Friday, December 30, 2016

2017: The Power of One

In numerology, the year 2017 is a 1 year, which means that it will be a year of new beginnings. And these new beginnings can take many forms, either as a radical departure from the recent past or perhaps taking up new interests or creating new relationships that move us in a new direction. New beginnings are often intertwined with periods of expansion in our lives. New beginnings create new openings. As we strive to make things different, we are also making our lives larger because we feel that expansion giving us new freedom as well as new focus. When we decide to focus on a new beginning, we are freeing ourselves from the things we are done with in order to make room for what is next. Remember that nature abhors a vacuum, so we need to move new energy in when we take old energy out if we are focused on changing our patterns.

New beginnings can also serve to expand our consciousness and elevate our interactions with others while we are making other changes. It is natural that as we evolve, our circle of friends evolves too. And so do our other perspectives on life. For example, now that I have used the services of various health care providers such as massage, chiropractic, herbalism, aromatherapy, Chinese Medicine, energy healing, and other methods, I could no longer go back to thinking about health only in terms of allopathic medicine.

And now that I have a great deal of experience with various psychic methods of insight, intuition, visualization, tarot, runes, past lives, dream interpretations, dowsing tools, clairvoyance and more, I can not go about my days as if I do not know about these things.

The famous quote by Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes speaks to this point perfectly. "Once a mind has expanded to embrace a new concept, it can never shrink back to its original size."

In my life, I have lived through several periods of expansion, and each of these has brought about major shifts in my life. I grew up in Chicago, which experienced constant robust growth during that time. As I completed college and began working for a large corporation, I was transferred to Charlotte, North Carolina, just as it began its boom. I watched old buildings downtown being imploded so that the banking giants could build new skyscrapers. I had no friends or relatives there, just the job, so I joined Sierra club, went on a lot of hikes with them and made new friends that way. There were tennis courts in the apartments where I lived and so we played a lot of tennis and made new friends that way too.

Then I was transferred to Los Angeles when orange groves and vineyards were being bulldozed to make way for new subdivisions and the LA metro area was expanding to include adjacent counties. There were hikes not only on weekends but weekday evenings, and I was within 15 minutes of trail heads in the mountains, and could be down at Venice Beach within an hour. Some weekends, we went cross country skiing on Saturday and down the beach on Sunday. Or maybe we would bicycle through orange groves on Saturday and sail over to Catalina Island on Sunday. A single hike could include hot and sunny weather at the base and snow once we got up higher. Or we could hike in the desert on Saturday and ski on Sunday. All of that variety gave me a deeper appreciation of nature, and like many others being out there brought a very spiritual appreciation of the environment.

From there I went to Atlanta, and during the time I lived there, the metro area grew from 2 million to 7 million people. There I also did some hiking but the major transition I witnessed was in the urban structure. When I arrived there, the most exotic restaurants were Chinese, but as the city grew, you could find almost every kind of ethic restaurant, art galleries, nightclubs and theaters blossomed from old factories, warehouses and schools. Farmland was gobbled up by new housing subdivisions, shopping centers and office buildings. New highways were built and maxed out. What used to be little country towns or mountain towns became suburbs. Companies moved there from all over the country and other countries and with them came more diverse populations, cultural festivals and expansions into new mindsets.

During that time, I got interested in metaphysics by the simplest method possible. Each time I arrived in a new city, I had to reinvent myself, make new friends, find new things to do. One day I was looking for something to do and in the paper I noticed a little ad for a psychic fair. I had no idea what that was, but I had nothing else to do, so I went. And getting readings in that environment opened my mind in bigger ways than going to art festivals, music festivals or other events. Later on, I first became a writer for a metaphysical monthly, and then went on to become the founding editor of two more, and that process introduced me to all manner of things that I had never even heard of before, as well as introducing me to some of the leading lights in that field. Once again, my life changed radically. As a freelance writer, before I began metaphysical writing, my clients were often real estate developers, builders, architects and interior designers, some of the real drivers of external growth. Then I began writing about people who were the drivers were internal growth, the psychics, shamans, witches, healers, artists, musicians, ministers, monks, gurus, and free spirits who engaged with the world in ways that were new to me. 

Now here I am in the Denver metro area of the Front Range, and once again, the boom area is all around me. I no longer work for corporations but work full time as a metaphysical reader, healer and teacher. Once again, I am watching rapid population growth, new industries emerging, and small outlying towns becoming suburbs. This stage of evolution is in my life once again has expanded my own development. My business is now about helping other people cope with changes in their lives, to find some healing, peace of mind, see the world in new ways and exploring ways to live their vision. Our vision is evolving, our way of living is evolving, our way of seeing ourselves and our relationships, our work, our goals, is all evolving.

The boom in real estate out here forced me to move this past September, and at the time, it was very stressful. I really liked where I used to live but when the new owners took over I had to move fast. It was a lot of work, a lot of extra expense, and I had to spend a lot of time looking at properties to find a new place to live. I kept my focus on finding a good deal in this town, and I did. Now that I am settled in, I like my new place even better. Sometimes the things that make for a new beginning are difficult at first, but then the problem becomes a blessing. Challenges often open up to new opportunities.

Each move into an expansive area challenged me to grow. Twice I moved to small towns, thinking that it would be a refreshing change and twice I only lasted there a few months. I need the energies of bigger populations and growing environments.

In addition to the things I have mentioned here, there were many turning points at which I could have chosen differently and taken my life in a different direction. We always have opportunities. It is our free will that is instrumental in making those choices. Knowing what I know now, I would have to add that it is always our spirit guides who help us make those choices. The more we develop our relationships with them, the more help we can get when we need it.

In drumming circles, there is a saying that if you somehow get lost in the sound, to find your way back, go back to the one. The one is the first beat of any rhythm. Where does a cycle start? If you listen, you can always find it. One of the drumming teachers I studied with says that anyone who has trouble with drumming has trouble with listening.

As we listen to our own lives, and our own stories, where is our one? Where is our source of inspiration? Where is our source of power? Who are the people we are making music with? What is the rhythm we are comfortable living in?

In this year of new beginnings, we must listen for our one. In what ways do we need healing or growth? What knowledge, insight or perspective will help us enjoy our life more? What will help us cope with all the changes in our environment?

