Sesame Street's Best Meditation!

At the beginning  of the year or of any new adventure our minds look back and cast forward, like Janus, the two headed Roman God of January, who stood the Romans believed,at your home's door, Two headed Janus for the New Year: Looking Back, Searching Forward seeing in both directions.
The door leads to now, this present moment. What lets us go through the door, backwards to the past or forwards in contemplation of the future? Consciousness.
We set out in our lives as a tiny, shaky craft, a boat without a compass, often without even a sense of North or South. How to live? How to make decisions? Is there a right way? What happens when my inner moral compass does not agree with my society's? Learning to Craft Consciousness, A Boat that Floats

We may drift or worse yet, not even get into the water! We see others in their boats, unfurling sails, smiling and even waving as they glide by us, while we sit, staring at the horizon.
What's the difference between them and us? They have learned to Craft Consciousness. And now, thanks to Sesame Street you too can learn how to take the primary power you are born with, Consciousness and turn your boat around!
Let's take Focus, the ability to focus on one thing and in its negative aspect, the unwanted focus on the negative, on hurts and pains. What happens with all that focus? Here's an excerpt from my book
that includes a little scene from Sesame Street taken long ago, yet useful into the future. Janus would like that!

"A lovely tool for considering this switch in focus comes to us from the
children’s program “Sesame Street.” Decades ago as I watched with my
young son, an animated skit came on in which the tv screen filled with the
image of a single insect. In the background voices sang in a lovely lilt,
“That’s about the size, where you put your eyes, that’s about the size of it.”
Some light glimmered my mind into awareness and I paid closer attention.
The next shot was of the insect but included the twig the insect sat
upon with the same little song in the background. Next shot, the insect, twig
and branch, the next included the yard, the insect, twig branch and tree
occupied, then the city block, the town, county, state, country and out to a
shot of the entire planet all the while with the sweet song and its simple
wisdom flowing. Finally the Universes and that’s about the size of it!"

Think about it. Whatever you focus upon, grows. Today, this moment, commit to unfurling the sails in your craft so you may glide by all past hurts and negativity; commit to turning your Consciousness toward
a focus that catches the wind, discovering freedom and release from emotional pain. Focus on the positive!
Try this for one day, today. See how soon your boat glides effortlessly through the currents of today. Tomorrow? Begin again and the next day and the next and the next.
I'll be back soon with more on Crafting Consciousness! Happy New Year to All!

Dec 16 2015 -Meditation on Writer's Writing or Social Media Gabbling


Among the many pulls and tears that regularly sit and then abandon the inner throne where I believe I live, I find recurrent roles by two competing indulgences: I like to believe I am going to go "viral" and be "global" and it's just a matter of sitting here at the magic screen, finding the right gizmos and whatsits and then bam! It (whatever that it is) will all happen.

When that belief occupies the inner state Throne I happily while hours away figuring where else to write, to whom I might send an email or inquiry, what site most needs my attention Right Now! Global Gal wears a map of the Earth and believes it the most elegant wear anywhere.

The other occupant of the Inner Throne enters, knocks Global Gal to the floor and sits quietly, happily assured in her pj's and coffee attitude nothing more is required than to write. She dangles a pen (of all arcane instruments!) from her hand and it drips ink.

The trouble is whenever one commands, the other wilts. I feel doomed that this competition will lead to nothing getting done, at all!

Yet I continue to whittle away one Enshrined belief per moment, hoping that doing both will somehow result in something...somewhere....sometime!

Can you relate? Do your inner conflicts about where to put your energy? Please lend your thoughts...
The twin sides of what is wanted: a Meditation on Conflict

My Impossible Life - Teaser 3

     This and the many courses and adventures that followed: taking therapy in Mexico, then driving across to Cancun where five of us boarded a 22ft yacht, the Honey, sailing into the terrifying winds of tornado season; camping up the Norwegian coast to Finland; venturing through the whole of Italy into Israel where the teacher, dressed in camos and driving a jeep with three young men attracted the attention of the Government so we had to flee; renting every available Vespa in Chania, touring the island including the extraordinary Knossos; walking on glaciers; flying in a 4 seat Cessna; drinking chang with Mongol men until I recognized in the eyes of that young Tibetan woman who served us, a gulf of danger. I scuffed across the cliffs of life focused on a starry vision my head held, my feet barely touching ground.

