Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Solstice

Yay! December 21 is here, and the days will begin to get longer. This is a celebration that especially northern climates can truly appreciate, and for me, it is WONDERFUL! More light, new beginnings, and gratitude toward the time of surrender, which brought us clarity in what we want for the time of growth and warmth. Winter Solstice, Yule, is finally here.

While January 1 is a great time of celebration and "ringing in the new year" with those who are on consumer time, I recognize the Winter Solstice as Earth's New Year; a time when the shift to light brings longer days.

From an early-morning meditation, I found action through inspired thought for 2009...

1. Breathe Deep Every Day. Do several deep and slow breaths in a row, until you feel slightly light headed. Do this when the thought of deep breathing comes to you; even if you only have time for one or two deep breaths, breathe in deeply and consciously, exhale consciously.

2. Meditate. Heard it a thousand times, but this is key to our awakening. You will be provided with time every day to meditate 10 to 30 minutes – it is up to you to recognize that the time is there and that your intention for that time is for meditation. To deep breathe with meditation is even more beneficial.

Meditation is key because time is speeding up, and as it does, events and situations stick and pile up faster, forming a clotted mound as the day or week goes by, giving us the sensation that we are overwhelmed and confused… not to mention the fact that our big issues come slamming into that mound, sticking even bigger masses to the clot, creating more confusion, fogginess and frustration. When we meditate, the speeding up of time not only stops, but time stops period. Our mind is no longer worrying about the future or torturing ourselves about the past. We are simply in the Moment. The effects of speeded-up time are neutralized and defused, allowing chunks of the clot (issues) to release into the flow of universal energy. Being in the Now is the only way to stop time - Now is the only time that is real or matters. The confusion will be left behind, you will recognize the beauty of this moment in your journey, and recognize that “what is” is perfect in this moment.

3. Become Aware of Old Patterns. Simply becoming conscious of your patterns will begin the process of undoing and breaking the pattern. But you must make the concerted effort of identifying what patterns you have (when you have strong negative emotions about situations or people, there is a pattern present). If you become aware of a pattern, try using the Byron Katie 4-question technique. For more information, please visit her website , and read her books "Loving What Is" and "A Thousand Names Joy". If you're not a reader or would like to watch her technique in action, check out the videos on her website

4. Focus on Your Issues, Stay Out of Other People’s Issues. This goes hand-in-hand with #3 and can be applied to personal, national, and global situations. You cannot force change on other people or situations and expect it to work out just as you wish. If you want a person to change, first question your own desire to see them change (Byron Katie questions) and discover what is true for you. Often when you think someone or something should change, you are getting into that someone else's business. Ask the 4 questions that Byron Katie poses, and see what your turnaround is.

Resisting, struggling, or fighting against another person or situation will leave you with overwhelming feelings of negativity, and any "progress" you may find through pushing your agenda is often temporary, empty, or results in worsening the situation.

Ultimately with other people, their issues and behaviors are not yours to fix. You cannot make another person behave the way you want them to. You can only point out to them how you feel when they behave that way - that is your truth. Then they can decided what that means to them - which is their truth.

"John/Jane, When you do XX, I feel XX." Let them decide what their truth is; let go of expecting them to see your point or to change. No one "should" or "shouldn’t" do anything; for there is no "proper behavior" barometer out there. There is only the barometer of truth within each person, and that truth is for that individual only. If someone else cannot accept you for you, and you are having difficulty accepting their behavior, continuing in that vein is only harmful to both parties.

This empowering action is the Universe lining you up with, and disconnecting you from, those who no longer are in alignment with you. This is the Universe working through you, and it shows you who you are, so that you know your truth.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Full Moon Morning

I look at this enormous moon and nothing can describe its vastness and the reality of it. Today's date and the moon's symbology for me is profound: the 13th, 13 representing ascended masters, particularly the feminine; the full moon representing the feminine.

It is minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit, so cold that even the frigid river water warms the air, letting go of its steam.

I step out of the car expecting to be assaulted by the Arctic temperature, but the air and cloudless sky reveal a dry cold that poses a greater risk of my face becoming a poster child for Oil of Olay than my fingers freezing to my camera.

Warm in my downy jacket, I boldly move to a better position across the parking lot to take pictures of the moon.

I shoot, look at the viewer. That can't be right. Shoot again, look at the viewer. Hm...the largest the moon has appeared in years, closer to Earth than it has been in years, brighter to the human eye than it has been in years, and yet it looks so small in the viewer. I look up, it is enormous. I look down...tiny. I zoom, shoot again, zoom, shoot again. And again, observing whether the reality of the viewer has changed. It has not.

It occurs to me that a "master photographer" could possess the right lens, filters, or camera to shoot the exactness of what I see - but I know in my heart that this is not true. No matter what camera, lens or filter I have, no matter who the photographer is, only variations of this beautiful specter can be created as it moves so slowly across the morning sky that it seems to hang on the frozen atmosphere.

It also occurs to me that to believe I might replicate it in a physical medium such as photography, has a misunderstanding at its core. For every physcial thing that we see before us has an energetic element too. This is why our breath is taken away when we "see" the beauty of nature. We are not just seeing with physical eyes. What makes a site so beautiful is not about what the "naked eye" sees, but the what the soul sees, too.

I look at this enormous moon. It is larger than life. Yet it is so small I can barely conceive of its role in the cosmos. It is humorous that a little physical being such as myself is attempting to reflect in the format of photography what the universe has created in its profound power and vastness. Luckily, being a part of the universe makes me a part of that joke, and I smile at my smallness, and at my vastness.

