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Jesse Jacobs, Founder Samovar Tea Lounge

Jesse Jacobs, Founder Samovar Tea Lounge

Everywhere I go, people tell me how horrible it is to be drinking so much coffee. I get it. Extreme coffee experiences can put your whole sense of well-being out of whack even if it does jolt you to your basic senses first thing in the morning.

So more and more, I’m substituting my coffee routine with tea and I’ve rediscovered a long forgotten passion that began steeping in my soul since my childhood. Growing up in Texas, I was raised on iced tea. Huge tumblers of frosty deep amber tea with lemon. Tea has always been in my life in one way or another. And when I spent a summer in Winchester, UK when I was 14, my admiration for tea culture was officially born. I found the perfect teapot for my mother and I ritually drank my tea while reading Alice in Wonderland or The Chronicles of Narnia. Later, when I went to college in Boston, I had boxes of herbal teas stashed in every corner of my apartments just to help fend off the biting, inhuman cold. Later, I lived in a Zen Center in Hollywood, where I enjoyed the art of tea ceremonies during retreats and using hot tea at every meal to clean our eating bowls.

So it was with great pleasure that I recently discovered Samovar Tea Lounge. Based is San Francisco and shipping around the globe, Samovar recently put together a custom blend prepared for His Holiness The Dalai Lama called Ocean of Wisdom. The tea accommodated The Dalai Lama as he traveled to various art institutions exhibiting the project “The Missing Peace.” Samovar has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, and USA Today rated Samovar teas as one of the top ten teas in the US.

Jesse Jacobs founded Samovar six years ago. I recently had the chance to ask Jesse some tea-related questions.

JHR: We live in such a dense coffee culture, but it seems like tea drinking is on the rise. Is that true and, if so, why? Also, can people really “get going” in the morning with a cup of organic, hand-crafted, artisan tea? Isn’t espresso, you know, faster?

JJ: In the ’90s, the specialty tea industry made $1 billion. In 2007, it was at $7 billion, and its forecasted by 2012 it will be at $14 billion. So, the tea industry is definitely on the rise. Samovar Tea Lounge has grown 300% in last 3 years. Tea has caffeine, and yes it can be used “as a get up and go beverage,” but with less jitters, and more focused awareness. It doesn’t have the same amount of caffeine as coffee, but artisan teas naturally carry caffeine and L-theanine, which induces the alpha state. Its scientifically proven that L-theanine aids in a state of relaxed awareness. This is helpful for the start of your day.

JHR: You’ve created a culture of mindfulness in your business. How important is mindfulness in the hectic life of a business?

JJ: Its very important because life is hectic and can be a frenzy, so there is more need for focus to get things done. I think mindfulness is the same as awareness. Awareness is the key to living fruitfully because if you are aware, you know what’s going on around you. You are sensitive, you can listen to the marketplace, to your customers, to your vendors, to yourself. And if you can listen, and hear, you can make effective and adventageous decisions. Interestingly, awareness is intrinsic in the practice of tea. So, the practice of tea aids in a successful practice of business.

Business is never ending, it is literally a practice, like meditation, or yoga or a martial art. It takes continual refinement, and as a practice, it requires mindfulness. Any study on mindfulness whether it be in meditation, drinking tea, yoga, martial arts, it’s helpful in achieving a better handle on how you approach business. I spent all of my life studying mindfulness practices, on the mat, on the cushion, in the martial arts dojo. Now, this business is just another manifestation of my mindfulness practice.

JHR: It seems like having tea is a time to slow down, connect and regroup. If someone wants to plan the perfect tea time, what are some important elements?

JJ: The important elements are having the freshest, best tea you can find. Having good quality hot water. And, having a moment to manage brewing the leaves, a mini-ritual to slow you down, stop you in the moment, and allow you to consciously take your next step.

JHR: What are some of the health and well-being elements of tea?

JJ: The scientifically proven health benefits of tea are that it is full of antioxidants, there are cancer fighting elements, and numerous vitamins and nutrients. Thousands of studies have been conducted on the benefits of tea. Additionally, a benefit of tea is that is it delicious, it pleases the palate, but also allows for a sense of setting a mood. It serves as a gentle awareness inducing uplifter. Tea brings people together, it serves as a natural social lubricant today just as much as it has when it was discovered several thousand years ago. It brings business, family and personal relations together, and today we really need togetherness. It creates ritual in our highly digitized, fast-paced, frenetic world. We are lacking ritual… the ritual that offers us to slow down, make us healthy, and connect us to the earth, and our humanness.

JHR: What is your current favorite and why?

JJ: Organic Masala Chai: I love this tea because the taste is very complex: spicy, great fragrance, nutty, sweet, aromatic, and earthy. Cooking the chai at my home or at Samovar, it fills the entire space with these overwhelming aromas. The caffeine is a natural and stimulating uplifter.

JHR: You started a podcast series called Passage to Peace linking tea to promoting universal peace. How did that come about and what has the reaction been?

JJ: It came about by looking at what our customers, and therefore the world needs. They need peace. This is part of our mission. So, I thought it would be interesting to connect the people involved in the tea business (i.e. carpenters of peace) to the world at large through a multi-media, educational visual medium. The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive, which has motivated me to continue the series in an expanded new direction. We are launching a new video series.

JHR: What ignited your passion for tea?

