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Be Careful What you Ask For

Sunday, January 31, 2010

This week was a lesson in "Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it." And here's why:

I missed a few days posting here because I was so worn out from work that I couldn't lift a finger to do anything. The last 3 days have been just brutal. Out of the 100+ dogs I bathed this week, I think there were only 1 or 2 who weren't vigorously resistant to the whole idea of wetness. From little bitty dogs who turned into crazed demons at the sight of water, to a Mastiff the size of a small horse curling his lip and showing his teeth to everyone who looked at him - it was just crazy!

As I was walking out to my car last night - feeling battered and beat up - I said to myself, "I'm tired of having to constantly fight every day!" Then, it hit me... fighting... Isn't that what Aragorn does? Isn't that what Buffy does? Fight Urukai, Orks, and vampires - bad guys? Isn't that pretty much what happens in these epic fantasy movies? Those larger than life heroes get out there and fight, then they fight some more, they get knocked down, they get back up, and they fight again. In the movies, it looks pretty cool... in real life I think it probably pretty much sucks!

Plus, didn't I just tell a number of people that my days of emulating "The Wrestler" were over? And yet, here I am, once again, almost (but not quite) an exact replica?

That's food for thought for sure! Lots of questions to mull over. Is it true that I don't want to be constantly fighting? or is it just that I don't want to be fighting with silly dogs who don't want their bath? Maybe I enjoy fighting, I just wish it was more interesting, or more rewarding, or that in the end I'll be winning something richer and way more cool than my piddling paycheck. Which sounds really ungrateful - and that's something else to consider - since that paycheck is what keeps my electricity on, my car running, and without it I'd be pretty frightened and cold right now.

Maybe at the end of the day I'd like to be sitting around the fire, or sitting in the library with my friends and companions thinking about how we saved the world yet again, instead of sitting at home, alone. And why is it that I'm generally attracted to the warriors, to the die hards, to the relentless hero fighting against all odds. Could it be that bathing dogs is just too easy? If they really were little demons, and if I really was saving the world one Lhasa demon at a time, would I be happy and fulfilled in my work?

What about you? Do you yearn for a big life, high drama and then when it comes do you find yourself wishing you didn't have it? Does the drama lose it's "so cool" qualities when it's real life and you're in it? Having to actually "do" the impossible, the improbable, or the agonizingly difficult? Alternatively, do you find yourself creating so much drama in your life that there's no time or energy for anything else? Do you yearn for peace and then when it comes find yourself filled with a restless energy that demands you get up and "start" something?

And as I'm writing this, it occurs to me that movies and books tend to leave out the tedium and the long hours and even longer days when nothing interesting is happening. Would I have become such a Lord of the Rings fan if I had to watch it in real time? Would I even be out of the Shire yet if I was watching it as it actually occurred? And if movies did unfold in real time, I guess the movie I'd rather be in is Avatar... and I'd want to be one of those cool flying dragon creatures!

Of course, if that happened, I'd probably end up with a job flying and fighting... and I'd be coming home from that job feeling beat up and tired and wishing I had a small animal to eat... maybe a dog even... and saying to myself, "I'm really tired of flying and fighting."

So... guys... those are my thoughts for today. What about you? What are you wishing for and then wishing it wasn't almost as soon as you get it?

Here's What I've Been Thinking

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Yesterday's post about thinking, got me thinking about how it is that I really do feel like I'm getting a handle on this project. And I realized that I've been doing a lot of thinking about all the ways in which I already am like Aragorn. I haven't been doing very much thinking about all the ways in which I am not like him, can't measure up to him, will never be him.... etc. I also realized that this has been a general trend for me recently.

For example: Right after Thanksgiving, I received the tax bill for my property. I was, at that point 3 years past due and the bill was a whopping $1700! Well, I freaked out at first, naturally, since there was no way I was going to be able to come up with the money. And then, after I calmed down, I said to myself, "Well, I don't see any reason why that money can't just show up!" Then, I did some magic on it and pretty much let go of it. So, what did I get for Christmas? Someone I love very much surprised me with the paid receipts for those taxes! So, for the first time in 6 years I started out the year without any overdue taxes!

Another example: I decided that teaching classes in Magick, Reiki, Animal Communication, and doing Medicine Wheels, Shamanic Healing, Shamanic Art, and other cool stuff would be a good way to tap into my inner Aragorn. I just started thinking about doing them... now suddenly I have a place to teach Magick, a place to do most of the other stuff, a First Degree Reiki class starting in March. And I think it's because I've been thinking in terms of what I CAN do vs what I CAN'T do.

In the past, I have spent a lot of time working at positive thinking, and even more time delving deeply into negative thinking. This time, however, there seems to be a difference. When I'm thinking positively about something, it feels more relaxed, there is an inner confidence that was lacking before. And when I'm on that downward slide into trauma drama, and angsting and whining and grinding my teeth - it too feels more relaxed, and even though I might be wallowing in self pity, I'm not really taking it all that seriously.

So, I have to say that the act of presenting this project and putting it out there as a do-able thing, talking about it every day, thinking in terms of succeeding has actually had a profound effect.

What about you? Where are your thoughts leading you? Has anything you've seen or read recently had a profound effect on your life? Do you spend more time telling yourself what you can do? or what you can't do?

Oh, and by the way, if you're interested in what I said about Magick, you might want to review the project we did on Gypsy Magic.

Something To Think About

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

"Do not think that what your thoughts dwell on does not matter. Your thoughts are making you."
~ Bishop Steere

"All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world."
~ Buddha

"Thoughts lead on to purpose, purpose leads on to actions, actions form habits, habits decide character, and character fixes our destiny"
~ Tryon Edwards

"Thoughts become things. Choose the good ones."
~ Mike Dooley


So what have you been thinking about recently?

It's a list!

Monday, January 25, 2010

To do this exercise you will need a piece of paper, a pencil or pen, highlighter pen (optional) and a timer or clock. Any kind of paper will do, but if you have paper and pen you really like, that will be even better.

Set a timer for 10 minutes or note the time on your watch or a clock. Write your name across the top of the paper. Then write everything positive and good you can think of about yourself. Include special attributes, talents, and achievements.

