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The Inspiration List

The Inspiration List

Almost all professional media critics and pundits put out a top 10 or top 100 list of the best films, TV programs, albums, websites, or books of the year. I note that many people question these lists, especially since some choices may seem highly subjective. Indeed many lists have been controversial since we humans seldom agree upon standards about what “best” or “top” means.

However, the lists do serve the purpose of calling our attention to creative works we might otherwise miss. And some lists prompt us to think about which media truly topped our own list, perhaps a list we’d like to share with our friends. We often make such a list informally when we say, “Did you see …?” or “you must listen to ….!”. Over the year we create our list by promoting our favorites without realizing it.

What if someone created a different type of listing such as, “the most inspiring” or “the most spiritual” media of all time? Or, what if the list were more modestly identified as  “media that matter” or “media that elevate” so they are not tied to the notion that I am somehow uniquely qualified to determine what is best, nor caught up in the  comparison game.

Throughout the year, I’ve given readers examples of works in different media that I and close friends of mine have found uplifting. In this blog I have called them Media which Matter. So, I’d like to compile a list that includes some of these in case you or your friends are looking for the opposite of a bucket list. The inspiration list I’ve compiled is not tied to something to do before you eventually die, like a bucket list does, but rather to enrich your very reason for living.

In the lists below I’ll also add some other “elevators,” (media which “take you up”) and “beacons,” (media which show the way forward) that I’ve not yet mentioned in case you are looking for fresh inspiration and vision. When people are laid up in a hospital for weeks due to an injury or they go on vacation or have a date night with a partner, they often ask, “What can I (or we) screen, hear or read which might be a meaningful use of time?” Here are some all time classics mixed with more recent high-beamers which may be of interest to you, to your family and friends. No list is ever complete so please feel free to share the titles of works that you would recommend as escalators for the soul.



Amazing Grace (Wilberforce vs. slavery in England)

Chariots of Fire (Eric Liddle/others at the Olympics)

Cosmic Zoom (where we fit in the universe)

Eddie the Eagle (British skier)

Brother Son, Sister Moon (St. Francis)

Flatland: The Movie (geometry points toward spirituality)

Gandhi (biography of the Mahatma)

The Letters (Mother Theresa’s victories)

Life is Beautiful (shining the light during the holocaust)

Lost Horizon (reaching Shangri-La)

Panta Rhei (means “all things flow”)

Race (Jesse Owens at the Olympics)

What the Bleep?



Winter’s Tale

Beauty and the Beast



The Lion King

Man of La Mancha

Our Town

Sound of Music

South Pacific

The Tempest




A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles (Marianne Williamson)

As of a Trumpet (Martin Exeter)

Beyond Belief (Martin Exeter)

The Bhagavad Gita (Hindu sacred text)

Becoming a Sun (David Karchere, in press)

Change Your Thoughts—Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao (Wayne Dyer)

Conversations with God I, II, and III (Neale Donald Walsch)

A Course in Miracles (Dr. Helen Schucman)

On Eagle’s Wings (Martin Exeter)

The Purpose Driven Life (Rick Warren)

The Secret (Rhonda Byrne)

Seven Steps to the Temple of Light (Uranda)

The Tao Te Ching (Lao-Tsu)

Walden (H.D. Thoreau)

In previous blogs, I have also listed music, photographs, websites and other media that matter. And yet, if you are stranded on a dessert island someday, if you bring along only what is above, to my modest view you will be discovering life’s secrets and reconnecting with your/our primal spirituality.

Naturally, I’m interested in your own list and in compiling inventories of catalysts which serve as can-openers to the heart. None of these lists or titles have meaning except as they open us up. Then it is what comes forth which matters most.

Books, plays, and movies are just a sign pointing to the main event–YOU! You are the medium that most matters. Our primal spirituality comes from a medium far larger than has ever been projected onto a screen or captured in print.  Vive le true medium–the light that you are and that powers the universe.

