Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Relax and Enjoy It

This is the time of year when we gather with family and friends simply to enjoy their company. It is also a time of reflection when we think about what has happened this year. Yes, there are many things to be concerned about, and there are also developments to be happy about.

Relax and enjoy this moment with family and friends. Then after you have enjoyed the holidays, approach your endeavors for the new year with renewed vigor and do what it takes to create this next stage of your life in a way that works for you.

Enjoy the festivities of the season. Savor these moments. Relax and enjoy them. Then after the holidays, do whatever it takes to do what is most important for you to do. Start with a clean slate, and make this your year.

The clearer your vision, the stronger your will, the more burning your desire, you can make things happen. Take a moment to consider your situation from every angle, and then perhaps you may need to adjust your vision. It is a good time for such things, as you reflect and enjoy the company of friends.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

List, No Bucket

Why do people always want to know about the future?

One reason may be to recognize the patterns in our life to see where they will lead. Patterns are often invisible to us until we are able to step back and see them with an objective view, which another person may be able to offer us.

Another reason people want to know about the future is that they are seeking hope. A person may simply need encouragement to move forward and do the things they want to do. Sometimes that may require taking a long simmering desire off a back burner and moving it to the front. An encouraging word from a neutral party such as a professional reader can prompt a person to take action, validating the intention which may have been held back for a variety of reasons.

People like to look at their future to find a reason to make their bucket list.

This is not as grim as it sounds. You do not have to be facing a terminal illness to decide that it is time to set new priorities and quit putting off those things that you have had in the back of your mind for a long time.

How would your life look if you decided that you were going to move everything else aside to do those things that you have been thinking about or daydreaming about for a long time? Wouldn't it feel invigorating to decide to either do it, or forget about it?

If it never was important enough to make it a priority, it would feel cleansing to unburden yourself of that thought and give yourself permission to move on to other ideas. Some things may have seemed like a great idea several years ago, but since you have changed and grown, that may no longer be of great interest to you.

Then again, there are those other things that you have said that you really want to do, and you still feel that way. So why not get on it now? If you cannot get it done today, you can at least move in that direction, so that the goal is within your grasp, and a realistic timetable is in play.

Wanting to know the future is our first step in creating our future.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What Place Names Say

It strikes me as ironic when I drive through different states and come across a town name that is identical to a place on the other side of the country. For example, Montpelier. There has been a city by that name in Vermont for as long as this country has been here. Then there is one in Idaho. What about Manhattan, Kansas? Were they homesick for Manhattan, New York? I wonder what was going through the minds of the settlers when they named the second one. Were they trying to evoke the spirit of the first place? Or did they just get stumped trying to think of a name for their new town? Or did somebody just like the sound of the name, and it was no more complicated than that? Or did some of the settlers come from families in the first city by that name? I don't really know. I am just fascinated by the obvious questions sometimes, the ones nobody else thinks to ask.

Of course, common place names probably inspired by geography, like Rock Springs or Springfield seem to pop up all over this country.

Some are obviously tributes to history, such as Paris, Cairo, Moscow and so on. Of course, New York, New Orleans, New Jersey and New Hampshire are all salutes to old York, old Orleans, old Jersey and old Hampshire.

I wonder what choosing place names says about the people who choose them. Are they imagining the future? Setting a vision to inspire?

Real Estate developers often ironically name their new places after what is not there any more, like a subdivision named something farm, something woods, or something pond. Usually those get wiped out to build the subdivision.

Just a thought. I get curious about the oddest or obvious things sometimes. There are thousands of other examples we could choose, but you get the idea. Maybe this thought will help you see some other places with new eyes.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Tight Skirt

This year I have lost 30 pounds and my plan is to continue in that direction. As part of this initiative, I am also working out more than before and more rigorously. Thing is, that means trying methods that are new to me, like Nia, Zumba, Water Aerobics and so on, with the idea of trying a variety of methods until I find one that I want to continue with.

Earlier in my life, I played a lot of basketball, racquetball, tennis and bicycling until tennis elbow and my knees told me that they didn't want to keep doing that.

I have been walking, swimming and dancing regularly, but decided that more intensity and determination were needed if I wanted to get down to the weight my doctor recommends.

Funny thing is that I notice that in these various classes that I am trying, I seem to be the only male. One of the women remarked to me that "it takes a bold man to come to these classes." Not that I mind being in a class that is mostly women. My life has been mostly women between my sisters, my clients, and so on.

And that jogged a memory of when I had a roommate years ago, a recently divorced architect who did aerobics classes regularly to keep fit. My women friends kept asking me if he was gay. "What makes you think so?" I asked. "An architect who does aerobics?" they responded, "How many straight guys do you know who fit that description?" I just smiled at their assumptions, because I knew that he wasn't, but it was funny to hear their take on things.

So here I am in water aerobics tonight, once again the only guy, and the instructor is describing to us how to do a certain exercise "Move like you are wearing a tight skirt" she said.

I had to pause for a minute to try and picture that. I mean I am certainly familiar with tight skirts, but I am never the one wearing them.

Just had another flashback, thinking about my experience in Zumba. On the old TV series, "Taxi" the character Jim came in all frazzled one night, well, more frazzled than usual. He laid down on the wooden bench and one of the other characters asked him what happened, and asked if he was alright. With this befuddled, exhausted look on his face, Jim replies "Jazzercise! I never want to hear that word again!"

Funny, the things some of us do to get healthier. And, yes, water aerobics seemed to suit me fine and will be one of the things I will continue with, and I think Nia is something I will return to as well.

OK, so sometimes the price of progress is pretty strange. But I feel good about it. After all, I am not known to shy away from things just because they are strange, different, or unusual. After all, the strange, different and unusual make life interesting.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

4 Card Mystery

In the oldest intact tarot deck, a Visconti from 14th century Italy, contains 74 of the 78 cards. Devil, Tower, Knight of Pentacles and Three of Wands are missing. Imagine who got that reading. Perhaps they kept those 4 cards to remind themselves of it as the events in their life became unveiled.

Depending on the order in which they were drawn, these cards could have warned of a business venture coming to sudden ruin. Or it could have been that having overcome obstacles, a business venture was about to take off. Or it could have been that the querant was being warned that self created obstacles would interfere with their enterprise. A fourth possible interpretation might be that the person was recovering from a tragic setback and was going on to greater success.

Perhaps like some of us do today, when we have a particularly powerful reading, we take a photo of it, or let the cards stay out on the table for a while. Maybe they never got put back in the deck because the person tacked them to a wall.

Of the oldest intact deck known, 4 cards are missing. Do you also wonder who got that reading and how things turned out?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Ghost Towns: Old Bubbles

One way of looking at ghost towns is that they are the reminders of previous eras of bubbles. Just like we had an Internet and tech stock bubble, real estate bubble, and so on while earlier eras had a gold bubble or a silver bubble.

Lots of people jumped into the same business at the same time with unrealistic expectations, and then came the shakeouts, leaving some whole towns just empty. Guess that's a major difference today. Banking bubbles didn't leave cities vacant. Not whole cities, anyway. Strange thought, eh? At least ironic, I would say.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Masking and Unmasking

Costumes at Halloween are always intriguing. Of course, people have costume parties throughout the year, but Halloween is probably the biggest holiday across the board for people to host or participate in costume parties.

Masks and costumes can reveal part of a person's personality and secrets that usually stay hidden. A costume bestows an opportunity to live out a fantasy, even if only for a little while one evening. For that brief event, a person can be someone they have always wanted to be, and that can be an exciting experience.

Wearing a costume or a mask can encourage a person to expand their ambitions in life to become more of who they want to be.

Of course, masks and costumes will not affect everyone that way. Some will simply put it away in a closet and regard it as an aberration, something they did at a party for fun.

How does the process of selecting a costume start? By entertaining ideas of what you would like to be? Interesting, isn't it?

What might that suggest about future directions for you? Or, for that matter, about our present state of mind?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Why So Many Kinds of Decks?

The most obvious reason whey there are so many kinds of decks is that there are many tastes in art and there are many artists who enjoy the challenge of creating a set of 78 images that convey a range of emotions, ideas and situations.

Whether you prefer art from the Renaissance period, or something more modern, there are decks to satisfy your taste. Some artists have totally changed the traditional suits and the familiar images. Some decks are created according to a theme. For example, you can find decks built around the Greek myths, Norse Myths, Arthurian Legend, Egyptian myths, Native American stories, dreams, vampires, romance, UFOs, fairies, angels, animals, birds, fairy tales, astrology, manga, impressionistic art, abstract art and cave paintings to name just a few.

A brief definition may be in order here. There are tarot decks and oracle decks. A tarot deck, by definition, has 78 cards, featuring the 22 major arcana, 56 minor arcana, the court cards, the cards in 4 suits numbered from 1-10. An oracle deck does not conform to any of these formats. An oracle deck can have any number of cards, from a dozen to 30, 40, 50, 60 or more. They may not have any suits or numbers or be divided into major or minor arcana. There are some that are simply a variety of images and you are free to make of them what you will. Some are just geared to positive thinking and affirmations and offer you thoughts or ideas to meditate on each day to reinforce good habits and changes in our lives. Of course, you can do these with a regular tarot deck as well.