You can use single words or sentences, whichever you prefer. You can write the same things over and over if you want to emphasize them. Don't worry about spelling or grammar. Your ideas don't have to be organized. Write down whatever comes to mind. You are the only one who will see this paper. Do your best to avoid making any negative statements or using any negative words (for example: I am not lazy).

When the 10 minutes are up, read the paper out loud to yourself. Sounds good, doesn't it? Read it again just for the pure enjoyment of hearing all that good stuff about you.

Now, take your highlighter pen and highlight every single attribute, talent, achievement, or personal quality that is also shared by the "who you want to be" character from your chosen book or movie. If you don't have a highlighter pen, circle or underline those qualities so that they really stand out.

If you are working on something of a more general nature, for example, if you have made a commitment to finding a closer connection to the Goddess, or letting go of fear, or something along those lines, use the highlighter to emphasize those qualities, talents, achievements etc that will assist you in making that connection or releasing that fear.

Now put your list in a convenient place – your pocket, purse, wallet, or the table beside your bed. Read it over to yourself at least several times a day to keep reminding yourself of how great you are! Find a private space and read it aloud. If it feels comfortable, read it to a good friend or family member who is supportive.

A Search for Meaning

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The discussion about yesterday's post reminded me of Man's Search For Meaning by Viktor Frankl. The book is about his experiences as a concentration camp inmate and describes his psychotherapeutic method of finding a reason to live.

We, here at the Prosperity Project aren't necessarily looking for a reason to live, but we are looking to discover how to live more fully, and how to get past the "I couldn't possibly" "but I really shouldn't" and "what if it all goes wrong" types of thinking that keeps us trapped in lives that are smaller and not as rich as they might otherwise be. I think we sometimes keep ourselves trapped in a concentration camp of sorts - I know I do.

In the book, Frankl concludes that the meaning of life is found in every moment of living; life never ceases to have meaning, even in suffering and death. In a group therapy session during a mass fast inflicted on the camp's inmates trying to protect an anonymous fellow inmate from fatal retribution by authorities, Frankl offered the thought that for everyone in a dire condition there is someone looking down, a friend, family member, or even God, who would expect not to be disappointed. Frankl concludes from his experience that a prisoner's psychological reactions are not solely the result of the conditions of his life, but also from the freedom of choice he always has even in severe suffering. The inner hold a prisoner has on his spiritual self relies on having a faith in the future, and that once a prisoner loses that faith, he is doomed.

An example of Frankl's idea of finding meaning in the midst of extreme suffering is found in his account of an experience he had while working in the harsh conditions of the Auschwitz concentration camp:

... We stumbled on in the darkness, over big stones and through large puddles, along the one road leading from the camp. The accompanying guards kept shouting at us and driving us with the butts of their rifles. Anyone with very sore feet supported himself on his neighbor's arm. Hardly a word was spoken; the icy wind did not encourage talk. Hiding his mouth behind his upturned collar, the man marching next to me whispered suddenly: "If our wives could see us now! I do hope they are better off in their camps and don't know what is happening to us."

That brought thoughts of my own wife to mind. And as we stumbled on for miles, slipping on icy spots, supporting each other time and again, dragging one another up and onward, nothing was said, but we both knew: each of us was thinking of his wife. Occasionally I looked at the sky, where the stars were fading and the pink light of the morning was beginning to spread behind a dark bank of clouds. But my mind clung to my wife's image, imagining it with an uncanny acuteness. I heard her answering me, saw her smile, her frank and encouraging look. Real or not, her look was then more luminous than the sun which was beginning to rise.

A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth -- that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. In a position of utter desolation, when man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way – an honorable way – in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment. For the first time in my life I was able to understand the meaning of the words, "The angels are lost in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory...."

Finding Meaning

Saturday, January 23, 2010

I found this quote today by Carl Jung. He wrote that meaning comes “when people feel they are living the symbolic life, that they are actors in the divine drama. That gives the only meaning to human life; everything else is banal and you can dismiss it. A career, producing of children, are all maya (illusion) compared to that one thing, that your life is meaningful.”

I read that quote and I came up with so many questions about it I got totally confused. So, I'm not asking questions about it today. I'm just going to let it sit there while I wait to hear what you guys have to say.

Remembering When

Friday, January 22, 2010

I really think I'm starting to actually make some progress with this project, and it occurred to me this morning that the turning point came when I realized that there have been times in my life when I really have allowed my inner Aragorn to come through.

For example, when I was working as a full time dog trainer... yes... those were the glory days for my inner Aragorn. I could walk into a room full of crazy insane barking dogs and nervous clueless people, and within an hour dogs who had never in their lives ever done anything anyone told them to do, were actually sitting and staying on command. I could take a dog home with me that had been labeled untrainable and mentally retarded by the local "dog psychologist" and in four weeks, that dog would know his basic obedience so well he was flawless no matter what was going on.

I remember one memorable class when someone brought in this little bulldog for private lessons, and for one whole hour all that little dog did was bark until he puked and then he'd bark some more, and all the while he was barking and puking he was also lunging and jumping, and biting the leash.... I was thinking "Oh My God!!" But we preservered, and 12 weeks later, that same dog did basic obedience off leash in a room full of other dogs and people. Not because I trained him, but because I taught his 12 year old owner how to train him... and if that's not an Aragorn thing, I don't know what is.

My first thought was that I should get back into the dog training thing again... but I'm done with that. It's not something I have passion for anymore... those days are gone. Then I started to remember other times, other activities where I allowed that part of me to come through.... and I began to have little glimmerings of ideas about the different directions I could take my life. One thing led to another, and now I'm getting more clear about what I want to do with myself, and the best thing is that the Universe is stepping forward to support me. That horribly indecisive, wishy washy, self doubting angsting no-I-couldn't-possibly-but-I-want-to-but-I-can't loop that I was winding and rewinding has finally come to a full stop. I can and I will "be" Aragon. I've done it before, and I can do it again. Yes, that feels pretty good!

