Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Call me Anna
Imagine being your best.
Not settling for mere imitation
Rather, giving your absolute best to the world.
The world may be raught with imitators and competitors,
But you are different.
You have set yourself apart from the rest
You heard the call, you answered it,
You made the decision
You didn’t make the decision to walk away
You didn’t make the decision to run
You didn’t chose comfort
You embraced the spirit of what you believe
Who you are
You took your past and you trashed it,
You recycled the parts that have built your character
And your integrity
You’ve shed the rest
In a big garbage heap of no regret
But rather hope
The phoenix has arisen from the ashes
He is alive and borne inside you
He is real
Despite your best last ditch efforts you tried to leave yourself behind
But the phoenix was within you-ready to fly…..
Soar above the rest
There is no owner’s manual for life, but there are guides like the bible to help us along the journey. When I was a teenager, I read two life changing books: Keeping Secrets, by, Suzanne Somers, and Call Me Anna, by, Patty Duke Astin. We lost an unsung hero yesterday, mental health activist &, actress, Patty Duke. It wasn’t that long ago that I saw her at The Orpheum in San Francisco in the Broadway Musical Wicked. Some may remember her in The Miracle Worker, others, Valley of The Dolls, still others may remember her cute teenage spirit in the tv show, The Patty Duke Show. However you remember her, remember that she was brave and courageous and took a topic, Bipolar Disorder and gave it a face. Though I am sincerely grateful to not be afflicted with such a disease, I have had family members whom I love and have loved dearly who faced the same demons that Patty so candidly shared with the world.
Monday, March 28, 2016
Make a difference Mondays
In our new format, Serendipity Press will be introducing you to people and concepts that “Make a Difference”, each Monday. Today, meet Meisha Macillas, author of The Messy Minds Poetry Book.
Describe why you chose to write a book of poetry?
I wrote a poetry book to start out, I have always had a love of poetry and how it makes me feel. I wanted to make others feel how poetry makes me feel, strong and not alone.
What was the process like?
The process was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be. I was a little scared that I was never going to pick all the right poems for my book.
Is it what you expected?
Yes and no. I never thought I would get as much love from my home town as I have received.
Tell us about why you chose the title?
I needed something that expressed the poems inside. With the poems there was no true theme besides my life struggle, I felt like a messy minds poetry book just fit.
What is your purpose in your writing prose?
To express all the things that I was never strong enough to say out loud. To help others who can't say what they feel out loud, giving them a voice that they can relate to.
How is your writing process?
That’s funny because I have been asked this question before and I never know what to say. I write anywhere and everywhere. I have no real process. I just feel something and write it down.
Have your dreams been realized in your writing a book?
I have taken a step closer to my big dream. But this is just a stepping stone to a much bigger plan for myself.
What is next?
Buy your copy today!
Watch Meisha on Central Valley Talk TV
Monday, March 7, 2016
“If your happiness depends upon someone else being reasonable, then you are in a lot of trouble.”-Richard Parenti, Monday, March 7, 2016.
“You have control only over one thing and that’s your thoughts… You can choose the thought that makes you feel good or you can choose the thought that keeps you in the honey trap of negative thinking.” Richard Parenti
“One of the most important things you can learn in Yoga is: learn how to behave, be successful, be functional and productive in the material world so you may set an example for others.” Richard Parenti
I am very fortunate to receive daily affirmation texts from Richard. These daily words are positive, uplifting and remind me how essential living a purposeful life really is. What I mean by living a purposeful life is that I can chose to live a conscious life as opposed to a self -centered fast food approach to life. I can chose to in digest in my spirit nourishing words of encouragement and wisdom that can bring about internal change which translates to external change. Let’s start a change reaction whereby we live purposeful, meaningful lives.
I met Richard Parenti in October of 2014. He was seated next to me at The Great Valley Bookfest in Manteca, California. We hit it off instantly. Richard is a mentor, a yoga instructor, a teacher, an author and I consider him a friend. In life, I believe we are here to teach one another life lessons. Richard has had a wealth of experience in his life and he is willing to share it. To me, that is what being a mentor is all about. Richard is the author of: Emotional Sobriety: Feel Good Secrets for Everyone, Balboa Press, 2013, and was a contributing author in, Manifesting Magnificence: A Personal Growth Workbook, Serendipity Press/Serendipity Media Group, 2015.
