Changing our Consciousness for Chocolate

choc-backI love chocolate, of course.  We all do.  Today just happens to be National Chocolate Day, so it’s obvious that chocolate is appreciated by many.  Maybe it’s because it boosts serotonin levels, somehow causing my brain to produce more of the “happy” neuro-chemical.   Maybe it’s because in my body’s inherent wisdom, I wisely crave the cocoa bean’s antioxidant rich micro-nutrients (though if you’ve ever tasted 100% raw cocoa, you know that’s not true!  yuck).  More likely, it’s because it’s combined with so much sugar and cocoa fat that it stimulates both the yin and the yang ends of the macrobiotic food cravings spectrum.  But whatever the reason, one of life’s little pleasures is enjoying a few bites of a good chocolate bar every once in a while (OK, a lot of bites and on a regular basis).

Young boy rakes cocoa beans on a drying rack.

Young boy rakes cocoa beans on a drying rack.

But the problem is, it’s NOT a simple pleasure.  Nothing is simple anymore.  It turns out that many of the world’s major chocolate companies have been buying their cocoa from Western African cocoa growers who use child slave labor to harvest and process their crops!  Not only that, but when this all came out in 2001, companies like Nestle, Hershey’s and Mars plead ignorance and resisted regulatory laws calling for mandatory “slave free” labeling and pledged to regulate themselves to put an end to this atrocity in their supply chain and to end child slave labor by 2005.  As the linked article states:  “It turned out, they didn’t do much.  It’s 2015 and there are now more child slaves than there were in 2001.  51% more, in fact.  There are now 1.4 million children carrying dark_side_of_chocolate2back-breaking sacks of cacao, having their bodies whipped and beaten and crushing themselves from dawn to dusk for no pay.”

My heart breaks.  I cannot abide by this, I cannot support companies who callously ignore the suffering of innocent people for profit.  I cannot stand to accept a world where this injustice occurs!

So – I did my research and found a list of Slave Free Chocolate companies and I downloaded my Chocolate List app from the Food Empowerment Project.  I went on line and found End Slavery Now and Walk Free and signed ALL their petitions and shared them on Facebook. OK.  Crisis averted.  I can once again enjoy my massive amounts of chocolate slave-free style!

The problem is, this happens with practically EVERYTHING.

This video from Follow the Frog is one of the funniest social action videos I have ever seen.  But it accurately captures what I feel like sometimes.

all-natural-cotton-padsLike the protagonist in this video, I, too, recycle, reduce, reuse, buy organic, eat vegan, think globally and act locally.  I even use non-disposable menstrual pads and Thinx period panties, ok?  I menstruate consciously!

IMG_5534_b_largeSometimes I just feel like it shouldn’t be so hard to be a good person in this world!  It shouldn’t be so complicated to buy food or goods without being a part of atrocities perpetuated on fellow humans or innocent voiceless animals.  It shouldn’t be a full time job to make sure that my daily actions aren’t contributing to environmental catastrophes or unspeakable labor crimes.

I can’t buy that $5 t-shirt at Wal-Mart without supporting both unfair wages in the U.S. and abusive child-labor in Bangladesh.  So, I buy a $32 t-shirt from Sudara made by women rescued from sex slavery.

The only fast-food joint I can go to is Chipotle without contributing to massive factory farm animal cruelty and the toxification of low-income food choices.  It’s not even safe to buy “Cage-Free” eggs, because the factory farms simply removed the metal cages, Perdue-chickensand instead cram the living birds into barns so full that the chickens still can’t spread their wings, go outside or live any semblance of a normal chicken life.  And even “Certified Organic” eggs only guarantee each hen a space of 18 square inches and kill those chicks unfortunate enough to be hatched male in a grinder, so I just gave up and decided to go vegan.

I can’t buy craft supplies from Hobby Lobby because their owners are imposing their personal religious beliefs about birth control onto their thousands of female employees who are grown-ass-women and should be able to make their own decisions about their own lady parts with their own lady brains.  I can’t even donate money to charitable organizations supposedly set up to help people without checking them on something like The Charity Navigator or I might support something as benign sounding as the Children’s Charity Fund where only 9.1% of their donations actually help the children!

So, I end up having one app for slave-free chocolate, another app for Humane Eating, the Good Guide app for checking product ethical scores and a whole list of Top Ten Socially Responsible apps.  If 13 apps aren’t enough for you, here is a list of 83.  But I just can’t use 96 apps every time I make a purchase!  It’s enough to drive you crazy.  But what’s the alternative?  Apathy is not an option.  Endless senseless suffering is not acceptable.

Truly, the only way out of this insanity is to change our society as a whole – to change our collective consciousness!  And before you say I’m a dreamer – it IS possible!

Farmer-working-on-the-fieldRecently, I spent 10 days in my native Sweden.  It was lovely.  For many reasons.  One being that I felt like I could go about my life without trying SO HARD to make conscious decisions that wouldn’t destroy the environment or harm people and animals around the world.

I could drink the tap water knowing that it didn’t contain anything toxic, and it even tasted delicious!  I didn’t have to refill my BPA free 5 gallon jugs with filtered water to combat the American plastic water bottle frenzy. I didn’t have to bring my recyclables home from work to be sure they don’t end up in a landfill.  Sweden recycles EVERYTHING and less than 1% of it’s trash ends up in landfills – and this is how the whole system is set up, it’s not done by counter-culture activists. plastic-bottles Sweden enacted a Farm Animal Bill of Rights in 1988 and every animal in the country has a legal right to be outside each day.  The agencies that regulate food and consumer products actually work to protect people’s health – in Sweden and most European countries, there are nearly 1400 chemicals that are not allowed in face creams for health and safety standards while the U.S. has banned only eleven.

And yes, Sweden still has societal issues, prejudices and growing discrimination towards refugees.  But overall, I felt like I could relax!  I felt like I was surrounded by a general consciousness of care, compassion and common sense!  And I felt like I wouldn’t unknowingly contribute to cruelty and greed if I didn’t check my 96 apps.  And like Bernie says, we can learn from how other societies like Sweden and Denmark have implemented societal change.

So, we can do the same in the US.  We can do the same worldwide!  It’s about LOVE.  It’s about recognizing that we as humans mostly WANT to do good.  Most people are good people.  And we can all start making the world a more peaceful place one person at a time and we can insist that our social and economic systems reflect the basic human values that any normal person would attest to.  We can change our “business as usual” to be more like socially advanced countries and not accept anything less.  We can educate each other and love one another.

josiah-love-lyraAt our core, humanity is GOOD and we are meant to love our neighbors and to fill this world with millions of examples of God’s Love because we are made in God’s image – we have LOVE at the center of our beings.

This morning, on National Chocolate Day, I read yesterday’s Richard Rohr Daily Meditation on Martin Luther King, Jr. where he wrote:

The problem is not first of all “the flesh” or personal sin, but systemic evil and structural, disguised violence. As King writes: “It is evil we are seeking to defeat, not the persons victimized by evil. Those of us who struggle against racial injustice must come to see that the basic tension is not between races. . . . The tension is at bottom between justice and injustice, between the forces of light and the forces of darkness. . . . At the center of nonviolence stands the principle of love. . . .” Like Gandhi, King was hopeful because he saw God’s love as the foundation of existence…. We must never forget that there is something within human nature that can respond to goodness, that man is not totally depraved; to put it in theological terms, the image of God is never totally gone.

I-love-humanity-photo-by-shankboneSo, as I adjust my chocolate habit to conform with the love in my heart that truly cares for children in Africa I have never met – I remind myself that changing our consciousness is the radical solution that gets to the root of the problem.  And instead of despairing or tearing my hair out, I can fill my heart with love and have my hair, and every other part of me, express compassion!  I can have my emotional impact and my actions reflect love.  Empathy is our natural state – it’s in our neurons and our DNA.  Peace is possible.   Evil is like pee in the ocean of good.  And Love always wins!


