Soar winner, minus the poop on my legs

Turkey Vulture in majestic flight.
Given the chance to be a bird for a day, would you do it? What kind of bird would you be?

Me, I’d be a turkey vulture. Master of the air. I’d ride the thermals for hours on end. My wings would stretch wide and proud, creating a majestic silhouette in the sky.

Finding food, not a problem. I’d have sharp eyes and an olfactory sense so refined, I could find food miles away. My constitution could handle anything and my featherless head would enable me to push in and get all the good stuff without the embarrassing, “Oh, Sally, is that meat in your hair?”

But riding the thermals, that’d be the best. Up in the roaring silence. Wind in my feathers, I’d fly for the joy of it. At day’s end, I’d roost with my pals, all of us together. Maybe sharing our adventures. Maybe sharing silence, knowing our lives are good.

Perhaps I’d travel, not like migration—that seems such hard work. But I’d take my magnificent self to the mountains. Or explore the length of a river.

Chat with the natives.

Sample the local cuisine.

Ride the thermals until I no longer know where I am and, upon realizing this, rediscover myself all over again.

Texas bonus… in the summer, I would keep cool by defecating on my legs. (Not a strategy I’d be willing to try out in human form!)

So how ’bout you? If you dream of taking wing, I’d love to hear how you’d do it.

Photo credit: Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK

Do you look for messages in dreams?

Two crows perch in a tree
Freud is famous for (possibly) saying, “sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.” Dreams don’t always mean something.

But my favorite game is to ask, “If there were a message for me here, what would it be?” With dreams, you have to play right away, or the details will be lost. I’ll often narrate the dream to my cat upon waking, because speaking it helps me remember.

Why I don’t rely on dream books for interpretations

Dream dictionaries seldom help with this game because symbols in dreams are personal. For example, a dream featuring a baby. To an artist, it could represent a new creative project that needs nurturing. To an overworked manager, could represent a time-consuming responsibility. To a hopeful mother, it could represent a promise of pregnancy, and to a grieving mother, regret and loss. Etc.

My murder of crows

Last night, I dreamt of a tree full of crows. The tree stood between me and a place I visited often. As I approached the tree, crows flew toward me. I dropped to the ground and covered my head to protect my face. But the crows flew right on by.

Seems the crows were saying, It’s not about you.

Turning big symbols into personal tools

I should have known the crows weren’t a threat to me. Earlier in the dream, I’d shared coffee and conversation with someone at a table beneath that tree. So why the paranoia? And perhaps the more interesting question, why was “saving face” my primary concern?

(You can see why I’m a fan of narrating dreams and listening to the details I choose. That’s how things like saving face show up, along with other personal symbols unlikely to be in a dream dictionary.)

And connecting the dots

I’m reminded of my real-life crow visitation, about a year and a half ago. I saw that as a call to find magic in everyday things. But I used a book for that interpretation. If it happened today, I might see my food-carrying crow as a prompt to pay attention to juicy opportunities.

Could having dream crows fly past me indicate great opportunities I’ve failed to notice? Perhaps I tend to miss seeing opportunities that don’t mesh with my precious self-image (to bring saving face back into it).

Lots to think about.

You say you don’t remember your dreams?

A couple of things you can do to get better at it:

  • Before you turn out the light, set an intention to remember
  • Before you get up, spend your muzzy-headed minutes fishing for dream memories
  • Anything you get, speak it out loud. Write notes ASAP
  • Keep a notepad, pen and small flashlight handy for mid-night captures
  • Practice

Once you’ve nailed one, play the game. Bring friends.

A couple of my friends make great dream sounding boards. They catch things like saving face if I miss them. Maybe you’ve got similarly perceptive friends who can listen to you describe your dream and help you play the “if-it-had-a-message-for-me” game.

Have fun. Dream big.

Photo credit: SqueakyMarmot

What do you feel naked without?

Tiny notebooks like this one saved my trip to the Amazon
Tiny notebooks like this one saved my trip to the Amazon
Some women are never without lipstick. For me, it’s travel-sized notebooks.

When size matters

I had a teeny tiny notebook with me in the Amazon the day my camera died. Instead of photos, I scribbled about everything from the local uses of manioc tubers (bread starch and also a topical anti-aging treatment for women) to the expected lifespan of a dugout canoe (2-3 years). I listed the types of birds, recorded conversations I had with locals and recipes for Peruvian specialties.

(When my traveling companion read the trip diary I compiled after returning home, she was stunned by how much she’d already forgotten.)

A few of my trusty Moleskine notebooks.
A few of my trusty Moleskine notebooks.
True companions for when I’m really in the mood

Teeny notebooks that fit in back pockets get me by. But for big writerly love, it’s Moleskine notebooks every time—sturdy cover, ribbon to mark my place, elastic strap to keep it closed, accordion pocket in back to stash smaller scraps of things.

I won’t buy one unless I can get squared rule pages. Somehow, it frees me to write as big or small as I want. The Moleskine goes with me to coffeeshops, conferences, Meetups and writers meetings.

My bookshelf holds a row of these trusty companions, some more flagged and battle scarred than others. Flip through one and you’ll find pages of stories, ideas for Tarot spreads, notes from lectures and drafts of blog posts.

