Sally's Guide On The Side Newsletter

May 22, 2009

Volume 1, Issue 2


6650 W. State Street, Suite 227, Wauwatosa, WI 53213

Feature Article: The Bowl Of Light

Table Contents:

A Note from Sally:
The Bowl of Light
Quiz: How Well Do You Communicate?
Monthly Speaking Tip for a Dazzling Presentation
Monthly Recommendations
Comment Corner
Reiki Circles in Milwaukee
About Sally

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A Note from Sally

Welcome to Sally's Guide On The Side specifically designed to help you improve your confidence, self-esteem, and communication skills. Please feel free to forward this issue to friends, family, associates, and loved ones.

Hello Sally,

Thank you for opening this newsletter. You are reading this because our lives have touched. This newsletter gives me the opportunity to now stay in contact and connect with you on the level you choose at least once a month.

When the essay was first published in my book in April 2004, I had only one little grandson on the way. Five years later, I have five healthy little grandsons, and my heart has brought me back to the Midwest. In 2006, the piece was expanded and republished by giving strategies to use the concept of the Bowl of Light to improve your own life. Let your Perfect Light shine. I welcome your feedback.

The Bowl Of Light

I am going to be a first-time grandmother in August. I'm ecstatic about having my first grandchild. One of the first things I will share with my grandson or granddaughter is the "Bowl of Light" story that I learned when I was an alakai, advanced student of Ho'o pono Pono in Hawaii. My kumu, teacher, said Pail Jae Lee and Koko Willis's book Tales from the Night Rainbow is an excellent authentic source for this story and so many others.

In ancient times, in Hawaii and throughout the world, each child born was said to have a Bowl of Perfect Light. If the child was taught to respect and love his or her light, the child would grow in strength and health and could swim with the sharks, fly with the birds, and know and understand all things.

If, however, the child got into pilikia, trouble, with thoughts of fear, worry, doubt, judgment, anger, resentment, envy, or jealousy, he or she would drop a stone in the Bowl of Light, and then some of the light would go out because light and stone cannot occupy the same space.

If the child continued to get stones in the bowl, the light would eventually go out, and the child would become a stone. Just like a stone, the child would no longer grow, nor was he or she capable of movement. However, as soon as the child tired of being a stone, all that was needed was to do kalana, forgive this aspect of himself or herself, and turn the bowl upside down to let the stones fall out. All the light could then shine again and grow even brighter than before.

This was the way the ancient Hawaiian kupuna, grandparents and elders, took care of their mo'opuna, grandchildren. They would give them a bowl each morning, and at the end of the day they would call their grandchildren to their sides and look at how many stones were in their bowls. If it had been a good day, just one or two stones in a bowl, the child was told to simply turn the bowl over. Yet if the bowl was filled with stones, then in addition to turning the bowl over, the child would be told to go into the ocean and wash away all thoughts from the day.

You can apply some strategies from the Bowl of Light concept in order to improve your own life. First, select a bowl-wooden, ceramic, or any vessel that is pleasing to your eye and that will represent your Perfect Light. Next, choose some stones from a store or the beach, or perhaps some rocks from nature. These will represent the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors you know are negative. Then experiment for one day: live in the moment, and become conscious of your thoughts, feelings, and communication with your friends, family, coworkers, customers, and so forth.

For example, if you encounter an aggressive driver on your daily commute, do you take a deep breath and relax, or do you become angry and resentful? If you experience less than satisfactory customer service in a busy store, do you find yourself silently judging or criticizing, or do you remain calm and not become upset?

If you're not physically able to place a stone or rock in the bowl, you can imagine yourself placing a stone into your bowl as you observe yourself during the day. Finally, at the end of the day, you might arrange to give yourself a quiet, private time to go over each of the stones or rocks you have physically or mentally placed in your bowl.

As you caress or touch each stone, reflect on the significance of each of the stones and physically wash them in water to symbolically cleanse them. Ask yourself the following questions: Did that thought deserve a stone? Am I worried, doubtful, jealous, judgmental, fearful, envious, resentful, or angry about that situation? How might I see it differently and choose a better response the next time I'm experiencing something similar?

Now you can forgive the individuals who hurt your feelings and then forgive yourself for your reaction. Last, dump the bowl over, and let the stones pour out. If you find that one-day experience was beneficial, notice and observe how your reactions and behaviors change after using the bowl and stones for 30 days. You might even choose to log or journal each day and celebrate your little victories as you master and let go and surrender to seeing or hearing differently a situation that in the past would have given you a stone in your bowl.

