The 3rd Annual Reading of the Animal Spirit Cards: October 2020 – September 2021

Before we begin just an introduction. This is the deck Susan uses. She uses the grid the book outlines for the annual read. And each draw is specific for the person for whom the draw is intended. So with that in mind, this article is really about the process of, and my own results.

Oyster –  Year Ahead

The oyster card has been revealed as your card for the entire year.  Anything you put your mind to you will achieve with grace and charm.  The key is to not allow shyness or doubt, as it may result in your hiding away your inner gifts, and not expressing your deepest desires and being on purpose regarding your life’s work.  Identify what you’ve been resistant to share.  You already know your life’s work is in the healing arts, using your voice, your energy, your hands, and a joyful kindness to those ends.  The world awaits you sharing these things.

  Balance generous masterful blissful connected to spirit

  Imbalance reluctance gripping clams up

  Correction sharing something 

October 2020 Turtle
Earth and water help you to connect to the deeper truths in life – and when this card appears it reminds you to keep (journal) and tell (share) the deeper truths of your life experience as discovered while adventuring

  Balance peaceful adventurous productive

  Imbalance  slows to a halt

  Correction Adventure!! 

November 2020 Snake 
This card  is the metaphor for the uncoiling of kundalini and  the expression of shakti in the now! Now is the time to uncoil the life force and go for it.  

  Balance prosperous creative charismatic 

  Imbalance starting and stopping and jumping around not finishing anything 

  Correction kundalini activation plus meditation

US Election 2020 Supplemental Card Draw 

I asked for specific information regarding the outcome of the US Election for obvious reasons.  And I am attempting to interpret this – having asked for awareness about how to interpret the drawn card.  Normally Spider in this deck is considered to be quite an auspicious card, and I have no reason to think otherwise now.  I’m guided to simply share what the card says: “ The Spider is an ingenious creator.  Its greatest gift is weaving the thread of dharma into a vast intricate web that supports the spider (and those around it) both financially and spiritually.  It is hard work, but the spider neither tires nor becomes impatient.  This card reminds us creativity is everywhere.  Be process oriented rather than results- oriented and soon your work becomes like the weaving of a magical, priceless tapestry.  Abundance follows. 

  Balance appreciative, enthusiastic, prosperous

  Imbalance discouraged, tired, forlorn (sounds like the current situation)

Correction playful creativity

My interpretation of this is very positive. We have been living in the imbalance of spider energy for 4 years at the level of the elected official, of social and racial injustice, environmental negligence, of lies, rancor authoritarianism, theft and division. That list goes on and on, and even just looking at the correction here to restore balance encourages playful creativity. Sure COVID-19 has forced us all to get creative, but there is a sense of lack of playfulness, and I am reading this card draw as a return to that – as a direct result of the election. There is mention of hard work ahead, and that’s a given, but overall that work will become rewarding and we all will begin to experience benefits of that work, so much so that we will begin to see it as dharmic – and the rewards will be both spiritual AND financial.

December Lizard
The lizard is a representation of precognition, very much HSP and as such can be drained when overstimulated- this card means it’s time to pull back from bright lights and big city and return to the inner artist

  Balance artistic telepathic spiritual

  Imbalance elusive non-comittal flaky 

  Correction a creative project

January Camel
The camel card represents self reliance and ability to handle anything, and is an expert at bringing opposites into balance. 

  Balance calm content sparkle in eye

  Imbalance dehydrated lacks vitality

  Correction a pilgrimage (or trip to far away land)

February Dragonfly  
This card reminds us to consider the quality of our mind.  A situation may be different than it first appears; calm the mind so the light of wisdom can shine through 

  Balance sees clearly joyful magical

  Imbalance can’t concentrate busy mind

  Correction focus on the breath

March Tarantula

An impending dharmic choice!  At this time you will have the opportunity to let go of a routine from the past which is sidetracking you from your dream and highest purpose – refocus your attention so that your deeper purpose becomes your priority. 

  Balance follows intuition

  Imbalance hesitates, over thinking 

  Correction daily journaling 

April Stingray
This card represent another dharmic choice; a pivotal point in personal growth (likely growing out of March’s Tarantula) Why would this be a problem? Sometimes friends and family make the decision complicated (as they’re used to the status quo).  Possible business  sale? (Came up intuitively) 

  Balance eager wanting to grow

  Imbalance blames others, quits

  Correction move through the discomfort (boundaries / steadfastness) 

May Unicorn
This is a special card; A Spirit Card.  Spirit cards represent awakenings on the subtle level.  This is a crossroads in that regard. It’s important to KNOW that as this card is drawn, it is not YOU who is in charge. It is Grace.  The Unicorn represents the 3rd Eye 👁 and reconnecting to divinity.  It’s about questioning exploring and and contemplating the inexplicable.  The mind’s eye knows there’s much beyond that day to day – a deeper dimension to our experiences.  You are the unicorn and have begun your quest for the answers.

And as far as I am concerned, the pathway to Grace amounts to compassion, and more compassion. So much that Grace can enter.

June Wolf
It’s my birthday month!   What is my favorite thing?  Water adventures with family. This card reminds you that although the Wolf has the mission of keeping the pack healthy through activism and mentoring, he needs to consider that others may not follow suit.   The Wolf has reasons and rules, but is wise in not being absolutist. Others in the pack have unique experiences and ideas, and a healthy pack requires both diversity and inclusion. Remember Wolf: embrace all, exclude none.