Plus, you can regard any of these decks the same way you would a coffee table art book, and decks have the advantages of being less expensive and more portable than art books. Picture yourself coming home from work and just wanting to relax for a little while. So you sit down and start looking through a deck of cards. You are intrigued by the images and they stir creative thinking and introspection. And there are some decks available for as little as 10, 15 or 20 dollars. Most come with some kind of book or booklet that offer explanations or ideas to meditate on with these images. Quite a bargain for a useful tool. In this way, they become a tool for self teaching rather than fortune telling.

How do you pick from among all this amazing variety? I would suggest one very simple way. Simply choose according to the art you like. What is best for you? What is best for you is whichever one you think you will like working with.

These are some of the reasons I enjoy working with a number and variety of decks, and why I offer people who come to me a choice of decks that they want to use for their reading. For many years, people who were interested in cards only had a few designs available to choose from, but today we have many beautiful options.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Rare and the Funky

I have made a modest change to my tarot reading technique. My tarot collection includes several rare and hard to find decks as well as a number that are unusual designs. I enjoy using a variety of them for reading at home, but like many other professional readers, I got into the habit of simply using one for all my readings when I set up at fairs. Many collectors would never take out a rare deck to read with in a public setting, and I used to think of my decks that way. Then one day I decided that they really were created to be used and sharing the pleasure of reading for clients with them would add a little sparkle to the usual approach, and I am happy that I am doing it now.

So I recently decided to take a number of them with me each time I go out and let the clients choose one to have their reading with. It is interesting to observe their choices.

For example, one of the more rare and beautiful ones is the Victorian Romantic and one of the more funky, grotesque designs is the Deviant Moon and one of the most unusual the hippieish, humorous, black and white Morgan's Tarot. It didn't surprise me at all that the Morgan only got picked once in a while but it did surprise me how frequently the Deviant Moon was chosen.

Another reminder that you cannot always tell what people will go for. Like any other field, there are decks that collectors have really embraced, but they never caught on that big with the general public.

Bringing different decks to read adds a fresh twist to the readings when I keep changing decks according to requests. Artists and authors often make changes for philosophical and artistic reasons which also color the readings. I keep on rotating the decks that I take out just to give more of them a chance to play.

There is a difference between trying to keep a collection in pristine condition for possible future resale and going ahead and putting them to regular use with whoever wants a reading.

When people ask me what the difference is between decks, I advise them to simply choose the art that appeals to them most. Some days it is very surprising what that is. This simple change has added an extra bit of fun to the process, and I am glad that I am doing it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Open Space

Too much open space is too freaky deaky for me. When I drive across these large expanses of land where there are no buildings, no people, nothing but open land from horizon to horizon, it is just as freaky as being out on the water with no land in sight from any direction.

I have come to realize that I am one who is much more comfortable in urban environs. A public park is a nice amount of open space as far as I am concerned. I like being around people. I like watching people when I am in public spaces.

Of course, not everyone thinks this way, and that is how the west got settled. A couple generations back, I had uncles who came out west to work on ranches, and eventually own them. I remember one uncle telling me how he didn't have any neighbors for 20 miles in any direction and he liked it that way.

But others of you who are reading this may have had one of those incidents in their past when your car broke down in the middle of nowhere and you could do nothing but sit and wonder when someone might stop who would be able to help you.

That happened to me when I was moving from Los Angeles to Atlanta. I had just passed through Barstow and the sign that lets you know that there are no services for the next hundred miles. And yes, 50 miles beyond that was where my car decided to quit running. Barstow is one of those town on the edge of nowhere. Once you leave it, you head into high desert. Nothing but rocks, sand, little shrubs, cactus and rattlesnakes for as far as the eye can see.

The best thing I can say about this kind of landscape is that it is one place where you can set your cruise control for 90 mph and not worry about getting a speeding ticket.

So I was standing by my broke down car, wondering when a cop or tow truck or any kind of help might wander by. I had some water, but there was nothing resembling shade and the sun was relentless.

Finally, a young man on a motorcycle pulled up behind me. He told me that he had been riding his motorcycle around the country and he was tired of it. So he told me that he would give me a ride back to Barstow so that we could find some help.

Of course, this was back in the day before cell phones had been invented and there are no pay phones in the middle of nowhere. And as uncomfortable as I am riding on the back of a motorcycle, it beat frying out in the desert. This was also way back when gas stations still had mechanics who could fix cars. I know that some of my younger readers might think that gas stations were always convenience stores, but no, once upon a time gas stations were also called service stations because their business included servicing and repairing cars.

So we found a gas station that also had a tow truck and they went out and hauled my car back 50 miles and then I got to sit around waiting all day while they found parts to fix it with. The young man parked his motorcycle there and just left it, and we were driving back through Oklahoma when a blizzard hit, the roads were icy and interstate traffic was suddenly going a whole 10 mph. For those of you who enjoy such contrasts, that probably would have been a regular Disneyland of the senses.

Fortunately, I got out my little black book and looked up a woman I knew in Oklahoma and she let us stay the night. By morning plows had made headway on the snow and we continued on east. We just kept on going until we found arrived in the humid, verdant south, and did that ever feel good.

I know that others of you may be like my uncles and feel that wandering around in places where everywhere you look in any direction is nothing but miles and miles of nothing but miles and miles.

We each have to find our comfort zones and mine is definitely in a town or a city where there are people all around, and normal life consists of places where a person can stop and meditate on the joy and beauty of being with others even if you are alone. There is comfort in human interactions and I find navigating a sea of people far easier and more preferable, no matter how difficult it can be at times, than being in a place of all landscape and no people.

Now being a resident of the west once again, my life has opened up in unexpected ways, and I feel that the towns on the front range of the Rockies have a different kind of spirit of adventure. This mix of hippies and cowboys, enclaves of eastern religions in the midst of evangelicals, artists and musicians mining the territory that used to be populated by gold rushers and those who want to drill and mine anywhere and everywhere are interspersed with the snowboarders, triathletes and people whose idea of heaven is to trek up and down every 14er they can find.

This heady mixture makes for a strange brew perched between endless open spaces and urban developments. And for the last several years and who knows how many more years to come, it has been very invigorating.

This is one of those moments when remembering the past can lead forward, even if it is not clear what going forward means or where exactly it leads.

There are lifetimes within lifetimes. Sometimes, it feels like what Hemingway said at the end of one of his books "all of this happened long ago and in another country" even though we know we are still in this same country and long ago can often resemble the present, although we may have these moments when the present may feel like exploring the unknown, the open spaces, no matter how big or small they are.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

B is for ?

Today I went picking through the bones of the Borders that is closing for good. I didn't buy anything because there was not much left. It was a strange experience to be standing in a hollowed out space that used to be a store where I enjoyed shopping for books. In the Borders stores in other cities, I sometimes attended talks by authors or meetings of discussion groups with kindred spirits.

Cycles are happening so fast that it is easy to watch them come full circle. Back when Borders (and Barnes & Noble)began their rapid expansions in the 80s and 90s, that put the squeeze on lots of small independently owned bookstores. Quite a number of them went out of business as one of the Bs opened a store in every mall and strip mall in the country. If they were not everywhere, it seemed like they were. And they appeared to be a permanent fixture on the American retail landscape.

Ironically it seemed that way for another vacant property right next door, Blockbuster. During the same time frame when Borders was putting a store in every mall, Blockbuster was at least as prolific, and they too, seemed like they would be a permanent part of American retailing. Now most of their stores are closed and some of the remaining ones appear to be focusing on video games.

What the B named stores have in common is that they failed to evolve with the markets. Amazon and Netflix came along and ate their lunch. At one time, parking lots were full of people waiting to pay $5 to rent one video for 3 nights. Now a person can watch all the instant download movies they want for $8 a month, and you never have to drive to a store to exchange hard copies. Most customers made the obvious smart choice.

There is another former chain that began with a B which also is now just another empty property, adjacent to the former Blockbuster and Borders sites, Boston Market. Guess it is just irony that there is so much going on in that part of the alphabet.

Similarly, there were times when I would go to Borders and want to buy a book that was not in stock, maybe a harder to find title. So they would tell me that I could get it in a week or two and that it would cost full retail. Of course, it didn't take long to figure out that I could go online and get it for less than full retail and in less time. Once again, the choice was obvious. Customer loyalty had switched before Blockbuster even tried to offer a competing strategy.

The smaller bookstores held their own for a while by having deeper selections of titles, community bulletin boards, hosting local group meetings and local authors, and the survivors still do such things to establish a place in customers hearts.

So even though I have no plans to open a retail store of any kind, there is a lesson here for everyone who owns a business. Survival requires that we constantly modify our offerings and tailor our services to our customers. We might have started off doing things one way years ago, but reevaluation is necessary, even if we decide not to change anything. There are some businesses that may not need to change from what they have been doing, but increasingly, those seem to be rare.

