My Mom Had A Premonition Dream!

Posted Posted in Cool Supernatural/Paranormal Stuff, My Stories, Other Cool Topics

A while back I wrote about a jaw-dropping experience that a friend of mine had, having a very vivid dream and then re-living the dream in exact detail the next day (read Premonition Dreams). The day after writing that, I got an email from my mom saying that she once had a premonition dream. She said that although it was back in 1968, forty-five years ago, she remembers it like it was just yesterday. That’s the first sign that it might be something other than a normal dream. She also said that as the dream was being played out the next day, it felt like she was watching a movie. So cool… And for those of you who don’t know my mom, I don’t think she could ever be called “flaky” or “untrustworthy” or anything like that. Many of my readers know her, and they would certainly agree. It’s pretty wild when you start talking about things like this that nobody really talks about. People come out of the woodwork sharing their experiences. One of my jobs is to talk about these things out in the open, no different than talking about sports or the weather. Because is it really any different?

So it was 1968, five years before my time, and my dad’s Aunt Virginia had just passed away. On the day before the funeral, family gathered at the house and various friends came by. My mom’s job was to greet people at the door and to try to set as cheery a tone as possible. The family absolutely didn’t want a bunch of depressed people hanging around. People could act that way at the funeral the next day if they wanted, but not at the house. It sounds like it was more of a celebration of life, and my mom was at the door to set the tone as people stopped by.

The night before, my mom dreamed in vivid detail about the next day. She was standing at the front door, doing her job as greeter, when a woman who worked for Uncle Terry came rushing in with a guest book from the funeral home. She was saying, “Here is the book for everyone to sign.” Mom knew in the dream that this was the last thing the family wanted, and it was up to her to prevent it.

Fast forward to the next day, and everything is as planned with my mom at the front door greeting people as they stopped by. And then what happened? The dream began in front of her very eyes! This is when she said it felt like she was literally watching a movie. It was exact. It was the same. It had already happened. The same lady who worked for Uncle Terry rushed in with the guest book from the funeral home saying the same thing – “Here is the book for everyone to sign.” Mom felt like the dream had prepared her to politely say that the family would prefer that the book stay at the funeral home to be signed the next day at the funeral. And all worked out just fine.

So there are two questions. First of all, did this really happen? And if so, what’s the meaning? Answering the first question is where I appreciate having a logical mind that’s fairly open-minded. Many people, especially those claiming to be logical, would say right away that that’s crazy talk. When people you know and trust have these experiences, though, it seems less and less crazy. Recall from my first article on this subject that of all the accounts of this phenomenon happening, it only takes one of them in the history of the world to be true to mean there’s something to it. One. Of the seven billion people alive today and all those who came before, there are tons of these accounts. Tons. And only one has to have been true. So the logical answer to our first question, “Did this really happen?,” is an emphatic and resounding, “Yes!”

That leaves us with the meaning. As I said in that first article I wrote on this subject, the main thing to take away is really just to keep a very open mind and know that we don’t really know how the world works. Mainstream science doesn’t know, that’s for sure. And that’s fine. We can open up to some deeper possibilities. We can let magic happen. We don’t have to know all the answers, and we don’t have to pretend that we do. That’s stressful, anyway. So relax, do your best, and let it unfold. Have the best intentions you can for all involved and you should be fine.

Here’s a little preview of where a conversation like this might go when I get my next blog, A Deep Mind, rolling. And I haven’t started it yet, so no time soon… A Course In Miracles says that what we’re actually doing here on earth is merely “reviewing mentally what has gone by.” If that’s true, then premonition dreams just got explained in six simple words! And don’t get freaked out. The Course also says that we never left our real home of perfect love and oneness and that we are simply having a dream of separation. Perfect love… where have I heard that before? Oh – from just about every spiritual teacher, including Jesus. Maybe there’s something to it? That doesn’t do much for the Old Testament’s cause, though…

