December 26, 2008

Christmas Newsletter 2008


Hello Everyone,

We're sending this a little early this month so we could wish you Happy Holidays close to when they're actually happening. We meant to send this Christmas Eve but, oops!, no Internet connection, so we wrote it then and sent it today. Life in the Arizona desert has been a bit more disrupting than expected. We're still connected, still in business, but still in process with the transitions and changes we've been needing to make.

Seems like a lot of people are going through personal challenges right now but the Winter Solstice / Christmas / New Year's transition is a good time to be doing this kind of work. The dark time of the year--the time when many woodland animals retreat to their dens to sleep out the winter--is the traditional time reserved for inner contemplation, quiet, letting go of the past (death of the old vegetation), and making plans and new resolutions for the futures we want to bring forth. This year, more than anything else, most of us are looking at the events of this previous year and thinking about the next with a combination of awe (our first Black president was elected to office) and fear (worldwide economic shakedown). A challenging time, a time to go forward with deep resolve.

The two of us have temporarily moved to a place where we are literally surrounded by miles of juniper trees in every direction. That's what grows out here and very little of anything else (besides a few grasses and an occasional cactus). But the juniper trees are abundant and, being very interested in flower essences and aromatherapy, Sheryl was recently compelled to look into what juniper trees are good for.

Juniper trees have many medicinal and spiritual uses but, most significantly, the essential oil is a very effective tool for uplifting the spirits in the most challenging situations. Juniper berry oil powerfully dispels negativity, so much so that the local native tribes used to carry the berries in medicine pouches to provide protection whenever they went on a difficult journey. The tree is also, in some cases, the perfect image of a full and bushy Christmas Tree. Evergreen and loaded with berries they attract and provide sustenance for winter birds while the local rabbits, antelope and desert packrats find shelter underneath. It provides sanctuary -- the only sanctuary for wildlife-- in the high Arizona desert and is a lovely example of why the evergreen tree is to this day the most beloved of Christmas symbols.

We can't send you all a package of juniper berries to warm your spirits in the new year but we do send you the gift of one of Paul's photos of a bell in the junipers here instead. Imagine it ringing with thoughts of good cheer and best wishes for our collective well-being in the coming year.

Love,
Sheryl and Paul

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THE SOLSTICE EVERGREEN

Sheryl's first book, The Solstice Evergreen, about the origin, history and folklore of the Christmas Tree, is still available via her author website at http://www.sherylkaras.com . A little late for this Christmas but still a good read any time of year.

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MANIFESTING LIFE PURPOSE, ABUNDANT PROSPERITY, AND ALL SORTS OF OTHER GOOD THINGS

We'd love to help you with all these things through a series of spiritual counseling and healing sessions with us... 5 sessions for $400 (that's one session for free). Pay through the Donate Now button at the bottom of the page at http://www.healingcommunication.com and let us know when you'd like your sessions to be.

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SESSIONS IN SEDONA

We'll be in Sedona for a few days starting January 3rd. If anyone on this list plans to be in the area or has friends there, we'll be available for sessions while we're there and would welcome opportunities to meet with people who could introduce us to the local scene.

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SESSIONS BY TELEPHONE

Until we get our Internet woes worked out (our local hosts are on a very slow and sometimes undependable dial-up) we'll need an extra day or two to work out times for sessions but we're still doing them via telephone (we call you after a time and payment via our website is arranged).

Sessions cost $100 an hour, $150 for an hour and a half, or 5 1-hour sessions for $400

December 1, 2008

December Newsletter

Hello From the Road

Wow! It's hard to believe an entire month has gone by since the election and the last newsletter came out. We're moving! And we're literally writing to you on the road on the way to our next destination—Arizona and the Southwest.

For years now, since we met, Sheryl has had a fantasy that the two of us should go on a photography journey through the Southwest. And she also has had a strong desire to visit retreat center locations and find one that would be suitable to join forces with. We don't know where we're going to end up but Paul's mom made us an offer we can't refuse and we're going to stay with her and Paul's stepdad in Snowflake, Arizona while we're exploring retreat center locations in the Southwest.

In the meantime we intend to continue doing business from our new location(s). If you're one of the many people who have had sessions with us via Skype and telephone we imagine you won't notice a difference. If you're from Santa Cruz or the Bay Area give us a call! Doing sessions via the internet works really well, there's no long distance charge, and we'd love to keep in touch.

love,

Paul and Sheryl

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NEW VIDEOS

Sheryl has three new videos up on our Youtube channel. Check them out!

My Introduction to Flower Essence Therapy


The Story of Mama Love Perfume

The Importance of Being Yourself


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GIVE THE GIFT OF HEALING

Gift certificates for our spiritual counseling and healing services can be arranged in any denomination you like. Pay for a whole session or help someone offset the cost.

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FLOWER ESSENCES, AROMATHERAPY AND REIKI ALSO MAKE A GREAT HEALING GIFT

Mama Love Healing Perfumes, body and bath oil, and skin cream are available directly from Sheryl through her website at http://www.mamaloveproducts.com. You can also buy the perfumes locally at Artisans Gallery on Pacific Avenue, Way of Life at their new location (1220 41st Ave., still in the Begonia Plaza near New Leaf), Community Chest Treasures at 745 41st Ave. Santa Cruz (near Pleasure Point Pizza), and at the Phoenix Shop at Nepenthe in Big Sur.

And soon, you'll also find them at Community Chest Treasures second store, opening soon at 1121 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz (across from Gateways Bookstore). Join us there for their grand opening on November 14.

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November 3, 2008

November 2008 Newsletter


HELLO EVERYBODY AND HAPPY ELECTION DAY,

Our newsletter has become fairly international in recent months but we live here in the United States so, international readers, please forgive us as we indulge in a little pre-election musing and spiritual guidance.

There’s an interesting drama playing out in both our consciousnesses and on the public scene in the United States today. Will we choose based on fear and pain, trembling before the future, desperately trying to keep the status quo intact? Or will we vote based on our belief in positive possibility, the audacity of hope, reaching out across the aisle (and across the continent) to make our nation whole again? Powerful words from our politicians this time around, not just our own.

The last ditch campaign efforts of the GOP have focussed on slinging dirt. In the last months of Hillary Clinton’s campaign she did the same. In the last election the GOP won using those tactics—they just kept repeating the word “terrorist” over and over, depending on people’s fears and desires to keep the nation “safe” to pull them through. This time around the tactic seems to be wearing thin.

I’m convinced Hillary Clinton would be our Democratic presidential nominee if she hadn’t succombed to fear and fear-mongering, negativity and attempted character assassination in the final months of her campaign. I think people have had enough of their world leaders using “weapons of mass destruction” and fear of them as their primary modus operandi.

There is a spiritual principle that what you focus on increases. Praising God and being thankful for the blessings we receive is the foundation of both the New Age approach to spirituality and for many in the Christian faith. In Judaism prayers of gratitude and thanksgiving are considered the highest form of prayer. No religion says to focus on worry, hatred and fear. Faith, trust, love, peace. Those are the foundations of our strength.