So... what about you? Maybe you have a pretty good idea of the character you'd like to be like, a person you'd like to emulate, someone you want to "be." Think about it... Has there been a point in your life when you've actually had a taste of it... an experience or even a period of time of really "being" there, expressing it, acting it out, or feeling it? I'm wondering if just thinking along those lines might give you ideas and insights into "how to get there from here." Yes, the past is over... no going back there now! The future, however, you will be going there... tomorrow even... and if you can see the possiblities of the past, maybe you'll be able to see the potentialities in the future.

Some of us have talked about a deeper connection with the Goddess, or the Earth Mother as described in The Mists of Avalon or seen in Avatar. If you think back... isn't there a time in your life when that connection was deeply felt and real? And if it was deeply felt and real then, there's no reason why it can't be deeply felt and real now. It's just a matter of remembering the situations and circumstances or whatever it was that fostered those feelings, and then finding a way to recreate it in a new and different way here and now.

Note: If you still don't have a clue about who you want to "be," maybe it would be helpful to go back and take a look at the stuff we did on archetypes. This link: archetypes should bring up most of those posts.

Fantasy vs Reality

Thursday, January 21, 2010

There's been a lot of talk recently about Post Avatar Depression. In short, people are depressed because their own lives don’t measure up to the fantasy. Wow... that sounds familiar!

Here's what one person said: “Ever since I went to see ‘Avatar’ I have been depressed. Watching the wonderful world of Pandora and all the Na’vi made me want to be one of them. I can’t stop thinking about all the things that happened in the film and all of the tears and shivers I got from it.. ” - Mike

Some of this sounds similar to what happened to me the first time I watched Lord of the Rings, and I have been wondering what would happen, how would our world change if, instead of being depressed and playing the "can't go there because it isn't real" card, the people having those feelings of depression got inspired to create a life for themselves that contained within it the key elements of Pandora and the Na’vi people. If the people who were deeply touched by that movie pulled nature and living things into their lives, connected with the Earth Mother, and began to "do life" the Na'vi way... we might have the beginnings of a completely different relationship with the environment, the people around us, and the planet we all live on.

Part of the problem is that there is a perception that because something is a "fantasy" or a "work of fiction" or "just a movie" it can't possibly be real, that it's impossible to "live the fantasy" or be "larger than life" and that all your dreams can only come true if they are ordinary, commonplace, mundane, acceptable, and "real."

I reject that kind of thinking. I reject it because I'm planning to live my fantasy life. I'm going to be Aragorn, Buffy, and Auntie Moss... I'm going to pull all those fantastic magical characters that inspire and move me out of my imagination and move them into action. I'm not content to sit around wishing things were different. I'm ready to take some chances and, like Buffy, I'm ready to kick ass. Actually, I'm much more interested in doing the impossible than I am in doing what's realistic.

And that's what we're doing here on the Prosperity Project this time around... looking at how to bring magic and fantasy out of the "wishing" realm and into the "being" world. So, tell me, what movie, what book, what story really speaks to you... what fantasy, or piece of fiction pulls on your heart? And when that happens, what do you say to your heart? Do you talk about all the reasons why it isn't possible? Do you tell yourself that maybe someone ELSE could but you couldn't? That you're not young enough, old enough, experienced enough, or strong enough? That you don't have the money, the opportunity, the knowledge? What would your life look like if you allowed the impossible to be possible? And isn't there at least one small thing that you might be willing to change, add, subtract, give, give up, express, or actually do that would begin, even in a very small way, to make your life more magical, interesting, meaningful, etc?

And here's something else to think about.... if there is something in a book or movie that really speaks to you, it's because you recognize it in yourself. It's not that you are trying to "be" someone else. What's happening is that there is something larger within you that longs to be expressed. How would if feel, what would your life look like if you allowed it?

Introductory Stories

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

"In every generation there is a chosen one.
She alone will stand against the vampires, the demons and the forces of darkness.
She is the Slayer."

Buffy Summers knows this tale by heart, and no matter how hard she tries to be just a "normal girl", she can not escape from her destiny. Thankfully, she is not alone in her quest to save the world, as she has the help of her friends, the hilarious (and surprisingly quite effective) evil-fighting team called "The Scooby Gang". Together, Buffy and company will slay their demons, survive one apocalypse after another, attend high school and college, and above all, understand that growing up can truly be Hell... sometimes literally.

So what does that have to do with us?

Well, I was thinking. What if I wrote something similar about me? What if you wrote something similar about you? What would it say? And it occured to me that something like this might be helpful. We might learn something about ourselves, something important.

So I made it into a kind of a fill in the blanks template. I wondered what we might come up with if we played around with it... and would it be something that might "work" or be helpful in some way. How about it guys, wanna give it a go?

"In every _________ there is a __________. She (he) alone will ___________ against (with) the ___________, the ___________ and the _____________. (Your name)  __________ knows this tale by heart, and no matter how hard she (he) tries to be just a ________________, she (he) cannot escape from her (his) destiny.Thankfully, she (he) is not alone in her (his) quest to ___________, as she has the help of her friends, the ________ (and surprisingly quite _______) _______ team called "_______". Together, (your name) and company will _______, survive one ______ after another, attend (go to)  _______ and _______ , and above all, understand that ________ can truly be ______... sometimes literally.

Lessons From Buffy

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Ok... so I think this is really interesting (well, maybe not interesting, it might be kind of dumb). I've been watching the TV series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and next thing you know I find myself on facebook playing the Vampires game and am now up to level 8! Where was Buffy when I needed her? But enough of that...

It occured to me today that if I wanted to be Buffy instead of Aragorn, it might be a lot easier. After all, I have a Cordelia - I see her at work every day, Zander - well... I'm pretty sure I know who that is, and then there's that Librarian, "The Watcher," and if he's not Daniel - my name isn't Shirley...

What I like about Buffy is how she looks so fluffy and cute, a pert little teenager, totally unexpected as a "slayer" and yet she just jumps in and does what needs to be done. So, I've been spending some time emulating her, and it feels pretty good.

Then I found this list and I thought it would be fun to post for our project. It's a list of things learned from watching the series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I'm thinking some of them are pretty right on.

