Saturday, September 29, 2012

How to Make a Lucky Penny

“See a penny, pick it up; then all day, you’ll have good luck.” We’ve all probably heard some version of the saying, and I bet many of us have picked up a penny or two from time to time, heeding the superstition.

In regards to a recent purchase, my change was some bills and one penny. I know a lot of people freely give their pennies to that small dish on the counter that may or may not display some type of catchy poem about how you should leave a penny because there may be a point in time when you are the one who needs a penny.

Well, I didn’t leave my penny in the dish.

I’m kind of a penny weirdo; I always have to check the year on pennies when I come into contact with them. The reason for this dates back to an incident that occurred to me several years ago, and I suppose by checking the pennies’ years, it is sort of a confirmation to me that I didn’t conjure up some fabrication of what actually occurred. (Maybe that story can be another post.)

So, even though I saw the little red penny tray there on the counter, and even though the thought flitted through my mind to toss it in there, the penny was a bit dingy so it took some time for me to make out the year, and since I typically try not to make a spectacle of myself (hey, I said ‘typically’), I wasn’t going to eye the little slab of copper right there at the counter. Naturally, I went on my way. After exiting the store, I was finally able to decipher the year: 1994. ‘94 was an awkward year, what with being a freshman in highschool and all, and I have no real emotional ties to that one. Clearly, this was just a regular old penny.

Usually, when I get to the car bearing loose change, I plunk my change into the little space in the dash; you know, my own little “Leave a penny...” tray, just in case I ever need one. But not this time.

I held this one tight as I walked to the car, and into it, I poured love. And before I flicked it onto the pavement, I prayed a hearty prayer for whomever will be the discoverer of said penny. I prayed for any troubles they may have to dissipate, for love and compassion to encompass their life, for their life to immediately improve, and for them to learn whatever it is they are here to learn so that soul growth results. The penny clanked against the asphalt, rolled a bit, wobbled, then came to rest. I gave it one last look, sending as much positivity as I could as I walked onward.

As I got into my car and started it up, I visualized a person finding it and taking a moment to stoop down to pick it up, and I imaged in my mind that person, eyes closed, sending an intention, a wish into the Universe after having discovered their lucky penny. And for those few seconds, I imagined their life being truly blessed.

Now, I’ve come across a lot of pennies on the ground in my day: shiny ones, dull ones, corroded ones, bent ones, ones with significant years, ones with years I’d rather forget. But today it occurred to me the possibility that any one of those pennies that I have discovered on the ground during this lifetime may not have been accidentally dropped (or placed there by a guide or angel or deceased loved one)... the possibility that somewhere along the line, there may have been another individual in the world who had the same instinct as I did and blessed a penny and sent it off with well wishes... the possibility that my life is such a beautiful one due to a stranger sending out a random prayer and positive intention.

Maybe, just maybe, the previous owner of one of my metal treasures sent a similar intention:

“That thou mayest have pleasure in everything,
seek pleasure in nothing.
That thou mayest know everything,
seek to know nothing.
That thou mayest possess all things,
seek to possess nothing.
That thou mayest be everything,
seek to be nothing.”

(-St. John of the Cross, The Ascent of Mount Carmel)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Earthing for Earthlings!

My spell-checker underlines the term with that red squiggly line, but I have a feeling it won’t forever, as “earthing” becomes more familiar to our society.

“Earthing involves coupling your body to the Earth’s eternal and gentle surface energies. It means walking barefoot outside and/or sitting, working or sleeping inside while connected to a conductive device that delivers the natural healing energy of the Earth into your body… (It) diffuses the cause of inflammation, and improves or eliminates the symptoms of many inflammation-related disorders…lowers stress and promotes calmness in the body…normalizes the body’s biological rhythms…protects the body against potentially health-disturbing environmental electromagnetic fields (EMFs)…” (Earthing, p. 10-11).

I had come across a reference to the book, Earthing: The most important health discovery ever? by Clinton Ober, Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., and Martin Zucker, and  was so moved by it that I ordered it. Now that summer has provided more free time for me, I have finally been able to begin to wrap my mind around it.

As I was reading it this afternoon, something struck me:  the difficult student who always had his shoes off. I don’t know how many times I tripped over those things throughout the course of the school year! I was OK with him taking his shoes off, if that made him more comfortable. When other kids would ask me if it’s OK to have their shoes off, my response would always be something to the effect of: “If your feet aren’t so stinky that they’re keeping a neighbor from learning, it’s fine by me!” This one student, though, never did ask; he just did it. And he did it every day. But why?

Now, let me paint a simple picture of said student. This kid was all over the place, all the time. I can handle a high-energy kid, but when you throw in bouts of disrespect for others and frequent negative attitude, then that rubs me the wrong way. He was my challenge this year. He was my “give an inch, take a yard” kid, but it was more like give an inch, take an entire football field! I loved him nonetheless. And I loved him even more deeply when I read what he wrote in my yearbook:
                 Mrs. Wright, I know we had our ups and downs, but you’re still the best teacher ever, and the only one so far who didn’t request for me to change classes…

Now, if that didn’t take my breath away and steal a piece of my heart, forever…

Every time I’d try to analyze this guy, my instinct always fell back to the idea that kids really are different these days; that they are here to change things up; to break down our current non-working systems in order to rebuild new ones, ones that work in partnership with our changing societal needs. That thought would help me muster patience, somehow (usually).

