The Importance of Surprise and Trust in the Intuitive Process


Surprise is the single most important clue that you have stumbled into the realm of the intuitive. Often what doesn’t make any rational sense right now makes a whole lot of sense in the larger scheme of things, but you won’t be able to know for sure until later.

In the meantime, you have to trust yourself, go with the first thought that comes to you, detach from the outcome, and just wait to see what develops. That’s the tough part: the waiting for confirmation that your hunch was or was not on target. When there are lots of dollars and huge reputations at stake, the waiting for corroboration can seem like an eternity.

That is why trust is at the top of the list of intuitive tips: trust in yourself, and trust in the fundamental good intention of others. If anything can derail accurate intuitive information in a heartbeat, it is the lack of trust. Trust does not mean that you throw away your natural skepticism, or that you stop looking for corroboration through rational methods. Trust means that you are willing to suspend disbelief for a moment, just long enough to dart out into the universe and pick up something that might be useful in resolving the issue at hand, something that all too often might be ignored.

[Excerpt from my book on business intuition entitled Seven Seconds or Less: From Gut Feeling to Bottom Line,  published by Balboa Press, Fall 2013.]

Boston Marathon Events

On the record: the Boston events reflect acts of domestic terrorism that are Tea Party and militia based.

There is always the possibility that external groups can make events appear to be triggered from within, and also the possibility that domestic groups can attempt to make events appear to be triggered internationally. In addition, in light of recent international events, North Korea must now be included into the mix with Al Qaeda when considering the source of any such public attacks.

Nevertheless, I believe and go “On the Record” stating that the Boston Marathon events are domestically based. I also feel that there are more locations linked to the Boston Marathon, and to the Patriot’s Day holiday, yet to be discovered and uncovered.

Reliability and Intuitive Information

SunsetThe sun comes up and the sun goes down and we trust it. Even when the scientists tell us that the sunlight we are seeing today was sent out from our past, is not even today’s sun, and we cannot even be certain that the sun has not already become extinct in real time…it just hasn’t betrayed us yet! While what I just said may not exactly be accurate or sophisticated physics, hopefully you get my point.

Reliability with regard to intuitive information has three principal areas of focus: the reliability of the source of the information; the reliability of the information itself; and the assurance that any subsequent information received will be as reliable as the first. While there is overlap among these considerations, credibility of source has much greater importance with regard to operating on gut feeling than the source, say, of numerical data that are considered to be relatively free from personality tampering.

If I tell you that my intuitive information derives from an insight I had while reading a book on management, it is likely that you will at least pay some attention to what I say. If I tell you that my information – the exact same information – derives from a space being inhabiting the twelfth dimension, it is unlikely you will give me a moment’s notice. In this case the issue is not the reliability of the information itself, which might sound quite reasonable, but the source of that information, which may or may not appear to be credible, and will most likely appear to be completely unreasonable. How can I consider a space being from a twelfth dimension to be a reliable source of intuitive data for the success of my very practical business, when I know of only three dimensions and do not believe in extraterrestrial intelligence? Even if the information could make the company rich, I would resist any attempt to risk the well-being of my company on such an apparently unreliable source.

As distinct from source, there must be some way to determine the reliability of the content of intuitive information received. How can such information be credible in a business environment? How does the information rise above the label of “fortune telling?”

Belief in the source makes people believe in the data. The violation of trust felt when a trusted source is found to be either corrupt or just plain faulty can be quite intense, and can incur not only appropriate wrath, but hefty fines as well. It took years of cumulative data to make investors aware that perhaps their trusted sources of financial data were faulty at best and absolutely wrong at the height of the significant downturn in financial  markets. There were countless clues from intuitive sources that something fairly fundamental to the structuring of global financial instruments was afoot, but because the intuitive sources were considered unreliable and traditional sources had not yet discerned new patterns emerging, many people lost their livelihood as businesses failed or were greatly devalued.

When is that magic moment when the source of information must be questioned deeply, even if it has been reliable in the past? How do we recognize fundamental structural changes on the  horizon before they wipe out investments and savings? In truth, the source and content of information should be questioned at every moment and at every level. One can never be lulled to sleep by past patterns, whether mainstream or intuitive. The issue, then, is how to question without becoming immobilized or unable to trust at all; how to establish reliability when both the playing field and the rules are changing.

Intuition helps trigger an internal awareness that it is time to pay closer attention; it is an individualized alarm clock that allows for routine or continuing action, pending some personal signal that the information received is no longer reliable. It says simply, “Be aware and pay attention.”

There need be no specific content requirement to activate this alarm clock; it is simply an emotional or energetic trigger for increased awareness which may or may not be linked to specific investments, say, or stock performance, or even the news headlines. It is likely to be an internal trigger that lets you know whether the area of concern is professional, financial, or personal. This trigger can be expressed as a pattern of sensation in the body, the appearance of “signs” such as arrows or repeating numbers in the environment, or many other highly individualized clues. You might see the face of your broker in a flash moment with his or her head hanging or tucked into the overcoat; this would be a good moment for a phone call to ask, “How are things going?” During the next few weeks you might pay special attention to the market until you feel you can coast again and things have settled down…or erupted openly.

Business intuition, while often considered unreliable, can be of great service when traditional sources of data fail. Once investors have already taken significant financial losses, the presumably greater risk of seeking out intuitive data when rational analysis has failed now seems not so great at all. This is the moment for thinking outside the box, for discovering whether, and if so, how, information from an intuitive source can make a difference in current performance and future earnings. Such content, even if from a questionable source, can save the day.

From my perspective a fundamental requirement for insuring the reliability of intuitive information is detachment from the outcome, from the content of the data and how this content plays out in the real world. How, when so much money and reputation and lives are on the line, is detachment possible? It is precisely because so much is on the line that detachment becomes critical to achieving reliable results. One has to become a “disinterested party,” so that as little bias as possible enters into the intuitive information. I have made a practice of not being invested financially or emotionally in any business I advise, regardless of the headlines, personal relationships, or known “facts” to the contrary. It is hard enough to be detached; add investment in the outcome and reliability all but bites the dust!

That is why for me, one important clue to the reliability of intuitive information is the extent to which the information comes in a rush, and is a complete surprise to my rational mind; it may even seem outrageous. I know in that moment that the information is not derived from my reading the news, or my professional education, but from some other mysterious, but amazingly more reliable source… my gut feeling, my knowing without knowing how I know. I look for that nanosecond rush, that deep and instantaneous clarity, and I consider such information reliable. That is the information I would pass on to clients and friends; that is what I would use to guide my life. In return, they are responsible, as am I, for what they do with that information, and with how they interpret that information as they apply it to business and life decisions.

The other thing that enhances reliability for me is a fundamental commitment not to edit the rush of intuitive information I receive. When what comes is surprising and may sound totally impractical or impracticable, it is so easy to try to “fix it up” a bit, or edit and temper it. With years of practice, perhaps the most important practice after all, I have learned that reliability is enhanced when I commit to not editing, to taking that very first thought that comes to mind in seven seconds or less – in a nanosecond – and use that, act on that, communicate that. Anything else become increasingly unreliable as the filters of the rational mind take over and make over that gut felt hunch. It is amazing how quickly the rational mind tries to get a hold on that hunch, too! Sometimes a slight alteration changes meaning and timing immensely, just as veering a single degree off course for an airplane could mean ending up in an ocean rather than on a landing strip.

The reliability of subsequent information depends in large measure on demonstrations of reliability in the present or past. This is again why detachment from the outcome is so important. If my ego gets in the way, reliability goes downhill fast. Nothing breeds reliability in the future more than successive demonstrations of reliability in the present and past. I relax and trust myself; clients relax and trust themselves in trusting us both. Then success breeds more success, the “proof” of reliability.

Eventually “all is revealed,” as my father used to say. The remaining question is how much time it takes for reliability to be borne out: 1 week, 1 year, 5 years, a lifetime? This depends on the framing of the question, the framework of the issue, the nature of the business or industry, and a myriad of multivariate expected and unexpected impacts on possible outcomes. That is why, once again, detachment is key. The possibilities are quite literally mind-boggling. At some point we will all know whether the information was reliable or not ex post facto. But then who needs precognitive and predictive information? It will already have become too late. In the meantime, trust in surprise and trust in that rush of knowing without knowing how you know. That’s what I do.

I have a hunch widespread reliability is brewing… Now if we could only get out of the way and let it!

Tackling the Validity Issue for Intuitive Information


One of my business clients was interested in only a few narrowly focused commodities. I had worked with this client at least once a week, and sometimes more often, over the course of two years or more. While not every prediction was correct, he began to notice that the pattern of trading was on the mark, but the timing for the pattern to become fully expressed was off the mark. We also discovered that I did much better with long-term predictions than short-term ones, precisely the opposite of weather forecasters.

One particular issue stands out in my mind. The client, whom I’ll call Adam, wanted to know what the price of oil would be exactly one year from that date. Very quickly and completely intuitively, I gave him a price. His response to me was, “That’s impossible. It simply can’t be and makes no sense.” A year later the price of oil was exactly as I had predicted, to the dollar. He told me that had he followed my advice, he would have made many thousands of dollars on that particular investment, but the numbers I had given him intuitively made no rational sense at the time. (As I recall there was an unanticipated global event that affected the price of oil during this period quite a few years ago.) It is the very role of intuition to provide information that makes no rational sense at the time, and to add that “non-rational” information to other sources provided in quite the usual, rational ways.

It can be a daunting task to prove the validity of intuitive information to such a sufficient degree that individuals and companies are willing to make decisions and invest tremendous resources on a business hunch, especially before the benefit of hindsight proves the hunch to have been correct. Nevertheless, investors are willing to make what is the equivalent of “bets” on the future through commodities trading. They may see mounds of analyses, historical information, trends, charts, graphs, numbers, and the advice of their own professional intuitives, otherwise called stock brokers. Ultimately, however, they are trading on a hunch as well.

Validity can only be established ex post facto. While there are measures for predicting  that a certain event or set of probabilities will occur, there can be no true tests ahead of time for the validity  of precognitive information, or for its inherent quality. This does not mean, however, that intuitive information is therefore useless or pointless. For intuitive information, qualitative measures are a must, and what turns out to be valid information  remains valuable, even though it may not meet objective quantitative standards. Hitting the price of oil is a concrete test of validity. Replicating that success beyond chance is a bit trickier: only time will tell. Furthermore, hitting the benefit of a strategic partnership may require many more measures and analyses to determine validity one or five or ten years later.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating; the proof of valid intuitive information, of the hunch, is in its corroboration. What can be measured is the percentage of times a particular professional intuitive is correct, has a “hit,” for example, predicts where the currency market will be on a particular date and time. What cannot be measured is the value and validity of intuitive information that is not numbers driven: “How will this restructuring affect the overall effectiveness of this organization?” We can attempt to attach productivity percentages to employee performance, for example, but that percentage is not a measure of the validity of the intuitive information that initially drove the restructuring process or convinced the CEO of the need for significant overhaul.

