Thursday, July 31, 2008

Metaphysics & The Stock Market

The stock market offers some interesting insights into the way our world works right now. Keep in mind the axiom that all things come from either love or fear.

A simple definition of the stock market is this. People buy stock in companies whose product or service they believe to be of quality, with the expectation that customers will continue to buy these products or services well into the future. The company gets money to use for expansion and development and the owner of the stock has some confidence that in the future their share will be worth more. People who invest in small, growing companies with innovative products stand to make the greatest return on investments, for example, companies that make breakthroughs in medical technology or computer technology. Other opportunities for making money on stocks occur when a company produces a good product or service, but for some reason, their stock is trading at a relatively low price. Some of the wealthiest investors have made their fortunes this way.

Now, in recent years, with the advent of day trading, there is a whole different philosophy of making money in the stock market. Day trading essentially means that people buy and sell stocks within the space of one day. Frequently they may buy and sell within the space of an hour or two. Sometimes they buy and sell shares of the same stock two or three times in a day. How do they know when to buy and sell? Some subscribe to newsletters and follow their advice. They act rapidly on these "tips" churning and burning their way through the market, sometimes buying and selling shares of companies whose business they do not even know. The action can go so fast that if you are one of the first to buy and first to sell you might make a profit. If you are behind the herd, you lose. That can also explain why companies that make products that people really want and need might see the price of their stock fluctuate wildly. Newsletters might publish an opinion that the price might rise and fall within a certain range and speculators jump in with purchases that seem to have no basis in common sense. Anyone who cares to research can find companies who produce things that we all use on a regular basis whose stock charts look like a roller coaster. Traders also play a game called short selling, in which they bet on whether or not a stock price will go up or down. Sort of like a side bet at a blackjack table. An observer might question whether these activities are artificial influences on the prices of stocks when these gamblers are pushing the prices up and down absent any reference to the progress of the company whose business those stocks represent.

Old fashioned stock brokers would offer advice to clients and charged a larger fee per transaction, usually relative to the amount traded. Day traders can log on to computers and execute trades rapidly. The mantra is "You can afford to trade as much as you want. Trades are only $10!" (There is also a company where trades are only $7 each). Compared to the old fashioned brokers fee schedules, that is a bargain. But is it really?

Let us use a hypothetical round number for the sake of example. If a person were to start with a $100,000 investment account, and they made 10 trades a day for a year, that would be $25,000 in trading fees. (It is not uncommon for day traders to make 20 transactions a day.) Day traders also typically subscribe to newsletters, which can range in price from hundreds to thousands of dollars each. Let us say this hypothetical subscriber pays $5000 a year.

So at the end of one year of trading, if that person does not have more than $130,000 in their trading account, they have lost money for the year. How hard is it to make more than 30% on your investments in a year? Most people cannot do that. Using this hypothetical example, that is just the break even point. This hypothetical person would have to make 50% or 60% on their original investment to even get a return equal to a person working at a 40 hour a week job at $12-$14 an hour.

So people who choose to do this place a tremendous amount of pressure on themselves. If they make all the right moves at exactly the right times, they can make a lot. Subsequently, people who are day traders can be highly irritated at any interruption, even a phone call from a friend, because it might distract them from their screens and cause them to miss a trade.

Is it love or fear that drives the trading frenzy?

One way of looking at the two systems would be to call the old system investing, and the new system gambling. Is day trading or short selling stocks any different than sitting down at a blackjack table and hoping that the dealer will turn over an ace and a ten for you?

It is true that there has always been an element of gambling in owning stocks. No one could ever guarantee any stock owner a profit from their purchase, but the law of supply & demand could provide you with expectations and reality checks, and a person could have time to adjust their portfolio. Churning and burning shares over and over every day is so often unrelated to the actual supply & demand for the actual goods and services represented by stocks.

One way of viewing love and fear in the stock market is this. When a person invests in a stock because they admire the company and its work, it is an act of love. When a trader frantically jumps in and out of issues all day, it is an act of fear.

There is an old saying among pool sharks: "When a person starts to play with their lunch money, the pockets start to move."

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Supply & Demand

Upheavals in our economy are reflecting the law of supply & demand. There have been certain purchases that people feeling that they can live without, and others that they need or want. Some of the things they want they are deciding now that they will only pay so much for.

Practitioners of healing and metaphysical arts may be in a good position now, because what they have to offer may be even more needed when people are going through difficult times. Whether it is body work or some sort of advice, or perhaps learning a new skill, whether for their own stress relief or personal satisfaction, these services may bring great solace in times of trouble.

Quality is timeless. If you feel you have gained value from your purchase, you feel good about it. If not, you have buyer's remorse. Many people are coming to a new appreciation of simple commodities like soybeans, corn and grain. Many people are gaining a new appreciation for a fuel efficient vehicle. Many are deciding to delay or cancel purchases of high end toys. There is a new found appreciation of entertaining at home.

What does all this mean? Perhaps the simplest lesson is this. Difficult times cause us to make purchases which give us greater value. In other words, we want more bang for our buck. Our demands are being shaped by supplies. Shortages rapidly drive up prices. Supplies of things we have decided we do not need are no bargain at all.

The services of holistic healers, teachers, coaches and counselors present clients with good value. These are things that will help you feel better today and last a lifetime.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

UFOs and Terorrists?

For years the U.S. Air Force has denied that there are any real UFOs. Most sightings have been written off as weather phenomena, weather balloons, misidentified planets, star or comets or aircraft lights.

However,there were sightings as recently as 2006 at Chicago's O'Hare Airport. In 2007, there was a sighting by a commercial airline pilot and passengers near the Channel Islands. In March of 1993 there was a wave of sightings in Britain. In 1980, there were sightings at two American Air Force bases in England.

The difference is that countries like France and Britain never quit investigating UFO sightings, whereas the U.S. Air Force quit investigating them in 1969. There is a recognition now that radar alone cannot be the only or best method of tracking sightings, since we also now have aircraft that can elude radar detection.

Ironic, isn't it? How can you not smile at the possibility that there may now be a renewed interest in tracking UFOs because they might be some kind of terrorist vehicles?