Every election year Americans have the opportunity to go to the polls and vote from their hearts. Nobody knows what you do in that voting booth. Nobody has to know. If you voted from your strength, from your faith, and from your heart instead of in fear and in haste what would it tell you to do? What would it tell you to do in your life?

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KNOW ANYBODY GOING THROUGH A ROUGH TIME RIGHT NOW?

Give them the gift of spiritual counseling and healing. Gift certificates for our services can be arranged in any denomination you like. Pay for a whole session or help someone offset the cost.

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FLOWER ESSENCES, AROMATHERAPY AND REIKI ALSO MAKE A GREAT HEALING GIFT

Mama Love Healing Perfumes, body and bath oil, and skin cream are available directly from Sheryl through her website. You can also buy the perfumes locally at Artisans Gallery on Pacific Avenue, Way of Life at their new location (1220 41st Ave., still in the Begonia Plaza near New Leaf), Community Chest Treasures at 745 41st Ave. Santa Cruz (near Pleasure Point Pizza), and at the Phoenix Shop at Nepenthe in Big Sur.

And soon, you'll also find them at Community Chest Treasures second store, opening soon at 1121 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz (across from Gateways Bookstore). Join us there for their grand opening on November 14.

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THANKS FOR ALL YOUR REFERRALS!
Simplest way to tell people about us? Forward this email with a note saying you like us. It's easy!

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Interested in a session? Send us an email or give us a call at (831) 325-4076.

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October 2, 2008

October Healing Communication News


Hello Everyone,

Welcome to the many people who have joined our newsletter list this month (and to the few people we forgot to add in previous months and just added -- sorry about that). We're glad you're here!

Happy Rosh Hashanah! The Jewish New Year started earlier this week and, like the American New Year, it is a traditional time to reflect on the past, ask forgiveness and make amends for any mistakes that were made, and resolve to make any changes necessary in the year to come. The timing of the holiday this year feels quite significant given the economic woes our nation is grappling with right now. But also positive.

No spiritual tradition says to focus all your attention on worrying about your worst possible nightmares. As one of our clients wrote to say to us recently, that's like praying for bad things to happen! Instead, no matter what your spiritual orientation, conventional wisdom is to focus on joy, on love, on faith, on possibility. The highest benefit for all concerned.

Sometimes things have to break down before they get better. We've been grappling with that ourselves these days. If you've been following our blogs you know that Paul's laptop broke, then the fan in the office, then his coffee carafe, and most recently we discovered that the UPS back-up power supply that is supposed to prevent our work from being lost if we have a power outage isn't working either. (That one has probably not worked in quite a long time.)

The upshot of all these breakdowns is that we became aware of issues that needed to be addressed. Habits of behavior we had fallen into, habits of thinking, hidden issues that were there all along. And we've been starting to address these things.

And that's what's happening in our nation today and around the world. It's a good thing! People are starting to pay attention again. Change has already taken place. Actions have been taken. Today's news is that the $700 billion bailout passed the Senate and is going back to the House. Many of us have had strong reservations about this plan but the good news is that if it passes it won't have passed without discussion, without public opinion being heard, and without thought being put into how to put checks and balances into place.

If we learn from the mistakes of the past, and make sure positive actions are taken to ensure we're on the right track, positive possibilities are likely to have come from this situation for all concerned.

Both of us have written several blogs (in our own ways) about the economic and political crisis. Paul's hit on issues of impermanence, how our external environment reflect inner ones, and the existential quandary about half full or half empty cups not addressing the totality of the question. (http://paulhood.blogspot.com/) Sheryl's blogs show her only partly hidden political activist leanings and a few lessons gleaned from her immigrant grandparents. (http://healingcommunication.blogspot.com/)

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WE'RE STILL IN SANTA CRUZ -- STILL AVAILABLE FOR IN-PERSON SESSIONS

We're still needing to find a new home, still investigating possibilities, but we ARE still here and still doing in-person sessions in the same place.
We intend to continue to offer sessions in a professional but comforting private environment where your confidentiality is ensured as it should be with any counseling or professional healing service. From the very beginning of our practice having a setting that respects our clients' privacy has been a very important thing and that's still a responsibility we're taking seriously even in the midst of the changes we're needing to make.

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THANKS FOR ALL YOUR REFERRALS!
Simplest way to tell people about us? Forward this email with a note saying you like us. It's easy!
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Interested in a session? Send us an email or give us a call at (831) 325-4076.

September 4, 2008

September News


Hello Everyone,

Paul here: This month Sheryl and I are putting out a vision, our vision. We're required to move from our home and home office very soon and have been seeking a new situation with a lot of the same good stuff but more and better, too.

We do firmly believe that when one door closes another one opens. Sometimes we squeal about it, sometimes not. As Sheryl and I have discussed numerous times, we'd like more face time with clients and potential clients. Anytime we bring it up, visions of a spiritual retreat center, with a gift shop, maybe a cafe come up. Or sometimes it's simply a spiritual bookstore with a private room for counseling and healing. Sometimes Sheryl and I envision a very similar space to what we have now: more residential in appearance, and maybe we do live in the back, or off to the side, but the front structure is definitely business: it's a storefront with proper signage and in a good location for doing business.

As many of you know we are engaged in multiple business interests. In addition to our joint healing and counseling practice, Sheryl is an artist, a non-fiction author, and sole owner /proprietor of Mama Love Products which is a line of healing body care products. She manufactures and sells the whole line herself to both wholesale and retail markets. Sheryl is also primary web-designer and marketer for much of what we do.

I am an author of fiction / creative non-fiction, and an accomplished photographer. It's not hard at all for us to imagine a single venue stocked with our art and photography (cards and prints) our books, articles and stories, body products and other gift items, a treatment room and even a small photographic portrait studio. Of course, there'd be a website too. Oh, and surprise! Sheryl sees a bed and breakfast as playing a possible part in all this.

Many parts of this are already a part of our lives—it would be easy to transfer many of these skills and abilities to a creative collaboration —but we have not yet found the physical space, the partners and financial backing, at least not yet.

Our fantasy is that someone on our list knows someone who needs our help in their metaphysical bookshop / bed & breakfast / retreat center or the equivalent. And that they’d love to have a special spiritual counseling and healing team join their staff. Since housing is also one of our primary concerns various possibilities in regards to compensation might be worked out.

If anyone fits this description on our list or thinks they may know someone who could use our help, please pass this newsletter on to those people and get in touch with us. Send a reply via email or call us (831) 325-4076.

Thank you.
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WONDERFUL CAMERAS FOR SALE!

We recently upgraded our camera equipment and have 3 great digital cameras and one film camera and lens for sale. Need a great gift for someone's birthday, budding photography business or for Christmas? These cameras are great! And offered at what we think is a very reasonable price (we did the research and know what they're selling for online).


