Archive for March 2007

blog post

March 28, 2007

I would like to thank everyone who has visited this site for their encouragement.

As of Saturday, March 25, 2007, apparent changes to the WordPress programming interface make it impossible for me to use the site indendently.

In order for a blind person like me to interact with a computer, software such as JAWS is used to convert material on-screen into synthetic speech. I can’t use a mouse to point and click to accomplish tasks; I use keyboard commands instead.

For instance, to click on a link on a Web page, a sighted person points their mouse at it and clicks the mouse. The desired page appears.

I, on the other hand, navigate to the link using the arrow keys on the keyboard, then press “Enter” to bring up the page.

This usually works fine, and I can do just about everything a sighted computer user can using my keyboard.

However, beginning Saturday, whenever I tried to use the WordPress sites, I was taken to pages I hadn’t clicked on, and I have been unable to post at all to this blog.

I thought it was a problem with my own JAWS software. But I have visited many other Websites without difficulty and the computer has behaved normally.

Thinking it was a problem specific to my blog, I went to other blogs I normally visit, but I had the same problems.

The reason I chose WordPress as my blog-hosting site was because it was extremely easy, after the initial set-up, for me to manage my blog independently as a blind person.

However, this is no longer the case. My husband Ted is gracious enough to post this for me (since the site works perfectly fine as long as you’re using a mouse to do things!).

I appreciate programmers’ desires to make their product better and easier to use, especially when it is used by hundreds of thousands of people. But in attempts to improve something, I wish more consideration would be given to the small but significant number of users who access computer software in ways other than the normal, visual, mouse-centric way.

I have enjoyed keeping this blog and have learned a lot in the process. I’ve also met some very interesting people and read some wonderful writing.

But a blog should be something an individual does on his or her own. If I need to go through a middleman (I.E., my sighted husband) to do something I used to be able to do without assistance, even if he’s willing to act as the go-between, then are the changes really beneficial?

In the opinion of this blind user, no.

Advertisements

I’m Free

March 24, 2007

This past week, I received plenty of lessons as a healer, and, as usual, each built on what had come before and would be useless without my prior experiences.

Last spring, I began making “Soul Essence” pieces, “composing” music that was a sound portrait of a person’s inner being or core. I say “composed” in quotes because, even though I put the notes together, I don’t “create” them, per se. They are “given” to me, revealed for lack of a better word. Often, I am caught by surprise because a person’s song will contain two drasticly different melodies, and it’s always amazing to me how they are joined into one cohesive unit. No matter how many of these I do, this will always be a source of wonder to me.

The “Soul Essence” project, I see now, was a natural beginning place for my journey as a healer. I have a passion for music. I make my living teaching and playing it. So to use it as an instrument for healing was perfectly acceptable to me. It stretched me, made me grow, but I wasn’t out of my natural element and I could draw on a vast reservoir of past experience and knowledge.

It was also a way to do healing work without speaking to or touching other people. I’m fairly quiet by nature, and I’m reserved rather than demonstrative. It’s not that I don’t feel things; I just don’t show them or express them well. So again, the “Soul Essence” projects fit well. No words, no hands-on stuff, and most were received by mail. I found that, when I did music for people I knew personally, it was much, much harder.

All the while, I was going through the attunemnets for reiki, and had Level 3 in the autumn. I used reiki on myself, on my husband, on my dogs, but that was it. I didn’t feel comfortable enough in my own skin to open myself to using it with anyone else.

Then, pushed by my guides, I started doing distance work for people, with the only condition being that they had to give me feedback. I thought this would be a safe, comfortable way to grow, and I would have just left it at that.

But Ted has had a healing practice for a few years now, and he wouldn’t let me get away with a half-finished job. He encouraged me to send people comments on each healing session and any recommendations or observations I had.

The first few of these commentaries were painfully difficult for me. I liked the idea of sending energy, but wasn’t as keen about taking responsibility and actually discussing what I was feeling during sessions with clients.

Somewhere in this process, I heard a message from one of my guides. It’s a message I’d gotten before when I was doing the “Soul Essence” work, but it can’t ever be repeated enough. “There is no “I” in “healing”.” In other words, my work as a healer has nothing to do with me. It’s not about what I can do, how much I can change anyone, how powerful I think I might be. It’s just opening myself up so I can send energy to the person I’m working with at the moment and letting the energy take care of the rest.

This is very freeing. It allows you to step back and really separate what people say into their emotional response to information (which is purely an emotional response to information, not necessarily anything directed “at” you). I stopped being so self-centered to think that I was “doing” anything. I have to “be” a healer, not “do” healing work.

The first time someone paid me for distance work, I knew I was fast approaching the next big step on my healing path. That big step was soon followed up when I did my first “live” healing (i.e., I was doing “warm-blooded work”).

I was just as terrified at the start of that first live session as I was when I gave my first “Soul Essence” to its owner. In both instances, I can only be deeply thankful that the universe is kind to beginners and provides guidance and support.

I learned plenty of big lessons during that session (how to listen for subtle changes that can indicate how receptive a client is to energy, how to feel when my guides were directing me to move my hand, which will change from client to client) and invaluable little ones (if I have a client lying face up on the table, I should always remove the holder for the head cradle so I have room to walk between the head end of the table and the wall without practically tripping and making a whole lot of noise during the session).

As scary as it was to start, I felt exactly right doing it. I had no doubt I was exactly where I was supposed to be, doing just I had been designed to do. Those feelings are the true gauge of our life’s work, and if you’re fortunate enough, as I am, to be making a living doing what your heart calls you to do, then you have a rare and precious thing.

It’s as if that first session opened a stream. I had two “hands-on” sessions this past week and two distance clients. In each case, I always had that little tingle of “Oh, my, what am I doing?” at the beginning of the session. But by the end of them all, regardless of whether the recipient felt anything or not, I was clearly getting, “Yes, this is exactly right”.

I am not the be-all and end-all of healers; far from it! I have skills that only I have, but I am also very aware that I have a lot of growing to do. I haven’t had years of experience, and I must always have the humility to be able to say, “I don’t have the answer; I don’t understand; I need to ask someone who is further along”.

But I am free now of the limiting ideas I had about what kind of healer I thought I could be. I’m not “just” a musical healer. I’m not “just” an energy worker. I don’t “just” specialize in one type of thing or another.

I open myself to everything the universe has to teach. But I also come into my lessons with hands open to give. What I learn from one person I may one day teach another. The healing I receive today may get passed to someone else tomorrow.

In every instance, I am free to give, free to receive, free to learn, free to teach, free to be the one-among-many, one-of-a-kind human being I was created to be.

Into the Woods: Purple Heart, Yellow Heart, Birch

March 23, 2007

Frank, the wand maker, calls this wand “Triple Treat”.

img_0476.JPG

I had no intention of getting another wand; it seems I’ve already got quite a collection. But when he said that it hadn’t found a home yet, I heard the words, but didn’t listen right away.

My guides, however, made sure I got the message later that day after I’d gone home. So I called Frank and asked about the wand.

I never thought I’d go for the real “exotic” woods, but apparently, the “heart” in purple heart and yellow heart is important for me right about now.

Interestingly, I’d ordered a few more cubic zirconia crystals way back in January. I’d almost given up on them arriving, but they finally appeared in last week’s mail. One is purple, another one yellow.

So what am I going to do with this “Triple Treat” wand and these pretty crystals? I have no idea! I just know that, somehow, they’re going to be used in combination.

I’ve only brought the wand home today, so I haven’t had a chance for it to reveal itself to me yet. But I’m looking forward to the discoveries.

I never realized just how many wands I had until I started this series of posts. I knew that I had to give each wand its chance, and I’ve learned a lot about them as I’ve gone from one to another, day by day being surprised by new ideas or recalling important lessons I’d learned in the past.

While I’ve enjoyed writing them, I also must admit that I’m looking forward to moving on to different subjects, and leaving the woods behind for awhile. Well, not really; I’m sure I’ll have one more post soon about what I’ve learned about purple heart, yellow heart and birch. But until then, as the trees give way to open sunlight, I walk a little faster, straighten my shoulders a bit, take a deep breath of the new wind blowing in, and wonder, “What will I discover today?”

Into the Woods: Japanese True Ebony

March 22, 2007

img_0378.JPG
I’ve had this wand, already shaped, for months, and it’s still waiting for me to sand and polish it. Right now, it has a dormant feeling to it, as if the polishing reveals it’s true heart.

I already have an ebony wand, but this was wood that captured my attention, and I think, like the jin dai maple, that it will embody something truly magical when I finally get around to sanding it.

It’s not that I’m putting it off. I could have done it any time this winter. But I think I’d like nothing better than to sit outside on some spring or summer afternoon, soaking up the sunshine and sanding this wand.

Like everything else, I’m sure I’ll know exactly the right time to do it, just like I’ve known that it hasn’t been any time yet.

It’s heavy, dense wood, and I have a feeling that it will polish up to a formidable shine. I think, too, that it will be just as potent as the jin dai maple, but in its own unique way.

When I’ve sanded and polished it, I’ll come back to it and write about what was uncovered.

Into the Woods: Little Rosewood with a Twist

March 22, 2007

“You skipped one,” Ted said to me this past weekend when we were talking about the writing I was doing about wands.

“I did? Which one?”

“Rosewood with a twist,” he answered, but I couldn’t remember any such wand. I was sure he was right; he keeps good records on things like wands, especially if they’ve come from Japan, like this one was supposed to have done.

“Do you know where it is, because it’s not with the other wands I have, and it’d be there, I think,” I said. Unless, of course, it had never made it there. Things have a way of getting put in a “safe place”, the place we put them when we don’t feel like putting them in the right place. It’s the one we’ll definitely remember because it’s so out of the ordinary to put the thing there. Trouble is, it’s so out of the ordinary and so out of the way that we usually forget about any thing we put there, until, of course, we’re looking for it, and then, not surprisingly, we’re also not finding it.

