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Essential Energy Blog


The Music of Life

A few days ago, my precocious nine year-old looked at me and said, “Mom, without music the world would be a really sad place.” This comment needs to be taken in context, before expanded upon. This nine-year old is a total throwback to my generation, the classic rock and roll, beat the drums, hold your breath, dance until dawn, rock and roll. Gabe plays both electric guitar and the drums, and is probably one of the few pre-pubescent who digs Black Sabbath (the songs I’ll let him listen to) and Guns and Roses. And like most children of his age, he walks around in a black leather jacket with I-Pod listening devices stuck in his ears, pockets, and backpack. He’s the consummate I-Tune customer. Now let’s stretch beyond Gabe’s testimony to music. What he’s really saying is that without joy, life isn’t worth much. Some joys are simple, and we … Read More

The Cat and the Weary Attitude

September, the back-to-school month, leaves me breathless, jagged, and clamoring for a vacation. By October, I’ve figured out that the alleged, hoped-for “spring break” is at least six months away and there are infinite numbers of chores and winter snow drifts separating here and there. I reluctantly acknowledge the flip of the calendar with a deep, weary sigh. There is a lexicon of sighs. They remind me of the 200-plus grunts I catalogued when my oldest son was going through puberty. (A very long puberty. Longer than most, as it started when he was eight and we’re still waiting a conclusion.) Just as there’s a grunt that means, “Leave me alone,” so is there a sigh for “I’m now ready to exit off Planet Earth and never return.” There’s a grunt for “feed me,” and an equivalent sigh for “Don’t talk to me unless you’re making dinner tonight, because I … Read More

Carving Poetry out of Life

When kids pack up their backpacks, it’s time to get serious about life again. No matter how hard we think we’re working during summer, we’re really not. There’s something about “school’s out” that makes us think that “work’s out.” Friday begins on Thursday, the pool is preferable to perspiration, and there’s not a reason to pick up the house because the kids will just track in mud, anyway. And then, after the appropriately named “Labor Day,” we grit our teeth, surrender our freedom, and prepare to trudge. This year, I’m treating September like it’s January, in that I’m setting a new set of goals for the “school year.” I’m deciding to stop treating work like it’s something to “grin and bear” and do what I enjoy. As a preamble, I have to warn you that I’m writing this column in Roatan, Honduras. I’m on a vacation of my dreams—actually my … Read More

Singing Your Song

Despite their ten-plus-year difference in age, my two sons agree on a couple of topics, one of them being that they hate my singing. Oh, and my taste in car music. I think I have a fairly good voice. It’s at least standard. There’s no way I could rival my youngest sister, trained as an opera singer, or even my closest-in-age sister, a former member of her college choir. But still. There are worse voices. Tweetie the bird comes to mind, as does Bob Dylan, who made a lot of money in the profession anyway. United they stand, however, that mom does not have a palatable voice and that worse, she has no sense of musical taste. In fact, their most recent argument was about who has suffered the greatest number of  “decibel injuries” in his lifetime through exposure to Delilah, a DJ with a campy, corny taste in love … Read More

Freedom AND Responsibility

Since I was a small child, I’ve treasured freedom more than anything else. Perhaps it’s because I was born on the Syttende Mai, Norway’s Independence Day. Being all-Norwegian, it was natural for me to be fiercely independent since “day one.” Maybe the reason I yearned for freedom was that I actually experienced ta lot of it, when young. I grew up surrounded by undeveloped residential lots and nearby swamplands. In those days, parents didn’t worry about kidnappings or run-away children. I’d grab a backpack with apples, books, paper, and pencil, and head off to the deep woods, where I’d pretend to be Nancy Drew, Trixie Beldon, or one of the Hardy Boys. (Even then, I knew that boys had more fun than girls did.) Then again, perhaps my longing for freedom was a call for self-identity, a rebellious reply to the ever-ready sign and comment, “Cyndi, why can’t you just … Read More

Visions in June

A few days ago my son Gabriel, who has advanced to age nine chronologically but at least forty-two spiritually, made a remark about my cooking. I don’t mean to mislead you. My cooking (or attempts toward) merits daily commentary from my kids. This particular insight was memorable, however, in that it wasn’t really about “manmade” cuisine. Rather, Gabe’s observation related to a foodstuff that requires no tampering. Gabe wasn’t satisfied with the Mac and Cheese or the over-steamed broccoli piled high and untouched. “Mom,” he said. “Can’t you give me something perfect to eat?” I pondered the question, a little confused. Is there a “perfect food?” What state would it come in? Was Gabe inferring that he would be pleased with provisions better described as “kid approved” (McDonald’s); “God-approved” (church hot dish); or “gourmet emergent” (grocery take-out)? “Perfect food, Gabe?” I asked, hedging. I’ve already raised one child to near-adulthood … Read More