Baby Bear
The first camera is a Canon S3-IS -- an advanced 6 megapixel camera with a 12x zoom. About half the size and weight of an SLR but with excellent image quality and the image stabilization works incredibly well. It also has a macro function which is hard to find. Not quite a pocket camera, but very compact-- bought new on Paul's birthday and simply wasn't used except to shoot a few test shots and 4 or 5 short videos. Yes, it also works great as a digital video camera: shoots direct to SD card. Runs on 4 AA batteries
$200


Mama Bear
The Canon Digital Rebel, also known as the 300d, is a 6.3 megapixel SLR. Works great, Paul loves this camera and much of his portfolio was shot using it. We can include a 512mb CF card. The firmware has been upgraded and this camera can shoot at 3200iso. Includes many other "unlocked" features common to the Canon 10D. Only about 10,000 shutter activations so far-- this camera is good to go for a long time.. Silver Body only, no lens. Compatible with any Canon EOS lens. It comes with 2 genuine Canon batteries, battery charger and power cable, Canon neck strap. Paul thinks he still has the manual and some other stuff that came in the box as well.
$200


Papa Bear
Canon Digital Rebel XTi 10.1 megapixel camera. Paul says: I can't believe I'm selling this one already, feels like I just got it. Excellent image quality, ease of use and more features like bigger LCD, a self-cleaning sensor, and Canon's Picture Style technology. Slightly more compact than the 300D. Uses CF cards. Comes with a CF card, a card reader and extra battery. This camera is in excellent condition, bought new and treated well. It's the silver version, body only, no lens. Compatible with any Canon EOS lens. See this link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000I3ZCWU/ref=noref?ie=UTF8&s=photo to learn all about this one--it's a really great camera!
$400.00

Old-Fashioned Bear
A lightly used 35mm Canon Rebel G SLR. This is a film camera.
$25

Lens
35-80mm EOS zoom lens. Works with all the Canon SLR's on this page.
$35

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THANKS FOR ALL YOUR REFERRALS!
Simplest way to tell people about us? Forward this email with a note saying you like us. It's easy!
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Interested in a session? Send us an email or give us a call at (831) 325-4076.

August 4, 2008

August Healing Communication News



Hello Everyone,

Having a good summer? We are. Recession, hard times? All that's means is "think outside the box, try something different, and recommit to your highest intentions with all your heart." It's working for us! Could it work for you, too?
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ARTICLES AND PHOTOGRAPHY THIS MONTH
All our writing is in our blogs this time.

"Fighting the Labyrinth" and its companion piece "Working the Labyrinth" were written by Sheryl about her struggle with working too hard and gaining insights into the true nature of faith. You can find them at http://healingcommunication.blogspot.com/ .

Paul has posted lots of wonderful photographs and a short story about the existential experience of Kentucky Fried Chicken at http://paulhood.blogspot.com/ .
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HEALING COMMUNICATION PRESS

Did you know we're being our own publishing company? Sheryl's book, The Spiritual Journey of Family Caregiving, was done by us. Look for a review of it in the Santa Cruz Sentinel next Sunday (probably). It's also being featured in Quest, the national magazine for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, this month. It's getting some favorable press.

We have 5 new publications -- lightly lined fine art journals featuring our flower photography on the covers. We're big journal writers. We both would have stacks of them if we hadn't done a burning ceremony on the beach a couple of years ago. Sheryl really is partial to beautifully designed ones and she can rarely find ones she really likes so she designed her own. They're 81/2" square, perfect bound paperbacks, meant to look like a book you'd keep on your coffeetable. Check them out at Healing Communication Press at http://stores.lulu.com/healingcommunicationpress .
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MAMA LOVE PERFUME

One of the lessons of this summer is never give up, just find another way. Sheryl gave up on a couple of her perfumes earlier in the summer and suddenly found them coming back to life.

So, by popular demand, Sheryl has brought back Mama Love for PMS, Postpartum and Menopause Support (previously called "Women's Changes"). It's at http://www.healingcommunication.com/mamaloveproducts/PMS,_Postpartum_and_Menopause_Support.html .

Mama Love for Peace and Goodwill is coming back for Christmas. And Mama Love for Renewed Faith and Optimism is back as well. See http://www.mamaloveproducts.com and visit the "products" page to see them all.
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THANKS FOR ALL YOUR REFERRALS!
Simplest way to tell people about us? Forward this email with a note saying you like us. It's easy!
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Interested in a session? Send us an email or give us a call at (831) 325-4076.

July 2, 2008

July 2008 News



Hello Again,

It's been awhile. Hope you had a wonderful couple of months. We sure have! Sheryl wrote the newsletter this month. Enjoy!

Paul and Sheryl

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Weddings, Part 1

Weddings have been on our minds and in our hearts a lot these days. With all the excitement about gay marriage being legal in California (and with friends and acquaintances rushing to tie the knot) it's hard not to think about what the institution of marriage is all about. Love. That's the impulse behind every great thing. What do you want with all your heart? (Your relationship, your job, a cause...) Commit to it!

"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves, too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. The whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe's couplets: 'Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.'"

(from W.H. Murray, "The Scottish Himalayan Expedition")

For better or for worse, for richer or for poorer.. talk about creating magic. Talk about using the power of intention! Manifestation is something we all seem to talk about these days. Commiting to a path with heart—aligning with your true purpose, a path you will commit to with all your heart—that's how it works.


Referrals Help You Help Your Friends

My chiropractor, Michael Koplen (http://www.drmichaelk.com), reminded me recently of the importance of referrals -- not just for practitioners but for the people you refer! He asked for a testimonial and I eagerly agreed. And in the process of writing it I remembered how I was referred to him: I had a neck injury that wouldn't heal. I was in constant but low grade pain all the time for probably 10 years and just lived with it, thinking that was the best I could expect. I had been referred to chiropractors before but I was afraid to go. The idea of someone yanking my neck into place with that awful cracking sound was just too much! But my massage therapist friend Vanessa vehemently disagreed and insisted I see Michael anyway. I finally gave in and I'm glad I did. He's a great guy, had just the right combination of gentleness and firm confident touch I needed, and I experienced instant relief! It took several sessions for my neck to stabilize and hold the correction but eventually it did. My neck has been pain-free for 20 years and I don't hesitate to see him whenever I have a chiropractic complaint.

So now I bet some of you are thinking: I ought to see him, too! See what the power of a referral can do? I'm really glad my friend referred me—I wouldn't have done it without her.

A lot of our clients say they were glad they were referred to us, too. Skilled compassionate counselors who use spiritual guidance and psychic insight to get right to the heart of what a person needs in less than one session are not easy to find. Add energy healing and the fact that they get two people's attention at once...

Well, anyway, we think our work is worth telling people about. If you think so, too, send them this email newsletter with a short note. Something like "I really like these people" and then just tell them why. That's all it takes. Thank you!


