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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Oshun, so often in my mirror.. gratitude and reflections

Vanity? I think not.

It is true that one of Oshun’s symbols is a mirror, but do not be mislead!

Many are mistaken thinking that Oshun represents only external beauty, adornment, jewels and finery. I once read a quote and kept it for a long time upon my altar, but I cannot find the author now –

"When the Void looks into the mirror It sees Us.

When We look into the Void, We see the Mirror.

When We look in the Mirror We see the Void.

When the Mirror looks into the Mirror...
It laughs!"

Oshun is the playful spirit of the awakened observer! Creative potential, realized! Oshun is that quality in a woman which emanates beauty in such a way that vision is not necessary in order to appreciate it. She is the idea of excellence as reflected by refinement, taste and delicacy. By reflection.

By reflection...

OSHUN by Rio Corazon

The other Powers did not know what to make of her. None of them had ever seen anything like her. Oshun was often in her mirror, fanning and adoring herself. They paid no attention to her and left her out of all the rituals and celebrations. So, Oshun, ignored, left and went to comb out her hair on Venus.

Back on earth, things weren't going so well. For many moons the rains ceased. All the rivers and lakes disappeared. The insects were confused. The bees quit pollinating. All the crops suffered.

The powers went to Olodumare and asked, "Great Spirit how can we provide for Earth's children when all of nature is so out of balance?" Olodumare thought for a moment and then asked, "Where is Oshun?"

Everyone looked at each other in dismay, and then finally someone said, "Oh, her.... We left her to her mirror. She is not concerned with practical matters."

Olodumare got very serious. "Come closer and listen closely. Without Oshun's Law of Attraction, nothing in nature can work. If you want to prosper, take time out to enjoy the sweetness of life."

So they called for Oshun. On Venus, Oshun pretended not to hear them. They continued to call for her to join them, but Oshun ignored them. In desperation they all got together and created a beautiful place for her and had a celebration in her honor.

When Oshun finally arrived a cosmic sigh of relief was felt by all. She spoke saying, "Yes I will come and the nectars of life will flow once more, but only if you promise to never let this happen again." Some say that what is going on in the world today is that we are allowing Oshun to be forgotten again.

This is why it's so important to respect the fresh waters of the earth, to take time out to celebrate Oshun, to give thanks each time we drink of her, to do whatever is in our power to protect and not pollute her. No one is a stranger to her for without fresh water none of us could survive. As our planet evolves fresh water for all is humanity's future challenge.

Oshun is the Law of Attraction; she is what causes the molecules in atoms to come together. It is said that Oshun can heal with fresh water and honey where doctors fail. Her medicine is that of Love, and she wins her battles with sweetness. She is the mother of divination, with cowrie shells given to her by Obatala. Oshun is also the goddess of wealth, luxury, creativity, sexuality, and sensuality.

Oshun is fond of the arts, music, and beauty. Her altars will often have a jar of honey, a mirror, decorative fans, ornate perfume bottles, peacock feathers, and brass bells. Her number is five, her colors are yellow, gold, orange, pink, and all shades of green. Her herbs include burdock, cinnamon, raspberry, yarrow, chamomile, lotus, uva-ursi, echinacea, and myrrh. Parrots, peacocks, hummingbirds, vultures, salmon, bees, spiders, and butterflies all belong to Oshun. Her offerings include roses, oranges, papayas, and mangoes, pumpkins, sunflowers, champagne, and honey wine. She is akin to Aphrodite, Venus, Hathor, Our Lady of Charity, Lakshmi and Saraswati.

It is said that the only teacher you will ever need is in the mirror!

Iba se Orisa Oshun!

May You Be Blessed in 2010 and Always!

Take time out to enjoy the sweetness of life...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Oshun Spirit Earth Friendly Goods Gift Certificates are sent via email and may be used on our website and Bonanzle storefront

There is still plenty of time to send the perfect holiday gift and guarantee it arrives by Christmas!

Choose an Oshun Spirit Earth Friendly Goods Gift Certificate in any amount of $10 or more. Gift certificates are sent to you via email as .pdf documents so you can print them out and tuck them into cards, or attach to email greetings.

Gift Certificates are redeemed by entering the code at checkout. They may be used on our website www.oshunspirit.net or at our Bonanzle storefront www.oshunspirit.com.

May your holiday season be filled with love, blessed with peace, and be joyful for family and friends!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Meditations on the standing still sun

"...We come to the portal that separates darkness from light. Standing in this arch of time where Earth takes a breath before facing us back towards the sun, we too, take a breath, turn inward, pause in this pregnant moment and let darkness reveal its gifts..."

December 21 marks the Winter Solstice.

This is the time to look back at the year gone by, with gratitude and humility, gather its lessons and put them into stillness. It is time to silence the inner voices, the judgements, the fears, the what ifs... and listen to the beating of your own heart. It is time to breathe slowly, and linger here.

It is the time to savor the sweetness and silence of the dark.

There is nothing to fear. Millions of years of Earth's turning away and then back, away and then back towards the light has created this sacred link, where Earth's veil thins, the unseen, seen. Images of ancestors and ancient roots threading back beyond time. Back to first humans, their fires still burning to call back the light. Hearts and drums beating.

I hold them sacred. I honor their struggles and their triumphs. I reflect on my life in this moment. This is the time to let go of all that burdens. Let bygones be bygones. It is time to find the ancient rhythym, and sing my life in that way.

I forgive and begin again.

Winter Solstice is indeed a fertile time, a time to ready the womb; a time for pregnant possibility. A time to sow seeds of imagination, and love, to germinate in the darkness.

I pause in this pregnant moment and let the darkness reveal its gifts...

As the shortest day meets the longest night I celebrate the dark and greet the light.

May you be blessed!

image credit: www.flickr.com/.../Wellington?q=sunrise

Sunday, December 13, 2009

It's all about Love.

On November 1, my good ol' dog Chelsea passed away at the age of 18. She was an amazing wise being, a profound spiritual teacher, a healer, and a soul mate for sure. She was pure love, and she touched many lives in her years of service.

My 4 year old black Lab Skooter and I have been missing her terribly, and there has been a hole in the fabric of my practice and our entire family that I knew that only another dog could begin to mend.

Trusting that my simple prayer would be heard, I knew that the right dog would come into our lives at the right time, "Calling all dogs, help wanted. Love and be loved."

I put out a classified to the Universe.

"Must enjoy people, other dogs, and the wind-in-the face experience of riding in a convertible and boat. Long hikes and fresh bones daily. Will train."

Enter Harley and Duke, two five month old Labs (brothers) who suddenly found themselves looking for just such a set up. At first I thought," No, I can't take two."

But then I got it. The world needs a lot of love, and it's more than a full-time job to see that it's being shared unconditionally, with grace and joy. No one dog could take up Chelsea's space. That's a lot of wagging.

So she sent two.

Love, and be loved.

