Monday, October 30, 2006

Get better & better - Healthwise Magazine

"Elizabeth Hepburn believes her bout with cancer was a blessing. She learned to take responsibility for her own health, and is now a Wellness Facilitator assisiting others. Her Better & Better series on DVD provides solace and healing for both patients and caregivers during a very painful period of life. Visit "

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I Have A Dream

I Have A Dream

I have a dream. And I had a dream. Let me tell you about the "had" first.

In late January, I dreamt I was flying/hovering/gliding inside the Grand Canyon in a sort of futuristic helicopter, like a glass bubble. I could see in every direction -- even below me. I was completely engulfed in the grandeur. It was totally mind-boggling and exhilarating, and I awakened feeling both excited and frustrated. Frustrated that despite having been geographically close on several occasions, I'd never had the time to get there, and excited about finally going. I knew it would be soon.

On March 1st, I flew to Phoenix and joined my dear friend, Joanie, who was already in the southwest visiting our mutual friends, Jennifer and Andy and Jen's mother, Florence. Their most kind and generous hospitality embraced us on either side of our sojourn to the Canyon. Thank you, beautiful people.

The drive through the red rock country, especially Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon, was as spectacular as I'd remembered it, and within a half hour of reaching our destination, Joanie and I were walking the South Rim of the Grand Canyon!

It was a brilliantly clear, cold day and we hiked along the, sometimes quite precarious, path for about four hours into the setting sun. I had come equipped with notepad and pen, and tape recorder with empty cassette prepared to record all the inspiration that would surely come to me at this awesome world-wonder. And the only words that came that day and the entire next day were: "Oh my God. Oh, my God." Every few feet, every time I'd look away for a moment and then back at the Canyon again, it was different.

The sunlight bathing the walls is slightly different -- the colors subtly change; the shapes reconfigure. "Oh my God." I'm practically weeping in joy and overwhelm. There are no words to describe this.

The day we had to leave, Joanie insisted we stop on the way out of the park at the Kaibab Trail, where she and Jen and Andy had descended to the Canyon floor a few years before. Being that it was off season and quite chilly, we were completely alone and I stood mesmerized for about 30 minutes. I didn't ever want to leave. (Thinking about it now, it reminds me of when I saw Michelangelo's David in Florence. My sense is I'd still be standing there if I hadn't had a plane to catch.)

As I stood alone in the magnificence, I began to feel that the profound peace and stillness I was experiencing was unceasingly being poured forth into the ethers from the very bowels of the Canyon -- from every nook and cranny, from every rock face, from every craggy little plant, from every 80 foot tree growing out of sheer rock! It felt like this most sacred place was a gigantic prayer bowl constantly breathing peace into the atmosphere of our Planet. "Oh, my God."

Which brings me to the dream I'm "having." This is a waking dream. My Peace dream.

Long before the Canyon "call," I had a very moving experience in the theatre one evening, I became acutely aware of the enormous energy that's generated in live performance. In the midst of this epiphany I got how totally wonderful and valuable it would be to dedicate this stupendous power to World Peace. And to that end, I've been contacting everyone I can think of in theatre and the arts in NYC with this proposal:

The powerful energy that's created in live performance is undeniable. I propose that this energy, generated hundreds of times a week in theatres all over the city, be dedicated to World Peace.

At this most crucial time on our earth, I feel that it could have an enormous impact on the collective consciousness.

It would simply be a matter of having a sign back stage (and perhaps in the lobby) in all our theatres stating: This Performance Is Dedicated To World Peace, in addition to including this statement in the pre-show, "turn off your beepers" announcement.

That's it! Nothing else to do. This would give every performance another dimension and a focus of deep caring and compassion. We can't even begin to imagine the positive repercussions that could result from this subtle, recurring message.

I see this being implemented in our Broadway and Off- Broadway theatres, at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, in Stadiums and ultimately all over our country and the world. Why not? With violence escalating at a dizzying pace, we must start giving Peace some major PR. And with the eyes of the world on NYC since 9/11, this is surely the place to begin. It would serve as yet another expression of, and tribute to, the generous and indomitable spirit of both our great city and the theatre community. It's also a natural tie-in to the "I Love New York" campaign.

I wrote this in April, 2002 and our world was writhing in anguish. It seems to still be so. And although this idea has not taken root yet, I'll never give up on it. And as I strive to make This Performance Is Dedicated to World Peace a happening in the Big Apple, I'm sharing it here hoping that the concept will catch on and start popping up all over the country -- performances/gatherings in community theatres, universities, high schools -- wherever this powerful focus of energy is created -- all being dedicated to World Peace. I repeat: Why not?

Let us decide that we've had enough of the horror. Let us, please, not sit back and passively accept that for at least the next 20 years our world will be at war, and our beloved country will be relentlessly building more and more sophisticated instruments of destruction. What an aberrant use of our divine creative energy. We know that violence begets violence. How could this possibly be the answer?

Shifting the consciousness in our world is the answer. Shifting the focus of our minds and hearts, which influences the actions we take, to peace and love and beauty and brotherhood is the answer. Shortly after 9/11, Ryan Kelly of the NYC Ballet wrote: "I'm trying to breathe peace more than ever this year - like rain forests that oxygenate the earth, peace- breathers might pacify the planet ..." Let us all become peace-breathers and dedicate our very breath and all the energies that we create in communion with each other to World Peace. The world needs us. If the Grand Canyon can do it, so can we.

In 1963, in his legendary I Have A Dream speech, Martin Luther King said: "We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force." Oh, Yes! Thank you, Dr. King.

Whenever in doubt, Come Home to your Heart
Elizabeth Hepburn

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Let Peace Begin

Let Peace Begin

"An open heart, an open mind, just being kind -- and peace begins" are the opening lyrics to And Peace Begins, a song by Paul Trueblood, a fabulous musician who every Sunday morning for years played piano at the Unity service at Avery Fisher Hall in NYC. I love this song because its message tells us that peace begins right here, right now in our own hearts and minds and in everything we do. World Peace begins at home.

Several years ago, on two separate occasions within the space of about ten days, people shared with me that they thought that world peace would be boring. I was initially stunned and then jostled to an awakening that this was indeed a very prevalent thought: that somehow many of us needed the titillation of frightening scenarios and upheaval and chaos, albeit usually second hand, to make us feel alive. I felt that this concept created an insidiously powerful energy field that unwittingly fueled the upset and cycle of violence all over this planet.

I remember sharing my concern with my spiritual teacher, Hilda Charlton, and she said: "You're absolutely right, dear - you must talk about this at our next peace meeting." (Hilda had created a Meditation Evening for World Peace which met -- and still does -- on the equinoxes and solstices of the year.) I immediately reminded her that I "sing," I don't "talk," to which she replied: "It's about time you spoke up, dear." Her words ring in my ears to this day. So with great trepidation, at the next peace meeting, I actually "spoke up," and I've been speaking up ever since. Thank you, Hilda.

On that auspicious night (for me), I shared what I'd told Hilda. World Peace would be boring?! I went on to explain that I understood that many feel that peace is boring because of its relentless identification with death ("may they rest in peace"), or the images of the serenity and otherworldliness of the monastic life, which the word often evokes. But these many have never experienced the adventures of inner space and the peace, to say nothing of the love, joy, ecstasy -- I could go on and on -- that become available when one is willing to be quiet and dive deeply within. There's nothing like it. Here one discovers that peace is far from boring. Peace is thrilling. Peace is not the absence of violence or upset, it is a vital state that combines an infinite sense of ease with a heightened awareness of aliveness. It is a deep well spring within us from which profound creativity emerges. It is a state that is unceasingly available to us.