We all need it, but if there were some sort of scale to measure the degree of need in regards to grounding, he would definitely fall toward the end of the spectrum of most need, in my opinion. Could it have been a natural instinct for him to take his shoes off in order to ground himself? Maybe taking his shoes off was a coping mechanism. Maybe that was a way for him to center himself, naturally. I don’t know…but it’s something to ponder.

I’d been reading that book at the pool this afternoon, and when I got up to come back home, I began to slip my rubber-soled flip flops on, then thought better of it. My feet were much happier pressing into the grass instead of scooting along in my stiff shoe-coffins.  I think I need to make it a daily practice to let my feet embrace Mother Earth; I think we all do.

I hope we all will.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Let It Go

I was about to start this off by saying what a valuable lesson I have learned in this lifetime, but in all honesty, it’s a continual learning process for me…I relearn it all the time, as different “opportunities” present themselves:
As soon as you release something, it fixes itself.
Take tonight, for instance:
When I’d retrieved my phone to add an appointment to my calendar, I discovered that all my calendar entries were gone. Completely gone. My first instinct was to chuck my phone through the wall, but I held off. I breathed in; and I breathed out. I still wanted to take a sledge hammer to it, as my phone has been doing these types of things lately, and it’s disconcerting, to say the least. Instead, I chose to release it, as I wondered if maybe it was a sign to not be so attached to appointments and to not be so caught-up in the future; maybe it was pressing me to live in the Now…which it did.
I let it go. I told myself that whatever it was that was on my calendar will resurface if it’s important enough. I cut it loose. And lo and behold if I didn’t restart my phone to find my calendar was restored!
Would it have been restored even if I hadn’t had that mindset, even if I hadn’t “let it go”? Maybe; maybe not. I could pick petals out of a flower all day long and still be uncertain. But it sure felt right, knowing I could let it go and not be stressed; to live in the moment, with true assuredness that everything unfolds exactly as it should. Because it does. It always does.
How smoothly would things flow if I could do that all the time?
I’m on it.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The I LOVE Project: A Pantheistic Perspective

It all started with the pantheist…
It was many years ago, when I was living in Iowa, that I’d gone to breakfast with family after church service. Our waiter was the most interesting fellow. He was jolly, good-natured, and actually sat down to converse with us, which is not common for wait staff to do, at least in my own personal dining experiences. He just seemed to generally love people…and life!
I was truly inspired by this waiter…this man who introduced a term to me that summed-up my inner knowing about religion and spirituality, yet I hadn’t known there was a word for it: pantheism. (Encarta dictionary states: 1. belief that God is everything…the belief that God and the material world are one and the same thing and that God is present in everything.)
And another source:pan·the·ism
the doctrine that God is the transcendent reality of which the material universe and human beings are only manifestations: it involves a denial of God's personality and expresses a tendency to identify God and nature.
any religious belief or philosophical doctrine that identifies God with the universe.
The night before receiving Tao, I read the Tao Te Ching, and it spoke to my soul on so many levels. So simple, yet complete. It’s like a part of me shouted, “I know this!” as though it’s familiar, yet there’s a certainty that I’ve never heard anyone speak of it, at least not in that way, at least not in this lifetime.
Receiving Tao was a very spiritually uplifting experience for me. I was filled with awe, and my master was a gentle man with kind eyes. He just looked…well, happy; genuinely happy.  The experience left me with an overwhelming sense of gratitude. And just thinking of how this sacred practice reached me is breathtaking; the paths that led me to that specific juncture in life… the paths I’d taken that led me to right there, right then; and how I got to right here, right now. Life’s web of events is amazing, and all that I just said doesn’t even begin to touch on the expansive miracle that it is!

“Just realize where you come from; this is the essence of wisdom.” (Ch. 11)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The I LOVE Project: Energy Cleansing Baths