The wand finally turned up yesterday.

img_0475.JPG

It had been “put aside” on a coffee table, but because it’s fairly small and there were a lot of other things on the coffee table, it had escaped notice.

I’d said I didn’t remember the wand, but as soon as Ted gave it to me, I recognized it.

I think the spiraling effect that’s carved into it is a good reminder about integrity and interdependence. We have to have integrity, be true to ourselves, and not allow ourselves to get consumed by anyone or anything else. We must stay true to our own heart, not mindlessly follow someone’s else’s ideas about what we should or could be doing just to keep the peace, avoid growth in ourselves, or build up false self-esteem because of the way others think we live.

But, even though we are true and individual beings, we are seamlessly incorporated into the fabric of humanity. This starts with family and extends outward to community. Before you can coexist with others, you must be able to exist on your own. But once you are your own person, you must also fit, to a certain degree, within the bounds of family and community. Sometimes, you’ll lead, other times, follow, and still others, do neither of these. In all situations, even if it’s uncomfortable at the moment, the large picture has to remain intact: We must maintain integrity and interdependence.

Those are good lessons for me, a person who hates asking for help. I’m learning, though, and this little rosewood wand will certainly help.

Into the Woods: Sequoia

March 21, 2007

The most businesslike of the wands I have is a big sequoia wand.

img_0373.JPG

To me, sequoia embodies collective wisdom acquired over hundreds or thousands of years. Looking out on the world with that kind of long lifespan, a sequoia doesn’t get caught up in all the moment-to-moment things that characterize life on the human time-scale. We live moment to moment. As children, an hour is an eternity. We are pulled in the contradicting directions as we grow older of seeing life as very long and very short. We can easily take things in stride because we have already experienced so much, or we can become frantic to do many things because we feel like we don’t have much time left.

Anyway, the unique thing about this particular wand is that it has a piece of goethite in the handle. Goethite is a stone that forms in such a way that its crystal structure looks like the pipes of a pipe organ. It is supposed to be excellent for accessing the music of the spheres.

One other note about sequoia. Whenever I see the name of this tree, I am powerfully reminded of Sequoyah, the Cherokee chief who gave his people a written alphabet. So the sequoia, for me, is also tightly bound up with ideas of speech, communication, expression and passing on stories and lessons from generation to generation.

This wand is clearly a “working wand” for me. I don’t go looking for it when I want something light and fun (that’s lilac). I don’t pick it up when I want insights into my overall journey through this life (that’s jin dai maple). And I don’t seek it out when I’m trying to sort through my own mix of emotions (that’s rosewood).

But if I’m working on “Soul Essence” pieces, or if I’m preparing for a piano recital, sequoia is an invaluable tool. Last night, thinking about writing this post, I put it under my pillow before going to sleep. In the only dream I can recall, I was in a hotel room. It was the morning after one big recital I had played and I had another one that night. Nothing else, just waking up in this hotel room and being aware that I was suspended between two concerts of my own.

I’m sure “Soul Essence” composition will be beginning soon, most likely in April. My guides have been sending musical fragments again. It’s not as if they’re saying, “OK, enough rest! Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!” It’s more like, “Just reminding you that you’re going to need to start working on these again soon, so be sure to pay attention to what you need.”

So this wand will be set aside until April, when I will certainly need its teaching again.

Into the Woods: Japanese Boxwood

March 20, 2007

My next wand arrived from Japan. The woman who had sent the jin dai maple included it in a package she sent us and said it was for me.

It’s the smallest wand I have, and like the maple, it is associated with dreams. The night before the package arrived, I dreamed about a little wand with an interesting spiral in it. I really was fascinated by it in the dream, so you can imagine my surprise and delight when Ted handed me the little boxwood wand and I immediately recognized it as the one I’d held in my dream.

img_0376.JPG

I love the size of it. I’d tried, only half successfully, to carry my first lilac wand in my pocket, but it had a habit of stabbing me at inopportune times and in rather uncomfortable places, so I gave up. I tried with the walnut, but it was too long, so I let it take up residence with my other wands on my nightstand.

But the boxwood was just right. It’s smooth to the point of being satiny, and I love running my fingers over the little carved spiral at its center.

It’s a “quiet” wand, in that it’s primary use so far for me has been redirecting my mind in a more peaceful, productive direction. I find it comforting to carry it with me if I’m going to be really busy teaching or doing other things, and I can slip my hand into my pocket and touch it for a second or two to keep myself from getting caught up in whatever is flying around.

I had been thinking of doing it after the jin dai maple became a phoenix feather, but after the boxwood arrived, I was certain I would send a “Soul Essence” song back to Japan. It seemed like a natural way of expressing my deep gratitude. To the best of my knowledge, it was well-received.