Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Whenever we go to Gay Pride events, intending to offer our support to our gay neighbors and friends, I spend the day weeping. I feel so touched by the outpouring of love and mutual support around the issue of being oneself because this is something, growing up as an ostracized kid, I didn't experience very much.
I grew up feeling different. I was Jewish and lived in an Irish and Italian Catholic neighborhood. My mom taught me how to read when I was three years old. And I had a photographic memory— I could read a book once, go to class to take a test and not remember the answer, see the book in my mind, turn to the right page in my imagination and read the text off the page and get an "A" on the test anyway. I was also very shy and people in my school didn't like that combination very much.
You see, they thought the combination of me not talking to them and being "smart" meant I was "stuck up." I didn't think I was smart, by the way—I didn't know the answers to the questions on the tests any more than anyone else did! But my test scores told them a different story and that was all my classmates needed to decide to try to take me down a peg at every opportunity.
The first lesson I learned when I went to school was the importance of not standing out from the crowd. I distinctly remember the titters that happened when the other Jewish kid in my class read beautifully when it was his turn to read a few lines from Dick and Jane while the other children struggled to sound out the words one by one. No one tittered at the struggling. That was the norm. They made fun of the one who didn't struggle. When it was my turn I pretended I needed to read slowly and escaped being made fun of for awhile. But not for long. The teacher kept track of how many books each student read in her class and one day brought in a chart that showed me being miles ahead of everyone else. My cover was blown and that was the end of my anonymity from that point on.
Later I discovered that there were many differences that people got ostracized for in my school. Being fat, being poor, being Chinese, being the child of divorced parents—those were the difference-making attributes of the only kids I got to hang out with, the other ostracised kids in the class. And all the differences were things we didn't choose for ourselves. We just had to figure out how to live with it, or disguise it, or grow out of it, or—later —to embrace it.
Later I realized that psychic abilities were something I was expected to hide or, better yet, do without. I spent years of my life deliberately shutting my abilities down. When I came to a point in my life where these abilities came back, I first had to learn how to overcome my fears of having them. And now that Paul and I want to use those skills in addition to our education and experience to help other people our biggest emotional hurdle has been how to come out of hiding and be fully who we are.
Not surprisingly, the struggle to be oneself is at the heart of most, if not all of the sessions we do. What will the neighbors think if I do thus and so? What will my family do? How can I know my life purpose if I was taught all my life that my deepest heart's desires aren't "good enough"? What will I do if I tell the truth about how I really feel about my marriage, my career, my religion? And these issues don't just come up in the spiritual counseling and healing sessions we do.
Paul is a professional photographer and recently he and I have done a couple of portrait shoots with people who felt as if they didn't come across well in pictures. The truth of the matter is that they were both perfectly nice looking people but whenever Paul was about to take the shot, they would literally grimace. Oww! It was painful to watch. Both people were so convinced they were going to look ugly in their pictures that they actually scrunched up their faces and looked... I hate to say it..... ugly. That's when Paul called me in and I took on the job of being a distraction so they would let down their guard and Paul could catch them in the act of being themselves. Being themselves is when they looked the most beautiful, the most radiant, and the most wonderful to be with, too.
For me, and a lot of people like me, the struggle for gay people to have the right to marry has nothing to do with the institution of marriage. It's about people being able to be who they are and having the right to the same protections and benefits under the law everybody else has.
Paul put it to me plainly the other day. We shouldn't be able to legislate away anybody's constitutional rights—rights based on the stated basic premise that all men (people) are created equal and shall be treated as such under the law. To write into legislation that any group shall be discriminated against—that the difference of being gay is any different than the difference of being a different race, religion or gender—is antithetical to what this nation stands for.
You don't have to like gay people. You don't have to like Jews. You can think people who admit to having psychic skills are crazy if you want to. And you can make snide remarks at Obama for being "eloquent" and smart. But this way of being has hurt too many people for far too long.
It's time to change it now.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Paul and I both took a look psychically and I answered his concerns first. “It seems like it’s hard for you to receive the help you need in your life.” Then Paul jumped in “No, it’s worse! It’s like something from outside yourself is impeding you from getting the help you need!” We were all quiet for a minute, none of us knowing what that intuition could mean and Paul dropped into a deeply meditative state. When he came back out he said “I don’t know why I’m supposed to ask you this but I’m wondering how this proposition that’s coming up for a vote (Proposition 8) is affecting you.” For those of you outside of California, if this proposition passed it would take away our client’s right to legitimize his 25 year old gay partnership through marriage.
