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week of October 26, 2017
This Is a Perfect Moment

My book
Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia is available at Amazon and Powells.

Below are excerpts.

Readers of my horoscope column "Free Will Astrology" are sometimes surprised when I say I only believe in astrology about 80 percent. "You're a quack?!" they cry.

Not at all, I explain. I've been a passionate student of the ancient art for decades. About the time my over-educated young brain was on the verge of desertification, crazy wisdom showed up in the guise of astrology, moistening my soul just in time to save it.

"But what about the other 20 percent?" they press on. "Are you saying your horoscopes are only partially true?"

I assure them that my doubt proves my love. By cultivating a tender, cheerful skepticism, I inoculate myself against the virus of fanaticism. This ensures that astrology will be a supple tool in my hands, an adaptable art form, and not a rigid, explain-it-all dogma that over-literalizes and distorts the mysteries it seeks to illuminate.

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P.S.: I use the same 80-20 approach with every belief system I love and benefit from: science, psychology, feminism, and various spiritual traditions like Qabalah, Buddhism, paganism, and magick.

I take what's useful from each, but am not so deluded as to think that any single system is the holy grail that the physicists call the "Theory of Everything."

Unconditional, unskeptical faith is the path of the fanatic and fundamentalist, and I aspire to be a rowdy philosophical anarchist, aflame with objectivity and committed to the truth that the truth is always evolving.


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NO SUCH THING

There's no such thing as an inherently bad astrological configuration or an aspect in your chart that justifies fear. Avoid doomsayers.


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CHANGING YOUR MIND

"Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything."
- George Bernard Shaw

"The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind." - William Blake

"Like all weak men he laid an exaggerated stress on not changing one's mind." - W. Somerset Maugham

"The snake which cannot cast its skin has to die. As well the minds which are prevented from changing their opinions; they cease to be mind." - Friedrich Nietzsche

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself; I am large –- I contain multitudes." - Walt Whitman
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ARE YOU BEAUTIFUL?

"The sign of a beautiful person is that they see beauty in others."

-Omar Suleiman


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This perfect moment is brought to you by the imaginary lightning bolts you can fling from your fingers any time you want to.


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What's the Most Important Question for You to Ask Today?

You possess exceptional capacities that are absolutely unique. You're a masterpiece unlike any other that has ever lived in the history of the world.

Furthermore, the precise instructions you need to ripen into your special talents have always been with you, even from the time before you were born. In the words of psychologist James Hillman, you have a soul's code.

You might also call it the mission you came to Earth to carry out; the divine blueprint that contains the open secret of how to be perfectly, unpredictably yourself; the master plan that is your heart's deepest desire.

Would you like help in deciphering it? The Divine Intelligence Formerly Known as God is always on call, ready to help. It's your birthright to ask Her a specific question every day about what you need to do next to express your soul's code; it's also your birthright to receive a response.

The divine revelation may not be as unambiguous as a little voice in your head. It might appear in the form of a TV commercial, an odd dream, or an encounter with a stranger. It could be demanding and difficult, delivering information you'd rather not have to deal with. Or it might show up as a clear and simple feeling of knowing exactly what to do, and it could be easy and fun.

What question will you ask the Divine Wow today?

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P.S. "There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. If you block it, it will never exist through any other medium. It will be lost. The world will not have it.

"It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable it is, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open."

- Martha Graham, quoted by Agnes de Mille, Dance to the Piper and Promenade Home


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RE-GENIUS YOURSELF?

Although we are all born geniuses, the grind of day-to-day living tends to de-genius us. That's the bad news. The good news is that you have the power to re-genius yourself.

Here's a recording of a ritual I did that you can use to jump-start the process: ReGenius Yourself

Here are videos of the the time I did this ritual at a theater in San Francisco:

You Are a Genius, Part 1

You Are a Genius, Part 2


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51% YES

Take inventory of the extent to which your "No" reflex dominates your life. Notice for 24 hours (even in your dreams) how often you say or think:

"No."

"That's not right."

"I don't like them."

"I don't agree with that."

"They don't like me."

"That should be different from what it is."

Wherever you find that NO is a habit, a reflex, a conditioned compulsion, consider the possibility of rebelling against the habit, reflex, or conditioned compulsion with a big red YES.

What would it be like for you to say "YES" at least 51 percent of the time?

Invitation: Say "YES" aloud 22 times right now.


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YOU HAVE WHAT YOU NEED

"This body that we have, this very body that's sitting here right now in this room, this very body that perhaps aches, and this mind that we have at this very moment, are exactly what we need to be fully human, fully awake, and fully alive.

"Furthermore, the emotions that we have right now, the negativity and the positivity, are what we actually need. It is just as if we looked around to find out what would be the greatest wealth that we could possibly possess in order to lead to a decent, good, completely fulfilling, energetic, inspired life, and found it right here."

- Pema Chödrön, The Wisdom of No Escape and the Path of Loving Kindness


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YOU'RE A STAR

You’re a star -- and so am I. I’m a genius -- and so are you. Your success encourages my brilliance, and my charisma enhances your power. Your victory doesn’t require my defeat, and vice versa. Those are the rules in the New World -- quite unlike the rules in the Old World, where zero-sum games are the norm, and only one of us can win each time we play.

In the New World, you don’t have to tone down or apologize for your prowess, because you love it when other people shine. You exult in your own excellence without regarding it as a sign of inherent superiority. As you ripen more and more of your latent aptitude, you inspire the rest of us to claim our own idiosyncratic magnificence.


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Love thrives when neither partner takes things personally, so cultivate a devotion to forgiveness and divest yourself of the urge to blame.

Love is a game in which the rules keep changing, so be crafty and improvisational as you stay alert for each unexpected twist of fate.

Love enmeshes you in your partner's unique set of karmic complications, so make sure you're very interested in his or her problems.

Love is a laboratory where you can uncover secrets about yourself that have previously been hidden, so be ravenously curious.

Love is never a perfect match of totally compatible saints, so don't let sterile fantasies seduce you away from flawed but fecund realities.

Love is not a low-maintenance machine, so work hard on cultivating its unpredictable organic wonders.

Love is not a wholly-owned subsidiary of DreamWorks or Disney, so don't let your romantic story be infected by the entertainment industry's simplistic, sentimental myths about intimate relationships.

