Archive for February, 2010

When There is No Vision – Getting Unstuck

by on Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

This is a synopsis of a talk I was invited to give at the Crossroads New Thought Spiritual Center in Carlsbad, California, on January 31, 2010.

Pema Chodren

 

At a time of personal difficulty a couple of years ago, I found myself quite stuck. As I was searching for answers and some motivation, I happened to find a downloadable lecture by Pema Chodron, entitled, Getting Unstuck. The title struck a resonant chord and so I purchased it and downloaded it on my ipod. I was not familiar with her, but I was immediately taken by her.  Pema is a delightful, witty, humble, smart and personable, Tibetan nun.  She is American, been married, had a family, divorced and then chose a completely different and difficult path.  She has become quite well known helping hundreds of thousand of souls seeking self-mastery. Pema is now director of Gampo Abby in Nova Scotia, Canada and is a Master teacher. I recommend her teachings to all.

I am not a Buddhist. I do, however, like to seek and find truth wherever it may be found. I find Pema’s teachings appeal to my practical nature as she offers very usable tools and solutions for dealing with difficult problems. The basis for my talk is her teaching. My wish is that through passing along some of her vital information, you will be motivated and empowered to apply these helpful tools to your day-to-day challenges. The goal, of course, is to experience greater amounts of happiness and joy.

The heart of Pema’s teachings focuses on Learning to Stay. But first, let’s explore what it means to be stuck. It means different things to different folks. It is common and normal to feel stuck. It can be caused by any number of things but usually centers around feeling a need to numb out, or feeling aggressive thoughts about self and others or giving into cravings, wanting and needing. We can easily identify with these symptoms in some way and we can generally expect them to manifest in the following forms:

Destructive patterns: defensiveness, comparing self with others, avoidance, critical and judgmental thinking of self and others, isolation, self hatred, and fear with paralysis.

Addictions: substance abuse, shopping, sex, food, critical mind, gambling, life becoming unmanageable because of the addiction.

Depression: hatred of life, not feeling worthy, don’t want to play at life anymore, no inspiration, no goals.

These are but a few of the issues that keep one stuck. There are as many reasons as there are people. Many addictions can be horribly destructive while others are more subtle in nature but keep us stuck nonetheless. The goal here is to see yourself clearly without judgement and identify those challenging areas that need work so you can move forward.

I am continually impressed with Pema’s humanity for herself and others. She is immensely kind, patient and always finds humor as she looks at herself with complete honesty and awareness. But, this is part of her teaching, to lighten up, and be very gentle with yourself as you work at overcoming those things which hold you back from happiness and a full life. The goal is to interrupt the momentum of that which keeps you stuck, the shenpa.

Shenpa is the Tibetan word which describes the urge to want to move away from or escape that which makes us feel uncomfortable. It is the feeling of restlessness, unease that keeps us distracted. If one has the skin disease Scabies, and continues to scratch the itchy blotches, it spreads and bleeds. The more you scratch, the more it spreads and bleeds. This desire to scratch the itch is shenpa. Shenpa is that sticky urge that keeps us hooked, when we want to scratch even though it is not in our best interest to do so.

Pema relates the story of her daughter-in-law who was dying of liver poisoning from alcoholism. She describes her physical appearance as awful, puffy and orange in color. Pema was often called to take her to the hospital to have the built up fluid drained from her body. When they allowed her daughter-in-law to leave the hospital, she would return home and hit the bottle once again, even though she had been given only a short time to live. “Why?” Pema asks. “ It is stupid.” But, what keeps us hooked is that we tend to imbue our addictions with some type of comfort for short term symptom relief and we become self-destructive, yet again. We have desperate associations and attachment to the comfort. You have to eventually reach a place where you don’t want to bleed to death from scratching because you are unwilling to heal. There must be a willingness to feel and stay with the pain.

I like the tangible concept of shenpa. It is that tightening you feel when someone says something mean or threatning and you become defensive, or when you begin to feel restless and uncomfortable for whatever the reason and you want to move away from the discomfort. It is so very helpful to have a tangible way to describe those feelings and self destructive urges that make us want to scratch and feel comfortable once more.

Unfortunately, we mindlessly strengthen what we dislike about ourselves through repeating our habitual patterns. We strengthen what we do. Pema calls this our ignorant dance. At times we are so deep into the scratching before we notice that we are bleeding all over the place. When the pain gets so great, when the shit hits the fan, at that time it becomes necessary to move toward the pain and stay with it to heal. This is where real healing can finally take place. While in this mental space you can take joy in the pain because you have reached a point where you don’t need one more scratch. You can experience the shenpa and not act it out. There is greater self-appreciation and no more self-deception. You see yourself and shenpa clearly and can refrain, interrupting the chain reaction.

I find it helpful to ask, “If I follow the urge what will be the result?” It will only get worse. There will come a time when you will identify more with the wisdom of seeing than with the scratching. When there is enough love for self and a desire to heal, one will have a willingness to follow directions: acknowledge and see clearly, without judgement, and refrain, learning to stay.

This means learning to stay present in the pleasant and the unpleasant und uncomfortable, and refrain from acting out the mindless dance for short term relief. This is the essence of Pema’s teaching.  Pema says, “A further sign of health is that we don’t become undone by fear and trembling, but we take it as a message that it’s time to stop struggling and look directly at what’s threatening us.”