Another suggestion is to create a chart that records how many stones you had each day. Celebrate when you find five stones or less to empty from your bowl at the end of the day. You might even find yourself singing the African American spiritual "This Little Light of Mine," as I do when I want to feel empowered. I'm looking forward to teaching my grandchildren that song, in the same way the ancient Hawaiians left spoken legacies for their descendants.

I will tell my beloved grandchild this: many days I find I need to change, to make a better choice in the moment, so I pick up my bowl, turn it upside down, and let the stones roll out. I start over again so the Perfect Light I am can shine even brighter.

© 2006 Sally K. O'Brien, 101 Great Ways To Improve Your Life, Vol. 2, pp. 258-260

Quiz: How Well Do You Communicate?

Nearly every contact we make involves communication skills. Speaking and listening, our attitude, speech patterns, the words we use, the tone of our voice, our body language and sometimes even the silences all play a part in how successful our communications are. To find out how well you communicate, answer each statement true or false.

T/F 1. I use I/my statements and take responsibility for what I say.
T/F 2. I speak specifically and personally, instead of generally and abstractly.
T/F 3. I keep my message and my language simple. I get to the point and don't try to confound people or impress them with verbal gymnastics.
T/F 4. I hesitate before I speak or respond, giving myself a pause to be sure I want to speak and am clear on what I want to say. If I need to, I check my motives before I say anything.
T/F 5. My body language corresponds with my verbal language and my tone. I check my tone (especially in written communication) to be sure it corresponds with my message.
T/F 6. I listen to the other person and don't respond until they have completed their thought. I don't try to formulate my answer while they're still speaking.
T/F 7. I don't have to fill every pause. I understand silence can sometimes play an important part in communication.
T/F 8. If I'm not sure what I want to communicate, I check it out with someone I trust. If I need to, I practice before I say it to the person.
T/F 9. I don't hold back when I need to say something. I say what I need to say in a timely manner. If I know what I need to say might cause tension, I ask for time to talk instead of interrupting or choosing a time when the other person is distracted or there isn't enough time to explore the subject.
T/F 10. I don't make nice or gloss things over, or say something isn't important when it is or that it doesn't matter when it does. I mean what I say and say what I mean.
T/F 11. I understand communication is two-way. I don't just have my say and not listen to the other person's response, or ask if they want to respond.
T/F 12. When I don't understand what someone has said, I ask for clarity.
T/F 13. I don't assume anyone else knows what I'm thinking or feeling unless I tell them.
T/F 14. I don't yell, threaten, bully, or verbally abuse anybody.
T/F 15. When I say something not of line or something for which I am sorry, I try to correct my misstatement and make amends or apologies where necessary.

Scoring: Give yourself one point for every True response.
13-15 Congratulations. You've got good communication skills and you use them.
9-11 Though you may understand good communication skills, you need some practice.
8 You would benefit from some training and education in communication skills and techniques.

Author's content used under license, © 2008 Claire Communications

Monthly Speaking Tip for a Dazzling Presentation

Delivery Silently say while you wait to speak: "I'm glad I'm here. I'm glad you're here. I care about you. I know I know." This mantra projects joy, enthusiasm, sincerity, and authority.

© 2005 Sally O'Brien
Original text appeared as monthly column in Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce Newsletter 1995-1996.

Monthly Recommendations:

Quote to Remember:"Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs are people who have come alive."-- Howard Washington Thurman

The Secret Code of Success: 7 Hidden Steps to More Wealth and Happiness
by Noah St. John

In February 2009. I participated each Thursday in the world's four module first bookinar with Noah St. John and Alex Mandossian. I was totally engaged in the process of going through the seven steps to the secret code of success. during the weekly calls. The seven steps which are explained in the 243 pages chapter by chapter are the following: Afformations, Loving Mirrors and Safe Havens, Systems of Support, Goal-Free Zones and Goal Replacement Surgery, Who are you trying to protect, punish, please?, Find your No, and Find Your Because.

I was struck by Afformations instead of doing affirmations for all seven steps. Afformations are empowering questions. First, you ask yourself what you want. Second, you form a question that assumes that what you want is already true. Third, you let your mind search for the answer. And finally, you take new actions based on your new assumptions about life.

