At this time of year when the veil between the physical world and the spiritual world is at its thinnest and most transparent, I’m struck by the emergence of seemingly non-coincidental coincidences.  In this edition of Soul Notes, allow me to share a story of what happened a couple weeks ago.

Fanciful financials

This year for me has been one of self empowerment – in my outlook on life, my relationships, and in my money matters. Among other things, I’ve been taking a more active role in creating and stewarding my wealth.  Along those lines, in reviewing my credit card statements this month, I discovered multiple charges on one of my accounts, that I did not authorize.

If you’re anything like me, calling an 800 number and working through a myriad of voice prompts and being put on hold for great lengths of time is not high on your joy list.  Even lower on the list is calling a credit card company to challenge hundreds of dollars in charges.  So, I took charge (pun intended!) of the situation by allowing the experience to be a lot more pleasant and perhaps even fanciful.  Fanciful financials, why that would be wonderful, wouldn’t it?

I set the intention that, instead of taking on my usual dread of calling a credit card company, I would first make a call of a different kind.  I took a deep breath, got quiet, and called in the angels.  Not any ol’ angels mind you – I called in angelic helpers of a certain variety, namely those looking for a specific type of assignment.

My spiritual call went something like this:

 “Hello…any fanciful financial angels available in this moment?  Especially ones who are good at facilitating the resolution of billing disputes, so that I may remain calm and patient throughout, and get this resolved smoothly, today, if possible?”

Okay, if you’re thinking that this blog post is getting way too hocus pocus for your taste, stay with me.  My wish is that this lil’ story serves as a heartwarming respite from the otherwise heavy news you may be reading elsewhere today.

Wonderful wonders

Remember the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life”?  Originally released during the 1940s, it’s now considered to be an all-time favorite holiday classic.

Jimmy Stewart plays the protagonist George Bailey who at the beginning of the film, we find out, considers himself to be a failure.  He wishes that he had never been born.  The film continues to weave between two “realities” – one where George’s life and the lives of those around him take a certain course; in the other, without George, those same events transpire in an entirely different way.

It is through the intervention of a visitor in town, a messenger named Clarence, that we and George see the true value of George’s life, and the vivid impact his life has had on everyone around him.

Near the end of the movie, George is seen standing next to his wife in front of a Christmas tree, with his daughter in his arms.  George looks down to find a book gifted to him by his friend Clarence, inscribed with prophetic words, and ending in: “Thanks for the wings!”

At that moment, a jingle-jangle is heard, and the camera zooms in on a small bell hanging on the Christmas tree.

The daughter points to it, and says:

“Look Daddy!

Teacher says, every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.”

George says to her, in response:

“That’s right.  That’s right.”

Looking up and winking, George says:

  “Attaboy, Clarence!”

~     ~     ~     ~     ~     ~     ~

Now, back to my credit card story.  After I had invoked the fanciful-financial-spirit-helpers-on-assignment, I took another deep breath, and dialed up Bank of America on their customer service line.  With renewed faith and an uncommon-for-me dose of patience, I followed the multiple recorded voice prompts, and then waited calmly on hold, when eventually a person came on the line.

“Hello,” she says.

“This is Angel.”

What the what?  Come on, you’re kidding me, right?  I say this to myself, and then smile as I realize what’s happening…Well, of course her name is Angel.

I feel a gush of glee and satisfaction, and think to myself:  Well, this truly is fanciful financials!

Angel couldn’t have been more helpful.  She carefully reviewed my account and the disputed charges, and assured me that she would do what she could to get the charges removed.  To do that, she said, she would need to call the merchant.

Rather than hanging up with me – or giving me the usual “we will look into it and you may or may not see any changes reflected on your next statement” – Angel did something that in my experience was a first:  she offered to call the merchant while I was still on the phone, so that we could get everything taken care of in one fell swoop.

A three-way call

Here’s how the next part of the conversation went:

Angel:  “I have the merchant’s representative on the line, Lori.”

Lori:  “Angel, will you stay on the line, too, or are you transferring?”

Angel:  “Yes, I’ll stay on the call with you.  Here he is…”

I listen for his voice, and he says:

“Hello, this is Clarence.”

We worked it out, and all disputed charges were removed.




For your consideration:

Now is an ideal time to invite in clear communication and assistance from behind the veil. So, I leave you with these words from Train’s “Calling All Angels”:

“I need a sign to let me know you’re here
‘Cause my TV set just keeps it all from being clear

… And I’m calling all angels
I’m calling all you angels”

Okay, your turn:

What messages are coming through for you in your life?  Are you calling in any angels?

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences by leaving a Reply in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2016 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.

“A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats”

Perhaps you’ve heard the expression:  “A rising tide lifts all boats”?  It comes up in a number of contexts, from religious, to spiritual, to economic. In this edition of Soul Notes, we take heed in the idea that what serves one, serves all.


The phrase “a rising tide lifts all boats” is one made famous in a speech by John F. Kennedy.  He didn’t coin the phrase, although it is sometimes attributed to him.  There are various accounts of it being earlier adopted and used as a motto by a number of organizations dating as far back as the early 1900s.  Most notably, it is believed to have its true origins among fishermen who likely handed it down as folklore throughout the United States’ northeastern seaboard.

In political spheres, the phrase often pertains to economic proposals designed to serve the greater good of all. It’s reminiscent of Alexandre Dumas’ clarion call in his now-classic The Three Musketeers: “All for one and one for all; united we stand divided we fall.”   Interestingly enough, both phrases, while putting the emphasis on the rising, also suggest the falling.

Steeped in a particularly polarizing presidential election cycle in the United States, I find myself as I write this, drawn into deep reflection with regard to both sides of this equation.

It’s almost as if we as voters are on a cantilever, with all of us subject to sliding right off!

What struck me as swiftly as a ray of light was this:

~ What serves one, serves all.

And with equal veracity…


~ What disserves one, disserves all.