TOM COOPER is currently guest scholar at the East-West Center, University of Hawaii, Stanford and Berkeley and professor at Emerson College (Boston).  Musician, black belt, and playwright, he has written eight books and two hundred published articles, been advisor to the Elders Project (with Nelson Mandela, Kofi Annan, Jimmy Carter and others),  co-nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and is co-publisher of MEDIA ETHICS magazine.

Royal Leamington Spa – Some Thoughts on the Future

My wife, Ruth, and I arrived in the town of Royal Leamington Spa in Warwickshire, England a few days before Christmas last year, to begin our protracted ten week house-sit and to use that time to search for the right house in the right place for us to establish a new home.

It’s a quiet, pleasant town straddling the winding River Leam, spaciously laid out and full of Regency architecture, a large well-kept public park and a pervasive atmosphere of wellbeing. A perfect place to ponder with gratitude the sixty five years I had lived in Africa and to relish the unknowns of my future here in the land of my birth.

Nine months before, we had said a fond final farewell to our home and friends in Cape Town and began an intervening stay at Sunrise Ranch in Colorado, USA, with a side trip to Edenvale near Vancouver, British Columbia and then to embark on a new life that would be based in the UK.

We were left in no doubt about the fact that this really was a new cycle with a clean slate when, early in our stay at Sunrise, we received the news that all the possessions we had chosen to take with us to start a new home had been consumed by a warehouse fire!

While there is something freeing about knowing that all you now possess in the world fits into two suitcases, there’s an intensity involved in coming to terms with the loss of those special items accumulated over a lifetime. We had already trimmed and culled what we had to ensure that only those items that had a special heart connection or an important function made it into our new life.

Recently, we have been speaking about Crossing the Threshold and Standing at the Precipice – all in reference to the necessity to be able to leave the old familiar life and move into whatever our future holds for us. The way we deal with the actual, real-time opportunities that come to us to do that, has a lot to do with how that future works out. We have a choice. Thresholds are to be crossed and precipices to be leapt, with due discernment, of course, but without letting fear and uncertainty paralyse us into faint-hearted inactivity. The willingness to risk what we have for a brighter, more creative future is an essential characteristic for anyone who genuinely desires to make a difference in the world. If making that difference was easy or guaranteed, it would have happened already. There’s an element of risk involved in moving boldly through Life’s challenges.

I recently came across this piece by David Whyte:


We are here essentially to risk ourselves in the world. We are a form of

invitation to others and to otherness, we are meant to hazard ourselves for

the right thing, for the right woman or the right man, for a son or a daughter,

for the right work or for a gift given against all the odds. And in all this

continual risking the most profound courage may be found in the simple

willingness to allow ourselves to be happy along the way…

© 2015 David Whyte from ‘LONGING’ In CONSOLATIONS: The Solace,

Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words.

How true! There’s very little that’s really worthy of accomplishment in life that doesn’t carry some risk. There’s never an iron-clad guarantee that things will work out as we expect or want them to. There’s possibility of failure, of disappointment, of the unexpected, of making the wrong choice in the first place. But “the willingness to be happy along the way” makes all the difference and allows it all to be worthwhile and ultimately, creative and fulfilling.

In a few weeks, Ruth and I move into our new house and start the process of creating a new home and a new life – I might say, from scratch, but that would not be true. There are many seen and unseen gifts that we carry into this new cycle, so much to be happy about and thankful for. Establishing a safe, loving home is not the ultimate goal but having that as a foundation for the larger purpose of changing the world will play an important part in our effectiveness and success in doing that.

Thank you, Royal Leamington Spa, for offering us your fine gracious atmosphere and the space to engage with the option of a vibrant, creative future. May our presence here have been a blessing to you as we walked your streets with appreciation and care and may we return someday to share with you some fruits of this new phase of creation that is ours to steward and manifest.

PHIL RICHARDSON is an international speaker and teacher who invites people to reconnect with

their deeper innate spiritual awareness and to bring that awareness into their everyday lives.




A Subconscious Composition

I want to share this poem with you and then take an opportunity to expand on it a little bit further.

