Towards New Beginnings


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After four days of haziness and relatively poorer air quality due to the effects of forest fires burning North of us in Canada, I wake up today to clear skies and the Sun beaming down in all its strength as it makes its ascent into the day. Even the birdsongs seem a bit crisper and more joyous, and a sense of greater peace seems to be present in the morning routine of the robins who visit the backyard. I decide to walk barefoot on the grass, absorbing the lightest of the moisture over from last night’s dew, as I break into a spontaneous chant of ‘Earth, Earth, Earth…’ with every step.

This combination of walking barefoot and thanking the Earth at each step is a new beginning for me – something that I was prompted to do during meditation earlier this morning. On the East-facing side of the lawn, I check on the hydrangea bushes that are getting ready to bloom any day now. The ones in full morning sunshine are farther along than the one that sits in the shade on the western end as the latter only gets sunlight from the late afternoon sun and its buds haven’t quite emerged yet. Regardless, it feels like a new beginning is imminent for all of the hydrangeas, the young and the old. The same goes for the willows — the three older ones with the two year head-start that are almost dwarfing the two younger ones next to them by the fence line.

The mother rabbit who shows up every morning and evening loves them all as she takes turns sitting in the shade of the willows, young and old, gathering food for her young children so that they can thrive in their new beginnings every day. The days of haziness haven’t much disrupted her routine. A family has to be fed. The dogs often sit on the deck looking for signs of movement under the willows, ready for the chase as soon as they detect her movement – rarely does a new day begin for them without a sprint along the fence line. They have no chance of catching her because she’s faster, and there’s a fence between them!

And yet, their daily ‘failure’ at chasing the rabbit doesn’t ever deter them from asking the same question multiple times every day – will today be a new beginning where we may perhaps ‘succeed’? There is no certainty in the answers to the questions surrounding new beginnings, but there can often be an emergence of new clarity that creates courage. With new courage, we may explore a bit more, expand our circle of awareness and inquiry, and find ourselves facing new experiences, which in turn create ‘new’ beginnings for us. The wheel of a every beginning gradually comes full circle, even though the circle may never fully close.

Is that what ‘graduation’ is perhaps all about – a gradual opening of the chrysalis so that blood can flow into the wings and the butterfly can emerge?

New beginnings can often come with their challenges and opportunities for overcoming too. It makes no difference whether you are a new rose bush emerging from winter, a baby rabbit surviving through spring, a team of blackbirds chasing away hawks and vultures from their ‘no fly zone’ or rabbits using camouflage as the primary mode of defense for their newborns. As I look forward to traveling to a high-school graduation event this Saturday, I wonder – what will my niece’s new beginnings hold for her? What surprises may await her as she navigates college in a new town later this year? How will the family dynamic in her home change as she, the eldest daughter, leaves the nest for new skies and new storms? What will the new beginning mean to her life?

For me, new beginnings are synonymous the energetic flow of life itself . How about you? What do new beginnings signify to you? How do you celebrate them? What could you create with your next ‘graduation’ when a new beginning is flowed into you?


P.S. Join us for our weekly gathering and twitter chat in #SpiritChat, Sunday June 11 at 9amET / 1pmGMT / 630pm India. I invite you to bring some ideas and images that convey ‘new beginnings’ to you. Namaste – @AjmaniK

The hydrangeas are ready to bloom – new beginnings await!

Spirit of Perfection


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We had installed the retractable awning last summer, to create some shade on the deck for the hours when the Sun reaches its zenith in the southwest sky in the early afternoon hours from May through September. The angle of the awning isn’t quite perfect to fully block the Sun from beating down upon us in the evening hours, but that’s a different story for a different day. It’s on a long to-do list of things that sit undone.

As best as I can remember, the robin began building her nest between the siding and the bracket supporting the awning in early spring this year. I first noticed the nest in early May when I was cleaning the deck floor with a power washer to get it ready for the season. I could understand why she picked an apparently perfect spot — under the roof overhang to avoid the rain , behind the bump in the wall to avoid the storm winds, in a corner to avoid direct sighting by predators. Almost perfection.

