Wednesday’s Wondrous World: Television

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It has a lot of different names, but it is something you find in almost every home around the modern world.

Television.  The boob tube.  TV.  The idiot box.  The flatscreen.  The LCD, LED, Plasma screened wonder.

Since the 1950’s, television has been one of the prime sources of information (real and false), entertainment, mind expanding, mind numbing, babysitting, focus and distraction.  TV offers us a chance to see images from around the world, more-or-less instantaneously, and has fundamentally changed the lives of the first world.

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It began largely as a source of information, following on the heels of newspaper and then radio.  From print to audio to the whole audio/visual package, television broadened the world while simultaneously bringing it closer to everyone.

There used to be a handful of channels and options to tune into.  Then that number expanded, sometimes exponentially.  Nowadays you can have dozens of different options, programming around the world, different time zones, different focus.  You can watch news, sports, reality and fictional programs, movies, and nearly anything else you can think of.  Twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, so long as there is power.

Television has served as background like white noise.  TV is the focal point where some families gather round to spend time together enjoying the programming.

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The actual device has changed tremendously over the years.  From a large, heavy box that consumed tremendous amounts of power and took a lengthy time to get warm and show its images to the modern, flat screen, side-lit and back-lit LED that is inches thick, weighs almost nothing and turns on instantly.  The two devices side by side seem hardly to be nothing more than distant relatives of one another.

Certainly with the vast number of channels and diverse program choices it can be argued that television is unhealthy.  But I think, like pretty much everything else, consumed in moderation TV is perfectly fine.

However you might personally feel about this particular source of media, television is undeniably a wonder of our wondrous world.  It is still for many people the primary source of information and entertainment, and will undoubtedly remain a part of the lives of people around the world.

 

Me 3-25-13 smallerI am MJ Blehart, author of “Wednesday’s Wondrous World”.  Every week I share a wonder of this amazing world, and I hope you will enjoy the journey with me!

Check out my blog, The Ramblings of a Titanium Don, for more of my work.

Also now available, Pathwalking: A 21st Century Philosophy in Book and Kindle form!

EmBody Bliss: The Secret Open Door

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Recently Updated2Five minutes before now—I had no idea what my article would be about this week.  Five minutes before now—my room mates dogs, Freddie and Bundy, were driving me up the wall with their insistent whining from outside, begging me to open the clear glass door that enters into my bedroom.

I decided they needed some time outside for fresh air and so I did not grant their wish.  In mid-war with the whining dogs and I, I went upstairs to eat an orange and decided to open the kitchen door for them to enter as they wished.  I did this silently and secretly.  I thought that their K9 sensory would instinctively kick in and they would realize the door was open, but alas, Iwhiningpup came back downstairs to the bitter sweet picture of puppy dog eyes and frowns still at the glass door.  This now became a test.

A few minutes passed until Freddie decided to give up and go explore elsewhere.  Nearly a minute later, I spotted his unkempt mustache peaking through my bedroom door, now from inside the house, with a hesitant look on his face.  It was comical to watch him reveal himself to Bundy who was still whining outside.  Bundy must have wondered what kind of magic Freddie had been dabbling in.  I was delighted that Freddie discovered the prize that waited for him: The Secret Open Door!  But the real test now was Bundy’s smarts and allowance, as he remained in puppy pain.

I thought about what it may take for Bundy to realize there was an open door, as he watched his best friend relax in his destiny.  I wondered how long it may take for him to stop fixating on the seemingly unattainable desire that he had engrossed himself in.  I contemplated when he would realize that there were more paths than the one he currently knew of to get where he wanted to be.

After enough suffering, Bundy made a grunt, and just like Freddie – gave up.  He trotted up the stairs that ascend the backyard and made his way to the next level of the house with a plan to most likely hassle the magpies that soar above him.  But his plans took a drastic change when he finally found: The Secret Open Door!

This story is silly and simple, but there is a profound lesson within it.  How often do we ask, ask, ask, and ask, problemsolutionbut spend so much time focusing on our asking that we cannot align with and enjoy our answer?  We become so acutely focused on “needing” that we cannot experience that “need” being fulfilled.  It is an energetic impossibility to experience something, when we are fixated on it’s opposite.

Throughout the years, religious, self help, and spiritual texts have all taught this truth:  Ask and it is given; Ask and you shall receive.  The truth of this statement is no exaggeration; it has proven to be true for myself, Bundy, and nearly everyone I know.  In fact, it’s almost too good to be true, so it sounds menacing to some.  But life can be too good to be true, if you let it be.  And that’s the vibration we need to adopt into our being if we want to reap the benefits of miracles.  Will you continue to interfere and tamper with that which has arrived, or allow what waits beyond what you see?

Bundy retaught me something today.  Believe in things before you see them.  Literally—Ask, trust, and give it up.  This is the principle of non-attachment or non-resistance (written in more simple terms) and it works!  If you harp on a topic for too long, you’re slowing the perpetuation of its evolution into physical reality.  Instead, trust that things are flowing and swim in the pool of possibilities of where you could be taken in any moment.  The All Attractive Universe knows everything you want and you do not have to keep tally of it anymore.  You generate an energetic idea of your heaven each moment you live, and it is felt and known within the cosmos – a place where all potentials exist.  It’s there, continually available for your alignment with it.

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Your wants will likely arrive in a way you least expect them to—trust the wise ways in which the Universe grants your asking.  It not only grants your asking, but simultaneously teaches you, stretches you, and moves you into your Ultimate places.  All the magic details will be included for you; your only job is to believe in magic.

Know that there are Secret Open Doors for you, you just need to stop whining at the ones that aren’t opening.

Wednesday’s Wondrous World: Flowing Waters

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I was born and raised in “the land of 10,000 lakes.”  So it should come as no wonder that I have a huge affinity for bodies of water.

Each body of water is itself a wonder.  Oceans, seas, lakes, rivers, streams, ponds and so on and so forth each has its own ecosystem, its own special beauty, its own unique attributes.

