Messages of Love

Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope you enjoy reading it!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Free E-Books for Kindle

I'm sure all book-lovers will appreciate this resource. This website contains tons of free e-books for Kindle. Most of them are all-time classics and must-have reads.

The cool thing about it is that you don't need to have a Kindle reader to read them. Just install free Kindle for PC software available at or Mobipocket software at I downloaded Kindle for PC software from Amazon in less than 3 minutes using the link above. Amazon also has a site with free e-book collections and offers free Kindle books


Life Cleanse Questionnaire

Here is a useful questionnaire from Raw Food Cleanse book. It might be a good idea to evaluate your current level of wellness/toxicity before embarking on a One Month Total Cleanse journey. It can give you an idea of how various factors, such as poor diet, emotional/spiritual imbalance, life stresses, lack of exercise, dehydration, over acidity, poor elimination and environmental factors, can affect your health and overall well-being.

Below are my current answers before the cleanse. I will reassess myself in 3 months again. In addition to raw food diet, I have recently started running, practicing yoga and meditation regularly, and enrolled in a belly dance class. I have been preparing for an active and responsible life-style like this for a long time and right now I feel that I'm ready for it. This is a result of a realization that our body is a crucial component of our life, and we can't ignore it only because we think that developing in a spiritual or mental sense is more important. Lack of attention to our bodily needs will eventually create imbalance and reduce the level of energy that is needed for proper functioning of our emotional, mental and spiritual bodies. So I'm going to take responsibility and take care of my physical body!


Do you regularly consume (now or as a child) …

(milk, cheese, butter,eggs, ice cream, etc.)

(commercially raised;beef, pork, chicken,fish, turkey, etc.)

(cereal, bagels, pastries,crackers, waffles,pancakes, etc.)

(white sugar, high fructose corn syrup, etc.)

(processed tofu, soy milk, soy meats, etc.)

(anything containing food coloring, artificial sweeteners, chemicals. Products like; twinkies, spam, velvetta,
powdered drink mixes, candy, and other highly processed items)



The longer and more often you have consumed the above, the higher your toxic load and the higher your chances of being overweight and in compromised health.

Do you consider yourself a yo-yo dieter or has your weight fluctuated over 10% in either direction repeatedly in your adult life? YES NO

Are you over 40 years of age? YES NO

Do you consider yourself "regular"? YES NO
(1 or more bowel movements daily)
Do you currently have any of the following health conditions?

Over weight - 25 pounds or more: YES NO
Over weight - 75 pounds or more: YES NO
High Cholesterol: YES NO   (I haven't check my cholesterol level recently. I will schedule an appointment      for  a complete physical check-up tomorrow.)
High Blood Pressure: YES NO
Diabetes: YES NO
Asthma or other respiratory mucosal condition: YES NO
IBS or other bowel disorder: YES NO
Heartburn or other digestive condition: YES NO
Insomnia: YES NO
Migraines: YES NO
Osteoporosis: YES NO
Arthritis: YES NO
Depression: YES NO
Chronic Pain: YES NO
Ulcers: YES NO
Liver Disease/Cirrhosis: YES NO
Stroke: YES NO
Kidney disease: YES NO
Thyroid Disease: YES NO
Heart disease: YES NO
Cancer: YES NO

Fluctuating weight, irregularity, being moderately overweight to severely obese and living with a body that is taxed by any of the above health conditions are all symptoms of a body that is struggling with its toxic load. As the body ages, gains weight and retains toxicity, the more its systems begin to breakdown.

Do you get 20 – 30+ minutes of aerobic exercise 5x’s/week? YES NO
(walking, running, swimming, biking, rebounding, etc.)

Do you participate in 20+ minutes of strength/resistance training at least 3x/week? YES NO
(weight lifting, resistance bands, circuit equipment, etc.)

Do you participate in 30+ minutes of flexibility movement 3x/week? YES NO (yoga about 2x/week)
(yoga, pilates, stretching, etc.)                                                     

Lack of body movement adds to the sluggishness of one’s internal systems and creates a deficit in essential oxygen entering into the blood stream.

Have you or do you currently work in an enviroment in which YES NO
you are regularly exposed to chemicals or solvents?

Do you use or carry a mobile phone on your body YES NO
for one or more hours daily?

Do you work on a computer or sit close to a computer YES NO (This is a  huge factor for me.)
for more than 2 hours daily?                                                        

Do you have regular (1 – 2x/yr.) X-rays, mammograms, YES NO (Dentist)
MRI’s, or other such contact with radiation/X-rays?

Do you live in or near a large city? YES NO

Many experts agree that the threats of Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs) are compromising to our health. Even the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns "There is reason for concern" and advises "prudent avoidance".

Do you regularly attend a church, synagogue, temple,
mosque or other place of worship?  YES NO

Do you engage in regular prayer, meditation or
other such spiritual practice?  YES NO           (More regular meditation practice than before.)

Do you take time to rest and reflect on your
personal blessings or use positive affirmations?  YES NO

Do you feel a connection or have awareness
of God, the Creator or a higher power on a daily basis?  YES NO

Dan Buettner, author of The Blue Zones - Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who've Lived the Longest, cites one of the secrets to longevity and health as living a life which incorporates spiritual purpose, religion and a community of faith into ones daily lives.

