I have two weddings today, with a break in between during which I will do one of my favorite things: have lunch somewhere by myself and read. And this morning I’ve begun the day’s journey with more reading. I love to read. It simultaneously changes my consciousness and gives me ideas. Reading transforms my thinking from doubt, worry, disappointment, dissatisfaction and general malaise to confidence, faith, hope, contentment and general well being. Reading also is part of my research for much of the stuff I get to do in life that pays the bills: the workshops and retreats, and my writing. I take in the wisdom of others, and let it simmer inside of me, like cooking a great meal in a slow cooker, and then, when it is ready, out pops my own unique flavor of wisdom. I have two workshops coming up, one I have designed and completed. It’s actually one I’ve been doing for years, one that was requested. When a workshop I’ve already done has been requested, I simply tweak the workshop to better represent and match the audience. So one workshop is ready to go. The other one is about fear. I only have three hours for this workshop, and fear, well, fear covers a lot of ground. Do we lean into it? Avoid it? Do we believe the teaching that fear and faith or love cannot co-exist at the same time in the same entity? How do we recognize fear in our lives and what does it have to teach us? And what do we do about it when it comes? This promises to be a doozy of a workshop and I am excited to see how it develops. I’ve got a good beginning. I’m also in the midst of creating a series of talks about abundance, and so much of my reading is on that topic. I love the weddings and portrait sessions. When I did that work full time, it not only provided my means to pay the bills, but it fed something within me and I was full up, complete. Now that I do that work part time, it still contributes to paying the bills, but it only feeds part of me. After all the training and schooling, I’ve changed. After all the inner and outer changes in my life, I’ve transformed and thus, how I show up in the world has transformed, and what I need to feel that contentment I spoke of has changed. What really feeds me is the other work: the workshops, the retreats, the teaching. What I have to say to the world is that life truly begins from the inside of us. If we don’t go within, we go without, and everything I do begins within. My life is wonderful, and being able to facilitate this transformation in other people is what truly feeds me now. So on this beautiful fall day I will go off into the world and do some wonderful work, and spend some time preparing to do some other wonderful work. Life is good.
Something is brewing in me, and I know that if it is brewing in me, it might be brewing in you too. Perhaps we can brainstorm a bit and see what we can produce.
What is brewing is inclusion. All around me I see evidence of exclusion. Sometimes, I admit, some affinity with people of like mind is necessary. Affinity groups they call them. In my area, we have a proliferation of them. I have no problem with affinity groups, but my heart yearns to take things a step further.
What if we stepped outside of our comfort zones?
What if women began doing things with men, and vice versa? What if vegans had gatherings with meat eaters, and vice versa? What if Christians began doing things with people of other religions, and vice versa? What if people of all colors began conversations that were different than the ones we are currently having?
What if there were no need for affinity groups? What then?
Right now, the way I see it.....we’ve got utter chaos going on. And the same old conversations. People retreat to their own spaces, with their own people, in times of chaos. I get that. It is a self protective mechanism. Unfortunately, this kind of retreat is only a short term fix for a long term problem, and ultimately this kind of retreat blocks us from our greater good.
And we have blame going on. Everyone is blaming everyone else for society’s problems. Another protective mechanism. The shadow side of this one is particularly hideous: it keeps us in the problem and only creates more of the same, and sometimes leads to violence.
Then we have control issues. Giant control issues. They are a protective mechanism as well. We have people, in a sort of mega-self protection bubble, trying to control what we eat, whether or not and to what extent we own firearms, reproductive rights, who we choose to have sex with in the privacy of our own homes, whether or not to wear seat belts for crying out loud! With our control and enabling, we’ve created a society of people who can no longer think for themselves. In fact, we’ve created a society of people who don’t even know how to think for themselves, nor do they want to, because it is simply too scary.
Things are getting more chaotic, because we aren’t listening and we are doing the same things over and over again. We aren’t listening to a call that says the conversations have to change and the actions need to change. The blame and the control issues need to stop, and we need to begin having a different conversation. The “us and them” bullshit needs to stop. There is no us and there is no them. There is only we. And the sooner we acknowledge that and begin to explore how we can all get along, the better off we will be.
The answer to chaos isn’t retreat into affinity groups. It doesn’t lie in blaming others, nor in trying to control others. It lies in taking personal responsibility, forgiveness, and willingness to have different conversations.
