Thursday, May 31, 2012


It's an absolutely gorgeous early summer day in Washington DC with temps in the lower 80s, bright sunshine and clean, dry air. Not Colorado dry, but dry for DC in summer. I spent my morning walking from the chateau through the ripped up national savannah (they're replacing plumbing on the mall), to the National Gallery sculpture garden, up 7th Street through Chinatown, then along K Street from its humble end, around 9th St. NW, to the schnazzy end, close to the White House, then home again.

Walking, taking pictures, breathing, thinking - it clears my head and heart like almost nothing else can.

When I walk, my jaw relaxes, my brain relaxes and every pattern of thought I don't need slides out of my head like water off a duck's back. When I'm walking on a beautiful day, my heart becomes clean as a whistle. Ahhhhhh!

I am very grateful for my two legs, the Salomon walking shoes I wore today, the sparkling weather and last night's excellent sleep including the crazy dreams. How do people do it - I mean those who must sit at a computer in the office on a day like today? Thinking about how vivifying a nice walk can be, how deadening a day spent indoors can be, creeps me out a little bit. Helps me understand why, in my society, we are fascinated by zombies. If I had an office job, I would become some sort of zombie, definitely. As it is, even when I'm working, I can get outside for a little while between clients.

I am very lucky! Happy Thursday. Shalom.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Holistic in theory only!

Halfway to the next eclipse

Do you have a unified theory of self? I've been thinking about it a lot.

Physicists regularly burn the midnight oil trying to establish a Unified Theory of Everything. They believe they've figured out the bits and pieces, but they can't make everything fit together.

Many candidate theories of everything have been proposed by theoretical physicists during the twentieth century, but none have been confirmed experimentally. The primary problem in producing a TOE is that general relativity and quantum mechanics are hard to unify. This is one of the unsolved problems in physics.

It's very ambitious and extremely optimistic of the scientific community to even try, yes?

I've tried, on a personal level, to find the root cause of Reya-ness, thereby bringing all my disparate parts into some kind of organizational whole. For many years in therapy, I worked with my family history, thinking surely the key to bringing it all together had to do with my relationship to my parents, for instance, or the fact that I am the dreaded middle child.

Later in life when I began my career as a high priestess, I hoped the life of the spirit would make me whole. I thought that by reaching back through time, practicing the ancient art of shamanism, as well as by connecting with the ancestors and spirit animals, I could become a harmoniously assembled being.

For awhile I thought maybe the part of me that so loves breaking free was the unifying principal. I left the witch cult, my marriage, many relationships and friendships as well as several cities I once called home. I thought perhaps the wandering shepherd part of my soul was the key to wholeness. A friend said to me once, "Reya, you see even happiness as a jail you must break out of."

True, but it doesn't explain everything.

My current theory is simple: TMI. I am, as my mother used to say, sensitive - too sensitive. I notice every damn thing in the "real world" as well as the imaginal realm. I am, on a daily basis, overwhelmed by so much information that I hardly ever get to a place in which I can process even half of it. This could account for my extreme introversion and many other character traits. It explains why I have so much trouble with people who have Gemini strong in their charts - because Gemini is all about overloads of information. It accounts for why I'm crippled when trying to shop in large department stores. There are too many choices, too much stuff! You should have seen me in India. I was rendered almost comatose due to all the unfamiliar sounds, sights, smells. Good lord.

TMI even explains why I keep the chateau so clean that the space doesn't actually fit my creative personality. Part of creativity has to to do with chaos, but I can't abide clutter. 

I know - I'm holding a hammer, therefore everything looks like a nail. Yeah, yeah. But I think this unifying theory of me is the closest I've come to attaining the unattainable - reducing the complexity of me into three short words: Too Much Information.

Do you have a unified theory of self?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Staying Close to Home

A few years ago I decided it would be great to visit Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day. I'm glad I did it - once. The throngs of visitors, tourists, family and friends of the fallen were completely overwhelming of course.

Arlington is a solemn place, a respectful and beautiful place. It's awesome in the true sense of the word for so many reasons. Visually it is truly amazing. Its history is fascinating and heart breaking. It's a powerful place! Usually the energy feels quite orderly. That Memorial Day was the one time at Arlington (I've visited dozens of times over the years) that I really felt the spirits enjoying themselves. Ordinarily it seems as if they stand at attention on their graves, perpetually saluting in the direction of Washington. That day, they were partying their ghostly asses off among the herds of living people. It was quite an experience!

I can only imagine what the Vietnam Memorial feels like today. It is terribly hot and humid for this time of year, will be up in the 90s today. Standing by the wall will no doubt feel like being submerged in a pot of thick, boiling soup. You won't find me anywhere near the National Mall today!

From the cool calm of the chateau I salute my brothers who were brave enough or crazy enough - or both - to walk onto battlefields and fight for what they believed was right and good. I will light a candle for every one of you. May you dance ecstatically today. May you lay down and rest after today, may you rest in peace. May it be so. Shalom.

Sunday, May 27, 2012


In the middle of winter when the air is sharp and cold and dry as dust, I love to go sit inside the U.S. Botanical Garden. The air inside is warm and soft, fragrant. It's an oasis of summer placed on the winter landscape.

During summer, my favorite oasis is the National Gallery, a huge biosphere in which I can look at art, find something to eat, shop, or rest comfortably on nice upholstered chairs and sofas. On the hottest days I like to ride my bike down through the thick, awful air, then spend several hours inside the gallery, an oasis of cool on the hottest days.

Today is going to be another in a series of very humid days. It's been warm but today will be hot - 90 F. - and it's going to be a Code Orange day which means the air is toxic. They say it's unhealthy for "sensitives" but can it actually be healthy for insensitives? My guess is it's not that great for anyone, but not as bad as a Code Red day.

