Sunday, November 27, 2011

Crystal of the Week -- Green Aventurine

Green Aventurine is a heart healer, money generator and bringer of good luck.  Wow, can a stone really do all that?  Green Aventurine, when placed on the heart, will help you begin to slowly heal from any grief, regret or anger.  When placed in the money corner of your home or carried in your wallet, it is said to bring more money into your life.  Green Aventurine makes a great worry stone because it will help calm your nerves and bring a sense of good will to your aura.  If you're going to buy a lottery ticket, lore says you should do so while holding a piece of green aventurine.  When wearing Green Aventurine, it is said to help you attract loyal friends to your life.

Many crystal healers call Green Aventurine the shamrock of crystals because it is believed to bring so much good luck into your life.  The name "aventurine" comes from the phrase "a ventura" which means "by chance," so why not take a chance and check out Green Aventurine?

Surviving the Holidays

The holidays are supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year but are more often than not fraught with stress, anger and tension.  By December 24, most people feel broke, worn out and ready for a new year to begin.  For starters, we are expected to spend so much money -- on family, teachers, neighbors, charities and all the tips for the postal workers and sanitation men and women.  There are some weeks that I see those men and women ringing their bells for the Salvation Army, and I remember what one of my former students would say, "Honey, I ain't giving to charity.  I am a charity."  Then there are all the extra parties, cookie exchanges and secret Santas.  There's the money and time spent hanging decorations and sending out cards to people.

And then there's the family.

All those people you can successfully avoid throughout the year suddenly descend for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and all the rest.  Instead of an afternoon at a birthday party or a picnic reunion for a couple of hours by the shore, over the holidays we're often faced with spending days and days with our family.  Not an east task for many of us.

So how can we survive the holidays feeling relaxed, poised and even, dare I say it, joyful?  It all begins with FAITH.

F: Forgive and forget.  Just for the holidays.  My friend has a great saying: Do the hard work in the short term for a big payoff in the long run.  Sure, your brother might drive you crazy, but this time of year is not the time to rehash old wounds.  Keep the peace and you and your family will be rewarded with a sense of unity to last for a lifetime.

A: Accept people as they are.  My friend Joanne has a sister who insists on serving like Martha Stewart.  Everything is made from scratch with herbs grown in her garden.  The china is used, the silver is polished.  My friend resents all the fuss and time she has to spend in the kitchen helping her sister.  However, I'm sure her sister hates going to my friend's house where the policy is always, "Help yourself; server yourself."  We are all different. If we were the same, we'd never learn and grow.  Both these sisters can teach other patience and tolerance if they can just learn to accept each other's different way of serving dinner.

I: Ignore mean people.  They are all around us and sometimes they are in our own families.  Mean people hate the holidays, and it brings out the worst in them.  A mean person in my family will literally try to start fights by discussing contentious issues such as politics and religion or bringing up past hurts that have never been fully resolved.  The only way to deal with these people is to ignore them.  And when they try to start something with you, just smile, nod and deflect.  "I don't really have an opinion on Obama, but I sure do love your new camera.  Can you take a picture of us all after dinner?" And then walk away.

T: Take breaks.  Lots of them.  Texting is a great stress relief.  I text hilarious family comments and responses to my friends back home, and then they text back providing a much needed tension break.  I take walks too and insist on going alone.  Make sure you have a friend that you can unload with.  It's important to have a safe person to release your stress to.  This person isn't always going to be your spouse, especially if your source of tension is with his/her family!  Pick a neutral friend and tell them your stress stories.  Just be sure to be there for your friend when she has to deal with her family.

T also stands for Talk.   Talk to your family members.  Really talk to them.  I'm always amazed at how my family and I can make small talk about nothing, literally nothing, for hours.  We discuss current events, politics and celebrities but never our own selves.  We're current on each other's kids lives and their activities but when it comes to the story of own lives, nothing. And we are each fascinating people.  I have great stories to tell, for example, about talking to the dead and what the other side looks like.  My husband has great stories to tell about arresting people or helping families through the holidays.  And yet, when we go places, no one really asks us questions about us.  I am amazed each time I go to a party how I can literally "interview" someone for almost an hour, and yet they will never ask me a question about myself in return.  It's so odd to me, but it happens all the time.  This year, take the time to ask meaningful questions.

H: Have fun.  Seriously.  The holidays are supposed to be about family and friends and happy times.  And I've found that the best way to be happy is to make your own happiness.  Find something every day that you can do for yourself to make you happy.  It could be a good holiday movie, a lovely book to come home to, a game of cards with someone, a warm bubble bath, a vigorous workout, getting a manicure.  For me, it's doing something creative.  As long as I have time every day to knit, draw or write, I am a happy girl.  I love to bake with my daughters and make ornaments with them too.  Christmas music always makes me happy.  The other day, I went to the library and checked out a dozen books on holiday crafts.  I was so happy sipping my tea later that night and planning all the things my girls and I could make together for Christmas.  It's the simple things that bring the most sustaining joy.  Find yours.

And don't forget to remember the meaning behind all these holidays.  It's not about money.  If you can't afford a gift for someone, do not get stressed or overwhelmed.  One of my favorite gifts is a little book mark that has one of my favorite quotes on it by Cicero: A room without books is like a body without a soul.  The person who bought me that bookmark knew I loved books, so that gift meant so much to me.  It really is the thought that counts.

To help my children remember why my husband and I are snapping at each other as we untangle lights, or why I tend to yell at the tape dispenser that never works, I bought a beautiful gold hat box a few years ago that we place under the tree each year.  Then I take construction paper and cut out dozens of crosses.  Whenever my girls do something nice for someone, they write it down on one of the crosses and place it in the box as their gift to Christ.  It's just a small and hopefully meaningful way to help them remember that this month is not about who gets the biggest and best gifts.

Keep your expectations minimal.  Forget the Norman Rockwell Christmas.  And in return you may just feel as if this is the most wonderful time of the year.

And for those of you in particularly stressful families, check out these tips from a gal who knows where you're coming from:

1) Send lots of love, light and prayers to the dates on which you'll have to be with your family.  By sending extra energy to that date, you'll provide a cushion of good energy to encircle that event.

2) Surround negative family members in pink light.  It really works.  Just imagine them being wrapped in thick pink cotton candy and watch as their negativity begins to soothe.  Just don't forget to wrap yourself in pink light too!

3) If there's someone in your family who always gets under your skin, take a moment before you speak to them to say inside your head "I love you." This will soften your tone and bring lots of love to the situation.

4) Place a crystal cluster near the family gathering -- either on the dining room table or the sideboard.  Crystal clusters help groups to get along and work together.

Good luck to all of you reading this.  And remember this, you are not alone.  You have your guides and angels watching over you.  Ask for their help too.  Ask and you shall receive.  I wish you all a joyous, peaceful and happy, happy holiday season.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Crystal of the Week -- Azurite with Malachite

Azurite -- a beautiful cobalt blue stone -- is often found growing with or on malachite -- a lovely stone with waves of green.  Together, azurite with malachite is a powerful stone for those wanting to develop their psychic abilities.  It works to clear your psyche of negativity and allows you to experience fully the emotions of compassion, forgiveness and trust.  It helps to dispel worry, resentment and regret.  Place it on your third eye to help open the 6th chakra while saying, "it is safe for me to see."

The ancient Egyptians believed Azurite with Malachite could aid spirit communication.

Azurite with Malachite will greatly assist your meditation practice allowing you to reach higher levels of spiritual awareness.

Cassandra Eason asserts that Azurite with Malachite works to help people dealing with cancer.

To use, either wear it to increase your vibration or meditate with it on your third eye.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Embracing the Ego

I've been getting the message for several of my clients this month that it's time to let their light shine, to embrace their ego.  What? Some of you might be thinking.  I thought I was supposed to kill my ego, denounce my ego.  I thought EGO meant Easing God Out.  Yes, I used to as well.  But not so much anymore.

If my husband's doctor didn't have an ego the size of Texas, could he have cut a Y shaped opening into him and pumped his heart back to life?  I am thankful every day for that amazing doctor's ego.

I am so grateful that Martin Luther King, Jr. had the ego to say, "I have a dream."

Thank God that Ghandi had the ego to think that one man starving himself and speaking out could save an entire country.

Without Steve Job's huge ego, we wouldn't ever know the words "app" or "podcast" or "iPad." His ego has made this world a much better place.

Thomas Jefferson's ego may have led him to have an affair with his slave Sally Hemmings, but I'm grateful that his ego also led him to say, "All men are created equal and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

His original line read "the pursuit of property" but after John Adams' and Ben Franklin's suggestion, he changed it because even they knew that "things" aren't our right, but rather happiness is.  It's our right to be happy, to be free, to have a life that makes our soul sing.

In order to have these things, to embrace these inalienable rights, we have to embrace our ego.  We have to enfold it within ourselves and OWN IT.

This week, I read for a client who was thinking of writing a book.  I told her I saw it being a big seller.  I said, "I think this is going to be big." She paused for a beat and then another.  Finally, she said, "I do too, but I'm afraid to think that. I mean who am I?"

Who are you?  You are a child of God.  You are created in the image of your Creator.  Each and everyone of us is a reflection of God.  God is reflected in my mediumship ability.  God is made known in your ability to teach people to read.  And in his ability to manage people and make them work as a team.  And in her ability to raise and nurture an amazing family.  And our Creator is reflected in his talent for inventing things and her knack for making people feel so good about themselves.  Each of us, everyone of us, is a reflection of God and when we denounce ourselves, limit ourselves and belittle our talents, we're denouncing our Creator, belittling the light within us.

I used to think I wasn't a good person if I thought I was a good person.  How crazy is that?  When someone complimented me, I would belittle it.  "Oh, thanks.  I got this on sale at Target."  Or "No, anyone else would have done the same thing." No.  No more.  I am a good person.  And not everyone else is.  And it's okay to think that.

You are a good person and you have a right to live your dream, a duty to fulfill your purpose so that you can make God's image manifest in you.

I used to recoil when I would read all those new agers who said we are God.  I would laugh and think, "Really?  So I created this universe? I created myself?  Give me a break."

I still don't believe I am God.

Far from it.

But, my favorite, favorite book, The Interior Castle by Theresa of Avila, has this thesis:  God is within us and we can only find God by searching inside of us.  She wrote this in 1577.

So am I God?  Are you?  No.

But God created us and is reflected in us.  We are made in God's image and it's our job to reflect that by fulfilling the purpose we were created to do and surrendering to that.

Sometimes, part of that surrendering includes owning the fact that we're wonderful and talented and great.  And that's okay.

We must keep our ego in check or else we'll believe we are a god.  But we must not kill our ego either.  That's just as dangerous as inflating our self worth.

Like everything in life, it's a balance.  So please, promise yourself that this week you'll embrace your ego.  Give it a try.  You are wonderful and amazing and gifted.  You are meant to shine and create and be happy.  It's your inalienable right.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Signs From My Guides

I was asked recently to do a television interview about my experiences as a medium.  The reporter thought it would be an inspiring story if I spoke about how my husband's shooting and near death forced me to realize what was really important in life and that's how I came to embrace my intuitive abilities.  I thought it was a great idea and after talking to her at length, I realized that she was very open to what I did and was not going to try to denounce me or anything like that.  There were just a few problems.  For one, I'm terrified of being on TV.  My husband and I have been interviewed several times to discuss his shooting and recovery and while that was scary, it didn't terrify me because the spotlight wasn't on me.  I'm always happy when the spotlight is most definitely not on me.  But this time the story would be about me and that was scary.  I'm also not crazy about what my hair is doing right now and what would I wear?  Just kidding.  Well, sort of.

Then I was worried about my children.  I don't advertise what I do.  I know, I know.  I have a website, a blog and a podcast but it's all very small and you have to know about me to find those things.  Being on television is for anyone to see, not just people who seek me out.  That's a different ball game.  So the average person at my church or my children's school does not know what I do for a living, and I like it that way.  I do not want them being made fun of.

I polled my friends and family to mixed reactions.  Most were pretty nonchalant about it.  My husband said, "Do it if you want to.  Don't if you feel uncomfortable."  Sounds simple, right?

But it wasn't.  I wanted to do the show because I do think this work is inspiring and life affirming.  But everything else that came with it was too scary.  I just didn't feel ready.  I knew the answer was no, but I hate, hate, hate to disappoint people.  The reporter said she was planning for this story to air during sweeps weeks which meant she'd already gotten it approved by the producer and that they were expecting a lot of interest in the story.  So, I continued to toss and turn.

Finally, I threw my hands up and said to my guides, "Look!  I can't figure this out.  I don't think I should do this, but I feel that I should.  You need to give me an affirmative sign."

The next day when I woke up, I lost my voice.  Gone.  I have a terrible case of laryngitis.  I've had to cancel all my readings for today and tomorrow.  But, really, I just have to laugh.  When my guides give a sign, boy do they give a sign. I had to decline the interview in an email today.

And you know what's really strange?  I kind of like not having a voice for awhile.  My kids have had to figure out their own fights between each other.  My oldest read a book to us at bedtime tonight, and when they talk to me, they whisper just like me.  It's so cute and peaceful too!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Happiness is Having No Expectations

When I was a little girl, my favorite book was Anne of Green Gables.  I loved everything about Anne -- her spunk, her intellect, her imagination.  I loved her so much that my daughter's middle name is Anne with an E.  There was one thing, however, I never agreed with Anne about.  She had a habit of saying to her best friend Diana, "Happiness is having no expectations."  That's not a direct quote, I should add.  But she was often saying things like that and it always made me mad.  What is the point of life without expectations?  I spent half my childhood, okay, maybe more, daydreaming about things I expected out of life.  This included mainly people liking me at whatever new school I landed at that year after one of our many moves.  I dreamed of the teachers being bowled over by my engaging personality, of boys' jaws dropping open as I walked by, of a teacher secretly sending my essay into her publisher making me one of the youngest published writers ever.  I was always dreaming and never, ever living up to reality.  The fact that I was a shy, awkward kid until I sprouted slightly up and out rarely effected my day dreams but it did make me sad when teachers overlooked me, boys walked passed me and the really cool girls looked me up and down.

Still, I persisted with my huge expectations.  I believed that without them, I would be nothing.  I thought in order for one to succeed, one must have a clear vision, a direct path, an instruction sheet for God.  "Hello up there.  Thanks for creating me.  Now give me everything on this list."

While I do believe passionately in setting realistic goals, I no longer cling to expectations.  Instead, my goal is to take each day as it comes -- whatever that brings.  Rather than trying to change the world to fit my expectations, I'm choosing to change myself to flow with whatever life presents me.  This isn't easy, but then, whoever said life was?

Life is as hard or as easy as WE make it.  It's our choice.  Happiness is a verb; it's something we choose to be or not to be every day.

When hard times hit you, and they will, try not to let them define you.  Nothing in my life has turned out the way I planned.  Really, nothing.  I thought I would be a lawyer, but I fell into teaching.  What's that? Oops, now I'm a medium.  I thought I'd have two children, but my amazing Chloe came along and surprised us thankfully with her beautiful self.  My husband and I had our whole careers plotted out.  He even knew the exact date of his retirement.  But one bullet from a very nasty man changed everything, literally, everything in our lives.  I try very hard to not let that one moment define us.  Sometimes, many times, it does.  We're reminded of it when he forgets big things and little things, when he's fighting migraines or back pain.  I'm reminded of it every time I see a police officer who smiles at me and asks, "How's sarge doing?" But I try to focus on the many gifts and blessings we've received instead: three healthy, great kids, a career I love, love, love and a husband who's healing every day.

So give Anne's way a shot.  Try to wake up tomorrow and have no expectations.  Just accept life as it comes realizing that how you respond to it is your choice and, more importantly, that you have a choice.