Birds, Flannel, Rock, Paper, Sandals

That weird feeling you have when an unexpected change occurs and you get shaken up at the earth level but your spirit says, “Relax. All is well.” Listening to birds sing in the pre-light morning. I changed my spring nightgown for comforting flannel so I can enjoy the cool morning air coming through the open window and feel both cozy and free.You breathe out. You breathe in.

Today, I get to officiate a wedding of a couple who in the middle of their ceremony, are going to rock, paper, scissors to determine who goes first in reading his or her special message before the I dos. A perfect demonstration of not needing to know what is next. And they want me to read both the Corinthians “love” passage AND a poem by a Buddhist monk named Wendy. Two unpredictable toddlers are involved and the couple is totally happy with whatever shenanigans and rebellions may occur down the grassy aisle. At the rehearsal the two year old flower girl danced to the Beatles in snazzy silver sandals.

This feeling is reminding me of when I first walked outside after cancer surgery had me housebound and not walking much at all. The feeling of sun, and the intensity of greenness and life force overwhelmed me with gratitude and happiness to be alive. We get so numb and complacent in the the day-to-day sameness of what we think we know and what we are used to doing. Sometimes it takes a bump in the road to awaken us to the beauty of the drive.

I am well now and grateful for all I learned during that time nine years ago, I can only imagine what beauty I will see in this week’s events nine years from now. But I won’t hold my breath, still and waiting, freeze-dried in the illusion of false certainty. You breathe out. You breathe in and you know, there are singing birds who want to be heard, fabric that wants to surround you with softness, and love is all around, calling you to put on your snazziest sandals and dance. Whatever my plans are for myself, there is truly only one thing I know.

The mysterious force we call God can and does improve on those plans and all I have to do is breathe and not be such a knucklehead that I forget to enjoy the moments between the breaths.

Full-Tilt State Shifting

The coloring book and the book state-shifting guidebook, “Abundance Triggers” continue to be my best-selling books in the US, UK, Europe, and Australia. Other related complements: the guided Imagery, “Abundance Triggers: A Journey of Self Discovery” (Amazon/Audible). And in Paradigm Shift App: “Abundance Retrieval: Power Objects, and the “Attracting Abundance” series of guided imagery sessions.

Why multiple formats? To help people jump a groove and create a new and happier one, it helps to get that material to the person though multiple learning modalities.

Positive change is a yes or no situation that requires commitment. Try is a no. Do is a yes. “There is no try, Luke Skywalker.” To counter fear, doubt, the tendency to hold onto old long-running programs, the whole hot negativity mess, it makes sense to use more than one tool.

READING is great, especially in short bits. 15 or 20 minute increments are ideal. What we learn by reading is further anchored if we visually anchor the information with ART. This is especially true when the art images are bright and colorful enough to really make an impact in the imaginative mind. So, for most cover art of books and images I use images from my paintings.

Most of my books have a CREATIVE JOURNALING component that allows the reader to anchor learning in a very hands-on way, through WRITING, DRAWING, and CREATIVE VISUALIZATION, goal-setting, ACTION, and reflection on that action. It sends a powerful message to the subconscious mind when you say to yourself, “Hey, look what I did! I can do that now!”

Since most of my print format books are illustrated with whimsical black and white line drawings, many people wrote to me that they were COLORING them in. Way before the coloring book craze, one reader specifically requested that I make a coloring book. The “Abundance Trigger Coloring Book was the first, and two others have followed so far. The Love is Everywhere Coloring Book and the Welcome to the World Coloring Book.

ENVIRONMENT can be a really powerful tool. For decades, I have taught groups of folks in sacred and secular settings such as the Association for Research and Enlightenment, Omega Institute, Unity Churches, UNCW, Kutztown University, and the Center for Peace Studies at Virginia Tech how to create prayer and self-coaching environments and how to use art and interior design to inspire you to be your best and brightest self. This is something I model in my art gallery in Floyd, Virginia.

The strongest tool in state-shifting is taking positive affirmation done in a state of highly focused awareness while in a state of relaxation and reverence. For people who want to make change, affirmative prayer done while deeply relaxed, i.e. GUIDED MEDITATION, or Transpersonal (spiritual) Hypnosis is like positive change rocket fuel. Why? because there is nothing as powerful as REAL WHOLE HEART PRAYER. Not the pleading and begging variety, but the full-tilt thank you God! belief, expectation, and gratitude in advance kind.

And finally, to activate this and all the other tools that I mentioned here and in my book “Abundance Triggers” requires RESPONSIBILITY and WILLINGNESS to master your own life and state. As long as you think life happens to you and the problems your life are insoluble, there is nowhere to go. You’re in a self-inflicted Purgatory for which the payoff is “I get to blame myself, God, and others.”

