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May 2011

Strength and Valued Relationships

Strength 250 Although at this writing we’re only 13 cards into the Snowland Tarot, we’re amazed that this deck is already generating insights, applications and solutions…even in our own lives!

Take yesterday, for example.

Ron and I were sitting out on the porch talking and our 12-year old son, Noah, came to join us. After awhile, Noah was joking about my arm flying off its socket and out into the street. (No worries—we both love playing Plants vs. Zombies, so zombie references are rather common!)

He kept saying it in different ways, and I tried to deflect him into other topics (can you say “getting on my nerves”?). I finally asked him, politely, to stop.

Laughing, he kept it up.

That’s when I pulled out my ace (no, not a Snowland Tarot ace...the one up my sleeve): I said “And what if, after my arm gets ripped off, I put cogs and wheels in there to build myself back up?”

Instant frown and anger.

Strength girl You see, Noah is fearful of cyborgs, so…

Now, I don’t normally do that kind of thing. But he just. Wouldn’t. Stop. But that did the trick.

He wanted to storm in the house, and, of course, blamed me for how he felt. As I usually do, I decided this would be a great “teaching moment” for our son…especially since the Strength card, and its dynamics, is his biggest challenge (that he both recognizes and actively works on).

Numerologically, Strength is one of his birth cards (The Star being the other…click here for more information on the topic), so it’s no surprise that he struggles with its lessons.

So on the porch, I gently reminded him of the Rider-Waite-Smith Strength card, where a relaxed woman holds the jaws of a lion, a symbol showing how we need to be mindful of the “beastly nature” of angry reaction and instinctual aggression—and how breathing deeply and slowly, seeing the situation as an observer would, could provide greater clarity.

Strength Leg Ron then chimed in about our Snowland Tarot version of Strength: an ice skater gliding on one leg, loosely holding a pink ribbon attached to a polar bear.

“Relationships are like ice”, he said. “They can be smooth, but you don’t want to rush into an encounter too fast”. We explained there are social cues to take into account, important clues indicating how our words or actions are affecting others.

The skater must be balanced and mindful of the ice, just as we need to be in social interactions and relationships (especially if harmony and continued connection are a priority).

Not only that, what happens if the skater lunges out on the ice too fast, too aggressively…and ends up yanking that pink ribbon? That docile looking polar bear may not remain so after such a tug!

Strength Polar Bear Ron also noted that the polar bear stands closer to terra firma, while the skater is further on the ice; perhaps she’s trained him to stay close to the edge? There’s plenty of ribbon for her to skate and twirl, but if she goes too far…

As we told Noah, who is prone to beating himself up after mistakes like this one (think maybe our only-born is influenced by his elder-born parents?), just because the skater falls doesn’t mean she has to sit there and cry, calling herself “stupid”. No, I admonished, she gets back up, dusts off the ice from her clothes, and begins again.

Later, I contemplated our spontaneous lesson (which not only helped Noah greatly, but pulled him out of his “mood” rather quickly), and meditated on the Snowland Tarot Strength card for further insight.

In energy medicine and Hindu spirituality, seven energy centers called chakras are vertically aligned on the spine. Each governs various parts of the body, issues, fears, strengths and more.

Our skater’s shirt is yellow, the color associated with the 3rd Chakra (Solar Plexus), which governs self-esteem, personal power and boundaries. The skater needs all of these, not only to be an ice skater…but to be a skater gliding around on an outdoor lake with a polar bear on a beribboned leash!

Chakras 3 4 5 Her pants are blue, which connects to the 5th Chakra (Throat)—the area of communication, speaking up and personal expression. Like any individual, the skater has a right to her personal creativity and unique expression—both on and off the ice. But again, if she wishes to be in relationship with another—a family, group or society at large—she needs to be mindful of her tenuous position…including the ice and the bear (metaphors for “where we stand”, our relationships and the instinctual nature).

Interestingly, yellow (3rd Chakra) combined with blue (5th Chakra) makes green—the color of the 4th Chakra, also known as the Heart Chakra, the bridge between the lower and higher chakras.

The combination of self-regard (3rd Chakra) and respectful, authentic communication (5th Chakra) serves as a magnificent channel for the compassion, love and harmony of the 4th Chakra of the heart.

Strength, then, is a balancing act between honesty and personal expression on one hand, and confidence or boldness in the other—especially when skating on the ice of valued relationships…with a potentially vicious animal in tow.

