Thursday, April 30, 2009

Spontaneous Remission

Last night I watched a movie called The Guitar, and it was even better than I thought it would be. It starts out with the premise of a woman being told by her doctor that she has terminal cancer and only has a month or two to live.

There have been quite a number of other movies that started out with that premise, but this one takes some very unexpected twists and turns.

I do not want to tell you too much about the plot because it may spoil it for you. In fact I will tell you one memorable thing which reveals the outcome, but there are still many other surprises along the way.

She outlives her prognosis and goes back to see her doctor. Her doctor consults with other doctors and they are amazed that she has had a spontaneous remission. Her doctor says it like this. "I have heard about other cases like this where a person has changed their life so completely that the cancer no longer recognizes the person as their host, and so it leaves."

That struck me as an amazing way to say it. Imagine changing your life so much that the cancer no longer recognized you as its host, so it leaves.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Can Do Attitudes

There was a time when the spirit of the people of this country was typified by the phrase, "can do" and the attitude that it embodied.

People decided to do something and did it. We let desire motivate us rather than fear. I think that an erosion of this spirit is why so many people wallow in fear when the specter of a flu epidemic appears on the horizon. A can do attitude would assume that if we exercise our normal practice of hygiene and good health that we will survive this just fine. Fear mongers reared their ugly heads when 2000 was approaching, and they were proven wrong.

When or why did this attitude shift? Perhaps because our economy has tilted strangely and many of us have to reinvent our careers? Yes, this can be a very difficult and challenging task, and some people just may not feel like starting a new career at a later stage of their life.

There are still a great many people who do believe that we can take actions to improve our lives and make positive contributions to the world through our work, our charities or our hobbies and avocations. So why do the voices of fear seem to grab attention?

I do not know.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Swine Flu Deja Vu

This week, swine flu is all over the news, and lots of people are going into panic mode again. I am not worried. Remember the bird flu? Better yet, remember swine flu in the 1970s?

People bought into the scare factor again then too. They were giving away swine flu vaccines back then, and I took it, and the vaccine made me sick as a dog. I have lived through a few bouts of flu in my lifetime and that vaccine made me sicker than any dose of flu ever did. They quit giving out the vaccine because it was causing more problems than the flu. I have never taken any more flu vaccine since then.

Our bodies have a natural ability to respond to illness and help us fight the bacteria or virus that cause the disease and discomfort and we regain our strength and recover. Yes, there are a few people who have died from this, but year in and year out, millions of people get the flu and almost all of them survive it.

So once again, we should ask the more important question. Why are we willing to believe that the swine flu, the bird flu, the whatever are going to cause incredible levels of destruction and death? How many of those things that people were alarmed about never came to pass?

The fear may be doing us more harm than the flu. The fear may be doing us more harm than a lot of things. Don't give in to the fear. Live life as if you expect to be able to handle illness and then get on with everything else in your life.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Free Will and Motivation

Continuing the idea from yesterday's blog, think about all the different assumptions people make about another person's motivation.

For example, the assumption that because a person grew up poor and and to work that he somehow was damaged or hindered in their development. But is that true?

Some people grew up poor and because of it, learned to be efficient and utilize all the resources available. Others turned to crime. Some were industrious, innovative and successful while others wallowed in self pity and became alcoholics or drug addicts.

Some people who worked their way out of poverty became great philanthropists and generous people. Others always hoarded what they had and were always looking over their shoulder to see if someone was trying to steal their stuff.

What does all this tell us about the influences on a person's development? That there are varying degrees of influence between nature and nurture, and that two people exposed to the same situations can react differently.

In short, I see it as a great argument for the influence of free will. We choose what we will do, so the person who chooses to wallow in misery will do so, and the person who chooses to succeed will do so.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Composer's Background

Went to the symphony last night and one of the composers was Brahms. The author of the program notes included a heavy bias in his writing and it immediately struck me as wrong.

Basically, the notes say that he was a from a poor family and that as a young boy, he was also expected to work to help the family survive. He got a job playing piano in brothels. It goes on "he was a favorite of the prostitutes and their patrons. To what extent these early experiences shaped and scarred him can scarcely be imagined."

Well, for one thing, if he was permanently scarred by this experience, fascinating how he went on to compose hundreds of pieces of beautiful music. Hardly evidence that his childhood was damaged, is it?

