A Wandering Soul

A Wandering Soul…

I love to wander.

I love to wander through thoughts which ponder
of experience and understanding
of the many possibilities.

Wander through things that are imaginable
because I have had the ability and seen
and had the ability and did

and wander through things that are unimaginable
that only peek through bits and pieces
small gestures and fragments minutely perceivable

I love to imagine all the multitude of possibilities
and then to know that I still cannot fathom it all…

This understanding pushes me to wandering more
wander through the thoughts of others
not just in present day

but to travel into the past
to experience the lives
to imagine the exasperation
to feel the emotions of times before
yet ever so present

I love wandering through my gratuitous thoughts
things that come freely with experience
many memories of that which I have lived

My thankfulness of the language that humans have created
My gratefulness for the humans whom created the tools which recorded it
…and for the many hours spent and lifetimes used to document and record
so that I may wander this vast universe of possibilities

Thanks be to so many humans
throughout so many ages
influenced by so many cultures and ways of lifetimes
…for the thoughts of which I love to wander.

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Disguised Blessings – #Blesstival 2016

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By Jef Poskanzer – originally posted to Flickr as Glass Beach / wave, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3773754

Blessings come in many ways in our lives and sometimes those blessing are in disguise.

It is easy to look back on our experience and see where something or someone was a blessing, but it is very difficult to see those blessing that are currently unfolding in the present, especially if they come with difficult change.

This of course does not mean that we are not blessed in the current moment; we just need to understand that blessings can come as hardships. We have all heard before when a tragedy strikes that maybe positive change will come of it.

I am reminded of the phrase “diamond in the rough.” If it were not for the hardships that cause one to get thrown about in the waves of experience, then one may never reach that level of refined beauty that so many seek.

I was asked recently by a friend, “How did you end up with a good man after being with an abusive one?” This was asked honestly with the underlying notion that those who get involved in abusive relationships tend to repeat those relationship choices.

I had never thought about my current relationship from this perspective….

How did I end up making a positive change in my life?

I am glad my friend had the courage to speak up and ask me. This was a blessing in its own right. The subject came up because of a blog post that I reluctantly made about my past abuse. I did not know at the time just how much healing that one blog post could bring me and again I was blessed.

My current relationship is thankfully not an abusive one. There are hard times and there are really tough decisions that need to be made, but I am now in a secure place in my experience that allows for greater spiritual growth. I am changing and growing and I am blessed to be in such a responsive relationship. I have been contemplating for weeks about my current relationship and questioning its blessings in preparation for this post. I only now see this relationship as such a blessing in progress because of this post.

When we honestly question our current experience for deeper meaning we are allowing the All That Is to move about freely in our lives to help us do some polishing up. This is also when synchronicity becomes visible. This has definitely been happening in my life, and I am happy to invite the change in perspective.

My previous post was about past blessings and where they have brought me. Those blessing in my life were much easier to view in hindsight. I could see the good that came about from those situations and I could say with confidence that I was blessed.

This current post is not as definitive as my last. I am being blessed yet I am among the chaos that comes with the shedding of old ways. Many of these current blessings are still being expressed and brought forth. They are not finished with me and I have not felt their true worth.

One of those blessings is my husband. It is his birthday today and I want to honor his presence in my life by expressing the blessings I have received from our relationship.

It has been difficult to truly see my blessings. I know that I have benefited greatly from our relationship and I know that I am happy with where our decisions have brought us thus far, but after 10 years we are still a work in progress.

If there is one great lesson that I have learned from this man, it is to seek greatness in all that I do and the blessings will abound.

I am still at a loss for words to describe the blessings in our relationship, but I do know that love is the best sandpaper there is when is comes to smoothing out our spiritual selves. My husband and I can only truly know our worth to one another and others can only know the reflections that our relationship makes upon this world.

My hope is that we help create positive change to those around us.

Change is always happening and we get to chose how we perceive it, just as you get to perceive my intentions for this post.

I want others to seek to see the beginnings of blessings in their current situations and remember that blessings come in many unsuspecting ways.

This post was created as part of a Blog Blesstival created by Sophia’s Children.  I would like to thank Jamie for opening up the windows for these blessings to be brought forth.

Are We As Consumers Doing All The Work?

We all know what production is, and we know what consumption is. You can refer to this older post about that here. There are those who are producers and those who are consumers, but have you ever heard of prosumption?

Many, many years ago (like the 1970’s) the word prosumption was coined to describe a change in the way that production of goods would be produced. It was reasoned that the economic landscape would grow to benefit consumers to such a degree that they would have much say in how and what was being produced. This is for the most part how some things turned out. One can have a specific saying or image produced onto t-shirts, mugs, and clocks with the click of a button. More and more consumers are producing their own media and customizing businesses across the internet to meet their own needs. Blogs being one of the biggest arenas for prosumption. We are the creators and consumers of the products or media being produced. YouTube is another great example of prosumption.
Actual prosumption, though, through mass customization of mega business for the consumer has not been met with their initial assumptions.

I would like to address some disconcerting fads that large corporations have begun to incorporate into their profit systems.

I hadn’t heard of prosumption until the other day. I came across this scientific article because of a fellow blogger. I am now more aware and would like others to be a bit more aware as well. We can not make fully informed decisions in our society if we are not fully aware of the mechanisms at work.

Most likely you have prosumed and you didn’t even know it. You know those oh so convenient check out lines where you get to ring up and bag your own groceries? Yep, you were not only consuming the goods from the store, you were part of the production process when you did the work of a cashier and bagger. Prosumerism is also present when you use your internet connection and your computer to shop around on the internet. You check yourself out and your goods arrive at your doorstep.

These things seem like great innovations. They are convenient and help you get through your day with less hassle, but in the long run are they really helping out our society as a whole?

When you choose to use the self checkout, are you getting a discount for doing the extra work? Not likely, you are paying the same prices as those using the cashier’s line. You can argue that is was quicker, but did the store under staff their cashiers on purpose? Did they artificially create longer lines? Were you essentially forced to use the self check-out? These are the things that we need to be aware of in our technologically advanced capitalistic society.

When we are not aware of what is going on, that is when we are open for exploitation.

All of big business is set up to make a profit. They are going to use everything they can to make more profit. If this means using less cashiers and more self-checkouts then that is what they are going to do. At first it seems great. We are moving forward as a society with the use of these machines, but what happens to that cashier who can’t make her house payment because her hours have been cut?

Think about all of the bookstores that went out of business since the advent of Amazon?

It seems our technology in the wrong hands (or wrong economic model) is a double edged sword.

I like innovation. I like the new things that we have created as a society, but I do not like the golem corporations that keep sucking up all the money and funneling it to the top. It definitely is a vortex.

I do not mind sometimes ringing up my own groceries and bagging them. I do however mind having my labor exploited for the bottom line.

Be ever vigilant my friends and we as the prosumer can begin to turn the tables.

Why Life Coaching is a Ponzi Scheme

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It has taken me a good while to write about this because I have felt like a total douche for months now. I think the initial impact has worn off or maybe it is that I finally paid off that embarrassingly large amount of money.

I have a problem…I still haven’t figured out what that problem is, I just do not feel comfortable in what I do. I can’t really put my finger on it. Is it the entitlement that I grew up with?…haha, that was a joke. If you have read any of this blog you would know I grew up pretty poor. I was intelligent, though. I did get a sense of entitlement from school for being advanced. I was one of those special kids who got to leave class on special field trips and do extra work for the sheer fun of it. I literally read the encyclopedia as a child for the fun learning factor it entailed.

Anyway, my problem that I keep running into is, “What am I supposed to be doing in this world?” I could go back to school. I could do many things. Currently I am still painting and sculpting, but those things do not really make “enough” money to help support a family of six.

Amongst all of my pondering about my soul’s purpose in this life, I was hooked and reeled into what I would consider the new pyramid scheme…Life Coaching.

Yes, Life Coaching is a ponzi/pyramid scheme. It is and I admit that I made a mistake and spent an exorbitant amount of money to have someone else tell me what I already knew. I was left with not only still wondering about my life’s path, but now stuck with more bills. I wanted desperately to invest in myself. I wanted the money to be well spent. I want a lot of things out of life, but I can not make this coaching thing into something that it is not. I am not really sure what I was supposed to get out of all of this.

Well, I know I was supposed to have a six figure income by the end of the year…
that is if I wanted to real some other seeking and pondering people into my lair and stick them with the same high priced money making opportunities.

I have a heart and I just couldn’t see myself deliberately taking advantage of someone’s foils. It isn’t in me. This is one of the reason that I stopped selling insurance and got out of sale’s of any sort. One of the reasons I couldn’t use my college degree and go into public relations and marketing. I am not a manipulator, and especially not for greed. How I got reeled into making 6 figures a year still behooves me. Maybe Mercury was in retrograde.

Let’s begin and see if the program I signed up for is in actuality a pyramid scheme:

The federal government wants to warn everyone about pyramid schemes….(ha, that was not a joke. One of the worst pyramid schemes in my opinion is the Federal Reserve Bank. You’d think our government would take their own advice, but I digress)

The following is the Federal Trade Commission’s guidelines to spot a pyramid scheme: (My reflections of my life coaching experience are in green)

1. No demonstrated revenue from retail sales. Ask to see documents, such as financial statements audited by a certified public accountant (CPA), showing that the MLM company generates revenue from selling its products or services to people outside the program.
(There were no products to buy, but her service provided was to figure out what service, services, and/or products that I should provide. She was going to help me get deep inside and figure out what needed changing to make me make money. Her main clientele is mainly other coaches.)

2. Buy-in required. The goal of an MLM program is to sell products. Be careful if you are required to pay a buy-in to participate in the program, even if the buy-in is a nominal one-time or recurring fee (e.g., $10 or $10/month).
(Well, I have to pay my life coach $5700 for an all day exclusive deep intensive where we will find out what my problem is and how do I go about fixing said problem. (once it’s figured out) It is sort of like free-lance psychology with no licenses or government involvement. Sort of cash under the table therapy.) *I have just now re-questioned my whole existence at this little nugget of wisdom that just surfaced. What the hell was I thinking? Oh, I wasn’t thinking. I was being emotional and had no rational thoughts.

3. Complex commission structure. Be concerned unless commissions are based on products or services that you or your recruits sell to people outside the program. If you do not understand how you will be compensated, be cautious.
(I only get payed if I create something of value from within my broken little lost soul that others are willing to pay $2500 or $3000 or whatever figure I want to put on the price tag. This number depends upon just how much money that I want to make. I am thoroughly encouraged to make 6 figures or more by my coach.)

4. Emphasis on recruiting. If a program primarily focuses on recruiting others to join the program for a fee, it is likely a pyramid scheme. Be skeptical if you will receive more compensation for recruiting others than for product sales.
(I learned after my intensive that the majority of my income will need to come from the reoccurring payments from my clientele as a monthly service that I will provide. After I have served them with the initial service I must then get them to sign up for a monthly community. I was of course asked to join her service which would set me back $700 monthly. I declined.)

5. No genuine product or service. MLM programs involve selling a genuine product or service to people who are not in the program. Exercise caution if there is no underlying product or service being sold to others, or if what is being sold is speculative or appears inappropriately priced.
(I was taught throughout my intensive upon how to create my service and coached on what to charge for that service. I was taught to charge $1000 or $1500 more than what I really wanted to make so that I could “offer” an exclusive discount to the would be client. I learned this along with more secrets of closing a sale, which included the phrase, “Will that be Visa or Mastercard.” I am reminded of my marketing courses in college.)

I may have been robbed.

After the high of all the fabulous information I received during my intensive wore off, I was left with a huge credit card bill, a semi-viable “program” to sell along with now wondering if I needed to pursue a graduate degree in family therapy. I do think there are good coaches out there and genuine people helping others, but I think I may have gotten mixed up with the Egyptian variety. Please learn from my mistake and be less emotional and more rational when it comes to choosing mentors.
I did get very creative during this time and revamped my art website, created a newsletter, and began thinking more about marketing. My coach was not thrilled by these extra outlets of energy, but I was loving the thought of creating more art. Creating art isn’t what was brought out in my intensive as a viable money making option, though. I was encouraged to create a day intensive that could use art but needed to have more structure and support for my client.
I did create and put together an awesome way to help others get some creative juices flowing or encourage more creativity in their lives. I have some cool exercises and thought experiments. I even tested stuff out on my husband and children. These are things that I have done to help myself when in a creative jam. Some is information that I have collected from many different sources plus life experience. There are methods that I have used for creating. I have many loads of notebooks filled with creative ideas. My problem I suppose is finding time for the execution of my ideas.
My problem may be narrowing down my passions in life.
I most likely will never sell my “program/intensive” but I may just try and post some of it in these next few days to help and encourage others.
No high price tags here.

Here is another warning for coaches out there, and a better explanation of my conclusions on life coaching.

I may have been robbed.

Earth is Still a Magical Place

Fishing Day Acrylic on Wood

                                                                          Fishing Day
                                                                       Acrylic on Wood

You can’t really know what life may bring you, so you may as well live each moment as it comes.

I had the pleasure this last weekend of exhibiting some of my artwork at the local County’s Earth Day Festival. The festival’s main purpose is to highlight Eco-accountibility, sustainability, and the benefits of supporting local business. It was a bit last minute, but I have so many recycled wood paintings I that I wanted to show off I put in the effort to make it. Making it to the festival wasn’t an easy task either.

Just 2 days prior I spent the evening in the ER at LeBonheur with one of my sons. He had been drawing with a pencil and somehow managed to poke his eye so severely we had to return daily for check-ups on the healing progress. (His 2nd corneal abrasion in less than 6 months)

The first day check-up made me question adding the extra stress of actually preparing and setting up a booth at the festival. I told them I would be there, but dammit I had a good excuse for canceling last minute.

I decided canceling would not be showing up for myself, so I hung in there.

My booth set-up inviting people to examine and explore my process.

             My booth set-up inviting people to examine and explore my process.

It was great fun too and so worth the extra effort. I ran into many different people and got to talk art all day. Not just any art either, my art. I am trying to talk more about the feeling I have when I create and expressing why I create. I never realized that I was telling myself for so long that I was unworthy believe the story that people didn’t want to hear about why I created art. I no longer hold that belief.

I make great art and I have so many reasons why I create the things I do, and if I can make positive change in a persons life because of those reasons, then I am going to share them.

The highlight of my day came while on the way home. I spotted a large piece of pink tin (or maybe aluminum) on the side of the road. Finding cool stuff to make Awe inspiring art out of is just awe inspiring to me, but this particular time was a synchronistic moment.

During the day I spoke with two beautiful elderly souls who had a fun time in the booth chatting and exchanging ideas. One of the women was reminded of a friend that creates flower art for her garden out of tin. The woman asked me if I ever made anything of the sorts. My response was that I hadn’t really ever found any tin on the side of the road to make anything out of, and I supposed that most metals in good quantity would more than likely go to the scrapyard. I promised her though that if I found some, I certainly would try and find something to do with it.

You should have seen the smile across my face when I came across some bright pink tin perfect for making some flowers. (I have been on an echinacea purpurea trip lately.)

After loading up my booth with some help from the ROTC fellows, I made my way to the house having to stop for fuel along the way. I didn’t noticed on the way to the festival that I needed gas for the van, so on the way home I decided to forgo the interstate and take the two-lane highway home. This way I was able to stop for fuel. After fueling up and making my way North to the house, I decided at a 4-way stop to take a left and meander the back-way home. I love taking the back roads filled with meadows, small farms, horses, and loads of trees. It soothes the soul. Especially after a long day filled with so many people.

It was down this road that I spotted the tin.

I immediately looked for some spot to turn around, pulled into a driveway, and then was struck with this site:

Beautiful pasture with train tracks in the rear

                                         Beautiful pasture with train tracks in the rear

I parked to get out and snap a few pictures along with a video. Again stopping to allow myself to be inspired by my surroundings.

Pasture

PastureI then returned to my van, went back up the road, and picked up the tin.

I can’t help but to think of not only all the things that added up to me finding that pink tin, like needing gas, choosing to turn, but also the fact that I had had an earlier conversation about tin and making flowers. It was not just tin, but pink tin. These are some of the moments that I cherish as magical in life.

It may not mean much to anyone else, but it definitely make my reality a bit more special, magical, and so awe inspiring.  Stay posted for my pink tin sculpture.

my pink tin

                                                                          my pink tin

Do you have a great synchronistic story to tell? Please share the story or a link. I would love to read it.

Has Your Lifestyle Been Designed By Marketers

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My husband moved up in the world of business about a year and a half ago. We did like most Americans and began spending more money. We decided to expand our family. We bought a new vehicle, and we decided to buy a larger house….this on top of just spending for spending’s sake.

Then we stopped ourselves and my husband quit his job on Friday after a culmination of synchronistic events.

Why?

Because he wanted to stay at home more. We need him and he wants to be with us. Yes, I do have an art business I run out of my home, but it is still scary as hell moving away from an 8:30-6:30 job. (Screw this 9-5 nonsense, he was always away longer)

I really appreciate the following article for its candidness. I promise to update you on my husband’s antics at home. He has been home for only a few days straight and already my baby’s first words are dada…go figure.

Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek).

Have you quit you day job?

I want to know gory details.

Poop Health is No Joking Matter

I was prompted this morning to share this with you guys…

Actually I was prompted about this time last year to share this story, but I have been reluctant to put a face to my poop story.

I get it; poop is icky stuff brimming with bacteria that can cause the worst retching this side of Texas. It is private and not socially acceptable to speak about poop, but why is it not acceptable? Toddlers certainly have no qualms about poop. They are definitely proud of anything they create, and poop is their creation. Creating to them is still magical and mysterious. Think about how proud mothers are who birthed a child…to a toddler they are birthing this strange stuff every day. They are not quite sure what it is; they know they can’t touch it. But, they are curious.

I have been asked before if poop is actually made of chocolate; very seriously so. I have had to do some strong coaxing, convincing a toddler that it is not chocolate. Diagrams and Grey’s Anatomy…I digress.

This story is not about my toddlers, though. This story is about me. (You can view my toddler’s poop antics here.)

My poop story does start way back when, though.  From the time that I was a small child I thought having a bowel movement twice a week was normal. That was my reality and I never questioned it. People of course didn’t talk about these things either. In my family, we didn’t talk about much at all. I can remember having a difficult time even speaking out loud to adults, let alone speaking about forbidden things.

Poop speak really isn’t forbidden, but it is shunned as a no-no from a very early age. I started shushing my children from the first time they uttered poop speak in public, because that is what I was taught. I was taught many things from a young age that I never thought twice about instilling in my own children. We are socially groomed by our immediate family members and perpetuate those social norms until we contemplate them otherwise.

…and I have contemplated otherwise.

I now know that daily bowels habits are a sign if excellent health and poop speak is common in my home. It is not uncommon to hear the exclamation, “I pooped,” uttered in my house, or the question, “Have you pooped today?”

Now, understandably, one doesn’t have to poop every day. It really depends upon the quantity and quality of the food consumed. If your body is very active and the food is of high quality, easily digestible food, then you could go 2 days without a bowel movement and you are not having problems. However, if your body is sedentary and being filled with over processed grains and chemical sludge, then going every 2 days is a sign of a problem. You are backing up the most essential nutrient logistics system in your body, and with the eating habits of Americans going to the dumps, there is no wonder that one of the most prevalent diseases in our society are ones involving the bowels.

Colon and rectal cancers 4th Leading cause of cancer death.
Constipation is on the rise.

I’m just throwing those links out there…not really sure if there is any correlation or not, but my intuition says yes.

If you do a search you will find many more sites focused on treating constipation than you will find talking about healthy bowel habits. Chewing food completely, at least 22 times, is another healthy bowel habit I have found.

Since some like to shout fiber and dehydration first, I would like to add that as a child we did not have snack cakes or cokes in my home. Our snacks were fruits and veggies and we made tea and kool-aid by the gallons. I ate broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, corn, potatoes, and everything else veggie. We did have cold cereal, bread, and pastries. I still had no daily bowel habits. I just lived with what I now understand was chronic constipation.

I was made fun of by peers for having foul flatulence. I tried to laugh it all off, but it did bother me. For me pain in my joints started in my teens. I would get really bad shoulder and back pain just from vacuuming or wiping down tables at my waitressing job. I never realized this was something bad. We just sucked it up and didn’t complain in my house.
It took me being diagnosed at 28 with Lupus for me to even start researching.

I had had a sore throat for months that just would not let up. At first I thought it was allergies, and then I moved on to strep throat. I soon began contemplating more dire issues like having a thyroid problem. I would not have imagined the culmination of my symptoms would have garnered the diagnosis of Lupus.

After extensively researching the internet, reading numerous scientific papers, books, and blogs, I eventually started a gluten free diet to see if it would help my inflammatory response and tone down the Lupus symptoms. I first talked about this back in 2012.

After many months of this diet, maybe even more than a year I began having bowel movements everyday and sometimes more. I thought something was wrong.

Nope, nothing wrong with pooping numerous times a day. I found that it is actually healthy bowel habits. Since beginning my gluten free diet 3 years ago, I am in the best health ever! I am on no medication for systemic Lupus and I am not swollen in the mornings, I don’t ache all over, and I love having a bowel movement. It is the weirdest thing, but I am happy to feel the urge, sit down, everything comes out perfect, clean, and quick; never even strain. I love a gluten free diet.

No matter what the poo pooers out there say about gluten chic…I am sold.

There it is…my entrails laid bare.

I can go back to painting now.

Bringing up The Next Generation of Thomas Paines

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I love being having the freedom to share the genuine and thoughtful ideas of those around me…and I hope to be able to continue to do so for many generations to come.

“To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt, is like administering medicine to the dead, or endeavoring to convert an atheist by scripture.”
Thomas Paine, The American Crisis

Are we actually experiencing a collective nightmare?

THE SANDY HOOK HORROR: WILL IT WAKE US UP FROM OUR COLLECTIVE NIGHTMARE?.

I just wanted to share this article.  It reminds me of the thought that our ego is really the free-will we were given and is what causes us as humans so much turmoil and pain.  We are all diamonds in the rough.