Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Primordial OOZE

Meet Tiktaalik. You may not know it, but this is a picture of your resistance to change. Actually, this is several steps beyond your first notion of resistance, but it is the first provable specimen of how it feels to change something major in one's life.
Say what?
Imagine life in the Primordial Ooze. It is water, possibly getting thick with algae, crowded with millenia of species perfectly adapted to the ooze, maybe it's a little rank but nonetheless, it is home. It is comfortable, it is what you have known literally Forever. But, inside you there is something saying "there's gotta be more to life than ooze." So you take the first step. You leave the water.
Have you ever sat in the tub and let the water run out? Did you notice how heavy you got? How it felt like a great weight was pressing down on you? Or have you stepped out into a gale of wind and had your breath whipped right out of your lungs, drying your mouth and eyes, clogging your nose? How about sunburn? Chapped lips?
Think about how that first creature must have experienced itself when it first left the water. The crushing pressure, the drying air, the extreme changes in temperature and suddenly it could no longer glide or go with the flow. It had to move step by step all on its own. Imagine the difference! But mostly can you imagine how heavy it's body must have felt? Like walking through a wall with a thousand bricks on your back. Why did it go on against so much resistance?
See where I am going with this?
I bet there must have been hundreds of individuals who weren't ready for the change and who simply died before they got their feet on the ground. Maybe the few that made it were laid as eggs at the edge of the water and as the water dropped their genes responded differently than the generations before, thereby creating an individual already adapted to the New World. (This is adaptive radiation theory and more can be learned from the February 2009 National Geographic - I hope to write more about this later)
However it happened, the first creature to leave the Primoridal Ooze didn't just do it. It wasn't a moment of inspired determination or even a leap of faith. It wasn't even a matter of discipline or commitment. Perhaps there was a drive and maybe there was a vision. There definitely had to be intention involved- the intention to survive? to eat? to lay eggs? Or maybe it was just time. Whatever the reason those first creatures must have felt something pulling them that was stronger than the resistance they faced.
Maybe they really dug the resistance!
Maybe it felt good to really feel themselves defined not by the motion of water but rather by the power of their own movement against something invisible. Think how cool it must have been to not always be reacting to all that is communicated in the water. Why a stone could drop and it wouldn't affect Tiktaalik one bit!
Tiktaalik was suddenly her own self. (It had to have been a female because a female's genes mutate thousands of times faster than males' and her offspring would be quicker to adapt to the new environment. She could go back to the water to get some sperm and then move to the land to have her eggs.)
So this is the girl I think about when I come up against my own resistance. It does seem to come from deep inside me, like some Primordial Ooze, and it seems so powerful. It makes me want to crawl back into that soft, rocking, warm and comfortable place. It makes it difficult to see to the other side. It makes my body heavy and my brain foggy. Anyone able to relate?
So why push on to the other side?
Tiktaalik tells me that it takes time, right timing, several hundreds of small-seemingly insignificant steps and changes that add up to just the strengths needed to survive on land, and it takes drive. She tells me that if I listen deep inside, beyond that murky layer of scum at the edge of mud there is a LAND full of opportunity, safety and new sensations. She tells me that my eggs/ideas will do better out there than back there. She says in her croaky watery dry air voice, "Go girl! go!"
And then with a twinkle in her eye she adds, "watch those first few steps, they are a doozy. But don't worry, it gets easier after that."

Monday, March 30, 2009


Since this is called Barnyard Philosophy, this seems a valid question. All this chatter about Philosophy and not much moo-ing, clucking, neigh-ing or baa-ing are present. So where's the Wisdom of the Farm?

Here's the deal with the Farm thing. Sometimes animals have a lot to teach you about life, death, behaviour or whatever. Othertimes they just are animals. Right now they are content- fat, the weather is do-able minus the discomfort of mud, water is abundant and though they seem to sense a change is coming, they have yet to remember grass. I love this time of year because it is so easy to be here. I have the illusion of control. I have the feeling that I have time, energy, and the cooperation of all animals and spirits. I can rest, wander in the intellectual spheres and even play with my own species at times.

But the push of green is just starting and I know that in the next week everything will go back to "normal".

