The Loving Heart, from Conflict to Peace

Our guest today, Dr. Laurie Pappas, an Educator, Spiritual Counselor, Speaker, Writer and Metaphysician has conducted spiritual/metaphysical seminars and counseling sessions for 20 years.

In the spring of 2005, Laurie was program chairperson of the 7th Annual Conference on Nonviolence, Peace and Prosperity held in Detroit.  She is a recipient of the 2005 International Peace Prize, Key of Success Award, and Woman of the Year Award, bestowed by the United Cultural Convention of the United States of America for outstanding personal achievements to the good of society as a whole.  

Tell us about your new book, The Loving Heart, and how we would benefit from it.

I wrote The Loving Heart: Navigating the Journey from Conflict to Peace, to provide my readers with a more peaceful perspective on themselves, their world and each other. 

The benefits include: 

Increased self-esteem

Improved capacity to connect with others

Increased ability to transcend illness, loss, divorce, or any  other life challenge

Decreased depression, anxiety, fear and anger

Increased ability to forgive

Augmented creativity and motivation

Increased empowerment

The Bold Life:

What I like about, The Loving Heart, is the opportunity to learn through experience. Laurie provides, questions, guided meditations, prayers, stories and examples through, out giving us the opportunity and direction to immediately apply what we learn.

What do you mean by ancient psycho-spiritual principles?

To me, ancient psycho-spiritual principles are core tools that have been passed down for generations and generations which have proven themselves to bring about comfort, joy and peaceful living; i.e. greater mastery over life. 

"Psycho” pertains to the mind and “spiritual” pertains to Divine Spirit, the source from which we have come. So these are “mental tools” which we can learn to use with the help of our higher, wiser self or “Divine Spirit.”

The Bold Life: When applying these core tools to guide our own human nature, we have the ability to remain calm and peaceful in our turbulent world. That's powerful!

What do you consider to be the single most powerful tool or technique that you use and teach?

The most powerful tool that I use and teach is “Mindfulness.” We can use it in a formal meditation practice or informally all day long.

For me, to be aware of  what we are thinking in a non-judgmental way, is an absolute necessity for self-transformation. My experience has shown me that our thoughts and beliefs create our feelings and that many of us have been “programmed” in  “fear-based” thinking.

I believe that our core essence is that of love, and that only “love-based” thinking will bring about the peacefulness we desire. As we become aware of our fear-based beliefs (with total acceptance of them) and learn to choose love-based ones, we can move into that place of peace and harmony.

The Bold Life:

I agree, the key is to be non-judgmental as we recognize our fear based thinking. It's a wonderful gift to know that we are "love" and to return to the state of love is as simple as choosing a "different and loving thought."

You began your self-transformational journey 35 years ago. Who was your first teacher?

Thirty years ago, I had a nervous breakdown, which was the beginning of my spiritual journey.  Looking back, although it was a most challenging time in  my life, it led me to question everything I believed about life. 

During the next 3 years, I read voraciously, anything I could, about spirituality and many  authors became my friends during that time.  But my first real live teacher came in the form of a lay minister who was my “Course in Miracles” instructor. It was through his vision and love that I came to understand  my purpose and my path. 

This led to the study of Attitudinal Healing with Gerald Jampolsky MD, who became my first well-known teacher. Jerry, as we knew him, is now 81 and still a friend to me. I am honored to know this gentle, wise man, and to have learned from him was an enormous gift.

The Bold Life:

I continue to recommend Jerry's books, Love is Letting Go of Fear and Teach Only Love. What a life of service that man has led!What a wonderful teacher and friend you have had.

What is one unexpected thing that has happened to you in the last year?

One unexpected thing that has happened to me in the last year is that my mother  has needed me much more than usual.  My mom is 84 and living with her companion, Ray, of many years. Ray was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s a few years ago, but was doing fairly well with it. In the last year, he has gone downhill enough that my mom has had to struggle with what to do. 

I’ve learned much about elderly health care insurance, and how to proceed with a 90 year old Alzheimer’s patient. What has stood out for me is how this is a  step-by-step process that requires much discussion, thought and tuning into my mother’s needs as well as her desires in any given moment. 

These needs and desires continually change, sometimes from day to day. And her  emotional roller coaster is somewhat of a challenge for her and all members of our family. But it’s fascinating to watch her process and what she feels capable of today as opposed to 12 months ago. To observe the process   leading toward acceptance (for her) is quite intriguing, and renews my faith that we all can eventually come to grips with a difficult situation.