The Spiritual Politics of Peace and Guns

635793191437715269-AP-APTOPIX-OREGON-SCHOOL-SHOOTING-76403036Last week when we had yet another tragic mass shooting, as my heart was breaking once more I wanted to write something about this, I wanted to do more than posting quotes and stats about gun violence on Facebook, but I hesitated because I thought – this is a spiritual blog, I write about mystical experiences or soul realizations, I don’t want to be “political” or write about something that is “controversial” or that “polarizes” people, I’m not one to write vitriol against the NRA or engage in heated debates on reinterpretations of the 2nd amendment.

Then I remembered what my friend the college religion professor Dr. Timothy Johnson said in preparing for our International Day of Peace panel discussion:  The Franciscan way of creating Peace means that you have to be in the middle of conflict.  You can’t run and hide from it, you can’t cloister yourself away from the world and pray “make me an instrument of Thy Peace.”  Francis wanted to be in the midst of the poor and the suffering, he found God’s Peace in the midst of the violence of poverty and war.  6a00d8341c3e3953ef00e5503a8a1c8834-500wiIn Richard Rohr’s book ‘Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi‘, he tells how Francis made 3 trips to the Middle East during his life time (before trains or planes or automobiles) and historians always assumed that he was trying to convert the Sultan to Christianity, but documents now show that he actually went there to urge the Christians to stop killing their Muslim brothers and sisters.  He walked himself into the middle of the conflict to be a voice for Peace.  To be an instrument of God’s Peace, one has to place oneself in the middle of the muck of it – the pain, the confusion, the controversy, the anger, the violence – and answer it all with Peace.  The prayer goes “where there is hatred, let me sew love.”

In reality – everything is spiritual.  And everything is political.  There is no separation.  We are all a part of the living organism that is our collective consciousness, our world society and our Mother Earth.  Who we vote for is not separate from how our earth’s resources are used, how people all around the world are treated or how our society evolves into either more peace or more violence – and the politics of peace and guns is no exception.

120703074240-norden-voting-rights-story-topOne of my dearest closest friends once told me that she didn’t vote because the whole system is so corrupt that she didn’t want to take part in it.  But we ARE a part of it – every one of us is a part of the sociopolitical system we live in just by being alive.  We participate in it every day with our every thought and action.  A non-vote IS a vote.  A non-vote is passively condoning the corruption instead of actively voting FOR something better.  As Martin Luther King put it during the Civil Rights movement: “There comes a time when silence is betrayal.” We might not be monks choosing between hiding away in cloisters or marching into the Crusades to be a voice for peace, but we can’t hide away in our “spirituality” or our “counter-culture” and say we don’t want to participate – we have to DO something.

As President Obama said in his speech after the mass shooting in Oregon last week: “This is a political choice that we make, to allow this to happen every few months in America.  We collectively are answerable to those families who lose their loved ones because of our inaction.”  If you haven’t already, you can see the full speech at the bottom of this page.  And along with President Obama, I ask:  What will it take for us to take responsibility for change?  Even the mass shooting of innocent little elementary school children at Sandy Hook hasn’t moved us as a society to make change.

Yesterday, even People magazine, usually dedicated to celebrity splits and the top ten fashion fails, published an editor’s letter urging readers to contact US lawmakers about gun control and posted the contact information for ALL 535 voting members of the House and Senate.  So, please visit their site and find your law makers and contact them to make sure they hear your voice.  11930746_671165486317614_1036681546252576810_oOur elected officials work “for the people,” so let People magazine be a reminder to us all of that very important fact.

You see, we CAN do something about this.  Humanity can evolve.  Through our internal consciousness and our outward acts of conscience, we DO change the world.  And the politics of peace and guns are an inherent part of our social responsibility.

This is reiterated by Ram Dass, who unlike his fellow Harvard acid tripping colleague Timothy Leary, didn’t urge us to “drop out.”

“One of the systems we’re part of, of course, is the political system. We may wish we weren’t part of it often, but we are… The political system is a system in which you are a member whether you like it or not. You’re part of a government, and your not voting is voting. So there’s no way out. You can’t say, “I’m not going to have anything to do with politics.” You can say it, but you’ve got to watch where you’re saying it from. You may say, “I’m not going to get involved with politics because I am so busy with something else that I think is my dominant theme, and I’ll vote, but I’m not going to put my time into campaigning for candidates and issues, because my energies are best used here.” That’s fine. If you’ve thought it through and can look somebody in the eye and say it.  If you’re saying, “I’m not having anything to do with politics because it’s too dirty and because I don’t approve of it,” forget it – you are abdicating your responsibility to society. It’s as simple as that.

We’re at an interesting moment within the shift of collective consciousness, specifically around the way in which we’re integrating the changes in power structures… How is the shift in collective consciousness going to evolve and what part do you play?”

– Ram Dass, October, 1995

So, there is a lot that a caring and common sense society can do about gun violence – in our culture, our consciousness AND our politics.

11990497_1026449340710264_6581593137798789056_nThis is seen in any number of other practical ways in our society.  When children died by being trapped in an old discarded refrigerator, we enacted laws to make the manufacturing and disposal of refrigerators safer – a there was no National Refrigeration Association lobbying to block these safety measures.  In order to combat the death and injury caused by auto accidents we enacted seat belt laws and in order to drive a car, one must have a license proving competency, one must have current registration, and we get fines and even jail time for breaking our social covenant to keep each other safe on the road.  Why can we not do the same exact thing for guns?

In Australia, after a gunman opened fire on a crowd of tourists in Port Arthur, Tasmania, killing 35 people in 1996, the government enacted bipartisan gun control laws.  Banning assault rifles and semi-automatic weapons and putting stricter controls on hand guns and rifles.  In the decade before the

People take part in candle light vigil following a mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon October 1, 2015. REUTERS/Steve Dipaola

People take part in candle light vigil following a mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon October 1, 2015. REUTERS/Steve Dipaola

Port Arthur massacre, there had been 11 mass shootings in the country.  There hasn’t been a single one in Australia since.  And not only has there not been mass shootings – gun related homicides and gun suicides have decreased dramatically, as well, without a corresponding rise in other methods of killing self or other. And San Francisco, who led the way on gay marriage long before it was supported by the vast majority of Americans, is leading the way now with common-sense gun regulations that could one day also be the law of our entire nation.

There are numerous studies documenting how gun control laws work – and yet the NRA and the American gun culture won’t even entertain the most common sense of gun controls – such as requiring background checks nationwide or simply following the same guidelines at gun shows.  States have no problem enacting 72 hour wait periods and mandatory vaginal probes for women seeking an abortion – but somehow asking for a wait period on a gun sale is an invasion of our God-given rights?

President Obama, People magazine and the host of every news show on TV are becoming sad and disgusted at how frequently they have to roll out the same “we are in shock and mourning” routine.  And we’re not even shocked anymore.  In one data graphic compilation, it shows that between Jan 1, 2013 and Oct 1, 2015, there was a mass shooting – defined as four or more people shot in one incident – nearly every day.  There were 994 mass shootings in 1004 days in this country.  Clearly, something is very wrong and something needs to be done.  Now.

reagan-assault-weapons-gun-safetyAnd the thing that really makes NO SENSE whatsoever about the total gridlock and unwillingness to even LOOK at any viable solutions is that no one is even suggesting that we remove the right to own guns altogether or that homeowners can’t buy a handgun to protect themselves against intruders (even though said gun is statistically more likely to harm a member of the family itself).  But even a ban on the purchase of assault rifles is considered an unacceptable step on the imaginary “slippery slope” to dictatorship.  When will the massive amount of people dying to gun violence become unacceptable?  The 33,636 people who died from gun homicides and suicides in just the year 2013 are REAL, not imaginary.