My oasis today is the chateau where I will be seeing clients all day. Of course I'll nip out between sessions for a few minutes. Even as sensitive as I am, I need to experience the bad air personally, because I am a shaman and this is what we do. Sometimes a pervasive thickness in the air means spirits are gathering - something that would make sense on Memorial Day weekend. I like to talk to those spirits, find out what's going on in the astral.

But the second I start feeling wheezy, which often happens when I breathe Code Orange air, I'll tuck back into the chateau, smooth the sheets, light a candle, switch on some nice music and get ready to greet my next client.

I'm very lucky to have access to a variety of oases on a day like today! Life is good and I am grateful. Shalom!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Welcome, Summer

It's a perfect early summer day in DC, not too hot yet but extremely humid. It's going to be a sweet iced tea day later on, definitely, with lots of lemon and mint. The Rolling Thunder guys are here, rumbling up and down East Capitol Street in preparation for tomorrow's ride. Otherwise the city seems to have emptied. Citizens of the District often flee the city limits on Memorial Day weekend, while tourists pour into town. This afternoon after work I plan to walk down to the National Mall; I'm sure there will be throngs of people from elsewhere, partaking of the beauty and power of this city. I don't blame them for wanting to come here, but it can be challenging having to share the nation's capital with the rest of the nation.

One astonishing thing about getting older is the way time literally flies. I can't believe it's already summer. Didn't this year just start?

Happy weekend, happy summer. Onwards and upwards.

Friday, May 25, 2012


On Facebook yesterday someone posted this link to the Anderson Cooper interview of a member of the church whose pastor wants to build concentration camps for gay people. As I watched it, I thought about how reporters are made from high quality teflon. How he was able to keep a straight face during the interview is kind of miraculous. It wasn't funny, but it was extremely shocking.

Here in DC, gayness is a non-issue for almost every citizen. In fact I often tease my ex-housemates by saying, "Once upon a time, your kind was special. You had your own bars, your own neighborhoods. Now you're just like the everyone else!"

But I guess that isn't quite true. The hardness of that woman's heart, the smallness of her mind, is something I found shocking. I tried to imagine living in a community like that, having parents like her. I'm very sad for all the children in that community, growing up in a situation in which blind hatred is allegedly part of God's plan. Yikes.

What is homophobia? I have a lot of theories, of course. At the foundational level, it's instinctual to be repelled by anything that doesn't further the species. Of course our species has very successfully overpopulated, to our disadvantage and the disadvantage of all the other species on earth at this moment in history. But instincts aren't rational.

I attend births during which the laboring mother swears she will NEVER, not EVER, have another child. But inevitably, usually about 4 months after the birth, I hear these same women say they want to have another baby. It is not rational!

There's also a big chunk of my theory that has to do with the impact of the medieval small Ice Age in Europe. Prior to that time, Christianity was composed of a bunch of free love hippies. When food got scarce, it did not bring out the best in people. Both Christianity and Judaism developed a bunch of really weird quirks during those centuries.

I'm confused about why some people continue to hold tight to the weirdest, most hateful parts of Christianity, rather than reaching through that hardness to something more pure and loving. A spiritual life centered on hardness and hatred is toxic on every level. If you doubt that, just click the link and watch the interview. Good lord.

May her heart soften and open. May it be so!

Happy Friday. Shalom!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Pea Soup

Spring in DC is wrapping itself up with a series of very muggy, overcast days. We still haven't received the rainfall the land here needs, but at least we're getting some occasional showers. It's better than nothing.

Humidity in the midatlantic is a force all its own, separate in so many ways from temperature and precipitation, having almost nothing to do with clouds, as far as I can tell. Humidity here is a river of thick, invisible air that comes and goes on days like today. It's oppressively hot when Brother Sun pokes his head from behind the clouds, but can be strangely chilling in a damp, heavy way anytime the clouds gather to keep the sunshine away.

Sometimes a cool and surprisingly dry breeze kicks up, stirs the trees. But then five minutes later it might feel like a thick blanket of wet cotton has settled onto the landscape, preventing movement of any kind.

Oh well, it's neither here nor there. I'm working today, hence indoors with filtered air, pushed around by fans scattered artfully around the chateau.

Outside the sky is gray and yellow-ish white, the leaves hang heavily on the trees. Oh those weather gods are in foul moods today. Settle down, you guys - or go the other way and give us some rain, ok? Please? Thank you.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Clean Sweep

Yesterday felt like two days to me, partially because I didn't work at all, which is very rare for a Sunday, but also because of the eclipse. I felt this one powerfully, just as I had hoped. The astrologers whose opinions I respect said this eclipse would provide an opportunity to unhinge patterns that were set in place in 1994. Oh. My. God. In 1994 I lost my bearings. Was it too much magic (because I was very involved in the cult at that time)? Was I so desperate to leave my awful marriage that I threw caution to the wind? Was I just plain crazy? Who knows, and actually, who cares? I've been over it all in my mind many times. My behavior was not rational! 1994 was a very dark time for me, a self-destructive, crazy time during which I ruined countless relationships. I was so miserable; I tried to take everyone down with me. God.

The astrologers mentioned that an echo of the old pattern would appear prior to the eclipse. It surely did! I met this echo in a grandiose way, thinking I could enter into it without doing any harm. I thought it was my opportunity for a do-over. I should have seen it right away, as grandiosity was a big part of the problem in 1994. Fortunately I didn't get totally sucked in; it took awhile but clarity arrived just in time. The day I suddenly craved margaritas I knew for sure I was headed towards the dark side. Tequila is VERY bad for me; I might even be allergic. When I drink it, I cry, get needy and paranoid. If I'm in a mood to punish myself, inevitably I'll begin to think a margarita would be a good idea. It's kind of interesting, actually, to have such a clear indication of my state of mind. In 1994 I drank margaritas several times a week, as often as possible. It did not help me work through the crisis of mind/heart I was drowning in.

I had a couple of margaritas one night a few weeks ago, just as I was beginning to get what was going down. As usual I was mean yet clingy. My friends correctly told me to knock it off, after which I cried. Yuck! The next day I felt I had been dessicated. In a battle between Reya and Brother Tequila, the worm always wins!

Dancing in shamanic alignment with the eclipse yesterday, I cleaned the chateau, of course. But that didn't feel like enough, so I removed everything (barbecue grill, gardening stuff) from the small grotto outside my front door and swept, swept, swept away every one of the now disintegrating leftovers of early spring blossoms, pollen, dirt and the detritus from the work my next door neighbor is doing on his house. You should have heard me ohmmmming. The sound of the broom and the sound of my voice worked together, sweeping the grotto clean.

In the darkest corners of the grotto I swept up leaves from last fall, fuzzy bits whose origin I dare not think about, etc. It was somewhat like an archeological excavation. I cleaned the green dust off the mailbox and small barbeque grill, burned sacred white sage. At last I danced and ohmmmed the final remnants of the energy out of the grotto, my heart and mind. That destructive pattern is now out of the saga. I have absolutely no interest in margaritas. All is well.

As lovely is today's rain. The first named storm in the Atlantic basin is sweeping up the coast. At last we will have several days of rain. Thank God for the rain; it has been a terribly dry spring in DC.

The weather gods are washing clean any last bits of the pattern I set in motion in 1994. May the eighteen year cycle beginning today include sanity, solid relationships with clients, neighbors, family and friends. May I see clearly, may my heart be clear, may I dwell in beauty, balance and delight. May it be so!


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Let go or be dragged.

If this was your last day on earth, what would you do with it? That's a common question. How about if this was your first day, not as a baby but as you are right now? I'm asking because today's annular eclipse brings possibility, clarity, an overload of information and the capacity to make big changes. At least this is what I glean from the dozens of astrological articles I've read about today's eclipse.

Today is the astrological equivalent of that TLC show, Clean House. I'll admit I loved that show. Click on the link to watch some rather alarming, yet hilarious videos. In the future, historians will pour over videos like this, trying to understand why. I have a very elaborate theory about why people can't let go of stuff. I'll go into it sometime, perhaps.

What are you holding on to that doesn't do you a bit of good? What takes up space that could be used for something you do enjoy, look at, use frequently?

What do you obsess about? What thought patterns run through your head like hamsters on a squeaky wheel all night, cutting deeper and deeper ruts into your neural network without providing any ideas that are helpful?

What emotional habits are more harmful than helpful? Are you a worrier? Do you spend your days and nights in a low level state of perpetual anger, anxiety, fear, paranoia, suspicion?

Today is a great day to pick up the physical as well as metaphorical broom, sweep away all that no longer serves. You can't ignore your history; it's part of you of course. But today is a clean slate. Today is the first day of the rest of your life! Let go or be dragged.


Saturday, May 19, 2012


My weekend is going to be pretty easy in terms of work, also in terms of house projects. I'm caught up with the laundry, have some leftovers in the fridge, the garden is weeded and watered sufficiently. Hmmm. What shall I do with these two crazy eclipse-dominated days?

I'm going to think, write, draw, walk and take pictures. What a glorious way to spend a weekend, hey?

How will you spend today and tomorrow? Whatever you do, keep in mind that the eclipse in Gemini will produce an information overload of some kind or another. Misunderstandings could crop up not as the result of conflict but because the live feed from the satellite, aka the sheer amount of available information, will be on steroids.

Meditation this morning was a bitch, I tell you. Oh well. Onwards and upwards. Shalom.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Shape Shiftage

Life itself is an ongoing transformation. The body rises and grows, matures, then begins the inevitable shrinkage of aging. As artists, (because we all are), we embellish these changes by wearing certain clothes, cutting and coloring our hair, lifting weights to sculpt our muscles, sitting in the sun or avoiding it carefully, wearing make-up of every variety. We tattoo ourselves, pierce, endure plastic surgeries. We identify with the embellishments very powerfully (i.e. I'm a blond rather than I have blond hair). I remember reading somewhere that Dale Messick, the cartoonist who authored the strip "Brenda Starr," kept her hair dyed bright red right up to the moment she died, late into her eighties. That hair color was important to her, a part of her identity. It was a mask she wore proudly. I loved that comic strip.

I'm thinking this morning that just like our great shamanic ancestors, when shit happens, we shape shift into different versions of ourselves, we put on masks and costumes literally and metaphorically in order to be able to face the situation at hand. We enact the sacred dramas.

We're not that different from the old ones who wore headdresses made of feathers or ornately decorated masks. The old ones became birds and other animals, they donned masks of the divine and spoke the holy words. They did it and we do it. The only difference in the behavior, as far as I can see, is that we don't claim the experience for what it is. We don't even really think twice about it. I would bet Dale Messick never thought of her flaming red hair as an act of shamanism, but it was, it really was.

Why do we do it? Sometimes to remember who we want to be, sometimes as an act of artful evolution, sometimes to meet the challenges that arise when the landscapes of our lives suddenly erupt or are swept away by fire, tsunami, wind or rain.

At our best, we can be endlessly creative and optimistic when confronted with a landscape forever changed by what my spirit guides call "collisions." The last few days I have seen people going through comprehensive transformations as the result of terrible, sudden and shocking events. These people are rising to the occasion, becoming as clear and beautiful as their essentially gifted, noble and wounded natures allow.

I'm against the current trend that encourages us to loathe our species. I see posts about it all the time on Facebook, cartoons that depict us as wasteful, greedy and thoughtless. I know, it happens, but it isn't our essential nature and it makes me very sad to see that narrow view of who we are reinforced over and over again. How does it help anything? Please explain.

I'm grateful to be surrounded in my community by people who tune into their shamanic capacities, pull out the right mask or headdress, then tilt into courage, openness and vulnerability as they move through incomprehensible situations. These are my people! Oh yeah.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Tomorrow the world begins anew

This morning I'm thinking about September 12, 2001, how impossible it was to believe that September 11 would not last forever. I felt the same way on October 18, 1989, the day after the Loma Prieta earthquake. The electricity came back on at the house where I lived in San Francisco, and I believe my ex husband and I even ventured out of the house for a little while.

There was a November 23, 1963, an August 6, 1945, an April 9, 1865, a July 5, 1776, and so on. In the realm of personal crisis, too, there is always the next day. Always. For instance, on February 2, 1979, though I was still unconscious, I was being well cared for in the hospital after a serious accident involving me, a Datsun B210 and a Southern Pacific freight train. In spite of what the doctors told me when I finally woke up a few days later, I was quite sure I would recover fully. Would I ever have found my way into "alternative" medicine if not for the train accident? I will never know. And yes, I recovered fully. I surely did!

The family going through its crisis, the family I mentioned yesterday, has shifted gears into the next day syndrome. These people share a deep-seated belief in their ability to cope with what has happened. I believe in their ability, too. They will cope, learn, evolve and grow wiser, kinder and more compassionate.

Disasters small and large are never the end of the world, not even December 21, 2012. Nope. The world goes on. Life goes on. Shit happens, but it is never the end of the story.

There are crises and disasters, and there is the recovery from these events. What my wise spirit guides tell me is that big "collisions" - the term they use, even the most destructive of these events, create possibilities for change and growth. They open doors to the new. Wisdom accumulates slowly, and is hard-won, they tell me. Crises such as what this family is undergoing is the fertile ground from where wisdom can arise. The work we have to do to become wiser, kinder and more compassionate is well worth it.

Perhaps my guides are as optimistic as we humans.

Here's a link to a TED talk about human optimism. Thank goodness for human optimism!

"Whatever happens, whether you succeed or you fail, people with high expectations always feel better, because how we feel — when we get dumped or we win employee of the month — depends on how we interpret that event.” (Tali Sharot)

What I'm in awe of this morning is the way in which the family I've been talking about has shifted gears already from the immediate shock of the crisis into clean up mode. They have rolled up their metaphorical sleeves, and have begun the work of healing, learning, and evolving to accommodate the wisdom that they'll accumulate through the process.

Storms and disasters and crises are inevitable in the course of our human lives. Thank goodness we're so optimistic! If we weren't, how would we ever muster the energy needed to recover from these events?

We try so hard. We make mistakes, and some of us give up, or so says Tali Sharot. But 80% of us can see the silver lining at the edge of every cloud. Onwards and upwards, hey? Hell yeah. Shalom.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The rain, the mocks and beauty

The rain woke me early this morning. Instead of fighting to go back to sleep, I lay there listening to the music of the storm, woven into the song of the mockingbirds whose nest is outside my window. Birds don't usually sing when it's raining, but these mocks are not intimated. They'll sing when they damn well please, thank you very much.

I really like that about those birds, their intrepid natures, their brash and beautiful songs. And I love the sound of the rain. At last the land here is being replenished after a very dry spring.

On my mind this morning is the true preciousness of life here on planet earth. We struggle and strive, we work so hard! And yet for many, the very best they can do will never seem like enough - for themselves, for their families.

I know a family undergoing a crisis, the details of which are not important. What I'm struck by is how the situation has brought out the very best in every one of them. They have united in love and opened their hearts to each other as well as those nearest and dearest to the family.

It is unfair, yes, but extraordinarily beautiful to see how these people are rising to the occasion. Sometimes people run away or become angry, or drop into a bottomless depression, but not this family. I am in awe of their strength, their faith in themselves and each other. It's a beautiful thing. I honor the nobility of this family and all families who are undergoing difficulties. This year of the black water dragon is stirring deep, dark waters for so many people! It's a hell of a year.

But I am not complaining. Life is good and I am grateful. Shalom.

Cocktails on the terrace at the chateau Sunday late afternoon. Ahhhh!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Pitfalls of the Shamanic Lifestyle

It's a nice rainy morning in Washington DC. The sound of traffic, something I almost always find annoying, is much prettier in the rain. It sounds like shhhhhhhhhhh. Sweet sounds from inside the chateau. I'm sure the people driving are not as charmed by the experience. May I stop for a second here to give thanks for living in a place in which owning a car is not necessary? I drive the Zipcar once every other week or so, when I go to the Whole Foods across town. That is more than enough driving for me!

Last week was a very shamanic week. By that I mean I experienced unexplainable weather events, timed perfectly to illustrate something or another that I only half understand. I had violent bodily reactions that didn't seem to correlate with anything viral or bacterial, but rather seemed especially fitting as I closed a professional relationship that was not doing either one of us any good.

If I were a normal person, I would shrug off these experiences, or perhaps not even notice them. But the shamanic lifestyle requires that I pay attention, connect the dots, and do my best to dance in alignment with the movement of the river of life force in which we live, move, and have our being. I wonder if that makes any sense.