  Balance reliable democratic fearless

  Imbalance judgmental dominating

  Correction practice letting go (and embracing others uniqueness

July Crocodile
When this card appears it reminds us that NOW is the time to CONSCIOUSLY withdraw, turn inward, wait and put off decisions. This is the time to gather information and energy, and observe.  By filling up one’s vital reserves, one’s next move can come from a place of wisdom and power.

  Balance wise, patient, silent powerhouse

  Imbalance feeling stuck, and lashing out

  Correction rest, makarasana pose (A is a chin supported cobra, B is shalabasana with the hands behind the neck)

August Firefly
Firefly represents the kind of inspirational energy that creates songs and symphonies, poems and inventions.  When this card appears it reminds us to not only be aware of the inspirational moment, but also to tap into this, be open to it, and express it!

  Balance writing, creating, brainstorms

  Imbalance burned out, feeling dull

  Correction write a poem, a song, draw, vision board

September Owl

Owl is my Power Animal Totem, I discovered through Shamanic Journeying! When this card, the white owl, appears, it is a sign that a boon or treasure is on the way.  It may be spiritual and or material – but owl wisdom means that you will see and know exactly what to do with this gift of abundance.  It reminds you that the wellspring of treasures is infinite. 

  Balance generosity, trusting, secure

  Imbalance money quarrels, scarcity

  Correction make an offering

This is one of the most endearing and unflinchingly optimistic reads I have ever had.  Who am I to deny that?

Thanks for taking the time to read, and leave me a like or a comment below, I always reply.

The Harvest Moon of October 1, 2020

It’s been my life experience that the full moon can be a high energy experience. So many memories of being a kid in Michigan running as hard as I could, sucking in the fresh cold air, streets paths and trails lit by the moon… seemingly running full out, endlessly and almost always in the cold months of which there were between 8 and 9 every year.

Exhilarating to say the least.

I think it’s safe to say the full moon has a special energy. We have all heard the stories and anecdotes about “must be a full moon”… and then proceed to tell some crazy story.

The movie that comes to mind is “Moonstruck”. Often the full moons of fall are visually stunning because they appear to somehow be closer, they rise earlier after sunset, and often are closer to the horizon. This makes for stunning photos – often with scenery and landmarks we don’t often see associated with. October 2020 is a bit of a rarity this year – there’s a full moon on 10/1, and a second on 10/31 known as a blue moon and yes that’s where the expression comes from – and also it’s Halloween

So what can we expect on the October Harvest Moon? I suppose it’s possible we might meet the bread baker with the prosthetic hand who loves opera with a passion that ignites our soul, but it’s also possible we might simply find some commonality with others at this time experiencing the same gravity of the alignment of celestial bodies, and the visual beauty of the event itself.

As one dips into the treasure trove that is the internet, this harvest moon is quite striking in it’s highly charged energy. Mars in retrograde seems to rule the charts – and is expressed as pent up frustration and seething anger. It is highly charged energy and impulsive. While it may be healthier and more productive to attempt to express this using flexibility and adaptation helping us to meet the extremes, I think it’s safe to say we can expect to see an intensification of what we are experiencing: Outrage, Rebellion and Rioting. In fact there was almost nothing I could find that would quell the fury set to be unleashed over the next couple of weeks. The influence of Uranus at this time creates further instability.

So if you are one (I am) who takes advantage of knowing ahead of time what to expect, and who can create some introspective and adaptive strategies, then great let’s do that. Know we are not alone. At all. And the the planets are amplifying the rancor of our times. What I intend to do is as follows (and please know I am not “@”ing you)
1. Know that shit is about to get crazy
2. Be prepared for this sort of intensity, and plan for healthy ways to release this
3. Understand that work and home relationships may experience turmoil now too, and try to be cool and deal with it compassionately by understanding a portion of it is in fact the planetary influences.
4. For the Highly Sensitive Individuals – do what we do best: take alone time, preferably in nature, away from crowds and noise, and keep it simple.

The opportunity to take a bad situation and make it worse is full on.

Please keep in mind that these moon phases effect each chart differently, and so as they say in all the best ads “results may vary”, and I certainly do not want to be guilty of giving anyone a problem they don’t have.

In fact along those lines, I am supplying you with a link to an article I really enjoyed in Bustle. In it is a little insight into each sun sign and how you might be influenced. Keep in mind though that you are not your sun sign. You are a complex organism, and your chart is as unique as you are. Here is that link: and I don’t mind saying that their take on Sag was by far my favorite. Kinda feeling a little Sag Envy atm.

I feel like we covered a lot! With that in mind, let me spend just a minute or two on the part of this that’s most fruitful for me. And that is spending a minute to tap into my own intuitive wisdom regarding the Harvest Moon.

Using my intuitive side what I plan to do is first and foremost tune in to my inner energy, or vibe, if you will. If I am feeling tense and nervous and maybe angry, quick tempered or judgmental – to know it may very well be related to the moon at this time. At the same time, look at the issue, and do not bypass if it’s a legit boundary breaker. Second – exercise and sleep. Intimacy, for sure is a great energy shifter too. I personally have a number of things coming to fruition in October, and so keeping it really real is going to be very important. Sometimes the boldest moves are the ones that are also your building blocks. For me it’s finding a balance between work and play, and between adventure and routine. As I write this I already have envisioned an outline for that.

I really enjoy comments when you’re kind enough to take the time to reflect. I learn so much more from you than I do any other way. Thanks for taking the time to read this and let’s get together soon.