Within the last 12 months have you had any of the following occur:

Serious illness: YES NO
Close family member with a serious illness: YES NO
Recently lost a close loved one to death: YES NO
Separation/Divorce: YES NO
Serious legal trouble: YES NO
Career change: YES NO
Moved primary residence: YES NO
New baby or other person(s) join your household: YES NO
Serious family/relational problems: YES NO
Serious financial stress: YES NO
Primary caregiver of someone ill/disabled  YES NO

Are you happy in your primary relationship? YES ~ SOMEWHAT ~ NO

Do you have a satisfying level of intimacy in your life? YES ~ SOMEWHAT ~ NO

If you work, are you satisfied in your career? YES ~ SOMEWHAT ~ NO

Do you have close, meaningful, harmonious friendships? YES ~ SOMEWHAT ~ NO

Do you have pets? YES NO

Are you involved within a community in which you serve, YES NO
build relationships or gain support?
(PTA, charity, social or recreational group, etc.)

Life stress and troubled or inadequate relational issues can deeply affect our state of wellbeing and health. It’s good to take an honest evaluation of what you can do to adjust and heal areas that may be out of balance.

Do you now or have you ever had a dependency on drugs or alcohol? YES NO

Have you taken birth control, antibiotics, YES NO
pain medications, anti-depressants or other
prescriptions drugs for 3+ months in your past?

Do you currently take any prescription drugs daily: YES NO

Do you currently smoke? YES NO

Are you around others who smoke daily? YES NO

Do you currently use recreational drugs? YES NO

Do you have more than 5 alcoholic beverages weekly? YES NO

Do you sleep under 8 hours most nights? YES NO

Do you get less than 15 minutes of sunlight daily? YES NO

Do you drink less than half your body weight in YES NO
ounces of water (herbal tea or fresh juice) daily?

Research has shown that behaviors that include tobacco, alcohol or substance abuse, as well as eating disorders are linked to long range poor overall health. Lack of adequate sleep and sunlight, along with chronic dehydration also produce an atmosphere in which the body cannot regain a state of equilibrium to begin the healing process.

Extraodinary Teachers in Atlanta

I am reposting an email announcement I received from a friend, Elizabeth Leila L'Abate. Thank you for the update, Leila! Here is a list of upcoming events in Atlanta area for those of you who live close.

If you are interested in any of these events, please remember to RSVP now to the person coordinating the event, so they can better plan.

Anahata and Prema - January 29 & 30
Gayan Macher February 26 & 27, 2011
Murshida Mariam Baker March 26-28.

 Hi Beloved list,

What blessings are coming our way . We have 4 teachers able to expertly guide us, not to a way out, but to a way in.   All of them can lead us to the place inside that Knows, that responds appropriately and practically to the many challenges we have before us. All of them have given their lives. Some charge more money than others, but all are a bargain, and arrangements, I'm sure, can be made. For the between times, Molly Wender hosts regular Sufi gatherings, and we have a regular Sufi Chanting (Zikr) group.  If we should get a group of committed seekers in AtlantaGayan would very much consider coming more often!," and the hosts of Mariam Baker will host regular Dances of Universal Peace, sometimes with Anahata...

Love to all,

 The Tara Dance Sangha of Atlanta presents 
Practices of Stability, Abundance
and the Wisdom of Equality
REGISTER ONLINE by JANUARY 27, 2011: Seats Still Available!
Payment via PayPal account, credit card or debit card.
Please register online before the deadline to attend the workshop.

 We are excited to have two powerful teachers with Tibetan Buddhist and Sufi backgrounds, who birthed the Tara dances. This weekend workshop will truly be an unique and uplifting experience. Attend both days or just one. THIS WORKSHOP IS NOT TO BE MISSED AND OPEN TO BOTH WOMEN & MEN!

If you attended the Mandala Dance Offering , January 22, 2011 @ UUCA, this weekend will be an expansion of what you witnessed and give you a chance to dance not only the Mandala Dance, but Dances of Universal Peace, and experience their sacredness and transformantions firsthand.

Shambhala Meditation Center
1477 Church Street
Decatur GA 30030
Parking is available in designated areas and the Shambhala parking lot.

 Saturday January 29, 2011: 11:00am-4:00pm:
Prema Dasara,  creator of the amazing Tara dances, will lead the day in Deepening the Practice of Tara (The Tibetan Buddhist form of Quan Yin, but with 21 different feminine manifestations) through dialogue, meditation, music and movement with musical accompaniment by Composer and Songwriter Anahata Iradah.  
 Sunday January 30, 2011: 2:00pm-6:00pm:
In the Garden of the Jewel Dakini,
 is an afternoon of learning, dancing and experiencing the Dances of Universal Peace dedicated to Gold Tara, Ratna Dakini, Lakshmi and Saraswathi. This afternoon will be led by Master Teacher of the Dances of Universal Peace, Anahata Iradah and  Prema Dasara.  
Workshop Cost: Saturday & Sunday: $100 includes lunch on Saturday and refreshments on Sunday Saturday Only: $60 includes lunch Sunday Only: $40 includes refreshments
Location: Shambhala  Meditation   Center  1447 Church Street  Decatur   GA 30030   Register ONLINE & More INFO @   For further information or questions, please contact us at Accommodation and transportation assistance available for out of town attendees. 

