Monday, August 31, 2009

Prepare To Be Surprised

As we begin a new week, we look ahead with our plans, our vision, our desires, our dreams. All of us who are actively involved in our lives have events we are planning, people we want to get together with, things we want to do. Those who are bored with their own lives and have no vision for their own future, no desire to create new outcomes or opportunities will not sense this. Whether we are concerned with good or bad news, often we find that worrying about a development ahead of time simply increases stress. A good way around that is to prepare for surprises. What if we simply approached our week with the idea that we have plans, and we simply are moving forward with them, but the actual outcome of our plans may be a surprise.

Simply prepare your self to accept whatever surprises life brings us this week. Just trust that whatever way it works out is for the best.

Yes, we do plan ahead, but we cannot always control outcomes. Once again, it all comes back to staying in the moment. Make this moment the best you can make it, and the next and the next, and eventually you get to whatever comes later. If you take each moment as it comes, that leaves the event you are anticipating as simply the next moment. By delighting in whatever pleasure the present moment brings, we disarm the anxiety of anticipation and allow ourselves the joy of life that comes with surprises.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

An Abundant World

We live in an abundant world. Just this week, I got a notice from someone that there is a huge yard sale going on by the owners of a storage facility. You know, those places where people rent little garages to store their stuff. Apparently, a lot of people abandoned them and there is all this stuff that the owners want to get rid of. So if a person needs some household goods for instance, there is all this stuff on sale for the lowest prices imaginable. Apparently lots of people bought stuff that they really wanted, and after a time, they decided they didn't want it. Tastes change. Priorities change. On any given weekend, yard sales and garage sales, or websites like freecycle offer all kind of useful things. All that stuff that we felt like we couldn't live without, suddenly we are living without. And now it is available for someone else's use.

Yet, some people only want to buy furniture and household stuff new from the store, and so they might feel like there is not enough in the world because they would need lots of money or lots of credit to get all of these things.

The world is abundant in other ways as well. If we are only looking for career openings or jobs like the ones we used to have, in many cases, they are not available to us. However, if we expand our scope of thinking and enlarge our vision, there may be other openings that did not even occur to us before. Making a living may look very different now than it did before. We all have opinions about what is good and what is bad about all this, but more importantly, we have to look at the different ways there are for us to get what we need. We have to be more creative about finding solutions.

I find that many people hold or have held self limiting ideas about partners, lovers, companions. Many people have interpreted the term soulmate to mean that there is only one person in this world who would be a perfect partner for them, and they are on the hunt for that perfect person. It's a lot of work finding that needle in the haystack.

But if a person were to allow the possibility that there are many people in this world who could be excellent partners for them, they would not find themselves in the position of searching for a needle in a haystack. Let the definitions be a little more flexible, and do the things that you really want to do, and you will find any number of other people who are quite satisfying to be with, any number that might become close and who could share intimacies with, people who could be wonderful companions and lovers. There is no shortage of people in this world. We only create shortages by the way we define them.

We do live in an abundant world. Whatever we need is here somewhere. If we approach it with our eyes open in this way, instead of a world of lack and shortage, we will see a world of possibility and plenty.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

If not now, when?

If not you, who? If not here, where? If not now, when?

I am not certain who first came up with that, but it is powerful, inspirational, and can apply to each one of us in our own way.

How many times have we had things on our "to do" list that we never get around to? Near where I live there are a few funeral homes that I pass every day, and that prompts the question. If you are of a mature age and you have not yet done things that you say you really want to do, when will you?

Our priorities do change in the course of a lifetime. They can change within the course of a year, or a day. What should we go for? What should we forget about? What should come on or go off our list?

So if we were to prompt ourselves with these few powerful questions, how would we answer?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday, Freya's Day

We got our names of the days of the week from the Norse Germanic pagans. Friday to them was Freya's Day. Freya was the goddess of fertility, sexuality, magic and divination. She was also the leader of the Valkyries, who would bring the dead to the feasting halls of the afterlife.

Interesting how all these many centuries later, Friday still maintains its place a one of the big date nights, where all kinds of sexual play and magic are in most people's plans for the evening.

Whatever we do on Friday night is a kickoff to the weekend, and certainly fitting in terms of Freya's spirit.

Tonight, raise a toast to the goddess who created the spirit of Friday nights! Let magic flavor whatever you do, with whoever you do it. Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Word About Words

I have heard from more than one person about how they hated their job and wanted to get out. Well, the universe heard their desires and granted their wishes. They were suddenly informed that the company was letting them go.

The problem is that they forgot to mention that they didn't want to simply be suddenly unemployed and without an income, they wanted to find work doing something they love and obtain their income from that.

Forgetting important words is what gets us in a bind. Better that a person in a similar situation would phrase it that they see themselves doing work that they love and being well paid for it, and finding an opportunity to do so, which would then open the way for them to leave the old job that they don't like in order to devote their energy to something they enjoy.

The people in the example above did get what they asked for. But they omitted an important part of the request. Be careful what you wish for, and be careful how you word it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Riding on Nightmares

Nightmares often arise from the conscious changes in a person's life which may be traumatic, or upsetting. When we lay down to sleep for the night, negative, fearful dreams that may cause us distress enough to wake up and not get a sound night's sleep can be used as a powerful vehicle to turn those fears around.

One way to do this is to write the nightmare down, then change the course of the story to be an outcome you find desirable. Use these as a guided meditation for three days and you can see the nightmare turn into a journey of power, passion and strength.

By giving yourself another way to view the progress of events, you can reprogram your mind to visualize a positive outcome. It is natural that nightmares come when we are making a difficult transition in life.

Nightmares can present us a gift if we look at our greatests fear, face it and see ourselves facing this fear and achieving a positive outcome. Often times we do not know our real strength and the extent of our resources and abilities until we are challenged.

Remember, courage comes from the heart. Anyone can do well when everything is easy and things are just coasting along. It takes a person with a lot of heart to rise to meet challenges and overcome adversity. It takes keen powers of observation to note where there is an opportunity to turn a difficulty to our advantage and then act on it.

Learn to ride the nightmares. Change the story of the nightmare so that it plays out in a way that is powerful for you. There is power in nightmares. Use it to your advantage.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

How Normal is Normal?

What we all really want are relationships that work. How we define what works can vary greatly from the models that are held up as normal. There are all kinds of ways of making a relationship that works. Couples are creative in forging a partnership that works for them, although it varies from what is considered to be the norm. What's important is that it works for the couple.

Although the model that is still presented in our culture of a successful marriage, for example, is one where a couple gets married and stays married. But even the actors who play such roles in movies have each been married more than once.

In real life, we discover that some of our relatives had lovers other than their spouses, and that we have cousins or step siblings that we never knew we had. How many women either had abortions or went away and had their kids and then gave them up for adaption? We find out that grandma or grandpa had another marriage that they just never got around to mentioning because they didn't feel like talking about it. How many of our families had someone who was referred to as a "confirmed bachelor" or a "spinster" and how many of those people were really players, how many were really gay or lesbian, and how many were people who just didn't care about sex or relationships?

Each such discovery presents a vivid example of a relationship that varied from the standard that we were presented. When such instances are unearthed in the archeology of family history, the truth takes on a little different perspective.

One of the processes that changed during our lifetimes is that divorces became easier to obtain and so couples that really are not getting along well can change their legal status. In our parents and grandparents time, couples often stayed together for a variety of externally imposed reasons: to keep up appearances, because they feared that they could not do better, because they simply did not have the resources to move on, or because the divorce laws were so stringent that they felt that they really didn't have a choice, or because the social stigma attached to it was discouraging. Still, there are the stories of those who simply walked away from a bad situation and started over somewhere else.

So what are people doing differently now? For at least a few decades, retirees have declined to get married and simply live together because remarriage might result in forfitting pension or social security checks.

Some couples whose professions require lots of travel have maintained separate residences while continuing to have a relationship. Some couples have open relationships which are not exclusive.

Even the model that was held up to us as what was normal is now seen in a different light. With the divorce rate around 50%, even those who live together in exclusive relationships might be on their second or third marriages. And those who did marry only once and are still together many years later are very much in the minority. All of which raises the question of how normal is normal?

There are all kinds of ways for couples to make relationships work and they do not all look alike. In fact, there is a lot of variety in the ways they find to make it work.

Monday, August 24, 2009

We Just Want It To Work

One of the beauties of modern inventions like the computer is that we depend on these devices to do a lot for us, and when we need to use them, we just want them to work. Most people don't really care about how their computer works. They just care that when they go to turn it on and check their email or their favorite websites that it does work.

Same for our cars. Whether you are style conscious and want to buy luxury models or whether you are just a practical person who expects their vehicle to be a device that gets them from point A to point B, most people don't know or want to take the time to study how a car works. They just want to be able to get in, turn the key and go.

Cell phones are just as crucial today, since they also contain the numbers of our friends and family as well as take messages for us. Most of us no longer remember other people's phone numbers because we depend on the phone to just dial them for us.

All of which can raise anxiety levels quickly when one of these three crucial devices gets broken or stolen or lost. We have allowed ourselves to become very dependent on these. So for all the benefits they have brought us, there is also a huge risk.

This, of course, makes it essential for us to have technicians we can depend on, mechanics we can trust. We feel that at least we can trust that someone will be setting things straight if we have this kind of relationship with our mechanics and technicians.

Does it not also cause us to reflect on the changes we both embrace and fear?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Desires in Words

Unspoken words that we thought of but never said are powerful because by not speaking them, we are not planting those seeds in ground where they can grow. When we speak for what we want, when we express our desires, visions, goals and wishes, then there is an opportunity for someone to help us grow those seed thoughts into realities.

Just as putting a seed in the soil and watering it one day brings green sprouts up out of the ground, saying words that express our desires, visions, goals and wishes to someone else can help nurture those words until our outer world starts to reflect those inner thoughts.

If we have thoughts that are important to us and we do not put them into words, then others cannot help us realize our dreams.

So if we have thoughts that are important to us, ideas that keep coming back to us, visions of things we would like to do, expressions of desires that are as yet unrealized, we hold ourselves back from all of this by not speaking those words to others. If we do speak those words to others to express those desires, we greatly increase the odds that we will get them.

There are a few reasons why we do not speak. One is fear that others will not agree with us or support us. Another is that we do not trust our own strength to pursue our goals.

But we can never be certain of how receptive others will be of our thoughts and words. We just have to speak them and see how they respond, and of course, we do not need everyone to agree with us. Those who do will be the ones who help us achieve our goals.

As far as trusting in ourselves, sometimes saying words out loud helps give us the confidence to go forward. It is when we bring thoughts out from the inner world and place them into words in the outer world that they take on a new resonant power.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Unspoken Word

Unspoken words are powerful words. My grandfather always used to say that we should not tell everything we know because then other people can have power over us. There is a power to being mysterious. Notice how often movie stars and pop music stars who do not grant a lot of interviews are the ones in most demand. They drive up their own value by not being available, by not speaking when they are not onstage.

When you are negotiating with someone, the first one who speaks loses. The one who is waiting to consider all the facts and variables considers the perspective from all angles, so the one who speaks first has to offer something to try and close the deal. In so doing, they make a concession, which then places the other person in the position of power because they can then either close or try for further concessions.

Often times in movies or novels, the person who speaks little poses a greater threat because the opponent does not know exactly what they are up against. The one we know less about seems far more dangerous than the one we know a lot about, because we always figure that there is a way around the ones we know.

The unspoken word is also powerful in communicating deep feelings to someone we care about, because sometimes we flail about helplessly in our minds trying to find just the right words to describe what we want to say, and none of them are exactly right, so we say nothing, and it conveys everything.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Big Dreams, Big Actions

Tonight's new moon speaks to an aspect that is near and dear to all of us: passion and creativity.

Given that new moons are always a time for new beginnings, it is a good time to ask ourselves exactly what we want more of in life. Each moon has a different emphasis, and so at this time, we have an opportunity to state clearly what we want and then find creative ways to bring those visions into reality. How can we take our inner visions and actualize them?

What an opportunity we have before us to project our dreams into the world and change our lives. Our entire lives are filled with this potential. How many of us will attempt to develop our potential into something more? The new moon is simply a great symbolic opportunity to harmonize our energies with those of nature to capitalize on that momentum.

Once we have mastered getting our basic needs met (food, shelter and clothing) then we arrive in playtime, where we can begin to turn our thoughts to what else we want in life. What is it that brings us joy, pleasure, humor, happiness and mirth? What is there beyond the basics, which offers us a perspective from which we can celebrate life?

Now is the time to express the romantic, fun loving, full of wonder spirit and express in dramatic flourishes, that which has the ability to excite and inspire us to engage in our big dreams. Where is the zest for living? If you don't know, go on a treasure hunt and find it. If you do know, use it more often and more freely. Moon celebrations are intoxicating times, full of the dreamy stuff that illuminates our path, our journey, our next step from our present into our future.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Consciousness, Money & Freedom

Our desire for financial freedom can be defined in different ways. One familiar approach is simply to keep looking for ways to make more money. A second is to save some of your income and avoid debt. Another is to learn what it really takes to make you happy, then letting all other choices flow from that decision.

If you really enjoy what you do, that in itself is part of your compensation. That makes every day more of a pleasure.

What makes a comfortable place to live is something we define. If you can only be comfortable in a big house, then you have to work more to pay for it. If you enjoy what you do, then you still have harmony and congruence in your life. If, however, you don't really like your job that much, you will start to feel trapped. Or later on, if you have a desire to quit that job or that career in order to do something else that you feel more passionate about or more consciously connected to, but that might pay less, the only sensible choice will be to learn to enjoy a more modest style of living. If a comfortable house is something more modest, then you don't have to work as much to pay for it.

So is freedom defined by how big a house or how much stuff we own? Maybe, maybe not. If we define freedom as enjoying what we do every day, and if we have to work long hard hours at a job we don't really like, then maybe having to keep that job and work that many hours is a form of self imposed restrictions rather than freedom.

It is not the total number of dollars that defines happiness. It is the actions involved with how we make and spend those dollars that really defines our happiness.

I am well aware that not everyone is in the job of their dreams. That is why some people just go in and do what they have to do without any great joy, and display all of their passion and invest all of their enthusiasm into hobbies and avocations. Some people also choose to find things to like about the job they have so that it is not such an energy drain.

But more and more, we are becoming aware that we have to be creative and find ways to make our money in a way that we enjoy and that we have control over, so that we are not simply at the mercy of the whims of the corporate managers. And that means that the percentage of people who will be creating their own businesses will increase out of their survival instinct plus their desire for positive change.

Our consciousness has evolved to the point where more and more people are coming to grips with this reality every day. Some people arrived at this choice long ago simply because they were following their desires. Now more people are arriving at this choice out of necessity. It does bring about more conscious living to be aware of what really makes us happy and then taking action to make it into our reality.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Music, Our Portal and Passport

Music is a galvanizing force for bringing people together. The energy of music can bring people together quickly, creating good feelings, warmth, humor, lightheartedness, joy and pleasure.

Music can also bring healing. Why do you think that massage therapists and other body workers always have music playing while they are working on you? It helps a person relax, soothes the muscles and relieves tension, making it easier for the therapist to do their work.

It is also an aid to digestion, which is why soothing music is played in restaurants. It can also stimulate the flow of healing cells and energies in our bodies.

All of these things happen because music is a portal. It connects us with other people, it is a universal form of communication, which is why it is included on space probes we have launched. There have been many instances where people of different cultures who could not speak each other's languages have been able to play music together. There have been many ne recordings in recent years where we can hear people of different ethnic groups bridge the gap by finding ways for the musical idioms to come together and play.

What about as a portal for the imagination? how many symphonies, ballets and operas have themes drawn from great myths, fairy tales and folklore? Why is it that sacred chants, whether the Gregorian, Sufi, Hindu, Hebrew or any other can immediately transport the listener into an altered state of consciousness? At Renaissance Faires the period music is just as important in creating the feeling of that time and space as the costumes and decorations.

How many times when you are watching a movie can you tell whether coming actions and scenes are going to be sinister, tragic, hilarious or romantic because they are foreshadowed by the music?

Music can energize to make work lighter as well. Think about chants that people have done at work so that they could get enough of a boost to get things done. This is the common thread between the work chants of the slaves, the chants of the sailors, the cadence of the soldiers, cheerleaders in sports, chants of the warriors, songs people sing at harvests or plantings, and so many other examples. Music unleashes energy we didn't even know we had and makes that available to us when we have tough jobs to do. Sometimes I chant and sing during the work day simply to relieve tension and inspire me to keep going.

Music is a portal that opens the way for us to heal, shift into sacred space, to become engaged romantically with another person, to build excitement and energy, give us courage, give us strength, helps us grieve and to celebrate.

From the heartbeat we first know in the womb, the sounds we make when we go to war or go to work, and the songs we sing at weddings, funerals, the music we hear when we make love and the sounds that surround us in the world, we find our way to the places we want to go with music.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Music: Primal, Potent Magic

Today, I am prompted to think of how guitars changed my life. Les Paul, who invented the electric guitar as well as multitrack recording, died today, and that led me to remembering when I got my first guitar and taught myself how to play and what happened next.

Music has always been a part of my life. An important part. Before I learned guitar, I wanted to be a classical violinist. After a year and a half of lessons I was eager to play melodies, but the traditional way of teaching at that time was to focus on finger exercises long before attempting melodies. I understand that methods have changed since then, but I quit because I was entranced by melodies, not exercises.

So after quitting violin lessons, I didn't take up anything else immediately. But eventually, I got hooked on rock, and decided that I wanted to try that. So I bought a guitar and within a very short time, I was able to play songs. For a little while I was in bands, but then spent many years playing solo. For a number of years, inviting people over to play guitar and sing was a great way to socialize and have fun. People would come over and we made music, hung out and talked and taught each other songs.

Growing up in Chicago, and hearing lots of the great blues musicians, I also was inspired to teach myself blues harp (harmonica) which can also play lots of lovely melodies beyond blues. When you can play blues harp, your instrument fits in your pocket and you can jump in with other musicians on a moment's notice. And it has the power to transform any space. Back when I was a cab driver, for example, and we were in waiting lines, like at the airport, some drivers would be shooting craps, but I would pull out my harp, and then another driver pulled out a guitar and a long boring wait in a parking lot would turn into a jam.

Later on, my life changed and drumming became my favorite instrument and I spent many evenings in drumming circles and drumming parties, and for a while was the drummer for a band of women vocalists. There were nights around the fire when we would drum until our hands got sore and swollen and people would be falling out having danced and drummed into a frenzy and spent their energy. But all it would take to get them started again was for one person to start a chant or a beat, and people would come back to life.

That was followed by a number of years where contra dancing kept me smiling for many an evening. High energy, work up a sweat, keep your eye on your partner and your ear on the caller, and keep in time with everyone else kind of dancing. If you have never experienced it, a hot fiddler and a good caller leading a band can turn a room full of strangers into synchronized waves of energy within minutes.

I have also participated in the Dances of Universal Peace and sung in kirtan and participated in song circles on a number of occasions. Voices can join and stir up waves of energy that are ethereal and send people floating around in circles.

Any kind of participation in music or dance will lift the spirits of the participants and stimulate good feelings.

In retrospect, I would have to say that music really came into my life in a big way because people like Les Paul helped to make the guitar an even more popular and accessible instrument. I mean rock n roll would have never been without the electric guitar. When Muddy Waters started playing electric guitar, he just blew the blues right out of the folk music arena and into legend. Eelctric guitar opened portals to other dimensions.

And, in turn, music opened portals to other dimensions. Music is one of the first, and still most potent forms of magic that we have.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Disorientation & Reorientation

Tests we face in life are meant to cause us disorientation. Each time we have to recalculate our course, we have to see with fresh eyes and hear with fresh ears in order to find our way again. In this process of renewal, we discover things about ourselves. Little realizations open the door to big revelations.

Look at some of these definitions of orientation:
an integrated set of attitudes and beliefs
position or alignment relative to points of the compass or other specific directions
a person's awareness of self with regard to position and time and place and personal relationships
predilection: a predisposition in favor of something
orientation course: a course introducing a new situation or environment

When sailing a sailboat, you are constantly shifting your position relative to the wind in order to make optimum use of the energies present in the wind and water so that you can stay on course and get where you want to go. They call this maneuver tacking. Little ribbons on the top of the sail give the first indication of the shifts in the wind. These are called telltales.

When two people are dancing, someone leads and someone follows. Good dance partners only need to use a movement of the eyes, a light touch of the hand, or a shift in the hips to signal a change of direction, a turn, a spin.

When drummers are drumming together, a signal can be as simple as an extra beat to pick up or slow down the tempo.

A choice of words will indicate a range of differences in a writer's intention. Subtle, but significant signals. A tone can signify the difference between pleasure and pain.

Disorientation and reorientation are ways of responding to life by constantly revising our directions, renewing our connections and clearly reaffirming our choices in order to signal and then make our change in direction. Adjusting to flowing and shifting energy patterns is necessary to life. Consciously engaging in the procecss strengthens us and enlarges our life.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Our Birthday Presence

Our energies shift every year on our birthdays, not just because we are getting older, but because we can bring the applied wisdom and experience to bear that we have gained since our last birthday.

That does not mean that we do not make mistakes any more, only that we now have additional resources so that we do not keep making the same ones over and over. Our birthday is really our new year, our opportunity to get a fresh start.

This year, my number shifts into a three, which represents the power of manifestation.

Our birthdays are a powerful time for reflection as we look back over what we have accomplished and look forward to what is ahead.

It is only natural that these unique days in our lives always feel special. As we live longer, we find ourselves celebrating birthdays way beyond what our parents and other relatives experienced, and it offers a new perspective when we think of those things that they considered new and marvelous compared to what we now have. I also think of how earlier generations looked old and tired, yet people today at the same chronological age appear to be much more vigorous and vivacious.

Our birthdays are a time for inspiration. If we look at what we have done already, look how many more possibilities we have in front of us. Being here now is a great gift. I am opening it.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Being Lost in Dreams

How do we ever get to be lost in dreams? Have you felt yourself dancing to a wonderful romantic melody until you forgot where you were? Did you ever wake up in the morning and wonder where you were going, or why you had to get up? Do you ever find yourself daydreaming and feeling it be so real that we feel more like we are in that place than where we are?

These disorientations can come about as a result of the dream state overlapping with out conscious state. It is not, of course, that we do not know that we are dancing or that we do not know that we have to get up and go to work in the morning. It is just that we are enjoying our dream state and would prefer to stay there for a while.

