Friday, September 19, 2014

Water Stones

Whenever I hold a water stone in my hand, there is not only a sensation, but an instant reminder that comes to mind. Water stones are simply those that have been worn smooth by the flow of water.

If you were to ask a person, what is the stronger material, stone or water, many might say stone, but over time, water will wear down stone, but stone will not wear down water.

How many times have we found ourselves holding a firm position only to find that somewhere down the road we need to soften it?

How many times have we worried about something only to find out that if we had not worried about it, it would have turned out fine anyway?

Have you ever noticed how many meditation recordings include the sound of moving water, either stream or wave sounds? That is simply because the sound of water is one of the most appealing sounds to people.

It is the soothing sound of change that comes in invisible, but inevitable currents. Like the water finding its way between rocks, the tiniest opening can eventually become a torrent, the tiniest grains of sand and pebbles that are swept between rocks wear the edges of bigger rocks smooth.

Perhaps this is the underlying source of peace in the water sound. We know that change is inevitable and that going with the flow will make us mellower.

Water can carry us over rough rocks so that we can reach our destination.

Stones smoothed by water can make excellent healing stones and also divination tools. For me, found objects are just as welcome a tool, and just as effective, as tumbled gemstones.

Notice how the element of water works in our lives. In tarot, the water suit is usually called cups, caldrons, or chalices. It is about emotions and emotional connections. Most people immediately make the connection with love and romance, but it also rules friendship, acquaintances, associates and other connections that have an emotional heartfelt quality to them.

Notice how all of our emotions express in water. Blood, sweat, tears, taste, orgasms. The water flowing between us smoothes our rough edges and shapes us in ways that allows us to fit together better, whether we are looking at just two of us or a bunch of us as the many stones in a riverbed. Letting the water flow lets us all fit together better, and takes some of the edge off as we allow the energy to move us.

How old is a late bloomer? Maybe it is never too late to bloom.

When we delay doing something we really want to do, and the time comes that we finally have an opportunity to break free of our restraints, all that power and desire that have been bottled up finally get put to use with a pronounced speed and efficiency.

If there were things we thought we wanted to do with our lives, but we never got around to it, if the desire wanes or shifts to another subject, that bottled up energy will dissipate.

We also have to be honest with ourselves and acknowledge that some things we will never do and take them off our list. Then we can turn our attention and energy to those things we really will do. Sometimes fads catch our attention and maybe we think about doing something because it seems like a great idea, but if that idea is not powerful enough to move us to action, then it is best to simply let go of it.

Some people are extremely focused. For example, a person who wanted be an airplane pilot from the time they were little, then went on to get the kind of education and training they needed until they became a pilot. Some people followed a similar tightly focused path until they became a chef, hairdresser, artist or realtor.

But most of us are less focused, and by no means am I saying that one way is better than the other. In fact, I always find it amusing when adults ask little kids what they want to be when they grow up. I certainly remember those young years when all that was on my mind was getting to be a better softball player or basketball player and being totally bamboozled when people asked me what kind of career I intended to have when I grew up.

We may have gotten into one field because that's where the opportunity was, but then after a few years we decide that we would rather do something else. It used to be that people might spend an entire career working for one company, but that is less and less the case both with the way corporations are being run and also what suits people's tastes. I have known some people who have completely changed careers and found happiness not simply working for a different company but doing something totally different than what they used to do.

Coming unbound, unwound, like a spring coiled tightly. That second wind we get when we finally break loose is refreshing. Some people are late bloomers because it took them a while to get their courage up, or until they got fed up with whatever else they were doing, and now everything changes, everything opens up.

Sometimes the universe may have held us back simply to give us time to gain the right amount of life experience before prompting us that it is time to cut loose.

Because people are living longer now, we are seeing more of this. More people because of the changes in the economy are looking at their lives and deciding to go for it now, whatever "it" is for them, rather than delaying until some unknown time.