But why did she build a nest on a beam that held a movable structure that would be used by us all summer? Is it because she had no way of knowing she had built on a movable awning? Maybe she followed the example of the other nest, which is on the other side of the same siding, in the nook between the downspout and the fireplace wall? There was no way for me to know her why, but the question was – what to do about the nest so we could open the awning?

Over the past two weeks, I observed the nest closely to see if there was any activity around it. It became apparent that the builder had moved on as soon as she realized that humans would be in her active space of raising her children. On Friday evening, as the Sun was setting, I decided to climb a ladder, and gently remove the robin’s handiwork.

I was greatly relieved to see that there were no eggs in the nest. At least there was on apparent loss of life. As an engineer, I was astounded to see the level of detail that had gone into the construction. It was as close to perfection as one can imagine. It was so snugly fitted and wedged between the siding and the awning that no storm was going to ever budge it from its place. The base or foundation, which one couldn’t see from the ground, was constructed of a couple of inches of ‘bird cement’ made of a special mix of mud, tiny gravel and wood chips. On top of the mud base was an exquisite basket woven in a perfect circle with layer upon layer of grass in multiple colors, about an inch and a half tall and four or so inches across. There was also some ‘bird decor and ribbon’ around the rim!

As I look back on the experience, the whole nest, along with its placement, was simply breathtaking in its elegance and beauty. There was no mistaking that this work of art was created by a divinely skilled crafts-being who has honed their craft over millions of years to a level of perfection that humans like me have trouble fathoming. I would challenge human hands and tools to create anything approaching such elegance.

For now, the nest sits on a high table on the deck, next to some outdoor plants growing in small containers in a perfect pattern of their own individuality, under the blue canopy of a cloudless sky. I am at a bit of a loss about what to do with it for now, but I am sure that time will provide that guidance. In the meanwhile, I wonder if the nest wasn’t really abandoned, and that it is a message, a reminder to me of the infinite perfections that life is creating around me and within me in every moment.

Perhaps the question isn’t whether perfection exists — it is whether I can remember to keep my heart’s path open to its potential.


P.S. Join us for our weekly gathering and twitter chat in #SpiritChat, Sunday June 4 at 9amET / 1pmGMT / 630pm India. I invite you to bring some thoughts, writings, images that convey perfection to you. Namaste – @AjmaniK

The perfect nest… a messenger of life’s possibilities and creativity

Sources of Inspiration


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It is perhaps in seeking a large refill of inspiration that has made the weekly nature walk a lifestyle habit for me. This week, I happened to make a list of some of the sights and sounds that were sources of inspiration on Friday morning.

A narrow bridge between two small mounds of grass. Blackbirds showing exquisite flight control in the midst of a swift breeze. The play of light and shadows under partly overcast. transitioning skies. Remnants of last night’s campfires in fire pits. Lunch tables in the grass, arranged in a circle. A white tailed deer who sighted me and bounded away in the forest. A windmill by the water that alternates between stillness and speeding up to the pace of the wind. A hare that sighted me and scampered across the path to the apparent safety of his brood.

And there were so many more elements that filled me with inspiration in the short walk. Every single element had a lightness, a simplicity, a nonchalance, a spontaneity about it; perhaps that is what made them unique, never to be repeated sources of inspiration. It is when we encounter the unexpected in nature, when we get glimpses of the infinite possibilities of life in our daily living, that we get filled with inspiration, don’t we?

I often wonder if my weekly walks are to remind myself of the truth that the greatest source of inspiration lies within me; nature simply reflects my remembrance of that source. How about you? What are some of your sources of inspiration? What are some qualities of those sources that keeps you returning to them? How do you stay inspired between ‘refills’ from your source(s)?


P.S. Join us for our weekly gathering and twitter chat, Sunday May 21 at 9amET / 1pmGMT / 730pm India ~ share your inspiration. Namaste ~ @AjmaniK

Friday morning walk refills me with inspiration

A Mother’s Heartbeat


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I am walking the shore, looking at all the trees that have already shed all their blooms, when I suddenly come upon a late bloomer. It is full of the fragrance that I first felt, that announced its presence to me, invited me to visit with her. As I get closer, I take my sun-glasses off to view the astonishing sight created by this single tree. It is nonchalantly shedding blooms with every breath, not only onto the ground but also onto the heavy green algae sitting in the lake. The surface of the water is a triple layer of barely visible blue, covered by heavy green, and a carpet of fragrant white lightness covering it all like frosting in a cake. And the frosting is fragrant!