It gets harder and harder in today’s world to stay balanced. So much gets us out of kilter. The running back and forth, the deadlines, the energy vampires that surround us (you know – those people that just suck your energy straight from your essence). It’s so important to cleanse – yes, the physical body, but the aura/energy field, too – in order to regain a state of centeredness, so as to function at one’s best.
I’m not 100% certain which book or blog or article or entity I picked this up from, but I am so thankful that I came across it, and even more thankful that I make it a part of my routine, even if only on a monthly basis when I really could use it weekly (or more!). I’ve done this enough to where I’ve come up with my own rituals, and it is so helpful in cleansing my energy field, putting me in a better mood, helping me de-stress, and it’s great for my skin, too; the benefits are amazing.
Here’s what I do:
Run a hot bath; sprinkle a box (1 lb) of baking soda into the water. Use that same box and fill it with Epsom salt (I have used plain and I’ve also used lavender for a calming effect– both are great!), pour about half of the salt into the bath and get in, and then I pour the rest over my body. (It helps to already be wet, as the salt will then stick to the skin.) I do this so I can use some of the salt as an exfoliant. Rub the salt into the skin, gently, especially on the arms and legs; I’ve noticed that the more tender areas, like the stomach, etc., can get a little irritated, but the irritation doesn’t last long (at least, for me), so see what works best for your body.
I set the intention to be cleansed in body, mind, and spirit, as I believe that makes a big difference in the positive effects of this practice. I often think of an old prayer from back in my Catholic Church days: “…wash away my inequities and cleanse me from my sins…” so I’ll include that, but I’ll also say a personal prayer of my own.  Then, I lie back and relax for about 15 minutes or so.
There are a few things I do to enhance the experience. First of all, when I submerge my ears, I can hear my heartbeat, and it makes for a beautiful meditative experience. It reminds me of drums, and my imagination drifts to a spiritual drumming ceremony, and that, to me, is calming and invigorating, at the same time. I’ve also taken these cleansing baths with a meditation station playing on Pandora, and that’s also nice, but often just the sound of my own heartbeat is what I need for serenity to take over. And if any other sounds resonate throughout my home or seep into my home from an outside source, instead of allowing them to distract me from my moment of peace, I allow them to play along with the heartbeat drum, creating a harmonic tune. Breathe as deeply and slowly as possible.
I will also occasionally roll my knees from one side to the other, for a few spinal twists. In addition to that, by rolling the head from side to side, with the head on the back of the tub, it not only massages the head itself, but helps to loosen the neck muscles, as well, which proves to be very relaxing.
When I’m finished soaking, I run the shower and rinse with cool water; the contrast in temperature is just plain awesome!
Be careful in getting out; I’ve found that I’m often so relaxed, that I’m light-headed. I grab a towel and lay it on the bed and lie down in a relaxation pose. Lying on the back, imagine what one’s arms do when someone says, “Stick ‘em up!”, with the arms forming a 90 degree angle: put your arms in that position, and breathe deeply and slowly, and just relax, eyes closed.
This is seriously one of the most remarkable experiences; no lie! Next time you’re feeling the need to unwind, I highly recommend this energy-cleansing bath!
You owe it to yourself.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The I LOVE Project: Tag! You’re It!

Yes, my husband and I still play Tag (although, with today's kids, it has evolved into "Infected" but it's the same idea). It can get pretty competitive, actually…I will even chase him out the door in my robe in the morning, if I have to, in order to maintain the title. Heck, I’ve nearly run after him wearing less that that! I know that we could probably rename the game Who is Feeding-Into Their Ego the Most Right Now? but it’s still pretty fun.
The game was on full-force earlier this evening, when I was trying to write my blog post, so that’s why I’m still up, later than I want to be, in order to meet my writing goals for the day. I’ll probably be tired tomorrow. I might be on the cranky side until my tea or Spark kicks in. And I may even have a “bad-hair” day.
But guess what?...
I won!

A Giant Shift Toward Callousness?

I don’t normally “surf” the net, I don’t typically flip through TV channels in attempts to find something to entertain me, and I usually try not to spend too much time doing any one thing, in general, in order to maintain balance: moderation, right?! (That is a continual life lesson for me.) I’ve usually got something on my agenda that keeps me from downtime. But, tonight, I took time to read through Facebook status updates, and in doing so, I came across a video someone had linked that I thought would probably be funny, and hey, who doesn’t like a good laugh now and then? A video I stumbled upon was of teachers being silly, dancing behind students as the students were “being interviewed”. It was obviously in good fun, and, personally, I hold a deep appreciation for the teacher who brings humor into the picture. It was entertaining, to say the least, as these (mostly) older males shook their groove-thangs, unbeknown to the serious-minded interviewees at the forefront. This good-natured, crafty wit got a giggle and a grin out of me, which is more than I can say for the comments on the page.

I'm afraid that the ability to speak out anonymously induces cold, distant, hard-heartedness in others. People can comment on blogs, videos, etc., namelessly, without ever having to own-up to what they are putting out there. Sometimes it is really disheartening to read others' comments; the rudeness and hatefulness exudes a certain negative energy that makes the pit of my stomach go hollow… and the energy that that type of behavior puts out there is difficult for me to balance. As a result, there is a virtual wall that is put up as far as responsibility goes, but the pain inflicted is real and detrimental to the overall wellbeing of all of us, collectively. And “we reap what we sow” is in no way a consolation to me because more and more, I have to wonder if the one major life lesson I believe we are all here to accomplish is an endless labyrinth.

Unconditional love is, in and of itself, a difficult task, but outwardly shaming others pushes all of us further away from that ultimate goal.

Karma is eternal.

Love and be loved.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The I LOVE Project: Snail Mail

Internet is great and all, and yes, it appeases our need for immediate gratification, and it does serve its purpose, but there’s nothing like a good, old-fashioned letter or package that you can physically hold onto. It’s not often that I open my mailbox to find something that doesn’t make me groan or roll my eyes, so that makes it all the more special when I do. I love receiving things in my mailbox from people I care about and with whom the feelings are reciprocated, and it really is nice to be on the receiving end of thoughtful gestures. Lately, I’ve been getting lots of graduation invites, which is, in its own fashion, just another form of solicitation, but at least it’s from people I’ve actually encountered and know.  I’d rather it be them beseeching than AT&T or Visa; in the former, at least I have actually heard words out of the mouth of the person who licked the stamp, aye?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The I LOVE Project: The Dryer in Shining Armor