Anything you'd like to add?


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YOU'RE HEREBY RELIEVED

You’re hereby relieved of any responsibility you think you have to keep everyone's illusions afloat (including your own).

See how much fun you can have by telling the lush, pulsating, up-to-the-minute truth with kindness and elegance.


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YOUR HOLY GUARDIAN ANGEL

According to the esoteric spiritual tradition of Western hermeticism, you have a personal Holy Guardian Angel who's always ready to give you help, as well as to lovingly kick your ass.

Some modern people snort derisively at this notion. They're fundamentalist materialists, denying the possibility that something can exist if it's not perceptible by our five senses or by instruments that humans have invented.

If your temperament and training align you with the materialists' ideology, I'll ask you to temporarily suspend your skepticism so that you might try the following experiment:

Act as if you have a personal Holy Guardian Angel whose job it is to help you lose your illusions, liberate you from suffering, and make you smarter.

What clarifying questions will you ask the HGA? What precise assistance will you request?


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YOU NEED MAGIC EVERY DAY

Every day, you have to wade through a relentless surge of soul-less facts. The experience tends to shut down your sense of wonder.

Every day, you're over-exposed to cynical narratives that have been sucked free of delight and mystery.

But here's the news: YOU NEED MAGIC EVERY DAY.

That's why you have to make such strenuous efforts to keep your world enchanted.

How do you do it? If you feel moved to tell me, please do at [email protected]

P.S. Is it possible that you will eventually develop beautiful capacities and sublime understandings that you can't even imagine right now?


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WHAT DO YOU WANT?

I invite you to write the following on a piece of paper and keep it under your pillow.

"I, [put your name here], do solemnly swear on this day [put date here] that I will devote myself for a period of seven days to learning my most important desire. No other thought will be more uppermost in my mind. No other concern will divert me from tracking down every clue that might assist me in my drive to ascertain the one experience in this world that deserves my brilliant passion above all others."


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ADMIRE AS MUCH AS YOU CAN!

"Admire as much as you can. Most people do not admire enough."
- Vincent van Gogh


Admiring people who are worthy of our admiration doesn't cost us anything. Same with admiring animals and plants and natural phenomena: no pain involved. Same with admiring great accomplishments by our fellow humans: no agony or agitation required.


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WANT TO GET YOUR PERSONAL CHART READ?

Do I give personal astrology readings? Although I love to, I'm not doing them these days. In addition to writing "Free Will Astrology" and my expanded audio horoscopes, I'm also working on new books and attending to that high art referred to as "having a life." There's no time left over!

If you want your chart done, I recommend a colleague whose approach to reading astrology charts closely matches my own. She's my wife, RO LOUGHRAN. We've been enjoying regular conversations about astrology since 1989! Her website's here.

Ro utilizes a blend of well-trained intuition, emotional warmth, and a high degree of technical proficiency in horoscope interpretation. She is skilled at exploring the mysteries of your life's purpose and nurturing your connection with your own inner wisdom.

In addition to over 30 years of astrological experience, Ro has been a licensed psychotherapist for 17 years. This enables her to integrate psychological insight with the cosmological perspective that astrology offers.

Ro is based in California, but can do phone consultations and otherwise work with you regardless of geographic boundaries.

Check out Ro's website.


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"If the Angel comes, it will be because you have convinced her, not by tears, but by your humble resolve to always be a beginner."

- Rainer Maria Rilke


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"There was another life that I might have had, but I am having this one." So says a character in Kazuo Ishiguro's novel *The Unconsoled.*


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MORE PRONOIA RESOURCES:

U.N. solution for a pollution free planet: polluters should pick up the bill. "The profit of destroying nature or polluting the planet is nearly always privatized, while the costs of polluting the planet or the cost of destroying ecosystems is nearly always socialized."

Colorado's investment in IUDs and other birth control produced a "miracle." Teen births and abortions dropped by nearly 50%, and the birth-rate among teens who were already mothers fell by 58%; there were also dramatic reductions in high-risk births.

The Turkish town where the poor never go hungry. Restaurants in a small eastern Anatolian town are offering free meals to those in need, a tradition that has carried on for decade.


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CREATING A GOLDEN AGE

I suspect that none of us has the capacity to foretell the future of the human race. No one -- not psychics, not doomsayers, not intelligent optimists, indigenous shamans, no one.

There is a strong case to be made that this is the worst of times, and an equally strong case that this is the best of times; a strong case that everything will collapse into a miserable dystopia and a strong case that we are on the verge of a golden age. It's impossible to know in any "objective way" which is "truer."

Anyone who asserts they do know is just cherry-picking evidence that rationalizes their emotional bent. The variables are chaotic and abundant and beyond our ken.

In the meantime, I'm doing what I can to create a golden age.


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SYNERGY

Hypothesis: There's no contradiction between being:

a highly individuated, creative person devoted to developing your own maximum potential and enjoying life to the fullest

AND

a spiritual freedom fighter dedicated to the liberation of other humans and to the transformation of civilization into a paradise that serves and exalts all creatures.

In fact, the two tasks can blend together quite well.


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TAKE TIME TO STOP AND BE THE FLOWERS

"Take time to stop and smell the flowers," says an old homily. Albert Hoffman, the Swiss scientist who discovered LSD and lived to age 102, had a different approach. "Take the time to stop and be the flowers," he said.

That's a sweet invitation: Don't just set aside a few stolen moments to sniff the snapdragons, taste the rain, chase the wind, watch the hummingbirds, and listen to a friend.

Use your imagination to actually be the snapdragons and rain and wind and hummingbirds and friend. Don't just behold the Other; become the Other.


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SECRET HEROISM

Jeff Brown says: Most of the greatest achievements on the planet are unknown to others — private overcomings, silent attempts at belief, re-opening a shattered heart.

The real path of champions truly lies within — the transforming of suffering into expansion, the clearing of horrifying debris, the building of a healthy self-concept without tools.

The greatest achievers have found a way to believe in something good despite being traumatized and fractured on life's battlefields. No matter what else they accomplish in their lives, they are already champions.

One day the world will realize that it is much harder to heal a shattered heart than excel at athletics. Go(l)d medals all around.

