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Leymah Gbowee – World Changer

Leymah Gbowee is nothing short of amazing, in all she has done and continues to do. She is strong, capable and has persevered again and again. That is why in honor of #BlackLivesMatter and all those who are in the struggle I am reposting this. Take inspiration from this and go forth and bring about the change we need!

Written March 2013

I recently had the opportunity to sit down and listen to one of the most powerful women in Africa. This same woman gained recognition for her amazing efforts as a humanitarian and an activist for doing what came naturally to her. She used her anger, her passion, her drive and fire to blaze a trail.

Leymah-Gbowee

Her story begins with her small community in Liberia where she saw continued injustice and abuse to the young girls and women around her. In a place where Rape is often used as a scare tactic she pulled together a community of these women to rise above it, get educated and make change. Her intent however was just to inform and keep them safe. All the while she suffered abuse at home. Her tale and the work she has done is more than I can do justice. The question everyone had for her was, How can I make a difference what can I do to bring about change?

Here is what I learned from listening to Leymah with the brief opportunity I had. “Find your conviction, passion, the fire that burns in you and keeps you up at night. Find your anger or passion and when you are awake in the middle of the night three times. You know that is your calling. It is God’s work for you or your calling from a higher power it is what you are here to do.”

Leymah spoke with both great sterness and balanced it with a calmness and jovialness that everyone could understand. There were a few key take away we can all benefit from

“Be sensitive to diversity. Those who live on the outskirts of society, who are called nerd, or geek, those who have a different appearance than the rest of us, those are the people that need compassion, be polite and kind to those around you. After all despite any color or appearance inward or outward difference, we all still bleed, we all have self doubt. Whether you win a nobel prize or not doesn’t matter, what matters is that you follow your passion and if you find one other crazy person to follow you, you have succeeeded.”

“The pathway to leadership is small, it starts with one step and every step expands the path. Then one day you look at a point behind you and you realize the path isn’t so small anymore and you are reminded of where you began. Little things lead to greater things! Never doubt the ability of anyone, often we don’t have confidence to intervene or help or try to make a change. Start small, do it once it becomes part of the norm. Little things lead to greater things. If you do bad expect bad if you do good expect good. Nothing easy in life is sustainable. Think about that. When you are feeling down remember smile and be confident, that positivity is contagious and before you know it you will be feeling better because you’ve made others feel better.”

These small glimpses into greatness made me aware of one thing, don’t give up don’t ever give up, keep trying always try! Follow your passion and when you do the world will follow you and things will start to fit in place. So too will the life around you follow you as it becomes more than even you ever dreamed. So keep trying whether it is creating art, starting a community garden, helping a neighbor, writing a book; if your fire moves you then let it consume you!

Check out the great TED talk with Leymah below or if you want to learn more about her and her amazing life you can read her book.

An affordable Astrological Bangle

It’s hard to get out of bed some days. As the world changes it becomes overwhelming to hear about all the hate that is rapidly spreading. Despite this though life has gotten better. It’s better than it was 20 years ago, 50 years ago, 100 etc., That doesn’t mean it can’t go backwards. This is why it is so important we are the best we can be and work positively to influence change. It is for these reasons that I have spent the last three years researching and testing alternatives to Paramahansa Yogananda’s Astrological Bangle. This amulet is both cumbersome and expensive. Expecting anyone on a spiritual path to be able to fork over $1000 to $2800 USD for one is madness or worse spiritual materialism.

Paramahansa Yogananda first gave mention of the astrological bangle in his book “Autobiography of a Yogi” The book was first published in 1946. In 1946 the price of gold per troy ounce was $38.25 the equivalent inflationary price of $512.55 at time of writing this. The total cost to get an astrological bangle then would have been no less than about $525.00. This is significantly cheaper than today’s actual cost to have a bangle produced, which at the time of writing this is between $2100 – $2200. A price many people would struggle to scrape together, charge on a credit card, or have to forgo all together.


I’m sure if Yogananda had known the impact the Astrological Bangle would have had on his readers perhaps he would have omitted or lessened the importance of the tool. Alas, such was not the case. Currently there are no alternatives to the gold, silver, and copper bangle. This is why I have taken it upon myself to identify a much more affordable alternative. Because, if it were the will of God that everyone should have such a tool to aid in their spiritual journey then it should be affordable to all. There is brief mention of alternatives which I will get into another day but here is the excerpt by Sri Yuketswar.

“All human ills arise from some transgression of universal law. The scriptures point out that man must satisfy the laws of nature, while not discrediting the divine omnipotence. He should say: ‘Lord, I trust in Thee, and know Thou canst help me, but I too will do my best to undo any wrong I have done.’ By a number of means — by prayer, by will power, by yoga meditation, by consultation with saints, by use of astrological bangles — the adverse effects of past wrongs can be minimized or nullified.

“Just as a house can be fitted with a copper rod to absorb the shock of lightning, so the bodily temple can be benefited by various protective measures. Ages ago our yogis discovered that pure metals emit an astral light which is powerfully counteractive to negative pulls of the planets. Subtle electrical and magnetic radiations are constantly circulating in the universe; when a man’s body is being aided, he does not know it; when it is being disintegrated, he is still in ignorance. Can he do anything about it?”

“This problem received attention from our rishis; they found helpful not only a combination of metals, but also of plants and — most effective of all — faultless jewels of not less than two carats. The preventive uses of astrology have seldom been seriously studied outside of India. One little-known fact is that the proper jewels, metals, or plant preparations are valueless unless the required weight is secured, and unless these remedial agents are worn next to the skin.”

The Research

In order to find an alternative, I would need to get all three metals in pure form on their own. Easier said than done as the cost of pure gold is relatively prohibitive with my limited budget. One by one I assessed each metal. As long as I can remember I have been able to feel the energy in objects, and living things. It is a skill I’ve had decades to hone. It would be this skill that allows me to find an alternative. I will describe each metal and its corresponding energy but it is a lot like describing flavors to someone with no taste buds.

The first item and the most easily accessible is copper. Copper’s energy is somewhat dense, and this is used as a grounding metal to bring silver and gold in alignment and not overwhelm the wearer with the elements in pure form. It is also for attuning your own energy. Copper and silver today are well-known anti-bacterial agents.


The second item and slightly more challenging to acquire was silver. Most common forms of silver used in jewelry are called sterling. Sterling is 92.5% pure often mixed with copper to increase the hardness/durability of silver. This however changes the energy vibration of silver ever so slightly. I wanted to create a bangle as close as possible to the one from Sri Yuketswar’s formula.

The pure gold wire in the SRF three metal bangle weighs a little over 33 grams, which is the same weight as the three pure gold spring links.
The pure silver wire in the SRF three metal astrological bangle weighs a little under 24 grams.
The pure copper wire weighs a little under 13 grams, which is close to the weight of the 3 pure copper spring links.
The three metal bangle that SRF makes weighs a little under 72 grams.

Pure silver can easily be acquired from any coin dealer. Many of the world’s mints have offered pure silver 1oz coins. Silver had a similar grounding effect to copper but its energy is lighter, it aids in focus, and clarity. I imagine this to be the equivalent of the mind, copper the body. When paired with copper though the two metals would react, and the copper often overpowered the silver. Which is why 92.5 sterling won’t work.


The third and trickiest item to acquire was pure 24kt gold. Gold is one of the rarest metals on earth, and it coincidentally has one of the highest vibrations. Pure gold is corrosion resistant and appears in nature like silver and copper can as an actual nugget. Gold’s vibration is so strong it can resonate through plastic. I was unable to acquire an ounce of pure gold. I had to settle for what I could afford which is 2.5 grams of gold. This was enough. The gold had a much higher vibration, and had almost a cleaning effect. I could see an ounce of it being able to disorient. Gold like silver often has other metals mixed in with it. 18kt, 14kt, 12kt etc., when each karat lessens the amount of other metals increases. These can include, copper, silver, nickel and other metals. When gold is diluted with another metal it changes the vibration of it, electrum is a naturally occurring form of gold and silver. An ounce and a half of gold would be enough to make sensitive individuals light headed. Gold is the metallurgical equivalent of the soul.


The three metals combined gold, silver and copper, balance each other out and do indeed act as a lightning rod between you and the universe. The efficaciousness of this item cannot be argued and definitely aids in accelerating the individual’s progress. However it’s still crazy expensive.


Hunting for alternate metals was a bit trickier than it might sound. In my quest for creating a new astrological bangle I first ruled out items by cost. I wanted to find something that could be relatively affordable and might still be attainable in the future. I suspect in another 100 years someone will need to re-investigate this as well. That said I looked into newer composited materials, tungsten, steel (around before yogananda’s time), aluminum, nickel, titanium, magnesium, copper, silver. I even investigated gem stones but gems in general have a different effect than metals. From the list I narrowed it down to just two metals that seemed to accomplish the same thing as three metal bangle.

Test Scenario One – Titatnium

It was about the same year Yogananda’s book was published that titanium was first forged into a usable alloy. Still too costly or even probable for any yogi to have possibly encountered. Or if they had simply dismissed as not common enough. Titanium is one of the most common metals of earth, it has a high corrosion resistance, it is light weight, and it is affordable. It’s back story is equally impressive. I first tested two bracelets made of titanium grade 2 for a year. Titanium grade 2 is pure titanium similar to 24kt gold is pure. The effects of wearing the bangles were quite noticeable more so than my makeshift combo of gold, silver and copper coins.

The bracelets had some interesting qualities they could be treated with heat to any color of the rainbow. They never got cold even when exposed to ice. They were incredibly durable and lightweight. They also are used in surgeries and biologically compatible. My biggest worry about them was they could not meet the weight requirements of Gold. But the formula from the Self Realization Fellowship is slightly different and has proportionate amount of metal to size. In further tests of other titanium grades and commercial jewelry none matched the grade 2 direct sourced titanium.

Test Scenario two – Iron & Titanium

After great success with titanium on it’s own I decided to test it with a similar grounding metal to copper and one that has equally ancient associations to it, Iron. I forged an iron and titanium bangle. This was to determine if the intertwined nature of the astrological bangle had any merit, does titanium need a corresponding grounding element? I wore this bangle for 6 months. The amount of titanium in it was greater than the single bangles i had made. It also was heavier and could not be worn at night. Ouch. Iron isn’t malleable like gold, silver and copper. The use of this I would consider a success. I came to realize though that similar to how Yogananda had a silver lead bangle iron was particular to me. This left one final test.

Test Scenario three – Astrological Bangle

Eventually, I was able to get my hands on an official issue Self Realization Fellowship bangle from the mother center. It’s effect was indeed electric. It was large, heavy and really uncomfortable. The limited mobility I had with it compared to my two previous bangles was startling. I could however notice it’s impact near instantly. I continued to wear this bangle for six months. I alternated between this and the titanium bangles and the titanium and iron bangle. The energy frequency was near identical with the titanium iron. When I wore the titanium bangles along with the astrological three metal bangle the impact was increased 10 fold. With both I felt I was the best self I could be.

Conclusion – The Affordable Astrological Bangle

The effectiveness of the Astrological Bangle is very real. At the end of my test I worried that my alternative while accurate would still be very challenging to create. Except it is quite simple and anyone with a pair of round nose pliers, a file, and protective eye wear can make one.

The best part all you need is $5.00 – $50 depending upon where you source it.

The affordable astrological bangle is made with grade 2 titanium and I got enough to create two bangles one for each wrist. Alternately you may be able to find a metalsmith or jeweler who can make them for you with the sourced material if you are uncomfortable with the DIY approach.

First wrap a string around your wrist and mark the point where it intersects. Measure this length and subtract one inch. This will be the length you need your bracelet to be. The titanium I recommend for these bangles is semi malleable meaning it is annealed. With a hacksaw or jewelers saw cut the length of wire you need. Use a file to round the edges and sand paper to smooth any rough spots. Start at 600 grit then work your way up to 1000 – 2000. This is effectively polishing the length of titanium you will use.

Now using the round nose pliers begin to bend the metal in at about the 3 inch mark moving slightly and turning until they are partially rounded do this for both sides.The below bangles are .125” grade 2 titanium half hard temper.

I opted to get a little creative with the ones I created and then used a torch to make them golden color. However, the purpose and function is the same. You may wear one on each wrist and gain the benefits of an astrological bangle.

How To Take Cold Showers

The first time I took a cold shower, I went into shock. I felt like I had been hit by a baseball bat and the wind was knocked out of me. I almost started hyperventilating. I remembered one thing. Breathe! I had to breathe in, breathe out, breathe… oh the heck with this I turned off the water. Was I really going to start taking a cold shower everyday? Yes, I was determined.

My family has a history heart disease, and I need to do everything I can to get my blood pressure under check. Cold showers can sometimes help. I looked to cold showers not out of desperation but as a way to excel beyond my current boundaries. People have been able to endure cold for decades and it seems it was a lost art. I am inspired by Wim Hof and his excellent video series, of breathing, and pep talking that encouraged me to take the next step. Several months later and I may take two cold showers a day. The second shower usually involves ecstatic laughter because I am so happy the freezing cold doesn’t bother me anymore. The temperature of the shower for me ranges anywhere from 40 – 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Not exactly warm.

So how did I do it? Slowly and painfully under guidance of Wim Hoff’s course.

But Wim’s videos only covered so much. Everything I found on cold showers just told me how great they are but none of them went into details of how to get started. I will tell you the easiest way you can get started.

cold-poster-conqueirng-the-cold-shower

Day 1 -3 : Take A Normal Shower

Start the day by taking your normal hot water shower. Clean up, wash your hair and before you are ready to get out start breathing deeply. Breathe in. Breathe Out. Breathe in. Breathe out. When you are able to hold your breath for a few moments you are ready to give your system a shock. Breathe out when you switch to cold water. As soon as the water touches, your natural reaction will be to take a deep breath. This is good! Breathe in and out. Feel the water gently hit your back and trickle down to your feet. Feel as your body rapidly adjusts from hot to cold. If you start to shiver or get goosebumps turn off the water and dry off.

Continue doing the above technique for a few days. While slowly staying longer and longer under the cold shower. As your body adapts to normalcy from the extreme temperatures the cold can be exhilarating and relaxing.

Day 4-14: Exhale, Turn 90 degrees, Inhale

Do the same as day 1 to 3 but this time turn 90 degrees so your left side is now exposed to the cold shower. Again your body will immediately inhale. It is important you are able to maintain control of your breath to prevent hyperventilating. When your side adapts again exhale and turn 90 degrees so your front is facing the shower. This part is tricky as some of our most sensitive body parts are here such as our faces. Quickly plunge your face in the water. Remember to breathe in and out. When you are ready exhale and rotate 90 degrees. Now you are getting your right side exposed to the water as well. Once your right side has gotten used to the cold rotate 90 degrees one more time and turn off the water. Pay close attention to how your body feels when you turn off the water. Notice how the blood rapidly flows to the cold parts.

I will reiterate it is very important to stop the shower and warm up immediately if you start to shiver or get goosebumps.

Continue doing this for 2 weeks increasing your time ever so slowly. The shock from going to hot water to cold water is greatest when you first turn it off. In time you can adjust the temperature of your normal shower down. Once you are comfortable with this technique you can challenge yourself more by taking a monthly ice bath. The water from an ice bath will never go below 35 degrees even the coldest parts of the ocean do not drop below 28-35 degrees.

If you want to learn more about Wim Hof we have an excellent documentary over here, that covers his amazing feats.

How to Open Your Third Eye

Preface: I had initially rewritten this to be included on the Wim Hoff Method Blog. But, it went unposted. Rather than see the work lost I am sharing it with you. In addition to being easier to read than the last version I’ve added an illustrated how to poster.

how-to-open-your-thrid-eye

What is meant by ‘opening your third eye’? It is a meditation technique that refers to becoming more self aware and in tune with your surroundings. Results may be different for everyone. Some experience heightened awareness, more creativity, or a sense of calm and confidence. When performed consistently, your intuition will improve and you will become more aware.

I first tried this technique when I was a young boy. My mother and I were at a swap meet. It was there, after much pestering, that she bought me that book on Native American Shamanism. I wanted the book because my best friend was telling me about his great spiritual powers and how he was going to get a power animal. Since young boys can be quite competitive, I felt I also needed to do what my friend was doing. When we left the swap meet, I began reading the book in the car. One of the first meditation exercises I stumbled upon was contacting the ancient spirits for help. I decided this would be a good exercise to start with before I tried to find my power animal.

This is what I remember of the exercise.

“Breathe in through the nose for a slow count of 3. Hold for a count of 3. Then exhale for a count of three. Do this slowly and rhythmically. Focus on the point between your eyes above your nose on your forehead. Roll the eyes up behind closed eyelids. This may take 10-20 minutes before you can contact the spirits. As you breathe in and out, you will see different colors starting at yellow then shifting to purple. When you see purple you may, most respectfully speak with your spirit guides.”

When that evening finally approached, I found a quiet spot in the house and laid down on the ground in a darkened room. I breathed in and out. I became more and more relaxed. I saw flashes of yellow and purple. Then I asked to speak to my grandmother’s and grandfather’s spirits, the ancients, and the enlightened. Then, it happened! I heard a voice, as clear as day in my mind, and I freaked out. I did not know it then, but this was the day that would define the rest of my life.

It was not until years later that I tried meditation again, and it would be longer still when I tried, what I now know as, the third eye meditation. Almost like clockwork, years passed by again and it is only now that I realized the importance of opening my third eye.

Was I contacting ancient spirits when I was a child? Maybe, but more likely, I had gotten in touch with my higher consciousness. This higher consciousness is in us all. It is what makes us human and allows us to do amazing things.

There are many exercises and meditation techniques for opening your third eye. The easiest technique is to sit upright in a comfortable chair. Place your arms at your sides and hands on your lap. Breathe in through your nose to a count of 10, hold for 10, then exhale for 10. The longer you can do this the better, but the key is in the consistent rhythmic breathing. In through the nose, out through the mouth. When you do this, focus on the point between your forehead. You do not need to literally turn your eyes to your forehead, you need only to focus on the point in the middle of your forehead while you breathe in and out. Around the eight to tenth breath, you will start to see the yellow color spiral in your mind. As you continue breathing, the color will change to purple and then to flashing colors.

When this happens, when you finally see that vibrating purple color, it means you have opened your third eye. This ‘opening’ means different things for different people. For me, it has allowed more creativity and focus.

If you don’t see swirling colors, or you can’t hold your breath for 10 seconds, don’t worry. Just keep trying and do what you are comfortable with. One of my students would complain of constant headaches, but he persisted. Only when he persisted did he realize that his headaches were because he was staring at his nose cross-eyed.

The more meditation you do, the more understanding and control you will have over the effects of your newfound awareness. Many people think that the benefit of meditation is only during the actual meditation, but it is quite the contrary. The benefit comes a short time after the meditation. The more consistent you are in your meditation, the more aware of the benefits you become. You realize that, perhaps, you aren’t lucky, but there is someone/something guiding you. You see patterns where there would be random chances. This is just the start to an improved and a better you.

If you need help, or have questions, you are always welcome to contact me.