Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year!

Wishing you a Happy New Year,

filled with happiness, contentment, and peace.

(image courtesy of

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas,

filled with peace, joy, and love.

(image courtesy of

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Be a Gift

     Have you ever had a really crummy day and someone smiled at you or said something pleasant and it completely changed your day?  That was a gift.

     During this stressful time of year, take the challenge to be a gift to someone else.  It doesn't have to cost a thing -- it could be a smile, a kind word, a compliment, or even allowing someone else in front of you in the check-out line.  It could be baking some cookies for a lonely neighbor or smiling through Uncle Jack's re-telling of the same old stories.  It could be picking up some trash or saying a prayer.  It could be keeping a kind thought and a heart of compassion during stressful times. 

     Our world needs a gift.  That gift is you. 
(photo courtesy of

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Merry Commercialmas!

    Deck the halls with shoppers manic, fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la.
    'Tis the season to be frantic, fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la.

     Well, you get the drift.  I think we all have a love-hate relationship with this time of year.  There's too much to do, too much to buy, too much to bake or create or assemble or ship, too many people to potentially offend, and so on.  It's just too much pressure!

     May I suggest another way?  First, take a deep breath.  Then, take it

     Yes, we all feel overwhelmed, but that doesn't have to invade every moment of your waking life, does it?  Be aware of your breath.  Be aware of how you treat others, even that surly cashier in line four.  Be aware that if you want peace, it begins with you.  Breathe.

(image courtesy of

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Seasons, Part 6

     The last festival in our Celtic calendar is Lammas.  Lammas means "loaf-mass" and falls during the height of summer, August 1st.  It celebrates the ripening crops and reaping what one has sown.  In Ireland during this time, horse fairs are held.  There were also marriage markets, and in the old days couples could "hand fast," which is to marry for a year and a day.  If the couple didn't conceive or get along, they could simply dissolve the relationship. 

     Lammas is also known as Lughnasa, the feast of Lugh, who is the solar god.  Lugh is also the master of all skills and Lughnasa is a time to celebrate in friendly competition.

(photo courtesy of

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Seasons, Part 5

     As we continue our journey around the Celtic calendar, the next season to examine is Midsummer, occurring, not coincidentally, on the summer solstice, June 21st.  It celebrates the fullness of summer. 

     It is also considered an auspicious time of year, when things can improve -- or not.  In Cornwall, people would make bonfires around a certain bay and the elders would predict the future based on the number and appearance of the fires they saw. 

     In some villages, people would hold processions in their fields, circling sun-wise, as a prayer for protection for their crops.  They knew that a successful harvest depended on receiving not too much rain, and not too little. 

(photo courtesy of

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!
May your day be filled with blessings.

(photo courtesy of

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Seasons, Part 4

     In our series about the Celtic calendar, the next festival is Beltane, celebrated on May 1st.  It is the celebration of spring in all its fullness. 

     In the old times, Celtic villagers would create a huge fire and then have their cattle jump over the flames as a symbol of protecting the herd over the coming months.  Some would create a kind of griddle cake called bannock and whoever received the most burned piece would have to jump the flames as the "sacrifice." 

     Some traditions still remain, such as dancing around the Maypole or electing a May queen. 

(photo courtesy of

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Seasons, Part 3

     In the Celtic calendar, the next festival following Midwinter falls on February 1st.  It is called Imbolc, or Candlemas, the Feast of Lights.  It is the celebration of the beginning of spring, when the earliest spring flowers start to bloom, when the frozen creeks start to stir, and when the days begin to lengthen. 

     Imbolc also coincides with the feast day of St. Brigid.  In Scotland, girls would dress up a figure and then parade it around the village.  Afterward, they would take the figure of St. Brigid into a house where young men would come and pay homage to her.  Then there would be dancing and singing and at dawn there would be an invocation sung to the saint.

(photo courtesy of

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Seasons, Part 2

     In the Celtic calendar, the start of the new year is considered by some to be November 1st, Samhain.  The next festival after Samhain is Midwinter, celebrated on December 21. 

     This is the longest night of the year, in the areas to the far north experience almost complete darkness.  It can be depressing, and we can use the time to feel hopeless, or we can allow the coming days of light to open our hearts. 

     One idea is to sit before a fire or even a candle and envision the flames to burn away old habits or thought-patterns and allow new space to open up within.  In that space will be a seed that will grow and reach toward the coming light.  The calendar wheel keeps turning. 

