Letting Go


Not being catholic, I have somewhat of an outsider’s view of the Lenten season. Mind you, Catholics aren’t the only ones who celebrate Lent, but they are certainly the most visible – especially on the first day of Lent, Ash Wednesday.

From my experience, Lent is usually honored by giving up something that you enjoy. The thought has been explained to me as as a sacrifice to echo the sacrifice of Christ, though I have recently read of other interpretations. The idea is to recognize how challenging it is to give up that one small thing (even if it is usually to our own benefit in some way), and to therefore appreciate how great a sacrifice was done on our behalf.

I was thinking about this idea of sacrifice over the last few days, since I often choose Lent as the perfect time to give up something. After all, there is a lot of support out there for letting go at this one time of the year. Take advantage of the communal energy! When I participate in this process, I like to look at it as giving up something so I can see what kind of hold that thing has over my life and evaluate whether I am willing for that hold to continue.

Frankly, my concept of Lent has changed over time. It used to be more in alignment with sacrifice, but this year, I am seeing things a bit differently. I realize that the sentiment behind “sacrifice” is that it should be something you enjoy or want to continue doing, so that giving it up is in some way unpleasant. What I am realizing is that giving things up doesn’t have to be unpleasant to be beneficial. My spiritual life and my physical life can both see benefits if I do this right.

I recently read some comments from a Buddhist monk who explained that monks were only allowed to own 8 things, and those 8 things were actually predefined. This idea coinciding with the timing of Lent made me think of the possibility of giving up ownership, or at least reducing my ownership footprint. I read a new slogan somewhere on the web: “Don’t declutter. De-own.” Sounds scary … and that means it is powerful.

I certainly own a lot more than 8 things. Honestly, I own a lot more than the 100 Things that another blogger suggested. I grew up in a poor household and it was made very clear to me at a very young age that how much stuff a person owned was a measure to compare oneself against. Many family members were hoarders, though I doubt very much that any of them would admit it. When I moved in with my current partner, I think I was well on my way to becoming a hoarder, myself. She, however, is not a hoarder. In some parts of her life, she is downright minimalist. Needless to say, my collection of stuff drove her nuts!

We broke up for a while due, in part, to this very issue. During that time, I came to realize that I really identified with my stuff. When she didn’t want things out where it was visible to guests, I felt like she didn’t want me to be visible. When she would gently suggest downsizing some of my collection, I felt she was wanting to downsize or diminish me! It sounds crazy, I know. From what I can tell though, this is very much how hoarders feel. I now call this syndrome being “stuff sick.” The love I felt for her forced me to face this about myself, and I truly believe she pulled me back from the brink of becoming a hoarder.

Over the years, I have learned to let go, to hold on less and less. She taught me that memories and emotions might be triggered by seeing certain things, but that doesn’t mean we have to keep them. If the object serves no practical purpose, we can take a picture of the thing and let the actual object go. It is a process and I am still not as good at it as she is, but I keep improving.

Which brings me to the idea of Lent 2013.

My idea for this year goes beyond sacrifice into the value of reviewing what defines me. I am not willing to be defined by these things I enjoy. I can give them up and still be me. So, I have decided to give up ownership of one thing each day. At the end of the month, these things will go to Goodwill / Savers. Instead of giving up chocolate or sweets or some other decadence I enjoy, I am going to commit to releasing one item for each of the 40 days. My rules to myself are that I can’t just give up a pair of shoes and count it for 2 days, nor would a box of office supplies count for any more than a single day’s gifting. It can’t be something I simply don’t care about either. To be a valid sign of my healthier attitude toward the things in my possession, I am committing to giving away things I am holding onto “just in case.” If you know anyone with hoarder instincts, this is tough! 20 years in the computer industry simply reinforced that tendency in me, so I am sure this will be a challenge.

Day 1 is going to be a handful of books that I always meant to read, but haven’t. These particular books have been in my “to-read” pile for more than 3 years. I love books and letting them go is never easy for me. Sigh. Time to let them go.

Whew! One day down!

Are you taking advantage of this letting go energy? What has Spirit prompted you to let go of?


Unplanned Hiatus

Hello Everyone. I want to apologize for the unplanned hiatus I took from this blog. I spent a lot of time really digging down into myself, and I retreated quite a bit from the world during this time. I am coming back and will likely post quite a bit over the next few weeks. I have so many ideas of things I want to share, and waiting and spreading them out only works for a few weeks out.