     In Mexico one morning my teacher had spoken about a dream he had had, one in which he was walking down some stone steps. Suddenly I could see the steps, covered in a bit of green moss, see clearly the image his words evoked, as though painted upon the air in the room where we sat.
     
     “Yes, yes, that’s it!” he exclaimed suddenly, his brown eyes lit with an inner fire turned on me. “That’s it.” I had visualized. And he knew it. My love of the mystery of dreams and visions opened in one moment, a moment shared.

     When I finally touched down, when I stopped daring Life to catapult me into Death, it was to raise my son. His birth carved through my heart an opening targeting everything I had learned, felt, experienced, sowing it in veins of love and gratitude that began to blossom.

     He was my motivation. I stumbled toward mothering, slowly, a large brute presence internally numb and awed by the tiny perfection before me. He was, he is the reason.

     My teacher suggested I return to school, so I did. In 1985 I graduated with a double Master’s Degree in Education and English. The Angels directed me back to Ontario.

     I hauled my son across country and we settled in this cottage, our home, where I nursed my father through his last days.

     In 1993 I decided to approach the Ontario Compensation for Victims of Criminal Activity. I needed external confirmation I had experienced the extremes. As part of the criteria, I had to see a psychiatrist. Upon hearing my story, he handed me Kleenex and declared, “With what you’ve been through, we’d expect you to be in and out of hospitals, under doctor’s care for the rest of your life. You are not only functioning, you are high functioning. We don’t know how you did this.”

     In the late 1990’s I found a dream therapist and invoked consciously the languages of dream. I became a psychotherapist in private practice, specializing in dreams.

     I have experienced deep trauma, yes, but all those long hours of those three days, my mother’s imprint continued to speak. If I only endured the hell, I might find again a bit of heaven. Her imprint, the childhood dream that directed my responses to Al and Gary, Angels who refused to let me die, the insight and generosity of my teacher and my son as my heart’s motivation fed me. My drive to be well, the extensive hours of meditation, dream contemplation, bio-energetics, breath work combined to push me through those doors of memory into a world of increased sunlight, of living in the present moment. 

     Currently my heart partner Harry and I live comfortably. My son and his laughing warm family are healthy. I host a radio show called Off the Top through Whistle Radio in Stouffville. My psychotherapy practice has continued for over 15 years. I have written two books of poetry, Bliss Pig and Uncritical Mass in Consort, with my poetry partners Linda Stitt and Cecilie Kwiat, a novel called The Stain, and am about to release a book on visualization meditation as explained by neuroscience called Medicine Buddha/Medicine Mind. Next year I will finish my memoirs called My Impossible Life. Neat title, right?

My Impossible Life - Teaser 2

     That dream and the Angel I saw flying alongside the car where I sat in the back, the Angel come to tell me I would live. Later raped, tied to a chair, tortured, I was yet alive.

     I had run away. At sixteen, I had run away from what looked like a warm, loving family. I returned, a hollowed out creature, secret scars on my body and deeper ones on the soul that shrank like a thief from everything.

     So it was for the years I ran, drank, drugged, partied, worked sporadically, emptied my stomach contents into the always white porcelain bowl, was thrown like those contents out of the house, came crawling back on the tide of my parents’ guilt and their attempt to rise above that with “conditions.” What happened was I met a teacher, a meditation teacher.

     I didn’t like him. His contempt for the rest of us lesser beings fell all around, bits of hot charcoal from which we all withdrew. Then his mood changed and he drew us into his magical world of possibility, a potential he wrote in words across the air. He spoke and the world leapt with vitality and hope.

      He left for a world tour in September accompanied by nearly one hundred student followers. It was 1972. I had spoken a promise to meet up with them, maybe in India, maybe elsewhere.

     A vision: my small third floor living room after my night shift, my teacher saying, “Come now.” I pulled on a cigarette, speaking out loud to no one, “I don’t go half way around the world on the basis of no goddamned vision.”

     Within a week, a follower returned from Morocco where the group stayed, begged to see me and presented me with a one-way chance at England.

     “The teacher,” he explained, “told me when I left to tell anyone thinking of coming to ‘Come now.’”

     Six days later I traveled through India escorted by an elegant elderly woman with impeccable English, who served me tea and fed me fruit as the train chugged us slowly toward her home and my destination, Dehra Dun.

