Life is what you make of it – a message to millennials by Todd Alan (an excerpt from his book, Life Mastery Keys)


I passionately believe life is what you make of it and it’s been that way for centuries.

There’s nothing new about the idea if you want to enjoy a great life it’s up to you to create it.

Now that you’re an adult – you’re in the driver’s seat of your life. If you wait for someone else to create a wonderful life for you – well, you’ll be waiting and yearning for a very long time, unfortunately.

Here’s “the secret” that was never revealed in the famous 2006 documentary of the same name.

Your thinking and mindset on the inside of you has a direct correlation to what you enjoy and accomplish or don’t accomplish on the outside.

This isn’t just referring to the size of your paycheck, although there’s nothing wrong with making a lot of money as long as you’re happy with how you do it and it enriches the lives of others, too. I’m referring to living an astonishing, epic life that takes your breath away in whatever way lights you up and makes your heart glow.

Your parents probably went to some awesome rock concerts in the seventies and eighties, smoked a few joints and thought they were wild and crazy before they settled down. Then somewhere along the way they got married (or not), had kids, landed a good job whether they liked it or not and set to the serious business of being an adult.

I encourage you and support you in connecting with the idea and fact there are many different ways to be an adult.

They don’t all include buying a house with three bedrooms, two baths, two kids and a dog. If you want that, great. I just want to give you permission to expand your thinking beyond the boundaries of what’s normal.

Be a grownup in a way that makes you excited – it really is possible if you want it.

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What does “Being Present” Mean? by Todd Alan (an excerpt from his book, Life Mastery Keys)


Not living in the present has been described as a person who stands looking to the left at the past with the right eye. At the same time they’re also looking right at the future with their left eye. Ultimately, they end up standing in the present moment, cross-eyed.

When you ponder on the past you live with regrets or concerns about what happened and you’re powerless to do anything about it. When you’re worried about the future you fret and worry over what hasn’t happened and you can’t do anything about that, either.

It’s not where you want to live, trust me.

So, choose to live in the present. Because your ego can’t survive when you live in the present moment. However, if you constantly living in the past or the future, the ego is always present, clouding your judgement with emotions and worry. Being present allows the ego to dissolve and go away. Living in the now is like doing an awake meditation. It comes from practice. You catch yourself and say, “Wow! I’m in the present moment right now.”

In his book “Peace in the Present Moment,” Eckhart Tolle, the guru of living in the now, says, “If you’re at peace you’re living in the present.”

Just before digging into this chapter I was driving. My mind was going in many different directions flashing back and forth to various times of my life from the past. It was so bizarre, as if I was reliving my past. Kiddingly I thought, maybe I’m getting close to death.

My thoughts were literally pinging with instances from my life reminding me of events that aren’t necessarily in alignment with how I live today. The experience was definitely rattling my cage and I could feel my emotions being impacted.

I thought maybe my mind is cleaning house, getting rid of extra junk that’s still hanging around. I hadn’t thought about most of those events in years. Some past experiences were vivid, banging around in my head over and over. They were brought to the surface and then I mentally did my best to toss them out.

Rather than going away, they lingered. I found myself wondering, why am I brooding over this stupid stuff from my past, years ago? In some of those flashes from my past they were of me as a boy, not even 12 years old.

It was strange to me that those events could still effect my emotions and bring me down as they popped up. The truth is I let them do it. I certainly wasn’t living in the present while I was mulling over these experiences, letting myself get caught up in negative feelings.

As I realized what I was doing, I stopped and said to myself “I’m okay right now.” Saying this reminded me to return to the present and to stop thinking about the past or worry about the future.

I did some research on the notion of being present and I discovered something drawn from the Bible called “The Jesus Attitudes.” It suggests we adopt a mindset or attitude of three emotions which have a lot to do with being present:

Nothing to hide.

Nothing to prove.

Nothing to lose.

By practicing these three attitudes you will grow accustomed to living in the present moment.

Why is being present important? It puts you in a mindset that’s open, joyful and keeps your eyes open and aware. Living in the present you’re more likely to have better memory and greater clarity. You comprehend more clearly. Being present is also a way to respect and validate others.

Many people spend little time listening. Instead they try to figure out what they’ll say in response as you talk to them, which removes them from the present moment. That’s the ego stepping in, trying to one up the person they’re supposed to be with in conversation.