- Jeff Brown, excerpted from his book Love It Forward


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BENEVOLENT CONSPIRACY ON YOUR BEHALF

Behind your back, your imaginary friend is plotting with your inner child to overthrow your guilty conscience.

Meanwhile, your future self has time-traveled into the past to enlist the spirits of your ancestors in a plot to unlock your sleeping genius.

There's more: The superhero you used to fantasize about being when you felt most helpless has been brought to life by the mad scientist in your psyche's basement.

There's no way you can prevent them all from giving you a big crazy dose of assistance.

P.S. Your hair is mysterious.


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MANY GOOD REASONS TO CRY

It's life-affirming to cry when you're sad about your life.

There are many other good reasons to cry, too.

Have you ever burst into tears after having a sudden rush of insight into a nagging problem?

If you traveled to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and stood in front of the artist's paintings, chances are you would sob in appreciation for the raw beauty.

I have a friend who regards her crying spells as surrogate orgasms. They bring a surging release of pent-up emotions, and leave her deeply relaxed and in love with life.

NASA's chief scientist for Mars exploration confessed what stirs his emotions up from the depths. "When I first gazed at the images of the Martian landscape from Surveyor's camera," said Jim Garvin, "I was moved to tears."

Myself, I experience my tears as a well-earned triumph, whether they're driven by loss or fullness and joy; they're the sign of the inner work I've done to feel things deeply.

I've found, too, that sadness is often at the root of my anger. When I feel rage at Trump's latest cruel and ignorant behavior, for example, it's because I'm profoundly sad about the dire consequences that his actions have and will have for human beings. I'm heartbroken about the suffering he perpetrates.

I'm not saying that sadness is "better" than anger. But I think it's important to understand that our anger often comes out of our sadness, and that we need to feel the sadness as much as the anger.


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YOUR PRIMAL LONGING

Recently I wrote about the pleasures that can come from cultivating a robust relationship with one’s primal longing. "What is a 'primal longing' exactly?" a reader asked me.

I replied: Your primal longing is the deepest yearning you have; the essential desire that brought you here to earth; the reason why you're alive; the goal that's most important for you to strive for this lifetime; your core driving force.


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WHAT CONSTITUTES INTEGRITY?

Characteristics of People Who Have True Integrity,
by Awareness Act

1. They value other people’s time.

2. They give credit where it is due.

3. They are authentic.

4. They are honest.

5. They don’t take advantage of others.

6. They talk through disagreements in a civil manner.

7. They give most people the benefit of the doubt.

8. They know when something is bothering someone.

9. They accept your word as truth until it is disproven.

10. If they have done something wrong they will come to you and apologize.

11. They are humble.

12. They do good when they can.

13. They are kind.

14. They follow through with whatever they said they would do. Keep commitments.

15. They do not manipulate others.

16. They are able to be vulnerable and can express it, and hold space for others to be vulnerable as well.


Do you have any characteristics to add?

READ THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE


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NO NEED TO KEEP ILLUSIONS AFLOAT

You're hereby relieved of any responsibility you think you have to keep everyone's illusions afloat (including your own).

See how much fun you can have by telling the lush, pulsating, up-to-the-minute truth with kindness and elegance.


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Psychologist Carl Jung said that all desires have a sacred origin, no matter how odd they seem. Frustration and ignorance may cause them to twist into distorted caricatures, but it is always possible to locate the beautiful source from which they arose.

In describing one of his addictive patients, Jung said: "His craving for alcohol was the equivalent on a low level of the spiritual thirst for wholeness, or as expressed in medieval language: the union with God."

Holding this in mind, ruminate about this question: What are the glorious prototypes behind the longings that confuse you or drain you?


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WE NEED VISIONS OF UTOPIA

"You gotta remember, and I’m sure you do, the forces that are arrayed against anyone trying to alter the hammerlock on the human imagination. There are trillions of dollars out there demotivating people from imagining that a better tomorrow is possible.

"Utopian impulses and utopian horizons have been completely disfigured and everybody now is fluent in dystopia. My young people’s vocabulary … their fluency is in dystopic futures. When young people think about the future, they don’t think about a better tomorrow, they think about horrors and end of the worlds and things or worse.

"Do you really think the lack of utopic imagination doesn’t play into demotivating people from imagining a transformation in the society?"

- Junot Díaz, "Art, Race and Capitalism"


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IMAGES IN FULL BLOOM

"The rise and fall of images of the future precedes or accompanies the rise and fall of cultures. As long as a society’s image is positive and flourishing, the flower of culture is in full bloom. Once the image begins to decay and lose its vitality, however, the culture does not long survive."

- Fred Polak


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THE PRACTICAL REVOLUTIONARY POWER OF OPTIMISM

Howard Zinn said: "Revolutionary change does not come as one cataclysmic moment (beware of such moments!) but as an endless succession of surprises, moving zigzag toward a more decent society. We don't have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world. Even when we don't 'win,' there is fun and fulfillment in the fact that we have been involved, with other good people, in something worthwhile. We need hope.

"An optimist isn't necessarily a blithe, slightly sappy whistler in the dark of our time. To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something.

"If we remember those times and places -- and there are so many -- where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don't have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory."

Excerpted from Howard Zinn's essay, "The Optimism of Uncertainty"


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"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."

- Martin Luther King, Jr.


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"Every optimist moves along with progress and hastens it, while every pessimist would keep the world at a standstill. The consequence of pessimism in the life of a nation is the same as in the life of the individual. Pessimism kills the instinct that urges men to struggle against poverty, ignorance and crime, and dries up all the fountains of joy in the world."

- radical socialist, anti-militarist, labor rights activist, suffragette Helen Keller


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"Optimism is a strategy for making a better future. Because unless you believe that the future can be better, you are unlikely to step up and take responsibility for making it so. If you assume there is no hope, you guarantee there will be no hope."

- Noam Chomsky


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Robert Anton Wilson: "What some call my blasphemous cheerfulness or my cockeyed optimism just depends on my basic agnosticism. We don't know the outcome of the current worldwide transformation, so it's sick and decadent when fashionable opinion harps on the gloomy alternatives & resolutely ignores the utopian possibilities that seem equally likely (and, on the basis of past evolution, perhaps a little more likely)."