JJ: My need for slowing down, and having time for myself and for my friends and family. And a remembrance of my childhood on the East Coast where I grew up with being surrounded by constant tea culture. I was always exposed to Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese and European influences.

JHR: Can you share five books that have either influenced you or that you just like to read with, well, a good cup of tea?

JJ: Shibumi: Trevanian; The Sun Also Rises: Ernest Hemingway; Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind: Shunryu Suzuki-Roshi; The Book of Five Rings: Miyamoto Musashi; Body and Mature Behavior: Moshe Feldenkrais and Carl Ginsburg
The Executive In Action: Peter F. Drucker

Note: Samovar Tea is nationally available for purchase at http://shop.samovarlife.com/.

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I first discovered Ainslie MacLeod when he was interviewed on Oprah’s Soul Series last fall regarding his 2007 book, The Instruction. The interview series itself was relatively new, and I felt encouraged and excited that Oprah would extend her already expansive content repertoire of self-help, spirtuality and personal development into the realm of psychic awareness.

Certainly, many of us believe in intuitive abilities and connecting with guides (angels, higher self, universal intelligence, etc.). But to have Ainslie MacLeod sit front and center talking about how the text for The Instruction came into being as a result of direct communication from an army of guides– well, it felt like a turning point in how mass consciousness was softening to the idea that we all have access to small, still voices that are designed to guide us daily– if we choose– to our life’s purpose. Ask most people, and they’ll say there is something to it all– that personal experience directs us to find out more… carefully.

So it was no surprise that MacLeod came clean to his readers from the get go. He was a reluctant psychic. So deep was his reluctance to accept the mantle of “psychic” that he actually ignored the tell-tale signs of his advanced gifts for many years.

But through intensive work and his eventual and total transition from commercial illustrator to psychic, his own life purpose came into crytsal clear focus: help others understand themselves. And he does this through his powerful and evolving work with his guides. Oh, and we all have them– and he helps the rest of us find them.

I recently asked Ainslie about how he helps people realize their life’s purpose.

CL: Initially you were sort of a self-described reluctant psychic who felt compelled by personal experiences to explore new spiritual territories. How did you make that transition, and how has it changed your life?

AM: I was definitely reluctant when I first started doing psychic readings. I was conscious that there were a lot of charlatans around and I didn’t want anyone thinking I was one of them. I felt like I was telling the world I was a freak.

the-instruction4What initially helped was going through the process I take my clients through now. It wasn’t called the Instruction back then and my spirit guides were not the same as the ones I currently use, but they steered me through the same steps to self-acceptance. They helped me to see that this really was going to be my life, and convinced me that since I’d eventually embrace my calling, I might as well start right away.

Being a psychic has certainly changed my life. I feel like a round peg in a round hole. That old reluctance has gone. I keep learning new things about the soul and how the spiritual world operates, and I get to meet great people through my sessions. I often say that once you step through the spiritual door, there’s no going back. That was very much how it felt to me when I accepted my own destiny.

CL: The Instruction describes ten doorways that readers pass through to understand their life’s purpose. Is it always important for people to identify their soul age and their soul type in order to get a firm grasp on what his/her life purpose is?

AM: I believe that if you’re going to understand your life, you need to start with the basics. Your soul age describes the source of your beliefs, and your soul types are how you can understand the core of your personality. Everything else follows from that. Knowing these two elements of who you are helps to do everything from finding the right relationship or job, to creating genuine self-acceptance.

CL: Some people might find that their soul purpose is in stark contrast to what they are currently doing as an occupation. What are some recommendations on how to make a successful transition to living your soul’s purpose?

AM: First of all, let me say that your life’s purpose may not be all about your day job. There are often many activities that can be considered your purpose. Raising kids can be as significant as anything you do during those eight hours in the middle of the day.

When it comes to careers, however, I’ve met many people who ended up in unfulfilling jobs because of other peoples’ expectations. It’s essential to consider your own desires, not those of your parents or teachers, for example. By taking the time to meditate, call in your spirit guides, and ask them for clarity about your life plan, you’ll be doing more than most people ever do. Sometimes spiritual acts, volunteer work for example, can be a great way of creating a stronger sense of purpose in your life, and can help the transition.

CL: In writing The Instruction you received information from your guides. Can anyone access information from their own guides? If so, how?

AM: Spirit guides are like opinions and certain body parts – we’ve all got them. The problem is most of us don’t actually use them. Asking a simple question is a good way to start working with your guides. Find a quiet spot, ask your spirit guides to be with you, meditate for a good ten minutes, then ask them a yes/no question. Pay attention to your gut feeling. Even if you don’t get words or pictures, you’ll get that simple intuitive feeling that something is right or not. It may be subtle, but practice will help you recognize the signs.

CL: Why do you think so many people have such a difficult time in understanding and living their life’s purpose?

AM: There are many reasons, but one common problem is that our lives are so noisy it’s hard to hear the small, still voice of our own soul. I’ve heard people say to me that they can’t hear their guides or their soul’s direction. It’s sometimes simply a matter of switching off the TV and getting some real tranquility.

Your soul is continually nudging and urging you to follow your life plan. To live the life your soul intended it’s essential to slow down, and pay attention. And if there’s one thing I hear from my guides over and over again it’s this: “Meditate, meditate, meditate!”

CL: Are you working on another book? If so, can you tell us about it?