Will it be something totally new and different? Or will it simply be building on some interest that has kind of been on the back burner but just never goes away? Will it be leaving some old interest to make room for a new one, whether that is a new course of study, acquiring new skills, spending less time with old friends and more time with new ones? Will it be stripping down to a simpler life so that we can put more focus on what we now decide is most important to us?

There is a strength in finding our one. At one time, my job was managing a department in a major corporation with 60 employees and a million dollar budget for my department. At another time, I managed  monthly publications with a small staff that served over 100,000 readers and sponsored events and expos. At one time, I was teaching creative writing to classes of adults three nights a week. At one time, I led drumming circles every week for large gatherings of people. At one time I went from my office job to very athletic activities. At one time, I lived in a house where I had a fertile garden with more than 100 kinds of plants blooming in the yard. At one time, my career took up most of my days and metaphysics was a part time hobby. Now metaphysics is my full time engagement.

Now, I only manage myself and I have my hands full. I still enjoy nature and I still engage in physical activities, yet the metaphysical evolution, the cultivation of my spirit is my one. Sharing that with others is part of my one. Most of the time now my private sessions are focused on working with people one on one, rather than teaching large classes like I did in the past.

The power to make change always starts with the one. We are our one. in this one year, we will be feeling it even more. How we respond will set the tone for the years to follow.

So if your spirit is giving you signs that it is time to change, you are picking up on the energy of the year. How you respond will depend on your return to your one. Tune in to what is important and that will create the new rhythm of your life. It is not always easy, but it is always worth it. In this year of expansion and new beginnings, how can we use this energy to make our life better? We are the ones who define our one. What shape will our vision take? And then how will we grow into it? I wish that all of us have a wonderful new year. If there is any way I can help, please ask.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Dancing with the Light

One of the most beautiful aspects of December is all of the beautiful lights we see. They are beautiful on the surface and they are also symbolic.

During this darkest, coldest time of the year, all our celebrations are about bringing the light into our lives and celebrating it. As we enjoy cozy evenings at home we have time to reflect on what daarker aspects of our life that we want to let go of and what we would burn in the Yule fire. Even if you do not have a fireplace, you can take a bowl and then write on a piece of paper all of the darker aspects of life that you want to let go. These could be various fears about love, relationships, money, career, health, spiritual paths or any other life quests.

This process is also about letting go of bad habits, behaviors that hold us back, attitudes we need to let go of, any impediment to our progress. Each of us knows what that is for us.

So when you write these things on paper and then burn them, we are symbolically cleansing ourselves.

Then we replace what was removed with our hopes, dreams, desires, and visions for the future. With each candle we light. name one of those things you want more of in your life. This simple ritual brings more light into your life and brightens your prospect for the near and longer term future.

This small personal ritual is a mirror of the bigger dance of light we see all around us.

When we invite people into our homes for holiday parties, we are bringing light into the house. We literally light our lives with electric lights, candles, fires, and other means, but the biggest light of all is that which comes from sharing joyous moments with our friends and family, with conversation, story telling, dancing, singing, music, special seasonal foods and drinks.

The presence of these people is the greatest source of light of all.

So as we balance the quiet moments at home with our thoughts, reflections and feelings, our musings on our selves and our recent developments, we have time to meditate on all these things that matter to us and quietly set our thoughts and feelings in order to create a positive atmosphere and opening for the entrance of the light.

Then we join with others and celebrate our hopes and dreams that will return with the new light, sometimes growing so subtly and slowly that changes are not obvious, and then eventually we see the greater opening and the flood of light that greets our new developments.

If you do this personal ritual in your home as you celebrate the spirit of this season you will find yourself uplifted and energized with great prospects on your horizon.

Do the dance of the light and dark. Burn off what you want to let go, and light lights to symbolize what you welcome in.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

How many lives do we touch?

A few weeks ago, when I was getting ready to have my cataract surgery, I posted a small simple request on my Facebook page and said that I would appreciate any healing energy or prayers that anyone would want to send me for a successful surgery. Even though my sister had the same surgery with the same surgeon and was happy with the results, it still was a strange thought to have someone cutting on my eye, so even though I trusted the surgeon, it was a strange unsettling thought. So I got ready by reaffirming that I trusted him to do his job on me excellently as he had done on many other people, and that everything would go well and I would be able to see clearly again.

So I thought that perhaps a handful of my friends would respond. Then during the next couple of days nearly 100 people wished me well and said that they would send prayers and healing energy.

I was totally blown away by this response. I had no expectation or preconceived notion of what would happen, so this just opened a whole new window for me to see through.

Among the responses were acknowledgments from people who I had helped in some way, some of whom I had forgotten about because I thought what I did for them was small. But obviously to those people, what I did for them was memorable. Some of that may have been as simple as sending them healing energy when they needed it. For others, it was a reading that confirmed or clarified a tough choice or difficult situation they were facing. For others it might have been that I helped them feel better when they really needed it or encouraged them to pursue their dreams rather than settle for something else.

The important lesson here is that every day we touch the lives of others, and we may not be conscious of how much that may mean to them. I think that we all have a tendency to keep the big things in mind but what is small to one person may be big to another person.

Every day, I affirm that I am here to be of service to others through the work I do, and I promise my spirit guides that I will help whoever they send me, and that I will need their help to do all this. I consciously acknowledge this help, which is how I stay in the flow. I know that everything will get done because they are helping to get it done. And that is why some things may seem small to me, because they helped me to do it, and the flow of energies just eased everything along.

This enormous response has made me even more aware of all these interactions, and in so doing, has increased my commitment to do even more. This was a simple, yet powerful demonstration that the good energies we put out in the world come back to us, so we always need to be aware of the energies we are putting out. Having a positive attitude every day makes a difference.

Things people have said recently really touched me in profound ways because it had been years since the original contact. Or things that transpired between us that flowed in the course of a day's work for me, yet it was something that had a memorable effect on someone else. It is always my intention to be helpful to whoever comes to me for whatever reason, my vow is to be of service. Sometimes I know how that helped and sometimes I don't. Being acknowledged in this way affirms the value and efficacy of my work. That moment of realization is stunning and life affirming. Thank you for that.

