What Floats Your Boat?

Why Do I Ask?

I ask this question because I recently became aware of the humongous part music plays in my ability to feel joy and happiness.

 Even if the music is mainly in a minor key, which seems to draw out feelings of sadness, music still has the power to move me in ways that TV or the internet can’t begin to touch or rival.

It definitely floats my boat. I’m grateful God gave us this beautiful sense, and I’m hoping the many rock concerts I’ve attended in my lifetime haven’t hastened its demise.

From Whence It Came

As a child, my parents used the record player, or stereo, to play Broadway musicals…hence, my love for musicals.

In 7th grade, I discovered rock and roll via the car radio. Ok, I know that’s late in life to figure this out, but I was the oldest child, and my parents weren’t into rock and roll.

My first purchases, were Hit The Road Jack, and The Lion Sleeps Tonight. The former is still good advice, and the latter still a popular song. The other night I watched a documentary on its origin. These songs were both on what they called ‘45’s, small vinyl records costing $1 apiece.

Records were also available as albums. I loved the richness of the sound. Although the car radio delivered a tinny mono tone, the vinyl sound was rich. I was in audio heaven.

One Step Backwards

It all came crashing to a musical halt for me when the CD’s came out. I don’t consider myself an audiophile, or maybe I secretly do, but I thought CD’s were a downgraded version of the vinyl. Thankfully, vinyl is coming back into vogue.

I love all types of music… broadway, country, rock, the Beatles, all the music of the 60’s and 70”s, which dates me, I know.

My mother used to say she could hear, or imagine hearing Rhapsody in Blue each time her plane landed in New York City. 

The Playlist

I love that song, as well as Concerto in F and Porgy and Bess by Gershwin, Peter and the Wolf by Prokofiev, The Jupiter Symphony by Mozart, The Carousel Waltz by Richard Rodgers, Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copeland, Dance of the Little Swans by Tchaikovsky, and so many more. 

Above all, music transports me. I meditate to stay in the present moment, and I listen to music to be swept away. 

The Golden Door

High School Poetry

When I was in high school, one of my favorite means of expression was writing poetry. With the advent of 2022, I’d like to share one of my high school poems because I feel it’s still relevant today. 

The Golden Door

A golden door marks the end

Of a hallway of darkness and light.

To reach the door…

To see beyond…

The visionary’s plight.

 So stumble…fall…question…doubt…

Change your course…

Revamp…

Reroute…

A burst of strength, adrenal blast…

The golden door ahead at last.

Then, through the keyhole…blinding light…

So familiar…

Stare in fright…

Something to be living for…

Another hall…

Another door.

        T. Trower

This is my take on life. We’re all on the hero’s journey, as Joseph Campbell would say. We’re a lot like Don Quixote, tilting at windmills in an effort to find our purpose and give our lives meaning. …to grasp the invitation to engage in the next challenge or adventure.

So, why would you stare in fright?

Let’s face it, change and opportunity has a downside. Accepting a challenge is scary. It requires us to face the unknown. It’s not for the faint of heart, but it’s asked of all of us.

Just when you think you know it all, you’re shown you know little or nothing.

A new, untainted year is upon us. A new door appears for us all.

Can you accept your life as the hero’s journey?

Will you dare to open that door?

Time Travel, Anyone?

Are We There Yet?

We haven’t quite reached the technological pinnacle of actual time travel, but I’ve discovered a pretty good runner up. It’s not rocket science because we all do it…we’re all time travelers in a sense.
 
We can easily travel to the past. It’s call memory. We can also travel to the future. It’s called visualizing, manifesting, wishing, or just ordinary planning. 
 
Both are powerful means of travel. 
 
They can take you to the badlands of regret or the rose gardens of anticipation. It’s all up to you.
 
So, what to do if you’re stuck in the pits of rumination? Traveling there is a total waste of time. It’s like taking a detour that leads to a dead end. I once saw a show about a woman whose GPS led her straight into the middle of the desert where she was desperately low on gas.
This is a time travel trip you don’t want to take.
 
On the other hand, anticipating something you really want is a trip worth taking.
 
