Posts Tagged ‘Toolbox’

Another Tool for Inner Guidance

November 16, 2012 Leave a comment

Michael Harner has given an amazing gift to the world; building on the earlier work of Mircea Eliade, he brought The Way of the Shaman alive for many of us. And I know there are critics of the popularization of this ancient spiritual technology; there will always be critics who are both skeptical and perhaps a little jealous of those who would gain notoriety and fortune by bringing to life a skill or knowledge that might otherwise be lost or set on a shelf as a quaint research subject. And there is some ground for questioning whether the generalization of a culturally specific spiritual technology is appropriate. All I can say to the critics is I have my own personal experiences as both evidence and guidance that these practices can be effective.

For my part I was first exposed to the Harner methods in the late 70s when I did my first journey to connect with a power animal. This was a transformative experience, although I may not have realized it at the time; I have been working with a Shamanic approach to gaining inner guidance since that early beginning. I have journeyed with many teachers learning their techniques and polishing my own, from drumming to rattling, from leading journeys to doing healing work. It is a powerful tool in my toolkit for gaining Inner Guidance.

Typically when I journey I use a frame drum which I beat myself. I do this in a darkened room with only a candle burning for a bit of light. I drum and journey on the wave of the drum, usually traveling to the Lower World to first seek guidance from my power animals. Sometimes I go to them with a specific question or concern. I also travel seeking general guidance on my current situation, circumstances, issues and offering prayers. After meeting up with my power animals and getting their sense of the situation and their guidance, I bless them, thank them and go off exploring other parts of this world. I am also sometimes directed to the Middle and Upper Worlds – more on this another time.

I know this Shaman approach to gaining Inner Guidance works for me because it has proved to be effective in my life. Perhaps most importantly I don’t rely on this one form of seeking but, as you may realize from reading earlier posts on “tools”, I use several approaches to gain insight into my Unconscious Mind, my Higher Self. I know all of these practices I employ work because they almost always cross-check in a non-ambiguous way.

Here’s a quick example of what I mean: on a recent journey to the Lower World I encountered a Snake. This Snake was telling me several contradictory stories; highly dualistic messages. I followed the snake on a return path and encountered a Bear who grabbed the snake and bit it into two parts; she separated the truth from the lie, the light from the dark! That same evening I cast a Gua for I Ching guidance. The accomplished Gua was Shi He (#21), sometimes translated as “biting through.” And a few days later I drew the Tarot card, VIII, which Crowley names Adjustment. The I Ching correspondence to this card is Shi He! The correlations are both fun and insightful. Do you think I should pay attention to this notion of “Biting Through”?

Tools for gaining Inner Guidance are numerous and flexible. They can be as simple as breathing deeply with lowered, unfocused eyes and as complex as consulting the I Ching or traveling to the Lower World on the vibration of a drum. The point is to do it, find methods and tools that work for you. And I recommend at least two approaches to cross-reference the answers. You’ll be amazed at how often the same answer comes through no matter the channel!

“Tools of the Trade” A Commentary from Richard

November 15, 2012 Leave a comment

Have you reviewed the video and commentary by Rosemary from her FREE weekly MuseLetter? I posted them over the past couple of days; if you want to receive them directly you can subscribe here. And today here are my thoughts on the support Rosemary offers for living a conscious life:

In this week’s Video Message and Exploration Rosemary speaks to different tools for inner work and ways to seek inner guidance. This follows the theme from last week as well; inner work during this time of transition, transformation, growth, evolution is critical to maintain balance, resolve and direction. And last week in my commentary I wrote about one of my main tools in my tool box, The Artist’s Way page writing. But this in one of many approaches I use to gain guidance and to confirm I am on the right path.

I have probably used just about all of the tools Rosemary mentions from dowsing with a pendulum (I even make them) to using cards and the I Ching for divination. I draw a couple of cards each day to both set the tone for the day and to gain some insight on the energies. I am currently using the Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue and a tarot deck by Aleister Crowley and Lady Frieda Harris along with The Crowley Tarot handbook by Akron and Hajo Banzhaf. I draw a card from each deck and consider both the individual messages and the integrated message from the two. The Virtue deck brings in a light perspective and is almost always positive in the messages it delivers. The Crowley deck is darker and gives me a more nuanced and shadowy perspective on the day. I enjoy combining these and deriving a sense of what might be in store for me. I am frequently rewarded and never disappointed in these cards’ guidance!

I use the I Ching to determine the energies for the month ahead. I cast a Gua (6-lines, two tri-grams) shortly after each new moon (I just cast a Gua yesterday for the new moon in Scorpio). I use the 50 yarrow stalk method (I even harvested and cut my own stalks from a patch of yarrow I grew in Colorado). I thoroughly enjoy the meditative approach to deriving each Yao (line) for the Gua. Again my focus while doing the work is to look for the patterns and energies ahead for the month. The I Ching is a highly intuitive tool and reminds me a lot of dream interpretation work. I treat the Gua as a map and the names, ideographs, decisions and commentaries as symbols and hints for the journey ahead. It is both fun and entertaining as well as deep and meaningful. Maybe at some point in further writings I’ll share my Guas for the months (moonths) and what I see as the way ahead.

Rosemary concludes her exploration and discussion with the use of alters. Yes, I have one, I always have one. I even have a method I use to take part of my alter with me when I travel. I have been using some of the same components, especially an old piece of leather I use as an alter cloth and wrap for my portable bundle of objects for years. The significance for me in using an alter is the passive grounding energy it brings to my inner work. My writing, drawing cards, casting I Ching Guas are all active methods using tools to gain inner insight. My alter just is; it represents my ground of being. The objects and symbols I choose are parts of me, from knuckle bones to stones, from crystals to statues and fetishes, from element representations to pictures, these are all bits and particles of who I am. They hold space and hold me in that space.

And as Rosemary requested I have included here a picture of my current alter configuration…it may appear to you to be a bit messy and cluttered; maybe that’s how my life is right now! (And maybe its state is pointing the way to some external work I need to do!)






What tools do you use for seeking inner guidance? I’d love to hear your answers; please comment!


November 14, 2012 Leave a comment

Here’s Rosemary’s commentary on her weekly video I posted yesterday. She continues her exploration of tools for accessing our inner guidance, the Knower, the High Self who helps us along our journeys of Conscious Living, to Oneness.

Rosemary writes:

If you were a carpenter, you would have a huge toolbox filled with tools that are designed for each specific task that might be required.  If you are a doctor, your office is outfitted with all the tools that you need.  And I’m sure that whatever you do you have gathered to you the tools that you need to do your work.

But what about those intangibles?  What about the tools that aren’t hammers and scalpels and mixers and computers?  How is your toolbox for Conscious Living Tools?

You might think these are not as important as the tools of your trade but I believe they are even MORE important, for success in your work depends on being successful in your life, and the 21st Century is asking us to increase our spiritual tools.

These are not religious tools, but the ones that fit us into a bigger picture than just the physical life we lead.  Do you have a way to connect with your inner guidance?  This can be meditation, journaling, connecting with Nature.  Sometimes it’s useful to have a physical tool, like a pendulum or an oracle deck of cards.  Do you have an altar, formal or informal, where you can light a candle that communicates to your unconscious mind that you are getting ready to focus inward or pray or send your intentions out to the Universe?

Creating an altar in your personal space is a very powerful way to set an intention and support the manifestation of that intention.  You can do this simply by gathering a few objects that are meaningful to you.  This does not have to be a complicated process or a formal one.  In fact, this is so personal that someone coming into your home might not even realize that the collection of crystals on the windowsill or the candle and pictures, etc. on that side table are really your altar.  What’s important is that you create something that speaks to your unconscious mind every time you see it.

Take a space that will be undisturbed and gather some meaningful objects.  Then add a candle.  I like to use candles in glass so that I can leave them burning for a while without worrying.  (And make sure there are no curtains or other flammables that can blow into them!)  You might like incense and you can certainly have an incense burner on your altar (adds the element of air).  Add pictures of spiritual teachers or loved ones or your vision board.  If you do healing work for others you might keep index cards handy so you can put the names on a card on your altar when you are intending to do healing work.

It’s nice to have the elements represented: water, fire, earth, metal, wood. Some add air to the list.  A plant or flower.  A bowl of water, especially sacred or blessed water.  One or more crystals or rocks.  Use your imagination and tap into your own intuition about what is meaningful to you.

If you use some kind of cards to get a message you can place today’s card on your altar.

Have fun with this!  I have put fruit, pictures, jewelry, gifts I am giving – you name it! Anything you put on your altar gets charged with the energy of your intentions.  If you have a new business card, put one on your altar.  A problem you want to solve?  Write it out and lay this on your altar.  Keep a pendulum or other tool on your altar.  Are you having an issue with a person?  Instead of being upset by them, put a picture or their name on your altar, maybe upside down so you’re not going into the negative energy, but set an intention to heal the problem.

There are lots of ways to use your own energy to bring healing into your life and creating an altar of intention is a powerful way to focus your energy on your desired outcome.  This also helps your unconscious mind know the direction that you want to move so it can support you on your journey.

And I’d love to see your altars!  Send me an email with a picture of your altar.  I’ll gather them on my altar to join with you in manifesting your intentions.

PS: Rosemary’s email:

(I’ll be posting a picture of my alter tomorrow!)

Inspiration from The Divine Feminine: Tools for Inner Guidance

November 13, 2012 Leave a comment

In this video Rosemary offers ways and tools to tap into your inner guidance.

“Tap into Your Inner Guidance” A Commentary from Richard

November 8, 2012 Leave a comment

Have you reviewed the video and commentary by Rosemary from her FREE weekly MuseLetter? I posted them over the past couple of days; if you want to receive them directly you can subscribe here. And today here are my thoughts on the support Rosemary offers for living a conscious life:

Rosemary’s Video and “Exploration” this week offer an excellent way to gain insight into our life, the direction our life is taking and even a method of acquiring that guidance, like our GPS systems acquire the satellites to help us navigate along the highways. And she makes it sound so easy, doesn’t she!

Well, for men this isn’t always the easiest thing to do. In Taoist understanding men have a lot of yang energy, active energy to go out and get things done (even if we are unsure of what it is we are to do at times!). Women have a lot of yin, passive energy to go inside, go quite and seek answers to “what is to be done” – and then to be receptive to what comes in the way of guidance. Taoists teach balance and seek balance between yin and yang energies – receiving and acting. And this is the core of Rosemary’s teaching this week.

It’s important to seek this guidance for a number of reasons; the most prominent is to be sure we are on the route of our “Soul Purpose” our raison d’être. Rosemary throws this out as a given…that we know what our Soul Purpose is, and that we seek the inner guidance to assure ourselves we are on the correct path. But sometimes what we have to seek is that Purpose itself!

Do you know your Soul Purpose? Do you know the answer to your “Big Why?”

Perhaps the answer to this question is the first one to seek inside.

In her commentary Rosemary offers a way to go inside and to get the answers to the big questions. Breathe, tune-in, stay quiet and listen. Listen for any answers, signs, symbols, that come up. Assess these. Separate out the ones that seem judgmental, are coming from ego rather than some deeper place. Note the yin approach to this inner inquiry. It often works quite well for men and women alike.

There are also yang approaches to gaining the guidance our soul urges on us. Rosemary has offered to share additional tools in future videos and commentaries. I look forward to these! Meanwhile I’ll share an approach that has worked well for me.

A number of years ago I read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. I can say that a few books have changed my life; this is one. I follow a practice recommended by Cameron to write out three long-hand pages of text every day, preferably first thing every morning. Cameron calls these “morning pages.” This practice works for me. And it is a way for me to “tap into my inner guidance.” Note the yang, active approach to this method. The guidance comes as I empty my mind and simply write what comes. In a way it is like “following the breath” in meditation practice; I follow my pen…

There are many ways to seek inner guidance. Active, passive, with words, symbols, studying our dreams, following our breath. The key is to first quiet the mind, the ego, to do the listening, active or passive; then to trust the guidance and follow it. And this is why we call it “practice.” It’s a life-long pursuit!




PS: In addition to the many tools to tap into your inner guidance there are ways to determine and expand on your Soul Purpose. Rosemary offers an incredible and comprehensive approach to this through Scientific Hand Analysis. If you are unsure of your Big Why? check out the details on Rosemary’s Website


November 6, 2012 Leave a comment

In this video Rosemary urges everyone to pause, take a breath and check in with our “inner guidance system” – our own internal GPS! We all have these, built in. Too often, especially men, we tend to ignore this system. But the language is there for us to use and learn from; e.g. “gut-check.” That’s right, when we do a gut-check or rely on our gut instincts we are using this human GPS. The trick is to become very intentional about “tapping in” and doing the check. And then the second trick is to trust the guidance!

“Are You Flipping Out Over Something?” A Commentary by Richard

October 29, 2012 Leave a comment

As I indicated last week when I posted Rosemary’s video from her MuseLetter (subscribe here) I am posting my thoughts on that video on my blog. Without further introduction, my thoughts:

I was particularly struck by the topic this week: Flip-Out.  In fact I too often find myself flipping-out and almost always over very small things. Computers suddenly running slow, or even worse, crashing for unknown reasons; a lost item, like keys; a negative checking account balance when there should be plenty of cash available; a credit card that inexplicably fails to work (and this is worst if it’s a client’s charge that won’t go through!); the dog’s 2:00 am need…the list can be nearly endless! Are these life and death issues; of course not. But in our hustle-bustle lives they do add fuel to the fire of an already hot burn life-style that keeps pace with a 21st Century clock!

Is it a particularly male thing to flip-out over small things? Rosemary goes through life at a pretty calm clip; her life is just as complicated as mine. She writes and speaks this week about a “Toolbox of Resources.” Well, I’m a pretty resourceful guy; I’m on the journey with her. And yet my fuse is so much shorter. But I’m ready to learn these lessons; the 2×4 upside the head is beginning to hurt, get through to me!

I am examining my tools and resources. In the last few months I have rediscovered the Tao, the ancient Chinese philosophy known as The Way. I have read fairly extensively about Taoism, studied it as part of my seminary program, practiced off and on through authors such as Mantak Chia, studied and memorized sections of Lao-Tzu’s Taoteching, consulted the I Ching, and practiced Tai Chi. And recently I found an excellent Qigong instructor who has brought me back to this Way. And there are some significant tools and resources to be found here.

Managing my “flip-out moments” is certainly a skill I am working on. An emotion I frequently reach for in these moments is “anger” in its various forms. I can too easily flash to a white heat over some relatively small irritation. I cool quickly and then realize the exaggerated reaction as an unproductive response to the situation. And I ask myself, “why the unbalanced reaction?” And, “why the wasted energy?”

The Chinese Masters identify anger as one of the obstacles to finding The Way. In addition to wanting to reduce my expenditure of energy on a wasted emotion, I want to overcome this obstacle. And, oh by the way, mastering anger will go a long way toward improving my environment!

In the Taoist traditions negative emotions, like Anger, can be transmuted into their corresponding virtues; in the case of Anger the work is to transmute it to Creativity or Resourcefulness. Wow! What if my wasted anger energy can be channeled into creative energy? What a concept!

This is not as easy as it sounds, however. But in my mind it is clearly worth the effort; I choose creativity over anger, calm over flip-out, any day! Rosemary mentions meditation as an approach to “hit the pause button” in the midst of over-reaction (or better yet before the reaction even occurs!). Qigong is often referred to as “Meditation in Motion” and I am finding this practice is a way to pull my energy and my resources, my consciousness, into the present moment when I can be fully aware of my environment, my reaction at any given moment to the environment and to then respond appropriately. When I am very, very present I can actually catch myself on the verge of anger and quickly seek a creative response, diverting the anger into resourcefulness! I have a long way to go to catch myself every time, or even often! But it’s good work for the journey!

Guys, Rosemary has many ways to channel the flip-out mode into presence of mind. Her toolbox is filled with fun things and even some neat toys! Sometimes it may seem easier just to go with the reactive emotion of the moment; but too often the consequences of the easy route bite painfully.

Flip-out reaction or creative response? The choice is yours if you are willing to do the work!



PS: Beginning today, Monday, October 29, Rosemary is offering you a new way to add to your toolbox! She is holding a FREE half-hour call of wisdom and guidance for Conscious Living; to support you Living Your Richest Life! As Einstein said: No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it. Lift your consciousness and lift yourself!

Click Here for the call-in details; it’s FREE!

ROSEMARY’S COMMENTARY: Are You Flipping Out Over Something?

October 26, 2012 Leave a comment

As I mentioned yesterday when I posted Rosemary’s video here, I am today posting her commentary on that insightful post. And on Monday I’ll post my commentary specifically targeted to my readers here! Stay tuned…

And here’s Rosemary:

It seems today as if there is always something to ‘Flip Out’ over!  What has you feeling this way today?

I sometimes hear clients longing for simpler lives or less stress or at least less drama in their lives, but they are really wishing for something to change about their circumstances without a thought to how they can change themselves.

Flipping Out happens when we don’t have enough resources in our tool box to deal with what is happening in our environment.  If you can reach into your Resource Tool Box and pull out just what you need to do in this circumstance, then you just do that and there’s no need to get too excited.  But how often are you perfectly prepared for exactly what is going on?

Let me say here that I am not talking about going into denial and pretending that nothing big is happening!  Sticking your fingers in your ear and singing, ‘La, la, la, la!’ won’t manage the stress of the circumstances, although, I admit, sometimes that seems like an attractive behavior choice.  Denial invites the Universe to keep bringing the lesson to us, over and over again, with perhaps more severity each time until we learn what we are to learn.

What tools have you been developing to prepare you for whatever might come your way?  Are you on a path of constant personal growth, seeking new skills, finding new opportunities to explore ideas?  Are you committed to your own personal, spiritual growth as a journey of exploration?  How you answer these questions will determine how well you can handle what happens around you.

Just as an athlete doesn’t wake up one morning and decide to win a gold medal in discus throwing without training for that exact sport, so, too, must you train for the circumstances that haven’t yet come into your life.

When the doctor says, ‘There’s something of concern going on here,’ or you get the phone call that, ‘There’s been an accident,’ how will you respond?

I pray that you never hear those words but it could be something else that throws you for a loop and the resources must already be available to you or you will find it more difficult to cope.

So what are you doing today, this week, this year to expand the tools in your Resource Tool Box?  Are you taking a class?  Working with a coach/counselor?  Reading self-help books?  In a group with speakers who teach you tools?  Attending seminars and conferences with content-rich programs for personal growth?

This is not an activity that can be postponed indefinitely!  Now is the time to prevent Flip Out!

Learning meditation can be a great start.  Breathe, hit the pause button, take a moment to collect yourself.  Allow thoughts to arise but to keep flowing onward, without attaching to the thoughts.  Give yourself permission to focus on your breath and to let go of thoughts and emotions that come up for you.  Give yourself permission to simply BE.

Sign up for a class on a psychological or spiritual topic that intrigues you.  Read a book that someone has recommended to you.  Find a group of explorers that you can join to study new ideas.  Work with a coach who can help you to develop the tools that are best for you.

Fill up the Resource Tool Box and you’ll be ready if and when something happens.  Won’t it be nice to have the confidence of knowing that, even if you never need to use the tools, you won’t have to resort to ‘Flipping Out’?