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Timeless Wisdom

This week on “Life Shifting with Dr J” I had the opportunity to meet that rare, special kind of leader, one who truly “walks the talk.” In a world where scandal, duplicity, and political maneuvering seem to define the leadership landscape, it is encouraging–and inspiring–to know that there are leaders out there who have integrity, humanity, humility, and most importantly, wisdom. Dr David Surrenda, CEO of the Kripalu Institute for Yoga and Healing, is one of those leaders. He is a clinical psychologist and a thirty year veteran of the corporate, academic and organizational consulting worlds, and author of multiple books on leadership and self-development, most recently: “Retooling on the Run: Real Change for Leaders with no Time.”

I was honored to have him join me on my show. Click here to listen or download to Itunes/Mp3. Wowed by his clear, concise and simple message about leadership, I am in complete sync with his core principle: it is all about self-mastery. As I write in my book, “Shift: Let Go of Fear and Get Your Life in Gear,” it is impossible for us to be role models as leaders until we gain a measure of self-awareness — and humbly take up the gauntlet to LEAD OURSELVES.

As David pointed out in our conversation, self-mastery is not about becoming a “super hero,” but rather about becoming adept at stalking ourselves, becoming aware of our faults, our habits, and our fears–not with an ear for self-criticism, but with an eye for seeing how we can put in place practices to become more fully realized as humans.

Key to this journey of self-realization is shortening the “recovery time” from when go off track–get triggered, practice a bad habit, break a commitment, fall victim to fear, etc.

Mastery=Quick Recovery not Perfection

We will never be perfect, nor are we ever “finished” manifesting our full potential. BUT, with a commitment to continuously growing, learning and tracking ourselves, we can surely become more of WHO WE ARE MEANT TO BE.

I dearly hope you will take time to download the interview and hear from David directly. You will love his quick and concise six-step methodology for self-mastery. Here’s a preview synopsis:


1. Gain Perspective– take the long view
2. Be a Student–of your self
3. Clarify Your Intent–know where you are headed
4. Map Your Patterns-look for gaps in consistency
5. Course Correct–don’t criticize, simply correct and re-balance
6. Evaluate Progress–shorten the “recovery time”

In a time when the world is crying out for wise leaders, I am heartened to know that people like David Surrenda are out there doing their thing, leading organizations that shape our world. Kripalu is one of the largest holistic health centers in the entire world…and I’m happy to be able to say, it is in good hands.

Thanks David…and to all, Namaste,

Dr J


Leap and the Net Will Appear

Hello everyone!

Are you ready to be inspired?

Have you ever wondered how all those amazing non-profit organizations out there helping people, all over the world, with counseling, financial support, mentoring, volunteers–get started? Maybe you’ve thought about starting a non-profit yourself but thought, “Well, those kinds of organizations are only for rich people like Bill Gates?” NOT.

This week I had the privilege of hosting Leo Preziosi, the amazing, passionate, founder of a non-profit called “Live Out Loud, on my weekly radio show, Life Shifting with Dr J, This wonderful non-profit organization, dedicated to providing role models and support to LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) youth, has been doing extraordinary work–for over ten years! Founded by Leo in 2001, Live Out Loud works with high school and college LGBT support groups — bringing successful role models from the gay community BACK to their hometowns and colleges–to speak, mentor, and present a POSITIVE FUTURE to kids that may be struggling with sexuality, bullying, and virulent homophobia.

For anyone who has ever dreamed about doing something BIG in the world, stepping up and doing something to truly help those in need–Leo is an inspiration. He graciously agreed to come on my show and share his wisdom and insights about HOW and WHAT it takes to MAKE A DIFFERENCE every single day.

I hope you will tune in or download my interview with Leo–just click here or go to www.transformationtalkradio.com and look for Dr. Jeffrey Hull, under “hosts”.

