February 2018
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Archive for the ‘Intuitive Guidance’ Category


“Nothing is black or white, nothing’s ‘us or them.’ But then there are magical, beautiful things in the world.  There’s incredible acts of kindness and bravery, and in the most unlikely places, and it gives you hope.”   Dave Matthews

“Courage doesn’t always roar.  Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.”  Mary Anne Radmacher

I am very impressed by the bravery and courage I have witnessed these past few weeks.  Clients, family and friends facing the adversity and challenge of a radically shifting world with determination and stamina, strength and grace.  Powerful and inspiring.


It is time for me to transition.  I have been writing this Blog weekly for 4 years.  It is time to move on.  A ‘Word of the Week’ will still be published every Monday morning, but my commentary will be replaced by a saying, a quote, an adage, relevant to the weekly word.  My goal is to inspire and uplift, to encourage and support.

My deep gratitude to all of you for your on-going support and wonderful feedback!

“Times of transition are strenuous, but I love them.  They are an opportunity to purge, rethink priorities, and be intentional about new habits.  We can make our new normal any way we want.”  Kristen Armstrong

Addendum: An especially thankful moment as all of my family; children, nieces, nephews and cousins in Napa and St. Helena  are safe, except for my Aunt Gene’s sister who suffered a back injury.  Thank you all for your prayers!


I am dazed and numb; my middle son has died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.   Why…?

That crisp, sunny February afternoon seven years ago surges to the forefront of consciousness with the death of Robin Williams.  It is impossible to avoid some of the commentary that so disturbs me.  It seems so easy for some to judge so harshly.  I am stung by the comments of cowardice.  My son was not a coward.  His toxicology showed no illegal drugs or alcohol.  His medications were all within prescribed limits.  He was deeply depressed.

There are no easy answers to the ‘why?’  But there is  the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, www.afsp.org.  Coincidentally, a very special person in my life lost her nephew, Seth Ordway,  to suicide.  In Seth’s memory, Cindy Young will be doing an ‘Out of Darkness‘ walk in Sacramento, on October 4th. (For those who may be interested in participating locally, there will be an ‘Out of Darkness‘ walk in Santa Rosa on October 11.) You may visit Cindy’s personal page by clicking here. I  proudly sponsor her fund-raising efforts for this amazing organization.

If you would like to join me, I would be honored if your donation was made acknowledging my son, Brian Thomas.



How secure are you feeling these days?  Given the ongoing shift in global economy; the 22 plus armed conflicts happening around the world; the latest internet hack attack;  food supply and water quality threats; viruses, diseases, hospital safety: crime….  The list could go on and on.

Part of the very definition of security is…’freedom from fear or anxiety’.  Humans want, indeed need, to feel secure.  In a world suffering through  cataclysmic change, where do you find security?

I believe peace of mind and a strong sense of security  is found in our personal belief system, our faith.

This week I invite you to plow deeply into your spiritual beliefs.  The act of living our faith leads to spiritual maturity and a greater sense of inner peace; confidence in a positive future outcome, in spite of the growing darkness.  Security can be found in the omniscience of Divine Intelligence.


I have always been fascinated by how the brain works, especially as it relates to consciousness, thought and spiritual evolution.  So,  5 Brain Myths That Won’t Go Away, authored by Ryan Wallace snagged my attention.

The brain is the most complex organ in the body.  The largest part of the human brain, the cerebral cortex, typically contains 15-33 billion neurons, all connected by and communicating with each other through synapses.  This amazing structure is control central of the entire body and all of its functions.

Throughout history the brain and the mind were considered separate.  Contemporary neuroscience still struggles to understand consciousness and thought.  Much about how the brain functions in these areas remains a mystery.

The five myths outlined below stem from the work of Amy Shelton, Associate Professor, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Johns Hopkins University.

Myth:  You only use 10% of your brain.

Shelton states that, “Any part of your brain that isn’t used will wither and die.”  90% of our brain is not on hold.

Myth: You are either right-or left-brained dominant.

This myth is rooted in scientific data demonstrating that certain areas and sides of the brain control specific functions.  Pop-psychology exploited this information into the myth that we are all divided into two camps: right-brained dominant, creative, or left-brained dominant, logical.  Extensive research and thousands of brain scans prove we use both sides of our brain equally.

Myth: Alcohol kills brain cells.

Biochemist researcher, Roberta Pentney, long ago disproved this myth.  It is true that ethyl alcohol will kill brain cells on contact, but it is so diluted in alcoholic beverages that our bodies process it (mostly the liver) before it gets to our brain cells.  The ‘buzz’ we get from alcohol arises from the effect on neural communication, a temporary circumstance,  without permanent damage when approached with moderate consumption.

Myth: Brain damage is permanent.

Obviously some brain damage is permanent to varying degrees.  Successful repair of brain damage depends on the location and severity of the injury.  It was once believed that we were born with all the brain cells we would ever have.  Research now demonstrates that through the process of “neurogenesis,”  the brain can not only regenerate cells, but reroute them around damaged neurons.

Myth: Your IQ is a fixed number.

IQ, or Intelligence Quotient, is a test score determining how smart you are.  What makes people smart is open to debate. Genetics, environment, and learning opportunity all have a part in  IQ development.  It has been demonstrated that cognitive training can improve IQ scores.

For a fascinating and engaging glimpse into how our brains function, check out “Brain Games,” hosted by Jason Silva, on the Nat Geo Channel.  It can also be viewed on-line by typing ‘watch Brain Games online’ into your search bar.  Want to know more about how your brain works?  I invite you to check out this fun and insightful program.



As with other emotions like fear, anxiety and trauma, anger triggers the ‘fight or flight’ response in the sympathetic nervous system.   Unbridled anger can contribute to heart disease and other related illnesses; it can savage relationships, and lead to regrettable choices and behaviors.

Anger plays an important role in our lives.  It alerts us when something is wrong; it gives us a surge of energy.  Learning to harness the energy of anger allows the healthy expression of this  perplexing and dynamic emotion.

Be honest with yourself.   This requires that you dig deeper.  What is underneath the anger you are feeling: fear, self-loathing, hurt, chronic unhappiness, perfectionism, intolerance, isolation, injustice?  Is your anger response appropriate to the circumstance?

Interrupt anger.  Step back from the situation, emotionally; literally if necessary.  Be aware.  Practice not allowing your anger to escalate.  Slow yourself down.  Breathe!

Exercise.  Take a walk; clean a closet, rake some leaves, do some jumping jacks, laugh.   Movement and laughter help diffuse the physical effects of anger.

Take action.  Once truly  past the episode, decide upon a course of action.  This may mean confronting a friend, loved one or co-worker.  Do it with love and compassion.

Forgive.  We are all human.  Forgiving does not mean forgetting.  If anger  arises from a toxic dynamic, forgetting  sets the stage for the game of uproar to escalate.  Forgiving yourself and the other party allows for different choices.

Anger is not weakness.  Anger is not bad or good.  Anger can motivate us to greatness; think Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

Successfully harnessing the power of anger, being able to direct anger toward positive use, requires learning to control anger, rather than having anger control you.




Looking at a drought map of California is really scary.  Orange, red and deep red colors mark the severity in various regions.  Voluntary water use reduction by residential consumers is not having much success.   According to a survey by state water providers, Californians increased their water use by 1% in May.  This prompted the State Water Board to require water agencies to authorize fines up to $500.00 for water wasters.

Conflicts are arising: brown or green.  In Glendora, residents have been notified that they can be fined $500.00 for not keeping their lawns green.  These short-sighted actions ignore the realities of the current water crisis, especially for farmers and farm workers.

A major study released Tuesday by UC Davis,  warns of the “greatest water loss ever seen in California agriculture.”  Statewide an estimated 428,ooo acres of irrigated cropland has gone out of production.  The cost to California’s economy is estimated at $2.2 billion with a corresponding loss of 17,100 jobs.

Groundwater pumping has also significantly increased.  California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary, Karen Ross stated, we are ready for a “very vigorous discussion” about ground water management.

I confess, it is difficult to watch my lawn turn brown even though it has been my plan since I moved here, to remove it and replace it with a water friendlier landscape.

I find the reflection of the drought in my weekly grocery bill shocking, and I am pretty confident that it is not going to improve any time soon.  I invite you to continue to do your best to conserve this most precious resource.


Summer time equals vacation time.  From the Latin/Greek root, meaning to empty; to have leisure.  For most of us, vacation means a relaxing and enjoyable respite from the rigors of the daily grind.

Europe leads the world in providing the most employee paid vacation time, according to the Center For Economic Policy and Research.  The CEPR also notes that of all the advanced countries only the US does not provide a legal guarantee of paid leave.

One in four Americans has no paid leave.  In May, US Representative Alan Grayson introduced a bill in Congress mandating a minimum one week of paid leave for all US employees.  No action was taken.

Vacations, “staycations” and time away from routine are essential to prevent burnout, relieve stress, recharge  batteries, give  renewed perspectives, and promote overall well-being.

Being self-employed, like many others, I have no paid vacation or paid sick leave.  I once thought I could not afford to take a vacation.  I now know better (see my blog on Burnout).  When I ’empty’ my life of daily pressures and responsibilities and take a few days here and there, not only am I refreshed and recharged, but it goes a long way toward preventing the need to take  sick days.

August is a traditional vacation month here and in Europe.  Whenever you choose, plan carefully and wisely for a time off that suits you and your family, thereby maximizing the health benefits and contribution to a good life.



From the Sanskrit, meaning ‘circle’, the Mandala is a spiritual and ritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism.   In Christianity there are many forms evocative of the Mandala; the Celtic Cross, the Rosary, the Halo, the Crown of Thorns, and the Rosy Cross.

In common use  the Mandala represents the universe, reflecting the macrocosm and the microcosm. It is  used as a practice to help focus attention, establish sacred space, and aid in meditation.

In his autobiography, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, Carl Jung wrote, “I sketched every morning in a notebook a small circular drawing….which seemed to correspond to my inner situation at the time…. Only gradually did I discover what the mandala really is….the Self, the wholeness of the personality, which if all goes well is harmonious.”  Jung believed that the urge to create mandalas emerges when we are going through intense periods of personal growth.

Jungian analyst, Marie Louise von Franz states that, “The mandala serves a conservative purpose, namely, to restore a previously existing order.  But it also serves the creative purpose of giving expression and form to something that does not yet exist, something new and unique….”

If you wish to explore the Mandala, there are many sites available on the internet.  Here is a particularly fun place to start: http://www.colormandala.com/.  I invite you to enjoy the process.


“The sun rises and sets by My power, but it is a silent operation.  It pours forth its heat at midday, silently yet with what great power.  The fog drifts in from the ocean, silently on wings of silver; the tide rises and falls, but at the bottom of the ocean where their power is generated, there is a great quietness.  The seed lies in the ground and comes forth as a mighty tree, and the whole operation of the bringing forth is a silent one….”   Silence so exquisitely described by Eva Bell Werber in The Journey With The Master; Into A Higher Consciousness (DeVorss & Co, Los Angeles, 1950).

As I sit pondering her powerful words, I wonder how many experience silence  in this simple way, especially given the constant din that accompanies daily living.

Werber continues, “Keep poised and quiet.  Much speaking and much running about does not gain for you Power.  Only by becoming still may you know Me, the Indweller of your Soul.”

What a great gift,  to just sit in silence; to be fully in the moment.  This week I invite you to create a few moments of silence for yourself; tap into its power and  feed your Soul.

Word of the Week: