Sunday, December 26, 2010

10 Weeks of Word Oracles – Storage



End of the Series and Other End-Beginnings

© 2010 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved


What do we put in storage? Usually, things we value but don’t need or aren’t using at this time. Holiday decorations are a perfect example. We may treasure ornaments we’ve collected for decades, but they’re only appropriate to display during a certain season. We may have a house full of belongings that no longer fit in a downsized life that await in the storage facility, wondering if our circumstances will shift and make them practical to use once more. Sometimes we keep hanging onto things we’ll never really need again for sentimental reasons.

Do you have things in your life that you need to put in storage? Literally or figuratively?


To read more about the word oracle series, see
10 weeks of Word Oracles #1

The Culmination of the Word Oracle Series—and a Surprising Synchronicity

Mining words for insights and their metaphorical meanings has been an eye-opening experience for me for ten posts. This is our last word in the series.

We have explored: upper, fall, slice, drawing, yesterday, coloring, bother, backlog, belief, and now storage. (The easiest way to find any one of the articles on these previously covered words is to pop the word into the Search box on the sidebar.)

Ironically, the last several words we’ve explored have had personal meaning and added clarity to my difficult decision to put Hot Flashbacks, Cool Insights into a form of “storage” as of the first of the year. As I write this post and wish you a Happy New Year, I’m also saying good-bye for now—at least for the most part.

Since the inception of my astrology blog, The Radical Virgo, in March 2009, my inner guidance has made it clear that more of my time and attention needs to be spent in the direction of astrology, my reopened Inner Growth Work practice, and my book writing projects. Finally, I’m surrendering to what’s good for me for now. Used to be I wouldn’t give up till I was almost completely burned out trying to “do it all.” I’m improving!

At present there are five times more visits and participation on The Radical Virgo than Hot Flashbacks. While we have maintained a loyal audience on this blog, it is relatively small. As my first blog, Hot/Cool has a special place in my heart. It’s like my first-born child—truly special. I love it here. I still plan to keep Hot Flashbacks, Cool Insights somewhat active—occasional posts as the spirit moves and monthly astrological updates. Now that I’ll be blogging much less, it’s your chance to dig into any posts you missed or to dig deeper in ones you’re ready to revisit. See Most Popular Posts near the top of the sidebar as a great starting point.

I freely admit; I’ve become addicted to blogging. But it takes up most of my time every week.  My projects on hold are the ones that will help support my family and me. More importantly, they are works of the heart that I need to share to fulfill my vocational passion.

I will monitor Comments to previous posts and the occasional new one! Feel free to get talking about anything on Hot/Cool … and to keep in touch. Visit The Radical Virgo, too. Even of you’re a newbie to astrology, you’ll find many beginner-friendly articles. Like any language, immersing yourself in astrology ultimately will make you fluent. You’ll be talking squares, oppositions, quincunxes and retrogrades before you know it!

As my other projects come to fruition and my energy shifts, there’s a good chance I’ll be back here with cool insights in some new way. This blog has always been about following Spirit … and that’s often a wild wide with many twists and turns! I hope I have set an example for following your inner voice.




Meditation and Journaling on Storage

Sit quietly in a meditative posture, whatever one works for you. Have pen and paper nearby.

1.      Take three deep breaths. Say “storage” to yourself. Let the word rest on your mind, and then let your mind speak. Now ask yourself, “What do I need to put away for now?” Take plenty of time to let the thoughts form or memories come back to you. Let your memories or thoughts finish speaking. When they’re done saying what they have to say, write down their message.

2.      Return to meditation. Read this thought, and then sit with it in the silence for as long as it feels right:  I scan my life for what no longer serves me and my vision now, knowing I can put it in storage or place it on hold to review it another day. I sense some things are still part of my life, just not now.

3.      When you come out of meditation, look at what you wrote about “storage.” Take some time to contemplate it. Carry these thoughts and intentions into your week. Learn as much as possible about potential “storage projects” this week. Write a few wrap-up notes as we put away 2010 for 2011.

After you put away what needs to go into storage, you can fully embrace what the New Year has “in store” for you!

Happy New Year, and I’ll be back in January with tips on how to mine the archive of posts on this blog for continued cool insights.