Hi Folks,
I cannot praise Gayan Macher highly enough.    His gentleness, humility, and sweetness are completely embodied in every cell of his being., in each breath.  All our armorings from past shocks or abuse feel safe to fall away in his presence, all our rebelliousness feels safe to be gentled.   We can let the deeply surrendered vulnerability and knowingness of our deepest being come forth in unity and love. HE KNOWS he is loved, so is not trying always to prove himself, or set himself above us as a teacher, as teachers who have not reached that station are prone to do, so there is complete permission to dare to be who you truly are!
Gayan Macher is returning to Atlanta to lead a retreat on Feb. 26 & 27, 2011, called Inextinguishable Light.   This will be a time for spiritual community, and for deep interior intimacy, the most precious connection there is in our life.   
 Gayan is a companion and guide to those called to the courageous path of love. He has been a teacher within the Sufi Order of the West for over 25 years, helping to pioneer the integration of mysticism with modern psychology. Gayan is a lead teacher in Suluk Academy, the Order's core esoteric training.  Professionally,  he consults to corporate executives about the art and practice of human relations.  Gayan is also a singer-song writer whose music invites us to deep surrender.
Remember to register for Gayan Macher’s Atlanta retreat by Feb. 7 for the early registration rate.  Attached is the flyer about the retreat.  It can also be accessed at

If you have any questions at all, please contact me at:

Martha/Elana Talbott
Murshida Mariam Baker:
We wanted to let all of you know that Murshida Mariam Baker will be returning to the Atlanta area (Hogansville) March 26-28, 2011.  We will send more information in the next few weeks.  We are looking forward to this time with Mariam and our Sufi community. We hope you can join us.
Mariam is a Goddess-honoring, old women's -wise- ways- knowing, creative dynamo of a Sufi teacher, in whose presence it is impossible to stay stuck.  She can take you to deep Buddhist stillness, and Dances of Universal Peace dancing-through-many -worlds  movement , and back again.  Leila
You can contact us at 706-637-5431 or 678-416-5828 or if you have questions before our next email.
We look forward to dancing with you soon,
Kathy and David

2nd Annual Total Reset Cleanse at Raw Food Rehab

One-Month Raw Food Challenge 
Raw Food Rehab will be hosting our 2nd annual 28 Day Total Reset Cleanse during the month of February based on the Raw Food Cleanse by Penni Shelton.

For beginners (which I belong to), Penni recommends starting with the 3 Day Energy Boost Cleanse. This will give you an opportunity to learn how your body will react to this process of boosting up your energy through detox. If you don't have a juicer or blender, the commitment to eat a 100% raw food diet is recommended. 

In addition to a 3-day cleanse, Penni recommends a 7 Day Rejuvenation Cleanse which can be followed consecutively for 28 days. It is good for everyone regardless of which stage of the journey you are on:
Upon Arising: 32 oz. pure water w/ fresh lemon or lime juice
Before Noon:  32 oz. of fresh juice or green smoothie &/or fresh seasonal fruit
Midday: Big, colorful salad w/ a delicious dressing &/or raw blended soup or a cleansing raw food entree
Snack:  Allowed but only if you are truly hungry. This can be fruit, cut veggies w/ pate or dip, fresh juice or smoothie, herbal tea, elixir or a smart cocktail.
Evening: same as the midday meal.

You can also find some great recipes for Detox & Cleansing on Raw Food Rehab website. 

The 28 Day Total Reset Cleanse is designed for those who would like to loose substantial amount of weight and/or for those with a history of compromised diet, unhealthy lifestyle, and environmental exposures. This includes almost all of us, unless you have already taken full responsibility for your own body and health.  Even those who have been practicing raw-food diet for a while might find new inspirations following the challenge updates. The 28 day protocol starts off with 10-14 days of liquids in the form of juices, smoothies or blended soups/salads. The remaining days look a lot like the 7 Day Cleanse.

The Master Cleanse
After learning about The Master Cleanse and raw food diet from Lilou Mace's videos, I'm excited to start on this journey. Many detoxing and cleansing diets use the lemonade described in The Master Cleanse. I'm in the process of reading the book now and will do a post on how to start on a Master Cleanse and how to come out of it.

My Plan
I invite you to join me and sign up for the 1-Month Total Reset Cleanse with Penni. I feel that it  will be a great start of the New Year! Luckily, I have both a juicer and blender. It's time to put them to use. I'm planning to shop tomorrow for a 3-day cleanse, extend it to 4 days, and start a 28-day cleanse on Tuesday, February 1st. After a month of raw food diet, I will go for a 10 day Master Cleanse. We can share our experience here. Please follow my blog, if you want to receive my updates, raw-food recipes, and other useful information.

