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IS IT A TRAGEDY OR A BLESSING?

August 4, 2010 4 comments

Hey hey… if you would just take a second, take the little sticks out of your head, clean out your ears and maybe you would see that I’m a person who has feelings.  And all I have to do is do what I want to do and all I want to do is hold onto my bag and not listen to you.  And the only way I would ever let go of my bag would be if you came over here right now and try to pry it from my dead lifeless fingers.  If you can get it from my kung-fu grip then you can come and have it, OK?  Otherwise, step off, bitch.”

My mother was prone to violent rages.   She cursed more than anyone I’d ever met, in several dialects, including English.   She had a mean right hook.   She also liked getting her picture taken a lot, and had this amazing skill of bringing a warm smile to the camera, even if she’d told someone to eat dirt a second ago.

I didn’t inherit that skill, but I inherited the rage.   My emotions are concealed by a thin cellophane noodle.  Too bad about the many pics of me all scowly that I can’t delete.   And like attracted like in this case— anger and its aggressive entourage have nestled in my bed in all their ghastly forms— anger based on imagined rejection or hypocrisy, jealousy, indignation, intense frustration, personal unfairness, competition and fear of losing, anger for something that happened fifteen years ago….   I’m embarrassed at how I succumbed to these passions, how fast and furious these emotions are, they just completely possess the mind.

These demons are born of ego’s longing to have my life operate a certain way.   My ego wants to give like Mother Teresa, joke like Tina Fey, resolve like Byron Katie, excite like Angelina Jolie, etc.   Each moment I try directing my biopic and the players don’t follow the script, each time I don’t make the cover of Esquire or get that vision that will save the world, baby demons appear and crawl around in my head.   Quite distracting when I’m also rushing to accomplish other equally important items on my agenda, and someone throws a monkeywrench into my scene and wants to use my kitchen on my watch just to feed a homeless person.   How dare they!

Recently I went to a Dao ceremony, and received a Dao blessing.   It’s also spelled “Tao”— the beginning-less natural state that, when we resist it, begets disharmony and confusion.   Anyway, at the ceremony, there was a group of neatly dressed people who worked in the kitchen, cooking all our meals.   One of them washed the dishes of the fifty or so people there— a man I’ll call Will— who hobbled and could barely lift his feet or move them more than a centimeter apart.  He never spoke or looked at anyone.   Later I found out that he’d been a highly successful millionaire businessman who’d been hit by a bus.   He used to vow that if he’d ever find the woman who drove that bus, that he’d take a gun and shoot her.  He felt that way for years.

Awhile back, he attended one of these Dao ceremonies and received the Dao blessing.   Not right away, but gradually, he began to feel tremendous gratitude toward the bus driver who hit him and now says if he ever meets her he’d fall on his knees and thank her.

The day after the ceremony there was a talk on filial piety, which means how we should be grateful to our parents.  I was livid!  I kept wanting to interrupt the presumptuous speaker, who certainly wasn’t considering any of the exceptions to the rule.   Some mothers would prefer their kid dead than alive, at least from my experience.

I think underlying my rage was not so much that my mother wished I was never born, but that I believed it.   My mother and I fed this belief.   Among my many spoonfuls of fodder was:  why couldn’t I have the mom I wanted?   Hers, what did she do to deserve a brat like me?   I had as much rage as Will, except mine lasted most my life, until something shifted in me.   The hate has certainly vanished and I can say that when I hear her voice on the phone and whenever I think of her, there’s just love.  It’s crazy but true.   It’s not sentimental or obligatory love just because she’s my mother— I never could muster that.   It’s recognition of another human being that’s worthy of love, with all that tainted history becoming just a smelly disposable rag.

For years, even in her 70s, my friend Nancy had been planning to run away from home and live the carefree life she’d always ached for.   Last fall she had a series of strokes which nearly ended that possibility.   Following intense surgeries, drugs, and emotional upheaval, she now speaks like the Nancy we all knew, after only a few months.   Aside from her physical difficulties, what really changed was, she saw that people really did love her.   Her husband really did love her.

I had the privilege recently of sitting in on one of her final sessions with her physical therapist.   Her therapist presented her with common misconceptions of brain injury (in italics below).    I want to conclude by sharing Nancy’s answers…. in bold type below:

My life is ruined.

No, because before I had the stroke I didn’t even know what the possibilities were in my life.  I’m the only one who can determine the course of my life.

I have to be exactly where I was.

One is NEVER exactly where one was.

Why did it happen to me?