Every blessing to each and every one of you,
Joyce

~~~


Photo credit: Storage Box © Bradcalkins | Dreamstime.com



Tuesday, December 7, 2010

10 Weeks of Word Oracles - Belief



© 2010 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved
 
Whether you’re a Christian, Jew, Muslim, agnostic or atheist—whatever the flavor or your spirituality or worldview—December is a Season of Love and Light. People are, for the most part, kinder. Anticipation fills the air. Even those who don’t believe in Santa, Jesus, good karma—or that people are still good at heart—even they may find it difficult to avoid the contagion of a world that’s on an upper.

There are some people who don’t have good holiday memories and fall into crabby or Scrooge-like behavior because of their unhealed personal pain. There’s enough goodwill around to absorb their hurt and bitterness. Yes, there’s commercial madness and a lot of falling off-center about the true spirit of the season. This is the perfect time of year for reviewing our beliefs and asking ourselves, what are they? Have they changed? How do I act from them as an individual in integrity?


To read more about the word oracle series, see 10 weeks of Word Oracles #1

The Sun entered Sagittarius on Nov. 22, the sign associated with philosophy, religion, beliefs, and higher education. To read more about how the astrology of the month between Nov. 22 and the Winter Solstice on Dec. 21 influences us, take a Moonwalk: Sagittarius with me on The Radical Virgo.

How Do We Teach Kids Values?

I had a conversation with a friend about this recently, about how to “teach our children well,” as the old Fifth Dimension song goes (one of my faves). Greed and other Golden Rule breakers tip our world in the wrong direction. Greed, for one, seems directly responsible for our current economic chaos. We need to be against it, vote against it, and act against it if we find it creeping into our thoughts and actions. We’ve managed to make smoking socially taboo and economically expensive and have done the same thing with drinking and driving. We take away licenses and throw butts in jail! Now, let’s go for greed! We are not helpless. We can just say no to things that are not good for society as a whole.

We live in an increasingly secular world. In my own case, I grew up in parochial schools with strong ethics. I may not have always agreed with the reasoning of the nuns who taught me. I often say, they taught me the right things, often for the wrong reasons. For example, there’s nothing inherently wrong with sexuality; it’s beautiful. However, having sex before one is old enough to handle the emotional and possible physical consequences is a nightmare waiting to happen. I often muse that guilt and control were just one way to teach. I’m very mental. They could have also reached me with reason!

In other words, there are many ways to share beliefs. If we want sound children and grandchildren, we need to start telling them our stories—why we do things the way we do, why we don’t do them in a way that harms others. But before we can pass along a good code for living, it’s important to make a periodic review of where we stand with these issues. You might be surprised to uncover dilemmas, changes, and a need to regroup your thinking.

Spiritual Diversity

I celebrate spiritual diversity. There are many ways to look at life and live it, but at heart, we are all human. Any way of life that enhances our freedom and respect for one another is life-affirming and a good thing. Early in my explorations of metaphysics, I was tolerant of everyone except the spiritually conservative. Fortunately, I have grown to embrace people who take a religious fundamentalist approach as much as those who chant om on hilltops. People have different ways of helping themselves stay on the straight and narrow, which is nothing more than the path we have in common where we support each other without harm and hopefully, with help--and emphasis on the “support.”

I’ve got an idea for you this holiday season, because I drew this word as an oracle. Ask a friend of a different faith if you can attend a service with him or her. Or visit a church, synagogue or mosque on your own—with a phone call ahead, if it helps you to have an entrée. Go to an atheists’ meeting.  If nothing else, rent a movie to learn more about some viewpoint or faith other than your own. Tolerance comes from knowing people with different ideas, from putting different beliefs in the context of our shared humanity. This outreach may help you solidify or amend your own beliefs in some way. At best, it’s an exciting adventure to learn how the other half lives.  When you consider how many wars are fought over religion, this exercise can truly be your part in creating peace on earth, as in that wonderful song, “Let There Be Peace on Earth—and Let It Begin with Me.”

What better time of year! And now for an inner journey on the same subject …


Meditation and Journaling on Belief

Sit quietly in a meditative posture, whatever one works for you. Have pen and paper nearby.

1.      Take three deep breaths. Say “belief” to yourself. Let the word rest on your mind, and then let your mind speak. Now ask yourself, “What are my basic beliefs?” Take plenty of time to let the thoughts form or memories come back to you. Let your memories or thoughts finish speaking. When they’re done saying what they have to say, write down their message.

2.      Return to meditation. Read this thought, and then sit with it in the silence for as long as it feels right:  I review my beliefs and note how I have changed. I work on clarifying my beliefs to myself so I can share them coherently with others. Sharing beliefs in a non-threatening way leads to peace on earth, one person at a time.

3.      When you come out of meditation, look at what you wrote about “belief.” Take some time to contemplate it. Carry these thoughts and intentions into your week. Learn as much as possible about your beliefs this week. Write a few wrap-up notes before the end of the week and our next word.

Above all, believe in yourself!

~~~

Next and final word in the series:  Storage 

Photo Credit: © Mkoudis | Dreamstime.com











Monday, November 29, 2010

The Fairy Godmother’s 2010 Holiday Gift Guide


Yes, boys and girls! She’s baaaack! The Fairy Godmother is now in her third year on Hot Flashbacks, Cool Insights. She’s here to bonk you with her magic wand and sprinkle you with fairy dust. As always, she’s got new gift ideas for spirited giving. I hope you find a match between some of Mom’s ideas and your gift list.

Spa-La-La- La-La – If you’ve got women on your list that love to soak in the lap of luxury, go to the health food store or your favorite boutique and buy some natural bath products. Plantlife is one of Mom’s favorite brands. These carefully chosen items should smell so good, it’s hard not to keep them for yourself! Pack them in a little basket, or in the case of the Plantlife products, soap and bath packets are square. They can be stacked, wrapped in clear vinyl wrap, tied with a bow and a tag that says Spa-La-La-La-La.

The Merry Martini Mixology Book.  Here’s one good-time gift for Sex & the City type girlfriends—or for any guy or gal who likes their holiday cheer unique and fun. Even if you aren’t an expert mixologist, no worries! The Martini Diva will guide you through all the necessary steps, making you laugh out loud while making your martinis—not to mention the laughter to follow while drinking them. Click the book cover to purchase. And don’t forget, you can mix it up a little on New Year’s Eve. Save the champagne for midnight, sandwiched in-between a few fancy ‘tinis on either side. Don’t forget to drink in moderation and schedule a designated driver or call a cab when living spirited in the distilled spirits way. This small volume will jingle the bells of your friends who like to party!

Avatar, Collector’s Edition – With its metaphysical and ecological themes, Avatar is a natural for your spirited friends. I plan to see it over and over again! It just came out in DVD in mid-November and is available on Amazon for under $20 regular and $25 in Blu-ray. And if you want another one of Joyce’s punny tags to go with this Godmom suggestion, try Feliz Na’vi-dad!