I realize it’s not entirely that simple. There are indeed levels of gradation between and among persons, politics, economics and policies – in theory, and more importantly, in action and in how those actions play themselves out.  There are ripple effects from the middle as well as from along the sides.  It is at the extremes, however, where we find the starkest contrast and I would suggest, the opportunity to see with the most focused clarity. Perhaps that is what this election affords us.  It may be its most saving grace.

Rising with the tide, not against it

I’ve stood on many a shoreline, getting in boats, and getting out of boats. The water is in motion, as are the boats as they float and bob, hither and thither, as we attempt to provide a steady hand to the boat and each other.  Gently timed with the ever changing tide, I’ve coordinated with others to ensure the tide lifts the boat and us along with it.  It helps to work synergistically with each other, and all the while honoring and respecting the natural flow of the tides.  Doing it that way facilitates the embarking on our voyage as we head off and away from land’s end.  Equally as beautifully, oneness and unity helps get us back onto terra firma in much the same fashion.

Shall we rise?

Rising with the tide in our daily lives:  What does that mean for each of us?  It starts with awareness, followed by concerted action.  Together, in harmony with each other and with nature, we rise more effortlessly and for the benefit of all.  Perhaps an election year blesses us with that opportunity:  to bring that awareness to the forefront and into our hearts.  It highlights an opportunity to make heartfelt decisions from a place of a greater appreciation for all.  May we make our choices from that place.

United we stand; united we fall.

Musings for an election cycle, and

on this new moon.

For your consideration

As a gentle reminder, I leave you with these words, from Yogi Bhajan:

If you can’t see God in all, you can’t see God at all.

Okay, your turn:

What does rising (or falling) together, all at the same time, mean to you? Is it valuable to us as individuals?  As a collective?

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences by leaving a Reply in the Comments section, below.  Soul-to-soul!

© 2016 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.

Close on the heels of the Olympic Games, I recently found myself contemplating excellence and what that means in today’s world. I discovered, as it turns out, that along with respect and friendship, excellence is one of the Olympics’ three core values, as set forth by the International Olympic Committee. Excellence is an important element of what many consider to be inherent in the athletes who perform “at that level.”

In this edition of Soul Notes, let’s hold in our hearts this notion of excellence.  What, if any, purpose does it serve?  Is it a worthy goal, an end state?  Or, is it rather a state of being?  Is it something to be embodied, rather than pursued?  Does it matter?  Does embracing excellence (or, its opposite – not embracing it) come with a price?   What does it cost, in terms of our serenity, health, or overall well being?  What impacts result?


So often we hear the phrase “in the pursuit of excellence.”  Is it, however, all about the pursuit?  I’d like to challenge each of us to replace that with:  embracing excellence.  Unlike the pursuit of something, embracing it sounds and is more encompassing, more in the moment, more present, more “now.”  Pursuing sounds as if it’s a constant state of grasping for something that’s still out in front of you, almost as if it is something that remains ever oh so slightly beyond your reach.  It seems unattainable.

For those on a spiritual path, I would venture to say that it is the embracing of, rather than the pursuing of excellence, that rings true.  It’s a setting of an intention that each of us will embody a way of life, of living, that emerges from our highest state of being.  It is soul centered, soul activated, soul sustaining.  Accordingly, it’s something that, once accessed, can and may be cultivated and developed.

During this season of Northern hemisphere harvesting, it’s a good time to reflect on what each of us has already cultivated with regard to excellence in our lives.  Take a few moments to inventory your relationships, work endeavors, wealth signs, health indicators, and the like.  Remember, as an excellence “embracer,” you’re simply staying on the path of excellence, nurturing and cultivating it throughout your journey.  Survey your life’s stock.  Appreciate and celebrate all the fruits of your excellence to date!  For those areas that are still germinating and not quite yet ‘in full bloom’ for you, continue to foster their continued growth, regeneration, and renewal.


Excellence is not an innate gene or trait.  Not unlike integrity, or loyalty, excellence is a quality.  It’s a commitment.  Embracing it is a choice each of us can make — today, and every day.

Why does embracing excellence matter?  I’d say it matters for many of the same reasons we enjoy watching the Olympics!  It brings out the best in ourselves, and in others.  It motivates. It inspires.  It raises us, and others, up.

“Excellence encourages one about life generally; it shows the spiritual wealth of the world.” –George Eliot

Yes, in the Olympics there are medal counts and world records, and pride amongst nations.  What we experience when witnessing the various Olympic events, however, runs deeper than that. 

A few brief weeks or even days after the Olympics have ended, many of us do not even remember who placed in what order, and in which particular event.  Sure, there are those few standouts, who become household names, who garner multimillion endorsement deals, and who receive the ongoing, related spotlight and ‘stardom’.   Or, perhaps a few of the athletes are our personal favorites.  We will remember those names.

What we tend to remember most, however, are the MOMENTS.  The moments of excellence personified.  Individual moments.  Team moments.  Moments frozen in time. We remember the stories of triumphs, and personal “overcomings.” These are what are emblazened on, and held snugly, in our hearts.

For what end?

Some say excellence means something along the lines of “putting out a high quality product.”  This begs the question, of course, of where to draw the line.  It discards and leaves behind, without consideration, the notion that excellence is an admirable quality in and of itself.  It remains of value – with and without attaining a specific, predetermined outcome.  It’s more fluid than that.  Excellence in this sense is more in the shape of a circle than in a straight line.

Let’s consider the fourth place finishers at the Olympics, for example.  Do they embody excellence any “less” than those who get to stand on the podium as the gold, silver, or bronze medalists?

There are inherent benefits of embracing excellence, within ourselves and in appreciating it when we see it in others.  It FEELS GOOD to excel!  It feels good to watch others excel!  It’s PASSION in MOTION!

For your consideration:

As we close, I leave you with these words, from Nobel laureate, Pearl S. Buck:

“The secret of joy in work is contained in one word – excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it.

Okay, your turn:

What does excellence mean to you? Is it worth pursuing?  Better yet, is it worth embracing in our daily lives? If so, in what way or ways?

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2016 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.

Be the Lighthouse

In this edition of Soul Notes, we examine what it means to be a lighthouse; and as always, we do so by invoking and evoking ancient wisdom and principles where they may be of service to each of us living in today’s world, and particularly during this time of an evolving (albeit often challenging!) degree of consciousness.

