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Monthly Archives: February 2016

Egypt: the sacred and the profane

By the time you are reading this, we’ll be on the plane coming home from Egypt. It’s been such a tremendous 2 weeks and as I was thinking about it, it’s been such a study of the spiritual and the sacred, but we’ve also had so much fun doing everything.
We’ve all felt so safe and so welcomed, that part is the best. The Egyptians love Americans and everyone in the group was happily surprised at how warm and friendly everyone has been.
AbydosWe’ve seen the pyramids and the Sphinx and the amazing temples — Karnak, Luxor, Abydos, Isis Temple at Philae, Hathor Temple, Hatsepshut’s Temple, Abu Simbel. We also visited the Serrapium, the underground burial place of the sacred apis bulls. Here’s one of my favorite pictures that I took in the Temple of Abydos. The love between the Goddess Isis and her son Horus is so obvious from this carving and, of course, it’s these spiritual moments that are at the heart of the trip.
But we do all this other stuff that’s so much fun.
 
 
 
 
 
Galabaya Night_1On our Nile Cruise ship we have a “Galabaya Night” where we all dress up in Egyptian galabayas. This is me with our fantastic guide Raafat (on the right) and Mohammed Fayed, the owner of Guardian Travel on the left. One of the women in our group actually won the belly dancing contest!
Everyone agrees that, as always, Guardian Travel has been so amazing in taking care of us and making sure that every single detail of the trip has been incredible. Planes, buses, taxis, hotels, food, everything has been fantastic.
 
 
 
 
 
Woman With RugsThe shopping, as always, was incredible. We went to a rug making factory in Sakkara to see how they do this ancient art and many of us bought beautiful rugs of silk or wool. Here’s the other Debra in the group with some of these beautiful carpets. I told myself I wasn’t going to get another one, but I simply couldn’t resist!
 
 
 
HotAirBallonOne of the special treats was going on a hot air balloon ride over the Valley of the Kings at sunrise. I took this photo and didn’t realize that in the picture, the light from the sun looks like a balloon. It was such a perfect day, complete with a perfect landing.
 
 
 
PapyrusWe went to the Papyrus Institute in Luxor which is so fascinating. The ancient Egyptians invented the first paper and to see how they did it is so interesting.
The artwork on the papyrus is so beautiful. Scenes from the tombs, the Flower of Life, the Tree of Life and the Last Judgement are some of the most popular artwork. On the left of this photo, you can see the beautiful astrological calendar from the Hathor Temple at Dendara.
 
 
 
 
 
 
CamelsAnd of course, we rode camels to the Great Pyramid. Even after all these years, it gives me a thrill every time we come over the hill and there they are. It’s so staggeringly beautiful.
 
 
 
 
Group ShotHere’s a picture of some of the group in front of the pyramids.
All of the other elements have been perfect. The food is fantastic and I’m realizing I’m surprised I don’t have any pictures of us eating, since we were eating so much (I especially loved the waffles on our 5 day Nile cruise!). The weather has been extraordinary, warm and sunny and not too hot.
 
After I finish writing this I’ll be preparing for our 2 hours of private time just for our group inside the Great Pyramid. To be able to come here and do ceremony in this sacred place still makes me feel very humble and very grateful.
Thanks for letting me share this special journey with you. We’ll be going again same time next year (last 2 weeks of February) and I’d love to have you join me.
Wishing you a week filled with adventure,
Debra

Debra Stangl / Founder

Sedona Soul Adventures – Transforming Lives One Soul At A Time
(877) 204-3664
http://SedonaSoulAdventures.com

