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The first time I ever went to Death Valley, it was under protest.  I had gone to a photographer’s convention in Vegas with a fellow photographer who insisted on stopping at Death Valley on the way home.  I was not impressed, but he was driving, so I went along for the ride.

We get there and I immediately became impressed.  Why they call this place Death Valley is beyond me.  Well, actually, I know whey they call it that.  Something about extreme heat in the summer killing everything that stops long enough to experience it.  But go in the spring, or the fall, or the winter months, and it’s different.  What I was impressed by was the energy there.  Call it woo woo if you want, but I feel energy.  It’s a powerful thing, that energy.  It’s like The Force, and if you allow yourself to feel it, you can learn awesome things.  There is a stillness about Death Valley that has much to teach us, if we allow it.

I’ve since gone back to Death Valley many times.  I’ve gone alone, and I’ve brought groups in.  This year, on March 6-8, I’m bringing another group in.  I call it the Creativity Retreat.

A couple of things:  I’m different.  Some might say I march to a different drum.  Actually,  what really happens is that I hear a different beat than most.  It’s the beat of that woo woo energy I was speaking of.  I believe that if you get quiet long enough, you begin to get in touch with that Force, and you open up to new and wonderful things.  This is what creativity is all about.  And this is what the camping is all about.

I could take a group to a hotel.  But then the whole camping/energetic/woo woo experience would change. I like the whole camping/energetic/woo woo experience. You say you don’t camp?  Then this is your first lesson.  Come.  Step outside those limitations  and see what happens.  This is also a part of creativity.

So come.  Join me and some other pioneers.  Camp with us.  Share meals prepared at campside by whoever wants to participate.  Sit and experience the energy that is Death Valley, do a bit of inner exploration, prompted by me, yours truly.  Explore the valley a bit too.  There will be time for that.

My husband seems to think that money is tight.  I did the math.  $90 for the retreat itself, maybe $50-$100 for groceries, maybe $100 for travel to get there and back.  $300 for a life changing experience.  To me, it is a no brainer.  But then again, I did say I march to a different beat.

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License plate musings:

So....I live in an area where lots of people come from all over the world to visit. I enjoy hearing the different languages, seeing evidence of different cultures. Here in agricultural Nevada, we’ve got cowboys. And tattooed folk. Sometimes they mix. So I enjoy seeing women wearing saris and guys with turbans. I marvel at the lack of personal space evidenced by Chinese people. These folks have absolutely no concept of personal space. Get near a bunch of them and prepare to be crowded. I remember watching the eclipse last year with a group like this. We were on a bluff, over looking Lake Tahoe. Plenty of room, lots of open space, lots of trails. I had my tripod set up to photograph the eclipse. They crowded around me so close that I had to watch to make sure my tripod didn’t get knocked over. Nice people, we communicated as best we could with the language barrier. They loaned me their special little viewing glasses, I let them look on my camera monitor to see what I was capturing. We shared OOOHs and AHHHs. But they crowded me. Where was I? Oh yeah, license plates. So one of my other hobbies is noticing out of state license plates. I can always tell when it is tourist season by the number of out of state plates I see. Some plates are beautiful. They have rainbows and bright colors and catchy slogans. Then there is Delaware. Now there’s a no-nonsense plate. No bright colors. No mountains. No catchy slogan. Just...the plate number. I did a little research on Delaware license plates. Apparently they’ve always been some variation of light numbers and letters on a dark background. I saw no evidence of rainbows or mountains. What kind of state does that? I went to Delaware.gov to explore a bit, and saw an archived blog post in which was written this: “In exploring this unique part of First State culture – the program will include such topics as the desirable black & white porcelain sets from the 1940s, the black stainless steel tags from the 1950s, and the story behind the controversial font-style changes in the early 1990s.” Yes folks, apparently it is a cultural icon in Delaware to have plain black and white.

Ok. ...continue reading "To thine own self be true…..or……license plate musings"

Today’s post is not what I normally write about.  But I read what I wrote to my husband, who said it was good writing. Of course, he was under the influence at the time, and may also be prejudiced, but I’m going with it...so here you go:

January 30, 2018, approximately 9 am

Confessions of a....well...at this point I don’t know what to call myself. I just thought I’d give fair warning of what I’m about to write. I’m sitting here in the VA hospital in San Francisco, waiting. Am I a wife? Spiritual counselor? Caregiver? Probably a bit of all of them, and more. I was thinking earlier that I didn’t sign up for this. “This” being accompanying my new husband to hospitals. I thought we’d get married and ride off into the sunset, him on his motorcycle and me on my horse. We’d enjoy this last portion of our lives exploring new territory and new levels of each other. We had a beautiful wedding a little over a month ago, and I honestly never thought it would happen, although I Ionged and hoped for it to happen. And in spite of working at weddings in one capacity or another for 30 years, I guess I never really deeply considered what getting married really means. But a dear friend reminded me. I did indeed sign up for this, when I said “I do.” This led to me wondering how many people consider what they are signing up for when they call me and say they want to get married. It’s a commitment. A big fat hairy huge commitment. For someone like me, who has never really known or experienced the more traditional trappings of family, and who has fiercely defended and fed her independence, getting married at 63 and making this commitment is a big deal.

