Some of my most popular podcast conversations have been compiled into this fabulous audio book. Please share and enjoy!
I had an encounter recently with some young women who were complaining about the election results. They were talking about how “hopeless” the world was, and how hard it is being a woman. And then, mid-way through their bitch session, they stopped to take a selfie of themselves eating a pita.
When I got home, I created this two-minute video
The basic gist of the video if you’re too lazy to watch a 2-minute video (and apparently thousands of you are) is that we might want to try using our phones to get educated about issues and possibly make a difference in the world instead of documenting our humus consumption. I asked the girls basic questions such as “When was our first election?” and “When did women get the right to vote?” They had no clue. I told them “You can’t bitch about how ‘hopeless’ our world is and ‘how hard it is to be a woman’ if you don’t even know what year women got the right to vote!” (it’s 1920 in case you were wondering.)
I shared the video on Facebook and asked others to share it as well if it resonated. 5 people shared it, and only a handful of people “liked” it.
The next day, I posted a picture of a gingerbread house shaped like Wrigley Field. As I write this, it has over 150 likes/loves/gasps and has been shared over a dozen times.
So what is the moral of this story? Obviously people love our Cubs — I do too. There’s nothing wrong with bleeding Cubbie blue. (And the Wrigley Field gingerbread house should win an award. It probably took weeks to make!) But in general, I think this says a lot about how apathetic we have become as a society. People don’t want to be told they have to be self-less. They’d rather tune out the problems of the world and continue to lean on their selfie-sticks for support. They’d rather share icing shaped like a “W” than actually do something to give back at a time when we actually need it the most.
So I will ask this once again… please try to use your phone to be self-less in the coming days.
I’m not talking about moving mountains here, people. I’m talking about doing little acts of kindness. Why not pay for someone’s cup of coffee? Or take a video of yourself putting money in expired parking meters? Later today, I am going to swing by the Evanston Fire Department to donate clothes. (A fire in an apartment complex left several people homeless without basic items like underwear and socks.) I’ll be posting that video too on my youtube channel (@jenweigel) in the hopes of inspiring others to do the same.
If there’s ever a time to be self-less, it’s during the holidays.
I know I won’t stop trying to inspire you to be the change you want to see in the world.
Because I’m spiritual, dammit!
I had the pleasure of interviewing best selling author Caroline Myss at the Wilmette Theatre on October 20th. She closed the evening with a prayer that I promised to share:
I want you to picture yourself with your angel over you, because this is what I do. ‘Hover over me God. Let my angel take me out of my body. Take me to the realm of healing. Work on me tonight and through the night. Heal the broken parts of my heart, my mind, my soul. Repair my flesh and bones. Let the grace pour through me. God keep my mind clear. Help me not to judge other human beings – that doesn’t help me and you hear those judgments. So whatever negativity I generate, let me harm no one. Take it out of me. Let the angels put me back in my body before I wake filled with grace. Hover over me God. Let me walk this earth with love. Amen.’
Since his first book “Conversations with God” came out in the late 90’s, I’ve been embracing many of Neale’s teachings to great success. One that I mention in a couple of my books is the “Thanking the Universe in advance” for things rather than saying “I want” or “I need.” By saying “want” and “need” we actually create more lack. The Universe is just delivering exactly what you are ordering…. the need and want for more.
So tune in to this podcast where Neale helps us remember what is important.
And stay spiritual, dammit!
If you’re looking for a conversation to get you through your commute or to listen to while you’re at the gym, please subscribe to my podcast. From medical intuitives to really cool authors, this is the kind of stuff spiritual seekers have been craving. Get with the program and tune in, dammit!
Join my podcast community for weekly in-depth conversations with authors about spirituality, enlightenment and intuition. The most recent chat is a live recording with bestselling author Caroline Myss from my “Conversations with Weigel” show at the Wilmette Theatre on Feb 22nd, 2016.
You’ve asked for it, and it’s finally here. My WGN podcast “I’m Spiritual, Dammit!” has launched. Please listen, share, and enjoy the conversations. The maiden voyage is with the lovely Kelly Standing.. author, mother, public speaker and over all cool chick who has survived 7 near death experiences that we know of!
I’ve gone through a handful of transitions over the last couple of months – between work, home and my personal life, everything has changed. Some of these were expected, and others, not so much. But over the past few days, I’ve been getting some signs and signals that revolve around fire that I’m finding hard to ignore.
It started last Friday when I had to call the fire department because my carbon monoxide detector alarms went off. Eventually two fire trucks arrived, and five of Evanston’s finest (all TOTALLY HOT I might add) strolled down my driveway wielding axes. I felt safe as they roamed the premises with detectors and concern, and came to the conclusion that a nearby sewer was releasing gas that had entered through my garage, thus sounding my alarms.