My Favorites

But there’s another type of travel trigger. It’s called music. Music can take you back in a fraction of a second.
 
The other day, as I was driving, I heard the “Theme From Peter Gunn”. That was the song the school band played at my high school pep rallies. Instantly, I could see the pom-poms and the bleachers, and I was immediately energized. This is my kind of time travel!
 
I remember hearing the Beach Boy song, “Do It Again”, and was instantly transported to my Aunt and Uncle’s house where I was dancing in the living room.
 
“Lara’s Theme” from Dr. Zhivago takes me to a movie date during the Christmas holidays with my high school boyfriend.
 
But music isn’t the only time trigger. Smells, or aromas, are just as jet propelled. 
 
The smell of Old Spice brings my father back to life. Shalimar does the same to my mother. The smell of bacon takes me to my Aunt’s kitchen. 
 
When I smell honeysuckle, I’m a kid playing in my front yard.
 
The point is…why wait for technology to catch up…we’ve got the real deal sitting right on the top of our shoulders. 
 
That’s good enough for me.

The Cat Therapists Strike Again

December

We’re nearing the Winter Solstice, and the Sun is headed for a comeback. All I can say is, ”It’s about time!”, which rings true on more than one level. The days will slowly grow longer, and with any luck, I won’t feel like it’s bedtime at 5:00. It portends the end of Seasonal Affective Disorder for those living in the North, and gives me hope. As best said by the poet Shelley, “If winter comes, can Spring be far behind?”

This is the season for optimism, for hope, for making resolutions. Resolutions alone are hopeful promises. The fact that they’re broken by February 1st should be a given. Don’t think of it as defeat. Resolutions are meant to be marathons, not sprints.

The Cats

So, what does this have to do with my cats? These two tuxedos are prognosticators of change. It’s as if they’re reading my mind as I think about the changes I need to make in the coming year. 

Their approach doesn’t come in the form of a gentle suggestion, or prod. Instead, it’s experiential, like emersion therapy. Their therapeutic method doesn’t ask permission. Instead of suggesting ways to manifest my new reality, they create a situation that demands action on my part. They force my hand in their sneaky feline way, at just the right time, in just the right place.

The synchronicity of their schemes is not lost on me. 

Their Exact Approach

I’ve been trying for the past year to remove the clutter in my house…in  other words, to become what they call a “minimalist”.

It aint easy! 

Cats are explorers. They’re curious. Today they discovered the family pictures so carefully arranged on top of the file cabinets in my home office. Their sights are set on the heavens as they yearn to get as high a perch as possible. 

I could instantly get that those pictures were no longer safe in their present location. Those family pics were in imminent danger of becoming flying projectiles. They had to go…but where?

There wasn’t room anywhere else. For the time being, they’ve been stuffed in a drawer. They’re no longer visible. My filing cabinets are now minimalist.

The cats” reality therapy” approach has forced me towards my goal. I guess I should thank them. As they say, “the end justifies the means.”

They’re psychic little somebodies, and I have to admit, all in all, pretty good therapists!

George Patton

I’ve always loved learning about WWII, so much so that as a part of my teaching internship, I requested to teach a unit on WWII. Coincidentally, this high school just happened to be showing “The Longest Day” to the history students. The school actually had a theatre. I was impressed.

My fascination with this war probably has something to do with the fact that I was born four years after the war ended, a war in which my father had served.

So I’m finally reading Killing Patton, the story of the infamous General. Don’t ask me what’s taken me so long, but because I’ve waited, I now need the large print version.

Patton served mainly in the European front. He was known to his soldiers as “Old Blood and Guts”. He lived for battle. He never lacked for bravado or optimism when it came to strategy and the thrill of a new mission. 

He believed in reincarnation and sensed he’d fought in many battles throughout the ages. He liked to read the war strategies of long deceased warriors, and believed he had fought in the 19th century.

Strategy-wise, General Eisenhower, who was his superior, thought Patton too impulsive and headstrong to take a major part in the D-Day invasion, but used him as a decoy.

