Thursday, April 19, 2012


Energy impacts us at all times,
and the frequency at which that energy moves
determines our physical, mental and spiritual health. . .
Why would you give your precious life energy . . . 
to something you [don’t] want?
~Dr. Wayne Dyer
(photo of original artwork) 
As a young attorney starting life in a new town on the coast of Florida, I joined a leadership program sponsored by the local Chamber of Commerce.  We had to commit ourselves to a year of exploring the nuances of business and industry in our two-county region—once a month devoting a day to visit a local business, manufacturing facility, the school system, the community hospital, a military base where we prepared to deploy as local troops would, exploring area tourist destinations, checking out delicious restaurants—all in an effort to better understand the nature and energy of the place we all called “home.” 

Our first exercise was to attend a SIM-SOC Retreat, where we lived for a weekend in a simulated society. Upon entering the SIM-SOC, each participant was assigned a new name, occupation, political and religious affiliation, family and marital status, educational background, a predetermined set of goals, problems and issues to resolve, and a fake bank account, together with some “cash” in the form of twisty-ties—the kind you tie-up trash bags with—representing our communal currency. 

Some of the participants, to their dismay, were assigned the lives of homeless people and, while everyone else had moderate or posh hotel rooms to call “home”—some sharing rooms with other participants (depending on their financial status)—the homeless folks had to hang out in the makeshift homeless shelter (a large conference room with only cots to sleep on).  We had no contact with the outside world. 

As simple as it sounds, this SIM-SOC experiment led to one of my greatest Aha!  moments as I witnessed the value, power and “energy” that we give to things.  What makes the almighty dollar (or twenty) so mighty?  Money can’t cleanse your soul or fundamentally change the nature of who we are.  I suppose it can solve problems in its own way.  But inherently, it is neither good nor evil, only that we make it so.  We energize it with our thoughts and actions.  So guess what happened when our “currency” changed to trash-bag-twisty-ties within the borders of our simulated society?  The twisty-tie became that mighty thing to give or be gotten, breeding the exact same kind of power struggles, control, greed, infighting, thievery, sharing and great acts of compassion that exactly mirror real life.

Yet EVERYTHING is energy—living, dynamic matter. Even the smallest subatomic particles are engaged in a constant process of exchange with other particles in a never-ending flow of energy, vibrating at different frequencies—light and fast moving particles producing sound and light—and slower, denser energy manifesting as the solid structures we see in the physical world.  Yet when examined under a high-powered microscope even these seemingly solid structures reveal themselves to be clusters of highly active particles, dancing and vibrating at varying speeds, dynamic in nature and part of larger organic energy patterns—reflecting order, not chaos as we might assume. 

This reminds me of a human interest story from several years back telling of the extraordinary sensory gift of Ben Underwood, a young man who lost both of his eyes to cancer at the age of two but then later discovered that he could see the world by clicking his tongue.  The technical term for this ability is “human echolocation,” similar to the built-in sonar device in animals such as dolphins and bats, which helps them navigate their environments by processing sound waves, or echoes, reflected back from objects around them.  In this way, a person capable of human echolocation can identify not only the location of objects, but often their size and basic composition (i.e., metal, wood, vegetation, etc.) based on the vibratory frequency of those objects.  Consider what this reveals about the nature of all things and the energy of life!

            So as you move through the world remember that everyone and everything contributes to the overall energy of your life.  It’s okay to be selective about what you support and how you allow yourself to be energized—for good or ill—by other people and things.  As our most natural law tells us: Energy can neither be created nor destroyed, it simply changes form.    

            Ask yourself:  WHAT’S THE MATTER?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Monkey Woman & the Alligator Man

We're all a little weird.  And life is a little weird. 
And when we find someone whose weirdness 
is compatible with ours,
we join up with them and fall 
into mutually satisfying weirdness-
and call it love-true love. 
~Robert Fulghum, True Love
I was visiting my friend Jenna that year. A brown-haired, brown-eyed beauty from Tennessee, Jenna had this thick, long mane of hair that followed the curve of her back, swaying behind her as she walked, and a long, slow southern-drawl as thick and sweet as molasses.  We had met in law school some years prior, and though the passing of time had forced us to trade our school books for an endless parade of clients, contracts and billable hours, our friendship had thrived.

She was a kindred spirit.  Smart and funny and interested in life, Jenna was the kind of friend you could trust and tell your secrets to; the kind of friend who would cheer you on in moments of triumph, and listen patiently as you cried your eyes out over some disappointment, always responding with compassion and candor.

And, oh, the things she’d say.  After a day in the sun, with a twinkle in her eye, she would tease, “Why, Melissa; you’re as brown as gingerbread; you better watch out or someone’s gonna’ eat you up!”  Always laughing and patting your arm or leg for emphasis.  She made me feel good about me.  So naturally that September, when I found myself in a funk, overworked, stressed out and recovering from a recent break-up, visiting Jenna was just what the doctor ordered.

We spent the afternoon hanging out by the pool, trading war stories from the trenches of our legal practice; she, speaking with warm affection of her husband, and I lamenting on my pathetic-all-but-non-existent-love-life.  We analyzed every word spoken, every tear shed and gut-wrenching moment of the break-up; caught and entangled in an exhausting game called "Let's Second Guess My Decision!" Should I have settled?  Would there be someone else better suited for me?  What if there wasn’t anyone else?  We carried on this way for hours until the sun set and we headed inside to take showers. 

“Come on, Melissa, it’s about to start!”  She called, grabbing two Cokes and a bag of microwave popcorn from the kitchen.  “This is the movie I was tellin’ you about."  I joined her on the sofa.

For the next hour, we watched in absolute amazement a film called “Freak Show,” a documentary about so called “circus sideshow freaks.” There was the human torso – the man born without legs who walked on his hands; the Siamese twins joined at the chest who married sisters, all sharing the same bed; a cute little man that called himself “The Pillow Man” because his neck was about 3 feet long, with no arms or a body – he was the size of a bed pillow. 

Then we were introduced to Priscilla, the Monkey Girl.  Born with hair all over her face and body, she had been dropped off at the circus one day by her father because he couldn’t handle the public’s reaction to her condition.  She was taken in and raised by the other circus people, making a good living for herself by performing and displaying her oddities.  My heart broke for the Monkey Girl. 

Then one day, the Alligator Man joined the circus, getting his name from the texture and appearance of his skin.  As fate would have it, he fell in love with the Monkey Girl, and she with him.  They were soon married, appearing everywhere in public and showcasing their wedding photos.  They seemed so happy together.

As the credits rolled, we sat in silence contemplating the insanity of it all; marveling at the ability of these people to be happy in spite of their circumstances.  Then Jenna turned, gently placing her hand on my arm, and in the most soothing voice I’d ever heard, said, “You see, Melissa, even the Monkey Woman found the Alligator Man . . . I just know there’s somebody out there for you.

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, so I laughed; and we laughed and laughed.  I left Jenna’s house the next day full of gratitude for my own life and excitement for the discoveries yet to come.  

That was almost 15 years ago.  Now he’s here! My very own Alligator Man who loves and genuinely appreciates my crazy monkey business.  It feels like magic!  Yet, as I move from one phase of life to another, I see so clearly that these experiences, disappointments and difficult decisions led me to this exact place and time; to this wonderful connection; to this beautiful life we’re building together.  

We’ve only just begun to discover what we’re made of together, but I’m so glad he joined my crazy little circus!