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Week of May 6th, 2021

It's Bad Luck to Be Superstitious

It always makes me proud to love the world; hate’s so easy compared.

—Jack Kerouac

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The closer you get to real matter, rock air fire and wood, the more spiritual the world is.

—Jack Kerouac


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FREE WEEKLY NEWSLETTER

Here's a link to my free weekly email newsletter, featuring the Free Will Astrology horoscopes, plus a bunch of other stuff. It arrives every Tuesday morning.

Read past issues of the newsletter.

Sign up here for your free subscription.


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IT'S BAD LUCK TO BE SUPERSTITIOUS

Review in painstaking detail the history of your life,
honoring every moment as if you were conducting
a benevolent Judgment Day.

Forgive yourself of every mistake except one.

Create a royal crown for yourself
out of a shower cap, rubber bands, and light bulbs.

Think of the last place on Earth you'd ever want to visit,
and visualize yourself having fun there.

Steal lint from dryers in laundromats
and use it to make animal sculptures for someone you admire.

Fantasize you're the child of divine parents
who abandoned you when you were two days old,
but who will soon be coming back to reunite with you.

Meditate on how one of the symbols of plenitude in Nepal is a mongoose vomiting jewels.

Once a year on the night before your birthday,
say these words into a mirror: "It's bad luck to be superstitious."

Start a club whose purpose is to produce an archive
of controversial jokes and obscene limericks about beauty, truth, and love.


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Below are excerpts from an interview I did with the brilliant Amanda Yates Garcia, author of the book Initiated: The Wayward Girls' Guide to Becoming a Witch.

Listen to our conversation here.


CULTIVATING GRACE

Grace is a mystery, isn't it? It's not always something we can logically figure out. But I believe there is a way we can cultivate grace, and that is to commune with the Goddess.

We commune with the source of life, and affirm unceasingly that we want to be in close personal association with the source of all life.

We want to be with her. We want to speak with her. We want to be inspired by her. We want to be motivated by her.

We want to be able to channel her ideas of what we can be doing in the world. We want to be able to channel that in the purest way so that we're a vehicle for her.

And we're in alignment with her idea of what our highest destiny should be.

In that sense, we can to a degree at least—although it's always mysterious—we can cultivate grace and blessings that come from the highest source. Beyond our ego, beyond our conscious understanding, beyond what we can perceive with our five senses.

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An important part of the request, or the prayer, or the invocation of the Goddess' intimate presence, is to affirm that whatever she chooses to give us will be of good to other people, will be of some use to other people.

That's the missing link: We affirm that we want her energy to fill us and inform us so that we can give our gifts better and to be of greater service to other people. I think that delights her and makes her all the more intensely likely to deliver the exact blessings that are necessary to any particular situation.


These are among my statements from an interview I did with the brilliant Amanda Yates Garcia, author of the book Initiated: Memoir of a Witch

Listen to our conversation here.

Amanda Yates Garcia is here.

Amanda Yates Garcia is also here.


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More of my words from the interview with Amanda Yates Garcia:

A lot of people in our culture are smart intellectually, but not very smart emotionally. The emotional intelligence is just not very highly valued.

And it's related to how women are devalued. It's not just of course that women are the only ones who have emotional intelligence, but they're more likely to be emotionally intelligent than men.

So the devaluation of the feminine is related to the devaluation of the power of the emotions, of the wisdom of the emotions.

One of my great crusades is to champion the value of ripening our emotional understanding, of using our emotional understanding to enrich our relationships, and to enrich our understanding of how the world works.

Just one example: It's great to have an intellectual understanding of the Goddess and the source of all life beyond the material world, but it's another thing to have an emotional connection to the Goddess, and to cultivate that intimate up-close deeply felt contact and communion with her.

Luckily for me, I was born under the sign of Cancer, and I think that gives me a predilection for valuing the felt sense and championing the felt sense.

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If we look at the history of the God Mars, originally he was a protector of the fields and protector of women and children. This was at a time in ancient Rome when most men were farmers.

