Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Gathering Energy on the Yin Side

It is a luxury to be off for a few days and not have to get up at any particular time. To be able to just read books and watch movies, to listen to music and just let new ideas percolate through my system. To enjoy a leisurely bath. And a cup of tea.

Just cooking some simple, healthy meals and getting plenty of rest is a good enough way to spend the day. When I feel like getting active again, I will be ready to get moving again.

Sometimes you just need to recharge your battery. During my busy seasons, I can sometimes work for weeks without getting a day off, and since I enjoy doing my reading and healing work, I am happy to work as much as possible.

There are some things I need to schedule right after New Year's, and then get everything off to a high energy start.

I am enjoying the yin side of the equation right now, staying in with the heat keeping everything cozy, nestled in with a book on the history of cards, some music for a winter evening and snacking on some delicious home made bread that a client just dropped off.

What else would make this an even better evening? Only one thing. If you think you know what that is, call or email, and you could be the winner of..........................I will tell you when you call.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Quiet in the MIddle of the Noise

During the holidays what I enjoy most is to sleep late, go dancing or work out in the evenings, and in between, just read, watch movies, listen to music and be able to enjoy a cup of tea without worrying about having to finish it and rush off.

A perfect time for cleaning out closets and doing a deep cleaning. Maybe try cooking something differently today.

Little things prompt reflection for me, like the fact that the busy street now only has a car on it every once in a while. It is so quiet, compared to normal.

I like the way lights twinkle from quite a distance over the snow and fog against the mountains. The lights give it the sense of the skyline being personally painted for you as shimmering lights continue to define the profile of the buildings and mountains.

Where the quiet settles in, you can see the audience sitting down waiting for the next story. These are the invisible audience that is always waiting to see what you do next. They are just as ready to applaud for us as someone else.

Capture the essence of the lights, capture the inspiration and hope they transmit. A quiet moment provides time for a new idea to germinate, then for dreams to come into sharper focus.

Every touch now is a memory. Every touch now is a light. It is the light in the middle of winter, soft, distant, creative and sweet. Like the embers that glow and have enough power to get the fire roaring. The quiet in the middle.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Finding the One

I went salsa dancing this evening for the first time. Of course, when you take up a new kind of dancing, you have to learn the steps. Just like other kinds of dancing and when I was drumming. When you are trying to find your place in the music, you find the one, the beat that starts it all, the beat that starts the progression and kicks it all off, then you join in there to start.

Finding the one is a way to find your place so that you don't get lost. You can always get back to the beginning and start again.

Fortunately, at these dances, there are lots of dancers who will kind of show you the way until you get the hang of it.

Finding the one is about getting your bearings. Finding the one in dancing or drumming means you can play with the others. Finding the one means you can begin confidently and move on. The starting point keeps coming around again, no matter how many times you lose your place. Start over again until you get the hang of it.

Now I know that somebody was probably reading this thinking that it might be about finding "the one" but it's not. In fact I don't think that there is just one for any of us. I think that there are a bunch of people who could be great matches for us and we choose who we want to spend more time with out of all those.

There is not just one person in the world who is perfect for us, any more than there is only one beat in the dance where we can start dancing from. We find a partner to dance with and then we begin this dance. In time, we find dance partners who we really enjoy dancing with and then maybe we find one we like dancing with more and so we keep dancing with that one.

We have infinite chances to find one we can dance with, drum with, sing with, laugh with, be intimate with, and of all the ones we find who are quite wonderful, we choose to start the dance again with finding the one.

Now that you have found the one, step into the dance. Yes, together. Now let go and give yourself to the dance. Start again.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Ying and Yang of the Solstices

On the Winter Solstice, the darkest day of the year, we make the turn into the lighter part of the year. Even thought it will not be immediately visible to our naked eye, the light is growing as the orbit of the earth changes again and our energies shift.

What an appropriate time then, to let go of whatever old fears, habits or behaviors that are holding us back from having the kind of life we want. As we let go of these and give more attention to the thoughts and actions that will lighten up our life, we find our path clearly laid out before us, with opportunities coming to light, and people who will be good for us to be with, clearly illuminated.

Moving from the dark into light is not about good vs evil. In the context of the solstices, it is the balancing between yin and yang, with the yin being the rich fertile place that enfolds the seeds of our dreams and gives the future a place to take root. The yang is the projective energy that sends the shoots above ground to reach up and absorb the light. It is both of these energies together that produce our future growth. We cannot have one without the other.

So as you shed whatever it is that you are ready to leave behind, replace that space in your energy field with what you want to grow into next. What do you want to happen between now and the Summer Solstice? How much can we do in six months time? How much can our life change? How much has already changed within the last six months? Are you ready to embrace your new growth and encourage it to grow robustly?

