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Monthly Archives

May 2012

Enjoy the Wonders of Life

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There is a whole side of stress that doesn’t get much notice, and it should. It’s the good stress, also called eustress. You know you’re in a eustress moment when you feel like you want to hug the world. Eustress is one part happiness, two parts gratitude, one part wonder and many parts mystery. This we do know: a cocktail of stress hormones flood the body, but unlike distress, this stress cocktail is different. It consists of additional neuropeptides and hormones that signify a feeling of euphoria; a great feeling to experience. Dopamine is one such brain chemical. So is Serotonin. Oxytocin is another (it’s also the neuropeptide associated with falling in love). The wonders of life are many, and sometimes it just takes getting out of your “routine” to notice just what they are. Abraham Maslow called these moments Peak Experiences.. I call them Holy Moments. In Colorado we call these natural highs. To be honest, what they are called doesn’t matter. Ensuring that you are open to experiencing them does.
Stress Tip for the Day:
It’s time to step outside your comfort zone today and go explore something new. Set your intention to co-create a new (and wonderful) day, with many new positive experiences. Then put on some clean clothes, grab your keys and head out the door. Abandon any expectations but set a few goals, perhaps to meet one new person today, or learn something you never knew before.  Take a small hike in the nearest park and bring your camera. Put some birdseed in the feeder and wait to see who shows up. Go to a festival or event, but rather than fight the crowds, slow down to flow smoothly with the crowd. Find some new music to grace your ears. LIVE your joy!
Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:
On the chance you might be looking for a good book to read, consider picking up the book, The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. It will surely open your eyes to see more beauty in your life.
Quote for the Day:
“Praise is the noise that joy makes.” —Matthew Fox.
Photo for the Day:
This being the first weekend of summer, I went down to the Boulder Creek Festival on Sunday and got more than an earful of great music. This photo is of three young men jamming on the Pearl Street Mall, to the great delight of all listening, including me. Enjoy!

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 12 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (7e) and the newly released, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Be Prepared, Not Scared…Solar Flares and Stress

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The cover story of this month’s issue of National Geographic highlights a potential super solar storm. Tucked in amongst the physics of solar plasma bursts and coronal mass ejections is the information that a solar flare, much like the one in 1859, if repeated, is likely to take down the US electrical power grid for a week, perhaps a month, not to mention some damage to cell phone satellites. How would Americans live without electricity for a week, or a month? It might prove to be a little stressful, particularly if one is not prepared. (I should add that a few high level military employees have shared with me they were told to plan for 2-3 months without power.) It’s not like you have weeks to prepare for an event like this. Scientists have about 30-90 mins to let the world know something dramatically solar is coming our way. While having no power for a while might be a good lesson in learning to slow down and focus on what is really important in life, the old Boy Scout motto, “be prepared” comes to mind. The upshot of all of this is that we are going to have some GREAT northern lights.
Stress Tip for the Day:
Without acting like the world is coming to an end, are you well prepared for an event like this? Do you have plenty of canned and dry goods to draw upon for meals. How about water, plenty of water? How about flashlight batteries, candles, matches, toilet paper, a few hundred dollars in small bills in case any stores might be open, and of course, a few good books to read (I can recommend a few in need any). Emergency preparedness is always a great idea, whether it’s because of potential floods, earthquakes or forest fires. To this list we should add cosmic weather,: super solar storms. Take time this weekend to stock up on supplies, so IF this day ever comes, you are well prepared and can sit back and ride out the solar storm in comfort, rather than running through the streets in a panic. If you don’t have an emergency preparedness kit, now might be a good time to get one this weekend. Be prepared, not scared.
Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:
Here is the online article from NG: Enjoy:
Here is a link to an item at Costco for an emergency kit. Take a look at what they have in there and see if you need any of this stuff. Below is a similar link to the American Red Cross kit.
Quote for the Day:
“The morally right thing to do once you’ve identified a threat of this magnitude is to be prepared. No preparing for this has intolerable consequences.” —Karel Schrijver, National Geographic, June 2012.
Photo for the Day:
Last Sunday was a near solar eclipse. I took this photo from my back yard (with two polarizer filters and some cloud cover to help). Solar eclipses were thought to be the harbinger of dramatic change. Might be a good idea to be prepared for any change on the horizon, even if the change isn’t solar, but a financial meltdown.