Incision of Light

With a vision of my mission, I can make a new decision

Accept divine commission and execute with precision

This here is my admission: Heal thy self, thy physician


A subconscious composition, perpetual path to perdition

Set fast through repetition, man’s religion of superstition

It’s the space of opposition, the submission of suspicion

The greed for acquisition and indulgence of inhibition

  Slow reduction of nutrition, and we call it a tradition


   Only divine recognition avoids the addition of collision


   Light the way of transition out of a space of competition

   Into a co-creative coalition of truly loving and forgiving

   To walk a holy expedition of a life lived with right living

   And a righteous ambition for the wisdom of right giving

   I give myself permission to listen to my voice of intuition


   Life will provide provision for a shiny brand-new edition

   Of my puzzle piece position as one heavenly technician

   For loving without condition is all I need for ammunition

                                                                         – Rajazuhl


I sat down with this list of over forty words that rhymed with the –ission sound. Within two hours of writing and editing, what came together with these words reflects well what is moving with me in the current of my meditations. It’s amazing to witness the inner process of spirit moving through the mind and coming out as something physical. One of my friends spoke of it as the invisible moving through the inner to express in the outer.


If I have a vision of my mission, some idea, some little bit of sight or an inkling of knowing of why I am here, what my purpose is and what I am here to do inside of this world; then I can move forward. I can make a new decision. I can execute with precision. I can make choices based off of what I know as my truth about who I am and why I am here, what I am here to do. The more I make choices, and the more I actually take action with those choices, the greater that vision becomes. I can see more and more of who I am and why I am here, the part that I play in the greater whole.

And yet I also have to admit that the reasons that I am not already, to a greater degree, playing my part is because I am in my own way, in whatever way. That is the only reason. Everything is designed to flow from spirit, through mind, out into the physical, unless we get in the way of our own channel for that flow. So that is my responsibility. Anytime I find myself putting it out on someone or something else as the blame for me not having the fullest experience of life in who I am, I am giving away my power. So I have to heal myself first. Heal thy self, thy physician.


But what is it that I am healing? Now, here is where the paradox comes in, the dichotomy. I am responsible for healing myself, and yet, because of the machinery of the mind, there are things that I actually cannot really heal. They are outside of my conscious control. The mind is a very powerful tool, it has amazing abilities, and yet there is something above it that is even more powerful: the spiritual realm. I have a conscious mind and I have a subconscious mind, and the subconscious mind is of service to my conscious mind, where I have awareness, choice, free will, logic and reasoning. The subconscious rules over the realms of memories, feelings, habits, and belief paradigms. And the conscious mind is the programmer of it, whether aware of it or not. Whatever gets programmed in there keeps running, just like a computer program playing in the background of the mind.

And let’s be honest here humans, some of our programs are pretty distorted from the divine design. We’ve got governments and religions and

cultures and families and entertainments and education and financials—all the systems. There are distortions everywhere. All of our parents and teachers, all those we interact with day by day–everybody’s doing their best and yet humanity has been passing down distortions for a long time. We can learn and evolve and re-write new programs into our mind of how we want to be, what we want to create, and that is how we use the power of choice and cause change. But the old programs still keep coming up. Some of them have even been passed to us through our DNA via many generations of human consciousness imprinting genetic material. To the degree that we are asleep, we let those programs run, call it the ego and try to fight ourselves. But to the degree that we are awake, we choose whether we want to follow the pattern that is playing or not, the program. The conscious mind has the ability to program/re-program and that is a necessary conscious practice for accelerating awakening. It can also de-program, yet this can be a longer and more deliberating process. There is however one thing that the conscious mind can do to quantum accelerate the process of purification. That is to turn the attention within to the higher realms through the Spirit of Love, and express that outward. It is only the Spirit of Love, activated by the Love for Spirit, which can move through the inner mind and clear the programs.

Without it, what do we have? A perpetual path to perdition, always feeling lost and confused, like a victim, as if the world is against us. The space of opposition is the source of all conflict. You see, there is oneness, there is one reality, and there is also twoness—there are polarities, there are different ends of a spectrum which allows for contrasting and complementing variances. That is the world we live in. That is how we get to experience life as the vast dynamics of all the different expressions that exist between the two points. Yet the strongest point is in the middle, the balance point between the two ends, where the two come back into one. If we become polarized and we just stand on one end, looking in judgment at the other end, then one has to be right and one has to be wrong. Right? Or wrong?