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While I am a fan of pretty much every such body of water, I believe that my favorite is rivers and streams.  Oceans are impressively huge and salty, lakes have tremendous variations in current and size and make-up…but rivers and streams are constantly in motion.

Rivers and streams flow.  They move along, sometimes fast, sometimes slow, carrying with them flotsam and jetsam, as well as aquatic natives from the course it plots.

Rivers cut into the earth like a knife through butter, leaving their mark and showing the way between sometimes tremendous distances.  The Mississippi virtually splits the United States in half with its north/south course.  The Colorado river snakes through the immense Grand Canyon, providing an end point at its base of tremendous power.

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Rivers and streams sometimes carry the most amazing sounds.  A shallow example might have small cresting waves over large rocks, that rushing, whooshing sound made by rapids as the current washes over high points.  It can be an amazing, relaxing, soothing sound, often replicated on sound machines for its ambiance.

Rivers and streams bring life.  Not only do they carry silt along the current to fertilize their banks, they also provide fish and insects for birds and beasts.  Sport fishing in streams is very popular around the country, and you can often find men and women up to their waists in the flowing waters, casting lines.

Another amazing thing about rivers and streams is their incredible variations.  Some are nearly as wide as lakes, hard to see across.  Some are incredibly deep, much history beneath their surface.  But some are mere inches thick, and just a few feet across.  Impressive variations, but all amazing.

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I love when I go for a hike along a wooded path, and unexpectedly find a river or stream.  There is nothing I like better than finding somewhere to sit beside it, a rock or such, and listen to it running it course.  I find it so much easier to meditate when I have a river or stream near.  There is something incredibly relaxing and refreshing about its flow.

Unlike wider, more still bodies of water, rivers and streams carry along in their current constant changes.  Whether it’s a large log, colorful leaves, ducks, or even random garbage from upstream, you never know what will flow along past you.  You could spend hours in the same spot and never see the same thing float by twice.

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Rivers are not just landmarks, but before highways and byways they were the path you followed.  Even today, pilots using visual flight rules navigate with rivers.  Rivers have been a source of commerce and life to the beginning of human history, all over the world.

Amongst the many bodies of water to be found across the globe, rivers and streams are a wonder of nature I think impossible to deny.

What rivers and streams do you frequent in you travels?

 

 

 

Me 3-25-13 smallerI am MJ Blehart, “Wednesday’s Wondrous World” writer and photographer.  Every week I share a wonder of this amazing world, and I hope you will enjoy the journey with me!

Check out my blog, The Ramblings of a Titanium Don, for more of my work.

Also now available, Pathwalking: A 21st Century Philosophy in Book and Kindle form!

Wednesday’s Wondrous World: Reenactment

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As children we called it make-believe.  As adults, we call it reenactment.

A lot of people participate in some form of this or other.  Whether they do cosplay at conventions and symposiums, live action role playing (LARP), Steampunk, Civil War or Revolutionary War, people still take time out from their regular lives to basically play.

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I personally have been a part of this for over half my life.  As a freshman in college, I was introduced to the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA).  This world-wide organization does various medieval reenactments spanning from the end of the Roman Empire (approx 600AD) to the death of Queen Elizabeth I of England (approx 1600AD).

Members of the SCA (called SCAdians) can learn and take part in all kinds of medieval arts and sciences (cooking, calligraphy and illumination, dance, music, fibre arts, etc.) as well as various forms of combats (heavy armored combat, rapier (fencing) combat, archery, equestrian, thrown weapons) and many other really cool things from all over Europe, Japan, Persia and such during the previously mentioned time period.

On many a weekend over the past two decades I have dressed (sometimes well, sometimes less so) as a 16th Century Englishman I have named Malcolm Bowman.  During these events I have participated in various fencing tournaments, partook of often sumptuous medieval feasts, and danced with some very lovely ladies.  I also have served as a steward of events, a marshal (coach/safety officer) of fencing and archery, and a herald (cryer) for the King and Queen.

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This is a whole other world it can be very easy to get lost in.  But escaping into that world can be tremendously fun!

I have made some amazing friends along the way, and am constantly amazed by how far around the world those people can be found.  I attend fencing practice weekly, other occasional meetings, Saturday and whole-weekend events, and even “wars”.

One such event is the Estrella War, held in Arizona every winter (used to be February, now it’s in March).  This event draws somewhere around 7000 people, and over the course of a week or so all kinds of combats and arts and more take place.

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As you are reading this I am attending possibly the largest of these events, the Pennsic War.  Held annually in Butler, Pennsylvania, this event has been known to attract more than 10,000 people.  For up to two weeks we live in a massively mixed medieval world experiencing classes on all kinds of arts and sciences, as well as endless fencing, heavy armor combats and archery shoots.  We are among friends, enjoying each other’s company and escaping (mostly) from the modern world and our jobs and such.  It can be quite the vacation (and quite a work-out, too.)

I love playing this game.  I love dressing in the garb and experiencing what amounts to a whole new world within the world I occupy.  It is a fun-filled escape, and can be quite the party if so desired.  For some this is THE event they most enjoy in the SCA.

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I have found that in addition to participating in the wondrous world of the SCA, I am also quite the fan of getting dressed up in neo-Victorian Steampunk gear.  The outfits are rather amazing, and the addition of fantastical steam-powered weapons are pretty cool.  I have found considerable inspiration from the Steampunk in my writing as well.  I am hard at work, currently, on a Steampunk-themed novel.

Creativity and escapism make the world of reenactment a terrific adult game of make-believe.  I wonder that if more people participated in such, would we see less stressed, more creative and happy lives?

Do you still make-believe in some way?

 

I am MJ Blehart, rapier-wielding writer of “Wednesday’s Wondrous World”.  Every week I share a wonder of this amazing world, and I hope you will enjoy the journey with me!

Check out my blog, The Ramblings of a Titanium Don, for more of my work.

