New 30 Day Challenge! Ping Pong Balls and Rubber Mallets!

P03-19-14_11-40 It’s here!  My new 30 day challenge!  I found this one via Michael Senhoff at HardToFindSeminars.com.  He sent out a newsletter talking about how people are getting lots of cool benefits from exercising their brains.  Working on hand-eye coordination, memory, and simply calculations in a rapid manner is supposed to do fun things to your brain and body.

So, what I’m doing is starting a new routine.  Starting out, I’m bouncing a ping pong ball on a rubber mallet.  So far, I’m up to 28 times right handed, 21 times left handed.  Saying the alphabet forwards and backwards.  Eventually, this will get more complex and I’ll use a heavier mallet with a smaller head.

Results so far?

The girl’s cat, Luna, is intrigued by the ping pong ball.  This might be a coincidental but I had a lucid dream the first night after starting.  And the lucid dream turned into an astral projection episode.  (Felt a pop as I moved through a “solid” structure.)  Been a while since I’ve had the pleasure of some out-of-body traveling!

Here’s a picture of my new brain tools:

P03-19-14_10-51There’s a warning label on the handle to always where safety glasses when using the mallet.

Dating, Business and Saying “Yes!” to Life

Been a while since I’ve posted here.  Let me give the quick rundown.

Whether it’s relationships, business (which IS about relationships), or anything else, you have to tell Life you are ready and willing to say, “Yes!”

Case in point.  I have an online dating profile on OKCupid.

Mostly, I use the profile for personal growth.  There’s something about attempting describe myself authentically knowing women will be reading it and judging me by what I wrote.  I both dig deeper to convey who I am and develop a deeper awareness of how I am.  How I describe myself can convey not only facts about me but also for example things like whether or not I am still hurting from prior relationships.  And I can see this come across in other people’s profiles, too.

The other reason I have the profile is to watch my reactions to reading profiles.  Yes, I really do read the profiles.  Usually, before I look at the pictures.  Am I feeling lonely?  Or needy?  I like to observe myself and get a feel for what is drawing me to the web site.  Why am I reading these bios?

I didn’t really have a good reason.   I’m feeling solid with who I am.  Comfortable being alone, too.  So I thought, maybe, it would be a good time to back off the online thing for a while?

Back to saying, “Yes!”

On the business side of my life, I had begun to start to say yes when opportunities presented themselves.  The effect has been kind of shocking to tell the truth.   How much have I been saying, “No!” to Life when it delivered what I had been asking for?

I’m thinking quite a bit.  No wonder I’ve felt so stuck.  I’ve been forcing myself to slog through mud!

I finally was able to put things together.  While I have been learning and growing while reading and writing profiles, I was only rarely writing to women.  Why?  It wasn’t because of  fear of rejection, at least directly.  Tango has helped my confidence tremendously around women.  I was holding back because of where I am in life.

Slowly growing a computer consulting company from nothing doesn’t leave a lot of money for dating.  Or for a nicer apartment.  Or dinners.  Or trips.  Etc.  The outer stuff.  Not that it’s not important.  We use money to survive in our culture.  I get it.

Did I really need to be saying no?  I’ve been avoiding even the possibility of a relationship.  In reality, all I can do is be happy with who I am in this moment and say yes to Life.  Being present and choosing to be happy does not depend on the state of other aspects of my life.  The more I thought about what I had been doing the more I understood I was constricting what was possible in Life.

Finally, putting it all together, one day I realized it was time to start saying, “Yes!” in my personal life.  Two days later, I received an email from a woman on OkCupid.  She saw my profile and reached out first.  After some emails back and forth, we have a date on St. Patrick’s Day.  I’m looking forward to meeting her.  She sounds very cool and is even interested in Argentine Tango.

Where do you restrict yourself by saying no to Life?  I’m very curious!  By sharing our thoughts we provide the possibility of a deep knowing for each other.

My original intention was to write a short post to share links with you about what men and women like.  One thing led to another and what you just read was born.  Here are those links:

For the ladies:

http://jamesmsama.com/2014/03/05/8-things-guys-secretly-love/

For the gentlemen:

http://jamesmsama.com/2014/03/07/8-things-she-secretly-loves/

Listen Up Cat Lady!

