FROM STRESS TO STILLNESS
Tools for Inner PeaceExcerpt from Chapter 1
THE STRESS CHANNEL
The Stress Channel is the ego’s channel. When we’re tuned in to the egoic mind and absorbed in our thoughts about ourselves and our life, we are tuned in to the ego. The reason this is stressful is that The Stress Channel broadcasts fear and a sense of lack, of not having or being enough. The ego produces the fear and discontentment and the sense of being separate and lacking that exemplifies the human condition. All humans are programmed with similar thoughts, and many of those thoughts lead to suffering to one extent or another.
We’re going to look more closely at what is usually playing on The Stress Channel so that you can more easily recognize the thoughts produced by the ego. The more you’re able to recognize the ego in your thoughts, the easier it will be to detach from those thoughts.
The really good news is that suffering is optional because, although we are in a human package, we are not actually human, but Spirit in a human disguise. This recognition, or realization, greatly diminishes the stress of being human. Once we stop believing what the mind is saying, the mind loses its power to make us suffer. Once you’ve seen through this voice, what it’s saying no longer matters.
To be happy, this voice doesn’t have to go away or even become more positive. The way out of suffering is not to change the egoic mind, which is difficult to do, but to simply recognize what it’s up to and not buy into it. In the interest of doing that, let’s take a look at some of the features of the egoic mind--the voice in your head.
Thoughts Seem Like Ours
One of the features of this voice in our head is that it seems like our very own voice. That is the first illusion to be seen through. Just take a moment to do some inquiry:
Where do your thoughts come from?
Can you find a you that these thoughts are happening to? They’re happening within your body-mind, but are you your body-mind?
Are your thoughts ones you’d like to have?
Who is it that likes or doesn’t like these thoughts?
How can your thoughts be your own voice when you don’t even like much of what this voice says and when, in fact, this voice often makes you feel bad?
Who is it that is aware of not liking some of your thoughts?
This voice in your head is not your voice, and it doesn’t have to be your voice. You are what can choose to believe those thoughts and give voice to them and act on them or not. What is it that is aware of your thoughts and can choose this? This is a great mystery, isn’t it? We are all a great mystery and part of an even greater Mystery.
Thoughts Seem True
The second illusion is that our thoughts seem true. We are programmed to automatically accept our thoughts without questioning them. But are they true? When we become more aware of our thoughts, we discover that many of our assumptions and beliefs are contradictory or untrue. They may have been true once, but are they true now?
Many of our beliefs are what we were taught as children. We accepted what we were taught then, often without questioning. As adults, most of us still don’t question our beliefs because most of us aren’t aware of what we are thinking. Racial prejudice is an example of beliefs that are acquired from others that shape our behavior until we examine them more closely.
As children and even more recently, we came to conclusions about ourselves, other people, life, and God based on our experiences and limited understanding. These conclusions become part of our identity and self-image and are reflected in the thoughts that run through our mind. Until we become more aware of these thoughts and examine them, we continue to believe them, and they determine our behavior and experience of life.
For example, if your father left your mother when you were young, you might have concluded that he didn’t love you, that you were the reason your parents divorced, that men can’t be trusted, that you’ll never be happy, or any number of other understandable but false conclusions. These conclusions determine how you feel about yourself and others and therefore how you interact with others.
We automatically believe our thoughts, beliefs, assumptions, conclusions, and desires and let them guide our behavior. But how has that worked for you? Since what the egoic mind says and what it drives us to do is inconsistent and often contradictory or untrue, when we listen to it, we are left confused and constantly changing our mind or following a course that is unfulfilling. For true guidance, we have to turn to something deeper than our egoic mind.
Thoughts Seem More Important Than They Are
Another illusion is that our thoughts seem important. Notice how much more important your thoughts seem than they actually are. They have a weight about them that captures our attention. This is one of the ways the egoic mind keeps us involved with it, by making thoughts seem very important, as if we must pay attention to them to be safe and happy. But their importance is an illusion.
For example, how important is the thought “I need to remember to get milk”? If this thought didn’t seem so important, then forgetting the milk wouldn’t seem like such a big deal when it happens. We often get really mad at ourselves or others over relatively small things that go wrong. Why do these things seem so important? Important to whom? Many of the things that “go wrong” in our day, according to our egoic mind, are pretty minor—they just seem important at the time.
