Julia: July 2008 Archives
I seem to have a particular talent for manifesting desks. Back in the 1980s, when I was starting out as a freelance copywriter, I had a promising little business with some great clients, but no desk. I'd put my word processor on my coffee table and sat on the floor to write. I was not a particularly organized person (odd--I can organize projects down to the tiniest detail, but I have always been chronically unorganized when it comes to everyday life) and I had stacks of papers growing in the living room of my tiny apartment, with no filing cabinet, no desk, etc., and no cash yet with which to buy them.
I had taken a personal-growth class that offered free monthly followups for life, and one of the regular activities at these meetings was that each participant got to present a problem and then be silent while the group would brainstorm for her or him. My issue at one of the first meetings I attended after starting my business, was need for organization. The consensus of the group was that I needed a desk--that I needed to make it a high priority. While not exactly a newsflash, it reinforced the absurdity of trying to run a business without the basic equipment. They also told me that I needed to just start organizing, even in small increments--to just do something, anything, to overcome inertia.
On the drive home, I said to the Universe, "Okay. I need a desk and I need it yesterday. I don't know how you're going to provide this but that's none of my business. Please send me a desk." And I decided that, as soon as I got home, I would do something, however small, toward getting organized.
It was easy to figure out what to do as there was a stack of mail from a few days earlier that I had never gone through. It was the perfect place to start! As I sorted through the various envelopes, one stood out. It was from a local business, and it was hand-addressed, so I was pretty sure it wasn't just an ad.
"Why is Danco Scandinavian Furniture writing to me?" I wondered as I tore into the envelope.
I had forgotten that, weeks earlier, I had been there with a friend to pick up another friend who worked there whose car was in the shop. She had been busy with a customer when we arrived, so we killed time wandering around the showroom, admiring the sleek Danish modern furniture. There had been a small teak desk with a filing drawer there that I had admired, but it was $150, and out of range for me. "Maybe someday," I thought.
Inside the envelope was a letter announcing that I had won second prize in their anniversary giveaway drawing. I had completely forgotten that I had filled out an entry form while we were there waiting. The prize? A $150 gift certificate for store merchandise! I don't have to tell you what I used it on. I'm typing on that very desk right now!
But not for long. No--I've outgrown that little desk, and I'm ready for a new one. My mother-in-law, Emily, was giving away her desk a year or so ago when she bought a new one, but I missed out on that as she gave it to my sister-in-law, who needed it for her kids. But that was alright--as I remembered it, Emily's desk was really huge and a dark finish, and my office furniture is all sort of a reddish-golden teak color. From time to time I thought about how much I needed a larger desk, but when I priced new ones, they were just more than we were able to put out, and I never seemed to have the leg-power to tromp around to the used office furniture places to find a bargain. So I just said to the Universe, "I really need a larger desk and I need it for free or for cheap and it has to come with ease."
The day I got off the phone from talking to my new agent--a very wonderful day, indeed--I called Rick in my excitement to tell him what a great conversation we'd had, and after sharing my news, he said, "It's just a great day all around. If you want Mom's old desk, Karla (Rick's sister) has to find a new home for it because she's moving and won't be able to use it." I jumped at the chance, got the measurements from Karla--amazingly, it was the perfect size for my space--and found out that 2 matching bookcases were included. Rick rented a truck and drove the 90 minutes to her house and picked up the desk and bookcases. When he arrived back home, he had a desk with him that was not at all the huge, dark desk I had been thinking of. It and the bookcases are a reddish-gold teak-like finish! And they match, almost perfectly, the other furniture in my office! Now, for time to clear my office to make way for the new furniture, which is temporarily clogging up my living room. (I need to get as good at organizing my office as I am at attracting desks.) I will tackle it this weekend as it's high time to start using my new bigger desk. My career is expanding and this desk is a reflection of that! Doing some clutter-clearing can only help, too.
Oh, yeah--remember in the desk manifestation story from the 1980s my telling the Universe I needed the desk "yesterday"? If I had opened my mail when it had first arrived 2 days before I finally saw the letter, I could have picked up my desk and had it by what would have "yesterday"! Love the Universe's precision--and sense of humor.
I am the desk manifestor.
Emotionally, it's because (and this is the secret I was waiting to reveal!) I signed with literary agent, Lisa Hagan, president of Paraview, Inc., to represent my Easy World book, and any other books I write! It's been said that getting an agent is, perhaps, more challenging even than getting a publisher. I don't know about that (I hope that's true since it was so easy for me!), but you can't submit your work to most major publishers without having an agent. I had extraordinarily good fortune in that Lisa is only the 2nd one I submitted my query to--and the first one recently (the last was in December). The other guy would have been totally wrong to represent a book about Easy World, anyway, and I credit Easy World with the ease with which I connected with Lisa!
I'll tell you more about Lisa in the coming days, but I'll hit the highlights now. She's very successful--she's been at it for 18 years and has sold a slew of books--and everything I read about her says that she's wonderful to work with. She is now in Virginia, but was in NYC for many years and moved back home--says she went home one Thanksgiving and didn't want to go back to the city--so she didn't. We talked on the phone this week and got along famously--she is very spiritual-growth inclined and we speak the same basic language in that regard. She's excited about my book and, most importantly, "gets" Easy World, which is a requirement!
She said my 71-page proposal (including sample chapters) was excellent, which was a huge relief after devoting so much time to it and only having some books to go by. She only suggested a minor format change in one section, and I decided to tweak a couple of others, so I polished it up and sent her the final version today. Apparently, summertime in the publishing world is very slow since so many people are on vacation and editorial meetings are scarce, so she advised me to be prepared for that. That's okay. I've turned this over to Easy World and I will simply occupy myself doing whatever I'm inspired to do and know that it's all being handled in EW!
The physical "high" came yesterday when Rick and I went on a day trip to the mountains. We drove the Mt. Evans Scenic Byway, the highest paved road in North America (ascends to14,240 feet), open only approx. 3 months out of the year. Once you see the road, you'll understand why! This movie is of part of our descent from Mt. Evans--pay particular notice to the edge of the asphalt pavement, and know that there were huge "bites" out of the edge in some places--SCARY! I had the "help me Jesus!" grab bar above the passenger-side door in a death grip much of the time, letting go of it only to video the experience to share with you. The wind noise is pretty loud so you may want to turn down the volume, but if you listen to the audio, you'll probably laugh at what I say right before the video ends...
First, however, some dramatic still shots from the top of the world, taken by Rick (click on the thumbnail for a large-format view):
I love this sign at the summit of Mt. Evans. I'm not sure I'd have wanted to drive up there if I'd seen it in advance!
These next ones look like they were taken in someone's garden, but they are wildflowers, in a garden designed by Nature. The upper part of the mountain is tundra, and it is amazing the beautiful wildflowers you find there (these were taken just off a parking area, thus, the gravel--I didn't want to go farther as I was concerned about damaging the fragile ecosystem):
I'll have to finish this entry later with a Part 2. This is enough for now!
Something so very exciting has happened and I'm so eager to share it with you, but I feel I need to wait till it becomes official with papers signed, etc., before I do. Just know that something I have put a lot of focus, passion and work into has paid off and I'm over the moon about it!
A quick update on Dad--he finally got sprung from the rehabilitation center on Friday after the cottage was assessed for accessibility by the folks that do that. My sisters, bless them, (they're in Michigan now) scrambled and acquired and got done everything he needed to have done to be able to be there. He's really been discombobulated by the whole episode (that's actually truer than it even sounds--his name is Bob and he hasn't been quite himself since the accident!). I think it's a matter of getting his bearings and doing things for himself again. It's been 5 weeks that he's been out of his element with people doing everything for him since he fell. With all that's happened to him, it's not a wonder it's knocked him for a loop at age 87. As I told him and my sisters, I think it's like when you ride somewhere many times with someone else, you don't always know how to get there, but after you drive it yourself, you know. I am praying he uses the same stubborn strength that got him through POW camp in WWII and through the death of my mom to rally again!
Speaking of Mom, last night, she appeared in a dream and she was healthy and happy and looked great. It was one of those dreams that was SO real, it really felt exactly like being with her. I was so startled in the dream because I knew in the dream scenario she had died but then she showed up so very real--for a moment, I was confused whether I was even dreaming or not. It was one of those that when you wake up, you still feel it so intensely. What a gift!
And then, there's the mice. I have to admit there was a day--the 2nd full day we had them, I believe it was--when I was ready to take them back to the store because I was just so knotted up about them. Nervous about all kinds of things like not having yet tried to handle them to clean their cage, etc., which really reeks of urine unless you clean it out frequently, and dealing with the dogs' obsession with them (they went from nonchalant to crazed as the mice got more confident and started being more active) had me thinking it was just too much. But they were so adorable and I had such a fun time watching them, I got very attached, and so they are still here. I don't think I could possibly take them back now, even though we have another week to. I'm sure you'll soon be hearing more about Annette, Britney and Christina!
Have you ever done something impulsive because a pair of little eyes tugged at your heartstrings? Yesterday, I did. I was at Petsmart getting some enzyme cleaner, and on the way out, my attention was grabbed, first by the precious sight of four baby mice curled up together in a plexiglass aquarium, and then by a fifth mouse.
As I peered into the box at the group of 4, mouse #5, who would come to be known as Britney, came running over from where she'd been investigating, stood up on her hind legs with her front paws against the glass, and looked straight into my eyes. And that was that.
No--I didn't buy them on the spot. I came home and told Rick about them, expecting him to object to the idea of adding mice to our family, in which case, I would have dropped it. But far from it--he enthusiastically related how some friends he knows from connecting online have mice and just adore them, and was very encouraging about adding mice to our menagerie. But it was 6:25 and we were meeting Stepdaughter #3 and her boyfriend at a neighborhood restaurant at 6:30, so we had to get going--no time to buy mice.
I must confess I had some fearful thoughts about it at dinner--what was I getting into? I invoked Easy World and decided if there was any part of it that seemed like Difficult World, I'd let it go. Rick had wanted me to get the kids to go with me after dinner to adopt mice so he could be at home doing things he needed to do, but they had another obligation, so I was thinking that might be the sign to just abort the plan. But before I could even ask, Rick kindly volunteered to accompany me.
When we got there, the 5 were still all there. Thinking 5 mice was a little excessive for our first time out, we settled on 3--they like to be in groups and that way, if something happened to one, there'd still be a companion there (I hated to break up the family, but at least we left 2 together). Oh--and they're all females, so there won't be the amazing multiplying rodent issue! I had first wanted, in addition to the one that had started it all, a beautiful caramel-colored one and a jet black one. But then a dark gray one with a white blaze on her face caught our eye and we decided on her instead of the black one. Then we started noticing the black one was a bully, so our decision was cemented. (Say a prayer for the other mouse left behind to deal with her!)
We bought an all-in-one mouse cage set-up that included everything they'd need, and headed home with our 3 Mouseketeers. We got them home and the pupsters were curious, but not overly so--not obsessed like my dearly departed Luna would have been. Lilah's shown more interest than Roly, but I've been doing my best to redirect her when she starts staring in the direction of the cage.
We decided that naming them after the 3 most famous Mickey Mouse Club female Mousketeers would be fitting. Thus, the dark one is Annette (Funicello), the white with dark markings is Britney (Spears), and the blonde is Christina (Aguilera). We are certainly hoping Britney and Christina behave better than their namesakes. But I'm already seeing a similarity with the Britneys. Back in Britney's (the singer's) heyday, she was an exercise addict, working out 5 or more hours a day. Last night, Britney (the mouse) couldn't seem to stay off the exercise wheel--maybe her way of relieving stress? I was a little worried she'd be dead by morning from over-exertion, but she was fine--and on the wheel again within seconds of our waking them up! She and Annette have worked out a strategy whereby they can use the wheel together, side-by-side (Britney bullied Christina off the wheel when she wanted to share), but when their womanly figures come upon them, it should be interesting to see how they adapt. That little wheel may need to be replaced by a bigger one.
There is much more I could share about the meeces, but I'll just leave you with photos of them for now, and pick back up when there's something that someone other than us will find interesting about them!
Three sleeping mice--Britney, Christina, Annette (she shys away from publicity)
Shy Christina (man, those little cage bars look huge when you're zoomed!)
Shy Christina (man, those little cage bars look huge when you're zoomed!)
Britney and Annette
Britney on the wheel
Annette--she's the most curious about humans, but very camera-shy!
Believe it or not, I am finally closing in on having the Spring/Summer newsletter ready to go. I've committed to Tony to have my articles, etc., ready for him to lay out Monday, for a target of Tuesday to send it out. (If you're not yet on my email list, be sure to add your email address--there's a little yellow box to the left of this blog entry you can use--so you can be among the first to receive it!) So I'm saving my writing energy for that...
Meanwhile, I want to pass along a really cool TED video I saw today called 6 Ways Mushrooms Can Save the World. I found it to be amazing and it has opened up a world for me I had never considered. Here's a link--for some reason, the blog software isn't letting me embed it:
The guy in the video, while obviously brilliant, is not the world's most polished speaker--he's clearly an inspired geek who is only doing talks because he is so passionate about his message. But he picks up speed as he goes and his message is truly awe-inspiring. Do stick it out to the end! (About 18 mins.)
It hasn't been as long as it would appear since I made a blog entry--I made one midweek last week, but I removed it after it had only been up a half-day. You see--I was all excited about something called the Pickens Plan that a friend sent me an invitation to join. Just the Sunday before, while watching 60 Minutes (Rick's favorite TV show, which I could live without most of the time), rising oil prices came up, and I just flipped out at the absurdity of society's willingness to participate as if it's just fate.
It's such a ridiculous scenario to be so hamstrung by the oil industry when there are so many great energy alternatives to pursue--alternatives that would restore the environment and bring greater balance to the planet AND cost so little. So...I was passionately expressing my opinion about it, while at the same time, not really knowing a clearcut way that I could participate in making the change. So, when I received the invitation to join the Pickens Plan, I jumped at the opportunity because it seemed like an answer to a prayer. Actually, when I very first got the invitation, I wasn't drawn to it--mostly, I thought, because I didn't understand what it was. But then I began to explore the site and I was sold. So I signed up, made a blog entry about it, and then emailed some friends I thought would be interested.
It is a a coalition of people who want to see energy alternatives replace our dependence on oil--NOW, not in some nebulous future--spearheaded by who I now know is infamous oilman, T. Boone Pickens. On the homepage of PickensPlan.com he says:
"America is in a hole and it's getting deeper every day. We import 70% of our oil at a cost of $700 billion a year - four times the annual cost of the Iraq war. I've been an oil man all my life, but this is one emergency we can't drill our way out of. But if we create a new renewable energy network, we can break our addiction to foreign oil. On January 20, 2009, a new President gets sworn in. If we're organized, we can convince Congress to make major changes towards cleaner, cheaper and domestic energy resources. To get this done, I need your help...."
What's not to love about that? A visionary oil man? "A little odd," I thought, but anyone can see the light! That's when I jumped in with both feet and published my blog entry and sent my emails.
Then Rick informed me who T. Boone Pickens is. He's the guy behind the Swiftboat attacks that went a long way toward sinking John Kerry's presidential bid, giving us another 4 years of George W. and the gang. He is not known for his honesty and integrity, and is quite the greedy schemer (he's currently working on trying to sell the city of Dallas the gazillions of gallons of water he bought up water rights to in west Texas--read about that here). I wasn't ready to bail just on that--didn't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater, so I did a little exploring of the Pickens Plan community to get a better feel for things.
You know--I don't really care if he stands to make a bunch of money as long as this project has more integrity than he seems to. Unfortunately, what I found in the forums was a hotbed of political divisiveness, ugly name-calling, Obama-trashing, and lots of toxic energy, so I decided to bail out. That's when I pulled the blog entry. It just felt wrong to be allied with that energy (pardon the pun!) and to promote it using this venue.
Then, the same friend that pointed me toward the water rights article sent me information that points to Pickens being a key player in a series of hush-hush high-level meetings with Cheney, Ken Lay of Enron infamy, et al, that coincides with the commencement of the extremely steep, rapid rise of oil/gas prices. Very curious. What might this push for alternative energy have to do with this?
I'm still conflicted over it all. Somehow now I can't seem to trust that this person, who seems to have done so much damage to our country in the name of greed and thirst for power, has a plan that can really make a difference for our country and the planet without some built-in, secret traps. But his plan looks a lot better than any other anyone has put forth in a major way and it is galvanizing tens of thousands of people like me who would like to know what to do to make difference. Can someone with his track record give birth to something that will really help, with no hidden, detrimental agendas?
This morning, I remembered to choose Easy World only a few seconds after I woke up, and thank heaven, I did! If I hadn't, I might not have been able to turn down the invitation into the depths of Difficult World that was soon to be issued to me.
You see, before having my own breakfast (something that usually wakes me up), I was in the midst of feeding the dogs (who have Wellness kibble for breakfast and Northwest Naturals frozen raw food for dinner). I had just scooped out their portions and was replacing the kibble bin in the closet, when I somehow managed to bump something and drop the bin. Oddly, it flipped over and landed on its lid, but not before the lid came off in mid-air and kibble went flying. When I picked up the bin, though I did it very carefully, even more kibble escaped, and there was dog food all over the floor.
I managed to keep the two furry beasts at bay until I had managed to sweep most of the food up, but I was really glad I had not yet fed them so I could let them do the rest of clean up for me. They did an admirable job, too. They found pieces I could not even see, and scoured the floor under the baker's rack which was obscured from my view. Lilah has been practically standing on her head all day trying to get under the refrigerator to get the pieces that skittled under there and must be lodged since my stick trick didn't work to free them.
Anyway--and if you're a morning person, you may not understand this--but the miracle for me was that I not only did not get upset, angry, or otherwise bent out of shape, I stayed placid--even amused--and simply handled the situation methodically and calmly. Normally, if something potentially challenging like that occurred first thing in my morning, I would succumb to the dark side, and at least half my day would be soured because of some dumb thing I just wasn't able to handle in my semi-alert, not-long-out-of-bed state. But not this morning! I had a happy morning and a grand day altogether. And I owe it all to choosing Easy World.
I need to replace the Easy World Good Morning poster I used to have in the bathroom. Since the bathroom got remodeled in September, it's been missing, and I have not been consistent with saying the Easy World mantra ("I choose to live in Easy World where everything is easy") first thing in the morning since. If you haven't printed out your own poster to help you start your day in Easy World, you can go to the ILiveInEasyWorld.com freebies page and take your choice! It just might help you keep your cool if you spill a 5-gallon bin of kibble or have any of the other challenges that could derail your day if you let it!
Speaking of Easy World, mark your calendar now for July 29, the date of my next free teleseminar which will be "Easy World, the Place to Be," a review for longtime EW fans, and an intro for EW newbies. I will also be sharing new insights about Easy World and taking your questions during the last 20 minutes of the hour. I hope you will join us! (To receive an email with access details, be sure you're on my email list no later than the day before, which will be July 28).
For those of us in the U.S., this holiday, "Independence Day," commemorates the July 4th, 1776 breaking away of the original American colonies from the British Crown and the establishment of a democracy with all the outer freedoms that confers. That's history. And I'm grateful. I'm grateful to the brave men and women who stood up and followed their convictions to create the remarkable experiment in freedom we call the United States of America. I'm truly thankful to live in a country where I can write about personal empowerment and eschewing external authority to honor only the true authority within, and no one is likely to haul me off to prison for it.
But that is looking at freedom from the common consensus reality. What I'd like to suggest we celebrate today, in addition to the overt freedoms we enjoy, is our inner freedom to create our experience in any way that we desire. We forget we have that creative power, but it is always present nonetheless, and we're always using it, either on purpose or by default--usually, the latter. (But I am working on that!) We are the creators of our experience and we are free to box ourselves in, or to step out of the box. We are free to create such realistic holograms that we believe the economy is going to hell and that the food supply is evaporating and that gasoline is so expensive we need to restrict our movement and that we are helpless to change it. But we are also free to create it differently. How? However we desire!
We are free to focus our attention wherever we wish and know that the Life Force to enliven the reality we're focused into will follow and bring it to life in a greater way in our experience. Even if we have created the scenario where our outer freedoms have been diminished, we can absolutely create that differently, too, by our focus, beliefs and passion. I believe we are absolutely unlimited. We are not the victims we have been pretending to be--victims of big business, victims of government, victims of a secret conspiracy, victims of the so-called "powers that be." We created all that and we can create it differently. WE are the powers that be! Always.
Sure--it's your absolute right as a free entity--as a focal point of the Consciousness of All That Is--to invest your Life Force in that which you do not desire, but consider that it is your right--and privilege as Creator--to exercise your inner freedom to create what you do desire, including greater outer freedoms, prosperity, peace and joy!
Happy 4th of July, everybody!
Did you know that petunias have fragrance? I used to believe they didn't, but one evening after planting some petunias when I first started gardening, an amazing deep, sweet, spicy smell arrested my attention, and it wasn't till I'd checked almost everywhere else that I thought to lean into a petunia blossom. Oh. My. God. You can't normally smell them in the morning--they seem to release their intoxicating aroma in the late afternoon and early evening.
The dark purple ones especially put out the perfume, and the purple-veined light ones pictured below do as well. It may be my all-time favorite smell, and, with a collection of hundreds of essential oils and a garden full of fragrant plants, including aromatic roses, that's really saying something. I have a spiritual experience every time I stick my nose into a petunia flower and inhale. So do yourself a favor and go on a petunia-sniffing quest. Even if you just go to the garden center in the late afternoon, you will thank me if you've never encountered the petunia magic.
Okay--shivers-up-the-spine time. After writing the foregoing, I decided to Google "petunia essential oil" to see if someone had distilled petunia magic. I couldn't find much to vet the petunia fragrances that came up as being natural, but I did find something that made the hairs on my arms stand up and my spine tingle. According to several sources I found, petunias (petunia violacea) are traditional entheogens, used by the shamans of South America. What, you may ask, is an entheogen? I'll let this bit from Wikipedia explain:
"The word entheogen is a neologism derived from the ancient Greek : ἔνθεος (entheos) and γενέσθαι (genesthe). Entheos literally means "god (theos) within", translates as "inspired" and is the root of the English word "enthusiasm". The Greeks used it as a term of praise for poets and other artists. Genesthe means "to generate". So an entheogen is "that which generates God (or godly inspiration) within a person."
How cool is that? I knew I smelled God!