Archive for June, 2009
I got the Farrah Fawcett red bathing suit poster in Ocean City, MD in the summer of 1976. A family friend won it playing a game on the boardwalk and handed it to me. I was 10 years old and had no idea who Farrah was until that fall when the TV show Charlie’s Angels premiered. My Charlie’s Angels scrapbook, with tons of Farrah photos, followed me to college where it became a sorority scavenger hunt item. Where is that scrapbook today?
Like many people, I remember Michael Jackson from his days as the spunky kid singer of the musical group The Jackson Five. In high school I danced along to the hits from ‘Thriller’, but I never mastered the moonwalk.
I watched with varied interest over the years as both of those iconic celebrities went through public ups and downs. Today I watched as on-line news outlets reported their deaths.
It’s all a bit surreal to me. Some people I’ve talked to have described the deaths of Farrah and Michael Jackson as ‘the end of an era’. A friend asked me to remind him who Farrah was. I see the passing of these two human beings as a reminder of the passage of time, that our journey here on Earth is short, and there is no time like now to make that life as sweet as possible.
“Whenever we see that ‘life’ as we know it has ended, we can only imagine what it might be like ‘on the other side’. It really is not your job to worry about that. Be here now. Be present to what is in front of you, next to you, all around you. Life is so full, so rich, so rewarding. Where do you want to be tomorrow? Imagine that! Where do you see your self in 10 years? Imagine that! And please imagine that life full of all of the best things. Pay attention to what is and let that propel you into what will be. Land in the future with a smile. Have a happy heart. Celebrate today and pave the way for tomorrow. What will it take for you to acknowledge how wonderful life is? Breathe. There is your answer.” – At One
Today I am grateful for my ability to listen, visions that manifest in divine time, my friends and family, abundant joy and laughter, work that I love, childhood memories, future sex, music, tacos, New York City, the sun and rain, new beginnings and perfect endings.
Thanks and peace!
Last week I was surfing YouTube for some inspiration and came across an interview with peak performance coach Tony Robbins. Two words struck me in that Today Show interview and have been swirling around my mind ever since: Creativity and Determination. As Tony Robbins discussed, we are living in an economic environment where creativity and determintaion can be put to use to create a positive return on any investment, financial or otherwise.
This morning I dedicated my meditation to those words, those qualities, and here is what I received:
“In any situation it is highly unlikely that your creativity will not pay off. You cannot help but be creative. That it is your nature. You are Mind. You are Creation. When you learn to harness that energy you will all ways have what you want.
Your mind is like a canvas. You are the artist. You decide how big that canvas will be, what colors to paint with, and which brushes and strokes to use. At any moment you can decide that the painting is complete. Or you may decide that you will let the paint dry and come back to add on to what you have already started. Life is like that. There is never any true ending. On and on and on and on it goes.
You can use your mind, which is all parts of you, from your head to your toes, to focus on what it is you want to manifest. Your thoughts will bring the idea into being. Your rich pageantry of spirit will allow you to shape that thing into the beautiful, desirable, thirst-quenching object and feeling. Do not spend your time worrying if your investment will pay off. Bring heart to your mind and watch as things unfold easily and fruitfully, in Divine time – when the fruit is at it’s most perfect ripeness.”
So go out there and begin that project that you’ve been wanting to work on, share your ideas, learn to thrive. What are you waiting for?
I am very grateful for weekend getaways with good friends, Eduardo, Mallku and Allana, laughing until my face hurts, Amtrak, inspiration from abundant sources, my new, finacially abundant business connections, meditation, early morning workouts at the gym, rain, sunshine, chirping birds, my ability to say yes to many things and no to others.
Thanks and peace!
Some of my most profound Fishing for Soul experiences took place while I was on shamanic journeys in Peru. I was introduced to the ancient path of truth, knowledge, healing, and empowerment popularly known as shamanism in the summer of 1993, shortly after my ‘Cracking Open’ episode. The following is a true story that took place in November of 1996.
Purple in Peru
I was a semi-anonymous, naked, purple person for almost two weeks.
I was not sure how long I had been dozing. Without a watch, I couldn’t know the exact time, but the somewhat familiar and comforting sounds of the jungle suggested that it was close to dawn. The medicine was still having an effect. When would they come for me?
“Un dia mas,” Agustin, a shaman overseeing us said the previous afternoon as he examined me, blowing tobacco smoke from his beautifully carved pipe over my body, and pressing deeply into my darkened flesh. My skin retained the deep purple hue achieved by applying dye from the crushed seed of a fruit whose name I cannot recall. The intention was to help keep mosquitoes away and to break down any notion of race and gender.
For six days I sat in silence, left alone to face my thoughts and emotions under the safety of mosquito netting on a wooden platform in a three-sided thatched hut, the fourth side left completely open to the air, struggling with a fearful reality of snakes creeping in, and eating a special diet of white rice prepared by the women in the camp – white rice in a bowl of hot water, white rice on a plate with a side of some kind of warm, watery broth, and after one painful, tormented morning a surprise that made me weep tears of gratitude and humility – a lunch of white rice with bits of chicken and herbs. Would they feed us as usual on this morning?
This was the final morning of my silent retreat. I had traveled to the shaman Agustin Rivas’ camp in the Peruvian Amazon as part of my work with my mentor, Lorna Roberts. The night before I had, along with the other members of our small group, taken part in an ayahuasca ceremony, the third in just a few days. When combined with other plants, boiled down to a thick “tea,” prayed over and ingested, ayahuasca, known as the vine or rope of death, becomes a powerful hallucinogenic (medicine) whose ability to bring one closer to their true essence and the nature of the cosmos is legendary in the Amazon. It also has a purging effect: diarrhea and vomiting are common during the ceremony.
It wasn’t until many hours later that this magical, ruthless plant mixture stirred up memories from my childhood, causing a deep sorrow to bubble up to the surface. As the sun rose, my mind filled with visions of my youngest sister. I saw her sad, lonely, and scared as she struggled to take care of two young children. I had a vision of her behind bars, a prisoner in her own life. I remembered her at the age of 2, 6 and 8, left alone at the mercy of my mother’s unsettling and often volatile mood swings.
My body began to heave as the heaviness of those years unfolded and I relived each unforgotten moment. I felt so helpless and hopeless at that time in my life, unable to rescue my little sister from the pains inflicted by our mother, who was suffering in her depression. Years of anguish poured out of me in tears, sobs, moans and wails. More and more images flooded my mind as I vomited what I could no longer contain. I began to hear a familiar voice. “Let it go, let it go. You are not helpless anymore.” Giant arms seemed to cradle and rock me. I didn’t question it. I surrendered to it.
After a while, I sat up, the jungle heat pouring over me, calmly looking through the haze of the protective mosquito netting toward the temple area where I had met Mother Ayahuasca in ceremony the night before, listening once again to the silence between the sounds and to the deeper stirrings inside of me. “When you return to New York you will formalize your apprenticeship with Lorna.” I let that sink in, wondering what it really meant.
People began to move about the camp, some carrying a large pot to a growing fire. Soon, purple beings that I had barely seen for a week were led from their huts and directed to stand near the fire. Eagerly, somewhat shyly, and still reflecting deeply upon my recent emotional release, I quietly took my place in line. One by one, the women of the camp scrubbed our naked bodies.
I closed my eyes, filled with gratitude for the care I was being shown as a week’s worth of dirt, dye and odor sunk to the ground. With each stroke of the scrub brush I felt as if a part of my past were being washed away. # # #
Today I thank Lorna Roberts and her tender guidance, Agustin Rivas for sharing his gifts, the dense jungle that held me for two extraordinary weeks in 1996, my courage, my mother, my sister, my visions, my guiding spirits, Mother Ayahuasca who visits me to this day, all of Nature, the land and people of Peru.
Thanks and peace!
In the summer of 1990, at the very earliest stages of my conscious Fishing for Soul adventures, I took part in a weekend-long workshop in Philadelphia facilitated by leaders of The Forum, now known as The Landmark Forum, the flagship program of Landmark Education designed to help participants “redefine the very nature of what’s possible.” I was 24 years old.
One of the assignments in the course, on the second night I think, was to come back the next day having revealed something to someone that you had never revealed before. The assignment excited and terrified me because I knew exactly what I wanted, and needed, to turn over.
When I got home that night I decided that my very good friend Steph would be the one to hear my story for the first time. My sweaty hands shook and my chest was heavy as I picked up the receiver and put it down several times before going through with the call. I told Steph about the assignment. Then I told her my secret. “When I was nine years old I was molested,” I began. My faced burned and my throat tightened. Fifteen years of guilt and shame poured out of my body.
Telling Steph my secret was the beginning of what would be a very long road to healing. I didn’t realize how deeply I’d kept my feelings about that experience buried and how it affected all areas of my life. A few years later Steph would question me about another hidden fact that was wreaking havoc in my life. “Are you gay?” she asked.
On Thursday afternoon I saw a posting on Facebook about Ellen Degeneres’ Tulane University commencement speech of May, 2009. In the speech Ellen talks about “the heaviness” of keeping her sexual identity a secret from the public and the feeling of liberation when she finally said, “Yes, I am.”
On Monday I watched a video blog by Paulo Coelho (http://tinyurl.com/ow4wnp), author of the mega-selling book The Alchemist, titled Revealing Shameful Acts. In the video he wonders why we bother to keep secrets. “Of course we all have nasty stories that we wish no one to hear, but sooner or later, they will surface,” he says. “So – you cannot hide – and what would you say to your children that you don’t dare to say now? What will they discover after you die? We are warriors of light…against all odds are able to follow our paths without surrendering to guilt.”
Is it more painful to keep your secrets or to reveal them? What is it costing you to hold onto them? Can you keep your secrets and be truly happy? Perhaps it depends on the secret and the person holding it.
Today I express my deepest gratitude to Stephanie Geyer, Ellen DeGeneres and Paulo Coelho, my gay brothers and sisters across the globe, my parents and siblings, my clients who trust me with their secrets, my friends in NYC who keep me grounded and make me laugh, all of the people who helped me open to the truth of who I am, and God.
Thanks and peace.