Thursday, December 22, 2011

Return of the light

In a few minutes (in my time zone), the shortest day will officially begin: Winter Solstice. Tomorrow morning will be the latest sunrise of the year, and in the afternoon, the sun will set at its earliest (or something approximating that, anyway). BUT - after tomorrow, each successive sunrise will be a little earlier, and each successive sunset will be a little later. Thus, the days will begin to lengthen. This brings me great joy.

Although I know that Winter still lies ahead - and that it's not generally a happy time in the good ol' Pacific Northwest - I am able to take solace in knowing that the darkness will be reaching its maximum, and that the light will be returning, more and more each day. In the meantime, I will do as the fishermen did when they were unable to sail, and mend my nets - so to speak...

This morning, I noticed that a mark in the bracelet I recently made for myself resembles a rune which is quite appropriate to the bracelet, as well as the timing of the discovery. It is "Nauthiz." It essentially means need, but also encompasses restraint, innovation, and the power of will to overcome distress. I needed a new bracelet, so I made one.

As for the timing, it was a pleasant reminder, as I have drawn this rune before, in another time of restraint. This time, however, I am feeling a sense of restraint imposed by inhospitable weather. This rune instructs one to exercise patience, perhaps even to embrace the current restrictions by utilizing the opportunity to "mend your nets," or in other words, to do some shadow work.

Nauthiz is also characterized by "major self-initiated change." I find Winter a perfect time to go inward, and do some internal house cleaning. After the Autumn of discarding unneeded beliefs, I can now search the shadows of my consciousness and pull out those things I have tried to hide. When I dust them off, shed some light on them, and polish them up, I will find that the aspects of myself which I sought to hide are truly some of my greatest assets. This is the essence of shadow work, but it is a difficult and complex task.

Fortunately, the light is returning to my world, and I shall open up my whole being to it :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Facilitate Spirit

One of the many things I have on recurrent mental-reminder rotation is to "facilitate Spirit." I view "Spirit" as the universal consciousness, or soul, from which all living beings have sourced their own, and to which all living beings contribute their own. From this vast wealth of grace, wisdom, and abundance, I believe we can all draw, in order to achieve our goals. However, It is not something to be harnessed, but rather to be facilitated. There are essentially two ways in which we can do this.

The first way is to stay out of Its way! When we conduct our lives in harmony with the Universe, we leave open countless doors for Spirit to integrate into our lives. We ought to keep open hearts, open minds, and open eyes; we will find more blessings, the more open we remain to the opportunities presented to us. We have to be willing to allow Spirit to operate in our lives, which often means relinquishing some control, and accepting the blessings bestowed upon us.

The second way is to be Good - we must embody Goodness. When we are angry or selfish, or otherwise embodying "bad," we are not receptive to Good, and are, therefore, inhibiting the flow of Spirit into our lives. This, also, involves a harmonious conduction of our lives, in sync with the Universe. When we are angry, and send venomous thoughts out through our minds, words, or actions, we are acting in ways that counter the efforts of Goodness. I frequently catch myself witnessing a poorly thought-out event, and wishing for the culprit to experience the most likely negative result, as though such a lesson would obviously do them some good. But then I have to shake that off, and remember to just wish them some good, because spreading the Good, will increase Its presence in my life, and who am I to presume how the Universe will most effectively deliver Its Good? We should act in accordance with our values. Having compassion in lieu of criticism, for example, is one way to aid Spirit in bringing the Good into your life, as well as into the lives of all others.

When we facilitate Spirit, our lives are enriched, our joy is enhanced, and our well-being is strengthened. So let's all pitch in and do our best to help out ;)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Looking up

I would like to share three interesting perspectives on looking up...

People often refer to others they look up to for inspiration. Some look up to earthly characters, others choose metaphysical ones; some, admire both kinds. I recently heard the Bible referred to as "the first self-help book." Hmm... I could see the case for that. In it, as well as countless other writings from that era, there are references to wise people having "went up to the mountain." As it turns out, this is currently understood to mean that they stepped aside to reflect on the situation and attempted to gain a hilltop-like perspective, while aligning their thoughts more closely to that of God's and seeking His (Her, what-have-you) guidance and assistance. Einstein is noted to have said that you cannot solve a problem from the level of the problem. Apparently, these wise people knew that, too.

