Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Goat Barning???


The Goats


Leveling the Garden in Preparation for Goat Barn - May


Setting the Poles for Framework -May
Size is 24x36

The Shell is up, Now the steel - August
In the rafters - Notice the storage area for hay.
Better not tell the grandsons about hay lofts, and the birds and bees.


The Start of the Steel - August


Doing the Last of the Steel - September

As a favor to my son and his wife, and being a nice pa, I became a goat barn builder in western Minnesota - all the while working my regular gig in Southwestern, MN. We started planning this project in March and finally started in May, due to rain delays and a wet spring.The barn took a lot longer than anticipated, and the working schedule was predominately Saturdays. Other sons came out to assist in the barn building, and were quickly halted when it was figured out that the estimator that had estimated the project, made some rookie estimator errors. We encountered his errors all the way through the project, beams too short, not enough material, 1 roof truss short, shortages in steel, etc, that impacted the time line and drug the project out. (I am an estimator also, and choose not to do the material takeoff as I worked for the company supplying the material - Figuring it would be a conflict of interest working for the company and supplying and doing the material takeoff also. I should have done the takeoff!)
It is now October, and we are almost done. We have corners to install, and some steel on the roof to finish up that we now have. The next step is to install some lights and call it a year on goat barn building. A lot of work and room for 2 Goats?

To see more about this goat barn, just click on the link: 14 Acres
And here: Barn to be

Monday, September 29, 2008

Nothing Is Insurmountable

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

When our next best course of action seems unclear, any dilemmas we face can appear insurmountable. Yet there is nothing we cannot overcome with time, persistence, focused thought, help, and faith. Whatever the situation or problem, there is always a solution. And if you remember to look within, even as you search around you for the “right” course of action, you will be able to center yourself, clear your mind, and see that nothing has to be impossible.

The first step in overcoming any obstacle is to believe that it can be overcome. Doing so will give you the strength and courage to move through any crisis. The second step is to make a resolution that you can prevail over any chaos. Enlist your support network of family and friends if necessary. The more minds there are to consider a problem, the more solutions can be found. Don’t discount ideas just because they seem impractical or “unrealistic,” and don’t keep searching for the “best” alternative. Often there is no “best” choice, there is only a choice to make so we can begin moving beyond whatever is obstructing our path. At the very least, making a choice, even if isn’t the ideal one, can give you a sense of peace before you have to figure out what your next course of action will be.

If you feel overwhelmed by the scope of your troubles, you may want to think of other people who have turned adversity into triumph. We often gain a fresh perspective when we remember others who have overcome larger obstacles. It can be inspiring to hear of their victories, helping us remember that there is always light at the end of every tunnel. It is during our darkest hours that we sometimes need to remind ourselves that we don’t have to feel helpless. You have within and around you the resources to find a solution to any problem. And remember that if a solution or choice you make doesn’t work, you are always free to try another. Believe that you can get through anything, and you will always prevail.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Potlatch



We can learn much from the Native American Tlingit Indian tradition of the potlatch; while visiting the Pacific Northwest coast, I learned about this Tlingit tradition. Being a carpenter for many years, one of the companies that supplied lumber for homes that I worked on carried the brand “Potlatch.” My knowledge expanded upon learning that Potlatch is a tradition that values generosity above all else, and a potlatch, which is a very grand ceremony, is an exercise in giving away material possessions, food, and money. It is not uncommon for the host of a potlatch to give away so much of his own resources to his guests that he ends up with nothing. And the host knew he could regain his wealth and more by attending potlatches at which he is a guest, as each of his guests were expected to invite him to a potlatch ceremony. In this way, a potlatch validates generosity and encourages the flow of resources in a community, while at the same time continually reaffirming the importance of community ties.

When we are held in a web of trust and connection, we can give generously, knowing that when it is our turn we will be supported. In this way, our whole sense of ownership becomes less individualistic and more communal. Resources are in an acceptable state of flux, moving within the community through the vehicle of the potlatch, which serves the additional function of strengthening community ties. This seems clearly preferable to isolating ourselves from one another and hoarding our resources.


