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Sunday, 20 February 2011 21:32

Meditation 101: Meditation Made Easy

Written by

Dear Maddisen:
I’d like to try meditation, but I don’t know where to start. Any recommendations? Thanks, CS

Dear CS,
Thanks for asking. I hear this question often. I’m happy to suggest a few ways to find a meditation practice, and will also provide a simple method for getting started.

Finding a method can feel overwhelming because it seems that there are so many types of meditation. To narrow it down, let's look at general categories of meditation: 

Breathing meditation – which involves sitting with eyes closed and being aware of your breath.

Empty Mind meditation – which involves sitting and emptying the mind of thoughts.

Walking or Moving meditation – which involves moving the body. This can include yoga. In my opinion, most all forms of yoga can be considered meditation.

Mindfulness meditation – which involves becoming deeply aware of what is here right now in the present, including thoughts, feelings, and sensations. The goal is to simply notice and witness what’s present, and do this without judging or analyzing any of it. This is one of my favorite methods for releasing stress and feeling peace.

Mantra meditation – which involves sitting and repeating a mantra, which is a word or phrase you repeat silently or aloud. You may choose your own mantra, or in some traditions such as Transcendental Meditation (TM), an experienced teacher gives the student a mantra.

My first official meditation training was in TM. It was a life changing experience for me, because I discovered that by simply sitting silently for only 20 minutes, 1-2 times a day, I was connecting into my self in a way that was powerfully grounding, centering, and quieting, AND I was connecting into a silent, deep knowing about the source of all life and my purpose here.

I know, that sounds pretty epic, but it’s why I so highly value meditation and stay devoted to my practice of it. And because I’m curious, I’ve benefited by trying different methods over the years. I also believe that anyone who is looking for a meditation practice, like you CS, will find the type that is best suited to them, and that it may differ from person to person. So, move in the direction that feels best to you.

To get started, feel free to try the simple mantra meditation below. If you like it, try it once a day for 32 days. You can do it twice a day too if you like, in the morning and evening.

So Hum Meditation
The So Hum Meditation technique is also known as So Ham, Soham, or Sohum. It is said to come from the Yoga school of Hindu Philosophy. So Hum is Sanskrit and literally means "I Am That" and the mantra’s aim is to bring about the natural union of your individual consciousness with divine or source consciousness.

Step 1
Sit comfortably in a cross-legged lotus pose, or in an upright position with your feet on the floor. Rest your wrists on your knees, with thumb and index fingers lightly touching.

Step 2
Set your alarm for 10-20 minutes. 

Step 3
First, take 5 deep, slow breaths through the nose.

Then, begin the So Hum meditation. INHALE slowly while silently saying the sound "Soooooo" and then slowly EXHALE while silently saying the sound "Hummmm".  Continue this, inhaling to "Sooooo" and exhaling to "Hummmm".

Step 4
When the timer goes off, let yourself sit quietly for another minute or so. Get up slowly.

The Value of So Hum and Breath
One of the easiest and most direct ways to train the breath, and in turn, regulate the nervous system, relax the body, and quiet the mind is through So Hum mantra meditation practiced at a steady, slow speed, with exhalation somewhat longer in duration than the inhalation.

If you like this technique and don’t wish to use a timer, get a set of Mala beads, and use them as your counter/timer. The typical set of mala beads has 108 beads. By counting one bead per breath, it takes about 15-20 minutes or so to complete one round of the mala. Once you read more about Mala beads, you’ll understand what I mean, and they’re easy to find.

You can find a wealth of information about meditation on the internet, in your local bookstore or library, or by asking friends who might know. Set your intention to find a meditation practice that works for you, and I have no doubt you’ll find one. And if you like this So Hum meditation, maybe you've found what you were looking for!  Remember, meditation is a practice, so be patient with your self and your mind and give it time. There’s no place like home, which is the powerful docking station called “You”.


Copyright 2011 Maddisen K. Krown M.A.


Saturday, 12 February 2011 15:44

Worry Is the Worst Use of Your Imagination

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Dear Maddisen:
I worry a lot about what I see going on in the world, and I worry about how all of this may hurt me and my family and everyone. It’s such a mess. How do we cope with all this stress? Thanks, RB

Dear RB,
Thank you for sharing your concern. I get the impression you really care about the well-being of people and the world in general, and I acknowledge you for that.