  •  You can't trust guys.
  • Sometimes you can't trust girls either.
  • On an English make-up exam, you don't get credit for speaking it.
  • Seize the moment, 'cause tomorrow you might be dead.
  • Live in the now.
  • It's funny how the Earth never opens up and swallows you when you want it to.
  • 'Hunk' can mean a lot of things. Bad things.
  • No speaking up. That way leads to madness and sweaty palms.
  • Punishing yourself is pointless.
  • If you lurk, you can learn things.
  • It's a statistical impossibility for a sixteen-year-old girl to unplug her phone.
  • If dropping hints doesn't work, drop anvils.
  • The mystery that is men goes something like this: they grow body hair, they lose all ability to tell you what they really want.
  • Tact is just not saying stuff that's true.
  • There's no use arguing with someone wearing her Resolve Face.
  • Playing with pointy sticks is all fun and games until somebody loses an eye.
  • Being wanted for murder is such a drag.
  • Generally speaking, when scary things get scared: not good.
  • You wanna talk fun? Public bus. You meet the funnest people.
  • Competition is a beautiful thing. It makes us strive. It makes us accomplish.
And then I found this other list "What I've learned from watching Angel" (a character in the show - Buffy's love interest who just happens to be, of all things, a vampire).
  • Men-folk are not always around to protect women-folk.
  • The handsome man doesn't always rescue the damsel in distress, but she doesn't always need him to.
  • We all have a dark side.
  • Even good-looking people have problems.
  • Beware of beautiful women in dark alleys.
  • Beware of handsome men who insist that they don't bite.
  • When you feel happy, go ahead and do the dance of joy.
  • Some humans are monsters.
  • A cry for help is when you say "help" in a loud voice.
  • You have got to learn how to play with others.
  • We should all smile more.
  • Sometimes the journey is taken simply because it must be taken.
  • Every family's got its problems.
  • Next time you're looking for something, try hitting the last place first.
  • Some people just don't know how to have fun anymore.
  • Angel is pretty much a girlie name.
  • A bomb can ruin a perfectly fine office.
  • If someone tries to shoot your own personal back, it's personal.
  • Sex has consequences.
  • You can overcome your past, but it's a rocky path.
  • Brooding is such a waste of time.
  • If nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do.
  • If you're a warrior slated for the coming apocalypse, you're gonna want a hair gel with hold.
  • It's not that vampires don't photograph; it's that they don't photograph well.
  • Outward appearance is no way to tell about a person's inner self.
  • No matter how good you are, sometimes you still need help.
  • You can't blame all of your actions on your evil hand.
  • Three good things to avoid: dancing, dating, and singing in public.
  • If you find yourself in an alternate dimension, it's probably not a good idea to yell loudly for help.
  • Don't confuse who you are with what happens to you.
  • If you lie to your friends, be sure it will come back to haunt you.
  • It's possible to be creeped out and comforted at the same time.
  • When the leather pants come out, there's going to be trouble.
  • When traveling through an interdimensional portal in a convertible, hold onto any loose objects.
  • Vampires can't fly.
  • Some people just should not have (a lot of) money.
  • Sometimes you only get one second chance.
  • Seeing your ex is a bad idea when you're feeling low.
  • Beware of lawyers bearing gifts.
Aren't these fun? If it was your deepest wish to be Buffy in real life, I'd have a ready-made set of rules for living. I'm thinking it might be educational and enlightening to create a list of my own... spend some time studying Aragorn and listing the lessons I could learn from him. What about you? Is there a list you could be working on? Lessons you could learn from... I dunno... Sam? Frodo? Gandalf? Bilbo? Someone else?

A Small Distraction

I've made us a fan page at facebook. The posts here are automatically posted on the fan page, so I don't think there's anything "new" there, but it's kind of cool and if you hang out at facebook alot, it might be something you'd like to add to your "fan" list.

Here's the fan badge I made, along with a link to the page:

Also, I've had some issues with the images covering up the text in the posts that are emailed through feedburner. I don't know if it's something affecting everyone or not. Haven't yet figured out what the "fix" for it is, so you may have to visit The Prosperity Project to read the post... sorry about that. Thankfully, if you have a facebook account, you'll know right away whenever anything new is posted.

Is it even possible?

Monday, January 18, 2010

My friend, Michelle, loves Avatar, the movie that I watched as "homework" for the Project. Her big thing with the movie was that she really wants to "go there" to BE on that planet, to grow up as one of "the people." She loved the idea of going to sleep in one place and waking up in another more alive, more vibrant, more beautiful place in a stronger, better body. I think that if she could figure out how to be "magically" transported right into the movie, (with her children), she'd do it in a heartbeat.

So right away, she's feeling disappointed with her "real" life because it can't ever be that. For one thing, she's not a giant blue person with a tail. I know the feeling. It's how I felt initially when I decided that I wanted to "be" Aragorn even though I'm not a man, not a son of Numenor, not descended from kings, and if an Ork attacked me I'd be dead in probably less than 3 seconds flat unlike Aragorn who could probably kill it without even getting out of breath. From a purely logical point of view, it isn't realistic and doesn't seem possible.

I think the real question is, OK.. so how do we reconcile the differences between movie life and real life, between "fantasy" and "reality." How do we bridge the gap between what we wish our lives could be and what our lives are right now this moment. And where does "being realistic" fit into that equation?

One thing I thought of was how easy it is to play the "can't" card. For example: If one of my great fantasies is to have a 1000 year old oak tree in my front yard, it might be tempting to say... well... I can't because... and then start listing all the reasons why something like that couldn't possibly happen. Can you imagine what the root system would look like? It would take an act of God, a massive expenditure of money, and a giant machine... and even then... it might not survive. And do oak trees really live that long anyway?