The resident blackbirds have spotted me now, and are creating a big ruckus, perhaps alerting the geese family with their newborns who are growing rapidly to adulthood, about the arrival of the ‘Friday Morning Walker’s’ intrusion. My heart has been captured by the tapestry in the water, and I move a few hundred yards to the opposite shore to get a better view of it all. The breeze picks up a bit on this warming morning, and every so often, the combination creates an ethereal shower of white on the water, whose thickness is starting to match the green algae underneath.

From my new vantage point on the other shore, I can see a second tree in the distance which has created its own field of white in the lake waters below it. The fragrance of the two, located about fifty feet from each other, is combining to create a new sense of harmony in the stillness. The heartbeats of the two trees seems to permeate everything that they do, including the giving with joy of the very blooms that make them so radiant and fragrant.

Is that what I am meant to absorb and take away from the walk this morning — to remember that the heartbeat of Mother Nature, of a Mother, is to bloom for all, to send life-giving energy to all in the world who are receptive to it?

I can stand here all morning and just observe my own heartbeat slow down and synchronize with that of the petals now seemingly falling in suspended animation. I think I will do just that. It feels good to harmonize with the fragrance and the unstruck sound of the universal Mother’s heartbeat.

Let the world wait.


P.S. Join us for our weekly twitter gathering and conversation in #Spiritchat, Sunday May 14 at 9amET / 1pmGMT / 630pm India. We will listen and share with each other. Namaste – @AjmaniK

Focusing on Contentment


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I am sitting on the hilltop of the bird reservation, surrounded by water on both sides of the narrow path that brought me here, immersed in the sounds of geese calls and wrens, the silent flight of a pelican, the occasional screech of an orange-breasted blackbird, and more. An almost warming breeze blows from the East as the sun reaches high enough in the sky to cast a shadow longer than me on the bench in front of me. I try and pick one element to focus on, to let it all absorb me on this Friday morning, perhaps to even fill me with contentment.

It isn’t happening. My senses are all over the place.

A pair of great white egrets takes off from the western side of the marsh, flies within a few dozen feet of me, and circles around to the eastern side of the waters, gaining height with every flap of their four foot odd wingspans, and disappears on the far side of the marsh where the forest is thick and they perhaps have nests with babies. The swathe of their wings and their soundless flight helps with focus, as I only engage sight and sound.

Getting closer to contentment?

There are a couple of humans on the far side of the western marsh, towing their ten thousand dollar camera rigs with zoom lenses as big as the egrets that just flew by. The day is perfect for their excursion, and I am sure they are doing better with focusing in their own activity than I am. You can tell the ones who have been there for a while, the experienced photogs — they seem a lot more relaxed than the newbies.

Maybe I need to just relax and contentment will follow?

A pair of geese emerges from the waiter into the grassy shore in front of me, chaperoning their five newborns between them for safety. I don’t know how much of contentment they have, but they have surely have parenting work to do. How can parenting, or any type of ‘work’ bring us contentment? Maybe I digress.

And so goes the morning. More water fowl, more music, more light, another pair of pure white geese floating by, geese pairs in various stages of nesting and resting, and so much more. I could stand on this hillock all day long, keep writing, keep absorbing, keep taking photos, and keep renewing the heart — and maybe some day I will just do that.

The work of relaxation, of focusing on the heart rarely ever gets old because of the result is the feeling of contentment that one feels within. Sometimes, the work involves detours. My regular Friday morning trail was closed due to all the rain this week – and so I decided to come to the bird reservation instead. As I walked back, as slowly as I possibly could, absorbing it all like i do at the end of every morning meditation, I am filled with gratitude that this nirvana exists, is accessible within a few minutes of where I live.

It is said that if we can focus on what we truly want in life, if we develop a single over-arching spiritual purpose or goal in life, contentment will want to be with us and within us. Maybe that’s the question from today’s walk for me — can you primarily focus on one thing at a time, maybe even for all time? Would you be content with That?

P.S. join us for our weekly twitter chat, Sunday May 7 at 9amET / 1pmGMT / 630pmIndia in #SpiritChat. Namaste – @AjmaniK

Focusing on the walk… we can start to see the light of contentment

Our Walking Companions


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A female goose floats in the huge lake as the rain gently falls on this last Friday of April.

A female mallard sits in stillness on the inclined lakeshore as the male stands guard. I wonder if she is sitting on eggs, and if so, what defense do they really have against any attackers? Is it perhaps why they hang out by the bigger geese, who at least have some means, however limited, to ward off folks who may come near them with their beaks and demeanor? The ducks literally have no defense, other than that of the community which they reside in.

The goose has now come near the shore where I stand. Her peace is remarkable as she sits still in the rain. The father has now joined in the swim, even though he is about thirty feet away from her, which is about the same distance that she stands from me. We form an isosceles triangle whose base is the sixty foot distance between me and the father, who is slowly turning away and lengthening the gap between me and him.

The mother is now floating in the smallest of circles, virtually in place, in the clear portion of the water surrounded by heavy layers of algae. I am writing as I watch, a few feet from the water on the third of four steps, where the next step I take will put me right next to the water. I take that final fourth step and I must have crossed her line because she instantly sets off an alarm call. I step back and she is immediately silenced, as if I must have stepped back from her circle of perceived danger.

The rain keeps falling, even picks up pace for a while, and I am still standing still as I write, right next to an apple tree with the softest of white petals in full bloom on my right and a crab-apple tree in the distance on the far shore where the sun rises on my left. She has moved away from me a bit – the two sides of the isosceles are about forty feet now.

Oh wait. The father has returned to the far side of the lake to the shore by the windmill, to check on the three babies that have hatched over the past week or so. She gets a bit more trusting of me in my stillness, as she is now only twenty feet away, eyes towards where her babies are on the far side.

The rain is really starting to pick up now, but the tree that is literally growing leaves as I write is providing enough of an umbrella that I can keep writing. I am also in the company of the birdsongs coming from the tall trees lining the shore where the mallard couple is still parked. I can see that the goslings are now playing in the rain in the distance.

The mother has apparently decided that it is time to head back to the newborns, as the male of an incoming couple of geese tries to go after her and chases her out of the lake. The alarm calls go out from amid the trees that two intruders have arrived to claim the waters. Serenity turns to stress in a few seconds, and the mallard couple decides to take off. Such can be the cadence of life during a morning walk on the lake with friends.

The smallest of the newborns has now ventured almost to the middle of the lake. The rain is filling my phone’s screen with raindrops and I can barely write any more. It’s time to perhaps head back to dryness.

As I head back to where my car is parked, I’m glad, as I always am, that I decided to ignore the mind’s rationalizations and walked anyway today. On the final stretch, I remember to express gratitude to the new parents and their goslings, the mallards in their stillness, the resplendent apple blossoms, the birdsongs, the rain, and even the intruding geese who eventually disrupted the reverie.

Every walk, even around the same lake and on the same trails, is different. It is perhaps because my heart and its receptivity is a bit different in every walk. I am particularly reminded today that even though I start every walk by myself, I never really end up walking alone – companions inevitably join in.

How about you – why do you walk? What are your favorite walking paths? Who are your frequent traveling companions?


P.S. Do join the friends of #SpiritChat as we gather in twitter in our weekly walk on Sunday April 30 at 9amET / 1pmGMT / 630pm India. We will walk, rain or shine, with some conversation and questions. Namaste – AjmaniK

Apple blossoms in the rain – my walking companions on a spring morning…

Through Earth’s Grace


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It’s Earth Day today, April 22 2023. I am waking to heavy rain bringing in a cold front. Rain, shine, fog or snow, I am deeply grateful whenever my day begins with…

The first step is to sit comfortably and feel the healing light and energy from the Earth entering the body through the tips of each and every toe. This light is then moving slowly through the feet, the ankles, the legs, the knees, the thighs, and pausing in the torso. The Earth’s light then moves up along the back, rests in the shoulders, shifts to the front and moves up along the stomach and the chest, and relaxes the entire upper body. Down along the arms and elbows and wrists it goes, reaching all the way to each fingertips, filling them with light. The Earth’s light then shifts to the neck, the jaw, the face, lips, nose, eyelids, ear lobes, forehead, and finally emerges from the top of the head, relaxing everything it touches.