It happened to me because I didn’t pay attention to the symptoms.  And it wasn’t done personally to me.  I was lucky I was saved by the right people at the right time.

There doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with you.

Thank you.

We don’t see ourselves as we are.  Maybe that’s just as well.  It would be hard to live life if you thought of yourself as special.

Categories: Uncategorized

THE CANCER/CAPRICORN PLAYOFFS: SUMMER ECLIPSES

June 17, 2010 3 comments

Next weekend’s full moon lunar eclipse brings me a new appreciation for the beauty of astrology.  The symbols so succinctly show our relationship between our inner and outer worlds.   On June 26th, the very pregnant full moon at exactly 4 degrees Capricorn, becomes the consort of retrograding Pluto – Lord of the Underworld, the Great Transformer, and according to Barbara Hand Clow, the ruler of oil.  It’s a rare thing to have the Darth Vader of planets merge with the reflective light of the full moon– and doubly rare that it occurs during an eclipse.  Pluto intensifies the feelings and inconstancy of the moon, who longs for stability and security.  In Capricorn, these intense feelings have difficulty being expressed because there’s a pressure to show a stoic face so as not to appear weak.  This Moon/Pluto position also exactly opposes the ego lifeforce of the Sun in home-loving Cancer, who is allied with clever Mercury.  The Sun here with Mercury energizes the desire to protect, mother and nurture in a big way, and this combo would happily write a book about it!  Three other planets face-off the Cancer/Capricorn confrontation on either side, making a big red cross in a box (see diagram above right).   Jovial, expansive Jupiter (4 degrees Aries) together with electric, freedom-loving Uranus (0 degrees Aries) are like pumped up teens urging mom and dad to wake up and save the rainforest.  The Jupiter/Uranus combo are the future’s innovators.  The Cancer/Capricorn opposition also square Saturn in Virgo on the Ascendant.  Saturn in Virgo, is like the grandfatherly engineer who patiently, meticulously sees the lasting value of organic gardening.  With this big face-off, there’s a huge pressure for a transformation that must benefit one’s inner well-being– and it revolves around a core issue we’ve struggled with for a long while.  It’s a unique day of reckoning, like four different teams vying for the World Cup on the same field.

Traditional astrologers describe eclipses as harbingers of doom.  I don’t predict this will be the case, especially in the chart of the U.S. (it impacts the United Kingdom more dramatically).  After all, disasters have been rampant around the world on a regular basis.  This eclipse on the Cancer/Capricorn axis is not so common.  In fact, interestingly, we’re in the midst of four out of five lunar and solar eclipses in a row involving Cancer and Capricorn since July 7, 2009.  Also the grand cross for the U.S. occurs in the unflashy houses of work, service and values/beliefs.  I should emphasize that this eclipse would have the MOST effect on individuals with the Sun, Moon, or Ascendant in the first 6 degrees of Aries, Cancer, Libra or Capricorn.   For these cardinal signs of the zodiac, actions mean alot.   These guys are the doers of the zodiac, and suffer greatly when their activity is thwarted, or if they are tasked with something they loathe doing.  In addition, anyone born between March 1972 and January 1974 should experience major shifts as Jupiter, Pluto and Saturn were in early degrees of the cardinal signs at the time.  Take a look at any chance encounter or event that occured roughly twelve months ago (around July 7, 2009) and six months ago (January 15, 2010).  This should clue you to the core issues that will be coming to a climax around January 26th.   The energy of Cancer and Capricorn at polar opposite ends can be experienced as the tension between an obsessive desire to establish a successful, authoritative identity on one end, and/or fulfill a deep need for service and caring on the other.  Neither of these inclinations are bad or good, the problem is when taken to the extreme, they can turn into blind drives and fixation, eventually leading to separation/loss/helplessness.  For example, on a national scale, look at the BP oil crisis and the healthcare bill.  On a personal level, look at how the archetypes of father and mother play out in your life.  Has the desire for recognition or material gain led to a breakdown in your life?  On the other end, has an overzealousness to be needed fostered someone else’s dependency and your own exhaustion?  Where in your life are you frustrated/sick/tired? 

The good news is there’s an opportunity for a huge realization at this eclipse!  The Jupiter/Uranus and Saturn opposition is like a galactic light saber intersecting the Cancer/Capricorn tug-of-war.  It’s like a referee saying you’re going to lose some major points for your foul behaviour, but we can relieve your pain if you put your ego aside.  On a national scale, I interpret this as a potential solution to stop and clean up the BP oil spill.  At least, we hope so.  On a personal scale and depending on the houses where the cardinal cross aspects your natal planets, it can mean the following: expanding one’s faith and abiliity in one’s talents; re-commiting to the same goals without the temper tantrum; trying out something you’ve been resisting for a long time.   It could mean working with other people differently while radically letting go of previously held beliefs about them.  With these planets from four directions coming to a head-on collision, it won’t be the smoothest of realizations, but it’s an opportunity to break an old stalemate. 

