Monday, March 24, 2014

Driftwood Continues on its Journey

Next year, I'm planning to release a 15th anniversary edition to celebrate the journey of this book that is about taking your journey. I have gotten a lot of feedback over the years from readers from all walks of life, whose lives were impacted positively by reading this book. Some of the most unexpected feedback was from a young (American) man who was living in Japan at the time. I ran across him over 10 years ago online, when I tripped over his review of the book on his web site. I tracked him down to find out if he was connected in any way to a good friend of mine, also in Japan, who was the first reader of Driftwood to contact me because of how much that book had impacted her. I answered the email she sent to my publisher and we became friends and have remained so to this day. There was no connection between the two of them. 

Driftwood had been given to him by his sister in Kentucky. I'd sent autographed copies at the request of the owner of A Charmed Life, a gift shop that Yelp lists as being closed now. They contacted me because of hearing about my books from my cousin, who lives in Paducah. It's one of those examples of moments when you don't have any idea when some small action on your part will have a big impact on the other side of the world. This is called the "Butterly Effect" in Chaos Theory, and it's interesting to observe it in action in our daily lives, but it requires awareness. What is truly synchronistic is that I've compared Rita's transformation in Driftwood to the metamorphosis of a butterfly. It happened when and where it did because she was ready to take her journey and become the new being she was meant to be.  Now the butterfly is having her own Butterfly Effect. Those affected have been readers from all walks of life who have been able to identify with Rita because she is an every-woman type of character. The details about the type of transformation needed by the reader vary greatly, but the call to take our journey is applicable to everyone. Sometimes it starts when a sister on the other side of the world sends us a book at just the right time to help us to deal with whatever challenge is currently facing us. Driftwood's publication coincided with a personal transformation of my own. I was changed in so many ways after that butterfly broke free from its chrysalis. The changes continue to reverberate throughout my life and now around the globe through my writing. That is truly humbling to see.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Better Than Therapy

Combine Pharrell Williams' "Happy" video and Masaru Emoto's teaching about The Hidden Messages in Water and you get a recipe for changing your life by shifting your mood that's better than hours of therapy and a lot less expensive. I have actually played some of the videos that repeat the song for a full hour while a series of different people dance to the song. It illustrates that moods are contagious. It is definitely an argument for hanging out with happy, well-adjusted people and for listening to upbeat music. I could tell the difference not only in my emotional state but also in my physical state. After listening to the video even a couple of times activated a mood shift. After an hour of it, I was downright high from it. Plus, I felt better physically. 

So next time you're not feeling well or happy or strong, try listening to that song a few times. After a while, you'll have it hard wired into your brain and find yourself playing it in your head even when you're not actually playing it. You'll be amazed at how much it affects your outlook and even your physical state of being. You are exposing all the cells in your body to the words happy and happiness dozens of times. It definitely has an amazing effect. I suspect that we have Pharrell to thank for changing the mood of millions of people around the world. Stand back, anti-depression drugs, the "Happy" song is the ultimate mood elevator and there are no known side effects. Pretty soon all we'll need to do is take two views and call a friend in the morning to pass on the happiness.

Planting the Seeds of Wonder

Have you ever seen the look of wonder in a child's eye? Perhaps it happens the first time they become truly aware of a Christmas tree all lit up and filled with promise. Or perhaps it happens for you when a dramatic sunset splays itself across your horizon. I think that when magic happens, we all know and recognize it. A transformation occurs when we realize that we can encourage more of those moments of delight and wonder when we open to the mystical side of life. When we open our hearts to it and look for the magical moments in our day, they begin to multiply. We have an entire universe at our disposal. We can, if we choose, fill this entire space with moments of awe and wonder. We paint the pictures of our lives with our thoughts, with our words, with our dreams, and with our actions. Good or bad, productive and destructive, beautiful or ugly. It's all up to us. We can choose. Here. Now. This. That. I don't know about you, but I want to load my palette with a variety of vibrant colors. I choose to load my brush with exciting shades of wonder. Brilliant brushstrokes of the miraculous kind. How about you?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

No Limits in Inner/Outer Space

So much of my early life is recalled through the music of the times because music was central to my life in so many ways. I started listening to music of my own choosing in a conscious way when I was seven. I chose rock 'n' roll over the music of my mother. I started playing guitar in 1972 and writing songs in 1973, featuring the folk rock music that suited the acoustic guitar so well. All my teenage angst was experienced hand in hand with the music happening all around me. Most of that music had to do with the counter-culture revolution, when young minds were busy throwing off the trappings of earlier generations. We were rejecting war and embracing peace, although we made the mistake of rejecting those who had been sent to fight those wars as though they themselves had caused it. Those vets paid twice for fighting a war they may or may not have signed up for voluntarily. They fought it in Vietnam and they fought it on the streets of America when they returned home, already battered and abused from the inside out.