The September 2020 New Moon in Virgo: what does it mean for us?

We know the human body is 60% water and the Earth is 70% water – and we know the alignment of the Earth – the Moon – and the Sun can effect tides. We can safely assume those same celestial relationships effect every cell in our body too. That’s why it makes sense to pay some attention to the planets, their movements and positions, and we can glean some information both on a research level and on an intuitive level as to how these relationships can be showing up in our lives.

On a personal intuitive level this New Moon represents more than anything the beginning of the shift in seasons. I notice more of a breeze. I notice a drop in the morning temperatures, and am experiencing both shorter days and a little less humidity. It’s not just me, either – I can see leaves on trees just beginning to change, and how plants including flowers have begun their shift. It’s the onset of Vata season in Ayurveda, and my favorite time of the year – my Pitta dosha loves cooler weather, and my heart and soul crave my being more ethereal and airy – and this comes in fall. For me, being asked to write this and being inspired to write this are very very clear indicators of the power of this New Moon in Virgo. It’s not just about having an idea, it’s about getting it done.

If one does some research on the New Moon in Virgo – we learn that there’s a feeling or emphasis on the energy of sorting out life’s stuff, but with an intention. And that intention is assessing life’s stuff so that we can create a better life flow. It’s a good time to create lists: what we have to do, what we want to do, what we don’t want to do, schedules, work / life balance, fitness, love and sex. More important than the actual lists though is the intention: At this time we will find we possess the energy to carry through. That appears to be the energy of Jupiter assisting us in accomplishing, not merely planning. The energy is on organizing, becoming more efficient, creating a savings plan, finding a new job, launching a fitness plan, getting in sync with your lover… and if we take a little time to do the organizing and planning we will receive huge dividends in the coming months, too, as we have added power to manifest these changes. So launch that fitness program, send your lover your link for calendars, and who knows, learn about micro-dosing mushrooms. Whatever it is that comes up for you, organize and do. Better Love. Better Work. Better Health.

Something else coming up for me intuitively that bears mentioning at this time is Mars being in retrograde from 9/9 until 11/13. Mars the God of War, moving backwards. It’s actually working almost completely in opposition to the effects of the New Moon in Virgo. This may look and feel like
* lack of motivation
* lack of ambition
* lack of libido

It’s pretty much the opposite of the new moon. Usually when a retrograde occurs I do this:
1. Read up on and understand to potential impacts of the retrograde
2. Slow down enough to be more conscious of coming into alignment with it
3. Doing the things that are supported during the retrograde.

We are dealing with ‘heaviness’ and a loss of ‘inertia’ and just knowing that helps explain some of the “why” of why do I feel this way when there’s no obvious reason. In the case of the Mars Retrograde – if we just accept there might be heaviness or density, then carefully move through that (and in this case it’s often relationship energy) we may find it’s as simple as talking to each other and keeping it simple.

It really plays into the new moon where the power to complete balances out the heaviness. The power of the new moon and our ability to sort and plan can really help us in the next few months, and it’s worth walking through the density of the Mars retrograde.

Leave me your thoughts and results in the comments section below.

The Climate Reality Project

For the past 9 days for about 2-4 hours per day, I have been involved in the first ever streaming training for the Climate Reality Project. The training began Friday July 17th and ended last night Sunday July 26th. Through the use of live streaming and zoom meetings, and prepared presentations I was able to get my mind around just how huge a subject this is, and how interwoven climate change is in our lives. And not just locally, but globally.

Although I have long been an advocate for Earth Stewardship, it was only recently I became aware of The Climate Reality Project, on the web at . I attended the Sierra Club meeting in 1996 (or possibly 1997) on climate change, and was long involved as a sustainable trails person. Before that I have been an outdoorsman pretty much my entire life.

So what changed? Why now??

It really comes down to two things:

  1. The increasing belligerence of humans empowered by the current American regime who choose to roll back protections, who gaslight and bully climate change proponents through social media, and who deny climate change in spite of the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
  2. Coronavirus and the resulting need to social distance in a public health effort to flatten the curve of viral pandemic has resulted in this training shifting to an online format for now, meaning I would not have to take time off from work or life or even travel to a destination to train. And because I had the time there were no longer any viable objections except for feeling ‘coronatired’, which has in fact effected many of us on a daily basis.

The Climate Reality Project came about after the film “An Inconvenient Truth” ( ) — As Mr. Gore states – he was inundated in the aftermath by people asking “What are you going to do about this”. And this movement was what was born from that film. Making the project global was a necessary step – it’s a global issue, and to be honest, people tune out when they hear something is from the US. Yes this country’s reputation globally is not good.

Another good resource is the documentary “Before the Flood” which although completely unrelated, documents the same problem in a very even handed way. Here’s a link for that website: .

The thing that’s been on my mind recently is that I would like to try to assist the people I know and admire on social and help give them tools when dealing with climate deniers. I still do not think any matter can be resolved through the use of confrontation on social, and so I feel we must all become foot soldiers for carrying the message of climate reality, and take on these battles from an educational standpoint. We must teach those who are willing to learn, and then let them carry the message too. And if we are confronting a person, to do so face to face, or mask to mask.

Over the next few weeks and months, as I delve into doing this work, I will keep you posted. For now, I would like to keep this short and simple, and say these two things:

1. It has begun
2. Be the change you wish to see in the world today.

That’s all for now,

The Great Pause

Stepping Out of the Matrix

During an Ashtanga Yoga Immersion taught by the excellent teacher David Keil taken at Balance Yoga in Atlanta David was fielding the question of how we as students might choose to leave the mat during a Mysore style practice. For those of you who do not know, Ashtanga is taught in 2 ways. There are ‘lead classes’ and there are Mysore style classes. In a lead class, there is a specific sequence of yoga asana taught in a specific order, and each breath is associated with a movement, and all breaths are counted. A lead class is most often called a ‘Lead Primary’ and it is how a group can synchronously practice the Primary Series. There is also a ‘Lead Intermediate’ which is taught much less often, probably because so few students can complete the practice. The Mysore style class is one where you get to the class during a time period when the studio is open, and then independently practice your practice. During your practice an instructor will come by, either to offer an assist, help with a difficulty, or perhaps make a correction the student may not know they are doing.

So now that I have given you a tiny bit of background let me go back to David discussing the question of ‘leaving your mat’. He is a really excellent teacher with a deep knowledge of the practice, it’s history, and also of functional anatomy. He is a dispeller of myths, and a destroyer of dogma. This makes him even more of an important style of teacher because he encourages us to engage in inquiry and not accept ‘because that’s how it’s done’ mentality.

David does not encourage sloppiness in practice. He does encourage us to take care of ourselves. His mantra may be described as ‘we practice in such a way today that we may practice again tomorrow.’ This is the foundation of a lifetime, sustainable and evolving practice. When it comes to something as simple as a potty break, I have actually heard people say ‘more mulhabandha, stay on your mat’… David on the other hand said something to this effect; If you must step of your mat, simply finish your vinyasa. Come to standing (samasthithi) and then step out of the matrix.

This gives us a logical and energetic entry and exit point. I use it whenever I am doing that practice.

During this time, The Great Pause, we have been dealing with obviously the pandemic Novel Coronavirus and COVID19. The entire planet has been functioning together in a public health initiative to flatten the curve (curb the rate of transmission or Rt) and help prevent unnecessary suffering and death.

I am observing there are many and varied matrices that I gradually had accepted as ‘my life’, and all of these ended suddenly when I had to furlough my staff and close my office, except for the more dire of emergency care. During this time I awaited profesional mandates as to how we could safely take care of patients. I have a moral obligation to protect my family, and my staff, and their families. I have an ethical responsibility to my patients. It is not okay to abandon patients. On the other hand, I had to weigh being told to stand down, stay home, and wait.

After a month of waiting, watching and processing all of the rapidly changing news, we in dentistry were finally given a set of interim guidelines for treating people. The we had to actually get supplies (PPE or Personal Protective Equipment) and create a logistic workflow. Supplies were backordered and then rationed. So we have to order more supplies every other day or so. But we stepped out of the matrix that said be as busy as you can – and stepped into a new reality of universal precautions on steroids. And that’s where I am with that right now. I am fully aware there may be a second wave of transmission as we have seen it’s been impossible for many people to live without some income (me included) and then there are the others who when faced with discomfort, erupted in protest, carrying weapons, demanding their rights to, let’s say, get a haircut or a manicure were being trampled. That’s their matrix. At the same time we saw cops in NYC passing out masks to white people in overcrowded parks not adhering to mandates or social distancing, we saw cops in other parts of NYC beating POC for playing in the street or being out on the front step.

Not minutes away, thousands are dying in the local hospitals.

This pause has given me so much room to do these things:

  1. Allow time to expand (stop rushing)
  2. Stop commuting. ( I was driving to a shala that sometimes was as much as an hour away with traffic, and doing that 5-6 days a week)
  3. Reboot an outdoor daily activity (for me walking)
  4. Tune in to my intuition (easier without all the noise)
  5. Connect with my own children, family, loved ones, staff on a daily basis
  6. Try some new things (like online continuing education, yoga zoom classes)
  7. and finally, really look at a long term pattern, which is the subject of the next paragraph.
    Two Octobers ago I was injured during an adjustment in a Mysore class taught by a senior instructor. As a result, I had to give up most of the 2nd half of Primary and the shoulderstand sequence in the closing postures. It was still not getting well.

    I began to develop pain in the hamstring attachments, which was getting worse everyday, not better. Not with modifications. Not with blocks.

    Then, during the first few days at home I signed up for some Zoom Mysore classes. It was during the second one I had an epiphany that enabled me to really step out of the matrix again. My awareness was that no amount of forward folding was ever going to alleviate my pain on forward folding. Seems so obvious now.

    I am now 10 weeks into my healing regimen, and I need to share that yesterday was the first time I had no pain in my sit bones. I see great value in having a regular practice of yoga asana – there are so many benefits. Being able to step out of the matrix and experience healing is not something I could have done without The Great Pause.

    I have a plan for how I want to intuitively handle my next 5 months regarding my health. This too is as a result of what is going on. And I have been walking my daily walks, with increasing joy and reawakening my love of photography and nature. I have also attended Yin and Restorative and Pranayama classes online – as well as a guided meditation class that instantly became my grounding and intention setting place each Sunday night.

    I have designs laid out that will enable me to resume practice when it is safe for me to do so. That sentence has been a recurring theme for me during the pandemic and its pause. It’s actually very calm, and very empowering to be in this space on a personal level.

    I am sharing this with you today in hopes that perhaps one tiny thing will be of aid to you moving forward. It is not my desire to offend, compare, or humble brag (shit is still pretty fucked up, and I am not healthy yet, and work is much harder, and I won’t even veer off into social / political / earth and economic issues which seem to be building intense pressure as we move into pitta season)

    Lastly I want to thank my best old friend Peter Weiler. He called me on day 1 of quarantine, simply to say ‘I love you’ and it really set the tone for my life moving forward. Peter and I have been friends many years now. We don’t talk often, but he has assumed the role of a prophet for me.

Is it in the cards? Volume 2

For the second year, Susan pulled out her deck of ‘Animal Spirit’ cards and laid out a grid, like last year, which consists of 13 cards.  Each card represents a month, and the central card represents the year.

The idea here is that of course our hours, days and months will be what they will be, however these cards give us clues as to ways we might find ourselves particularly imbalanced, but most importantly, remedies we can take to find alignment.

My insight during this process was as follows:  we set the intention for the cards to bring our attention to matters and to be accurate.  Then as we reveal the cards, take notes, with special attention to balance, imbalance and remedy.

Animal Spirit Card Reading October 2019 through September 2020

  • October 2019 Cobra

A teacher or guardian — (your inner wisdom, and those special people who show up as mentors and guides) will appear – what are you ready to learn.

When in balance – a student of life, humble and wise.
Imbalance – know it all, egocentric
Remedy: Take classes and study to find balance

  • November 2019 Deer

Deer represents feminine energy- absolute gentleness and compassion-

When in balance – receptive, compassionate, nurturing
Imbalance – concerned, protective
Remedy: Spend time in nature, or with children to return to balance

  • December 2019 Horse

The most masterful form of Earth energy! Expansive energy, momentum and freedom. Daily practice physical stamina and meditation

When in balance: Achieves anything, never gives up
Imbalance: runs away
Remedy: Strength training to restore balance.

  • January 2020 Fox

The fox is about staying true to those most dear, reconnect to those who are slipping away.

Balance – magical, ingenious, teacher, monogamous
Imbalance – sneaky, uncertain of their identity
Remedy: Partnership and connection brings balance

  • February 2020 Panther

The Panther is about annihilation of the unnecessary. Havoc! Uncomfortable! Devastating! But for the better.

When in balance – brave and productive
Imbalance – self-destructive
Remedy: Bring into balance by getting rid of the unnecessary

  • March 2020 Bear

The bear card is about awakening from slumber. The cusp of personal transformation.

Balance – inner strength, desire to grow
Imbalance – withdrawn, lethargic, heavy
Remedy: To balance – movement and exercise

  • April 2020 Scorpion

Passionate and determined, career is important, as are a few select friends.  It’s time to come clean about feelings. 

Balance – wild and free, fierce
Imbalance – jealous, resentful, unresolved
Remedy: To bring into balance try honesty and forgiveness.

  • May 2020 Bee

Love group efforts and to be able to add creative touches to them.

Balance: content, active, vibrant
Imbalance: overworked, annoyed
Remedy: To bring into balance – a mini vacation

  • June 2020 Starfish

A tendency to be caught up in the shallow, the outward appearance – and to put aside dreams to please others.

Balance uplifting positive artistic
Imbalance gossip emptiness
Remedy: to bring into balance positive friends

  • July 2020 Golden Egg

Find a place of deep and restful ease — ask the thing that is heaviest in your heart then be open to the answer. The golden egg is the heart chakra, the unstruck sound, anahata. To become a master of this energy, one must become comfortable with being vulnerable. During meditation listen and feel for the sense of the presence of an old friend, then, again, listen.

July then, is a time to deepen my meditation practice, with an emphasis on heart chakra balancing.

  • August 2020 Lizard

The Lizard is about the 6th sense of clairvoyance. This can lead to fatigue: too much noise, travel, over-stimulation, crowds… The card says it’s time to withdraw, and return to the inner artist.

Balance: artistic, telepathic, spiritual
Imbalance: Elusive, non-committal, flaky
Remedy: Return to balance with a creative project

  • September 2020 Buffalo

Grounded on Earth, heart and mind rise toward the heavens.

Balance – trusting, pure presence
Imbalance – restless, lacking gratitude
Remedy: To bring to balance: prayer and bhakti

  • Year 2020 Turtle

Turtle energy is behind all the great story tellers, and this potent energy enables us to close all the other books and tell our own true story.

Balance – peaceful, adventurous, and productive
Imbalance – slows to a halt
Remedy: To restore to balance – Adventure!!!

I found this reading to be inspiring, and incredibly positive.  Intuitively I picked up that the ‘worst’ case scenario is in one year finding myself in exactly the same place – inertia – stuck – and to be honest that is not all that bad.  On the upside is the potential to have expanded in a way that I could not at this time envision such change if I was asked to guess at where I might be 12 months from now.

In a wonderful bit of synchronicity, Susan’s Year card was Zebra, whose remedy for imbalance was ‘epic adventure’.  Adventure has been part of the core of our time together and one of the reasons our relationship works.  And here we find ourselves with a wonderfully aligned remedy for our imbalances (which are different), and it’s a thing we both thrive on.

As you can see from the photos, we laugh a lot during these things.


Synchronicity in Bicycle Building

As you may or may not know about me, I have been building bicycles since I was a kid.  Wrenching these things was gifted to me by my grandfather who bought me my own toolbox and a 1956 NSU motorcycle, and then taught me how to rebuild a Bing single-slide carburetor.  He was an aficionado of fine vintage automobiles and motorcycles, and enlisted me in the process of test driving the motorcycles he restored.  My interest in bicycles grew naturally, starting in around 6th grade, and my prized possession was a blue Schwinn Sting-Ray, which was stolen from a friends back yard.  Although crushed by the lost, I spent the bulk of my 7th grade year setting aside quarters until I’d amassed enough money to get a Gazelle Tour de l’avenir (Basically a knock off of the Raleigh Gran Prix)… This was a bike I rode constantly, and constantly upgrading.

