Tag Archive: Enlightenment

winterbackyardDo you have those winter blues? If you suspect you do, you are not alone. Here in the suburbs of Chicago, we have not seen the bare ground since December: Nothing but snow and ice since before Christmas…  Seriously, we are running out of places to put the shoveled snow. I have 7’ piles of the white stuff in the front driveway. And it is not just the Midwest. It has been a harsh winter for many in the Northern Hemisphere.  And then let’s talk about the frigid temperatures!  We have seen more below zero days than I care to remember. Any visions of warm, swaying palm trees are quickly erased by the freezing wind chill that takes your breath away when you step outside.  So much for daydreaming…

Now as we head into the middle of February, the dog days of winter drag on. They actually have a term for a mild to severe depression that can set in this time of year. Known as “Seasonal Effect Disorder”, all of us may experience this downturn in energy from time to time. Some of the symptoms include the tendency to oversleep, over indulge in alcohol and over eat, especially a craving for carbohydrates, which leads to weight gain. Other symptoms include poor concentration, lack of incentive, withdrawal from social interaction, pessimistic feelings and low self-worth as well as a general lack of energy. Yuck…

Below are some easy tips for battling winter depression:

Sunlight: Warm sunlight can be hard to find in the winter. Still, even on the coldest days, any form of natural sun light is helpful – even if it is through a window.  As a sunlight alternative, they sell mood or “happy lights” at most wellness/convenience stores like Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid.

Vitamins: A low dose of Vitamin D and even Melatonin can help with the winter blues; assisting with better sleep patterns and general mood. Consult with your doctor first.

Exercise: Try and push yourself to exercise; even if it has to be indoors. Aerobic house cleaning and winter hikes in the nature preserves are potential options.

Diet: Try to keep stick with a lower carbohydrate diet and refrain from fried or processed foods. Watch your sugar and alcohol intake too. Don’t forget to Juice!

Meditation: Keep up with your meditative practice. Centering yourself in the moment will enhance mood and your positivity.

Have Faith: Yep, have faith that winter is only temporary and that warmer weather is on its way! …I hope LOL


John C. Bader

About the Book: www.responsiveuniverse.com

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space012514Within our vast, boundless mind is a tremendous amount of empty space. Space for recollections, tasks, dreams and involuntary motor functions. Our everyday thought processes rent just a small percentage of this available space. Within this space is facilities like the ego which harbors our fears and anxiety; visions of the future and memories of the past. Surprisingly, this makes up much of our thought trails on a daily basis. As humans born and continually inundated in western culture, we tend to unknowingly attach our identity to this ego which tends to drive most of our thought processes. Through societal conditioning our identity becomes defined by our most intimate uncertainties, challenges and struggles. We are stamped out of a mold, labeled and categorized. We are closed off and claustrophobic. Yet, we forget that our being; our existence is also defined by that vast, boundless space within. In order for the ego to even exist it needs that space within the mind to latch on to. We forget that we in fact this vast and boundless space that allows the ego to even exist. When you realize that you are bigger than your life’s most uncompromising challenges and conflicts, you realize we are a part of something bigger – conscious, instinctual energy occupying space; illuminated by celestial wisdom and energy.

Space is the quality of openness in our minds. Physically, the brain seems small, but the mind appears to be so vast.  Take the stars we see at night as an example: The bright twinkling stars we gaze upon at night are actually neighborhood stars and are just a handful of the billions of stars within our Milky Way Galaxy. Then there are billions of other galaxies within the Universe – each with billions of stars to their own; stretching across infinite reaches. The Cosmos is vast, maybe infinite. Much like the Cosmos, our mind is also vast and seemingly infinite. The idea that we can visualize and conjure up such vast numbers and distances within our mind adds to the wonderment. Look at the dream world where anything is possible and yet an undeniable facet of our mind.  In fact, once you connect to your True Nature, there is a feeling that the mind and the Universe are related; perhaps symbiotic; simply different windows to the same vista. The immensity of the Universe boggles the mind, and the spacious nature of the human brain amazes and mystifies us as well. While you can measure a human brain for size and depth, when you think of the mind and all its processes and capabilities, the brain seems to defy dimensions and appears infinite.

