Monday, October 31, 2005

Ego vs True Self

Okay, I think you get the idea about the internal house. The rest of the rooms, you can explore on your own, using your journal.

I have recently gone through a book called "The 30 Day Mental Diet", by Willis Kinnear, given to me as a gift by my good friend, Jill Marie Landis. What an amazing experience it was! I've already had some powerful shifts because of the daily lessons in the book, and I'm always eager to share anything that works on my website. I'm currently enthralled by Eckhardt Tolle's new book, "A New Earth." If you've read his ground-breaking, "The Power of Now", this will take you to the next level. If you're not ready, it will sound like gibberish, and that's okay, too. Buy the book, set it aside, and when the time is ripe, you'll read it.

Basically, the premise of Tolle's book is that we have two selves (at least)--the True Self, and the ego. Most of us, not being aware that we have a choice, live from the superficial ego part of ourselves. It struck me, as I was listening (I like books on CD, because I stare at words all day on a computer screen), that we seldom encounter a real person--only the ego-self they present to the world. It's the ego that compares, criticizes and thinks in terms of me, me, me. But I've had the experience, especially in times of crisis or urgency, of a better self stepping forward and taking over. Haven't you? And wouldn't it be a better world if we learned to operate consciously from the True Self, instead of unconsciously, from the ego? The interesting thing is, everybody doesn't have to get there. If enough of us make the shift, critical mass will kick in, and the whole collective consciousness will change!

Isn't that exciting????

Let's try it.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Still Reading God's Mail...

Dear God,
I've gotten a raw deal, all the way. What's up with that? I want the world to make it up to me. I am entitled to a better life!
Whining in Wisconsin

Dear Whining,
Good luck. With that attitude, you're only going to get more of the same. You're 'entitled' to a life. What you make of it is largely a matter of personal responsibility.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Pooped in Paduca

A peek into the next room in our house reveals that it's a letter-writing room of some kind.

There's a writing desk, with a beautiful quill pen and a bottle of golden ink. Holy Moley, it's real gold, this ink. I think this is a room where God hears and answers prayers.

There's a letter, lying on the desk. Shall we read God's mail?

Dear God,

Nothing ever goes right for me. My dreams are all broken or lost.
I'm a victim of circumstance, and frankly, I just don't know how I'm going to go on. The kids make me tired. My husband makes me tired. I'm just plain...

Pooped in Paduca

And the response:

Dear Pooped,

I gave you the privilege of life, along with all the tools you need to live it well. You're tired because that's your favorite word--it's a litany with you. "I'm tired." That's all you ever say. How about, "I'm grateful"? Try that one on for size.

Okay, sometimes the game gets pretty rough.

Put on your big girl panties and get off the sidelines. Don't wait for Me to wave some magic wand and make everything all right in an instant. That wouldn't be good for you, and I never do anything that isn't good for you.


Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Another Day on the Flight Deck

Well, we've got those chimpanzees under control, at least to the point where we can hear ourselves think.

Now, all we've got to do is check out the co-ordinates.

Where, exactly, do we want to fly this ship?

Write down between three and five possible destinations.

Maybe you'd like to travel to Health. Or Wealth. Or Joy. Or Peace of Mind. Or Freedom.

All great destinations. You might want to be a lot more specific; I know I do.

What is your most impossible dream? The one you can't possibly accomplish because of all those good reasons you keep coming up with?

Let's go for that one. Heck, even if we don't make it, we're bound to have some great experiences along the way. Meet some terrific people, too.

I know what mine is. How about you?

Put on your Big Girl Panties. (Unless, of course, you're a guy, and in that case, choose whatever philosophical underwear you find appropriate. :) )

Get out your Courage Card, which is accepted in all parts of the Universe, unlike Visa, MasterCard, or American Express.

Let's set our co-ordinates, then. Turn the dial to "Completely Impossible". Then we'll let the ship fly itself for a while--sans monkeys--and see what else we can find in this magnificient house.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

I'm Back

Yesterday was wonderfully crazy, so I didn't get to the blog. We'll get back to the house analogy tomorrow, but today, I just want to update you.

Two prospective buyers came to look at Springwater Station, and that meant the place had to be spotless. I spent most of the day either sitting on the patio, trying to stay out of the way, ("Don't mind me, I'm only the owner.") or shuffling the dogs back and forth between here and the barn, where there is a yard to play in. Sadie has an unfortunate tendency to kiss everybody, so we didn't think she should be in charge of meeting and greeting. (Although one of the younger visitors cried, with joy, "A beagle!")