Three days later, I find out I’ve been cast again to be on another episode of “Chicago Fire.” In this particular episode, a homeowner calls the 9-1-1 because her carbon monoxide detector goes off.
While on set shooting my scene where I play a reporter, I discover the crew will be filming the rest of this episode ON MY STREET in a few days.
What are the chances?
Then, on my way home from shooting the “Chicago Fire” episode, my son calls.
“There are 5 fire trucks in front of our old house, Mom!” he said with great concern. “It’s on fire!”
Several texts from neighbors and friends confirm that the home I’d sold in December was now up in flames.
Apparently the house, which was bought by a builder, was being used as a training ground for the Evanston Fire Department before it was to be demolished.
What’s with all the FIRE??
I decided to do some research on “The Symbolic Meaning of Fire” and here is what came up:
“This symbol signifies upward mobility and forward motion. To move into the energy of fire is to be utterly consumed, transformed and lifted out of limitation. It is a symbol of positive action, sexual prowess, passion, warmth and positive direction. As an oracle this symbol indicates a blossoming of understanding that will light the way for new adventure. It also indicates winning and success, and is a symbol of victorious warriors.”
You had me at “Lifted out of limitation” and “sexual prowess”!
I went on to find that in Tibet, fire is a tool for “declaring love, taking right action, and moving through blockages.” The Chinese speak of fire as a symbol of “clarity, independence, and transformation.”
Today, I decided to drive past my old house to see the fire ruins for myself. While this was by no means my “forever” home, it was the place that hugged me after my divorce. It propped me up when I felt I couldn’t do it alone, and was a respite that enabled me to provide for my son, and re-connect to my soul. It was where I lived, laughed, cried, and loved for the past 5 years.
As I pulled up to my old address, a bulldozer was tearing down what was left of my charred 1876 farmhouse.
Standing in front of the wreckage, I was shocked at how sad I felt watching that truck fill a dumpster with what used to be my foundation. The bulldozer took crumbles of my past (and parts of my beautiful oak floors) into its’ jaws like a shark effortlessly eating a meal.
I picked up the phone and called a friend as I tried not to cry on the street.
“What are you up to?” I asked as he answered the phone.
“I’m at a funeral reception,” he said.
That’s ironic. So am I.
I then called another friend and mumbled something into her voicemail through my tears about my old house being destroyed and asking if this was symbolic for my whole life.
She texted me back:
“It’s symbolic in a good way. You’ve evolved from that temporary landing pad and now you’re on a launching pad…in time you will see that you have grown and matured and found harmony in that space when you needed it, but now it’s time to move on, literally and figuratively. You’re shedding your skin and it’s pushing you into the universe in a way in which you will grow and expand and find your place…So keep your head up. Good times await you in all aspects of life!!”
As I read her text, I kept hearing part of a song from the 1936 movie “Swing Time” in my head, sang by Ginger Rogers to Fred Astaire:
“Nothing’s impossible I have found, for when my chin is on the ground, I pick myself up, dust myself off, and start all over again…”
Onward, Jen. It’s time to launch.
I have this theory that in order to get answers, we need to keep asking questions. We never have all the answers. We only know what we know at the time.
For example, we used to think it was healthy to smoke. So much so, that this PSA from 1949 shows a doctor asking “What cigarette do you smoke, Doctor?” as he lights up his cigarette.
I’ve interviewed a lot of people over the years — from award winning authors, scientists and journalists, to medical intuitives. I am a firm believer of gathering information from a variety of belief systems. Then I share that information and tell people to decide for themselves whether they embrace those theories.
So after all these conversations, what do I believe? In the spirit of the holidays, I thought I’d share some of those now. Not because I want to scare off my co-workers, but because even if one of my beliefs seems odd to you, that doesn’t mean it’s “wrong.” (There was a time when nuclear bomb watching was a spectator sport in Nevada, OK?!)
So here we go:
I believe that we all have intuition, especially when we are children. Our radar and negative thoughts turn that skill off over time, but it can be rebuilt and strengthened, just like a muscle.
I believe people can die and live to tell about it. When I interviewed Dr. Mary Neal (an orthopedic surgeon who died in a kayak accident and wrote the best selling book “To Heaven and Back”) she told me, “I was without oxygen for almost 30 minutes. I’m a woman of science. I know I shouldn’t be alive, let alone talking to you right now. It’s a miracle.”
I believe Jesus tried to spread love to all who would listen, and he wasn’t interested in ratings or resumes. He loved all people for all reasons. (We seem to forget this when we kill over race or religion.)
I believe there are other dimensions. According to some who study metaphysics, there were at least 11 that have been proven to exist. That means there could be 10 other versions of you out there somewhere. (Woah!)
I believe our thoughts can make us physically ill. When you’re miserable in the head, you are miserable in the body.
