Eric Lefkofsky’s Tempus Among Chicago’s Few Unicorns Fueling the City’s Tech Scene

June 14, 2018 - By 

Tempus is a Chicago-based technology company that relies on big data analytics to collect and analyze cancer patient information as means to help physicians make more personalized cancer treatment options. Eric Lefkofsky, the founder and CEO, founded the enterprise in 2015, and it has since reached several milestones. For one, it has earned a spot among Chicago’s top ten tech companies. In March of this year, it has also secured $80 million in venture capital funding, which has increased its value to an approximate $1.1 billion. As such, Tempus has become Chicago’s newest “unicorn,” an industry term for privately held companies valued at $1 billion or more. This is a title that only few of the city’s startups hold. It joins six other unicorns on the local tech scene that hold the potential to fuel the city’s tech ecosystem. read more


But Should You Really Give LimeCrime a Try?

June 6, 2018 - By 
Mermaid Hi lites

Lime Crime, the makeup company whose products are certified vegan, is now showcasing two exciting new trends — glitter and gloss. Makeup that sparkles with glitter or shines with gloss is always fresh and fun. LimeCrime’s customers are responding with enthusiasm.


The Glamour of Glitter


Glitter is making a bold statement on eyelids and lips. LimeCrime’s Diamond Dew uses the sparkle of diamonds to enhance users’ eyelids. Diamond Dew contains reflecting particles that turn eyelids into playgrounds of light.


The product comes in 10 vivid colors. It can be used by itself on eyelids. Adventurous users will want to experiment and also use Diamond Dew in different ways. It can be worn over another eye shadow, applied to cheeks instead of an ordinary blush, or even used on different areas of the body.


Like all of Lime Crime’s products, Diamond Dew has been certified completely vegan and cruelty-free by PETA and by Leaping Bunny.


The Glow of Gloss


Like glitter, gloss is a bold look in makeup for people who want to make a strong fashion statement. LimeCrime brings this trend to lips with its Wet Cherry gloss. This lightweight gloss packs a powerful punch, bringing the look of a glistening wet cherry to its users’ lips.

Wet Cherry gloss comes in a choice of 14 colors and two finishes. One, Juicy Sheer, provides a translucent application of color. The other, Sparkly Sheer, provides an iridescent glow that fascinates everyone in the vicinity. Each appeals to a different mood or a different time of day.


What it Means for LimeCrime to Be Cruelty-Free


Lime Crime is proud that all of its makeup is cruelty-free. That means that neither its products nor any of the ingredients in its products have been tested on animals.


Testing makeup on animals is a horrifying process that can involve dripping chemicals into the eyes of rabbits while they are restrained or rubbing chemicals into their skin after shaving off their fur. It can involve force-feeding chemicals over a long period of time until the rabbits get sick. Or, worst of all, it can involve force-feeding chemicals until an animal dies.


The poor animals aren’t given any painkillers. After all their suffering, when the testing is over, they are killed.


The people at LimeCrime love animals and are appalled at the horrors inflicted when cosmetics are tested on rabbits and other animals. It is their mission to create makeup without ever resorting to this shameful practice that other cosmetic companies have used. By producing totally animal-friendly products, Lime Crime hopes to join with other cruelty-free companies to set the lead in the cosmetics industry, inspiring others to stop the horrific testing.


What is Vegan Makeup?


Vegan makeup contains no animal byproducts. That means LimeCrime cosmetics contain no beeswax (which bees secrete to make honeycombs), no lanolin (which comes from the skin glands of sheep), no whey (which comes from cows’ milk), and no carmine (which is a dye made from dried bugs).


LimeCrime Leads the Way in Fashion


The mission at LimeCrime starts with producing cruelty-free vegan products, but it hardly ends there. LimeCrime is committed to making cosmetics exciting. The company doesn’t follow trends. It sets them. Lime Crime makeup is always fun. It’s for people who are tired of boring makeup.


LimeCrime’s blue Unicorn Lipstick was one of its biggest trendsetters. What LimeCrime started, other companies imitated. People who want to be in the forefront of makeup trends turn to Lime Crime to put them there.

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At HCR Wealth Advisors it’s Clients First, and Always First

June 6, 2018 - By 

When it comes to money, no two people are the same, which means personal relationships are key components of a trusted wealth advisory team. Based out of Los Angeles, California with hundreds of clients throughout the country, HCR Wealth Advisors is a wealth management firm dedicated to providing financial and investment strategies to their clients. HCR’s main focus is building relationships with each and every client, designing a financial plan with tangible goals, and helping clients fulfill or exceed each and every goal. HCR puts its clients first, and always first.


It’s All About the Client

As an independent wealth advisor, HCR has one primary objective: serve its clients. Instead of getting paid to sell certain financial products, or being directed by a brokerage house or controlling company, HCR stands as an independent firm which is client-centric in everything it does.


When it comes to fees, HCR is upfront about its rates. The firm charges one fee, a percentage of assets under management, which is comparable to other industry competitors. This straightforward and transparent rate removes questions about whether clients could be charged hidden or unexpected fees at the end of the year. HCR finds it important to be transparent with its clients in everything it does, which is the only way to build a strong working relationship.


Relationship beats Performance

It’s important to note that HCR is not a money manager, but a wealth advisor. What’s the difference? Money managers simply allocate assets in a portfolio, with their goals being performance-based, picking stocks and bonds in the hopes they will outperform the market. In general, money managers tend to overpromise and underdeliver. So when a money manager doesn’t perform well, its clients aren’t happy and wonder why they bother paying for the services of a manager who isn’t providing returns as advertised. This performance-based model is antiquated and doesn’t serve the needs of clients.


However, as a wealth advisor, HCR takes a holistic approach in getting to know each and every client, making it relationship-oriented instead of performance-oriented. This means taking the time to sit down and get to know their clients, their current financial portfolio, their goals, and possible future events that could change their financial situation. “We are very much in the mode of making sure we are extremely knowledgeable about our clients and what their needs are,” said HCR Founder and CEO Greg Heller.


In this way, HCR provides comprehensive financial planning and asset management, where, “any way money touches the life of a client, HCR is there,” he continued. Because of this relationship-based strategy, HCR estimates it has a 95% client retention rate, with many clients with the firm for years, and often decades.


Dealing with an Array of Clients during Life Transitions

Some clients may come into financial planning with no plan, and others might come in with a detailed plan of their financial goals. Regardless of their preparation, one thing is for certain, life throws unexpected twists and turns at everyone, and it’s important to prepare for anything life has to offer. These sudden life changes can include:


  • Marriage
  • Divorce
  • Loss of a Loved One
  • Sudden and Significant Influx of Assets
  • Selling a Business
  • Starting a Business
  • Inheritance
  • Retirement


This is why HCR prides itself on helping clients weather these events and the uncertainty of the financial markets by developing a sound strategy to help secure a brighter financial future. Their goal is to integrate client investments, retirement plans and financial targets into one comprehensive strategy that grows and matures over time.


The firm doesn’t simply work with one demographic or type of client, and instead, works with clients at various stages of their lives, into retirement, and beyond. In the same day an HCR wealth manager could work with a 20-something entrepreneur, and a 90-something retiree looking to maximize the wealth they can pass down to their children. This gives the HCR team a great deal of experience in working with people in any financial and life situation.

Starting with a Plan

“I don’t know how anyone can manage someone else’s money without first setting up a plan,” noted Senior Managing Director Steve Weinberger. Yet, so many advisors and money managers take their client’s money and allocate it according to an algorithm or cookie-cutter design. Not to mention the new robo-advisor movement which takes the human element out of financial planning and wealth management entirely.


HCR doesn’t just want to throw investments at their clients, they want to design a plan and financial strategy, and in turn, make better financial decisions. According to Steve,“by setting up a plan you get to even know more. But people don’t get paid for it, so they aren’t willing to do things they don’t get paid for. We are willing to do it because it goes back to our point that the more we know about you, the better we plan for you so we can make sure your goals are going to be accomplished.”


Unlike other firms which charge for financial planning, HCR sees it as an integral piece of planning and wealth management, and one that should be integrated with the entire customer experience. Heller reiterated, “We do not charge separately to assist with financial planning. We feel this needs to be done whether the client wants it or not so we don’t charge extra for it.”


7 Step Process

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the same goes for a sound financial strategy. It takes many layers of work to paint a full picture of a client, make financial recommendations, and implement financial changes for the future. This is why HCR imploys a framework of 7 steps to help clients build their financial security. These include:


  • Lay it all out and determine exactly what you have. Establish goals and determine future objectives
  • Identify opportunities and build an “income and needs projection” to determine what you need now and in the future
  • Build a framework for the investment allocation which best suits you
  • Provide a private client online portal in order to provide 24/7 real-time access to assets, liabilities and net worth valuations
  • Periodic review of the investment strategy and track progress to ensure client goals goals are achieved
  • Closely monitor and analyze the portfolio’s growth
  • Evaluate and adjust the plan as your life evolves


A Full Suite of Services

As previously mentioned, HCR is a wealth management advisor, which means it deals in much more than portfolio investing. While most money managers want to tout their ability to outperform the markets (which is often overstated), there is much more that factors into the financial success of an individual or business. This is why HCR offers services in four key areas: Financial Services & Wealth Management, Consulting, Business Services, and Insurance Services.

Financial Services & Wealth Management Consulting Business Services Insurance Services
  • Investment Management
  • Estate Planning Strategies
  • Charitable Giving/ Philanthropy Strategies
  • Retirement Planning
  • Cash Flow Analysis
  • Cash Management & Budgeting
  • Financial Planning
  • Tax Management Strategies
  • Active Portfolio Management
  • Asset Allocation Analysis
  • Stock Options and Deferred Compensation
  • Net Worth Assessments
  • Multi-Generational Planning
  • Real Estate Analysis
  • Private Equity Strategies
  • Business Management Services
  • Significant Purchase Planning
  • Elder Care
  • Life Transition Counseling
  • 401(k) Plans
  • Executive Benefit Planning
  • Deferred Compensation Planning
  • Business Enterprise and Succession Planning
  • Stock Options and Deferred Compensation
  • Buy/Sell Agreements
  • Key Man Insurance
  • Business Valuation Consulting
  • Insurance Planning/ Group Benefits
  • Corporate Risk Management Strategies
  • Life Insurance and Annuities
  • Long-TermCare
  • Disability and Loss of Value Coverage

Investment Strategy

When it comes to investing, HCR uses its intimate knowledge of each client to best tailor their investment portfolio with a mix of fixed income, equities, and alternative investments. Each of these categories are useful investment strategies given the right set of client circumstances and goals, and are sure to change over time.


Fixed Income

For investors focused on generating income from their portfolios, HCR evaluates clients’ investment time horizons, risk tolerance and tax sensitivity. Risk is managed in such income portfolios by analyzing the yield curve and focusing on an appropriate balance of risk vs. reward depending on credit quality, the interest rate environment (rising or falling) and length of maturities (duration).



Equity investing involves the use of both fundamental (quantitative) and technical (qualitative) analysis in the investment decision making process. This multi-discipline approach allows HCR to craft strategies for nearly any type of client.



HCR carefully selects alternative investments that provide the ability to obtain attractive absolute returns. These investments typically offer performance that is uncorrelated with traditional equity and fixed income. Alternative investments can include private, non-traded securities, hedge funds, private equity, venture capital and real estate.


Client Engagement

Another tenet of the team at HCR is to engage clients in their own financial future, empowering them to be active participants in their own wealth management process. This means working together with clients to help them better understand their current financial situation, possible future, and how life choices in the present could impact that future.


One way the firm engages its clients is through an online portal. This portal, which is offered to each new client, is used to track all accounts that HCR manages, as well as any outside accounts the client wishes to add. By viewing their entire portfolio and expenses, clients are able to get a full view of their financial situation, and see their steady progress towards their financial future. This portal engages clients more, they become more interested in taking control of their own financial life, and as HCR has experienced, “The more we can engage a client, we can forge a much stronger relationship with the client,” Heller said.


The firm also publishes a monthly blog highlighting important financial trends and economic news. This gives clients a resource to stay informed and educated on what is going on in the financial markets. Additionally, every quarter the HCR team conducts a webcast entitled, “State of the Markets”, reviewing the previous quarter’s performance in the financial markets and looking to the future for what is to come.


Adhering to Transparency and Compliance

Any firm that has been in business for 30 years will have seen its fair share of regulatory changes, and HCR is no exception. Heller and the firm understands that, “If you are stagnant in this industry you are not here anymore,” and ensures it goes above and beyond when it comes to transparency and keeping up-to-date with all current and proposed financial regulation.


This is why as the wealth management industry begins to focus even more on client protection, HCR stands to benefit from the approach it has used since 1988. “The SEC is trying to promote more transparency and a simpler way to understand what clients are paying in fees. For us that could end up working as an advantage. Typically large brokerage houses can have higher fees and a potential conflict of interest. Products they are selling are owned by their parent company which they are getting paid a higher commission on,” Heller further explained.


HCR itself is an investment advisory firm which is registered with, and operates in accoradance with the rules and regulations of, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The HCR team is made up of an array of registered financial professionals with the following certifications:

  • Certified Financial Planners (CFP)
  • Chartered Financial Analysts (CFA)
  • Licensed Securities Brokers with FINRA
  • California Real Estate License
  • Fully Licensed California Life Agent

The HCR Team Approach

As a whole, the financial planning and wealth management industry is a dog-eat-dog world, where advisors generally, as Weinberger described, “eat what they kill.” All the while, clients have never realized this way of doing business cango against their best interest, and hurts them in the end. He continued, “If firms work more together on a collaborative basis it’s better for the firm and its better for the client.”


HCR doesn’t just hand their clients over to one individual who is tasked with decision making, but rather, they give each client a team of three individuals to ensure they obtain the best service:

  • Lead advisor – the primary point of contact for the client
  • Financial planner – focuses on current and future wealth management planning
  • Analyst – focuses on the clients investments


Even though the lead advisor is the primary point of contact, all three individuals meet regularly with each client and are at the client’s disposal if something comes up. As HCR has experienced, “With the team approach we have seen clients a lot happier this way.”


In this way HCR is ahead of the curve, building a business based on teamwork and trust that is helping to take the industry forward. “We all have to be willing to work together. We have 16 people in this office and everyone is willing to work together,” Heller stated, “and if they didn’t they wouldn’t be welcome at our firm. The future in our industry will be wrapped around more of that philosophy than the philosophy of one.”


HCR, a Client-Centric Advisory Firm

The HCR team has spent the last 30 years trying to stay ahead of the curve in the wealth management industry. By developing sound wealth management and investment strategies and working with clients from all different walks of life, HCR has been able to provide clients with the ability to meet or exceed their long term financial goals, as seen by the firm’s retention rate.


At the end of the day, everyone is worried about paying off a mortgage, not saving enough for retirement, outliving their money, and other financial restrictions. Yet, everyone is different, something HCR fully takes to heart. “We have sat down with hundreds of people and have yet to meet two people who are alike,” agreed both Heller and Weinberger. This has led HCR to provide personal service for each and every client, focusing on developing relationships which lead to long-term financial success.

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Online Fashion Consignment Spot The RealReal Named to CNBC’s List of the Top 2018 Disruptors

June 5, 2018 - By 

Fashion-forward thinkers rejoice—online consignment source The RealReal isn’t going anywhere. The company, which has quickly become one of the internet’s favorite sources for secondhand luxury clothing, shoes and accessories, was recently named to CNBC’s 2018 Top Disruptors list. read more


Eben Alexander III, MD on Overcoming Struggles and Finding Spiritual Growth

May 30, 2018 - By 
Eben Alexander III, MD

What is something that you struggled to overcome professionally or personally?

My most profound personal struggle relates to the fact I was given up for adoption by my birth mother when I was 11 days old. Much later in life, I came to realize that remnants of such a perceived abandonment seemed to represent a “smoking crater” at the core of my life’s origins. An infantile hunger strike, clinically known as “failure to thrive,” was the diagnosis at the end of my two-week hospitalization that began when my birth mother left me in the hospital at age 11 days. In essence, my sadness was so deep that I instinctively refused life-sustaining nourishment – an affirmation that being left behind by my mother was the ultimate existentialist challenge. No longer having that primary caregiver meant it was time to “cease to exist.”

Later, growing up in a home with a father who just happened to be a neurosurgeon (and thus should know something about memory), I was informed that I could not possibly remember any events from such a young age. Given the prevailing view that most of our memories seem to be strung together using language through linguistic and narrative relationships, recovery of any memory from before the “age of reason” (around 7-8 years of age, when our brains have reached a certain “adult” level of development) seemed most challenging. To believe one cannot recall memories of such an early event sounded reasonable, yet I have discovered that such a profound emotional experience as abandonment by a birth mother does leave a very powerful imprint and record in memory. But it is most difficult to access using the dominant rational mind with its linguistic relationships, since they were not at all formed at that very early age.

Like many adoptees, I was especially afraid of being abandoned again, and thus adopted an attitude of wanting to please those around me and not rock the boat. Note that in families with two adoptees, they often take opposite roles: one, a people-pleaser like me; the other, the rebel. My older sister was also adopted, and, looking back, it’s easy to see how she took on the role of rebel throughout our childhood. My memories of childhood and young adulthood are generally favorable, although I believe that an “abandonment wound” played a role in many of my interpersonal relationships. There was always an underlying rule to avoid the pain of being abandoned again, which I believe came into play in some of my closer relationships.

At the core of it all was the open question of my own “lovability,” which was not a cognitive question at all, but an emotional challenge of existence, requiring constant reassessment. For someone as focused on the rational and logical approach to problems as I was, it was quite challenging to acknowledge the deep emotional turmoil, let alone to effectively address it.


What did you do to overcome it?

I first became aware of the depths such a wound can play when I entered an alcohol rehabilitation program in 1991. Although alcohol addiction never interfered with my work in medicine, it created problems during my time off, in my family and personal relationships. Addiction to alcohol and other substances points to the existence of a spiritual hole in the core of one’s being that the person is actively trying to fill with non-spiritual filler. But such a hole cannot be filled, except with “spiritual matter” – the connection of ourselves with others and a greater power, and a sense of meaning in life. The role of “spiritual lack” as a root cause of the addiction seemed evident in me and in every recovering soul I encountered. In my case, spiritual emptiness could be correlated back to that abandonment by my birth mother. Filling that void with alcohol may have eased the underlying pain, but only temporarily. While I was able to straightforwardly eliminate alcohol from my life, I continued to wonder about my birth mother and sought ways to reconnect with her. However, North Carolina laws were strictly designed to avoid such reunions, and so I persevered.

A profound spiritual experience while deep in a meningitis-induced coma, my near-death experience in November 2008, proved to be an effective catalyst in bringing that abandonment wound to the forefront, up close and personal, where I could directly address it. Not only was I reunited with the birth sister I had never known (as described in my book Proof of Heaven), but I was also awash in the ineffable unconditional love of a divine force that reassured me, repeatedly, I would always be loved and cherished no matter what. This force is ever-present, as described by the vast majority of those who have had a near-death or similar spiritually-transformative experience, but most people are less aware of its power and influence in their daily lives.

I now understand the feeling of abandonment as a universal wound of detachment from Source, present in most, if not all, of us in varying intensity. I realize now that my personal struggle seemed to be related to the abandonment by my birth mother, but ultimately was a lack of sensing and knowing a loving connection with the spiritual realm. This cognitive understanding was a necessary first step in addressing the layers of visceral intensity, but intellectual knowledge seemed to have little effect on remedying the vast depth of emotional trauma present in my system. Nothing rational or external made much of a dent in the feelings that would arise when confronted with this issue. It was necessary to go much deeper into the subconscious part of my mind, the part where my infantile-self stored its original feelings of abandonment.


What was the best advice you received pertaining to this struggle? How did you implement it in your own way?

Struggling with this issue has been a huge focus during the last decade, as I have come to terms with the lessons of my NDE odyssey. Even after being exposed to the spiritual realm of my coma journey, and reuniting with my birth family, I found it challenging to bring that powerful loving force into my daily life. I was quite taken with the intellectual lessons of my journey – that our scientific understanding of consciousness was completely off-base – but I was less adept at dealing with the profound emotional implications.

I began to explore ways to reconnect with those spiritual realms by using differential-frequency sound brain-entrainment technologies and came to realize that the answers lie within. To access my answers, I had to more fully develop my emotional awareness and then begin to address this primordial existential issue. I credit my life partner, Karen Newell, with helping to awaken me to the power of “heart consciousness,” of feeling the reality of my emotional states and identifying with that resonant and wholesome ownership of my emotions. In our co-authored book, Living in a Mindful Universe, Karen demonstrates the difference between acting out the verb “love” for self and others, and becoming the love that each and every one of us, as a spiritual being in a spiritual universe, fundamentally is, at our very core. I discuss how, using the reference point of my near-death experience, I focused more on generating love from within, really feeling it, and that over time, the abandonment wound in the depths of my soul began to ease.


Is this still something you are battling or has the issue dissipated?

I have made tremendous progress on this issue, especially in the last decade since my coma, yet I feel it remains one of my soul’s driving lessons for this lifetime. I am occasionally triggered by events in my life that bring the feelings of being unworthy of love more to the surface. With my newfound understanding, I now view each instance as an opportunity to further address the deep layers of emotional trauma, releasing a bit at a time. Especially given the ubiquity of this abandonment wound far beyond the confines of the adoption community, I am committed to playing a role in its better elucidation and resolution in order to help heal our ailing world. After all, one of the most profound lessons of my spiritual odyssey was that the majority of the world’s problems result from our not loving ourselves enough, at least as the interconnected divine spiritual beings that I believe we are. Learning how to recover that love of the universe for self, and expressing it by serving as a conduit of that primordial love for all fellow beings, will absolutely make this world a far better place for all.


Who or what has helped you most along your way?

Much of my personal liberation has resulted from a major shift in worldviews: from my former conventional scientific one of physicalism, which says consciousness is simply the confusing epiphenomenon of the physical reactions in the brain, to a far more powerful view expounded on in our book Living in a Mindful Universe, the Primordial Mind Hypothesis (PMH). The PMH is based on a metaphysical position of ontological idealism, wherein all of the physical universe is projected from a dominant organizational realm of Mind. The other elements of the PMH take this mentally focused view of the universe and expand on it through the notion of filter theory, in which human consciousness is a direct extension of that universal mind or God force, and where the brain serves as a reducing valve or filter that allows only a trickle of that primordial mind consciousness into our normal waking consciousness.

The other main ingredient to the PMH is an appropriate interpretation of the measurement paradox in quantum physics, elaborating more precisely how Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, applied to the tightly confined ionic channels and microtubules of the neurons of the brain, allows consciousness to project the appropriate physical neuronal states that correspond to the specific phenomenology of consciousness itself.

A practice of regular meditation using the audio technology of Sacred Acoustics has become an essential part of my daily routine. By placing the voice of the ego in time-out and expanding my consciousness beyond the here and now (as well as developing awareness beyond the false boundaries of what we call “self”), I am able to reach further depths of understanding. By engaging my neutral inner observer, I can view any problems from a wider perspective and choose innovative ways of managing them.

My life partner and main professional collaborator, Karen Newell (co-founder of Sacred Acoustics), continues to be an essential teacher on this pathway of discovery. We have spent countless hours in meditation and discussion, all in a grand process of trying to make better sense of the mind-brain relationship and the fundamental nature of consciousness. With recognition of the overwhelmingly subjective nature of human experience, and the profound implications of increasingly refined quantum mechanical experiments that point to the shocking conclusion that there is no objective physical universe independent of the observing mind, this odyssey called life is far more exciting and revolutionary than anything I could have imagined before my coma.


What advice would you give to others in the same situation?

One cannot simply reason their way to the most fundamental truths about the nature of reality – exploring deep within one’s own consciousness is essential. Seeking answers within, through centering prayer and deep meditation, provides a setting for developing your own connection to the observer within (an extension of Primordial Mind). Follow your heart, and intuition. Trust in the universe to provide that which you need. Be mindful of your loving connections to others, and always strive to make as many choices as possible out of love for all fellow beings, beginning with self. Develop a rich relationship with your “higher soul” and primordial mind (God consciousness), never becoming slave to the outrageous demands of the ego. Seek the win-win situation, through maintenance of a broad enough perspective that you can always glimpse how “all is well.”


What was your most influential decade? Why?

The most recent decade (2008-2018) provided the fertile ground of my NDE and its aftermath. Profound spiritual experiences such as I had are powerfully transformative and impossible to ignore. My entire worldview was upended while simultaneously I was forced to reckon with profound emotional scars dating back to my birth. Although this decade has been a time of exponential growth, I suspect I will continue to refine my analysis, assessment and healing around this issue for the remainder of this lifetime (if not beyond).


What advice would you give to someone else?

Looking back at life, various hardships and challenges such as disease, loss of a loved one, relationship issues, financial difficulties, among others, often serve as catalysts for spiritual growth. Identify patterns in your own life and note if there are any outward signs of imbalance that might have underlying causes unknown to your conscious mind. Consider that the external circumstances that seem to be causing ongoing non-beneficial patterns in your life might merely serve as a reflection for your own internal turmoil. Developing a connection with your neutral inner observer can serve to bring a fresh perspective to any situation.

  1. [Looking from the soul perspective] There is a symbiotic web in which we exist, and we tend to incarnate in soul groups. Although our individual souls are each on a journey of learning and growth here, we are always part of a larger whole. We might not always recognize the role we play for others, but we touch others daily by thoughts, words and actions. And it is healthy for us to acknowledge the essential rescue or support others have given us at multiple points in our lives either through tangible assistance, words of encouragement or challenge, or even global acts of service by a preceding generation that forged a path for our health, communications or deeper understandings. For example, the vital importance of other people in our lives, regardless of relationship, was exemplified by the doctors and nurses who kept me alive during my second week of life. And, every day parents choose to create new families through adoption, while others provide caregiving of the adopted, disabled or elderly in their communities. Never discount the role you play in another’s life, or their connection to yours.
  2. Abandonment is a big fear and trauma many face in our world. Trauma of all types can begin with an initializing event that imprints on our emotional system well before our cognitive and rational self can process it, and continues to impact us throughout our lives at least until we grow spiritually beyond whatever physical healing transpires. Throughout our lives we may continue to store similar trauma on top of trauma, more or less intense than the first, within our emotional field. In this way, each successive event compounds a problem that our adult mind should otherwise understand and be able to put into context, but cannot do effectively since it is rooted in the nonverbal, noncognitive realm. Clearing or healing such trauma can occur through greater spiritual awareness and soul perspective, and complete healing may evolve over a lifetime, as in my case.

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