How do you see The Strength card? When does it come up in readings? How does our Snowland Tarot version of Strength expand upon your associations for that card? We'd love to hear from you! P.S. If you'd like to learn more about chakras, check out my eBook called The Chakras on Kindle.

-- Janet Boyer, author of Back in Time Tarot, Tarot in Reverse (Schiffer 2012) and the Snowland Tarot (Schiffer 2013). Featured in Tales of the Revolution: True Stories of People Who Are Poking the Box and Making a Difference (A Domino Project eBook edited by Seth Godin)


Horns and Hooves Spread (Inspired by Ralph Waldo Emerson)

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Happy 208th birthday, Ralph Waldo Emerson! (May 25, 1803 – April 27, 1882)

Currently, I’m reading The Spiritual Emerson: Essential Works by Ralph Waldo Emerson (Tarcher Cornerstone Editions with an Introduction by Jacob Needleman).

Before I go to sleep, I open to a random passage to read and contemplate—a bit of bedtime bibliomancy I guess you could say. The last two days, I’ve been chewing on this portion of Emerson’s essay "Compensation":

"The good are befriended even by weakness and defect. As no man had ever a point of pride that was not injurious to him, so no man had ever a defect that was not somewhere made useful to him. The stag in the fable admired his horns and blamed his feet, but when the hunter came, his feet saved him, and afterwords, caught in the thicket, his horns destroyed him. Every man in his lifetime needs to thank his faults. As no man thoroughly understands a truth until he has contended against it, so no man has a thorough acquaintance with the hindrances or talents of men until he has suffered from the one and seen the triumph of the other over his own want of the same. Has he a defect of temper that unfits him to live in society? Thereby he is driven to entertain himself alone and acquire habits of self-help; and thus, like the wounded oyster, he mends his shell with pearl. Our strength grows out of our weakness…”

After re-reading this portion many times (Emerson isn’t an author to gulp down!), I realized that his insights could be turned into a profoundly illuminating spread that could be used with any Tarot or oracle deck. I call it the Horns and Hooves spread:

Horns and Hooves Spread

1. Trait Admired (Horns)
2. How is this trait a downfall? A weakness?
3. Trait Despised (Hooves)
4. How is this trait useful? A strength?
5. What do I need to “mend my shell with pearl”? (Advice towards wholeness and integration)

You could select cards 1 and 3 consciously (that is, determine the traits you despise and admire in yourself based on a card's imagery, symbolism, title, esoteric associations, reaction or "just a feeling". Or, if you're feeling adventurous, select cards 1 and 3 randomly, especially if you'd like to uncover shadows within yourself that get either projected onto others or suppressed/denied altogether.

I've found this Horns and Hooves Spread to be quite enlightening. If you choose to try it, do let me know how it works for you! I'd love to hear of your experience.

-- Janet Boyer, author of Back in Time Tarot, Tarot in Reverse (Schiffer 2012) and the Snowland Tarot (Schiffer 2013). Featured in Tales of the Revolution: True Stories of People Who Are Poking the Box and Making a Difference (A Domino Project eBook edited by Seth Godin)


How the Ego Co-Opts Feelings

I know I've already shared this book for my Book Gems #7, but the fabulous Leyane Jerejian from FSB Associates passed along this great excerpt and, since I love the book so much, I'm gladly reproducing this profound bit of wisdom from author Richard Moss.

How The Ego Co-Opts Feelings by Richard Moss, Author of Inside-Out Healing: Transforming Your Life Through the Power of Presence

Inside out

In an evolutionary sense, feeling is a much older mode of consciousness than thinking. The large brain and highly convoluted cortex that supports the thinking of modern human beings is a newer development than the midbrain and thalamus that govern most of your feelings. It is feeling that dominates a young child's experience because until the ego has developed, thinking is very limited.

Just watch babies, and you can see that they are constantly experiencing ever-changing feelings, from utter bliss and contentment to screaming distress and misery. A young child feels his own internal reality as well as the emotional environment around him. But he does not yet realize that some feelings arise from within himself and that others are being stimulated from outside.

Baby Now try to imagine how a baby learns to deal with feelings as her ego develops, and she begins to see herself as a separate self: Gradually, feelings that seemed to come and go without cause become objects of consciousness that the ego interprets as self. The baby begins to identify with the feelings and to regard herself as happy or unhappy, good or bad, according to the nature of the feelings. Once the ego has claimed these feelings as self, her only defense against them is to try to turn the untamed into the tamed through thinking. In other words, the ego turns feelings into its emotions.