May you be blessed!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A parable and a prophesy...

Well, you know me... I'm an observer. And I've been watching eager turtles stacking, and stacking, and stacking... metaphorically of course. Good turtles working for the community, as civic turtle citizens, to benefit the pond.

Today I witnessed the actions of an seemingly out-of-touch leader, and I was reminded of this classic tale by Dr. Seuss. In the story Yertle the Turtle King commands the other turtles to stack themselves beneath him so he may expand his kingdom. They do, quite willingly. However, in time, a turtle at the bottom of the pile named Mack asks Yertle for a respite... tired, hungry, he has needs of his own...

Ignoring his request, and demanding "Silence!," Yertle commands more and more turtles to add to his throne, until the little Mack burps, shaking the stack of turtles and tossing Yertle off the stack and into the muck, leaving him "King of the Mud" and freeing the others to their own pursuits.

As art follows life, I predict life also may soon follow art if the trending currents in the pond are not re-channeled in the direction of the hard-working turtle community members. I hope that Dr. Seuss' story will serve as a gentle reminder... let us all be humble, and let us all be grateful to those whose shoulders carry the load. Lift the little ones up my king, and you shall be lifted even beyond your own grand imaginings! Ignore their needs and you shall have your silence indeed. Thank you, Mack. Thank you, all.

I'll share the story now:

On the far-away island of Sala-ma-Sond,
Yertle the Turtle was king of the pond.
A nice little pond. It was clean. It was neat.
The water was warm. There was plenty to eat.
The turtles had everything turtles might need.
And they were all happy. Quite happy indeed.

They were… until Yertle, the king of them all,
Decided the kingdom he ruled was too small.
“I’m ruler”, said Yertle, “of all that I see.
But I don’t see enough. That’s the trouble with me.
With this stone for a throne, I look down on my pond
But I cannot look down on the places beyond.
This throne that I sit on is too, too low down.
It ought to be higher!” he said with a frown.
“If I could sit high, how much greater I’d be!
What a king! I’d be ruler of all that I see!”

So Yertle the Turtle King, lifted his hand
And Yertle, the Turtle King, gave a command.
He ordered nine turtles to swim to his stone
And, using these turtles, he built a new throne.
He made each turtle stand on another one’s back
And he piled them all up in a nine-turtle stack.
And then Yertle climbed up. He sat down on the pile.
What a wonderful view! He could see ‘most a mile!

“All mine!” Yertle cried. “Oh, the things I now rule!
I’m the king of a cow! And I’m the king of a mule!
I’m the king of a house! And, what’s more, beyond that
I’m the king of a blueberry bush and a cat!
I’m Yertle the Turtle! Oh, marvelous me!
For I am the ruler of all that I see!”

And all through the morning, he sat up there high
Saying over and over, “A great king am I!”
Until ‘long about noon. Then he heard a faint sigh.
“What’s that?” snapped the king,and he looked down the stack.
And he saw, at the bottom, a turtle named Mack.
Just a part of his throne. And this plain little turtle
Looked up and he said, “Beg your pardon, King Yertle.
I’ve pains in my back and my shoulders and knees.
How long must we stand here, Your Majesty, please?”

“SILENCE!” the King of the Turtles barked back.
“I’m king, and you’re only a turtle named Mack.”

“You stay in your place while I sit here and rule.
I’m the king of a cow! And I’m the king of a mule!
I’m the king of a house! And a bush! And a cat!
But that isn’t all. I’ll do better than that!
My throne shall be higher!” his royal voice thundered,
“So pile up more turtles! I want ’bout two hundred!”

“Turtles! More turtles!” he bellowed and brayed.
And the turtles ‘way down in the pond were afraid.
They trembled. They shook. But they came. They obeyed.
From all over the pond, they came swimming by dozens.
Whole families of turtles, with uncles and cousins.
And all of them stepped on the head of poor Mack.
One after another, they climbed up the stack.

Then Yertle the Turtle was perched up so high,
He could see forty miles from his throne in the sky!
“Hooray!” shouted Yertle. “I’m the king of the trees!
I’m king of the birds! And I’m king of the bees!
I’m king of the butterflies! King of the air!
Ah, me! What a throne! What a wonderful chair!
I’m Yertle the Turtle! Oh, marvelous me!
For I am the ruler of all that I see!”

Then again, from below, in the great heavy stack,
Came a groan from that plain little turtle named Mack.
“Your Majesty, please… I don’t like to complain,
But down here below, we are feeling great pain.
I know, up on top you are seeing great sights,
But down here at the bottom we, too, should have rights.
We turtles can’t stand it. Our shells will all crack!
Besides, we need food. We are starving!” groaned Mack.

“You hush up your mouth!” howled the mighty King Yertle.
“You’ve no right to talk to the world’s highest turtle.
I rule from the clouds! Over land! Over sea!
There’s nothing, no, NOTHING, that’s higher than me!”

But, while he was shouting, he saw with surprise
That the moon of the evening was starting to rise
Up over his head in the darkening skies.
“What’s THAT?” snorted Yertle. “Say, what IS that thing
That dares to be higher than Yertle the King?
I shall not allow it! I’ll go higher still!
I’ll build my throne higher! I can and I will!
I’ll call some more turtles. I’ll stack ‘em to heaven!
I need ’bout five thousand, six hundred and seven!”

But, as Yertle, the Turtle King, lifted his hand
And started to order and give the command,
That plain little turtle below in the stack,
That plain little turtle whose name was just Mack,
Decided he’d taken enough. And he had.
And that plain little lad got a bit mad.
And that plain little Mack did a plain little thing.
He burped!
And his burp shook the throne of the king!

And Yertle the Turtle, the king of the trees,
The king of the air and the birds and the bees,
The king of a house and a cow and a mule…
Well, that was the end of the Turtle King’s rule!
For Yertle, the King of all Sala-ma-Sond,
Fell off his high throne and fell Plunk! in the pond!

And today the great Yertle, that Marvelous he,
Is King of the Mud. That is all he can see.
And the turtles, of course… all the turtles are free
As turtles and, maybe, all creatures should be.

May you be blessed!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Very Vintage Bonanzle Christmas

Go Green, buy Vintage!

Be sure to visit my friends on Bonanzle.com while you're browsing for holiday gifts. There is a wonderful selection available! Enjoy the video!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Countdown to the Bonanzle Cyber Monday Street Faire!

One of the largest cyber street fairs in e-commerce, the Bonanzle Cyber Monday Street Faire will feature over 120 vendor booths, featuring arts & crafts, antiques, clothing, items from around the world, collectibles, and much more.

