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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!

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!

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?

status quo or status goI am so pleased to announce my winter schedule of workshops!  The series begins with a brand new workshop!  Although I created the concept of this workshop several years ago, I never completed it until now.  It is designed to move you from being stuck to unstuck, from the same old same old to the new and exciting!  If you are ready, come join us!

The series is designed so that the material on one workshop has a natural progression flowing into the next, although you can take them individually.  And if you feel like you need some more individual care and work, I'm offering a discount on packages.  Invest in all three workshops and save $15, invest in all three plus a package of six sessions for a total of $495  and save and whopping $90!  Call me now at 530-906-9336 as I have a limited number of sessions I am offering at this price, and seating for the workshops is also limited.

I am a minister.

That statement has an air of unreality about it today.

I worked for nine years to get to this point.    When I began nine years ago I didn't think I would end up here.  Actually, that's a bit of an understatement. I ABSOLUTELY DID NOT have minister on my list of things to do.  I hated church, disrespected organized religion, and really thought that the entire system of religious authority and religion needed to be overhauled and revised.  I wanted no part of it.  When I began this journey nine year ago, I simply wanted to enlarge my spiritual life.  I was depressed, and not in a very good place.   I'd been sober for over 15 years and I felt a bit stuck.

So I decided to begin taking classes at my local Center for Spiritual Living (CSL).  I'd taken other classes, and they helped, but there was always something about them that ruffled my feathers.  One class was very valuable in teaching me a great form of meditation, but when they began talking about guarding ourselves from all the dangerous influences when we meditated, I was out of there.  I didn't want a lifestyle where I felt I had to be on guard.  CSL seemed to fit perfectly.  It was spirituality without the New Age woo woo trappings, and without the dogma of more traditional religions.  I loved it, and from the first class I knew that I was going to pursue becoming a Practitioner.

Being a Practitioner in CSL means being a type of coach.  The work interested me, and I knew it would help me.  It takes about two years of prerequisite classes to become eligible for Practitioner classes, which is a two year course of study.  That was the first four years of my journey.  I became a Practitoner and was happy as a clam.  I converted a room behind my photography studio into an area to meet clients and started a life coaching business.

Then the calling began.  They say being a minister is a calling, that no one would ever choose such a thing.  I know it's not like that for everyone, but it is for me.  But when the calling begins, that inner nudge that just won't go away, in fact it gets louder and louder, you have to heed it.  Then the outer nudges began.  People began asking me when I was going to begin ministerial school.  My grandmother came right out and told me I had to go, and offered to pay my tuition.  That's a big deal in a Masters Degree program.  So I heeded the inner and outer calls, and I went.

For almost 5 years, I studied, attended classes in person at the Holmes Institute campus in Santa Rosa, attended other classes via phone and video conference, studied a ton of books, wrote a ton of papers, did about 20 internships, went on student retreats, and immersed myself in my studies.  I used mentors and prayer partners and other Practitioners as my coaches, and opened myself up to all that the program had to offer.

It changed me the same way the 12 steps did back in the beginning of my recovery:  at a very deep profound level, from the inside out.

I got my Masters Degree in June, I successfully paneled and received my license as a CSL minister the first week in August, and yesterday, I was unanimously elected to be the new Spiritual Leader of the Center for Spiritual Living Carson City.

As one of my minister friends likes to say, "what a trip."

So off I go on this journey of being a minister.  I'm excited about my counseling practice, since I've graduated I've been blessed to have a whole new batch of wonderful clients.  And this part time job at CSL allows me to do the others things I love to do:  speak and teach.  So, I'm counseling, speaking and teaching, and life is pretty good!

Now, I'm in a position to help you.    Are you getting a nudge to do something different?  Perhaps it's more like a big push?  Or maybe you are ready for a change in your life?  Do you pay attention to those calls when they come?  Or do you simply push them aside?  What is up for you today?

 

If you read this blog regularly, you know that last weekend I went and participated in a ritual that was a culmination of 9 years of study:  I got a Masters Degree in Consciousness Studies.

Before the graduation ceremony began, we were told by a very wise man that we would wake up the day after the ceremony and everything would be different.

He was right, although it began for me the evening of the graduation.  I feel a need to confess:  I was plagued with waves of total and complete unworthiness.  I do not know if that ever stops, but I do know what to do with it.  Sunday morning I made a phone call, and we stopped that nonsense  right then and there.  (if you've ever doubted the power of spiritual counseling, you can use this as an example)  Today, on Monday, I am filled with excitement for the future.

I was asked on Saturday, what's next?  Well, what's next is I get to dive into it!  I've been wanting to expand my private practice, I've been wanting to design and facilitate more workshops, I've been wanting to speak at more places.

So that's what's next!  I'm excited!  I hope you are too!

 

Ok, I admit it.  I officially have short timer's disease.

I graduate in June.

This Masters Degree program I'm in has been wonderful:  4 years of learning, and each class has changed me from the inside out, and given me more skills and more training.  If you are just tuning in, I'm in an accredited Masters Degree program called Consciousness Studies.  (www.holmesinstitute.org)

I have loved every minute of it.

One of the things we teach is that it is counter productive to think in terms of:  when this happens I'll do that, or when that happens I'll be this.  The opposite is actually true:  I'll do that now, and effect this to happen.  Or, more specifically, it is not "when I win the lottery I'll be happy."  It is, "I'll be happy now, and then win the lottery!"

And yet, I have a list of things I want to do when I graduate.  I have dozens of books I want to read!  I want to take a trip.  Not a trip to Santa Rosa for class, but a vacation.  I want to go to the annual photographer's convention that I haven't been to since I began school.  I want to begin working in my new and chosen field.  I want to do workshops....lots and lots of workshops.

I created, before school began, a New Year's Eve workshop.  I happen to think New Year's Eve is the perfect time to plot out how one wants the next year to proceed.  Resolutions don't work, they never have.  But intentions do, especially with a solid plan in place to implement those intentions.  Plus some ritual release of the old.  I was doing this workshop every New Year's Eve and it was fun, successful and well attended.  but school got busier and busier and somehow the last couple of New Year's Eves it just seemed indicated that I should stay at home and be quiet.

Then there is this football thing.  I admit it:  I don't watch football.  I think there are much more productive things to do with one's time.  I also realize that I am out of sync with much of the population  in this.  I'm OK with that.    Last night, while my partner was watching football, I was writing papers for school, and I got a lot done!  But there is still one more game to get through, and I couldn't help but think it would be the perfect time for a workshop for those of us who would rather do just about anything than watch football.

But I have papers to write and finals to study for, so this will be another thing to add to the list of things to do when I graduate.  If you don't like watching football, stay tuned.  There will be a workshop next year!  Maybe even a series of them:  one on every Sunday there is a football game!

 

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