In President Obama’s speech, he challenged the media to compare deaths from gun violence with deaths from terrorism in the US – to show the completely illogical, nonsensical failure to even look at gun reform.  “We spent over a trillion dollars, and passed countless laws, and devote entire agencies to preventing terrorist attacks on our soil, and rightfully so,” Obama said. “And yet we have a Congress that explicitly blocks us from even collecting data on how we could potentially reduce gun deaths. How can that be?”

This graph shows only 2004-20013

This graph shows only 2004-20013

According to numbers from the CDC and State Department, between 2001 and 2013, there were 3,030 American Citizens killed by acts of terrorism worldwide (and this includes those who died at the Twin Towers) and 406,496 deaths from gun violence just on American soil.  With those numbers, how could the Congress pass a ban on the CDC even doing research on gun violence?  Yes – the US government is not only NOT enacting gun reform – it is cementing our ignorance into law – literally making the pursuit of knowledge about gun deaths by federal agencies illegal.   Isn’t it time we start making sense?

Love_PeaceThis is not a time to not participate in politics.  If you truly believe in Oneness Consciousness, then take action for change in our society.  This is a time to bring REAL PEACE to the front line of American gun culture and to change our consciousness and our politics – and if the sitting senators and representatives won’t do it – it’s time to change our politicians.  It’s time to vote.  It’s time to be a voice.  It’s time to BE the Peace.  It’s time to be engaged in the spiritual politics of peace and guns.


WATCH John Oliver’s Daily Show segment on Australia’s gun law reform.

And as my vote of confidence in the new host of the Daily Show – here is a video of Trevor Noah’s take on the hipocracy of being Pro-Life and Anti-Gun-Control:

Further reading and practice:

President Obama’s speech:

The World Peace Scale

ScalesThanks to the UN designated International Day of Peace in September, and grassroots organizing from over 1400 gatherings around the world, we just celebrated a wonderful World Peace Day.  Here in St. Augustine we gathered on the campus of Flagler College to sing, meditate, dance, pray, eat, drink and be merrily peaceful together.  As we were putting the event together, trying to rally support for such a lofty concept as World Peace, it helped me to clarify that World Peace is not a black-and-white all-or-nothing issue.  World Peace is a scale.

World Peace often seems like an unattainable and unrealistic dream and this belief often stops people from giving the values of Peace serious consideration.  Most people just blow it off with a shrug and a “it will never happen.”  Most people, if asked, would say World Peace is illogical and impossible.  And while I believe that World Peace is not only possible, but inevitable – I also believe that the  point to World Peace does not lie in some far off Utopian future where we all hold hands and pet tigers all day long.  The point of World Peace lies right here in our every day world right now.

So, how does a big concept like World Peace actually interconnect with not just our International relations or what is going on in the Middle East, but with what is going on in our local community, our schools, our corporations and our families? Well, World Peace is on a scale – there is a constant fluctuation of a sum total of more peace or less peace in the world in every moment. This is how a far-off dream such as World Peace becomes a part of the daily choices we each make in our personal lives.  How much Peace there exists in the world at this moment changes with every peace meditation, with every incident of domestic abuse, with every act of forgiveness, with every outburst of anger, with every evening prayer circle, with every racist or homophobic punching, with every gentle act of kindness.

being kindWorld Peace is a part of our daily interactions with others and the world around us, whether we think of it or not.  How much violence or suffering we have in the world versus how much peace and happiness is entirely dependent on our every day actions.  Am I being kind to the homeless man I pass on the street?  Am I punching people in bars or vandalizing property in my neighborhood?  Am I smiling at the waitress or the cashier and giving them respect as a human being?  Am I helping the family down the street who had a fire and are in need of clothes and food?  Am I voting for people and policies that are compassionate and creating more kindness or peace in the world?  Am I voting with my purchasing power to support companies that only care about profit at the expense of child labor or environmental disasters or am I voting for companies who care about our collective future?

