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Starting Weight (May 30, 2017): 305
Goal: 222 by April 6
Current: 301 (3 weeks)
Weekly Target Rate: 2 lbs
Weekly Average: 1.33 lbs

Last week I kept getting number synchronicities, in particular the number 222 or 2222. In honor of that, I decided I would revise my income and weight targets to be $222k and 222 lbs in 222 days.

That turned out to be unhealthily aggressive on the weight front, as it would have been January 27– requiring me to lose 83 pounds in 32 weeks, or 3.77 pounds per week. So I decided to just shift my target goal to 222 lbs by means of losing 2 pounds per week, giving me April 6, 2019.

My interim goal for the rest of this month is to hit 299 by the end of June to be aligned with my project plan. I think I just might make it. ;)

-The Gneech
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Just for fun I tried this guided meditation tonight. I thought it was going to be for connecting to future incarnations, but it's actually designed to take you 20 years into the future of your current life, which took me a bit by surprise, but I decided to run with it.

The meditation invites you, after some preliminary relaxation and transitional imagery to get you out of the current moment and into the visualization, to "find yourself" outside of what will be your home in 20 years. I was pleased but not exactly surprised to find a small but pleasant little home in a wooded area of California, possibly around San Luis Obispo or Scott's Valley.

Jack Donner, most well known among geeks as Sub-Commander Tal in The Enterprise Incident I knocked on the door and rang the doorbell and 68-year-old future me came to the door. I was no longer overweight, although a practiced eye could tell that I once had been (in that same way you can tell when looking at someone like Alton Brown that they were once heavier than they are now). My hair was thinner and white, and I still had the goatee, looking a bit like my brother and a bit like Jack Donner did in Cool Air. I also, I noted with some amusement, still sported the blue tropical shirts. :)

Future me was clearly taking life easy, although he told me he was still drawing furry art and comics and still writing. I asked him what was the most notable thing he could remember from the past 20 years, and he said, "The coaching, definitely the coaching." When I asked if there was anything I should be mindful of, he said, "Nah, not really. Things are a little rough where you are right now, but you'll work it out okay, it'll be fine. Really, it'll be great. Things are greener now, everybody's is a lot kinder, you'll see."

After discussing a few more items I'd rather not blab all over the internet ;P I asked if he had anything he wanted to tell me, and he said, "Yeah, actually. Thanks. Thanks for the work you're doing, and for the work you're going to do. I know you're interested in your other incarnations, and that's cool, but this life is a lot more than just the transition between the Beatnik and the Sporty Gal. This life is great, it's amazing really, and you're going to love it, even with how hard it was in the beginning."

As the meditation was coming to an end, I offered, "Hug?" and he said, "Duh, of course." It was nice to actually receive one of those massive lion hugs I've heard so much about. ;) I said, "I love ya, dude," and he said, "Hey, I love you too man." And off I went.

So, not what I was expecting when I started, but nice all the same.

-The Gneech
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This past coaching weekend's theme was "Spirituality," which tied in nicely with recent stuff I've been noodling around with in my incarnation studies. (I say "incarnation" instead of "reincarnation" because I've started trying to extend my experiences forward as well as backward, with some interesting results.) It's been a while since I went through the Brian Weiss video, so I decided to see what it got me this morning. Short answer? Spotty results.

Healing Color: Just a warm sensation at first. Nudging again to call forth a color gave me bright anime-beach-sky blue.

Garden: Got fixated on images associated with the anime-beach-sky-blue, and possibly dozed a little here, which made me lose the thread a bit. On the other hand, I got a neat idea for an art image.

In Utero: Again, just a warm sensation.

Beyond the Door: A small metal table and chair outside an apartment or villa (I couldn't see the building), on a small terrace in the side of a high hill overlooking water. I had the impression that it might have been Greece or Italy; it certainly had that Mediterranean vibe. I got glimpses of a medium-haired white cat trotting along ahead of me as I walked along, and my mind immediately went to Buddha, but I don't know if it was him or just reminded me of him. I didn't get any sense of "self," or even a solid context.

Spiritual Messages: None. I think I may have dozed here.

So, not the most dramatic session I've had.

On the other hand, I did have some thoughts stitching together timelines around what identified past lives I have experienced or connected to, and I have come up with this:

  • Today's Terrace. No "self." Time period unknown but fairly modern based on the style of the table and chair. May not be an incarnation at all.

  • The Long Haired Girl and the Japanese Man. As reported here. Time period unknown, details unknown.

  • The Horseman. As reported here. Colonial or Revolutionary period, possibly later, some town in a hilly/river valley area on the east coast of America. Male, white jodhpurs, black riding boots (no visuals besides that), at or near a bakery. 1700s or 1800s.

  • The Naval Officer. As reported here. Steam ship, later his own house on a rocky coast, Pacific Northwest or San Francisco bay area. Male, dark hair, naval beard. Strongest direct recall. Identified Inkblitz as another figure in the life. Mid- to late-1800s or early 1900s.

  • Robert E. Howard? Connection here is less direct experience so much as resonances in history, psychology, life themes, and physical appearance. It's always dicey to assert a connection with a historical figure, especially one who was so influential on your development in this lifetime. But having looked at it as objectively as one can look at this sort of thing, and discussed it with my counselor and some other folks interested in the topic, there's a fairly strong case here. Have tentatively identified Laurie, Kerry, and Hantamouse as other figures in the life. 1906-1936.

  • The Beatnik. (Encountered during regression hypnosis with counselor.) A bohemian writer living in New York or a similar locale. Popular among his friends, some kind of profound aesthetic or mystical experience around ruins/abandoned building in a forest or swamp, competent but unremarkable career. Presumably late 1930s - mid 1960s. Like Robert E. Howard, this would put him dying around 30, reasons as yet unknown. Counselor suggested drug overdose as a possible scenario, but that was just guess/intuition.

  • The Gneech. Current incarnation. Life of transition and many interesting (and challenging -.-) lessons, including a pretty significant psychological "death and rebirth" around age 30. >.> 1969 - ?

  • The Sporty Gal. What I suspect to be my next incarnation, based on meditations and self-reflection. Very little hard knowledge, which I suppose shouldn't be surprising considering it comes from the future, but a lot of what I'm going through now internally, seems to be in preparation for her.

So that's as far as I can see into the past and future. What it all means, is still up for grabs. But I want to record it, in the hopes of retaining it and finding more.

-The Gneech
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I have decided that, as much as it annoys me, I am once again going to have to punt on NaNoWriMo, because, just like last year, November is just too damn crammed full of stuff. The big one is moving, but even that could be handled except for picking up the seasonal job at Barnes & Noble. Between now and the end of November, I have three days off: one is Thanksgiving, one is Moving Day. The rest of the time, I'm doing 8-hour retail shifts during the height of Christmas shopping season.

When you combine that with a half-baked story outline, and the fact that my mind is in a completely different space because I am all interested in coming up with new career and money-making options now that we're moving back to Virginia, you end up with NaNoWriMo simply being too far down on the list of priorities. On top of all that, I don't want [personal profile] laurie_robey to be doing all the packing and moving herself, again. We've moved like that way too many times, never again.

But fear not, dear readers! I am still going to write the book, and it wouldn't surprise me if I finish it by the end of January, but I am not going to cram on it for NaNoWriMo. Instead I'm going to go back and write up a proper outline using the ~22k words I have already as a launching pad. I know my basic cast, I know a lot of the core issues of the book, and I know generally where I want it to go, so that's a good foundation. But I discovered when writing Tend On Mortal Thoughts and Sky Pirates of Calypsitania, that I really, really like having a complete and fairly detailed outline; writing without one makes me feel like I'm trying to create a sculpture out of pudding.

