Understanding “Tragedy”

“It is time to stop talking and start walking; stop crying and start sweating.  Working together with a common faith we cannot fail.”  ~Jimmy Carter, U.S. Presidential Speech 1979

In the movie What the Bleep Do We Know, Dr. Hagelin describes a rather unconventional social experiment conducted in Washington D.C.  Over a two month period of time, 4,000 individuals came together to meditate daily with the intention of lowering the crime rate.  Normally during the summer in Washington D.C. the crime rate sharply increases due to the warmer weather.  From June 7th through July 30th 1993, the time-frame of the meditation experiment, crime in Washington D.C. was reduced by 23.6%.  The likelihood that this was merely a “coincidence” was calculated at two parts per billion, also noting that Dr. Hagelin’s experiment was repeated 48 times with similar results in prisons, inner-city schools, war-torn areas like Nicaragua, Iran, Israel and Lebanon.

Recently, the United States has encountered a natural “tragedy,” referred to as Hurricane Sandy.  She left her mark on New York, New Jersey and several other locations for quite some time to come.  Whenever any challenging or tragic event occurs, there are always two by-products; gratitude and an opening of the heart.  These types of events leave you feeling very thankful for what you have, the people in your lives and sometimes plain thankful for being alive.  This gratitude leads to an opening of the heart and our altruism kicks into full gear.  We immediately want to help in some way…our “hearts go out” to the people who were affected by the tragedy.

Studies have shown that altruism is hard-wired in our brains.  When hooked up to brain scanning machines, people who were asked to think about giving money to someone had the same exact parts of their brain light up as when they thought about selfish pleasures such as eating and sex.  (It brings a whole new meaning to the term “this is better than sex!”)

What came up for you during Hurricane Sandy?  Were you grateful?  Did you wonder in what way you could help?  Did you feel empowered or like a victim who has no control over what happens?  Everything happens for a reason…even natural events.  They are meant to wake us up; to force us to think and do things in a different way when no other way has worked.  They are there to teach us something about ourselves and how we relate to each other.  What does it really mean to you to be “alive?”  Is it all about you or is it about us?

When I hike the Inca Trail in Peru, the shamans teach you to always give back to the Earth that which you took.  If you pick up a rock, give back to the Earth something in your possession – a piece of hair or a sacred article of your own.  Everything is about balance.  When Mother Earth creates a hurricane, she is balancing her energy.  What happens is as much about us as it is about her.

Instead of reflecting upon why this happened, turn the mirror inward.  Where does your life need balancing?  What is some personal “tragedy” in your life trying to teach you?  Is there anything in your life that needs to be “washed away” so something new can have room to enter?

Think about it…not everything is how it seems.

The best medicine of all is the simplest medicine.  Let us all learn self-love, self-forgiveness, compassion and understanding.  Then we will be able to give those gifts to others.  By healing the person, we can heal Mother Earth.
~Elizabeth Kubler Ross

Praying we all finally step into who we are,


Chris Sopa is founder and owner of Chris Sopa International, Inc. You can learn more about her at www.ChrisSopa.com. Find her at Facebook.com/ChrisSopaInternational, Twitter @ChrisSopa, LinkedIn, and .

Announcing the publication of “Choosing the Life You Were Born to Live:  How Changing Your Thoughts Will Change Your Life” by Chris Sopa published by Balboa Press.

Click here to purchase.


“You do not need to leave your room.  Remain sitting at your table and listen.  Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet still and solitary.  The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” ~Frank Kafka

Being a “newbie” to the Scottsdale, AZ area, I decided recently to use Meetup.com as a way to meet new people in the area.  I have been kayaking, hiking, business networking…you name it.  But one meeting I attended this past week stuck out for me.  Being the spiritual person that I am and always interested in meeting people of this circle, I decided to attend a spirituality meditation meet up.  The meet up was scheduled from 7-10pm and the first thing I thought was, “Wow!  That is a long-a@* time to meditate!”  Having always felt I rocked in meditating, I took on the challenge.

The meet up group met at an amazing bookstore in Scottsdale called Vision Quest which was full of anything us spiritual gurus would want to buy to help us “ascend.”  I was guided into a back room where the chairs where arranged in a circle with 4 lit candles on a table in the middle of the circle.  I was greeted by a large African American man who may have frightened me due to his size at first, until he smiled.  His smile turned him from a giant into an angel.  I found myself a chair and plopped down, ready to meditate my little tush off.

Once the meditation began, the instructor explained how throughout the meditation he would call in different angels and guides from the 12th dimension (stick with me here).  As soft music played in the background, I fell into my meditative trance, meeting the energies of Archangel Michael first.  I am very familiar with him because he and I…well, let’s just say we are “buds.”  As the meditation continued, I found myself antsy and then becoming frightened.  I always teach my clients to be “an observer” of their life and behaviors, so I took my own advice and observed myself.  Why was I frightened?

Here is what I found…silence is a healer, but in order to heal it, you have to feel it.  When we allow ourselves to slip into silence, even if only for a few minutes, we allow the healing to begin.  In order to heal, we must first know what we are healing.  Let me use an analogy.  Say you want to clean out your closet.  In order to do so, you must take out each piece of clothing, look at it and decide if you want to keep it or send it to “Goodwill heaven.”  You cannot get rid of it until you look at it and see what it is and then make a decision.  Do you want to keep that old, dirty polka-dotted dress from the 70’s or trash it?  Does it serve you anymore?

Now let’s return to your healing.  Those old wounds, hurts, anger and grief…are having those feelings serving you?  Do you need to give them to “God’s will heaven?”  In order for God to take them, you have to make the choice to give them to him.  He gave you free will, remember?  That allows you the choice to do what you want with your life.  That includes holding onto things that are hurting you.

It is never easy to face pain.  The tough decisions we need to make in order to heal…let’s face it…suck!  But at some point you have to realize that one day, like it or not, they will have to be faced.  Why not do it now?  Why not finally realize that you have the right to life!  You have the right to a life without pain, suffering and sorrow.  Suffering is not and never was God’s plan for you…you chose to feel those things; God did not put that upon you.

Go into silence, even if it is only for 5 minutes a day.  Just listen to your breathing and every time a thought comes in re-focus on your breath.  Ideally, you want to get to 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the evening of meditative silence.  You will be amazed at how you miraculously heal.  The road may feel rough at first but the ride is worth it.  😉

“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.”
~Henry David Thoureau

Helping love make its stand on Mother Earth,


Chris Sopa is founder and owner of Chris Sopa International, Inc. You can learn more about her at www.ChrisSopa.com. Find her at Facebook.com/ChrisSopaInternational, Twitter @ChrisSopa, LinkedIn, and .

25 Things You Can Do To Alleviate Stress

I am about to make a bold statement…stress is the main and only cause of all illnesses!  Everything we experience in our physical world is simply a projection of what we are allowing to run through our minds.  Our thoughts create our reality.  If your thoughts are “sick,” you will be sick.

We all know people who are wonderful individuals who are very positive and have great lives but still get ill.  How can this be?  Our conscious mind may be positive, but our subconscious mind runs 90% of our behaviors.  We are not always aware what sits in that deep recess of the mind.  One of the ways God gets our attention, if all else fails, is through our physical body.  A physical ailment will stop you in your tracks every time and cause you to question your life, your thinking and your actions.

If you do nothing else for yourself in this lifetime, do this:  learn how to manage stress in your life.  Contrary to what you may now believe, stress is not caused by your ex, your boss, lack of money, lack of sex, having no job, etc.  Stress is caused by your perception of those events in your life.  Change your perception and you change the “movie.”

Here are 25 things off the top of my head I have done in the past to alleviate stress.  Feel free to leave comments and add to the list.  Let’s all help each other!

  1. Close your eyes and take 3 deep diaphragmatic breaths (push your stomach out when you inhale) – breath always brings you directly back to your soul.
  2. Move your body – walk, bike, run, stretch, jump on a trampoline, etc.
  3. Sing a song (out loud – hey, if I can do it with my voice, so can you!)
  4. Smile – you actually use more muscles to frown than to smile.
  5. Listen to your favorite song or some relaxing music.
  6. Eat more greens (spinach, kale, and arugula) – greens are very grounding and balancing.
  7. Meditate or pray – worry is a form of prayer, so create thoughts that are more of what you want to see in your life, not what you are worried may happen.
  8. Sleep – this is not overrated!  We need sleep to recharge and we also get much of our spiritual guidance through our sleeping dreams.
  9. Close your eyes and visualize being in your favorite place – feel the joy of being there.
  10. Go out in nature – nature is a natural balancer of energy.
  11. Get away from your source of stress whether it is a person, place or thing.
  12. Light a candle – light is healing and is often used to clear out and protect energy.
  13. Take a bath – essential oils such as lavender are great!
  14. Peel an orange and smell the rind – citrus smells are a great stress reliever.
  15. Choose fruit instead of a sugary treat – sugar tends to aggravate stress and is thought to be a cause of depression.
  16. Clean something – it is truly cathartic.
  17. Lie down, spread your arms and legs out and just breathe for 10 minutes.
  18. Get near running water – the sound is very soothing and healing.  Wash your hands up to your elbows.  Toxins collect in the forearms.
  19. Garden – pick some fresh flowers, weed, or plant something new in your garden.
  20. Pet your cat or dog.  Pets actually absorb negative energy to protect us.
  21. Organize yourself (a drawer, desk, etc.) – feeling organized makes you feel less stressed.
  22. Drink a glass of water – water is cleansing and purifying to the soul and to your physical body.
  23. Drink a cup of hot tea – peppermint and chamomile are the best.
  24. Avoid gossip and negative people – walk away, change the subject of conversation, avoid certain places, etc.
  25. Remember that you are in control of you.  80% of the thoughts you have on a daily basis are lies that come from your past conditioning.  Always question your thoughts.  You cannot believe everything you think.

Faith is the power to stand up to the madness and chaos of the physical world while holding the position that nothing external has any authority over what heaven has in mind for you.“ ~Caroline Myss

Desserts…desert…I always get confused!  Lol!


Chris Sopa is founder and owner of Chris Sopa International, Inc. You can learn more about her at www.ChrisSopa.com. Find her at Facebook.com/ChrisSopaInternational, Twitter @ChrisSopa, LinkedIn, and .

This is a Test. This is Only a Test…

“Life is a test.  It is only a test…had this been a real life you would have been instructed on where to go and what to do.” ~www.visiblebynumbers.com

August has arrived and traditionally August is a month of abundance in the farming community.  It is when the crops sprout and the fruits are in harvest and ready for picking.  Not only is August of 2012 a powerfully abundant month but it is a blue moon month.  No, that does not mean the moon turns blue!  A blue moon, according to the language in my circle, is when you have two full moons in one month.  This month we have one on August 1st and one on August 31st.  This aspect makes August a super duper abundant and powerful month!

My roommate Elaina and I decided to ring in the new moon by going to a Labyrinth Full Moon Walk at the Peaceful Spirit Enrichment Center in New River, AZ ran by Tom and Melanie Dunlap.  Talk about a power center!  Having walked a labyrinth before, we were very aware of what to expect physically but one is never prepared for what comes up mentally and emotionally…especially under a full moon!  When you walk a labyrinth, it is a moving meditation.  Although it is repetitive, each walk is unique in and of itself.  Each labyrinth is constructed differently but they are all a one path design and you cannot make a wrong turn or decision when walking it.  As Melanie states, “Your only decision is to take the first step, much like walking the path of life.”

At the beginning of our labyrinth walk we were asked to write down on a piece of paper (I called it “Harry Potter” paper because it is the kind that literally disappears instantly when it hits a fire) something we would like to call into our lives.  As I contemplated what to write on my paper, I realized how much I really didn’t know about my own life.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my life!  I feel as if I am one of the blessed ones and am so grateful sometimes it brings me to tears.  But life doesn’t come with instructions on what to do or where to go.  Why?  Because we get to create this thing called life as we go along.  If it came with instructions on what to do when, where to turn, or where to go it would not be our life to create.  We would just be living a life someone else created for us.

Take a moment and look at your life.  I mean really look at it.  See into it.  See past the surface stuff – not having money, kids acting up, a job you may or may not like, a relationship you are not sure of – and look deeper.  You may be actively living your life day to day but are you showing up for it?  Are you really engaged in life?  You don’t have to see the whole staircase in order to climb the stairs; you just need to take the first step.  Each step you take gives you a different view of the staircase.  Once you get to the top, the next set up steps appear and you are now stronger, wiser and more courageous to go on.

Labyrinth at the Peaceful Spirit Center

At the center of our labyrinth – once we have “arrived” – we give thanks.  Thank the moon, thank the stars, thank our Creator, thank those around us, and thank ourselves for showing up.  We offer our “wish” to the fire, much like the Despacho ceremony when my groups are hiking the Inca Trail in Peru, in order for it to be heard by the heavens and manifested.  The heavens always respond in one way; “Your wish is my command!”  The question is, will you be present enough to see it when it arrives?  Will you show up?

Life is not about making the “right” turns or doing the right things – life is about showing up.  When you show up you are in your center; listening to your higher self and where it is guiding you.  Your map is your heart.  Following your heart is your test.  Will you honor yourself this time around? is the question.  No one person is here to show you what to do.  We are only here to help and support each other.  The rest is up to you …

Turning the corner,


Chris Sopa is founder and owner of Chris Sopa International, Inc. You can learn more about her at www.ChrisSopa.com. Find her at Facebook.com/ChrisSopaInternational, Twitter @ChrisSopa, LinkedIn, and .