Our thoughts are, in a sense, magnified. And we take this magnification as the truth. We believe the level of importance our thoughts give to things. As you go about your day, just notice what your thoughts are saying about life and about what you “need” to do: “I have to do this” and “He has to do that (or else!).” We all have a mental list of what we’d like to accomplish and what we think we need to accomplish, but do you see that this list is arbitrary—made up? Who is it that says you have to do something? Is it you, or is it just a thought? Who is pushing you? Who is running the show? And how does that feel?
Most days are quite ordinary, filled with the usual, relatively unimportant tasks. But the mind makes even small tasks seem important. Our mind zooms in on the smallest things and blows them up out of proportion. It makes mountains out of molehills, as my mother used to say. This is just what minds do.
Are things as important as your mind tells you they are? Is it so terrible if things go differently than you thought? Is it so terrible if you forget something or make a mistake or someone else forgets something or makes a mistake? In any event, it is done, and there’s no use crying over spilled milk (or no milk).
When things don’t go as planned, simply asking, “Is it that important?” can be helpful. Answer this question from a place of being zoomed out: Will this be important a year from now or several years from now? Will this be important on my deathbed? Many of the things we get upset about wouldn’t be important even moments or days later.
When the egoic mind doesn’t have anything of real importance to focus on, it makes insignificant things important. The egoic mind makes life more serious and difficult than life needs to be. It makes some things that aren’t a matter of life and death seem like they are. This is one of the ways that we (our egos) make ourselves important: If what we’re doing is important, that means we are important.
Thoughts Tell Stories
This brings us to another feature of the egoic mind: It creates a sense of being someone by telling stories. The egoic mind is all about building and sustaining a sense of self, whether it’s a positive sense of self or a negative one. One of the ways it does this is by making what we do and what happens to us a reflection of either our worthiness or unworthiness.
Throughout our day, the egoic mind refers experiences, even the most mundane ones, back to me and tells a positive or negative story about me. The ego examines each experience for what it might mean about me and comes up with conclusions, or stories. So even something like rain happening on the day you’ve planned a picnic becomes all about you: “Why does it always rain when I have something planned?” Or the ego puffs itself up by taking credit for something: “I manifested it,” rather than recognizing all the forces at work that allowed that to come into manifestation.
Life is just the way it is, while the mind tells stories about how that relates to me. When we make a mistake, we declare: “I never do anything right.” When we don’t sleep well, we conclude: “I’m going to be off all day.” When we spill something on our shirt, we call ourselves names: “I’m such a slob.” Making a mistake, not sleeping well, and spilling things are common occurrences for everyone, but our egoic mind makes them mean something about us personally, usually something negative.
One of the main ways we create stress is by telling stories about events, when events are just events. Something happened. Period. What if we just let that be the way it is? Notice the tales the egoic mind tells. It is a liar—it makes up stories. Once you know someone is a liar, do you keep believing that person? Recognizing what the egoic mind is up to and how its stories make us feel stressed and unhappy releases us from the ego’s grip. Seeing this is not believing!
The antidote to the stress and suffering caused by the egoic mind is letting everything be as it is. A mistake happens—let that be as it is (because it is). You forgot something—let that be as it is. You spilled something—let that be as it is. You lost $100,000 in the stock market—let that be as it is, without telling a story about it. It happened. Period.
Any story that we add on top of what simply happened doesn’t change a thing. All our stories do is put a spin on what happened, which usually results in stress and unhappiness. Why bother? The ego bothers because telling stories is how it maintains the sense we have of being somebody who is lacking and at war with life. Telling stories is how the ego is maintained. But you are not the ego. You are not the voice in your head, so you don’t have to agree with its rendition of life.
Thoughts Tell a Story of Lack
This brings us to another feature of the ego, which is a sense of lack. We are programmed to focus on what’s missing and to overlook or minimize what is here. It’s the old glass-is-half-empty syndrome. From the standpoint of the ego, you are never good enough, life is never good enough, and other people are never good enough.
We can’t change this programming, but the more aware we are of it, the less power it has to affect how we see life. We can learn to see life through other than the ego’s eyes. How does it feel to be lacking, for life to be lacking, for others to be lacking? Much of our stress comes from feeling this sense of lack, particularly a sense of lack within us.
The feeling of unworthiness or that something is missing in our life is often at the root of excessive busy-ness and striving and therefore at the root of stress. By being very busy or working very hard, we often try to compensate for such feelings of lack. Alternately, we might seek love and approval from others or compulsively try to fix and improve ourselves.