Monday, December 20, 2010

When Time Stands Still

Poised right on the edge, the moment seems eternal. You know that once you decide and move, everything changes. But for this moment of deliberation, everything is still. The moment before everything is set into motion, the world seems to bring up a steady stream of images and feelings that come up rapidly and clearly, until we find the one that triggers our decision, and then, in that instant the decision is clear.

All the facts, opinions and consideration have been stacked up and counted beforehand, and now, in this moment of decision, it is these images and feelings that bring our decision, and our action, into focus.

Once we have stepped off that edge, that moment of perfect stillness, we then act rapidly to put our decision into play and depart from that place of indecision.

It is incredible to savor that moment, because we know that we own it, and there are people and events awaiting our decision. And there is always a decision, because not making a decision is making a decision. Eventually, the moment comes, and we either decide or someone else decides for us.

There is such power at that moment. Savor it. Do you feel like you are having one of those moments now?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Mysteries Solved

He walked up to her while she was smoking a cigarette and he handed her his business card. All it said was Mysteries Solved and a phone number. She wondered how he knew that there was something she wanted to know. So of course she called him. "How did you know that I was looking for someone to help me figure this out?" she asked.

"Everybody has questions they want answers to, everybody is puzzled about some of the things that have happened in their life," he explained. "It's just that only some people are curious enough to really want to know the answers. Other people just push it to the corner of their mind and forget about it."

He handed these cards out to people everywhere he went, and there was a steady flow of customers, because there were always mysteries that people wanted solved.

There were mysteries that could be unraveled by sitting down and talking, and there were mysteries that required some digging around, although the Internet made the digging much easier than it used to be. And for some mysteries, he used his ability to travel mentally to find the answers.

It was an interesting business to be in, and there were stories that he came across that stuck in his mind and people were always interested to hear them.

You see, the word mystery quickly translated as crime stories and detective novels in the public mind. Then there were other popular mysteries, like UFOs, gypsies, witches, ancient civilizations and conspiracy theories.

But the mysteries that the mystery man got called for were usually more subtle, and more personal than that. Sure, there were those who had encounters with ETs, ghosts, witches or shamans, but there were many more who wondered where their life was going or why it had gone like it had already.

The Mystery Man was just as intrigued with these cases as he was with the big ones, and that is why he kept handing out his card to total strangers. He loved the mysteries they brought him.

And the people who called him loved the way he helped them unravel the mysteries and tell the stories of their lives. You see, this is how the Mystery Man also came to be known as the Storyteller. It was uncanny the way that he could find the perfect way to approach each person's request.

You could see it in their eyes, and hear the words form on their lips as he once again slipped a card into a stranger's hand without a word. "How did you know that I was looking for you? How did you know that I want to know? How did you know I have questions to ask?"

And the Mystery Man just smiled his cryptic, mischievous smile and responded, "Call me. I'd love to talk to you."

And so they did, and with each call, another mystery was unveiled, and another story was told. There was healing and humor, joy and sadness. And no two stories were ever exactly alike.

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Word About Weed

It has been interesting living in a state that has made medical marijuana legal. People are officially recognizing its use as a healing herb, which vindicates the views of many people since before the law changed.

Of course, there are many who still have the opinion, that people who use marijuana are addicts, even though marijuana is not an addictive substance. Some of these people share the opinion that it should never have been legalized.

And now the politicians have changed the laws that govern this new home grown industry. Yes, home grown in the sense that it is creating new jobs here.

Of course, there are many people who enjoy smoking marijuana just for fun and those people look forward to the day when full legalization will come, and people will just be able to go and buy it like a pack of cigarettes, and the government will make money on the taxes.

It certainly has less side effects than drinking. If we simply penalize users for their errant behavior, then it will be the same as drinking in terms of the way we set limits on it.

One irony of all this is that although the so called War on Drugs has attempted to wipe out marijuana consumption, that battle has long been lost, medical marijuana or not. The other thing is that the growers became expert botanists and gardeners with a very scientific approach because when aerial recon and spraying forced growers indoors, they found ways to grow more productive plants in less space, without natural light.

So the failed war on drugs not only created better and better generations of growers and plants to supply an ever increasing demand. It is like what happened when politicians got the bright idea to outlaw beer and alcohol. People didn't quit drinking and organizations sprang up to slake their thirst.

Funny how we have to keep on learning the same lessons over and over.

Right now all the wrangling over new laws is about who is controlling the money. The debate is no longer whether marijuana is good medicine. And the debate is no longer whether there is growing popular support for it both as medicine and for recreation. it is just a matter of time until more minds change.

It is interesting to watch such a momentous change in action. It must have been that way when our grandparents watched alcohol was declared illegal, remained popular and then return to legal status.

From caveman days to less than a hundred years ago, people freely used it as medicine, ceremonial herbs, and for fun. They never would have thought that we would be going through contortions like this over it.