So the trick is dismantling the mass consciousness that contends that violence, incessant activity and excitement-seeking are what make life worth living. In my opinion, this franticness serves as a smoke screen, preventing us from ever dealing with Who We Really Are.

I'm reminded of Nelson Mandela quoting Marianne Williamson's words in his 1994 Inaugural Speech: "Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate; our greatest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us..."

The reality that we are powerful beings is scary to us. We don't want to assume that kind of responsibility. However, the time has come -- big time -- for us to march right through that fear. And even though it takes guts and a sense of daring to explore the depths of ourselves, the rewards that flow spontaneously, as the space within us expands, are boundlessly exhilarating.

Our addiction to the excitement of violence can't hold a candle to the energy that accompanies our acceptance of the light that we are. The personal power and mastery available as our lives unfold as expressions of peace and kindness and compassion are awesome and genuinely thrilling.

The world needs us now. We are collectively hosting disastrous events with potentially catastrophic consequences. It behooves each of us to own our place in this unfolding drama, and, in our unique way, be willing to be instruments of peace. To quote Paul Trueblood again: "Don't look for peace in foreign lands; it happens here where we are living. And all it takes is our forgiving; it has to start with you and me." In addition to "It's time to stand up and be counted," I recommend "It's time to sit down, be quiet and listen." Thousands of years ago, Pythagorus advised us: "Learn to be silent. Let your quiet mind listen and absorb." And to this I say, "Amen!"

The stakes are very high now. So for our beloveds, for our world, for future generations, let us do whatever we need to do to dive into and enthusiastically embrace peace in all its guises and spread its healing everywhere we go. Let Peace Begin. Right here. Right now.

Whenever in doubt, Come Home to you Heart
Elizabeth Hepburn

Thursday, October 12, 2006



The plane crash in Manhattan yesterday certainly did not recapture the horror of five years ago, but at first impact, it was a stunning reminder. The sentiments in the following article continue to be useful, and I feel that ground zero and all that occurred there and all the lives that were shattered at that time still deserve our compassionate concern. This is what I wrote at that time:

I had earmarked Tuesday morning, September 11th, to complete this column. For weeks I'd been jotting down thoughts and this was to be the time to collate them. At the top of the page I had scrolled the word "Imagine," and my first musings had been some of the key words in John Lennon's song:
Imagine all the people living for today
Imagine all the people living life in peace
Imagine all the people sharing all the world

There were other notes all aimed at using our brilliant imaginations to create more beauty and fulfillment in our personal lives and ever expanding love and peace in our world.

And then it happened!

In certain circles John's song wasn't, and still isn't, well received. His lyrics speak of imagining no countries -- no religions -- the very source of identity for many of us. But John's whole thrust here, it seems to me, is encouraging us to be here now -- today -- with peace in our hearts and love in our minds. To share this world openly, freely, and with great delight. No more separation -- no more arrogance that declares, "I'm better than you because I belong to this religion or live in this country.

"The truth is that we are family on this tiny, precious planet and he knew that. He knew that "we are all one." And anything that obscures, denies, or defiles that innate connection and brotherhood is counterproductive to the natural flow of life.

If you're reading this column it's no accident, and you've got work to do. We all do. This is why we're here now. Certainly we have to search our hearts for ways in which we can be helpful to our fellow beings and move forth to do that. But most of all, we need to Imagine.

On Friday evening, Sept. 14th, 2001 all over this country and in many parts of our world, candles were lit in an outpouring of spirit that sent light forth into the darkness. We can be doing that with our thoughts constantly. Light literally emanates from us when we think upon love and peace and all the positive energies.

So begin today to imagine that you are a bearer and beacon of light. See and feel that light is emanating from the center of your chest, what is metaphysically referred to as your heart center. Imagine it like a gigantic search light, and focus it wherever you choose. (You can do this anywhere, anytime -- walking down the street, sitting on the bus, doing the dishes, making the bed, etc. You don't have to be at a prayer meeting or in meditation.)

