Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Working Between Two Worlds

What does it mean to start your own business? To me, it means taking an idea and doing what it takes to make it real, building it up until it provides enough income so that you can live on it while generating enough business to continue and grow the business.

Developing an idea through your sweat equity until it takes on a life of its own is a very satisfying feeling. Those of us who do not have enough of a nest egg to entirely finance their start up and don't want to have partners in order to get access to more money so that they can retain their ownership and vision, usually have to work some other job or jobs until the vision really gets rolling.

Manifesting has become a popular term in recent years, but creating a new business from an idea takes a lot of hard work, time, energy, willful action, in addition to having a clear vision of the goal.

There are times when there is a real flow between vision and action, when you are moving in the direction of your dream and you are getting support from customers and others who help propel you forward and add substance to the dream. In those moments, the process feels very magical and you feel very blessed.

Every person who starts their own business has some experience of this. Whether you have done it once or a few times, there are ups and downs, but when the sense of agreement in the universe is strong, there is an exciting feeling, a satisfying feeling that is part of the creative process.

Whatever your dream is, as it becomes more solid, it feels like walking in two worlds, and in a manner of speaking, it is.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Wal Weed

Who would have thought that funky Boulder which is nothing if not an outpost of old hippies, artists, musicians, alternative healers, psychics, colorful characters, street performers, greenies added to the mix of interesting elements that a university town usually has, would be the home of businesses who tell the New York Times reporter that they want to get away from the hippie aura that is connected with weed and become the biggest chain of stores.

A little while back when I wrote about this subject at the time Colorado just passed the new law regulating dispensaries, I predicted this outcome. And here it is in today's NYT, people from California with deep pockets who are happy with the new laws and want to turn medical marijuana into a chain store product. Heck, one of the chain store owners quoted doesn't even smoke weed. She just wants to sell the stuff. And she doesn't want to have any kind of hippie influence around her business.

That's what's odd about the whole thing. All these years, the grower's art was developed by people who just loved the stuff and took all the risks to refine the process and were constantly in search of additional knowledge about their favorite plants. And as a result, they became expert horticulturists.

Lots of those kinds of folks were the ones who helped get out the vote and change the law. At the beginning, less than 10 years ago, there were no stores, just caregivers and patients, growers and customers.

Then through the magic of the marketplace, retail stores, called dispensaries, came into being. Lots of them. Big ones and little ones. And then somebody got busy influencing legislators to create a new law that would make it hard for local Colorado people who invested all their money into creating small dispensaries to be able to stay in business while making it easy for someone from out of town with deep pockets to swoop in and start chains. The legislator who was the prime mover behind the law was often heard to say that he expected the new law to put at least half of the dispensaries out of business.

What is not public knowledge at this point is whether the people who want to create chain stores for marijuana are connected to the politicians who made the law. It would not be at all surprising if some investigative reporter were to make such a discovery, because it is rather common in our system that laws are written to please big campaign donors and good friends.

What is surprising is that Boulder, a town that doesn't want a Walmart and is well known for all the funky, creative businesses it has spawned or hosts, would be the launching pad for a chain of marijuana stores that would like to pretend that this whole movement did not have very earthy roots.

This is my prediction of what is yet to come. One of these days we will vote to just flat out legalize it for every one, not just medical patients, and when that day comes, chain stores will definitely be the major players. When it becomes legal, weed will be sold in all the kinds of places where you can buy cigarettes. Walgreens, 7-11, grocery stores, Walmart and all the rest will want a piece of the action, and all those people who dedicated their lives to the art of the grow will merely be suppliers. It will be a shift in consciousness for many people.

Sort of an Alice in Wonderland moment, isn't it?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Melodies, Mind and Body

When we are young, music speaks to us of the life before us, where there are many possibilities. Many older people may summon nostalgic memories. Since many people are now living longer, hearing some inspiring music or seeing some great live performances may still spark ideas of things yet to come.

Music communicates in many ways, on many levels. It encourages us to dance, engaging the senses, and it also sets our mind off in different directions. It keeps both mind and body limber.

Just as lyrics in music are stored in a different part of the brain than spoken words, it would seem that the memories triggered by songs can bring up associations from our subconscious in seemingly random patterns.