She adds an additional element I have found to be extra helpful. This is learning and practicing the ability to be gentle and loving to yourself as you self-correct. I find that I personally respond better when I speak to myself with respect and kindness. Much like how others respond when we treat them with kindness. As I encourage myself and ask the tough questions I now treat myself the way I would lovingly treat others and I give myself the same amount of wiggle room. This concept has propelled me further in my healing journey.

The Dalai Lama was featured at a conference in our country. His presentation was full of wonderful concepts and idealistic philosophies. During the question and answer portion of his presentation, a woman asked his holiness if he was aware that everyone in this Western audience would use what he said against themselves as we in America have a strong need for perfection and struggle with feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness. He was baffled and proceeded to ask the other participants if what she said was true. They unanimously validated her claims. He just couldn’t comprehend this idea of self-hatred and poor self-esteem. His culture doesn’t take things into the realm of guilt and shame. He said there aren’t even words for these concepts in his language.  Our Western culture stands to learn much about gentleness and loving kindness toward self from Eastern disciplines.

Then the goal is to see yourself clearly with compassion and without judgement and comparisons, as a child in training. This is the doorway to liberation, taking delight in the seeing, with compassion and humor. Lighten up, most of the issues are not life or death. Learn to play with your responses. You may not always refrain from scratching, but you can delight in the seeing and revel in the miracle of mindfulness and the magic of seeing. Rejoice when you have the capacity to see your habitual patterns and to refrain from scratching, to refrain from short term symptom relief. True healing can take place when you have a firm desire to live from a place of wholeness, not grasping. When your strength and awareness become stronger than the shenpa, knowing you are progressing, working from a place of loving kindness not a straight jacket. Often, we gain a few steps forward and then a step back. This too is the norm.

Remember these four R’s: recognition, refraining, relax into the uncomfortable feeling, resolve to stay present.

This whole process is very humbling. None of us has been given much instruction. We are all up against it. But it gives us such compassion for others, for the human condition, how all people are struggling. There are millions of types of shenpa and a bazillion ways to scratch it! The goal is to reach a place where no one or nothing becomes a threat. We are no longer grasping and afraid of the pain and discomfort.

Where do we go from here? What must one do to move toward greater vision? Ask yourself two questions. First, what brings you a feeling of passion and joy?  Second, if you could do anything and there was nothing standing in your way, what would you do? The answers to these questions should give you a good place to begin as you gradually feel more whole and unstuck with a desire to show up and move forward. The things that bring you a feeling of joy are the things you came here to do in this incarnation.

This process takes time but the self-discovery is well worth it. Take delight in the process. Learn to listen and do your best to eliminate useless thoughts of the past and stay present. Everyone struggles with something and gradual is good. After a while, you can look back and marvel at how far you’ve come. Exposing all of your shenpa is a life long pursuit. Just work on your own, even when you see it in others. You can only change yourself.

Follow the principles of successful intentions and work with focused visualizations daily. There are limitless possibilities. See yourself being what you desire, free from the bondage of your particular brand of shenpa and achieving your dreams.

You don’t have to walk on water to do good in the world. No one is perfect. Let’s look at Oprah. She has put her challenges right out in the open. She has admitted to being a comfort eater. She has gained and lost large amounts of weight in a very public forum. Is she still struggling with her shenpa? Yes. And she openly admits this. Does she still do huge amounts of good in the world? Yes. And she has done much good heavy and thin alike. She keeps increasing in power and influence no matter her size. So you see, challenges often makes us stronger and certainly give us greater compassion for the struggles of others.

In the play, Sunday in the Park with George, Bernadette Peters sings a inspiring song to the struggling artist George Seurat, played by Mandy Patinkin. “When it comes from you, then it will be new. Give us more to see.” These words from the song struck me in a profound way as I struggled with putting myself out in a more public way and finishing my first book. When you put your talent and personality heartily into what you do, you are giving the world something new and wonderful to see.  There are unlimited possibilities. It takes bravery and courage to find a new comfort zone even if initially it feels uncomfortable. May you successfully embody these teachings.

The only difference between try and triumph is a little umph!

Seize the day!

McDonald’s Sponsorship of the Olympics

by on Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

I love watching the Olympics. I am so inspired by the athletes and their drive for excellence. But the idealistic dream cracked as I watched an ad from McDonalds. I was actually astonished by the blatant deception. It is false advertising to suggest that McDonald’s high fat processed junk food is THE PREFERRED FOOD OF OLYMPIC ATHLETES. I am appalled that McDonalds is a corporate sponsor and partner of the Olympics. How damaging is this for our already weight challenged kids who are watching the games and looking up to theses performers as role models? Is anyone else upset about this?

The issue here is a bold and conspicuous display of corporate greed and false advertising. It wouldn’t have mattered which sponsor it was. To say that a fast food conglomerate is the preferred food of Olympians is dishonest and sends a distorted message to children that if they want to be an Olympic athlete they should eat that particular brand of junk food. Whoever approved McDonalds as a corporate sponsor should have their head examined! Olympic athletic performance and competition and eating at McDonalds don’t belong together as I am certain any Olympic contender would attest. It is like a tobacco company sponsoring mountain climbers? This just doesn’t make sense with what we know about the harmful effects of regularly consuming their products!

Back in the 60’s when fast food was making its huge impact on our society, there was little attention placed on the actual quality and caloric content of the food being consumed. With slick marketing campaigns, McDonalds and other fast food chains were becoming popular and springing up everywhere. Fast food restaurants now proliferate our neighborhoods.

