Tuesday, May 27, 2008


My Mom came to visit over Memorial Day weekend. I'd been looking forward to her Sunday and Monday visit, partly because we'd planned to go to a Merchant-Ivory movie, "Before the Rains" (I love their visually stunning movies, most of which are set in India) and then to have dinner at our favorite Indian buffet -- kind of an India themed outing. I knew nothing about the movie, other than its producers and its setting.

Strangely, Sunday morning, I began to be upset about something, dreading something. I was tired, though I'd had a good night's sleep. I couldn't figure out what I was so concerned about. I checked in with myself, checked in with my guides. It didn't seem to be about me, or Mom, or my husband, or... well, anything I could think of. I began to get a headache. It was bad enough that my husband asked if I even still wanted to go to the movie, and I replied that yes, I still wanted to see it.

But Mom came, and we drove down to Menlo Park to find the movie theater, early, of course, because Mom's like that. (Yes, that annoyed me a little, but hey, the point is to hang out together, and maybe it was better to hang out away from home, so it was really fine, except that my body just wanted to be sitting at home.) We had an hour to kill, so we just walked up and down the main street of the town, window shopping (Menlo Park the kind of town where most everything is closed on Sunday, anyway.) And though I really like being outside, and it was a perfect day, cool and sunny, and everyone was getting along famously, I just felt worse and worse.

Anyway, it finally came time to go to the theater, and we found seats. Now there was another 15 minutes to wait, this time in light too dim to read (and I always have a book for waiting times). Generally, I like dim light, but the dim fluorescence hurt my head so much that I had to keep my eyes closed to avoid the pain, which at this point almost made me feel nauseous.

The trailers began, and at least I could open my eyes, because the lights had gone out. The nausea dissipated, but my head still hurt. The movie began. About half an hour into the movie (and I'm not giving away a lot here, because the movie keeps you guessing long after this), one of the main characters, and a very sympathetic one at that, commits suicide. Immediately, I felt better! What was going on?

In a word, precognition. In his wonderful book, "Entangled Minds", Dean Radin describes both individual experiments and meta-analyses of many experiments on precognition -- and finds the odds against the existence of presentiment varying from greater than 320 to 1 down to 25 to 1, depending on the study.

Here's one study:

Dick Bierman, at the University of Amsterdam, used Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to study the blood flow in 10 adult volunteers, as follows:

"... participants located inside an fMRI were asked to look at computer-projected images. After each picture, they were asked to remain as calm as possible, to not think about the pictures they had already seen, and to avoid anticipating the upcoming pictures. the pictures in his test inclded 18 erotic, 18 violent, and 48 calm images. the pictures were selected at random on each sucessive trial. Each trial began with the participant looking at a fixed point on an otherwise blank screen for 4.2 seconds, then a picture appeared for 4.2 seconds, and then the picture disappeared and the trial continued with a blank screen for 8.4 seconds...

"When all the data were in, he examined the daya from males and females separately because he expected tat the responses to the emotional pictures might depend on gender...

"The results showed presentiment effects in most of the individual brains... For females there was a significant presentiment effect for erotic images (odds against chance of 25 to 1) and for violent images (odds of 50 to 1). For males, there was no difference for the violent images, bt there was for erotic images (odds of 50 to 1).

"Lest we forget what's going on in this experiment, it's useful to be reminded what these results mean: The brains of both men and women were activated in specific areas before erotic pictures appeared, even though no one knew in advance that those pictures were about to be selected. In oter words, the brain is responding to future events."

So next time you feel weird, or crummy, and can't point to something that relates to you to explain it, consider that you may be feeling the future!

20 minutes worth spending!

This is the video which is referenced by the NYT article below.

A Stroke Leads a Brain Scientist to a New Spirituality - NYTimes.com

A Stroke Leads a Brain Scientist to a New Spirituality - NYTimes.com

Friday, May 16, 2008

Loss as a spiritual path

I’ve been speaking with a lot of people about loss lately --

loss of net worth (values of homes are down nearly everywhere, values of some portfolios are down)
loss of projected sales (retail sales volume is off 2% or so in the last few months, year over year, and if you factor in inflation (supposedly running at 4% or so, but if you take out the fake adjustments of the Clinton and Bush administrations, really running at about 7.5%), actual sales are way down, and they affect many businesses
loss of a business (a few people have already thrown in the towel)
loss of a job (all those real estate, construction and finance jobs that grew with the bubble are going away)
loss of a home (we’ve all read about the subprime crisis, and the Alt-A one (those exploding payment loans to people with good credit, whose reset peak is scheduled for 2009) is still building, and will probably be worse)
loss of the nest (last child leaving home)
loss of a family member, friend or colleague (who left his or her body permanently)

And I’ve lost a few things, too — a good tenant, a good repairman (now gone flaky after 3 years of good work), and probably some 60 year old trees (to the Americans with Disabilities Act!). And of course, as a homeowner, I’ve got that loss of net worth thing going on, as well. So I got to feeling a little overwhelmed.

As I thought about myself and others, I realized that generally, two things are going on:

Feelings of loss for what you had and/or expected, and/or
Fear about the future

I don’t really want to talk about the fear today; I’ll do that another time. But let’s talk about the loss, and let go of it, so that you have more energy to deal with the fear and the action steps you need to take to create a life/home/business/job you love. Not to mention that negativity, including sadness, tends to shut out the very things you choose to create, so letting go of sadness will in itself help create what you choose.

When there is a loss, some people experience a loss; others experience devastation. Why the difference? And what do you do about these losses?

The important thing to focus on after acknowledging a loss (and losing something you dreamed of or expected, but never had, can still be a huge loss emotionally), is to appreciate what you still have:

The value of your house went down? You most likely still have the house. And even if you lose the house, you are probably still going to live somewhere. So appreciate where you live for its non-financial qualities.
Sales went down? Appreciate the sales and the customers you have, learn to work with what is working, and grow that — perhaps in a new, more satisfying direction.
Business or job loss? You still have useful and marketable skills, probably among other resources.
You’re a brand new empty nester? You still have a family, just in different locations.
Someone you’re close to left their body permanently? You still have a relationship with that person, although you may have a harder time perceiving it (see “Death is Another Country” at http://10minutesaday.blogspot.com/2008/03/death-is-another-country.html).

But sometimes, that appreciation just doesn’t cut it. What’s going on?

What’s going on is that you’ve identified with whatever it is that you’ve lost. I think this is what the Buddhists refer to as attachment (I’m not Buddhist, so if I’m wrong, would one of you please correct me?) How do you get non-attached? How do you shift?

First, you have to figure out exactly with what you’ve identified. So if the value of your house has gone down, are you identified with the house? The number that is your financial net worth? The fact that perhaps you’re not as good an investor as you had thought? Try these on as statements, that is, “I am my house”, or “I am the value of my house”, or “I am my net worth”, or “I am a bad investor”. Perhaps one of these will feel true, or perhaps you need to keep trying. That alone may shift your energy. If it doesn’t there are many modalities that can help you let go of the belief. I have a few I like to use with myself and clients, including EFT (www.emofree.com), which you can learn on your own.

Next, figure out what you’d like to believe instead, for example, “I am who I am”, regardless of the external.

Third, install this belief, including working with it as an affirmation, and using EFT or other energy techniques.

And if you need help, call me! :)

Thursday, May 01, 2008

3 great books & 1 that's only okay

Lately, I’ve been finding myself telling people over and over again about a few books I’ve been reading, so I thought I’d share them with you:

1. Have you ever felt like you were living in the wrong place? Like you just don’t really belong where you are? Maybe the people are somehow fundamentally different from you, or maybe you just can’t get your career off the ground? There may very well be a good reason for this — it’s not necessarily you. In "Who’s Your City?", Richard Florida explains why where you live may be one of the most important choices in your life, with his reasoning in very clear graphic form. Some places are just where you have to be for certain professions. Face it — if you’re in finance, you’d better live in New York or London. And psychogeography really exists — people really are different in different locations. The book explained to me why I knew at a deep level, visiting as a child, that I had to move to the Bay Area. Turns out that my personality is much more sympatico with those here than in the New York metro area.

Florida also has a website, http://creativeclass.com/whos_your_city/, but it will make more sense after you’ve read the book.

2. "The Brain that Changes Itself", by Norman Doidge, M.D., describes how the brain changes in response to differing stimuli. It discusses, in no particular order, treatments for autism spectrum disorders, phantom limb pain, how to ward off age-related memory loss and much more.

The book discusses how incremental rewards work best to encourage practice -- and practice is generally how the brain changes. This convinced me to have the participants in my class last weekend check in with themselves after each exercise we did, and report the changes that happened on a subjective scale of 0-10. Wow! I don’t know how rewarding each check-in was for the participants, because they were experiencing the changes, but it was really rewarding and motivating for me! Because I wasn’t personally experiencing the changes, and because there were too many people for me to personally monitor them in the way that I would with a private client, I needed another sort of feedback. This was perfect! I watched as the group made progress from one exercise to the next even though each participant didn’t necessarily have positive results with each process. Not only did I want to keep going to see what would happen after the next exercise, but I also want to teach the training again — soon!

3. Want to convince your child to eat spinach? Or convince your company to adopt a new policy or procedure? "Made to Stick", by the brothers, Chip Heath and Dan Heath, one of whom is a professor at Stanford Business School, tells you how, in a simple, clear and entertaining fashion. They really practice what they preach! They say the key to writing convincing copy is


And back that up with lots of real world examples. I know I’m going to try it!


I recommend getting these books from your local library (saves trees and money), but if you want to buy any of them, could you please do it from my website, which will send you to Amazon? Go to http://www.888-4-hollis.com pages/resources/recommended-readings.php, and just click on the title that interests you. Check out the other books, too while you’re there.


Now for the book that’s only okay. Oprah has been leading internet classes that are reaching literally millions of people around the world 9whenaired and as downloads), with Eckhart Tolle. I applaud them for this. They even open each segment with a brief meditation. Imagine that, 700,000 people meditating together all over the world!

And there is a lot to recommend Tolle’s book, "A New Earth". For example, Tolle has a very cool way of getting people aware of their energy bodies — he asks you to feel the aliveness in your hand when it isn’t touching anything, and then expand that to your whole body. (Of course, he’s much more complete in his directions.) Try it now!

However, and this is why I am only rating this book so-so, he spends an entire chapter on what he calls the “pain-body”. Basically, he is agglomerating all of our less-than-helpful beliefs and memories (what we’d call parts in NLP), into one global “pain-body”, which “feeds on negativity” and “seeks more pain”. Yes, there is negativity in the world, some individual, some cultural and historical. But labeling it a “pain body” feels really disempowering to me, like there’s a demon living inside me that will be virtually impossible to eradicate (because what else do you do with a demon?). And when you make all the less-than-helpful beliefs into one giant entity, with a life of its own, you can’t ask what it’s positive intention is, without getting the answer that it wants what will help itself survive. So — chunk it down — deal with each individual issue as it comes up, as an indication of something to be healed.

Of course, Tolle suggests that the way out is awareness, in a very Buddhist way, which is fine. His first publisher, Marc Allen, describes Tolle as basically sitting on a park bench for a couple of years, non-functional, so I guess if you sit still long enough, just being aware, you’ll get to enlightenment. However, those of us on the “householders path” (an ancient and honored tradition of using our everyday lives as an expression and exploration of our spirituality), can’t sit still for a couple of years. We must use our jobs and relationships and experiences to get to enlightenment. Furthermore, I think there are much better and quicker tools for healing, including NLP, EFT, and hypnotherapy, among others.