Immersed in all that is, and all that changes, we seem to be facing extremely turbulent times.  As individuals, and as a collective, we are navigating through massively swirling, deeply unsettled waters.  Political, economic and societal systems are shifting, breaking loose in large chunks, and leaving behind for all of us thick layers of debris.

Some may say these are “dark times.”  Others may contend that we are increasingly reaching the outer ridge of a precipice…teetering precariously close to the edge, as we peek over with hope, steadfast faith, and eagerness toward what may actually be a portal into a new age of even greater light and elevated consciousness.  During the darkness of the new moon, as I write this, we each have an opportunity to slow down to take in these contrasts.  And, we have a choice to make.  The choice that we may make, and the one that I invite you to consider, is this:  Be The Lighthouse.   

To paraphrase Master Yogi Bhajan:

Sane is the person who deals with insanity and still keeps smiling;

Brave is the person who feels cowardice and still moves forward;

Rich is the person who faces poverty and still maintains a higher consciousness;  and

Spiritual is the person who against all “devilish darkness” keeps the light burning.

Our job is to light the way – no more, no less

Lighthouses illuminate the land mass, the shoreline, to warn approaching ships and mariners. As with ships out at sea, navigating the ever shifting waters and weather conditions, each person of course still needs to steer her or his own ship.  All of us are Captains on our own high spiritual seas.

Your serving as a beacon of light for another, beaming a light, holding a lantern, allows them to see what they may not otherwise see.  Indeed. It does not, however, abdicate them from responsibility for charting their own path, traveling their own journey, navigating their own waters, and riding their own waves. (Oh my, watch out, we are getting awfully nautical here on the blog!)

Be on the look-out.  Keep a watchful eye: 

And, it remains all the more critical, and all the more needed —  the more severe the weather, the stronger the storm!

The light beaming from the lighthouse is needed most during the nighttime and even during daytime storms, when the visibility is diminished.  An enlightened lighthouse illuminates the darkness.  It’s not really needed when the land upon which it stands is visible to all who may be approaching from offshore.

“There are times when the ocean is not the ocean– not blue, not even water, but some violent explosion of energy and danger: ferocity on a scale only gods can summon. It hurls itself at the island, sending spray right over the top of the lighthouse, biting pieces off the cliff. And the sound is a roaring of a beast whose anger knows no limits. Those are the nights the light is needed most.”  

— M.L. Stedman – The Light Between Oceans

lighthouse keeperKeeper of the light(house)

In the early days, lighthouse keepers were critical in keeping the lighthouses functioning properly.  Keepers trimmed wicks, replenished fuel, wound clockworks by hand, and cleaned lenses and windows.

As with other evolving areas of technology, recent “advances” (a qualitative term, admittedly) have meant that human keepers have more recently been replaced with automated processes, for the most part. The human element has been reduced, although not eradicated entirely.

You may be familiar with the term “light workers.”  Or the well-heeled phrase: Be the light. Suffice it to say that it is no coincidence that LIGHT appears in so many contexts and various spheres when it comes to consciousness and spirituality.

As with the lighthouse, the electricity is housed within, and shines from within, outward and out-toward those all around it.  “The body electric” (a phrase later made popular by Walt Whitman, and even later in a song in the musical “Fame” — a term that originally dates back to a research paper by Dr. Le Monnier during 1746) — comes from the world of medicine.  Our own bodies are in fact electric.   We have the light within us!  I realize I’m mixing metaphors here.  I ask that you stay with me on this, as I weave together these concepts, and bring forward their relevance to today’s world.

For anyone who feels called, being a spiritual lighthouse requires each person to be sure to take care to maintain her or his own lighthouse —  To be her or his own keeper of the light.  Especially during dark, turbulent, stormy times – our lighthouses are required.  We are needed now more than ever.

If you’ve been a reader for awhile (or feel free to scan the archives available on this page), you’ll notice that throughout most of the editions of Soul Notes, we have explored ways to be and serve as lighthouses in a sometimes seemingly dark world.

And, may I offer here a gentle reminder for each of us to tend to our own lighthouses, so that we can continue to be of service to those around us.

Some ways to do that, you may ask?

  • Take solace in nature.
  • Attune yourself to nature’s rhythms.
  • Get yourself close to or immersed in a body of water.

With great solemn appreciation, I make frequent trips to the Pacific Ocean, a few short miles from where I live.  It refreshes my soul, and gives it a re-set.  I take cleansing breaths as I sink my bare feet into the sand.  I allow my eyes to take in the panorama, from the sea to the hillsides and back again.  I look for sunsets and moonrises.  I sit for long stretches and watch quietly as dozens of tiny sandpipers high-step in unison quickly back and forth in precise rhythm with the tide.  You can, too.  If not at the ocean, in some other way out in nature, in a way and form that is facile for you.

Not unlike how the old-style lighthouse keepers would with the intricate mechanisms of the clockworks, each of us can do our best to keep the lighthouse finely tuned, and well calibrated.

For your consideration:

As we close, I leave you with these words, from Yogi Bhajan:

You are a lighthouse, so nobody else can wreck near you. That is the one thing in life you have to do. Spread the light. Be the lighthouse.”

Okay, your turn:

Where in your life, in your relations, in your community, are you beaming your light, and serving as the lighthouse?  How much care are you devoting to maintaining yourself in tip-top shape as a lighthouse?  In what ways are you being a good steward?

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2016 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.

“Trust what you hear when you listen.”

— This is a line repeated in the Japji (Song of the Soul), as translated from the original Sanskrit.

What does it mean to truly listen? And, to trust what you hear? In this new moon’s edition of Soul Notes, we dig into this spiritual concept and practice.

Truly Listening

Truly listening — to the sounds of your soul, and to the souls of others – is what allows trust to develop.  It cuts through the egoic, often times camouflaged or staged fronts that come from the mind.  It’s a matter instead of tuning into the heart.

“Trust what you hear when you listen.” – Japji

Trusting what you hear when you listen means listening for and trusting your intuition:  Your inner truth will sound beautiful, satisfying, and fulfilling – you know, “the nodding your head, ‘uh-huh’ ” kind of truth.  It will ring true – it will be harmonic and resonant.  With practice, you’ll notice and KNOW the difference.

When you’re truly listening, your truth will be recognizable by its purity. It will sound and feel loving and expansive.  In contrast, your inner untruth will sound false, faulty, and anything but resonant.  You’ll feel yourself contracting or worse yet fleeing from your peaceful, respite place.  It will seem as if someone suddenly changed the serenity channel to something that grates on your nerves, throws you off-balance, and disrupts your inner harmony.  That, dear one, is the critical mind calling – don’t pick up that call!  Let it go to your spiritual trash bin to be discarded and composted away.  There’s no space for it in your inner sacred harmonic energy field.  Say to it, “No Thank You — There’s no room for you at THIS inn”!

Or, it may not sound critical per se – yet, it may nonetheless still sound or feel “off,” meaning that it’s not the sound of your own voice calling, but that of someone else.  What you’re hearing may be their truth, but not what’s true for YOU.  This takes discernment.  With practice also comes discernment.

As with most things worth your devotion and attention, trusting what you hear when you listen takes consistent, ongoing practice.  Fine tuning your listening skills and hearing what your intuition has to say — to reveal, and to divulge to you from your innermost being – that wisest part of you —  gets stronger and stronger over time and with frequent repetition.  Accordingly, leaving it alone too long between sessions, without engagement, results in it becoming out of tune just like a piano, guitar or violin. So, keep at it!  It’s worth it.

The benefits and ways to get started:

To be able to trust fully in what you hear when you listen, it helps to get quiet, still, and free from distractions if at all possible.  Dedicating even a few minutes a day to this practice will engender worthy results.  Bring your full presence to the moment at hand.  Engage your mind, body (your heart) and soul.  Tune into the silence, and be open to hear what comes through the quiet solitude.  Treat this as your own soul session, your own meditation, just for you! Listen for the voice of the DIVINE WITHIN yourself!

Allow words, images, symbols, or even just a ‘hunch’ or a ‘gut feeling’ to come through.  Some messages will gain further meaning afterwards, maybe even hours or days later.  What’s important is setting the scene so that you truly hear the messages.  You can decipher them over time.  There’s no rush, only devotion, dedication, to spirit, and the messages and meanings that are intended for you.

Feel free to journal what comes through – or draw, or compose a poem or sing a song…whatever feels best for you to express what you heard.

Listening this way is what truly allows divine messages to come through.  Deep understanding results.  Then, you can take action from THAT place, and not from a place of disruptive self-flagellation, and nasty untruths.  Inspired action feels enlivening, and uplifting, and not disheartening.  Heart engaged?  Check!  All soul systems go!  Use THAT as your energetic and spiritual launching pad.  That is: Divine Lift-Off.

Your soul and the divine are available to you “24-7” – you just need to connect via the proverbial wi-fi.  It’s one of the special, beautiful technologies uniquely available to us as human, spiritual beings.  It’s already encoded within you.  Embrace it.  Enjoy it.  Welcome it in all its glory.

Given any situation you may be contemplating, or for which you seek clarity: Surrender yourself to the experience.  And, be prepared to and do, take inspired action based on your new, finely tuned, receptivity. As from a stone skipping across a pond, circles of understanding will continue to ripple outward from within.

For your consideration:

I leave with you these words, from the Japji:

 “Trust what you hear

When you listen,

And bring all your loved ones


Trust what you hear

When you listen,

You will swim across

All difficulties

And your very presence

Will carry others

Across as well.”

Okay, your turn:

In what ways have you been tuning in and listening for your own truth?  What do you notice when you get still, quiet, and really listen?

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences by leaving a Reply in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2016 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.

What does it mean to be of service? To whom? For whom?  And, to what desired end?  In this new moon’s edition of Soul Notes, we explore this topic.

Authentic service:  spiritual growth

Many spiritual seekers, including many of you I gather, have felt the desire to be “of service,” and to leave the world a bit better than we may have found it.  So, what does this mean exactly, and how do we do it?

Service (or seva which in Sanskrit means “selfless service”) is to be offered from your heart and soul, and not for any egoic purposes. To be of selfless service means to do so from a place of well-meaning intention, without expectation of reward or acknowledgment.

“Service is not what serves you; it is when you enrich another person.” – Yogi Bhajan

Seva is infinite, not finite, giving.  It’s a way to make a difference, in your personal sphere, in your community, and the world.

Ultimately, it’s all in service to the Divine.

The idea and the practice of service is a spiritual one.  As you uplift others, from a place of service, Spirit steps in and uplifts you as well.  As you serve, Spirit in turns serves you.  You are held in love by the Divine.  It’s part of your own spiritual growth.

 Who benefits?

Accordingly, acts of service benefit those you serve, and yourself.  All “good works” have positive, impactful ripple effects. All gestures great and small – they all count!

Ways to get started:

Don’t be afraid to start “too small.”  Leave a room, a person, a situation better than you found it.  Raise the vibration to a level higher than when you first arrived.  Approach it from a place of free will, and with a spacious heart.  May your service come from an intention that’s pure, and not from any sense of “obligation.”

In this edition of Soul Notes, I thought it may be helpful to share some examples of ways I’ve chosen to be of service.  I share these examples for illustrative purposes (lest I give the impression that I am listing them here for my own edification, or to be acknowledged for them in some way.  That, of course, would pretty much fly in the face of the very essence of seva).  I sought out these opportunities, and volunteered my time and devotion to them, from what I hope was and always will be, a pure heart.   My intention here is to provide some ideas.  And, I look forward to hearing from you and for you to share yours as well!  Please provide your own examples in the Comments section, below. Doing so, in itself, may be a seva of sorts – in that someone may read your list, and get some inspired ideas for their own acts of seva.  The ripple effects continue!


  • Prepare and serve meals to the homeless

I have done this on more than one occasion, for the Thanksgiving holiday here in the United States.