I want to add that there’s never any judgment when we get carried away and we’re faced with a huge disappointment we know we could have avoided.  Beating ourselves up– “Oh why didn’t I see that?  Why didn’t I slow down?  Why didn’t I backup that document?  Why can’t I let go?”– is not part of the lesson plan.  The crisis shows us where we need to pay more attention to our blindspots.   We could fall into anger, complaint and despair because we don’t believe our disaster is reparable.   The lesson is about planting the apple seed even when it seems the world has come to an end.   I was ready to give up on astrology, until the planets started talking to me– not in a UFO sense (in this instance anyway!) but through their aspects and alignments with my own chart.

The new moon/solar eclipse on July 11, 2010 provides a grand finale to our authority/nuture theme… until January 4th and July 1st in 2011 (and then we get a break for a few years).   The Sun and Moon are in Cancer this time,  without opposition!  In fact, the father/mother planets have no hard aspects at all– instead, there’s an exact sextile from Mars in Virgo, which shows that if we allow ourselves to eat some humble pie after the lunar eclipse on June 26th, and be willing to apply ourselves despite the odds, we will receive new support around July 11th.  Of course, the T-Square between Saturn, Pluto, and Jupiter/Uranus will still be at play.  So stay tuned….  

 

Categories: Astrology

KINDRED SPIRITS & KIDNEYS

April 4, 2010 3 comments

I love hanging with intuitives of all kinds.   I love meeting them,  learning how they work with the unseen world, and I even enjoy the regular advice I get from time-to-time.   I had a French friend in India who never made a move,  even to pee,  without listening to his Guidance first.   I hounded him regularly, noting although he never wore a watch,  he always seemed to be in the right place at the right time.   Then I became roommates with a girl,  also from France, who told me she too, had a Guide who helped her make decisions.   What is it about the French and their Guides?   I think the spirit realm is attracted to that sexy French accent.

Recently I heard this buzz about a special Baltimore psychic who was “incredibly accurate” and saw things that she “couldn’t possibly have known about”.   I also heard she was not giving readings for the next couple of months because she was going into surgery.   Her 20 year old nephew in Ohio has a rare,  fatal condition called Goodpasture Syndrome and she is donating one of her kidneys to save his life.   Her name is Jael Freedman.   A few days ago I had the honor and delight to meet her.

Jael’s energy leaps out like spring flowers.   She’s poised for anything,  especially a good joke,  and she laughs with you, like a cosmic friend who sees the silver lining even when you don’t.   She was born clairvoyant.   She’s also had success with finding missing persons, with absolutely nothing on that person except a first name.   “My parents were way ahead of their time,” she says.   “My father would always tell me that I was a whiz kid.   I could find out information that most people can’t and don’t.”

Wouldn’t you want to follow around someone like that too?

With me,  she described my writing style and a weekly column I had been envisioning without having read anything I’d written.   She also said I shouldn’t edit as I write because a lot of the stuff doesn’t come from me.   So if there are any errors in this blog,  please don’t think badly of me,  I’m only trying to be a clear channel.

She asked me:  “Did you make a promise recently?”

“Um, not really,” I said,  knowing only politicians promise anything to anyone.   “Just a Bodhisattva vow.”

“That sounds like a promise to me.”   She made me explain what it was and repeat it.   She reminded me how important it was.   I need reminding a lot,  it’s so healthy to have a psychic by your side who can see the truth behind the high fructose corn syrup.   That’s a metaphor, BTW.

I have to say speaking with Jael is truly uplifting.    I asked if she would answer some general questions about herself and the clairvoyant process,  and in her graciousness,  she agreed.   Below is an inside look into our dialogue…

CAL:  You have a special sensitivity for how souls speak to us,  like the energies who watch over us,  or that heart voice in souls who love us.   For example,  you’ve told me that I have some people around me who would give me their last drop of water if we were in a desert together,  or if they could,  they would want to plant a garden for me to reflect how they saw my own beauty.   Could you elaborate on this heart voice in souls?   Why do you think our personalities don’t normally speak this way to each other?