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 12 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (7e) and the newly released, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Integrity: One’s True Colors

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In talking to a colleague the other day, he lamented about his holiday weekend plans. “I’ll be working,” he said. “No one to go home to.” He explained that his wife won a large settlement of money two years ago and the day she got her check, she left him  (only now,  years later, she wants to come back home and make up). In hearing his story, many thoughts went through my head, but the expression true colorsechoed in my ears. Integrity seems to be in short supply these days when one looks at the greed on Wall Street or the gridlock in Washington, sometimes just down the street. A quick look reveals that integrity is used in terms of morals and ethics. A deeper search suggests it simply means honesty. People lie to each other in a great many ways, but the root cause of dishonesty is either fear or anger; the two primary stress emotions. The expression “true colors” means an honest expression of yourself (without filters … or lies). One’s true colors are often reveals by stress. Hemmingway, spoke of the high road when he used the expression, “Grace under pressure.”
Stress Tip for the Day:
What are your true colors? Are they bright or faded? Are they inviting or disdainful? Is your moral integrity a part of who you are or just an idea? Your thoughts and feelings comprise a part of your auric field; that which represents your true colors. Negative fear based thoughts reveal unattractive dull colors. No amount of TIDE will make these colors brighter, nor will the color of your clothes help. In fact, the only way to make your “true colors” attractive to others is to make a habit of cleaning up your thoughts and emotions so they are not fear-based. Honesty is a tough cross to bear for some, due to the power of fear. Metaphorically speaking, here is another perspective… if people could smell your thoughts and emotions, would they find them as dank odors or pleasant fragrances. What are your true colors… If you don’t like what you see, start cleansing the vibrations of your heart and mind.
Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:
Cyndi Lauper had a hit song called True Colors…. If you can, take a listen on Pandora or Itunes…..
Quote for the Day:
“If someone shows you their true colors, don’t try to repaint them.” — Taina, NYC Poet.
“Tell the truth… it’s easier to remember.”—Mark Twain
Photo for the Day:
Today’s photo is a picture I took of the flag of Cusco, Peru, not far from Machu Pichu (see the mountains in the background?). The rainbow flag of Cusco is symbolic of the divine essence found in the three kingdoms of shamanism, as light bends toward each kingdom. Enjoy!

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 12 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (7e) and the newly released, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Breasts, Bras, Toxins, Cancer, Stress