  • Clean up the environment

With an organization called Heal the Bay in Southern California, I have been trained and have served as a “Beach Captain,” to help clean up trash at local beaches, and educate members of the community on the dangers of clogging up the city storm drains.

With another group, I planted a garden at a nearby elementary school.

  • Build and provide shelter for families in need

With Habitat for Humanity, I joined a work crew to put up drywall for a family’s new home in a town near Los Angeles.

With another organization, I helped build a home from the ground up in a rural area outside of Tijuana, Mexico.

  • Enhance and help beautify physical structures

I have helped paint murals on the outside of school buildings, as well as painting a child-friendly mural inside a children’s waiting room at a local courthouse.

  • Tutor or teach or facilitate workshops

Through a program sponsored by a local public library, I tutored a young single mom to learn English as a second language.

I have volunteered with a nonprofit dedicated to helping abuse survivors heal through art programs.

  • Coach an individual or a team

With the Special Olympics, I have coached a local sports team.

Over the years, I have had several friends and colleagues too who have engaged in any number of acts of service.  They have placed their full hearts and souls into these activities.  They have generously contributed their time, energy, talents and good will to these endeavors, all to help uplift those they’ve served.

For you, it may be something completely different that draws you in to being of service? It may not be any of these listed above.  These are some examples, though, to get your “seva juices flowing.”

Again, acts of service need not be part of any organized activity at all, either, of course.  Sometimes, the every-day acts of kindness and service provide the most immediate impact. Perhaps you offer to help someone to cross the street.  Or, offer to help carry someone’s packages.  Or, maybe it’s alerting someone in a grocery store that they are unknowingly about to walk into a slippery section on the floor.  Someone did this for me just last week.  I was grateful and touched that a stranger would offer that to me, with such genuine thoughtfulness and care for my wellbeing. I felt an instant albeit quick, loving connection – human to human.  This is seva.

When it helps to “pitch in”

Whenever the need arises, perhaps you can offer to “pitch in” at a get-together with friends or at an event that needs helpers or volunteers.  Offer to set-up beforehand or to clean-up afterwards.  Offer to do the dishes!

Offer to prepare or share a meal:

In India, within the Sikh tradition, preparing and sharing food for and with others is referred to as langar (or “free kitchen”). Everyone is welcomed to share the Langar.  No one is turned away, no matter their age, gender, ethnicity, or political or religious affiliation.  Additionally, it’s egalitarian — in theory and in practice.  No one is considered higher than or “above” (in stature) anyone else.

In closing, I’ll leave you with this:

“[M]ay your blessings be for all, may your happiness be shared, and may your smiles give hope to others.” – Yogi Bhajan

Each of us is a divine channel, through which we serve, and by which everyone in turn is served.


For your consideration:

Are you feeling the call to serve?  If so, go ahead.  Today. One small gesture renders great impact.  It all counts.  As do you.

It does require taking action – no matter how seemingly small (at first). Acts of service compound, like interest!

Open your heart.

Extend a hand.

Step up to serve.


And, serve


Okay, your turn:

In what ways have you been of service?  Can you recall a time when you were the recipient of someone else’s act of service?  In those instances, what did you notice?  Today, what will you do to “make a difference” in someone’s life?

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2016 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.

“What’s the matter, the cat got your tongue?”

“Don’t you have something to say?”

These questions may sound familiar.  Do you recall a time when you were asked to speak up, and you didn’t?  Or, perhaps you felt the urge to voice your opinion, and you refrained from doing so?  Or, how about those times when you started to speak, and then you held yourself back in some way? Often, we may have lots to say, but we withdraw, for fear of being misunderstood, disrespected, or not even truly heard at all.

Have you been feeling stuck in one or more areas of your life?  Shutting down your self-expression may be a big reason why. In this edition of Soul Notes, let’s dive into the need to express ourselves, and the consequences for not doing so.  We’ll explore some ways to open up the channels, too, so that you are feeling free to express yourself, open, balanced, and unencumbered.

The body and our energy centers give clues

Within the chakra system, the fifth chakra (“vishuddha”) is the throat chakra, and represents the embodiment of communication.  It’s the Messenger, the Grand Communicator of the chakras.  Up the chakra “ladder,” it is considered the first of the three higher or spiritual chakras.  What’s the significance, you may be asking?  The higher the messages, the higher the creativity, and the higher the impact! Strength of our personal will — this also comes from the throat chakra.

It’s important to note that the throat chakra serves as a transmitter and as a receiver.  The messages may be internal as well as external. When out of balance, this chakra shows up in such tell-tale signs as a sore throat, a pinched nerve in your shoulders, or yes even as a real “pain in the neck”!  Alternatively, a balanced throat chakra opens you up to psychic insights, and higher guidance and wisdom.  When we are listening to “that voice of reason,” our throat chakra is clear, and receptive to what our intuition is telling us.  Correspondingly, it is the throat chakra that is most associated with our dream state.   A balanced throat chakra sets the stage for powerful and informative dreams.

Authentic expression

The throat chakra is also the truth center.  Speak your truth! Say what needs to be said, without harsh judgment, without malice.  Speak up for yourself and what you desire to express.

Say you what you mean, and mean what you say.  The more you invoke this process, the more your fifth chakra will open.  You’ll notice the tension in your neck, if any, will lessen, and your body (and overall demeanor) will feel more free, clear, fluid, and in the flow.

Conversely, deceit violates our body and our spirit.  Insincere communication thwarts our divinity.  Equally as damaging as keeping quiet and suppressing our truth is being overly critical, bitingly caustic, or engaging in gossip or idle chit-chat. It is important to speak our choices with our authentic voices! Expressing from our spiritual essence means exuding kindness, understanding, and compassion.

Listening and being heard

Accordingly, as mentioned above, listening (receiving) can be as important as expressing (transmitting). Like breathing, it’s an exchange of going inward as well as expressing outward.