Once upon a time I sought out the currents in the river of life force that felt wounded or in need of something. That era in my shamanic career was quite ugly, as these currents were way more powerful than I. Imagine getting swept along, bashing into rocks and tree trunks, helpless as a baby. Yeah, that was me when I was ambitiously trying to heal the land here. How grandiose!

Eventually I figured out it made more sense to dance in alignment with the currents in the river of life force that feel healing, peaceful and happy. In my shamanic dance I no longer try to address what is most cruelly wounded, but rather the situations and landscapes that enhance and celebrate beauty, clarity and harmony. It's a lot more satisfying and life enhancing to sit with the flowers, birdsong and blue sky at the National Botanical Gardens, for instance, than thrash around on a Civil War battlefield, believe me! In my practice this translates into celebrating the beauty, harmony and possibilities for healing that are a part of everyone, rather than focusing on what's "wrong" with any particular client.

It's tricky. Sometimes, just as when navigating any river, I get confused and find myself suddenly in a stagnant pool or realize I'm getting sucked into a toxic eddy. By scanning for the beauty and harmony in my clients, I am sometimes blind to how seriously wounded they are. This looks like a situation in which nothing I do is at all helpful for the client. Sometimes the work is actually harmful for me, not mortally harmful, but not good for me. As I extricated myself from an impossible situation this past week, I thought of the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers at Harpers Ferry, how violent, chaotic and destructive that confluence feels. It's no wonder John Brown started the Civil War there. The energy is very weird - powerful, but not healing in any way, and may I say, no one's fault. Can I blame a confluence of rivers? If not (and I do not) then how can I blame myself or the ex-client? 

Getting back into a more suitable current in the river of life force can be quite a task! But I'm back in the flow of harmony, thank God. Can I just say that being a shaman isn't always a lot of fun? It can be, but there's no guarantee. Sometimes it's heartbreaking or bewildering - or really weird, even for me! Sometimes it's like a roundhouse right coming up from the floor. Ouch!

Ah, but it's all over now.

In a minute I'll set up the massage table, get ready for today's clients. Life is good. Why do I ever complain?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Yes please

Nice digs, hey?

I've got a busy work weekend ahead of me, a very good thing! It's good for my bank account and great for my mind and soul, too. I love me some serious time to ruminate, contemplate, conceptualize and extemporize, oh yeah, but sometimes it's also wonderful to be too busy to think, wonder and theorize.

Hell yeah!

Happy weekend, y'all. Cheers.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Whoa there big fella

I believe in the right to choose the person you wish to marry. Thank you, President Obama, for saying it out loud yesterday. I believe in the right to decide whether or not to bring a child into the world, too. It's so American to believe vociferously in the power of choice, isn't it?

Lately it has come to me that it's possible to choose how much karma to clear in a lifetime. This would never have occurred to me earlier in life. I believed then that we were given karma and that we had to do everything in our power to clear these issues, or else!

Or else what? What did I think, that I could clear every atom of karma in one lifetime? How ambitious of me! That was a long time ago.

Here's what I see from my vantage point of 59 years of age: there's no way to clear all the karma, and indeed in any given lifetime, we create karma just as often as we clear it. Inadvertently, I've created a whole buttload of karma this time around, but I've cleared some, too. My fourteen years with Jake cleared a lot of pet karma, becoming a healer this time around cleared an unfortunate decision in a past life to ignore this particular gift. Things didn't turn out well in that life. Oh well. I turned it around this time.

A story comes around periodically that has to do with a past life in the middle ages in which there's a love triangle, a subsequent betrayal and death. There are knights on horseback, kings, diplomats, just like in the movies. I am cast in the role of queen, something that absolutely does not resonate. It's very weird. The reason I've been wondering what is and what is not real is because I've heard the story a couple of times recently.

This story has been sincerely and forcefully presented to me three times in this life by three different people, none of whom know each other. These people have appeared at times when I've been immersed in working through lifetime issues connected to the very sad, disconnected, unhappy relationship I had with my mother. I know for a fact that the three people who came to me, heart in hand, didn't collaborate, nor did they plan to get caught in this old fairytale, and yet they did. It's so weird! I know it's hard to believe - it's hard even for me!

Is this a coincidence? How could I believe that? I guess I could, but I don't. I see it as a karmic lesson I'm supposed to pay attention to at the least, and perhaps unhinge if possible. Sadly, I have not been graceful in my approach to working with this story and in fact at least the first time it came up, I made matters much worse by falling headfirst into the maelstrom. That was twenty years ago; I'm still cleaning up the detritus. I often dream that I'm cleaning my mother's kitchen which is always filthy in my dreams. Yep.

What I'm thinking this morning is that I'm done with this story. I do not wish to explore it further, I will not try to unravel the energy or understand it or deal with it. Should it come up again with yet another individual, I will turn around and run my ass off to get away from it. I will! I really hope the ancestors, angels, and God hisherself is listening. Y'all? I'm done. OK?

At age 59, I want to live in THIS lifetime, not in the past. I want to take walks, shoot pics, think about things, do good work and become ever more cheerful as my final years come and go. That isn't going to happen if I continue to focus on this story. I wash my hands, heart, and mind of this old tale. Hear ye, hear ye, I am done, finished, fini. The end! May it be so!


Check out the upper left corner of the picture. Wow! 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

There is no spoon

Actually there are plenty of spoons at the American Indian Museum.

What is real? This question often vibrates a thread of thought in the crazy weave ongoing inside my head. I've been writing a lot about it lately, I know. Is it boring to wonder about this so often?

It isn't for me, apparently!

I'm aware that the people who consider me to be a few chips short of a fish dinner probably chuckle or at least smile when I pass on to them a message from one of my spirit guides. I don't get worked up when people make fun of me because of my experiences making fun of others. People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, after all.

You should have seen the smirk on my face when the salesperson at the shop in Shepherdstown told me the crystal I bought was "seeded by the Lemurian people," and that the crystal was meant to be a teacher. But now that I've worked with it for awhile, I have to admit ... well ... I don't know about Lemuria, but the crystal does transmit something that seems a whole lot like wisdom. At least this is true in the Reyaverse.

When will I learn not to make fun of the things I know nothing about? I'm working on making my natural skepticism less derisive.

But what I'm thinking about this morning is the way in which my somewhat unique view of what's real sometimes blinds me to truths that would be obvious to those whose world views are grounded in societal standards of health. What I'm saying is, sometimes I don't recognize mental illness in others. I see a psychic disruption or sometimes an influx of so much psychic information that the person is overwhelmed. This was the case with a client of mine a few years ago who eventually committed suicide. I referred him to two therapists, by the way, as well as to the Sufi acupuncturist, but in the end he drowned on his delusions. None of us were able to help him.

My father suffered from a variety of mental illnesses, hence that condition seems "normal" to me. I, too, have been crazy as a loon at times in my life. No wonder it seems normal! Sometimes I see the problems in my clients but believe I can address them energetically. I can't remember a time when this approach ever worked or helped anyone. And yet I have persisted in trying, in tandem with recommending that these clients seek healing from a variety of sources. I always recommend psychotherapy. It saved my life! But with clients who have truly gone round the bend, I have not ever been of help. There's something in my approach that actually eggs them on.

It's interesting - and sobering - to think about.

What does seem to help is when I teach basic skills like grounding, centering, breathing and such to people who are mentally stable. It gives them tools to use should they veer off into confusion, depression, mania or delusion. These skills have helped me countless times over the years. I thank God for my great teachers! I could be a hot mess, but I'm not. I'm a little crazy, but harmless for the most part.

I'm thinking about teaching a meditation class. I'm telling my clients to stand up straight, get enough sleep, move around. I know how to do soul retrievals, but lately I'm realizing I should leave the fancy aspects of psychic healing to those who are more clear about what is and what is not "normal." I'm not qualified to help those who are drowning. It's a revelation!

There is no spoon, but we have to live as if there is, as if that spoon is solid and reliable. Otherwise, we are lost. This seems obvious to me, but I'm really getting that it isn't obvious to everyone, and that my best work is with those who are more or less on the same page.

Today I'll stand up straight, breathe, drink a lot of water. In a little while I'll be on the Sufi acupuncturist's table. After that I'll see a client who is definitely not off her rocker. I look forward to it!


Monday, May 7, 2012


Every day these days, I play words with friends, also scramble, on the ipad with a variety of friends and family. The games are not a total waste of time since according to the people who study these things, allegedly I am strengthening my neural networks and keeping my brain plastic, or so they say.

Likewise I'm keeping my ego in check since my sibs in particular but also a couple of very sharp minded friends, not to mention my nephew Alex, regularly whip my ass. Winning seems very important to some. I asked my sister why it's important to win, what's the point - since it is JUST A GAME. She said it's like finding a $5 bill in your pocket. I really get that. Very cool.

I find four-letter words boring. I wonder why. In fact, I prefer three letter words which perhaps at least partially explains why I mostly lose the games. A friend tried to convince me that it's the one syllable word I find boring, but that's not true. Five letter, one syllable words are excellent. Six letter, one syllable words are fabulous, like GROUND for instance. I love that word.

Sometimes when I'm supposed to be meditating, in my mind's eye I see game boards. Letters appear and disappear, forming words and their variations. When I realize what's happening, I remind myself to return to my breath. But within seconds, I'll inevitably "see" many forms of an excellent six letter, one syllable word, i.e.


In Buddhism there are five hindrances to concentration: sensual craving, anger or ill will, boredom, restlessness, and doubt. I wonder under which heading the word distraction would fall?

As you can imagine, as I fall sleep I see five letter words of one syllable, in many forms


I guess it could be worse, hey? ("Worse" is an excellent five letter, one syllable word.) I love the word "hey." I like it better than "hay." Don't ask me why!

Happy, happier, happiest Monday, y'all. I hope for those of you who meditate that you had a calmer practice this morning than I did. Oh yeah. Shalom.

Mirror, mirrors, mirroring, mirrored at the flea market, markets, marketer, marketing.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Behind me

The full supermoon has passed, thank goodness. I am not a fan of any full moon, though some are better than others. In Washington DC last night, the moon was hidden behind a substantial layer of clouds. I saw beautiful pictures on Facebook. Better the pictures than facing the actual moon itself. As Tess of the blog Willow Manor would say, hasta la vista, ole devil moon!

My friend Steve commented that what I call the devil is the same thing as delusion. Can I qualify that? It's the delusion that what you want is only available through external sources. It's a state of mind that convinces the person who is possessed that they are weak and do not have access to all the things they imagine will make them happier. It's the delusion of weakness and the idea that someone or something other than you holds the keys to your happiness. It makes people needy, clingy, codependent. It creates obsession and addiction. The devil is a seriously toxic delusion that ruins every chance for happiness rather than the other way around.

I love the image of the Devil card in the Rider-Waite tarot. The people are in chains, but it's clear they could easily escape if they wanted to. The chains hang loose around their necks. They feel imprisoned but it is a prison of their own making. Yep.

What's holding them there? They don't even look scared. 

It was a weird week. Passing through a membrane to a slightly different universe is rather thrilling, somewhat disorienting, but in the case of the past week, it seems to be a smart move. I'm very glad it's over. Ole Beezlebub has retreated from my awareness a little bit. Thank God! And now, onwards and upwards. I have a busy day of work today, always a good thing. I love my work and I love having a thick stack of checks to deposit in the bank at the end of a week.

