Quadruple Multi Tasking

By   March 12, 2015

What is wrong (or is it right??) about us that we believe we have to be Super Woman, Superior Mom, and Superlative Worker? Is it drive and ambition or the blind belief that if we don’t do it all, no one will, and so nothing will ever get done? See the redundancy of this sentence? It is frightening. Maybe if no one does it, it never needed doing to begin with and so since it never will be done (without you and your vigor) no one ever will know that it didn’t get done because apparently it never needed doing to begin with.

Multi-tasking is a way of life, a human condition of current living. With a finite number of minutes in a day, to maintain the “Super” status that we love wrapped around our shoulders, we have forced ourselves into a burgeoning box of bulging obligations and the overpowering pressure to accomplish everything imaginable with barely a noticeable sign of any extreme exertion energy. And where does this all supreme-ness transport us? To power and importance, sometimes, to a sense of well-being, occasionally, to exhaustion and possible despair, quite often.

You may be thinking, “She’s nuts! I can do everything and be all things to everyone. Despair never! There is no time for such a silly emotion. Exhaustion maybe, but I cover it up so well!” The loud voice within is shouting SAVE THE WORLD, but it is the soft spoken murmur from our souls that may give us the best sense of who we are while protecting us from the drive to accomplish all things in 29 seconds or less.

I will tell you, as multi-tasker of vast experience, that doing it all is fun. There are few events more exciting and fulfilling to me than starting my morning at 5 am and then discovering that by 9 that I have cleaned the house, mowed the grass, weeded the garden, washed/dried/folded six loads of laundry while writing two articles and editing three others. And there are still many hours of the day to unfold and be filled with one hundred additional tasks. What a terrific sense of importance and value. It makes me feel powerful and omnipotent.

It is then that I realize that I had a conference at 8, right in the midst of my morning flurry, and I failed to dial in. Admittedly, 62 tasks have been completed in exemplary fashion, but the one of the greatest significance, the one that was a deep commitment and obligation, was shoved beneath the escalating waves of Super-dom. That is when despair begins its stealthy creep into my mind. Even if it were not an earth-shattering matter to have failed to connect with the people on the conference call, it feels like a profound failure of my ability to multi-task. It is at this low point that I finally am able to recognize that this was not multi-tasking. It was quadruple multi-tasking and that is a whole bundle of tasks squeezed into a minimum of minutes.

So what is the difference between multi- and quadruple multi-tasking? Unfortunately, multi-tasking has become an expectation. As women we have donned the crown of victory by demanding too much of ourselves. Instead to delegating as necessary, we self-egate. With the belief that “No one can do the job like I can” we have packaged ourselves into a signed, sealed, delivered collection under the guise of “I can – and will – do anything.” Somewhere in the midst of this quadruple multi-tasking fiasco we must for ourselves to screech, “Stop! I want to get off!!” And we have to mean it. To say stop with the inability of letting go, we are only leading ourselves to a more vulnerable state-of-being, one in which we not only QMT (Quadruple Multi-Tasking; Quite Mentally Totaled; Quivering with Many Tiptop-Actions) we contemplate the possibility of quintupling or deca-dupling (that’s 10X) our juggling act of actions and responsibilities.

Some of you are shaking your heads as you read this while determining that this in no way reflects your behavior. Others, those whose mouths are drooping and drool is dribbling forth in semi-delicate droplets, recognize the accuracy of these words. The more you do each day has become a sign of worth and to you, to admit you cannot do and be everything, is a sign of ineptness and incompetence. No one wants to feel either of these even for the most fleeting of moments and so we forge on with super powers.

Is there a cure for this disease? The wonderful news is Yes! But it is not easy and it will definitely take time and repeated reminders every time you or a friend you trust catches you slipping back into “I can do anything-icity.” As with all addictions, confronting the fact that there is a problem is Step 1 to a cure. Step 2 is realizing that makes changes is critical to yourself and your healthy mental and physical survival. Step 3 comes in (surprise) multiple parts. Step 3 requires that you divide your responsibilities into four sections. A visual will help you truly tackle this.

Take piece of paper, fold it in half, and then quarters and at the top of each section write these labels: Box 1 – Obligations; Box 2 – Oopsligations, Box 3 – Delegations; Box 4 – Deletions. Box 1, 3, and 4 are headed by familiar terminology that you must now examine with new eyes. Obligations are all about and necessary to you. If baking cookies for a social is something you love to do because mixing the dough builds strength, sniffing the aroma as the cookies bake expands power, and decorating the cookie box for delivery maximizes your artistic talents, then it is an obligation, a responsibility that also multiplies the worth of you. If, on the other hand, baking the cookies is a trial, a responsibility that makes you want to bite off the hand that flew into air to volunteer for the cookie-caper you must relegate this responsibility to another section of the paper.

This may make the cookie baking an “Oopsligation”, something you promised to do but now are most unhappy, even disgruntled, about doing? Learn from experience that although you want to do your share, there is absolutely no reason that you must be on cookie detail yet again. Next time volunteers are sought, sit on your hand, refuse to oblige, release yourself from the responsibility. This is hard work because as a QMT you know that everyone is counting on you and that no one, and I mean no one, can bake Peanut Blossom Cookies with quite the pizzazz that you possess. But you know that you must relinquish some duties and this is one that Sue can do (even though it may mean a packaged product instead of homemade).

If your Oopsligation came about as a result of a phone call, saying no may be even more difficult than resting your fingertips beneath your rump. While some will say that the impersonality of the phone is an automatic liberator of responsibility, as a QMT you know that this is not so. With a live request you can see it coming through the demeanor, actions, and tone of voice winding their way to you. On the phone you are most likely caught by surprise. For this you must plan ahead. Grab a note card of hardy stock (as you will refer to it frequently). Boldly write: I am unable to bake cookies [or any other task] because I already have obligations [no lie, you do]. Call me next time and I will try to help you out. I realize that you wanted to allow yourself to be banned from all cookies forever, but this is not healthy for a QMT. Since you thrive on helping others, your psyche does not want to be crossed off the cookie list for all time, just for now, as you build strength in avoiding Oopsligations.

Delegation. The cookies may fall into that role. Your daughter or son (niece, nephew, mother-in-law) loves to bake and as a QMT you have always been afraid to surrender control of the kitchen. This is your chance to not only guard your own health and power but to permit others in your life to flourish. Caution: Once you have delegated (an extreme complicated and thorny task) stay out of the kitchen. You may help in recipe selection and the gathering of ingredients and utensils before the process. You may offer a limited number of parting words of advice as you exit the kitchen, but you may not, under any circumstances, stay in the room. Within shouting range is all right the first couple of bakes as an oven fire is an ugly event, but after that you must step away as you step into new-found freedom. The power from this will be multiple as you are released from duty and someone you love gains responsibility and skill.

Finally there are the Deletions. These items are responsibilities you detest. You cannot continue to discover yourself bound up in tasks that sap your energy, drain your power, tax your talents, and empty your fuel tank. Deletions are the most difficult of all. It can be likened to a captain abandoning her ship. When you delete you erase, trash, and eliminate a responsibility forever. If you know and can admit in your heart that one more cookie request will send you over the edge of sanity and break you into a thousand irreparable crumbs you must discharge a deliberate and decisive NO as you delete cookie-dom from your life forever.

Again a note card may help, especially if as a QMT you do not want to hurt feelings, even the feelings of arch enemies or eternal foes. Most QMT have enormous, giving hearts where “No” translates to inner collapse and failure. The delete button is most likely your toughest rival, even more so than the individual to whom you are about to refuse duty. As you jot your message on your note card be sure to include words such as never, impossible, unworkable, in no way. You must make it clear that on no account will you be available now or in the future to bake cookies.

With written note in hand, practice saying it aloud again and again. As a QMT myself I know that refusing someone’s request for help is practically as impossible as it is improbable that I will stick to my word. It is far easier to fold than to stand tall, sit tight, and escape an unwanted and unneeded duty. That is why I can share with you so freely, realizing my own personal weakness. I will tell you though just writing about refusal is empowering. I fully realize that if I could delete even one responsibility from my daily list valuable minutes would explode and then could be poured into other activities that revitalize and maximize my strength.

Remember, you are as super as you want to be if you believe it to be so. I do not think there is a judge who when assessing your life will notice that you only baked cookies for the bizarre (oh, what’s in a word! I mean bazaar!) 919 times instead of the 920 times you were asked. What will be remembered is the joy and radiating personal love that you brought to every responsibility whose joy then spread to those with whom you worked.

An Interview With Lynn Blaikie

By   March 11, 2015

Batik artist Lynn Blaikie was born in Southern Ontario. She moved to the Yukon Territory at the age of 18. It was in the small mining community of Elsa that she first discovered batik: a ray of colour in a long dark winter. A nine month mining strike gave an opportunity to fall in love with the huge vats of liquid colour that she used to create her earliest works of art. Lynn Blaikie’s exposure to other batik artists has been limited in the far North; however, Lynn feels that in some ways her isolation has been an asset. The many years of private development and discovery has resulted in a very unique personal style. Employing both the traditional vat dying methods as well as inks and pens, brings to her art a joie de vivre, and an exuberance which celebrates life, living, and nature. Lynn’s career choices include both her art and teaching children, youth, and adult batik programs and workshops.

Thank you Lynn for taking the time to talk us.

IAP: We’ve read your bio and read how you discovered Batik during a mining strike, but were there any signs or inclinations towards you becoming an artist prior to that…when you were a child for example?

LB: As a child I was always sketching, carving, knitting, creating and doing any kind of art and craft that I could. My parents bought me all kinds of art and craft books and spent most of my leisure hours trying everything in the book. I used to sell my crafts at any event possible, local festivals, even church bazaars when I was very young. For a while I was doing carpentry, I got a skill saw and drill for my 21st birthday. I am happiest with a creative project on the go.

IAP: Why Batik and not oils, pastels or another medium?

LB: I was not confident with my drawing ability and batik was the medium that I found that allowed me to focus on the tactile and technical aspect of art. Being able to draw was not really in the criteria. I had never taken art in school past grade 9 as I didn’t like having to draw or produce a finished piece of art that someone else would say was good or not based on their idea of perfection. Batik allowed me to create with my hands, brain, and from my soul. I enjoy creating with water colour and acrylics but my first love is batik.