Really, can there be some nation on Earth that has an air force far more advanced than the U.S. that we do not know about?

It is far more likely that someone from another planet is visiting, but we couldn't admit that now, could we?

Earthquakes, Tornadoes & Everyday Life

Once upon a time, I lived in the Los Angeles area. I never once worried about an earthquake. Every day I just got up and did what I had to do. I never got out of bed and wondered if today was going to be the day that we had an earthquake.

I say this because people often ask if I was afraid of earthquakes when I lived out there. Yet, I do not think I am unusual. Do people who live in Florida get up every morning and wonder if they are going to get hit with a hurricane? People wanted to rebuild in New Orleans, Mississippi and the Gulf Coast as soon as the water receded.

Obviously not. If that were the everyday consciousness, people would not want to live in Florida or California. And what about all those midwesterners who live along the Mississippi River that periodically get flooded? Or the people who live in Kansas or Nebraska who are very familiar with tornadoes? Did Seattle quit growing after the volcano at Mt. St. Helens erupted?

No, these are just accepted facts. Nature will create such events periodically, and when she does, we will just deal with it. We have to keep our consciousness focused on what we need to do every day, and run our lives accordingly. We learn to handle routine things routinely, and when the unusual comes, we rise to the occasion.

When disasters happen, the natural compassion of people surfaces, which simply demonstrates that most people are good and kind. There will always be those who step forward to help in times of crisis. And that is the fascinating thing about human nature.

Yes, right after hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes and so on, there are the jackals who will jump in to profit off the misery of others, but they are far outnumbered by the good hearted people who donate money, time, labor and energy. In some ways, disasters bring out the best in people.

Monday, July 28, 2008


Two ancient texts that I have enjoyed for a long time are the I Ching and the Tao Te Ching. Both are beautiful, powerful and concise sources of wisdom for living.

Next time you are in a bookstore, you might find it interesting to compare the translations available in these works. They can differ quite radically not only in phrasing but in context. Ultimately which one you choose to be your reading copy will be based on your tastes. Wayne Dyer recently wrote a book based on his experience doing precisely this, and the value he extracted from different versions of the Tao Te Ching.

I have spent hours comparing texts and found it fascinating. Sometimes I might find a passage where one author's interpretation was phenomenal, but other passages in the book left me cold. It was an expansive experience just to consider the various points of view.

Rumi's poetry was well known before Coleman Barks put his deft touch to the verses, but afterward, the popularity of Rumi's poetry outstripped all other poets. The difference in the translation or interpretation makes ideas come alive, or in the words of Amergin, Ireland's first poet, "puts fire in the head."

The Bible is another book that can vary from version to version, and it can make all the difference to a reader trying to understand it. A great book about this is Kenneth Davis' Don't Know Much About the Bible. Quite contrary to the title, he knows quite a bit about it.

Great books seem to draw people back to them time and again, and people who are experts in language cannot resist trying to make new translations of them.

This is also a lesson about how powerful words are. The things we say and write can be taken different ways. Sometimes we wish we had said something differently and sometimes it is good to be silent. And sometimes we need to speak. And sometimes we need to write.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Cut Back to Grow

Growing flowers in a garden, whether in the ground or in containers, is the opposite of wildflowers. Wildflowers just pop up wherever they please, whether though the dead branches of another plant, through crevices in a rock, at the base of a tree or in the middle of an open field.

Flowers that we cultivate, on the other hand, need more meticulous care. They like it when we pinch off or cut off the flowers that have bloomed then withered. When we do that, the energy of the plant redirects itself to produce more flowers. Dead branches need to be cut off and then new branches grow from the place where it was trimmed back.

Look at the various branches in our life that may have withered, or the areas where we may have bloomed at one time. When we put away those things (hobbies, sports, interests, friends, jobs, etc) we are done with, we make a clean break from the past in a healthy way. Then we are free to grow new branches and flower again.

When was the last time you pruned, or cut back the old branches, to make way for new branches? When was the last time you experienced a new burst of growth?

Saturday, July 26, 2008


Walking is the activity I have been able to stick with my whole life. At various times I loved to play tennis or racquetball, but developed tennis elbow, and so had to give them up. At another time I used to love to bicycle, but going uphill was tough on my knees. I still love to swim, but there is not always a pool or a lake nearby. But you can walk anywhere. Just put on your shoes and step outside.

Once you get into the mountains and forested areas, there are all kinds of wildflowers in bloom at all times of the year. Right now, the thistles are beyond flowering, but you can still see traces of purple in the soft tufts at the top of the stalks. the cactus blooms are faded and withered as well, but there are succulent green bulbs of new growth on the tops of the old lobes.

There are many colorful little flowers springing up along the trails, in open fields and from between crevices in rocks. One of my favorite things to see is how often trees will root and grow to maturity from the craziest, slenderest little cracks and crevices, their trunks twisting to reach toward the sky to grasp their share of light and water. In doing so, tree trunks can bend around a boulder like the neck of a swan.

It is a lesson in tenacity and flourishing among difficulties when we see the wildflowers and trees managing to be strong and beautiful even when there is lots of sun and little rain, poor soil and lots of rocks. Somehow, these plants manage to draw nutrients even from such seemingly impoverished conditions.

Walking, looking, noticing how things are, smelling all the different plants to see how they smell, it is life affirming. The small wild plants that are such a pleasure offer hope and joy and remind us that there is always a way to flourish, even in adverse conditions.

Where are the wildflowers, shrubs and trees in our lives, which learned to thrive by bending instead of going in their usual straight lines. Where are the wildflowers that present us with bouquets of vivid color and scent, even when it is hot and dry outside and the beautiful flowers that we have in pots at home will suffer if they miss even one day of watering?

Are there times in your life when you have been like a wildflower? Is this one of those times?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Things We Don't Know

The release of the new "X-Files" movie may or may not be of interest to you, but the essence behind it relates to an important topic: all the things we don't know. That is the real reason why the TV series by the same name was wildly popular back in the 90s. We would like reasonable explanations for phenomenal events.

