Saturday, April 18, 2009

Telepathy: Not just for skilled psychics!

It works for you, it works for me, it works for the janitor, the realtor, the homemaker and the financial planner down the street. It’s how you get in touch with someone you miss, or meet someone you have been hoping you won’t run into. Whether you want to connect with somebody or avoid him, it works. The key to it is focus.

I was set to go on concert tour to Poland with a group of singers but I was not all that enthusiastic about it for various reasons. It was about two days before departure and I was in a nasty mood, skulking through downtown Chicago on a last-minute shopping trip to buy some much-needed cosmetics. I thought it would be just my luck to run into Mark, a guy I didn’t really want to see, because he was so grown up and I was feeling very childish. My umbrella was misbehaving so I slammed it on the ground in a rage. I looked up and there stood Mark right in front of me.

“Hi, wassup?”

“Oh, nothing special. I have to go on concert tour to Poland in a couple days.”

“That’s great!”

“No it isn’t, I don’t want to go.”

“Then don’t go.”

Right. Stiff my fellow singers, waste the ticket money, acquire a reputation for being unreliable, become persona non grata, in that order. But thanks, Mark, for the advice.

As I got older I learned to focus on what I did want, rather than what I didn’t want.

I missed my friend Regina. I hadn’t seen or heard from her in over 10 years and her birthday was coming up. More than anything I just wanted to be able to wish her a happy birthday and tell her how much I missed her, but didn’t know how or where to find her. I looked her up on the Internet, no luck. Every search I did led to the same result: zip, zero, nada. I turned it over to my Spirit. As always, my Spirit came through. “Think of the song.” That was it.

Three decades earlier, Regina and I were in a Polish folk group. There was one song we did together that was a hit every time we sang it. “Regle, moje regle….” It was from the mountains of Podhale in the extreme south of Poland, and you could hear the echo when we sang together. She sang top and I sang bottom, and we blended like the Robert Shaw Chorale.

So I listened to my Spirit. “Regle, moje regle…” I imagined Regina and me singing. And in between phrases I sneaked in a “Happy Birthday, call me!”

A couple days later I got an e-mail from…you guessed it, Regina. She had looked me up on the Internet, and, since I was a semi-famous personality, she had been able to track me down.

And the subject line was “Regle, moje regle…” Just in time for her birthday. Happy Birthday, dearest Regina!

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Tale of Two Babies

These are true stories. They happened many years ago in my own family.

The Buddha

My mother had gotten pregnant for the third time. She wasn’t planning on it and had even been considering taking The Pill, which was very new and experimental at the time. She already had two children under five, and believe me, we were a handful. Money was tight. She was considering separating from our dad. Another baby was the last thing she needed, and, abortion being out of the question, she was stuck. She went into the bathroom where my brother and I couldn’t hear her, locked the door, held a thick towel over her mouth and screamed her head off.

In between screams she heard a knock on the door. She went to answer it and there stood a detective, holding a photo of a man. He asked my mom if she knew the man or had ever seen him. She didn’t and hadn’t, and the detective noticed that she seemed distraught. “Is everything all right?” he asked. My mom spilled the entire story, about how she was afraid she was pregnant, how was she going to support three kids when we barely had enough money to feed and clothe two, how she and my dad were contemplating divorce. Somehow the detective calmed her down and convinced her to wash her face, dress the kids and take them for a walk. It’s my belief that the spirit of her unborn child guided a kindly officer to our house to assure her that everything would work out in the end.

Months later, the baby was born. Mom called us from the hospital to say we had a new brother. “You could name him Juan,” I ventured helpfully. (We lived in a Puerto Rican neighborhood.) One day, while Mom was waiting for the diaper service the doorbell rang. She answered it, expecting to see the diaper truck, but there stood the detective from months ago. “You weren’t really pregnant, were you?” That kind man had tracked my mom down just to make sure she was OK.

My brother John and I loved the new baby, especially at first. My parents patched up their marriage and things got normal. “I want to sit next to the baby,” I would announce at dinner. “No, I want to sit next to the baby,” argued John. “It’s my turn, you sat next to the baby yesterday.” The baby was like a toy, only more fun. It squirmed. It had a tongue and cheeks and fingers and hair. I called it The Buddha. After a while “it” became “him”, a whiny, bratty but curious, interesting and cute little kid. “Here’s a nickel,” I would say to John, “now hold him down so I can kiss him.” How I ever made it through eighth grade without The Buddha murdering me is one of the mysteries of the Universe.

What the Heck...

A relative’s birth control failed and she got pregnant right as Roe v. Wade was enacted. She and her husband already had had four children between themselves and weren’t exactly jonesing for more. My relative, let’s call her Mary Beth, and her husband, let’s call him Franko, decided that they would drive to the abortion clinic in a neighboring state, since abortion was not yet legal in the state in which they lived. More than halfway there, they heard on the radio that “the police had raided the clinic the night before and all operations had been shut down,” a casualty of the squeamishness of 1970’s America.