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A woman in Boulder Colorado, Florence Williams, has written a new book, titled, Breasts. In this book she covers everything from the physiology of the mammary glands to various social implications and fascinations thereof. In an NPR interview, Ms. Williams shared how a recent sample of her breast milk revealed, through various tests, traces of flame retardant, jet fuel, various pesticides and the carcinogen dioxin.  Not good! Since breasts are composed primarily of fatty tissue, and fatty tissue often becomes the depository for toxins, she (cautiously) makes the link to breast cancer quite easily. She also addresses the topic of early onset puberty with girls, ages 8-9 developing breasts at a much earlier age than a generation ago (this is thought to be related now to the increase in non-inert chemicals associated with plastics that affect sex hormones, as well as a diet high in fat calories). Perhaps, as no surprise with the obesity epidemic, the fashion industry notes that cup sizes, on average, have increased in the past decade as well.  Men, like women, are also prone for breast cancer (the US Military is now studying this due to radical increases in Marines (men) diagnosed with breast cancer at Camp Lejune, N.C., known recently for significant toxins dumps on/near the base). Many home healthcare products are ladened with chemicals that activate various hormones in the body. Williams stated that scientists still don’t know what causes breast cancer (too many variables, they say). You don’t have to be a Nobel prize winner, however to connect the dots.  Cancer of any type is most definitely a stressor, yet knowledge is power. Please stay informed.
Stress Tip for the Day:
At the risk of personal sharing (a lump was found in the breast of a former girlfriend of mine). Turns out it was just a fibrous lump, thought to be associated with a high intake of caffeine (she would drink up to 10 cups of coffee a day).  She was lucky. Breast exams should be a regular routine for both women… and men. To decrease the risk of breast cancer it is suggested to decrease your exposure to petrochemical toxins, including synthetic fertilizers that contain synthetic estrogens.  Organic foods are highly recommended, and ladies, if you wear a wired bra, please consider some alternatives, (including simply “removing” the wire). Tight bras cause congestion in the lymph glands located near the breasts, opening up the opportunity for problems in this area, as toxins that are not flushed out tend to accumulate near the closest fatty tissue.
Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:
I haven’t read Ms. Williams book, but from what I heard on the NPR radio show, I highly recommend it.
Here is a link to the radio interview Terry Gross did with the author on Fresh Air:
http://www.npr.org/2012/05/16/152818798/breasts-bigger-and-more-vulnerable-to-toxins
 I would also like to once again recommend the book, Plastic; A toxic love story.
Quote for the Day:
“It turns out that our breasts are almost like sponges, the way they can soak up some of these chemicals, especially the ones that tend to accumulate in fat tissue.” — Florence Williams
Photo for the Day:
Paying tribute to the work of my friend and colleague, Donna Eden, I often talk about the problems associated with wired bras and breast cancer. During a workshop, one of my attendees excused herself, only to come back minutes later bra in hand. Point well taken.

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 12 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (7e) and the newly released, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Stress Management & Relaxation Italian Style

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Italy Calling: Please Join Us In Tuscany this September (21-30)
Last year’s group trip to Italy was simply magical, so much so I decided to plan a second trip back to the heart of Tuscany this year, with a side trip to Assisi (my patron saint is Saint Francis—just had to go there, even if it’s only for a long lunch) and our final three days are in Venice. If you have ever wanted to see these regions of Italy, traveling in the safety of a small group, with some dedicated time (about an hour) each morning for meditation, restorative yoga, music therapy and guided imagery, not to mention some fabulous meals and a gentle immersion into the Italian culture, history, art and ambiance, then please …join us! We have THE best tour company and guides that will make this trip a trip of a lifetime. This trip is open to anyone including couples. Italy is calling.. start packing your bags.
Stress Tip for the Day: 
The name of this 10 day-trip is: The Spirit of Italy: Eat, Walk, Meditate, and the trip’s theme is taking care of yourself. This trip will be a time to recalibrate your mind, body and spirit back to a healthy balance of living, with some life skills to take back home to integrate back into your life. Vacations can be stressful, but based on the comments from people who went last year, our trip was a flawless effort of relaxation an comfort. This year’s trip will be the same. We have 5 spots left and we have no doubt this trip will fill up soon. If you have any questions, please email or call me and I will be glad to answer them for you (303) 678.9962
Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:
All the information you will need about this trip can be found by clicking this link:
The PDF brochure with registration form can be accessed by clicking the link below:
http://brianlukeseaward.net/spirit_of_italy_2012.pdf
Quote (s) for the Day:
“Life offers you a thousand chances. All you have to do is take one.” — Frances Mayes, author, Under A Tuscan Sun
“A person who has not been to Italy, is always conscious of an inferiority.” —Samuel Johnson
“Certainly, in Italy, nobody takes light for granted.” — Barbara Steele
Photo for the Day:
This year, we end out trip with three wonderful days in Venice. May this photo light a fire in the soul of your dreams…. please join us in Italy for what promises to be a trip of a lifetime, (and perhaps my last group trip to Italy).
Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is
the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (7e) and the newly released, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Obesity and Stress