Not so long ago, people wouldn't live a lot longer than the retirement age, but now with many people living into their 80s and 90s, many people retire from one career and then start another. Sometimes, they really need the cash flow, and sometimes they just really want to be doing something that interests them and they get paid for doing that.

Now is the time to declare your freedom from whatever was holding you back. Now is the time to focus more intently on bringing our dreams into reality. All of that energy you have been storing up, thinking that one day you will do this, all of that energy is begging to be released. All of that energy can be used to propel you toward that end. And as you move in that direction, more energy will be created to assist you.

No matter what age you are, if you have been postponing moving in the direction of your dreams, you are a late bloomer. Why not open up and blossom now?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Binge Watching Videos

Binge watching is a funny term that has come into use lately. Adding the word binge in front of eating or drinking, for example, implies something negative, such as it is bad for us to consume excess amounts of food and drink. Relative to our health of course, it would be correct to think of this behavior as one that brings negative results.

However, I think that binge watching videos is a good thing. I think of it like I think of reading books. Do people say that it is bad for you to binge on reading books? Of course not.

My experience of watching the entire series of The Wire, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, House of Cards, Treme, The Tudors, The Borgias, Rome, Pillars of the Earth or any other excellent series has been enhanced by being able to watch chapter after chapter in succession. Doing it this way, watching a one hour show minus commercials means that I can see the episode in 40 minutes, which is a much better use of my time. Watching one episode right after another allows us to see what is going to happen to these characters or where is this story going in a natural progression without having to wait until next spring to see the next installment and then trying to remember where the story left off or how this other character figured in.

To me, it is exactly the same as reading a good book. If we are reading a book we really enjoy, do we only want to read one chapter today and then put the book away until next week and read another chapter then? Of course not. If we really like it, we might stay up half the night reading it, or continue to read it for several days or a couple weeks or whatever length of time it takes us to finish it.

Actually, I think that the technology that companies like Netflix have put into play is a great thing because it allows me to make better use of my time. If a subject interests me, I don't have to watch one chapter a week for the next few years and sit through one third of that time watching commercials to see how the story develops. I can look it up and check out the story in a concise time frame and follow it through from beginning to end. I like it.

Why So Much PTSD?

There is so much in the news about the difficulties returning soldiers have with PTSD, and also the record setting number of suicides among veterans.

No doubt this is a complex issue and one that our VA system must treat and find more ways to help.

However, another perspective has come to mind. We have seen this problem grow increasingly since the Vietnam War and then after both of the Iraq wars and Afghanistan.

After WWII, the general consensus was that we needed to fight in that war and we used all of our resources to win it. There was general agreement that we needed to win that war, and that it was a good thing to do. Returning military personnel were greeted with great parades and congratulations on a job well done.

By comparison, this component is wholly missing from our recent wars. After many deaths and crippling injuries, our veterans return to face the realization that all that effort was not universally supported and when the question is asked about what did we accomplish by having those wars we get disappointing answers.

After many deaths and injuries, what was the result of the Vietnam War? Today they are run by a communist government, but they are one of our trading partners and Americans go there for vacations. So why did we fight that war?

It is truly sad to watch documentaries about returning veterans and hear some of them say that we needed  to invade Iraq because of 9/11. We all know that this is not true, so does this mean that someone was lying to them to get them psyched up for combat? Or simply that some of them choose to believe wrong opinions because it is the only way they can feel like the effort was justified?

So again, after many deaths and injuries, a veteran could become dispirited looking at the news, wondering what their efforts were really all about.

The only recent battlefield in which there is justification is Afghanistan, and that is because the Taliban government supported terrorist training camps there, and they deserved to be demolished. Once they are rooted out and a new government is in place, our job is done there.