So here I sit, in a hospital, wondering. I’m in and out of tears, and not quite sure why, as this procedure is not major. He’s got cancer, and they are doing what they call a “chemobilization” to zap just the affected area, not his entire body. But it feels like major surgery, complete with fasting, checking in to a hospital, hospital workers wandering around with those little hats and booties on. He’s already thoroughly pissed off a nurse by drinking coffee. They didn’t say fast from everything, they just said don’t eat after midnight. Geez. ...continue reading "Confessions of a….well….something…."

Hello all!

I’m so excited I just had to post again and let you know what is on tap for the Expectations workshop this Thursday!.

$25 and three hours of your time invested and you will learn:

1. How expectations are really subtle attempts to control others.
2. That fear is what causes us to want to control
3. How to replace fear with faith or love, and expectancy
4. How to communicate your expectations clearly.
5. How to use disappointment as a propellant, not a retardant

This workshop is online, via Zoom platform, which is a very easy video conference system. Thursday, January 18 from 6-9 PM., cost is $25. You can register in one of three ways:

1. Use my online store: http://karenlinsley.com/?page_id=1174#!/Its-not-about-THEM-Its-about-ME/p/94899803/category=0
2. Use Pay Pal
3. Call me and register over the phone.

Once I recieve your registration I will email you the link to attend.

Ok, I will admit it, I’m a bit different than other coaches and workshop folks out there.  I don’t send a zillion emails all the time.  I don’t have landing pages that go into this long sales oriented explanation of why you should sign up for this or that.

What I offer is simple:  if you have ANY area in your life that is unsatisfactory to you, my workshops and retreats will help.  I work from the inside out.  This isn’t about changing your relationships, your job, your diet or the place you live.  This is about facilitating fundamental inner shifts in the ways that you think, because what you think and how you think does have an effect on that outside stuff.

So, if you want change in your life, for the better, consider my latest offerings:

A workshop, Thursday, January 18, from 6-9 Pacific.  It’s online.  I need preregistration so I can send you the link.  Click here:

A retreat, in Death Valley.  It’s my annual retreat, it’s popular, it’s fun, and you should do it!  Click here:

That’s it.  I’m not going to try and sell you and sell you and sell you.  I don’t do that shit.  This is no nonsense stuff here: you want change in your life?  I can show you how.  I hope I get to see you.

 

For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
~T.S. Eliot, "Little Gidding"

Today is an ending of sorts. I am seeing posts from quite a few people who are grateful that 2017 is coming to an end. Apparently it hasn’t been a good year for many. But I also noticed on my memories feed for today that in past years, it wasn’t a good year either for many. And I wonder, how many say the same thing every year? Good riddance they say! I prefer another way. There is a spiritual book I study that says “we have no wish to regret the past nor to shut the door on it.” There is another spiritual book I study that says “principle is not bound by precedent.” Same concept, different words. What it means is that our past has power to determine our future only if we allow it. What if we used this principle as a way to do it different this time? What if we bid 2017 a fond farewell, releasing with gratitude everything that occurred, and then looking forward to the new year with excitement, enthusiasm and child like anticipation? What if we refused to allow what happened in past effect the decisions and actions of the future? What if we were no longer victims of our stories? What if we simply “advanced confidently in the direction of our dreams?” as Henry David Thoreau said. This New Year’s I will be setting intentions, not resolutions. Resolutions are useless, a waste of time. An intention such as “I will advance confidently in the direction of my dreams” is a guide for a way of living that ensures success. I wish you a happy new year!

I remember what life used to be like when I did not have a daily practice of going within and connecting. It was like being a dandelion in the wind. I got blown here and there, bits and pieces of me scattered everywhere. I could have been beautiful, but I didn't appreciate myself, and consequently others didn't either. I ended up being a thin little stem, fragile, victim of life, and destined for an early grave. Then a miracle happened. I made a change. A lot of changes actually. But they all stemmed from one series of thoughts: "I don't know what is wrong but something is definitely very wrong. And it has to change, because life wasn't meant to be like this." And I became willing to consider other ways of living. That one moment began what was to become a way of life that today is based in simple inward-focused practices that I do...every day. From that foundation, I have a life of choice, freedom based in personal responsibility, and joy. Much much joy. It's a funny thing about joy: there is the kind that is fleeting, based on outside stuff. That's more like happiness. It comes and goes. This kind of joy is not conditional upon outside stuff, so it is steady. It just is. As a result of fully embracing a life based in spiritual practice, I am now in a position where I can show others how to live such a life. Are you ready? Are you ready to embrace a way of living which will provide you with joy, peace and power? This can be your destiny. This can be a reality for you in the coming year. Set one intention for yourself for the coming year: to spend time every day utilizing one or two of the spiritual practices mentioned in my upcoming new book.  There are 12 of them:  introspection, connection, day dreaming, mindfulness, gratitude, prayer, treatment, contemplation, journaling, meditation, discipline, helping others,  and Forgiveness. Every day. No matter what. And watch your life unfold.  Don't let this New Year be like every other one, where you make resolutions that very quickly get set aside due to life and the whim of an undisciplined mind.  Let this year be different.  I can show you how.  Sign up here:

Now, you may be thinking that you don't need someone to show you how to day dream.  Well, did you know there are positive ways to day dream, and not so positive ways?  You may be thinking that everyone knows how to say thank you.  A gratitude practice goes much deeper than that.

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You may be thinking that you can skip the prayer one.  What if I told you that there was a different, and more effective, way to pray than beseeching to an outside god whom you may or may not believe in?  Or if you do believe in god, perhaps you think It won't hear your prayers?  Or that you don't deserve to have them answered?  None of those things is true.

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And what about that practice called treatment?  What is that?  Some sort of medical treatment?  Nope.  It is a formula, designed to add power to your prayers.  It works!

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You may be thinking that there is someone you will never forgive.  Check out my previous blog posts on forgiveness and then assess whether or not you want to avail yourself of this extremely powerful practice.

Sign up now for the BEST 2018 EVER!

I have a vision for my life that began in 2003.  Some people might call it a dream, but it isn't.  Dreams are nebulous, they come to us in sleep.  Vision, well, vision is powerful stuff.   Leading a vision led life is fulfilling, but in my experience leading a vision led life sometimes takes persistence and courage.  Persistence....meaning if you have a vision for your life, or for a certain area of your life, never give up on it.  It took me almost 15 years to achieve this particular vision.  I never gave up on it.  I have a mentor who once asked me why I devoted so much energy to this particular vision. I told her it was because I believed that faith without works is dead.  Having a vision means little if I am not willing to take action to achieve the vision.  Also in my experience, if a vision is not manifesting, it means I have some inner work to do.  Something in me is limiting the vision.  That is where the courage comes in.

So what was this vision I developed in 2003?  I wanted a long term committed intimate partnership with another human being.  Like all visions, this wasn't just something that seemed like the next right thing to do.  In fact, it made no sense at all.  I'm not the kind of woman who thinks she needs a man in her life.  I have a career, I'm self supporting, I have my own powertools, my own truck.  I can fix stuff, and if I can't, I can hire someone to do it for me.  I don't need a man to complete me, nor do I subscribe to the somewhat misogynistic ethic that says women must be with a man to be worthy.  I'm not lonely, and I wasn't back in 2003.  So...what was up with this particular vision?  Where did it come from?

It came from where all visions come from, a deep connection with something that can see beyond the surface and that knows.  It just knows.  If you are a Star Wars fan, it is the Force.  If you are religious, it is God.  For me, it is an inner calling, a soul thing.  Discovering my vision comes from a consistent practice of meditation and contemplation.  And from listening to what comes when I ask.

This vision was no different, and if I am to be in integrity with myself, I must follow the vision.  So, in 2003, when this particular vision became clear to me, I joined an online dating service.  What followed was a series of comedic events, so disastrous at times that I could only shake my head and smile.  So hurtful at times that I could only wonder and be sorry for people.  I would stop my membership for a while, only to join another service a while later.  I never gave up.  I would immediately and automatically assess every man I met, wondering, "is he the one?"  No one ever was.  For almost 15 years.

For 30 years I've had a practice in place that allows me to go within and explore without judgement the things in me that are blocking me from my good.  I knew there was something in me that was blocking this vision from occurring. I also knew that it is true that I attract who and what I am, so I strived to become what I wished for in a partner.  I explored my own abilities to be intimate, my own abilities to share my life with another.  I explored my beliefs as to whether I was truly worthy of such a partner, and changed beliefs when necessary.  I never lost sight of my vision.