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I heard the producer of the upcoming HBO special, The Weight of the Nation (Confronting America’s Obesity Epidemic) speak on NPR last week. Of the many things discussed on the show, was the fact that the quality of food in America is greatly compromised with vast amounts of sugar, salt and fat (not to mention chemicals), all of which may taste good, but are HUGE factors in the obesity epidemic in our country. It was stated that over the millennia our bodies were designed to store fat in the event of food scarcity. This may have been a problem centuries ago, it’s not today. Today, food scarcity is anything but a problem. Making matters worse is the epidemic of stress. Stress produces the stress hormone, cortisol, which promotes an increase in adipose (fat) tissue. Combined with this the fact that food producers market incessantly to your ego, with subliminal and not so subliminal messages to eat and eat and eat. One more fact to consider: the use of high technology (from Ipads to merely driving a car an hour a day) has made our culture VERY sedentary. The bottom line is this; if the calories consumed are greater than the calories expended, weight gain will most certainly occur. The factors for obesity in the country are many and quite complex. The consequences of chronic health issues associated with obesity  (from heart disease, diabetes and cancer) are monumental and quite complex, all of which endlessly spins the obesity and stress cycle.
Stress Tip for the Day:
So.. how does one get off of the obesity and stress cycle? Begin by unplugging from the intravenous tube of marketing: the television. Make a habit of getting outside and walking each morning for 20 mins (see link below).  Read food labels (see photo) and shift your diet towards fruits and veggies. If you eat at restaurants (and do this infrequently), ask for outdoor seating (indoors they turn the AC on which affects appetite, making you eat more). Shift away from mindless eating (eating out of boredom or stress). Eat more organic foods and less processed foods. Try to be more conscious of what you eat, how often you eat and how to expend more calories. As my financial experts reminds me about my retirement funds, “Don’t feel guilty, just start where you are and move forward.”
Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:
Here is a link to an interview on Fresh Air about the merits of walking… a good read:
I would also like to recommend the book, Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink as well as the book, In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan.
Quote for the Day:
“If it’s made by a plant, eat it. If it’s made in a plant, DON’T eat it.” — Anonymous
Photo for the Day:
I took today’s photo off the Internet. For something as simple as guacamole: avocados, tomatoes and perhaps some sour cream, look at all the ingredients in this mixture of guacamole. Don’t look to natural to me. Don’t sacrifice convenience for good health. Please make a habit of reading all food labels. And…as the saying goes, if you cannot pronounce it easily, you shouldn’t eat it.

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 12 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (7e)and the newly released, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Be a Good Mystic: Embrace The Mystery!

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There is a mystical side of life that contains all the things that we will never fully understand, even with scientific double blind studies. We live in a physical world, yet we also live in a world animated by spiritual forces that cannot be measured through microscopes or telescopes. These unseen divine forces may never be fully understood. We can 1) scratch our heads in puzzlement, 2) deny their existence and run in the opposite direction, or 3) and this is the best choice, simply embrace the mystery!  Divine synchronicities, spontaneous remissions, crop circles (real ones, not those made by the two drunk guys with boards and ropes), and answered prayers are examples of some of life’s mysteries. In the physical world of countless stress and dangers, not to mention big egos, it would do us well to peel back the curtain every now and then and realize that there is always more going on than meets the eye. One must learn to trust the Universe. To be a good mystic doesn’t mean you can walk on water, levitate while meditating or even bi-locate. To be a good mystic merely means one learns to embrace life’s mystery. Fear occludes our ability to see love, and love is the greatest mystery of all.
Stress Tip for the Day:
How can you begin to peel back the curtain, if only momentarily, to see the bigger picture of life? Well, you can start by meditating. Learn to sit quietly each day and calm your mind (the ego part of the mind). Meditation is simply clearing the windshield of your mind’s eye so you can see clearly. We are never going to fully understand everything in life (if you think you do, this is called being delusional). Embracing the mystery means to see the world through the eyes of a child, where nothing is taking for granted, and everything is new and exciting. When you begi nto realize that the supernatural is really quite natural and the ordinary is quite extraordinary, they you have learned to embrace the mystery of life.
Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:
Hollywood does a great job of reminding us of the miracles of life. Here are some inspiring movies that will help you pull back the curtain and embrace the mystery:
1.     MindWalk
2.     The Wizard of Oz
3.     Earth Songs: Mountains, Water and the Healing Power of Nature
4.      Finding Joe
Quote for the Day:
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”  —Albert Einstein
“Trying to scientifically prove the existence of God is like eating broth with a fork. You might get a small taste, but you’re missing both substance and essence.”—Brian Luke Seaward
Photo for the Day:
This photo of the Beltane Stone Circle in County Donegal, Ireland was created over 4,000 years ago as a celestial sun calendar. Just like Stonehenge. There are many stone monuments in Ireland, many built before the Egyptian pyramids, and like the pyramids, we can only speculate how they were built. Embrace the mystery.
Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 12 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (7e)and the newly released, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