Kissing the Sphinx

We’re here in Egypt on our annual pilgrimage. It’s been so wonderful already.
First of all, I want to say we are completely safe and we all feel completely safe. The Egyptians love Americans and they love seeing us because tourism has declined so much and we are definitely contributing to the Egyptian economy! Whenever they ask where we’re from and we say “America”, they say “we love Americans!”.
So far we have:
DebraKissingSphinxTutMask• Ridden camels to the Great Pyramid and then explored this amazing place
• Experienced the Valley Temple which is next to the Sphinx
• Seen the majestic Sphinx – how do you like the kissing?
• Went to an Egyptian oils shop and purchased some really exotic oils.
• We spent most of the day the next day exploring the Egyptian Museum where the wonders of King Tut are displayed. Seeing all the gold and all the jewelry and all the things he was buried with is so incredible. And then the rest of the Museum is jam packed with so many mummies (including mummies of cats and dogs and crocodiles!), sarcophagi, statues, etc., etc., it’s impossible to take it all in.
• Then on to the Khan el Khalili bazaar which has been part of Cairo for over 1000 years!
• We ate at a fantastic restaurant in the bazaar with wonderful falafel and koushari, an interesting Egyptian dish with noodles, fava beans, tomatoes, onions, lots of spices – yum!
Debra_Camel_New• Today we were in Sakkara, the home of the Steppe Pyramid. This is a picture of me in front of the Steppe Pyramid from last year – I love that camel!
• Then in Sakkara, we saw the Serrapium which is such a unique place. The ancient Egyptians worshipped the apis bull, huge animals which were considered sacred and which were mummified when they died. They were then placed in huge sarcophagi after the mummification. This place is underground and the energy is amazing. We did a wonderful ceremony here.
• Then it was off to the carpet store to see the amazing work that the Egyptians do in making silk carpets (as well as wool and cotton). I promised myself I wasn’t going to buy another rug, but I couldn’t resist!
Tomorrow we’ll visit the Mosque of Mohammed Ali, a Christian church and the oldest synagogue in Cairo. It’s so wonderful how the different faiths are represented within blocks of each other.
Then we’ll fly to Luxor tomorrow night to experience Karnak, the Luxor Temple and the Temple of Abydos. Next, we’ll board our cruise ship for our 5 day cruise down the Nile, stopping at temples along the way. More on all of that next week.
The best part is we’re having so much fun! Our guide Raafat is so knowledgeable and so entertaining, traveling with other like minded seekers is so inspiring, the food is great, the weather is perfect — Life doesn’t get much better than this.
Even though this is my 16th trip to Egypt (!), it’s always new. And amazingly, I always learn things I didn’t know before. But the most incredible part every time is being in the energy of this amazing place — and being able to share it with other like-minded people.
If Egypt is on your bucket list, think about joining us next year. We always go at the same time — the last 2 weeks in February, because the weather is so perfect. Everyone who is here is so happy they made the decision to come.
Sending you lots of love from Egypt,
Debra

Debra Stangl / Founder

Sedona Soul Adventures – Transforming Lives One Soul At A Time
(877) 204-3664
http://SedonaSoulAdventures.com

Divorce Attorney's Relationship Checklist for Valentine's Day

RedHeartMany of you know that I was a divorce attorney for 20 years in Omaha. Then I came to Sedona in 1999, closed my law practice 6 months later and started Sedona Soul Adventures in 2001. Since then, our Couples Retreats have saved so many marriages (and spiced up so many more!). Isn’t it funny how that instant karma has worked out? I spent 20 years divorcing people, now I’ve spent 14 years helping them stay together!
After so many years of working with couples who were either divorcing, on the verge of divorce, or just trying to be more connected (and everything in between), I’ve seen the same patterns over and over again and they aren’t necessarily the things that books and magazines talk about. I’ve put together a Relationship Checklist for you as a Valentine’s Day gift. These are what I see as the most insidious things that cause the biggest problems (and issues that lead to problems) in a relationship. Some of them might not be the usual things that you think of. Take a look at yourself and at yourself within your relationship as you go through the checklist.
Do you respect each other?
Do you respect your partner and does he or she respect you? There’s a big difference between feeling a crazy kind of love for someone and deeply respecting them. I’ve seen so many couples who have a passionate love for each other, but when it comes right down to it, they don’t respect each other. Do you respect your partner? Do you feel respected by your partner? If you don’t, the relationship is on its way to being over.
If you have a healthy respect for each other, you give each other the benefit of the doubt even when things get tough. You’re quicker to forgive those little transgressions, knowing that you basically hold your partner in high esteem.
Do you like each other?
This may seem almost the same as respect, but it isn’t. You can like someone and not respect them because you don’t think they’re a good person. You can also respect someone because they hold high values, but you don’t like them.
Do you actually like your partner? Do you think they’re a good person, do you enjoy hanging out with them? Last year I spoke with a man who told me he was completely, totally surprised when his wife told him she wanted a divorce, he couldn’t believe it. Later, I found out they weren’t going on vacations together because it was too unpleasant. If you can’t even go on vacation together and have a good time, something is wrong! If you don’t like your partner, you’ve got a problem. If the thought of being with them when you’re 80 makes you wince, that’s telling you something.
If you genuinely like your partner and like spending time with them, you have a much greater chance that you are going to make it through the long haul and through difficult times and spend the rest of your lives together.
Do you play fair?
The way that you disagree with each other says so much about your relationship. Some psychologists believe they can predict the success or failure of a relationship simply by watching a couple have an argument about something.
When you disagree, do you stick to the subject you are disagreeing about, or do you bring up stuff that has nothing to do with what you’re arguing about? Do you find yourself using phrases like “you always do this…” or “you never do this”. Fighting about something other than the current issue is not fighting fair and leads to huge build ups of resentment. Resentment is poison to a relationship.
You can disagree and have an argument and still come from the basic love that you have for each other. Being respectful while you disagree, really listening and trying to understand the other person’s perspective and sticking to the subject at hand can actually bring you closer together as a couple.
Can you really talk to each other?
Does your partner “get” you? Can you talk to them about pretty much anything and have it be okay? Do they know all the little weirdnesses about you and love you all the same? Or do you hide things from them? Do you tell them how you truly feel? I spoke with a man a year ago who told me his 30 year marriage had come down to “I go along to get along”. He wanted to do a Couples Retreat, but his wife didn’t want to. I spoke with him again a few weeks ago and things are worse (things like this never get better unless they are dealt with). When your partner feels like they have to hide how they’re feeling and can’t be honest with you, they start to shut down emotionally. That’s when the love starts to stop.
When you know you are safe with your partner, that they will love you no matter what, love continues to grow and thrive.
Are financial issues a problem?
Financial issues show up in a number of ways — from there not being enough money, to one person being a spender and one person being a saver, to disagreements about how money should be spent. In this modern age, we also see a lot of situations where there is an imbalance, especially where the woman makes more than the man.
Money issues are a hot button for many people, and usually have a deep connection back to childhood. Money issues bring up all the different things we’ve already talked about — not communicating, not fighting fair, not liking the other person because they’re a miser (or a spendthrift), not respecting the other person because they’re not responsible with money, etc., etc. Money is usually just the tip of the iceberg of deeper problems below the surface.
When money isn’t an issue in your marriage, you’re free to bring in all kinds of abundance in your lives, not just financially but emotionally and spiritually as well. It indicates that everything is flowing as it should be.
Do you have each other’s back?
I attended a couples workshop in Sedona in 1999 and during a very emotional part of the workshop one of the men said to his wife, “I’ve got your back”. Later, we broke up into our male and female groups and as we women gathered, a number of us remarked at how much that had touched us. About half of us said (through tears) that we had never felt that way in our relationship.
It can be a tough world out there and knowing that there’s at least one person who has your back is an incredible and amazing gift. And I will tell you after all these years of working with couples, it’s something that I don’t see very often. There isn’t that deep level of trust of knowing that your partner will be there for you no matter what.
This trust, this knowing, seems to me to be the secret sauce of healthy relationships — really knowing that your partner will be with you through thick and thin. For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death parts you. It’s like a rare, exotic flower that must be cultivated and cared for.
My prayer for you is that all of your answers to the above questions were the “right” answers. That you have fabulous communication, you can be completely honest with each other, and there are no hidden agendas or resentments. If that’s not the case, I would urge you to do something about it and do it now. My experience is that these things only get worse over time. Once the milk starts to curdle there’s no turning back. It just smells worse and worse until you finally have to throw it out. And throwing it out is such a painful thing to do, when it’s your relationship that’s being thrown out.
We had a couple here awhile ago and he told me at the end of their Couples Retreat, that he thought it was hopeless and that he had already planned on filing for divorce when they returned home from Sedona. He had even hired the attorney, because he thought there was no way the marriage could be fixed. They came here for 4 days and their marriage was completely renewed. They both saw that at their core, they truly loved each other and they were focusing on all the wrong things. The marriage was completely saved and they came back 6 months later to spice it up even more. When you’ve got the love and the trust and the spice, you’ve got it all!
Even if all your answers feel like the “wrong” answers, they’re not! This is valuable information that is showing you where you need to put your attention. I want to tell you there is hope! We see it all the time. Come to Sedona and do a Couples Retreat. One of our Angel Guides will speak with each of you separately, really getting at what’s going on, what are the issues and what do both of you want? Then they’ll put together the perfect retreat that’s right for the two of you. Because each retreat is completely customized and because the sessions are all completely private (not in groups), you’ll get exactly what you need. It will bring you back into the love and trust and connection you’re craving.
Click here and one of our Angel Guides will call you. Or if you’d prefer, call us toll free at 1-877-204-3664 (US and Canada). For our friends outside the US and Canada call 01 928-204-5988 or click here and one of our Angel Guides will call you.
Wishing you a week filled with hearts and flowers,
Debra