I think this is why the emotions of children change so quickly. A few weeks ago, for instance, I was with a friend and his five-year old son. In the course of an hour or so, the little boy was smiling and happy, closed and complaining, angry and demanding, timid and clinging, crying and inconsolable. . . round and round. The father expressed concern because his son seemed more disturbed and emotional since starting kindergarten. Moreover, whenever his son expressed any unhappiness, the father wanted to immediately do something to take that emotion away; such a normal response for a parent who imagines that something is wrong.

Kindergarten But what I saw was completely normal and to be expected. I saw a young ego trying to come to grips with the flux of feelings (some of them agreeable, and others confusing and dark) that were arising in him because of so many things: having a new daily rhythm, being away from his family more, being in a new environment surrounded by new people (teachers and children with all their own behaviors and emotions), and even the changing of his own growing body.

I could just imagine his young ego bombarded by feelings and his mind racing with thoughts. And because a child has no way to meet feelings with focused-spacious awareness and no way to evaluate his thoughts, those feelings are instantly co-opted by the ego and invariably turned into emotions. For me, it was like looking at the history of humankind and how the thinking mind inevitably makes us all crazy once that which is not of the ego (feeling) has been appropriated by the ego.

Spin How can you tell if your ego has appropriated a dark feeling? You find yourself compulsively thinking. Your mind will spin with story after story about what is wrong with you, what strategy to pursue, why your situation is hopeless, why your life is ruined or meaningless, or how you can save yourself. It will find every way it can to attack you, judge you, blame others, or even attack them. It will make you guilty, resentful, terrified, hopeless, impulsive, and aggressive. . . one after the other. It is frantically trying to create a known (albeit, terribly amplified) misery in a desperate attempt to be in control of an unknown and ultimately unknowable feeling that it doesn't even realize that it is reacting to.

But the ego can never control what comes from a deeper ground of consciousness. Even though thinking is a newer evolutionary development that has given human beings great power, it is the wrong mechanism for addressing feeling. The more your ego spins stories in the face of abysmal feeling, the more miserable you come. It is the thinking mind that drives a person to suicide or to abusing drugs and alcohol -- not the actual feeling.

Until you understand what is happening to you and can stop your thoughts and instead turn your full awareness with focused, spacious attention directly toward the dark feeling, you might as well be in hell. Indeed, I believe this is the only hell that exists, and it is purely mind-made. The abysmal feelings in themselves are never as terrible as what the ego creates to try to control them.

Copyright © 2011 Richard Moss, author of Inside-Out Healing: Transforming Your Life Through the Power of Presence

Author Bio: Richard Moss, MD, author of Inside-Out Healing, is an internationally respected leader in the field of conscious living and inner transformation. He is the author of six seminal books on using the power of awareness to realize our intrinsic wholeness and reclaim the wisdom of our true selves. He lives in Ojai, California. For a calendar of future seminars and talks by the author, and for further information on CDs and other available material, please visit www.richardmoss.com and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter.

-- Janet Boyer, author of Back in Time Tarot, Tarot in Reverse (Schiffer 2012) and the Snowland Tarot (Schiffer 2013). Featured in Tales of the Revolution: True Stories of People Who Are Poking the Box and Making a Difference (A Domino Project eBook edited by Seth Godin)


Snow Day!

Snow day "Did you hear that? Did the weatherman just say what I thought he did? Did he say...SNOW? Oh please, let it snow. Lots and lots of snow." -- From Snow Day!

Let me tell you, I thought this book rocked when I "just" read it through. And my 12 year old? He LOVED it. But now that I've heard the companion CD that comes nestled within a plastic pouch in the book cover...

WOW! Now, I can't NOT read Snow Day! without hearing the delightfully giddy southern drawl of author Lester L. Laminack reading his book!

I love it that we're not sure who the narrator is until the end. (And the companion CD features the author sharing his inspiration for the book--and she happens to make an appearance in Snow Day!, too!)

The artwork by Adam Gustavson is amazing--so vibrant and full of expression! Every time I read this book, I smile. It's that enchanting. (And when I had my son read a whole stack of books and rate them, this one received HIGHEST praise--"10 out of 10 stars!", he exclaimed.)

If you're looking for an adorable kid's book that pays tribute to the longed-for snow day, you MUST get this book! I've read and reviewed dozens, and I have to say, it's one of THE best children's books I've ever come across. And the companion CD? How wonderful that it features book narration (with and without prompts) AND a brief talk from the author!

Highly recommended!