I have long believed that we should never go to war except in self defense. That was true of WWII, and everyone felt good about the effort and the outcome. When we go into wars for false or contrived reasons, we never feel good about the whole process or the outcomes. We know when we have done good things and can be proud of it. And we also know that efforts and lives expended in bogus wars will not bring good results. In my opinion, we should always choose peace, except in cases of self defense. Then when we did take action, everyone would be happy about it and proud to have played a part.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Magic of Change

What have been the pivotal moments in your life? What have been the real life changing events? The moments of illumination? The moments when you realized something important that would change the course of events to come?

Remember when you were interviewing for a job and you felt good from the moment the interview began, and you just knew you had the job? Then when it was offered to you, you knew that this was the next step in your career?

Remember when you began working out and it seemed like everything was so difficult, but then as you kept at it, workouts seemed to get more rewarding as you noticed the changes in your body?

Remember when you thought that walking for a half hour was a lot, but now walking for an hour is something that is comfortable and easy to do?

Did you ever take a creative writing class, wondering at the beginning if you had any talent, how you just wanted to see if you could do this, then after a few weeks, people wanted to read what you wrote and you knew you could do it?

Or the time when a friend or family member died, and you felt like you would never get over that, but then after reflecting on the life lessons you learned from that person, smiles would light up your face as you remembered some of the wonderful experiences you had with that person and all the lessons you learned from them?

Or how about that time when you met someone new and you knew that you would want to continue seeing this person, and you felt good about that prospect, even though prior to that meeting you felt disappointed with your prospects for your social life?

What about that learning curve when you were getting used to your new computer? At first you were frustrated, then you kept at it, until you were able to accomplish one thing after another with it, and suddenly you felt proficient?

What about how you felt when you started your new business and you had to call on tons of people to get some momentum. Then the day finally came when satisfied customers referred other people to you and you could feel the flow going your way?

And how about that time when you worked at something you loved and the time just went so fast the whole sequence was just one thread weaving into another. You felt good about what you accomplished while you completely lost track of time?

Or perhaps you had a really memorable lover who enlarged your realm of possibilities, and suddenly your eyes were opened to erotic satisfaction you had never experienced before?

How about pivotal moments like when you had an out-of-body experience and you were not trying to do it, it just happened, and that inspired you to want to learn more or see if you could do it again?

Or when you were just so tired, achy and worn out that you figured you would try that an energy healing session you had heard about, and it was so powerful that you felt like you were walking on air and were surrounded by light energy for the rest of the day?

Or when you found a massage therapist who was just so good that you felt like knots and tension that used to seem normal suddenly disappeared and you had no idea that a massage could feel this good until you had this one?

Did you ever have a moment when you wanted something and got it almost immediately? When your desire and the flow of the universe suddenly were working together?

Or a moment when you connected with spirit and instantly knew something you had no other way of knowing, so you wanted to see if you could do that again?

A moment when you did something that felt perfect, when everything was in place and flowed as smoothly as you imagined it would?

A moment when you just met someone for the first time and you knew that you would be friends for a long time? A time when just being in the outdoors revealed a great secret of life?

What have been the pivotal moments in your life? Whether they are like some of the examples I have mentioned or others that may be unique to you, how did the prospects for your future change when you realized that what just shifted could continue to shift and this opened up new paths for you?

Some days, there is nothing but magic in the air. We remember those moments and hold them close, and then they expand.

We want more days like this in our lives.

Breathe, breathe, breathe. Some days putting one foot in front of the other is enough. Other days everything is magic.

One moment we breathe and we feel full of life energy. Everything around us is more alive, more interesting, more delicious than ever before.

We have looked ahead to see what is there, and then we find ourselves back here, now. Now, now, each step leads us toward whatever our future is, as we step into it, with everything here leading to it.

When we experience those moments when we are totally alive and in it, then we savor it, so that the taste can last longer.

Those moments when we connect and the rest of the world drops away, everything is magic and that is all that there is. So we enrich it with our presence, and charge it with our affection, tenderness, our fire and our strength and launch our energy out into the world to create more moments like this.