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?