Describe for us what made you decide to become a yoga teacher for patients with M.S.
In 2003, a young woman in a wheel chair came into the yoga studio that I just opened and asked if I would teach a yoga class to people with multiple sclerosis. I said I was not qualified and had no idea of what or how to teach such a class.
Her response caught me off guard. She said, “What if I bring 8 students to you for a trial class.”
Again I said no. Then she said, “I, not only will get the students, but I will train you as I have done yoga for several years, and I will collect the monies for you.”
She was stubborn. So thinking she would never find 8 students nor be able to get the money I said o.k.
We set a date to do a trial class. I never expected her to show up. But indeed she did with 8 people and handed me the money.
That’s how it began. And not only did she begin teaching me by giving me feedback, the rest of the class would often throw in their two cents. It was a new experience of letting go of control and opening up the door in me of being more compassionate and open up deeper to my own inner growth while teaching.
And now we have the longest ongoing MS Yoga class in Stanislaus and San Joaquin County. Also, for the MS Society of Northern California I train yoga teachers how to teach MS yoga. And I feel uplifted every time I teach this class, as the students are so appreciative of their progress and that I take the time to work with them. It is very fulfilling.
What are you working on now?
Now I am working on my giving my workshop, “Emotional Mastery” (Chitta Prasadanam) to yoga students learning to become teachers more often as well as mentoring individuals who are sincere in their quest to become God Realized, understanding that I too am on the path and I have many tools to offer others that have used and am still using.
And I am focused on spending more quality time with family and friends, and more time in the sun appreciating all that I have become, all my wonderful life experiences and all that I have been given.
How have the daily inspirational texts helped you and others?
They remind me to the deeper work I can still do on myself and from what others tell me it helps them understand certain aspects of spiritual growth or it also reminds them of what they already know and may or may not be applying in their lives.
Can you please share some of your favorites?
Live with joy
I’m happy with dying and I’m happy with living. Both are appealing to me
Peace, love and family, all else is just noise
I love we all get to choose what we want, whether we know it or not
You recently shared with your personal friends that you no longer fear dying, how did this come about?
It started six years ago when my mentor gave me an initiatory Sanskrit death mantra. Meaning, I was being trained to let go of the fear of dying and embrace a spiritual state of consciousness higher than the one I was at.
I have had enough experiences internally that showed me that I was not the body, but an Energy Being that was always in a state of Joy and Peace. So returning to the non-physical became attractive to me.
When I had this insight I realized I was complete within. I had no more mountains to climb. I had achieved all the goals I had ever set, save one, God Realization, which is an ongoing goal that can happened in any second or in many lifetimes.
Also, I had lived a magnificent life. I lived what most men dream about. I had no more attachments and somewhere along the line I let go of attachment to the body, my family and all things material. I was pretty amazed I had reached this level of consciousness, because not so many years ago I was the opposite.
This way of thinking and feeling was a most profound experience as I had just been diagnosed with cancer and given one year to live. And rather than be afraid I was happy with the idea of dying. It was appealing to me just as much as living was appealing. It was a new state of consciousness that was born in me at age 75.
Thursday, March 3, 2016
I met Richard Parenti in October of 2014. He was seated next to me at The Great Valley Bookfest in Manteca, California. We hit it off instantly. Richard is a mentor, a yoga instructor, a teacher, an author and I consider him a friend. When I needed a traveling companion for a book signing in Turlock in the summer of 2015, Richard put on his publicist hat and went along for the ride. In life, I believe we are here to teach one another life lessons. Richard has a wealth of experience in his life and he is willing to share it. To me, that is what being a mentor all is about. Richard is the author of: Emotional Sobriety: Feel Good Secrets for Everyone, Balboa Press, 2013, and was a contributing author in, Manifesting Magnificence: A Personal Growth Workbook, Serendipity Press/Serendipity Media Group, 2015.
What made you decide that your life needed to change?
In 1974 my life was abruptly interrupted by my wife asking for a divorce, my car being repossessed, getting fired, being locked out of my home and all my credit cards canceled all in one big swoop. On top of that I realized I had enough of drinking and drugs and that my life was going downhill in a hurry, so I quit.
Describe for us, how was the process of writing for you.
