Learning to Take Conscious Footsteps By Honora Finkelstein (This article was originally published in the “Network of Light News” column in the September 2010 edition of Pathways Magazine, published in Washington, D.C.) Upon being asked how to get to Mount Olympus, the Greek philosopher Socrates is supposed to have said, "Be sure every step you take is in that direction." Conscious Footsteps: Finding Spirit in Everyday Matters is a modern-day equivalent to Socrates' answer. Out in the fall of 2010 from astrologer Dianne Eppler Adams, it's a "must read" book for anyone wanting to know how to maintain a spiritual consciousness while making one's way through ordinary or even difficult times. Adams, whose astrology newsletter "Spirit in Matters" is published monthly online on the New Moon, offers insights in her new book for learning how to live in touch with spirit in every moment of one's life, no matter how mundane, stressful, or perilous each moment might seem. Adams' point of view is that we live in an interconnected universe, in which all of life is One, interdependent, and sacred. From this perspective, all relationships, whether personal, national, global, or with the earth itself and its plant, animal, and mineral kingdoms, are of equal worth and should be approached, according to Adams, with "fairness, respect, honesty, and compassion." Further, if all of life is a single, unified whole, and if it is all sacred and a part of the Divine, then some central questions one must ask are, "What are my experiences—even the unpleasant ones—teaching me about me?" and "How would my life be different if I recognized that I am not separate from but am and always have been a part of God?" Calling herself a "pragmatic mystic," Adams' commitment is to bring her readers to an understanding that life's beauty can shine through every moment when one learns to cultivate this awareness of connection to one's Divine Source and make choices in alignment with that enlightened awareness. To assist in this process, she offers wise insights from philosophers, saints, sages, and masters of all ages as adjuncts to each idea she presents. Thus, the reader can see that the process of bringing spirit into personal daily experiences has been going on throughout history and was the real vocation of all of humanity's wisdom teachers. The first grouping of conscious footsteps Adams explores involves how to cultivate an awareness of spirit in one's life, from going within, learning to live from the inside out, being aware of every "present moment," acknowledging wisdom wherever one finds it, and becoming free through letting go of the need to control life's circumstances. Next comes expanding one's self-awareness, a section that really helps with the universal problem humans have of getting beyond our unconscious programming and learning self-acceptance. As many spiritual programs teach, including The Course in Miracles, there are only two emotions—love and fear. Coming from unconditional love, the only true force for healing, becomes possible when one includes oneself in the unconditional acceptance. The next step in Adams' approach involves an examination of relationships. And the truth is, human beings can only operate in relationship to other people or things—i.e., our friends, families, jobs, bills, laundry, etc., are all people or things with which we have relationships. And in addition to looking at our interpersonal relationships and what we can learn from them on a day-to-day basis, Adams asks her readers to rethink some of the ideas that underlie our social interactions, such as the roles of competition versus collaboration, and what the world might be like if we truly embraced unanimity, which she defines as a recognition that we are all really "one soul." As many other voices in our society call for change in our financial, social, and political systems and institutions, it is important to recognize that without darkness, we could never understand the light. And rebirth of a new way of being cannot occur without experiencing the demise of the old. Acknowledging that humanity is in a period of major change, Adams offers useful techniques for navigating through stressful times by learning to "surf the waves of change." Then, as collaborators in bringing about a better world and reality for ourselves and others, we can learn from Adams'  insights for living with vision, through gratitude, positive intention, optimism, determination, passion, and service. Keeping these positive attributes in mind will most assuredly bring about changed attitudes and are the surest way to manifest new realities in both our personal and the collective environment. As an astrologer, Adams observes that the dwarf planet Pluto, which rules mass consciousness, moved into the sign of Capricorn in 2008 and will remain there until 2024. According to Adams, "Capricorn rules large institutions such as government, corporations, and banks; buildings and infrastructure; and our drive toward success on the one hand and our pessimism and fear of scarcity on the other." During this 16-year period, collective humanity will have an opportunity to reform world governments, transform corporations, alter the banking and monetary systems, and change religious institutions and their approaches. Adams offers suggestions as to how the individual may use vision and intention to help the coming reformation be positive for self and others. And what of December 21, 2012? Will it bring an ending, or possibly a new beginning? Adams offers her readers a few pertinent questions they can answer for themselves as a way of preparing for the breakdowns and breakthroughs they may encounter in the times that lie ahead. And her appendix explores a number of ideas that may assist readers who want to use astrology as a tool in learning to cope with change. Conscious Footsteps is available on Adams’ website, SpiritinMatters.com, or at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, or Borders.com, and can be ordered through most bookstores. For more information, please contact Adams at Dianne@SpiritinMatters.com.