Last February, I entertained the Harlequin sales reps here, and they arrived in a bus. Sadie was overjoyed. So many people to get to know! I swear, for a week after that party, she went hopefully to the gate every day, looking for another bus! I always say she's just a big heart with fur on it. One of the favorite jokes around here is that I can't remarry, because if we ever got divorced, Sadie, who shamelessly loves men, would probably leave with him.

(A special note to my sister, Sally. My emails to you aren't getting through. Is it my computer, or yours?)

Off to Weight Watchers today. Tuesday has been appointed Errand Day.

I will be back tomorrow, with another room in our house.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Zounds! It's a Control Room!

A flight deck, to be exact.

We're a little bruised and shaken from our journey through that long, scary corridor, but we made it, because we held hands, and encouraged each other, and quit stopping every few feet to read and agree with another fear-message. You remember--those ugly samplers on the walls?

Now, we must deal with the condition of the flight deck.

Chances are, we've abandoned the controls, and now the place is full of chimpanzees. Yikes! Akk! (And every other cartoon superlative we can think of!) They've been taking the ship in every which direction. It's no wonder we're off course.

The first thing we have to do is assert our rights as Captain. We have to stand up straight and say, "Hey! This is MY ship, and I intend to fly it from now on!"

The monkeys all have names: Apathy--Unworthiness--Fear of Failure--Fear of Success--Laziness--it goes on and on. So many monkeys, so little time, and the longer we deliberate and wring our hands, the more chaotic the situation is going to get.

Where to start?

Well, to tame the monkeys, we must first recognize them, each one, by name. They are not really enemies, you know. They are simply little hairy signals, very noisy and rambunctious, bearing important messages. "I am the reason you are not getting where you want to go. Recognize me, and change my name, say to Commitment, Worthiness, COURAGE, or Trust. And then I will co-operate with you."

Get out your journals, Ladies and Gentlemen.

What are the names of the monkeys flying YOUR ship?

Whatever you do, don't lose hope. Because just by entering the flight deck and claiming your rightful place as captain, you have already won the battle. The rest is just clean-up.

I'll be back on Monday morning, good Lord willin' and the creek don't rise. We may move on to another room, or spend a little more time on the flight deck. I won't know until I've written in my OWN journal.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

By George, It's a CORRIDOR

For those of you who missed yesterday's blog, we're exploring our inner houses. We started out in the Waiting Room. (We got damn tired of waiting and decided to break out.)

And now we find ourselves in a dark corridor. A good name for it would be "The Unknown".

I can just make out the cobwebs, and that old chandelier reminds me of the one in the Haunted House at Disneyland. Pretty scary place, the Unknown. Lots of old fear messages have been stitched into samplers, framed and hung on the walls. Let's see--there's "You'll Never Make It." "That Dream is Too Good to Be True". Oh, and here's a good one: "Go Back! You're in Danger!"

Here be dragons, my friends.

The whole thing is designed to scare you into going back to the Waiting Room, or to spur you to stand up for yourself and go forward. My money is on the second, because I know the Universe isn't conspiring against us, but for us.

We'll need our old friend, Courage. We'll need each other.

Let's keep going.

At the end of the corridor, I can dimly make out another door, and there is a plaque on it that says....

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Waiting Room

First, an explanation. I planned to write this entry yesterday morning, but I had a nasty case of flu. Much better today.

So let's go on with our exploration of our inner mansions.

The Waiting Room. You know the place. The chairs are uncomfortable, and you have the nagging sense that you should be doing something, going somewhere, that you are late for an important event, but you've lost the invitation and you're sure they won't let you in without it.

So you wait.

Those tattered, outdated magazines on the table? They're your dreams, the ones you've given up on, written off as too good to be true. You've read them a thousand times, while you waited, and you'd love to see something new. Alas, you've been sitting in that waiting room for so long, your subscriptions have all expired.

Occasionally, the receptionist appears, but she always calls somebody else's name. It seems your turn to be seen, to shine, is never going to come.

Do you recognize this room? I certainly do. I've spent a lot of time there, believe it or not, waiting for the show to begin. Waiting for something to happen. Waiting for some new phase of my life to begin.

Waiting, waiting, waiting.

I'm sick of it. How about you?

Here's what we've gotta do. We've gotta rebel against the status quo, the limiting walls surrounding us, keeping us in. Look closely at that little motto posted on all four walls. It reads, Your Dreams are Impossible Because....