JF:   I give readings to remind people the essence of their true selves, the G-D in us all!!!   I am allowed in the moment of the reading by the person receiving the reading to explore their soul,  to enter into their subconscious.   The personality builds a protective layer to protect a light that needs no protection,  the light within us that has a deep desire to shine.   The personality cannot distinguish fact from fiction– the illusion is very real.   I understand this with the help from many guides– theirs and mine.   I believe that we are moving into a time and space where the soul will be free to express itself and the personality will no longer play a major role in who we know ourselves to be.   We came here to learn lessons to experience.

CAL:   You’ve had a lot of success with finding missing persons.   How did you realize this ability?

JF:   Believe me I amaze myself most of the time.   I am very powerful, we all are!!!!   I know myself to be someone that when I am committed to something it’s as good as done!!!   I am gifted and I am always willing to share my gifts.   I also believe that G-D sends people into my life and that HE/SHE works through me to fulfill what there is to fulfill.   To remind people there is a Divine Being,  The Source,  The Divine Intervention.   Of course I’d like to take the credit but I don’t work alone,  LOL!!!!

CAL:   What happens when you don’t feel like doing a reading, like you don’t feel clear or on?  How do you deal with doubt,  such as doubting the incredulous messages you might receive?

JF:   I remind myself it’s not me and it’s not for me.   I do take breaks to recharge myself at least I think I do.    Doubt???   When I hear the doubt that’s the ego/identity talking.   I just believe in the higher purpose.   The message is for the person not for me to decide if it’s true or not,  am I on or not.   If I go there I will defeat the purpose.

CAL:   Do you ever notice changes in yourself after you’ve done a reading or series of readings, whether in your body or mind?

JF:   Yes, I get very energized,  feeling love and loved,  I always walk away having a greater respect for human beings.

CAL:   Have you ever sensed something so negative about a person requesting a reading that you refused to meet with them?

JF:   Yes, not often but yes.

CAL:   How did your nephew react when he heard he would be receiving your kidney?

JF:   He told me he prayed every night and had been since he got sick.   I am clear I was sent to Ohio to see for myself and to know in my heart what had to be done.   My sister, his mother, said the other day “if you would have never come here to see for yourself the outcome would have been different”.   He was sacred, anxious, nervous, hopeful, excited– you name it.    I also knew they (the parents, step mother, siblings, himself) wouldn’t let themselves believe it was going to happen until I was on a plane headed there.   They had been so disappointed before that.   Another disappointment would have been too much to bear.   He is now counting the days until the surgery.   I do believe our souls conversed and we both knew I would be the one.   He is an amazing human being!  I feel honored to be apart of this miracle!!!!

Jael will be leaving April 15th for Ohio.   The transplant will occur Friday, April 23rd.  All your prayers, love, and good vibes for her and her nephew Joshua Wood will help us become a part of this miracle too.

THE POWER OF SEDUCTION

March 16, 2010 6 comments

I have the fate of a salmon.   In western astrology, it’s like being a crab hardwired to the moon.   With a Cancer Ascendant, Mars in Cancer, and the Sun/Mercury in the 4th house, there’s a lot of moon-ruled action in my chart, as the moon rules the sign of Cancer.   So like the power of the moon’s magnetic field over the tides, my upstream battle is how surroundings influence me more than I’d like.   If two million of my closest friends are watching Lady Gaga striptease on the internet, it’s likely I will, too, despite my desire to resist.   All you folks that have dominant Cancer planets or positions, take heart and compassion on this—the power of your environment is almost everything! If you wind up with eleven pairs of harem pants, red crystal incense, tulsi tea and Om pendants weighing down your suitcase, it’s not because you lack self-control.  It’s the powerful forces of the moon’s market influence over your wallet!   Sometimes I think my will is no match against the rush and mood of forces surrounding me.  Invisible energy fields must reign over different boundaries.  Some people may be immune to the siren call of such influences.  Not me.   Each new place is another kind of cascading river…  Sometimes it’s a river of nectar, sometimes it’s a river of sewage.   The real trick is to eventually experience it all without any duality.

Nepal and parts of India hum like a thousand eon mantra.   They seem to hold the energy and bear the fruit from intentions and activities of countless high masters who’ve practiced there.   Just my theory.  In the Himalayas, I felt delivered from the fishing expeditions of capitalism and carried upstream, to a place where I didn’t need to check my phone or internet every five minutes.   I stayed at Asura cave, where Guru Rinpoche defeated the Maras and had a number of mystical experiences.