The goal is to take this space that already exists within the mind and allow it to permeate your daily life. During meditation, visualize this space within. Through mindfulness, try to settle into this space. During challenges and conflict, make space within your mind so that you do not react blindly and create bad karma. When anxiety and fear take hold, make space for such temporary things and remember that you are the space that allows the ego and negative feelings to even operate. You are so much more: Vast, boundless and intrinsic to the Universe.

“Breathe in Positive Energy… Breathe out Boundless Space….”

Feel this space as you exhale. Imagine yourself surrounded by boundless space. Look up into the night sky and marvel at all the boundless, infinite space. Look inward…. Does the mind have a fixed border? Can you pinpoint the boundary of the mind? The mind is boundless!  Be this space… Settle your being into this space that exists inward and outward. Take a deep breath and exhale slowly….

“Breathe in Positive Energy… Breathe out Boundless Space….”

John C. Bader

About the Book: www.responsiveuniverse.com

Now Available: Amazon    Barnes & Noble

The Responsive Universe on Facebook

John C. Bader on Twitter


“One thing:

you have to walk, and create the way by your walking;

you will not find a ready-made path.

It is not so cheap,

to reach to the ultimate realization of truth.

You will have to create the path by walking yourself;

the path is not ready-made, lying there and waiting for you.

It is just like the sky:

the birds fly, but they don’t leave any footprints.

You cannot follow them;

there are no footprints left behind.”


If you are not striving, pushing and overachieving along with being  extremely busy in today’s society, then you, my friend, are an exception and far from the norm. We are all guilty of this. We overextend, overachieve, over-commit and overstress ourselves to the point of breaking. Little do most people realize that they are hurting their bodies by hurting our mind.


The Art of Gratitude

It is so easy to be upset when things do not go your way. From the moment that you spill your coffee, lock your keys in the car, and forget your lunch, a spiral of circumstances can set you off into a tailspin of negativity. However, and this is important, you  can choose to stay in a state of discontent and let that dictate our day, or you can be grateful for the other things in your life even if they are not present in front of you right now.

Have you ever noticed that when something nice happens, you tend to smile for a moment and then move on? However, when something goes awry, you feel the need to tell everyone and anyone who will listen. It is in those moments of discontent that you need to focus on what you are grateful for, and it is then and only then that you will be able to pull yourself up from discontent.

Keeping the focus on gratitude offers your mind something to smile about, regardless of outside circumstances. Focusing on people, places, and even things that make you grateful, gives your mind a place of quiet respite that it sorely needs to stay active and healthy in the future.

A Time for Nothingness

Everybody has busy schedules. This is a known fact. Everyone has set their schedules to overflowing and then complain that they do not have time for themselves.

Take a good hard look at your schedule and see if there are things that you can delete and things that you can delegate. If you are going to have a healthy mind, you need to take care of it just as you would your body. One cannot function healthily, nor long, without the other.

The best tip for quieting your mind is to put it into your schedule. Write it in big red letters on your calendar, text yourself a reminder, and place it on your to-do list for this week.

Take a Moment

Being in the moment has become a clichéd phrase. But, if you really make the time and take the trouble to learn what it means, you will learn how to quiet your mind. Focus on what you are doing at the exact moment you are doing it, rather than what you have already done and mapping out the next few things that you need to get done.

In this way, you are focused on the moment at hand and not two days from now where something big is looming.

These are just three small, but helpful tips in how to quiet your mind, be in the moment and restore your peace.

To your continued success!!

For further information see, www.martinamcgowan.com

Martina McGowan



Photo Credit

I am excited to introduce Melissa Reyes, author of This is the Sound of My Soul to the Responsive Universe as part of my guest blog series focusing on the concept of “Mindfulness”.  I write about mindfulness and meditation on a regular basis and I thought it would be fun, educational and interesting to see how other wellness advocates center their energy in the moment and find relaxation from the controlled chaos that is daily life. Thanks Melissa!



Discovering How Mindfulness and Meditation Make it All Better

By Melissa Reyes

Sometimes I feel like I am taking things too hard, or too personally. I start to wonder, “why me?” And I think, “oh no, not this again!” Recently I saw this phrase that a friend posted on Facebook:

“I gotta stop fretting and start trying to figure out how to dig myself out of a hole.”