We have come a long way since those times of ignorance. That ignorance has come at a huge cost to our nations health. Increases in obesity and heart disease have become uncontrollable. More people die of heart disease today then Cancer. Not only are we learning about the health risks of consuming saturated fats, but also the destructive health effects of all the chemicals and toxins used in the growth and creation of the cheap products used by fast food chains and in highly processed foods.

So having McDonalds as an Olympic sponsor in the 60’s and even through the 80’s, based on our ignorance at the time is understandable. Today it is inexcusable. We are infinitely more aware of all the dangers and the devastating results. Now the White House, lead by Michelle Obama, is pushing for help to fight childhood obesity. Even though there are a combination of contributing factors, fast food is a big part of the problem. And to allow McDonalds to suggest that their junk food is a preferred food of Olympic athletes is the worst kind of deception as it directly effects our youth.

A friend’s 6 year old, after seeing a McDonald’s television commercial, turned to his mother and said, “Mom, that is a lie.” We need to rise up as parents and consumers and boycott any company that targets our children with lies for profit.

We have fought this same battle with the tobacco companies. We see that after being forced to change their advertising and to put warning labels on their harmful products, they attempt to put on a helpful public face as though they were positive forces in our world. In reality, they have been exposed for lacing tobacco with high doses of carcinogens to increase the addictive properties of cigarettes and therefore increase the long term profit. They have become an industry of sanctioned mass murder. The cost to our health industry has become obscene, as is the cost of obesity.

Yes, the McDonalds corporation has developed helpful projects that do contribute, and they employ many. However, like the tobacco companies, are they also wolves in sheep’s clothing? Look at how successful McDonald’s marketing has been over the years. We have all been taken in by their persuasive advertising in one form or another. The Happy Meal is as well known as the hamburger. The name has become synonymous with any fast food childs meal that includes a toy. Think about it, a happy name and a toy to entice a youngster to eat what is actually a slow poison? Very powerful marketing indeed.

As we move forward more informed and conscious as a society, we need to be vigilant in exposing those companies which are corrupt. And it is time to call out any form of corporate wrongdoing at our expense for profit.

Successful Intentions – What Makes Them Work?

by on Monday, February 15th, 2010

This is a synopsis of a talk I was invited to give at Crossroads New Thought Spiritual Center in Carlsbad, CA, on November 1, 2009.

If you are at all metaphysical in your spiritual philosophy, you are aware of the power of intentions and affirmations for planning and goal setting. But why are some intentions successful and others not?

There have been millions of fans in the past couple of years of the DVD and book The Secret. Many of those followers, however, have since complained that the formulas presented seem to be flawed. Several of the participants in The Secret have jumped in to defend their positions and stepped forward with helpful suggestions to assure a higher percentage of success. But, doubt and skepticism still linger. Why?

Back in the mid 1970’s — long before I knew anything about metaphysical thinking and at the time very solidly

Dr. Maxwell Maltz

entrenched in a powerful and controlling organized religion — I was drawn to study famous motivational personalities; Zig Zigler, Og Mandino, Norman Vincent Peale, and one that stood out more than the others, Maxwell Maltz, the originator of Psycho Cybernetics. He taught a most important truth that resonated with me and has stayed with me all these years. “The brain can not tell the difference between a vividly imagined experience and a real one”. And through intense visualization and focus one can come to actually believe what they imagine. The qualifier is, of course, the focused visualization. More than just simple affirmations.

This point was verified by studies done on prisoners of war after returning from long incarcerations after World War II. Many soldiers had kept their sanity through practicing over and over in their minds the sports or musical talents they enjoyed before the war. The results were clear, all came home more accomplished in what they practiced mentally than when they had left for war. The results of these studies have been used by sports trainers to catapult athletes throughout the world into continuing higher levels of performance. These successful practices continue with even more intensity and widespread usage. During the recent Olympic games in Vancoover, it was common to see competitors doing visualizations just prior to their performance. So, we see that visualization needs to be intense and focused over a period of time, which takes consistency and perseverance.

Also back in the early 70’s while living in Boise, Idaho, I was approached to run for the Idaho State Legislature in my district. I had been lobbying the Education Committee about questionable textbooks at the time and had made a favorable impression on some legislators on the committee. They approached me to run wanting me to knock out a ten year incumbent who was creating difficulty. As I contemplated the proposition, I would visit the legislature and sit in the balcony and observe the session activities. I knew I had the ability to do the job and I could see myself down on the house floor participating. There was never any question in my mind that I would be successful. There was great passion behind my intention to win. I lived it mentally for the next year and did all within my power to make it a reality. I was successful and won three consecutive elections. As I look back, I see how unknowingly, I had applied some powerful basic principles that were ultimately very successful.

A few months ago, Oprah featured the story of an African woman, Tererai Trent.

Tererai Trent

In her village, girls were not allowed to go to school. Her brother attended and she loved learning to the extent she would do her brothers homework. Officials finally allowed her, at age eleven,to attend. But within a few weeks her father married her off and her brief public schooling was over.

A few years later, Heifer International came to Tererai’s village with humanitarian aid and help to give the women hope. One of the Heifer staff spoke to the women telling them that it was ok to dream and instructed them to write down their dreams. Tererai wrote down her deep desires to go to school in America and get a college education and even a PhD. Her mother told her to bury her list of dreams under a rock. She wrapped her paper in a piece of tin an plastic and hid it under a rock by the base of a tree.

