Author Archives: vivainstitute

What if Thelma and Louise had gotten a flat?

It must be the July heat. Recently, people have written me to say:

I feel so stuck.

My problems feel too big.

I don’t know how to explain it, but right now I just feel so small.

Does it feel like a relief to know that this is common? And that sometimes, it’s really OK to feel sort of blah — maybe even necessary?

VIVA MEME_smudgingUnfortunately, one of the catches of the “new spirituality” is that we’re led to believe that if we do the right thing, life won’t be as hard. The reality is that sometimes, life is just ho-hum and other times, it’s really, really hard. No amount of rationalizing, positive affirmations, meditations, or The Secret-like Post-It note-leaving, “I AM POWERFUL” statements are going to work.

There’s a voice hiding inside you that’s shouting, “Shut it, sister — save your New Age sunshine for someone else!”

During a recent road trip, I imagined what might have happened if Thelma and Louise had gotten a flat. Right at the moment when they were parked on the edge of the cliff, and Thelma looked at Louise with that wild look in her eyes and said:

“Let’s keep going.”

While I love Thelma and Louise, the implicit message is that if we haven’t felt fulfilled as parents or partners or professionals, or if we’ve been broken and stomped on and abused, it might be that the best option is to just hang it up. Seriously?!

Do you know what would have happened if you were Thelma and your BFF/partner/kid was Louise? You would have kept going.

One way or another, you always do. Don’t you? You stomp it out, cry it out, and remind yourself that eventually, things will get better. Then you wake up, put one foot in front of the other, and you keep on going. You find your way back to who you are with renewed perspective, a sack full of silver linings, and when you’re ready — maybe even some fresh inspiration.

You are not apart; you are a PART.

There is no hole; you are WHOLE.

Keep going, Bright One. You are mightier than you know.


Looking for inspiration?

VivaRadio_LGListen to Viva Institute’s live interview with inspirational speaker and author Kirk Nugent next week on Thursday, August 7 at 8 pm EST. I’ll be talking to him live on VIVA Radio — call-in information coming up next week.

For some rut-shaking FUN, join Viva Institute’s 3-week e-course, Flight School: Mediumship for Modern Mystics. Class begins August 11. Register now.

VivaLogoBlueLGTo reboot your spirit through plant-based foods, sign up for 30 Days Raw: Viva Institute’s Online Raw Food Course. Class begins August 25, go raw September 1. Register now.

Need more?

Leigh Hopkins is the Director of Viva Institute.

22 Signs You’re a Modern Mystic

Are you a Modern Mystic? If you can relate to more than half of the characteristics on this list, there’s a good chance that you are.

    1. You see messages in everything.
    2. You discover that serendipity and ‘coincidence’ are everyday occurrences.
    3. Before making an important financial decision, you talk to your accountant, your retirement planner, and your spirit guides.
    4. When faced with an obstacle, you ask yourself “What is the true meaning of this situation?” You judge it as neither good nor bad, and actively look for the big picture lesson within the experience.
    5. You order palo santo wood in bulk.
    6. You actively seek time in nature so that you can converse with the plants, trees, and animals.
    7. You set stones and crystals in the window during a full moon, carry sage spray in your purse, and a pendulum in your wallet.
    8. You have no enemies, only teachers.
    9. You live with your feet on the earth and your head in the heavens.
    10. You stop someone from speaking so that you can listen to the voices in your head.
    11. When a 4-year-old tells you, “In my last life, I was a doctor,” you answer: “Would you mind having a look at this lump?”
    12. You understand that choosing kindness and compassion can often be both the most difficult AND the easiest choice in every situation.
    13. You never again wonder “if something is wrong with you” because of how you experience life. You know. You remember.
    14. You know that the answer is in the question.
    15. You understand Divine Order — that whatever happens, all will be well.
    16. You know that there are no right answers.
    17. You have inner peace, or quickly return to a place of inner peace, because you know down to your core that this life is only one dimension of reality.
    18. You know that there is so much more to you than your physical body, or this reality.
    19. You have moments where you see beauty in everything and everyone, and those moments begin to fill more and more of your time here on earth.
    20. You know that there is life before and after this one.
    21. You embrace your Past and plan for the Future, knowing that true peace comes from being fully Present.
    22. You know there is no beginning or end.