In two days I will participate in a ritual that signals that this particular vision has manifested.  In two days I am getting married.  I'm excited, grateful, in love, and somewhat in awe at how this awesome man came into my life.  The truth is he has been in my life for 40 years, but neither of us was ready for this step, until recently.  He had the same vision by the way.

Why am I writing about this?  Because I feel called to do so.  It's a vision thing. I could tell you that the new year is coming up and that I've got some exciting opportunities for you, all of them having to do with leading a vision led life.  But that's only a surface reason.  I could share that I just enjoy writing about this stuff.  I do.  But that isn't the reason either.  Mostly it is because I want others to experience the rewards of leading a vision led life, and if I share an example of what that looks like, maybe someone else will hear it, see it, get it, and want to know more.  I hope that someone is you.

I hope you will explore my coaching packages, here.  Or maybe you will subscribe to this blog.  Not only will you recieve helpful and thought provoking stuff regularly but you will also receive notifications of upcoming events like retreats and workshops.  I hope you will join this growing family of people who are committed to leading vision led lives.

Vision allows us to move into greater stuff for our life.  Living without vision simply means showing up for life, day after day, taking what comes.  That saying that we perish without vision is true, so come join me and vision for your greatest life ever in 2018!

"Pursue the obstacle. It will set you free." Mark Nepo

Do you have an obstacle in your life? Something that seems to block your way no matter which way you turn?

I'm not speaking of an outer obstacle here, although if outer obstacles keep appearing that can be an indicator that something in your life needs to change. But for this post I am referring to inner obstacles.

Maybe a fear that keeps you from taking that next indicated right step. Or stubbornness. I'm sure you are familiar with this: you know a change in thinking would be the best thing, but you stubbornly refuse to make the change...just because. Or maybe it is anxiety. The thought of doing something makes you short of breath.

These are the obstacles to which I am referring.

What Mark Nepo is suggesting with his quote is that instead of trying to get rid of the obstacle, or attempting to block it somehow, we pursue it. He clarifies, in his book titled "The Book of Awakening:" "we are asked not to oppose what blocks us as something mounting its will against our own. For the obstacle will simply give our resistance back to us. We are being asked not to empower or perpetuate the life of the obstacle, but to step aside if we can with openness to the energy of the obstacle—much like the ancient art of Aikido, where instead of blocking a punch, you help the punch move past you."

How could this be done? Nepo suggests that we describe the obstacle as a part of nature. Sort of like the deer in the headlights. And then ask ourselves how is what we want or need colliding with what it wants or needs?

When we go within and get in touch with our inner wisdom, the answers will come. The obstacle isn't really an obstacle. It's a doorway. Open the door.

I now have some openings for coaching sessions that will allow you to open that door. Contact me for rates and scheduling.

I love this!  "Great dreamers possess intimacy with the world."

Do you consider yourself a great dreamer?  Do you feel as if you have intimacy with the world?  What would that feel like, to feel as if we had intimacy with the world?

For me, it is a sense of oneness.  Knowing that we are all connected on deep levels.  Quantum physics says we are connected at the level of particles and atoms; in other words, deep cellular levels.  This is science proving that what the mystics have always said is true:  That we are all parts of one big One.  Like drops of water in the ocean.

If this is true, and I believe it is, it has great ramifications for our behavior, and our sense of intimacy in the world.

If we are all part of one big One, then what I do affects you, and what you do affects me.  And if we are all part of one big One, then there is no more loneliness.

It is both scary and comforting at the same time.  To think that my actions have a much greater affect then just my immediate circle makes me think a bit more about them.  I am much less inclined to do and say harmful things.  And I feel it more when others in the world act out in their anger.  The things that are going on in the world today, the hateful language from some of our world leaders, are distressing not only because they indicate a dis-ease on the part of the people speaking those words.  They are distressing because I can feel them.  And so can the rest of the world.  When we are intimate with the world, we feel what goes on.

What is one to do?  Well, if we are indeed connected, and we feel what goes on, then we can do our part by making sure we express and do and be only love.  No hatred, no intolerance, no judgement.  Yes, even when it concerns "those people."

I can tell you that while it has sometimes been a challenge to do and be love, the rewards are great.  Not only do I feel more peaceful, but I am less inclined to feel the loneliness that comes from thinking I am separate from the rest of the world.  When I acknowledge my connection with you, there is no way I can be lonely.

So dream big, acknowledge your connection with the rest of the world, and go and create wonderful things in your life!

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