     We arrived to the edge of the train, where a man pushed forward through the ubiquitous crowd of beggars. A few sharp words from him and they fell back, as one. In a moment her large black travel bags sat around a 1940’s gangster style, black car.

     “This is my driver,” she explained to me and turning to him, said in English, “She will come with us.”

     His eyes twinkled merrily. He said, “Shall I give to the beggars?”

     “Yes, yes, half a handful each.” The handful of coins flipped through the air and some of the ragged, dirty flock scattered. About half remained hands outstretched, mouths moving.

     “Go now!” he thundered at them and they all flew, tiny birds away. He opened the front passenger seat door for her and came to where I waited by the back door for a sign I might get in. To my surprise he opened my door, also.

     Keyed up almost hyper alert, I slid in, fighting the urge to warn this kind, sweet Grandmother. I sensed alarm, danger in my body but put it off to nerves, the demands of the journey.

     We pulled out of the station. They spoke softly together in the front seat. I was happy to be silent, anonymous, carried along in this great heavy vehicle. Out the windows this part of the country was green and lush in the way I recognized mountain terrain to be.

     Suddenly the driver, his brown eyes piercing at me through their reflection in the rear-view mirror stated, “You are a very lucky woman.”
   
     Perplexed, I turned over different aspects of this. Then I smiled and said, “Yes, I am.”

     “Do you know,” he continued, his eyes more intent on drilling me than reckoning with the road, “Neru? Do you know who Neru is?”

     Great, I thought, 20 questions begun with politics. Try, try to think! “Uhm, wasn’t he Prime Minister of India?”

     “Yes, yes!” He was gleeful now. “Yes, and this is Madam Pandit, Neru’s sister. She,” he swiveled his head to reach his gaze directly at me, “is  Number Two Lady in India. She is member of the UN.”

     Madam Pandit located the group, a five minute walk up the dirt road from her modest home.

     Plunged into ten days of Tibetan Initiation ceremony at the newly constructed temple of His Holiness the Sakyapa, with no idea how sitting in a concrete room, sometimes for eight or ten hours, while monks threw water and rice around, flashed colorful cards in front of our eyes, wore red headbands and leapt about, while two Tibetans, one in colorful regalia, the other in simple robes, chanted and spoke, no idea how any of that would have any effect upon my life at all.

     I had come because even I knew my home city held all the joys that continued to waste my days and nights: bars, music, drugs and men. I was there because I did not know where else to be, what else to do with this life. I was there because my feelings about life were simple: I didn’t want it.  Occasionally a tiny spiritual aspiration flickered off and on, a minute candle in the midnight storms of my unrepentant, undisciplined and self-indulgent psyche. In short I was desperate.

     No sooner there than I craved return to that oblivion. I wrote letters begging everyone, especially my parents, to please help.

     We flew into Australia over a sand sea of blood red sunrise. As the plane dipped down my mood rose: I was going home! Surely my parents, who had not spoken to me for those last days before I left but had driven me to the airport anyway, surely they would send a ticket. I felt certain.

     My father’s large scrawl on the very small pieces of paper he used, “Your mother is well…grandmother doing fine…new furniture here…dog happy…and oh, by the way, Buddha will provide. Get a job.”

     Rage, depression, tears, more rage, over the next six months in the worst heat wave in 100 years, rage and depression in the heart of Sydney’s tenement slum called Ultimo. Various wanderers from our group straggled in, camped sometimes in the living room, bearing the flea infestation and oppressive heat long enough to arrange a move to more attractive places.

     Six months, many stories later (slugs in the midnight kitchen of that slum, waitressing at a bar, brawls with customers) I had tried to meditate and failed. Repeatedly. Yet we boarded a ferry for the short ride to New Zealand and disembarked, heading for Blue Lake, the first of three settlements where our numbers began their intensive silent retreat.

     Three months of silence, no TV, radio, letters, no phone calls and talking to a strict minimum within the houses we shared. Early morning each in her room sitting in meditation, rosary in hand, turning the beads over and over to mantras spilling from mouths while we tried to learn to visualize.

     I got to 21 hours a day before the teacher told us to begin shortening our meditation hours. Did this save my life? Yes. But how?


My Impossible Life - Teaser 3!

The Stain Excerpt - Mary's Life 1885 London England

The Stain Excerpt - Tahni's Life 1640's Tonawanda

Lucid Dreams: Purpose and Plan


     “Lucid dreams are perhaps the most bizarre perceptual experience one can have.” Susana Martinez-Conde opens her blog from January 31st 2015 for Scientific American. Unfortunately, the statement describes more about how Martinez-Conde lacks both abundant exotic perceptual experience, and familiarity with the topic of dreams.
     Indeed in the next paragraph Martinez-Conde goes on to say, “…you can choose to wake up (I usually do…I don’t think I’ve ever had a lucid dream that wasn’t a nightmare…”) Italics are mine.
     That’s right, you may choose to wake up, although it may not seem exactly as a choice. If you do not choose to rouse yourself to day level consciousness, the dream will change. It definitely will not remain the same.
      Therefore when Martinez-Conde goes on to say, “…you can continue to dream on, with one important advantage. You’re now aware that the world around you is completely made up by your brain…you can bend the physical laws…fly, stop bullets…” she’s talking nonsense. By her own admission she has never experienced such a dream. My guess is she’s not found another person who has experienced such continuity after waking up in a dream.
      That’s because the purpose of lucid dreaming resides as much in the content of the dreaming mind, as in the sleeping personality. In other words, Dreams are a two way dialogue between the sleeper and the forces of the Depth that paint pictures, evolve images, provide sounds and other sensory data in an experience we call ‘Dreaming.’
      To approach Dreams as though the sleeper herself maintains total control and only occasionally slips out of such remains as dull minded as pretending each of us personally are totally in control of ourselves, our career, our health, our lives with only the odd happenstance out of line.
     In fact it’s the other way around. Through a miniscule amount of control we perceive ourselves to be completely in charge. And therein lies disaster.
     One of the outcomes of deep, consistent dream journaling and reflecting on dreams intelligently over time rises from the growing awareness this force that dreams at night reveals an intelligence and love we barely glimpse in the day world.
     As a lucid dreamer of some decades I’ve found the start point is the lucidity but from there it’s another level of stability. Let me explain.
     At first many lucid dreams involve the shattering experience of nightmares. So it was with mine.
     What I did within the night dreams paralleled my personal positioning in the day world: I turned toward my assailants and said, “This is MY DREAM and I’m not running from you anymore!” True story! The would be stalkers/attackers dissolved and so did the entire dream. That dream had achieved its purpose.
      In the situation where a person decides to pursue Lucid Dreaming and becomes aware in the dream the next stage is another level of training. That training is mastering the art of making objects in the dream multiply. That is a Dream Yoga task.
     What Martinez-Conde offers is great research into dreams and their neurobiology. Her article goes on to say, “The scientists concluded that lucid dreaming and metacognition share some underlying mechanisms, particularly with regards to thought monitoring.”

     In other words, if you are aware of yourself in a metacognitive manner during the day, you will have more lucid dreams, dreams where you are aware of dreaming at night.
      Aside from being simple common sense, this conclusion follows the basic maxim of neuroscience, “Neurons that fire together, wire together.” Whatever brain pathways you exercise in the daytime replay through the night.

     October 20 2015


Dukkha: Gateway to the Truth



Podcast Interviews


February 3rd 2016 Apryl Pooley

Raped Neuroscientist Heals from PTSD now Researches PTSD! Listen as Apryl Pooley Reveals her Journey!



Apryl Pooley Neuroscientist Discusses her Rape and PTSD in Memoirs Fortitude

Raped not once but twice, the first time in high school the second at University, Apryl Pooley confesses she did not know about PTSD. She believed it was what took place in military personnel. She discovered her own PTSD only after she stumbled across the truth: PTSD occurs frequently in raped people. As she began her healing with a qualified therapist, Pooley began to speak out about Rape and its aftermath, even as she continued studying for her PhD in Neuroscience.

Pooley now researches PTSD in mice, male and female, checking on some gender differences and how the mice react. Her research will bring new information on how humans respond to PTSD and how our nervous systems cope with healing.

Cover of Fortitude Apryl PooleyFully accredited this spring with her PhD, Apryl Pooley's direct and frank discussion of her own experiences with rape and then subsequent behaviours that haunted her life leaves the impression of a very strong woman. She accomplished most of her academic achievements, including awards and scholarships, while struggling with PTSD! A remarkable memoir, her book 'Fortitude' expresses in full detail the insides and outs of her experience.