-- Janet Boyer


Memba? Laverne's Milk and Pepsi

Milk Pepsi Was at my kitchen counter, scarfing down peach cobbler with Pepsi (with a splash of Jack), and I had a flashback:

Memba the 70s show Laverne and Shirley? I had the vision of Laverne drinking milk and Pepsi. Ugh! And memba how that was her favorite drink? Yikes!

What do you remember about Laverne and Shirley? (The ever-present L mongram! The bowling! Lennie and Squiggy!).

Please share your favorite and funny memories of those two madcap gals--or even your favorite episode!

-- Janet Boyer, author of Back in Time Tarot, Tarot in Reverse (Schiffer 2012) and the Snowland Tarot (Schiffer 2013). Featured in Tales of the Revolution: True Stories of People Who Are Poking the Box and Making a Difference (A Domino Project eBook edited by Seth Godin)


Lady Gaga's New Album Only 99¢ Today Only

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Just found out that today's Amazon Gold Box deal is Lady Gaga's brand new album, Born This Way, in it's entirety on mp3...for only 99 cents!

Gaga According to the Amazon Gold Box page for today:

Today only, get Born This Way, the entire brand-new 14-song MP3 album by Lady Gaga, for just $0.99. Play your music on the web or on Android with Amazon Cloud Drive and Amazon Cloud Player. For a limited time, buy any album, including this one, and get 20 GB of Cloud Drive storage for free.

I just bought it and also hooked up all 14 songs to my Amazon Cloud Player. What a deal!

-- Janet Boyer, author of Back in Time Tarot, Tarot in Reverse (Schiffer 2012) and the Snowland Tarot (Schiffer 2013). Featured in Tales of the Revolution: True Stories of People Who Are Poking the Box and Making a Difference (A Domino Project eBook edited by Seth Godin)


Do the Work by Steven Pressfield

Do The Work 400 "A work-in-progress generates its own energy field. You, the artist or entrepreneur, are pouring love into the work; you are suffusing it with passion and intention and hope. This is serious juju. The universe responds to this. It has no choice..." -- From Do the Work

I've you've read Seth Godin's Poke the Box, or even Pressfield's The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, you're pretty much getting the same stuff in Do the Work.

It's good stuff, mind you...very inspirational. It will get your off your butt if you're slacking and not "making it so". Here are some gems illustrating the type of motivation you'll find in Do the Work:

"A home-run swing that results in a strikeout is better than a successful bunt or even a line-drive single."

"Ignorance and arrogance are the artist and entrepreneur's indispensable allies."

"A child has no trouble believing the unbelievable, nor does the genius or the madman. It's only you and I, with our big brains and our tiny hearts, who doubt and overthink and hesitate."

"Don't think. Act. We can always revise and revisit once we've acted. But we can accomplish nothing until we act."

However, if you're an Intiator like me--someone who's ballsy, passionate, innovative and productive--you may need something a little deeper. For example, here's a phrase from the book that echoes some of what Seth asserts: "Rule of thumb: The more important a call or action is to our soul's evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it."

When Seth, or Pressfield, start getting into "soul's evolution", that's when it all breaks down for me. You see, I'm a Mind/Body/Spirit author and expert, and the quest (and discovery) of meaning is one of my passions--especially helping others find it. For me, the world view above had steered me to much frustration, disappointment and even heartache.

Poke large Or, rather, the lack of specificity as to what determines "importance" or "call to action". Now, I'm not being picky here, honest. It's just that I've discovered that The Resistance often disguises itself as a "creative mandate", a "productive should" or a "thing I must do".

Just because you feel an urge, even an obsession, doesn't mean it's your "soul" (or even a "calling" to expand your soul's parameters). Why? Because The Resistance often hides itself in the goals, brass rings and expectations of others--tribe, country, family, religion, cultural mores, "the factory", etc.

That's The Resistance, not the soul. And gauging importance doesn't necessarily come from a sense of urgency as much as a niggling sensation that won't go away. It's what we daydream about. What makes us excited. What makes us wonder, "What if...?"

And that kind of soul-nourishing fun doesn't necessarily breed The Resistance or fear (though, admittedly, it can...especially if you're not used to taking risks or care too much about what others think).

This distinction matters to me as an Initiator, because I often have many opportunities to "Do the Work"; my challenge is to pick only a few so I don't get burned out. So advice like "do it, do it, do it...push through" are worse than just counterproductive for me, personally.

So with that caveat, if you enjoy Steven Pressfield's work, or Seth Godin's, then by all means get Do the Work. You'll likely feel a shot in the arm that comes from someone "understanding" you, or cheering you on to Initiate, Risk, Act and Produce. It's not an entirely balanced approach to life, but it's a bold one...one that the world can certainly use more of, that's for sure!