The Secret of Happiness is Contentment

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There is much talk today of happiness and the ways to reach it. Happiness, however, isn’t a destination to reach. It’s a perception, a mindset. There are those that believe that people are born with this mindset. There are others who believe that each of us can achieve this perception merely by redirecting our thoughts. Both are true. Sometimes it takes a really stressful event to make us realize how grateful we are for what we have rather than desiring what we don’t have.  The secret to happiness is contentment; a stillpoint of realization that happiness is found within, not through external measures and possessions. Contentment is more than being grateful for the small things in life, it’s being grateful for simply being. Contentment is a song the heart sings in the quiet moments of the day. Can you hear it?
Stress Tip for the Day:
It is human nature to want things to fill the void that we think the echo of happiness creates.  This echo really comes from the heart’s song. True happiness begins inside with the realization that we are a gift  to the world and life is a gift to us as well. Make a list of 25 things that bring joy to your life that are already in your life, including the things you take for granted. Post this list on the bathroom mirror or fridge and let it remind you of the power of contentment. If you wish, make another list of 25 things you are grateful of. Post this list too. Finally, in your meditation sit still and meditate on the power of contentment. Be happy!
Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:
http://zenhabits.net/the-incredible-power-of-contentment/
Quote for the Day:
“Contentment is natural wealth, luxury is artificial poverty.” — Socrates
“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” —Cicero
Photo for the Day:
While walking through a park in the Hamptons last week, I held my hand out (as an expression of joy) and a chickadee landing on my fingertips. That made me happy! Enjoy
Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 12 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (7e)and the newly released, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Resiliency: To Bounce Back

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This week I was invited down to the Colorado Springs  Olympic Training Center to attend the 2012 Paralympic Games; an international sports event for people with disabilities. It was there I met Mac, a young 20-year old US Army soldier who has lost his right leg in the war in Afghanistan. He was excited to compete in the 50 yd freestyle event. “I’m not really a swimmer, ” he told me, but as someone who does swim, I was humbled by his efforts. In my eyes Mac is quite the hero indeed, and Joseph Campbell would be proud. Mac has demonstrated the importance of resiliency on the Hero’s Journey. I met several other members of the US Army (all heroes), but Mac made the biggest impression on me. In describing his story, it was easy to see that he demonstrates the epitome of resiliency. Mac has truly picked himself back up again after a mighty fall, and through it all keeps smiling.  There are many things that contribute to resiliency: Faith, hope, optimism, humor, patience, humbleness, and compassion. I could tell that Mac has not only found the formula, but drinks from it every day. We would all do well to follow his lead!
Stress Tip for the Day:
Life is going to hand you several knocks and most likely a few blows. Each time you have a choice to make: to stay down (and feel sorry for yourself) or… pick yourself back up and keep moving. Resiliency isn’t a gift for a choose few. It’ a birthright for everyone. Take time today to review your life standing. It’s OK if you have had a pity party (that’s normal). What’s not normal it to hang on to the grief on a daily basis. Make a plan today to elevate yourself (through humor, faith, optimism, etc.) and get back on your two (metaphorical) feet. The world is waiting for you.
Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:
This video link should lift your spirits… enjoy:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-ann7BnC7A
Quote for the Day:
“Sometimes to be whole, you have to have a piece missing.” —Mac
Photo for the Day:
 This photo of Mac before he entered the water to workout for his paralympic events. When you see a member of the armed forces, take time to thank them for their service.
Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 12 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (7e)and the newly released, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net