Every single morning that I remember to accept the grace of the Earth’s healing light, and practice the sequence of relaxation described above, I am reminded of the Earth’s ever-presence and its ever-giving. In my experience, the beauty of the relaxation practice is in its simplicity, its accessibility and its sustainability.

I imagine that every one of us has their own ‘go-to’ practice of relaxation, renewal and inner restoration that taps into the ever-abundant grace of Mother Earth and her ever-flowing resources that are all around us. There is often one or more of Earth’s five core elements that we may have an affinity for – water, earth, fire, air and ether – and the elements we choose for our practices may even change over time.

Which of Earth’s element(s) do you have an affinity for in your daily practices? Are there any particular physical senses that are most effective for you to connect with the core of Earth’s ever-loving grace? How does the health of your physical relationship with the Earth influence your inner awareness of truth and existence?


P.S. Join us Sunday April 23 at 9amET for our weekly gathering and conversation in #SpiritChat on twitter as we celebrate ‘Earth Week’. Bring some of your favorite Earth-photos and Earth-poems to share. Namaste – @AjmaniK

Resources: More details of the ‘Earth’s healing-light relaxation’ are available at or in the free HeartsApp app.

Apple blossoms blooming…
(Earth Day 2023… Happy Birthday, Mom!)

The Effortless Search


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Some mornings, the beauty and the stillness and the majesty simply engulfs and envelops and immerses you in ways you would or could scarcely imagine.

The combination of the light, the stillness, the warmth, the layers of sounds and colors and life happenings come at you from so many directions as summer visits spring, albeit briefly, a bit earlier than usual.

It is one of those days where you have somewhat put your grand search in suspended animation to subconsciously mimic within what you are observing with your senses of sight, hearing, smell, touch, and even taste being activated simultaneously by the stillness of new life emerging around you.

You are watching the sky transitioning into the same crystal blue that is reflecting in the pond partially covered with algae as the sun rises above the crab-apple and cottonwood trees and you catch yourself getting too close to the edge of the lake where a mother goose sitting on her eggs is watching you in stillness with half closed eyes.

There is a grandiosity about it all which would perhaps rival the great palaces of ancient times, all conjured by the energy of a morning on a trail that you have walked many a time in many seasons and yet, today, in this hour, it all looks different because you sense that the observer isn’t really making any effort to observe – the searching, the fighting or flighting has melted away for a while and all that remains is the floating.

It is when we meet effortlessness on the path, our walk – and sometimes it happens when we aren’t intentional about being effortless; maybe it can truly only happen when we are unintentional about it – that we come face to face with the realization fed by submerging in what is all around us, all encompassing, without form, without definition, beyond time and space and division- that our grand search in nature is about our effort to find that One in the many that already exists within us.

Maybe we need to stop trying so hard to meet That who has been patiently waiting for us ~ to drop our senses, or at least merge all of them so that we can be immersed in the awareness that our search is already complete. Perhaps all we need to do is let ourselves be awakened from our dream that we, the beloved, with all the tenderness of the dew drops of the world within us, are somehow separate from the ocean.

How much effort is that search, that awakening, really going to take?

Spring blooms everywhere on my path…


P.S. Join us for our weekly gathering and twitter chat, Sunday April 16 at 9amET / 1pm UTC / 630pm India with the #SpiritChat community, as we discuss the how and why if searching effortlessly. Namaste ~ @AjmaniK

Seasons of Renewal


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The first day of April started like most days of the last two weeks of March. Morning meditation was followed by writing of morning pages by by cracking open the window of the upstairs bedroom to hear the birdsongs of spring and breathe in the breeze whistling through the fast-greening willow bushes. However, today, there were some additional sounds that I hadn’t heard in a while.

These were the sounds of the excitement of children laughing and giggling amid the raucousness of the geese on the lake. I could see neither groups, hidden as they were from my line of sight as I looked straight across the inlet that opens up onto the wider portion of the water. Where were all the kids, and what were they doing outside in what sounded like very large numbers on this brilliantly lit Saturday morning?