-- Janet Boyer, author of Back in Time Tarot, Tarot in Reverse (Schiffer 2012) and the Snowland Tarot (Schiffer 2013). Featured in Tales of the Revolution: True Stories of People Who Are Poking the Box and Making a Difference (A Domino Project eBook edited by Seth Godin)


Rapture, Awakening and the Tarot Judgment Card

Judgment 390

If The Wheel of Fortune is the process of sowing and reaping—the boomerang cause of Karma—then Judgment is the effect: the result of our thoughts, actions and choices.

This "Judgment" may resemble “eating crow”, “comeuppance”, “called on the carpet” or “just desserts”. In fact, the lightning bolt of The Tower seems to be the Universe’s favorite tool of choice for getting its foot in the door to crack open our denseness, but the actual realization that there’s a barrier or external crust is the Judgment experience.

There’s often a trumpet shown on Rider-Waite style images of the Judgment card, alluding to some kind of “call”. Of course, some die-hard Christians would interpret this image as a “call to judgment” or a time of reckoning after physical death—where the good/bad, saved/unsaved are all sorted out at the pearly gates.

Others may interpret the image as a rising of the Spirit while yet alive—being “caught up in the air”, shedding the physical form much like a snake sheds its skin—an actual “rapture” to heaven.

For the more symbolically minded, the Judgment card could be interpreted as a “call to come up hither”—to adjust focus from the temporal to the spiritual, the mundane to the sublime, the everything to the nothing. The rapturous poetry of Rumi comes to mind, or some forms of meditation.

But the concept of duality resides in all those interpretations. There is an “up” and a “down”, a “holy” and a “profane”, a “sacred” and a “mundane”, a “noisy” and “quiet”.

Trumpet Blow Even when taking a more mystical view, Judgment can be renamed “Awakening”, but that also is part of a dualistic mindset; in this case, “awake” or “asleep”.

But “asleep” to what? “Awake” to what? Oftentimes, dualistic language serves as yet another barrier of “us vs. them” or “me vs. you” (which really comes down to “those I like” and “those I don’t”).

Yet, we’ve incarnated on this dualistic Earth for a reason: we cannot recognize our Light, our beauty, or innate sacredness without having a context for “otherness”. That “otherness” serves as contrast so we can truly behold what we are at core. In this sense, what we project outwardly (whether positive or negative) can serve as a mirror.

Here’s an example of what I mean:

Let’s say you walk into the bathroom to brush your teeth. Midway through brushing, you look in the mirror and notice that you’ve gotten toothpaste on your nose.

Instead of wiping your face, though, you wipe the mirror. “Why isn’t that toothpaste coming off?” you wonder. Well, that’s because you haven’t touched the source…just the reflection.

This analogy holds true for how we see situations and others, too. That’s what Jung meant by “shadow”: it’s something external that is cast from the original object. In the case of idolization or admiration, this would be a “positive shadow”. In the case of demonizing, this would be a “negative shadow”. Either way, some type of behavior or state isn’t being recognized…let alone claimed.

World 390 And you can’t integrate what you don’t see, let alone what you won’t claim in yourself.

This is the place between Judgment and before The World: the space where duality gives up its last breath, and oneness is realized, embraced and lived.

Another take on the Judgment card is “hearing a call”. This could be in the form of feeling a pull to service, changing paths or pursuing a dream. In fact, my path to Tarot was a “call”: the way my husband tells it, I was sitting at the dining room table one day and blurted out “I feel to learn Tarot”.

Simple as that.

So not all calls are juggernaut Wheels or sizzling lightning. Sometimes, a call arrives not on a bugle blast, but a whisper. It’s the “still small voice” reminding you of something—or encouraging you to stretch your wings and fly to greater heights or different lands. “Greater” not as in “better than others”—there doesn’t have to be duality in heeding a call—but rather, extending to your full measure of capability here on the Earth. Not necessarily better, but different.

Lastly, Karma isn’t Judgment in the strictest sense. There is no partiality or moral pronouncement in its wake. Rather, it’s merely cause and effect—Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion. This is why I see The Wheel of Fortune as the “law” of Karma—the process.

But Judgment? That’s optional.

Yin YangAfter all, Einstein once noted: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Same way with running into the same scenarios or same “types” of people: if you spot it, hon, you got it. It’s not the mirror…it’s you.

So the good news is that there will be no rapture nor will there be a final “Judgment”; the bad news is that whether you want to keep beating your head against the wall is strictly up to you…

But it is possible to get past either/or and just embrace “both”…realizing that duality itself can be swallowed up into Yin/Yang symbol—not a coin with two sides, but a sphere where there are no sides.

Images from the Universal Waite Tarot published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

-- Janet Boyer, author of Back in Time Tarot, Tarot in Reverse (Schiffer 2012) and the Snowland Tarot (Schiffer 2013).


Rapture Coming! (What Book Do Want to Squeeze In?)

Sweating book Apparently, Judgment Day is coming tomorrow--May 21, 2011.

Call me glib, but what's really on my mind is what book to squeeze in before I meet Jesus.

What book are you rushing out to buy or read before the big day tomorrow?

And for those out there frozen with indecision, how about some of you whip-smart readers recommend a book or two to devour before we meet our Maker (or, as Fate may have it, The Taker). (Sorry, the Bible or Christian material doesn't count. We'll get to see for ourselves, thankyouverymuch).

It must be engaging, escapist, entertaining fiction.

Ready...set...go! Share your recommendations before we fly or fry!

-- Janet Boyer, author of Back in Time Tarot, Tarot in Reverse (Schiffer 2012) and the Snowland Tarot (Schiffer 2013)


New Posts Coming!

Hi all!

Sorry for the lack of posts this last week. My computer caught some nasty viruses that prevented me from accessing my desktop (let alone the web!).

However, I just got my PC back and everything is running smoothly now...(Hooray!), so be on the lookout for some new posts coming soon, including some Tarot deck reviews, book reviews, new Book Gems, BIT Tarot Challenges, BIT Snapshots, a recipe for Peach Avocada Salsa and more!

-- Janet Boyer, author of Back in Time Tarot, Tarot in Reverse (Schiffer 2012) and the Snowland Tarot (Schiffer 2013)


BIT Tarot Challenge: Plants in Hands

Plants Hands It's time for another Back in Time (BIT) Tarot challenge!

What card do you associate with this image? Why?

I'd love to hear your insights and add more interpretations to my own Tarot toolkit!

P.S. If you'd like a fun introduction to my BIT Method, check out this post, and to see how the BIT Tarot challenges work, read this post. You can also explore more about the BIT Tarot Method by using the BIT Tarot Snapshots category to the right or at this link. The book that started it all? My Back in Time Tarot!

-- Janet Boyer, author of Back in Time Tarot, Tarot in Reverse (Schiffer 2012) and the Snowland Tarot (Schiffer 2013) 


Book Gems #8 Ignore Everybody

Ignore 300 I keep seeing this book pop up on Amazon under "recommended for you", and I found the title intriguing. Knowing that Seth Godin respected the author, too, gave me incentive to buy this book (not to mention all the great reviews it received). So my next Book Gems is from the book Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity by Hugh MacLeod. Enjoy!

“Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten. Then when you hit puberty they take the crayons away and replace them with dry, uninspiring books on algebra, history, etc. Being suddenly hit years later with the ‘creative bug’ is just a wee voice telling you, ‘I’d like my crayons back, please’…

Your wee voice doesn’t want to sell something. Your wee voice wants you to make something. There’s a big difference. Your wee voice doesn’t give a damn about publishers, venture capitalists, or Hollywood producers.

Go ahead and make something. Make something really special. Make something amazing that will really blow the mind of anybody who sees it. If you try to make something just to fit your uninformed view of some hypothetical market, you will fail. If you make something special and powerful and honest and true, you will succeed.

The wee voice didn’t show up because it decided you need more money, or you need to hang out with movie stars. Your wee voice came back because your soul somehow depends on it. There’s something you haven’t said, something you haven’t done, some light that needs to be switched on, and it needs to be taken care of. Now."

To get your copy of Ignore Everybody from Amazon, click here. To get the Kindle edition, click here. Hugh's super-cool website can be found at GapingVoid.com. You can even sign up to get his daily cartoon (I do!).

-- Janet Boyer, author of Back in Time Tarot, Tarot in Reverse (Schiffer 2012) and the Snowland Tarot (Schiffer 2013) 


BIT Tarot Challenge: Field of Poppies

Poppies If you're familiar with my book Back in Time Tarot, you'll remember that my innovative Back in Time (BIT) Tarot Method allows absolute beginners to learn Tarot by starting with a memory, photo, movie, book, fairytale, conversation, news item, and so on...and then pairing the components of each with a Tarot card (or cards).