The pain in our client’s face was immediate and a deep grief was palpable in the room. “This is it” he said. He talked about the “chip on his shoulder” he felt he always carried for being different and how the struggle for equal rights was a terrible cross to bear especially with the vicious advertising campaign being waged across the state designed to take away those hard-won rights once again. He didn’t want to ask for help again. He didn’t want to have to beg his friends to go to the polls and vote. He didn’t want to feel the pain and humiliation of coming out in public—again—and to look to the outside world to provide him with a feeling of legitimacy through fighting this proposition. He didn’t dare even think about it...but it was there and it was getting in his way and causing physical pain.
We counseled and talked for some time. While we, of course, couldn’t solve the entire problem of gay rights and personal legitimacy in a single counseling session, our client left feeling satisfied that he knew how he wanted to handle this situation and ended the session by asking us to vote, which we are happy to do.
Intuitive health consultations are not a substitute for medical diagnosis and we can’t use our intuitive abilities to help people avoid appropriate medical care. But, as shown above, it is an extremely effective tool for accessing mind/body/spirit connections that the medical system doesn’t address. It is our experience that the physical body acts as a reflection of a person's emotional state of being, mental beliefs and spiritual orientation. By understanding the interconnection of mind, body and spirit it is easier to unravel long-standing health issues. We can then use a variety of energy healing and spiritual counseling techniques to gently yet powerfully help you shift these detrimental patterns. That work supports healing on every level.
But, this said, individual work only takes people so far when there's a need to challenge the status quo in our society as a whole. Please get out and vote! There's a lot at stake in this election and it means far more to your friends and neighbors than you could ever know.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Mama Love Flower Essence Aromatherapy was given a plug in two popular blogs this week -- Organic Beauty Expert and The Scented Life. I appreciate them both for doing that, of course, but the one in The Scented Life particularly touched me because the author of the blog wrote about what was at the heart of Mama Love, something I forget to talk about much myself.
Mama Love is not named "Mama Love" because I sell products for new mothers! So many people make that assumption that sometimes I fret over having named my product line this at all.
No, Mama Love is called Mama Love because I think of the love most of us receive from our mothers as being the most nurturing, most unconditional, most nourishing love we experience when we're very young and that's the feeling I wanted to evoke in the products I sell.
Thank you, Amy, at The Scented Life for reminding me to tell the truth. It's not just about health and healing. It's not just about having fun (although that's true, too). It's about having the experience of having created a product that made me feel as loved and as safe as a baby being held securely in her mother's arms. And then deciding to share that formula (Mama Love for Troubled Times) with the world.
It turns out that formula isn't the most popular one -- "Mama Love for Releasing Worry and Fear" holds that distinction. But the intent behind the product line's name remains the same.
Mama Love. The most healing love -- in physical form -- of them all.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Reiki Bears are proving to be a popular item in recent months and I have to admit to getting a real kick out of putting them in a box.
The Bears cost $12 on their own but I include one free with any purchase of at least $50 (not including tax and shipping) from my Mama Love shop or from my shop on Etsy.com.
Know someone who is going through a rough time right now? Add some Mama Love for Troubled Times or Releasing Worry or Fear, Restful Sleep, Abundant Prosperity (who doesn't need that?), Trusting Inner Guidance, or Doing New Things with Confidence. It makes a great gift!
I read this article by Maureen Dowd in today's San Jose Mercury News. It touched me and spoke my thoughts on the subject more than I could ever do on my own. It's well worth a read and makes me proud that Colin Powell is an American.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Paul and our friend Marie and I have been going to free films as part of the Pacific Rim Film Festival all this weekend and we're going tonight, too! We've seen some great ones by filmmakers you've probably never heard of. Our favorite so far was American Fusion, the first feature length film by director Frank Lin which starred some well known actors like Pat Morita and Esai Morales. He claims it was shot in 18 days, using only two cameras, and he did all the editing himself on his girlfriend's computer using software he had to teach himself how to use as he went along! You'd never know. It was well-written, very funny, well-shot and as well-done as any film I've seen at our local arthouse film theater. It's coming out on DVD sometime this year and if you have a chance to rent it on Netflicks, do! It's a lot of fun.
Seeing films like we've seen this week has been very inspiring. We just got our new video camera, by the way. That's Paul with it in the photo above. The fuzzy thing is a cover that gets put over the microphone to cut out wind noise when you shoot footage outside. Paul says the technical term for it is "dead cat." We think it looks ridiculous but it should make people laugh when we point our camera in their direction and ask them to smile for the kitty!
