Monday, August 1, 2022

Just a regular death


Just a regular death
This past week, an old friend died suddenly. During these last few years of covid, it became a weird ironic joke when we would say this person just died a regular death, not covid death. A regular death. Like cancer. Dark humor to say that a person just died of a regular heart attack or a regular cancer attack. But here we are.
Death is a regular part of every life. Two factors are significant in between here and there. One is how we take care of ourselves on our journey through life and the second important factor is to be conscious and aware of what we are doing with our life.
My friend Mike and I had drifted apart over the years simply the way that we all do. We went to high school together, then after, we went in different directions, and we lost touch because our work took us to different parts of the world, and we were busy with our careers, relationships, and the people in our lives where we were living and working.
Mike lived a good life and did a lot of good for people, contributing to charities in his community. Lots of testimonials were from people he mentored and people he helped. I always thought of him as a good friend even though we had not seen each other in decades.
I regret not having kept in touch with him more over the years, but my attention kept moving forward focusing on my career changes and cross country moves. Although I regret losing track of this friend, I was never one for high school reunions. My life after high school was a whole new adventure, a whole new world.
Once I got out of school and moved around the country for work, I got busy exploring this big new world, and my life got busy and took paths I never anticipated when I was younger. I did not grow up thinking that I would live in Colorado or that I would be doing this work, but here I am, and happy to be here.
A lesson from this crossing can be to give some thought to those we have lost contact with and think about whether we want to reconnect. We all have some other people in our lives that we are happy to leave in the past. Mike and I never had any falling out, our lives just followed very different paths. Obviously, our time together was a positive influence in my life.
Not saying that I would have changed my life path, just meditating on the difference between those we deliberately left behind and those who just fell off our radar. Even though we would still have been living in different parts of the country, pursuing different paths, we could have kept in touch more.
This is not simply a function of growing older. Those of you who had someone die unexpectedly at a young age have some of these same thoughts. I had friends who died back at high school age too, and our perspective changes with experience.
Drawing lessons from death experiences are powerful insights for people of any age. I see it in those of you who have come to me for help with your grieving.
Death gives us lessons that lead to greater enjoyment of life. Yes, we grieve the loss of the one who is gone, but each death reminds us to make the best use of our time. Each lesson opens our heart more and our heart is our core, our center chakra, the center of our energy.
Death is a powerful advisor in this regard. Death informs our future choices. Death makes us think about how we are spending our time.
I always love hearing from you, so if you feel like sending me a note, calling or coming to see me, please do!
Have a wonderful day!

Breaking the Code


Breaking the Code
When people speak in code, it is because they do not want others to know what they are talking about. That is one aspect of code.
There is another aspect of code that often comes up in self help books or conversations when people talking about finding their life's purpose as if they have to break a code to find out what it is. But our life purpose is whatever we say it is.
Years ago, a friend of mine was working as a manager in a large popular bookstore. This was in the 90s, when the Internet was new and computers were becoming more widespread in workplaces.
Her curiosity led her to read books that taught her how to write computer code. Then she got a job writing code, and I remember her amazement at how different it was to work that way and how much more money she was making than when she worked at the bookstore. And she learned other skills and got raises and promotions and created a successful career path for herself.
So in another aspect, she was rewriting her own code for her life. I would say that she did not discover her path as much as create it. A change that big brings all kinds of changes, not just in work or income, but also the people in your life, and maybe changes in what a person does for their health.
A former client of mine had desires to be in the chef business, so for a few years, he and his wife operated a food truck. Then they sold the truck, moved far away and launched a chef business more along the lines of catering. So did he discover his path or create it? Did he rewrite his code?
I began my career as a professional writer and editor, and later on, a creative writing teacher for adults. As a writer, I was always going out to meet and interview a variety of psychics, healers, authors, musicians, artists, and others and that is how I learned about all this stuff. So when I transitioned from being a professional writer to being a healer, I rewrote my code.
Writing your own code for some people means posting their art, books or music for sale on the web while they still have another job to see what kind of response they get and then grow into a full time career change.
Rewriting your code is what you do when you are fired up about what you do or want to do. If we do not have a burning desire to make a change yet, we will find it through curiosity when we discover something new and want to learn more.
You see, it is about following your feelings. It is not about discovering some secret code. Where our thoughts go, our energy goes. So whatever your dream is, it is a conscious choice to rewrite your code.
We do not have to break some code to find our best path. We just have to write some new code. When our thoughts and feelings are in alignment that is when we make our greatest progress.
I always love hearing from you, so if you feel like sending me a note, calling or coming to see me, please do!
Have a wonderful day!

