Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Flashes of Insight or Moments of Inspiration

When we get a flash of insight or inspiration, where is that coming from? What opens the gateway to a fresh blast of ideas or perspectives?

How do we get tapped in better so that we can have more of those inspired moments? Seems to me the part of the secret to these flashes of inspiration come from relaxation. I have noticed that sometimes when I am walking, tending my garden, playing music, dancing or doing something simple like that is when fresh insights or inspirations come.

Sometimes when we focus on something too hard we do not see all our options and ways of getting to our goal, so looking away from the problem for a moment lets our vision refresh.

Have your eyes ever gotten tired from sitting in front of the computer for hours? Get away from your desk and go outside. Focus on the horizon. Look at the clouds, landscape, birds in flight, anything to shift your focus to the far distance. Feel how refreshing that is? Does everything come back into focus a little better now?

Sometimes it is more than relaxation that works. Sometimes you just have to accept that you do not know everything and affirm that you are open to new answers, new perspectives, new insights.

Another tactic that might work wonders for you is to simply draw a card a day from whatever deck you like to work with. If you feel like drawing more than one card, go ahead. The idea is that the randomness of the act compels out mind to think outside the square.

There is one other factor which we should notice. Practice. Practice? If you ever read or hear interviews with people who are great at what they do, no matter whether they are athletes, musicians, writers, artists, entrepreneurs, inventors, healers, readers, psychics, whatever, you find a common thread. All of these people spent a lot of time practicing their chosen skill in order to learn how to do what they do excellently. The practice is what leads to excellence. In the midst of the practice, something "just comes to them" and there is the hit song, the popular book, the trademark physical form that scores points, the invention that revolutionizes a product line and all the rest. There is an altered state we get to when we practice.

How many ways are there to break through?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Is Surfing the Web Astral Travel?

The world today looks so different from the world of not so long ago, that it is almost as if a time warp drew us through.

Astral travel? Think about the jarring effect of visiting another country for a week or two or even a nice island getaway for a long weekend, and then returning to work.

Think about people we have corresponded with on the internet and we have never met them. There are people we do business with whom we never meet in person. We simply have an email exchange with them.

If we know people only through websites and email, is that a form of astral travel? Is certainly isn't real time travel.

We can post web pages and blogs somewhere out there and everyone in the world can see them, but they reside somewhere other than on our computer.

We can access pages people created in another country on the other side of the globe just as easily as we can visit a page or an email from a friend in the same city or town. We think we can see them, but all we are really seeing is an image.

Is surfing the web a form of astral travel?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Half Empty or Half Full?

When the blizzards hit hard out here, you can see effects almost immediately. Within a couple days, even the huge chain grocery stores start to have empty shelves where produce and bread used to be.

That is an instant reminder of how interdependent we are in this world. Other people raise and produce our food and send it to us.

Such sights inspire some people to advocate that everyone store tons of food for emergencies. Of course, having some extra canned goods or dried food on hand is always a prudent idea. How much? Well, the half empty glass people will advocate a couple years worth, but perhaps a few months worth will see you through the worst emergencies, since the groceries seem to be restocked to normal within a week. So the extra will get you through times of power outages, storms and short periods of unemployment.

Another suggestion that has merit is that of victory gardens. Back around WW2, people were encouraged to grow some of their own vegetables and fruits in their own yards for their own consumption so that more produce could be available to feed the troops. Lots of people did.

Even to this day gardening is the most popular hobby not only in this country, but in the world. There is a real joy and pleasure to seeing plants grow, nurturing them and then having vegetables, fruits and herbs from your own garden be part of your meals. Herbs that season your food or become tea add a lot of life to any meal.

If you are producing more than you can eat right away, you can share it with others, you can can, freeze or dry it. Even a small patch can produce a lot. Many people would think that the idea of having a garden rather than a lawn would be less aethetically pleasing, but that all depends on your sense of aesthetics. For most of the life of this country, manicured lawns were not the standard in front of every house.

So is your life half empty or half full? We must trust that the world will continue to work. Farmers all around the world will continue to produce food and these mutual exchanges will benefit everyone. My world view is not so grim as to think that this will all end suddenly one day.

My glass is half full when I work in my garden because I enjoy it. My trust that other people will keep producing is based on the simple truth that buying and selling are necessary parts of life is also a half full view of life. We all have to guy and sell something just as part of every day life.

The half empty view of creating a life where each person is capable of producing all their own food is a reality that will never be available to most people. Seeing the glass as half full is the only option that makes sense. Always seeing it as half empty makes for a grim view of life, devoid of joy.


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Spirit Dancing

My experience with dance is that it is a superior method for uplifting a person's moods and creating an altered state of ecstasy and awareness.

For me, this works a lot faster and better than any of those meditation traditions where you just sit down and be quiet for hours.

Music and movement can change my state of awareness in a minute. Dancing with people fosters a sense of connectedness, because whether it is swing dance, contra dance, freestyle movement or something else, the rhythms of everyone are drawn together. It also inspires spontaneous creativity and joy.

