Friday, June 27, 2008

The Power of Belief (part 2)

...continued from The Power of Belief (part 1)

When I read, "Yesterday I knew that god didn't like me - or at least enjoyed messing with me," on Square Peg Reflections I knew I would be tempted to comment with the equivalent of two long blog posts. But I restrained myself and saved them for you!

It's not a good idea to think that G?d enjoys messing with you. It might start happening more often.

It took me a long while to realize this. I grew up with a pessimistic mother. She'd be puttering about in the kitchen listening to us laugh at a great TV show. So she'd come to sit down with us, and a commercial would come on. And then she'd say, "Of course. As soon as I sit down, a commercial comes on." Then she get up and go back to the kitchen to putter about some more.

But I didn't start believing in a malevolent G?d, or a prank-filled Universe, until I was an adult. I'm sure I was greatly influenced by Douglas Adams' "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy."

When did I think the Universe was out to get me and not just Arthur Dent?

Perhaps it was right after I decided to take that out-of-state job offer, and was moving to my new apartment. I let the movers take all the furniture and boxes of durable items. I packed the delicate computer and stereo equipment in my car, and, a couple of hours later, crashed into another car on the highway whose driver had stopped because he missed his exit.

Or perhaps it was a few years later when my wife and I got married and we bought the House. This is the House whose oil burner broke before dawn on Christmas morning, the day after our daughter was born.

It wasn't long after that that I started to dread making plans. "Hi Bro. Sorry I can't come to your Christmas get-together. Our daughter is throwing up." I wish Sherre Hirsch had written her book "We Plan, God Laughs" several years earlier. I really needed it then.

Up until recently, even driving to work had been disturbing. How many consecutive traffic lights need to turn red just as you get to them before you wonder what's going on?

It was The Secret that made me realize what was going on. It made it clear that I had to stop expecting failure. I needed to reject this image of G?d snatching the cheese out of my maze just as I reach the end. I had to start thinking that I was loved and cared for by the Universe.

And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I really am loved by the Universe. I have gotten through difficult situations without too much grief. I'm healthy and not in pain. I have even had random choices turn out surprisingly well.

Good things are in store for you. Believe it!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Power of Belief (part 1)

Ever since I watched "The Secret" DVD and read the book, I've been incubating a post on it.

But then the ever inspirational "Square Peg Karen" wrote a post that tangentially related to my murky gestations, so I figured it was about time I get to work. Her post "god doesn't like me?" can be found here.

The idea behind "The Secret" is that we can use the Power of Attraction to get what we want. The author suggests that you try it out on something simple first. Attract some small object, not too common place but not altogether impossible to encounter. I instantly visualized a crystal doorknob, something I once saw when I was very small, perhaps in my grandmother's apartment. My wife, meanwhile, declared that her test object was a glove with about a half-dozen pompoms dangling from the wrist. She told me to be on the lookout for it.

If you're a believer in The Secret, you might want to know that we found the objects. And now you should stop reading. Please, just stop.

Well, I finally came across my doorknob in an antiques shop about four months later. But I might have missed it had I not been looking for it. (I was actually walking through the shop thinking, "If I'm ever going to find that crystal doorknob, it would be here.")

My wife's pompom glove was a bit less promising. She described it to me, but the only object that I could hold in my mind was a cat toy. When I told her this, she said, "No, I'm not thinking of a cat toy." Perhaps not, but I was. And we found the cat toy glove easily enough. So I was satisfied.

Except I'm not really Satisfied.

The thing that leaves me unsatisfied is this: Did I think of my crystal doorknob because I expected to find it? Or did my Power to Attract bring about my expectation to find it? There's a subtle difference here. In the first manner of thinking, I might have had a pre-cognitive notion that I would find that doorknob, and so I selected it to make the experiment a success. (I might've already seen one at an antiques store, although the store I did find it at was one I've never been to before.) In the second, by holding the doorknob in my thoughts, I actually drew it toward me or propelled myself toward it.

Guess which line of thinking I subscribe to?

It's not that I'm unwilling to believe in The Secret. I do believe in Shakti Gawain's "Creative Visualization," which pre-dates The Secret by about 30 years. So I believe the process can work. I just have a problem with the way in which The Secret tries to win over skeptics.

In fact, I'm having success with The Secret. For example, we needed a new container for our Q-Tips. The one we've been using for ten years is made of cardboard and has a flimsy plastic cover that has been ripped and dented for nine years. I imagined that we'd find something to replace it at an import store. So when I entered the store, I looked through it with a Purpose. And I found a container. (But not The Container, because the container we bought was carved out of a huge stalk of cinnamon, and it imparted a dusty residue to the Q-Tips we put inside it. It smells nice, though!)

Still on the lookout for a container today, I headed toward the Baby Products aisle in the drug store. "That's the baby aisle, dear. We don't need anything there," my wife said to me with the patience of one who looks after a senile grandfather. But I found The Container rather easily -- much more easily than I could ever hope to find the ketchup in our refrigerator. It helped immensely that The Container actually had Q-Tips in it. :)

I have another success story. But strictly speaking, it's a success story about Creative Visualization, because it happened before I heard about The Secret. I won't write about it here. Not now, not yet. I've rambled on long enough, and I must get to bed. And I still need to explain what this has to do with "Square Peg Karen's" post, "god doesn't like me?"

But perhaps you've already figured that out for yourself. If not, I'll let you meditate on it for a while.


Breakfast Sausage

I started to make my own breakfast sausage because I've not been able to find any good pre-packaged sausage made from beef or lamb. By "good" I mean "made without preservatives or icky additives such as MSG."

The Whole Foods store in a neighboring town carries organic breakfast sausage made from either turkey, chicken or pork. But according to the Blood Type Diet, beef and lamb are better choices for those with Type O blood. In fact, pork is a toxin to all blood types.

I just made my third batch yesterday, and I just wanted to capture the recipe I used to make breakfast sausages, since it came out better than the first batch.

To 1 lb of ground beef*, I added:
After my daughter and I kneaded it well, I made "links." I formed a flat rectangle about the size of a number 10 business size envelope, about 1/2 inch thick. Then I cut off 1/2 "sticks."

I fried the "sticks" in a fry pan at medium low heat and turned them every few minutes. I kept them covered to keep them from drying out.

They cooked in less than 10 minutes.

When they were done, I placed them onto a sheet of aluminum foil and wrapped them up for storage in the freezer.

They came out a bit too spicey, so I plan to cut back the Cayenne pepper next time. Also, I was going for a more sweet sausage, like a maple flavor, which I didn't get at all. So I might double or triple the Fenugreek.

* This beef was 90% lean ground sirloin. I've used ground lamb for my second try, which I think came out better.

** This spice does contain Dextrose, which some might want to avoid. I do plan to try a batch without this one day. But since I have it, I figured I might as well use it. When I made the first batch, I used only this spice. But the result was bland.

Let me know if you try this, or if you have another recipe for breakfast sausage!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Rainbows and Four-Leaf Clovers

This rainbow showed up a couple of hours after we picked about twenty four-leaf clovers in a friend's yard. I even found a five-leaf clover! We wouldn't have thought to look for them if it weren't for a recent Dr. Weil DVD.

Our daughter spotted the rainbow while playing piano, and we ran outside to watch. It was after a thunderstorm, and there were still lightning flashes, but I wasn't lucky enough to capture any. It turned out to be a double rainbow, but the second part of the pair was faint.

So rainbows and four-leaf clovers -- something to make us happy!