Inner Guidance

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Let me make no mistake about it, we are living in difficult times. Whatever our beliefs and values may be, they are under siege by opposing values or by the tenuousness of “truth” itself as a standard upon which we can collectively agree.

Some call it a return to tribalism: a refraction of identity into sub-cultural group affiliations. Clan-like factions abound; whom can you talk to or trust? Any stranger might explode at any moment in a public space, opening fire upon the innocent.

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What matters then, in such times of potential turmoil? What goals may still hold value? Where can you turn for reliable guidance? 

On a more positive note, you can always Go Within to find truth by attending to your own ‘inner counsel’. I assure you this is not merely a solipsistic response to collective uncertainty; it is an age-old, universal capacity that has steered the course of history. I believe that when we seek our highest Self and the companionship of Spirit or Divinity Itself in our deepest repose through active contemplation, prayer or meditation practices, we can connect with that which is greater than ourselves alone.

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“The One with the All One” is a spiritual image that comes to mind.  Or, “One for All and All for One!” In other words, when we seek our own answers that ‘ring true’ within our highest (NOT our lowest or our conditionally biased!) states of positive, life affirming consciousness, we assume our relation to the Whole of Life Itself. To me, this brings us to a position of unconditional love. If we act from this love, all will be in accord with that which serves the highest Good.  That’s my hopeful belief, anyway.

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This month I am inviting you to reflect on the role of Helpers in your own—in all of our— life journey. Inner Helpers come to meet us where we seek them out—be it in a contemplative state or in our dreams.  If you keep a journal that includes a dream diary to record your insights that arise from your inner guidance, then reviewing your journal entries once a week or once a month can help you to recognize the help you are receiving in the form of your own Inner Guidance.  Maybe you will uncover a Theme recurring in your dreams or even in your daydreams.  Keeping track of your dreams and daily insights holds open a channel of communication with your ‘inner counsel’ that can help to always to steer you in YOUR right directions.

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images are from pixabay.com

There are many excellent books on the subject of dream techniques and inner guidance. Two I have learned from are THE ART OF SPIRITUAL DREAMING, by Harold Klemp, and INNER GUIDANCE by Anne Archer Butcher.

I welcome always your insights and stories!

 

 

 

(The Sublime Art of) Listening to Your Self

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Meditation, contemplation, active imagination, walking solo in Nature, non-directive prayer: all of these are excellent modalities for tuning in to your own inner guidance and for tapping your feelings and insights about life events and decisions. Some form of listening to your Self—in all its archetypal complexity and integration—is absolutely necessary if you desire to go “forward” in a mindful, conscious direction.

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Is this different from “going with the Flow”? Not at all, so long as the Flow is an internal one, springing up from your deep inner resources rather than being primarily reacting or responding to external stimuli.

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Maybee Alley

Just after writing the above paragraph, I took my dog Sophie for a walk. We are visiting at my sister’s in rural New York state and it is such a beautiful area for walking.  While meandering in the neighborhood of a Catholic church we like to walk around, I noticed a road sign for the first time. “Maybee Alley” was the name of the little pathway leading toward the Church property.

It was interesting that this sign caught my attention today. It was a “waking dream,” a significant outer confirmation about a decision I was posed with last night via email. Maybe this or maybe something else instead if something even better comes along (re. potential publishers for my book that is currently circulating for review).

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So I guess I am meandering in MAYBE ALLEY right now. I would sure like to turn the bend to CERTAINTY (A)VENUE!

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images are from pixabay.com

I welcome your Comments and Stories!

June, Month of the COMMUNICATOR

 

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The COMMUNICATOR Archetype

 (per Debra Breazzano, LPC)

Mission: To link, be a messenger

Shadow: Chatterbox or silent treatment

Strength Qualities: Synthesizing, curious

Being a Communicator is a fundamental capacity of being human. As we learn about how best to communicate, or also how worst to express ourselves, we develop and cultivate a “Voice” which is distinctly our own yet which may represent as well a style of communicating which feels natural or effective. That part of you which has the ROLE of being The Communicator is a member of your Archetypal ensemble cast of personae that together comprise your personal Self. This month, I invite you to explore and celebrate your own COMMUNICATOR nature.

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What have been some of your most significant positive (Strength mode) and negative (Shadow mode) role models for developing your Communicator persona? What characteristics have you learned from them that are embedded in your own Communicator part-of-self?  For example, from a high school English teacher mentor, Mr. Scelsa, I learned alot about communicating as a teacher: asking good questions and listening from the heart to help students progress from wherever they are at to a next level that suits their own interests or needs. From a graduate school mentor, Betsy, I learned about how to simplify academic writing in order to reach a broad interdisciplinary audience.

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From blogging I am learning how to use common language and very open prose to communicate with a public readership. I highly recommend blogging to all writers and artists! Also from a friend, Jan, I learned many years ago and continue to try to develop the art of sharing feelings and engaging deeply in friendship. Yet, I have also observed in myself and others communication faux pas‘s and miscommunication, usually involving generalized mistrust; these are ways of communicating that I prefer to avoid.

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Communicating about what matters to you, and listening from the heart to what matters to others, is important in and of itself, always. Communication allows you to exteriorize your thoughts and feelings. Often it is best to start that process inwardly, though, or by means of journal writing.

One technique you can use to increase your facility with communicating about what matters to you is to have a conversation, either in active contemplation/meditation or in writing, with your own Inner Guide or higher consciousness. Just this afternoon, for example, while waiting for food at a restaurant, I journalled an internal dialogue about something I have been worrying over in the form of a conversation with my spiritual Guide (I call him Zee). It worked wonders! He helped me envision more flexibly about some future concerns, and said: “Do not let externals determine your level of happiness or fulfillment.” Thanks, Zee!

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images are from pixabay.com

So try it, you might like it. Just start a conversation on paper, and allow it to proceed naturally, perhaps in question and answer mode. Let it continue until you have arrived at some insights that help you progress in a positive way with your thoughts or concerns.

I welcome your Comments and stories!