The greed for acquisition and indulgence of inhibition

Slow reduction of nutrition, and we call it a tradition

Of course the holiday season has had some play in my mind through the weekend. I love the holiday season and yet I have an honest observation of how our culture has become. We do a pretty good job here at Sunrise. You know everybody thinks they do a pretty good job with themselves. But then we look outside and we do the little judgments against outside things. But what’s happening in our own collective culture? We’ve got a day devoted to filling ourselves as full as we can, and then a crazed spending spree fueled by good deals the next day. I am not in judgment of it, but it is wise to look at the other side of the coin, even though I also choose to focus on the side that is bringing me up and elevating my mind and spirits. We can absolutely instead, use the holiday to remind ourselves of the importance of gratitude and celebrating the harvest of our efforts.

Only divine recognition avoids the addition of collision. We have these patterns in our subconscious mind, individually and collectively. Those patterns are running because they were developed from distortions, probably at some early developmental point when we didn’t even realize what that word meant. We innocently learned, “Oh, you do this and then this happens, and so that’s how it works.” I’ll just program that there in the old subconscious and it’ll keep running for the rest of my life, even though we may grow to know that it doesn’t always work that way. We may have re-programmed ourselves over and again, yet it still comes up. So we have crashes in our life, between other people, and with life itself. And sometimes if feels like they just keep adding up.

The only way out of that is to recognize that there is something greater, something higher. There is spirit. To turn the heart and mind toward the spirit, in the spirit of response, with love to Love. That is what gratitude is really all about. It is giving thanks for the things that you have. Who are you giving thanks to? Yourself? “Great job, self—I created lots of things I really like in my life.” No, it is something higher that is working beyond our understanding and control, bringing things into place for a greater purpose, according to a higher design. We each definitely have our own creative responsibility, and there is something greater than what we commonly recognize as ourselves.

When we give thanks upwards, it allows an opening of the channel for that spirit of God to flow in and clear out all those cobwebs of programming inside of the basement of our minds. Something new can happen. It allows the space for the pure dwelling place, for the One Who Dwells, for the experience of Shekinah and holy divine living, if we choose to give thanks, love and allow. That is actually our job of meeting halfway. That is the healing of the self, by going to the source of healing. And that does take the choice that only we can provide for ourselves. It is a holographic world—it is all right here. We do not heal the world until we heal ourselves, because in truth, you can only help another to the degree that you have been able to help yourself first.

So let’s transition out of competition. It is not about fighting against any one other thing. It is about working together with every other thing. We can be a co-creative coalition, aligned and working together toward the common good. The more that we come into that collective creative space and focus on how one is truly living and truly giving, the faster we elevate. Because the more ambition we have for divine reality, the more we will push ourselves towards it, just like ambition for money or anything else.

As we learn and grow, we evolve. It’s happening individually and collectively. The self you knew yourself as is not the self you are coming to know yourself as. Everything changes. I am not the same person and so how I fit into the puzzle is not the same either. The picture also changes in life so that same puzzle piece from before wouldn’t fit the same anyway. The thing is I don’t have to figure it out or make myself into some shape in order to try to fit. This is all part of a greater plan and the more I allow it to unfold, I am letting myself perceive the divine design rather than trying to create my own. Life will provide provision if I listen to my intuition.

And there is no need to fight. But if you do find yourself in a conflict or challenge, the best ammunition is love without condition. Just love it all, and give thanks in all things. That love will help things that are out of place and out of balance find their way back into balance and rightful placements. The Spirit of Love does a way better job than we do at coordinating Life. But we personally have a lot of power as well. Our job is to meet it halfway by using our power wisely to come into a greater space of surrender to spiritual expression. And that is an every moment choice.


Gary Goodhue is a student and teacher of consciousness and creation. He focuses on bringing deep principles of Truth and Love into practical, every day application. The results are increased presence, clarity, peace, focus and power.


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