Small businesses can be fragile because they have less operating capital, but small businesses can also be more nimble, more capable of changing course to adapt to new market conditions.

It is fascinating to watch how rapidly trends evolve. It is a lesson in raising consciousness to recognize how exactly a business cycles through from an idea to a dominant market force to a defunct entity. Even though my business is unrelated to these other businesses, it prompts me to think, and it has strengthened my resolve to alter my overall strategy.

There are valuable lessons in these retail ghost towns. It is up to us to discern what they might be for us.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Making Music

Years ago, making music was the most common kind of invitation to get people together. People would invite each other over to make music. At that time, guitar was the instrument most commonly brought. Plus, of course, singing. In later years, people would bring drums and we made music that way. Sometimes it was just singing and chanting.

Recently, I have had these kinds of opportunities coming up again. Quite a good mix for meeting people and having fun. Recent experiences have included people getting together to sing old popular tunes, some gatherings for doing chanting, some for drumming, and others more old timey music featuring mandolin, piano and fiddle. no matter what the format, music is always a good way for people to meet and have a good time.

Music has always been an active part of my life. It's just that it takes different forms from time to time. And of course, I still like to dance every week.

Music never fails to lift my spirits, no matter what form it takes. After years of letting these types of social gatherings slide, they seem to be coming back around. I am sure that I will be doing more music. It has never left my life, just gone back and forth from being a major part to a minor part, but never gone.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The End of An Era

As most of you know, I have worked all kinds of festivals during the last several years as a way of meeting new clients.

And although that has been a grand experiment and made it possible for me to meet many great new people, I have decided that the time has come to sharpen the focus of my business, and develop it in a different way.

From now on, the only public events I will do are psychic fairs, holistic fairs and metaphysical fairs and events. Simultaneously, I continue to build my offerings to private clients, small workshops and private parties.

Those of you who used to see me for readings at county fairs, town fairs, harvest festivals, music festivals, food festivals, holiday fairs, art fairs and so on, will need to call me for a private appointment if you would like another reading or one of my other services.

Or you can see me at one of the metaphysical fairs where I will be. No more getting up at the crack of dawn to set up a tent somewhere and hoping for good weather. Everything I do from now on will be indoors.

For most of you, I feel that this change will work as well for you as for me. I look forward to all the new opportunities and experiences this change of direction will bring.

All of us who create our own business have to experiment with different formats, offerings, pricings and all the other variables to see what works. This next stage of evolution will be exciting. Change always is.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Awakening from the Dream of Everyday Life, part 6

Have you ever looked at a credit card statement and found yourself wondering what you bought that came to that total? That's an awakening too.

Access to credit does that to some people. Something strikes your fancy and you just hand over your card and let them swipe it, but if you had to take the cash out of your pocket, you would have passed on it.

There is something going on, some kind of endorphin rush or something that makes us feel good to just buy things. For some people that rush obviously does not last beyond the actual time of purchase. The thrill wears off in some cases by the time they get home.

How would I know such a thing? Have you ever shopped at yard sales, garage sales, thrift shops? Ever see brand new garments there with the store tag still on them? I have known people who have clothes like that still in their closet, dresses that they bought a few years ago, but never wore.

I have also seen guys buy stuff on impulse that they never use. Not just clothing but books that have obviously never been read, tools that have never been used, sporting goods that have no wear at all.

How about home exercise equipment? People are zoned out from watching TV when the late night commercials come on telling you how you have be transformed into the fit and beautiful in just 30 days if you just get on this gizmo every day for a half hour or 15 minutes. But then the stuff just sits there collecting dust until one day it is also in the yard sale or a consignment store or listed on Craigslist or Freecycle.

That certainly is some kind of dynamic happening that makes a person spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a thing, and then they get bored with it after a few tries, and they never get transformed into fit and beautiful and now there is this hulking piece of machinery taking up space until one day they just want it gone.

When we are conscious about money, our shopping habits change and it affects everything about our relationship to money. For some people scarcity is created simply because they keep spending too much. How much more relaxed do you feel when you are comfortable with your cash flow and feel confident that you have made wise and useful purchases? Even when you splurge you appreciate it and are content with your purchase. If it is something you use and enjoy, contentment replaces regrets.

This refers to decorative things as well as functional things. For example, if a person buys a piece of art and they enjoy looking at it every day, they will have good feelings about the purchase, while the person who bought a home gym they never use will have bad feelings about their purchase.

The dream is sometimes that if we buy things that are heavily advertised or are popular that somehow our life will be happier.

Awakening is realizing that we are the source of our happiness.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Awakening from the Dream of Everyday Life, part 5

What goes through your mind when you are coming home one night and for some reason you notice a house that has been there at least as long as your place has, and you suddenly notice it for the first time?

Does it make you wonder what else you have been missing? Not only the house, but one day you notice a beautiful garden or landscaping job for the first time, but what you are amazed at has been in place all year.

So what else are you missing?

Sometimes we may miss things deliberately. For example, I do not buy cable, so I do not watch TV. When people talk about what shows they have been watching, I have never seen them, so I am totally out of the conversation. And I am happy with my decision.

On the other hand, you and I might talk about some very popular book and people who don't read much will probably feel just as out of the loop.

Awakening from the dream of everyday life certainly is about conscious decisions and conscious action. We stimulate our awareness to tune into what we feel is important, and in this way, we sharpen our focus.

What we tune into has something to do with awakening too. There is always an alarm clock going off. Some people respond, while others always think that the wake up call is for somebody else. So if we hear it or not depends on if we are ready to hear it or are open to hearing it.

So, yes, if you think you are hearing something, it is probably true. This one's for you!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Awakening from the Dream of Everyday Life, part 4

The peek behind the curtain of everyday life is often startling. The particulars are different for every person.

Sometimes it looks like this. You meet someone else or read about someone else who has had an adventure or an experience that you have thought about on many occasions, but never done.

What is your reaction this time? Do you promise yourself that you will do whatever it takes to try this for yourself? Or do you let go of it, noting that it was an interesting idea, but not important to you now? Or do you let it be vague and tell yourself that you might get around to it one day?

If you consider that possibility to still be important to you, and you act on it, you have just entered another level of reality.

Another way of awakening presents itself when we see things with new eyes. We have a certain dream of everyday life when we are tuning into when we get swept up in media hype. News, game shows, "reality" shows, and whatever celebrity gossip is being spotlighted at the moment. There is a dream of reality among those who get all their information from political talk radio shows. There is a different dream of reality on late night talk radio that focuses on the paranormal. Unless, of course, you think of modern politics as just another horror show or freak show, or think of some recent news events as being on a par with UFO visitations.

Great comedians, great artists, writers and visionaries are all gifted with this same ability to see behind the dream that is projected for our entertainment like a huge movie screen.

We can all see it if we choose to. We can either sit there in the darkness of the theater and wait for the movie to be rerun or we can go outside and see what else is playing. And what do you know, once outside, we find out that we are what's playing!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Awakening from the Dream of Everyday Life, part 3

Awakening from the dream of everyday life often begins by noticing how things work. For example, how many people feel like failures because they have had a divorce or more than one, or some kind of different living arrangement?

Why would people feel that way? Perhaps because so much popular literature, music and movies promote concepts like finding your perfect partner or soulmate and marrying forever, when the reality has been that half of all marriages end in divorce. So, in reality, being divorced is as normal as being married.

Even some metaphysical people buy into the old hype, promoting the notion that there is a twin flame or soulmate out there for us, setting off some people on a wild goose chase searching for "the one."

Actually, with all the millions and billions of people on the planet, there are any number of people who might be great partners for us. We choose from among the people we meet, and one partner might be just as good as another when we consider the various aspects of compatibility.

There are many different types of relationships that work for people. Varieties from open relationships to long distance relationships to sharing housing with other like minded people work for lots of people in lots of different situations.

You have heard that old expression that politics makes strange bedfellows. Consider that polygamy was outlawed when Utah became a state. It was part of the deal. But Mormons were controversial and not well liked in lots of places. The government named Utah after the Ute Indians just to give the finger to the Mormons, who wanted to name the state The Kingdom of Deseret.

Think for a moment about the issue of gay marriage. Why do states even issue marriage licenses at all? If it is just another way to make money, then they ought to be happy that more people want to buy marriage licenses.

I do not bring these points up because I am a polygamist or gay. I am neither. I am simply pointing out that some of these role models are political inventions.

Awakening from the dream of everyday life involves using your free will to choose an arrangement that works for you. You can feel better about yourself when you quit accepting a definition of yourself as a failure because you have done the same thing that half the other people have done. Oddly though, for a period of that dreamtime, there was more social stigma attached to divorced than to staying married to an alcoholic wife beater. I would go so far as to say that there would have been lots more divorces years ago, had more people been willing to awaken from the dream. Once you awaken and choose what is next, one of the things you might change is instead of referring to yourself as divorced, refer to yourself as single.

Once you awaken, we find ourselves rich with possibilities for creating ways of forming our relationships in ways that work for us that satisfy us.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Awakening from the Dream of Everyday Life, part 2

Another part of our awakening comes when we realize that abundance and joy can come to us in many ways. Perhaps we used to dream that having some kind of job where we spent all week in somebody else's place of business and we would trade the money we got for that for things that we want.