For example, instead of saying I am rich; I am rich; I am rich, which our subconscious mind rejects, the top 10 Afformations for Step 1 are: 1. Why am I so rich? 2. Why am I so happy? 3. Why am I enough? 4. Why am I good enough? 5. Why do I have what it takes to succeed? 6. Why do I have the courage to do what I love? 7. Why does opportunity come to me so easily now? 8. Why do I enjoy so much success? 9. Why do I have more than enough money in my business? 10. Why does having what I want help others get what they want?

This is definitely one you will want to read and add to your library. On a scale of 1-10, I give it a 10.

Next month I will review The First 30 Days: Your Guide to Making Any Change Easier by Ariane De Bonvoisin

Comment Corner:

Response to At What Stage Are You? in April 17, 2009, first issue

Dear Sally,

Thank you for the newsletter. One line in particular got my attention: Or are you withdrawn, alone, sealing yourself off from the world, a victim of pain either emotional or physical, wrapping yourself into a cocoon.

I do withdraw and cocoon myself on a regular basis, but not due to emotional or physical pain. It is so I can focus inward, reflect and rejuvenate myself; take care of myself in all the ways I need to. I thought I would share my perspective because I do believe that pain is not the only reason to withdraw, sometimes. It's just about "chilling out", about reconnecting with yourself. And as an empath and people person, I do need to call time out occasionally to take a breath as it were ;-).

The other aspect that leapt out at me is about having trust and faith that what we want to happen will happen in perfect timing, and know it will. All my life, I've believed that the Universe will send me the people I need, point me to the path I need to follow (and the times I've resisted, I've been sent down it kicking and screaming only to realize later how perfect suited to me it was ;-), locate me in the places I need to be. So, for the most part, I've "gone with the flow" as they would say. Setbacks were just opportunities to explore what else was out there.

So, when you ask us to consider what stage we're at, for the time in my life, I don't know. Not because I don't know what I want, but because it feels like I've been given the opportunity to choose whatever I want and wherever I want to go and since there are so many directions and paths I could choose from, I can't decide ;). So I guess you could say that I'm peeking out of the cocoon, shaking out my wings, sniffing the wind, but I haven't decided which way to soar. And I say soar, because I'm looking forward to flying as high as an eagle in the times to come. For now, as you say, I wait, I watch, I prepare.

Love and light to you,

Vidya Ananthanarayanan

Please share your comments about topics in the newsletters, and see them published here next month. To be printed, you must provide your full name and address and contact information just like the editorial requirements in newspapers and magazines. I look forward to your feedback and suggestions for improvement. My email address is

Reiki Circles in Milwaukee, June 13, 2009

Wondrous would be the one word I'd choose or phenomenal for the first Reiki Circles in Milwaukee on Saturday, May 2, 2009. We had 13 Reiki Masters/ Reiki Practitioners present. Two families participated, and we also did 15 minutes of distant healing for four families.

As co-founder of Reiki Circles in Milwaukee, I'm very excited to join with other Reiki Masters and practitioners to offer free of charge Reiki energy healing for all special needs children and their families beginning at 10 a.m. at 2534 S. Kinnickinnic Avenue in Milwaukee the second Saturday of the month. Please contact me at 414-257-1931 for more information or distant healing even though you are not presently living in the Milwaukee area. Reiki is not limited to time or space.

On the Friday evening before the monthly event, I co-host a one hour teleseminar for all Reiki energy healers, who will be sending Reiki energy healing energy in person or at a distance. During the call we set the intention for the healing for all that participate in the Saturday Reiki Circles. The teleseminar will be at 6 p.m. PST, 7 p.m. MST, 8 p.m. CST, and 9 p.m. EST. Email me at to get the call in number and access code to join us on the call.

Confident Power, Presence & Presentation™

Confidence Coaching From The Inside Out

About Sally: Sally K. O'Brien is a certified confidence coach, life coach, professional speaker, and author of Love Offerings to the Universe and a contributing author to 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life, Vol. 2. Sally combines her 35 years as a communication skills expert, 13 years Reiki energy healing, and 20 years as a professional speaker to help her clients move through the life challenges and transitions with ease and joy. She helps them identify a life plan that is aligned to a soul level and practical in leading a purpose driven life. To contact Sally, go to

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