That’s it. The feeling of falling deeper and deeper into a hole, knowing the whole time that you’ve been there before. You got yourself out. How did you do it? How can you avoid slipping down that way again? How can you avoid making the same mistakes again?

I heard this song on the radio on my way to work…and I realized everyone feels this way at times!

“Taking it All Too Hard”


No not this confused again
No not the same mistakes again.
You’re taking it all to heart
You’re taking it all too hard

Why can’t you see what’s going on?
I know you’d never admit
You would ever be to blame
Everything’s a game to you
The old days are gone
And they’re better left alone
I cannot help you, it’s much too late

Oh no not this confused again
Oh no not the same mistakes again.
You’re taking it all to heart
You’re taking it all too hard

There’s always a reason why it happened
You never never did anything wrong, but it
It just seemed to fall apart
But you’re taking it all too hard

Now that it’s dark, all of your fears,
Like shadows creeping around.
You’re much too scared to look down
And it’s lonely out on your own

The old days are gone
And they’re better left alone
But I still miss you
I keep it to myself

Oh no not this confused again
Oh no not the same mistakes again
You’re taking it all to heart
You’re taking it all too hard

My friend John Bader says, in his book The Responsive Universe, “As long as you have faith in your beliefs you will instill that faith into an entire system of thought that defines you as an individual.”  He says “our past dictates our present actions and also our future wellness. Noting your negative behaviors before you even act exhibits clarity and wisdom.”

There is a lot of talk about mindfulness these days. People are tuning in to the idea that living in the moment and being fully present are positive attributes when dealing with an overwhelming existence in our fast action society. It is imperative to hone this skill or we will get lost in the minutia. Taking time to center myself has become something I need to do more and more often. It used to be something I practiced because I liked it. I learned to weather through depression and anxiety by using techniques and practices such as meditation and yoga out of necessity. It helps. When I start to worry, get confused. feel helpless in a situation, and when I start to take it all to heart – I take time to center myself and I begin to feel better.

Mindfulness to me is being aware of my intentions and acting according to my core values. Sometimes life takes me in other directions. Sometimes I need to tune out my surroundings and tune in to my inner voice to get back on track. Here are my best practices that I use to center myself and focus on what is important to me:

  • talking to a friend
  • writing in my journal
  • making lists and mind mapping
  • writing – story telling
  • quieting my mind – resting
  • visualization – going to my happy place
  • meditation – prayer
  • relaxation – quieting the body (massage, laying out by the pool, going to the spa)
  • walking – taking nature hikes
  • yoga, stretching
  • retreats, weekend getaways
  • attend Mass, volunteering at Church
  • singing – listening to music
  • cleaning, organizing
  • reading
  • watching movies and “vegging” out

There are so many ways that we can tap into our consciousness and find sturdy ground. Knowing which things appeal to our needs and suits us best is the first step. Then when you get that feeling that you need to “dig yourself out of a hole” you will know exactly what to do.  A good place to start is to take a look at The Tree of Contemplative Practices, from The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society. This graphic shows all the varying types of practices used for mindfulness and meditation. There are many things that can be tried and then you can make your own list based on what works for you.



How does doing these things make a difference?

How does it help me be a better person, make better decisions, navigate the minutia, get out of that hole? It helps if you know who you are, what you want in life, and what it is that you are passionate about. If you are still searching for these things, when you contemplate your life – ask yourself what it is that makes you happy. That can be a difficult question to answer. It took me a very long time to come to a conclusion. My instinct was to make other people happy.

First, I wanted to make my parents happy. I wanted them to be proud of me. I felt that I owed it to them to do the right things and to honor their wishes, their hopes, dreams and expectations. Then, I wanted my husband to be happy. I was in love and I thought it was my duty to fulfill my husband’s hopes and dreams. Then I tried to be a good mother and fulfill my children’s needs. You get the idea. Along my life’s path I may have answered the question, “What makes me happy?” quite differently. I now believe that if I was being true to myself and my core values, then I would have focused on my own needs. It is not selfish to do this. It is actually helpful to everyone around me. Knowing what it is that makes me happy, truly happy, spreads to all who know me. Because it centers me and makes me whole. My joy shines through in everything that I do.

