“Tales of Power” a book by Carlos Castenada

When I was a teenager my father and I read the Carlos Castaneda books. Well, he read them all but I read the first few and got turned off by the selfishness of their goals.

After going to Tracker school for a couple years I decided to re-read them from a new perspective. I understood much, much more about Carlos’ experience with Don Juan because Don Juan was a coyote teacher like my teacher Tom Brown Jr. at Tracker school.

“Tales of Power” talks about the necessity of sharing stories that trigger admiration and desire in the listeners. It inspires the listeners to want the skills they are hearing about, the power displayed in the story.

There is a hero’s quest of sorts for the listener or reader of the “Tales of Power”. Hearing of the accomplishments of those who have mastered of the realms of existence opens new doors for the reader, giving them something to strive for; something to seek; a mystery to explore; a possibility to wonder about and be unsure of, which makes the reader all the more fascinated by the possibility of truth in the story.

Tom Brown Junior shared stories of Grandfather Stalking Wolf and other elders from Grandfather’s tribe. We students would listen with rapt attention, hanging on every word. Then Tom would send us out to attempt to do what he had just described. Don Juan did the same with Carlos.

Some people will say the Carlos Castaneda series are fiction. I’ve heard that before. I don’t know whether they are fact or fiction but I do know that I learned a lot from them.

The most important thing I learned by reading the Castaneda series is to stop being offended by other people. We waste a lot of energy taking offense. We waste a lot of energy in self importance. Being caught up in self importance gives others power over us because they can grab that self importance through complements or insults and jerk us around and we waste energy being affected.

It’s the same concept as “act, don’t react”. Often teachers of this sort will poke their students with either compliments or insults to see if they can get a reaction; see if they can grab their student’s self importance or if their student has overcome that trap.

It’s an interesting study to watch yourself and see if you are giving people that power or if you are holding it yourself.

I enjoyed reading “Tales of Power”. It was easy to read, fun, and fascinating. If you like stories that delve into the possibility of other realms and energy, you would probably like this book.

Advertisements

“The Places That Scare You” a book by Pema Chodron

I was at Brighten Bush hot springs gift store and this book jumped right out at me and grabbed me.  The cover, an image of a dark, craggy, old, leafless tree, typified the heavy, overgrown, ominous trees that tend to somehow, inexplicably, surround haunted houses.

I thought, “Who would write a book like that and put a freaky cover on it like that?  How will that attract a buyer?  That’s crazy!”

But I couldn’t resist picking it up and looking at the back to see the short comments and recommendations.  When I turned it over I was mesmerized by the photo of the author, Pema Chodron.  Her bright, smiling face, short cropped hair (a buzz to be exact), and Buddhist nun robes, didn’t speak of someone who would delve into scary places.  However, her eyes held something more than a typical smiling, middle aged woman’s eyes.  Her eyes shone with a glint of someone who knows; someone who has been to those scary places and lived to tell about it.  Being in a place of fear myself, I bought the book, hoping to learn her secret.  The secret to overcoming my fears.

Her writing was easy to read — warm, compassionate, even funny.  She talked about her life, her challenges, her pain and her triumphs.  She shared methods she learned or discovered which allowed her to put her fears into perspective.

The biggest jewel I came away with is a mental exercise to be done when triggered emotionally.  When you feel your emotions rise, unpleasantly, as they do with fear for example, you pause and remove the story for a moment.  Literally you imagine the story that is triggering your emotion being removed from where you are and set to the side.   Once you do this you can feel the energy purely, without the story, and you can see that it is only energy with a particular signature; the signature of fear.  Realizing how much of what you are feeling is simply a strong energy with a fingerprint of a feeling helps you allow that energy to dissipate.

You can also go a step further, as my teacher Tom Brown Jr. explained, and set the feeling or emotion aside as well, to then feel the energy purely, without the emotion or feeling or story attached.  The pure energy is nothing to be afraid of and once that is understood, easy to release.

Having control of that energy is incredibly helpful in overcoming fear.

The most difficult part of this mental exercise is REMEMBERING TO DO IT when the emotions rise!

Give it a try.  I would love to hear how it works for you.  Or share something that has helped you overcome your fears.

 

Dealing with Depression

I recently made a comment in another persons website about one of the ways I deal with depression so I thought I would share it here.
I have an approach called Focusing which I learned from my teacher Tom Brown Jr. (which approach I received by going out and going to Wilderness Survival classes at Trackerschool). The concept of focusing is also taught in a basic way in a book called Focusing, but Tom took us further in the exercise.
First, you get yourself in a quiet place away from others, preferably in nature, be quiet for a minute, just enjoying relaxing, then after a few minutes, ask yourself, “How am I feeling?” and surrender to the first feeling that comes up. If the first feeling that comes up is, “Fine, I feel fine.” Say to yourself, “No, really, how are you REALLY feeling?” Then in a VERY LOVING, NON JUDGMENTAL way, you say, “That’s good to know!” Then you ask, “Why am I feeling this way?”, and surrender to the answer that comes to you. Again, no judgement, only love and understanding. Say, “Well, that’s good to know!.”
Next, you set that feeling off to the side and you say to yourself, “Great, now aside from that, How am I feeling?” and surrender to the next feeling that comes up. Once you identify the next feeling, in a very loving, understanding, non judgmental way, say to yourself, “Good, that’s good to know. So why am I feeling this way?” Surrender to the answer and acknowledge that answer with love and understanding.
Next, you set those first feelings aside and say to yourself, “OK, Aside from those, How am I feeling?” Surrender to the answer. Again, in a very loving understanding way say to yourself, “Good, that’s good to know! Now, why am I feeling this way?” Surrender to the answer and acknowledge it with gratitude.
Tom told us to peel back AT LEAST 4 layers of feelings as a minimum, but he also told us, “When you think you have gone as far as you can go, keep going.”
More likely you will find many, many layers of feelings and reasons why.
This is peeling back the layers that make up that confusing mix of feelings which may be making you feel stuck, depressed, or confused. Bringing the individual emotions up and the why’s behind them, is healing because those feelings are being acknowledged in a very understanding way. There are reasons why we feel the way we do.
The first time I did this exercise we were given 45 minutes. I kept being distracted after the first 10 minutes or so. We were each sitting out in nature away from anyone else. It was very difficult to stay on task of peeling back the layers of feelings, but each layer was a revelation to one degree or another. I had no idea each of those individual feelings were carrying on at the same time, contributing to how I was feeling overall. It’s almost funny, looking back, I would uncover a feeling and the way behind it, and get caught up in thoughts about it and completely forget I was doing an exercise! Then I would remember, and almost be startled that I had forgotten that fact! Then I would go to the next layer. Going deeper was difficult for some reason. I couldn’t imagine there could be another layer, but there always was! And the deeper I got, the more surprised I was at what feeling was in that layer (I kept going with dogged determination because I paid a lot of money for that class and I wasn’t about to waste any of my time learning all I could)!!
Then the jewel . . . under all the feelings, I found myself. I had no idea until then who I really was. I can’t describe to you how I felt when I saw myself for who I really am, but I can say it was good, and I couldn’t stop weeping in absolute joy!
When they called us back in to the lecture hall, I couldn’t stop crying. Tom said, “It’s about time you got rid of all that sh#*!” I don’t know if he understood I was crying for joy or not, but the experience was life changing.
Before Tom sent us out to do this exercise, he told us to write down the feelings and the why’s as they came up. Once the exercise was done, he had us go through the list of feelings and circle the one that felt the most important to us. For many the most important feeling was not the first one we felt come up. He had us circle it and write a little #1 by it. Then we went through the list again, looking for the one that felt most important aside from the first feeling that was circled. When we found the next one that felt most important, we circled it and put a #2 by it. We continued circling and numbering the feelings until we felt we had circled all the important ones.
By doing the second half of this exercise, circling the most important feelings to us, we might be surprised which feelings are most important or strongest, and which feelings that have not been circled are clouding or hiding our most important feelings.
Some logistics:
Sometimes the same feeling may come up more than once. Typically because of a different “Why?” That’s fine just write it down.
Sometimes we may hover with a feeling for awhile before wanting or being able to move on to the next one. That’s perfectly all right, that feeling just needs a little more time to be acknowledged before setting it to the side and moving on to the next feeling.
Sometimes you may not have any feeling come up. That has happened to me more than once in the past. What I do is say to myself, “OK, that feeling is not ready to be seen, or I am not ready to see it . . . that’s good to know.” and I set it aside and move to the next one.
The most important thing to remember is to not be judgmental of yourself for your feelings. They are there and they are valid to you because you are feeling them. There will most likely be baggage contributing to some of your feelings, and that is all great and part of the layers you’re peeling back. It is all good. Digging deep, through it all, is a very introspective approach, and therapeutic, and healing.
One of the things that makes this exercise such a jewel to me is that underneath all the feelings, I found the purity of me. I don’t know if others will experience the same thing, but I do believe that under all those emotions and reasons for the feelings, our true selves exist: pure, beautiful, amazing, powerful, undimmed, and beyond description. So peel away, be patient, enjoy the comfort of being able to feel your feelings and love yourself fully and unconditionally no matter what you are feeling. There is a reason you have your feelings, and you can be a comfort to yourself, but your feelings are not you. You are underneath all the feelings, at the core. YOU are truly amazing!
At one time I thought that if I only know who I really was, spiritually, I would be able to handle anything. I have to admit that has not been the case. I still struggle and find myself knocked off balance. I still get depressed at times, always because I fear something. I can say, however, peeling back the feelings and getting the mix separated out, helps me identify what’s really going on. Awareness in an incredible tool.
Thanks for letting me share, and I hope you can try this for yourself!

Bad, bad horses!

Just kidding. I should say horses having a frolic down the neighborhood street through perfectly groomed and just planted yards.

Yesterday, I was running errands and my horses got out. Fortunately there was someone at home to go get them when one of the neighbors kindly came and told us. My son, and a young man who is doing some work for me, went and wrangled them back home again. Unfortunately, in their outing the horses had done some damage to two yards.

One of the neighbors didn’t get too upset but they have horses so they are more sympathetic I guess. The horses did bend over their newly planted crêpe myrtle tree as well as fling up bark dust in their newly landscaped backyard.

The other neighbor was a little more upset. He controlled his anger but I could still feel it plenty. He didn’t yell or anything but the horses had left their footprints all over his freshly smoothed out dirt that he was having planted the next day. He said he spent the last three hours smoothing it again. He let me know if they came over after it was planted he wouldn’t be too happy about it.

I let him know that I would have come and smooth it out if he would have let me know. I felt pretty bad. I went in my room and cried. I felt like moving from our “country” neighborhood to the real country where people are a little more used to animals and their ways. I feel like my neighborhood is not meant for country people but for fancy yard people.

Mud Village Of Tiny People Discovered

One of the huts along a dry stream bed.

21389387_10209564672928802_1174508346_o

An ancient daub and wattle bridge over a sheer gorge.  Careful, it looks fragile!

21389154_10209564672248785_1384531481_o.jpg

One of the structures has a flag or some such ornament on it.

21390271_10209564673008804_1919721907_o.jpg

There is an ancient lake that seems close to drying up.

21441368_10209564672128782_505725407_o.jpg

Here is one lake connected to another with a row of primitive shelters.

21363318_10209564672448790_305320253_o.jpg

Along the sheer crevasse there are more mud structures, seemingly organized!  I think there must be some rhyme or reason here.

21390241_10209564672328787_1597635936_o.jpg

Finally, is that a figure I see?  Is that a mud man . . . or a tiny Bigfoot . . . ?

Careful!  He looks fierce!  Wait . . . what’s that I hear him say in his tiny little squeaky voice?. . . ”

Get off my property, ya big galloots!”

21363635_10209564672408789_426789754_o.jpg

W E L L ,   E X C U S E   U S !

 

Mr. Big

Our gorgeous rooster, Mr. big. He’s quite the ladies man!

We just love our chickens! We have four mamas and 12 babies right now. One Mama has six babies, one Mama has three babies, and two mamas are sharing three babies.

The two moms that are sharing the three babies started out by fighting over the clutch of eggs. They finally settled down and shared the nest side by side. When three babies hatched out they began co-parenting them. Photo below.

Nature has a way of working things out.

The Shelly-Melly Diet . . . or the Melly-Shelly Diet

My daughter Melanie and I invented a diet challenge and there are only four simple rules:

  1. Eat no gluten or processed sugar
  2. Eat 6 cups veggies daily
  3. Exercise a minimum of 1/2 hour, three times per week
  4. Get enough rest at night and rest when you are tired or stressed instead of eating

By following the rules we earn “stars” or points toward our challenge.

  • Each day we eat no gluten or processed sugar, we earn a star.  The only exception is honey or real maple syrup which are OK.
  • Each day we eat 6 cups veggies we earn a star.
  • Each day we exercise we get a star.  Once we have exercised for the minimum of three days that week, we get an extra 3 stars.
  • Resting is something we decided would not earn stars, but a rule to follow which is very helpful toward weight loss.

There are two ways to earn a reward: either through the earning of stars, or through weight loss.  At the end of each month of the challenge, the one with the most stars is treated to something by the other . . . it could be going out to eat, or to a movie, or to an article of clothing, or what ever we decide; but not very expensive necessarily.  The weight loss prize is a bit bigger . . . the one to lose a certain amount of weight (each person must be aiming for the same amount of weight loss for each challenge) first gets treated by the other to a new outfit to wear, up to a certain amount of money determined by the participants.

When we began this, my sister Cheryl jumped into the challenge to lose a couple pounds and eat a more healthy diet.  We are having fun with this and keeping in close touch with each other to help each other stay on the path of weight loss, because we want to see each other succeed as much as we want to succeed ourselves.

Once we lose the weight we want to lose, we are going to continue on this diet challenge to maintain our ideal weights and continue to have fun competitions for prizes!

Of course there are ways to eat enough high calorie foods to gain weight, even on this diet, but our desire is to lose weight and win the competition so we do not work to find ways around the purpose of the diet, we work toward weight loss and success!

You may know someone who would like to enter into a challenge like this with you, to make your journey more fun and rewarding!  Feel free to copy us if you like what we’re doing, or create something unique just for your needs.  Most of all, have fun with your goals and the prizes you set up, and I believe you will enjoy your process to success a whole lot more.