Online Gita Talk and Discovering Buddhism Program

Online Bhagavat Gita Series
The Elephant Journal is giving free online seminar on the Bhagavat Gita. The Bhagavad Gita is one of the three fundamental ancient Yoga texts, along with the Upanishads and the Yoga Sutra. The series of online discussions is based on the Bhagavad Gita: A New Translation  by Stephen Mitchell, but readers report that they were able to follow using different translations.

They have also created a Facebook site for the series.

A few days ago, I have found this excellent collection of free books on Yoga, Religion, and Philosophy published by the Divine light society. You can find the Bhadavad Gita there, or use another online resource, like this one.

If you know about good resources for spiritual books, let me know.

Online Discovering Buddhism Program

I am also studying Buddhist Meditation module of the Discovering Buddhism Program on FPMT website. This module is free and gives a very thorough beginning information on how to meditate with a complete reading list, downloadable readings and audio instructions. I'm planning to finish the program this year. I need  4-5 weeks to complete the Meditation module and have all the materials for Mind and Its Potential module. I intentionally want to go slow to absorb the material fully and make it a part of my everyday life.

If you would like to join the discussion about the Bhagavat Gita or meditation, follow this blog and comment on my posts if you feel like it.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

How to Connect with Our Deeper Inner Knowing?

How can we recognize the guidance within us? The inner guidance of your higher self is a knowing that you acted out of love, compassion, and justice which is true for you. Remember situations you have engaged in when you knew what is the right action to take. What did you do? Did you follow your inner guidance and how did the situation develop?

In order to hear the inner guidance or intuition, we can focus on the situation and ask, "What is the right decision? What is good for myself and everyone else?"  You must be open to receive the answer. The connection between you and your guidance system will develop the more you practice. Put your attention on the progress you are making instead of the doubt. 

We are purifying our ego by working on establishing the connection with our inner self. You can establish this connection and expand your knowledge of who you are. Then there is no need in judging yourself, as you will know that in every moment you followed your inner guidance to the best of your ability.     

Monday, January 17, 2011

Listening to the Wisdom of Your Body

Question: How Do I learn to Trust My Intuition?

Meditation and spending time in the silence listening to your thoughts and feelings is a good way to start training your intuitive facilities. Everyone is equally equipped with the ability to access your higher self that knows everything. It takes effort from you at the initial stages and become completely natural. Like walking or breathing, as your practice enough. There is a lot of information about how to meditate and I will not spend time trying to reproduce all of it. 

One useful practice is to start watching your body. So far, not enough attention has been paid to the wisdom stored within the cells of your body. As you listen to the processes that occur in your body on a daily basis, you become more aware of the signals that your cells are sending to each other and to you. With enough practice and concentration, you will learn to speak their language. It is your natural ability that can be of tremendous value. 

You don’t need to spend hours in meditation, just 20-30 minutes in the morning and at night is enough to establish the connection between you and your body. All the history of your civilization is stored within the structure of your DNA. If you know what your cells are trying to tell you, you can learn and progress faster. You are both conscious organisms that are so close to each other that the interaction can bring a tremendous impact on both you and your bodily functions. Your sincere unconditional love transforms your cells, the knowledge that your cells contain has a stimulative effect on your mental and emotional systems. You live in symbiosis, which is beneficial for both of you. At the same time you are not separate, you are one and the same. Everything that you think, say or do has a direct effect on your cells, organs, and the entire organism.

Listen to the wisdom of your cells, become close to your physical body, know it, study it, and feel it. Your intuition will improve as a result. The most effective way to do it is to go to a quite place outside, where the noises of our everyday life dissolve, and the energy takes on its natural flow. If you cannot go outside for some reason, then early morning or late night is the best time to practice listening to your body. Just give it a try, and you will be surprised what you will discover.

Message of Love

The beauty of the world is within you, it is the true nature of yourself. You always have access to this unlimited potential. And the key to tuning in to it is feeling good, experiencing the utmost joy of living every moment. You don’t need to teach a 5-year old how to be happy. Children know it intuitively, as the society has not yet replaced this knowledge with artificial beliefs and thought patterns. 

The paradox of the humanity right now is that we need to unlearn what we have learned since we have grown up. This is not as difficult as it sounds, because you know the truth within your entire body, within your subconscious mind. It’s only your conscious mind that needs tuning in or cleaning. Free yourself up from the unnecessary limiting beliefs and you will be hundred times what you are right now, you will be flying, loving, and living life to the fullest. This is your true purpose of life here. 

You didn’t come to Earth in the physical body to struggle, you came to enjoy the contrast. You didn’t plan that your mind will be brainwashed with unnecessary mental constructions that would obscure your view of the reality and make you miserable. This would be a waste of time. Every being seeks expansion and development, and moving one step back slows down the process for everyone. You are now ready to jump a few steps ahead, bringing many other beings with you to the next level. Congratulations and blessings on this journey!

You are more than capable of returning to the pure unrestricted state of mind. Just follow the best-feeling thought in every moment, and you will get there quicker than you think. You won’t lose anything, just try doing it for a week and you will see the difference. Try living on a high of your own self-inspired thoughts for a year, and you will change your life and the world around you. Don’t hesitate and trust your inner intuition. 