Mary Beth and Franko pulled into a gas station to discuss the matter between themselves and a hitchhiker they’d picked up. He proved to be an objective listener, as Mary Beth wanted to keep the baby and Franko didn’t. With the hitchhiker there, they were able to keep the argument civil. “The heck with it,” Franko capitulated. “Let’s just have the baby.”

They had a sweet, cute, intelligent little boy and both parents adored him. I was his main babysitter. I was “young and irresponsible” and I taught him his first swear word. I took him to Chinatown and to the beach and to art fairs. We went trick or treating together with a gang of neighborhood children. It sounds pathetic, but for a few years that little boy was my best friend.

The writer of this blog happens to be pro-choice, so you won’t read, “I’m so glad that abortion clinic was shuttered,” or “If abortion had been legal I might never have had my little brother!” Pro-choice means the woman makes her own decision to have the baby or not, and it’s a choice she makes, not the government, not her family, not her boyfriend or husband. That the decisions to have the babies described above were imposed from without in no way alters my stance, because I believe our spirits guide us to make choices or accept circumstances that our egos are not always aware of.

Humor me for just a paragraph and entertain the concept that we are not just flesh, but spirit. When a spirit wants to come to earth to experience a certain environment, it will find a way, one that resonates with the mother-to-be, the parents or the situation. Both babies described above are now upstanding, kind, conscientious adults contributing to their families, to society and to the good vibes that are pulsating around the planet. I believe that they are angels sent by the I Am, All-That-Is, God, or whatever you choose to call the One Great Spirit. That the circumstances prior to birth were not particularly supportive is a testament to my strong belief that their souls found a way to overcome the obstacles and join us among the living.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Want it? Attract it.

For the past couple years or so there has been an increase in piracy, especially off the coast of the Horn of Africa. For the past couple years or so, at least in the USA, there has been an aura of romance around pirates in general, not the least of the manifestations of such romance being the hit movie Pirates of the Caribbean. There is also “National Talk Like a Pirate Day”. What a crock.

Wake up, America! Pirates are nothing more than the terrorists of yesteryear. In 200 years we might be romanticizing Osama bin Laden, Ramzi al Yousef or Mohammed Atta. That is, if we really want to bring that energy back to life. Do we believe pirates are a warm and fuzzy way to face our fears about terrorism because they belong to some bygone era? I don’t think Richard Phillips, the Captain of the Maersk Alabama, who is currently in the captivity of Somali pirates, is drooling over the romance and excitement of piracy. He is a true hero, having offered himself to the pirates to save his crew, but it would have been much better all around if the pirates had not materialized in the first place.

Metaphysical law states that what you concentrate on is what you get. It’s the Law of Attraction described in books such as The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, Ask And You Shall Receive by Esther and Jerry Hicks and The Nature of Personal Reality by Jane Roberts. That law works for world events just as it does in our own personal lives. When a nation concentrates on a specific issue, such as financial collapse, piracy, green energy sources, or revitalizing its cities, that is what is going to show up. The good news is that whenever two or more are gathered to focus on positive energy, it will materialize. (It’s in the Bible, folks!) And this does not preclude individual prayer to attract more positive events. If you’re alone, pray anyway.

Concentrating on eradicating piracy just brings more piracy. The “War on Drugs” creates more drugs. But concentrating on ships getting safely to their destination and distributing food or goods to people in need will result in exactly that. Focusing on people leading healthy lives or legalizing/decriminalizing/taxing drugs takes away the drama of the drug energy, not to mention the incentive for criminals to deal in them. Mother Teresa had the right idea. She stated she would never attend an anti-war rally, but if anyone held a peace rally, she’d be there. I’m with her.

Friday, April 10, 2009

A Good Friday Tale

Does the name Hans Wurman mean anything to you? If you have ever heard the sound of a synthesizer, it should. He was an arranger and composer who pioneered the Moog Synthesizer by being the first serious artist to record on it in the late 1960’s. He was also one of my very favorite college professors. He had a sardonic sense of humor and we got along wonderfully at the American Conservatory of Music where he taught for a number of years.

One day he wrote an ascending perfect fourth on the blackboard and before he could continue on to the next note I shouted out, “O Sacred Head!” He gave me an exasperated look and said, “Well, why don’t you just teach the class.” But we understood each other, and I knew he was pleased that I had read his mind.

More than 13 years after I graduated from the American Conservatory I was driving home from a job. It was afternoon, and at that particular time of day I tried to avoid the local classical station because I could not abide the announcer’s voice. But my Spirit said, “Listen.” So I tuned the radio to “Chicago’s Classical Experience” and heard what sounded suspiciously like a Moog Synthesizer. I wondered feverishly what Dr. Wurman was doing at the time, how he was, and thought that he must be getting very old by now. After the piece was over, the announcer informed the audience that it was Hans Wurman, who had just passed away, playing the Moog Synthesizer. I thought, well, that answers that question. I sent Dr. Wurman a special blessing from my Spirit.

