The Spiral of Change

sig07-009-516-m81_multiwavelength_pinkEvery notice how a spiral shape tends to turn around on top of itself as it rises, looking as though it’s arrived at the same spot, but at a different level? I have become convinced over this life time that this shape perfectly illustrates our human progress through our own storms and smooth sailing in life’s journey across the sea of experience.

That déja vu feeling I’ve gotten over the past 57 years on this planet is not something I’m willing to dismiss. It’s like I’m hovering over the same ground again, but at a different level because I did learn something from the last place in the spiral when I was challenged in much the same fashion. Each time, I’ve handled the same life’s question just a little differently, with just a tad more wisdom (although still with a good quotient of foolishness!) than the last time.

How often have you found yourself experiencing  what seems the same thing, but with a slightly different flavor? Isn’t it as if the Universe were winking and nudging us to answer the same question again, to more to a “new level” with whatever we are trying to remember about how everything really works?

Let me know how you’ve worked that out to move yourself into a more peaceful place within as you find new ways to respond to the challenges of the spiral of life.

Inspirationist of the Week

I’ve been a fan of Jacob Nordby and his Blessed Are the Weird inspirations for several years now. A very fine storyteller and author of his own amazing transformation to being a spirit in human form, Jacobs down-to-earth approach to the life of spirit is very refreshing. You can check out his first book, The Divine Arsonist over at Amazon.com and follow him on Facebook as well, where he starts regular fascinating conversations.

On the Virtue of Making Smart

chinese_slip_barge_gray_water_stillnessJust reviewing some saved blog posts from, in online terms, long ago (oh, dear, a little over a year!) and re-found this gem from September of 2013.

Jon Morrow wrote a rather in-your-face and very direct analysis of How to Be Smart in a World of Dumb Bloggers. Smartness and dumb-ness are often in the eye of the beholder, and although Jon makes some summary judgments, he does not get closed-minded or condescending in inspiring us to “get smarter” and be better writers as a result.

Although the site puts a premium on ads for marketing one’s writing, Jon actually writes about the importance of being, well, you, and not necessarily being smart like other people, but in your own style.

I personally think that being an engaging writer means finding your own passionate interest to give voice to. Made all the difference in the world when I was taking a public speaking class many, many years ago. Topic I didn’t care much about = boring speech. Topic I loved = riveting speech. That simple, really.

As for Jon’s take, he has three cool points of advice (I’d take the first two with a grain of salt, but he has good points about them), but the last one is best. Don’t forget to pause to think, to be in reverie even. It’s just as important as the “doing” phase. Definitely. And that can mean stepping away from the screen to look out the window or even close those ever vigilant visual aids, the eyes, to give your mind a chance to breathe deeply (and come up with something amazing!)

Check out Jon’s article here, then, and go make yourself smart. :)

A Circle, and the Magic of Math

guy_with_lightbulb_geniusMy husband, Matt, he has this genius (similar to a genie), that he consults from time to time to perform his Magic Matt duties (from beautifully remodeled cabinet work to romantic piano improvisations and totally tasty vegetables from the garden).

The genius ranges far and wide in terms of subject matter, and this morning’s topic turned out to be the magic of math as the underlying structure of the universe, which led to a short expound-ment on the glories of pi (you know, the unending number that defines circles, at least as far as we can define that cosmic curve), the ubiquity of the curve in the structure of everything, and the infinitude of smallness in subatomic particles.12-subatomic-particles-abstract-mehau-kulyk

And of course, with my interest in astrophysics in general and cosmology (about the structure of the very large) in particular, a mirror appeared in my head, showing the parallel shapes (spheres! circles! ellipses! curves!) out among the stars.

Mini-galaxies (atomic structures) and maxi-galaxies (star groupings). Hmmm. We are not just star stuff, we are star structure, star curves, from our tiniest atoms and subatomic particles in our bodies.