How many lives do we touch? Are we conscious of how we touch them?

What lessons do we learn from each of the people we meet? Sometimes these are great lessons, but remember even small, simple lessons can be great. If we each help others when we are able, the whole world becomes a better place, one person, one action at a time.

At this time of year, of course, there is always a frenzy about shopping and gift giving. This is part of our culture. But let me shift your focus just a little.

How would December be different if we all just realized that we are the real gifts we give each other? Yes, of course, some goods would still be exchanged, and there would be many parties, concerts and grand celebrations.

Focus on this thought for a moment. What if we considered that every person we interact with, every person who is part of our lives, even if only for a few moments or a few hours, as a gift? How would we treat each person differently?

We have probably all experienced times when just a kind look, a friendly smile or some act of generosity helped make someone's day. Or when someone asks for help or advice and you just do that with their best interests in mind. Doesn't that feel good?

How do our interactions change if we begin each encounter with an assumption that we are all here to help each other? Everything would flow better, wouldn't it?

What would happen if you took a few moments to express your gratitude to those who are and have been helpful and kind to you? What waves of good energy could we stir up and all it would take is a word, a call, an email, a message to let those people know that you appreciate them. If we are all giving and receiving this kind of energy, what kind of world would we be living in?

If you would like to find out, try this simple exercise. Having been the recipient of this lately, it has been a very heart opening experience that is still shifting my feelings and ideas. It is both humbling and encouraging.

Yes, since my eye surgery, I am learning to see again.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Power of Gratitude

All of us appreciate when someone expresses gratitude to us, and when we express gratitude to others, we put in motion a good feeling that always comes back around. Thanking someone else for what they did for us can make their whole day sometimes. We all have our work to do and in the course of a day, how often do we really express appreciation to each other? I mean sincere appreciation, not just thanks and duck out the door. When we know we have done good work for someone and they take the time to acknowledge us, it can make our day. And we can make their day.

What a simple, yet powerful act, and we all have the ability to stir up these wonderful feelings in ourselves and others. When we express gratitude to others, they are, in turn, inspired to express it to others.

Knowing that others appreciate us is important. Of course we all work for money because that is the medium of exchange in our culture. And yet, it really stirs up good feelings when gratitude is expressed.

This same energy exchange works with people at work, people we have intimate relationships with, business dealings with, casual acquaintances, and those in spirit. Express appreciation for our various caregivers whether they work in our doctor's office or the stores where we shop.

So even from a selfish point of view, if you would like other people to treat you like that more often, treat other people that way more often.

Extend those feelings to your spirit guides as well. They help us by advising and protecting us. That is their job, but we really keep those channels of communication open, like a dialogue, a two way street with them when we do.

Some people's concept of prayer is that you engage in it when you want something. No. It is good to say thank you to your spirit guides, ancestors and angels every day.

Think of it this way. If you have a friend who only calls you when you want something, you will tire of getting their calls and not want to answer. So if it goes both ways, then you have a good friendship. It is the same way with spirit guides, ancestors, angels. Take a few moments every day to thank them for all the good things that are happening to you. Everything. Who do you think gives you good ideas and accurate instincts? Who helps keep things running? Who helps keep you healthy and safe? Who helps us get more out of life?

Thanksgiving to me has always been the best holiday because it is so simple. We get together with family and friends to share a good meal, some conversation, some games and music and just appreciate each other's company. What a great way to spend a day!

We have always invited some people in addition to family to join us and lots of other people have this tradition as well. Years ago, when I moved around the country a lot for business, people would always get orphan dinners together. That was a word they used for all of us who were transferred in from some other place just for the job and had no family or friends there. So a bunch of us would get together, everyone would bring some food or beverage to share and we would have a good time hanging out that day.

It is in our nature as people to want to enjoy social relations with others, the same way as it is in our nature to help other people.

So enjoy your holiday and know that I appreciate all of you. Every one of you have added something to my life just by your presence.

And I look forward to seeing each of you again whenever you feel that the time is right.

May you all enjoy much light, love and happiness every day, and especially now.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Creating Our Better Life and Future

t was 13 years ago that I made a journey to Brazil to visit the internationally famous healing center where the man named John of God does his work. 
The triangle illustrated above is the symbol that he uses in his work. It is on his literature and on the front wall of his healing center. It is made out of wood and is nailed to the wall in such a way that people can slip pieces of paper underneath it to request healing for themselves or others. During that trip, I made no requests for myself, but I put in a request for my sister who was undergoing treatments for cancer at the time. She is still alive and no longer fighting cancer. I do not claim that this action cured her, because she was receiving all kinds of help at the time, including distance reiki from me as well as the radiation and chemo. My sister has said that she was happy to accept whatever kind of help she could get. 
At the healing center, they sell citrine crystals cut in the shape of this triangle and so I got one for her and I have one that I wear. The citrine is mined and cut down there. I had a local artist wrap the stone so that I can wear it on a necklace.
What is significant is the meaning that John ascribes to the sides of the triangle, which is a version of what people in magical traditions refer to as the triangle of manifestation.
In Catholic religion, they teach of the three virtues of faith, hope and charity. John changed it to faith, love and charity. I resonate strongly with the change. Hope, to me, seems to carry a resonance of doubt and desperation. In other words, things are not good but we wish that they would get better. However, by replacing hope with love, we are affirming that we will make things get better. When we make choices out of love, things do get better.  
If we go back to the concept that all our choices are rooted in either love or fear, he is encouraging us to choose from love. And if you think about it, if we keep choosing our thoughts and actions from a perspective of love, look at what good comes into your life. 
Think about this for a moment. For example, how many times do advertisements sell from a basis of fear? They try and tell us that we will not be safe or successful or good looking enough unless we buy this or that. They are coming from a negative basis. 
So look at it from another perspective. What if we make all our choices from a basis of love? In other words, doing things we love to do, acting out of love. What would our life be like if we do work that we love to do? Have hobbies or activities that we love to do? Support charities, arts organizations or causes that we love? Express love for the people we are connected to? I simply want to clarify here that expressing love is not limited to romantic connections, friends or family, but all those with whom we interact with regularly.