Maybe he enjoyed the work. My father dropped out of high school to help support the family and he was doing construction work. Maybe playing the piano for tips and wages was not a bad gig.

The other thing is that if the prostitutes and their patrons liked him, maybe they treated him very well. Maybe some extra food, extra tips, gifts? Maybe he liked being in that place where all those women were. Maybe his experience prepared him for life.

Do we not have many examples of people who were born into a poor family but then through hard work managed to become excellent at something and gain recognition and prosperity?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Dark Visions

Why is it that so many of our views of the future are dark, apocalyptic views, rather than sunny, optimistic views?

How many futuristic movies have you watched where the future looked grim, dominated by greedy corporations and overbearing governments?
How many novels have explored this same ground?

Is is because more people have a dim view of our future prospects and do not trust those in power to do the right thing?

Or is it simply the excitement factor? Do people want to see a big, dark, violent battle at the end of their lives rather than just simply working until they drop?

Even people who like new age persepectives get hooked on deciphering Nostradamus or the Mayan calendar and the fact that it does not go beyond 2012. Then again, I remember the turn of the millennium, when tons of doom and gloom fans were predicting dire consequences because they believed that computers would not be able to adust their dates and roll over into the 2000. Of course, they were absolutely wrong about that.

Perhaps it is just easier to imagine what is already there falling apart than it is to imagine a future where everything works for everyone even better. And if that is true, what does that say about us?

Maybe our dark visions are related to the fact that we get more used to seeing the negative side of people in our daily news reports than seeing the good side of people. Yes, that tells us something too.

Friday, April 24, 2009

No More Regrets

When people look at their lives going forward from this moment, their conflicted feelings are often rooted in regrets for things they have not done.

So she looks at her possibilities and thinks to herself that she wanted to be a painter all those years ago before she got consumed in corporate work. She regrets that she never put in the effort to see how far she could go with it. So she has been taking her drawing and painting materials out again and seeing if she still has the touch, the eye, the feel for it. And she likes what she feels, even if she does not always like what she sees, because she knows that if she does more, it will come back and she will get better. Now she is thinking of a way to work some kind of job so that she still has plenty of time and energy to draw and paint. No more being on call 24/7 and putting in office hours half the evening and on weekends. No, just something simple that leaves time for creating art. The kind of job where you lock the door behind you and don't think about it again until the next time you have to go in that door.

And he looks at his possibilities and remembers how he wanted to write a novel, and how he used to play guitar. He regrets not having pressed on with those to see what would come of it. So now he has lost his zest for writing financial reports and auditing accounts and he is cutting back on his hours. He wraps everything up each day and leaves the office at 5 so that he has the evenings free to spend on his writing and his guitar playing. He finds that the two different interests feed each other; music inspires him to write, and spending more time on storytelling, melodies seem to spontaneously suggest themselves, springing to life without preparation. We do not regret the things we have done. We regret the things we have not done that we really wanted to.

If life is presenting us another opportunity to choose, will we really make it different this time?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Flexibility, Feeling Our Future

I have long noticed that flexibility is a key indicator of health. How is that?

Think about it. When a person is overweight, they have lost flexibility. When a person has arthritis, they have lost flexibility. When our spine is out of alignment, we have lost flexibility. When we are ill, our bones ache and we have lost flexibility.

One of the primary benefits of tai chi or yoga is that they restore flexibility. Research done with old people who were taught tai chi showed marked improvement in a person's quality of life. One of the first things they noticed was the return of flexibility.

Being able to move freely is a good indicator of health. Flexibility and movement are all about coping with situations in life.

Flexibility in terms of mental readiness is also a sign of health, offering us an opportunity to be agile enough to deal with the situations in life that are changing so that we can choose the best course of action for ourselves.

Even simple exercises like walking and swimming can help us regain both physical and mental flexibility. In any area of your life where you feel a need for progress, feel for the spot that is stuck and can use some flexibility.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Laughter and Audiences

Comedy is contagious. Or perhaps I should say that laughter is contagious, and that is a good thing. There is a difference between watching a comedy with an audience and hearing other people laugh. That's why even TV shows have laugh tracks. People like to laugh with other people. Sounds of other people laughing can lead us into laughter even if we don't immediately get the joke.

Funny how that works. We don't necessarily feel sad when we are watching a sad play or movie with others. Or our degree of sadness may differ greatly. Comedy and drama tend to affect us differently.

