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Week of April 19th, 2018

You Escape the Chains

Here's a link to my free weekly email newsletter, featuring the Free Will Astrology horoscopes, plus a bunch of other stuff, including good news, lucky advice, and tender rants. It arrives every Tuesday morning.

Sign up here for your free subscription.

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Here's the oracle I'd like to be able to write for you a year from today:

"You escaped the chains that kept you enslaved to your primary source of suffering. You broke the trance it kept you in, and you freed yourself from its demoralizing curse.

'Now you have forged a resilient new relationship with your primary source of suffering -- a relationship that allows you to deal with it only when it's healthy for you to do so and only when you feel strong enough to do it.

"Very nicely done! Congratulations! Excellent work!'

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I INVITE YOU to say these things:

"I love everything about me"

"I love my uncanny beauty and my bewildering pain"

"I love my hungry soul and my wounded longing"

"I love my flaws, my fears, and my scary frontiers"

"I love my surprising power, my sweet mysteries, and my unknown freedom"

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If you want your personal chart done, I recommend a colleague whose approach to reading astrology charts closely matches my own. She's my wife, RO LOUGHRAN. We've been enjoying regular conversations about astrology since 1989! Her website's here.

Ro utilizes a blend of well-trained intuition, emotional warmth, and a high degree of technical proficiency in horoscope interpretation. She is skilled at exploring the mysteries of your life's purpose and nurturing your connection with your own inner wisdom.

In addition to over 30 years of astrological experience, Ro has been a licensed psychotherapist for 17 years. This enables her to integrate psychological insight with the cosmological perspective that astrology offers.

Ro is based in California, but can do phone consultations and otherwise work with you regardless of geographic boundaries.

Check out Ro's website.

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If I could have but one wish granted it would be
to live in a universe like this one
at a time like the present
with friends like the ones I have now
and be myself.

- by Rand Howells

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"Problems that remain persistently insoluble should always be suspected as questions asked in the wrong way."

- Alan Watts

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Once a month, we celebrate the holy principle of STOP MAKING SENSE. It helps keep us immune from the pandemic of sober sincerity and funereal earnestness that's infecting the collective imagination.

Go to my Facebook page to participate in this month's celebration.

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Lama Palden Drolma says: "There is such power in sharing the good results in our lives -- whether in meditation or in anything else we do. The practice of 'dedicating the merit' in Tibetan Buddhism is an act of radical imagination that has a real impact.

?In dedicating our meditation to ease the suffering of all beings, we engage in an act of radical imagination. Our radical imagining is that all beings are free, at peace, and awakened. Imagining this stretches our minds and creates the possibility for it to actually happen, because if we cannot imagine something, it?s nearly impossible to actualize it.

?In this radical imagining, our vision includes everyone equally in our love. This develops our generosity, loving-kindness, and commitment to the equality of beings. This kind of beneficence does not condone anyone?s destructive actions. Rather it looks toward the possibility of liberating and transforming the ignorance that drives people?s destructive actions.?

More . . .

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Exclusive! The Beauty and Truth Lab reports the news before it happens! In this special report, our psychic journalists bring you the stories that haven't happened yet -- but will:

A new breed of well?read, charismatic homeless people will arise. They'll spread understanding and laughter through their communities, and will be routinely feasted in the homes of grateful citizens.


A Constitutional Convention will produce a New Bill of Rights. Among its new amendments: All Americans must be rewarded financially in direct proportion to how much beauty they create.


One of the bestselling self-help books of the decade will be The Zen of Juicy Sacred Radical Temper Tantrums.


Biologists in Sweden will furnish conclusive evidence that men have "periods" analogous to a woman's menstrual cycle. They seem to correspond to changes in the relationship between Earth and the planet Mars, the biologists will claim.

At the peak of the male "marstral cycle," which can last up to 10 days a month, the adrenal glands release a hormone that makes men more likely to be irritable, more skilled at disguising their irrational impulses with logical explanations, out of touch with their feelings, and prone to violence and poor judgment.

There's also a vulnerable phase preceding the period, which the biologists will dub PMS, or Pathological Macho Stress.


Having one billion dollars solely for your own personal use will become a crime.


There'll be gay trees, holistic crack, a new class of aphrodisiacs that stimulate compassion even more than sexual desire, and computers that can talk to the Goddess.


There'll be new interactive video games with socially redeeming value. In one of the best models, kids must negotiate all seven levels of Buddhist enlightenment with a Smurf-like character who resembles the Dalai-Lama.


The average length of an act of heterosexual intercourse in America --which is currently only four minutes -- will jump to 22 minutes.


The national murder rate will plummet when "The Hedonistic Midwife Channel," a new cable TV network, begins to broadcast live childbirths 24 hours a day.


Researchers will uncover stunning evidence that vegetables have an intensity of consciousness and feeling much closer to that of animals than has previously been suspected. Many vegetarians will renounce their previous diets and swear to eat only milk and honey.


Surgeons will begin to perform foreskin reimplantations. After a major study of the psychology of rapists suggests that many men confuse sex with violence because of the post-natal trauma of circumcision, thousands of males will attempt to heal their psyches by having pseudo-foreskins grafted on, using patches of skin from elsewhere on their bodies.


The government will pay subsidies to some lawyers so they won't practice law?much as it now pays supermarket chains to keep cheese off the market when there is too much and the excess would bring prices down.


True "personality" as we know it will begin to die out as more and more people perform imitations of composite characters they've assembled in their mind's eye by watching celebrities they admire.


Dolphins will cease to be smarmy symbols of nature at its cutest when the public becomes aware that they're among the horniest creatures extant. An expos? will reveal that dolphins are sexually active from birth, females are wildly promiscuous, and adolescent males are usually bisexual.


A rowdy new class of genetic engineers will have little interest in creating oil spill-eating bacteria, frost-resistant strawberries, or other useful hybrids. Considering themselves to be a cross between computer hackers and performance artists, they will create fun monstrosities that appeal to their sense of play and perversity, like winged horses and trees that grow leaves resembling one-hundred-dollar bills.


A new grassroots political movement, Tax Patriots, will assert that paying taxes is the greatest patriotic duty one can exercise, even more than serving in the military.


The US government will give back the Black Hills to the Lakota Indians, Maine to the Passamaquody Penebscot, New Mexico to the Acoma Pueblo, and the Saint Lawrence to the Mohawks.


Pizza Hut will be bought by Oprah Winfrey, who will convert all the existing restaurants into a world-wide chain of well-stocked vision-quest sanctuaries known as "Menstrual Huts."


A Sufi real estate magnate will build a chain of sacred shopping centers in the American heartland.

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The preceding blips are excerpts from my book
Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia. It's available at Amazon and Powells.

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"I call the high and light aspects of my being spirit," says the Dalai Lama, "and the dark and heavy aspects soul.?

"Soul is at home in the deep, shaded valleys. Heavy torpid flowers saturated with black grow there. The rivers flow like warm syrup.

"Spirit is a land of high, white peaks and glittering jewel -- like lakes and flowers. Life is sparse and sounds travel great distances."


In his book Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships, psychotherapist John Welwood writes, "Psychological work focuses more on what has gone wrong: how we have been wounded in our relations with others and how to go about addressing that.

"Spiritual work focuses more on what is intrinsically right: how we have infinite resources at the core of our nature that we can cultivate in order to live more expansively. If psychological work thins the clouds, spiritual work invokes the sun."


To these formulas I would add that the spirit is about rising above and seeking what's most noble, while the soul is about diving in and wrestling with exactly what is.

Both tasks are valuable. Neither realm is inherently better or more important. If you have a bias one way or the other, it's usually best to be conscientious about maintaining a balance.

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While you commune with us here at the Conspiracy to Commit Insurrectionary Beauty and Smart Love:

Your favorite phrase might be "flux gusto"

The colors of your soul might be sable, vermilion, ivory, and jade

Your special emotion might be skeptical faith

Your magic talisman might be a thousand-year-old Joshua tree whose flowers blossom just one night each year and can only be pollinated by the yucca moth

The garage sale item you most resemble might be an old but beautiful and sonorous accordion with a broken key

Your sweet spot might be in between the true believers and the scoffing skeptics

Your sacred fungus might be yeast and your soil of destiny might be peat moss

The shape of your life might be oval with soft dark sparks

Your lucky number might be 3.14159265

Your lucky phobia might be arachibutyrophobia, or the fear of peanut butter adhering to the roof of your mouth

Your holiest pain might come from your yearning to change yourself in the exact way you'd like the world around you to change

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The preceding blips are excerpts from my book
Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia. It's available at Amazon and Powells.

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Every wise man I met in Asia warned me against caring.
Explained how everything I loved would get old,
or be taken away and I would suffer.
I tried to explain what a bargain it is.

- Jack Gilbert, "Nights and Four Thousand Mornings"


?What if the heart does not pale as the body wanes,
but is like the sun that blazes hotter each day
on these immense, perishing fields? What then??

? Jack Gilbert, "Getting Ready?


"come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed."

? Lucille Clifton


"The secret title of all good poems could be 'Tenderness.'"

? Galway Kinnell


"Are You the Lamb of Your Own Forgiving?

I mean: Can you forgive yourself / all
those crimes without victims?"

? Richard Brautigan

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In response to our culture's ever-rising levels of noise and frenzy, rites of purification have become more popular. Many people now recognize the value of taking periodic retreats. Withdrawing from their usual compulsions, they go on fasts, avoid mass media, practice celibacy, or even abstain from speaking. While we applaud cleansing ceremonies like this, we recommend balancing them with periodic outbreaks of an equal and opposite custom: the Bliss Blitz.

During this celebration, you tune out the numbing banality of the daily grind. But instead of shrinking into asceticism, you indulge in uninhibited explorations of joy, release, and expansion. Turning away from the mildly stimulating distractions you seek out when you're bored or worried, you become inexhaustibly resourceful as you search for unsurpassable sources of cathartic pleasure. Try it for a day or a week: the Bliss Blitz.

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I invite you to speak these vows out loud:

As long as I live, I vow to die and be reborn, die and be reborn, die and be reborn, over and over again, forever reinventing myself.

I promise to be stronger than hate, wetter than water, deeper than the abyss, and wilder than the sun.

I pledge to remember that I am not only a sweating, half-asleep, excitable, bumbling jumble of desires, but that I am also an immortal four-dimensional messiah in continuous telepathic touch with all of creation.

I vow to love and honor my highs and my lows my yeses and noes, my give and my take, the life I wish I had and the life I actually have.

I promise to push hard to get better and smarter, grow my devotion to the truth, fuel my commitment to beauty, refine my emotions, hone my dreams, wrestle with my shadow, purge my ignorance, and soften my heart -- even as I always accept myself for exactly who I am, with all of my so-called foibles and wobbles.

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One of life's great bounties is its changeableness, which ensures that boredom will never last very long. You may underestimate the intensity of your longing for continual transformation, but the universe doesn't.

That's why it provides you with the boundless entertainment of your ever-shifting story. That's why it is always revising the challenges it sends your way, providing your curious soul with a rich variety of unpredictable teachings.

Neuroscientists have turned up evidence that suggests you love this aspect of the universe's behavior. They say that you are literally addicted to learning. At the moment when you grasp a lesson you've been grappling with, your brain experiences a rush of a natural opium-like chemical, boosting your pleasure levels. You crave this experience. You thrive on it.

So the universe is built in such a way as to discourage boredom. It does this not just by generating an endless stream of interesting novelty, and not only by giving you an instinctive lust to keep learning, but also by making available an abundance of ways to break free of your habitual thoughts.

You can go to school, travel, read, listen to experts, converse with people who think differently from you, and absorb the works of creative artists. You can replenish and stretch your mind through exercise, sex, psychotherapy, spiritual practices, and self-expression. You can take drugs and medicines that alter your perspectives.

And here's the best part of this excellent news: Every method that exists for expanding your consciousness is more lavishly available right now than it has been at any previous time in history.

Never before have there been so many schools, educational programs, workshops, and enrichment courses. Virtually any subject or skill you want to study, you can. You don't even have to leave your home to do it. The number of online classes is steadily mounting . . . .

Read the rest of this essay here.

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The preceding blips are excerpts from my book
Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia. It's available at Amazon and Powells.

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You: "What do you talk about when you want to activate the imagination of someone you care for?"

Me: "I talk about the beauty they possess but don't know much about."

You: "How do you become smarter in the way you love?"

Me: "Before I ask anyone to consider changing their attitude or behavior, I first change myself in that exact way."

You: "What's the skill that you may be destined to become a master of, even though it's difficult for you to learn?"

Me: "Knowing the difference between ego-driven obsession and compassionate passion."

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1. Sunny, breezy ripples on your special day

2. A wild dream not quite hidden inside a safe dream

3. Time's gifts harvested at a moment of fierce weakness

4. Riddles and help from the Princess of Cups

5. Unexpected celebration; don't resist

6. You meet an alchemist disguised as a biologist

7. Waves of joyous chanting in the distance

8. Inspiration dissipates fear -- pink dawn

9. Song of the weird, sweet healers

10. Message written in disappearing ink reappears

11. The valuable illusions of youth

12. Clarity in all of its shocking splendor

13. Green earth basks in blue moonlight

14. A whisper in the dark frees you from loss

15. Are your ready for your close-up?

16. Meeting the Guest on an island you love

17. A lily and a rose on your doorstep

18. A birch tree tells you a joke

19. A memory recreated out of the thick air

20. What renegade light reaches the ocean's floor

21. A forgotten bell rings, announcing your victory

22. Hummingbird swarm, delight or agitation

23. What comes next






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How's your fight for freedom going? Are you making progress in liberating yourself from your unconscious obsessions, bad habits, and conditioned responses?

Do you find that you're getting more skillful at minimizing your suffering? Are you turning out to be the hero of your own life?

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Ken Burns says one of the things that alarms him most at this moment in culture is that so many people are eager to express their opinions and so few are interested in telling stories.

So tell me a story! We'll talk about opinions later.

Here's one of my stories.

Send yours to me at

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Ondinnonk is a Haudenosaunee word with two related meanings: 1. a secret wish of the soul, especially as revealed in dreams; 2. the spiritual part of our nature that longs to do good deeds.

How's your ondinnonk doing?

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You taste delicious
Animals understand you
Your importance is unusual

The funny faces you make are interesting to look at
You fight for power in all the right ways

Ecstatic gratitude is pouring out of you
I see the best in you
Your divine attitude

You have strong feet and a pioneer heart

No one can overflow as well as you can

You are famous with God
You are famous with me
You are famous with the snakes and birds
and roses and pines
and oceans and earth and sky

A lost tribe salutes you from the other side of the veil

You remind me of a star

Hear the song.

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Question: What are the lifestyle choices that enhance your awareness and intelligence?

I invite you to send your answers to me.

Go here and click on "Email Rob" at the bottom of the page.

Below are some of my answers.

I take good care of my body, emotional life, soul, spirit, and imagination.

Cultivate love as my primary orientation. Treat people well.

Listen to other kinds of intelligence besides humans'.

Listen listen listen. Be influence-able. Be willing to transform.

Relish and wrestle with and honor my nightly dreams.

Meditate 24/7.

Practice reverence for all of creation.

Understand the universe as divine play.

Consult Goddess on every decision.

Identify the best gifts I have to give and give them on a regular basis.

Figure out practical ways to express my compassion and lust for social justice.

Trust desire.

Feel gratitude for all I'm given.

Celebrate being alive even when I'm fearful or hurt.

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