Photography is my way of honoring and loving the very beauty of the power that created us.

Life shines through us like the light of the sun reflecting off the moon, reflecting off of the Talkeetna Mountains. We are never doing, we are never thinking, we are never breathing. We are beign breathed, being thought, being done.

So this morning I released the need to capture the essense of the moon, and just allowed the moon to shine through my photos as it would; allowed myself to be thought and breathed, allowed the doing to flow through me.

That is as close as I can come to honoring the vastness and reality of the moon and my life.

And now, here comes the sun.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Counter Creatures

For as long as they've been the three meowscateers, my cats' favorite pasttime is to wait for me to leave the kitchen/dining room area so they can play on the kitchen counters, forage in the drain traps in the sink, try to open all the cupboards (which now have baby locks), and check the floor for crumbs.

I could go through all the sanitation reasons as to why I don't like this. I could go through the cats' health reasons, but in the end it simply drives me nuts. Freakin' nuts!

And they know it. I come out of the bedroom to get a glass of water and I'll hear three thumps, and scurrying feet, see tails and identifiable cat fur streaking from the kitchen to hide cleverly behind the couches in the living room. And then they peak around behind the furniture, hoping I might be so incredibly dense as to not notice them.

Poppy, on the left, is the Evil Genius and the Queen of the Pack (note she has the remote control), though she does suffer occassional embarrassments from her hair fetish, which can be difficult to get untangled from. Cali, on the right, is a Zen Buddhist Kitty by Day, and a Ninja Kitty by Night. She actually has a "look" for each of her personnas. Above we've caught her in "the change" - like the Hulk, her green eyes are beginning to show, and soon she'll become Ninja Kitty by Night. Aagh! Run! Flee!

Nicolai, named after the Alaska village and Iditarod checkpoint by an 8-year-old Iditarod enthusiast (now 15 going on 30), is the bad-boy scapegoat. He's the Boss, and the loaner. If he could smoke and grease his hair back, he would. He's Thomas O'malley the Alley Cat with an attitude.

This is his most innocent face.

"Yeah, I'm real innocent. Just wait until she leaves the room!"

Cute to a one-time observer, but when this happens all the time, and you see the waftering fur on the counters, and they're grazing on watery chunks of God-knows-what in the drain trap, and they're licking on what laying on the counters?...Agh! No!!

So, since I've lately been studying Byron Katie, I decided to apply her four-question technique to this situation. It starts with making a statement about something that really really bothers you in your life - something that creates struggle. My statement: I don't want the cats to get on the counters. Then you ask these four questions:

1) Is it true? My firm and emphatic reply was "YES!"

2) Is it absolutely true? My more thoughtful, still firm reply was "Yes."

3) How do you react when you think this thought? I get tense, I feel anger and frustration. They're impertinent! Disrespectful! It pisses me off! (Disprespectful? At this point, I'm sniggering at myself, but this is really how into this "story" I get!)

4) Who would you be without the thought? I felt good, peaceful. I had visions of the cats playing on the counters in the sunlight. In front of me. Never-before-seen-footage of them walking about the stove, the toaster, the fruit bowl. No problem. In fact, I was calm, more relaxed, more loving toward them and everyone around me in the room. I felt nothing but love toward them.

And the final step to the process is that you turn your statement around: I want the cats to get on the counters. And as Byron Katie says, "Yes, that's good, but there's one more way to turn it around - what is it?"

I want to get on the counters.

I laughed out loud! (The cats flew off the couch - "Run! She's gone mad!") How hilarious! How silly! And yet I think about the cats and me on the counter, playing, being happy. And why not? Let it go. There are better battles to fight.

And that's just it, isn't it? The Universe is always loving and humorous. Always, every time, without question. The only battles out there are the ones we choose.

And I found that the real trick to this process is that after you ask the questions and see the wisdom, you have to embody the wisdom. You have to walk your new-found truth. Not an easy walk, but one worth taking. All over the counters if you have to. I'm working on it - me and the Ninja cats...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Authentic Power: the Path of the Masters

"To live without a stressful story, to be a lover of what is, even in pain - that's heaven. To be in pain and believe that you shouldn't be in pain - that's hell."
- Byron Katie, A Thousand Names for Joy

How can you find peace when you are surrounded by unpredictable and antagonistic situations, people, and events?

We tend to look outside of ourselves to figure out how to make everything and everyone harmonize with us. But if you are trying to get to San Diego from Phoenix, you do not drive to Denver. And by looking outside of yourself to make you feel better, you are driving the wrong direction. The only place you can ever look to feel peaceful, happy, and fulfilled is inside of yourself.

Take a Journey...

My Journey started when I began to examine what life was, what my existence was about. I began to see that anger wasn't a result of what people had done to me in the past; it was a result of my choosing to dwell on that past. I was my source of my anger. And every time I continued to bring up the past, my anger was justified and I perpetuated it. I kept it alive by staying the victim.

Powering Through...

I discovered that "Power" isn't about making others apologize or be nice to me, or about changing the past or wielding influence over another. True Power is an individual choice and a perspective: You can choose to be happy in this moment, or to continue being unhappy about the past. Staying in the moment is true Power. Because to choose being in the moment is to choose how you feel. The story goes that when China invaded Tibet, a western journalist asked the Dalai Lama how he could be so peaceful in the face of such violence. The Dalai Lama asked the journalist, "Should they also take my mind?"

This is Power...