What is it that makes the two experiences different? If you have ever been in a movie theatre when a comedy has got the audience rocking, you notice that you come out with a different experience. Not only are people still smiling and laughing on the way out, but there is an outgoing feeling shared that seems to spread across the audience.

Dramas, on the other hand, if they are sad, can cause a person's energy field to draw in, and be held closer to the person, which is a type of defense mechanism.

Comedy raises positive energy. Dramas can too, but comedies have the power to alter moods quickly. How easy it is to think of what is going on at the office when you are laughing hard? Exactly, comedy can command your immediate attention, and move it totally into the realm of escapism, which of course, is exactly the point of comedy.

As we all know, comedy and satire, dating all the way back to the early play makers, Shakespeare, and the court jesters up through Mark Twain, George Carlin, Chris Rock, Eddie Murphy, Ron White and many others, could very effectively employ comedy to comment on political or social issues and cause us to rethink or reframe our thoughts, and the immediate laughter gives way to lingering joy, mixed with reflection.

Laughter is a powerful tool and a shared energy raising experience. Amazing how it works when you think about it.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Minding the Mind

You know that feeling you get when you are learning something new and your mind is stretching to fit all the new information in and piece it together? What looks like random, scattered data now will shortly be organized and accessible.

There are also times when our mind is stretched because we are digesting a new perspective, and suddenly by reframing an old problem in a new window, we are able to see it totally differently, and recognize new solutions.

Most of the time we are not aware of how our mind works until we get busy learning something new. It is this injection of new energy that brings things into perspective. If you are consciously looking and listening, and open to new ideas, you will get these "aha" moments all the time when you suddenly are able to grasp the significance of something you simply didn't get before.

I believe that this statement is attributed to Einstein: "Once the mind expands to embrace a new concept, it can never shrink back to its original size."

We can only become larger thinkers, as we continue to assimilate new ideas. Becoming smaller would be very difficult. We could withdraw from society and go into a hermit phase, but our minds would still be enlarged from whatever it was previously. It is challenging and sometimes even uncomfortable as we expand, but it will always be so. And those things that we know, we can never un-know. We may choose to forget them or set them aside, or even see them in a different light, but our minds will still expanded, even if we have chosen to live a quieter life.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Breathing Music

A little known fact is that when the Zen monks began playing the bamboo flute, it was simply a device for a breathing meditation. Over time, they developed music, and today we hear it as a musical instrument.

R. Carlos Nakai says that the wooden flute played by the tribal people who first inhabited this land was probably originally used as a game call, a hunting device. Then later, people made up courting songs with it. Now musicians play many kinds of music on these simple flutes.

The recorder is an instrument with a European history, and simple as it is, it could fashion everything from folk melodies to classical music.

Panpipes, invented by Pan, were played in ancient Greece. Today you are likely to find panpipes made in Peru in stores. The modern descendant of the panpipes is the harmonica.

Then there is also the occarina, the clay flute, played by many tribal people. Again, a simple instrument can be remarkably versatile, if we simply follow our ears.

The digeridoo is another wind instrument where the player can slip into a trance state very easily by using their breath to create a variety of sounds through a simple hollow tube, originally a tree branch that had been hollowed out by termites. Today people make them out of plastic pipe as well.

In one family of ancient wind instruments you move your fingers over the holes to make the sounds. In the other, the reeds are stationary and you move your mouth ot blow into the different holes to make the different sounds.

If you set aside any considerations of becoming a performer or professional musician, and simply used one of these simple wind instruments in the same way, you could just let yourself get lost in the music and create something beautiful, while enjoying a meditative experience. Try some breathing music as a form of relaxation, healing and a source of joy.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

One Beat at a Time

When I used to lead drumming circles, there was an exercise I used to use to get things started, called Building the Circle One by One.

One person would start, then others would add something as their turn came, until everyone was in the circle. They had the option of matching what was going on, making a counterpoint, harmonizing or somehow fitting in and accenting what was going on. The key was that you had to be silent and listen to what was happening before you, then add your sound.

By the time the circle went all the way around, everyone was playing together. That is a good model for getting a lot of things done. Take a good look at what others are doing before you jump in.

Bringing everyone together one beat at a time created a big sound from lots of little parts.

How else could this method apply in life?

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Some people see the world in terms of win/lose. In other words if one person wins, another one has to lose.

Other people see the world in terms of win/win. In other words, the world is big enough for us both to win.