In the same stroke I learned of the above, I was also taught a fascinating physiological fun-fact about the literal act of looking up. Where ever you are, take note of your posture, your spine, your breathing... then make a small adjustment by tilting your chin up just a notch, and then raise your gaze a few degrees. You will likely notice a clearer breath and a subtle inner smile. Supposedly, moving your eyeballs upwards engages your frontal lobe. This is where advanced cognition takes place. This is how we solve problems :)

Lastly, I was walking the half-block from my car to my home the other night, and I gazed up at the stars, which I often do at night; during the day, I frequently admire the cloud formations. Granted, where I live, there aren't a lot of starry nights, or days with clouds other than a gray blanket, but when I do get to look upon the moon and stars or a batch of cumulus clouds, I tend to take the opportunity. I always have, but I find, sadly, not many others do. I thought a little more about it this other night, and I realized that I do it not only because I just love Nature, and enjoy taking it in, but in the case of examining the beauty of the sky, I also enjoy the sense of scale it provides. I suspect some people, were they to consider their smallness, might feel very meek, and perhaps experience a sense of impotence. For me, however, I find that when I am reminded of the vastness of the Universe, I feel even more grand for being a part of it, and it is my problems which come to seem insignificant to me. I wish for all of Creation to be able to share in this experience with me.

In summary, looking up offers numerous ways to grow: you can look up to inspirational entities for guidance and a broader perspective; you can look upwards to engage your cognitive powerhouse; and you can look up at the sky to remember not to take things too seriously :) Happy gazing!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Personal accountability

I've mentioned Peck's "The Road Less Traveled" in reference to love, and that one of love's described facets is discipline. Peck defines self-discipline as 4-fold, including delaying gratification, accepting responsibility, dedicating to truth, and balancing.

In light of certain aspects of certain current events, I am compelled to comment specifically on the second listing: accepting responsibility, or personal accountability. This means recognizing the choices we have made, and their role in our circumstance. This also means preceding choices with consideration of outcomes, but it seems that the retrospective understanding is most difficult for us mortals. It is unfortunately easy to fall into the mindset of the victim when evaluating our circumstances. The self-perceived victim fails to maintain sight of his or her gift of choice. Most of the time, we have a vast array of choice. Undoubtedly, there are influences on our lives which are sourced beyond our realm of will, but our reactions to such influences, as well as all events, remain solely within our very own discretion.

If you make a choice that turns out to be less beneficial than you anticipated, and subsequently place blame on entities outside of your self, you are not accepting responsibility for your own decisions and actions, and you are falling prey to your own victimization. If you choose to become a victim of your own choices, you will find yourself in an assured cycle of despair. If, however, you make a choice under certain conditions, and those conditions change during the course of your actions, in such a way as to have an adverse effect on your planned outcome, you could choose to cry victim, and pitch a fit, but you still have the gift of choice. You could alternatively, recognize that some of the negative effects of your choice were set from the beginning - whether or not you chose to acknowledge them then - and choose to make lemonade out of the newly and unexpectedly developed lemons. Discover your innate resourcefulness, develop a greater ingenuity, get creative! Perhaps, consider occupying YOUR street. See if your neighbors need any services you might be able to provide (e.g., lawn care, pet care, child care, automobile care, or even other forms of personal assistance you might be qualified for, such as accounting assistance, academic tutoring, or shopping aid...) Seek a wage, be a volunteer. Be proactive, but be productive. You only get to the extent that you give.

Charles Darwin initiated the discovery of the nature of evolution, the law of survival of the fittest, and the necessity of adaptation. Failure to perceive the universal fact of ever occurring change will result in a regular shellacking of unpleasant surprises and disappointment, as well as an inability to adapt. Resilience is a quality we should all aspire to cultivate. It is what we see in every person ever admired by anyone. It is what is lacking in so much of our modern culture to a depressing degree, and what we need to reclaim if we are to have any hope for survival. Depending on others for our own well-being is no way to obtain well-being; in fact, it is a distinct recipe for ill-being.

When we find that our circumstances are undesirable - be they self-made or external - we are well advised to take what action we can to effect constructive change. We can always make changes in our own lives, and that's also the best place to start when seeking to effect change in external circumstances. When external change requires greater action, engage in an enterprise that will effectively achieve your goals, and consistently integrate with your values. In any case, we must always remain accountable for our own choices, for without that assumption of responsibility, we leave the option open to others to assume it for us. If we lose our freedom of choice, we lose all worth of life.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Welcome, Autumn

As much as I fantasize about living somewhere with palm trees and plentiful sunshine, one thing I do appreciate about living with variant seasons is the reminder they serve to invigorate the natural phases in life. I think it's a good idea to recognize, and even institute, distinct phases of new beginnings, reaped rewards, shed waste, and quiet reflection. They're fundamentally cyclical, so each period is spawned out of the last, and sets the stage for the next.

As we embark on our planetary entrance into the interval we, in the Northern Hemisphere, call Autumn, we watch the deciduous leaves change a multitude of colors and litter the ground like lovely confetti. It reminds me that now is a great time to consider all I've reaped over the summer, all the joys and rewards I've collected, like booty from a fair, and appraise what is excessive. While I'm doing that, I will also take inventory of all my mental holdings, and begin the work of letting go of those things which no longer serve me. Some, I may find, never even did me any good at all, like those pants I picked up at Value Village that I just never wear because they're not very flattering or comfortable (things I failed to notice when I tried them on before agreeing to pay money for them and add them to my wardrobe). We amass a good deal of belief systems and thought processes as we progress through life, and it is well advised to take time to reconsider them on a regular basis. I still try foods I disliked in the past to see if my tastes have changed, and I frequently find they do! Similarly, I like to make sure that my operating system stays up-to-date and in-tune with my collaborative consciousness. Most of all, we would all do well to uphold a solid value system as the foundation from which to build. These can change, too, so this is where I begin my self-assessment. Recall that integrity is directly related to the strength of any given structure.

I will spend the next three months discarding spent, unneeded, and unhealthy modes of thought. I will examine my values and judge the beliefs I hold against them. Any faulty assumptions, rotted neural pathways, or counter-productive conceptions, will be disposed of like the dead leaves of fall. Relinquished will be outmoded insights, destructive reasoning, and inert perspectives. All this work will be done with the goal of establishing a tidy base from which to begin my "shadow work" in the Winter, when I really dig deep (details on that to come in December). This season, as I witness obsolete and toxic perceptions arise, I will recognize that they are not green, but red or brown, and simply let them fall away from me.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

On gratitude

"Is it more important to get what you want? Or to make the most of what you've got?"

My father used to pose this question to me when I was little and he found me over-emphasizing the former, to the disregard of the latter. Back then, I understood that the latter was the desired answer. I saw things in relatively starker black-and-white in my youth.

As I matured, I continued to ponder the question. At first, I came to the dissident conclusion that both were equally important, in conjunction with moderation. I saw the danger of stagnation by maximizing contentment and minimizing drive, and, on the other side, the danger of dissatisfaction by maximizing ambition and minimizing appreciation.

Later, I decided that it was much better to make the most of what you have, for as far as the Universe is concerned, It has already given you everything. Additionally, I saw that you can never get what you want if you cannot want what you get. (On a slight aside: I really like the Gnarls Barkley line, "Anyone who needs what they want and doesn't want what they need, I want nothing to do with.")

Now, while pondering the potency of gratitude, I am thinking that it is better considered as a matter of sequence: Both are equally important, but you must first value that which you possess, before you can acquire that for which you yearn. In fact, starting from gratitude will deliver you to achievement.

Gratitude is a truly magnificent force. Without it, all you accomplish is worthless, for the only worth relevant to your life is that which you assign. With it, however, you can find joy in every atom of Creation. Since thoughts become things, it is better to focus on abundance rather than lack, for our mindset perpetuates our state of being. Failing to appreciate what you have leaves your sights aimed at what is lacking, and you then live in a world of need, want, longing, and desire - suffering, if you want to invoke Buddha. When you spend your energy giving thanks for your belongings (intangible as well as tangible), you enjoy a world of fulfillment. They say that like attracts like, so... why would you do otherwise? That's my question: Why not employ as much gratitude as every cell of you can muster?

An oldie but a goodie


Go placidly amid the noise and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign attention. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all ardity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding exactly as it should. Therefore, be at peace with god, whatever you conceive him to be, and whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.

-- found in old Saint Paul's church, Baltimore. dated 1692

Friday, September 16, 2011

When love works

Love never fails people, only people fail people, but when people let love work - for others, or for themselves - when it's really allowed to do its magic, the results are invariably uplifting. Love is a force with the power to transform, and its effects are always improvements on its subjects. (If you disagree, then we are not considering the same thing.)

When love works, perspectives broaden, tolerance grows, and understanding clarifies. Concepts expand, difficulties ease, and joy multiplies. Complications simplify, trivial concerns lessen, and consideration deepens. I know this because I study the subject, and because I have experienced it first-hand. I am intimately familiar with the fruit of love's blessings.

My most recent and ongoing lesson comes by courtesy of a long-awaited, much-deserved, and masterfully-suited romance. I write this, in fact, to honor the very same object of my affections. Through the exchange of our mutual love, I have delved deeper into my self-discovery, strengthened my integrity, recovered latent motivation, improved my discernment, and gained broader self-awareness. With love behind the wheel, I have refined my communication skills, developed greater patience, and experienced unequaled rapture. The insights I have acquired - expanded comprehension of my psyche, greater knowledge of the person he is, and compounding glimpses into the many nuances of interpersonal dynamics - are immensely invaluable. I have undoubtedly grown from this experience, and I've witnessed growth in him, too. I believe we have a veritable garden of love to look forward to as our bond evolves.

Today marks the anniversary of this man's birth. I have abundant gratitude for the love he continuously shares with me, and I have copious wishes of exuberant joy for his magnificent being. Happy Birthday, Dear :)

Thursday, September 15, 2011


When I consider the questions: "What do I want? What would make me happy? How do I follow my bliss?" I usually begin by thinking about external sources: owning a hostel, living in the tropics, reveling in harmonious companionship... But then I realize that happiness only comes from within; I have to start there, or no external component will bring any lasting joy. So I end up changing my answers to things like inner-peace, self-contentedness, challenges to grow from, personal goals to work on, self-discipline, motivation, good-will, and wisdom.

There's a concept regarding one's approach to life called "Be-Do-Have." It's often referred to as a paradigm shift because most people do not automatically operate in this fashion. We usually, mistakenly, tend to go: 1 - have (money, time, spouse, etc), 2 - do (adventures, projects, activities, etc), 3 - be (happy, successful, fulfilled, etc). However, the best results actually come from functioning in the opposite order. First, you choose to be the person you want to be by asking yourself what that person would do, then doing those things, and in turn, gaining the things that person would have. In the end, if your goal is simply happiness, it's pretty easy to choose to be a happy person. (Easier than, say, becoming a millionaire, anyway.) It is a tricky business though, shifting a major paradigm. But I keep working on it :)

Here's a smile for the road -

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Why? Because of love.

I once read a book called "The Road Less Traveled," by M. Scott Peck. It's about love, and it's a tough pill to swallow, because it's not about what you think love is about. It's really about discipline, work, courage, growth, and grace.

I was just sitting here, wondering why I care about this silly blog no one is reading, and why I am compelled to keep writing, and I came up with: "love." I do it because it helps me grow. I don't need others to witness it or gain from it, themselves; I just like to put my thoughts down in a medium that motivates me to be mindful and articulate.

I'm now reminded of an Ani DiFranco song I hold dear: "Joyful Girl." You should hear it sometime...

I do it for the joy
it brings
'Cause I am a joy-
ful girl
'Cause the world owes me
And we owe each other
the world
I do it 'cause it's the least I
can do
I do it 'cause I learned it
from you
I do it just because I
want to
'Cause I want to
And everything I do
is judged
They mostly get it wrong
but oh well
The bathroom mirror has
not budged
And the woman who lives there
can tell
The truth from the stuff that
they say
She looks me in
the eye
Says, would you prefer the ea-
sy way?
No, well, ok then
don't cry
I wonder if everything
I do
I do
of something I want
to do more
The question fills
my head
And I know there's no grand
plan here
This is just the way
it goes
And when everything else seems
I guess at least
I know
I do it for the joy
it brings
'Cause I am a joy-
ful girl
'Cause the world owes me
And we owe each other
the world
I do it 'cause it's the least I
can do
I do 'cause I learned it
from you
I do it just because I
want to
I want to

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A benediction

May you be filled with loving kindness

May you be well

May you be peaceful and at ease

May you be happy

I don't recall where I came across this Buddhist blessing. I say it like a prayer, fairly regularly; usually for about five people in a sitting, and often a couple times per week. I find it important to always make sure I include at least one person who I find particularly annoying or aggravating. In fact, sometimes it's a negative interaction with someone which prompts me to silently recite it for said being. People who make us unhappy are usually themselves unhappy. It seems natural to retaliate with spiteful wishes (or words...) towards someone who angers us, but if that person were even less happy, interacting with them would likely be even more unpleasant. Even if it's a stranger, who you'll never see again, why send out that negative energy, thereby adding to theirs and increasing the local sum of ick? Better, I find, to wish ill-doers WELL. First off, it gives you an instantly improved attitude (not to mention the therapy achieved by such a mental shift). Secondly, if your wish is granted, future interactions with that person will serve to enhance the joy in your life, and/or that of whoever else he or she encounters, thereby spreading POSITIVE energy, and increasing the local sum of Goodness for all! If you are compelled to take it a step further, express these wishes to said being, with heartfelt sincerity, verbally or in writing. If you are in a position to do even greater good works, take what actions you can to aid in actually granting any or all of these wishes for some one. (By the way, "loving kindness" is defined as similar to compassion, but distinct in that compassion is the wish that others not suffer, whereas loving kindness is the wish that others be happy.) Additionally, I like to say it for myself occasionally, replacing the "you"s with "I"s. This, too, can be of great aid for your well-being. It serves as a sort of check on your perspective, as well as a refresher on a set of worthwhile goals.