The Bold Life:

Your mom has been blessed to have a loving and caring daughter like you. You're sons are learning from you and will offer you the same understanding and care if and when you need it. Isn't life grand?

How do you spend your free time? 

My main love in life is my family. I have always loved children, and I am now so fortunate to have an 18 month-old granddaughter. As I had 2 sons, this is new and wonderful for me. In my free time, I talk to “Aya” on the computer, as they live far away. But they are moving back to live close to my husband and me, and I can hardly contain my excitement. I hope to spend more of my free time with her in the next few years. 

Other than my family, I love be out in nature. I walk and bike as much as I can, all year around, even though I’m in Michigan.  Nature soothes me, renews me, energizes me, and balances me. The trees are my friends and the best listeners!

The Bold Life:

Technology has allowed loved ones to stay close regardless of any geographical distance. It makes me wonder what Aya will be doing with her distant relatives when she is grown up!

Tell us something nobody knows about you. 

When people interface with me, the main impression I give them is that I’m spunky, friendly, put together, energetic, and just naturally happy. People are surprised to find that I’ve struggled in any way. But I’ve had to work at happiness and peace, and I’ve finally told my story in my book. 

There are stories about myself that I tell in the book that I didn’t talk about too much for many years. I had to let go of a lot of shame, fear and guilt. And I continually work on this.  However, I feel so fortunate now to have learned all that I have and I am hoping that I can pass on the knowledge I’ve been so  lucky to receive. 

The Bold Life:

I think the temptation to "glamorize" the lives of others, is ego based, causing separation instead of unity or oneness. A good example, is how our culture is obsessed with Hollywood stars. They appear to have it all. Yet if you put my ordinary life in a magazine and circulated it in a third world country, I would appear that way as well.

Like you said earlier our core essence is love. Nothing else matters. When all minds join together and recognize this, nothing will ever separate us again. The rest is the illusion.

Laurie, I can't even imagine the number of people you have touched over the last 20 years with your wisdom. I remember reading your column in that Detroit magazine. It was one of my favorites. 

Thank you for giving us the tools to create peace and happiness in our own lives. I want to end with this excerpt from The Loving Heart:

"The Universe provides us with situations that cause us to suffer enough discomfort that we may feel "forced" to grow toward greater peacefulness. That is how evolution operates.

If we are passive and hide from ourselves, waiting for the Universe to push us, the pain we experience may be worse than the pain we feel if we allow ourselves to consciously choose to work on inner transformation.

If we keep on hiding in spite of our discomfort, we may experience serious disease both mentally and physically.

If we consciously commit ourselves to the process, however, our "gullies" may be shallower and our climb less severe.

Even if we struggle through our growth process with disease, we will reap the incredible rewards of our labor by experiencing periods of grace, gratitude, and wisdom known only to those on a conscious path." -Dr. Laurie Pappas

Check out Laurie's blog, The Loving Heart Connection, and find her on Facebook.

Do you have an example of going from conflict to inner peace? Please leave Laurie a comment below. 

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Quinn W February 16, 2011, 9:47 am

    Hi Tess! I’m popping over from My Smiling Heart where we were listed together on Jen’s link post. I’m starting to create my own BOLD life, so I had to see what you’ve written here! And I’m so happy to find you now that I’ve visited.

    Thank you for sharing Laurie’s journey here. I love her term “ancient psycho-spiritual principles,” and understand what she means. The ancients may have had more of an ability to see these laws of the world than we can now, and throughout many of the traditions I’ve studied, the same principles emerge. Just as Laurie has had, I’ve lived through hard situations where I’ve suffered greatly. I didn’t know it until I look backwards on those events that they propelled me forward to greater understanding of myself and this world. I wouldn’t trade those experiences at all!

    I’m glad to be bold with you and look forward to reading more,
    Quinn

    • Tess February 17, 2011, 4:36 pm

      Quinn,
      Yes it’s amazing how ancient principles never lose their power. They certainly didn’t have the distractions we have today! Knowing that difficulties propel us forward into new growth, you would think we’d welcome them or at least not have anxiety around them. LOL I still resist my own growth sometimes;)

  • Christopher Foster February 16, 2011, 11:52 am

    This is a lovely post and interview Tess. I’m very happy to meet Dr. Pappas and I especially love the balance in her approach, and her advice to be aware of our thoughts but in a non-judgmental way. Blessings to both of you.

    • Tess February 17, 2011, 4:37 pm

      Christopher,
      Yes it takes a lot of practice for me to be non-judgmental with my thoughts and myself! I need to lighten up! Thanks for stopping by. Your wisdom is always appreciated.