Friday, July 1, 2022

Fail Forward


Fail Forward
I just recently came across the term fail forward and I like it.
Every one of us has some instances in our earlier stages of life where we would do differently next time if we had a do over. But we rarely have an opportunity to have that do over with the same person in the same situation, so how we use that lesson is to conduct ourselves differently next time, or treat this person better than we treated that other person in our past. In essence, failing forward.
When we make a decision and take an action, at the moment we may have felt that we did the right thing. With a little time and perspective, we may later realize that we could have made a better choice.
None of us is without mistakes, but by learning from our mistakes, we will not keep making the same mistakes, so the term failing forward shows progress on our path. When we look at the story of successful businesses, we often see how success came after a person changed their initial concept and offered a different product or service than originally planned, and then found popularity.
Some of these errors were poor choices or mistakes, but rebounding from them is how we find our way forward.
A key in this concept is separating the fail from our concept of self. When we fail at something, that does not mean we are a failure, it means we have to find a different way to do things. When we do that, and find greater success, we can be proud of what we did.
A quote that makes the point is from basketball great Michael Jordan: "I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."
He was constantly aware of what he was doing and constantly looking for ways to do it better.
By the way, tools that were used by that great championship team included positive thinking and meditation. When people first heard about that, they thought that was weird for a sports team, but then after witnessing years of winning streaks, they thought there might be something to it.
Not talking about failures could bring up fear. Fear of failing again which could also discourage others from trying again. Thomas Edison said that genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. Keep going.
Mistakes offer us teachable moments. Stepping out of our comfort zone to take another risk can be the key to opening the door for growth and success.
All of us make mistakes along our way, and in fact, you could say that we have to make some mistakes on our way to success in order to learn what we can do. If we have never failed, we have never tested our boundaries, abilities or capacity.
Of course we are not perfect on the way to creating our lives or our businesses because there will always be some trial and error and we should not be afraid of that.
The photo at the top is just a shrub that I saw while walking that I think is pretty. No hidden meaning.
I always love hearing from you, so if you feel like sending me a note, calling or coming to see me, please do!
Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Questions Lead to our Quest


