Author: smcblog

“THIS Is the Spiritual Path.” Sara Avant Stover on Crisis and Opportunity

In this short teaching, best-selling author and spiritual teacher Sara Avant Stover offers encouragement for healing through this tumultuous moment — on the personal and collective levels — by not turning away from unwanted experience. Enjoy the 5 minute video below, and learn about our upcoming online retreat with Sara here. VIDEO Join Sara for this upcoming online retreat! About Sara Avant Stover Sara Avant Stover is a teacher of feminine spirituality and empowerment, bestselling author, and founder of The Way of the Happy Woman®. After a cancer scare in her early twenties, Sara moved to Thailand, embarked on a decade-long healing and spiritual odyssey throughout Asia, and has since gone on to uplift tens of thousands of women worldwide. Sara has also been featured in Yoga Journal, the Huffington Post, Newsweek, Natural Health, and on ABC, NBC, and CBS. She lives in Santa Barbara, CA. Visit her online at www.TheWayoftheHappyWoman.com

In the Times of Coronavirus: How to Be Informed Without Being Overwhelmed

By Megan Prager // Is it possible in this time to stay informed and not be totally overwhelmed? Like many, I find myself consuming a large amount of media. There are beautiful stories of people supporting one another, as well as many stories and statistics of suffering that can leave us in wonder and fear. Recently the World Health Organization put out a list of Considerations to Support Mental Health in the times of COVID-19, with one recommendation being:  Minimize watching, reading or listening to news about COVID-19 that causes you to feel anxious or distressed… seek information updates at specific times during the day, once or twice. The sudden and near-constant stream of news reports about an outbreak can cause anyone to feel worried.  Important advice indeed. When we aren’t intentional about consuming news related to COVID-19 both in terms of content and amount, we can easily experience feelings of distress and overwhelm. Here is the thing about overwhelm: It doesn’t feel good! We suffer when we feel it. What we know about optimal adult learning (based …

Grief in the Time of COVID: Sharing in Compassion and Resilience (excerpt)

By Holly Gayley // When my father went into the hospital on May 6th, there were 76,000 deaths in the US from COVID-19. By the time he passed away eleven days later, there were 90,000. It’s strange when something as deeply and personally felt as the death of a loved one becomes part of a national statistic. Yet it also points to the collective nature of grief related to the pandemic and the systemic injustices that it has revealed and intensified. We are in a time of collective grief. Some of us have lost loved ones to COVID-19. Others have lost jobs or been furloughed due to the lockdown of cities and towns across the country. On top of all that, since the killing of George Floyd on May 25, the streets have been filled with renewed anguish and calls for racial justice and the end of police brutality. The enormity of the crisis affects us all, directly or indirectly. How can we handle the emotional intensity and grief while supporting each other in the …

Simple Strategies to Feel Well & Break Through in Today’s Uncertainty

By Blake D. Bauer // With everything that’s going on in the world it’s very natural to feel overwhelmed, worried and confused. Every emotion you’re feeling within yourself is valid. Helplessness, sadness, anger, and frustration are all healthy responses to the various situations we’re facing within our homes, our communities, our workplaces, and across the world.  Many people are feeling the need to act and reclaim both their power and their voice. This is happening in personal relationships behind closed doors as well as out in our communities, all of which is purposeful and necessary. As individuals we are facing challenges on every level of our being and in all aspects of our lives. Today more than ever, it’s both critical and potentially life-saving to have practical tools that help us to feel more centered, clear-minded, and secure within ourselves. Instead of shutting down, numbing out, pretending you’re okay, or becoming paralyzed, I invite you to test the following views and practices for yourself and the people in your life. I promise they will help …

Transforming Fear 

By Blake D. Bauer // In the same way that no person wants to be unhappy or unwell, no human being wants to live in fear. If you do not address your underlying fears directly, you will constantly project them onto your ideas of the future, which then causes you to create a life that is defined by what you fear rather than what you love. Fear that is not honestly faced and transformed today will always drive us to think, speak and act in ways that bring about the exact situations and experiences we fear most. When we allow this to continue without being aware of it, we keep reaffirming our limiting beliefs while we simultaneously destroy our health, happiness, and everything else potentially positive in our lives.  By paying particular attention to who and what we fear now, we can question why we’re scared and begin to see through the thoughts and emotions that are holding us back, making us sick or keeping us unhappy. As we do this we naturally come to …

How Will We Meet this Moment?

By Gelong Loden Nyima // Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche passed away into parinirvana when I was nine months old.  I never met him but have felt my path—like that of thousands—has been occurring in the wake of his.  I practiced at places he founded, was taught and trained to teach in his lineage, and now live at Shambhala Mountain Center in a cabin on the aptly named “Stupa View” which sits in the valley beneath his Great Stupa of Dharmakaya.   The Buddhist tradition identifies the age we’re living in as broadly fortunate because teachings leading to enlightenment are alive and available, yet also troubled as it is a time when the mass amalgamations of actions arising from greed, aggression, and willful ignorance ripen into social and global occurrences of resource depletion, conflict, and pandemic illness.  Much of what we now know to be occurring, and what experts on climate change and public health expect for the future, has also been forecast in Buddhism for millennia based on this understanding of cause and effect. Similar to and …

Feeding your Demons: Revealing the Hidden Treasure Within Difficulty

By Charlotte Rotterdam // I was first drawn to the Feeding your Demons process and the teachings of Machig Labdrön – the great 11th century Tibetan yogini from whose teachings the process was developed – for the radical invitation to turn towards that which we find most repulsive or frightening. This view seemed so counter-intuitive, so clearly different from the human default response of avoiding or rejecting the ugly and threatening aspects of life. Perhaps it reminded me of my early childhood, when I spent time in the autopsy lab with my mother, a pathologist. There was an odd peacefulness in the autopsy room where the intensely eerie became quite ordinary and sometimes even sacred.  Beyond transforming the morbid into the mundane, however, lies a profound teaching on compassion. Ultimately, these teachings suggest that it is only by meeting and even nurturing whatever we consider threatening or “other” that we can live a fully integrated life, radiant with our own wisdom. Holding our inner and outer demons at bay draws us into a never-ending cycle …