Perhaps we can find ways in our own lives to create a community in which a flow of resources happens in this way, in which we support one another to be generous. We might begin by celebrating our own type of potlatch, having a dinner party and giving each guest an object that is dear to us. Or we could give everyone a little bit of money in an envelope to spend on themselves just for fun. Someone might get inspired to throw their own potlatch, and before we know it we might have a tradition that supports and validates generosity even as it creates a safety net for leaner times. In the most profound sense, that is what a community, a tribe, and family do best.


There is never anything new under the sun, and the potlatch sounds very similar to what the movie, “The Secret” was talking about – which is the law of attraction and law of circulation.
jimmyjames

Monday, September 22, 2008

Hidden Treasure

Denali
Finding Another Vantage Point

The ocean can look very different, depending on whether you are standing at the shore, soaring above in a plane, or swimming beneath its waves. Likewise, a mountain can look very different relative to where you are standing. Each living thing sees the world from its unique vantage point. While from your window you may be seeing what looks like a huge shrub, a bird in its nest is getting an intimate view of that tree’s leafy interior. Meanwhile, a beetle sees only a massive and never-ending tree trunk. Yet all three of you are looking at the same tree.

Just as a shadow that is concealed from one point of view is easily seen from another, it is possible to miss a fantastic view. That is, unless you are willing to see what’s in front of you through different eyes. Seeing the world from another perspective, whether spatially or mentally, can introduce you to all sorts of hidden treasures. The root of the discovery process often lies in finding another way of looking at the world. The common human reaction to insects is one example. Spinning its web in a dark corner, a spider may seem drab, frightening, and mysterious. But seen up close weaving silver snowflakes between the branches of a tree, they can look like colored jewels.

Sometimes, there are experiences in life that from your vantage point may seem confusing, alarming, or worrisome. Or there may be events that look insignificant from where you are standing right now. Try seeing them from another point of view. Bury your face in the grass and look at the world from a bug’s vantage point. Explore your home as if you were a small child. Take a ride in a small aircraft and experience the world from a bird’s eye view. Just as kneeling down sometimes helps you see more closely when you are looking for lost treasure, so can standing back help you appreciate the broader picture of what you are looking at. In doing so, you’ll experience very different worlds.

When I was in Alaska, the weather had been rainy and cloudy for many weeks and Mt Denali (McKinley) had been hidden by the clouds. As this day progressed, the sun started peaking through the clouds and glimpses of the mountain range starting appearing from the clouds. Rounding a bend in the road, Denali arose from the clouds for that afternoon. It was a magical time as our perspectives continually were changing as we drove out of Denali National Park with the realization that life also changes from different points as we awaken to our life's journey.

Jimmyjames




Friday, September 19, 2008

Recognizing Our Own Abundance


Planting The Seeds Of Generosity

The most difficult time to be generous is when we ourselves are feeling poor. While some of us have experienced actually being in the red financially, there are those of us who would feel broke even if we had a million dollars in the bank. Either way, as the old adage goes, it is always in giving that we receive. Meaning that when we are living in a state of lack, the very gesture we may least want to give is the very act that could help us create the abundance that we seek. One way to practice generosity is to give energy where it is needed. Giving money to a cause or person in need is one way to give energy. Giving attention, love, or a smile to another person are other acts of giving that we can offer. After all, there are people all over the world that are hungry for love.

Sometimes when we practice generosity, we practice it conditionally. We might be expecting to “receive back” from the person to whom we gave. We might even become angry or resentful if that person doesn’t reciprocate. However, trust in the natural flow of energy, and you will find yourself practicing generosity with no strings attached. This is the purest form of giving. Remember that what you send out will always come back you. Selflessly help a friend in need without expecting them to return the same favor in the same way, and know that you, too, will receive that support from the universe when you need it. Besides, while giving conditionally creates stress (because we are waiting with an invisible balance sheet to receive our due), giving unconditionally creates and generates abundance. We give freely, because we trust that there is always an unlimited supply.

Being aware of how much we are always supported by the universe is one of the keys to abundance and generosity. Consciously remember the times you’ve received support from expected and unexpected sources. Remember anyone who has helped you when you’ve needed it most, and bless all situations that come into your life for the lessons and gifts they bring you. Remember that all things given and received emanate from generosity. Giving is an act of gratitude. Plant the seeds of generosity through your acts of giving, and you will grow the fruits of abundance for yourself and those around you.
Daily OM

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Riding the Wave - Again


You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.
Henry David Thoreau

This article appeared in the Daily OM a year ago, and found it interesting to read again as a reminder. Once again, the flow of the Universe is carrying me to a new place. The UFP plant that had hired my services last spring was told by corporate last week that it was closing it down because of the bad economy and to protect shareholders - and share prices. The plant closure is putting a 150 people on the street in a community of 1,800 and will be felt by many other business's and families in the area. So...once again....I will be riding the wave to see where it will take me. In the past, I have restricted my search to 160 miles of where I call home. I need to release my concept of "home" and search farther afield. In the meantime, I shall be wave riding!

The Flow of the Universe
The flow of the universe moves through everything. It is in the rocks that form, get pounded into dust, and are blown away. It is in the blossoming of a flower born from a seed planted in the spring. The growth cycle that every human being goes through is part of this natural flow, which is also the current that takes us down life’s paths. When we move with it rather than resisting it, we are riding on the universal wave that allows us to flow with life.

Many people live struggling against this current. They try to use force or resistance to will their lives into happening in the way they think it should. Others move with it like a sailor using the wind, trusting that the universe is taking them exactly where they need to be at all times. This flow is accessible to everyone because it travels through and around us. We are always riding it—it is just a matter of whether we are willing to go with it or we resist it. Choosing to go with the flow is often a matter of relinquishing the notion that we need to be in control at all times.

The flow is always transporting you where you need to go. It is merely a question of deciding whether you plan on accepting the ride or having it take you there with your feet dragging. Learning to step into it can help you feel a connection to a force that is greater than you and is always there to support you. The decision to go with the flow takes courage because you are surrendering the belief that you need to do everything by yourself. Riding the flow of the universe can be effortless, exhilarating, and unlike anything you ever expected. When you are receptive to being in it, you open yourself to possibilities that exist beyond the grasp of your control.

As a child, you were naturally swept by the flow. Tears of sadness falling down your face could just as quickly turn to tears of laughter. The mere tiniest wave carrying you forward off the shores of the ocean could transport you into peals of delight.

Our souls feel good when we go with the flow of the universe. All we have to do is make the choice to ride its currents.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Risking your Life


So, I've been remembering this story….

In the story, a game was played. The players sat in a circle and clapped in rhythm. Then, in time with the beat, one player threw two knives across the circle, to be caught and passed on by another player. This was, as you can imagine, very dangerous and sometimes bad things happened. A person new to the culture was trying to understand just why lives would be risked in what was, after all, just a game. He was told, “We play the game to deserve to live.” It's make believe, of course, kind of a fairy tale. Still, even fairy tales can teach us something.

Personally, I think about that some of the time. To live your life, every now and then you need to risk your life.

I'm not talking about risking your life by mountain climbing, bungee jumping or any other such foolishness. My kids do that for me. I realize this puts me outside the mainstream of American life, but I've never understood the need for manufactured thrills and artificial challenges. For me, getting out of bed in the morning and dealing with the rest of the world has always been enough to keep my pulse pounding.

In the early 80’s risking my life once meant placing myself between an angry knife wielding husband and his terrified wife took a form of courage I am told. Funny, I do not remember being brave that night, all I saw was a wrong and someone needed to step in. I saw and heard what was happening, I did what was needed, not realizing until later what had happened.

No, what I'm saying is that to truly deserve your life, you need to live your life, and that means taking chances. Scary ones. Really scary ones! I'm talking about falling in love, following your passion, fulfilling your promises, taking a stand. I'm talking about taking your beating heart in your hand and throwing it across the room, to someone who may or may not catch it.