bird_green_circles_lgBased on this list, are YOU a Modern Mystic?  Viva Institute’s 3-week e-course, Flight School: Mediumship for Modern Mystics, was created for the purpose-driven, committed, soulful, passionate, curious and discerning truth-seekers like you. It’s about reconnecting with the intuitive part of yourself that knows that there is something that you came here to do. Learn new tools and ignite your unique spark. Then you can FLY.

Is Emma Stone a Modern Mystic?

“I think we should all open our minds and our hearts to magic.”

quarterThat’s what actress Emma Stone told David Letterman on the Late Show on July 16 . She went on to describe some of the paranormal and metaphysical experiences she’s had throughout her life, including her deceased grandfather leaving her quarters in unusual places.

Even better? David Letterman shared some stories of his own!

Are people waking up, or is it just human nature to look for someone to hold our hand on the mystic’s journey?

If you’re ready to walk that road, join Viva Institute in August for the next session of Flight School, Viva Institute’s 3-week Summer Camp for the Modern Mystic! It’s a chance to fully embrace the intuitive part of yourself that knows that there is something important that you came here to do.

Embrace your inner mystic.

Healthy Raw Onion Rings: RECIPE

Onion RingsThis recipe for crispy, crunchy RAW onion rings is a super-healthy alternative to the deep-fried version. They’re a perfect “to-go” recipe for summer picnics, and are delicious when paired with other healthy recipes like Portobello Burgers or as a salad topper.

NOTE: If you’re raw vegan you will need a dehydrator to make these. If you don’t have a dehydrator, try baking them in the oven on the lowest setting for about 20-30 minutes.


  • 2 medium-sized sweet onions
  • 3-4 cups of almond milk (enough to cover the onions)
  • 1/2 cup of ground flax seed
  • 1/2 cup of ground brewer’s yeast OR 1/2 cup of ground sesame seeds
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 t. chipotle, smoked paprika, or turmeric


  • Cut the onions into slices and place in a bowl or Ziploc bag with almond milk to soak. Set aside for about 2-3 hours.
  • Grind the flax seed in a dry blender or coffee grinder (it will be about 3/4 c after grinding), then place in a food processor and blend with remaining ingredients.
  • Drain the almond milk from the onion rings, reserving the milk in a bowl for dipping. Place the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Begin by dipping an onion ring in the milk, then dip in the dry mixture and place on the dehydrator or baking tray. Continue this process until all of the onion rings have been thoroughly coated; re-dip in the milk and re-coat, if necessary.
  • Dehydrate at 110 degrees for 5-10 hours, depending on the level of crispiness you like. If you don’t have a dehydrator, try baking them in the oven on the lowest setting for about 20-30 minutes.
  • HINT: Dipping can get sticky! Try placing half of the processed dry ingredients in a large bowl first, and when those are gone, add more dry. This prevents the mixture from becoming too clumpy.
  • Store in Ziploc bags or a dry container.

READY TO TRY RAW? Join us for 30 DAYS RAW, Viva Institute’s online raw food class.


Portobello Burgers: Healthy Summer Recipe

Portobello cap_rawTry this savory recipe when you’ve been invited to a summer BBQ and want to bring a healthy alternative.

These Portobello Burgers can be eaten raw, dehydrated, baked or grilled, and they pack well, so you can make them a day in advance if  you’re on the go. Serve with onion rings and a green salad.


  • 2 large portobello mushrooms, stems removed
  • 3/4 cup of fresh Vegan Basil Pesto
  • sliced red peppers, tomatoes, or olives (for the topping)


After de-stemming the portobello mushrooms, fill each cap with a generous helping of basil pesto. Add sliced peppers or whatever toppings you’re craving. Dehydrate at 115 degrees for 4-5 hours or bake at 200 for about 30 minutes, until juicy.