(photo courtesy of

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Seasons, Part 1

     As I have been reading in Celtic Inspirations: Essential Meditations and Texts (Inspirations Series) by Lyn Webster Wilde, the Celtic calendar is punctuated by seasonal festivities.  One that is coming up soon is Samhain, celebrated on November 1st.  For some, this is the start of the Celtic year. 

     This is when the days are getting shorter and the nights longer, and we feel that as darkness reigns, we are drawn to darker things. We remember our loved ones who have passed and contemplate our own death.

     At this time, the Celts would slaughter animals and preserve the meat for the winter.  We consider the coming winter and the challenges it brings.  Are we prepared?

     This is also a time when the veil between the Otherworld and our reality is thin.  Some practice divination, some share myths or scary stories, others commune with the ancestors.  In Scotland, those who are born around the time of Samhain are said to have the "sight."

(photo courtesy of


Saturday, October 22, 2016

A Beautiful Book

     Lately, I've been reading a beautiful book called Celtic Inspirations: Essential Meditations and Texts (Inspirations Series) by Lyn Webster Wilde.  By beautiful, I mean that every page is decorated with the most lovely illustrations and/or photos.  And Wilde's words are informative and inspiring.

     Some chapter headings include:  The Celtic Treasure Chest; Bards, Druids and Seers; Mystic Symbols; Heroes of the Spirit, and more.  It's something to savor right before I turn off the light at night.  Highly recommended!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Don't You Love Fall?

     Don't you love this time of year?  The cooler days, the changing angle of the sun, the colors of the leaves -- it's a beautiful time of year.

     As the leaves turn color, detach from the tree and fall, it reminds me to take stock of my life and see if there are things that I can let go of.  Perhaps it is simple as cleaning out a drawer or a closet, or it could be more internal, as in letting go of a habit, a thought-pattern, or an old grudge.  But before I can let something go, I need to acknowledge its purpose in my life and be thankful for the lessons I have learned from it. How did it color my life?  How did it bring new growth?  Next, I need to let it go as simply as a leaf falling from a branch.  Finally, I allow it to act as compost for these new ways of being.  Yes, this is a wonderful time of year. 

(photo courtesy of

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Life's Little Ironies

     Have you seen the movie Sully yet?  I highly recommend it!  I know some critics complained that there wasn't enough adversity to keep the movie going, but I disagree.  The psychological adversity -- what Sully and his co-pilot faced in their own minds -- was more than enough adversity, compiled with a grueling investigation by the Transportation Board.  Go see it.

     I enjoy life's little ironies.  Here's one.  The director of the movie Sully is a well-known Republican and conservative.  Here is a movie about a highly experienced pilot, with a logical, tactical mind, and cool-as-a-cucumber personality.  It was pointed out again and again that Sully's experience and cool-headedness are what saved the 155 passengers on board the plane.  And here we are in the United States facing an election for a new president -- choosing between one candidate who is experienced, with a logical, tactical mind, and a level-headed personality versus one who is . . . not. 

     Ironic, no?
(photo courtesy of

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Another OBG

     OBG -- That's "oldie but goodie."  I found another great book sitting on my bookshelf that I honestly don't remember reading.  I think I saw the movie, liked it a lot, and then bought the book with every intention of reading it . . . and didn't. 

     Either that, or my brain has completely lost those cells which recorded the memory of reading it.

     Anyway, the book is Contactby Carl Sagan.  The late, great, mellifluous-voiced Carl Sagan.  I miss hearing him say, "Billions and billions of worlds" in that sonorous baritone of his.  But I digress.

     If you want to read an intelligent, hopeful, and scientific science fiction book full of humanity and warmth, this is a good one to get.  I think I liked it better than the movie because it goes into the back stories of characters and talks about global movements in ways that are believable and optimistic. 

     Clearly, Sagan had great hope for humanity.  This book is a good antidote for reading the morning's headlines.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

A Wonderful Poem (That Surprisingly Fits)

     Weren't you struck by the aptness of last week's poem?  I know it struck me between the eyes, and I was surprised that it was written across the planet from where I live, well over a hundred years ago.

     Yes, my mind is "spinning around/About carrying out a lot of useless projects," as Patrul Rinpoche wrote.  And, when you think of it, of what use are many of the things we do? 

     Self-promotion, branding, writing, posting, texting -- what's it all for?  Even writing a book -- really, it's less than a blip in all of existence.

     No, I'm not dwelling in the swamp of despair.  But I think there's something to be said for not constantly doing, or planning to do something, and just being. 

     As the poet wrote, "If you let go of everything . . . That's the real point!" 