So we didn’t even leave our real home, but since we think we’re here in these separate bodies, this is where our work must be done. And what is our work? To restore our mind to its original condition of total peace. Then we wake up and realize it was just a dream. And we’re in oneness now, which is totally mind blowing by the way (so don’t bother trying to “understand it”). It includes all and excludes none. Anything you’ve ever loved is there, but better than ever. There are no problems, no separation. And how interesting it is that the folks who have near death experiences and out of body experiences generally say how incredibly awesome it is on the other side and that we should stop worrying so much while we’re here. And there are tons of these folks, especially with our advanced medical capabilities of “bringing people back.” When you start talking about this, people come out of the woodwork, people who are normal, intelligent, and not even “woo-woo” (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Just ask around. In the meantime, sweet dreams.

“All I Have To Do Now Is _____”

Posted Posted in Tools & Techniques

So many of us live in our heads for the vast majority of our lives. This can be pretty miserable and tormenting – just ask them. Or ask yourself. Or ask me! It’s very common, especially in our fast-paced, ADD society. If this helped us to be at peace, there would be no problem. It tends to keep us stuck in fear and stress, though. A great tool for helping you stay out of your head and in the present moment is to simply tell yourself, “All I have to do now is (insert what you are doing now).” It works. And it might make you laugh.

When you’re brushing your teeth, for instance, you don’t have to be in your head. You don’t have to be thinking about anything from the past or the future. If you’re thinking about something nice, that’s fine – go right ahead. But if you’re beating yourself up (even slightly) about the past or worrying (even slightly) about the future, just tell yourself, “All I have to do right now is brush my teeth.” Done. Watch out, though, because you might start laughing. And what a great laugh that is! Why watch out, though? Because you’re brushing your teeth and toothpaste spit might go all over the place.

That reminds me of a quick story about laughing while brushing your teeth, at least with an electric toothbrush. And this has nothing to do with A Clean Mind. Actually, I guess it does, in that laughter is awesome. So a bunch of my friends and I discovered the band Steely Dan during our freshman year of college. That was back in 1991 or 1992. To this day, we’re still cultish Michael McDonald fans. If you take a look around, you’ll actually find that many people are. Just watch one of the many Yacht Rock video shorts (warning – some of you will find these to be incredibly stupid – please don’t judge me if you do). You can also watch this 40-second clip from the excellent movie The 40-Year-Old Virgin.

So when my friend got married almost fifteen years after our initial Michael McDonald discovery, he surprised us with t-shirts that he made with the most awesome picture of McDonald’s face along with the words, Yah Mo B There. That was the title of the hit 1983 song by McDonald and James Ingram. Legendary producer Quincy Jones was involved as well. I’ll have to track down this t-shirt and post a pic of it on my Facebook page, because it is hilarious. Actually, maybe only a few of us think it’s funny… Anyway, I’m brushing my teeth with an electric toothbrush while wearing this t-shirt. While brushing, my eyes randomly glance in the mirror and catch the pic of McDonald. And I start laughing. Hard. And toothpaste spit goes all over the mirror. What was the lesson, you might ask? Never, ever, ever brush your teeth with an electric toothbrush while wearing this t-shirt. Back to the story…

So try this out if you’re thinking too much when you don’t really have to be thinking. It works, and it can be pretty funny, too. It gives you a much needed break from living in your head. Other examples besides brushing your teeth include… whatever you’re doing now! You might tell yourself, “All I have to do now is drive to work, chop this onion, walk my dog, sit in church, read this book, fill the water bottle, wash my hands, go to the bathroom, watch this movie, do my homework, ride my bike, etc.” And as I write this, I’m telling myself, “All I have to do now is finish this blog post.” And then proofread it real quick… And then get to the beach! It’s 72 degrees in January. I live in Florida, but I’m in the top left part of the state. Winter is not normally like this. Enjoy!

Emotion As Color In Your Body

Posted Posted in Other Cool Topics, Tools & Techniques

Here’s a nice tool that might help keep emotion from ruling you – view it as color. This can help you zoom out and see the bigger picture when you’re stuck in the middle of it, like when you’re really angry or really sad.

