefits? To get the most out of your RFR workouts, try to do them on an empty stomach (i.e., don’t eat for two hours beforehand). After the workout, whatever you do, do not eat anything containing fructose (like fruit, or especially sports drinks or anything with high-fructose corn syrup)! This will immediately shut down the release of HGH, which is the main benefit of the workout. Drink water. In general, avoid all grains, sugar (including agave, which through great marketing got the rep for being OK—it’s worse for you than HFCS), soy, and processed foods. This will greatly enhance the health benefits of your workout. Also, remember that fat doesn’t make you fat. Fat is your massive weight-loss friend. It’s the KIND of fat that matters. Avoid all vegetable oils like canola, soy, etc. Eat lots of organic coconut oil (only cook with this, too!), some raw nuts and nut butters, organic eggs, and raw dairy if you’re not allergic. Organic, grass-fed, free-range meats cooked gently are also huge sources of CLA, a special fatty acid that’s like a miracle for weight loss. (High heats damage almost all fats and make them unhealthy.)

Why should I give up my hour-long treadmill workouts or long-distance running/walking that the doc said I need to do for my heart/cholesterol/weight loss/etc? Docs know a lot of stuff. Unfortunately, they’re not trained in (or, in many cases open to) the latest science on nutrition and exercise. Too bad. The hour-long treadmill/long-distance paradigm is very old science and it’s wasted many hours of our precious lifetimes. We used to think it burned fat, and while any exercise is better than no exercise, it turns out that our amazing bodies are so adaptable that they quickly get used to these long, low-intensity workouts and get even BETTER at storing fat!

Your body will help you facilitate whatever it thinks you want to do, so if it sees you wanting to run 80 miles a week or spend an hour a day on an elliptical trainer, by God, it’s going to make sure to store up some fat so you can keep doing that! (Your joints will also probably start to hurt a lot, because they’re not meant to take that kind of punishment.) On the other hand, if you keep your body guessing and constantly change the demand you place on it (which it’s longing for you to do, by the way, like a border collie waiting for an assignment), it will burn off your stored fat and build muscle so you can be the lean, mean, fighting machine you’re asking it to be! It says, “Oh, Amanda needs me to be fast, strong, and light! OK, here we go!”

What are the psychological and emotional benefits of RFR? When you see how quickly your body gets strong, fast, and beautiful, there’s a tremendous sense of empowerment. You feel like you can take on the world. Your self-confidence grows exponentially. Sleep improves, mental acuity rises, stress lowers, posture aligns, sex improves, depression and anxiety recede, your mind opens, happiness grows, energy skyrockets, and life just gets way better.

But what if I get all big and bulky? If you’re a woman and you’re taking steroids, that could be a problem. If you’re a woman and you’re NOT taking steroids, it’s not going to happen. You’ll get lean, defined, and eye-catching. Linebacker necks and tree trunk arms only happen to men because they have a buttload more testosterone circulating in their blood. And those guys usually spend too much time in the gym. Men, the RFR will sculpt you into sleek Greek gods. Our bodies are designed to move gracefully and fluidly. Not like bulldogs or oil tankers.

How come I can't just find my own workouts and do them at home by myself? You can, and I hope you do! There are tons of great bodyweight workouts to try out online. However, in my own experience, I've found that I push myself WAY harder and have WAY more fun when I'm working out with others. I have a little competitive streak that adores pitting myself against others in the room. (Note: You won't see this side of me in yoga class!) I notice, too, when I'm working out in the living room, there are a million distractions: the plant leaves suddenly need to be relieved of dust, my cat is SO cute, those crumbs on the floor again.... You know what I mean. So come out and play with us, take some time for yourself, and really blast off into a new you this year! I'd love to help it happen.

What can I do to complement my new RFR speed and strength with flexibility and poise? Funny you should ask! YOGA is a great complement to RFR. Come try my new Thursday night Supersonic Yoga class at Bloom, my Monday 12:15-12:45 RFR class at Bloom, or any of the other wonderful local classes.

Leading-Edge Life: Stop Cooperating

Last night I finished watching David Icke's masterful and inspiring 4-hour Radical Truth DVD, in which a sweat-soaked David speaks passionately about how we live in a time of "great opportunity." (Yes, he believes in aliens, so what? Prove him wrong—see my note on "normalcy bias" below.) Beyond Boundaries In order to take advantage of that opportunity, however, each of us must understand that we are slaves to and prisoners of a system that has quietly been designed over centuries to control, channel, and ultimately crush the once ferocious human spirit.

As he reminds us: "We are Infinite Consciousness! How can we be controlled except through fear, which happens when we forget who we are?" In truth, there is no "we" and "they." We are all one. Some remember that and some don't. Some live in love (aka Infinite Consciousness) and some live in fear.

Unfortunately, most of us are living in fear, which means that we are either a controller and oppressor or someone who gives their power away to controllers and oppressors.

How are "they" controlling us? Through: the food we eat the water we drink the taxes we're forced to pay, on jobs we're forced to have, to buy on credit the stuff we're told we need a medical/insurance industry that makes us sick religions that condemn us for questioning anything a legal system that twists the law a government that rescinds our constitutional right to protest without fear of prosecution while bombing "backward" countries for repressing unrest a public education system that trains, dumbs down, and indoctrinates rather than teaching (ever wonder why it's free?)

Why are "they" controlling us? Money and power. Intense interest in which indicates intense fear.

Think I'm spreading fear? I beg to differ. I repeat: "You have to know you're a slave before you can choose to be free."

What can you do?

Step 1: Above all, stay calm. Don't succumb to the chaos being staged right now. Stop giving away your power by being afraid.

Step 2: Stop cooperating with systems, rules, and authorities you don't believe in. Damn the consequences. If enough of us stand up together to live free, the house of cards will fall.

A Good Place to Start? Here's an example of the sheep-like thinking that's got us into trouble as a species: Did you know that it's illegal for the government to take our money in the form of taxation?There is NOTHING in the IRS Tax Code that stipulates that citizens must pay a percentage of their income to the US Government. It's a good old-fashioned Mafia-style shakedown, folks. How come the mainstream media doesn't talk about this?

Did you also know that the taxes we faithfully send in as part of our socially manipulated sense of "civic duty" does NOT go to schools, roads, hospitals, etc.? (Here's a hint: "...all individual income tax revenues are gone before one nickel is spent on the services which taxpayers expect from their government.")

Recipe for a Revolution Watch this short video to see a big picture of what we need to do very quickly to take back our power and why. (If you're in law enforcement or the military, or know someone who is, please watch and forward the brief appeal linked to the main video.)

The Normalcy Bias and How It Kills People Read this to see why you probably won't believe what was in that video right away, or—if you do—why your mom or your Uncle Joey or your bridge club won't. If they don't, if YOU don't, do not give up. If you love humanity and value freedom, you cannot give up.

You are the savior you've been waiting for. Do the work that only you can do! Have courage. Use your own special gifts (do you know what they are?) to wake up and keep waking up. There's more, more, more than you ever imagined to Who You Are and why "they" want to keep you from figuring it out.

Please start paying attention. Please start getting involved. Please spread this message. If not for yourself, for your children and their children.