Conspiracy theories of all types appeal to our imaginations simply because of all the things we don't know. Most people, for example, do believe that there is a high probability of life on other planets. Yet, the government never officially admits to the presence of anything out there beside weather balloons that have gone astray. If you have seen aerial photos of crop circles, can you really believe that you can duplicate those geometric designs by dragging boards around on ropes in the dark?

If there were ever ETs or UFOs that were captured, why wouldn't they tell us? Some people say they could be using advanced technology from other planets to give us the edge over other nations in terms of military superiority. Maybe, maybe not.

Think of this. The arrival of another technologically superior civilization would be as devastating to us as European settlers were to the life and culture of the Native Americans. But then again, if they were here, with such a technological edge, they could have already taken over.

People have come forward over the years, and you can see specials about them on the History Channel and such places, who show pretty convincing stories about UFO encounters. How much of this is true, and how much is not? I don't know. But the refusal of government and military authorities to discuss these things openly leaves all this ground of the unknown in between, which is the fertile space in which conspiracy theories take root.

If we were to consider all those other things which we don't know that have given rise to theories, we would find similar patterns. The space between what we know and what we don't know is very rich indeed.

Whether the subject is Atlantis, Bigfoot, Bilderbergers or whatever. There are many strange things that have happened in our world and in our lifetimes that are just bizarre that do have explanations, and those things too, are mystifying.

It is our desire for a sense of order in the universe and in our lives that causes us to want an exact explanation for everything. When we cannot find hard evidence, constructing conspiracy theories fills in the gaps. Besides, conspiracy theories make just as riveting an entertainment as a good mystery, crime story or suspense movie.

It could be that there are things we will never understand, and some things we will only know later. Much later.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Future is Now

Perhaps the bright side to the outrageous spike in the price of oil is that it is spurring more research into alternative adn development of fuel sources. Ideas that used to look expensive, like making ethanol from garbage, wood chips or crop waste. Some of the technologies that can be used have been known for a while, but they were relatively expensive compared to cheap oil.

We often do not change our ways until we have to. Back when gas was 25 cents a gallon, nobody cared how many miles per gallon a vehicle got. Then we got used to paying $1 a gallon and many people forgot about the oil embargoes of the 70s and decided that driving huge vehicles that only got 10 or 15 miles to the gallon was affordable. Now with gas at $4 a gallon, nobody wants to buy the big, gas wasting vehicles any more, and lots of people are interested in hybrid cars, diesels that can run on vegetable oil, and other new technologies. It even looks like there are beginning to be more motor scooters on the road which are super fuel efficient.

It was also within our lifetimes (those of us who are a little older anyway) that the U.S. was able to drill all the oil we needed from our own lands.

Then again, when I was growing up, most families only had one car. The street we lived on had room for two way traffic and parking and we played ball in the street. Today, it would be common to find that families with four people have four cars. That same street where I grew up, now has one way traffic and barely enough room for one car to drive down the street at a time. Forget about room to play ball.

Am I happy that gas is $4 a gallon? Absolutely not. Am I happy that this development is turning more attention to inventions that can create or use new forms of fuel? Yes. We definitely need fuel to power our transportation, appliances, computers, heat, and cool our homes and offices. Nobody ever said that the fuel had to be oil.

Some solutions may look back to solar power, wind power, wood burning stoves, maybe even coal burning, if it can be done cleanly. Other solutions may be new, like geothermal power, the conversion of waste materials in to fuel, perhaps nuclear power, if solutions can be found to safely handle the operation and waste generated by nuclear plants.

Difficulties challenge us to be more resourceful. It is natural to follow the path of least resistance. At a point in our history where we could be inefficient and still have a comfortable lifestyle, we did so. Now we need to be ever more ingenious in the ways we conserve energy and develop energy. And our quality of life can still be comfortable.

Just like we have learned to recycle our newspapers, bottles and cans, we will probably pick up other new habits. In the very near future, our houses and cars will be different.

In certain respects we can say that things we used to think of as futuristic are becoming part of our present life.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


When I was a kid, collecting rocks was something that could be done for free. I enjoyed finding things, and got used to looking at my surroundings closely. I got a few little guide books that would show what different kinds of rocks looked like and described the differences between the types of rock formed by the forces of nature through fire, water, wind, and the movements of the earth itself. When friends and relatives going on vacation asked me if they could bring anything back for me, it was easy for me to ask for them to bring me a rock and it was easy for them to do. Sometimes I got a sea shell, an arrowhead, a piece of petrified wood or a fossil. Through this simple hobby, I got a feel for the magic of the earth. I was fascinated by the stories that were contained in colors, shapes and textures. That, plus the fact that every rock someone gave me came with a story of how and where they got it.

As I grew up and moved, I left the rock collection behind, but there is something very grounding about being in touch with the earth on this primal level. Every time I went on a hike, retreat, or other special event in an outdoor place, I would pick up a rock to bring back with me as a way to ground a bit of that special energy. Little smooth stones often became touchstones that were in my pocket for good luck.

It was not until much later in life that I encountered the concept of using stones for healing. Most people who practice the laying on of stones in healing use crystals and polished gemstones, but I have always felt that found objects can be just as powerful. I do have some crystals that I like and use, but there is also the feeling that touchstones that were personally selected from various times and places can also help channel energy just as well as a polished stone. I like the idea of finding pieces of nature to help in healing work, and rocks are like plants in that way. There are nutrients and minerals that they contain just by the essence of their formation, and they will lend their energies to our needs if we ask.

Everyone knows about using crystal balls for scrying, a form of divination. Crystal points work the same way. Did you know that you can also cast stones to do readings as well? Do you ever see pictures in the stones the way you see pictures in clouds? One of my favorite stones is a heart shaped one that I found while hiking. It is always out when I do healings and readings as a way of affirming that all of my work comes through the heart and has a lot of heart energy.

Touchstones help us remember. Sometimes just touching them encourages us to call on our strength. They can help us to be solid as a rock when we need to be, and the ones rounded and smoothed by the movement of water in a river bed or a beach can help remind us to go with the flow and relax when we need to.