Tererai now lives in America with her children and a new and loving husband and is only a few months away from achieving her goal and receiving her dreamed of PhD. What made her intentions more successful than the other women in the village who wrote down their dreams that day? Passion, she had that all important fire in her belly!

Repeating intentions or affirmations by rote is not enough. Many write down desires and create vision boards hoping that seeing their desires on the wall and in their journals will create them. It is not enough. You must live your dream within your mind before you see it materialize. Wayne Dyer wrote a book entitled, “You’ll See it When You Believe it”. That is the true formula. Remember, the brain can’t tell the difference between a vividly imagined experience and a real one. You must condition your brain to believe it is a reality through repeated focused visualization with as much emotion and passion as you can muster before it becomes a reality.

This also applies to the focused intention of the masses. Noetic Science address this phenomenon.

Lynne McTaggart

Noetic author Lynne McTaggart has proven that focused thought can affect literally anything. In her book, The Intention Experiment she describes the studies’ findings and her ongoing web based study, TheIntentionExperiment.com continues to document that human consciousness is a highly ordered energy capable of changing the physical world. The experiments show that it can affect the growth rate of plants, the direction fish swim in a bowl, the manner in which cells divide in a petri dish, and the chemical relations in one’s own body to name just a few. These studies continue to prove that human thought can transform the physical world and that this process is not just New Age hocus pocus. We are literally masters of our own world.

I conclude with a quote from Mike Dooley,  from his daily web blasts called Notes from the Universe at www.Tut.com.”When it comes to setting aside a little time each day to visualize, look at it like this:

No matter how distracted you become or how confused you are about the process, the simple fact that you gave your dream this time and attention means you did it correctly, you did it longe enough, and that by the time you open your eyes, already in the unseen, huge wheels have begun turning.”

Huge,

You think I’d make it hard?
Your humble servant,
The Universe

The Response Factor – Taking Control of Habitual Patterns

by on Saturday, February 13th, 2010

This is a synopsis of a talk I was invited to give at the Crossroads New Thought Spiritual Center in Carlsbad, CA on August 23, 2009

Years ago as I was leaving formal religion, looking for a more fluid form of spirituality, I was led to a belief system called A Course in Miracles by the Foundation for Inner Peace. I began a course of study in this doctrine which dramatically changed and improved my life, completely shifting how I viewed myself, others and the world around me.

There were 3 teachings our instructor introduced which stood out as exceptionally meaningful, among the many.

First: “If you always do what you’ve always done then you will always get what you always got.”  Something needs to change (the patterns)  in order for improvement to be made.  This was huge as I had never thought of life as a system of created patterns.

Second: Continuing to do the same things and expecting different results.  This has been termed a definition of insanity.

Third:  The instructor also introduced an powerful tool called the Competency Formula. This teaching made immediate sense to me and was something that included measurable steps so I could identify my progress.  (below)

Through my studies I began to see that the challenges were within me and how I responded to life and others.  It sounds impossible to think that at my age, I had never before recognized these plain and simple truths, that I was always looking outside of myself for solutions and resolution to difficulties.  I was finally branching out, thinking for myself, evolving.  I was beginning to awaken and see that I could not change other people, I could only change how I responded to them and to life in general.

COMPETENCY FORMULA

The following is a helpful formula for consciously monitoring your thoughts and responses. The description of this formula is as follows:

UNCONSCIOUS INCOMPETENCE

This is where you start, unconsciously thinking and doing only what you know without regard to how incompetent it may be. This is a continuing circle of responding in an unproductive and detrimental way. (If you always do what you’ve always done then you’ll always get what you’ve always got).

CONSCIOUS INCOMPETENCE

This is the state of becoming consciously aware of your responses, identifying undesirable patterns and observing the way you interact in your relationships and how you manage challenging times. This is the first and most important step. In order to improve, you must become conscious of your patterns of incompetent and undesirable behavior.

CONSCIOUS COMPETENCE

This is the state of awareness where new and improved response patterns are consciously put into practice. These patterns are now used as you work to improve your daily interactions and challenges.

UNCONSCIOUS COMPETENCE

This is the final stage. New response patterns have been practiced to such an extent that they have become an unconscious process. You no longer have to think about what you do. Your responses to life automatically come out loving, productive, and competent.

The fulfillment of this process takes time and practice, don’t expect it to happen overnight. You may experience some shock as you analyze your thoughts and actions, and identify inappropriate patterns. Unconscious and incompetent behavior is very normal and a part of the human condition. Forgive and love yourself and treat less than desirable behavior with loving kindness. Then, gently move on to conscious competence. You will find that you spend considerable time bouncing back and forth between conscious incompetence and conscious competence. This is also normal. With consistency and commitment more and more areas of your life become unconsciously competent.

With change as a constant companion, watch your behavior and be wary of slipping back into negative patterns as you are faced with unexpected issues. The one thing we can all truly count on is change and it is happening so rapidly at times, it is hard to catch a breath.  Stay mindful and in the moment, which is the place of your greatest power.

Remember, this is a process where proficiency develops through practice, and as undesirable response patterns are exposed and replaced by acts of love, the process moves more rapidly. The most important thing to consider as you think about this formula is that we are all in Earth school.  Our lives are labratories for experimentation. We tend to judge our thoughts and actions as either good or bad or right or wrong. These comparisons are not productive and ineffective in furthering our spiritual goals. The best measuring stick is: “Does this response or choice serve my highest good?”

