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Showing posts from 2011

"Oh My God. This is Amazing!"

I seem to have gotten over myself and the emotional wrangling that has preoccupied me since my divorce. In the six or seven months since the untangling of a very unbalanced relationship, I've taken accidental hiatus, and even with the best of intentions, have been too distracted and depressed to return calls, respond to requests for readings, and set up appointments. I did teach a two hour class on animal communication in October, but I have not been operating at full psychic speed as my body chose to absorb the shock of my ex's unparalleled selfishness and unpexpected meanness by developing Graves disease, which left me rather unsettled and yes, more than a little bit angry, not the greatest conditions for intuitive work. All that changed yesterday. My father's physical therapist called me a couple of weeks ago to check my availability for a dog birthday party on Dec. 4th. I said I was available and she and her partner booked me for two hours to help celebrate the first

Moving Past Yourself

Self absorption is a character trait we don't like to acknowledge but unfortunately, in a society where individualism reigns supreme it presents a universal pitfall that's hard to avoid. I remember how much of my life was compressed into an insular capsule simply because I responded to the external world the way a sexually abused child/girl/woman naturally does and without any apology: How will this affect me? Not how, but WHEN will this hurt me? (because surely it will, as everything and everyone does). I always envied people who actually had a visible life outside themselves,who didn't turn the hostile mirror of the world inward. Then something happened. Call it crisis, emotional breakdown, dark night of the soul, five of pentacles, psychological raku, crack-up. Call it shamanic breakdown. Call it healing. This is when the wise women showed me that hyphenating the word emergenc - y adds a higher dimension. It is when we heal in this frightening and painful way, like the

Harvest the Good

It's October, the time of year that for me stirs the nest that is my subconsious, moving sediments of memory into full blown consciousness as the autumn deepens and swells with flavor. Because I live in Florida, I can visit this season only as visualization, but religiously, every year as Halloween approaches, images of the past begin whirling before me, a most joyful and sensual dance. At P.S. 203 in Brooklyn, each fall we'd create "art" with red and gold autumn leaves, study pictures of the harvest, eagerly buy paperback books of ghost stories at the Scholastic book fair in the school cafeteria. I also felt a physical excitement at the first sight of Halloween decorations for sale in the stationery store: cardboard cutouts of witches on brooms, black cats, and full moons with guardian owls. The smell of chewy orange wax harmonicas and red wax lips remains with me. In those urban masquerade days, harvest meant grabbing handfuls of candy corn and sticky popcorn balls

Home is Where the Dog Is

For the past ten years, I have been using The Wizard of Oz to teach mythology, fairy tales, and Eastern philosophies to my college Literature students, sometimes three classes per semester, three semesters per year. In recent years, rather than paying attention to the plot and effects, I have been taking greater note of my students' responses to the Oz journey. Once Dorothy hooks up with her companions and skips along the yellow brick road (surely a symbol of the third chakra, the "I am" of individual existence), we see how each character mistakenly seeks an object like a heart or a brain, thinking it will render him complete. Actually it is not the object but a chakra, an integral part of the whole that the character thinks he's missing. Of course we know that no parts are missing; the chakras are there but the characters have not been fully awakened to them. This pretty much parallels the way so many of us live our lives in the mundane world which dulls the senses w

Surviving the Loss of a Pet: Tips to Get Through the Grief

Your animal has died and you are distraught. You have never felt such deep and prolonged loss and are afraid to share this with others who will minimize and perhaps dismiss your pain as misplaced or trivial. Wrong. All of us who have shared life with (not "owned") animals have entered and emerged from this unavoidable black hole, and we'll likely revisit it as long as we live with animals whose life spans do not equal ours in measure. What can you do with this grief? 1. Give yourself permission to grieve, and give your self permission to grieve hard. Experience it. Embrace it, even. It's real and it's potent. Avoiding grief, burying it, masking it, will guarantee its future re-emergence as a larger and more devastating threat to your well being. 2. Remember. Remember the joy and mischief, the silly songs and the serious training, the intimacy and the frustration, the quiet support and cuddles your dog gave you when he sensed you needed them most. 3. Talk

REIKI AND CANCER by guest blogger Emily Walsh

I'm pleased to persent this wonderful assessment of Reiki as a complement to medical treatments. Thank you to Emily Walsh for so successfully capturing the essence of this divine healing tool. Studies Show Reiki Helps Humans and Animals Cope with Cancer With the endorsement of medical professionals,such as Dr. Mehmet Oz, Reiki is becomine an increasingly well-known form of energy medicine. Developed by Mikao Usui in 1914 afater a mystical encounter, Reiki was first practiced by Usui and has been passed down through a lineage that continues to the present day. A form of healing and relaxation that balances the body's life force, Reiki strengthens the immune system, reduces stress, and helps the body heal itself. Its spiritual energy affects the body mentally, physically, and emotionally. How Does Reiki Work? The life force enrgy that flows in and around the physical body supports its cells and organs. When this subtle energy is blocked, the area that is obstructed func

Visual and Visionary Part 2: The Images

The Grief of the Pasha by Jean Leone Gerome The Sleeping Gypsy by Henri Rousseau The Bear Dance by William Holbrook Beard Spirit Wolf by Susan Seddon Boulet Calico Kitty by Georg Williams Blue Dog (the original) by George Rodrigue Bodo Flying through the Night by Martin LaBorde

Visual and Visionary: Animals in Art

We know the power of the concrete image, which is why poets in particular rely so strongly on metaphor to convey their message. When we read a quality literary piece, we retain the verbally constructed image forever, linking us to the words. For me, as a writer, the words never came first; the image did. Then I entered an almost trance-like state to retrieve the language that interpreted the picture. Forever embedded in my visual memory is a young and hunger-afflicted illiterate Colonel Sartoris Snopes whose stomach read the red devil labels on cans on the general store shelf. We rely on pictures to symbolize a moment, a movement, a philosophy. Returning to my early days in academia, I felt someone had injected me with propellant when I first encountered the sad, mad exposed heart in the self portraits of Vincent Van Gogh.....and thirty years later, I experience a similar rush when I get lost in the work of Rembrandt, as heart and soul radiate through the dim canvas centuries after he

No Death, No Guilt, Just Spirit : End of Life Issues and Animals

Many people who have lost animals to “death” want to communicate with them through a channel or medium, which is essentially the work I do. When an animal has passed on, I connect through a photo in what is truly the most sacred part of my work. Relaying the messages of an animal in spirit provides comfort to the human companion who remains behind in a maze of grief and self-doubt. Animals tell me repeatedly that they hurt when we suffer this way. In every one of my afterlife consultations, for over 21 years, they deliver this primary message: release guilt and realign with Spirit. Almost all of my clients ask these questions, exposing their conflicted emotions : Does he know we did everything we could for him when he was alive? Please tell him we didn’t even see the tumor. We didn't know he was suffering. Is she upset with me because I had her put down? Did she know how much I loved her? Tell him I put him to sleep to ease his pain, not mine. Please tell her I'm sorry.

Wounded Healers, Healing Wounds

I have no kind way to say this, and I argue there should never be a kind way to say this: My name is Lisa. I am an incest survivor . I was orally raped in early childhood by my paternal grandfather. There. Said. But not done. Never done. I am thinking right now of my former writing student, M., who experienced her own emotional, unprecedented, and unexpected self and public disclosure about her childhood sexual abuse, spontaneously responding to the first half page of Alice Walker's The Color Purple. I stayed with her after class and after many more classes subsequent to that. I think we both cried though I can't quite remember. What I do remember is that in what was a blessing, I drew from my own painful experience an understanding that can be felt by only two types of people: another who has stewed in the belly of this beast or a therapist trained to work with that person. Of course I am the former. I signed on to and ordered for her the book The Courage to He


I am not the only one in this household who got divorced -- the animals are also adjusting to a new dynamic. During the first few days of our altered space, upon waking, Luinigh would dash to the spare room seeking my ex-husband (whom I displaced after I learned he was dating a woman he'd recently met and was "falling in love with" while still occupying the western spot in the bed next to me as if this were a forgivable arrangement even though the divorce had been finalized, whew!). I was also not the only one shaken and shocked. Dumbfounded, all poor Luinigh saw was a room distinguished by purses hanging from an unused Tony Little Gazelle. He stopped looking on day 4. Frankie the Crested Puff has become king of the house (or so he thinks), demonstrating an unpleasant resource guarding behavior in the bed at night (we are working on modification). Ingrid remains Her Regal Highness, the one whose path no other animal may cross without permission. Me? I'm still plumbing

Wafting Orbs of Light, or There's No Place Like Home

Last night I had one of my semi-annual tornado dreams. In this one, as usual, people were running from the approaching storm. I locked myself safely in a house I didn't recognize and I tried to hide in an interior room but realized I had left one window open about four inches. A gray swirl of smoke ominously entered through the window and strengthened in the middle of the room, picked up my little Chinese Crested boy, and began to suck him out into the funnel. I tried furiously to fight the storm and grab Frankie, screaming, as in mid-air, he was slammed again and again against the wall. Then the dissipating mist retreated as silently as it had entered, moving to the next house. I awoke this morning with serious lower back/hip pain, barely able to walk. I feel somehow like Jacob, afflicted. (What's my argument with Judaism? I never wanted to be Rachel or Leah or Rebeccah. I wanted to be Elijah or Joseph or even the dreaming Pharoah.) Back to waking reality, where these days I

Seeing: How I Came to Read Animals

When we are attuned to the call of the U niverse, Spirit gives us gifts in various forms and dimensions from knowing to seeing to feeling to hearing. When I started this journey 24 years ago and began uncovering and exercising my intuitive abilities, I was advised by a teacher to make clear to the Universe (a widely used metaphysical word for God) which methods of information gathering I was willing to accept. At the time, I felt that hearing would be too threatening to my emotional well being and requested a gentler medium. "Please give me messages visually, " I said. " I do not want to start hearing things and complicate my already delicate balance." And so it came, gradually, strengthening through consistent and earnest meditation, through a series of grand earthly teachers and mentors. I remember the most profound awakening after a group meditation/hypnsosis session led by my friend, Rev. Carol Romine. After the 15 minute session, I emerged with a clarity of vis

Animals, Divorce, Picador: Living in the Moment

I once heard George Carlin say dogs can't tell time; they don't differentiate between one minute and one day, so when we leave them, upon our return we get the same exuberant greeting whether we were gone for three hours or three seconds. This merits some thought. Is it that animals don't recognize time or that they don't worship time the way we do? We obsess over time lost and time coming; we struggle to retrieve the past, seeking some previously missed key to consequences we endure in our ongoing life sagas. Or we project and fantasize about the future, what will be, what could be, what we want. Doing so, we miss the present moment, the essence of a happy life. The Buddhists teach us that by living in the moment, we have no expectations and feel neither sorrow nor disappointment. So sensible. So difficult. Do our animals experience disappointment and resentment? If they do, such states are momentary. I am still winding through my fresh divorce, which I know in my he

Messages from the Light: Reading Molly

I am often called upon to communicate with an animal who is no longer on the earth plane. I never use the word death in this context since I know intuitively and experientially that there is no death, just transformation. A client sends or hands me a photo, and using psychometry, I easily contact the animal's spirit and am always greeted joyfully. In the book Opening to Channel, Sonaya Roman's guides Oren and DaBen make this pronouncement (a paraphrase): We rejoice when you make contact. So it is with the animals, who as indigenous peoples know, are spiritually pure transmitters of higher wisdom and unconditional love. Sometimes the animals appear to me in a physical form but more often I see energy. This morning I did a reading for a departed spaniel, on earth a regal girl with a commanding posture. In spirit, she was more than just a floating orb of light: she appeared as a star, very deliberately sending healing energy and love to the human companion and dogs she left behi


23 years ago, in therapy with a truly miraculous psychologist and holistic healer, Joan Lieberman, I asked how to keep my footing on a road mined with unexpected depressions. She used the symbol of series of single hills, each followed by a steep, seemingly treacherous valley. We stand on the hill and look straight out, not anticipating the space about to swallow us as we drop. Then after we regain composure, we find ourselves planted in the valley, looking straight out at another seemingly impenetrable mass of hill and we begin, like mountain goats, another arduous climb. Sometimes I feel such a physical heaviness that I can't lift my eyes to see even a sliver of sky. I remember asking her, Will it end ? No, she said. But as we move forward, the difference between peak and valley feels less drastic. I hereby create a new word: drasticity. The drasticity of our lives lessens even as our circumstances assume new complications. What a series of begets is our contract to live! Lo

The Spiritual Lives of Animals

A few months ago my friend Geoffrey sent me a link to an MSNBC report highlighting new academic research indicating that animals have a spiritual side. One hypothesis it offered was the fact that in human beings, the spiritual center lies in the "most primitive part of the brain" so it would be likely that animals, being more primitive creatures than we are, share that primitive spot. As pleased as I am to see the scientific world corroborate what shamans and metaphysicians have known through experience for thousands of years, I would disagree that animals are primitive. I would say primal, not primitive. We once clung to this notion in a human development context as well; as knowledge and technology have propelled us further into the electronic, industrial, and later cyber ages in the last few hundred years, our culture mislabeled as primitive indigenous peoples without the high powered gadgets and mass production. Does simplicity dictate primitiveness or does it free us fr