However, worry is the worst use of your imagination and your precious time here on earth, and actually the opposite of what your loved ones and the world need from you right now. When we worry, we are using our imagination to visualize negative outcomes and negative futures. And what we continuously focus on tends to manifest. So, when we worry too much, we are feeding the problems, not the solutions.

Also, worry is a form of fear, and fear often leads to immobility and feeling stuck.

Therefore, how can we possibly take rational and positive action to support the well-being and safety of ourselves and others when we’re feeling stuck and expecting negative outcomes? It’s virtually impossible to carry out supportive solutions from this position. It may be possible to take reactive action from a place of fear, but this tends to be very draining and not always well thought out or in the best interest of all involved. In fact, actions fueled by fear can be very destructive.

We have much more positive power and freedom to take life supporting actions when we visualize desired positive outcomes and move in the direction of what we want, than when we imagine the worst and resist or run despairingly away from what we don’t want. Also, research confirms that worry is bad for our physical health.

Worrying is bad for us mentally, emotionally, and physically. And it even counters our spiritual nature, because who we truly are stems from the greatest divine power that creates all of life.

RB, the mess is not the cause of your stress. Life can be messy, but it’s how we perceive the messes and behave and hold ourselves through them that’s key here. It seems your worry is a pattern that stems from thinking and/or imagining negative outcomes. You can change this. You can replace that pattern of worry with a new practice of imagining the positive outcomes that you obviously desire. In doing so, you stop fanning the fire of ‘all that’s not working’ and start fanning the fire of ‘all that is working or could be working’.

Start a daily practice of allowing yourself to imagine the positive outcomes you desire. This healthy practice will very likely help you to feel less stress, and maybe even a gradual increase of inner peace, optimism, and trust in the goodness of who you are and what you believe to be true, which is that you are not alone in caring about the well-being of all life. Believe me, you are not alone.

It is from this place of higher awareness that you can view what’s going on in the world – good or bad – from a more positive and empowered place, and be of greatest service for the highest good of all. Reaching this level of awareness and responsibility may indeed be one of the main reasons we’re here on this earth.

Michael Hyatt makes some insightful observations about worry. Here are a few: “Worry leaves you feeling drained. Imagination leaves you feeling energized. Worry makes you dread the future. Imagination makes you eager to get to the future. Worry focuses on the bad things that might happen. Imagination focuses on the good things that could happen. If you can imagine the worst—and see the possibility in it—you have turned a corner. Everything begins to shift. Worry is transformed into creativity. Question: What are you worried about? How can you turn this into an opportunity to imagine a new possibility?”

And so – how can you turn your worry into an opportunity to imagine new and more life supporting possibilities, and then act on those possibilities to support your well-being and the well-being of everyone? That’s how you reframe stress. That’s how to make the best use of your powerful imagination.

Your Life Coach,

Copyright 2011 Maddisen K. Krown M.A.


Sunday, 06 February 2011 07:05

Are You Too Unique For A Normal Career?

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This week, I had the pleasure of meeting with a fellow colleague, Career Coach David Couper, to speak with him about his new book, “Outsiders On The Inside” – How To Create A Winning Career…Even When You Don’t Fit It!

I remember when David asked me to write a review for the inside cover, so I was thrilled to hear that his book is now published. I’m blogging about this because I believe there are plenty of folks who feel like frustrated outsiders when it comes to experiencing fulfilment and success in their careers, and who might benefit from David’s expertise.

I personally spent more than a decade often feeling like a misfit in my former corporate career. Fortunately, during those years, my intense curiosity about the nature of human behaviour coupled with my passionate desire to live a fulfilled life, kept me on an unwavering and continuous path of investigation and self discovery, which ultimately led me to understand that my unique way of seeing and interacting in the world was actually a gift. Knowing this, I was then able to pursue and weave in a more deliberate path of education and training which led me into my immensely fulfilling life coaching career. And I see now how all of my experiences, including the less fulfilling, frustrating, and difficult ones, were vital building blocks for my current line of work.