Touchstones can also remind us that some things can be put into action fast, like striking flint and steel to make fires, or that we need to be quiet and contemplative for a while, as a water smoothed stone suggests.

Do you ever use simple found objects to help you mark the trail along your life path? Do you have any touchstones to help with healing or visions?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Nakai, A Renaissance Man

R. Carlos Nakai, the person responsible for making the music of the Native American wooden flute popular, is a true Renaissance man.

I have had the pleasure of hearing him play in person as well as hearing his recordings and interviewing him. I liked the sound of the instrument so much that I got one and play it myself, not for public performances, simply for my own pleasure. The sound is so mellow and relaxing.

When you simply look at the range of his entire catalog of recordings, what you notice is that he not only plays traditional native melodies. He has recorded albums with symphony orchestras, chamber orchestras, rock bands, jazz bands, world music ensembles, collaborated with musicians from Tibet and China. I asked him why he did this and he said that he wanted to demonstrate to people that this simple folk instrument had a great deal of range and versatility and that just because it was simple it could still do as much as more sophisticated instruments.

He even designed a line of flutes made out of plastic so that school children could learn to play a simple instrument, and appreciate music in the same way that schools have long used plastic recorders.

His journey started ironically, with a car accident. He originally was training to play the coronet, when a wreck injured his face and his ability to play that instrument. Somehow his attention was drawn to the Native American wooden flute, and he traveled all over the continent looking for people who could teach him about this instrument and its uses. He says that at the time he began his search, he could only find three or four people who still played it and could teach him. Most of the Native people had forgotten about playing it.

Once people heard Nakai play, they were entranced and wanted to hear more. He has taught many other people to play in retreats and workshops, and he wrote the first instruction book for the instrument, which is now widely available.

He is a true Renaissance man in the world of music. From a simple beginning, he has made a profound impression on musicians, people who enjoy listening to music, and encouraging other people to make music. He has used his talents to do many good things in the world.

An Advertising Man's Dilemma

A book that has stuck in my mind for a long time was Executive in Passage by Donald Marrs. In brief, he begins his story as the vice president of an international advertising firm, Leo Burnett. He questions the fact that part of his job is to make ads that sell cigarettes, even though he had quit for the sake of his own health. He questions why he should be making ads to sell gas guzzling cars when the nation needs to find ways to use less energy. He is also tired of work schedules that demand ever more of his time. So he does the the thing to occurs to him as reasonable, and he quits.

On his way out, he was surprised to notice that some of the people he worked with for years were cold to him. Then it dawned on him that they were angry because he was turning her back on what they still coveted, the position of vice president of the firm.

He then spent an extended time working on himself, learning about meditation, metaphysical ideas and holistic medicine. He tried the movie business without much success. Then one day, he had a realization that he enjoyed being in the advertising business, but he did not like the way it was run. So he created a different kind of agency.

Marketing Partners, the firm he created, was set up with different ways of doing business. He decided that he would not ask employees to work overtime unless it was a true emergency. That way, when there really was an emergency, it was rare, and employees would be glad to pitch in. When prospective clients asked for a presentation, he insisted on having a reasonable amount of time to prepare. He paid his vendors promptly instead of stringing them out. He decided to only represent companies which were ethically run, and offered quality products and services to customers, and he resigned from accounts that he discovered were not.

What would our world be like if more people chose to run their businesses organized with such principles in mind? Sometimes we are in a business that we know and love, but we could get burned out, unless we were more satisfied with all aspects of it. And, as Donald Marrs demonstrated, a person can make money doing business with ethics and quality.

Making changes in our way of doing things sometimes means we do things that are altogether different, and sometimes it means doing the same things in a different way.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Live & Let Live

While taking a trip this weekend, a minor incident occurred which made me think.

We were driving down a road and there was a sudden traffic jam due to a very slow moving vehicle. This was in the country heading into the mountains, so there was not a lot of traffic otherwise. The slow moving vehicle should have had the courtesy to pull over and let others pass, but they didn't.

We wondered why the other cars did not simply pass the slow moving vehicle, an SUV pulling a trailer, but since no one else seemed to be interested in moving ahead, we started to go around to pass.

Suddenly, another SUV pulled out, but he did not move ahead, he just pulled out enough to block us. In other words, he did not want to go, but for some reason, he objected to us going. How could it have benefited him to block our progress?

I have had similar experiences on highways or roads before, and no doubt you have too, where someone else simply goes just fast enough, or just pulls into your way far enough so that you cannot move ahead.

Think about that metaphor in life. How many times do people simply block your way, rather than simply staying where they are or moving over and allowing you to pass? What do they gain by this?

We can move toward our goals more easily when we have others around us who share our goals. We may not always achieve our goals, but at least we need to make that journey ourselves and whether we have great success or not, we can make our own discoveries and experiences.

Not everyone will agree with our goals, but at least we should be able to expect that people we don't even know will stay out of our way and let us choose freely.

This is the principle of live and let live.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Too Much Multi-tasking Driving Too Many Drugs?

I have long been of the opinion that too many unnecessary drugs are prescribed, and that perhaps the thing that could replace them is simply a change in the way we relate to people.

For example, how many children and adults have been put on drugs because they are diagnosed as ADD or ADHD? In the case of the children, perhaps unrealistic expectations are put on them. The normal behavior of children includes curiosity, moving around and exploring everything around them. Normal children do not just sit still and listen all the time.

Some of the adults getting these medicines might just be too busy multi-tasking. Maybe they lose their ability to focus because they have a difficult time answering their cell phone, land line, emails, faxes, and snail mail while also working with people in person. Perhaps trying to coordinate everything from work to errands to children to housekeeping to pets just leaves a person too little time to simply sit and relax and focus on anything for very long.

The millions of prescriptions for men and now the ones being developed for women to be able to enjoy sexual relations in their mature years may be all about changing our minds about what we expect of our selves. Some of us actually believe that as we age, we lose our sexual ability. Perhaps simply spending time cultivating our erotic pleasures with our partners would solve the problems without drugs.