Many of us were forced to reconsider that model as businesses have changed, partly due to new technologies, partly due to the way businesses have chosen to operate, and partly due to our own desires to awaken from the dream and move into a new dream where we create our lives in a different way.

For example, years ago I worked for a corporation that moved me around the country. After my first major relocation, I went to a furniture store and bought furniture. It took me quite a while to pay for it. You can also get to a point where it costs more to move your stuff than it is worth. And when you try and sell it, you may get a rude awakening when you find out what it will bring on the free market.

The last time I moved, I checked out Freecycle and Craigslist and furnished my place for almost nothing. I only had to buy a few things, like a new mattress. This is an abundant universe we live in. A friend recently moved and had the same experience. For an investment of simply doing the work of moving the stuff, here is your new place, attractive and functional. Anyone can do this.

What about how we make our money? Yes, there are difficulties if we get laid off with no severance and no insurance. So we have to just hustle and do without for the time being. Meanwhile, we can take some of those ideas off the back burner that we always thought we would like to get to some day. I have met many people who were initially dismayed when they got laid off and their career plan hit a seismic road bump, but then they recovered from the shock, created a new plan and acted on it. I have heard many such a person say that they are happier with their new life than their old life.

As we use our creative vision to assess our situation, we take a look and see what we can do, and would enjoy doing that other people would pay us to do. Now, I am not going to say that it is always easy to implement this step, but when we can find a way to do it, joy and aliveness are part of the compensation.

Part of the dream we are awakening from is the dream that we have to let someone else decide what we will do for a living and how much we will be paid, and then try and buy everything we need with whatever amount that is.

That was one dream, and we can change it.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Awakening from the Dream of Everyday Life, part 1

Our world, and our lives, continue to evolve in ways that awaken us from the dream of everyday life.

In our lifetimes, we have witnessed old beliefs and old ways of seeing wither and fall away. There are both good and bad aspects to all of this.

It was not that long ago that we were raised with the assumption that whatever religion or church our parents belonged to would also be the one that we belonged to, except that many of us became dissatisfied with those older models and chose various spiritual paths that looked at life in new ways.

Exact numbers are hard to come by because even the most respected surveys of religions in contemporary America have built in flaws. For example, many surveys used to offer multiple choice answers to the question about what religion you practice. However, when all the choices were mainstream religions, many seekers chose the only box that made sense to them: no religion. Of course, that was not exactly true. Perhaps they followed a kind of religion that was not listed, and so their answer might have been more correctly interpreted as: none of the above.

There were also people who might not choose to answer such surveys who might follow religions that have been derided, harassed or persecuted, such as various forms of shamanism, witchcraft and paganism.

And then there were those who would fall under the rubric of eclectic. There is no name for someone who chooses to use various practices from different spiritual paths because they feel like they work for them. For example, many now do some kind of meditation, chanting, holiday rituals and other practices, without being part of any one religion. Some find their greatest connection to spirit while hiking or sailing a boat. Still others might find ample spiritual rewards in drumming circles, trance dance and poetry readings.

Awakening from the dream of everyday life has everything to do with recognizing our choices, especially choices that we might not have seen before.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

John Barleycorn Must Die

This is an old folk song that addresses the spirit of the season, the harvesting of grains, wheat and corn. The melody has stuck in my head ever since I heard Traffic's abbreviated version of it, and enjoy singing the song. I thought you might appreciate having the words to the full version, as collected by the great Scottish poet, Robert Burns. Burns did not write the song, he simply wrote down the words for us, because the song had been around for a long time before him. As a person who enjoys folklore and old music, I find myself feeling like hearing some of these at the same time every year, as the seasons turn.

When I first heard the song, I thought it was a ballad about a murder. It was later that I appreciated the metaphor of the way the plants have to die so that we can live and the metaphor for both the hard work and the gratitude for the results. One of the harvest rituals was to bake and bless a loaf of bread from the new harvest, and another was to toast the spirit of the alcoholic beverages made from the grains, the spirit that was given the name John Barleycorn. Although corn and wheat are bigger staple crops for us, in some places, barley was very important.

So let's appreciate what we have received this season, and raise a toast to old John Barleycorn.

John Barleycorn Must Die
traditional, collected by Robert Burns

There were three men came out of the west,
their fortune for to try;
and these three men made a solemn oath,
John Barleycorn must die.

They plowed, they sowed, they harrowed him in,
threw clods upon his head;
and these three men made a solemn vow,
John Barleycorn was dead.

They let him lie for a very long time,
till the rains from heaven did fall;
and little Sir John sprung up his head,
and so amazed them all.

The sultry suns of Summer came,
and he grew thick and strong:
His head was armed with pointed spears,
that no one should him wrong.

The sober Autumn entered mild,
when he grew wan and pale;
His bending joints and drooping head
showed he began to fail.
His colour sickened more and more,
as he faded into age;
'Twas then his enemies began to show
their violent deadly rage.

They hired men with the scythes so sharp,
to cut him off at the knees;
they rolled him and tied him by the waist,
serving him most barbarously.

They hired men with the sharp pitchforks,
to prick him to the heart;
and the loader he has served him worse than that,
for he's bound him to the cart.

They wheeled him around and around the field,
till they came unto a barn;
and there they made a solemn oath,
on poor John Barleycorn.

They hired men with crabtree sticks
to cudgel skin from bone,
and the miller he has served him worse than that
for he's ground him between two stones.

Then they filled up a darksome pit
with water to the brim,
Then they heaved in John Barleycorn
to let him sink or swim.

They've taken his very hero blood
and drank it round and round.
Still the more and more and more they drank,
their joy did more abound.

John Barleycorn was a hero bold,
of noble enterprise,
For if you do but taste his blood,
it will make your courage rise.

'Twill make a man forget his woe,
'twill heighten all his joy,
'Twill make a widow's heart to sing,
though tears were in her eyes.

Here's little Sir John in the the nut brown bowl
and he's brandy in the glass
and little Sir John in the nut brown bowl
proved the strongest man at last.

For the huntsman he can't hunt the fox,
nor loudly blow his horn;
and the tinker he can't mend kettle or pot,
without a little Barleycorn.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Unveiling a New Idea

Creating your own business is an evolution. We try different ideas to see what works, and then change course when needed. If we are alert and observant we can even see new opportunities in the efforts that failed.

Some people put their ideas into action and get a new business off the ground right away, and it follows their plan, but even they need to make adjustments as they grow.

I am always trying new things and always looking at new ways to keep growing. Creative challenges can be exciting.

Once these new ideas are in process, it is good to hold the energy of the new idea close to your chest until it is time to present it to the world. The unveiling will have more energy and be more effective if you do.

Some people talk a lot and never do all the things they talk about. They may be dissipating their energy by sharing the idea before they are ready to take action. It is far better to put everything in order and then launch a new initiative.

This is different than talking to people to get support for your idea. There are times when that is necessary, but even in that case, a well thought out model or proposal has to be laid out before others will give it serious backing.

Think of the stages of the growth of a plant. You have to put the seed in the ground, water it and feed it with fertilizer or energy before a green shoot makes its way up out of the ground. For a time before it sprouts, there is nothing to see, although there is plenty of action taking place out of view.

Failures can provide us our greatest challenges because sometimes it is these very challenges that cause us to rise to a higher level. By kicking our creative response into high gear, we often discover strengths and talents that we have been underutilizing.

Although needing to change course because our plans did not work out as well as expected can lead us up to a higher level, which is both more satisfying and more creative. And the silence before the unveiling can be a very potent time which will fill us with energy, fuel our dreams and lead to more joy and success.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Perfect Moments

Have you ever experienced one of those moments in life where everything fell into place, where you were really in the flow and everything unfolded beautifully?

An important thing to realize about that is that each perfect moment cannot be duplicated. Each is a result of the confluence of people and events that contributed to its creation.

One way of thinking about those wonderful successes that you have enjoyed is to try and replicate them over and over as the path to success, yet this might only be appropriate for mass produced products or generic exchanges, such as eating at a fast food restaurant.

When you take the time to reflect on some of the perfect moments you have enjoyed, whether they were business or personal, notice how some timing, or interaction or opportunity opened a window that you jumped through and landed in such a way that you found everything coming together.

Successes can be repeated, and upon close examination, you will notice that each subsequent one was the product of other combinations of perfect moments, unique opportunities and personal interactions.

Being in the right place at the right time is of the essence. There is an old saying that luck is the place where hard work and opportunity intersect.

Be very aware, highly conscious, and note exactly where those perfect moments are presenting themselves again. There are no two moments exactly alike, no two opportunities exactly alike, any more than there are people who are exactly alike.

Heightened awareness is what brings forth more perfect moments and today's successes. Whether it is business or personal, aren't we always ready to savor those perfect moments?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Can a Detective Novel Help Your Business Grow?

For a good number of years, I read mostly how to, non-fiction books, biographies, histories and so forth because a lot of it was business related. I would make time for a novel from time to time, but not usually the popular stuff like detective novels.