What truly defines us is how we overcome challenges. Very few choices are ever life or death.  It is time to lighten up, relax and experiment. Reaching UNCONSCIOUS COMPETENCE is a satisfying level to attain even in the little things.  We no longer need to consciously think about changing things anymore as making the most productive choice has become automatic. Experiment, have fun with the process, and take joy in becoming more conscious of your thoughts and behavior.

Relationships tend to be the best training ground.  I call relationships the trenches of life. All of our emotions and fears are tied up in our relationships. When times get tough, the question, “How can I respond differently?” should be a constant thought.  I like the saying, “None of these things move me.” When involved in an adverse situation, be undisturbed by it and it will dissolve. An inharmonious situation comes from some disharmony within.  When there is no inharmonious response,  the situation falls away. Try this the next time you feel your emotions and defenses rise. When you can relax and not take yourself so seriously, it becomes fun to experiment. A Course in Miracles teaches, “The best defense is defenselessness”.  When there is no defensive argument, it defuses the anger and emotion. There is no place for it to go.


Politics, Integrity and 2012

by on Monday, February 8th, 2010

After serving several years as an elected legislator for the State of Idaho, I have become keenly aware of the need for integrity to surround the legislative process for true progress to take place. One comes into contact with a variety of personality types in politics. There are the great Statesman variety like an Abraham Lincoln who have an agenda

Abraham Lincoln - My Hero

of true service to humanity, and the self-serving kind whose ego and its strokes are their priority. And unfortunately, there are those worse still who are guilty of demagoguery and narcissism who use politics as a means to collect power under the guise of public service. This is a leader who intentionally misleads the people.  A politician who foments discontent in the world and among the voters, promising all sorts of rewards if the people will help him gain power, though he actually plans to use this political power to further his fortune and personal agenda.  We have seen examples of these types in our country more notably in recent years due to an increase in press coverage.

DEMAGOGUERY

There have been many leaders throughout recorded history who could easily fall into the demagogue category.  It is an amazing phenomenon that people so quickly fall for their cunning traps and become supporters.  Not too long ago the world witnessed the regimes of Hitler and Mussolini and many others in a variety of countries since, where countless lives have been destroyed by gullible followers who did not question. Not all demagogues are guilty of the same degree of evil as those mentioned above, however many are guilty of the same type of agenda only to a lesser degree; trying to take over a small country rather than attempting to take over the world. The results are the same as many may die and cities, families and peace are destroyed.

GOOD VERSES EVIL – 2012

Throughout time, however, man has struggled with the classic battle for good and evil. The media is replete with examples of this age old struggle from Star Wars to Lord of the Rings.  It is curious to witness the contempt of the younger observers today as human rights violations in foreign countries become public, as if these were first time atrocities. The youth of today have not had to witness the horrors or the sacrifices for freedom that our parents

Gandalf - Stay Vigilant

did in the 30’s and 40’s.   And often it requires atrocities in close proximity for the intensity of emotion to fuel a rebellion. The possibility of rebellion may not be far away.

The question is, as we dwell in the energy of 2012  — a time prophesied by many cultures to be the end times — is humanity becoming anymore humane and conscious as a whole? Are the changes we are experiencing leading up to a mass shift in consciousness here and abroad? Are the breakdowns we are witnessing on a global scale opening the doors for this shift?  The consensus of many modern day visionaries suggest that 2012 will be the spiritual shift we have been waiting for, propelling the world into an enlightened era of peace and prosperity.

POLARIZATION OF THE PEOPLE

There could well be a growing polarization leading up to the shift, however.  There are still many who refuse to look forward and dwell in the traditions of the past with the belief that the old continues to be the best for this new generation.  The younger generation, when allowed to form their own opinions, thinking for themselves, easily see through the old structures that continue to hold humanity back. Making informed choices has never been more critical. Ushering in this enlightened age will require leaders of a statesman like integrity.

When making choices about which leaders you will support in the future,  follow your intuition and instincts. Learn to trust yourself.  Don’t be one of the sheep who follow blindly. Pull away from the roar of the crowd and think for yourself. Look for consistency and integrity.  Stay away from those who delight in name calling and character defamation.  A statesman is one who is not afraid to make public his agenda, will sacrifice himself for the betterment of the whole, and will accept responsibility for any mistakes made. The political demagogue will attempt to hide his true motives at all costs and through trickery and manipulation turn public attention elsewhere.

Astrological Aspects for 2010 and Global Change

by on Monday, February 8th, 2010

This is an abridgement of a talk I was invited to give at the Philosophical Library in Escondido, CA, in 2009.

This presentation is based on compelling questions I am continually asked. People seem to be aware that life, as we have known it, is changing and want to know why. Many feel that something is off, different. So, I am frequently asked, “What is going on astrologically and how will it affect us? What could happen and how should we prepare?”

There is no way to predict exact events before they unfold. However, under a given set of planetary aspects, we can be clear about their nature and theme. How we react and maneuver through these changes depends on our ability to change our responses, in a positive way, to the situations around us we cannot control.

In order to keep a finger on the pulse of world events, astrologers watch for significant changes in planetary activity. There is indeed major planetary activity in 2010 unlike anything we have experienced in many decades.