As I parked the car, I thought about the idea that when you find a penny, it means somebody is thinking about you. I wondered if Dr. Wurman had caught my blessing. I got out of the car, looked down and there was a penny lying on the ground. I picked it up thinking, “Thanks for settling that issue, Dr. Wurman!”

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Going to Slovakia

The worst summer of my life was 1990. I had recently been dumped by a long-term boyfriend. I was bored. The school year had ended and I was missing the kids from my choir. My band had no upcoming gigs. A sexy guy yelled at me. Nothing was going right and, even though I had all my arms and legs and wasn’t languishing in a hospital bed, I was miserable. I would go to sleep each night wishing I could wake up dead. And in the middle of it all was this nagging voice that kept saying, “Go to Czechoslovakia.”

I shushed that voice, but it came back over and over. In the fall I enrolled in a Slovak language course and one of the other students brought a list of people running tours to Czechoslovakia (for all you nitpickers, it was still Czechoslovakia), and specifically to the Slovak part of the country. I filed it in a folder and forgot about it until one day at work when I had finished all my tasks and was sitting there bored. I pulled out the folder and thought, I’m going to close my eyes and stick my finger on the page, and whomever it lands on, I’m going to write them a note asking about their tour to Slovakia. When I saw the name my finger was on, which was Helene Cincebeaux, I thought, no way! The name was French, not remotely Slovak, but then I heard my Spirit say, “Write to her.” So I wrote to Helene, telling her that I was very interested in Slovak folk music and if her tour included any concerts of cimbalom bands or folk festivals I might consider going.

A couple weeks later I got an 8-page letter from her, inviting me to travel with her and her mother for six weeks and then join the two-week tour. She promised to introduce me to the musicians I had been slobbering over for years and that we would attend at least three folk festivals. I was ecstatic!

Helene turned out to be Moravian Slovak, and she and her mother Helen were wonderful to travel with. She was as good as her word, and better. I met all the musicians whose recordings I had been listening to for the past 10 years, we attended four folk festivals, and I sat there with my little Sony tape recorder and my music notebook sucking up the culture like a vacuum cleaner. I made new friends. I came home with dozens of songs and recordings.

An unexpected by-product of the trip was that I learned to speak Slovak fluently. It took about two weeks. I already spoke Polish, and one day at the market square in Piešťany, a city in Western Slovakia, a gentleman approached me speaking Polish. I thought, “What a relief! Now I can speak in a language I really know,” but every word came out Slovak. If you had put a gun to my head, I could not speak Polish!

If this story has a moral, it’s listen to your Spirit. It will always steer you in the right direction, and it knows more than your ego.

What Goes Around...

I was riding the Austin Ave. bus southbound through a rough neighborhood. I picked up a dollar bill that was lying on the floor of the bus and pocketed it. Then I overheard some kids talking about losing a dollar. I looked at the dollar I had picked up. It was a Silver Certificate. I brought it to the bus driver and told him I found it on the floor. At the next stop he asked if anyone had lost a dollar. The kids claimed it. I heard one say to another excitedly, “That dollar’s worth five dollars!”

I really wanted it, but it wasn’t mine.

A few days later I was at a restaurant with a bunch of friends. We had all paid the tab and I was to get $5 back. I took a $5 bill lying on top of the plate of change. It was a Silver Certificate.

And it was all mine.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Keep Obama Away From Notre Dame!

There’s been a lot of hoop-de-do in the upper echelons of the Catholic hierarchy regarding President Barack Obama speaking at the University of Notre Dame’s commencement.

They don’t like it.

Let me reconstruct a conversation that may have taken place between Pope Benedict and Cardinal Francis George as they plotted their hissy fit.

Pope: Fran, baby! How ya doin’, Schatzie? Let’s get Die Amerikanischer riled up about zis Obama speech, ja?

Cardinal: Yes indeed, Your Holiness. The main thing we must address is that Obama supports killing babies in order to improve the lives of the…ugh…already born. It is a disgrace that a Catholic university would even consider inviting him to speak at commencement. Now if Notre Dame had invited George W. Bush we wouldn't be having this conversation in the first place, but...

P: Ja, ja, das ist so. But how do ve sell zis idea to the public?

C: Well, first of all, we must impart the notion that only practicing Catholics should be allowed to express opinions at a Catholic university.

P: Ja, das ist gut. Keep ze religion pure, ja!

C: Second, to make sure this idea sticks, we seize on something that everybody likes to do, except us, which is have sex. But we can’t actually use the word sex, because then our agenda would be too obvious. So we grab a hook, and that hook is abortion. Even though Obama has never had one himself, we can use his support of those trollops who do have them to get our fellow puritans excited.

P: I like! Und please to go on.

C: Third, and very crucial, we must bury Obama’s agenda of social justice, compassion and equality. The real Jesus scholars get hold of that one and we’re in the deep toilet swimming with Satan himself. So we keep hammering, sex, sex, sex. Makes me want to vomit personally, no, I’m not thinking about sex, I’m not thinking about it, I’m not (slaps own face), but the public will relate.

P: Schatzie, I think you have some impure thoughts. See you in ze confession booth.