Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Victim, Volunteer — or Visionary?

Music artist Christine Lavin once penned an arresting tune called Victim-Volunteer, with blisteringly insightful lyrics that lay bare how we hide from ourselves:

Do you think of yourself as a victim? / Or do you volunteer? / Do you let somebody else call all of your shots? / Do you cower in the corner in fear?

Or do you follow because it is easy to do? / Do you fool with modern high tech voodoo? / Too bad if you're a victim but whatever you do / Don't volunteer.

Two is duality: victim or volunteer, we're still dancing to external music, out of time with our own rhythm. It's been the way of the world for eons — until now. As we enter an era beyond history, we can drop duality along with dusty yesterdays, and embody a grander possibility. Caroline Casey calls this magnificent moment "a windfall of wherewithal," when the capacity and connections we need to give our vision a voice materialize at the speed of Light. It's time to acknowledge our intrinsic genius, which means saying yes to a third "V" — visionary.

The catch to claiming visionary status is, READ MORE

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Walking Between the Worlds:
Samhain, Spirit and Sacred Story

This is a mystical time of year, when the veils between worlds are whisper thin. Secularly called Hallowe'en, in Earth-based traditions the turning of the wheel is known as Samhain (pronounced 'sow-in'), a powerful time to manifest intent.

In the U.S., Hallowe'en is about costumes, trick-or-treating, and occasionally, mischief. On the Celtic calendar, Samhain ushers in winter and the mysteries of the dark. October 31st precedes Day of the Dead/All Soul's Day on November 1st, a paean to the ancestors. The dark side — that which is hidden from our view — calls us to remember our transpersonal soulscape.

I've experienced a lot of death in 2014, including my Mom, my literal and actual oldest friend at 101, one of my greatest spiritual teachers, Angeles Arrien, and several acquaintances. This season of dying and release is an excellent moment to explore what is ending or "dying" within our own beings. What do you need to let go of in your life in order to move forward? Samhain and All Soul's Day is an invitation for each of us to embrace personal and planetary transformation.

Visionary activist astrologer Caroline Casey says, "We cannot live through the dead, but we can invite the dead to live through us." What gifts are asking, aching to be brought forth through you, when the entire world is awash in liminal rebirth?

The real treat of Samhain is the opportunity for quantum growth. The trick, perhaps, would be turning our backs on these inner voices beseeching us to shine our brilliance and step fully into our aliveness, passion, purpose and service.

It's time to remove your mask, and become who you came here to be.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

How to Leap from "To Do" to "Ta Da!"

It's the perennial first question in Western culture: "What do you do?" In an earlier era, I had a straightforward answer: "Marketing communications." (This was when "content" was plural, and referred to what you'd find in a book.) When my former life dissolved, so did easy categorizations. Later, when pressed for a sound bite, what ushered from my mouth depended on the moment — and the audience. I might say, "I facilitate conscious evolution," or, "I'm a life coach." The first was a truer reply in the fullness it conferred; yet often, the recipient's eyes would glaze over in confusion. If I answered, "I'm a midwife for the soul," the person might exclaim, "Oh, you're a midwife!"

You see the challenge. READ MORE

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

"I'd Like a Pound of Words..."

As a seasoned writer who blogs for a number of early stage companies and small businesses, I'm appalled by the growing trend of businesses seeking to pay by the word — not like print magazines, where the per-word rate is often generous and a 1000-word article can net between $500 and $1000 (or more). I'm talking about content brokerage sites where writers bid to create blog posts by the word: $1 per 100 words, or $5 for a 500-word post.

You've gotta be kidding.

The value of words doesn't diminish just because they're the web's currency. If you want Read More

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Generosity, Baby!

Babies are big blobs of give.  I once watched a mother snuggling and kissing her four-month-old son for many minutes, and was astonished when the baby attempted to kiss her back! Infants are born bundles of Love, and only release it gradually, as the world ruptures their sense of security.

The other day I was in my favorite local consignment store, more for respite from the searing late summer heat than for shopping, and a 16-month-old girl was toddling around the racks of clothes, shoes and knickknacks having the time of her life. One customer commented wryly, "If only she were happier!"

At one point I tried on a shoe that was too small, and as I put it back on a shelf exactly at the toddler's height, she grasped it and offered it to me. The generosity and joy of that baby uplifted everyone in the store.

I was musing, here on the far side of a half-century, that we tend to "age up": that is, many older people are open to association with those younger than them, though it doesn't necessarily work in reverse. I am invisible to most teens and early 20-somethings; I'm simply too far from their age and worldview to be acknowledgeable, and I understand this. However, given the nature of who I am, the fact that I never had children of my own, and that I will talk with almost anyone, any time, I do have a lot of contact with people in all decades of life. This is enriching. I also learn a great deal.