With that, I wish these blessings upon you :)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A worthy endeavor

I would like to share a sort of affirmation that I appreciate every time I run across it. It is titled, "Just For Today," and I hope you keep it for your own future reference, and may we all do our best to incorporate at least some of it into our lives, at least some of the time. :)


Just for today I will try to live through this day only, and not tackle all my problems at once. I can do something for twelve hours that would appall me if I felt that I had to keep it up for a lifetime.

Just for today I will be happy. This assumes to be true what Abraham Lincoln said, that “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

Just for today I will adjust myself to what is, and not try to adjust everything to my own desires. I will take my “luck” as it comes, and fit myself to it.

Just for today I will try to strengthen my mind. I will study. I will learn something useful. I will not be a mental loafer. I will read something that requires effort, thought, and concentration.

Just for today I will exercise my soul in three ways: I will do somebody a good turn, and not get found out; if anybody knows of it, it will not count. I will do at least two things I don’t want to do – just for exercise. I will not show anyone that my feelings are hurt; they may be hurt, but today I will not show it.

Just for today I will be agreeable. I will look as well as I can, dress becomingly, keep my voice low, be courteous, criticize not one bit. I won’t find fault with anything, not try to improve or regulate anybody but myself.

Just for today I will have a program. I may not follow it exactly, but I will have it. I will save myself from two pests: hurry and indecision.

Just for today I will have a quiet half hour all by myself, and relax. During this half hour, sometime, I will try to get a better perspective of my life.

Just for today I will be unafraid. Especially I will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful, and to believe that as I give to the world, so the world will give to me.

~ Author Unknown

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Stumbling along

There is a web feature to which I was recently introduced, much to my pleasure, and somewhat to my dismay, for it has a wondrous capacity for intrigue, entertainment, and education, as well as a monstrous ability to devour time out from under you. It is called StumbleUpon. You sign up - for free - and select all the interests that apply to you, and then, you "stumble." It brings you endless pages of customized fascination, any of which you can "like" and thereby store in your "favorites" for future reference, or even "share" with your pals on twitter or facebook. It's sickeningly wonderful.

Here are some of my favorite discoveries so far:

The Cool Hunter
Craft Gawker

Qwerty Beats


from a cenote on the Yucatan Peninsula
Aurora Borealis over Iceland
city of temples: Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)
terraced rice fields in Yunnan, China

Come to think of it, I may have found some or all of those images in my National Geographic - Photo of the Day gadget on my iGoogle page... Whatever; point is: the web holds some pretty amazing gems.

Speaking of which, I'd like to take this opportunity to plug a web-based project of my own. The website is, and it's a travel-oriented site, intended to provide backpackers and eco-tourists with a wealth of resources at their fingertips, all in one spot. If you are at all interested, or know someone who would be, please check it out. If you have ever been somewhere - ANYWHERE - which you would recommend others see/visit/experience, please use my recommendations form to send me the details, and I will include it on the site. It's sort of a group effort, but I prefer to keep it managed for now. Maybe someday, I'll find it preferable to set it up wiki-style. In the meantime, consider becoming a member and help the site grow!

Back to Stumble: if you already know, you know; if you're new, and you decide to check it out, beware - the joy can be overwhelming ;)

Blogging for me, blogging for you

Wow. I feel so grown up...

Six years ago, I ventured into blogging on... wait for it... myspace. *Gasp!* I know. But I was so cutting-edge at the time. Or so I liked to think. If you are curious, you are welcome to peruse the old publication here. (Funny: fetching that link, I saw that in my "farewell" post, I wrote that I may or may not take up a new blog home, and then, in a matter of minutes, I ventured to do just that; less than two hours later, here I am, typing away again.) I find the act of blogging uniquely adventurous in that I write down my brain transmissions, and then publish them on the world wide web, where a large chunk of the human population can examine them, and yet none may. I don't intend to promote this much; I like that I write to simultaneously everyone and no one. Such a strange world in which we live, where we can utilize such a vast stage that is shared by as many as it is viewed.

"Ruminations of a Reverent Radiator" - Most of my posting are just that: ruminations; and come from a place of just that: reverence; and tend to do just that: radiate. I ponder the nature of the universe I like to call Omni. I have a vastly deep respect for its operations and components. I seek to emanate its glory with as much of my being as I can. This title was also inspired by the lovely Rob Brezsny, as well as my fondness for alliteration.

Welcome :)