Why messy works for me

With handwriting like mine, you’d think I’d use a computer for everything, but I get deep satisfaction from my pile of Moleskines, They are snapshots in time—as fragmented and messy as life. Paging through them, I can trace back to the roots of an idea. I can mark progress on projects I’m working on. And unlike time I spend at the computer, I can see tangible proof of what I’m doing.

No wonder I feel incomplete without some kind of notebook to hand.

What about you? Are there must-have tools in your life? A thing (or practice or app) that brings you satisfaction and a sense of security? I’d love to hear about it.

When one ear closes, another opens

A woman wearing antenna-like rabbit ears, to represent how losing my hearing enhanced my ability to receive intuitive messages.Long silence since my last post. Literally. Twice now, I’ve lost my hearing to sinus infections. First time, I freaked out. This time, I’ve been able to appreciate the way it minimizes distractions, making it easier to stay present.

Only just now have I regained enough voice to try catching up with the stack of Tarot reading requests that have been waiting far too long. What I still lack in vocal power is balanced with enhanced intuitive capacity, so clients receiving my first, scratchy, post-ick recordings are getting full benefit of my undistracted state.

If you’re one of my beloved Tarot clients and I owe you a reading, hang in there. I should be caught up by weekend’s end. (Those of you with March birthdays, I haven’t forgotten you!) Thank you for your patience.

Photo credit: Helga Weber

February 1 with the Plotting Princesses and Groundhog Day

I’m a summer gal. So by the time we reach the end of January, beginning of February, I’m already desperate for warm temperatures and long, sunlit days and it seems they will never come. Maybe that’s why I love the 1993 film “Groundhog Day.”

As Phil Connor (the Bill Murray character) says, “You want a prediction about the weather, you’re asking the wrong Phil. I’ll give you a winter prediction: It’s gonna be cold, it’s gonna be grey, and it’s gonna last you for the rest of your life.”

I love it because, of course, it doesn’t last the rest of his life. He’s stuck. Feeling trapped and hopeless. And with Groundhog Day, he has a magical opportunity to change his outlook, his luck, his heart and ultimately, his life.

So does the heroine of Going Native. Come join me on the Plotting Princesses blog to talk about the courage to change.

When “good girls” go wild

Sally Felt models t-shirt reading, "Recovering Good Girl. Tempt me."Family expectations. Peer pressure. Poor self image. It’s easy to understand why so many of us wind up living life by someone else’s rules—being Good Girls. Do it long enough and it becomes a tough habit to break.

Ready to join Good Girls recovery?

Good girls don’t make demands or attract attention. Even the smallest steps toward independent self expression take courage. It feels like a crazy rebellion, rife with potential for dire consequences.

It helps to have a friend or role model who actively creates the life of her dreams. Someone to encourage us to say what we think and pursue what we want.

For Violet, the heroine of my sexy romance Going Native, it’s a free-spirited friend who lives the glamorous lifestyle of Violet’s dreams. In the book, Violet literally steps into her friend’s shoes for a month, learning what it feels like to live larger.

(Naturally, complications ensue. It’s a romantic comedy, after all.)

Bravery comes in all forms (and t-shirt sizes)

If you’re like me, still working to break the habit of second guessing yourself (or whatever Good Girl behavior is your personal bugaboo), I invite you to solicit support. Friends. Or a mentor.

Step out. Take a chance. Learn what sets you on fire. You are the only you the world will ever know (and I am the only me). Our voices matter. Solidarity for recovering Good Girls!

To get a t-shirt like the one I’m wearing here, visit my CafePress store. And if you’d like to read Violet’s adventures on the wild side, order Going Native from Ellora’s Cave or your favorite book e-tailer.

The Lovers: Tarot energy of 2013

Keywords: Harmony, decisions, union, rite of passage, romance.
Keywords: Harmony, decisions, union, rite of passage, romance.

The year 2013 is a “6” year in numerology. (We get that by adding 2 + 0 + 1 + 3 = 6) The sixth card in Tarot’s Major Arcana is The Lovers, so expect the energy of this card to be widely available. If you have any dreams or plans with a Lovers-like flavor, dust ‘em off and put them into motion—there’s lots of support available this year.

Under the energy of The Lovers, an overall strategy of cooperation (or collaboration) will be more successful than competition. This is the year to release thoughts of us/them in favor of seeking win/win solutions. It’s a time to remember that our decisions impact others.

"Cream & Sugar" in The Kitchen Tarot by Susan Shie & Dennis Fairchild.
“Cream & Sugar” in The Kitchen Tarot by Susan Shie & Dennis Fairchild.

Of course, there’s a chance of getting carried away with the feel-good, romantic energy of The Lovers. The shadow side of The Lovers includes the temptation to over-sacrifice in the name of harmony. Or to get so swept off your feet that you make decisions you later regret.

That said, The Lovers can provide a welcome spirit of optimism and an interest in working together. To repair/renegotiate/release inharmonious relationships. To explore what’s possible when we embrace a more romantic view of life. Who will we meet? How will we treat the people we love? What happens when we our decisions arise from love, rather than fear?

This is the year to find out.

Check out The Kitchen Tarot at Hay House. It’s currently featured for just $1! (Not affiliated, just a fan.)