At a young age, I was scarred by the iron. Not literally scarred, as in, I burned myself, but scarred in the figurative sense. I’d gotten the iron out (without permission, what?!) as I’d wanted to iron my favorite dress: my beautiful…white...lace... dress. Well, just so you know, hot irons and lace don’t play well together, come to find out.
 I remember running, crying to my mother, bringing her back into the room where the lace had melted onto the face of the hot iron, half expecting her to be mad, but she wasn’t. I’m sure she wasn’t exactly happy about it, but she was probably more relieved that I hadn’t gotten hurt or burned the house down, and she also seemed empathetic; I was pretty upset.
Maybe it was that moment from my past that instilled unto me this colossal dislike for ironing. After all, why would I risk such heartbreak when I can just toss a shirt into the dryer and have the dryer fight the battle for me?! It’s as though I can defeat the dark forces of Wrinkle Kingdom without having to step foot onto the battlefield!
Bring it!
I love getting wrinkles out of clothes without having to get the iron down. I just love it.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The I LOVE Project: Nature Signs: The Dove

I can’t exactly put my finger on the point in time when I began to realize the potential in the messages sent by Mother Nature. Animal Speak by Ted Andrews is one of a few references I use to help shine light on this. Aborigines have revered this for thousands of years, heeding messages from Spirit, and sometimes the thought runs through my head that it just may be one of the many crucial things Man has forgotten.
Although I’m no expert in using animal signs to provide me with feedback and guidance, I have become more effective in being aware of and deciphering such messages... Or at least, the being aware part; the deciphering bit often still throws me, but I continue to learn.
One such message I feel came to me, recently, loud and clear, happened when I was walking through the near-empty hallway of my place of employment. It had been a pretty rough day (the same day I was thankful to have and to use a leave-early pass!). The kids were bickering nonstop, and anyone who knows me well, knows I abhor listening to people argue. For some reason, the kids were also not following instructions, and I am not a fan of repeating myself (I've about played-out the "broken record" technique this year!), nor am I a fan of wasting time. On top of that, other things arose that day that were simply adding weight to and bending the proverbial camel’s back – it was about to snap!
So, like I said, I was walking down the hallway, with a scene playing through my head about how I was going to handle a certain situation that had arisen and needed immediate attention. It was as though I was going through the options in one of those choose-your-own-ending books, and I wasn’t particularly fond of any of the options, when I heard a loud THUD on the glass window leading out to the courtyard. Confused, I looked around, and I walked over to look out into the courtyard to investigate the noise. That was where I discovered the dove, sloppily making his way upward and out of the courtyard area. I said a prayer for its well-being and my mind drifted to the likelihood of that happening right as I was walking by: slim chances, right?
I think there are messages all around us that we are blind to, and over the past several years, especially, I have been attempting to become more aware of such signs. We are a part of a complex universe, one that is not merely 2- or even 3-dimensional. The Universe speaks to us on many levels, all the time.
So, what might the message have been, for me? Immediately, it seemed pretty cut-and-dry: the dove is a symbol of peace, and what I was feeling at that moment was far from serenity. So this dove, this symbol of peace, at the perfect moment, slams into a window, quickly gaining my attention. That’s what I felt like, right then, right there: I felt like my peaceful being had been smashed into a wall, disoriented. And I can’t live like that, being in a place where I react from lower vibrational levels; I need to instead be one who responds from higher vibrational energy levels. It’s my duty, my obligation. But it’s also my hope and my desire, and it is a vital aspect of the path that leads me to be the person I want to become.
In further research on the dove (using that Animal Speak book I mentioned earlier), Ted Andrews teaches that the dove is “…the embodiment of the maternal instinct…” and that, to him, the mourning dove would always “stir a sense of promise.” He also mentioned that, as a ground feeder, the dove is also “reflective of keeping contact with Mother Earth and the creative possibilities of the feminine energies on Earth” and that it “can help you to use these times to see the creation process active within your own life.” And, finally, he said, “…awaken to the promise of the future. It is a bird of prophecy and can help you to see what you can give birth to in your life.”
These were messages I truly needed at that moment in my life. I’m appreciative of the messages I actually pay attention to. Just think of all the ones that I miss. What a shame.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The I LOVE Project: Leave-Early Passes

Is it summer yet? I mean, seriously… the kids need it, I need it; it’s time.
I am so fortunate to have a stellar boss; I offer gratitude for her on a regular basis. Jeans passes and leave-early passes have a certain sanctity about them, and she doles them out on occasion, and I tend to store them like a chipmunk storing acorns for the winter.
Well, guess what, buddy?! It’s wintertime! 'Time to use those acorns!
I needed one of those leave-early passes today; it provided nourishment for my soul and my sanity.
Thank you, God, and my boss, for leave-early passes!

Reunited with the Flame

When I first learned about the candle exercise, I didn’t exactly believe its promises. But I soon came to learn that it kept up its end of the bargain, and then some.

For ten minutes daily, I would concentrate on a flame, conducting a type of open-eye meditation. I was doing it mainly because it was assigned to me in a course I was taking; unbeknownst by me, the results would prove to be magnificent.
Before engaging in the practice, I constantly felt scattered. Especially with the nature of my job, things just never seem to be done. I would be working and working and look up at the clock only to realize I’d run short of time and would have to continue the task at a later time, which was frustrating, to say the least. However, after being faithful in the candle meditation practice, I started to realize I’d be working and working and look up at the clock and realize, after finishing a task, that I still had extra time! How could this be?!
I began to realize this more frequently, until finally, I couldn’t deny the connection: by being an active participant in the candle meditation exercise, I was actually creating more time in my day, so to speak. In being fully present in the task, in being able to put my whole self into it, truly concentrated, I found that I could complete undertakings more quickly, more efficiently.
When I’d decided to discontinue the course I’d been taking, the one thing I truly regretted was that I’d ceased this priceless practice, as well, and even though I thought of The Candle often, especially as I started to realize I’d once again become scattered and was not utilizing my time and energy to the fullest, I still did not muster-up the discipline to bring this practice back into my life…
Until today.
Today, after practicing yoga, I’d begun to meditate, and something kept calling me to light a candle and to perform a candle meditation, so I did.
I was reunited with the flame; the mysterious flame I’d once built a relationship with, the flame who had remained loyal to me and to my efforts in my daily routines, the flame that I’d abandoned for unknown reasons.
Meditating on the flame, today, not only rekindled waning embers, sparking much-needed rejuvenation within me, yet it also instilled a sense of hope, a sense of empowerment.
Today, I was reunited with the flame, and I hope we never part ways again.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The I LOVE Project: Straight Park Jobs

I can’t, to save my life, park my semi-new car straight on the first try. I don’t get it. I have never had this problem.  I’ve had the car since the day after Christmas 2011, and I still can’t park it worth a hoot.  There are times when I get back to my car and actually say aloud, “Wow. Nice park job there, Cate…” because it is so pitiful. I think I actually hope people around me hear me say it so they know I acknowledge this fault I’ve developed after driving for…how many years?
I will say that, when my husband and I were downtown a couple weeks ago for an art fest, I was driving, and the first available spot was one in which I needed to parallel. I was nervous about it, as I had to park quickly due to cars approaching me from behind. But by golly if I didn’t get ‘er square-on, the first try! It was perfect! I should have taken a photo! My husband even complimented me on it!
That was pretty much the only time I succeeded in parking my car straight.
 I’ll take it.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The I LOVE Project: Brand New Bicycle - A Haiku

I do think of you,
In the garage, so lonely;
Brand new bicycle.

I rode you one time
Alongside the wind, so free;
Behind the bike store

I paid good money
Out of my savings account
For you just to sit.

Beautiful bike,
You might not believe me but
I do think of you.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The I LOVE Project: Nightmares

I know, I know: what sane person would love nightmares, right?! Well, first of all, I never claimed to be sane… Aside from that, if you look at it from the standpoint that the purpose of dreams is to acquire crucial messages that help move one through life on a path leading to your soul purpose, then I believe that one should love the “bad” ones just as much as the “good” ones.
The last weekend in April was Dream Awareness Weekend, and I went to a gathering where we had a potluck and sat around a fire discussing dreams and enjoying each other’s company. At that time, I voiced aloud that I hadn’t had a nightmare in years – which was true. I find it interesting that, over the course of the week following that event, I had nightmares! What’s that about?!
And even though there were several nights that following week that I awoke with that anxious, scared feeling commonly associated with a frightful dream experience, I do still love the fact that my subconscious mind is making such an effort to get my attention. That is, afterall, my understanding of what nightmares are: the subconscious mind shaking the dreamer, saying, “Listen up! You need to hear this!” But what was the message, exactly? I’m still slightly befuddled.
I’ll glance back at my dream journal and share the gist…

The nightmares /unpleasant dreams began on May 3.
On May 3: My nephew-in-law was pounding on the back door of the house I grew up in, clearly upset, stormed in and grabbed my arm, saying, “Oh no you didn’t!” I sensed that he was upset because I’d “liked” a photo on Facebook that showed him kissing the cheek of his friend’s girlfriend, and my “liking" it brought it to the attention of my niece, his wife, who was very upset about it. In the living room, my family was playing games together, and after a while, I realized my niece was still in the bathroom, probably upset, so I decided to stop playing and go find her to talk to her about what was going on. This dream left me with an uneasy feeling.
In a subsequent dream, I was in a tall building, looking out the window, down at this gal who sat on the edge of a couch or cement stool-type-thing on the sidewalk, and she would lean her torso 90 degrees and spin around in circles, super-fast, many times in a row. This had something to do with a newsroom or TV station.
On May 4: Something physically unpleasant was happening to me. I was screaming, or maybe I was trying to but couldn’t. When I awoke, I wasn’t screaming but it was as though I was trying to – I was relieved that I wasn’t actually screaming! I felt like I was trying to get away from something or someone threatening. I believe I was in an unfamiliar house. I had later recollections of a garage and a car. In a dream following that, my husband and I were in some type of Amazing-Race-like competition and I’d begun to grow concerned for one of the teams, as they hadn’t arrived at the meeting place (house) where we were all supposed to meet up. I was relieved when I saw their vehicle outside. My husband’s brother had arrived, and I kept thinking how it must have been driving him crazy that the place was so messy. I especially recall the bathroom, how there were jars and containers all over the counter, namely jars of hand soap. I was in the living room talking to others when I looked up and noticed a car that was heading toward the living room. It was a black vehicle and I don’t think anyone was in it but a man was running beside it, as though he wanted to stop it but was unable to. It crashed through the living room. I was flabbergasted as to how that could possibly happen, and I remember thinking the guy running next to it must have been an idiot.
In regards to these nightmares, the one thing I can truly piece together was that, that week, I was completely burning the candle at both ends, and I feel like I wasn’t getting enough rest, and of course, in order to be a conscious dreamer, one must get plenty of rest. I feel like the car crashing through the house was a sign that if I don’t take proper care of my body, my mind will collapse, or at least become damaged in some way.
Dreams since have not been nightmares, but I’ve also been getting more rest and finding more of a balance with things. Maybe that was the message my subconscious was sending to me. Message received!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The I LOVE Project: Popcorn and Grandma Riley

Grandma Riley used to have popcorn for dinner on Sunday nights while she watched reruns of the Lawrence Welk show. Dad and I would usually go over and visit her on those nights; the buttery, salty popcorn would linger in the air while we sat in her small, dimly-lit den. I never ate popcorn much in those days; now it’s a staple in my diet. I typically like to have chocolate with it. It’s especially scrumptious when I’ve got some peanut m&ms  to toss in there; the hot popcorn softens the chocolate on the inside of the candy shell, and it's a perfect mix of salty and sweet. Yum! Every time I make popcorn, I think of Grandma Riley and those visits Dad and I paid her. So, when I enjoy a bag of popcorn in my home these days, not only do I get a healthy snack, but I also get a dose of nostalgia: healthy for the body, happy for the soul.
I love popcorn, and I love Grandma Riley.

The I LOVE Project: Luna

I can remember, as a young child, sitting on the stoop outside the house, gazing up at the moon, promising myself that I would go there someday. I wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to get there, and I’m still not exactly sure how that will happen, but I continue to put that energy out there, in attempts to be proactive in the creation of my life, in bringing sweet wishes to fruition (which we all have the power to do).
I’m not really certain of the origination of my connection with the moon, although I know it’s a well-rooted one. There’s a part of me that wonders if it’s due to the fact that the moon is one of the few things unchanging – or at least minimally changing – in this world; so, if reincarnation is an actuality, from lifetime to lifetime, maybe I recognize its bold, familiar face and immediately am lured-in by its mighty grasp.
Tonight, we have a “super” full moon:  it’s the closest it’ll be to Mother Earth all year long; her sinew resonating throughout our galaxy, even more so than usual.
I’ve heard that they are building a transportation device that one can use to venture to the outskirts of Earth’s atmosphere to about the point where one becomes weightless, and then turn around. Sounds pretty cool to me; I mean, just imagine the awe-struck feeling you would have by participating in that. And hey, it’s only, like, $200k! For the price of a pretty darn decent house (depending on where you live), you can take one trip to space and back! … I’m hopeful that, before I leave this place, they’ll lower the price and extend the distance…quite a bit farther…say, to about the nose of the Man in the Moon – and give us general folk a taste of that fabulous wonder!
(*Note: this was written on Cinco de Mayo 2012; posted on the 6th.)

Friday, May 4, 2012

The I LOVE Project: A Child's Laughter

The more I hang out with my three-year-old great-niece, the more it makes me want to work with younger children again. Her curiosity is invigorating; her vitality, powerful and contagious. But most of all, I love her laugh. I love laughter in general; it’s one of my favorite sounds. But the laughter of a small child makes my soul flutter.
I’m grateful for these joys life allows; these simple yet crucial things. The sound of a youngster laughing can kiss proverbial boo-boos until they are all better. That type of playful laughter can help us trace back the roots of who we truly are, help us recall where we came from: the place of Pure Love.
If Pure Love itself has a sound, I’d bet it’s the reverberation of giggles coming from deep within the belly of an innocent child.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The I LOVE Project: The Internet

Seriously, what did people do before the World Wide Web? I use it for everything. Here I am, Betty Crocker, Jr., (NOT!) getting my icing ready for my cookie decorating class that I have this evening, when I’m faced with a conundrum: it calls for 1 pound of powdered sugar, yet I don’t have a scale, and the bag I have was once a 2-pound bag, before I used some of it, so it’s not like I can just halve it! So what do I do? I open a Google search engine page and lo and behold, within seconds, I have my answer: one pound of powdered sugar is 3 ¾ cups. Who knew?!

Now…is that sifted or un-sifted?!

Back to Google I go.

I love you, Internet!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The I LOVE Project: Compliments

Today after school, I went to the copy room to get a few things done, and on my way out, I heard my principal call after me, so I stepped into her office. Her reason behind the summons was to inform me that someone had been "bragging" on me: "Is Catie always so sweet?" (By the way, the answer is NO, unfortunately!) We chatted for a few minutes, and I thanked her for going out of her way to point that out. "Well, we all need to hear good things," she stated. And she is so right. We all do need to hear what we are doing right. In my opinion, too often, people only speak up when they notice something of which they don't approve.

My principal’s choice of action carried over to influence my own actions, later on in the day. I'd stopped off to grab a bite to eat before heading to the store to get some last-minute items, and at the restaurant, I was admiring this lady's hair. I was trying to not be a stalker, but at the same time, nonchalantly inspect her hair, in attempts to figure out whether she’d braided the piece in front or twisted it before pulling it back. It was so cute! I’d bantered with myself about whether to comment to her about it. “I’ll sound like a weirdo,” nearly won the debate, as it often has in the past, but in the end, on my way out, I decided to go ahead and allow her to think I’m strange, and I told her, in passing, how adorable her hair was. Since, I’ve pondered how many times I’ve kept myself from paying positive comments out of fear of sounding odd or possibly sounding like a kiss-up.