Ego replies with, “This is what I think” and passes judgment. Contrast that to when you’re in the present moment. It’s difficult to be critical or disapproving because you’re actually listening. You’re less likely to judge because you’re not thinking about your past experiences or future worries. You’re listening to the other person in the now.

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Create Your Own Success by Todd Alan (an excerpt from his book, Life Mastery Keys)


Abundance isn’t all about material things. It’s about possessing an attitude of:

  • Everything I want I can have.
  • Everything I want I can create.
  • Or, everything I want I can bring to me.

That’s how you create success. When you have that attitude and eliminate lack from
your mindset, abundance flows. It’s not about how much can you get. Instead, it’s a matter of how much good can you handle? It’s also about living in a high vibration state where you’re grateful for everything.

How do you make the flip from being a person who lives in irony or sarcasm and become grateful? It can feel silly at first.

Our current culture puts us out of tune with gratitude. It seems cool to be unhappy, constantly feeling you don’t have enough. Ever seen a picture of a smiling rock or hip-hop star? Even with gold chains, diamond grills and mansions they still look dissatisfied.

The “angry young man” image became popular when James Dean was a teen idol in the 1950’s. Does being happy means you’re uncool? Absolutely not.

You may have grown up thinking receiving kindness means you’re not independent and you’ve had enough with the “entitled generation.” Someone hands you money and self-pride takes over. You say, “That’s okay, I don’t need it.” You can’t do that and be open to abundance. Receive every gift big or small given with a kind heart because it makes the giver feel good, you feel good and the energy builds.

Some people make it up the ladder so quickly their nervous system can’t handle the rushing torrent of abundance because they struggled in low energy vibration in the past.

I’m thinking about professional athletes, Hollywood stars and lottery winners. They burn through millions of dollars or, resort to drugs, alcohol and occasionally death. I’m thinking of singer Amy Winehouse and actor, Heath Ledger.

If you want to adopt a positive attitude and you’re wondering why its challenging, look at who you hang out with. Surround yourself with the nattering nabobs of negativity and it’s hard to be upbeat. If those people are your co-workers or family, find a way to brace yourself when you see them. Don’t let the turkeys get you down until you can surround yourself with positive people. If it’s your family, look for ways to minimize contact.

That doesn’t mean dis-own your family. It means be busy, happy and spend less time together. Negative people impact us and we begin vibrating at their low level.

By the way, if you want to bring more money into your life look at the income of the top five people you hang around with and their income will be about equal to your own. For some readers that could be another reason to look for new friends.

Are you a good friend to yourself?

  • Would friends see you as a bully if you talked to them like you talk to yourself?
  • Do you ever give nice things to yourself as a reward?
  • Do you speak kind, encouraging words to yourself?

You probably wouldn’t have those friends anymore if you said the same hurtful things to them you say to yourself. You might say, “Well it’s the truth” or, “I’m just keepin’ it real.”

When’s the last time you said positive or hopeful words to yourself?

If you look out on the horizon and want wonderful things for yourself, tell yourself you’re willing to believe. Believe this stuff until you prove it to yourself it works.

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Have The Courage to Communicate by Coach Debby


Sometime we find ourselves in situations where we are feeling tongue-tied, scared, or alone.

We know it is important to speak up, but we forget how to do it. We forget that speaking clearly is linked to knowing what we want and sharing that message with another person.

Children are born with a natural ability to communicate. They lift their cup to show mom they want more juice and they snuggle their stuffed animal while smiling and showing pure glee. We know what children are saying, at least most of the time.

Then we grow, experience challenges, and we become more complicated.

At some point, adults must be articulate enough to communicate their needs with the important people: their boss, their spouse, their aging parents.

But the reason we must articulate our needs and communicate openly isn’t linked with our success – anyone can survive by going it alone. Albeit, it is not the easier or most fun path, but it is a path.

Most of us desire relationship. We want to be connected. We want to experience the joy of knowing someone else, working together very well, and making plans together.

So, regardless of our situation, we must have the courage to communicate.

I once worked for a woman who had a little start up company – I thought it would be fun to have a female boss – but I quickly learned that she was not much of a communicator.

She would tell all the members on the team when we performed badly or how we must speed things up, but she was virtually incapable of sharing her vision for the company, her dreams, the goals she was setting for the team.

She was not open with us. She was merely correcting us. Eventually, the company closed its doors.

Without the courage to communicate, our relationships become extinct. They have no life. They have no support. They die.

Someone has to take the first step. Someone must be on the high road and say, “I have a vision, here, and it goes like this….”, or “I am aware that we need to make some changes and I am here to share my ideas and hear yours,” or “It is clear to me that you have some unmet desires and I would love to learn about them. Will you share them with me?”

Remember, courage is not something to try out once everything is going well. We act with courage when we are in a state of fear, busyness, or transition. Taking action while we are scared is the essence of courage. We do one thing – one foot in front of the other. We share openly, thoughtfully, honestly.

No doubt, communicating is a courageous act. Yet communicating is our birthright. It links us to those we love, the jobs we love, the life we love. We cannot let the life we are creating be void of relationships and meaning simply because we failed to speak.

Survival is a quiet, lonely journey. Add a little communication, take a little risk, and the path expands. The fog lifts. The heart opens. Two are joined. Life is possible.

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Seeing Spirit in Others


By Todd Alan – and excerpt from his new book, Life Mastery Keys.


The word “Namaste” spoken in the Hindi language across India and the world by Indian people is a common greeting that means, “The spirit or light within me recognizes and honors the spirit or light in you.” You recognize and acknowledge the light that shines from others and the power of the light that shines from you as well.

Many times I’ve heard the question, “How do you see the good in other people when there’s so much bad in the world?”

My answer is if you love and appreciate Spirit first, then it starts becoming easier to love and appreciate other people. Besides you can’t have the good without the bad. They’re merely bookends on the same shelf.

When you start seeing the good in others it’s also much easier to begin seeing the good, loving, compassionate, kind, funny, creative, intelligent aspects of you. Many people find their ability to accept and appreciate the differences in people grows as they
let Spirit in their lives.

It’s a positive, upward spiral that allows the conditions of your life and your thoughts about your life grow better.

As a constant reminder of their positive and negative thoughts many people will put a rubber band around one wrist in the morning. When they recognize a negative thought popping up they’ll switch the rubber band to the other wrist.

The idea is to gradually keep the rubber band on the same wrist all day long. Make a commitment to your own spiritual and personal growth to better yourself. It will keep you in the groove and over time begin transforming your life.

Whether it’s part of an organized religion or you do your own thing it’ll be easier for you to recognize Spirit in other people and see them for who they are without judgment.

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Discovering Your Life Purpose by Todd Alan


What’s a good way to discover your purpose as a Millennial?

Start by visualizing. Determine what you want to create five years from now. Write a detailed scenario of your life five years from today. Write down your vision in the first person, which means using “I statements.”

Stephen Covey, author of “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” said, “Start with the end in mind.” Write as if you’re the leading actor in the play which is your life. Do it in full sensory detail and describe:

  • What do you see?
  • What do you feel?
  • What do you smell?
  • What do you taste?
  • What do you hear?

Create your vision and give it serious thought. Napoleon Hill, the author of the classic book “Think and Grow Rich” calls the Vision Statement “A Statement of Desire.”

Once you’re happy with your Vision Statement read through it daily with energy and enthusiasm. As you put energy and momentum into it, you bring it closer to you.

Vision boards can be a handy tool. Honing in on what your life looks like is helpful. Create a collage using pictures from magazines or print stock photos from online. Or create a screen shot and use your vision board as a screen saver. Others enjoy doing it offline with scissors and glue. Use words and phrases on your vision board, too. Include as much detail as you can, but don’t obsess over it. Create a clear picture and release it like sending a prayer up to Spirit to work on it and manifest it. It’s powerful stuff.

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Caves of Resentment by Coach Debby



March 15, 2016 – My little brother was cute, endearing, and kind.  He was also a little tattletale.  He’d tell on me for common pre-teen lying, especially when it came to boys who might stop by after school.

This was during the flirting years when I kept my hands to myself and giggled a lot.  Still, the tattling would lead to blaming and screaming matches when dad came home.

I would storm off, pout, and isolate.  My bedroom was my tweenie-bopper cave that kept me safe from thinking about or owning my part.

I mean, why should I own any of it?  I was just a kid!  I was still a toddler when it came to the whole concept of honesty.  I was 12!

Yet I was completely unaware that my behavior was harming others.

I was not only unavailable to my brother’s needs after school, but I was also disrespecting my dad’s house rules.  My path was laced with arrogance and righteous behavior mostly because I saw everything as unfair and stupid.

Today, I do not fault myself for this phase.  Yet this anger I experienced had to be reckoned with as an adult.  I only saw bits of my part, or as they say in 12-steps, “my side of the street” as a kid and it all seemed so inferior to the control parents had.

Part of maturity was facing that I am responsible for my actions and I am not responsible for a fair or unfair world.

It’s no easy feet to grow up and deal with angry feelings. I think all age groups stumble over thoughts of injustice.  We have to recognize that our angry feelings are present for a reason.  They help us speak up and take right action for ourselves.

If we fail to claim right action, we get to stay babies, play small, isolate, and build caves for our resentments.

I came to understand that maturity is actually a choice.  Kids need time to explore their feelings and observe how the world works.  They often need systems of protection.  It’s not that kids are blocked – they are just enduring the emotional growing pains.

Not so true, however, for the adult who clings to anger and righteous thinking by avoiding the choice to sweep up their side of the street.

Today I see my anger as a warning.  I am aware that it surfaces to remind me to be an adult.   It’s like a snarky angel who whispers in my ear and says, “It’s time to communicate your needs or desires.”

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A Dose of Compassion

startup-photos-largeBy Coach Debby and Todd Alan


We’ve all been there, hunkered over a computer, busying our lives with an agenda, rushed to make something happen. 

We’ve been in the “separate-self” space where we believe we are on our own.  I’ve heard many people phrase it: “Everything is up to me.”  But if we stopped just for a second and asked ourselves, “What is this thing I’m working so hard to achieve?…” we might be surprised by the answer.

Most of us just want a sense of freedom, wholeness, and peace.   But we don’t know how to obtain that. Hence, the drive to succeed enters, takes over, and runs to show.

Todd and I were both trained in metaphysics where the common belief is that we came into the world completely connected to Spirit. We are not separate selves; rather, we are complete beings and we all contribute to the oneness of the universe.

Only our egoic mind keeps us feeling so estranged. 

I was reminded by a keynote speech given by Dr. Robert Holden that babies do not identify with their ego self, or as many of us might say, their self-image.

When babies are given a mirror to stare into, they will not recognize themselves until they are about 2 ½ years of age.

On the other hand, children of five, six, or seven years of age cannot get enough of the mirror.  Dr. Holden shared a testimony of his daughter’s collection of selfies.  She is enchanted with both her silly and more serious images of herself!  She has no fear to click away at the camera and delight in her own image.

By adulthood, however, that image has undergone a lot of experience that may include a bit or an enormous amount of trauma, and as a result we are competitive with ourselves and with others.

It is my understanding that a desire to escape the shame of trauma actually promotes the ego’s growth and takes over that innocent child’s experience of wholeness.

In other words, the ego naturally comes to our defense, and this is a great mechanism of protection, but we must ask if it serves us in the long run?  Or does it feed the mad and crazy idea that we must succeed to look good?  Does it keep us hunkered over the computer when it is late, our dinner is getting cold, and our family members have gone on without us?

Todd says that the great remembrance is getting ourselves into conscious awareness.  His coach Mary Morrissey encouraged him to get pictures of himself as a baby and just study the face and the expressions. Todd recalled, “When I first looked, I could see the innocence in my eyes.  As a baby, I had a sense of awe. So, I put the pictures on my mantel to help me focus on that time of pure innocence.”

Todd reminded me that these exercises do not have to be hard.

Our guest, TJ Woodward, shared his take on compassion, too:

“The moment-to-moment choices we make in our daily interactions with each other are what create the kind of world in which we live…Every situation is an opportunity to open up or to close off.  One of my favorite definitions of a spiritual experience is ‘a profound alteration in our response to [daily] life.’”

I invite you to go into your week and recall that innocent place within you. Be thoughtful about your stories that drive you to compete.

Share what is on your mind with a friend. I like to let the feeling of innocence be a wise reminder of life as a baby – so untarnished and unencumbered – with no agenda, no ego-mindset.

As Todd likes to say, “Babies have a new, fresh hard drive.”  Perhaps it is time to upgrade the hard drive with a dose of compassion.

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Before Valentines Day, Do This…

sun-heart-autumn-leaf-39379By Coach Debby

… I invite you to check in with your heart.  Are you truly having an experience of your heart today?  Are you listening to what your heart wants and desires?

I’m not referring to your dear Valentine.

I am talking about your own experience of knowing you are a loveable human being.

Without that knowledge—without really feeling the love in your heart for your SELF –- you may be experiencing just your personality, the part of you who gets stuff done.

Dr. Robert Holden, spiritual teacher extraordinaire, often asks this question of his students:  “Who are you when you are not judging yourself?” 

Some people say, “I am happy.”  Some say, “I’m really connected to something bigger and I feel alive.”  Some say, “I am free.”

Most of us can relate.  We are hungry for a sense of connection.

From his simple question, I have come to understand I am not truly happy, connected, and free when I entertain judgmental thoughts.

These are the times when I am actually turning away from happiness and freedom and busying myself with tasks, looking deeply into paperwork for my smarts and into the canisters of vacuum cleaners for a lovely appearance.

If that’s not enough distraction from my heart, I might have to employ people.  I might have to expect them to show up in a way that makes me look good or to only bring out the side of me that is smart, not raw and vulnerable and real.

What if this person is my dear Valentine?

It is at this point that I can see with great clarity that I am merely keeping up appearances and resisting my own heart. 

Therefore, it is with diligence that I revisit the question often:  Who am I when I am not judging myself?

The truth is then revealed.  I am a vulnerable human being with a big heart.  To know and embrace my vulnerability is to know my own heart AND be in a good space to share it with another.

Vulnerability gives me access to my heart.  It allows me to feel alive!  It dismantles all judgment.

Ultimately, vulnerability sets up the potential for a fantastic date!

Happy Valentines Day, from my heart to yours.

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My Practice: Mindful Walking in Town


(by Rick Heller, originally published on Spirituality & Health)

When I go for a walk in town, I turn down the volume of my inner chatter so I can focus on the wonders that lie just around the corner. I live in an ordinary town.

Wonders lie everywhere.

In order to see, hear and feel these everyday wonders, I scan the muscles of my face and relax them. I loosen my jaw, letting it drop slightly, so that my lips are together but teeth are apart. I check in with the muscles of the throat, especially the area around the Adam’s apple, and let them go.

I bring my attention to the base of my tongue, and relax any tension in the spot where the tongue connects to the lower jaw.

Inner chatter is a kind of talking to yourself; when you relax the muscles used in speech, it goes away.

The transformation is amazing. My inner speech quiets down to a whisper and my mind sharpens to a focus on the world around me. Sounds become crisper. Whether the chirps of birds or the hum of a leaf blower, I take in the symphony without the judgment that stems from the inner voice.

Sights become more vivid.

When inner silence prevails, I become more aware of how objects inhabit three-dimensional space.

When I see a sunflower stalk stand up proudly, I stand tall too. When I see a flower’s stem drooping over, my shoulders slump.

As I walk, I fully inhabit my own body. I’m inside my own legs as they move jauntily and inside my arms as they swing back and forth.

I’ve had a chance to see how the sense of wonder brought on by simply being present compares to that brought on by natural wonders.

When my wife and I traveled to Ireland, we visited the Cliffs of Moher, with a seven-hundred-foot sheer drop into the waters of the Atlantic. They were stunning. They riveted my attention—at first. We walked along the clifftops, exploring new vistas.

On the way back, though, the scenery was familiar and my attention drifted. I caught myself and decided to pay attention to my steps and to the grass in the pastures that run up nearly to the cliff edge.

That effort brought my sense of wonder back, and for some reason, I became particularly mindful of sound. I felt the same sense of wonder that I’d experienced while viewing the cliffs minutes before.

Like all other feelings, the sense of wonder is generated within the brain.

Some things, like dramatic cliffs, are better at stimulating our brains to produce the sense of wonder.

But when we become skillful at mindfulness, we can produce these states in ourselves anywhere—even during a stroll through our own neighborhood.

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