Wouldn't we even need fewer drugs for hypertension if we were just able to relax and let go of trying to do too much? Wouldn't simply spending a little quiet time every day, eating sensibly, going for walks and drinking more water reduce the need for drugs?

I will certainly agree that we do need drugs for health and healing. But perhaps we would not take as many drugs if we just relaxed, tried to do less multi-tasking and enjoyed focusing on fewer things at a time.

A good place to start is with the people in our lives.

Real Magic for Couples

The focus that is required in order for couples to reach orgasm is something that exceeds any ordinary state of consciousness.

One way, the most traditional way of viewing this powerful state, is that of expressing love between people by drawing their bodies, minds and spirits together. This is true, and it is just one aspect of what is happening and can be happening.

Just imagine if the two of you really put your heads together and focused your energy on something you deeply desire to achieve together and then put the power of the ecstasy behind that. When the couple totally focuses on giving each other pleasure, at the same time channeling this energy to support mutually agreed upon goals, the entire energy of their focus bonds the couple together and propels them toward their goals, with a resolution, desire and energy that far exceeds ordinary levels of conversation and agreement.

True union requires surrender to the moment in order to give yourself totally to the ecstasy, with nothing held back. This, in turn brings your partner to a state of joy and pleasure that is unsurpassed. When the two of you do this for each other, a state of oneness is achieved that is as intense as we ever experience.

Have you ever thought of using this experience to consciously go somewhere else with it? Have you ever thought of using this primal power as an energy to create your future?

If, in this state of transcendant consciousness, this altered state, we affirm our visions for what we really want most, and expand that ecstasy to include the feeling of having the life we want together, then we are utilizing a powerful tool for bringing it into being.

Sexual energy does not just create babies. It can be used to create other realities that we want to bring into our lives. If it is important to draw our new realities into being through enjoying the feeling of having our lives the way we want, we should use one of the most powerful feeling states that we have the ability to access.

Our pleasure can be used to bring our visions into reality.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Sometimes in life, we set out to do one thing and then end up doing another. When the day comes that we feel we are in the right place at the right time, at that moment it may feel as if this is where we were always headed.

There are times when we may navigate with omens. Perhaps it was a sign in nature, like a fox crossing your path, or a turn of the card, or a photo on a website or in a magazine that catches our attention and launches our journey. Perhaps it was a message from an old friend. Whatever the exact nature of the prompting, it works.

One day we find ourselves here and everything works out and we are here longer than we thought, and in contrast there were times when we thought that living in a place would be perfect, once we lived in it for a while, we decided that we needed to move on.

Curiosity led me to study different subjects like Tarot, Reiki, Past Lives, Drumming, Writing and other things. Over a period of years then, my path led me to be here, meeting you, doing healings, readings, classes or music with you. I think that my experience as a healer is enriched by the fact that my navigation was more elliptical.

How many times have we met a person that it seemed we were destined to meet? We remember those, don't we? They really stand out in our memories. Opportunties to navigate varying courses present us with incredible opportunities in life. How many of us are here who moved here, rather than being born and raised here? That kind of experience can sometimes feel like we have lived more than one lifetime in this lifetime.

So many stories, so many experiences, so many people, so many events. As long as we allow ourselves the freedom to navigate on a course dictated by desires, spiritual quests or friends, rather than a straight line from A to B, then our journey can be really sweet.

Navigating in an elliptical pattern is how we get a big taste of life. Here we are, from far points of origin, converging at this time, in this place. We never planned it this way, but we arrived at a good place all the same.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Common Currency

As time went on and just about everyone had a TV, it became a common conversation starter to ask "Did you see that show last night?" Prior to that, conversation starters may have been "Did you read that story in the paper this morning?" or "Did you hear that show on the radio?" As a person who has chosen to live much of his adult life without watching TV, I have sometimes been out of the conversation loop when the topic was TV shows. There were popular series that came and went over a period of years without my ever seeing one episode. There was always something else I would rather be doing.

Common currency means that we have things in common to talk about. Big subjects, such as war, can cause heated debates in the workplace or at a social event, so frequently people troll the common currency for trivia, such as what movie stars are getting married, what famous person got in a scandal, or what sports team won last night. When you don't watch a lot of TV, you have to use something else for your common currency. You have to connect with people through other topics.

TV as common currency does not always serve us well. Remember much about the savings and loan scandal and how that came to be? Remember when tax credits to home owners for installing solar panels got repealed? Remember the invasion of Grenada? Which of those was the important issue?

While the free trade agreements were being put in place, we allowed our attention to be shifted to the O.J. trial. I am not making light of a murder, but did that murder affect your life or mine any more than any of the other thousands of murders in this country every year? Chatter about celebrities feels comfortable because there is absolutely nothing at stake. Britney will be forgotten as soon as the next ephemeral pop star upstages her. Brad & Angelina will cease being a topic when the next celebrity couple poses for pictures.

We need comedy to take our minds off our troubles. After a hard day of work, it feels good to just laugh. I enjoy a good comedy just like you do. Some comedies can entertain us and make us think at the same time. And then there are breakthrough moments when shows can elevate our level of consciousness and work their way into every day conversation. For a while this winter, Oprah's broadcast of her series with Eckhart Tolle became a topic, and that, in my view, was a good thing. Back in the 80s when Bill Moyers did a series of interviews with Joseph Campbell about "The Power of Myth" it seemed that people were bringing it up in conversations for quite some time. There was a period of time in my life when I used to enjoy watching Charles Kuralt's "Sunday Morning" for its inspiring and creative stories and interviews.

The new technology now allows me to rent DVDs of series such as "Rome" or "Boston Legal" so that I can enjoy watching them without commercials. It is not that I never enjoyed anything, it was more about not wanting to schedule my life around when a show was broadcast, and not wanting to have to sit through 20 minutes of commercials in order to see 40 minutes of show. Now we finally have technology that allows us to enjoy the shows we want, when we want, in a more time efficient manner. One of the questions before us then, is with all these choices, what do we choose?

Are you aware of what common currency you are using?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

How Much Have We Evolved?