When we return, our senses and our feelings, do not quite fit what is happening because we are still in one realm but needing to move into another.

Our dream state is so appealing that we enjoy being in it and find ourselves immersed in it. In this inbetween state, many creative people find fertile ground for creativity and new ideas.

In this fluid state, we gain entry into places without limitations, without boundaries, and this is why we experience free association, and enlarged perceptions.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Our Identities

Wearing a mask or a costume is one way of showing an identity to the world, but the persona that we wear every day is another.

Our identity that we have connected to who we are in relationship with, what we do for a living, and other interests, is another way that we present an identity to the world.

Notice how quickly or thoroughly these can change. If you are a manager with a corporation, you wear a suit and tie and you hand out a business card that identifies you as such, people regard you a certain way.

The same person simply out hiking in a pair of shorts and a T shirt is not seen as anything but another hiker.

If that same person were to show up regularly at dances, everyone would think of them first as a dancer.

There are some couples who are always seen doing something together and their identities become Jane & John, Sue & Dave, etc, with their identities as part of a combination, rather than something separate.

Authors who use a pen name, actors who use a screen name, people who have taken a spiritual name and are always addressed by those names, have only that identity known to others.

When a person changes careers, changes relationships, changes hobbies, or sports, or other activities where they spent a lot of energy, their identity changes with them.

Soon after you are no longer in the same field of work, or living in the same house with the same person, or showing up at the playing field or group meeting, living in the same neighborhood, that identity ceases to exist.

When you start showing up in new places, doing new things, with new people, a new identity takes shape. Our identities are a very fluid thing. If you have had more than one career, more than one long term relationship, moved to different neighborhoods or different parts of the country, enjoyed avid participation in more than one activity, you know just how completely this can change.

How much of our identities are our true self then? Perhaps none of them.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Mistaken Identities Are Not Always Mistakes

One of the most common themes or plot devices in Shakespeare's plays is that of mistaken identities. Obviously, there is an immediate opportunity for comedy when one person is mmistaken for another. Then there are the instances where one person puts on a disguise and deliberately tries to mislead others.

Why was this such a popular theme? Perhaps because dreaming of being someone else is such a common concept?

Invisibility is one of the powers that people most often fantasize about having. The ability to see the world from another perspective, to find out how others view them, to be able to go places that they might not be allowed to go in ordinary circumstances.

How does it feel to be wearing mask and costume at a party and have others not know who you really are? Wearing a disguise is one of the oldest ways to be hidden in plain sight. While others are guessing who you are, you can act in ways very different than your ordinary self, try on another persona to see how you like being a very different person. During this brief interlude you can get a small taste of what it might be like to live a different life.

Another aspect of disguise and other identities is the ritual use of costumes and masks, which is really quite similar in nature, except that it is done with a different purpose in mind. From the ancient tribal days when people would don an animal skin and a head dress and dance before a hunt to the modern priest putting on a robe, a business person putting on a suit, an athlete putting on a team uniform, soldiers wearing a military uniform, or someone getting sexily dressed up to go out dancing, these other identities serve their purpose for a brief period of time. When the ritual, game, business meetings, or dance are over, we change back into our usual clothes, and we act differently again.

Mistaken identities are not always mistakes. They can reveal our inner self and our inner desires. Sometimes the impressions we give others are unintended, and other times, they contain a great deal of forethought, conscious or unconscious.

Have you ever had someone tell you that you look especially good today? That is just a glimpse of you revealing another aspect of your personality. Have you ever felt that you could do more when you were dressed in a certain way? That is one of the ways in which the external aspects of costuming, masking, or "suiting up" encourages us to rise to the occasion.

Mistaken identities are not always mistakes.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Letting Go Into the Flow

This cycle of eclipses remind us that a path leading out of constriction and limitation may begin with letting go. Letting go opens the way for new energies to flow. When we hold on to things or situations too tightly, we can constrict the free flow of energy.

The path of least resistance offers us a true guide. When we focus our attention and our own intuition will point out that we have to let go of something in order to obtain something else, and we experience real power is in letting go, rather than hanging on.

Feel it. Have you ever felt frustrated trying to find a job that was exactly the way you would like it to be? In letting go, we allow the universe to present us with another opportunity that we might never have thought of before.Or we might find ourselves considering an opportunity that we had deliberately overlooked before because it did not fit our description. Instead of holding a vision of exactly this or that kind of job, what if our description were loosened up? What if we simply affirmed that we want to have some kind of work that we would feel good about doing every day?

How many people have held on tight to a relationship that is not what we want, but we are afraid to let go because we do not feel like we could find one better? What if we simply affirmed that we trust the universe to bring us into contact with others who might form the right and perfect relationships with us, for the good of all concerned, and with the free will of all concerned?

Letting go requires trust in the universe. Letting go requires trust in our selves. Letting go is acknowledging that there are many forces in the universe conspiring to present us with great opportunities for a happy, abundant life. In order to experience this, we must let go of the view that there are others preventing us from having a great life. Once we let go, energy moves around us, through us and with us, and we have new opportunities for joy and satisfaction in any area of life we desire. We have to let go in order to feel these other energies working with us.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Students and Teachers

Teachers can take different forms in our lives. Sometimes they are official teachers, like those we have in school, but sometimes they are unofficial teachers, people with whom we can share and learn from. Mentors is a word for such people in our lives.

Outside of the school model, we choose our teachers because we admire them and what they have accomplished. We also choose them because we see something in them that we want which we recognize from the way they are.

We may at times be prompted to learn from our teachers because we are challenged by the lessons they present us. Challenges can cause us to reach beyond what we have done and grow in our abilities and confidence.

Different teachers have different ways to get us there.

A good student also challenges the teacher to find better ways to communicate the lessons and get value from them. Asking questions is the dynamic by which students increase their ability to digest the material, and in asking, they encourage the teacher to dig deeper.

I have learned from many other people, and I have taught many other people. The old saying that "when the student is ready, the teacher appears" is true, and I would expand on it this way. The student who asks for a teacher and then dedicates themselves to learning all they can from that teacher will get the most from the experience.

Whether working with the teacher for a long or short time, what is transmitted includes not just the subject at hand, but more. The exchange between student and teacher can include valuable life lessons, insights, and ways of approaching and understanding a subject. Feelings of love and appreciation often flow from such relationships. Feelings of self confidence and encouragement bring the student to new horizons where the landscape opens to new views, new possibilities.

As we all know by now, we can not judge how great a teacher will be simply on the basis of how many certificates or degrees they have. Often times we will choose a teacher because we feel a connection with them as well as a mastery of the subject matter.

We extract lessons from between the lessons. We sense when our time with that teacher has come to its end. What we learn in the process stays with us for a lifetime. What we gain from the student teacher experience is always evolving, because we are always changing.

We are never done learning. The only question is whether we openly and consciously embrace it. It is not a question of whether we will always have new teachers, it is simply a matter of who, and how actively we are engaged in the process. It is always a good day to begin again.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

August Full Moon with Eclipse

August's full moon is known by a few different names: Grain Moon, Corn Moon, Barley Moon, Sturgeon Moon, Red Moon. The corn, barley and grain names reference the fact that this is the time of year when the fullness and harvesting of these crops occurs. These staple food items long ago became an integral part of our diets.

People gave thanks for the success of these crops with festivals and ceremonial offerings, like baking loaves of bread from the first harvests and having them blessed by priests at the Loaf Mass (Lammas) which is usually celebrated at the first of August. This tradition, originated in the older goddess oriented cultures. The development of agriculture with its regular abundant harvests produced on pieces of land that were continuously cultivated, was key to changing cultures from hunter/gatherer tribes and establishing towns and villages and all of the cultural changes that flowed from these settlements.

Sturgeon moon comes from tribes in the midwest who would find this to be a great month to catch these large Great Lakes fish, which could be smoked and dried for eating later, as well as for immediate consumption.

It could also be known as the Red Moon, because seasonal and atmospheric changes appear to give the moon a reddish color as it rises this month.
Thus we celebrate the first of the waves of harvest. The September full moon is the one we call the Harvest Moon, with that being the time of year for harvesting pumpkins, squash, nuts, grapes, apples, and other fruits and vegetables. At the Blood Moon in October, people celebrated the harvesting and hunting of meat, gleaning of the fields of any remaining produce and laying in a stock of firewood for the winter.

Each harvest was celebrated a bit differently, with different folklore and traditions attached, but always with an underlying theme of gratitude, because the weather could have everything to do with the success of the harvest and thus, survival. The cooperation of friends and neighbors was also a factor.

Nature moves in cycles and waves, and people who learned to work with these, and coordinate their energies with these shifting energies of nature were most successful. In successive months, different tasks presented themselves to be done, each in their turn. Even though we are not all farmers or hunters, there are still ways in which we benefit when we harmonize our selves with the cycles of moons and seasons.

