We've all played the game musical chairs. On the count of one, two, three, you switch chairs with the person next to you in a circle. On a grand scale, what if countries or cities could do this with other places around the world as a sociological training exercise? What if the people of Bhagdad and Los Angeles, New York, or San Francisco traded places for several months? What if political representatives made a point to live, eat, socialize like the other country for a short period with the goal of acclimating to the other's culture as a step towards peaceful political reform? What if there was a mandate that until they absorbed the cultural mores of the other city and country, they couldn't leave? That mandate is here now with the Katrina Hurricane disaster; in its wake we have to let down our internal defenses, and let people in. The most hideous border is not by land, but psychological when we make the determination that a person or a people are so 'different' that they are not worthy of our acceptance.
Migration, even forced migration is an act of trading places, of observing and taking in the life and values of another people. Where we may have avoided each other for socioeconomic reasons or just plain fear before, now we have to blend in with each other. Although we've lost the old New Orleans as we know it in the throws of the Katrina Hurricane, we've inherited a bit of New Orleans, their people and culture in over twenty states around the country. Reciprocally, the people of New Orleans who have been displaced are inheriting a new way of life being embraced by communities across the nation.
A diaspora or dispersing of one culture into another can cause trauma, confusion and disorientation at the beginning. Long term there is potential for healing separatism, a social education that infuses our national psyche making room for new levels of coexistence, physically and emotionally. How can we ignore faces in anguish, the cries of children at our doorstep, but to take them in, learn from them, and learn from each other?
Thought for the Day
"This is not a private planet. It is a community initiative."
--African shaman and scholar, Malidoma Patrice Some
Signs and Symbols -- Timing and Watching Rhythms -- Part 1
I started to take African drumming lessons this spring to open and loosen up for teaching classes locally on the Language of Intuition. We practice on djembes, (pronounced “jem-bay”) in a circle. This drum is goblet shaped with a goatskin head and you play them with your hands, not sticks. Drumming in a circle makes you aware of how to be in unison with the whole group. I thought to be a good teacher I would need to be aware of individual rhythms in the group and be able to facilitate a harmonious blending of the group's energies. A sound out of sync can be heard and felt by the whole group. When everyone plays in unison we reach a place of one mind, an ecstatic, blissful state - a group smile.
Drumming teaches individual and group syncopation; you learn to listen to your internal rhythms more acutely. Drumming is teaching me how to take risks -- the sound of a drum gives me permission to move in new directions with a feeling of joyful spontaneity.
Listening to the sound of a drum reminds me not to watch the clock as much as observing the flow of life. Watching the clock doesn't give us all the information. When we observe life's natural rhythms, we learn what good timing really means.
Check registered, check cleared
It was a month on Maui when finances were tight. We had just paid rent and we were floating the check for a few days. I was nervous about whether this check would bounce. We paid the rent on the eighth and it usually cleared in a week's time, but this time I had a feeling that it would clear sooner, in just a few days.
We went shopping one afternoon at one of the largest natural foods stores on Maui, Mana Foods. As we were checking out, I happened to notice a woman in the check out line who was a teller at our bank. I had never seen her before at this grocery store. She was going through the check out line; she was just ahead of me at the register. Then, I put it all together. If you put the puns together, the bank teller from our bank + at the check out + at the register = the check will be deducted, registered, and clear this very day.
More checks arrived in the mail that day, so we made a quick deposit. We did find out the next day that the check had cleared on the previous day as we thought. We made the additional deposit in the nick on time.
Not going to Oregon!
My husband and I intended to go on a two-week road trip to Oregon this summer to visit many relatives throughout Oregon. In late February on television, I noticed a commercial that flashed a license plate, an Oregon license plate that specifically said “DIDNTGO.” I thought this was strange. When something catches your eye that has both a familiarity to it -- in this case mentioning Oregon -- and seems unusual with an actual word message on the license plate, these are the traits of a sign. I noted this in my journal.
Then, within just a few days on TV once again, we were watching a movie where an Irishman says, “I didn't go to Oregon.” Once again, this caught my attention. When a message is on TV, you may be receiving a broadcast that needs your attention.
As the summer approached, it looked like we were going to have to gear up for a move and take care of our ailing pet. There just wasn't the space or time for us to take a trip like this. We had to decide not to go to Oregon after all.
Messages related to timing can come in different formats, via TV, radio, talking with a friend, a license plate, even a billboard. Ask yourself, does it seem unusual in some way and yet personal too? Then, you have your sign.
Develop your intuitive skills more deeply.
Intuition Training Program with Michele Anderson
Intuition: An Altar in my Heart
I couldn't do readings without an altar in my heart. The intuition doesn't work properly without developing and holding a natural empathy for others. The heart has to be open.
I've been doing readings since the late 1980s. What I have learned from doing this work is that it's an ever stretching and expanding of the heart. The qualities of patience, listening, and loving acceptance are required and nurtured over time. Keeping the heart open is a challenge. Fear will step in where the heart is dislodged filling the heart up with suspicious thought: If I'm too open, I'll get hurt, others will hurt me. When the heart is really open, hurt dissolves, becoming grist for the mill; hurt and other feelings when they're broken down into smaller digestible pieces, become wisdom.
Sometimes life experience gets stuck in the mill, and can't be processed. When we feel stuck like we're going around in circles
repeating old experiences and reliving old hurts, we may have shifted from the intuition and the heart to the intellect. The intellect shreds life experience discarding the unpleasant, and the intuition unifies showing us links and connections that are important.
We tend to shrink wrap our life experiences, wrapping them up, confining them in the suffocating plastic material of rigid mental processes - a harsh examination table. The intuition as a function of the heart, creates room, softens the light and makes peace with any life experience no matter how dark or gloomy knowing that restoration is always possible. When you're feeling stuck, return to the altar in your heart where you can access intuition, inspiration, and fresh air.
The most important thing we have in our possession is our heart. Our homes should reflect that. I have three altars in my office alone, and several throughout our home to remind me of the virtues of the heart: patience, compassion, and acceptance. I need these visual reminders of those who have attained the highest in the instruction of the heart: Buddha, Mother Mary, Mother Earth, and others. Some of my altars are more elaborate, and some are small with only a wooden Buddha statue and a candle sitting by its side, but they turn a simple home into a peaceful sanctuary for me to nurture my heart.
I collect photographs of saints, feathers found on the ground during my walks, special rocks with a certain feel to them, crystals of various shapes and sizes, small stone turtles, Buddha statues, and spiritual sayings that speak to me.
Exercise -- Create your own altar of the heart
I encourage you to gather your own collection of meaningful objects to inspire your heart. I find that altars are great spiritual reference points in your own office or home to keep you on track with a higher purpose in mind. When you add something to your altar, it's because it spoke to you. You will feel a connection, a warmth in your heart, and the object will make you purr inside. When you find a stone that vibrates in your hand, or a picture that is like a visual prayer, or a saying that evokes openness and possibility, add this to your altar.
Then, practice sitting at your altar in silence, meditation, and prayer regularly to imbue the space with a reverence and dedication. At some point, the altar in your living room or office will become an altar in your heart that you carry with you wherever you are in the moment.
Needing inspiration and life direction?
Call me and I'd be happy to set up a reading with you.