Debra Stangl / Founder

Sedona Soul Adventures – Transforming Lives One Soul At A Time
(877) 204-3664
http://SedonaSoulAdventures.com

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Jim and Kate say “Sedona Soul Adventures completely surpassed our expectations and has changed our lives, forever!”
“Sedona Soul Adventures completely surpassed our expectations and has changed our lives, forever! If you had told me that the connection between my partner and myself could be this deep and spiritual, I would have said it couldn’t be done. The depth of our relationship is far beyond anything we expected. We also have the skills to keep that bond, and keep working on our individual journeys.”

Jim Spangler and Kate Wilford

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CouplesRetreats-CoverNoShadowDownload a free copy of our “Sedona Guide to Couples Retreats”
Would you like more information on our Couples Retreats? Our free guide shows you how a private couples retreat in Sedona that is completely customized for you can transform your relationship in just 4 days. Discover the most powerful way to create the relationship you’ve always dreamed of and a deeper soul connection with your beloved. Click here
 
 
 

Pyramids and Pharaohs in New York – living a Spirit-Centered life

I leave on Thursday for my annual Egypt trip – yikes! And the excitement has begun (isn’t it great that so much of the fun of a trip is the anticipation of it?)
I told you last week that every year I go to New York for a few extra days before the Egypt trip. I have rituals that I do each year:

  • I go to the Butterfly Exhibit at the Museum of Natural History
  • I go to a Broadway show (this year I’m seeing “Hamilton” – tickets are hard to come by, I’m so excited!)
  • I have a glass of champagne at the bar at the Waldorf Astoria
  • I go shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue

Having indulged in these earthly delights, I’m now ready for the most wonderful thing I do which is to go to the Egyptian Wing at the Metropolitan Museum. I went there for the first time in 1984 and even after all these years it’s thrilling.
Egypt_ExhibitThe Wing is comprised of 39 rooms on the first floor of the Met, with all of the treasures arranged in chronological order. This is the Temple of Dendur, a temple dedicated to the goddess Isis, which was given to the United States by the government of Egypt in recognition of the help the US gave in saving the Temple of Abu Simbel. The energy in this part of the Museum is electric, at least for me. Even though I’ve seen everything so many times, it seems like I find something new every time I go there or have some type of aha moment.
What I love most about this incredible collection is that it conveys the essence of ancient Egyptian life, which is that everything revolved around their connection with their spirituality.
For the ancient Egyptians, every part of life was a preparation for the afterlife. Every decision, every life choice, all aspects of their lives were lived with that focus.
This meant living your life in a way that would make it possible for you to go to what we call Heaven after your death. That meant being an honorable and good person and living your life in spiritual connection.
LastJudgementThe ancient Egyptians believed that at the time of your death your heart would be weighed against a feather. This papyrus is a depiction of the Last Judgment. You see this scene all over Egypt in carvings and temples and papyrus.
If your heart was lighter than the feather (meaning you had lived a good life and weren’t weighted down by evil), you would enter into Paradise and live out eternity with the Gods and Goddesses. However, if your heart was heavier than the feather, that meant you had not lived a good and honorable life and your soul would be devoured by the jackals. In the scene above, you can see that the person’s heart was lighter than the feather (whew!) and to the right, you can see Thoth, the god of writing and knowledge, noting this in what we would call the Akashic Records.
So if you died tomorrow and the Egyptians are right about the Last Judgment, what would happen with you? Would your heart be lighter than a feather? Would you be able to pass and party on with the Gods and Goddesses into eternity?
What if you lived your life with the idea that there is a higher purpose for your life? A greater knowing? A higher way to be?
We spend so much time focused on the day to day-ness of our lives. Doing our email, going to work, dealing with the kids, dealing with our partners, children, bosses, employees, doing housework, trying to do something fun on the week-ends, getting the car washed, cooking, cleaning, it doesn’t leave much time for anything else. It certainly doesn’t leave much time for connecting in with the highest part of ourselves and accessing the Divine.
Would your life be different if you put just a little bit of focus on your life as a spiritual person? I think it would. It’s amazing what happens when you come from that perspective even just a little bit.
You’re calmer.
You’re more relaxed.
You don’t worry as much.
You start to have an innate knowing that everything will work out.
Can you imagine having your life be calmer, more relaxed, with less worry and this basic trust that everything will be okay? It’s almost mind blowing to even think of living a life like that because almost no one does it.
We had a woman come here about a month ago to do a Sedona Soul Adventure. She has a demanding job and two demanding teenagers and a demanding husband. This was the first time she had ever done anything for herself in her entire life. Although she wanted to do a four day Soul Adventure, the most she was able to squeeze out from her busy life was three days and we told her that would be enough. When I went into the office to greet her during her Orientation, she got 3 phone calls in 15 minutes. One from her job, one from one of her children and one from her husband. This was a Friday and she was going to be here Friday, Saturday and Sunday and return home on Monday. To each of them she said something close to, “I love you, but you’re going to have to figure this out, I can’t do anything about it from here”. She got off the third phone call and started crying and saying “this is my life. This is why I don’t have any peace. I’m so afraid I’m going to go home and everything will be exactly the same and nothing will have changed. My nerves are shot, I can’t take this anymore, I’m just ready to run away.”
I invited her to take a deep breath and to stop focusing on what would happen when she got home. To just focus on how wonderful the next three days would be. Secretly, I shared her concern because I know what it’s like to have so many demands placed on you and to have people that you love and care about and a job that you care about pulling at you all the time.
Over the next 3 days, she had the most amazing experience. In her Enneagram session she discovered that she is a Two, a people pleaser who had the distorted belief that she has to do everything for everyone else in order to be loved. She said when she discovered that, it explained everything about how she does her life.  In her Emotional Clearing session, there was this old stuck energy left over from her childhood (where as the oldest girl she had to take care of everybody); the energy was cleared out and she said she felt “20 pounds lighter”.
But her breath session was the most amazing. She felt that she went completely into an altered state and suddenly her mother (who passed away 2 years ago and for whom she was still grieving) came to her in a vision. She said there was this instant feeling of forgiveness from her mother for things she’d been feeling guilty about. And then her mother conveyed to her (without words) that it was most important for her to take care of herself so that she could be there for her family in a balanced way. She “got it”, that she can take care of herself and still be a devoted wife and mother and effective at her job. She said she never felt so much love for herself in her entire life.
She had a delicious massage, did an amazing ceremony out on the Red Rocks and learned a meditation that she could take home and do in only 9 minutes each day. Her final Integration session put it all together and when I spoke with her as she was on the way to the airport she said, “I feel like a new woman. I’m so peaceful and calm and I know I can keep this going”.
She called me this week to say that she is completely amazed at how this has changed her life. She’s been home a month and doing the 9 minute meditation every morning (“I just get up 10 minutes earlier”) and she’s done another breath session since she’s been home. “Things still happen at work and with the kids and my husband, but it’s not driving me crazy anymore. I don’t feel like I have to do everything. It’s the most amazing thing. I just spend a little time each day focused on the spiritual side of my life and it makes all the difference because it affects all the areas of my life all day. My husband can’t believe it!” She said she feels more love for her husband and for her kids (and for herself!) than she ever has.
So without knowing it, she’s “walking like an Egyptian” (remember that old song?). She’s focusing on the spiritual side of her life and it’s making all parts of her life richer and fuller. She’s happier, more peaceful, more content, and her relationship with her husband and her children (and herself) is better. She said she feels like she’s even getting more work done in a faster amount of time! And she probably is. When we’re operating in connection on all the levels — physical, mental, emotional, spiritual — all areas of our lives just function better.
So as I’m walking around the Egyptian wing this Saturday I’ll be smiling and thinking about how wonderful it is when we start to bring a little bit of spiritual focus into our lives.
How about you? Would you like to be happier, more peaceful, more content and improve your relationships? It sounds like a tall order, but that’s exactly what happens when we live our lives in connection. Speak to one of our Angel Guides. They will connect with you and custom design a retreat that will bring you the peace and contentment you’re looking for.
Click here and one of our Angel Guides will call you. Or if you’d prefer, call us toll free at 1-877-204-3664 (US and Canada). For our friends outside the US and Canada call 01 928-204-5988 or click here and one of our Angel Guides will call you.
Wishing you a week filled with your highest dreams,
Debra