Then one day a few years ago, just for the pure fun of it, I decided to read a couple of them, just for a change. And I started to listen to more books on CD to make the long commutes less frustrating.

I was surprised. I liked the detective novels. For so much of my non-fiction reading, I was trying to go slow and absorb and remember the material. So to read a story just for the fun of the story, without trying to labor over it became a pleasure that I had known before but forgotten about for a long time.

In addition to simply enjoying the stories, I also notice that my reading speed picks up so that when I go back to reading other kinds of books, my speed is up when I tackle the other materials.

And there is another bonus. And there is another bonus. In these kinds of books, there is a focus to the story, also a puzzle to solve and the story encourages you to be more observant. Other kinds of books are more likely to go off on tangents than a detective novel. I find that this orientation helps me to think about my business creatively. Focusing and problem solving a skills we can always use, and these stories can train our mind to be alert to them and use them more sharply.

It has worked for me. Perhaps it will work for you. Try it and see for yourself.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Changing Thoughts, Changing Bodies

Can we just change our aging patterns by changing our thinking about it? To me, the evidence seems to point that way.

When my grandparents retired at 65, they really looked beat and they did not live to enjoy more than a few years of retirement before their health failed.

After a lifetime of working on farms and factories and doing other manual labor, they were just plain tired by the time they got that age.

Now my mother, on the other hand, also worked a long hard life, but she always kept busy with her friends or her volunteer work, and later in life even took up things like yoga and water aerobics, and now she has outlived her parents by quite a number of years.

How many of us have accepted as a fact that as we grow older, we will lose various functions and abilities and that these diminish to the end?

And how many of us reject that thinking? How many people are still doing things they enjoy doing in their 70s, 80s and beyond? Quite a few I see.

Consider this as a very real example of how our thoughts can shape our lives.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Bringing Out the Beauty

Have you ever really noticed how beauty shows itself in a person?

Have you noticed how people who are always grouchy or bitter look unattractive compared to someone who is smiling and happy? Which kind of appearance draws you to them? Which one is more comfortable to be around?

When someone does what they love for a living, or they do what they love for fun, that joy seems to radiate out from the core of their being and the smile is not just on their lips but in their eyes.

Beauty is the sweet attitude invites other people to be comfortable in a person's presence.

And this kind of beauty treatment is something that anyone can access.

Since it occurs naturally as a result of other things that you enjoy, think of it as another benefit that comes from following a path that you really want to be on.

Letting your light shine through is a beauty treatment that is available to you right now, at no cost, and it works wonders.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Greatness: Is It That Simple?

Perhaps the relationship between fate and free will is simpler than many people think. How many times when people have done great things, were they simply doing what needed to be done next?

Yet at some later date, it may appear that they were destined to do something great. Perhaps it always was a matter of survival.

Consider that even the monumental achievements such as the construction of the pyramids or Stonehenge were simply examples of those people doing what they felt needed to be done next. They felt a need to construct gateways between worlds and these structures were places for transformation.

These, plus many other examples of fascinating developments on our world continues to pose an obvious question. It is a common belief that humans have become smarter over time, in a linear progression.

But what if earlier humans really focused on things that we have forgotten how to do?

Take another example. The well known and familiar cave paintings where we see a shaman doing hunting magic. They knew ways of communicating that seem far out to many people today. Ancient men and women painted pictures as a form of visualization and manifestation and telepathically communicated with their prey before the hunt and some think that far fetched. Yet today, people seek out horse whisperers, dog whisperers and bird whisperers when they need them, just like they call for a dowser when they need to drill a water well.

These things only seem fanciful when we don't need them. And there may be the key. When something needs to work, we need to find a way to make it work. And in one instance, that may involve walking the ground with a forked willow branch while in another instance, need may have required the building of pyramids.

Doing what needs to be done may indeed signify greatness and magnificence, and other times, it may seem that only a simple task by unnamed individuals got things done.

Simple tasks can remain simple, or they can rise to great heights. And as we all know, sometimes the simple things aren't really that simple.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Attraction, No Law

Attraction is part of what is always at work. We are drawn to people, places, events or things that we feel connected to.

If we make it clear what we want, then we magnetize ourselves to our desire and we feel drawn together.

Sometimes we see results quickly. These are the times when we are stating our desires most clearly. That clarity helps us attract because when someone knows exactly what you want, they can respond.

Attracting what we want in our life is not a law, it is simply the way things work. Like gravity. We don't need anyone to tell us what we like or what will suit us. Once we state our heart's desire, focus on it, and take steps in that direction, we start to notice what appears in our life that is related to those desires.

Look at how smoothly everything flows when we are full of confidence and clarity and radiating out joy. People are drawn to that joy.

That is why the response to what we are attracting may look different than we planned, but it is our response, so the next thing to do is to figure out the best way to make use of it.

The call and response determine the outcome. It is a large responsibility to think of ourselves as the cause leading to an effect, but there it is.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Dancing Fool

When I was younger and rock was most of the music I listened to or danced to, dancing was whatever you did when you got up off your bar stool. Sometimes it was hot, and sometimes it was kind of wobbly. Which one might depend on how late in the evening it was, and how many drinks it took to get ready to dance.

Then a number of years ago, a woman who I was working with at the Renaissance Festival suggested that I try contra dancing. I had never heard of it until that moment, but upon her recommendation, I went and tried it, and I liked it right away. The musicians playing acoustic instruments, the caller keeping everyone moving in beautiful patterns together. Yes, with this kind of dancing, it is not a free for all, it is dancers working together to create something beautiful. And when I was nervous about starting my first dance, a woman came up to me and asked me to dance. And I have kept dancing ever since. I like it that in this kind of dancing women ask men to dance just as commonly as men ask women.

One of the guys I met there was picking up flyers for all kinds of dances, not just contra, but swing, salsa, Cajun, Irish, waltzing, all kinds. I asked him if he really did all that.

He said yeah. "I used to be over weight. Then I took up dancing, lost weight and I have kept the weight off just by dancing as much as I can. This is my whole fitness program. Dancing. I don't go to gyms and lift weights or chase balls around courts, run races or any of that. What's more fun, lifting weights or dancing with women?"

There are lots of good reasons to dance. This is one of them.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Could your life use a little more music?

Music is our common currency. Even though some of us may hold opposite views on some political, economic or social matters, it is amazing how all those people could come together to sing some song that we all know.

If you have not been singing or dancing in a while, look for an opportunity to do so, because it will boost your spirits and brighten your outlook on the world.

Personally, I seek out opportunities to dance and sing every week, and consider it just as important to my well being as walking or swimming.

Making music and dancing are not just funny human tricks. They are among the most sublime creations mankind has ever come up with.

When beginning the evening's music, perhaps there is a feeling a hesitation, especially if you are new to it or haven't done it for a while. Then once you begin, joy starts to weave its way through the room so that by the end, you feel like you have been in the company of some warm, friendly people rather than strangers.

Music is very powerful at dissolving those boundaries, bridging gaps, and spreading joy like a contact high.

Could your life use a little more music?

The Music of the Spheres

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending a few parties where making music was a central part of the entertainment, as well as conversation.

I love to go chanting and dancing and used to play in a lot of drumming circles. And there is a different feeling that comes from those activities.

It is the difference between giving yourself to the music with an intensity and devotion and a relaxed atmosphere where there are lots of guitars and voices and suddenly you find yourself singing songs that you had not thought of in years.

We used to do that a lot, years ago. People would come over for the evening and we would go around the circle, different people taking turns starting a song. We spent many evenings that way.

While guitar was the most common instrument then, there would be other instruments in the mix, like harmonica, flute or another wind instrument. Hand drums didn't get popular until later. At some parties, there is a piano and if there are people who know how to use it, then the piano will lead.

There are so many ways to bathe yourself in music and enjoy the sensation and the energy boost that comes from making music, singing and dancing with other people.

It was a great pleasure to remember some of the other ways we used to enjoy music and have great parties. The more I conjure up magic through music, the better I feel. It is one of the fastest ways to bring a group of people together, creating an aura of unity and joy. And it lasts a long time. How many people were singing all the way home and when they got up the next day?

More music in your life will bring all kinds of good results. When I used to play African style drums, there was an oft repeated saying. "There are three things that make the gods happy: drumming, dancing and singing. Any two are good, but all three is best."

The music of the spheres connects us in ways that conversation and other techniques can never match for speed and closeness.

Music is the secret code for connecting us.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Fire Signs

We assign meanings to things, giving ourselves direction when we do, along with indicating where our thoughts and actions are heading.

Huge wildfires throughout the Rocky Mountain region this last year opens a huge window for us to look for omens.

Last year there were several huge fires in Colorado between Boulder and Fort Collins, and now this year, we are seeing huge fires in Arizona and New Mexico.

These wildfires are amazing creatures, jumping and running with the wind, engulfing huge swaths of land. Yet within these huge areas, there are amazing sites, like where there were two houses across the road from each other, and one got burned and one didn't.