So try this Eckhart Tolle exercise to be fully in the moment: Just for this moment, feel your awareness as you sit in your chair. Observe yourself. Feel your hands from the inside - not by using your mind to think about them, just notice what your hands feel like from the inside. Are they large or small? Tingling or heavy? Can you feel your feet from the inside? Notice how they feel for a moment. That feeling in your feet and hands is your consciousness, who you really are. Notice your breath as it fills up your lungs, then notice the air as it exits your body. This intense noticing of your body and its "beingness" is Awareness, your Being, you in the Now.

Do you see how there is only your hands and your feet when you are doing this? Do you see how in the moment of noticing your hands and feet, you let go of the past and those feelings associated with past events? Try also feeling your head, your ears, your legs, your whole body. The more you practice this, the longer you can do it, the clearer you become. Other ways to be in the now include creative endeavors, such as drawing, carpentry, dancing, martial arts, and writing. Try any of these and notice how you delve completely into your creation. You let go of the need to control, and yet you are still very in control. The difference is that you are aware.

This moment - the Now - is all there ever is. Our "mental mind" tells us differently, that we have to focus on our past and worry about the future. But past and future do not exist. Our mental mind tells us "of course they exist! Look how screwed we were last time! We must be prepared so we are not screwed the next time!" and then tries to get us to worry about the future again so that we don't get screwed again, so that we can watch "them" even more carefully, so that we can know when we're about to be duped or hurt, so that we can have a witty or intelligent retort ready, so that we can prevent horrible things or great embarrassments, so that we can figure it all out, so that we can make our next move, etc. etc. etc.

Let that go. Sit in your chair, feel your body in that chair, your feet on the ground. You are grounded like a tree, your energy radiates up to connect with the sky. You are here in the Now. This is your Power. This is a spiritual practice. When you practice it, you are exercising your spiritual muscle. Soon, as your muscle builds, it becomes easier, and you begin to feel good about life, yourself, your relationships, your path, your choices. You let go of the need to be in control, and suddenly you see that you are in control. Because when you are being still, and in the Now, you can hear the wisdom of your intuition.

Feel Good...

The only thing we are required to do to lead a fulfilled, happy, prosperous life, is to feel good and be in the moment.

Our bimonthly group is practicing noticing when we feel fear, frustration, annoyance, etc. This practice is primarily to dissipate negative feelings by bringing our attention to the emotion. When we observe our negative feelings, our awareness processes it quickly, and it dissipates almost as soon as you turn on the "oberservation mode." Below is the exercise our group is practicing for the next two weeks. After a few weeks, I'll blog about the group's general observations.
To learn more about being in the Moment, check out Eckhart Tolle's books or CDs titled "A New Earth" or "The Power of Now". To learn more about why feeling good will benefit you overall, read or listen to the Abraham-Hicks book or CD "The Law of Attraction". These books are just a few that I have read recently, but there are many other wonderful spiritual teachers with books, CDs, and DVDs out there, so find the ones that jump out at you, and try them!

Eckhart Tolle, Abraham, Byron Katie, and other spiritual leaders say that nothing is more important than that you feel good. This exercise is about noticing how often and why negative feelings arise, and how when we are in the moment and being aware, these bad feelings tend to process and dissipate. For the next several days, your homework is to notice whenever you feel bad - sad, frustrated, annoyed, defensive, angry. Notice the negative feelings, then ask yourself:

* Do I want someone else or something else to change to make me feel better?
* Am I judging me or someone else?
* Am I defending my position for feeling bad?

Then take the perspective of the Observer who is watching your negative feelings. Just notice them from an aware, conscious place. When you do this, what happens to your feelings?

Try not to beat yourself up or judge yourself as you observe, just notice what your feelings are, and watch them dissipate. This is a spiritual practice, so try it for the next several days until our meeting, and see if it doesn't make you more aware of old patterns.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Little Spot of Mayhem

Today is a day of choosing, symbolized by the vote. After unplugging from the news for a few weeks now, I feel so much better, and have been spending the extra time reading, going for walks in nature, and doing fun or creative things I don't often give myself time to do.

Recently I heard that there is a possibility that the outcome of the election could result in bad things: mayhem, destruction, even blood shed. Not good stuff.

That this news came to me tells me that I would benefit today by keeping the TV turned off, and instead putting my attention on positive things, focusing on good, finding things that make me feel good. Because everything I see happening outside of a myself, correlates to an issue going on inside of me. In other words, because the suggestion of possible mayhem came up in my "outside" experience, I have a little spot of mayhem inside of me.
When I see spots of mayhem, I know it's time to laugh with my daughter over a game of Tivial Persuit, bundle up and walk my Brandy dog on beautiful snowy trails, write, paint, and do for me what I love to do. While some see this as "selfish" or as me covering my ears and saying "lalalalala" don't wanna hear, don't wanna know, it is actually me showing the universe what I want more of ... I am harnessing the law of attraction.

When I feel good and do things that make me feel good, I am asking for more good to come to me, and in turn, this adds to the field of consciousness that we are all a part of. Therefore, this adds a little more good, a little more joy, a little more love to our world. So if a person chooses to look for and then spend time watching mayhem unfold, they will be feeling fear, tension, and possibly anger. But my hope is that they will join me in feeling good, letting go of the desire to watch whether mayhem unfolds, and instead focus on enjoying the rest of this beautiful day.

Much love and light to everyone on this day of choosing. Off to do those little things for me.

Monday, October 27, 2008

View from the Edge of Unplugging the TV

Have you ever heard the saying, turn off TV and turn on your life?