I had a habit of writing down on napkins my thoughts. My best friend one day said as we were having dinner, “Why don’t you take all those napkins you have saved up and show them to a published writer.”
I did just that. I found an eighty-year old author who charged $5.00 an hour for his time. He had authored 13 books, had owned his own ad agency and was still writing, but now for the fun of it he loved helping new writers, and why he charged so little he said, “I’ve made all the money I need. The five dollars is to buy myself some wine that my wife keeps hiding from me.”
He reviewed my napkins and told me to write a two to three page story of my experiences in Europe when I was involved in the espionage business.
I told him I had no idea of how to use grammar. He retorted, “That’s unimportant. That’s what editors get paid for. I just want to feel your style.
After I completed my first assignment, he said, “You got passion. You can write, but you’re right you know nothing about grammar” We both got a good laugh. That was 1982. Since then I have written many articles that were published, initially in all the major restaurant magazines nationally when I was in the restaurant business and then several articles in a prestigious international Yoga magazine over the last 10 years.
When did you know what your true calling would be?
In 1974 when I got divorced and fired I had an internal experience that revolutionized my life. I went from being an international spy, jet setting around the world to looking inward as to what I had experienced and within a very short time I began looking for answers to what had happened to me. This led me to the science of yoga. Not postures, but the inner science that would lead me to an authentic path to God Realization within and being mentored by Swami’s from India.
Then it was in 2004 when I was in India on a 40-day silent retreat in the Himalaya’s that I got my first inkling what my calling might be. Initially I thought it was only for me to learn how to master my emotions, but after my return the United States it was revealed to me that this inner work of yoga, mastering emotions would be my life’s work, not only for me but for other people as well. Up to this time I had fun teaching the yoga postures, mediation and in talking about many of the other aspects of yoga that I knew about.
It wasn’t until later that I began teaching “Emotional Mastery,” in a workshop after I had tested it on myself for over 9 years. First, I offered it to the public, who had little interest. Then, I was invited by a yoga center to teach it to people who were training to become yoga teachers. That was when this work found a home, as the interest was genuine and they were hungry. I realized they had never heard of this in their yoga training before and were eager to learn more about the inner science of yoga.
Richard Parenti can be reached at: 209-380-5955
Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Take Charge Tuesdays
New Year, New You!
By, Gina Meyers
Start your new year 2016 off right with small, manageable changes to your lifestyle. This is your year to lose those extra pounds, get that promotion at work and find the one! 85% of us will fail at our New Year’s resolutions, but it’s possible to succeed if we make small manageable steps towards change.
Write it down!
A new year often evokes the desire to work out more, lose weight, eat right. While those are great goals, sometimes we are too hard on ourselves. Allow yourself a cheat day. A day where you can have the See’s candy or that extra helping of mashed potatoes and gravy. Keep a food journal as well as an exercise journal. In your exercise journal write down your goals for the week, the month and the year. Write down encouraging statements and paste pictures of people that you want to look like in your exercise journal. In your food journal, print recipes found off the internet that appeal to you, make a list of foods that are healthy to keep on hand when you get really hungry, even a pantry list of food(s) that you know are good for you. Create your own good for you recipes and try something new, like Brussel sprouts.
Be Kind To Yourself
Each year brings about new hopes, and dreams, but it also brings about unexpected changes and even disappointments. Don’t beat yourself up over the setbacks and disappointments. Often times unexpected changes can really be blessings in disguise. Keep your chin up and roll with the punches.
Make a Dreamboard
A Dreamboard is a visualization tool of pictures and inspirational phrases on a board to focus on your dreams and hopes for your future. The board activates the subconscious mind and the universal law of attraction to begin manifesting your dreams into reality. Dreamboards are effective because they are constant reminders of what you want and keep your mind focused on your goals for the future.
You can either use magazines or images found on websites. If you choose to use magazines, gather different types of magazines, so you can cover all the topics that you are interested in. For instance, if you are interested in traveling, visiting a local travel agency and requesting brochures on the countries you would like to visit. If you are interested in Yoga for instance, purchasing a magazine devoted to Yoga, health and wellness would be appropriate. You can also use documents you collect or bulletins, found at your local church or university. You want to find images that remind you of your goals and ambitions, hopes, dreams for your future. These images are meant to motivate.