However, if I think in terms of what I might actually be able to do, I have a number of options:
  1. Plant an acorn - at least it's a start.
  2. Buy a young oak tree - again, it's a start.
  3. Save for a house with an ancient oaks already growing in the front yard - not a bad idea.
  4. Visit an oak forest and look for the oldest tree - at least that way, I'll know one when I see one.
  5. Create a photo album of old old oak trees - keeping the dream alive.
  6. Put an ad in the local paper that you'd like to purchase one - who knows what might happen?
  7. Find out if an ancient oak tree is available as a bonsai - it'd probably be over the top expensive, but how could it hurt to check that idea out? And at least it'd be smaller.
  8. Create and dedicate a space in your front yard for the tree so that you'll be ready for it when it arrives - now that's positive thinking.
  9. Invoke the spirit of a 1000 year old oak tree - might be a cool and interesting thing to do.
  10. Designate a spot in the front yard for the tree and then act as if it really is there, rake the "leaves" in the fall, pick up fallen "branches" after a storm, admire it in the spring, and enjoy the "shade" in the summer - yes... sounds pretty wierd... but hey, you'd have a "virtual" tree which is better than no tree at all.
My point is that just because something seems fantastic, unrealistic, or impossible, it doesn't mean you can't take steps to pursue it anyway. And who knows what might happen? You might embark on a journey that takes you places and introduces you to people you never imagined! It might even be the best thing you ever did for yourself!

So... what is it that you'd like to bring to your life? Is it a character? A place? A situation? Skills, talents, abilities? What are you telling yourself? Are you playing the "can't" card? Or are you ready to get started on your list of possibilites?

What I Brought Home

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Has everyone done their homework? I'm hoping we have because this post is all about the "I saw a movie so now what..."

We've seen a movie, maybe we liked it, maybe we didn't. Possibly it really resonated, possibly not. It really doesn't matter, because it's not the movie itself that's going to help us live our lives more authentically, more heroically, more interestingly... it's not the movie that's going to do our "great work" for us. It's what we bring home from the movie, and what we actually do with what we take with us.

Because this is a blog post instead of a conversation, all I can do is share what I brought home along with some thoughts about what I might actually do it. I'm hoping that you will apply this same kind of thinking to the movie you saw.

Actually, I've seen three movies.... each one different... so I'm going to share snippets from each one, hoping that it will stimulate thinking, conversation, and above all... action.

The first movie I watched was Three Wishes. I didn't really get attached to the characters or the location, but there were a few things that really stuck out at me. One of them was the comment made about being an explorer, and how explorers are often lost... that was, after all, how Columbus discovered America. He got lost! This gives me a whole new slant on feeling lost in the mire of my life. I'm renaming it, redefining it... I'm an explorer... of course I'm lost! Wow. I feel better already.

The second movie I watched (have been watching) is Buffy The Vampire Slayer - the first season. So much fun! She really embraces who she is and what she does. I've got a lot more to say about that coming up soon. For now let's just say, if I ask myself  "What would Buffy do?" I ususally get the go ahead to jump right in and kick some ass. And it's not nearly as intimidating as Aragorn kicking ass because she's a girl... which means I have some more thinking to do about my perceptions of girls vs men vs heroes vs women vs me.....

The third movie I watched was Avatar. And it was so interesting because I felt like here it was... the place I was born and spent the first years of my life living in... and I've been trying to get back there ever since... I think the first step would be to reconnect with "The Mother" ... something I've already committed to, and now that I've seen the movie - it feels even more important, it's more of a priority.

So... there you have it! Better self talk, a call to action, and a deeper spiritual commitment - that's what I brought home from the movies. Now the trick will be to really begin to live it and not just let it slip away when I get caught up in the distractions of my every day life.

What about you? What did you bring home? And how will you begin to really live it? What will you do to begin to act on it? And more importantly, when will you start?

We Have Homework

Thursday, January 14, 2010

OK guys, we have homework. This weekend, I'd like everyone to watch a movie. Daniel and I are going to see Avatar... you can choose whatever movie you wish. If you can't go to a theater, rent one at your local video store, and if you can't rent one, or there's no local video store, find one at the library or borrow one from a friend. It can be a movie you've seen a thousand times, or one that you've never seen, doesn't matter.

While you are watching the movie, have the following questions in your mind:
  • If I was in that movie, if my life was that movie, who would I be? Who would I want to be?
  • If I was in the movie as myself - what would I do?  Where would I fit in?
  • If I was the main character, what would I do differently? And then what would happen?
After the movie is over, think about what your answers to those questions might be. This is easier, and a lot more fun if you do it with a friend. I'm hoping this homework assignment will spark some conversation and some insight. So, I'd love to hear what you come up with.

Using Movies To Expand Our Limited Selves

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Our current project came about because I really do think that great movies as well as great fiction give us a really great way to look at ourselves through a different mirror, and to try on or try out completely different, larger, more expanded versions of life might be like if we could but allow it.

So, here's what I'd like to know. What movies have you watched that changed the way you think about life? Which characters inspire you? Those inspiring characters live somewhere within you, or they wouldn't be so inspiring... what would happen if you let them out? How would your life change if you did that?

Believe it or not, The Lord of the Rings is not the only movie I think about. I play this game with every movie I watch. Recently I watched The Wrestler. And wow... he was me! I was astounded at how amazingly the same we were. It was such a graphic image, and so decidedly familiar, that I immediately set about trying to change things.

I talked about it so much that my daughter asked me, "Mom, what are you going to do if this year, when you watch the Lord of the Rings, you find out that you're actually The Wrestler?"

Daniel and I watched "City of God" and while neither one of us identified very strongly with any of the characters, we did have a great insight into how it was that the main character got everything he wanted in the end. It was quite illuminating, and enlarged my understanding of how manifestation works in real life, in the real world.

I watched all 6 seasons of The Sopranos... and came away with so much that was helpful and valuable. Yes, the Sopranos! Hearing Tony Soprano in my head, "She's dead to me" has been an invaluable tool for dealing with difficult people. I hear him in my mind, and suddenly I find that I don't don't have to allow that person to affect my mood, my feelings, or my life.

The first 3 seasons of Dexter was a real eye opener! Just think about it. What if your father... or your mother... or your parents... knew the real you, had a clear vision of who you were born to be, and then dedicated themselves to teaching you all the things you needed to know in order to be hugely successful at being the best YOU that you could possibly be... irregardless of WHO that you might be!

Daniel and I got a lot of insight and inspiration about Magick from watching Rome. Seeing that pagan society in action gave us so many ideas and clues about how to live a magickal life.