Also now available, Pathwalking: A 21st Century Philosophy in Book and Kindle form!

Wednesday’s Wondrous World: Seasons

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I don’t care how hot it gets outside…summer is my favorite season of the year!

But living in the northeast of the United States, I get to experience all four seasons rather decisively. And that is the wonder I am choosing this week.

Summertime here can be a crazy event.  Not only do we get immense sunlight and great warmth, we also get impressively powerful storms and flooding rains.  Despite the heat and humidity, summer is my favorite season.  I love being able to wear shorts and t-shirts and sandals regularly.  And being solar powered, I love all the sunlight the summer presents me.

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Yes, it can be muggy and overly hot, but I still love the summer best.  Summer is also the season of camping events and outdoor picnics and plenty of hiking and beachgoing opportunities.

Summer of course gives way to fall.  Autumn here on the east coast presents some of the most beautiful color you can imagine.  As the leaves turn, the greenery gives way to oranges and reds and yellows and outright golds.  The air begins to take on a crisp tinge, the shorts get put away, and for a lot of people it is the most comfortable time of the year to play outdoors.

Fall is the time of harvest, in particular apples and pumpkins.  My friends and I annually go apple picking, savoring the numerous varieties local orchards have to offer.  And all the crisps and pies and other treats one can make from apples are pretty impressive, too.

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Fall moves on to winter.  Winter in this part of the northeastern United States is relatively mild.  (I emphasize the phrase ‘relatively’ because I grew up in the upper Midwest of the country.  We measure snow most winters in FEET, not inches.  And I am not making up tall tales when I say I had to walk to school in BELOW ZERO (Fahrenheit) temperatures and even more brutal windchills).

It can be cold and icy at times, but snowfall is almost always a beautiful sight to behold.  Those unique flakes, drifting gently downwards, covering the land in a white blanket.  While not all the bodies of water here ice over completely, those that do take on a unique hue only an icy cover can give.

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Winter is the best time of the year for cuddling with loved ones.  Winter is crackling fires in the fireplace, mugs of hot cocoa and fresh baked goods.  Many people take immense pleasure in all the ways one can use to get warm.

I will not deny winter is my least favorite season.  But in time, it fades, and spring returns life to the land.  Trees begin to bud, the birds return from their migratory vacations, the grass begins to recolor itself from brown to green.

We find we can take off layers, the sun has greater effect and adds warmth to the air once more.  There is a smell in the air at springtime that is refreshing, reinvigorating. It is like you can smell the rebirth of Gaia’s children, and the promise of longer, warmer days to come.

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Spring of course completes the cycle, and after three months or so becomes once more Summertime!  And where I live, we truly experience each of these incredible wonders, each season in its time, and all that they can be.

This is just one incredible wonder of our wondrous world – the seasons.  Which is your favorite?

 

Me 3-25-13 smallerI am MJ Blehart, writer of “Wednesday’s Wondrous World”.  Every week I share a wonder of this amazing world, and I hope you will enjoy the journey with me!

Check out my blog, The Ramblings of a Titanium Don, for more of my work.

Also now available, Pathwalking: A 21st Century Philosophy in Book and Kindle form!

Wednesday’s Wondrous World: Flash Drives

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Ok, so this is probably silly, but one of my favorite technological wonders of the past decade or so is the USB flash drive/thumb drive.

What a great little device!  It’s utterly pocket sized, and yet can hold an unbelievable amount of data!   It is a tiny, incredible manmade wonder, but a wonder none-the-less.

As a writer I am a firm believer in the concept of the back-up.  Many copies of anything/everything are essential!  There need to be back-ups, and back-ups of back-ups to protect my stories, my ideas, my blog posts.

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This was less practical when I was a kid, and writing was pen to paper and a notebook full of sentences and ideas and so forth.  As I got older, and computers became more readily available, it was floppy disks that allowed data storage and back up.

Remember the 5 ¼” floppy disk?  Flimsy thing, literally living up to its name.  These diskettes (an improvement themselves from the prior 8” floppy disks) could hold from 90 kilobytes to 1.2 megabytes of data.  Later it was the 3.5” disk, which was much sturdier, more portable, and now able to hold from 1.4 megabytes to 240 megabytes.  Then there were zip disks, which were nearly the same size as a 3.5” disk, but much more durable and capable of holding 700 megabytes of data.

For those who are unfamiliar – the original units of data storage in the world of computing were bits.  It was not long before the bit gave way to the byte, which is itself made of eight bits (the original number of bits required for a single character of text).  So, taking that into account, a kilo-byte is a thousand bytes.  A megabyte thus is a thousand-thousand bytes, or rather a million bytes.  So now we reach the gigabyte, a thousand thousand thousand bytes, or rather a billion bytes of data.

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Let’s examine this a moment, shall we?  I got my first personal computer, an Apple IIe, in 1985.  The 5 ¼” floppy disk back-up could hold approximately 140 kilobytes of data.  To protect and transport the floppy disk, you needed a hard plastic case, and probably a book bag or backpack of some sort.  Now, in 2013, the USB flash drive I can carry easily in my pocket can hold 8 gigabytes of data.  This tiny, two inch long by about ½ inch wide device is capable of holding more than 57,000 times more information!

In the course of just over 30 years we have exponentially increased the amount of information we can carry away into a convenient and miniature vessel.  Libraries of information available at our fingertips, and yet stored in our pockets.  These tiny drives can hold up to 256 gigabytes of data (and are growing further).

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If you want to take with you all the stories you have written, all the books you have ever read, all the photos you have ever taken, any digital information you wish to have and more – you can keep them all in a pocket!  Such a simple, miniscule device, yet an amazing wonder of our modern technological age.

Yes, I know you can store your data in the “cloud”, somewhere with almost infinite storage on a server you will never see.  But I prefer the security of that data being where I know its physical location and who has access to it.  And yes, for the uber-geeks reading this – I know that flash “drives” haven’t the moving components of their predecessors – but they still hold more information and are more durable, and the term “drive” has long been accepted for them and their ilk.

