Monthly Web Columns

LIFE 101


By Coach Cary Bayer


         “The farther you go, the less you know.
         Thus the sage knows without traveling.”—Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

         After abusing Nature in myriad ways, it’s quite clear that Nature has sent humanity one of its nastiest curve balls ever—the Coronavirus.  Is this a direct response from Nature?  One would have to be God to answer that question definitively. Sir Isaac Newton, one of the most probing investigators into the working of the Universe, however, did discover in his Third Law of Motion that, “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
         Much of humanity’s unconscious and greedy actions have destroyed 83 percent of all wild animals and half of plants, while an additional 1 million species are threatened with extinction.  Since 1993 alone, mankind has destroyed 10 percent of all wilderness areas.  We’ve already seen that climate change has produced some of the most unusual weather patterns and natural disasters ever.   
         And now we have a contagious virus that gets passed socially from people who don’t even know they have it to people who don’t know they’ve got it for perhaps two weeks.  The U.S. has wisely recommended social distance—more precisely physical distance—to prevent its spread.  (Social connection is even more important now than ever before through phone, Facebook, and Skype, among other platforms.)  
         By drawing on Newton’s law of action and reaction, I’m not suggesting that Nature is punishing us.  While religions have sold this fear-based worldview for millennia, I don’t think that’s how the Universe operates.  If the doctor bangs your knee with a hammer your knee reacts.  It’s a reflex that’s entirely natural.  If you bang Nature with pollutants in the air and the water, destroy Her species, and fill Her oceans with plastic that kills Her fish, and Her knee reacts naturally. It’s not punishment, just non-judgmental karmic response.
Stress on the Rise
         Tensions, understandably, are running at a fevered pitch on several fronts:
         1. Fear of contracting this deadly virus, especially if your work puts you into direct contact with many people.
         2. Loss of regular income due to working at jobs where your employer is forced to close—like restaurants, hotels, cruise lines, and entertainment venues like theater, opera, concerts, amusement parks, and sporting events, among others.
         3. Watching your stock investments plummet.
The Opportunity in Isolation
         The Chinese character for crisis is often interpreted as also signifying opportunity.  As uncomfortable as staying at home and avoiding people is, there are some terrific opportunities offered.  There’s a big difference between staying inside your home and going within yourself.  Especially if it’s going to your higher Self, located at the transcendental part of your mind, in the changeless, timeless realm within you that’s completely isolated from the changing world.
         I’ve practiced and taught Transcendental Meditation (TM) for decades, and also practiced and taught Higher Self Healing Meditation, which I launched 10 years ago, and I can say from direct experience how profoundly calm the meditation experience can be and how much stress it releases.  Scientific research on TM has found that it produces a level of rest that’s qualitatively twice as deep as the deepest point in a night’s sleep, as measured by oxygen consumption.
         Since fear causes stress and is, in turn, fueled by it, profoundly reducing stress can have a major impact on the fear that’s gripping and paralyzing so many millions of Americans.  Learning meditation doesn’t require doing it in large classes; I teach more people on Skype than I do in person.  
         Meditation and other forms of holistic stress-busting methods, of course, aren’t designed to do anything about the loss of paychecks and collapsing investments.  But the extra free time that quarantine provides, however, does offer you opportunities to create a part-time business that can augment your paycheck when you can return to work, and maybe even replace it if you grow it significantly enough.
Family Connecting
         Spending nearly all of your time at home with your family gives you the chance to connect with one another on much deeper levels.  A full-time life coach since 2001, I’ve seen, to my disappointment, just how poorly people express love for their loved ones.  A case in point: Years ago I taught my “Secret of Successful Relationships” workshop in Baton Rouge to 25 people.  Two of them were married to one another 50 years.  After practicing a 2-minute appreciation technique that I’d just taught them, the wife shared how her husband had just said something very loving to her that he’d never shared in 50 years, and which he just shared in 50 seconds.  The method I taught them isolated them from everything else for those 2 minutes.  Coronavirus is now isolating us from everything else for weeks—or more at a time.  So, the opportunity is here for you now—the time is there and the lack of interruption is there—to more deeply love and communicate to those who are the most important people in your life.
         While a pandemic is filled with dark, frightening clouds, it also offers some silver linings if you choose to take advantage of them.  When children misbehave badly, loving mothers put them in “timeout” to cool out and calm down.  When children of the Earth misbehave badly, loving Mother Nature invites us to do the same.