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CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR UPGRADE

Think back to your first descent into the abyss many years ago. You were a raw rookie at the time, and didn't have many skills to help you negotiate the dark, dank regions. It was no surprise that you came back touchy and scarred.

But in each stint in the underworld since then, you've gained more proficiency at remembering who you are even when you feel lost.

In fact, I suspect that somewhere along the way you passed a crucial threshold. You learned the difference between repetitive, unnecessary pain and the kind of useful pain that rejuvenates and empowers. You discovered how a journey into the underworld can sharpen your soul's vision and enrich your creative passion.

Congratulations on the upgrade!


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DANCE LIKE THE WHOLE WORLD IS WATCHING

"They say to dance like nobody is watching. I think that implies that we are afraid or ashamed to dance in front of the people. I say dance like everybody is watching. Dance like your children are watching, your ancestors, your family. Dance for those who are hurting, those who can't dance, those who lost loved ones and those who suffer injustices throughout the world. Let every step be a prayer for humanity! Most of all dance for the Creator, who breathed into your soul so you may celebrate this gift of life!"

-Supaman


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PESSIMISTIC OR OPTIMISTIC?

“When asked if I am pessimistic or optimistic about the future, my answer is always the same: If you look at the science about what is happening on earth and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t understand data.

"But if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and the lives of the poor, and you aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a pulse. What I see everywhere in the world are ordinary people willing to confront despair, power, and incalculable odds in order to restore some semblance of grace, justice, and beauty to this world.”

—Paul Hawken


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SIGNS ARE AVAILABLE EVERY DAY

“Enter each day with the expectation that the happenings of the day may contain a clandestine message addressed to you personally. Expect omens, epiphanies, casual blessings, and teachers who unknowingly speak to your condition.”

- Sam Keen


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Think back to your first descent into the abyss many years ago. You were a raw rookie at the time, and didn't have many skills to help you negotiate the dark, dank regions. It was no surprise that you came back touchy and scarred.

But in each stint in the underworld since then, you've gained more proficiency at remembering who you are even when you feel lost.

In fact, I suspect that somewhere along the way you passed a crucial threshold. You learned the difference between repetitive, unnecessary pain and the kind of useful pain that rejuvenates and empowers. You discovered how a journey into the underworld can sharpen your soul's vision and enrich your creative passion.

Congratulations on the upgrade!


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SACRED ORIGINS OF DESIRES?

Psychologist Carl Jung said that all desires have a sacred origin, no matter how odd they seem. Frustration and ignorance may cause them to twist into distorted caricatures, but it is always possible to locate the beautiful source from which they arose.

In describing one of his addictive patients, Jung said: "His craving for alcohol was the equivalent on a low level of the spiritual thirst for wholeness, or as expressed in medieval language: the union with God."

Holding this in mind, ruminate about this question: What are the glorious prototypes behind the longings that confuse you or drain you?


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REVOLUTIONIZING THE ART OF REBELLION

Revolutionizing the art of rebellion.

1. Experiment with uppity, mischievous optimism.

2. Invoke insurrectionary levels of wildly interesting generosity.

3. Indulge in an insolent refusal to be chronically fearful.

4. Pursue a cheeky ambition to be as wide-awake as a dissident trickster messiah.

5. Bring reckless levels of creative intelligence to all expressions of love.


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THE PERFECT IS AN ENEMY OF THE GOOD

In last week's edition of my newsletter (http://bit.ly/YouSeeTruth), I included a quote from Joss Whedon among my array of tender rants, friendly prods, and quizzical inspirations. Some readers are enraged at me for doing so. Don't I know, they scold me, that Joss's ex-wife recently announced her former husband is a jerk?

In fact, I do know. And I certainly don't approve of Joss being a jerk. I wish he weren't. I'm mad at him for the bad things he's done.

On the other hand, if I refused to learn from people like Joss unless I agreed with everything they had ever said and done, I would never learn from anyone.

If I condemned to oblivion everyone who didn't reflect all my high ideals, if I crossed everyone off my list unless they were perfect angels, I would be completely bereft of influences except my beloved stuffed bunny from childhood.

What about you? Have you set up your life so that everyone is either on or off your good list? If so, consider the possibility of cultivating a capacity to derive insight from people who aren't perfect. Have fun learning from people you partially agree with and partially disagree with.

Here are examples of some of the other people from whom I have drawn important teachings and inspiration despite their sins:

Gertrude Stein arrogantly believed she was as important a writer as Shakespeare and Homer.

Dr. Seuss had an affair with another woman while his wife was suffering from cancer, and his wife subsequently committed suicide.

Einstein cheated on his wife and treated her horrendously.

William Blake lived in absolute filth.

Early feminist author George Sand cheated on her husband.

Edgar Allan Poe married his 13-year-old cousin when he was 26.

An unknown writer named Laura Albert exploited an HIV positive, transgender, recovering addict to launch her literary career.

Harry Potter creator JK Rowling filed a petty lawsuit against a small publishing house that was publishing a school librarian’s encyclopedia of Harry Potter lexicon.

Martin Luther King Jr. cheated on his wife and plagiarized parts of his Ph.D. dissertation.

The painter Peter Paul Rubens married a 16-year-old female when he was 53.

Walt Whitman had temper tantrums.

Many of Mother Teresa's needy causes that she raised money for never saw a penny. Just 7% of the donations she received went to the actual causes for which they were donated.

Gandhi slept with young women to test his resolve to remain 'pure." Among these women was his grand-niece.

John Lennon battered women. He was also a cranky guy who was pretty much chronically annoyed.

Would you care to confess the sins of any of your heroes, teachers, and role models?


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EVERYONE'S A JERK SOMETIMES

My general philosophy is that everyone on the planet is a jerk at least some of the time. Including me.

The key for me is: How sizable is each person's Jerk Quotient? Is their influence on the world more than 40% Jerk and 60% Other Stuff? If so, then I will probably not have much to do with them.

But if their proportion is more like 15% Jerk and 60% Pretty Good Stuff and 25% Other Stuff, then I will be more receptive.


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THE GREATEST ART

The Great Art consists of making continuous conscious effort to align our thoughts and feelings with the highest ideals we have thus far been able to comprehend.


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"Don’t just be yourself. Be all of your selves."

- Joss Whedon


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WORLD KISS

All of creation is alive and conscious, and all of creation deserves our burning, churning, yearning love. All of creation. Not just little parts of it. Not just the special people and creatures and things that we personally find beautiful and helpful and interesting. But everything. All of creation deserves our burning churning yearning love.

If we want to fully evolve into the gorgeous geniuses we were born to be, if we want to give back as many blessings as we are given, we've got to be in love with every single part of the Goddess's extravagant masterpiece.

And so we can't possibly be mere heterosexuals. We can't possibly be mere homosexuals or bisexuals.

If we want to commune with the world the way the Goddess does, we've got to be Pantheosexuals -- we've got to be experts in the art of Polymorphous Perverse Kaleidoscopic and Omnidirectional Goddess Nuzzling. Anything less is a lie, an obscene limitation.

With this in mind, I invite you to perform the ritual of the World Kiss. To do the World Kiss, conjure up your most expansive feeling of tenderness -- like what you might experience when you're infatuated with a new lover -- and then blow kisses to all of creation.

Blow kisses to the oak trees and sparrows and elephants and weeds. Blow kisses to the wind and rain and rocks and machines. Blow kisses to the gardens and jails, the cars and the toys. the politicians and saints, to the girls and the boys and every gender in between.

And with each World Kiss you bestow, keep uppermost in your emotions a mood of irreverent adoration and horny compassion. And remember that it's not enough simply to perform the outer gesture; you've got to have a heart-on in each of your seven chakras.

Hear the song.


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DO'S AND DON'T'S

Do play soccer in bunny slippers at dawn in a supermarket parking lot with a gang of Vipassana experts who have promised to teach you the Balinese monkey chant.

Don’t decorate your thigh with a slipshod tattoo of the devil pushing a lawn mower.

Do wear a T-shirt that says, “Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most.”

Don’t glide into a bar, scout around for the person whose face has the most pain etched in it, and ask that person to come home with you.

Do chain-smoke Marlboros as you peddle your exercise bicycle.

Do wander through a garbage dump while listening to Mozart.

Don’t pile up framed photos of old flames in a vacant lot and drive a monster truck over them.

Do stage a slow-motion water balloon fight.

Don’t gaze into a mirror and spout, “God damn you, why can’t you be different from who you are?!”

Do shake your fist at the night sky as you call out, “I defy you, stars!”

Don’t tell people you’ve just met that you are the reincarnation of Genghis Khan.

Do pretend sometimes that maybe you mean the opposite of what you’re saying as well as what you’re saying.

Don’t lie on a floor surrounded by wine-stained poetry books, crumpled Matisse prints, abandoned underwear, and half-eaten bowls of corn flakes as you stare up at the ceiling with a blank gaze, muttering gibberish and waving your hands as if swatting away demons.

Do run along the tops of cars during a traffic jam, escaping from the bad guys as you make your way to a helicopter that takes you to a spot hovering over an erupting volcano, into which you drop a DVD of the Buns of Steel video.

Don’t put your soul up for auction on eBay.

Do write a cookbook filled with recipes you’ve channeled from dead celebrities.


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YOUR ADDICTION

Your addiction is obstructing you from your destiny, and yet it’s also your ally. What?! How can both be true?

On the downside, your addiction diverts your energy from a deeper desire that it superficially resembles. For instance, if you’re an alcoholic, your urge to get loaded may be an inferior substitute for and a poor imitation of your buried longing to commune with spirit.

On the upside, your addiction is your ally, because it dares you to get strong and smart enough to wrestle free of its grip; it pushes you to summon the uncanny willpower necessary to defeat the darkness within you that saps your ability to follow the path with heart.

(P.S. Don’t tell me you have no addictions. Each of us is addicted to some sensation, feeling, thought, or action, if not to an actual substance.)


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YOUR CELLS

"The cells in your body are completely loyal to you; they work for you in harmony. We can even say they pray to you. You are their God. That is absolutely the truth. Now what are you going to do with this knowledge?"

—Don Miguel Ruiz


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May the slander, harm
And all forms of abuse
That anyone should direct towards me
Act as a cause of their enlightenment.

- Shantideva


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"I will be waiting here. For your silence to break. For your soul to shake. For your love to wake."

-Rumi


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I imagine the possibility of establishing a tradition of uplifting gossip, full of praise and gratitude. What about, if instead of naming the shadowy aspects of our friends and acquaintances behind their backs, we identified, celebrated, and propitiated their divine glory and shining wonder?

Vow: I name the most beautiful truths about everyone I meet. I extol and congratulate. Cherish and cultivate. Quicken and animate.


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WHAT PART OF YOUR LIFE DO YOU NEED TO SHED?

Here's a letter we wrote to America's richest woman, Oprah Winfrey.

"Dear Oprah," we began. "Please buy up all the Pizza Huts and convert them into a network of Menstrual Huts. Create 10,000 or 100,000 local neighborhood sanctuaries where women can retreat while they're in the throes of their monthly appointment with dying and purification -- or any time they need a break from the tyranny of the clock.

"Let the men come, too. They need sabbaticals. We're all desperate for a regular chance to drop out of the crazy-making grind, to find respite from civilizations' crimes against the rhythms of sleep and love and play.

"Men may actually need the Menstrual Huts even more than women. They mistakenly imagine that they can drive themselves on and on and on. Their poor bodies don't have a built-in menstrual mechanism to cyclically slow them down. And so they mostly never stop to peer into the heart of their own darkness. Which is why so many of them tend to find evil everywhere else except in themselves, and fight it everywhere else except in themselves.

"Just a theory to consider: If men got a chance to have periodic breakdowns and negotiate in a safe place with the toxic feelings that just naturally build up inside everyone over time, maybe they wouldn't wreak so much havoc out in the world. Maybe Menstrual Huts would save the world."

Our letter to Oprah went on for two more pages, but you get the gist. She has not yet responded to our plea.

In the meantime, we suggest that anyone who's interested create their own local Moon Lodges and Menstrual Huts. Here's a list of self-inquiries that could help to guide the time in the sanctuary

1. What feelings and intuitions have you been trying to ignore lately?

2. Which parts of your life are overdue for death?

3. What messages has life been trying to convey to you but which you've chosen to ignore?

4. What red herrings, straw men, and scapegoats have you chased after obsessively in order to avoid dissolving your most well-rationalized delusions?

5. What unripe parts of yourself are you most ashamed or fearful of? How can you give those parts more ingenious love?

6. What parts of yourself have the least integrity and don't act in harmony with what you regard as your highest values? How can you bring them into alignment with your true desires?

7. Is it possible that in repressing things about yourself that you don't like, you have also disowned potentially strong and beautiful aspects of yourself? What are they?

8. Are those really flaws that are bugging you about the people whose destinies are entwined with yours, or just incompletely developed talents? Are those really flaws that are bugging you about yourself, or merely incompletely developed talents?

9. Some people try to deny their portion of the world's darkness and project it onto individuals or groups they dislike. Others acknowledge its power so readily that they allow themselves to be overwhelmed by it. We believe in taking an in-between position, accepting it as an unworked gift that can serve our liberation. Where do you stand?

10. It's easy to see fanaticism, rigidity, and intolerance in other people, but harder to acknowledge them in yourself. Do you dare?


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YOU ARE MY INSPIRATION AND FOLLY

"You are my inspiration and my folly. You are my light across the sea, my million nameless joys, and my day’s wage. You are my divinity, my madness, my selfishness, my transfiguration and purification. You are my rapscallionly fellow vagabond, my tempter and star. I want you.“

Experiment: Memorize the lines above, which were written by George Bernard Shaw, and deliver them to the one with whom you’d most like to weave your fortunes more closely together. If there is no human you feel moved to address so tenderly, speak them to a favorite muse or angel.


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TRACK DOWN THE SPIRIT IN ITS LAIR

"The goal is to break through the machinery of cultural conditioning, in the same way that the shaman does, and to attempt to discover something authentic—something authentic outside the self-generated language cloud. And what this authentic thing is, is that the universal mind is alive, is sentient, is perceiving, is there to meet you when you come through from the other side.

"So we're not talking about psychedelics as a spotlight to be turned on to reveal the detritus of our own personal unconscious. It is not a spotlight. It is not shining from behind you; it is shining ahead of you. The same organizational principles that called us forth into self-reflection has called forth self-reflection out of the planet itself.

"And the problem then is for us to suspect this, act on our suspicion, and be good detectives and track down the spirit in its lair. And this is what shamans are doing. They are hunters of spirit."

- Terence McKenna


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Here's a testimony from one of my readers: "Dear Rob - I appreciate that you have never sold out to advertisers. Your site is one of the most restful places to visit on the Internet. I don’t know how you manage to make a living from doing Free Will Astrology! - Grateful Reader"

Here's my response: Dear Grateful: Thanks for noticing! If you'd like to make a donation to support my work, please visit my Virtual Tip Jar at Paypal. Or mail a check to me at 454 Las Gallinas Avenue, #255, San Rafael, CA 94903.

You can also support my work by buying the Expanded Audio Horoscopes I create every week. These forecasts are different in tone and content from the written horoscopes I provide here. They're my four- to five-minute-long ruminations about the current chapter of your life story. They're available here.


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Let me remind you who you really are: You're an immortal freedom fighter who longs to liberate all sentient creatures from their suffering. You're a fun-loving messiah who devoutly wants to help all of your fellow messiahs claim the ecstatic awareness that is their birthright.

Try to remember. You're a vortex of fluidic light that has temporarily taken on the form of a human being, suffering amnesia about your true origins. And why did you do that? Because it was the best way to forge the identity that would make you such an elemental force in our 14-billion-year campaign to bring heaven all the way down to earth.

I'm not speaking metaphorically here. You are a mutant deity in disguise -- not a Buddha or a Christ exactly, but of the same lineage and conjured from the same fire. You have been around since the beginning of time and will be here after the end. Every day and in every way, you're getting better at playing the preposterously amusing master game we all dreamed up together before the Big Bang bloomed.

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Lately, I must admit, our work has seemed almost comically impossible. Many of us have given in to the temptation to believe that everything is upside-down and inside-out. Ignorance and inertia, partially camouflaged as time-honored morality, seem to surround us. Pessimism is enshrined as a hallmark of worldliness. Compulsive skepticism masquerades as perceptiveness. Mean-spirited irony is chic. Stories about treachery and degradation provoke a visceral thrill in millions of people who think of themselves as reasonable and smart. Beautiful truths are suspect and ugly truths are readily believed.

So no, at this peculiar turning point in the evolution of our 14-billion-year-old master game, it's not easy to carry out our mission. We've got to be both wrathful insurrectionaries and exuberant lovers of life. We've got to cultivate cheerful buoyancy even as we resist the temptation to swallow thousands of delusions that have been carefully crafted and seductively packaged by those messiahs among us who bravely volunteered to play the role of know-it-all deceivers.

We have to learn how to stay in a good yet unruly mood as we overthrow the sour, puckered mass hallucination that is mistakenly referred to as "reality."

Maybe most importantly, we have to be ferociously and single-mindedly dedicated to the cause of beauty and truth and love even as we keep our imaginations wild and hungry and free. We have to be both disciplined and rowdy.

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What can we do to help each other in this work? Read more here.


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GIFTS FOR YOU?

Here are the gifts I want to give you: green velvet gloves, a canoe made out of jewels, a donkey clown pińata full of crickets, toasters made of pure gold falling through the sky at the end of magenta parachutes, a going-steady ring from a vending machine at the drug store, a protective gargoyle from the Chartres Cathedral, an antique hammer and sickle, a strawberry chocolate cake baked in the shape of a question mark, fistfuls of sparklers, a bottle of holy water from the River Jordan, photos of lightning on a giant poster, ruby slippers, a map of human DNA drawn up by the Human Genome Project, a refrigerator magnet cast in the likeness of the Dalai Lama, and a mask of your face fashioned from purple day-glo Play-Doh.


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HIDING, By David Whyte:

HIDING is a way of staying alive. Hiding is a way of holding ourselves until we are ready to come into the light. Even hiding the truth from ourselves can be a way to come to what we need in our own necessary time.