There are simple ways to stimulate good-feeling thoughts. Think about what or whom you love the most, what makes you smile, what is good and beautiful around you, which activities you enjoy the most, which places you like spending time at. Then surround yourself with these things, structure your life around them, even though it might be only in your imagination for now. It won’t last long, and pretty soon you will see it realized in your life, unless you give into a familiar negative thinking pattern of an all-knowing critic, who doesn’t believe in anything good and always tries to be realistic and practical. Do you want to live this dull but realistic life or is there any room for miracles in your life? I cannot even call it life, it’s a distorted reflection of what life can be. Yes, you exist, but follow somebody else’s idea of what your life should look like instead of creating your own version of reality. In doing this, you spend most of your energy on trying to fight and dismiss your own sincere impulses and desires, because they don’t fit the standard way of thinking. You consistently kill every sprout of creative expression that has managed to show up in your life. What is the outcome of all this insanity? Well, by giving your energy to support a distorted world view more of the same is created. 

One common distorted belief is that “Everything is difficult” and that “In order to succeed in something you need to work very hard”. This is going to be true for you only if you believe this, because you are going to work hard to make your world prove this to be true for you by blocking off all positive thoughts that contradict this idea. I can’t tell you anymore that this is not your fault that you have these beliefs, because it has become much easier these days to replace an outdated thought pattern with the one that makes more sense to you. Experimenting with your beliefs is a science that you don’t study in school, but that is very important for your future growth. Carefully examine every thought you hold, no matter how obvious it sounds at first sight. You will be surprised what kind of baggage you are carrying around. It is not surprising that you best creations cannot be realized momentarily yet. The layer of these outdated, stale, and stagnated thought patterns is too thick. You can clear it up fast enough, as I said before. Be joyous and rejoice in the presence of most powerful creative energies on planet Earth. 

You are the leading edge creators. You are the shapers of the future for many other civilizations that are on the crossroads and don’t see a solution as clearly as you do now. Everything that I am saying now, you already thought about and it’s only a matter of time when you will fully implement these ideas to your reality. Love to all of you, beautiful creators! Peace and warm respect to all of you!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Tara Dance Events

There will be 2 events organized by the Tara Dance Sangha of Atlanta in January. I would like to share it with those who live in Atlanta area and are interested in attending. I am excited to participate in both of them.

1.  The Twenty-One Praises of Tara Mandala Dance Offering 
This free event will take place on Saturday January 22, 2011 from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm at Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta (UUCA) located at 1911 Cliff Valley Way NE in Atlanta, GA. Visit web-site for directions. Parking in designated areas ONLY. Please watch for signs. Carpooling is appreciated. 
Come celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Tara Dance Sangha of Atlanta and receive the blessings of the Female Buddha Tara that are generated through this sincere practice.
Live Music will be performed by Anahata Iradah, our parent organization's Artistic Director ( along with other local musicians.
This dance offering is the culmination of an 11-week class. The Mandala Dance will be danced by women of all ages and experience levels and will be led by our sangha's 3rd Level Teacher, Sarah Thorsen. The Mandala is protected by women and men dancing this role and will be led by our sangha's 2nd Level Teacher Deanna Palumbo.

2. Two-Day Workshop: Practices of Stability, Abundance, and the Wisdom of Equality
Saturday January 29, 2011 11am-6pm
Sunday January 30, 2011 2pm-6pm

Shambhala Meditation Center
1477 Church Street
Decatur GA 30030
Parking is availalbe in designated areas and the Shambhala parking lot.
Saturday January 29, 2011: 11:00am-6:00pm: Prema Dasara, Spiritual and Creative Director of Tara Dhatu will lead the day in Deeping in the Practice of Tara through dialog, meditation, music and movement with musical accompaniment by Composer and Songwriter Anahata Iradah.  
Sunday January 30, 2011: 2:00pm-6:00pm: In The Garden of the Jewel Dakini, is an afternoon of learning, dancing and experiencing the Dances of Universal Peace dedicated to Gold Tara, Ratna Dakini, Lakshmi and Saraswathi. Lead by Master Teacher of the Dances of Universal Peace, Anahata Iradah, this afternoon will also include live music performed by Anahata and Prema.
Workshop Cost:
Saturday & Sunday: $100 includes lunch on Saturday and refreshments on Sunday
Saturday Only: $60 includes lunch
Sunday Only: $40 includes refreshments
payment via PayPal account, credit card or debit card.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

New Year Resolutions for 2011 - Part 2

In my previous post , I talked about 4 general directions that I would like to expand in the next year. My general resolutions for the new year include:
  1. Taking action,
  2. Finding sources of inspiration,
  3. Cultivating harmony in my life, and
  4. Taking responsibility for everything that happens.
Today, I took the time to organize my more specific goals and think about steps I need to take in order to achieve them. These goals are focused on a few related areas of my life and can be broadly divided into 3 categories: 

1. Personal Development Goals. Here, I have listed qualities that I would like to cultivate in myself. The steps that I’m planning to take to do that are preliminary and are likely to change during the process. I will probably add more qualities as I move along.
1)      Achieve balance between life and work.
 - Follow my passion. Focus on what I love doing, like writing, translation, photography, painting, graphic design, dancing, hiking, and trail running.
Specific steps: write every day for at least 30 minutes, post 2-3 blog posts per week, translate at least one video per day, take at least one picture per day, go to a dancing class at least once per week, learn Photoshop, take a painting/drawing class, go for at least one hike per month, run at least one race per month. 

