From the Publisher
One of my continual frustrations at The New Times has been my limited ability to have time for myself and still put in the long hours to required to meet our weekly deadlines. I certainly have gained a huge amount of respect for small business owners who must pour enormous amounts of energy into their work. I am happy to report that our four-person staff went on a retreat the weekend prior to commencing work on the four-week process of bringing you the December issue.
Bill and Jennifer Marratt hosted us at Blue Mountain Farm. Their beautiful retreat center is in a very private setting of forty lush acres of hiking trails, woodlands, and wetlands in the Nooksack Valley near Bellingham. The rural setting was perfect for us. Immediately to the east lie hundreds of square miles of undeveloped government lands, providing ample opportunity for introspective walks and invigorating hikes.
As limbs proceed from trunks and twigs from limbs and leaves from twigs, so from openness proceeds deep understanding; from deep understanding, empathy; and from empathy, kindness.
For many reasons too complex to explain here, I recently broke off my relationship with my best friend of 16 years. It was a harrowing, heart-wrenching experience. A week after the initial split, I found myself still reeling around in a hurricane of anger and depression, and so for a little solace from the storm, I sat in on a session of "Grace," an on-campus religious group at the college where I teach courses in writing. After an informal presentation about finding one's purpose in life, they held an open time of orison, during which one of the group leaders played the guitar and sang while people came forward to be prayed for. Sometimes I feel such things are a little hokey, and on another day I might have cringed a bit, but all at once, I felt a welling urge to tell someone about my recent tragedy. However, despite my strong need, I knew I could not reveal my soul to some stranger, and so for a while, I stood with my longing, unable to move.
Eating in Rhythm
Fall is so beautiful this year! My children and I are amazed at the rich purples and golds as we thread our way through the streets. Theres frost in the morning and crisp late afternoon sun. At night were more drawn to the hearth (the television put away until the weekend), and we start to feel like doing quiet things like read or do handiwork. Like the plants outside, our vital energy is being drawn in and down, and we crave heavier, more warming foods that reflect this seasonal change.
America Does Not Need Capital Punishment
"When we abolished the punishment for treason that you should be hanged and then cut down while still alive, then disemboweled while still alive, and then quartered, we did not abolish that punishment because we sympathized with traitors, but because we took the view that this was a punishment no longer consistent with our self-respect."
These words, spoken by Lord Chancellor Gardiner during the 1965 death penalty abolition debates in the British Parliament, illustrate the feeling of most individuals opposed to capital punishment. It's not sympathy toward the murderer that we feel; indeed, most of us feel a great deal of anger and revulsion toward all murderers and their actions. Our objection is that the death penalty is a complete renunciation of all that is embodied in our concept of humanity. More simply put, executions degrade us all.
How to Have Lucid Dreams
The November 2000 issue of The New Times featured my article "The Ultimate Virtual Reality," which discussed lucid dreaming being physically asleep and dreaming while simultaneously mentally alert and conscious and how it affords its practitioners an astoundingly convincing virtual reality. The article also discussed how lucid dreaming is an extraordinary source of recreation as well as a profound tool that can be used to enhance self-knowledge and spiritual awareness.
The issue now is how to dream lucidly. It doesnt require rigorous discipline, training, or talent. What it does require is the practice of some simple exercises along with some diligence, patience, and positive expectation.
The Keeper of the Flame
We had never met, but the old man was waiting for me. He sat motionless on a broken pillar in front of the Temple of Karnak, a rough white cotton galabeya (robe) shielding him from the hot Egyptian sun. Located on the east bank of the Nile at Luxor in Upper Egypt, Karnak is the largest temple ever built by humans. It is one of the planet's major power points, and seekers have journeyed there for centuries.
Darkness into Light
The brisk morning air envelops me as I move toward the barn. I hesitate; the darkness has slipped up on me in this turning, and I wonder if I need to milk the goats or feed the chickens so early. I stand before turning to go back to the house. Again I pause. I take a moment to get comfortable in the cold darkness and laugh at myself. My laugh extends to the culture I have been raised in and realize how much we hate the dark and the cold. How afraid we are of it without even realizing what it is weve done to our world to prevent the dark and cold from touching us. I turn once more to the barn and resume my commitment to the morning chores.
By adding the universal year 2000 (2+0+0+0=2) to the 12th month of December, we come up with the vibration of 14/5. The 5 month is a time for synthesizing all of the knowledge and experiences youve acquired over the last four months. Look to see what you have been learning and how this information may fit into a larger system of knowledge that you can then disseminate to others. The 5 month also signifies greater participation and possibilities in any media-related business: writing, speaking, teaching, or promotion.
Astrology and the Healing Journey
Astrology is a powerful and very helpful tool when used to facilitate emotional and spiritual healing. It can help to identify the core psychological issues and challenges that one must work through in order to progress along one's spiritual path. It can also assist people in moving into their soul's true purpose and acknowledging all of their strengths and gifts.
Though astrological wisdom extends far beyond the psychological realm, it can be used to facilitate and to greatly accelerate psychological therapy and healing. The purpose of this article is to demonstrate the way in which astrology was used to facilitate the healing of a client whom I will call Grace. Grace made great headway with the challenges that she was facing, moving quickly through the tangled web of impressions that was preventing her from feeling whole and empowered in her life.
A Truth About Triangulation
Every human being experiences the original triangle of Father, Mother, Child. How we handled this first initial triangle and the dynamics involved is generally how we will handle subsequent triangles...Until the original triangular dynamic is resolved or transformed, it will continue to be repeated in other triangular settings.
The original triangular wound does not lie in the inter-relational dynamics within our personal Mother, Father, Child relationship. The original wound lies in the submersion of the feminine within the Christian Trinity. As a result of this split, our current relationships seem to dramatize a persecutor/victim/rescuer mythology. As Arrien states, "How we handled this initial triangle and the dynamics involved is generally how we will handle subsequent triangles." This original wound has influenced the way we interact with one another.
Energy Fields: The Personal and the Universal
You are an inter-dimensional being, and your physical body houses a series of energy bodies that interact with each other and the environment they interpenetrate. These energy bodies are surrounded by concentrations of energy, or energy fields, called auras, and these energy fields interact with the external environment. The universe is permeated by energy fields that are supported by the universal field of energy and consciousness. Taoists call that field the Tao.
Nature: The Endangered and Unacknowledged Healer
Last fall, someone gave me a fitness magazine, which I would never ordinarily read. For some reason, I thumbed through it, and happened upon an article about ecopsychology, a synthesis of psychology and ecology. The concepts of ecopsychology that people and nature are an interacting system and are totally interdependent are inherent in the view of indigenous cultures.
Before discovering ecopsychology, I'd been suffering from a depression that had lasted more than two years. During this period, I tried numerous therapeutic approaches and did a variety of workshops. I found many of these approaches helpful, but I kept falling back again into the same black hole, and bouncing from one counselor or workshop to another. Perhaps this depression was the culmination of a half-century living life disconnected from the nature within and around me.
The Lesson of the Trees
Sitting in the forest clearing under an inviting tree, I settle into the quiet ambiance of nature. As I bask in the beauty of the surroundings, I hear a wind whipping up in the trees around me. In its journey through the forest, the wind removes more foliage from the already almost-bare trees. It is actually the beginning of winter, and leaves still adorn the trees. It has been a warm autumn, and the trees are finally getting on target with their natural cycles.