Happy Holidays Cat Ladies! A cat friend of mine wanted me to pass along some advice. Seems some of our feline masters are getting a bit annoyed and not everyone has read the memo.

Asian Kitty in Istanbul Turkey

Asian Kitty in Istanbul Turkey
Photo Credit: Suzy Tonini

Essentially, we need to start tuning up our listening skills. Passive aggressive body language, destruction of heirlooms, and strategic urination have not been effectively getting the point across.

Here are few of the suggestions I was given to pass along:
1. Stop talking so much. Or rather, start using your non-verbal communication tools. Animals can feel the intention of our communication. A conversation of images and emotions is more direct and much easier to process.

2. Start listening. Quiet your mind and let them know you are interested in what they have to say. Pay attention to the feelings and images you receive. Cats have better things to do than invest any time in learning a human language.

3. They will be very frank with you. And while the dog is always happy to see you, the dog is also an idiot. (Eric’s note: I’m just relaying what I was told. I love dogs.) Sometimes a cat just needs space.

That’s about it. Paying attention to your breathing will help you stop the mind chatter. With a little practice you’ll find your cat communication skills improving quite quickly. And yes, it works with dogs too.

PS. If your cat would agree to having his/her picture included with this post, please let me know. I would love to include it.

Dealing with Depression

A friend asked a while back how I handle depression. I thought now would be a good time to share. This time of year can be difficult for many of us. Even when we paint on a smile, sometimes the pain can be intense.

What follows is a personal look at my experiences with depression. Note: I am not trained in any manner to provide health care services of any kind. Please see your professional health care provider.

Depression is something I deal with in a holistic manner. Even now, feeling like I have a handle on it, I don’t trust it to be gone. I do feel like I’ve figured out what I need to keep from having a downward spiral. And if I find myself heading down how to stop it.

What’s worked best for me has been a focus on “putting my O2 mask on first.” I’ve learned to value my life. Even if just a teeny bit at first.

Triggers. I am always on the look out for the first sign of a spiral down. Fear of not having a place to sleep, loss of my children, and other situations are on my watch list.

As a child and young adult, I experienced chronic exposure to emotional abuse and some sexual violations. Research shows this type of experience can have heavy impacts on the physical structure of our brains.

I had to give myself permission to take time. Time to heal. Patience.

Okay, so I may not be the perfect father and it does get me down at times. I do what I can and I am learning to cut myself some slack. Judging myself harshly does not help and can be a trigger. Meditation can help me with perspective.

My core bargain with Spirit was they could take absolutely everything from me in this life but if they took my girls I would quit my journey and we would have to start all over. I had found something to live for.

Holidays are tough as they prefer being with their mother. She does provide a nice home. Certainly more comfortable than this little apartment. Again, gotta cut myself some slack. Continuing to be present so we can home school full time all while starting over after being a stay at home dad isn’t easy. I’m doing what I can and I am grateful they are well taken care of.

Lack of sleep. Too much missed sleep for too many days in a row
is a set up for a spiral down.

Vitamin D is a help. Though good nutrition is essential, too.

Dehydration can lead to a spiral.

Emotional support from friends. Being close to people who love me and who I love.

Gratitude. Very important. Anything will do no matter how tiny seeming. Anything.

    When depression finds me:

  • I sleep.
  • I eat.
  • I exercise. Yoga!
  • I dance. Tango!
  • I make sure I am around positive people.
  • I talk with a friend.
  • I meditate and let go of everything, even if only for a few minutes.
  • I accept how I feel in the moment. Watch and observe myself with compassion.
  • I walk in nature.
  • I talk with my heart, my guides, and my higher self.
  • I find things to be grateful for in life.

I don’t just do one of those things. I do all of them. I remember that I have survived dangerous periods of depression since the age of twelve. I remember I am a survivor.

When I am able to do all those things on a regular basis something else happens. I remember that beyond what’s happening in my brain happiness is waiting in my heart to be shared with the rest of the world.

Never give up. Ever. Many people love you.

Soulmates Along The Path

If you’re a new reader here you wouldn’t know it but I have deleted a bunch of posts from 2010-2011. They were almost all about my relationship experiences in the 2010-2011 time frame. Pretty personal and definitely easy to misunderstand.

Much of my blogging at the time was about sharing my personal experiences of making very direct inner connections. I had also recognized Rumi as someone who quite literally has provided us with a guide to creating connections that blur boundaries between individuals at all levels.

Reading Rumi can be an experience of reading poetry and all that entails. And it can be the reading of actual descriptions of what happens when you learn to focus your attention and intention on connecting with another. I was stunned by how accurately Rumi was describing my own personal experiences.

I deleted those posts for two reasons. (They aren’t permanently gone, I still have them stored offline.) The first reason, I didn’t want potential romantic partners to read those posts out of context. Considering how I’ve grown and continue to grow I’m a very different person at the end of 2013 than I was in 2010. Second, the relevance of a soulmate in my life is something I view very differently today than it was in 2010.

How so you may ask?

First off let me be clear about where I stand on the reality of soulmates. I do feel there are others who we resonate with and are drawn to at a soul level. Sharing past lives and more also appears to be common. Many past lives, in fact. Soulmate relationships do not necessarily mean being together in this life until one or the other of you die.

More importantly, I’ve found through experience that I can create a deep connection that transcends space, time, emotional, mental, and physical boundaries with anyone. All of us can in fact. Are these individuals soulmates, as well?

Clear attention and intention are about all it takes. Granted, that can be a tall order depending on where you are in your own development. We all are just a choice away at the end of the day.

With the soulmate though, the connection feels like coming home. Or finding someone you didn’t know your were looking for your entire life. Read Rumi. He did a fine job describing what it is to touch another this way.

The desire to connect can also fuel leaps in personal or spiritual development. Sharing the awareness of a deep trans-conscious connection with another person is in fact quite addictive.

Dangerously addictive.

While I would caution anyone considering this path I also recognize just how much you can gain in a short time from going down it. Just be ready. Rodeo comes to mind.

This is one of the primary roles of the soulmate in my opinion. Growth. It’s not about heaven on earth. The connection has always been there and will always be there. So why does 60 years on earth make a difference one way or another. Unless, it’s to accomplish something lie growth for one or both of the souls and possibly impact the rest of the world in some way, too.

One day I made a list of the things I could remember experiencing. The items on the list I made would sound like fantasy. Especially, given how they were not just things that happened now and them. They were daily events.

Why exactly did I pull those posts, again?

Because I now finding myself being very cautious about that level of connection. First, I learned how to make the connection. Then I learned what it was like to share that connection with a partner. Last, I learned that choosing to make that level of connection is a very, very serious matter. If one of the people in the connected state is not ready for the connection the relationship can destabilize quickly. And frankly neither person has to be “enlightened” to do it. This stuff is completely amoral. There’s only choices and consequences. Some of the consequences can be a real pain.

I pulled those posts because people need to be careful about these things. You can open yourself up to some serious consequences in these types of connections. They really are not to be taken lightly. Sure it’s all learning and works out in the end. People need to be aware of their vulnerability when creating that opening. People can and do hurt others intentionally with these states of consciousness. You have to be careful and have the right tools.

These days I listen to both my guides and my intuition quite a bit. Also, I take things relationship-wise very, very slow. Turning into an energetic/spiritual phone receiving raw emotions, thoughts, and visions as they happen can be a pain. Especially, since the more intense they are for the other person the more intense they can be for you.

Turning Down the Volume

Once you go down the path of making deep connection you will learn pretty quickly the art of turning down the volume if you want to get anything accomplished in your life. Just like on a radio you need to be able to turn down the volume on the connection. Especially, if your partner hasn’t developed the ability to manage their broadcasts!

Hm. I’m starting to ramble. Soulmate connections are amazing. Really, I would like to be able to share such a connection with a life partner one day. My experiences though have made me very cautious about opening that level of connection too soon. For both our sakes. I would caution anyone opening themselves to be careful as well. A good place to start is with creating the same deep connection with yourself. A topic for another post one day.

Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment below!

Intuitive Cobbler: Spirit Guides Are Looking Out for My Sweet Tooth!

If you’ve read this blog or known me for any length of time you are probably aware of my work with the intuitive, energetic, and spiritual perspectives of my life. I’ve made life altering choices based on the unseen guidance that have at times been difficult for those close to me to understand.

As a case in point I want to point out what happened late this afternoon. I was Christmas shopping. Tired, I still had things to do including yoga which was high on the list. So, I ask, home for a nap. Yes I’m told. Yoga? No I’m told. Grocery shopping? No I’m told.

About 20 after five I’m about ready to settle in for my nap and the phone rings. Turns out Beth and the girls are bringing over a blueberry cobbler. (Many frozen blueberries were tragically defrosted before their time.) They called at 5:25 PM. If I had gone to yoga I would have missed the call. And I would have missed blueberry cobbler this evening! Once again, trusting that quiet voice pays off. Listen!

Romance, Social Expectations, and Living the Perfectly Imperfect Life

My life has gotten to a really quiet place. I’m single (divorced), live by myself in a small quiet apartment. See my kids five days a week at their mother’s while she’s at work so we can keep homeschooling our daughters. I’m slowly figuring out what and how to make money as a stay-at-home-home-schooling dad. Socially, I tango multiple nights a week. Exercise, 3-4 times a week I go to yoga. Generally, getting enough sleep.

Just saying that I am pretty active. Losing weight, feeling pretty good. Though my old friend visits now and then the episodes are brief for the most part. As long as I get enough sleep depression doesn’t call the shots any longer.

As far as romantic relationships, other than thinking it would be nice to share dinner with someone special now and then, I feel pretty peaceful being alone. Tango helps quite a bit with the need to be close to other people. Then there’s the realization that lack of sex is vastly preferred to sex for it’s own sake.

That’s not to say I’m not open to meeting someone and being in a relationship. I just don’t feel a strong drive to put a lot of energy into a pursuit. Friends first would be ideal, anyway.

It took me a while to be willing to admit though that the lack of interest in the pursuit phase of the dating game does go deeper. Social expectations are part of why I am pulling back from potential dating opportunities. Part of me pulls back from women who show an interest in getting to know me.

Why? Because I have no cash flow.

Currently, I live on the sale of a house and a business. I’m also living the austerity life style. Having no debt helps a lot. Really, I am quite responsible financially. I don’t ask or expect financial support from anyone. Depending on who you ask, pathologically independent might be another description.

What’s going on? Gender roles. Men bring in resources. Watching people’s behavior (not their words), this meme runs deep for men and women. Not bringing in physical resources means not being ready for a mate. Or evidently,even the process of meeting a potential mate.

Even though in a way I really am able to be semi-retired! At least for a few more years. Which makes me wonder about actual retirement. Hopefully, I’ll have a bunch of this sorted by then and be able to make a graceful transition in my golden years. Except that sounds kind of boring. Who knows?

As always I’m learning lots. Where I’m at right now has inspired me to regain my social skills, focus on my health, kids, and build my business. Learning to be content no matter what is happening in life. Feeling happiness come from inside myself and flow out to the world instead of expecting anything or anyone to make me happy.

All while watching this semi-conscious avoidance of potential relationships because of something inside myself. I’m not complaining. The growth is the point and a process I welcome. In fact, I find it kind of funny. There’s always something. The key is to remember to just observe everything inside and outside yourself with compassion. Really, life if pretty funny if you can adjust your perspective enough.

Just being. Being human. I love discovering love inside myself. Watching myself being human with patience and compassion. Love is always there.

I think the biggest lesson I’ve been learning so far in life is that no matter the circumstance of my life or relationships with others, Love is there, part of and flowing through it all. Love isn’t about happiness or anger or success or whatever. It just is.

Can you relate?