Winter Wellness Basket – Sniffles, flu, the blah’s. Anticipate winter and bringing comfort to those you love who have a tendency to get under the weather when the thermometer plummets and the rain or snow sets in. Fill it with some of these helpful, natural products: Occillococcinum to avert or reduce the symptoms of flu; and for colds and building immunity, big bottle of Vitamin C or other great C- products like Emergen-C (comes in yummy flavors) or Airborne. Echinacea tincture is another immune booster. You can include bath salts for aches and pains (Batherapy) or Dr. Singha’s Mustard Bath. It knocks bugs on their bum! Any health food store or Whole Foods can utterly inspire this gift basket with natural products from lip balm to cough syrup to comforting medicinal teas. Rescue Remedy, which now comes in drops, pastilles, or spray, can fight the blahs and emotional heaviness that sometimes sets in with winter. For pure comfort, add a teddy bear, fluffy slippers, and or a lightweight fleece blanket that offers warmth without weight for sitting in front of the fire. If you want to go all-out, add a paperback book packed with humor. Laughter is always the best medicine!

Nostalgic Music and Dining – If there’s someone 60ish or older on your list, “era” music CDs are a can’t-go-wrong favorite. The soundtrack from American Graffiti is a great choice for baby boomers. There are countless collections on Amazon for music from nearly any era—30’s, 40s, 50’s or styles such as Big Band or Do Wop. Check your local PBS affiliate, too. There are often pledge drives that feature collections from these groups that are dynamite. Amazon carries some wonderful nostalgic Christmas music. Alternatively, if you’ve got a local Mel’s or similar ‘50s-themed diner, a gift certificate can let them blast to the past in person.

Kindle – If you can afford a big gift for your closest loved ones who are also avid readers, they will never stop thanking you for an e-reader. Did you know that Amazon predicts by year’s end that e-books will outsell paperbacks? Check out the three Kindle versions now available. The two smaller ones are $139 and $189. Tim and I are foregoing other gifts to give each other Kindles for Christmas. Check out other e-readers, too. I prefer Kindle for its light weight and several other features, but each person’s needs are unique.  Here’s a link to start comparing e-book readers.


Dressing Up Gift Cards

With times tough on the financial front for many people, gift cards are often the way to go. Many of us can’t go to Starbuck’s much any more, and I’m telling you, at the price of groceries, I’d jump up and down if someone gave me a card to one of my favorite markets. Restaurants are always a winner, but the problem with gift cards is that they seem a little uncreative and blah compared to a present that was carefully chosen. Gift cards could stand to be punched up a little, so here are some ideas our Fairy Godmom shared with me:

“Jungle Bells” – The Amazon’s a jungle, and there’s surely as much “wild life” when it comes to diversity of gifts on the website of the same name. If your recipients are web savvy, an Amazon gift card is a great choice because of Amazon’s many departments. Consider adding in a small stuffed “jungle” character like a monkey. The card can be taped or propped in the animal’s arms with a tag that says “Jungle Bells.”

Travel by Restaurant – In lasts year’s Fairy Godmother post, I talked about creating a “travel” gift by packaging an Outback Restaurant gift card as a trip to Australia. This same concept can be applied to any cuisine—a trip to Italy, Mexico, Greece—you name it! You can also apply this idea to gift baskets. Pack a basket with olive oil, pasta, the canned ingredients to make sauce, and your favorite recipe. Add a $10 gift card to a grocery store for meat, sausage or other fresh ingredients needed. Tag it as a trip to Italy and don’t forget to add “Merry Christmas” in the appropriate language (Buon Natale!).

Winter Reads – There’s nothing like curling up with a good book in the cold weather by the fire. Create a warm and cozy environment for your favorite bookworm. Package the card with some nice winter tea (the Celestial Seasons holiday line is superb) or cocoa. Place in a small basket or box with a bookmark or other reading paraphernalia, such as a pair of inexpensive reading glasses (if you can sneak a peak at their prescription), or my favorite reading tool, a leather book weight. It helps keep pages with a mind of their own flat and open. If you’re computer creative, you can even make your own bookmark with something special to the recipient, like a photo of grandkids or a favorite quote.

Between this year’s and the previous year’s Fairy Godmother’s posts, linked below, I hope you have plenty of ideas to make your holiday gift giving a delight to both giver and receiver. Spin off these suggestions and make them your own … and remember that the thoughtfulness behind your gift will shine through and keep giving long after the gift opening ritual is just a memory.

Happy Shopping—and Happy Holidays!

~~~

Photo Credit:  Granny Fairy © Regissercom | Dreamstime.com

Past Godmother Gift Posts:  The Fairy Godmother (2008) and The Fairy Godmother Wands You (2009)


Friday, November 19, 2010

10 Weeks of Word Oracles - Backlog



© 2010 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved


No one has to tell me why I drew backlog as one of our word oracles and potential goldmines of insight. I live in such backlog; it makes my hair stand on end. How about you?

My office is always in what I call an advanced state of chaos. I can barely find the things I need. Sometimes I can’t find them at all. I cringe to think of the money I’ve wasted buying replacements for things that are simply hidden away somewhere in my Fibber McGee’s closet. You know, the one where you open the door and assorted flying objects launch and go straight for your head. The avalanche is what you get for disturbing the peace of your put-off stuff. Now you want to access something or even deal with cleaning the mess and the mess is resistant.

Why do we do this to ourselves?



To read more about the word oracle series: 10 weeks of Word Oracles #1


The Bottom Line of Backlog

Backlog comes from an inability to make decisions, especially about the use of our time. It’s particularly hard for people like me with multiple interests. I keep thinking I can do it all, and my busy brain hates boredom so much, I actually try. I keep trying to do in my sixties what I could do in my forties. (At least I finally gave up trying to keep up with my twenties.) I can’t count the binders, tote bags and boxes for my various interests: making art from cast-off jewelry, saving scraps for Soul Collage cards, accumulating reading material on subjects so varied, I need a Dewey Decimal system to find anything.

Let’s not even get started on my computer. I can’t seem to let go of anything. I finally sort and do a purge on my In Box when it pushes 500. I might need one of those e-mails sometime, you know? And since I do occasionally, it just feeds my resistance to the Delete button. Add the fact that I’m terribly sentimental. Any object, e-mail, book or tschotschke given to me by someone I care about is destined to become a permanent relic.

This is a crazy way to live. I am not a slob at heart—quite the opposite. I am apparently not a good decision maker on the small things that accumulate into huge piles of backlog, whether work or do-dads. I seem to do much better with the big things—choosing a house, a spouse, a pet, or where to on vacation. It’s the little stuff that’s making my house into my Aunt Donna’s* curse. When she saw a messy house, she’d look around with a critical eye and declare, “Picks live here!” Her siblings shared my mother’s gift for malapropisms and mangling language, and her sister Donna was probably the worst in the family of everyone. Except for Uncle Enzo. He had no problem making big decisions. He wanted a “bunk” (bungalow) in “Skoke” (Skokie, a suburb of Chicago.) If “picks” could make better decisions on the little things, they could live here and I wouldn’t even complain or threaten to turn them into bacon.

Messes, Mom Energy, and Self-Love

The truth is my cumulative messiness has more to do with giving away my energy to everyone but me. I’m a giver by nature, and while this is not a bad thing in and of itself, the criminal neglect of my surroundings is a result of putting others first and my ambience last. Ambience is important to me! It’s another one of those ways women in particular can slip easily into doing for others more than the do unto themselves. (Is it time to reread The Converse Golden Rule?)

My adoptive mom was an immaculate housekeeper. I can remember how angry I’d get at her when she’d wake us up early on a Saturday morning, the only day we could sleep in, usually with a poke in the arm or ribs. Why? To clean house. What was she thinking? If you couldn’t eat off the floors, she would make so much noise, you’d scrub them with a toothbrush, if she wanted, just for the blessed silence.

Maybe I’m still rebelling, but I think it’s more that I’m too much like her in my over-mothering skills. I have to do less tending of others and more tending to myself.  My situation is complicated by the fact that my husband’s health conditions limits his mobility and energy, though he does do whatever he can to help when he can. But where it hits home is in my office, which he has nothing to do with. Work is obviously much more important than cleaning to me, but it’s getting to the point that I have to spend a lot of time clearing the debris of my backlog so I can continue to function in my bedroom-converted office. Can someone give me the formula for converting it back to organized? Can a priest, minister, or rabbi do something about this—say a prayer or at least let me tell a good joke about them?

What’s the Psychology of Whatever You’re Drowning In?

Backlogs involve resistance and poor prioritization skills for me. What’s the make-up of your mess or pile of Can’t Get To’s? These are topics worth pondering, if you truly want to break out of the endless loop of things piled up in whatever form. In the current economy, most people can’t afford household help, so it’s time to help yourself. Maybe I’ll finally read that book on How to Conquer Clutter—if I can find it!

Meanwhile, let’s discover mine some insights to downsize your current backlog.


Meditation and Journaling on Backlog

Sit quietly in a meditative posture, whatever one works for you. Have pen and paper nearby.

1.      Take three deep breaths. Say “backlog” to yourself. Let the word and the question rest on your mind, and then let your mind speak. Now ask yourself, “What’s piling up in my life that I can’t get to?” Take plenty of time to let the thoughts form or memories come back to you. Let your memories or thoughts finish speaking. When they’re done saying what they have to say, write down their message.

2.      Return to meditation. Read this thought, and then sit with it in the silence for as long as it feels right:  I understand what’s behind my backlog, and I will address it, bit by bit. This condition built up over time. I will clear my backlog with steady work. When I’m “caught up,” I will do whatever it takes to form new habits of making decisions, tackling work, putting things away and staying on top of them.

3.      When you come out of meditation, look at what you wrote about “backlog.” Take some time to contemplate it. Carry these thoughts and intentions into your week. Learn as much as possible about your relationship to backlog. Write a few wrap-up notes before the end of the week and our next word.

May your life flow!

~~~

Next word:  Belief

Note:  We’ll be taking a break for a few weeks to address some other topics, including the annual Fairy Godmother holiday gift ideas post. 10 Weeks of Word Oracles will be back in mid-December.

* The names of my family members have been changed to protect the privacy of my relatives and for consistency with their pseudonyms in some of my other writing.

Photo Credit: Person in Pile of Papers © Qwasyz | Dreamstime


 


Sunday, November 7, 2010

10 Weeks of Word Oracles - Bother

The cusp of "why bother?"
© 2010 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved

Drawing this word as one of our oracles bothered me! To bother is to pester or annoy. A bother is something that requires a lot of work without adequate return. Bothered can also mean to be bewildered or confused when you don’t “get” something. The last meaning is the stuff of Hot Flashbacks, Cool Insights. Here we dig into the meaning of things. Like why I’d draw bother for discussion.

To read the whys and wherefores of the word oracle series, see 10 weeks of Word Oracles #1

Why Bother?

Yet having trouble seeing the light about events in our lives is not where I want to focus this time. What calls to me from my intuition to discuss is the expression, “Why bother?” It implies a lot of effort for little result—or the point at which a person begins to question the input-to-output ratio on anything they do.

Bother seems to be a negative word, but it’s only when we look at both the light the dark side of anything that we attain balance.

What are just tired of doing? What’s going on in your life where putting in a lot of effort doesn’t seem to be giving you much in return?

We reach these cusps in relationships, jobs, volunteer organizations and activities—in all aspects of life. They are not a bad thing. They are simply turning points.


Giving-to-Receiving Ratio

Not all things in life are meant to be in perfect balance when it comes to giving and receiving. As any parent will attest, the role of mother or father, over the course of a lifetime, has periods when giving outweighs receiving. But in the big picture, few parents would give back their children or deny they’re “worth it.” Infancy passes, when a child is totally dependent on his or her parents for every need. Adolescence, when your kid drives you up the wall? It passes, too, as do the years of high college expenses for results hoped for and often nowadays in no way assured.

We all go through our ups-and-downs in personal relationships, too. Our partner may be cranky, dealing with issues at work, health challenges, or any number of potential reasons that put us in the position for some time of giving much and feeling on the short end of the receiving stick. 

Whether it’s our church, club or other group we hold dear, we have hair-pulling times of always being the one to do it all and wondering why the whole thing revolves around the big heartedness of a few. These why bother moments are disheartening—more so the bigger the heart.

The question, why bother, asks us to examine when the cumulative imbalance becomes a deal breaker.


The Cusp of Change

We all know the expression, the straw the broke the camel’s back. You give one thing too many, and you’re done—ready to bolt. Sometimes that’s a good move; sometimes it’s a mistake.

The cusp of why bother begs analysis of a situation. For a spirited individual, analysis should always precede action. If we cut something or someone loose too soon, we might be kicking out the kid, the spouse, or resigning from a committee that’s important to us during one of those seasons where it's OK to give more than receive. These giving upticks and temporary imbalances are just part of life.  We might not have enough long-term experience with the situation to determine if the giving-to-receiving ratio is a permanent pattern.

But boy oh boy, if it is, when you hear why bother in your mind on a regular basis, the analysis is due, if not overdue. Always listen to your inner voice when it bothers you with that pesky question.


The Final Analysis

In the end, the decision of whether it’s time to stop bothering—or not—is a conclusion that can only come from analysis of your unique situation, perhaps in conjunction with some trusted advisors. Let your higher self and inner voice be among them. And if it’s time to move on, ask for help from the spiritual realm to make it gentle on yourself and everyone concerned.

Meanwhile, here’s an exercise to help you hear any voices that might be crying or crying out from giver’s fatigue.


Meditation and Journaling on Bother

Sit quietly in a meditative posture, whatever one works for you. Have pen and paper nearby.

1.      Take three deep breaths. Say “bother” to yourself.  Let it rest on your mind, and then let your mind speak. Now ask if the expression why bother hits home for you in any way.  Take plenty of time to let the thoughts form or memories come back to you. Let your memories or thoughts finish speaking. When they are done saying what they have to say, write down their message.

2.      Return to meditation. Read this thought, and then sit with it in the silence for as long as it feels right:  I will tune up my inner hearing and notice whenever I hear, “why bother?” from my inner self. I commit to weighing what it means and giving myself time to form considered conclusions about it. Then I will act, if change is needed.

3.      When you come out of meditation, look at what you wrote about “bother.” Take some time to contemplate it. Carry these thoughts and intentions into your week. Learn as much as possible about your relationship to bother.  (Other meanings besides why bother and over-giving may have come up. Are you being or putting up with someone who’s a bother?) Write a few wrap-up notes before the end of the week and our next word.

Hope your week is no bother whatsoever.

~~~

Next word:  Backlog


Photo credit: Overwhelmed © Blake Anthony | Dreamstime


Saturday, October 30, 2010

More Coloring - Adult Coloring Books

An add-on to the post


Guess I'm still the Queen of Synchronicity! I had two adult coloring books come into my life right after I wrote the last post on coloring. With the extra insight I got in my PS to the Coloring post, this makes a trio—always a sign that something good is up, something that deserves attention!

First, I loved noticing that I had been trained to color between the lines and how it helped me with the bubble fill-in on my mail-in ballot for the November 2 election

Second, I had bought my husband a calendar from the kitty boys for Christmas. It’s by B. Kliban, the late, great cat cartoonist. Upon further examination the other night, I realized that it’s a coloring calendar. So now the boys have to give it to us both or give it to me, because I’m not giving up an excuse to sit with my coloring tools and play. (One: How did I do that? Two: How did I do that without noticing it at the time?)

Third, last night my wonderful group of spiritual women met for our monthly meeting. One of them planned a surprise activity. We each got to draw a book out of a bag, and it was a book of mandalas for coloring.

So, grown-ups of the world, unite and indulge your inner child. Go buy some coloring books of whatever ilk and a batch of crayons, colored markers and/or pencils. Re-experience what being in charge of choosing colors does for you, not to mention the pure therapeutic aspect of repetitive activity devoid of daily worries.

I have to wonder what it all means, but I’ve got a hunch. In these interesting times of huge change and universal transition, it’s totally up to us how we color our world.

Make mine brilliant.



Thursday, October 28, 2010

10 Weeks of Word Oracles - Coloring


© 2010 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved

When I drew coloring as one of our word oracles, my first impression was similar to the one I had with drawing. It took me back to my coloring books and the thrill of a new box of 100 Binney-Smith Crayolas. Every Christmas I begged for a new set, the old ones by year’s end worn to nubs from overuse. Use of the most unusual colors became my quest. I liked magenta but I think burnt sienna stuck in my mind most of all for its similarity to the color of autumn leaves. In 2007, Binney-Smith morphed into Crayola, Inc. Five decades later, it rechristened itself after its most famous product and has many more colorful offerings today. I admit it; I still like to color in coloring books as an adult. (The last one I bought was a Harry Potter—and it comes in handy when real kids visit.) Check out how lucky kids are nowadays on the Crayola site. Download free coloring pages, including some very cool ones for the holidays.

Wonder what we’re doing here playing with words? See 10 weeks of Word Oracles #1


Eye for Color

I’ve always had an eye for color. Once when my choir decided to wear solid colors onstage, tops and bottoms, any single color being OK; I found a top first in a deep jade green. A week later with only “color memory” as my guide, I found a bottom the same color that matched within a hair. They looked identical. You could only tell the difference with a magnifying glass. The paint department and the chips at Home Depot are heaven to me, and I’m forever taking some home to dream about when I’ll have the time and budget to redo various rooms in my house. Colorstrology by Michele Bernhardt, which matches your birthday to a specific color with interpretation, is a huge favorite, and I plan on using it as my ultimate makeover reference, whether it’s my office or my psyche I’m redoing. In the latter case, I’ll surround myself with the colors that help me feel the most upbeat. (My personal birthday color is Misty Rose with the characteristics unusual, dynamic, and clever.) You might want to explore this book or one like it that deals with color psychology.

Chakras

A discussion of coloring wouldn’t be complete without the seven chakras or subtle energy centers in the body. Starting from the bottom up, red is associated with the tailbone or base of the spine. It’s called the root or 1st chakra. These whirling disks of invisible energy move up the body as follows: orange at the 2nd belly or sacral chakra, just below the navel; yellow at the solar plexus or 3rd chakra; green at the 4th or heart chakra; blue at the 5th or throat chakra; indigo is associated with the 6th chakra at the third eye between the visible eyes; and purple is at the crown or  7th chakra at the top of the head. Our own energy fields are bathed in color. Chakra means wheel in Sanskrit. We carry our own color wheel with us at all times!

Coloring

We talk often about someone’s coloring or complexion—light, dark, pale, olive, brown, black, yellow, ruddy. In Oriental Medicine, the color in a patient’s face is as important a tool as pulse diagnosis. It gives feedback about the person’s medical condition. I can always tell when my best friend is getting sick. She looks “green around the gills.” With my sensitivity to color, I can always tell when hers is “off.” I notice changes in facial coloring instantly. Color not only makes us diverse and interesting; it offers us important feedback about our health.

“Color My World With Hope …”

The coloring I most want to explore, though, is how we color everything we do with our attitude. We can be red with anger, green with envy, in a blue funk, or beaming yellow, the color of the sun and joy. The last line of the romantic lyrics to Color My World by Chicago says Color my world with hope of loving you. Others do color our world with their energy, attitudes, and love. We do the same. Why would we want to live under anything less than a rainbow?

What color is your world today? How are you coloring the atmosphere of those around you? Let your visual mantra be that 100-crayon box, knowing that every day, you choose your colors. “Show your colors,” we say, and expression that means your true self.

What color are you?


Meditation and Journaling on Coloring

Sit quietly in a meditative posture, whatever one works for you. Have pen and paper nearby.

1.      Take three deep breaths. Say “coloring” to yourself.  Let it rest on your mind, then let your mind speak. What does the word coloring mean to you?  Take plenty of time to let the thoughts form or memories come back to you. Let your memories or thoughts finish speaking. When they are done saying what they have to say, write down their message.

2.      Return to meditation. Read this thought, and then sit with it in the silence for as long as it feels right:  I will notice the color in my life and take joy in its diversity. I will choose my colors carefully, whether clothing, attitudes, or loyalty.

3.      When you come out of meditation, look at what you wrote about “coloring.” Take some time to contemplate it. Carry these thoughts and intentions into your week. Learn as much as possible about your relationship to coloring.  Write a few wrap-up notes before the end of the week and our next word.

Have a colorful week!

~~~

Next word:  Bother


Photo credits: Crayons © Susiew47 and 7 Chakras Color Wheel with Mandalas © Artellia, both from Dreamstime

Postscript: I'm a permanent mail-in voter. Today I finished my ballot for the Nov. 2 election, and I had a whole new insight about coloring. If I hadn't learned to color between the lines in my coloring books, I'd never be able to fill in those little bubble capsules on my ballot. Here's to early training for future citizens of America! Who knew coloring books were part of civics class?




Thursday, October 21, 2010

10 Weeks of Word Oracles - Yesterday



© 2010 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved

 When it comes to yesterday, there’s a difference between living in the past—and learning from it.

As the quote by Kierkegaard in the Hot Flashbacks, Cool Insights masthead says, Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards. Insights rarely come without analysis of patterns in your past. When you “get it” all at once, it’s called an aha moment in the present. It relates to the future, because hopefully you will take what you learned from the past and carry its lessons forward.

That’s why at these crossroads of past, present and future, I recommend that we stop, look both ways, and listen for signs. Those times are magical when past, present and future merge. They allow us to take lessons learned into the future and with them the possibility of new behavior patterns. They are threshold experiences, and our willingness to learn and change from our experience is the essence of growth itself.

But what about when we get stuck in the past and can’t let go of yesterday?

This is #5 in a series of 10 words drawn as oracles, spirited topics to ponder in our Hot/Cool community. Visit the post for Word Oracle #1 (Upper) for background on why we’re playing with words for ten posts.
  
What to Do When You Can’t Unglue

Whether you’re stuck on an ex, stuck in a job, or stuck in old ways of thinking, it can be murder on the spirit.  What can you do to unglue?

We all know the expression, “The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know.” It’s important to “examine your conscience,” as one of the nuns in my parochial school used to nag us, to see whether or not your rut is fear of the unknown. When we are deeply entrenched, we’ve used up so much energy digging the hole, it’s hard to have enough juice to climb out of it.

But if the problem is only a habit turned ritual turned rut, mere awareness can be a tonic. That’s where the prescription is to do something different—even if it’s “wrong”—even if it’s only an experiment. It doesn’t have to be huge. It can be taking a different route to work, eating a different breakfast cereal, or deciding you won’t leave the house without saying something positive to everyone in your family. Start small. Make mini-changes. Soon the small steps will domino into a more open and adventurous you, free of entrenched habits. It’s all about courting a new habit of openness to the New. You’ll find it’s not so scary. In fact, it’s exhilarating to mix things up a little.

On the other hand, when things are more emotionally based like a relationship or major loss of a job or family member: these are more difficult to let go and may take stronger measures. One of the tricky aspects of the human psyche is how we know intuitively that we have to come to terms with yesterday and our past in order to move on. When we are seriously stuck, we’re just not getting the lessons, opportunities, or insights presented in the loss. That’s why we can’t move forward. Our psyche knows we can’t leave the stuck place until we do, so we stay there. It’s terrible to wait till it’s so painful; we nearly break. Why be miserable. See a counselor, your clergy person, an astrologer, or another consultant or advisor you trust who can help you get from stuck to “getting it.” When I serve in this role in my Inner Growth Work practice, I consider it a sacred trust and am deeply moved by helping others move on. It’s one of the things I live for, because I’ve been there and wish I had someone like me help me before I spend decades mourning a lost relationship that hurt so deeply, I never could move on completely in that area of my life.

Another tip? My friends the flower essences. Flower essences help move emotions to completion. There are flower remedies for being stuck itself (Blackberry by FES), mourning the loss of a love (Bleeding Heart by FES), and being stuck in the past (Honeysuckle by Bach and Healing Herbs). In fact, there's a flower essence to fit nearly every human condition. If you’ve been stuck and long for a boost out of your deep rut, flower essences maybe be something to consider.


Rewriting Your Story

We don’t like to hear it, but many of us enjoy our drama at some level. One of my favorite quotes fits what I want to say next perfectly:

Change your melodrama into a mellow drama.
~ Corita
Kent

The ultimate goal is to rewrite yesterday into a positive part of today and tomorrow. My tender heartbreak in my late teens/early 20s was a vehicle for one of the most valuable lessons of my life. I tended toward relationships that had high highs and low lows, laced with both intense pleasure and equally intense pain. I would overlook unkindness, even cruelty—and for sure, very unloving behavior—just to get the highs. It had to hurt enough that I would ultimately understand that I couldn’t allow anyone to mistreat me. No pleasure I worth it! This didn’t just go for “romantic” relationships but carried over to friendships and a vast variety of interactions.

Now I see this pain as one of the greatest teachers of my life and have “rewritten” it as a key experience to make the rest of my life a better story. Recently, I had the pleasure of being on a paranormal panel with a number of other professionals in hypnotherapy, the psychic arts, and identification of unwanted household entities (“ghost busters”). The hypnotherapist and I had a fascinating discussion about past lives, and I am lucky to be privy to several of mine through past life regression. Currently I am facing the emotional fallout from when I was an astrologer in another lifetime where the powers-that-be harmed me physically for “seeing too much.” My colleague has done hundreds of past life regressions and her simple statement is where we all have to start, “Then was then and now is now.”

Hear yesterday’s message, learn from it, and rewrite your tomorrow.

And now for a little journey to help you get started.

Meditation and Journaling on Yesterday

Sit quietly in a meditative posture, whatever one works for you. Have pen and paper nearby.

1.      Take three deep breaths. Say “yesterday” to yourself.  Let it rest on your mind, then let your mind speak. What does the word yesterday mean to you?  Take plenty of time to let the thoughts form or memories come back to you. Let your memories or thoughts finish speaking. When they are done saying what they have to say, write down their message.

2.      Return to meditation. Read this thought, and then sit with it in the silence for as long as it feels right:  I am thankful for my past and everything I learned from it. I am willing to hear its lessons, bring them into the future in a positive way, and let go of what no longer serves me.

3.      When you come out of meditation, look at what you wrote about “yesterday.” What steps will you take to “process the past?” Take some time to contemplate it. Carry these thoughts and intentions into your week. Learn as much as possible about your relationship to yesterday.  Write a few wrap-up notes before the end of the week and our next word.

May every yesterday help you weave a better tomorrow.
~~~

Next week’s word:  Coloring


Photo Credit: Yesterday and Tomorrow—Two-Way Street Sign  © Iqoncept | Dreamstime




Sunday, October 10, 2010

10 Weeks of Word Oracles - Drawing

© 2010 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved

When I free-associate the word drawing, the first thing I think of is doodling and drawing stick people as a kid—and the fact that my artwork has never advanced much from this primitive stage of self-expression. With proper training, I think I might be able to develop some skills in drawing, but I don’t think it’s my medium. Give me words. Why else would I be doing a word oracle? That involves drawing random words?



Welcome to #4 in a series of 10 words drawn as oracles—spirited topics to ponder in our Hot/Cool community. Visit the post for Word Oracle #1 (Upper) for background on why we’re playing with words for ten posts.


Back to the drawing board. Let's make a rule that we don't have to stick with the form of the word drawn, in this case the gerund drawing with its ing that I want to lop off--sometimes. When we also allow variations, some other ways the word is used include:


• The luck of the draw
• Drawing up water
• A weekly draw (salary)
• A drawing, the artwork that results from drawing as an act of creation
• Drawing (closing) the drapes
• Drawing a card in a game of chance
• Drawing and quartering, an ancient form of torture
• To look drawn (tired or stressed)
• Something being long and drawn out
• Drawing something or someone to you


The root word, draw, is versatile! It ranges from expressing random good fortune, to bringing money in terms of salary, to being an act of creativity or destruction, to taking too long, and to making someone look pooped.


It never ceases to amaze me that in a language with so many words, English words can still be so versatile with multiple meanings within each one. According to the folks at the Oxford Dictionary:

The Second Edition of the 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary contains full entries for 171,476 words in current use, and 47,156 obsolete words. To this may be added around 9,500 derivative words included as subentries. Over half of these words are nouns, about a quarter adjectives, and about a seventh verbs; the rest is made up of exclamations, conjunctions, prepositions, suffixes, etc. And these figures don't take account of entries with senses for different word classes (such as noun and adjective).


Drawing Your Good

In the post Your Cosmic Tractor Beam, I talked about how being yourself in your true energy field draws people to you like a magnet who are on a similar frequency. This applies to all good in your life. You draw people and things to you because of how you think and what you say.

For example, you might want to erase words like poor, broke, and even “I don’t have the money to” from your vocabulary. Those dictionary statistics just quoted give some sense of the huge volume of word choices we have in the English language. To keep prosperity flowing your way, substitute things like “I have higher priorities right now” or when you “can’t afford” something. It’s also the truth. When you have x amount of money to spend, you prioritize how you spend it. That dreamy spiritual retreat to Hawaii may be farther down the list than your bank balance can cover. By resisting the common expression “I can’t afford it,” you’re leaving open the possibility that your bank balance may expand to encompass it. Most people who study metaphysics learn early on the power of the “I” statement, especially the “I am” statement. I am broke is the worst thing you can ever say, if you want to keep your material or any other needs fulfilled easily.

Another principle to remember when you want to draw a great relationship, the right business partner, or more prosperity is to simply and clearly state your intentions then leave the methods for making it so up to Spirit. Here’s where I am can work in your favor. Affirmations like I am manifesting the best relationship for me now or I am drawing all I need for my material good can go far.


A caution with affirmations, however. They are not meant to be pop sound bytes like we’ve learned to eat like consumer bonbons from TV.

Affirmations need to be built on a two-step process to be highly effective, described in the post Affirmations: Part 2, Column 2.


Drawing a Blank

If there’s more to say on this word, I’m drawing a blank as another expression and use of the word goes. That must mean it’s time for us to invite a “blank mind” for drawing imagines on “drawing” in our word meditation.


Meditation and Journaling on Drawing

Sit quietly in a meditative posture, whatever one works for you. Have pen and paper nearby.

1. Take three deep breaths. Say “drawing” to yourself. Let it rest on your mind, then let your mind speak. What does the word drawing suggest to you? Take plenty of time to let the thoughts form or memories come back to you. Let your memories or thoughts finish speaking. When they are done saying what they have to say, write down their message.

2. Return to meditation. Read this thought, and then sit with it in the silence for as long as it feels right: I am thankful for all the insights I drew from meditating on the word drawing.


3. Now let’s focus for a moment on the meaning of drawing that involves drawing good to us: I am grateful for ___. (Make as long a list in your mind as you want.) I will increase my ability to draw good to me by doing the following ___________.


4. When you come out of meditation, look at what you wrote about “drawing” and how you’ll create an ongoing flow of drawing good to you. Take some time to contemplate it. Carry these thoughts and intentions into your week. Learn as much as possible about your relationship to drawing. Write a few wrap-up notes before the end of the week and our next word.



May you draw everything you need, most of what you want, and a few pleasant surprises!

~~~


Next word: Yesterday


Photo credit: Cartoon stick figure © Martin Bérubé Dreamstime.com


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Dollar Days! No Soliciting Signs and E-Book Sale


Dear Cool Insighters,

The No Soliciting Sign and It’s a Sign: No Soliciting, Religion and Religious Literature Included remain the two most visited posts ever on Hot Flashbacks, Cool Insights! According to Google Analytics, most people find them searching for key words, particularly “no soliciting religion” or variations of that phrase.

Yet sales of the no soliciting signs I developed as a result of this outpouring have been meager. This leads me to the conclusion that price an issue, especially in the current economy. As much as I’d like to give them away, I created the signs with a professional graphic artist and development costs need to be considered in their sale.

So, join me in an experiment! When I was a kid growing up in Chicago, this was called a “bargain basement sale.” Until further notice, No Soliciting signs will be $1 each or $1.50 for both. The sign files are delivered to you ready to print by e-mail in a JPG attachment. See photos of signs and details here. All you have to do is color print on paper or cardstock and frame. If you use one of the inexpensive document frames at a Dollar Store, this is a very economical option for a polite and artistically pleasing way to hang a “do not disturb sign” at your doorbell.

My husband and I have found people to be very respectful of the sign unless they happened to “miss” seeing it. Even then, pointing to it with a simple, “Have you seen our sign?” does the trick. Framing one of these signs for a friend who mentions they get too many door-to-door callers is also a great early holiday gift tip, even before this year’s Fairy Godmother post!

New prices are reflected in the sidebar where you can purchase the signs. You can also purchase them on my website under Spirited Products.

While I was at it, I decided to not to “let the buck stop here” and added The Training Tape to the $1 sale.

I hope these bargain basement prices bring you peace (not getting up to answer the door a dozen times a year is worth a buck!). And I hope The Training Tape leaves you thinking.


Blessings All,
Joyce

PS - The Word Oracle series will be back next week!