Hiding is one of the brilliant and virtuoso practices of almost every part of the natural world: the protective quiet of an icy northern landscape, the held bud of a future summer rose, the snow bound internal pulse of the hibernating bear.

Hiding is underestimated. We are hidden by life in our mother’s womb until we grow and ready ourselves for our first appearance in the lighted world; to appear too early in that world is to find ourselves with the immediate necessity for outside intensive care.

Hiding done properly is the internal faithful promise for a proper future emergence, as embryos, as children or even as emerging adults in retreat from the names that have caught us and imprisoned us, often in ways where we have been too easily seen and too easily named.

We live in a time of the dissected soul, the immediate disclosure; our thoughts, imaginings and longings exposed to the light too much, too early and too often, our best qualities squeezed too soon into a world already awash with too easily articulated ideas that oppress our sense of self and our sense of others.

What is real is almost always to begin with, hidden, and does not want to be understood by the part of our mind that mistakenly thinks it knows what is happening. What is precious inside us does not care to be known by the mind in ways that diminish its presence.

Hiding is an act of freedom from the misunderstanding of others, especially in the enclosing world of oppressive secret government and private entities, attempting to name us, to anticipate us, to leave us with no place to hide and grow in ways unmanaged by a creeping necessity for absolute naming, absolute tracking and absolute control.

Hiding is a bid for independence, from others, from mistaken ideas we have about our selves, from an oppressive and mistaken wish to keep us completely safe, completely ministered to, and therefore completely managed.

Hiding is creative, necessary and beautifully subversive of outside interference and control. Hiding leaves life to itself, to become more of itself. Hiding is the radical independence necessary for our emergence into the light of a proper human future.

Excerpted from ‘HIDING’ in CONSOLATIONS: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words

- 2015 © David Whyte


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THANK YOU!

Thank you for creating your own fantastic reality, as it inspires me to make my own!


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YOUR REPERTOIRE

What thought or trick do you use to help liberate yourself from unnecessary suffering?

What joke do you play on yourself when you're taking yourself too seriously?

How do you compassionately bust yourself when you realize you've been indulging in hypocritical behavior?


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YOUR DISQUIET

"All disquiet springs from a search for quiet," the poet Rumi would like you to know.

"And so the best way to cultivate inner peace," I add, "might be to learn to love the way everything keeps changing."

"All illnesses spring from scavenging for delicacies," Rumi adds to his previous epiphany.

'"o maybe pluck the simple, inexpensive riches that are right in front of you," I conclude.


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BEST TRANSGRESSION

"The true transgression today is no longer sex, but a dedicated commitment to love."

- Slavoj Žižek


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ABDANDON DREADRY TASKS

“I gladly abandon dreary tasks, rational scruples, reactive undertakings imposed by the world, for the sake of a useless task deriving from a dazzling Duty: the lover’s Duty. I perform, discreetly, lunatic chores; I am the sole witness of my lunacy. What love lays bare in me is energy.”

— Roland Barthes, A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments

I would add that the lover’s Duty may be expressed toward a beloved person, animal, place, creation, or task.


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GLIMPSE THE SUBLIME

"The sublime can only be glimpsed by pressing through fear's boundary, beyond one's previous conception of the beautiful."

- Rusty Morrison


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UPLIFTING GOSSIP

I imagine the possibility of helping to establish a tradition of uplifting gossip, full of praise and gratitude. What about, if instead of naming the shadowy aspects of our friends and acquaintances behind their backs, we identified, celebrated, and propitiated their divine glory and shining wonder?

Vow: I name the most beautiful truths about everyone I meet. I extol and congratulate. Cherish and cultivate. Quicken and animate.


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Experiment: Figure out how you need to transform yourself in order for the world to give you what you yearn for.


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MESSAGE FROM YOUR ANCESTORS

Attention, please. This is your ancestors speaking. We've been trying to reach you through your dreams and fantasies, but you haven't responded. That's why we've commandeered this space. So listen up. We'll make it brief.

You're at a crossroads analogous to a dilemma that has baffled your biological line for six generations. We ask you now to master the turning point that none of us have ever figured out how to negotiate. Heal yourself and you heal all of us. We mean that literally. Start brainstorming, please.


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OUTWIT THE NUMBING TRANCE

How can we outwit and escape the numbing trance that everyday routine seems to foster? What can we do to stay alert to the subtle miracles and intriguing mysteries and numinous beauty that surround us on all sides?

Some possibilities:

1. Make it a daily practice to refresh the ways we perceive the world.

2. Scan regularly for opportunities to play and for creatures that like to play.

3. Assume that the entire world is a constantly changing source of oracular revelation that has meaning for us.

4. Experiment with what happens when we use empathy and intuition to imagine how animals and other people experience life.

5. Don't take things too seriously or too personally or too literally.

6. Expose ourselves regularly to provocative myths and intriguing symbols. Seek out stories that bend and twist our beliefs. Be open to exploring events and phenomena that elude rational explanation.

7. Regularly give our unconscious minds the message that we want to feel deeply.

8. Cultivate a willingness, eagerness, and receptivity to being surprised.

9. Others?


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HEALTHY OBSESSIONS

I invite you to experiment with the theme "Healthy Obsessions." Not "Melodramatic Compulsions" or "Exhausting Crazes" or "Manias That Make You Seem Interesting to Casual Bystanders," but "Healthy Obsessions."

To do it well, you will have to take really good care of yourself as you concentrate extravagantly on tasks that fill you with zeal. This may require you to rebel against the influences of role models, both in your actual life and in the movies you've seen, who act as if getting sick and imbalanced is an integral part of being true to one's genius.


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THE NATURE OF MAGIC DOORWAYS

Alice finds her way to Wonderland by falling down a rabbit hole. Dorothy rides to Oz on a tornado. In C. S. Lewis's "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," Lucy stumbles into the magical land of Narnia via a portal in the back of a large clothes cabinet.

In the sequels to all these adventures, however, the heroines must find different ways to access their exotic dreamlands. Alice slips through a mirror next time. Dorothy uses a Magic Belt. Lucy leaps into a painting of a schooner that becomes real.

Moral of the story: The next time you seek passage into a magic interlude or alternate reality, the doorway may be unlike anything you've experienced before.