- Improve my social life. Surround myself with positive like-minded friends. Think about what I can offer them, such as time, advice, experience, support and what we can share.
Specific steps: communicate with people on social networks like YouTube, Facebook, and my blog readers, talk with people I meet every day, and notice what we share in common and what makes each person unique and interesting. 

- Deepen my spiritual practice. Develop compassion and piece within that I can share with everyone I meet.
Specific steps: meditate at least once a day, spend time outside at least 2 times a week (walking or running), pray in the morning and at night, sungaze in the morning or at night, practice yoga at least 2 times a week, declaration my general goal and intentions for each  day, imagine how I feel when the goal is accomplished. 

2)      Learn to love myself fully and unconditionally. This is a big spiritual goal that will bring to anyone to enlightenment and continuous state of happiness and joy. I consider knowing myself and learning to love myself the purpose and the biggest adventure of my life.
      Specific steps: devote one day a week (Sunday) for enjoying myself, reflecting on the past week and preparing for the week ahead, listen to Abraham-Hicks recording, Klaus Joehle meditations, Lilou Mace's videos, and Lincoln Gergar’s videos and practice their teachings.

3)       Develop self-confidence, responsibility, efficiency, and productivity.
      Specific steps: Start every day by identifying the most important intentions/goals for this day and document my progress at the end of the day in a journal that includes both personal and career achievements, use calendar for work-related and other events and deadlines, read Leo Babauta's ZenHabits blog, create incentives to achieve short- and long-term goals (enroll in contests, social games, celebrate successes, share them with friends and blog readers), learn from mistakes instead of feeling bad about them, follow Napoleon Hill's guidelines to develop self-confidence.

4)      Provide meaningful service that benefits others.
Specific steps: establish a non-profit organization, contact orphanages in Ukraine and find local partners (AIESEC) who can help to identify their needs and collect and distribute resources, find donors in U.S. and Ukraine, recruit students who would like to teach English in Ukraine in summer, “run for a cause”, translate at least one spiritual video form English into Russian per day, participate in group mediation, chanting, and dance offerings at least once a week, write.

2. Professional Goals.
                  1). Improve my Economic Forecasting and International Finance courses
Specific steps: including interesting examples and assignments, invite interesting speakers, order evaluation copies of useful books and organize the material, update slides and assignments, use examples from my own research, create discussion groups for students.

2). Encourage students to participate in undergraduate research
Specific steps: collect information about undergraduate research conferences and journals, announce deadlines on Facebook and other websites.

3). Recruit and manage a team of research assistants on different projects.
Specific steps:  prepare assignments, post announcements, apply for grants to pay for their service, meet with each member twice a week to discuss progress and set goals.

4). Identify and prioritize projects to work on and set deadlines.

5). Identify journals and other publications I want to read regularly and publish my work in, subscribe to these journals and read articles published in the last 5 years, write a summary for each article I read for future reference.

6). Update my web-site: include recent papers, updated resume, teaching section, and links.

7). Identify professional organizations and conferences I want to participate in, keep track of conference deadlines, renew memberships, and save online passwords and usernames.

8). Identify University events I would like to participate in the Spring and Summer 2011.

9). Start my new Economics blog that connects academic research and general public interested in economics.

10). Write op-ed articles and contribute to blogs.

11). Improve my writing skills and learn about economic journalism and blogging.
Specific steps: audit an undergraduate course on journalism, write every day for at least 30 minutes, read book that I bought.

12). Receive at least one grant in 2011.
3. Fitness/Diet Goals.
1)      Eat healthy and organic/locally grown food.
Specific steps: observe the reaction of my body to different types of food and choose the ones that make me feel good and energized, read the book “The Tao of Healthy Eating”.

2) Exercise regularly.
Specific steps: enroll in a belly dance class, register to participate in a race as a motivation to train regularly, practice yoga at least 2 times a week.

I will report regularly about my progress towards these goals and would appreciate any input from you! Some of these goals will take just a few days and some are long-term projects. I'm excited to start this year and looking forward to see how it unfolds. I can already see that it's going to be very good and eventful! 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Conflicting Thoughts as a Cause of Inactivity