Plus, you get the obvious benefits of aerobic exercise and burning off calories. Way more fun than just doing reps on a weight machine. And like other forms of exercise, the flow of blood and oxygen also stimulates fresh perspectives and new ideas.

Every time I go out for a walk, go swimming or go out dancing, I always find that mind becomes more alert and new ideas flow to me.

If spirituality is about sensing our connection to other people, and with spirit, what better demonstration than dancing with a partner?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Watery Visions of the Future

Remember how not so long ago the people who advocated that we get more of our electricity from wind or solar power were regarded as wackos. Today, those people are regarded as visionaries and people are interested in developing more infrastructure to generate wind and solar power.

Now we come to another problem. Water. Doesn't it strike you as strange that the way that Los Angeles and Las Vegas get water is to have it piped from the Colorado River? Why haven't we set up plants by major coastal cities like Los Angeles to desalinate and clean up water from the ocean? It could be done on the east coast too.

Atlanta had a drought last year because the water levels from the Chattahoochee River were down. A pipeline from the Atlantic would not be nearly as long a pipeline as the Alaska pipeline that transports oil.

I would also expect that bottled water might be one of the next industries that will see sales go down. Two reasons. One, it seems wasteful to throw away a plastic bottle every time we take a drink. As far as filtering, a person can get something as simple as a pitcher with a filter or attach one to their sinks or, of course, in many refrigerators. Using a refillable container is much less wasteful and more cost effective.

Perhaps one day in the not too distant future, we will hire engineers and construction crews to build desalination plants on our coasts near major cities to solve our problems with water shortages.

Maybe that sounds too visionary now, but then again, sustainable agriculture is now something we hear talked about more all the time, along with questions about the quality of our food sources and more inspections for food production facilities.

Maybe it is time for some of these watery visions to come true.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Blizzard After Equinox

The equinox signals a time of balance between light and dark. So now the days are lengthening and we are moving through spring and toward summer. Yet today we have a blizzard.

When I lived in Atlanta, the progress of the seasons I grew accustomed to was different. We had plant seeds in the ground by spring equinox and green shoots were up by May, and we even had the first flowers of the season by Groundhog Day. Then as the days got hotter, the flowers continued to unfurl all spring, all the wonderful healing and culinary herbs bounced back to life, and the vegetables continued their steady progress toward fullness and ripeness, or as folks would say "good eatin' size."

Out here in Colorado, they say not to plant before Mother's Day, and today is a perfect example of why, although when I first moved out here, I thought they were pulling my leg when they told me to wait that long.

This blizzard has brought me a day of rest, and if it snows more this evening, I will stay home again tomorrow. That would be a benefit of the blizzard.

Once we have made it through the last off the storms then the challenge will be to keep the plants watered, because the constant sun will fry them if you forget to water for a couple days. That is the relentless task of the gardener out here.

But for today, I will enjoy a quiet day at home, every once in a while looking at the blanket of snow out there and be glad that I don't have to drive in it. Nature is balancing me today by giving me a rest after weeks of nonstop work. Yes, the equinox is bringing balance back in.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Does Letting Go Lead to Chaos or Peace?

The latest religious surveys about the habits of Americans continue to show the trends away from organized religions to more free form, unafiliated religions and spiritual practices. Letting go of those forms seems to suit more people every time one of these surveys is taken. People want to let go of the forms they find restrictive. They want the freedom to be creative. They want the freedom to believe or not believe, practice or not practice as they choose. Letting go brings less problems for those who want more peace in their lives, more personal power, control of their personal spiritual life without someone else telling them how it should be.

I generally do not talk about politics on my blog, but here is another simple example of letting go solving a problem. Right now the wars between gangs trying to control the drug traffic is causing the government to assign hundreds more cops to the border area with Mexico. One simple act could make all that unnecessary. If we simply legalized drugs, there would not be a need for gangs to control the traffic any more. Gangs fought for control of beer and whiskey distributorships when alcohol was illegal. Now people just go to stores and buy the stuff. Same would happen if drugs were legalized. People would simply go to stores and buy the stuff and the government would make money on taxes. So we keep wasting more money deploying police to stop something that cannot be stopped, and in the meantime, many people will be killed or seriously hurt in the drug wars. And all that could end with one act that would also turn it into a money maker for the government.

Another step toward letting go is easing the travel restrictions to Cuba. I have been of the opinion for a long time that the embargo has been ineffective. It did not cause the government of that country to change. Lifting the embargo would be a boon to their economy and also stimulate tourism and trade from people in the US who want to do business there and vacation there. Letting go of this failed idea can produce a good result.