In addition to the booth line up, the faire includes YouTube Videos that have been created for the event by sellers. Bookbrowsers won the contest http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8lviR-S4bY, with yeshuazgirl earning fabulous mention with http://www.onetruemedia.com/otm_site/view_shared?p=9e9a9f84c5793a2334efc1

Hand picked lists have been created by members to showcase the rich assortment of goodies being offered at discounts from 10 - 55% off. The Hand-picked lists offer collections of merchandise arranged by themes, price points, and gift guides by category (baby, husband, grandmother, etc.) They are a really fun way to browse the wide assortment of merchandise available!








While at the faire, you won't be able to help but notice the offbeat and trendy unusuals that make up the Browse our Most Expceptional Items Pages where you'll find items tagged as most beautiful, funniest, most bizarre, coolest, and best priced by shoppers. There is truly something for everyone!

The Bonanzle Cyber Street Faire has an electric, upbeat energy around it, the unique atmosphere mirrored by a pleasant, easygoing community of seasoned merchants who have all worked together to create the event. In the spirit of the season, Bonanzle sellers give, and give, and give... of their talents, time, and experience to help each merchant learn the ins and outs of online selling, and best practices that result in extraordinary customer service, great values, and a fun shopping experience for buyers!

In addition to the plenty of bargains to be had, many merchants are available to talk with in real time via the chat box found in each booth and the site's messaging system. So get out your list, check it twice, and head over to Bonanzle on Cyber Monday! You'll be sure to find some sweet deals, and make some new friends!

May you be blessed!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bonanzle Merchants Gearing Up for Huge Cyber Monday Sales, Deals and Deep Discounts!

If you've got a few minutes to spend browsing today,
head on over to Bonanzle with your Holiday Gift List
and plan your strategy for scoring the best gifts at the lowest prices!

Most coupon codes are for Cyber Monday only,
but with Bonanzle's chat feature and message system
you might just be able to haggle with booth owners today...
~ The early bird gets the worm! ~

Don't wait for Black Friday or Cyber Monday
to discover all that Bonanzle has to offer!
Have a Terrific Tuesday and happy shopping!

Coupon code: HolidaySpa gives 20% off on Cyber Monday

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Coupon code: Cyber Monday gives 25% off

Coupon Code: CYBERMONDAY gives 15% off all 3 & 4 tier diaper cakes

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35% off with the code: Cyber Monday

Coupon Code: XMASBLING gives 25% off everything PLUS free shipping

20% off everything with coupon code: MerryChristmas

Coupon code: Christmas2009 gives 40% off all candle jars, multipack tealights, multipack votives, and multi votive scented bars

Coupon code: cyber20 for 20% off!

Coupon Code MERRY = 20% OFF Any Jewelry Item. Christmas Shoppe Items Already Just Above Wholesale & Receive FREE Snowman or Santa Plush with Shower Gel with any Christmas Item Purchase! [while supplies last!]

Coupon code: CYBERMONDAY15 = 15% off everything, hand crafted Porcelain Limoges Boxes from France among other goodies.

Coupon code: OSHUNSPIRIT gives 25% off PLUS each $10 purchase made on 11/30 = 1 entry to an awesome doorprize drawing!

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Save 30% with coupon code HOPE

Coupon code: SAVE15 gives 15% off everything! Free Shipping. Each $15+ Cyber Monday sale earns an entry to win a custom Journey Beads 9-Bead Bracelet, a $55 value!

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Save 25% with Discount Code: Cyber

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Cyber Monday Special Buy $1.00 of stuff Get 15% off!
MasonicTreasures-KustomGraphics 4u

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Ziggy Zool’s eclectible odds n ends

SAVE 25%

Coupon code: CyberM for 20% of

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30% off all items (except gift certificates) from midnight Sunday until midnight Cyber Monday! Simply use code: Cyber.

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Coupon Code:Apple Monday receives 20% off anything, and will combine shipping when applicable.

35% off. with coupon code: “cheese”

20% off of every item

Handmade 925 Sterling Silver Gemstone Ring & Earrings. 50% off any Ring Coupon Code: Silver Ring. Buy any 1 pair earrings $20, any 2 pair $36, any 3 pair $50. FREE Shipping.

15% off over 25.00 purchased. Combined shipping where possible.

$6.00 jewelry sale includes shipping. $10.00 store all items include shipping.

25% off. Combined shipping. Coupon code: CM

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buy 2 products and get 1 product free

Coupon code: latenight gives 10% off, plus buy one get one free in Manic Monday category.

vintage and modern collectibles and replacement china
Get $5.00 off purchases of $30.00 or more (before shipping and tax) with Google Checkout. Limit 1 per person. No resale. We always find the best shipping prices for you.

vintage and contemporary Fiestawre
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vintage and modern Seasonal Christmas Decor Inside & Outside
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15% off plus FREE SHIPPING Coupon Code: Save

15% off with $30 purchase, combined shipping

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15% off with Coupon code: worldpeace

Coupon Code: THANKS gives 25% off everything





Sunday, November 22, 2009

Journey Beads Gift Certificates now available on Bonanzle!

Journey Beads fit your Pandora, Troll, and Biagi jewelry. They are created to hold energy for inspiration, healing, awareness, creativity, and prosperity. You can create a beautiful one-of-a-kind bracelet, a necklace, a bookmark, or a set of touchstone prayer and meditation beads. We hope that Journey Beads will add beauty and and light to your journey, and remind you to celebrate each step and milestone!

The Perfect Gift! Choose a Journey Beads Bonanzle Gift Certificate in any amount of $10 or more. Gift certificates are sent via email as .pdf documents so you can print them out and tuck into cards, OR attach to an email greeting. Valid through 12/31/2010, no cash value.

Gift Certificates are redeemed by entering the number as a coupon code at checkout. We'll include a FREE Murano glass bead with every $10 purchase! It will be sent as an added surprise with your recipient's order.

Start with a bracelet! We offer several styles and sizes.

Add our Affirmation Beads for prayer, meditation, and mindfulness as you navigate life's twists and turns. An affirmation is a statement expressed in the present tense and phrased in the positive. Affirmations focus the mind and clarify attention and intention. Affirmations are simultaneously an expression of expectation and an expression of gratitude, they are both a journey and a destination. An affirmation tag is included with each bead in this collection.

Pathway Beads help you to stay focused on your dream, be it the path to prosperity, joy, balance, courage, motherhood, healing, love, recovery, or spiritual growth... our paths are many! You set the intention for your pathway beads. Directions on how to power up your jewelry with Solar energies are included with Pathway Beads.

Milestone Beads are a beautiful way to celebrate every insight you experience and every goal you reach, large or small. Milestone Beads are charms which represent movement and flexibility. Each bead in this collection is blessed with positive energies and comes with an affirmation tag.

Spacer Beads to remind you to breathe, relax, enjoy the moment, and have faith that your journey is unfolding as it should. Choose from several styles in Tibetan Silver.

Stop Beads are hinged to clamp onto your Pandora Style Bracelet to keep the beads together in one segment and to keep them from falling off your braclet when you remove it.