Another challenge related to the issue of validity is isolating the impact of the intuitive information alone in a multifaceted and complex organization, where decision making occurs simultaneously on many levels by individuals who may or may not be involved in intuitive decision making. Larry Dossey highlights this problem when he writes about the difficulty of measuring the effect of prayer on healing. Researchers were able to establish control groups and prayer groups with little difficulty. What stymied them, however, was their inability to determine or control who was praying for patients on their own, completely apart from the prayer studies. They discovered that other people had been praying for the patient as well. How could they tell that the patient’s improved health was the result of the prayer group’s intervention and not all those others who voluntarily prayed without being specifically asked to do so? How can we tell whether the success of a particular venture or corporate intervention is the result of the information provided by the intuitive, or by some other relevant organizational processes? At some point, the effective use of intuition depends upon detaching from the outcome, ignoring for the moment how valid it will show itself to be in the future. Unlike other measures in certain key aspects, the more detached from the need to prove, the more accurate and valid the results.

If certain intuitive information proves to be a key factor in the success of a particular decision or event or outcome, it is likely that the impact of that information will be felt by the CEO or manager or other employee, regardless of what is stated publicly at a later time. That person will know and will return to use such awareness again. Even if direct attribution to the power of intuitive tools can never be fully claimed, intuition as a talent or skill has no personality or ego that suffers from lack of acknowledgment the way employees suffer when their work is unrecognized or undervalued. It is the very nature of intuition to be serving humanity from the hidden corners of consciousness.

A Dog’s Intuition

Chaco on the JobIt All Started With Separation Anxiety

When Chaco the dog’s first human became ill and subsequently died, he began to show signs of severe separation anxiety. He would bark scratch, jump up and down, hide so I couldn’t tuck him away and leave him behind, lick his paws until they bled, and eventually try to chew through the bedroom door.

Something had to give. In order to solve “his problem” I sought advice from books, the Web, and a slew of local veterinarians, including some who specialize in dog behaviors. Bottom line, they told me: humans give off a huge range of nonverbal clues about our intentions well ahead of time, especially when it comes to leaving home without them.

The key to diminishing separation anxiety in pets, they say, is surprise: the pet owner facing this issue must vary the daily routine so much that the dog is never certain what the human will do next: when she will leave, and when she will return. For years I had been teaching people that the key to mastering intuition is also surprise. Maybe I needed to attend Chaco’s workshop!

Given that we humans are creatures of immense and apparently very predictable routines, Chaco decided he’d teach me a thing or two about his mastery of intuition, and the equally impressive lack of my own mastery from a dog’s perspective.

Human Clue #1: When I am preparing to leave the house, the first thing I do, of course, is simply think about the fact that I’m leaving. Uh oh, first big mistake. I haven’t even opened my mouth and Chaco’s ears perk up from across the room. He knows something is about to happen. My first thought is, “How does he know already that I’m getting ready to leave the house?”

Eventually I figure out the first point in his PowerPoint presentation to me is: “Stop talking to yourself and saying, “Okay…”

Whenever I have been sitting still for a time, reading or writing, or engaging in some routine household task like washing dishes or dusting the floors, apparently the first thing I do when I’m ready to shift gears is say out loud, without thinking, “Okay…” I am usually alone in these moments, so after a long time and several trips to the vet I discovered that talking to myself and saying “Okay” out loud was a clue to the dog that a change was gonna come, and that the change might not include him. AAARGH!!! Gotta get a grip on talking to myself!

Clue#2: Head to the bedroom closet and drawers. “What in the world am I going to wear?” Clothes have always been a source of discomfort for me, so Chaco not only picks up the routine that searching for clothes means either somebody’s coming or I’m leaving – or I’m getting ready for a stay-at-home Skype video session and can’t look too disheveled from the torso up. He gets nervous for a moment until he figures that it’s Skype rather than leave, and then settles right back into the counter chair, waiting for me to set up the computer next to him.

Clue#3: Right after rummaging through the closet I immediately head for the bathroom to clean up.

Chaco: “Uh oh. This is serious. She’s going out. Combing the hair is the worst sign of all, whether staying or leaving. She would be mortified to face the world with her frizzy hair all askew!”

Showers can be a sign of leaving or settling in for the night, or of going out during the day, so the dog scopes the weather and the light outside to see which it is more likely to be this time.

Chaco: “If it’s midday, it must be that yoga class for old folks, because she goes into that bag in the other closet and puts clothes on over her clothes. The last time she tried to take me with her to that class I barked up a storm, so now I know I’m grounded.”

Me: “Oh, and I live in Hawaii now. It could rain at any moment, whether gentle mist or downpour. Gotta make sure all the windows and doors are closed and locked. On top of that, I am being regularly reminded that there are more and more tourists in the neighborhood and more and more theft.”

Chaco: “There she goes, walking around the house closing up everything, even though it’s hot as the dickens outside. This is really bad now. But will she take me or leave me at home? Oh no! She’s turning on the light and radio covering the bed and… OMG, she’s getting out my Kong Toy! I’m done for. No hope now. My human is leaving me behind.” Smart dog!

So the behaviorists have told me to vary my routine: get all ready to leave and then stay home. Put on the radio even if I’m staying home. Get dressed even though I’m not going anywhere. What???? Get dressed even though I’m not going anywhere? That is the biggest sacrifice of all, trying to cooperate as a two-legged with four-legged separation anxiety. Being trussed up is not my idea of a pleasant morning or afternoon alone at home, when I could be relaxed and funky instead while I read or write.

Clue#5: “And the most dreaded of all: a trip to the yard to ‘pee pee’ when I don’t even have to go! How humiliating! I’m done for. I’ll just hold it and hide around the corner or under the stairs instead. Maybe she won’t find me; maybe she’ll give in and change her mind and take me with her, or maybe I can even make her late by hiding, so she’ll have to miss her appointment and stay home with me instead.”

Sometimes, more often now that I’m settling into a new location and new routine than a few months ago, I will go through the routine of trying unsuccessfully not to have a routine, and then go over to the box where the red harness and leash are stashed close to the front door. “Yippeee!!” Chaco exclaims. “I’m going; I’m going this time!”

Most of these actions are done wordlessly, mind you. Chaco is an expert at what some in my field call intuition as “pattern recognition:” paying attention to subtle clues that the clue-giver has absolutely no idea are being communicated like big red flags. Chaco, unlike his human, has a Ph.D. in pattern-recognition.

But Wait, There’s More…!!

There is another quality of intuition that defies visual and verbal clues. When I am sad, for example, perhaps in another room of the house out of sight from Chaco, he will suddenly perk up, much like he does when I unconsciously say “okay,” out loud to myself, signaling a change in activity. He will trundle across the house to find me, nuzzle me, knowing in that very moment that he needs to comfort me. I am not boo-hooing, I have made no verbal sign, and I was not visible to him. Something else beyond pattern recognition is going on, as such an episode is rare and follows no pattern or routine that I have been able to discover – yet. Does he know that it is August 15 or September 1st and that I am thinking of a parent or partner or aunt? How does he just “know” that it is sad I am feeling, rather than happy or simply focused? One thing I know for sure: he only does that when I am feeling sad.

Something more is going on in this fascinating arena of intuition, and I am heaven bent on finding out how this type of intuition works; after all, it is a significant part of my professional work. People I do not know call or email or Skype with a question and I just trundle off to the universe and provide meaningful information that they tell me makes sense and even confirms what they were already thinking about as a solution for their situation or concern.

What is the pattern recognition in that type of intuition? No visual clues, no verbal clues, no prior knowledge, no emotional attachment on my part. No routine.

So Chaco has taught me more than I ever wanted to know about pattern recognition which is alive and well indeed, and which often explains a large percentage of manifest and latent communicated behaviors. I guess I’ll have to sign up for his intermediate workshop next: mastering the capacity to mask my intentions about leaving the house is a lot harder than I thought! Chaco may also have something to say about politics and privacy, but he’ll have to save that for his advanced workshop… I’m still struggling with the basics!




Many a slip ‘twixt the cup and the lip…

Teacup“Resolve” is such a heavy word. No wonder we avoid it like the plague, peeking in once a year to see how far we have fallen or strayed from our good intentions, from our last year’s dreams and last decade’s desires.

The very word itself feels like punishment: public humiliation for being weak and imperfect. I resolve to lose weight because I have gotten fat and everyone can see it; I resolve to spend more time with my family because I have ignored them entirely in favor of work, and everyone can see that too in their sadness and acting out.

Perhaps my New Year’s resolution is to give up on the use of the word “resolve.” But then I’d have to give up on the linchpin of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, the Constitution, and almost any declaration of independence or praise or rebellion, or on all measures to control bad behavior and honor virtue. I’d have to give up on the world of contracts too, which by their very convoluted nature are inevitably broken. Contracts actually codify, while attempting and intending to avert, persistent bad behavior.

Maybe my mother had it right all along when she credited her grandmother (and I’m sure many mothers and grandmothers before her) with the phrase, “As my Grandmomma would say, there’s many a slip ‘twixt the cup and the lip.” Intentions and resolutions, by their very nature, go awry. Resolve, by its very nature, involves action under pressure, reflected in all those weighty historical documents and broken promises and New Year’s resolutions. Machiavelli realized that little is accomplished without pressure; on the other hand, he also recognized the limits of force.

What if the pressure for achieving goals were permitted to emanate spontaneously from within in the search for joy and self-expression as an individual or as a people, rather than as an external instrument for repression or control? How long would it take then for the warden to realize that he spends most of his life in a prison behind locked doors as much as the prisoners he punishes? Or a general to realize that his son, in order to maintain the family honor, must also fight the designated enemy and risk being maimed or killed? Is there joy in that exertion of pressure, in the use of force to control what we perceive to be our depraved human nature, or to control our buoyant and irrepressible human instinct for adventure? Perhaps for a time, but there are limits to force.

Granted, there are some of us who thoroughly enjoy killing and maiming and force; I am certainly not in denial about that. But the current sense of enjoyment may derive from our having been maimed ourselves, having concluded that this is “just the way things are.” We may even just want to see what killing feels like. Given the choice, however, I have enough faith in human nature to think that most of us would choose joy, however that joy might be expressed. I daresay that most, regardless of gender, culture, nationality or religion, prefer the joy of dreams fulfilled; the possibility that the future will be kind to their beloveds; and that the possibility of choice and joy, which are at the foundation of all resolutions, truly exists – if not for oneself, then for one’s family or town or country.

But once again, I have fallen into the trap perhaps set for others: to resolve to give up the use of the word resolve surely sets me up for failure as well, and even perhaps for public humiliation, just as any other and many others before me.

Maybe I can shake things up and begin to think instead that the “slip ‘twixt the cup and the lip” may be a natural source of innovation and change, that spilled milk or coffee on my emotional T-shirt may be as powerful as a million standing armies, or a gazillion legal proclamations that I am – or am not – my brother’s keeper, or that I have been chosen by God to rule the earth.

