In our last salon, I included a survey entitled, “The Fact-Fiction-Fantasy Life Survey” for your personal enjoyment. It was intended to generate thoughts around one essential question: Do you invest the majority of your creative energies into productive enterprises or does most of your creativity go into postponing your future, your dreams, your health and well-being, and the life you would prefer living? Many of the questions were deliberately light-hearted, yet the intention underneath them was not. Ultimately the entire quest represented by this survey could be reduced to a two-part question: Do you respond to intuitive directives and are you able to then manifest what you are being directed to do? In truth, the real object of this survey goes far deeper than that question suggests. Manifesting dreams or manifesting health or shifting the direction of your life path represents a cosmic paradox of archetypal proportions. Our contemporary spiritual culture has been saturated for decades now with the perception that we can manifest anything and everything we want “just like that”. Books providing what amounts to dusted off alchemical rituals of manifestation in usually three or seven easy steps assures readers that by following these procedures, their life dreams and ambitions – including drawing a life partner to themselves! – will just happen. Now people, if getting what you wanted out of life were really that easy, don’t you think everyone would be a lot happier than they are? And they certainly would be far more fulfilled and content…so where is the glitch in this thinking??? Let’s call it an absence of a combination of common sense and knowledge of basic life wisdom. It’s time to discuss the deeper impulses behind the cosmic dynamic of manifestation in the APRIL SALON because it is these impulses that also influence your habits and patterns of choice, even when it comes down to simple choices like whether to clear out a closet. You may think such choices have absolutely no significance to your cosmic compass, so to speak, but there you are completely mistaken. Every choice you make influences the vibration of your life’s direction, which is why you struggle so completely with fulfilling even the smallest or what is really the most effortless of tasks. You have soul instincts that are inherently aligned to the archetypal process of creation that recognizes, like the famous story charting the impact upon the cosmic design generated by the flutter of the butterfly’s wing, that ever choice you make sets profound changes into motion. (FYI: By the way, ever notice that “wisdom” is simply not emphasized as a value these days…Have you ever noticed that no one does a TV special on “How parents pass down wisdom?” In fact, it’s never mentioned. Wisdom – as a force, as a substance of the psyche and soul – has absolutely no street currency – which is why I decided to devote a year’s worth of articles that include wisdom in the orbit of the subject matter.) MANIFESTATION AND COMMON SENSE First of all, manifesting your dreams and making changes in your life is not entirely in your hands; in fact, let’s apply a bit of common sense right off the bat. Consider how much of your life ingredients are set in motion from the second of conception: the whole of your DNA, your sex, your astrological data, and your body. By the time you are born, the “package” you came in has already determined a fair percentage of the choices around which you will live your life. That is not to say you do not have “choice”; what is a given, however, is that you arrive within parameters of choice. There is absolutely nothing you can do about your date of birth and the vast majority of people – vast majority – will not change their sex during their lifetime and these facts are themselves choices embodied within the flesh. You certainly cannot change your DNA or your ethnic heritage. So already you are a “work of choices in progress” from the moment you are born. Secondly, the art and act of the manifestation of change is as simple as it is complex, as effortless as it is ruthless, and as much the result of spontaneous Divine chaos as it is a litany of conscious prayers invoking the winds of change. Everything in your life is threaded into a vast cosmic weave, a grand cosmic compass. While your soul maintains a connection to this Divine structure of cause and effect, order and destruction, death and rebirth, all of which are the psychic ingredients within the cosmic progression of life, our connection to that vast cosmic network of life is left to the maturity of our ego/personality, which generally keeps its eyes lowered to the earth, grappling for methods of survival and continually postponing the adventures the soul longs to have while embodied in a vessel of flesh and bones. So now let’s apply this to the symbolic meaning of that little survey and to the theme of this Salon, which is one of taking considering the wisdom of pausing for a moment and evaluating the goals, habits, and attitudes that work like mechanical wheels with your psyche, almost on automatic pilot. At some point, as you move from birthday to birthday, decade to decade, you have to take time to go through your thinking process and evaluate how you talk to yourself, including what you tell yourself you should be doing or could be doing or will be doing someday. Through the years I have actually had the same conversation with a few people who have consistently told me, “I know I was born to do something wonderful,” and you know what? They are still doing that same “un-wonderful” thing, fantasizing about living another life something but always finding reasons to postpone moving forward. I finally realized, due in part to these individuals (all of whom were from different workshops and in fact from three different countries), that they were living off the meager psychic dividends of their fantasies, and these were sufficient to keep them going along in life. Would they ever get to a point where they would admit, “You know what? I am never going to do anything differently. I am never going to change a thing because I don’t want to work any harder than I am. In fact, I don’t really want to work hard at all. I don’t want to put out the amount of energy it takes to ignite a new life path. It’s just too much work. I would prefer that everyone else change around me in order to make my life more exciting because I really do not intend to do one thing differently. I am bored and I like to