Custom orders: We'll be happy to help you create a set of crystalline Journey Beads and positive affirmations for your unique journey, or for someone you care about. This service is free of charge.

All Journey Beads purchases arrive beautifully wrapped in scented, silk rose petals!

"Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey toward it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us." – Samuel Smiles

May you be blessed!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Restore your balance and well being with gemstone essence soaps, oils, and salts

For over twenty years I have offered a technique of healing using crystals and gemstones positioned on and around the body called crystal healing. I have found it to be a most effective method to ease pain, stress, and tension particularly in sessions where Reiki and Aromatherapy are used in combination. A typical session lasts between 30 - 60 minutes.

Crystal healing is a gentle, relaxing, non-evasive therapy which seeks to balance energy in the body, mind, spirit and emotions. Since ancient times crystals have been used to heal and restore harmony. Crystal healing continues to be the cornerstone of my own practice.

Crystal healing uses the natural energies, color and vibrations of crystals and gemstones to clear and energize the aura and rebalance the chakras. The crystals are also used to work on releasing emotional and physical energy congestion. I offer both physical laying-on-stones and distance/auric grid sessions.

In my experience, I have found that crystal healing is effective in:
* promoting deep relaxation
* encouraging detoxification
* accelerating healing by supporting the body’s natural ability to heal
* moving and clearing energy blocks in the physical and auric energy fields
* opening the self to new levels of awareness and spiritual growth

When a client comes to my office for a crystal healing session, I will place crystals on specific areas of the body called chakras, the energy centers of the body and subtle bodies. Each center is associated with a unique vibration, sound, and color. The same color crystals as the color of the chakras are laid upon the body to enhance the flow of energy. Complementary colors are sometimes used to balance the energy or to direct the flow of energy to a particular part of the body. Others can be used to clear negative energy fields before they manifest as physical illness. The energies of specific crystals might be purifying, calming, energizing, grounding or uplifting.

'Tis the Season! The season of lights and the season of stress. And because crystal therapy promotes peace and tranquility and reduces mental and nervous stress, my appointment book is filling fast.

But even if you cannot schedule an appointment with me, you can enjoy the benefits of crystal healing in your own bath or shower reach day. I currently have over a dozen aromatherapy inspired, spa quality soaps which have been carefully formulated to balance and restore you when you need it most. The effects are powerful, and cumulative. Olive, soy, and essential oils pamper your skin. And, these soaps smell Divine!

I've blended gemstone and botanical synergies to use both in healing baths and in your morning shower. Bathing with gemstone essences not only revitalizes you, but also helps in cleansing toxins from your body, can help release emotions and energize your total being. I also have formulated gemstone oils which can be poured into the bath or used with a diffuser, as well as a nice selection of bokek salts with gemstone essences.

One of my favorite blends to restore balance, calm emotions and increase awareness is the Lilac, Lapis and Luvilite soap. Lilac is historicaly known as the flower of love and purification. The scent of fresh lilac flowers alone is an effective stress reliever. Paired with Lapis Lazuli and Luvulite which boosts intuition, awareness, objectivity, clarity, creativity, and serenity, you've got the perfect antidode to holiday stress in a bar of soap. It's true!

May you be blessed!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

44 Days til Christmas? Santa's Helpers, Mellow Elves and Warm Fuzzies

This morning I was leisurely browsing for gifts online when I came across a red and green banner flashing a warning: Only 44 Shopping Days Til Christmas! It was complete with a really jarring sound loop of jingling bells and animated elves frantically jumping up and down in the corner, waving their arms.

These elves had a crazed look in their eyes. Too many sugar cookies with their eggnog? Maybe they'd all been into the magic hay they feed to the flying reindeer. I closed the page and closed my eyes, nauseous.

So much for the warm fuzzies. You know, those feelings of happiness, joy, and connection. Of love.

I need my gift giving to have meaning. I want it to be joyful, and stress-free. I like it to smell like cinnamon buns, and I want to take my time, and that's why I shop online in my pajamas while I'm having my morning tea and biscuits.

Santa's cartoon helpers left me feeling overwhelmed, frazzled, and just plain visually exhausted. I know that these psycho-elves, and others like them, have been created precisely to spin me into a buying frenzy, to create the madness that sends cash registers ca-chinking, but I just couldn't look at it. In fact, I felt assaulted.

I don't want to be warned that I'm running out of time, stressed or pressured as I am browsing for the perfect gifts to express my gratitude and love to the people I care about. I want to be in the creative zone of inspiration and delight. I want to go on a little magical adventure, to hunt for the unexpected treasures I will be excited to share.

I love what Debra Dean has done with her Bonanzle Examiner Showcase. In each piece she offers a nice selection of thoughtful gift ideas (love the slippers by the way) with links to the items at the Bonanzle marketplace. There is no danger of dancing dwarfs trampling your holiday spirit, no muzak rendition of the seasonal classics, thank you. Her current selection features fashion and accessories that are all under $50 including shipping. Last week she featured all things Unique, Vintage and Antique.

Gifts don't need to be expensive, and for me, it isn't about the gift so much as it is the energy – the excitement and joy that comes from giving something to another that will make their face light up with the joy of receiving special something. It's all about the love that is being exchanged, for I believe that is the truth behind the season.

I appreciate suggestions, I need a Santa's helper!
But make mine a mellow elf, cherish the warm fuzzy.
Thank you, Jamiro!

May you be blessed!

image credit:ecletech.com

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Before the Madness: Create Sacred Space for Seasonal Serenity!

Before the Holiday Madness overtakes your sense and sensibilities, I urge you to create a quiet, inspiring place in your home that helps you feel more connected to what's meaningful in your life. Like me, many of you already have sacred spaces dedicated for practices such as meditation, yoga, prayer, healing, or divination. But even if you do not need a dedicated place for "daily rituals", or you already have a space for these, you might want to create a space simply for "seasonal serenity".

Creating your own sacred space lets you express your deepest human need for ongoing spiritual nourishment, which transcends obligatory holiday shopping and social engagements which can be devoid of any nourishment at all. Everyone can benefit from creating places where they intentionally choose what surrounds them. Entering a sacred space is like giving yourself permission to take a moment to be renewed, to find rest, to get out of your head and honor what's in your heart. Sacred spaces feed the spirit. And, that can go a long way toward helping you feel more centered, grounded, healthy, and happy.

Creating sacred space is all about making personal choices that feel right intuitively, so there is no right or wrong way to do it. Begin by arranging objects that give you energy, inspire you, and are pleasing to all of your senses – that which tastes, sounds, smells, looks and feels good to you.