Our current project came about because I really do think that great movies as well as great fiction give us a really great way to look at ourselves through a different mirror, and to try on or try out completely different, larger, more expanded versions of life might be like if we could but allow it.

So, here's what I'd like to know. What movies have you watched that changed the way you think about life? Which characters inspire you? Those inspiring characters live somewhere within you, or they wouldn't be so inspiring... what would happen if you let them out? How would your life change if you did that?

Why is it harder for some of us?

Monday, January 11, 2010

I don't know why I'm finding it so hard to just strike out and DO something to really claim my inner Aragorn! Or to find my "great work."  Am I expecting too much too soon? Am I avoiding something obvious? Are you having as much trouble as I am when it comes to figuring out how to bring this larger than life character, or archetype into reality?

So this is what I was thinking about when, the Master of the Universe sent me to a web page with this article:

Some things are easier for some people and harder for others in all areas of life. Why?

Huna philosophy says that the world is what you think it is, there are no limits, energy flows where attention goes, now is the moment of power, and effectiveness is the measure of truth.

In this context, the answer to the question is that it has to do with what you believe about yourself and about life. Right now you are manifesting everything in your life quite automatically without any apparent effort. When you have no blocks about a particular thing, the slightest thought can bring it into your experience. People who seem unusually lucky in certain areas simply have no fears or doubts to get in the way in those areas. So they can decide on something related to those areas and have it happen with ease.

It is when you want to change a long-standing conditions in your life in a conscious way that you often have to apply so much time and energy in manifesting the change. This is because you must also change the beliefs that brought you to your present condition. When changes seem to occur on their own, it is because you haven't noticed a more gradual change in beliefs that has been taking place on a "subconscious" level.

You manifest your own reality. But it is the total "you" that does this, not the conscious mind alone. To put it accurately, your Higher Self creates your reality according to the beliefs you have established in your Ku. And those beliefs are established by concentrated attention and repetition by your Lono.

To change your experience, you must change yourself. The rule of life is that you get what you concentrate on. Just be sure you know exactly what it is that you are concentrating on. Many think they are concentrating on having health, wealth, love, success, or spirituality, when they are really concentrating on the lack of it. Manifesting something very different in your life will depend on the strength of your motivation, the persistence of your concentration on what you want instead of what you don't want, and the degree of confidence you have that the Universe will help you get the best possible outcome according to these factors.

~Serge Kahili King

Did you find that helpful? I did. But then, I could feel myself slinking away, leaving it in the realm of "something I read," "something I agree with," and "something I could talk about here." And as I was watching that moment of action slip away, I clicked on another link on the website and found this! It's called the Menehune Lagoon, one of those online oracle type things. So, I asked the question, what is the first step I could take in my quest to become Aragorn. Here's what I got!


Strike while the iron is hot!
Don't hesitate. Do it now.
It's time for action, rather than thinking.
Take advantage of the opportunities in front of you.

Ever the doubter, always a procrastinator, I then asked "But how do I know what those opportunities are?" And this was my answer:


There is a time for knowledge and a time for power
When you don't know what to do, ask for higher help.
It's time to put your knowledge into practice.
If you don't have all the answers, trust yourself and do it anyway.

Looks like I'd better get started and do something right now! I'm thinking I'll start by turning off my computer. Then, I think I'll turn on some music and get some energy moving in this house!

Your Great Work

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Hey guys, I found something really fun to help us get a grip on this project. It's a little flash video called, "Find Your Great Work." It's really clever and cool, be sure to check it out. These are the highlights:

  1. Things only get interesting when you take full responsibiliity for the choices you make.
  2. Changing your focus changes what's possible.
  3. You must make not one, but two choices.
  4. You're not doing great work if everyone's happy.
  5. If you're doing it by yourself, you're not doing great work.
And in summary:
Jump in, look for great work, say yes, say no, get clear, and invite others in. 

"Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending." Carl Bard, writer.

How would your life change?

Saturday, January 09, 2010

How would your life change if you were able to actually succeed in being all that you wanted to be... if your life really was as grand and as interesting as an epic fantasy movie?

Interestingly, I find that I'm afraid of what my life might be like. I might have to take risks! I might have to be willing to stand my ground no matter what the cost! I might have responsibilities! I might even have to face the world head on with my heart wide open!

How much easier, and safer it is to wallow in the mess I have made of things thus far, never extending myself past my limits, constantly wiffle-waffling and vascillating, making only those decisions that have been carefully designed to keep me securely emmeshed in the way things are...

And from this safe vantage point, I can pine and moan about how I wish for this and long for that... while at the same time never moving so far out of my box that I couldn't turn around and jump right back in.

So... What's to be done? I think at some point, you have to jump into the deep end of the pool. At some point, the training wheels have to come off the bicycle. There comes a time in life where, hell or high water, you have to shake things up.

And what does that mean, "shake things up," what does that look like in my today world? Is there a commitment that needs to be made? A phone call? An appointment? Does it require the moving of furniture? Bloodletting? Do I need to cut my hair? Move? Should I set myself on fire?

Ok... "no" to the blood and fire, but I'm sure there is some irretrievable step that I could be taking...

And what about you? How would your life change? And would you welcome those changes with open arms? Are you willing to shake things up? Is it time to step out of your comfort zone? Come out of your box?

What is so appealing?

Friday, January 08, 2010

I'm still exploring those four questions from the other day, and mulling over what is so appealing about the character I'd most want to be... I guess for starters:

  • He's beautiful
  • Heroic
  • Charismatic
  • Courageous
  • Kind
  • Vulnerable and strong at the same time
  • You can absolutely count on him when the chips are down
  • He doesn't give up
  • He will not hesitate to make the tough choice
  • He doesn't second guess his decisions
  • There is a thoughtfulness, a sense of every action being well considered
  • He puts 100% of himself into what he does
  • There is a strength in him that goes beyond the physical
I love this guy! If I was in a tough spot, I'd want him with me, and I'd absolutely follow him ... I dunno ... to the gates of Mordor even.

And I say this, but is it really true? Is the real truth that I'm scared to death of this guy because he would pull me out of my comfort zone, my safe little hidey hole? Is it because "being" him would really shake up my life, and give me responsibilities that I'm not at all sure I'm up to, or capable of handling? I'd probably have to give up the whole wiffle/waffle constantly second guessing myself thing that keeps me safely ensconced under my rock!