Yeah, baby, that's some scary stuff, isn't it? Makes a hike up the side of Mount Everest look downright relaxing.

When I see the sort of things that go on in our country, from extreme sports to the hell bent pursuit of more…stuff… to the endless macho posturing of rap singers and politicians, it makes me think there's something horribly phony about all of it. I think all these tough guys are only play acting, pretending to be tough because under it all, they're just terrified at the thought of what's really lurking out there. It is easier to face down a physical fear that looking the fool for falling in love and possibly retrieving a broken heart.

You want scary? I'm no big fan of heights, but I'd hang off the edge of a mountain by my fingernails before I'd take another midnight trip to the hospital with an eight month old who couldn't breathe. You want to talk about tough? I know, you're thinking about football players or action movie stars. Forget it – I've seen tough. Tough is the police officer in Sioux Falls delivering news to a newly widowed wife, informing her that her husband would not be coming home that Saturday night or ever again. That day was the couple’s 1st year anniversary and the 1st day in their new home and she was due to give birth any day. They had just spent the day planting trees in the yard for their future.

Determined may be Lance Armstrong peddling up the Alps, but I guess I'd have to vote for the old lady with the bad hip who works brutally hard in therapy so she can park her walker and hang onto her independence just one more time. It's a fight she'll lose, eventually, but she'll never surrender.

To live your life you need to risk it. And that means taking the chances that make us whole human beings.

If you're going to live your life, live it all the way. Face your fears and throw that someone special - your heart. You just may be surprised! Otherwise, what's the point?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Reviving A Community Tradition


Storytelling

Ever since our ancestors could first communicate, we have gathered to share our stories. We have passed along creation tales and tragic stories of love lost. We have repeated accounts of real heroism and simple stories of family history. When our forebears lived closer to the land and to each other, the practice of storytelling was imbued with ritual and occasion. Members of the tribe would often gather around the fire to hear their genealogy recited aloud by an elder or master storyteller. Listeners could track how their own lives, and the lives of their parents, interwove with the lives of the other tribe members, as everyone’s ancient relatives once played out similar life dramas together.

As a custom, some cultures’ storytellers repeat the same tale over and over because they believe that each time you hear it, you come to the story as a different person and view the plot and characters in a new light. Hearing the story over and over is a way to gauge where you have been and where you are now on your path of personal evolution. It also helps the younger generation learn the stories so that they can pass them to forthcoming generations.

When we hear others tell stories, we can laugh at their humorous adventures, feel the thrill of exciting encounters, see parts of ourselves in them, and learn from the challenges they face. Though most of our formal traditions of storytelling are lost, it does not mean we have to be without. We can begin new practices in our own families of listening to one another, of honoring our own journey, and witnessing the journeys of those around us. We can revive the fireside communal by gathering around the campfire or hearth with family and friends, sharing in stories. By building new practices of storytelling, we give ourselves and the ones we love an opportunity to draw ever closer in our shared human experience.

From Daily OM

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mothers Day


Why God Made Moms

source unknown



Brilliant answers given by 2nd grade school children to the following questions!!

Why did God make mothers?

1. She's the only one who knows where the scotch tape is.

2. Mostly to clean the house.

3. To help us out of there when we were getting born.

How did God make mothers?

1. He used dirt, just like for the rest of us.

2. Magic plus super powers, and a lot of stirring.

3. God made my Mom just the same like he made me. He just used bigger parts.

What ingredients are mothers made of?

1. God makes mothers out of clouds and angel hair and everything nice in the world and one dab of mean.

2. They had to get their start from men's bones. Then they mostly use string, I think.

Why did God give you your mother and not some other Mom?

1. We're related.

2. God knew she likes me a lot more than other people's Moms like me.

What kind of little girl was your Mom?

1. My Mom has always been my Mom and none of that other stuff.

2. I don't know because I wasn't there, but my guess would be pretty bossy.

3. They say she used to be nice.

What did Mom need to know about Dad before she married him?

1. His last name.

2. She had to know his background. Like is he a crook? Does he get drunk on beer?

3. Does he make at least $800 a year? Did he say NO to drugs and YES to chores?

Why did your Mom marry your Dad?