The truth is…Patton tended to obey orders if he agreed with them. If not, he made his own decisions and attacked where he felt it was most advantageous. For this reason, he was called on the carpet many times. However, Patton was such a successful General and victorious in battle, he became an integral part of defeating the Germans and liberating the Allies.

Patton vied with the British General, Montgomery, known as Monty, for choice battle assignments, and due to his rash temperament, often came in second.

Wartime romances were also the norm throughout the story, and Patton was alleged to have had an affair with a socialite Red Cross worker throughout the war. 

What struck me about the battles was the freezing cold temperatures the soldiers had to endure. So many lives were lost, and life was cheap. Killing was the goal. Ethics and morals aside, war trains boys to be assassins. Surprisingly, toward the end of the war, as Patton gazes upon the razed buildings and bodies of the vanquished, he made a comment which mirrored the adage, “War is hell.”

If you’re a hawk, it will probably appeal to your belief in strength through might, and war as a necessary evil. If you’re a dove, you may be astounded by the brutality and loss of life. 

The Buddhists refer to “the middle way”.  Many years ago, I wrote a poem about war. In it, I wished we could “view each person as a brother rather than to kill each other.”

But, that said, we owe so much to Patton and those brave souls who defended our country. To them, we can say we owe” our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor”. 

The Trouble With Robots

Sometimes writing a blog is therapeutic. There’s actually research to prove writing soothes the soul, so here goes. My latest frustration triggers are the robots companies use to avoid complaints…good for them, not so good for the rest of us.

I had a recent encounter with a telephone robot that reminded me I’m still capable of losing my serenity, despite years of dabbling in meditative practices.

The automated robot is one modern convenience I can do without. It’s actually only a convenience for the company that uses the automated woman. I’m sure they come in male versions, but I can’t recall. Maybe these companies feel that a female voice would sound more soothing to the listener, but to me she sounds like a creepy female version of Hal, the robot from the movie 2001.

It’s Halloween season and I could probably deal with creepy, but she’s also a sadistic somebody. She wants to know why I called in, and when I attempt to explain, she says, in a totally non-feeling monotone voice, “I didn’t understand.”

Enough Is Enough

It’s at this point I can feel my blood pressure rising. Before my next call, I’ll be sure to strap on a blood pressure cuff.

It only takes a second or two before I find myself screaming into the phone. I realize I’m screaming at a robot. On an intellectual level, I know how crazy this is. My emotions have been totally hijacked by this idiotic chick. Doesn’t she get what “connect me to a representative means?”

On some level, I think she gets it. This is where her sadistic tendencies blossom. She’s in total control, and she knows it. 

At this point, my only option is to drive to the store. I used my best tones of civility and sanity as I expressed my discontent to the guy at the front door. Then, after taking a number, I smugly listened to the next customer describe how she was screaming into the phone to no avail. Misery loves company, as they say.

Ahh…The Joy of Humans

It’s so satisfying describing your problem to someone with real flesh and blood vocal chords, someone with the ability to actually listen, understand, and get you to a representative.

I have a renewed appreciation for humans. I know it’s not easy working in customer service, but replacing humans with robots is a disservice to humanity. There’s something so soothing about speaking to an actual human being.

But, robots are everywhere. replacing us at every juncture. I think they call it progress. Even surgeries are being hijacked by robots. Mercifully, at least you’re given anesthesia. 

So, I have a message for these companies. Instead of sending me an email survey to ask how you did, you could send me an anti-anxiety prescription with the instructions, “Take 30 minutes before your next call.” 

My Umbrella

My Conclusion

After a week of clouds, humidity, and daily rain, I’ve come to a conclusion. This weather pattern doesn’t simply affect my ability to walk outside. It affects my mood. Anything that affects my mood tends to affect my productivity, and not in a good way.

First, my energy level is lower. I become more slug-like. Couch-surfing, along with watching the news non-stop, becomes my go-to activity. This might be ok on an occasional basis, but during the rainy season (Florida is semi-tropical), this is a daily event. Even the days that start out sunny become ominously dark as the day progresses. 

