Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Aardvark Education offers 45 hours of CA DRE-approved continuing education courses

Aardvark Education offers the 45 hours of CA DRE-approved continuing education courses needed to renew your California real estate agent's or broker's license. All 45 hours are online and can be done in just 6 days, if you follow the schedule we have set out for you. The courses are interesting, and easy to read. The Consumer Service offering, "Coaching Your Client to a Successful Close", will give you a system to close more sales -- and have a much easier time of it. All for only $79!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Trees really DO go dormant in winter!

I make a habit of saying hello to the trees as I walk by them on my daily morning walk. Not every tree, and not the entire walk, but most of the trees on part of the walk.

Because of this, I notice that trees do, in a sense, say hello back. What happens is actually that I send an energetic wave of greeting and appreciation to each tree as I walk -- and the tree sends a return wave of energy, which I can feel in my aura. Different trees are different; some sort of sparkle or shimmer as they do it, with some I can hear a sort of laugh of delight with my clairaudience. Could I be making this up? Absolutely, especially the laughter!

But here's the interesting thing. I'm up in Sacramento, and it's winter here. Though the days will generally reach the high 50s, at night, it is often below freezing, which means that the many deciduous trees are going dormant. Those which have lost all their leaves don't return my hello! The trees that have many orange or yellow or red leaves still seem to return my greeting, but it's very weak, a fraction of what I'm used to. The conifers still return my greeting at full strength. The fact that I can still feel the conifers' greeting in the normal way let's me know that I haven't changed, rather it's the trees which have.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Scientists Prove DNA Can Be Reprogrammed by Words and Frequencies | Wake Up World

There is some really intriguing info in here --

- DNA can be reprogrammed by voice
- Our DNA can be used for hypercommunication (telepathy, etc.)
- At least some of what we think of as starcraft are created by our own consciousness

Unfortunately, the research was all written/published in Russian. My Russian is not good enough to know how accurate this interpretation is.

Scientists Prove DNA Can Be Reprogrammed by Words and Frequencies | Wake Up World

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Another Reason NOT to Get into the Wrong Relationship

Here's another lesson courtesy of my friend, Gina (see this post for the background info):

If you're enmeshed with the wrong relationship, you won't be available for the right one.

Imagine that you have a glass -- and it's full of water. How are you going to put in more water? If your heart is full of someone, and that person is not available to you, or treating you badly, how are you going to make space for someone else?

This is what happened with Gina. She remained so attached to Guy #3 that when she met someone else (I'll call him Guy #4),  she couldn't connect with him. They found each other on, and quickly decided to meet for coffee. Coffee turned into 3 hours, and then turned into dinner. They clicked on many levels, and had a lot in common. Both were in the medical field. Both liked to hike. Both were spiritually aware. And it went on from there.

Guy #4 recognized that this could be very special, and Gina liked #4 a lot. But as things began to progress, Gina had to admit to herself, and to #4, that she was still hung up on #3, and couldn't really connect to #4 in the way that he deserved. She knows it's hopeless with #3, but is still having trouble letting go of him, for what looks like a much more promising relationship.

So the wrong relationship is preventing her from getting into what might be the right one. Another reason not to get to quickly involved with what might be the wrong relationship.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Book from 11/30 'Your Life, Your Relationships'

This is one of my new favorite books. I knew the information in a few of the chapters, and Wilcock is spot on. So I trust his information for the parts I don't know.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Unconscious mind knows 'what's wrong with this picture'...

New research distinguishes roles of conscious and subconscious awareness

Separating You and Me? 4.74 Degrees -

This is interesting, because earlier research showed that, on average, there are 4 degrees of separation between 99% of all people -- and that the best ways to find people are by location and profession.

Separating You and Me? 4.74 Degrees -

Monday, November 28, 2011

Ways to Handle the Holidays without Shopping

"Peace on Earth
Good Will to Men"

I don't know about you, but I don't see anything about shopping in that statement. I'm also opposed to buying things for people just because we're conditioned to do so. I mean, I love to give people presents -- what they need, when they need it, or something they'd love, when I see it -- but just because the calendar says so? I think not. (I make an exception here for kids, especially at this season, for a few reasons. First, seeing their faces light up. Second, Santa Klaus/Kris Kringle/Saint Nicolas did traditionally give kids small gifts, as well as stories of the three wise men bringing gifts to baby Jesus, so there is long tradition here.)

That said, I have to say that I'm lucky, in that my extended family either feels the same way, or at least understands that I do, and doesn't insist on a huge gift exchange. I don't remember when that shift happened, as I think the gift giving just sort of faded away.

What do you do if your family does insist? Here are a few ideas:

  • Talk to other family members about your preferences
  • Suggest that each family member draw the name of one other family member out of a hat, and then only get a gift for that one person.
  • Suggest a 'white elephant' gift exchange, where each person brings something they have but don't want or need to give to a name drawn out of a hat at a gathering. People can trade gifts after the official exchange.
  • Agree upon a dollar limit to each gift.
  • Instead of gifts, make coupons for your services:
    • Are you a great cook? Offer to make a meal for the recipient. 
    • Are you handy? Offer a few hours of 'fix-it' services. 
    • Does someone have small kids? Offer a few hours of babysitting. 
  • Make a gift of food. 
    • If you have a baking specialty, make that (my sister-in-law makes the world's best baklava, and there are small plates of it, cut into small squares and wrapped in paper frills, all over her kitchen, destined for many, many people -- apparently one pan feeds a crowd). 
    • There are a bunch of simple recipes here
    • Even if you can't bake, you can mix up a batch of soup mix (here's the recipe) and package it, along with the other things needed to make soup. When your recipient makes the soup, she/he will think of you fondly. Who doesn't like soup?
  • Give your own art and/or crafts.
    • Use your photos to make calendars -- there are lots of online services that will do this. Everyone needs a calendar -- and what's better than photos that are meaningful to the recipient? You could recent family photos, vacation photos, and old family photos scanned into digital form. You can also personalize the calendars to include family birth dates or other significant events. 
  • If you aren't creative at all, and you still must give presents, here are a couple of ideas:
    • Give a service (massage, psychic reading, etc. -- yes, call me at 888-446-5547 to set that up)
    • Give something made in America has lots of things made by crafters right here in the US (but you do have to look, not everything is made here)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Thanksgiving Memories

"Over the river and through the woods
  to Grandmother's house we go.
  The horse knows the way
  to carry the sleigh
  through the white and drifted snow... oh!"

My dad actually sang that song as we rode -- in a car -- over a couple of rivers, and through some woods -- and by a bunch of manufacturing plants -- to my grandmother's house for Thanksgiving when I was a little kid.

And that created the first of many fond memories of Thanksgiving. For us, Thanksgiving was the one day of the year when my entire extended family (all 13 of us) were together -- my parents, my sister and me, my aunt and uncle and 4 cousins, both grandmothers and our one remaining grandfather. We kids were all pretty close in age, so we had a lot of fun, playing games, putting on skits and 'haunted houses' for the adults. And of course, eating!

Like all families who can remember an ethnic heritage other than American/English, we had not only the turkey and trimmings, but also ethnic foods. Today, I'd kill for my grandmother's noodle kugel and potato kugel (she took those recipes to her grave, and no one else's comes close). My aunt, born in Sweden, didn't make cranberry sauce, she made lingonberry sauce instead. (Tasted the same to me -- great!). When we got older, there was champagne. One year, there was even a jeroboam of champagne.

So Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I mean, really, what's not to like? You get to appreciate everything, to share that with people you care about -- and then there's all that food! For my family, turkey, stuffing, gravy and lingonberry sauce only appeared once a year.

With every bit of turkey and stuffing and cranberry sauce today, I am linked to those happy memories.  Even when I cook, I think of my mother and aunt and grandmothers cooking for us all those years ago, and so even the cooking is a kind of ritual. It's a ritual that takes a few days -- and is well worth the time.

I'll be cooking next Wednesday, not writing or doing my radio show. Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Are You Making These Relationship Mistakes?

Gina, a former student of mine, now friend, is newly single after a 25 year marriage. She is capable, energetic, intelligent, caring, and very sensitive energetically.

Gina married her high school sweetheart at 19, got her nursing degree, began working as a nurse and eventually had a daughter. Somewhere along the way, the bloom fell off the rose of her marriage. It was nothing horrible, she wasn't abused or anything, but after her daughter left for college, she decided it was time to move on.