I was deeply moved by Leo’s dedication to kids and his gift for starting, building and, most of all, sustaining a non-profit organization for over ten years. For anyone out there thinking about joining or starting a non-profit…Leo would surely say, “Go for it! Take the leap…and the net will appear!” Here are a few of his wise tips:

1. Go with your passion! All it takes is an IDEA…but you have to believe in it PASSIONATELY. What you care about MATTERS. Leo’s story is simple but moving. He read an article about two high school boys who committed suicide rather than have to deal with the pain of being gay in a world that shunned them. He was moved to his core…and made a simple decision: to do something. What moves you? What suffering in the world are you not willing to tolerate? What might you do about it?

2. Don’t go it alone. Find companions to join you on the trip.

All hands on deck

Build a coalition of like-minded folks who want to help.

3. Seek out the experts. Recognize your strengths (Leo, for example is great at creating events and raising funds) and seek out people with expertise that fills in your gaps (he acknowledged that he’s not great with administration and accounting!).

4. Don’t be afraid to ask. Leo shared a great story about the challenge of fund-raising: learning to ask for $$$$. He acknowledges that it can be daunting…and you have to learn to handle “no”…or “not now”…but many many people are out there who WANT to help. You have to learn to ask.

5. Stick with it. Organizations that last ten years like Live Out Loud grow incrementally and steadily…as Leo recounts, it is not a sprint to the finish line, rather it is about making small and steady steps in the direction of growing, affirming what you care about, being persistent…and staying true to your dream.

Thanks Leo…for you amazing story and the powerful, uplifting work you are doing in the world to support gay youth. We all know, from recent highly publicized events, that bullying and prejudice, unfortunately, are alive and well in our society. Even in a world where TV and movies now regularly portray gay people as just like everyone else–we have a long way to go in creating a society where acceptance and tolerance are the NORM rather than the exception.

I hope you’ll tune in to my interview with Leo, and more importantly, think about how you might GET INTO ACTION and volunteer, join…or maybe start an organization…even a MOVEMENT. Why not?

One person really CAN make a difference

With gratitude,

Dr J

Life Shifting with Dr J: A Voice of Hope

All I can say is…Wow!

Despite a few technical glitches — we worked out the kinks and I had an amazing conversation this week on Life Shifting with Dr J–with my special guest, Dr Michael Picucci! If you missed our talk, here’s the link to play online or download:http://transformationtalkradio.com/meet_shows.php?id=3961

I was so excited to reconnect with my longtime friend and mentor, Dr Michael Picucci, at a recent showing of a great new documentary, “2010: A Time For change.” If you haven’t seen this film yet, make haste to a screening. It is a beautiful testament to WHAT’S POSSIBLE as humans finally wake up from the “trance” of industrial capitalism and a new awareness emerges–an awareness of the interconnection between humans and ALL life on the planet we call home.

In our interview, Michael shared with me his new-found optimism about humanity at this time of great change. He reflected on his thirty year healing journey and pointed to the emergence of a new “age of wisdom” arising as the free-love, mind expansion experiment of the sixties generation comes full circle. Continue reading

Thanks Deepak!

Today is Thanksgiving Day here in the chilly Northeast. I seriously doubt if many of you are going to be spending time reading blogs…and in fact, I would hope not! Most of us, me included in a few hours, will be focusing our attention on something far more important: friends and loved ones.

Today is a day for reaching out, reaching back, and reaching in–to our hearts–and remembering, with deep gratitude, the blessings and support of all the wonderful people who have brought us comfort, love and hugs over the years. It is a time for doing what I’ve been writing about a lot recently: taking a breath; creating a space for reflection, being (instead of doing!), and rest. So, with this in mind, I hereby give myself permission to take a break from writing anything “adventurous” in the lineage of “Life-Shifting”.

Instead, I want to take a moment to thank someone who I don’t even know. Someone whose work and words have touched my heart and guided my thinking for many years…but who has, unfortunately, chosen to set up his home base and retreat center in sunny Southern California (now why would anyone do that?) instead of near the glamorous hills north of New York City (where I currently sit in 23 degree cloud cover).

The man I refer to is Deepak Chopra, and like Barack Obama, the dream that he speaks into the world is one that resonates with me deeply: there is no East or West, country or state–all of these so-called “boundaries” are artificial. At the end of the day, we are one people on one planet living one very mysterious and glorious and amazing experience. Amen, Deepak.

