Awake in the World

If you’re feeling hemmed in and know that there’s much more to you than what you’re currently experiencing but don’t know quite how to access it, then “Leap of Perception,” by Penney Peirce deserves a read. Penney wrote about working with dreams and intuition long before working with either became common. Through her simple, guided exercises and partly through the subtle energy of awareness that she transmits through her writing, Penney invites us to step into expanded states of consciousness.

Author Penney Peirce

Author Penney Peirce

The magic of Penney’s descriptions about states of consciousness is that by drawing awareness to them, she makes them recognizable, and from that place of awareness we can shift into a more expansive state. Most of us, most of the time, hang out in the place of linear perception. But Penney invites us to step into the Intuition Age by making a leap into spherical perception. “After changing from linear to spherical perception reality functions differently,” she writes. “For starters, there is no outside world!” Did you grasp that? “Linear reality is like a donut and its empty hole,” she says. “Because you’re looking elsewhere for what you want, for validation of who you are, and for the meaning of life, you don’t experience your true self in the center. You can feel ‘mindless’ or ‘out of your mind.’ Your consciousness has ‘left your body’ to occupy other points of time and space – and in effect, ‘nobody’s home.’ You, yourself have become a gap!”

If that sounds familiar, if you’ve been feeling empty and like you’re not enough or don’t have enough, Peirce encourages us with her reassurance. “To transform and find Intuition Age perceptions, you need to take up your rightful place in the center of the here and now and in your body starting with the center points in your head and heart.”

Part of the magic of her writing is that her astute observations help us to identify experiences we’re having that feel less than satisfactory, and she shows us ways out (or in) and the shifts can happen instantaneously. This is ancient wisdom written for today, right now, in clear terms that have the ability to transform your perceptions in an instant.

Bio: Debra Moffitt is the award-winning author of Awake in the World: 108 Practices to Live a Divinely Inspired Life and “Garden of Bliss: Cultivating the Inner Landscape for Self-Discovery” (Llewellyn Worldwide, February 2013). A visionary, dreamer and teacher, she’s devoted to nurturing the spiritual in everyday life. She leads workshops on spiritual practices, writing and creativity in the U.S. and Europe. More at and on Facebook at:

The things we need arrive at the right time, and so it has been with Mark Nepo and his work. For those of us on a spiritual path, Mark’s writings possess the power to immediately move us into connection with a subtle and powerful awareness at the deepest, most soulful level. Though Mark Nepo‘s writing has been with us for a while, it wasn’t until Oprah received a copy of Mark’s Book of Awakening through one of her staff assistants that it came to the notice of millions. This all happened at a critical time.

I first interviewed Mark around the time he’d just lost his day job and faced some health problems. At what seemed like one of his darker hours, Oprah also discovered Mark’s work, and that darkness turned to light as his book, which he’d written some ten years earlier, became a New York Times bestselling book. Oprah recently did two more interviews with him for upcoming shows from her home in Hawaii. Regarding all the success, Mark remains grateful but unfazed by the recognition of his work, and he continues to teach and practice presence in much the same way as before. I asked him to share some his recent experiences, as well as tell us more about his latest book, Reduced to Joy. He’s also offered us one of the poems from his book at the end of this post.

Debra Moffitt: You have written about awakening, silence, and finally joy. Reduced to Joy, your latest book of poems, feels like a culmination of your many years of spiritual connection. Are joy and bliss the final experiences that arrive on the spiritual journey?

Mark Nepo: I’m not sure there is any final experience to this mysterious journey. I think we continue to be brought closer and closer to the aliveness we carry. For me, joy is different than happiness. While happiness is a fleeting mood, joy is larger and more lasting than any one feeling. If each feeling is a wave of emotion, then joy is the ocean that holds all feelings. As I get older, I’m coming to realize that joy is central to our knowing peace. It’s one deep way that we access Oneness. I’m also beginning to see that joy is the hum of Oneness. It’s the sensation of being connected to life itself. Another way to speak of joy is to say that it’s the reward for facing our experience. Often, what keeps us from joy is the menacing assumption that life is happening other than where we are. So we are always leaving, running from or running to. What keeps us from joy, then, is often not being where we are and not valuing what is before us.

 Debra Moffitt: How did Reduced to Joy come into being?

Mark Nepo: Poems come slowly. They break surface like dolphins after long stretches of going under. So writing a book of poems for me is different than writing my other books. I have to sit when I’m able and try to make heart-sense of what life has been doing to me and with me. Like wringing out a sponge, I squeeze what matters onto the page, let it dry, and see what’s there the next day. One by one, they gather into an instructive whole. All this is to say that by trying to make sense of my own experience, I’ve discovered a theme to the journey, that we are all reduced to joy, worn away of all excess. To survive this, we often need to hold each other up in order to discover and return to what matters. This book explores these essential relationships, which keep shaping me.

Debra Moffitt: I love the title of your book. As your poem, “Where is God?” expresses, it seems that once all is stripped away there’s nothing more to obscure joy. Can you speak more to what joy is and is not and how we might know the difference? 