I’ve taken my own steps towards this. I bring up the topic of how to have a different conversation whenever I have a chance to speak with someone who votes differently than I do, or who believes in a different god than I do, or who is a different gender than me. Right now I consider those conversations to be a bit clumsy, because I have no idea what to say or how to proceed, except that it needs to be said and done differently. It is an exploration that takes willingness, openmindedness and genuine love. I’ve stepped WAY outside my own comfort zone to join an interfaith group, and we are beginning, as a group, to have some different conversations. I also avoid, whenever possible, affinity groups. Yep.....I’ve stopped attending women only functions if at all possible. And I host only inclusive functions. My retreats are always open to men and women, gay and straight and otherwise, Christian and non-Christian. We have common ground, yes we do! I welcome people who eat all kinds of foods into my home, and without trying to control what they eat, I offer something that they can enjoy.
Doing this puts me on a different path than much of the world. I’m forging a new path. Is it uncomfortable? Yep, sometimes. I see people I know and love doing the same old same old, that I have chosen not to participate in, because I want to move to something greater. I make conscious decisions not to participate in things because I want something greater. Perhaps you are there as well. Maybe you’ve been thinking that what you’ve been doing might not be working so well. That is a start. It’s a beginning. Let’s forge a new path together shall we?
And here’s the call to action: Join me. If you are local, come hang out with me. Let’s see if we can come up with something. If you don’t live in the Carson Valley/Tahoe area, there are online options. I can’t do this alone. I need you. Let’s talk.
I contemplate this a lot. What is mine to do? Eleanor Roosevelt said that “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people." Stuff bugs me, but I’m not going to discuss people or events here. It’s a waste of time, and just contributes to what is really bothering me: Polarity. Us and them. Separation. Duality. All different names for the same thing. I feel as strongly about this as Ernest Holmes must have been feeling when he said this: “The belief in duality has robbed theology of power and has polluted philosophy with untruths; it has divided science against itself, and has made countless thousands go through life with saddened hearts.” And this: “The belief in duality is the father of most negative thinking.”
The opposite of duality is oneness, and that is what I believe in. I also believe that what we believe in affects our lives and shows up in physical form. If you don’t believe me, check out quantum physics...specifically the “observer effect.” I’ll leave that up to you, I’ve got other things to write about. And if you think science has no place in a conversation about oneness and theology and ideas and god, I respectfully suggest that you consider why you are even reading this. There are no mistakes in life. There must be a question in your mind or you wouldn’t be reading my words. Contemplate that while I move on.
Oneness to me means that not only is there no separation between me and you, but there is no separation between me and god. Powerful stuff there. Because believing in oneness means that I believe that what you do affects me, and what I do affects you. This happens in the micro form, between you and me, and it happens in the macro form, world wide. So when we point fingers and blame and attack and separate ourselves from them because they are all fucked up, it is hurting us as much as them. All this polarity that is going on in the world hurts. It hurts me, and it hurts you. It is duality at its worst.
What does this duality look like on a gritty level? It looks like I’m right and you are wrong. It looks like there is only one way to refer to god, my way. It looks like “well, I’m not perfect, but you did this and that and for that I am standing firm and holding my ground and blaming you for all this trouble.” Duality looks like stubbornness and close mindedness. And it bugs me.
When I get really bugged about this stuff, and I do, a lot, I contemplate: “what is mine to do?” And the honest answer? I don’t know. I sometimes feel like the way I felt when I witnessed a devastating fire burn down much of my town. There was nothing I could do but bake cookies for the firemen and the displaced. So I baked cookies. I guess in a way, I really do know what is mine to do. It is the metaphorical equivalent of baking cookies. I’ve got a certain skill set, and certain credentials, and I can voice this, and spread the word. I can present a different way to be. And so that is why I speak. It is why I write. It is why I teach. It is why I do workshops and retreats. I want people to be happy. I want them to live more peacefully. I believe that when individuals live happier and more peacefully, that has a far reaching effect.
I look at it like this: if it is true that there are only two basic states of being: fear or love (and I believe this to be true), then we are either coming from a place of fear or a place of love in any given situation. When we attack, when we point fingers, when we judge, it is all fear based. What’s up with the fear? Why would someone else’s lifestyle threaten you? How could it? What if, instead of attacking, you realized that this fear you are feeling that is making you attack and condemn and judge others is really a call to investigate why you are so fearful in the first place? This removes the attention from them and places it on yourself. Perhaps an uncomfortable place to be, but people like me can help you with that.