I can't experience "throwback Thursdays" on Facebook, where you're supposed to share a photo of yourself from the past, without experiencing a trip back in time through music. A time that commemorates those times of unrest and revolution. My growing up years are inextricably linked to the music that informed me, infused me, and introduced me to the world that existed outside of my head. Although I always had a lot of friends, I saw myself as a loner growing up because what was going on inside my head was more important to me. I couldn't have cared any less about school cliques and proms because it was the internal stuff that mattered to me. Music helped introduce me to new ideas about the world. It helped me to explore my inner space while the world around me was exploring outer space.

When I was entering the seventies, I was not quite a teen yet, but I was already being introduced to drugs through my friends, school, and through the "head music" side of rock 'n' roll. I may have been only twelve at the time I started smoking pot and doing drugs, but I started using drugs as part of a search for answers to all the philosophical and metaphysical questions for which I craved answers. I didn't do drugs to "drop out." I was doing drugs to find my way to Truth. That path never managed to lead me to truth philosophically, but in a way it did lead me to Truth experientially. When I would start off on an acid trip, I would encounter a blank wall and on it the word why? would appear. I would trip inside my head for many hours, but as I was coming back down, I would always see the word why? appear again on the wall, and I would realize that I had gained nothing, learned nothing really from the trip I'd taken with those drugs. Until "one dark and stormy night," when I came face to face with someone inside me and outside of me at the same time.

During a trip in 1975, when I had done 2.5 hits of LSD, I had an unexpected encounter with someone from beyond this realm. I found out decades later (by asking questions) that it was one of my spirit guides who spoke to me and got my attention in a very big way. A little LSD, a little nudging from beyond, a little hallucinating, and I found God. Only I didn't find a God that fit in a tiny little box that could be tied up in a package with a ribbon and a bow. I found a Being who embodies love and embraces us all: gay, straight, bi, trans, you name it. Every color of the rainbow is found in the Light. Every culture, every truth. Although I went on to embrace charismatic Christianity for a decade after that, I found that church was more about capturing the Divine in a box and putting it on display than about allowing that Being to live and breathe in an expansive way through us. I think that was what Jesus himself was all about, but that is not what most churches were doing at the time. So I learned as much as I could from the few churches who were serving up Truth and allowing the Divine to be expansive then left Christianity, taking this expansive Being with me to continue to shine the light of love on the path before me. That light led me to search other religions and viewpoints, and it showed me that all spiritual paths are predicated on love at the heart of their teachings. Those that weren't had stumbled off the paths on which they'd started. When I realized that all paths to Truth are based on Love, then I realized that Love was the heart of Truth and all spirituality. As long as I hold to Love as my guiding Light, then my path will be in the direction of Truth. When a path veers into judgment of others, fear, and hatred, then it has careened off the path.

No one religion holds the key to all wisdom, but if we stop long enough to listen to one another, to share the pieces of Truth we've encountered along the way, then we'll reach the Truth. Truth is already centered and built upon a foundation of love--for ourselves, for each other, for the awesome Being and experience of everythingness around us. If, in our explorations of life and outer space, we focus our inner space on Love, it will take us where we want to go. Along this path is the freedom from rules the counter culture was seeking. It is an inner freedom rather than merely an outer one, but we had to throw off the outer chains first to realize that what is left then are the inner chains that are not any better than the outer societal ones. Being chained to drug addictions or unplanned children were not necessarily better than the previous generation's rules and laws. They were simply different. Attempting to rebel against those laws put us at odds with ourselves and our children rather than our parents.

The song from my music CD, Driftwood: The Music, entitled "Caught in a Nightmare," marks the 5th anniversary of that night when I met the Being within and beyond my small perspective and walked away from drugs for good. Although I smoked pot a few more times after that point, I never did hard drugs again. I no longer needed LSD, PCP, THC, or any of the other myriad mind-expanding drugs out there. I discovered that my mind was already as expanded as it needed to be, and that I was in the process of shrinking it with drug use. Now I expand it by allowing prayer and meditation to take it beyond the illusory limitations of three-dimensional thinking. I am not my body. I am not my mind. I am spirit and spirit knows no boundaries that it would need to extend them. I simply plug my spirit light into the Source of all Light and let it flow through me. It may not always be easy to do that, but it is always simple. As simple as lying back and letting the music you hear inside take you into outer space. As simple as plugging in an electrical cord so you can allow it power your computer or lamp, etc. You can plug into the Source that is Light and Love and let it empower you effortlessly.

Why Assertiveness is the Key to Abundance in all forms, with Doreen Virtue

Why Assertiveness is the Key to Abundance in all forms, with Doreen Virtue