What about you? Have you been thinking about who you would want to be? What are the characteristics of that character? What is it that is so appealing to you? Any thoughts? ideas? insights? Aha moments?

Who would you be?

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Who would you want to be if the Lord of the Rings was actually true, and you were in it?

I have been exploring this question for several years now, and my initial answer was... well... I guess I'd have to be me, because I couldn't possibly be anyone else. And on the face of it, this sounds like a pretty good answer.

But what happened was, I got caught up in doubt and fear. Doubt that I could actually be MORE than what I am, and fear that I might actually be LESS than what I wanted to be. And I spent a year flailing around trying to create a new me without actually expanding myself in anyway, which was kind of like wanting everything to be better while at the same time not wanting anything to change.

Then, I watched the Lord of the Rings with Daniel. What a difference it made to explore the movie with such a good friend. He right away thought I could be Aragorn. I was like... yeah... right... rolling my eyes and thinking... how impossible that would be. But by the time we finished the 13 hour marathon of movie watching (yes, we watched the whole trilogy in one day), I had decided that maybe I'd give it a try.

Daniel had this thought that he wanted to be Gandalf, and so he right away started working to learn magick. I, on the other hand, got stuck in the mire of "how could I possibly be Aragorn in real life, what does that really mean, who are the hobbits, where the heck is Arwyn, and what is the quest?" I obsessed over how I was "not" being Aragorn for the better part of the year, with small forays into wanting to be a dragon, wishing I was Tony Jaa, and other small insanities.

Nevertheless, I did make progress, and so did Daniel. We did lots of things we might not have done had it not been for our decisions to live larger. Most of the things that he did centered around learning magick. And most of the things I did centered around... well... learning magick. And we did have adventures, and cool magickal things happened for the both of us. I think I would have had a more successful year if I had wanted to "be" Gandalf.

The following year we did it again. And I spent another year, dancing all around the idea of being Aragorn without really actually succeeding. It occured to me that maybe I should make a different choice this year, but... no...  once again, I have this compelling urge to be Aragorn, to be an "Aragorn type" person. And I think it's not so much that I want to BE him, it's more that in my heart I AM him. Does that sound crazy?

I was thinking the other day, about what if I went to a therapist, and we had this talk about who I want to be in the world, and I talked about wanting to be Aragorn. I imagined the therapist would ask me why I didn't just want to be Shirley. And my answer was, "I am Shirley. And Shirley wants to be Aragorn, and I want Shirley to be who she wants to be. So, can you help me or not?"

So what about you? Who would you want to be? In your best case scenario, in your favorite movie of all time, in the grand epic fantasy of life on earth, if you had a choice, who would you want to be?

I found these two great videos on YouTube... Between the two of them, the music, the lyrics, and the character, it's who I would be... who I will be... just as soon as I figure out how.


What if?

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Our first question from yesterday's list:
What if the Lord of the Rings was actually true and you were in it?

Interestingly, in my mind, I remembered this question differently. I thought it was, "What if your life was actually an epic fantasy movie?" And that's the question I've been finding answers to all morning. And now, I log on, and find out that I asked a completely different question.... So, I'm going to give two answers.

If the Lord of the Rings was actually true and I was in it, my life would be .... well ..... I guess that would depend who I was and where I lived. If I was a hobbit in the shire, life would be as it always was, and that's what I would want. If I was an Orc... I'd be hungry, angry, and miserable all the time. Suffering no pain, and yet clearly suffering nonetheless. Possibly, I'd be an Ent, although it'd be really cool to be an elf, or a wizard... This question can't be answered without the "who" question that follows it.

The better question, and the one I'm interested in answering today is, the one about "what if my life was actually an epic fantasy... like a movie or a grand work of fiction." I had never actually asked myself that question before. I've danced around it, but never really answered it until today.

The first thing to strike me is that I have this idea life would be more colorful, more interesting, more lively, and there would be art, and magic, and impossibilities that suddenly became possible. I'd be able to talk to birds, and faeries, and call down the moon... It would be so rich with meaning and experience. Wow! Just talking about it makes me want it even more.

And I'm wondering why it is that my life in the now seems so drab, dull, listless, and stuck? Is that because it's the truth? Because that's my true reality? Or is there another reason? Is it possible that my life could be colorful, interesting, lively, and that there could be art, magic, and impossibilities... and maybe I really could talk to birds, faeries, and call down the moon. And what if my life in the here and now really already is rich with meaning and experience and I'm just not seeing it because ... hmmm....

There is some knowing in me that whispers, the truth of it... my life already is that, or at the very least has the potential to be that, and I'm just not seeing it, or living it, or "doing" it. But why? And that's the kicker, isn't it? The sooner I get to why, the closer I'll be to figuring out how to unlock the ability to experience the epic fantasy adventure that life on earth might really be.

In the mean time, I was wondering what I could actually do to make my life more colorful, magical, lively, meaningful... etc... Surely there must be something! And I came up with this list:
  • Recolor the inside of my home so that it is filled with deep rich color. Don't stop until there isn't a drab or ordinary object or surface to be found... anywhere!
  • Spend more time doing magick, and less time talking about doing it.
  • Every time I find myself outside, I could take the time to actually listen to the trees, and feel the earth below me and the stars above, to smell the wind, and allow my energy to flow out through the bottoms of my feet, and up through the crown of my head, and connect myself fully with the all that is... yes! Why should I ever be in such a hurry, or so distracted and confused, that there wouldn't be time to do just that?
There, that's a start on what may turn out to be a pretty long list. There are even a couple of things on that list that I could do right now, and I'm going to do them.

So, what about you? What are your answers to this "what if"? What are your insights and thoughts about it? I'd love to hear your ideas, and if you make a list, I'd love it if you'd share at least some of it here.

Four Questions

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

  1. What if the story of The Lord of the Rings was actually true, and you were in it?
  2. Who would you most want to be?
  3. What is it about that character that apeals to you?
  4. How would your life change if you could actually bring those same qualities and characteristics into your real world life of the here and now?

