Friday, August 29, 2008

Someone I Love

cinnamin sm


This is my little dog Cinnamin, it's quite possible that I love her more than I love my kids. And even if it's not a contest of who I love more - it is true that I really have no desire to be on the planet if she isn't here with me. So... last week, she got really sick. The vet said the C word, and pretty much said "no hope," and sent her home on hospice. What an excruciating thing...

At the same time, my dad is going through chemo and radiation for his own C word, and my mom is pretty much worn down to the nub. So, it looks like I might be needed here, which means I'll have to continue with life on earth even if (notice that I cannot and will not say "when") my little dog goes back to be with the Mother of All Life.

I expect that my posts here will be sporadic at best for the next few weeks. I barely have the energy or the enthusiasm for email - much less blogging - and I just wanted to let you all know what's up.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Sun Salutation Mantra

This mantra invokes the healing power of the sun. When using it, for maximum benefit spend some time in the sun each day. You will achieve optimal results by practicing the mantra between ten and twenty minutes each day for forty days.

sun symbol

Om Hiranyagharbhaya Namaha
(Om Heer an yah gar bah yah Nah mah hah)

-oOo-


"Om and salutations to the Shining One who heals and is golden-colored."

Monday, August 25, 2008

What a Cool Waterfall

Check this out!
It's a waterfall of words and images. Totally cool!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Heart Math

Ok, so now that I've been inspired to post some stuff about heart attacks, it occured to me that it might be a good idea to put in a plug for HeartMath.


At work, a couple of weeks ago, a HeartMath training seminar was offered... well, actually it was MANDATORY that we attend. So I went grumpily in on my day off, prepared to be thoroughly unimpressed by "propaganda" designed to force us to like our jobs and be happy with the additional stress that management has been piling on us. Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be something actually useful!

They use techniques that are similar to ones I've already used. For example, breathing into the heart (a common practice in Sufi Meditations), and focusing on feelings of gratitude or love - both of which I explored at the prosperity project. And then they back up those techniques with lots of medical and scientific jargon, graphs, and charts.

Up until now, I'm not too impressed. As a matter of fact, the whole thing is one big yawn as far as I'm concerned. I'm thinking to myself, "Been there - done that."

Now comes the interesting and fun part. They have this cool little hand held biofeedback machine. They don't call it that, they call it emWave, or something like that. Here's an ad I pulled off their site:



It was so much fun to play with!! The thoughts that brought me into the best state in terms of coherence and no stress were memories of when we had 3 kittens one Christmas, and they wouldn't stay out of the Christmas tree. I'm thinking to myself - kittens... I'm going to have to invest in kittens so I can stay happy and healthy!

The other memory that brought a really healing emotion into my heart chakra was the time my sister and I climbed Dog Canyon. I'll tell you guys about it some time - but for now, all I'll say is that I was sure that climb was going to kill me dead! And when we finally got to the little oasis at the top, and sat down to eat, the food was manna from heaven. I kid you not. Just thinking about it, triggered an immediate "green" response in the little emWave gadget, indicating deepest harmony.

So, their gadget is way cool... I finally gave up feelings of lack and limitation, and decided I wanted one of those little thingys more than I wanted - well - running water or internet service. As soon as I decided that, the "Master of the Universe" sent me some extra work that more than covered the cost of the emWave ... so it's ordered and as far as I'm concerned Nirvana is on it's way!

And no, you don't have to have a emWave gadget to use their technique. The "how to" is pretty simple, and they do offer books - here are some of them:


Here's some more stuff (it's kind of dry, but informative nonetheless) from an interview with Dr. Howard Martin, executive VP of strategic development at Heartmath and coauthor of the book, The Heartmath Solution.

What role does the heart play in the body?
The heart is the main command center of the body. It actually sends information to the brain and to the rest of the body -- information that is essential to a person's overall health and well-being. As a person learns about the communication between the heart and brain, and how to shift this communication, positive changes in how that person thinks and feels begin to take place. It's really a shift in paradigm to say that it's not just the brain, but that the heart also has a big role in how we think and feel.

What is HeartMath?
Heartmath is a system designed for high performance effective living that consists of concepts, tools, techniques and technology. In general, they all involve heart focus breathing -- really focusing on the area of your heart and making an effort to activate positive feelings.

How did Heartmath come about?
Heartmath's been around for the last 11 years, and began on the initiative of a man named Doc Childre. It started out through self-study. By his own admission, Doc was a relatively undisciplined young man who set about on a course of trying to achieve new levels of self-management. His scientific research along with his understanding of other people and of himself, led him to develop his own philosophy as well as his own tools, techniques and concepts. For 20 years he never externalized anything, working quietly and leading a normal life. It was only in 1990 that he agreed to begin to more formally share some of his information with others. From there the companies were born and we entered into the training programs, books and technology that we have today.

How proven is Heartmath?
We know for sure that the heart does communicate with the brain and the body, and that's beyond a doubt. The field of neurocardiology studies this. The tools, techniques and concepts used in Heartmath are scientifically grounded, with a great amount of biophysical and social scientific proof to back them up.

How does Heartmath differ from other stress reduction techniques such as meditation?
Well first of all let me preface any comments by saying that we never like to be cast as any kind of a competitor, as better or worse than other systems of personal development and personal growth. We like to be seen more as a facilitator of any of those things. That being said, Heartmath is designed to be very interactive, very in the moment, very appropriate for the speed at which we're living in today's modern world. Techniques like meditation can be valuable but sometimes there is a cultural difference. Meditation comes from an Eastern culture and it doesn't necessarily overlay very well on modern western culture. It requires a lot of change in some of the basic stuff involved in a lifestyle and most people aren't willing to do that. Heartmath techniques are very appropriate for modern times, and very interactive with daily life and things that people can do in the moment.

How does Heartmath address individual stressors?
The tools and techniques can be used to create shifts of attitude or shifts in perception that lead to shifts of attitude. To manage stress or to begin to shift stress, you have to learn to shift perception first. It's the perception of the event that really creates the stress. It begins right there, with perception, and changes in perception lead to changes in behavior, how we process things, how we view things, how we act or react around certain issues. Those changes of behavior come relatively quickly once we begin to learn how to at least adopt different kind of perceptions of the stressful events.

Where are Heartmath techniques being used?
We are around the world, providing face-to-face training for over 20,000 people a year. We are focused primarily on large organizational clients, doing training programs in major Fortune 500, and Fortune 100 companies around the world. We deal with the individual customer who is interested in improving health and reducing stress through our books tapes, and freeze-framer software.

(This information is an extract from an article titled ‘Listening to the tell tale heart’ by Noel Boivin in February 2006 issue of Your Health.)


Ok, yeah, I'm pimping this stuff. I don't go commercial on this site very often, and I do think the emWave has value, and yes, I went ahead and signed up as an affiliate. So, hey, go get one for yourself. I think you'll like it, I really do!

What is a heart attack anyway?

heart_attack2_Full



  • A heart attack results when a blood clot completely obstructs a coronary artery supplying blood to the heart muscle.
  • A heart attack causes death of part of the heart muscle.
  • The site of blood clot formation during a heart attack is usually a cholesterol plaque on the inner wall of a coronary artery.
  • A heart attack can cause chest pain, heart failure, and electrical instability of the heart.
  • Electrical instability of the heart can cause life threatening abnormal heart rhythm.

Treatment of a heart attack may include:

  • Prompt administration of drugs to dissolve and prevent blood clots
  • Performance of angioplasty or intracoronary stenting to open an obstructed artery
  • Medications that open (dilate) blood vessels.
  • Early reopening of a blocked coronary artery reduces the amount of heart muscle damage, lessens the size of the heart attack, and improves prognosis.
  • Patients suffering a heart attack are hospitalized for several days to detect heart rhythm disturbance, and observe for shortness of breath, and chest pain.

Women and Heart Attacks

I got this via email this morning, and it occured to me that maybe I would share it here on the off chance that it might be important and/or beneficial to someone, somewhere, some time. I did not write it, nor do I know who did. So, here ya go:

I am an ER nurse and I was aware that female heart attacks are different, but this is the best description I've ever read. Please read, pay attention, and send it on!

Women and heart attacks (Myocardial infarction). Did you know that women rarely have the same dramatic symptoms that men have when experiencing heart attack ... you know, the sudden stabbing pain in the chest, the cold sweat, grabbing the chest, and dropping to the floor that we see in the movies?

Here is the story of one woman's experience with a heart attack:

'I had a heart attack at about 10:30 PM with NO prior exertion; NO prior emotional trauma that one would suspect might've brought it on.

I was sitting all snugly & warm on a cold evening, with my purring cat in my lap, reading an interesting story my friend had sent me, and actually thinking,
'A-A-h, this is the life, all cozy and warm in my soft, cushy Lazy Boy with my feet propped up'.

A moment later, I felt that awful sensation of indigestion, when you've been in a hurry and grabbed a bite of sandwich and washed it down with a dash of water, and that hurried bite seems to feel like you've swallowed a golf ball going down the esophagus in slow motion and it is most uncomfortable. You realize you shouldn't have gulped it down so fast and needed to chew it more thoroughly and this time drinks a glass of water to hasten its progress down to the stomach. This was my initial sensation---the only trouble was that I hadn't taken a bite of anything since about 5:00 p.m.

After it seemed to subside, the next sensation was like little squeezing motions that seemed to be racing up my SPINE (hind-sight, it was probably my aorta spasming), gaining speed as they continued racing up and under my sternum (breast bone, where one presses rhythmically when administering CPR).

This fascinating process continued on into my throat and branched out into both jaws. 'AHA!! NOW I stopped puzzling about what was happening -- we all have read and/or heard about pain in the jaws being one of the signals of an MI happening, haven't we? I said aloud to myself and the cat, Dear God, I think I'm having a heart attack!

I lowered the footrest dumping the cat from my lap, started to take a step and fell on the floor instead. I thought to myself, If this is a heart attack, I shouldn't be walking into the next room where the phone is or anywhere else ... but, on the other hand, if I don't, nobody will know that I need help, and if I wait any longer I may not be able to get up in moment.

I pulled myself up with the arms of the chair, walked slowly into the next room and dialed the Paramedics .. I told her I thought I was having a heart attack due to the pressure building under the sternum and radiating into my jaws. I didn't feel hysterical or afraid, just stating the facts.

She said she was sending the Paramedics over immediately, asked if the front door was near to me, and if so, to unbolt the door and then lie down on the floor where they could see me when they came in.

I unlocked the door and then laid down on the floor as instructed and lost consciousness, as I don't remember the medics coming in, their examination, lifting me onto a gurney or getting me into their ambulance, or hearing the call they made to St. Jude E R on the way, but I did briefly awaken when we arrived and saw that the Cardiologist was already there in his surgical blues and cap, helping the medics pull my stretcher out of the ambulance. He was bending over me asking questions (probably something like 'Have you taken any medications?') but I couldn't make my mind interpret what he was saying, or form an answer, and nodded off again, not waking up until the Cardiologist and partner had already threaded the teeny angiogram balloon up my femoral artery into the aorta and into my heart where they installed 2 side by side stints to hold open my right coronary artery.

'I know it sounds like all my thinking and actions at home must have taken at least 20-30 minutes before calling the Paramedics, but actually it took perhaps 4-5 minutes before the call, and both the fire station and St. Jude are only minutes away from my home, and my Cardiologist was already to go to the OR in his scrubs and get going on restarting my heart (which had stopped somewhere between my arrival and the procedure) and installing the stints.

'Why have I written all of this to you with so much detail? Because I want all of you who are so important in my life to know what I learned first hand.'


1. Be aware that something very different is happening in your body not the usual men's symptoms but inexplicable things happening (until my sternum and jaws got into the act). It is said that many more women than men die of their first (and last) MI because they didn't know they were having one and commonly mistake it as indigestion, take some Maalox or other anti-heartburn preparation and go to bed, hoping they'll feel better in the morning when they wake up .. which doesn't happen. My female friends, your symptoms might not be exactly like mine, so I advise you to call the Paramedics if ANYTHING unpleasantl is happening that you've not felt before. It is better to have a 'false alarm' visitation than to risk your life guessing what it might be!

2. Note that I said 'Call the Paramedics.' And if you can, take an aspirin. Ladies, TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE! Do NOT try to drive yourself to the ER - you are a hazard to others on the road.

Do NOT have your panicked husband who will be speeding and looking anxiously at what's happening with you instead of the road.

Do NOT call your doctor -- he doesn't know where you live and if it's at night you won't reach him anyway, and if it's daytime, his assistants (or answering service) will tell you to call the Paramedics. He doesn't carry the equipment in his car that you need to be saved! The Paramedics do, principally OXYGEN that you need ASAP. Your Dr. will be notified later.

3. Don't assume it couldn't be a heart attack because you have a normal cholesterol count. Research has discovered that a cholesterol elevated reading is rarely the cause of an MI (unless it's unbelievably high and/or accompanied by high blood pressure). MIs are usually caused by long-term stress and inflammation in the body, which dumps all sorts of deadly hormones into your system to sludge things up in there. Pain in the jaw can wake you from a sound sleep. Let's be careful and be aware. The more we know, the better chance we could survive.

A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this mail (or reads this post) sends it to 10 people, you can be sure that we'll save at least one life.

**Please be a true friend and send this article to all your friends (male & female) you care about!**

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Nature of Things

The Sioux idea of living creatures is that trees, buffalo and men are temporary energy swirls, turbulance patterns... that's an early intuitive recognition of energy as a quality of matter. But that's an old insight, you know, extremely old - probably a Paleolithic shaman's insight. You find that perception registered so many ways in archaic and primitive lore. I would say that it is probably the most basic insight into the nature of things, and that our more common, recent Occidental view of the universe as consisting of fixed things is out of the main stream, a deviation from basic human perception.

~Gary Snyder

Friday, August 22, 2008

Things a Shaman Sees

Everything that is
is alive

on a steep river bank
there's a voice that speaks
I've seen the master of that voice
he bowed to me
I spoke with him
he answers all my questions

everything that is
is alive
little gray bird
little blue breast
sings in a hollow bough
she calls her spirits dances
sings her shaman songs
woodpecker on a tree
that's his drum
he's got a drumming nose
and the tree shakes
cries out like a drum
when the axe bites its side

at these things answer
my call

everything that is
is alive

the lantern walks around
the walls of this house have tongues
even this bowl has its own true home
the hides asleep in their bags
were up talking all night
antlers on the graves
rise and circle the mounds
while the dead themselves get up
and go visit the living ones.

~David Cloutier

Seeing what is

A while back, I had an interesting experience. It was raining, and when I sat down to meditate with my tree and do the Morning Meditation. It was hard at first to see out what with all the water on the window screen.

Then a cardinal came and was picking at the suet I have out there, and the screen, and the raindrops on it faded away. I didn't even notice them at all.

When he flew off, it occurred to me that it really is true that we only see what we think we'll see and what we are interested in seeing.

So I tried to look at my tree and see the stuff I wasn't seeing. But it was no good.

I'm sure there are fairies, but I don't see them. I'm sure the tree has an aura, an energy, but I don't see that either. What else is there that I don't see? I wonder. And I wonder HOW to see it.

So, here's the Morning Meditation for that day. Wow! It was so cool - just for a moment I knew how to be in that place of aliveness.

I wish I could stay there all the time. In that knowingness that everything is indeed living and sentient. Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever felt that? How far are you willing to go with it? Could you believe that rocks are alive? What about your car? your computer? the chair you are sitting on? And how different would your life be if you lived it as if that was really true?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Giant Penis Nebula

All this stuff about darkness and the night sky reminded me that I was going to upload a picture of the Giant Penis Nebula for my friend Bob, so he can attract a shitload of traffic to Black Holes and Astrostuff.

So, here it is:

2002-11-a-1024_wallpaper

Ok... yeah, I know it doesn't really actually look like a giant penis. As a matter of fact, it's called the Tadpole Galaxy... Which means it's not even really a nebula. So I'm striking out on all counts! All I can say is that it's been a really really long time since I've seen an actual penis up close and in person - so... that's my excuse.

On the other hand, you could maybe call it the Giant Sperm Nebula... because it does kind of look like one... doesn't it? huh? huh?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Hello Darkness!

So, I've been talking about darkness, now here's my chance to actually DO something with all that talk. Earth Hour is a cool idea I think... so hey... I think I'm going to "get with the project."



The stuff I've found to post today is from 2008, but they do have plans for 2009. The following is what is available at the site, so check it out!

  • Sign up. Not only will you really feel part of it, but you’ll also receive lots of useful tips and tools to reduce your carbon footprint.
  • Tell a friend. Better still, tell all your friends, and your family, and your workmates. Just email them with a link to this website.
  • Learn how to organize Earth Hour in your town or local community. Download our PDF.
  • Advertise. If you’ve registered as a business, don’t be afraid to advertise your support for Earth Hour. It’s great for business and the environment!
  • Support. If you’d like to take a more significant role in Earth Hour 2009, contact WWF to find out about support opportunities.
  • How can your business get involved? Download PDF
  • Show your support with an Earth Hour T-shirt. You can still buy 2008 tees and 2009 tees will be coming soon.
  • Try out the Facebook Footprint Calculator. If you’re not on Facebook, they’ve also got a One Minute Calculator.

I could be a vampire!

You Could Be a Vampire... If You Had To

Like most people, the thought of being a vampire has crossed your mind. But you're not sure if you'd do it, even if you could. Living forever doesn't sound half bad, if you could live forever with the people you love the most.

But do vampires even love? And would the vampire version of you even be you? It's all too much to contemplate. Luckily, the chances of you ever becoming a vampire are astronomically low.

What you would like best about being a vampire: Living forever
What you would like least about being a vampire: Blood stained teeth

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Darkness

Not sure what darkness even looks like?
Here's a clue:

darkness

When was the last time you went outside and it was totally and completely dark? No street lights, no flashlight, no moon... just complete and total darkness. Is that even possible any more?

Darkness - here it comes:

fHNe7Tj3iyrkTdcu7g

And here it is - our earth at night. Looks like some places are actually dark!

GLTygxVyUQQq

But not Europe!

ArLpSu68TyUaG5mzPf



This lovely thing is the San Francisco Airport.

sanfrancisco airport at night

What if we turned off ALL the lights at night? And didn't someone try to make this happen a while back? Actually, yes, you can read about it at Earth Hour.

Are we afraid of the dark? And if we continue to surround ourselves with light, even at night, how will we see the night sky, and spectacular images like this?

galaxies and comet

I wonder, does our fear of the dark reflect an even deeper fear of the vastness of space and our own small selves?

Freedom

For the will to be free, it needs to let go and return to its prime origin.

For the intellect to be free, it must become naked and empty and by letting go to return to its prime origin.

We become a pure nothing by an unknowing knowledge which is

emptiness
and solitude
and desert
and darkness
and remaining still.

~Meister Eckhart

Monday, August 18, 2008

Lakota Sioux Secede From US, Declare Independence

I was clearing out my inbox today - and found this little gem. It's old news, (Published on Friday, December 21, 2007 by Rapid City Journal -South Dakota)and apparently nothing much came of it, and I wanted to post it here to, in my small way, promote the idea.

Political activist Russell Means, a founder of the American Indian Movement, says he and other members of Lakota tribes have renounced treaties and are withdrawing from the United States.

“We are now a free country and independent of the United States of America,” Means said in a telephone interview. “This is all completely legal.”

Means said a Lakota delegation on Monday delivered a statement of “unilateral withdrawal” from the United States to the U.S. State Department in Washington.

The State Department did not respond. “That’ll take some time,” Means said.

Meanwhile, the delegation has delivered copies of the letter to the embassies of Bolivia, Venezuela, Chile and South Africa. “We’re asking for recognition,” Means said, adding that Ireland and East Timor are “very interested” in the declaration.

Other countries will get copies of the same declaration, which Means said also would be delivered to the United Nations and to state and county governments covered by treaties, including treaties signed in 1851 and 1868. “We’re willing to negotiate with any American political entity,” Means said.

The United States could face international pressure if it doesn’t agree to negotiate, Means said. “The United State of America is an outlaw nation, we now know. We’ve understood that as a people for 155 years.”

Means also said his group would file liens on property in parts of South Dakota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming that were illegally homesteaded.

The Web site for the declaration, “
Lakota Freedom,” briefly crashed Thursday as wire services picked up the story and the server was overwhelmed, Means said.

Delegation member Phyllis Young said in an online statement: “We are not trying to embarrass the United States. We are here to continue the struggle for our children and grandchildren.” Young was an organizer of Women of All Red Nations.

Other members of the delegation include Rapid City-area activist Duane Martin Sr. and Gary Rowland, a leader of the Chief Big Foot Riders.

Means said anyone could live in the Lakota Nation, tax free, as long as they renounced their U.S. citizenship. The nation would issue drivers licenses and passports, but each community would be independent. “It will be the epitome of individual liberty, with community control,” Means said.

To make his case, Means cited several articles of the U.S. Constitution, the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties and a recent nonbinding U.N. resolution on the rights of indigenous people.

He thinks there will be international pressure. “If the U.S. violates the law, the whole world will know it,” Means said.

Means’ group is based in Porcupine on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. It is not an agency or branch of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. Means ran unsuccessfully for president of the tribe in 2006.

Lakota tribes have long claimed that the U.S. government stole land guaranteed by treaties — especially in western South Dakota. “The Missouri River is ours, and so are the Black Hills,” Means said.

A U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1980 awarded the tribes $122 million as compensation, but the court did not award land. The Lakota have refused the settlement. (As interest accrues, the unclaimed award is approaching $1 billion.)

In the late 1980s, then-Sen. Bill Bradley of New Jersey introduced legislation to return federal land to the tribes, and California millionaire Phil Stevens also tried to win support for a proposal to return the Black Hills to the Lakota.


Contact Bill Harlan at 394-8424 or bill.harlan@rapidcityjournal.com
© 2007 The Rapid City Journal

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I Am A Sinner!

the-seven-deadly-sins-sloth

OK, I confess. I have been sinning all afternoon. I have been indulging in Sloth which is one of the 7 DEADLY sins. In atonement, I have uploaded an in depth description... well, actually, I copied it directly from Wikipedia - which is probably indicative of even MORE sloth... which constitutes even more sin. But Oh well....

Here's what wikipedia had to say about Sloth, along with my own comments:

More than other sins, the definition of sloth has changed considerably since its original inclusion among the seven deadly sins. In fact it was first called the sin of sadness or despair. It had been in the early years of Christianity characterized by what modern writers would now describe as melancholy: apathy, depression, and joylessness — the last being viewed as being a refusal to enjoy the goodness of God and the world he created.

Yowsers! Now that's interesting!! A "refusal to enjoy the goodness of God and the world he created" there might even be something wise there... some small bit of food for thought.

Originally, its place was fulfilled by two other aspects, acedia and sadness. The former described a spiritual apathy that affected the faithful by discouraging them from their religious work. Sadness (tristitia in Latin) described a feeling of dissatisfaction or discontent, which caused unhappiness with one's current situation.

Whoa! Spiritual apathy - I have that thing! Often! I wonder if it causes dissatisfaction and discontent - which I experience quite often!

When Thomas Aquinas selected acedia for his list, he described it as an "uneasiness of the mind", being a progenitor for lesser sins such as restlessness and instability.

So - instability and restlessness are sins??? Lesser, but nonetheless sins? I had NO IDEA! I don't even know what to think of that... it makes me all fidgety just thinking about it!

Dante refined this definition further, describing sloth as being the "failure to love God with all one's heart, all one's mind and all one's soul." He also described it as the middle sin, and as such was the only sin characterised by an absence or insufficiency of love. In his "Purgatorio", the slothful penitents were made to run continuously at top speed.

Running continuously at top speed? Whoa Nelly! I better get with it and start loving God a whole lot more! Way a lot more!

The modern view of the vice, as highlighted by its contrary virtue of zeal or diligence, is that it represents the failure to utilize one's talents and gifts. For example, a student who does not work beyond what is required (and thus fails to achieve his or her full potential) could be labeled slothful.

Oh, oh... here's a bugaboo! Not utilizing your talents and gifts! Use it or lose it - better yet, use it or run continuously at top speed for... how long... eternity??

Current interpretations are therefore much less stringent and comprehensive than they were in medieval times, and portray sloth as being more simply a sin of laziness or indifference, of an unwillingness to act, an unwillingness to care (rather than a failure to love God and his works). For this reason sloth is now often seen as being considerably less serious than the other sins, more a sin of omission than of commission.

Whew! Now that we're all slothfully planted in front of our big screen TV's it's not such a big sin anymore. (Big sigh of relief!)

The South American animal sloth was named after this sin by Roman Catholic explorers. Here's a picture of one. He's just a baby - isn't he cute?

sloth

Hey! I sold something!

It's a "Daisies and Dragonflies" Magnet

For $3.73, you could have this cool magnet too! Here's the product information: Stick ‘em up with our fun and functional magnets. Holds refrigerator notes, photos, dress up a school locker, room or workspace. Adds stylish fun to any room. Collect ‘em, trade ‘em.

  • 2.25 inch diameter
  • Metal shell
  • Flat magnetic back
  • Mylar/UV protecting cover
Cool, huh? Only one person in the world has one. If I was ever famous AND dead, that little magnet would be worth a shit load of money! Maybe you ought to go and get one too!!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Wasting Time

We may think that we are accomplishing something in the world, but if that accomplishment does not yield insight or penetrate into the inner levels of our being, it is wasted time.

~Rick Jarow


So... what do you think you are accomplishing? What do you want to accomplish in the world? And are you wasting your time?

Friday, August 15, 2008

I'm an Iris?

You Are An Iris

You are a unique person who seeks out novelty in life.
An inspiration seeker, you often have to change scenery to recharge.
You don't deal well with structure or rules. You need to do it your own way.
Your ideal relationships are free and flowing. No one can tie you down.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

So here it is!

I really want to post something definitive about WHY I would suddenly let go of blogs that I love, blogs with subscribers, blogs with readers, blogs with traffic, and blogs that are actually bringing in some money. Yes, the Flickr thing was a problem, but it wasn't the end of the world. So what was it really that pushed me into making such a drastic move? Didn't I, just the other day, talk about how I love my blogs, and blogging so much that it's FIRST on my list of stuff I would be willing to sacrifice and suffer for?

The only way to really explain it is to get all the Morning Meditations up to date, which is what I've been working on. And as I transcribe them, I realize that maybe the best way is to just share the journey. I invite you to follow the links and go see for yourself.

Huichol2_lg


From the moment I decided to "be Aragorn" it was probably a done deal. Would Aragorn be sitting at home blogging other people's pictures until 3am? I don't think so.

And tonight when I reread that first morning meditation, "Counting Coup," I thought to myself... OK there it was... the first call to action.

Then there were the Snake Racers. I got that same page I don't know how many times. My mind was just racing and racing... this and that... bla bla bla... bla bla bla... I'd get on the internet and surf and blog and read this and post that and I'm just zinging from one thing to another... I even remember a conversation with Daniel about how I thought that all the time I spent on the internet might be interfering with my ability to concentrate and to focus... like it was giving me ADD or something.

So, when I got the "Talking is for Later" message, why wasn't that a clue? Wasn't that a clue that maybe I was spending way too much time talking about stuff and not enough time actually doing anything?

And there were numerous gentle hints like "taking care," A Mystery, and "do what's in here." Then, since I still wasn't taking any real action, it became more pointed. I was told to "pay attention," and I did. I even went so far as to read Caroline Myss which gave me one of those "light bulb moments" where you suddenly realize OH!

And my big OH! was that I have spent most of my life giving my power away. Selling my soul for the approval of others. If I'm not needed and appreciated - then I'm nothing. Nothing at all, and I might as well just throw myself in front of a truck!

I decided to stop being a coward, and reclaim my power. Well... that's easier said than done! And I really didn't have a clue how to go about actually doing it. That a commitment of some kind was going to be required became clear. I was told that life was to live in, not to live under, and the very next day I learned that I was going to be doing something big and the day after that my stuff was all lined up and ready to go, a nice old man counseled me not to give my power away, and encouraged to really think about what I was doing.

And still I was clueless. I knew something was going to have to give... especially when the idea cemetery came up. But I was cheerfully in total denial of just WHAT that something was going to be. All the while, uploading posts on the Hanged Man and suffering and sacrifice ...

For a smart person, I can be really really dense!

And as I'm writing this post, I am amazed at how my morning meditations dovetailed so perfectly with what I was building up to. So now that the kicking, screaming, and crying seems to be mostly over, I'm finding a tiny bit of peace with the idea that the structures I built will crumble to dust, and I'm ready to begin the work of letting it all go.

So, there you have it!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Putting it all on the line

To test life, to allow life itself to lead you and to care for you, is not a parlor game. In order to move into your way, you may have to put everything on the line.


~Rick Jarow

Monday, August 11, 2008

Oh Oh, this doesn't look good!


So, the decision's been made, plans are motion, and now it's only a matter of time.

Yes, I am procrastinating my in depth and in detail explanation for ALL the reasons why I've decided to go this route, but I didn't want to leave you guys hanging too much longer. (I decided to shoot you instead). LOL!

OK... I'm not really going to shoot you, I'm just going to blindfold you, stand you up against a wall, light a cigarette for you, and then let the firing squad do it.

Ok... that's not true either. Actually this is a picture of me! I got quite a lot younger over the last few days and even had a sex change. Now I've taken up smoking again and pretty soon somebody is going to shoot me.

Alright.... none of that is true. What is true, is that I've decided to let all but two of the blogs go. If you are wondering why I'm taking such a drastic step, one of my many reasons can be found at this post over at The Prosperity Project.

And yes, I'm keeping this one. And yes, it's been excruciatingly ridiculously painful and I have SUFFERED! So, I think that serves me right for posting all that stuff about suffering! And I did find some cool pictures today - so I guess I'll upload them here - and I'm also going to post MY idea of the Great Penis Nebula for my friend Bob so that he can have something SEXY to post over at Black Holes and Astrostuff, and if I'm not careful, I'll be turning this blog into it's own black hole by not really letting go of the marathon blogging. Which would defeat the whole purpose of letting them go in the first place!!

So...
I'm going to shut up now and eat my last meal!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Letting Go

Amber Canyon
Morning Meditation

So... I'm wiffle waffling and angsting over the blogs - the picture blogs in particular - but they do seem to be tangled up with the others as well.

When I did my morning meditation I asked specifically if I could get some insight into what to do about them.

I turned to Tsatsalatksa - a strong, beautiful, Skokomish woman. She wouldn't make direct eye contact with me. She kept looking over my head off into the distance. As I merged into the picture I found myself standing with her on a road at the top of a hill.

In the "dream" I was a child, she the mother. I was looking backward, she was looking forward. Gently, she reached down and with her hands on my shoulders, she turned me around.

Far on the horizon was a beautiful city. She said, "Do you see that?" And I knew that was where we were headed. We started walking and trailing behind me was a wagon piled high with my various stuff.

I thought to myself, this is too apt, too symbolic, I must be making it up. So I tried to forget about the stuff, to NOT see it, to NOT imagine it, but still the wagon full of stuff persisted. So finally, I gave in and accepted that it was there for a reason and a purpose.

The woman looked down at me and said, "Let it go." and I said, "But I need it." and she said, "Let it go." and I said, "But I need it." and she said, "Let it go." and I said, "But I want it."

She was very patient. The dialogue continued. She would say, "Let it go." And I would say, "But I like it." "But what if I need it." "But what if it comes in handy later?" "But what about other people who like it." "But I love it." "But it's fun and interesting." "But... But.... But..."

And to each "But.." She would reply, "Let it go."

Finally, she reached down and unclenched my fingers from the handle of the wagon. The whole time, I'm saying, "But... But..."

And even when I wasn't hanging on to the wagon any more, the stuff was still following us, attached by a string that I was holding in my pocket.

She said, "Really, you must let it go."

And I did try, but I just couldn't seem to cut myself off from it. So she stopped and pointed at the beautiful city on the horizon, glowing and shimmering with golden light. "That's where we are going, you need to let this other go."

She pointed down the hill, and I saw before us valleys and forests, cliffs and dangerous territory. I knew that if I tried to drag my noisy, bulky, heavy wagon through all that - we would surely fail. Maybe even die.

That journey looked exciting, and interesting, adventuresome and dangerous. I let go of the string and the wagon. It felt so scary and vulnerable to do that.

We started off again. "But wait," I said. "I need some stuff. I need to get some stuff out of it to take with us." She didn't let go of my hand so that I could run back and rifle through the wagon.

She smiled and said, "What do you have in your pockets?" And suddenly they were bulging with stuff.

The first thing I pulled out was a whistle. "You can take this," she said, "it might come in handy." I had a small flash of being in a dark scary forest, playing the whistle and finding courage, maybe even faeries.

She insisted that I empty my pockets. So much stuff - a candle, knives, sticks, gum, lots of stuff.

The only thing she let me keep was the whistle. I felt very naked as we turned and began to walk down the hill.

NOTE: I'm thinking that whistle is this one little blog.

What is the Morning Meditation?

Friday, August 8, 2008

Crumbling to Dust

Amber Canyon
Morning Meditation

Still in a deep funk about the possibility of losing the blogs, and now my life seems pretty meaningless and significantly lonely. Reeling with angst over issues of unworthiness and all my "stuff" really in my face. It's a bad funk.

So, I didn't get very well centered nor was I able to maintain much real focus for this morning's meditation.

I turned to a ruined Hopi village, deserted, abandoned, structures crumbling to dust. It seemed appropriate, but at this point I'm not sure how helpful it was as I could not stay long enough to discover anything more.

I'm just too upset, to messed up right now to "be" with it.

What is the Morning Meditation?

Unknown Unknowns

Ha ha... this is just great!
A very profound comment by the Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld! It pretty much sums up where I'm at right now!

"There are known knowns. There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we now know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we do not know we don’t know."

I've even got it on video!

Believe it or not, this quote even has it's own page at Wikipedia!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Tears and more tears

Amber Canyon
Morning Meditation

Freaking out this morning because it looks like the Flickr account is going to be toast...

Feeling sadness, grief, angst over losing the picture blogs and thinking I'll probably just ditch the whole blogging idea.

All or nothing - I know - but my "stuff" is up and running big time today. Feeling desperately unnecessary, unlovable, and messed up. So, it was in this condition that I sat down for my morning meditation.

I opened to the little shaman I visited not so long ago, and he looked at me with so much grandfatherly compassion...

I hugged him, and buried my face in his chest and I cried. But not for real. Here in the physical, tears remain unshed, and now I have to go to work. If i could just cry, I know I would feel better, but I won't - so there's that.

NOTE: Actually, I did cry... I cried on the way to work, I cried at work, and I came home from work early and cried some more. My "little spartan boy" was appalled, but I did feel better... eventually.

What is the Morning Meditation?

It Might Be Goodbye

bekliyorum_by_pakpao

Ok... well, here's the thing.

Being the Gypsy Witch that I am, I have been content to break rules and fly by the seat of my pants where the picture blogs are concerned. I try not to post anything that isn't pretty much posted every where else already.

But... I have apparently tweaked someone's inflated sense of being a busy body, and it's possible that my Flickr account will get deleted unless I pull all the pictures that aren't mine real soon. Like maybe even tomorrow. This doesn't give me very many choices. I could scramble and lose sleep and move all 2000 pictures to other sites where the admin isn't so prickly. That part wouldn't be so bad... it's rewriting all those blog posts... I can't even imagine how long that would take!!

OR ... I could just give the whole situation over to the Red Jesus, and then if the Flickr account goes by by, I could simply delete all the blogs.

Well, I wouldn't HAVE to delete all of them, I could probably keep a few of them afloat if most of the images suddenly go away, but the picture blogs are toast if that happens. I'd have to really scramble to take care of a disaster of those proportions. And maybe it wouldn't be worth it...

I don't know if I'd have the heart for blogging if I became a Flickr pariah... outcast... persona non grata... WOW! That would get my "issues" and my "stuff" in an uproar. Big time.

Interestingly, just the other day, during my morning meditation, I had a thought that maybe the blogging and the internet is taking up too much of my time and energy. Time and energy that I could be using to actually dig really deep and begin to live shamanism... and art... and magic.

So, if I suddenly disappear from the blogosphere. Maybe even from the web. Vanish into thin air... you'll know. I threw up my hands and said... I don't know what... Aarrgghhhh is probably what it might sound like.

I wonder will you miss me?
Or would you even notice I was gone?

Which brings up why it is that I even like blogging... it's really actually kind of sick. Maybe even a little bit crazy. How?

What I love about the picture blogs is that they are POPULAR. (ergo: I'm popular)... which is really sad and sick when you weigh in the fact that the pictures I post aren't mine... and weren't even posted by me first. My so called "popularity" is derived solely by me hitching a ride on someone who is authentically popular and interesting. The same holds true for Mandala Madness, Gypsy Magic, Way Cool Quotes, and the Prosperity Project... people go there, they get inspired, they get uplifted, they have good experiences, maybe it even makes their day... but not from anything I actually wrote. NO it's from stuff I find that OTHER people write.

This little blog here is the only one that with mostly stuff I've written... and how many readers do I have here? Let's get real! What... two? three? And who are they, Bob? Gracie? Maybe Daniel? And do you guys come here because what I say is all that great? Because I make a difference in your life? I doubt it.

The rest of the people who visit this blog, come for the stuff I collected from someplace else. Don't believe me? Read the sidebar! So, if I disappear from the blogosphere, it won't be a great loss.. I might be missed for about.. oh I don't know... 20 seconds?

Anyway, this is turning into a rant... a poor me pit\ty party rant no less. And it's all because my "stuff" is up and running already. And what is that "stuff?" I talked about it in a round about way when I posted all that Caroline Myss stuff, and here it is the short form.

I've spent most of my life deriving my "power" my "self esteem" my "feel good" energy and my "worthiness" from the deep inner knowing that in order to be OK, I have to be needed and appreciated. If I'm approved of too, well, that's even better. By doing all this blogging, and having subscribers, and readers, and upwards of 3600+ people a day (all total) reading what I've posted (I added it up) - well that gives me a definite feeling of being needed and appreciated.

No wonder I'm not feeling authentic. I'm getting all my kudos, all my pats on the back, all my feel good energy for stuff OTHER PEOPLE did. It might be really good for me to pull that plug!

I don't know.
We'll see.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Hanged Man - A Short Interpretation

My morning meditation about Black Goo got me interested in the Hanged Man Tarot card, and wondering what it might signify. Here's the interpretation I found:

Serenely dangling upside-down, the Hanged Man has let go of worldly attachments. He has sacrificed a desire for control over his circumstances in order to gain an understanding of, and communion with, creative energies far greater than his individual self. In letting go, the hero gains a profound perspective accessible only to someone free from everyday conceptual, dualistic reality.

The Hanged Man is often associated with Odin, the primary god of the Norse Pantheon. Odin hung upside down from the world-tree, Yggdrasil, for nine days to attain wisdom and thereby retrieved The Runes from the Well of Wyrd, which the Norse cosmology regarded as the source and end of all Mystery and all knowledge. The moment he glimpsed the runes, he died, but the knowledge of them was so powerful that he immediately returned to life.

This interpretation highlights the necessity of undertaking acts of personal sacrifice in order to achieve one's own higher spiritual good. In short: The Hanged Man is every hero committed enough to the adventure to die for it.

Black Goo?

Amber Canyon
Morning Meditation

Today I'm Omming with Hamatsa again. I said, "Oh, hi!"

And he was omming, and I felt the sound falling down all around me like rain. It felt so good. I stretched out in my chair so that I could really enjoy it. As I did so, I realized that I was in the same position as the "Hanged Man" just not hanging. And I thought, "This is interesting."

Then I saw myself hanging upside down just like in the Tarot card and all the while the om vibration is falling around me and down on me, and it's cool!

Hamatsa then reached around me from behind and did a kind of Heimlich Maneuver, and out of my mouth popped a black box which fell on the ground and then changed form and scurried away - but there was still a string attached, a black string, rubbery, and so he pulled on it, and began pulling this black stuff out of me. Black stuff that was attached to the most extended parts of myself - like an intricate network that reached everywhere inside me. And at the very ends of it were these tiny suckers that stayed even when the rest was pulled away. Growing back as fast as he could pull them out.

It was kind of like an invasive spirit weed.. an inner "Ivy of Miasma".

Not having much success with the pulling, he got out (of all things) a hose with a power nozzle on it and started hosing me off from my feet to my head. In the vision, I'm still hanging upside down, and that was working except for the fact that all the black stuff was now making a big puddle below me. When he got me all cleared and stood me up, I was knee deep in black gunk and so was he.

So then, we looked up and saw that now it was just pouring down all over us from some other source. He tried to shoo it away - but that didn't work. He tried to move it, and he tried to wipe it out, but all that happened is we got more and more covered with black goo.

So then he made a shield and it poured down around us. We were clean, but that was no way to live in the world. So then I suggested, "Let's go see who's doing this."

He said, "OK."

So we went up and into the third world and there was this old guy with a pot in his hands pouring an endless stream of black goo down to where we had just come from. I tried to talk to him. Hamatsa tried to Om him, but he just ignored us.

I then looked at him really closely, and I realized that he looked a little bit like Hannuman, the Monkey Headed God. And I looked at him some more and he turned into a monkey and then just disintegrated into sparkly light, and the black goo began to disintegrate. As we floated down from the third world, we were at first waist deep in it, then as it dissolved around us and as our feet hit the ground, it just ebbed away. Dissolving into nothing and leaving everything sparkling, clear, and beautiful.

Hmatsa and I looked at each other and we started laughing. As we laughed, I saw that he wasn't Hamatsa at all, he was Pan. Then he faded and was gone.

What is the Morning Meditation?

Not Everybody Cares!



I am indifferent to your suffering!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

See? I was right!

And to prove my point about suffering and success, and having the "Gods" smile on you, here is a story from Daily Running Tips about an incident at the 1908 London Olympics.

According to 1908 Olympic report, here's what happened:

Dorando Pietri of Italy entered the stadium first, but he took the wrong path and when umpires redirected him, he fell down for the first time. He got up with their help, in front of 75,000 trembling spectators.

He fell four more times, and every time was helped up by the umpires. In the end, though totally exhausted, he managed to finish the race in first place. Of his total time of 2h 54min 46s, ten minutes were needed for that last 350 metres.


The American team immediately lodged a complaint against the help Pietri received from the umpires. The complaint was accepted and Pietri was disqualified and second place finisher, American Johnny Hayes was declared the winner.

The next day, however, since he had not been responsible for his disqualification, Queen Alexandra awarded him a gold cup.

~ Posted By: Constantine Njeru


So, you see? Everyone... even the Umpires and Queens take pity on you when you are willing to suffer and endure.

Balance Again

Amber Canyon
Morning Meditation

Opened to the Taos water girls again and my immediate thought was: "Balance." Once again it's all about balance, which goes right along with "Hasten Slowly" from the Prosperity Project.

I tried hard to ferret out something more, but this really was the message. The girls did show me how to fill a jar and balance it on my head, and then walk with it. I found several things to be true when I did this.

Balance Requires:

  • strength of purpose
  • you have to stand up straight - be straight forward
  • you can't be in a rush - you'll trip and fall for sure
  • you have to keep your eyes focused on your goal - you can't be looking around
  • for sure you can't look down
  • once you are balanced, you can carry amazingly heavy loads

What is the Morning Meditation?

Still suffering

So... suffering... I'm still on a rant about this.

In addition to thinking about work that I would do even if I had to suffer for it, and work that I flat out won't do even when I'm suffering, I also thought about ways I've suffered in the past and why the heck did I do that.

GrumpyCouples


For example:

Twenty three years of a bad marriage. I knew it was a mistake the day I did it - but I didn't want to admit I was wrong about something. Of course, over the years, being married to a pompous asshole, I found I could be wrong, I could admit defeat, that I could "eat crow," and I could indeed admit to having made a mistake.

But by this time, my reasons for staying in the marriage had changed. It was now all about not having to get a "real job." I told myself it was because I wanted a stable home for the kids, that I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, but the truth was that I was afraid. I was afraid of a number of things, (being a "bad mother" for one, being "unloved" for another) and I was willing to endure a fair amount of suffering and even outright agony just to avoid facing those fears.

The day my marriage ended was the day I went out and found a job. The divorce didn't come for several more years, and there was a fair amount of agony and angst over it - but the truth is, I knew it was over the day I picked up the want ads and started making calls. So what happened?

It was obvious that I was a failure as a mother, clearly I was unloved, the things that I was afraid to face were now in my face - staring at me from the bathroom mirror, crawling into bed with me at night. I HAD to get a job so I could get away! All that suffering, all that endurance, it was all a waste. I was wrong. I was a failure. I was defeated. I was a bad mother. I was unloved. I was nothing, no one, and nowhere. It was the end of the line.

And so now in retrospect, I'm wondering what would have happened if I hadn't followed that road all the way to the bitter end. What if... and here's the mystery... what if on the day that we got married I had turned to Mike Janner and said:

"Hey look. I know this is going to sound really off the wall, but I've changed my mind. I'm not marriage material. I love you, and in this moment I'm committed to a relationship with you - but I want it to feel good all the way to the bone - and this doesn't feel good. I feel like I've just given away my power. I feel like I am now a prisoner in middle-class America. I feel as if my free spirit is about to be squished. Let's get this marriage annulled, and then let's just live together like a couple of 60's flower children - let's make our relationship work in a different way."

Wow... How different would my life have been had I the courage and the confidence to say that! I was thinking it... I do remember thinking those exact things as we drove off for our honeymoon.

What if I had believed in my self that strongly?
What if I had been willing to suffer the consequences of laying it all out like that?

And what about right now? What choices could I be making? Where am I giving my power away? What am I afraid of losing? How am I not being true to me? If I stopped right now and said... hey, wait a minute... this isn't right... what would I be referring to?

It's a mystery!
What about you? What's your mystery?

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Idea Cemetery

Amber Canyon
Morning Meditation

Today I opened the book to a picture of a Yurok Cemetery. There was a fair amount of interesting energy involved in the image. Energy of grief, of neglect, of not letting go, of clinging in a sort of desperate way - of depression and regret.

I wondered at first if it was a sign NOT to go help a friend of mine hang a door in this 100+ temperature day. Then I wondered if it was a sign that my idea that my friend Daniel should write a book about trees was a dead idea.

Then I heard, very distinctly something about how ideas - when they reach their "time" - you have to let them go. And even though in the meditation I heard it very distinctly, now when I'm writing it, the exact words that I heard elude me.

What I understood was this:

Ideas, (and that includes projects, career paths, interests, passions, passing fancies, grand schemes, inspirations, etc) come and then they go. There is a time and a place, a moment... And when that time has passed, when the moment is done, it's time to let it go. Don't cling to it and carry it with you as so much "dead" weight. Say goodbye and move on.

I then tried to move into a the picture itself and be in that place, at that cemetery, but there came an immediate sense of "NO!"

I don't know if it was my protecting spirits, or what, but definitely I was sternly pushed out of that place which seemed to be filled with ghosts and bad "ju ju."

So, that was interesting. I wonder now how to put to rest the dead weight I'm carrying - I need an idea cemetery, I think. Maybe make a diorama or a crucifixion piece, maybe call it the "Fall From Grace" or something.

This is a great idea, I wonder how to make it a sort of ongoing art project, or altar, or something.

What is the Morning Meditation?

Wrong Jobs!

Well, if you read yesterday's post, you'll know I was looking at Monster.com for a job that I'd be willing to suffer for. But nothing came up! I did however (surprisingly) find a bunch of jobs. Ok, yeah, I put in a search for anything anywhere... But I was surprised at how many jobs there appear to be all across America. So, I figured it might be good to rule out some stuff. That way I wouldn't be tempted to take the WRONG job were it offered to me, like this one for example:

This, much longer list, details the jobs that I would be more than willing to suffer in order NOT to have to do them. It's a much longer list, so please bear with me. And if I'm torturing you with this excruciatingly long post, maybe you might want to take some time and think about what it is that you are trying to achieve with your suffering... how it serves you... and when the "Gods" take pity on you how cool that will be... OK?

So here goes:


  1. Plumber: We know this is true because I once went for 3 months without water in the dead of winter just so that I wouldn't have to crawl around under the trailer and fix the pipe that froze and broke. And even now, I have two faucets that haven't worked for OVER A YEAR because I don't want to fiddle around with fixing them. I'd rather suffer than do that job - it's obvious!

  2. Appliance Repair: We know this is true because I lived with out a washer and a dryer for over 6 months all because I didn't want to take the dryer apart and vacuum and clean it, and because I didn't want to replace a $60 part on the washing machine, and we all know what happened just the other day when I almost became a nudist. I totally hate appliance repair and am perfectly content to suffer and maybe even die before I have to fix another one!

  3. Car Mechanic: Well, I flat out refuse to even know anything at all about how to fix my car. I remember once, years ago, my ex husband decided that I needed to know how to check the fluid levels in our aging van. He must have showed me how to do it 10 or 15 times - I never could remember which thingy was which, and if it needed oil, I was clueless as to where to put it. I was willing to be a "helpless female" AND "stupid" AND dependent on Mike Janner's good graces... yes... I suffered!

  4. House Cleaner: I'd rather live in filth, I'd rather pay someone else, I'd almost rather move than do the deep cleaning in my house. Yes, I do periodically do it, like once a year... well... no that's not true. I'm always paying someone else to do it.. I haven't actually personally scoured my house clean for years and years. Looks like my dream of cleaning houses for money has bit the dust - literally!

  5. Dish Washer: OK... so you know it's bad when I'd rather eat cereal out of a cast iron skillet than wash a bowl to put it in... and I have a dishwasher, and it works, but I have to be totally out of clean dishes, and I mean totally, before I'll load that sucker and turn it on.

  6. Accountant: Crunching numbers - it's like fingernails on a chalkboard. All that tidy nit picky attention to detail. Bleah! I can nit pick and obsess for hours over a mosaic, or a blog page, but numbers? No way! I don't even write the amounts in my check book when I write checks. I haven't balanced my check book in more than 6 years. I have automatic deposit, online bill pay, and then I just cross my fingers and hope for the best.

  7. Sales Person: I can't even sell my own art - stuff I love - much less anything else. My thought is, "If you really need it, here have it. If you can't afford it - don't buy it." when I was doing dog training classes, I was constantly doing free extra sessions with people who were struggling. I gave free advice over the phone al the time. I tried to talk people OUT of boarding training (my bread and butter). No, I'd rather be broke and over worked than sell somebody something.

  8. Stripper: Ok - NO! I don't even look at myself naked. I avoid public swimming pools like the plague because I don't want any one to see me in a bathing suit - plus, who'd even WANT to see me strip. They'd probably run screaming into the night looking for acid to wash their eyeballs out with. I'm not kidding you. I think it would be that bad! I think I'd jump at the chance to work at numbers 1 thru 7 if it meant I could avoid doing this!

So... I think I'm making good progress. I know what I want, I know what I don't want... so now what?

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Suffering and Working

The other day, I was reading The Way of the Shaman by Michael Harner, and in his quest to become a shaman, he ended up in the deep jungle, and at one memorable moment, when he was exhausted and hungry, the medicine man who agreed to teach him said, "Good! You need to suffer. We want the Gods to take pity on you. Then, they might help you." And I thought to myself... THAT'S IT!

In order to Create Work You Love, (which is what we are currently working on over at the Prosperity Project) you have to be willing to sacrifice and suffer. I don't know for sure that the suffering in and of itself is necessary... but I do think that the willingness to do so is important. By that, what I mean is... when you find something that you are so committed to, so in love with, so passionate about, that you're willing to sacrifice everything for it... then you've found your "dharma," your "life's work," your "bliss".

Just think about it... if you think I'm wrong, I'd sure like to hear what you have to say about it.

I grew up on the concept that Jesus suffered and died for our sins, and all the great saints in the bible went through "trials and tribulations." Don't believe in the bible? Ok... how about Odin, Father of the Gods... he suffered - willingly... Look at just about every religious icon... and you'll see sacrifice and suffering. But that's not all... If you want to lose weight, or "beat" cancer, or climb Mt Everest... a fair amount of suffering seems to be a prerequesite for success. Read stories of great entrepeneurs... you'll see suffering and deprivation and the willingness to endure regardless of rejection and humiliation...

The more I thought about it, the more I am convinced that:

  • The "Gods" are much more likely to take pity on you and support you if you are willing to go through a fair amount of suffering in order to reach your goal.

  • If you are already doing a fair amount of suffering, there must be a really good reason for it, and the "Gods" are probably supporting you in some way - if only by keeping you alive so that you can endure even more suffering and eventually maybe even reach your goal.

  • When you find the work that you love, and work that loves you, it often requires a willingness to give or to sacrifice... and again... endure a fair amount of suffering - at least initially. Once you have "paid your dues" and "offered up your first born child" and stuff like that, things tend to smooth out, and you generally have a decent, if not a happy ending.

Now, this may not be true for everyone, but it appears to be true for me. And it might even be true for you. So... how is this helpful in my quest for work that I love? Well, I got to thinking about work that I'm willing to suffer for, and I did come up with a list, here it is:


  1. Blogging - I am willing to be up all hours of the night, I'm willing to give all my free time, I'm willing to sacrifice quite a lot to be able to do what I'm doing right here, right now. I'd do it for free (well, I practically do), I do it if I'm sick, I do it if I'm busy, I do it hell or high water... If I could make an adequate living by blogging - I'd be one happy camper!

  2. Playing on the computer - Ok... that does include blogging... and it also includes making cool stuff for cafe press, designing websites, and helping other people with their computer stuff. Again, I do it if I'm sick, I do it for free... I have to MAKE myself NOT do it so that I can have time for things like... taking a shower...

  3. Art - when I have art in progress - I can't hardly stop doing it. Yes - blogging can and does interrupt it, but I have an amazing amount of stamina and energy when I'm doing art. I can't stand at the sink and wash dishes for 5 minutes without getting tired, but I can stand at the table and work on a mosaic for hours and hours and not even notice that my feet are sore... not even notice that I even HAVE feet.

  4. Spirituality, Shamanism, Magick - I'm sticking this one in here even though I'm not sure that it's true. I want it to be true - so I'm putting it here! And god damn it, if I put it here that MAKES it true.

So... I figure that if I had a job creating shamanic art in a ritual way and then putting it on the computer and blogging about it - I'd be in heaven! I'm going to put that into a search on Monster.com and see what I come up with.

Odin - The Shaman God

ODIN (Woden to the Anglo-Saxons) is a god of the mysterious realms of wisdom, cunning, sorcery, and death. Subtle, aristocratic, and at times inexplicable, Odin is the literal father of important gods, such as Thor, and All-Father to the whole of creation, divine and human. Amongst his gifts was the greatest of all: the gift of writing. To accomplish this Odin hung himself upside down upon the World Tree, the gigantic ash Yggdrasil ( a compound meaning "terrible horse"). After nine days of fasting and agony, in which "he made of himself a sacrifice to himself", he "fell screaming" from the tree, having had revealed to him in a flash of insight the secret of the runes. Their initial manifestation took the form of eighteen powerful charms for protection, increase, success in battle and love-making, healing, and mastery over natural causes.

This story illustrates an important dynamic of the Northern pantheon, which did not allow for omnipotence: even Odin must pay his due. At Mimir's well, which lay deep under the roots of Yggdrasil, the World Tree, the god had earlier chosen to undergo an important forfeit. Odin paid with one eye for a single drink of the enchanted water. His mouthful granted him wisdom and fore-sight. It is due to this sacrifice that Odin's face is depicted with a straight line indicating an empty eye, or alternately, in a wide-brimmed hat pulled down low over the missing orb.

His quest for knowledge was never-ending. Upon his shoulders perched two ravens, Hugin ("Thought"), and Munin ("Memory"). These circled the Earth each day, seeing all, and then at night reported to Odin what they had learnt. He cherished them both, but particularly Munin, which seems to underscore the importance he placed on rune writing, record keeping, and honouring the heroic deeds of the past.

There is another bird associated with Odin, the eagle. The god often transformed himself into this canny raptor, both to view the workings of the world and to intervene when an avian form was better suited to his ends.

Odin's fabulous grey horse Sleipnir ("Slippery One") was like no other. This eight-legged horse was the offspring of a giant's magical stallion and the "trickster" god, Loki, who disguised himself as an alluring mare to distract the stallion from the task of building a wall around Asgard, home of the Gods. If the wall had been completed by a certain date, Freyja, the goddess of beauty, war and sexuality would have been forfeit to the giant as payment for his labours. (The gods also stood to lose the Sun and the Moon, but did not seem particularly concerned about their impending loss!)

Loki was successful, but vanished for a few seasons as he had to bear the fruit of his trickery. He returned to Odin leading his equine offspring, which he presented as a gift. With his eight legs, Sleipnir could run twice as fast as ordinary steeds, and it is he who carries the valiant dead from the battle field to Valhalla.

In this realm warriors fought all day yet never died from their wounds, were made whole again in time for supper, at which they feasted upon the flesh of a similarly eternal magical boar who was born anew each day. Intoxicating mead filled their drinking horns, and the many-room hall rang with the song of the victorious rewarded there. Not a bad end for a pragmatic folk who lived and died by their iron.

For an alternative look at Odin, check out this post.

Grandfather said

Amber Canyon
Morning Meditation

A Wappo grandfather spoke to me today. He said,

"Don't live your life like I did.
Live it in a good way."

And I knew he was talking about giving away his power
- and about giving up.

What is the Morning Meditation?

Odin - An alternative Story

ODIN: The Norse Biggy. ODIN is Father of the Gods, King of ASGARD, Ruler of the AESIR and the Lord of War, Death and Knowledge. To travel the world without being recognised, he wears a huge wide-brimmed hat. He also — thanks to LOKI — rides an eight-legged horse named SLEIPNIR into battle. All he needs is a six-shooter and a sheriff's badge to be able to stand in for John Wayne in True Grit.

Odin the Wanderer


His biggest fans include the Berserkers, which should give you some idea. He's also very hot on Knowledge and Military Intelligence, having two ravens, Huginn and Muninn, who fly around the world every day bringing up-to-date reports.

ODIN himself has only one eye, having traded the other one for a sip from MIMIR's Well of Wisdom during his visit to the great World Tree YGGDRASIL. Consequently he's full of knowledge, while his missing eye is hidden in an unknown location care of MIMIR the Talking Head. The eye enabled MIMIR to focus on far-distant events, allowing ODIN the ability to always see far ahead.

To become the Top Wise Guy, ODIN put himself through some incredibly rigorous ordeals. The Well of Wisdom lies under the second root of YGGDRASIL, which allows the Dew of Knowledge to seep into it. So ODIN stabbed himself with his own spear and hung himself on the tree for nine days and nights. He was then allowed a peep, and saw magic runes appear on rocks beneath him. With a superhuman effort he struggled to lift them, which must have been quite an acrobatic feat. Running his eye over the mystic symbols, he was instantly freed of all encumbrances; restored and rejuvenated with everlasting vigour enabling him to drop lightly to the ground.

His ordeal accomplished, ODIN was at last able to take a well-deserved swig from MIMIR's well, making him well-wise as well as wise. It was even tastier than his usual tipple Kvas, the Mead of Inspiration, a special brew made from the blood of KVASIR. If you think a wise one-eyed Norse cowboy on an eight-legged horse would be easy to recognise, this ain't necessarily so for ODIN is a shape-changer, and his range of disguises make Sherlock Holmes look like Miss Marple. He also travels incognito under a variety of false names.

Sharing primeval God status with brothers VE and VILI, the Great ODIN helped bring the world as we know it into being, so we can forgive his little foibles. The legend tells that in the ice-laden wastes of NIFLHEIM, he got into a rather catastophic snowball fight with YMIR, the king of the FROST-GIANTS. The Abominable Snowgiant was slashed into pieces and ODIN made the world from all the bits. He even found a use for the eyebrows. ODIN's dad is BOR, son of BURI, son of an ice cube. Married to FRIGG (with the occasional Freya fling and flirtation with RIND).

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