Darkness, Addiction, Spirit, and Love

The path chose me when I was nine years old. Thirty eight years later I am protected and guided by the unseen in ways I still don’t always fully realize until after the fact.

Maybe two or three people in my life understand when I share with them what I see and experience. That aspect of my life has definitely been solitary. I do know there are others, many others, who are having the same kind of experiences. In fact, most people do! Not as many seem to notice what’s going on.

Went for a walk in a local forest this evening with my companions who are always by my side even when I forget they are there. Sometimes I’ll forget for years! They are definitely patient with me. Not such a solitary path after all. The trees, the fog, the birds, and the quiet were like a blanket. Nature is beautifully honest. She doesn’t play favorites!

My life now has vitality that I lost when I explored the dark nature of spirit realms for so many years. The power of the dark yin is seductive. Addictive in various ways and expressions.

Yesterday afternoon I was solid. So solid I wasn’t yearning for spirit or shunning it. Whole and complete and able to be. So solid, I asked a friend to explain my life to my kids if I should happen to leave this world before he does.

Then a few hours later another friend was brave enough to share something that she was afraid might be very hurtful to me. She clearly felt bad about about what she was about to say. Yes, I felt myself teeter a little by the news.

Within a few hours I solidified again. Only my mind doing a bit of thrashing. No charge though. And the beautiful part of the whole thing is I can see the hand (or paws!) of my unseen friends having systematically protected and prepared me for the moment. No pain. Only love for all involved.

I’m solid enough that I am not concerned with what people might say or do as I walk through life. Leaving an offering on the sidewalk outside Starbucks for instance does get looks. Not so much in Bellingham but still….

I am so grateful for these friends of mine! Loose ends are being tied up daily. For the last month, bit by bit, my life has been getting a good cleaning.

The vitality and aliveness is continuing. No depression. Integration?!? I may finally understand how to live in one world made up of multiple aspects instead feeling like I have a foot in two different realities.

Social Brain Hacks: Improve Your Social Life by Sharing Your Passion!

Social Brain Hack: Borrowing States of Mind

After getting divorced and many, many years of spiritual research and exploration I found myself in a strange place. I had lost my innate gregariousness. How the heck do I meet people and have a social life? While you can kind of get away with being a hermit after 20 years of marriage, I wasn’t much fun as a bachelor.

You may have read in my last experiment regarding talking to strangers every day for thirty days. While I did find that it wasn’t very difficult to say hi, I was definitely not creating a meaningful connection. How to deeply engage with strangers at will in any setting was still eluding me.

What I find funny about this is the kind of situations I don’t find intimidating. Airplanes are no problem, I grew up boating on rough water, know what a bullet sounds like when it’s only feet away from my head, and I never feel lost in the woods when I wander off-trail.

Something else that no longer intimidates me (this used to be a fantastically huge problem) is asking women to dance. Well, tango anyways. The more attraction I felt for a woman the worse it would be.

This week though everything changed and I finally pulled it together.

Last weekend, I started wondering what would happen if I could get into the tango mindset in other parts of my life? How would it work to feel the confidence I have in asking a lady to dance a tanda only be talking with a stranger at the dentist office? I actually did this yesterday at the dentist office. Had a nice almost hour long chat with the receptionist while the kids were getting their teeth cleaned. She didn’t get much work done but I did learn people in Bellingham have a distinct accent. She was form Houston and still sounded Texan.

What I finally came to was that what I was looking for went beyond confidence. What was the secret ingredient? Passion! Passion for the dance was the real key. What I feel for and through tango can be used to fuel passion and aliveness in my life in general. That aliveness draws people to you, making connecting with them easy and natural. While the experiment is just starting I’m definitely seeing changes in my social skills.

Of course, life has been quietly showing me the answer for a while now. My last girlfriend told me she had found that passion for tango attractive when we first met at a party. In fact, she later reached out to me to see if there might be a connection between us. It wasn’t about the tango, though, it was about the energy and passion.

For some reason I didn’t catch on at the time. People are looking for that feeling of aliveness. Choose to find it in your own life. Let the energy permeate your being and live through you. People will find you.