Friday, December 28, 2007

Succeed in the new year!

I’ve been doing a year-end review of my goals and intentions from last year (I did better on some than others, of course), and setting goals and intentions for the coming year. (Goals are specific targets, while intentions are more ways of being.) And of course, both of my clients yesterday chose to focus on what was coming up in the next year and how to set intentions, set goals, shape affirmations and take actions to move ahead in their desired directions. This is an important thing to do every year, whether you do it at your birthday, which is great for personal goals, or at year-end (either calendar or fiscal), which is probably more appropriate for a business. Here’s why:

In a study of 1979 Harvard Business School graduates, those graduating were asked, "Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?" Only

- 3% of the graduates had written goals and plans;
- 13% had goals, but they were not in writing; and
- 84 percent had no specific goals at all.

Ten years later, the members of the class were interviewed again, and the findings were amazing. The 13% of the class who had goals were earning, on average, twice as much as the 84% who had no goals at all. And the 3% who had clear, written goals were earning, on average, 10 times as much as the other 97% put together. (Info from “What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School”)

It occurred to me to write to you to suggest that you might want to

- clarify your choices for the next year,

- set some goals and/or intentions,

- make sure your affirmations and your action plans support your choices, and/or

- psychically look at the lay of the land in your business (the competition, your partners, or your negotiations) or personal life (love life, anyone?).

I’m offering you 5 free minutes (on a minimum 20 minute session), with all of my tools, tips and techniques, to support you in all of that. This offer is only good for appointments booked between now and Jan. 3, 2008, as its intention is to help you start the new year off right. (omg, can you believe it? 2008!)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Happy Holidays!

Wishing you all the joy of the season -- all year long!

This 'quilted' Christmas tree is done from photos of apples (the red), sand dollars (the beige), squash (the gold stars), coffee beans (the brown tree trunk), and about a dozen different green plants. So Nature wishes you 'Happy Holidays' along with me!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

How Psychics Have Fun (Part 3)

Last weekend, I had the privilege of hosting Mark Macy ( and his Luminator (more on that machine later), for a couple of parties, where he described his research into instrumental transcommunication (, i.e. using electronic equipment to talk with the 'dead'. The reason I say 'dead' in quotations is that once you've seen his research, you can never again believe that the spirit that leaves a dead body actually dies. His evidence includes computer passages, typed from a computer which was turned on without anyone physically in the room, and which included information only known to the 'dead' woman and her still living husband, and a message left on Mark's own telephone answering machine from a colleague who was 'dead'.

While Mark's presentation is clear and convincing, the best examples of transcommunication he shows are the ones provided by the audience itself. With the Luminator running, he takes Polaroid photos of audience volunteers, and many of the photos have faces completely different from the physical ones of the photo subjects. (I've included 3 of my photos -- one of me (as me, not the best photo, oh, well), one of me that is clearly not me (as there maybe two faces, and at least the nose and mouth aren't mine), and one of my paternal grandmother, who might be the face in the second photo (or maybe not). The only alteration to the polaroid camera is that black tape is place over the light sensor so that the flash doesn't go off, because the spirit faces need a low light situation to be seen on film.

Even more fun for me was getting to hang out with the Luminator. This machine seems to change the electromagnetic field in an area at least a hundred or so feet in diameter. Another clairvoyant who was there described it as changing the energy of the space in my home to that of the borderline between the worlds ('here' and 'hereafter'). At first, I was really taken aback by its power -- it felt like my body was on some kind of speed, or having an adrenaline rush, though my mind was completely normal. As I got used to it, though, something amazing happened. I was 'shown' what happens when you 'die'. I did not have the experience of the tunnel that most near-death experiencers describe (not that I was near death in any way), but doors opened from my heart and I came out on a beautiful landscape, which I was told was different for each person. After a few moments of enjoying that, I was showered with a beautiful green light that permeated me, and then a beautiful yellow or golden light that did the same. After a while, that faded away, and I was back in the beautiful landscape, but this time, there were thousands of 'people' there. (I think this is the welcoming party that everyone talks about.) I was at a distance, hovering in the sky, looking at the assembled group, but I noticed that if I asked for someone, they'd sort of come to the front of the group, or perhaps I zoomed in to them. I was given to understand that in a way, this 'party' is somewhat holographic, as if each soul sent a hologram of a part of itself that I would recognize, not necessarily that the whole soul was there.

A while later, a reproducible way to talk to 'dead' people occurred to me. All I need to do is go back into my heart, open the doors out onto the landscape, be cleansed by light, come out at the party -- and then ask for a particular 'person'. So I tried it with my husband's father, who 'died' when he was 15. I learned some things about him that my husband could verify, which believe me, I didn't know, and others that made sense to him, though he could not actually verify them.

The next day, I happened to be teaching my day-long 'Psychic Skills Workshop', and offered a guided meditation of the process to the participants as a bonus session after class. Everyone stayed, and everyone got to their landscape, and everyone found a person -- not always the person they had thought to contact, but someone they knew! Because it was the first time I had ever done the meditation, I didn't leave enough time for people to have satisfying conversations with those they contacted. Oh, well, that's how you learn.

The Ten Commandments need a rewrite!

It occurs to me that, although the title of teh last post is actually a play on the sitcom title, “8 Simple Rules for Dating my Teenage Daughter”, it sounds a little like the Ten Commandments. Now, I’m not knocking those, but NLP teaches that the unconscious mind doesn’t understand the word ‘not’ (try not to think of a purple elephant), so eight of those commandments, on the unconscious level, are really telling people to behave badly. That is, to the unconscious mind, they read like this:

  1. Thou shalt not Have other gods before me. (Materialism, anyone?)
  2. Thou shalt not Make graven images. (All those religious icons, perhaps?)
  3. Thou shalt not Take the name of the Lord in vain. (We sure all swear a lot.)
  4. Keep the Sabbath holy. (One of the two positive ones, though it isn’t honored much in our culture.)
  5. Honor thy father and mother. (Most of us do try.)
  6. Thou shalt not Kill. (Hmmm... War?)
  7. Thou shalt not Commit adultery. (Certainly lots of that going on.)
  8. Thou shalt not Steal (Yup, that, too.)
  9. Thou shalt not Lie. (And that.)
  10. Thou shalt not Be jealous. (And that, too, I suppose, though it’s less obvious.)

Maybe that’s why the world is such a mess!

How about a rewrite?

  1. God is more vast than can be comprehended by the human mind.
  2. So stop with the pictures, okay?
  3. Respect God.
  4. Keep the Sabbath holy.
  5. Honor thy father and mother.
  6. Respect life.
  7. Respect other people and their relationships.
  8. Respect other people’s property rights.
  9. Tell the truth.
  10. Be grateful for what you have.

11 Simple Rules for a Happy Life

I am not foolish enough, nor do I have enough hubris, to think that what follows is a complete list, but it’s everything I can think of at the moment (and it is how I try to live, but like everyone else, I’m imperfect). I am certainly open to suggestions, so please send them along and I’ll post any updated versions here.

1) Act from love.

  • Be kind, accepting, tolerant, patient -- and that includes acting that way toward yourself!
  • Be mindful of the divine flow.

2) Be careful what you do and what you think. You are responsible for your actions and therefore for your consequences.

  • Actions have consequences.
  • Thoughts are actions in energy form.
  • Appreciate what you have, because what you focus on, expands.

3) Live your truth/higher perception to the best of your ability.

  • Be who you are, not who you think you are supposed to be. The world doesn’t need another pale imitation of some commercial ideal; it needs real people, being who they are, and bringing their unique gifts and point of view to heal the problems we have.
  • Listen to your own higher wisdom. We all have access, even if we’ve been taught not to use it because it’s been too much of a threat to the power structure.
  • Tell the truth, whenever possible (you may not know it, or it may conflict with another of these rules, in which case, see #11). Remember, spoken and written words are actions.

4) Respect others.

  • Part I: The Platinum Rule: Treat people as they wish to be treated.
  • Part II: In the absence of the Platinum Rule (that is, when you don’t know how someone else would like to be treated), use the Golden Rule: treat others how you wish to be treated.

5) Respect nature.

  • This includes your own body (eat food, not chemicals).
  • Use as few resources as you need to to do the job properly and comfortably.
  • Turn down the thermostat (or turn it up in the summer — or better yet, open the windows and let nature in!).
  • Turn off the lights you don’t need.
  • Walk (you’ll get to know your neighbors and neighborhood) for your errands (it’s great exercise, too!).
  • Recycle.
  • Share: borrow and return in good condition (neighbors and friends are a great resource) and be willing to lend, too. This builds community.
  • Buy used or recycled, or better yet, ask if you really need something before you buy it.
  • Don't print if you don't have to, and if you have to print, use both sides of your paper.
  • Take your name off the mailing lists (so the paper isn’t wasted).
  • Don’t drive if you don’t have to (carpool! Or take public transit — you might meet someone interesting).
  • Grow what food you can — it’ll taste good, and feel good, too.
  • You get the idea.

6) Respect limits, including the ones you reasonably set, and expect others to as well.

  • It’s okay to know your limits and to be clear in stating them.
  • ‘No’ means ‘no’, whether someone else is saying it, or you are.
  • Get 7 hours of sleep a night (research shows it makes a big difference in your quality of life).
  • If someone isn't respecting your limits, you have a right, or maybe even a responsibility, to teach them to respect your limits, or to ask them to leave, or to get away from them.

