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Confessions of an “Aha Moment” Junkie

Perhaps the most priceless moments of our lives are when we get the big “aha!”—when we hear for the first time a radical truth that allows us to experience and be in the world in a completely new and freer way. For me, it’s the ultimate high.

Halfway through my second decade at Sounds True, I’ve listened to hundreds of hours of teachings, and with each season’s offerings I am always excited about the next “aha” that might be around the corner. Here are a few of my favorites from over the years:

1. The universe is big, and I am old.

Scientists estimate that our universe includes a trillion galaxies. (That’s 1,000,000,000,000 if you’re into zeroes.) Depending on which way you look at the night sky, the light reaching your eyes may have been traveling for millions of years … completing a journey that began long before any of our opposable-thumb-blessed ancestors decided to trade the treetops for caves. Even more astounding is the fact that the cosmic dust in the form of the “you” perceiving that light is even older—as ancient as the universe itself, or an estimated 20 billion years old. Remember that the next time you get one of those “over the hill” birthday cards. (I encountered these “aha” moments while listening to Brian Swimme’s classic audio program Canticle to the Cosmos.)

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2. I can change my mind…and my brain.

Many Sounds True programs talk about our beautiful and mysterious brains, from how much we’ve learned in the past twenty-plus years to how little we may really understand about this amazing organ. I’ve lost track of the “aha” moments I’ve enjoyed listening to teachers like Dr. Rick Hanson, whose practice of “taking in the good” can literally rewire our neural pathways to help us experience more joy and less stress — or to Dr. Kelly McGonigal, with her empowering wisdom on making changes in alignment with our values — or Jon Kabat-Zinn, whose mindfulness meditations for pain relief have helped me manage migraine headaches.

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3. The heart knows best and we’re all in this together. For me, the teachings of Jack Kornfield are like rich nutrients and cool, clean water for the soil of the garden of the heart. Although we might think of “aha” moments as a mental phenomenon, the heart can certainly have its share of “aha” moments that leave one utterly speechless. Jack’s program The Jewel of Liberation has many such moments, reminding us of our fundamental interconnection and our boundless capacity for love, wisdom, and compassion.

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Maybe the essence of spiritual awakening is the “aha” moment—or whatever it is that we experience that finally and utterly shifts our perspective beyond any individual limits once and for all. Do you have any memorable “aha” moments you’d like to share? I’d love to hear about them!

Life Visioning

Nobody else possesses your unprecedented blend of gifts, experiences, and perspectives. So why have you been given this singular treasure, and what will you do with it? This is the focus of Michael Bernard Beckwith’s new book Life Visioning: A Transformative Process for Activating Your Unique Gifts and Highest Potential. In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon speaks with Beckwith about the four evolutionary stages of the development of consciousness and how the Life Visioning Process works in each stage. Tami and Michael also discuss some of the biggest obstacles people experience with Life Visioning, and the importance of unconditional love as the atmosphere for the Life Visioning Process. (63 minutes)

Self-Love is a Superpower

Dear Sounds True friends,

I believe self-love is a superpower.

When we treat ourselves with kindness, it turns on the learning centers of the brain and gives us the resources to face challenges and learn from our mistakes. Transformation requires a compassionate mindset, not shame.

And yet, people often worry that self-love will make them lazy, self-indulgent, or self-absorbed. Science shows just the opposite: people with greater self-love are more compassionate toward others, more successful and productive, and more resilient to stress.

The best news of all: self-love can be learned. We can rewire the structure of our brain and strengthen the neural circuitry of love toward ourselves and others. Each time we practice self-love, we grow this pathway.

My new children’s book, Good Morning, I Love You, Violet!, offers a road map for strengthening your child’s brain circuitry of deep calm, contentment, and self-love.

It is built on principles of psychology and neuroscience and offers a simple yet powerful practice.

As a mother, when asked what I believe is the most important thing we can teach our children, I always answer “self-love.” Learning to be on our own team and to treat ourselves with kindness is life-changing. There is no greater gift we can give our children. There is no greater gift we can give ourselves.

May this book plant seeds of kindness that ripple out into the world.