Music has its own history. It may have been created in a certain time or place and it can evoke memories, although the people who heard it when it was new may have very different memories associated with it than those who hear it a long time later.

Interestingly, the composer's intentions mean a lot to them when they are creating the music, but most listeners might enjoy it without ever knowing anything about those intentions. Quite amazing when you think about it, but it points to one simple truth. Just as we have no idea what a painter was thinking when they painted a picture, although we might enjoy looking at it and find ourselves appreciating it and being inspired by the finished product, the same thing happens when we hear a song we like the sound of. We may not ever know what the composer had in mind during the creation process, but we savor, and may be inspired by, the finished product.

So that gives music a unique power. Say, for example, hearing a popular piece of music reminds one person of an old lover from years ago, while another person hearing the same piece of music might have a memory of a career transition, or a summer vacation. Yet, hearing a piece of popular music can massage these emotional touchstones for millions of people at the same time in different ways.

The power of the melody has to be the unifying factor, even though lyrics are bound to send different people's minds off in different directions.

What is often suggested by music that we remember from when we were young is that there was a time when we looked at the world and saw a place where everything was possible. For many of us, good music still does.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Infinite Variations

The tarot has proven to be a very durable set of symbols that countless artists have been able to add their own ideas and style to, sometimes expressing the same ideas with different models and symbols, other times changing symbols to fit a philosophical concept. Even though there are infinite variations on the themes found in the flow of the cards, the essential ideas remain intact.

For example, the Sun card in one deck may show a child riding a horse in the foreground, another artist shows two children playing, either a boy and a girl, or two children of different races, while a third depicts an adult couple couple, perhaps a more mature version of the Lovers. Each artist has a point they are making by choosing to picture it this way, yet the essence of the Sun remains the same, that of wholeness, health, happiness and joy.

The Tower card is depicted as being struck by a lightning bolt, people falling out, headed for a crash landing. Another designer isolates the image 0f a person falling, while another shows a beautiful building illuminated, but not struck by, lightning. in all cases, the essence is about a sudden fall, perhaps a downfall from an ego that is too inflated, an awakening or flash of insight that comes with a sudden change.

The Hierophant has traditionally been pictured as a pope, although early versions had a popess, a female pope. Another artist changes this into a Buddha, while someone else makes the card into a sort of humble looking spiritual person who is in a contemplative or prayerful pose. The essence of these is the arising of spirit and the contrast or struggle between official religions, dogma, heartfelt spirituality and how it influences us.

There are decks where the Lovers are depicted as bi-racial or gay, which is a way of being more inclusive. It is also a way for the artist to make the point that love comes in lots of different flavors.

The Devil has been changed to temptation, materialism, restraint or a number of other keywords. The concept always was the things we allow to hold us back, not some weird creature outside of ourselves that makes us do things.

Death has been depicted as a skeleton riding a horse through a field of the dead, as a funeral pyre with a phoenix rising out of it, as the close, showing a cycle of life from slain soldier to baby accentuated with butterflies, as transition, with a gateway, all of which point to the essential meaning as a major evolution, not necessarily death.

One of the most famously changed cards is the Magician, who has been depicted in the early decks as a juggler or sleight of hand showman, a ceremonial magician, a shaman, a witch and other things. Essentially, this character is about living by his wits, making things happen, exerting his will to create an outcome.

Judgement also works quite well when changed to karma, ascension or reconciliation. Essentially, we move up to different levels of existence based on our choices and behaviors.

These artistic and philosophical changes are aspects that make collecting decks such a pleasure. Some of these variations resonate with users as much as they did with the artist, and so a person might choose to use one deck today and another tomorrow, or one for a long while and then switch to another. It is also why a person may buy one deck because they have seen some images they really like, but when they look through the whole deck, there are some characters or cards they really can't stand, which might prompt them to get rid of a deck and look for a different one to work with.

Yes, a picture is worth a thousand words, and every picture does tell a story. Some of these pictures which contain overlaid symbology could prompt way more than a thousand words and many stories.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Soft Summer Solstice

It felt appropriate to spend part of my Summer Solstice planting in the garden, then taking a relaxing bath.