Find the Gold, Bring It Forth

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In the opening post this month it came through that the Mystic archetype is that which is able to “find the Gold and bring it up” to the surface of your awareness. This is a part of you that sees through surfaces to what lies beneath; that perceives the true and the good—or their opposites—despite outer appearances. Such a valuable Ally!

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It is important to pay attention to this Seer side of you. How can you tune in when your “inner tuition” is trying to alert you or draw your attention to something your conscious mind might be denying or blind to? You must be willing to connect with this ‘deep’ facet of your awareness in order to follow its promptings or to accept and acknowledge its truths.

People are often afraid of their own Mystic potentials.  Perhaps it will reveal to you something you would rather ignore, like the actual state of a relationship or even an opportunity for significant change that will require that you take a step forward in a direction you may not yet feel ready to take.

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So remember to pause, to ask, to LISTEN to what your Mystic Guide wants you to realize or understand. It may appear to you in a DREAM manifestation, as a Dream Guide or an elder Wizard or Teacher. Keep a dream journal and write in it often, then also review your dream entries on a regular basis to reflect on patterns and themes showing up in your unconscious dream promptings. Then once you acknowledge and understand your inner guidance, contemplate how you can ACT. I would encourage you to act in tandem with your inner Mystic, to allow it to guide your actions forward. It will lead you  according to your deepest sense of truth and value, so it is unlikely to ever steer you wrong.

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images from pixabay.com

I welcome your insights and stories!

The Dream Master

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Archetypes appear often in their purest forms within our nightly dreams, where they can bypass the conscious mind to deliver important messages. Here’s a significant dream I feel fortunate to have experienced involving my own Dream Master:

I have been hiking (in the dreamscape) in a mountain region with a small group of fellow travelers. We have come to a level plain in view of our destination, which is a spiritual Temple perched atop the mountain we are ascending. We are accompanied by  a Guide whom I recognize as a spiritual Teacher.

The Teacher steps center to address us. He tells us there are two pathways by which we can make our final ascent to reach the Temple at the top of the mountain. One path, off to his right as he addresses us, is a wide, long and winding trail that leads eventually to the apex by a slow, easy trek. The other approach, he points out, would be by the canyon wall just beside the open area where we are standing. There is a redrock canyon spire wall that leads right up to the Temple.  It is our choice which way we choose to take.

The group of hikers splits, as the majority head off to take the long and winding trail. I notice that these folks are middle aged or more senior, like me.  The other group is a couple, a young man and woman who take one look at the canyon wall and, one-two-three, they have clambered up the cliff and they have already reached the Temple! Well, in my younger days I hiked often in redrock canyons in Arizona, so that is the way I want to get to the top of the mountain, too.

I approach the canyon wall and start up. I get just three or four footholds upwards when I get stuck! I cannot see a way upward that I can reach from where I’m at, but I can’t see a way to get safely back down, either.

I look down to the clearing below and I see the Master there, looking up at me. He is wearing the colors of Superman, with a blue suit and even a small red cape!

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images are from pixabay.com

   “Master, can you help me?” I ask.

   The Master immediately directs me with his hand, pointing to where I could step down to.  He coaches, “No, not quite; just a little further down, now to the right.”

   My foot finds the  foothold he is directing me to, and quickly I am back down in the clearing. I step toward my Dream Teacher and thank him.

   “I have the ability to watch,” my Teacher says.

   That message is Golden to me. My Teacher ‘has the ability to watch,’ and He is always there, ready to help if I will but remember to ask.

   As I awaken I know I will be going over to the wide, winding pathway upward, grateful for the lesson and humbled by the ordeal.

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Have you had similar dreams with your own Dream Teacher?  What key lessons has he or she imparted?

You can always ASK before going to bed or in an active imagination form of contemplation any question for which you seek deeper understanding. ASK your Inner Teacher, then pay attention! Listen for outer “waking dream” events that offer serendipitous answers to your question. And ask before going t sleep to remember your dream that provides insights about your question. Imagine your Dream Teacher with you in your dream.  For remember, your inner Teacher “has the ability to Watch.”

I welcome your comments and stories.

Happy New Year!

 

Mine Your Vein of Gold

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Life is a Golden Opportunity! And engaging in Descent can help you discover the vein of gold that could lead you to fulfill many of those opportunities. So consider how you might descend into this golden reservoir to mine your own golden nature.

I invite you to an active imagination self-discovery Tool; let us call this:

“Mining Your Vein of Gold”

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Imagine you enter a mine shaft that has your name etched roughly into a wooden plank over the door.  There is a mine cart on rails; you climb onto the cart and press down on the iron lever that propels the cart forward along the rails. Down and up, down and up, you pump the lever and pick up speed. The cart rounds a corner and descends DOWNWARD into the deep recesses of the mine shaft. Coasting now, as you look around see the veins of gold shining brightly as you pass, as yet untapped yet full of deep potential.

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As you reach the deepest level of your mine, the cart slows as it levels, and you apply the brake. You are in a large cavern, lit by blue fluorescent lights mounted near the ceilings. In this light you see a wide band of gold shining along the east wall. There is a pail and a pickaxe hanging on an iron peg in the wall you are near. Take this to the Vein of Gold and you can chip into the rock just above the vein to loosen some of the gold and then slice into the gold, letting a nice segment drop into your pail. You can take this back to the cart and pump the mine cart to return to the surface. You can wash the gold from your pail at a water pump near the shaft entrance.

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Now then, you can sit on a boulder to inspect the gold you have retrieved from your own vein of gold. Ask yourself or your inner guidance:

What part of my Self does this Gold represent?

What can you use this precious quality to attain in your life; how can you best utilize your Treasure?

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images from pixabay.com

I welcome your insights and stories.

 

 

 

 

 

Vinci cum Amor, or, Act on your Dreams!

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This week I have had two dreams, the second of which this morning was clearly a blog gift dream for this month’s theme of partnering with your Lover archetype Ally to Live Your Dream, Now!

A little backstory first: I have been waiting for nearly three months on a stipend check from an international university, for service I have given on a Masters committee for one of their students. Lately there has been  some angst on my part because their financial office is telling me I need a “swift code” for my bank in order for them to complete the transaction, and my bank does not use swift codes.

So the first dream, which I had a few days ago after having sent a rather stressed out email to the international university’s  staff who had informed me about the glitch mentioned above, presented me as being too demanding and overbearing, standing at a banker’s window. I was making the clerk there very nervous. He sirred me (I get that sometimes because I have a low voice and might interact in a “masculine” manner just from being a professor): “Excuse, Sir!” (My retort: “I am a woman!”) then the clerk turns the whole matter over to a superior, who does not seem at all inclined to be helpful.

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I woke from this dream aware that I had better ease up on this guy by email. So I sent another email, this one thanking him and simply expressing my concern over the situation.

Second dream then, this morning:

Someone who is a student I am working with in the dream is taking fencing lessons from me. (I was a competitive foil fencer in college and for many years after.) An older person says to the student:

“Follow your Teacher’s (my) famous words, “Vinci cum Amor!”

I woke with that fine phrase turning over and over in my mind:

“Victory with Love!” (or, ‘Conquer with Love’)… Vinci Cum Amor. 

When I looked up the Latin word for ‘love’ today to try to be accurate in sharing (Amor? Amore?), online I found this site (click here), about Virgil’s very similar famous line:

“Amor Vincit Omnia,” “love conquers all things.”

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And so it does. Victory with love; approach your goal with love. Sometimes we must compete or act assertively, but we can—I can—do so with impersonal, detached Love instead of aggression.

In fencing I found that loving the sport, bouting for the sheer joy of heartful competition–to hone and gracefully engage my abilities–was always more successful than ‘fighting’… because it issued from and expressed a mindful Balance!  Sword-play trumped a ‘battle of wills’—or, blades—any day.

Besides, it was so much more fun!

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How can you apply the credo of VINCI CUM AMOR in your own life?

I believe in paying attention to and learning from my dreams; this allows me to work in tandem with Spirit and my Inner Guidance according to my own higher consciousness…with support from my Archetype Allies!  Today while reflecting on this dream theme, I read a signpost along the roadside that said: “WE FLY WITH YOU!” THANKS, inner Guides and Archetype Allies!!! I fly with and for you, too!

I welcome your own stories and insights!

Envision Your Dream, Daily

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There’s a principle referred to in many meditative traditions called “Dying Daily.” This means that every day as you practice contemplation or meditation you SURRENDER. In a way you are surrendering your ‘old self’ to be reborn to the ‘new’, daily.

So, here’s a thought. Remember to DREAM daily. By this I mean, envision your Life Dream every day, knowing that your Present exists in relationship with this desired future condition! Then every day you are living INTO your “dream come true.”

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Many years ago I made a huge transition when I moved from Buffalo, New York (a lifelong Easterner til then) to Phoenix, Arizona (Out West). Every night for the year preceding this big move, I contemplated and asked questions inwardly  about this momentous turning point.  I work spiritually as many do with an Inner Guide figure, which helps me to focus on gaining higher awareness.  And every night, my question would be answered in a dream. One night, I woke with an actual song jingle and melody:

“I’m leaving, but there are a few doors left to close before I get over there.”

For the rest of the six months or so before my Great Adventure West, I sang this song frequently every day. Meanwhile I also taped pictures from SEDONA LIFE Magazine, a wonderful photojournalist sort of magazine depicting the amazing red rocks and canyons of Sedona, Arizona onto my office wall.

I was PREPARING, both outwardly and inwardly; orienting toward the new life I was about to assume with this trip upon which I was about to embark. The song lyric helped me realize every day that every action I was taking was movng me in the direction of this transformational life experience.

My move from Buffalo to Phoenix was indeed transformational! I became an anthropologist and experienced the Southwest and Native American cultures like I never could even have imagined as an Easterner.

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So, what is YOUR DREAM around the horizon of some major departure? IMAGINE it daily; place PICTURES of your destination in your mind … and on your walls.  LIVE your dream now, in your imagination. Contemplate it, meditate about it. Surrender to its amazing potentials.

Now as I approach returning ‘back East’ for transitioning into the next stage of my life in 3 years, on my computer desktop I have a sepia postcard of the lake I will relocate near. Along the right of my screen is the lakeside  shoreline, winding up and around toward a clock tower that represents the very town I will be moving to. So, I have copied and pasted a little rowboat icon onto the base of this shoreline. Now every time I take some action in my daily life that moves me somehow closer to realizing this Big Move, I move the rowboat icon up the shoreline just a bit, closer to my Dream destination.

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What are you doing or what might you do to ENVISION your future Dream come true? I welcome your insights and stories!

 

Post #400: Seeding Your Dream

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Last week I wrote about Johnny Appleseed as an example of the archetype of the Nourisher. Some seeds scatter to the winds, but some seeds take root in rich soils, where they can germinate and grow. Now I invite you to apply this concept of planting and nourishing seeds to the practice of SEEDING YOUR DREAM.

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First then, what is your Life Dream? Remember, this can be a value statement rather than a concrete objective. Five years from now or whatever time frame feels approporiate for you to envision your “dream come true,” what do you wish for your life to be LIKE? Maybe that means you want to have achieved a sense of contentment or happiness, or perhaps you can envision living in or visiting at an ideal sort of environment for you or you can plant a seed of finding and manifesting an ideal set of relationships or work or service conditions. Now then, contemplate ways that you can SEED your Dream.

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At my office personal computer at work, I have placed a desktop image which is an old postcard photo of the lake I aim to retire near in three years. Recently I have added a small picture icon of a rowboat. The lake image has a shoreline that winds around toward a clock  tower that marks the historic significance of this lakeside region, near Chautauqua Institute in New York state. From now until the time I reach retirement,  with every positive step I take in life toward realizing my Dream, I will very gradually move the rowboat along the bends of the shoreline until it reaches that tower. This is SEEDING my Dream.

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How can you seed YOUR Dream?