Cut out images:
Go through each magazine and cut out any pictures, inspirational words that appeal to you. Allow your mind to wander and follow your instinct. Find bright, colorful images that make you feel ambitious, motivated, exhilarated, fantastic. Ideas are: nice houses, cars, flowers, landmarks, fitness goals, pictures of families, and powerful words such as (love, hope, joy).
Purchase a board:
A large blank poster board, inexpensive and available at a local art store or dollar store, discount drug store/pharmacy. You can also invest in a canvas or a magnet board.
Cut and paste pictures:
Cut and paste pictures on your dreamboard. You can use glue sticks, or Elmer’s glue.
Place the dream board:
Put it beside your bed, or in your office, or in your workspace. If you don’t have a lot of room, take a picture of your dreamboard and look at it on your phone or print out a photograph of your dreamboard. It will be a smaller version, so good for handy reference to keep in your glove box of your car.
Over the course of a year, you will notice that you will start to achieve some of your dreams that you have placed on your board.These three steps will increase your odds of sticking to your resolutions, have a great year!
About the AuthorAuthor, Publisher, Gina Meyers
Gina Meyers is best known for her popular culture television trivia and cooking expertise books related to the Twilight Saga and the iconic television show Bewitched and is the proud winner of the prestigious Gourmand International Cookbook Award for Best Charity Cookbook, Hope For Haiti. Gina is also the author of The Dorm Room Essentials Cookbook, Cook Like a Native Italian, and has co-authored Manifesting Magnificence: A Personal Growth Workbook.
Monday, February 22, 2016
Make a difference Mondays
Meet Avi Gardner
By, Gina Meyers
In our new format, Serendipity Press will be introducing you to people and concepts that “Make a Difference”, each Monday. In Avi Gardner’s first book, From Darkness To Light: A Fight for my Life and Light, ( Copyright © 2016 by, Avi Gardner, Serendipity Media, 978-0692450390) Avi tackles many difficult subjects. She poses many important questions in her book, one of which, “how do we have the courage to forgive ourselves when unforgivable things have happened to our spirits?” She answers this and many other questions with a positive and upbeat attitude, taking into account you must acknowledge and not ignore what has transpired and you must give yourself time to “heal and to feel”. She has done an exceptional job at providing resources and thoughts on what has helped her through what many term, “ritual abuse”. She has become a singer and a song writer and has written not only a comprehensive guide on putting God first, but her message also is shown in poetry and prose. Read in her own words, Chapter 29, Courage.
Chapter 29 - Courage
William Shakespeare wrote, “Our fears are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.”
Fear is the opposite of faith. Just as we are commanded to love, we are commanded to “Fear not.” Courage is a choice. It is faith in action.
As Peter Hill founder of World Tai Chi, G.E.T.I.T., and author of G.E.T.I.T. Together teaches, courage is not the absence of fear. It is the ability to move forward even when we feel it. We do not need to wait for fear to go away before taking action. In fact, we do just the opposite. By moving forward through our fear, we gain more courage to take the next action. When we, as Peter Hill says, “…have a clear goal with pure intent,” we can move past any fear. As Anthony Robbins said, a clear enough why overcomes any how. Susan Jeffers, author of, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, says that fear does not go away. The more we exercise our muscles, our ability to move through fear strengthens.
Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is the ability to keep moving forward even when we feel afraid, unless of course, a bus is coming our way.
It takes courage to keep looking and moving forward when we don’t see where we are going. We can pray for this courage and keep looking toward our dreams knowing that they will come to pass, taking one step at a time.
When I have something big enough to believe in, faith replaces fear. Whenever I feel afraid, I choose to replace this fear by believing in the atonement of Jesus Christ, by loving God with all of my heart, all of my might, all of my mind, and all of my soul. When I believe that He is taking care of things for me, while I work super hard, I am filled with His Light, and His perfect Love casts out all fear.
Before publishing this book, I knew I would be facing a lot of fears, so I bought a surfboard. I figured having enough faith to feel safe in the ocean would help me to have enough faith to publish the book.
When I was a kid, I used to surround myself with stuffed animals at night. I imagined myself submerged deep in the ocean, with sharks swimming around me. It was always light, and I could see. I knew my numerous stuffed animals would keep me safe. They would stop the sharks from hurting me.
The same faith that I used as a child is true for me today. This time, instead of stuffed animals around me, my Heavenly Father has my back. He won’t let anything hurt me. I am safe. Perfect love casts out all fear.
We may still fear at times. God does not expect us to be perfect. We can pray to be filled with perfect love every day! Eventually, faith replaces this fear.
When I went to the Mormon temple again after a seventeen-year absence, I felt at home. As my friends and I drove over the bridge, light from the sunrise illuminated the bay. I knew I was coming home. It had been a long journey.
Inside the temple, many things were on my mind. As I mentioned earlier, I had this big test to pass in order to keep my credentials in California. In order to keep my current position until the end of the year, I had one shot. I also knew I needed to write my book, and at the same time, still felt really scared about doing it.
While I sat with my friends inside the temple, two very clear thoughts came to my head. I had thoughts like this before during very important times in my life, and they were always right. To me, these thoughts were direct inspiration, things I needed to know. The first thought was very clear. “You will pass the test.” The second thought came just as clearly. “Publish the book. You will be safe. Build my kingdom, and you will be safe.”
The inspiration gave me motivation to keep studying. I spent hours and days and received several priesthood blessings. Knowing I would pass brought so much peace that I had the power to study even harder. Sure enough, I passed the test.
When fears regarding my own safety came up about publishing the book, I kept remembering what God said, “Publish the book, and you will be safe. Build my kingdom, and you will be safe.”
It has been said that courage is the testing point of all virtues. When we are at a place where every virtue is tested, and we still choose the right thing, that is courage.
According to Joseph Fielding Smith, there is a difference between those who are, “brave at heart,” and those who have “the courage of faith.” The brave at heart fight for a cause and often give up when they see the battle as hopeless, or when they feel despair. Courage of faith comes when we believe in something much bigger than ourselves to make things happen. Those with courage of faith never give up.
Fielding goes on, “He (Paul) labored fearlessly, he had delivered a divine message, he had resisted the enemy, and they apparently triumphed over him. He was taken prisoner and subjected to humiliating treatment by the administrators of the law. He was in bonds, and death awaited him, but he was still courageous. His was the courage of faith. While he was in prison and awaiting death, when most people would have thought “Their cause lost,” Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Imagine how much courage that takes!
He was awaiting death, and still he said to protect himself with the armor of God.
Fielding continues, “ After we have done all we could do for the cause of truth, and withstood the evil that men have brought upon us, and we have been overwhelmed by their wrongs, it is still our duty to stand. We cannot give up; we must not lie down. Great causes are not won in a single generation. To stand firm in the face of overwhelming opposition, when you have done all you can, is the courage of faith. The courage of faith is the courage of progress. Men who possess that divine quality go on; they are not permitted to stand still if they would. They are not simply creatures of their own power and wisdom; they are instrumentalities of a higher law and a divine purpose.
Others would quit; they would avoid trouble. Such men read history, if at all, only as they make it; they cannot see the hand of God in the affairs of men, because they see only with the eye of man and not with the eye of faith. All resistance is gone out of them – they have left God out of the question. They have not put on his whole armor. Without it, they are loaded down with fear and apprehension, and they sink. To such men everything that brings trouble seems necessary. As Saints of God, it is our duty “to stand,” even when we are overwhelmed by evil.
He states, “One of the highest qualities of all true leadership is a high standard of courage.”
As we move forward, we can have something else to look forward to.
As much as I say it is not what we experience but the meaning we give to it that matters, I wonder how much of my identity comes from what I went through. I wonder if some of my perceived self-worth comes from surviving something big.
What will I do next?
It takes courage as we move forward living a life based on new beliefs. With courage, we create new situations where we know these new beliefs are possible. Really, there is no reason to fear because God is in charge. We are always safe.
God is in Charge
God is in charge,
There is nothing to fear
God is in charge
There is no need to fear
His perfect Love
Casts out all fear
‘Cause God is in charge,
There’s no need to fear
For He knows
What we want
Before we even ask.
He gives us what we need.
There’s no need to look back.
God is in Charge
God is in charge,
There is nothing to fear
God is in charge
There is no need to fear
His perfect Love
Casts out all fear
‘Cause God is in charge,
There’s no need to fear-Avi Gardner
Author, Guest Speaker, Singer, Avi Gardner
Buy the book
Author, Publisher, Gina Meyers