Mark Nepo: After all these years, I’m beginning to see that tranquility is the depth of being that holds what we think and feel, not the still point after we’ve silenced what we think and feel. Serenity is the depth of being that holds difficulty, not the resting point after we’ve ended difficulty. And peace is the depth of being that holds suffering and doubt, not the raft we climb on to avoid suffering and doubt. This leads us to joy, which is much deeper and larger than any one feeling. Happiness, fear, anxiety, contentment, doubt, regret, unworthiness, anger, despair—all these and more are the waves that rise and fall in the sea of being.

 Debra Moffitt: Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers? 

Mark Nepo: These poems have been retrieved and shaped over the last thirteen years. They have been my teachers about the nature of working with what we’re given till it wears us through to joy. My hope is that the poems in this book will serve as a threshold to an underlying connection to the greater life we are all a part of. I hope the book will be a resource for you when faced with the difficulties of living. I hope the poems will confirm that, no matter the struggle you find yourself in, you are not alone. May these poems be honest companions on the journey to joy.

A Poem from Reduced to Joy by Mark Nepo reprinted with his permission.

Where is God? 

 It’s as if what is unbreakable—
the very pulse of life—waits for
everything else to be torn away,
and then in the bareness that
only silence and suffering and
great love can expose, it dares
to speak through us and to us.
It seems to say, if you want to last,
hold on to nothing. If you want
to know love, let in everything.
If you want to feel the presence
of everything, stop counting the
things that break along the way.
* * *
Debra Moffitt is the award winning author of Awake in the World: 108 Practices to Live a Divinely Inspired Life and “Garden of Bliss: Cultivating the Inner Landscape for Self-Discovery” (Llewellyn Worldwide, May 2013). A visionary, dreamer and teacher, she’s devoted to nurturing the spiritual in everyday life. She leads workshops on spiritual practices, writing and creativity in the U.S. and Europe. More at

Can you feel the excitement in the air? The days are hot and sunny, and summer officially begins this week on June 21st. It’s the longest day and the shortest night in the Northern hemisphere. I love this day. In the South of France it’s celebrated by jumping over bonfires as a way to gain courage and embrace the power of light and fire. That tradition dates back to pagan times, long before the Catholic church arrived to taint it with negative views about the appreciation of nature and the power of the five elements.

There’s a whole history of rituals related to this day and ways to honor and capture some of the magic of this mystical portal into summer. For centuries people have gathered at Stonehenge to welcome the season. Author Deborah Blake who writes on magic and rituals says, “The earth is at its most fertile and life is bursting out all over.” She advises that this is the best time for magical work “for abundance, fertility, and any kind of growth.”

I love it both as a time that presents an opportunity to burn away the old habits and baggage that no longer serve. And at the same time it’s a moment where the whole world feels alive with the vibrant, radiant energy of sunlight. It feels like a time of great possibility and a moment to enjoy life to its fullest. In France the day often coincides with the “Fete de la Musique”, a country-wide music day where  you’ll find people playing harps on street corners, rock bands pound out a rhythm from pubs, and orchestras spontaneously set up in open squares to play under the rising moon.

How will you spend the solstice? Make a plan to turn it into a special day. Go to the beach for a picnic with your beau. Dance with girlfriends under the moon in a grove of trees. Paint or write on a project that your heart yearns for you to create. Kiss a loved one. Join me at Esalen Institute June 21st-23rd for a magical writing retreat. Play! Happy summer.

Bio: Debra Moffitt is the award winning author of Awake in the World: 108 Practices to Live a Divinely Inspired Life and “Garden of Bliss: Cultivating the Inner Landscape for Self-Discovery” (Llewellyn Worldwide, May 2013). A visionary, dreamer and teacher, she’s devoted to nurturing the spiritual in everyday life. She leads workshops on spiritual practices, writing and creativity in the U.S. and Europe. More at and on Facebook at:


Stepping onto the spiritual path isn’t all peace and roses. It pushes us into a place that moves us beyond our usual comfort zone. As we attune to the highest within us and listen to inner guidance, that guidance sometimes pushes us to try new jobs, to stretch into new creative projects, and to sometimes to move to new places. Author, radio host and intuitive, Bernadette Dickinson experienced just that as her inner life awaken. She lived in Seattle, but over several years her dreams kept pointing to a move to Colorado. She says she worked in marketing, but a series of events occurred which acted like questions from the Universe that said, “Are you ready to move now?” Bernadette says, “I really wasn’t, but it quickly became clear that if I didn’t life was bound to get more difficult.”

She writes, “I took a week off to get clear on what needed to happen and make some choices. During that week, Spirit opened up the “plan” for me. After realizing I had a strong pull to go, I moved to Colorado. I was shown a general area and after 3 calls, rented a house with 2 acres over the phone. Within 3 days I was living in Colorado . I had no idea what I was going to do for work, how I was going to make it or even what the area was like. It took a huge leap of faith but, 13 years later I am living on that same piece of property. I built a 3300 sq ft house, a greenhouse, and am raising dairy goats, chickens and I produce a lot of our family’s food.”

