Thursday, October 29, 2009

Drawing the Death Card

One of the cards that most people are afraid to draw from the tarot deck is Death.

In one respect, that is a very natural response, because when we are busy living, we do not want to dwell on thoughts of dying.

Like everything else, we can change our response to it by reframing our understanding of this word and this concept. This weekend, as I mentioned earlier this week, we have two major holidays which celebrate this phase of our evolution, the day known to some as Halloween, Samhain or the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos).

In almost all cases in a reading, though, the Death card is not about predicting that you are going to die. Usually it represents a major change in a person's life.

For example, when we leave home to begin our adult life, we have left our childhood behind. When we get married, a new phase of our life begins, and the old phase has died. When we get divorced, the marriage has died. When we graduate from school and enter the full time working world, another phase of our life has died. When we leave one career and begin a different one, a part of us dies to give birth to a new phase of our life. Sometimes we outgrow old friendships and embrace new friendships when we meet fellow travelers on the same path in life.

Just like the caterpillar must die so that it can become a butterfly, we too, shed layers of ourselves in the course of our evolution and growth in a lifetime. So yes, it is also appropriate to celebrate and mourn those parts of our life that we have let go of in order to give birth to a new part of our life.

To address the other aspect of Death, the one that most people identify with first, when we note the passing of someone we loved, someone who played a significant part in our life, we are acknowledging our interconnectedness and how that person helped us evolve. Often, they held up mirrors for us.

When a person very close to us dies, there is an immediate sense of loss, of grief. That is natural. These holidays also give us time for a little perspective. With a little more distance of time, we can stop and reflect on the essence, the totality of that relationship.

Various religions have different theories about what happens after we die. Where do we go from here? We will not know for sure until we get there, what it is like.

What we do know is that if we appreciate all aspects of life, we must also appreciate death as one of the passages we will go through, just like we all went through puberty. I remember it well. That is when my hair got curly. It is still curly. What does that mean?

We need to accept each phase in its own turn. Most of us want to live as long as we can, as well as we can. That is natural.

Reframe it this way. Is your love life now what you thought it would be like when you had your first sexual awakenings? Is it like what you thought it would be like 10 years ago? Is your career or business experience now what you thought it would be like when you began working? Is it even what you thought it would be 20 years ago or 5 years ago?

We don't know what happens when we cross that veil and pass through that gateway either. We will know when we get there. Don't worry about it now. Just live your life as well as you can now and what's next will take care of itself. It always does. It is part of our evolution. Each stage of our life is an evolution.

Drawing the Death card does not mean that the end of your life in this body is just around the corner. What it does mean is that there is another evolution we are working our way through right now.

Let go of fear and embrace the change. Just like all of my speculations about my sex life or my work life from my younger age have proven very different from my younger vision, so might my views about death. Looking at death reveals another way to see life. Can you see it now?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fields of Energy

Fields of energy surround us. Fields of energy are us. That is why tuning into our feelings is what sharpens our intuition. When we are facing decisions and choices, we have a feeling that guides us toward one direction or another.

When we are feeling that good because life is going well, or feeling down because it is not, we are affecting, and affected by the energy fields we live in.

When we look ahead at some event and can visualize how that will play out, we get a feeling that lets us know.

Obvious? Perhaps. That is why it is good to remember to trust our feelings because mind can get in the way. How many times have we felt like changing careers or relationships, but stopped ourselves because we didn't think we could do it?

Thinking and feels often seem to be at cross purposes. Did you ever have a decision, and felt what the best choice was, then agonized over the decision and went round in circles in your own mind, getting more confused, before finally coming to the same conclusion as your feelings?

Have you experienced energy healing? Why does it work? Not because you analyze and think and discuss, but because you sense these feelings of love, compassion, healing and they bring your body's energy fields back into harmony.

Our feelings can be the truest guide for what we need to do.

Feelings are most connected to our energies, so when we need wholeness, inspiration and encouragement, feelings will fuel our engines.

Notice what happens when your feelings infuse your field of energy with happiness. Doors open for you. Creative ideas come to you. Opportunities present themselves. When negative feelings infuse your field of energy, things shut down, opportunities are closed to you. Pay attention to doing what feels good, and see how different the world looks. See how it can lead to happiness and health. See how it leads to greater abundance. Feelings open fields of energy for us.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Day Out of Time

It has long fascinated me that two very different cultures in two very different parts of the world developed a very similar custom for honoring the dead, and celebrated it on the same day of the year.

There are more similarities than differences between the Celtic Samhain (Halloween) and the Mexican Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).

Similarities include setting a place at the table for those who have died during the past year as a way of signifying that we remember them and offer them one last meal on their journey into the next world. Taking time to remember those people by telling stories about them or singing a favorite song of theirs is another way of saying farewell.

Rather than being macabre, it is a way of acknowledging that one day, no matter how good they look now, our bodies will wear out and our spirits will go somewhere else. That is why Day fo the Dead celebrations include things like skull cookies, a special bread, picnics in graveyards, altars in remembrance of those who have passed. I like it that they use one of my favorite flowers, marigolds, to help mark the path for spirits to visit. And I like the smell of copal, the incense they use.

The Celts would have used evergreen branches bundled together as smudge sticks (incense), they carved jack-o-lanterns to light their way and scare off evil spirits. They also considered it a day out of time, with the name actually meaning summer's end, the day between summer and winter. Some say that the druids held court on that day to resolve disputes and lead ceremonies.

Just as the Mexican tradition has special foods prepared for Day of the Dead, the trick or treat tradition comes from the way that people used to visit each other's homes on Samhain to remember the dead and offer prayers, then "soul cakes" were offered to guests. Masks play a part of both traditions. When we mask and wear costumes, for a brief time, we can become someone else. In this way, we give our selves a day out of time in our usual identities.

I have participated in both Day of the Dead Celebrations and Samhain celebrations where participants were led through a spiral dance. Some symbols translate well in different cultures.

When the church overlaid an official holiday over the old holidays, it became known as All Saints Day, which is immediately followed by All Soul's Day, thus October 31 became the Eve of the Hallowed.

Since the Celtic tradition held that a day begins at sunset, not sunrise, this date also signified the long night when summer turned into winter, and thus great fires were lit for the celebrations of this turning point of the year. Fires and candles in both traditions guided the paths of the dead and the living as they intertwined.

In Ireland, the first fire of the new year was set on the hill of Tara, where the kings, chieftans and druids all gathered, and when people on other hilltops saw that fire, they lit their ritual bonfires. The change was considered so great that they considered the day between to belong to neither season, and thus was a day out of time.

It has long been believed that this day, being one where the veil is thinnest between the realms, which allows spirits to pass freely from one to the other, also permits more psychic phenomena and it is held that readings done on this day can be particularly meaningful.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Taking Names

There is an old teaching that when we name something, we have power over it. Words have power. Speaking has power.

The entire time the ghost had no name, it had power over the inhabitants of the building. Once it's name was spoken, something else started to take shape, a personality, a picture of this lost person who was afraid and did not want to move. When its name was spoken, it paid attention. Eventually through the power of words, the spoken word, it's power dissipated, its spell was broken, and a little while later it was gone. It followed the only path out of this place, this reality.

When we name our fears, they no longer have a power over us.

The other side of this axiom is that we should never speak an invocation without knowing what we are invoking. When we know the name of who we summon, we know what we have to deal with. Words have a resonance and that which is summoned and invoked know the sound and feel of that resonance.

We have all experienced that first hand, haven't we? How many people have changed their names as a part of some training, spiritual, religious or otherwise?

Even in the most mundane aspects, how many of us use a softer, warmer, shortened version of our names because it is friendlier and more intimate than the full length sound of our legal name? How many people have changed their name simply because they did not like the sound and feel of the name they were given, so they took another one they like better?

How many actors, artists, writers, musicians and entertainers have taken another name that fits their onstage persona? Why? Because the name summons the spirit of that entity, the star, the celebrity. Fame creates its own aura.

When we take a name we grow into it, for better or for worse. Taking names is a powerful act, an act of transformation. Are you more aware of that now?

Taking names is the act of a creator. Taking names is our call to action. Taking names is a magical invocation of who we are becoming. Taking names is a magic not to be taken lightly.

When an animal accepts a name from us it becomes domesticated. When we accept a name from someone else we become subordinated. When we take our own names, we take our power back.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ghost Busting

This weekend, I had an opportunity to work at a psychic fair in Minneapolis and that evening, go on a ghost busting excursion with Echo Bodine and Dave Schrader. For those of you who don't know them, Echo is a nationally known psychic, medium, author and teacher who has done a lot of ghost busting, in addition to readings and healings. Dave is the host of Darkness Paranormal Radio Show, and was associated with the ghost busting crew known as TAPS.

If you have ever seen some of those ghostbusting shows on TV such as Paranormal states, that looks kind of like what we were doing. Dave and his associates brought electronic recording equipment to try and connect with the ghosts by capturing their voices on recorders or drawing their energy into close contact with us by broadcasting certain frequencies that ghosts are attracted to.

Echo has the ability to see ghosts, but I feel the presence, rather than see it. The rooms that were most haunted had a very cold temperature and a funky smell. I put up my psychic defenses so that I could protect my energy from being syphoned off by a ghost, and also to protect myself. As soon as I did that, the cold no longer affected me.

The recording equipment was only partially successful in capturing anything, but Echo was able to relay what the ghost was saying and she and Dave put questions to it, to try and get it to move on. Eventually Echo and I went back into the room and my role was simply supporting her as she finally was able to get that ghost to move on to the next realm. As soon as it left, the room got lighter and warmer. I could feel the shift of energy.

There were other ghosts in the basement, and the voice recording equipment was also spotty in picking up the ghosts there. However, one of Dave's associates got a few incredible photos of a light body in one room that definitely was haunted. Dave took a number of other shots trying to duplicate the effect in case it was a reflection off a window or something that caused an anomaly. He was unable to duplicate it, and the photos appear to be genuine evidence of a ghost or ghosts. Echo felt there were three there. She also felt that it was significant that the light was white because she says that in her experience the malignant spirits have dark light and the more benign have a white light.

So by the time that we disposed of the nasty spirit upstairs it was about 2 am and we were both exhausted, having also worked an excellent and very busy psychic fair for eight hours earlier in the day.

It was a great day, and enjoyed working with everyone. I slept like a baby rock all through the flight back. When I got home, a couple of clients wanted a reading, and I was happy to be of service once again. Life is amazing. Ghosts like it here so much that they don't want to leave, but there comes a time when they need to move on to whatever is next.

My take on it? Enjoy life as much as you can while you are here, then when it is time to move on, move on. It really doesn't feel good for us or them when we are in the wrong place. In a way, the terminology might need to be changed, because we are not busting ghosts as much as we help them to find their new comfort zone, and we clear our present zone. We all have to clear things from our past in order to enjoy our present and move into the future.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Riding the Flow

One of the things it is important to remember in order to bring your dreams into reality is to focus on the result, not the process. Leave plenty of room for intuitions to guide you toward your goals. If you have an opportunity presented to you, go for it.

We can get in the way of our own goals. If we make a plan and stick to it to rigidly, we can miss a beautiful opportunity, perhaps a golden opportunity.

I was noticing, for example, that most people prefer tarot readings to other services I have to offer. So instead of continuing to promote them equally, I have shifted my marketing materials to emphasize tarot, and mention that those who are interested can find out more about my other services on my website. Notice where the energy is flowing and ride it.

Another change you will see is that I will be selling little bottles of the perfume oil mixture that I make for myself. Many people have asked me what I wear and asked if they could get some. I have been resisting because I didn't want to get into the business of making huge batches and trying to get stores to carry it. So I will only make small batches and sell it when I am doing readings.

It is the fluidity of navigating the path toward the goal that makes it fun and interesting. It is also about discovering the right time to make a move or make a change. Just tuning in and going with the current. Some readers sell books or jewelry to augment their reading income. Last evening, as I was making another batch for myself, the thought just occured to me that the time is right to add one little product to my table, and it is a product people have been requesting. If I am wrong and it doesn't sell, I will just use it myself. No problem at all.

Hmmm. I was just remembering how much I love hot tea in the winter time. Maybe I will blend some herbal teas to sell in small bags. That would be another product I would use myself if it does not sell. Or my comfrey salve. I am enjoying playing with these ideas.

Just like when I worked the Sex Show, I had different signage and different decks and offered Erotic Tarot Readings. Keep riding the energy.

I have written books. the first two were self published poetry books and I loved everything about creating them from the writing to the public readings and performance art. What I did not enjoy so much was having to physically make the rounds of all the stores and manage all those consignments. Later, I wrote two more books, which no publisher decided to pick up. So I just put them away. Maybe those books will not gain wider circulation. Maybe I will write something else in addition to this blog. Maybe I will sell that at my table or make it available on my website so that people can download it. Some of those technical processes I do not know yet.

What I am getting more in touch with all the time is that the path toward the goal is something that is more a product of intuition than it is a straight line. There is almost always more than one way to achieve any goal. The universe will remind us of that every time we forget.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Picture This

You wouldn't know this without me telling you, but one of my daily uses of the tarot is to let it inspire my writing every day.

Sometimes when I am mulling over different ideas and thinking about what to write, I draw some cards and make a spread, and that points me in a direction or helps me choose between the various possibilities.

Those of you who only think of tarot as a fortune teller's tool might be pleasantly surprised at how well it works as a self teaching guide. If you draw one card or several with the intention of finding a life lesson to reflect on each day, you will find your tarot deck to be a valuable, handy and easy to use method, same as a lot of people use books of quotes or thoughts for the day or meditations for the day.

If you have never used the tarot in this way, try it.

Point of clarification. A tarot deck contains 78 cards, including 22 major arcana, 56 minor arcana, divided into numbers 1-10 and court cards in 4 suits.

There are many other kinds of decks that people like to use although they are not tarot decks. These are referred to as oracle cards, and they can work just as well for many people. Many of these have varying numbers of cards, may not have suits or court cards or be divided into major and minor arcana. The most popular decks include Animal Cards, Angel Cards, Soul Cards, Power Deck, Psy Cards, and playing cards, although there are many others out there, more than I could name.

Consider a deck of cards as a self study tool plus a way to enhance your creativity, in addition to being an oracle, and in this way you open yourself to making fuller use of your deck. And yes, you can play games with it, just as you use playing cards, although the imagery opens itself to whole new dimensions of uses, since there is a picture on every card.

The fact that every picture tells a story is quite useful, like having your own little art gallery in your pocket, with story lines that never get boring because they always change.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Selling Fear

Fueling fear is a powerful sales tactic. Once you are aware of it, you can resist the manipulation. And then you can see what other areas of your life are tainted by it, and heal them.

Example. I was living in a house in a very quiet, low crime neighborhood. Almost never saw a police squad car cruising in that neighborhood. No late night sirens except for occasional ambulances. No reports of violent crimes. Statistics from the police department confirmed this.

Yet, one day, here come salesmen pitching alarm systems. So I told them we were not interested because we know that we live in very well kept, low crime neighborhood. But they tried to push on with the idea that we might not always be safe, and so we should prepare for the idea that we will not be. I told them that I would not live in fear. I told them to go away and not come back and closed the door on them. I noticed that no one else bought their systems and put their signs in the yard or on their doors and windows. And the neighborhood remains to this day, peaceful and free of violent crimes.

How many times have sales people used fear to try and sell you various kinds of insurance? Frequently they do this even when they know that standard auto insurance policies or home owners policies for instance, contain certain kinds of coverage, thus selling you something you really don't need.

How many beauty products are sold with the fear that you will never get a date again if you don't use their brand of goo?

How many investment seminars and sales pitches that started with asking if the audience if wanted to spend your old age as a homeless person, and ended with people putting their money into something that they regretted?

How many of you have heard ads that say that you are at risk for identity theft every time you turn on your computer?

How many people took drugs to prevent anthrax? Bird flu? Swine flu?

How many other products or services are they trying to sell us by pushing the fear button?

Don't believe the hype.

None of it. Any time you buy into a fear sales pitch, all that is happening is that you are going to be giving your money to the sales person or corporation and you are not getting safety or security in return.

Your real security is in using your common sense, knowing what is included in the contracts you already have, and acting out of love.

There are far more good people in the world than there are psychopaths and sociopaths. And in my opinion, using fear to sell people things they don't need is also a sociopathic behavior. Most people don't recognize it as such, but think about it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Is Your Life a Fairy Tale?

We get a number of chances in our lifetime to rewrite our story. If have never done so, you can rewrite it today, reimagining and recreating the next chapter.

If you have been seeing yourself as someone who had a difficult life, had some bad breaks, never had the kind of job you wanted or a relationship that was just like you dreamed of, pick up a pen or pencil or start typing on your keyboard, and write the story the way you want it to go. Then begin living it.

How many fairy tales do we recall from our childhood? How many of those stories were tales of transformation? Why is it that it is easier to believe a fairy tale than it is to believe our own life?

In fairy tales, a person can be beaten down to the lowest levels, but then rise up again. Look at mythology and again we find tales of transformation.

These stories were created by our collective ancestors to show us what is possible even in the face of great obstacles, horrible enemies and extremely difficult conditions.

When we are summoning our own stories, we frequently call up from our own history the parts of our lives which have been difficult, but we do not continue on through to the part where the hero triumphs. Why not? Are we not as worthy as those characters?

Let us get to the next chapter where we emerge from the mess and the trouble to a better life where things work out for us. If you can imagine your life with a different ending, you can begin living it.

Hans Christian Anderson wrote "Every man's life is a fairy tale."

Just as there is magic in stories, there is magic in us. Bring out your magic and rewrite your story. The sooner you write it, the sooner you can begin living it.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Laughter and the Unexpected

Have you ever noticed how comedy and jokes always work by giving us the unexpected? What a great clue for dealing with the unexpected in life.

The laughter is always the loudest when we are caught off guard and presented with a situation or a comment that either just doesn't fit, or does fit, but in a bizarre way.

How many times in life do we get bent out of shape because something is not going the way we expected? How many times are we unable to control those events?

Seeing the humor or irony in a situation allows us to relax and enjoy life. It relieves the pressure and the tension.

Yes, of course there are situations that demand immediate and serious action. And if that is what is appropriate, then do that. But how many situations do we get frazzled about when we should enjoy a good laugh, even if it is at our own expense, and then take another look at the situation?

Laughter releases powerful and positive healing energies that can even help heal us. And laughter can certainly lighten up a dark mood so that we can get a fresh start.

Comedy is a great way to cope with some of the unexpected twists life delivers. It is a good clue for us to pick up on that a smile, and better yet, a laugh, is one of the best tools we humans have for coping with change.

Friday, October 16, 2009

New Moon on Sunday

With the new moon on Sunday, we have an opportunity to launch our new ventures so that we are working with the natural energies of the moon. New moons signal a time for new beginnings, so whether it is a new business, a new relationship, new health initiatives or new projects that you are serious about getting going, this is the time.

What are your heart's desires? Not just the little things, I mean the things you really want? Are you willing to clear the way and take the initiative? Is it time to make a short list of the things you really want and go for it?

As the moon unsheaths from its fertile dark period and begins her ascent to fullness, we reveal our heart's desires to the world and let our light shine.

So take the time to create your own personal ritual to signify the way you want the world to see you, to uncover what it is you want to hold up to the light and bring into fullness. Our dreams do not always come true immediately and completely, but we can work on bringing them into being with persistent effort, stage by stage, just like the moon cycles work stage by stage.

New moon, new ideas, new initiatives, emboldened desires, time to move on them. We have many opportunities to begin again. This is one of them.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Bodies of Water

Swimming is a return to our natural state in a most primal way. We are suspened in water for nine months prior to birth. Some women, seeking a natural way to help ease their children into the world, give birth in water.

When we are stressed, swimming is a great way to relax, stretching out our bodies again and introducing fluid movement to undo the constrictive nature of sitting at a desk. After an hour of swimming, we have returned to a primal state of relaxation, where we are a body of water suspended in a body of water. We are relaxed.

Why do you think that so many people take their vacations and holidays by the beach? Whether it is ocean, lake, or river, these are destinations of choice. Water calls to us by nature, and we return again and again, seeking solace and healing.

Water reconditions our state of fluidity. We reconnect with our natural state of motion. It is also the way we express emotion. When we feel strongly, water flows to facilitate our feelings and we see visible signs of expression in laughter, tears, sweat, excitement, fear, orgasm, nervousness, sorrow and joy. It is all there, written in our water.

We are bodies of water, on a planet of mostly water. Our bones are the land where the water meets an organizing influence of solidity. Where the water meets the shore is the place we find our transition. We transition from work to play. Our skeleton is the rallying point around which our water ebbs and flows. It can form a stabilizing influence, a frame for the water to swirl around.

Our spirits thrive on moving water. They respond to the cycles of the moon, our moods massaged into varying states of being. Spirit moves through us, signaling us with instinctive flows in our bodies, producing feelings that guide us into action.

When we flow with another person, our waters dance and mingle, joining us in a way that makes our boundaries feel soft, our separation disappear. When we are close and moving together, the rhythm of our ebb and flow is a tide of its own set in motion, coming to rest only when the water has covered the low ground, and high tide has created a new shoreline. And it reaches a peaceful state and settles there for a while before receding to low ground and the old shoreline, but inevitably it seeks to join in that motion of swelling and rising again, the hunger for high tide being part of its nature. Water seeks to move, like we seek to move to find those high and low places along our shorelines, to rise and fall, to swim with together, water with water.

We are bodies of water, moving in water, water within water, taste upon taste, lapping at our shorelines, moving in a rhythm of life that will never stop, can never stop. Even in death, many ancient people pictured our spirits returning to swim across great bodies of water to whatever is next. Or they pictured our spirits rejoining the great ocean of spirits and swimming together before reemerging as another body, another life. Dreams, ideas, inspirations come to us in water for this reason. We reconnect with our nature. We free the boundaries and let intuition come.

We are bodies of water, swimming in water, swimming in spirits, swimming in bodies, swimming in emotions, swimming with each other, swimming alone. We are always swimming, experiencing high and low tides, exploring the fluid space in our dreams, our consciousness, our feelings, our touches, our movements, reminding us that being fluid is our natural state. Bodies with bodies, bodies suspended, belief suspended, emotions engaged, we are bodies of water within bodies of water, with bodies of water, on a planet of water.

It is our essence, our presence, our natural state. Bodies of water, with bodies of water, on bodies of water, in bodies of water, flowing, flowing, flowing.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The King of Irony

I'd award the King of Irony to the way not so long ago Olympic champion swimmer Michael Phelps was catching all kinds of BS for being photographed smoking America's favorite smoke.

By contrast, Lance Armstrong, champion bicycle racer and cancer survivor, is now shilling for beer. Ironic how one gets roasted for imbibing while the other gets rewarded.

Of course, there is no evidence that either beer or marijuana will enhace athletic abilities. Which would be funnier, stoner Olympics or drunk Olympics? Probably stoner, although you have to wonder what influence someone was under when they created some of these reality shows on TV. Did someone sober actually come up with the idea for Survivor?

I know that some people will point out that one is legal and one is illegal, but this of course, is only a temporary state. In our parents lifetime, for a number of years, beer was illegal while smoke was legal. I predict that one day within our lifetimes, we will again see smoke totally legal.

The irony is strong in this case too, since there is ample evidence that marijuana has beneficial medicinal uses, while none has been established for beer, although both can make a person happy for a while.

Although I have heard of people drinking themselves to death, I have never heard of anyone smoking themselves to death.

But don't get me wrong. I am all in favor of both being legal and letting the customer decide what they would like to enjoy. Some people have also speculated that making smoke legal and taxing it could help boost the economy and contribute to the tax base, rather than wasting taxpayer money trying to stop production and distribution of smoke.

Can you imagine when the tables turn again, and some champion athlete will be featured in ad campaigns for their favorite brand of weed?

One of these days we will look back on the silliness of all this. Some of us already do.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What is Cutting Edge?

So many people use terminology like "cutting edge" to describe their new business these days, but what really is cutting edge?