Questions lead our Quest
A common question that people sometimes ask themselves is about finding their purpose in life.
But it is not like there is a secret ledger out there somewhere that will tell us what we are supposed to be doing with our lives.
No, we make up our own answers. When we are thinking about how we will earn our money to make our living, we have to choose a path that we enjoy being on that will enable us to make a living. Who decides that? We do.
How do we get there? We ask questions. Begin with answering the first big one. Would you like to do that every day? What would you have to learn in order to be able to do that?
When we ask questions of ourselves, our answers steer us. For example, when I discovered drumming, I asked other people to show me the best ways to play. That opened the door to making new friends. That opened the way to finding new ways to use the drums for meditation as well as dance and singing. Notice how it makes you feel.
When we find ourselves going to the store to try some new food we heard about, that could introduce us to whole new eating habits. Notice how it makes you feel.
When we find our attention constantly or repeatedly being drawn to a particular subject, spirit is calling our attention to that subject. Notice how it makes you feel.
When the questions inspire our imagination and fire up our appetites, we are coming to life. This is exactly why we change careers, spiritual practices, partnerships, exercise habits, health habits.
When we ask questions and pursue answers, we are creating our purpose. Tools for finding and following this path include meditation, journaling, vision boards, personal reflection and goal setting.
All of this starts with us asking questions. Does this work for me? Would I like to do more of this? I wonder why they do it that way? Is this the best way to do it? Questions like these lead us to invent, create new ways to do things, reorganize and restructure our lives.
Questions are the guides to our quest. Wondering how to do business differently, do spirituality differently, do relationships differently? They all start with a simple question. Can this be done different? Better? Will it bring me more joy? More satisfaction?
When the energies in your life are aligned, you feel stronger, more clear minded, peaceful in your spirit, love flows through your heart.
Questions lead the way to our quest. Having someone who can help you answer these questions will help you clear your path. So you see, finding our path is always within our grasp.
Our psychic ability can bring things to our attention and our conscious mind can help us sort through data. Our intuition, our gut instinct makes that critical connection with our head until we find that alignment with all of our energy centers. We have optimum energy when we experience that alignment.
These questions can be challenging. For example, when cleaning out and decluttering, a common sticking point is when we need to let go of things in order to clear our path, but we have a hard time letting go of something we never use. We have an answer, but we have some resistance. The key question in this situation is will this thing help me get where I am going?
Similarly, we may recognize that changing jobs requires learning new skills or gaining new knowledge, and at that point we choose whether to focus and pursue that. Are we willing to expend the energy necessary to do this?
When we choose from fear, we say things like I better take this because I might not get a better offer. This is an energy drain on us. When we choose from love, our spirits are lifted with joy, creativity and passion. Let this guide how we answer our questions.
Focus on the goal and the how to get there will be revealed.
I always love hearing from you, so if you feel like sending me a note, calling or coming to see me, please do!
Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Listening to Spirit


Listening to Spirit
One of the early creators of ambient music described it this way: this music does not demand attention but it rewards listening.
That expression has always stuck with me and shows us a powerful way to use subtle energies.
Our ability to tune into waves of energy that are subtle helps us to both navigate the energy patterns around us, and appreciate details that are important in the big picture. For example, I prefer ambient music when I am trying to focus on a project, doing a reiki healing session, and also when I am working out at the gym. For me, the increased focus helps propel me in a gentle way.
When using music in chanting rituals such as kirtan, which uses the songs from the Hindu traditions, raises energy by getting people to do call and response chanting together. In that setting, the lyrics lead the way. Every spiritual tradition and religion around the world uses sound as a driving force in their rituals. Sound unifies vibrations.
Back in the day when Catholic churches used Gregorian chants which were sung a capella in Latin, a person could get chill bumps hearing those voices resonate off the stone walls of Gothic cathedrals. Even people who not Catholic are moved by these recordings, entranced with the harmonies and vibrations.
There are people in this area who conduct gong baths, which use nothing but vibrations to change feelings and quiet minds. Much research has been done on sound and healing and the vibrations of different kinds of sounds all work for this purpose.
When I used to lead drumming circles I always marveled at the way a room full of people who did not know each other and were not musicians could find themselves playing together within minutes, raising and unifying the energy of a group using nothing but the combined vibrations arising from the rhythms. Researchers have found that participating in drumming circles boosts immune systems, produces feelings of well being, and releases emotional trauma in those who played.
The Sufi practice of zikr is a dance with chanting that lifts into trance very easily, with the combination of words and movement creating a spiritual vortex.
The Sufis also gave us the poet Rumi. The leading interpreter of his poetry is Coleman Barks, former professor at the University of Georgia, who I had the pleasure of meeting and hearing read this elegant poetry. I asked him why poetry books are the kind of literature that sells the least, but yet people love to come to poetry readings. His answer was this. "When a poet speaks the words out loud, he is launching arrows to the heart of the listener. Poetry is most powerful spoken out loud."
I always remember Malidoma Some, an African drummer and shaman saying that anyone who has trouble with drumming has trouble with listening. In drumming it is our ears that let us connect with the others in the circle, not our eyes. Closing our eyes and opening our ears is the way to connect through sound.
The Tibetan Book of the Dead says that our last sense to go is hearing when we die, and that is why they continue to say the prayers long after the person stops breathing. Hearing, in their tradition, is the sense that aids the person most in their transition.
An American musician, Therese Schroeder-Sheker, played harp and used her voice, playing at the bedside of dying patients in St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula Montana, of all places, from 1992-2002, using the music to assist in their transition.
Look at all the ways that music connects us to spirit. Notice how closely connected hearing is to spirit.
For those of you who say that you have a hard time meditating, try picking up a simple instrument like a tambourine and within as little as three beats, you can go into trance. You heard that right. You can shift your consciousness in as little as three beats. The number 3 again.
If you listen, spirit often communicates with us without words. Sometimes words matter, sometimes they do not. Rhythm creates trance and trance creates energy. That is why when we chant in these other languages it always needs to keep it original sound to work, so the words are rhythm tools, rather than words. The original language has a music that goes with it that can get lost in translation.
Researchers find special resonances for sound healing within chambers of the pyramids of Egypt. Older than the pyramids is Newgrange, in Ireland. It features a domed chamber totally fashioned out of stones fitted together without any cement or other binding material. This where the ancient high kings and druids had their ashes laid to rest and those walls heard sacred chants reverberating off the stone. I asked the tour guide and she let me stay behind and chant. It did not take much for those walls to come alive.
One simple definition I have heard is that when you are praying you are talking. When you are meditating, you are listening.
What are you being rewarded with by listening?
When you turn more attention to your hearing, what do you notice? What messages and energies is spirit bringing into our lives, with or without words?
I always love hearing from you, so if you feel like sending me a note, calling or coming to see me, please do!
Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