If these strategies don’t work or if they’ve left us exhausted, we might turn to drugs, alcohol, or food to escape from our pain or to comfort or numb ourselves. Is it any wonder that addiction and overeating are major issues in our overly busy and stressed-out society? These are ways we’re trying to take care of our exhausted, stressed-out selves. Unfortunately, these coping mechanisms don’t work for long and leave us less healthy and feeling even worse about ourselves.
We need to get to the root of our busy-ness and stress, which is the sense of never being or having enough, which we all have to one extent or another by virtue of being human and having an ego. One of the antidotes to this sense of lack is to have compassion for the suffering caused by the dilemma of having an ego that is never satisfied. Summoning compassion for ourselves moves us out of the ego’s domain and into Stillness, where it is possible to discover that nothing is lacking.
Thoughts Generate Desires
Another feature of the egoic mind is desires, most of which stem from the ego’s fears and sense of lack. The ego believes that getting what it desires will quell its fears and sense of lack. The ego desires material things, but it also desires many intangible things, such as success.
Success, like so much of what the ego desires, is a concept, an idea. The trouble with desiring something as intangible as success is that such concepts are unattainable. As soon as the ego’s idea of success is achieved, it changes its definition of success and sets another goal to strive and suffer over. As a result, success and every other concept that the ego strives for, such as beauty, recognition, status, security, and admiration, remain elusive and just out of reach. None of these will ever be achieved by the ego, at least not for long, because the ego continually redefines what that would mean. It is forever chasing after dreams, and that will never change, because it is the ego’s nature to do this.
We, as humans, are programmed with similar egoic desires, although we also have deeper desires that are not egoic. We all desire possessions, security, comfort, safety, money, power, prestige, beauty, admiration, recognition, and success. Driving these egoic desires is the belief that we need these things to be happy. This is the lie that makes the world go round.
It’s easy enough to see that this is a lie whenever we do finally achieve what we thought would make us happy, only to discover that other desires quickly take the place of the one that was fulfilled. Chasing after what we want only results in more wanting, not in satiation. This is because the ego is in the business of manufacturing desires, not peace and happiness. The ego is never satisfied for long or it would be out of business.
Getting off this unending wheel of desire requires seeing the truth about desire. There are actually many truths that need to be seen. One of them, which was just mentioned, is that fulfilling our desires leads to more desires, not satisfaction or lasting happiness.
Another truth is that desire, like every other thought, is fed by our attention and disappears without our attention. Have you ever longed for something very deeply, and then you forgot about it completely because another desire captured your attention? Desires are strengthened and maintained by our attention. If you want to be without the pain and stress of desiring, then stop thinking about what you desire. Focus on something else, preferably on your present moment experience, where true peace and happiness lie.
And finally, another truth is that our desires are not what ultimately shape life. Wanting something doesn’t cause it to manifest. In fact, when we are dissatisfied, stressed-out, and unhappy because we want things to be different, we’re less likely to get what we want than when we are content, because this negative state saps our energy and is not attractive.
Contentment, on the other hand, is an extremely attractive state. Contentment makes space for and draws to us what life intends for us. Notice I said “what life intends for us,” not what we want, because sometimes what we want is not what life intends for us. There’s a higher order in life than our desires. The Whole operates in support of the Whole. We can trust it to bring us the experiences we need that will ultimately benefit us and the Whole. Sometimes that experience is limitation, and sometimes it is abundance.
Experiences of limitation are an opportunity to develop our resources and talents as well as our inner strength, courage, patience, perseverance, and other virtues. Limitation can move us out of the superficial world of the ego, turn us inward, and make us a better human being. Getting what we want isn’t always a good thing for our soul, our life’s purpose, or the Whole.
Every experience we have is the right experience. The ego tries to make life go its way, but that’s an impossible task and causes a lot of suffering and stress. Life will have its way with us. We have to learn to say yes to that even when the ego is screaming, “No!”
There are deeper, more meaningful desires that spur us on toward our life’s purpose and the intentions of the Whole. These deeper desires aren’t experienced in the same way as egoic desires, which are experienced as thoughts that develop into feelings of longing, frustration, and discontent. Deeper desires don’t cause suffering, unless the mind gets hold of them. These deeper desires are experienced as drives that move us forward in personally meaningful directions. We are propelled by joy by these deeper desires to fulfill our life’s purpose.
