Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Findings - For Good Self-Control, Try Getting Religious About It -

Score one for religion?

Findings - For Good Self-Control, Try Getting Religious About It -

“Brain-scan studies have shown that when people pray or meditate, there’s a lot of activity in two parts of brain that are important for self-regulation and control of attention and emotion,” he said. “The rituals that religions have been encouraging for thousands of years seem to be a kind of anaerobic workout for self-control.”

Although a number of different studies are cited, including one on people who are 'spiritual' but not 'religious', there is no study on 'spiritual' plus meditation versus religion.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Keeping the holidays under control

Okay, it's a little lat for this, at least for this year, but I was part of a recorded group conversation that my friend and radio host, Nina Price, did on how to enjoy the holidays. You can read the summary here:

Thursday, December 18, 2008

See? I'm normal!

At least about understanding my cats...

AP Poll: 67 percent of pet owners say they understand their pets

My question is, if we can understand our pets, why aren't we copping to reading each other's minds?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

TPMCafe | Talking Points Memo | Credit Card Payments and Psychological "Anchoring"

The credit card companies get you coming and going:

TPMCafe | Talking Points Memo | Credit Card Payments and Psychological "Anchoring"

Op-Ed Columnist - The Great Unraveling -

When I was 11 years old (I was in 8th grade at the time), I saw very clearly that the US was going to become more socialist and that Russia and China were going to become more capitalist. I was so clear about it that I insisted that I go to a high school where I could learn Russian or Chinese. (This was NOT part of my family conversation -- my parents were very surprised by my request, though when I explained it, they seemed to understand.)

My parents found me a boarding school where I could learn Russian. Funny thing, the first year I took Russian was the year that the Russian grain harvests failed disastrously, and the US first sold wheat to the USSR. I remember boarding a Russian ship, which was loading wheat into its hold from a grain elevator at the port of Albany (NY), as a field trip.

Anyway, here it is, about 40 years later, and it turns out I was right. Obviously Russia went more capitalist in the Gorbachev era, China is doing it now -- and we are nationalizing our banks. (And maybe the auto companies?) Here's Tom Friedman making the point:

Op-Ed Columnist - The Great Unraveling -

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Hollis' Adventures in SubPrimeLand (or, Through the Looking-Glass)

I own, as an investment, a 2 bedroom, 1 bath condominium in Citrus Heights, which abuts Sacramento. I bought it right after 9/11, when no one else was buying, and so I got a great deal (about 2/3 of what it was worth on a cash flow basis), and it cash flows, at least when it's rented, which is the vast majority of the time.

It's nothing fancy, an 800sf front ground floor unit in one of those McKeon four-plexes that sprung up all over CA in the 70's. (McKeon was the builder who figured out how to do condominia.) The neighborhood is nothing fancy, either, a neighborhood of small working class families, the elderly and the disabled, mostly owner-occupied units, but some rentals, too.

My unit is cute, in a cottage-y sort of way, looking out on a front lawn, and it only has one wall in common with any other units. The drawback to it, however, is that the windows of both bedrooms, one at the right of the unit, and one at the left, each look out on the front entrance to a side unit in the building. This means that your neighbor's ingress and egress habits may affect your sleep. This is the genesis of my adventures in SubPrimeLand.

The neighbors in the unit to the right of mine are the neighbors from hell (NFH). The single mom and her son were Section 8 tenants (more on that later). The mom, a white woman in her early 30’s, was on disability for brain damage due to a car accident 10 or so years ago. But somehow, she managed to do all sorts of jobs for her landlord, cleaning and painting vacant apartments to get them on the market -- for cash, of course. Her mother was living with her, along with a series of unsavory boyfriends, at least one of whom went to prison as a drug dealer. (Of course, none of these 'guests' were allowed by the Section 8 rules.) She managed to store so much stuff in her half of our shared garage that my tenants complained of being unable to use their half. When I personally moved some of the stuff, after repeated requests fell on deaf ears, she called the cops on me! Her vicious dog attacked her (better her than anyone else) and tore her arm up so badly that she spent the night in the hospital, with hundreds of stitches, and the cops had to shoot the dog. Of course, she immediately got a new dog.

The owner was a good friend of mine. He maintained the unit, but never fixed it up, so it had ratty carpet, worn linoleum and old appliances. But it was good enough for Section 8. My pleas to him to get rid of the NFH fell on deaf ears – the Section 8 money kept coming, and he used her to do those other apartment clean outs. But he did have a good rapport with her, and could manage her somewhat.

He sold the unit in the spring of ’07 (smart man!) to another investor. He told me who it was, and I called her to warn her about the tenant, and to see if we could work together, checking on each other’s units if we were in the neighborhood (she lives in San Jose), etc. I never did hear from her, though.

Comes the Spring of ’08, and my last tenant moved out for personal reasons. It was 2 middle-aged sisters, tough old birds, one of whom managed rentals for a living, and so they could deal with the NFH okay. These ladies told me that the NFH had received a 30 day notice to quit, and would be leaving a couple of days after them.

Unfortunately, that’s not what happened.

My new tenants are quite nice and very reliable. They are a mother, who is a retired public health nurse, and her adult daughter, who is back in college full time after a divorce. After a couple of months, they began to complain about the behavior of the now teenaged son next door (remember, the TFH was a single mom) and his friends. The kids were smoking on my tenants’ front steps, making noise at all hours of the day and night. To make matters worse, the mom had moved out of the unit, and into the fourth unit of the fourplex, the one at the back, over the garage, with her new boyfriend (having broken up his former relationship), leaving her son alone in the side unit.

I told them to call the cops, which they did – repeatedly. But nothing happened.

When my tenants told me that the mom and her boyfriend had been evicted from the back unit, departing for parts unknown, leaving the son in the side unit, I called my attorney to tell him. He said, tell the cops that there is an unsupervised minor in there, and they’ll do something. So I did, and I called Child Protective Services, too, for good measure. The police did do a welfare check, finding that the minor had a 21 year old male with him! Not a good sign. And with an adult in there, the police could do nothing. This brought the TFH back, to harrass my tenants.

Meanwhile, I’d been calling and emailing the owner, to no avail. She wouldn’t answer my calls or my emails. I do know she got the emails, though, because they didn’t bounce.

Now my tenants were threatening to break their lease. I can’t afford to have my unit vacant. And now, I’ve created so much animosity with the TFH that I’m afraid that if it’s vacant for even a day, my unit will be vandalized.

So I’m desperate. Why is no one doing anything?

Here’s why:

• The TFH has not been evicted, despite its Section 8 status being revoked, so that no rent was coming in. Why wouldn’t you evict a tenant for non-payment of rent?
• Here’s why: The owners don’t care because the unit is in foreclosure. A notice of default was filed in the spring of 2008. It only takes 90 days to foreclose, so that should have happened a long time ago. Why didn’t the trustee’s sale happen?
• Here’s why: The lender is in bankruptcy! The loan is for somewhere between 2 and 4 times what the property is worth, and they probably don’t want to acknowledge that.
• (And BTW, the Home Owners’ Association has begun the process of foreclosure for non-payment of HOA dues. I’m guessing no one’s paying the property taxes, either.)

Everyone is either unwilling or legally unable to do anything. I’ve got the flu, but it seems like I’m the only one who cares.

So I haul my flu-ridden butt out of bed on the coldest evening of the year to drive down to San Jose (about an hour each way) to try to find the owner. My husband, Kosta, doesn’t want me to go alone for safety reasons, and I have to agree. Luckily, he's driving — but he's coming down with the flu, too.

We arrive at a solid home in a solid, middle class neighborhood, a neighborhood of 3 and 4 bedroom single family homes, built in the 60’s. The sort of neighborhood where everyone cuts their grass and most put up Christmas lights. The owner’s home fits in perfectly – well-maintained, lots of Christmas lights and other decorations. From the front door, you can see through lace cafĂ© curtains into a tiled kitchen that looks like it was remodeled in the 80’s. In the family room, I can see a Rottweiler puppy asleep on a pile of blankets.

A 16 or 17 year old boy answered the door. When I introduce myself and ask him for his mom, he says, “She’s not here.”

“When will she be back?” I ask.

“I don’t know.”

“Will she be back this evening?”

“I don’t know.”

We go around like this for a while, me trying to get something out of him, him evading. Wow! He must really be used to bill collectors… too bad, he seems like a nice kid, very polite. Finally, I tell him I was just going to wait outside till his mom got home.

So my husband and I stand at the foot of the short driveway, being careful to stand on public property in case he calls the cops. We debate what to do. Kosta wants to go get dinner, and I say, if we do that, you know she’ll come home while we’re gone, and we’ll miss our one chance to get to her before she shuts the garage door. But what if she's already inside, and he was lying? What good would waiting do then? Would it be better to leave, and come back at 5AM, and wait for her to leave to go to work? Yes, it would mean another trip, but we’d be sure to find her, and more warmly dressed, to boot.