 Neuroscience, and one who speaks from her Soul, Apryl Pooley describes her life in terms of PTSD, recovery and joy after healing. Her book Fortitude, describes it all!Listen in here to this fascinating woman talk about the two rapes and childhood molestation that inspires her research into the effects of PTSD and how we best heal from it.













Jan 21st 2016 - Kathy Pooler


                                      Cancer Diagnosis, Adult Child's Alcoholism, lead to Discovery of Emotionally Abusive Christian Marriages: Listen in for Inspiration!












When Kathy Pooler set out to write her memoir of a cancer diagnosis which crashed head on with her son's revelation of himself as an alcoholic she believed these two, cancer and her adult son's alcoholism embraced enough to fill at least one memoir of struggle and redemption. She found herself staggering through the pages until she realized she had to write about the emotionally abusive Christian marriages she entered not once but twice!

Two separate marriages to two different husbands and still the rotted root of emotional abuse sank her hopes, her dreams and began the tortured journey her beloved son took through alcohol's rank despair.

Listen to this podcast as Kathy describes her insights about faith, her continuing path to health and her heartache over her son's self destructive actions. Listen and recognize the power of this amazing woman's strength and resilience while enduring so much sorrow. Learn that she will indeed write that original book about her diagnosis with Cancer and her son's Alcoholism, as the second in this series.

Listen then read Kathy Pooler's moving story "Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away from Emotional Abuse." Look for her next memoir due out soon!

Kathy Pooler struggled through not one but two emotionally abusive marriages before getting straight with her faith and her soul. Listen in as this Retired Nurse describes the mystery that caught her up and then the healing that came through!






















Listen to Lori Schafer talk about her indelible memoir "On Hearing of My Mother's Death Six Years After It Happened," and much more!



Reviews











On The Stain:

"Karma, a core tenet in several religions, is the operative dynamic in Jones’ book, The Stain. The theme of violation begun in Tahni’s 17th century life reweaves itself in her successive incarnations as Mary in the 19th century and Diana in current day. What is most intriguing is the journey to consciousness that emerges in Mary and culminates with Diana.


 Jones novel goes beyond cause and effect of love gone horrifically wrong to posit an end to suffering through spiritual integration. Through increasing self observation and meditation, Diana is finally able to identify and bring her stain into the light of awareness and subsequently into healing.


 Any student on the path of spiritual evolution will find this book provocative not only for the karmic tale unwound, but for the threads of light it shines on our own stories."

By Debra K. McCall on January 13, 2015 - 5 Stars
 
 "This is a beautifully written book, a complex tale of love and loss. In The Stain: A Story of Karma Reincarnation and Release from Suffering, author Charlene Jones takes us through time in a flowing literary style that is not only a pleasure to read but difficult to put down. She achieves this by telling several stories in one. Each is powerful in itself, but as we progress and see connections, along with certain cause-and-effect, we are drawn further into a thought-provoking story that both entertains and transforms. I appreciate the author’s use of karma and reincarnation to add dimension to the plot. It works to create a book unique from typical historical fiction. Highly recommended. Five stars."

By B Nelson on December 23, 2014 - 5 Stars

“Diana, Mary and Tahni are the brave and tragic (or near-tragic) heroes of Charlene Diane Jones’ THE STAIN – a fearless first novel that spans continents, cultures and centuries to tell the unflinching stories of three women (or the same woman three times) who bend and reverberate under the much-misunderstood rules of Karma as they struggle to navigate the treacherous landscapes of trust and betrayal, love and heartbreak, survival and pain.”

             By Brendan Gall, playwriter, actor, screeplay writer


 “This is a beautifully written book, a complex tale of love and loss. In The Stain: A Story of Karma Reincarnation and Release from Suffering, author Charlene Jones takes us through time in a flowing literary style that is not only a pleasure to read but difficult to put down. She achieves this by telling several stories in one.”

              4.3 out of 5 Stars on Amazon.ca

Goodreads:


“A well executed novel that spills out so many types of emotions. Three women separated by centuries deliver romance, heartache and betrayal. Captivating from the very first few pages as 'Diana' whom is the first character, describes obscene and detailed events that unfold rape as a subject matter. “

              4 out of 5 star read. 
Blog Bits and Tour Tips Primer (co-authored with Angela Chrysler and due out this fall)