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.