I plan to write at least two novels between now and the end of 2018, of which this year's NaNoWriMo project (Child of the Tower) was one. The other is the Sky Pirates prequel. These books have two separate markets and eventual fates: Child of the Tower is intended to be the first in a new series of furry fantasy novels, while Clockwork Caper (the Sky Pirates prequel) will go to mainstream publishers, either as fantasy or teen fantasy/adventure. I do at some point need to fall in love with Clockwork Caper as its own thing– right now I still kind of think of it as a vehicle for finally getting Sky Pirates of Calypsitania on the shelves. (What can I say? I love Sky Pirates of Calypsitania. Not only is it the best thing I've written so far, it's also exactly the kind of book I wish I could read.)

So, About Those Money Goals...

I have put a lot of thought into creating a career lately, because what I've been doing just ain't cutting it. I enjoy both my art and my writing, but I haven't gotten to the point where I'm making the kind of money I want and need from it, nor have I found a way to make myself approach and think of it as "a real job." I haven't nailed down why this is, but I'm also tired of gazing into my navel about it and just want to get on with life already. To that end, I am now looking at other options.

I have also figured out that my "rebel tendency" nature has been sabotaging me on a lot of fronts, that one included. My secondary tendency is "obliger," and so while as a rebel I resent having to have customers or clients, as an obliger secondary I'm a lot more likely to actually DO something if I've promised some not-me person that it will be done. So as weird as it may sound, one possibility I am looking at is that of a life coach.

The various aptitude tests I've gone though (such as the Highlands Ability Battery) always come up with "writer" at the top (for obvious reasons), but also tend of have "counselor" highly rated. My problem with that has always been the same reason I never became a veterinarian despite my love of animals: I have an overactive empathy, and I don't want to get tangled up in other people's (or creatures') trauma and pain. I know counselors often find it cathartic; I suspect I would just turn into an emotional wreck.

But a life coach? That's a different matter. First of all, it's not so personal. I don't need to know that someone was sexually abused by their neighbor as a child in order to help them become successful or build new lives. Furthermore, assuming I'm good at what I do, my "mission accomplished" moments will be success stories, where I've helped people create richer, fuller, and more satisfying lives and make the world a better place. Who wouldn't want that?

And, let's not mince words here, being good at it can also make you rich too, almost as a necessary side-effect. Who's going to be interested in getting you to help them get their lives in order, if you're living on what was supposed to be your retirement and hating your own life? Life coaching is one of the few professions where being rich and happy is actually a job requirement. XD

But the thing is? I think I could do it. As [personal profile] inkblitz says, I've got a lot of experience in life. The pain of losing so many people in so short a time, overcoming depression, denial, and deep-rooted self-worth issues, have certainly taught me a thing or two about getting through (and over) one's crap. And if [profile] jamesbarrett's sister's declaration that I am an indigo has any kind of truth beyond sheer crackpottery, then not only can I use my gifts to help the world, it is literally what I came to this planet to do.

Right now, I've got a lot to learn and figure out about the idea. I don't know the ins and outs of life coaching, or even how one gets trained in such things other than reading a lot of self-help books. ¬.¬ But I do have resources! Besides the entirety of the internet, I have my counselor to consult. She's a trained professional and I've spoken to her and I know she has colleagues who actually are life coaches. Plus, well, I work in a freakin' bookstore. I'm sure I can find some interesting and useful materials there! ;D

While I was sitting around waiting for my shift to start earlier today, I put together this as a preliminary to-do list on the topic:

  • Get life together ;P

  • How does one do it?

  • Make contacts/find mentors

  • What does it entail?

  • How make money?

  • Running a biz/managing money

  • Building a brand

  • Gotta deal w/ Rebel Tendency!

  • Possibly create a Rebel Tendency Support Group? ;)

So right now it looks like that's where the rest of my energy in 2018 is likely to go. Between all of that, and Laurie building her drone photography or other businesses, it's going to be a very interesting year​. But it's gonna be soooooo much better than the ones leading up to it have been!

I'm pretty darn excited, actually. :) It's really nice to be looking forward to my life again. But now, I need some sleep. G'nite world, and have an awesome tomorrow. Turkey Day tomorrow! Remember to go to Shout Factory starting at noon EST for the MST3K Turkey Day Marathon! We sure as heck will be.

-The Gneech
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My insurance has been consistently screwed up over the past year; that's still a vast improvement over the non-ACA options I had, which is to say, "No insurance so don't get sick, sucker."

In a fit of optimism, I arranged for a checkup, only to have the doctor's office inform me that the insurance I thought I had, I didn't, and therefore the blood test would be out-of-pocket (but reasonably affordable) and the doctor would quietly slip giving me my results via Laurie's checkup instead, since her insurance was not screwed up. (Thanks, doc! ^.^)

The results of the blood test were overall very good, except for one random elevated potassium result. According to what I've found online, the most common cause of elevated potassium is red blood cells bursting on the test slide– i.e., a false reading. Correspondingly, the doc wants to do a followup test... next month, after my insurance is (hopefully) fixed. The cause of real elevated potassium is kidney failure... but as all my other numbers are fine, that seems extremely unlikely.

Unfortunately, this isn't something I can just ignore, as elevated potassium levels are associated with heart arrhythmia (ding ding ding), and unchecked can lead to cardiac arrest. Since heart issues run in my family, and I've already had ablation surgery, I'm going to keep an eye on this.

The I's Have It

I had a followup with my counselor yesterday about inositol, which I've been taking to help with anxiety. (Short version: I think it has been, but mainly in as much as it's given me the oomph to do all that better-diet-and-exercise-and-get-things-done stuff, which itself relieves anxiety.) During the discussion, I randomly mentioned when Kimmie said I had an indigo aura.

My counselor got very excited about that. XD She asked me if I knew what "being an indigo" meant, and I told her that what I'd looked up online basically said, "Lead by example." She replied that was kind of a watered down version of it. Indigos, she sayeth, don't just lead by example, but come into the world to clear away old systems and old ways of thinking that no longer serve humanity, and to point the world in new directions. Thus, indigos tend to be artists, "big thinkers," or spiritual leaders. In short, we are akin to spiritual bulldozers.

That's a lot to lay on a guy who just wants to draw his silly animal comics and get some D&D in from time to time. XD

Counselor added that "there are a lot of indigo children being born right now" because we're going through a period of massive change. Not sure if this is backed up by polling data or what, but okay. But the thing that amused me the most is that she told me that there are "Indigo aura support groups."

Well, I mean, sure, of course there are, and more power to 'em. But I just had visions of people sitting in a circle saying, "Hi, I'm John, and I'm an indigo..." or purple-blue bumper stickers that say "My aura is not a choice!" Such things tickle me. But it also led me to wonder about the logistics of it all. If there are enough people out there to gather in groups, how did they all become aware of their status as indigos? Are they self-assessed? Did they all have random encounters with psychics? If you don't see auras, how do you know what your aura is?

I'unno. But it's fun to play with.