Debra Stangl / Founder

Sedona Soul Adventures – Transforming Lives One Soul At A Time
(877) 204-3664
http://SedonaSoulAdventures.com

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Diane says she “never imagined she could be feeling so much lighter, clearer and overflowing with so much peace, joy, love and light”
“This was not only my very first retreat but also the first time going away completely alone. From the beginning of my journey to its completion, I was filled with such support… joy… and love.  All I can say is I never imagined after such a process I would be feeling so much lighter… clearer… and overflowing with so much peace… joy… love and light! What an amazing experience!”

Diane S., Vero Beach, Florida

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The Machu Picchu trip just got better
Debra_JorgeThree new people have joined the Peru trip and they demonstrate one of the reasons why the trip is so wonderful – the amazing people who go. It’s so wonderful to spend 2 weeks not only with our amazing shaman, Jorge Luis Delgado, but also to be with other like minded adventurers who are interesting and fun and spiritually focused.
Last night I met with two of them, a fantastic couple who live in LaJolla, California. They just came here to do a Sedona Soul Adventures retreat and they had an incredible time. Over dinner and a bottle of wine we had the most wonderful conversation about spirituality, living our best lives, creating our own reality and this amazing world we live in.
Last week-end I had the most fun conversation with another woman who’s coming on the trip. We talked especially about the amazing ceremonies that we do on the trip and we had the most wonderful conversation about living a joy filled life.
So these are the kinds of people who come on this trip. Being with these kind of people is not only amazing and rewarding, but typically what we find is that many people form wonderful long-term friendships. I love it that a number of my own friends are people who I first met coming on my trips.
And if you don’t have someone to travel with, that’s not a problem. What always seems to happen on these trips is that we have a few couples but the majority are people traveling as a Single (even if they’re married or in a relationship) because their partner isn’t interested in Peru. And that’s what’s happening with this trip. We have two couples and the rest are Singles. So you’ll have lots of people to hang out with. Plus our groups are all in love with each other after 2 days, it’s so wonderful!

“Our sacred journey to Peru was more than we had hoped for, and was made all the more special by the people – Debra, Jorge Luis, and most importantly, the group of strangers that we met on the first day who became lifelong friends by the end of the two weeks. The trip was incredibly well-run, deeply spiritual and life-changing.”

Clayton Smith, Canada

Join me on this incredible journey!
For all the information on our amazing Day to Day Itinerary Click here
For all the information on pricing Click here
If you have questions, please send them to me directly at
Debra@SedonaSoulAdventures.com
Or call me – 928/301-2896 — I love talking about Peru!
 

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