Posts filed under Creativity

The 7 Struggles of Magical Entrepreneurs

Magical people often feel intensely called to do entrepreneurial work for reasons directly related to their magic-ness.  Perhaps you've already noticed that your magical life is a more-than-usually intense ride wherein you plummet to harrowing lows and rise to luminous heights. We magical people tend to learn a ton along the course of our rides, including that we hate straight jobs (i.e., "working for the Man.")  We're Outlaws in every sense of the word. So our reasons for becoming entrepreneurs are simple: we want to be free to make our own rules and we want to share with others what we've discovered in our adventures through life.

So, here you are reading this because you know you're magic and you've got the business itch. The enterprise you have in mind or already rolling along could be anything from promoting your music, writing, or art, to coaching others, to tantric massage, to starting up a tech business to a zillion things in-between.

Whatever your business is, my experience in coaching dozens of entrepreneurial magic people around the world has taught me that no matter what we're doing, we face several challenges that muggle business-people don't seem to struggle with nearly as much.

Perhaps in doing-business-while-magic you're already discovering that the effort is super-tough in part because being a magic person is way trippy in itself.  The practice of balancing your own inherent magical trippiness with making the cold hard cash monies is a delicate feat indeed. It's a tricky accomplishment even just while working a regular job. Take away the constraints of a boss and the pressures of co-workers, leave yourself to your own delightful magic devices, and you soon discover the profound realization that this shit is hard.

So just for fun, I've made a list of all the ways we magical entrepreneurs tend to struggle, so at least you can know you're not at all alone.

1. You find it tough to describe your work and sell its benefits: because... it's weird. 

Let me be clear: weird is awesome.  Weird is all I ever want. And the gifts that magical entrepreneurs want to share are often a little weird in the sense of being new and unfamiliar. It could that you've invented a fresh genre of music, a form of healing that no one has ever heard of, a kind of sexual meditation training that scares people as much as it interests them.  Whatever it is, chances are good that if you're magic it's a bit out of the ordinary.

This is the highly magical Peter O'Toole, no doubt pondering the cruelty of the muggle world.
This is the highly magical Peter O'Toole, no doubt pondering the cruelty of the muggle world.

This means that you face unique challenges for marketing your work.  You often need to educate people just as much as you need to sell to them. And just the project of figuring out who's the best audience for what you do can be a big challenge, because the usual rules of "niche" don't apply. You're not selling to a certain externally-defined demographic, you're selling to people who are open to a certain kind of experience.

The good news about this is that you have the built-in magic to broadcast that will let your right audience come to resonate with you and understand you.  The tough news about this is that you'll need to surrender to the fact that you have to work double-time: you're both an educator and a business person.  Because what you do is world-shifting, you're responsible for helping folks to shift with you.

When it comes to communicating the benefits of your experimental offering, probably nothing helps more than collecting testimonials. Don't be shy about sharing your gift with friends and letting them rave about it - and then publicizing that raving. Social proof is a great means of helping folks get over their resistances to trying the new and incredible thing you're offering.

2. Your energy and business focus changes dramatically with the seasons and with astrological happenings

Magic people can feel stressed and inadequate when trying to work in a business world that makes all sorts of demands for constant production that conflict with the cyclical rhythms of nature. It's okay. Don't let the squares get you down.

Most of the magic people I know are at their best from January to June, while the sun is gaining strength in moving towards the Summer Solstice. They also tend to be hugely more energized and decisive around the time of the full moon. They're often utterly lethargic around new moons and in the winter.

Due to their energetic openness, magic people are also more poignantly affected by astrological retrogrades and oppositions.  If you notice that you and your far-out friends absolutely always have your phones, cars, and computers break down around Mercury retrogrades while other folks you know seem to be doing just fine with their communication technologies - you have your own sensitivity to energy to thank.

If this is going on for you, it's important to recognize what's happening and cut yourself a big break.  The struggle to hustle in a world that doesn't respect magical rhythms won't end -  but at least you can be kind to yourself while it's going on.

Just conjuring up some business.
Just conjuring up some business.

3. It's hard for you to share yourself potently on social media 

As a magical person, you see and feel things that many other people don't.  Vast visions and intense synchronicities - things that are difficult to put into words.  You know that social media is fairly key to business these days: Facebook and Twitter are important means of connecting with potential customers, investors, fans.

And you know in order to really draw folks to your project,  it's important for you to be present and real. So sometimes you try to communicate a meaningful truth and get just it right. But it comes out sounding like a trite fortune cookie or an insane rant. Frustrating.

Maybe you've also had experiences in the past of posting something vulnerable and deeply felt and having people respond with indifference or even straight-up rudeness. It happens to the most intriguing of us.

This struggle to communicate with the world at large is a very common for magic people since we're accustomed to being misunderstood. Often we trip ourselves up because we expect to be misunderstood, so we can sound combative or overly pedantic. A useful way to overcome this to design all of your posts as if you're speaking directly to a person who generally understands your vibe (so you don't have to explain everything) but still has things to learn from your experience.

4. You feel that your magic should be free, so you feel guilt and worry around charging what you're worth

Oh man. This one is so huge. Most magic people have very strong spiritual commitments to kindness and generosity, and they love the feeling of giving of themselves freely.  (Yeah, there are selfish, miserable magic people in the world - but usually karma kicks their ass so hard that they wise up pretty fast and become principled.)

Charging for creations and services can feel not only scary but not fun because it seems to block the free flow. Plenty of magic people have a strong love of social justice (because they know what it's like to be oppressed and devalued for being different) and a distaste for capitalism. But eventually, there comes a point where what feels even more not fun than charging is... not charging. Because you want to give your gift to the world in a way that's sustainable for you.  And unless you're so advanced that you magic up food and housing without a hitch, that means charging for your work.

The process of overcoming hesitations around charging a sustainable rate for your work can be a long one. It's still an evolving effort for me.  But the process is so, so worth it - because it means you eventually get to a place where you're paid to do what you love by people who appreciate and value you.

knifejuggler

5. You have so many brilliant ideas that it's difficult to zero in on your focus

Magic people get suddenly seized by strong enthusiasms - and just as suddenly, those enthusiasms can dessert you. The trick is to find the theme that underlies and weaves-through all of your enthusiasms and to focus on cultivating that as the foundation of your business and creative life.

I go through cycles of being obsessed with various projects and loves - from ancient philosophy to mystical poetry to tantra to dreams to contemporary art to teaching to Orgasmic Meditation to astrology - and I noticed that what interests me in all my enthusiasms is magic itself.

Some folks I work with notice that there underlying theme is music. Or animals. Or yoga. Or death. Or anarchy. Or sex. Whatever it is, if you accept it and embrace it it can be the unifying foundation and flavor for everything else you do.

6. You hesitate to invest money in your business and in yourself as an entrepreneur because you're used to things just coming to you.

You've manifested plenty of stuff in your life, from scholarships to dates to adventures to hot new clothes. You would prefer it if your powers of manifestation would just go ahead and effortlessly create for you a website, a fan base, a production team, and everything else your business needs.  You're magic, so you should be able to get all that stuff free and easy, right?

Well, yes and no.  It's certainly wonderful to call for synchronous, free help as you grow your business. Along my own journey I've encountered amazing people who were happy to help me build my website and promote my work just for barter or for the sheer joy of helping create something they felt good about.

And I've also noticed for myself and for my clients that part of entrepreneurial magic is being willing to invest cash in buying goods and services and education to support our businesses. When we pay for other people's services, when we invest in getting coached and healed and supported ourselves, we affirm that magical work has value.  Which helps us to more deeply believe that our own work has value and is worth paying for.

"Alas, poor Yorick - why must I use social media?"
"Alas, poor Yorick - why must I use social media?"

7. You worry about attracting negative energy from others as you grow your business and media presence.

When you become an entrepreneur and you're promoting your work in the world, you become a public person in a way that you're not when you're working a job or just hanging out.

Being a public person can feel scary because it means exposing yourself to the imaginations and projections of people who don't really know you but they believe they know you because they follow your work or your social media posts.

Magic people tend to be especially sensitive to the projections of others.  Negative projections can feel like cruel hexes and can actually cause magic people to want to run and hide.

There's a huge amount of growth in learning to stand in your power as a magical entrepreneur, to feel the high sensation of the public loving or hating you, and to welcome it all with grace and strength.  

In Conclusion

Life as a magic entrepreneur isn't all unicorns and rainbows, but it is full of savory challenge and growth. As you expand your business and put yourself out as a public person, you discover new truths about your magic, your power, and your wisdom that would never have dawned on you if you had stayed in your comfort zone at a job.  And I'm incredibly grateful for you being in the world, doing your magic thing.

If you're just starting your magical journey in business, or feeling stuck at a tough plateau, I encourage you to contact me for coaching. And if you'd just love to connect with other magical entrepreneurs from all over the world, I invite you to join the Outlaw Court.

images:

Dangerous magic show - fineartamerica.com.

Young Peter O'Toole thinking  - skydancingblog.com

Conjuring lady - Ebay

Knife juggler - Pinterest

Peter O'Toole with skull - www.orderofthegooddeath.com

 

Posted on April 27, 2014 and filed under Creativity.

The 7 traits of highly magic people

1) You know you're magic.

 

This is the big one.  In their heart of hearts, everyone is magic.  But most folks just don't know it.  It's very sad, and it's not their fault.  They've had the awareness beaten out of them one way or another.  Our society is tres anti-magic.

Part of the mission of magic people is to help folks still stuck in the clay (that's my way of saying "folks steeped in naive materialism or fundamentalism and unaware of their innate magic-ness") understand that magic is real and within them, too.

But basically, if you know you're magic, you're ahead of the game.  Which means you don't really need this article - but look, it's the internet and we're just having fun.

Magic people.

2) Synchronicities happen for you - a lot.

 

And they tend to speed up when you spend a lot of time on meditation, art, ritual, intentional movement or prayer.  Sometimes they're just cute or silly, but often they're life-changing and dramatic.

The biggest synchronous thing that can happen to a magic person, in my humble opinion, is meeting another magic person.  Or a whole enclave of them.  It's thrilling.  It's overwhelming. It's love.

When lots of synchronicities are going on, I like to say "the jewel net is moving." Because we're all jewels in an infinitely connected web of silken joy.  And sometimes the net shifts and folds in on itself and we run smack into a whole bunch of other jewels. And it's great.

3. You're sensitive to seasons and lunar cycles.

 

The more magic you are (and remember, being magic is mainly a matter of... knowing that you're magic) the more energies of light and the two big cosmic lamps in our region (the sun and moon) affect your business.

You might find that you can't sleep on full moon nights (all that energy, so ramped up!) and that you go through epic mythopoetic cycles of emotional birth and death as spring turns to summer turns to fall turns to winter.

4. You have very vivid dreams.

 

Magic people have at least partially-developed aetheric bodies.  This means, at the very least, that one or more of their chakras (Rudolf Steiner liked to call them "lotus flowers") are open and active.

Maybe you're a magic person with a giant, pulsing, highly-empathic heart chakra. Or maybe your third eye is open and you have an easy time seeing the visionary fluid dance of all things.

At the highly-developed end of the spectrum, magic people have fully-formed aetheric bodies that can freely navigate the astral planes.

But having your aetheric sense perceptions open, even a little bit, means that you can see more vividly in the nighttime dream world than others can.  So, you got that goin' for you. Which is nice.

5.  When you fall in love, it's psychedelic.

 

Forget a loaf of bread, a jug of wine and thou.  When a magic person falls in love (very probably with another magic person), it's more like a sheet of acid, a gallon of mushroom tea and thou.  And I'm not saying that actual drugs are involved.

I'm saying that the intensity of dopamine and oxytocin rushes, in magic brains, tends to produce more than just sexy-cozy-attachment.

They tend to also unleash psychic perception (you can read your lover's thoughts - like, for reals - not just "I was thinking of you!" "I knew you were thinking of me, baby. 'Cause I was thinking of you!"), encounters with your lover in the nighttime dream world, ecstatic sex that ruptures the boundaries of your identity, and other fun stuff.

Also, be careful with all that. It can get hairy if your lover happens to be one of those not-really-very-stable-or-sane magic people. Of which there are quite a few.

Magic people fall in love and it's all like, whoah.

 

6. You have an abundance of prana.

 

Or creative energy. Or genius, or whatever you want to call it.

Wilhelm Reich called it "orgone." Kant called it "Geist." Emerson called it "Soul." Mezmer called it "animal magnetism." It's sexual energy which transmutes into different feeling-tones when centered in different chakras and channels in the body.

In other words - even though it's sexual energy, your abundant prana doesn't necessarily feel "sexy" (although it probably does in spring and summer).  It might just feel buzz-y or space-y or urgently creative.

You get seized with the need to write that poem, plan that ritual, record that song, make those spicy ginger fudge brownies. It's implacable.

Also, no matter what you look like, folks tell you that you're "hot." And they mean it. You are. You radiate the light and heat of the cosmos. You're a star, you magic darling.

7. You love to spread the magic around.

 

Your chief motive for making art, cooking great food, tending your garden, whatever - isn't to be rich or famous. Though that could be cool.

It's to spread the magic around, because you just can't stand not doing it.  The magic is so fun, so beautiful, so warm, so true.

It drives you a little crazy when you can totally see the magic in someone, and they can't see it in themselves.

It drives you maybe even more crazy when you can totally see the magic in the world, and the world at large seems not to tenderly care for and appreciate its magic.

So you put a goodly amount of effort everyday into doing stuff that increases the sum-total of magic and wonder and joy and love and delight in the world.

You turn up the volume on everything gorgeous so it can't be ignored.

In conclusion

 

You're magic and I am too, and I love you.  I hope you'll join me and a bunch of other magic folks in the Dreamer's Tantra Facebook Group, where we talk about this kinda stuff.

 

Also, if you're ever feeling in pain or confused about life and magic, I make myself available to talk on the phone whenever.

Love,

Carolyn

 

images: ~rainyXskyz  and ~Lilianne on deviantart.com

How to Be Creative

There's two of you and only one really knows how to be creative Learning how to be creative readily, consistently, and easily comes from understanding something a little shocking: there's two of you.

Under the general umbrella of "you" there's two personalities, each with their own perceptions and super-powers.  When one is in control, you feel awful.  When the other is at the fore-front, you feel highly delightable and incredibly fun.

The Doubting Self

One of you is your doubting self.  Also known (by me) as "the foul miasma of vast self-rejection" and by enlightened folks like Eckhart Tolle as "the pain body."  You know you're in your doubting self when you feel worried, pre-occupied, rather miserable, hopeless, and disconnected from the people around you.

 

Your doubting self perceives the world as a hostile, competitive, alienating place and talks to you in a voice that's like a cross between Judge Judy and Rush Limbaugh.  She resists everything that happens in your life and the world that isn't up to her standards and walks around feeling rotten and self-righteous.

She's mean, loud, belligerent, judgmental and afraid.  Your doubting self has super-powers of paranoia and despair.  She's widely regarded by much of our society as completely reasonable and normal, even though she's just kind of a jerk.

The Magic Self

The other one of you is your magic self, also known as your genius or your soul or your heart (it's a tricky business, sorting out the difference between "heart" and "soul" although I sure have tried- they're essentially terms for the same energy, with slightly different connotations).

Your magic self sees the world as a loving den of possibility, a place where miracles can happen and where tons of love can be effortlessly given and received.  To her, the world is basically friendly and supportive.   She doesn't feel the need to resist or argue with anything that is.

She intuitively knows what to do to guide you to the best outcomes in your life.  She knows how to solve problems and invent wondrous works of art and practical usefulness.

Your magic self, in other words, has the super-power of creativity in its highest sense - what the Transcendentalist philosophers used to call Imagination (with a capital "I"!) - it's the kind of genius inventiveness that brings stuff into the world which is full of love  and beauty - not just clever nonsense or utility.

The Whole Trick of Creativity

The whole trick of being able to bring forth art that's richly meaningful or practical solutions that work in a deep, holistic way is to learn how to occupy your magic self much more than your doubting self.

That's it.  Your magic self knows what to do. It's just a matter of letting her live through you.

Yet this is a process that can take some time.  I'm perpetually learning it myself.  The thing is, I've gotten way better at it than I used to be.  How much way better? Well, in a year I wrote a novel, a dissertation, a book of poetry, a book on creativity that's soon-to-be-published, launched a business, helped organize a national conference and threw some really rad parties.

I don't say that to brag. I want to emphasize that I used to spend all of my time chain-smoking and watching Battlestar Galactica and crying (I have multiple witnesses to attest to this, also known as my former room mates). I'm wanting to emphasize that it's possible to becoming astoundingly productive when you start living more in your magic self.

A Sneaky Way to Embody Your Magic Self: Drinking Elixirs

Try this when you're feeling sorely miserable and need to switch gears:

1. Make yourself a cup of tea or coffee.  Make sure it's nice and hot!

2. Hold the mug in your hands.  Watch the steam rise from the cup.

3. Quietly dub the liquid in your cup with a highly improbable, poetical name: "You, coffee, are now the molten lava at the center of the earth." Or, "You, chamomile tea, are now the amber blood of angels."

4.  Sip your highly improbable beverage, all the while imagining it taking its poetical effect on your system.  The angel's blood perhaps makes you feel elevated, the molten lava maybe makes you feel hot and invincible.

5. Proceed with what you've got to work on, now buoyed by some strange magic.

Why this works

Look, it's hard to stay miserable while drinking the blood of angels.  This little exercise moves you out of your rut of ugly "reality" and into the realm where your power lays: in play and metaphor and wonder.  We all too often forfeit our inventiveness because the world seems to have been invented already.  But that's just how things stay boring.

Want more?

We'll be doing a lot more to get into our magic selves and get seriously creative and productive at the Honeybutter House for Wayward Geniuses happening in Pittsburgh in November 2012.  If you're a wayward genius and you want to find out more, you should email me about it now: sweetsongofjoy@gmail.com.

 

Love,

Carolyn

 

Posted on September 23, 2012 and filed under Creativity.

Your deepest gifts aren't unique (and why that's great)

There's probably a finite number of ways that the divine expresses through us human beings.  I can think of maybe a dozen distinct types of gifts of spirit that I've received in my life from hundreds of people. Flavors of Spiritual Gifts I've Received in My Life

  1. Rich recognition and acceptance of my true self, with no judgment.
  2. Absurd, delightful humor that dissolves all self-seriousness and self-righteousness.
  3. A stunning glimpse of the magic underlying the "ordinary" world.
  4. Healing and soothing of unbalanced, unhappy energy or physical injury.
  5. Absorption into narrative or drama that creates a heightened sense of significance.
  6. Playfulness so free and riotous that it breaks through the curmudgeon in me and gets me to play, too.
  7. A deep, compassionate acknowledgement of my past struggles combined with a persuasive optimism for my future.
  8. Relaxing hospitality that makes me feel warmly welcomed and nourished.
  9. Visions of completely bizarre and fantastic other-worlds.
  10. A profound faith in my gifts plus a willingness to support me.
  11. Leadership that guides me to a great destination without ever underestimating or falsifying the challenge of the journey.
  12. A clear-sighted perception of truth blended with an air of being totally non-impressed by my bullshit.

Multiple expressions of fundamental tastes

These spiritual gifts are what people have given to me through their presence and through their art.  Give or take some.

These are the basic flavors of spiritual gifts - like chocolate, mint, coffee, cumin, vanilla, green tea, red bean, strawberry, cinnamon.  There's a finite number of very distinct flavors.

Of course, each flavor has its own unique manifestations.  There's Madagascar vanilla and Mexican vanilla.  Those subtle differences are lovely.  But when you taste either one, you know you're tasting vanilla.

And of course, you can combine flavors.  Mix cinnamon into your coffee and strawberry into your chocolate.  And that's fun.  But it's still the same basic flavors.

The point

I'm making a point of this because sometimes I get really bummed when I notice that someone else is beautifully manifesting a spiritual gift flavor that I like to think of as my spiritual gift.

What the crazy says

This line of crazy goes something like this: "Look at that hussy over there, wantonly accepting and honoring people's true selves and helping them to express their love in the world! How dare she! Who does she think she is?! Doesn't she know that's my gig?"

This line of crazy is exacerbated by folks who like to emphasize the uniqueness of our individual gifts.  If I catch someone else doing what I most delight in doing - then I don't feel so unique and I tend to devalue myself.

Just for today...

Today I'm practicing being cool with the fact that I'm not the only manifestation of cinnamon to walk on this earth.  Er, you know what I mean.  I'm not the only person in the world who radiates the spiritual gift of upliftment and inspiration.  And thank fucking god, because that would be exhausting.

Today I'd like to just focus on being the most delicious bite of cinnamon that I can be, while being totally cool with the cinnamon-power of others.

How about you?

What's the basic flavor of spiritual gift that you tend to radiate?  What do you taste like? How do you feel when you notice other people dishing out a similar tastiness? I'd love for you to tell me in the comments.

 

 

 

Posted on September 20, 2012 and filed under Creativity.

Some Basic Principles of Awesoming

A list. 1) Awesome (perhaps inevitably, for us mere mortals!) cycles through periods of miserable suck in which your lovelight dims and the queasy miasma of vast self-rejection settles in.  It's okay right now to feel mired in a rotten  cesspool of your own spectacular failure.

I feel that way usually at least for one full week out of the month (my PMS is a bloody-mouthed Destroyer of Worlds, and not in that cool way), and sometimes for whole seasons of numbing yuck in which chain-smoking while watching whole tv series consecutively and only leaving the house to go to 12-step meetings or get more cigarettes is a completely valid way to keep from more promptly and actively killing myself.  I felt that way pretty much solid from 2004 - 2009.  It was great.

2) Awesoming your life, despite how very perky the idea may sound, is actually work that involves soul-melting terror.  Soul-melting terror is the essence of sublimity, and awesomeness is sublime.  Things that are also sublime include hurricanes, Antartica, Tristan and Isolde, and my PMS.

3) Awesoming requires a rearrangement of your heart and brain, so that your intuitive-embracing-poetic-oxytocin-pumping-whole-picture-seeing-compassionate-truth-unveiling-heart is in charge of your business and your analytical-judgmental-calculating-dopamine-seeking-miserable-adrenalized-frightened-rabid-squirrel brain is given chamomile tea and gently comforted with a warm blanket.

4) Awesoming entails learning to identify with and live from your fundamental goodness, innocence and wonder rather than with your culturally programmed guilt, striving, and fear.

5) You already engage in awesoming and you're damn good at it or else you wouldn't be alive and reading this.

6) The process of turning the queasy miasma of vast self-rejection into fertilizer for your slowly-magestically-spinning-sparkling-blue-lotus-of-self-realization is an alchemical one.

It involves paying attention to your dreams, dialoguing with your moods, meditating, journaling, sharing your feelings openly and non-violently with others, playing pretend, writing poetry and making art, throwing parties, dressing up, enacting freaky rituals in moonlight that would scare your mom, singing songs, and loving people both madly and tepidly, as the situation requires.

7) Awesoming isn't something that's given much space and encouragement in our society.  Mostly because when you're engaged in the work of awesoming you're much less interested in buying stuff, you become allergic to lies, you tend to share generously in public and you bring forth spurtzing geysers of joy into the world.  All of which greatly interferes with global corporate capitalism.

So, there you have it.  Awesoming is hard and mostly non-glamorous work.

Highly non-glamorous things I often do in the service of awesoming include:

1) Sitting in moldy church basements and over-heated social halls at 12-step meetings every week.

2) Crying and freaking out.

3) Making food in my tiny-ass closet of a kitchen for folks I may or may not immediately like.

4) Devoting whole days to questioning the reality of my thoughts, beliefs and perceptions, Byron Katie-style.

5) Faithfully studying New Age tomes  and self-help books from the 1970s like A Course in Miracles, A New Earth, The Handbook to Higher Consciousness, and The Nature of Personal Reality.

6) Hanging out at drum circles with people older than my parents who unselfconsciously chant in made-up "Native American" languages and refer to the world as "the matrix."

7) Blogging.

8) Passing up on real jobs in order to have more time for all of the above.

All of which is to say.... awesoming is counter-cultural, difficult, time-consuming, subjects one to accusations of dorkiness and to being made fun of by 16 year olds, and totally worth it.

Because when the foul miasma of rotten self-rejection lifts and I get peeks at my true nature and everyone else's true nature of massive, throbbing, heart-pounding lovelight glory -  well, that just rocks.

 

When One Door Opens: How Writing Helped Saved My Life and Carried me to a New Field of Being - A guest post by sbr martin

At one time, my life was a never-ending hallway, where all I could see was a series of closed doors. There probably were some that were open, but I was so far down that I couldn’t see them—and I’d given up on trying.

I was tired of turning knobs that did not yield, tired of trying to find something, only to find out that that something wasn’t there. I’d had enough. I wanted no more. If there was an end to the hallway, it’d have to come to me, ‘cause I sure as hell wasn’t gonna go any farther. I just wanted to stay put, sprawled out on the floor, unmoving, ungrowing, a piece of living dead surrounded by tightly closed doors.

I was 14 years old the first time I heard the familiar cliché that when one door shuts another opens. I overheard my mother use this phrase when discussing with a friend how I had been awarded the coveted Marjorie A. Tilley Scholarship to The Ellis School, a prestigious all-girls academy in Pittsburgh, PA.

Apparently, my scholastic achievement was the opening of a door. The door that had been shut had been shut four years earlier when my father suffered a massive stroke and aneurysm that left him paralyzed along the entirety of his left side. He was unable to work or be a traditional father from that point on.

It was, I assume, to the former of these inabilities that my mother implicitly referred in her conversation. When my father became handicapped, the bacon that came home had no fat. My family’s financial situation changed for the worse. Going to a school like Ellis would have been out of the question considering our newly low income.

But what was pinched off by one thing was ushered in by another. I learned the meaning of that old chestnut and allowed it to give me a sense of optimism about all things, at least for a few years.

Though I heard the phrase many times over the following years, the next time I heard it that stands out in my mind was a week after my sister died, when I received word that I’d been accepted to the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, among other law schools.

The loss of my sister was the closing of one door, and my acceptance to law school was the opening of another? Are you kidding me?

Yes, one door did close. Yes, one door did open. But the one and the other did not balance out. It wasn’t an even exchange, not by any means.

Use of that damn cliché did not make sense here—it was disturbingly incongruous and more than slightly absurd. Nonetheless, people kept throwing it at me. Oh, how I wanted to throw something back at them! But I didn’t. I held steady and smiled, just like I held steady and smiled at all the pleasantries given me two years prior when my mother died, and, two years later when my father died.

Here, what upset me the most, other than the death of my sister, of course, is that this was the second time in my life that I was deemed to have reaped the benefits of an open door while my loved ones met the misfortune of a door that slammed shut. My academic success popped up twice, when my kin were put in grave circumstances, and, in the instance of my sister, put in the grave.

I didn’t want to be the person who got something at someone else’s expense, like I had made a deal with the devil to get whatever I wanted if I lost something I wanted more. No. I did not like this ad hoc arrangement.

Could I, should I, make a new deal with God? Or maybe Allah? Maybe Re? Perhaps Buddha would give me a sweeter deal?

Feeling like I was losing on the winning end of a sordid transaction to which I’d never consented, my essence was being eaten, and it hurt. I didn’t want to feel the pain. And I didn’t have to, for, you see, I had ample distraction.

When my mother died in 1999, when my sister died in 2001, and when my father died in 2003, I was in the ivory tower, or the large-university equivalent thereof. I observed funeral conventions, cried myself to sleep on more than one occasion, and then hit the books hard.

I excelled in college and in law school. A cum laude graduate in both turns, with a BS in Psychology and a JD, I accumulated awards, accomplishments, and many other A’s during my stint on the Pitt campus. I was published and reprinted; invited to speak at a national conference; mistaken for the homecoming queen; accused of plagiarism because my writing so exceeded expected standards, and later vindicated because my portfolio confirmed my exceptional talent.

So I had a good ride. I had a lot to keep me busy. I buried my grief under a pile of books and paper. I didn’t have to think about the losses I had suffered. I didn’t have to feel. All I had to do was do well in school. And I did… until school ended.

When I graduated law school, I didn’t have a job lined up—which is something most graduates as achieved as I should have had. During my job search, I’d interviewed with approximately 36 different law firms and had not received a single offer. Not one.

Thirty-six law firms! That’s 36 rejections. That’s 36 more doors shut before me in my never-ending hallway.

Did 36 doors open as a result of the 36 that closed? I don’t know. But I know that one did. And, when that one swung open, it knocked me on my ass.

All of a sudden I had a job, but not one for which I had applied.

My job was to take care of my maternal grandmother, who had been diagnosed with metastatic small cell lung cancer. It was a terminal case. I felt it my duty to take care of her, and, though it caused me great sorrow to watch her die, I have never regretted tending to her in her final moments.

But, Lord, the pain! The heartache of seeing a vibrant woman decay each day, to see her body dwindle away to nothing but skin and cancer-ridden bones.

By the time the cancer had spread to every part of her body, including her brain, I was dying with her, though I didn’t know it at the time. She was the last member of my immediate family. I was losing her, losing what was left of my lineage, losing myself. I wanted to curl up beside her in bed and wrap myself around her withered body, to merge with her and give her some of my life, or take away some of her death.

Gramma died around 4:15 a.m. on a Friday morning in June. We had set up two beds in the basement, because of the convenient appliances and lavatory already situated there, and we slept toe to head in bed to bed.  For no reason, or for a very certain reason, I suddenly awoke at 4:15, a tiresomely wee hour of the morn during which I was usually out cold. I went to check on Gramma. Her body was still warm—her chest artificially heaved one last time, bulging from the operation of the oxygen tank ticking nearby. She was dead, and my dynasty was gone.

What happened next is what I only later realized was my attempt at killing myself. I’d never contemplated suicide, not before this point in my life, not during, and not after. I was too afraid of death.

I am, after all, an academic at heart (and brain). Years of schooling have taught me to analyze everything and break it down. I am predisposed to figuring things out. For every question, there is an answer. And I am programmed to find that answer at all costs.

The greatest curse of the learned mind is the difficulty inherent in resolving faith with intellectual thought patterns. Faith is belief in something without proof, the very thing for which we scholars are always on the hunt. So how, pray tell, is the academically-inclined individual to believe in something she can’t prove when the need for proof is so deeply rooted in her nature?

For me, this dilemma comes acutely into play on matters of the hereafter—the concepts of an afterlife, life after death, heaven and hell, whatever you choose to call it.

Question: What happens after one dies?

Answer: [Unknown]

I need to know that answer. I am programmed to find it. But I can’t. I’ve tried countless times, and the results were nil. So the question remains unanswered, and I am rendered hopeless, crippled by my fear of the unknown.

And, for that reason, I’ve flushed out any thoughts of suicide. I’m immune to them. Suicide would make me confront a question I can’t answer, and it might give me an answer I don’t like, or give me nothing at all.

But just because I’ve never been suicidal, that doesn’t mean I didn’t try to kill myself.

The method of annihilation I chose was one to obliterate all thought and feeling while preserving life. I was killing myself slowly and cruelly, taking my time.

I became a raging alcoholic through and through. Sure, I’d been an occasional drunk for years. College keggers, weekend benders, and 20-something birthdays saw to that. But after the loss of my grandmother, when I was for the first time ever completely alone in a home that once housed five, I became a full-blown alcoholic.

The alcohol was destroying my brain and my body, as well as my social ties and reputation. So too it was destroying my thinking and reason. I put myself in incredibly dangerous situations time after time, and, to this day, I am amazed that I survived.

I drove drunk, and sometimes drank as I drove. I picked up dozens of men in the bars, and had love affairs that lasted less than one night. Casual sex made me feel alive. Men made me feel good. I needed that assurance, so much so that I didn’t even care that the sex was unprotected most of the time.

I wanted to die. I never said it back then, didn’t allow myself to think it either; but hindsight later saw this as the case. I missed my family and wanted to be with them. I refused to abruptly take my life for fear of the unknown. But the slow draining of my soul was bringing me closer and closer to my beclouded goal.

I was at conflict with myself. Part of me wanted to die, and part of me wanted to live. I wanted to believe in the concept of an afterlife, to see myself being one day reunited with my lost loved ones. But my logic could not bring me to this conclusion. My mentality would not permit me to fathom an other-world existence.

I saw life as a finite line, with a distinct starting point and a distinct end. Nothing thrived beyond either point. If I could not bring to mind thoughts that existed before I was born, then, it follows, there could be no thoughts for me to bring to mind after I died. There was no way there could be any thought after death, let alone life after death. Any other argument was moot.

The panic attacks that resulted from this train of thought were intense, overwhelming at times. They took my breath away, but left me with enough breath to still be alive, albeit in a state of not truly living.

Drunk, desperate, and degraded, I was on a downward spiral, a road to nowhere. I was either intoxicated or overcome with anxiety every second of every day. I needed help, but I was too proud to seek it.

I’d kept so much sadness, fear, and longing inside of me for so long. I needed to let it out. I needed to tell someone my story. And the person I chose to tell was myself.

Ever since I was a child, I’d always dreamed of someday being an author. I fantasized about writing a book, having it published, and having other people read my words.

I was constantly tossing different book ideas around in my head, but never followed through with any of them until I decided to stick with the one thing that always stuck with me—the tragic and compelling story of my own life.

Pride, one of my most pronounced character defects, prevented me from writing anything autobiographical. So I decided to fictionalize my experiences. I would use my personal facts as the skeleton for a tome to be fleshed out with exaggerated details, brow-raising side stories, and shocking plot twists.

That tome came to be called “in wake of water.” It was published in Nov. 2011, by The Artists’ Orchard, LLC.

Loosely mirroring the losses I endured, “in wake of water” is a work of fiction which centers on a suicidal female who is driven to die because she operates under the assumption that death will reunite her with her deceased family members.

Countering the female lead’s beliefs are the thoughts and actions of the main male character, Tad, who is apprehensive about all aspects of life and death and who greatly fears the unknown.

Sound familiar? These two characters represent two parts of one psyche: mine.

The female character is my Id, the impulsive me that wants only instant gratification. Tad is my demanding Super-ego, who scrutinizes everything and requires adherence to objective guidelines.

As author, I took on the third role in Sigmund Freud’s infamous model. I became my own Ego, writing to strike a balance between the dissimilar needs of my fictitious tragic heroes. I did this for literary effect, so that I could tell an interesting, well-rounded story. But by the end of writing “in wake of water,” I’d achieved something else as well.

What I worked out in order to create good fiction ended up also creating good non-fiction. My writing had inadvertently been cathartic. I faced thoughts and feelings I’d tried to bury under books, drown in vodka, or find in the bulge beneath some random man’s zipper. I became familiar with myself and slew some inner demons. I achieved a sense of closure and of peace.

Writing, pitching, and publishing also helped me become and stay sober, though my sobriety is largely attributable to the fact that I later had children. So in a very real, tangible way, my writing helped save my life, by front-lining the rescue of my brain cells and liver.

But the intangible ways in which it saved my life are far more profound and long-lasting.

Bringing my inside pain to the outside was like popping a pimple that would otherwise have festered to fatal infection. The ugly sickness seeped out of me and left me clear-complexioned—and clear-minded.

For the first time in years, I was able to open my heart and my eyes, and, when I opened the latter, what I saw was amazing. I saw an open door. Finally! So I stood up, put myself back together, and walked through it.

On the other side there was a field, a surreal expanse of splendor, prospect, and perspective. When I stepped out onto that field, I heard something thunderous sound behind me. The door I’d just used for exit crashed shut and spontaneously combusted. I didn’t have to look back to know that it wasn’t there anymore.

I had once and for all escaped my never-ending hallway and found a place in my own nature, a place where all those fabled doors simply did not exist.

No longer did I need to frame my life in terms of openings and closings, in terms of losing this and gaining that, or in terms of something arising when something else was crushed. I would embrace these things as separate occurrences, each independent of the other, such that I’d find no entitlement tethered to suffering, no panic tethered to joy. And so came my release from the most pronounced shackles of my human condition. I was set free to run about the field and enjoy it.

Now, mind you, the field I’ve found is like any other out there. There are rocks to stumble over and upon, thorns on wild roses, and bramble. I have been hurt and have fallen quite a few times, but I always get back up and move on. There’s so much more out there to explore, discover, and write about. I ain’t gonna let a few bumps and bruises get in my way.

 

Described as a “psychological and thoughtful novel of suspense” by Midwest Book Review, “in wake of water” is available for purchase in traditional and digital formats on Amazon. To buy, follow the link on my Amazon author profile, http://amazon.com/author/sbrmartin, where you will also find a link to my second novel, “pig,” which was released as a Kindle Edition eBook on June 11, 2012.

Follow “in wake of water” on Facebook at http://facebook.com/inwakeofwater

Posted on July 12, 2012 and filed under Creativity.

Welcome to Awesome Your Life

If you're visiting this site because you've seen the posters up around Pittsburgh - welcome. I'm guessing you're someone who's curious and open to change. That curiosity is itself a triumph of spirit - so kudos. You might want to peruse the illustrious archives of this site or check out my free book, Caring for Your Genius.

This is a challenging time to be alive.  Many of us are suffering right now because the messages we've received from our culture about how to be happy just don't make sense any longer.  We're hungry for love, magic, community and joy.  We're hungry for ways of being in the world that don't violate our souls.

But it's difficult to make the journey to magic and joy when worries and sadnesses speak so loudly.  I've seen incredibly beautiful and brilliant people destroy themselves because they couldn't find a way to live their truth.

I would certainly have destroyed myself if various forces hadn't intervened in my life and taught me ways to positively alter my perception by questioning the old patterns and beliefs that kept me stuck in fear and misery.

Since I've been able to free myself from unhappiness to a very large extent, my aim now is to be present to you as a catalyst for your evolution and freedom.  The method I use to do this is called compassionate inquiry.   It's a method that's based on The Work of Byron Katie and informed by my doctoral research on the way that great poets and artists uncover radically transformative insights.  You can learn more about compassionate inquiry here.

If you're interested in becoming free from painful patterns and moving into a life that's overflowing with love and beauty and creation, I'd love to work with you in counseling sessions.  You can feel free to introduce yourself to me or contact me your questions at sweetsongofjoy at gmail dot com.

 

 

Posted on June 23, 2012 and filed under Creativity.

Making Stuff Happen: Practical Organizing

Because I'm lovey-dovey and generally absent-minded, I need tools and habits and tricks to get myself to generate happenings on this material plane.  Those tools and habits and tricks are generally discussed (in corporate-speak, by very corporate-y people) under the name "productivity" (an awful term that makes me think of the modern lust to commodify everything) or (even worse!) "life hacks."  I would find the term "life hack" to be acceptable if it referred to the process of fundamentally wiping out yucky cultural programming and replacing it with a fresh, ecstatic operating system a la Terrence McKenna- but, alas -  usually when people say "life hack" they really mean "neat tip to help me reach a completely boring and conventional goal.")  I prefer the term "generation" to "productivity."

So I've developed a process that helps me to make manifest all the wonderful things I want to see.  This process is heavily inspired by David Allen's Getting Things Done.  Getting Things Done, or GTD as it's known by its many accolytes, is a productivity system that can be used for just about any purpose.  I highly recommend the book - but be forewarned - its target audience is 50 year old corporate CEOs who play golf like it's their religion.  This means it doesn't much appeal to most of us counter-cultural types - which is unfortunate.  Because we at the living edge of consciousness need to be just as empowered to complete projects as the old guard of the old paradigm.  In fact, we need it way more.

I call my process "making stuff happen" instead of "getting things done" - in part because I find that "done" never really occurs.  I'm never done with my life.  I'm hardly ever even done with particular projects.  It's very similar to Allen's system, but it makes some important adjustments and allowances.  Also, I've written it up here just specifically for you, my fellow love bombs.

Making Stuff Happen: How to Do It

1. Devote at least 15 minutes to de-cluttering your environment and gathering stuff together that you have to deal with.

If you're like me you live in a jungle of books, clothes, bowls of tastiness, cups and art projects.  Before your thinker will work properly, I invite you to buckle down and tidy up a bit.  This might be painful.  It always is for me.  Why? Because it involves making decisions about what to do with that clutter.  The trick to this is to accept that these decisions involve pain and to embrace that pain.  Sometimes the decisions are easy: the dirty plates go in the sink.  But sometimes they're tough: where do I put these random bottles of vitamins my mom gave me? I'll never take them if I put them away. I'll forget about them.  For the purpose of this decluttering, the default answer is: it's okay to hide stuff away and forget about it.  Sorry, bottle of B-3 at the bottom of my bathroom drawer.

2. Make a giant master list of everything you want to make happen.

Sit down in your glorious de-cluttered space and make a big sprawling list of everything that's on your mind.  This list must include both giant projects ("Compose an album of songs that are hymns from the ancient Babylonian love cult that exists only in my mind"; "Throw a giant consciousness party so great that it would make Alex Grey's brain melt"; "Salvage democracy") and also the little tiny niggling details that are buzzing about your brain ("figure out how to get stains from last week's bachannal off the sheets"; "buy more coconut oil.")

Think about every area of life in which you've committed to make any outcome happen.  Are you committed to becoming vegan, to keeping your cat fed, to resolving your inner conflict over feeding meat to your cat? You've got to write all that stuff down, no matter how big or how small.

3. Figure out a single little "next step" for every item on your giant master list, do it if it'll take less than 10 minutes and organize reminders for your next steps on index cards and on your calendar.

Once you've got your giant list of all the stuff that you want to make happen (it's usually at least three or four pages long for me), take a deep breath.  That was the easy part.  Now, time for more decision-making!

You've got to figure out, one by one, a tiny little "next step" for every item on your big list.  Get yourself pumped up and excited for this decision mode.  You are a decision-making divinity!  Remember that it's seriously okay for some of your decisions to suck and be inadequate.  The universe has a way of adjusting for that.  The important thing is that you not stay stuck and paralyzed by how much there is to make happen and finding the most perfect, best possible way to make it happen. There is no best possible way.  Instead, get busy deciding what's the most possible way. Find a next, tiny, minute thing you could do to materialize every last thing on your list, even things you're not completely sure that you truly want to do.

If the next tiny thing you could do to advance each of your projects would take less than two minutes, go ahead and just do it.

For all the other next steps, make sure you have a little system of index cards and a calender set up to hold written reminders of them.

Here's how I do this: I take a pile of index cards. At the top of each card, I write the name of a specific context in which I do various stuff.  So, "Home" "Out and About in the Neighborhood" "Facebook" "Phone" "With Sophie" "At Grocery Store" "Email" "Google," etc.  After I have all my little index cards set up, I take a look at my master list.  Let's say the top thing on the list is "Compose an album of songs from the ancient Babylonian love cult that exists only in my mind." I have to ask myself: Okay, Carolyn - what's the very next tiny little step that you could do to make this happen?

After much painful reflection, I decide that the next little step I could do for my Babylonian love cult concept album would be to set some time aside to try to hum up a fresh melody.  I'd probably want to do that at home.  So on my index card labeled "Home" I write, "Spend fifteen minutes dreaming up a new melody  for the love cult album and record it on my phone."  I also go ahead and pencil in an appointment with myself on my calendar.  10 am Monday is my time to hum.  Then, because my album is a project that will require many more steps to ultimately make it happen, I have to make sure I have a reminder in place that will tell me to come back to it and think of a new next step for it (after I've completed the one I just wrote down). So I create another index card.  This one is titled "Projects." On "Projects" I write "Complete Babylonian love cult album."

The next item on my master list is "buy more coconut oil." That one's easy. I write that down on the "Grocery Store" index card and forget about it.  The third item on my list is "Salvage democracy." Hmmmm. That's a tough one. I'm not even 100% sure I want to be responsible for that.  But for now, I just ask myself: what's the next tiny little thing I could do to make it happen? Well, I think consensus-decision making processes are the future of democracy.  So I guess I need to learn more about those.  Better look on my friend Caroline's website to see if she's teaching a workshop on the subject any time soon. This takes less than two minutes, so I just go ahead and do it.  Let's say I find out she's teaching just the workshop I need next Saturday at 1.  I go ahead and put that on my calendar. Then, since salvaging democracy is a big project unto itself (unlike buying coconut oil) I stick "Salvage democracy" onto my "Projects" index card.

By the time I'm done with this, I usually have two Projects card that are packed front-and-back with the names of about sixty projects ranging from "Reach unconditional love consciousness" to "Do laundry."

I also have about ten context-specific index cards that are full of next steps and a calendar all filled up with Very Important things to do.

The point of all this "next tiny step" thinking is that it breaks down any resistance that comes from uncertainty, and gives me momentum to move forward with confidence.

4. Make Stuff Happen

After all this laborious thoughtful decision making has been done, it's only left to hit the ground and start doing the steps you listed.  My index cards usually contain enough specific instructions to keep me going for three or four days.

5. Spend a Lot of Time Meditating and Reflecting

This isn't one of Allen's instructions for Getting Things Done, but I've read all about how he's quietly an spiritual weirdo (like us) so it probably is part of his own practice.  This is super-important because if you don't spend a lot of time meditating and cultivating your higher consciousness, it's really super easy to become so obsessed with the little niggling details of making stuff happen that you lose all perspective.  Like, maybe it's not really my job to salvage democracy.  I won't know that, though, unless I go within and really find that answer for myself.  Until I do it'll sit on my Projects list, demanding that I come up with next steps to actualize it.  Through meditation and reflection I can learn to let go of Projects that aren't truly important to me and to keep the ones that are.

5. Do It All Over Again

After about three or four days I complete most of the tasks on my next step index cards.  That means it's time to take a look at my Projects card and decide on new next steps that have to happen.  Then I have to organize those next steps onto fresh cards and keep rolling.  Yes, this means I end up spending a lot of time with index cards.  But it's so worth it.  Because those index cards become like little brains that think for me when my mind is numb.  When I'm sitting in front of my computer, tempted to just watch more Robert Anton Wilson videos and  play on Facebook yet desiring to be productive, I can glance at those cards and get simple, direct instructions about what stuff to do to move my projects ahead.  It's a cool feeling.

In Conclusion

Whoah, man.  That's a lot.  My best wishes to you in your own process of making stuff happen.

 

image: [Anosmia]

Posted on June 22, 2012 and filed under Creativity.

You Might be a Love Bomb If...

love bomb At the Evolver Convergence, multiple people referred to me as a "love bomb."  I'd never heard quite this appellation before, but since there was such widespread consensus about it, I figured it must mean something quite specific.  So, I've decided to take up the term to specifically describe sexy, far-out people who do lots of organizing and nurturing in their communities for the purpose of bringing about the more beautiful world our hearts tell us is possible (i.e., the gift world).

I've noticed that every Evolver Sporeganizer is a love bomb, but there are plenty non-sporeganizer love bombs out in the world.  (Although if you are a love bomb, you'd probably adore sporeganizing for Evolver! If you're interested in doing that, you should email me at sweetsongofjoy at gmail dot com and I'll introduce you to folks who can help you get started).

So, you might be a love bomb if:

  • You've hosted 3 or more potlucks in the past twelve months.
  • You're brimming with ideas for gorgeous events that positively transform people's awareness. You sometimes get so excited about these events that you can't sleep.
  • You often find yourself carrying big bags of magic to-and-from events. My bag of magic often includes crayons, musical instruments, peacock feathers, masking tape, glitter, cookies, crystals, Mardi Gras masks and lamps - yours might entail records, instruments, books, power cords and sceptres of unspeakable power. Whatever's in there, though, it's magic.
  • When inviting friends to a small gathering you sincerely consider the balance of sun signs (i.e., you don't really want to invite ALL Scorpios, do you?)
  • You devote considerable time each day to some kind of spiritual practice. You consider your organizing work to be itself a kind of devotional service to the universe and a spiritual practice.
  • You've spent more time making Facebook invitations and posting flyers in your lifetime than you really care to admit.
  • You're highly intuitive.
  • You  just want to see people freely connecting and engaging and loving each other and you're pretty damn great at making that happen.
  • You consider your events to be major successes if while attending them you feel like you're on MDMA without having taken anything and you can tell other people are feeling the same way.

... if this is going on in your life, you might be a love bomb!

I'm sure my list wasn't at all exhaustive - so now I ask you, love bombs - please tell me in the comments section - what are other tell-tale signs of love-bombness?

image: [celesteh]

Posted on June 20, 2012 and filed under Creativity.

The Evolver Convergence: A Report

I was privileged to help organize (along with Sophie Batchelor, Annie Derek, Chad Mosesso, all the fab people at Evolver HQ and a ton of volunteers) the first Evolver Convergence which happened in Pittsburgh this past weekend.

Since I'd been sporeganizing for the past year I thought I knew all about the wonders that can come from bringing together gorgeous geniuses. I figured that the Convergence would be lovely and I'd have a great time and meet some grand people and business as usual, etc. etc.

What a vast, vast underestimation. By the end of the Convergence on Sunday, our outpouring of love and wisdom synchronously brought us an astounding quadruple rainbow which we all rushed out to see.

So how did we do that?

Energetically speaking - with so much deep heart opening and harmonizing. I felt not only that we were talking about evolution, but actively bringing it about just by being with one another in such an environment of intention and deep thought and beauty. I've been to a lot of spiritual retreats and festivals and parties in my lifetime, but I've never experienced so much optimism, joy and deeply personal connection at an event. From talking to others, I gather that this was a shared sense. I'm still so awe-struck.

Here's a loose summary:

On Friday at the Wherehouse (a freaky visionary art studio made extra-special with extraordinary and unique-to-the-Convergence art installations by Sophie Batchelor, Zev Rechter, Laurie Shapiro, Hannah Thompson and North Star), Jonathan Talat-Phillips activated our chakras and loosened us up with his own bold story of spiritual awakening and extra-terrestrial encounters. Then we heard the meltingly strange music of Ivory Weeds and Dean Cercone Jr.

First thing on Saturday, Charles Eisenstein led us to speak freely and deeply to one another of our most cherished dreams for the more beautiful world our hearts tell us is possible and also to name our own gifts and the gifts of the person next to us. And all of this occurred in the auspiciously super-golden and angel-crowned sanctuary of the First United Methodist Church in Shadyside (a very progressive church and community center that we in Pittsburgh are so blessed to have). With this help, we were vibrating and resonating and open at all levels, most especially at the heart level.

Throughout the day on Saturday we enjoyed workshops and panels from truly gifted leaders, teachers and healers that continued to ground us in our bodies and sense of connection to the cosmos and each other.

Daniel Pinchbeck anchored the day with a talk on enjoying the transformation of our world. What I got from Daniel's talk was a momentous sense of possibility and inspiration.

On Saturday night we returned to the Wherehouse Art Studio decked out in eye-popping costumes for the Inner Divinity Costume Party. I saw incarnations of Kwan Yin, Venus, Sai Baba, Adonis, Freya, Odr, and Artemis. Also present were Kabuki demons, wild wolf women, forest nymphs and glow-stick elves from the future. I was thrilled to hear a sumptuous spectrum of sounds throughout the night - everything from mind-bending electronica to progressive rock to conscious hip hop to psychedelic gypsy accordion brass!. I was most excited by Lungs Face Feet (the gypsy-ish brass band) who performed in red Mandarin suits and took us fully into another dimension.

The talks and panels resumed on Sunday at a leisurely pace as we were all recovering from the grandness of the party. For me the highlight of the day on Sunday was getting to participate in the Evolver Network Roundtable wherein sporeganizers from around the country spoke about what they've been doing in their city and what Evolver means to them. It was beautiful to realize that so many of us doing this deep work are brilliant and powerful women. Daniel and Jonathan-Talat both mentioned the need for us ladies to step up and do speaking engagements in more places and I could so feel the need for that.

On Sunday night we sporeganizers managed to get ourselves over to the lovely Verde Mexican Restaurant for a fantastic meal together (we totally took the place over and Evolver'd it up! I loved our raucous toasts!) and then, by a miraculous feat of spontaneous organization, got it together to have a bon fire over on the other side of town at the magnificently beautiful Bandi Shaum plateau. Bandi Shaum is a spot not many in Pittsburgh know about. It overlooks the city's downtown and it's also a quite glorious wilderness. Professional musicians from Chaibaba showed up and drummed for us.

Sitting on a blanket cuddled up with old friends and new ones I felt continually dazzled - between the beauty of the bright brilliant full moon, the fire itself, the vista of the city, and the faces of the incredible beloved evolvers all around.

On Monday we gathered together once more, now just the sporeganizers, to talk about our dreams and get help with our challenges. That conversation was so energizing - and so glorious for me as the lucky Pittsburgh sporeganizer deluged with new talented volunteers!

After the Sporeganizer's Summit I was treated to a dream massage by two pairs of loving and gifted hands. (Thank you Jeanine and David!!) Those of us still in town were treated to a beautiful dinner at Verity Grace's place in Highland Park.

Today I quite unexpectedly and synchronously ran into Verity again while getting lunch in my neighborhood (she's a Pittsburgher but I'd never met her before the Convergence) and she took me to a Venus Transit Viewing party.

I can tell the synchronicities are just beginning to super-speed up for me. I'm starting to feel that Terrence McKenna was really really really right on when he talked about how the interconnections just start racing together in 2012. I can feel the shift evolving into presence - how about you?

I hope that everyone will write about their experiences with the Convergence - I've just scratched the surface with this summary, I could go so much deeper into my own personal reflections and processing - and I know I'll need to soon.

In the meantime, here's a video of us prepping the Wherehouse for the festivities - gives a sense of the scope of the amazing art present:

httpv://youtu.be/17sHWVrEGik