What if instead you contemplated what love would do? Call it what you will, there are many names for love, just as there are many names for god. What if instead you asked why a suggestion that there are different names for god gets your feathers all ruffled? What if instead you contemplated what your life would look like if you replaced all that fear with love? What if instead you contemplated how a belief in separation and duality is harming you, and found a different way to believe? What then? Do you think that might contribute to a better life, for you and for the rest of the world? I do.
So I’m going to bake cookies. What if you baked cookies too? What is your metaphorical equivalent of baking cookies? Do that.
As Rumi said, “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”
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.
Today is National Business Women's Day. When I become aware of stuff like this, my mind first goes to "WAIT! Is there also a Business Men's Day? Why not have a Business Person's Day?" Those of you who know me know that I am not a fan of exclusivity. I rarely go to women's only things, and never sponsor them. All my workshops, retreats and events are inclusive. BUT! I am also reminded of the qualities that one must embody in order to be a successful business person whether one is male or female. Discipline, consistency, gratitude, self-starting...and probably most important of all: courage and faith. A business, to be successful, must have certain qualities. Built upon a foundation of courage and faith, and sometimes desperation, a successful business will be grown by a business person who has the discipline to show up every day and do what needs to be done, who has the gratitude for clients and who does not have an attitude of entitlement but instead has a can do attitude. The faith part is the willingness to know that the business will be successful, and the courage part is to follow that faith up with action. If you are a business person, I salute you. If you want to be a business person, I can help. Did you know that I have a coaching program designed to facilitate your successful business? Check it out here: http://karenlinsley.com/?page_id=265. And....if you sign up before the end of September, I will throw in a free business portrait, because a good head shot is essential. Just think....by the New Year you could be in a position to begin your successful business, fully supported by me and by the essential tools I will give you!
Do you have a desire to own and operate your own business? Do you want to make a good living at that? This program will teach you the qualities necessary to not only own your business, but be successful at it. By the end of this program, you will successfully be able to quit your day job!
Learn the tools that allowed me to start and build a photography business that earned me a six figure living!
I believe in these principle, and because I do, I am offering a special deal: sign up and pay for this program by September 30 and I will throw in a Business Portrait! That's right, because part of being an entrepreneur means having a head shot that shouts credibility! It is a $200 value, and you will get a high resolution copy of the image of your choice from the session, fully edited and retouched, to use in all your promotions. (session will be done in my in-home studio in Minden, Nevada. All other aspects of the program can be done via telephone or Zoom)
Contact me today to sign up and then hang on for the ride!
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I am experiencing, for the first time in several years, seasonal burnout. On the one hand, I am extremely grateful for the business. On the other hand, this isn't what I thought I would be doing three years after graduation with a Masters Degree.
I'll get to the seasonal burnout in a minute, but first I want to address disappointment. I'm disappointed. See.....I spent 4 years getting a Masters Degree. During that time, I focused on my studies, and not my work as a full time professional photographer. I figured it like this: the photography industry is going in a direction I don't wish to follow, so this career change is coming about at the right and perfect time. I will get my Masters, become a coach/retreat facilitator/workshop queen and release with gratitude that other career that made such a good living for me for 30 years.
So I got my Masters Degree....three years ago. Promptly began marketing myself and my skills as a coach, designing and holding workshops and doing retreats. Except, I wasn't getting enough business to pay my bills. Disappointment. I wrote a book (www.newthought12steps.com) and published it. Royalties are....well, not what I expected them to be. More disappointment.
I figured by this point I would be making a living from almost full time work in my new career, and part time work as a professional photographer. Instead, it is the other way around. The gratitude is that I am making enough money to pay my bills, the disappointment is that in spite of marketing my little heart out, my new career seems to be stuck in a rut.
But I know a couple of things about disappointment and while I've been known to furnish my ruts, I also knew a few things about getting out of ruts. I write this to affirm it for myself, and for you, just in case you might be experiencing the same thing.
Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in our lives by mistake. All of it, the good, the bad, the ugly, the awesome, the beautiful, happens because some inner and much greater part of us has called us to make the decisions we make and do the things we do, to get to where that greater inner self wants us to go. I am not here by mistake and neither are you.
The key is to, as Henry David Thoreau said, advance confidently in the direction of your dreams. No matter what. Never lose sight of the dream. Never stop affirming it. Never stop taking the action to move towards the direction of your dreams.
