Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Happy Blog ReBirthday!

Celebrate Spirited Living

Broader Scope, Same Cool Insights
As promised in my
Reconstruction Zone
post, today is the rebirthday of this blog. Welcome to the new Hot Flashbacks, Cool Insights!

Once aimed primarily at baby boomers, Hot Flashbacks, Cool Insights now emphasizes practical spirituality, women’s issues, and the development of our intuitive gifts as guidance, what some people call “women’s intuition.” Not just women have or want to develop their sensitivities; men on this wavelength are welcome here with enthusiasm.

There are no age limits on a lifestyle that runs the full gamut of emotions and experience. This blog is about full-tilt living. The directions for finding our way and getting the most out of life involve learning to read the signs: synchronicity or meaningful coincidences, symbols both waking and dreaming, and how to weave those universal or cosmic hints into a synthesis of “getting it.” I call that the sort-it details.

I get regular key word searches leading to this site from people who are asking the question, “What are hot flashbacks?” What a perfect time to define the title terms of this blog.

While a hormonal transition may have intensified my “hot flashbacks,” menopause was only a triggering mechanism. Many readers assume this phrase refers to “the change,” but that’s incidental. I had hot flashbacks before, during, and after my hormonal crash. (Whew!) Here’s the hot ‘n’ cool of it:

Hot Flashbacks – Moments in your past that light up in your
mind and yell at you at the decibel level of a four-alarm fire,
This incident is significant!

Cool Insights – You “get” in the present: the pattern, purpose, or meaning of the experience or experiences that your mind has lit up for you.

Hot flashbacks and cool insights go together, hand in glove. They are those light bulb moments that lead to deep understanding, as well as personal and spiritual growth.

Since I’m changing directions midstream, I want to share why. Here’s the back-story about what brought me to this new slant. You’ll find—no surprise!—it was a hot flashback and a cool insight.

Too Close to See It
I started this blog at the suggestion of a literary agent to complement my memoir, also called Hot Flashbacks, Cool Insights. The agent thought a blog would be a great way for me to start gaining an audience for my writing in this genre. (Memoir was new to me.) I had many loyal readers of my past articles in astrology, flower essences and on other spiritual development tools and topics. I saw myself going more for a mainstream audience—seeking new readers who didn’t know me by prior reputation or works.

Like most memoirs, mine has episodes from various eras of my life, dowsed with the humor that helped me live through them. My book has three parts: Hormonic Convergence, about the cancer scare and emergency hysterectomy that took my already smoldering intuition over the top. While crashing into surgical menopause spread the bonfire of my sensitivities, the real flames I discovered were in the theme of my life—passion. Flashbacks on Passion is the middle section about my most formative life experiences involving passions of every kind from the heat of young hormones to right work—writing, my life’s passion. Sexagenaria recounts my struggles as my physical fire began to wane somewhat. In this section, I pondered how to keep the fires stoked to live a sizzling life all the way to the finish line.

With the book ending as Social Security was in sight for me and given boomers are a huge percentage of the population, this stage of life seemed like a logical focus for this blog. I figured other boomers would want to share discoveries about how to explode the old Old. (Consider the alternative!) Besides, boomers buy a ton of books and are “the” sought-after demographic with money to spend.

In the end, the universe had other plans for me. The details are too long to get into here, but I got crystal clear direction that I was missing the point of my own book. My GPS or God Positioning System works with those same tools I mentioned: synchronicity, signs, and symbols. It keeps “telling me where to go.”

I wasn’t supposed to give up my spiritual orientation in writing about my life or life in general. Spirituality has been my area of expertise for decades. In fact, there are existing posts on this site where I’ve talked about it plenty, but I just didn’t “get” that this was the point. My inner guidance? Come out of the closet, put it out there, and draw my core audience. Wow. So close to it, it went right over my head.

There was also a practical consideration. Hot Flashbacks, Cool Insights was not growing at the rate I’d hoped as a boomer blog. Prior to the nudge I got about changing this blog’s focus, I got an unexpected inspiration to start an astrology blog. I had been away from astrology in any formal sense since 2002. When The Radical Virgo overtook Hot Flashbacks in hits and unique visitors less than three months after I launched it, I could not ignore the light bulb: I play the symbols. It’s my gift to share. That’s why Hot Flashbacks is rededicated to seeing, hearing, and feeling those directions that are right in front of us—you know, the kind I had missed myself at the beginning of this blog.

Even though I finished my book almost a year ago, I have been dragging my feet on pursuing publication. Now I’m glad I did, because this redirection is right for Hot Flashbacks, Cool Insights—both the book and blog.

New Quote, New Slogan
While I’m redefining this blog and defining some of the terms bandied around on it, I’d like to do the same for the new slogan:

Live a Spirited Life! Look both ways for signs at the crossroads.

We encounter many crossroads every day of our lives. Some of them add up to huge intersections, where we get to make big decisions about our life’s direction. We simply need to look around for the hints at every crosswalk. The signs are posted. Some of them, I’ve already mentioned and will define further:

Synchronicity. Synchronicity or meaningful coincidences show us how life is supposed to hum. When synchronicities are popping, life is in harmony. They are direct signals that you’re headed in the right direction. You run into that person you haven’t been able to get out of your mind. The lyrics to a song on the radio “solve” a dilemma and dissolve your angst. You need a good repairperson for a major household disaster. Before you can even ask around for emergency referrals, a trusted friend starts talking about a great worker who just finished a project at her house. Oh, and he exceeded all expectations at the right price.

Signs. Many signs in life direct us to full, rich living, if we have the eyes to see—and if you’re a little nearsighted at the moment, don’t worry. This type of vision can be developed. (For some tips, read these previous posts:
Insighting a Riot and Believe Everything You Hear.) There are many types of signs—dreams, waking symbols that come to you—and of those you seek out. Symbol systems such as astrology, tarot, and other oracles can enlighten you when you’re looking for guidance.

Sort-It Details. We’re lucky when insight comes spontaneously, like combustion, but in real life, getting the point of our experiences usually takes a lot of self-reflection, thought, and analysis.
Journaling is one of the key ways to do it, but, hopefully, this blog will be a forum where we can share how we “go figure.”

Spirited Living! One of my favorite parts of
Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert’s blockbuster memoir, is the scene where life literally brings her to her knees. She discovers her personal, direct relationship with God and apologizes in advance to people who don’t see Him/Her/It in exactly the same way. Same here. I like to use terms that are as generic as possible when talking about spirituality, knowing how loaded language can be around people’s beliefs. I respect all paths and take wisdom wherever I find it. My personal orientation is universal, yet personal—kind of like Tevye talking to God directly in Fiddler on the Roof. Even if you don’t believe in anything bigger than the human spirit, the same fire leads to lively living.

Quote: Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards. I discovered the Kierkengaard quote in the Hot Flashbacks banner by synchronicity: Someone had posted it on Twitter. What a testimony to why we look back to understand the past to live well in the moment and create a positive future.

Bringing It Down to Earth
One of the most important factors in looking Up for guidance is bringing the information back down to earth. That’s why grounding and practicality are my guideposts when I “play the symbols.” I write on this blog about everyday life: how we can get the most out of what we experience. How to live well, play fair, and enjoy our stopover on this beautiful planet.

If we forget this, dabbling in all this “sign language” can leave us looking like a caricature of what I call a smiley-faced metafoofoo—someone who speaks in tongues of platitudes but hasn’t woven the principles into making their life work better. I’m all for feet on the ground and “value added.” I write from the synthesis of using the tools of spirited living. Often I don’t even mention them. I just share the results, like the answer to a math problem, without all the figures and head scratching. The tools are always in the background, but the bottom line is how they make life better.

Boomer Features
I’ll keep a recurring “cool saging” feature for the generation I’m proud to be a part of. After all, much of what I know is because I have lived long and have had a wealth experience as teacher. In addition to these occasional posts and keeping a Boomer Links List, I’m a founding member of
Boomer Authority on Twitter. I have volunteered to monitor posts on the topic of spirituality.

It’s Not About the Stage of Life; It’s About the Stage of Light
Welcome readers young, older, and in-between. If light is your goal—both ongoing learning and lightening up with humor—I hope you’ll find plenty of juice on this blog. I seek to create a light socket, a power source. Thank you for being part of my transmission grid!

As we share here, may we spread a lot of light and Spirited Living.

OK, light’s covered--candles are lit—but we can’t have a rebirthday party without gifts:

The past is a gift; it has the answers for the future. That’s the present.


Photo Credit: SIGN BOARD ©

Comment Contest! Don’t forget the
Blog Comment Contest
through Friday. Comment to enter a drawing for a women writers’ mystery anthology, including Joyce’s humorous offering, “Digital.” See sidebar for special, additional prizes to the first three people who comment on this rebirthday post.


rosie said...

This is the beginning of a book. Whereas, I am not a fan of astrology I am a fan of yours. You are one of the most sincere, caring and kindest person I know.
My intuitive spiritual side comes, from my perspective, the empowering of the Holy Spirit. We all define spiritual stuff so differently but we know that it just ain't physical and goes deeper than what we see.As baby boomers I think we tend to "get it" based on so many years of sometimes "not getting it"
Anyway, congratulations on your rebirth. We must keep reinventing ourselves don't we?

Joyce Mason said...

Thanks for being the first to comment at the my blog's rebirthday party, Rosie! You have won a $5 Starbucks card. E-mail me to confirm your mailing address.

It's great when we can separate beliefs from believers.(Imagine the holy wars that could have been avoided if everyone did that.) How we view the spiritual side of life may be diverse, but a good heart and soul are the same by any creed or philosophy. I, too, love the Holy Spirit--one of the may ways I perceive "spiritual stuff." Love that term!

I'm just a mirror, my friend, reflecting back the same sincere, caring kindness you also exude! :)

Eileen Williams said...

Congratulations on the new direction of your fabulous site! After reading many of your posts, I consider you a spiritual guide in the blogosphere. You've opened my eyes to numerous thoughts and experiences I would have otherwise missed due to your sensitive and intuitive take on life.
I'm looking forward to reading much, much more and best wishes for the book, too!

Joyce Mason said...

Eileen, thank you for being such a staunch fan of "Hot Flashbacks, Cool Insights." I love having you here. You always have so much of value to say, even when you aren't complementing me! :)

And you have won the 2nd of 3 $5 Starbucks cards in the Rebirthday Give-Away! I'll be sending that along to you. I think you're a tea drinker, which they also have aplenty. So glad my writing and blog are your cup of tea!

Donna Cunningham said...

Congratulations on the rebirth, Joyce. I think many new readers will come to this blog, drawn by your insights and blithe spirit. My best regards!

Joyce Mason said...

Donna, thanks for your constant support over the years and your optimism about my blog redirection.

You have won #3 of 3 $5 Starbucks cards as the third person to comment at the rebirthday party.

Thanks, and it'll be on its way in no time!

Susannah said...

Happy ReBirthday! - I enjoyed my virtual glass of Champagne. :-)

Joyce Mason said...

Thanks, Susannah! Your bubbly personality fits right in with the champagne. :) So enjoy having you as a Cool Insighter regular.