The sociologist George Herbert Mead became well-known for his baseball analogy to explain the inevitability of the unexpected, which certainly contributes to the failure of resolve. No matter how much you know about the players, the weather, or the quality of the baseball itself, you never know until the moment the ball is pitched whether it will be a strike or a ball or a fly or a home run, or whether the catcher will catch it. There is, and there will always be that moment of surprise, no matter how many computational and political modalities we use to predict and control outcomes, and to meet our resolve successfully.

So we might as well prepare as best we can, get happy, and learn to revel in surprise and failed resolutions. That slip could be the next great or small invention, or it could be forgiveness where none was expected, or a chance encounter that changes the direction of a human life. Or, of course, it could be disaster. But every moment, every lifting of the cup to the lip, whether I savor every single drop without a spill, or ruin my brand new T-shirt, offers yet another opportunity for joy and the delicious liquid of life experience.

There are naturally those who would ask, “What if my cup is only filled with sand? My enemy has captured and hoards all the water?” My response would be to return to Machiavelli: there are limits to force. My sand may hold diamonds or oil or healing plants that only grow in my desert. Eventually my cup too will be full of water, of life force. Everyone, and I mean every one, offers some indivisible gift to the planet. If there is to be a resolution, perhaps it might be to find that special gift in each other that contributes to my joy, my self-expression, and the security of my beloveds. Then I will want to protect them. Or not. Whatever I do, however many times my stated intention goes awry, another adventure opens up to see if that cup makes it to my lip the next time without a slip so I can quench, at least for that moment only, my inevitable thirst for more experience. Without adventure and continual experience we die, just as surely as we die without a continuous source of precious liquid.

So I hereby resolve not necessarily to give up setting intentions or making resolutions which I will inevitably fail to meet in full. I resolve simply to keep lifting that cup to my lip. Maybe next time I won’t dribble down my chest… Maybe.

Choice With a Lower Case “c”

The beauty in blockages

One would think, considering the headlines of the day, that the most significant choice facing us today has to do with elected and appointed leadership of the few over (or for) the many: dictatorships, democracies, courts, political parties, religious expression, economic and territorial imperatives, and varying definitions of terrorism.

These apparent choices, however, are just the tip of the iceberg, belying the many small choices we make on a daily basis that lead to those overwhelming global choices, whether or not we are consciously aware of the connections at the time.

For example, what is the distinction, if any, between personal choice and social responsibility?

I find myself scratching my head in wonder and disbelief and dismay at how thorny this whole question of Big Choices has grown. Does fate override choice, for example?

Unable to come up with a satisfactory answer to the big questions, I have decided instead to focus on small choices  with a lower case “c” that seem within the scope of individual action, of my control and decision making regardless who wins the big battles:

  • choosing to be civil, even when I do not understand the point of view of the other
  • choosing to look a homeless person in the eye as I pass him on the street, or acknowledge her existence
  • choosing to share the road, instead of continuing to be the “Boston driver” I was bred to be, with a universal right to own the road
  • choosing to say both Israel and Palestine in the same breath, regardless of the overwhelming pressure to speak only one name or the other, and to face real consequences and potential shunning whichever name I mention
  • choosing to say “I love you” only if and when I mean it, and then to say it often
  • choosing to find the good intention lurking in the hurtful words of an adversary, or simply of someone who drives me nuts
  • choosing to be happy to find myself a minority of a different sort living in Hawaii – neither native Hawaiian nor Asian, nor part of the more racially different mainland oriented military presence
  • choosing not to give up on my body, even though I am fast approaching seventy years old; choosing to believe sincerely that age “ain’t nuthin’ but a number”
  • choosing health, even though family script says I should be sick or dead with cancer by now
  • choosing to notice the exquisite sunrises and sunsets and rainbows, while not denying the trash and bi-modal extremes of wealth and poverty on the ground
  • choosing to explore the little nooks and crannies of my mind, as well as of my little neighborhood:  open to constant surprise in all the stories tucked away behind building facades in need of remodeling, and roads in need of repair
  • choosing to believe that no God (or perhaps a very unusual one indeed) would actually choose to impose suffering on its creation, just as no ordinary parent would choose suffering for his or her children
  • choosing to believe that the possibility of free will, even if it means the possibility of horror, is an inexpressible act of love
  • choosing to believe that even those who hate me, or fail to understand me, are actually governed by their fear for their own safety and survival; and to believe that fear is fundamentally grounded in good intention gone awry
  • choosing as a supervisor to catch people doing something right and acknowledge them, instead of trying to catch people doing something wrong and punish them
  • choosing to love my family, even when and even though I do not share, and perhaps do not understand, their world view
  • choosing to save the little moth trapped in the shower, even as I spread toxic vinegar to stop the ant trail in the critters’ food bin
  • choosing to walk for the cure, even though I would have enjoyed sleeping in
  • choosing to put the cell phone down three hours a day, so I can explore other areas of my mind and heart
  • choosing to say I’m sorry, rather than blaming everything on everybody else
  • choosing to forgive myself for not knowing better and doing better sooner
  • choosing not to give up on certain family members, even though all the facts say I should
  • choosing to expect absolutely nothing, and to be open to absolutely anything

I have so many choices to make! At every turn, every moment of every day. Choosing the big stuff – like a President or Senator or a place to live or a doctor or a bank or an insurance company – that’s nothing compared to being responsible for my personal choices each time I encounter another being on my way to understanding the nature of choice with a capital “C.”


On a more esoteric (and perhaps more controversial) level, there are some who believe that not only dicey issues like sexual orientation, but also fixed categories like skin color, ethnicity, religion, and gender are actually choices as well on some deep level. There are others who would even go so far as to say that natural disasters are chosen or consciously imposed, and that people belong to a chosen, and therefore divinely favored race or culture or academic discipline or religion. Still others feel that poverty is chosen, the result of poor choices in this life or another.

In the political domain, there are those who believe that the result of national and international elections (or more crassly stated, simple grabs for power) are predestined by God or fate; and that this power, taken or given,  is a reward for faithfulness, or a punishment for the sins of the fathers and mothers since the beginning of time. For example, some believe strongly that black people all over the world bear the mark of Cain, punished for killing his brother Abel in Old Testament times, based on Judeo-Christian myth and history. Furthermore, from that same tradition women are predestined to suffer as punishment for Eve’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden.

Some lesser-known theories would even argue that human beings were placed here on this planet as an outpost prison of another civilization because our ancient alien forefathers committed crimes in some other area of the universe, and we have to stay here until we get it right.

What is the true nature of choice, really? With the cards stacked so definitively and unfavorably before birth for a clear majority of humanity, how far do we go, how far can we go in arriving at the true meaning and the true expression of choice?

As for the larger questions, I believe personally that we may have something to say ahead of time about the family we join in our lifetime. But once here, we are stuck with certain gifts and challenges like skin color, genetic history, sexual orientation, and mental and artistic capacities. All of these are open to alteration, of course (by one method or the other!), but these fundamental categories, including economic and social status of the family of origin, as well as religious or spiritual orientation, create the infrastructure of our life’s opportunities and challenges. To paraphrase James Baldwin, “You can’t do anything in the world until you deal with your Mama (and Papa).”

When all is said and done these fixed categories – these apparent limitations to choice – anchor us and provide a frame of reference for all we think and do, as well as for all we fail to think and fail to do. Categories also offer opportunities for excitement and wonder and mastery as we learn to revel in them or overcome them. Otherwise, like the stratospheric skydiver, we would be in total free fall without knowing which end was up, spinning out of control until we managed to control our fear first, so then we could make reasoned choices and survive the fall home.

Thank goodness for being stuck with certain apparently immutable categories! Who would I be without them?!! And even now, given the remote possibility that I might even have chosen my characteristics in advance, as some mystics and quantum physicists say, I can still claim my limitless possibilities through the act of making daily choices with a lower case “c.” And if I am not able to arrive at such sublime mastery in this particular moment, then I’ll play with other probabilities and spin off variations on a theme in my dreams and nightmares and perhaps even other lifetimes of wonder!

Of course I will vote for my list of public choices with a capital “C” in November! But between now and then, and after then regardless of the outcome of these elections, I will vote, by my every private choice in every small moment of my day, which kind of world I wish to inhabit. Who knows, maybe one day or year or decade from now, those choices might become a party platform!

Election Accountability With a Twist…

[First published 25 October 2012]

I have an idea.

What if before electing a President or Senator or Congressional Representative, say every 10 years, we were required to spend every 9th year trading places with someone – ANYONE else – in the country, or better yet, in the world? There would be no loopholes, no exceptions, and most importantly, NO CHOICE. Simple lottery. You could end up next door, or you could end up on the other side of the world.

Parents with children under the age of 18 would be able to stay together and take their children with them. Children over 18 and all others would have to draw their own lot.

All mortgage, insurance and basic automatic payments for those who have such things would be covered to insure that their home and basic belongings would be covered during the time away, and the person traveling away would receive the median income of the person or family or town or situation to which he or she would be relocated, whether that amount would result in an increase or decrease of resources, plus appropriate clothing and food for the climate to last 6 months of the year away. The remaining resources will have to be earned or gathered in local ways.

Sometimes an individual’s situation would improve dramatically, and sometimes the situation would suffer dramatically. There are important and often unexpected challenges either way. Sometimes the exchange situation would just be a wash, with little noticeable change.

Everyone would move around all at once during the 5th year, and in the 6th year following this experiment, national and international elections would be held. Candidates could only run for public office if they had proven participation in the trade-out year during the most recent cycle. All campaign candidates would receive the same amount of money from a central campaign fund for media appearances and advertising.

  • How long would it take for social policies to change, and what would they look like?
  • How long would it take for societies to disintegrate into a Mad-Max-Thunder-Drome scenario, where the candidates would try to kill each other off early since their resources for manipulation would be limited and evenly distributed?
  • How long would it take for traditional adversaries to reach across the aisle and support legislation that benefited everyone?
  • How long would it take before we would actually be willing to trade places with anyone, anywhere in the world for a brief and finite period of time, or for a lifetime?
  • How long would it take for us to change the way we live at home?
  • How long would it take for us to adapt or change our foreign policy, regardless of the particular country, to shift away from territorial imperatives to embrace the entire planet?
  • How long would it take us to treat others the way we would want to be treated if we lived in their shoes?

Maybe there is something to be said for ending big government. What if this were the only thing big government did for four cycles – 40 years: give its people a taste of the vast country and the vast world? What would our revised governments look like? What would our old and new dwelling places and consumption patterns look like? What would be the shifting nature of daily life? How many of us are ready to begin such an experiment? What if we as voters didn’t agree to this outrageous but intriguing possibility, but insisted that our elected leaders did?

When all is said and done, the best social – and perhaps political – policy can be summed up in 5 simple words: “What goes around, comes around.”

Sooner or later, anticipated or not, wherever you may find yourself on the political or social or cultural or ethnic or religious or intellectual or age or gender spectrum, remember this if you remember nothing else: What goes around always, eventually, comes around. Can you live with that? Can you find true leadership that expresses and supports that simple axiom?

In the last remaining days before this U.S. election, try a simple experiment: find a place in this country or elsewhere the world where you would least like to live, and go there if you can afford to get there, for 24 hours. That place could be a place of wealth or poverty, of sickness or health. If you do not feel safe in such a place because it is so different from what you know, see if you can find someone there to look out for you and keep you safe for this short period of time. Use your six degrees of separation to create a mind boggling experience for yourself.