Twice in the last year in Boulder, and last week in Santa Fe, I was able to look up at the horizon above the mountains and see only dark clouds, with ashes raining down like gray snowflakes. From behind the dark clouds of smoke, the sunsets were spectacularly colored orange balls, the moon also being colored when you could see it.

After sunset, the skyline would be invisible, except for the flames of the wild fires licking up over the crest lines, nothing but black with orange spilling out of the sky. I imagine that is what a volcano looks like when it is erupting.

Some people say that it is only nature going through her cycles. Some say it is because we need to do more logging in the national forests.

Then, of course, you can find those who love to dwell on catastrophes predicting that this is some kind of sign that we are punished for being such sinners, and that is one of the signs of the end of the world. Of course, some people are always looking for such signs, so of course, they proclaim that they have found them.

Not me, of course. As I write this I am looking forward to going to a party later this evening, enjoying food, beverages, socializing with friends and meeting new people. And since I do not believe in sin, I am sure the party will be fun.

How do the fires make me feel? They stoke my thirst for some big rainstorms. I would love it if we had more of those. Even in normal weather conditions out here, I would like to feel more rainstorms. Firestorms just make me wish for them more.

What do the fires mean? I don't know. What do you think they mean?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Feeling Your Way to Where You Want to Be

Our feelings are important to our progress, so pay attention to keeping them stoked. When we feel happy about life in general, we can open to more possibilities.

That is why I look for opportunities to sing and dance. it lifts my spirits, and when my energies are stirred up and my spirits are lifted, I tend to think of more good ideas.

When we are depressed, disappointed or discouraged, we don't usually come up with our best new ideas.

When business is going well, it is easier to project out that aura of success and good will.

One of my teachers pointed out that revolutions never come when we feel at our lowest ebb and have no hope. Revolutions come when people see some improvements coming and then press for more.

Making some progress gives people encouragement, and so they are motivated.

So what is the revolution you want in your life? More business? Better relationships? Breakthroughs in your thinking? Fresh ideas? Alignment between your inner life and outer life?

Get rid of everything that will not help you get where you are going. Do whatever it is that gives you energy and inspires you, and soon you will find more of what you really desire strongly coming into your life.

If we are not sending out clear signals, we cannot get clear results. If our energy field and our residence are cluttered, we will send out cluttered signals.

When you are feeling good, in many ways, you are at the top of your game. And when you are at the top of your game, there is a flow between concept and execution.

So get rid of everything that will not help you get where you want to go, and stir up energies that lift your spirits. Whatever it takes is what we need to do.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Recent 2011 Testimonials

Periodically I collect and post testimonials from clients. Here are some of the most recent. I love what I do and I love getting feedback.

"I was very touched by the level of spiritual understanding which you conveyed in my reading, it was perfect." --- Margot

"What I understand now about my experience with Tarot that I did not truly get before my class with you is that it is essentially an inner journey. The answers I want will be discovered as I go within. You did help me to get to this resolution, so in that sense your class was very successful for me." --- M

"I can't believe how much your Comfrey Reiki Salve helps and how fast it works." --- Bernadette

"I had an outbreak of herpes on my lip and put some of your salve on it. Now it has gone away and my lips are smooth. It usually takes much longer than this to heal." --- L

Magical Awakenings Attraction Oil Testimonial: "Since I have been wearing your oil, I have been meeting more people and opportunities have been opening up. And all this has happened in just a couple of days. It is definitely having an effect." --- J

"Dan's reading really helped me clarify some areas of my life that I had been challenged with. He is truly gifted and insightful and his readings have given me perspective on the choices that I make in my life- both personal and professional. Thanks Dan, for your genuine compassion."
~Lynn P (Minneapolis)

"Thank you for your very insightful reading. It has given me hope and the inspiration I need to move forward. You are truly a wonderful and kind healer.
Have a great night! Talk to you soon!" --- Amal

"Thanks for the reading yesterday! You're gifted." --- Katie

"Thank you Dan! I was just able to verify that what you told me in my reading was true. Now I can move forward." --- N

"I wanted to let you know how much you helped me when I went back home to visit last year, 600 miles from here. I had hurt my hand and it was in great pain and I was worried about infection. You sent me reiki healing energy and the same day, it started showing improvement. I went to the doctor the next day, but the healing had already begun by the time I got my appointment, and it was the first time in a week I felt relief. I just wanted to get in touch and let you know since it was this time last year, and time went by so quickly that I am just now remembering to let you know how much you helped me." --- Shelley

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Gain Control by Losing Control

It takes a lot of courage to trust that things will work out without knowing the answers to all your questions. It also takes a lot of courage to be open to possible developments that you had not anticipated.

Face it, it can be unnerving when you have a plan and it unfolds in a different manner than you expected because it took a different turn.

We all like it when things go according to our plans. But sometimes, it just happens that someone else makes a decision or takes an action that sets in motion a chain of events and next thing you know, your schedule has changed.

Be patient. Sometimes the changes work out just fine.

Sometimes we gain control when we lose control. Things that we had not planned on fall into place and we are happy with the result.

It's also interesting how sometimes pieces of information come to us that help us make decisions that we were not even searching for. Guess all you can say is that spirit must have intended for us to have those. So here we are. Once again making a decision that veers off our original course.

If we allow things to come to us, they will. Sometimes not being certain will get us where we want to be.

And we can gain control by losing control.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Karmic Paybacks

Our life experiences are not always for our own benefit. There are times when we are going through our tests and difficulties so that we might help other people.

Example. You got laid off from your job and were feeling down for a while, then found your way out of it. So now someone else you know got laid off. Maybe sharing your experience with them will help them find their way through.

Career transitions are usually a very difficult and challenging experience. Depending on a person's frame of mind, it can be discouraging and more than a little demanding. The only time it is not is when it is planned in advance, you have a comfortable cushion for the transition period and you already know where you are going next and are looking forward to it.

In every way, actually, we are always learning and teaching. How many times have you been asked to teach someone else something that you had to wrestle with when you were learning to do it?

So we get one life lesson from the experiences we live through and come to realize what is important. Then we get another life lesson in another way when we help someone else by teaching them how to find solutions.

Have you ever noticed how the change of perspective offers sort of a karmic payback system?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Pirate Booty

Today I visited the Denver Museum of Nature and Science to see the Pirate exhibit. While there, we stayed and saw an IMAX movie and saw some of the other exhibits. It is a beautiful museum and a great way to spend a day.

The pirate exhibit was based on a ship that was excavated off of Cape Cod, the story behind it and the larger subject of pirates and who they were and what they did.

A few facts that surprised me included these. Pirates were egalitarian in their membership. At a time when slavery was still practiced, pirate crews included people of different races and ethnic groups who elected their officers. They also included women (although far fewer in number). Captains and officers shared the same living conditions, food and sleeping quarters as their crews.

Another biggie is that at the end of the voyage, the pirates shared the treasures equally. Officers might get a share and a half or a share and a quarter to everyone else's share. They took risks together and shared the proceeds together.

What would our world be like if our corporations today were run like that?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Price of Being Stubborn

In the press conference about his retirement as Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates expressed an opinion that I whole heartedly agree with. He finally agreed with what I have been saying for years, namely that we should only go to war as an act of self defense and that he regrets the human cost of waging the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our world would have changed for the better if he had expressed that opinion years ago.

We have wasted trillions of dollars on those wars and ruined who knows how many lives. And since we are talking about the cost of wars, we should note the passing of another anniversary: 40 years of the totally fraudulent "war on drugs," another war that has cost trillions of dollars and ruined millions of lives.

Funny how when misguided politicians decided to pass a law making it illegal to drink alcoholic beverages, it took less than a decade for them to admit what a colossal mistake they had made, and repealed the law, and turned alcohol sales into a revenue producer rather than an expense.

So why can the politicians admit to the same mistake and take the same actions after 40 years? Over these years, millions of people have been arrested and imprisoned for the "crime" of possessing and using drugs. Many of our prisons had to be built just to house all these people.

I am all for imprisoning violent criminals, but how absurd to imprison someone because they choose to smoke rather than drink, or even snort something. Whatever. Treat it like alcohol and tobacco, let it be sold in stores and fund government programs with those taxes. Only arrest those who commit violent crimes.

The same lessons came from prohibition of alcohol. The modern mafia became powerful because they geared up to sell everyone the stuff that they could not buy legally.

Today's prohibition has had even more sinister side effects. Various terrorists have funded their operations through drug sales. Where would they be if all those poppy fields were legal? All that violence along the Mexican border would disappear overnight since it is all about controlling drug traffic. Once people could buy their drug of choice in stores just as easy as cigarettes or a six pack, there would be no traffic to fight over.

And what did our trillions of dollars buy us in Iraq? They never were a threat to us. Afghanistan? Do we really need to control that country? What did our trillions buy us there?

Plus we cannot forget how many people died there, or how many disabled veterans will require extensive medical care for the rest of their lives and can no longer function as ordinary people.

So when I hear politicians and heartless greedy people say that we cannot afford a single payer health care system because it is expensive or that we should cut teachers pay, Medicare or Social Security because they are expensive, I see these as obvious lies.