The Wandering Path to the Career
of My Dreams
-Patricia J. Crane, Ph.D.

Most of my friends wouldn’t believe it now, but during high school and college, I was very quiet and shy, However, because I did especially well in science, I was repeatedly told “you have a talent for science – you should become a doctor!” So, I unconsciously tried to live out others’ ideas and spent 4 years in college as a chemistry/biology major and then onto graduate school in a chemistry program. The program was at USC in California, light years away from my upbringing in New Jersey. I soon discovered the program was BORING! In the middle of the first semester of graduate school, after a great deal of soul searching, I realized that my passion was in working with people to improve their lives. So, much to the chagrin of my accountant parents, I quit graduate school, became a social worker in Watts, and returned to undergraduate school for a psychology major. 
      While completing the undergraduate work, I had several brilliant teachers, and the idea of becoming a teacher of adults began to take hold. Since I was terrified of speaking in public at that time, this idea seemed quite curious to me and I pushed it to the back of my mind. However, Life has a wonderful way of unfolding a path when there is a strong desire to be met. The path to my current career as workshop leader, trainer, and author contained many different jobs and experiences, all designed to assist me in developing the skills I needed. Looking back, I can see the value of each experience. 
       Along the way I became a trainer for rehabilitation counselors, completed my doctorate in social psychology, administered worksite wellness programs (focus on stress management), taught at the community college and university level, studied spiritual topics in depth, started my own business doing private consultations (now called coaching!), and began studying with best selling author Louise Hay. 
      A weekly meeting I attended starting in the mid-80’s was called the Inside Edge. One particular morning, the room was filled with laughter. The speaker was Barbara Sher, author of Wishcraft. Barbara has a knack for finding humor in the simplest of situations. This morning her topic was achieving our dreams. Partway through her talk, she asked each person to get a partner and tell that person our dream. In my mind I planned to say, “I am a nationally known workshop leader.” Instead, what popped out of my mouth was “I am an internationally known workshop leader!” I was stunned—where did that affirmation come from? I actually looked around the room to see who said it. Little did I know then that within a few years I would be traveling and leading workshops internationally. As I look back, it’s amazing how everything came together. 
          Shortly after this meeting, Louise asked me to be one of just four people to lead the Love Yourself, Heal Your Life workshop based on her book. This request eventually resulted in my being asked to lead the workshop in the U.S., Canada, England, Australia, Greece, Spain, and even Poland! As I traveled leading this and other workshops, I knew I had found the perfect career for me, even though it took 46 years! The workshop evolved into a whole program for training people to lead powerful workshops in Louise Hay’s work. As the program expanded, teacher-trainers were authorized in other countries to spread the philosophy of loving yourself to heal your life. The Heal Your Life program has now trained over workshop leaders in 71 countries! It is a great joy to receive emails and see Facebook posts from the workshop leaders sharing about the transformations in their own groups. 
          The decision I made many years ago, to help people improve their lives, guided my path even when I wasn’t aware of it. Take a minute now – stop and take some deep breaths, close your eyes, and ask yourself – what is my intention? How can I best contribute to the world? What does my heart say? Then allow yourself to be guided on your own path of wonder. 

--Patricia J. Crane, Ph.D. studied personally with Louise Hay and, with husband Rick Nichols, is authorized to lead Heal Your Life® training programs in Louise’s philosophy. She is also the author of Ordering from the Cosmic Kitchen: The Essential Guide to Powerful, Nourishing Affirmations. and