I understand if you are not, like me, a tech geek.  But isn’t it amazing how something so tiny can hold inside something so vast?  Truly, the flash drive is a wondrous manmade wonder in our wondrous world.

How do you like to store YOUR digital data?

 

Me 3-25-13 smallerI am MJ Blehart, your geektacular guide to “Wednesday’s Wondrous World”.  Every week I share a wonder of this amazing world, and I hope you will enjoy the journey with me!

Check out my blog, The Ramblings of a Titanium Don, for more of my work.

Also now available, Pathwalking: A 21st Century Philosophy in Book and Kindle form!

Wednesday’s Wondrous World: Rock ‘n Roll

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The great thing about rock and roll is that someone like me can be a star.” – Elton John

I’m not just talking about the wonder of music – too broad a topic.  No, today I want to get into one of my personal favorite forms of music – rock and roll!

I am a huge fan of the rock music across all of the decades.  It began in the 1950’s (Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, The Everly Brothers, et al.)  There are the greats of the 60’s (The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, etc).  Despite disco, there were great acts of the 70’s (The Eagles, ZZ Top, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin and more).  The 1980’s brought us classic rockers (Rush, Yes, Genesis, Queen) and hair bands (Bon Jovi, Guns n’ Roses, Skid Row, Poison and such.)  In the 1990’s it was Grunge (Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Robert Westenberg.)  And the beginning of the 21st Century has given us some great rock (Foo Fighters, Green Day, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Evanescence, and others).

Rock is often an ill-defined, multi-faceted genre of music (I have left out a LOT of class acts, I know).  A lot of what is considered rock is also pop, folky, quirky, and everything in between.

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To me (and this, fyi, is wholly my opinion) rock involves these specific elements:  Guitar.  Bass.  Percussion.  Tonality and musicality.  Some of these songs make you bop your head, set your body in motion.  They energize, they engage you; whether it’s a jamming, hard-rhythm tune or a power ballad.  Rock literally rocks you, can change your energy and your vibration in pretty awesome ways.

Rock and roll music, if you like it, if you feel it, you can’t help but move to it. That’s what happens to me. I can’t help it.” – Elvis Presley

Many tunes and artists classified as rock will cause you to scratch your head.  Whether that would be Sonny and Cher in the 60’s or Bob Dylan in the 70’s or Elvis Costello in the 80’s or Liz Phair in the 90’s or Barenaked Ladies today – all fall under this broad classification.  And all mostly match my own elemental specifications.

However you like your rock (soft, hard, pop, metal, whatever) there are over a half century of musical acts to choose from, and amazing tracks to learn and discover.  The vast history of rock and roll even has its own museum dedicated to it in Cleveland, Ohio.

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There are a lot of musical genres to choose from, many of which I am also very fond of (and which may get covered here at a later date).  Jazz, classical, opera, showtunes, folk, new age…music is an emotional switch that is like no other, and rock and roll in particular can be used to attune every possible feeling.

There is a song in every age of rock and roll to suit every emotion.  Some even cover wider ranges like Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven or Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, changing tone and temple from start to finish.  Rock has even been mixed with other genres like Classical to bring an even richer, deeper sound (like The Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band or The Moody Blues’ Knights in White Satin or Michael Kamen’s orchestra and Aerosmith doing Dream On.)  Rock and roll is a wonder covering an impressively wide range.

Music alone is a wonder, but every artist, every genre, arguably every instrument by itself could be a wonder of our wondrous world.  But rock and roll in particular is immense, moving, multi-faceted and full of color and light and sound.  Despite my own varied, eclectic musical tastes, it is most often rock to which I listen and give my soul.

Rock and roll has probably given more than it’s taken.” – Charlie Watts.

 

Me 3-25-13 smallerI am MJ Blehart, rocking writer of “Wednesday’s Wondrous World”.  Every week I share a wonder of this amazing world, and I hope you will enjoy the journey with me!

Check out my blog, The Ramblings of a Titanium Don, for more of my work.

Also now available, Pathwalking: A 21st Century Philosophy in Book and Kindle form!

Wednesday’s Wondrous World: Books

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As a writer, it was really only a matter of time until I reached this particular wonder:  Books.

Books are the ultimate gateways to imaginative worlds, to mythologies, to knowledge, to language, to the continued growth and education of the whole human race.

You cannot open a book without learning something.” – Confucius

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Before the advent of the book, there were stone tablets, codices and scrolls to communicate information.  Later the advent of movable print made it easier to mass produce what came to be called books.  In modern times, of course, books are being supplanted by the internet, e readers and other non-print media.  But a book, whether in physical paper form or on your Kindle, Nook or iPad, is still a book.

Books have been written containing things both true and false, containing information and entertainment, comedy and tragedy.  Books stretch across every imaginable aspect of the human condition, and can educate, inform, entertain, annoy and delight everyone in some way or other.

Books offer a form of communication that is the ultimate path to realms of imagination.  Books can convey information about every known topic, and offer words and pictures and color and context.  It is in books that I have spent many an hour exploring and developing my imagination, learning new information, and gaining greater knowledge and experience.

Certainly there are things better learned through doing than reading, but books are the best place to place knowledge.  I know that while the internet is at our fingertips, there is something about having the physical book to leaf through that adds a whole other layer to the experience.

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As much as I can glean information online, there is nothing quite like going into a bookstore and exploring the volumes there.  As I do so, I imagine coming across the spine of a book featuring my name, one of my worlds, and that sense of excitement at being a part of something far greater than myself.

There is no friend as loyal as a book.” – Ernest Hemingway.

As a child with a curious mind and extremely active imagination, losing myself in books helped to shape me into the man I am today.  I think it was through books that I learned to be delighted in learning, through books that I began to form the molds to create my own imaginary worlds, and books would be my closest companions.

As a writer, I sometimes neglect the energy I should give to reading.  I still need, besides my own stories, to pick up the books of others, for both pleasure and knowledge, to expand my own experience.  Reading books provides a much needed escape.  I especially enjoy taking the text outdoors, finding a space beneath a tree or in a comfortable chair, with no distractions.

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Even with e readers and tablets and other portable devices becoming more prevalent and inexpensive, the physical book will remain an important and constant wonder of our wondrous world.  But no matter what form you prefer, no matter what information you are seeking to digest, books can provide us with both uncountable answers and even more questions.

Books.  An expansive wonder of a wondrous world!

What books are you reading?

 

Me 3-25-13 smallerI am MJ Blehart, book-loving author of “Wednesday’s Wondrous World”.  Every week I share a wonder of this amazing world, and I hope you will enjoy the journey with me!

Check out my blog, The Ramblings of a Titanium Don, for more of my work.

Also now available, Pathwalking: A 21st Century Philosophy in Book and Kindle form!

And while we’re on the subject of books – you can ALSO check out my fantasy short story A Treacherous Stone in the anthology Rum and Runestones, and my steampunk short story The Vapor Rogues in the anthology Spells and Swashbucklers.

Jake Ducey: Into the Wind Review

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“Along my travels I had been touched by synchronicity so often that I knew to expect it.  “Coincidences” became messages from the unseen – like angels without wings, satisfying intermissions of life from a deeper level. They were omens.”  – Jake Ducey

jake small smileRecently, I stumbled upon the YouTube Channel of Jake Ducey, and I was quickly captivated by his upbeat attitude and infectious smile. After watching some of his videos, I learned that he had just experienced a major transformation in his life, and had written a book about it called “Into The Wind – My Six-Month Journey Wandering the World for Life’s Purpose.” I instantly knew I wanted to read all about his adventure and ordered myself a copy.

In his late twenties, Jake was struggling with internal unhappiness and a drug addiction.  He realized after a period of time that his behavior was not bringing him fulfillment in the way he truly desired.  He knew he needed to make a change.  After deciding to take a break from college, Jake made the decision to use some money he had saved and travel.

Visiting places such as Guatemala, Australia, Indonesia and Thailand, Into the Wind shares Jake’s moments of clarity, joy, fear, uncertainty, and a brush with death itself during his travels. Having two companions in the beginning of his journey and then going the rest of the way alone, Jake finds kindness in total strangers and discovers the universe always leads him in the right direction. His multiple country expedition led him to discover his inner strength and the importance of living our destiny.

Jake believes everyone is powerful enough to create a life filled with realized dreams by making use of our talents to serve humanity.  He learned this first hand through experience while traveling and decided spreading this message as far as possible is part of his purpose.

One of the ways Jake intends to share his message is through this book.  Jake displays the writing ability of a classic novelist, with the insight of an ancient Tibetan monk.  Fun to read and full of tidbits of wisdom, Into the Wind is an inspiring story that taught me about the importance of using our natural talents and passions to serve the greater good. It also taught me that it is possible to accomplish our dreams if we so desire, Jake’s story is proof.

You can learn more about Jake Ducey by checking out his website at http://www.jakeducey.com.

By: Jen Moeller

What is Intuition?

Chakra Centers, Spirituality, Starseed Corner

 

424683_304747482906846_1884992790_nIntuition is a term given to a very natural, though commonly ignored and suppressed method of accessing sensory information. Intuition is no less natural than the five senses commonly accepted by modern-day humans, although sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing are more openly spoken of and utilized to gather information about the world around us. For the past several hundred years, intuition has been sitting decidedly below the radar of the majority of humanity’s conscious awareness.

Intuition is not a sense that is unique to humankind. In actuality, most of Earth’s other beings can access intuitive information much more easily than most humans alive today can. If you have ever owned pets, especially pets of varying species, such as cats and dogs, then you have probably seen them interact with one another intuitively, or telepathically. If you think about your own interactions with a pet or a newborn baby, it is likely that you will be able to remember communicating in a way that had nothing to do with sound, sight, or touch – this was your intuition. The plant kingdom also uses intuition to communicate. Some inter-plant communication can be explained by events such as the chemicals that plants release during various stages of their life cycles, but much of the ways in which singular organisms making up eco systems communicate information with one another (as well as in groups) defies what we commonly see as “logical” knowledge.

Because humans have a more developed neocortex than most other beings alive on our planet, and because we utilize verbal language to communicate much of the time, intuition is likely to feel different for us than it does in the natural world…at least to our perception. However, intuition can be seen as very similar, if not identical, to what we call “instinct” in animals and plants. Butterflies spend multiple generations’ lifetimes in one yearly migration, and birds naturally know when to fly to more comfortable climates at various points throughout the year. Other animals know instinctively when to hunt, mate, and hibernate. Why wouldn’t we, as humans, be able to access this inherent knowledge? We are of this planet too. And yet, we are also fundamentally different from much of the animal kingdom on our world. The way that we can bridge these similarities, as well as these differences, is in identifying and understanding our intuitive capabilities.

Besides communicating with pets or babies, you have probably felt intuition bring you information in other ways over the course of your life. You have likely felt an excited feeling before receiving good news, or a foreboding feeling before receiving bad news. You might have thought of a friend that you haven’t communicated with in quite some time, only to have that friend contact you suddenly within the next few days. You may also have experienced dreams that predicted future events, or in which you are interacting with spirit guides, angels, deceased relatives, or living loved ones that are giving you information that you have no “logical” way of knowing that is later proven correct. All of these experiences are made possible through perfectly natural intuition.

Like many aspects of human experience, intuition is readily accepted by children. Most children are highly intuitive, although they may not speak 295679_431670446927349_803521032_nof their intuitive awareness because they do not hear others speak of it. It is also likely that conversations about intuition may not happen with or between children because it feels so natural to them that they have no need to discuss it.  When is the last time you heard a child speak about the nature of sight or the sense of touch? It probably hasn’t happened often, if at all. This is because children take their intuitive awareness for granted as another natural sense – that is, until they learn that this is something that is not accepted as a topic of conversation.
I have a foggy memory of being a little girl about four years old, and realizing quite consciously that I had to choose between interacting with the non-physical beings that I could easily perceive and being socially ostracized. I realized through comments made by my playmates that greeting and otherwise speaking with multidimensional friends made me seem weird or crazy, and so I chose to stop seeing my guides. I could not see them and ignore them, so I forced my mind to deny their very existence – and this is a sense that I’ve worked for years to get back.

The choice to not see multidimensional beings is not only one that comes from difficult social choices, however. A very gifted intuitive healer and friend of mine named Kimberly Cochrane had a beautiful baby girl not long ago. When Seraphina was a few months old, Kimberly noticed that she was often laughing, smiling, and happily playing with beings that Kimberly couldn’t see. Kimberly also noticed that often when an adult would lean over Seraphina, speaking to her, she would not look into the eyes of the person there, but she would look and seemingly communicate with someone invisible just above and/or behind whomever was speaking to her. Kim assumed that these were angels, or spirit guides, speaking to and playing with Seraphina in the same way that embodied humans do.

When Seraphina was about six months old, Kimberly noticed that the baby no longer interacted with beings that Kimberly could not see. We had a conversation about this shift, and we realized that although the adults around Seraphina in no way doubted the validity of her experience, she had still noticed and learned that these beings were ignored by everyone around her. So Seraphina began to ignore the beings as well, most of the time.

Seeing otherworldly beings can be likened to looking through a window at the world outside. When you focus on objects through the glass, the window pane seems perfectly transparent. However, once you notice the reflection of your own face or other objects on your side of the window shining back against the glass, the focus of your eyes shifts and you can easily see the reflection. Multidimensional beings, such as angels, guides, and ghosts (which are ordinarily either friendly or completely benign, minding their own business) are similar to the reflection on your side of that window – you must adjust your focus to see them, but once you do, they are relatively easy to perceive.

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Although angels and ghosts take up much of the topic of otherworldly awareness in stories and media, intuition is more than just communicating with multidimensional beings. Intuition can be utilized in gleaning valuable information about the world around us, much like hearing a traffic report, checking the weather forecast for the day, or receiving an itinerary for a trip. Intuition gives us another perspective on the events of our lives, gifting us with a greater sense of efficacy, fluidity, and conscious involvement with our experiences. Ancient cultures often not only believed in intuition, but utilized it fully, having men and women in the community who specialized in gleaning and interpreting intuitive information. These people where often called shaman or medicine men or women.

Developing intuition is not a difficult process, although it takes a good deal of mental and emotional focus in the beginning. Because intuition is a natural human sense, it does not need to be activated or gained. Instead, the blockages to perception that most of us have adopted over the course of our lives need to be cleared in order for us to fully identify and understand our own personal intuitive language. The first big hurdle to using intuition is in believing that intuition is “real” at all. This paradigm shift can be sped up by doing research on intuitive information that has been accepted by the modern world, such as the power of prayer and miracles recorded by religious institutions that the researcher respects. The second hurdle is in noticing one’s own intuition. Like the window’s reflection, intuition is often ignored or assumed to be imagination or a wandering mind. Keeping a journal of intuitive thoughts, feelings, and dreams especially help toward this effort. The journal should be reviewed every so often (perhaps each week or so) to see what intuitive awareness can be confirmed. After a substantial record has developed of your own intuitive “hits,” it becomes much easier to identify and accept the intuitive information that you are perceiving quite often, just below your conscious awareness.

Accessing and utilizing intuition is often a rewarding and fun exercise. Because intuition is a natural human sense, it can assist us in every area – relationships, businesses, hobbies, talents, and more. We are living in a time where people are noticing their intuition more than they have in hundreds, possibly thousands of years. At one time, people would have been persecuted harshly if they utilized their intuitive potential very much. These days, the application of intuitive abilities can range from career choices to party tricks, but like any sense, why would we choose not to use it?

531958_10103180291836481_882757345_nCharis Melina Brown serves as an ambassador to realms of  existence that our modern Western culture has denied the existence of in recent centuries.

She carries an MA in Transpersonal Psychology, and is the author of two books, Journal of a Starseed: Discovering the Real Worldand Instruction of a Starseed. She is a regular contributor for our Starseed corner at Chakra Center.

Charis has a beautiful website and YouTube channel, sharing all things blissful and metaphysical.  Check her out at the following links:

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/charisbrownmalloy

Website: http://www.charismelina.com/

EmBody Bliss: Beyond The Self: Relationships

EmBody Bliss

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It’s been a long time coming, as I walk my spiritual path, that I finally dared face my darkest shadow.  I was born a warrior, someone more interested in talking about what everyone else didn’t want to; the counter point, the stone turner, the way show-er.  I’m more interested in dissecting the “nitty gritty” just before the bliss of light and airy, but even my bravery has been brought to it’s knees.  Where did I find my darkest shadow?  Within relationship.

We all need a time of single soul searching.  In the beginning stages of soul searching, being single can be a highly effective experience.  When we retreat into the silence (or noise) of self-reflection, we can really tease apart what is going on inside.  Healing past co-dependence, we get a clearer picture of ourselves, and what we want for our lives. selflove Besides – on the path to awakening, we have plenty of cultural or familial belief systems to sift through; it’s understandable that we wish to venture alone sometimes.  Most of us have been conditioned to be someone other than what we truly are, and when we find contentment in being at one with ourselves – it’s freeing.  Finally, you can own your truth for what it’s worth to you and nobody else.  You can stand your ground and mean it.  You no longer allow yourself to be swayed, because you see your individuality as your sacred birthright.  This realization is vital, but it has it’s limits, so don’t get too cozy there.

Sometimes these walls of the “single shut out” can become far more than what you originally planned.  They can become hardened safety shells, formed on the idea that you will no longer let anyone hurt you, reject you, or mold you how they want you, ever again.  You may feel your vulnerability was to blame for your mold-ability, and so you become protected.  Now, I’m not suggesting that you let others mold you, but you cannot fully give or live your deepest gift from a partially protected heart.

I personally became a pathetic professional at being alone.  I would dip my feet into mediocre relationships, so I never had to face the pain of losing myself again.  Or even worse…face the fear of truly revealing myself, just to find that I don’t know myself at all.  I had hello-goodbye relationships to the point of self-embarrassment.  It was easier to explore the confines of my own mind, only as far as my mind had the ability to take me.  It was easier to stay OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAunchanged by the process of challenge and resolution that can arise in partnership.  It felt safer not opening my heart or legs to anyone.  I found just enough pleasure in my daily pursuits that allowed me to hide behind my yearning.  Massaging stranger’s bodies at work, devouring new health food recipes like I was making forbidden love, silent meditation, inspired journal entries, and nightly masturbation – was my specialty.  All of these things were wonderful at the time, but with eyes now, my heart was screaming one thing;  “I want connection!  There is more to me!”

We all have our excuses for not opening ourselves to the world or a lover.  It’s easier to not be pushed past the boundaries of who you think you are, but the further your pushed, more parts of you are discovered.  It’s easier to stand up to the challenge of your own mind, rather than a more uncharted challenge that a partner (better known as: your reflection) will draw out of you.  They will inevitably teach you the things you are blind to, if you will look.  After surrendering to love with a partner equally willing to journey, I have found that there is more to me than even I can see.  And I know you will find the same.

The relationship you have with yourself is the most important one you can have, and it will continue to grow for the rest of your life.   But once you have cultivated a stable relationship within, I encourage you to dive into the relationship you have with your reflections, and inevitably, with All That Is – for they always reveal your blind spots.

We are all One Spirit.  There is nothing to be scared of.  You are a glorious being in the mirror and beyond the relationshipmirror.  Limiting yourself to “The Self” is not natural to an infinite Soul expressing itself through many faces.  Every being holds a piece of you, and you them.  So if you truly seek the path of self-discovery … open yourself wide, connect with another, and give yourself to the world … and you will discover much more than The Self can conceive.

“Love brings up everything unlike itself for the purpose of healing and release.” ~ A Course in Miracles

Kierstie Leavitt is a passionate indigo, determined dreamer, curious cat, intuitive massage therapist, and energy worker.

Wednesday’s Wondrous World: Choice

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You would think with all that the world has to offer, choosing a wonder to share every week would be easy.

I mean, really, there is wonder around every bend, in every place, at every time to be discovered, explored and enjoyed.  And these wonders take on innumerable forms – man-made, natural, microscopic, ginormous, tangible, intangible and so on and so forth.

As such, today’s wonder of this wondrous world is choice.

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We humans have the incredible opportunity to choose our lives.  We can make any choice about any option.  We can choose our job, our car, our home, our friends, our location…you name it.  Life is all about choice.

Choice can take on an unbelievable number of forms.  Choice can be tangible and intangible.  Choice can be big or small.  Choice is all about options, and what we care to do with them.

Unfortunately, many people do not believe they have much choice.  They live life as life lives them, unable or even unwilling to believe that they have the ability to make choices.  You and I can choose so very many things for our lives, on so many levels.  Yet somehow, many cannot see this incredible wonder for what it is.

I cannot deny that some choices are hard.  Some choices are not without consequence, good or bad.  And while some choices can be brilliant, insightful and incredible, other choices may be stupid, selfish, and incorrect.  Nonetheless, we have the option, and the choices are ours to be made.

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We can choose what kind of a person we want to be.  Am I a generous, thoughtful, pleasant person or a stingy, thoughtless, mean person?  Do I choose to give or take?  Do I allow others to make me feel sad, or do I work to make myself and others feel happy?  So very many choices.

And choice is constant.  Every day I make choices, simple ones from when to get out of bed and what to have for lunch, versus more complex one, like whether to move to a foreign country or to choose a wholly new employment.  But there are always choices to be had, and there are always multiple options from which to pick.

Some people prefer to not make choices for themselves.  They far prefer to let others make choices for them.  And while small children are in many respects better off for the choices a parent makes for them, as adults we need to learn to be accountable, and to choose for ourselves.

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Choice should not be something to be feared – it should be celebrated.  Everyone wants different things, everyone has different motivations for their lives, and choice is a part of that.  What I choose in a given situation may be vastly different from what you might.  And this is not something bad or out of control as some might see it, but something amazing and fantastic about the human condition.

We are a unique animal in this world, capable of choice beyond the basics of food, shelter, selecting a mate and survival.  We can have, be, and do whatever we want to choose, if we are willing to make choices to bring us to where we desire to go.  Choice is not a bad thing at all, but a wonder to be embraced and exercised with zeal and enthusiasm.

Choice is one of the most amazing wonders of our wondrous world.  What choices, big and small, will you be making today?

 

Me 3-25-13 smallerI am MJ Blehart, author of “Wednesday’s Wondrous World”.  Every week I share a wonder of this amazing world, and I hope you will enjoy the journey with me!

Check out my blog, The Ramblings of a Titanium Don, for more of my work.  Every week I post on Wednesdays about Pathwalking, which is choosing how to live life, rather than let life live you.

Also now available, Pathwalking: A 21st Century Philosophy in Book and Kindle form!

Wednesday’s Wondrous World: Rainbows

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Why are there so many songs about rainbows and what’s on the other side?”  – Jim Henson’s Rainbow Connection.

People have found this wonder of nature astounding, mesmerizing, amazing, inspiring, and beautiful.  Rainbows have been the source for stories of bridges to other dimensions and pots of gold at their base.  Truly, one of our world’s wonders.