     I think that's the whole point, and the starting point for anything of worth.  Think about it.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

A Wonderful Poem (That Surprisingly Fits)

     Do you remember a few weeks ago I mentioned a great book on mindfulness?  It's called Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening by Joseph Goldstein.  (If you don't remember the post, you can read it here.)  I'm still working through the book; I'm finding it's not a fast read, but it's a worthwhile one.

     I was really struck the other day when I read this poem by a nineteenth century wandering Tibetan monk named Patrul Rinpoche.  If you get the book, you'll find it on page 310-311:

     For ages now you've been 
     Beguiled, entranced, and fooled by appearances.
     Are you aware of that?  Are you?
     Right this very instant, when you're
     Under the spell of mistaken perception
     You've got to watch out.
     Don't let yourself get carried away by this fake and empty life.

     Your mind is spinning around
     About carrying out a lot of useless projects:
     It's a waste!  Give it up!
     Thinking about the hundred plans you want to accomplish,
     With never enough time to finish them,
     Just weighs down the mind.
     You're completely distracted
     By all these projects, which never come to an end,
     But keep spreading out more, like ripples in water.
     Don't be a fool: for once, just sit tight . . .

     If you let go of everything --
     Everything, everything --
     That's the real point!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

A Beautiful Quote

     I've long believed that Twin Soul relationships have the power to transform the soul and set it on the path toward a higher plane of spiritual existence.  I was reading Andrew Harvey and Mark Matousek's book in dialogue form, Dialogues with a Modern Mystic.  Here's a delicious quote from Andrew Harvey:
The alchemists and certain schools of Mahayana Buddhism have claimed that final transformation cannot be attained without a partner and that human love at a high stage is the essential energy that prepares the ultimate perceptions.  Human love earths revelation and brings the divine experience down into all the ordinary details of life to reveal life's essential holiness, initiating both lovers in the process into the fullness of divine presence.
     Lovely, no?

Saturday, September 3, 2016

A Wonderful Old Friend

     Have you ever encountered an old friend and, after spending time together, felt like you got to know them for the first time?  Well, I had an old friend sitting on a bookshelf for years, who knows how long, that I finally got to know for the first time. 

     This old friend is a terrific book by Isaac Asimov entitled The End of Eternity.  It's rather old, for science fiction, but the set-up and plot line were mind-blowing for me.

     It's about a man who works in Eternity, a time line that exists outside of the actual Reality in which most people live.  Eternity exists, you see, so that a small group of people can make small changes to avoid unwanted developments (wars, plagues, unhelpful inventions, and so on) in the history of humankind.

     The main character, Harlan, is someone I wanted to shake after a while and tell him to stop being so angry and so paranoid and so devious.  But I found out that he had a reason for being this way.

     It's a love story, it's a mind-blower, it's a thriller that keeps you turning the pages until the very end.  Treat yourself and spend some time with this new friend.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Summer is Nearly Over!

     I was in the store the other day and one mother was lamenting to another mother that this is the shortest summer she has ever experienced.  The other mother agreed and her daughter leaned over and said, "I've never seen a summer go faster!"

     When a child notices how quickly time flies, you know that it's blatant. 

     So, with summer nearly over, did you get to do everything you wanted to do?  Did you have a relaxing vacation in your favorite place?  Did you connect with friends or family?  Did you play?  Did you laugh?  Did you think deep thoughts?

     Did you read The Gemini Bond?  Well, it's never too late to pick up your very own copy and enjoy your last few sips of summer.

(photo courtesy of

Saturday, August 20, 2016

A Great Idea for a Constitutional Amendment

     Sometimes I like to revisit old friends.  This book is an old, old, old friend and I had completely forgotten the plot, so it was like revisiting a new friend.  It's Arthur C. Clarke's The Songs of Distant Earth.  It takes place far into the future, after the sun has gone supernova and has destroyed the solar system, causing humankind to scatter to distant stars via hibernation ships.  Quite an interesting story, and Clarke really shows his romantic side in this tale.

     What really caught my eye, considering we are enduring the once-every-four-years American torture cycle -- also known as an election -- was his description of the leadership requirements in one human colony.  First of all, there are no elections, but a random selection of all qualified adults.  The pool of qualified adults include those who have been adequately educated (and all citizens of this world are educated to the fullest of their capacity -- what a great idea!), who are between the ages of 30 and 70, are not incurably ill, are mentally fit, and have not committed a grave crime.  Oh -- and they are disqualified if they deliberately want to have the position of leadership.

     Sounds like a great system, doesn't it?

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Another Terrrific Short Story Collection

     While on vacation, I savored a second short story collection by Ursula K. Le Guin, Four Ways to Forgiveness.   This is Le Guin in her mature style, where she envelopes you in the sights, smells, customs, and belief systems of a whole new world (or worlds).  These stories all touch on the theme of forgiveness in one way or another, but take the time to immerse you in the details of lives lived on other worlds.  These worlds, Werel and Yeowe, are in the midst of rebuilding their society after a slave rebellion and the subsequent chaos of the overthrow of old power groups.  It has many relevant parallels to our society today.

     What I think I really enjoy most about Le Guin is that, at heart, she is a romantic (she even admits it).  But these are not easy romances; the characters must grow, overcome, and prove themselves in ways they find unimaginable.  They are beautifully written, deeply satisfying stories.  Highly recommended.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

A Wonderful Short Story Collection, Part 2

     Last week I was praising the collection of early short stories by Ursula K. Le Guin, The Wind's Twelve Quarters.  One story, "Vaster Than Empires and More Slow," follows a small group of misfits as they are sent on a one-way mission to explore another world.  One of the misfits is a man who was born an empath.  Sadly, his gift is so overwhelming that he reflects others' attitudes towards him back toward them, and the result is that he is universally hated.  Here's a quote from a character explaining how that works:
"Well, you see . . . the normal defensive-aggressive reaction between strangers meeting -- let's say you and Mr. Osden just for example -- is something you're scarcely aware of; habit, manners, inattention get you past it; you've learned to ignore it, to the point where you might even deny it exists.  However, Mr. Osden, being an empath, feels it.  Feels his feelings, and yours, and is hard put to say which is which.  Let's say that there's a normal element of hostility towards any stranger in your emotional reaction to him when you meet him, plus a spontaneous dislike of his looks, or clothes, or handshake -- it doesn't matter what.  He feels that dislike.  As his autistic defense has been unlearned, he resorts to an aggressive-defense mechanism, a response in kind to the aggression which you have unwittingly projected onto him." 
And later, in response to the question, "He can't tune us out?":
"It's like hearing . . . No eyelids on your ears.  No Off switch on empathy.  He hears our feelings whether he wants to or not."
Does that feel familiar to you, dear Empath?  Hopefully, however, you have learned to be a bit more sociable than this poor character. 

Saturday, July 30, 2016

A Wonderful Short Story Collection

     While on vacation at the beach, I took along Ursula K. Le Guin's collection of early short stories entitled The Wind's Twelve Quarters.  What a terrific book!  It was fun for me to see how she developed as a writer, and how she became the fearless, highly inventive novelist of her later years.  It's definitely worth reading.  Here's a marvelous quote from "Winter's King":
"Life loves to know itself, out to its furthest limits; to embrace complexity is its delight.  Our difference is our beauty.  All these worlds and the various forms and ways of the minds and lives and bodies on them -- together they would make a splendid harmony."
     Wouldn't you love to wave that on a poster at your nearest political rally? 


Saturday, July 23, 2016

An Interesting Book, Part 2

     Last week I was reviewing the book Life After Life: A Novel by Kate Atkinson.  A fascinating take on the idea of reincarnation, it follows the lives of Ursula, who keeps getting reborn into the same life "until she finally gets it right."  I would just like to compare my understanding of reincarnation and the version presented in this book.

     In this book, Ursula must make decisions in her life (avoiding certain people or situations, choosing to live in one flat versus another in order to avoid getting bombed during the Blitz, studying one subject in college versus another subject, going to Europe for a year or not, and so on) in order to finally achieve a place where she can be in a situation that affects the fate of Europe and her world.  In this view, reincarnation is for making external choices in order to achieve something that affects the world.

     In my understanding of reincarnation, however, the emphasis is more on learning from our actions and their consequences in order to become something more pure, more wise.  The focus is on internal growth.  External actions are not the goal, but the result of spiritual maturity.  We don't go from one life to the next in order to get it right, but to become purified.  That is, in my mind, the essential difference.

     Still, this book is worth a read if you want to expand your mind a bit.  Recommended.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

An Interesting Book

     I just finished reading the bestseller Life After Life: A Novelby Kate Atkinson.  Wow.  How inventive, detailed, exhaustive (and a little exhausting).  At over 500 pages, this was an investment in time and concentration, but at the end, it paid off.

     The premise is:  "What if we had a chance to do it again and again, until we finally did get it right?  Wouldn't that be wonderful?"  Spoken by a secondary character, this idea lies at the heart of the novel.  The protagonist, Ursula, keeps getting reborn into the same life and experiences the results of her actions or inactions.  Death comes and she does it again, but often avoiding some of the fateful decisions from the previous life or lives.  To her, it feels like deja vu, but it is actually her previous self nudging her towards a different destiny.  In the end, she finally achieves something that changes the fate of her family, her nation, and the world.  Phenomenal.

