Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Trusting Inner Guidance

Every time I walk downtown I check to see how my perfume is doing at Artisans Gallery, a wonderful art and handmade crafts gallery on Pacific Ave. in Santa Cruz. I didn't expect them to need any perfume today as I just filled an order for them two weeks ago but to my surprise they are low on one — Mama Love For Trusting Inner Guidance.

A year ago I thought I should retire this formula. Except for in Big Sur that perfume didn't tend to sell very well. Or so I thought. Still, despite all logic to the contrary, my inner guidance said not to change anything, to hang in with it a little bit longer.

So I did and today it is one of my most popular perfumes.

Why? Maybe the people who did try it come back for more. Paul wonders if perhaps all the talk lately about the recession is making people nervous about making decisions. I suspect we'll never really know for sure.

All I know is I trusted my guidance on that one, when it didn't seem to make sense, and I'm glad I chose to do so.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Flower Essences and Family Caregiving

I forgot to mention it in the last email newsletter Paul and I put out but I have an article in the online edition of Vibration Magazine this month about using flower essences to aid with typical caregiver issues that come up when doing long-term caregiving for someone you love with dementia. You can read it .

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Illness and Emotional/Spiritual Contagion

So I succumbed to the illness Paul and John have had this week. Coughing, achy, nauseous, all the classic signs of flu. And I'm bummed because I know just when it happened.

Up until a few hours ago I was doing fine. I was even gleeful at the thought that I would not get sick even though the whole household is full of disease. I intended it and really enjoyed being well. But this morning my housemate John came down the stairs looking like hell, hacking and coughing and complaining that he was much worse and a tiny little feeling of unbelievability came into my mind. "Am I really capable of warding off something this big?"

I knew the thought was counterproductive. I shifted back to my more positive point of view...but those niggling fears snuck their way in. I knew it. But the little engine that could (Paul wrote about that in our most recent email newsletter) just veered off the track. Within minutes I knew my energy downshifted—it was hardly noticed by me, it was so familiar a state of being. And I felt a little bit of discomfort in my throat. I told myself that if I caught this thing I could nip it in the bud but I could already feel symptoms creeping up on me.

Then Paul came into the room, his coffee machine broke down, he read things on the internet that ALWAYS send us on a slippery slope, I got upset with him for it and wanted to force him to put his upset away. Then I succumbed to the distress all the way and that was the end of it. Headache, achyness, irritated bronchial tubes. From feeling completely well and enjoying life to full blown illness in less than a couple of hours flat.

Paul and I talked a bit later about emotional/spiritual contagion. In our unconventional line of work people come into our office believing all kinds of unbelievable things. Sometimes it's religion that brings them in--a belief in demonic influences, that an evil unknown something can control them from the other side, that they're cursed, vulnerable to attack from all sides. Other times it's not societal alone but family issues, too. If someone in the family unit looks demonic because of their abusive stuff people can get sick through the belief that they are small and too vulnerable to have any control. (Except by being so ill people HAVE to leave them alone.)

It occurs to me that if a person can have their immune response weaken because of emotional distress (read about the field of psychoneuroimmunology if you want the scientific evidence of that), choosing a more powerful point of view would have to be an effective assistance in healing.

Of course, I use energy healing, too, so I decided to do an experiment in which I sent Reiki energy to myself to the period of time in the past just before I felt ill. (A person can do that? Sure, why not?) It went to the third chakra area, the solar plexus, the area we in the West associate with confidence, power, and beliefs about the same. I knew at the time that I was operating under the belief that I might not be able to withstand the emotional and physical germs in my environment. After several minutes of sending Reiki a new belief came into view:

If, in fact, I was an infinite being capable of accessing this healing power to use at any time, how could I not have the power to stay well? My father is pretty darn conservative and not at all New Agey in his beliefs but he believes this. He has some physical conditions he could do without but he never gets a cold or flu. He insists it is a simple matter of mind over matter and delights in proving to people that he is right. He doesn't live a healthy lifestyle either—he smokes, drinks, never exercises and eats junk all day long except when my mother intervenes on his behalf. He has a pretty miserable point of view, too. The only place he obviously uses his ability to channel positivity is in areas like this. Again, it's a point of pride for him.

So for a minute or two I tapped into the belief that I was a being of infinite power, too. And guess what? I immediately felt my foggy headed sleepiness lift. I woke up. I felt awake. I still could feel the achy joints and sinus headache I had before before but emotionally I felt GOOD!

May Your Dreams Come True

Even though I've gotten into drawing, painting and photography in recent years I'm still more of a graphic designer at heart. Here's a design I came up with that I actually became obsessed with until I got it done and put it online. Why? I guess I wanted it on a coffee mug for myself so I could drink out of something with a hopeful joyous message on it any time I wanted to.

Oddly enough, I haven't gotten around to buying one for myself and it just sat on Cafepress for months without anyone finding it. Until today. Someone likes my stuff! They bought several of my graphic designs and this was one of them.

This isn't the first time I've sold work on Cafepress. No, that's been a good investment for me and Paul. But this particular set of purchases touched my heart because several of my favorites were included in the bunch.

You can find this design in Paul and Sheryl's Giftshop.
I don't tend to use this blog to promote my artwork but it's kind of a special case.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Staying Credible Amidst Multiple Realities

We received an email earlier this week from a person we've been using as a role model of sorts that rocked us a bit and woke us up to how important it is to use discrimination. We can be so judgmental of those who tend to reject New Age sensibilities out-of-hand. It reminds us of witch hunts. It reminds us of war and discrimination based on "religious" values of all sorts. And yet Paul and I both cringe at the company we get lumped into as people who openly admit to using psychic skills in the work we do and this email was a perfect example of the kind of really out-there bizarre stuff we'd hate to have people think we believe in, too.

Paul is technically-oriented, used to design and build custom speaker systems for a living, and can talk your ear off about Einstein's theory of relativity and other such things. We're both thinking people and are both skeptical about certain kinds of stuff. We both also have suffered for being overly gullible at different times in our lives and that taught us to pay attention and listen to our own hearts, research what we're interested in and make our own choices based on what we find out. We know the value of listening to our intuition—hell, it's an integral part of what we do—but we know the value of the good old scientific method of inquiry as well. Test it out and see if it works.

The issue of credibility gets all mixed up in this, of course, because we don't reject everything. If something very unconventional and out of the ordinary works we keep trying it out, we use it, and accept it into our knowledge base. Or at least into our belief system base. But that alone affects people's perceptions of our credibility in the wide world. When people don't seem to have the same experiences we have, or have very different knowledge bases and beliefs about what's possible and interpret things differently as a result, they tend to reject anything that doesn't validate their point of view. Never mind that the belief systems they grew up with actually prohibit certain experiences from even happening.

For example, in Zimbabwe the Shona tribe practices a day long ritual in which people go into trance, allow themselves to be possessed by an ancestor, and then receive guidance for the group. They use a musical instrument called the mbira to accomplish this. Supposedly there are shamans in Tibet, here in the Americas and many other places who do similar things using the help of drums or other musical instruments as well. I used to play traditional Shona music on marimbas and mbiras with a group of people here in the U.S. To my knowledge no one in that community nationwide has ever fallen into a trance during the music-playing and started channeling guidance as a result. And if that did happen I'm CERTAIN every white American in the room would be horrified. The person would be looked at like a freak, probably feared, labeled psychotic and never fully trusted again unless someone intervened to set the record straight. Even then, it's unlikely they'd be embraced and revered for their value to the community as they would be in Zimbabwe.

The consensus realities we've created in our country don't tend to support this experience. As it doesn't believe in and support a lot of the things Paul and I and a lot of other people do. Witch-hunting and public "burnings" keep us all in line. People aren't burnt at the stake much anymore but they are "roasted" with public humiliation and discrediting dismissal nonetheless.

Everyone wants to be thought of kindly if at all possible but people in leadership or otherwise in the public view are often held to a higher standard than the public at large. For visible teachers, politicians and religious leaders a career can rise and fall based on the public's perception of who they are or appear to be. Notice how vulnerable our politicians appear to be to public opinion and how they'll use that vulnerability to try and discredit an opponent if they fall prey to thinking they have to. And notice the extreme criticism launched at those who step outside of the mainstream. Visibility comes with a high price in our society today. And heaven forbid you should become paparazzi-bait. I don't want to even discuss how TV shows like TMZ make me feel.

As a person who has always felt different first because of my religion (I grew up Jewish in an Irish and Italian Catholic neighborhood), later because of my intelligence and extreme shyness, and now because of psychic abilities I admit to and the career choices I've made, I've struggled with my feelings about how people will perceive me my whole life. I thought I was finally making peace with it but now with the publishing of a new book that is already being picked up by what I assume could be a mainstream audience the fears are up in my face again. The book is about family caregiving for people with dementia and other brain-impairing illnesses. I keep thinking someone from AARP, the Alzheimer's Association or the Parkinson's Foundation who has the ability to write a wonderful or scathing review about me will find my spiritual counseling and healing website or this blog and dismiss everything I have to say.

And that might be the case. It's also extremely likely that if I market the book to a New Age market it would be well received and people would wonder why I didn't come out of the closet in my writing even further. (Sigh)

Today, I feel at a crossroads in my life and a colleague I felt respect for came out of the closet with the really unusual beliefs that define her piece of the world. It was hard to read it, made me fear for her well-being, and made me distrustful of her point of view. And yet I don't want to dismiss her as fellow human being on the path, to throw the whole package away, reject her out of hand.

This I think is a key shift we need to see in our society today. Do we need to shove people up on a pedestal and then drag them down into the mud and trample them under our feet if they don't live up to our very limited beliefs about what they should think or how they behave? Or can we respect, support and love our teachers and leaders without agreeing with everything they do or say? I think this is a key issue because the condemnation and disrespect we see everyday not only marginalizes and hurts people who dare to be seen in public and lead but everyone who witnesses it and unwittingly participates. It holds people back who might otherwise come forth with better solutions to the problems we have in front of us. It reinforces the idea that it's dangerous to stand out in a crowd and keeps us dangerously immersed in an increasingly narrow perspective. That's not to say in any way that we need to stop questioning—we HAVE to use discrimination. I'm just asking that people take what they need and respectfully leave the rest. Put the condemnation aside (or save it for the most horrendous crimes) and show a little love and respect instead. Anything less undercuts our human spirit and limits our potential.

Friday, February 01, 2008


I just updated the Bookstore section of our Healing Communication website. It was a LOT of work! I can understand now why people do this one item at a time as an ongoing blog item. Perhaps I'll do that in the future.