“To be more mindful of the present, we must tune out virtually everything besides our own internal voices – to feel ourselves breathing and reaching out to the world with a true mind and heart.”

“Living in the moment brings us to a self that is pure and unfettered. It brings us closer to our true nature.” ~John C. Bader, The Responsive Universe

So, what does “vegging out” or laying out by the pool have to do with mindfulness, meditation, centering and digging myself out of a hole?

We must realize when we start to feel lost or out of control that we are listening to negative voices and believing lies about where our life is headed. Stop that. Be mindful of your thoughts. Take the time to bring yourself to a good place. Listen to your inner “sweetheart” and hear your kind thoughtful healthy voice. Ask yourself, what do I need to do to be happy? Then do it. Seriously, I have discovered that telling myself and believing that I can be happy really does make it all better!

If you need help finding direction in your life, discovering your purpose or if you would like some insight on contemplative practices, you can contact me for coaching. Make an appointment HERE for a FREE introductory session.

Melissa Reyes is a life coach and blogger at MizMeliz.com. She is the author of This is the Sound of My Soul where she shares her transformational journey of discovering her life’s passion and joy.

Who is Lao Tzu


Laozi, better known as Lao Tzu, was a legendary philosopher of ancient China who is probably best described as the author of Tao Te Ching. Known also as the unofficial founder of philosophical Taoism, he was considered by many as a religious deity. Born sometime in the 6th century BC (possibly the era of Confucius), Lao Tzu is more of an enigma than a historical figure: Some scholars would argue that Lao Tzu may in fact be more of a legend than a man, as historical information of his life and work have been passed down through the generations as lore with very few written records. The Tao Te Ching is the strongest evidence of his existence.

“To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.”
– Lao Tzu

The story goes something like this: Due to political unrest and chaos, Lao Tzu, already a famous philosopher,  decided to leave the lands he called home.  Apparently he was travelling westward on a water buffalo when he came to the Han Gu Pass, which was guarded.  The keeper of the pass realized Lao Tzu was leaving permanently, so he requested that Lao Tzu write down some of his wisdom so that it could be preserved once he was gone – hence the Tao Te Ching was born (at least in some facsimile) and the philosophy or religion of Taoism was born as well.

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”
– Lao Tzu

It is hard to condense Taoism into a couple of sentences for blog purposes. Much like many eastern philosophies, Taoism emphasizes living in harmony with a particular path or principal. Taoist ethics may vary depending on the particular school, but the path is one of action through non-action including qualities of naturalness, simplicity, spontaneity, and the Three Treasures: compassion, moderation, and humility.

“Life and death are one thread, the same line viewed from different sides.”
– Lao Tzu

Lao Tzu quotes are seen posted across Twitter and Facebook on a regular basis. I have posted many of these quotes myself on the Responsive Universe.  At first interpretation, you would think such wisdom is contemporary in nature. Yet, Lao Tzu’s words and wisdom span over 2500 years.  As with the likes of Plato, Aristotle and even Rumi, it is fascinating to think that ancient philosophers had a steadfast grip on energy, illumination and spiritualism when science was still in its infancy.  I am actually surprised we are not more evolved (spiritually and socially) knowing what these ancient teachers knew thousands of years ago.

Here are a couple more of my favorite quotes from Lao Tzu:

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”
– Lao Tzu

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”
– Lao Tzu

John C. Bader

About the Book: www.responsiveuniverse.com

Now Available: Amazon    Barnes & Noble

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Reference 1   Image/Reference 2


Albert Einstein was born on March 14, 1879 and is well-known for his scientific research in modern physics. Famous for his theory of relativity, much of his exceptional work is still considered a benchmark in the modern world of quantum science.

Across Facebook and Twitter I always see philosophical and even spiritual quotes from Einstein that not only portrayed him as a scientist but also as an awakened being.  Some of his writing seems Buddhist in nature. A German, Jewish scientist who found his True Nature? Publically, he called himself an agnostic, while dissociating himself from the label of atheist. Cleary he was not swayed by religious dogma, but he did see some amazing connections with instinctual consciousness and the Universe – these quotes below may reflect some of this energy and wisdom:

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.”   -Albert Einstein

“Buddhism has the characteristics of what would be expected in a cosmic religion for the future: It transcends a personal God, avoids dogmas and theology; it covers both the natural and spiritual; and it is based on a religious sense aspiring from the experience of all things, natural and spiritual, as a meaningful unity.”  -Albert Einstein

“If there is any religion that would cope with modern scientific needs it would be Buddhism.”  -Albert Einstein

“A human being is part of the whole, called by us ‘Universe’; a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest–a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely but striving for such achievement is, in itself, a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security.”
-Albert Einstein

John C. Bader

About the Book: www.responsiveuniverse.com

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Article reference

Article reference

oshoOn occasion I like to expand on some of my spiritual and philosophical influences which include the likes of Joseph Campbell, Carl Jung and the Dalai Lama; among many other writers and spiritual leaders. One such influence is Chandra Mohan Jain (Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh); also known simply as Osho.

“Spirituality is rebellion; religiousness is orthodoxy. Spirituality is individuality; religiousness is just remaining part of the crowd psychology. Religiousness keeps you a sheep, and spirituality is a lion’s roar.”

Osho (Born December 11th, 1931 – died January 19th, 1990) was an Indian mystic, guru and spiritual teacher who travelled throughout India during the 1960s as a public speaker. A professor of philosophy, he relocated to the United States; only to be deported in the 1980s due to some serious legal ramifications.

“Go inwards. Find your inner space, and suddenly, you will find an explosion of light, of beauty, of ecstasy -as if suddenly thousands of roses have blossomed within you and you are full of their fragrance.”

Controversy aside, Osho is known for his open attitude towards sexuality and his unorthodox teaching methods that were interwoven with humor and rhetoric; revealing paradox and contradiction, thus making his work somewhat difficult to summarize.  Osho was skilful in merging eastern philosophy with western ideals; formulating a fundamental understanding of ego and mind: According to Osho, every human being exhibits Buddha nature with the capacity for enlightenment. In his teachings he surmises that it is the ego that usually blocks the road to enlightenment. The art in life is identifying and then separating ourselves from social conditioning and false needs and conflicts which create this illusory sense of identity which is a barrier to man’s inner gift to self-evolve.

“Nothing kills the ego like playfulness, like laughter. When you start taking life as fun, the ego has to die, it cannot exist anymore.”

I have always been drawn to his teachings on meditation. Osho taught that meditation is not only a practice but also a state of awareness to be maintained in every moment; a total awareness awakening the individual from the sleep of mechanical responses conditioned by beliefs and expectations. That idea resonates well with me and is reflected in my writing.

“Meditation is nothing but a bridge between you and light.”

No stranger to controversy and opinion, Oshos legacy is certainly up for debate and criticism. When you read about the history of his life you see an imperfect person preaching enlightenment and wisdom.  That is the burden of a spiritual leader: To be held to this higher moral standard.  I suppose a good question is whether or not his poignant quotes and philosophical contributions seem to stand above any short falls that history may present. Like many great writers and teachers like Alan Watts or Hemingway, the burden is heavy and the final toll is equally intense for some.  The skill in how we walk through life is extracting the positive from the negative and moving forward as best as possible with grace, energy and wisdom. As I continue to learn more about this controversial spiritual leader, I am becoming more convinced his legacy is in question.

“Spirituality is your original face; it is the discovery of your intrinsic nature.”