     I would recommend this book to anyone interested in a different view of reincarnation, or in parallel lives or parallel universes.  This would also appeal to people who enjoy historical fiction, with an emphasis on London during the Blitz.  Want to stretch your brain?  This book is for you.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Don't Just Sit There! Read!

     Would you believe that summer is nearly half over?  Go get yourself a good book and read!  This is prime reading time, with the easy, breezy days of summer just aching to be filled with a favorite book.  If you would like a suggestion about what to read, feel free to satisfy your curiosity and get The Gemini Bond.  It's perfect for a summer day. 

(photo courtesy of

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Happy Independence Day!

 May you be free of suffering.
May you be free of desires and aversions.
May you be free of self-delusion.
May you be free of self-imposed limitations.
May you be free to love and accept love.
May you be free to fulfill your destiny.
Happy Independence Day.
(photo courtesy of

Saturday, June 25, 2016

A Wonderful Book on Mindfulness

     I found another wonderful book on mindfulness, which is perhaps different from any you might have seen before.  It's called Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening by Joseph Goldstein. 

     The author takes the Satipatthana Sutta, the Buddha's discourse on the four foundations of mindfulness, as his source and expands on a brief section with every chapter.  It's a bit like reading lectures based on a founding text.  Not only does Goldstein explain some of the more hidden meanings of the text, but he gives real, humble examples from his life about the challenges of developing mindfulness.  He also gives some ideas about techniques that will help the mind become less chatty and more aware. 

     I saw that he wrote other books about the benefits of mindfulness and some guided practices in developing mindfulness.  If you are interested, they might be good to check out.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Happy Summer Solstice!

     On or about Monday, June 20, 2016, our planet will experience its summer solstice.  The word "solstice" means "sun-stopping," because after this date, the place where the sun rises and sets reverses course.  For example, from the winter solstice on, the sunrise and sunset points move further and further north until the summer solstice, when it reaches its northernmost point.  That's why in the northern hemisphere, it's the longest day of the year, and in the southern hemisphere, it's the shortest.  After the summer solstice, the sunrise and sunset points gradually move more and more south until we reach the winter solstice, where the sun rises and sets at its southernmost point. 

     Happy summer solstice.  Let's celebrate the sun.

(photo courtesy of

Saturday, June 11, 2016

A Terrific Book on Personality Types, Part 2

     Last week I was praising the book The Five Elements of Self-Healing: Using Chinese Medicine for Maximum Immunity, Wellness, and Health by Jason Elias and Katherine Ketcham.  It is an easy-to-read, descriptive presentation of the traditional Chinese view that personalities can be divided into five types:  Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water.  The first part of the book details the strengths and challenges of each of the personality types, along with physical symptoms, emotional tendencies, and spiritual issues. 

     The second half of the book delves more into how these elements come into play when working on healing oneself.  Not that I, or anyone else, is advocating that you follow this book solely when trying to overcome any kind of illness, not at all.  Always check with your doctor first.  Of course you know that, don't you?

     But to continue, this section describes, in a way that made total sense to me, the different levels of illness, and how to combat illness at each level.  Most helpful is how they tackle modern illness, everything from adult-onset diabetes to yeast infections, describe how Western medicine would treat the illness, and then detail how traditional Chinese medicine would heal the illness.  In the Asian view, the whole person is considered, and the treatment would address the physical symptoms with herbs, exercise, and acupressure or acupuncture; and the emotional symptoms with questions to ponder.  In this view, emotions and imbalances within one's life are often the cause of illness.  A very interesting and useful way of thinking.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

A Terrific Book on Personality Types

     I know that I covered the five Chinese personality types a few weeks ago, but if you want to know more, I found a terrific book.  It is The Five Elements of Self-Healing: Using Chinese Medicine for Maximum Immunity, Wellness, and Health by Jason Elias and Katherine Ketcham.  If you want to understand more about your personality type, along with your physical, emotional, and spiritual challenges, this book is for you.

     What I found most helpful in this book is its conversational style.  Rather than very detailed charts and graphs, along with more technical medical jargon, this book presents its material with easy-to-read description and plenty of examples, gleaned from patients' and the authors' lives.

     After a long questionnaire, the authors describe the five personality types according to Chinese medical tradition.  Here, they call the Wood type "The Commander," the Fire type "The Lover," the Earth type "The Peacemaker," the Metal type "The Artist," and the Water type "The Philosopher."  They also presented a chapter on personality types with two almost equal domains, such as Metal-Water or Fire-Metal. 