imagine that things could be different. But I am too insecure to take a risk and too dependent to do anything alone. So there. That’s the truth of who I really am.” What would happen to their lives if they did admit this? Would that make them absolutely miserable or would that initiate contentment that only unmasked honesty could create? Which would it be? And would it be cruel or an act of service to pierce through this veil of deception? Which is it? If an individual had an illness, for example, and asked me for a reading, I would feel spiritually obligated to share what I perceived in their energy system as accurately as I could. Many times this information is painful, sometimes re-awakening traumas, and sometimes information can even be very humiliating for a person. And then there are the impressions of the serious nature of a physical illness, none of which is a pleasure to communicate. In fact, it’s a nightmare for me. Is it more compassionate, then, to withhold this information because it is so revealing and painful? Is that considered an act of service or is this need to protect someone doing more harm than good? Certainly when it comes to helping a person to heal, withholding information because it is not good news is the worst possible choice. So is it any less an act of healing to help people to recognize that they nurture toxic psychic patterns in themselves, especially since we are talking about the core patterns regarding how one determines the day-to-day quality of life? We are not talking about how one chooses salad dressing after all. Just to give this discussion its proper backdrop, let me refer to the symbolic significance of just one of the questions from last month’s survey, question 17, which read: You dream about getting away from the life you have, selling everything and moving to a new life. If you really had the chance for this new life, would you take it? Fact____Fiction_______Fantasy_________. (As an FYI, please note that there are no right or wrong answers to a survey evaluating your habits when it comes to how and why you make the choices you do in life. There are only insights to be gained in relationship to your personal habits and preferences. For example, from the point of view of managing creative energy, this survey, even in its light tone, can reveal whether you maintain your creative and psychic energies in present time or if you disperse them into multiple “time zones”. By that, I am referring to this habit: always when a creative thought occurs to you, a follow-up instinct kicks in that says, “when? When do you want to begin?”, as if your psyche and soul hold an innate mechanism that locks in the organic function of creation.) It may seem an effortless effort, so to speak, to respond to that question, but what the question represents is not the least bit obvious. I presented this question to different audiences, emphasizing that this was a “no risk” question, meaning that their financial life was not going to fall apart if they said, “yes”. The responses were extraordinary. Most people commented that they would not choose to pursue their fantasy life, even if that choice included the promise that they would not land in debtor’s prison. The outrageous paradox, however, is that many admitted they loved the idea of a fantasy life while knowing they had no intention whatsoever of doing anything about making it happen. Further, they had no intention of giving up creating and discussing what they would like to do someday even though they knew full well they would never really go through with their plans. At the end of the day, they just loved the sport of imagination. Simultaneously we have the category of people who nurture the vision that they have a second life – a more meaningful life that represents their “highest potential” – waiting to come into manifestation as soon as the ingredients are properly lined up in their physical world. Those ingredients usually include finances, children leaving home, and job security. Yet, here again, when I have engaged these individuals in conversations, which I have done now for the past few years during workshops, the general attitude shared by most is that while they are not particularly happy or content with their lives, they prefer postponing any type of change. At the same time, they remain convinced that they can change their lives anytime they want, it’s just that they don’t really want to…even though they think they should want to…right? All of these people admit to dismissing any number of the smaller gut hunches that are meant to direct our ground level lives – for example, survey question number 3: You are always getting that gut feeling to clean out your closet or organize your files. You might even visit the mess for a minute and consider when this project will fit into your schedule, knowing all the time that this plan is a: Fact______Fiction_______Fantasy_______. The significance of this very simple question is that, once again, the question represents a much grander cosmic dynamic of cause and effect and intuitive dialog with the self that is at work within your life constantly behind the scenes. That constant irritating voice telling you to clean out the closet or organize photographs or any of those tasks that relate to cleansing “stored stuff” is actually a very sophisticated intuitive directive that is a prelude to change. All of your “stored stuff” should be considered psychic anchors that keep your world psychically heavy and slow moving. People always remark that they feel “lighter” after they have cleared out closets and basements – that is a psychic lightness, a cutting of ties to countless past times zones that have been hanging in your energy field literally like “psychic weight”, adding “waiting” time to everything in your life. Thus, your ideas feel more and more like unattainable fantasies because you do not have the energy required to transform an idea from “thought into form”. Even holding on to “stuff” that needs to be shed requires energy; never mind all the psychic energy that goes into to holding on to wounds. Combine all the many forms of psychic weight that a person holds on to and the end result is that a person ends up postponing more and more of his or her life because even the simplest task – like clearing out a closet – looks to be overwhelming. I’ve said so often to people, “How can you hope to pursue your highest potential when you are not even managing half your potential now?” Common sense and a bit of wisdom would suggest that at some point, the wise course for people, for you, is to re-evaluate what you really want to do with your life, beginning with the perspective that looking to the future is as foolish a direction as is looking to the past. THE LIFE WISDOM WORTH KNOWING: Update Your Goals, Habits and Attitudes The other day I was talking to a stock broker at a workshop – no kidding – and he was running down a list of investments. I was pressing him on the matter of investments because of the rather volatile nature of the planet these days…not to mention Washington, DC. So I asked him, “What would you recommend as shrewd investments these days?” He listed these investments that would mature in 20 years, to which I said, “Sweetie, that’s what you suggest to a couple of newly weds, not to someone my age.” Our life goals need to change, as do our habits and our attitudes about what we want from life and perhaps more importantly now, what we want to contribute to life. Last year, I had a bit of an epiphany during one workshop and I’ve shared that experience with my audiences every since that day. Without exception, audiences all over the place breathe a collective sigh of relief when I bring up this matter, as if someone had finally released them from being held in a “fantasy captivity”, prisoners to a perception that they must “do” something or live a life other than the one they are living in order to be happy. What happened during this one very special workshop was that I suddenly, deeply, truly “saw” my audience in a way I had never seen them before and I realized in that moment the folly of what I was teaching. Building self-esteem, etc., is hardly a folly, however, part two of that lecture – which was directing them to “apply” their new found self-esteem toward building a brand new life “somewhere out there” for themselves was completely a folly. This formula of developing self-esteem and then making choices that reflect a higher potential in one’s life, is not at all without substance. But it certainly wasn’t working, at least not as well as it should. And then I realized that the problem was that most people had bought into visions they would never, ever be able to accomplish in this life – not because they couldn’t, but because they were not meant to accomplish these visions. The idea of finding your “highest potential” inspired hundreds of thousands of people to consider that there is another life contained within or around or above the life they’ve been living that holds their “highest potential”; they just have to find a way to get there. Unfortunately, the more practical, occupational side of our nature hijacked the meaning of “highest potential” and it quickly became synonymous with the “perfect occupation by Divine decree” – a mythic occupation and a mythic life, if there ever was one. Thus, one’s highest potential became more and more a true holy grail….no where to be found. But the deeper meaning of highest potential refers to your Sacred Contracts and how consciously you position your soul in your life. During this particular workshop, I realized that much of the frustration and unhappiness that I continued to witness in people was due to they’re feeling so much disappointment in their own lives and that they are failing their highest potential by not being able to somehow run away. I said to this audience, “I just had a realization. Look around the room at each other. The likelihood that the majority of you are going to leave your lives or your partners or return to school or take your savings and start a new business is zero. You are not going to leave your life at all. What you really need is to find a way to release the highest potential of the life you have right now and re-discover the highest potential to be found in the relationships you have with the people with whom you are sharing this life.” To say that floodgates of relief and tears opened up on that day is a masterpiece of understatement. Many mysteries about why people sabotage themselves in terms of their intuitive abilities and life choices became very clear to me as I listened to people admit with great relief, “That’s right, I don’t want to leave my life. I want to make my life work right here.” Several people told me that they developed what they realized was the habit of being discontent and disappointed in their lives because without being discontent, they were afraid they wouldn’t “move forward spirituality.” Said one woman, “I was afraid I would get too comfortable so I had to stay discontent with my life. I looked for things and people to disappointment. It’s too outrageous a thought for me to believe that I could actually be living the life I want to have.” What occurred in that workshop was a massive influx of common sense and wisdom that resulted in the members of the audience cracking out of perceptions that were hideously painful and completely useless. People felt the freedom to say that wanted exactly the life they had, great, little, humble, or rich – and they had no intention of going anywhere else. And it felt just right. It was a remarkable workshop worthy of a short-story, actually…maybe I’ll write it up in all its details and call it, “One Particular Workshop” – because it changed my life and certainly theirs. And from that, I realize all too well that goals, habits, and personal attitudes need to be updated like computer programs and stock portfolios. When I think about handing that workshop last month’s survey, I wonder how people would respond after they had an opportunity to shed the burden of fantasy goals that do not belong to their Sacred Contract. I wonder if many people would be far more appreciative of the fullness of their present day lives, no longer finding it necessary to dwell in the past or fantasize about the future and things they know they hope to do but... SOMETHING FOR YOU TO THINK ABOUT... Think about your goals, your thoughts, and how you talk to yourself. Do any of your ideas or goals need updating because “they aren’t really you”? I can tell you that if you are living a dream that is not your dream, it can hurt you deeply and cause such unnecessary discontentment. To wake up and realize that you are exactly where you are supposed to be and then make a commitment to make your life work to its fullest…that could be the greatest gift you could ever give yourself. But that conversation is between you and God….I only suggest that you have that conversation. It is well worth it.