And then go home and hold those you love close to you. Pay attention to what you love about your current situation and life and work and friends and hominess and even homelessness and uncertainty and loneliness. Then think about what happened during your time on the other side of life. And then, finally, vote with your heart and your newly found, albeit brief and tiny glimpse, into beginning to understand what goes around.

It really doesn’t matter how you vote. It really does matter that you understand those five simple words: “What goes around, comes around.” Stand tall and wise and proud as what goes around from you comes back around to bless you. And for once, at last, your blessing encompasses the whole world.


I posted a series about upcoming earthquakes and marine disasters written between January 5th and July 19th 2010. On January 12th the earthquake in Haiti occurred. The following are reprinted excerpts from private emails written on this subject, plus corroborating news citations in the days, weeks and months following. I am posting this again now because the rumblings are far from over, and I feel that another significant, large-scale, probably underwater volcanic earthquake is once again on the horizon, of at least Banda Aceh or Haiti proportions. The last segment is a piece written just recently on 7 September 2012.

Rumblings I – January 2010
Written by Helen (HLS) January – February 2010
(News Commentary in italics)

HLS on 5 January 2010:
“Marine disasters abound:
•    Species extinction or huge volcanic activity that beaches too many marine animals to miss or ignore.
•    Significant underground rumblings, triggered and abetted by human testing in inappropriate ways. (7.1 quake in Haiti on 12 January 2010)

…The sea animals tell the story of dramatic change. Pay attention to the sea animals and pray. Hang on for dear life. [Must be some large beaching event of whales or sharks, or red tide that covers significant coastline mass…something like that.]”

From the Associated Press, 26 Jan 2010:
“TALLAHASSEE, FL (AP) — More than 100 manatees have been found dead in Florida waters since the beginning of the year, most of them victims of a nearly two-week cold snap.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says the preliminary cause of death for 77 of the endangered animals is cold stress. They were found from Jan. 1 through Jan. 23.
The Sunshine State saw about two weeks of unseasonably cold weather starting around the first of the year that killed fish and stunned thousands of sea turtles.
Officials say the numbers of dead manatees from the cold is a record for a single year”

HLS in a private email: Hawaii has a hard time. Pay attention to this. The Ring of Fire cranks up again.

(8.8 quake in Chile on 27 February 2010 sends Tsunami warnings towards Hawaii and Japan)

Added by HLS on 27 Feb 2010, after the Chile earthquake, but before cancellation of the Tsunami warnings: “This is not over. More to come.”

11 Mar 2010
Santiago, Chile (CNN) — Three strong earthquakes rocked Chile on Thursday, causing significant damage in at least one city, the country’s newly inaugurated president said Thursday.

A 6.9 magnitude earthquake hit at 11:39 a.m. local time (9:39 a.m. ET), followed by a 6.7-magnitude quake 16 minutes later, the U.S. Geological Survey reported. A third, measured at magnitude 6.0, came 27 minutes later.

“There is significant damage in Rancagua,” the new president [Sebastian Pinera] said.

13 Mar 2010
6.4 magnitude earthquake strikes eastern Indonesia. No report of significant damage

Early April 2010
Mine collapses in China and West Virginia (another form of earth rumbling)

14 April 2010 (
6.9 magnitude earthquake strikes destroyed the remote mountain town of Jiegu in western China, and left at least 1144 people dead in the province. 11,000 injured as of 16 April.

14 April 2010
6.4 volcano erupts beneath a glacier in Iceland. The ash cloud cancels 17,000 flights across Europe and six continents. A second volcano that often erupts in tandem with the first is on watch.

17 April 2010
6.3 earthquake in Papua, New Guinea. (CNN newsbreak)

24 April 2010
6.1 magnitude earthquake strikes Indonesia (CNN newsbreak)

25 April 2010 (CNN)
Oil rig explosion off the coast of Louisiana kills 11 workers and creates 600 square mile oil slick in the gulf coast endangering ten wildlife refuges in Mississippi and Louisiana as of 29 April 2010. Underwater leaks are estimated to be 5,000 barrels a day, or 210,000 gallons

29 August 2010
Mount Sinabung volcano on the Indonesian island of Sumatra has erupted again, sending ash and smoke several kilometres into the atmosphere.

Mount Sinabung, long considered to be inactive, erupted for the first time in 400 years in the early hours of Sunday.

Rumblings II – Land and Water
Written by Helen (HLS) May through July 2010
(News commentary in italics)

31 May 2010
HLS: The Gulf is done…. And there is more to these events. The rumblings are not over and will not be over for a very long while. Prepare elsewhere, for there are other locations for concern as well. Soon – less than 3 months; 3-6 months at the outside. Get ready….

Water as friend and water as foe. You must discover the secrets of water. And that is no joke; the impacts are phenomenal.”

From CNN Mobile Newsbreak, 23 Aug 2010:
Thousands of dead fish, other marine life found at the mouth of Mississippi River outlet into the Gulf of Mexico. There were “oxygen issues” as well as “recoverable oil.”

7 and 19 June 2010
HLS: “Volatility still….

There is a new air abounding. The weather and other climatological and topographical events have begun to reach the tipping point of national and global consciousness….

Construction begins in earnest of ideas and tools for resettling large communities on short notice: transportation, modular dwellings, and most importantly, negotiations among principalities and provinces, states and counties….

Relocation will not be enough. Now will be a time of creating new micro-economies, and of changing very old cultural patterns for those required to relocate. What happens when fishermen become farmers following natural disasters, or vice versa, farmers are required to become fishermen because permanently flooded land will no longer sustain agriculture or industry? …The emotional toll [for all] is staggering.”

From CNN Website, Aug 2010:
Over seventeen million affected by flooding that encompassed Pakistan from the northern border to the southern. The disaster is larger than either the earthquake near Banda Aceh in Indonesia, or the Gulf Goast following hurricane Katrina. In some areas it will be two years before surviving inhabitants will be able to return to their land. Hundreds of thousands are sick and dying from multiple diseases: cholera, typhoid, dysentery. And the flood waters continue to flood as of 30 August 2010.

From BBC Website,  30 Aug 2010:
“Water and Mud: Niger’s Double Disaster.” An existing, long-term food crisis in the landlocked West African country, has now been compounded by devastating floods – which saw the River Niger rise to its highest level for more than 80 years.

The UK aid agency, Oxfam, says half the population – nearly eight million people – were already facing hunger because of failed harvests. Now, heavy rains earlier in August and the resulting floods have left more than 100,000 people homeless, according to the United Nations.

19 July 2010
HLS: “There is some central country (national) event or series of events that rocks confidence in the U.S.’s ability to sustain all and transcend all. Something to do with or around the Mississippi River region….

Is it possible to have both floods and quakes in the same region?”

From CNN Mobile Newsbreak, 23 Aug 2010:
Thousands of dead fish, other marine life found at the mouth of Mississippi River outlet into the Gulf of Mexico. There were “oxygen issues” as well as “recoverable oil.”

Rumblings III – Caldera Potential?
Written by Helen (HLS) 7 September 2012
(With absolutely no knowledge of vulcanology or geology, so the intuitive descriptions below may appear ridiculous and make no sense, based on known scientific fact)

HLS: “There is a caldera rippling across the ocean floor in the Pacific Rim area of the planet. It runs through, across, and around the Ring of Fire. Larger than any of the others, these rumblings leave devastation in their wake, and the warning signs are clearly present….

There is a sub-oceanic, massive fault line that runs horizontally rather than vertically. I do not know what the typical pattern of such a massive event might be, but this one seems counter to the north-south plate tectonics we are used to thinking and writing about in recent years, especially in California with its focus on north-south fault lines. It could be that there are many of these others, and that the Haiti quake was one of them. The Eastern Europe and India plates may be affected by a northern movement that hits and generates an east-west fault line action as the plates collide or rub. This newer, more recent phenomenon, however, may be the result of west to east moving action, following a similarly west-east moving sub-oceanic mountain range “going off” or exploding in sequential form,  ripping and rippling massive undersea land masses in caldera-like fashion, skipping from blowhole (crater) to blowhole across the ocean floor, the way a child would throw a pebble across the water on the surface of a lake. Or, as a friend suggested, be the result of the earth’s turning around its central core in such a way that a single large lava source appears to spew almost simultaneously or near sequentially from more than one volcanic crater as the earth spins over its center….

The cancellation of tsunami warnings for this recent series of events is actually bad news rather than good, because it means that the pressure is continuing to build, instead of being released gradually. The pressure from the Sendai/Fukushima tsunami and subequent nuclear events just adds to the pressure of potential mounting caldera activity….

Pay attention. The world will have to pull together or it pulls apart irrevocably. Something is definitely up, and this time it is definitely not just the surf. It is the mountain ranges beneath the surf that speak and roar now. Watch out….

While not necessarily a belief shared by many, it is my personal belief that the intensity of charged human emotion also adds to the intensity of these other geological and man-made pressures. Intense collective anger is a form and expression and release of energy, no more nor less than mountainous volcanoes or trickling streams. My intuitive sense right now is that something will blow, and that the magnitude will be enormous. In a recent powerful dream, the animals in the region were the first to go, and the people followed after. The dream also communicated a message that the way out, the solution, is simply this: calm, focus, clarity, and perhaps most important of all, collaboration.”

26 August 2012
CNN Newsbreak reports a 7.4 earthquake off the El Salvador coast.
CNN Newsbreak reports an earthquake “swarm” of several hundred earthquakes in Southern California

28 August 2012
CNN Newsbreak reports a massive gasoline explosion near Dallas, Texas

30 August 2012
Hurricane Isaac hits the Gulf Coast, seven years to the day following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina

31 August 2012
CNN Newsbreak reports that a 7.6 earthquake hits off the coast of the Philippines

3 September 2012
CNN Newsbreak reports that a 6.4 quake hits south of the Indonesian island of Java

5 September 2012
CNN Newsbreak reports that “tens of thousands of dead fish wash up Lake Erie
CNN Newsbreak reports a 7.9 earthquake off the coast of Costa Rica

HLS: “This is NOT a doomsday message, by the way, and I am not Henny Penny who is claiming that the sky is falling. The planet will still be here after Dec 2012. On the other hand, I made a similar prediction concerning dramatic events a year or so  before the Banda Aceh earthquake, which also felt pretty sobering at the time of the prediction, as were the Sendai tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disasters….

All of that being said, we do indeed face some daunting challenges together in the near future, and our political and geological environments seem to mirror each other. What can we do as a global family to support each other, and to meet the challenges we face? Let us begin with calm, focus, clarity, and above all, collaboration. Let us assume good intention, regardless of the purported “facts.” Let us find the coordinate point that unites, rather than divides us as a nation, a community of nations, and as a planet.”

The Intuitive Edge in Dreams

Off to the world of multi-layered dreams…

I have always been big on dreams, and for decades kept a dream journal beside my bed. In the early days I thought of dreams as a psychological aid, as many thoughtful college students do who major in the social sciences.