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MANY TYPES OF CREATIVITY

"Creativity is conceived as a reproductive act with a tangible result -- a child, a book, a monument -- that has a physical life going beyond the life of its producer. Creativity, however, can be intangible in the form of a good life, or a beautiful act, or in other virtues of the soul such as freedom and openness, style and tact, humor, kindness."

- James Hillman


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EXPERIMENT: Live life as if you're just going to keep getting smart and kinder and wilder.

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Starved for good news? Try this batch of stories that document all the uplifting events going on around the world.


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TO-DO LIST

1. Say these words into a mirror: "It’s bad luck to be superstitious."

2. Fantasize that our so-called "dark sides" are sweet and creamy.

3. Watch TV with our third eyes.

4. Put on inflatable sumo wrestler costumes and play bagpipes as badly as possible.

5. Imagine we have guardian angels who look like Malcolm X and Eugene Debs.

6. Plant orchids on a strip-mined hill.

7. Dream we’re red-tailed hawks soaring over a shopping mall.

8. Forgive ourselves for the blindness that put us in the path of those who betrayed us.

9. Put bumper stickers on our cars that say, "My goddess can kick your god’s ass!"

10. Hire a puppet troupe to reenact our life stories using marionettes in Renaissance costumes.

11. Buy seven used gowns worn to the Academy Awards show by famous actresses, and send them gratis to seven Guatemalan teenagers.

12. Meditate on how one of the symbols of plenitude in Nepal is a mongoose vomiting jewels.

13. Thank our mothers for the pain they endured while birthing us.

14. Review in painstaking detail the history of our lives, honoring every moment as if we were conducting a benevolent Judgment Day.

15. Create royal crowns for ourselves out of shower cap, rubber bands, and light bulbs.

16. Test to see if people are really listening to us by asserting that Karl Marx was one of the Marx Brothers and that Joan of Arc was married to the Biblical Noah.

17. Teach an animal to dance.

18. Make believe we are the ocean king and thunder queen.

19. Actually kiss the earth now and then.

20. Find many good excuses to say, as physicist Niels Bohr once did, “Your theory is crazy, but it’s not crazy enough to be true.”

21. Ask butterflies if they will hang out on our faces for a while.


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Thank you for creating your own fantastic reality, as it inspires me to make my own!


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YOU'RE A MAGICIAN

I'm not a major fan of occultist Aleister Crowley, but I appreciate some of his ideas. His definition of magic is pure and true: 'the Science and Art of causing change to occur in conformity with will.'

He wasn't simply referring to the esoteric transformations attempted by wizards and witches wielding spells and conjurations. He meant anyone who seeks to make practical shifts in his or her life.

Let's say you grew up conditioned to feel shame about behavior there's no good reason to feel shame about, and you resolve to do whatever it takes to dissolve that shame, and you succeed in doing it. That's magic.

Or maybe you no longer want to attract bad listeners and flaky collaborators into your sphere, and you promise yourself you will alter that pattern, and you ultimately achieve your goal. That's magic, too.

One other example: You decide you want to be a skilled songwriter, and spend years learning to play an instrument, analyzing the songs you love in order to understand how they're constructed, and cultivating your creativity. That's magic at work.

I invite you to identify an example of one or two of your own magic skills.


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YOUR MIND IS ALWYS FREE

At every moment, your mind is free – free to reject any thoughts, impulses, and feelings that are barreling into it from who-knows-where. Free to leap to some fresh perspective, inspiring though, or deep feeling.

It’s true! You can have deep feeling ten seconds from now if you want. All you have to do is turn your mind to a memory that stimulates deep feeling or to a future fantasy that stimulates deep feeling.


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EXPERIMENT

Experiment: Weed out the wishy-washy wishes and lukewarm longings that keep you distracted from your burning desires.


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EMPATHY FOR DELUSIONS

Being acutely aware of the fact that I have entertained a great number of delusional, nonsensical, and wasteful thoughts and feelings over the course of my life, I have empathy for those who don't yet know that they entertain a great number of delusional, nonsensical, and wasteful thoughts.


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THOUGHT EXPERIMENT'

Here's a thought experiment you could try for the next 24 hours: Every time a negative or fearful thought rises up, substitute a thought, imagination, or memory that energizes you and makes you feel genuinely good.


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RADICAL AUTHENTICITY

"I've been practicing radical authenticity lately," my friend Brandon told me. "I'm revealing the blunt truth about unmentionable subjects to everyone I know. It's been pretty hellish -- no one likes having the social masks stripped away -- but it's been ultimately rewarding."

"I admire your boldness in naming the currents flowing beneath the surface," I replied, "but I'm curious as to why you imply they're all negative. To practice radical authenticity, shouldn't you also express the raw truth about what's right, good, and beautiful? Shouldn't you unleash the praise and gratitude that normally go unspoken?"


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TO HELL WITH MY SUFFERING

"To hell with my suffering," wrote Arthur Rimbaud in his poem "May Banners." I invite you to make that snappy phrase your mantra for now. Anytime you feel a sour thought impinging on your perceptions, say, "To hell with my suffering."

And immediately follow it up with an expostulation from another Rimbaud poem, "It's all too beautiful."

You could be ruthless about it. If you sense an imminent outbreak of pettiness, or if a critical little voice in your head blurts out a curse, or if a pesky ghost starts to nag you, simply say, "To hell with my suffering," and then, "It's all too beautiful."


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TELEPATHICS ANONYMOUS

Telepathics Anonymous is a 12-step program for those who aren't aware of how the thoughts and feelings of others leak over into their own.

Are you suffering because you imagine your psyche is an utterly separate and sealed-off territory? Would reality make a lot more sense if you knew for sure that you are in continual extrasensory contact with more souls than you can imagine?

Telepathics Anonymous offers proof that human minds overlap all the time!

As a get-­acquainted gift, Telepathics Anonymous would like to present you with an omen concerning the future of your relationship with love. Look for it exactly 95 hours and 19 minutes from right now.


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ATTUNE YOURSELF TO BEAUTY

What do you need to kill off in yourself in order to tune in to the beauty that's hidden from you? What worn-out shticks are blinding you to the blessings that life is conspiring to give you?

Which of your theories may have been useful and even brilliant in the past but are now keeping you from becoming aware of the ever-fresh creation that unfolds before you?


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