There are student/teacher relationships. There are the mechanics who we entrust with our auto repairs. There are stores where we like to shop because we get good merchandise and good service there. There are caregivers who take care of ill and elderly people. There are people who deliver our mail and packages. People we trust to repair our phones and computers. There are our doctors, chiropractors, massage and other kinds of therapists and healers and veterinarians and caregivers for our pets. And so on. If we appreciate those people, we have more love and gratitude in our life every day. Next issue of this newsletter I will focus on gratitude and one of our greatest holidays, Thanksgiving.

When there is love in everything we do, everything works better. 
Since I mentioned the triangle of manifestation to you, let me explain a little bit more about that. One note about John of God's use of the word faith. People of all different kinds of religions and spiritual practices have visited his healing center, so this word does not apply to any one religion. It is about having faith in spiritual guidance and practice, no matter what religion you choose or participate in. While the religion of Brazil is predominantly Catholic, the Brazilians are very metaphysical and have a long tradition of magical healers. In his youth, his talents were discovered during his participation in a spiritualist group.
A simple way that I like to explain the triangle of manifestation is that the three sides of the triangle represent our goal or vision, our desire to achieve this goal and our willful actions taken to achieve our goal. Any time we are not getting what we want, one of the three sides of the triangle needs to be strengthened. When all three sides are strong, we have a great building block. Picture the pyramids. Triangle on every side. If you look inside the dome structures designed by Buckminster Fuller, they are supported by a frame that is a network of triangles. You can find more if you look around.   
In traditional metaphysics, in four positions, the triangle represents the elements of earth, air, fire and water. Air and fire are masculine and water and earth are feminine. When these energies are brought together, we have the six pointed star, which this diagram calls the Unity of Balance and long ago was also known as the Seal of Solomon, the ancient Hebrew king who was reputed to be a great magician. 
If you think about it, there is great sense in this because when we combine masculine and feminine energy with the elemental energies we are aligning the energies of all life in the universe to support us in our efforts. The fifth element is spirit, which not only refers to divine beings, but the divinity in each of us. 
So there are masculine and feminine triangles, symbolized by the difference of point up (masculine) or point down (feminine) and so when, for example, a man and woman are working together, our alignment is multiplied. Think about the axiom of one plus one equals three. In other words, when two of us put our minds and energies together, we can produce more than the results of two individuals. In another metaphysical concept, this is the basis for mastermind groups.
So give more thought to choosing from love and increasing your focus in order to create a better life and a better future. The results are very deliberate. You can use a vision board to reinforce this as well as simple triangle illustrations. We can create better lives and futures for ourselves if we put these principles into action, instead of just hoping that things will get better. Choose from love, not fear. Your life will get better.  I have noticed significant changes from putting more love into everything I do and it really works. 

I have settled into my new place and it is really nice. It has a little more space. So if you are coming to see me in person, please remember to get my new address. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Dylan: A Voice That Matters

When I heard on the radio that Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature last week, I was both happy and stunned, because that was just not one of those thoughts that had ever crept into my mind before.

You see Dylan and I have a long history, one that has been interrupted over the years. Many years ago, when I was a teenager and my cousin Mike first played a Dylan record for me, it was an enlightenment that interrupted and blew away everything I thought I knew about popular music. My earliest love in music was classical music and for a while I took violin lessons, but I was disenchanted with the traditional type of training that went with it at the time. So the first instrument that I taught myself just by listening was the harmonica, especially the style that is known as blues harp.

I had started to be interested in learning to play the guitar because the sound was the primary driving instrument of the pop music that was the engine in our world then. So I bought an acoustic guitar, a chord chart, and a Bob Dylan songbook, and that is what I used to teach myself how to play. I also got other sheet music for pop songs, and played in bands and solo for a while. I kept the guitar in my life for a long time, jamming and playing for friends.

But the lightning bolt that came with learning Dylan songs kind of blew away all the other songs and spoke to something deep and mystical within me. After listening to the radio continuously playing sweet little boyfriend/girlfriend ditties, to suddenly be exposed to songs like "Chimes of Freedom," "The Times They Are a Changin,""My Back Pages," "Mr. Tambourine Man," "Masters of War," "Maggies Farm," "It Ain't Me Babe," "Blowin' in the Wind," and "Like A Rolling Stone" just got into my bones and cut me to the quick the way no other songs had.

At the time, the struggle for civil rights was hotly contested and the Vietnam War was being loudy protested, and his songs were the only songs the spoke directly to those important issues that we were struggling with. His songs somehow helped me see the world in a whole different way. So I sat in my room, practicing over and over until I felt comfortable playing in front of other people. I used to stuff a rag under the strings by the bridge to mute the sound while I was practicing.

In time, "Blowin' in the Wind" became an anthem of the civil rights movement, sang on that same massive gathering where Martin Luther King gave his "I Have a Dream" speech.

If you think that all of this is just a dated irrelevant memory, look at what is still going on in our world right now. Go to You Tube and look up and listen to "Chimes of Freedom" and see if those lyrics don't grab you bone deep. Or give another listen to "Blowin' in the Wind" or "Like a Rolling Stone" or "Positively 4th Street."

It is true that he has never been known for his beautiful singing voice. What resonates a half century later are the incredible lyrics. Many other pop musicians launched careers or added noteworthy songs to their repertoire by creating more melodic versions of his songs.

Some songs are made for dancing. Dylan songs are made to stick in your mind and cause you to think all kinds of thoughts. His songs have been an important part of my life and the Nobel committee just reminded us that poetry and songs deserve the same kind of recognition as good books.

How does all this resonate now? Yes, when I was young I protested against the Vietnam War because I did not feel that we should ever get into a war unless it was an absolute matter of self defense, and yes, I feel that we should still avoid getting into wars whenever we can. Yes, I am one of those dreamers who wants to see a peaceful world with justice for all people. Dylan has always been a voice for those ideas and so I think that it is quite a powerful statement that he got that award, and I am happy that he got it. If you are not familiar with his music, give it a listen.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Masking and UNmasking

Isn't it interesting how the masking and unmasking we do at costume parties mirrors what is going on in the world around us? The green leaves that sprouted in spring and came to fullness in summer now turn colors and fall to the ground, leaving only the skeletons of the trees contrasted against the sky. 