      • Laurie Pappas February 18, 2011, 9:04 am

        Tess and Christopher, I work on being aware of my thoughts everyday, and giving up the judgment that I’ve held for so long. It is indeed a process, and the more I do it, the easier it gets. Seems I will work on one issue for awhile and seem to master it, then another arises. Then I will find myself in a new situation, and the old issue arises again, so that I can peel another layer. So there is a never-ending stream of mind content to work with. But I find that the more I practice this mindfulness, the more peaceful I am and the better I get with this non-judgment stuff.

  • Angela Artemis February 16, 2011, 10:11 pm

    Hi Tess,
    Thank you for introducing Laurie to us. What a fascinating woman with inspirational life story to share! I was especially interested in her explanation of psycho spiritual principles and mindfulness. I’d love to know more. I’m going to be visiting her blog.

    • Tess February 17, 2011, 4:39 pm

      Hi Angela,
      Her book has a lot of exercises that when put to good use can quicken our growth. I love to journal and she recommends that as well. Love the book.

    • Laurie Pappas February 18, 2011, 8:46 am

      Angela, Thanks for your comments. I’d be honored for you to visit my blog and/or my website. Many blessings to you!

  • rob white February 17, 2011, 7:02 am

    Hi Tess,
    Thank you for introducing me to such an accomplished individual – quite a journey thus far. Laurie certainly has a lot to share and teach to the world. I like the psycho-spiritual principal. It is well grounded in the eternal truths that are passed down over the centuries and applicable for anyone to apply in their daily lives.

    • Laurie Pappas February 18, 2011, 8:49 am

      Rob, Thanks for your comments. Many blessings to you! May your journey be one filled with wonder, awe and excitement!

  • Tess February 17, 2011, 4:40 pm

    Rob,
    Yes I like all the tools and help I can get to live a calm, peaceful and fun life. Psycho-spiritual tools? Bring ’em on!

  • Valerie February 17, 2011, 5:22 pm

    Hi Tess, I enjoyed reading your blog on Dr. Pappas. I have known Laurie for about 10 years now, initially through the Metro Detroit Center for Attitudinal Healing and now through different classes she teaches. She has helped me immensely on my journey. She is an ever-present reminder that we can always choose to see things in a more loving and compassionate way — starting with how we see ourselves and extending outwards. I am grateful for all she has taught me.

    • Laurie Pappas February 18, 2011, 8:51 am

      Val, So nice to see you here! Thank you for your lovely comments!

  • Valerie February 17, 2011, 5:30 pm

    I forgot to mention that I recently purchased Laurie’s book and look forward to reading it!

  • Belinda February 17, 2011, 5:35 pm

    I really like the title of Laurie’s book because it’s so relevant on a universal level. We all experience conflict whether it’s a battle within ourselves or friction with others, and it’s good to be reminded that we have in our power to pull ourselves out of conflict into peacefulness.

    And I love Laurie’s underlying message about choice — that at any given time, we can choose to cultivate a loving heart in our thoughts, words and actions.

    Thanks, Tess, for finding yet another wonderful guest with us. xox

    • Laurie Pappas February 18, 2011, 8:56 am

      Belinda, Sounds like we’re on the same page. Thanks for reading and commenting. It’s always wonderful to feel peoples’ support!

  • Tammy February 17, 2011, 9:23 pm

    Hi Tess,
    Thanks for introducing us to Dr. Pappas. I’d love to meet her in person one day. I really liked the excerpt too as it spoke to spiritual growth even in difficult circumstances. I have seen that happen and believe it deeply.

    • Laurie Pappas February 18, 2011, 8:59 am

      Hi Tammy, Would love to share more with you anytime. Thanks for commenting. Please feel free to visit my website and blog.

  • Betsy at Zen Mama February 17, 2011, 9:28 pm

    Wow! What a wonderful person! I’d love to read her book. Thanks for sharing Tess!

  • Laurie Pappas February 18, 2011, 8:58 am

    Hi Betsy, Please feel free to visit my website and blog. You are so dear to comment! Thank you for participating here, from the bottom of my heart!

  • Megan "JoyGirl!" Bord February 18, 2011, 2:49 pm

    Terrific sounding book, and inspirational author. I get a real sense of self-assuredness mixed with practical, yet compassionate, advice. Your points on mindfulness are well received. I find that when I mix mindfulness with acceptance, I become childlike in my mentality. Curious, excited, and wanting to know more.

    Wishing you both the very best, and grateful for such good souls with whom to walk upon the earth.

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