Ritual: Eliminating Negative Thoughts

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Last blog I discussed dreams and negative thoughts. Some may be eliminated by recognizing them. Others may have become bad habits and are more difficult to shake. For example, I grew up in the 1950’s when school, church, family and friends all supported the idea that we should suppress our own needs and desires in order to become a better person. This had a big effect on me, especially since I had a problem with self confidence. For me it was counterproductive. Over time it became a habit, a difficult one to break. I became non-assertive, embarrassingly so. Eventually, in my 30’s, I stated to learn to become assertive, but that’s a long time.

Thorough examining my thoughts, actions and dreams (as I recommended in the last blog) I have become aware of negativities in my own makeup. I got rid of some of them over time, but others have persisted. So I was not surprised July 6th when my Hawaiian cards told me there were still many issues I had eliminate completely. I tried to think of a good way to do that and decided the best way was to make a list of each and every issue I wanted to eliminate. After I created the list, I could pray over it, take the list outside to my barbecue grill, and burn it until nothing but ashes were left.

As a writer I had discovered something called a mind map. In order to organize a story, you write the plot in the center of the page and circle it. Then you write other aspects of the plot; beginning, middle, end and circle them and connect them to the center. Around the circle for Beginning, you write parts of the story’s beginning and connect them to the Beginning circle … and so on. Eventually you have a whole page of ideas and your story is getting organized. I decided to do the same thing for my issues.

I put PJM (me) in the center and then had other categories of Body, Mind, Spirit, Emotions, Relationships, and Finance. I connected them to PJM and created 47 negative thoughts, attitudes, and habits about myself that I wanted to eliminate. I also created a ritual. I lit incense and asked my helpful spirits for assistance (you can ask saints, or angels, or your guardian angel if you wish). I also asked for blessings on our earth, atmosphere, environment and ourselves.

I read the list of what I wanted to eliminate, washed my hands and face with water for cleansing, thanked the spirits in advance for their help and took the list outside. I opened the grill, lit the paper and held it up to be sure it burned thoroughly. There were nothing but ashes left in less than a minute. I returned to my house and drummed for about fifteen minutes to finalize my efforts.

I have felt noticeably better since doing this. It has a good psychological effect. Give it a try, even if it is only one negative thought or habit. Let me know how it goes.

Darkness: Our Unconscious

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Carl Jung believed that our unconscious was the place where individual dreams and memories were stored. He also described the collective unconscious as residing there in the form of dreams and archetypes. These thoughts can be pleasant or unpleasant. Most of us would rather avoid this area as it seems a little scary, and often too personal.

If you find your self having recurring thoughts or dreams, or acting and speaking in ways that are not your normal, it may be that the source of these activities is the unconscious. They may leave you drained of energy or feeling depressed. The best way to handle these ideas is to ask yourself tough questions. What do they mean? Are they directed toward someone specifically? Who? How do I feel about that person? Don’t accept superficial answers. Look for the truth.

A good way to deal with dreams is to pray before you go to sleep at night asking for understanding about the dreams. Then keep a pen and notebook nearby. When you have the dream, get up and write it down, including as many details as you can. Then review it the following day and see what insights you receive. You might even consider keeping a dream journal for a while. I did that for a couple of years and found it helped me understand what my mind was working on when I thought it was asleep.

When you keep a journal, or ask yourself questions, you bring those ideas out from the darkness and into the light. It will help you understand yourself more fully and may help you resolve problems and smooth out your emotions.

Wednesday’s blog will be about how to perform a simple ritual to remove thoughts and beliefs from your psyche that are especially difficult to eliminate.


A Recent Omen

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I mentioned in yesterday’s blog that I would discuss a recent omen in my life. What is an omen? Some people think of it as superstition. I don’t. I see an omen as being a message from Nature that catches my attention and relates in some way to my personal life. In a previous blog I mentioned an omen where a blue heron flew low, directly over my head. It was unusual and I knew I had to look up information on the blue heron to see what it meant in my life. At the time I was thinking of creating a different blog, one related to the craft of writing . The message I discovered was that I needed to be aggressive in my self determination and self reliance. The omen convinced me that I should blog Spirit Walking Journal. Later when I did a journey to the spirit world on that idea, my spirit friends let me know they agreed. That’s how omens work, in my life and in the lives of others.

Recently I was at a friend’s house. Behind the home is a large pond. It is stocked with fish. A muskrat lives there. Water birds frequent the location. Usually I see white herons. Sometimes I see hawks, turkey buzzards and other birds. It’s where I saw the blue heron.

On a recent morning there were a few birds there, maybe three or four ducks. Then something caught my attention. One of the ducks went under water looking for fish. It didn’t just put its head in the water, it disappeared under water. When it happened again I timed it, 20 or more seconds; and when it surfaced it came up ten to fifteen feet away from where it went under. This bird was a diver. Its feathers were dark. It was on the far side of the pond. I borrowed my friend’s binoculars. The only distinguishing feature I could see was that its beak was long and seemed to turn down at the end. Then it left. I decided to look in my bird book to discover what I saw. The only water bird that matched was a cormorant.

Failing to find any reference to cormorants in my copy of Animal Speak, I went to Wikipedia; God bless Wikipedia. The name, cormorant, may be derived from the Latin corvus marinus, or “sea raven.” “Sea raven” was also an old Germanic name for cormorants.Their plumage is dark and they live around water; fresh water as well as oceans. Cormorants range in size from 18 inches to 40 inches. The one I saw was larger than a duck but smaller than a goose. Wikipedia indicated cormorants have dark plumage and a long, thin bill that is sharply hooked. OK, so I found it. What does it mean as an omen? For that you have to consider its behavior. It lives and feeds in the water (emotions). It eats fish, which are associated with the feminine (look up the latin term vesica piscis). And it flies – soaring to the heights.

I already knew from numerology that this year was a great opportunity for me to work on getting my masculine and feminine aspects to work in unison. So the omen was a reminder that, like the cormorant, I need to be comfortable in both worlds, the element of water (feminine) and my normal world (masculine). I took the water to mean that I had to express my emotions without letting them run away with my judgment.

Buzz, buzz, buzz, busy as a bee.

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That’s how I have felt for the past several weeks. I have been painting  a two story staircase on the north side of my apartment building. It takes 20 to 24 man/woman hours each summer. At this point I have completed about 16 to 18. Then I am painting the siding as well in places where the paint has worn thin. I’ll finish that tomorrow morning, I hope. After that I move on to the outside doors. There are five of them. They are faded and I have to repaint them … purple. At least it’s a colorful job.

In addition I have been doing the grass every week. With the rain we’ve had, it is in dire need of a cut each and every week.

I’ve spent pleasant time with family and friends too. And there are a couple of elderly friends who are in need of moving to new quarters. Fortunately there are six men involved in the move. Since I am the elder statesman of the group, I will allow the younger fellows to demonstrate their manliness on the heavier objects. Kind of me, isn’t it?

So now you’ve heard my litany of complaints; really just work that must be done in certain timeframes. If I don’t get the outside work done before August 15th I will be partially incapacitated by ragweed allergies. I don’t know which is worse, the ailment or the medicine that, over time, reduces my mental effectiveness. That reminds me about the time I hung the snow blower on hooks in the garage to get it out of the way. When I finished, the wheels were three feet off the ground and I was the only one who could get it down.That was in allergy season. My allergy medicine did that; that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

I’m working on another blog tonight which I will schedule for tomorrow. It is about a recent omen in my life. Hope you ae enjoying this unseasonably nice weather we are having … blue skies, fair-weather clouds and mild temperatures; feels like Wisconsin or Michigan weather.

Our Ancestors: Culture and Language

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I usually watch TV while I eat, a habit I picked up watching Seinfield reruns years ago. At lunch today I was skipping around the channels and stopped at FNX (First Nation Experience). There was a series of shorts on the Creative Native program. In one a woman showed how to make a ‘book’ to hold an eagle feather; the eagle feather is treasured by Native Americans. The ‘book’ would help preserve the feather between ceremonial uses. Next there was spot about using art as an expression of culture. One of the tribes represented were the Maori of Australia. There was a panel of four women who gave opinions about what name, or term, was the best to use to refer to Native Americans. As you may imagine, “Indians” was not a favorite because people who are really Indian come from India. Finally there was a program that focused on teaching young children the language of the tribe to which they belonged. One of the teachers said, “If the members of our tribe don’t know how to speak our language, how can they claim to be from our tribe?”

The Creative Native program ended and I skipped to another channel, WYCC. On this program there were children on a playground who were being interviewed. They spoke a language I never heard before. I could tell by their dress and surroundings that they lived in Europe so I watched for a while. Then a teacher was interviewed. She spoke the language too and was talking (there were subtitles) about how their language almost died out and said, “If we let out language die, we let our culture die too and we’ll soon forget the important lessons of our past.” A minute later one of the teachers spoke English and I found out that the language the children had spoken was Irish. I felt strange. My grandfather came from county Antrim in Northern Ireland. I  heard him speak Irish when I was a child, but I never learned it, neither did my father.

It was interesting to see two groups, separated by the Atlantic ocean, sharing the same concerns for their culture and language. After thinking about it I wondered, ‘Is it the language and culture they are trying to preserve or are those things symptoms of the universal feeling that we have lost something, something that would improve our lives if we could recover it?’ I don’t have an answer, but I suspect those feelings are universal worldwide, and I suspect it has to do with our existence as spiritual beings in physical bodies. What do you think?

Our Greatest Freedom

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You may have noticed the category for this blog is Ancient Wisdom. That’s where these ideas associated with our greatest freedom originated. I’m combining two sources here: the Kabbalah and The Upanishads.

The first thought comes from a book titled Kabbalah For The Student, 2008 Michael Laitman, Laitman Kabbalah Publishers. This is a text book used with an online Kabbalah study program. It contains numerous articles written by Rabbis who teach the Kabbalah. Honestly, it is not an easy read, but then the study of the Kabbalah is not simple either. Within this volume is an article on page 375 titled The Freedom, by Rav Yehuda Ashlag. The author introduces a quote about the ‘angel of death’ and then introduces the concept of freedom in order to explain the quote. If I may just give you ‘the bottom line’ as they say in business, the concept is that our greatest and most effective freedom is the freedom to choose our environment. By environment is meant primarily our friends but also the ideas, goals and lifestyles they represent.

Surrounding ourselves with the right kinds of friends gives us the greatest opportunity to improve ourselves as human beings; more specifically, it gives us the greatest opportunity to improve ourselves spiritually. This assumes that we recognize that improving ourselves spiritually is our purpose in life. If someone doesn’t know that, or disagrees, this point would look unimportant. But for one who agrees, it is of vital importance. We must associate with those people who have the same goals we have. Or, said another way, we tend to become like the people with whom we associate. “Birds of a feather …”

This concept is subtle, but powerful. Over time we develop habits based upon our thoughts and actions. These thoughts and actions are influenced by our environment: ideas and people. Once developed, a habit is difficult to change. I know. I smoked for ten years and found it extremely difficult to quit, in spite of health warnings. The same is true of ideas. Once we accept them into our lives we ASSUME they are correct; often not ever questioning them again.

My favorite quote of all time is from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (IV, 4.5):

“You are what your deep, driving desire is.

As your desire is, so is your will.

As your will is, so is your deed.

As your deed is, so is your destiny.”

Choose your environment carefully. It will become your destiny!

Happy Fourth of July

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I hope everyone has a safe and happy Fourth of July. Since we associate the idea of independence with this celebration, I will pose this question. We associate our freedoms with independence. What is the most important freedom we have? I’ll give you my opinion in Monday’s blog.

Have a wonderful day!


The Power of Nature


At 6:30 PM on Monday, June 30th, a half an hour out of Chicago’s Midway airport, the pilot told us we had been given approval to land. The tower thought they could get us in just before the storms hit the area. Everyone, including flight attendants, buckled up and we rode through some turbulence before landing. Two minutes after landing it started to pour and thunder. We just made it.

I drove Maggie back to her place in Lockport before heading east on I-80 to go to Blue Island. The storm that had pummeled the Chicago met area was directly ahead of me moving eastward. I had a great view of spectacular lightning displays. Besides ‘heat lightning’, there were numerous ground strikes and lots of cloud-to-cloud lightning bolts. It was hard to pay attention to driving instead of watching.

While observing this display, I suddenly became aware of the fact that the storm system was not only filled with energy, but was also alive. It was a combination of forces, heat against cold, updrafts against downdrafts and the energy exchange that produced all that electricity. It was the first time I ever saw a storm system as a living, active force.

In her book, Awakening to the Spirit World,  Sandra Ingerman writes about this, “However this contact is made, when we sense it, we know with certainty that the soul of Nature is alive (page 75).” I agree. I also know that many people were affected by the storm. Some had property damage and I sympathize with them, having recently lost a beautiful tree in my back yard, not to storms but to the tree’s old age. I miss that tree and I’m sure that people affected on Monday night feel the same way about their loss. On page 78 Sandra writes, “It is vitally important for us to understand and accept that every change, great and small, entails a death of that which was before. These deaths are necessary and inevitable steps before the birth of what is coming into being becomes possible.”

Nature is not just the placid lake, the autumn colors on the leaves or the gently winding stream. It is also those powers which cause change. The monday night storm was one of those changes and anyone who had the opportunity to observe it saw, and perhaps experienced first hand, its mighty power. The storm was a living, moving agent of change, a powerful part of our natural world.