I recognize and can fully appreciate that not all of you reading this blog will feel the desire or the immediate need to focus so directly on manifesting a specific Life Dream such as I am modeling here. That’s okay! I encourage everyone, myself foremost, to build flexibility into any future envisioning. Still, your current Vision as it pertains to continually realizing your most positive, fulfilling life–whether it is the life you are living Now or some future conditions based on how you would like your current life to unfold into an ideal future–carries the SEED of your potentials.  It reveals something about your highest values, deepest ambitions, and your most purposeful sense of mission or cause. My lakeside future represents, for instance, a  freedom to pursue my ambitions of writing and service in a beautiful, peaceful environment. I believe I know where that will be, but if the universe provides a somewhat different actuality down the road or along the shoreline, that’s fine, too!

I appreciate the viewpoint of Anne Archer Butcher,  author of an inspiring recent book called Inner Guidance.  She reminds us we can ASK for what we most deeply wish to receive or achieve in our lives. “This, or something GREATER,” Anne asks of her own Inner Guide. Maybe our current vision is not broad enpugh or we are not yet aware enough to know what specifically to ask for. So ask for “This, or something Greater,” knowing and trusting that Spirit or the Universe will bring into your life that which is of the highest order to support your greatest growth and unfoldment.

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I always welcome your Comments and Insights!

Message in a Bottle, Part Two

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Did you open and read your “message in a bottle” from Tuesday’s self-development tool at this blog (see A Message in a Bottle for You)? When I used this tool myself this week I found it to be surprising and extremely helpful. The message-in-a-bottle came to me via an active imagination or contemplation mode as a non-verbal but clear awareness. It helped me see something about my own recent behavior that I had not recognized before. I realized how I had invited myself to a situation with someone else (my agent!) in a way that revealed me as trying to control or manipulate a process that is really up to someone else to advance.

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So, my message-in-a-bottle exposed me to a “secret” that my unconscious COMMUNICATOR was able to deliver; a secret which otherwise I would have remained in DENIAL about.

There is more to my story, too. A few weeks ago a trusted friend jokingly called me a “control freak”. This was in relation to my writing advertisements for some spiritual events which I coordinate here in my local community. I didn’t understand why she would say that; no one has ever described me that way before and I definitely have never thought of myself that way. Now in retrospect, her statement was a waking call in itself, something that might be called “golden tongued wisdom” or a waking dream that presaged the message in a bottle insight.

Maybe my inner COMMUNICATOR has been trying to get my attention for a while now!

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As I like to practice taking an active role in responding to my own dream images, unconscious promptings and inner spiritual guidance, I responded this week by honestly contacting—by email—the person I had been overly ‘controlling’ toward. Whatever follows, so it goes.

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It is often helpful to respond actively to inner promptings. It can help you to make progress in your life as well as to remain open to further promptings and dream insights. Acting in tandem with your inner Archetype Allies or inner guidance that you trust in any form and paying attention to dream and waking dream messages can provide the inner steering you may seek, even when it leads you to insights and awareness that challenges your complacency or your own longstanding ideas about yourself.

I welcome your insights and stories!

Follow Your Positive Inner Nudges

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As a follow up from Tuesday’s post inviting you to state a question for which you would like to receive a sign, I applied this tool myself this week to amazing results. I wrote out my question, stating that I would be looking for either a clear Yes or No as a sign.  I then typed the question itself into the Google search bar and guess what came up? A website that offers a Yes/No Oracle! I posed the question there and got the answer I would have hoped for; then I cross-checked with a second question and the site gave an appropriate answer to that. I then typed another related question into the Google search bar and it brought up new information I have needed that further corroborated the “oracle” responses. This is a set of questions I have been pondering about for several months, so it is certainly interesting how this exercise unfolded. Sometimes all we have to do is Ask so that spirit or the universe can meet us halfway. Whatever happens, I received what I needed Now in order to proceed with a major project with greater confidence.

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On a related note, in addition to signs that can appear to answer your questions, what of the inner nudges you receive? Have you experienced a time when you received an inner nudge but didn’t follow it? How might things have turned out differently if you had? Even the slightest nudge to take a new way home from work or to say something meaningful to a loved one could bring unanticipated, positive results. I once had a nudge while returning from a road trip that told me to go back to a spot I had just passed where a dead rabbit was in the road. It was a strong nudge, so I followed it. When I got there, a couple was parked. They were taking pictures of the scenic beauty. They watched as I carefully removed the rabbit’s body off from the road. Then as I drove on again, guess what? I witnessed a bear cub crossing the road right in front of my car; a rare beauty! I had asked inwardly before the trip to see a bear. So following this nudge put me in precisely the right place at the right time. Only seconds would have made a difference.

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What has happened for you when you followed a clear nudge? Of course we can all think of times when a split second decision could be the difference of meeting a spouse, or not, or something of that magnitude.

Can you distinguish between a clear inner nudge and just a random impulse? How can you best tune in to recognize your nudges? Any form of regular contemplative practice can help you to remain aware and attentive to your inner nudges. You can develop a knack for sensing which ones to follow. I think it helps to add non-habitual activities to your life when you can. Julia Cameron’s THE ARTIST’S WAY offers a great tool that she calls “weekly artist’s dates.” She invites you to practice doing something different and fun at least once a week. Exercising fresh pathways can open your creative wellspring to gush to the surface so you can remain open and flexible when those creative nudges arise.

I welcome your insights and stories!

Follow Your Mystic Guide

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This year at Life Paths for Better Endings we are conjoining twelve universal archetypal figures with twelve positive, goal-affirming Life Metaphors. This month we are focusing on The MYSTIC archetype in connection with the metaphor, Life is an Epic Journey. For our third week of the month, we bring these two ideas together, and it is natural to recognize that since life is an Epic Journey, the Mystic serves as a Guide.

I am very familiar with this fortuitous awareness of being able to follow a mystic Guide, as on my own spiritual path I recognize an Inner Master who appears often in my dreams and contemplations to offer his amazing, loving guidance, insight and protection. For me, acceptance of this inner guidance has been a major blessing in my life. I am deeply grateful to have discovered that life is so much more than outer appearances and that there are other-dimensional guides available always, for everyone, at any time.  While I work in a very worldly job outwardly as a professor, I feel extremely fortunate that this sphere has not confined my awareness or limited my perceptions of spiritual realities, and I will not deny nor apologize for my acknowledgement of the wonderful experiences this spiritual awareness has afforded me, time and time again.

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The Mystic Guide—however else it may appear to you—is available as an archetypal persona that is a part of your Self and that you can call upon for clarity and direction whenever you are wondering what your next step could be.  Allow me to share an example.

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When I was an undergrad in college many years ago in Buffalo, New York, I was on a quite successful intercollegiate fencing team. The last college tournament I participated in was a nationals qualifying event during my senior year of college. Our team had placed 9th of over 125 universities (by two touches we would have been 7th) the previous year, but two of that team had graduated, and two less experienced, junior varsity teammates had joined me and my friend Ro (we had been the strongest fencers at that previous nationals, placing highly ourselves as well). Our coach, Denny, became overly aggressive in trying to force our younger teammates to step up beyond their level of skill, and he was also becoming overly forceful and aggressive with these teammates at meets. So at this last event, I did well as did my friend Ro; the rest competed as well as they could yet came up short of our coach’s demands. I found myself at that tournament at Ohio State University cheering on every good ‘touch’, whether by a teammate or by an opponent or by myself. I congratulated if an opponent won a bout as much as if a teammate did. Something was turning in me; my sense of competitiveness shifted to an appreciation of the sheer beauty of fencing as an art and of the endeavors and talents of each individual.

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When we left that event, I sat in the back of the team van for the long ride home to Buffalo from Columbus, Ohio. I had recently discovered the practice of mantra singing, and for nearly the entirety of that road trip, I closed my eyes and chanted a single word: IS.  I sang that word as a mantra over and over: Is-is-is-is-is-is-isssss! I was contemplating existence itself, or ISness. And something amazing happened inwardly: I found myself in a round, high, turret like room with library shelves and books all around me, many stories deep, and a dome at the top. I was seated at a round table in the center, and all I had to do to get a book was to think of that and one of the books would come to me. ALL of the books in that round library were about the same subject: Language. I absorbed book after book, studying the titles, drinking in the immensity of the topic; its breadth and depth. All the while listening inwardly to:  IS-IS-IS-IS-IS-IS…

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When we arrived back at our gym at the university in Buffalo, I approached Denny and announced to him that I was quitting the team from that moment forward. I took my own fencing equipment with me, and left. (My friend Ro did the same some weeks later.) But from the deep contemplation experience, I had found my next step in my own journey. That next week I started studying language intensively at the college library, and the next year I entered a graduate program in Linguistics at SUNY Buffalo; this has been the basis of my career foundation ever since.

Book in a library

It was something within me which I can now recognize as my inner Mystic Guide that set me to singing IS that day and showed me my inner passion for language that would become central to my life’s journey.  Something shifted inwardly while at the tournament that day, and this subtle shift in consciousness allowed me to be open to the inner direction of this mystical calling.

You and I only need, ever, to be willing to Listen and Learn!

The Mystic Archetype

Magic Pictogram

Magi, Guide, Master, Seer, Guru, Oracle, Clairvoyant, or Sage; and Merlin, Glinda, Gandalf, or Dumbledore: all fill the shoes or hold the torch of the MYSTIC archetype. And each of us, I am happy to observe, harbor within us the full potential for expressing the Mystic ourselves.

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MYSTIC is a Water archetype corresponding with Pisces.  It often brings life lessons that involve a Descent and reemergence.  The Mystic holds the key to answering many a mystery or question. Remember to call upon your own Inner Mystic when your query is profound.

Bearded Old Man Staff Peace Sign Cartoon

Mystic may appear in your dreams or in your spiritual practice through meditation, prayer or contemplation. Pay attention when he or she visits with you in a dream, as your Dream Guide is able to impart vital insight to you while your conscious mind is less likely to interfere. Is this Inner Guide, then, merely an archetypal part of your Self or may It also be a spiritual agency appearing from another dimension? That hardly matters so long as you receive the message. And, it may be either, or both; for archetypes are simply FORMS, whether personal or transpersonal. We project archetypes onto others as well as identify with them within our own psyche, and spiritual guides certainly also appear to us in these same modes.

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Consider some questions you might pose to your inner Mystic that you might otherwise not ask at all.  Your deepest questions ARE worth investigating beyond what your outer mind can explore. For example:

Who Am I?

Why Am I Here?

What is my Life Mission?

How May I Fulfill this Worthy Purpose?

Now then, May You Dream! And remember to Ask!

Gandalf, Dumbledore, your Inner Teacher, and You!

Bearded Old Man Staff Peace Sign Cartoon

Two fictional examples of the Teacher archetype aiding an ensemble cast of protagonists to alter their dreamlike lives so they might achieve better endings are Gandalf from the Lord of the Rings saga and Dumbledore from the fantasy mythic adventures of Harry Potter and his friends. Gandalf and Dumbledore have always seemed to me to be the same kind of mythic personage, though Gandalf is cast more for the young adult and Dumbledore more for a child’s conception of the Teacher or Mage  (per Jung or Campbell) energy.

Myths are projections of archetypal personae and challenges that we all face in our everyday lives as everyman and everywoman heroes; so Gandalf or Dumbledore are—as we project onto them as readers or as moviegoers—our own intrinsic Teacher-selves made manifest. These mystical Teachers allow their charges to accomplish what they otherwise might believe to be unllikely, yet they are the hero’s own Higher Energy propelling her or him forward toward the realization of their “impossible dream.”  Saving the entire wizarding and muggle worlds from a force too dangerous even to Name; returning Middle Earth to a state of balance and harmony instead of chaos: these are the tasks of an orphaned boy and of a tiny hobbit; or, you and me. But the magical Wizard Teacher is a protean shape-shifter, a transformer of pure energy into otherwise unimaginable new Forms.  All is possible if we set our hearts to following the directives of this all-knowing, all-powerful Higher Self Ally of the Teacher.

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Have you noticed how Wizard Teachers like Gandalf and Dumbledore conduct their novice apprentices to the attainment of their most worthy desires?  Like Glinda for Dorothy, Gandalf and Dumbledore seem always to know exactly when their presence is of utmost value; they appear only when they are needed, otherwise they remain in the background, invisibly watching.

Now then, this week as I have been contemplating how the Teacher appears in my own heroic journey of Soul, I find that my Inner Teacher(s)—whom I recognize to be “as close as my heartbeat”—are always present yet they appear exactly when and how I require their precious aid. I will share a true example of a life and death situation in which I was quite literally saved by my own Inner Master (an ECK Master associated with the spiritual path of ECKANKAR, which is the belief system and practice to which I adhere). Your own Inner Teacher or Guide may take the form of Christ or Buddha or of Socrates, Rumi, Glinda or whatever archetypal—yet very real—personae you recognize, so long as you believe in and deeply value their protection and guidance.

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I was living in a duplex apartment in Tempe, Arizona with a housemate who worked a four to midnight shift. One early morning while sleeping in the living room, I had heard voices outside so looked out the front window and witnessed a drug transaction involving the scurrilous group of tenants living on the other side of the duplex living room wall. They saw me witness the transaction and started terrorizing me for the next several months, making overt threats in loud voices from the other side of the thin wall separating our lives. One April or May afternoon, I was sitting in a living room chair after a hard morning at graduate school. Suddenly, as clearly as I could hear a person standing in the room right beside me speaking into my right ear, I heard a male voice that I immediately recognized as my spiritual Teacher. He stated very calmly but firmly, “Linda, lock the door.”

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I stepped over to the door, which was slightly ajar, and as I was placing my right hand on the doorknob to close and lock the door, the ringleader of the neighbor gang was reaching to grab the doorknob from the other side, to come in! I just barely closed the door and turned the lock before he could enter. Then I looked out the picture window to my left—the same window through which I had witnessed the drug deal transpire. Huddled down just beneath the window frame was the bodyguard of the drug gang, waiting to abscond me if I were to have run out of the house to escape. I kid you not; this was one of the most dramatic events of this lifetime and I am absolutely certain that had my Teacher not intervened (I know him as Harji, the Inner form of the still current Living ECK Master, Sri Harold Klemp), I would not be on this earthly plane today to share this story. Oddly though, I was not afraid at all after this happened; a calm set over me like a cloak instead. And even more oddly when I look back to it now, I didn’t even call the police. I called a friend, asked her to come pick me up at the house, and I never slept another night in that duplex apartment. I slept for weeks in a sleeping bag on the floor of my Ph.D. advisor’s office until I could locate a new roommate and move into a safer space.

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I ask you to be thinking about how the helpful presence or guidance of your own spiritual or inner archetype Teacher has appeared in your own life experience. I would love for you to share your own memories or stories about how your Teacher or Guide has been leading you to fulfill your own meaningful life lessons or Quest.

Finally, it makes sense why the Teacher appears most clearly in our lives only when most needed. It is because it is not ABOUT the Teacher or Master himself or herself; we are not here to simply follow someone who has already attained to all that which we seek. We are apprentices, aspirants or Learners who are striving to become Masters of spiritual essence and formations of life for ourselves; we may then become or appear as the Teacher for others as we gradually come to master our own lessons and unfold in our own awareness.

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I invite and would love to share YOUR insights and stories about your own Inner Teacher or guidance. Tomorrow I am going to see the new Hobbit movie; maybe we might meet somewhere in the Middle Earth of our dreams!

Invite Your Dream Guide to Show the Way

A beautiful vintage autumn background

Jung would say the Persona is the general archetypal domain for all 12 of the primordial universal archetype figures I am presenting to you here based on the archetypal psychology of the late Dr. Charles Bebeau’s Avalon Archetype Institute. These persona archetypes often appear in our dreams. They may take either masculine or feminine forms and they might present in positive (I call this their Strengths aspect) or in negative (Shadow) manifestations.

Norse God Odin holding spear with ravens

This week we can combine the Life Metaphor of Life is a Dream with the persona archetype of Teacher.  The Dream Master or Dream Teacher is a figure I work with closely in my own spiritual practice.   You can invite your own Teacher archetype to appear in your dreams as an Inner Guide or to communicate with you via the dream state.

A couple of years ago I had a wonderful inner encounter with my own Dream Master. In a dreamscape just before waking, I found myself among a small group of people at the base of a canyon area. My Inner Guide was there. He showed us that our destination was on top of the canyon and said there were two ways to get there. We could either try to climb the rock canyon wall directly up to the top, or there was a wide, winding trail that we could walk. The people in this little group were of various ages. Two of them, a young man and a young woman, immediately went scrambling up the nearly vertical cliff wall and they were out of sight quickly, en route to a quickly attained destination. The rest moved off toward the long, winding trail to make their gradual ascent up the canyon.

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I watched the two young people scramble up the cliff wall and saw the older group walk to the gradual pathway. I wanted to be like the younger two, so I started trying to scale the rocky cliff. I took about five footholds in the ascent and suddenly, I was stuck! I couldn’t climb up for fear of falling, nor could I descend because I could not see where to place my feet.

I looked down to the canyon floor; my Teacher was still there, watching. He was wearing colors like those of Superman, with royal blues and red.

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I called down to him:

“Master, can you help me?”

He beckoned where to place my foot to descend back to the canyon floor:

“No, not there; a little further down and to the right. Yes, that’s it.”

Very quickly I was safe at the bottom. I walked over to my beloved Teacher.

“Thank You!” I said.

“I have the ability to watch,” my Teacher answered.

Gratefully, I moved on over to the long, winding trail, content now to take my time as the relative oldster I have become. This was the path of wisdom for me. It was clear that my Teacher helped me to descend so I could climb the canyon on a more gradual incline.

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I have never forgotten the wonderful feeling of being loved and cared for by my Dream Teacher’s inner guidance. I knew from reflecting on the dream that it was important that I had ASKED for this guidance. My Teacher has “the ability to watch”. But I have to be willing to ASK for his ever-present protection and  guidance.

Have YOU had a significant dream experience with an Inner/Dream Teacher? I welcome your stories!

Tiger and Mouse, by Gail (an Archetypal Dialogue Guest Story)

Hi,
Your blog is interesting. We had an event happen or I guess a couple of things which makes me wonder what mirror I’m putting out. My two characters in this dialogue will be Tiger for me as Soul, a child of God who loves herself. Mouse will be the other side who feels she has to hold on to straws and settle for whatever enters her life.

First the back story:

My husband and I are both blind. Therefore, we do depend on friends to help us. We have someone who we have known for many years who often has helped us do atm transactions, read mail with personal information, has picked up stuff for us and used our debit card to do so. We pay for the gas we use, and often allow him to buy meals.

Last month sometime we got one of those mailers which offers a loan for an lump some of money. Then you have to pay it back within a specified time period.

This loan came in my husband’s name. It is very remotely possible that it could have been taken out of the mailbox by a stranger. Whoever did this knew my husband’s Social Security, and all the other pertinent information needed for the form. On the 22nd of last month a check from this loan company was cashed. Our account number was on the back. In my thinking this was planned. Since the loan check was sent out in March and it wasn’t cashed until April. He put his phone number instead of ours and it was cashed at a branch which we never go to.

We went into the loan company and they said as long as we file a police report we won’t be held liable for the payments. They said they’ve been trying to call his number to welcome him to the program after he cashed the check but he doesn’t acknowledge their calls. If he had put our phone number then nothing could be traced back to him.

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This really smarts since in many ways he’s a likeable guy and my husband and he have worked on a number of projects together.

Tiger: “I love myself and deserve to be valued. I know I need help with stuff because of my disability yet I am worthwhile enough to have people around me who want to be friends and understand there are times when I’ll or we’ll need extra assistance. My willingness to share meals and a listening ear is worth the trade.”

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Mouse: “You know he has made many poor choices in most of his life so you shouldn’t be surprised. Besides, you really need him to run errands for you. Besides, everybody since they are Soul needs unconditional love.”

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Tiger:
“I’m not a door matt. I don’t have to settle forsome who uses my husband’s identity to get money he doesn’t have any intention of paying back. It was a blessing from God that I found the statement saying how much the payments were for. We were able to start the process before it went against his credit.”

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Mouse:
“You should just pay for the loan because you need his help. You can’t afford to make people angry at you.”

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Tiger: “It’s not about whether we make him mad or not. It’s about what the truth is.
The truth is if he didn’t do this then all of us need to know who did to protect all of our identities.
Is it necessary? Yes, I value myself and my husband and we shouldn’t pay for somebody else’s stupidity. I trust the Holy Spirit to help us solve this situation with as little baggage as possible.

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Mouse: “No one will help you if you turn him into the police for fraud. They would all be afraid you’d make up something and do the same to them.”

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Tiger: “You are a child of God and worth joy and happiness.I trust my spiritual guide; the Mahanta, the Living ECK Master is always with me. He looks out for me as long as I remain a loving soul.”

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Dear Gail: I notice that in your Archetype Dialogue, Tiger speaks first as well as last, suggesting this is the stronger viewpoint.

Tiger can be an ELDER LEADER or a WARRIOR archetype.

Mouse, in all its “mousey” aspect, can be a Shadow IDEALIST or a Shadow NURTURER archetype. By Shadow I mean this is the “negative” or “weaker” mode of these two archetypes. Of course, a mouse could also be a Mighty Mouse! But yours seems more timid than that.

How can you integrate these two? It is possible to be strong and assertive yet also kind. (I saw a bumper sticker on a car today that said: “Be Kinder than you need to be!” Perhaps this was a waking dream.) The fact that these archetypal aspects express themselves in opposition here suggests to me that if you combine their energies, you can go forward as the loving Soul you are while not allowing others to take advantage of you.

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Enabling a Thief (also a  Shadowy archetype, a DESCENDER) not only allows them to get away with perpetrating on innocent people but lets them think they can get away with this again, affecting others and possibly you again, if you continue to utilize his ‘help’. For them to learn their lesson in this lifetime–to confront the karmic results they have reaped–may require for you, or someone eventually, to confront them with this fraudulent aspect of their own nature. How else can they learn, and how else can you be true to yourself? Your inner dialogue may represent two aspects of your inner guidance, as well! Two images of Soul, or a Master and chela interaction?- Linda

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Would others like to reply to Gail, too?

Feel free to add your Comments or your own stories.

A Changed Attitude Can Work Miracles

Don’t quit, COMMIT!
“I’m going to love until love comes back. I’m going to live until life comes back and I’m going to fight until the fight comes back! Because I’m in it, to win it!” -T.D. Jakes

In today’s world, where everyone wants instant results – it is easier than ever to quit. It is easy to think that if it doesn’t come easy to you, it is not for you. It is easy to try something, and then if it doesn’t work out immediately, we can talk our selves out of the importance or the significance of it.  With that said, if you were to ask any person you admire based on what they have given, gained or done, they will all have a very similar formula for success – they never quit.

Re-blogged from Jeff Moore, My Everyday Power (http://everydaypowerblog.com/2014/02/04/3-reasons-to-dream-bigger/#comments)

 Positive Attitude Note Shows Optimism Or Belief

Better Endings Story, by Linda Watts :

A Changed Attitude Can Work Miracles

A changed attitude can change ‘everything’ about a situation or a relationship. I wish it were never necessary, but sometimes it is. I’m thinking back to a time some fifteen years ago when I was certainly not at my best. I allowed a philosophical/ theoretical disagreement with a valued colleague to develop into a schism between us. It reached the point where we could hardly interact and avoided one another at the workplace. I felt terrible about my part in sustaining such a divide, but there it was.

One night in contemplation I sought inner guidance to help heal this situation.  I asked for clarity and  direction, then slept. That next morning I dreamt that this estranged colleague and I were face to face. I allowed my inner Self rather than my upset personality of that time to express Itself.  I smiled and simply beamed, “Hello!” And you know what? He smiled back and said “Hello!” in turn.

That very morning, while I was in the mail room at work, this colleague walked in. We had avoided being in the same space for months. Our eyes met, and I smiled and beamed, “Good morning!” He did likewise. Nothing was ever said between us about the distance we had allowed to develop. But from that moment on, the relationship shifted and it was never again as strained as it had become. Some short months later he received a job elsewhere. I helped to host a farewell gathering for a colleague who had given many years of valued service to our institution.

How did this attitude shift come about? By asking inwardly, then listening to and applying inner guidance. Better Endings often require change of a sort that allows you to break up ‘stuck’ positions. I am not proud of having reached this negative stasis in a relationship of any kind, so it is uncomfortable for me to share it in a blog!  I write about it anyway, in case it resonates with someone else.  People won’t always agree with one another, perhaps especially in academia, where I work. But everyone deserves to give and to receive unconditional love and respect. This helps us realize we are so much more than our limited personalities, ideas and opinions.

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This next week we get to shift to one of my favorite topics: pets!  I welcome any of your animal companion stories, photos, poetry and gushing insights.

Your Dreams and Inner Guidance

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Our Better Endings topic for this week is Dreams and Dreaming. Before  presenting a list of prompts for you to write about, talk about or contemplate, let me share a profound—well, yes—example from my own dream life about how we can receive vital inner guidance, support and messages through simply being open to our dreams.

Some 14 years ago I went through a time of deep questioning of where I was at and where I wanted to be going with my life. I called this at the time a “mid-life crisis”. I was 45 and coming up for tenure at my university. I knew I would probably achieve that, but I was questioning whether an academic career was ‘enough’ to truly fulfill my desire to make a useful, creative contribution in this life. My strongest desire since childhood—my Life Dream—was to be an author who might “make a difference”, somehow. I was publishing research findings in academic journals and had published a scholarly book with a small academic press, but  the prospect of continuing along this same trajectory as my sole venue for self-expression and service felt like a dead end. What could I do? Because of a deep spiritual orientation which I had developed since I was 20, I knew I needed to ask for inner guidance and then, listen. I have kept a dream journal for as long as I can remember. So I asked in contemplation daily for weeks for help in understanding this mid-life crisis and what I could do to reconcile my creative and spiritual interests with my academic career.

I received several significant dreams that showed me what my inner desires were about: to be of service in a public way, not to become swallowed up by an institution where I felt I might ‘drown’. Then one morning during that fecund time of transition between dreaming and waking, I saw, literally stamped in bold black letters ‘between my eyes’:

YOU HAVE THE RESPONSIBILITY

TO REALIZE YOUR DREAMS,

NOT JUST FOR GETTING BY.

This dream message answered my questions, clearly. It was ‘spot on’ what I needed to know. Of course, it led me to further questioning about what ARE my dreams that I seek to realize, leading me back to creative writing and service as well as to spiritual goals.  Long story short, after accepting tenure, within six months I completed a science fiction novel, having resolved my mid-life crisis by realizing that I needed to find ways to better integrate my creative writing, public service, and spiritual interests with my career, rather than doing one or the other. I then received another clear dream message one morning, while considering what topic I should focus on for an upcoming research sabbatical. This time the dream message was auditory, an ‘inner voice’, that said quite directly, “Life Paths”. So, that’s how I got started doing “life mapping” research which has led to several articles, another academic book, and now finally a mainstream personal development book and self-help handbook which I aim to start marketing in about six months, called LIFE PATHS.

Here is my point for YOU today:

YOU HAVE THE RESPONSIBILITY

TO REALIZE YOUR DREAMS,

NOT JUST FOR GETTING BY.

Accepting this message as a ‘waking dream’ for you now, where does it take YOU to?

Okay then, here’s this week’s writers’…and Dreamers’!…Prompts List.  Consider how the following sorts of dreams and dreaming can relate to Better Endings, or about your own experiences with dreams and dreaming :

  • recurring dreams
  • levels or kinds of dreams
  • recurring dream symbols (their meanings to you, how they might change over time)
  • past life dreams
  • lucid dreams (and their messages for you)
  • daydreams
  • waking dreams  (synchronicity or ‘signs’/ messages in your waking life)
  • prophetic (future) dreams
  • past lives or ‘parallel life’ dreams
  • spiritual dreams
  • disturbing dreams (and how you have resolved them)
  • problem solving dreams
  • situational awareness dreams (e.g. how to improve relationships)
  • What is your Life Dream?

I know that many of you are Dreamers. I invite your comments, insights and stories, in any form!

Where To From Here? So Many Choices…

Neutral interior decoration plan with swatches

Tuesday (instead of Wednesday, starting today) is Prompts Day at Better Endings. I invite you to journal/ write about, talk about, or actively imagine and contemplate about one or more situations in your life–past, present or future–that relate to this week’s topic of “better choices“. Do any of the situations listed below remind you of a time when you chose a better ending instead of a self-limiting perspective or habit? Or maybe you made a “wrong choice” by your own estimation at some point; how did you adjust and grow from that? What sorts of choices have generally helped you or hindered you in the pursuit of your interests or goals?

Some possible situations calling for Better Choices:

  • what job to take or walk away from
  • what career to pursue/ Major in college, etc.
  • where to live?
  • relationships?
  • lifestyle choices
  • social scene
  • foods
  • habits
  • pathways
  • life changing choices
  • circumstances ‘beyond your control’
  • renovations (e.g. what color to paint your house)
  • attitudes
  • cars, material possessions
  • your next words
  • travel opportunities
  • pets
  • friends

Also today, have you noticed the “Better Endings Quote” panel at the bottom of our site? The Rumi poem, “A Voice through the Door”, speaks to me personally about choices. It seems to be saying that better choices come to you from within, rather than from someone or anything external. Follow Your Heart. Which reminds me: I welcome and thank you if you are “Following” (or just stopping by) Better Endings. Happily, it is the principle of Better Endings itself that you are following; I am following that principle with gratitude for my own inner guidance, too!

Please send your Comments below. I welcome your Better Endings story this week about a time when you made a better choice; or, not! Please submit your story (by Saturday night) for inclusion as a Story of the Week.

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