It was not so long ago that getting a job in any kind of office meant men wearing suits, ties and short haircuts to work, women wearing dresses or skirts and heels. I always felt it was uncomfortable and absurd to insist on dressing in a suit and tie when it was 90 or 100 degrees outside.

What I see as real cutting edge is the use of computers to enable more people to have their own business. You can dress how you like, communicate with customers wherever you are thanks to the cell phone and laptop. Remember when if you were in sales or some other job that required you to leave your office to do part of your work, and you had to keep change in your pocket and look for cell phones to call customers back or call your office? Now, it is noteworthy when I do see a pay phone.

The web is the real cutting edge. You can present your self and your business however you see fit, and you can change your web page every day if you want. Where we used to type letters and mail them, we can now email someone and get a response within minutes, or the same day.

We can post our writing, our art, our music online for everyone to experience and enjoy without needing the official representation of an agent, although real life agents can help open other doors for us.

Many of the wonderful healing modalities that people offer now are not new at all, rather just that many people have a new level of appreciation of old modalities such as herbalism, aromatherapy, massage, meditation, sound therapy, shamanic healing, psychic readings, dream interpretation and energy healing.

After a century of ignoring all these things in favor of drugs and surgery, we are willing to reconsider these ancient methods. And of course, drugs and surgery are often the best or only course of action for some problems, but the traditional ways can work for a lot of other things.

I was surprised the other day to be driving in my car, listening to the radio and hearing and advertisement for a medical marijuana dispensary. Surprised, but not really. It was just a matter of when.

Anyone who knows the history of this issue knows that it was all politics that made it illegal in the first place, same as the prohibition against alcoholic beverages. The ban on marijuana was just as futile as the ban on beer. It was inevitable that it would become legal again. In spite of the billions of dollars wasted on hiring more police and purchasing all kinds of equipment, there are more smokers now than there used to be, not less. Just like people refused to quit drinking beer when it became illegal. So it is not completely legal yet, but we are stepping in that direction. It is nothing but stubbornness on the part of politicians that keeps the new prohibition on the books. It will end completely one day. We are already moving in that direction.

The web helped inform people about medical marijuana and gave people ways to motivate voters. Marijuana itself it not new. Ancient people were using that too. The legal dispensaries are now able to use the web to connect with customers. These are the parts that are new.

Perhaps the prohibition on beer and alcoholic beverages would have ended sooner had there been computers and internet back then. Perhaps. Perhaps stubborn politicians would have insisted on denying reality for years after it was apparent then too. It is just their nature. Remember the Emporer's New Clothes?

The web makes it possible for like minded people to meet without leaving home. The web makes it possible to do the kind of research that used to require a trip to the library. Of course, there is definitely something to be said for getting out of the house and interacting with real people.

So what is really cutting edge? The methods of communication we now have. The content of what we are doing is really timeless in most ways. Styles cause the actual presentation of messages to be different, but what is inside the message is familiar. Cell phones and laptops have changed communication as much as cars and aircraft have changed travel, only faster.

What is important is not really so much about what is new. It is really about what works.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Knowing and Doing

Discussions about Meaning and Value touch a chord with many people and here is another perspective that has a bearing on it.

Life itself does not mean anything. It simply is. What we do with our life is a matter of our own choices and our exercise of our free will. We are all born with the potential to do many different things, but until we act on that potential, it remains dormant.

How do we become excellent at a musical instrument? Practice. How do we become excellent at a sport? Practice. How do we become excellent at art? Practice. How do we become excellent at writing? Practice. How do we become excellent at carpentry? Practice. How do we become excellent at computer programming? Practice. How do we become excellent at designing homes, hair or clothes? Practice.

Once we learn the basics of any of these crafts from someone else who knows, then we apply ourselves to master the basics and eventually add our own touch, our own style to it.

The pattern is always the same. It is all in the doing. Whatever we want to become excellent at, we have to do more of it. Our desire motivates us to act. If we would rather be a pet groomer than a computer programmer, or a bartender rather than a nurse, or an auto mechanic rather than a salesman, it is simply a choice driven by desire.

How do we know what we are good at? We get feedback from others. When people thank us for what we have done, or compliment us on what we have done, then we know we are good at something. That is different from believing we are good at something or simply wanting to be good at something. We can identify honest compliments and false compliments even though it may seem tricky at times. When people find something nice to say about what we do, simply to not hurt our feelings, these are false compliments. Typically these come from friends and relatives. When strangers compliment us on a job well done, then we know that it is true because someone who is not a friend or relative has no good reason to pay us false compliments. When someone gives us an honest compliment, it is a sign that we know how to do something well and that our efforts to become excellent at something are proving beneficial to others.

So is this our purpose in life? No. It is something we have chosen to do, and we enjoy getting the positive feedback. Could we choose to do something else and get positive feedback on that? Yes. When we choose to continue honing our skills in a certain area and many people benefit from it, then we have a positive effect on their lives. Again, is that our purpose? No.

When we say that we believe something works, what we are really saying we don't really know. When we say that we know something works, we are speaking from experience.

When someone asks you, for example, if you can play the violin, you either can or cannot. If someone asks you if you can build a cabinet or create a software program, you either can or cannot. If someone asks you if to play a game of chess with them, you either can or cannot.

Experience leads to knowing, and the more we know what makes us happy or unhappy the more we are guided in choosing subsequent actions. We know what we are good at. We know what others appreciate about us. Most of us will choose to be happy. And even when we are very good at something, many of us will choose to change what we do in the course of a lifetime because we desire to experience something different. What we choose to do is a product of free will.

Can our excellence inspire others? Yes. Is that our reason for being? No. People who have achieved excellence in some skill did so because they wanted to. The inspiration we derive from their example is simply our choice.

Knowing that we are good at something and that others appreciate it are their own rewards. If we enjoy what we do, we enjoy our life. It is all a choice.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

2012 Hysteria, the New Y2K

Seems that pretty frequently I get notices in my email or see it on websites that there will be some kind of workshop for people concerned about the end of the world as we know it when the calendars roll around to 2012.

All this jazz originated from the fact that the Mayan calendars only go that far. Apparently the authors of all these breathless texts about it never thought of a simple explanation.

Just imagine people living a few thousand years ago, sitting around carving a calendar out of stone. Having done a bit of manual labor in my lifetime, I can picture these old stone carvers sitting around after a hot day of banging away with their hammers and chisels when one of them says "I'm tired. We've carved up to 2012. That's a lot of lifetimes ahead of our own. Let's go do something else. A few thousand years from now, they can get some other stone carvers to continue hacking away at these rocks."

And that's how the Mayan calendar came to an end at 2012.

But today there are lots of people selling books or DVDs or CDs or whatever about it, fretting about what it all means. Who else is worrying about it besides the people who have a product to sell? Well, OK, some of the people who bought those products.

I can't help but remember back to 1998 and 1999 when there was a certain segment of the population that was convinced that the world would come to an end or at least we would all descend into major catastrophes at New Year's Eve 2000 because nobody's computer clock would be able to move forward, and everything would grind to a halt. I always thought it was nonsense.

Back then, some of the hysterical ones would look at me earnestly and say "It's all true. You just don't understand." Of course, their understanding was also fueled by paranoid, fear based talk radio folks who were busy cashing in on selling survivalist gear to their listeners in preparation for the coming apocalypse. The worst of them warned people to stash truckloads of canned food in their basements and buy plently of guns and ammo to fend off the hoards who will want to steal your canned goods. They were even hawking night vision goggles so that you can see them coming in the dark. And hand cranked radios so that you could pick up the signals when the power went out. Of course, if all the power went out, how would radio stations broadcast? All you would get is a cramp from cranking. Oh never mind that. No sense letting facts interfere with your sales pitch. Back then there were also people running around hawking their books, recordings, and workshops about the looming disaster.

Not being particularly susceptible to fear mongers, I simply reasoned that all the corporations would not allow all the clocks and computers to stop and they would fix their programming. Being without electricity can make life hard for us when we can't watch movies, listen to music, cook on electric stoves, or keep food cold in the refrigerator, but electric companies experience power outages as an interruption in cash flow. After all, that's how they keep calculating interest on our credit cards, car loans, home loans and everything else. Computers run by the different branches of government figure out how to tax us. Do you really think that all these powerful interests will allow all this money making machinery grind to a halt? Of course not. Not then. Not now.

So what did I do New Year's Eve 2000? I partied. I drank, danced and drummed. I had a fire in the fireplace.

What were the Y2K afficionados doing? Probably hunkering down in their bunkers with their tons of gallon buckets of nitrogen sealed tins of beef, mac and cheese and green beans, digging the vibes from their own personal generators.

Next time I saw one of those characters who had been vigilant about warning me to prepare for Y2K and lay in my truck load of canned goods and cases of ammunition at a dance the month after New Year's, I asked him if he was tired of eating mac and cheese and canned beef yet. He had this constipated kind of look about him.

I just smiled and wished him "Bon Appetit!"

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Meaning and Value

The meaning of life is one of those fruitless amusing questions that people like to toy with to pass the time, because of course, there is no meaning to life.

What does our life mean? What did Van Gogh's life mean? Katherine the Great? Galileo? Marie Curie? Carry Nation? Edgar Cayce? Pamela Coleman Smith? Beethoven? Mozart? Michaelangelo? DaVinci? Darwin? Johnny Appleseed? Martha Graham? Aaron Copeland? Aradia? Chief Seattle?

We recognize these people as significant in history because they did things. We assign the meanings. We always assign meanings.

When people talk about what does it mean that a person died young or in a bizarre accident, it doesn't mean anything. It just is, and our minds like to toy with puzzling facts.

When people speculate on what it means that a person dresses a certain way or drives a certain vehicle, all it means is that they bought that stuff and they like using it.