But then I began to notice various patterns to my dreams. I realized that more than simply recording my life and concerns, they were sending me clues about the future, about probable and possible courses of action, friendships, job opportunities, and even – dare I say it – alternate lives and identities.

For now, however, let’s focus on the intuitive and precognitive aspects of dreams.

I believe that intuitive information is continually being presented to us in various forms: physical sensations, inspiration, academic ideas, and precognition. Because dreams operate outside the usual constraints of time and space, they can take a jumble of probabilities and issues and layer them – nest them – in either apparently chaotic, or seemingly structured dreams. Either way, what we need to know at a conscious or unconscious level is handed to us in code, so as to be helpful without overwhelming us.

Milestone Dreams

My earliest dreams having to do with precognitive information centered around family milestones. Typically I would dream of a death in the family, and there would usually be a death within a few weeks, but the person who died was almost never the person in my dream. That might have been too difficult to carry. But I was prepared ahead of time for something to happen, and something always did.

As a child I had not yet learned to censor my conversation about such matters, and would mention my dreams to my mother, who would also be having similar dreams at the same time. While we disagreed at home on many aspects of my “high falutin'” ideas about religion and cosmology as I began to read independently, sharing family milestone dreams was one significant area where we met and agreed. Some mornings we would look at each other and say simply, “Did you have a dream too?” “Yes.” Interestingly enough, the question was most often triggered by my mom as I got older and started learning not to mention such experiences.

These were not dreams on demand: they were powerful, even disruptive dreams that made you sit up and take notice. They were also not exact dreams: somebody in the family died, but for me that person was not the subject of the dream. Perhaps my mother’s dreams were more exact than mine, and I learned over time how gifted an intuitive she was.

For this and many other reasons, discernment is critical in working with dreams, and particularly important when precognitive or intuitive information has significant personal and social impact. Figuring out that pattern of “true, but not that person,” took time, and it took mistakes as well! The dreams were preparing me for an upcoming event, without my being able to intervene in the decision making process of the person about to leave. “Be prepared, but don’t get in the way.”

Dream Shorthand

Just as there is a shorthand to regular intuitive information in the awake state, dreams have their own shorthand as well. For example, whenever I find myself getting off track, I have an airport dream in which I am rushing around about to miss my flight. Sometimes the dream would also show me how to fix it – “Leave that huge suitcase behind and just go straight to the gate!” At other times and in other dreams, I’d just wake up frustrated and in a dither, knowing I’d missed the flight – again! But eventually I would learn to wake up resolved to get back on track, and to get my priorities straightened out.

Pay attention to your own dreams, and discover your own dream shorthand. What are your dreams telling you if you would just let them get through?

Lucid Dreams

Lucid dreams, or dreams in which you are aware you are dreaming, are especially fun. In lucid dreams I get to “think” about my actions in the dream, and change them if I don’t like what I see. Lucid dreams are a great classroom or workshop for learning how to maneuver in probable realities, and to make choices when several options are presented all at once.

These dreams are intense and powerful, and often unforgettable. They employ reason and intuition seamlessly, as decisions are made by both thinking and feeling in this “mind-altered” landscape of the dream. In my view, lucid dreams are the training wheels of the universe, or conscious reality creation. Decisions made in this state can easily flow over into the waking state, and can take on a more precognitive quality if the dreams later result in intended or “chosen” actions that derive from the exercises and advice and decisions undertaken in the lucid dream.

Dreams and Business Intuition

With regard to using dreams for business applications of intuition, I find that a question or issue will “percolate” in my rational mind for a few days or even weeks, and then I will consciously decide to “sleep on it.”

Always being thoughtful in advance to have writing paper and a good pen handy beside the bed, I’ll take a nap or sleep overnight, and will just know when I wake up that a certain phrase or series of images are aimed at the client question or issue I had been mulling over. There is simply a different quality to the images or phrases, and I know this is meant not so much for me, but for my client.

Again, discernment is key. I remember one particularly powerful dream in which I woke up knowing that the dream was meant both for me personally, as well as for my client. When I sent the intuitive write-up later to the client I said, “This is what I got: I know some of this is meant for me, but I feel it is also relevant for you as well…FWIW [for what it’s worth].” I let the client know that there could be bias in the information because some of it seemed so relevant to me personally, which is not always the case; on the other hand, one of the earliest tenets of my intuition training was, “Don’t edit.” So I sent the unedited information, along with the (hopefully discerning) disclaimer. The client later told me that what I sent him was also relevant, accurate, and as important for him to know as it was for me.

Given the nature of synchronicity and the fact that I seem to be bombarded with synchronous events in my daily life, it is also not uncommon for me to have a dream or conversation about a particular issue hours or days before an issue comes up in a session with a client for whom I had no advance information. Routinely I find that in some ways I had “met” that person in the dream state before our meeting over the phone, on Skype, or in person, and was getting prepared for our later real-time conversation through intuitive and precognitive dreams, as well as through apparently chance conversations, newspaper articles, or television snippets that I would just “stumble upon” around that time in the waking state, for no apparent reason.

Meet the Boss

Almost a year before I made a major move from the East Coast to California, I had a dream in which a figure appeared and asked me the question, “Shall we try it?” In that or a different dream around the same period of time I jotted down a date that popped up in the dream: “September 18, 1981.” At the time I was doing post-doctoral work at Harvard, with plans to look for permanent work once the year was over, but no concrete plans to move to the other coast. In fact, as I looked back today at my dream journals, I read that I was planning to work in New York City.

In September 1981 I began a new job at a university in the Bay Area of northern California. About three years after the move I was rummaging through my dream journals, and there it was: the date September 18, 1981, as well as the “Shall we try it?” question. The person in the dream, who was a stranger to me at the time of the dream, was to become my new boss!

Dreams are our partner on the path to success and fulfillment

So often we are afraid of our dreams: because they frighten us and turn into nightmares completely out of our control; because they set unrealistic expectations that we fear we cannot meet; because they make no sense in the waking world of sequential thought and logic.

When we learn to approach our dreams as a tool for our collective and personal fulfillment; when we push the bogey man out the door and invite the close and trusted friend inside our consciousness in its place; we can discover the true partnership not only of intuition and dreams, but also of reason and dreams!

The Nuts and Bolts of New Product Development Using Intuitive Tools

[The following is an  excerpt from my book entitled Seven Seconds or Less: From Gut Feeling to Bottom Line in Challenging Areas of Business. Originally written in 2004 and published in 2013, this case study offers a peek at the nuts and bolts of intuitive applications for business and frontier science.]


A somewhat unusual man unexpectedly entered my life in 2002.

Recently retired to Florida, Kip felt that his life’s work wasn’t done. He suggested that we partner up to build a new company from scratch, based upon intuitive design. His proposal sounded like fun, and it seemed as if our skills complemented each other beautifully, so I said, “Let’s go for it!”

One of the first things we did was to take an organized look at the state of sound technology development, in part triggered by an exercise we did called “25 Intuited Ideas for a Changing World.” We felt it was a very appropriate beginning point for turning pure intuited business information into a productive and profitable new business.  Sure enough, after some focused research on trends in existing larger companies, very promising opportunities seemed to be at hand in the area of nanotechnology and sound.

After 60 to 80 hours of intuitive questions and answers about sound from the macro to the micro, we felt we were poised to make a difference.  We could be guinea pigs in embedding intuition in an open way at every level of an organization. Another colleague and sound expert from New York also helped us in the early stages, as well as Kip’s life partner Sue Phillips. We imagined that we would become the company to design tools which would help scientists make future generations of tools. In this way, scientists would be able to delve even deeper into the wondrous workings of nature.

We also preliminarily designed an entertainment product to introduce our new sound technology (should we achieve it) to a broad public market.

Kip became ill and died about 18 months after we began this project, so we never found out how far we could go. What follows, however, are tips we learned at the very earliest stages of this little experiment about the use of intuition in the development of a new product, service, and organization.

•    Start with intuition: begin with a sudden spurt of inspiration, a waking dream, a feeling, an image, a trigger in your environment that makes you fly.

The very first event was an inspired thought or hunch that seemed to come from nowhere. I had been reading an August 2002 Business Week article on “25 Ideas for a Changing World” with interest, and mentioned it to colleagues in our regular meetings. Suddenly the thought hit: “Why don’t we propose 25 intuited ideas for a changing world?” I no longer remember whether the thought came from me, from a colleague, or from a moment of musing, but it was that simple question that began what eventually became a source of impassioned inquiry, even leading to the formation of a company to design a multi-sensory product made of various specific materials.

As a subscriber to Business Week, I may have kicked off the discussion based on that article, while my colleagues Chris and Kip, who were accustomed to our efforts to speak to the mainstream, probably substituted the word “intuited” for a what might otherwise have been a more esoteric metaphysical term. Another colleague, Les, showed me an article entitled the “Art of the Brilliant Hunch” in Business 2.0. This is the way teams work, and before we knew it the tape recorder was going and we were scurrying off into the realm of sound, which would  eventually spin off a tiny conceptual writing on the nature of sound, and the development of a corporate entity aptly named Souuund LLC. Excerpts from our actual meetings and conversations are reproduced below to provide examples of our process:

Chris: …outline what new businesses will have to think about.
Helen: The first thing has to do with hearing, because it is an apt metaphor for all that is occurring in the world at this time. Innovation in sound will affect every technology currently utilized anywhere.

Chris: You were talking about the relationship between sound and intention…
Helen: Very shortly intention will be measurable by sound, by frequency. Just as people use EEG’s, EKG’s, and all of these other medical devices; lie detectors to measure truth or lies…sound in its subtleties will provide a deeper knowing of humanity than any other sense that has been explored to date. This will mean that music will change, listening and recording devices will change. There will be abuses of this knowledge, as well as enhancements. Marketing will become sound focused. Advertising will become sound focused. Healing will become sound focused. And instrumentation for alignment for the physical body, and perhaps for organizations not too long afterwards, will be sound focused. This is muzak taken to a very different level. [end of excerpt].

•    Using the intuited information, begin to conduct appropriate research by reading, talking with experts in the field, searching the Web. Use intuitive methods to winnow the list of potential sources, backers, scholars, experts, competitors, and locations.

If the information provides clues to future developments that currently do not exist, it is important to find out what are typically called the current “state of the art” and “body of knowledge” in your particular field of inquiry or manufacturing or service. In the academy, graduate students working assiduously on a doctoral thesis resist the academic requirement to embed their unique contribution to the field in some historical and intellectual tradition. Each of us feels we are “reinventing the wheel” in whole or in part, forgetting that there is independent invention, or that so-called less developed individuals or societies may have thought a very long time ago about what we now think of as new.

Businesses, on the other hand, cannot afford to waste time or money, so they spend a relatively great deal of time and money up front trying to limit what they are required to make “from scratch,” especially if they can use existing devices in new ways or at a fraction of the cost to produce all components.

Talk with colleagues, remembering that there are only a few degrees of separation between you and any resource you might need to complete your prototype or to bring your product to market. Even if you do not know who these potential resources might be, you can use a combination of intuition and plain old database surfing to find out who might be of help or be able to point you to one who might be the critical resource you need.

A business client had finally secured a patent for her product’s conceptual design and was ready to move ahead to develop the prototype. Through a series of well-framed questions during an intuitive session, she discovered that there were individuals in her immediate geographical vicinity who might be of assistance in this next important phase of her work. Several of these individuals she already knew or knew about, so that access to them would be quite simple and much less costly than traveling all over the country looking for experts. All she needed was right there in her own back yard!

What we did with our fledgling company is develop what we called as our ”List of 100.” The list included people, companies, related products, and researchers on the subject of sound…everything we had been able to track down to date from our individual and collective research. In some cases, we didn’t know, and certainly in many cases I didn’t know who the names were, or why they were on our list. This created an opportunity to let intuition, or our business hunch, order the list and help us set immediate, near term, and long-term priorities.

We needed to get the list down to first, second, and third tier contacts, so we simply typed up the list in no particular order, perhaps the order of discovery, adding as we went along.  In an intuitive session (the sessions are always taped on both sides of the telephone), we identified the first five people or companies to contact quite simply: I gave five numbers to my colleagues: 17, 48, 55, 3, and 21. Then we went to the list and circled the number selected through the intuitive “reading.”

The results were nothing short of astounding: not only did the selection of the five as first tier contacts make perfect sense, but two of the five were actually the same individual, with the name spelled differently. That individual is one of the world’s foremost researchers in sound and a perfect source to introduce our work and find out if we truly were on to something important, or were simply “tuning in” intuitively to already existing concepts and products.

As we went through the short list selected using intuitive means, I began to ask, “Who is that person?” “What is that company?” My other colleagues, Sue and Kip, had been going through old sessions, doing research on the web, finding bits and pieces of paper with names scribbled for future reference, and finally put together for my review the “List of 100.” What began with gasps of surprise as we read and discussed the 5 chosen as first tier turned into hoots and hollers as we realized the power of the intuitive process. We had selected people and companies that were at the very heart of research and product development in the area of sound. Our first tier list would help us validate our concepts, and permit us to move farther “outward” into the world of production. First things were first, arranged through intuitive selection.

•    Develop the inspired information using both intuition and reason, as well as your other normal tools for understanding and analysis, returning to your gut feelings systematically to flesh out the original concept.

As remarkable as our initial work turned out to be, we were now required to put a solid foundation under our inspired notions. This stage of the process often feels more tedious, because it does not always provide “Aha!” experiences every hour on the hour.

This is the phase of corroboration to determine the validity and reliability of those initial “hits.” It is important to contact selected individuals deemed to be experts in the field, and to read massive amounts of material to determine if someone has already published or manufactured in the area in question.

We researched similar ideas, books, articles, and products. We contacted experts in the field who might be open to explore the concepts we were developing intuitively. We scoured the Internet, television, magazines, speeches, and news headlines for hints and clues to new technological developments that seemed related to what we were doing in our small corner of the world. We developed schematic representations from intuitive sessions and gradually turned those schematics into drawings that might make sense to a mainstream sound engineer. We hunted for discussions in mainstream science that might make our crazy ideas seem not so crazy at all.

Each time we would add a technical or potentially technical component from intuitive sources, we were required to track down any corroborative information from rational or technical sources as well. The former came so quickly and easily compared to the interesting and exciting, but much more tedious tasks of grounding the work in the more acceptable worlds of science and technology.

Here is how Sue explains the process for her once the intuited portion of the process is completed:


“When I am transcribing, I don’t think about the content. However, when I read the printed copy, I get a better understanding of the language the group is going for. Paying attention to that is what’s important to me. It is your translations that are the key to that flow.

For example, when the working permits me to adapt this thinking to images, like a kaleidoscope of fractals, I put both kaleidoscope and fractal together in the Yahoo search box. That way of doing it links me to information more specific to what we’re looking for, rather than just typing in one or the other alone. If the research results trigger several examples, I take it as being important. I have found that paying attention to that single/simple thing, links the research to where I will get the most beneficial results.

After that, I guess I would have to say that it’s almost an automatic takeover that happens. I am moved along to other information, which could be thought of as just a lucky find, but I know it’s all in the special attention from the get-go that moves me on to the rest, usually the best to be found.

I also ask Kip after he has read the transcript what’s most important for him to know more about, because his verbalizing usually includes a word or phrase that I wouldn’t have thought of. For instance, he wanted to see a chart of elements. My pulling that up and just scanning it was a mini-lesson for me and opened up some new words (usually scientific language or just a code) that I’d jot down and add to the search.

I am never actually reading the site information, just scanning; my eyes always seem to focus on the information that I feel will be important. This happens with a one page or five page finding. Sometimes I will click off from a site and immediately pull it backup, give it another quick scan. More times than not, I print the information and realize it was a keeper, a source of good information.

Part of the site information will sometimes mention individuals or companies involved in whatever it’s about. I jot them down and pull them up separately, which has sometimes given more insight into the timing of their findings or future interests, and tell us they may be possible future collaborators.

Something else that first surprised me was the timing of when I would find myself at the computer. I may have been moving the evening towards a bike ride or relaxing with a book. I may have even been in the middle of something else when that feeling/little voice made its move, and all of a sudden I was at the computer and wouldn’t rather be doing something else.

That’s how it goes for me. The process for me is just staying open and available as it is with everything. The overall feel I get is just a hand-held thank you for paying attention. There is surely a helper with me.”


Imagine Sue’s talent for using words to describe an image that is only perceptible initially in the mind of the intuitive, one who may have no professional experience in the field of inquiry, and no technical expertise to help translate the concept into meaningful terms for her! Then Sue (or a different colleague) works with the images and tracks down possible existing technologies or developments through Internet research, books, and articles.

Many hours of taped sessions, each refining the image or the concept further, went into the development of a single schematic for a sound-based product. Eventually there was sufficient information to complete a drawing that all colleagues could view and refine together. During the first phase, however, we would talk by telephone and record separately from two distant states, each deriving our own meaning from the words spoken, which would eventually add to our shared schematic image.

It is astounding to discover how much “independent invention” exists in the worlds of business and ideas. It is as if inventors, philosophers, and entrepreneurs are all watching the same conveyor belt of potentialities stream by their line of vision, ultimately selected or deselected for action on the basis of their particular desires, dreams, thoughts, beliefs, resources, and particular system of relevances about what is possible.

•    Return to framing intuitive questions based on the results of your searches and conversations concerning the next steps to take, individuals with whom to partner, anticipated strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to the success of the product.

The process described above will go back and forth through many iterations among the team members as the concept or product takes form and becomes increasingly more sophisticated and real. Phone calls, email correspondence, web searches, articles and books traded back and forth, discussions with individuals who are not part of the team, but who suddenly “show up” with information that is relevant and exciting for the research and development team’s purposes.

•    Use intuition as an aid for schematic drawings, materials development, modifications to scientific hypotheses based upon the new ideas, and other quite specific developments as well as more abstract purposes:

The UU device: [Excerpts from actual intuitive sessions]
H – Yes, the second product is the propulsion product that uses sound to generate energy.  There is battery oriented electrical energy, solar, and wind energy, but no one has yet [2002] understood the power of sound energy as a propulsion device.   The first is the palette (composition) product, to be used by composers and individuals who wish to create perfect sound around them.  It also will be used with the much larger propulsion (second) product.  Both use the similar concept we’ve previously discussed regarding beehive technology.  The palette device produces an infinite number of sounds which play upon the cells of human bodies, so that the ears, heart, mind, skin, bones and organs are all used in the production of sound.  Some of these sounds are only heard in certain locations in the body, or through certain kinds of tissues or elements like the ear or eye structures.  Bone marrow is a beehive concept within the core of the physical body.  Bone marrow can make sound.  The sound that creates the feeling of home is played at a cellular level through the existing structures of the body.  Hair follicles hear, and the UUU palette is designed for total hearing.

H:  Let’s pick up thoughts from our last conversation that need to be cleared up now. What thoughts or images do you see relative to device # 1? What lingers in your mind and needs to be cleared up?

K:  I feel very clear so far. We left off with the beehive. Would it be “mossy cadmium” we’d be using in the beehive?

H: There’s another.

K: OK, I’m going to have to look them up. There’s a sheet, a ball, and something else. I thought it might be what is called “mossy cadmium” because it is porous and used for electroplating.”

H: It’s used for electroplating? Excellent. The concept is correct, but it feels as if there’s a patented next generation of this device or process. Find that.

K: OK, more towards the electroplating, rather than [whether] it’s mossy?

H: Well, it’s porous, but there is some electroplating that is made from metallic liquids that are not porous. With this kind, there is a process of etching that creates grooves into which information can be poured, if you want to use that analogy. There are receptors and holders, and in a sense micro caverns in which sound bounces off and out. So, it’s the combination of a product, superimposed on something that also, in its very nature, creates spaces, that forms this beehive concept. There will be a kind of electroplating upon the surface, so if you’re looking on the top you’ll see the openings. It is as if you paint the top surface of the beehive, but the chambers within are still there. Some of the interior walls will be painted by this blue cadmium element and some will not be painted. This variation will determine or affect sound quality.

K: OK, I understand. Tell me more about the little dots that stick up.
[Non-sequential excerpt from the beehive concept:]

H: Following the concept of the sponge, It’s as if you have a plain sponge and you take a brush and you paint over it. The plain sponge has the dots as a part of the structure of the sponge itself. [more details] You take this painted material and put it into the beehive form. [End of excerpt]


These were very specific discussions about materials and structure. Some discussions, however, are much more abstract and far-ranging. They eventually lead to specific design elements, but in the initial stages may seem to go quite far afield. You must also remember that we were discussing topics for which I had absolutely no scientific expertise, so we had to be patient with ourselves and each other as we slogged through the theoretical issues that would ultimately become the foundation of the product under development. For example:


[What follows now is an excerpt from a subsequent session with Kip and Sue, regarding the perhaps prevalent belief at the time that there is no sound in a vacuum. As you will notice on reading, the discussion here is much more abstract and not directly related to a specific design question for that day’s meeting.]

H  – The fundamental issue is one simple question: are vacuums empty?  Our response to any who ask is, “Absolutely and resoundingly not.” 

Sound exists in vacuums, and units of potentiality exist in vacuums before they are pushed into matter.  Vacuums hold pre-matter in the form of potentiality, intention, consciousness and thought.  Once thought or intention leaves the vacuum, it joins the ranks of measurable units of matter, whether neutrinos or quarks or something yet to be discovered. Vacuums do hold energy. But the energy is not material energy, it is incipient potentially materialized energy.  It is potential matter, potential transformed energy that at some moment becomes visible weather or not [the energy is] measurable in the three-dimensional world, or five-dimensional world, or twenty-dimensional world.

K  – And that begins with intention?

H  – Intention is the substance of the vacuum.

K  – And that is followed by thought, words?