My first night there I received numerous blessings.   Right below Asura Cave was the Vajrayogini temple, sacred to both Buddhists and Hindus.   I met the caretaker of this temple, the only one who was authorized to enter the actual shrine, and he said I was very lucky, because he usually wasn’t there at this hour.  Visitors can see Vajrayogini inside, but it’s gated.   It was an unexpected emotional experience to be there, realizing the odds I faced in arriving to this point.   I was fortunate to receive a personal puja, blessing cord and a special biscuit which I was instructed to eat before sleeping.   I did so, and that night I had strange hallucinations of places and people I couldn’t identify– I saw everything except the actual bedroom I was supposed to be in– all with my eyes open.   At the same time, I felt extremely protected, like I’d been led to this place.

For the next 17 days, I meditated every morning inside Asura cave, near the heat of the burning butter lamps.   Hundreds of beetles would crawl near the heat, the walls were coated with soot.   A stone carving of Padmasambhava flickered in the dark of the altar.  Wrapped around this mountain cave are three floors of bedrooms, all occupied by other pilgrims or resident monks/staff.   I was fortunate enough to have one overlooking the mountains and Pharping countryside.   All I wanted to do was meditate, prostrate, recite mantras all day long.   The best pizza in the world, the finest thangkas, even the fires lit for Siva couldn’t lure me away from Asura Cave.   OK, I admit that curried chick peas and hot chapatis in the morning were tempting baits…. but only because at 6am I was barely awake, and when you have joyful Nepalese dakinis cooking fresh food in the kitchen, of course you’d jump out of bed too!

Talk about the law of attraction!   When your mind is aligned with the buddha mindstream, then everything you desire is already manifested.   You want what exists.  Once when I got a message to come back immediately to Asura Cave while at a mid-morning puja two miles away, a spontaneously self-arising motorcyclist appeared, willing to deliver me there with the speed of Hermes.   If all the rooms in Boudhanath were booked solid, I’d somehow run into a generous friend, who happened to have a double room there with a spare bed.   If I needed to see my guru, he suddenly appeared.   Even he reiterated how lucky I was.  With prayer wheels and miraculously appearing saints-in-a-rock-or-tree in abundance, auspicious coincidence was the norm.   Everything was equipped to support my practice.

Samye Gompa in Dallu, Nepal, is the most exquisite Tibetan Buddhist temple I’ve ever seen– it’s as if the mandala of your dreams came alive. What aides for visualization!   And given the power outages, it was the best-lit place in Nepal.   Even if I understood none of the Tibetan teachings being given here each night,  I was happy just to sit for hours with hundreds of other attendees until past midnight.   The overhanging 5-tiered chandeliers were powered by a generator and yes, it was opulent even by Western standards.   I also learned to trek by flashlight, hand-launder my pants, and ration my water usage.   I learned to share the rocky, narrow dirt roads– via goat/human dung, pools of spit– with stray dogs, chickens, racing motorcades, elderly folks, pilgrims, military folk, and parades of schoolkids.   No joggers on this terrain.   The local cafe was a tin roofed shack that served tea, ramen noodles and cigarettes.   The exhaust fumes and clouds of dirt clings to your lungs, and everyone gets the hacking cough at first,  but it fades into something so insignificant,  because eventually all you really want and care about,  is enlightenment.   In this stream of existence, the current asked: what is mind?   Isn’t life is just a dream?

OK, it wasn’t all magic.   I had my grumpy days.   I found myself no different than some of the beggars on the street, who looked to me only as a source of cash flow.   They could care less who I was, only what I could give.   I was the same way with spiritual masters.   Did I really learn who these teachers were?   I only craved more blessings, more amrita, another empowerment, more tsok, a piece of torma, and how about a teaching with an English translator this time?!   I got the gimmes, bad.   In entering or exiting with a crowd, I started pushing people too, instead of just being pushed.   Even though I had received so much, with more protection cords than would ever pass through customs–  I still desired more!   And if someone else received special attention from a rinpoche, I got totally obsessed that I needed that kind of attention too!   My mind kept pivotting around that, what a good student looked like, did they have dreadlocks, how much sleep they got, were they on Facebook, did they close their eyes during meditation or keep them open?   Did they keep a spare kata in their pocket?

What helped was finding out my fellow sangha friends had the same questions or felt just as grumpy as me.   We found compassion for the other that we couldn’t find for ourselves.   Laughing ourselves out of our cocoons, we hitched a ride back on the dharma wheel.   It helped so much when friends were there to unhook me from some lie I kept feeding myself.   Slowly,  slowly,  we reminded each other–  with humility,  to keep our hearts and minds open without grasping or pushing away who or what showed up.   That’s why they call it practice.