AM: I’ve just begun working on my next book. In it, I describe my spirit guides’ view of why the world is the way it is, and how you can develop your spirituality to help you be part of the coming shift in consciousness that’s going to change our world. The publication date is sometime early next year. As with The Instruction, the publisher is Sounds True who have been terrific to work with.

CL: Are there any books that you particularly love that would like to recommend to our readers?

AM: I read all the time, so it’s really hard to choose. I love Dr. Ian Stevenson’s fascinating book, Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation. He was a scientific researcher who traveled around India examining the stories of children who offered amazing evidence of their past lives.

In the introduction to The InstructionI tell how, many years ago, a psychic in Atlanta gave me a booklist that really helped to open me to the spiritual world. The list included The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, which jump-started my flagging creativity; Many Lives, Many Masters by Brian Weiss, which is an intriguing insight into past lives, as well as Life After Life by Raymond Moody and Anatomy of the Spirit by Carolyn Myss.

Where were you when you first learned about the Law of Attraction? For many of us, The Secret brought perspective, familiarity and organization to a universal principle that was somewhat elusive and undefined. It was an exciting starting point which introduced a new generation of seekers to the power of deliberate, positive thinking and the undeniable abilities we have to manifest whatever is in our highest good. In The Secret, we were delivered a variety of teachers offering personal experiences and perspectives to help people begin to put into practice this powerful law in practical and unexpected ways.

Dr. Joe Vitale was featured in The Secret and is a world-renowned motivational speaker, author, teacher and entrepreneur. He is the author of the international #1 best-seller, The Attractor Factor, the #1 best-seller Life’s Missing Instruction Manual, the #1 best-selling e-book Hypnotic Writing, and the #1 best-selling Nightingale-Conant audio program, The Power of Outrageous Marketing, among numerous other works.

I had the opportunity to ask Dr. Vitale a few questions regarding his current work and how his understanding of the Law of Attraction has evolved.

CL: In your latest book, Zero Limits: The Secret Hawaiian System for Wealth, Health, Peace, and More, you talk about the how people settle into self-limiting beliefs that keep them from leading their best life. What are some of the pillars to the Hawaiian System that help people overcome this tendency, and how did you discover it?

JV: The system erases any and all limiting beliefs, without you needing to know what they are. I discovered it from Dr. Hew Lew, who teaches workshops on the subject. The whole idea is to take total responsibility for everything in your life and ask forgiveness for it from the Divine. Dr. Hew Len was able to help heal an entire ward of mentally ill ciminals using this mehtod, as I reported in our book Zero Limits.

CL: You speak a lot about intention and how important it is to establish a solid intention before one can manifest desired results in any area of one’s life. Is there an optimal way to set an intention?

JV: The best way is with what I call an Inspired Intention. There are intentions from your ego and intentions from the Divine. The stronger ones come from the latter. Align yourself with that and nothing is impossible. I talk about this in my book The Attractor Factor (second edition).

CL: Since participating in The Secret and the publication of several of your books including the second edition of The Attactor Factor, has your personal understanding of The Law of Attraction changed or evolved? If so, how?

JV: Yes. I see that the Law of Attraction is a good start but not the ending. There’s also the Law of Right Action. There’s also the reality that you aren’t in charge of the entire universe; the Divine is. I explain this in my new audio program, The Awakening Course. At some point you have to surrender to a higher power.

CL: Is it possible for someone to manifest great financial abundance while working passionately in a traditionally low-paying job? In other words, how can someone committed to a career with modest income enjoy the benefits of financial wealth and freedom?

JV: Easy. I have a new audio program explaining all this called The Secret to Attracting Money. Money can come to anyone through products they create. I wrote my first books and products while working a full-time job.

CL: In The Key: The Missing Secret for Attracting Anything You Want, you talk about counter intentions. What are those, and can you share a couple of ways to overcome them?

JV: A counter-intention is the direct belief oppposite of what you say you want. An example is you want to lose weight. That’s the intention. But the counter-intention could be, “If I lose weight, I won’t feel safe.” Counter-intentions will stop your intentions from happening. I offer ten ways to get clear in my book The Key and seven ways in my audio program The Missing Secret. The easiest way to get clear is to love yourself and your limiting beliefs.

CL: What are some simple steps that individuals can take within one week that will begin to help them on the path to personal fulfillment, prosperity and happiness?

JV: The simplest thing is to feel grateful for what you have right now. Too many people want to feel grateful after they attract something good. It doesn’t work that way. In the movie The Compass I tell the story of shifting my life by feeling grateful for a pencil. It all begins right now, with what you already have.

CL: What are just five of your all-time favorite books that you would whole-heartedly recommend and why?

JV: The Book of est changed my life by putting me into the est seminar; Why Is This Happening to Me Again?explained how we keep creating the same problems; The Magic of Believing taught me the power of belief; 177 Mental Toughness Secrets of the World Class (is) a masterpiece; The Dark Side of the Light Chasers (is) eye-opening about how we have shadows to our public selves.

Peggy McColl is a speaker, consultant and an internationally recognized expert in the area of goal achievement. She is the author of the New York Times best-seller, Your Destiny Switch and has also written On Being… The Creator of Your Destiny; The 8 Proven Secrets to SMART Success; and 21 Distinctions of Wealth: Attract the Abundance You Deserve. Her most recent book, Be a Dog with a Bone (Always Go for Your Dreams) offers canine-inspired analogies for some essential life lessons. (Hay House, Jan. 2009)

She is the President and Founder of Dynamic Destinies, Inc., an organization that trains individuals, authors, entrepreneurs, corporate leaders and employees in compelling and strategic goal-setting technologies. Her work has been endorsed by some of the most renowned experts in the personal development field, including Neale Donald Walsch, Bob Proctor, Jack Canfield, Jim Rohn, Mark Victor Hansen, Caroline Myss, Gregg Braden, Debbie Ford and many others.