-The Gneech
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There's a story floating around the zeitgeist, commonly attributed to a Cherokee storyteller (but I don't know the actual source), generally referred to as "two wolves," which goes something like:

A Cherokee elder was teaching his grandchildren about life. He said to them, "A fight is going on inside me… it is a terrible fight between two wolves. One wolf represents fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, hatefulness, and lies. The other stands for joy, peace, love, hope, humbleness, kindness, friendship, generosity, faith, and truth. This same fight is going on inside of you, and inside every other person, too."

The children thought about it for a minute. Then one child asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The Cherokee elder replied, "The one you feed."

Thing of it is, this is applicable to so much more than a simplistic "good vs. evil" parable. It can apply to anything! Like, say, social media. "Don't feed the trolls" is a mantra that's been around since the '80s at least. In more recent times, I've seen a pattern where some prominent person on Twitter (for example) gets pinged by an asshole and, instead of muting the asshole and moving on with their life, the person either retweets with what they feel is a smackdown, or otherwise engages.

Result? All the assholes start coming out of the woodwork, and suddenly prominent person is flooded with obnoxious messages, all of them looking for attention. The prominent person may feel like they were "shining a light in dark corners" or turning up a log to reveal all the bugs crawling around in the muck or whatever, but all they really did? Was feed the bad wolf. They now get to spend hours/days/the rest of their life wrestling in the digital mud with these idiots. It sucks, yes, but the prominent person invited them in.

This doesn't apply to people who are harassed by assholes merely for being themselves– "Internetting While Female" does not count as feeding the bad wolf, for instance. That's another discussion all together. But people like Wil Wheaton engaging in snark fights, and then having to spend the rest of the day far away from the internet because they effectively cast Summon Asshole? That counts.

This topic is fresh in my mind currently because this year is going to be about broadening my reach and impact in the world artistically and (for lack of a better term) commercially, and I'm already having to be very careful about what (and who) I respond to and where I engage, because I can clearly see the ripples of different types of energy trying to get in. Some are positive, and many are amazing... but more than a few are not.

One of the problems with the bad wolf is that, being bad, it often tries to disguise its true nature because it knows anyone with a modicum of awareness and self-esteem will reject it. What starts off as a seemingly fun and innocent or even benevolent interaction can sour quickly, and it's important to pay attention when that happens. What you thought was a pleasant chat with the good wolf can turn out to have been the bad wolf trying to finagle an invitation the whole time.

If you get fooled by this, it's not a failure on your part– it's the bad wolf being bad. The old saw should go: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on you again and stop it, you jerk." But when you realize that it's the bad wolf at work, you need to shut it down quickly and decisively. In my own case, that means even calling out or disengaging with people who are my own fans, if they try to turn my work into something dark or mean. You can be funny without being mean, and you can be smart without being snide or toxic.

What you invite into your life, you will get more of. That's just how the universe works. So make sure you're inviting the good stuff in. :)

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Boot to the Head)
Okay. So, we all know. Let's get it out of the way.

John Oliver blows up 2016

Yeah, 2016 pretty much blew chunks in a lot of ways. Thing is, it started out so well! I thought 2014 was the worst things were going to get, 2015 was the beginning of an upward climb, and that 2016 was going to be awesome. Then everything went pear-shaped, starting with our moving plans. Then Buddha died... and from there it was a nearly-unrelenting sea of crap that culminated in the Worst Possible Result in the election. I used to joke about not wanting to live in 1930s Germany. I don't joke about that any more.

For the record, some good things DID happen in 2016, and there's evidence that 2017 will be better. So even though things have been rough, just wallowing in it isn’t going to help. Since the end of November, I have been making a concerted effort to wedge positivity back into my life by any means possible, and it is working, even if there is a lot of resistance from a world determined to set itself on fire. But more on that in the Goals for 2017 part of the post. For now, let's review the goals I set at the beginning of the year.

  1. Issues Four and Five, Plus the First Collection. Partial success. Issue four is out and issue five is running currently, after moving and story development heck. This will be finished in early 2017, assuming all goes well.

  2. Publish That Book! Still working on it. I've received a fair amount of positive feedback from the various agents etc. I've shopped it around to, but so far it hasn't found a home. I'm going to keep at it until it sells or I run out of potential markets. If it gets to that point, I'll look at self-publishing.

  3. Finish Another Book! Didn't happen. Had to punt mid-NaNoWriMo, but I'll get back to it in 2017.

  4. Get the Money Sitch Fixed. Didn't happen. Despite being a very strong candidate, [ profile] lythandra went to trainings and applied for jobs and talked to headhunters and out of all that got a few tiny nibbles and only one offer– which was immediately cancelled a few days later due to the contract being disputed. I hung out my shingle as a freelance/tech writer but so far have spent most of my time on that front turning down such lucrative offers as "Write ten full length novels for us to sell without giving you any residuals or credit for $35,000/year." So, still living on savings and what income the comics and art bring in, but we have plans in motion. (See below.)

  5. Move. Um. Happened, yes. But not the way we wanted. It needs fixing still/again.

  6. Get Back to Conventions! Eh... sort of. AC and MFF happened again. We also went to a steampunk meet in PA, but we had to punt on FurTheMore and Dragon*Con for financial and/or scheduling reasons. I expect 2017 to be different, however.

  7. Stronger faster slimmer better. Big setbacks here. Depression, stress, and a host of other factors meant that in six months I regained all the weight it had taken me two years to get rid of. :P I am not happy about this. The good news is that at the end of November I rejoined Weight Watchers and I have recovered 11 pounds' worth of progress since then, despite the best efforts of convention food and holidays. More significantly I have figured out how to live comfortably on a 35-ish point diet– basically the allocation for someone my age weighing 220 lbs. At my current rate of weight loss, I will hit that in six months, which would suit me just fine.

  8. No More Afib. Success! Heart ablation surgery was a complete success. Since March, I have only experienced afib twice, both of which were in December and seem to have been triggered by salt. As long as I continue to limit my salt intake, I should be set.

  9. Bernie Sanders 2016. Ugh. Don't get me started.

Now the review post from last year had unexpected things achieved in 2015. Alas, 2016 didn't really have a lot in the way of such things. However, it wasn't entirely bleak. Zootopia was really good, for instance. Also, I got into Overwatch and a fan very kindly built me a terrific computer to run it on, which prompted me to create the Learning Not to Suck at Overwatch series. It didn't exactly set YouTube on fire, but the videos were fun to make and I got to test my mettle in a competitive environment, something which I've never done a lot of. Overwatch also provided my single longest running batch of art commissions, in the form of "Play of the Game" badges. My Overwatchery has been thin since Halloween– other priorities eating my time– but I hope to get back into it in January.

So that leads me to my goals for 2017...

  1. Issues Five and Six, Plus the First Collection. Five and collection should be done well before AnthroCon. Issue Six, we'll see. I’m thinking of taking the comic in a slightly new direction based on the ending of Issue Five, but that's still in the very half-baked stage so I can't really go into detail yet.

  2. Publish That Book! Like I said, still working on this.

  3. Finish Another Book! I am looking at creating a series specifically for self-pub. More on that as the development fills out some more.

  4. Start a Company. This is a big one that Laurie and I have been messing with off and on again all year, but which is really starting to take shape now. Again, I don't want to talk about it in too much detail before everything is set in motion, all the T's are dotted and I's are crossed, etc., but it's a cool, exciting project designed to put the making of money back into our hands, since getting hired by other people doesn't seem to be a thing that really happens to anyone any more.

