My teacher appeared to me
in the midst of my grief for him.
“We are not here to curse the darkness, but to light a candle that can guide us through the darkness to a safe and sane future.” — John F. Kennedy
How does one stay in the know, without getting lost in the noise?
This is a topic I touched upon in my essay last week, but I want to raise it again because it’s a question that I think about almost every day.
It’s a question that I’ve started to pose to my friends, to thinkers that I admire, to our Sunday Paper columnists, and to those who actually are awake to what’s going on in the world. I want to know what they think and how they’re dealing. I want to know how they are balancing the weight of the world with the need to stay focused on one’s own life and inner world.
For many decades It was assumed that the human brain must be special, as superior to the brains of other mammals as our minds are. This specialness was never seriously questioned, and even basic facts, like asserting that the human brain contains 100 billion neurons, were arrived at with surprising casualness.
In an interesting 2013 TED talk, the articulate Brazilian neuroscientist Suzana Herculano-Houzel offers clarity for the first time on several of the basic issues. After devising a way to dissolve brain cell membranes so that only the nuclei remained, and isolating them to be counted, she determined that the human brain contains 86 billion neurons, the most of any primate. Even though the human brain is a small fraction of our total weight, it uses 25% of a person’s daily calorie consumption.
That may seem like an incidental fact, but Herculano-Houzel makes it the cornerstone of her argument, which declares that the human brain isn’t special. We have primate brains, she says, that are in proportion to our primate relatives like chimpanzees and gorillas. But in an odd evolutionary twist, chimps and gorillas cannot sustain the calorie load of an immense brain by eating raw food. Typically, a great ape feeds for eight hours a day to sustain its large body, and over time a choice was made to prefer a very large body with a smaller number of neurons.
What doesn't change?
Things keep changing. The clock ticks, the day unfolds, trees grow, leaves turn brown, hair turns gray, children grow up and leave home, attention skitters from this to that, the cookie is delicious but then it’s all gone, you’re mad about something for awhile and then get over it, consciousness streams on and on and on.
Many changes are certainly good. Most people are glad to put middle school behind them. I’m still happy about shifting thirty years ago from single to married. Painkillers, flush toilets, and the internet seem like pretty good ideas. It’s lovely to watch grass waving in the wind or a river passing. Fundamentally, if there were no change, nothing could happen, reality would be frozen forever. I once asked my friend Tom what he thought God was and he said “possibility.”
Stress is something we all feel from time to time but it shouldn’t control your life.
In fact, you can take control of the stress by taking radical personal responsibility for the way you react to that stressful situation.
First of all, it’s vital to act out of integrity and silence the ego mind’s rantings, blaming everyone else for the pain and confusion.
Next, remove yourself from the situation if at all possible. Even stepping away temporarily has tremendous benefits.
We are all creatures of our own kind, unique to each experience. We react to situations according to our individual perception. We can actually say that we each one of us respond to stress in our own unique fashion.
Although most of the responses seem to have a universality about them, as basic human nature remains the same, yet I feel that our personal identity which reflects the uniqueness of our own persona also impacts our stress response in a given particular situation.
I think and feel that the most fascinating part of the human species is the individual status of each one of us. Of course in the lesser aware and lesser educated beings a commonality of thought does exist, but it is only the uniqueness of a person that truly impacts society and social norms.
“I look; morning to night I am never done with looking.
Looking I mean not just standing around, but standing around
as though with your arms open.”
When Mary Oliver died last month, I felt I had lost a kindred spirit from this world. Someone who lived a life of deep connection to, and quiet contemplation of, nature’s never-ending miracles. All my life I have been drawn to quiet contemplative moments more than busy social activities. Even as a child, although I loved playing with my friends at school, something in me craved the experiences I had in my own backyard alone with nature.
Wow. Is it really true? I haven’t written a word here on this site for one whole year.
1-11-2018. One year ago today. Well, I cannot, will not let 1-11-19 pass without writing. The magic of this day revealed itself to me four years ago. You can read about it here if you’d like.
And so I honor it by putting my fingers back on the keys. Because a message from beyond is a treasure not to be ignored.
When The Voice talks, I listen and do my best to honor it.
I wish I could report that my book “Pink is Everything!” is humming along but it came to a screeching halt months ago.
I think I need more Pink balloons floating on my ceiling.
2018 was rough. It forced me to dig deep, uncovering old uncomfortable truths and wounds. I cycled through joy and sorrow and even anger, an emotion that doesn’t visit me often but maybe is buried so deeply I don’t even know it’s there.
After a few months of riding this wave, I checked in with my astrology-minded friend who took a look at my chart and remarked: “Barbara, if I didn’t know you better, I’d worry you were going to jump off a bridge.”
Here’s what I love most about the Law of Attraction: it works! And nearly every day, since 1984, I have more and more proof that it
Now I know many of you have lots of proof that it hasn’t worked for you in the past and that is no reason to give up on it. It’s a delicate process that takes time to master and has “laws” that take time to understand…especially the one about Divine Timing which can be the most frustrating because you can’t have what you want as fast as you say you want it.
There are many ways we approach manifesting a desire.
Some of us take the “if it’s meant to be it will just happen” approach. Others take charge and go into “make it happen” mode.
How many of you have taken a selfie? If you have, raise your hand. Okay, I can’t really see you raising your hand but I’m pretty sure most people had taken many selfies. In fact, in the past I took many selfies even before they were called selfies using my camera’s self-timer (yeah millennials, go ahead and laugh), all because of Facebook. That was around 2007 before it exploded to having more than 2 billion daily users. It was back on the day when updating your status was still done in the third person and the newsfeed was called the Wall. These days, even my 68-year old mother takes selfies to post on Facebook. So yeah, we all have done it.
All these years, I’ve had a love-hate relationship with social media. I’ve deactivated my accounts many times in the past and stayed offline for years. The superficiality of it all really bugged me. I am the type of person who would rather have a handful of close friends instead of a big circle. But the person who introduced me to Facebook is the type of person who “collects” friends because, as she puts it, “You’ll never know when you need them.”
“Happiness depends more upon the internal flame of a person’s own mind than on the externals of the world.” — George Washington
National emergency! National emergency! National emergency!
After the news broke, the TV pundits started chattering nonstop about the president’s impending declaration. They haven’t stopped since. I can feel my anger rising every time I hear the noise.
Then, I let their words fade into the background and I stop to think about all the other issues that I believe actually are national emergencies. These are emergencies that, for one reason or another, don’t get mentioned in the State of the Union, much less on the nightly news.
Let’s talk about how we co-create reality in partnership with the Universe and the most important step of manifestation- surrendering the results and the attachment to form.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about life (as I do in the early months of every year). I find winter a season of dreaming and taking inventory, sometimes going deep into the darker parts of my life, the womb, to see what I might birth consciously into the world. I wonder in awe some days about how I got here doing what I do and how different it was from what I was convinced I wanted. If you look at your life and see how far you’ve come, are you living the life you wanted on the outside, and/or are you loving life from the inside?
This week the goddess that stood out for me is the multi-cultural goddess of illusion- the goddess Maya. I think my favorite version of her, (and there are many-Hindu, Greco-Roman, Tibetan etc.) is the Scandinavian – where she represents the May maiden- the virgin goddess with the pregnant womb of chaos that preceded the making of the world, the beginning called Ginnungagap. She, like the Hindu Maya we might be more familiar with, is associated with the illusion of appearances. And so when we consider that we manifest from essence to form, often we get confused by this. We often want something because of what we think that the thing, experience, person will do for us, or how it will make us feel, or what we hope will happen when we arrive at the destination. For example, some think that once they fall for the One and then everything will be alright.
As life flows thru us we experience many insights and changes. These shifts create texture in our life and the energy that surrounds us. Similar to not wanting a flat line on a heart monitor, a flat life is not desirable. Living with awareness of the textures, leads to a life that is rich with emotions and pure potential.
Think of textures as infinite possibilities. Textures are the ability to feel, dream, touch, discover and expand into what life offers us. To fully experience all the textures, one must have faith in the power of mindfulness. It requires the ability to look beyond one’s personal life situation and recognize the connection to a vast universe.
With exams around the corner, I have so many students and parents coming in with their stress related queries, that I feel addressing this issue, by giving a general overview of this type of a stressful situation is imperative.
Most students on a survey reported that they felt completely overwhelmed by stress. In today's fast track competitive world, they feel their stress levels are definitely exceeding their ability to cope with stress. They felt their lives completely negatively affected in terms of their sleep patterns, eating habits, and their exercising habits.
A study conducted by the American Psychological Association found that much of the college stress had it's origins in high school. Chronic stress persists and continues to travel with them to college years and leads to academic disengagement and in some cases even mental health issues.
High school students of course carry immense pressure due to trying to make career choices and other important life changing plans for their futures. The main issue they are battling of course is competition.
Will you do something for me? Go look out your window. It's okay, I' ll wait.
It doesn’t matter where you’re located. It doesn’t matter what time of day or night. Go to that window and look out. . .don’t glance. Even if it’s a view that you’ve seen hundreds of times before, take the time to slowly drink in everything that you see. Don’t filter the results or categorize them. Simply look with open eyes.
What will you see? It depends. You might see a neighbor walking their dog or the push and pull of traffic on a street or even just the bricks of the building next door. What you are seeing, in some sense, doesn’t really matter. It’s how you are seeing that makes all the difference. When you look out with eyes that are truly open, what you will see is life - real life, raw life, life in its purest form, replete with possibilities.
Scientists first postulated that a genetic change occurred in our species resulting in increased intelligence. Another theory stated that there was a change in the structure of the brain which accounted for the boom in intelligence. The best explanation I've heard is the fact that technology was stymied by a limitation in population size.
If you live in a small group someone has an idea, there may not be anybody else to offer a follow up to help make that idea a reality. As the population of a community gets larger and larger, ideas are able to shared more freely and change can be achieved. As more and people come together, and communities get larger, evolution indicates that the field of information is greater and new ideas can be synthesized that wouldn't be possible in a smaller population. Right now, we as humans are experiencing emergence.
Oracle Cards are a Super-Link to Co-Creating and Manifesting!
Oracle cards are often mistaken for “fortune telling” devices, but in truth, they are a powerful tool in co-creating your reality with Spirit as your manifesting partner.
First off, let’s explore what an oracle actually is. The actual word comes from Latin “oraculum” then from “orare” which means “to speak, pray” (Merriam Webster).
It is known as an intermediary between the mundane world (ours) and the spiritual (Spirit/Universe/Source etc.). An oracle can be a person that gives you a message of wisdom from the divine, (like me) but it is also a medium through which to communicate directly with Spirit, your higher self, and your inner knowing and that can bypass your subjective truth that only comes from the experience and memory, desires and wants of your small self. It uses symbolic language to talk to you.
Oracle cards act as that medium. And, did you know that oracles have been around for thousands of years going all the way back to early goddess culture in Paleolithic and Neolithic times? They work the same way today as they did then!
“The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves.” — Victor Hugo
I have to say, there were more than a few times last week when I thought, “What is happening in our world?”
The way Jeff Bezos took on the National Enquirer made me gasp for all sorts of reasons. But I love what he said: if someone in his position can’t fight back against blackmail and extortion, then who can?
I also found myself shaking my head during the State of the Union. I was upset by the visible division in our country and how it was on full display in the room. You could have turned off the sound and still fully seen and understood how one half of the room felt about the other. (I must say, though, I was inspired by the guests in attendance. Their inspiring life stories give me hope.)
All of us, to one extent or another, make life plans. We all have a vision of where we want to be and how we want to live. For most of us, envisioning the life we want is the easy part. Making that life a reality is a different story.
Every goal involves a journey from Point A to Point B, and every journey consists of a series of steps that gets us there in the most direct way possible. So, when it comes to a really big goal, like living your best life, you have to be absolutely clear about the specific steps that you’re going to take.
You can’t afford to be hazy about the details or less than dedicated to forward momentum. If you don’t know what to do, or you don’t want to do what you need to do, your dream of a better life remains just that.
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