Weddings, Part 2

Commitment to a path with heart is why we're in the spiritual counseling and healing business but it's only one of many expressions of what we're here to do. We're artists and authors as well. I also design flower essence/aromatherapy perfume. Where is the connecting element in it all? I like to think it's about spiritual upliftment. Beauty, love, health and healing, what makes a person's heart sing, helping our clients find it. Sometimes we point the way with healing work; sometimes we do it with our art. (Check out Paul's recent work at his photography website at http://www.paulhoodphotos.com and on his blog at http://paulhood.blogspot.com/ .)

This past month we've had an upsurge both in sessions and in the photography work we do. As a photographer, Paul never wanted to shoot weddings. They're a bear of an assignment to do. But this month a very persistent bride got past our defenses, the two of us did the shoot together, and what a wonderful surprise this event turned out to be. You can see a few examples on my blog at http://healingcommunication.blogspot.com/2008/06/color-light-happiness-and-joy.html . A heart-felt low-key wedding on the beach with friends and family, very casual, loving and sweet. It was the real deal, too. Love was in the air all day.

At one point in the day we realized we could have been officiants at this ceremony (we're both ULC ministers). We could have provided the spiritual relationship counseling before the event, done healing the day of the event, done the ceremony, shot the photography, and even provided the musical accompanyment (we both used to be musicians). We wouldn't do it all, of course. But still, it was an interesting thought.

I don't think we would have felt so inspired at a formal affair—that's really not our cup of tea. But, literally, the day before this wedding came along, we asked the universe for a breakthrough in our thinking around prosperity. I loved doing this wedding. It opened my heart to new possibilities. Marriage to your true heart, I believe, is the answer we received.

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Interested in a session? Send us an email or give us a call at (831) 325-4076.

April 30, 2008

May 2008 Newsletter

Wild Iris photo by Sheryl Karas

Hello Everybody!

Welcome to the May edition of the joint newsletter for Healing Communication and Mama Love from Paul and Sheryl. The theme this month is "breakthrough" and the wild Iris, which just came into bloom in Santa Cruz this month, is a perfect symbol.

In ancient Greek mythology Iris was the goddess of the rainbow and the messenger of the gods. In flower essence therapy the wild Iris is used to release emotional blocks to creativity, to unite one with their higher path in life, to spark inspiration, and bring passion into one's life's work. It is also thought to be the origin of the fleur-de-lis, emblem of the French monarchy. Since Hurricane Katrina the fleur-de-lis is being used in New Orleans as a unifying and (according to Wikipedia) "somewhat defiant" symbol of the fight for that city's rebirth and inspiration of home. I put it into my "Abundant Prosperity" formula as a boost to one's creative process.

Speaking of Mama Love perfume, creative inspiration, breakthroughs and abundant prosperity . . . check out Mama Love's new website . I dropped the little girl colors of pastel blue, lavender and pink and gave it a bold new look which I'm using to inspire me to bring Mama Love out to the world at large. My goal is to triple the number of stores Mama Love is sold in nationwide. If there's a store near you that you think Mama Love would be perfect for send me an email or give me a call. Better yet, consider carrying Mama Love in your store, spa, health or healing practice. New smaller displays to fit your budget and Mama Love's naturally-long shelf life (essential oils and jojoba don't go rancid) make it a good investment for any natural products or holistic healing business, large or small.

Bye for now.

love,
Sheryl (and Paul)

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BREAKTHROUGH

by Sheryl Karas

The word comes from “break” and “through,” to get through what previously was seen as an insurmountable barrier. A wall in your psyche or belief system? Your childhood upbringing? The norms and expectations you inherited from your culture? What gets in your way?

Sometimes it’s wanting to have the same things we have always wanted in the same way we’ve always wanted to have them. Banging our heads against the wall of the locked door, hoping against hope to get better results.

“If only I could bang harder without breaking my head” we think. “Maybe if I do head push-ups I could make my head harder. Maybe I’m not smart enough or my family didn’t make me tough enough. I need to buck up and make it hurt. I mean, after all, if you want something bad enough . . .”

On it goes. Until the day we wake up and discover our head hurts way too much, the pain of the effort never adds up to the results we need, and that wall is just too damn long to go around. We can’t see the end of it. It’s time to stop. Put down the effort. “Let go, let God.”

“It isn’t our job,” we say, “anymore. It’s done. It’s over. In French, finis.”

"But it isn’t." God smiles. "It’s in my hands now. Let me show you what really can be done."

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DISCONTINUED PERFUMES AND INTERNET SPECIALS
Mama Love is discontinuing a couple of perfumes this year and also has perfume left over from Christmas that are still good for use all year round. The specials I'm offering to clear them out are available only through my website. Check them out at http://www.healingcommunication.com/mamaloveproducts/specials.html

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SIGNED COPIES OF SHERYL'S BOOKS ARE AVAILABLE NOW
Visit her author's website at http://www.sherylkaras.com .
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ARE YOU LOOKING FOR A BREAKTHROUGH IN YOUR LIFE?
Set up an appointment! Send us an e-mail or give us a call at (831) 325-4076.

Sheryl photographing the Iris by Paul Hood


Paul at the UCSC Arboretum by Sheryl Karas

March 31, 2008

April Newsletter


Happy Spring!

Happy Spring? At the Way of Life store in Capitola Sheryl's Mama Love best sellers this month were "Releasing Worry & Fear," "Trusting Inner Guidance", and "Restful Sleep." Feeling anxious, anybody? Paul wrote an article about "How to Stop Worrying" in this month's newsletter but first we have a couple of announcements to make.

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WE'VE GONE WORLDWIDE!
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We recently signed up for Skype and did our first Voice-Over-Internet call a few weeks ago. It worked great! And the price is so low (free to call other Skype users) that we can absorb the cost of the call into what we charge for sessions. No long distance charges for our clients anymore! Yippee!

And here's something even cooler. If you have a video camera and microphone attached to your computer -- our Mac has one built in -- we can do face-to-face video sessions with you no matter where you live all over the world.

We went nationwide with our sessions via telephone many months ago after much worry and discussion about whether it would work out. We had an out-of-town person INSIST on having a session with us long distance. She knew we were the ones for her and didn't take our hesitation and concern for an answer. It was great and we've done sessions with lots of other people that way as a result.

If you want to try a video or telephone session with us check our website to find out how at http://www.healingcommunication.com/phoneandvideosessions.html .

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TIME TO GO TO A FLAT RATE FEE
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Because a significant amount of our business now involves payment over the Internet our sliding scale approach seems to be out of date. We've experimented A LOT, moving the scale up, down, moving the bottom, moving the top. Some people always pay at the top; some people can't afford our bottom. But no matter what we have done -- even when we did sessions by donation -- the vast majority of our clients and the average of all payments over time has always stayed in the same range:

$100/ hour, $150/ hour and one half

We believe "THE TRIBE HAS SPOKEN."

This is our new flat rate fee. Different length sessions are available to accommodate your budget.

We want to thank everyone who has used our services. We appreciate you for participating in our growth as healers in this community and for letting us be a participant in your life journey.
We look forward to working with you in what we hope will be an easier, more straight forward fashion for now on.

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SHERYL'S NEW BOOK IS NAMED "BOOK OF THE MONTH"
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The Spiritual Journey of Family Caregiving was named "Book of the Month" by the Parkinson's Association of San Diego. Isn't that nice? And it's also available now at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and Borders Books online. Pretty cool! Still she makes more of a royalty if you buy it directly from Healing Communication Press at Lulu.com. The url is http://www.lulu.com/content/1767517 .

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THIS MONTH'S ARTICLE
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This month's article entitled "How to Stop Worrying" was Paul's gift to me earlier this week. Incidents in our personal lives had put me into a tailspin and I got caught in a cycle of worry that I knew was out of proportion to what was really going on. I tried everything in my toolbox -- reading inspirational texts, meditation, breathing, herbs, flower essences, energy healing, counseling with Paul. Everything worked for a little bit and then the old anxiety would come crushing in, even harder than before. Then I realized one night that even when I meditate I never seem to achieve what others call a state of bliss. Paul is able to drop into that place whenever he gets into a meditative or healing space so I asked him if he could teach me. He did his best, told me what he could relate, and it just sounded like nonsense. The words went flying over my head.

So Paul sat down the next day and wrote this article for me. And it worked! It woke me up! The brutal reality of the talk I had internalized from my childhood hit me like a ton of bricks -- I almost forgot to notice how funny Paul's writing really can be. But the truth of it hit me, too. Bull's eye! It popped me out of my mental state and I've been calm, happy and sleeping like a baby ever since. -- Sheryl


HOW TO STOP WORRYING
by Paul Hood

How to stop worrying.

Dale Carnegie had some good ideas, but the story isn’t over yet.

It’s not as if there aren’t thousands, maybe millions of positive examples out there. So many mentors, so many shining examples of how to live life more joyously in the present moment. No, all you have to do is ask-- and even sometimes when you don’t ask, somebody you know will send a truly inspiring video directly to you via the magic of email.

But all those uncountable resources, they don’t always get through, they don’t work on the the tough cases. I recently figured out why. The brilliant, shining examples are speaking the wrong language. For people who worry, Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer and other motivational speakers may as well be speaking Martian. You have to know your audience.

So let’s make a fresh start.

If you worry, it’s because you’re bad, wrong, and in all likelihood, stupid. Now, it’s not as if anything I say will change the fact that you fill your life with useless worry. No, you will continue on, day in and day out, running through your same, tired old internal rhetoric. You always do that. I’m so sick of it I could scream. I knew you would turn out this way. Why can’t you be more like your sister ? You’re supposed to be the smart one. Go clean your room.

Now I’m getting through, aren’t I ? If you worry obsessively it’s because you were taught to do so, either by example or by drilling into your brain that a certain world-view is in fact, reality. Of course that world view isn’t true. It’s a vicious lie. The world is filled with lies and deception. And you fell for it. God, you are so gullible. I can’t even believe it. Who raised you? Trust me, you can’t trust anyone. Look at me when I’m talking to you.

So, obsessive worry is caused by a faulty thought process, and that process is fueled by having been immersed in a world view skewed by excessive concern for safety, security and familiarity. That world view is ruled by fear, an emotion. Emotions aren’t bad or good, they just are. But it’s a useful thing to be aware of which emotions you’d be better off making a habit of feeling. Even more useful if you’re aware that your thoughts have a very direct effect on your emotions, and you can certainly learn to think useful thoughts which result in a more pleasant emotional state. Interestingly enough, more pleasant emotions tend to spawn more useful thoughts, encouraging a more positive and productive world view and that becomes a cycle which is self supporting. I’m losing you, aren’t I ? Like pearls before swine. I might as well be talking to a brick wall. Look, if you don’t pay attention you’re going to miss all this good stuff and then where will you be? Screwed, that’s where. I should have known. I could have predicted this. When will you ever learn ? What’s so funny, damn it ? Use your indoor voice.

Worry is, in fact, oppression. It was probably taught to you by people who meant well, as it was taught to them and so on. Don’t blame yourself for that, and there’s no need to blame your teachers either. Engender forgiveness in your heart-- for the fact that everything in this world is meant to change and grow. You learned one world view which has useful facets, but it was unbalanced and now you’re going to learn a new one. It’s not hard, but it might be scary. The whole reason for that fear to appear is because the new world view contradicts the old one which was based on. . . right, you guessed it, Fear with a capital “F”. Fear in this case does not indicate danger. Fear in this case indicates change, and your previous world view was constructed to sound the alarm whenever change appeared imminent. Again, be forgiving. Your friends, relatives, neighbors may have experienced very unpleasant changes. Those changes became associated with fear, and then equated with fear, and finally any change gets viewed as bad, wrong, or even “evil.” Whoops, that’s a stretch. Only an idiot would believe something like that. An idiot like you. You and the horse you rode in on. Mercy me. Stay with me now, remember; a stitch in time saves nine. I want you to turn over a new leaf. I’m just trying to help, and there you go again, flying off the handle like always. Now don’t go off half cocked. You could put an eye out. All I’m saying is, be careful.

So worry is a habit whose emotional basis is fear. When someone is afraid, the first instinctual thing we do is tell them “everything is all right,” “you’re safe now,” “you’re home”, essentially that they are in a quiet, protected, PREDICTABLE environment. Worry, interestingly enough, is the mind trying to predict the future, and all possible variations of it. It’s an attempt to achieve readiness now, for what might occur later. That’s impossible, if you look at the sheer number of things which might happen in the future and that you can’t mathematically prepare for all of them. On the other hand, nearly every creature on this earth is a living example of being prepared for everything. You are too, I’m telling you, you’re prepared, you’re worthy, you’re a high functioning individual-- the product of millions of years of evolution and a perfect child of God. And yet you think otherwise. I could slap you. I swear, right now. Oh la -dee-dah, you think you’re so special don’t you? That you have to stay up nights running scripts in your head because you’re the one individual in history who can mentally catalog every possible future event-- not just for you but for everyone and every thing in your life. Wow. Get over yourself.

Worry is oppression that is taught, and learned, based upon the idea that fear equals readiness-- that feeling bad is a good idea. Maybe it’s even a responsibility. Worry embraces the concept that the one constant in the universe, change, is something to be avoided at all costs. Worry can’t exist very well in an individual unless they are living in a state of constant fear. Interestingly enough, fear can’t be upheld in an environment of faith. Oh, ye of little faith. Oppression means that you were taught that you aren’t ready for anything, that you’re inferior. That really cracks me up. I’m laughing at you right now. Pointing and laughing, and doing a little dance which is rather uncoordinated but is reminiscent of the Bossa Nova. It looks totally silly and I don’t care. You have no faith at all, you sorry bastard. Even a little child knows that he can walk around in the world and be totally joyous. Hell, baby goats know that, puppies and kittens know that. Even flowers bloom, grass grows automatically, the sun rises and sets without writing a business plan every night. Point of fact, if you worry you are dumber than dirt.