  5. Move to California. Okay. So. I thought this was going to happen last year, but for various reasons I kept fairly quiet about it at the time, and then it fell through anyway. It's back on the plan now, and I am not keeping it a secret any more. The exact details are still being hashed out, so you can expect to hear more on this as the year goes on. But part of the reason for the Start a Company item, is to enable living where we want, and since Fed jobs are going to all be utter crap for the next four years or more as the assholes-elect try to burn down the country, there's not a whole lot of point in staying around here for the job market anyway. Our families and some of our friends are here, of course, but we only see them a few times a year as it is– Facetime/Google Hangouts and plane tickets will probably take care of that problem. California is not necessarily the only candidate, we're also looking at some spots around New England for instance, but it is by far the strongest candidate and my top choice unless there is a strongly compelling reason to go elsewhere.

  6. Stronger faster slimmer better. 220 lbs by end of September is the plan. 220 lbs by end of June is the stretch goal.

  7. Bring the Awesome! I was just getting through my grief about my parents when Buddha died, kicking it all off again. I spent most of 2016 in a depression deeper than anything I’ve been through since 2001, although instead of manifesting as "feeling bad," it was more like an emotional dead zone, making it hard to enjoy anything and leaving me in a constant state of "peeved and grouchy for no good reason." That shit's got to go. As I said, since the end of November I've been focusing on positivity, and I'm just going to build on that and do more in 2017.

  8. Edit Myself Less. This one is kind of hard to explain without context and it's more a note to myself than anything. There are aspects of myself that I have simply made a point of not talking about for one reason or another; opinions, feelings, or wishes I have kept to myself when it would have been appropriate to share them, and so on. But honestly? It's not doing myself or the people who care about me any favors. I've had people tell me "I thought I knew you..." before for just this reason. And while I'm a lot more myself now than I used to be, I still get into that self-censorship habit when I’m depressed or afraid. This is something I need to work on. Shoving every thought in your head into other people's faces isn't a good idea– but shutting yourself down just to please other people isn't a healthy choice either. I'm not about to start drawing porn or anything like that, but I am going to be loosening up.

  9. Reverse course and mitigate/repair damage to the country. Grassroots action FTW. They're not going to burn down the country while I have anything to say about it. More on this in some other post.

[ profile] jamesbarrett's sister Kimmie said that 2016 was the end of a 9-year cycle, which is why there were so many deaths and endings and so much loss, but that also meant that 2017 would be a year of new beginnings. [1] While astrology and numerology are not my particular flavor of crackpottery, I can’t deny that 2016 sure has felt like everything was crumbling around my ears. Not going to California when we originally planned to, which pushed us into the Maryland move, and the death of Buddha all hit me hard. Seeing the end of the first administration in my life that I actually liked the President was going to be tough; seeing him replaced by somebody so obviously The Worst Possible Candidate For the Job just hurts.

But these things all happened and can't be undone. I've had my disappointment and my grief and my rage. While there may be emotional aftershocks, the end of November made a sea change in Laurie and me, and I am excited and ready for the things we’ve got coming up in the year ahead. If 2017 is indeed the year of new beginnings, let's make it the beginning of something amazing.

-The Gneech

[1] This is based on numerology: 2016 breaks down to 2 + 0 + 1 + 6 = 9. 2017 will be 2 + 0 + 1 + 7 = 10, 1 + 0 = 1. Thus 2016 is the end of the current cycle and 2017 is the beginning of the next one.
the_gneech: (Doctor Titles 2010)
So I had this idea a little while back, but it came into sharp focus last night. (And I'm sure I can't have been the first person to think of this, but I've never heard anyone else express it before.)

When you combine reincarnation with vibration theory/LoA, there’s an interesting implication. There are future life progressions of a post-apoc Earth, but there are also future life progressions of harmony and kumbaya et al. And according to LoA, reality lines itself up to match your own vibration, right? So maybe there are divergent timelines, the infinite universe model basically, all vibrating at different wavelengths, and your own personal vibration determines which future “you” go to. If your vibration matches a “dying Earth” future, that’s the one you end up in. If your vibration matches a “things getting better” future, you go to that one instead.

There are all kinds of weird wrinkles to this notion, not the least of which is, if “you” go to one future, who the heck is that in all those others? Aren’t they also “you”? Is it like a cosmic Github, with trunks and branches? Are there an infinite number of “instances” of me– just this current incarnation me, not the big-picture me? And if so, are there an infinite number of instances of all my other incarnations?


Brain-breaking as this concept is, it also has one huge implication: if you can match your personal vibration to a good future, that will send you there. All those platitudes about keeping your chin up, looking on the bright side, etc? That’s really what they’re all pointing at. The faith that moves mountains, as they say, boils down to matching your own vibration to that of a future in which the mountain has moved– as opposed to all those other futures in which the mountain just sat there.

This is a strangely empowering idea, but also one that will mess with your head. Because you can’t just “wish real hard” and have it happen. In fact, “wishing real hard” usually comes from fear that the outcome you want won’t happen and that’s where your vibration goes. Indeed, the most effective approach, from a LoA standpoint, is to take it as read that good things will happen, move forward and take action based on that belief, and let the Universe handle the details.

Where have I heard that before? XD

When you boil it down, LoA is the same basic stuff as pretty much any religion, just with a different skin. Insert “God” for “the Universe” and “prayer” for “affirmations” and you’ve got the same practices that the human race has followed for thousands of years. It depersonalizes the deity, and turns the action of prayer into working on your own psyche instead of a phone call with God, but the actions you are actually taking are almost exactly the same. Does it work? Some people swear by it (like, literally), and for other people, not so much. But it’s very interesting (at least to me) how the same core things keep reinventing themselves over and over.

-The Gneech


Dec. 15th, 2016 11:21 pm
the_gneech: (Mad Red)
There are a wide variety of people who I've been in the same room with a lot but never really spent much time with, and [ profile] jamesbarrett's sister Kim ("Kimmie" in the local parlance) is such a person. I met her in high school, something like 1983-1984, but our circles never really intersected much, and my memories of her over the years are mostly vague impressions.

Fast forward to the present, where she's been staying in an extended visit with Jamie and [ profile] hantamouse for the past few months but again, when [ profile] lythandra and I were there as more of a ghost that we heard about than anything else. But that changed tonight, when Laurie and I finally got over there to visit at a time when Kimmie was also home. We hung out, we played cards, we chatted about this, that, and the other thing.

It was cool. I think Kim and I spoke more in this one evening than we had over the previous 30 years combined, and I finally have a person to connect with the name. She told us that she was a psychic medium (something I was not aware of until now) doing what she called "energy work." She also informed me that I have an indigo aura.

Indigo aura personalities are creative individuals who inspire awareness, sensibility and integrity. Indigos are deeply influenced by their inner knowing. They are dynamic souls who assert their morality to promote teaching respect for all life.

...Works for me!

We also chatted a little about reincarnation and law of attraction stuff, and in the midst of conversation Laurie pegged her as an INFP, the two of them recognizing kindred spirits in each other.

Like I say, it was cool. We exchanged e-mails and I'm hoping we can keep in touch in the future. It's nice, after all these years, to finally feel like I know this mysterious figure who's been lurking in the wings, at least a little.

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (It's a Lion)
So this is going to be a weird post, rooted in the more out there aspects of the maze of mirrors that is my psychology. Just sayin'.