SIDE NOTE: I have received several messages from very knowledgeable people who have expressed their discord with the troubling side of Osho: A person who is known for his wisdom (as seen in so many FB and Twitter quotes) and also the train wreck of legal issues including drug addiction, financial and social misconduct,sexual abuse/harassment and other lawsuits. I must admit, though I did do research on his past; seeing much of the controversy; it still interested me that so many people were drawn to his wisdom (including me!) – maybe unaware of the sick parallel world he lived. I want to be clear that this is not a ringing endorsement but merely a snap shot of a person whose credibility may be in question more than his wisdom. Hind sight is always 20/20 –  I have since pulled a couple lines and added a couple lines of copy for amendment purposes – JCB


John C. Bader

About the Book: www.responsiveuniverse.com

Now Available: Amazon    Barnes & Noble

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mantraofthemonthIn this new 2014 blog series titled, Mantra of the Month, we will be focusing on our first meditative incantation. A “mantra” is a word or group of words designed to evoke a mindful response. This word or phrase is meant to act as a trigger to help focus on a specific topic or thought. Born from ancient Hindu Vedic literature and common in Buddhist circles our Mantra of the Month is:

“Breathe in Positive Energy, Breathe out Negativity….”

Remember, in a Responsive Universe what we think we can create if we exhibit the right confidence and intent. As a meditative exercise, take a couple of moments out of your busy day and focus on this mantra. But first, what is positive energy? Well, it is everything tangible and intangible that surrounds us and constitutes us… At the most basic sub atomic and cellular level, humans are made up of atoms and molecules composed of energy. Quantum energy is the basis for all matter both seen and unseen. In a Universe of light, energy and vibration, humans are connected to this dynamism that links instinctual wisdom and consciousness; a common dominator for human existence. Through meditation and mindfulness we can imagine and visualize this energy passing through or entering our body – its basis is pure, unadulterated and indestructible. It is the opposite of ego and all that is negative within our lives. As social creatures we are constantly inundated with negative energy in the form of fear, jealousy, anger and false-confidence – some more so than others. The key is to center our energy and connect more with that True Nature within.

For a helpful exercise, pause for a moment and breathe in deeply 5 to 7 times. First, take a deep breath and feel your chest inflate with oxygen. Hold this breath for a couple of moments and then exhale, expelling all that is negative from your body and aura. Simply, visualize negativity, disease and addiction leaving your body with the out breath. Repeat this exercise several times.

Breathe in positive energy and breathe out negativity….

Breathe in all that is positive: Energy, light, love and wisdom… Hold your breath and then slowly exhale allowing all that is negative to leave your body: Negative thoughts, feelings of anxiety, or bad experiences; let anything negative leave your body on exhalation allowing only your True Nature to remain; steadfast and unshaken. Think of negativity as clouds obscuring the sun. As you slowly breathe in and out imagine the sun breaking through these clouds casting warm, healing illumination down on top of you. Do this several times and be mindful of this shift in energy. How do you feel now? Centered? Lighter?

Try this several times a day and notice the difference. Do you feel more relaxed, positive, inspired or revitalized?  Use this exercise when you are feeling a little rushed, stressed or overwhelmed… This is a great exercise right before a sit down meditation session!

“Breathe in Positive Energy, Breathe out Negativity….”


John C. Bader

About the Book: www.responsiveuniverse.com

Now Available: Amazon    Barnes & Noble

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Happy New Years to all of you reading this…

For those of you that are returning visitors to the Responsive Universe – I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I truly appreciate your energy, time and consideration. It means a lot to me!

For those of you new to the Responsive Universe – Welcome!

2014 is going to be an exciting year as there is change in the air. Change is good as it is intrinsic to our being. The more adaptable we are to change the more we will evolve and advance in this grand and amazing Responsive Universe.


I am excited to announce the soon to be published Responsive Universe – Illumination of the Nine Mandalas: To be edited, published and released by Wisdom Moon Publishing in 2014. This new version of the RU will be bigger, better and more in tune with our ongoing journey to self-discovery and illumination. More details to come!


On the Responsive Universe Blog get ready for my new blog series titled: The Mantra of the Month.  I am also excited to exhibit the wisdom and energy of several select guest bloggers and writers throughout the New Year. Our “Guest Blog” focus in 2014 will be on Meditation and Mindfulness. I look forward to all the new and inspiring contributions!


On my official Twitter page we will be continuing with the popular Blog Share Friday which includes like-minded content including healthy recipes, travel, and literary wisdom from fellow bloggers. I am so reverent for the 41,500 followers on Twitter – thanks so much!


Join me on Face book for updates and inspirational shares as we all disembark on this much-anticipated journey in 2014.