I have been thinking for a while now about the question why I generate many of ideas, set many intentions and goals, but somehow most of them remain only at the level of thoughts. They never realize in real life. Until today, I couldn’t see a clear answer of why it might be happening.
The answer revealed itself to be in its full beauty today. It appeared to be very simple, as it always is with important liberating ideas. What I need to do in order to manifest all of my mental creations successfully is to stop sending out mixed signals or conflicting thoughts on a particular subject of interest. Once I set an objective that I would like to learn photography, for example, I need to stop thinking negative thoughts about this future experience.
Let me illustrate how this work with an example. Let’s say, I realized one day that I could be quite good at photographic art. I can feel that I would enjoy doing it - spending time with my subjects, studying them, becoming one with each subject and highlighting its most beautiful aspects through the skillful use of equipment and my own intuition. I can sense that having this skill can compliment my career too. I can see the potential in pursuing the interest. So my thoughts may look like: “I wish I could learn photography and share the beauty of the world with others through my works”. The next day, when I think about photography again, I remember that I wanted to start learning it, but still couldn’t find time or money to do this, and I think: “I never will start learning how to shoot pictures. I don’t have time and money for a good camera and lessons. Do I really need it in my life? My career is great without it.” The next day my longing for creative expression returns and I think: “I wish I learn photography. I really should get to it very soon.” Then, the next day I think: “Who am I, a photographer? I’m an economist and a professor. Should I even invest time that is very scarce in my life into learning this new skill of photography? I might not be able to use it in the future. It is a risky investment. I probably shouldn’t do it.” This cycle of contradicting opinions continues indefinitely and on many subjects in my life.
How can any desire come to fruition, if it is constantly being neutralized with a contradictory thought? So the solution is to remove these doubtful thoughts on topics that are important to me. I will never find out if I need or have room for photography in my life, if I never give it this room and try embracing it. I have trained myself to use this push-pull dynamics with many other topics in my life, like writing, painting and drawing, work, friends and other things that I would like to have more in my life.
I feel that if I practice joyful feelings a specific object of my desire, say mastering photography, can bring into my life, it will be allowed to be manifested easily and naturally. It also feels that practicing this new approach with just one desire is enough to set the new pattern of thoughts on other topics too. This is so exciting!
I gained this insight from watching Abraham-Hicks video on Youtube that Dave has kindly posted. Thank you, Dave and thank you, Abraham. I’ll start by noticing and eliminating my contradictory thoughts one by one and I know that once I remove all of them, then sky is the limit! The videos are below if you would like to watch them too.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Free Forgiveness and Weight Loss Online Series

Hay House is organizing two free online series that you may find useful. It's a good way to start the New Year and to stay motivated on your personal development and diet/fitness goals. If you can't listen live, you will still be able to access the lessons within 7 days. Enjoy!

1.  Forgiveness: An Essential Component in Health and Healing
Anger, resentment, and guilt are often major contributors to stress and most frequently lie beneath emotional pain. Recent research indicates a correlation between chronic anger and hostility, and certain physical symptoms as well. Yet few of us have been taught how to move beyond anger to the full resolution and healing that only forgiveness can offer.

In this insightful, free online series Joan Borysenko, a world-renowned expert in the mind/body connection, and Robin Casarjian, the Founder and Director of the Lionheart Foundation, explore the profound implications of forgiveness for emotional, physical, and spiritual healing. They take forgiveness out of the realm of a “lofty ideal” and translate it into a practical strategy that can be integrated into ones life on a daily basis.

Whether it is with ourselves, in our most intimate relationships or with anyone else, the practice of forgiveness empowers us to relate to life with greater effectiveness, clarity, and ease. It completely transforms the challenge of dealing with difficult people, leaving the forgiver with a greater sense of well-being. Forgiveness is a practical strategy for healing the hurt from painful relationships and cultivating inner strength and genuine peace of mind.

Lesson Details:

January 6, 2011, 9-10 am PT
Lesson 1: What is Forgiveness and How Do We Get There?
Robin and Joan create the framework you need to understand what forgiveness is, what it isn’t, and how to begin this life-changing practice that sets you free.

January 13, 2010, 9-10 am PT
Lesson 2: Forgiving Others
This is the where the rubber hits the road. When you lay your burden down and move on, the result is a whole new level of personal freedom. What do you get by holding onto anger that blocks the ability to let go to greater peace, acceptance, insight, and love? And how can you make the shift from holding onto old hurts and disappointments to living a more joyous and fulfilling life?

January 20, 2010, 9-10 am PT
Lesson 3: Self-Forgiveness
Special Guest LOUISE L. HAY! Self-forgiveness is the heart of healing. With it we learn how to heal shame and guilt, and develop greater compassion, gentleness, and self-acceptance.

Click here to register:

2. What Have You Got to Lose?: The Ultimate Program for Losing Weight and Getting Fit 
Free Six-Lesson Online Course
Date: January 6-20, 2011, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm Pacific Time

Six of the World’s Top Weight Loss & Fitness Experts Share Their Proven Techniques!

Are you frustrated that you can’t seem to lose weight, no matter what supposedly amazing diet plan you try? Do you sometimes feel like giving up and blowing off your workout for some deep dish pepperoni pizza with extra cheese? Want to just learn the best proven weight loss and fitness techniques that you can easily apply to your everyday life and will give you results?

Have we got the perfect program for you! Here at Hay House we know how tough it can be to keep taking action on your weight loss and fitness goals in the midst of frustrating setbacks, confusing information, and post-holiday weight woes. We want to support you in being the best, happiest, and healthiest you. That’s why we’re bringing you our all-new What Have You Got to Lose? live online series for free— it’s our New Year gift to you!