Pluto shifting into the heavy and restrictive sign of Capricorn from the light and open energy of Sagittarius is the fundamental transit shaping global events. When a planet changes signs it is considered quite significant. This shift equals unprecedented change in our lifetime. Pluto’s slow rotation around the Sun puts the last dates of its sojourn in Capricorn from January 1762 to the Spring of 1777. That transit was characterized by imposing unrest which resulted in the American war for independence from Great Britain; new types of government required to manage and regulate resources and humanity within a new framework. A very fascinating and informative study.

Astrological signs are characterized by distinguishable traits. Sagittarius is a sign of Mutability, concerned with thinking, learning, philosophy and humanitarianism. There is expansiveness and lightness to the energy. Capricorn, however, is a heavy, restrictive and serious energy. It is a Cardinal sign and is action oriented and concerned with movement and structure. As Pluto shifted from Sagittarius into Capricorn the energy we feel is more formidable in nature and action oriented.

In Sagittarius, Pluto’s energies, which are heavy and destructive, were helping expose the corruption in religion and the breakdown in religious traditions; what is no longer working, relevant or corrupt. Pluto in Capricorn represents a breaking down of governmental structures, corporations and business, exposing the same things; corruption, what is no longer viable and what is unsustainable. Pluto’s main function is to  expose, break down, destroy and rebuild. As Pluto changed signs the focus changed globally from philosophical and religious to the structures that govern our countries and their people, and our resources.

When dealing with religion and philosophy you are working with what is mostly intangible as a rule; peoples beliefs. Now, we are concerned with very tangible challenges and breakdowns which strike at the core of our very survival. The big focus will be on how we use our resources and how we use power. As corporations and businesses collapse around us, the ones that survive will be those based on sustainability, integrity and those that are planet friendly.

Three other planets will be changing signs in 2010 producing noteworthy shifts. Uranus has been transiting in the sign of Mutable Pisces and will be moving into the Cardinal sign of action oriented and impulsive Aries, adding to its already unpredictable nature. Jupiter will also be shifting from Pisces to Aries, staying in close aspect to Uranus for a period of time and magnifying the explosive energies of Uranus.

Saturn has been transiting in the Mutable sign of Virgo and will be moving into the Cardinal and restless sign of Libra. Planets closer to the Sun change signs frequently. But, these particular changes are very significant because they are all in strong and difficult aspects to each other and they are all shifting from Mutable signs related to thinking into an action oriented Cardinal energy. These three planets are forming a challenging configuration called a T-Square, consisting of two squares and an opposition. These adverse aspects will make a huge impact on world events.

How will this affect us? We are already seeing and feeling the destructive affects; increases in natural disasters, the physical element of the planet (Capricorn, Saturn), and breakdowns in corporate and governmental structure with much happening in seeming sudden (Uranus/Pluto) and public ways as there is forceful movement. All of these astrological aspects and shifts into Cardinal signs will create more stress as tension mounts leading up to the exactitude of these aspects in late May. They stay in close aspect for several months, and August could be a difficult time.

The Earth is a living creature affected by astrological energies just like the people that inhabit her. This T-square with Pluto/Saturn/Uranus is creating a powerful magnetic pull playing havoc with the fault lines. We will see an increase in seismic activity and superstorms around the globe. Individuals are also feeling the pull and we will see a greater inability to cope, more suicides and general unrest as the changes come rapidly with little time to adjust.

What to do? We should all do our best to be prepared. We need to focus on how to move forward and land on our feet. This is a time of surrender. We can’t change the aspects and we can’t control natural disasters and the physical changes occurring on the Earth. Whether it turns out good or bad depends on perspective and attitude. I am advocating a 3 month supply of essentials; food, water and whatever it is you rely on and use daily. Keep some cash on hand in small denominations. Get used to living on less, some economists suggest half of what you are used to living on. Get rid of all duplication of services and wasteful spending. A 72 hour preparedness kit would be a wise investment for each family member.

What will happen is in many ways a necessary shift to a more love centered world. When there are huge disasters, we see and feel a great outpouring of love. There is an order to the universe and the energies of our solar system. It is believed these significant changes are designed to help mankind evolve. Actually, the highest expression of Plutonian energy is pure unconditional love. This is the energy we want to focus on. Modern day visionaries are suggesting that this is a great time of awakening. There is no going back. The energy of the Earth is quickly rising up into a new world, and is like a tsunami of new energy washing through every crack and crevice of our reality. The more the masses focus on love and compassion and eliminate fear based thinking and actions, the easier the shift will be for all. We are all connected. So how this transformation plays out is up to us and how conscious we are. We don’t have to play the role of victims, we can play the part of leaders. It is up to us to show the way and to create workable solutions as adverse events play out.

“Once you have glimpsed the world as it might be, it is impossible to live anymore complacent in the world as it is.” (Anonymous)

Pluto in Capricorn and World Changes

by on Monday, February 8th, 2010

Pluto’s Energies in Capricorn for the next 16 yrs.  This text is from my Tele-Conference on February 17, 2008

Many clients are asking, “What is going on?” Changes are coming so rapidly, that people are feeling wiped out, burnt out and exhausted, and often, cynical, angry, frustrated, impatient, and depressed to the point of apathy.  Some are feeling they have been stretched to the limit. If you have had any of these thoughts or feelings recently, you are not alone.

These transformative planetary energies are building up like a pressure cooker causing blow ups, and blockages that can make you feel trapped, stressed, and pressured with physical pressure symptoms bloating, sinus pressure, intestinal distress, indigestion, nausea and headaches. We are really feeling it in the US where there have been many mass shootings, screaming matches, accusations, and temper tirades; all symptoms of this building pressure. The current situation in the Middle East is yet another example of the pressure build-up during these surges of higher energy.

The cause of all of this is two fold. First, we have the rapid shift in higher frequency energy coming in waves. We are in a holding pattern, waiting for these new energies to fully ground so we can feel something solid from which to build. After doing so much work it is very difficult to have to stay in the old paradigm and continue to function with enthusiasm. Feelings of depression can result, as we may feel stuck, disappointed, held back, and in the wrong place or space. And in addition to these global energies, each one of us is involved in our individual Astrological transits which can greatly add to some of our individual challenges.

So why are we still in a holding pattern? We are waiting for the coming shift in mass consciousness. There are many who are almost there. It works like this. Studies have shown, that when there are a hundred who are conscious it affects the consciousness of a thousand. When there are a thousand conscious, it shifts the consciousness of a hundred thousand. When a hundred thousand is reached it shifts a million. Do you get the picture. We are waiting on what has been termed critical mass, when there are enough enlightened souls to shift global consciousness. I believe we are very close. This is what people like Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, Ram Dass, Maryann Williamson and many others are working so hard for all around the world. This impending shift has been talked about for ions of time.

Second, there are planetary energies and alignments which are contributing to the squeeze individually and globally. The movement of Pluto into the sign of Capricorn is a huge shift into a very different world than we have known in our lifetime. It takes Pluto approximately 250 years to circle the Sun. Astrologically, this really is a big deal. Because Pluto moves so slowly, it only changes signs once every 20 years (on average).  It’s affects are viewed generationally. So the change of signs is like a changing of the guard and represents a shift in thinking that’s planet-wide. Let’s look at the energies of Pluto, then the sign Capricorn and then put the two together.

For those who keep up on scientific news, the reclassification of Pluto from planet to planetoid has no relevance on the measurable energies we feel from this celestial body. Understanding the time it takes Pluto to circle the Sun has allowed astrologers to look backward and study the global impact of Pluto’s transits. We now have volumes of empirical data to refer to.

Although we can never know in advance the exact events that will unfold under a given set of astrological aspects, it is possible to be clear about their nature and theme. How we maneuver through these changes depends largely on our ability to change, in a positive way, our responses to the things around us we cannot control.

Pluto’s energies are associated with issues of death, rebirth and transformation. When the old ways are no longer useful they are destroyed so the new more effective ways can emerge.  One can expect major change wherever Pluto’s energies are targeted.

Capricorn energies are all about the structure in our life and its management. Capricorn is ruled by the planet Saturn. Saturn is about work, government, big business and our resources and how we manage them.  It also relates to structure and limits. These definitions apply to our entire bio-sphere. Saturn has also moved from the mutable (changes in thinking) sign of Sagittarius to a cardinal sign (action oriented).  More on this in my upcoming article on Aspects in 2010 and Global Change.

With Pluto in Capricorn we can initially expect to see the exposure of some damaging facts and patterns related to the management of resources and people. This is the first step in Pluto’s work — what needs to be radically transformed and healed must first be exposed. We can also expect to see the usual denial and cover-ups to justify whatever abuse has taken place.

Pluto has also been associated with compulsive and obsessive behavior patterns. Although these patterns cause a lot of pain they are only defense mechanisms that keep us from addressing much deeper issues. Can we also see how these energies play out on a global scale? We live in a society fueled by compulsive and obsessive extravagance.

Saturn is also considered the Lord of Karma which has to do with the law of actions and reactions or cause and affect. So we can expect to be confronted with the accumulated actions of the past and their reactions in the present.

Many of the changes that took place during Pluto’s most recent transits in Capricorn show us that the collective conscious tends to learn from the experience whatever the results, although some of the things we learn we later realize are not helpful. We do make a difference in how the chaos and change is managed and handled.

The last two times Pluto transited Capricorn were 1515 to 1532 and then again from 1762 to 1777. History has shown that through both of these transits, governmental restructuring, business, and the management and distribution of resources were at the forefront. I want to review them quickly so you can see a pattern of issues and human actions which resulted, during those times, positive and negative.

Lets start with the 1500’s.

• In 1517 the great Protestant Reformation took place in Western Europe. This was a meaningful shift for a large portion of humanity. Although it was largely a religious movement it had a massive impact on human activities. Some of the results of the transits were:

• Breaking down of the old rigid medieval order, livelihoods were threatened by emerging large companies.

• The philosophy emerged that those who were successful were more in God’s favor.

• Earnings were not to be enjoyed but reinvested. The more one made the more an individual was in God’s favor. Religious entitlement and spiritual elitism was born.

• This huge shift towards work is what enabled Capitalism to flourish through the exploitation of people and natural resources.

• With this enormous expansion there was an equally enormous drive to gain access to resources.

• Explorers began to circumnavigate the world.. There was Hernan Cortez in 1518 and Ferdinand Magellin 1519. Their discoveries were huge in finding resources — human included–- and conquering them, developing ways to exploit and export them.

• Slave labor became a massive industry. The ultimate human resource.

• A massive increase in military operations occurred, carving huge empires that yielded unprecedented accumulation of wealth and power concentrated in only a few nations and families.

Now let’s examine the events of Pluto’s transit through Capricorn from 1762 to 1777.

This could have been a wonderful opportunity for man to review and change it’s attitude toward work, wealth and the management of resources and to some extent this happened but not in a way we would have changed things given our current knowledge.

