Saturday, August 30, 2008

True Believer

A year ago, I was a wreck - physically, psychically and spiritually. I didn't understand then how much of a wreck I was because, well, you know - when living through some life phase or another, it's hard to measure. Looking back now I see what a mess I was. I could post a list of physical symptoms, states of denial, and out-of-control emotions I was laboring under, but I will spare you the details. It's all the stuff of being human.

Even as unconscious as I was about how much I was suffering, somewhere within myself I understood that I had to make serious changes. That deeper level of comprehension was what motivated me to call the Sufi acupuncturist and make that first appointment, just about a year ago (speaking of anniversaries).

I've seen a lot of acupuncturists, always briefly, but never benefited much from the work. Before last year, I experienced acupuncture as an attack. Being poked and burned just didn't seem healing to me.

Bless my dear friends who had been urging me to go see him for awhile. They knew, somehow, it would be a perfect match, and so it has been. It's not just on the physical level that I've received the benefits of that ancient system. Emotionally and spiritually, too, I am so much healthier, more resilient. I have developed healthier boundaries, and my compassion for myself and others has definitely expanded while meanwhile situations that were unhealthy have fallen away like scales from my eyes.

Over the course of the past year my life has changed dramatically, all for the good. I am so grateful. Many prayers of thanks to the Sage Kings, the Culture Heroes, and all the great doctors of Chinese medicine who, for four thousand years, have continually refined the inexplicable hoo-doo (as a friend would say) of Chinese medicine.

Bravo, great healers, and thank you so much. On this first anniversary of my journey into Chinese medicine, I salute you!

Friday, August 29, 2008


The wheel of the year turns round and round, bringing in the new and ushering out the old again and again. No wonder we love anniversaries so much. Only by noticing what's different this time than last time is it possible to see change in action on the larger scale of cultural mindset.

When historic anniversaries coincide, it's well worth noticing, for instance that last night's acceptance speech by Barack Obama happened to fall on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King's I Have a Dream speech. Could they have planned that? But when they scheduled the convention, surely no one knew yet who would be the candidate. However it came to pass, still the coinciding anniversaries marked yesterday as an even more powerful and more historic event.

Yes I watched, the whole thing, even though the convention ran late for those of us on the east coast of the U.S. One of my favorite parts of Obama's speech was when he said that this election is not about him, it's about us, the American people. Thank you, Barack! His candidacy proves without a doubt that something big has shifted since 2004 - thank God! It's a big healing.

McCain's decision to name a woman as his running mate is not only an indication of his need to compete with Obama's groundbreaking candidacy, but also a sign that even the Republicans are ready - finally! - to see a person of color, or a woman, sitting in the highest offices. Until now the horrible job of U.S. President has belonged exclusively to rich white men.

I refuse to get invested in who is going to win the election in November. I'm Obama all the way, moreso now than ever, oh yeah. But I don't want to be bound by my wishes and hopes. I'm more curious to wait and see who gets elected and what happens next, because something, some old paradigm, has shifted in a monumental way since 2004. After November 4th, we'll know just how much we've been able to shift. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Loosely crossed! (Is that possible?)

The wicked witch of the west, a.k.a. the rich white man of U.S. presidential politics, is melting. At last! Bravo!! Mark 2008 in your book of anniversaries, people. This is a presidential election to remember.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


One of the reasons soul retrieval is layered into the cultural history of almost everywhere is because soul travel, in and out of the body, and back again, is a quintescential part of being human. Retrievals are necessary when a soul or soul bit gets stuck somewhere it isn't supposed to be, like a cat up in a tree.

Would you leave a cat up there, meowing her poor little heart out? Of course not! You would climb the tree or call the fire department or get a ladder, right? Sometimes a stranded cat is so agitated that it fights any and all rescue efforts, which is why it's wise to take a blanket or thick towel up the ladder to wrap around the agitated cat.

I'm told that the cat scenario adequately describes situations in which shamans have to engage in battle to get a soul back where it belongs.

As a massage therapist, I'm not interested in causing discomfort of any kind for my clients. Lots of sensation and release is what I'm aiming for, not pain. There are plenty of massage therapists out there who will gladly brutalize a client because they believe it's effective. I'll admit the meat tenderizer approach can work. It's just not what I do. I'm a lover, not a fighter.

Naturally this week, with Proto-Client #2 (like Proto-Client #1, a resilient person well versed in energy work and psychotherapy), I was forced to engage in one of those frickin' epic battles between the worlds, just like I read about in all the books of shamanic folk tales from around the world. I didn't go looking for trouble, but trouble found me.

The good news is, the treatment was much more powerfully healing than Attempt #1. While Proto-Client #1 experienced a wonderful feeling of peace and wholeness following the treatment, Proto-Client #2 reported being viscerally reunited with a core aspect of self that had been missing for a long time. Proto-Client #2 is writing about the experience, talking about it in therapy, working with an acupuncturist, all in an effort to integrate what happened. My goodness!

The other good news, surprising news, is that I feel ... what's the right word? Invigorated? Yes, I'm invigorated by the struggle. I came out of it without a scratch, energetically speaking of course, feeling enlivened and energized. It's completely weird, given who I am. Go figure.

All I can say is Wow.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

How am I Like a Cirrus Cloud?

A client gave me a box of healing crystals that had been gathering dust in his attic for twenty years. There were a LOT of crystals, so many that even though the idea of hoarding them all for myself crossed my mind, I realized keeping them would amount to the same thing as leaving them in a box for twenty years because there's no way I could ever use all of them. I had no choice but to pass them on.

Like a litter of kittens, distributing these crystals to deserving recipients has taken quite a commitment on my part. Of course I had to clean them straightaway, not only to clear the dust and gunk from two decades in an attic, but also to strip away stale energy. You can wash crystals in cold, running water, or give 'em a soak in salt water, but my favorite method is to put them in a glass of water, then put the glass in the freezer. Sometimes I leave them there for days. When they're ready, I let the ice melt in sunlight. After that, they sparkle like stars.

Following my elaborate cleansing, I arranged the crystals on the windowsill for a few days so they could soak up sunlight, moonlight and starlight, and get "refreshed" by the breeze. Then I charged them with Reiki, and blessed them with sweetgrass smoke.

Once the crystals were dazzling clean and radiant with healing energy, I didn't want to just pass them out to anyone. I got picky. It seems that working with them created some kind of synergy between myself and these crystals. They're rocks, so it's not a huge resonance like it would be with a human or animal, but it's there. It is.

The distribution process has not been random. I've studied the crystals, tried to perceive who they would like to go be with, or chosen 3 or 4, then allowed the recipient to choose among them. Mindfully, carefully, and with love, I've been giving away these beautiful stones, watching them pass through my hands in a sparkling, continual stream.

Cirrus clouds release showers of ice crystals from their perch high up in the stratosphere. These ice crystals are so ethereal, they never reach our corner of the troposhere. You can see them, though, like silvery trails descending from the wispy cirrus.

OK, it's true that I'm not wispy in any way, nor do I live in the stratosphere, nor are quartz crystals the same as ice crystals. Still I feel cirrus-like, my pockets jingling with quartz. My client has no idea what a wonderful gift he gave me. Wow.

Monday, August 25, 2008


Why is this week different than all other Democratic Convention weeks? So glad you asked. It is drastically different than business as usual. A black man is about to be nominated to be the Democratic candidate for president.

It's such an historic event that the final night of the convention will be moved to a stadium so that 70,000 people can be present to hear Obama's acceptance speech. As a veteran of many large rituals, let me say, without a doubt, the energy in that stadium after Obama's speech will be pure ecstasy. The hotel rooms in Denver will be a-rockin' Thursday night. I guarantee it. Everyone present will be high for days afterwards.

In Reclaiming, we called the moment when the energy rises up all at once from a crowd a "Cone of Power." Thursday's Democratic cone is going to be a real doozy. I'm so sad I won't be there to experience it, though I have no doubt that anyone who is sensitive will feel the energy swirl out of "Mile High" stadium, flow across the land like so much sweet cream spilling from an overfull bowl. Can you imagine?

If life were a dream ... what would it mean that this particular convention will take place in Denver, a city that sits one mile above sea level? It's like Obama is being lifted up into the clouds, up to Cloud 9, to accept the nomination. It's epic. It's mythic. It's so wonderful!

All my thoughts today center around the moment when he finishes his speech and the balloons fall (from a helicopter?) and the cheering rises. I'm told that there will be an aerial shot of the stadium from directly above, showing the 70,000 people raising a cone of power like nothing that's been seen in this country since JFK was nominated way back when. My mother would have loved this. I'm sorry she isn't still around to see it. But I am!

I can not wait!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Mile High? Oh yeah!

From the the Democratic National Convention website

Thursday, August 28 – Change You Can Believe In.

On Thursday night, the DNCC will throw open the doors of the Convention and move to INVESCO Field at Mile High so that more Americans can be a part of the fourth night of the Convention as Barack Obama accepts the Democratic nomination. Obama will communicate the urgency of the moment, highlight the struggles Americans are facing and call on Americans to come together to change the course of our nation.

I can't wait!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

You are what you eat.

All my prayers of request in recent weeks have centered around my longing to dissolve connections with anything that reinforces my bad habits. By clearing these connections I hope to move onwards and upwards towards happiness (whatever that means) and also towards a more peaceful and interesting life. The work with soul retrieval has convinced me that bad habits weaken the connection to soulfulness. Heading into old age, I want a profound connection to soul. Sure enough, all kinds of connections have dissolved, almost all of them spontaneously without any effort on my part.

The Sufi acupuncturist has been messing with my energy in a purposeful way, too, to dissolve bad habits around eating and drinking. He says that in order to change on a constitutional level, some people need to work on the breath. Others need to change the way they think. But the physiognomy of my face indicates that I have to change the way I eat.

Obsolete, at this point, is my habit of eating Clif bars for breakfast. As the acupuncturist points out, Clif bars are not food. My ex used to call them "virtual food." These days, even a bite of a Clif bar makes me so queasy. It's shocking since I've depended on Clif bars for many years. The story I told myself was that they "worked" as breakfast food. Now I'm not sure they ever did, but one thing I know for certain is that they don't work anymore.

I'm more susceptible than ever to the impact of alcoholic beverages. In fact last night I tried to drink a manhattan, one of my favorite cocktails. It tasted like poison to me. Coffee, too, tastes bad - even Peets, my very favorite. And most shocking of all, I haven't eaten dark chocolate in more than a week.


Be careful what you pray for. This period of time, this healing crisis, is harrowing on many levels. Yikes!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Care and Feeding of the Soul

Was yesterday's post too heavy? My apologies. I've been re-reading James Hillman, gathering every idea about soul that I can. Compared to Hillman, Rilke seems "lite."

I like the Rilke prayer very much. It's so practical as last-minute advice to a soul about to be incarnated. Feel it all - beauty and terror - do it all, flame up, cast shadows. Carpe diem, in other words. L'chaim!

Another reason I picked up the Rilke book is because I remembered that he "spontaneously received" his Book of Hours, which is how I received the soul retrieval technique. OK. I know he was a brilliant poet, and, well, I'm not ... but still, he had the nerve to admit spontaneous reception. I feel a kinship.

BTW, I completed the first attempt at soul retrieval this week, working with someone who has done lots of energy work and psychotherapy. I wanted the first proto-client to be someone with an abundance of resilience and self awareness, in case it didn't work or something went terribly wrong. What she tells me is that the treatment gave her increased clarity, a renewed sense of purpose, and feelings of peace and wholeness. That sounds good, yes?

One question she had afterwards was about how to hang on to the soul bits that were retrieved, cleansed and re-ensouled into her being.

D'oh! Am I supposed to know that?? Good question, proto-client! Hence, Rilke and Hillman.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Gott spricht zu jedem nur, eh er ihn macht

God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.

These are the words we dimly hear:

You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Embody me.

Flare up like a flame
and make big shadows I can move in.

Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don't let yourself lose me.

Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness.

Give me your hand.

--from Rainer Maria Rilke's Book of Hours

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Summer's Denoument

Summer is wearing itself out. Suddenly, just today, I could feel autumn coming. Last week I was well grounded in summer, but today - something changed. Maybe it's the sun sliding into Virgo that makes everything seem different, I'm not sure. Do you know what I'm talking about?

The days are noticeably shorter - did that happen in the last week? And the mosquitoes have taken up their annual campaign of late summer vengeance. (Why do mosquitoes get so viscious as summer comes to a close? Do they sense somehow that their days are numbered?)

The trees sound drier in the wind, producing a much more audible Shhh sound than a week ago. This morning I noticed some late-summer style dried up leaves scattered on the pavements. Even the gardens of people who carefully tend them all spring and summer have begun to shrivel up. The grass in Lincoln Park is brownish, other patches of grass, on the triangle parks, for instance, have turned to straw.

Summertime, just like Jake, is in its dotage. It's always a little sad when the energy shifts direction, begins to gather itself inwards in preparation for autumn's downward flow, although, unlike Jake, or me, or even you, summer will return fresh as a daisy next year and the year after and on and on.

I love the cycle of the seasons, turning round and round, before us and after us, too. The seasons lend me a sense of belonging, while at the same time reminding me that nothing lasts forever. I find that paradox very comforting. Do you?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Winding Down

The flesh and blood time machine that Jake's canine soul has inhabited during this incarnation moves at a much quicker pace than my homo sapien time machine.

It's so bizarre to think of him, not that long ago by my standards - a dozen years or so - as a fiery, fierce and gorgeous puppy, playing hard, running hard, barking his ass off at every little thing. It was almost impossible to wear him out. Even as recently as three or four years ago, he was still on the prowl whenever and wherever, tail held high.

About a year ago he began cutting our daily walks short. He would just stop at Unity Church and demand to go back home. I pronounced him "geezer" at that point.

These days he doesn't want to walk at all, ever. I have to push him out the door. Maybe he's not seeing that well anymore, because being outside scares him, especially when he first walks out the door. If I push and insist, he will finally relent and walk with me, and I always say I told you so when he enjoys himself. He's saggy and bumpy, his tail hangs low, and he squats instead of lifting a leg these days.

This is a bittersweet time. Every day I lavish him with love, as if I'll never see him again. I'm extra mindful, extra gentle when giving him his geriatric doggie massage. He's taking an aspirin every day for his arthritis, marshmallow root and Golden Seal for his dodgy stomach, condroitin for his achy joints, Rescue Remedy for his nervousness.

Of course there's no herb or treatment can cure him of old age. But I love tending him. Taking care of Jake here in his last days is hugely emotional, and extremely good. I love my dog.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Time Machine, Pt. II

Watching a sky full of cumulus humilus clouds is a wonderful meditation because in order to see movement, you have to just stop for a minute, really stop, let your eye relax, and watch. A quick glance reveals nothing but a blue sky with fixed clouds. To see them move, you have to be a little more spacious, something that always helps me.

Staring at the ocean for a long time provides the same kind of brain cooling. I also believe it's calming to focus on something at a distance as opposed to the short-length focus that we're accustomed to: computer screens, someone's face four feet away, the TV, or whatever it is you're holding in your hands right now. Lengthening the gaze literally changes your eyeballs' shape. Did you know that?

The sequence above took place over a period of only ten minutes. So stop right now, go look out a window, watch some clouds float by, yes?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Time Machine

Summer is zipping by faster than a speeding bullet, it seems. Part of my perception has to do with the many moons I've spent in this body, but I also believe that because this summer has been so perfect in terms of weather, it seems in some way that spring never ended. This morning, for instance, cool and soft, but not humid, with a gentle breeze and bright blue skies, could easily be an early June day - well - except that the roses are way past their peak, the migrating birds are long gone, and the tough late summer flowers are all out in force. Usually those flowers, like marigolds, black eyed susans and other daisy varieties, plus sunflowers, etc. have nasty heat and humidity to push up against. This year, it's all so easy. Am I imagining that they look kind of bored this year?

Summer has been smooth and pleasant for me, so unlike the churning and flopping around I usually experience, especially in August. There have not been exceptional highs this summer, but no exceptional lows either. I am not complaining.

One minor disappointment was Natalie Angier's book The Canon. From what I heard about it, I believed her book would be a great way to come to a deeper understanding of the sciences. Turns out the rumors I heard were not true. Angier is as bad as the woman who wrote Eat, Pray, Love in terms of her narcissism. She finds her own experiences while interviewing scientists, her own history with science, so darling that she can't help but tell us all about herself while slipping in a few facts about science, a few quotes from the scientists themselves, between her vignettes. She loves her cute metaphors so so so much. In every sentence she is compelled to show us how adorable she is.


She insulted me, too, by insisting first that all questions in science are open questions, but then saying that the idea of an objective reality that exists outside the perception of all of us, is not an open question. She goes on to ridicule anyone stupid enough to believe in mystery and magic.

Oh well, a bad book is hardly worth a second thought especially as I cruise through summer 2008, riding in the flesh and blood time machine of this particular incarnation, surrounded as I am by beauty, wonder, the love of friends and family, and all the untold mysteries that keep life interesting.

A salute to life, to the weather gods of this summer in this place, and much gratitude, too. L'chaim!

My favorite way to encounter the Capitol, from in front of the Summerhouse, a brick water garden with a grotto, fountains and benches. The Summerhouse is one of the most healing locations in DC. I love the way the Capitol looks so regal from this angle.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Oldest Profession

I have a feeling that shamanism preceded prostitution by many thousands of years, maybe even hundreds of thousands of years. I mean really! We humans have been shaking our rattles at the sky forever, trying to heal each other, trying to mediate our place in the cosmos by talking to invisible beings of all kinds. I don't believe that, back at the dawn of human consciousness when these issues of humanity first arose, anyone was concerned with paying for sex, do you? In fact, shamanism is so old, I believe it's a part of every one of us, even all of ya'll who don't believe in it.

Everyone senses the miraculous flows of energy that make up the subtle realms, the unseen realities that are part of our accepted "objective" reality. Ever notice how, for instance at the supermarket, either there's no one standing in line to check out or EVERYONE is in line? When energy begins to flow towards the front of the store, people feel it, and dance in alignment with it, even if they haven't gotten everything on their shopping list. These rushes to the cash registers are not synchronized by time of day (except at lunch time.) Check it out sometime. I could name dozens of other examples in which people unconsciously react to energetic shifts.

Of course not everyone decides that in order to get into alignment with the heartbeat of the earth, they should learn to play a frame drum. Very few of us, at least on the east coast of the U.S., talk to ghosts, commune with the sky, exchange news and gossip with the trees and birds, or learn soul retrieval. If I lived in Tuscon I'd be much more socially acceptable. Same goes for the Pacific Northwest, or the San Francisco Bay Area. In Colorado, Appalachia, Ithica, Asheville, or for that matter, many parts of the American South, I wouldn't seem so odd. All over the world there are places and people who wouldn't think I'm crazy because I practice the art consciously. Not so, here in 21st century Washington DC. Even I think I'm crazy sometimes. Sheesh.


Am I whining? I'm going to stop right this second, rouse the dog and go for a walk. It's a beautiful day of sparkling sunshine and sweet air. This pity party is officially over!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Not a Tourist Destination

I've spent a considerable amount of time recently exploring what shamans call the Underworld, doing a series of trial runs in preparation for my first attempt at soul retrieval.

It's easy to see how that realm got such a bad rap. It's definitely hot and steamy, dark, and it stinks. The souls down there do not seem happy, but they don't seem to be held there against their will. Something I haven't encountered are demons whose purpose is to torture those poor souls, nor have I captured even a glimpse of the Devil himself (though I know he's there somewhere).

It appears to me that a visit to the Underworld is completely voluntary. My guess is that all the steam and gunky goo down there functions like a big ole mud bath, cleaning "heavy metals" out of souls in preparation for whatever it is that comes next.

From what I've seen, Hell is a soul rehab center, but not the fancy kind like the places where celebrities go to detox. Can you imagine? What I've found makes sense, at least to me. If I were - for example - Rush Limbaugh, I can easily imagine that at death, right after seeing my life flash before my eyes, I might decide to get into soul rehab as soon as possible.

Surprising to me is the realization that Hell can be addictive. Some of the souls down there don't seem to remember that they can leave whenever they want, so they sit and boil for eternity. Go figure. Or once they get started with the cleansing process, they never want to stop. It's like people on diets who are so successful they don't know when to stop losing weight, or people so addicted to running that they ruin their knees, feet, hips and backs, but still run every day. Diets and running seem like such good things, done in moderation. The same is true in Hell.

What is all the steam and gunky goo anyway? The mad scientist in me is so curious. My theory is that it's a nasty brew of unexamined shadow material from all of mankind throughout all of history, stirred into a toxic stew of memories and emotions so painful that when they come up, people reject them outright. Then of course there's the hellish matrix of all the "heavy metals" from all the souls who have ever visited. No wonder it stinks so bad. Though taken in the right "dose" a visit to Hell can be medicinal, please trust me when I say it is not a pleasant place.

After a shamanic journey to the Underworld, I take a "real world" shower complete with a nice sugar or salt scrub or other exfoliation treatment. Next I take a journey onwards and upwards so I can visit with the Cloud People, who cluck their tongues, shake their heads, bathe me in clean white light, groom my energy and then send me back to the earth plane with a little pat on my behind to remind me where I belong.

My job, if I decide to continue the study of soul retrieval, will involve a dip down into this nasty place at some point in every treatment. What I'm asking myself today is whether this really is the direction I want to take my healing practice. Wouldn't you think twice?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Resistance is Futile: Go with the Flow

You might think you're solid, but you aren't. You, as well as everyone you've ever known, are a bag of water with some mineral structure to keep you from falling face forward into your oatmeal every morning. That mineral structure is a bunch of dots flying around in circles, held together by electricity, magnetism, and gravity. Nothing is solid, not our bodies or the world, and nothing lasts - that's a truth everyone can agree on, from scientists to mystics to philosophers.

Even knowing full well it's an illusion, solidity is still utterly desireable. I think of that scene in The Matrix when Joe Pantoliano eats a juicy steak while ratting out the humans to the machines. He says something like, "I know this steak isn't real ... but I've learned that ignorance is bliss!" In the faux restaurant, a faux musician is playing the harp. It's such a perfect scene.

I get why solidity is appealing. When something is "rock solid" you can depend on it, right? Who doesn't want that? I've been mulling this over endlessly of late, especially wondering about my passionate longing for solidity. Part of my own story is that, as a slow processor of information, I sometimes wish everything would STOP, HOLD STILL - just for a second - so I could come to an understanding about the world. As if that would help! Of course if everything stopped, then I'd be dead, and so would you. I'm so funny.

A happy life includes good work, people to love who love you back, good health, creative expression, learning and fun, as well as the ability to let go when the time is right. That last bit is the hard part for me. I'm thinking today about how being alive on this beautiful planet - in spite of the sturm und drang of it all - is, as the Buddhists say, such a precious existence. Life is transitory, ephemeral, or like the Sufi acupuncturist says: "a leaky boat." And deeply precious. No wonder I hang on so hard sometimes.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Today for the first time a waiter made little old lady jokes while taking my lunch order. At first I was surprised, since (like all aging people) I still feel young inside. Later I got slightly irritated, but at least he was being friendly. And he was no spring chicken himself, so I don't believe he was trying to insult me on purpose.

Someone wrote about how, in our fifties, women become invisible. Can't remember where I read it, but it's so true. Truth is, there are great advantages to invisibility - men don't stare at me like they used to, (never did I enjoy the leering, not ever!), kids and teenagers on the Metro are more polite, maybe because I look like their grandmother. It could be worse, I suppose.

So much about aging is a blessing, I mean that! But certain bits are humbling. Is that a good thing?

To all who think it's cute to tease middle aged women about their age? It isn't. Cease and desist. Thanks.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Stuckness and Other Obsessions

Obsession in its mild or virulent forms is counter-intuitive, given the transitory reality in which we live. And yet obsession is so pervasive. Whether it's with a person, a TV show or just something that happened, I can get into an obsessive thought loop so easily, end up trapped, like a hamster on a wheel, running over the same thoughts again and again. To what end? You tell me. I find these thought loops frustrating, boring and exhausting. And yet I persist in the behavior (though not nearly as vehemently as I used to).

The Sufi acupuncturist would ask how I benefit from my obsessions. What need are they fulfilling in my life, body and being? Such good questions, aren't they? What I believe for myself is that the urge to keep chewing on that which could so easily be laid to rest is just an old habit I'm finally getting around to changing.

Among other things, this recent bout of sky gazing is helping my mind learn how to be flexible, especially in terms of letting go - of whatever - when it's time to do so. A deep, respectful bow to Tengri, the Eternal Blue Sky. Thank you, Sky God. Thanks.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

This, too, shall pass.

Because I've been immersed in a study of the earth's atmosphere, I'm keeping my eye on the sky, always a good thing for many reasons. This summer has been so wonderful in Washington not only in terms of this year's relative coolness and dryness, but because the sky has been spectacular. Ordinarily in August, the sky looks like a cheap aluminum cookie sheet with no notable features, but this year we've seen deep blues, delicate robin's egg, even cerulean, as well as incredible cloud formations almost every day.