A News Junky Unplugs

About 3 years ago, I stopped watching the news and programs that were "background TV noise" and only watched two one-hour shows during the week that I enjoyed (maybe three). I stayed informed by glancing at national headlines from my internet homepage or from friends or family. If I needed to know more, I could look it up on the internet. This was amazing for me as I had previously been a news junkie. In fact, I have a degree in Journalism and Public Communication and worked in print media for several years before moving into technical writing and proposals. The TV morning news, CNN all day, and the nightly news were always on around me. I read a few papers every day. Junky hardly describes my immersion. This was air to me.

So to turn off the news was a big deal. But when I did, I felt the benefits right away. I felt good all of the time, and my thoughts and conversations were more positive. On occassion I would "run into" a TV that was airing the news. It was like running into a wall, and immediately I would begin to feel bad.

BREAKING NEWS: You Will Not Only Survive Without the News, You will Fluorish

About 2 years into my Unplugging from the News, and about 5 years after the U.S. had invaded Iraq, I "ran into" a TV in a doctor's waiting room with these words blazed across the screen: "BREAKING NEWS: Terrorists Found in Afghanistan".

The 'snerk' noise that I expelled through my airways was not received well by the waiting room watchers, who were engrossed by the details of this shocking information. Their disdain for my disdain made me check the TV again - maybe I'd misperceived what I saw and it was actually a documentary on the history of the Iraq War or something. So, I quietly sat down, assumed a respectful posture, and peered intently at the screen waiting for The Truth to Unfold.

But the reporter was live and commenting that indeed, terrorists were in Afghanistan. I studied the faces in the waiting room. None of them seemed to think this was beyond bizarre. Five years into a War on Terror, many innocent lives lost in Afghanistan, and no one thought this breaking news was ridiculous? Thank God CNN was there to report it, because who would have thought there were terrorists in Afghanistan?

But I need to Know About the Presidential Election...

Travel forward about a year ... The U.S. presidential election. I wanted to be an informed voter in one of the most fantastic, powerful voting opportunities in the history of the U.S. (all 230 years of it.). This vote would not just impact me, my state, my nation, but the world. I developed a morbid fascination in watching the polls and the politics.

I turned the news on to see the debates. But did it inform me? Yes; I saw how far the presidential candidates were willing to go to discredit each other. I heard some policy mentioned during the debates, but it wasn't anything that I didn't already know. Democrats want to help the middle class; Republicans want to help businesses and the rich...trickle down and all that. It was not a debate on policy, it was a debate on who was the biggest liar. That should be a new show: The Biggest Liar. Infact, the debators consistently lobbed untrue accusations at each other and fed the listeners misinformation, which included statistics that shored up their positions. What was the truth anymore? I felt I knew less when I turned off the TV debate.

But I need to Know About the Economy...

It stinks. And what you focus on, you get more of. But I didn't listen to that wise and compassionate voice inside telling me to "Knock it off! Turn that off! It makes you feel bad!"...

I couldn't help myself. I wanted to watch the news so I could see the plunging and rising of the Dow and global markets. I'm kinda twisted I guess. The demise of greedy lenders, bankers, and CEOs was rather refreshing news. But in truth, I have a belief that things will get better once the corruption and greed is passed, and once money is not considered more important than people or the Earth. I truly believe our economy will one day be based on wellness. that's another story entirely, but that is my belief, so maybe it's a little less unsettling for me.
So I'd watch, every day, two or three times a day, as the Dow plunged, then went up, plunged, then went up. But even in my hopes that its massive thrashing would eventually bring a better, more enlightened economy, watching it got old because it made me worry. There was nothing I could do to change the Dow or my worry over it when I watched.


But there was so much more to watch ... there was the political scandals and news from my own backyard: I turned the news on to see Alaska's own sweetheart governor, Sarah, take the national stage and Uncle Ted (Stevens) be drug across the arena tied to the media chariot. I turned the news on to see if Hurricane Whatsitsface was going to wipe out Houston, Galveston, New Orleans, Miami, and make another run for Cuba. It seemed I had to sate some strange urge. (I even checked out those cool hurricane tracking websites. Technology is so amazing these days! You can zoom all over the planet on those websites.)

And along with this urge to watch news, I began watching the background-noise shows again. They were not interesting, they were just making noise.

WAKE UP CALL: News Makes You Sick

Wow. I felt drained. Physically, mentally and emotionally. I had developed what I can only describe as a negative background cocktail of fear, concern, morbid fascination, and dread. Actually, just writing about this makes me feel yuck. It goes away only when I apply serious amounts of meditation, clearing, grounding and positive visualizations.

So when I recognized this was happening to me a few weeks ago, I turned off the news and background shows. I went back to watching those two (or three) shows that I have always watched.

Just a Matter of Time: Will the Negative Cocktail Nausea Take Out Prime Time?

Yet I am still noticing something isn't quite right. Maybe I'm coming to a point in life where I just need to let go of TV. AAAGH! Did I type that out loud!? I don't know what's more unsettling: that I have to miss Survivor or that I'm treating TV like it is a requirement to stay it's air.

Even with just the two shows I watch (okay, maybe it's three) I've noticed that prior to watching them, I feel wonderful: My mood is great, my vibration is high, and I even feel excited by the prospect of watching my show! Aaahhh, all is right in the world as I settle in with my gargantuan bowl of popcorn, to just be ... with my TV.

And while I'm watching, I don’t notice how I feel anymore. I start to zone into the reality of the reality show. I'm totally unconscious of my being. Yet I am very good at stuffing my face with popcorn.

When the program ends, I notice that my wonderful-feeling emotions are gone and I've lost my background of inner peace. It is replaced by a low-hum of discontent, which feeds into any issue I may be having in life at that time. And so starts the Negative Cocktail Hour.

Clearly this is not good, but check me out as I struggle with this issue this year! I am definitely processing what TV means to me and how far I am willing to experience the struggle. Usually for me, this level of processing means that the issue is coming to a head. And it looks like I'm leaning toward Total Unplugging.

Life Without TV: What Would This Strange New Unplugged World Look Like?

To move forward in my own "turning-off-of-the-TV," I look at the positives: My daughter and I will be doing other things together that are interactive and pleasant, like playing board games, getting outside for a wild game of extreme badminton in 20-degree weather, and even enjoying that thing they call ... what is it? Talking? I actually can't wait - hm. Coming back to family.
I also keep reminding myself that if I turn off the TV I will save money. That should equal about $60 per month for my particular cable package. Right on! More lattes! It's sad in a funny way that my daughter doesn't understand that when I say I'm going to shut off the TV, she doesn't realize I'm talking about the cable company, and therefore both of the TVs in the house. She keeps telling me I can turn off the TV if I want, but I can't touch her TV. I told her I would never touch her TV. Luckily there's a DVD and video player in that thing. That'll keep her from throwing it through the wall when she finds out what "shut off" really means. *Sigh*...Teenagers.

But if, like myself and my daughter, one is thinking "AAAAGH! What about Survivor!?" (Or insert your favorite show), then at least consider only watching TV when you are willing to be very present and aware. Only watch when you are not tired, and your mind is not empty. In the tired and empty states, your mind is vulnerable to the flood of mis-information or over-information that the programs, advertisements, and the news provide.

Mind Your Unconscious Mind

Eckhart Tolle in "A New Earth" recommends that if you do watch TV, you need to be very present, not “lose” yourself in it. And don't watch TV when you're tired because when you're tired, your mind goes into neutral, and in the absense of your own thoughts and beliefs, programming and advertisers insert their information. Kinda scarey, huh? I suspect that this is why I have been feeling so crappy with just the two (ur ... three) TV shows I'm following. Probably because most channels, except those like PBS in the U.S., have advertisements. My favorite shows have plenty of commercials, most I've seen so many times, I can't bear to hear or watch them anymore. Their meer repetition ignites an agitation and annoyance in me that only is alleviated by one thing: the mute button. Oh beautiful button of silence sent by truly loving gods.

Which brings us to Number 544 of the 1,001 Good Reasons to Turn Off the TV: The over-the-counter and prescription drug advertisers know that the evening news makes you feel bad, and that you're tired during the evening hours - so they intentionally run their ads about drugs that will make you feel better during the news hours. And the impact they may not have predicted: the drug ads may make you feel better because you're so annoyed with advertisements.
To see this for yourself, the next time you watch the evening news, take a pen and paper and mark down every prescription or OTC drug ad you see. In the end, your tally will show that drug commercials are the predominant advertisements during the evening news.
From this former journalist and news-aholic: If you turn the news off, you aren't missing anything. At first your mind will try to tell you you are, but when you come to see that the news is simply one person's perspective, one organization's perspective, one group's perspective, and that there is always many other perspectives for every event, there is nothing in the news that will give you information that you must know in this moment.

Instead of looking at all the bad events, look instead at all the good things you can do when you turn off the TV for yourself, for your family, for your community. When you focus on positives in your life, you put that vibration out there that inspires others to focus on positives. This is how you benefit others when you turn off your TV. There's not only inspiration, but there is also a thing that Carl Jung called Collective Consciousness. Scientists at Princeton call it the Noosphere. Spiritual leaders call it many different names like Field of Consciousness and Oneness. All of us are connected to it. You may not be able to see it, but it is there and when you are focusing on beautiful things, like your laughing children and trees while walking in nature, you are feeding the Field of Consciousness the beauty you see. When you watch the negative events of the news and absorb the advertisements consciously or unconsciously, you are not only feeling ill and effecting your own vibration, but this vibration is being sent into the Field of Consciousness as well.

Investigate unplugging the TV, and consider connecting to your wellbeing instead. By sharing your positive, healthy vibration in the collective consciousness, this is where you are effecting real change in your wellness, your family and friends' wellbeing, and that of the world.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

October's Wild Ride

October has brought huge waves of awareness, and I was rocked by several "realizations" about life and several epiphanies that opened my eyes. As we move forward, it seems reality as I used to understand it is gone, and in its place is a simple, new reality. It has shown me that I am not what I thought, and I am more than I thought, and that we truly are here to change the world.

Take for instance the Dow Jones. It seems to be matching my rollercoaster ride. This is symbology at work, reflecting an inner feeling of an individual to an outer-world reality.

This month I have seen my shadow side frequently, and often plunged into its depths, distraught at my failures, frustrated with my inability to create or manifest, feeling so alone and apart. Then suddenly a wave of light arrives, and on that wave of light comes the realization that without the dark, I could not see the light, the truth of who I am. The darkness is just the other side of the coin. And after night, comes day. My eyes open and I see the perfection around me: the winter trees, the rocks covered in snow, and my place among them.

And so follows the Dow Jones. Strange, isn’t it? What baramoter have we created that we were unaware of? Go to the Dow Jones to see how you’re feeling today. What came first, the chicken or the egg? The plunging dow or my dark side?

But it is just so: Wall Street is looking for good news, then sees bad. It goes up, it goes down. And like Wall Street, every individual’s inner barometer is measuring their inner turmoil right now. Like Wall Street, every individual is being asked to look at their situation and question their reality. In the words of Suze Orman, we thought there was a house with a foundation, but under the foundation was an enormous sink hole.

That sink hole exists in each and every one of us. It was based on lies, we lied to ourselves to get these loans, and the banks lied to themselves and us to give the loans, and now there is nothing to support the lies.

Ask yourself this: Do you have a home now? Where is it?

Some might say the home is that beautiful house you had to give up, or one answer might be "not this stinking apartment." But your home is none of these, is it? Because as long as your heart beats, your home is inside of you. You carry it with you, it is not an outside object made of wood and slab. It is the part of you that keeps your family whole, that speaks to who you are as you go through your day. So long as you have your home and your health, you will be living a truth. Not a lie.

When individuals begin to balance their polarities, that is to say, balance their struggle between material (house outside you) and the immaterial (house inside you), right and wrong, good and evil, masculine and feminine, being and doing - whatever their struggle is - the new economy will become stable.

For example, the polarity I am working through is integrating the male and female aspects within me. This doesn’t mean I’m a guy trying to come out of a female body, it means that within all of us there are male aspects and female aspects. I am learning to integrate the feminine concepts of allowing, acceptance, creating, and surrender into the masculine concepts of doing and powering through.

When I burned out in the corporate world - “cratered” - I lived off of saved money to invest in the time I needed to discover what I wanted to become. Eventually, I sold the snow machines and other items on Craig’s List (not the cabin!), and did the "big taboo" of the financial world: I re-framed the purpose of my 401K and IRAs.

Times are changing. Money was based on greed and accumulation. I could see the money disappearing before my eyes even in October 2007. Did I want it to disolve on Wall Street or did I want to pay my bills while I worked through the greatest learning period of my life? It was an investment in myself, like college had been. And it was what I was inspired to do.

There is a new economic trend coming. It is to reframe the concept of wealth. People and the planet will matter more than money. What we needed yesterday, is not what we need today. What we need tomorrow is not money for security; what we need tomorrow is to know that if we are cut off from utilities, can we get heat, light, and sanitary water? If we are cut off from food sources, can we get food to eat?

It is what we are being that is valuable now, not how good we look as we are doing. Not what money we have saved or hoarded. If you want your money to matter, find out who you want to be in earnest. Take time to sit alone and think about what you want your future to look like. Does it matter if it involves a fancy car, or that your family is healthy?

Money will be taking a back seat soon. Money will no longer matter because you can’t have enough of it to keep your stocks from “cratering.” You cannot have enough money to protect you from a world that lived in lies about money. That world was based on greed, dishonesty, disrespect, and “not enough.” Always never enough.

A good question to ask in times like these is, What do I know about sustaining myself? If you know nothing, then start to learn! It is never too late and time only goes by. One of the best schools from which to learn about living is the cooperative extension services at your local universities. Most of their programs are free or priced very low. They have the classes that teach you about collecting and growing foods in your area, composting, raising farm animals, master gardening, canning, and so much more. When I started to learn sustaining methods 3 years ago, I didn't realize that was what I was doing. I took master gardening classes, learned to can, played with building structures, and learned to use a chain saw. But it was not until this month, October 2008, that I had the “epiphanies” that all that I had learned will pay off in the next few years.

After I left my job, I used my 401K and IRA money to determine the most important question: In the present, what am I representing as I put my energy forward? In the past, what has been my “passion” – those themes that pepper my life with joy? In the future, who do I want to become?

If you know all that you are and you are comfortable even as the stock market soars and plummets, then ask yourself what your community needs, because it is your community that will be your foundation in the future. An example of this is the banks: big banks are “Cratering”; small local banks are fine because they didn’t use the bad business practices, didn’t get greedy, and stayed true to their customers, the local community.

In the end, we’re all going to be fine. But in an almost Taoist way, we must come to terms with who we really are. We must face our polarities, bring our energies and money and resources into ourselves and our communities, and allow this global economic ride to unfold.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Proof of the Awakening: Lightworkers Wear Flannel

I have an announcement to make: Lightworkers wear flannel.

I saw them this weekend. At the Bioneers in Alaska Conference. They were men, my second favorite topic. Rising consciousness is my first favorite. So imagine my excitement when I went to my first Bioneers Conference and these men weren't the stereotypical male lightworkers: the healer in a turtle neck; the Native American elder or shaman; or the young dread-locked rebel. Don't get me wrong, I love the male lightworkers, dreads and all! They have been my anchor in the belief that men are a part of this world and actually will come with us females as we move into consciousness. It's just that my perception has followed that they looked like John Edward and live on the East Coast (most notably Long Island), or Arizona, or San Francisco. Or Great Brittain. Or Europe. Definitely Europe. But not really in Alaska.

Now, one might understand my ignorance because when you live in Alaska with He-Men of the North, many of whom shoot, hunt, and grunt next to pitbulls wearing lipstick, you will understand that it is uncommon to see flannel-wearing peoples of the male variety attending a conference on the health of humanity and the planet. You betcha.

I have attended other Alaska events with spiritual themes, and can quite accurately say that most Lightworkers in Alaska who go to these conferences tend to be female.

So when the topic turned to similiarities between the systems of ecology and economy, which was laced with spiritual overtones, I watched these flannel-clad men most carefully to see if they looked stunned or flinched. Afterall, they are men ... would they admit to this more feminine approach to reality without feeling challenged?

But they did not flinch. Instead they nodded. Woa. They concurred. Whether they would concur to the fact that I'm calling them Lightworkers might be less certain, but it was clear as daylight that they were nodding their agreement to the belief that consciousness is on the rise.

Talk about awakening. If ever there was proof that consciousness is rising, it was at the Bioneers Conference this weekend. These men were engineers, construction workers, biologists, and inventors. They talked about their toys: biocomposters, whole-home systems, biofuel to run cars, non-toxic wood preservers, and, my favorite, the 3,000 square foot house that paid the local natural gas utility $190 for one winter - ONE WINTER IN ALASKA. That's an 8-month season folks. My little 1,400 sf house uses that in 1.5 months.

So today I woke up and suddely understood how enormous this shift in consciousness really is.

This morning, I needed to get the word out. Everyone has to know: there are men out there who are lightworkers, and they wear flannel. I am fairly certain that in 2012, we will see the Holy Grail of awakening proof: men in Carharts and steel-toed boots at the Bioneers conference. Just hang onto your seats for that crazy ride!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Little Voice

Every morning when I type in the day in my personal journal (Monday, Tuesday, etc.), a voice in my head says “Another Monday?” As if a multitude of Mondays has gone by and that one thing I wanted to have happen, hasn’t happened yet. While this little voice seems harmless, it’s repetitive subtle questioning is actually pretty damaging; first, because it is wrong, and second, because it is piling on criticism every morning, almost subconsciously.

In studying egos, I have learned that they work inside every individual like a separate entity. The ego’s job is to give the person an identity. That is not bad–we all need our egos to function in this world. But the ego will try to form an identity for you that will judge everyone and exaggerate your status in the world around you: “I’m all that and a bag of chips” is a familiar ego type; but just as notable is the “I’m not as good as they are.” And yes, even when a person experiences “Yet another Tuesday” with the feeling that you’ve missed out or aren’t getting it right, that’s the ego too.

In the end, the ego is giving you an identity to let you know where you measure up in the world around you by judging people, situations, events, objects, creatures, whatever comes before you. These judgments define and label these things and can be useful. But when you hear criticism come from your lips or your mind, about yourself or another, that is always the ego.

The way to stop the criticism is to bring attention to it. Bring your awareness to the feelings and thoughts that are behind the criticisn. Observe yourself feeling the negative, critical thinking. When you do this, the criticism and negative emotions tend to melt away.

Also, be careful not to beat yourself up for criticizing, as that’s the ego too. Instead, go back to the observing (even of the self-criticizing), and see what happens. This how you bring awareness into your world, and how you begin to awaken. This is being fully conscious.

I’m not waiting for anything better or more to come into my life! When I told a curious friend once that I wasn’t really job-job hunting, she said, “Oh I get it, you’re creating!”


I suppose “creating” can be construed to imply I am hoping to finish making something, but hey, this creation stage of my life is really all that life is, and I am doing my best to work on “not waiting for anything.” I am in the moment as much as possible, and have an entirely new approach to life: I take a step, stop and observe where the Universe opens a door or urges me to go. So an opportunity comes up, I take a step, stop and observe. And though my life now may seem to not fit into America’s definition of successful, I can tell you that my life once did fit into that definition, and I paid a high price for that success. I learned a lot, and
earned enough to financially cover me for the first several months of creating, and for that I am grateful! But to be honest, I have no idea how the money continues to come in just when I need it and how much I need. I don’t live “well” or have extra money lying around but if I told you I was in Hawaii a month ago, you’d probably think I was lying (photo is of the harbor on Kauai).

Life is about creating - and when you feel like you don't have control, that's when you know your ego is trying to take over and get control. The ego needs to feel in control and needs to narrate that control. So when I heard my ego say "It's another Monday" this morning, I realized I needed to let the desire to control go, and acknowledge that I am successfully creating.

Friday, September 19, 2008

From Corporate Insanity

One year and one month ago I quit my Corporate Job of Insanity. Have you heard this story before? I was a successful proposal manager for a corporation that pursued multi-million dollar military contracts all over the world. I loved the people I worked with, but the increasing responsibilities of this job in its last year had me working 70, 80, and 90 hours a week - without weekends of course. I came home exhausted every night and I woke up exhausted. I own a cabin (pictured), but was not able to go to the cabin, or if I did make it, I'd do nothing but sleep when I got there. It had not always been this way at this job (5 years), but they made it clear the responsibilities and work environment would not change.

I am grateful for this difficult period because it pushed me to recognize I must change my life - I no longer liked what I did for a living or who I was becoming, I couldn't be the mother I needed to be, and I certainly had no time for family, friends, myself, or an intimate relationship.

I made the decision the night I arrived home after making the commute in my gas-guzzling truck because the car had a flat that I didn't have time to fix. When I walked through the door, my teenager announced, "Hey Lady Who Lives at the End of the Hall, we're out of dog food."

So, right after I fed my dogs cat food because I didn't have the energy to go to the store, I wrote my resignation.

Those first few months After Job (A.J.) I decided I would start a nonprofit, write a business plan, woo Bill Gates, and basically save the world. The other crucial thing for me was that I felt ready for a meaningful relationship now that I had time to actually see other human beings.

During the months right after I quit, I realized that the quality of my life was more important to me than getting another "job-job" or to make XX amount of money. I had the reserves to explore what I wanted to do with my life, I just wasn't sure how far it would get me. Even after the reserves were gone, money seemed to make itself available. No, it didn't come out of no where or from trees, but it did come. Whether by a tax refund, an insurance refund, an unexpected side job, or wherever.