Thoughts Push Us to Strive and Hurry
Perhaps the most stressful feature of the egoic mind, which also stems from a sense of lack, is its tendency to push and hurry us. The ego is a time-tyrant and a judge. We can never do things fast enough or well enough for it. The more we listen to this voice that pushes and hurries us, the more stressed-out we feel and the less satisfaction and joy we get from whatever we’re doing.
Listening to this voice often leads to multitasking. By multitasking, the ego is trying to get a lot done at once, usually so that it can get on to something else. But there’s no end to the ego’s to-do list! The ego pushes us to do more and more and to get whatever we’re doing done as soon as possible. Life becomes a race to the finish, but there’s no finish line.
What is it that feels that there isn’t enough time? Is that really true? And how is it to feel this way? The ego, of course, is what pushes us to try to squeeze more and more into every day. It often does this with fear: “Something terrible will happen if you don’t get it all done!” Or the voice might promise a reward: “When you get it done, you can relax and be happy (but not before then).” Whether the mind prods us with fear or with the hope of happiness, success, approval, or something else, this voice is one of the main causes of stress.
The truth is, we can only give our attention fully to one thing at a time. So how stressful can that be? It’s easy to do one thing at a time, no matter what it is. Even if it’s brain surgery, we’re only making one movement at a time. What makes doing something difficult and stressful is worrying about what needs to be done, trying to conform to the ego’s arbitrary deadlines, and trying to do too many things at once.
Multitasking has become an accepted—and expected—way of operating, particularly in business. However, since the mind can only attend fully to one thing at a time, moving back and forth between a number of tasks, or even just two, isn’t necessarily more efficient and often results in mistakes or a job that isn’t as well done as it might have been.
Even when multitasking is more efficient (and there are times when it is), is the stress involved in trying to keep track of a number of things at once and trying to get them done quickly worth it? The next time you’re hurrying or multitasking, notice how your body feels. Our body tenses up when we hurry or try to do too much at once. This tension is often expressed as anger (e.g., road rage), crankiness, or complaining. Stress puts our body into fight or flight. This explains why anger, which is a fighting response, is so common when we feel stressed.
What’s more important—getting things done as fast as you can or experiencing what you’re doing and enjoying it while you’re doing it? The trouble with doing a number of things at once is that we usually aren’t fully present to any one of them. Instead, we’re hurrying and not enjoying ourselves. But when we slow down and are fully present to what we’re doing, a natural enjoyment arises. And perhaps more importantly, wisdom about how to do whatever we’re doing and even whether it’s worth doing has a chance to register within us. When we slow down, we make space for our own inherent wisdom to arise and take charge of the activity.
When we allow the egoic mind to run our activities, we end up feeling like a machine: soul-less and joyless. You can be a machine if you want, but is that how you want to live your life? There’s another choice (even if you think there isn’t), and that is to slow down, be present, notice what’s arising to be done, do it, and move on to the next thing. And sometimes, amidst all the doing, stop, check inside, and just let yourself be. Take in the glory of life as if there were nothing more to do. We often let ourselves do this after we’ve completed something, but why not do this more often?
A slower-paced lifestyle isn’t in keeping with the business model, but the business model is no way to run our lives. The business model isn’t even healthy for the corporations themselves. Nor is it healthy for our society. It’s obvious what the corporate mentality has done to our environment. When profit is the primary goal, then the rest of life isn’t sufficiently honored. When we allow the egoic mind to be our master, we lose our soul, our juice, our joie de vivre. Multitasking is often the result of an egoic mind that’s been allowed to run amok, a mind that is driven by fear, lack, and desire.
The antidote to a mind that has run amok is noticing the result of multitasking on your body and your spirit. How do you feel when you’re multitasking? If you’re contracted, stressed, or unhappy because of how you’re doing things, then stop and do only one thing at a time. Multitask only when you can do it with joy and without feeling stressed, which will probably require slowing down.
When you’re doing something, check how you’re feeling and then modify how you’re doing it until you are enjoying it. You don’t have to be a slave to your egoic mind or to other people’s. Once you realize the need for change, you can change how you do things.