That's what I'm doing and that is what I will continue to do. My dream is to make a full time living helping people achieve their dreams through coaching, workshops and retreats. Until I can do that, I will continue to earn my keep through professional photography. Because ironically, the industry seems to be turning around and once again excellence in skill and craftsmanship seems to be making a comeback. And....I'm doing a retreat..in October. You should come, it will be awesome. Here's the info: http://karenlinsley.com/?p=2508
And in case you are curious, or you need a professionally done business portrait for your business (because having a good head shot means credibility), or a great family portrait, or some wedding photography, check out my photography web site: www.imageangels.com
Don't ever forget your dream. If you can dream it, you can do it, and you are worth it.
Oh...and the burnout? Take a few days off. I am!
I've been getting a LOT of questions lately...what is your Creativity Retreat all about? How do you teach someone to be creative? I'm not artistic, is this for me?
So.....I've decided to answer all those questions, and give you a bonus.....
On this call, you will learn the 4 elements that will allow you to create the good in your life.
These are the same 4 elements that are introduced in my creativity retreats! Now...we can't cover in an hour what we spend in a couple of days at a retreat. Think deep dive at the retreat and introduction on the call. But you will still learn abou the elements, and I will give you some tidbits to get you started on living the BEST LIFE EVER!
To register, simply fill out the contact form. I will email you back with the information you will need to join us on the call. The date of the call is Tuesday, August 15, from 6 PM to 7 PM Pacific time.
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You may be saying to yourself, "I already have a good life, I don't need this!" If this is you, then congratulations! But I've discovered that sometimes in life we don't know what we don't know. Admittedly, I like to shake things up a bit. I think status quo is...well...a bit boring sometimes. And I also think there is always room for development. Are you perhaps a bit dissatisfied with your job? Maybe you feel stuck in some area of your life? Or maybe you have a feeling that something is missing, but aren't sure what?
Sign up for this call and check it out! You will have invested only an hour of your life, and I know you will enjoy it, and I know you will leave the call with a new idea, or an AHA moment.
Register here, and I look forward to "seeing" you.
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OH....and if the idea of an online meeting is foreign to you..don't worry! It's as simple as clicking on a link to a web site. And if you don't have a web cam, you can attend with your phone.
Let's face it: I don't live a structured life. And I like it that way. When I was a kid, and I was asking those kinds of "what do I want to do when I grow up" questions, I got all sorts of well meaning suggestions from the adults in my life who really didn't know any better. They suggested things like medical assistant and secretary.
I have to admit, it was a bit shocking to hear such advice from folks who absolutely did not live inside a box. My father was a professional jazz musician! I won't tell you what my mother did, but it involved lots of shady people...certainly not inside the box living.
What I knew was that while I had some talent as a vocalist, I didn't have the confidence to pursue it. And I could have gone in my mom's direction, but I knew that way was paved with dragons that I had no desire to encounter any more than I already had. And quite frankly, the thought of working in the same place every day, with the same people, doing the same things, gave me the heebee Jeebees. I ended up running away in the middle of the night, driving to San Francisco with what I could fit in my little sports car, getting a job as a waitress, going to college and eventually, after much soul searching, knashing of teeth and years of an undeclared major, becoming a photojournalist. I did that work for about a year, and I loved it. But then the bottom fell out of my life. I had to go take care of some personal things, and there went the photojournalism career. When I finally surfaced again about a year later, feeling very fragile, I knew it was once again time to find work. I got a job as...wait for it....a secretary. It was the only thing I could find. But after a few months of that, I had muscle twitches, high blood pressure and I was going crazy. The doctor wanted to put me on blood pressure meds, I said no....what I was going to do instead was quit my job and start a photography business. I still couldn't live in that box!
So I started my business and my blood pressure went down. It took about three years before that business was fully supporting me year round, but it ended up supporting me very well for about 25 years. I did different things every day, went to different places every day, and met different people every day. I loved it.
Then things began to change again, and I realized that it was time for me to redefine what I did for a living. Today, I still don't live a structured life. And I still like it that way. I do different things every day, I see different people every day, and I go to different places every day.