IAP: Did you develop the style we are familiar with, early on or does your early work vary greatly from past to present?

LB: My style was evident from early on. The images that I draw have become more technically true to life as practice has improved my figure drawing, but the feel of the work is still the same as early on. I draw what I feel, not what I see. That is why I don’t do location painting as a landscape artist might.

IAP: What artists have influenced you, and how?

LB: I don’t know that any artist in particular has influenced my art. My art developed while my children were small, I worked directing a child care centre. If anything, my influence came from the eyes and hearts of children. I taught myself my art form through trial and error in between working and raising my children. I didn’t know of any other batik artists and there was no time to research art history, there was certainly no internet at the time.

IAP: What other interests do you have (besides painting)?

LB: I love to garden and work in my greenhouse. I am a hands on person who lives on an acreage. I am always putting in a new garden, building a screen porch under the horse stable, remodeling a bathroom or just chopping wood for the winter.

IAP: How have you handled the business side of being an artist?

LB: Fortunately I seem to be able to do most of the business side of my art. I am a concept thinker, so I can see where I want to go and what I want to do. My weakness is in completing the detail side of business. When possible, I work with others who are strong in this area. When I am forced to deal with the details myself, it definitely bogs me down creatively.

IAP: There’s the old saying: “In ______ presentation is everything!” How do you typically present your work at tradeshows, galleries, etc. and is the “presentation everything”? i.e. How much would you says the presentation of your work contributes to it’s sale?

LB: Presentation is vital. An emerging artist who is professional and confident in the presentation of themselves and their work will instill confidence in a buyer. Promotional materials, a good bio, signage and presenting your art in its best light is very important.

IAP: Do you use mats and frames to present your work and if so in what ways?

LB: I always offer both framed and unframed work when I do a show of any kind. I want the walls to make a statement. Any work that is not framed if original is either matted and packaged of I have available for viewing on request if the work is “raw” As I work on cotton, I find that I can keep originals in a tube and unroll them for people to see. Showing raw work to a buyer is a very personal interaction and a natural connection is made. I never, however only bring unfinished or unframed work to a show; the first impression has to be polish. The exception to this is if I am doing a wholesale trade show for my reproductive work. As I only wholesale my LEP’s unframed, I display them unframed. I find that if I frame the work, people expect to receive them that way. I may have 1 or 2 of them framed to let the store know how nice they will look.

IAP: What inspires you to paint and how do you keep motivated when things get tough in the studio?

LB: Things never get tough in the studio; inspiration for my art is rarely a struggle. The thing that I struggle with most is time. I can get bogged down organizing a upcoming trade show or sale, ordering mats, walls etc. I spend more time on my computer than I would like. I am usually itching to get working at my art. I find that I need to really force myself to get down to completing all the details of business so that I am free to create.

IAP: What advice would you give to an artist just starting out on how to market and/or present their work to the world?

LB: If there is a marketing and presentation workshop available to them, take it! Talk to other artists; just phone them up, lots would be willing to share their experience. If possible, attend as many art sales, tradeshows etc as possible and look at the way work is presented. Ask permission to photograph from the artist so that you have a reference to what you thought worked. And remember; be professional in your appearance and presentation. Brochures and handout materials are also very important. If you want to work have your work in a particular gallery, phone and ask for an appointment and bring them something professionally presented to look and leave behind.

IAP: Are there any interesting pieces/projects/commissions you’ve worked on over the past few years that you can share with us?

LB: I loved being one of the selling and demonstrating artists at the 2007 Canada Winter Games last winter held here in Whitehorse. I was commissioned to do the host gifts for the VVIP’s that attended. The Great Northern Arts Festival in Inuvik was also a highlight, 10 days of demonstrating, workshops and gallery sales and connecting with other artist from the circumpolar north. I hope to attend the Arctic Winter Games in Yellowknife next spring as part of the cultural program. I also had a dream come true for me with the publication of my first children’s book “Beyond the Northern Lights.” It was published as a hard cover gift book by Fitzhenry and Whiteside of Toronto, Ontario, who did a beautiful job. It is marketed as an art book as well as a children’s story book and has already gained some recognitions. It is available in book stores and through Island Art Publishers.

IAP: Any parting comments?

LB: I feel very fortunate to be able to get up everyday and look forward to being in my studio. Quality of life is very important to me. The choice to have art as a career has not always been easy, but I would not change it for the world.

That Special Connection

By   March 11, 2015

Every meal is sacred. And though how simple it is, grace abounds. Hence, Korean’s share food, we shared it together that reminds of the last supper.

I know this is common, but for me it is something grand and special.

When I became a teacher to Koreans our thoughts were one as we learned together. When I was widowed – my Korean students, came with me in grief and prayer. I found them a great sense of worth to continue on living life bravely: working/teaching.

At this time, Korean culture shares to the world entertaining dramas and stories about their legendary heroes like “Jumong,” and traditional Korean cooking “Jewel in the Palace,” among others.

Koreans work hard like other Asians, too. With regard to fashion, women take care of themselves, no matter the age, and at the start of day you can see them well- made and with make-up.

Korean men are handsome and thoughtful. At snack time they share together and to those around. I remember drinking tea and having cookies with them at break time, as we tell stories of culture, communities, and some special topics.

I know that travelers, visitors love to go to shrines, vacation spots, and beautiful places – but then I remember going to church with Jason and Howard; Julie and Elly. They prayed well and they were serious. Some of them were not Christians, but I could see how they respected my country, my religion and my beliefs. They tried hard to adjust with my poor country. And this makes me realize that we really don’t have to focus on our differences but our likeness. Yes, we’re all one and the same workers for peace, love and progress. Again, this is ideal, but in our little communities – it worked.

Places near Manila where students visited:

1. Intramuros – the walled city; Manila Cathedral; Fort Santiago, Rizal Park

2. Pagsanjan Falls – one of the most beautiful falls in the Philippines, situated in Laguna.

3. Tagaytay – Weather is cool. Tagaytay grows abundant vegetables and fruits.

4. Asia Mall – one of the biggest malls in the world.

5. Baclaran – the Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help; cheap buys and bazaars

6. Schools, museums and seafood restaurants

Food Preference

Koreans like food abundant in vegetables and meat that aren’t so oily. They can be shy, but are self-reliant. What more? They love tea, noodles and “soju.”

What can I say, but that special connection of missing them often.

“Dangsin-eul salanghabnida.”

“I love you.”

Rose Flores

Body and Soul Crave Relationships

By   March 9, 2015

Alone? Have you ever felt alone?

It’s a lousy feeling for sure. It’s a feeling that affects the very core of our existence. It’s a bazaar feeling to say the least. Have you ever been in the middle of a crowded room and felt alone? Or how about at a family gathering surrounded by friends and family and yet, you still feel alone. I’m blown away at how this feeling can drive the rest of our emotions. Feeling alone, often leads to irrational thoughts and desperate behavior. Whether we want to admit it or not, we HATE to feel alone. At least I do!

You see, I believe that we are CREATED to be in relationships. Our mind, body and soul crave relationships. Which is why the feeling of being alone is so alarming. Now, don’t get me wrong, everyone needs some “my time” to recharge or breathe every once in a while, that’s not what I ‘m talking about. It’s when that “my time” is involuntarily extended that it becomes a dangerous feeling. When was the last time you felt alone? Last week? Yesterday? Today? Right now? Candidly, I’ve felt alone far too often over the past year or so. Unfortunately, those alone feelings led to irrational thoughts and behavior a few times. I don’t plan on going into detail, but what I would like to share is how God ministered to me in my most desperate times, and then maybe share an idea that I found really helped me fight the alone feelings.

So I’m driving home from work late one night. I get a call from the babysitter that one of my children was having a hard time and requested that I make it home fast! In response I had my car up to 70mph in a 40 zone. Yup, you guessed it, there “just happened” to be a police officer coming the opposite direction! Bam, I was caught. He flipped a u-turn and popped his lights. I reluctantly pulled over and went through the routine. What I need to tell you was this pull over event just happened to follow three extremely excruciating and emotionally painful days. The police officer walks up to the window and says “what’s the hurry?” I shared my situation with him, didn’t seem to faze him. I handed over my license, registration and insurance card. He began walking away when I hollered out the window, “officer, any chance for some grace tonight?” He just kept on walking. I then spent the next few minutes feeling extremely alone.

I said “You know God this is just perfect, how much more can you dump on me? I’m beginning to feel like you have completely abandoned me, I feel alone”. I then remembered one of my favorite Old Testament characters, Gideon. If you don’t know about Gideon, let me know and I will gladly share his story with you. So I say, “God, if you are still involved in my life, and haven’t abandoned me, show me by allowing me find grace in the eyes of this officer”. Bold, yes, desperate, absolutely. Well the officer walks up to my window and says, “I’m going to let you off with a warning this time, slow down and get home safely”. You could imagine my reaction.

Well, put yourself in my shoes, short of getting out of the car and doing the happy dance, what would you have done? Well, I just sat there in utter amazement and began to ball like a baby. God revealed Himself to me! He answered a specific prayer. He’s not done with me, I’m not alone! He knows my pains and sorrows. He knows what I’m enduring and has not abandoned me. No, it didn’t take the pain away, but it sure did lessen the sting. My mind was opened up to how God had been working in my life the past few days. Even in the midst of all the pain and turmoil, He was orchestrating blessings. My focus was centered on my feelings of being alone that I didn’t see His hand reaching out towards me. I wasn’t and am not alone. Creator God knows that I have been pulled over in Issaquah, WA. He HEARD me! He HEARD ME!!

He hears you! He knows your feelings! He knows your pain! He knows and catches your tears! Really, He does! We are instructed in I Peter to cast all our cares/anxiety/pain on Him, for HE cares for YOU! It’s one of the most freeing passages in all of Scripture.

Yes, it’s OK to ask God if He is still involved in our lives, several men/women in Scripture have had similar experiences or conversations with God revolving around this topic. The point is, we are not alone, you are not alone. God is constantly at work around and through our circumstances, no matter how painful. The feeling of “being alone” is a ploy of Satan to drive us even deeper into the pit of despair. Don’t let Satan win!

My Friend, I was once told by a good friend that you can gauge your potential by the size of trials. God uses all circumstances for His purpose whether we are a part of the outcome or not. My take on it right now is, I’ve come a long way this past 2 years, I’m not going to give up and let Satan win now! If so, all my victories would be for not. Satan knows where I’m weak, he knows that I don’t like feeling alone. He knows that we are designed for relationships. If he can get us to throw in the towel then he wins. My encouragement to all of us this week, is to ask God to reveal Himself to us in ways that we could never have imagined, then open our eyes to see Him at work.

PS…Oh, and to help combat the feeling of being alone, we ought to find a church that demonstrates authenticity! It’s in these churches you will find friends to hold you up when you feel alone! It has sure helped me!

PSS…another funny but practical tool is, don’t listen to country music when you feel alone, it only worsens the feeling!

The Illusion of Being Separate From Source

By   March 9, 2015

When humans bought into the illusion of being separate from Source, we literally put our soul in a cage and threw away the key. Thus historically, for the divine to be fully expressed through any human has been rare. However, in this New Energy time we are living in, the divine wants to be let out of its cage. It’s tired of being silenced. The unconditional love of the divine has never had much of a chance to be seen or experienced by any human. All of us on a soul level are tired of living with conditional love and the time has come to change our love consciousness.

However, because the divine has been inside a cage for so long, we all have pent up emotions about this. Deep down a part of us wants to roar like a lion because we feel confined and boxed into a relatively unauthentic life we’ve created. We certainly do not feel free. From what I’ve learned about my previous lives, I realize now how valuable it can be to have the awareness that we are indeed eternal beings who have chosen to visit this planet on a number of occasions. Having such awareness provides the understanding that some, if not all of our emotional aspects probably have their roots in prior lifetimes. In most cases these aspects can be resolved without knowing the past life details. Just knowing you are not your aspects and that for whatever reason you carry unwanted emotions, you can choose to have compassion for them and invite them home. You may find that the divine aspect of you may give you some understanding as to how or why you created your aspects but if this doesn’t happen it means you don’t need to know. Remembering who you are and bringing home your aspects is the only thing you are responsible to accomplish in this life.

As it became easier to identify with the compassionate me whenever an aspect showed up, integration began to occur more quickly than it ever had before. This is one of the benefits of the New Energy. To give you an example of what I mean, I will share a powerful experience I had one day that brought into my awareness how I had created certain aspects in past lives. This experience came within a larger experience I was having in which my soul was teaching me about what I call the “need to be right” issue, which is another way the mind uses to stay in control over the heart. This larger experience began one day when a blue jay showed up in my yard and hung around for awhile, which is unusual, so I felt it was there to bring me a message. Nature definitely communicates with each other and there is much we can learn from observing it. Later I looked up the symbolic meaning of the blue jay in Ted Andrews book, Animal-Speak, and found these words:

The bright blue crest of the jay should always be a reminder that to wear the crown of true mastership requires dedication, responsibility, and committed development in all areas in the physical and spiritual. The blue jay is a reminder to follow through on all stages-to not start something and then leave it dangling.

Shortly after reading this I posted the following comment about being a master on Facebook and received a response from someone who had triggered me in the past: “A master has compassion for all, but most especially for himself. He knows that he can only make a choice to let go of something that no longer serves him when he’s truly ready and all craving to be free of it before this is futile. Patience with himself is his greatest virtue.” True or not, my perception of this person was that they have an energy that wants to battle in order to prove they’re right. Of course, I knew I wrote this person into my script so I could be shown that I have this same nature in me, because their response had once again triggered me. I chose to go out to my back porch and dance. As I began dancing, a woman on Facebook who I also feel has a need to be right popped into my mind. She too has triggered me in very much the same way and suddenly some recent words of hers came to mind, which added to the aspects I was already feeling. So there I was, dancing while feeling a lot of anger towards these two individuals.

Realizing these two represent for me my own need to be right aspects, I suddenly remembered how I sent love once from my heart to a woman I was working with at a factory who also was triggering me and it completely changed the dynamics of our relationship so that this woman, who had been notorious for accusing me of not doing my job, actually complimented me. I decided while I was dancing that I would do the same thing towards these two individuals. I began visualizing them and added myself into the visual. I sent love and compassion to the three images. Soon I began to cry while still dancing and holding this image. Suddenly a sparrow landed a few feet from me and boldly pecked around in the grass for a few moments despite the fact that I was moving quite swiftly. Later I looked up the sparrow in Andrew’s book and found these words: “The sparrow will show you how to survive. It will awaken within you a new sense of dignity and self-worth, helping you to triumph in spite of outer circumstances.” Andrews also indicated the sparrow served as an inspiration for peasants and lower classes in Europe during the middle ages because they heard of tales in which, “the insignificant sparrow triumphed over such powerful enemies as wolves, bears, and eagles-the traditional symbols of nobility and those who mistreated the peasants.”

These words gave me a lot of inspiration because I felt what I was doing was triumphing over what had been my perceived enemy-the aspects of me that need to be right. These aspects have caused me untold suffering in the past. I was using love and compassion to do it and I felt this was the unfinished business that was still left dangling in my spiritual work. A little later the blue jay showed up over on the side of yard while I was still going through this visual process. I felt it was there to remind me to follow through with this process until I had completely integrated this need to be right aspect so I continued until I felt at peace. I thanked these two individuals for showing up as a gift in order for me to come to terms with these aspects of me I had yet to completely integrate.

There was still more inner work to do however. Near the end of May 2011, a few weeks before having this dancing experience, a woman I met on Facebook sent me an e-mail indicating she was interested in becoming friends. I wasn’t sure exactly what that meant but I liked the fact that she didn’t trigger me-that was new. I didn’t feel she wanted to save me or use me and that was a breath of fresh air considering my track record with women. Still, there was a subtle voice inside that was gently telling me it wasn’t what I really wanted to do. The thing is, an aspect of me so very much wants to love and be loved by a woman and this particular aspect didn’t really want to listen to this inner voice. We started writing each other every day but perhaps because of my inner voice, I kept an emotional distance to an extent. However, after a few weeks I told her I really appreciated her and with that comment, I knew I was opening my heart to her on a new level. On the other hand, this immediately triggered several aspects that felt threatened. The bazaar thing was that there was no talk of anything other than friendship but I realize now, just opening myself up to her at all felt unsafe. I felt my freedom being threatened because I was projecting potentials onto the relationship that weren’t there, such as having some day to do things with her that I didn’t want to do. I’d done that while following Moon when I was involved with the Unification Church for 23 years, both for the sake of Moon’s mission and to please my wife. These were the aspects that were threatened by me opening up but this was all illusion.

I admit that to a degree I fell victim to these aspects for a few days by identifying with them, which only fanned the flames of their issue all the more and I even let her know what I was feeling, which freaked her out somewhat because she felt I was projecting my issues onto her, which was indeed true. This caused me to dig deep into my soul asking questions. I demanded to be shown the truth about this relationship-do I want to be in it or not? I also asked for a level of compassion that would allow me to integrate even the worst of these angry, insecure aspects. I’d had a history of allowing these aspects to rise up and push me around-like having a mutiny within my own inner being, and I was tired of experiencing this.

Several amazing things occurred the very next day. In the morning I was browsing through Facebook and came across a Yahoo! News article posted by a woman about a dog that had refused to leave a Jewish courtroom despite several attempts to drive it out. One of the judges then remembered a curse the court had passed down upon a secular lawyer who had insulted the judges twenty years before. The court had asked God to put the spirit of this lawyer into a dog, an animal considered impure by traditional Judaism. Clearly still offended, this judge sentenced the animal to death by stoning by local children. In her post this woman was offended by this judge’s action and one of her friends was in essence condemning the judge. I commented that such response is the reason why it exists but this only caused more condemnation to come from both these women. After a few posts back and forth between them and myself, I was compelled to write a long comment in which I invited these women to find compassion for this judge, that such compassion is what we are all being called by the divine to develop within our hearts at this time.

My post had the effect of completely shifting the energy. This woman wrote that she agreed with me but felt shame for such behavior by humans and her friend wrote that she agreed violence is not a solution. I then invited this woman to release the shame because it didn’t fit her beautiful energy, which I could feel radiating from her picture. She e-mailed me after this, telling me her heart hurt trying to understand why such behavior by humans exists but that my words were like balsam to her. She sent me much love and expressed she was truly thankful I was her friend. This other woman wasn’t a Facebook friend so I requested to become one. She right away accepted and in an e-mail she too sent her love to me. I was deeply moved by this experience and it occurred to me that my words had empowered these two women to choose compassion over hate. Because of my words, they were now able to more easily identify with their own compassionate nature. This felt wonderful.

What happened next truly amazed me. I was out on a walk and a vision came to me so strongly. I saw myself as a soldier, with several other men and we were about to rape a woman. The other men had her arms and legs secured and I had taken a knife and opened up her shirt and ripped off any clothing that was covering her lower parts. She had a gag in her mouth and was squirming like crazy and I was trying to calm her down, encouraging her to relax and enjoy the experience. Then I proceeded to enter her sexually. As this vision unfolded I felt strongly this was a past life experience and was in fact why I have not been able to have sex with a woman in this life. My Angelic Team once told me that when I was born I came in with an implant of sorts that said if I ever attempt to use sexuality for my own gain, I would sabotage the experience. This statement could not be more accurate to explain what’s happened in all my attempts to be sexual with women. As a person who has a great desire to experience sexual pleasure, this has been extremely frustrating at times to say the least.

My Angelic Team also told me I have had several lifetimes in which I abused women. So not only have women abused and used me (which my Angelic Team also told me), I’ve done the same to them. Suddenly more pieces of the puzzle about me were falling in place. I now understood that I created fearful, hurting and angry aspects when I chose to allow myself to be abused by women but because of this, I also allowed some of these aspects to extract revenge against women, thereby creating a whole new set of angry, revengeful aspects. After this rape vision it occurred to me that part of what is necessary for my healing in this lifetime is that I empower women. I felt it was no coincidence that this realization came on the same day I had just empowered two women to choose love over hate.

Having an understanding that what’s taking place in our current life is without a doubt connected to past life karma can take away the frustration that often goes along with not being able to accomplish the things we think we want to accomplish. Acceptance that we’re responsible as the creator for what is happening to us is required of course, as well as a commitment to have appreciation and compassion no matter what because even if you don’t know any details at all about your previous lives, regardless of what you did or didn’t do in them, having appreciation and compassion is always what’s required to bring aspects home.

After this experience I asked my soul if there will ever come a time when I will be able allow myself to get intimate with a woman and received a yes, but not until there’s no longer any agenda because I have a tendency to attempt to control women, which occurs because I keep myself under control. I need to trust my intuition more rather than listening to the mind, which if it had its way, would always have me maintain the status quo. I also realized I need to become much more focused on having compassion for all the needy, craving aspects that pop up every time I see a beautiful woman because instead of inviting them home with compassion, I’ve had a tendency to identify with them, hoping that somehow I can control them in whatever way necessary in order to get them to love me. So again, I continued asking for the level of compassion that can bring these craving aspects home.

More things happened that day on my walk. I was coming around a bend when I saw a beautiful deer standing in the distance looking directly at me, as if we had arranged ahead of time for it to meet me there. I stopped and got my camera out and this deer stayed put until I was able to take several pictures of it. As soon as I finished it turned around and disappeared into the woods. A few moments later I came across a large turtle moving slowly across the trail. I’d been on that trail several times and had never seen a deer or a turtle there so I decided to look up in Andrews book about the meaning of these animals as a totem. What I found there astounded me. Regarding deer, Andrews wrote, “Are you trying to force things? Are others? Are you being too critical and uncaring of yourself? When deer show up there is an opportunity to express gentle love that will open new doors to adventure for you.” As for the turtle, he writes, “Are you not seeing what you should? Are you not hearing what you should?…too much, too soon, can upset the balance. Turtle reminds us that all we need for all that we do is available to us, if we approach it in the right manner and time.”

When combined, these two messages confirmed for me exactly what I was feeling about trying to make the relationship with this woman on Facebook work. As I stated, from the moment she invited me into it my inner voice told me it wasn’t what I really wanted but I allowed the aspect of me that wanted an intimate friend to trump my inner wisdom. Yet, every choice is always perfect, for indeed the soul is always at work. I was trying to force a relationship that I wasn’t ready for. I wasn’t listening to my heart and in order to understand this, it was valuable for me to continue with the relationship. The reason I wasn’t ready for this relationship is because I still have not brought home these controlling aspects. To get intimate with a woman is no different than getting intimate with my soul. You can’t have one without the other. As long as I keep myself under control, I’m not going to be able to flow with where my soul wants to take me. This is why I felt my freedom being threatened by this woman. I was imagining having to compromise myself to do things just to please her but the truth is, when love is unconditional, it has no need to control the moment. It accepts what is. Perhaps a different choice is desired but what’s happening in the moment is not a threat because there is no need to control.

The deer and turtle showed up to invite me to stop trying to force a relationship when I still need to be more caring and loving with myself. Too much too soon was upsetting the balance and my aspects were responding by wreaking emotional havoc. Both were teaching me there is still opportunity to express gentle love that will open new doors to adventure for me. Everything is in service to me and will show up when I approach it in the right manner and time-in other words, allow it without trying to force anything.

With this understanding, I couldn’t deny it was time to let this woman go. After telling her about my fears, our e-mails started to express drama but I quickly realized I wanted no part of that. As with the two who had triggered me before, I went out and danced, visualizing sending love from my heart to hers. At one point my visual shifted and instead of her, I saw myself. I was lifting myself up and twirling myself around as love was flowing from me to me. It was a dynamic experience and it helped me to release any need to be right. I was making the choice to let her go based on my desire to love me and had no need for her to understand that. At the same time, she had her own issues and I had no need to be for her whatever it was she wanted me to be. After that dance I no longer had any emotional attachment to this relationship.

Seven years ago I allowed myself to get into a relationship with a woman because I thought she at long last was my ticket to experiencing fulfilling sex. When that didn’t happen my need to control her and myself literally destroyed any hope of maintaining the relationship while learning to love myself. No doubt some couples help each other grow but this isn’t possible when there’s a strong need to maintain control. This ties into the need to be right as well. It’s the same thing, the need to control so that I’m always right. That relationship seven years ago lasted exactly three and a half months. Amazingly, this new relationship lasted exactly 24 days, or three and a half weeks! Of course, it really wasn’t much of a relationship at all but I am very grateful that it didn’t develop into anything more. In both cases, I wasn’t really following my heart. My soul is beckoning me into getting intimate with me and until that occurs, no relationship with another is ever going to work.

The day after the relationship ended was the Summer Solstice, which to some is a time to raise energy for healing as well as strengthening the sense of being part of nature, not separate but interconnected in a larger whole. As it turns out, nature continued to show up to guide me while I was dancing that day. A blue jay again landed and hung around and later I could hear a crow cawing high up in the pine trees that surround the back yard of my house. According to Andrew’s book, another reason the blue jay shows up is to “indicate that you are moving into a time where you can begin to develop the innate royalty that is within you, or simply be a pretender to the throne.” I knew this meant I needed to drop all need to look outside myself and place my focus more than ever on melding with my soul. As far as the crow showing up, Andrews explains that, “the cawing out of the crow should remind us that magic and creation are cawing out to us every day.”

Amazingly, on the Solstice I did feel a tremendous amount of magic in the air. That day I was overflowing with love and appreciation, more so than I had ever experienced before. In the morning I took my guitar to have some work done on it and then drove 25 miles south to another city so I could shop at a specialty grocery store. Even though the air conditioning was out in my car and it was 95 degrees (that’s about 37 degrees Celsius) and very humid, I loved every minute of it. Clouds appeared and I knew they showed up in service to me so that without the sun the breeze blowing into my car felt a bit cool since my windows were down while driving on the highway. On the way back I stopped to take a hike on a nature trail and continued to feel an enormous amount of joy and appreciation for life. When I returned I went to an electronic store and bought a DVD player. The home I’m staying in, owned by my brother, has an old analog 27-inch TV that I wasn’t using and it occurred to me all I needed to watch movies on it was a DVD player. Until then I’d been watching DVD’s on my 17-inch laptop. It felt fantastic to give myself this gift. I was continually telling myself how much I love me.

My next stop was to pick up my guitar. The shop owner commented on how joyful I was. He noticed my smile from ear to ear. I was so inspired that he’d finished the job on the same day I decided to give him a tip. I began writing the check out for $60 but when I actually began writing out that amount, my hand wrote “six hundred dollars.” I was surprised and had to write a new check but when I got out to the car I realized my soul really wanted to spend $600. I was so in touch with who I am that the idea of spending lots of money was thrilling to me.

As soon as I got home I hooked the DVD player up but couldn’t get any sound to come out of the TV. I could tell this was throwing me right out of my joyful feelings. I called the company that made the DVD player, hoping they might have some idea how to resolve the issue but they didn’t. I wanted this gift I was giving myself to work out with ease and became frustrated when it didn’t. From that point on my emotions spiraled downward. Later I called my brother and found out the audio on the TV didn’t work so that meant I needed to also buy a TV, which meant spending more money, not something I had planned on. By late evening I felt numb and empty and as I reflected on the day I wondered what the hell had actually happened to cause me to allow my joy to be derailed by such aspects.

The next day I received my answer. Once again I was out dancing and I remembered that the day before on the way home from the guitar shop I had seen a sign on the outside of an auto repair shop that was advertising a low price to get an AC recharge. As I thought of calling this place to make an appointment-another gift I could give myself, a fearful aspect showed up. The idea of spending more money on myself was a threat to this aspect. Immediately I realized this was due to all those lifetimes, including the present one, in which I carried such a strong belief that giving things to yourself is selfish and God doesn’t like people to be selfish. This belief was that you have to sacrifice yourself for others, or in essence suffer, in order to please God. As much as I wanted to believe I had already released such a belief, there it was in my face again and it was the explanation for why I had lost my joy the night before. The idea of having to spend more money on me to buy a TV had triggered the fear of God’s wrath.

As I was dancing I tried to imagine sending love to this aspect but I knew I needed to do more than that. I decided it was time to declare my truth loud and clear. I roared like a lion, “I am that I am and I choose to be abundant. I created these belief systems because at the time they served me but they no longer serve me and I hereby declare myself free of them. I invite these aspects to come home but if they don’t want to come they can hit the road because I’ve had enough of the belief that I’m not worthy of experiencing pleasure. The belief that God doesn’t want his children to enjoy themselves is bullshit and I release this belief NOW! The idea that I have to just barely get by financially, the belief that I can’t enjoy myself sexually with a woman, the belief that I can’t enjoy myself driving a nice sports car that has AC, all these beliefs are old energy and I no longer choose them!” I went on for awhile, shouting at the top of my lungs. I meant every word of what I was saying. When I finished I was becoming hoarse but as I continued dancing I felt peaceful, with an empty mind. Standing up and declaring who I am to all these aspects had gotten their attention. Afterwards I made some other declarations as well. I roared, “It is easy to love and trust myself. My abundance is always there exactly when I need it. Every single experience in my life is a beautiful gift. Every choice has brought me to this perfect moment. People always treat me with respect. Things just always work out somehow.” I felt strongly the truth of what I was saying.

Roaring like a lion does not mean you are battling with your aspects, pushing them away, or any such thing. What this is doing is standing up for your true soul self. Putting your foot down and saying, “I am that I am and I’ve had enough of suffering!” This is an expression that you’ve finally had enough of your tendency to allow yourself to become a victim to your aspects. So it’s a statement of clarity that you’re declaring before heaven and earth as well your entire soul being-all the different levels of the multi-dimensional you. Basically, you are making a choice on every level of your being that you are going to choose joy over suffering from now on by allowing your true soul self to be expressed. This level of choice goes out and causes a shift to occur on the soul level.