We look at lessons like this from within the memory of our grandparents time. The same types of lessons can be learned from past lives. But that is another story.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Making the Shot

Last night I decided to do something I had not done in a quite a while, so I went out to shoot pool. My game was really off.

There was a time when I was pretty good when I worked a job at night and one of my buddies also was off in the afternoons and we used to go shoot. Uncle Phil was a good at the game and he taught me lessons that I just had to start remembering to get my game back on track. He wasn't really my uncle. It was just that we used to call him that because he was a bit older than the rest of us, and he was a better shooter than the rest of us.

We also used to play chess, and there is a carryover between the two. In chess you learn to think several moves ahead. In pool, good shooters do that too. You want to sink your next ball, but you also want to know where that places you after that ball sinks, otherwise you can leave yourself in a place where you don't have a next shot. It sort of relates to that other axiom when you are playing someone else: if you can't sink it, hide it. That way your opponent will be as stuck as you are now and will be forced to leave you a good opening.

One of the first ones was that you have to visualize the shot before you can make it. If you want it to go a certain way, you have to cut it or bank it a certain way. When you miss it's because that's the direction you sent the ball in when you hit it.

If you want to get better control of where you are sending the cue ball, you have to have a tight bridge, which where you set your sights over the left hand.

You get the best leverage holding the cue in your right hand where you can balance it perfectly.

When you feel the tipping point of the balance and you have good aim, then just hit the ball hard enough to get it where it is going. This way you have more control over what happens next and will leave yourself in a good position for a follow up shot. People who hit way harder than necessary just make a mess.

There's another reason why the light touch works better. Uncle Phil taught me that the closest shot on the table, no matter how tough the angle, or how tight, is always a better percentage shot than the long shot.

If you can see the shot you can make it. If you can't see it you can't make it.

So as I was shooting last night, I started to get my game back on track. It's a long way back to my previous skill level. But that's what happens when you don't practice for a while.

The pool shooting then became a meditative practice for me and I started thinking about how to get a better aim on my business expansion.

It pays to play and get your mind off business so that you can come back sharper, with some fresh ideas. Who would have thought I would have gotten some new business ideas while trying to pocket a few balls.

And I am sure that was part of what old Uncle Phil had in mind while he was teaching me about shooting.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Dance is the Desire, Expressed

Dancing, any kind of dancing, works to still the mind while you move the body. Once you get up and dance and start to work up a sweat, all the things that were stressful about work, school, or anything else, just seem to fade away.

In this way, it has a cathartic effect. Cleansing, deep down to the bones. By the time I come home from dancing and take a shower or a bath, I feel so clean, so peaceful, so happy, that a state of relaxation sets in, now that the body has stopped moving and the muscles are feeling that good kind of exhaustion from being taken to the limits, and sleep comes easily.

Dancing can be a moving meditation. Why do you think that since ancient times, rituals and ceremonies included dancing? It can alter your state of mind and make an event special.

The body takes on a mind of its own, as it becomes entrained to the music and develops movements that ride the waves of the music. As the body pursues that single focus, there is nothing other than the present, the dance.

You have this moment, this music, this movement, this joy, this peace, this energetic shift that has changed your consciousness. As the body does what the body does, the mind is quieted, and the joy of living comes to the surface, front and center. In this moment, where there is nothing but the dance, there is nothing else to desire, except to feel the dance. The dance is the desire, expressed.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Western Mandalas, Chakras and Mantras

In eastern religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism, practitioners often use art to meditate with, and they call that a mandala. Tarot cards can also serve that same purpose. You can lay them out and let your eyes focus on them while you let go into that quiet state. We can use our tarot decks to create a mandala.

Robert Place, author of The Tarot: History, Symbolism & Divination and creator of the Alchemical Tarot, Tarot of the Saints, Buddha Tarot and others, notes that the idea of three chakras goes back to Plato. The idea also had a parallel among druids and witches. The idea of the seven chakra system which is most familiar to everyone is simply a carryover from the popularity of Eastern practices in the west. Although these references now dominate metaphysical literature, the western traditions have deep roots. These offer us different ways to access and work with our energy systems.

It is interesting how ideas gain currency. For example, back in the 80s and 90s, composer Philip Glass became famous for his compositions for orchestras, movie soundtracks, performance artists and plays. He practices Buddhist ways.

Many reviewers noted that the power of his work came from catchy phrases that repeated many times. Few made the connection that this might be due to Glass' familiarity with another Buddhist meditative practice, chanting.

So consider these tools. You can do the same things that practitioners of eastern religions do, without taking on all the eastern trappings.

I ma not against these things. I just observe that sometimes people can enhance their spiritual practices and psychic abilities by using tools that are already familiar, like tarot. And we can create new mantras that we feel more comfortable pronouncing, in words that make more sense to us.