But as Rome became an empire and more and more farmers became soldiers, the role of Mars shifted to be more warlike, and militant, and warrior-like.

But the original role of Mars, the central archetype of manliness, was to be a protector of women, and children, and nature.

Mars as a protector of the natural world and women and children: I would like to resurrect that archetype of Mars.

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In my felt philosophy of life, Goddess is literally recreating the world every moment. She didn't create the world once upon a time 4.6 billion years ago and stop.

She's here now, recreating it all the time.

So each moment is new and unpredictable. And that can be scary, but it can be a liberation.

Thich Nhat Hanh said, "The bad news is that everything is impermanent. The good news is that everything is impermanent."

What he meant by that: The good news is that we can keep recreating things anew, too. We don't have to be bound by what happened once upon a time or yesterday. We really do at least potentially have the power to be like the Goddess, be like the river, and be ever flowing.

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When we talk about happiness, it's about what has meaning to you. Happiness isn't necessarily about having all the money you want, although it can be related to that. In its purest form, happiness is that you're living a life with meaning or you're having experiences that satisfy your quest for meaning.

Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl said this clearly: A sense of meaning is the most important thing in life. That's what sustains people throughout their lives: the sense that their life has a meaning or that any particular experience has a meaning.

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My happiness comes from the fact that I know my happiness is meaningless unless I'm working in some way to foster the happiness of others.

I also think my happiness thrives to the degree that I'm not just manly, but also womanly; in other words, to the degree that I incorporate what I understand to be the divine feminine principle and bring it into my life in really practical ways.

So that means valuing emotional intelligence, listening well, not being a know-it-all, being willing to be humble and empty, and curious and expressing care and compassion.

And not just thinking those things, but every day questioning how can I do this anew, afresh? How can I do this better than I did it before?

I feel equally manly and womanly. And for those aspects to be working together in me seems to be key to my ability to enjoy life.

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Listen to our conversation here.


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SHADOW WORK

The alchemists said the magic formula for enlightenment was "Visita Inferiora Terrae Rectificando Invenies Occultum Lapidem," or "Seek out the lower reaches of the earth, perfect them, and you will find the hidden stone"—the treasured philosopher's stone.

In other words: Engage the shadowy parts of yourself, refine them, and you'll awaken your dormant divinity.

MORE.

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"If you're really listening, if you're awake to the poignant beauty of the world, your heart breaks regularly. In fact, your heart is made to break; its purpose is to burst open again and again so that it can hold ever-¬more wonders."

—Andrew Harvey

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"The miracle of the psyche's ways is that even if you are halfhearted, irreverent, didn't mean to, didn't really hope to, don't want to, feel unworthy to, aren't ready for it, you will accidentally stumble upon treasure anyway."

—Clarissa Pinkola Estes

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I invite you to write an essay on "What I Swear I'll Never Do Again as Long as I Live—Unless I Can Get Away With It Next Time."


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THANKS by W. S. Merwin

with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings

we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you

we are standing by the water thanking it
standing by the windows looking out
in our directions

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you

over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you

in the banks we are saying thank you
in the faces of the officials and the rich
and of all who will never change
we go on saying thank you thank you

with the animals dying around us
our lost feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you

with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us
we are saying thank you faster and faster

with nobody listening we are saying thank you

we are saying thank you and waving
dark though it is

—W. S. Merwin


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SCIENCE AND THE FAIRIES

With science, Mothra, and the fairies together, we are unbeatable.


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"The important thing," said author Charles Du Bos, "is to be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become."


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EXPUNGED

Last week's newsletter got massively expunged by the Outlook mail program. I can't fathom what the apparently offensive reference was.

If you were one of the thousands of subscribers who had a giant company decide what you shouldn't see, you can find the last three weeks' newsletters at my archives.

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Unfortunately, this punishment has made me wary about publishing certain ideas and information in my newsletter. I haven't decided what to do about it.

But this week, for example, I withheld my thoughts about America's police problem—and even refrained from posting links to my writing about the subject, since last week it was a mere link that caused the expurgation. I will keep you posted.

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If you so desire, you can read my posts abut American militarism and America's brutal police culture HERE

and

HERE.


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HOW IS YOUR YEAR GOING SO FAR?

If you'd like to check out the year-long preview horoscopes I wrote for you at the beginning of this year,


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CUES AND CLUES

Guidelines to celebrate "Loving the Luxurious Hole at the Heart of Luminous Nothingness," a three-hour jubilee to be performed once every season for as long as you live.

• Empty yourself out completely, and do it gladly.

• With blithe daring, lower your expectations all the way down to zero.

• Surrender every remnant of delusional hope you might be tempted to cling to.

• With a jaunty nonchalance, act as if you have nothing to lose.

• Open an enormous welcome in your heart for the messy, unpredictable mystery of life exactly as it is.

• Say yes to the confounding beauty of ambiguity and paradox.

• Free yourself to accept every person and every situation on their own terms.


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FAKE ENLIGHTENMENT

If your quest for spiritual enlightenment doesn't enhance your ability to witness and heal the suffering of your fellow humans, then it's fake enlightenment.

If your quest for spiritual enlightenment encourages you to imagine that expressing your personal freedom excuses you from caring for the health and well-being of your fellow humans, then it's fake enlightenment.

If your quest for spiritual enlightenment allows or encourages you to ignore racism, bigotry, plutocracy, misogyny, and LGBTQ-phobia, it's fake enlightenment.


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WE NEED AN UNCOLONIZED IMAGINATION

Below are excerpts from an interview with storyteller and mythologist Martin Shaw: WE NEED AN UNCOLONIZED IMAGINATION, a mythic intelligence. (
The whole interview is here.)

Why? Because we are constantly being fed signs that frighten us, and then paralyze us, and then colonize us. And imagination, through myth, wants to give you symbols to raise you up.

People often prefer to dismiss myth, saying: it’s not true. But a way to think about myth is as something that never was and always is. Or as a beautiful lie that tells a much deeper truth.

But one way or another when we lose our mythic sensibility, the powers in this world that may not wish us well have a greater purchase on us, a greater hold.

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Whatever we are facing now we need to have a root system embedded in weather patterns, the presences of animals, our dreams, and the ones who came before us.

Myth is insistent that when there is a crisis, genius lives on the margins not the centre.

If we are constantly using the language of politics to combat the language of politics at some point the soul grows weary and turns its head away because we are not allowing it into the conversation, and by denying soul we are ignoring what the Mexicans call the river beneath the river.

We’re not listening to the thoughts of the world. We’re only listening to our own neurosis and our own anxiety.

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The days of conventional hero myths are not serving us. What is being called for now culturally is a word you find often in Ancient Greece: metis. Metis is a kind of divine cunning in service to wisdom.

We can’t be naïve in times like this, because we are in the presence of underworld forces that will do one of two things: they will either educate us, or annihilate us.

And in fairy tales whenever the movement is down – and the movement culturally is down right now – you have to get underworld smart, have underworld intelligence, underworld metis.

I have a strong feeling that a lot of what wants to emerge through many ancient stories is a kind of wily, tough, ingenious and romantic force that needs to come forward at this point in time.

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If you don’t have ancestors you have ghosts. At the moment many of us are so impoverished and lacking in a cultural root system that what is around us are not ancestors supporting us but ghosts depleting us.

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I notice that several times a day I go into what you could call a mild trance state. I’m not talking about ouija boards here! I’m just talking about falling under the influence of advertising, or various politically engineered neuroses that might be floating around.

But I recognize I have come into a kind of enchantment. And the way I recognize it is that I feel less than grounded. I feel I’m not in the realm of imagination, I’m in the realm of fantasy. So the imaginal is not present; the Earth as a lived, breathing, thinking being is not present.

What’s happening is I’m simply fretting – to use my mother’s language – I’m spinning my wheels. And so actually I think stories have a capacity to wake us up.

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Gaston Bachelard says, "The Earth seeks to be admired by you."

So if you do nothing else, admire natural things. Learn to give them praise. Learn to speak their 12 secret names. You hear about the Inuit having all these different names for snow.

Well, I thought, what are the 12 secret names of those old-growth oaks that I see down near Greenwich docks? My advice really is what the Hindus call the "joyful participation in the sorrows of the world."

Read the entire interview with Martin Shaw.

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I need the medicine Martin Shaw has to offer.

More from Martin Shaw.


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KEEPING YOUR IMAGINATION HEALTHY

Great article on the subject here.

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"So many indigenous people have said to me that the fundamental difference between Western and indigenous ways of being is that even the most open-minded westerners generally view listening to the natural world as a metaphor, as opposed to the way the world really is. Trees and rocks and rivers really do have things to say to us."

—Derrick Jensen

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"Our original instructions are to listen to the cloud floating by and the wind blowing by. That’s poetry and prose in English, but it is 'wakahan' in the Lakotan language. It means to consciously apply mystery to everything. Everything is alive and has its own consciousness."

—Tiokasin Ghosthorse, Lakota elder

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"Animism is a way of approaching life that emphasizes relationships. Animists see the world as full of persons, both human and other-than-human, and prioritize living in respectful ways with these others. Animism is largely about ethics or core values that get expressed through practices, rituals, and traditions."

—Dr. Daniel Foor

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Once again, scientists "discover" what many indigenous people have known forever: "Animals are busy having conversations all around us. Two-way "turn-taking" communication occurs across a wide range of species.

Here's some good info.

Here's some more good info.


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"Modern post-industrial societies tend to produce un-sane populations -- multitudes of people who are unbalanced in their adaptation to the destructive stress of daily existence. One of the symptoms of this un-sanity is the loss of contact between the waking ego and the depths of the self, a contact that requires involvement in dream experiences and information.

"Cultures generally resist change, and modern materialist societies are no different in this respect. Devaluation of dreaming and other spiritually efficacious experiences is part of the foundation of 'false consciousness' required by capitalist/materialist political economies.

"Materialist cultures require that the focus of awareness be upon the material conditions of life and away from involvement with the inner being which is the only road to spiritual maturation."

—Charles D. Laughlin, Communing with the Gods: Consciousness, Culture and the Dreaming Brain

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May sound and light
not rise up and appear as enemies,
may I know all sound as my own sound,
may I know all light as my own light,
may I spontaneously know all phenomena as myself,
may I realize original nature,
not fabricated by mind,
emptynaked awareness.

—John Giorno

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QUESTIONS

1. What is the most important thing you have never done?

2. How could you play a joke on your fears?

3. Identify the people in your life who have made you real to yourself.

4. Name a good old thing you would have to give up in order to get a great new thing.

5. What's the one feeling you want to feel more than any other during the next three years?

6. What inspires you to love?


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Keep two pieces of paper in your pockets at all times. One says "I am a speck of dust," and the other, "The world was created for me."

—Rabbi Bunim of P’shiskha


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WHAT YOU NEED

You need regular doses of unreasonable beauty, sublime anomalies, beguiling ephemera, and inexplicable joys.


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YOUR SYMPTOMS?

Congratulations if you've been having any of the following symptoms:

• spontaneous eruptions of gratitude

• a declining fascination with conflict

• seemingly irrational urges that lead to interesting discoveries

• yearnings to peer more deeply into the eyes of people you care about

• a mounting inability to tolerate boring influences that resist transformation

• an increasing knack for recognizing and receiving the love that's available to you


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FREE THE WHOLE WORLD

If you'd like to read a succinct summary of my philosophy of life — which can't be published here because it has forbidden words — go here.


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LONG LIVE YOU AND ME

Long live the beauty that comes down and through and onto all of us.

—singer-songwriter Laurie Anderson

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Long live impudence! It's my guardian angel in this world.

—Albert Einstein

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LONG LIVE THE WEEDS

Long live the weeds that overwhelm
My narrow vegetable realm !—
The bitter rock, the barren soil
That force the son of man to toil;
All things unholy, marked by curse,
The ugly of the universe.
The rough, the wicked, and the wild
That keep the spirit undefiled.
With these I match my little wit
And earn the right to stand or sit.
Hope, look, create, or drink and die:
These shape the creature that is I.

—Theodore Roethke

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Long live freedom and damn the ideologies.

—Robinson Jeffers

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Long live also the forward march of the common people in all the lands towards their just and true inheritance, and towards the broader and fuller age.

—Winston Churchill

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Long live all the magic we made.

—Taylor Swift

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Long live diversity, long live the earth!

—Edward Abbey

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Long live the rose that grew from concrete.

—Tupac Shakur

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Long live the pioneers, rebels and mutineers.

—X Ambassadors

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Long live your soul and may i see you do great in life.

—birthday card

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Long live “fact journalism.”

—David Leonhardt

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Vive la différence!

—French proverb


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Live long and prosper.

—Spock

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Love the life you live. Live the life you love.

—Bob Marley

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Long live wanting to live in this beautiful garden of life and knowing it as a beginner.

—Anah-Karelia Coates

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Long live transfinite mountains, the hollow earth, time machines, fractal writing, aliens, dada, telepathy, flying saucers, warped space, teleportation, artificial reality, robots, pod people, hylozoism, endless shrinking, intelligent goo, antigravity, surrealism, software highs, two-dimensional time, gnarly computation, the art of photo composition, pleasure zappers, nanomachines, mind viruses, hyperspace, monsters from the deep and, of course, always and forever, the attack of the giant ants!

—science fiction author Rudy Rucker

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Instead of complaining about impermanence, we should say, ‘Warm welcome and long live impermanence.’ We should be happy. When we can see the miracle of impermanence, our sadness and suffering will pass.

—Thich Nhat Hanh

Here's the whole passage of the Thich Nhat Hanh quote:
We are often sad and suffer a lot when things change, but change and impermanence have a positive side. Thanks to impermanence, everything is possible. Life itself is possible.

If a grain of corn is not impermanent, it can never be transformed into a stalk of corn. If the stalk were not impermanent, it could never provide us with the ear of corn we eat.

If your daughter is not impermanent, she cannot grow up to become a woman. Then your grandchildren would never manifest.

So instead of complaining about impermanence, we should say, "Warm welcome and long live impermanence."


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TRUE AWE

Each morning is all mornings.

The oak tree's shadow is the messiah.

The elephant shrew and the supernova are equals.

The Honda Accord is as natural as the Grand Canyon.

The skin is a temporary boundary, and so is the planet's surface.

The swallowtail butterfly is a savant.

Logic is crazy love.

The bat-eared fox is a razor-backed musk turtle.

Jubilation is an ecologically sound strategy.

No one knows how to sing the end of time because there is no end of time.

The critically endangered white rhinoceros is a forgotten birthday.

The vulnerable arctic wolf is emancipated from sin.

Purity is a sacrilegious vortex of panic.

Listening is the apotheosis of arrogance.

Our serpent thoughts keep us linked to original mirth.

The bumble bee redeems our unfertilized prophecies.

—by me


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DO IT NOW!

It's a favorable time to diminish the power of the past to obstruct you.

It's a favorable time to commit yourself to your high ideals and beautiful goals with such fervor and love that you render your past conditioning irrelevant.

It's a favorable time to diminish the power of any of your conditioned urges that are not in alignment with your soul's code.

It's a favorable time to commit yourself to your high ideals and beautiful goals with such fervor and love that you render your disruptive conditioned urges irrelevant.


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PSYCHOLOGICAL & SPIRITUAL

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.

—psychotherapist John Welwood

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To Welwood's ideas, 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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I call the high and light aspects of my being spirit 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.

—Dalai Lama


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