NOTE: If you aren't familiar with, or have an aversion to, The Lord of the Rings, please feel free to pick a great movie, or a grand novel, and use that instead. 

If your life was an epic fantasy movie...

Monday, January 04, 2010

There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.
-Douglas Everett

The first time I saw Lord of the Rings, I was filled with a deep sense of loss. I remember saying to the person I saw the movie with that I probably should never watch really good fantasy movies because I always came out of the theater feeling deeply and terribly disappointed with my real life.

The second time I saw the the movies was several years later, and as I was watching it, something Gandalf said to Frodo really leapt out at me. Here's the quote:

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.

And I started thinking... so what have I been doing with the time that is given to me? And can I actually change what I have been doing with my time?

That line of thought came along with that older familiar thought that I really wished my life was more like an epic fantasy movie and less the dull unremarkable story it actually is. And I realized that if it really was up to me to do what I willed with the time I had - that maybe, just maybe, I could make the decision to live my life AS IF it was an epic fantasy movie. Which is, of course, easier said than done by a long shot!

And that was when this whole Lord of the Rings, "who was I and who would I want to be," was born. I put myself into the movie, and realized that for the last couple of years, I had been playing the part of Denethor. (If you haven't seen the movie, or it's been a while, he's the crazy depressed steward of Gondor who was always freaking out about how there was no hope, no one would help, his son was dead, and he might as well set himself on fire - all the while ignoring the fact that there really was at least some small hope, a number of people who were willing to help, and a younger son who was alive.) Not a very attractive person, and not someone I would wish to be in the world.

So, ever since then, I have set about to try and change my reality and create something bigger, better, more interesting, more fun, more exciting -- a larger than ordinary life. I don't know if I am succeeding, but this year I have progressed as far as Fanghorn forest, having spent a fair amount of 2009 as an Ent. What exactly does that mean? Well, it means I've spent way too much time talking endlessly about maybe doing something and not much time at all actually doing it. It means a lot of bla bla bla, and a fair amount of angst over what was lost so long ago that I don't even remember what it looks like anymore. It means minding my own business and trying not to get involved in anything that doesn't directly concern me.

"Don't be hasty." That's been my motto this year, and it would be a good motto except that it isn't Treebeard who I want to be in this world. In my heart, I'm not an Ent!

So here's the question for today. If your life was an epic fantasy movie - and it doesn't matter which epic fantasy you choose, which character could you honestly say you've been playing for the past year? And is that character someone you WANT to be in that world? Tomorrow we'll be talking about who we DO want to be, but for today, let's just think about who we have been up until now.
I'd love it if you guys would post your preferred movies, because I'll rent the ones you love if I can and then we can compare notes. If your epic fantasy adventure is a romance, or historical, or even a murder mystery, it doesn't matter. Pick a movie (or a book) you would dearly love to be "in" and tell us about it.

Hello Everyone!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Suddenly today, this afternoon, it occured to me that it was time to get some new projects going. And so here I am, with questions:
  • Are you up for a new series of projects designed to create prosperity and happiness in your life?
  • Are you ready to try new things, think new thoughts, open new doors? I know I am.
What I have in mind for this year is something a little bit different. I'd like to share my journey, invite you along with me as I explore ideas and concepts that appeal to me. Where do I want to start? Hmmm... I think I'd like to start with The Lord of the Rings. That's where I start every year - so it feels appropriate and right to begin there.

What the heck does the Lord of the Rings have to do with prosperity? How can it possibly be a "project" to test and explore? Good questions! And the answer is, I'm not entirely sure. I do have a good start point though, and for now that's good enough for me.

Here's what got me started:
  • I realized that it was important to be able to set goals and achieve them - so I thought we should do a project on "goal setting" and I collected a bunch of information.
  • Then we did The Oculatum project and the phrase"Know first your path" really jumped out at me. How could I possibly set goals when I didn't know, or have a pretty clear idea, what my path was.
  • Mulling over the question of what my path was, lead me not to the answer, but to another even better question... "Who am I?"  
  • And that question takes me to The Lord of the Rings.
Every year, on New Year's Day, I have a practice of watching the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, from start to finish, all three DVD's (the extended version,  naturally), and while I'm watching, I'm asking myself the following questions:
  • If the Lord of the Rings was real life, and I was a character in it, which character would I be? Sometimes the answers are surprising!
  • And then I spend a fair amount of time thinking about which character would I want to be.
  • And asking myself, how could I go about creating a real life, in which I live large, where I create myself to be that character?
  • Finally, I make a commitment that for the next year, I will do my best to be as much like that character as I possibly can.
And so that's how The Lord of the Rings fits into this project. I'd like to suggest that we explore who it is we are in this life, and who we would want to be if we only could. If you already know who you are, and if you are already satisfied with who you are in the world, and there's no one else you'd like to be like, then this project probably isn't for you. On the other hand, if you feel that there is more to you than meets the eye, if you aren't living your life as freely, or as expressly, or as largely as you'd like... feel free to join in.

It's not important that you be a Lord of the Rings fan, nor do you even have to watch that particular movie. I do, however, plan to use movies and books to inspire myself, to inspire you, to think outside the box, to look past perceived limitations, and claim something bigger.

Each movie that you watch from now on, each book that you read from now on, can be a part of this project, if you use it to ask yourself these questions:
  1. If my life was this book, or this movie, which character would I be playing right now?
  2. Which character would I want to be playing?
  3. Why? And how can I begin to do just that?
  4. How can I bring those qualities, that persona into my current, everyday life?
If you are interested in joining in, sit down with your favorite book, rent a great movie, and start thinking about it. Tomorrow I'll be posting about who it is that I plan to "be" this year... and looking for ideas on how to "be" that. I'll also be asking who it is that you want to "be" this year... and I'll be happy to share any ideas I might have on how you can "be" that.

In the days to come, we'll explore Mordor - Mount Doom - and the Ring of Power... who or what that is for me... who and what that represents to you. We'll talk about archetypes and other movies and books that have made an impression on me, and I'll be asking you for movies and books that have made an impression on you.

I'm hoping you'll join me... and that we'll create a Fellowship of sorts.

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