During the year people see us in different ways. One mask might be our professional status, the face which others see as we present ourselves as skilled individuals. Another face is our personal self where we engage in our relationships, hobbies, activities and other pursuits. Then we have our spiritual persona where we follow our spiritual path or our religious rituals. 

Yet, at the heart of it all, there is simply the person who embodies all of this. Where others may see only one of these aspects of us, few see all of them. 

Standing in our sacred space, reflecting on our place in the world, we choose which aspect of our persona we choose to present next. Consciously choosing what is next we may emphasize a different aspect of our professional practice, relationships, avocations and spiritual practices. 

So the metaphor of masks at parties reveals truth. The characters we choose to inhabit for an evening at a party is a playful way of trying on some other character or characteristics that we wish to experience. 

The masks we wear may be revealing the truth of the direction we desire. Yes, I know that one thought may be that this is only an evening's entertainment.

Now look again, for there is a root of truth that appeals to us when we choose to read the same kinds of books, the same kinds of movies and are fascinated by the same kinds of stories over and over again. There are common threads that appeal to our sense of who we are and what kind of world we want what kind of life we want, how we would like to see ourselves as a person. 

Masking is a way of looking at the world through different eyes for a while and letting others see us differently for a while. As we all have experienced, this can be very enlivening and enlightening. And that is why we look forward to doing it. 

Knowing this about ourselves is revealing of inner truths as we enjoy our revelry. Knowing this about Halloween is like appreciating the difference between soul cakes and trick or treat.

You see in the old days, at Halloween, visitors would come to visit and sing songs, say prayers or tell stories about those who had died this year and the hosts would offer them soul cakes and drinks in appreciation. The Celts called this day Samhain and it marked the beginning of winter. They would also set a place at the table for the person who had died, and this was called the dumb supper.

Ironically, in a far a way country which we now call Mexico, on that very same day of the year, the Celebration was called La Dia de Los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead. And on this day too, the dead were honored with their favorite food and people told stories to remember them and wish them well on their journey into the next world, and like the Celts, they also bake special breads just for this holiday.

In both cases, the honoring of the dead was also a celebration of life. The Day of the Dead prominently features skeletons dancing, affirming that life goes on on another level. 

So the sweetness of life and the recognition of the various levels of self that we consider on this holiday offers a great insight into what life means to us, how we see ourselves and the impact we have on others. Masks and treats of this holiday are other aspects of self hidden in plain sight. And the pleasure is that all of this can be enjoyed with a great deal of fun, illumination and imagination. It is delicious, isn't it? 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Mastery is a State of Mind

If we keep our focus on our primary concerns, we see that mastery, in all forms, is first and foremost, a state of mind. Sometimes people may reverse these aspects, thinking that hand positions, dexterity or agility are the marks of mastery, but it is the state of mind that precedes these things that create the mastery. 
When we are possessed by a strong desire to be excellent at something, our mindset comes first, and then we acquire the skills.
I think that sometimes we see it incorrectly because we are viewing it from the end point. We see a person who is an excellent athlete, dancer, musician, carpenter, gardener, mechanic, chef, seamstress, salesperson, or whatever it is we are admiring and often we think "oh that person was just born with more talent than me." Not true.
We all are born with potential, but that potential never develops into a skill or talent unless we practice. 
So what state of mind am I referring to? I am referring to clarity, stability, peace, self confidence, the state of balance that helps us navigate our course so that we can continue on our course to achieve our goals and handle whatever challenges cross our path without getting angry and out of control. Knowing that we can rise to a new level to meet any challenge and continue in a flow of love and peace because we have a connection to our spirit guides, whether we call them God, Goddess, angels, ancestors, animal totems, friends and relatives who have already crossed the veil and still return to help us. However we think of them, they help us keep our sense of peace, love and direction. Keeping in touch at this level is what helps us to live in a state of mastery.    
You know that feeling that you get when you are really in the flow? You know, peace of mind, focus, clarity, contentment? Those feelings allow you the space to operate from, to begin to learn to do those things that you want to, to learn the skills that you want to master. In other words, our spiritual attitude is key to our ability to learn new things and do them well. It is this attitude that lets us act with clarity rather than running around like chickens with our heads cut off.  
You see, those feelings of peace, contentment, focus and clarity help remove the obstacles of distraction and turmoil and confusion.
Mastery is the decision to have peace in your life. How we achieve peace is a choice we make because there are both loud and celebratory, joyful things that we do that bring us happiness and peace, and there are also simple accomplishments that bring us quiet peace. Altogether, these all add us to enjoying our life more, and doing so in a way that when others experience what we do, they recognize excellence and ask us how did you learn to do that? 
The answer is that sometimes we teach ourselves and sometimes we ask others to teach us. However, it is always our state of mind that begins it all. 
Possessing that feeling of mastery lets us focus and make conscious choices, rather than feeling like we are floundering and chaotic. That is always the starting point of mastery in our life. It starts within. With a focus, a vision, a desire.
There are times when we may be confused and not certain of what we want to master. At those moments, it is important to go within. It is natural that our vision for ourselves evolves. What is your vision now? What is your focus now? What is your desire now?

Mastery can also apply to adapting new habits that benefit our health and well being. It usually takes some effort to change our habits, but the effort is worth it. Mastery is, above all, our connection to our spirit guides, our selves, others and then, the things we do.

Can you get in touch with the inner space where we can sense that still point, the place from which we navigate?

Being able to do so helps us know what is important and what is our next best move. Mastery is within our grasp. Mastery is within our spirit. Mastery is within our consciousness. Sometimes we just have to focus on getting back in touch with it. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Eternal Dance of the Student and Teacher

Shortly, those who have school age children will be getting ready to send them off to school again. And there may have been a time when we were very young that we thought that once we graduated school that the entire business of student and teacher would be over forever. 

Later on, we realized that we are always learning, whether it is new skills for a particular job, playing a musical instrument, a sport, a game, a hobby, or life skills for improving our relationships and exploring developments that would enrich us spiritually, philosophically or physically.

And in time, we found ourselves being the ones that others came to for advice, and perhaps we were surprised by who asked us and why. 