We can be independent and pay attention to that which we feel is most important in life. And by finding ways to work with others, we can find ways to create opportunities or take advantage of opportunities that work for both of us.

Working with others to share leads and information benefits both parties. Sharing costs on things we can both use is efficient. As a reader and healer, I frequently share space with other readers and healers at events where there is a substantial entry fee. Then we both have a place to work and an even better opportunity to make money on that event. Plus it is fun to share work space with other people who are both dedicated and good natured.

I consider new opportunities all the time, and I am always looking for more. Sharing in this way helps both of us win.

Friday, April 17, 2009


Networking is a powerful way to get things done. Another word for networking is referrals. And another word is brainstorming. Sometimes people form mastermind groups or have mentors. Let's say you are looking for a good massage therapist, a reader, an energy healer, a doctor, accountant, musician, artist, lawyer, home repair, auto repair, beautician or dentist. You ask around and get contact information from people you know. Usually people will only refer other people they have had good experiences with, rather than just someone whose ads they've seen.

Building a business and researching ways to grow your business are the same thing. Both are necessary at the same time. All of us have tried various promotions or techniques with varying degrees of success. Sometimes we have to refine our offerings to satisfy the desires of the customers. That's why sometimes massage therapists do chair massage instead of setting up a massage table, or readers do 10 or 20 minture readings in busy venues. Contacting other people and brainstorming with them is a way to get useful information and a warm introduction to other people who may be helpful to you.

There are networking organizations that sell memberships, and being active in these can be helpful. Gatherings of other like minded people are natural. For example, if you are a holistic healer or a reader, networking with other holistic healers or readers.

Virtually any gathering of people could be a good connection. Let's say a school reunion or a neighborhood association. There are many opportunities.

Sometimes all you have to do is ask and people will help. Sometimes a person may not be willing or able to help, but it never hurts to ask. Sometimes people will offer to help that you did not expect anything from. Generally I find that people are willing to help other people. It seems to be part of human nature.

It is only reasonable, of course, that people will be happiest to help you and give you referrals if they have experienced the product or service you have to offer and they were happy with the result. Some people may want money from you for their help, and this may or may not be the way you want to do things. Many people who are good networkers are willing to be reciprocal, exchanging information for information, ideas for ideas or suggesting ways you can work together.

Any person who is building their own business has to be creative. Working with other people to promote your business is a wise thing. There are definitely things I have learned from others that I would never have learned on my own. There are also other things I learned simply from driving around and surfing the web.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Life Has No Meaning. It Just Is.

There is no meaning to life. The choices we make form the direction our life takes and the path we follow. There is a cause and effect relationship between choices we make and what happens next.

I wonder if some people think that there is a little gnome sitting somewhere with a ledger who will look up their account for them and tell them what they are supposed to be doing.

What we do is the result of our free will. Let's agree that a person is born with a talent for musical ability or is keenly interested in art or science or baseball.

What a person does with those talent potentials and preferences is to refine them into skills. If you ended up doing art, it is because you like it and you spent more time learning how to do it well. Same for everyone else. Whatever it is that they enjoy doing they took the time to learn about it and apply it.

That then, is still a product of a free will decision.

My reference to a gnome with a ledger was intended to use a little humor to make my point. To me, the notion that there is a meaning to anyone's life implies that someone is assigning meanings to each individual, such as "You will be a plumber, you will be a doctor, you will be a pottery maker, you will be a musician, you will be a whatever."

Clearly, that is not true. How many people, for instance, were encouraged to be in a particular business or profession, but they choose to do something different? How many people were perfectly content doing their job until their company shut down or got taken over, reorganized and they got laid off and now they have to do something else?

Aside from work, is our meaning determined by whether we have children? Some people choose to have several, some choose to have one. Some people choose not to have any. What does that mean?

Is meaning related to a choice of religion? Obviously many people choose to change religions or not to belong to any. Is meaning related to our choice of hobbies or the charities we support? People change these during the course of a lifetime too. All of these are free will choices too.

In each case, free will choice determines the outcome. So, no, there is no purpose or meaning to life. We are born and then we decide what to do with that life. Life just is, it does not mean anything. We assign meanings to things.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Acting Fully Present

As a reader and a healer, when a person is acting in service to other people, with the intention to be a conduit of energy and information for that person's benefit, something beneficial will always result.

Skill levels increase with the amount of practice a person has, and that gives them the experience of opening wide to let the energy flow through them. It allows a person to open up and let the messages from spirit come through so that insights are available to assist a person in making good choices.