May Flowers

I have always loved May. It’s really the only time of year in Minnesota that is fairly predictable and pleasant, an oxymoron if there is one. The “I can’t believe it’s snowing again” comments of April are packed away, next to the ten-inch thick parkas and insulated facemasks (the kind that leaves kids light-headed as mothers insist, “Dear, there REALLY IS a nose hole in one of those layers). We’ve not reached the point of asking, “Is that a bird buzzing in the house, or another swarm of mosquitoes?” And landscapers aren’t yet grimacing at the plight of the brutally beaten plants, taken out by the “serial sun killer” of summer. (And you thought that Minnesota was ALWAYS cold.) No, in Minnesota-land, we’re opening the windows, spreading grass seed, and zealously buying cans of cream of mushroom soup, frozen tater tots, and ground beef, for soon church socials will move … Read More

April’s Call

Spring has a magical quality, probably the reason we invest it with almost supernatural powers. The grey and soggy grass (or in the case of Minnesota, blackened snowbanks) yield to light green shoots. April’s showers invite forth flowers, including tulips, which rather naively (for there are certainly thunderstorms to come) bob their happy yellow, red, or orange heads in the warm breeze. And at the first suggestion of a true thaw, schoolchildren everywhere stuff their winter jackets at the bottom of the hall closet, thinking they are outsmarting mom—who just might decide it’s not quite time to wear only shorts and t-shirts. (Little do they know that she has done the same, except she’s wondering if she can wear her college miniskirts.) The birth of new life brings out the child in each of us and we look around, musing about what the wonders that should now spring into our … Read More

The Gift of The Stars: September 2007

Two eclipses invite an astounding opportunity. What if you could see the world—and yourself—through the eyes of the Divine? I can testify to the revelatory nature and joyful outcome of this approach to life, for I was taught how to do it years ago, when traveling in Morocco. On the sands of the Sahara, I went to bed asking for insight about my spiritual purpose. I received a dream—and also a task. We can’t just inflict our purpose on others, as you know; we also have to live it ourselves. In the dream, I owned an eyeglass store. It wasn’t a very big store; in fact, only a few customers could visit at any given time, and then, only in a single-file line. That was okay with me; I didn’t seem vamped about working all that much. The sign read, “Part Time Visions; Owner Frequently Travels.” Neither was I a … Read More

The Gift of The Stars: August 2007

What inspires you? To be inspired means to be “in the spirit,” or filled with your own spirit. Many of us are able to accomplish numerous feats of labor, every day, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that these are inspired actions. In fact, if you could do what really inspired or enthused you, how much of your daily activity would fall by the wayside? If you could reach for any star at all, what goals would softly slip away, never to be seen again? We have to be responsible. I might not feel inspired to take out the garbage, wash the clothes, or make the nightly trek to my son’s Little League games—but I’m going to fulfill these tasks anyway. These are the details that comprise the mortar of life. But what about the bricks? What about the architectural plan? What am I building? Character is built brick by brick, … Read More

The Gift of The Stars

One of the most challenging actions is non-action, the ability to trust that doing nothing is better than doing something. We’re not raised to think that we’re supposed to sit around, contemplating detachment, when we know—we’re quite certain, in fact—that our involvement in a situation is critical. Didn’t the ancients think that humans were the center of the world? How can we be anything less than that in our own lives? In July, stellar circumstances invite us into the position of true Surrender. Are you ready? Well, you have half the month to practice, as Mercury continues in retrograde until July 9th, forcing us to revisit history. It’s hard to get to your future when you’re stuck in the past. And meanwhile, you’ll be reacting to a June 25th event geared up at gearing you down. The only option? The spiritual energy that makes use of July’s offerings? Surrendering. The … Read More

June 2007: The Gift of The Stars

Who wants to read a column that says that Death is on the horizon? Hopefully, you do—or will, once you see the benefits of letting Death move out the old and welcome in the new. In the traditional Tarot, death signifies change. In the Twelve Step Program, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, death means letting go. To certain therapists, death refers to releasing the ego or personality. In shamanic communities, death is the beginning of new possibilities, the awakening of spiritual abilities that benefit everyone. New beginnings, you know, are only possible after endings. In June, the stars sprinkle Death—and the healing and hope that it invites, all because Mercury moves into retrograde, spinning us backward in time. Why We Peruse the Heavens How can we look to the stars for indications about our personal lives? As humans, we sometimes take our place in the Universe very (or “too”) seriously—starting with … Read More

May 2007: The Gift of The Stars

Doctors insist that up to 80 percent of life’s problems, including physical illnesses, are caused by stressed. It’s true, but receiving that diagnosis is about as helpful as saying that the only way off this earth is death. Exactly what are we supposed to do with this information? Some of us think the answer is to try and control our lives. We plan every minute of every day, down to our free time, which has been dissected into fifteen-minute blocks. And then we’re even more stressed (as in idealistically shocked) when some toothpick tumbles on our carefully arranged pile and our lives crash. Stress means something different to each person. This morning, for instance, (on a day off), I polished off a book proposal, wrote an article, talked to two clients, and cleaned the turtle tank. Any one of these events might create heart-stopping anxiety in another person, but what … Read More

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