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.


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!


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

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

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,

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

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A Stroke of Luck: The Power of the Wake-Up Call

© 2010 by Joyce Mason

I thought we’d take a short break from the Word Oracles this week so I could update you on what’s happened since my husband’s stroke last May. I wrote about it in Shocking. Few things in recent memory have held more surprises and cool insights in the end. How far we’ve come from that scary moment when Tim tripped, fell on the floor, and was suddenly unable to move!

Tim’s initial recovery had the usual suspects after four days in the hospital—physical therapy, increased medical visits, and blood thinners. (He was already on the meds because of the plaque build-up in his arteries and a stent procedure a week before his mini-stroke.) In the beginning, he was on a four-point walker wherever he went. I had to get used to driving us everywhere—often. He was still having falls, somewhat slurred speech and experiencing significant imbalance. The hospital arranged for a Hoyer lift, a kind of hoisting device, in case he couldn’t get up without help, as I certainly am not strong enough to lift a grown man on my own. (Our chubbier cat is a challenge!)

The emotional recovery was a different breed of cat all together. Being thrown into 24/7 caretaker mode sent my feelings of worry and resentment into overdrive. The fear that I could have lost him, coupled with what I felt he wasn’t doing to help himself, brought many issues in our relationship to a turning point. I was not willing to go on as things were—or as I saw they could be headed— without significant changes on his part. And I knew there were changes I had to make, too.

The details of how we got from there to here are personal and actually unimportant. With some outside intervention and a lot of “discussions” and soul baring, a miracle happened. Things shifted, not just emotionally but physically. Getting there wasn’t half the fun.

Some of the learning was painful and didn’t even involve each other. After I confided my challenges to her, I had to draw a boundary with a friend whose comments about my marriage and Tim’s health felt hurtful and not life affirming toward my husband or me. Telling my truth has led to estrangement, although I still dearly care about this person. The incident also made clear that a break from one another would be good medicine. I need to let this lie for now. That’s difficult for a “fixer” who wants to be at peace with everyone.

But I also got something out of it that’s even more powerful in retrospect. By saying no to someone else’s negative picture of my marriage and my husband’s health, I said no to that picture for myself. I wasn’t lukewarm about it, either. I was clear and direct in saying that I refused that vision for my future. I made it clear; no one else has my permission to project that picture on me, either.

That painful interaction with my friend and my “pushing back” was a huge blessing in disguise. I am grateful to her. Just saying no to negative forecasts may have been a bigger step than I knew I was taking at the time. Tim has come back to life after years of struggle with a mixed bag of medical conditions. He changed one of his major doctors to learn from his new one that he was being seriously overmedicated for some of his conditions—possibly contributing to ongoing and problematic symptoms. His legs are stronger than before the stroke, and he hasn’t fallen in months, despite his baseline mobility issues with Myotonic muscular dystrophy Type 2. He’s back on a cane from the walker, and he navigates the house without either. There are other improvements so pronounced; I feel like I’m living with a new man.

We keep scratching our heads, wondering with thanks and awe how Tim can be doing so much better than he was before his stroke. Since the blood thinners prevent both plaque build-up in his arteries and stroke, perhaps they are in great part the hero. He started on Plavix only two weeks before the “stroke of luck,” as I’ve come to call it. I also call it his “neurological reorganization.” Without the stroke, there is so much we would not have known and so many important steps in a chain reaction of healing that would have never taken place. Who knew I’d be thankful one day for something that started out so awful?

Tim, too, made a decision to toss that dismal picture of his future out of his mental album. The thought that we might lose each other was potent medicine for both of us. It’s hard to imagine today that we were in such a difficult place only 3-4 months ago. We’re more in love and grateful for each other than ever. The ordeal brought us closer together and to the most important orientation of a successful relationship, when both people are looking in the same direction.

There’s an old song, “What a Difference a Day Makes.” The difference comes from how we handle whatever circumstances life presents us for learning. While Tim and I don’t know what the future holds for us, I’m confident that we will navigate whatever we encounter…

… because now we’re co-captains on the S.S. True Partnership.


Photo Credit: Alarm Clock © Robyn Mackenzie