In this empowering and hands-on live online program, six of the world’s top weight loss and fitness experts teach you their proven techniques for shedding those extra pounds and getting firm. Join Marianne Williamson, Brad Lamm, Jorge Cruise, Bill Phillips, Dr. Michael Snyder, and Nicole Nichols as they each draw from their years of experience helping people from around the world and from all walks of life finally achieve their dream bodies and improve their health.

Now, it’s YOUR turn! What have you got to lose? Join us to get all the right ingredients to dramatically transform your body, mind, and spirit inside and out!

**Even if you can’t listen live, you can still join us!**
For your convenience, all participants automatically receive an on demand stream of all six lessons. Each lesson will be uploaded into your account within 3 days of its live air date and then be available for you to start to listen to anytime within seven days. Hay House will send you a notification email when each lesson is available to stream from your account. So, you can still take the course no matter your schedule!

Click here to register:

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Mindfullness or Vipassana Meditation

I am reading the book "Mindfulness in Plain English" by Bhante Gunaratana, aka Bhante G. I couldn't put it off last night until 3.00 am, as it is so captivating and easy to read.

One idea that I would like to share with you today is about our addiction to classifying every experience we have. As a result, we have a handful of experiences that we classify as "good". We collect them in a special box in our mind and try to attract more of the same experiences. This is what Bhante G. calls "mental grasping". Then, we have a pile of experiences we perceive as "bad" and we want to push them away or "reject". Everything else we experience is neither good nor bad, so we don't care much about the majority of our life moments. 

This is such a powerful discovery. Yes, I think it is good to cherish  and appreciate precious moments, but not at the expense of everything else. About 90% of experiences that are not that emotionally colored will fall into this "neutral box" and just be forgotten or mechanically lived through without even noticing. This idea is similar to Eckhart Tolle's message about living in the now instead of reliving the past or waiting for the future. When I think that I can potentially miss most of my life if I don't become more mindful of the present moment,  I feel very motivated to learn how to meditate and control my thoughts.

The book focuses on vipassana meditation, or insight meditation, practiced in Theravada Buddhist tradition. Insight meditation  in Pali sounds like vipassana bhavana, which is translated as cultivating your mind to see the fundamental essence of everything. I see it as getting rid of dualistic limiting thoughts and perceiving every moment and every things as it really is, neither good or bad. I can see how this practice can make my life full with meaning that is real, or in other words, mindful.  

Message for All Lightworkers for 2011 fro Rachel Willis

This interview of Rachel Willis, creator and editor Lightworker Magazine and a conduit for the Ascended Masters, is a great way to start 2011. Lilou Mace again did a good job asking interesting questions.

You can read Lightworker Magazine for free at Below is Ascended Masters' message for 2011 Rachel channeled for her web-site.

"Dear One, we assemble with you now as your guardians of your soul - we worship your goodness and see your greatness, we honour your commitment to life and all it brings, we support you in your every endeavour and are here to lessen your load. Whatever you require, we lovingly assist with and secure your future for all of time. We assure you of your perfection and lovability, for your soul is shining so brightly into the heavens, and beyond.

We ask that you listen to our words carefully and accept them into your heart. There is no one on this planet who is better than you, no one who could be better than you. You are brilliance and perfection, right as you are, in this moment, right here. You are here to bring gifts of joy to the planet and we ask that you surrender your fears to us so that we can assist you fully on your path. Giving your fears to us is as simple as releasing them with love, replacing them with love, filling yourself with love.

Focus on love and love shall be your experience.

Each and every time you resist this and turn to fear, you create pain for yourself and for others. You need not do this, for pain leads to nothing but suffering. Nothing was created from pain, save suffering.

Love brings gifts beyond your imagination and with them the opportunity to grow and learn as you do now. Love elevates your energies and allows others to do the same, love creates connections, marriages, births and communions. Love bridges age groups, races and social divides.

Love conquers all. And this is the truth.

Love supports you, love graces you, love guides you. We love you. Please love yourself as we do, and allow yourself to receive abundance and goodness, for this is your right as a human soul. Open your heart wide and attract more love into your life, this in turn creates momentum and belief. Belief is the fuel for the fire of creation, and with it comes the goodness of loving spirit and divine inspiration.

We stand with you now as your cheerleaders, your comrades and your advisors. We honour your path and the lessons that you have already learned. Now is the time to learn to create from loving greatness; to put aside fears and replace them with truths, to put aside procrastination and replace it with inspiration, to put aside worry and replace it with faith, to put aside imbalance and replace it with peace, to put aside regrets and replace them with wisdom, to put aside doubts and replace them with trust - all that you need, want and desire is yours in this moment. Feel the truth of what we say, and welcome it into your heart, for as you do so you create it in your reality.

The planet needs love. The planet needs you to love.

The planet is evolving and you are part of this revolution of loving change. You can lead the way with your heart; allow yourself to be a role model for the future of love-based living, allow your fears to subside as you glimpse the visions of the coming years. With change comes renewal, and this new world is pure love, truth and respect for one another. This world already exists, both in your heart and in your mind; you can feel it to be so. This world is what you are living, it is your human experience, it is the truth of humanity.

As we stand by your side to help you with your creations, we send you love and devotion; we heal you, and we empower you to heal others.

This is our message to you, for 2011."