My topics tend to be influenced greatly by what I am going through at the moment, so all of this introspection has built up a large quantity of ideas. Once I get the overflow out of me, we will return to the weekly schedule from previous times.

A special thank you to those who checked in and even sent me messages asking when the next post was coming. It made me feel wrapped in a caring embrace, and I hope you know that I love you bunches!

What if …


It seems that everywhere I look online, there is a running discourse about the shooting in Connecticut. The outrage is real, widespread and very deeply felt. This bodes well for change.

As I was thinking on this, though, the famous quote from Gandhi about being the change we want to see came to mind. It reminds me that you can’t legislate morality. That doesn’t mean the laws shouldn’t change. It means that the level of behavioral change impacted by laws and regulations doesn’t solve the underlying problem. Another way of stating it is that we may be able to contain some of the behavior, but the impetus to violent reactions remains.

That problem is the violence in our own hearts and souls. As long as we react with violent thoughts, even if we control them, the seed of violence will remain with us as a people and as a culture. We each have varying levels of success at controlling it, but its very existence raises the question of how do we truly heal a society that is based on violent thought? I don’t have answers, but I do have questions and that is perhaps a valid starting point.

I wonder if this is related to the competition we each have nurtured in our hearts since we were small? We have this poverty / paucity mindset that insists that everything, but EVERYTHING, is in limited supply. If I have it then you can’t have it. If you have it, then I can’t. This mindset encourages people to defend what little they have from someone who might deprive them of it, or to attempt to take from someone that which they think they need to survive.

The more I think on this, the more I believe that, at a very deep level, the trigger for violent thoughts or behavior seems to be rooted in the idea that the other has something that I need to survive or even just to be happy. When I am content in this moment, not worrying about what I don’t have, I can feel no urge to become aggressive. When the present moment is sufficient for me, there is nothing I need to take from another.

What if people woke up to the moment of power, that is to say this very moment? I often hear talk of awakening in vague and idealistic terms, but what would actually happen? How would things change if people suddenly started living in the now, owning their own baggage, and making decisions based on just that? I am not talking utopia, but reality. What would change? I am thinking that the scope would be so large, we can’t even imagine it in its entirety.

Winter Is Coming


A quiet house on a cold and blustery morning,
Cup of coffee in my hand.
I sit by the window and look out at the rising sun —
No urban wildlife in sight, not even people.
Instead, I watch
Fallen leaves dance up the street.
The autumn wind leading in a polka swirl,
Trees swaying against a metal gray sky.
And I think,
“Winter is surely coming.”


A page from the Voynich manuscript. Clicking on the image takes you to one of many web pages about this document.

Nothing like a good historical mystery related to a book to send my imagination soaring. I am posting something totally off-topic, even for my loose definition of my focus here. This is just too fascinating and I always love to share a good mystery!

This document was “discovered” in 1912, by an antiquarian bookseller named Voynich – hence the name. He discovered it when going through a book collection at what had once been a Jesuit monastery. I won’t go into great detail here about the document itself, as there are tons of websites that delve into it. I just wanted to share what fascinates me about it: The book is written in a language that no one knows anything about. Many believe it many not be a legitimate language at all, but a cipher (code). The images throughout the book are of the “natural world,” but not precisely. Most of the plants are totally unknown. The images with humans in them seem to indicate either an odd symbolism or an even odder reality. In short, this book makes no sense to us, even setting aside the script.

Dating experts put the book at having been written between the 15th and 17th centuries. Nothing else like this work exists anywhere, so we have no clue as to its purpose. There are quite a few sites out there suggesting that this is a book of alien origin, provenance or influence. “Alien” as in not-of-this-planet. I can totally see how someone would want to go to a conclusion like that. The mystery is so provocative!

For those who, like me, would love to look at this document in more detail, it is available in many different formats from the internet archive. Please click here to be whisked away to a download page. If you come to any conclusions or it provokes ideas for you, please feel free to share them. I would love to have a good ole discussion on this one!


Mindful Shopping

Courtesy Flickr Creative Commons user AMagill – Use of image does not constitute endorsement by the artist.

We are about to hit the biggest shopping season of the year, at least in the USA. This year,  with all the changes that have been (and are still!) occurring in my life, I feel prompted to ask myself to clarify what I value. I have always loved giving gifts and looking for something the recipient will truly appreciate, so I am seeing that this new perspective of mine simply adds another layer to my personal shopping filter.