I wonder why it is so hard for some people to say that there was a divine force at work in creating the world, and all of those creations kept on evolving? I don't see it as two conflicting points of view.

Look at all the evolution around us. My grandfather used to deliver ice for people's ice boxes, which is what they called the first home refrigerators. He carried blocks of ice on his back up flights of stairs. Today, we enjoy refrigerators that make ice, keep our food cold and even dispense filtered drinking water while we relax in our air conditioned homes.

Even at the time I was a kid, we had relatives who lived on farms who had outhouses instead of bathrooms and hauled their drinking, bathing and washing water up from the well in buckets.

I remember taking a trip across the country in a train, which less than a hundred years ago, was the fastest and most luxurious way to get from one end of the country to the other.

When I first started work, we typed on typewriters, and made copies by using carbon paper. Adding machines were big and clunky. When I was a kid, there were still quite a few people who had "party lines" for telephone service, which meant that several people shared one telephone line, and you had to wait for your neighbors to get off the line before you could make a call.

Today, we all have little phones that easily fit in our pocket so that we never have to look for a pay phone and we can make and get calls absolutely anywhere. Some of these phones also double as cameras, and others are little computers that can also surf the web and send email.

We all have access to laptop computers which are easy to take with us and make it easy for us to write, design and create on. We can make all the copies of our work that we want, and change it even easier. Within minutes, people on the other side of the world can be reading what we wrote and looking at pictures we uploaded.

Between the time of the Wright Brothers to regularly scheduled commercial flights was only fifty years. The iconic American artist Norman Rockwell was at one time an illustrator for magazine and newspaper advertisements. One of the big ad campaigns he worked on promoted the wonders of a revolutionary new invention, indoor electric lights. And that was also not that long ago. He was still illustrating magazine covers when I was growing up.

Today, most of us, even my 83-year-old mother, send emails to each other instead of writing letters on paper and sending them through the post office or making long distance phone calls.

Now even poor people in this country live in places that have electricity, indoor plumbing, air conditioning, phones and other marvels.

All of that evolution in just a few generations.

And yet there are some lessons we have not learned as humans. Wars to take other people's land, wars to steal other people's resources, wars to make other people follow the same religion, wars caused by hatred of another group of people just because they are a different ethnic group or race, wars for all kinds of reasons, we have not yet evolved beyond. Will we?

In some ways we have evolved a lot. In other ways, we have evolved little.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Reiki, A Secret Beauty Treatment

Find out how Reiki energy healing can enhance your beauty. Add this special secret ingredient to your array of other beauty treatments.

Most women who think about ways to enhance their beauty look to those things which are external, solutions that come in the form of diets, workouts, creams, injections, pills, surgeries, and a host of other things.

Beauty is also something that radiates out from the inside. Reducing stress will soften your features, give you a radiant glow and increase your sensory stimulation. When a person feels good, their eyes glow with brightness and clarity.

Discover an ancient technique that works wonders!

Everyone will be asking you what is different about you. They will comment on how good you look, but they will not find the answer in a product and the mystery will drive them wild with curiosity to discover the secret of your beauty. Mystery provides the magnetism that draws the beauty from the inside out. Others will notice the difference. You will notice the difference.

Experience the gentle, soothing flow of waves of energy that work on body, mind, and spirit all at the same time. You will marvel at how something invisible, such as Reiki energy healing, can beautify the visible, the face, body and the the glow of joy that will permeate your entire being, from the inside out.

Get a glow on!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Different Worlds

When we look at different phases of our lives, sometimes it seems that we may have lived in different worlds and different lifetimes all in one lifetime.

If you have ever had a job that really consumed you and dominated much of your waking thoughts, you will be able to relate to this. There were things that were the center of your attention and ruled your actions, you subscribed to certain professional journals and read the news with an eye on what that might mean for your business, or your job. Then one day that part of your life is over.

Or perhaps there was a sport that dominated your attention, and you did it every chance you got. You planned your vacations around it and spent money on things that related to that interest. Then one day that was over.

Maybe there was a hobby you had that once took up much of your free time, and you socialized with other people who had that hobby, and then you changed hobbies.

You might also have changed religions and found that your entire world view had shifted, and so did your friends and acquaintances.

Marriage and divorce is another world that can change where you are located in the universe.

Probably a great many of the friends and acquaintances you had from that time are no longer in touch with you. As you set off down your new career, marriage, job, hobby, religion, activity, or sport, suddenly whole new worlds open up. You learn to see the world through new eyes again. It is like you have just discovered living on another planet.

How many lives have you had in this lifetime?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Human Touch

One of the reasons that alternative healing is so popular is that we spend so much time at our jobs working with computers and telephones that we appreciate the pleasure of personal service. Finding a healer who will focus on our needs and offer their service to us is a welcome counterbalance to simply visiting websites or sending emails. Or finding a teacher who will take the time to share their knowledge with us personally rather than trying to learn from a book, a webinar, teleseminar or a huge group. The human touch is powerful and communicates volumes.

There is healing and wisdom that we gain from simply being in the presence of another concerned, committed individual. Certainly we have all felt the difference when we have gone to a professional for service and we feel like we have been just rushed out so that they can bring the next customer in.

And on the other hand, we know the the feeling of healing starting to work even before the official session begins when we can tell that the healer actually cares about us and is focused on really putting their energy into their service to us.

Training and experience are important, and they are contributing factors to the effectiveness of a healer. In the end, though, it is the human touch that propels, channels or directs the healing processes and stimulates the flow of intent focused on healing, whether the modality is very physical, mildly physical, or not very physical at all. The empathy, compassion and concern of the healer who works with us is part of the effectiveness.

People's attitudes play a part in all of our interactions. When someone is acting out of love, rather than out of fear, we can tell, and it makes us feel good. It also adds energy to the technique they employ to help do the healing work. Focus, intent, compassion, experience. The healing touch.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Appreciation from a Listener

As I drive around in my car, I often listen to the radio. I was pleasantly surprised one morning to find that KGNU (Boulder) was broadcasting recordings of talks given by Alan Watts, a British teacher of Eastern philosophies who worked in America back in the 50s & 60s. He has been gone many years now, but I have heard some of his tapes before, and so his voice was immediately recognizable to me. It was a real pleasure to hear this man talk about metaphysics, because he always had a sense of humor as well as seriousness about him.

I mostly like to listen to classical music, jazz or NPR news, but occasionally, a treat like Alan Watts offers a real respite from "the news." this station also broadcasts an excellent interview program called New Dimensions which host Michael Toms has been doing for many years. This is a nationally syndicated show. Congratulations to whoever is responsible for this.

A really quirky show that is a constant surprise to listen to is This American Life which is broadcast on KCFR, the NPR news station, as it is on stations all over the country. Episodes I have heard are entertaining and always have some ironic twists in there. Storytelling that is definitely outside the square. The people who put this show together really let their creative juices flow.

When you are driving to and from work or just driving to wherever, it is delightful to hear such original choices along the way. Check these out if you have a chance.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Dead Sea Scrolls & The Power of Myth

This week marks the 60th anniversary of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and recently a new find, of a stone with writing on it that appears to date from the same period of history and also involving the subject of a messiah who rises from the dead named Simon and involving the Archangel Gabriel, according to news stories.

No matter what religion you follow, or even if you count yourself as a follower of no religion, these types of discoveries are fascinating. I think we can expect to see even more such discoveries in the future.

This is all about understanding how the world works, or appears to work. It is all about our stories, and archeological discoveries can cause us to rewrite stories that we appear to know well.

As we know from history, there were councils held by the church to decide what writings would be officially included in the Bible and which would not. For a long time, people simply took the church leaders word for it that the writings that were excluded were heretical, in other words, seriously in error, or just not very good or did not cover anything important. But we can also see how this whole maneuver was about power and control. If you do a web search on heresies of the church, you will find some that sound quite sensible, and you will quite naturally wonder what the objection was to them.

But since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, our minds have been opened wider to include other possible explanations or other possible versions of our stories. For years immediately after the discovery, these documents were closely guarded and the churches wanted to keep close control over any interpretations related to them. Why? They knew that different points of view might change people's minds and erode the power of the institutions.

Recent years have seen the publication of not only interpretations of the Dead Sea Scrolls, but The Lost Books of the Bible, The Gnostic Gospels, The Gospel of Mary, and others which shed a whole new light on the well known Bible stories. An excellent book about the importance of interpretation from the old languages to English is "Don't Know Much About the Bible," by Kenneth Davis.

The effect of all these new stories has been liberating for many people. There are those who have adapted a much different interpretation of Christianity and spirituality that they live with, enjoy, and relate to as a guide to understanding themselves and the world. The readers who take these books to heart do not concern themselves with the fact that many churches consider these heretical writings and teachings, and they are a rapidly growing segment of the American population who chooses to approach spirituality differently.

Consider also the popularity of "A Course in Miracles" which is another, more metaphysical interpretation of Christianity. It is a channeled book of writing, rather than an archeological find, but it would be impossible to ignore the impact its millions of copies have had on contemporary spirituality.

This embracing of alternative views of the story of Christ, who he was and what he did, is one of the underlying reasons for the popularity of "The DaVinci Code" a few years ago. It was not popular simply because it was a mystery/suspense thriller. It has sold millions of copies and been translated into several languages. Why? Because at the heart of the book, there is an alternative view of the history of Christianity. People have always suspected that there was more to the story than the official version sanctioned by their church, but there was not much to back up that intuition until recent years.

Ultimately, we all have to live our own spiritual lives, and these new books open up pertinent questions for a reader, such as the role of women in the clergy, the concept of heaven, the concept of divinity, the ways we evolve as individuals, our true potential and our true power as humans, and how we relate to others. These new texts also delight many people who choose not to make their spirituality a political issue, but rather value it as a personal issue.

Has any of this affected you?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

What Makes Your Heart Sing?

What is it that makes your heart sing? What is it that you do that really makes you feel alive? What is it that you would always love to do more of?

At different points in our lives, this thing can change. Perhaps when we were younger it was a sport, or a hobby, or the kind of work we did. It could be something as simple as cooking a good meal, gardening, singing with other people, going dancing. Or it could be as personal as writing poetry, playing a musical instrument, stringing beads, painting pictures or knitting. Some people have a passion for bird watching, snorkeling, or photography.

Has that disappeared now that we have grown older? Or has that attention simply shifted to something else?

What is it that you would do whether or not you got paid for it? What is it that awakens your curiosity, stokes your enthusiasm and makes you smile, laugh and generally puts you in a good mood?

For each of us it is different. What makes one person's heart sing can make them more enjoyable to be around, as their joy spreads outward from them, and other people pick up on their sense of aliveness. The important question is: Do you still do things that make your heart sing?

Saturday, July 5, 2008

What Appears to Be Magic

Isaac Asimov, the great science fiction writer, once said "Any technology sufficiently beyond the present, will appear to be magic."

Obvious examples of this would be for a person in some remote area of the world seeing a computer or a helicopter for the first time.

But there are less obvious examples. What about these people called the horse whisperers, or the bird whisperers? They are using skills that other humans have accessed over the centuries, rather than inventing a new device.

What about the buzzwords more people are talking about now, about how we can create our own reality, about how we can make things happen, how energy combined with thought is powerful and is a power that we can all tap into.

What about the seemingly impossible things some of us have done such as firewalks?

As we navigate around the perimeter of the possible, perhaps it would be useful to remember what Asimov said. Sometimes we know exactly how a thing works, and sometimes we don't. Interestingly, one of the things we don't completely understand is our own power.

If you are interested and you exercise your invisible muscles as well as your visible ones, magic can happen for you too.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Gratitude & Inspiration

These are two unsolicited testimonials that came to me recently. I just received Ken's today, and the correspondence from Carlos near the end of last year. I wanted to share these with you. We do not always know the long term influences of our work. This kind of feedback means a lot to me.

If you have done any kind of creative or teaching work, you may have had similar experiences. Sometimes we do not discover these words of appreciation until much later. Sometimes never. I am grateful to have received them now.

Hi Dan-

I took your creative writing class at the Spruill Center a couple of times probably about 10 years ago. I am certain you do not remember me. I still remember a story "Cuppa Joe" I was particularly proud of. It was a great experience, and actually ended up with a story published in the lit mag you were publishing at the time. Anyway, on one of my final classes, you returned my story with a very inspiring prediction that I would be a fine writer some day. I have remembered that to this date, so thanks.

Business world and other responsibilities have gotten in the way since, and I haven't been able to write as much as I like. Lately, I have been satisfying my writing urge by working on a number of screenplays and television proposals. I recently won a screenwriting competition (see the attached press release if you have a moment), and the award has led to pitch meetings set up with several production companies in the next few weeks.

It's probably not exactly what you envisioned for your writing students, but it feels like a bit of success to me, and I want to thank you for the encouragement so many years ago. In this hectic world, it's important to reach out and thank the people who had input in your journey, isn't it?

From the website, it looks like you have added many new exciting ventures and skills to your cv. I wish you continued successes!

Ken Lemm

And one other:

Hi Dan --

I have a book of poetry on my shelf by a Dan Liss called "Flashing" from 1973. Are you the author?

Carlos Cumpian

Hi Carlos,

Yes, I am the author. Why do you ask?

I honestly never thought I would hear from anyone about that book again at this late date. Did you buy one way back then?

How did you even find an email address for me? The Internet sure is full of surprises.


Good gawd man with this I can honestly say I was 20 when I bought it on Lincoln Aveune or Barbara's Books on Wells street, really never heard you read but I must have reread various poems a dozen times, I am very nostalgic about that part of my life and the city I still live in Chicago, in fact I am a published poet with three books first in 1990 was Coyote Sun now in its 4th printing, Latino Rainbow poems about Hispanic Achviement 1994 Children's Press, and my favorite Armadillo Charm 1996 Tia Chucha Press with two printings second in 1999.

The photos made me want to keep the book as well, I am an English teacher by profession I've taught college and high school (still doing it). Having this pixel exchange is great, I hope you are still writing and dreaming artistically with results. Dan, who knows how our words influence others? If you are ever in Chicago I would like to do an interview for the cyberspace newsletter Letter EX Chicago's poetry newsletter maybe I'll get the editor, C.J., to do a FLASHING flashback. Did you ever hear the Puerto Rican poet David Hernandez from back in the day? He is still kicking with the spoken word. Well take care and have a happy and strange new year fellow poet.


Is Romance Necessary?

I think it is. Romance is part of where we find the energies to animate our ideas and power us forward toward our visions.

Consider this. How much research has been done on ancient civilizations because someone gets intrigued with the ideas of what life was like in that time period? How much research has been done on past lives, life after death, or hospice work because people care about people they love?

How many people volunteer to work for charitable causes because they have a romantic notion of how the world can be a better place? How many people change careers in order to do something they really love?

Aren't these all examples of actions people take because of romantic ideas?

Ever notice how people are in a good mood, have more energy, more of a sense of humor, more cooperative and are more creative when romantic ideas inspire them?

When people are possessed of a romantic mood, it permeates their whole environment and all of their relationships.

If you look beneath the surface of a person who is full of ideas and enthusiasm, you will always find a romantic at heart. Looking at all the different aspects of life motivated by romance, you would have to agree that it is an essential ingredient for life.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Secret Power of Rhythm

Ancient calendars consisted of 13 months, or moon cycles, in a year with a very even rhythm to them. A four week cycle when the moon goes from dark waxing to full to waning to dark again. Some people speculate that church changed the calendars to the Gregorian calendar in 1582 which gave us the uneven count that we have today with some months having 30 or 31 days and one having 28 except for leap year to interrupt the natural rhythms of our lives. When people are off balance, they are easier to control.

What other events in history used rhythm as a control device? When slaves were brought to this country from Africa, the slave masters took away their drums, because they knew that if the people could play their tribal music together, they would be mroe unified and strong. But those rhythms survived in the handclapping and foot stomping which they carried over into the church music, and that is why black church music sounds different than white church music.

When Indians were placed on reservations, they were forbidden to do their dances and songs and even speak their own language. One of the famous unintended consequences of this was the grassroots popularity of the ghost dance which led to the infamous uprisings of the late 1800s. Again, these rhythms gave groups of people strength and unity.

There are certain varieties of funadamentalist Christian religious sects that forbid dancing. Why? It might raise the energy of people in a way that will make them harder to control.

How else can we see rhythm at work in our lives? Sympathetic vibrations, as I discussed in an earlier piece, shows the power of the Law of Attraction. Rhythms we send out have everything to do with what we get back.

What about rhythms of the spoken word? Listen to any of the people who are considered great public speakers, whether they are comedians, actors, singers, politicians, ministers, or teachers. Powerful speeches or entertainments have everything to do with timing and rhythm.

Cadence is everything in training people to work as a unit in the military. Think of all those chants that they all use when marching and drilling.

What about cheering your team on at a sporting event? Rhythm plays a huge part in working up energy in that context too.

Poetry readings. Listen to how much the rhythm of the words affect the delivery and impact of any poetry, whether it is classical or contemporary.

Think of how your life feels in or out of balance, based on how smoothly you get your work done, which has everything to do with having the proper timing to the beginning, middle and ending of a job or task. Think of how smooth things flow when you are cooking, and this ingredient is done in time to blend with that ingredient. Rhythm.

Why do you think that certain businesses choose certain types of music to play. Notice the difference between a place that does most of its business as a bar, and a place that is a more elegant restaurant. Think of the kind of music you hear in a bookstore, and the kind of music you hear in a coffee shop, the kind of music you hear in a grocery store or an oil change place. Why? Different rhythms create different moods, different appetites. Think about the different kinds of music you might choose for working out, cleaning house, making love or reading.

Think of the important influence rhythm plays in all aspects of life. Feel how this component we take for granted is invisible, but its effect is felt everywhere. And it makes all the difference in how effective we are at whatever we are doing.