Lat night, a group of terrorists attacked Mumbai, India (known by many of us as Bombay). It was a clearly well-organized and intentional act of malice on the part of the perpetrators. A cowardly bunch, these terrorists, who would kill innocent people and create mayhem towards aims that most of us will never understand.

In the midst of last night’s moment-by-moment TV coverage, CNN had the foresight to shift gears–at least for a few moments–and bring into the situation a voice of reason, wisdom and insight that is sorely lacking on most play-by-play newsreels: The voice of Deepak Chopra.

In those few minutes of airtime, Deepak shared three key ideas that he has consistently repeated whenever given the chance. Perhaps now, in the wake of more unnecessary devestation and heart ache, the world might listen. I want to paraphrase his points here, mostly to add my tiny voice to the groundswell of change that is coming in the new administration, but also to give my own personal thanks (!), that in this crazy, depressive moment in world history, we DO have amazing leaders and spiritual guides among us.

It all fits in the palm of your hand

It all fits in the palm of your hand

Here are the three key points that Deepak made (in my words, not his) in response to being asked how we should respond to this kind of abject terror:

1. We need to stop using the slogan: “War on Terror“! It is an oxymoron of the highest order, which in essence says we are conducting a war on war. What is that? When the terrorists attack a hotel in Mumbai, it is terrorizing. True. BUT, when the U.S. drops bombs on small towns in Afghanistan (even with the best of intentions) and innocent people are killed, this is pretty terrifying as well. Especially for those on the ground under those planes.

Terror is terror. We need to step back and look in the mirror folks: war is terror; terror is war. Waging “war on terror” won’t get us the peace we seek. It simply reinforces what divides us, deepens the hurt on both sides, and makes bridge-building well-nigh impossible. (I know many will call me naive here–that we are dealing with pathology on a grand scale. This may be true, but have you looked inside THIS country’s fundamentalist churches lately?)

2. We need to stop reinforcing the division called “East” and “West”. Depending upon which side of the planet you stand on and what time of day it is–east is west and west is east. The difference is a moving target, artificial at best and divisively post-colonial condescension at worst. Why is it, Deepak asks, that we are always more concerned about casualties and violence perpetrated against “Westerners”?

Doesn’t the same red stuff run in the veins of people born in India, Iraq, and Britain? Yes, there are cultural differences among people, and tribal and geographical ties run deep. BUT, life is life…and death is death. Terrorist acts hurt human beings on all sides and we here in the so-called
“West” need to wake up and smell the coffee: it is not just OUR people that matter. Everyone does.

3. We need to remember that borders–of countries, nation-states, continents–are mostly artificial, and always porous. We here in the U.S. in particular, seem constitutionally unable to remember anything geographical that goes back more than about ten years. The reality is that forty years ago there were only about 80 countries named on the planet. Today there are over 200. Nation states are man-made entities. Borders, as seen from space, do not exist. Countries like Pakistan and India and Iraq were artificially created by colonizing forces from far, far away (much closer to here as a matter of fact).

All this to say, that we would do well to keep in mind that people connect together, first and foremost, through heart and mind, soul and spirit. Borders, boundaries, walls, and names, will never be the things that define how people connect to one another. We need to think of ourselves as one community, one world, one humanity.

As Barbra Streisand says so beautifully on her “Higher Ground” album: “when a mother holds and soothes a crying baby, her love is the same love, no matter under which flag she stands”. Thanks Babs! On this wondrous dirt ball called, “earth”, there is only one community and we are all in it. We all feel the pain of loss of a loved one. We all feel the joy and comfort in a simple hug.

So today, as I hit the road to be with my closest loved ones in the wilds of Massachusetts, I bow deeply to Deepak (and hope to meet him one day!) and his wise counsel at this unique moment of heartache…and hope.

May you all have a joyous and peaceful holiday…hold your loved ones close…and remember: we are all one.

bound but not boundaried

bound but not boundaried


Dr J