My ego wonders if I possibly influenced her to pay it forward. *winky face*

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

In Your Dreams, Pal!

 I hold a deep curiosity for dreams and a great desire to learn how to use them in my waking life in order to guide me to be the best that I can be in all that I Am and in all that I am to become.

I have known for ages that dreams are paramount. I’ve realized the importance of dreams since I was a child. As a matter of fact, I recently came across an old tape on which I had recorded diary entries, and on that tape, I mentioned my dreams! This was astonishing as I listened to my ten-year-old-self report on dreams, as I hadn’t realized that this innate knowing traced back so far. I remember telling people in high school how I wanted to do a dream study, and how I thought that it would change the world! The tricky part is getting people to commit. And before people will commit to such a study or activity, I’d think they’d also have to believe information found within dreams is vital. But even for people who already hold this belief, it takes dogged commitment to log your dreams upon waking, on a regular basis. But I believe that anyone who does so will find tremendous growth within them, and discover answers they’ve longed for, or perhaps even answers regarding things they didn’t even know they had questions about!

Dreams were how E=mc2 was discovered. Dreams are the reason Frankenstein came into existence (well, the book, anyway). Dreams explain the invention of the sewing machine needle. Dreams have guided generals in wars as well as artists (ohhh Dali!) and visionaries such as Ghandi. Think about biblical figures and how they used dreams for guidance. What about Mark Twain? Yep, dreams played a part there, too. Think about Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad…she was so successful because she listened to her dreams.

Why would we deny ourselves of such greatness? Why would we suppress conscious evolution when we could choose to assist in human evolution by listening to that part of ourselves that only knows Truth: our Higher Self? Of course we don’t want to decline this guidance, but we are still so in the dark about so much. Too often, we don’t pay attention to the signs we receive in order to advance along the path of our soul’s purpose. And I feel that if too many of us refuse this aid, we are only suffocating ourselves and causing our collective consciousness to be stagnant. (And you remember how I feel about stagnancy, right?!)

The next time someone says to you, “…in your dreams!” I suggest taking it as a compliment, as that is where your power truly lies.

The I LOVE Project: Red Velvet Cake

First of all, I'd like to throw out there how glad I am that I decided to publicize things I love on a daily basis. I try to give thanks for things on a daily basis, but planning for a blog post makes me even more conscious of the act. All day today, I bounced back and forth from one thing to another, wondering which would make the headlines. *drum roll*... For today's daily dose of gratitude, hands-down, Red Velvet Cake takes the cake! (No pun initially intended!)

Last night, I had to run to the store to get a few items for a cookie bouquet class I'm taking, and as I was walking to the check-out line, I passed a table that was advertising huge pieces of cake for $1. Lo and behold, red velvet with cream cheese icing was one of the selections -- my fav! (The only thing that would have made it better would have been if it were the kind that had chocolate chips mixed in!)

Of course I had to eat 1/2 of it last night as soon as I got home, and no joke, my mouth was literally watering as I opened it. It was so moist and the icing was perfect.

Walking from the car to the apartment this afternoon, I still hadn't decided which of the many things I'd pondered would be my one thing to write that I love, but when I saw the cake sitting on the counter, I had my answer! Because I truly do, in fact, LOVE red velvet cake! And yes, I devoured it just before writing this post, and yes, I actually closed my eyes and put my hands in prayer position at my chest and gave thanks as I was swallowing the last bite. Yummy!

Monday, April 30, 2012

The Dude

So, I finally met the neighbor across the hall, face-to-face, a couple days ago. She seems very cool. Just to give you an idea of just how cool she is, on New Year’s Eve, we just so happened to be walking up to our apartment as she was pulling into the lot, with her radio blasting “Bust A Move” by Young M.C.  Oh yeaaahh! I was immediately intrigued, as that is one song that pumps me up; always has, probably always will. J Heck, I’ll probably be an 85-year-old granny performing karaoke to it at my grandson’s wedding reception or something. Ah, life aspirations… J

At any rate, a couple days ago, I was outside, enjoying the weather and reading some articles on my phone, when she came home and got her dog out of her apartment to take him downstairs to do his business. Her dog ran right up to me so I was petting him while we struck up your typical boring first-conversation small-talk. We got the basics out of the way: name, workplace, amount of time living in the complex, and of course the fact that her dog’s name is The Dude. (Which made her even cooler, that she named her dog after a term I gleefully overuse, not to mention after a character in one heck of a movie: The Big Lebowski!) Oh, and in that small-talk convo, I told her that I’d found a key on the ground in the corridor, not long before our encounter, and asked if it might be hers. (I didn’t do any deep investigation where I tried it out on any of the other doors that share our corridor, as I thought that would be slightly creepy! I simply put it in a safe place and figured I’d ask the neighbors, later (as neither answered when I knocked immediately after discovering the key).

Last night, there was a knock on my door. I was surprised, as we don’t typically get our door rapped. Lo and behold, it was the spunky, fashionable neighbor girl who blares “Bust A Move” and named her dog “The Dude”.

“You wouldn’t happen to still have that key, would you? I think it might be mine, afterall.” I got it out and gave it to her for her to try on her storage closet. Unfortunately, it was not a match. But while she attempted the key in the lock, The Dude escaped, bee-lining straight into my apartment!