If you'd like a fun introduction to my BIT Method, check out this post. You can also explore more about the BIT Tarot Method by using the BIT Tarot Snapshots category to the right or at this link.

In Back in Time Tarot, I do a BIT Snapshot of the movie The Wizard of Oz, matching certain aspects of the movie with Tarot cards (it was one of my favorite ones to do!). But you don't have to use a long movie, book or biographical event to do the BIT Method! No, you can just pair one person, photo, image, character, brand, quote, etc. with a card.

I'll be posting more full-length BIT Snapshots here on my blog, but will also do mini-ones like this one. Now, in my book, I didn't connect the Field of Poppies with a card. Here's your challenge: What card would you associate with the Field of Poppies from The Wizard of Oz movie? Why?

Poppies 2 I can't wait to hear what you come up with! If you don't yet have my book, you can order it from Amazon here or the Kindle edition here. You can check out my book trailer and read even more about my book at my website at this link. Of course, you can always get my book from your favorite brick-and-mortar or online retailer, too! (ISBN 978-1571745873)

If you don't have a Tarot deck, my book has the entire Universal Waite in grayscale in the back so you can still use the BIT Method. Online, you can visit Joan Bunning's site that not only has all 78 cards of the Tarot, but also great explanations. Joan was one of a dozen Tarot luminaries who contributed her own BIT Snapshot to my book (how cool is that?!).

If you're on Twitter, you can also play along with my BIT Tarot Method using the #BITtarot hashtag...so you can post your card associations to the BIT Tarot Challenge there, here or both!

-- Janet Boyer, author of Back in Time Tarot, Tarot in Reverse (Schiffer 2012) and the Snowland Tarot (Schiffer 2013) 


Book Gems #7 Inside-Out Healing

Inside outIn the spirit of Byron Katie and Eckhart Tolle, Inside-Out Healing: Transforming Your Life Through the Power of Presence by Richard Moss takes readers by the hand and reveals how the root of much of the world's suffering (unquestioned thoughts) rob us of joy, peace, equanimity, love--even overall health and vitality. I'm on Chapter 2 of Inside-Out Healing, and am thrilled that yet another helpful book on inquiry has made it to the market. Below is an excerpt:

The sad fact is that we’re not educated to be aware and therefore able to question the reality created by our thinking. We don’t realize that we must take responsibility for our thoughts to find out if they are really true, and then set aside or at least acknowledge those that are simply opinion and bias. We don’t recognize that most thoughts are ultimately judgments, and that the truth of any judgment is how that judgment makes us feel.

Ultimately, the problem with thinking is not merely that you believe your thoughts, but that you build your identity—your sense of self—with them. It is identification with what you tell yourself about yourself: that you are a good person (or not), a lovable person (or not), a smart person (or not), and so on. And that becomes who you believe yourself to be.

This imagined self is the ego. The ego is not an entity, not something real like your body; it is a way of processing information that leads to a false assumption that you are a separate self. At the level of the ego, it never occurs to you that you are also that which can be aware of all those thoughts—aware of all the ways you (as an ego) interpret you perception and feelings. In other words, as an ego, you believe yourself to be outside and separate from life and everyone and everything else instead of part of a divine wholeness.

What is most important here isn’t to focus on the broader problem of ego or thinking in general. Rather, it’s vital to see how you hurt yourself unnecessarily day by day with your own thinking so that you can stop doing it. You suffer because of the thoughts you have about yourself and the situation, not because of who you really are or what the situation actually is.

Click here to purchase Inside-Out Healing from Amazon, and here to get it on Kindle. To visit the author's website, please go to RichardMoss.com. To visit the publisher's website (Hay House), click here.

If you liked this Book Gem, check out my related post 4 of Swords and Painful Thoughts.

-- Janet Boyer, author of Back in Time Tarot, Tarot in Reverse (Schiffer 2012) and the Snowland Tarot (Schiffer 2013) 


Come and Find Me (Review)

Come find "Ashley had been the one who'd convinced Diana to move back into their childhood home soon after she lost Daniel. Life in the farmhouse where she and Daniel had been living was spartan, and all she'd brought back with her were a few pieces of furniture and the computer equipment that had filled the railway container where they'd worked. But since then, Diana hadn't let anyone, not even Ashley, into the safe space she'd created where no one could reach her unless she invited them in." -- From Come and Find Me

I've always enjoyed Ms. Ephron's fiction writing articles in Writer's Digest Magazine, and also own her book Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel. When I received an unsolicited review copy from the publisher (William Morrow), I was more than excited to read Come and Find Me: at last, I can actually see for myself how fiction writing expert Ephron puts her sage advice into action within a novel!