Life is good exactly as it is. I seek help from many wise individuals and health care professionals to help me come back into balance, but they don't, can't, make me happy. Not even Evan Rabinowitz, the Sufi acupuncturist with a name that makes people smile. My happiness depends on me and only me. Its my job and I am grateful for it.

This is one of the pervasive truths in the Reyaverse. Happy Sunday. Shalom.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The soul can not be sold

Standard disclaimer: Oh man this is going to be a weird one. Maybe no one will have time to come visit today. Oh well, here goes.

In the Reyaverse, there is such a thing as the devil. Yep, there is. You don't have to agree with me!

The devil is a being, like my hair is a being, like dragons are beings, like the clouds are beings. It's a rather looser definition of "being" than would work for some, but that's how it is in the Reyaverse. The devil in my cosmology is a compound substance, made from emotions that accompany poor self esteem: jealousy, anger, fear, distrust, paranoia, lust, greed and such. I could go on but I'm sure you get the picture.

All these awful states of being and the stories the mind produces to explain them aggregate sometimes into more than a sum of individual parts. The compound substance that becomes almost corporeal is the devil. He is one toxic dude, let me tell you! The main tool of the devil is delusion. At times he promises all the things those who hold poor self images might wish for: wealth, stability, fame, stature, good looks, sex appeal. Sometimes he even delivers some of these things, always on a temporary basis.

When he yanks away any of what he promises, well, oy vey - it hurts! This being is fed by suffering and isolation. It must be an exquisite meal he feasts on when the things a person craves are yanked away. My, my.

I speak here from personal experience. I was indeed bedeviled for awhile when I was part of the San Francisco cult into which I was initiated. Eventually, after ruining countless relationships and rendering myself so crazy I couldn't even hold a job, I broke my deal with the devil, partly of my own volition, partly because somebody up there loves me. Every day I sing many odes of gratitudes to the ancestors, angels, spirit guides, animal guides and all the other forces that helped me rip up the contract I stupidly signed, a contract in which I promised to sell my soul. Other forces include two great psychotherapists and the ever luminous Evan Rabinowitz, the sufi acupuncturist who literally saved my life by wiping away the final vestiges. Whew!

When I see clients, neighbors or friends who are riddled with demons, I feel so sad. I want to help them, which is sometimes possible, sometimes not. In the end none of it is up to me, no matter how much I hate seeing people suffer.

The best possible scenario I can imagine is that by battling and suffering, folks are clearing karma and that when and only when it's time, they will tear up their own contracts. I've known people who died without getting out of the contract. It's heartbreaking to think about. Watching people struggle is difficult but important. By observing, I hope to become wiser, kinder and more compassionate.

I think I took on, but subsequently cleared something or another during that crazy time in my life when I really believed the devil owned my ass. Jake, too, had demons. By sitting with him through his long life, perhaps I cleared a few more dust bunnies of old, moldering karma. Perhaps.

Check out any movie that features the devil. The devil never wins, not ever except maybe in The Ninth Gate. I like the comedies, such as Bedazzled, both versions. The very second the protagonist says no to the devil, he or she vanishes like so much dust in the wind and they are free. This is the case in the Reyaverse. In order to say no, a person must believe in herself, trust herself to make it on her own, without all the promised fulfillment from any external source. We are so powerful! If only we knew.

May all who are bound be freed! May it be so. Shalom.

Friday, May 4, 2012

The truth about reality

From Rob Breszny's Facebook page:

The science newsletter, "Mini-Annals of Improbable Research," did a poll of its readers on the question, "Does reality exist?" Forty-two percent answered yes, while 31 percent asserted that it most certainly does not. The remaining 27 percent were undecided. A few of the latter believed that *their* reality exists but no one else's does. Two people said, "Yes, reality exists, but you can't get to it." According to one respondent, "Reality exists only when it is really necessary."

Oh man, I love being on a wavelength with my old buddy Rob. He is one of my favorite astrologers. His horoscopes are a little too pronoic, a reflection of his pervasive agenda - not a bad agenda, but it obfuscates a more objective reading, I think. However, his horoscopes are always fun to read.

What is real, anyway? In my society we're told to use our minds as barometers of reality. It's a big problem because the mind and ego are intertwined, one and the same. I'm speaking of the conscious mind of course. My first teacher of meditation, the luminous Jack Kornfield, said, "You have to practice mindfulness. You have to! Because your mind says, Go ahead, have a slice of peace pie. But right after you finish eating, your first thought might be, Why the hell did you eat that peach pie?"

Indeed. What the mind tells us is real is a wisp of smoke. In two minutes, it could look completely different. You can't count on it!

Of course it isn't the mind's fault entirely. The realm of emotion, long ignored or diminished by the rational people who study these things, is currently an area of great interest. They're finding that emotion is a fertile landscape from where thoughts, ideas, and a visceral sense of reality arise. This is supposed to be a brand new idea. Hmmm.

I am very excited about the new field of embodied cognition. More often lately I see stories about these researchers in the New York Times and other reputable places, whatever that means. These doctors believe the mind exists to serve the body, not the other way around. It's a fascinating development in medical research and as one of those "alternative" healers who was already on board with this idea, can I just say: Hell yeah!

I am thrilled we're moving away from brain-centered pictures of ourselves, very much looking forward to the day I no longer see stupid stories about how the brain is affected by what we eat, how much we exercise, "just like the body." DUH. Dudes, the brain is definitely tissue, a part of the body. How in the world did doctors, people who study brains, come to a place where they decided it wasn't part of the body? Too many brains pickling in jars in the lab, you guys? Are the fumes getting to you? What were you thinking?

What is real? I mean, really!

According to the Tao of Goldilocks, the most accurate way to understand "reality" would involve a balanced approach to perception: listening to body and heart, only then deciding with the mind what is and what is not. That approach requires curiosity, one of our most adorable human qualities. We have to be willing to question, to wonder and to be empty, "not like the bowl put away in a cupboard," as one of my teachers used to say, "but like the bowl on the counter, under the cereal box, about to receive." It's a beautiful idea introduced to me decades ago. I'm still working on it, as I will to my dying day, no doubt. The mind is such a bully!

All these thoughts are circling around my head. Imagine in the cartoons when one of the characters gets punched or something drops on his head. You know how birds, stars and punctuation marks fly around their heads as if in orbit? That's me this week. Maybe it's the super moon, who knows, but I feel I've slipped through a couple of membranes into a slightly different universe than the one in which I lived for awhile. Everything here is almost the same, but not exactly the same as last week. If this sounds crazy to you, then please read anything written by the cool, popular quantum physicists like Bryan Greene or Neil Degrasse Tyson about multiple universes and the membranes that separate them.

It makes me smile to realize that my mystical worldview, the Reyaverse, is backed up, more and more, by "solid" science. I really have stepped into a new universe, and I like it here a lot.


This gate is about 6" tall, part of a little fairy landscape some quirky neighbor built in their front yard. Were you fooled? Ha! What is real?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Stop, look, and listen.

My father and mother loved games. Actually so do my sibs who are all, may I say, fantastic strategic thinkers. Only in the last few years has it dawned on me that because I am of the deep-slow thinking type (as opposed to the quick witted), games of mental agility are really difficult for me. If I do have the capacity for strategic thought, it is not as useful as it is for the intellectually quick. I can come up with strategies, but by the time these plans have formed in my head and I've been able to sleep on them, think on them, discover a language to describe them, the game is long over.

If I could draw cartoons, right here I would feature myself, cartooned, rushing into a room. A card table and chairs are set up. Cards are strewn across the table. Ashtrays are overflowing. Everywhere is the scattered detritus of a game night - popcorn, bridge mix, empty beer bottles. In the cartoon I'm shouting, "I FIGURED IT OUT! I KNOW what to do next!" There is no one in the room, the sun is shining in the window. The game is over and everyone has gone home.

Anyway I'm thinking about it because one game my father loved playing with us around the dinner table (when he was in a good mood) was this: Out of the blue he would ask us to close our eyes. Then we were each to describe everything we could about what/who was in the room, on the table, etc. He asked us, "What is your sister wearing today?" and such. It was very interesting. After awhile, we were allowed to open our eyes, to notice what actually was in the room, on the table. Of course what each of us noticed varied rather dramatically from the remembered scenes of our sisters.

The next part of the game was my favorite. Papa would deliver a dharma talk about paying attention, being present. If we were to witness a crime, we would want to be able to provide accurate testimony, for instance. He made the game practical by telling us how we might make use of mindfulness. I loved that! His dharma talks frequently carried the scent of regret that those who lived through World War II experienced. For my father and mother, the idea that while the Holocaust was going on there was a huge, culture-wide denial that took over - this idea chilled them to the bone. People knew it was happening, but could not see it any better than I saw all the things on the dinner table. I always heard an echo under Papa's dharma talks about how if only people had seen it, acted against it, if only, maybe so many would not have died. It was a very heavy burden for that generation.

Papa's idea of game playing almost always included a dharma talk. It gave meaning to the experience for me, even though I never ever guessed correctly. It was a provocative game that made me think, and probably inspired me to practice mindfulness as I have all these years. Thanks, Papa, wherever you are.

Remember Trivial Pursuits? I froze up every time I tried to play. I couldn't even remember my middle name, let alone anything else. It was so embarrassing! And there seemed to be no point to it except fun. There was certainly no dharma lesson inherent in the game.

I am so not about trivial pursuits on any level. Cheers.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth

In the Reyaverse, there is no such thing as an objective truth that sits outside human experience. I am with the neuroscientists who now believe it is the function of the mind to create a story that "best explains" (their words) what the hell is going on outside the divine homeostasis of the world inside the skin. The mind draws on personal experience and gathered knowledge when creating its story, hence each individual scans the mountains of sensory data incoming through ears, eyes, nose, and skin for what is already familiar. Each of us, me included, creates a story that makes sense to us, even if it doesn't sound right to anyone else. Of course the world does not make sense, not much of it anyway. But we try so hard. We do.

As a life-long contrarian, I adore the experience of realizing I've been telling myself a story that is no longer true. Nothing is more exhilarating, or more humbling, than understanding it's time to change my tune.

Learning that my story of whatever was insufficient or inaccurate opens up everything. Because I revel in the questioning attitude, when I see that one part of my reality doesn't hold up under scrutiny, I become curious about all the other things I believe that, when examined, can't pass muster. I'm not saying it's easy to learn things I didn't already know, but it is very satisfying. It keeps the brain plastic, too, or so they say.

Truth in the Reyaverse is paradoxical, many faceted, and always morphing into a new form. For a long time I chased it around in circles, "it" being THE truth. Of course I never found it, but the pursuit was vivifying. I guess.

In fact I still chase it around, though instead of looking for a cinematic, overarching, universal truth, these days I try to keep my eyes on the prize of my personal truths. I watch this facet or that of my reality flicker, flare up, change shape, color, texture, quality. When one of my beliefs goes up in smoke, it alters the layout of the entire landscape of my truth.

What others believe is up to them. Just figuring out what I believe is full time work, so help me God!