These people are simply stubborn. They decided to have these wars and they will not change their position in the face of overwhelming facts. It is a perfect example of what results we get from being stubborn. Being stubborn just leads to stupidity, which compounds the error.

If we were not spending trillions of dollars on these pointless wars, we could spend that money on health care, which would be a much better use of it. And we could afford to build a greater percentage of our power grid with clean, renewable energy. And we could afford to pay living wages to all kinds of people, including teachers, sanitation workers, food inspectors, cops, firemen, and others without begrudging them a decent salary.

And perhaps all that would affect the private sector as well. Instead of getting jealous of the fact that public employees have paid holidays, we should be questioning why that is not the norm for all working people.

Look at all the huge benefits that can result when we quit being stubborn.

I was pleasantly surprised at the candor of the views expressed by Robert Gates upon his retirement. Perhaps that moment of enlightenment will rub off on other politicians and inspire other voices. One can only hope.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Our Conscious Choices

How much of our lives are shaped by conscious actions? How much of our lives are shaped by unconscious actions? How much of our choices are actually the result of affirming that we do indeed, want to bring more of this or that into our lives? How often do we look at credit card bills and have a hard time remembering what we bought that added up to this amount?

When we strip it all down, what are the choices that really drive us? Have we ever really stripped down to what we most want?

How many times have we settled for a job that is not really what we want, but we just needed to do something to get some cash flow? And how many times are we motivated to try and create a way of making a living that would suit us better?

How many times have we made the same mistakes rather than making changes? How consciously do we really live? How many of the choices that we make every day are coming from the perspective of this is really what I choose, rather than just letting our actions default to our usual habits?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Second Guessing

When we second guess ourselves, we are expressing doubt in following our own intuition. Why would we do that?

Perhaps we doubt our choice because we do not know what lies ahead. If we believe that there are spirit guides and ancestors who are looking out for us, then they probably prompted us to skip this opportunity in order to be positioned for a better one later.

Even if we are not thinking in those terms, sometimes we doubt our own gut instinct maybe because we did not spend a long time analyzing, just going with the feel. I find that often, my intuition just rapidly digested my choices without an out loud discussion, so that the final decision simply felt comfortable. If you dig, you will probably find reasons that support your intuition. Going the concise route has become my preference.

Could be our suconscious mind just automatically processed it for us so that we can acknolwede this intuition and just move ahead. Saves a lot of time and energy that can be used for other things.

Times when we need to gather data and analyze it, do this part first and then along the way our intuition kicks into gear.

We need to train ourselves not to second guess. We have to keep reminding ourselves that these are our choices and they will turn out well.

Instead of second guessing, use that energy to look ahead and plan our next move.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Fiction of Time

Yesterday as I was walking around the indoor track at the gym, I noticed the big orange sun starting to set behind the mountains. By the time I got around the track, it was a little lower in the sky, and by the time I had made a couple more rounds, it had completely disappeared behind the crest line.

In my mind, I thought it would take longer to set. In clock time, it only takes me about 2 minutes to go around the track one time.

I have had lots of thoughts about time lately and how our perception shifts in subtle ways that we don't always notice.

You know how it is when you are waiting to hear back from someone, whether it is about a job, a date, a car repair, a test result. Is that time fast or slow?

Remember how when we were growing up 30 seemed old? Remember how when our grandparents got to be 65 and retired, they really looked old and tired?

Now how many people have you met in recent years who are in their 60ss, 70s and 80s who are still going strong, still active, still lively?

Attitudes make all the difference. Did you ever notice how people who enjoy life, laugh and smile a lot don't seem as old as their age?

Awareness changes our perception of time. If I had not been looking at the horizon while I was walking, I would never have noticed the sunset.

What about awareness of past lives and present consciousness? It is common for people who do a past life recall to be able to remember ancient lives as if it happened recently, and then their consciousness shifts again when they realize how patterns of relationships from these past lives still exist in their present life.

Like the old question of whether the glass is half full or half empty, notice when time moves slow and when it moves fast. We have obvious examples of how when we are really enjoying ourselves, and we are really focused and involved in what we doing, time just collapses, and when something is boring, it seems to take forever.

So how much of a fiction is the whole concept of time?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Storytelling and Listening

Last night I had the opportunity to attend a program which featured ordinary people telling stories without notes. When I say ordinary people, I simply mean that they are not famous, not in the politician/athlete/pop star/movie star/famous author kind of sense. In this age of celebrity hyper-hype when people Google by the millions to find out trivia about frivolous more than they do about the significant, some people may wonder why they should listen to ordinary people telling stories about their lives.

Each storyteller was interesting because they were telling stories from their own lives, and there were numerous moments when I could relate to what they were saying because their experience was similar to my own experiences in some way. From the audience reactions, this was also true for the others as well as myself.

Yes, of course, some storytellers were better than others, because they had a tighter focus and didn't go off on tangents, and some had a flair for drama, effectively using voices, gestures and facial expressions to great effect.

When I used to be a freelance writer and magazine editor, I used to regularly interview people for publication, and I always considered it a challenge to find something that was not in the press kit that was fascinating to discover, to unearth some perspective or experience that would offer the reader something fresh and worthy of consideration.

Drawing stories out of people is the art of the interviewer. Prompting people to step forward and tell their own stories is about nurturing and encouragement. Both teach us about listening.

This is an experiment you can try for yourself. What you will find? How much richer is your life when you discover these stories? How much do other people appreciate it when you do?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Scent of Things to Come

I have been making perfume and aftershave for years now. When I have periodically gone back and tried using commercially prepared products, they seem to have a sort of metallic feel to me. It might be the chemicals that I sense.

I like making fragrances. For years I have enjoyed the pleasant encounters with people who inquire about what I am wearing.

It is interesting to me that most people will settle for whatever is on sale as their perfume, when making your own is a bit challenging, but a person can learn to do it. Tons of money is spent on jewelry and hair, trying to make a memorable impression, but relatively few venture into the area of crafting their own fragrances.

What I use are a blend of mainly essential oils on a jojoba carrier oil. There are no chemicals used as fixitives or emulsifiers in what I make, simply oils, and because oils will separate themselves by weight and viscosity, you have to shake them before every use to get them to mix up again.

Actually I have had a lot of fun learning to do this, the same kind of fun that a person can have nurturing a garden or using herbs from the garden to cook and create new recipes.

Perfumes can be conductors of great magic. Perhaps the most magnificent gesture (Leo like, I might say) was when Cleopatra perfumed the sails of her ship so that Mark Antony would know she was coming.

On a more subtle level, we can project our thoughts and intentions out into the world on the wings of the perfumes we wear. The magical uses of oils is a very powerful tool when used effectively.

Perfumes can simultaneously connect us to history and to the enerrgies of things to come. Try it. I just happen to have some personally handcrafted blends that you might really enjoy.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Nurture Local Talent: It's a Good Deal

Last night, John William Davis played an acoustic music concert at a great local bookstore, Barbed Wire Books in Longmont. He told humorous stories and picked guitar and sang beautifully too. It was a very enjoyable evening. And it was affordably priced at $10 per person. It is good that we have other options for entertainment, and it shows creativity on the bookstore owner's part to feature acoustic music as well as book signings and talks.

Contrast that to another recent concert experience. Another singer/musician I am really looking forward to seeing will be playing at a concert venue downtown. So I went online, chose my seats, paid for them by charge card. It was a totally humanless interaction. Yet, they automatically slapped on a $22 "service charge" for the 2 tickets, over and above the price of the tickets plus taxes. What service? There was no flyover or pop-up that would explain what the service charge was for. No one answered the phone and advised me about the best available tickets or took my card number or did anything else. If it costs more to put on the concert, simply price the tickets that way, rather than slap on a bogus charge which produces sticker shock when you see a final price that is significantly different than the advertised price.

Another recent evening, I went to a comedy club to hear a big name, big ticket star who had been featured on a TV show. He was not nearly as funny as the same club on another night featuring local talent, and again, at a much more moderate ticket price. More dollars does not always mean "mo' better."

Look around and see what other options you might be overlooking. Supporting local musicians, authors, artists, comedians and actors is a good value, both ways, in terms of entertainment for the dollar and valuing the talents of others.

It is akin to buying produce directly from local farmers, whether they feature organic or heirloom varieties or otherwise. And buying beer from the smaller local/regional breweries. Plus, all of it helps create and support local employment, another great benefit.

Nurture local talent and we all benefit in all kinds of ways.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Provocative Art

One of the provocative aspects of art is its ability to help us, or sometimes, demand of us, that we see things a different way.

Art has always done that. The best artists cause us to do double takes and reconsider what we are seeing by presenting us with different perspectives.

As a person who deals in a particular kind of art, tarot decks, I see many more than the average person. I see more than the biggest retail stores because I deal with private parties and that is how I often come across art that his hard to find and out of print, so I get to experience, and sometimes own for a while, art treasures that are unusual and rare.

What I have noticed about being exposed to all this art is that there are many decks that follow the traditional designs and concepts. Then there are those rare decks that really push the boundaries and demand to be taken on their own terms.