Again, with much appreciation, energy and reverence,

I thank all my followers, friends and fellow writers. Best of luck in 2014!


John C. Bader


2014 rocks!

newyearsA couple of years ago I wrote an article for MindBodyGreen entitled “10 Steps to Living a Positive Existence in 2012”.  I think it was a helpful piece and it was well received on social media like Twitter and especially Facebook.

With 2014 upon us, I thought I would revisit some important facets to betterment and self-improvement that mean a lot to me personally. As we all work toward illumination on our very own paths to self-discovery, our needs, wants and desires change; as does the root of intent that drives such personal growth. We are evolving and with any personal or social evolution births change. Everything I wrote in that MBG article still rings true, but since then I have been able to fine tune certain attributes to push my process of self-discovery forward.

This is a disclaimer of sorts: In the self-help world it is easy to watch some of the so-called self-improvement gurus (and there are many) sitting high and pious on their soap boxes, preaching compassion and conviction. They make this path to self-discovery sometimes look easy. Well it is not… and these New Years tips below are a good example of that. As I write this blog, I am fully aware that I am also working toward self-improvement. The burden is on me to live out my own destiny with the utmost determination and credibility possible. I am not perfect and I also slip and fall as we all do. This list is to be shared by us all – myself included. My goal in 2014 is to live closer and more intimately to my True Nature and this small list of resolutions is that gateway to more positive energy and wellness. I hope you find it helpful:

Credibility: As I continue to mature and evolve, I am realizing that credibility is a huge factor. Granted we should not care what others think about us in most facets – it simply feeds the ego. Still, we need to be sure our doorways to communication and expression are pure. This includes practicing what we preach, watching what we say and how we act in social situations. Every action we make creates a reaction and it is from this chain of events that builds and forms our credibility both inward and outward (how we perceive ourselves and also how our friends and family perceive us). This includes how we judge others verbally and nonverbally and how we act and react during times of challenge and conflict. This is an ongoing process and as a self-help writer and meditation advisor, the burden to be credible falls on my shoulders too.

Meditation: I have come to the personal conclusion that meditation is one of the best vehicles for wellness in my life. Seems obvious right? I have been enjoying a meditative practice for over a decade. Like exercise or anything else that requires effort, my meditation practice ebbs and flows like the tide. Sometimes we are very connected and clear, and sometimes the static of life disconnects us a bit. This is normal and simply requires mindfulness. Still, looking back on my past, it is easy to pinpoint that highs and lows and when I was more engaged and mindful. From this clarity and awareness has manifested better memories, luck and happiness. All of this can be directly rooted to meditation. The more I am rooted to the present moment, the easier it is to connect to success and wellness. The key is to get creative with meditation and incorporate it in all facets of life.

Letting Go: “Letting go” seems like a simple concept but it is a process: We need to let go of our negative past. We need to let go of the anger and conflict we feel for our enemies. We need let go of the sorrow and angst from the loss of love ones. We need to let go of the grip this material world wields over our wants and desires. We need to let go of the ego that controls our destiny; many times unknowingly. We need to let go of our fears. All of this is a purge of what is not real. Everything I listed above is not linked or aligned to our True Nature. Everything we cling to is a projection; societal conditioning; lies and false-self. This is an incredibly difficult concept to grasp and is an ongoing process of mindfulness, space, clarity and responsiveness. Trust me, this something I still struggle with daily myself – and that is okay. None of us are perfect and we never will be. Still, each little step forward out of the haze is a giant leap into the warm light of self-discovery.

New Years is actually my favorite time of year. Winter is upon us, and understanding the Mandala of life we are akin to; from winter comes spring (from death springs life): A renewal of energy, wisdom; even hope and anticipation. Remember, we live in a Responsive Universe: Self-discovery and the hard work to self-evolve might seem like a daunting task. Still, every small step forward; every small shift in perspective creates a growing footprint of energy. We are all connected and every move in the right direction, no matter how small, contributes to this glowing footprint of illumination.

2014 is going to be a good year. We have in our hand the key to happiness and betterment. We are the stewards of our own destiny. Believe this and it will manifest…  Shall we seize the day; seize the year? Let’s do it together!

Happy New Year!

John C. Bader


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