Monthly Archives: October 2011

Spirituality

Posted in: General, Spirituality on 10/26/11 by

We are all on a spiritual path.  I began to pay attention to non-physical life force energy at a young age.  I remember in elementary school when my mother would say something to me that was practical and routine, I would often see symbols around her words that appeared to me to be floating colors.  These forms would coalesce very quickly and an idea would take hold of my thoughts.  I would blurt an intuitive response such as, “They don’t have any margarine at the market today.” Or I might say something like, “The Cornish hens are raw,” although they had been cooking for over an hour.  I didn’t take any of my spontaneous remarks seriously until she started commenting that I had a ‘sixth sense.’  It turns out my intuition was right about 90% of the time.  I began to wonder what was beyond what we could feel, hear, see, touch and taste. 

In my 20’s I had a unique experience that opened my heart to a larger reality. At the time I was teaching at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri.  I had been though many painful experiences for several years.  My world felt hopeless and I was severely depressed.  On an overcast football Saturday, all I could manage was to recline on the sofa with my trusted heating pad. My thoughts were negative and I was generally feeling so sad I just wanted to disappear.  All of a sudden a bright light came through the sheer curtains and slowly filled the room.  It was different than the sun light because I actually saw it move through the window and occupy the entire indoor space.  I had the physical sensation of being swathed in Love with all my pores tingling.  To my amazement I was suspended a few feet above the couch.  I found out many years later that this is called an out-of-body experience.  Although I wasn’t ready at the time to fully embrace the significance of this understanding it foretold of my desire to discover the essence of my being.   

In my early 40’s after many years of psychotherapy, Al-Anon, and ACofA groups I was on the road to recovery from codependency.  I was living alone and separated from my husband who was alcoholic.  For the first time I felt clear enough to begin looking within.  I combed metaphysical bookstores, took classes in mediation, attended weekend workshops in developing a higher state of consciousness, and studied mindfulness as a spiritual practice.  Each of these skills contributed to my personal well-being.  It was during this time I was fortunate to have my second out-of-body experience.  It was similar to the first although much more intense.  I was walking down Church Street in San Francisco past the Archdiocese when I felt enveloped by a sun that was at least 10 times brighter than normal and at the same moment I felt as though I was floating about four feet above the sidewalk.  It seems like this lasted for several minutes and when I became aware that I was again walking, because I felt my feet touch the earth, my whole environment was in Technicolor.  In other words it seemed as though I was in another dimension.  All this happened for me on an extremely overcast day.

I am aware of the transcendent nature of the world.  My spirit guides infuse me with courage, integrity and compassion.  It feels as though I am in communion with God; the God within, without and all about.  We are all one; each a tiny cell in the wonder of the universe.  Let’s continue to radiate Love.

Tapestry

Posted in: General, Tapestry on 10/19/11 by

I attended my first concert over 30 years ago.  I was in the throes of a diseased, codependent relationship that lasted over 12 years.  My alcoholic partner, Joey, and I were strolling on the Boston Common when we were approached by a guy who held out his hand and said, “How would you like two free tickets to a show that will change your life?  The matinee is starting right now.”  We looked at each other and shrugged but had nothing better to do so we accepted his offer.  We walked a mere two blocks through the flower laden park to the theater, took our seats in the balcony, and watched the lights dim.  A svelte young woman, with wild curly hair, wearing hippy gear, walked to the piano.  Through a thick haze of marijuana we were introduced to Carole King.  With her first chord, the crowd went crazy.  This amazing artist was just my age at the time, although I had never heard her music.  I was enraptured as she belted out her lyrics.

Of the 2000 plus people in the audience, I was probably the only one not smoking a joint.  I was terrified that the police were going to raid the auditorium and take us all to jail.  I was definitely “Miss Priss,” more concerned with what Joey was doing and thinking, than with the artistry on the stage.  My stomach was in knots most of time, wondering what the next second would bring with my alcoholic partner.  I spent every waking moment with thoughts of “him.” I was so neurotic that I literally wrung my hands with worry.  This special experience might have gone right by me, like everything else in my world, if it weren’t for the fact that I was inhaling second hand smoke and was “stoned” myself.  The “pot” allowed me to loosen up and chill out for a few hours.

Carole King performed her classic album, “Tapestry,” which has sold over 11 million copies and was a 4x Grammy winner.  She is a poet and a musician; her work is a gift to us.  I purchased her record that day and I still have the original copy.  I practically wore it out playing it.  At the depth of my addiction her music soothed my soul.  As I was getting well, her lyrics evoked pleasant memories or gave me a message that I needed to hear at just the right moment.  Listening to her fascinating voice was therapeutic.  I didn’t have to work or analyze anything.  I was just there, enjoying the pleasure of being and listening.

A few years ago I had the good fortune of seeing Carole King in concert in San Francisco on her “Love Makes the World” tour.  As I sat down in the Masonic Auditorium, next to my wonderful husband Bryan, I noticed we occupied seats in the same area of the balcony that I had shared with Joey 33 years earlier.  Carole sat at the piano facing the group just as she had done that spring day.  The difference this time was her cozy “Living Room” arrangement on stage.  It felt like de-ja-vu.  Except, not.  This time I was there as a healthy, clear-headed woman.  All of us in the crowd were much older and there wasn’t “dope” wafting in the air.  For 2 ½ hours we were transported to a magical world of melodious mystery.  She did it again; captivated her audience and moved us to new heights.   I was reminded of the beauty of music at all stages of growth.

Each of us creates our own life tapestry.  The warp of our weaving represents our childhood, which often is dark and unbalanced.  All of our experiences, both good and bad, color the art and give it strength.  As we begin our journey of recovery the yarn becomes more brilliant, filling in the picture and making it whole.  The richest threads are gold and silver.  They symbolize the harmonious sounds of music, of all types, enriching our soul.  The fabric of my life was altered that fateful day in Boston many years ago.   I accept and experience the healing power of music. I am going to continue to let it carry me to a peaceful world. 

At this point in my life I am very clear that I Am Free To Be.

Surrender

Posted in: General, Surrender on 10/12/11 by

In 1984 I experienced an intense psychological transformation.  At the time I was in an Adult Children of Alcoholics therapy group.  I chose to be there after years of individual therapy and 12 step programs.  I remember thinking when I began the weekly sessions that this was going to be a piece of cake.  Surely after years of introspection, I knew myself well.

It started the first evening.  There were two therapists, a man and a woman, with six clients seated in a healing circle.  A story was told.  We were then asked individually to comment on our feelings.  Terror gripped me.  One woman sat in silence while we watched and waited.  Another cried continuously.  When it was my turn, I babbled foolishly realizing I didn’t have the foggiest idea of what it meant to feel, especially while being scrutinized and on display.  For my entire life the balance was lopsided with my thoughts, not my feelings, tipping the scale.

The realization that I was unable to feel, that I had denied everything in my reality and that I had lied to myself most of my life was debilitating.  I was sick and overcome with fear.  Experience for me had always been dramatic.  Being in-group was just what I needed to trigger the pain.  That evening was the beginning of an 18-month ordeal, which changed my life forever.

During that time, my past sped before my eyes, as I lay in bed, immobile.  The room was dark; light hurt my eyes.  My body ached.  One week I would vomit incessantly, another I would have diarrhea constantly.  I was ill.  But what was wrong with me?  I didn’t have anything that could be cured with medicine.  All I knew, I was suffering and wanted to die.

A death was occurring but not that of my body.  My ideas and beliefs were crumbling.  The negativity that I had buried for years was erupting like a toxic volcano.  I was forced to face the webs and shadows of competition, self-destruction and addiction.  It was all I knew.  I was scared!

Despair appeared to me as a symbol in the form of a black rock.  It represented darkness, inflexibility and rigidity.  That part of me that I know as my ego self, felt there was absolutely no hope; no possibility of light.  There was heaviness beyond description.  I couldn’t even lift my limbs.  This went on for a long time.  One day in my mind’s eye, I noticed a tiny grain of sand on the black rock.  I began focusing on the tiny crystalline speck and watched it begin to grow.  It became a glimmer of hope.

Pain was multifaceted.  Its symbol was a jagged piece of broken metal, which had movement.  I was feeling all the aspects; from physical pain in my body to emotional pain for the loss of my beliefs.  After years of denial, I seemed to be experiencing the sensations all at once.  The only relief I had was when my cats would visit me in bed.  What beauty.  I began to invite them more and more. 

Loneliness crept up on me.  A circle of dim light hovered over my being.  It stayed for days.  I seemed to be swimming in an abyss of nothingness.  After months of the most profound desolation, I heard a voice say, “It doesn’t have to be this way.”

At that moment the light brightened.  I realized that when you try to hold on to something that no longer supports your highest good, you feel pain, despair, loneliness and frustration.  It was time to move on.  I could no longer ignore this situation.  I needed to actively participate in the changes which were necessary for my soul’s growth.

I had forgotten my true purpose for being.  My ego self had been misguided for centuries; off the track.  The loneliness and pain was the separation from my higher self.  I had lost “myself.” 

I began practicing techniques for well being.  At first this was difficult and only lasted a few moments.  For example, if I were feeling sad because of a personal loss, I would acknowledge it, feel the hurt and allow myself perhaps an hour a day to grieve.  Then I would find one thing of beauty to enrich my life.  I might take time to read a good book, take a long hot bath or take a walk in nature.  If I were feeling despair, I would call a friend to talk or seek a therapist for professional help.  For loneliness I would meditate to beautiful music or play a variety of guided meditation tapes.  I actually made a list of survival techniques and used it when ideas didn’t spring to mind.

I became more open to letting life flow.  I visualized myself as a vessel allowing ideas, situations, attitudes, and feelings to pour through me and out of me, not penetrate my being.  Eventually I noticed I was spending more time with joyful thoughts than with despairing ones.  I was on the road to recovery.  I was reconnecting with my soul, my spirit, the God within.  I give thanks everyday for this process.  I Let Go and I Let God.

These experiences were the beginning of a spiritual awakening for me.  I am so grateful to have survived my ordeal and I do all that I can to nurture my inner development.  I find that what begins on a personal level radiates outward toward global transformation and today I am committed to helping others on their journey toward spiritual growth. 

 

Astrology – A Valuable Tool

Posted in: Astrology, General on 10/5/11 by

My first introduction to astrology was in 1969 in Boston when I had the good fortune to be guided to an amazing woman named Frances Sakoian.  She was teaching classes in astrology in a beautiful old building conveniently located near my downtown apartment.  I couldn’t wait for that Thursday night class which I attended for many months.  I was mesmerized by her and what she had to share about astrology.  I’ll never forget what she told us the very first night.  I cannot quote her verbatim but the gist is: When a soul incarnates and chooses the precise time, day, and city of birth that spark of energy creates an analytical map one can use as a guide throughout their spiritual journey in this lifetime.  While we all come here to grow spiritually some people will take the more complicated route to their goals with twists, turns, and blind alleys by haphazardly finding their way.  Those who are open to examining the benefits of astrology will discover the means to enrich significant decisions on their path through life.  Francis Sakoian was the author of 19 down-to-earth and readable astrology texts.  Four years after I studied with her she authored The Astrologer’s Handbook with Louis S. Acker in 1973.  It is still regarded as one of the finest astrology books on the market.  She was a pioneer in spreading the word about astrology to a wider public.