free-range-chickenIf we spend the extra 50 cents and buy cage-free eggs, we are contributing to a world of less suffering where chickens can run around and peck at things instead of being cooped up in a tiny cage unable to turn around for her entire life in order to save us 50 cents on eggs.  All the collective vibrations of senseless suffering and pain add up on the side of the scale that is violence in this world – and humans are not alone here, all life matters.  So, by the simple every day act of eating vegetarian or just by buying organic chicken or grass-fed beef, we are adding vibrations of happiness and green hills to the side of the scale that is World Peace.

So, you see, World Peace is not some far off distant impossible dream.  It’s like those high school motivational posters would tee4c6490ccbcc3e4a45dc5b71638df921ll you – shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.  So, strive for World Peace every day and even if you’re not around for when all violence ceases, all people live in freedom, unity and justice and we all hug tigers – you’ll be part of creating a kinder more peaceful society right now.

World Peace is a very doable scale that is changing in every moment.  The choices we make every day contribute to how much peace we have in the world as a whole.  The amount of Peace that exists right now is totally up to me!  It’s up to each one of us – we all contribute one way or another just by being alive.  And 574666_031614a92398e7feb827a37d490b5bc5_largethat takes World Peace from being a big unattainable concept to being a very practical part of every day life.


frontThe Unity & Peace Day of Peace in St Augustine was meant to give people the awareness of their daily impact on this scale of Peace and to show all the options for Inner and Outer Peace that are available to all every day to contribute more peace and compassion to our world.

Buy an Inner Peace Equals World Peace T-shirt to help support Unity & Peace to keep spreading Peace Awareness throughout the year.

Below is the article about our Peace Day that was featured on the front page of the St Augustine Record on Monday, Sept 21st.  A BIG thank you to Jenna Carpenter for coming out to cover the peace news – thereby adding more peace to the scale!  Also including some pictures from the event.  Enjoy!

St. Augustine celebrates International Day of Peace
By Jenna Carpenter

DSC05778Whether you’re trying to attain inner peace or working toward gaining it for the world, finding peace can be a struggle that can lead you on multiple paths.

“Peace is not a state, it is a process,” said Timothy Johnson, a religion professor at Flagler College. “There’s not a point where everything will be at peace; there is only the constant struggle to bring peace.”

12006488_10153681430570844_8420447728587516285_oThe key to ending that struggle, Johnson said, is to open up conversations with others about their culture and belief system.

Johnson, along with other local scholars and activists, spoke Sunday on the subject of peace, and the many facets through which it is found.

The panel was part of a peace day festival hosted by Unity & Peace St. Augustine to celebrate the International Day of Peace, which is today.

Peace Day 2015 U&P Officers

Unity & Peace

“World peace often seems like an unattainable dream, and this belief stops people from giving the values of peace serious consideration,” said Shanti Shivaya, president of Unity & Peace. “So we are hoping to help people make the connection between peace and the choices we make every day; how we behave in our communities, corporations and families, to help us all create a culture of peace for our society.”

The festival has been going on in St. Johns County for about eight years, but Sunday was the first time it was brought to Flagler College, she said. It boasted 18 community groups and five student clubs that provided people with ways to finding peace.


Yoga with Now & Zen Yoga

Some, like the St. Augustine Avatar Group, dealt with finding inner peace through mind quieting, meditation and prayer. And others, like Compassionate St. Augustine, focused on finding world peace by spreading word of local outreach programs.

“It’s not just about meditation, it’s also about taking actions to make the world a better place,” Shivaya said.


Devotional Chants from Chinmaya Mission

But the two are intertwined, and world peace can only be accomplished through finding inner peace, she said.

“The state of the world is the state of each individual in the world combined,” she said. “So anyone who connects with themselves and finds inner peace, their actions create a society that is more peaceful.”

Peace Day 2015 Unity & PeaceThe journey to inner peace starts with people coming to terms with conflict, said Angelenia Semegon, a psychology professor at Flagler College.

Semegon, another speaker on Sunday’s peace panel, said society doesn’t know how to handle conflict, which hinders world peace.

“We basically just avoid it instead of trying to find a way to resolve conflict and be comfortable with it, she said.”


Dances of Universal Peace

A way to resolve conflict, she said, is to respect one another. “We have to learn to express our feelings with honesty and vulnerability instead of blame. And we have to be able to hear others when they express their needs and fears” she said.

“Finding peace from within is to communicate in a nonviolent way.”

Sunday’s festival ended with participants forming a human peace sign and singing “Imagine” by John Lennon.

Peace Day 2015 Imagine 3



The Go-For-It Rule & NaBloPoMo

old-typewriter I have decided to go for it.

When I first started my blog a few months ago I did so for fun, because I kept having ideas I wanted to write about and I love writing.  I didn’t want to have any pressure or any have to’s.  The last 10 years of my life were way more than “busy” and the last 3 or 4 years were so stressful I was sleep deprived and nearly off my rocker – so I have been very careful not to create any stress or pressure in my new life.  I created my blog without any deadlines or self-created expectations.  I took my time to create my pages on Outer Action and Inner Action and posted something every couple of weeks whenever I felt like it.  And it’s been great.

A few days ago I got an email saying that NaBloPoMo is here!  What is here?  That’s what I said.  Apparently, November is National Blog Posting Month – according to the founder, Eden Kennedy,  it is a communal blogging challenge, a community of writers and bloggers who inspire and support one another. Thousands of bloggers make a commitment to posting something every day to get into the habit of daily blogging, to build momentum and readership, to share in a common experience, to learn from each other and to become actual legitimate bonafide bloggers.

I was indecisive for a few days.  This seems to go against my no-pressure rule.  But there is also the Go-for-it rule.  That means when you do something, put your whole self into it.  Whatever you are doing – be fully present, fully engaged and fully sincere about doing it.  If you are going to pray, pray with your whole heart and soul and every drop of feeling in you.  If you are going to meditate, give it your full attention, your full intention and all of your loving awareness.  If you are going to write, truly and deeply listen to what your inner self wants to say to the outer world and go for it. That is why last year when for the first time ever I watched American Idol, even though I was slightly embarrassed about it and never admitted it publicly before, I voted. I figured, if I was going to spend two evenings a week glued to the TV texting my sister back and forth with running commentary, I should go all in and vote.

Blogging and writing is something I WANT to do, it’s something that I enjoy, something that I love doing.  I want to practice, to learn, to grow and to become better and better at expressing the inner life that I experience on my path through this world.  I am excited and grateful to share my self through words.    Typewriter-645x250

So, I am committing to NaBloPoMo!  I am going to post something every day for the month of November!  I am committing to making something that I thoroughly enjoy a part of my every day life, and to grow and expand my horizons in the process.  And I do so not with pressure or have to’s – but with joy and want to’s.  So, let’s go for it!



World Peace is the Bee’s Knees!

peace-dove-web_1Tonight is the eve of the most anticipated Peace Weekend in my 42 year history, well, for me personally at least.  Tomorrow morning I’m waking up early to go set up a World Peace Meditation tent at Peace in the Park in Hastings and I was so excited last night that I couldn’t fall asleep until 2am.  Sunday is the International Day of Peace which feels like Christmas to me – and it is, isn’t it?  Peace on Earth, Goodwill to All.  At 3pm we are gathering in front of the Lightner Museum in historic St Augustine to meditate for World Peace simultaneously with over over 100,000 people around the globe.  It is all I can think about.  I feel like a teenage girl in the 60’s going to a Beatles concert.  Peace is what makes my heart go pitter patter.