First, imagine your body as clear. That’s when you’re at peace. When you’re mad, imagine it turning red. If you’re a only a little mad, then it’s light red or pink. If you’re really mad, then it’s dark red or maroon. Since emotions are all temporary, even the darkest of reds will fade with time into a lighter and lighter shade of red until you’re no longer mad. Your body has become clear again.

So here’s the question… When your body is red, is it a good time to be interacting with someone? Is it a good time to make decisions? Would it be a better idea to stop thinking, breathe some, and just let your body cool off? Imagining these colors helps me take the personal sting out of it. I drop the story and remind myself that there’s anger in my body now, that’s all. It’s red, and that happens from time to time. If I breathe for a bit and chill out, that red will fade. Once that happens, I’m in a much better place to interact with people or to try to fix the situation. No big deal. And I can easily acknowledge just how mad I am using colors, too, and it doesn’t seem so personal or heavy. It’s just color in the body. No big deal.

The same works for any other feeling. Sadness might be blue, for instance. The colors themselves don’t matter – it’s the overall concept. It’s just a color in your body, and all colors are temporary. Let’s remove the personal sting from emotion. Emotions are totally normal. Let’s become experts in emotion, though, so they don’t rule us. And if you’ve been reading A Clean Mind and practicing, then you probably know more about emotion than most people on earth, by far. It’s really pretty simple, though I know that practicing in the moment can be challenging.

When I start my next blog, A Deep Mind, I’ll talk about another reason why emotions aren’t personal – because who you really, really are is not a person. Any person is temporary, and who you are is definitely not temporary – and that’s really awesome news! But for now, let’s take the personal out of the equation by simply viewing emotion as temporary color in the body. Go chill out some and that color will fade. And that’s good news, too.

Anger & Other Relationship Stuff

Posted Posted in Client/Friend Stories

This post will be more about anger in the beginning, but further down you’ll see that it contains some classic relationship stuff. Here we go…

A client came in to work on his anger. He was tired of it and wanted to finally deal with it once and for all. His wife was quite happy about this decision, too. In fact, she might have been part of that decision! I don’t remember exactly…

The first session was pretty standard, with me thoroughly explaining what I’m always like a broken record about – feelings and thoughts. We mostly focused on feeling and releasing as the alternative to expressing the anger (check out the BEGIN HERE! category if this is not familiar). We also talked about his specific triggers so that he’d be on the lookout for them. As always, he’d leave my office after the first session with powerful new tools for life. We’d set a second appointment for a week or two out so that he’d have a chance to practice what he had learned. Then he’d return and we’d discuss what went down.

When he came in nine days later, he said life had been pretty uneventful since our first session. He had been working most of the time, anyway. Since this was five minutes into the session, I was wondering what we’d talk about for the next forty minutes! So I kept asking some questions to see if he had experienced what I had been talking about at all. Did you get angry or stressed? Did you notice it and feel it? Did the anger start to move on after you just breathed and felt it without any thinking or story? Were you able to let go of it, while letting it be there? It was sounding to me like none of this had happened, which would mean we’d have very little to discuss. And then he said something like, “Well, my two young kids were fighting, and that always makes me feel stressed out.” Now we’re talking… So I asked what he did when he noticed that he was getting stressed. He said that he did what we had practiced the week before – he stopped, closed his eyes, breathed, and let go of the stress. And I asked him the inevitable next question, “What happened to the stress when you did that? Did it move?” And his answer was… yes! And I was internally high-fiving the air and jumping up and down.

While my client was super chill as he told me what had happened, I was super excited. I asked him, “Do you realize what you did?? You learned something new, practiced it a few days later in the heat of the moment, and you got noticeable results. That’s major! Just do the same exact thing for the rest of your life and you’ll be all good!” You see, often we get in arguments with people, especially family members, and we don’t realize that we came into the exchange carrying stress from earlier in the day. We were already in a combustible state. Being around young kids fighting is a very easy way to become combustible. Then you end up in an argument with someone else and it wasn’t even really about that person – it was because you were already angry and stressed out from hearing the kids fighting. Classic family stuff. My client noticed this and immediately whacked it. He let it go and centered himself. He was no longer combustible because he learned something and then applied it. This is huge. And after only one session!

It gets better. I asked if he could think of anything else at all like this, and he finally remembered that his wife had gotten a pretty expensive speeding ticket since we first met. Excellent! Why is that excellent? Because that’s how it works – learn new stuff in first session, practice when life inevitably goes south, then return to discuss. That’s the way. So I asked what happened when his wife told him about the ticket and he said he did the same thing. He did not react. He stayed calm. He resisted the urge to say something snide to her about screwing up and costing them hard-earned money, like he would’ve done before we had met. All after one session! It seems small, but the only thing that can happen now is that the volume can get turned up when life goes south. But the laws of feelings are the same – feel them without thought and they move whether something big or small has happened to disturb your peace. It’s just much easier to deal with a little anger or stress (or sadness or any other feeling) than a lot.

My client simply has to practice the same thing whenever life goes south, and he’ll live a much more peaceful life than he otherwise would have. So cool. He learned something one time, put it into action, and got measurable results. Here’s where the classic relationship BS comes in. In each case mentioned above, he would’ve ended up in an argument with his wife. Instead, he avoided that same old tired, useless outcome by his own doing. He was able to make a different choice. I asked about his religious or spiritual beliefs, and he said he was raised in the church but doesn’t go now. I explained that he’s on the path to inner peace, which is something that Jesus endorsed. This is the beginning of that path, and that’s pretty powerful. It’ll take more and more to rattle him as he practices. And whenever he gets mad, he won’t beat himself up. Instead, he’ll just examine how it happened so that he can learn. Then life will bring him the same test later, and at some point he’ll pass it. He passed the two tests he had since our first session, though. He passed them with flying colors. Straight A’s. I love my job…

Young Client Fixes Himself!

Posted Posted in Client/Friend Stories

The mother of a teenager called to see if I would work with her son. He had suddenly had some anxiety attacks that revolved around wondering what happens when we die. They had come out of nowhere. And what was my reply to her? “Oh, hells yeah!” Readers of A Clean Mind know that I love this type of thing – in fact, it’s exactly why I became a therapist in the first place. As a logical math guy who looked around, I came to believe very firmly that we’re spirit and not a body. So I don’t even believe in death! I think the evidence shows this pretty clearly. I wanted to make it my job to talk about this stuff so that people could live with more peace.

I don’t see too many teenagers, and he might’ve been the first, so I was a bit nervous about that. The subject is right up my alley, though, so the excitement trumped any questions about whether or not my way would work with a younger person. Also, I knew his family and knew that they have very open beliefs about religion and spirituality. That was huge because after lots of looking around, my beliefs have come to be in contrast with lots of the mainstream stuff around here. And I tell it like I see it, so I had to make sure in advance that this would not be a problem. His mother and I were totally on the same page, so we scheduled an appointment.

When the day for the appointment came, I was very excited. I felt lucky and honored to be able to talk about this with someone his age. What’s more, I didn’t have too many clients at that time whose issues were in the “spiritual” realm; it mostly “normal” therapy (whatever that is).  So I was excited and ready to roll.

When he showed up and started talking, I discovered (to my amazement) that he had already fixed the problem. Really?? I didn’t really have to do anything except validate what he had already done himself. We had a great talk about the deeper questions, and I assured him that he had nothing at all to worry about in that regard. Just live and be a good person, which is the crux of what he came to realize himself prior to coming in.

Here’s the story. On a Friday night, he went to bed and shortly thereafter he had a rush of anxiety centered around what happens when we die. He said it sounded like voices in his head talking rapidly about this subject in a not-so-gentle way. Then the next day, the same thing happened during the daytime. He was quite disturbed about this, not really knowing what a panic attack was. Many people think they’re having a heart attack when they have their first panic attack. Pretty scary stuff. This came out of nowhere, along with the questions about what happens after death. And there was a negative tone to it all, as in, “What if I go to hell?”

I was prepared to tell him what I’m pretty sure of – that there is no hell as far as the Christian version goes (which is what he had been worried about). I haven’t believed in that for so long now that I laugh at the thought of it. I forget how big a deal this is for so many people, and I really do respect that – it’s just been a while so I’m out of touch. Anyway, my client had already beaten me to the punch. The attacks had come on a Friday night and Saturday, and three days later on Tuesday he sat himself down and went toe-to-toe with these questions. He looked these demons in the eye and basically said, “Let’s get it on – let’s do this.” The result was that he decided that he’s a good person who’s doing his best, and he’ll just see what happens in the end. And he was at peace after this – problem solved! And he’s doing fine now – it literally ended right then and there.

Our appointment had already been made, so he came in and I had the honor of confirming his realization. I was so happy and amazed at the same time, for I certainly did not expect this. He was glad he came anyway, because I really hammered home what he had come to understand. Why? Because I believe the same thing! I don’t like when I hear about people living in fear because of a ludicrous concept like hell that’s been banged into their head by people who had it banged in their head, etc, etc, etc. And the reason that I don’t mind talking like that, even though this “no hell” thing is a belief and not a known, is that I’m a good person doing his best, too! If I have to burn in flames for eternity after living the life I’ve been living, then I’m fine with that. I don’t know what else I can do. Be a good person and do your best. Done.

I’ll talk in much more detail about this when I start the new blog called A Deep Mind. Which will not be anytime soon, but it’s looking sooner than I originally thought. There’s just too much to talk about there. This is enough for our purposes, though. What a cool experience for me, and he was happy to know that I was out there doing what I do. He has a resource in me as long as I’m around and able to help. Hell, he might end up teaching me at some point! And that would be fine, too.

And if there are any of you that have issues with the whole “hell” thing, which you probably learned as a child before you had much of a say, then let’s go ahead and nip that in the bud. Life is much more heavenly when you do…

Happy Super Late New Year!!

Posted Posted in My Stories, Other Cool Topics

Happy 2013, folks! Wait – January is already more than halfway over?? Okay, I’ve been on an extended blogging break since just before Christmas, but it’s been fairly restful. I’ve never been a big new year’s guy anyway, so we might as well wait a bit and let the dust settle. And now we’re back. And I still can’t believe I’m a blogger. I used to take bloggers’ milk money all the time. It was my religion.

So we made it through the Great Mayan Apocalypse of 2012, which never was an end anyway – just the end of a cycle and the beginning of the next one. Each year is like that anyway. So is each month, each day, each hour, etc. Some people make big deals out of reviewing the past year and making goals for the upcoming one. I’ve never been into that too much, but there’s certainly nothing wrong with it. In fact, it can be incredibly useful. Like everything we do at A Clean Mind, we just want to have a relaxed attitude as we do it. It’s all about our attitude, how we see things. My life has always flown by pretty quickly, anyway, moving around from place to place and doing different things. In fact, the last several years in Pensacola has been the most settled I’ve been since before I left home for college as an eighteen-year-old. That was back in 1991. So I’ve never felt too stagnant or dissatisfied. If you do, though, then it might be a good idea to shake things up with a little review of the past and some ideas for the future. And any review of the past has to be judgment-free, of course. Own it and move on.

So let’s try it out for fun. How was 2012? Well, A Clean Mind was started in 2012, so we got the ball rolling – as a recovering perfectionist, that’s always big for me. The purpose is pretty much to help people learn to live more at peace. You could call it mindfulness with a fresh voice that likes to cuss. I’ve always enjoyed sharing the client stories, too, whenever it’s a story that I think will help others. And the client is always cool with it, of course.