Shauna's signature

Shauna Shapiro, PhD

P.S. I invite you to download a free coloring sheet from the book, created by illustrator Susi Schaefer, to enjoy with the children in your life.

Shauna Shapiro is a mother, bestselling author, professor, clinical psychologist, and internationally recognized expert in mindfulness and self-compassion. She lives in Mill Valley, California. Learn more at drshaunashapiro.com.

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Authenticity is a Unique Superpower That We All Have

People often think that “personal branding” is a dirty word. That it revolves around ego and vanity and self-promotion. After building and running my personal branding agency, SimplyBe. and reflecting on our unique approach to this space, I realized that there was something much deeper to this work.

Each of us is here for a specific reason. Each of us has a light that we need to shine. And most people don’t know how to technically, practically tell their own story. Most of all, they don’t feel they have the permission, the confidence, the support, to take the leap. My book, Be: A No-Bullsh*t Guide to Increasing Your Self Worth and Net Worth by Simply Being Yourself, is that permission slip—for you to get out of your own way, to dive deep and take the journey within. Although often perceived as a practice in exterior image, personal brand is really about how you see yourself, how you know yourself, how you come to cherish yourself. That is the journey that awaits you in Be.

There are a lot of people who don’t want to be on social media or don’t want to be “famous” and therefore feel like the work of personal branding isn’t for them. But frankly, it doesn’t matter if you use social media every day or if you never touch it for the rest of your life—you have a personal brand.

Your personal brand is your value. It’s your worth. It’s the impression you leave behind in any room or crowd. It’s how you make people feel. It’s how you interface with people wherever you go—the way you treat your barista, the way you talk to your children’s teachers, the way you communicate with your team at work, how you create relationships in our community. It’s your legacy. All of these daily interactions are opportunities to hone and master your brand on your terms. That is personal branding.

My background is in marketing and branding. I’ve cut my teeth in the world of social media working with Fortune 500 brands over the last 15+ years. That said, in this book you will find frameworks and easy DIY tools to build your brand from the ground up and to take it online and leverage it to build your business, your career, your reputation, your followership. You’ll learn how to craft a message and a strategy, build PR awareness, create original content, identify your competitive landscape, and much more. It is a very tactical book in that sense. But my biggest inspiration and passion is bringing more humanity to business. Be. is a personal empowerment book at its core. Simply put, Be. is a study in the power of authenticity. 

Authenticity is a unique superpower that we all have. It’s a practice in you simply being you, inclusive of all of your shadows, sh*t, failures, weaknesses, AND all of your successes, triumphs, talents, and unique gifts. That’s what Be. will really challenge you to own—your fully unapologetic YOU.

My book is far more than what meets the eye. I hope you pick it up and learn that you, indeed, have a brand and that this simply means that you have something worthy and meaningful to share with the world. Personal branding, at its core, is an act of service. It is about what we are here to give versus what we are here to get. And when we architect a personal brand from that place, we come alive.

The world needs your light.

The world needs you to shine.

Every one of us has not just the privilege but the responsibility to step forward and simply be.

Don’t let us down.

With love and light,

Jessica Zweig
Bestselling author of Be.
Founder & CEO, SimplyBe.

 

Jessica Zweig is the CEO and founder of the SimplyBe. agency, a personal branding company that helps millions of people worldwide. She's been named a “personal branding expert” by Forbes, a Top Digital Marketer to Watch by Inc., one of 2020’s Most Notable Entrepreneurs by Crain’s Chicago Business, and the 2018 and 2019 recipient of the international Stevie® Award for Female Entrepreneur of the Year. She's been featured on FOX, ABC, NBC, Thrive Global, Business Insider, and more as an expert on how an authentic personal brand is the key to a more successful career. For more, visit jessicazweig.com.

Jessica Zweig is the CEO and founder of the SimplyBe. agency, a personal branding company that helps millions of people worldwide. She’s been named a “personal branding expert” by Forbes, a Top Digital Marketer to Watch by Inc., one of 2020’s Most Notable Entrepreneurs by Crain’s Chicago Business, and the 2018 and 2019 recipient of the international Stevie® Award for Female Entrepreneur of the Year. She’s been featured on FOX, ABC, NBC, Thrive Global, Business Insider, and more as an expert on how an authentic personal brand is the key to a more successful career. For more, visit jessicazweig.com.