Also imagine that the light of compassion is pouring from your eyes everywhere you look and that light flows from your hands healing everything you touch. Imagine your "heart search light" flowing into those who are grieving the loss of loved ones and profoundly comforting them. See it descending upon ground zero, assisting the courageous beings who are working there with such relentless determination. See it blessing and releasing the suffering of those who so abruptly lost their lives. See it bringing hope and new vision to those whose lives have been so drastically shattered. See it filling the hearts and minds of all our world leaders with inspiration and great wisdom at this most critical hour.

Imagine that you are sending forth light to encircle our earth and rain down a soothing balm that, now and forevermore, heals the anger and hatred that source such egregious acts. Imagine.

Imagine that this time we finally wake up; we get it. Imagine that this time we recognize and claim that the love, the beauty, the deep compassionate caring that become our modus operandi in times of great crisis is who we really are. Imagine that this time we shift into that way of being, always.

Imagine that this is the catalyst that transforms the consciousness of the entire planet. "Imagine all the people sharing all the world" in love, harmony and understanding.

Albert Einstein said that imagination is more important than information. Imagine that your mind and heart and every fiber of your being is a healing instrument. It is when you say so. Be the Light. Imagine.

Whenever in doubt, Come Home to you Heart
Elizabeth Hepburn

See this article published here -

Monday, October 09, 2006

Thank You Deepak and Hilda

"Thank You Deepak and Hilda"

Dr. Deepak Chopra is one of my heroes. With his medical education and practice based firmly in the West and his deeply spiritual insights rooted in Eastern philosophies, his mark on alternative/complementary medicine has been stunning. Through his "Quantum Healing" work, bolstered by the breakthrough science of Quantum Mechanics, he has brought to the masses the same information I received from spiritual teachings thousands of years old. Information that saved my life.

I was sitting on a commercial set waiting for the next shot when another actor sat down and started talking to me about metaphysics. I was completely enthralled. At the end of the day he encouraged me to attend Hilda Charleton's meditation class which was held every Thursday evening at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. That very week, I walked into this exquisite edifice and felt immediately that I was going to find joy here. I felt a sigh of relief flow through my entire system, as if I'd finally "come home."

After one year of being with the extraordinary Hilda, receiving the teachings and the glorious energy she lavished upon everyone she encountered, I removed myself from a chemotherapy program I'd been on for three years. I felt strongly that I no longer needed it and assured my fainting doctors I'd come more frequently for check-ups. My intuition was accurate and, thank God, I've been fine ever since.

Hilda's religion was love, and her teachings were grounded in the ancient spiritual concepts of the East. All is Spirit – there is no "matter" – everything in the Universe is energy. Our bodies, as dense as they may seem, are whirling atoms of energy, our cells responding constantly to our thoughts and the feelings engendered by them. Dark, negative thoughts – anger, jealousy, fear, etc. -- impede the natural harmonious flow in our bodies creating a lack of ease – eventually dis-ease. Choosing to hang out with positive thoughts, regardless of the current circumstances, keeps the energy moving. Our state of being is not as dependent on what is happening in our lives, as it is on our perceptions and thoughts and feelings about those happenings. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said: "We are what we think about all day long."

It thrills me that respected members of our scientific community are now giving us the same picture of the Universe as did the ancient spiritual Masters. Everything is energy -- pulsating energy. And it's my experience that our conscious awareness and grateful acknowledgement of this infinite energy, unceasingly moving through our bodies, can save our lives. It did mine. (Thank you, Hilda. Thank you, Dr. Chopra.)

On 60 Minutes, when the wonderful Ed Bradley greeted Dr. Andrew Weill's explanation of the body/mind connection with a skepticism bordering on disdain, I was simultaneously shocked, saddened and filled with gratitude. I realized that I don't believe in the body/mind connection. I know it.

Elizabeth Hepburn