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Life is not supposed to be easy. We come here to learn to be a kinder, more loving and more courageous soul. Just as we grow from a small infant to an adult, our soul must grow from infancy to maturity as well.

Sometimes babies are diagnosed with a medical condition called, “failure to thrive”. Too many of us suffer from “soul failure to thrive” simply because we are afraid to fail.

But failure is good. If we try and we fail we learn humility, a wonderful quality to master. But failure is a great teacher only if we have the courage to pick ourselves back up again and keep pursuing our dreams.

Courage is like a muscle. Every time we attempt to do something and fail, it’s an opportunity to exercise our courage muscle and make it grow stronger.

My father taught me courage.

In October 1953, at the age of 32, my father, a Navy pilot stationed aboard a huge aircraft carrier, was suddenly caught in a deadly explosion. Badly burned, he crawled to an opening and called down below for help. It came immediately as he was pulled down into a room where 9 enlisted men, all between the ages of 19 and 24, were now trapped.

According to an account of the story in a Boston newspaper, my father said: “I’m a Catholic. My blood type is A. I need a priest.” In a panic and with smoke filling the room, they told him there was no escape. Realizing as an officer that he was in charge, he gave orders to lie down, so they didn’t breathe in the smoke, and then led them in prayer together.

As they became calm, this stranger, with 90-degree burns on 80% of his body, showed them how to use Morse Code to tap out a distress message on the bulkhead of the ship. Their message was heard and a rescue team cut down several layers to pull all nine men to safety.

I never spoke to my father again. He died, three days later, but he left a powerful message that even in the most difficult situations one must still remember there is always an opportunity to give to others and do what you have to do.

I was about to turn 7 that year and, of course, missed him terribly. But his legacy to me has been priceless. French novelist, George Sand said it perfectly: “One is happy as a result of one’s own efforts once one knows the necessary ingredients of happiness — a certain degree of courage, self denial to a point, love of work, and above all, a clear conscience.

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Donna Gates has a mission to change the way the world eats. Over the past 25 years, she has become one of the most beloved and respected authorities in the field of digestive health, diet and nutrition, enjoying a worldwide reputation as an expert in candida, adrenal fatigue, autism, autoimmune diseases, weight loss and anti-aging.  As a nutritional consultant, author, and lecturer, she has helped hundreds of thousands of people overcome candidiasis and other immune-system disorders.

Drawing on the best of modern medical science, ancient Chinese medicine, and naturopathy-combined with first-hand experience counseling clients, she created Body Ecology™, her own proven system of health and healing. Gates has also been a key figure in revolutionizing the natural health industry by introducing and popularizing stevia, coconut oil, kefir and probiotic nutrition.

Her groundbreaking book The Body Ecology Diet: Recovering Your Health and Rebuilding Your Immunity has sold nearly a quarter of a million copies and a newly revised edition is now available through Hay House. Donna regularly appears in the media and conducts workshops to educate the public on medicinal foods. In October 2011, Donna released The Baby Boomer Diet (Hay House) focusing on the Body Ecology philosophy for anti-aging and longevity.

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