If you hang around in spirituality circles you will eventually come upon the idea of synchronicity– i.e., when a bunch of things happen at once and seem to be related, even if there's no clear connection. Now human beings are hard-wired for pattern recognition, it's a survival mechanism rooted deep in the ol' lizard brain, and most of the time it works very well, but it's also easy to flag with false positives. Have you ever seen someone lurking in your bedroom in the dark and turned on the light only to discover it was your sweater hanging on the back of the door? That's pattern recognition at work.

Given that, it's no wonder that synchronicity is a thing. Humans find patterns in everything, whether the pattern's actually there or not. But we're also talking psychology here– whether the pattern really exists is not as important for this discussion as to how your psyche reacts to it. It's like a cosmic Rorschach test.

The reason for all this preamble is that over the past few days I have had a moment of synchronicity with a very specific image, to wit: the planet Earth, rendered uninhabitable and devoid of life. It first popped up in an environmental documentary on a passing TV, in which a researcher claimed that methane being released by the melting of the ice caps would flood the atmosphere and kill every living thing by the year 2030. [1]

In the time since then, I happened upon the image again on a blog about reincarnation. Although the idea of past-life regression is fairly well known, there is (at least in theory) also the possibility of future-life progression, and a notable number of the futures reported are apocalyptic hellscapes in which Earth is blasted and empty, with living things, if there are any at all, being in tiny enclaves, or surviving in space stations, etc. [2]

The image came up again somewhere that I've forgotten in the intervening time; I think it was an RPG forum post or something similar. But what I do remember is my reaction to it, which was, "Okay, three times is enemy action." Or that is to say, there's a pattern. There's synchronicity. The Universe is talking to me.

A widely-accepted idea in reincarnation studies (as much as there are such things) is that between lives, you are the architect of your own life. Your "higher self" (or soul, or whatever you want to call that transcendent aspect) comes up with an agenda for your mortal self, you're born, and you give it your best shot. If you get through the agenda, well done! New goals for the next time around! If you don't, no worries, you can try again for the rest of forever.

Your mortal self does this pretty much on autopilot. However, the theory goes, that if you want to check in with your higher self, or your higher self wants to check in with you, it's possible to communicate. This usually happens in frustratingly vague "Give me a sign!" ways, but as your higher self is part of you (and/or vice versa), direct communication can also be done with practice and focused thought. Higher self is always listening.

So that brings me around to the point of this post, which is really a memo to my higher self, which is: I am not interested in these apocalyptic visions and I'm not going there. We make the world around us, and the world I will make is a vibrant, happy, and healthy one full of awesomeness, joy, and love. [3] I'm willing to accept that I have lessons to learn about grief and loss, the past decade has made that amply clear, but I'm not going to sink into nihilism or despair. As they say on the internet, I'm going to keep calm and bugger on.

So higher self, just release those visions and stop sending them my way; send me great things instead, please. You've sent me plenty of awesomeness in the past, I know you can do it. :)

Thanks. :)

-The Gneech

[1] With the disclaimer that I am not a scientist, I find this dubious. The Earth's climate has been considerably warmer than it is now, and life flourished in those periods. If melted ice caps were a straight-up killer, wouldn't that have already happened?

[2] How a future life progression could reveal a future in which there is no life to progress to, is a mental exercise I leave to others. It's also worth noting that these are not the only futures people have reported. Assuming there's anything to future life progression at all, that would suggest there are diverging timelines and something causes you to go into one or another.

[3] I'll get into vibration theory in some other post, but my point here is, I will rise to higher levels. Those empty and dead futures may well be there for souls who need that. I do not, and will go to different futures instead.
the_gneech: (Legolas silhouette)
If by some strange quirk you pay attention to such things, you have noticed that I haven't posted any reincarnation meditation reports lately. That's because, for the most part, I haven't attempted many. I've been too tired most of the time, due to moving and stressors and bad sleep and a bajillion other things, so if I do sit still for 20 minutes, all I do is fall asleep.

However, I have made a few attempts, and indeed I made such an attempt tonight, as I actually got enough sleep for a few nights in a row and felt up to giving it a shot. Alas, as has been often been the case, I didn't get very far. I did get a few fragmentary memories and fleeting images, but most were disjointed and I couldn't tell you if they were anything but random neuron firings in my brain. There also seemed to be a certain amount of actual psychosomatic resistance– at once point I started getting the itchies, for instance, and scratching an itch in one place would just make one pop up somewhere else.

I asked myself, in my semi-hypnotic state, "What's happening here? Why is there resistance?" and the only response I got was, "No, just no." So for whatever reason, that gate is closed at the moment. Not even a hint as to why, just a flat shut down.

So I guess whatever part of my psyche is connected to all that reincarnation stuff wants me to let it be and concentrate on my current life for now. Which is fine, it's not like I don't have plenty going on. But it's a little frustrating, because I'm still curious. Once you start digging into the notion that what is "you" consists of something much larger than your current trip around the merry-go-round, there is a strong desire (at least in me) to reconnect with the rest. On the other hand, assuming reincarnation is true, then presumably the memory wipe happens for a reason and I'll understand it better once the current trip is done.

However, I'm going on the record as saying now, that I resent you (me) keeping secrets from my (your) self. And I want to remember that part, on the other side.

All of which said, next time I do an "on topic" meditation [1], it'll be about things in my current life.

-The Gneech

[1] There are different kinds of meditation. The classic "quiet your mind" meditation is generally considered the most useful and provides the most health benefits (physical and mental). However, there's also "meditating on" something, which is getting into that quiet meditative state and letting your subconscious and semi-conscious brain chew on a problem. You just sorta pose the problem to yourself at the start, like releasing a ball at the top of a hill, and let go. It's quite different from actively thinking about something, but honestly, tends to also be much more effective. [2]

[2] See also the "have some pie" scene in Men In Black III.
the_gneech: (Mad Red)
So a few days ago I posted to my LJ:

So I suppose it makes a certain amount of sense that weekend morning shifts started coming at me relentlessly. If the Universe wanted me to say adios to the job, that's probably the most effective way to do it. On the other hand, I kinda feel like I was nudged into taking the job by the Universe in the first place, so... What gives, Universe? Did you want me to take the job or not? :P

Last night, while on one of my breaks, I was ruminating on this topic, and the answer came back to me, “To show you the lessons you've been learning in action.” And I thought about this a bit. I thought about G____ not being able to handle basic tasks, much less challenges, and her passive-aggressive approach to everything. I thought about A____'s oblivious “show up, add another task to the pile, and then disappear without helping” behavior and how it builds resentment and actually prevents things from getting done. I thought about B____'s laid back “You do this, I'll do this, and it'll all get done” approach, and D____'s “I will carry the whole store on my back and get beat up in the process, and just quietly wish I were doing something else” mindset, and of course I thought of all the customers for whom having just the right drink made the right way was a touchstone that helped them cope in a world that was too much for them.

I thought about the pettiness of hustling, like the guy who keeps trying to order “a refill” without a cup, because it's fifty cents instead of $1.50. You've clearly got a job, dude, why are you embarrassing yourself and me over a dollar? I thought about the people who come in and buy 5 shots of espresso on top of a venti frappuccino, paying $7+ bucks without batting an eye for a drink that's going to eventually kill them.

And finally I thought about how chill I was when I started the job, how stressed out I got as the holiday season picked up and we were suddenly busy, and what a depressing grind it was working weekend mornings, where you came in and the store was burning down, and it was just going to be like that all day, and compared that to this past Sunday, when I asked the Universe to arrange things so that I had an enjoyable shift that left me feeling better at the end of it than I did at the beginning... and the Universe delivered. I was still tired, of course, but I was tired and happy, instead of tired and miserable.