If you need concrete support in transforming your uniqueness into more fulfilling work, I recommend David’s book, which is available through Amazon and Barnes&Noble. Above all, what I want to convey here is that every one of us comes into this life with a unique and vital purpose, a purpose that serves the highest good of all. Some call this our Soul purpose, and all circumstances and experiences, both positive and negative, set the stage for us to carry out and fulfil this Soul purpose. If that feels true for you, follow your Soul purpose with self respect and dedication, trust your uniqueness, and be open to the many forms of support that show up along the way.

Your Life Coach,

Copyright 2011 Maddisen K. Krown M.A.


Sunday, 30 January 2011 01:47

Another Bad Date? What Did You Expect?

Written by

Dear Maddisen:
I just went on another disastrous date. I sure can pick ‘em. I don’t think I’ll ever meet the right girl. Is this impossible to change? DM

Dear DM,
Thanks for asking such a relevant question. We won’t dig up the past here; instead we’ll address your use of language in this situation and how that’s directly influencing your experiences.

When it comes to intimate relationship with women, what do you expect? Your comments and question above suggest that you expect that you’re not good at picking the right girl, that you’ll never meet the right girl for you, and that this might be impossible to change.

Take a few seconds to reread that last paragraph, and really understand what you’ve been expecting.

These expectations are beliefs, which can function like unconscious intentions. And your intentions and the energy those intentions emit out into the world will tend to attract matching experiences. So if you expect to meet the wrong girls and you expect you’ll never meet the right one, guess what – that’s very likely what you’ll experience.

Good news! Your beliefs, expectations, and intentions can be changed, and YOU are the one who needs to change them – if that’s what you truly want. Is it what you truly want? If ‘yes’, read on.

Replace Negative Expectation with Positive Expectation (for men and women)

Step 1)
Write down 10 positive expectations that support you in having a positive relationship. For example, “I expect to meet women who are a positive match for me.” Or, “I expect to enjoy myself and my date.” Or, “I expect to give and receive lasting love.” Or, “I expect optimism in myself and in the people I choose to be close to.” Etc.

Step 2)
Read your positive expectations for 32 days. Notice if how you feel when you’re with others is more positive. Notice if you’re attracting more positive experiences and people. Be aware of your expectations and your attitude. Attitude is everything. If you notice that you’re straying toward negative and/or cynical expectations, redirect your thoughts to your positive expectations and what would make you happier.

Be Kind to Yourself
Practice self forgiveness regularly. You can read my previous blog, “Are Your Judgments Causing Your Depression,” for tips on self forgiveness. For example, forgive yourself for judging yourself for not believing in yourself, or forgive yourself for judging yourself for not expecting what you’d love to have, or forgive yourself for believing the lie that you can’t have a partner who is a positive match for you, etc.

You’re a human and you’re having typical human experiences. Be kind to yourself. Only you can change what you believe and expect, and how you respond and act in your daily life and in relationship to other people. It’s never too late to choose expectations that feel better.

Your Life Coach,

Copyright 2011 Maddisen K. Krown M.A.

Friday, 21 January 2011 20:42

Are Your Judgments Causing Your Depression?

Written by

Dear Maddisen:
Why are people so stupid? Why can’t I do anything right? What’s wrong with me? Why am I so depressed? SF

Dear SF,
There could be many influencing factors here. Let’s look at one of the simplest and most powerful factors that may be contributing to your depression and the other feelings you describe – negative judgment.

Yes, judgment. In this case, negative judgments including – Why are people so stupid? Why can’t I do anything right? Why am I so depressed?

Judgments like these can be very toxic to our mental and emotional health, because they go against our true nature, and what we know as our inherent goodness. Negative judgments of ourselves and others can be a major cause of depression.

Bottom line, SF, you are not serving your mental and emotional well being with this habit of negative judgment of yourself and others. If you want to feel better, and maybe even stop the depression, try something different and more healthy and empowering. Try self forgiveness.

I’ve talked about this in previous blogs, but let me support you here by reviewing the basic steps of self forgiveness. Start this right away, and practice daily for 32 days, then keep practicing for the rest of your life. I’m on the life practice program myself, and it’s helped me tremendously.

Start with the expression: "I forgive myself for judging myself for/as..." or “I forgive myself for judging so and so…” or “I forgive myself for believing the lie that...", and then add whatever the judgments are. Make this an audible process, meaning say these phrases out loud.