Even if you can not dedicate an entire room, you can use a corner of a room or garden. Also consider using a cushion, rug, low table, or screen to make your sacred space feel more contained, relaxing and personal. I personally love outdoor spaces, in all seasons, as nature's voice is most often what I need to hear when the Madness is calling me. I maintain a medicine wheel on my beach, and a beautiful crystal grid in my herb garden which are both large enough for me to sit at their centers. Because they are used often, they hold tremendous positive fields and are magnets to many of the sweet little creatures that also share my yard; butterflies, birds, chipmunks and more! Those creatures provide me with a wonderful connection to the Earth, and they are in fact the most important sounds, and sensually pleasing additions to my sacred spaces. Indoors, I have a traditional healing space pleasing to Oshun. The only sound is the waves of the lake caressing the shoreline.

Whether you create a space outdoors or inside, focus on aesthetically pleasing items that speak to you, inspire you, and that are meaningful to you. You might include:

  • Stones and shells that hold memories from special places
  • A dish garden or fountain
  • Talismans and symbols of peace and safety
  • Artwork and photographs of loved ones and special places
  • Statuary and traditional symbols of divine and protective energies
  • Candles, incense, scented plants and flowers
  • Color, light, texture, fabrics, mirrors, crystals, chimes
  • Poetry, sacred texts, favorite quotes and words of wisdom from any and all faiths
  • Personal Divination Tools such as Runes, Shells, or a favorite deck of Tarot cards
  • Music: Instruments or CDs

It all starts with a desire to make something as beautiful and as comforting as you possibly can, just for you. This space is yours. Today, honor your heart's desire to feel more connected to what's truly meaningful in your life. I wish you seasonal serenity!

May you be blessed!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Feeding Your Body and Soul with Chakra Healing Foods

I've had many inquiries from new clients who are just beginning to explore chakra wellness through the Journey Beads. While using color therapy, aromatherapy, laying on gemstones (crystal healing), and Reiki are all effective techniques for balancing and restoring harmony to our energetic bodies, we cannot forget to nourish our physical bodies as well!

When I notice a disconnect between my actions and my emotions, or level of spiritual awareness (I know better but I did it anyway...) I scan my chakra system, but I do not first consider the types of foods that I have been eating. And I should.

Because our chakras are energy vortexes and invisible to most of us, we can conclude that chakras thrive on energy, prayer, and other such spiritual stuff... you know, those things that we can't see with the human eye – and they do. However, the chakras cannot sustain our human body without our help. It is important to feed and nourish the flesh in order to help support and fuel our our subtle bodies.

Whenever one or more of your chakras is misaligned first see if you are not eating or possibly overeating the foods that fuel that particular chakra.

To feel more grounded, feed your root chakra. Choose root vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, parsnips, radishes, beets, onions, garlic, and protein rich foods like eggs, meats, beans, tofu, soy products, peanut butter. Spice it up with horseradish, hot paprika, chives, and cayenne pepper

To nourish your sexual and creative energies, feed your sacral chakra.
Choose sweet melons, mangos, strawberries, passion fruit, oranges, honey, cinnamon, and vanilla.

Boost your self-esteem and encourage self love by feeding the solar plexus.
Many sensitive people have allergies to foods that nourish this chakra. If you have gluten sensitivities aor you are lactose intolerant I beleive its your cellular/karmic directive to focus here. Comfort foods include pastas, breads, cereal, rices, flax seed, sunflower seeds, and dairy milk, cheeses, and yogurt. Many of us need to learn how to love ourselves in new and different ways!

Lighten emotional hurts by healing the heart chakra. Think green, airy, leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, dandelion greens,broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and celery. Enjoy green teas and teas from basil, sage, thyme, cilantro, and parsley.

Speak your truth. Your throat chakra responds to water! All liquids, including fruit juices, herbal teas, lemon water, and sour-ish citrus fruits are helpful Add a dash of salt, and lemon grass.

Awaken your intuition by feeding the brow.
All, dark bluish colored fruits are beneficial. Choose blueberries, red grapes, black berries, raspberries, red wines and grape juice. Spice it up with lavender, poppy seed, and mugwort.

Fast to opening and clearing the crown.
Intermittent fasting as a spiritual discipline has been recommended various religious and cultural practices around the globe since throughout time. Because it resets out metaboloic processes, many physicians recommend supervised fasting to rebalance and detoxify the body. Always fast under the supervision of a qualified practitioner.

Incense and smudging herbs including sage, copal, myrrh, frankincense, and juniper are recommended to purify and open your spiritual center as well.

Of course, using affirmations remains a powerful technique to align and focus the mind, body and spirit. Combine affirmations with meditation, energy work and a diet update and you'll not only feel better, but you'll BE better.

May you be blessed!

image credit: farm1.static.flickr.com

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Not gone, just gone on ahead

Taking a moment to remember Chelsea, who left this earth yesterday. She is


She is my other eyes that can see above
the clouds; my other ears that hear above
the winds. She is the part of me that can
reach out into the sea.

She has told me a thousand times over that
I am her reason for being: by the way she
rests against my leg; by the way she thumps
her tail at my smallest smile; by the way she
shows her hurt when I leave without taking her.
(I think it makes her sick with worry when she
is not along to care for me.)

When I am wrong, she is delighted to forgive.
When I am angry, she clowns to make me smile.
When I am happy, she is joy unbounded.
When I am a fool, she ignores it.
When I succeed, she brags.
Without her, I am only another woman.

With her,
I am all-powerful.
She is loyalty itself.
She has taught me the meaning of devotion.
With her, I know a secret comfort and a
private peace. She has brought me understanding
where before I was ignorant.
Her head on my knee can heal my human hurts.
Her presence by my side is protection against
my fears of dark and unknown things.

She has promised to wait for me...
whenever... wherever in case I need her.

And I expect I will as I always have.

She is just my dog.
– Gene Hill

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Holding the Blue Bead, Affirming My Place in the Universe

By working with affirmations, we begin the process of changing negative and unproductive beliefs into positive life supporting beliefs, that with regular practice will create our desired futures. Affirmations focus the mind and clarify attention and intention.

I love the Journey Beads Crystal Affirmation Beads for prayer, meditation, and mindfulness as I navigate life's twists and turns. I love the way they play with light, each facet representing a moment of clarity, joy, and celebration!

Blue is the color of the spirit and relates to self expression
- speech, communication, the ability to communicate our needs and requirements; the Spirit of truth and purpose.

"Everything I do is an expression of love.

It is now safe for me to express my feelings.

I love and trust my creative gifts.

It is now right for me to express the best of who I am now.

I release the fear and doubts which block the way to my creative expression."

Journey Beads are both tactile and visual. They help to engage all our senses as we work with affirmations to reach our desired goals. An affirmation is a statement expressed in the present tense and phrased in the positive. I have found it advantageous to see myself as already having obtained my desired outcome and while holding the image, I bring to mind the feelings I would have when accomplishing my goal.

By combining the elements of sight, light, and touch to visualize our objective it becomes real to our imagination and in so doing becomes embedded in our subconscious as a part of our reality. As an example; if I desire to sail around the islands this winter; I concentrate and tune in my senses. I feel the motion of the boat beneath yme as I smell the sea air, hearing the flap of the sails and the calls of dolphins and gulls. I hear the rustle of palms on the breezy beach. I taste the salt spray on my face as I enjoy the pleasure of my surroundings. All the while, I turn the bead in my fingertips.

The subconscious mind, being non-critical, will believe my visualizations as being real as my sense of touch anchors those images in the third dimension reality. As I meditate on my affirmations, my subconscious mind will raise images and sensations of my successes to my awareness.

By visualizing your goal your subconscious mind will work for you, behind the scenes, to encourage the manifestation of situations which will ultimately enable your goals to come true. The process of achieving your goals through the application of positive mental images will empower you to create a reality from your desires. Journey Beads will bring light to your intentions and anchor them for manifestation with the healing power of touch.

Journey Beads may be purchased on Bonanzle and also at Oshun Spirit Earth Friendly Goods. There is a Free Design Service if you'd like help in creating a set of beads and positive affirmations for your unique journey, or for someone you care about. Journey Beads also fit Pandora and Troll Jewelry.

Like words of encouragement, Journey Beads make a thoughtful and personal gift for someone facing challenges, celebrating a personal triumph, and growing in spirit. Each bead arrives wrapped in scented silk rose petals with an affirmation tag.

"Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey toward it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us." – Samuel Smiles

May you be blessed!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Staying Open While the Doors Slam Shut

Staying open while the doors slam shut. It's a metaphor, and an observation. As many of you know, I'm a watcher. I try to observe the events that touch my day from a detached awareness that allows me to experience these events as they are, not as I would have them be or not be. By not labeling them as "good" or "bad" I can usually see them from many perspectives at once.

I'm a work in progress. I can't always do it. But I do give it my best effort.

Sure there's a spiritual component to this way of being in the world, but I use it primarily as a good way to keep the stress levels down in my life – particularly in my role as "mother." I also find the practice an invaluable tool in making business decisions. If my soul is evolving in the process, that's a nice perk.

So, yes, we've been taught that is important in our spiritual lives to keep an open mind, open to ideas, experiences, people, the world, and the Divine. In Taoism, openness is defined as an ability to go with the flow without expecting predetermined outcomes. It means being receptive to new possibilities, without prejudging them. It means your Spirit is free.

To keep an open mind is to have the ability to make yourself available to out-of-the-ordinary opportunities. Indeed, openness to the unknown, the exotic, and the bizarre is usually seen as the mark of a free spirit.

This free spirit chooses "Bizarre" as the word-of-the week. How about you?

Did you feel like you were mad for a moment?
Was that brick wall calling your forehead?
Was the yogic breathing technique paling in comparison to the calming potential of a martini?
Did you feel like you were just one french fry short of a happy meal?
Did you want to slam some doors yourself?

I know many of you had some similar experiences this week. I see some of you closing up shop. Locking the doors. My choice is to stay open. Why? Because I can.

For me, the antidote was empathy.

How did I do it? I began by moving outside myself into the other's (multiple others, LOL!) situation (s). I tried to access the other's feelings and ideas. I've found for the purposes of practice, the more eccentric my choice, the better. I tried to stay open even as I was preparing to do battle if necessary. I aligned myself with a trusted ally – love.

The contrast to openness (love) is narrow-mindedness (fear). We've watched it play itself out over and over again through censorship, avoidance, and downright rude and arrogant behavior. Narrow-mindedness is a rigidity of mind. Rigid mind. Just saying the words feels tight and uncomfortable. Narrow-mindedness is in fact a repelling tactic, that drives others away and slams the door behind them. To keep you safe...

"And don't come back!"

I believe that behind every invitation to leave is the secret wish that you will stay, and say or do something to help me to be in a better place. I am the eternal optimist.

In my experiences as a healer, teacher, and mother, I've found that most pessimistic people have armored themselves against preconceived disappointments and are no longer open to other possibilities. Not open to anything, anymore. They have become dogmatic and stubborn people who are basically unapproachable. Alone. And afraid.

Boundaries are important. It is equally important to surround yourself with only those who bring out your best qualities. Sometimes you have to let relationships go. But sometimes you have to stay with it for a little while longer to see the real opportunity.

You have to stay open even as the door slams shut. So, if you need to, you can slam the door in my face while I am trying to have a conversation with you. I won't be taking it personally. When you open it just a crack to see if you have succeeded in driving me away, a bit of light will enter. It will illuminate and warm you. You can quickly slam the door again if you want to. But you will remember that feeling and eventually you will open that door again, and look for the source of that feeling.

You will want to experience it again, and again, and learn how to generate it for yourself... and someday you will want to be that for others. You will be in that better place. It can not be any other way.

I have watched that miracle unfold again. I am blessed.

May you be blessed!

Image credit: www.6by6.co.uk/assets/images/Door_Chain.jpg

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Teaching Reiki, Learning Lessons

A long story, short: A customer bought some oils from me. Then she copied the product listings from my website, posted the oils for sale on her website and proclaimed for herself the skill set I use to create my products. FYI, she has never been my student, she does not posess these particular skills as I know them. Some of my students do, and they have my blessings and my support – endless, infinite support.

Weeks later she purchased 12 imperfect Tachyon cubes on Bonanzle, seconds, and listed them along with my product text, word for word, except for the part about them being seconds. She copied my Tachyon FAQs page and imagined it was her own experiences that flavored her recommendations and insights, and advice.

OK, aside from this being a legal issue, a common sense issue, and an issue of decency, the larger issue is that she presents herself as a Reverend, a Healer, a Lightworker, a Master and a Teacher. She speaks to Spirit Guides, Ascended Masters, Angels, and Your Highest Divine Self. Even your Past Life Self. I assume her own present to her as well. And none of these entities said, "oh oh, bad idea."

I've contacted her, and offered to help her with her own descriptions if she needs such assistance, and acknowledged that she might be ignorant of the ways of ecommerce... and the mis-steps on the learning curve are certainly understandable, forgivable and easily rectified. I've thanked her for her edits in advance. Except I've had no response back. No edits last time I looked. The whole thing feels icky now. But, I was happy to work with her as she makes it right.

On the homepage of her site she quotes:

"Life is designed to be a school for the Soul. A journey where we live out each lesson we have pre-planned and chosen for ourselves.. How we chose to travel through these experiences is up to us; for we are the creators of our own reality."

I'm good with that, but I got to wondering why I might pre-plan this experience.

Further down the page it says, "There are no coincidences in finding yourself here."

Duh. Is it Patience again? Compassion? Tolerance? Charity? Please, what aspect of Love has come to call?

Well, I couldn't address it further today, I was scheduled to teach a day-long workshop, Reiki I, at a Senior Center. Somehow (of course), these events managed to weave themselves into the fabric of the lesson just as we were reviewing the Usui precepts.