Effective communication often begins with hearing, with listening – in the physical sense as well as the metaphysical. As with speaking from a place of compassion and understanding, so, too, it is with hearing and listening – to ourselves and to others.  We all have a basic need to be heard.  (For more on this topic, go here).  To fully listen means to devote your undivided attention.  If you’re not 100% focused on listening, then you’re not truly hearing the messages.  Accordingly, you’re not in alignment: you’re off-centered, off-track, and likely leaning toward that place of  being “stuck” and “blocked”.  Plain and simple!

Ways to open up the communication channels

When feeling blocked, or unable to express yourself, here are a few effective, tried and true ways to open up your fifth chakra:  Engage in reading aloud, singing, chanting, and humming (in fact, not-so-coincidentally, the mantra sound for this chakra is ‘hum’!)  For a particularly restorative experience, you may wish to try sound healing.  At yoga centers and other gathering places in your area, for example, you may check their calendars for upcoming sessions where gongs, drums or singing bowls are used.

Listen to what your intuition has to say, open up to receiving divine messages, and speak your mind (and from your heart and soul) with compassion and understanding.  From a loving place, express yourself and share your truth and wisdom with others throughout your day, your week, your lifetime.  Now, I’d say that’s effective communication!

For your consideration:

Take the bold inspired step to ask yourself this soul searching question:  How honest am I being in my communication – with myself, and with others?

Okay, your turn:

In what situations do you find yourself holding back from fully expressing yourself?  What are you open to doing differently next time?

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2016 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.

I’ve joined a writer’s circle that meets on Monday nights in Santa Monica, California. At the end of the evening, we break into small groups. Last week, we were given the following question to answer and to share. We went around the table, and each of us spoke. The question posed was this: Would you rather drive or fly to Las Vegas? Santa Monica is approximately 280 miles from Las Vegas. It typically takes several hours by car and about 45 minutes in the air by commercial airline.

Among the eight of us seated around the table in our small group, there really wasn’t a consensus. A few were able to say, “it depends” (on whom I am traveling with, mostly!) Even among the definitely drive or definitely fly “camps,” there were nonetheless differences of opinion as to why one mode surpasses another.

As with most topics on the blog, with this edition of Soul Notes, let’s explore the literal as well as the figurative–this time, with regard to journeys and destinations.

Often times, we hear this adage, or some derivation thereof: “It’s not the destination; it’s the journey.” In other words, it’s the path taken, and not the end state, that holds the real value or “merit.” If that were always true, however, then why select any particular destination?

What may be equally as beneficial is this: getting yourself as efficiently as possible to a particular destination, precisely because it IS the destination that provides what you’re most desiring. In the example above, the person may wish to fly directly to Las Vegas to get right to the business at hand – that is, soaking up the full Vegas experience. “Viva Las Vegas,” as Elvis would say! Sometimes, you simply want to get there.

Do you enjoy car rides? How about air travel? Either way, for children, for example, it’s often what seems like a never-ending journey from one location to another. Incessant pleas include: “How much farther?” and “How much longer?” Or, simply, again it’s all about this: “When are we going to get there?” Once you get there, that’s when you can enjoy all that the location has to offer. (I realize that, as an intended destination, Las Vegas may not even be on your wish list. If so, of course, feel free to insert your own destination of choice!) For you, it may be any number of places. And, for children, it may include Disneyland or Magic Mountain, or some other world of wonderment.

So, what’s the common thread here? The EXPERIENCE.

Sometimes it’s the destination itself that holds the key to your best experience.  What you’re seeking is “housed” in the location, to be enjoyed once you arrive. Other times, it’s the “getting there” — the journey itself – that provides all the good juice.

Road trip! Getting our kicks on Route 66

Several years back, a friend of mine and I headed out from the Santa Monica pier, and along Route 66 (or what’s left of it), driving my convertible, often with the top down on the car.   For us, it was definitely the journey rather than the destination which mattered most. We agreed that we would cover about 850 miles of the Route’s 2300 miles (the full length of Route 66 runs between Los Angeles and Chicago) – and traveled out to Santa Fe, New Mexico and back.

We selected a destination based on the number of days we desired to set aside for the trip, and to have a place to aim the car. For this trip, though, for us, the genesis and primary focus and intention was to experience Route 66 itself – the “Mother Road” – “America’s Highway.”

We took our time and made many stops along the way. Part of the adventure was seeing which sections of Route 66 remained. There really isn’t any clear “route” per se anymore. There are road signs in various places, indicating that you’re on Route 66; but, the route starts and stops, and veers off and back again in no particular pattern or with any discernible logic.

“Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” –Helen Keller

As a kid, on my bedroom wall I had a poster with this saying on it. It served as a wonderful visual reminder and provided me many an inspiration!

As with many road trips, it was the dappling of tiny towns, and roadside attractions, and people we met along the route that provided the real essence of the journey. We stopped for coffee at the Bagdad Café (where they filmed the movie of the same name), chatting at length with the waitress there. And we toured the location where a giant meteor created a huge hole in the desert. There are many other experiences from that trip, too, of course, perhaps to be shared at another time. Here’s one more:

In Oatman, Arizona, we slowed the car down to a crawl. As we pulled up to this two-block town, we were greeted by a band of burros. History has it that these animals are part of a long lineage of pack mules dating back to the town’s gold mining days. And, yes, giant tumble weeds did come tumbling through as our car kicked up puffs of desert dust. I couldn’t get the theme song from that Clint Eastwood movie, “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” out of my head. A man in a leather vest and cowboy hat tossed open the swinging wooden doors from the local saloon on our right as we drove past. He stopped short of the street, looked out at us, and maintained his gaze from left to right, as we continued driving on through the town and off on the next leg of our journey.

As with our own spiritual journeys as well, it helps to slow down. The experiences and the lessons come from the journey. Indeed. Take time to savor the moments, partake in the experiences, and cherish the making of memories. It’s the “roadside attractions” that provide some of life’s richest moments. Let’s not miss them by flying through!

With that, I’ll close with these words from a great master:

“Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” -Confucius

Okay, your turn:

What matters most to you, the destination or the journey? Upon what factors do your choices depend?

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2016 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.

As we welcome in the increasing light at this time of year, and upon embarking on the lunar new year — on this February new moon, I invite you to consider: What seeds are you planting? — in your life, in your life’s work, in your relationships, in your surroundings?

