Monday, August 21, 2017

Some Thoughts on the Eclipse

     If you live in North America, did you skip your normal obligations and sneak a peek at the solar eclipse?  It was something, wasn't it?  Other than the fact that this is a relatively rare event, I think it was important for other reasons.

     Remember that the sun represents the male principle and the moon represents the female.  Having the moon cover the sun, even for a short while, represents to me the idea that the female principle is on the ascendancy.  It comes at a good time.

     Second, tonight is also the start of the new moon cycle, where the moon will gradually gain strength in the night sky.  To me, that underscores the resurgence of the female principle.

     And third, the days are getting shorter and the nights longer as we head toward fall and winter.  Again, the female principle is gaining power.

     What does this mean for us?  Well, for too long, the male principle has been dominant.  It is shown in tribalism, exclusionary actions, rankism, predatory behavior, greed, and detachment from our Earth Mother and her creatures.  Perhaps you can think of at least one national leader who fits this description.  But before you point fingers too much, look at yourself.  Do any of your (or my) actions betray that attitude, even a little?

     It's time for all of us -- all of us -- to open our hearts and lives to the principle of the female.  Welcome her in.  Let's achieve balance.  Our world needs it.

(photo courtesy of

Saturday, August 19, 2017

"Again, Again, Again!"

     Have you ever been around a young child who really, really likes something?  What do they say?  "Again, again, again!"  They love the repetition and find the same delight in the activity the thousandth time as they did the first time.

     That was my reaction upon reading Derek Lin's The Tao of Daily Life: The Mysteries of the Orient Revealed The Joys of Inner Harmony Found The Path to Enlightenment Illuminated.  "Again, again!"  What a delightful and profound book.  I read through it once, and was so taken with its wisdom that I immediately started over again.  I typically read one chapter before going to bed, and it is a wonderful way for Taoist philosophy to seep into the unconscious mind.

     Each chapter tells a story from the Taoist tradition, or quotes from the Tao Te Ching (but without citing the sources -- a pet peeve!) and then Lin expounds and explains how it relates to everyday life.  Unpretentious, helpful, wise writing.  Get this book.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

A Good Book, But . . .

     Have you ever been excited to read a book and then discovered it wasn't what you expected?  It's not the author's fault, necessarily, but more the result of unfounded expectations on the reader's part.

     And so it was for me with Jack Angelo's Self-Healing with Breathwork: Using the Power of Breath to Increase Energy and Attain Optimal Wellness.  It's a good and useful book, don't get me wrong, but I was really expecting something else.  I think I read the description online and thought it would be about the breathing techniques of various spiritual traditions, with background and context, for the purpose of healing.  Except for a couple of cases, that is not so.

     Mainly, Angelo presents various breathing exercises as they pertain to connecting with the Universe or to your environment, and for filling up and healing the chakras.  That is all good, and I found a few useful practices.  But, secretly, I was a little disappointed.  It's me, it's totally me.  You may find this book worth having.  Explore and decide for yourself.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Some Trippy Thoughts

     Last week I was gushing about the wonderful book by Claire North, The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August.  Although mentioned in the book only briefly, I think it explores the concept of parallel universes.  I'm no physicist, but my understanding of this is that every possibility creates a new reality, a new universe.  So, if I choose to go left on Tuesday at 10:17 a.m. in one life, and choose to go right in another version of that life, that creates two parallel universes.  At least, that's my understanding of it.

     Then, it struck me -- aren't the idea of Twin Souls also a form of parallel universes?  In this life, I choose to be female, while another part of my essential soul chooses to be male (or, at least, not the same female) and live at the same time in history.

     And if we are just drops of one ocean, aren't each one of us a part of a greater Soul which chooses to be male here and female there and living in this country or that country, at this time or another . . . In other words, aren't we all having parallel life experiences, as part of this greater Soul?  Whoo, trippy.

(image courtesy of

Saturday, July 29, 2017

A Heart-Pounder, Part 2

    Last week I was extolling the mind-blowing plot line of Claire North's The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August.  Can you imagine having to live your life over and over, making different choices, having to hide who you really were, and then finding yourself in a race to save the world from premature destruction?  That's why it's a heart-pounder.

     But it's also philosophical in places.  Here's a quote:
     When I am optimistic, I choose to believe that every life I lead, every choice I make, has consequence.  That I am not one Harry August but many, a mind flicking from parallel life to parallel life, and that when I die, the world carries on without me, altered by my deeds, marked by my presence.
     Then I look at the deeds I have done and, perhaps more importantly considering my condition, the deeds I have not done, and the thought depresses me, and I reject the hypothesis as unsound.
     What is the point of me?
     Either to change a world -- many, many worlds, each touched by the choices I make in my life, for every deed a consequence, and in every love and every sorrow truth -- or nothing at all.
     Delicious stuff.  Highly recommended.


Saturday, July 22, 2017

A Heart-Pounder

     Have you ever read a book that you had to put down because your heart was pounding too much?  Well, The First Fifteen Lives of Harry Augustis just that sort of book. 

     It follows Harry August, who is a non-linear, meaning he keeps living the same life over and over.  He has the freedom within that life to make different choices, and eventually he finds that those choices include saving the world from premature destruction.  It's a mind-blower.

     Those of you with overreacting hearts, or a strong dislike to scenes of torture, you may wish to think twice before picking up this book.  Don't say I didn't warn you.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Some Terrific Short Stories, Part 2

     Last week I was discussing Ted Chiang's terrific collection of short stories, entitled Stories of Your Life and Others.  It's a worthy read.

     I'd like to mention two other stories in this collection which I particularly enjoyed.  One was "Hell is the Absence of God," which takes the idea that God truly decides on whether to send your soul to Heaven or Hell depending on how devoted you are to Him, although Hell isn't such a horrible place.  It's just a place without God.  The story follows Neil, who just lost his wife in a horrible accident caused by a heavenly angel visiting Earth.  During these angelic visits, people can experience miraculous healing, or they can be injured or killed by earthquakes or other side-effects caused by these visits.  Neil is angry at God for killing his wife, who went to Heaven, and is afraid he will never be able to forgive God enough to love Him and be able to rejoin his wife in Heaven.  The story examines the problem of suffering, of the injustice of life, and the depths of love and loss.  Terrific.

     The second story I enjoyed immensely is "Liking What You See:  A Documentary."  It provides the text of an imagined documentary about a university voting on whether to require all students to undergo a minor surgical procedure in the brain, which induces calliagnosia.  This is a condition which renders the person unable to appreciate beauty in another person's face.  Some of the persons "interviewed" say that this condition then enables people to see beyond the surface and learn to appreciate others' gifts such as intelligence, humor, open-heartedness, and so on.  Others were against this measure because they believe it impedes the maturity one must develop in order to see beauty, but look past it.  While calliagnosia is currently in the realm of science fiction, it is an interesting concept.  Funny thing was, when I finished this story, I opened up a fashion magazine and was confronted with all these images of beauty.  It was interesting to note my own reaction.  Also terrific.