When Bryan and I were planning our wedding 25 years ago I insisted we plan the “Best” possible day for such a memorable occasion by using astrology.  Although I wasn’t a professional astrologer I had resources that helped me plot our preparation.  We knew we wanted the ceremony on Saturday evening and far enough in advance to plan a beautiful day.  After looking at cycles of the moon and favorable and unfavorable days, we decided on December 7, 1986.  Although that was the same day as the attack on Pearl Harbor it was the “Best” day for us.  For ten days before our wedding torrential rains, the affects of El Nino, were hammering San Francisco where we were to be married.  There wasn’t much we could do about it but hope and visualize the rain would stop.  The morning of our wedding the sun shown brightly with tropical temperatures warm enough to go without a jacket or a coat (very unusual for damp, cold, wintry S.F.).  We were thrilled to enjoy such wonderful weather following the terrible preceding conditions.  The day after our wedding the storm started up again and continued for another two weeks.  I am convinced by using astrology to direct us we planned the perfect day. 

For years I have used astrology for myself, my family and friends.  It is useful to for surgical procedures, major purchases, parties, interviews, signing contracts, visiting the dentist, beauty treatments and the list goes on and on.  I could write a book on the advantages of knowing your psychological horoscope analysis. It is so much more than a generic description of your sun sign.  You too can discover the advantage of astrology in many different ways.  With the magic of the internet we all can have access to personal astrological knowledge.  I want to share names of astrologers, real people I know, and also astrological services that you too can use.  You do not have to be a professional astrologer to reap the benefits of this amazing tool.

When I moved to the west coast in the early 1970’s I met Nicki Michaels a San Francisco based astrologer and life coach.  I had the privilege of meeting with her in person several times during the last many years.  I find her unique approach to astrology powerful, uplifting and spiritually stimulating.  I appreciate her so much I chose her to be my Life Coach nine years ago.  We worked together for many months.  She helped change my life and got me going on my true path to peace, joy and love.  Her web site is www.BeyondSunSigns.com.  You are in for a treat!  She is a very special woman.  Tell her I sent you.

A few years ago I met Richard Stromer, Ph.D.  His website is www.soulmyths.com. SoulMentor is a counseling and support service that employs the ancient craft and art of astrology as a tool for psychological and spiritual guidance and evolution.  SoulMentor’s astrological readings focus on the deeper symbolic and archetypal roots that form the foundations of each individual’s chart.  In that spirit, Richard’s intention in each reading is to discern the deeper psychological challenges inherent in a client’s life path, as well as the essential soul issues he or she faces in this lifetime.  I highly recommend this brilliant man.

If you are not as inclined to speak over the phone or in person to an astrologer I can suggest a few astrological services where you can find excellent horoscope analysis:

www.astronumerics.com is a wonderful source for astrology and numerology.  I specifically love the work of Liz Greene, author and lecturer and Director of the Center for Psychological Astrology inLondon.  I have ordered many different types of Horoscope Analysis over the years.  When my daughter was a baby I had the Child’s Horoscope created.  I still read it in awe and Mariah is about to turn 16.  I often order the Yearly Horoscope as well.  This is a must examine site.

Celestial Calendars by Jim Maynard are astrology’s finest calendars since 1973.  Each version of his calendars includes a basic introduction to astrology and information on how to use the calendar.  Easy to understand explanations are listed for the moon, including void-of-course information, and the influences of the moon as it travels through the different zodiac signs and phases.  A complete summary is given for each of the major planets and their influences as they interact with each other.   The signs of the zodiac are described in detail.  I am never without my Pocket Astrologer by Jim Maynard.  Email Quicksilver Productions at this address: CelestialCalendars@email.com or call them at 541-482-5343 and ask for their brochure.

Each year I order my own Cosmic Window, an Astrological Appointment Calendar.  It is your own personal astrological activity in a datebook, planner or wall calendar.  The astrologer is Philip Levine, M.A. creator of Sirius Astrological Services at 1-800-426-6881 or www.cosmicwindow.com.  This is an invaluable tool when planning events such as travel, creative work, romance, and so much more.

I hope these personal references will encourage you to open your mind to using astrology.  I feel fortunate to have discovered it years ago and am grateful.  It is one of the most valuable tools for a better life.  If you are not already engaged in the pursuit, may this be the beginning of an exciting adventure.