The herbs are growing nicely and it is wonderful time to stop and give thanks for all of the wonderful healing energy they bring us and all the ways they add flavor and health to our lives.

The longest day of sunlight is also a time for gratitude for all that we have received. A time for gratitude for the people in our lives. A time for gratitude for health, love and abundance.

A time to light a candle and relax with a glass of wine and reflect on the polarity between this and the shortest day of the year.

In Shakespeare's play, this would be the magical night of the Midsummer Night's Dream. In Europe, May 1 is the first day of summer. Here they call the Solstice the first day of summer. Most years that seems too late, but this year, with snow until May, it feels like we just started summer.

In the fullness of life, there is much to be grateful for now. The wheel is turning.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Gardening With My Neighbors

I live in a small apartment building, and I know most of my neighbors. Everyone is friendly and we hang out a bit and stop to talk when we are coming and going, or at least to say hello.

It is a small building and there is just a small bit of dirt outside the backdoor, not big enough for anyone to call a yard, but enough room to plant a few things in the dirt plus room for a container garden.

One of my neighbors started by clearing the ground, and planted a few vegetables and flowers, then another planted a few flowers and some culinary herbs. I tried growing plants in my apartment last year, but that didn't work, so I brought out the flower pots I had and some potting soil. Tomorrow, I will go and get a few more plants, I am thinking that there is no such thing as too much tomatoes and basil in the summer. Other neighbors have pitched in and helped with the planting, and now there is this beautiful little garden and a table and a few chairs for people to sit and have a drink.

Sort of an impromptu community space that everyone is creating together. No one is in charge of anything, no one is organizing anything. Everyone is just doing something. All of this is in a space that would be no bigger than what a lot of people would call a small sized patio.

So we have this beautiful little common area where people just hang out and socialize and it really adds a lot to living in this place. It doesn't always take much to make friends with your neighbors. Maybe I am just lucky to have nice people for neighbors, but I think all of this just happened because everyone is just open and friendly with each other. Moving into this building was a really good choice. Nurturing the community spirit is a really enjoyable experience.

It is amazing what you can do with a small space,creative thinking and cooperation.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Human Signs

I don't know if it is just the area where I live, but on the busy streets, I seem to see more and more of these people who stand out by the curb waving signs at passing cars advertising pizza, sandwiches, shoes, tax preparation and stuff. I noticed that stores that sell beer and liquor don't seem to need the extra signs for people to find their way to them.

That is one of the odd jobs that I have not done, and probably won't do. I wonder how much they make. It must be kind of boring. I notice that some of them are wearing ipods and dancing while they find different ways to shake and wave their signs. It might be kind of a boring job, but who knows, it might be a great way to lose weight.

Who knows? Now that we have legal weed and lots of interesting characters in this area, maybe some passing motorists flip them joints to keep them dancing. One can always hope, eh?

Friday, June 18, 2010

A Surrealistic Life

Every day, it gets easier and easier for me to see this world as some kind of alternate reality I am just visiting.

For example, we are witnessing the worst oil spill in the history of the planet, which will muck up beaches and fishing for quite some time to come, killing untold numbers of birds and fish and making it impossible for some people to make a living for some unknown period of time. After all, the fishermen won't be able to fish, and not many people would want to eat what they are catching.

Yet, there are blowhards and wing nuts who somehow managed to get their own radio shows who can be heard saying that this is really no big deal, that this kind of thing happens all the time and nature will just clean it up.

Maybe the people who talk like this should be treated to an all you can eat buffet of freshly caught shrimp and fish from the Gulf Coast.

I'm no longer surprised by these corporate execs who will stop at nothing to increase their profits. Remember that buy who got busted last year for shipping contaminated peanuts even though he knew they were contaminated? He should be fed peanut butter sandwiches from that batch.

Then over on the other side of the planet, we have another bizarre series of events where one ethnic group is busy killing people of another ethnic group, just because they are different, and just because they are there.

It is like another nightmarish chapter of the mess in the Balkans that we watched unravel in the 90s.

Being a more playful spirit myself, I cannot imagine why some people's idea of fun would be to run around killing people. Why not have a weekend of sex, drugs and rock n roll?

Have fun, make money, start businesses, invite people to party with you. Enjoy a fair, festival, concert, a cool swim on a hot day. But, hey, but that's just me.

I do my best to live in an alternate universe. That other universe sure is messy.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Third Time's a Charm

Have you ever noticed how when you hold a vision, you find ways to support the vision, or information about following through with it, or else insight that encourages you to change your vision?

Notice how the number three comes into play. An idea gets mentioned three times, by three different people, and suddenly the door is open for you to go to the event.

You get an idea to do something, and then after three times having that thought pop to the front of your mind, you decide to take action on it, and the resources are available.

Something comes to you casually, something you were not looking for, and after three times, you are actively engaged with it.

The triangle of manifestation is efficient, effective and enigmatic. Energies materialize according to vision.

Take a good look around at what is happening and notice the significance of the number three.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Helpful Spirits

We often see what we expect to see. People who expect to see angels as people with wings will have that vision. People who expect to see demons who look like giant lizards will have those visions.

There are other ways to see spirit guides, and these are worth considering. This is why ancient people could divine messages from the flight of birds, from meditating with trees, from fumes coming from fissures in the earth.

Is it not a blessing to find shade on a hot summer day? Is this a gift when you are hot and tired?

When you are walking and suddenly flowers are there along your path, and these flowers prompt feelings of gratitude and joy, are these not messages that lift your spirits?

When you ingest plants for healing, whether as tea, tincture, salve, bath salts, incense, or as seasoning in foods, are these not messengers from the earth, healing spirits come to us in solid form?

When you have a rapport with animals and you can communicate with them gently, is this not a spiritual bridge between different life forms?

Why wouldn't helpful spirits manifest as plants, animals or stones as well as people with wings?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Why Do We Do This?

A young girl is trying to sail around the world, solo. Yesterday she had to be rescued in the Indian Ocean because of big storms.

Why would someone want to do something like this?

Once when someone was asked why he wanted to climb Mt. Everest, he responded, "because it was there."

For some people that answer may suffice, but I think that for people who want dangerous and unusual adventures, the answer is probably more along the lines of adding excitement to their lives.

Extreme sports offer a person an opportunity to test the limits of their capabilities, and the reward is in the feeling of satisfaction from having achieved something that few others can do.

Not everyone is into extreme sports, but there are other areas of our lives where we can experience excitement.

A person who starts their own business gets to challenge their own abilities and feels the incredible surge of energy when their efforts are paying off.

People seek this same sort of excitement and reward when they endeavor to become excellent at other things, such as a game, an art form, music, comedy or any number of other things.

Our need for excitement is an extension of our need for recognition. Who does not like to get compliments for things they have done?

Extreme sports is an extreme example. Poets, musicians, comedians, artists all have their chance to show what they can do at open mike nights or unjuried art shows.

Entrepreneurs can try starting new businesses any time they have an idea they want to try out and can get the necessary resources together.

Excitement motivates people to get more joy out of life. In extreme cases, people risk their lives for that excitement. In other cases, maybe we just have to stretch beyond our usual comfort zone. Either way, we get a greater sense of aliveness, and that enriches our experience. We just have to consider how big and what kind of a challenge we want to choose.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Order out of Chaos

The question people like to ask is how decks of cards work. It is order out of chaos and the synchronicity of the appearance of cards that mirror what is going on affirms that there are no coincidences in life, only patterns we have not yet seen.

The cards contain images and ideas, each one different. When they are shuffled, there is no order. It is random.

So when a person selects some of the cards from the deck, they are extracting order from the chaos, and the flow of the cards they have chosen tells a story that is useful for them to hear at this time.

Why did they pull these cards now? Synchonicity. There must be some reason why they have come up now. It is ironic how the presence of the cards and the stories they tell intersect with what is happening in our life at this time.

There are no accidents in the universe, only patterns that we do not recognize until we step back and see them from a distance.

The random draw of the cards at this time provides the distance to examine the energies at work. Bringing them to the surface, exposed on the table top, both the subtle energies and the subconscious energies are suddenly made visible.