For example, "I forgive myself for judging myself as stupid.” Or, “I forgive myself for judging myself for not getting it right.” Or, “I forgive myself for judging other people as stupid.” Or, “I forgive myself for believing the lie that there’s something wrong with me.” Or, “I forgive myself for judging myself as depressed.”

First, forgive yourself, and repeat as needed, and then practice forgiving your judgments of others.

After, you can follow with this phrasing: "Because the truth is...", and then add the positive traits you know or sense to be true about yourself and others. For example, "Because the truth is I feel better when I like myself.” Or, "Because the truth is I want to feel happier.” Or "Because the truth is I want to see the good in people.”

To practice self forgiveness on-the-fly, anytime, anywhere, say the core phrase by itself, "I forgive myself for judging myself." And notice if you feel better. As Drs. Ron and Mary Hulnick suggest in their teachings, judgment tends to lock in negativity and judgment tends to keep negative behaviour patterns in place. So if you really want to feel relief from the depression that’s being caused by negative judgments, start practicing forgiveness now, even if you have to fake it ‘till you make it.

Your Life Coach,

Copyright 2011 Maddisen K. Krown M.A.

Dear Maddisen:
When I was growing up, my father was depressed most of the time, impatient, angry, and criticized everyone including me. I blame him for my problems. Why is life so unfair? CM

Dear CM,
This is a very real dilemma that many people face, and I appreciate your bringing it forward. I’ll offer my theory on this and then provide a few simple steps to help you graduate from the University of Adversity and into a life of more solutions, healthy empowerment, and even happiness.

As much as we may try to elevate or separate ourselves from the forces of nature, the truth is: we humans are part of nature. We are impacted and formed by our life experiences in much the same way as non-human forms of nature. For example, mountains are formed when two earth plates press against each other until the land is lifted and folded over itself, causing them to melt, and then the melted rock rushes upward along cracks and weak spots, bursting out as fiery volcanoes, which over time, become mountains. We could see this as a very violent and destructive process, but on the contrary, most of us see this as an awe-inspiring, creative miracle. Nature grinds, burns, and thrusts to form beauty and life.

And so it is with our human experiences. Except that we are impacted and formed by each other and by our environments and experiences! It starts with our parents or those who raise us, and continues with our siblings or roommates, teachers, strangers, colleagues, lovers, spouses, friends, foes, our environments, and basically everyone and everything we experience.

Abraham-Hicks refers to this as “contrast”, and suggests that our job is to use the contrast to see what we don’t want, so that we can then define, focus on, and manifest what we DO WANT. I agree with this and believe that the reason for all experiences is to inspire more positive and loving lives for ourselves and others.

Here’s the secret: if we experience a lot of adversity or unfairness, we tend to remember that negative pain or suffering, and then we tend to focus on IT, and that becomes our habit or pattern – focusing on the unfairness and what we don’t want – and then that’s what we tend to see everywhere and attract into our own lives. For example, perhaps you’ve had the experience of noticing a specific make and model of car, and then notice that you’re seeing that car everywhere. The mind tends to look for and attract more of the same.

Therefore, now that you know that adversity or contrast is meant to serve you and help you define what you DO want in life, NOW you can begin to focus on and look toward and take inspired actions toward the experiences you’d prefer to have!

Step 1: Starting now, take a look at your life experiences and ask yourself how these experiences may have helped you clarify and define what you DO want. Write down the positive things you DO want in your life.

Step 2: Read your desire list daily for 32 days. And practice putting your attention on the positive things you desire. On the list, you can also write: “This or something better for the highest good of all concerned.” If you notice yourself putting negative attention on what you don’t like or want, gently refocus on what you DO WANT.

CM, it sounds like it’s your time to graduate from the University of Adversity, and begin making positive choices that feel better. Try it – I believe you’ll like it!

Your Life Coach,

Copyright 2011 Maddisen K. Krown M.A.

Saturday, 08 January 2011 22:42

Is Your Lover a Dream or a Nightmare?

Written by

Dear Maddisen:
I keep picking the wrong guys. They’re like my worst nightmares come true! How can I stop doing this? Thanks, JK

Dear JK,
That’s a loaded question! Whether you’re a man or a woman, hooking up with someone who feels like a healthy and happy match can be a big challenge, and a big mystery! But I believe, and my experiences have been showing me that we definitely have the ability to be more at cause over what we experience in life, and more specifically, what kind of people and love partners we attract.