So that magic oz,  Mecca,  paradise,  land of milk & honey which vibrates with your mindstream doesn’t have to be exotic and faraway.   I kept fearing once I left the Himalayas,  I’d wind up in its opposite, the valley of confusion.   Getting back home I was surprised.   JFK airport security smiled and joked with us,  guiding us safely to our connecting flight.   Everywhere I’ve gone is immaculate and spacious!   The toilets are manicured and polished as if with a toothbrush.   It’s like the moment when the lead characters fall in love in a Hollywood musical and start singing and dancing, ready to shake your hand, ready to help.   Everyone smiling and happy, with clean, pressed clothes.   Here a yogi,  there a yogi,  everyone a yogi, yo! 

The dualism is just an illusion…  And the journey continues….

Categories: Uncategorized

THE WORLD’S GREATEST GAMBLE

December 30, 2009 2 comments

Even if I knew tomorrow the world would go to pieces
I would still plant my apple tree.

-Martin Luther

When I was about 10 years old, I made a drawing and showed my dad.   He loved Modigliani and Picasso and I respected his opinion.   He wasn’t enthusiastic right away when he held it, so I bravely said to hasten a reaction, that if he didn’t like it he could throw it away.   With a wordless look, he crumbled the drawing and tossed it into the trash.   I didn’t show how hurt I was as I wanted to be someone who could deal with anything, including my own feelings.   I believe he wanted me to work harder to create something that wouldn’t wind up in the garbage.  Rather than keep on truckin,  I was reluctant to share my art with my father again.   I didn’t trust what he’d do and decided to spare him the embarrassment of being the dad with bad judgment.

So I got that in his world,  only things of quality endured and got spared from the trash bin.   He continued to love classical music and Kafka and the French existentialists, so surely what was complex, beautiful and replayed over decades and centuries must contain some top secret high-caliber standard that would grant me equal airplay.   I had to become the freemason to end all freemasons and discover that secret.   Hearing over again, “They don’t make things like they used to,” reiterated the fact that I lived in a disposable society that meant we didn’t care about the things we continue to replace.   This merged with my growing sense of how much was impermanent.   This loose relationship of easy come, easy go (my mother’s oft-quoted phrase) felt like untethered strings of cheap Kleenex.   I never knew how to express this to anyone, but I wanted more than anything to create something in my life that would last.

When I learned about Greek gods and heros I saw again that the mighty were the immortal ones.   If I wanted to live forever,  I had to be that good or else I’d get trashed too.   If anything I did fell short, then it was time and energy wasted, and I’d have to start over or give up, make room for someone else who could do it better.

My world went to pieces a lot, in my mind.   Instead of persisting with a seeming lost cause,  I’d grieve for awhile,  then start a new project.   Any big mistake was cause for dismissal.   I majored in a new creative venture every few months. Even now, people ask me if I’m still writing any poetry, or doing any drumming, or painted, or played the piano, or made jewelry…  Ha! Noooo way!  but I say this now with an unabashed, limitless compassion I have for my own  (and other’s) inconsistency.

When I came across the above Martin Luther quote, I was baffled.   I didn’t get it.   My boyfriend said this was about karma yoga.   It was about the joy of planting a tree,  the love of doing that was important,  no matter what happened. The love of planting?   I hate gardening!   What instant gratification can there be in creating something that will never bear fruit?   Wouldn’t the pain of the loss,  especially the end of the world,  overshadow any fleeting joy there had been? He pointed out how this was attachment,  the crux of our suffering.   Loss is inevitable.   And at this time,  the end of December, the end of the year, the winter of our discontent, this is all about endings.

Alfred Tennyson wrote this In Memoriam about his dear friend who died suddenly:

I hold it true, whate’er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
‘Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.

A study was done among blackjack gamblers in Vegas that seemed to indicate that– at least amongst high rollers– they would “rather have not loved at all.”   That is, the regret of having done the wrong thing at the table (actually losing money) outweighs the regret of not having done the right thing (not winning any money at all).   What…gamblers…. fixated, driven and experiencing attachment???   No way!   I’m empathetic tho— gambling is in my genes— my dad was a high stakes Mah Jong fan, my grandmother also played regularly, and my uncle once lost a million dollars at baccarat.   Except I’ve bet with my heart instead of money.   I don’t just mean the Romeo & Juliet kind of betting….  I mean the feeling that comes when you’re making a collage or painting,  and you just feel like glueing a stream of typewriter keys and lips and yellow paisleys all together without any reason.   You just do it, it arises from nowhere, and someone you admire might tell you, well that’s not something I would have done… and despite the doubts you follow your heart and you gorilla-glue the suckers down!   That’s heart.