So maybe the answer is that yes, the Universe did want me to take the job, kinda like an exam in the whole “awakening” course it's been putting me through, and now having passed the test (I assume?), the job has fulfilled its function and I can put it behind me.

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Mysterious Beard)
So, say what you want about 2015, it was better than 2014, and for that I am grateful. In fact, while it's had its rough spots, when I analyze it carefully I find that it was also better than 2012 and 2013, being in fact one of the best years I've had in a long while.

How so? For starters, this is the first year in several in which the number of friends I have at the end is higher than the number of friends I had at the beginning, instead of the other way around. Not only did none of my close friends or family die this year, but I made new friends! And that is worth more than words can express.

2015 was also a very mixed bag news-wise, and I won't pretend it wasn't. But something huge happened this year that I don't want to forget:

It doesn't impact me personally, but it changes the shape of the world for many people I love, and it wasn't something I would have ever guessed would happen in my lifetime. Whenever I start to worry about the state of the nation, I remember that this happened, and hope returns. The U.S.A. can be a great nation, when we summon up the courage.

As for my own personal year, many of my plans were all gang aft agley, and many of the best things that happened were things I didn't expect at all. Looking back at my goals...

  1. Sell the House and Move Already: Did that. Ambivalent about the results. I don't like The Staircase even half as much as I liked The Hobbit Hole, even at half the price and twice the liquidity. But this was always (as Doodles the Great put it) a Rebound House, and we'll be out of here as soon as possible. I'm hoping for spring.

  2. Bring in $13k Income: I haven't run the numbers, so I don't know if I did this or not, but my guess is "not even close" even with the Starbucks job.

  3. Four Issues of Rough Housing: Three and progress. Issue four was disrupted by a novel. More on that below, but issue four is under construction and will start running next week, so this item is still on the boards.

  4. Get Dungeons & Denizens Rolling: Didn't happen. Between Greg and myself both kinda stalling and/or getting caught up in other things, the project has just sorta languished. I'm not sure we wouldn't be better off to just put it to bed and move on to something else.

  5. Continue to Lose Weight: This is a weird one. I got down into the 270's, but have drifted back up to 288.9 as of this morning. But I am slimmer and more toned than I have ever been. Am I gaining muscle mass? I dunno. Unfortunately, last month Weight Watchers ditched their useful and achievable model in order to become just another "live on fumes and exercise 26 hours/day" bullshit plan that is just as doomed to failure as the rest. So I expect I'll be dumping my membership. I'm grateful for what it taught me about which foods were good and which ones were bad, as well as for the progress it helped me make over the past two years, but clearly it's time to move on.

  6. Keep Flossing Them Teeth: This is a pretty set habit for me these days. :)

So what did I achieve that wasn't on my list?

  • Novel and a Half! I wrote the Airship Pirates novel! And in all honesty, I think it's a very good novel. The next step on that front is hunting for publisher/agent. I was planning to devote December to that, but the Starbucks job interfered; once I actually get to work on that, however, I fully expect it to move quickly. The other half novel was the revised outline for the Brigid and Greg novel, which I was making huge progress on until the house sale and move bumped it to the back burner.

  • Reincarnation/Meditation/LoA I don't even know what prompted me to start going down this path, and I've barely scratched the surface of what I've been doing here in my LJ "reincarnation reports," but the experience has been something akin to this:

    Part of the reason I haven't talked about it all is that is it's such an intensely personal experience that I can't really describe it in words that don't utterly fail to get it across. Another part of it is that a lot of it falls squarely into the realm of crackpottery, and I have better things to do with my time than fend off a legion of tiresome snarky and dismissive comments from the usual suspects. So I will just say that over the past few months I've felt happier and more centered than I have at any other time I can remember, and I have been seeing results in the "real world" all around me. I'm very pleased with this development and intend to continue!

So that's the year that was. Although it didn't up being as big a year of going big as I was expecting, it was still a good year and movement in the right direction!

So what are my goals for 2016?

  1. Issues Four and Five, Plus the First Collection. Rough Housing is going to continue, and I think this year it's finally going to come into its own. The first collected volume will carry issues one through four, for which I'm going to go back and do some cleanup of continuity, some revisions of the character design, and some generalized fixing of things.

  2. Publish That Book! I have a terrific novel that only five people have read. This needs fixing. ;)

  3. Finish Another Book! Whether it's Brigid and Greg, a second Sky Pirates book, or even Charlie Providence, we'll see.

  4. Get the Money Sitch Fixed. Some of this is dependent on [ profile] lythandra's new job, which is currently floating just on the other side of a probability wave and should be appearing at any time; but I also want to be bringing in proper money myself and– and this is the important part– I want to be doing it with my real work, the writing and comics, and not with some phony-baloney day job I took just for the cash. My creations are valuable, and it's time they started earning what they're worth!

  5. Move. We need to live in a place we like. This is not negotiable. I'm still California dreaming, but I'm not going to fixate on that. I believe in incremental improvement, so even just being in an apartment/house with enough room and some sunshine will be considered a success. A roomy craftsman rambler in Santa Cruz would be a slam dunk, tho. ;)

  6. Get Back to Conventions! This is something of a sub-set of the money thing. I only worked two conventions this year, AC and MFF, because my plate was so full of other things. (Technically I did attend FC this year, but I always think of FC as being part of the year leading up to it. So, FC was a 2014 thing, even if it did happen in 2015.) But we're already on lock to go to Dragon*Con next year, and of course I'll at least be doing AC and MFF again. I'd like to do AwesomeCon, and I want to find more cons to go to.

  7. Stronger faster slimmer better. I don't get this whole "weight staying the same waistline shrinking" thing, but I'm not going to complain about it. While I'm in considerably better shape than I was last year or the year before, I'm not quite ready for Speedos yet. I want to get there this year.

  8. No more afib. Heart chakra's opened up. My "love being blocked" problem is opening up and going away. If the afib was a physical symptom of that (and I suspect it may have been), hopefully that means I'm done with it as well.

  9. Bernie Sanders 2016! Workin' on it. :)

For the moment at least, I think that covers most of it. If I've forgotten something, please let me know!

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (LIGHTNING from my FINGERS!)
From the Weird Synchronicity Department:

Over the weekend, I was changing the bulb of a light fixture and found an immobile spider inside the fixture. Thinking the spider was dead (as bugs found in a light fixture tend to be), I took it into the bathroom and attempted the throw the body into trash can, only to be startled by the fact that said spider was in fact still alive when she [1] scrambled away. (Eep!)

In the days since then, the spider has stayed in the bathroom, generally near the ceiling, just sorta lurking in her spidery way. It's a little jarring to look up from the shower and see her hanging there, but there are worse roommates than spiders so I haven't been real aggressive about evicting her.

Added to this mix, this morning, Ramona Donohue/@balsamicvinegar (a tweep I met via the #TwitterPonies) posted:

"Last night I was minding my own damn business and then a spider lowered itself in front of me. Rude."

I responded that the spider just wanted a hug, and as we were going on about that, this video showed up in my RSS feeds:

In response to our bantering back and forth, a Twitter persona "Eight Legged Gang" appeared and started taunting Ramona, schoolyard bully style. They sniped back and forth once or twice, which started out entertaining but rapidly got old as the spider player just didn't have much more beyond "You a hoe!" and Ramona didn't feel like engaging in a battle of wits against an unarmed opponent.