And here is one more. I am no financial expert, but the more news stories I hear about the misdeeds of the financial firms, the more I wonder if letting them go into bankruptcy and letting the well run companies take over would not be the better choice. I have compassion for all those workers at the auto manufacturers, but if they cannot produce a product of quality equal to or better than what we get from other manufacturers, theen I guess we will just buy more from those other manufacturers and we will continue to see more Hondas, Hyundais, and Toyotas on the road than Chevys, Buicks and Pontiacs.

Sometimes we have to let go of what is not working in order to let other things work better.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Many Roads, Many Interpretations

Have you ever had an experience in your life when you found yourself thinking that it would be wonderful if you could do a certain thing but felt blocked from getting there? But when you look at the possibilities, you see your way is blocked. So you let go, and then one day, you find another way to get there.

Sometimes the greatest power can be found in letting go and not trying to make a thing happen. Perhaps there was a type of job you wished you had and you didn't know how to get it or there was something blocking your way from getting it. So you set it aside and let go of that idea because it seemed like continuing along that same path would produce nothing but frustration.

Then at a later date, a path opens up. Why did it open? Perhaps because relaxing your efforts allows the energy to flow and you are able to make the right connections, then all of a sudden the way becomes much smoother.

Letting go lets the energy come to us. It is magnetized and flows along the path of least resistance. And that is how we can find ourselves at one point in time thinking about being in a different place in life, and at another point in time, being there.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Spring Cleaning

Ever wonder why storage units became such a big business all over the country? Yes, some people are in between moves and need to keep things there while they look for a new house. Adn some people keep business inventories and materials in them. But how many people have so much stuff that they can't live with it? Buying binges were fun, but once things were brought home from shopping, there was no place to put it. How many people have so much stuff they have trouble moving around in their own house or finding things they need?

In many cases, we have become so attached to our stuff, even old stuff we have filling up our rooms, basements, garages, and storage units, that it is a real shamanic test for some people to go through it all and really clear and clean until all that is left are the things they really use or the things that add beauty and joy to their life and uplift their spirits.

Keeping stuff that is broken or never used comes from a sense of fear that there is not enough in the world. Of course, that is not true. There is plenty of stuff in the world.

In extreme cases, that is what motivates some people to save rubber bands, string, broken toys, sporting goods they haven't used in years, stacks of old magazines and all other kinds of detritus they will probably never use again. What could you do with all the money you save on storage space rental?

Turn the stuff you can sell into cash, and trash the rest. By clearing the space, there is more room for living now. By only having things in your space that are beautiful and useful, you are able to have your life working more smoothly and efficiently. The flow of energy that comes from love, not fear, leaves more space and more energy for what we really love and what is really important to us.

Spring cleaning can be really challenging and really energizing. Being able to do this is more of a shamanic task for most people than sleeping outdoors for night or two without a tent or a supply of food. Deep cleaning really has us face our stuff and then make conscious decisions to change and prepare for the next stage of our life. We can make room for what is most important to us now. Are you up to the task?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Art of Interpretation

When you look at any tarot card, there are many interpretations of it. This becomes rapidly apparent when you look at different designs and how from one artist to the next the same card can get a whole new meaning or set of meanings. Then you, as the reader, have to choose which meanings are relevant to the question and who is asking it. This is the art of the reader.

All tarot cards have more than one meaning. That is both the difficulty and the beauty of learning them. The images challenge us to see things differently, and as we increase our flexibility and see things differently, that affects how we feel.

The intutive ability of the reader helps find the best interpretation, given the variables. So when the Fool comes up, is it that we are being foolish or off on a new adventure? When the Devil comes up, is it about the things we let hold us back? Or is it a reminder to take time off work to play? When the Death card comes up, it is about ending a chapter in our life and beginning a new chapter? Or do we need the prompting of the Tower to act fast? Sometimes like the Hanged Man, we simply have to look at things from a different perspective. You know, like thinking outside the square. Why is tarot a good tool for doing this? Remember the definition of insanity? Doing the same things over and over and expecting a different result. Card images can prompt us to break that cycle.

How we feel about changes makes all the difference in how we handle them. When we change our feelings, we can open up to recognizing new solutions and new opportunities.

This is true whether we are reading for ourselves or for others. We have to be neutral and open to finding answers. Sometimes we need to think about what the answer implies, but your intuition will successfully guide you in choosing, then how you feel will encourage you to take action.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Talking to Ourselves

How many times do we listen to what we say?

If we constantly say that life is difficult and that we will probably never have a job that fulfills us, we are not only creating a belief and then reinforcing it, we are also broadcasting it to the universe, and the energies of the universe that harmonize with that thought come to reinforce it.

If we constantly say that we will never find our perfect match, then we are creating another belief and then reinforcing it, we are also broadcasting it to the universe, and the energies of the universe that harmonize with that thought come to reinforce it.

Now see how you feel when you change your words. What if you say "I know that there is a great job out there for me somewhere. I just have to find it or create it. I am stepping into the picture I have created of myself in a great job." Now what happens? The more times you say that out loud, the more you summon the energies of the universe that agree with you to come and reinforce that image becoming a reality.