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The rainbow, we know from science, is caused when light passes through water droplets, usually when a rainstorm is followed by a sunlit break in the clouds.  It comes in the form of an arch across the sky, sometimes by itself, sometimes doubled, a spectrum of colors frequently including red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and deep purple.

No matter how many times I have seen a rainbow across the sky, I cannot just ignore its beauty.  It is graceful, colorful, and wondrous.  And it adds such a range of amazing colors to the sky.

Rainbows are visions, but only illusions, and rainbows have nothing to hide.”  – Jim Henson’s Rainbow Connection.

Not only have rainbows inspired songs, but they have inspired many works of fiction.  From leprechauns and their pots of gold to a means of travel between vast distances of time and space, rainbows can provide a great deal of inspiration.  Have you ever tried to chase down the base of the rainbow to find its beginning and end?  Great arch of color crossing the sky like nothing else in nature.

Rainbows have taken on other, more important meanings.  Rainbows have been used to symbolize hope, to express a unity of color and those things that supposedly make us different being one, whether that is race or sexual orientation or nationalism or what-have-you.  The rainbow and its separate but equal colors shows us how no matter our differences, all are part of the greater whole.  Rainbows are the ultimate symbolism of the oneness of everything, no matter how different its components might appear.

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Songs, stories, art, even various religions have explored the many hues of rainbows.  Different visions of the multi-colored wonder cause us to open our eyes to worlds of imagination.

There is a purity in the rainbow arcing across the sky.  It is the most simple expression of its various colors within nature itself, lighting up the sky in ways the sun and moon and stars cannot.  Rainbows give us nature’s colors in another manner akin to flowers, but loftier.

I defy you to not stop and observe the next rainbow you come across.  Truly, a natural wonder of our wondrous world.

Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection.  The lovers, the dreamers and me.”  – Jim Henson’s Rainbow Connection.

 

 

Me 3-25-13 smallerI am MJ Blehart, colorful author of “Wednesday’s Wondrous World”.  Every week I share a wonder of this amazing world, and I hope you will enjoy the journey with me!

Check out my blog, The Ramblings of a Titanium Don, for more of my work.

Also now available, Pathwalking: A 21st Century Philosophy in Book and Kindle form!

EmBody Bliss: Self Proclaiming Party

EmBody Bliss

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“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” – Joseph Campbell

To all the times you’ve let others eat at your own power.

To all the times you’ve denied your own intuition to follow the crowd.

To all the times you’ve changed your own opinion just to satisfy others.

To all the times you’ve been less than true to yourself to save someone hurt….

We take a step back.

In this retraction, we see the positive intention behind doing all of these things.  oneAn intention fueled by an innate love for others, and a natural desire to please and comfort others because we intuitively know we are One.

Unfortunately, we’ve forgotten the most important One in this scenario.  The One who is always there with you.  The One that moves as you, thinks as you, breathes as you, and is You.  The One who you have the opportunity to perceive the One through, at this time on Earth.

You are the most prized possession, and it’s about time you start acting like it.  It’s time you take yourself off the shelf, give yourself a good dusting, and see your vibrant colors shine through.  You don’t have to put yourself on a self to love others anymore.  The uninhibited, un-denied, full colored self is the most powerful creator there is, and if you want to start living your dream life, it’s time that you start living those colors.

As humans, we like to categorize people for our comfort.  compartWe like to reserve certain spaces for people in our lives, and whoever fits the molds – stays there.  It’s a control mechanism.  It helps us feel in control of our lives, by knowing what, where, and how someone is.  But when someone starts to shift and change, our ideas about them change, they become unknown to us, and they no longer fit into the limited mold we’ve put them in.  It starts to feel uncomfortable, sometimes too uncomfortable to accept.

Unfortunately, we also do this to ourselves.  We don’t give enough room for ourselves to grow out of the molds we’ve created.  We don’t let ourselves grow past the lives we’ve BEEN living, into the lives we only DREAM, because that may mean the loss of the only life you’ve ever known and the loss of the identity that you have with that life.  Our molds become our safety net, because we don’t know our future lives and selves yet – although they tempt us daily with their mystery.

It would benefit us to become okay with the temporarily uncomfortable feeling of not having a mold at all, and instead become a vessel moved to-and-fro by our inspiration.  There is found-ness within lost-ness – it’s called freedom.

Stop waiting for others approval of you, and start asking for your own.  Many people are nervous about being who they really feel they are.  Many people don’t believe in themselves until the world believes in them.  Many people are waiting for the world to proclaim them as something that we wish to be, or until they’ve shed enough blood, sweat, and tears to qualify for it.

But the only thing that matters is what you think about you, so I hereby invite you to my self-proclaiming party.  Tell yourself that you are what you want to be, and then plan for it.  If you have the inspiration backing it up, it’s likely that you are in alignment, and it will come to fruition.

Whatever it may be: an artist, a musician, a listener, a carpenter, a chef, a photographer, a healer, a queen, a magician, a oldmaidbotanist, a dancer, a lover, or a writer.  Maybe you decide to just embody a word: I am happiness – and live that everyday.  Maybe you ditch any labels at all and proclaim yourself to be nothing but everything.  Whatever fills you with life –be it. Because if it does fill you with life, that is the indicator that you are it!

As we welcome every part of us, we also welcome the changes that come, because they are putting us back on the path we intended – which may mean tearing away from familiarity.  It’s time to stop fighting against your current.  It’s time to give up trying.  The only thing that you came to do was be you, and you don’t have to try to do that.  Being you is the only thing you really know how to do.

Like a mother to her child, we are in the womb of the Universe.  We do not just go through one birth, but many – so allow them.  And allow others to have them too, even if that means a redefined relationship with them.  Surrendering our lives to trust in our path puts us back on the team of the All Knowing.earthwomb

We welcome the feeling of fluidity, we give up the attachment to being static and feeling the ground under our feet all the time.  We learn to feel comfortable in flight, in flow, disoriented yet oriented in trust and joy.

I dare you to be everything that you are, without fear!  I dare you to be you!