Nevertheless, even as dense as I am, I can hear when the Universe is shouting at me. So! Spiders, pretty much!

So I looked up some of the prevailing wisdom about spiders. Here's what I found:

  • Spiders represent creativity. After all, they weave intricate and often beautiful webs, which are made of the thinnest filaments but are still remarkably strong. Druidic tradition associates spiders with bards. Interestingly enough, spiders take their webs down by eating them, and then spin them anew. What better metaphor could there be for the storyteller, who synthesizes the tales they hear and spins them again into new stories of their own?

  • Hindu tradition associates spiders with Maya, and the insects caught in the spider's web as souls trapped in the illusion of a physical reality.

  • Spiders are often associated with the feminine aspect, which certainly makes sense considering the realities of spider biology (and since femininity and creativity are often associated with each other).

  • Spiders often represent patience, and again, patience with the creative process.

Also, there's the story of Arachne, as summarized here:

And of course, no conversation about the meaning of spiders is complete without discussing the Greek myth of Arachne, a mortal (although of noble stature) who was a spectacular weaver. Acclaim for her luscious lively looms spread over hill and dale and ultimately reached the immortal ears of Athena. Arachne claimed she was the best weaver, and thus prompted a challenge from Athena.

And so, they played a round of "dueling looms," but no one could confirm the victor. However, Arachne was quite smug about the whole process. So much so, that Athena smote her with a mighty blow of conscience and a dose of guilt. Arachne took the dosage hard, and could not live with the intense feelings of guilt and sorrow so she killed herself. Athena felt awful over the whole mess and decided to resurrect Arachne in the form of a spider so that she and all her offspring would forever be the best weavers of the universe.

So, yeah, there's a lot to unpack about spiders, above and beyond the whole "Eek! A spider!" routine. If that silly spider account had been all about spidery mysticism instead of just being a jackass, that would have been way cooler.

My own personal interpretation of my recent bout of spider synchronicity? I suspect it may be related to my ongoing grapple with Suburban Jungle, where it's going and what I want it to be. I think that if the spider is trying to tell me anything, it's probably (a) to be patient with the process, and (b) to synthesize, reclaiming the best of what I've done before, and to weave a new tale out of those elements.

I'll do my best, spider. Thanks for the advice! ^.^

-The Gneech

[1] I assume it's a "she" because of size. Most male spiders are tiny, but this one is approximately the size of a thumbnail from toe-tip to toe-tip.
the_gneech: (Mysterious Beard)
I mentioned last week that I wanted to keep a record of some of my "Starbucks moments," and this one happened yesterday.

Being a public space in a busy suburb, we have a lot of people who float around the edges of common experience, so to speak, such as the gal who comes in, demands she be served her coffee quickly because she's in a hurry, then sits in the corner for hours staring intently into space.

One such person I encountered yesterday appeared on the outside to be a fairly typical "soccer mom" sort of woman. It was right at twilight and I was wheeling the trash can out to the dumpster, a fairly significant walk which involves crossing a street, as the dumpsters are on the far side of the shopping center. As I was crossing the street one way, she was crossing the other way, and we met in the middle, at which point she turned on her heel and walked alongside of me, and said, "Yes, we should all strive to improve ourselves, but to hold people up to a standard of perfection, is exactly the wrong thing to do."

"I agree," I said, as the wind caught a bit of plastic out of the trash can I was pushing and blew it away.

She nodded, apparently pleased to have someone agree with her, and said, "Well okay, let's hope we all get it together." She then nodded and went back off in the direction she'd been going, and I went on my merry way.

So, yeah. Appeared at a crossroad, at twilight, to give me a nugget of (admittedly random and somewhat baffling) wisdom? Pretty sure she was a spirit of some kind. She probably sprouted wings and took off when I wasn't looking.

Three Good Things For Today

  1. A whole day of writing! Awwwww, yeah! Come up with some good ideas to improve the third act, which I hope to get to tomorrow.

  2. Got some cash in that we've been waiting on. Rent for next month is covered. :)

  3. Had some nice comments from a Suburban Jungle fan on Twitter.

  4. BONUS GOOD THING: Had fun wandering around Barnes & Noble with [ profile] lythandra.

  5. ANOTHER BONUS GOOD THING: Watched the first ep of "Supergirl," which was entertaining enough, if a bit formulaic.

Three Goals For Tomorrow

  1. Chiropractic appointment.

  2. Write MOAR.

  3. Try to get some game prep in.

G'nite world, and have an awesome tomorrow. :)

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Default)
As you may know if you follow my Twitter feed, I was in atrial fibrillation ("afib") again yesterday, which I suspect had to do with pushing myself to do several long shifts at the new job last week. While trying to relax myself, I attempted to do a past-life meditation session, but was not very successful, although I did get some very clear memories of playground equipment at Shrevewood Elementary.

So today I gave it another shot, using a study carrel at the Reston Library by an accident of logistics. The change of venue was a little distracting, but not overwhelmingly so. I called up the Brian Weiss video on my phone, tucked in my earbuds, and off I went. I'm sure this session was influenced by my recent remembrances of my late friend KimbaWLion, as will as my discussions earlier today with Inkblitzer about the notion of souls transcending species.

The first thing I noticed was that my visualization of "healing color" was much stronger than I've had before. It wasn't a single color, but cycled between cerulean blue, pale violet, and into deep purple, depending on what was going on.

The main childhood memory that came up was a weird and embarrassing one that I don't really want to discuss in a public venue, because it was one of those "kids do very strange things" moments, involving a closet at Ogdenland in which I spent a lot of time hiding. Suffice to say my parents' reaction to the incident left an impression on me and leave it at that.

It wasn't the only childhood memory that came up, however. Another was waiting alone in one of the classrooms at the Schaefer private school in Falls Church, while my parents talked to the administrators about my possible enrollment. There was a jigsaw puzzle of an illustration of Frankenstien's monster there, and I was assembling it while I waited, finding the artist's interpretation of the creature quite interesting because it had nothing to do with the Boris Karloff version. That segued into another memory of one of my classmates in that same room, many months later, who had the Star Trek Phaser Battle Game, an ancient licensed Mego toy that I had long dreamed of. But he wouldn't let anyone else play it, leading one to wonder why he'd bothered to bring the thing.

"In utero" memories failed to bring any results.

The past life memory section started with a series of peculiar images that I couldn't easily parse, until I realized I was looking at some sort of plant matter, but huge. It took me several baffled moments to work out that it wasn't huge, I was small: it wasn't a human self at all, but an animal, and the things I was looking at were some sort of buds like turnip plants. They were clustered together around the trunk of a tree, which seemed incredibly huge in the memory, but upon reflection was probably of a fairly ordinary size.

The next image I got was from up in the tree, looking down at a bench and a streetlamp, apparently in some sort of park. From this I came to the conclusion that I must have been a squirrel. At this point in the session Mr. Weiss prompts you to go to the last day of that life, which seemed a little premature as I was just starting to get a handle on it. However, the image that came from that prompt was simply lying still, staring up at the tree and unable to move. Maybe I fell out of it and broke my neck? When Mr. Weiss suggested trying to float above that scene and look down at yourself, I could just make out a white critter-like shape, with arms curled up at its chest.