Even though change is constant in the universe, on a day to day basis a lot of things do stay the same. Our civilization is built upon a certain degree of predictability. When we want to direct specific changes, we theorize based upon past observances, we try new things and observe the results. We innovate, and innovation is faith based. We have faith in our abilities to bring positive change, and we generally know that when we try new things we aren’t usually risking much. There’s a certain amount of inertia to reality, we can’t help but be aware of that. Little mistakes do not cause the fabric of the universe to unravel. That’s another reason not to worry. Most change is incremental, not revolutionary, or to put a negative spin on it, disastrous. This is what you should forgive your oppressors for: for knowing that much of life is about balancing inertia (tradition) with incremental risks to bring about positive change. They weren’t wrong to teach you this, maybe just a little out of balance. And because they loved you so much, they may have taught you to worry, thinking they were helping you to be ready for anything. So forgive them now and know that you are ready. Peace be with you.

Ok, I hope I was speaking your language and that this helped.
If it didn’t, don’t worry about it.
I know I won’t.

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WANT MORE OF OUR LATEST WRITING?
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Visit our blogs. We both have lots of new stuff up this month.
Sheryl's blog is at http://healingcommunication.blogspot.com/
Paul's is at http://paulhood.blogspot.com/

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THANK YOU FOR YOUR REFERRALS!
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Interested in a session? Send us an email or give us a call at (831) 325-4076.
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March 2, 2008

March Newsletter



Hello Everybody,

Doesn't it feel great when Spring has arrived? Those of you on the East Cost and up north getting this email probably haven't seen signs of Spring yet but our Santa Rosa plum tree burst into bloom this week and, wow, did that brighten up our day! We have a couple of special announcements to make in regards to our spiritual counseling and healing practice this month so be sure to look for them further down.

Sheryl and Paul

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THIS MONTH'S ARTICLE
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ALL GOOD THINGS COME IN THREES
by Sheryl Karas

I have shamrocks on my mind lately. Paul and I went on a photo shoot at the UCSC Farm & Garden project in Santa Cruz the other day and we saw some beautiful examples. Have you ever seen the variety of clover in the picture above? Isn't that prominent triangle spread across the leaves amazing? It made me wonder more about the symbolic significance of triangles and three leaves and whether it had anything to do with the shamrock's association with good luck and prosperity.

It does! Here's the scoop:

The number three is Ireland's most sacred and magical of numbers. The shamrock associated with Saint Patrick's Day is supposed to represent the Holy Trinity of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost but the mystical significance of the shamrock and the number three go much further back than that.

According to several sources I found on the Internet the triad or trinity represented the unity of body, mind and spirit. In Ireland it also represented many other things: Crone, Mother and Virgin; Love, Valour and Wit; Faith, Hope and Charity; Past, Present, Future; and Earth, Sky and Underworld. It also likely that it is associated with the ancient Celtic triple Mother Goddess √Čire, Banba and Fotla. And other trifold goddesses associated with the harvest, fertility and prosperity.

Clover has been used since ancient times for its medicinal qualities. Red Clover is used for a wide variety of women's reproductive complaints and may protect against heart disease and have some benefit against cancer. In Flower Essence Therapy it is used for helping a person maintain self-awareness and calm. (I use it in my Mama Love for Doing New Things with Confidence perfume). In particular it is useful in situations where people are infecting each other with fear (mass hysteria and other forms of group panic which can arise during natural disasters, war, or economic crisis).

The mass media is doing a great job of whipping up such a frenzy right now spreading worry and fear about a "probable" recession. It's ONLY probable if people believe it is and become afraid to do business as usual. Yeah, gas prices have gone up (to less than half what Europeans have paid for many years now) and yeah, choices were made in funding bank loans for people with insufficient income to pay for the high-priced houses they wanted it for. The housing market became seriously inflated in recent years. That's being corrected. But, there's no reason to panic! For every person losing their "shirt" now (they're not, just their illusions) many, MANY more people made a killing in the housing market not long ago and are enjoying more prosperity than ever in their lives. Where's the media attention on that?

The American economy has been propped up by optimism since the end of the gold standard in the early 70s. What's a "recession"? When something happens to shake that faith. People get conservative with their spending, merchants and others who depend on that spending feel the effect of that and pull back themselves, and the whole economy slows down. It's a mass created domino effect. And yet, let me emphasize again, MOST people are doing better now financially, not worse. The economy is growing at a slower rate. Many people think that's reason to fret. The smart ones are just waiting for the best time to jump in and invest.

Paul was telling me last night that at least three points are needed to create a stable base -- hence the three legged stool and variations on that. Ancient texts say God is One. From one came two --duality, Yin and Yang, man and woman, night and day. From two comes three - the man, woman and child. And from three comes all the manifestations of the physical world.

March is the third month in the Christian calendar. Keep the shamrock and the number three in your heart this month and believe in the power to manifest what you want. Can't we all use a feeling of faith, hope and prosperity?

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DISCOUNTS FOR MULTIPLE SESSIONS
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We've had many people come to us for ongoing work and a few who would really like to be able to do sessions weekly, every other week, or monthly at the very least. We've discovered that the progress people make when they commit to their growth over time is inspiring. So to make this more accessible we're offering a special discount. One additional session for free if you pay for a block of three in advance. (Sliding scale for four 1-hr sessions comes to $300 - $600 prepaid.)

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SPECIAL GIFT FOR PEOPLE WHO SEND US REFERRALS
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We SO appreciate the referrals we receive! And not just because it means more business. People who come to us because we were recommended to them are so great. They know what to expect, they're less afraid, and they're more ready to take advantage of what we can offer. We've been wanting to offer a gift of our appreciation for some time now. How does $25 off your next session sound?

This gift applies to anyone who has sent us a new client in the last year AND anyone who does so in the foreseeable future. You can use this discounted session for yourself or give it to a friend. If that friend is another brand new client for us, you'll get another session for $25 off. Your friend gets a discount. You get a discount. Everyone wins!

Important note: Referrals do not need to be local to Santa Cruz! We've been doing sessions via telephone nationwide for some time now and it works really well.

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CREDIT CARDS & DONATIONS
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We can now take credit cards using Paypal through our website over the Internet. (You do not have to have a Paypal account to participate.) Visit our "fees" page at http://www.healingcommunication.com/fees.html .

You can also make donations. We were recently contacted by an old client who was so thankful for what she received from us that she wanted to give us a gift. There's a button at the bottom of our homepage (http://www.healingcommunication.com) that says "Donations Can be Made by Clicking Here." You can pay whatever you like using a credit card OR by debiting your bank account.