It is easy to say that I value people over things, intention over object, and ethics over greed. The real question is whether or not I live it out. No matter what words I formulate in my mind or out loud, the real test is in what I do. I am always fond of saying that our lives are much like riding a bicycle in that we always wind up aiming for whatever we are looking at. So, what my heart believes directs the course of my actions as surely as the mythical siren song lured sailors to places their logical minds did not want to go.

Being the change …

We talk about change and how we want the economy to be less greed-driven, less competition based, more empathy-driven, more service based. I suddenly realized that the idea of being the change I want to see applies to everything, even this. If I want to be part of the solution in terms of changing what drives the economy, then I need to be really clear on what drives me!

How do I decide where I am going to shop? Is it just about prices? Getting the most for your money isn’t a bad thing, but if that is the only criteria I were to use to determine where I shop, wouldn’t that be a greed-driven decision? Do I really need to give multiple gifts, or expensive ones to those I love, for them to know how much I care?

Of course not. Consciously, I know this.

I still hesitate, so I dig a little deeper. I realize that there is a part of me that knows my idealism isn’t shared (yet!) by all those I love. So, I am concerned about how to live out this philosophy of mine. I can make things. I can offer skills. I reflect on the idea that I want to give them things they will appreciate, and my concern is for those who still seem caught up in the consumerism of the old paradigm. How do I find the right gift for them, and still remain true to this shift within me?

At some point, even if it is just for materials, I will need to go out and purchase some things.

In a capitalist society, your money is your sphere of influence

An awful lot of businesses have recently had their leadership say and do things with which I disagree strongly. They have the right to freedom of speech, and I would never want to take that away from them. On the other hand, I too have freedoms. If they are going to do things I perceive to be against my personal ethics, I don’t have to support them and their business by shopping there. This concept of the ethical shopper is one that I have seen popping up all over the place.

Thanks to various boycott movements, consumers are discovering how powerful their shopping habits truly are. If a boycott can influence behavior, then I have the power to bestow my vote of confidence upon any business, simply by shopping there. Realizing this, and wanting to change how businesses are run, I know there are some behaviors I want to reward and others I don’t. Companies that treat their employees like more than just  a resource to be used and discarded need to be encouraged. Those that want to act ethically, do minimal damage to the environment, support their local communities and are responsive to the impacts their decisions make in the world – those businesses deserve my support. On the other hand, those who don’t do these things need to be sent to the time out corner. There are only two practical ways to express my disapproval: one is to write them a letter (and yes, I frequently do this), and the other is to simply refuse to give them any of my money.

Influencing change

This is how any of us can influence the ethics of capitalism. In retail, the people’s mandate is defined in profits. If a company is profitable, they think that we are OK with how they do business. We each have the power to influence that bottom line of profitability with every purchase we make. Frankly, as we awaken into our personal power I believe we will be seeing this trend continue to grow.

I am looking forward to this year’s gift giving, partly because I plan on being extra creative about it. I do admit, however, that trying to determine where a company falls on my naughty or nice list could be a lot of work. I wonder if there is an app for that? Imagine something that gives every store a score based on how they treat their employees, the environment, and their community. Maybe with links to more info if it is available. Too bad I am not a developer. Anyone out there want to take this on? 🙂


Today, I found out that there is a known concept and a word for something that has been a part of my life for a while now. A few months back, when I was meditating, I was given an image, very similar to the one above, and got the sense of it like this:
The line going up and down is a cord of energy that connects the grounded self to the higher realms. It pretty much goes up along the spine. When I meditate now, I can feel it pulsate and I can sense energy going both up and down the cord. It straightens energies that have gotten out of alignment and makes my breathing feel clearer, among other things. The center is a glowing merkaba. It is glowing because it is rotating at a very high speed and gathering energy, each pyramid spinning in the opposite direction from the other. The glow is both protective and energizing. As I meditate, I sense this construct around and through me, and it makes me feel centered, protected and clear-headed. If there is an emotion connected to this meditation, it would be joy, though it is challenging to label the time I spend in this place.
Today, as I was reading some posts from online friends, I found out that the energy cord that I sense is called a “shushumna,” and it is the channel by which the life force or prana moves up and down the chakras. It is integral to the process of kundalini rising, and is indeed part of the awakening process. The words are from the yogic tradition, but I am thinking that the concepts are universal.
Having learned this, I had to go looking for more info on the merkaba. It turns out that counter-rotating pyramidal forms are the sign of an activated merkaba. There are meditations to assist in this process. Ironically, I had looked for merkaba meditations before and didn’t really see anything that pulled at me. Now, I go to Google and look up “glowing spinning merkaba” and there is the meditation I had been looking to find, months ago! I love the synchronicities that pile up in my life! This has so much more meaning for me since I found it out on my own and saw confirmation on the site I found, rather than the other way around!
Φ – I have decided that the awakening symbol, in its simplest form, looks like the Greek letter phi. So, one more symbol to the collection I have been gathering for a rune system of my own. Yeah!
It feels like so many things are starting to coalesce into something tangible … I can almost make out the shape. Just a few more pieces!

Soul Lodestone

This image is of a lodestone, as depicted in the info article on Wikipedia. Clicking the image will take you to the article.

As I was meditating this morning, it came to me that when I use my favorite abundance affirmation, “I surrender to the flow of abundance that already surrounds me,” I am actually surrendering to the creative principle of the Divine.

My perception of this creative principle is sort of like a primordial soup, where all the elements necessary for anything I might imagine are swirling about, waiting to be pulled into form. When we are open to this flow, we become a lodestone, drawing to us the things we have magnetized by our prayers, our desires, our emotions.

Connect your heart to your words

I mention emotions because I truly believe that they are the power behind any prayer, any desire. When we pray, most of us have been taught to use words. I see no problem with this, except that we each need to realize that words are most effective when we let them be triggers, releasing the power of emotions to the focus of the prayer. The more deeply we feel the sentiment of the prayer, the more magnetized our soul becomes to draw the desired outcome into being.

That is simplified of course, and a lot more plays into it. For example, to manifest effectively, we need to have our intention aligned with the Divine (I will to will Thy will), and we need to truly be receptive to the outcome. How many of us pray for help with a problem … perhaps a money issue? … when we really don’t believe we are worthy of the resolution? If this is you, don’t feel too badly. You are not alone.

Are you strong enough to surrender?

This is why I pray for enough strength and trust to surrender. Huh? Strength to surrender? Many might think that concept doesn’t make sense. But it does! When we are strong in our sense of self, the paradox arises that we become most able to trust that self to retain or improve its core being with the changes that inevitably come with surrender to the Divine Will. Imagine a person who is so confident in their abilities that they are willing to stand up to both authority and / or bullies, without fear. Now, take that image and see if you can shift it a bit: Trust that your core is real enough, true enough, strong enough that surrender to the Divine is simply acknowledging that It is your very Source. How can you possibly be afraid of what sustains you?

We often hear about surrendering to God as an abdication of our selfhood. I even met a man once, who said that he was afraid that if he surrendered completely to God he would be sent to be a missionary in a place he didn’t want to go. That fear held him back for a very long time! He was afraid that God’s ideas for his life might not line up with how he wanted things to go. Think about that for a minute. He was afraid that his will and God’s will were different and his ego wanted his own will to win out!

Maybe the question comes down to whether you believe your ego IS you? I am telling you it is not, but I don’t expect you to necessarily believe me. I have found out that people need to come to this realization all on their own, and no amount of insight from strangers will force it upon them. However, it might make them think. So, I am one of many asking you to consider whether that might be a false belief. Check out Eckhart Tolle, as any of his books go into this topic far better than I can.

So, back to surrendering: When you know that your core self is sourced from the Divine, you suddenly realize that you aren’t surrendering to anything truly “other.” You trust in the Divine, but that trust is a judgement call that the soul has made based on the knowledge that you are truly a cupful of God-energy in human form. To me, that is the ultimate sense of one’s self as a multi-dimensional being and proof of a solid faith in the soul’s power of discernment.

You are not who you thought you were

As we awaken to a more complete sense of our self identity as multi-dimensional beings, I think that the fears of the little three dimensional being we thought we were will all disappear. We will know that we are more than what we ever understood before, and we’ll recognize that it is ok to trust the flow of the creative principle. At that point, we will recognize that the prayer doesn’t just change the outer world in the form of manifesting what we hope, it also changes the inner self to open the doors for that manifestation to take place.

Then, FINALLY, we shall see ourselves as an integral part of the equation and our ability to manifest our heart’s desire, in alignment with Divine Will, will be endless.


One of the most important skills we pick up as we awaken to our innermost self is that of discernment. When we are presented with an option, a “fact,” or a point of view, we learn to automatically turn to our inner space to see if it resonates or not. I am not talking about whether we find a particular thing appealing, but whether that inner field of energy gives us a thumb’s up or down on incorporating that new thing into our personal life story.

I have had many times where an option in front of me that seemed undesirable in some way was the one that got the internal thumb’s up. When I trusted that over my mental construct of what was appealing to me, I have always found that internal nudge to bring positivity into my life. In fact, some of my best memories come from just such nudges.

If it is on the Internet, it must be true!

I am bringing this up because I have seen a lot of lists online lately about the “signs that you are awakening.” There are certain standard items that appear on all of them (worrying less, joyful more, etc), but many of them also include other items that, frankly, I am not so sure about. That is when discernment comes to play.

When we trust blindly, we are putting our truth-o-meter in someone else’s hands. As we take responsibility for all aspects of our lives, we learn that being part of a global body or a global consciousness does not mean that we will all process information the same way, or go through the same awakening process. Basically, what is true for one part of that multi-dimensional being may not be true for another part. Each of us is responsible for discerning the bits that work within our own life.

Think of it this way: The hand has a totally different function than the foot, the shoulder or the spleen. The nutritional energy that makes its way to each body part gets used according to that part’s function. The body needs different things from each part, and so the demands on it are different and the energy gets used accordingly. I believe the same can be said for the role each of us plays in the unity consciousness. Awakening does not mean we will automatically drop all differences and become Stepford Wives. I feel pretty confident that the differences between us will be managed in less confrontational ways than we generally use now, but I am just as confident that differences will remain. Difference (ie diversity!) is good and friction is not always a bad thing. It is how we handle the friction that can be unhealthy. Often, friction is actually a necessary component for growth!

Caveat emptor! (Let the buyer beware!)

To be fair, I believe that most of these sites are expecting you to gauge the truth of their posts with your own process of discernment. As for the lists of “signs that you are awakening,” one that I would add to the list is that you no longer look to others to validate your journey! So, when it comes down to advice, tips, lists or “seeds of wisdom” (even from me!), always check it against your internal truth-o-meter. Recognize that one person’s truth is not always the same as yours, and the only solid growth you can have is when you build upon your own.

The Power of We

I think a solid argument could be made that 2012 is the year of the ‘Power of We.’ All around the world, we have seen average citizens banding together to effect change. We see it all around us: politically, economically, environmentally, and more! We keep seeing anomalous stories of dogs adopting pigs, elephants befriending dogs, and many more. Something seems to be happening, and we are both spectator and participant.

As a shamanic practitioner, I have been privileged to witness the inter-connectedness of life on many levels. As someone who walks the dreamwinds, I know in the core of my soul that there are layers of reality beyond what our three dimensional selves can see and recognize. Is this the Unity Consciousness we hear so much about? I think it is one of the first steps.

I believe that the Power of We culminates in Unity Consciousness. This connectedness that we are finally recognizing as an amazingly powerful dynamic is only the start of the process. We are just waking up and like an individual that needs their morning ritual to be fully awake, we have to go through the stages of the process to get our Unity eyes fully opened.

What will the stages be? That is something I don’t pretend to know. I do believe that individuals have been awakening for years. They have been trying to help us, but there are none so blind as those who will not see. We each have to come to it in our own time and in our own way, otherwise our minds shy away from it and refuse to recognize it for what it is. As more and more people awaken, groups of people begin to recognize the threads that connect them are strong enough to change the world.

At some point, we started to ask ourselves what we wanted this world to be? We stopped accepting that the status quo has to stay because it has always been. We begin to recognize that light is both particle and wave, depending on our intent. Accepting that as true, then we hypothesize that can control the outcome by controlling our intention. I think this is where things are at now. We see that we have power, and that we can remake the world in the form of our dreams … only we have to decide what we really want, as a group.

I am not sure what the next step will be, but I do believe there will be a next step. The people attempting to define the dream are out there and working hard. That Facebook page I set up, STEP, is a collection point for stories about the dreamers impacting economic change. I had a friend email me recently with a very detailed explanation of how he thinks the business corporate environment might be recreated to empower the individual and get rid of all or most of the hierarchical mess people currently have to navigate. He is one of the waymakers.

The world is changing and the “power of we” is the springboard that will catapult us to a new earth. I am so excited to be alive now and witness to this amazing worldwide event. I am glad to be part of the “we” that is bringing about change, and to have come to know and work with so many more!