CL: You have been writing about and teaching people how to set and achieve goals, become successful and attract great wealth for many years. In your experience, how can striving to be financially prosperous be a part of one’s transformational journey?

PM: “Striving to be” anything (to be financially prosperous, be successful, in a loving relationship, at your ideal weight) is a process of “acting as if.” When one “acts as if” they are experiencing the joy and gratitude (and other positive emotions) of already achieving their goals. This is why they say “success is a journey.” It’s true, but it is equally true to enjoy the journey. When you are enjoying the journey and acting as if you already have all that you desire, you are truly living the experience in the moment. And, when you do, success will be drawn to you faster than you can imagine. It will seem that you are a gigantic magnet drawing to you all that you desire.

dog-with-bone1CL: In your latest book you use the behaviors and dispositions of dogs as a way to communicate some important ways people can achieve any goal. Why did you decide to use canine wisdom?

PM: I use dog metaphors because these animals represent beautiful, admirable, and desirable goal-achieving qualities such as persistence, playfulness, loyalty, and unconditional love. So to be a dog with a bone means that you’re someone who wants to achieve a specific outcome and remain steadfast in the pursuit of that goal, overcoming roadblocks, refusing to give up, and maintaining unwavering faith. 

CL: How can people who are stuck in self-limiting beliefs begin to shave away the fear and doubt that has prevented from living their most authentic life?

PM: Read my book Your Destiny Switch (smile). In all seriousness, there is a danger in answering this question with a short answer because there is so much to this. The best way to serve you and your readers is with this short excerpt from my book Your Destiny Switch to shed some light on this answer: [Every moment that you’re alive is one in which you can make a choice about what you want to feel. You can start creating new habits by mastering the art of switching your emotions, a skill that involves a three step process. When you’re ready to actually make the shift into a better, more positive emotion, there are several strategies you can use – alone or together – that are wonderfully effective at helping you make the switch. First, however, let’s look at the three steps in this process.

Step 1: Observe
The first step in making an emotional switch is rejecting a disempowering feeling, and you can’t do that unless you observe it. You have to be aware that you’re in a negative (or indifferent) state.

Step 2: Decide
In any given moment, you have a choice: Do you want to continue feeling the way you do, or do you want to switch?

Step 3: Switch
You can switch your emotions immediately if you choose to do so. No matter how strong the negative feeling you’re experiencing, the more you practice observing, deciding, and switching, the more quickly you’ll be able to make the transition to a positive emotion, because you’ve created this healthy habit.]

CL: In this latest book, you speak a lot about “dogged determination” in approaching your dreams, and what an essential attitude it is in being someone who can “make things happen.” Yet you also discuss the need to be flexible or “faithful” in trusting that you will achieve that goal without the need to constantly control what and how things actually happen. How do these two important principles work together?

PM: These two important principles go hand in hand (they BOTH are essential parts of the success recipe). Being dogged determined is setting a clear intention (state or claim that which you desire). At that point, you must detach yourself from the outcome and switch into the emotion of faith. This is sometimes referred to as “Let Go and Let God.” But letting go and letting God doesn’t mean that you can sit back and wish for things to happen without doing anything about it. On the contrary; you have a responsibility for what’s going to show up for you in your life. To create success, you need to align all of the factors for it in a fashion that will produce your desired results (which includes practicing and growing the emotion of faith).

CL: What are a few techniques or actions that someone can use when beginning to manifest their dreams?

PM: The first step is to decide to do something! And, then take the first step. Sit down and decide what you want and find the tools that will help you get there. My website has many resources and tools available and some of them are are available for free. No tool, no matter how powerful, can help you change your life if you don’t use it. Many people read self-help books, become excited about the promise of improving their quality of life and creating happiness for themselves, and start to practice the program they’ve just learned but soon wander off the path to their goals. They have the resources they need, but they’re locked away in a toolbox that’s covered with dust and cobwebs. If you want to build your dream life, you’ve got to implement effective goal-achieving tools (follow the guidelines in my books), and start working!

CL: For many people, simply identifying what it is they want in life is the hardest part of the success equation. What are some good ways for people to discover their true passions or life purpose?

PM: Here is a great excerpt from Be a Dog with a Bone that will answer this question perfectly:
[A deep desire comes from the soul, and you’ll recognize it simply by the way you feel about it in your heart. When you uncover this dream (bone), you’ll have deep determination, because determination is fueled by desire. Short lived wants don’t run deep, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But it’s vitally important to connect with the deepest dream of your heart, for when you do, you’ll access your dogged determination. Think about the following questions: Do you know what you want? Do you have a dream that you wish would come true or a goal you want to achieve, one that you’re truly passionate about? Connect to your deepest desire, your biggest dream. What is it? If you could have anything, and I mean anything, what would it be?]

CL: What are you reading now? Are there any books or authors currently on your radar that you would recommend for those inspired to move in the direction of their dreams?

PM: Believe it or not, I read my own books. Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not bragging, but my books contain three decades of my own discoveries and I’ve learned from many of the greatest masters on this planet. Their wisdom has helped me to create an extraordinary life, and therefore, not only did I write about it, I live it! Your Destiny Switch / 21 Distinctions of Wealth / Be a Dog with a Bone (all published by Hay House) and available everywhere.

peggysfamily

At one point or another many of us come to a crossroads in our professional and personal lives. We sit back, sigh deeply and ask ourselves “is this all there is?” For Renee Trudeau, the deep inner calling of her life became louder and louder until one day she decided to leave a successful corporate career and change the direction of her life forever. What happened next not only took her own family in an entirely new direction, but her powerful message of motherhood and self-care has changed the lives of thousands of women worldwide. Now, Renee is exploring the world of everyday spirituality. And somewhere in the process of being a student, she has become the teacher.

 

CL: You left behind a lucrative and very stable career in order to pursue your passions. Can you tell me about that decision, what you decided to do and how leaving the corporate environment changed your life?

RT: Gregg Levoy, author of Callings: Finding and Following An Authentic Life says “Generally people won’t pursue their calling until the fear of doing so is finally exceeded by the pain of not doing so. But, it’s amazing how high our threshold is for this type of pain.” I knew after a stable, 14-year career in the marketing communications field that there was another way I was meant to use my gifts and talents.

I had coached professionals (for free) for years on how to develop and leverage their personal brand and I had a strong desire to help others express their potential. So, after much soul searching—more on this journey in my book– I launched Career Strategists in 2000, based on my strong belief that we are truly meant to integrate “who we are” with “what we do” in the world. Yes, like all that make the leap to self-employment, I had a lot of fear come up. But I knew that the life I desired (one where I was the master of, not the slave to my life) was more important than the fear. Ultimately, I had no choice but to take this leap.

I believe we all receive these taps on the shoulder throughout our life. The question is, next time you receive a tap, will you shrug the feeling off, or say yes (to your life)?

CL: How did the concept of personal renewal groups and your book, The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal, initially come about and what has been the response?

themothersguide_cover_000RT: After having my son at age 37, I was shocked to realize how profound the transition to parenthood is. I believe having a child, literally changes you on a cellular level. Who you are will never be the same. And, at the same time, it really rocks you to your core and challenges you to get clear on why you’re here, what is your path and what does the life you truly desire—look like? (My video talks more about this.)

After searching for resources and books that support mothers in nurturing their essence while taking care of their kids, I found nothing and was ultimately guided to start a Personal Renewal Group (self renewal circle for women) in 2003. Five years and countless groups later, after repeated requests from my Personal Renewal Group members, The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal was born. Now thousands of women around the US/Canada and beyond are leading these groups, which are based on the Guide, and supporting women in nurturing their emotional well-being. The response has been phenomenal (many therapists, coaches, doulas and women’s empowerment advocates are being called to lead groups.) Everyone seems to immediately get how important and needed a life coaching program like this, is. The book will be published in Korea later this year. It seems that the messages that came through me are resonating on a universal level.

CL: When people come to a crossroads in life, they are often told to pursue their passions and the money will follow. Do you believe that’s true?

RT: Yes! After working now for more than 20 years in this arena (I started helping family/friends with career strategy when I was eighteen) and having supported thousands in both big and small career and life transitions, I absolutely believe it is our job, our responsibility, to give birth to the best that is within us. And when we do this from a place of truth and authenticity, we will prosper.

I also work with clients a lot on marrying their passion with their brilliance (what you innately “do best”). This is where the magic happens! When we leverage our innate God-given talents, we’re in flow. We’re doing what we were put on the earth to do. And, when this happens, we can’t help but prosper financially. Interestingly, for most of my clients, the hard work isn’t around manifesting, it’s around “receiving” (believing that you’re worthy to be paid for these gifts).

CL: We all know how important it is to take good physical care of oneself in order to be effective in life. What else do you advise people to do to take care of themselves? What is your definition of self-care?

RT: Self-care is the practice of self-nourishment and self-nurturing. It’s essential to feeling whole and to being human. Cancer survivor/activist Audrey Lorde says “Self care is not about self-indulgence, it’s about self-preservation.” Taking time to fill our cups first before helping others is essential to our well-being and to optimal living.

Start by cultivating an awareness of how you talk to, treat, think about and care for yourself—physically, emotionally and spiritually. I have found the practice of self-care is a portal for many of us to our deeper selves. Loving ourselves and treating ourselves as if you would treat a small child, requires a deep honoring of spirit, of our essence (you can learn more about the transformative power of self-care in The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal). Begin with baby steps, be gentle with yourself and know that developing a self-care practice takes time and being around others who believe this is essential, too.

CL: What are you reading right now? What are some books that you can recommend for people interested in personal/spiritual growth?

RT: Life coaches Jennifer Louden and Cheryl Richardson are two of the original self-care advocates/pioneers and all of their books are wonderful and highly recommended, particularly if you’re just getting started on your self-care journey. In terms of physical self-care, I am reading Quantum Wellness by Kathy Freston and The Wisdom of Menopause by Dr. Christiane Northrup—both are very holistic and integrative in their approach to physical/emotional/spiritual well-being. I am also reading (I’m a multiple books at one time reader) Practicing The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, Soul Signs by Diane Eichenbaum, Conversations with God (again) by Neal Donald Walsch, This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women and Open Heart, Open Mind by Father Thomas Keating (who will be in Austin Feb. 21-22).

CL: I understand you are working on a new project. Can you tell us about that?

RT: Since last summer, I have been researching and exploring the theme of “everyday spirituality”—the idea that the sacred is present and accessible everyday, through simple daily rituals and activities like walking in nature, playing with our kids and artistic expression, etc.

I think most Americans are overwhelmed, overworked and overscheduled. They are craving meaning in their lives, but when they hear the term “spiritual practice,” they think forget it, who has time to go on a ten day silent retreat or go sit on a mountaintop! I’ve got kids to get to soccer and bosses to appease! I believe strongly that there are many avenues for nourishment on the“spiritual practice” continuum and that each of us just needs to get quiet and hear what spiritual renewal looks like to us.

I was raised in a very interesting family (my latest blog posting on Spirituality talks about this)—I have a brother named Shiva and a sister named after St. Theresa. Questions around spiritual renewal and fulfillment have been sitting with me for a long, long time. I believe this is the direction my work will be taking me over the next 5-7 years.

Upcoming Events:

Renee Trudeau is holding a Career Mojo workshop on 2/26/09 as well as a women’s self renewal retreat on 3/24/09. Current Living readers can enjoy a special early bird rate for the women’s retreat through April 10th!! But register early because these workshops fill up fast. Please go to www.reneetrudeau.com for more info.

ww.russellforsyth.com

ww.russellforsyth.com

Russell Forsyth is a healer, medium and Angel Therapy Practitioner. I recently spoke to Russell about his path, his work and the possibilities of listening to your personal guidance system.

CL: What is the primary focus of your practice, and how did you choose this line of work?

RF: I consider myself a healer-helper. Everyone has the natural ability to heal themselves. I try to empower them with that energy to release old patterns, blocks and anything that is not in alignment with their current beliefs, goals and health practices. My primary focus is on the chakra or ‘energy centers’ of the human body. Most emotional, physical and spiritual conditions that are considered unhealthy can be traced from these centers. I was a carpenter/contractor for thirty years, until I asked Spirit and the Universe to guide me into my encore career in service to others. My construction work started to phase out, while my readings increased. I feel like the work chose me.

CL: What happens in a typical Angel Therapy session?

RF: I am usually guided to ask a series of questions designed to allow the client to openly express themselves in a safe environment. These expressions usually unveil the feelings of the heart and uncover basic needs of the individual. From that information, I am usually guided to do energy work and/or deliver messages from the angels that are directed toward a spiritual overview. Some sessions are without the message aspect and geared toward energy movement with a heavy focus on the chakra system.

CL: Are you seeing an increase or a decrease in interest surrounding connecting with angels and guides? Who is your typical client?

RF: The latest events in the world have more people seeking answers from a spiritual source. My business increases with fears and worries about the economy and the global environment. People are going back to some basics of life with more focus on health, career and finances with interest in the future. My typical client is a professional and I see doctors, lawyers, politicians, musicians, engineers and your typical Austinite. I also have people that travel some distance to see me. So in a typical day I might see people from Dallas, San Antonio and Houston. But sometimes I might see someone from Germany or South Africa as well.

CL: You have created a unique healing modality called the Harmonic Crystal Healing Bed. How did that come about and what benefits does it offer?

RF: It is a long story, but basically I started receiving guidance from the angels and ended up with a 10K word document journal with a complete description of the construction of the bed. After months of asembly, I studied the components and discovered the science behind the crystal bed. I was never into crystals before, but have since gained quite a appreciation for their healing benefits. The crystal bed used sound, light, color, magnets, crystals and an angelic gateway to do everything from releasing an emotion to working with the worst physical ailments such as cancer or heart disease. The number one response from a session on the Harmonic Crystal Healing Bed® is an overwhelming feeling of peace.

CL: Can anyone hear guidance from angels or guides? How do they communicate?

RF: Yes, they communicate through the “claire” senses which everybody has. Clairvoyance is one that most people have heard about and this is the sense of vision. You can receive a message from the angels in the form of a vision in the mind’s eye, such as a dream or a waking vision.This is one of several ways to connect. Angels and guides use signs such as feathers, coins, jewelry, and electrical devices to get our attention. They often use repetitive symbols and metaphors as a way to message a feeling or illicit a response. Our guides will not meddle in our affairs under normal circumstances, so we need to engage in asking for their help as a way to start the connection process.

CL: What are the differences between angels and guides?

RF: Some people make no distinction, but to me a guide is usually someone that has walked the earth plane in some form, while the angels generally have never had that experience. An Ascended Master such as Quan Yin would be a good example of a guide while Archangel Michael is one angel that many have heard of. My clients connect with guides such as deceased loved ones, ascended masters, shamans, fairies, elementals and even star beings, so there are a lot of choices when choosing to connect with a alternate source. The other side of the veil has many options for those seeking an unearthly form of support. Others believe the guides are all one flow in the same energy, and it is mankind that chooses to separate and name these sources. I try to align myself with an individual’s belief in order to do energy work without imprinting my own beleifs.

CL: There is certainly a psychic element to this work. Are you psychic, and what does that term mean to you?

RF: Everyone is psychic! I have exercised and developed my senses in order to do this work, but everyone has gifts and it is up to each of us to decide how far we want to develop these gifts. There are many who have experienced past lives and witnessed the evolution of mankind. This past is filled with many harsh events that can have a lasting effect on people even in today’s world and spell danger for some. This can be a block and prevent people from opening to these gifts. Others feel that using psychic gifts goes against their belief systems. I feel like there is no elitism in this area and we are all equal. Some have not discovered this about themselves. Psychic awareness is on the increase in today’s world and to witness this is relatively easy, especially in the technological arena of the modern society.

CL: You’ve also entered the world of mediumship. There are a lot of misconceptions about mediums and what they do. Can you clear up a few of the more common misconceptions?

RF: When I started doing angel readings, deceased loved ones started coming forward in my sessions. I went for additional training in this area and now teach mediumship in workshops. If someone you knew walked into your room and your eyes were closed, you would then be left to feel the energy of that person in order to identify them. Connecting with the deceased is not much different. A medium has learned to take that ability to the next level. Using the “claire” senses and trusting yourself is the key, but you are simply connecting with someone that is not in the physical body. In all the work that I do, I have witnessed the most dramatic changes and healing through a medium session. Wrinkles disappear, the eyes get brighter, the face shines with a glow and the energy around that person gets lighter. The sessions are quite different from others, in that the deceased loved one is a person with free will and therefore dictates the session. You never know what will happen and that makes it interesting and exciting! Some religions have demonized this type of work and Hollywood has done their share to raise fears in this area. My experiences have been filled with love and compassion without the energy of fear and evil like some would have you think. Unfortunately our history is filled with abuse within the family structure and one opportunity to deliver a message of forgiveness makes the life of a medium very fullfilling. There are some who have given the work a bad name, while some people have had negative experiences engaging in the activity, so there are many misconceptions. My suggestion for those considering using a medium for the first time would be to talk with friends to find a referral to someone that has had success in the past. If you go to a medium, limit your expectations and open to the experience for the best results with the idea that people are people…….in the body or not(lol).

CL: Who has inspired you the most in your work?

RF: Dr. Doreen Virtue, John Edward and Dr. Marcel Vogel.

CL: Could you recommend three books for someone just beginning to learn about receiving guidance to help with life purpose, relationships, spiritual development, prosperity, etc.?

RF: I recommend books that I find resonantion with the majority of the writing. I rarely find one that I agree 100%. I would recommend Doreen Virtue’s Angels 101 or The Lighworkers Way, The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren and Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth and anything from the Abraham-Hicks collection .

CL: In addition to your healing practice, you are a musician and author. How have these three passions intersected and what are your future plans for writing and producing music?

RF: Since changing careers and life paths which occurred in April ’06, I have written 4 books and am 75% complete with two more (I never considerd myself a writer). I have completed a 16 song CD project and am getting ready to record another CD in January. I write a weekly colum called ‘Angel Whipsers’ and have been filmed for a pilot show on the work that I do that is currently being presented to TV networks. I often integrate the use of my books and music for teaching workshops as channeled writing and music is a connnection to Spirit. I was passionate before my shift occurred, but the creative energy exploded when I dropped all my past hurts, forgave myself and those around me and openeed to what the Universe had to offer. I simply made the choice to create beauty, ease suffering and bring joy into the world around me. My future plans are all-inclusive of these passions, for together they bring balance, grounding and harmony to my own peacful existence. The positive experiences of others when exposed to these artistc mediums is icing on the cake!

For more information about Russell Forsyth, please visit http://www.russellforsyth.com. His latest novel is Mariposa and his most recent CD is titled One Thing.

Jackie Gaston is a healer and teacher based in Austin, TX. I recently asked Jackie about her work, and its connection to creating balance and well-being in all areas of our lives.

CL: For people who are wondering why they are “stuck” in certain emotional or mental patterns, is there any physical explanation for that? If so, what can be done about that?
 
JG: This is a good question in that it seems to start with the assumption that there is a division between the mental, the emotional and the physical.  This is a view that has been held in western thought since Descartes hypothezied that thought equals being.  William Blake said that the body is the soul as perceived by the senses and I feel this is more accurate.  The question also addresses a state that we all experience from time to time.  The feeling of being “stuck” seems to be an unavoidable part of the human experience. I think it is more useful to look at this state in terms of what it may be telling us rather than as something that we need to do something about.  Why are we feeling stuck?  What is going on in  life that is allowing this feeling to be present at this time?  After these factors are identified, we can begin to take action to either change or accept them.  Doing this usually results in an awareness of the choices we are making and a feeling of more control in life.  Stuckness can’t stay around when we feel we are in control.
 
CL: What are some of the more powerful modalities that can assist people in attaining a greater sense of well-being?
 
JG: Sometimes old conditions set up shop in the body and are little bit slow to leave.  A simplified example is a period of time after a sore foot has healed when you still find yourself limping from time to time out of habit.  The cells in your body that reproduced during the time of the injury reproduced exact replicas of themselves.  The replicas contained the information that the foot was sore and limping took the pressure off of it.  Nerve patterns transferred this information to the brain and back to the muscles that moved the foot establishing patterns that told the muscles how to behave.  It takes a little while for all of those cells to get the message that the limping is no longer useful. Energy work can help repattern these kinds of messages.  My preferred modalities for this are craniosacral therapy and Reiki combined with specific massage movements for each part of the body. I also like acupuncture and chiropractic care.
 
CL: Explain what a typical Reiki or energy work session involves. What are some of the positive results?