Author photo © Lindsey Smith

 

 

 

 

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Wake Up San Francisco! Live March 28, 2015

How can we stay sane, resourceful, and connected to the limitless depths of our being, right in the midst of our busy lives? Is such a thing possible? Is spiritual awakening reserved for people who travel to retreats and monasteries, or is it possible that we can touch that and the depths of the human heart right in the midst of the chaos of our lives? Wake Up San Francisco is a one-day event on Saturday, March 28th that immerses participants in the awakening of the human heart. Bringing together spiritual teachers, poets, musicians, yogis, psychological researchers, healers, and lovers of life, Wake Up San Francisco promises to be a day of reflection, new insight, and transformation.

You are warmly invited to join pioneering spiritual teacher Adyashanti and music sensation Alanis Morissette for a one-of-a-kind dialogue about waking up in the midst of everyday life. The author of books including Emptiness Dancing and Falling into Grace, Adyashanti is one of today’s most sought-after teachers, especially when it comes to his rare public appearances. Alanis is most recognized for her album Jagged Little Pill (which still ranks as the number one top-selling debut album for a female artist). The dialogue will be hosted by Sounds True founder, Tami Simon, and will be followed by an intimate concert with Alanis Morissette.

In addition to Adyashanti and Alanis Morissette, presenters at Wake Up San Francisco include:

  • Caroline MyssNew York Times bestselling author and leading voice in the field of energy medicine
  • Mario Martinez, clinical neuropsychologist lecturing worldwide on how cultural beliefs affect health and longevity
  • Sally Kempton, author of Awakening Shakti and Meditation for the Love of It, on the transformative power of kundalini
  • Roger Housden, author of Ten Poems to Change Your Life and Keeping the Faith Without a Religion, on beauty as a portal to awakening
  • Sera Beak, Harvard-trained scholar of comparative world religions and author of Red Hot and Holy: A Heretic’s Love Story

When we touch a limitless sense of being—vast, open, undivided—and do so in an embodied way, we paradoxically become more uniquely ourselves, more empowered, and on fire to bring forward our unique gifts. We wake up to our courage, to our authenticity, and to contributing to the well-being of others in fresh and meaningful ways. We welcome you to join us at Wake Up San Francisco!

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Free to be the fearless wildness that you are

In your willingness to take the risk of love, to feel it all, to truly allow another to matter, and to expose yourself to the joy and heartbreak of this life, you come face to face with the most devastating fear that you’ve ever known, but have never been able to articulate: that you are loved.

For when you are truly loved, when you are entirely seen, when you are fully held, it is the end of your world as you know it. Things will never be the same. You will never again be able to pretend that you are other than precious and whole as you are. The implications of this are dizzying if you let them all the way in.

It is so exhilarating to be seen and held in this way, but it is also terrifying as you are fully naked now, utterly raw, and achingly wide open. Your life is no longer your own in a sense, and it has been given to your raw, shaky tenderness. This is your refuge now, the golden bridge through which you will connect with hearts everywhere. Give everything to know this bridge!

Even the soft spring breeze feels as if it might be too much, for it goes right through your skin to touch your heart. A sunrise, the longing of a little baby to be held, the spring wildflowers, the honey-infused ice coffee you just spilled on your laptop, the blue eyes of your sweet lover—you may never be protected again. Ah, that’s fine—it isn’t what you really wanted anyway.

The particles of love are interpenetrating your entire sensory world and you are just not sure your heart and nervous system can take it. Oh, friend, you are on the right track.

You are free to be who and what you are now—no longer tied to a past you thought you wanted, no longer bound by the limited and that which is less than whole—willing to risk it all for love, and free to be the fearless wildness that you are.

Gorgeous photography by Robert Maschke - http://www.robertmaschke.de/

Gorgeous photography by Robert Maschke – http://www.robertmaschke.de/

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