When my partner, Joyce, and I first started our business in 1987, we did so in the face of much disapproval from some of our friends. While they acknowledged that we might know something about crystals, what did we know about retail sales? About landlords? About running a business in one of the toughest cities in the world? (As Frank Sinatra sang, "If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere.")
"You have great jobs in a stable industry. How can you consider giving them up."
These friends' opinions were unsettling (I'll say more about why below), but we didn't listen to them. We were following a voice that was much stronger--and a lot more encouraging--than theirs.
We opened our business, first a small space in Soho, then a larger store in Greenwich Village. Our business prospered until 1998, by which time we'd moved out of Manhattan and on to other dreams, including that of Beyond the Rainbow, our web site.
We all come into this dimension with a clear sense of our needs and desires. This connection begins to dim when we come to realize that our well-being depends on the approval of the powerful large people who seem to have the power to provide or withhold their satisfaction. We also experience conflict when we see that these people have different ideas about what's best for us than we do.
As a child, I enjoyed being alone, whether inside or outside. Sitting at the top of a tree was one of my favorite activities. While my mother didn't find out about the top of the tree business until a few weeks ago, she was constantly urging me to play more with other children. When I gave in, it was because I I began to feel there was something wrong with me if I didn't. That feeling didn't come from my inner knowing, but from the opinion of someone else.
The opinions of others become even more important when children go to school. Imaginative artists discover that pumpkins must be orange; budding writers are nipped by more rules than they would have dreamed possible.
All children and young people learn that they're required to learn subjects that are of zero interest to them. They also discover that the judgments of others determine whether they are liked or not, accepted or rejected.
This is particularly ironic because while these young humans are learning to develop a keen ear for the voice of public opinion, they are also learning to admire those who listened to their own inner wisdom, people like Thomas Edison, who, if he'd listened to the world would have decided he'd failed far too many times in his attempt to invent a light bulb.
Consider these statements by two respected writers:
"If your success is not on your own terms, if it looks good to the world but does not feel good in your heart, it is not success at all." --Anna Quindlen
"I owe my success to having listened respectfully to the very best advice, and then going away and doing the exact opposite." --G. K. Chesterton
If we study the lives and listen to the words of people who have had an impact on the world, whether they were/are inventors, artists, scientists, or explorers of inner and outer dimensions of reality, we will find that the voices they most often listened to came from within.
They did not do so for the sake of fame, which, after all, is determined by public opinion. They did it because they knew that only by following their inner promptings could they experience lives of self-expression and fulfillment.
Creative and fulfilled lives are not only our natural birthright and our purpose in coming into physical existence. While it is necessary to learn to live in a world with other people, it is never necessary to give the opinions of anyone else more importance than the guidance of your inner knowing.
Because we've been trained to subject ourselves to the opinions of others, it can be difficult to distinguish those opinions from our own guidance. The solution is to begin to listen deliberately to yourself.
The most important thing to know about this process is that it's easier than it may seem. Your connection to your inner wisdom is innate. To make an electronic analogy, it's always transmitting. Your only job is to tune into it, to become receptive to its messages.
You can tell whether you're receiving or not by how you feel. The messages that come from your inner self make you feel good, attuned. You may even feel a physical vibration or a surge of energy.
This is helpful in decision making. A choice that feels like duty or guilt or "I'm doing it because I want this person to like me" hasn't arisen from your inner being but from external pressures. A choice that makes you feel alive, vibrant, excited about acting on it does come from your inner being.
Initially, though, the choices may not seem that clear. I have found that asking certain questions has been helpful. Two of these are:
Which choice feels best? and Who am I?
The first question has me become very deliberate about paying attention to how I feel. The second gives me the possibility of seeing myself in a larger context, not as a tangle of worries and concerns, but as nonphysical energy that chose to enter physical existence for the joy of it.
There are a number of regular activities that can keep the connection open. To improve your reception, it can be very helpful to quiet the mind. There are many ways to do this. Foremost among these is meditation. You will find helpful articles at http://www.rainbowcrystal.com/crystal/meditation.html and http://www.rainbowcrystal.com/crystal/meditation1.html
You may also want to read about crystals and the chakras.
Some people find that using crystals for the sixth chakra, which governs the balance between the left and right sides of the brain, is helpful. These crystals include: azurite, sodalite, lapis, amethyst, charoite, sugilite, and others.
Many people find that leaving the decision aside for a while and engaging in some form of physical activity can be helpful. Swimming is my first choice, but I have also found walking, chi kung, and other forms of exercise valuable.
If you have taken Reiki, giving yourself a Reiki treatment can both release energy blockages and allow the energy to flow. If you are a Reiki II practitioner, you can do a distant healing ceremony to ask for answers.
I also have a special fondness for calling on Hawk Medicine, and I'm enclosing an article here about it.
The red-tailed hawk frequents the skies over my land, soaring high on the thermals, cutting a graceful arc through the air. This fall one of these frequent fliers came to ground, landing on a bench in my front yard, only ten feet from where I was standing. I stood quietly for a long time, appreciating the sight of this magnificent bird.
In both Celtic and Native traditions, Hawk is known as the messenger. In the Arthurian tradition, the Merlin (a kind of hawk) was the head Druid and respected as the Messenger of the Gods.
While many birds are regarded as messengers between the worlds of spirit and matter, Hawk is considered to be more dedicated to this role. It symbolizes clear-sightedness and a long memory. It's also believed that if you hear a hawk cry during a journey, it's wise to be alert to the possibility of situations that need boldness and decisiveness so that you won't be thrown off balance.
Hawk's cry may also be telling us to open our awareness, for in a deeper sense this bird symbolizes the messages that are always available to us, if we pay attention. In this sense Hawk teaches us the lesson of receptivity.
So often we ask for something, either aloud, through repeating or writing affirmations, or through our thoughts. Then we wait and wait, and nothing seems to have happened. Not only haven't we received what we asked for, but we don't even seem to have even received a clue about how to get it.
This is the message of Hawk medicine: The answer is always given. Hawk, while soaring high in the sky, is always alert to the slightest movement on the ground below. When we cultivate that kind of awareness, we are adjusting our vibrations to receive the messages that we want to hear. In this state, we find synchronicity operating. We may be looking for a new place to live and see an article describing the ideal location. We're trying to solve a problem on the job and happen to surf onto a web page that offers a perfect solution.
Not all of our answers come from the outside world. Hawk also stands for inner vision, drawing on our own intuition and psychic awareness. When we trust ourselves, are receptive to answers whatever their source, we soar with Hawk.
Beyond the Rainbow