The Fool's Journey


The Fool's Journey

Let's stop and consider what it means to be foolish for a moment, because we have all had foolish moments in our lives.
How often do we look back at our lives and recognize how some of the steps or missteps we have made on our journey was the catalyst for a big development?
Do we connect the dots easily in our stories?
Remember the times when you wanted to try a new idea and other people in your life thought what you were doing was foolish?
Maybe it was. Then again, maybe it turned out to be brilliant and you found success. One of the keys to understanding the Fool is to realize that the fool wants to be on their journey which will involve both inner and outer travel as they follow their path.
One of the concepts for learning life lessons offered in the major cards is often titled The Fool's Journey. As we meditate on the pictures in the major arcana cards, life lessons of all kinds from spirit to love to justice to restrictions to nurturing to death to karma are mirrored in our own lives. They say that the Fool is numbered at zero because he can be both the highest and the lowest card in the deck. The Fool is the only character who is wise enough to know that he does not know everything.
If you have a deck of cards at home, look at the major cards again, meditating on each one in order. What do you see by looking at these images? Do you recognize how sometimes you feel foolish and stupid for something you said or did, while at other times, those risks you took turned out to be a brilliant move? Can you tell the difference in those feelings? Do you have the self confidence to continue on your journey even when others call you foolish?
These two cards in this picture are from Ciro Marchetti's Tarot of Dreams. I love some of the changes he made in this deck. What you see in these two images are the way he perfectly bookended the major arcana with the Fool's Journey. The character who begins the journey ends the journey surrounded by the elements of earth, air, fire and water, which also represent our 4 bodies, mental, physical, spiritual and emotional. The fool has gone far, and has reaped rewards and he still has more to learn.
One of the first moves a person could make was wandering away from their home. In response to the question of How could you leave, the fool simply answers that they want to see what else is out there, or who else is out there.
Another example of when someone may think we are foolish is when we leave one career path to get on a different one.
Or someone may think we are foolish when we ended one relationship to get into another one. We know the truth when we see the results of our choices. In your journey from the beginning to experiencing more in the world, notice how when all 4 of our bodies are in balance, we make great progress, results go our way and we have much to be grateful for? The fool grows because of his willingness to take the journey.
The Fool's Journey applies to all of us. We are all fools in some ways as we journey through life. Notice which of your foolish moves were a mess and which ones were great. What can we learn from what we have done? Where will that lead us next?
I always love hearing from you, so if you feel like sending me a note, calling or coming to see me, please do!
Have a wonderful day!