“Duuude!” she hollered. He ran around through the kitchen and around to the living room, darting this way and that, until she and I and my husband were all trying to corner the little pistol. My husband was the first to snatch him, but as he grabbed him, he shrieked, “He’s peeing!” She snatched him up, with his wang pointing straight at us, her face flush as she apologized probably ten times as she rushed toward the door, and all the while, I was cracking up, telling her it’s all good.

My husband was still in shock and rushed in the bathroom to wash his hands, then made his way into the kitchen to dig around for carpet cleaner, and finally removed his pee-stained t-shirt, after realizing there were urine traces there, as well! Priceless.

I guess it could have been worse: The Dude could have made a doodie!

The I LOVE Project

One thing I think is of utmost importance is gratitude. When I go through phases in my life where thankfulness is at the forefront of my mind, not only do I notice that I feel a lot better, but I have also recognized the fact that things fall into place a lot more, and that they go much more smoothly during those times.

Unfortunately, I have noticed that it often takes some type of downfall for me to realize what I have to be thankful for. But these days, I attempt to be more proactive, and to acknowledge all of the beautiful gifts this life provides me. (They truly are countless!) Have you ever had such an overwhelming sense of gratitude that you could feel its bubbly presence in your gut? Or maybe it made a tear sneak up on you? It’s really quite an amazing feeling. Oftentimes, I get that feeling when I am outside; sometimes in the early morning, just before leaving for work, when the sun isn’t quite up yet and the only sounds are ones Nature creates, when Prana fills my lungs to the brim. Other times, in the evenings, especially lately, I get the same feeling when the sky is clear and the stars and moon and planets are bursting through the black curtain of Night. Nature is amazing.

I want to make a point to be truly grateful for things daily, and each day, I want to post one thing that I truly love; hence THE I LOVE PROJECT. I would love for you to be a part of this with me, and to visit this site and also post one thing a day that you truly love, so we can pool our gratitude together. (I bet we will see amazing results!) Or maybe you’d rather write it in a private journal or on your PC or phone. Either way, I feel that writing it down sets into motion the wheels of good things to come: the more gratitude you show, the more you will have to be grateful for! Try it!

So, here goes #1, for me:

I love…stepping out of a hot shower and opening the linen closet and feeling the cool air contrast with my warm skin. Alongside that, I love lying on the cool sheets of a freshly-made bed after getting out of a hot shower; it’s one of the most relaxing things I’ve experienced. This provides for me a state of relaxation, a break from the chaotic rat race, a perfect, momentary balance in life. I love. <3

Sunday, April 29, 2012

29: Embracing Change

We all have a story. We just have to decide whether or not to tell it, and determine the right time to tell it if we so choose. For me, the answer is yes, and the time is now. I've had a lot of experiences in my life, and I believe that keeping our experiences to ourselves results in unlearning; stagnancy. And stagnancy is a death sentence, if you ask me. I hope for this blog to be a continuous, cyclical avenue of learning and growth, and one of Truth; one where the teaching and learning flows to and from all who come into contact with it, ceaselessly.

I have been building this blog in my mind for a long time now, yet I've been afraid to actually create it. Afraid? you may wonder, since "fear" can be a pretty harsh word, and an even more harsh experience to endure. But, yes, afraid. Fear of being imperfect. Fear of not measuring up to my expectations. Fear of mistakes. Maybe even fear of judgment.

I am Libra, and on that fence I shall ride for the duration of my current existence; whether I like it or not, it's an integral part of who I Am. I've learned that I tend to steer away from commitment; finalities sort of freak me out just a tad, if you want the truth. So it's been hard to actually physically build this blog, as I've got so many different ideas for it, so many things I want to share, so many ways I could approach it, and so many different things I could actually center it around. But here I am, tucking Fear and Hesitation inside a little knapsack, as I'm ready to move forward and to share what I've got to share with the world. Look out, little orange "Publish" button! Here I come...

But first...

I want to share what spurred me to start this now, today, and the answer is Twenty-Nine. Yes, 29: a number that once created a deep sense of angst within me, yet one I now embrace and accept and understand (at least, to some extent).
Not only is it the 29th of the month, but it's the 29th of April; a very significant combination of month and day, as that marks the anniversary of my father's transition to the other side. Thirteen years ago, in fact. Long before my dad passed on, a good friend of mine and I had already had it in our heads that 29 is a powerful number (leaning more on the side of "bad", is what we believed), so, surely you can fathom its impression upon me when 29 altered such a critical element in my life.

That's a story in and of itself, however. What's important to express at this juncture is that, over the years, my idea of what 29 is and for what it stands has evolved into a more holographic essence, if you will; one that simply means transformation (at least, it's what it means to me). I have been provided a vast array of proof of this over the years, so now when 29 comes into my life, I take a deep breath and choose to not resist, to brace myself, and even welcome it! Without change, we would be nothing. And in the specific case of my father's crossing-over on April 29th, I accept the fact that without death, there is no rebirth. I've known for a while now, afterall, that people don't die; they merely transform. I now realize that 29 merely means change. And change is good. Change is necessary.

So, here we are: April 29th. A powerful day of change in my life. I'm ready to face that little orange "Publish" button and set into motion my multi-faceted story.