With this edition of Soul Notes, we take a sojourn to the lessons of nature. Many cultures historically have lived in step with the natural seasons, and have survived by way of carefully planting, nurturing and cultivating the sustenance provided by mother earth. Let’s take a closer look at how this applies to our day to day world right now:

The seed (and seat!) of Creation

It all sprouts from a seed that’s planted: In nature’s acts of creation, as in ours. Everything stems from that! (There’s no coincidence here, that flowers have stems.)

To germinate, all seeds need oxygen, moisture, and a certain temperature. Until these conditions are met, the seed remains stagnant, dormant, lifeless. With the right conditions, the plant inside a seed starts to grow. As it gets bigger, it pushes open and through the seed coat. (Envision a chick hatching from an egg.) Leaves start to appear and push out from the soil.

Seeding puts into motion a series of events, consequences and possibilities. You are in charge of what you seed in your own life – through your own mind, body and soul.

So, the question to consider is this: Metaphorically, what are you seeding these days? Correspondingly, how much care are and will you be taking with what you are planting?

Reaping What You Sow: The importance of Nourishing, Nurturing and Cultivating

Mind, Body and Soul

It matters what we “feed” our plants. And, of course, it matters what we feed ourselves, our mind, body and soul.

This week I’m completing a 40-day practice of chanting each morning the 38-stanza poem or prayer known as Jap Ji. Jap (“repeat”) Ji (“soul”) dates back to the 1500s, and has been nicknamed the Song of the Soul. Reciting the Jap Ji (or Japji) is believed to awaken one’s soul to its destiny.

As a seed grows in soil, sprouting from the inside through and out its original coating, so too does our consciousness and our soul. One of the many lessons to be gleaned from Japji is this: With each challenge in life, our evolving up and through it, and out the other side, brings with it a new level of challenge AND possibility. With each challenge comes the opportunity to grow our trust, faith, and ability to learn from a new level of wisdom and understanding. As we expand, it is the “pressing against” the new coating, the new shell, which fosters yet again even further growth.

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” — Anaïs Nin

For the seedling, the energy required to “bust through” the original coating is much greater than at later stages. The initial growth spurts are fast and furious! Ever wonder why puppies are perpetually nodding off in their dinner bowls? As with seedlings, it takes a LOT of energy for puppies to grow so much and so fast! The energy expelled and the corresponding growth is so concentrated. So, too, as it is with our personal development and spiritual growth.

Among spiritual circles, you may be hearing the good news that across the globe we’re experiencing a rise in consciousness. Despite (or because of?) the ever-intensifying use of technology, instances of widespread violence, ongoing struggles and strife, and an overall prevalence of crises worldwide, there is at the same time an emerging collective devoted to the return to simpler times, and to a more centered, grounded way of living.

Is it any coincidence that among the vast morass of options for “fast meals,” “rapid weight loss,” and “crash diets,” we’re also seeing an increasing number of crate-to-plate restaurants popping up around town? Folks are looking to eat locally grown food again, and steering clear of processed substances, shipped in from faraway food factories.

And, for many, we’re taking time to make our own meals, or at least to settle in and enjoy our meals at a more leisurely pace, whether at home or while dining out. I’ve always admired the Italian way of embracing la dolce vita (the sweet life) that includes among other things, the slow deliberate enjoyment of a meal. In Italy, it is generally considered a disservice at a restaurant for the wait staff to rush you. Once seated for dinner, for example, you are granted the table for the duration of the evening. You’re not likely to find Italians looking up from their plates, impatiently pleading for someone to “bring the check.”

It is the care and attentiveness which brings an almost lyrical movement to living our lives. It cultivates the soil so to speak for our dreams and desires to take root, and for our creations to come into fruition. Matching the pace of nature, rather than overriding it, is SO rich. Nature has so much to teach us!

Without planting and nurturing our own ideas, dreams and desires, we run the risk of them laying dormant. They neither come into fruition nor flourish. In short, nothing gets created. The world then misses out on each of our own uniquely beautiful contributions to the world’s landscape.

So, I leave you with this:

Plant those seeds

Provide them due care

Sow and sow

Grow and grow





Embrace the challenges:







Okay, your turn:

What are you seeding in your life this year?   What is calling within you to foster, nurture, grow?

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2016 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.

Are you ready for the new year?  Are you ready to envision your best year yet?  Let’s adventure together into the world of deeply seeing what your soul has in store for you!  On this edition of Soul Notes, we explore the concept and practical ways of visioning your desires into reality.

Why Vision(ing)?

Visioning helps you access information you may never be able to elicit through a quick ego-centered, mind-centered “checklist.” Visioning involves seeing by connecting to the unseen world. It is a beautiful, spiritual, nonphysical way of seeing – allowing you to gain insights, wisdom and guidance in a way that nourishes your soul. Visioning facilitates decision-making as to which direction to take next in your life, or with regard to a particular challenge, question, or inquiry. It helps propel you forward from a place that feels grounded, inspirational, and authentically YOU! Visioning ensures that your next steps come from a place of alignment, not misalignment. (For a refresher on alignment, and why it’s important in your day-to-day life, go here.)

What Happens if You Don’t?

When you don’t take the time to dedicate yourself to envision what’s best and next for you in your life, you run the risk of:

  • Suffering from the tendency to react compulsively or unconsciously.
  • Agonizing about making your next move (or making no move at all), from a place of fear or anxiety.
  • Engaging in seductively destructive behaviors.
  • Hiding under the illusory cloak of safety while life passes you by, and your dreams stay truly dormant and put “on hold.”
  • Proceeding through your next venture, juncture, year, or life chapter without even noticing if it’s right for you.
  • Failing to identify even what, if any, of the available choices, are even what you TRULY want, seek, or desire!

You can dive in and write a list of resolutions or mark out an instant action plan all you want. You can draw up blueprints for your year, and your life – but be careful what you’re drawing up.