7) Honor your agreements. You can keep an agreement as is, or you can renegotiate it, but don’t change an agreement unilaterally (which includes not telling the other person for any reason, aka ‘flaking out’.)

8) If it feels good, and it doesn’t harm anyone or anything else, do more of it. This is the Universe (aka God) speaking to you through your desires.

9) Be clear about what you want — it’s probably the only way to get it. Remember, thoughts are actions in energy form.

10) You will never know everything (nor will anyone else), so stay humble.

11) When in doubt, see rule #1.

Sunday, December 02, 2007


Well, actually, a memorial service, as she was cremated. But it sucked anyway. I mean, most everyone was pretty positive - one speaker said, Charlotte didn't need a eulogy, because everyone knew she was light on earth, grace and compassion personified, as well as a lot of fun. But many of us, including me, got tearful.

What was hard for me wasn't that Charlotte 'died', because if I can't see her or feel her, that's a failure of my communication, not that she has gone out of existence. No, it's seeing my friends suffer. And these are women (and one man, but I think for him it's more about mortality) who know as much as I do that she still exists. One of them, who says, tearfully, that's she not doing well, probably has talked with her, herself. So telling them that I know for a fact that Charlotte is fine doesn't help at all. So there isn't much I can do. I have offered to be there for my friends -- we'll all have to pull together. I feel pretty exhausted, pretty drained by it.

I understand that funerals are for the living, but I really get now, how selfish grief is. It's not about the person who 'died', it's about the person who still 'lives' and what they 'lost'. And perhaps funerals help, so that people don't feel alone in their grief, but maybe they make it worse, too, because all that sadness and loss is in one room together, reinforcing itself. And we all know that the 'dead' person wouldn't want us to feel awful.

As Charlotte says, "There is nowhere that I am not." Wow! So she really is right here. Was there in the room with us, too.

Though I must say, I kept expecting Charlotte, in her body, to walk around a corner into the hall.

Before the event, I 'saw' that I was supposed to stand in the back right corner of the room, and send healing energy into it. I spent the entire service standing in the back corner, gave my seat to a friend, in fact, so I could do it. I asked 'the folks' to send energy, and at points could 'see' a golden light in the room. And I tried, as much as I could, to attach the frayed ends of people's cords to Charlotte to the light. I don't know how well that worked, but I think I 'heard', as I fell asleep last night, that I had done a good thing.

Today, I'm going to help her (adult) daughter, an only child, deal with the financial picture, which I understand isn't pretty, because of all the medical bills (don't get me started on national health insurance, which we should have). Maureen shouldn't lose the house she grew up in because her Mom had the temerity to get sick. At least I can try to help.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Boo Hoo

I felt awful because I'd missed Charlotte's leaving of her body, as if, had I been there, I would have done enough for her, or been complete with her somehow. I desperately wanted to apologize.

I'm not a reliable medium under the best of circumstances -- sometimes 'dead' folks come through very clearly, and sometimes not at all. And this was definitely not the best of circumstances. What to do on a Sunday night? I called my friend, Kat, with whom I trade readings and NLP work regularly, and asked, "How are you as a medium?"

"Pretty good right now," she replied.

So we got into it. And actually, she had had one phone conversation with Charlotte, several months back, when Charlotte wanted a reference on a healer with whom Kat had trained. So perhaps that made it easier.

I knew she 'had' Charlotte, because when I asked Charlotte (through Kat) if she'd seen Boo (Charlotte's cat, whom I loved, who'd crossed over about 6 months before Charlotte, eaten by a coyote -- and that never happens in Mill Valley), she replied in a very flat tone, "Boohoo". This was the title of an email Charlotte had sent me announcing Boo's crossing, which I'd thought was wonderfully funny, even as I missed Boo. And it was something I'd remarked to Charlotte about more than once.

So I apologized to Charlotte for not being there when she left her body -- and she told me she hadn't wanted me to be there! At which point I realized a few things:

** Grief over someone's death has a few separate components:
  1. Missing the person, which is partly your own habit body, and partly cords dissolving
    • Your habit body likes things to stay the same. Maybe this is your neurology, which can't handle paying attention to too many things at the same time, or perhaps its the etheric body. It's the part of you that likes to know if you call a certain phone number, you'll hear a certain voice.
    • We all have energetic cords between our chakras, and the chakras of those we are close to. These cords dissolve when a relationship ends (e.g. a romantic relationship) or when someone dies. That's not fun, because we still have the ends of the cords to deal with, like an umbilical cord which is cut but not tied or clamped off -- the ends are just left raw and open.
  2. Feeling badly that you hadn't done right by the person. But you really can't judge what was "doing right by" someone else, at least not on this plane, because you can't know what his or her soul actually wanted. All you can do is live the best you can up to your own standards, and give yourself the benefit of the doubt, when you do something uncharacteristically forgetful, or even nasty, to someone else -- perhaps you were doing something his or her soul needed you to do.
Charlotte was apparently showing Kat some other plane of existence. Charlotte kept saying it was "so vast" and beautiful beyond description, and that it was cold, that she was cold. It was "not like there (on earth)" and Kat had the impression that Charlotte was fine, but a little lost. So I asked Charlotte, through Kat, what I could do to help, feeling sheepish at the offer, because I didn't think there was anything I could do. But Charlotte said, "send angels -- angels can help."

"Let me see what I can do", I answered, and then silently asked all the folks (some would call them archangels, but I'm not personally clear on their titles) who assist me in readings to help Charlotte. Almost instantly, Charlotte said, "I'm warm" and Kat said she could literally feel her own body get warmer. For me, this was verification that the folks do indeed hear me, and do respond. Way cool! (Or I suppose that Charlotte 'heard' my intention from whatever plane she was in.) But somehow, I did do something. That felt pretty amazing, and Charlotte told me that she wanted me to know how powerful I am, even on one of my worst days.

Thank you, Charlotte, for your kindness and our concern, even after you've left Earth. I'm glad you made a compassionate choice for yourself, and wish you well on your way. Come see me when I cross over (hopefully a long time from now.) And than you, Kat, for you assistance.

Monday, November 26, 2007

So this angel walks into a bar...

Sometimes my life feels like a bad movie -- so trite that you almost can't script it.

Scene 1: Clearing the Clutter

Yesterday, I had a great day, working on cleaning out more clutter from the house and the garage, culminating in a trip with a very full car to Goodwill in mid afternoon. I was supposed to be working on my audio equipment, getting it to work reliably, but that seemed really hard, and I was having fun (!) moving things into the car, and reorganizing the garage, so I kept putting it off. Finally I had a carful, went to Goodwill and dropped it off.

Scene 2: Phone Call

On my return, guilt led me to my desk, where I happened to notice the message light blinking on my phone.

There was a message from a friend, several hours old, saying that a mutual good friend, whom I'll call Charlotte, was in the hospital on her death bed.


Charlotte was the soul of compassion, and the essence of grace, a beautiful spirit in a beautiful body. Though she had not lived a particularly easy life, a single mother who worked really hard at a variety of businesses (from running an in-home day care so she could be there for her toddler, to a jewelry store, to a small therapy practice) and jobs (HR and office support) to support and raise her wonderful (now grown) daughter, she left everything she touched more beautiful and more peaceful. She always knew exactly what to say to ease suffering, always had a smile, a gentle laugh and a positive, philosophical attitude for the more difficult parts of life -- the broken hearts, the illnesses, the financial hardships, including her own. At points when I was low, I always knew I could call her, and I'm sure her other friends knew that, too.

I knew Charlotte was sick, had, in fact, been increasingly sick over the last 10 years. But I'd seen her a few weeks ago, and she'd been in good spirits, saying she was getting better after a real scare.

Scene 2, continued

Though I returned the call immediately, it was too late. Charlotte had already left her body. Had I heard the phone ring, I would have barely had time enough to get to the hospital (an hour away) to say a brief goodbye.

Apparently she had left her body peacefully, attended by a Tibetan Buddhist lama and several good friends. And I know, given the state of her physical body, that it was a good choice to leave now, and gift of compassion to herself. Charlotte, who was always so giving to others, had finally given herself the gift of freedom.

I could only have a short conversation with Ann, the woman who'd called me, because she was too teary. Ann is a very strong woman, and I could hear her trying to stay strong and practical -- but she couldn't. The pain was too fresh. We settled on me calling the next day to get Charlotte's daughter's phone number to see how I can help.

Scene 3: Conversation in the kitchen

So I came upstairs into the kitchen, where my husband was seated at the kitchen table, reading email on his laptop. As I entered, he said cheerily, "Hey, I've got something to show you," to which I replied, "Charlotte died." I caught him up on the news, and then he said, "What I was just about to show you is kind of the opposite of that." There were photos of his cousin's brand new baby girl!

So that's when it hit me... life on earth is kind of like this big saloon. You enter through the swinging doors (take a body), have a drink, some food, hook up, break up, maybe play a game of poker, or pour a beer for someone else, watch the dramas unfolding around you, and leave again through those same swinging doors. Life is not about the tables and the chairs in the bar (clearing the clutter), it's about the angels who come and go.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

How to Change Your Mood FAST

Have you ever been unfocused before an exam, when you really needed to concentrate instead?

Or have you ever been really nervous before giving a lecture, when instead you needed to be confident?

Or perhaps you’ve been down in the dumps when you needed to be ‘on’ and positive at a social event?

We’ve all had the experience of wanting or needing, for one reason or another, to be in a different mood that the one we were actually in. Most of us just give in, accept our moods, and do the best we can. But there is a quick, easy way to shift your mood when you must, or even just when you choose to. No drugs, no pills, no cost, no side effects!

It’s really simple. It’s easy, too. It’s called ‘anchoring’ a positive emotional state.

In his wonderful online Encyclopedia of NLP (”, Robert Dilts says:

“...“anchoring” refers to the process of associating an internal response with some environmental or mental trigger, so that the response may be quickly, and sometimes covertly, reaccessed.”

If you’re American and have ever heard the first notes of The Star Spangled Banner, and noticed that your right hand flew to cover your heart, even before you were aware of what it was doing, you have experienced a powerful anchor. (If you’re not American, perhaps you’ve seen this and puzzled over it.) If you smell a particular cooking smell and are instantly back in, say, your grandmother’s kitchen, you’ve experienced an anchor. If your partner has ever said, “We need to talk” and you’ve felt icy fingers of fear crawl up your back, you’ve experienced an anchor.

In a famous experiment, Pavlov used this stimulus-response conditioning to get dogs to salivate at the sound of a bell. He rang a bell and then gave them food so often that they associated the food with the sound of the bell, anticipating the food so well that they began to salivate just from the sound, even when no food was present.

All of these examples show that a trigger, a stimulus, can instantly and automatically result in a response. Most of these anchors, that is, trigger-response pairs, were set unconsciously (at least, unconsciously by us!). But what if you could set one intentionally?

You can! You can set an anchor to stimulate a positive emotion whenever you need it.
Now, with a little advance preparation, you can turn lack of focus into concentration, or a case of nerves into confidence, or feeling low into feeling good. It just takes a little advance preparation.

Before you need the anchor, in a quiet place at any convenient time, do the following:

1) Pick an anchor. I generally recommend hand positions that you don’t normally use (like touching the thumb and pinkie of your non-dominant hand), for a couple of reasons:
- you can do them anywhere, any time
- they’re unobtrusive
- they take a minimum of effort
- they’re uncontaminated by other feelings

2) Think of a specific time and place when you really felt the way you’re choosing to feel. Make it really real for yourself by graphically imagining the scene:

- seeing what you saw around you at the time, looking out through your own eyes at the time
- hearing what you heard, no matter how faint
smelling any smells that were associated with the time and place that you left how you choose to feel now
- touching something in the scene
- feeling all the feelings that go with the flood of emotion. Really notice where those feelings are in your body.

3) When you are completely associated into the positive state that you’re choosing, especially feeling the internal feelings strongly, then set your anchor (touch your thumb to your pinkie).

4) Relax for a minute or so, distracting yourself with something else.

5) Repeat steps 2 – 4 several times.

6) Test the anchor by using it (touching your thumb to your pinkie). The feelings that you intentionally associated with the anchor should flood your body. If not, repeat steps 2 – 4 again until the using the anchor creates your chosen feelings/emotional state.

Then you have “anchored the resource state” so it’s available to you whenever you need it, say before an exam, a lecture or a social event. Just touch your anchor and go!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

How to Open Your Heart

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

In response to my article on “What stops you from claiming your intuition?” (below), a member of this blog wrote back, taking me to task for not mentioning the heart in intuition. While I still believe that higher perception, which is to say, the clairsenses (clairvoyance, clairaudience, clairsentience, clairolfaction and clairgustation, corresponding to sight, hearing, feeling, smell and taste, respectively), can operate without the heart, I agree that the heart also perceives truth and enhances the meaning of what is learned through the clairsenses. And it looks to me like the back of the heart chakra is one’s connection to the universe, the Divine, God (or pick our own word here).

In her book, Hands of Light, Barbara Brennan says that each chakra opens both to the front and the back, and that a healthy chakra opens out like a cone in each direction. (For more about the location and meanings of the chakras, see my website, The energy in each cone rotates according to the right hand rule, with the thumb pointed at the chakra, that is, point your thumb at your chakra, curve the fingers as if you were making a fist, and that is the direction in which an open chakra’s energy rotates. This means that the two cones of energy emanating (front and back) from one chakra rotate in opposite directions.

You can open a chakra, including your heart chakra simply by visualizing a circle of energy rotating in the appropriate direction, about 6 inches in diameter at about 1 inch away from your skin. I know it works, because I’ve watched pendulums move in accordance with this visualization, when done by me or by others.

In case you’d rather learn to open your heart with a short (about 4 minutes) guided meditation, I’ve included one here (or you may p need to cut and paste the url into your browser: --

Update: Sorry, that mediation no longer exists! (as of 2/12/09)

Monday, October 08, 2007

Blackberry Wisdom

What do you see when you look at a blackberry bramble? A weed? A problem? Something that hurts you? Or like me, do you see something truly admirable?

I’ve been working in what I loosely call my garden this summer, attempting to rescue the yard from the overgrowth of a couple of years of neglect. In the hours I’ve spent there, mostly weeding and pruning (with scratches and bites to match), I’ve come to really admire the blackberries. They have a lot to teach us:

Have back-up systems
– Blackberries have a couple of ways of reproducing themselves. First, they reproduce in the usual way of plants, by seeds -- lots of seeds! Every plant has many berries, and every berry has many seeds, so each plant has thousands if not millions of chances to reproduce that way alone. And those berries are delicious, so they get eaten by humans and other sweet-seeking creatures, who poop them out in other locations, where they can root and become new plants.

Blackberries also reproduce by rooting the plant’s canes. That is, each stem, called a cane, is only moderately self-supporting. It can rely on other structures, and act like a vine, but if there’s nothing to support it, it grows up and out for some length and then bends over. When it hits the ground, it roots itself, and more or less becomes its own new plant.

(Side note: if you’ve been reading these posts for a while, you may have noticed that I was mostly absent in August & September. It’s because my hard drive, which crashed, was not adequately backed up. Not having a good back up is very expensive both in time and money. It almost put me out of business. So please take my advice – back up, back up, back up!)

Be Flexible
– One of the tenets of NLP (NeuroLinguistic Programming) is “the most flexible system always wins”. It’s surely true of blackberries, which must be the cockroaches of the plant world. They grow in sunny locations, partly sunny locations and shady locations. They grow in rainy climates (we had them in our yard in NJ), they grow in dry climates (it never rains in the summer in northern CA). They grow where winter involves a hard freeze, and where it doesn’t. They grow on mountain sides, in forests, on lake shores and by the sides of roads. They grow like vines, supported by fences, trellises, trees, other bushes, you name it. They grow without supports, too, and can become very effective hedges.

Be Generous – Blackberries put out lots and lots of berries. In fact, early in summer, my husband looked out at the back yard and said, it’s a jungle out there. I replied that that jungle was going to feed us, so I refused to cut them down. And I totally underestimated the generosity of the plants! In addition to a daily serving of berries for about 2 months, I’ve made 2 cobblers, a blackberry chocolate cake, and blackberry coulis. Yum! So the weeds that my husband saw became a delicious addition to our diet. And if we weren’t westerners, with toilets, we’d have been planting berry seeds everywhere we went.

Be Persistent – Blackberries put out flowers, which become berries with seeds, continuously for over 2 months — that’s 1/6 of the year! If a freeze or a hail storm kills a bunch of flowers or berries before they've had a chance to mature — there’ll be more! And have you ever tried to eradicate a blackberry plant? You can’t, (or at least I can’t). Unless you get every part of a root, it will grow back. They are even growing from the spaces between our pavers! And that is part of their success.

Know that you are part of a community – Because those canes become new plants, still tied to the old plants, all the blackberry canes are simultaneously individual and part of the same plant. They are part of a community that has the same genetic heritage. We’re like that, too. As humans, we are part of many communities, both our genetic ones and ones of choice (where we live, where we work, where we recreate, etc.) and we would do well to remember that.

Protect yourself – Blackberries have thorns, lots of thorns — thorns on the canes, even thorns on the underside of the leaves. No animal is going to want to eat those canes, so they can grow undisturbed. And blackberries seem to have a fondness for poison oak. The two plants often grow together, which is further protection, at least from humans.

Point of view matters – If I look at the same plant from above, below, left and right, I’ll see different ripe berries which I can see only from that vantage point. We need to remember that, for other subjects. Other people will have other views. Your point of view is valid — and so is theirs, and if you take the best from all of your points of view, you‘ll have a much more complete picture of the situation than just seeing your own point of view.

It’s worth going over the same ground again and again – If you’ve done any internal work at all, on emotional issues, you have noticed that an issue you think is resolved will often pop up again, and it’s frustrating. But the blackberries have given me a different take on this issue. I picked berries from the same plot of ground, from the same canes for over 2 months. Emotional issues are similar — while you may have resolved one aspect of the issue, like picking one berry, there are lots more berries on the same cane, they’re just not ripe at the same time. Eventually, you run out of berries to pick, just as you eventually resolve all the aspects of your issue.

Info on thyroid/CFIDS

I was at a small seminar on brain chemistry and wellness by John Gray (yes, that Mars/Venus guy, and he is very cool, much cooler in person than in the books) last Sunday, and because it was at the hypnotherapy school where I teach, and because I know the woman who sponsored his talk, I got some time over lunch with him. He had mentioned that iodine is much more prevalent in the diets of Japanese women than American ones, which is why their children are so smart. Apparently, according to the WHO, lack of iodine in the diet of a pregnant woman is the cause of mental retardation in her children. He also talked a bit about how chlorine and bromine push iodine out of the body, and they are needed, particularly by the thyroid gland.

So when I asked him about CFIDS, he said that basically, your thyroid underperforms, and so your adrenals go into overdrive to compensate, until they, too, give out. And he said in talking with over a thousand people about this, every single one of them (yes, this is still anecdotal) had had significant chlorine exposure.

As if to underscore this, the woman sitting next to me in the seminar told me that she had a thyroid problem, and had been a figure skater (I do wonder about the chlorine in the Freon) and then on a swimming team for her childhood and teen years and continued to swim laps until the hypothyroidism happened, and her naturopath told her the lap swimming was over — without explaining why. When I got home, I called a friend, who I know had thyroid cancer in her 20’s, and asked her about chlorine exposure. She said immediately that she’d spent years playing in a garage where the chlorine for a neighbor’s pool was stored.

I’m sure there are plenty of people who spent a lot of time around chlorine who don’t have a thyroid problem — but apparently hypothyroidism is exploding in the population — and pools became greatly popular in the ‘50s, so baby boomers and later kids were the first to have a lot of chlorine exposure. Perhaps it takes 10 or 20 years to develop?

If you know an epidemiologist, you could bring this up and ask them if they might want to study it...

I am going to try large doses of iodine (called ioderal) and I’ll let you know what happens. And if you use kosher (non-iodized) salt, as I used to, you should switch to salt with iodine, preferably Himalayan or sea salt. At least that will increase the amount of iodine in your diet a bit. And obviously, stay out of swimming pools and hot tubs.

On another track, there is a school of thought that says that CFIDS is actually a neurological problem, more properly called RNA-ase enzyme deficiency disease (REDD) -- you can Google that.

What to do to end a relationship successfully

Sometimes, things really do happen in threes. And my rule is that when something happens three times, I should have a serious look at whatever the issue is.

Yesterday, I had three people call me about their divorces. One is just beginning a divorce, another is in the middle, while the third is just finishing up. (And actually, a fourth person called because she’s starting a new relationship, which is bringing up unresolved issues from a very long term relationship that ended a couple of years ago.)

They all had a few issues in common — grief, trust, letting go of attachments, and renegotiation. Grief is basically an intense feeling of loss. When any relationship ends, it’s normal to feel loss (you did lose something), and if it’s a marriage or another primary, long term relationship, it’s normal to grieve.

Usually, though, we associate grief with death, especially of a loved one, which makes sense, because it’s a serious, permanent (at least in this lifetime) loss. But there is a big difference between grieving a death and grieving the end of a relationship. When a loved one dies, your family and friends surround you, and support you. Everyone understands death, right? That person who was just there, in a body, walking and talking and hugging you, isn’t any more. And part of the ritual of death is that of family and friends speaking well of the deceased, remembering all of his or her good qualities, helpful actions, achievements, etc.

It’s different with a divorce. First, there is an interpersonal reason for the divorce, as opposed to death, which is more of a personal issue to the deceased. You loved the person you married — you thought this was the best person for you in the world, or you wouldn’t have married him/her. So something changed. Perhaps it’s the other person. People do change, not always for the better (having affairs, or alcohol or other addictions, for example). Or perhaps it’s you -- you may have changed. You may have grown and now be unwilling to put up with things you’d put up with in the past. Or perhaps the rose-colored glasses of love fell from your eyes, and you now see clearly something you successfully ignored or excused for a long time. Or both. (Perhaps you are the one with the addiction issue, but if so, you probably aren’t calling me, so I’ll leave that for others to discuss.)

That means there are huge issues of forgiveness around a divorce (which there often aren’t around a death). First, for your own well-being, you eventually have to forgive your ex for whatever he or she did or didn’t do or say — often over a long period of time. I’m not saying it’s easy, but remembering that people are doing the best they can all the time helps. Now, it may not be a very good best, but it is the best they can do, given who they are at the time.

The more difficult task is to forgive yourself for whatever you did or didn’t do or say — and most especially for what you didn’t see. Forgiving yourself for ignoring what is now patently obvious to you may be the hardest job of all, harder than moving forward each day, constructing a new life for yourself, (and your kids, if you have them). What makes it so difficult to forgive yourself is that you question your own judgment. How did I not see this (irresponsibility, addictive tendency, cruel streak, whatever)? If I didn’t see this, then what else am I not seeing? How can I ever trust my judgment enough to get into a relationship again? Trusting yourself going forward is critically important. You were doing the best you could at the time, too, and you learned from the experience, so next time, you’ll see more, right?

Another task is to let go of emotional/energetic attachment to the other person. While most people think that this is some huge process that takes a lot of energy over a long period of time, much of it can actually be done in just a few minutes with a simple visualization or two. I did this with a client yesterday, and at the end, she said, “That’s it? That was so easy! And I feel so much better.” Stuff happens — suffering is optional. (It’s different for each person, or I’d describe how.)

Divorce differs from death in another way, too. Your friends and family may, or may not, surround you and support you. Perhaps some of them disappear, either because they don’t know what to do or say, or because they “side with” your ex, or because they believe divorce in wrong in principle. And those who do stick with you will often begin to express the reservations about your ex they had all along, but felt it was wrong to voice. Perhaps they only know you as part of a couple, so knowing you as a single person is a completely new relationship. In any case, the important thing here is to recognize that you are recreating, or renegotiating, all your relationships, not just the one with your ex. When you do this consciously, it goes more quickly and easily than if you’re not aware of what you’re doing.

Monday, September 24, 2007

So in another universe, I never got CFIDS?

Parallel universes exist - study
Sep 23 11:33 PM US/Eastern

Parallel universes really do exist, according to a mathematical discovery by Oxford scientists described by one expert as "one of the most important developments in the history of science".

The parallel universe theory, first proposed in 1950 by the US physicist Hugh Everett, helps explain mysteries of quantum mechanics that have baffled scientists for decades, it is claimed.

In Everett's "many worlds" universe, every time a new physical possibility is explored, the universe splits. Given a number of possible alternative outcomes, each one is played out - in its own universe.

A motorist who has a near miss, for instance, might feel relieved at his lucky escape. But in a parallel universe, another version of the same driver will have been killed. Yet another universe will see the motorist recover after treatment in hospital. The number of alternative scenarios is endless.

It is a bizarre idea which has been dismissed as fanciful by many experts. But the new research from Oxford shows that it offers a mathematical answer to quantum conundrums that cannot be dismissed lightly - and suggests that Dr Everett, who was a Phd student at Princeton University when he came up with the theory, was on the right track.

Commenting in New Scientist magazine, Dr Andy Albrecht, a physicist at the University of California at Davis, said: "This work will go down as one of the most important developments in the history of science."

According to quantum mechanics, nothing at the subatomic scale can really be said to exist until it is observed. Until then, particles occupy nebulous "superposition" states, in which they can have simultaneous "up" and "down" spins, or appear to be in different places at the same time.

Observation appears to "nail down" a particular state of reality, in the same way as a spinning coin can only be said to be in a "heads" or "tails" state once it is caught.

According to quantum mechanics, unobserved particles are described by "wave functions" representing a set of multiple "probable" states. When an observer makes a measurement, the particle then settles down into one of these multiple options.

The Oxford team, led by Dr David Deutsch, showed mathematically that the bush-like branching structure created by the universe splitting into parallel versions of itself can explain the probabilistic nature of quantum outcomes.

from --

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Multiplier Effect (Part II)

After the orbs in the Bay Area (see “How Psychics Have Fun (Part II) below), and the enhanced photo, I was pretty excited to see what would happen at Mt. Shasta, which is renowned for its spiritual activity, with a bigger group, and a respected contactor of ETs.

Many anomalous things happened:

** Lights appeared in the sky, that could not possibly have been airplanes (wrong shape, no lights on wingtips, moving way too fast, etc.), and were not on the satellite charts. They blinked on and off, stood still and changed direction, which satellites can’t do. What looked to my naked eye like a craft sending out an energy streamer was apparently (to those with high power binoculars) was apparently one banking hard left into space, away from Earth.

** The temperature inside a circle of 60+ people (i.e. A BIG circle) sitting in a field was often warmer than the temperature outside the circle (and one circle of 60 people sitting father apart than shoulder to shoulder is much too big for this to be body heat). In fact, one night, sitting out on the mountain from 8:30PM to 1AM, someone used a thermometer to check the ‘inside’ temperature repeatedly. It went from 67F to 64F in about twenty minutes, then back to 67F in another 20 minutes, then to 65F, where it held for a long time before beginning to descend permanently. I could feel the temperature varying, as well. There was no wind, and the cloud cover never changed.

** Another night, we were meditating in a huge meadow, with a densely overcast sky. The air was completely calm — not a pine needle stirred. When we finished meditating, most people had felt raindrops (I didn’t feel them; I was either deep in meditation or asleep. However, rain will normally rouse me, and there were no wet spots on my clothes, so maybe it rained around me!) and the sky above us was completely clear in probably a quarter mile diameter circle! The surrounding sky, however, was still thickly overcast. Then, as we watched, the clouds formed an unmistakable heart shape in the center of the clearing directly above us, ringed by open space and then the original clouds. That was magical.

** One afternoon, we sat at the edge of a clearing in the woods, doing a long guided meditation. That is, everyone but me was doing it. There were hordes of yellowjackets in the area, and I’m very allergic to them. Sitting in the circle, I always seemed to have 4 to 6 of them around me, and was constantly swatting them away. I left the circle to stand away, where there seemed to be fewer yellowjackets and I could move quickly away from the occasional one that found me without disturbing everyone else. Of course, I had to stand, and stay alert, which meant I couldn’t get deeply into the meditation. However, I did what I do whenever I’m standing around doing nothing, which is to see what I can see clairvoyantly. What I saw with my external clairvoyance (my eyes, I guess) was that most everyone’s crown chakra was open, while they all followed the meditation, parts of which asked them to all think the same powerful mantra at the same time.

We had the multiplier effect again, that is, all those minds broadcasting a powerful mantra at the same time out into the universe attracted a lot of attention. After a while, probably after half an hour or so, I began to notice (with my internal clairvoyance) that the clearing was filling up with all sorts of beings, from nature spirits (or devas) to spirits who guarded the place (probably Native Americans who’d lived there) to ETs to angels. It was unbelievably beautiful! And as the meditation ended, they told me they’d be back that night. (And yes, they came back.)

I think the reason that we attracted so much attention was that our minds were sending out coherent thought. Not only was each mind coherent (which is probably pretty rare for a human being), but on top of that, 50+ minds were coherent with each other. This is similar to the multiplier effect I was talking about last week, though in that case, tens or hundreds of millions of minds had the same thought occasionally.

Imagine what we could do if a lot of us were coherent about something!

(Actually, I think this is what happened with the “Fire the Grid” meditation. ( In case you missed it, the email went around certain communities on the web like wildfire — and apparently 30 – 40 million people participated. We were asked to send love to planet Earth, in a meditative state, for one specific hour in August.) That hour happened to be from 3:11 AM to 4:11 AM Pacific time, which meant that I meditated, and fell asleep, and meditated and fell asleep, etc. When I got up around 6:30 AM, I checked in with Earth, and it felt different, more alive somehow!)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Multiplier Effect, Part I

I’m a roadie for 2 days a year (which is about all I can stand) as a volunteer for the Sausalito Arts Festival. I work the stage crew, which in general is hauling equipment, food and ice for the performers, and being additional security for the gates to the backstage areas. (BTW, the performers’ dressing room area is right next to the garbage — so much for glamour.) This year, though, my job was to sell merchandise, which is about as good a gig as you could want, because you sit at the right front corner of the stage, and can climb up backstage or walk in the protected area in front of the stage to take photos. Yeah, you do have to hear all the music and then people shove money in your face for CDs and t-shirts (btw, there’s a lot more money to be made in the shirts than the music, which really says something). Hard job, huh? Plus they fed us.

This year is the 40th anniversary of the “Summer of Love”, so that was the theme for the music this year, and Jefferson Starship was there, along with Quicksilver Messenger Service, It’s a Beautiful Day (now known as David LaFlamme and friends), the only living keyboardist from the Dead, New Riders of the Purple Sage and Marshall Tucker Band. It was a lot of fun to hear the great music (the guitar work is wonderful) and see lots of 60-somethings shaking it (I had a front row seat to that, too).

Anyway, the merchandise job went like this. The band’s manager (or someone) would bring you whatever they were selling, and tell you how much it cost. You wrote down the prices, took inventory, taped the t-shirts up to a high fence so people could see them, sold the merchandise, took inventory again, and settled up the money, taking the festival’s cut. It’s amazing how disorganized most of these folks are: no price list, no count of the merchandise to begin, no information about the CDs, no bank (you do need change, unless everything you’re selling is priced at $20). Jefferson Starship didn’t even bring me all the inventory, and lost sales because I was out of sizes that they had but hadn’t bothered to bring me, or even mention they had.

When David LaFlamme (I don’t know if you remember his song, “White Bird”, but it’s one of my favorites) came out to settle up (and btw, he was the only organized one), he was singing ”Everybody’s Talkin’”, the theme from the movie, “Midnight Cowboy”:

“Everybody's talkin' at me
Can't hear a word they're sayin'
Only the echoes of my mind
People stoppin', starin'
I can't see their faces
Only the shadows of their eyes
Goin' where the sun keeps shinin'
In the pouring rain
Goin' where the weather suits my clothes
Banking off a northeast wind
Sailin' on a summer's breeze
Skipping over the ocean
Like a stone”

LaFlamme told me that when he was a young man, he wanted to be Fred Neil, the author of that song. He said, I didn’t want to be like him, I wanted to be him. Then he said that Neil was the guy Bob Dylan and Phil Ochs looked up to, as well. He told me that at some point, Neil bought a sailboat, and took off for parts unknown, never to be professionally heard from again.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I was always puzzled by what that song had to do with a male prostitute in New York City. Good song, good movie, but to me, they didn’t go together. Okay, the weather in NYC sucks a lot, and in the movie, the main characters are in a pretty desperate situation, alienated from much of society, so a little escapism could be expected — but that song is about sailing! And there is definitely no sailing in the movie.

And about a day later it hit me — Fred Neil was putting his dream out there, in a way that probably hundreds of millions of people heard hundreds or thousands of times (it was a top 40 hit). Perhaps that song made him the money that bought him the sailboat that made his dream come true. Maybe all those minds focused on his dream, even a little, made it come true.

Imagine all those minds focused, even a little, on your dream.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Two great books!

"The Tao of Equus", by Linda Kohanov , which is the psychic side of horses and the horse/human interaction. Amazing and wonderful! If you ever had any question that animals are smart, and conscious, this should answer it.

The last Harry Potter -- J.K. Rowling apparently understands our political situation quite well. I only wonder if she always had this in mind (as I've read that she had the plot outlined for all 7 books before she wrote even one)?

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Are you having relationship issues now?

Are you having relationship Issues right now? Do they seem worse than usual?

Last week, in 2 days, I had FOUR separate people complain to me that they were having relationship problems so severe that three of them couldn’t get out of bed, and the fourth was doing so because she really had no other choice. Three of these people were having problems with life partners (fiancĂ©, husband, and ex) and one with a child.

My rule is that if something happens once around me, it just happens, and I’m an observer. Twice, perhaps it’s a coincidence. But three times, there is definitely something to which I should pay attention, perhaps about me. And four? Wow. But I don’t seem to be having any relationship problems at the moment, at least nothing I’m aware of. So I called a friend, another psychic with whom I trade readings, and she said she couldn’t see anything personal to me in this.

My next thought was that perhaps there was something astrological going on. While I believe that people mostly create their own realities, I do see the validity of astrology in affecting people and situations. So I called my friend, Robin, an astrologer, and — bingo! Venus (the planet of love and relationships) is retrograde. This is asking you to go inward and examine relationships, or to get closure on unresolved issues. Venus goes direct again on Sept. 8.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Enhanced orb photo

One of the readers of this blog sent me an enhanced orb photo, with the following comments:

I hope the changes I made come over in the
email, but I used a free program called Picasa to add
some light to your photo. It doesn't do anything to
alter it, it just makes things that are dark brighter.
There are tons of orbs all around you guys. I
couldn't really see until I added the light. If it
was snowing, they would make sense. But from your
email it doesn't sound like it was.

This is way cool!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

How Psychics Have Fun (Part II)

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
William Shakespeare

If you had told me 3 years ago that I’d be spending a summer Saturday night sitting out in a cold, empty field, in the dark, with a few people who were barely acquaintances (and my husband) with the intention of seeing some star visitors (aka ETs), I’d have told you you were crazy. (This from a woman who regularly talks to discarnate beings, and can communicate with animals and plants, at least sometimes!) But there I was nonetheless.

I mean, just because you can’t see it with your two eyes, doesn’t mean it isn’t there, right? Before microscopes, we couldn’t see cells. And before the Hubble telescope, there were lots of celestial bodies that we couldn’t see, even if we knew they were there. Which is where Mr. Shakespeare comes in... I mean, why wouldn’t there be beings who exist at frequencies outside our usual visual spectrum?

With that openness in mind, we gathered at a restaurant near the field we’d be sitting in later. Over dinner we chatted about other experiences with star visitors, or at least the others did. I was mostly just curious.

There are still places in the heavily urban Bay Area that are quite dark at night, and we went to one of them. Though I’m a newbie, some of these folks have apparently been going for years, so they led us down windy back roads right to the spot. I’m told it has a view, but it was so foggy, not to mention dark, that I really can’t say if it’s true.

There are two kinds of clairvoyance, internal (e.g. remote viewing) and external, which is seeing subtle energies, like the human energy field (aka aura) and chakras (energy centers which relate to different bodily organs and emotional/psychological issues). While my internal clairvoyance is decent, I’m still working on the external. The cool thing about the dark is that you can see subtle energies much more easily. I could very clearly see the aura and crown chakra of the woman across the circle from me! The layers of her aura looked kind of like the layers of an onion, but not as even. But I’ve seen that before, even seen colors occasionally, so no huge deal. The big surprise was seeing her crown chakra, which comes up from the crown of the head, kind of like a small fountain, but with a constantly changing cross between streaks and bubbles, all of which had very faint colors. I’ve seen line drawings of this before, but they really don’t do it justice, because drawings can’t capture the movement, change and color, in the same way that a black and white photograph can’t capture what a color video can.

Then there were the beings. What I saw with my eyes was sparkly things, little (or occasionally not so little) points of light, that came, sometimes moved, and went. What I saw internally were two odd-looking beings. The first was really tall, probably at least 8 feet, with a very long neck, kind of whitish. The second was a human-looking body, with the head of an eagle, and the feeling of guarding or protecting something, maybe us, maybe the land. It told me that similar beings had existed around western North America for millenia, and had appeared to the aboriginal peoples here, which is why some Native American tribes have thunderbird dances, and others have totems like that. Nobody else present saw these beings, though they did see the sparklies. They did tell me that a well-respected clairvoyant had told them of the bird people, who are apparently guardians of the earth.

I did feel what I often feel, which is a warm, loving presence. I have always assumed that these beings are guides or angels, which is to say, higher intelligence. But you know, maybe higher intelligence comes in a myriad of forms, and maybe, rather than being angelic, it’s intergalactic. Or maybe both. What do I know?

Here’s the cool thing — we have pictures! I’m excited by them because it’s the first time I’ve seen visual evidence of what I feel. I’m attaching one to this email (that’s me on the left, with the striped sweater and white scarf, the top clothing layers of about 15 total — did I say it was cold?). Now you could say that these lights are... out there in physical reality? Reflections off the fog? NO. There were no lights at all, not even any in the distance in any sight line. We were sitting in the dark — well, actually, we did seem to be illuminated by some sort of diffuse glow — but either that was our own auras, or something more supernatural. And I was standing diagonally from the line between the photographer and subject a couple of times, so I could see the reflection of the flash on the fog, and it was, tiny sparkles of light, much smaller than what is in the photos. No, there is no “normal” explanation of these orbs.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Re: 6 degrees of separation

This came from a friend, and I like it so much that i'll post it here:

i think there is another answer. It lies in the resonant structures that form things out of empty energy in a closed system where waves rebound from the boundaries and create patterns. Since the ocean is swimable (that's why we can get to the other shore) resonant structures attract each other.

Then again we could approach it from comparing the dream state in sleep to the dream state we call waking.

I think this happens a lot to people with a wide world. I once went to work as a headhunter. a few weeks later a new employee was placed at a desk opposite me. Turned out we had met in India in a few places 10 years before that. Went to a party at his home and his wife grew up a block from me and her sister was a classmate. He also met her in India. and i knew on other person there from Hawaii 12 years previous.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Six Degrees of Separation? Really?

We’ve all heard that saying, “Six Degrees of Separation”, meaning that everyone on earth is connected by a maximum of 6 person to person links. What most people don’t know, though, is where this notion came from, and that it’s not exactly true.

  • Item: My friend, Sasha, a musician in London, knows three (3!) people I know on a first name basis: an economist in Boulder, CO, a research engineer in Princeton, NJ, and a German psychologist (though she may actually live in London — but London and its environs have 12 – 14 million residents). To my knowledge, none of these people knows each other. What’s going on?

“Six degrees of separation” came from an experiment done by Stanley Milgram, the psychologist, in the 1930s. It is said that he gave 300 random Nebraskans an envelope and told them to send that to someone they knew on a first name basis, who they thought could get it to a particular stockbroker in Boston, with instructions for them to do the same, and that the envelopes got there in an average of 6 steps. That’s not entirely true. The average of all 300 envelopes was 6 mailing legs to get to the target — but Milgram gave 100 of those envelopes to people in Boston, 100 of them to blue chip investors, and only 100 to random Nebraskans. And of the 100 given to the random Nebraskans, only 18 got to the target! But Milgram was on to something.

  • Item: Last weekend, I went to a hypnotherapy class in Oakland, CA, which had 5 participants besides me. At lunch, I discovered that one of them, an attorney in Sydney, Australia, is a good friend of, and sometime attorney for, the my one friend in all of Australia. What’s going on?

Or perhaps you’ve heard of the game, Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, where players try to tie a given actor to Kevin Bacon in as few steps as possible, based on the movies they’ve acted in together. So if an actor has worked in a movie with Mr. Bacon, he has a Bacon number of 1, if an actor has worked with an actor who has worked with Mr. Bacon, she has a Bacon number of 2, and so on. As you can see in the table below, using data from the internet movie data base,, which has over 500,000 actors, the vast majority of actors are within 3 degrees of separation from Bacon, and virtually all are within 4 degrees:

Bacon Percentage
Number of Actors

1 .3
2 24.1
3 84.9
4 98.8

The book, “Six Degrees”, by Duncan Watts, from which the above data is abstracted, is all about “small world” networks, looking at networks as different as movie actors and the power grid from a mulitdisciplinary approach. After considering several models and research from the 1930’s onward, he concludes that “As long as individuals are more likely to know other people like them, and — crucially — as long as they measure similarity along more than one social dimension, then not only will short paths exist between almost anyone almost anywhere, but also individuals... will be able to find them.” And other research suggests that the two most powerful dimensions to explore are geographical connections and professional ones.

  • Item: A few weeks ago, I went to an NLP training in Novato, CA. The trainer, from NJ, turned out to have grown up a few blocks from me, and to have been a patient of my (MD) father’s. What’s going on?

So it’s reasonable that you’ll be connected to anyone, anywhere in very few steps, and that you’re most likely to find them by asking where they’re from and/or what they do for a living. But I’m still not sure that explains what’s happening to me.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

How to Really Connect on the Phone

Many years ago, I was the head of customer service (and a few other things, too!) for a small business that sold proprietary products to the fire service. One of my duties was to answer questions from any fire captain or chief who called in to ask about the products, or to get the information they needed to them. Another thing I did was to help staff our booth at 3 - 5 fire service trade shows each year, which meant that I eventually got to meet many of the people to whom I had spoken on the phone.

I began to notice that, when I met them, I already knew what these men (and they were almost exclusively men) looked like! Now, it wasn’t that they looked exactly as I had imagined them, had I even been aware that I was imagining them. Rather, if I described the impression I had, that description would have exactly matched the person. So while it wasn’t like seeing an exact photo of a particular chief, I would have described him, say, as being slightly overweight, with shaggy brown hair, smallish light eyes, a regular nose and a mustache — and that description would have fit!

And then I began to wonder how I did that.

What I realized was that as I heard a voice, I was unconsciously flipping through my internal data base of all the people I’d ever met and their voices, and making a picture of the person I was talking with based on that. I’m sure you do it, too. Think about it — you can usually tell a woman’s voice from a man’s, or hear someone’s approximate age (though I can’t say how), or native language, or which region of the US he or she is from, and sometimes their ethnicity. A more resonant voice is generally a larger person, though not always. How do I ‘see’ eye color, or hair color, or facial hair? Avoiding the obvious blond jokes here, I can’t put my finger on it — but again, flipping through that data base in my mind gives me clues.

Then there’s the emotional stuff. You can hear tension in someone’s voice — happiness, sadness and anger, too. You can hear uncertainty in “uptalk”, the way someone raises their pitch at the end of a sentence. Or certainty and confidence in the opposite — a lowered pitch at the end of a sentence. Yes, you can hear a smile — or else why would all those sales training folks tell you to smile when you call a prospect? Or maybe what happens is that the smile changes someone’s internal state, and you can hear that. If you pay close attention, you can even hear people’s emotions when they’re trying to hide them. Maybe it’s in the length of the vowels, or the breathing.

You can do this! Part one of connecting to people on the phone is to listen to how people talk, and not just what they say. Pay attention to how fast they’re speaking (can’t you just see certain people gesticulating wildly?), whether they speak with a more even pitch, or whether it has lots of peaks and valleys, how loud they are, which words they emphasize, where and when they hesitate. And notice what impressions come to you from this, however they come. You may not be “seeing” the person on the other end of the line, but you may learn a lot about him or her.

In fact, you are probably already doing this beneath the level of your conscious awareness — maybe you’ve already decided you don’t like someone you just “met” on the phone, for example. But making it conscious for a while will help you improve the skills you already have.

And when this noticing becomes automatic, phase two of “how to connect on the phone” is to begin to match the other person’s speech. Maybe you slow down a bit if you’re talking to someone in the South — or speed up a bit if you’re speaking to a New Yorker. Maybe you have more peaks and valleys than you normally have, or maybe your tone of voice is more level than usual. Or perhaps you just address the feelings implicit in someone’s tone of voice — if (s)he sounds hesitant, ask what that hesitation is. This may feel uncomfortable in the beginning, but keep at it, and eventually, you’ll connect with people just as well on the phone as in person.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Birthday Rats!

This is so cool, I just had to share!

One thing I did for my birthday was to go for a long walk on the beach. When I came home, I found a HUGE rat right in the middle of the “Welcome” on the door mat! My cat, Beast, who is a great hunter, but hadn’t brought me any ‘gifts’ for quite some time, brought me a birthday present!

My husband, whose birthday follows mine by 6 days, and I had a birthday party on the Saturday in between our two birthdays. Nothing fancy, just inviting lots of people for a pot luck, since no one seems to RSVP any more. The morning of the party, we were frantically cleaning, but had yet to put out any of the food or the utensils. We do clean occasionally, so this should not have set off alarm bells for Beast. Nevertheless, he showed up with yet another rat — his contribution to the pot luck!

After the party ended, Beast showed up with yet another rat, and headed for my husband’s favorite chair. Perhaps it was his gift to my husband?

Do you have a good animal story, a time when one of your pets “knew” something they couldn’t really have known?

In case you’re interested, there’s a great book, “Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home: And Other Unexplained Powers of Animals” by Rupert Sheldrake. I read it a long time ago, but if I remember correctly, he shows many instances of dogs (and birds?) who know psychically when their humans are returning.

Everything Happens for a Reason, Doesn't It?

You hear it a lot, don’t you? “Everything happens for a reason” -- but doesn’t it often seem like random things are happening to you? Here’s another way to think about that. It feels a little like a shaggy dog story, but there is a point, or even two.

My official business address is a post office box in a town I used to live in, about 45 minutes from where I live today. One afternoon a few months ago, when I checked it, I found several items for “Debbie Smith” (obviously not her real name, which is much more unusual). A couple of these looked like they might be checks and a couple more looked like W-2s. The address was P.O. Box 265, and then a street address, and then the town. I guess Debbie has my box number at a private mailbox place, but somehow these said P.O.B. instead of P.M.B. By law, the post office must deliver anything that says P.O.B. to a post office box, even if it has an address following that, so they ended up in my box.

As it happens, Debbie used to work for me, many years ago, when she was in high school; her mother, “Karen” is a good friend of mine. So I did what any friend would do, and called Karen, and left a message saying that these items were in my mail, and should I drop them at her house before I went home (as I don’t know where Debbie lives)? I did a few other errands, and since I hadn’t heard back, I gave the items back to the post office, explaining what had probably happened, and asking them to deliver them correctly. Shortly thereafter, I heard back from Karen, who said she’d call Debbie, who had recently moved back to town, to let her know about the mail. Then Karen said she’d be meeting a mutual friend of ours shortly for an early dinner, and did I want to come? Sure! I changed my plans and met Karen and my other friend for dinner at a Chinese restaurant a few doors from the post office.

While we were eating, Debbie walked into the restaurant and joined us, having just picked up her mail. Sure enough, there were 2 checks and 2 W-2s, and she was thrilled to have gotten them. Then she said, “You know, just today I was visualizing money coming in the mail to me. I was clear that I wanted it, and that I wanted it today!”

So here are the points of the story:

Everything happens for a reason, but it may not be your reason
. Everyone else out there has their own intentions. So enjoy being part of someone else’s synchronicity.

Be clear what you want — and others will be enlisted
, perhaps without your or their conscious awareness, to help you get it.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Context is everything!

Sometimes, context is everything. It’s how you understand the meaning of a given word, right? When I was a kid, we played a game where the words “coffee pot” were substituted for two versions of a homonym, and you had to guess what the words were. So my mom would say, “I coffee pot the ball” and “I drove coffee pot the tunnel” and I had to guess the words “threw” and through”.

And sometimes it’s how you recognize people. Bear with me, here.

My office is very private. It’s pretty separate from the house; it’s downstairs, behind the garage, with its own door to a private patio. The patio is accessible only by a gate to the front yard and stairs up to the main deck and yard, which I can see from both my desk and the sofa where I sit to “read”. No one ever comes in unless I invite them. Even my husband checks the phone line to see if I’m busy before he comes down, and he comes from the inside; there’s never anyone except the cable guy or the phone guy on the patio, and that’s because I’ve called them. When I work, the only other creature there, besides me, is my cat, Creature. That is, my office is very private, and very safe -- which is important, because I need to be completely secure in the outer world so that I can focus on the inner world for/with my clients.

Last Wednesday morning, I was in my office, doing a reading/NLP session for a client. I had my eyes closed, paying close attention to the inner landscape, and was therefore not particularly aware of what was going on in my office. All was well. We had gotten to a place where my client was touching one of his big issues, which, frankly, he would rather have avoided. (This is how many issues get to be big issues — when they’re little issues, we avoid them because it’s easier or more comfortable to avoid them than to deal with them. That lets them grow unchecked, attracting other experiences like the one that caused the issue in the first place. But I digress.)

BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! Went the back of the patio door.

Oh, my God! I practically screamed into the telephone, and then apologized to my client for blistering his ear as I rushed to the back door. There was a man standing there! And all the possibilities of who this could be flashed through my mind (PG&E? PacBell? The cable company? But I haven’t called any of them. A new neighbor? But why would a new neighbor come to this obscure, protected door?)

“Who are you?”, I asked the stranger.

“Steve”, he answered, with a slightly shocked look, as if to say, “you idiot!” — and immediately his very ordinary features morphed into the unique ones of one of my best friends from decades ago, as if all my experience of him suddenly populated his face. (Actually, we’ve known each other since we were teenagers and have stayed in touch all these years. No, I haven’t seen him in 5 years, but he really doesn’t look different from how he looked then.) It’s just that I talked to him the evening before, on his home phone, in NC, to say “thank you” for the birthday present he sent, so I “knew” he was home in NC. Since I didn’t expect him, I didn’t “see” him. I explained that I was really “out there” from doing the reading, and he readily forgave me.

How do you prevent this from happening? How do you ensure you recognize someone? I’m not 100% sure you can, but I have a couple of ideas.

The first one comes from my late father, who was a doctor in a small town in NJ, with a huge practice which spanned the state. Almost everywhere we went, someone would say, “Hi, Doc!” and he’d look momentarily blank, and then greet whomever by their name, and ask them something relevant to their lives. Once I asked him about that blank look, and how he remembered everyone, and here’s what he said: “When someone says, “Hi, Doc!, I know it’s someone from my practice, so I “see” them in the office — and then I know just who they are, their name, what they do for a living, kids names, all that stuff.”

So the first trick is to widen the visual frame of your memory, to see someone in the context in which you met.

The second trick is from “memory experts” who tell us to envision someone’s name stamped across his or her forehead.

Put the two together, so you see the person’s name, stamped on his or her forehead, in the context in which you know each other, and you’ll be all set!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

As American as cherry pie

Made from my photos of cherries, red peppers, night sky, roses, narcisus, and squash.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Mirror Neurons and Social Contagion

On Saturday, I had the distinct pleasure of helping a group of aspiring hypnotherapists develop their (already pretty advanced) intuitions. Before we started, several members of the group told me they’d been looking forward to this session, and afterwards, I perhaps understood why: they were natural psychics, and needed a little help understanding, and, in at least one case, coping with, what they were already doing.

After my usual explanation of intuition, we began the practice exercises. One exercise is designed to increase the students’ awareness of others’ emotions at an energy/intuitive level. It requires that one member of a small group fully experience some emotion, by recalling an instance of it, as in method acting, so that the others can notice how that emotion manifests, and what it brings up for them. This is critical to healers, because sensing what is going on for your client and managing your own emotions around that is necessary to your client’s healing.

As I told the students that the next emotion they were to experience was anger, one woman standing quite close to me jumped the gun, and remembered her anger immediately. I caught a glint of it in her eye, and before I was aware of what had happened, part of me thought, “Oh, s**t, she’s mad at me!” And this happened even though I knew I had just asked the students to “run anger”.

At another point, I asked the group to run fear, which they gamely did. While I was not part of the exercise, just managing it, I found myself nauseated and desperate to leave the room, in the classic “freeze or flee” mechanism.

What was going on?

What was going on was that my neurology was working perfectly! Our brains apparently have certain neurons, called mirror neurons, which “reflect back an action we observe in someone else, making us have that emotion, or have the impulse to do so”, according to Daniel Goleman in his book, “Social Intelligence”. These mirror neurons are the mechanism of our understanding what someone else is experiencing. They create a sort of emotional contagion between people (and even among crowds), especially when they interact face to face, and particularly when they look each other in the eye. This happens completely outside our conscious awareness.

So when I caught the eye of the woman who was “angry”, I experienced her anger, and when several members of the group were “afraid”, I became afraid.

So if you are someone who “catches” others’ negative emotions quickly and easily, what do you do?

The first step to solving a problem is to recognize it. If you regularly have emotions that seem to come out of nowhere, for no reason, your mirror neurons are probably very sensitive (or you have more of them, or they’re working overtime, or something). So the first thing is to ask yourself, “is this my emotion?” If the answer is no, then find a neutral or positive thought which will bring you back to your own decoupled physiology. A few good neutral thoughts are:

I am balanced, centered and grounded. (And really feel your connection to the earth.)
I have a protective bubble around me (or my aura). (Again, take a moment to notice the protection.)
I’m me; you’re you; we’re different (or separate).

Not only will you feel better, but then, in a more resourceful state, you have the ability to shape the interaction, so that the other person “catches” your more positive state.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Does synchronicity have a structure?

The American Heritage Dictionary defines Synchronicity as “Coincidence of events that seem to be meaningfully related, conceived in Jungian theory as an explanatory principle on the same order as causality.” Here’s an amazing example, that just happened to me:

A few weeks ago, I decided on the spur of the moment to launch a 5 week teleclass on the practice of happiness, based in current research into meditation, emotional intelligence, luck, and positive psychology (the psychology of happiness). I picked weekly Wednesday evening “meetings” from 6 – 7 PM California time for a few reasons. I chose the 6PM time because it would be accessible to anyone in the US. I chose Wednesday because mid-week sessions are likely to be better attended, I sometimes go to meditations on Tuesday nights, and people tend to go out on Thursdays. That left Wednesdays. I did it really quickly, without considering what else was going on in my life, and without looking at my calendar.

What was I thinking?

After I sent out the email, I noticed that my favorite yoga class runs from 7 – 8 PM on Wednesdays. Bummer! I was going to have to be late to class for 5 weeks. Oh, well.

And then I noticed that I had a dental hygiene appointment, about 45 minutes away from my office, from 4:30 – 5:30 PM on the day of the first class (yesterday), which meant that I couldn’t get home in time for the class. It is almost impossible to reschedule an appointment, as they are made 6 months in advance. And I had already tried to reschedule this appointment to accommodate the schedule of the hypnotherapy school where I teach, to no avail (had to change the teaching schedule instead — luckily another teacher was willing to trade). I was going to have to do the first class on my cell phone, with probably poor reception, from the discomfort of my car in a parking lot on a hot day. Major bummer!

And here’s what happened:

Last Wednesday night, the yoga teacher announced that for the next 6 weeks, Wednesday night class would be moved to Thursday night! And in fact, this exactly matches my need, because one of the Wednesdays is July 4th, and so my 5 classes are spread over 6 weeks.

Yesterday morning, the dentist’s office called, very apologetically, to say that the hygienist with whom I was scheduled couldn’t do my session! And that I would go to the top of the cancellation list for another appointment. In fact, they called me back the same day with a new date.

Here’s another thing: a couple of weeks after I announced the class, Neale Donald Walsch, author of the “Conversations with God” series, announced that he was holding a one hour teleclass on “Happiness with God” -- from 6 – 7 PM PDT on the night of my first class. How weird is that?

I’d like to believe that it was my clear intention to do this class — for free, and the universe supporting that choice, that led to the synchronicities, but I truly don’t know. Or maybe all this other stuff was set up in advance, and I picked that time because I subconsciously knew about everyone else’s plans. And the question for me is, is there a structure to synchronicity, like there’s a structure to luck (See Richard Wiseman’s “The Luck Factor”)? Because if I understood that, life would be a LOT easier!

Where or when in your life do synchronicities happen? Have you noticed anything that seems to trigger them? Please let me know. If enough people write back, maybe we can figure out a pattern... I’ll share (anonymously) anything useful that I get (unless I’m asked not to).

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Can you go home again? Hope... and Acceptance

Last week was quite a whirlwind — NJ for a class, visiting family and friends, and a college reunion, back to SF, only to go to Sacramento on business. But I’m finally home, thank goodness! And because there was such a whirlwind, I have a few impressions I’d like to share with you:

Can you go home again?

It’s very odd to walk around a college campus where you spent almost all of 4 years (I worked as a research assistant in the summers, and stayed for a month or so after graduation, so it really was almost all of 4 years). There is this time travel experience — you know you are you, and it’s 2007, but then, you hit a part of campus that hasn’t changed since you lived there, and... you’ve traveled back in time. I walked by a dorm I lived in one summer, and the window of “my” room had a window fan in it, just like I had. It literally stopped me in my tracks. When am I? It’s as if the present is layered onto the past in the physical place. (Read “Time and Again” by Jack Finney for a terrific novel based on this premise — and no, the movie just isn’t as good).

But then there is also this sense of the place growing and evolving as the community grows and evolves, as everything evolves. Some buildings are the same; others have only been changed on the inside. There are new buildings, housing new scholarly departments and new students. Some trees have gotten bigger, some have died and been replaced by smaller ones. The black squirrels seem to have been replaced by gray ones. The faces, of course, have changed, but the feel remains the same. Engineering students are still working their butts off -- I commiserated with a current engineering student, and one who’d been out 5 years, about how hard we all worked as undergrads. And everyone still feels connected.

So if you can accept that everything changes, then you can go home again.


I had the good fortune to get a ride (thanks, Julie & Rich!) out to the Plasma Physics Lab, which is 4 miles from the main Princeton campus, for the first time ever, so I could take a tour of the facilities. The PPL is one of the few experimental locations in the world for the development of nuclear fusion energy. Currently used nuclear energy is produced by fission, splitting atoms, and it leaves nasty by-products. By contrast, fusing types of hydrogen atoms to make helium, which is an inert gas, also frees up vast amounts of energy, and leaves only the helium as a byproduct.

Here’s the good news: according to the tour director, who is a physicist (although the communications director of the lab and not an experimenter), commercially viable fusion energy is pretty much inevitable. Certainly many things remain to be worked out, but apparently the question is not if, but when. His view is definitely by 2050. The (slightly) bad news is that the PPL would like to be doing experiments 25 weeks a year on the test reactors they have, and are only funded by the Dept. of Energy for 12 weeks a year. How much sooner could this happen if the lab were fully funded? Can we afford to wait until 2050?

A further question is which nation will commercialize fusion energy, and thereby gain the business for putting these small reactors everywhere. Other research institutions are in Russia, China, the EU, and Japan. While the research is apparently a joint endeavor of these countries with India at this point, commercializing it may not be.

All in all, from the Earth’s point of view, this is the most hopeful thing I’ve heard in years.


10 years ago, when I told people at my reunion that I did clairvoyant readings and coaching (which wasn’t called that then), most people who didn’t know me well, and a few who did, looked at me like I was crazy. It wasn’t much better 5 years ago.

But this time, the reaction I got from most people was “Cool!” I had pretty deep conversations, where I was passing on psychic information, with a couple of people who I’m sure wouldn’t have given my information any credence back then. And this is a pretty mainstream group of professionals. Is it because the culture has changed? Or because we’re older? Or because I speak about it in a way that’s easier to relate to? I don’t know, but I sure hope it’s the first of these. Anyway, my sense is that it’s safe to come out of the closet with your abilities (for those of you who have been in one).

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Do you want to be happier? More successful?

A couple of weeks ago, I gave a very brief talk on the relationships of meditation, luck, emotional awareness and success, as part of a larger program given by others. There was a lot of material, actually too much for me to cover in the ten minutes I had, and that bugged me. Still, people were quite blown away at the picture I’d drawn for them of how all these things relate to and reinforce each other. So after I sat down to listen to the rest of the program, it hit me — this information needs to get out there! People need to know not only about this reinforcing relationship, but also about all the exercises that one can do to feed the virtuous cycle. So I had an idea... But first...

Quick — How happy are you, on a scale of 0 –10? (Where 10 is “it couldn’t possibly get better — life is a blast!” and 0 is “I’d be better off on the other side”.) Check inside quickly to answer that (whatever number comes up first is the right one). Then scroll down...

If you answered less than 10, would like to improve that happiness level? (And if the answer is 0 – 1, please go get individualized professional help now.)

If you’re reasonably happy, or so-so, or even kinda bummed, and would like to be happier day to day, read on.

Did you know there are simple, scientifically proven strategies (no, no drugs!) to boost your happiness and sense of well-being, not to mention your success? Because there is now lots of research into the psychology of happiness, emotional awareness, the effects of meditation on the brain and body, and the structure of luck, which you can use to improve your life. But it’s fragmented into hundreds, maybe thousands, of different books and websites.

You could find all this information yourself, but why bother? Do you have that much time? I’ve gathered much of the best of the current research in one place. How much would you be willing to pay for all this information? $300? $500? $1000?

I’m offering it, along with some experiential tools not included in the literature, this one time only, for FREE (of course, there is a small catch, but it is for your own good)!

I’m offering a teleclass, based in solid scientific research into meditation, luck, happiness, and emotional awareness, which aims to boost that happiness level, along with your success, by giving you simple, easy tools and strategies. This is groundbreaking, as I haven’t seen anyone put all these things together in one place. There will be some lecture, especially in the first session, to explain the framework for the class, some guided meditations, some group discussion, homework (about 30 – 40 enjoyable minutes daily — and you may already be doing some or much of it), and questionnaires.

Here are the details:

When: 5 Wednesdays, 6/13, 6/20, 6/27, 7/11 and 7/18, 6PM PDT, which is 9PM EDT, for 45 – 60 minutes each

Where: Wherever you are, by long-distance telephone. However, you must not be driving a car, as it would be too dangerous to take part in the guided meditations.

Cost: Because this is a beta test, it is FREE, if you (a) attend all teleclasses and (b) fill out all questionnaires (don’t worry, they’re short). If you don’t do these things, the cost is $100, which is what it will be in the future. I do this because if you don’t attend all the classes, and don’t fill out all the questionnaires, I don’t know what is working, or how well.

Contact: Hollis Polk at, 650-616-9377, or 888-4-hollis (888-446-5547) to sign up, get details and/or ask questions.

I’m looking forward to this — it will be fun! Please join me for what promises to be a life-changing journey!