Fishing For Soul

Angling for Spiritual Reconnection

Archive for Spirituality Stories

How Is Your Stamina?

It’s winter. I need to sleep. Not hibernate, just get a solid eight hours of sleep so that I feel rested when I wake up. It keeps my mind sharp and my spirit peaceful. Without the proper amount of sleep my stamina suffers.

Lately I’ve been staying up far too late for my own good. “But I’m working on my creative projects,” I rationalize. In the morning I manage to be quite chipper, but as the day progresses I notice that I am a bit ‘off’, and the actions I want to take in regard to manifesting my goals do not get done.

What to do?

I have a deck of Animal Medicine Cards and on an impulse yesterday (btw, my #1 new year resolution/commitment is to follow my impulses) I drew a card. Elk, the symbol for Stamina, appeared. The message that stuck out for me was, “Elk is telling you to look at how you choose to create your present pathway, and how you intend to perpetuate it to reach your goal. Your best weapon is the same as Elk’s: to stop when you need to, to persist when you need to, and to allow room for change and exchange of energies.”

The message always shows up at the right time.

And now I’ll take the advice that came from someone I follow on Twitter who posted a quote by Pablo Picasso: “”Action is the foundational key to all success.” and go to sleep.

Today I send my gratitude to all who dream big dreams and take empowering action to see them through, to Robin Coley, my landlord, my neighbors, all the folks who run the New York Sports Club at 145th St. and who gave my friend an extra day on her visitors pass, the authors and artist who created the Medicine Cards that I’ve had since 1993, my clients, new and prosperous business opportunites, my home at the beach, my book agent, editor and publisher.

Thanks and peace to all!



Come Out Of Hiding

My friend Greg has declared this year to be The Year of Profound Visibility. When I read his blog about the topic , it prompted the following meditation message.

“When you say that you want to be seen and heard, the immediate response of the Universe is to provide you with an abundance of opportunities to be that.

When you say that you want to come out of hiding and let the world see you for who you are, the Universe responds by bringing you home to you, asking you to acknowledge the beauty, the intelligence, the wit and the charm that is you.

When you say that now is the moment, the Universe says, “Every moment is the moment, every moment that passed was THE moment, and now you are knowing that.”

Let the Universe (which includes your friends, family, co-workers, the person you bump into on the street, the traffic, the sunshine, the clouds, the mountains, the streams, the stones, the animals at the zoo, etc.) show you who you are. Your job is to embrace it (or not!) – ALL OF IT – with love. You love you and all that is around you, and then you will be seen and heard and felt and acknowledged and loved and welcomed, and then – surprise! – none of it will even matter because there is no one, no thing that can see you or hear you but you.

Come out of hiding. Stop hiding from your self and open your arms to All That Is. What else is there?”

OK! I’ll meditate on that.

Thanks to Greg for the profound inspiration, Fred for the focus that comes with a daily action call, Robin for sending and resending info that sometimes eludes me, Holly for cooking, my guru cat for teaching me about asking for what I want, my hands and feet, my breath, my heart and lungs, my Y students, and a good nights sleep.

You can read more about Greg’s success plan on his web site,The Gay Guys Love Coach.

What Will the Next Step Be? Lessons From the Inca Trail

Day 11 of the new year. Now what?

I’m continuing my decluttering project. The space around me is changing. I’m taking steps to move many things that get in my way – thoughts, papers, etc.

A couple of weeks ago while I was at the gym sweating my butt off on the elliptical machine and thinking about the effort I was putting into it, my mind grabbed a memory from 1999 when I walked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru for the first time.

I had been hiking for a couple of days and had reached a part of the trail that has many steps leading up, up, up. The altitude (9,000 to over 13,500 feet) on the Inca Trail makes trekking a challenge for even the most experienced of hikers. At one point I stopped to catch my breath on a flat stretch and looked ahead. When I did I was immediately overwhelmed by what I saw: more steps. Fatigue set in. I drank some water. I looked at the steps again and a voice said, “Just focus on one step at a time. Do not look ahead.” I took a step up and did as suggested. My breathing and thoughts relaxed, and my strength returned.

Last week I related that story to my mentor. She asked me to stop when I told her about the instructions I was given. “Repeat that,” she said. The words changed as I spoke them and echoed in my head: “There is nothing more important than the step you are taking NOW.”

At Rosa’s suggestion I wrote that down and am holding the words close to my heart, one day at a time, one step at a time, one breath at a time.

Today I am grateful for the many lessons learned in the Andes Mountains of Peru from 1998-2004, to Mallku and Lorna, to Rosa for teaching me about never-ending love, my strong legs and breath, money that appears in the most ‘unusual’ places, teachings in dreamtime, At One, Woom, Con Ed, mental health days, the food on my table and in the ‘fridge, hands that are open to receive, and my book agent, editor and publisher.

Amen! Thanks and peace to all!


Are You Living Peace? (Warning: This post contains strong language.)

“Motherfucking faggot,” I heard the man say as he barreled past.

“Is he talking to me?”

I looked around the subway car. There were four other people waiting for the #3 train to leave the 148th St. station, three women and a young man.

“Maybe he had a run-in with someone before he stepped into the train,” I assured myself.

A familiar uneasiness had crept in. I looked down the subway car at the big guy who had just sat down. He was staring at me. Or was he?

“Why are you looking down there, Joe?” I asked myself.

“What are you looking at fucking faggot?”

“I think he’s talking to me NOW!”

I pretended not to hear him and looked down at my Blackberry.

“Why am I nervous? Why the hell am I letting this guy upset me? Focus on something else, Joe. Be compassionate and tolerant, just like you think he should be. Do I LOOK gay? What am I saying? I AM gay. What the heck does ‘look gay’ mean? Great, now I’m thinking in stereotypes. Shit. Am I a stereotype? Am I dressed ‘gay’? Maybe it’s my shoes. Are my pants too tight? I’m sitting down, he can’t tell if my pants are tight. Mom once told me I looked like a girl in grade school. Where was that memory hiding? Remember when that guy called Byron Katie a fucking bitch? She said ‘Yes, thank you.’ Thank this guy for recognizing the truth: You are a man who has sex with men. So what? Oh, this is some conversation I’m having with myself. Compassion and tolerance, Joe, come on. Asshole. I could kick his ass. If I had a baseball bat I’d break his friggin’ skull. Asshole. I don’t need a bat, I’ll use my hands. Fucking asshole. He’s really messing with the wrong person.”

I laughed at myself. “Yeah, now I sound like him. Very good.”

I was so immersed in my violent, stress-inducing thoughts that I barely noticed my alleged gay-basher getting off the train. A deep breath. Now could I be tolerant and compassionate?

It’s a day later and I still don’t know if he was really looking at and talking to me. Funny what the mind can do.

How many gay men, people of color, women, Muslims, Jews, obese people, etc. experience what I did today? How many of us allow the kind of thoughts that I described to run rampant without taking a closer look at the source of the torture?

Why do we think that others must change for there to be peace? Like the song says, “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.” Will you let peace begin with you?

My affirmation for today is: ‘I am peace.’

Today I am grateful for the man on the 3 train, my brilliant mind, my loving heart, my fear and anger, my friends and family, gay men and women all over the world (Uganda, Rwanda!), warm clothes, Always Economically Viable, Robin Coley, Byron Katie, and this blog.

Thanks and peace to all!


The Gift of Giving

“‘Tis the season” goes the saying and this holiday season you may be thinking about what and how to give.

Here in New York City, Christmas shoppers are hustling and bustling though the stores, on the streets, and in the subways. I often wonder where they get their stamina and how they can carry so many packages. I also wonder why they are out there shopping. Are they doing it because they feel like they have to give something, anything, the ‘right’ thing, or are they shopping for presents for the sheer joy of giving?

I asked myself those same questions and this is what I heard in response:

“”Whenever you are ready to give, then give. Do not think about what it will look like, or how it will be received, just GIVE.

When you give without expectation and without worry, you will find that YOU RECEIVE. That is the way of it.

What do you have inside of you that you can offer NOW? The smallest gift can bring the greatest rewards.

Be free in your giving and BE OPEN to the joy of it.

There is no thing greater than when you align your self with giving from the place of utmost integrity and authenticity.

There lies the true gift.

And so we say – Thank You!” – At One + JM


Give to yourself this season.
Join the Earth Spirit Works and Always Economically Viable communities for these special events in NYC
and beyond.

Always Economically Viable presents a FREE Tele-Event, “A Vision for Your 2010”, on Thu., Dec. 17th, 8-9PM ET.
Call the Conference Line at 218.862.1300, ext. 951782.
(Bring a notebook and pen.)
We’ll journey to our peaceful and prosperous future selves and embrace the success that we are NOW.


If you are in NYC on Dec. 19th, please come and celebrate with us at our Annual Shamanic Candlelight Fire Ceremony, an ancient, uplifting ceremony of transformation and purification.
Celebrate the Winter Solstice and your self as you humbly and gratefully release 2009 and welcome the exciting, prosperous New Year. Let your heart and soul soar as we gather to experience the healing and ecstatic energies of fire and allow it to help us trade in our old story for a brand new one.

When: Sat., Dec. 19, 2009, 7-10pm
Where: 1133 Broadway @ 26th St., 2nd Fl, Rm 245, NYC
What to Bring: A rattle or drum (some will be provided), a birthday cake candle, an intention for transformation to share with the group
Your Investment: $60
Registration and Info: Earth Spirit Works Web Site

I hope to see (or just hear) you at one of those events.

Today I am grateful for all that I have been given, all that I have now, and all that will come. I am grateful for the beautiful Earth and the endless stream of nourishment and support that it provides, the sky for it’s magnificent shadows and light, my body and breath, my wise friends, family and teachers, new and prosperous business opportunities and connections, my clients, my computer and Blackberry, love, sex and magic.

Thanks and peace to all!


You Are All That And More

“Who are you, Joe?” asked Rosa.

I paused, closed my eyes and took a deep breath. Didn’t I write about that recently? My monthly session with my mentor had just taken a turn into uncomfortable territory. Several weeks worth of ‘compare and contrast’ experiences flashed through my mind.

The day after Thanksgiving I returned to my hometown for my 25-year high school reunion. After finding many of my fellow classmates on Facebook over the past 12 months I was excited to meet them up close and personal again after two and a half decades. Despite some physical changes, it was fascinating to see that many of the personality traits I remembered had remained intact. How different was I and how had I remained the same?

Last week I went to see my old friend Eric in Las Vegas. Honestly, I’m not into the Vegas scene and my friend and I have not spoken much since he moved out there almost five years ago, but I wanted to reconnect and see what his life was like after many years in New York. There were some happy surprises and several moments of “Oh, I forgot about those habits of his.” What surprised him? What habits of mine was he aware of that I wasn’t?

Three weeks ago I took on a temporary and very part-time supervisory/administrative gig at the Y. Holy crap! Despite the fact that I have filled in for the vacationing coordinator for the past three years and I held a similar position several years ago, I was not prepared for my thoughts about the job to be so stressful, particularly since I swore I wouldn’t let my mind go there this time. What was all the fussing about?

I am not the confused, terrified teenager I was in high school. I am not the underemployed and uncertain 28-
year old I was when I met Eric through an acting gig in 1994. I am not the ultra-committed YMCA supervisor of 10 years ago.

So who am I? I wasn’t able to give Rosa a definitive answer. After our session I sat in meditation and pondered the question again.

“When you ask your self ‘Who Am I?’, perhaps what you are really asking your self is ‘Who Was I?’ That question can bring about answers that allow you to compare and contrast experiences and levels of awareness that you have had throughout your life. It can help you decide where you want to be in the future, and appreciate where you are now.

If we were to answer the question ‘Who Are You?’ we would say that you are and all ways will be the ultimate expression of joy, freedom and love. How willing are you to embody that? How willing are you to let go of any thought that says you are less than, unworthy, uncertain, or unwelcome? When will you let the you that you know and love become one with the world?

We are just asking.” – At One

Today I am grateful for an open heart and mind, the ability to sit down and write freely once more, my wonderful cat-sitter Bridget, friends with benefits, new business opportunities, my eyes that see the beauty and opportunities all around me, my hands that type these words, my clients, the McBurney YMCA, Rosa, my book agent and editor, Hay House Publishing and Radio.

Thanks and peace to all!


My Cat Is My Guru

I admit it. I used to call my cat an asshole. I used to do that a lot.

Quite often, when Wicca would do her “Get Up and Feed Me” purr and dance routine around my head at 5 or 6 in the morning, or when she would send things crashing to the floor in yet another attempt to wake me from my blissful slumber, the word asshole would fly out of my mouth as my hands repeatedly pushed her furry face out of my nose, or her paw out of my eye.

My pet’s pet name would also emerge whenever she tore around the apartment in a post-meal frenzy, leaping onto my desk as I worked, jumping up the wall after some invisible playmate, or carelessly smashing things that happened to be in her way.

Late last year my then-boyfriend, in his great wisdom, insisted that I stop calling Wicca an, uh, you-know-what. So as part of my New Year commitments I told myself and God that I would stop that practice.

Over the course of this year I have trained myself to get out of bed when Wicca asks me to, I have allowed myself to enjoy her acrobatic genius, and I have learned to respect (but not always give in to) her desire for attention at all hours of the day and night.

I’m not saying I’ve been a complete name-calling celibate. The a-word has slipped out on occasion, usually when I’ve over-extended myself or am in a hurry. The funny thing is, as my behavior continues to change, I hardly notice what were once Wicca’s terribly bothersome traits.

The other day I spent several hours working from home on my computer. Every now and then I would get up to stretch my limbs, grab a glass of water, and find out what the cat was up to (oh, still napping!). On one of those breaks I found Wicca curled up in the coat I had tossed onto the couch. I bent over her, whispered her name, poked at her ears and woke her. She looked at me and I picked her up. In that moment I froze, aware that I had just done to her exactly what she has done to me on countless mornings. Did she swat at me, push me away, attempt to bite me, or call me an asshole? No. She looked at me, purred and lifted her chin higher as I stroked her neck.

I love my guru housemate.

Today I am grateful for Wicca, a sound sleep, the NY Shamanic Circle, the AEV community, Robin Coley, my laptop, long-term planning, my newest J.O.B., self-confidence, AD, Byron Katie, Rosa, aspirin, my Monday Spin class, new clients, my book agent, editor and publisher, Hay House Publishing and Radio.


Thanks and peace.