You deserve peace and happiness. Doing is not more important than being and everything that comes with being: love, peace, and joy. How can you modify how you perform your responsibilities to make them more of a joy than a burden? Here are some suggestions:
- Instead of immediately jumping into the next task when you finish something, stop for a few moments, take a few deep breaths, or do something else to bring yourself into the present moment. Specific suggestions for becoming more present are offered in the fourth chapter.
- Slow down. Moving quickly tends to make us feel hurried and makes us more prone to mistakes. Slowing down is the antidote to the egoic mind’s “hurry up.” Slowing down puts you back in the flow and out of the ego’s control.
- Give your full attention to whatever you are doing. As the Zen saying goes: “When you eat, just eat.” Even when we aren’t multitasking, we’re often thinking about something else, which is in a sense multitasking. When you’re doing something, notice your thoughts but don’t get lost in them. Be in your body and senses instead of your head, and give your attention to whatever you’re doing or whatever’s happening in your environment.
Thoughts Create a Virtual Reality
Another feature of the egoic mind is that it creates a virtual reality of sorts. How believable our thoughts are! They create an illusory world that we live in, more or less. Those who spend less time in this illusory world feel freer, happier, more content, and more alive and open to life’s possibilities. This illusory world is not a happy place but the source of all suffering.
Discovering that even some of the thoughts in your mind aren’t true is a very big step to becoming free of this illusory world. From there, the illusion unravels further. Ultimately you discover that none of your thoughts about yourself—or about anyone or anything else—are true! That’s pretty radical. The truth is radical. It’s radical to discover that you don’t need the voice in your head to guide your life or to be safe and happy. The truth is quite the opposite: Believing that voice takes you out of reality, where happiness, peace, fulfillment, and guidance are available.
Our thoughts aren’t true because they can never match or describe reality fully enough. They are never the whole truth. They leave out so much. Besides, our ideas are just our particular spin, our particular perspective. For instance, if you describe someone, you’re only describing a few of that person’s characteristics, based on your perception of that person from past experience. Each of us is a complex and ever-changing mystery that can’t be captured by a few labels. And every moment is a new moment. Who knows what someone is like right now?
Reality is what we know to be true and real right here and now. No self-image or story that you tell can match what is real and true right now. Is an image or a belief about yourself, someone else, or life true right now? Is it the whole truth? When you begin to examine your thoughts this thoroughly, you discover that they don’t match reality. When your thoughts don’t match reality, that’s a recipe for suffering. For example, if you think that your husband should buy you flowers on your anniversary and he doesn’t, you’ll probably feel bad.
We all carry around both conscious and unconscious images of ourselves that shape how we respond to life. When we identify with one of our self-images, we behave accordingly. We bring that self-image to life and make it true for the time being. For instance, one of my self-images is that of a complainer. If in a particular moment I believe that I am that self-image, then I’ll probably complain. On the other hand, if I notice this self-image coming to the forefront but don’t identify with it, then I probably won’t complain. In this way, our ideas about ourselves color our experience of reality and contribute to shaping it. Meanwhile, who we really are is here in the midst of this enacting of our self-images.
What would life be like if you didn’t color reality this way with your self-images and beliefs? Once we drop out of our thoughts about ourselves and are just here, stripped bare of these ideas, we see that reality is waiting for us to discover it. What we find is that reality is sweet—and mysterious—and so are we.
How can any image, idea, or story match reality, when reality is constantly changing? We humans are concept-makers. Our mind makes up concepts, and these concepts help us communicate with others and function in society. But concepts don’t describe or do justice to reality nor to the mysterious reality that we are. Concepts define and limit reality.
So what’s reality like right now? What are you like right now? What do you actually know? A self-image may be present, but what else is present that is much bigger and truer than any self-image?
It’s really good news that we are not our self-images, our beliefs, our past, our desires, or our future dreams! You are too mysterious and vast to be so narrowly defined. Let yourself be as vast as you truly are. Let yourself discover who you are beyond all self-images, beliefs, opinions, likes, dislikes, and desires.
Thoughts Don’t Accept Reality
Another feature of the ego is that it wants life on its own terms. The ego doesn’t actually like life or accept reality as it is. The ease with which the ego finds fault with things is part of our survival mechanism, but it causes us a great deal of distress and stress. If nothing is ever right, how can that not feel stressful? And if nothing is ever right, then naturally we would struggle against life to make it right.