Now see how you feel when you change your words. What if you say "I know that there is a great partner out there for me somewhere. I just have to find him/her. I am stepping into the picture I have created of myself in a great job." Now what happens? The more times you say that out loud, the more you summon the energies of the universe that agree with you to come and reinforce that image becoming a reality.

Our words are powerful. Our words are magic. Words can change things.

Be sure to always include a simple, common sense proviso in all your affirmations. Insert the phrases that "the best job for me, or the best partner for me will be part of my life and that these things will come to be for the good of all involved and with the free will of all involved."

When you do that, you relax the need to be in control of everything. Now don't get me wrong. We do have to take action steps to get what we want. However, as we take those action steps, instead of saying "I must have that job" or "I must have that person for my partner" we relax a little bit and make contacts to try and get jobs and find partners.

But we also relax when we are out with people and instead of focusing on whether they are going to be a perfect partner, we simply say to ourselves "I am with this person today and we will enjoy ourselves." Letting every moment spring from that ground of being, and let things unfold. We determine from the way those people talk and act with us over time whether we would feel comfortable with them as a partner, or whether they are simply people we went out with and had fun with for a while. We can have more great times together if we are not always worrying about whether they are "the one for me."

Similarly, we might think that a certain job or type of work might be best suited for us, but when that opportunity does not come to pass, and some other job or type of work does surface that we can enjoy doing and feel good about, then we can decide to be happy doing that instead. There can be real advantages in doing things we had not pictured ourselves doing. Some of us will create our own jobs, and some may find a pleasant surprise in doing something new.

The main thing to be aware of is the power of our words and how they help us make our dreams come true.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Are We Living Our Dreams?

There is an old zen fable about a man who dreams and wonders which world is real. Is our dream world real or is this our real world? For those of you who think the answer is too obvious, consider this.

We imagine ourselves to be in a certain profession. We learn to do a certain thing for a living. Our identity is wrapped up in it. Then the profession changes or the employer goes out of business. So we change and now we have a new identity. Which one is real?

People get married and live together or live together without being married. Then one day, the relationship is over and they become single again. Which experience is the reality and which one is the dream? When we enter into a subsequent relationship is one more real than the other?

We go to a beautiful place on vacation. We enjoy this other place and the entertainments it has to offer. It might be a spiritual experience and we are enveloped in an altered state for a few days, whether it is in Las Vegas, a camping trip or a hot springs resort. When we drive back whether all the way from our destination or from the airport, we are suddenly aware of a different energy than we experienced where we were. Which state is real?

Does an experience become more real simply because we do it more often? If our work was in Las Vegas or at a hot springs spa, wouldn't that seem real? Of all the things we have done in our lives, which are most real?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

What Is Underground?

What is underground? There are different kinds of underground. Think of a seed germinating in the dark, rich soil, invisible to those of us looking from up above. Invisible to us, the seed begins to crack its shell, putting out little strands of life that reach into the soil to pull nutrients and moisture in. When it gets strong enough, it pushes a tendril up above ground and then we know there is a larger movement coming, a full grown plant will be there as long as we take care of it. It is the darkness that nurtures life.

There is darkness when we are in the womb. That is until we sprout and learn to see and move. There seems to be darkness in outer space, that is, until we learn to see out there too. There is darkness in deep water, until we learn to see there.

Have you ever heard of something that was an underground hit? An underground novel, an underground band, an underground movement?

Underground refers to a rich current that is invisible in mainstream culture. The darkness nurtures us until we are ready to grow. Our creative instincts, our feelings, our intellect, all are dark, until we learn how to see. It is always there. It nurtures us. It is invisible, until it is ready to be seen.

There are thoughts that swim through the currents of of the unconscious. These are underground from our every day reality. They come up in glimpses when we are dreaming. Dreams are like the dolphins, whales other sea creatures who breach the surface momentarily and then slip beneath the surface once again. Even though we may only get a partial view of it, we know that there are things there. Divers don oxygen tanks to explore the oceans. Dreamers decipher code to unwrap dreams.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Is Anyone Really Ever Lost?

If we think about this concept of "lost tribes" or "lost people" it assumes that they were actually part of something and then somehow went astray. Look at some of the definitions of the word lost:

no longer possessed or retained
having gone astray or missed the way
not used to good purpose, as opportunities, time, or labor; wasted
failed to win
destroyed or ruined
preoccupied; rapt
distracted; distraught; desperate; hopeless

None of those definitions apply, do they? Tribes who have just tended to their own business and did not seek to intermingle themselves in the business of others are not really lost. They were just busy doing the things that would ensure their own survival. Nothing bad about that. Just because they do not speak the same language or use the same money as other people in the same geographical region does not mean that there is something wrong with them.

You can only be lost if there is an assumption that you should have been somewhere else. Or you were owned by someone else. Or that you were in a contest with someone else and they won.