If you take blame off the table, and you’re willing to take responsibility, use all your tools, and invite that mysterious force we call God into your transformation, buckle up. Because when you let go of resistance, all the pent-up force of your passion combines with all the resources of the Universe, And then the challenge becomes ALLOWING in all the good that naturally flows, recognizing the blessings, and expanding your capacity for joy.

The Bliss of Honest Effort

Like everybody else, I’ve been watching Prince videos this week. So much beauty in his work and so many amazing collaborations. Sheila E. and the Purple One performing “A Love Bizarre,” (wittily tiled after John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme)” blew me away. She was his Ginger Rodgers, singing, dancing, and co-owning the stage. I’d say like Ginger she did it all, except backwards in heels, but they were both in heels. They were both dedicated and committed to serving the audience. They gave full-tilt honest effort and in so doing, transported themselves into a transcendent state of joy clearly visible on their faces.

One clip I saw bugged me though, because it demonstrated a state of affairs I have noticed. When you get to be an old fart like me, you begin to see the world you live in with some of the same concern for its well-being as you do your own family. And you want the best for your family.

We have become too lazy, self-absorbed, and expectant of being spoon-fed, rather than doing our homework. I would like to see a return in our culture of consideration and work ethic. The expectation that we make an effort and care enough to really do our best… and that as we do we recognize “the other.”

How does a journalist assigned to interview Prince’s near and dear at Paisley Park,  not know who Larry Graham is… and ask him to spell his name?

Same deal with the person who posted the clip. How does the headline call him a “bandmate”? He was more than a bandmate. He was a musical collaborator, very close friend, and strong spiritual influence on Prince. Larry Graham is an iconic funk star in his own right. Bassist for Sly & The Family Stone, creator of a unique style of playing, leader of Graham Central Station, and vocalist as well as bass player.

We have become a culture of people who expect awards for just showing up, as if doing our best is an unreasonable expectation or even an imposition, rather than a privilege and a source of pride and joy. We can do better. Let’s do better. There is so much to do and that’s not all. We owe it to ourselves to let go of our resentment of and resistance to life. Life is always calling us to service and that’s where the bliss is!

Smiling and the Matrix

“The Matrix is a system, Peewee. That system is our enemy. But when you’re inside, you look around, what do you see? Mopers, worriers, complainers, and the chronically indignant. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inert, so hopelessly dependent on the system that they will fight to protect it. But we have a secret weapon, Peewee: the smile. It releases dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin. Neurotransmitters that can help any cowboy or cowgirl feel dingdang good.”

Cowboy Curtis sings a song about smiling.

The Book of Sneakers 4:25

My friend, Carol posts amusing photos on her Facebook page, inviting captions and I love to play that game while I drink my morning mug. This morning, I saw one that I found strangely moving. Several people lines both sides of a sidewalk on city street, creating a kind of experiential portal though which to walk. They were dressed in jeans and there was a sort of grungy informality to the picture. Eagle masks fully covered their heads. The image brought to mind myths of gods taking animal form, Biblical references to angelic appearances, and the wonderful song penned by Eric Bazilian, “What if God Was One of Us?” Since I don’t know who took the photo and can’t ask for permission to post it, I’m not sharing it here, but I am sharing my caption, along with my appreciation for the courage of all who dare to fully commit to life.

“Yea, I saw before me a procession of eagles, each one wearing simple human garb. They stopped before me as angels, blessing my footsteps and clearing a path for me. You do not need to fly, they told me. You, like your brothers and sisters, and all humans before you, have come to this place to put your faith in Love to action. Courage is not for storybook idols. It is for everyday heroes and heroines willing to fully live their lives.” – The Book of Sneakers, 4:25

Happy Easter and Pesach Sameach (Happy Passover)!

art c Kanta Bosniak

art c Kanta Bosniak

art c Kanta Bosniak

art c Kanta Bosniak

This year, Easter falls on Sunday, March 27. Passover begins the evening of Friday, April 22nd and ends the evening of Sunday, April 30th. Wishing my Christian and Jewish Friends blessed and joyous holiday celebrations!

Buddha Brunch Interview with Ned Kelley

I enjoyed my video chat today with “Buddha Brunch” Host, Ned Kelley. I invite you to watch and listen as we talk about the Abundance Triggers and Paradigm Shifting.

What to Do When the F Bomb Flies

Committed relationships need to stay safe and sacred. Most people are as kind and loving deep down as they are on the surface, but all of us have a shadow that can come out when we are stressed. When this occurs, we can choose to prioritize our relationship, hold each other in the light, and help each other grow to our full spiritual and human potential.

This is one of the biggest blessings of sacred friendships and marriage. Both parties keep stepping up their spiritual game, so to speak. They become better and better people, more balanced, more open-hearted, and even more effective contributors to life. When a tone of voice is inadvertently sharp, unconsciously contemptuous, or even just thoughtless and inconsiderate, both parties take the responsibility to, in the safety and sacredness of the relationship, and as ALLIES, address the underlying fear, shame or whatever was really being voiced and heal it.

However there are some men who as they not as they presented themselves in courtship… the husband who feels he has secured his wife, after the vows are formalized or when a pregnancy occurs, the formerly hidden ugly comes out. He figures she’s not going anywhere and she’s “his” now, so he can act as he pleases without consequences.
The worst thing a woman can do when verbal abuse or emotional bullying happens is pretend it didn’t. That sets an awful precedent. The best thing that can happen is that a woman calls him on it, stands her ground, and lets her support system know about it. It’s good for her, good for any children they may have, and good for her husband too, because to enable somebody is NOT doing them any favors.

People can change if they want to and are willing to take the responsibility to throw their selfish egos on the fire and choose love. When you hold them accountable, they either rise to the occasion or they don’t. If you allow bad behavior, it gets worse. And your children grow up thinking this is how men are supposed to treat women. If you don’t allow it, you get to stay who you are and be the happy and strong person that you were meant to be. To be able to stand your ground, you have to be willing to walk away instead of settle. If he stays on a wrong path, then you have to throw your fear of being alone on the fire, choose confidence in your self and God, and walk your own path.

Bunny & Swan: A Love Story

bunny and swan cropped
Once upon a time there was a blue swan. She loved to fly and swim and she enjoyed poetry and art. One day, she spotted a handsome bunny with a green mohawk gazing at her admiringly from the river bank. When he saw that she noticed him, he wiggled his tail, twitched his whiskers, and took two hops forward. “Beautiful Bird,” he said,” will you come out and play with me? We can frolic and hop in the tall grass and dig a burrow together,” he told her (for he loved to dig in the earth and cuddle up all close and cozy). “I will make you a fine blanket by wrapping my long ears about you and keep you warm.”

“I cannot dig,” she said, “Nor can I stray too far from the water, but I will come and play with you, Bunny Greenhair.” The two became friends and made a nest not in the water or under the earth, but in the tall grass by the water’s edge. She still swam and flew, for she was still a swan, and he still dug and hippity hopped, for he was still a bunny. But they delighted in each other’s company and linked their hearts together. And to this day, if you go down by the pond and sit very quietly by the water, you may see them together with his long ears warming her and his whiskers brushing against her bill.

Big Love and Good Questions

Detail from "Recognition," mixed media by Kanta Bosniak, collection of the artist

Detail from “Recognition,” mixed media by Kanta Bosniak, collection of the artist

On this Valentine’s Day, I am thinking about Big Love. Love as wonder-full (agape) and love as kindness, compassion, affection, and friendship (philia). I was raised as a Christian mystic, in a denomination which referred to all members as Friends. (Society of Fiends/ Quaker) and I loved the words of the Founder of Quakerism, George Fox, “…walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in every one.”

When in my college days I began to study Eastern philosophy, I realized that these words might easily be translated as being in a state of “Namaste” consciousness.

Reading a quote by Archibald Macleish, “Religion is at its best when it makes us ask hard questions of ourselves,” got me to thinking about what in Quakerism would be called queries. Questions that may not have pat and immediate answers, but rather prompt soul-searching, moral inventory, and spiritual growth. There are so many wonderful teachings of world religions and sacred texts that can inspire us to ask “hard questions.” The ones that immediately spring to mind are from my Christian upbringing, though they can, of course, also be found in other spiritual traditions.

I don’t actually think of these as “hard questions,” except in the sense sense that they they challenge our ego, because they ask us to notice cognitive disconnects and surrender to a higher path. To the heart, this type of query is richly rewarding. When we go into a place of openness and stillness, insights emerge and paradigms shift.

“Ask and is given.”
Am I living in trust?
“As you have believed, so it is done.”
Am I thinking thoughts that are in line with my highest good?”
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
Am I grasping and trying to control, or am I extending love that comes from within?
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way.”
Am I trying to be righter, cleverer, and more special than others? Do I try to impose my will on others, or do understand and accept that others may think make differently than I do? If I relaxed and allowed myself to feel loved , to love myself, to love, and to lovingly embrace the adventure, how would that change my life?

May we continue to ask good questions and be open to answers that may surprise us. And whatever our path, may we be guided by Big Love, that Love which is beyond human understanding.