You fill in the blanks.

We have to stand up and walk right through that doorway over there, the one marked Absolutely No Admittance. (I credit my good friend Debbie Macomber with this door-analogy, because she told me a great story about it once.) We've got to be bold and walk through that door. We'll knock it down if we have to, but we're getting out of here. We're not going to wait anymore--we're going to LIVE!

What's on the other side of the door marked Absolutely No Admittance?

Feel free to guess.

Do you have the courage to join the rebellion?

Monday, October 17, 2005

Many Mansions

Since adolescence, I have been fascinated by the concept of houses as symbols of inner life. I remember reading about a memory device widely used in the 18th century. People trained themselves to remember long sequences of detailed information by constructing an imaginary house, and placing items, or symbols of items, they wanted to recall at strategic places--on the parlor mantle, for instance, or just inside the front door. When they wanted to retrieve the information, they simply went inside and walked through their internal house. I didn't use the idea in this way, but it stuck with me, because it resonated so powerfully.

Next, I encountered St. Theresa of Avila's "Interior Castle". Again, the idea really sparked my imagination. I'm not recommending you rush out and buy this book, though it is still available, because a lot of it is pretty dark and grim. During that period of history, just about everybody tended to equate a relationship with God with suffering and trauma. (Don't get me started on that. I could write a book on how sick, misguided and just plain wrong that attitude is, never mind a blog entry.) Suffice it to say, God is LOVE. At no point did He say to Himself, "I'll just whip up a batch of people and toss them into the cosmic stewpot. They haven't a clue what they're supposed to do, so I'll just let them guess, and punish them severely when they're wrong."

Finally, there was "A House with Four Rooms", written by English novelist, Rumer Godden. That one, I would recommend. It's very helpful in getting a perspective on our lives--the rooms are, just in case you're curious: Mental, Emotional, Physical and Spiritual. There can be a great deal of value in consciously exploring each area of our lives and making sense of it, and this book is clear, simple, and engaging.

All I really had to show for these concepts was an interest and a deep resonance--until this morning, when I was journaling. Then, suddenly, it crystalized. I understood why I was so taken with the analogy, and I mean to explore it right here on the blog. I'd be delighted if you'd join me on the journey.

Since it's a fairly big subject, we're going to tackle it room by room for a while.

Tune in tomorrow for Room 1.

The Waiting Room.

Are you intrigued?

Do you have the courage to go on the quest?

Of course you do.

Friday, October 14, 2005

My Uncles

Two of my uncles were missing this year, from the family reunion.

Uncle Jack, who was known in his youth as "Jiggs" Lael, was a well-known rodeo cowboy, Elvis-handsome. He once rode broncs at Madison Square Garden, and got to kiss Miss America. I've often thought that Uncle Jack was born into the wrong century--he would have fit in well in old Tombstone, or Dodge City. He was always tough, but tender-hearted, too. One of the things people say about him is that he never said an unkind word about anybody. He's aging now, in a nursing home, and in one of the pictures taped to his wall, he's 'dancing' with a colt. I mean, the colt's forelegs are balanced on Jack's shoulders, and he's grinning into the camera. What a prominent place he holds in my memory, and in my heart.

The other uncle, Wes, died this year of a blood disease. He was the uncle who always put on a comic performance at the reunions--playing banjos made from bedpans, wearing funny hats, and telling hokey jokes. He was a dandy poet, and although he knew a lot of tragedy in his life, he made the best of things, and never missed a chance to laugh. He lived in Minnesota, and was quite well known as a folk artist; he made fish decoys, and was even featured on a special on PBS. The thing I will remember most about Uncle Wes (Otis Wesley Lael) , though, is that he wrote his own obituary, and it was not only funny, but powerful. ("My name is Otis Wesley Lael, and I approved this message...") He recounted the highlights of his life, mentioning those he loved, but it was the theme that really impressed me. Basically, it boiled down to this: I had a good life. I'm gone now. Get over it. My aunts reported that, when they were keeping a vigil at his deathbed, he told them to "cry on their own time."

I come from good stock. Something to live up to.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Horses Are Thriving!

They love the Northwest, and their new, temporary pasture, with cooler weather and lots of room to run. I took some pictures and will do my best to get them up on the website in the near future.

The family reunion was marvelous, too. I come from a great bunch of people, and it's always good to be reminded.