Meaning is one of those overrated concepts. Why did so many people grow up with an aversion to poetry? Simply refer back to those teachers who asked what a poem means? That was the kind of question that will drive a person batty. Funny, but they didn't used to ask what a symphony means, what a painting means, what a sculpture means, what a tomato means.

Funny how that question gets in the way of simply appreciating things, appreciating life. There is truth and beauty to be derived from everything, but finding meaning is sometimes like that other old saying about those who know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Looking Through a Different Window

How many times have we had an experience of being stuck in our progress? Pick any area you like: business plans, a social activity, a hobby, a charity fundraiser, a do it yourself project around the house or anything else we were working on.

Then one day, a shift in perception occured. Maybe it came to us in a dream, or while we were reading a novel, listening to music or watching TV. It was the eye opener, the shift in perception, the ability to see the situation differently all of a sudden. And that shift helped us see a solution and freed up our progress.

Reframing is a name for this. Try this analogy. Suppose you always see the world by looking out your front window. Then one day, you look out your back window, and you see things that you never see looking out the front window.

Here is a simple example. Suppose your front window looks out onto the street and the house across the street. Suppose your back window looks into a yard with a garden, and you have a bird feeder that attracts many different birds. You let yourself relax watching the birds and as they flutter back and forth, eat and sing, you notice the interactions of all the creatures, including the squirrels, rabbits, dragonflies, fireflies, butterflies and whatever else is out there. You look out the front window, and unless someone is working in the yard or washing their car, the scene is static all day. Which one might stimulate more creative ideas?

Reframing is nothing more than looking at the world through different windows. It used to be that if you wanted to sell a book that you wrote, you would pay a printer and then go around and try to find people who want to buy your book. Today, you can have it on your website and when people send in money, they can then print their own copy out of their own printer. It is a whole different approach.

For a long time, it seemed like having kids sell candy was the favorite fundraising technique of many organizations. For some it still is. Then one day someone thought of encouraging people to donate their junkers to their favorite cause, and many organizations do that. Somebody had to be looking out of a different window to come up with that. Somebody was thinking outside the square.

Can you think of other examples of looking through a different window and finding ideas for achieving our goals?

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Spirit of the Hunter's Moon

Tomorrow will be the last outdoor festival I will work this year, and I am glad. It is getting kind of chilly now. We have put up and taken down tents in rain, wind and cold. We have done this in warm sunny weather and stormy weather. Definitely time to go inside and do the work.

Definitely time to celebrate the shift to indoor venues, and yes, there are now more times when I can see people for private sessions on weekends.

So I celebrate and toast the change of seasons, having a little red wine and kicking back indoors when I get home and savor the quiet times to come in the darker months with warmth, candles and cozy, reflective time. This seasonal shift comes on the full moon.

Yes, how appropriate. I am hunting for more and better opportunities to expand my tarot reading business into full time. Day by day, I get closer to realizing this goal, and it all started with that impulse purchase 40 years ago when I bought my first deck just out of curiosity. With no book and no teacher, I just learned how to work with them, and here I am today.

So much of what I have learned has come from being curious. Once the question arises in me about how something works, or what is the story behind a person, event or thing, I am busy learning more about it. And so I find myself finding a new career development and being ecstatic about it.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Blood Moon or Hunter's Moon This Weekend

The full moon coming this weekend is known as the Blood Moon or Hunter's Moon. It gets that name from the fact that this is the time of the year when our ancestors would hunt and cull their herds and butcher meat to carry them through the winter. To this day, this time of year still brings the hunting season.

By this time of year, people would also have chopped enough firewood for the winter months in addition to having gathered and dried herbs, and set aside staple foods from the harvests.

In the month of the Blood Moon also comes the holidays where we say farewell to our family and friends who crossed the veil into the next realm this year. It was also a somber time for our ancestors who faced the reality that those who were ill or elderly might not make it through another dark, cold winter.

So it is appropriate to give some thought to these things this weekend in our personal rituals. Have we done the hard work to prepare us for what is next? The holidays on which we say farewell to our dead comes at the end of the month with Halloween, Samhain, and Day of the Dead. Who are the people we need to acknowledge? We can gather our thoughts about them now. Have we put some extra food and candles in our pantries and have some batteries to power some of our devices just in case a winter storm interrupts our normal business and our ability to get around?

Interesting how constant some of our symbology had remained for centuries. For example, ancient hunters wore skins and antlers from their successful hunts and used them as ritual tools for future successful hunts. Hunters still hold on to antlers or mount heads of their kills for trophies.

Even if you do not go out and shoot animals and butcher the meat yourself, we who are meat eaters, can give thanks for those who do. What are you hunting for in your life? A job? A change of career? A relationship? Improved health? More knowledge? New place to live? New friends? More love? New adventures?

Everyone is hunting for something. Use this full moon to align your purposes with the ancient cycles and energies of nature. May you have a successful hunt!