She really had no experience in the dating world, and signed up for with high hopes. And it worked! The first guy she met was an  engineer, both smart, funny, and what's more, she was really attracted to him. She slept with him very quickly, and enjoyed that a lot, too. Unfortunately, she discovered that he was an emotional mess, and she needed to take care of him emotionally. She wasn't sure if it was worth it, and backed off. Then she began to feel these odd pains in her lower back.

Enter guy #2 (not the second one she met, but the second with whom she got involved).  Also smart, funny, with a great job as an attorney, he was an outdoorsman, and took her on many adventures. Again, she slept with him early on, felt quite close to him and was providing emotional support. But he eventually got so depressed, so enmeshed in his divorce settlement and custody battle that he needed too much from her, out of all proportion to what he was giving, and she moved on. However, he would visit her in her dreams, and occasionally, lying in bed late at night, she'd have the sense that he was lying there beside her. Further, she began having these odd pains in her lower abdomen.

Several months later, she met guy #3. She said he wasn't really her type (but still smart, funny, and with a job he loved as a manufacturing supervisor). She slept with him, too, even though he was still seeing his ex-wife off and on. She began to get attached to him, finding more things right with him -- if only he'd stop playing pushme-pullyou games. He'd somehow become her type, and as she felt that, she began to have this odd ache in her heart, along with a vague fatigue.

What was going on?

Gina had slept with each of these men. Good sex (and she reported that  it was!) releases oxytocin, the hormone of connection. So she felt connected to each of them.

She's a nurse, so it is her job to take care of people. She'd carried this over into her personal life. Ever the helper, she had unconsciously offered her help to each of these somewhat needy guys. And they were taking advantage of it!

When we connect with people (actually with animals and even plants, too), we form energetic cords between us. Healthy cords run from an energy center in one person to the same center in someone else. The cord most easily felt and recognized runs from your heart center to someone else's. Healthy cords can also run from, your sexual center to another's sexual center, or from your third eye to theirs, for example.

Gina had formed these energetic connections. When she backed off a relationship, though, she forgot to cut the cords between her and the guy, which meant that he could still connect to her energetically and suck her energy.

I taught her to cut these cords, which she did. She'd feel relief for a little while, and then the pains would begin again. Why?

Each man, cut off from a source of energy/healing which he'd come to expect, would unconsciously feel the cutting of the cord -- and set it up all over again!

Gina had not only to cut the cords, but also needed to protect herself energetically so that the cords wouldn't reappear. When she set energetic boundaries, that is, protected herself energetically, as she cut the cords, they didn't reappear -- and she felt much better.

In sum, then, the relationship mistakes are:
  1. Sleeping with someone before you really know what you're getting into
  2. Forgetting to cut the energetic cords between you and another when a relationship ends
  3. Neglecting to set energetic boundaries between you and another so that they can suck your energy even after the relationship is over
If you want help learning how to cut cords or set energetic boundaries, call me at 888-4-HOLLIS (888-446-5547) or send me an email at

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

On Busyness

It seems an article of faith in our more, better, faster culture that being busy is good (busyness is next to godliness?). People practically brag about being overbooked, and how much they have to accomplish, as if this somehow makes them more valuable as people. I don't think it makes them more valuable, and I'm really not so sure busyness is good.

This comes from my personal experience. I have been really busy lately, not just with clients and writing this blog, sending out my newsletter and doing my radio show, which you all see, but also starting a new online business with a partner, and managing another small business I own. I feel kind of guilty all the time, because I'm not 100% on top of everything, and I can't deliver everything to everyone simultaneously. And then there are all the things I want to do, but don't have to do -- enjoy the earth, hang out with friends, help some people I believe in with their projects. A fair percentage of my available attention units are simply taken up with constantly re-evaluating and shifting priorities.

Using those attention units to figure out what to do next precludes using them to reflect, to learn from what just happened. How do you tease out all the lessons from a situation if you don't have time to think about it? If you're making a stew, and it tastes flat, and you gulp it down, all you notice is that it's not too good. It takes time and attention to actually notice what you're eating, to figure out that it needs more salt, and more of some herb, and less fat, perhaps. Or maybe you should have added the herbs as you sauteed the meat, rather than just during the simmering. But if you're so busy that you have to chomp on it while you're driving to your next appointment, you'll never notice. You won't improve your cooking, and you'll continue to make the same mistakes.

How do you get unbusy? Obviously, I'm no expert, since I'm having this predicament at the moment myself. Instead, here is Brig. General Rhonda Cornum, as quoted in Flourish, by Martin Seligman:

"Discard C."

How do you know what is an A, a B or a C?

Think of it this way -- there are two dimensions: importance and urgency.

                        Important    Not Important
Urgent             |       A        |            B?        |
Not Urgent      |        B       |           C           |

A - Urgent and Important - There's a humongous fire in the neighborhood. Drop everything, pack up and get ready to evacuate NOW. (This one actually happened.)

B - Important but not Urgent - It's May in CA, where it won't rain till next October or November, and the house needs a new roof. Finding contractors, getting bids, calling all the references. selecting the roofer and scheduling the work all need to happen. They can be put on my to do list, and/or my calendar, and worked in with other things.

B - Urgent but Not Important - For me, this is the hard one. The cat is whining to be fed again. (I just fed him 3 hours ago.) He thinks it's urgent. I know he's not starving. But if I put it off too long, he may express his displeasure in ways I find atrocious -- and which are both urgent an important to clean up (not to mention occasionally expensive.)

C- Not Urgent and Not Important - The back of the refrigerator needs cleaning. Not gonna happen -- at least not until there's pretty much nothing going on in my life. Do I get up from my work, or not?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Evidence for the Existence of a Hypnotic State

Researchers have found evidence for the existence of a hypnotic state

The key was in the glazed staring eyes

Researchers have found evidence for the existence of a hypnotic state -- the key was in the glazed staring eyes
A multidisciplinary group of researchers from Finland (University of Turku and Aalto University) and Sweden (University of Skövde) has found that strange stare may be a key that can eventually lead to a solution to this long debate about the existence of a hypnotic state.
One of the most widely known features of a hypnotized person in the popular culture is a glazed, wide-open look in the eyes. Paradoxically, this sign has not been considered to have any major importance among researchers and has never been studied in any detail, probably due to the fact that it can be seen in only some hypnotized people.
This study was done with a very highly hypnotizable participant who can be hypnotized and dehypnotized by just using a one-word cue. The change between hypnotic state and normal state can thus be varied in seconds.
The researchers used high-resolution eye-tracking methodology and presented a set of well-established oculomotor tasks that trigger automatic eye behavior. They found the glazed stare was accompanied by objectively measurable changes in automatic, reflexive eye behavior that could not be imitated by non-hypnotized participants.
In the field of hypnosis research this result means that hypnosis can no longer be regarded as mental imagery that takes place during a totally normal waking state of consciousness. On the other hand, the result may have wider consequences for psychology and cognitive neuroscience, since it provides the first evidence of the existence of a conscious state in humans that has previously not been scientifically confirmed.
Hypnosis has had a long and controversial history in psychology, psychiatry and neurology. For over 100 years researchers have debated if a special hypnotic state exists or whether it is just about using cognitive strategies and mental imagery in a normal waking state. So far, a hypnotic state has never been convincingly demonstrated, and therefore, many researchers regard the hypnotic state to be just a popular myth in psychology.

3 Ways to Deal with Tough Times

Times are tough. If you've been paying attention, you know that all of the economic gains of the last decade have gone to the top 1% of the population, leaving 99% of us no better off -- or worse off. You know that half of all workers earn less than about $23,600/year. Small business owners have been hurt more than other workers -- with an average decrease in income in the last few years of about 17%.

This has been hitting home in a number of ways.  Here's one:

Last week, a friend called me, saying she was at the end of her rope and didn't know what to do. Jenny is a talented psychologist in private practice, generally very positive, very together, very upbeat. Her clients think the world of her -- and say so publicly. But her business is down -- her sales are now less than her rent. Jenny, divorced many years ago, is going through her savings, and although she is in no danger of being homeless any time soon, she's terrified.

When I tried to commiserate with her, saying my business was way off, too, she sobbed, "But you have a husband, you own a home -- you have something!"

I had to acknowledge that that was true, and pointed out her close family and many good friends. Jenny has been a good friend to many people, and so many people would be there if she asked. But she won't ask.