H  – Intention is consciousness, intention is thought.  Sound takes intention and propels it outward into material reality.  It is sound that is capable of alchemy, that moves thought, conscious awareness, potentiality, probability into expression in the explicate order.  Thought arises from and results in specific configurations of energy that must be ordered in order to have meaning. This movement of energy to frame one thought instead of another has sound, whether framed in words or abstractions,  and it is the motion and propulsion of sound that makes the material possible. 

Vacuums are teeming with sound. Scientists are misguided and must give up the obsession with measurement in order to discover true properties of sound. This will come with great difficulty because measurement is a cornerstone of the rational mind. Without motion nothing leaves the vacuum, and nothing enters or leaves the black hole, which is the container of material worlds. The vacuum is the container of non-material worlds.  It is only precocious motion that is powerful enough to push a potentiality into material expression, and motion produces sound.  Do you understand?


All of the foregoing are examples of working in detail, through the intuitive process, to begin to flesh out concepts, products, and refinements regarding very specific ideas for the introduction of new products into the marketplace. The discussions are sometimes abstract, with no clear linkage to pragmatic outcomes, but rather offering perhaps some clue to further research in a field of inquiry. At other times they address materials, shape, color, and usage in quite specific terms. The range of intuitive guidance is quite broad; with practice, mastery, and fine tuning, the potential contributions to business and science are immeasurable.

Good Intention, Even When We Drive Each Other Crazy

Bamboo Heart. Photo by Helen L. Stewart
Bamboo Heart

Think of one person in your work life who drives you absolutely nuts. Take the very first name that pops into your head, even if that name is a surprise to you. You may have thought rationally that dealing with someone else was harder, but if a different name from the one you might have expected pops up, go with it.

What is the good intention?

Then ask yourself the question, “What is the good intention ___ is trying to express by this crazy-making behavior? There must be some good intention regarding our shared work together, and even good intention regarding me, or ___ wouldn’t be so stubborn and difficult! Don’t think about this…just scribble something down FAST. What is he or she caring about so deeply that it is making both of us frustrated and nuts? And remember always, ALWAYS take the very first thought that comes to mind in seven seconds or less…a nanosecond… is even better!

What action on my part?

Now ask yourself in the same way, very quickly,”What action on my part, if any, could improve the situation between me and ___?” Remember, it is entirely possible that no action is required or even useful; there may be nothing to do. Was there ever a time when you did get along? If so, what went sour? (quick word or phrase, not a novella or history lesson! i.e., “She betrayed me.” “He’ll step on anybody to get ahead.”)

For just a moment now, suspend disbelief and imagine one thing you could do or say unilaterally, regardless of what the other person understands or does not understand, does or does not do. What would that one thing be? Are you willing to do it, even if you have absolutely no expectation it would “work” or improve the situation?

Now here is a last important area for questions that ultimately lead to understanding fundamental good intention, all of which you’ll answer without a “thought.” Scribble the answers down so fast that you don’t have time to think or edit your answers. Long hand is better than typing, too, for this little game. And be sure to write very fast!!

How am I like the person who drives me nuts?

“How am I like ___?” (I’m sure you have thought often and long about how you are different! Look at the other side for a change.)

“What is it in me and about me that triggers this intense reaction to this colleague? Who in my family acts like that?” (I’ll bet somebody does!)

What is my good intention in being so upset with him/her? What do I care about so deeply that is threatened by their off-the-wall behavior?” Clarity perhaps, or ease, or control, or a calm environment, or financial success? Is anything actually threatened, or is it just my fear that something could be threatened (like my sanity!) Maybe ___ will throw a monkey wrench into the usual way of doing things, or really hurt the bottom line.

Is there another way?

Is there another way to handle this that takes the sting out and diffuses the situation?

Remember, there may be absolutely nothing to do. But if you find something appropriate to do by asking and answering these questions so quickly that you bypass the rational part of your brain, DO IT and see what happens!!

Lastly, detach from the outcome. Consider this a little game of good intention that may or may not solve your “difficult person” problem. Have fun with it and wait to be surprised. Maybe now someone will give a war and you won’t have to attend!

What If My Intuition Doesn’t Work?

Sometimes – rarely – your intuitive guidance doesn’t work for you as well as usual, or as well as you would like. Perhaps you are not focused sufficiently (did you remember to take that breath?); or perhaps the buddy you ask for help can’t help; or perhaps that client just doesn’t want to hear what you have to offer, or perhaps it’s just a bad fit. How much is right? How much is wrong? What to do?

Notice quickly, take a break for awhile, and try again.

Or…move on. If you feel stuck, just let the whole thing go and wait until a moment when you feel unstuck or you feel like you do have a good fit. If possible, forgetting about it completely for now and going back at a later time is best.

Recently I did a session with a client when things simply didn’t work: the electronics didn’t work; the information didn’t work for the client or me; and it became clear fairly early on that this simply was not a good fit.

This has happened for me perhaps 5 or 6 times in the past 30 years. The feeling is unmistakable. The key here: JUST LET IT GO.

  • If you have asked a buddy whose response simply makes no sense
  • If you feel a client is simply closed to the information you have to offer
  • If you are just plain WRONG…

Let it go and move on. You can try it later with the same person successfully – that has happened for me several times. Or you can say, “This just won’t work” and move on.

Just as businesses and people have a natural life cycle, intuition has its own rhythms as well. Holding on intuitively simply makes no sense when it has become clear that holding on right now serves no purpose. Let go without judgment or blame and move on. Sometimes you are not meant to work together: you may speak a different language of the soul, or come from a different emotional “planet.” Eventually everything gets sorted out. If you are one of those individuals who is being paid for intuitive information and not just playing intuitive games with a buddy, then do not charge your clients when this happens, or return their money if they have prepaid. You might also offer them another complimentary session a few months later to see if something has changed between you. That is, of course, only if they and you are interested in another try.

Just because things don’t work, it does not necessarily mean that the intuitive information was wrong, by the way. It could be that the timing simply was not right for it to be received.

On one occasion a client came to me who was so angry following our session that he threw the tape into the garbage can outside our meeting place. A few months later, however, he was back, laughingly told the story about the garbage can, and we have worked together very successfully ever since.

On another occasion I just know we were not and perhaps will never be a match, for any variety of possible reasons. Unlike the earlier case, I do not expect this person to come back, and have already moved on to the next intuitive challenge. Sometimes that’s just the way it is. There will always be more moments to tickle your fancy and remind you how good and intuitive you are, so…

Tuck your ego in your pocket. Learn from the experience, whether positive or negative or somewhere in between, and KEEP MOVING. Don’t over-analyze, don’t get scared, and especially don’t get stuck in the fear that somehow you are no good, or you are not intuitive. If you are breathing, intuition is your birthright. Many wonderful moments and challenges and opportunities for fun and mastery lie ahead!

Originally posted on 18 August 2010

Europe Divided

Fight for Survival

From a private email, written by me on 11 December 2011, now formally On the Record:

“Europe falls apart. Does not disappear, but falls apart as a coherent identity. There is great fear here, and that fear is well founded. Germanic influence, including Hapsburg control of the British Crown, means that the divide between Protestants and Catholics becomes stronger than ever. Also the divide between Aryan and non-Aryan Europe. There is a lot of turmoil here, which will ultimately impact the euro and the euro zone…

Do not underestimate the role of the 19th and 20th centuries in current events unfolding in European financial circles. The far right in England, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, and Russia is a “Tory” monarchist right. The far right in France and Spain is a populist right. Do not confuse these two, or you (the generic you) lost your head and your pocketbook.”

Follow-up from an article in London’s “The Telegraph” e-newspaper on 19 August 2012, via Linked-in:

Headline: “Euro must not pit North against South, says Italian PM Mario Monti.”

“‘The euro must not become a ‘break-up factor’ that pits northern Europe against crisis-choked nations in the south of the continent,’ Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti has said….”

“‘The biggest tragedy for Italy and for Europe would be to see the euro become, because of our failures, a break-up factor which awakens the prejudices of the north against the south, and vice-versa….the risk exists, he said….'”

“The European Union and eurozone countries are split over how to solve the financial crisis convulsing various nations, especially in Europe’s south.”

A Different View of Our Sun

As a non-physicist, it is difficult for me to find appropriate language for the intuitive sense that triggered this piece. So I will just put it On the Record for now, hoping that some more advanced minds than mine will be able to make sense of it.

There are quite literal and material universes “trapped” inside the sun – our sun.

These are not simply mirror reflections of our solar system, akin to the “anti-matter” theories that some discuss, but actual incipient universes and constellations yet to be discovered and yet to be born.

These universes are in concentrated form, and when the inevitable explosion of our sun occurs in this particular scenario, its “babies” will grow up to expand outward (and inward as well!) to become much more than their solar parent ever was.

These universes possess consciousness, (as all energy does in my world view), and make “decisions” about their growth and development. I have placed decisions in quotation marks because I do not want to anthropomorphize this process too much. Who knows the nature of the decision tree that universes use to grow or wither away?

As I am not a physicist, it is unclear to me whether what I am trying to communicate here is considered mainstream or “heretical” physics and cosmology. What has become clear to me, however, is that the sun is not just a generator for this solar system as we like to consider; it is a nursery for systems that eventually will become much larger than any of us can imagine at this point in time. The blue and red planets we have come to love, may end up as pebbles on the beach of some other reality.

The death of this solar system in the far distant future will actually mark the birth process of an enormous expansion of the known universe in the very region where we exist now, and where we will appear to be obliterated then. When that time comes, our fundamentally non-local perennial consciousness will shift into other realms until things settle down again, and then find new adventures, some of which will occur in these new “offspring” environments that will share certain “energetic DNA” with the parent sun.

I say “appear to be obliterated” because that line of development is simply one of infinite probabilities for one or more infinitely probable earths. There will be absence or obliteration in one realm, while in another no such event occurs and life goes on without a hitch, or even slight  awareness of the destruction going on “next door,” so to speak.

I have no idea how choice figures in such equations, that is, which probabilities are experienced; and yet I believe on a deep level that choice and belief play a significant role in experienced material reality. But that’s another matter for another time…

Written during the period 12 July – 18 August 2012

Futuristic Aerial Control of Water and Weather

Written on 7 August 2012:
Paying attention to the  simultaneity of severe flooding in some regions of the world, along with severe drought in others, has got me thinking. Now On the Record:

A technology can and will eventually be developed that will have the effect of what I will call “aerial vacuuming,” or gathering, through a process of  intentional vortexial spin or counterspin, excess water from a storm that threatens to flood one region, and diverting that water to one that suffers from drought thousands of miles away.

This crazy idea presumes the possibility of storing water suborbitally very far above ground in “energetic spin zones,” rather than in manufactured cisterns or metal pipelines, which are often stored either underground, or slightly above ground. Controlling the direction and force of the spin permits holding or directing water (whether gathered on the fly in a storm, or stored from a prior weather occurrence) to any particular region of the planet as need arises.