15 years ago when I had followed my spiritual path out to California and I felt I had outgrown my birth name, I chose the name Shanti.  It means Peace.

9 months ago when I was leaving California and looking for my next home on earth I drove here to St Augustine one evening thinking I would tune in to see if it felt right.  I checked in at my hotel and woke up the next morning with an open mind and lo and behold, across the street is the local Farmer’s Market.  I walk over and walk straight up to a booth and the first person in St. Augustine that I talk to is a very nice lady, and though I didn’t know it at the time, she happens to have a local non-profit called Unity & Peace.

Many more wondrous things happened on that first day in St Augustine, which I won’t go into now, but when I was driving out of town on my way back to my sister’s house I started day dreaming about starting an Inner Peace Outer Peace website and putting together a Peace in the Park day.  My heart was soaring as I dreamed up ways that I could share my passion for Inner Peace and my deep belief that it is what will truly bring us Outer Peace.

A couple of months later when I have moved in to my little miracle house I go to my first meeting of Compassionate St Augustine and come to find out – there is already a Peace in the Park day in the works.  And when I have lunch with one of the organizers to find out more we discover that she is the nice lady from the Farmer’s Market who was the very first person I spoke to in town.  And Unity & Peace needs someone to redo their website.  Wow.

Did I start day dreaming about making a peace website and putting together a Peace in the Park because I met this nice lady and I picked up the thoughts subconsciously from her without speaking?  Or did I already have the seeds of those dreams in my heart and that is what led me directly to her table at the Farmer’s Market?

I don’t know.  It’s too much to think about.  But this is how Peace is following me around.  Or maybe I am following where Peace leads me.  I’m not sure which.  Maybe both.  But when I hear that there is more scientific evidence that Peace Meditation lessens was and violence than there is that aspirin lessens headache pain – I get excited.  So excited that I can hardly sleep.  I want to make some Peace already.

So, as I continue on my path to embody my name, I invite you all to join me from wherever you are – and I say:  World Peace is the Bee’s Knees.  Om Shanti.  I Am Peace.


Global Meditatiounify_primary_logo_highres-300x300n & Prayer for Peace

International Day of Peace ~  Sunday, Sept. 21st 3:00pm

In front of Lightner Museum / City Hall

Join Unity & Peace in St. Augustine!  Or to join from anywhere in the world – go to to sign up!


578184_116881885111161_958111558_nNew Page: MEDITATION & WORLD PEACE

I have always known intuitively in my heart that our prayers matters, that the quality of the energy we put out into the world makes a difference and that World Peace is about a shift in consciousness.  And when I read and hear about the scientific research that is proving this again and again I get very excited.  Let’s go!  Wow!  If group meditation can literally save lives – which is shown in several studies published in peer-reviewed publications – then let’s do something.  And if the energy, thoughts and emotions I am “feeding the field” each day with my own mind and heart impacts life all around me, I can do something about that, too.

In the videos below it’s explained that there have been so many studies done on how Group Meditation or Feeling Prayer creates Peace that it’s a scientific fact.  There is more scientific evidence that Group meditation lessens war, terrorism and violent crime than there is that Aspirin lessens headache pain.  They have even been able to mathematically calculate the number of people needed to start having a measurable impact of Peace on the surrounding area – it is the square root of 1% of the population.  For a city of 1 million people, that is about 100 people meditating for peace to create a measurable decline in violent crime.  And of course, the more the merrier.  As they found in the Washington D.C. study, as the meditators increased in number, the violence decreased even more.

When you apply this math to World Peace, with a population of 6 billion people, the square root of 1% is only about 8,000 people.  Think about that.  It only takes 8,000 you’s and me’s to start to have an impact of Peace on a world scale.  That is exciting.  That is inspiring.  That is hopeful.  That is Peace on Earth.  That is real science.