Making choices is always a product of a person's free will. The best the reader and healer can do is to be fully present. When fully present, the client can fully benefit.

Every choice we make every day contributes to our total outcome, from the food we eat, to the people we choose to associate with to the attitude we maintain while doing our work. All those choices help make us what we are. So we always have to ask ourselves if we are willing to be fully present so that both we and those we are in contact with can live a life of joy and fulfillment.

What would your life be like if you really chose what was important to you and then focused on it with 100% energy?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


The triangle of manifestation is really a simple concept, powerful in its construction, yet highly effective.

As the geometric figure with the least amount of sides, it is a powerful building block. From the pyramids to the geodesic domes, the triangle is a powerful way of constructing great works.

The three sides represent principles for creation: desire, focus, and will. If you hold a constant vision of where you want to be and visualize yourself in it, you will be stepping into it. If you use your will, you are also taking solid actions. Desire is all about really wanting something. Sounds simple, right?

Here are things to remember to strengthen your triangle.

Visualization, focus, imagination. It is important to keep seeing yourself in the picture, achieving your goals, having the life you want. If you say "I wish I had that," then by definition you do not. Hold your focus and each step that helps you realize your goal puts you one step closer to being in the picture.

Desire. How many times do we think we might like to have this or that. We change our mind. We think it would be nice to buy this a new car, or go on a vacation or buy this or that thing that we think is attractive. We think we will get around to reading all those books on our shelves that we haven't read yet. We think about going to this restaurant or that nightclub or getting an ipod. Lots of desires. But which ones are constant? Which ones do we really want so much that they are always on our list?

Will. Taking action. Lots of people think that positive thinking is enough or that lighting a candle and making a wish will be enough. Lighting a green candle will not bring you money, and lighting a pink candle will not bring you love. Simply looking at ads on craigslist or monster or the local paper is not going to be the key to changing careers or finding new jobs. Those steps can be helpful, but they must be combined with other action. You have to do something to get there from here. Call people, meet people. Go somewhere, do something. Then your luck will change. After you have done lots of things and met lots of people, lighting a candle when you come home in the evening is a nice relaxing touch.

Keep the three sides of the triangle strong and you will see changes manifest in your life. If you are not making change happen, check the three sides of your triangle and see if one side is weak. If that is so, then take action to strengthen it.

Monday, April 13, 2009

What Spirits? What Spirits!

Times when we feel low and lacking in ideas, motivation or energy, these are the times when we have to do something to ask our spirit guides for advice, inspiration and an energetic boost.

In my experience, when you are sincere in your request and really desire a change, you will get that boost. Your spirit guides recognize those who are really connected to them, and just as we feel that connection, so do they. It really is a two way street.

You have to activate those connections, because like anything else, if you don't practice, you lose your touch. Just like playing music or doing readings or anything else, keeping in touch with your spirit guides is a regular practice. And like every other thing you are good at, there comes a time when this ability really proves to have value and utility.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Elemental Energies

The two basic polarities in energies are the male and the female. Now add to that the energies of the elements of earth, air, fire and water and see what you get. The differences may seem hard to detect until you practice, but then you will be able to feel it.

There will be times when you want to summon energies that are more earthy, or more watery, for example. It all depends on our needs at the time. When we call the strength into our bodies, and we connect with those energies, we can bring ourselves into balance with exactly what we need.

Sense the difference between feminine fire and masculine fire? Can you sense the difference between feminine air and masculine air? These are the things that we know by experience. No amount of thinking about them will replace experiencing them.

Man is a model of the cosmos, containing all of those elements, and when we stimulate the call to one of them, our bodies respond. Try this, draw in fire through your eyes to inspire you. Draw up energy from the earth to ground you. Call in water through the pores of your skin to move you. Call in air to bring you knowledge to guide you. Get a feel for the elements.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Energy Movement

Energy always exists, it just moves from place to place. Times when we feel it has left us, it has simply become dislocated. If there is a part of us where the energy is blocked, we have to call it back in.

When we feel our energy is low, we simply have to find a way to replenish it. Sometimes food or sleep will do it, but sometimes there is nothing like movement, exercise or sex. When we do the things that replenish our energy, we magnetize ourselves to more energy.

Energy does not totally leave us unless we are dead. It may be dormant in some parts of us, but it is in fluctuating supply unless we do things to keep our energy supply up to an optimum level.