The other evening I told a new deli worker at a local food co-op that he looked like actor Ray Liotta — thirty years ago. I asked if people said he looked like anyone famous and he mentioned Leonardo DiCaprio, whom I still think of as 23 but who is actually closing in on 40. The deli worker told me he's 27. From there our conversation evolved to the years he spent in Hollywood (though not to become an actor!), to what it's like to spend time in New York City, to his recent relocation to my area. It developed he's also an avid reader and budding writer, and we ranged far afield about genres and what we learn from books. I shared how a pivotal message during my awakening journey came from a novel: the protagonist is a young man itching to quit his magazine job and write full-time, which, he tells his best friend, he'll do "once he's saved up more security" — meaning, of course, money. His buddy wisely responds, "Security isn't something you save up. It's what you find when you take risks." I still get goosebumps relating this.

Then my very cool new pal and I connected over the awareness that the days of the week are named for the five visible planets, plus the sun and moon. You can "hear" this much better in the Romance languages than in English, and since he's bilingual in English and Spanish, and I speak some French and rudimentary Spanish, we went back and forth, delightedly naming each day in three languages. Other customers occasionally joined our meandering conversation.

When I left the store my energy was elevated, probably akin to how the 16-month-old darling I'd met earlier feels most of the time. It's radically wonderful to live this way, and becoming easier all the time as we awaken en masse at Light speed.

Reach out in the most unlikely places, to the most unusual faces. Once you scratch the surface, you'll discover commonalities you never dreamed were there. At heart, we're all One, pure Love awaiting expression. Pass it on, baby.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Profound or Profane? What's Your Story?

I love The Velveteen Rabbit, a "children's story" that has reached across generations to touch hearts and minds for almost one hundred years. I referenced a particularly potent passage in a radio interview earlier this year, and more recently quoted the same material in a client blog post on creative aging. One of the regular readers, a rather dour sort, had a very different response to this glowing passage: he called it "garbage," "crass" and "repugnant".

To say I was shocked is putting it mildly.

The real question is, what story was he receiving? Clearly not the one I intended. Comedian Fred Allen said, "A human being is nothing but a story with a skin around it." My skin is rather thin since my awakening journey. Yet I'm still running a storyline.

Alan Shelton has crafted a way through. The creator of Story Theory and the Globalish Institute says, "Story is more than something you tell, read or watch. It's a moving target that comes to life as you live it. Without the proper rooting, you (or your organization) could easily live someone else's life." Story Theory and the Globalish Institute grew out of Alan's own roots, in downtown L.A. What better way to engage the future than to engage with the world in which you've been steeped to a potent brew?

Every day we hear words that our minds can weave into stories either profound or profane. The distinction lies in how deeply we listen, and whether we respond from our head or our heart — ideally, a blended wisdom of both, in service to a higher purpose.

The classic quote that angered the above-mentioned blog reader follows. I'd love to know how you feel about it:

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up, or bit by bit?"

"It doesn’t happen all at once. You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't often happen to people who break easily, or who have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

Friday, August 29, 2014

Tough Medicine

A work truck with an attached trailer drove by. Roped to the side of the trailer was a large teddy bear. Seriously.

I'm reading an extraordinary work by Active Dreaming creator Robert Moss, whose marriage of dreamwork and shamanism delivers a resounding "YES!" in every line. The Boy Who Died and Came Back might be a template for crafting a fully awakened life, using a lot more than whatever percentage of our gray matter is currently online. 

One of Moss's recurring themes, in his dreams and waking life, is communion with our animal kin. Even if we aren't familiar with animal totems, or don't consciously subscribe to the idea that animal medicine can support our growth, strapping your stuffed bear to the outside of a truck is symbolic of the way we live: divorced from introspection and wisdom, fearful of solitude or change, and suspicious of non-linear forms of healing — all of which Bear signifies.

The joy of how Moss lives and teaches is palpably freeing; each creatively named mini chapter is overflowing with dream wisdom and transformative ideas, amusingly presented by someone who understands the cosmic truth that Life is eternal, and the more we connect across realities and beyond belief systems, the more we expand our opportunities for Divine humor. I experienced this often on my awakening journey, which is only one reason Moss's work rings with verity for me.

I began cawing to crows and listening to their replies more than twenty years ago; together with Bear, Panther, and, of course, Snake (the ultimate symbol of transformation), Crow/Raven is one of my power animals. For a time, during my time out of mind, Deer was a companion, too.

Let's welcome our animal teachers home; they have much to share if we're willing to listen, as do the plant and mineral "kindoms" (that's kingdom minus the "g", illuminating how we are all kin; note how Kindom also contains the word "Kind").

Healing — and medicine — is only painful if we believe it needs to be. When we ingest the insights other realities and companions offer us, transformation can be uplifting, even wondrous — regardless of our physical state of health. I know.

I'll be delving deeper into Robert's work and where we are on our collective journey in the September issue of my inspirational enewsletter, What Shines, out next week!