It wasn’t until after I finished grad school and was into a career, and when my interest in running was temporarily waning that a friend, Peter, introduced me to the sport of mountain biking.  It was love at first sight.  The bikes were big, sophisticated klunkers designed to be both light and strong, and withstand the rigors of riding over rocks and fallen trees and all manner of stupidity.  They reminded me very much of the leggy motorcycles of the early 1900’s I’d grown up riding in the fields of South Bend Indiana.

For many years I bought frames and built some nicely spec’d out rigs for the trails.  I began collecting bikes by mistake, with a family to take camping there was always a need for a new bike.  But like all things after a time they pass, and so I sold off all but one of the mountain bikes (keeping a Dean Titanium single-speed, which found new life as an urban commuter bike, running 700c wheels), and a old style titanium newspaper boy bike which was lovingly dubbed ‘Frankenbike’ by my mountain biking buddies, and which was always a favorite at festivals.

More about these bikes in a follow up post, I promise.

In my always too long winded way, I have come to the point of telling the intended story.  I have for the last 2 years gotten back into building really gorgeous bikes.  Not your everyday kind of bike, but like, bicycles that are 1/2 art and 1/2 functional mechanical thingies!   And that leads me to this tale, which honestly is one of my favorite of all tales.

It’s one of my favorites because it combines three elements I love about life:
1. Being in a creative space where I excel (that is envisioning a thing and being able to bring it to fruition using my own two hands)
2. Unconditional giving.
3. Synchrodestiny.

When my oldest son Bryan had his bike stolen off his back porch at Occidental College in LA, I decided I’d gift him my Dean Ti SS, but modify it.  When he relocated to Blacksburg VA to teach full time there, I modified the Dean into an everyday commuter with a 1×10 drive-train.  Nice project.   But recently he had expressed a desire to hook up his girlfriend with a bike.   We discussed this and it had the feel of a ‘perfect journey’ to me, and took it on.

23d1adc5-a1f1-4efc-abae-3f5aad3bee32-684-0000004ac18d7df5As I researched frames, styles, trends, and history, I had my ‘A ha!’ moment recalling how I had once bought a Bianchi Milano for my then wife.  It was the coolest little whip.  Light, agile, easy, and a bunch of super cool features – it was kind of ahead of it’s time.  Sadly, it was never ridden, and I chose to sell it during the great purge of 2009.  So now, I tossed a search for a Bianchi Milano into the mix.  The Bianchi line has evolved a great deal over time, and I think is a bit ahead of it’s time, so I altered my search for the years around the time I owned one, as I saw it as a kind of perfect bike for Bryan and Debra:  Campus cruiser, grocery store and farmers market commuter, and still a great all around sport bike for getting out and spinning.

img_3532There were VERY few old Milanos out there, but on E-Bay I found one that was very lightly used, and looked to have been kept indoors.  I ended up buying it, but the woman selling it was freaking out about shipping the bike.  She had completely underestimated the cost of having the bike boxed and shipped.  I offered intuitively to ‘find someone’ to simply come get the bike, and then arrange for shipping.

img_3845She was okay with that.  I then asked Bryan if he retained any contacts in the area (Marina Del Ray, not too far from Highland Park) and reached out to 3 friends I have in the area.  Bryan had no contacts he thought would be willing to do this.  Of my 3 friends, oneimg_3745 sort of spaced on me doing the thing where they’re too nice to say no, but then just forget to ever get back to you until much later… The second immediately said YES, but would have to do it on a weekend, because Solana Beach is a couple hours away.  The third friend lives on a sailboat in… Marina Del Ray… yep.

When I met him, he had no car and was completely reliant upon his single speed bike for all of his transportation.  I met him while visiting Omkar 108.  He was teaching Ashtanga Yoga, and was such a nice guy, that he asked us to post yoga juice… I mean how cool is he already.  (Morgan is also a nurse, and author of this blog: Ashtanga Nurse)

img_3934Here’s the best part.  Morgan explains to me that when he moved from Miami to LA,  he did so in advance of having his bike.  He had to reach out and found a person in Miami who get this… would have to pick up the bike, then do the work needed to get it boxed up and shipped west.  As it turns out, all of this was done as a courtesy, and he ended up paying nothing to get his bike to LA.

Not only was Morgan local, he actually saw a dharma / karma moment unfolding.   And his high level of awareness meant that he needed to do this to complete a circle.  We sort of laughed at how completely amazing synchronicity can get at times.  Being of a like mind, once he had picked up the bike, he located a previously used bike shipping box, and then packaged it up.  A few days later it was at my home.  I attempted to compensate Morgan a few times, but he refused, as he felt doing so interrupted the cycle of completion.

img_3936I unboxed the bike, placed it on the stand, did a thorough inspection, and then stripped it down.  I cleaned and repacked the bearings.  I got rid of the old dry rotted Kenda Kwest tires, and found a handlebar that was much more like the original stock bar.  Even the Bianchi seat with built in tail light was in tact.

img_3954I spent a few days removing oxide from aluminum parts, and cleaning and waxing the frame.  I placed a pair of 26×1.75 Fairweather tires I had hanging around, replace the cables, housings, brake pads, and sprockets.  I reinstalled the Nexus 7 speed internal geared hub and adjusted the settings and brakes, and used sew-on leather grips left over from another project.  I ended up with a very slightly modified vintage Bianchi Milano that is in better than new conditions.

img_3966.jpgThe final part of this story happens in August when Bryan and Debra get back from Europe.  She’s taken a job at a small liberal arts college in upstate NY.  So, the bike will get as far as Blacksburg under my power, and Bryan can take it from there.

This may be my favorite bike project of all time.  I will update with a final photo when I decide on pedals.  What do you think, a red pedal or a shiny silver one?  Or a gray rubber one like they had originally?

FINAL UPDATE! August 29, 2019

Here’s Debra, back from teaching and traveling all summer in Europe, and in her new digs in upstate New York, with the Milano:



Is It In The Cards?

I know my blog posts are pretty random.  But there is a common thread to all of them, and that common thread is my reflections on my experiences – particularly those that resonate enough to stir the writer in me enough to become willing to create a blog post to share with you .

Recently Susan was gifted a set of “Spirit Animal” tarot cards.  Like me, she’s always interested in the study and use of tools that help access the intuitive stream so that we can live a more spiritually based purposeful life, that keeps us fulfilled and in alignment with our souls purpose .

She laid out my cards for the next year and I’m documenting them to give myself ready access.

These are ‘the final word’ or theme for each of the next 12 months:

Power Animal Card Reading August 26 2018

August 2018 – Buffalo – Bhakti and Prayer

September 2018 – Starfish – time with friends

October 2018 – Bear – movement and exercise

November 2018 – Dolphin – Hang with like minded spirits
(I already have the David Keil 50 hour Ashtanga Mysore Immersion booked)

December 2018 – Fish – set and accomplish a small goal

January 2019 – Moth – Finish a project

February 2019 – Oyster – share something

March 2019 – Cheetah – Reconnect to purpose

April 2019 – Gazelle – Yin Yoga, Cozy Home , Good Food

May 2019 – Whale – regular self care (compassionate and steady)

June 2019 – Bat – watch the sunrise 🌅 (trip to an east coast beach)

July 2019 – Butterfly – Daily Routine, be extra patient if you are the butterfly

August 2019 – Black Egg – truth – public speaking, writing, singing

As the year goes by, perhaps I will update this page, or do additional posts.  We shall see how it all unfolds!


The Comfort Zone

In pop psychology there is a saying to the effect that everything we desire in life exists outside of this thing called a comfort zone.   I’ve been observing this concept gain popularity for years while at the same time feeling on an intuitive level that there are flaws in this paradigm.  As I have sat quietly with this over time it’s become clearer to me how this line of thinking is off.  At the same time I have witnessed this become a sort of ‘zeitgeist’ culturally, used to try to help motivate people to try something new (which is inherently aligned with the greater good) but it has also become dogmatic.  No one thinks about it, and the energy of words – the semantics – are quite important.  It is essentially saying that we are no good where we are, and unless we do something that will be uncomfortable we will remain no good.  It’s part of the always doing, bigger better, more more more mentality.  It’s the opposite of the compassion and grace that have always been the catalyst for major change in my own life.

I hope you’ll enjoy what I am going to lay out in this blog post, and that it can give you the same good feeling it gave me upon my discovery of it.  It’s a shift in the paradigm, and it addresses what I feel the shortcomings are.  The reason I am even writing this is that I care greatly about personal growth and change that is accessible to all who desire it.  We all should feel that ‘being the change we wish to see in the world’ is accessible.

I laughed out loud when I first saw this graphic.  It plays perfectly into my new model for growth and change.  When I look at this picture I see a guy, frightened, clinging to and hiding behind his rock.  He is shaking and his eyes are bulging indicating stress and fear.  He is definitely not in a comfort zone.  So, what is it then that these 5 steps will help him break out of and into?  It would appear to me he might be  needing to break INTO a comfort zone.

It has become commonplace to discount comfort.  Inherently, there is a bias toward discomfort. Ideologically we crave ‘being comfortable’ but societally we judge that comfort is somehow a bad thing.   I would like to propose that comfort is a goal.  It’s a temporary resting place.  I would add that the pursuit of some form of bliss, some heartfelt desire,  is mostly a joyous process, and that the attainment of fulfillment, of being on our soul’s purpose, and of course dharma… these are all joyful things.

Now, what about this graphic?  To me it implies that we can either have ‘adventure’ or our ‘comfort zone’; not both.  I am a person who loves adventure.  I am comfortable with life being one big adventure with the constant pursuit of new adventures being added like chapters to a book we get to write.  To me, discomfort is a big motivator.  Living a boring, staid life, filled with routines I do not enjoy — that to me is the opposite of adventure and something I have to deal with daily – when my calendar comes out I have to happily build in adventures, or I will get swallowed up in routine.

This next graphic does contain some truth, but it also discounts the concept of the miraculous and spontaneous.  It ignores the idea of energy manifesting the most mystical and miraculous changes, awakenings, epiphanies and shifts.  These often come in a flash, usually only with the merest suggestion on an energetic level.  On the other hand it does speak to a more physical form of accomplishment – it’s unlikely you will learn a new language or run a 6 minute mile unless you actually take training for those things.  As an example as a runner for many years people would ask me ‘How do I run faster?’  (How do I prove my race time, my mile time, my pace, etc.) Of course the answer is ‘to run faster you must actually run faster’.  In other words, include some speedwork in your routine – change your anaerobic threshold.  You may have to do something you have never done.  Or, possibly, by having a regular routine, you may also evolve!


Intuitively, this physics model when adapted for personal growth and change makes so much more sense, to me.  The Bohr Model for the way electrons change orbitals, in oversimplified terms is how an electron (us) moves around within a space – it’s as far as we can zip around with what we have.  But, if energy is added, like let’s say for electrons, light… or for us humans ‘the mind’s wants’ … then increasingly we experience discomfort in the form of agitation, feeling contained, dissatisfied, and as if we are stuck.  So, in actuality, we really are in our DISCOMFORT ZONE.

In the world of energy, and in the world of physics, what happens next is that these electrons, are gaining in potential energy, and will finally achieve enough potential energy to ‘jump’ to the next level or orbital, and the process can begin again.  And so will we.  As our discomfort increases, and as our agitation and potential energy (or energy for change) increase, we are naturally preparing ourselves to ‘jump’ into a new area, into a new ‘comfort zone’… where we can take rest and enjoy our successful transition, reap some rewards, until, inevitably the mind’s wants begin eroding our comfort.

I am here to say – comfort is good.  Do not judge comfort for bad.  My sense of the origin of this judgement may come from some Calvinian dogma about work ethic, but it probably predates that by many centuries.  Discomfort is the thing:  it’s the mover, it’s the shaker.  This graphic to the left has it all completely backwards, in my opinion.  How is a dull life comfortable?  How is fulfillment outside your comfort zone?  Just getting by, playing it safe, and being full of regret feel pretty uncomfortable even just reading the words.  Excitement, Confidence, Happiness do not seem to me at all uncomfortable.

Finally, I would like to discuss this model briefly as well.

Here we see a three tiered model which actually identifies some of the characteristics of stages involved in change and growth.  To me it’s a pretty decent model, and aligns with what I have been saying.  It’s that when we experience the sensations described in the Red (Panic) Zone, we are in a state of discomfort, and are full of the potential energy for change.  From there we convert that potential energy into kinetic energy — we channel our discomfort into change… It’s also ripe ground for deep spiritual work.  It is here where our ability to manifest is strongest!  Finally when we have made some changes (begun an exercise program, stopped spending money on credit cards, start clean eating, get into a program of recovery, plan a trip…the list of common things goes on and on) we gradually find a comfort zone again.  Be very happy.  Enjoy these times, because this too, shall pass.  Given, again that ‘the minds wants can never be satisfied’, you can trust that new discomforts are pretty much right around the corner.  So, be good to yourself, be good to your friends, as you get increasingly uncomfortable, it’s time to look at that.  Is it just the mind’s insatiable wants, or is it time to deal with a legitimate discomfort.  If it’s time for a change, you’ll know, because the energy of it will propel you through the resistance.  It’s the way energy works.

And I say that with love.

The Vision Board

I have always been a visual person.

I learn well by looking at images, by drawing things, by seeing things.

When we speak of manifesting, we also must speak of creating the vibration to manifest.  I use the analogy of gardening.  We know what plants we’d like.  We have the seeds.  We loosen up the soil.  We get everything ready.  Then we plant the seeds, and tend to them.

A few years ago I was in a course ‘Intuitive Mastery‘ given by Lori Lipten and one of the sections was using to use chakra balancing, intention setting, and guided journeying as the set up to creating an inspired vision board.  I will say that today I jump right into my intuitive stream when doing my vision board, and it is an ever evolving process.

img_3972Intuitive Stream:

I will usually get an inspiration, or a message.  (This wonderful little image to the right is typical of a message that comes into my awareness in perfect timing and which helps guide me in the new direction)

It says, for instance, it is time to revisit your vision board, and to pick out that which has either come to pass to allow room for more growth, to remove that which no longer serves the highest good as we constantly evolve, or sometimes ‘here is the blueprint for your new board’.

So, when I am teaching ‘How to Create a Vision Board’, we necessarily have to get into the art of preparation.  Preparing the self, preparing the energy, preparing the space, gathering the materials, even writing out the new blueprint or skeleton.  Over time I have come to a sort of hybrid board — a blend of pictures and words.  I have also evolved in that I no longer use magazines for my images, but instead use the iPhone and an app called Print Studio (it’s an inexpensive way to get high quality images on durable card stock, in sizes that work really well in my hands).

I maintain vision boards both at home and at work, and both up until this time were only slightly different.  Recently however I was given the intuitive message to ‘focus the office vision board on the office, it is currently too unfocused’.  Furthermore, I was given the insight to connect actual ‘business milestones’ with actual ‘business necessities’ then to blend in the visions, but to connect them with business realities.  In the past I noticed I would manifest something, but then almost always there was a blowback, a setback, or as if there was a net neutral transaction.  As such, I have felt stuck in this one endeavour for a few years.  My intuition tells me that this new board gives me a chance to manifest when appropriate, and also to enlist my staff and coworkers to be creative and joy-filled but with a cast iron grip on the realities of business, something I had not done in the past.
And so there it is, above.  I am looking forward to seeing how this board functions, and grateful for the divine spirit dwelling within.  I am also grateful for my ability to share, and my desire to both experience a prosperous life, while also teaching others to do the same.

May you enjoy YOUR unique vision, and come to know YOUR inner voice.  May it lead you to your fulfillment.