Why Blog, part 2.

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In senior year of high school I took an aptitude test. It revealed my top two choices for success were: Salesman or Forest Ranger. In my yearbook senior year I noted I wanted to be an artist. I felt my creative streak. I was in Glee Club all four years and loved it. One of my hobbies was sketching in pencil and painting with oil paints. I enjoyed writing. 

My father loved me so much he wanted me to be successful like the college grads he saw at Illinois Bell Telephone Company. They fast-tracked their way to become the bosses of people who had 20 or 30 years experience, like my father. Dad and his friends referred to a four year degree as a “sheep skin.”

I attended college 3 years, dropped out, joined the army, and got married. Our daughter was born a few months before my discharge. Our son was born 2 years later. My father, retired, still had friends at IBT. One got me an interview. IBT was looking for people who had at least some college for their newly created marketing department. I interviewed, got the job, and spent 4 of my first 5 months learning telecommunications from one of the top companies in the field. There were no college courses in telecom at the time. 

Unwittingly, I became an example of an Outlier, as in Malcolm Gladwell’s book of the same name. I was in the right place, at the right time, in an industry about to expand, learning from experts. By the time I got downsized 30 years later (2001), I was working for a different telecom company earning a high five figure annual salary with a five figure target bonus. I had college grads reporting to me. I was successful and lucky.

Here’s the main point of this blog. In 2004 I started following my instincts and focused on three subjects that fascinated me: Writing, Numerology, and Tarot cards. I discovered personal knowledge, your name and birthday, can help you find your life’s purpose. 

Here’s the process. I was born May 5, 1944. Numerically, it is 5/5/1944. Add the month and day; the answer is 10. Add 10 to 1944, you get 19 54. Add those digits together, 1+9+5+4 and the sum is 19. Keep adding until you get a single digit. So 1+9 = 10, and 1+0 = 1, my Personality number.

Tarot Constellations by Mary K. Greer describes some attributes associated with my birthday May 5, 1944. My birthday is represented by the Magician card in the Major Arcana: “As a card relating to Mercury, it indicates you are a communicator and a skilled craftsman.” and “To develop your highest abilities, you need to realize that you can be a channel for a higher consciousness.”

I used a chart to assign values to the letters in my name, Paul James McAllister. I added them together and kept reducing till I got one digit: 3, my Destiny number. Numerology by Juno Jordan describes some of the characteristics associated with Destiny Number (3):“Many people have lost the joy of living and it is your duty and mission in life to arouse their imagination and spirit, until their faith in people and friendship has been rekindled and they can laugh again.”

I’m sure you noticed my blog has a domain name of paulmcallister.me . This is not an ego-based form of imagined self-importance. This is my way of challenging myself to become, like the Magician, a channel for a higher consciousness. I want to help and inspire others. It’s completely up to me. No one can do it for me. 

Next blog: Let’s read unbiased Tarot and Numerology descriptions of well-known candidates from the 2016 Presidential election. 

FORGET SELF-IMPROVEMENT

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There’s a special edition of Time in the grocery stores titled The Science of Happiness. On page 19 in the article about Nine Ways to Feel More Joy, item #3 is titled “Forget Self Improvement.”

I quote:

“Basking in what’s already great about yourself is a more effective route to joy than trying to fix what is not.”

“Identify your strong suits with the free Values In Action Survey of Character Strengths (viacharacter.org). It takes 15 minutes to fill out and then provides a ranking of your 24 strongest qualities. Think about how you might use your top five strengths in your relationship, at the office, and in your free time.”

“People who consistently apply ‘signature strengths’ experience less depression and more happiness. It’s an easy way to refocus your efforts to better set you up for success.”

I printed out the free report and also spent $50.00 on two others that went into more details about each of the 24 qualities and how to use them. I am working my way through them; they are interesting. I know the idea of focusing on your strengths is valid because I had professional personality analysis 20 years ago and our teacher proclaimed the same advice. So check it out for what it’s worth. I hope you benefit from the experience.

Life Changes

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As I look out my kitchen window the sun is shining and a slight breeze stirs the leaves on the maple tree. The view is the same as last week and even last month. Few changes. Obviously this view is imperfect. In reality the earth is rotating on its axis at a speed over 1,000 mph at the Equator while the planet is soaring through space over 66,000 mph as it revolves around the sun. My kitchen window point of view is limited. Earth has moved over 11,000,00 miles since last week and 3.3 billion miles during the month. I am simply not aware of the change because of my limits.

We plot the passage of time by our favorite TV shows, TGIF celebrations and golf outings. Then one day another milestone confronts us. We have a birthday that sends us into a new decade. We lose a loved one unexpectedly and wish we could see her one more time so we could tell her how much we enjoyed her company. We are forced to make a radical change in our perceptions.

This is due to our microscopic view of life and who we really are. We prefer to pretend we are physical beings who will last forever once science and medicine figure out the correct DNA sequence that will catapult us into eternal physical life. Another part is our cultural background which views our world as an economic machine focused on being happy by possessing material goods. Clinging to the material world sets us up for undesirable experiences.

We hear people say we should be grounded; but grounded in what? The best answer I’ve found is groundlessness. We must learn to accept life’s changes as they occur, even when the change hurts or threatens to disrupt our lives, by focusing on the present. If you are interested in pursuing this idea further I recommend Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change by Pema Chodron. It’s a Buddhist approach using meditation but is written for non-Buddhists.

Final thought: We are spiritual beings experiencing life through physical bodies. Only our spirit, our soul, is eternal.

Tips for Meditating

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Meditation is mental exercise. Choose a friendly, peaceful location. Sit in a comfortable position. Relax by breathing in and out several times. As with physical exercise, don’t expect immediate results. We change ourselves slowly over time, by taking baby steps. Make it a habit.

After relaxing, start following your breathing. Don’t become obsessed. Treat it like a game or practicing a musical instrument. Expect mistakes, that’s what practice is all about. When you find you’ve gone off on some problem or daydream, recognize it and say to yourself the word “thinking”. Just “thinking”, no self criticism. Saying “thinking” will interrupt the daydream or problem solving. Smile, be happy, and return to following your breaths.

Love your mind and your self. Pat yourself on the back. With practice there will be times when you can focus on your breath for a longer time. Eventually you’ll notice a subtle difference. Your reaction time be longer between an event and your response. In this longer time you will have the opportunity to decide how you want to react. You will no longer be on autopilot. You will live your life with intention.

The ultimate goal in meditation is to help us discover who we are. We will realize our bodies and our thoughts are passing, temporary. We will begin to see our true self, a soul which is peaceful and mindful of the present moment; a soul which is eternal, beyond all worldly change.

May the peace, love and harmony you find in meditation fill your life with such abundance that it overflows from your life into the lives of your friends and family.

Meditation and Fundamental Ambiguity

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In my previous blog I quoted Pema Chodron’s thought that we desire stability and foundation while living our life which is a dynamic, changing process. I claimed meditation was what we needed. How does meditation help? Meditation is a tool which allows us to challenge our thoughts.

Our thoughts control our emotions. On page 12 of Living Beautifully Pema discusses how an emotion, like anger, only lasts ninety seconds. What keeps it alive after the ninety seconds is that we focus on it and won’t let go. We keep replaying our memory of what made us mad. It’s so automatic we don’t consciously realize what we are doing. We get caught up in the problem.

In contrast, after we’ve been practicing meditation for a while, our mind sees the thought, the attached emotion, and our unwavering attention to the problem, and it shouts, “Time out!” We stop the automatic replay of the problem. During the time out we have the opportunity put things into perspective.

Unless you meditate already, you can’t appreciate how meditation changes the functioning of your mind. So let me share an experience. In the early 90’s I regularly attended Tuesday night meditations taught by Buddhist monks from Thailand. When I learned they were having a three day weekend retreat I immediately signed up. All we did for the three days was listen to talks, do seated meditation and do walking meditation. As I was getting ready to leave Sunday afternoon I felt disappointed. I hoped for a more significant mind change and I didn’t see it. Maybe I wasted my time.

I got in my car and pulled out on to the nearby highway to head home. Whoosh! A car passed me so fast I wondered what the guy was thinking. Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh! Three more cars sped past, one beeping his horn. I was thinking of showing them a sign of my displeasure when I glanced at my speedometer. I laughed. I was in the left lane going 30 mph in a 55 zone. I moved over, gradually increased my speed to a respectable 50 mph, and made it home safely.

Meditation won’t change you after one session. It will change your thinking slowly and surely over time. It will give you the ability to call your own time outs. It will help you feel at ease in this fundamentally ambiguous existence.

The Fundamental Ambiguity of Being Human

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I’m reading a wonderful book, Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change, by Pema Chodron, an American Buddhist nun. I’m reading it because I’m going through changes. It doesn’t matter what they are, just that they are changing, that’s always the scary part.

Chapter One is titled The Fundamental Ambiguity of Being Human. Pema notes we are focused on attaining things which will give us a sense of stability and foundation: a new job, a little house with a white picket fence, our soul mate, wonderful children, and the opportunity to live ‘happily ever after.’ Those are my words, not hers. They are memories I focused on. I use them, not as recommended goals, but as personal examples.

There is, however, a problem with that focus. I had many jobs in my career, some good, some not so good. I’ve had many homes, five in the last sixteen years. My wife, Marilyn, passed away. My children, whom I love dearly, weren’t perfect and are now adults. How’d they mature so quickly? And  what about happily ever after? I’ve lost my hair, my arthritis bothers me, and I’m now a senior citizen. I quit wearing my glasses when I shaved because I hated seeing my wrinkles. Well, I had to put the glasses back on because I was missing those thin white hairs that are hard to see but obvious to casual observers. Sometimes you can’t win.

Don’t reach for the Kleenex yet. My point, and Pema’s point, is we strive for those items which will become a solid foundation in our lives. Yet the greatest constant in life is (take a deep breath and type it) change. Life is a dynamic process, not well suited to our building block philosophy. That is the fundamental ambiguity of being human. So what is the solution? Meditation. More on that subject in my next blog, hopefully tomorrow.

Spring Is Here

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I’m not referring to the meteorological Spring which the TV weather people say arrives Wednesday. No, none of that TV hype. I’m talking real Spring, signs of Nature.

My experience indicates the Cardinal is the first to announce its arrival and usually does so two weeks early. Back on February 14 Mr. Cardinal visited a large bush outside my living room window. He gave enough chirps that I started telling friends Spring was on the way.

On February 20 I parked my car in the garage and stepped out into the sunshine when I heard geese, high above me. I looked up. I saw four or five groups of geese circling above; each group at a different height, wheeling in slow, clockwise circles. More geese arrived from the South. All groups broke their circles and headed Northwest in ‘V’ formations. I knew from past study this is their migration path because they fly around Lake Michigan on their way to Canada. This was the second sign.

Finally, on February 25, I was out in Lockport for a visit. I heard a chirp I recognized but had not heard in a while. Yep! It was a robin. He was hopping on the lawn and flew up to the low branches of a nearby bush. He paused and looked at me. That’s when I confirmed its orange breast.

I enjoy getting this information firsthand from Nature instead of TV. Weather reporters throw too many numbers at us and report on the worst weather event they can find, even if it’s halfway around the world. Nature Is more fun than TV.

Happy Spring!

Healing Others

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Heal ourself, heal others.

Hawaiian kahunas believe we are interconnected at the level of soul or energy. Scientists refer to a similar concept they call string theory. Assuming interconnection is a fact, changing our self automatically causes change in everyone we know. So when you let negative feelings go you are improving your connection to the other person or people. This change within will also be reflected in how you react to that person. They will see this change, hopefully sooner than later, and may change their reaction to you. This could become a reconciliation.

Hawaiian kahunas also believe our minds, bodies and emotions are interconnected and that healing should focus on all three areas. If you wish to pray for someone to heal them mentally, emotionally and physically, you must follow a formula with the greatest potential for success. The steps are:

  1. Get permission from the person you wish to heal.
  2. Perform a Ho’oponopono for yourself, insuring nothing negative stands in your way.
  3. Form an intention to completely heal yourself and the other person at the same time. The healing will be for all physical, emotional and mental aspects.
  4. Pray to God, and spirits (angels, saints, healing spirits, etc.) to assist with the healing. All healing will be done according to God’s will. We will not focus on specific results. God knows what caused the illness, what needs to be healed, and when it needs to be healed. Our motto is “God’s will be done.”
  5. Breathe in slowly thinking ‘Aloha’ (Love), bringing God’s healing energy into your body. Breathe out slowly thinking ‘Mahalo’ (Thank You). As you do this the energy will flow into you and the person you are healing, even if they are remotely located. Do this breathing exercise eight times.
  6. Thank God and all healing spirits for their help.
  7. Let go and let God. Release your wishes and thoughts about healing so your request flows unencumbered to God. Let God take charge. The Hawaiian kahunas say, “Amama Ua Noa”, which means “our prayers have flown to God.”
  8. For healing which requires more time, I recommend healing every other day.

Sometimes you will see quick healing results. Or it may take time. In some cases God may not want healing to take place. I recommend using Aloha and Mahalo because this healing method has been used by Hawaiian kahunas for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years. Words have power.

If you have questions, or are interested in learning more about these techniques, or  wish to organize a healing circle, please contact me through my blog site www.spiritwalkingjoournal.com , or at pauljmcallister@sbcglobal.net.

Amama Ua Noa

Healing

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HO’OPONOPONO

Hawaiians have a method they use to eliminate bad feelings among people, especially friends and family. They call it Ho’oponopono. Translated it means ‘to make right and correct.’ This method consists of four statements which can be used to release bad feelings about any problem. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. Thank you.

At first glance you might shy away from this approach because your feelings are so negative. But these statements are said to yourself, not to the other person. Here’s how negative feelings are approached. When you think of a negative situation or person, who feels the negativity? You do. So this is the place to begin the healing process, right inside yourself.

Try this. Think of a mildly negative person or situation. Pay attention to your feelings. These feelings cause you stress, which in turn may cause physical, mental or emotional problems over time. You don’t want to do this to yourself. How do you stop it?

First, say to yourself, “I’m sorry.” Your intention here is to say you are sorry to yourself for carrying these negative feelings with you and repeating them every time you think about the situation or person associated with it.

Next, ask yourself for forgiveness for nurturing this negativity. Say, “Please forgive me.” This acknowledges you meant no harm to yourself. You just got into a bad habit.

Recognizing your own thoughts caused you to feel bad, think or say this line to yourself, “I love you.” Really mean it. Say it with the same fervor you feel when you say it to your significant other.

The last line is simply, “Thank you.” It is important for you to associate an action with this phrase. Picture your subconscious removing the negative thoughts and feelings and erasing them. In the future, you will remember that an event or person caused you negative feelings, you just won’t replay them. “Thank you” is saying thanks to your inner self for removing the problem.

I have used this myself many times, for situations and for people. Every time I do it I feel better immediately. When I recall the issue or person later I find that the negativity is gone. While the memory may exist, it won’t be an emotional issue any more. Try this yourself and let me know how it goes.

Great for healing ourselves. How do we heal others? See tomorrow’s blog.

What do we believe as Americans?

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I’ve had many thoughts about the Presidential Election but I didn’t want to repeat what others were saying. However I am concerned about the level of dissatisfaction among citizens and the general sense of fear and worry being expressed. What should we do? How should we act?

I sought solace in my Hawaiian Mana cards. I asked, “With the unexpected changes in politics we seem to have more worry and fear in our lives. How should all citizens behave?”

The spread I used was the Kukui spread, a one card draw. Of course I always check the card on the bottom of the deck for additional illumination.

After randomly moving all cards around the top of my kitchen table, stacking them together, cutting and riffling them three times, dividing the deck into four piles and then reassembling it in reverse order, I then turned over the top card for my answer.

The draw card was number 44, Ano-Ano which is about Intention. Ano-Ano is one of only five cards in the deck of 44 that can have two meanings. In this case the calabash pictured on the card was pointed up and has the following meaning:

  • “The seeds you plant in your thoughts, words or actions determine what you harvest. Therefore it is important to be in touch with the intentions that underlie those thoughts, words or actions.
  • Focus on your thoughts. Visualize your desired outcome.

Good advice. So I turned the deck over. The bottom card was number 19 ‘Ole which means Stories. It advises:

  • “What stories are we telling ourselves? Revising them can change your past, present and future.”

This is great advice and demonstrates one of the reasons I return to these cards time and again. I get so caught up in life that I lose impartiality. The Mana cards give me the uncluttered and unbiased answer I need. So let’s go back to the first question in this blog.

What do we believe as Americans?

Our nation’s history is full of conflict, some physical, some political. How did we survive? We survived because our elected officials always found ways to work together, find acceptable compromises, and come up with acceptable solutions. The solutions don’t make everyone 100% happy, but they keep us together as a nation because they create solutions that we believe are fair for the vast majority of American citizens.

THIS IS OUR STORY. It is a true story because it is based on fact, the fact that we are still called the United States. So when someone asks you what will happen just tell them our politicians will find solutions, because that is their job, and we will continue to be called the United States of America.

Please share this with your friends as well as with those who voted for a different party.

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