5AM seemed like the surest plan, but I have to try one more time at the door, just in case he was lying, and Mom is home. What if he doesn’t answer the door? Well, there's nothing to lose.

He answers the door, and this time, offers to get his Dad. This, it turns out, is a major stroke of luck!

It turns out that although Mom is the owner of the unit, it was really Dad’s idea – Mom never wanted to buy it in the first place. In fact, Mom is pissed at Dad, because it’s ruining her credit.

Dad, it turns out, is in the real estate business – sales, mortgage lending, and property management. In 2005 and 2006, he brought home $700k each, and bought property all over the country, fairly indiscriminately, figuring the good times would continue to roll, property would continue to appreciate, and he’d be able to service all the negative cash flow out of his earnings.

We all know how that turned out. 2 of Dad’s 3 businesses are down 95% since 2006. (Care to guess which 2?) The property values have plummeted, as well, so now he is under water, with negative cash flow and no way to service he debt on his greatly diminished income. What’s more, when business went south, the first people he let go were the accounting department, so his records are a mess and he can’t find anything. Eventually, he let everyone go, so he is the only person there, trying to unwind the mess, to salvage the properties where the lenders will do the loan modifications, so that he has some cash coming in, and let the rest go.

He actually doesn’t think he still owns the unit! He thinks it has been foreclosed upon. I tell him that we think they are selling drugs out of the unit. As a real estate broker, he knows that once he knows, he’s responsible to do something. When I say to him that now he's on notice, I actually see him wince – and so does my husband.

So we leave it that I'll send him all the information I have, all the contacts, who to call to do the eviction, the cops cell phones, everything, and he’ll keep me in the loop. I’m not sure that’s good enough, but it’s all I can do for now.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Free call on how to avoid holiday stress

This Friday. Dec. 12, at 4PM PST, I'm going to be part of a free teleclass, "How people Who Seem to Always Have th Holidays Under Control Deal with Holiday Stress".
I'll be sharing how I managed an elegant, festive, sit down, 5 course Thanksgiving dinner for 18 (my dining room table seats 6, period) -- and had fun doing it! 4 other women, including the mother of a large family, a personal organizer and the founders of a wellness center and education/training facility will be sharing their insights and ideas about how to manage the multiple priorites, extra activities, community needs, emotional effects of the season -- and enjoy the holidays yourself!

Each of us has a unique perspective on the holidays:

- Sue is the mother of a large family, a professional, and an active community volunteer who always manages to do many things well and simultaneously. Sue is a wealth of many kinds of information, wisdom and practical solutions. She's raised four children, has eight grandchildren and has been a foster parent to many more from various backgrounds and cultures.

- Chris and Julie are co-founders of NewLogic Solutions in San Jose, CA, a wellness center and education and training facility. Julie is a Breakthrough Expert, Creator of Energy Grid Healing™ and Certified Trainer who enjoys helping professional women over 40 achieve their impossible. Chris is a registered nurse who has been trained in both Western and Eastern medicine and has been educating individuals for over 25 years on ways to listen to their bodies and reduce stress. Chris and Julie are a wealth of insights on many topics relating to clearing and healing. Find out more at their website,

- Debbie is a personal organizer who designs customized filing systems for her clients' business and personal needs. She helps them get back into control. She can also help people feel more in control of the holidays and she'll share some secrets about how.

I'd love it if you would attend the call. You can do so by clicking here to register. We want to be sure that we have enough phone ports available for everyone who wants to hear what we have to say.

Please note that the call is at 4 pm Pacific time despite what the registration website say.

Monday, December 08, 2008

How to have stress-free holidays

I had a festive, elegant, sit-down, 5 course dinner for 18. Oh, plus 2 dogs, one of whom showed up out of the blue. Luckily my cats were quite gracious.

My dining room table seats 6. Period. Therefore, this involved

- putting the living room furniture (or most of it) in the dining area
- putting the dining room table, the kitchen table and a patio table in the living room
- taking the kitchen door off its hinges to move the kitchen table into the living room, and of course replacing it
- getting some plates, glasses & sliver from my mother, who lives 45 minutes away — because who has service for 18?
- setting up 3 buffets, along with the 3 eating tables
- sewing chair covers onto the patio chairs that I have to use to seat that many
- putting up seasonal decorations
- and of course, the cooking, all in a 2 butt kitchen (the functional part is a galley, about 12 feet long) and the cleaning

And not only did everyone have a great time, but that also included me!

Here’s what I know that makes this possible:

* Plan ahead
  • I get the stuff from Mom a couple of weeks early, when I happen to be near her house,
  • shopping is Saturday before Thanksgiving
  • usually, I start moving furniture and cooking Sunday before Thanksgiving (this year on Monday, though I screwed up the guest count and had to do it all over again on Wednesday, after the tables were set)
  • do a little cooking and/or moving every day, with the bulk on Wednesday afternoon
* Stay organized
  • I work to a written plan, and can therefore delegate
  • I have a box that has all the linens
  • I have those Teflon furniture moving pads, and I know where they are, too
* Get help!
  • the kitchen door was courtesy of my brother-in-law, who is in construction
  • while I do the bulk of the cooking, a sister-in-law helps on Wednesday, each woman brings a dish we agree upon in advance, and Kosta monitors the turkey
* Keep notes

I keep notes each year on what worked and what didn’t, and because I know where those notes are, along with all the recipes, which are kept with the notes, the event gets better each year.

THIS is the reason for ritual — you repeat what works, and discard what doesn’t. Plus when at least some of the guests know what to expect (like gong around the table, saying what we are thankful for before the meal), everyone will relax.

Remember, no one notices, or cares, that anything is perfect — or even that the house is clean. They care that the food is decent, and the company fun. No one will ever look at your floor.

Is emotional contagion leading worsening the economic problems?

There is a kind of emotional contagion afoot. James H. Fowler, an associate professor at the University of California, San Diego, recently co-wrote a study looking at how happiness can be spread among friends. The opposite is true as well.

“There are studies on bank runs, and it shows that people who know others who have taken their money out of the bank are much more likely to do it as well,” he said. “We always overshoot the upside and, because of the same contagious effects, we overshoot the downside. Everything is fine, and then all of the sudden we are looking for water and supplies to ride out the coming storm.”

from today's NY Times

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Why ritual?

When I was a kid, ritual was something boring that happened in a church or synagogue, that had nothing to do with me -- and no point that I could see.

When I was first an active real estate broker, I had the good fortune to have a buyer client who needed to get out of a purchase contract on a perfectly good condominium (and I do mean perfect -- the contractor's inspection, for once, found exactly nothing wrong). I thought to call a feng shui expert (this was before almost anyone had heard of feng shui), and the expert got her out of the contract because the location of the condo was bad, and incurable.

A while later, when she bought a townhouse nearby, he inspected again, and then did a house blessing ritual immediately upon closing. That was eye opening! We stood in the tiny garden, and said different prayers over a vase she'd bought to put in the entry hall. I psychically saw different colors stream into the vase with the different prayers! When I checked with the expert later, the colors did, in fact, match the colors associated with the 'deities' for each prayer! So that's what ritual objects were meant to be -- objects that carried spiritual energy! And the point of that ritual was to bring those energies into the house.

This year's Thanksgiving, an elegant, sit down dinner for 18, taught me even more about ritual: what it is, and why it is. Every year, after Thanksgiving, I write notes about what worked and what didn't, along with ideas about how to make things go more smoothly. I take photos of the set up, too -- table placement for however many there are that year, place setting, etc. I keep all the once-a-year recipes with those notes, too. So each year, Thanksgiving gets easier for me, and more fun for my family and friends. I've learned that we should go around the tables, each saying what we're thankful for before we pass out the soup. I've learned that kids make great soup plate runners, serving diners while I ladle soup in the kitchen, that turkey cooks surprisingly fast at 500 degrees, and that a bus bucket in the kitchen keeps clean up much more organized.

OMG, that's a ritual! Rituals are just ways of doing things that work, so you do them the same way, over and over. Not only are they effective, but they also help people know what to expect, which makes everyone comfortable. I think the problem with the church/synagogue rituals to which I was exposed as a kid was that they had in some way outlived their usefulness -- or that the true spirituality behind the form had been lost over time.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Vital Signs - Regimens - For the Best Pick-Me-Up, Lie Down -

I've taken an afternoon nap most afternoons since I came down with what is now called CFIDS 25+ years ago. I can actually feel my brain fade (though it's not as often theses days) -- and nothing but a nap ever seemed to help. Turns out I'm not alone:

Vital Signs - Regimens - For the Best Pick-Me-Up, Lie Down -

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Cranberry Sauce Recipe

1.5 cups water
1.5 cups sugar
1 bag cranberries (12 oz.), washed, all soft ones discarded
grated rind of 1 orange (optional)

Mix water and sugar together in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, making sure the sugar is dissolved. Add the cranberries, bring to a boil again, and continue boiling till all the berries have popped, about 5 minutes. (The recipe says you should skim any foam, but I find this hard to do, and it doesn't taste any different with the foam, so forget it.)

Add the orange rind, if desired.


Turkey Brine recipe

1 cup salt
1 cup brown sugar
2 gallons water
6 bay leaves
fresh thyme
3 T black peppercorns
4 large garlic cloves, peeled
4 sprigs rosemary

Mix Salt and sugar in enough warm water to dissolve them. Add water to come to 2 gallons. Add the rest of the ingredients. (This is enough for a 12 - 14 pound turkey. Adjust as necessary.)

Submerge turkey in them. The easiest way to do this is to use a cooler. Fill the cooler at least half way with ice. Put the washed, cleaned turkey in a garbage bag (or perhaps double the bag). Put that in the cooler, nestling it down into the ice, and fill the bag with the brine. Let marinate 24 hours.

Friday, November 21, 2008

What Happy People Don’t Do -

Interesting point -- that happy people watch less TV than unhappy people -- but it really doesn't deal with causality. Are people watching TV more because they're unhappy? Or are they unhappy because they're watching more TV?

One point the study apparently makes is that they biggest predictor of how much TV people watch is unemployment. If you don't have a job, you have more time to watch TV, but you're unhappy because you're out of work and have less money and less status.

What Happy People Don’t Do -

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Time Perspectives

I'm reading a great book, The Time Paradox, by Philip Zimbardo & John Boyd, now. It's a fascinating discussion of the psychology of time, how different people are oriented in time (past -- negative, past - postive, present - hedonism, present - fatalism, and future), and how that affects their lives and personalities. There's a test here to see where you are on their scales.
I'm pretty future oriented (look at what I do for a living!), and resolved, upon reading this book, to become a little more present-oriented, a little more in the flow. Be careful what you ask for! I did -- embarrassingly. I, who am always on time, was so into trying to make yet another video for you, getting around the technical limitations of my equimpent, that I was late to a tele-class I taught last night! Oops -- maybe not so much in the flow.
As always, if you want to read the book, try to get it from the library. If you need/want to buy it, please buy it here.

Why do you need intuition?

Are psychic and intuition different?

It used to really bug me that people used the word, 'intuition' or 'intuitive', instead of 'psychic' -- but no longer. Here's why:

Introducing Creature!

Over the years, many of my clients have heard me talk about (and to!) the 'reading kitty', my cat, Creature, who sits in my lap when I do sessions. Here she is!

Monday, November 17, 2008

What is Intuition?

What you know you know -- are facts.
What you know you don't know -- is research you need to do.
What you don't know you know -- is your intution.
What you don't know you don't know -- is grace, which you get to partly through intution.

How healing healed the healers | The Intention Experiment

This is a great experiment -- have a look, and see if you want to join in for the next one...

How healing healed the healers | The Intention Experiment

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Taller People Are Happier

Why is the question -- read all the way to the end... it's pretty interesting:

Taller People Are Happier

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Quote of the Week

"Never waste a crisis. It's an opportunity to do something big."

Rahm Emanuel

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Big Picture / The Long View

I've been doing a 5 question marketing survey lately (thanks to those who took the time to answer, and thanks in advance to those of you I have yet to call), and I've been hearing a lot of fear. Fear about the economy, fear about money, fear about business survival. So let's talk about that.

For some people (and I've been getting at least one email a week with a really sad story of lost work, lost home, etc.), their personal situation is truly disastrous. But you know, I've been hearing these stories for years (though less frequently than I hear them now). Because I stay in touch with people, I find out what happens, which is that most everyone gets out alive, wiser for it -- and often happier, too. New, more satisfying careers come out of a crisis, more alive living situations come out of a crisis, better relationships come out of a crisis, at least in the long run. So embrace the change, no matter how hard that seems right now.

If your situation feels truly desperate, you probably already know what you have to do to -- shed assets (perhaps for pennies on the dollar), cut your monthly expenses drastically (moving to slash your housing cost, switching to a cheaper phone plan, ditching the land line, etc.), perhaps file bankruptcy, and take whatever work you can get, even if it's not in your field, even if barely pays. At least it's something. The operative question here is, what do I really need? And that's probably way less than you think.

For most of us, though, it's not that desperate. What this is, is a perfect time to regroup, and look at the big picture over the longer term. Because we all know that the recession will end eventually. Things will turn up. Are you going to be positioned to take advantage of that when it comes? Or are you gong to crawl into a hole of despair until things get better, and let the people who took this opportunity to prepare, eat your lunch then, too?

If you could live your life any way you want, if you could make a living any way you want, what would that be? What would you be doing? Where would you be doing it? Who would you be doing it with? What would you do in a normal day? What resources do you already have to get you there?

Asking these questions serves not only to you, but also the world. The world needs each of us to bring our unique gifts to the world, to reshape it in a healthier form. Living from less than who you truly are serves neither you, nor the world.

NOW is the time to think about these things, to have a vision of what you choose, in complete alignment with your deepest self. Then, make a plan to get from here to there, for your business and for yourself. Do you want an evolutionary plan? Or a revolutionary plan?

And if you'd like some help with either the vision or the plan, call me now at 888-4-HOLLIS (888-446-5547). I have lots of tools to help you, from my coaching training to NLP and hypnotherapy training to my Harvard MBA and 25+ years of small business experience.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


One of the things you learn first in NLP Practitioner training is the difference between motivation 'towards' and motivation 'away from'.

Both are useful. Towards' motivation moves you to act for something you desire, like a great relationship or a new car. 'Away from' motivation gets you moving away from something, like a tiger bounding towards you, or a rampaging boss.

Have you noticed that when you are motivated towards something, you tend to be happier than when you are motivated away from something?

This played out in the Presidential campaigns. Obama showed people a picture of how things could be better, while McCain campaigned on fear, mostly 'away from' Obama -- those were the attack ads. And that is probably why everyone with whom I've spoken in the last day or so says, "I finally have hope" and feels better.

What you focus on, expands. For the last 8 years, we have focused on the negative, on what we're afraid of, and things got steadily worse. Now we will begin to focus on the positive, as a country, as a people, and things will slowly begin to get better.

But remember the laws of thermodynamics, which say that things tend towards entropy, and it takes work to reverse that. So what it took 8 years to destroy (due to intentional destruction, along with the forces of entropy), it could take many more years to build back up.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Free Congress

In the spring of 2007, when Nancy Pelosi ‘took impeachment off the table’ and John Conyers did not follow through on his promise to hold impeachment hearings, I ‘saw’ that the first FISA violations were against Congress, and that the illegally gained information was being used to blackmail Congress. It was so obvious to me that I couldn’t understand why other people didn’t see it.

Each person to whom I said this, said, 'Of course! That makes so much sense!' Those people included Katrine van den Heuvel of "The Nation", whom I met at Princeton reunions, and with whom I spoke about my 'knowing'. But of course, she didn't really know me, so I didn't have much credibility.

In the spring of 2008, I had lunch with a friend, who is very well connected politically, and who told me that one of her contacts “deep in the bowels of Capitol Hill” told her that he had information that confirms the blackmail. According to my friend, her contact was willing to talk.

I wanted very badly to get this out to the media. Of course, I tried van den Heuvel, but I couldn't get past her gatekeeper. Then I tried a business school contact at TIME, to no avail. Then I tried a friend, who has been a statewide elected official in California, and knows absolutely everyone. He was gracious, but in the end, his press secretary said he could not be connected to this information in any way, as he was a co-chair of Obama's campaign. At this point, I was about out of options, and desperate.

A few days earlier, I had agreed to support a friend at a sales pitch for Humanity Unites Brilliance. I wasn't particularly interested, but just wanted to support my friend. She told me that the meeting was at the home of Barbara Marx Hubbard's sister, but that meant very little to me.

Turns out that BMH's sister is Patricia Marx Ellsberg, that is, she is married to whistle-blower extraordinaire, Daniel Ellsberg! So I wrote down everything I knew, hoping to speak with him, figuring that in the worst case, I could at least leave him my letter.

Patricia answered the door, welcomed my husband, Kosta, and me into her home, and poured us tea
. As we stood in the kitchen, sipping mugs of steaming tea, Kosta somehow brought up what we'd been told. I asked if Dan might be around for me to talk with later, and as I did, he walked into the kitchen, and came straight over to us! At which point, I began my story again, asking him if he'd follow up.

He said he could see how desperate I was, said this was 'his beat', and promised not only to follow up, but to let me know when he had. And he was as good as his word. Unfortunately, the potential whistleblower lost his nerve, which is why you heard it here first (sadly). However, at a rally in Oakland some months later, Kosta heard Dan Ellsberg talk about this on stage to a few thousand people with some conviction.

So now, with a new administration, we should have a free Congress, who may have free congress, the ability to meet without being spied upon.

Quote of the Week

“... Government of the people, by the people, for the people did not perish from the face of the earth.”

Barak Obama

(emphasis mine – H)

Gratitude Journal, 11/4/08

As part of "Be Happier Now", participants are strongly encouraged to keep a daily journal of things for which they are grateful and/or things at which they succeeded. There is statistical evidence to support that it works. Try it -- you'll see how much happier you are!
Part of the reason I teach the course is to force me to walk my talk and keep mine up! Here is my entry for Tuesday:
  1. I had the privilege of voting. Every time I vote, I remember that my grandmothers were born into an America where women did not have that right.
  2. I cast an informed vote.
  3. It looks (at least at first glance) like a fair election. [My biggest fear was another stolen election. We all owe a debt of gratitude to Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman (, Bev Harris (, Steven Spoonamore, who told the truth, and thousands of others who worked to ensure the voter rolls were not purged of legitimate voters, or that elections have a paper trail. Our work is not done, but at least the candidate who was winning in the polls won the election.]
  4. When I went to my local polling place to drop my absentee ballot in the locked box, there were twice as many cars in the parking lot as I had ever seen before, and 4 times as many as a 'normal' election. "We the People" means all of us voting!
  5. Obama won! As a species, we turned toward hope, caring for each other and the planet, acknowledging that we're all in this together. A great weight is lifted off my chest -- I can breathe again.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

12 survival tips

Although the author of the article dresses these things up in election rhetoric, the tips are quite good:

1) Matain a positive attitude
2) Stay calm; use your anger
3) Think, analyze, plan
4) Take correct, decisive action
5) Celebrate Your success
6) Be a rescuer, not a victim
7) Find something to laugh about
8) see the beauty of the world
9) be so conviced of survival that fear falls away and you are filled with strength
10) Engage your crisis as an athlete engages a sport -- resignation without giving up; survival by surrender
11) Do whatever it takes
12) Never give up, because nothing is impossible

12 survival tips for the next four years if your candidate loses - MarketWatch:

Election Humor

Hat tip to 'kaputt' on MarketWatch:

And then there was the politician who died at went to heaven. St Peter met him at the gate and told him that there were special rules for politicians. They had to spend 3 days in h*** and 3 days in Heaven and then decide. The man protested telling the St Peter how he had gone to church every day and Mass on Sundays, but rules are rules and couldn't be broken Finally the man agreed and went down to h***. It was great. All his old buddies were there. Wine, women, song, lobbyist-the whole nine yards. After three great days St. Peter came and they went to Heaven. He was given a harp and just drifted among the clouds for 3 boring days with others who rarely spoke to him. After 3 days the gate keeper came and asked him what he wanted. The politician said, I thought I would never want this but I want to be in h***. Poof-Fire, Brimstone, Ashes everything he had been warned over appeared. What happened the bewildered guy asked. All of a sudden Satan appeared and told him, The first time we were campaining, now you voted.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Law of Attraction times 30 million

If the Law of Attraction (what you focus on, expands), works for one individual, what happens when 30 million or so people, watching a popular TV show all focus on the same thing? Obama gets elected President:

Following the Script - Obama, McCain and ‘The West Wing’ -

Now, how do I get a TV show made about me and my success?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ads: CA Prop. 2, CA Prop. 8 & John McCain

Have you noticed how the anti Prop 2 (animal standards prop) ads, as well as JohnMcCain’s ads, have strong male voices, peremptorily telling you what to do and how to vote?

And the pro Prop. 2 ads, anti Prop. 8 ads (anti-gay marriage prop) and Obama’s ads are generally reasonable people telling you what they’re going to do?

I just figured it out — they are appealing to 2 different groups of people! The reactionary forces are appealing to people who want and/or need to be told what to do, while the progressive forces are appealing to people who choose to think for themselves.

Whatever you choose, go vote!

Energetic House Cleaning

Many years ago, I bought Victorian house in San Francisco, which dated to before the 1906 earthquake, and had subsequently been split into 3 units. The owner's unit was comprised of the first floor and the front half of the second floor. The back half of the second floor had been turned into a 1 bedroom apartment, and the attic had been turned into a 2 bedroom apartment, which was vacant and quite run down. I actually bought it from the owner as he was dying, and the energy in the house was horrible.

Right after I closed on the house, before I did anything to it, and long before I moved in, I invited a dozen friends over to 'clean out' the house energetically. I cooked them a good dinner, gave everyone some wine, and then I led a meditation designed to clean each of us out energetically and to connect us to both earth and universal energy. Then we began a ritual, which we performed in every room:

We stood around the perimeter of the room, spaced evenly, facing the walls, with our palms flat on them, and our feet flat on the floor. We said together, "I invoke the light of the divine within, I am a clear and perfect channel, light is my guide", three times. Then we said, "Bless this house, bless this house, bless this house." Then we stood, running earth and universal energy into the walls to clear them.

I have a distinct memory of all sorts of S&M action in the shower/dressing area, lots of visions of leather, even whips.

I hired a handyman to help me renovate the upstairs apartment -- tiling the kitchen and bath, refinishing a floor, installing new carpet, painting, etc. One day he said, "Do you mind if one of my other clients, a physician, comes over to pay me?" (He was getting paid in cash.) Of course it was fine.

So this guy showed up & walked around the house while I showed him the minimal changes I was making to the main unit (paint, and carpet in the stairwell), as well as the more extensive ones up in the former attic. He particularly admired a 5 foot by 8 foot, ornately carved, gilded mirror in the front hall of the main unit, which had been left by the former owner's heirs, as it was too difficult to move.

After about 45 minutes, the man looked straight at me and said, "Wow, I've been here before -- a lot! I just didn't recognize the place because it feels so different. It took me a while, but then I remembered the mirror." When I asked him about my vision, he told me that
the house was renowned in the gay community for the S&M parties that the recently departed owner threw regularly.

Why am I telling you this? Because of an article in today's New York Times, Supernatural Cleansing Methods. While I don't agree with everything they say, it's not bad as a survey.

Fear and Loathing on Wall Street

Are you watching the markets lately? I mean, who isn't, even if you don't have money in them?

Here's another opportunity to practice using your intuition/psychic senses on a real world matter, with immediate feedback. There are 2 ways to do this, and I'll discuss the easy way first:

  1. Pick an index to which you have no attachment, like the Hang Seng. Asian indexes are great because they open at hours when no sane American is watching the markets, unless it's his or her business to do so, and they close before we get up in the morning.
  2. Before you get up in the morning, check in with yourself, asking, did the index close higher or lower than it closed yesterday (extra credit if you want to guess percentage).
  3. Notice how you get your information: did you see a chart in your mind's eye? an arrow? another sort of picture? Did someone whisper in your ear? Did you feel something, and if so, where? Did you 'just know'?
  4. Look online (perhaps here) to see how you did.
  5. Keep track -- a little journal is best.
Now for the more difficult way, because you are emotionally invested.
  1. Pick an index (or stock, or ETF, or whatever) in which you are invested.
  2. Since it is most likely in the US, during the trading day, ask yourself at least once, is it higher than the last time I looked?
  3. Notice how you get your information: did you see a chart in your mind's eye? an arrow? another sort of picture? Did someone whisper in your ear? Did you feel something, and if so, where? Did you 'just know'?
  4. Look online (perhaps here) to see how you did.
  5. Keep track -- a little journal is best. Does your emotional involvement screw up your perception?
The whole point of this is to develop your own internal date base on how you get information, what information tends to be right, and what tends to be wrong, so you know when to pay attention to it. It was only by doing this that I learned that my 'pictures' and 'voices' tended to be right, but my feelings were only projections of my own fear.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

What's the difference between being scared & excited?

I made a 1 minute sales presentation this weekend. It's amazing how hard it is do it that fast! Anyway, right before I did it, I checked in with myself, and found that I was right on the line between scared and excited. So I wondered, what's the difference between fear and excitement.

It's very simple --if I have a positive expectation, then I'm excited. If I have a negative one, then I'm scared.

Try it yourself -- right now, think about something that's coming up that could be great -- or not. When you project a great outcome, how do you feel in your body? When you project a negative outcome, how do you feel? And which is the better way to go? Wouldn't you rather project a positive outcome and feel better?

And when you think of the Law of Attraction, which is that what you focus on, expands, wouldn't you rather stay positive? If you attract what you focus on, why wouldn't you focus on the positive?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Improve your Intuition -- & Donate to Charity by Doing It!

Quick -- What does pondokkie mean? (Answer is at bottom.)

My latest obsession is It's actually a vocabulary builder, with a charitable twist. If you correctly define a word, someone donates 20 grains of rice through the UN world food program to end hunger.

There are 60 different vocabulary levels. You start at level 36, and when you answer a few questions correctly, you move up to the next higher level. Answer a few wrong, and you move down. Pretty simple. And surprisingly addicting!

I read a lot, so I have a pretty good vocabulary, and so far, my highest level is 52. At that level, I have neither seen nor heard many of these words. In fact, I suspect that a lot of them are not English words, because I know a few of them are French. And here's where the intuition comes in.

When you've never heard of a word before, sometimes you can figure it out by context, but here, there is no context. Sometimes, you can make an educated guess, because you've heard of a cognate, or at least one of its root syllables before. But when none of that works, as sometimes in life, all that is left is your intuition. So guess! The good news here is that there is very little downside, which makes it an ideal situation for practicing your intuition.

What I love about this is that it is like real life. You are asked to make a snap decision on a real world matter, for which you can sometimes use your intellect -- & sometimes not.

Notice how you guess: Does a little voice say something to you, like it does to me? Do you feel something when you look at the correct answer? Is the correct answer somehow brighter on the screen when you look at it? Then notice which guesses are right, and correlate the correct answer with how you got the answer.

How often is your intuition right? Are you going with your intuition? Or ignoring it? And if you're ignoring it, what stops you from going with it?

Answer: A pondokkie is a makeshift shelter.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Friday, October 17, 2008

Credit crunch humor

I don't normally go to current events, but these (courtesy of Calculated Risk) were so good I had to share:

I went to an ATM today, and it asked to borrow a twenty till next week.

I went to fill up my gas tank and I couldn't decide between leveraged and unleveraged.

Went to Best Buy to get a toaster and they gave me a free bank with purchase

and my favorite:

Q: How do you define optimism?
A: A banker who irons five shirts on a Sunday

Part of happiness is seeing the humor in things -- you can still be happy, can't you?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Podcast of 'Be Happier Now' Preview Teleclass

There is a lot of good information here about how to be happier every single day, though I apologize for the sound quality, which definitely could be better.

I'd love to have you join us for the class, which begins next Wed., 10/22/08 at 5:30 PM PST (8:30 EST). To sign up, please email me.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Whom do you trust?

I just finished watching the third & last Obama-McCain debate. A few thoughts:

- A few times there, I thought McCain was going to pop a vein. And he looked a lot like Pres. Chimpy, smugly mugging his superiority for the camera. Overall, though, the main effect was his radiation of anger. (I'm very sensitive to it, having grown up around it.)

- Bob Schiefer, the moderator, asked them both to repudiate the negative tactics of their campaigns. Neither did. McCain brought up a Congressman (I've blanked on his name), who apparently called Palin out on her tolerance of people at her rallies calling Obama a traitor, a terrorist, and yelling "Kill him!" Obama repudiated this Congressman's remarks, and said that the Congressman had repudiated them as well. Then McCain said he was "proud of the people at his rallies". So you support those racists, John?

- McCain regularly mischaracterized Obama's positions on things. Once, Obama corrected him on it, and he did it again.

- Schiefer asked both of them if abortion would be a litmus test for the next Supreme Court appointment. Both said no. McCain, however said he would favor a Federalist, once who supports states' rights (including on abortion), and strict interpretation of the Constitution... and then said he'd know if someone was a strict interpreter of the Constitution by the fact that they thought abortion was unconstitutional. (I wonder if anyone but me caught that?)

At the end, McCain had the audacity to ask us to vote for whomever we felt we could trust more. Or maybe that was just stupidity. Because after letting his true feelings slip out, I had to wonder if that would happen in a negotiation with, say, Ahmedinajad. I don't trust you to keep your cool, John.

And what really shocked me was that at the end, when each could look into the camera and make a prepared statement, neither one asked for my vote.

Neuroscience Sheds New Light on Creativity - Rewiring the Creative Mind | Fast Company

Neuroscience Sheds New Light on Creativity - Rewiring the Creative Mind | Fast Company

Friday, October 10, 2008

Soular Power

This morning, I did another walking meditation, so early that, at this time of year on a sunny morning, much of my route was in shadow.

I started, as usual, by doing my invocations: asking to have the light come through me and to have my guides around me (for the specific words, click here). Then I just became present to what was around me, the trees, the sky, the sidewalk, the birds, etc. As I was in this state, I emerged from the shadows to a place where the sun was directly in front of me, so low in the sky that all I had to do was lift my eyes from the sidewalk to stare at it.

And BLAM! it hit me full in the chest, flooding me with energy, that the sun is not just some burning mass of hydrogen -- it is a conscious being! It has its own purpose, and its own evolution, just like earth, just like you. And part of its purpose is to help earth's evolution.

You are a child of the earth, but you are no less a child of the sun, because without its power (to grow food, to evaporate water and make rain), you would not be here.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Happiness & Pain

In general, we each have a set 'happiness level'. Some people are naturally sanguine, and others naturally more glum. You can change your happiness set point, and that's what my "Practice of Happiness" teleseminar is about.

The one thing that really sabotages happiness is physical pain. It is the one thing that no one ever completely adjusts to. And I may be able to help with pain, as well.

I have been given the gift of a connection with some non-physical beings who seem to heal physical pain. I am offering to do $1 sessions for a few people, who are in physical pain, to see if I can do this work long distance. Here are my criteria for people to work with:

1) You are in physical pain. It may be something simple, like a sports injury, or something larger. If it is something larger, you must be under a doctor's care.

2) You acknowledge, in writing, that this is not a substitute for medical treatment.

3) You are willing to answer several simple questionnaires by email, in which you will describe your condition, experience and results (one before the appointment, one the following day, one a week later, one a month later and one several months later -- there will be a financial penalty for failing to do this.)

4) You must have at least 1.5 hours available for the healing, in a place where you can be safe, quiet and undisturbed. Our appointment will be at the beginning of this period. You must be available for our appointment to begin Monday - Friday, Oct. 13 - 24, between 10AM and 4:30 PM.

5) You must have access to a telephone in this location.

6) You must send me, by email, in advance, detailed location information:

- address
- where in the building you will be (which floor, which corner of the building,
- if the building is other than a single family home (e.g. part of an apartment
or condominium complex), you must send a simple drawing of the apartment
building or complex, indicating where you are in the complex, which will show
the relationship of the building to the street and the relationship of the room
you are in to the building.
- a photo of the room you'll be in

If you can answer 'yes' to all the above, please email me at

Dowsers in the NYT!

On Parched Farms, Intuition Used to Help Find Water -

Thursday, October 02, 2008


As I read about the continuing economic ‘crisis’ – and I hesitate to use that word, because every time someone uses it, it just cements the idea that we should all panic -- a question keeps coming up for me:

How do you know whom to trust?

Here are 3 ways I know. I'll start with the personal, because that's easiest, and move on from there:

First, I have personal experience of someone over time, or at least a number of experiences with that person, and they generally

• tell the truth
, and
honor their agreements, i.e. do what they say they’ll do when they say they’ll do it, or
tell you if they need to change an agreement, and
• are reasonably predictable

So with friends, it’s pretty easy. I know who tells me the truth to the best of his or her ability. Yes, people make mistakes – that’s okay. But telling me what they know to be false – that’s not okay.

I know who does what he says, when he says he will. I know that Rob is always on time. I know that Michael is reliably 10 minutes late. I don’t like it, but I can deal with it, because it’s so predictable (i bring a book or some work to do while I wait). I know that Jinny has a bad habit of canceling at the very last minute, like after I’m already at the restaurant for lunch. I no longer meet her anywhere but her house or mine – because she can’t not show up at her own house, and because if she doesn’t show at mine, hey, I’ve got lots of other things to do. And frankly, we don’t see each other all that much any more.

Second, the person or institution has a public (or at least verifiable) record of telling the truth, honoring their agreements, alerting me if they can’t, and being reasonably predictable.

This is how I hire contractors. I call at least 3 references and ask the references if they were happy with the contractor's work, and did the contractor do the work when they said they would, on time and on budget. If the contractor won’t give me references, I’m not interested. If the references aren’t 100%, unequivocally positive, I’m not interested. It works -- I’m generally very happy with the people I hire.

A variation on this is crowdsourcing, Yelp, for example. You get dozens, or even hundreds of reviews by other people -- and they can't ALL have an axe to grind. I use Yelp for restaurants, and have found it fairly reliable.

Third, an institution is regulated by, or perhaps insured by, some other institution that has a public record of telling the truth, and honoring their agreements.

This is why the SEC exists. It’s why public corporations are required to keep their books according to generally accepted accounting principles, and why those books are examined by independent auditors. It’s why the FDIC exits. All of these institutions, and many more, exist to ensure that we can trust the folks that hold our money.

What if an institution – or a lot of institutions – break our trust? This is precisely the problem now. Many of us now feel we can’t trust institutions we used to. The ‘financial crisis’ comes down to the fact that banks don’t even trust each other enough to lend to each other overnight! If they don't trust each other, whom do they trust? If they don’t trust each other, should we trust them? Well, that’s what the FDIC is for.

But after the appalling response to Hurricane Katrina and being lied into the Iraq war, to name just 2 instances, many of us don’t even trust our government. And it is the government who is supposed to be the ultimate guarantor of trust and safety.

So what we’re having is a (well-deserved) systemic crisis of trust in our institutions, which is only manifested in a financial one. The problem is that over time, we have been lied to so systematically by so many institutions that we no longer can reliably tell truth from lies, nor whom to trust. It's time to change that.

How do you resolve a crisis of trust?

Like everything else, trust starts at home. Here are a few ideas:

1. If you already have an accurate sense of what is trustworthy and what isn't, honor it. Maybe it's a feeling in your body, or some other sort of knowing.It doesn't matter how you get your information -- it only matters that you get it -- and that you trust yourself.
2. If that sense is not 100%, learn your lesson from each time your trust is breached -- and add that to your 'trust meter' (aka b**s**t detector).
3. Make sure your trust meter is on at all times. If it seems too good to be true, it is.
4. if you don't understand something, keep asking till you do. If you never do, walk away. If it doesn't make sense, walk away. (And if you can't read a balance sheet, please learn how. There's a decent article here.)
5. If you are not already the sort of person other people can trust, work very diligently to become that person and gain others' trust. Tell the truth, honor your agreements, or tell people up front when you can't. This is the single best way to improve your trust meter -- not to mention your relationships.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A BIG Problem for Psychics

In case you are new to m blog, let me define clairvoyant (which literally means seeing clearly) as one who gets their psychic/intuitive information in pictures. Similarly, a clairsentient is one who gets his/her information in feelings. If you've ever had a 'gut feeling' about something that turned out to be right, you're clairsentient. Things are usually a bit more clear for clairaudients, who 'hear' their information -- but not always.

Probably the biggest problem for clairvoyants and clairsentients is the problem of translating the picture or feeling into useful data in the real world. Here's an example I'm pondering now:

On December 9, 2000, when the Supreme Court prevented a full count of the Florida Presidential vote, I was very upset, and asked my guides for some insight. They gave me 2:

1) They showed me the inside of a Roman galley. As I watched, a new slave master took over, and the slaves stopped rowing out of defiance.

2) I heard the words, "There will be a looting of the Federal Treasury on a scale never before seen in the history of the human race." I remember these words clearly and distinctly, despite my poor auditory memory.

Now for the problem -- interpretation. At the time, I interpreted (1) to mean a recession, and shortly thereafter, the dot-com bubble burst. And (2) reminded me of the Resolution Trust Corp., the entity that was set up to buy the assets of failed savings and loans in the late 1980's, so I thought it was financial, but wasn't really clear.

Then when $8.8 billion went missing in Iraq, I figured that was what (2) had meant, especially in light of the $1 billion/week price tag of the occupation.

But what if they were talking about the proposed bailout of the world's financial system by the US taxpayer (i.e. you and me)? What if (1) is about events still to come?

I only get answers to questions that are asked -- and I was so shocked by what I 'saw' and 'heard' that it never occurred to me to ask the follow up questions about what when. where & how! So be careful what you ask -- be as complete as you can!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Q: What is the result of a completely free market?

A: Piracy

With no regulation and/or no enforcement of regulation, the pirates, those willing to lie, cheat and most especially steal, fleece everyone else with no consequences. And when it's clear there are no consequences, even those with some conscience will join in.

That's what got us into this financial crisis, IMHO. Start with the mortgage brokers who pressured the appraisers into inflated appraisals. Add in their lies to at least some of the borrowers, who didn't bother to read the fine print (okay, that's the stupidity of the borrowers). Then add in the fact that all those mortgages were packaged and sold and resold, so that the originators, as well as lots of middle men made money with no risk. Then add in the lack of regulation, lack of transparency, and lack of oversight on Wall Street.

The pirates looted the little guys at the individual level. Now they are so powerful that they are 'too big to fail' and they are looting the Treasury, i.e. We, the People, at the national, and in fact, international, level.

No sooner did I write this than I read at The Big Picture:

former SEC director, and he spits out the blunt truth: The current excess leverage now unwinding was the result of a purposeful SEC exemption given to five firms.

You read that right -- the events of the past year are not a mere accident, but are the results of a conscious and willful SEC decision to allow these firms to legally violate existing net capital rules that, in the past 30 years, had limited broker dealers debt-to-net capital ratio to 12-to-1.

Instead, the 2004 exemption -- given only to 5 firms -- allowed them to lever up 30 and even 40 to 1.

Who were the five that received this special exemption? You won't be surprised to learn that they were Goldman, Merrill, Lehman, Bear Stearns, and Morgan Stanley.

As Mr. Pickard points out that "The proof is in the pudding — three of the five broker-dealers have blown up."

So while the SEC runs around reinstating short selling rules, and clueless pension fund managers mindlessly point to the wrong issue, we learn that it was the SEC who was in large part responsible for the reckless leverage that led to the current crisis.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The News Diet & Your Inner Balance Sheet

You may not know that I'm sort of an economics wonk. I took LOTS of econ courses at Princeton, and then, of course, there is that Harvard MBA. So I follow the economy with great interest (for links to my favorite econoblogs -- which are way better than mainstream news sources -- see below).

Waking up Monday to the news that Lehman Brothers was filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and that Merrill's thundering herd was about to be put out to pasture in North Carolina as part of Bank of America was really shocking. (Do the bulls get more complacent with more room to roam? Or does the herd get culled?) Now the US government, i.e. We, the People, are becoming the world's largest insurer (AIG)... OMG! (For those of you who are being technical about it, We only bought 80% of the holding company, not the insurance companies, but still...)

It’s not just me, either. A client yesterday was pretty freaked out about it all, partly for personal reasons, but mostly because she was taking on the energy of the world. I understand that -- I do it, too. That's why my guides told me this summer that I had to go on a news diet for about 6 weeks.

I highly suggest a news diet.
Limit yourself to a small amount of time per day, just enough so you know what's going on, even if not all the details. That is, you know Hurricane Ike happened, but you don't see the photos of the Bolivar peninsula becoming 3 islands. You'll be amazed at how much better you feel!

You'll also understand why most people don't get very freaked out about the bigger picture -- they're just not paying attention. (I actually think this may be a good thing, because people being oblivious and continuing to do what they've always done keeps things moving forward in a calm, orderly way.)

What I learned from the news diet is that I do NOT have to embody the world's problems. In fact, I function better from my own inner balance sheet than from the one denominated in dollars in my computer, the one that changes daily, based on the markets.

Your inner balance sheet, like a financial one, consists of assets and liabilities. From the longer term, i.e. multiple lifetime, perspective, any physical assets are short term assets. And financial assets, which at this point are really only electronic scorekeeping, are the shortest term of all. They can be wiped out instantly by an electrical failure! There's an old line that 'you can't take it with you'. Anything you can't take with you is a short term asset.

So an inner balance sheet would look like this:


Short Term

Financial Assets (money, CDs, stocks & bonds, etc.)
External Physical Assets (car, consumer durables, house)
Physical Body

Long Term

Positive Traits, like

- dependability,
- curiosity,
- endurance,
- intelligence
- a loving heart
- willingness to work hard
- willingness to share
- ability to flow with change
- ability to hold a positive vision for yourself and the world
- ability to access your own inner guidance

Skills -- not just workplace skills, but also life skills, like

- cooking yummy, healthy food
- fixing a running toilet
- driving a car
- making people laugh
- coaxing green things from the earth
- comforting a scared child or a heartsick adult

Good Relationships (yes, these carry over from lifetime to lifetime)


Short Term

Financial Debt
- consumer loans
- credit card balances
- mortgages
Personal Debt
- favors, books & tools not returned

Long Term

Negative Attitudes (like selfishness, laziness, or intolerance)
Bad Habits, including negative thought patterns

In times of turmoil, it's important to remember all of these things.

You do have to pay attention to short term assets, but our society encourages us to pay attention ONLY to short term assets, and ignore the long term ones. The long term assets are important -- maybe more important -- because they will stay with you no matter what happens in the outside world, in this lifetime, as well as others. In some sense, your long term assets create your short term ones.

Take a few moments right now to take stock of your inner assets. And if you’d like some help decreasing those long term liabilities, call me at 888-4-hollis (888-446-5547).

For my favorite econoblogs, see below.

My Favorite Econoblogs

The Big Picture (Barry Ritholz)

Calculated Risk

Paul Krugman's blog

Floyd Norris' blog

CEO Economic Uupdate

Infectious Greed (Paul Kedrosky)

Dr. Housing Bubble blog


I read a lot of real estate ones, too, but figured this was enough for one day!

Mathematical Intuition

The article is interesting -- but the real fun is in the self-test. Dots flash quickly on the screen, and you get to decide, based on the flash, whether there are nore blue or yellow ones. This is the very line between perception and intuition. You do see them, but they flash by so fast that you can't count them. You must use some non-rational part of your brain to make the decision.

PS - I was very average -- see if you can do better! :)

Basics - Gut Instinct’s Surprising Role in Math -

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Our friends followed us home!

When we were at the (somewhat grandly, but also aptly, named) Ambassador to the Universe training, Steve Greer kept telling us to 'take some ETs home' with us, and to try to contact them from home. He emphasized that we don't need him, we can do this ourselves. Though I must say, at home, I don't have 45 pairs of eyes to scan the sky, let alone a night scope. Hell, I don't even have binoculars. I've never seen anything when I've been out with a small local group, either. So although I understood his point, I really wasn't sure I'd ever be able to do it.

On the way home from Mt. Shasta, Kosta and I were talking about what location to use to try to contact our star brothers and sisters. I kept saying that it would be pretty easy to do it from Pacifica, partly because of the coast and the hills and bluffs overlooking it, but also because it would be pretty easy to show them where to go, using our minds. I just thought about showing them San Francisco and then the coast slightly south of it.

It was hot when we got home, so after unloading the car, Kosta and I went for a walk this evening on Linda Mar beach in Pacifica. We were walking north(ish) along the beach at about 7:10PM. It was still broad daylight, and the sun was probably 15 – 25 degrees above the horizon. I saw a bright white light about 15 degrees above the horizon, out over the Pacific, about 25 degrees north of where the sun was sinking.

It occurred to me that this couldn’t be a star (it was in the west, and the sun hadn't set yet), so I asked it to blink off and on to show me that it was really a craft. It waited a while, then slowly blinked out, and then slowly came back on, just as bright and in the same location! It stayed for a while, and then slowly blinked out again. The whole encounter was probably 3 minutes.

We were so excited that we called a friend about half an hour later to tell her, and as we spoke, another appeared! It hung in the darkening western sky for a while, and again, I wasn't sure what it was, so I asked it to blink off and on. It blinked off, slowly. I 'got' that "this materializing and dematerialzing is harder than you think", because i was getting impatient, waiting for it to blink on again.

It did eventually blink on again, though in a slightly more southerly location. It hung there in the sky, bright white. As we watched it, we both saw a second light blink on! Both hung there for a while, and then one began to move to the east. Eventually, that one began to have red blinks, kind of like a terrestrial aircraft, but not quite. It moved across the sky for a while and then disappeared. The other one was still hanging over the Pacific, but eventually, it, too, began to move east, and then to blink.

It had now been 1 1/4 hours since we saw the first UFO, and we got in the car and went home.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

About last night...

The triangular craft came back! It must have been a bit farther away, because it was a bit smaller, and also a bit tilted, because the equilateral triangle wasn't quite even. But all the rest was there. This time, it only stayed about a minute or so, but all 45 of us saw it again.

While it was up in the sky, most of us saw a white streak that headed down towards Mt. Shasta.

Shortly after that, someone with night vision goggles announced that he could see lights on Mt. Shasta -- in a place that is above the tree line and much too steep to have anything on it. The group has a video camera with night vision that has a large viewfinder, and many of us crowded around that so we could see what was going on. There were indeed 6 large lights arranged sort of parallel to each other. One towards the middle was taller than the rest. Occasionally, it would shoot out energy sideways along the mountain.

None of this was visible with the naked eye -- you had to have night vision equipment, which reads infrared light. But with that equipment, it was definitely there.

We were all milling about, using various pieces of equipment to see what we could see for about 45 minutes. I'm pretty sure some of our star brothers/sisters were with us, and when I said that, I heard a few assents, one of which came from Steve. And I'm pretty sure I heard someone say telepathically that "they're very primitive! Very sweet, but very primitive." Later, I 'heard' someone wondering why we needed all this equipment. I answered, "Because we can't see everything you can!" somewhat indignantly, and the other being though, "oh...", like that had not occurred to him/her. It was actually kind of funny, and I don't think I'm making it up, because it would never have occurred to me to wonder that.

And now for something completely different...

Just reading this while drinking my coffee this AM:

Mind - Spot on Popularity Scale Speaks to the Future; Middle Has Its Rewards -

Mind - Spot on Popularity Scale Speaks to the Future; Middle Has Its Rewards -

Our friends followed us home!

When we were at the (somewhat grandly, but also aptly, named) Ambassador to the Universe training, Steve Greer kept telling us to 'take some ETs home' with us, and to try to contact them from home. He emphasized that we don't need him, we can do this ourselves. Though I must say, at home, I don't have 45 pairs of eyes to scan the sky, let alone a night scope. Hell, I don't even have binoculars. I've never seen anything when I've been out with a small local group, either. So although I understood his point, I really wasn't sure I'd ever be able to do it.

On the way home from Mt. Shasta, Kosta and I were talking about what location to use to try to contact our star brothers and sisters. I kept saying that it would be pretty easy to do it from Pacifica, partly because of the coast and the hills and bluffs overlooking it, but also because it would be pretty easy to show them where to go, using our minds. I just thought about showing them San Francisco and then the coast slightly south of it.

It was hot when we got home, so after unloading the car, Kosta and I went for a walk this evening on Linda Mar beach in Pacifica. We were walking north(ish) along the beach at about 7:10PM. It was still broad daylight, and the sun was probably 15 – 25 degrees above the horizon. I saw a bright white light about 15 degrees above the horizon, out over the Pacific, about 25 degrees north of where the sun was sinking.

It occurred to me that this couldn’t be a star (it was in the west, and the sun hadn't set yet), so I asked it to blink off and on to show me that it was really a craft. It waited a while, then slowly blinked out, and then slowly came back on, just as bright and in the same location! It stayed for a while, and then slowly blinked out again. The whole encounter was probably 3 minutes.

We were so excited that we called a friend about half an hour later to tell her, and as we spoke, another appeared! It hung in the darkening western sky for a while, and again, I wasn't sure what it was, so I asked it to blink off and on. It blinked off, slowly. I 'got' that "this materializing and dematerialzing is harder than you think", because i was getting impatient, waiting for it to blink on again.

It did eventually blink on again, though in a slightly more southerly location. It hung there in the sky, bright white. As we watched it, we both saw a second light blink on! Both hung there for a while, and then one began to move to the east. Eventually, that one began to have red blinks, kind of like a terrestrial aircraft, but not quite. It moved across the sky for a while and then disappeared. The other one was still hanging over the Pacific, but eventually, it, too, began to move east, and then to blink.

It had now been 1 1/4 hours since we saw the first UFO, and we got in the car and went home.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Swimming to save the earth

Yesterday morning, despite being completely exhausted from lack of sleep, I had the sense that I just had to go swim in Lake Siskiyou.

I've done this lots of times before, and it is spectacular! I bring swim fins and a kickboard, and swim distance (literally a mile or more) in the lake. Because I can go so far from where cars come in, no one else can swim where I'm swimming. Because it's after Labor Day, there aren't even any kayaks or row boats with people fishing, so I am all alone in the quiet with the water, the birds, the trees, the sky, and the most amazing view of Mt. Shasta, which seems to rise from the lake, framed by evergreens. (Wish I could take a camera in the lake with me, but I just have to use the mind camera!)

So yesterday's swim was a swimming meditation, because I was supposed to meditate for an hour. I began the mantra again. An enormous gold ring appeared around me, probably over a hundred yards radius. It had that counter-clockwise rotation. I was aware that the trees could feel it, too, and that they knew from this that at least one human cared about them and the earth. This was BIG for them!

And then I remembered my experience with the tree in Santa Cruz, which showed me a beam of light from its top, and explained to me that trees use these beams to communicate with each other.

So I asked the trees to tell their friends of this experience! and to hold on -- to know that we support them, and to do their best to hang in there while humanity gets its act together.

Then I 'heard' the words 'boreal forest', and so I think that they can spread the word far and wide.

Yes, one person (you!) can save the earth

Every day, we are supposed to meditate in the morning for an hour. I'm not good at sitting still to do that, so a couple of days ago, I went for a walking meditation. In my mind, I sung a mantra pretty much the entire time, walking up a mountain road.

Now, this mantra is really powerful -- it is the one that I use which brings star visitors to heal people's physical ailments.

At one point, my guides directed me out onto some land (with a great view!), and showed me the effects of doing this meditation outside. A counter-clockwise vortex of golden light emanates from this meditation, and helps to heal the earth. So if I do the mantra as I walk, I am healing the earth. As I walked back down the hill, the soles of my feet seemed to have suction cups to the ground. This made it a bit harder to walk, but I could 'see' the trail of golden light behind me.

You can do this, too! Focus on a mantra as you hike.

Up in the sky, it's...

a (star visitor's) craft! No joke. HUGE.

We were sitting up on the mountain in our circle last night, when one woman pointed out 3 points of light, in an equilateral triangle, that were moving together!

I could actually see lines between the points and lines that went from the points to the center of the triangle. To me, they appeared only faintly, but others with night vision equipment said they could see them quite plainly. And the craft blocked out the stars behind it! (Actually, the folks with night vision goggles said that they bent the light, rather than blocking it entirely.)

Steve, who borrowed the night vision goggles, said that this was one side of a huge craft which housed representatives from over 1,000 different civilizations. (He talks about having viewed it remotely.) He also said, based upon calculations he's done, that it is probably hundreds of miles across, and was outside our solar system.

The triangle proceeded slowly across the night sky from west to east, to the north of us, for 3 minutes! Think about that, that's a long time. Then it grew fainter and fainter and literally disappeared.

Steve also said that the last time this had appeared, several years ago, it had been seen from Vancouver, BC to LA.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Up on Mt. Shasta again

The evening started out quite warm, and with incredible numbers of anomalous activities in the sky. Fastwalkers, lights in the trees that could not have been from electricity, because there is none, flashbulbs going off in the sky! There were even two lights moving quickly and simulataneously in the sky, parallel to each other.

After a while, we did a mediation in silence, where we were asked to invite the star visitors in our individual ways. So I did what I do. It was really bright inside, so I thought perhaps something was bright outside (a craft?), but when I opened my eyes, I was shocked by how dark it was outside! Anyway, I closed my eyes again, until something told me to open them and look up at about 45 degrees from the horizon.

OMG! There was this thing in the sky, like a hologram, that kept shifting and changing its shape. It was never the same twice, and either it was HUGE or it was pretty close. I saw this with my physical eyes, not my clairvoyance. The hologram was mostly green, although occasionally it turned orange. And it stayed there for minutes, until eventually it faded out.

During a group discussion, I had the impulse to put my hand out in front of me, palm up. When I did, I felt this odd electrical feeling, not like static electricity, but more like pinpricks of electricity happening randomly and quickly over my palm. I wondered if I were making it up, so I put out my left palm the same way, and nothing. So I asked whatever was doing that to please stop doing it to my right hand and do it to my left instead -- and it did! And then I asked to shift it to my right again, and it did that! And then both, and it did that! And then I had to ask it to stop, because I was so tired... I almost fell asleep, which is not easy at 40 degrees.

Later on, the entire group saw this one light that moved quickly across the sky from East to West, blinking on and off as it went.

Then in our last meditation, we were holding hands in the circle. Something began to send jolts of energy into me, sometimes from my feet, but more often from seemingly random points in the lower half of my body. This was NOT kundalini, as it was not going up my spine. I'd just get this jolt and jump. It was so bad that felt I had to apologize to those on either side of me afterwards. Both noticed my repeated jumping. One guy across the circle said that he saw a red light going up through people's feet. I don't think that was what this was happening to me, but maybe.

The Rose Quartz Sphere, Part 2

Yesterday afternoon, in the restaurant room where we were meeting, Steve passed the rose quartz sphere around the group again. When it got to me, it said immediately that it had a message for me, and then it showed my an array of crystals. But since there was a group discussion going on, I couldn’t get any more.

So at the break, I asked Steve if I could borrow the crystal and meditate with it. He agreed, and so I spend the second half of the afternoon session with the crystal instead of the group. First it showed me the crystal array that it wants me to build, though actually, it's going to look like a necklace. I think it will be some sort of communication device, like the crystal sphere itself. Then i held it over different chakras for healing, including the back of my 3rd eye, and it did some work opening my 3rd eye, which I've wanted.

Then it wanted me to take it outside! So of course I did, partly because I couldn't figure out how to walk back into this big circle of people an hour late, and not feel stupid (Steve tends to ridicule people who show up late, and I really wanted to avoid that. Plus there was no way to get in without walking through the middle of the circle.)

WOW! Grass glowed, trees glowed. Something said that there is no blade of grass that does not matter. And I got that this crystal sphere was associated with what Steve would call God-consciousness beings. Then wind began to play in a spruce tree, and the sphere said to me, "What you see as the wind in a tree, we see as the interaction of conscious beings", and very briefly, I saw it that way. Then the crystal wanted me to hold it in my left hand and touch things with my right. So I began with a leaf, then a flower, then another leaf on another plant, then a rock, then a spruce branch, then a feather, and on and on and on. I could feel a different tone with each item I touched, a different vibration in a different part of my body. The crystal said "We are attuning to Earth."

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

More from Mt. Shasta

Monday night, it was a few degrees warmer, and I had an extra pair of socks on. So mostly I was warm enough to concentrate.

Things blink on and off in the sky. They move and then change direction abruptly. Satellites can't do that. And one of the volunteers has a satellite chart, so we know when one of the 'fastwalkers' in the sky is man-made.

Other lights seem to disappear into Mt. Shasta, the outline of which you can see, despite it being the dark of the moon. Or colored lights appear in the trees, and just stay, or blink on and off. Remember, we are up on a mountain, at the end of a dirt road in a national forest, miles from anywhere, so these are NOT house lights, or car lights. In the center of our circle, were wavy lines that kept changing, someone else said they looked like something was boiling, and that's a good way to put it. Oh, did I mention how much fun it is to be with people, a few of whom 'see' more than I do?

The really amazing thing was a rose quartz crystal that Steve Greer passed around. When I held it in my hands, I could feel a vibration running up my left arm through my heart and down my right arm. The crystal was much warmer than it had any right to be at 40 degrees outside. Perhaps that was just he warmth from people's hands? Other people said it was warm, or cold on one side and warm on the other. People's reports of how heavy it was varied as well.

At the end of the evening, we walked up into a grove of trees, and did a standing meditation in a circle, holding hands. I don't remember why, but Steve pulled the crystal from his pocket (it had been in a pocket over his heart), and looked at it. He sank to the ground and said 'oh my god, it's spinning off worlds and galaxies!" So we rushed around him. I was standing right behind him, and got a good look at it over his shoulder. With my eyes, no psychic anything involved, you could see points of colored light floating off the crystal sphere. Some were individual, some were in groups, one group seemed to rotate -- it was like looking at the Milky Way, if it were rotating! Lots of us saw this, and one guy with night vision goggles saw it through those. NO making this up.

Greetings from Mt. Shasta

I'm up here for a CSETI training. We meet in the afternoons in a restaurant conference room, and then go up on the mountain at night to communicate with all sorts of non-human beings. (If you are skeptical, think of it this way: with billions of stars out there, any or all of which may have planets, how likely is it that we are the only intelligent life in the universe? Not bloody likely, IMHO. And if we can communicate telepathically, which I certainly can, why wouldn't we be able to communicate with them?)

Sunday night, the first night was mostly COLD. We were up on the mountain for 4 hours, mostly sitting, and it was in the 30s. I wore every layer I had, and was teetering on the edge of cold, except my toes, which were like icicles. Hard to meditate like that, but I did fall asleep briefly! (That's because I normally go to bed 10-ish and get up at 5AM or so, while here, we go out from 8:30PM to 12:30 or 1AM. The hours are so different!) And actually, it was warmer in the circle than elsewhere on the mountain, because we were inside some sort of energetic dome that I and some others could see. That protected us from the worst of it. And inside the circle, it was absolutely still... not even a hint of a breeze.

More to the point, there was a LOT of anomalous activity, which augured well, because it was only the first night, and the group energy was still forming. We sat in a circle, and I had my back to much of the activity, but I saw a lot, as well. I’ve been working with some star visitors since last summer, and it was interesting how familiar it felt.