The Money Pit

On that note, I can’t tell you how much I spend on umbrellas. It’s so easy to lose one. If I hired a detective to track down my lost umbrellas, I’m guessing they’d be found on restaurant seats and floors, grocery cart baskets, check -out counters, friends’ houses, as well as the myriad of places I simply put it down.

It only takes a fraction of a second to forget about the umbrella. It’s not something that rates five stars unless it’s actually raining.

If I’m lucky and the stars have aligned, I’ll have left it in Whole Foods or Walgreens where I can actually buy a new one. In fact, I often do a mental review to see if I’m walking into a store that actually sells umbrellas. This is because not having to take my umbrella out of its “safe place” on the bucket seat is like a little savings plan. It’s an automatic potential savings of $14.95. It may not sound like much, but I’m here to tell you, it adds up over time. 

Buck up!

I shouldn’t complain, because at least I don’t have to deal with Siberian temperatures here. Humidity may portend a bad hair day, but it’s good for my skin. That seems like a fair trade off. But I draw the line when the temperature goes below 60.

Ok. I know I’m spoiled by warm weather and tropical breezes, but let’s face it. I’m a weather wimp.

Here’s another drawback. You’ve heard of spectrum lamps? These are for people, like me, who tend toward depression or even old fashioned grumpiness when the sun stays behind the clouds for too long.

There’s even a name for it. It’s called Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD Syndrome. Talk about an appropriate name. I’ve included a link if you’d like to buy what they call a SAD Lamp. If you suffer from this disorder, which miraculously goes away after Spring Break, one of these lamps can give you much needed relief. 

If you live in a region with four seasons, you get a little reprieve. 

If not, you can always move to Florida. 

But beware…there’s always the rainy season.

Why Are You Here, Anyway?

Here’s a question. Why are you here…on planet Earth?

 Do you know? Is it even a “thing?” Or is it simply a passing fad, like the pet rock?  

Has this question even passed through your mind, and why should it? 

Ok. What Is It?

Many people think it’s a job…a career. It can be, but doesn’t have to be. Basically, that may be one of the reasons you’re here. I say one, because I believe you’re here for multiple reasons, with multiple goals or spiritual assignments. As they said on Mission Impossible, “your mission, should you choose to accept it, is…”

That’s the cool thing. You don’t have to accept it. This is called “free will.” Free will gives you power with a capital “P”. You’re in charge. Your acceptance is mainly a matter of whether it coincides or interferes with what you define as what you’re here to do, be, or accomplish.

However, and this is a big however, I believe it’s a setup. I feel, in the depths of my being, that you’ve already agreed to this mission, or you wouldn’t be here. Maybe you’d be lounging on some cloud, but you wouldn’t be on this battlefield. 

Since you’re reading this, I take it you’ve accepted your mission.

You’re a soldier now…a type of Navy Seal on Planet Earth. In other words, you signed up for the ultimate adventure…life.

As a child, you probably didn’t give a thought to esoteric issues like spirituality, religion, or self- examination. There are too many other developmental things occupying your time and demanding your attention.

But at some point, most people begin to wonder what it’s all about, and question their place in this maelstrom. Thomas Moore defined it as “the dark night of the soul”. Peggy Lee warbled, “Is that all there is?”.

This may sound depressing, but it’s actually a good thing, akin to the butterfly breaking through the chrysalis.

There’s no one way that works for everyone. For some, the search for meaning is born through tragedy, misfortune or loss. The book,” When Bad Things Happen To Good People “by Harold Kushner comes to mind.

With others, therapy may crack open the search for one’s life purpose, or at least propel a search for meaning through a trip down memory lane, or a life review.

Never Too Soon To Start

At the tender age of 13, my teacher assigned an autobiography. I still have it. It’s called, “From Pablum To Pizza”. Even at that age, I had zeroed in on the events that made a difference to me, the events that stood out as meaningful. I believe those events were pointers to my life purpose.

 Even meeting people you feel like you’ve known before can make the events of your life seem less random.

Finally, we all have intrinsic gifts and talents. We all have things that excite us and move us to action. These are also pointers to the reason we’re here.