One of the things that isn’t right about reality, from the ego’s viewpoint, is the fact that everyone ages and passes away. Instead of accepting this fact, the ego argues with reality: “I shouldn’t have all these wrinkles. He shouldn’t have died.” Arguing with the way things are is futile and only results in negative emotional states, which are painful, stressful, and take their toll on the body.
The ego also argues with the fact that everything changes. Change is unstoppable and inevitable. Often it can’t even be slowed down. Nothing has ever stayed the same, so to assume that something or someone shouldn’t change is useless. Everything on this planet is in a state of change and evolution. The ego sees this as bad. But the truth is that all this change is just as it’s meant to be. Even if you don’t believe that, seeing it otherwise only makes you stressed-out, unhappy, and disappointed.
There is a constant flow in each of our lives that brings us new perspectives, new ideas, and new ways of being. We can influence that flow, but we can’t change or stop the flow itself. Trying to do so only results in unhappiness and stress. The best we can do is to go with the flow of life, make the best of it, and play the part we’re meant to play in it. To resist the flow is to go against life, to go against reality.
This doesn’t stop our egoic mind from not liking something or from railing against it, because our mind’s job is to reject reality. Our mind was built to do that. Fortunately, we aren’t our mind but something else, which is able to choose to accept reality and go with the flow of life instead of resist it. We can say no to the mind’s arguments with reality and yes to the way things are showing up in a particular moment. Doing anything other than that creates tension in our bodies and emotions that we don’t want to have, and that’s stressful.
Our emotions are another aspect of reality that the ego doesn’t like. The ego wants to feel good constantly. It imagines a life in which this would be the case and strives to make life be that way. But good feelings, like everything else, come and go. If we want to avoid suffering, we need to accept the appearance and disappearance of the various emotional states.
Emotions are part of being human. Like the weather, they move in and they move out. To say no to an emotion is like saying no to a cloud or no to the rain. If an emotion is present, we might as well let it to be there and find out about it. Being present means being curious about everything that’s showing up in our present moment experience, not only the things we like, but also emotions we may not like.
The irony is that the ego is responsible for our unpleasant emotions and it rejects these emotions. Our emotions are for the most part caused by believing what the mind says. The ego is behind most of our negative emotional states and then it rails against them! Fortunately, we aren’t these states nor the ego that created them, so once we realize this, we can be free of much of the suffering and stress caused by our ego and its rejection of our emotions.
There’s a way out of the suffering caused by having an ego, a way out of the human condition. The way out isn’t to reject or fight with the ego, our emotions, or reality but to accept and befriend these things. The way out is to transform our relationship to them to a more friendly one. We can become free of suffering if we can learn to accept the ego and our feelings and have compassion for ourselves and the human condition. What heals emotions is accepting that they are part of the human experience while realizing that our true nature is divine and not human. Much more will be said about this in the third chapter.
Another aspect of reality that the ego doesn’t accept is difficulties. The ego wants and believes it should have no difficulties. Tires shouldn’t get flat, teeth shouldn’t get cavities, bosses should always be amiable, spouses should always love you, children should always be well behaved, and accidents should never happen. But these difficulties are part of everyone’s life.
We often take difficulties personally and blame ourselves for occurrences that are a normal part of life: “If I were more lovable, my spouse would always treat me well. If I were a better mother, my children would always be well behaved. If I weren’t so clumsy, I wouldn’t have any accidents.” These are the kinds of lies we tell ourselves, which make us feel bad whenever something challenging happens. We turn on ourselves by telling a negative story rather than just accepting that this is the way life is showing up right now.
No one escapes challenges. They are neither good nor bad; they just are. Notice how your egoic mind often turns challenges into a story that leaves you feeling victimized, angry, or bad about yourself. These stories are stressful. This is stress we create and therefore stress we can learn to not create. Events don’t have to be stressful. It’s the stories we tell about them that make them so.
* * * * *
© 2013 Gina Lake
Gina on Twitter
Gina Lake is a spiritual teacher and the author of numerous books about awakening to one’s true nature, including From Stress to Stillness, Trusting Life, Embracing the Now, Radical Happiness, Living in the Now, Return to Essence, Loving in the Moment, Anatomy of Desire, and Getting Free. She is also a gifted intuitive with a master's degree in counseling psychology and over twenty years experience supporting people in their spiritual growth. Her website offers information about her books, intensives, and online courses as well as free e-books, book excerpts, a monthly newsletter, a blog, and audio and video recordings: