Saturday, September 26, 2009

I Have 300 Hearts!

I just found out I have 300 Hearts for my Etsy shop! For those who don't know, that means 300 people found my shop there and listed it as one of their favorites. Thank you "Crochet by Dee" for being the 300th Hearter. Her shop is really cool. Check out her wonderful crocheted hats and neckwraps with the fun flowers on the side. I love them! Her shop is at http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6055498

I'm really appreciating Etsy right now. They just published a free guide to Search Engine Optimization, specifically for use on Etsy and it's really good! I've already made significant improvements to my shop there and plan to figure out ways to do the same for my own websites off of Etsy. One really great tool they just added to their site is a way to see what a listing there will look like in a Google search. I used that this morning and revamped my shop announcement until I liked what I saw the improvements did.


Yay, Etsy!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Learning a Better Way to Integrate Faith and Money

I'm rereading Shakti Gawain's classic book Living in the Light: A Guide to Personal and Planetary Transformation right now. Most of it seems like ho-hum, old news now but the chapter on money felt new. Guess I wasn't ready for it back some time ago when I first read it. I think it's still an edge I'm in the midst of working with in my spiritual growth right now. I've read the chapter twice in the last 24 hours and know I'll be reading it again tonight. I still haven't integrated it enough to share what it's all about exactly. What I'm attempting to work with is the idea that I needn't / shouldn't hold onto my resources so very tightly that I'm constantly acting in the fear/belief that I'll never see it again. That's like intending poverty. It's certainly a poverty mindset.

Last week Paul and I were in New Mexico to meet a brand new Facebook friend in person and deliver a framed photo. We got paid for that and then promptly spent every penny plus what was left of our "Pie Fund" to visit Taos and Santa Fe. It was well worth it but I started to fret on the way home.

Paul wasn't fretting so much. He said "Lucky for us, there's more where that came from!"

"What?" I said. "How do you know?"

"It would be a terrible thing to believe otherwise!"

And he was correct. Almost as soon as we got home we had two sessions set up and an order for my Mama Love perfume. Another inquiry about Mama Love was in my email today.

Now I'm looking at upgrading my/our most important computer software in order to take advantage of a really great gift I got of a brand new computer. It has a built in graphics tablet instead of a normal screen and has four times the amount of RAM than my current laptop which is way too slow to happily do my next flower essence-related projects on. It would be a great gift to be able to fully receive. . .  but I can't use my current software on it. You see, it's been too long since I updated my version of Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, In Design, Acrobat and Bridge combined) so the upgrade costs $700 plus I need to upgrade a couple of less expensive programs, too and get a new mouse and keyboard! $1000, essentially, all in one shot and that hurts.

In my old mindset it would feel more than a bit scary, too! But Paul has insisted that I spend what felt like too much money before on tools of our trades and that's what has enabled us to do the work we have accomplished. I design and we both maintain several websites for our businesses, we promote entirely online now, and both the photography, my artwork and both of our writing (all done with tools we've bought in the last few years) has been an integral part of our income and the things we most need to do next. I wouldn't hesitate to buy bubble wrap and boxes to package and sell my Mama Love Perfume in and at one point I had to take a leap and invest $1500 in essential oils and flower essences and bottles without really knowing they would sell.

But you never really know. You just have to believe that, of course, there's more money and resource where that came from. Shakti Gawain talks about money as not belonging to us. She says it is like energy. There's a universal supply that can flow to all in just the proportions they can handle at any given time.

Handling money has to do "deservingness" -- do I feel like I deserve everything I need just because I exist? Does anybody?

Guilt holds most people back in our society, guilt, not believing we're good enough, thinking we have to "pay our dues." How many dues are dues enough? What if that's not what it has to be about? There's someone we know who got very wealthy on the basis of nothing more than good looks. No special talent that we know about yet, and not by doing anything near the amount of working hard and climbing the mountains the rest of us might have been taught to expect. Yeah, we sometimes feel envious and like it's more than a bit unfair. But get this: the most amazing publicity we ever got for our spiritual counseling and healing work -- a huge splash in a local newspaper in Santa Cruz and months of sessions and referrals afterwards -- came as a result of one of the very least impressive sessions we had ever done. I didn't even think it was very good (comparatively speaking that is). What does that say about how the universe works?

I think the message was and continues to be that we don't have to be perfect, we don't have to jump through higher and higher hoops to make a living. We can be who we are and that's good enough. A counselor I know from India used to tell people that they were of enormous value to the world just lying still and breathing. When we were newly born our parents (if they were like most happy new fathers and mothers) were so happy that we were born alive with all our fingers and toes. Some little children are born with so many handicaps they never achieve anything at all besides making their closest loved ones smile. Most of us believe we have to prove our worth to be alright. That wasn't true in this counselor's country. She believed that it was an enormous insult to our sanctity as human beings that almost all able bodied Americans think otherwise and she made it her mission at one point in time to help people move through that-- to value themselves even if they were sick, down and out financially, or just worn out. To value themselves as being worthy of being on the planet and having exactly what they need.

Ironically, Paul is listening to a song by Jonatha Brooke on Pandora.com right now with lyrics that go "I have everything I wanted for a change and I'm not ashamed. I'm not to blame. I'm not ashamed." That's pretty much what Shakti Gawain's chapter on money is all about. It's okay to have everything you need and allow yourself to have and go after what you want.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Celebrate What's Right With The World

This is the best video I've seen in a long time. Long but WELL worth it. I was inspired and moved to tears.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Mama Love Gets Fan Mail


One of my wholesale customers is apparently doing pretty well selling my products in Japan! That was nice to hear. She had a couple of questions though and I thought I'd post the answers here as well:

Q:  About "For Open-Hearted Loving":  Is this for someone who already has a partner/spouse in life? Or, can you go to a party wearing this to attract a number of men/women)? I thought this was for a person with a special someone, but I thought I'd better ask you. Should it be used for special occasions only, not daily?

A:  I would use "Open-Hearted Loving" in situations where you want to feel open and available on the emotional level. It opens the heart and might make a person feel vulnerable in situations where you don't normally. That's why I thought of it for people in a committed relationship but one person I know used it to feel more loving in general. She was very hurt and closed off and wanted to heal that. She used it more than twice a day for awhile and found it very helpful.

Q:  Is "For Attracting a Partner" for a woman with a partner, without one, or both?

A:  "Attracting a Partner" is for helping the person who wears it feel more attractive, confident and open to sharing with other people. You could use it in a relationship or to be in the right frame of mind for attracting one. I tried it once in a dance class and noticed I had more conversations with men and women than I ever had before. No sexual interest -- I was already in a committed relationship and wasn't interested -- but I had a lot more fun and more dance partners, too!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Happy New Year

Got a Jewish New Year's card with a saying that seems appropriate for the times we're living in: Every day of this New Year, may sweetness flow into the world, not bitterness. Love, not sorrow. Hope, not despair. And may our words and deeds be healing, as we join in "tikkun olam" ... repairing the world ... together.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Madrid, New Mexico

My favorite place Paul and I visited in New Mexico was an old ghost town that has been turned into a thriving and eclectic arts community. It's on Highway 41, the Turquoise Trail, just south of Santa Fe and it's a real kick if you visit from the south coming from Albuquerque. Essentially, you are in the middle of nowhere or so it seems. Lots of relics of old mining activity, run-down shacks, odd living quarters here and there, and then suddenly you are in a hamlet of restored and partially restored old buildings painted in bright colors and filled with galleries, one after the next. We just HAD to stop! It was too much fun! We were on the way to Santa Fe and never made it there. We had to try again the next day. Wonderful art! Fun interesting people to talk to as well. We highly recommend it next time you're in New Mexico.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What Happened to the Public Option?

I'm so disgusted with the Democratic party and incensed at the Republicans right now! Since when did "Healthcare Reform" morph into "Health Insurance Reform"? Profit driven greed machines are more important than public health? I saw this video on Facebook yesterday but chose not to put it up because I HATE that my spiritually-oriented blog is turning into a one political tirade after another. I HATE it but polls show that the vast majority of Americans need relief on this issue. The United States is #37 in the world in healthcare. Costa Ricans have better healthcare than we do! This video says it all (at least it's an enjoyable one).

Desert Sunflowers

Wild sunflowers are blooming like crazy here in the Arizona desert. Silly me, I should have known that sunflowers grow wild somewhere but I never saw one before outside of a cultivated bed. These were photographed at Woodland Lake in Pinetop but they grow everywhere really, especially along the roadsides.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Dreaming of Poppies and Sunflowers

Local wildflowers are appearing in my dreams. Last night I dreamed about what I thought was a type of sunflower. It was yellow and quite sunflower like but low to the ground. In the dream they were called Desert Poppies and I thought—from a Flower Essence point of view—that they were about achieving life purpose quickly. This is not correct but it's a dream—that's what they meant to me!

Then an old acquaintance who I negatively associate with destructive things said it wasn't a "Desert Poppy" at all. She called it a Desert Mollie (this doesn't really exist) and said it was about achieving life purpose at a slow measured pace. I think the "negative" part is that I HATE going at a slow measured pace (especially these days)! Amusingly, I do know a Desert Mollie. She's a new friend here in Snowflake who would be the first to admit that she doesn't do anything at a slow measured pace! She could probably use a Desert Mollie Flower Essence more than me!

Today Paul and I were traveling home from New Mexico and popped into a really amazing New Mexico Tourist Information center near Gallup that had a very nice bookshop. There was a desert wildflower identification book and I actually found a picture of a Desert Poppy that looked similar to what I saw in my dream. Then I looked up Desert Poppies as a flower essence online. I couldn't find the essence I dreamed of but I did find this flower which was identified as a Prickle Poppy.

The Prickle Poppy grows wild close to the nearest towns to us although I haven't seen any way out in the desert where we live. According to the Desert Alchemy Flower Essence company it is used to help a person get in touch with their natural rhythms and cycles in both an emotional and physical sense. That's actually pretty appropriate for me these days because my monthly cycle has gone a bit crazy and I'm used to it being extremely regular and predictable. According to Desert Alchemy, Prickle Poppy flower essence helps a person let their natural energy to flow freely and releases any tendency towards overworking mentally and physically, especially when it comes to working too hard to control outcomes. This is something I could easily be accused of lately. Prickly Poppy is supposed to help heal this tendency so a person can enjoy the process of growth required by most of us from time to time. Especially in stressful times like most people are experiencing because of the economic climate we live it now, it helps to remember that times are tough all around and it's not our fault on an individual level so much! It's hard to "go with the flow" when the flow seems to be so messed up. But that's the belief system we can't afford to take on. Flowing is happening even when it's taking a route around the rocks and boulders in our way. It's important to give things more time in these circumstances and to relax about the time it seems to take.

I think the Prickly Poppy looks just like the Matilija Poppy or "Fried Egg Flower" that grows wild in parts of Santa Cruz. The only difference I can see is that the local version of these plants have very prickly leaves like a thistle and I don't remember the California version being like that. According to Pegasus Products, the Matilija Poppy Flower Essence is used for physical grace and movement. Maybe it's a similar species?

The plant identified as Prickly Poppy is known locally as Cowboy's Fried Eggs. It's not used medicinally as an herb much in this country but the Aztecs used it extensively in shamanic rituals and to help heal various illnesses. It is believed to have psychoactive and narcotic effects when used in large enough quantities. The Flower Essence, however, (like all Flower Essences) are far too dilute to be considered a narcotic. They work on a more subtle level to encourage a change in mental perspective.

We've Been Traveling


Paul and I went to New Mexico to 1) deliver a framed photo (the hummingbird shown here) and 2) explore a little of Santa Fe, Taos and Madrid -- beautiful, inspiring artist colonies, one and all.  We had the pleasure of meeting two artists who owned their own galleries, did work we really enjoyed, and were making a good living, too! We KNOW we have to get ourselves to a community that respects art and creative people of all sorts. That's become a true priority for us now. It just does the heart good to be with people who "get" what we do (the spiritual stuff, too!) and don't think it's a frivolous set of things to do. More photos will be put up soon!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Left, the Right, and the Biggest Smokescreen Ever?

I've been beginning to wonder if the polarizing political gameplaying being perpetrated on our country in the healthcare "debate" isn't just a great excuse to put regulations into place to placate the large pharmaceutical and insurance companies and neglect to put a public option in place that does any good. I'd hate to think that the views expressed in this article are completely true. But I've been doing extensive research into some of the things I've been experiencing lately. Being pushed over the edge into bankruptcy by one of the largest multinational credit companies in the country, JPMorgan Chase, will do that. What I found out about them is astounding!

Not only is JPMorgan Chase worth more than 2.1 trillion dollars and operating in at least 60 countries (they state this on their own homepage) they provide funding and are partially funded by both the oil industry (Exxon Mobil and other well-known brands) and the pharmaceutical industry. Lately they've been creating "Health insurance products" in conjunction with some of the largest health insurance companies in the country (Blue Cross, for example). AND even though all these industries combined would represent THE most profitable commodities on the planet (pharmaceuticals are #3 all by themselves) -- and 2.1 trillion dollars represents enough to fund several small countries -- Chase had the gall and the political power to receive one of the largest federal "bail-outs" in American history!

What's going on here? Isn't it obvious?!

Instead of yelling at each other "across the aisle" we should be banding together to stop these bandits and put real healthcare reforms in place that put the needs of us first! But if we speak up together we CAN make a difference! There will be marches across the nation this weekend demanding true reform with a strong public option to ensure that every person in the nation has real coverage and never has to fear bankruptcy because someone they love (or themselves) gets sick ever again.

I know people on both the right and the left sometimes find these blog posts. Join in! It's time we threw the moneylenders out of the temple.

Related Articles:

More Predatory Business Practices
More about the Chase Credit Card Bait and Switch
Hard Times Demand Other Kinds of Actions
Think Healthcare Reform is "Too Expensive"?
The Public Option -- Plain and Simple
Viral Healthcare Reform Message

The Cracks are Where the Light Comes In -- Leonard Cohen



A wonderful performer and songwriter in action. The lyrics:

"ANTHEM

The birds they sang
at the break of day
Start again
I heard them say
Don't dwell on what
has passed away
or what is yet to be.

Ah the wars they will
be fought again
The holy dove
She will be caught again
bought and sold
and bought again
the dove is never free.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

We asked for signs
the signs were sent:
the birth betrayed
the marriage spent
Yeah the widowhood
of every government --
signs for all to see.

I can't run no more
with that lawless crowd
while the killers in high places
say their prayers out loud.
But they've summoned, they've summoned up
a thundercloud
and they're going to hear from me.

Ring the bells that still can ring ...

You can add up the parts
but you won't have the sum
You can strike up the march,
there is no drum
Every heart, every heart
to love will come
but like a refugee."

"Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.
That's how the light gets in.
That's how the light gets in.

~Leonard Cohen"

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Colorful Geometric Quilt

My latest offering in my Zazzle shop.

Pattern 4 bag
Pattern 4 by paulnsheryl
Design large tote bags from zazzle
See the whole line by clicking here.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Compassion in the Classroom

John, you'll like this one. At the end there is an opportunity to click on and watch the other clips from this documentary. It's well worth it.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Viral Healthcare Reform Message

I recently got into Facebook and, surprise, surprise, I'm enjoying it. I was particularly happy to participate in this particular Friend-to-Friend campaign:

No one should die because they cannot afford health care, and no one should go broke because they get sick. If you agree, post this as your Facebook status and EMAIL OBAMA RIGHT NOW AT:www.whitehouse.gov/contact

Pass it on!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

This and That

I've been meaning to get back to writing more in this blog but today's not really the day either. I've been way too busy doing paperwork, sending book proposals and sample chapters to publishers and literary agents, filling a couple of perfume and massage oil orders, setting up sessions. A mix of high anxiety about "doing things right" and positive intention about the present and its impact on our future.

We finally closed our Cafepress shop. We were, sadly, making more sales there and far less money at the same time so we had that harsh experience of feeling ripped off every time we actually sold something. Our Zazzle shop is coming along slowly but I've been trying to put a few things up each week. Paul's Imagekind shop, though, is being added to all the time.

Paul's been doing some great artwork photography lately. He's diving into teaching himself some pretty advanced photo editing techniques where he combines three exposures of the same shot on a tripod in order to maximize the light available in both the highlights and shadows. You can see his latest on his blog now. If you scroll down the page he'll tell you all about it.

Related Blog Posts:
Cafepress No More!
Cafepress Puts 6.5 Million Business Partners Out on the Street
The Importance of Good SEO -- What We All Can Learn from Cafepress
New Cafepress Jingle

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Healing Communication News for September

Paul and I do an email newsletter very month. Our latest one is posted online now at http://healingcommunicationnews.blogspot.com/ . It's a lot about context and environment as influencing perception. Also some nice bits about what's important in life and cherishing it all, great and small.

Ben and Jerry's Support Marriage Equality

This is fun! And inspiring. The state of Vermont has taken a stand in support of gay marriage and Ben and Jerry's is celebrating! They have renamed their "Chubby Hubby" flavor "Hubby Hubby" in order to offer their support to an organization called Freedom to Marry. Check it out!