That is why I change the decks I read with every once in a while. It is refreshing to follow the flow of the cards and be pleasantly surprised when a fresh perspective by the artist prompts the reading in a new direction. The visions of some artists are gentler and more compassionate. Others can be disturbing and direct.

When presented with a radical redesign, you have to let go of your preconceived notions and deal with this new art on its own terms. Sometimes it can open us to experience and interpretation that may even surprise us.

It is good to do this every once in a while in order to see the world through new eyes. It is very enlightening. New art can be challenging, and it can also be a doorway to meetings with new spirit guides, new realms of imagination and most importantly, new perspectives on ourselves and what we do.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


How much difference can words of encouragement make? Sometimes that's all other people need from us in order to move forward with what they really want to do?

Starting your own business always takes up a great part of your consciousness. So there is one place where a person can use encouragement. There are so many things to do to create a successful business. So when someone makes a useful suggestion about how to promote your business, or helps you find a better way to sell, or even suggests another possible source of vendors, that person will get a second wind and tackle that suggestion, and maybe that is a suggestion that helps them turn things around, or at least provide a partial solution that gives them hope.

Even for fun, people need encouragement. Those who have always been shy about their dancing might not let themselves relax and give it a good try without words of encouragement. The first time I went dancing, I was very unsure of myself and holding back a bit more than normal. Then a woman asked me to dance, and I was hooked. All of a sudden, I felt like I could. I mean I had to, because now I had this dance partner and I had to do something. So I stepped right in and got the hang of it quickly.

It was common, back when I led drumming circles, for a person to come and say "I don't know if I can do this, but I would like to try." So after a few words of encouragement, they would listen for a few beats to see what was happening, and all of a sudden, they were drumming along with everyone else.

When I used to teach creative writing, I watched people blossom, going from shy and self censoring to great stories, once I encouraged them to get out of their own way. Sometimes at the beginning of the class, they would identify themselves as someone who just wanted to try doing this because their job was boring and they needed some kind of creative outlet, and maybe somewhere along the way someone suggested they try writing. Maybe it was because they could tell stories and jokes when they were loosened up, but for some reason when they sat down to write, they started telling themselves that they shouldn't say this or if they say that they might offend readers. But not everyone will like what you write, no matter what you write, so just say what you want. That's why people like listening to you when you get loosened up, isn't it?

Sometimes when a person gets a reading, they find encouragement in the reading and things they had been putting off are suddenly things they are ready to do. When a person finds validation and understanding in a reading, encouragement is a common traveling companion with those.

So that is one other good result that can come from a reading, and it can be the very factor that helps transmute the fortune telling into a tool for the person to use in their own fortune making.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Professional Kite Flyer

There are so many realities out there right now that we can just tune in to the ones we care about and tune the rest out.

Every once in a while a subject will catch my ear and it is something new to me, but then I realize that this is huge to someone else. Suddenly you realize how we adjust our field of vision and what is not in that scope becomes invisible.

That is why what we focus on is so important. Every once in a while I will come across something and I will be thinking that I didn't even know that anyone did that. Today I just happened across an article about a professional kite flyer. I didn't that anyone could be a professional kite flyer.

So then my mind starts wandering again. I wonder what else we could do.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Accepting Ourselves

Sometimes what a person really wants from a reading is to be understood, to be validated.

How many times have you wanted to do something, but others tried to discourage you, and after you let them convince you, you felt as if you missed a good opportunity?

Or on the other end of the spectrum, have you ever had friends and relatives encouraging you to do something that you felt was not really your best choice?

That is what is happening sometimes when a person wants a reading. By going to someone who is completely unattached to the outcome, and not familiar with all the individuals and all the background, they can get an unbiased second opinion.

When that second opinion agrees with their feelings, there is validation. "Someone else agrees with me and sees the sense in my choice, they understand me," and that is a good feeling. After all, when people you know all around you are telling you that "you would be stupid or crazy not to do this" you can start to wonder if you are not wrong in your assessment since no one seems to agree with you.

But the fact that you have a different point of view does not make you crazy or wrong. How many times have you intuitively felt a certain way even though it may be contrary to what seems to be the popular opinion around you?

Sometimes this neutral second opinion can be very uplifting when we find ourselves encouraged to do take action and take heart. Sometimes a person will say, "I keep thinking about that and have wanted to do it for a long time. It's interesting that you mention it. I take this as a sign that it is time to at least try it."

Acceptance is something all people want and need, and self acceptance is a great place to begin. If we believe in ourselves, it makes it easier for other people to believe in us.

This is one of the many valuable reasons to get a reading. It is not always about fortune telling.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Why Didn't I Think of That Before?

Because you weren't ready yet.

Do you ever get the feeling that there is just one more thing you might do that might help your business make giant steps forward, but you can't quite put your finger on it?

You try all kinds of things and have some success, but want more. Some of the things you try work well and some do not. And you keep getting the feeling that there is just one more tool, one more strategy or one more approach that you could add to your array of offerings and that perfect solution just seems to elude you, like something you see in your peripheral vision, but when you turn around, you don't see what you thought you saw.

What we have to do in this situation is to just keep our eyes and ears open, keep our psychic awareness open, notice what else is going on that is working. Notice what opportunities may be available. Perhaps only a few of them will be suitable for you and your business, but that's fine. You don't need all of those things, just one that really works for you.

Just one idea, one tool, one whatever, is all that it will take to open up new levels of success for you.

And it is often that one thing that you finally recognize and AHA! that is it, and you say to yourself, "why didn't I think of that before?"

That delicious moment when you turn around and the thing that has been tantalizing you in your peripheral vision suddenly comes into focus.

When you feel that feeling, take a second look at everything and trust your intuition.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Rhythms to Magically Shift Our Spirits

The rhythms of our days vary. Some days we get up and feel eager to get going. Other days we wake up slowly and we welcome the slow pace of a day with no urgent appointments on the agenda.

Rather than force ourselves to be one or the other, we can either increase our pace and speed things up or we can slow things down.

When we match the pace of our feelings, we are in sync with our spirit.

Have you noticed how some days it seems to take a while to get in sync? How the rhythms of our day may take a while to catch up with our feelings? Or how are feelings seem to be brought into line with our pace?

It is always a matter of fine tuning. After all, we do not just have one pace all the time. It fluctuates, just as our mood does.

Sometimes when we are down, we can play directly into it to lift ourselves out, singing blues, dancing slowly with ourselves, maybe drumming a little or reading a good book until we move into another rhythm.

So the rhythms we work with can alter our moods. We could be feeling out of sorts, but then by simply taking a walk, we can come back refreshed and come up with fresh ideas.

We could even be discouraged or disillusioned, but after going out to dance for a few hours, come back with a whole new attitude.

We can use rhythms in our life to lift our spirits, improve our health, find inspiration, grab a hold of the joy of life and clasp it to our chest, so that we are heart to heart with our aliveness.

Consider the ways in which we establish and shift the rhythms in our days. It is a magical energy that is always at our fingertips, at our feet, the sparkle in our eyes and the sweetness of discovery. Every day has new things to discover, if we just open our senses and engage with them.

We always have the power to bring things into alignment with movement, and rhythm is the tuning fork for what drives us.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Enlightenment Can Be a Tricky Process

Enlightenment can be a tricky process. You make some progress forward and you slip back a bit, then go forward again, then maybe sideways some.

Several years ago, voters in Colorado decided that legalizing marijuana for medical use was a good thing.

So then lots of people invested time and money and went to work and started growing, some put their savings together to open shops where marijuana products would be legally sold.

New jobs were created in towns all over the state. Green jobs. Local jobs. Sales taxes were generated.

Then some towns decided that they didn't want any of those businesses in their town. Last night, Longmont became one of them. Conservative city council members decided that if people need to go to dispensaries, "they can just drive over to Boulder."

Some people got relief from health problems jobs were created, taxes were paid, local people were employed and yet, the council members just decided that they didn't want these kinds of businesses here.

Win some battles, lose some battles. I predict that eventually the laws will change and we will just have legal marijuana period, not just medical.

It is just foolish that it has taken this long. The experiment with banning beer and liquor didn't last for 80 years. After about 10 years, they admitted it was a mistake and repealed the law, let businesses open legally again and then taxed them.

I think that some people know that the enlightened approach would be to just do it that way, it's just that they have been stuck in their anti-drug position for so long that they choke on the idea of saying "oops, we made a mistake, so let's correct it."

But one of these days, the tide of public opinion and votes will sweep them aside. Too bad we wasted so much time haggling over it, and they will finally come out and admit that they know it is a beneficial plant and people want it, so let's just go ahead and sell it and tax it.

It will be like the day when naysayers in the field of green energy finally get up and say "yes, let's just go ahead and build more solar, wind and geothermal energy generators and run more power lines to them so that we are not so dependent on fossil fuels. It takes time for stubborn people to come around, but one of these days you will see the turn of the tide.

They will get up and say "yes, it will work. Let's do it." I am hoping this agreement comes sooner than later. I keep holding that thought.