Just for today, do not worry. Just for today, do not anger. Honor your parents, teachers and elders. Earn your living honestly. Show gratitude to every living thing.

I acknowledged that I was not worried or angry, that I could honor the teaching (if I could just figure it out), that the earning of a living honestly had turned its facet to the light for us all to think about. (There was a brief discussion of the mortgage crisis, and Bernie Mader, and the crooks who installed the new carpet at the center, but we moved along pretty well.)

I expressed that I was indeed grateful for the peace and sense of detachment that replaced what might have been and emotionally charged experience had I not practiced Reiki, meditation and yoga.

"That's what Reiki does," I said, " it balances emotions, will, spirit, and keeps your body from recoiling and reacting in boils, ulcers and muscle spasms."


As we continued our practice into the afternoon, I was still open to the lesson. Skeptical Mimmi, at age 76, put her gnarled hands on my shoulders.

"You're carrying her here."

Who? What? Oh.

"No," I said, "I'm not."

"Then why would you burden yourself with rewriting her website?"

"I am trying to be kind," I said.

'Well, you should be really pissed off!"

I almost fell over. Mimmi, all 98 pounds of her in her oversize orange, appliqued fall leaves sweatshirt (another outreach program project for sure), shimmered like the great golden Goddess and rose three feet in stature as she pressed her words into my aura and body. I relaxed. My head fell forward. I gave it voice.

"I am pissed off, Mimmi."

She was silent for a good long minute. Then she took her hands off my shoulders and went over to the table and sat down. As she arranged her handouts into her folder, I heard her mummur to no one in particular, "Well, then, I guess this Reiki stuff really works."

May you be blessed!

image credit: www.energy-healing-guide.com

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Views from the edge

“Nothing is given to man on Earth - struggle is built into the nature of life. The hero is the man who lets no obstacle prevent him from pursuing the values he has chosen.” –Andrew Bernstein

"Now after all this struggle, where do I go?"
I'm seeing some soul searching, finally.

I have been watching the "experts and chosen ones" deliberately taking advantage of the weary and down-trodden and leading them down a treacherous path to "success" that instinctively feels wrong, is most certainly self-defeating, and and could be financially suicidal. There was, by design, a ready following for these directives... And even as their own hearts were urging them to stop and reflect on the path, and find their own light, the self-proclaimed experts said they knew the way.

I agree, it might feel safer to trust the experts, at least for a minute or two. But it is safer to know who YOU are and trust your own instincts. Hold true to your own values. And make your own mistakes if need be.

It occurred to me that it is not the hard work, the perseverance, or the patience required to succeed that eventually turns the heart to weariness – and perhaps finally bitterness and resentment– but the grieving of the values that have been compromised along the way.

There is great power in accepting what is, rather than wishing for something different. If in the quest for transforming your circumstances, a sense of desperation and struggle has been born, or you've been lead to a place that doesn't feel right, I say, "Stop! Breathe. Think. Feel."

Re-connect with your values. Let those values be the beacon that lights your way. Align with them and you will work smarter, not harder.

Accept where you are in this moment, even if it's scary. It is a beginning point. Put aside the blame. I's not the economy, its not what has been done to you, or what hasn't been done for you. It's not what you expected. OK.

Accepting and blessing our circumstances is a powerful tool for transformation. In fact, this potent combination can work miracles in our lives.

What is acceptance? Acceptance is surrendering to what is: our circumstances, our feelings, our problems, our financial status, our work, our health, our relationships with other people, the delay of our dreams.

Before we can change anything in our life we have to recognize that this is the way it's meant to be right now.

Believe that you came to this edge to learn to fly, because there is no going backwards. Find your own wings in the closed eyes of prayer and meditation, perhaps even the quiet tears. Everything is going to turn out all right. This is simply part of the journey. Say it aloud. Write it down.

Over the years I have discovered that much of my struggle to be content despite whatever outside circumstances have arisen, is when I stubbornly resisted what was actually happening in my life at the present moment. But I have also learned that when I surrender to the reality of a particular situation – when I don't continue to resist, but accept, a resonance occurs.

Suddenly I am able to open up to receive all the goodness and abundance available to me because acceptance brings with it so much relief and release. It's as if the steam of struggle has been allowed to escape from life's pressure cooker.

What happens when we accept our circumstances? Well, first of all, we relax. Next we change our vibration, our energy pattern, and the rate of our heartbeat. Once again we're able to tap into the boundless positive energy of the Universe. Acceptance also illuminates reality so that we're better able to see the our own way...

"When you come to the edge of all the light you have known, and are about to step out into darkness, faith is knowing one of two things will happen; There will be something to stand on, or you will be taught to fly." –Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Today, have faith in yourself and in your own wisdom.

May you be blessed!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Announcing Journey Beads on Bonanzle!

Are you looking for a thoughtful gift... one that's meaningful, personal, beautiful, and full of light and love, and that won't break the bank? Do you need a pick-me-up, a well-deserved indulgence, and a little sparkle just about now? Here you go!

Journey Beads are created to hold energy for inspiration, healing, awareness, creativity, and prosperity. You can create a beautiful one-of-a-kind crystalline bracelet, a necklace, a bookmark, or a set of Touchstone prayer and meditation beads. Design one for yourself or for someone you care about. You can even give a single bead... each comes beautifully packaged with an affirmation tag, and costs just a few dollars including US shipping. Goodbye Hallmark!

Journey Beads will add beauty and and light to the path that you are on, and remind you to celebrate each step and milestone! Journey Beads also fit your Pandora, Troll, and Biagi jewelry.

Begin with a bracelet. We have Pandora-style snake chains and leather styles. Add Affirmation Beads for prayer, meditation, and mindfulness as you navigate life's twists and turns. An affirmation is a statement expressed in the present tense and phrased in the positive. Affirmations focus the mind and clarify attention and intention. Affirmations are simultaneously an expression of expectation and an expression of gratitude, they are both a journey and a destination. An affirmation tag is included with each bead in this collection.

Pathway Beads help you to stay focused on your dream, be it the path to prosperity, joy, balance, courage, motherhood, healing, love, recovery, or spiritual growth... our paths are many! You set the intention for your Pathway Beads. Directions on how to power up your jewelry with solar energies are included with Pathway Beads.

Milestone Beads , also known as Wisdom Beads, are a beautiful way to celebrate every insight you experience and every goal you reach, large or small. Milestone Beads are charms which represent movement and flexibility. Each bead in this collection is blessed with positive energies and comes with an affirmation tag.

Spacer Beads remind you to breathe, relax, enjoy the moment, and have faith that your journey is unfolding as it should. There are several styles in Tibetan Silver to choose from.

Custom orders: We'll be happy to help you create a set of crystalline Journey Beads and positive affirmations for your unique journey, or for someone you care about. This service is free of charge.

Free US Shipping! Your entire order ships for $8 flat rate worldwide.
Returns within 7 days for exchange or store credit.
Gift wrapping is free, by request.

Just ask!


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Attention! You are being ignored!

As some of you know, I've had phone issues for the past week or so.

So this morning I've been struggling to set up a new telephone, and its very complicated somehow. Since I last purchased a telephone there have been many options added, layers of settings, privacy screens, notifications, voice mail connections, forwards to other devices, caller id menus... all ways to stay connected, and when I really thought about it – all ways to ignore people...

...someone has made the effort to reach out to me, someone needs or wants to talk to me, and I am given at least a half-dozen options to pretend that they do not. I am struck by how easy we have made it to ignore and dismiss another human being and we’re convinced it’s not only acceptable, but appropriate.

I got to thinking about the larger phenomena of "being ignored."
I've known that feeling of being ignored.
Have you ever asked a direct question and not been answered?
You have been sent the message, “I think you are insignificant.”
Think about it.

Well, it's rude. Borderline passive/aggressive. And, we have been able to desensitize ourselves from our rude behavior. I'm not talking about needing to take a message when you're engaged elsewhere. And, I'm not talking about clicking the porn queen's unfollow button or hitting the ignore button when faced with the thirteenth invitation to play Mafia Wars. I'm not talking about responding to spam.

I'm talking about choosing to ignore, out of arrogance, or immaturity... or fear.

Love. It's the basis of the human need to connect and should be the starting and ending points of any communication, personal or not. We all need to remember that there are REAL human beings behind the phone calls, emails, texts, and all the other ways we use to communicate with each other.

What happens if you imagine making eye contact with who ever’s request, question, idea or sentiment you’ve chosen to ignore? On a soul level you already are. Pretend what you will.

If someone contacts me and reveals a personal vulnerability, I need to realize that required courage. And courage should always be applauded, validated, and recognized. I think we might need a refresher memo with every new phone, application, and social techno-gadgetry on how to stand up and be human, and do it in a respectful and meaningful way. How to be intentional, transparent, and honest. How to stay human in the virtual world. I'm going to try to be mindful of the temptation to hide behind my technology. I'm going to look you in the eye, wherever you may be.

If you are being ignored, don’t be afraid to speak out. You were given a voice for a reason. But...

"The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them." Maya Angelou

That's really good advice. Don’t keep going to the same well if the well is dry. If you open up all lines of communication and are still being ignored, that person doesn’t deserve your attention. There are many more wonderful people out there listening for your voice.

May you be blessed!

Image credit: www.zazzle.com/ignored+gifts

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Musings on Growing the Money Tree: Bonanzle, Facebook and Twitter

I have a little storefront on Bonanzle, and you can check it out if you've never visited before. I thought it would be nice to be involved in a community marketplace in addition to seling from my website, so about a year ago I set up my shop there. Bonanzle is a hybrid venue, a social marketplace. There are some great sellers there, wonderful, trustworthy merchants. And, there has been a year-long ongoing debate among them as to whether Bonanzle is a serious selling site, or chat and gamers lounge, or both, or neither.

Many of you have visited me there, and I know that some have experienced first-hand the cart that does not always function, the quirky search, and server glitches. And, I thank you all for your patience and willingness to find a creative, alternative way to make your purchases when necessary. Management has made many, many wonderful site improvements, and things do run smoother there today, although for me, with a large international clientelle, Bonanzle's checkout remains problematic. I've spoken with several savvy, vetran sellers just this week who still cannot lead a new international buyer thru the checkout process with 100% certainty. Ummm, lets think about that.

So I got to thinking, musing actually... why would a shopping venue not prioritize checkout, and shipping? The bells, whistles, hip and trendy trinkets that – cool as they are – don't make my customer's experience any easier, add no real value to my buyer. And, Bonanzle continues to applaud and encourage games in which members buy each other's wares rather than assist the business people who do most of their selling off site, to many seller's dismay. Google base, google anaylitics aside, and the seller tools and marketing tips, all common sense, thanx. I'm talking checkout issues. Always coming back to the debate as to whether Bonanzle is a serious selling site, social site, or both, or neither.

The latest set of Bonanzle improvements are links to Facebook and Twitter (yes, I use them both), and the directive is to use these tools to advertise the site, the perk being you will get a little bump in visibility on site in a prominently displayed panel of web communicators. Ummm, lets think about that, too. I'll let someone else blog about that...

This morning, as I paid my $10 fee for selling there last month I got to thinking... although my $10 is chump change, if I multiply that by the roughly 22,oo0 booths listed on the site, there'd be a revenue of $220,000 in final value fees for the month. Add in Plus and Premium memberships at $10 and $24 /month respectively and I would think that throwing a little money at the checkout glitches would be possible. Probable. A priority? Part of the plan for growing the Money Tree?

And, there might be enough left over so that the site could do some advertising of its own during the Holiday shopping season, now in full swing (on other venues at least). The natives are getting restless, some trees have born no fruit even in this Harvest Season. Again, fodder for someone else's blog, I'm not going there either. But here is where I am going:

Mark Zuckerberg, 23, is the founder of Facebook. His social networking site is at about 60 million users, with a projection of 200 million by the end of this year. It's estimated to be worth $15 billion. Yahoo! offered to buy Facebook in 2006 for $1 billion in cash. (Zuckerberg declined their offer). In 2007, Microsoft bought 1.6 percent of the company for $240 million.

But Facebook has yet to figure out how to make money off its huge audience. Facebook needs to find a way to generate revenue...

On Facebook, members get a dose of social interraction by playing imaginary games such as Mafia Wars, Castle Wars, members give gifts of crystals, flowers and cocktails while they chat. Then they tweet that did, and do, they announce it to the world. Sometimes I wake up to tens of gifts and offers to come play. I don't, but that's me. I'm not all that drawn to imaginary enemies or cyber trinkets and such.

Now here is my aha moment: On Bonanzle, members play games and the site takes a final value fee from each little happy social interraction, and members tweet to the world that the game is about to begin or end, oh my! The game is called "Shopping!" And, now they've created unique interface so that we can access Facebook and Twitter and never leave Bonanzle. Sticky isn't it?

Bonanzle has already figured out how to make money off its growing audience. Imagine if all the Mafia Wars players tuned in to "Tickle me Tuesday" or "Finding Friends on Friday"? There is a seemingly endless list of games to choose from. Why send your friends each an imaginary crystal from Facebook, when you can send them each a real one from Bonanzle for just a few dollars in the how-low-will-you-go LIMBO game?

Well, there you go. No crystal ball needed. A hybrid indeed, and the game is shopping. If Bonanzle can pull this one off, it will be the next best thing! The new big thing. The thing. The Money Tree. Tweet that, Facebook!

When you're chasing $15 billion, what's losing a few sales in Canada or the UK this holiday season? Unless you are a Canadian wanting multiple varieties of my Chinese Blooming Tea? If you are, just email me, together we'll figure it out.

We always do.

May you be blessed!