"Why not?", I wanted to know.

Well, because many years ago, her mother, a stiff upper lip Brit, told her that, "People don't want to hear your troubles. If you tell them you have problems, they'll abandon you."

As my Dad (an educated man) used to say, "Them as don't ask, don't get." You have to ask for what you need! How else are people supposed to know you need something?

So for Jenny, step one is acknowledging to her friends that she needs help, and asking for what she needs.

99% of us are all in this together. So the next question, whether or not you're in need right now, is: what do you have to share? If you need a place to stay, can you offer services in exchange? Can you cook? clean? garden? If you have an extra room, are you willing to share that? What would you like in exchange?

 We're all in this together -- and the more we can share, the more outside shocks we can all withstand. United we stand...

There's more to it than just sharing, though. Gratitude is hugely important, too, and there are two reasons for this. First, if you are appreciating what is good in your life, you'll have a more positive frame of mind to deal with what is less positive. Second, what you focus on, expands. This is the famed Law of Attraction.

Here's a very partial list of things to be grateful for:

  • food to eat
  • clothes to wear
  • a roof over your head, and the utilities to run the household
  • any and all good relationships
  • good health
  • the ability to get from one place to another
  • having a body, so you can experience the world at this most interesting time
  • the beauty of the earth
  • being connected to the world on the internet 
For a really easy and effective way to be grateful -- and totally not what you'd expect -- click here

To summarize, here are the three ways to deal with tough times:
  1. Ask for what you need
  2. Share what you can
  3. Be grateful for you have

    Tuesday, October 04, 2011

    Noise & music are more distracting to introverts at work

    And it's even worse if your main perceptual system is auditory! (No research on that, though.)

    BPS Occupational Digest: Noise and music are more distracting to introverts at work

    A realy simple way to eat less!

    Eat with your non-dominant hand! Research here:

    BPS Research Digest

    Half-Generation Friends

    A couple of weeks ago, I had my first real conversation with Perry Garfinkel on my radio show, "Your Life, Your Relationships". [You can hear the conversation online here, or here in iTunes.] It was delightful! I felt like I'd made a new friend, or maybe found an older brother I hadn't yet met. Names of several well-known people, whom I'd heard lecture, or whose works I'd read, fell off his tongue -- they were his teacher, his friends, his personal acquaintances. Wow!

    It turned out that he's 11 years older than I am. While he was in India, I was in high school (and if I hadn't been intellectually precocious, I'd still have been in grade school)! That meant he was enough older than me to have been in the vanguard of the American consciousness revolution, while I was following distantly in their footsteps.

    And that got me to thinking about friends who are a half-generation ahead of or behind me. [A generation is variously described as 20 - 30 years, so a half-generation would be 10 - 15 years.] These are very important friendships!

    When I was a kid, my Dad had 2 good friends, men he'd play tennis with each week. One had his own family, with kids around the ages of my sister and me; our two families became friendly. The other, though only a couple of years younger than my Dad, was still single, and actively dating. The women he dated all seemed to be about the same age, 23 - 26, even as he got older. As I entered my teen years, my (temporary) friendships with these young women became very important to me. Why? Well, they were enough older than me to have 'been there, done that', and thereby give good advice (and I had no older sisters or cousins). They were also young enough to understand my world, and therefore not to judge me in the way someone of my parents' age would have.

    Today, as an adult, I still have half-generation friends. The older ones point the way into the second half of life. The younger ones change my perspective on the world, because it looks a bit different to them than it does to me.

    Who are the half-generation friends in your life? What do they bring to your life?

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011

    The Secrets No One Bothers to Tell You…

    Is your midlife body getting in your way every day?

    Are you missing out on the life you really want because you feel less than wonderful?

    Are you…

    • Exhausted even after a full night of sleep
    • Sick of hot flashes, dryness, brain fog and other menopause symptoms
    • Carrying extra weight that’s impossible to get off
    • Starting to look “your age”
    • Embarrassed because you’re losing your sex drive
    • Wishing for companionship, but not so sure about dating after 40
    • Wondering whether you’ll ever get to retire and what retirement will be like
    If you want to look and feel your best for the rest of your life, please join me for an exciting series coming up in October called Cracking the Midlife Code II, hosted by my friend, Nina Price.

    It features interviews with more than a dozen top midlife experts (including me!) about the frustrating things we’re dealing with at this time of life: hormones, sleep, sex, weight loss, fitness, how we look and how we feel.

    The experts will be teaching you what you can do to take incredibly good care of yourself during midlife so you can enjoy the rest of your life.

    In a hurry to save your spot? It’s FREE -- just sign up here!

    Here’s what you’re going to learn from the amazing speakers in this free event:

    Drop the extra weight once and for all
    Learn the best natural health secrets to cope with the changes in your midlife body
    How you can help your body, mind and spirit to heal
    How to reduce your stress and have more energy
    How to deal with age bias
    What retirement can look like for us
    How to get back in the dating game
    How to get better quality sleep so you can wake up feeling refreshed and ready for your day
    How to have the best sex of your life

    p.s. Do you know the #1 secret about midlife that no one bothers to prepare you for?

    Check out Cracking the Midlife Code

    Coincidence or Synchronicity?

    Last weekend, I was chatting with a young woman, who is just beginning to open up psychically. She said, "I'm starting to have all these weird coincidences. Does that happen to you?"

    I answered that I preferred to think of them as synchronicities, and that yes, they happen to me all the time. To me, a coincidence is accidental, and a synchronicity is a manifestation of some deeper level of structure, perhaps related to intention. This is borne out by dictionary definitions (shown at the bottom of this article).

    And wouldn't you know that a synchronicity happened almost immediately? My husband and I were in LA for a benefit concert for a friend's charitable project, for which my husband had done some publicity. Through a series of misunderstandings, we weren't left the "all access" passes we'd been promised.

    At dinner, we discussed this predicament. We were both prepared to pay for general admission tickets -- after all, we'd come all this way. My clear intention, though, was to hang out back stage, or maybe in the VIP area. Here's what happened:

    After dinner, we walked back to our motel, which was 6 long blocks from the theater, in a borderline scary neighborhood, to change our clothes. On our walk, I said that after the concert, I'd like to take a taxi back to the motel, as I didn't want to walk there in the wee hours of the morning. My husband said he'd rather get a ride from one of the locals we knew who'd be at the concert. That sounded good to me.

    We left the motel, intending to walk up to the theater. As we left, we stepped into the street to avoid some 'action' on the sidewalk. As we did, an empty taxi pulled up to us. We hadn't signaled for it at all. We got in, and the driver asked us if we'd called for a cab! When we said no, he said that someone at the motel had called, but had not given a name or room number! I guess it was our cab -- we just hadn't called for it with a telephone.

    The taxi whisked us to the theater -- remember, it's only 6 blocks. As we alighted, our friend, the one whose project the concert was supporting, happened to be behind the cordon, talking to those who'd be checking credentials. He said, gesturing at us, "These people are my set up crew." (He doesn't really have a set up crew.) And we got our all access passes! No fuss, no hassle.

    Had we not taken that cab, we would have arrived 10 minutes later. Our friend would already have been inside, directing the concert's video people on how to set up his video. And we would have been stuck with the General Admission tickets -- more money, a crummier experience. Is this a synchronicity? Or a coincidence?

    And before the end of the concert, when we left, the young woman who wondered about coincidences, was leaving, too. She gave us a ride back to our motel. Synchronicity? Or coincidence?


    According to Webster's dictionary, a coincidence is "an accidental and remarkable occurrence of events, ideas, etc. at the same time...".

    According to Wikipedia, "The idea of synchronicity is that the conceptual relationship of minds, defined as the relationship between ideas, is intricately structured in its own logical way and gives rise to relationships that are not causal in nature. These relationships can manifest themselves as simultaneous occurrences that are meaningfully related."

    Thursday, September 22, 2011

    NLPers: Research verifying the Value of Rapport

    There is a lot in here about what influences us beneath the level of our conscious mind. And no surprise, rapport (which they call 'mimicry') is important. Worth downloading the .pdf.

    Mind wide open - Vol. 21, Part 4 ( April 2008)

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011

    High medical costs decrease 28% after 5 yrs of TM (meditation) practice

    According to a study published this week in the September/October 2011 issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion (Vol. 26, No. 1, pp. 56-60), people with consistently high health care costs experienced a 28 percent cumulative decrease in physician fees after an average of five years practicing the stress-reducing Transcendental Meditation technique compared with their baseline. Both between and within group comparisons were statistically significant. This study has major policy implications.

    In most populations, a small fraction of people account for the majority of health care costs. In the U.S., the highest spending 10% in the general population incurred 60% to 70% of total medical expenditures annually. In the Medicare population, the highest spending 5% incurred 43% of total Medicare costs, and the highest spending 25% of seniors accounted for 85% of total expenses. A large number of these people have consistently high medical bills over many years. (References in article, available upon request.)

    Chronic stress is the number one factor contributing to high medical expenses. Stress reduction may help reduce these costs.

    This new study compared the changes in physician costs for 284 consistent high-cost participants—142 Transcendental Meditation practitioners with 142 non-practitioners, over five years in Quebec, Canada. The non-TM subjects were randomly selected from Quebec health insurance enrollees with the same age, sex, and region to match the TM participant profiles. The TM participants decided to begin the technique prior to choosing to enter the study. In the year before the intervention began, there were no significant differences between the groups in payments to physicians.

    During the five-year assessment period, the TM group's annual rate of change in payments declined significantly (p = 0.004), while the comparison group's payments showed no significant changes. After the first year, the TM group decreased 11%, and after 5 years, their cumulative reduction was 28% (p = 0.001).

    The primary measure for assessing the effectiveness of TM practice in decreasing medical costs was the fees paid by the Quebec health insurance agency to private physicians in all settings for treating study participants. In Canada and U.S., physician payments have been 20% of national health expenditures. This study's results are important because doctors' decisions determine most medical expenses: tests, prescription drugs, hospitalization, surgery, and other treatments.

    The paper's sole author, Robert E. Herron, Ph.D., is an independent researcher, and director of the Center for Health Systems Analysis. Dr. Herron was the first to describe the impact of the Transcendental Meditation technique on health care costs.

    This study's findings were similar to earlier ones. In a previous Canadian study, the TM group exhibited reduced medical expenses between 5% and 13% relative to comparison subjects each year for 6 consecutive years.

    In a subsequent Canadian study of senior citizens, the TM group's five-year cumulative reduction for people aged 65 years and older relative to comparison subjects was 70%.

    In a sample of American health insurance enrollees, the TM participants had reduced rates of illness in all disease categories. An eleven-year, cross-sectional study in Iowa found that subjects age 45 and over who practiced the TM technique had 88% fewer hospital days compared with controls. Their medical expenditures were 60% below the norm.

    Other studies, including randomized clinical trials, indicate the TM technique can improve physical and mental health, decrease tobacco use, reduce substance abuse, and decrease other unhealthy habits and risk factors that lead to chronic disease and costly treatments.

    "This article has major policy significance for saving Medicare and Medicaid without cutting benefits or raising taxes," said Herron. "Almost no intervention for cost containment has decreased medical expenditures by 28% over 5 years from a baseline. Now, it may be possible to rescue Medicare and Medicaid by adding coverage for learning the Transcendental Meditation technique."

    [I got this from Bayho, which sells supplements.]

    Thursday, September 15, 2011

    Mass Hypnosis in Every Day Life

    Watch out when you go shopping! One more reason to shop at a real farmers' market:

    How Whole Foods "Primes" You To Shop | Fast Company

    How to Develop Confidence

    "I'm confident" is rarely a complete sentence. Usually, it's followed by something specific. You say, "I'm confident that...", as in

    • I'm confident that the sun will rise in the morning, or
    • I'm confident that my mother will make a nasty crack about someone at tonight's dinner party, or 
    • I'm confident that I can pass this exam, or
    • I'm confident that I can win over this audience.

    Where does confidence come from? Usually it comes from experience, from which you've deduced a pattern, and/or  some kind of external learning.

    You're confident that the sun will rise in the morning because it has for every single day of your life, as it has for every single day of the lives of everyone you know, and because astronomers have explained the earth's rotation, relative to the sun. That is experience plus learning.

    You're  confident your mother will make that nasty crack because she's done it at every other dinner party you've been at with her. That's experience.

    You're confident that you can pass the exam because you've passed all the exams before and because you've done all the homework. That is experience plus learning.

    You're confident you can win over an audience because you've done it so many times before. This is the untold secret behind so may young stars. Crystal Bowersox, who came in second at American Idol in 2010 at the age of 24, was amazingly poised. Why? Because she began performing professionally at the age of 10. That is, she'd been a pro for 14 years by the time she got to American Idol. 14 years is a lot of experience -- it's a long time to both perfect your craft and to learn the patterns that it takes to win over an audience. That's how you develop confidence at both the craft and the performing edge.

    What do you do if you aren't confident?

    If you aren't confident about something, it means you don't have enough experience and/or knowledge. Which means that your task is to get that experience and/or knowledge.

    If the subject about which you lack confidence is not within your control, like the sun rising or someone else's behavior, then you must do whatever research you can. Something else you can do is to plan for different possibilites. Flexibility can make up for a lack of a sure pattern.

    If you need confidence about something within your control, then your only answer is practice. When I was an engineering undergrad, and terrified about my grades in technical courses, which consisted only of exam scores, my father said, "The answer is simple: do every problem in every textbook you have." Dad was right! I did all those problems and immediately began to ace all my exams. Then I became confident that as long as I did this admittedly prodigious amount of work, I'd succeed.

    So developing confidence is simply a matter of increasing your knowledge and gaining experience. Ask yourself:

    • How can I learn about this subject?
    • How can I practice the skills I need?

    When you have the answers to these questions, do the work suggested by those answers.

    Tuesday, September 13, 2011

    How to Get a FREE Change Work Session

    Is there some pattern that seems to repeat for you time after time? Maybe you're always attracted to the wrong partner, or you regularly get into a job with a great boss, only to find that the boss leaves and is replaced by an ogre. Or may be there's some attitude, some belief, that you know you need to change, but you don't know how, and so you stay miserable.

    Often patterns or beliefs can be shifted in one session!

    I am offering ONE free session to someone who really needs a change. In order to qualify, you must:
    • be willing to do the session on my online radio show
    • be available from 3 - 4 PM PST (6 - 7 PM EST) on the Wednesday of the session, which will be scheduled in advance
    • call in from a land line for the session
    • write to me at with a 1 - 2 sentence description of your issue
    I will only pick ONE person to do this. If it goes well, I may do it again at a later date. 

    Tuesday, September 06, 2011

    For all you Firesign Theater fans...

    One of the backstage duties at the Sausalito Art Festival is to guard the various entrances to the dressing rooms and backstage area, which are, oddly, not contiguous. (The dressing rooms back to the garbage. No kidding.) Other jobs include moving equipment and getting provisions for the artists, so people don't really hang around the dressing rooms all that much.

    At one point, when I was guarding one of the dressing room gates, some came up and asked to see a volunteer, named Dave. I went back to the 'office', which is part of the same tent as the dressing rooms, and  -- no Dave. So I went out to see the requester, and I got to say, very legitimately,

    "Dave's not here!"

    Banding Together -- Literally!

    Last Sunday, I did my annual day of being a 'roadie' (well, okay, working backstage) at the Sausalito Art Festival. I learn something every time, and this year was no exception.

    What I learned was this: banding together really does work to make a living -- especially in this economy. Here's what I mean:

    I was told privately that the attendance for the Festival was down 24%, at least for the first day. This is in one of the 20 richest counties in the entire US. (The bar receipts at the side of the stage were up 7 or 8%, though. Not sure what that means -- people who can afford $25 to get in, down from $27 two years ago, can afford to buy drinks? People need drinks more?)

    The big draw for Sunday was the World Class Rockers. Who? Who are they? Never heard of them. And I'll bet you never have, either.

    They are all guys who were part of big name bands -- Steppenwolf,  Santana, Journey, Toto, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Boston -- but never got personally famous. Some, like the drummer, Aynsley Dunbar, are rock royalty, while others, like Randall Hall, were replacements for original band members. They're all wonderful musicians -- and their love of the music, and in some cases, love of the crowd, are infectious. They also clearly like working together (the party was definitely around their dressing room -- so big it spilled out into the open-air corridor).

    Individually, not one of them would have been a big draw. But together -- a big crowd! And I do have to say, they rocked the house!

    So banding together works. If it works for the rockers, it might work for you -- and a few of your friends. With whom can you band together to provide a good or service that people might want?

    Wednesday, August 17, 2011

    Book mentioned on 8/17/11 'Your Life, Your Relationships"

    This is the book to buy so you can make sense of how other people function (or don't) in relationships.

    Tuesday, August 16, 2011

    The Secret Language Code | The Rundown News Blog | PBS NewsHour | PBS

    Yes, how you speak, speaks louder than what you say, about gender, status, and success in college, among other things:

    The Secret Language Code | The Rundown News Blog | PBS NewsHour | PBS

    Lessons from a Murder-Suicide

    On Friday afternoon, I was doing some paperwork, which I really don't like to do, so I turned on the TV as a way to distract myself while I did it. As I did, there was breaking news, an Amber Alert (aka child abduction). Usually, those just kind of blow by me, but this time -- I actually knew the guy! 

    I knew him because a friend of mine had been dating him for several months. Ella told me about Mourad -- he was an engineer, who'd been working for a long time at Hewlett Packard, a single dad of a 2 year old daughter, whom he adored. He liked to windsurf and kayak. He was divorced from an attorney who was constantly trying to get more from him. At this point, she was trying to get more than the 80% custody she already had of their daughter. 

    In California, custody decisions are usually made in the best interest of the child. The presumption is that it is good for the child to have both parents in her life, unless one of them is an addict, a criminal or an abuser. Mourad didn't appear to be any of those. In fact, Ella said, he was a kind, loving, patient father. And Ella would know -- she was not only a mother herself, but also a teacher, so she'd seen lots of parents interacting with their kids. 

    Anyway, Ella wanted me to meet Mourad, and so in May, my husband and I had a long, leisurely dinner with him and Ella at an Indian restaurant.  Apparently the restaurant's management knew and liked him -- they brought us some of his favorite dish on the house. 

    He was good company, engaging without dominating the conversation. Although he'd been born in Egypt, his parents, both psychologists, moved here when he was 2 to escape religious persecution, as they were Copts,  i.e. Christians, in an Arabic country. He grew up speaking only English, and decided as an adult to learn Arabic, out of curiosity. He'd been to Egypt in his 30's to visit family, and while there, tried to get Egyptian citizenship. He was refused, and was pretty sure it was because he was Christian. 

    His eyes absolutely lit up when he spoke of his daughter, whom he called 'the light of my life'. 

    As time went on, I heard a bit more. His custody battle got worse. He'd spent a LOT of money on an attorney who he felt had done very little for him, so his brother, also an attorney, advised him to represent himself, which he was doing. 

    About a month ago, Ella backed off from dating him, saying that he'd become obsessed with the custody battle, which he felt was rigged against him. They remained friends, though, and were still in touch with each other. 

    All day Saturday, as my husband and I were helping his daughter move to new digs for her senior year in college, we saw the Amber Alert signs on the freeway. On Sunday morning, as we drove up to Sacramento to take care of some business, we noticed that the signs were down. And then we heard the news: the bodies of Mourad and his daughter had been found

    Ella was devastated, and oddly, so was I. Ella wondered, would it have changed anything had she stayed in a closer relationship to him? Could she have changed it? I did my best to comfort her -- but murders and suicides don't feel like deaths from disease or even accident. And even I was wondering, how did I miss this?

    I've been thinking about this for a couple of days now, and here's what I've learned:
    • Desperate people do desperate things - Cornered animals will attack; a trapped one will chew off its own leg to get free (one man sawed off his own arm). 
    • You never know whom you are going to effect - I barely knew Mourad, and yet I am deeply affected by his apparent choice (police have not yet given a cause of death). There are probably many more like me. Further, I'm writing about it, so it affects you. And that's true of all of us all the time. You don't know how your actions will affect others, or even who those others are. (For the story through Mourad's father's eyes, and how it may affect even more people, click here.)
    • You can't change someone else's agreements - When Ella asked me to look at the deaths psychically, I saw that 
      • the father and daughter were fine on the 'other side',
      • it really wasn't hard on the girl, who hadn't been here very long, anyway,
      • they had an agreement to teach a lesson to the mother, who was manipulative and a bully. The lesson: you can't have everything your way,
      • When all three eventually reunite on the other side, they'll shake hands, and the mother will be grateful for the sacrifice they made to teach her that lesson. 
    • You never know what tomorrow will hold - People can leave the earth plane very suddenly and unexpectedly, so clear up all misunderstandings and disagreements as quickly as you can. Tell people you love them as often as you think of it.
    • You can't 'see' what you're not asked to 'see'- When I met Mourad, I met him as a human being. I listened to my friend talk about him, as friends do. I was never asked to look at anything psychically for him or about him, and so I didn't. To do so without being asked, and without it affecting my life, would not have been clairvoyance, it would have been clairvoyeurism. Now I understand all the neighbors who say, after a tragedy, "He was such a nice guy -- how could this have happened?"

    Tuesday, August 09, 2011

    A Lesson from Giants' Pitcher, Brian Wilson

    A friend (thanks, Dennis!) took me to a SF Giants' game on Friday night, where I had the wonderful opportunity, not only to see the game with someone who could explain the nuances to me, but also to see the power of focus in the relief pitcher, aka the 'closer', Brian Wilson.

    For most of the game, I watched other pitchers work. From this, I learned that the pitcher is the one person in baseball who really is in charge. Nothing happens till the pitcher lets go of that ball. Everyone else -- on both teams -- is reacting. The batter is reacting to the pitcher's pitch. The catcher, the infield and the outfield are all reacting to the batter's actions.

    Yes, the pitcher must take into account the handedness of the batter, along with all sorts of other peculiarities, as well as the wind, and maybe even whether it's day or night. But he can practice in all sorts of conditions and with all sorts of goals -- putting different spins on the ball, hitting different areas of the strike zone, pitching at different speeds. So to some degree, the best pitcher is the one who practices the most.

    And what does that take? Focus. 

    In his day, the basketball player, Larry Bird, was renowned for his amazing free throw percentage -- .886, which was significantly higher than anyone else's. Why? Practice, practice, practice. He was renowned also for the interminable hours he spent shooting those free throws.

    The special talent of the 'closer', that is, the relief pitcher who specializes in ending games in which his team is ahead by 1 - 3 runs, is the ability to perform under pressure. What is that? Focus, again.

    You can see it in Brian Wilson. When he's on the mound, it's clear that for him, there is no one else around, except the batter. His focus is on his internal process. He's more into his own core than any of the other pitchers I watched (and there were 3 others, because pitchers get tired after about 100 pitches and so can't pitch an entire normal game).

    The evidence is in the statistics:

    1. SavesWhen a relief pitcher enters a game in which his team has a 1, 2, or 3 run lead and this pitcher finishes the game without letting the other team tie or win the game, then he gets a Save. There have been 1095 save opportunities in the National League this year resulting in 819 saves (75%). WIlson has had 35 save opportunities and achieved 31 saves (89%). 
    2. Earned Run Average (ERA). This is how many runs a pitcher gives up, on average, in 9 innings of pitching, so the lower it is, the better the pitcher. League average is 3.90, while Wilson's is 2.77. 

    So what is the lesson from Brian Wilson? The power of focus. 

    Of what is that focus comprised?

    • Shutting out all distractions
    • Being in your core, very alert to what's going on inside you
    • Practice, practice, practice

    Wednesday, August 03, 2011

    Finding Mr. Right

    How do you find the right guy for you? Or the right woman for that matter? It's easier than you think! And I can teach you how to do it, as well as remove internal blocks to finding Mr. Right

    Tuesday, August 02, 2011

    Dealing with Bad Behavior, Part 2

    I was right, Jim never called me back. He did, however, send an email apologizing for taking over the group, saying it was 'not like me at all'. (My phone message was very light, very pleasant, asking him to call me. That's all.)

    So I was forced to send a return email, enumerating his bad behavior, so that he'd be clear about exactly what he did wrong -- and not do it again.

    Dealing with Bad Behavior

    Many years ago, when I was beginning to co-lead an Integral Transformative Practice (ITP) group, George Leonard told me that volunteer groups were horrible to manage, because 'the only currency is power' and that there is 'always someone' who is real jerk and difficult to get rid of. George knew, because he was one of the founders of ITP, and a long time board member of Esalen Institute. I know George was right, because one of those people actually drove me from the group about 5 years later.

    My husband now organizes a small, informal monthly group of folks who go out stargazing. We've been doing this for a little over a year now. The cast of characters varies from month to month, though some folks are regular, or semi-regular.

    We had one of our sessions last week. Jim, who volunteers for the larger, more organized group of which we are a part, decided to come. Jim is not one of my favorite people. A year after he broke the agreement my husband and I had with him (the incident is described in this post), he is still unemployed, still sponging off the person with whom he moved in after he left our home.

    Our group hiked out to our stargazing spot, hauling chairs and equipment about 3/4 of a mile, mostly up hill, in the dark. We set up, and Jim sort  of took over, standing in the middle of our circle, expounding and lecturing, though not the most knowledgeable or experienced member of the group. A few people asked quietly for him to sit down so we could meditate. He did not. Then he began to play with his 250 milliwatt laser pointer (the kind you can buy at the office supply store are usually 10 milliwatt), holding it steady as he pointed into the air (you're supposed to move it constantly so as not to blind a pilot), and shining it in the direction of the airport, both of which we told him not to do. Finally, he crossed one of the group members' eyes with it, temporarily blinding her. 

    No one forcefully put a stop to this, including me. I take partial responsibility for letting this happen, but I had driven for 5 hours that day, in terrible traffic, and was not even able to keep my eyes open. I know I can't allow it to happen again. How do I prevent it, short of telling Jim he's not welcome in the group?

    I know I have to talk to him. In person would be best, but he doesn't live near me, and I'm not willing to drive to him. I doubt he'd be willing to drive to see me, as I'm not one of his favorite people, either. That leaves the phone. (Email is out for two reasons. First, it is so easy for things to be taken wrong, Second, I don't want to leave a 'paper' trail -- who knows how that might be used?)

    I have to be specific about what he did wrong, and tell him that this is not only my reaction, but that of others in the group, as well (which is true, btw). Ideally, he'll understand what he did wrong, and agree not to do these things again. If not, I will have to tell him he is not welcome in the group.

    I did call him last night, and left a message. I'm quite sure he won't call me back. As I said, I'm not one of his favorite people. So today, I'll call him using my husband's phone -- we'll see how far that gets me.

    If he does not talk to me, the fallback position is that he is not welcome in our home or in the group.

    The lesson for me? Leopards don't change their spots -- nor do jerks change their ways without good reason. 

    Failed the bar exam? Or have other test anxiety problems?

     I can help you pass your bar exam, nursing license exam, chiropractic license exam, acupuncture license exam -- or any other exam.

    Usually, when someone does badly on an exam, or a series or exams (maybe even in childhood), he/she develops internal issues that make taking exams, or sometimes, even studying for exams, extremely difficult -- with awful results. I can help with these issues, so that you prepare calmly and walk in to the exam calmly and confidently.

    If you'd like to talk with me about this, call me at 888-4-hollis (888-446-5547).

    Tuesday, July 26, 2011

    How Your Intution Can Keep You Out of Prison

     I just heard this story, and it was too good  not to pass on!

    "Shari" is an acquaintance of a few years. I like her and I respect her immensely -- she's got an Ivy League PhD in economics, and does strategic planning for one of the Fortune 1000. She's also spiritual, very perceptive about people -- and a lot of fun. She's got a huge network of friends, colleagues and acquaintances, whom she organizes for picnics and dinner parties.

    Apparently it wasn't always this way. When she was much younger, just finishing grad school, she was married to a guy who was several years older than she, had an Ivy MBA, and was quite the wheeler dealer. They even had some business interests in common.

    Their relationship deteriorated for a number of reasons, including her discomfort with how he operated in business. She saw him operating "just this side of the law" and her gut became more and more knotted up. One day she realized that she was worried a US Marshall was going to show up and arrest someone. She listened to her gut, and her worry -- and she left, divorcing him soon after.

    It's 15 years later -- and she just learned that he's been found guilty of money laundering/RICO, and is awaiting sentencing.

    She listened to her intuition -- and it saved her untold amounts of trouble. It just took 15 years for validation. Sometimes you have to wait for that.

    Monday, July 25, 2011

    Bless Their Hearts

     I feel like a kid in a monstrously dysfunctional household. It's like this:

    Dad (the Republicans) is a violent heroin addict (only the heroin is campaign cash). He will do absolutely anything, including beating up his wife and murdering his own mother, to get his fix.

    Mom (the Democrats) is a good-natured addict of the The Shopping Channel. She looks up from shopping every now and then to feed the 8 kids and take them to school, and take both Grandmas to the doctor occasionally. But of course, she needs money to keep up her habit, too, so she'll prostitute herself (for campaign cash) from time to time.

    They are both so wrapped up in their addictions that they haven't noticed the house is falling apart -- it needs painting, the gutters are falling off, the electrical service is inadequate to today's needs, even the yard needs mowing. The kids who are older could be put to work fixing the house and tidying the garden, but that would require money for paint and supplies -- and there's only money for heroin.

    When Mom tries to ask Dad to help take care of the kids and the house, he smacks her around till she stops, so she's learned to acquiesce quickly and quietly. In fact, she hardly ever asks for anything any more.

    The kids (We, the People), meanwhile, are very wrapped up in their lives -- school, the jobs the older ones have, their friends, their games, their TV and iPods. They scream when they want something -- but no one ever listens to them, and they've about given up, too. They wonder why in the world they picked these parents. They thought they were coming into a functional marriage -- and then Mom and Dad got addicted.

    Mom wants to put a second mortgage on the house (raise the debt ceiling) so they can get the supplies to fix it up, as well as pay off some bills. Dad says, no, I'm not letting you have any more money until you have that shopping habit under control. But there is, in fact, no reason for this. They can borrow the money, and as long as they spend it on paying bills and fixing up the house, it's a good thing.

    If they don't borrow they money, and don't pay their bills, their credit rating will go to hell and even the existing borrowing gets more expensive. Not to mention it then becomes completely impossible to fix up the house, and maybe even take Grandma to the doctor or feed the kids.

    What can the kids do? Screaming isn't working -- the addictions roar much louder in Dad's and Mom's ears. The kids are minors and can't leave. The more capable ones can help out (paying taxes, volunteering), but they can't fix Mom's and Dad's addictions.Maybe they can scream louder (call and email Congress and the White House and even show up at your Representative's office)

    About all that's left is prayer -- or whatever you want to call it. This is where "bless their hearts" comes in.

    I grew up in the Northeast, but I remember hearing the occasional transplanted Southern lady say, "Well, bless her heart", when someone did something egregious. That always puzzled me.

    As an adult, I met a transplanted Southerner who explained it to me. "Bless her heart" is a polite way of saying, "Oh, Lord, please help this person to see the light and know the truth, please heal this person -- because she's so screwed up."

    So We the People all need to be saying "Bless Their Hearts" about Congress, and maybe even the President right about now. And we need to keep screaming so they hear us when they see the light.

    Tuesday, July 12, 2011

    Life Lessons from Walking on Water

    No, I'm not Jesus, and I don't have access to any anti-gravity technology; all I did was rent a stand up paddleboard (SUP).

    A SUP is basically an old longboard with 3 fins instead of one for stabillity. You propel yourself and steer with a paddle -- think Venetian gondolier. It feels a lot like walking on water, because there you are, standing up, moving slowly (or not), on the surface of the water. You have time to relax, to look around, to notice your surroundings -- and you see a lot farther than you do boogie boarding (which is what I usually do), because your eyes are five feet or so higher out of the water. Because I had time to contemplate, I noticed that it's a great metaphor for life:
    • Stay relaxed - Relaxation allows flexibility, allows you to roll with whatever comes your way. If you lock your knees (or any other part of you), it's asking to fall off the board.
    • Keep your eyes on the horizon - If you steer for a point on the horizon, you'll automatically correct for things that are closer in, like the waves, or the kelp forest. It's like holding a vision or a goal, and dealing with whatever comes up along the way. If you look at your feet, splash! If you look way up, splash!
    • Don't look behind you - You can look right or left, but not back. Even if a sound indicates something cool is happening behind you, don't look back, or -- splash! It's the quickest way to become unbalanced. (Satchel Paige said "Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you." He was right.)
    • Stay centered - Where you stand in relation to the center of the SUP matters A LOT. If you're at all ahead of the center point, the nose goes down and -- splash! If you get too much behind the center point, the heel goes down and -- splash!
    • Pace yourself - You can stand, kneel, sit or lie on a SUP -- and all of them have their place. When you're heading out through breaking waves, you want to be kneeling and paddling in that position. When you're comfortable, or if you want to ride a wave, that's the time to stand. When you're tired, you can sit or lie down. If the waves get rough, you want to lie down and hang on. No position is 'the best'; different positions are more appropriate for different situations.
    • Have a sense of humor - No matter what you do, sometimes a wave will come up out of nowhere and knock you flat on your ass. Splash! That's life -- ya gotta laugh -- it's all you can do.
    • Standing has it's pluses and minuses - To me, standing upright on two legs is one of the essential traits of being human. And now that I can do it on the water, I see that it has pluses and minuses. The plus: you can see more. The minus: the animals are more intimidated, and won't just hang out within 10 feet or so of you -- they stay 15 or 20 feet away. Really, anything, any attitude, any posture, has its pluses and minuses.
    • You can't see everything -- at least not all at the same time - Even though I can see more standing on my SUP than I can down on my boogie board, I'm still limited -- I can't see anything very far under the surface. In the same way, I can't see the energetic processes that support the physical world. (Well, okay, I can see them sometimes, but it takes a lot of focus, which I can't do while I'm dealing with a lot in the physical world, like balancing on my SUP, or a flat tire, or a big audience.)