And I'm noticing something: there are a ton of people out there who also don't want to live in a box. These are the people who are selling things like candles, oils, diets, home decor, skin products. These folks usually have day jobs, but they are doing everything they can to support themselves in other ways, with the ultimate goal of quitting their day jobs. These are the people who work to bring home a paycheck, who don't like what they are doing, but don't know how to get out of that box. There are other folks too, who work part time at something: the world is filled with part time photographers, part time coaches, part time widget makers, part time widget sellers. These folks all have one thing in common, they want to live outside the box, but they don't really know how to go about doing it. So they spend their weekends and nights, selling their widgets.
And I want to see those people succeed. I want to see them be able to quit their day job! I want to see them fly high and WAY outside the box! I think it is time!
This is why I do the work I do. If I can make a good full time living outside the box, so can you.
This is why I created the Creativity Retreat. You see, living outside the box requires some skills and some beliefs and more than a little bit of faith, primarily faith in yourself. It requires some creative living. This is what I will teach at the retreat.
Take three days and I promise, you will have the skills needed to be more creative in your life. You will learn how to live outside the box, and make a good living at it.
You will learn:
- About the connection between your body and the rest of you, and how that physical issue might just be a way of trying to get your attention to live differently.
- About the power inside of you that you can draw on anytime to live the most fulfilling life you can dream of.
- And you will learn tools and skills that you can take home with you and apply to every area of your life, to always live the way you want!
Sign up now. Block those days off in your calendar.....get the registration paid for, and get yourself to Virginia City on October 15, 16 and 17. If you can't swing the registration in full, call me and put a deposit down to confirm your registration. You will be glad you did, because it is the first step in a whole new way of living!
The week before last I got to facilitate a group of awesome people in the Death Valley Camping Retreat on Creativity. This wonderful group sure did do some great work at the retreat, and they had fun too!
Part of the retreat experience, at least as I do them, is about having fun. In addition to scheduling time to do the inner work necessary to create something new, participants also had time to rest, soak up the sun, or explore.
My next Creativity Retreat will be this summer! We won't go to Death Valley again till spring of 2018; I'm working on a wonderful location for the next retreat! Stay tuned by subscribing to the blog!
All around me people are announcing that mercury is in retrograde. Admittedly, I'm not hearing these announcements, I'm seeing them in print. But the impression I am getting is that if they were saying this, it would be said with the same feeling tone as that old ditty: "THE SKY IS FALLING! THE SKY IS FALLING!"
I wasn't sure why, so I looked it up. Now I know why I didn't know what it meant that mercury was in retrograde: it's astrology.
Now, before you think this is going to be an attack on astrology, it isn't. I think the human habit of attacking something we don't believe in or disagree with is abhorrent. But that is the subject for another blog post.
I've never been a fan of astrology, even though I know a lot of people who are. Here is why I've never been a fan of it: because it is one more example of basing our decisions on something outside of ourselves. I feel the same way about anything that tells us to ignore our own truth and instead follow the dictates of another. Traditional religion as it is currently taught does this. So does most of the New Age stuff. I love New Thought because it teaches us to go within, know our own truth, and proceed accordingly. And by the way, I love candles, scented oils, and even crystals and all sorts of other New Age gimmicks. But I'm not going to base my decisions on them. They are just nice things. And sometimes excellent reminders of my own truth, which I discovered by going within.
Back to this current retrograde Mercury thing. Instead of just ignoring it, I decided to ask, what is it all about? And got this link for an answer: https://www.astrologyzone.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-mercury-retrograde/
I read the article. Seems we aren't supposed to make important decisions, sign contracts or have elective surgery during this time.
Sigh. Really? Ok. Here's the deal about important decisions: I know that I shouldn't be making them under duress. In other words, don't make decisions when angry, grieving, sad or excited. Settle down, go within, meditate, know your truth. Then make the decision.
Here's the deal about contracts: If it is time to sign a contract, I am certainly not going to tell the other person involved in the deal that I need to wait until mercury is out of retrograde to sign it.
And I don't believe in elective surgery, so that is a no brainer for me.
My point here is this: We have an entire culture of people who seem to base who and what they are on outside things. Everything from doing what your peers do to blindly following religious dogma to allowing what the planets are doing to effect your life. I love the empowering message of New Thought: go within...find that part of yourself that knows...and be and do that.
Everything I do, from my ministry to my counseling, from workshops and retreats to my book (www.newthought12steps.com) is a variation on this one thing: I teach people tools that they can then use to go within and find their own truth.
Bottom line: I'm not going to base my life on someone else's interpretation of something outside myself, including whether or not mercury is in retrograde. How about you?