     One of the "aha" moments I had was when the book, in passing, finally answered a nagging question I've had all along:  What about the air element?  Most other traditions call the (usually four) elements fire, water, earth, and air.  The Chinese tradition doesn't name air as a specific element.  However, I found that the Metal element is described as a mountain filled with gems which reaches for the sky (air!) and is the domain for the lungs (more air!).  No doubt you already figured that out. 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Summer is Almost Here!

     Are you ready for summer?  I've got my stack of summer reading all ready. Let's see:  a novel by Kate Atkinson, some short stories by Urula Le Guin, and a book on mysticism by Andrew Harvey to start with. I just love having the time to kick back and savor a good book.  How about you? 

     Have you thought of giving The Gemini Bond a try?  If you love a story that engages your brain, examines what Twin Souls are all about, and is a real page-turner, this book is for you.  Give it a try this summer.

(photo courtesy of

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Empath Protection: Be a Tree!

     I know someone who works in the healing field who told me how she deals with other people's energy.  She is a very grounded individual, and has worked as a healer for a long time.  Perhaps if the eggshell theory or the river theory didn't work for you, this might.

     She explained that she is always very grounded, and when she works on people, she rechecks that she is grounded deep into Mother Earth, her aura extending out the bottom of her feet like tree roots.  Once her hands feel someone's energy needing a release, she takes it in and shoots it out the bottom of her feet and out the energetic roots.  There, Mother Earth recycles the energy. 

     The beauty of this theory is that she doesn't put up resistance, the energy is accepted non-judgmentally, and it's green -- it involves recycling.  Of course, you have to be able to ground easily (which I, as an air sign, have trouble doing sometimes), but this theory may work for you. 

(photo courtesy of

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Empath Protection: Eggshells or Rivers? Part 2

     Last week we discussed the eggshell theory of how to protect yourself from other people's unwanted energy.  Today we're going to discuss the river theory.

     I've read about this only once, and in passing, but finally had it explained to me by a wise energy healer.  According to this healer, energy is neither good nor bad, but neutral.  If you feel that someone's energy is "attacking" you, that is your judgment; the energy itself is just energy.  The intent may be negative, but the energy itself is not.

    Basically, the idea is to take the (neutral) energy that you need (a nice pick-me-up) and let the rest pass through, like a river flowing by.  The energy healer explained that when you put up a shield, like the eggshell theory suggests, you are putting up resistance, which is a real energy drain.  Rather, view all energy as a river which flows.  You can take what you need and let the rest pass by.

     I must admit, as an empath, this theory really goes against my usual instinct, which is to duck and run when I can feel someone's energy affect me.  But the idea of not putting out energy in the form of resistance is really appealing.  Try this theory for yourself and see what works.

(photo courtesy of

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Empath Protection: Eggshells or Rivers?

     If you know that you're an empath, a person who picks up other people's energy, then you know how overwhelming it can be.  Unexplained headaches, aches and pains, and raging emotions that have no basis in your life are an everyday occurrence. You want protection from other people.  Either that, or you want your own private island with drone delivery from Amazon.

     I have found two points of view on how to protect yourself, dear Empath.  Let's talk about the eggshell theory today.

     In this theory, you mentally surround your aura with a gold or white light in the shape of an egg.  A large egg, to be sure, but some people swear by this.  I read an author who even suggested that you activate this eggshell protection by first naming it ("Shield!" or "Protection!" or "Harvey!" -- whatever suits you).  Practice a few times calling its name and then visualizing the eggshell surrounding every part of your aura.  Once you're pretty good at that, then take a deep breath and repeat the process (breath, name, visualize).  Once that becomes easy, you can use this protection any time you feel someone's energy is affecting you.  The breath centers you in your body so that you can focus on you for a minute, the name calls forth the image, and the protective energy becomes manifest.  Try it and see if this works for you.  If not, let's discuss the river theory next time.

(photo courtesy of

Saturday, April 30, 2016

A Beautiful Book

     I picked up a book for a pretty good price (my favorite kind of book) and found it was a true treasure on every page.  If you love beautiful artwork, thoughtful, pithy writing, and learning more about Buddhism without too much dogma (or dharma), this book is for you. 

     Written by Tom Lowenstein, Buddhist Inspirations: Essential Philosophy, Truth and Enlightenment (Inspirations Series) explains the life of the Buddha and how he developed this way toward enlightenment, as well as healing practices, sacred symbolism, and more.  Each entry is one or two pages, along with a beautiful artwork, so it is easy to read an entry or two right before bed.  It is lavishly illustrated on nearly every page and I found myself contemplating the illustrations as much as I did the written entries.  You will find treasures here.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Let's Celebrate Willie!