My cousin Barbara Lynn makes beautiful jewelry.

Sherry does stand-up comedy.

Becky is a horse woman extraordinaire, and an artist, like her mother, Arlee and sister, Barbara Lynn.

It was a wonderful trip, and I will tell you more about it later.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Off to the Reunion of Laels

Many Laels will be gathering this weekend in Colville, Washington.
I'm so looking forward to seeing my family, in one great, wonderful, funny group.
I'm looking forward to cooler weather, and a visit with my horses, to the changing leaves, and that crisp fall feeling in the air.
I'll be back on the blog next Thursday morning.

Tonight--Neil Diamond!

May you all be blessed.
May you all celebrate your courage.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

PS regarding the horses

Buck, Banjo, Skye and Coco have all arrived at the Northport property, safe and sound. According to reports, they are kicking up their heels, delighted at being out of the trailer, and don't miss their Mom at all.

My Friend, Abraham

I warned you that some of the things I would tell you would rattle your cage a little.

A couple of years ago, I stumbled across a new friend. His name is Abraham. I'm not going to introduce you to him, because you have to experience Abraham directly to even begin to understand. You may not be ready, and that's okay, too.

Anyway, my friend Abraham talks about emotional setpoints. Anger, for instance, is better than despair. The problem is, I know people who are still stuck in anger, and that's painful. You have to move on from it eventually, after it serves its purpose, which is to rocket you out of despair, toward constructive action.

Does Abraham supplant my very best friend, Jeshua? (That's what I call Jesus.) Absolutely not. But there are many teachers, and if we are solidly grounded in our faith, it behooves us to listen. Superstition and fear are the only barriers. Trust me, if it's not for you, you'll KNOW.

For those of you who want to explore, go to

For those of you who are not ready, that's okay.

This is spiritual dynamite.

You're been warned.

A little courage might come in handy.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Late Blog

I've got the flu, so I'm taking a semi-sick day.
I plan to revise/polish the rest of "Deadly Gamble", so it can be sent to my editor tomorrow. Not too hard, because all I really have to do is sit in this chair and read through the second half of the manuscript, making line-by-line changes. It's the easy part.
Back to bed, with a good book.
Somebody else's book.


Monday, October 03, 2005

Horses in Transit

Yesterday, my four beloved horses, Banjo, Buck, Skye and Coco, set out for the family ranch in northeastern Washington state, near Northport. They are traveling in the skilled and loving care of my "cousin", Steve, and his son, Andy, whom I usually refer to as my nephew. (This family is complicated. Many titles are honorary.) Andy is a genuine horse whisperer--he's studied with Monty Roberts and has a natural way with all animals. (Kids love him, too. And women.) So, even though it was a powerful wrench for me to see that trailer pull out, I know the horses are in good hands. Steve's wife, Debi, and Bo, his other son, are along as well, and accompanied by the cutest Yorkie puppy since Bernice.

Do I miss my four-legged friends? YES. I didn't realize quite how much they affected the energy here at Springwater Station. Knowing they are not in the barn at the other end of the property is like having someone jump off the other end of a teeter-totter while I'm up in the air. There was a crash--even though I know this is best, and a major first step in the move home. Right now, I'm processing. As I said, I know this is the best thing for all of us, right now, but I don't aspire to leap from seeing them go to being reunited with them in the new place. The steps in between must be taken. They are part of the process, and will supply the emotional support structure that is vital to building a foundation for the next stage of our lives.

Plenty of things to celebrate in the meantime. The Lael family reunion is this weekend, and I love getting together with that bunch. I'll be putting the polish on "Deadly Gamble" today and tomorrow, and that's a pleasure. My wonderful daughter, Wendy, gave me tickets to this Thursday's Neil Diamond concert (he got the way to move me, he got the way to move me to heaven) for Mother's Day. And I gotta brag on her here--Wendy is a gifted writer, and she was admitted to a graduate program at UCLA--without benefit of a bachelor's degree. I'm so proud of her!

So there is a lot to be grateful for.

The horses will arrive at the ranch sometime today. I get a lot of pleasure out of imagining how delighted they'll be with the cooler weather and room to run. And it helps that I will see them next week, if only for a brief visit. When the time is right, we'll be together again. In the meantime, they're like kids, off on an adventure. I'll think of it as a version of summer camp.

In the meantime, I will celebrate my many blessings, and when I get nervous, I will reach for my courage. Change is ultimately good. It's also inevitable. Might as well learn to love it.