So that’s the greatest challenge, the greatest risk of all.  To plant love no matter what, let it continue to be fierce and precious, without trying to coddle or protect it.   Knowing I have that potential to love without any clue of what will happen next (or maybe a little bit of a clue- since I’m supposed to be good at divinations!),  is probably the most beautiful thing I can offer anyone.

So with that said, I’m off to India!   With a lot of heart in my pocket– coz I can’t fit anything more into my luggage!

Categories: Uncategorized

Predicting the Future is Crazy!

October 14, 2009 5 comments

My apologies for the long hiatus!!! It’s like when I’m working on a collage, I get in a major collecting mode, if I paste things down before I have all my images ready, it doesn’t come out right. Like a confused stew. Who wants that! I have to keep shopping for the right flavors, the right note. Or like needing the time to allow my mind to ripen before I can speak so that I don’t sound like a duck. My sense of timing doesn’t conform to calendar time. September passes, October comes, still no blog entry. Anyway I may yet quack a bit here or there but at least I feel ok about it. If you feel like acting crazy, then go ahead, find a safe place where you can be crazy and not hurt anybody, then watch what happens. You could learn something about yourself. I saw His Holiness the Dalai Lama put on a sun visor in the middle of his teaching at the American University this weekend. It was rainy and cold, but anyway we were inside so that didn’t even matter. He just pulled on his anti-sun visor in the middle of a serious teaching. It was burgundy and matched his robes, but had no topping so his dear pate shone through. He said yes, maybe you think how odd that I am wearing this cap, but I don’t care. And then he laughed a lot, which made the rest of us laugh too.

Maybe reading tarot cards for a living is odd. Ending a good job at a fabulous company, and be willing to go anywhere to read people’s cards for a donation, is pretty odd. Hahahaha!!!!

Timing is key, though. Maybe if His Holiness was wearing his visor at the very beginning, it wouldn’t have seemed as funny, and it wouldn’t have startled us into paying attention. Holding space and then taking action at the right time, and being in harmony with your environment when the ground is most fertile to support your actions, is skillful. Sometimes all you need is the perfect condiment for your stone soup to taste perfect, but who knows when one of your friends happens to come to your potluck with a can of smoked paprika? Who would have thought smoked paprika, anyway? You could force some chili into it if that’s all you had, but all that would do is make it hot and maybe your guests wouldn’t like the fire.

A lot of the people I read for are first-timers. My ego loves being the first! Some people who never had a reading before hesitate to get one because they think they’re gonna hear the date of their death, or that they should avoid planes.

Guess what: I don’t believe in predicting the future. Time is fluid, and while there are probabilities, there are also endless possibilities. I believe that the purpose of divination is to help people get clarity, to heal, discover possibilities, provide a roadmap of what’s happening so that you don’t feel stuck in a situation and feel it’s not workable. Everything is workable. Tarot, like any other divination tool I use, is to free people from suffering. That’s always my intention and viewpoint. We work with timing, to see that all of nature has its own rhythm and we can work with it so that we aren’t forcing ourselves to be something we’re not. Maybe we just need to be a little odd for a bit.

I used to consult psychics maybe once a month. Whenever I got a hot tip for a medium, clairvoyant, astrologer, etc. I was there! Then I would argue with what they told me—not to them directly, but in my head. How could these people, who knew nothing about me or my life, tell me who I was or what was to come? It was fascinating. I learned from all of them. Some of them were uncannily accurate and detailed, some, not so much. To me, I couldn’t imagine more interesting conversations than unraveling the fabric of one’s potential and destiny.

The fact that probabilities can be known— what the causes and conditions are of our thoughts and actions in the past- some long forgotten or unconscious, is the key to being able to read what’s fully happening in the present, and intuit probable outcomes. Any divination tool can pick up on this, since the mind is so powerful and thoughts too are energy. It’s subtle energy, and tuning into it is more etheric than reading one’s horoscope. These impressions aren’t set in stone, however. And even if they were, the stones themselves aren’t permanent!

Also we have total and complete free will. Some things are not inevitable. Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche’s mom consulted a powerful lama known for his highly accurate mirror divinations. He told her that she was meant to have a short life, but because her good karma propitiated this, she would actually live well beyond her time.