It sounds like you are ready to get out of the trunk and into the driver’s seat, and to do so, you must get clear about what you want, and then practice thoughts, feelings, and actions that support what you want. Taking control of your own life and changing from the inside is the most empowering and effective way to experience changes on the outside. Your intentions and the energy those intentions emit out into the world will tend to attract people and experiences with similar intentions and energy.

Here’s a simple and powerful exercise for women and men seeking parthership:
1) Write down all of the qualities you are seeking in your man (or woman). Be specific and try to think of everything that’s important to you.

Realize that your intention should also be to embody or practice embodying all or many of these qualities yourself if you expect to attract your someone with the same qualities.

From this list of the qualities you desire in your lover, pick a few of the most important or potent qualities, and write them on a post-it. Post this on your bathroom mirror, by your bed, on your computer, in your handbag, or anywhere you might scan it during your day. I say “scan” and not necessarily “read” the post-it’s, because this will be a good way to reprogram your unconscious.

For your conscious programming, read the full list of qualities every day for at least 32 days. Be aware of the types of men (or women) you're interacting with and considering as a potential partner. Your intention should be to hook up with a companion who matches or aligns with your llist of desired qualities.

JK, let me know if you notice positive changes within and with the types of men you’re attracted to and attracting to you. From the driver’s seat, may your journey into loving relationships align with your dreams.

Your Life Coach, Maddisen

Copyright 2011 Maddisen K. Krown M.A.


Saturday, 01 January 2011 23:13

We Are Here To Thrive, Not Just Survive

Written by

Dear Maddisen:
Another year has passed, and I feel like I was sleeping for most of it. I’m young, and I want to make this life count, but I’m feeling a little lost. How can I thrive? I need some direction. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks, and Happy New Year, MS

Dear MS,
What a great realization and a perfect question for the New Year. I agree, we are here to thrive, not just survive. And I understand how all of us may, at times, fall into different forms of complacency. The great news is: it is NEVER too late to start living with more interest, eagerness, focus, direction, and satisfaction. We can start fresh on any new day.

To help ignite your eagerness and a sense of direction, take an hour or more and answer these questions, which are actually part of my personal New Year’s program. I do this every year around this time. It fuels me forward in an empowering way, so that I know I’m thriving and not just surviving. You can do this alone, or with a partner or friend(s).

Your 2011 New Year’s THRIVE Program

Get comfortable, and answer these questions as best you can. Take notes.

1) How did you care for yourself in 2010?

2) If you had specific goals, how did you fully or partially create and experience them in 2010?

3) Acknowledge yourself for any and all growth or progress you achieved.

4) How would you like to care for yourself in 2011?

5) What are the goals you’d like to work toward and experience this year in 2011?
Write down your key goals/intentions for 2011. Look at them as often as you like – for example, once a week.

6) What are 3 or so personal qualities you’d like to call forward this year? For example, clarity, patience, kindness, thriving, inspired action, trust, courage, wealth, humor, etc.

Write down your qualities and keep them in a place where you can read them regularly. I write mine on post-its and keep them on my computer and bathroom mirror!

7) How can you support yourself or work with a friend or coach for support, on a weekly basis, to stay on track and acknowledge your progress with your milestones and goals? Consider keeping a weekly goal & quality journal where you write about your inner growth and outer actions.

Practice self forgiveness if you need to release any self criticism that comes up at any time. Remember, you can start fresh on any new day.

May these simple actions help you to thrive in your life. Happy New Year to you, and to all of my readers!

Your Life Coach, Maddisen

Copyright 2010 Maddisen K. Krown M.A.


Thursday, 23 December 2010 16:54

Is Bisexuality Wrong?

Written by

Dear Maddisen:
I consider myself a heterosexual woman. I really like being with men. But sometimes I’m sexually attracted to women too. Is that wrong? R.A.

Dear R.A.,

I do not judge attraction to both sexes as wrong. In fact, I believe it’s natural. I’m sure there are a wide range of opinions on this, so you’ll have to trust your own inner knowing.

If you read about bisexuality on the web, you’ll find lots of information. For example, Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, theorized that all human beings are born with an unconscious bisexual disposition, but that actually being bisexual is a neurosis. Psychologist Wilhelm Stekel also believed that everyone has an innate bisexual predisposition, but contended that this initial bisexual potential leads naturally to having relationships with women and men. He felt that both homosexuality and heterosexuality are symptoms of a neurosis, since being exclusively attracted to one sex requires suppressing or redirecting a basic part of oneself. He was quoted as saying, “There are no monosexual persons!”  Later on, biologist Alfred Kinsey did extensive research that highlighted the inadequacy of reducing human sexuality to either heterosexual or homosexual. And so on…

Just about everyone has an opinion, and since you’re asking mine, I’m suggesting that bisexuality is not wrong. However, you are the one who will have to decide if it’s something you wish to explore further. If it feels ‘right’ to you, perhaps set an intention to just allow it to be ok, give it space, and be open to healthy experiences that are in your highest good and the highest good of all. Being ok with how you feel may be all that’s needed here.

Your Life Coach, Maddisen

Copyright 2010 Maddisen K. Krown M.A.


Sunday, 19 December 2010 18:20

Are You Choosing to Feel Bitter or Better?

Written by

Dear Maddisen:
I’m so tired of complaining and feeling dissatisfied with things in my life, but I seem to be stuck here. How can I feel better? H.L.

Dear H.L.,

When we’re feeling negative emotions, it often feels as though we are in their grasp and helplessly stuck, and it doesn’t feel good at all. This may also taint our clarity and any sense of power we have over how we’re feeling or the situation itself. The good news is – we have the freedom to choose how we feel.

We have the freedom to choose how we respond and how we treat or ‘hold’ ourselves as we navigate experiences like this. Many if not most of us have developed a pattern of believing that we are victims of our feelings and reactions, and the truth is – we are not. We may not have control over the way others behave or act, but we do have control over the way we respond to others and life with our thoughts, our emotions, and our actions. It’s our natural, built-in ‘response-ability’.

Here’s a priceless morsel of wisdom I learned from my teachers Drs. Ron and Mary Hulnick: How you treat yourself as you go through issues, IS the issue. So, be very kind to yourself as you take steps to break the old pattern of forgetting that you have the freedom to choose better feelings and more empowering and positive thoughts.

To assist yourself in getting unstuck from the negative emotions, move into self forgiveness. Start with the expression: "I forgive myself for judging myself for..." or "I forgive myself for judging myself as...", and then add whatever the judgments are. For example, “I forgive myself for judging myself for feeling depressed and stuck.” Or, “I forgive myself for judging myself as unworthy.” Be thorough with self forgiveness, and then complete it with “Because the truth is…” For example, “Because the truth is I want to feel better.” Or, “Because the truth is I want to live a fulfilling life.” (See my 2-part blog on Self Forgiveness for more information.)

And to keep yourself moving forward, repeat this: “I am choosing to feel better not bitter.”

Life is a full and mysterious journey. You’re here, you’re alive. Let yourself experience your life with self respect and respect for others. Practice your innate response-ability. Get out of the trunk and get back into the driver’s seat. You can choose to feel better, not bitter.

Your Life Coach, Maddisen

Copyright 2010 Maddisen K. Krown M.A.

Friday, 10 December 2010 16:03

December is Gratitude Month

Written by
This week, I’m breaking out of the ‘Ask Maddisen’ mold to speak about gratitude, more specifically, gratitude for people who touch your lives. Two weeks ago, my dear friend Alice Strouse in Connecticut made her final departure from life. She was 85, and had lived a full and rewarding life. She was a teacher at my high school in the 70’s, my first mentor, a friend, lifesaver, and great inspiration. We stayed in touch with each other through the years. She came to see me in my Off Broadway show in New York City a few years ago, and our photo from that event sits here in front of me as I write this blog.
Monday, 29 November 2010 13:26

Is Your Heart Breaking or Breaking Open?

Written by

Dear Maddisen:
I recently had my heart broken. And now the holidays are here, which is making me feel even more sad and lonely. I don’t have a partner and I don’t have family. I literally feel contracted around my heart and my stomach, and I guess you could say I’m depressed. How do I deal with this? Please help. Thanks, M.R. 

Dear M.R., 

Thank you for your honesty. I’d like you to consider that your heart is not broken, but that your heart is actually telling you it is ready to be broken open – open to more love, your love, the love that is not dependent on others.

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