'Tis hard to believe,
But our beloved William Shakespeare
Passed from this earthly life
To the eternal one
Four hundred years ago
Happy dreams, dear Willie.
Image result for william shakespeare
Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind;
and therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

A Useful Book, Part 2

     Last time I was discussing the wealth of information in Ronald D. Siegel's The Mindfulness Solution: Everyday Practices for Everyday Problems.  Not only does he provide several helpful techniques on how to deal with difficult emotions, but he also talks about the challenges we all experience, such as dealing with pain, or dealing with people that cause us pain (did a few faces just pop into your mind?). 

     By looking at our emotions and thoughts about painful things, accepting them as normal given the circumstances, but learning how to avoid acting on them, we are free to examine them.  Further examination of these thoughts and emotions shows that they are transitory, that they pulse in and out, and that if we accept them rather than fight them, we can overcome them sooner.  These are powerful techniques.  I encourage you to take a look at this book.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

A Useful Book

     A while back I mentioned that I was listening to an audio book about using mindfulness techniques to assist in various life challenges.  Because I felt that I wanted to go deeper into the subject, I bought the book by the same author, Ronald D. Siegel, entitled The Mindfulness Solution: Everyday Practices for Everyday Problems.  I'm glad I did.  It really delves into all sorts of life situations and how to use mindfulness techniques to avoid getting sucked into the emotional drama of it all.  Better yet, he offers several different techniques for each situation, knowing that each one of us does better at one technique than another. 

     One of the most helpful things I learned from this book is that my reactions, whatever they are, are perfectly normal.  Someone cuts me off in traffic?  It's perfectly normal to get a little peeved.  But this book teaches me to step back and observe my anger rather than acting on it, to watch how the anger affects my body and to release it, and to accept the moment rather than fight it.  A very useful book, with life-changing potential.

Friday, April 1, 2016

April Fools!

     Did you ever wonder how the annual tradition of playing practical jokes started?  History is a little hazy on this, but I did a bit of research and found a scholarly article written in an old historical journal by Prof. I. M. Foulenne of the University of Dover, SE campus.  He recounted the most unusual story:

     Once there was a beautiful princess who had all the admirers she could ever want.  It was getting time for her decide whom to marry, and her father kept pressing her to make a decision.  However, this young princess was a little vain and enjoyed the attention of all the suitors who came to visit her.

     One day her father came into her room and gave her an ultimatum.  "You must decide on your groom by the first day of April, so that spring's passion might bring me an heir to the kingdom."  The princess blushed, but agreed, seeing that her father was adamant.

    She devised a plan.  She would choose three of her most favorite suitors and send them on a mission.  However, this mission had a challenge that she alone knew -- it would take cunning and insight for the suitor to win her hand.

    Finally, the first day of April arrived and the princess summoned the three gallant suitors.  To each she gave a letter, rolled up as a scroll, and told them to take it to the wisest person they knew, who would read it and tell them what to do next.  The suitor who returned to her first, having completed his mission, would win her hand.

     The men rode out as fast at they could.  The first, a handsome and strong man, handed his scroll to a renowned warrior.  The warrior took it, read it, and told him to report to the commander at the fort at the edge of the kingdom. 

     The second suitor, a man known for his charm and beautiful tenor voice, took it to the greatest musician in the land.  The musician took the scroll, read it, and told him to go to the abbey in the northernmost part of the kingdom, where he would find a singer beyond compare.

     The last, a gentle and thoughtful man, rode his horse until he grew hot from riding in the sun.  He found a shade tree and thought of who he would consider the wisest person in the land.  He thought and thought, and could not decide whom to choose.  Then, he remembered who taught him the love of books, and the beauty of clear thought and honest motives, and he turned his horse toward his childhood home.  He entered the house and gave his mother a hug.  "Mother," he said, handing her the scroll, "I ask you to please read this and guide me what to do next."  His mother took the scroll, read it, and made a wry face.  "Child," she said, "This does not apply to you.  Here, have a look."  He took the scroll, read it, and laughed aloud.  "Thank you, Mother, for the kind compliment and for your faith in me.  The princess has laid a trap.  I will return to her immediately and ask for her hand."  And, after hugging his mother one more time, so he did.

     And what did the scroll say? 

    "Send the fool further."

    April Fools!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Happy Easter!