The optimum level is where we can sense the energy in every part of us and make use of it at all times. Optimum use occurs when we can focus our attention where we want the energy to move and feel the sensation of it even before we move a muscle. Energy is subtle and strong and sometimes it is the precursor to moving a muscle and sometimes it moves with the muscle. Focus, feel and notice how powerful the flow of energy is. Observe what you can do.

Friday, April 10, 2009

What is Magic?

When we look at the evolution of the magician card in the tarot, it presents an important question. What is magic?

Many of us have seen stage magicians like Penn & Teller or David Copperfield and we wonder how that trick was done. Sometimes we get an opportunity to see it real up close and personal like a magician who comes to our table in a restaurant or does tricks at a bar where we are having a drink. Even though this person is right there in front of us, we still cannot figure out where he pulled that coin from, or how he knew what card we would draw. These are practiced skills, and at the root of it, we can say that the magician is someone who makes things happen.

The magician is very creative and very willful. The magician is always an active force, a catalyst. He is also a free spirit who takes his show on the road. Have you changed careers or relationships several times in your life? Have you reinvented yourself? Have you dropped old habits or hobbies or taken up new ones? Then you have made changes in your life according to your will. you have used magic to transform from what you were to what you are.

Now as we see the magician transformed in more recent decks to a ceremonial magician, he uses esoteric and arcane symbols to signal the changes about to come, some of which may be invisible. However, there are other modern decks in which the magician is a shaman, where again magic is afoot, but in a different way. The shaman might affect healing and divination from something from his small bag of herbs, or a simple tool, like his staff, drum, chanting, dancing or casting stones. His stuff is more natural than a magic wand or a chalice. Still, the common thread is there. He makes things happen. We invoke the magician when we want a change.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Stone Flowers

Recently, I bartered a reading for a stone necklace. The woman who made the necklace selected the pieces and fitted them together in a special combination for me. I will wear it as another tool for focusing my energy and reinforcing my daily practices that will bring more positive change into my life, energizing my visions and grounding my actions.

When I was younger I collected stones because it was something I could do for free. Sometimes I just picked up rocks because I thought they wer beautiful or liked the feel of them. Whenever friends or relatives went on a vacation, I would always ask them to bring me back a rock. After a while, they just did this without anything being said. My collection grew.

Later, I got a few books to learn about what the different kinds of rocks were. It interested me to know that there were some stones formed by fire, some by water, some by the forces of the earth. That explained various bandings, pigments and textures. After looking at many rock samples, it was easy to see how the various energies acted to create different kinds of rocks.

As I grew up and moved, the rock collection got left behind as many different things were demanding my attention.

Later I found that having rocks border my garden seemed to add to the beauty and energy of the garden. I went on a crystal digging trip to Arkansas and many of them were broken chunks. I did not bleach them, but left them colored with the orangey earth they were dug from. My garden was always very abundant, and the crystals seemed to enhance them. I also put crystals at the bottom of every potted plant for drainage and energy.

I traded with another woman recently who does wonderful crystal healing work and uses the crystals as conductors and amplifiers of energy in her healing sessions.

Fascinating how many, many years after I collected rocks that I first learned that there were healing properties attributed to them. Suddenly I saw the stones in a whole new light. And it made sense to me in a whole different way.

In my own work, I do not limit myself to gemstones. In fact, I am more likely to use found objects like the heart shaped rock I always keep on my table when I do readings. The heart shape is natural, the stone is not cut or polished. I keep it on the table as a reminder to always use my heart energy in my work.

Stones are gifts from the earth, compact pieces of earth energy that are readily available for any person to use. Trees, herbs, flowers, fruits and vegetables are all gifts from the earth. Stones are the earth. Root material for our rituals, healings and practical uses. Being grounded is keeping close to the earth. Carrying some with us is a way to affirm our being on this planet and working with it. We walk on it, and we also draw strength from it. Stones are flowers of another dimension.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Thinking Too Much

Sometimes we interfere with our own happiness by thinking too much. Go with your feelings, your intuitive guidance, the path of least resistance. What is it that works? What is it that feels good? What gives you pleasure? What brings joy into your life?

Thinking about things and analyzing it is both good and necessary, but we need to be aware of all those factors that make our life a great experience.