Normal is:

The urge to "PICK ME" (a much more polite phrase than what is really being said) and to push through fence for grass and the hair and the need and the mowing and the raking and the baling and the stacking and the fences falling down and the sheds needing to be cleaned and the sheep needing to be sheared and baby chickens and turkeys to be kept safe and the calves coming and everyone wanting MORE! MORE! MORE! because it just tastes so good and the grass growing and the machines breaking and the obsessive dependence on or and the bills and all the stuff of life that still needs to be maintained and the horse shows and the breedings THEN the firewood and the winterizing and the millions of projects saying "GET ME DONE FIRST OR ELSE!" and the animals saying "NOT ENOUGH! NOT ENOUGH! NOT ENOUGH!" and then comes the snow and the shoveling and the wind and then it will be this time again and I won't remember any of it.

Actually, that list is just the minimum bit.

So the wisdom of the yard says, "when times are slow, take it slow."

How this applies to life is up to me to determine on any given day. For example, right now the sky outside is like a rainbow sunset because there are big grey clouds interspersed with patches of blue. The sun is turning them all shades of purple, green and blue. There is green showing through last years old growth and the hills look as tucked in and cozy as my pigs in their pile of hay. The wind is kicking at 25 mph and I have a warm stove heating the house. The animals are fed. Seems like I could take it easy and not feel I am missing much.

Writing this reminded me that even when lost in my "normal life", I can look up at the sky and everything seems to slow and life becomes "My Life". It is when I look down that life speeds up. Perhaps that is why time goes so quickly when one is on the computer. Maybe that is why that I catch the animals looking at the sky so often. They just stand there looking out for a few minutes before they sigh and go back to eating. Maybe they need to be reminded to slow down too.

The Wisdom of the Yard says, "whatever you are doing, look up now and then so that your life will become yours again. And when you are ready, sigh before going back to work."

Thursday, March 19, 2009

On Hamlet

If you had to coach Hamlet, how would you do it?

Coach:  Hamlet, you mentioned in your email that you had a few questions for me?

Hamlet:  To be, or not to be: that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep; No more; and by a sleep to say we end The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep; To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub; For in that sleep of death what dreams may come When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, Must give us pause: there's the respect That makes calamity of so long life; For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely, The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns That patient merit of the unworthy takes, When he himself might his quietus make With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear, To grunt and sweat under a weary life, But that the dread of something after death, The undiscover'd country from whose bourn No traveller returns, puzzles the will And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of? Thus conscience does make cowards of us all; And thus the native hue of resolution Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought, And enterprises of great pith and moment With this regard their currents turn awry, And lose the name of action.

Coach:  What I hear you saying is that you are depressed about your predicament and unsure about how to act because of your fears of the consequences?

Hamlet:  Uh, I think so.

Coach:  I wonder, have you seen a therapist for your depression?

Hamlet:  Well, I used to see Dr. Ophelia but I think she’s gone off to a nunnery.

Coach:  What about friends? Do you have any friends who support you?

Hamlet: There’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern but all we ever talk about is the quintessence of dust.

Coach:  Is there anyone in your life that you can talk to about all of this?

Hamlet:  Yorrick!

Coach:  Great! Tell me about him. What does he think of your concern over the King and Queen?

Hamlet:  But he’s a skull.

Coach:  Is that some sort of gang?

Hamlet: No, he’s like what’s on your neck only without the skin.

Coach:  OH... Hamlet, I would really like to refer you to a good friend of mine, she’s an excellent therapist. Would that be alright?

Hamlet:  I’d love that. I do seem overly concerned with the mortal coil as of late.

Coach:  Perfect! By the way, how is it going with the legitimacy of your Uncle’s claim to the throne?

Hamlet:  I went to the law firm of Pollonius, Laertes and Fortinbras but my Uncle is sending me to England so I can’t talk with them until I get back.

Coach:  Good for you! That is a great action step!

Hamlet:  Yeah, it felt great and I even got to talk to my Mom about it all.

Coach:  How did that go?

Hamlet:  Really well, but I accidentally killed Pollonius while we were talking. But I got to tell you, I thought he was Claudius and it felt so good to just act. I think it is a big step forward for me.