    Tuesday, July 05, 2011

    What to Do on Your Birthday

    It's that birthday time of year, at least in my circle of friends and family. In the last 10 days, both my husband and I have had birthdays, along with 6 friends and family members, and a number of acquaintances so big I've lost count.

    My family never made a huge deal of birthdays. One year, when I was around 10, my mom got a supermarket apple pie, stuck a candle in it and told me it was my birthday cake. (To her credit, I was so upset she never did that again.)

    But I always kind of thought they should be a big deal -- without having a good reason for thinking it. I mean, really, it just marks another trip around the sun for your physical body. So of course I asked my guides, "What is there to celebrate on a birthday?" What they said kind of suprised me:

    Birthdays are supposed to be celebrations of incarnation. They are a time to enjoy all the pleasures of the physical world, and to indulge the body: the beauty of nature, good food, good sex, a massage or something else to pamper your body.

    For some reason I don't quite get, it's important to do this while the earth is in the same position in relation to the sun that it was in when you were born. The more planets that are in the same relation the better.

    And all those wishes of "Happy Birthday"? Those are supposed not only to gladden the day, to help you celebrate incarnation more, but also to impel you to make that next trip around the sun, to give you some extra oomph to do it.

    What does Happy Birthday mean to you?

    Tuesday, June 28, 2011

    Declare Your Independence!

    We all think of the Declaration of Independence as a famous document that is an important part of American History -- and that's about it.  Here's how it begins:

    When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    But change the pronouns, and see how much it applies to YOU right now:

    When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one...  to dissolve the... bands which have connected [her] with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle [her], a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that [she] should declare the causes which impel [her] to the separation. 

    That is, YOU are entitled to a 'separate and equal' place in life as anyone else is. And you are obliged to be clear about that.

    Maybe you're being treated badly in a relationship -- perhaps by a boss, or a significant other. Maybe you believe you are stuck, and that there's no way to change it. What if you believed you weren't stuck -- that you could change it or leave the relationship? What would that open up for you? You might begin to look for ways you could change yourself, so you react differently in the relationship. Or perhaps you'd begin to line up the resources (money, a new job or a place to live, transportation, etc.) so you could leave. Who knows what that would lead to? It might lead to a whole new life.

    You also depend on your belief system. You believe that say, gravity exists, or the internal combustion engine works. In this physical reality, it's all unquestionably true. Yet there are many  beliefs you could question, beliefs about yourself or how the world works. What if you believed something different? What would that open up for you? 

    Perhaps you believe you lack some ability, like the ability to carry a tune (okay, this is one of mine), and that means you can never sing, at least not in public. But what if you believed that the ability to carry a tune was something you could learn? What would that open up for you? You'd search for a singing teacher who specialized in teaching people who 'can't sing' (in a few seconds, I found this) -- and then you might actually go take lessons. And then you'd probably feel a lot less embarrassed singing 'Happy Birthday", and more a part of a group when they burst into song (e.g. the national anthem), instead of really separate from it.

    So just try this simple process on a number of beliefs:
    1. What do I believe? Identify it as best you can. Usually this will be a simple, declarative statement.
    2. What might I believe instead? Nothing too weird, but rather a change you can accept.
    3. What actions can I take based on that new belief? Even one is a good start.
    4. What might that lead to? You don't have to know -- and what you expect may well be wrong -- but the possibility of a better situation is often highly motivating.
    Please let me know what your experience is from this!

    You Were Born This Way...

    People are born either extroverted or introverted -- and our society has a real preference for extroverts, to the point that shyness may be considered an 'illness', according to the DSM IV. But society needs introverts, too -- for the surprising gifts of introverts, read this:

    Is Shyness an Evolutionary Tactic? -

    Thursday, June 23, 2011

    Podcast of yesterday's (6/22) show is up!

    Podcast of yesterday's show, with an interview, about how to be blissful after a break with Dr. Aymee Coget, is up on the web. Please scroll to the bottom of the page, for "Your Life, Your Relationships" and then you can download in iTunes or RSS feed:

    You can also listen online at

    Tuesday, June 21, 2011

    Ever feel afraid? anxious? Here's how to deal...

    When I went to see "Avatar", I saw it in 3D in an iMax theater, sitting in the sweet spot, which is slightly above the very center seat of the theater. At one point, an actor threw a handful of pebbles at the camera -- and I literally jumped out of my seat! My body sensed that these rocks were coming at me, and flinched before I could think about it. (Btw, I have yet to meet a person who remembers this in the movie -- if you weren't sitting where I was, it made no impression on you whatsoever.)

    It turns out that this flinching is normal behavior -- we evolved with it as protection. If a black bear shows up as you're enjoying a picnic, you want to have the adrenaline rush that fear creates so that you begin to run, or freeze, or whatever you should do. This is so important that the neural pathway directly to the amygdala, a part of the brain which registers fear, takes just 12 milliseconds, while the neural pathway to the cerebral cortex, which allows you to consider the information that a bear has appeared, takes 30 - 40 milliseconds, or 3 times as long. So watching "Avatar", my body literally did jump before I could think about it. Researchers call this amygdala reaction "fear".

    By contrast, though, most of what we refer to casually as"fear", isn't. It's really anxiety, which is the projection into the future of an expectation of pain. You project that your presentation is going to go badly -- you vividly imagine yourself stuttering, or forgetting crucial statistics, or flubbing your PowerPoint deck -- and you feel a bodily reaction akin to fear.

    Fear is a blessing; anxiety, maybe not so much. Anxiety is useful when it prompts you to do every question at the end of each chapter in your math text in order to prepare for a final exam. Anxiety is counterproductive when, having done all that, it prevents you from remembering all the techniques when you're sitting in the exam room.

    How do you deal successfully with anxiety? There are techniques that can transform anxiety quickly. One is an NLP technique called the Fast Phobia/Trauma Cure, which works with a traumatic event and changes it so you no longer experience it in the same way. (It's a little tricky to do on yourself; if you want some help, please call me at 888-446-5547). Another experimental one uses drugs to stop those painful memories, which later generate anxiety, from forming in the first place.

    Or you can use repeated exposure to whatever makes you anxious, so you learn a normal, useful reaction to it, along with mindfulness.  This is simply noting your bodily and mental states -- and letting them go. It means staying in the present -- while anxiety is all about the future. [If you want to read more, try the book, Nerve, by Taylor Clark.]

    Thursday, June 16, 2011

    Best Psychic by Phone

    Okay, it's not beautiful, but it does describe what I do better than my old one, still in existence.

    Here it is:

    www.BestPsychicByPhone. com

    I'm trying to get it crawled by google! Any suggestions?

    Tuesday, June 14, 2011

    Are You the Teacher or the Student?

    I hate going to graduations. My high school one was hot and boring. My college one (ABs stand up, BSEs, stand up -- there, you've graduated) was so uninspiring, that I skipped my business school graduation, and had them mail me my diploma. If I was so uninterested in my own graduation, you can imagine how excited I am to go to other people's graduations.

    So I was both surprised and delighted by my niece's high school graduation from Summit Prep, a tiny charter school, which is one of the 10 best high schools in California. The approximately 90 kids in her class were divided into groups of 15 or so, each guided by a mentor. It was the mentors who spoke to their mentees, seated onstage at the elegant old Fox Theater. These were clearly dedicated teachers -- one moved 3000 miles to teach there. They were both highly educated, many with masters and doctorates, judging from their robes and hoods, and compassionate. Every single one spoke, fighting back tears, about how much he or she had learned from the students.

    Which reminded me that we are all teachers for each other. If these professional teachers are so clear that these kids, 20 and 30 years their juniors, had taught them, how can I not acknowledge that everyone is a teacher for me?

    I can learn about being present and positive from the barista who drops scalding coffee, and then calmly looks up at me to ask for my order. I can learn about holding inner sanity in the midst of chaos from the Harmony Festival MC, a woman dressed up as a sunflower, complete with flower headdress and green dreadlocks, as she crafts a great intro for the next speaker in the blink of an eye, after a 3 minute interview. I can learn love from a strange dog, who wants nothing more than to make friends. And that was just yesterday!

    I can learn forgiveness from a woman who grew up in Nazi labor camps, and exudes an air of peace. I can learn deeper truths, like the fact that no one can hurt you unless you agree with what they say, from people who verbally abuse me.

    If we are all students, then we must all be teachers, as well, because the existence of one implies the existence of the other. Therefore, I must take responsibility for what I'm teaching those with whom I'm interacting. Am I teaching people to whine when things go wrong? Or am I teaching them to take responsibility for their part in what happened, including their intention? Am I teaching people to be silent, or to scream and yell, or to stand up and tell their truth, clearly and calmly?

    Each interaction, therefore, has both a teaching and learning component -- you are the teacher AND the student. So you can ask yourself after each interaction: What am I learning? What am I teaching?

    Monday, June 06, 2011

    It really does get better!

    [Note: This is a bit uncomfortable for me to share, but the points are worth making, and my experience is the best example I know.]

    I was a really unusual kid. My Dad had this theory that education expanded the mind exponentially, rather than arithmetically,  that is, each new thing you learned led not to one more new thing, but 5 or 10. Since I was pretty smart anyway, my parents started me in school at age 4. But the school I went to was new and tiny, so kindergarten was one other little girl, Donna, and I sitting in the back of a room of 15 or so first graders. Mrs. Hessian (yes, the teacher's real name) ignored us a fair amount, and so I was bored. I hated being bored. I complained to my parents. The solution was obvious -- put me in first grade. They only had to move my desk up one spot, from the very back of the room, by myself, to one row up, with a couple of other kids. Poor Donna got that back spot. 

    That's how I got to be 2 years ahead in school. On top of that, I was very small for my age, so I probably looked a year or two younger. This was fine in elementary school, but when I changed schools for the third time in 3 years, entering middle school, it got to be a problem. On top of that, I was one of 5 nominal Jews in an otherwise completely Christian school (I don't think any of us were very observant). Even worse, I was just about the smartest kid in the class. It didn't help that when the history teacher told us Marx's tenet, 'Religion is the opiate of the people', I publicly agreed. All those things that made me different, made it hard to be accepted. Can you say 'outsider'?

    So I spent most of middle school wishing I were normal. Have you seen the TV ad for the new X-Men movie, where one of the characters says, "I just wanna be normal"? That's exactly how I felt.

    Luckily, my mother had the presence of mind to tell me that as I got older, I would get out of there, and be able to get to places where I'd be more accepted -- that it would get better. So I really applaud the "It Gets Better Project". Although it's aimed at LGBT kids, the message is there for anyone who is different in any way -- too tall, too short, too fat, too thin, too geeky, too artistic, too sensitive, too smart, too anything

    It gets better in another way, as well. What makes you an outsider in high school, makes you successful in life. Why? Because "what makes kids popular—conformity, aggression, visibility, and influence—won't make them happy or successful after they graduate... what makes people unpopular in the hallways of high school, mainly an unwillingness to conform, tends to translate into success as an adult."

    So if you're an outsider in school, it really will get better. And if you're still nursing the wounds from those times -- it's easier than you think to let them go. Call me at 888-4-Hollis (888-446-5547) and I'll explain.

    Friday, May 27, 2011

    Geeks (& former geeks) unite! It really does get better.

    Yes, you were born this way, whatever 'this way' was. Maybe it's about sexual orientation, but maybe it's about being interested in science when that isn't cool. Or being really tall or short of fat or skinny. Being who you are in high school sucks -- but it's a really good thing later on:

    Why geeks make better adults than the in-crowd - Yahoo! News

    Thursday, May 26, 2011

    Podcast of 5/25 "Your LIfe, Your Relationships" is up!

    The show included a long discussion on soul mates -- what they are and are not, how to find yours.

    To listen online, click here.

    To download by RSS feed, go to

    and scroll to the bottom of the page for 'Your Life, Your Relationships". You can get iTunes there as well.

    Tuesday, May 24, 2011

    Are You Asking the Right Question? How to Know & What to Do Instead

    Sometimes, when you're confused about something, when you can't get clear direction, it's because you're asking the wrong question. Here's what I mean:

    Yesterday, I was doing a reading for a long-time client I'll call Zoe. I've seen Zoe through job changes, and a couple of marital separations and reconciliations, but she's in a pickle now that beats all.

    Obviously, since she's had a couple of marital separations, it's never been the best of marriages. Though Zoe moved out a couple of times, she always went back to Neil to take care of her 3 daughters, the last of whom recently left the nest. (And we all know how many marriages break up when the last child flies the coop, don't we?) To make matters worse, Neil contracted a virus a few years ago, that led to huge heart problems, and is now waiting for a new heart. To complicate matters even more, Zoe's fallen in love with a single coworker -- and the feelings are reciprocated. Both of them are simultaneously deliriously in love and horrified because of the situation. Oh, and did I mention that Zoe's a devout Catholic, so divorce is out of the question?

    Zoe's been calling to talk, to explore what is the right thing to do. Obviously, the 'right' thing is to take care of her ailing husband (who has about a 50% chance of surviving), but she is so miserable at home that she can't shut down the budding relationship. And divorce is even beginning to look like a viable option.

    When I read for clients, I pretty much get answers to the questions they're asking. That is the way they are focusing my attention, and so that is the information that comes through. So if my client asks me, should I leave my husband?, I ask her to clarify what she hopes to get by doing that. Then I give her the probability of getting the result she desires by taking the action she proposes. She decides whether to take the proposed action. (I never tell anyone what to do.) Sometimes it's obvious -- what you propose is highly unlikely to get what you want -- and sometimes it's unclear, a 50/50ish result.

    This was the sort of thing we were doing yesterday -- and it's the sort of thing we've done before. She seemed to be going around and around the same subject, with the same emotional and thought patterns. But somehow, yesterday, Zoe cried out in anguish, "How the hell did I get here?"

    And all of a sudden I 'got' that the problem had started very early in the marriage, when Neil, wanting to make Zoe happy, had agreed to move closer to her family. To me, Zoe protested that this made no sense to her as the main problem in her marriage. But it turned out that the move meant taking a lower paying job, which he didn't like as much as his old one, as well as moving away from his own birth family, to whom he was very close. Though on the surface, everything seemed the same, Neil had never forgiven her for this, nor had he forgiven himself for agreeing to it. He had mentioned his regret (but not his slowly simmering anger) occasionally over the next 25 years, but Zoe had just sort of let that go.

    Now that Zoe knew the root cause of their problems, she had something she could do to change things. She could bring it up. She could tell him she appreciated his sacrifice. She could understand and forgive the many small ways he'd been mean to her. She could apologize. She could ask him to forgive her. She could ask him to forgive himself. He may or may not forgive her or himself, but at least she can have more compassion for both of them.

    The lesson here is that if you're not getting a clear solution to a problem, then you're asking the wrong question. This is especially true of a dilemma, which is a problem with only 2 options for answers. Here are a few questions to ask to get unstuck:
    • What is the deeper nature of this problem?
    • What do I really want?' (rather than 'what do I think I can have?')
    • How did I get here?
    • Does this issue remind me of any other issue I've faced? How is it similar? How is it different? 
    • What am I trying to learn from this situation? What is my higher self (or God or the Universe or whatever nominalization you want) trying to teach me? (And there may be more than one lesson.) 
    • What other options are out there?
    • Is this even my lesson -- or am I just helping someone else learn?
    I'm sure you have questions that can be added to this list. Post them here, or send them to me privately -- I'd love to hear them.