Wisdom will come from following the flow of things. We can second guess the news and sports games and so many other things in life, but ultimately, our happiness is derived from the simple pleasures in life, the time spent with those whose company we enjoy, appreciation of a moment of peace gazing at a sunset, the pleasure of a little time spent reading a book, dancing to music or watching a movie.

We can think too much sometimes, wondering if a person loves us or wondering if a business deal will work out. If we have taken all the action we can take in these matters, then the only thing left to do is to let things unfold at their own rate and appreciate each moment, staying open to the experience.

It is the feeling of appreciation of life as it is. Just savoring the moment. Not analyzing it, just savoring it.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Open Minded

How often are we open minded? Just at times, or all the time? How difficult is it for us to accept a new idea, or even consider it? Are we open minded just about some things, but not others. Probably.

That's why it takes a major life event to get a person to change, such as a death of a close family member or friend, loss of job or career, divorce, ending of a long term relationship, serious illness, accident, bankruptcy, loss of an investment or failure of a business.

When everything is going in a way that we like, why would we want to change? We would not of course. When things are going in a way that we like, or a way that we are comfortable with, we want it to stay the same.

Then when things come unraveled, it sets in motion a whole string of things we thought were set. When someone near and dear to us has a health challenge or dies, we reexamine our own health habits, and maybe take up some new ones. Those who become empty nesters no longer need a big house. We end a long term relationships and then decide that perhaps it is a good time to move and see another part of the country. We lose our job and then have to find something totally different to do for a living, and then we don't want to find a job in our old industry or profession again.

One thread begins to unravel the whole fabric. But sometimes, we may initiate the process rather than having something else set it in motion. And we are faced with the question of how much we really want to change.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Michael Crichton, storyteller

Today, there was news that Michael Crichton, who died of cancer this past fall, left behind more than one book.

As a writer, he managed to tell stories that were entrancing in the way of the best storytellers. His books were best sellers because once you started reading them, you wanted to know what happens next. This master storyteller created an incredible string of popular books that also made for great movies, which is another unusual feat. How many times have you had the experience of reading a book and then seeing a movie made from that book, and came away with the feeling that reading the book was a much better experience?

Crichton's novels always contained an edge about technology, science and implications for the future. His stories contained plots that involved genetic energineering (Next), brain research (Terminal Man), time travel (Timeline), life from other planets (Andromeda Strain, Sphere), animals that communicate in ways that outwit humans (Congo), the computer business (Rising Sun, Disclosure) and other substantial topics wrapped up in a dramatic adventure yarn. Even in the stories set in the past, like The Great Train Robbery or Eaters of the Dead, which became the movie The 13th Warrior, the theme was about how people changed with the times, and how they were challenged to go beyond what others had done.

The best storytellers are able to both entertain us and give us something to discuss and think about afterward. Some dramas are just pure adrenalin rushes that leave us feeling whipped around when they are done. But others, like those by Crichton, give us something tantalizing to think about, presenting us with "what if" scenarios that cause us to consider some of the controversial things we are doing.

Great storytellers have always been popular, from Homer and those who came before him, to the present day. Mythology, movies, sagas and novels all share a common heritage, that of the storyteller.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Everyday Luxury

There is pleasure to be had in every day things. Being conscious of every moment, I had another one of those pleasurable moments shopping at the grocery store.

What a simple pleasure it is to be able to simply choose a few fine things like some English Breakfast Tea, blueberries, bananas, sliced turkey breast, Braeburn apples, lettuce, sun dried tomatoes, almonds, rye crackers and mild peppers.

I am aware that there are people in the world who are struggling to get even a bowl of rice and beans for dinner.

What I have chosen is not extravagant, but it is a luxury. It is a luxury simply to be able to choose. It is a luxury to choose what I think tastes good and what I would like to have.

There are simple pleasures in our every day living. Do we actually take time to appreciate them?

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Doing What You Love

What could be better than doing what you love? Loving what you do can certainly close that gap as well. Why do I say this?

From a purely practical point of view, some of us are fortunate enough to do things we really enjoy and make enough money from that to make a living. Some of us have chosen a profession, learned it and now are following straight through on that path.

You can see that in the faces and behaviors of people who enjoy what they do. Here they are fully engaged; doing landscaping because they enjoy planting and arranging things, doing facials and cutting hair because they enjoy helping other women look even better. Here they are doing healing work on people because they enjoy seeing the people feeling better, getting relief from their pain. Here they are cooking and serving food in restaurants because they enjoy seeing people enjoying their meals. Here they are painting pictures and selling them, or framing pictures for people to take home and enjoy looking at in their living room.