So what direction are we headed in? In a word, “deeper.” I’ve mentioned once or twice that I’ll probably have another blog called A Deep Mind at some point. I’ve had the url’s, Facebook, and Twitter handles locked up for a while, so there’s no rush. And no, I don’t tweet yet – I haven’t found where that fits in to my flow at the moment (I’m letting the game come to me, as the sports cliché goes). All of this techno stuff makes me a bit sick sometimes, so I’m taking it slow. Facebook was pretty huge for this guy, in fact. Baby steps. So I have no firm plan for A Deep Mind.

A Clean Mind will probably stay pretty close to what it is now, though. It’ll become more populated with each post, so it’ll cover more and more bases. I’ll continue to organize it better, too. I’ve added the archives and a search bar, which is good. I want it to be a totally user friendly resource that covers tons of issues. I might also go through and tag the posts at some point to make it more sortable in that way.

And what is the difference between A Clean Mind and A Deep Mind, anyway? I’m so glad you asked… A Clean Mind is for any human. It’s totally general – it’s about feeling and thinking. It’s about letting go. We really can learn to not be controlled by emotion so much. It’s about mental hygiene (and you thought that “dental” was the only kind of hygiene). We really can turn down the voice in the head, as well as question whether or not what it says is even true to begin with. It’s about not trying to control what we totally can’t control anyway. It’s about busting our patterns without a shred of judgment. It’s just a pattern!

All of these things are very powerful, and they can help a person live with more peace pretty much immediately, if they’re ready. You have to actually do it, though. All it takes is willingness and practice. So that’s all great. The truth, though, is that I didn’t become a therapist and start writing just to spread the word on all that. Life changed for me many years ago in such a way that can be hard to describe. It got deeper. Maybe what happened was that spirit revealed itself to me. And I know that the word “spirit” is pretty vague, but that happens when we’re dealing with words in the first place, really. In A Course In Miracles, it says, “Let us not forget, however, that words are but symbols of symbols. They are thus twice removed from reality.” I love that. There’s reality, then there’s our thoughts about reality (once removed), and then we try to express our thoughts with words (twice removed). This is always good to keep in mind. Back to the story…

Many years ago, I was a logical guy with a math degree who was convinced that what you see is what you get and that’s that. And regarding death, when we die we turn to dust and that’s that. No meaning at all. I realized these were beliefs and not knowns, though. I told people, “I’ll tell you what’s up after I die, and in the meantime I’m just going to live.” Then spirit got my attention with so many synchronicities that as a logical person, I was forced to admit that some freaky things were going on, and that the chances were infinitesimal. That means basically zero probability. So if I were going to be true to my logical roots, then I had to exchange this meaningless world I had believed in for one in which spirit is in charge, there are no such thing as coincidences, magic happens, and there’s WAY more than meets the eye.

This was still a belief and not a known, but it was now Explanation #1 For What’s Going On. If anything else came along with more evidence, it would then become the new Explanation #1 For What’s Going On. That’s being logical – there’s no need to be attached to anything except whatever seems to have the most evidence. It’s not personal. And to this day, this “spiritual” world remains my Explanation #1 For What’s Going On, and it’s not even close.

I have a lot to say on this subject, and I’ve been making a list of ideas for a while now as they pop in my head. I don’t think it’s appropriate, though, to write about that stuff here. I also don’t want to scare people off of this blog because it’s too much about the deeper stuff. This blog is designed to be a very general resource to help the majority of people, so I want them to be able to use it and not think, “This guy is a total freak, so I can’t listen to him.” There will still be some seeds planted here and there, though, and that’s already been done to some extent.

So there’s the map. I’ve been letting spirit guide the whole thing all along anyway, so I’ll continue to do that as best I can. I love doing this, and I love my readers. We’re all in this together, anyway. So with that I wish you all the best for 2013 and beyond. And don’t be afraid to grow if you feel it’s time to grow. Why? Because if you feel it’s time to grow and you don’t initiate it, then life will usually initiate it for you. And when life initiates it for you, it tends to be more painful. So a big Happy New Year to you and yours. And as always, let me know if I can help!