In fact maybe you are less lost if you are in a rapt state tuned into other realities, not hopeless or distraught as one definition indicates. After all, if they were hopeless or hopelessly out of touch with reality, how could they have survived all these years?

Similarly, there are those of us who live right here, amongst everyone else, who are tuned into a different level of reality. Does that mean that we are lost? Or simply that our attention, and what feeds us so that we thrive comes from a different place than others.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Lost People

Ironically, for as connected as the whole world seems to be with the internet, air travel, cell phones, TV, radio and everything else, as strange as it may seem, every so often there is a news report about some lost tribe that an adventurer has come into contact with.

In some ways it seems startling that there might be people in the world we don't know about yet.

How many of us are lost people? We are here, but unknown. Unseen. There are some places in the world far off the beaten path, high in the mountains, deep in the jungles or way out in the desert where other people don't go often. And those people we call lost are simply left alone.

There are those of us here among many others who are also left alone. There are also those here among many others who live invisible lives because we are not the rich, the famous, the celebrities, the stars. We just live our lives every day and as far as all those public spotlights go, we may be invisible.

But that does not mean that these lives outside of the spotlights are boring. No, indeed not. That does not mean we do not enjoy our excitements, adventures and joys. It is simply that the rest of the world is not watching us. But we are here, enjoying private moments in public.

Although there may be tribes in the Amazonian jungle that have lived without contact with other people for a long time, there are also people here who have lived without contact with other people for a long time. Are they lost too?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Approaching the Spring Equinox

Equinox means equal parts day and night, and the time of spring equinox signals the shifting of the balance back into more sunlight in our days, just as the onset of fall equinox signals the shifting into more darkness in our days.

We see the world trying to find its balance in other ways too. Look at what the economy is trying to tell us. It is like the scales trying to even out. It is a bad time for some people and a good time for some people.

How many of us are trying to find a work/play balance in our life? How about the balance between being out in public and quiet time at home? Between rest and exercise?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Aging Gracefully

My maternal grandparents lived upstairs of us when I was growing up. My memory of those years is that they were pretty much zapped of energy by the time they retired. In their 60s they had failing health and did not do much. They would go for a short walk, sit in the rocking chair, watch TV, pray a rosary, read the newspaper, go to church, occasionally visit with friends. Grandma always could cook. Sometimes we would play card games.

They grew up in a different world. They worked hard on farms with a dozen siblings. Later in life, they moved to town and had all kinds of very physical jobs. Grandpa was an iceman. He used to tote huge blocks of ice up flights of stair for people to keep their iceboxes cold. For those of you reading this who are a little younger, the first refrigerators were really more like an upright version of the coolers we take on picnics. Later on, he was also a bartender, a cop and a foreman in a factory. No doubt there are some other things I do not know.

I remember them as old. They were tired after a life of hard work.

Now I look at stories about older people and see how vibrantly alive they are. They enjoy all kinds of activities from bicycling to hiking to working out, yoga, tai chi, gardening, swimming, dancing and active sex lives. My mother is now 82 and she does yoga and water aerobics, goes for long walks, all sorts of things. She has lived a lot longer than her parents did already.

There are rock musicians in their 60s who are still touring. The Rolling Stones were touring when I was in high school. Look at some of the actors and actresses who are still making good movies who were making good movies when we were in high school or college.

Aging no longer looks to me like being old and just not doing much until your health finally breaks down. Middle age now spans a greater period of time and people can look good and stay active for quite a long time. These stages of life look different now that we are in them. We have a longer way to go than our grandparents did. The question is, what do we want to do with that time?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Inner and Outer Beauty

Have you noticed how inner beauty radiates out from a person, increasing their attractiveness? Look at how a smile transforms a face. Why is that? Because we can see the spirit manifesting in the person, so their inner joy and enthusiasm for life becomes a glowing outer garment.

So many people focus on the outer appearance, thinking that the secret to beauty is all about making wrinkles disappear or something. Yet, if a person lives in a way that celebrates life, finds reasons to express joy, finds enthusiasm and a zest for life in even every day actions, like taking a walk, making love, tending a garden or singing a song, youth will return to their face and their whole body.

After all, what is youth? What is that quality that children have? Isn't it that curiosity about life, that sense of wonder? Isn't it about experimentation? Why should we lose that simply because we are older now, and have gone to school and gone to work?

Who says that we can't get up every day and marvel at the simple things or go and have fun checking out the farmers market or a bookstore? Why not just go check out some festival that is going on, no matter whether it is large or small? Or even check out yard sales, just as an easy going way to get around the neighborhood and meet people?

When a person loves life, they are infused with a sense of joy and wonder and take it for granted that there is something interesting going on every day.

A person who acts as if this is true will find that they attract pleasant responses from all their interactions, both with friends and strangers. And everyone will be remembering that attractive person they met this morning or this afternoon.

Beauty that comes from within will never disappear. Beauty that comes strictly from doing things to the outside will constantly need to be redone. Go within, and bring the beauty out. Some people will spend a hundred dollars for a face cream, but others get the same result with a smile. And the smile works even better and can be replenished without going to the store.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Disappearing Newspapers

Today, I heard the story on the radio that another daily newspaper, one in Seattle, just printed its last edition. This follows, by only a week, the closing of one of the Denver newspapers. I haven't been following these stories too closely because I have been busy with a lot of other things.

One of the reasons that the radio report caught my attention was that when I was younger, being a reporter was one of the things I wanted to do. But when I finally got to work in that field, it was not on a daily, but monthlies.

The dailies have long filled an important place in our world by reporting on the hard news. There was a time when the major dailies sent reporters all over the country and all over the world to find out what was happening, but every time newspaper owners wanted to save money on operations, those were some of the first people to be cut.

Alternative monthlies and weeklies have become more important in our culture because they bring us stories that are interesting. Not all the news or even all the important news, but they market to niches. For example, the metaphysical newspapers that I created, edited and wrote for existed because the daily papers couldn't care less about interviewing self help authors, new age musicians, psychics or alternative healers. As a result, we were successful from day one by covering exactly that turf.

In Atlanta, for example, the alternative weekly grew by leaps and bounds until it had the second largest circulation of any paper in the state, capitalizing on the metro area's rapid and sustained growth. During the same period, the daily paper barely grew at all. Why? Lots of people just wanted to pick up the free circulation weekly to read a few cultural or political stories and see what kinds of fun events were happening that they might want to go to.

In other words, we just pick up on the news we feel like picking up on. The dailies have slipped from their place as the common thread that tied a lot of the population together. I remember a time when a great conversation starter would be did you read so-and-so's column today?

Today, more and more of us get our news on the web. The Seattle paper that quit printing is supposed to launch an online only version. I read the New York Times online. Some people think this is also a very green way to go, not creating these piles of waste paper every day. So to me, reading the paper online falls into the same category as paying my credit card and phone bills online. Even the local paper is available online, so why pay to have it delivered every day?

However, there is still a sense of loss in the fact that a former fact of every day life is disappearing. There was a time when my day started by going out to the front door and picking up a newspaper and reading it as I had my coffee or tea. It was a thoughtful, quiet sort of way to wake up and get ready for the day.

So how or why did that change? I guess that over time, I found less interesting stories in the daily paper and more interesting stories in the alternative weeklies and monthlies. I developed a different routine to start the day with my journal, making notes about my dreams, pulling a tarot card for the day or doing a reading. Maybe reading from a book that interested me rather than any newspaper or magazine.

There is a different pace to life when you begin your day in a more reflective and deliberate manner. When we decide what news we want to take in and it makes more sense to us and then we go forward in a conscious way. There is a different kind of information that people want and need now, and maybe it is not to be found in newspapers. It is just another one of the differences in the way we live now and how we determine the quality of life that we want to have.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Reading Energy

So if we can look at something like a deck of cards and see the abundance of energy a person has put into their creation, then we can also look around and see that movement elsewhere in the world.

Where do you see it? Do you see it in the restaurants where you go to eat? Do the people working there seem to be genuinely happy doing their work?

Do you see it in the place where they fix your car, or do the oil changes or rotate your tires? Do the people working there seem to be genuinely happy doing their work?

At the stores where you shop, whether for groceries, clothing or anywhere else, do the people who are working there seem happy to be doing that work?

What do you see in the people you meet every day? Do they seem to be happy? Do they seem to be sad? Stressed? Tired? What do you read in the energies of the people you meet every day?

What kinds of feelings do you sense when you go for a walk? What is the feeling of the neighborhood you are walking through? If it is a nature place, a park, what is the feeling you get there? What energies do you read?

What do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell? What do you taste? What do you feel?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Labor of Love

You can tell when a person is really putting creative energy into their work. I was looking at some of my tarot decks this evening, and the display of creative energy was obvious. There was one deck that was all about jazz. The suits showed energy even in the shapes and drawings of the pips, the numbers from one to ten, where even the little sign symbols were kinetic in their movements. Instead of kings and queens there were sax, guitar, bass and fiddle. You could tell the artist was listening to music while they were drawing that deck.

Another artist created an entire deck inspired by classical music with kings of suits being people like Beethoven and Bach, and instruments illustrate the suits.

There is a herbal tarot, with every card featuring a plant that shows us its beauty and also reminds us of the healing and restorative powers of plants, which, of course, was created by a well known and well respected herbalist.

There is another featuring chefs with suits like rolling pins, knives, plates and cups. The characters are all lighthearted and you can tell that deck was drawn by someone who loves cooking and knows their way around a kitchen. The love for the subject was evident.

Another artist who obviously loves cats created an entire world populated by cat people who were completely outfitted with clothing and gear that shows their world to be as colorful and animated as the world of people.