Mr. Weiss asks, "Why are you remembering this life now? What message is it trying to convey to you?" So I thought about that, and in particular I thought about it in connection with the Ogdenland memory, and the recurring theme seemed to be mistaking a very limited sphere of influence for being the totality of the world. We were pretty isolated at the Ogden Street house, making a lot of life there a little family microcosm where every weird little thing became huge and important. Similarly, "squirrel Gneech" seemed to be completely tied to his tree, having little to no knowledge of the world beyond, and ending his life at the foot of it.

This strikes me as an obvious parallel for the idea that the physical world is a projection of a larger one, and that mistaking the world around us for being all that is in unnecessarily limiting ourselves when there's a lot more out there, which is of course what all this meditation has been about.

On the way "back" to your body, you are encouraged to imagine a spiritual guide, and I was a little surprised that KimbaWLion presented himself in the role (although in retrospect it's like duh, of course he did). We had little to say in terms of words, simply hugged as long-separated friends would do. I told him how much I missed him, and when I asked if he had any messages or lessons for me, he said, "You're doing it right. Just keep on going." That was very comforting. :)

And that was pretty much it. I gave Kimba a fond farewell and ended the meditation, feeling very happy and at peace with the world.

Three Good Things For Today

  1. The meditation (as described here) and "seeing" my old friend KimbaWLion.

  2. A very positive session with my counselor afterwards.

  3. Finished another chapter in my second draft, now roughly 5,000 words up.

Three Goals For Tomorrow

  1. Leaf-viewing trip! :D

  2. Get more writing done.

  3. Watch another episode or two of Legend of Korra.

That's all for now. Gnite world, and have an awesome tomorrow. I love ya. <3

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Mysterious Beard)
NOTE: This stuff probably reads like gibberish to anyone who is not me, and I apologize for that, but I'm making these notes mostly for myself anyway. :)

As I mentioned this morning, I tried a more generalized 20 minute meditation rather than regression therapy. I tried to meditate on the question of why I feel compelled to draw my comic, and then have so much pain and difficulty with it; but my subconscious had other ideas, it seems.

Instead, it was working on the question my counselor posed to me the other day, of "Why would you arrange to live a life with toxic parents?" To which the answer returned, "Your love is blocked." That caused me to reflect on being told by my sister that as a child I used to hug the furniture because I couldn't ever get enough hugs from people, and now as an adult I still feel very isolated and lonely a lot of the time, which is the core element of my recurring depression. Even when I am offered love, I can't seem to feel it.

As for how toxic parents fit in, the thing that strikes me is that with toxic parents, love is the silk glove that hides sharp barbs. My parents never praised something I did without immediately pointing out some shortcoming as well. Left-handed compliments were the only kind they gave, when they gave any at all. If I was proud of having gotten a "B" on a test, my parents' reaction was "You're smart, so why wasn't it an 'A'?"

What does growing up with a never-ending barrage of that crap do? Obviously, besides instilling a permanent inferiority complex and/or imposter syndrome, it makes you flinch at the expression of love, waiting for the followup slap. Eventually you shut yourself away from it completely as a reflex in pure self-defense.

(Warning: Crackpottery ahead!) There is also the possibility that "love" here refers specifically to the fourth chakra. "When your heart chakra is open, you are flowing with love and compassion, you are quick to forgive, and you accept others and yourself. A closed heart chakra can give way to grief, anger, jealousy, fear of betrayal, and hatred toward yourself and others."

Grief? Yup. Jealousy? Yup. Hatred toward self? Yup.

I spent the rest of the meditation session basically trying to "unclench" that part of myself. It's not going to be something that can be done in a single session.

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Mysterious Beard)
Having a bit of creative block, probably from pure muse exhaustion after the sprint to write the novel and from anxiety of having [ profile] lythandra away. So I spent most of today puttering around the internet and/or playing Jade Empire. But I did have a sleep-in this morning which will hopefully put me in a better cycle– assuming I actually make myself to go bed after finishing this post. :P No past life crackpottery today, but I have an appointment with my counselor tomorrow and we'll probably do some talking about it.

Three Good Things For Today

  1. Pizza for dinner :d

  2. Laptime with Buddha <3

  3. Laurie got paid a nice chunk for some freelance work

Three Goals For Tomorrow

  1. Work on Issue Four revisions

  2. Counselor visit

  3. Draw "Ask the Cast!" for posting Friday

In the meantime, g'nite world, and have an awesome tomorrow. :)

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Default)
Regression therapy report. Two exercises today.

The first was to simply write a bunch of rambly stream-of-consciousness thoughts this morning, ranging from random observations on the whole past lives idea and its implications, to specific questions for myself and potential avenues of exploration. I examined the recurring patterns of my life, the situations I find myself in over and over again and the themes that keep coming up, but I didn't delve too deep into what the patterns might mean yet. I figured that for a start, just making a note of some of them would be a good first step.

One idea that comes up in discussion of reincarnation/past lives is the "soul group." These are people who you encounter again and again across multiple lifetimes, in various roles based on what the intended purpose of the current given life is. To that end, I also made a list of people who have been important in my life, for good or ill, regardless of how long they were in it. Some of that made it onto Twitter as I remembered a particularly painful "friendship break-up" when I was about 10 years old that left deeper scars than I realized until recently. I only knew the person for a year or two, and I've never seen them since, but effects were profound. On the other hand, there are people I've known literally my whole life (as in, probably came to see me in the maternity ward) who didn't get put onto the list because in the grand scheme of things they just haven't had that big of an impact.

Combined with my list of patterns and questions, it was a revealing exercise. I'm not ready to go into detail about it here (and a lot of it is definitely TMI anyway), but it has at least given me plenty to reflect on.

The second exercise for today was that I turned down the lights, sat in a comfy chair, and attempted the past-life exercise here:

The results were very mixed. Whenever I would "let go" of conscious control, my brain would attempt to doze off, which suggests to me that next time I should probably take a nap first. It's no secret that I don't sleep anywhere near as much as I should, and [ profile] lythandra being away has only made that worse, as she normally tanks the cats at breakfast time, allowing me to gain a few extra hours of sleep in the morning.

So some energy was wasted in simply trying to stay awake. Other distractions included my hands repeatedly falling asleep (combined with my hand tremors, I am beginning to wonder if there is something neurological going on there), and a tree branch against the window that has taken to scraping constantly recently. So more lessons for next time: try a different chair that will hopefully not put my hands to sleep, and use headphones.

Once actually in the exercise itself, I didn't get past the stage of recalling a childhood incident, because of instead of picking one and drilling down deep into it, my brain kept jumping from memory to memory, trying desperately to find an unreservedly happy one. Given my lifelong issues with depression and unfortunate tendency to focus on things that are irking me, this was obviously difficult. My mind seems to regard happiness as "the absence of irritants," but it also has a ridiculously-sensitive irritation trigger.

Childhood memories that did come up, that I can recall now:

  • Whiffle ball with family in front yard at Odgenland

  • "Weeeeno, weeeeno, weeeeno!" with Danny (We were five, you had to be there.)

  • Playing with a kitchen set in kindergarten

  • Playing by myself with a toy Batmobile in the living room at Odgenland

The main other incident of note during the exercise was that I felt the chair go bump, as if one of the cats had jumped into my lap (which is what I thought had happened). I opened my eyes in response only to find that all the cats were asleep in various spots around the room and there was nothing apparent that could have created such a bump. I'm guessing it was a hallucination or possibly synaesthesia from some kind of noise from outside?

Or maybe we've got ghost cats, I dunno. That kitten from a couple years ago?

-The Gneech

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