I love the way the sky illustrates, in real time and no uncertain terms, the transitory nature of our reality. Yes, Steve - and all you other Buddhists out there - you are so right that life is ever changing. It is slipping through our fingers even now. Change is so fundamental that in Chinese medicine it's believed if change doesn't occur, there will be illness as a result. Remember that the next time you get the urge to hunker down, dig in your heels and solidify. As Pema Chodron would say, the ground is never firm under your feet.

If you ever doubt the transitory nature of our reality, just watch the sky, a parade of overcasts, many different shades of blue, clear, light, dark, star spangled, sometimes all within a few minutes. I love it that the atmosphere is both visible and invisible. Don't you?

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Fear Not

Life is a tragedy for those who feel
A comedy for those who think.

Of course we had to order Chinese food for dinner last night. Did you see the opening to the Olympics? WOW. I was lucky to get to see it on one of those huge flat screen HD TV's, making the cinematics even more so.

The sporting events won't be of much interest to me. I always get caught in the stories of the people who don't win. For heaven's sake. Must continue to work on releasing my tendency towards codependence, clearly. But the opening ceremony?? Wow.

*From my fortune cookie. Great fortune, isn't it? I laughed out loud, which probably means I was thinking rather than feeling at the moment. Hmmm.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Cloud People

Yesterday was a fabulous weather day, mostly sunny and pleasant, not too hot, with a nice breeze. The pleasantness was interrupted now and then by a series of fierce storm squalls. These storms moved so fast that more than once, by the time the rain reached the ground, the clouds were gone, making it seem like rain was falling from a perfectly blue sky. Very cool.

The cumulus clouds that blossomed between the storms were truly fantastic - huge and so close I could almost touch them. It's easy to see how people picked up the idea that angels live there in all that pure whiteness. I would, if I could - except - the average life span of a cumulus cloud is ten minutes. Life is short, I know, but ... that short? Not for us earth dwellers, please!

Do you think angels play harps? OK, maybe. I believe angels also play steel drums. Don't you think? Or at least they should. Steel drums make such a heavenly sound.

To my eye, the storm rolling overhead in the vid looks like a giant face, not the same species as the steel drum playing angels, oh no. This guy is not in a good mood. The white column looks to me like a gigantic nose. Gesundheit!

Can you imagine how thrilled I was to capture a digitized boom of thunder during this brief moment of filming a very brief storm? Thanks, all you tropospheric cloud people, for keeping me endlessly engaged yesterday. I salute you!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Questions of Destiny

Red car hood with shadows and reflections of the tree, the blue sky, and even a couple of fluffy little clouds.

Does your life have a purpose above and beyond the usual goals of human life (health, happiness, career, children, fame, wealth or whatever)? If so, what is the purpose of your life here on Planet Earth? Have you ever thought about it?

Do you believe in destiny? And if you do, do you believe that destiny is participatory (includes free will) or that it is written, as they always say in the movies?

I do believe in destiny, that we're all here for a reason. I believe in participatory destiny, that each of us co-creates our own destiny by the choices we make every day. I also think that each of us has to contend with some chunk of predestination. For example, individuals born into wealthy families have every privilege at their fingertips, which provides a lot of wiggle room in which to interact with destiny. Being beautiful definitely helps open the door to more possibilities, as does intelligence, talent, charm and of course good health. Open minded parents, good teachers, good friends all help provide the opportunity to interact with destiny. I could go on, but you get the idea.

Some people are able to make intimate contact with personal and transpersonal destiny even in the most constrained life circumstances. Others seem disconnected from their soul's purpose even though they've been given every opportunity. Clearly it isn't all about privilege, intelligence and beauty.

Sometimes, through trauma or illness, or for reasons no one can understand, even the best connected people lose track of their soul's purpose.

The healing modality I'm learning is about strengthening a person's connection to the soul's purpose by recovering something from the underworld that was lost, followed by re-establishing connection to the midheaven, the angle in natal astrology charts that points to each individual's star of destiny. The treatment is an alchemy that stirs what was lost into a matrix of starlight. This elixir is then carefully ensouled into the physical body. It's a lovely treatment, so gentle and so powerful.