But not everybody can decide to be in the field of their choice and then make their money that way.

They find themselves in jobs that they did not create simply because it pays the bills. So if a person does not have the ability to change that at this time, they can decide to take pleasure in doing what they are doing and enjoy each moment, each job, each interaction while they are doing it, and then carry that attitude with them all day.

Whether or not they have the opportunity to create their own job one day, they do have the opportunity to bring more joy and consciousness to whatever they are doing for now. What may come is as yet unknown, but now is here, and now can be as joyful as we want to make it.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Spring Rain

Tonight I went out for a walk in the spring rain. There is something subtle and sweet about the scent. It feels good to breathe in that air. It feels charged with growth and nurturing energy.

Spring rain carries the promise of the return of plant life, of flowers, herbs, fresh vegetables and bursts of color.

Just walking in it refreshes the spirit and softens the edge of a busy day.

It is an aphrodisiac in its mood. I watch the rabbits scurry as I walk, enjoying the neighborhood in their nocturnal adventures. I, too am 0n a nocturnal adventure.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Question of Royalty

When we look at the court cards in tarot, what do we really see? Is it merely kings and queens? Do they represent other people? Do they represent higher aspects of ourselves?

These are two major differences in ways to interpret these images. Sometimes the presence of the king or queen is calling us to be more, to do more, to rise to our highest possible level of achievement.

The appearance of a court card might indicate that we can be excellent and attain the top rank in our chosen endeavors. If we have been working diligently, it may be our time to gain recognition, prosperity, promotion and advancement.

Court cards can also signal the appearance of another person in your life. Depending on the question, of course, it could be a new lover, new business partner, relative, mentor or other person who could play a key role in your life.

Traditionally the knights are on horseback.Knights signify energies and people already in action. Things are in motion if you have a knight.

Pages, on the other hand, are generally on foot. Messengers, new people or influences approaching but from a greater distance. These might be prospects on the horizon. A development a little farther off in time. These could be people who might be coming into your life. These could also be new avenues for you to explore. Perhaps a change of direction in career or relationship. Pages are also generally drawn in ambiguous manner so that they can be interpreted as male or female.

Which prompts me to mention that the same can be true of kings, queens and knights. A person can be calling forth masculine or feminine properties or attritubutes or characteristics. And pulling a king does not necessarily mean a male, any more than pulling a queen necessarily indicates a female. This aspect of interpretation is about the intuitive or psychic art of the reader.

Various decks such as the Norse Tarot have reinterpreted the characters as king, queen, prince and princess to design a bit more gender balance into the decks. One deck, Voyager Tarot, changed the court cards to family cards, renaming them man, woman, child and sage.

These characters always signify some kind of dramatic movement or a major change. They are important people in your life. You are the most important actor in your life.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Simple Numbers

Simple numbers can be powerful tools. If you are using a playing card deck or one that consists of minors only, try these number definitions as a quick key to help you make sense of a reading.

Aces: New Beginnings
Twos: Knowledge
Threes: Creativity
Fours: Realization
Fives: Beliefs
Sixes: Choices
Sevens: The Path
Eights: Strength
Nines: Wisdom
Tens: Change

You might also think about the significance of simple numbers in our every day lives. Do you have a lucky number? Do you choose a particular number of apples or oranges when you buy produce? Do you try something a certain number of times? Think of all the ways that simple numbers factor into the things we do.

When looking at these definitions, how much easier does it make it for you to make sense of some of the cards?

Now, of course, different designers may have chosen to illustrate their decks in such a way that it will be hard to correlate some of these key words with some of the pictures. Be aware though, that this very same problem can occur in any deck. You think you have a good feel for the cards and then suddenly one throws you for a loop and you are at a loss for how to relate to it. That, of course, is all about the quest for the deck that suits you best.

There are many systems of numerology, some quite complicated, but I think the numbers from one to ten are of prime importance for very simple, root reasons. We have 10 fingers and 10 toes. When people who do not speak the same language come together to barter, signaling with digits is an effective way to bargain and reach agreement. Our hands, in every sense of the word, are the magic wands by which we get things done in the world, the way we meet other people (shaking hands or hugging) and our feet are the simplest, most primal way to get around and travel in this world.

I am very much a fan of doing things in a simple, direct way wherever possible. Try it. See if it works for you.