What I didn't realize, was that by noticing all the things I didn't want anymore, I was becoming really clear about what I did want to do and experience in my life. I was forming the foundation to create a happy life.

So I can honestly say one year and one month ago, I would never have believed that I would be spending the predominant amount of my time with my daughter and with my dog hiking in the mountains. This picture is of an area just 10 miles from my backdoor.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Stow-aways and Angels

My Journey began 3 years ago on a ship called Spirit in the Gulf of Alaska. It carried 1500 wide-eyed cruisers, 200 of whom were seekers and 3 who were self-described psychics.

I was born in Alaska, so my point for being on this cruise was really to see Sylvia Browne in action, maybe get a reading as an audience member, and, as a pleasant happenstance, visit the towns in the area of Alaska where I'd been born.

Two hundred people went to Sylvia's event on that cruise ship, but maybe if she didn't connect with me, her fellow psychics, John Holland and Gordon Smith, would pick something up. I didn't know who they were, but I figured they must be good if they were traveling with Sylvia. (As some may be aware, both Holland and Smith have become fairly famous psychics in the U.S. and the U.K.)

In the end, Sylvia granted everyone in the audience one question. I got to ask the question that was keeing me up at night: "What work should I be doing?" I was miserable as a proposal manager, though I loved to write. And the climate at work was progressively getting worse, as employees were being under-paid and over-worked to build a corporate empire. I had run into dead-ends on other career avenues that seemed promising, so I wanted to see what "the other side" had to say. It was really just a last-ditch, intriguing idea that came to me, and I figured, why not? I really thought at the time that this would be my only foray into the world of "psychics" and "visionaries."

Sylvia's answer: "Medical." When I stared at her blankly she said, "Healing, dear. It's all the same."

I'm pretty sure I wore the floorboards out in our cabin the next few days, trying to figure out how I could possibly have gone so wrong in my life. How did I get so off track? I had a degree in journalism for Pete's sake. Maybe Sylvia got me mixed up with the guy behind me. But if not, what was I supposed to do...? Go back to school to become a doctor or registered nurse? Good God, how many years of school and dollars would that be!? Truthfully, I didn't know what a healer really was anyway...Probably something to do with a mortar and pestle. I resigned myself to going home and looking at other career options.

But on the last morning, as my mom, daughter and I had breakfast in the restaurant on the ship, we began to talk to a lady who'd been part of the Sylvia Browne event. Mom asked her what she did for a living. The woman answered that she was an angel teacher. My somewhat skeptical, but quasi-open-minded mother, shifted ever so slightly in her seat to get a better view of this woman. Meanwhile, something inside of me said, "Cool!" But I wasn't sure why...I asked, "What's an angel teacher?"

"I hold classes in which I teach people the very basics of inuition and working with angels. I've seen and talked to angels all of my life."

My world suddenly seemed to open up - there were such things as angel teachers!? Wow, there are people who can talk to just angels!? Like Sylvia just talks to dead people!? How cool was that!? We chatted more, and finally I told her I'd been a little perplexed about Sylvia's answer of "medical or healing." The angel lady told me that healing often can be emotional, spiritual, and mental, not just physical, and that there were so many different kinds of healing, I should seek out like-minded people in my community.

I wasn't exactly sure what a like-minded person was, but I was resolved to find them. So when I returned to Alaska, I Googled "Spiritual Alaska" and "like-minded Alaska" and "psychics Alaska," but found only scarey products and dead ends.
Just a few days later, I went to an appointment at the eye doctor's (note the word "eye," as in "organ to see with."). There, sitting on a side table was a magazine called The Alaska Wellness Magazine. I picked up a copy from sheer boredom, and began to read. I hardly opened the front cover when I had to sit up and start flipping pages to be sure of what I was seeing. There before me - page after page - were advertisements after articles after advertisements of psychics and healers of modalities I'd never heard of before. Then I found the article with the title: "I Talk to Angels."

The "I Talk to Angels" author included her email address in the article, so I contacted her and got a reading. That amazing connection started my Journey: from a boat in the Gulf of Alaska, to a doctor's office in downtown Anchorage, to a medium's office in my home town. I discovered not long after this, that I was not just a physical, mental and emotional being, but that I was also spiritual, as is everyone. And that is why we are all Journiers, capable of creating the lives we want, capable of talking to angels and guides, and talking to each other - awake, asleep, this side or that. We are here on Earth to live our lives to the fullest, and that is why I am taking my Journal online. To fulfill my two passions: Writing and inspiring.

The intent of this blog is not to impose my beliefs on anyone; it is simply to share my Journey, so that it might inspire others who are seeking their own truth and experiencing their own Journey.
As far as "the work that I should be doing" - it is still unfolding. I've not limited myself to any one thing, and strangely, I don't have a "job-job" anymore. I've opened myself to whatever opportunities come my way. Am I in healing? Maybe. If you look at life from the perspective that we're all here to help each other out. I do write grants to give healers resources and support so they can heal; I am writing a business plan with healers to create healing facilities and programs. I am also part of an effort to help post-traumatic stress disorder veterans and civilians receive psychiatric service dogs. So, yes, maybe I am a healer! If you look at it the way that the janitor at NASA looks at the world: "I help send astronauts to the moon." I like that guy! We should all be so aware of our contributions - because they matter, and every contribution that we make does effect the rest of the world.