Monday, October 20, 2008
My newest designs in our Cafepress shop. I like them a lot -- really girly, uplifting and fun. Click the link above to see the whole line or click on the pictures to go directly to that item.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
I thought I'd start a few short lists.
I can't believe a person who claims to be spiritual would...
- Vote for McCain
- Vote for Obama
- Believe abortion should be legal
- Oppose abortion for victims of incest or rape and women with health issues
- Believe gay people should be allowed to marry
- Refuse to allow any two people who love each other to have the same rights and protections other married people have
- Go to war
- Refuse to fight for one's country (be a conscientious objector)
- Express an opinion like that (on such an important issue)
- Refuse to express your opinion (on such an important issue)
- Eat meat
- Wear leather
- Wear a low-cut blouse
- Wear so much eye make-up
- Wear blue jeans in public
- Dress like that
- Get angry
- Fight back
- Feel worried
- Feel afraid
- Get confused
- Think a single negative thought
- Refuse to see things the "way they are"
- Make a mistake like that
- Fill in the ___________ with your spiritual prejudice here
Friday, October 17, 2008
What makes The Threshold Choir special is that it was specifically formed to comfort the sick and dying. Choir members learn songs in 2-4 part harmony and "perform" them (offer them) at people's bedsides. They sing in pairs or in small groups at hospices, hospitals, nursing homes, and private homes by the invitation of the family or the person's caregivers. Sometimes the family is present when they sing, and they sing as much for them as for the person who is in bed. The service is provided for free although donations are gratefully accepted.
It's a wonderful experience to be sung to like this. All Threshold Choir members get to have the experience themselves and when I was a member of the group I remember it as moving, extremely peaceful and profound.
Here's a lovely video I found on Youtube featuring members of the choir I used to sing with in Santa Cruz. I never actually sang at a bedside myself but I still find it inspiring work.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Peace, Love, Joy, Laughter, Hope, Dreams, Faith, Beauty, Abundance, Truth, Health, Wisdom, Well-being
I've put some new designs up in our Cafepress shop this week. We're getting tired of the gloom and doom on the television news these days. It's time to pay attention to what's really important. Peace, Love, Joy, Laughter, Hope, Dreams, Faith, Beauty, Abundance, Truth, Health, Wisdom, Well-being... and that's just the first few things I thought of. Pink, purple or blue type on T-shirts, mugs, stickers, greeting cards, buttons...whatever suits your fancy or in your budget. If you click on the images at left you'll be taken to that page in our Cafepress site.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
So, just a short time ago, I was fretting over how our intuition of late (both Paul's and my own) is strangely out of sync with what our intellect would say is the appropriate thing to do. We make only the money we've needed to get by, are being told we must move really soon, haven't succeeded in even finding stopgap "day jobs" that could adequately provide for what we need and what does our intuition tell us to do? Buy video cameras, sound and lighting gear and prepare to become budding videographers??!!! What the....???!!!!
When I forget about the making money NOW thing I really like the idea. We've had several conversations about things we'd like to do. We even think we'd like to interview other people and point a spotlight on other things we find inspiring instead of just pointing the camera at ourselves. Paul's Kundalini Awakening video on Youtube has had 22,000 views so far and brought us several clients so, besides our website and Craigslist ads, it has been one of the more successful things we've done. But it didn't do that much for our business by itself, it requires a lot of time to come up with the concept, shoot and edit the footage, and most of our videos were not similarly successful so the thought of doing more of them makes me a bit overwhelmed. I decided to lay down to do some energy healing on myself and was guided to check my email. There was Rob Brezsny's column and in it my horoscope for the week says:
Live the most interesting and imaginative life you can dream up.And then there was a link to this podcast called "Fear Versus Intuition." It's really good.
Being afraid makes us feel helpless. Our guidance makes us feel good. It works for the people we do sessions for. I hear the theme to Indiana Jones. If we don't trust that the bridge will appear if we're brave enough to step out we'll never find out. We ordered a better video camera to replace the cheap one we got. I guess we're getting ready to take our next step.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Here's a picture of Paul hard at work retouching a photo of a spiritual counseling and healing team that he did a long time ago. We're getting some postcards done to remind the locals that we exist and the only version of this photo we had was reduced down for the web.
Paul set up the shot in one of our favorite locations, set the timer, and then would jump in front of the camera, grab me and grin. It was a lot of fun and we were amazed that, under the circumstances, any of them came out. But I think that really is the key to good portrait photography -- getting the subject to loosen up and let their inner beauty come out and shine. We love this shot because we felt good when the picture was taken and we think it shows.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Have you ever seen a Shasta Daisy? It's like a large classic daisy with multiple petals radiating out of a golden center.
In the classic young girl's divination games the petals are plucked one by one: "He loves me, he loves me not, he loves me..." Another one from the United States goes "Rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief, merchant, tailor, banker, chief."
Each petal represents a potential manifestation of reality. Supposedly the last petal left at the end of the chant tells the tale.
Whole daisies were also made into chains to wear as garlands or wreaths around one's head. They represented the sun, the earth and the whole of the universe—the circle of life.
Holistic consciousness recognizes that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. By focusing too much on the details of life—the individual petals—we miss the big picture. In divination we're usually trying to get guidance on one small aspect of reality. People rarely think to ask the palm reader or tarot card reader what the big picture holds. They want to know who they will marry, will they be rich, as if who they are and what they think and do has nothing to do with that.
"What is the meaning of this situation in my life?", "how can I live my life in such a way as to manifest the healthiest, happiest life possible?", or even "what can I do to prepare myself to attract a wonderful relationship into my life?" are the kind of questions we like to be asked. It's fine to ask about specific pieces of reality—one's health, one's career, one's relationships—but it's important to understand that we're not individual petals disconnected from the whole and those individual aspects of reality are not unrelated either.
Nine times out of ten when a client wants information about their health (assuming the condition was diagnosed correctly by their doctor), the next question we're guided to ask is "how is your relationship?" or "how do you like your job?" And nine times out of ten the answer to one of those questions is "I'm not too happy about that." We wind up spending the rest of the session looking at these other issues and, frequently, the health concerns unravel themselves.
Shasta Daisy flower essence is used to help a person overly focused on the details of life widen their world view so they can see the overall patterns of the situations they find themselves in, too. It is also recommended for writers, teachers, researchers or for anyone engaged in intellectual pursuits because it helps a person synthesize various ideas into an understandable whole. I use it in my Focused Attention flower essence / aromatherapy perfume.
The illustration for this blog comes from the flower essence self-awareness deck I'm working on. If you like this drawing and would like to have a copy on a journal, mug, greeting cards or t-shirt click here. (The copyright/watermark does not appear on the actual items.)
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Living by radical faith is a concept used mostly by fundamentalist Christian organizations to describe the act of trusting God (specifically Jesus) and the guidance received through prayer to guide one's life even in situations where, if your faith was to be proved wrong, failure would be the only result.
For a person who was raised as a Reform Jew this kind of faith -- the proverbial empty-handed leap into the void -- does not come easily. It's not in my upbringing, not in my training. Trusting God enough to feel safe in the world doesn't sit well with a people who have been historically faced with extermination and hounded from their homelands again and again. And yet that is what Paul and I have chosen to do.
Somewhat successfully, I might add, despite the frequently chaotic influence of the people and community around us. We've had free rent and have made just enough money to keep all our other basic needs met from the time we made this decision.
But the situation of being pushed from our current home when we haven't yet manifested or created the means to pay for a new place has not been resolved yet. We know the push was needed to get us to move towards things we've been afraid to do. But need I say how challenging maintaining faith in such a situation -- especially for a person with my upbringing -- might be?
It feels like being pushed through too small a cat door. When I first introduced my cat Fingers Magee to the concept of going outside through a cat door he freaked out. His mama was trying push him through a wall, he thought. "NOOOO!!!" He stretched his legs out as wide as he could and refused to be pushed through. Of course, once I finally succeeded he found himself in one of his favorite places -- outside the house! He looked around, quite confused, and then figured out the concept of going through a cat door by himself.
Problem is, we don't see a big enough cat door.... or we don't think we do.
There's a scene in one of the Indiana Jones movies where Indie has to cross a 30 foot chasm with no visible way to get across. He stands at the precipice, empty-handed if I correctly recall, hesitates, centers himself, and then steps out. The bridge he needs appears beneath him and he makes it across.
The empty-handed leap into the void as immortalized by Lucas Films, complete with heroic soundtrack, comes to mind whenever I think about living by radical faith in a secular society.
My own guidance whispered to me this morning "take a step, just step out towards what you want." Luckily our situation isn't anywhere near as dire as the situation Indiana Jones found himself in. We have everything to gain. And nothing to lose.
Monday, October 06, 2008
Friday, October 03, 2008
Take a look at your hands and pretend that they represent a problem you are having. Now put your hands (your problem) one inch or less away from your nose. What can you see? Not much besides your problem! In fact, if you're like most people you probably can't even see all the edges of the problem, never mind a solution. But if you put your hands down and take in the wider view, you can see the rest of the room and the view outside the window. Your life gets bigger and encompasses more possibilities, the problem seems less overwhelming and you can automatically breathe more deeply which reduces your stress and anxiety.
I understand this challenge—this is the one problem I've grappled with most of my life! The only thing in my life is the problem I'm having and if it can't be resolved right away I just try to focus harder. I try to control what's going to happen because the crisis makes me afraid. I think about the problem constantly, turning it over and over in my mind attempting to figure out what couldn't be figured out before. I reject proposed solutions out of hand if they don't match my imagined vision of how things "have" to go and then chastise myself for supposed "missed" opportunities. I'm damned if I do, damned if I don't because clearly if things aren't going the way I want them to after all this time there's something I must have done wrong and, therefore, I ABSOLUTELY MUST TRY HARDER! And don't you try to distract me away from this intense focus. I KNOW I'm right to be trying so hard because -- can't you see? -- I obviously haven't succeeded yet! The problem's still here!
Can anyone live a satisfying life like this? Sometimes you just have to take a break.
There are people with cancer who somehow continue to live satisfying lives. I always find their stories fascinating because if I were in their shoes I know I would frantically put all my attention on surviving. Yet I recently read a wonderful story about a woman with a recent cancer diagnosis who opened my eyes because she started out doing exactly what I would do. She researched all the latest conventional and alternative therapies, she changed her diet, started exercising, did visualizations and worked very hard to control her feelings because she read that she "couldn't afford a single negative thought." Her life became reduced to her illness and what she was doing to combat it.
Then one day she woke up. All her time was consumed with surviving but what was she surviving for?
It suddenly occurred to her that she had to put her illness into the context of a much wider life -- that if she had a reason to live and spent more of her time doing exactly THAT she at least wouldn't have wasted the time she had left. So she took a break and went on a healing retreat where she could be cared for and take some time to rest, meditate, relax and dream. She asked herself the question: since she didn't know how much time she had left (and nobody does know how much time they have) how did she want to spend that time? What made her heart sing? What gave life meaning? How could she leave a legacy or make a difference in someone else's life? What did she want to remember on her death bed that she hadn't experienced yet?
She didn't give up her cancer-fighting protocol but she now saw these activities as a beginning in making her life happen. The steps she took to deal with the cancer slowly started to take up less of her time as she started to shift her attention to what gave her life meaning. Some of her anxiety and fear faded away -- she was too busy focussing on the beauty, wonder and intensely interesting activities of the present moment -- and her enjoyment of life increased. The tumor has not changed size -- at least not yet -- but it does seem a lot smaller in her psyche. It doesn't really matter how the story ends. We don't know yet whether she'll beat this scary monster or not. But she's bigger than that. Her existence is shaped by her illness but it encompasses more life, more dreams, more of who she is and that makes all the difference.
We can't always control what happens in life. Earthquakes happen, our lives get disrupted and we have to spend time picking up the pieces and making new choices instead of doing what we thought we most desired. The roof falls in. Do you walk away and start over somewhere else or do you hold your ground and rebuild? The parent who has abused you all your life needs caregiving assistance. Do you hire people to help her and feel guilty because you're not there or do you do the work "like a good daughter" while she continues to make your life hell? Your loving partner has a brain injury from which he will never recover. After the initial crisis has passed, do you ask for a divorce or stay by his side even though he will never be able to be a real partner for anyone ever again? These are not easy questions with straight forward answers. Neither are they situations where you just do what needs to be done, solve the problem as quickly as possible and get back to your old life. There are moral struggles, practical implications, sometimes heartbreaking consequences no matter what you do.
Sometimes the answer is to just step back. Take a break, get a fresh perspective.
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
I stumbled upon on a very peace-inspiring website -- Gratefulness.org -- the work of Brother David Steindl-Rast and a few others. There were some artfully done articles that helped me feel more peaceful just in the course of reading them. The ones I read were on peace and fear, simple living, and dealing with financial instability. They were all good. I imagine I'll be returning to this website again and again. (Be sure to try being carried through the labyrinth, lighting a candle or one of the many other inspirational features on this site!)
Oh yeah, Happy Birthday Jimmy Carter! I found out on this website that it is his birthday today.