Further, the old rules about predictions don’t apply anymore. Scientists say the universe is expanding at a rate which is now speeding up, based on a formula involving the measurement of the time it takes to observe light from a supernova. The distance of the space-time fabric is stretching and overtaking the force of gravity. Which would mean that matter itself is not as *grounded* as it once appeared…. Some say that our external environment simply reflects the activity of our own mind. So as our minds change, so do our lives. And if time is a man-made construct, and the past, present and future are all happening simultaneously—then this blog isn’t really a late entry. And that tomorrow is the new today. And that wonderful winter holiday gathering you’re about to have is sitting right next to you, at this very moment—so rejoice!!!

Happy Kwaanza, Happy Chanukah, Merry Christmas!

Categories: Uncategorized

BODHISATTVAS & EXORCISTS

August 5, 2009 8 comments

I know a lot of bodhisattvas. When I first realized they were bodhisattvas, I thought: My spiritual shopping days are over! For the past three years I now meditate and attend weekend retreats to learn what these bodhisattvas are made of, and how I can become one, too. I notice when you have an intention like that, all kinds of opportunities get activated.

“Vinegar killed Jesus,” a man told me at Whole Foods as I fiddled through the seasonings. “They put it in his wounds when they hung him on the cross.”

Even Bragg’s apple cider vinegar? The one with all the biblical sayings on the label?

It was ALL vinegar! But I stopped listening, cause I tend to shut down when things get aggressive.

When you take the vow to become a bodhisattva, you’re basically asserting you’re not afraid if other people criticize your food, poop on your face or sink your dinghies — you become the active property of other sentient beings and get no privacy. Everyone else gets to be enlightened first and you’re willing to take total responsibility for that.

Raymon Grace is a bodhisattva, in my dictionary. He loves helping people, and is determined to get people to stop being docile victims and make the world a better place to live. He spent a whole weekend trying to teach us everything he knows– cram-teaching two weeks of shamanism, cleaning up all our family issues, the negative energetic patterning in our homes, wells, businesses, schools, bodies and minds. He can even go back in time and change events in the past. He gets thousands of letters from people thanking him for miracle healings when nothing else worked. I don’t care if someone reading this is snickering. Actually, I do care, but since I’m a bodhisattva-in-training, I’m saying I don’t so I can feel empowered.

The main thing I learned is how important it is to think loving, positive thoughts. Energy follows thought. Thought gets impressed unto matter, that’s how you get haunted houses, or can feel someone’s vibes off their clothes and jewelry. It’s why someone paid $107,000 for Elvis’ red jumpsuit— it was like buying a piece of the King himself. The universe will conform to fit your belief system. If vinegar killed Jesus, no wonder that fellow tried to discourage me from drinking it.

The other thing I learned was something Raymon always says: “If you do nothing, nothing will happen. If you do something, something might happen.” When his pendulum (a simple bullet on a chain) gives the OK signal, Raymon’s phrase is: “Let’s do it.” I like that approach.

So I got busy. I worked on a friend’s foot, my father’s energy field and karmic influences, my water lines, my neighborhood, a Starbucks lady’s attitude, another friend’s possessed house, and myself of course. Since I’m just a beginner and still practicing, I can accept that I’m not always going to get instant results. But I’m encouraged when the tap water starts tasting like Evian! And the grumpy Starbucks lady…? Ten minutes after I visualized two butterflies on her heart, she hopped and skipped in front of me, in a very random way, this little dance!

Then my friend Casey came to the house and my cat Rubin clawed at and tried to bite him. Rubin NEVER acted this aggressive in all the six years I’ve known him. Ask anyone. He’s like the Jerry Garcia of cats. This time, he had crazy eyes. He twitched and scratched himself vigorously. He bit my leg for no reason. I had a new CD playing, and changed it.

“Maybe it’s the chair,” Casey said. “We got to get him off the chair.” But we were both too nervous to pick him up.

“It’s like he’s possessed,” I said.

Casey started chanting Om mani padme hum into Rubin’s face. Not willing to be outdone by a mantra, I got out my pendulum. I spun it furiously, asking my guides to move and lock up the demons to another dimension where they would be rendered harmless to themselves and others.

It was taking a long time. Raymon spins his pendulum for about a minute, and you can feel and see an instant change. One woman was able to eat fish again after a near fatal allergy kept her away from fish for 25 years. If Raymon were here, he’d know what to do.

Rubin’s tail kept flicking with agitation. Still got the stay-off! vibe.

Finally, I said, “Maybe his automatic dispenser didn’t put out food. Maybe he’s hungry.”

So I called Rubin into the kitchen and gave him some treats. He ate off my hand, which was a good sign. I grabbed a couple handfuls of food into his dish, and he ate with great concentration.

After that, he was back to his mellow self. Sometimes people complicate things much more than necessary.