Still, life is basically a mystery, but overall, I think these are worthy issues to ponder.

How Woo-Woo Is Your Subconscious?

What Is It, Anyway?

As a therapist and life coach, I often hear clients talk about the subconscious. This is, at best, a murky subject. Everyone has their ideas on what the subconscious actually is. Some refer to it as the unconscious because it’s the part of ourselves not accessible without some type of intervention. 

Loosely, going to sleep might be considered an intervention. Dreaming, known as REM sleep, is one gateway to the subconscious. But, how often do you even remember the content of your dreams? It’s hard to receive messages or even begin to do dream interpretation if you don’t even remember the dream. Yes, sometimes I get brief snatches of a scene, but they evaporate at record speed, leaving me frustrated and still clueless about what the dream might mean.

 According to Carl Jung, a Swiss psychoanalyst, the subconscious is genetically inherited, and is not shaped by personal experience. Freud, however, did believe it was formed as a result of personal experience.

What seems to be the popular notion is that the subconscious is the receptacle for all our memories and experiences. One method of accessing these is through the Energy Therapies, such as hypnosis and The Emotion Code.

I have to admit. I love the Energy Therapies…in particular The Emotion Code. Developed by Bradley Nelson, it’s based on the belief that emotions are bits of energy, and, as such, are always in motion in some form. However, unprocessed emotions can become stuck at various locations in the body. 

For Instance

Let me give you an example. An argument with your spouse is likely to cause anger or anxiety. If you’re able to process these emotions through self -talk or a healing discussion, the energy generated by these emotions will quickly leave your body. However, if you’re not able to resolve the emotions, they can become stuck in your body, causing residual problems in your relationship or your sense of self.

Through a process called Muscle Testing, which essentially uses the strength of your arm to gauge the validity of certain statements, you’re able to get information from your subconscious mind.

How is this possible?

 Your muscles actually weaken slightly when presented with an idea or statement that doesn’t resonate as true with your subconscious. In that way, you’re able to communicate with your subconscious and easily and painlessly release the emotions connected with that event. 

I know this sounds really “out there”, but I’ve witnessed amazing healings with this method.

We all have a subconscious and it’s the repository for everything we’ve ever experienced. 

When they talk about a “Life Review” after death, I wonder if they’re simply rewinding the tape of our subconscious mind.

What Are The Odds? The Story of Mike Lindell

Don’t Say You Don’t Know Him

I’ve decided to share a book review I wrote for my blog, I Read the Book. This book is written by a man most people will recognize immediately…Mike Lindell. If you watch infomercials, I know you’ve seen him…maybe too many times. He’s the My Pillow guy.

He’s nothing if not a “character”. Even though he describes himself as shy, he’s exuberant and outgoing. If you’ve seen him on TV, you know what I mean. He either doesn’t have a shy bone in his body or he deserves an Academy Award.

Success didn’t come easy for Mike. He struggled with alcohol and drug addiction for many years. Owning a bar was probably not the healthiest occupation for him, but his life has been nothing if not colorful. 

Mike is, or was, a card counter. If you’re like me, I had no idea what that was. But if you spend much time in Vegas, you know exactly what it is. Numbers are his strong suit, and even in his druggie periods, he could memorize cards with the finesse of a savant. This is what kept him from going under financially. He was like those plastic dolls that pop back up when you knock them down. Mike is a fighter.

The fascinating thing about Mike is his strong intuition and connection to God. In my opinion, he’s a psychic. He trusted the messages he received, and they were right on. He seemed to have a direct line.

Ultimately, he made a success of My Pillow, and the book details his struggles. If I had to choose one word to describe him, it would be “tenacious”.

I Confess

To be honest, I’ve never owned one of his pillows, but I highly endorse his Giza Dream Sheets. I recently visited a hotel in Austin, and those sheets felt just like the Dream sheets I sleep on at home. 

All in all, his book is an interesting read because he’s a fabulous storyteller, and discusses his ups and downs with no holds barred. His personality jumps off every page. Simply stated, the book is page turner.

I can’t wait to see what he does next.