How much easier would it be to remember three power centers: head, heart and low belly, rather than learn Sanskrit names for seven?

Powerful ideas can migrate between cultures and the understandings will permeate. Tarot art can take you to the same place as a mandala. Three power centers can do all the same things as a greater number of them. And the sounds that you give voice to can work as well as something you learn in another language.

Try these ideas. See how they work for you.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Magic in Action

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" said Arthur C. Clarke.

It is easy to see how that refers to cell phones, computers, ipods, TVs, and other things that represent a quantum leap forward to an older generation, although less amazing to a younger generation.

People can easily agree on this.

Yet, when we look at less physical aspects of our lives, it seems more magical. For example, have you ever noticed how when you are thinking of things, they just seem to manifest? You think about a subject, and here is a book on it, found in an unexpected way, and unexpected place.

Many people have had the experience of thinking of someone, then suddenly they call. How about thinking that you would like to do something, and here is an opportunity to do it?

Yet, when it comes to bigger things, like creating a more satisfying way of getting income, our belief is often that the results are in someone else's hands.

How funny. One person imagines a new product, creates it and makes money from it, and we do not see that as magic. It is simply hard work. Another person imagines a piece of writing, or a picture, or sculpture and creates it, and it seems amazing that someone could have created music or art that beautiful, a product of imagination, rather than hard work. Why is it different?

Maybe we should quit thinking of it as work. Think of it as something we would like to do that we could make money from. Our income would grow simply from doing something we would enjoy doing anyway.

I don't mean just the obvious easy choices like mattress tester or marijuana taster.

I mean someone has fun walking dogs for other people. Someone else has fun by doing custom woodwork. Someone has fun by tuning up cars. Someone has fun by doing psychic readings or energy healing. Someone has fun by designing computer programs. Someone has fun being a landscaper or a farmer. Someone has fun cooking.

How many times have you come across a new product or service and thought, "I wish I would have thought of that." Maybe you did think of it, but you didn't do it.

So let the magic play out. Think of what you can do or would like to do and focus on it and see how much support the universe provides. All magic starts with imagination, then the rest flows from there.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Stir the Energy Up

When our energy gets stuck, we have to get up and stir things up in order to draw new energy to us and magnetize ourselves for good things to come.

If you are wishing that you had an opening, that events were moving in your favor more, keep focused on your intention and do anything to stir things up.

Funny how it works. I am looking for ways to keep my business expanding. So I spend more time dancing and swimming and walking. Then I go home and find new business in my email.

What is the connection? I just keep putting my energy out there in the aethers, projecting, attracting, magnetizing.

Bodies in motion create vibrations. We are the greatest tools of magic. Focus and project. Then open to receive.

Of course, there are some evenings when I just stay home and kick back. And there are also lots of days when I send out emails, make calls, go to events to meet new people and take other actions to generate business.

That's right, just fire up the engines, put those ingredients in the cauldron and stir until ready to drink.

And then sometimes, I just have to step away from it and go knock back a few scotches and dance or better yet........

I will let your imagination complete that last thought. And if you have a good imagination, you know how to reach me and tell me how you would end that sentence.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Surrounded by Symbols

This season, more than the rest of the year, is more laden with evocative symbols than any other time.

How familiar are we with evergreen trees, holly wreaths, mistletoe? What about the New Year's symbols of the baby and the grim reaper? The witch at Halloween? The cornucopia at Thanksgiving?

We speak in this shorthand all the time. We know that a red diagonal line through anything means no. We know that thumbs up means yes. We know that a person who opens their arms is welcoming us and one who crosses their arms is not. We know that a colon and a half parenthesis is a smile. :)

Symbols have been part of our lives since before we had fully formed language. Primal ones that we have found, like the ancient cave paintings, are as emotive as many more finely drawn paintings, and carry a powerful amount of energy in a few spare lines.

There are systems to symbols, and some, like the runes or the I Ching hexagrams have an interesting way of fitting together and interlocking visually.

Others, like the system of tarot, have a way of interlocking conceptually, and although they are visual in themselves, they cannot be as compact as abstract forms like runes, or the hexagrams of the I Ching.

Some symbols are so emotionally charged that their mere appearance sends chills or rushes of joy, depending on the sign, without anyone saying anything or any accompanying literature.

Obviously, some symbols are references to ancient beliefs and feelings and some are purely modern inventions of convenience which may or may not last. With some symbols we have near universal agreement, but with others not.

We bring our own interpretations to symbols as well as recognizing traditional meanings. This is why two people can look at the same picture and have two very different experiences of it.

And this is also why this is such an emotional time of year for so many people. We are surrounded by symbols and they can convey a host of messages to us faster than we can digest them.