Will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

VIVA Radio Tonight at 8 pm EST

Tonight marks the launch of  VIVA Radio, a new 30-minute LIVE program brought to you by Viva Institute. VivaRadioFor the first show, we’ll be talking about “Meditation Snacks,” a name I use to describe short, 1-3 minute meditations that can be done at any time during the day when you’re in need of connection, clearing, protection, or revitalization. During this show, you’ll learn 5-6 new meditations. I’ve invited some of my favorite practitioners to share their techniques.

At 8 EST TONIGHT, call (425) 440-5100.

Pin Code: 954713#

NOTE:  only the first 40 callers will join the call live.

A link to download the show will be available on the website the following day. Join us to share your favorite meditation snack!
Click to Tweet:

For the Cranky Lightworkers!


YOU, who have been called to be of service to lift the vibration of the planet with Light and Joy and Glitter and Wonder:

You’re asking an awful LOT of yourself if you think you can do it 24-7.

EVERYONE gets cranky sometimes. Even Lightworkers.

On those days when the world makes you feel tender and tired, consider this message permission to send your halo for take-out. Duck under the covers, give your unicorn a DVD, and take care of YOU.

We see your Light anyway.

Next e-course: Flight School. Begins August 11, 2014. REGISTER NOW.

Coconut Cream Cups: Guilt-Free RAWCIPE

Recipe by Leigh Hopkins, Viva Institute

Coconut Cream Cups bestThis recipe was inspired while I was washing up the dinner dishes, wondering about how I might put a little something sweet and healthy in my tum. These took less than 15 minutes to make, and this recipe this just might be my new favorite.

I plan on bringing these sweet little honeys to all of my summer parties — they freeze beautifully and look and taste like creamy clouds!

This recipe is extremely versatile, so consider toping with fruit (think cheesecake!), add lime juice to make key lime treats, or even add a layer of raw chocolate on the bottom of the crust before adding the cream.

I used these mini-round silicone baking cups that I found on Amazon Prime. (“Want to make them by tomorrow, June 7? Order in the next 3 hours and 22 minutes…”) This would be a fun and easy project to make with your kiddos.

Total prep time, about 15 minutes. Eat fresh or chill for one hour in the freezer, if you can wait that long!

Recipe below.

Coconut Cream Cups_prep

Coconut Cream Cups_cup prep 2Coconut Cream Cups 4Coconut Cream Cups_freezerCoconut Cream Cups bestIngredients


  • 6 Medjool dates
  • 1 cup raw pecans
  • pinch of Himalayan pink salt (preferable, but not required)
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar

Cream filling

  • 1 cup soaked cashews
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup grated coconut or fine coconut flakes
  • 1/2 juiced lemon
  • 7 drops coconut stevia or agave nectar to taste



Coconut Cream Cups_3In food processor, thoroughly blend pitted Medjool dates for 30-45 seconds, or until blended thoroughly. Add pecans, coconut oil, and salt. Blend until nuts are chopped. Add agave nectar. Blend. Set aside in a bowl in refrigerator.

Cream Filling

In a Vitamix or high-speed blender, blend cashews, water, 1/4 cup grated coconut (reserve 1/4 to sprinkle on top at end), stevia or agave, and lemon juice. Blend thoroughly until creamy. Add additional sweetener to taste.


Using mini muffin cups, add 1 tablespoon chilled crust mixture and pinch to form around the bottom and sides. Fill with coconut cream, and top with grated coconut.

facebook iconOptional: top with blueberries, raspberry puree, or other fresh fruit. For key lime cups, add lime juice and grated lime zest. Eat fresh or freeze for 1 hour prior to serving, then thaw for 10-15 minutes. (HINT: To serve after freezing, use the end of a spoon to gentle “pop” the cups out of the silicone cups.)

If you make Coconut Cream Cups, I’d love to see your photos on Facebook or Twitter.