1. My Dad makes the best spaghetti in the world. And my Mom eats a lot.

2. She got too old to do anything else with him.

3. My grandma says that Mom didn't have her thinking cap on.

Who's the boss at your house?

1. Mom doesn't want to be boss, but she has to because Dad's such a goof ball.

2. Mom. You can tell by room inspection. She sees the stuff under the bed.

3. I guess Mom is, but only because she has a lot more to do than Dad.

What's the difference between Moms and Dads?

1. Moms work at work and work at home, and Dads just go to work at work.

2. Moms know how to talk to teachers without scaring them.

3. Dads are taller and stronger, but Moms have all the real power 'cause that's who you got to ask if you want to sleep over at your friend's.

4. Moms have magic, they make you feel better without medicine.

What does your Mom do in her spare time?

1. Mothers don't do spare time.

2. To hear her tell it, she pays bills all day long.

What would it take to make your Mom perfect?

1. On the inside she's already perfect. Outside, I think some kind of plastic surgery.

2. Diet. You know, her hair. I'd diet, maybe blue.

If you could change one thing about your Mom, what would it be?

1. She has this weird thing about me keeping my room clean. I'd get rid of that.

2. I'd make my Mom smarter. Then she would know it was my sister who did it and not me.

3. I would like for her to get rid of those invisible eyes on the back of her head.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Pure Thoughts


Undistracted Energy

If we make no effort at all, our thoughts usually scatter in a vast array of directions. They start and stop and move in surprising ways from one second to the next. If we try to follow our thoughts without controlling them, we will be amazed at how truly inconsistent they are. Yet, if we apply our minds to a specific task, especially one that interests us, they gather together and allow us to focus our attention, creating great power and energy. This is what is known as pure thought, because it is undistracted.


The law of attraction—like attracts like—influences all energy, including our thoughts, and this is what makes pure thought so potent. Our undistracted thoughts create a powerful magnet that draws similar energy into our vibrational field. As a result, the longer we are able to hold positive thoughts in our minds, the more powerful the positive energy around us becomes. We don't need to focus on action and controlling so much when we are surrounded by energy that draws what we want toward us. We can simply respond to the opportunities that naturally come our way. When this is the essence of our experience, we can go with the flow, knowing that we will be okay.

If pure thought is a body, it is our emotions that supply the heart that can really bring it to life. Our thoughts and feelings exist in relation to one another, and they form a feedback loop through which they communicate and empower each other. When we hold a thought in our mind without being distracted, we have achieved pure thought. When we have a positive emotional response to that thought, we enable it to dance and move and breathe itself into existence.

What do you think?

Daily Om

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A Zen Interlude



"We spend most of our time and energy in a kind of horizontal thinking. We move along the surface of things...but there are times when we stop. We sit still. We lose ourselves in a pile of leaves or its memory. We listen, and breezes from a whole other world begin to whisper."
James Carroll

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Butterfly Effect


Imaginal Cells

Have you ever noticed a change that needed to happen at work that would make things run smoother, would result in more customer satisfaction, would create more profit, or would simply improve employee moral without negatively affecting productivity? Did your manager shut you down and completely ignore your suggestions? Have you ever had a vision for how your local community or state could make some positive changes to clean up the environment, ease traffic congestion, keep the teenagers out of trouble, or help the homeless only to have the local politicians and officials bury your ideas in red tape and governmental double-talk? Have you ever had spiritual ideals that were incredibly inclusive and loving, yet people were so close-minded that they couldn’t even see the beauty of what you were envisioning for them? Have you ever pinpointed the root causes of your family’s dysfunctional behaviors and beat your head against a wall trying to get them to heal, grow, and change along with you? Have you ever felt like the Lone Ranger?