And that may lead us into a one on one mentor relationship or a group class, a formal or informal course of studies.

You see, once we have taken care of finding work and a home, our attention often wanders into areas that will enrich our lives. As we get older, we give more thought to subjects like mortality, parallel dimensions of life and our legacies. As we do, we realize that legacies can be much more than the physical things we leave behind. Legacies are also about what we have taught and shared and about how well those we have taught and shared with have evolved. 

The realization that we are always both student and teacher upends the notion that we only learn for a while and then we are done. Awakenings may have come to us at a time of career change, a relationship beginning or ending, facing a serious health challenge or the death of someone close to us. 

When we look closely at what we do, if we pursue excellence, we are always asking how we can do what we do better. It is at these moments when new truths reveal themselves. When we are preparing to teach someone else and it suddenly occurs to us how we can present the subject better. Or when we are doing something we have done for quite a while and suddenly we discover another way to practice it. 

We are never really done learning or teaching. Some times we are one, some times we are the other. We are both at the same time and it is rewarding and deeply satisfying to know this as we act on it.

The subjects may change, but in essence, they are always the same. We are always exploring and discovering ways to improve the quality of our lives and this always affects those connected to us. 

Our circles of connection are more extensive than we often realize, encompassing not only lovers, but close friends, relatives, co-workers, neighbors and casual acquaintances. And then if we have published anything on line, who knows who saw it? 

If we are always conscious of our own evolution, then there is no end to the new beginnings and fresh starts waiting to be unveiled, experiences for us to step into.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Celebrating Freedom from limiting thoughts and openness to new ideas

We recently celebrated July 4th, which is about how we fought for our freedom as a country by choosing to free ourselves from the British Empire and create our own country where we would have the freedom to live as we like and elect leaders who would represent our interests, first and foremost.

In some ways, we do this every day when we wake up and begin another day. Each day, we are given another opportunity to make new choices and explore new ideas.

What kind of new ideas? Within recent years we have chosen to explore new spiritual paths and practices, many very different from the ones we knew earlier in our lives.

Energy healing is another practice that many people are opening up to, and as we open to these practices, we experience how well they work.

Ideas about positive thinking and the Law of Attraction give us a different perspective on life, which encourage us to choose more consciously to create our lives.

When we look at life from a fresh perspective, we change the way we eat and the ways we relate to food. We change the way we think about voting and who we choose to represent us.

New ideas also lead us to choose different forms of entertainment. Growing numbers of people have now disconnected from cable and satellite dishes and get their news and entertainment through the internet, independent radio stations, watching documentaries and independent films and reading different books or joining discussion groups, book clubs and meetings which support their new exploration of ideas.

Many people have been forced by changes in the economy to figure out new ways to make a living, and although the changes can be wrenching and traumatic at first, many have found more satisfactory ways to make their living.

One of the things I do most often is help people see other possibilities and support them in their transitions. Often at times like this, we need people who will support and encourage our choices and our new thinking because in our explorations some of our old friends may think that we are off track, so it takes someone else who has an objective vision to help us see more clearly and encourages us to continue our explorations to have a happier new phase of life.

Given the changes in our world, we need new friends and helpers who will support our new visions for our lives and are traveling down these new roads themselves to create a better life for themselves. Opening our minds to new thoughts will lead us to explore new territories and these new worlds we are living in may bear little resemblance to our earlier lives.

As we enjoy the fireworks, what are the ways that we are freeing our minds to live in new states of independence? What new ways of thinking will help us enjoy our new freedoms? What will our next step be? Even though changes can be kind of scary and upend our old status quo, the rewards on the other side are exciting.

Remember that courage means proceeding even in the face of doubt. Doing a sure thing requires no courage. As we call upon our courage, we can feel the physical sensations in our body when we rise to meet new challenges. New thoughts may encourage us to act swiftly and decisively, and as we make progress, there will be new waves of joy that confirm our choices.

Creating a new country and creating a new life have these things in common. Countries can be pieces of geography and they can also be states of mind. What will you choose next?

In a few days we will be celebrating July 4th, which is about how we fought for our freedom as a country by choosing to free ourselves from the British Empire and create our own country where we would have the freedom to live as we like and elect leaders who would represent our interests, first and foremost.

In some ways, we do this every day when we wake up and begin another day. Each day, we are given another opportunity to make new choices and explore new ideas. 

What kind of new ideas? Within recent years we have chosen to explore new spiritual paths and practices, many very different from the ones we knew earlier in our lives. 

Energy healing is another practice that many people are opening up to, and as we open to these practices, we experience how well they work. 

Ideas about positive thinking and the Law of Attraction give us a different perspective on life, which encourage us to choose more consciously to create our lives.

When we look at life from a fresh perspective, we change the way we eat and the ways we relate to food. We change the way we think about voting and who we choose to represent us. 

New ideas also lead us to choose different forms of entertainment. Growing numbers of people have now disconnected from cable and satellite dishes and get their news and entertainment through the internet, independent radio stations, watching documentaries and independent films and reading different books or joining discussion groups, book clubs and meetings which support their new exploration of ideas. 

Many people have been forced by changes in the economy to figure out new ways to make a living, and although the changes can be wrenching and traumatic at first, many have found more satisfactory ways to make their living. 

One of the things I do most often is help people see other possibilities and support them in their transitions. Often at times like this, we need people who will support and encourage our choices and our new thinking because in our explorations some of our old friends may think that we are off track, so it takes someone else who has an objective vision to help us see more clearly and encourages us to continue our explorations to have a happier new phase of life. 

Given th

Monday, June 20, 2016

How to maintain good energy when times are difficult

I have always felt that there is good energy in the building where I live. Now I know why. Recently one of my neighbors told me that long ago, the local hospital was just a couple of blocks from here and so this building was built as housing for the nurses who worked there so that they could live within walking distance. No wonder I always feel lots of good juju here.

There is now a large sign more than 6 feet tall out front advertising the property for sale.

Every day I wake up, I express gratitude for having another day. I also express gratitude for being able to live here and affirm that for today, and for as long as it lasts, I will be happy to be here. When the time comes that someone else buys the property then I will know whether I can stay or have to move. Since I cannot afford to buy the property, that decision is not within my hands. I maintain my peace of mind by affirming that I am happy today. Other decisions will be made in the future.