I believe in energy healing and acupuncture. I’ve studied reiki and seen how it stops babies from crying and relieves back pain. Cultures have embraced these practices for thousands of years, yet here in the West, they still aren’t fully accepted. I think that’s a shame.
I believe in angels and saints, because it’s more fun than NOT believing in angels and saints. (If you’ve never prayed, “Dear Saint Anthony, please come around, something’s lost and can’t be found” when you lose your wallet, give it a try and get back to me. It works every time.)
I believe that we have to send love — even to those we hate — because in the end, love is the only thing that will stop the hate. Deepak Chopra told me that when people stage a loud protest, even for peace, they are often sending hate-filled energy out to the world. You can demand justice through love. (Think of Martin Luther King and Gandhi. They created change without throwing chairs through glass windows.)
So remember this as you go through your holidays — while there may be times when the world seems to be going to hell and a handbasket, you can still make a difference in your immediate surroundings. You can spread love and not hate in your home and your office and at the grocery store. You can open your mind to the possibility that you really don’t have all the answers. You can stop judging people who may believe in things you don’t completely understand.
When I was a kid, nobody wore a seatbelt because someone in charge told us we didn’t need to wear a seatbelt.
We need to keep asking questions so we can evolve as a species.
And thankfully, “What cigarette do you smoke, doctor?” isn’t a question that anyone will be asking these days.
In case you’ve been living under a rock, a tragic thing happened to actress Molly Glynn a couple of weeks ago. She and her husband Joe Foust were riding bikes in a forest preserve when a storm came through, knocking down a tree that killed Molly.
I found out after the accident that Molly used to have a fear of riding bikes, having gotten hit by a car when she was younger, so Joe promised to only take Molly on paths where cars weren’t allowed. Joe and Molly rode bikes more than most, loving every minute of it.
So the person who conquered her fears of riding a bike gets killed by a tree while riding her bike.
What’s the deal, God??
I went to college with Joe, and while I only met Molly a few times, she was genuine and loving. When her organs were donated to give life to others, Joe said “Her heart was so big, I’m surprised it fit in anyone else’s body.”
A few days after Molly’s death, I was told of another terrible accident– my friend Lisa got hit by a cab in the Loop that was going 35 miles an hour. She was knocked clear out of her shoes, landing flat on her back in the road. One would think after such a blow, that she too would have died. While emotionally, Lisa’s a bit rattled, she escaped the accident with only a few bruises.
So why does one story end in tragedy, while the other seems miraculous?
I’ve interviewed a lot of spiritual folks who claim to have answers to some of life’s biggest head-scratchers. I had to go back into my “woo-woo” rolodex to gain some wisdom after these two back-to-back incidents. The story that seemed to help the most was this blog post that I wrote a couple of years ago when I found out my college friend Marla was killed by a truck after dropping her daughters off at school.
Why do bad things happen to good people?
In that blog post, I wrote about a woman I interviewed named Dr. Mary Neal who not only died in a kayaking accident and came back to life to talk about it, but she also had to bury her son when he was just 19. Since then she’s been on “The Today Show”, CNN, and every network you can think of talking about her brush with death and her book “To Heaven and Back”.
“I’m a pragmatist!” She told me. “I couldn’t make this stuff up if someone put a gun to my head.”
And then she said something I will never forget:
“I can’t tell you how many times over the last 13 years where something terrible has happened where someone says ‘Isn’t that terrible about that boating accident?’ and I think ‘No actually, it was a great gift.’”
“A tragedy is a great gift?” I asked.
“If you think about ‘bad’ things — think about Jesus — he was betrayed, he was arrested, he was beaten, humiliated, and he was killed. That’s bad. By all accounts we should look at that and say ‘That’s the most horrible thing you can imagine.’ But look what came of it. For more than 2000 years people are remembering his story and using it to heal and love. So can you look at that and say it was horrible, but I look at the affect it had on the last 2000 years and it’s incredible. He brought a covenant of love. You can look at every bad thing that happened and almost always there are incredibly good things that come of it. You know change doesn’t happen when things are easy. Change happens when things aren’t easy and when you are pushed. So I would say there is no such thing as good and bad. It just is. And we may not understand it.”
I’m not sure I can get to the place where I’m thinking, “There’s no such thing as good and bad.” I see bad things happening every day through the text alerts from this job – death, fires, accidents where a friend’s wife gets killed by a tree. All these things seem pretty bad from my lens.
But I’m trying to do the best I can to embrace Dr. Mary Neal’s philosophy – because even with all that is bad, we have miracles too. My friend Lisa escaping with only a bruise after being plowed down by a cab is indeed a miracle.
One thing I do know is this — these incidents were wake-up calls. Life is too short to spend any time with people who don’t appreciate you or treat you with respect. Get rid of those people you loathe and hold onto those that you love, because you never know when that person you just talked to will no longer be there to answer the phone.
And as Joe said on his Facebook feed, “Be kind. Love hard. Remember.”