During a drafting class when I was in junior high school, as part of a class assignment, I put together a blueprint for a house. Without taking a step back to envision what the house would really be like, I jumped in with my T-square and starting drawing. By doing so, I ended up putting a fireplace in one location on one floor, and another fireplace on an entirely different location on the second floor. Well, unless I was going to build two chimneys for this house, that could pose a problem! How was the smoke going to make it from one fireplace to the other and out the rooftop, if the flue(s) didn’t connect? If I had allowed myself the time and space to envision what actually LIVING in that house would be like, then likely I would have discovered the chimney dilemma. (My dad, by the way, was an architect and a builder, and right away noticed the flaw in my plans, when I showed them to him back then. He found it to be rather amusing!)

I remember around that same time period my dad was sent by his company to Japan to help build pre-fabricated housing. Before my father arrived on site, unbeknownst to him, the concrete foundation had been set using the metric measuring system. Here’s the catch: the pre-fabricated walls that were being shipped over to Japan from the United States had been cut in lengths that were measured using the British imperial units (inches/feet) system. As you can imagine, that pretty much defeats the purpose of pre-fabricated housing, if the pre-fabricated pieces don’t fit!

So, where do the pieces fit in your life? Where do the pieces not fit in your life? Do your chimneys, the hearth of your home, line up? The very foundation and starting place proves critical! So much of your soul shining success (or lack thereof) stems from envisioning, creating and drawing from the appropriate foundation.

In other words, resist the impulse to “jump in” and create from a place of “got to get it done.” That forceful energy threatens to bring with it a bulldozing effect that obliterates everything (including all the good stuff) in its path. That take-action energy has its useful purpose – but it’s best invoked further down the line, and in a more strategic, focused way.

Otherwise, the whole house (of cards) collapses. You feel overwhelmed. You feel pressured. You feel “forced.” You feel UNinspired. You risk facing unintended, adverse results.

It’s not about checking off a to-do list. It’s about allowing your dreams and desires to take front and center stage, and enjoying the journey as you experience them unfolding.

Is this year ahead, 2016, a time for you to move forward in envisioning and creating your best life? Are you going to allow yourself to spring forth into your fullest potential? Or, is it a time that by choice or by default (which really is a choice, by the way) – your new year ahead, like most New Year’s resolutions, sputters out and comes to a crawl or even a stagnating halt altogether?

Which is it? Claim it now, and if you’re open to learning more about how to get cracking, read on!


“I’d LOVE to, but I could NEVER…!”

First off, let go of any preconceived notions of what is or isn’t possible for you. Loosen up the reins! As you would when riding a horse, release your grip some, and allow for a good gallop!

A number of years ago, I had moved from an apartment in Los Angeles that was several miles inland, to a place within a few blocks of the Pacific Ocean. I moved to a building right up the hill from the beach front where they used to film the television show “Bay Watch.” [Okay, maybe that’s not the most spiritual reference I’ll ever make on this blog, but you get the idea! If this makes you feel better (it did me), it was also right next to a self-realization center. On September 11, 2001 (now known as 9-11), I went there to meditate — and I felt blessed to have the luxury of walking around their gorgeous, serene grounds, on such a tragic and deeply somber day.]

My commute to downtown Los Angeles back then meant driving along several miles of ocean front along Pacific Coast Highway. I could smell the salt in the air, and feel the sea breezes. From as young as I can remember, I had always enjoyed the beach and the ocean.  And yet, when I first moved in, and sat out on my balcony overlooking our shared swimming pool, I thought to myself – “Why did it take me so long to move here, this close to the beach?” I grew up in Southern California, and yet I always seemed to think that I needed to live somewhere inland, and then drive to the ocean. Somehow, I had convinced myself that only really wealthy people lived by the beach. I also realized in that moment, that truth be told, I somehow had been accepting the sad “fact” that I didn’t deserve to live in a really cool apartment in a tony section of Los Angeles. I didn’t think it was possible for me. And there I was — not only was it possible, it was happening, as I sat there on my balcony. For months, it still felt a bit surreal living there, and I found myself “growing into” an expanded self-realization of my own, I suppose you could say.

I would some years later again move on, and purchase a home (also something that for a long time I didn’t believe was possible for me in my lifetime) in another part of town. That apartment by the sea, however, will always hold a special place in my heart and soul.

So, the lesson here is this: If I hadn’t let go of the notion that “I’d love to, but I could never…,I would have stayed cooped up in a stifling apartment miles from where I yearned and dreamed to be.

Envision what you truly desire, and follow those clues. There’s often something truly heart telling in there. That’s where inspired actions stem from, originate from.

Visioning also involves listening

Visioning is not limited to one or any of the physical senses. It involves all the senses, along with every bit of your inner knowing.

Visioning involves deep soulful listening. Through meditation and other guided internal processes, you can tap into your essence and true desires. Your guides are there for you, whispering to you their soulful wisdom. Are you quiet enough to hear them?

Commit to yourself and to the true desires in this coming year that you will uncover through this higher vision for your life, and enjoy the journey!

Where to start?

You may not know exactly, right in this very moment, if what you truly desire to create will actually end up coming into fruition — because you haven’t created it yet! You have had other experiences, however, where you do know how wonderful they made you feel. Accordingly, I would encourage you to use what I would call the “Yes, more of that, please!” test. What is your heart drawing you toward? What are you excited about welcoming into your life?

Listen to your own (intuitive) guides, and allow yourself to get quiet to hear what they have to say. They are always available to you. They are your very own!


You can choose to bring forth what you desire, and consistently tap into and recreate those good emotions. Conversely, you can focus on and reinforce what it is that you don’t enjoy feeling.  The “Yes, more of that please!” barometer is always available to you, at the ready. Simply remember to invoke it. Consistently. And often.

Dare to dream.

Dare to desire.

Dare to vision.

Dare to make it all come true.


For your consideration:

What would listening to your yearnings and desires, and envisioning them into reality, mean to you? How has or would your life be changed upon doing this type of practice? If you haven’t done this type of visioning so far, how about giving it a try? What if anything is stopping you?

Okay, your turn:

When is the last time you set aside the time and space to determine what you truly desire? What is something you would like to see yourself bringing forward into your life this year? I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

 © 2016 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.