 
JG: A Reiki session is done with the client fully clothed and looks like a ‘laying on of hands’ for lack of a better description.  I prefer to use my massage table for this but I have been known to work on people on their sofas, easy chairs or beds, folding chairs or whatever happens to be around.  The intent is to send energy to any place that needs it and/or clear energy blockages that may be causing problems.  The first result is usually a deep relaxation.  Some people can feel the energy moving through them while others report not really feeling anything.  I have never heard of anyone having a negative reaction to Reiki. However, I have known of people who were disappointed because they expected some big emotional or physical release.  While this can and sometimes does happen, it can be a much more subtle modality and the experience is different for each person.
 
CL: Do you recommend having ongoing energy work done in order to help with chronic conditions, or can some conditions be resolved in one session?
 
JG: Yes and yes.  There are some conditions that can be and are resolved in one session while others, especially chronic ones, benefit from ongoing sessions.
 
CL: What motivated you to become a healer and choose these modalities for your work?
 
JG: I have never had a job in which I did not feel that I was helping others.  In fact, the only criteria that I have ever had for work is that it allowed me to help others.  I have worked for a major insurance company, taught special education classes, worked with blind people and with developmentally handicapped people and worked for the Texas Rehabilitation Commission before becoming a body/energy worker so I guess the progression was logical.  I first began hearing about Reiki in the early 90s when I was working the first aid crew at a music festival. I asked questions about it but nobody really wanted to tell me very much.  Then, in 1996, a friend of mine left this time/space reality via running her car into a tree.  I traveled from San Angelo to Kerrville to her memorial service and she decided to accompany me home.  She literally pestered me into taking my first Reiki classes.   (I could go on and on about how weird this all seemed in San Angelo, TX but I’ll spare you that discourse.)  I had a craniosacral session in 1998 and felt my jaw unlock while the practitioner’s hand was under my sacrum.  I just had to find out how to do that.  Since then, I just have not been able to stop exploring different modalities.  I feel that I could spend the rest of my life studying ways that the body manifests the spirit and the ways in which it can be addressed.
 
CL: Are types of energy work ever combined to create some new form of healing?
 
JG: Certainly.  I seldom use just one modality.  Sometimes I don’t even have a name for what happens in a session.  Each person has different needs and responds to different combinations of modalities.
 
CL: People have ideas about what kinds of therapies they need to help with certain physical issues. Do you ever counsel against using certain methodologies?
 
JG: This is a fairly common occurrence.  A lot of times people think they want a deep tissue massage and it is often not what their body will accept, especially if they don’t get bodywork on a regular basis.  They have just heard the term a lot and think is sounds exotic or something.  I won’t do deep work or use much pressure at all on recent injuries.  There are other contraindications for bodywork such as illness, fever, and etc. But almost anyone can have energy work at anytime.

CL: In the greater mind-body-spirit-heart connection, how does your work to influence all of these areas of life?

JG: My intent is to help the client integrate the mental/emotional experience with the physical one and to set things up so that he/she is open to healing themselves.  Yeah, I said ‘healing themselves’ because I can only facilitate the healing by creating and holding the space for it to happen.

CL: What are you reading?

JG: Just finished Eat, Pray, Love, a book I did not expect to like based on reviews that I had read but I had heard so much about it that I gave in and read it.  Loved it.  I am also reading Marriage of the Spirit by Leslie Temple-Thurston and an autobiography of Judy Collins.  I am forever picking up the Abraham-Hicks books and reading a page or two.  I keep some of those cds in my car and usually listen to one while I drive around.  I am studying the work of Sanaya Roman and Duane Packer as well.

For more information on Jackie’s work and range of services, please visit www.jackiegaston.com.

I came across a cool little resource if you ever need a few moments to center yourself, slow down and be inspired. I particularly liked the one by Sonia Choquette titled “Your Intuitive Voice” (scroll way down) Check it out:

http://www.consciousone.com/wisdomflash/WFlist.cfm

This totally made my day! Love is powerful, indeed.

 

In this, the latest in the ever-growing series of Abraham-Hicks books, Money and the Law of Attraction hit some familiar high notes in its increasingly descriptive foray into the world of knowledge channeled from a group of non-physical beings called Abraham. It quickly became #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list, which doesn’t surprise me at all. There is a hunger for information regarding our part in creating the lives we live. In this latest complilation of public addresses which took place in Boston last year, readers have access to specific methodologies for aligning your vibration to what it is you want– better health, better finances, better relationships, whatever it is you are seeking. For example, Abraham goes into detail about conducting a daily 15-20 minute “workshop” which enables one to become very clear about what it is one wants. Choose a quiet space where you will not be interrupted. It’s best to use reinforcing language which puts you in a state of deep appreciation for what you already have, and then move into a deep awareness that once you’ve requested what it is you want, you do not have to ponder it again. You simply have to be excited and joyful in the knowledge that it is quickly finding its way toward you. The only thing that would prevent you from getting your request is if you consistently wonder “where is it, why isn’t it here?” This is because it is important that you are not attached to the outcome. You simply ask for what you want, be specific, feel joyful knowing that it’s already yours and literally waiting just outside of your physical grasp, and then simply expect the universe to present it. Have fun watching for signs that it’s about to appear. Where most of us trip up is in the obsessive need to “make things happen.” There is a difference between making something happen out of fear, and feeling open to inspiration and taking inspired action because it makes you feel good. I enjoyed this latest contribution to the world of understanding these powerful universal principles and appreciated the CD which came with the book.

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