• James Watt invented the steam engine in 1765 which powered the Industrial revolution. This propelled the easy transportation of resources and people.

• Slave trade created unprecedented wealth. The numbers of slaves traded between 1500 and 1900 is estimated in the 10’s of millions.

• The American Revolutionary War starts early in 1775 over unfair taxation from Great Britain. This was caused by the rich who saw their wealth as a sign of God’s love and naturally saw themselves as privileged or the elite of God.

• Great Britain was challenged by our nation wanting their autonomy who made their wealth largely by the exploitation of African slaves.

• With so many humans being victims of genocide and slavery for the sake of wealth, human freedom became a burning issue.

Thus, Pluto in Capricorn witnessed the creation of new types of government to regulate humanity within a new framework.  There is a quote from Voltaire from the 1700’s which I feel is relevant today. He said, “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” Does this ring true today?

What can we expect this go round? Well, I think a lot does depend on what we allow to happen. We do need radical reforms and a shift in consciousness from an ego-centered view to a world-centered view. In times of change and crisis we have only two choices, we can either evolve into a higher state of being or devolve into a lower one. We can either shift from a power based ego consciousness to a love-based consciousness where our awareness begins to transcend our preprogramed counter productive thought patterns.

• We can expect that large numbers of people will continue to be manipulated through fear, towards conflict over the acquisition, retention and control of decreasing natural resources, especially oil.

• We also have the Planet Uranus becoming involved which can be explosive in nature and intense. With Uranus in hard aspect not only to Pluto but Saturn from November 2009 to the summer of 2010, we could see unprecedented volatility. This could mean an escalation in military conflict particularly in the Middle East.

• Pluto and Uranus will form a series of squares from late 2011 to early 2016. The hard aspects of these squares are extreme in nature and represent the most intense combination of energies. The last time we experienced anything like this was in the early 1930’s which brought us Nazism and Fascism and other extremes. Pluto was then in Cancer though which focused the conflicts around race and eugenics or selective breeding.

• Many large businesses and banks are likely to fail. Any and all corrupted areas of our economy will need to be redefined and restructured.

• Since privileged access to natural resources and wealth has been equated with an equally privileged relationship with God, it seems apparent that a significant change in our relationship to the divine is a prerequisite. This antiquated doctrine is likely to come under critical scrutiny.

• The forthcoming issues over resources will force not only religious institutions but each individual to question our position on who is entitled to enjoy the bounty of God’s creations.

• New alliances will be formed to reverse these trends which may result in the term, The “New World Order” which is yet to be defined.

• So, we can see that the energies coming together show a profound relationship to our planet around issues of sharing resources, and power management. These astrological energies and events will create large scale trends that will be expressed based on each nation’s level of consciousness.

What do we want to happen? I vote for fighting for what we want rather than against what is undesirable. There are horrifying things happening all around us that we don’t want anymore. What are the opposite positive expressions we would like to see happen?

Many of my clients ask for guidance as to where to put their energies.   Where do we go from here?  I have been preaching happiness from my pulpit for a long time now. It is more important with each passing day. We must each learn to find peace and happiness within our souls, in times that are pleasant and unpleasant. We can not control these intense and transformational astrological aspects or the increasing natural disasters. We can, however, control how we respond to them.

Embrace change. Simplify your life. Cut out unnecessary expenses and duplication of services. Owning things can be a tremendous burden. Let go of things you don’t need that clutter up your life and thoughts. Reduce the red tape and hoops you have to jump through to survive. Stop worrying about what others may think. There is a great saying by Terri Cole Whittiker “What other people think of me is none of my business”. She’s right! This is a huge waste of energy. This will free up your mind with less worry and more time to be happy and peaceful. Look at yourself with honesty and see where you can conserve to help everyone. Make your mantra that no matter what happens, you will thrive. It will be different and unique for each of us as our personal missions and astrological influences are different.

Look to partner with like minded people and pool resources so all of your wonderful plans can flourish. Don’t be hard on yourself if what you wanted a year ago has changed. It seems to be changing for many. Remember that fear always talks the loudest in your head. True inspiration is usually soft and subtle.

We each need to be looking toward new ways of doing business, sustainable business. What is going on in business as usual is not sustainable, and this will become ever more apparent with Pluto in Capricorn over the next several years. Keep current on the most successful ways to market and how to land on your feet when times are tough. We will need conscious individuals with integrity leading the way so humanity can progress in a more enlightened direction.

Book – Words of Love for Men – Secret Formulas for Mastering Intimate Relationships

by on Friday, February 5th, 2010

Some of the adjectives used by readers to describe the book are: Powerful, life changing, great keys to success and rapid results!

I  started writing this book in May of 1995.  At this time I was experiencing a dimension of love far exceeding our 3rd dimensional reality.  While taking a class in A Course in Miracles, I dramatically shifted and began to see the world through new and unveiled eyes.  A few weeks later, the brutal stabbing of one of my daughters abruptly knocked me out of this higher consciousness. The information and poetry for the book came during the shift and propelled me into writing. I lamented at the time how unfortunate it was to be describing the ideal relationship and be without.  On October 5, I logged onto an internet forum for research.  Mark happened to be surfing the forum that day and the rest is history.

Our relationship became a laboratory for experimenting with the formulas in the book.  Mark was invaluable in the writing process, clarifying the formulas and text, and adding key elements of his own. Mark and I enjoy combining our talents, producing a synergy that creates a more talented “third person.”

Available for purchase at www.WordsofLove.net