How many of us, both children and adults have found our imaginations running wild as we read the stories of Alice in Wonderland, King Arthur, or the heroes of Greek, Norse, and Egyptian mythologies? As a result, their are artists who have loved these stories and rendered the entire tale in pictures, where as we shuffle and deal the cards, we find ourselves recalling the great stories.

You would have to call such works a labor of love. When we engage in a labor of love, the result of that creative energy is visible to all and it carries over from the artist to those who come in contact with their work. Everyone who engages in a labor of love enjoys it themselves and then their pleasure spreads to many others. How wonderful the world is when we are engaged in labors of love.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Free Will

Whenever I read for anyone, I always remind them about the importance of free will. A reader can read the patterns of energy that are moving around you and influencing you, but ultimately, whatever you do is your choice.

Things may be offered to us, but whether or not we accept them is simply a matter of free will. Each time we use our free will to make a choice, we influence the flow of energy around us. All of our small choices point to larger directions.

We can exert our will in a very overt fashion, that is to say, we insist that we want something to happen in a particular way at a particular time. Everyone can easily recognize that.

Yet, just as powerful although more subtle, are the little choices we make every day. For example, the music we choose to listen to, the books we choose to read, the friends we keep in touch with, all influence the flow of energy in our daily life.

How many times have your thoughts returned to the idea of something you would like to have happen in your life? You may think of it as a passing fancy, but every time you bring it up again, you reinforce it.

Free will harnesses mental energy to support our wishes and desires. Free will is the predecessor to taking action and making things work. When we only daydream about something, it is simply fantasy or wishful thinking, but when we put the force of will behind it, these can become our realities.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Pleasure of Public Readings

One of the aspects of doing public readings in psychic fairs and special events is meeting people who have never had a reading before who are amazed at the whole process.

I remember how it was when I started. I was wondering how shuffling a deck of cards and pulling several at random could have anything to do with the questions, problems or ideas on my mind at that moment. Yet, more times than not, they did. In fact almost all the time I could find the connection between what was on my mind and the advice the cards were offering.

For a long time after I first got my cards I was amazed at how they worked. Finally one day the realization sunk in that there must be some spirit guides or somebody who wants to help me find my way through dilemmas and the cards were the vehicles for communicating information to me in signs I could understand. Granted, there were plenty of times when I had to study it for a while to get my answer, but I did.

The look of amazement on a person's face who is new to all this is quite a wonderful moment. Public events are perfect for this when a person is open to discovery. After they have wandered around the room and tried a free sample of some organic food or chocolate or a massage or some other form of body work or energy work, they look my way and say hhmmmm, let me try the card thing to see how it works. Looking at their face light up with recognition and wonder is one of the joys of working public events. Young people especially. Good to see them get familiar with it while they still have many more years ahead of them and time to make use of the tarot.

For many of us, this ability we cultivated in private took some courage to take out in public and demonstrate. Sharing he joy of discovery with strangers who are genuinely interested is one of the pleasures of doing public readings.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Ancient Signs of Positive Thinking

You might say that the "power of positive thinking" is much older than we think. The runes are a system developed by ancient people that focus our intention and mental energy in order to achieve a goal.

We may have pictured that the human mind evolved slowly over time to the point where we are much more intelligent now than our caveman ancestors. But is this true?

Many people have speculated that the cave paintings were examples of hunting magic. In other words, people visualized a successful hunt before they actually went on the hunt.

The runes are a whole set of symbols that serve similar purposes. When a person would draw one of these signs or picture it in their mind, they were applying their thoughts and energies to the concepts represented by the signs, whether it was for health, safety, prosperity or anything else.

People knew even back then that the seeds of what they wanted in their life began with focusing their thoughts and energies on their stated purpose. And then taking action.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Imaginary Realities

Just imagine. When some of the settlers moving west got out here, they were told that as much land as they could walk around in a day was theirs to keep. Other people watching them do this might have been descended from people who had been hunting, gathering, farming and camping on this same piece of land for generations. In the future someone will have to pay this person hundreds of thousands of dollars to transfer ownership to this same piece of land.

Another imaginary reality. Once upon a time less than 100 years ago, dollars were backed by a certain amount of gold or silver. (This was also true of the currency of other nations.) Theoretically, a person could go to a bank and ask to trade in their paper dollars for gold or silver. Then the law changed and we now have fiat currency. What does that mean? Fiat currency (fiat money) is money that exists because an authority or custom declares it to be money. (From the Latin fiat, which means "let it be done"). Today all nations use fiat currency. How's that for reality? This is money because we say it is money.

We have agreed that the person who walked around in a circle and declared the land inside it to be his to be the real owner of the land. We have agreed that these dollars we will buy it with are really worth something. Our acts of imagination have, by agreement, become realities.

I feel the same way today when I hear talk about the so-called banking crisis. We are giving these people billions of dollars to fix the problem. But now they are in the news again a few months later, saying that they need more billions of dollars to fix the problem again. In between, the top dogs have all given each other millions of dollars in bonuses and gifts for being such good performers. We are told that if we do not do this, our monetary system will collapse, or be seriously damaged.

Yet the sky is still blue, the earth is still made of dirt, the sun is still shining and the wind is still blowing. At night the moon and the stars are where they should be up in the sky.

Some businesses are closing because people are not shopping there much any more. But some other businesses are doing very well. The auction of Yves Saint Laurent's art collection brought in $484 million. A blue chip stock that less than three years ago was over $110 per share is now trading at $5 per share and a gourmet food store is trying to reposition itself as a "value priced grocery store." But business is way up at Netflix as people watch more and more movies. The prices of chickens and apples remains unchanged.

What is real, and what is imaginary?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Unwrapping Ancient Gifts

A common thread among all the people who have studied the runes and learned how to work with them is that they all spend time in deep meditation with them in order to understand various aspects of them, how they work and what they represent.

Because the runes consist of abstract shapes formed by straight lines, it is hard for some people to relate to them. The primal shapes and signs cause the mind to delve deeper into the subconscious mind to find the essence of meanings associated with them.

In other words, the runes demand that you work hard to mine the gold they have to offer, but in return, the rewards are rich. The energies that flow from them are powerful. We can feel that energy by making the shapes of the runes with our bodies and bringing that flow of energy through ourselves.

Cards, by comparison are much easier to like and to work with because as soon as we start looking at the pictures, we can start associating stories with the images we see. When we find a deck with art that we really like, it is not hard to start thinking that a certain card reminds us of someone familiar or that the scene depicted is similar to an event that happened to us or someone we know. The art can also suggest beautiful places we might like to be in the future or or perhaps even have been in a past life or someplace we have visited in this life.

If you think that working with playing cards is more difficult because there is not a picture on every card, you are beginning to grasp the essence of mental activity you engage in a study of the runes. However, it is more than mental, because if you try the exercise I mention above where you make the rune shapes with your body and bring the energy through, you can feel it in a very primal way. So it becomes a body of knowledge, not just intellectual knowledge.

Referencing cards and runes, there is a thread that offers another insight: numbers. There is a significance to numbers, just as there is a significance to shapes and signs. From the time of the earliest people, numbers would have been integral to the process of barter. Imagine two people who do not speak a common language holding up their fingers to symbolize what they will and will not exchange. There was a breakthrough in communication.

So just like simple numbers facilitated barter in primitive tribes, so did simple signs that signified important concepts like home, mother, fire, water, defense, risk, justice or spirit.

Runes pack intense amounts of information in extremely concise signs. The process of unpacking them and savoring their secrets is a journey of immense proportions, an adventure for the seeker of deep wisdom and profound energy shifts.

Thousands of artists and authors have redesigned the tarot over the years, coming up with thousands of different interpretations and looks. But every artist does not try their hand at redesigning the runes. They have remained constant over the millenia. That gives us a very powerful hint about them, the mysteries and energies they contain. Are you interesting in unwrapping these gifts from the ancients?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Free Will, Not Guilt, for Motivation

When we are acting on our own best interests and trying to choose what works,we may sometimes unintentionally hurt someone else's feelings. If we simply do what works, we will usually come up with choices that will be the best choices for everyone.

In doing affirmations to get the things we want, if phrase it like this, you will probably be happier with the outcome. "I affirm that I am receiving divine guidance to help me find the (job, lover, solution to my problem) that is best for me and that this is being done for the good of all involved and with the free will of all involved."

You can always force or manipulate a situation, but that is not the best way to get things.

Guilt is just a way of manipulating people. It serves no good purpose. All the way from religions that tell people that they are sinners who need to be saved to relatives who want to hit you up for money just because you are a relative to the friend who gets bent out of shape because you give them back the book they wanted you to read and told them that you didn't care for it and couldn't get through it. Guilt is all about people wanting you to do what they want you to do.

Sometimes I kick myself for making a lousy choice and remember to choose better next time. When I make a lousy choice, I feel stupid, not guilty. Then I extract the lesson from my error for future reference.

Guilt plays no part in my choices or motivations. Doing what works is the best way to make progress in life. How can you go wrong if you just keep on doing what works?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A Long Arc of Progress

Once upon a time, I thought that there would come a time when I would know enough. At one time that looked like after I got a college degree. At another time it looked like after I completed a personal growth workshop. Then another thing, then another thing, then another thing, until I finally learned that there is never an end to learning and sharpening our aim. We achieve one goal and then set another goal. We hit one target and then aim for another target. This is the long arc of progress.

From my current perspective, rather than one long story, I view my life as a series of chapters or short stories. Measuring by career moves or relationships might be one way of organizing the chapters.

Just like there were times when I thought that I would know enough when I finished a certain aspect of my education, there are always more things that I want to learn. In career moves, I set goals for myself, then after achieving them, went on to other goals.

We are never done with any of it. We just move from chapter to chapter, story to story and continue to learn and grow. We set our sights on new goals and move toward them. And then another story begins.