Friday, October 29, 2010

Alice Dancing Under the Gallows - Official Trailer

You have to check out this short video! This 106-year-old woman embodies Radical Love! She's a holocaust survivor, a concert pianist, and a remarkably positive presence on the planet!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Keeping Your Death in the Front Seat

maintaining constant awareness of death, awareness practices
I remember when I first read Carlos Casteneda years ago, I was struck by his teacher’s advice to always remember that death was hovering nearby. "How can anyone feel so important when we know that death is stalking us?” Don Juan had said to Casteneda. “An immense amount of pettiness is dropped if your death makes a gesture to you, or if you catch a glimpse of it, or if you just have the feeling that your companion is there watching you."

It sometimes strikes me as an utter amazement that we skip through life completely oblivious to the ticking clock that lives within every cell of our bodies. Our daily dramas feel to us like endless plays that will continue into eternity, and so we involve ourselves in them with unbridled passion and pathos. Imagine how different our attitude might be if every time we got upset, stressed, or angry, a neon sign appeared right in front of our noses flashing the message, “Ten years, 267 days, and 37 minutes to go before returning to oblivion.”

Realizing that the ride will soon be over puts everything in perspective. When we embrace the fact that at any moment the lights might go out, that every second of our lives we are riding a moving sidewalk that ends at Station Death no matter what we do, and that we are all on that same moving sidewalk together, it sure pushes the question of what is really important up in the queue.

There is much noise in the New Age about being “in the moment” because “this moment is all we have.” The reality though, at least as far as I can tell, is that we don’t even “have” this moment, because every moment slips away the second it arrives. We own nothing. Again, the sidewalk is moving, moving, and we are built to self-destruct. So I would say that all we really can have is awareness of the movement of the sidewalk, and that is a great gift. We also can have an understanding that the end is always approaching us, which, too, can be a magnificent blessing, because it can free us from those entrapping moments where the drama of small and transient things leads us away from wisdom.

To me, the ultimate spiritual practice is to keep awareness of death at the forefront of consciousness, to remain exquisitely aware of the fact that we are renters and not owners on this planet and that the lease will expire, and to live with that sober recognition at all moments. And also, to know at a cellular level that everybody else is in the same boat, that we really and truly are sisters and brothers in this regard, and that pride and shame are utterly silly given this truth.

If the above words resonate for you, here are two practices that might help keep you in awareness:

Ask yourself periodically, throughout the day, “What am I?”

At least once a day, imagine yourself completely gone from the earth, your consciousness completely eradicated, with nothing left to do, to worry about, to accomplish, or fear. Rest in the feeling of deep peace this brings.

Many blessings,
Hiyaguha Cohen
The Life-Change Coach

Check out my website at

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Meaning of a Birthday

meaning of a birthday, birthday prayer, birthday blessings, significance of a birthday
You can take your birthday simply as a day when other people should pay you some attention, when you get to eat cake without guilt or worry, when you get to sit on your butt when the dishes need doing. But that approach to birthdays often ends in disappointment, because friends and family might not remember it’s your birthday, and even if they do, they probably won’t celebrate you enough to satisfy your need to feel special. Instead, why not take your birthday as a spiritual occasion, a day that reminds you of your decision to remain here on earth?

My former spiritual teacher used to say that on your birthday, your “soul comes to the fore and reaffirms its mission on earth.” I do think he was onto something real. If you pay attention on your birthday, you may notice that you feel more sensitive, more in tune with yourself than usual. Your heart may feel more full. Look in the mirror, and you will see more light in your eyes. Twenty or 40 or 70 years ago, your soul incarnated here on earth. I do believe it chose to come here at that time-- that it came with a special purpose. Your birthday is the anniversary of that auspicious event, of that choice to come into existence on the planet, and it is the perfect time to reassess.

Tomorrow is my birthday. I was born to a Jewish family five or so decades ago, at sundown on Yom Kippur, the Jewish highest holy day of atonement and forgiveness. According to the Torah, which is like the Jewish Bible, Yom Kippur is “The one day of the year… the day in which the power of One is revealed.” I arrived at sunset, when the atonement ended and the celebrating began. I’ve always felt that I chose that time to give myself a special message, and every year on my birthday I contemplate what that message might be.

And so, every year at my birth time, I take time out to pray and meditate. I pray that my soul will bless me with another year on the planet, and that it will remain at the fore to guide me to live in accordance with my mission here. I meditate to feel the special birthday blessings that seem to descend, every single year without fail, on that day. And also, I take the day as a time to listen to myself—to really listen—and to make choices in accordance to what my inner voice dictates.

If your birthday is coming up, I suggest you go within. Meditate. Pray. Stop expecting the world to shower you with recognition and cake. Instead, give presents to people. Give your presence to people, as well, and to yourself. Take your birthday as your holiest day of the year, a day of sanctity and great blessings. You have been given the gift of existing on earth for another rotation around the sun. There is reason to feel gratitude.

Here is a short prayer you can say on your birthday: “Thank you for giving me another year to behold the beauty of this planet, to connect to the hearts of other beings, to listen and see with wonder and joy. May my own soul and my Higher Power guide my every breath in the year to come.”