The premise is intriguing: an ex-hacker, now reformed with her own security company, lives like a recluse since her lover/partner plunges to his death off a mountain. She conducts business in OtherWorld, which sounds just like Second Life. In fact, she runs the company with the other member of Gamelan, a guy named Jake (Daniel, her dead lover, was the third member of the now-reformed hackers' new security endeavor).

I'm sad to say I had to quit reading this book after 70 pages. For one thing, the character was cardboard and her actions a bit unbelievable. (She has an anxiety disorder--possibly PTSD--from seeing her lover die. Yet, she recreates the event in a virtual world. It just doesn't make sense...)

Diana's flat, and not particularly likable. I had no reason to care about her (sorry, but the mere fact of having lost someone doesn't automatically engender character affection), and the computer-nerd talk is drawn out and boring. (I'm a bit of a techie myself, so it's not the genre or topic, I assure you. It's the delivery.)

Diana's sister, Ashley, is a bit more well-drawn (materialistic, air-headed blond) but, again, I could care less that she's about to go missing (we're told this right on the book cover jacket).

I look at it this way: I have dozens of books crying out for my attention (and valuable time). If the sister doesn't disappear by page 70, and I'm not invested in the characters or convinced by this "world" (either real or virtual), then I'm just not going to waste my time reading it.

I've come across worse books, sure, but Come and Find Me is pretty lame from what I've read. I pushed to get to 70 pages, but just couldn't justify going all the way to page 276 when there was no intrigue, mystery or emotional investment to hook me and drag me on for a thrill ride.

-- Janet Boyer, author of Back in Time Tarot, Tarot in Reverse (Schiffer 2012) and the Snowland Tarot (Schiffer 2013) 


5 Ways to Greater Mindfulness

Another name for present-moment awareness and living in the Now, mindfulness is a state of active observation. It slows down time, helps gather our vital energy resources where it belongs (in our body, right now) and aids us in detaching ourselves from thoughts (and their subsequent emotions) that engender suffering.

Here are five easy ways to promote greater mindfulness in your day:

Eating 200 Eating – Consider the food or meal before you. How does it look? How does it smell? If it’s a finger food, how does it feel? Take a bite of your food. Chew slowly. Savor it. How does it taste? How does the texture feel in your mouth? What is the temperature? Think about where your food came from. What kind of effort can you imagine went into producing the meal before you? Look at your place setting. What does the silverware look like? The plate or bowl? Take another bite. Continue to chew slowly and deliberately as you eat.

Reading – Consider the book in your hand? What does the cover look like? How heavy is the book? How is it bound? What is the author’s name? Say it aloud to yourself. Listen to the sound of the consonants. Open the book. How do the pages feel? How do they smell? What kind of binding is used? What kind of font are the words? Are the words large, or small? Begin to read the book. How does the author use language? How does the word choice make you feel? How are the words used to persuade? Inform? Entertain?

Leaf Ripple 200 Outdoors – Go outside. Listen to the variety of birdsong around you. How many different types of birds can you hear? Are there voices in your line of hearing? Children laughing? Conversation? Are there lawnmowers, snowblowers, sirens or back-up beeps? Is there traffic? What about dogs barking, doors slamming or engines backfiring? Observe the color of leaves, tree bark, house siding, the street signs.

Indoors – How does the carpet feel under your feet? What about the wood or cement under your shoes? What color are the walls? What is the texture of the ceiling above you? What is the temperature in the room? Does the air feel cool, hot or comfortable? Is the air fresh? Stale? Scented? How is the future arranged? Are there plants? Pictures? Sculptures? Book cases? Tables? How does the upholstery feel to your touch? What is the lighting like?

Baby Toes 200 Body – Really feel your body, this magnificent shell your Spirit resides in. Become aware of the hair on our head, on your arms. Look at your hands. Notice the lines, any spots or markings. Note the smoothness or roughness of your skin. What do your nails look like? Feel your toes, the bottoms of your feet. Scan your body. What aches or tension are you holding in your body? Relax your muscles. Become aware of your breath. How’s your breathing? Deep? Shallow? Breathe deeply. Think of the thousands of functions that your body performs every day, without your help or interference, to keep you alive and well. Be grateful for your body, this physical expression of your Spirit.

How do you incorporate mindfulness into your day? Please share your tips with us!

-- Janet Boyer, author of Back in Time Tarot, Tarot in Reverse (Schiffer 2012) and the Snowland Tarot (Schiffer 2013)