Coach:  Wow! I was wondering if I could challenge you to take a bigger step here?

Hamlet:  I would really love just to have someone tell me what to do. I am so tired of having to make so many decisions on my own.

Coach:  I would like for you to get out and to do something different. Step away from all your worries about your father’s death, your Uncle’s Kingship and your Mother’s marriage. Sometimes stepping out of the middle of things really opens up a new perspective.

Hamlet:  I would really like a shift in perspective.

Coach:  What are some things you could do that would make things clearer for you?

Hamlet:  A play! Aye the play’s the thing!

Coach:  What a brilliant idea! Shifting the situation from significance and turning it into play. Great job Hamlet!! I think that is a good place to end and I look forward to seeing you when you get back from England next week. How do you feel?

Hamlet:  Like a cloud has been lifted and the sky has turned blue. Thank you so much!

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Last night my girlfriend and I discussed what we would do if things got really bad. Scary movie bad- and not 1950's scary movie bad. She was fired up and definitely ALIVE! I was tired and definitely LAZY. This led to some conflict and concern over whether or not we would go it together etc. Mostly the problem was that she had been thinking about it much of the evening and I had been thinking about chocolate cake and how much I love my horses Phoebe and Lila. So I was not quite prepared for Armageddon. But perhaps that's a realistic situation.

She is one of the most amazing people. She is capable, well-versed in the natural and the liberal arts, immensely likable, spiritual AND practical (personally I think this is one of the hardest states of being to achieve) and most of all she is my good good thing. I am crazy about her.

If things get crazy bad, everyone is going to wish they had Denise. She is the person to call for just about anything and she is terribly fun to be with as well.
I am at a little bit of a loss today as to what value I would have on a desert island or a situation of the Worst kind, even though I know I am a pretty handy little lesbian who can wear a dress or live in the bush with equal ease. But here is my conundrum.

Denise said that she felt like most of her life she has been preparing for the worst and obtaining at least the basic skills to deal with said worst. I believe most of us unconsciously spend much of our lives preparing for something. Some of us are lucky enough to find ourselves supported and plopped into the right environment to use those skills. If you are really fortunate you find that what you have spent your whole life training for is also something that really turns you on.
I am lucky in that I have found myself life a pretty close to picture perfect life. My is as I dreamed it since I was a kid. I have Denise, land, a nice functioning body, some good friends, I can talk and walk with the animals and I have this interesting brain. I also have great horses, and as my friend Jo said, I have Lila (see picture). If I were an 11 year old girl, I would want to be me now. Hell, if I were a 43 year old anyone, I would want to be me right now.
So, survival.
The thing is, my life as it has prepared me makes no sense given what I want from it. My life has been spent in cities, surrounded by people, having to learn how to fit in and work with (aka manipulate) human realities and psychology. It is thoroughly city.
Here's me as a kid: Rocky Mountains, hiking- in my mind I am a panda bear named Bigfoot (stuffed bear) riding his horse Pachudo (still sleeping with her after 42 years) while my brother is a lobster (Sinbad- also stuffed) and we lead a troop of various other animals in a crusade against humans. We make epic battles and kill hundreds. My entire library (except for Mrs. Wilder) was composed of animal stories. I spent 4 months living in my tiger Halloween costume, in a tree or under the dining room table. Honestly, I really haven't changed that much.
My 1st journal entry at 14 reads, "all I want is to live in the middle of the woods with the animals, totally living away and without need of other humans."
I really wouldn't mourn the extinction of humanity one bit.
So why is it that I have spent most of my life studying the human species? I have had to learn how to be one, how to get along with them, I like being with some and I truly do care for individuals, but as a species I find them a tad irritating. I am not even sure people like me very much. I know I am "odd". And now I am a life coach.
But, if our lives are spent in pursuit of the skills we will need to survive or thrive- where do I fit in if things get really bad? What skills do I have that will be of value? Why am I what I am when it has so little relevance to my life as Bigfoot?
Hopefully things won't get bad so I won't ever have to find out.
But here's my latest fantasy:
I used to think I was cursed like Cassandra of Troy who was fated to see the future- only no one would listen to her and indeed they would do just the opposite. The poor girl was eventually raped by the Greeks and tossed off a cliff. Not a very good role model. But, mythology has also the Delphic Sybil. A priestess who lives alone in a cave with people bringing all sorts of goodies to listen to her speak. She doesn't even have to make sense and they still listen!!! HEAVEN.
This I think will work for me. If things get bad and you need some advice- please bring chocolate cake and half & half as well as your questions and maybe, if the gods so desire, I will tell you what you need to know.
The best part is that Denise could be there too.
Oh... maybe I have this already.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Now Wait Just a Minute!

Let’s not be hasty here. When is it good to Act? When is it good to Delay?

Delay is an interesting word choice here: to delay is an active verb implying that one has control over their movement, as compared to Drag-your-heels-screaming-bloody-murder! Which is a little bit closer to how procrastination can feel when it is in its nastier stages.

Which makes me wonder, is procrastination a virus? Is action an anti-biotic? It certainly seems so given how much better one feels after they simply just go ahead and do whatever it was they were avoiding.

If it is similar to the flu, couldn’t we just get a note from Mummy excusing us from having to fill out all those tax forms? Why isn’t there a pretty lifestyle pill advertized on TV for it? ACTV8: possible side effects include superior smugness over those who don’t take it, irritated spouses who have been nagged into action, sudden life changes and an inability to find the new place where the keys belong.
But it does feel good to act doesn’t it?

But it also feels good to procrastinate. Think about the pleasure one gets in the moment when one opts for the hot fudge sundae over 300 sit-ups. Then there is that sleepy feeling one gets just before you open that textbook. Surely a nap has never been so fully satisfying. And the guilt that follows? Why, nothing like a few more potato chips or a half-hour of TV to help you forget it.

So Act? Wait? Which one? Both have consequences, both have pleasure and hardship attached. Sometimes procrastination seems like divine intervention. Other times it is just so dumb.

Funny how easy it is to remember the pleasures of procrastination in comparison to the memory of how really awesome it feels to have done those sit-ups or read that amazing chapter on genetics. Of course, not all the things we have to do are fun. Taxes being in the front of my mind. But what a relief it will be to get them off my mind.

Mind- maybe if we didn’t have one we wouldn’t procrastinate, we’d be like ants or bees? Does that mean that procrastinators are geniuses without focus?

If our inner procrastinator is a genius wouldn’t it be a good idea to listen? Of course, I know a few schizophrenics who are quite brilliant but I don’t think I would follow all of their advice…

So Act or Delay.

Here’s my answer:  In the 1950’s there was a movie called The Brain from the Planet Arous. It is an evil brain that takes over a scientist, tries to make whoopee with his girl, wants to take over the world and has a wicked laugh. The Good Brain comes to Earth and takes up residence in the scientist’s dog. Happily the Evil brain has to leave the scientist every 24 hours to get a breath of fresh air. On one of these breaks, the hero leaps into action and kills the Evil Brain by sticking an axe into the Fissure of Roland thus killing it. No one ever says what happens to the dog, but presumably the Good brain returns home to the Planet Arous.

Here’s my question: Who is in charge of your brain?

I hope for the sake of the Planet that it is the dog.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

But it is so attractive!!

Some clarification on my views of what is called these days: The Law of Attraction.

I think the philosophy has merit and it is effective at certain times in one's life. In particular, when one is in transition, or when one's life is dis-entangled from any other being but themselves- such as during road trips or break-ups. It is a powerful perspective in moments when life seems so incomprehensibly painful. Believing in a all loving Universe enables us to create our lives can be pretty much all that gets us through the night. It is also more effective the further you remove yourself from natural laws. It is a man-made concept custom designed for a man-made world.

Maybe it works in other situations and I do actually use many of its components in my philosophy. So it ain't all bad.

But it sure isn't a LAW.

It is an idea. It is an interpretation that has enough anecdotal evidence to border on a Science/Religion. I think it is a useful perspective if the person is sufficiently experienced enough to dabble in cosmic duality and manifesting divinity. But like all pseudo-scientific religions, it is potentially harmful. The true masters of this mindset are people who spend extraordinary amounts of time and energy in spiritual and mental disciplines, generally in remote retreats and often in isolation. They are detached enough from their desires to dance with the Universe with such grace that it appears that the Universe is following. They are humble and grateful and ironic in their understanding of how small they really are in the big picture of things. They tend to be the kind of person who is content with being irrelevant in their own destiny.

Think of how long it took Christ, Mohammed, or Buddha to understand their own words.
Think of what they must have had to go through to reach that level of divinity.

Yet, people write a book or read it and become disciples, masters and teachers.

I think my feeling that disciples of Attraction are arrogant comes from their tendency to look at those of us who are bobbing around in the current as being somehow "Less" because we aren't in the boat with the propeller and the rudder with them. Sure, we aren't as in "control", but at least we are in the cosmic river rather than stirring up waves that disturb the rest of the Universe. If you want to skim the surface, go for the boat. But if you really want to experience life here on Earth, then you have to be prepared to get wet, to get bumped around a bit and to feel totally a victim once in a while.

All I know is that I don't know much. I like being a part of nature. I like thinking I was damn lucky to get all my hay in this year and that my neighbor was unlucky to have had theirs rained on. So it is only out of common decency that I don't allow myself to think "my vibrations were at one with perfection, but he must have been creating from some less than perfect belief system". Because on any given day, I may be him and he may be me. I prefer the freedom being a passenger gives me over the incredible stress of being a god.

But if you want to play god, and it is working for you, then Hallelujah! I would love to come along for the ride because that is part of the river and I LOVE the river of life. Just don't judge me for being mortal and don't ask me to worship your god.

To be continued of course.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

That pesky glass

My last post saw Renee in her less than happy mode.

Things happen. Sometimes it is personal, most of the time not. It is the times that are not personal that are interesting to me because so much of my upbringing in the "create your reality" 1980's and '90's wants to desperately believe that the Universe spins its web purely for my edification. That somehow I made that horse kick, thereby enabling me to live in denial of that particular individual's own drives. In a perfect world, this was meant to happen. Besides, if it were a result of my vibrations then I could believe her to be trustworthy. But, alas she is a horse and a horse is a horse no matter the breed. Horses kick.

So I got kicked and now I have to work on her awareness of my insignificant and fragile body so that she will be careful when I am around her. Blame in this instance is perfectly appropriate. It directs action, it places consequences upon the proper source and it frees me to spend my time correcting the situation rather than puzzling over what it is my spirit might be trying to tell me.

I often wondered where responsibility became creativity in the philosophy of Attraction? Anyhow, it doesn't seem to hold much salt with the non-human species I have interacted with. Frankly my dear, they don't give a damn- they just do.

So, what's with the glass?

Half-full or Half-empty.

Standard enough metaphor. Used by countless optimists to prove their superiority to countless pessimists. If you are a half-full person then you are supposed to see openings; half-empty sees the world as lacking. I've been a half-full girl my whole life- after all "turn manure into gold" is my motto. Turns out I have been a judgmental and silly girl. You see, my partner- the oft misunderstood Denise, is a half-empty girl. Nothing is ever enough! You can imagine the fights we have had.

One day I decided to do what I always do when we fight. I let her be right and then I open my mind to the consequences. In this particular situation, half-empty meant that there was room for MORE liquid in the glass and half-full meant that the glass was just fine thank you very much. In a later, more enjoyable moment with Denise we discussed other areas in which half-full may be not so desirable. Half-full diaper being the most picturesque. Although half-empty wouldn't really be so wonderful either.

To translate into practical coaching: if your diaper is half-full so you see your world as perfect (ala The Law of Attraction) , then you are welcome to sit in your own mess as long as you like. You are the one who is responsible for the diaper after all. Similarly, if your diaper is half-empty but it is the only diaper you have, then maybe it will do for a little while until you can get another.

So my answer to the riddle?

Friday, February 6, 2009

what is it all about?

I have gotten kicked in my bad knee. This will be the 7th time something has happened to this knee over the past 4 years. Usually just as I start to feel I can maybe work out????
New Agers would have a field day with this. This is the philosophy that states: we create our world and our experiences, that we can overcome everything by manipulating our brain waves and that in some strange way, all that exists is here just for our edification.
POSH! such arrogance!
But that is not really what this post is about.
This post is about not having a clue. I have no clue about anything today. This is not to say that I don't have ANSWERS. I always have ANSWERS, but they are just possibilities, reasons, excuses, fun things or whatever. Ultimately they are just WORDS.
Which is funny since I believe that 90% of what is communicated at any given moment between any given being is feelings, sensations, impressions, emotions, experiences, vibrations- all these things that have to be translated into words for us humans to validate with more words.
I guess that is why this picture "spoke" to me today. It has no words, but it is very clear what it is all about.
I wish more of life were this clear.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

PLAY- under construction

Stock Photo - cardiogram wave 
-. fotosearch 
- search stock 
photos, pictures, 
images, and photo 
One day I will put my own heart picture on my web, but for now this will have to do. For those heart surgeons and med students out there, I apologize for taking such liberties with my metaphor.
Practice. Learning. Actualization. Yo-Yo.
Practice corresponds to the flat line.
Learning takes place on the up beat.
Actualization is that wonderful moment when it all seems to be in the FLOW.
Yo-Yo is all that time spent wondering what the hell happened to the Flow and how the hell we get back there.
And then we are at the flatline.
I think of Practice as the study or art of creating habits. It is commonly referred to as the plateau and we all hate the plateaus. But, this is where most of life is lived so I guess we had better get used to it. It is actually the place in which we should strive to return and to maintain as long as possible- but not so long that we totally flatline since that would be the end of that TV show. Think of it this way, would you want to spend the day with your heart racing at 120+ beats per minute? Or cruise along with a heart that can take the load and still run somewhere between 60 and 80 bpm?
Believe me, it is the coming down from the workout high that is wonderful, not the being there.
Practice/plateau is also the stage of recovery. It is here that lessons learned can be put into context, muscles can re-build and life can go back to "normal". Rest is vital to any training regimen.
Learning is the training. We want to stress ourselves with challenges that are just about NOT do-able. We want to experience enough success to keep going without disrupting our regular heart beat too much or too often. It is not a comfortable place, but it is an exciting place. Most of the time we are not actually present but rather are totally focused on our objective.
Actualization is what we all think is the goal. It is that great moment when things just click and you swear you walk with the angels. Are at least just a few steps behind. But it is not a sustainable place. To make this the goal is to insist that your heart beat faster and faster, you do not allow yourself rest, you do not make repairs or learn the lessons. But Lord, it is a fine view while you are up there.
The trip down and up and down and down and up.
You will find yourself unable to stop talking. You will find yourself wanting feedback, being overly emotional, you will be moody. You will try and succeed, you will try and fail. The harder you cling to the last peak, the longer you will spend in free fall. You NEED. This is the state of being which makes one seak out a coach. This is the playground for coaches. The fitter the client, the sooner they will bounce back to their flat-line and be ready for another cycle.
This is the one constant in your entire existence. It can be manipulated, injured or trained, but ultimately it is solid. Like change. Like your mind. Learning to listen to your heart is a great way to learn how to live one's life.
Besides, it is yours.
So, PLAY is my model for coaching as it is my model for existence. And I do mean the word as well as the acronym.
To be continued.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Frozen Ground

I have often wondered why New Year's resolutions are made in January- other than the obvious "new year" answer. The ground is frozen and not a good place to plant seeds.

I suppose if your resolution were put into a small pot on a warm and bright windowsill, or in a terrarium- it might grow. Given careful and tender attention, come Spring it could be put into the newly thawed ground. Harvest it sometime in the summer, save the seeds and start again with the same but different plant the following year.

Maybe that is why so many New Year's resolutions don't make it past the first month. They are put into frozen ground instead of given time to establish roots, adjust to the climate, and to become strong and self-sufficient. And there we are- poking, proding, yelling and tugging at the seedling of a dream instead of getting to know this new individual for whom we are the source of life and protection.

So in light of the frozen ground, the harsh winds and the bitter cold, I am going to nurse my dream and keep it inside until the right time for planting.