Our world is full of energies and movements that ripple beneath the surface, at moments visible, but largely invisible until our very motion, our free will of selecting cards, brings a sense of organization to our vision.

Each reading is a lens for examining our relationship to the chaos and how it appears as order in our life.

Each of our lives is a perfect example of making order out of chaos. The energies shape our perceptions and inform our free will choices when we see them.

Yes, there are things that are all around us that we will never see until we are ready. Yes, there are things that will never reveal themselves until we draw cards from the shuffled stack, and bring order from chaos.

Yes, this is how it works. When we choose to read, we choose to look at what is going on in our life. Chaos is always changing, and by our free will, we are always bringing order from it.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Support from the Universe

When you are doing something and you feel that you are in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing, this is part of the experience of knowing that this is one of the things you were born to do.

These experiences are available throughout our life if we keep our eyes and ears open and notice how we feel.

If you have ever decided to do something, launched some initiative, created some project, and received support for it along the way without having to struggle, then you know this feeling.

What that signals is alignment in the universe, harmony at a higher level, when you propose something, and those you present it to, readily agree.

We use our free will to choose from among the many things we could do. Our feelings usually play a part in this as well. When we know that this is something that needs to be done, and we act on it, we set things in motion and if our feeling is on target, the energies of the universe flows with us.

How many times in your life have you had this feeling?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Psychic Hearts

This week, I heard that a well known Atlanta psychic died of a heart attack. He was younger than me, and not obese, so the thought that he might go that way never crossed my mind. I knew him because Mickey and I worked some of the same places, and sometimes we would just hang out and chat in our comings and goings.

Thinking about this, though, caused me to remember something else. Many years ago, after another psychic died this way, one of my mentors who was also a psychic and a writer, shared his thoughts on the subject. Peter said that it was important to keep your heart clear when doing psychic work and healing work because the heart is the pivotal chakra in our system, and all of our most important work comes through the heart.

Peter himself later died of a heart attack, as did at least a few other psychics and healers who come to mind just now.

I have long felt the truth of the heart connection. When we are working, all of our energy centers are working, top to bottom, bottom to top. And whether you prefer to look at the body systems as consisting of seven chakras, three energy centers, or something else, the heart is still at the center of all of it.

That is why I feel that when the energy is flowing, I have no thoughts of technique, I just know what needs to be done, what is to be said, and when the movement of energy is complete, when has run its course for that session, when the connection with that person has moved what needed to be moved.

It is my experience that psychic and healing work does move powerfully through the heart, and that triggers movement in the other energy centers. Others may believe that it starts in the head, crown or third eye, but I know the heart, and it tells me everything I need to know.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Curiouser and Curiouser

Alice in Wonderland used to say that. Does anybody else feel that when they look around everyday? Curiouser and curiouser.

Curious can be a good thing. It is that playful child part of us that exhibits the joy of living by looking at things and wondering why it is that way. Curiosity has led me to learn a lot of what I know. I picked up my first tarot deck and started to work with it just to see how it works. I also decided to find out what past lives were about because I was curious. And Reiki. And dowsing. And magic. And so many other things.

I wanted to live in different parts of the country, just to see what it was like to live there. And so I did. I wanted to see what it was like to have a large garden full of flowers, vegetables and herbs, and so I did. At one time I wanted to see how much satisfaction I could get out of refinishing furniture. So I did.

I have not kept on doing all of those things. Some things I did just for the experience, and then moved on to other things.

Many of the different jobs and career changes I have had in my life came out of that same curiosity. Some of those things I was curious enough to try included advertising copywriting, advertising sales, driving a cab, tending bar, being a waiter, being a security guard for the Chicago Cubs baseball team, custom picture framing for an art gallery, organizing blood drives for American Red Cross, editing a metaphysical magazine, editing a literary magazine, teaching creative writing, and working in a call center for a computer company, being a professional tarot reader. I may have forgotten a few things, but if you get that life can be not just an evolution, but an adventure, you get the point. Curiosity always stimulated me to try new things and I am happy I did that rather than spend my whole career in one type of business. I had fun doing most of these jobs.

Wondering what it would be like to do this or that for a living, wondering about all the different things that people do has always been a fascinating topic for me.

So far curiosity has added a lot to my life. Kids are more uninhibited in their curiosity than adults, so they try things just to see what it is like. They also ask questions which often strike adults as funny because they are not aware of social conventions and do not censor themselves. When many adults settle into patterns, they often lose their sense of wonder, and censor themselves, because they want to be seen as serious and important and so they tamp down their playful spirit. But of course, you can bring that playful spirit into the workplace too, although how you let it loose will vary according to the environment.

Kids like to see how things work, and that is why although they make a mess, sometimes they might even leapfrog ahead of adults and learn to do something like make a web page, which their parents might not know how to do.

The Alice in Wonderland effect is about a different aspect of curiosity. Frequently when I look at or listen to the news it seems surrealistic. Look at the top Google searches on any given day, and what most people are interested in seems curiouser and curiouser. If the top Google search for the day is about some minor TV celebrity who got a DUI, what does that say about the searchers?

This morning while I was half awake and having my first cup of coffee, I heard something about attacking and boarding some boat and I thought it was going to be another incident about Somali pirates, when it turned out to be about Israel and some Turkish ship, I think. It used to be that talk of pirates usually referenced Long John Silver, Jean Lafitte, Bluebeard or Captain Hook.

I saw an article about research in Columbia about preventing dementia, and I thought, isn't that the place where most cocaine comes from? Are they trying to use cocaine to prevent dementia? Really? Or is it just a coincidence that both these things are coming from the same country? Curiouser and curiouser.

One other morning I thought I heard some reporter say that BP was going to try and hoover up their oil spill onto some ship, and they were somehow going to be able to filter the water out from the oil and take the oil to a refinery. Or maybe I was just dreaming that's what I heard. Curious. I wonder if that can be done?

Sometimes listening to a news report after just waking up can seem as otherworldly as a funny novel or a funny movie. Sometimes even when I am wide awake, the world gets curiouser and curiouser.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Velocity of Hi Tech

At big outdoor festivals, sometimes parents will bring their children to me for a reading. Interesting how perceptive some kids are and what kinds of questions they come up with.

Yesterday, I read for a 10 year old boy who says he has his own website. It is altogether possible that this boy knows something about computers and websites that I don't. Kind of a stunning thought for me. When I was 10, all I knew about was baseball and bicycles. I didn't even know about girls yet. That is still in this boy's future too.

Amazing how rapidly all this changes. Just 10 years ago, IT was still a sort of prestigious job that paid well. Today, the giants in the computer industry are busy remaking it into another minimum wage job. They are paying around $10 an hour for new contractor hires. By comparison, you can get paid $10 an hour for walking somebody else's dog, cleaning houses, being a clerk in a retail store, or working in some fast food restaurants. It's all just a grind on the same income level.

Since the housecleaning, dog walking and fast food jobs can't be shipped to India, they have more job security than somebody who works in IT. Ironic, eh? People usually have the impression that I make a lot more money than I do when they hear what company I work for, but that is an impression left over from when they used to have mostly American employees and actually pay them well. Layoffs and pay cuts among the experienced, better paid people are the norm now. And there are people further up the food chain whose jobs are going to India too.

So next time you call someone because you are having trouble with your computer, if they speak English as a first language, don't be surprised if they ask you if you want fries with that. It is simply a reflexive response left over from their last job or their second job. Some of the new hires have never done anything but hamburger work or burrito work before. Initially, they think that this is pretty cool, but it takes a while for them to see the big picture. The guy sitting next to me supports his family by delivering pizzas after he finishes his shift on the glorious Global Services Team for the day. On that job, he makes more than he does here, but not many people want to spend their whole life delivering pizzas.

The thing the company likes best about the new global economy is that they can hire people in India for about $4 an hour. That is what is meant when you hear about a company called India Business Machines. We have seen IT jobs run the cycle from good paying, prestigious jobs to minimum wage whatever jobs in the space of just 10 years, the life span so far of the young man at the beginning of this story.

Who knows what the world will be like when this 10 year old Bill Gates look alike enters the world of work?

Then again, the discovery of girls may alter his course one day. Who knows what will happen then?