Heighten your intuition by spending a little time reflecting or meditating with the full moon. Just as it influences tides, it influences feelings and insights. There will also be an eclipse on this full moon, and an eclipse brings an extra bounce, or jolt of energy with it. Full moons are always a special time, and the things done on a full moon are bathed in the magic of this special light. If you feel a special wave of subtle energy tonight, this is why. Open your heart, your creativity and your third eye, and bask in the gift of energy from this eclipse full moon.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Green Dreams

Green dreams include renewable energy, locally grown, healthy foods, recycling and things along those lines. Green dreams include creating work that celebrates life. Green dreams include creating new kinds of work and new opportunities. Green dreams also include ways of making a living that work for everyone.

Green dreams also include living in a way that keeps us in touch with nature. Green dreams include harmonizing our energies with those of nature. Green dreams finds power in work with, rather than against.

Green dreams include visions of the future in which simple pleasures provide what we need. Green dreams include legalizing the well known weed.

Green dreams include sustainable living and at the same time, a way of living that we want to sustain. Green dreams include spirituality that celebrates nature and our nature. Green dreams include life not just as it is, but as we would like it to be.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A Moving Ritual

Here is a ritual method that I have found useful for moving.

As I prepare to move, I look over every item to consider whether I want to keep it in my life. If so, it gets packed. If not, it is either given away, sold, or otherwise disposed of. I choose whether it is something I will continue to use, or if it is so beautiful that I want to have it gracing the presence of my new place.

Moving often is a process we often treat as simply packing everything up now and eventually sorting through it in the new place. Sometimes those boxes have a way of never getting unpacked and simply taking up space in the new place. How much more energy flow there is in the move into a new place if we treat the process differently. Sorting before packing, I become very conscious of what things I have and what things I need. What I need will become a little clearer after the move, and then yard sales or stores can provide the appropriate items.

Simple can be powerful. I came up with this ritual after one moving experience where I literally boxed up everything and made several long trips to move. Then a few months later, I moved again, and after that move, I realized that some of those things that just got moved twice, I didn't really use much and could easily let go of. That would have saved me quite a few hours of driving, packing and unpacking had I realized that earlier plus I could have made money or made gifts out of what I no longer wanted or needed.

When I moved out here, I did not have a permanent address or a job and so moving everything was not an option. So I sorted through everything and just brought the books, music, art and other items I most wanted to keep. I kept the clothing that was really useful and my favorites to wear. The rest was donated to charity. Amazingly, everything that fit that description fit into my car. I had to redo the exercise several times, because, of course, at first, everything I wanted did not fit in the car, so the car became the organizing guideline.

Actually considering what is needed or really wanted and what stuff just keeps getting packed and moved because we have not made a decision becomes a very powerful clearing exercise, not just for your stuff, but for your self. It is a very outward sign for what you want to continue or do more of, and what you are letting go of and doing less of. You are preparing your life for the next stage of your unfolding and growth.

By the time I unpack in my new place, I will feel much more there. It takes some time living in a new space before it really feels as at home there as in the old place. But this moving ritual has made that transition much more powerful as a tool to digest and assimilate the lessons that are presenting themselves. It also increases the amount of joy in the unpacking process, because with every box you unpack, you know that this is something you want and will use, rather than finding your self saying "now why did I bring this?"

Making a ritual out of an activity that signals a major change makes a mundane task into something special and meaningful.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Unscripted Moments

Our parents had plans for us. The script ran like this. Go to church that they went to, go to the schools they chose for us, after school get a steady job in some company and stay there for your whole working life. Get married, buy a house, have kids, and encourage them to follow all these steps themselves.

One by one, each of these pieces of the picture changed. We chose our own spiritual paths, which in many cases, has nothing to do with a church. We got degrees from schools, but they often bore no resemblance to what kinds of jobs we got. We changed jobs many times. We moved many times. We got married and divorced, often more than once.

So now our lives are made up of unscripted moments. Developments surprise us at every turn. In moment after moment, we find our selves facing decisions asking, "What next?"

After making one choice, we find ourselves in subsequent situations wondering how we got there. We are faced with our next choice, which has to be made on instinct, because we were not even ready for the question. We choose based on our feeling of the flow. Then the next choice presents itself and how many times have we simply thrown up our hands and asked the universe "Why not?"

Every choice is laden with surprises where whether we are pleased or displeased with our outcome, we are amazed to find ourselves where we are.

We constantly have to recalibrate as we observe the path we are on and wonder where it will lead us. Even those things that are planned bring surprises. Even when we achieve our goals, there are surprises.

And after all this, life is fresh every day, because the one constant is that we know that we do not know, and so each decision made with our intuition and input from our spirit guides offers the chance to plot a new course. Although with the rapid evolution we are experiencing, the path twists, turns and zigzags a lot, and we will still have many more unscripted moments where we will choose in that moment what we want and how to get there, and each moment will be an act of freedom, totally unscripted, left up to us to improvise.