Even matter’s counterpart, energy, moves in curves because space itself is curved. So-called “straight lines” are just really long curves that we can only see a segment of.

ringam2_hstThe universe is curves, circles, ellipses, and spheres. From the very small to the very large. And the math that measures these curves includes a number that can never be expressed exactly, pi, with its infinitely non-repeating post-decimal-point sequence. So, the universe is not something we can measure exactly.

Wonder what would happen if we did get to that level of accuracy in measuring the curves in the universe. I wonder if there’s something magical in the space that we haven’t measured yet, something amazing.

This universe: perfect, yet imperfect, just like us.

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For more on the “magic” of PI and speculations thereon in story form, try watching or reading Contact by Carl Sagan. I put a link in to the DVD at Amazon, but if you have a movie service that has Contact, you can watch it there, also (Netflix–not streaming, though, looks like; iTunes, etc.).

The Energy Gift

Camelopardalis red giant star blowing off gasThe energy gift is in the cycle, from matter to energy and back again. And also from the fact that energy moves, it acts.

We all feel ourselves spending energy throughout the day, to support others, to support ourselves. Remember the cycle, though, for to give is to receive, but you have to be…willing. A hug is a gift, for example, but it goes both ways. Think of how your other energy gifts actually reciprocate, even if you don’t see it right away (paying forward with that smile at the convenience store—what ripples of energy might occur and then come back to you?).

A star exchanges energy for stability to burn, then exchanges energy for the power to create elements (gold and silver, even, if it’s a big star). Loss is gain, gain is loss, loss is gain, there is no loss, in the end (because there is no end—to the exchange).

Breathing gives, and receives. Breathe, live. Remember to receive as well as give, and you will always be full. :)

For more on this energetic topic, see also my friend Jean Hamilton-Fford’s article on Energy Awareness and Management, here.

Blessings!

To Know, Like, and Trust

clothing_store_salesI went on a rare for me trip to “the mall” to buy new clothes for my first business trip since 2007 (ah, the joys of the freelance life working from home!). Dreaded the great search for something that would work and not break the bank. I did find a little dress and some shoes eventually, but the very best part about the whole experience was…the human connection. No, not just people watching in the mall, but the helpfulness of the sales staff in the stores. I don’t know if the Apple Store’s aura has spread, or if retail corporations have rediscovered their ethic of customer service (and maybe commission-based sales), but I really noticed an uptick in the quality of sales service in both large department stores (Dillard’s in my case) and smaller boutique outlets (Express and The Limited). I felt connected and taken care of in both types of places. Makes me want to do more of my shopping in the real world rather than online, actually. Which brings me to the title of this post.

I’ve been reading marketing philosophy material for some time now, and although I’m getting tired of the “3 things/5 things/10 things” bit with some of the posts I’ve been reading, one theme seems to come through as most common-sensical to me: People do business with other people they know, like, and trust (which is what the folks in the mall stores were fostering so well).

Also, folks tend to be looking not so much for “stuff” but for experiences that they think they need that “stuff” in order to have (like my cheerful one with retail the other week). Steve Jobs of Apple Computer understood the human desire for a certain kind of experience, usually involving the excitement of the new, the potential for making processes faster and easier, the aesthetics of visual experience, and the nice feeling of making connections. I got all of these needs fulfilled by the sales folks at the mall. The quality and fit of the clothes counted also, but the shopping experience turned out to be more important to me.

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Stay curious about your customers and prospects (without being nosy), and the liking and trusting bit will follow pretty easily. That’s been my experience with my own businesses. Most of my best reviews (like on my editorial biz site here) are about the relationship with the client. I’d say customer services makes up at least 40 percent of what gives satisfaction and creates referrals.

So, do your customers know, like, and trust you? And how do you go about getting to know them, please them, and build trust? Take a look at your website this coming week, and ask yourself those questions in terms of how you present yourself and your products and/or services. And let me know what you find and what you think you’ll change, as a result.

Blog Post Picks of the Week

Lynn Serafinn, at 7 Graces of Marketing gives her philosophy on building an integral business that will generate trust. Check it out.

Paul and Jon over at Change Agents branding have a really wondrous attitude about marketing in general, and their take on trust is here.