After a caterpillar buries itself inside its cocoon, it waits to morph into a butterfly. The caterpillar does not simply shrink a bit and sprout wings. Instead, it sort of disintegrates into a puddle of ooze within the cocoon. If we were to open the cocoon halfway through the process, we would not find a half-caterpillar half-butterfly type creature, but a blob of goop. The goop is made up of a bunch of individual cells that are all basically the same type of oozy cells. For whatever reason, after the caterpillar has turned into ooze, a new type of cells start appearing. The original ooze cells are NOT changing into these new cells, but rather the new cells seem to come out of nowhere. They just appear out of thin air so to speak.



These new cells are called imaginal cells and they are so completely different from the original ooze cells that they are thought to be a virus or some other form of enemy so the ooze cells begin attacking the imaginal cells. However, even though the imaginal cells are being killed off for not fitting in, they still keep showing up, more and more of them. Eventually, the imaginal cells begin to find each other and cluster together. Like attracts like, and the clusters begin to join up with other clusters. The original ooze cells still keep attacking them but the imaginal cells continue to multiply and cluster together.



Eventually, they become a large community and they switch gears from simply being a group of like-minded cells into the programming cells of the butterfly. Some imaginal cells start changing into wing cells, some start changing into antenna cells, some start changing into digestive tract cells, and so on. They are no longer imaginal cells but become butterfly anatomy cells. As we all know, if left alone to do his thing, the butterfly eventually emerges as a completely new entity from the original caterpillar. Do they hold the same memories, life lessons, and consciousness? Who knows? One would think that for survival of the species, the butterfly would still retain whatever knowledge the caterpillar had learned before entering into the cocoon state.



Sometimes we are led to play the role of imaginal cell in our little corner of the world. Being one of the very first of the imaginal cells can be a painful road to travel. It is different later on down the road as your cause begins to gather steam and becomes more popular. Imagine what the first women who were fighting for our right to vote went through compared to what we go through today trying to get equal pay and respect for a job well done. Imagine what the fighting for the right to even create a country based on inalienable rights and personal freedoms compared to what we go through just trying to maintain our rights and define what those freedoms are. Minority groups often feel like a cluster of imaginal cells being wrongly attacked just for being different. The masses assume that they must be the enemy; why else would they be so different? Being an outspoken lone wolf with a vision for big change away from the status quo can be scary and even dangerous.



I could tell you to hold true to your visions and to fight to the death. I could tell you that you should never ever allow anyone to stop you from making your dreams of a better world come true. But the truth is, we are not always committed to our visions. If you are working for a company that is growing stagnant and is not willing to adapt and grow with the times, then maybe your energy and brilliance is wasted on trying to fix them or change them. Maybe you should move on to another company, start your own business doing things ‘right’ according to your new vision, or simply let it go if all that really matters is that paycheck that allows you to feed and clothe your family. Not everyone who has a beautiful vision has the heart and soul of an activist within. Some things are definitely worth fighting to the death for while others are simply pleasant ideals. Only you can decide for yourself which of your imaginal cell type ideas are worth your time and energy.



If you are an imaginal cell in your family, in your workplace, in your community, in your political system, in your spiritual viewpoints, in your global world; know that you are not alone and know that what you do to improve life for your fellow man does matter and it does add weight to the collective consciousness of humanity. You may feel like you are completely alone in your battle, but know that there are others who agree, who are also dying for your cause, or who are so inspired by seeing you put it all on the line that they are finally brave enough to step forward making their agreement with you known.



If the imaginal cell is a quiet little thought somewhere in the back corner of your mind telling you that you could make huge changes in yourself to become less like the caterpillar and more like the butterfly, then know that you are not alone. Many people have done it before you and many more will follow your lead. You will know if you are meant to grow, morph, and change into some new and improved version of yourself by the reoccurring theme of those tiny little imaginal cells creating inspirational thoughts within your mind. The reoccurring thoughts will both haunt you and inspire you. They will cluster together creating themes of healing change, themes of growth, and themes of becoming something completely different then who you used to be. Fear not, for you are simply undergoing the butterfly’s experience. You too will feel alone in the dark unsure of what is you and what is not you. You too will have to claim that which is beautiful within and you too will have to fight your own way out of your self-imposed prison to strengthen your wings so that you can fly for the entire world to see, inspiring others to look within at their own imaginal cells.
Authored by Skye Thomas

The Power Behind Us


People That Support Us
Behind each of us stands at least one supporter. This was once thought to be the spouse who ran the home while leaving the other spouse free to work. While this is still one valid scenario, most of us will find that we have other kinds of supporters in our lives. In some cases, our supporters are the people whose help allows us to do the things we're best at, see to our obligations, or pursue or dreams. In other cases, our support may come from the people who are there to help us through life's challenges by offering us their strength and bolstering our spirit.

Our support may come from our families and friends or from the people we hire-nannies, assistants, gardeners, healers, therapists, and advisors. Our supporters may be the mentors who help us express ourselves by listening to us as we share our thoughts and feelings. Our supporter can be the person sitting next to us at a networking meeting or the teacher from our childhood whose words still resonate in our minds. We have always had supporters around us whether we noticed them or not. No matter where the support comes from, few of us can make it through life without assistance.

As we take the time to acknowledge everyone that has every supported us, we can't help but feel grateful. Understanding our place in our human support system helps us see that just as there are people that support us, we are a supporter to many people. By gratefully accepting the expertise and assistance of our supporters, we can consciously and more easily build a life that we love. Thanks to our staff, groups, friends, and loved ones for all their support. We all need each other's support to thrive this world.

From Daily Om

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Not Alone In The Dark


Looking At What We Don’t Want To See

It is one of life's great paradoxes that the things we don't want to look at in ourselves are the very things we need to look at in order to know ourselves better and to become more fully who we are. The feelings that make us want to run away are buried treasure full of energy and inspiration if we are willing to look. These feelings come in many forms, from strange images or snippets of information to recurring dreams and feelings that rise up seemingly without a reason. Whatever shape they come in, and no matter how scary they seem, these messengers bring the information we need in order to grow.

When we are tired of pushing something down, or trying to run away from it, a good first step is to write down what we think we are avoiding. Often this turns out to be only the surface of the issue or a symbol of something else. Expressing ourselves fully on paper is a safe way to begin exploring the murky territory of the unconscious. The coolness of the intellect can give us the distance we need to read what we have written and feel less afraid of it. It helps if we remember that no matter how dark or negative our thoughts or feelings may be, these are energies shared by all humanity. We are not alone in the dark, and all the gurus and teachers we admire had to go through their own unprocessed emotional territory in order to come out the other side brighter and wiser. This can give us the courage we need to open the treasure chest of what we have been avoiding.

Within the parts of ourselves that we don't want to look at, there are emotions that need to be felt. Unfelt emotions are stuck energy, and when we leave emotions unprocessed, we deprive ourselves of access to that energy. When we feel strong enough, we can begin the process of feeling those emotions, on our own or with guidance from a spiritual counselor. It is through this work that the buried treasure of energy and inspiration will pour forth from our hearts, giving us the courage to look at all the parts of ourselves with insight and compassion.

What do you think?

Copied from Daily OM

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Technology As Distraction

Choosing True Connections

We are often lured by the promise of new technologies to make our lives easier and help connect us to others. While they do so in many ways, they also present each of us with opportunities to make new choices about how we spend our time and invest our energy. Most gadgets are generally meant to improve the quality of our lives, but it is when we spend too much time with them that they actually do the opposite. By always using our portable emailers, cell phones, video games, and surfing the Internet, we actually become less connected and more distracted. By becoming aware of these tendencies, we harness the power to overcome them and make better choices for ourselves and our families.

Once we decide to consciously put our gadgets to work for us, we become masters of our time. We can give our full attention to whatever we are doing and not let phone conversations and other distractions take the place of human contact. Each of us has the ability to consciously choose to be more present in our lives. We can decide at any time to leave our gadgets behind and become aware of the sights and sounds around us in order to expand our awareness and be fully present in our bodies and our surroundings.

When we use our discernment about how we invest our personal energy, we can be sure that we choose only the best for ourselves and those we love. Our gadgets can be useful tools for our journey in the material world, but we must not forget that we are spiritual beings having a human experience and that means interacting with people on a personal level. Choices that enliven us and help us feel connected to our world and our loved ones always deserve our full attention and presence of mind, body, and spirit.

