Chilling In

By , January 31, 2011 10:46 PM

We’re having a cold spell at the moment.  Ha!  That’s a bit of an understatement.  The high tomorrow is supposed to be -2ºF and don’t even get me started on what the wind chills are supposed to be or tomorrow’s overnight low.  Brrr!  It’s just wrong. I’m happy to report that this happens very rarely.  And it is rather curious because three days ago, it was 65ºF!  But, to be blunt, this still totally sucks.

On days like this I usually work from home.  So, today and tomorrow, and maybe even Wednesday, I’ll be connected remotely.  Because most of the people I’ve been working with recently are in Ottawa or Dallas, it doesn’t matter much where I am physically.

There’s something about this paradigm that is sort of freeing.  I can be anywhere and still work if I need to, but the flip side of it is that it feels very isolating because I’m not coming face to face with my coworkers very often and the interaction I have with them is solely work-focused.  The social aspect is minimal.  Factor in the cabin fever component and it adds up to some long days…

As you may know, the University of Colorado at Boulder is a major school here in the area.  They are often in the news for one reason or another and today was no exception.  The local newspaper headline announced that the University’s freshman class has the lowest level of emotional health ever and students are seeking assistance from the school’s counselors in droves for conditions like anxiety and depression.

I suspect all the technology options available are isolating us to a detrimental degree.  I know it has an effect on me!  Sure, staying plugged in constantly provides an illusion of connection, but it doesn’t substitute for face time.  It’s common to see packs of kids walking together, but, instead of speaking with each other, their thumbs are busy texting to people elsewhere.  I feel like we’re suffering from chronic withdrawal from humanity.

The reality is that snuggling up with a laptop or a phone is not that satisfying and doesn’t substitute for the having an actual person nearby.  I’d like to propose a movement that is all about cutting the technological umbilical cord and connecting energetically, not electrically.  It’d be about finding your community and being physically and emotionally present with them.  Anyone else game?  It sounds awesome to me!  Hmmm… Is it getting warmer in here?

© 2011, Tamar98. All rights reserved.

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Genius Envy

By , January 30, 2011 9:15 PM

I’m an Apple girl.  I got my PowerBook G4 almost 5 years ago now, and it’s been a trooper of a computer.  I know I really only scratch the surface of what it can do, but I’ve loved every moment of this machine.

Lately, it’s been feeling sort of constipated, so I took it in to the Apple store in Boulder for a free 15-minute assessment appointment.  Apple calls its technical consultants “Geniuses” and my Genius took one look at it and started telling me that this was one of the best models Apple had ever made.  She took out the battery (which I know is shot because it no longer holds a charge) to evaluate it, she held down keys and put her ear to the keyboard to listen to the hard drive.  She opened windows here and there, faster than I could even keep track.  She worked some kind of magic (although I was watching over her shoulder, I’m not sure what she actually did except empty the Trash and reboot it several times) and it seems much happier now.

I asked her about backing it up, which she showed me how to do in about one minute.  She made some suggestions about upgrading, gave me the business card for a local company to help me do that, and let me know what I should expect to spend for a new battery and an external drive for the backups.  I walked out of the store feeling both empowered and like an idiot.

I definitely feel like she gave me the skinny on what I need to know.  I don’t feel like she prescribed anything unnecessary and she certainly didn’t pressure me to do or buy anything.  I totally appreciate all that.

What didn’t work for me was the fact that the next time (if there is one) my computer is out of sorts, I’ll be making another appointment and humbly waiting for a Genius to diagnose the situation and tell me what to do—even if it’s just that I need to empty my Trash and reboot more often.  I feel helpless.  I sort of hate that.

But this is a really important reminder for me.  I make choices about how to spend my time.  I’m not a super-techie person and I don’t strive to be, although it would probably come in handy from time to time.  As such, I’ve got to accept that I will be relying on a Genius here and there to help me along.  Well, and that won’t just be the case for my computer.  I’ll tell you what: I think it’ll help me to remember that I just need to call in the right Genius for whatever I need.

© 2011, Tamar98. All rights reserved.

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Holographic Life

By , January 29, 2011 11:00 PM

What do you think of the person you see in the mirror every morning?  How do you feel about the person you were ten, twenty years ago?  Do you ever get frustrated by the fact that you didn’t learn something earlier or make changes in your behavior before you actually did?

For most of us, I’m guessing we can all look at our current and past selves and see something that we wished was different—either then or now.

The reality, of course, is that we can’t really go back into the past to change it.  And regretting something that happened (or didn’t happen) doesn’t do anything much except make us feel bad and drain our energy.  What to do?

There are options.  The first option is to continue to harbor that sense of regret or even self-loathing for the person we were or the choices we made.  I think we all know how to do this.  Self-torture and self-punishment comes disappointingly easily to many of us.

The second option is a highly popular choice.  Squelch.  Deny.  Suppress.  Kill that part of ourselves that we didn’t like.  Wipe it out.  Yes, we may have very good reasons for being convinced that that part of ourselves needs to be eliminated.  Maybe it is ugly.  Maybe we knew we hurt people.  In our shame and remorse, we can be motivated to cease giving voice to the unacceptable aspects of ourselves.  (Um, if this option is sounding appealing to you, you may want to refer back to last week’s post about the shadow self.)  At best, this is a temporary, band-aid solution because it’s unsustainable.  Your soul’s journey is always toward wholeness.

I realized in the last day or so that there is a third option.  I don’t think I’ve ever explicitly thought about it before quite like this, but it also seems like it’s the only truly effective way to deal with this type of scenario.  Love it.  Love yourself.  Uncover the gifts in the situation.  See how courageous you are to actually face and embrace whatever happened.  Make amends.  Forgive others and yourself.  Integrate it all into the hologram of your life and soul.

With a hologram, every piece contains a reflection of the whole.  This is true for us as well.  Every moment of our lives includes the best and worst of us in that moment—the shadow and the light.  We are defined by our duality.  Do we become more whole by fracturing ourselves further?  Can we teach peace through violence?  No.  Love heals.  Love allows us to learn compassion and acceptance.  Love unites us to become our best, whole selves.

© 2011, Tamar98. All rights reserved.

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Two to Tango

By , January 28, 2011 10:07 PM

Do you remember, a couple of days ago, when I mentioned that Facebook sometimes acts like a wormhole connecting the past and the present?  Yes, as you may have guessed, that post was inspired by someone from my past reappearing completely unexpectedly in my life via that portal.

I will admit that I was initially reluctant to communicate with him at all.  When we parted ways decades ago, it was not pretty.  I was in a lot of pain for a long time trying to move past what had transpired between us and another coincident situation.  It’s actually not that I was still angry with him, because I’m not.  There was some concern about dredging up old pain, but the big reason I was hesitant was because I wasn’t sure I wanted to let someone into my life who had shown me such disregard.

The situation continues to unfold in an interesting way and we’ve started a conversation that I feel could be very healing for both of us.

Over the years, I’ve processed so much of my own pain through various means—therapy, analysis, writing letters, classes of all sorts, meditation, energy work.  Honestly, I’ve learned a lot and I’m so happy to say that I feel like I’m finally living an authentic, peaceful life.

I haven’t been angry with him in over twenty years.  I forgave him back then to free myself of the burden of the anger I felt.

But, I’ll tell you this: to get an apology and acknowledgment from him now—all these years later—has been really wonderful.  Yes, it’s always nice to hear an apology, but, for whatever reason, hearing an apology from him has actually given me space to forgive myself a little bit more for being the person I was back then and the choices I made.  And for not “getting it” sooner and for disregarding myself.

I can certainly look back now and see how he was a mirror for me in our relationship.  We were a perfect match—each of us showing the other what we needed to see about ourselves.  Unfortunately, at the time, neither of us got it.  It has actually been easier for me to forgive him than it has been to forgive myself for my own shortcomings.

I don’t think I’m alone in typically being harsher on myself than I am on others.  So, it has turned out to be quite a divine gift to hear from someone who felt the need after 25  years to apologize to me, so that I can also forgive myself.

© 2011, Tamar98. All rights reserved.

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Connections

By , January 27, 2011 9:39 PM

I met a friend for lunch today.  We worked together years ago and, while we sat across from each other at the table at the Two Dog Diner, we tried to calculate how long it had been since we’d seen each other.  Although we couldn’t be completely sure, we settled on the guess that it had been approximately 10 years.  Wow!  Time flies.

It was fascinating to get a snapshot of what someone has done over ten years, how far she has progressed in her career, and how different her life is now than it was then.  I was actually quite inspired by some of what she told me.

Do you ever feel like what you want is unrealistic?  And then you meet someone who’s found a way to have exactly what you once envisioned but dismissed from the realm of possibility?  What my friend described about her work situation was very interesting to me.  Specifics aside, she had found a way to bring into her world many of the aspects I’m also seeking—very generous income, full-time location flexibility, half-time hours.  Seeing that she has found a way to have those aspects give me a surge of trust that it’ll be possible for me too.

It’s time to look at what you want in your life.  Do you know?  More importantly, do you believe you can have it?  Do you need proof that it’s possible?  Look around.  Chances are you’ll see someone around you who has it.  Ok, if they can have it, does that mean it could also happen for you?  If not, I would challenge you to really take a hard look at your belief system to determine why not.  Oh, yeah, and then debunk it!

Early this evening, I checked my email and she’d sent me a note to let me know that she’d run into another former coworker this afternoon, who, it turned out, will be looking to fill a position soon that would be right up my alley…

After all, as she put it, this has been the week for reconnection.

© 2011, Tamar98. All rights reserved.

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Past Meets Present

By , January 26, 2011 10:19 PM

Ahhhh, Facebook…  In some ways, it’s like it has opened a time portal.  People whom I thought I’d left in my past just continue to resurface in the most unexpected ways.

I must admit, however, that it can be a mixed bag.  In some situations, I’ve been thrilled to reconnect with my best friends from various stages of my life.  At other times, I’ve been contacted by people who “did me wrong” and that can be rather discombobulating.

Although this might sound strange, I have never been one to live in the past.  I don’t often look back and remember the good old days or any other, for that matter.  I’m much more likely to project myself forward in time, living in the hope for a better tomorrow.  I’ve actually gotten much better about just being in the present moment, but that’s really only become a conscious choice for me in the last decade or so.

When I look back on the people I’ve known in my life—no matter how our relationships unfolded—I only very rarely harbor animosity.  It usually takes a lot for me to get over a relationship that has fallen apart, but when I’m done, it sort of gets buried and my focus moves on.  Often the love lives on, sometimes it doesn’t.

And, here’s the thing…  Even the most unlikely characters from my past who have shown up via Facebook or through another medium have come bearing gifts.  Acknowledgements, apologies, releasing me from pain I didn’t even know I still had.  As deeply grateful as I am for the gifts they’ve brought me, that doesn’t always mean I feel comfortable letting them into my current life and I choose accordingly.  Remember that you, too,  always have a choice.

© 2011, Tamar98. All rights reserved.

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Very Small Packages

By , January 24, 2011 8:28 PM

The best gifts are the unexpected ones—the small gestures that come from the heart.  I was cleaning papers out of my purse over the weekend, when I found just such a gift.

As you know, the office at which I work is closing as of the end of March and we’ve had 2 of 3 layoff phases so far.  One of my coworker friends was in the first batch in November.  Happily, he’d started job hunting before the office closure was announced, so he had a job lined up even before his end date came around.

If you’ve ever been through this type of site shutdown before, you know it sucks.  Morale is in the gutter, people are unmotivated, and some employees can be downright mean as their fear and stress about finding work escalate.  And, it really just is depressing to see a place you’ve worked at for so many years, with so many good people, disintegrate in front of your eyes.

In preparation for the second round of layoffs in December, we had a send-off gathering at a local restaurant and my friend came to participate.  As we were catching up, he suddenly exclaimed, “I have something for you!” and reached into his pocket and handed me a folded up piece of paper.

“Expecto Patronum!” was written on the page.  I smiled, recognizing the Harry Potter spell immediately.  My friend indicated I should turn the page over.  What was written on the other side was, “This is the spell to cast out the soul-sucking Dementors that steal all the optimism and hope from the room.  Use as needed!”

That paper has been traveling in my purse with me ever since.  I’ve pulled it out a few times over the past 6 weeks or so that I’ve had it.  I’ve even invoked the spell.  I actually find it to be incredibly effective because it warms my heart and makes me laugh.  I have to admit that it’s one of the best gifts I’ve received in quite a while.

I mean, how can you not love that??  The spell worked right away!

© 2011, Tamar98. All rights reserved.

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Smudge It

By , January 23, 2011 9:04 PM

Are you familiar with smudging?  If you’ve not heard of it before, it’s a ritual of using smoke to purify the energy in a space or around a person.  I think smudging is usually associated with the Native Americans, but in Chinese medicine similar bundles of dried herbs are burned during moxibustion.

Most commonly, you’ll see tied bundles (or “sticks”) of dried white sage used to cleanse, bless, and purify a space.  The bundle is lit and then allowed to smolder (you don’t want actual flames).  The burning embers produce a fair amount of smoke, which can be fanned into the corners of your home or even over your body using your hands or a feather.

Along with the smoke, you can set an intention for your ceremony to cleanse and purify.  You can ask for assistance from your spirit guides and/or you can follow your intuition for how you move through your space.  I usually focus on the top and bottom corners of the room, the doors, and the windows.  Remember, white sage is about cleansing the space.  As such, I like to open my front door and my back door during the process, so allow whatever intuitive creativity that feels right for you to be part of your ceremony.

There are other herbs which are commonly used, but they are generally associated with different applications.  For example, cedar sticks are protective medicine toward unwanted influences.  Burning sweetgrass brings in the blessings of Mother Earth and the Divine Feminine.  There are many resources online and elsewhere on smudging, creating ceremonies (which can be simple or complicated—pick one or make one up that resonates with you), and finding supplies.  You’ll often see an abalone shell used to contain the burning items and you can get large feathers to assist with fanning the smoke where you want it to go.

Why do I bring this up today?  I’ve not been a regular smudger, but I’ve done so twice this year already.  My home is my haven and when I get a feeling of not being able to shake certain thoughts or of energetic heaviness or that I’m suddenly feeling presences in my home, I’ll smudge.  It helps.  I don’t think I’m alone in needing a bit more support than normal these days and I thought I’d mention what could be a useful tool for you as well.

© 2011, Tamar98. All rights reserved.

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Winds of Change

By , January 22, 2011 8:53 PM

Although most people might not guess it, Colorado can be a pretty windy place.  Around here, the gusts can sometimes get up to 90 miles per hour.  Trees get blown over.  Roofs take flight.  The sticker lane marker stripes on the highway peel up.

Aside from the obvious physical experience we all have, the winds can also bring other symptoms.  People get antsy, irritable.  Lots of people get migraines or suffer insomnia when the winds howl through the night.  In the Chinese medicine view, wind energy is the cause of many illnesses because of its rapidly changing nature.

The wind is known for its own mercurial nature.  Here, the wind also heralds change.  When the air is turbulent, the weather is sure to transform.

Today, as I ran my errands, my hair spiraled around my head (not because I have curly hair!), the skies were bright blue, and the sun shone in all its glory.  Along the mountains, white and grey out-of-focus clouds swirled in the sky as the mountains got another winter storm.  It really was so beautiful.

I can’t shake the feeling that things are changing in ways I can’t possibly predict.  That I cannot on some level predict the coming changes is new.  For me, planning and being able to foresee what’s coming gives me a sense of security.  I’m a bit surprised that I apparently don’t need that now.  And you don’t either.

The slate is clean.  What does that inspire you to create?

© 2011, Tamar98. All rights reserved.

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Heart of the Matter

By , January 21, 2011 10:19 PM

The other day, I heard the following statement…

Skeptics have always been searching for truth. The question is, what would they do if they found it?

I’m actually intrigued by what this implies because I feel there are several layers to the meaning.  Today, I’m going with the following…

Being skeptical is a mental pursuit.  Doubt and questioning are activities that your brain engages in as it attempts to understand or create context.  When your brain looks for an answer, where does it look?  It looks outside—out there, outside itself, outside its body.

What would happen if your brain found truth?  Would it even recognize it?  Or would there simply be more questions?  What would it do if there were no more questions it could think to ask?  Do you think it would be satisfied?  Or would it simply spin up another cycle of skepticism?  Could skepticism even be an addiction?  I don’t know about you, but that’s the way my brain often operates.

Contrast that with your heart’s approach.  My heart usually knows pretty close to immediately if what I’m experiencing is truth or not.  And, once it knows, it knows.  That’s pretty much the end of the story.  There’s nothing to investigate, nothing to question.

So, how much do you listen to your heart?  Do you trust what you hear from it?  Or do need proof or need to ask some questions to validate it?

© 2011, Tamar98. All rights reserved.

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