Sometimes it is hard for us to stay in the present at times like these. I know that some of my clients have had difficult transitions finding new jobs after being laid off, or getting out of problem relationships and finding new ones.

We have to remain confident that there is a solution for us, even if we cannot see it right now. Sometimes it takes time, and sometimes we may not be able to see it because our attention has been focused elsewhere.

In the bigger picture of our lives, sometimes we need to take a step back and reflect so recognize why we are where we are and where we are going next.

What did we get out of being here? How did our life change for the better? What is the next thing for us to do? Do we have a plan for our progress? Do we have a burning desire to change our direction?

Each time we come to one of these important transitions, we have an opportunity to choose again.

As we look back, note how the choices we made then were made with the best information we had at the time. We acted on it in a way that made sense to us. So now we act with the information we have now. At each birthday, we look at our future through the lens of experience and wisdom we have acquired since our last birthday, and then we apply that going forward.

The current situation of my possible move has motivated me to really start a deep house cleaning so that if and when I need to move, I am only taking with me what I really want and need, and also rediscovering things that it would be good for me to either use again, discard, give away or learn from again.

Staying calm, staying present, we are able to enjoy each day and able to make the best of every opportunity in life.

Enjoy the playful spirit of the Summer Solstice this coming Monday. Savor the beauty of the longest day of sunlight in the year, and celebrate in whatever way you feel best.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Gaining Control by losing control. How does this make sense?

We have all heard of that expression "one day at a time." I am getting an exercise in that right now as I continue to live where I live without a lease and without knowing what will happen until someone buys the property and announces their intentions. So each day I get up and give thanks for the opportunity to live here and for having another day of life. Whether I get to stay or have to move will be a decision that is out of my hands at this time. I appreciate each day for what it is and I do what I need to do every day.

It takes a lot of courage to trust that things will work out without knowing the answers to all our questions. It also takes a lot of courage to be open to possible developments that we had not anticipated. Actually, doing some research now is revealing some patterns that I had only been vaguely aware of before. At this moment I am keeping those discoveries to myself until I see how they all add up and how they may influence future choices. Suffice it to say that I am making discoveries because these factors are causing me to research and reconsider what I know and what I prefer.

Face it, it can be unnerving when we have a plan and it unfolds in a different manner than we 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 and your plans have changed.

Be patient. The changes work out just fine. Just like that old saying about when one door closes and another opens.

Sometimes we gain control when we lose control. Here is a simple example of a fun way to experience this. I used to lead drumming circles and still use the drums with people who want a different kind of meditation experience. By just listening and following what we hear, we feel the music and our minds are just following that track. Malidoma Some, an African drummer and shaman whom I had the pleasure of encountering says that "a person who has trouble with drumming has trouble with listening."

Consider that for a moment. When we become more aware and pay attention to the signs we pick up from all around us, we find new paths. We learn melodies that we did not know. Fresh thoughts come to us. And we learn to work with others more beautifully, more harmoniously. We play together, listening to each other, we find a groove and that frees our mind to travel. And we would never have discovered those paths had we not opened our ears to listen.

So you are not drumming, you say? All drumming comes back to the first drum, our heartbeat, our breath. As we are more observant and aware of our surroundings, we perceive in ways that were once not visible to us. Hidden in plain sight is also revealed by listening to things that we have not been tuning into before.

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 the guiding influences in our life must have intended for us to have those, whether we call those guiding influences God, Goddess, spirit guides, ancestors, angels or something else. So here we are. Once again making a decision that veers off our original course. Is that bad? No. Making changes often leads to finding a better way to do things.

If we allow things to come to us, they will. Sometimes not being certain will get us where we want to be, except that the process of discovery reveals that we are in a place that we did not know we wanted to be but it is working out well although it was unexpected.

And we can gain control by losing control.

* A note about the photos. The image on top is the 4 of Wands from Ciro Marchetti's Tarot of Dreams which is one of the decks I read with all the time. The bottom photo is Layne Redmond, one of my teachers in the world of drumming.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

What do I not know that I need to know?

This is a question I ask myself every day. And it is something that I ask my spirit guides every day. Throughout my life, curiosity has been a guiding light in my life. I always figure that if something keeps coming to my attention that there must be a reason for that. I figure that my spirit guides bring these things to my attention because they want me to check it out.

As a result of these prompts, some of what I learned I taught myself by reading books or experimenting and some things I found teachers to teach me.

Life becomes an adventure in this way. We explore paths that are unknown to us in search of elusive goals, but we are motivated because we know that there must be something worth while out there. And the variety is infinite. This question extends into all areas of life. What will I discover if I explore my ancestry? And there are times in life when we want to know the answers to these questions, and some times when we just don't care.

When I wanted to have the experience of hiking in the desert while the cactus were blooming, or when I went to art fairs just to look at art then maybe talk to the artists or buy a piece, I got to experience the world from another point of view.

When I went snorkeling and swam with the brightly colored fish among the coral reefs, it was a different experience of the world again.

One time when I was hiking in the mountains and a glider pilot was riding the currents of lift that he got on the border between the mountains and the desert, and he passed by so close that I could see the pilot and it was stunning to think that he was flying in a plane and I was walking but we were seeing eye to eye. Or times when I was cross country skiing and we were looking out over a cliff, and there was desert below. We were standing in snow, wearing warm clothes, with boots and skis on, but directly below was desert, sand, cactus and all.

To be on the edge of one world and able to see into another, my mind could jump back and forth, knowing how it was to be here and also knowing how it was to be there.

When I wanted to know if psychic abilities were real or not, it was like that again. To know how it is to be able to be here, and also to be able to know hot it feels to do that. A common concept that is often expressed about shamans and witches is that they are walkers in two worlds. They know how it is here, to use herbs, stones, sound and touch to heal and bring peace, and they know how it is to know things that spirit communicates to them and then pass those things on for the benefit of the person who is asking the question. What do I not know that I need to know?

Notice what happens when a person asks you if you would like to learn something, or try something new. Is your response along the lines of "no thanks I am not interested?" or is it "yes, I would like to know more." Follow your gut instinct with this. There are things we discover that enable us to see the world in a new way, giving us flashes of insight and appreciation. Instances like this can open the door to things that we didn't know we needed to know, but now that we do, we find all kinds of uses for it.

Every day I wake up, the first thing I do is to thank spirit for giving me another day. Then I ask them to tell me if there is anything I need to know right now. What comes to me in the moments after asking that question guides my choices and my actions.

I know that you have had pivotal moments in your life like this too. Whole new worlds opened up to me because I one day wondered if I could learn to drum? Can cards really tell a person anything? What are the runes all about? Does reiki really work? Is tai chi a way to strengthen you? Can herbs work as well as patent medicines? Can people's stories reveal levels of truth about their lives that they do not yet recognize themselves?

So many questions. So many interesting things to learn. So many fascinating people in this world. So many interesting things we can do with our lives.

What do I not know that I need to know?

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Power of Yes

How many times when we are presented with a new opportunity have we hesitated before saying yes?

In my own life, there have been many times in my life when someone suggested I try something new and different and saying yes to something out of the ordinary opened up a whole new world for me.

A situation many of us have faced is in pursuing career opportunities. Because of our experience may be in a certain field, we may be expecting our opportunities to follow a certain path. In the past, that was the normal, reasonable expectation. Today it may not be. A person may ask if we would like to do something we had not thought of, and thus, a whole new opportunity is opened.

Way back when I was in college, one of my teachers was the vice president of one of the largest public relations firms in Chicago asked me if I would like to be an intern at his firm. I declined, telling him that my goal was to be a reporter. When I reflect back on that now, I smile and think how different my life would have been had I said yes to that.

Then I look back on other opportunities that presented themselves when I was working at a corporation and they offered me an opportunity to move around the country and work for them in different cities. Then I said yes, and it changed my life forever to experience living in different places for years at a time, having different responsibilities, meeting lots of new people.

Some of the changes were not obvious, because you see, in each place I was transferred, I had no friends or relatives, or any other connection, just a job. So in one place, looking for something to do, I joined Sierra Club and found new friends by going hiking on frequent weekend excursions into the mountains. That connection lasted through two different regional moves.

In another city, I found myself on weekends with nothing to do an no connections outside of work, so I looked at the free entertainment news weeklies and started to go to art fairs and art galleries to mingle with new people and expose myself to new art.

Then on another weekend, I saw an ad for a psychic fair. I had never been to one of those before and had no idea what went on at one of those, so I went to see what it was about. I got readings from a couple of people, including a tarot reader and an astrologer and was quite amazed at what they had to say. And that prompted my interest and inspired me to investigate further. A whole new world just opened up to me.

Subsequently, as my career evolved, I went back to my earlier path and became a professional freelance writer, doing things like writing brochures, ads, fliers, annual reports, letters and press releases for companies. I even worked for a while writing those on hold messages for companies. You know, those prerecorded things you hear when you call a business and they put you on hold.

Then there came a time when I wanted to put a little variety in my writing, so I wrote and published a book of poetry in combination with an artist I met at one of those art fairs. So I did a ton of public readings and performances and sold my books at performances and had them on sale in stores. I freelanced articles for all kinds of magazines that focused on art, literature and music. And then one day, the artist suggested that there was a metaphysical newspaper that needed writers. So just for the pure variety of it, I went and met with the publisher. She told me that she did need writers but that there were no paid positions available, that all the writers were volunteer contributors. So I agreed to write one article a month for the paper for free. That was in addition to the freelance business writing jobs I was doing.

It was an eye opening experience. I said yes to every assignment she gave me. I was sent out to interview a wild variety of healers, artists, musicians, famous authors, all kinds of people. Most of them I never heard of before I was sent to write about them, so every subject started with a clean slate. Eventually, I was offered the position of editor for the paper and was given a small salary and a commission for selling ads. That person got cancer and so the business folded.

So I went back to focusing on business writing until another woman who was a customer of the previous publication called me and said that the community really needed a new publication because there were all these people doing things, but no publication was paying any attention to them. She asked me to help her start a new paper, and my first answer was no, because my business was supporting me and I saw no reason to do something different. But she kept coming back and asking me questions about how to publish a periodical because I knew how to do that and she didn't. So, for free, I wrote up reports for her and explained to her how to do it. Then she came back to me again and asked me to help her do this. Finally I said yes, and my life changed in a big way, as I transitioned from being a business writer to the full time editor of a monthly metaphysical magazine. I learned more and more about psychics, alternative healing techniques, alternative spiritual paths, environmental issues and all kinds of things along those lines.

As the editor, I got invited to a lot of workshops, concerts, presentations and author interviews. Our publication co-sponsored major metaphysical fairs and it was all a big success. But I decided after seven years that I wanted to do something different, so I got a job in a small mountain town at a retreat center. But that was too isolated a place for me. Even a trip to the grocery meant a drive up and down the mountain, and there was not even a neighborhood bar where you could go and relax and have some fun. The place was so small that even getting an internet connection was a sketchy thing. You could only get TV if you had a satellite dish and only a couple of radio stations were available. So after a few months, I decided that I really need to live in a more populous environment, and went back to the city.

Then I as offered another opportunity by another woman who had a newsletter that she wanted to turn into a magazine. So she hired me to do that. And I got that running and after a few years wanted to take time off of that to write books. The books never got published, but now I was on a different path. I got married and divorced for the second time and then moved to Colorado because I have two sisters who live out here.

I worked in corporate for a few more years and then struck out on my own to make my full time living doing readings and healings and teaching people who want to learn things I know.

So I did get to be a reporter after all, after a very long interval since college. If you had asked me years ago where I would be later in life, I never would have guessed living in Colorado making a full time living this way. Saying yes to unusual opportunities opened many doors for me and changed my life in ways I would not have imagined.

So there were times I said no to new ideas, but the times I said yes opened my life in extraordinary ways. Think about this next time someone offers you an unusual opportunity. There is a power in saying yes that can open your life to magnificent adventures and experiences that can enrich you beyond your wildest dreams. If I had not said yes, I would not be here now. I am glad that I am.