What do you think?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Culling Out The Weeds


The power of the mind is a curious thing, because it is so powerful yet so difficult to control sometimes. We find ourselves thinking a certain way, knowing that this thought may be creating trouble for us yet we find it difficult to stop. For example, many people have the experience of getting sick at the same time every year or every time they go on a plane. They may even be aware that their beliefs impact their experiences, so continue to think they will get sick and then they do.

Sometimes we need to get sick in order to process something or move something through our bodies. But often we get sick, or feel exhausted, because we don’t make the effort to galvanize the power of our minds in the service of our physical health, which is one of its most important functions. We really can use it to communicate to our bodies, yet we often regard the two as separate entities that have little to do with one another.

Knowing this, we have the power to create physical health and mental health, simply by paying attention to the tapes running in our minds. Once we hear ourselves, we have the option to let that tape keep running or to make a new recording. We harness the power of the mind in our defense when we choose supportive, healing words that foster good health and high spirits. All we need to do is remember to tend the field of our mind with the attentive and loving hand of a master gardener tending her flower beds, culling out the weeds so that the blossoms may come to fruition.

What do you think?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Bird Meditation



When the weather gets colder it can be more difficult to get in touch with the marvel of nature as it exists around us. Finding innovative ways to really connect with nature brings us closer to the wonders that envelop our lives. One way to do this is to perform a meditation with our feathered friends, the bird kingdom.

Just by taking a few moments each day to watch the bird activity that goes on in our backyards through our windows can bring a sense of calm and well-being to our lives. Watching and being with the birds that we share our garden space with us allows us to experience greater feelings of relaxation and gratitude for the diversity that is always present around us. Simply watching, without judgment or expectations, heightens our awareness of the beauty of nature. If you watch the birds for a long enough period of time you will begin to feel a great sense of deep joy within you knowing we are all truly divine. Doing this with our family members will in turn introduce a meditative practice that can easily be shared and appreciated by all, as well as create deeper bonds with each other through the joy of experiencing the healing power of nature.

Looking through our windows and placing a feeder and bird bath in our gardens to attract the birds is a way to call forth beauty into our lives. As we consciously connect with our outer world—even when the weather inhibits us from physically being in it—we see that the splendor we view outside of our windows is simply a reflection of what lies within us .

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Keeping Things In Perspective


Mountains

Mountains have always captured our imaginations, calling us to scale their heights, to circle and worship at their feet, and to pay homage to their greatness. Mountains can be seen from thousands of miles away, and if we are lucky enough to be on top of one, we can see great stretches of the surrounding earth. As a result, mountains symbolize vision, the ability to rise above the adjacent lowlands and see beyond our immediate vicinity. From the top of the mountain, we are able to witness life from a new perspective—cities and towns that seem so large when we are in them look tiny. We can take the whole thing in with a single glance, regaining our composure and our sense of proportion as we realize how much bigger this world is than we sometimes remember it to be.


Mountains are almost always considered holy and spiritual places, and the energy at the top of a mountain is undeniably unique. When we are on top of a mountain, it is as if we have ascended to an alternate realm, one in which the air is purer and the energy lighter. Many a human being has climbed to the top of a mountain in order to connect with a higher source of understanding, and many have come back down feeling stronger and wiser. Whenever we are feeling trapped or limited in our vision, a trip to our nearest mountain may be just the cure we need.


There’s a reason that mountain views are so highly prized in this world, and it is because, even from a distance, mountains remind us of how small we are, which often comes as a wonderful relief. In addition, they illustrate our ability to connect with higher energy. As they rise up from the earth, sometimes disappearing in the clouds that gather around them, they are a visual symbol of earth reaching up into the heavens. Whether we have a mountain view out of our window or just a photograph of a mountain where we see it every day, we can rely on these earthly giants to provide inspiration, vision, and a daily reminder of our humble place in the grand scheme of life.

Thursday, January 03, 2008