She felt her Spirit was urging her to physically move and yet she resisted. I asked her “How do you reconcile the difference between Spirit and the part of you that doesn’t want to follow that inner guidance?” I love Bernadette’s response. She says:

“I’ve been resisting Spirit a good part of my life. I was born a natural Clairvoyant and Clairaudient. Being raised in a Christian home, these gifts were not honored. I kept my gifts hidden as much as possible and it caused me a lot of turmoil. Throughout my life I found, when I listened to Spirit and did what I was told, things went really smoothly. When I resisted, there were so many obstacles, so much struggle. When I’m in resistance to Spirit’s urgings I tend to get very depressed and sad. I start getting physically ill and things around me start to malfunction. It’s fairly easy to reconcile my ego desires at this point, due to the intense lessons I’ve endured resisting Spirit.”

I asked her some more questions to help us understand how to work with inner guidance. Here’s the short Q&A

Q: How do you receive inner guidance?

Bernadette Dickinson: Sometimes I get guidance in dreams, very lucid dreams. At other times, messages come through visions. I meditate a lot, during that silence Spirit can easily speak to me. I tend to have warnings show up in very unusual but obvious ways when I’m going in the wrong direction.

Q: I love your comment: “If you think the spiritual path is boring, you are way wrong.” Please speak more to this.

Bernadette Dickinson:  We tend to think of spirituality as a burdensome practice. It is just the opposite. I learned many years ago that if I make my spiritual walk the priority, everything lines up perfectly. I’ve learned so much about the workings of the Universe by focusing upon Spiritual growth. It never bores me to learn and experience miracles. It’s quite exciting to ask for guidance or assistance from Spirit, knowing that the answers will come in the most profound, unexpected ways. When you ask for assistance, suddenly someone shows up in your life experience that is just what you need. When you ask for guidance, things start appearing to give you that guidance. It can be an email, a phone call, a road sign. The Universe is unlimited, likewise, the experience of Spirit working in our lives is unlimited.

Q: You said that part of us tends to create drama. Which part is this? How does that happen to you?

Bernadette Dickinson: As humans, we are programmed to operate from our Ego Mind. The Ego tends to focus on selfish desire and intellect. When we are unaware or unconscious of the ego, we tend to create emotional fixes. It shows up in the form of immediate gratification. It bolsters our sense of pride, arrogance and a false sense of connection. When we are disconnected from Self and Spirit, we feel like something’s missing. We feel empty, sad and experience a deep sense of longing. The Ego wants to soothe that, giving us ideas of filling that void with things outside of ourselves. We think we need to focus on something outside of ourselves, be it food, sex, attainment of physical things. In this case, we do things to ourselves and others that is not based on Love but fear. We create a false connection and immediately feel lack, disconnection, discontent. Rather then redirect ourselves to our Soul Self, we reach outside again, repeating the same cycle of distraction and disconnection. It’s a vicious cycle, damaging our bodies, hurting others and even the environment. Our soul longs for connection, a knowledge of self and Source/God. When we override the Ego, quiet the mind, our inner guidance directs us to what we really need. Once we make the connection to Self, we are able to observe our emotions, thoughts and desires from a place that allows us to make a deep connection to All That Is. In those moments, the “needs/desires” dissipate and we realize we have no need of anything outside of ourselves.

I tend to create drama when I’m overwhelmed. Something happens or it doesn’t, I instantly want to react by “doing” something to fix what is happening. I find when I’m not grounded, I emotionally react to things and blow them up with words, accusations, fears. If I’m bored and what an emotional fix, I might start an argument with someone. It’s crazy to me, that we are so attracted to emotional drama. When I feel the urge to create any kind of drama, I know it’s time to stop, get quiet and check in with my inner guidance to see what’s really going on. Once I identify the internal cause, I can calmly follow the guidance to peace.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Bernadette Dickinson: There is so much I’d like to share with others. Most of all, I want everyone to know they have the power to create their own reality. They have power to make deep connections that are real. Life is very exciting and fulfilling when we have faith in Divine guidance. It becomes peaceful, joyful and ever expanding.

Bernadette’s website is She also wrote a book called: “30 Days to a Charmed Life”. It’s a workbook filled with exercises to help anyone change their life. It reveals the ways she worked through her own fears, lack, and misunderstandings “to become who I am today.” There’s a link on her website to Kindle Ebook version.

Bio: Debra Moffitt is the award winning author of Awake in the World: 108 Practices to Live a Divinely Inspired Life and “Garden of Bliss: Cultivating the Inner Landscape for Self-Discovery” (Llewellyn Worldwide, May 2013). A visionary, dreamer and teacher, she’s devoted to nurturing the spiritual in everyday life. She leads workshops on spiritual practices, writing and creativity in the U.S. and Europe. More at and on Facebook at: