During the final weekend of a toxic, crazy-making election season, thousands of people flocked towards the serenity and spirituality of the “Celebrate Your Life” conference in Scottsdale, AZ. With an all-star array of global icons in the self-help field — including Maryanne Williamson, Carolyn Myss, and Don Miguel Ruiz — this all-star weekend was the ideal shelter from the storm, with a delightful array of extras — free reflexology, toe reading, neck massages and even free hugs! — felt like a nifty bonus.
Even if meditation, mantras and chakra balancing aren’t your thing, here are some takeaways that might be useful in your daily life:
Don’t Deny Your Stress
Do you think that suffering from daily stress proves that you’re not a "strong enough" person? On the contrary, said keynote speaker and "A Return to Love" author Marianne Williamson. “It’s normal and healthy to be upset about what’s going on in our country,” said Williamson, as she prowled the stage with such self-assured authority. In fact, it’s entirely valid to “feel disturbed because what’s happening is disturbing!”
But if you’re feeling guilty or unhealthy because you’re feeling extra anxiety these days, it’s time to stop judging yourself. “Everyone has anxiety disorders, it’s not weak!” said Williamson, noting that “feeling pain is not mental illness” and that alternative anti-stress practices like mindfulness and meditation have been proven in studies to alter brain chemistry. Investigate what works best for you.
Though much of her talk was infused with humor, Williamson also said it’s time for the spiritual community to take a bigger role in the political process: “Spiritual people are the biggest people in the room!” she said. “We’re the power players.”
Are you enraged because your life isn’t truly spectacular yet? Because you don’t yet “have it all” or that life owes you something it hasn't yet provided? Anyone who’s rolled their eyes at the idea of meditating or reading a ‘self-help’ book would have enjoyed Caroline Myss’s practical, no-nonsense approach to wellness.
"Get a backbone, not a wishbone, people!"
“Stop trudging up excuses and resenting your life because no one sees how great you are” which she says locks people into a cycle of suffering. “‘Having it all is nonsensical thinking!” she added, noting that everything your truly need is already right here with you, pointing directly at the runaway fears currently dominating our culture. “Stop it! Stop being frightened little ninnies,” she said, to big laughs from the audience. "Get a backbone, not a wishbone, people!"
Myss also stressed that until you get totally honest with yourself about the role you’ve played in your own life’s events, you can’t heal. Until you “take on your own nonsense,” your own innate creativity and potential will remain paralyzed. “Healing is real, and everything you do matters,” she said, “so stop worrying about the small things.”
She also acknowledged that life is moving (and changing) faster than ever before, and stress is natural. “You’ll always be stressed — who cares!” said Myss, who encouraged the audience to embrace personal responsibility and tame their inner narcissist. “Suffering is expecting life to be other than it is.”
By accepting what's here right now, you can consciously take back your power in a crazy world, and live your fullest possible life.
“Love this day because it will never come again,” she says. With the world in such chaos, "there’s no time to sit on the sidelines, it's time to play your part.”
“We all have an endless capacity to heal.”
Heaven in a Place on Earth (Really)
After being given mere hours to live by her doctors, Anita Moorjani described a Near Death Experience that followed and is the basis for her New York Times best-selling book “Dying to Be Me.” Diagnosed with end-stage lymphoma -- and tumors the size of lemons in her body -- Moorjani was in a coma for 30 hours, where she described entering a realm of indescribable unconditional love and clarity; she realized she wasn’t ready to die, and that she had a purpose to fulfill. “Go back and live your life fearlessly,” was her message, and within three weeks, the doctors could find no cancer in her body.
“Go back and live your life fearlessly.”
Margin believes she got cancer because she lived in constant fear; she also criticized herself endlessly and felt inferior to others — and as a result her body eventually turned against her. But Moorjani also said that rather than fearing your own negativity — especially negative thoughts, which every has — she encouraged everyone to focus instead on love. “Don’t fear your thoughts! You just create more fear. Instead, focus on loving every part of yourself, accept yourself completely where you are, because that is the seat of your power.”
The key is to live free of fear, and full of unconditional love.
“You don’t have to die to experience this!” she said, also noting the world often discourages self-love as being selfish, but her message of live being the greatest solution was powerful.
“I’m not a guru or healer. I’m here to tell you to love yourself, live fearlessly and powerfully. This is your destiny.” -- Mitch Rustad