So what should I call it? Soul Reunion? Soul Revival? Soul Recovery? All of those names sound like church events or R&B band names. The process is getting clearer every day, but what to call it?? What do you think?

East Capitol Street at 11th, facing due west towards the Capitol. The pics were taken in SE DC, but if I'd moved to the other side of the island, on the other side of the double yellow line, I could have taken these pics from NE DC.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Summer School

I must have done a wonderful job of describing the process of being trained to do soul retrieval or whatever it is I'm learning. A dozen people have asked if they can get on my schedule for treatment. Wow.

I'm still working on it, learning and practicing, meditating, drawing schematics and praying. And studying natural law physics, the most fun of all. It's not the worst way to get through the Dog Days, is it?

Perhaps it will, after all, turn out to be part of my healing repertoire, just as my spirit guides have been telling me. As the process is developing, I'm seeing it much more as a healing modality than magic. There is a difference, at least in my mind. Magic is about creating an intention, then doing everything I can to shape energy so as to bring about my wishes. Healing is meant to open my client (and myself) to divine love and wisdom, so as to allow mystery to work its miracles. It's an act unaccompanied by a defined intention, except for the greatest good for all beings. I'm better at healing than magic, and it's better for me. So you see why I'm framing it this way?

Thanks to all who have expressed interest and enthusiasm, and willingness to get on the table to experience my shamanism in action. It'll be awhile before I'm ready. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Hang Dog Days

August should be my favorite month. It's a slow month, and I love slow. I adore every Leo I've ever met. Here in DC, August is as quiet as the week between Christmas and New Year's. Congress is in recess so the energy is calmer. Everybody takes off for a little while or a longer while, to the beach, a lake in Vermont, the barrier islands off N. Carolina, or locations more and less exotic, like home to Wisconsin to visit with family. There's not much traffic, restaurants and stores are less crowded. It's mostly just the locals who stick around. Like I said, I should love it.

Historically, though, August has never been my happiest time of year. After Labor Day I begin to thrive again, but the last dregs of summer are challenging. Though not too humid today, usually the month of August features the worst of the humidity, toxic air and plain old heat. The mosquitoes get especially ferocious towards the end of summer, when their days are numbered. And, too, there's the fact that the light is decreasing. Beginning right around the first of August, the waning of the light is noticeable. Palpable, too. You can almost feel the daylight slipping through your fingers.

Maybe that's why I always think of the Hanged Man from the tarot when August rolls around. The Hanged Man is not a happy camper, no matter how holy he is. In August, I feel like the Hanged Man, kind of down in the mouth, as they say.

As if to confirm the hanged man energy of this time of year, some guy decided to stand on his head in Lincoln Park this afternoon, just as I was taking a walk during a break at work. He stayed put long enough for me to get this nice picture of him. Oh yeah, it's August.

OK. So, it's August and I'm a little bit depressed. What else is new? This year I'm trying as hard as I can not to mope around. September will be here soon enough. Buck up, Reya, buck up!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Fun with gravity

The earth is round because it's being pulled inwards towards the center by the force of gravity. It's also not round because it's being pulled by the moon and sun especially, but by all the other planets as well. Not only the ocean has tides, you know. The earth's atmosphere also has tides, currents, and inner rivers of moving energy and gas. On a day like today when there's a solar eclipse, the combined pull of the sun and moon pulls the atmosphere away from the earth. We're not talking about just an inch or two - the gravitational force of a sun/moon conjunction means the atmosphere will stretch hundreds of kilometers closer to the big lights in the sky. Meanwhile on the other side of the planet, the atmosphere is at low tide, pulled in close and tight to the surface. Isn't that cool? It has impact on the weather everywhere, as you can imagine. (...And people don't believe in astrology. Hmph.)

My study of natural law physics is plugging along. Too bad I don't speak the language of math - I could understand it so much more fully if I did. There are enough books out there written for the armchair physicist, though, that I'm getting the general idea. It's good to learn about gravity, a force that is pulling me down just a little farther each year towards my eventuality. My brain is very happy.

Thanks, Isaac Newton and all the rest of you whose names don't appear in science history books, for putting your minds to the task of describing natural law in very precise terms. I salute you all!

Ya'll know that the story of the apple falling on Isaac Newton's head is completely made up, right?