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DO YOU TAKE CARE OF AN ELDERLY RELATIVE? DO YOU ANTICIPATE HAVING TO DO SO?
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Sheryl's new book THE SPIRITUAL JOURNEY OF FAMILY CAREGIVING is full of useful information for anyone even thinking about being in that situation. You can read excerpts at her Spiritual Caregiving blog at http://spiritualcaregiving.blogspot.com/ . Links to buy it online are right there. You can also buy autographed copies directly from Sheryl for $21.95.

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MAMA LOVE NEWS
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A year ago one of my perfumes, Trusting Inner Guidance, was doing so poorly I considered dropping it from my line. My inner guidance said: "Wait! Don't change anything about it." Today it's one of my best sellers. Why? The economy? Politics? The people who did try it liked it? I really don't know.
http://www.mamaloveproducts.com

SPECIAL SALE ON TEDDY BEARS
I bought a couple of cases of really cute, super soft 15" Teddy Bears to couple with my Mama Love perfume for gift baskets. Troubled Times and a bear for someone in the hospital, Abundant Prosperity or Manifesting Life Purpose with a bear for graduation day, that kind of thing. But I've now made the decision to concentrate on wholesaling my perfume and I'd like to sell the bears off. They're infused with Reiki and decorated with a red satin bow.

$5 per bear
$45 for 10 bears
$80 for 20 bears
Shipping is extra.... or pick them up at my house and I'll give you a box.

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PAUL HAS GREAT NEW PHOTO GIFTS
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And Sheryl has one or two. Birds, flowers, baby goats. Did you see Paul's latest sunset pic of Cowell's Beach on the news? They showed it on Fox 35 at 10 pm and KION 46 at 11 pm and everyone oohed and aahed.
Visit our Cafepress site at http://www.cafepress.com/paulnsheryl .

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Interested in a session? Send us an email or give us a call at (831) 325-4076.

February 3, 2008

February News

Happy February,

This week, on Paul's birthday to be exact, starts the Chinese Year of the Earth Rat which is supposedly a sign of achievement and the acquiring of wealth. Well, we've gotten good start on that. We have lots to announce so let's just jump right in. Gung Hay Fat Choy (A Happy and Prosperous New Year) to you all!

Sheryl and Paul

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SHERYL HAS A NEW BOOK

For five years, up until a couple of years ago, I was a professional Family Caregiving Consultant, first with the Alzheimer's Association and then with a state-sponsored caregiver resource center in Santa Cruz, CA (Del Mar Caregiver Resource Center). During that time I worked with people who were taking care of mostly elderly loved ones with Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease, stroke, or some other progressive brain-impairing illness. I worked with people at every stage of their caregiving experience and wrote a monthly email newsletter sharing advice, resources and insights about the path. Most people came to me seeking practical assistance but -- almost without exception -- eventually the conversation would turn to emotional and spiritual issues coming up along the way.

I wrote about all of it and I'm very happy to announce that as of this week those articles are now available in a book called THE SPIRITUAL JOURNEY OF FAMILY CAREGIVING through Lulu.com at http://www.lulu.com/content/1767517 . I also have a blog where I'm posting lots of excerpts from the book, new articles, book reviews and links to caregiver resources at http://spiritualcaregiving.blogspot.com/ . I invite you to take a look and hope you find what I have to offer valuable.

The book is already starting to get some notice. Both the Alzheimer's Association and the ALS branch of the Muscular Dystrophy Association have asked for copies to review for their national publications, resource lists and libraries; the San Diego branch of the Parkinson's Association may be featuring it as their Book of the Month; and I was recently interviewed by Carol Marak for her Elder Care Expert Show. That was a lot of fun. You can hear the whole interview by clicking this link .

A party is sure to happen to celebrate this event, perhaps with cake, a booksigning or talk or all three... but we don't know when yet.... stay tuned!

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PAUL HAS HIS FIRST PHOTO EXHIBITION

Even though Paul has made his living partially as a photojournalist in the past and has sold numerous photographs and products featuring his work online, he has never shown his work in an exhibit before. That all changed a few weeks ago when he was invited to hang a show of his bird, flower and marine life photography in the lobby at Main Street Realty at 2567 Main street in Soquel. That stirred up a lot of excitement, especially when he sold a piece before he even hung it on the wall.

A party is sure to happen, perhaps with wine and cheese, a chance to talk with the artist, and other great things to eat... but we don't know when yet... stay tuned!

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THIS MONTH'S ARTICLE:
(Paul was sick and running a slight fever when he wrote this... but Sheryl thought it was amusing so here it is.)
“CHICKEN LITTLE” VERSUS “THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD”
by Paul Hood

A few lessons of late for Sheryl and I regarding how our consciousness interacts with reality. The power of intentions and all that.

Long story short: through persistence, belief and optimism primarily, I got invited to hang a show of my photographic work. That’s the ”little engine that could” part. I think every artist has to hold some kind of joy and belief in their hearts. Some blending of work, persistence over time and a sense that your task leads towards some resolution, or simply that the work of producing art is an end in and of itself keeps you going. Anyway, I keep producing work and putting it out there and it has been selling, to the point where I get to brag that my work is “being held in private collections now in 23 States and three foreign countries and the list is growing”. That’s my PR quote. I think I can. I thought I could. I knew I could. I still think I can because there are more hills to climb yet.

Now for the “Chicken Little” part. Sheryl and I worried about the expense of hanging the show. We worried it to death. We took all the joy out of it. Then we recovered from that some, and just “got ‘er done.” The prints were made, then mounted, then hung. That’s when we discovered that a majority of the prints had been damaged in the process: damaged enough to be considered seconds, not damaged enough to destroy them and start over. We were obligated to hang the show, so we did, negotiated a refund for materials costs and got on with life. In the meantime a lot more bad feelings were generated before the whole thing got resolved. People lost sleep over this, and we felt terrible about that. In the end, Sheryl and I had to reconcile it all in our minds. If we could do it over again I don’t know what we would have done differently exactly, but we had to wonder how much our fears played into the outcomes. An invitation to do a gallery show fell out of the sky like an acorn and hit me in the head. I could have said, “Wow! Food! I Love acorns! Praise be to God for MANNA FROM HEAVEN.” Conversely I might have said, “Ouch! I hope there’s no permanent neurological damage. Help! Somebody is throwing acorns at me. . . who do I sue?” Well guess what, we had both reactions, almost at the same time. We could have chosen to live fully in love, faith, and gratitude and instead we only half-chose that.

I don’t know if it’s possible for us to live in continual gratitude for acorns that fall or fail to fall when we want them to. Can’t control the timing or the trajectory. I don’t know if it’s within the human psyche to be in bliss whether the train tracks head up a steep hill, crest, or descend in an effortless downhill coast. But I will say this: barring the sky falling, I think I can.

Ok, well that’s not really true. I think that experiencing the highs and lows of existence is part of being human, and if we react to all stimulus the same way then what’s the point of being here? Now, some would call that a roadmap to enlightenment: that once you see through the veil between base existence and transcendence it’s a simple thing to rend that veil. In other words, once you truly and deeply understand that the totality of what we experience is a mirroring of our collective thoughts, intentions, beliefs-- you’re there. You get it. Or let me put it this way: picture “The Little Engine That Could” on a giant hamster wheel. Now you get it ? No? Well, enjoy the ride anyway. Hamsters do. And be loving during the trip, because the destination is not the point.

“I been workin’ on the railroad, all the live-long dayyyy, I been workin’ on the railroad just to pass the time awaaaayyy....”
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OTHER BLOG ARTICLES

"Staying Credible Amidst Multiple Realities".... more on the idea of what you believe is what you get and related issues

"Visioning and Dreaming"...the importance of visualization and dreaming big...

"The Seven Psychospiritual Dimensions of Family Caregiving"


"How I Became A Family Caregiving Consultant"

"Getting Ready for a Gallery Show"

"Non-Violence (Ahimsa)"

January 1, 2008

Happy New Year 2008


Hello Everybody!

Paul and I rang in the New Year by renting "Ocean's Thirteen" for some mindless fun. In the climactic scene where fireworks are going off and lighting up the sky, the clock struck midnight and fireworks could be heard outside our house (from Santa Cruz's New Year celebration) as well. How's that for synchronicity? We loved that one! Couldn't have planned it if we tried.

Otherwise, we've been enjoying some spacious and sunny days and busy busy afternoons and nights. Several new clients--thanks everyone for your referrals!--and lots of creative activity this month. Paul has been shooting a lot of photos lately. As of Christmas, his nature photos have been sold in 23 states and 2 foreign countries. He's also put several new ones up on his blog this week—and lately, several a day. See http://paulhood.blogspot.com/ to see what he has up now.

I, on the other hand, have been writing a blue streak. My latest book "The Spiritual Journey of Family Caregiving" is complete. I'm getting it ready for publishing now and we'll be announcing it in February. A second project, a new version of my previously published book about healing partnerships, is almost done. I'd like to announce it in February, too, but we'll see how that pans out.

The newsletter article this month is about appropriate resolution making. That's written by me but we have links to a couple of pieces Paul wrote as well. He's been grappling with the effects of using "special powers" both as a psychic/spiritual healer and as a photographer with Photoshop skills. I think what that allows him to do is wonderful but what would the Buddha say about that? hmmm....

A happy and healthy New Year ! We're looking forward to continuing our relationships with you in the weeks and months to come.

Sheryl (and Paul)

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Are Your New Year's Resolutions Really Right For You?


This year the almost expected habit for a newsletter writer to talk about New Year's resolutions was almost impossible to do. Oh, we gave it a whirl. I wrote a thing or two, asked Paul what he wanted to do, but our own list of "resolutions" looks more like a list of what we want to "manifest" more than a list to do.

We want to build on what we've already achieved, be more connected to a community, get to see our friends and family more, have continued health and prosperity, an improved bottom line, and travel a bit more but, except for a personal resolution to eat more vegetables and spend less on eating out, we've both been loathe to put specific resolutions in concrete.

I think it's because resolutions always revolve around HOW we're going to achieve the results we want and what we think we must browbeat ourselves into doing to get there. Manifestation is about asking for what you want and allowing. Often that means we DO something—get a job, exercise more, plan dinners with more vegetables in them in advance, get the grocery shopping and advance prep done before you forget, and set a timer to actually make dinner happen before it's 8 o'clock, you're hungry and you remember that some cheap fast food treat is right around the corner. That's the resolutions part.

Or so we think. But sometimes what we think we ought to do isn't really the right way to go.

For example, I recently said "no" to a plan I had been thinking I would do for several months now in regards to my Mama Love Perfume business. Why? Well, I didn't know why at first but my first clue was that I just couldn't make myself do it. I was feeling awful about that (the first pitfall of inappropriate resolution-making is setting a goal you can't or won't live up to and beating yourself up for it) and finally asked Paul for help.

He put his psychic counselor cap on and said "if you go ahead with it, it could put you out of business!" Whoa! I didn't expect to hear that! Why?

"Well" he continued. "If you only do what you say you want to achieve are you going to be happy?" [I was planning to spend $1000 and loads of effort to get ready for a trade show in order to get a bunch of new stores. My goal was to at least break even on show costs in order to have an "easier" time getting future and repeat sales.] My first thought was yes, I would be happy to break even, but then I stopped to do the math. No! I'd be devastated—that would be 5 stores or less. I could do that without spending money on a trade show. I added 5 stores last year without spending any money and almost no time at all.

"What if the opposite happened?" he said. "What if you were inundated with more orders than you can imagine? Are you ready to deal with the consequences of that?" I wish I could have said yes. But unless I had enough money in hand to pay to have my perfumes custom formulated and have the orders filled for me, the answer is that I really don't know... I definitely couldn't do it right now, I couldn't do it by myself, and unless I guessed really well I don't know if I have enough profit built into my current pricing structure to pay for the help I'd need and pay myself as well. If I was very far off I'd be out of business immediately.

The resolution I had been working with was inappropriate for me. At least right now. I still have more preliminary work to do before I can even consider the possibility. I changed my mind, decided to spend part of the money I had put aside on things that will help our businesses grow in the most healthy ways possible, and celebrated. Wahoo! I don't have to feel bad about not succeeding at brow beating myself into doing all the work that would have needed to be done for that anymore. Whew.

Is there a resolution you've been unsuccessful in making yourself do? Maybe there's another way to have what you need. Maybe you have it already if you only knew.

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Paul's Articles

Some Facets of "Siddhis"
Ok, I used a foreign word again. Generally I am in favor of good translations. There isn't a good translation of the word "Kundalini", so I wrote about it in a previous blog and Sheryl even interviewed me on video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smg5ZHAl8X4) to talk about it. A Kundalini awakening is an experience of spiritual opening. Spiritual opening experiences sometimes result in "siddhis" which the Buddha called "special powers." Special powers can be distracting, confusing, or even tempting to get all mixed up in the details doing stuff like healing people, reading minds, foretelling the future etc. The Buddha suggested.... Read more at http://paulhood.blogspot.com/2007/12/some-facets-of-kriyas.html .

Flower Mandalas
Maybe it's Sheryl's influence on me, but lately we've been shooting a lot of flowers. This is not to be confused with the practice of "blowing up roses" if you're familiar with the Berkeley Psychic Institute. No, we just photograph them and as far as I know we have no incendiary rose fantasies. I don't always find roses to be the most symmetrical of flowers, nor am I always attracted to symmetry, but lately I am fascinated by plants, the way that they present themselves to the world and all their characteristics..... Read more at http://paulhood.blogspot.com/2007/12/flower-mandalas.html

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Interested in a session? Send us an email or give us a call at (831) 325-4076.
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