If you celebrate Easter, this post is for you.
If not, just re-read the post below from last week.
Either way, dear reader,
I wish you a beautiful and joyous day.
(image courtesy of

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Twin Souls, Yesterday and Today, Part 4

     Continuing our theme of Twin Souls in the past and present, today we discuss the artist and master of self-promotion, Salvador Dali.  The story goes that when he was 25, he met the wife of a friend, the poet Paul Eluard, who was the Russian-born Gala.  Beautiful with a youthful figure, she was ten years older than he, but looked far younger.  He recognized something in her and was immediately smitten.  From that time on, Gala stayed with Dali.  He believed that she would be the inspiration that his art career so desperately needed, and she saw in him a great artist in need of some encouragement and molding. 

     As Dali stated later, "Gala became the salt of my life, the steel of my personality, my beacon, my double -- ME.  Henceforth, there were Gala and Dali united for eternity."  After  some time, he started signing his paintings, "Gala-Dali" because, as he declared, "In signing my pictures 'Gala-Dali,' I was simply giving a name to an existential truth, for without my twin, Gala, I would not exist any more." 

     Of course, the scandal was too much for his family to bear and his father cut them off from any further financial support.  Moreover, Gala has numerous affairs, well-known to Dali, but he managed to overlook them, at least publicly.  Although their union drifted apart in their later years, he grieved heavily when she died at age 87. 

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Twin Souls, Yesterday and Today, Part 3

     Our Twin Soul relationship comes from the distant past, in Spain.  I mention this person because 2015 was the 500 anniversary of her birth.  I speak of Teresa of Avila, the Spanish mystic, writer, reformist convent founder, and the first female doctor of the Catholic church.

     Most people who look at her life might guess that her Twin Soul would be St. John of the Cross.  After all, he took some direction from her and went on to lead a similar reform movement for monks in the Carmelite order.  However, I believe that another person in her life, one who helped her believe in herself and helped her avoid the Inquisition for her mystical writings, was her true Twin Soul.  His name?  Geronimo Gracian. 

     He was 30 years her junior, but became her confessor and director in the latter part of her life.  When she was asked by the Spanish Church authorities to write down accounts of her mystical experiences, it was Gracian who coached her on how to say things in a humble (and more acceptable to those in authority) way. 

     Teresa was given to spiritual visions, and the reason I consider Gracian to be her Twin Soul is because one of her visions involved him.  In this vision, she saw herself and Gracian suspended in the air, and her Lord took Gracian's right hand and placed it in hers, and asked if she would take this person as a surrogate for himself for the rest of her life.  As she wrote, " . . . it was fitting for the two of us to bring our wills into perfect harmony."  No doubt his court connections and his diplomacy saved her from any unpleasant encounters with the Inquisition.  More importantly, he helped her codify her mystical writings, gave her sound advice in matters related to the convents, and provided her with a deep understanding of her own soul. 

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Twin Souls, Yesterday and Today, Part 2

    Our featured Twin Soul comes from the American past, a beloved writer, Mark Twain.  Before he became the famous writer and personality, before he left his job as a steamship steersman, he met the woman who would haunt his dreams for the rest of his life.  Her name was Laura Wright, and they met aboard a steamship when she was fourteen.

     It seems it was a chance encounter, and ended when her father took her and her family off the ship the next day, yet it made such an impression on the young writer that he continued to think of her even until late in life.  If you would like to read his essay on the relationship, I would invite you to sit and savor My Platonic Sweetheart.  The thing I found most interesting about this essay is how the author and the sweetheart keep meeting age after age, life after life.  It's like he is alluding to reincarnation and the recurring Twin Soul relationship.  Fascinating stuff. 

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Twin Souls, Yesterday and Today

     Today we're talking about a possible Twin Soul relationship that has been in recent news.  I'm talking about Malala, the Pakistani girl who stood up for her right to get an education and was shot in the face by some fundamentalist thugs.  She survived, and, according to a movie about her ("He Named Me Malala"), the first thing she said when she awoke from life-saving surgery in England was, "Where is my father?"

     This is no ordinary father-daughter relationship.  From an early age, he believed in her ability to do anything she chose, and, in his words, "I never clipped her wings."  This empowerment helped her to stand up for herself, even at a great cost.

    Her father described their relationship as "like one soul in two bodies."  It is indeed possible that this is a Twin Soul relationship, with one supporting the other to fulfill her role as a symbol of females' rights to education. 

     Bravo and brava. 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day

To All Lovers,
All Romantics,
All Young at Heart
And Hopeful in Spirit,
Happy Valentine's Day.

(courtesy of