My questions were answered as I came downstairs and walked into the backyard with the dogs for their morning play. The hill across from my yard, just beyond the fast-greening willows, was filled with plastic eggs of different hues and colors. The laughter was coming from the kids who were all gathering with their parents for the annual egg-hunt on this Saturday before Easter. It is always a joy to see the anticipation of so many young kids getting excited about something so simple as the idea of collecting eggs filled with candy on a Saturday morning.

Why did such a simple community create such a sense of joy and renewal in my heart?

One reason for renewal was perhaps because the event was simple, it was outdoors, and it brought together the local community for a celebration that adults and kids were enjoying. The lines at the two ‘food trucks’ — one selling fancy hot chocolate and treats, the other offering gourmet pizza and snacks — spoke volumes about the renewal being offered to the body. The laughter of the kids as they traversed the hill for their eggs spoke about the renewal of the heart and raised the spirits of all those watching and participating. 

Morning meditation filled with light, followed by writing of morning pages, watching a community event filled with kids over coffee with the family and the dogs — my heart was filled and renewed, and it wasn’t even 11am yet on the first day of April! What else was this season of spring going to hold in renewal for me? I can’t wait to find out.

How about you? How do you discern when it is time to set an intention for inner renewal? Have you found yourself seeking to renew particular areas in specific ‘seasons’ of your life?  What seasons or events create a sense of spontaneous renewal for you? 


P.S. Join us for our weekly chat and community gathering in #SpiritChat on twitter, Sunday April 2 at 9am ET/ 1pm UTC / 630pm India. We will talk about the seasons, about renewal, and make some new friends. I will bring some questions, and look forward to your spontaneous answers. Namaste – @AjmaniK

A butterfly visits a hydrangea in bloom / and I wonder / who is renewing whom?

Freeing Yourself from Expectations! by @AwakeningTrue


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Over the past few months, the weight of expectations has been a frequent topic in conversations with family and friends, and in my own thinking, journaling, and choices.  Each of us has a very personal relationship with the many expectations in our lives — our expectations of ourselves, what we expect from others and, of course, what we believe other people expect from us.  

Can expectations be positive? Of course! My parents had expectations that my brother and I would be kind and compassionate, that we would study while we were in school, and that we would become “responsible adults.”  I am certain that there can be many positive effects of expectations throughout our lives.  What I have been considering recently, though, are the other types of expectations, those that become the SHOULDs that weigh us down.  Those expectations can add stress and pressure to our lives, and often result in self-judgment and self-criticism. They distract us from our experience of inner-peace and joy.  

Expectations come in all shapes and sizes, and they can be REAL expectations that have been communicated to us or by us, or they can be IMAGINED expectations that are born in our assumptions about what others want from us.  Either way, expectations can become invisible burdens that we carry with us every day.  They weigh us down, but we carry them only because we decided to carry them.  We are the only ones who can create the pressure of expectations in our lives.  It is true that other people can expect things from us, but what they expect from us can only create pressure if we allow it.  The choice is always ours.

I have decided to surrender my habit of creating unrealistic expectations for myself, and my habit of accepting the weight of other people’s expectations.  I have decided that being free of weighty expectations is a state of mind, and a state of heart.  I invite you to release the pressure of expectations, real or imagined, and to let go of what others think of you, want from you, and expect of you.

Let’s explore feeling free!  Let’s explore moving through our days listening to our heart instead of listening to that voice – ours or someone else’s – telling us what we should do.  Let’s explore a life where there is no SHOULD.  Let’s imagine ourselves as beautiful, brightly-colored balloons, floating without resistance, gratefully choosing to soar above the tethers that would weigh us down. 

Sharon Kathryn D’Agostino —@SharonDAgostino, @AwakeningTrue and @SayItForwardNow 

Author’s bio: I believe in the power of love, compassion, kindness, forgiveness, and gratitude! And I believe that each of us has an important role in shaping a kinder, gentler, more compassionate world for all.

Kumud’s note: Join our weekly twitter chat, Sunday March 26 at 9amET / 1pmGMT / 630pm India with Sharon as she steps up to lead #SpiritChat with her insights and questions. Thank you, Sharon!

Freedom from Expectations…

Photo Credit: © Blueenayim |