Such a spin will undoubtedly impact the force and direction of hurricanes and tropical storms as they form, mitigating the increasing occurrence of simultaneous massive floods and massive droughts all over the world. The spin will also rely on the intensity of storms to create and maintain such storage facilities, just as some forms of the martial arts teach the student to use the direction and force of the opponent to prevail in a confrontation. So the intention is not to eliminate hurricanes, which are an important source of water for the planet, but to use them to better purpose, with lesser loss of life and land and property. Sound crazy? Perhaps,  but worth a look.

Given such a possibility, there will be unanticipated consequences for orbital spin that must be paid close attention to, and there will be significant impact on flight patterns, which must be continually adjusted to avoid these probably invisible or near invisible spin zones. In addition, the consequences of a “broken” spin could be disastrous, perhaps through solar flare activity or other routine planetary cyclic events. There will also be implications for sound, as the movement and rotation of the spin zone could cause sonic boom activity below.

There may also be techniques for deconstruction and re-constituting the elements of this “vacuumed” water, but such a process could prove to be quite dangerous and literally throw the planet off its axis through high altitude explosions. It would be better to store the water as water, which is non-toxic, rather than as gas, some of which could be deadly.

Storage continues to be the most significant challenge for energy production in many domains. The spin concept reduces the dependence on container materials development, and the vacuuming process itself is an enormous energy producer, probably controlled remotely via computer signal. It would combine the most powerful aspects of wind and water energy with near zero unwanted emissions. After all, we just landed on Mars; we can do this!

I am a futurist and social scientist, not a natural scientist, so there is nothing for me to “prove” here. I cannot even verify whether such an idea is possible given the currently accepted laws of physics. It just seems to be an idea whose time has come; one that is worth pursuing. It will most likely take many years to know whether this current musing has value, but at least I am On the Record for now.

A New Voice: “Tea Party” to “Arab Spring” to “Take Back Wall Street” to…???

Fighting for Control; Entanglement

The following was written on 16 November 2010 about the emerging Tea Party Movement, now On The Record. Hindsight renders a natural “of course” response to these thoughts now almost two years later, but at the time of writing none of this was clear yet. The  ramifications of this primarily domestic movement continue to reverberate globally as well, back and forth affecting how we think about our most deeply held beliefs in ourselves and others. As such sentiments ping-pong back and forth across the globe, even Scotland becomes caught up in renewed secession controversy:

“There is a voice that does not yet know its name, but it will. No longer relegated to the back rooms of bookstores and television channels, this voice defines both old and new, left and right, experienced and inexperienced. They do not know exactly who they are yet, but they know the are angry. The difficult task is determining what they are for, rather than what they are angry against. In many instances, they are against their own self-interest.

They are not independently wealthy, so health coverage and pensions matter. And yet they will fight to the Nth degree to divest themselves of their own future. They are religious, and yet some of them never read or understood the New Testament, the law of love.

When they find their true voice, their true name, all who have gone before will tremble, for they usher in a New Age as surely as if they had been part of a commune in the 1960’s, or the Essene community in the early Common era.

Unwittingly, this new voice will give power to those who wish to take it away from them. And when they find out, like the Hulk, they will become enraged and tear the whole place down.

To those who think they are manipulating the Tea Party activists, take another look, for you are as vulnerable as any other when the New Age dawns. Like guerrilla fighters, their battles will be waged differently, their alliances will be constantly shifting, and anyone – ANYONE – from this past is vulnerable.

They, too, (representatives of the new voice) will be surprised at their own actions, their own passion, and their own depth of  ignorance about political and economic matters.

Some of them will join the traditional parties, become more institutionalized as other dissidents have done in the past. but some will never pass, will never be in the club, so to speak, and will continue to challenge business as usual in literally every domain.

There will be some chaos arising out of these events and these actions. But what follows the chaos is a new world order that surprises all: those who thought their ancient one was finally arriving, and those who thought the new would be easier to accomplish.

It is a new world order, but it looks and feels like nobody imagined, most especially the imagineers of the Tea Party Movement.”

“She Goes on Her Own…” Literal or Metaphorical Meaning?

It is important to discern whether intuitive hunches are meant to be interpreted quite literally, or whether they should be taken as a clue related to something else that is not meant to be literal at all. Stories abound of dreams and other types of premonitions about the World Trade Center collapse, a stock market crash, earthquakes, or other significant mass events. Only through hindsight does interpretation become crystal clear

For example, here is an intuitive insight I published on an old website in 2001, exactly as posted at the time, one month before the attack on the World Trade Center:

August 13, 2001
“Image: The phrase “She goes on her own.” The “she” is a well-known individual or political leader, or the Statue of Liberty.

  • There is the possibility of an announcement by Hillary Clinton that she will formally divorce her husband.
  • The country separates and isolates itself further from ideals of liberty and privacy. The Statue of Liberty goes on her own, no longer connected to the historical legacy of her people. Some new legislation is written or passed that limits personal freedom, or some action is taken to limit prior collaboration between the USA and its European colleagues.”

While unsurprising, there is sadness on both counts. When liberty must set herself apart and go on her own in order to be free, the world weeps for her and for itself. It weeps for lost innocence, lost hope, lost legacy.”

The column included a statement that the Statue of Liberty “goes on her own.” At the time it was uncertain whether that intuitive hunch had something to do with Hillary Clinton, who may have been in the news at that time, the United States, or the city of New York. Clinton did not announce a divorce. Following the world Trade Center disaster, however, numerous national magazines published photographs of the Statue of Liberty no longer flanked by the World Trade Center towers in the background: “she goes on her own.”

The article also included references to the world weeping for lost freedom. As a result of the attacks on September 11th, a century’s worth of gained personal domestic freedoms were abolished overnight as the United States moved into military readiness through passage of The Patriot Act and a raft of Executive Orders.

This is a perfect example of the combination of intuitive information in metaphorical form, that also hinted at literal events. It takes skill, practice, and…best of all…the benefit of hindsight to know for certain what interpretation to give to intuitive information.

If one had asked me in August 2001 the meaning of my very own column, it is unlikely I could have said with clarity that there would be a mass event on the order of September 11, 2001. Had I gotten close enough to assume a mass event of great importance, I might have more likely interpreted the information to have direct bearing on the Statue of Liberty, not on the World Trade Towers. The photographs were stark evidence of the Statue of Liberty’s going on her own, but the deeper meaning was much more extraordinary…the obliteration of the Towers, and also of the sense of confidence, peace, privacy, and safety in the world.

The interpretation might also have signaled increased displeasure with the policies of the United States as the country’s invasion of Iraq went against international public opinion. Had someone asked additional follow-up questions, which often occurs in regular “salons” I hold or sessions for clients, then we might have fleshed out much more interpretive detail and perhaps even the literal meaning of these now extraordinary words typed quickly while I was alone at my computer trying to meet a website publication deadline.

Only time, practice, attention, and increasingly honed ability can make full use of intuitive information, including information about business opportunities or challenges. With regular practice, however, the interpretation of complex situations becomes more and more specific and refined. In this way hitting target outcomes or numbers occurs more quickly, with smaller deviations from the actual, as data are measured and corroborated over time.

Insights Leading Up to the October 2008 Stock Market Crash

The following are excerpts from a series of private emails I wrote during the period  December 2007 through September 2008, foreshadowing major events of global proportion that would impact the financial markets. The “Crash of October 2008” officially began on October 6th of that year, but some accounts state that the crash actually began on October 1st and continued principally through October 10, 2008, when the market would drop a total of 2,399.47 points, or 22.11%. The extreme volatility continued for a time longer with another dramatic decline of 312.30 points on October 24, 2008. According to, the source of this market information, the 1929 and 1987 crashes also occurred in October, a fact of which I was completely unaware as I wrote these emails beginning in December 2007. There were already concerns about the markets being expressed in 2007, and it was  questions about those concerns that triggered the intuitive information. I didn’t come up with all of this information (much of which remains private and undisclosed) in a vacuum: the handwriting was already on the wall by the time I began this series. Often I knew nothing about current news events, however, and was “writing blind.”

What I wrote was intuitive, often metaphorical, and often a surprise to me. This is a perfect example of the power that hindsight gives to intuitive information. Much of what I wrote at the time made little sense to me at the time of writing, but poured out with a certain intensity that cannot be fully grasped when reading the text now, some three and a half years later. For’s account of the crash timeline, go to
For a timeline on, go to

From a private email, 2 December 2007 written over 3 months before Bear Stearns went under in March 2008; 9 months before Lehman Brothers collapsed and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac went into conservatorship in September 2008; and 10 months before the formal “crash” of October 2008.

“Guilt and blame no longer matter, whether directed at the poor whose backs are broken, or at the rich who loaded them up for bear. The only issue now is the discovery that backs big and small litter the streets with their charges, their burdens. Who is left to clean up the streets when all backs are broken and no one can wield a broom?

That is the moment of bottom, when all drop to their knees at the same time, forming one large net and holding hands across the globe to catch the remaining items before they are trampled on the street or dropped into the ocean.

When all hands are joined together to form a safety net, there are no fingers left or available to point. Turnaround can begin in earnest.”

From a private email, 10 December 2007:
“Something happens that, had it not happened before, would have been surprising. It is not that this is a repetitive cycle, exactly; rather it is that some event or series of events that, while rare, has happened before in recent history and is therefore less of a surprise than it ordinarily would or might have been.”

From a private email, 20 December 2007:
“This is the way of the world: the way of the world that we know ends for the time being. The phase is a rather protracted one and takes its toll on many who would otherwise or normally be untouched. The poor will remain so and will notice little change. This time the change affects the wealthier among us, who [come to] understand the nature of poverty and the close line, the fine line, between having much and having nothing.

The belly and heart of the world soften, and in softening through understanding or compassion, things turn around again. Not for the foreseeable future, however, no matter how hard some hold on to past glory.”

From a private email, 1 January 2008:
“This is the year the world turns on its axis on many levels at once. What is the pecking order of countries? What are the priorities of humanity? What is truly new or visionary? This is not a year for tired or repeated old formulations. Only new formulations rule; only new ideas can weather the requirements of a new time.

Written in January 2008 about the third quarter of that year:
“Q3 [2008]: ‘Fall into the fall.’ This requires suppleness….The question is not whether or if you fall, but how you fall and land on your feet. Some large financial institution may go under – through acquisition or foreign control. There may be attempts to minimize the implications and the damage to financial structures, but insiders will know and quiver in their shoes….” [The financial crash or fall of 2008 began in the fall; this intuitive insight about the third quarter was written some 10 months prior to the crash.]

7 Sept 08: Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, which owned or guaranteed nearly $6Trillion in mortgage loans for individuals as well as companies, was placed into conservatorship by the Federal Housing Finance Agency
14 Sept 08: Merrill Lynch is acquired by Bank of America in a last ditch effort to save the company
15 Sept 08: Lehman Brothers files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and is not saved the way Merrill Lynch was through acquisition or bailout
16 Sept 08: AIG shares lose 95% of their value and report a $13.2B loss in the first six months of the year.
All of these companies were considered to be unsinkable and untouchable prior to this time.]
20 Sept 08: Dow Jones Industrial Average suffers its worst point drop ever: 777 points.

From a private email, 13 January 2008:
“Something goes for the broke. New infusions, new hope, new recession woes….’Goes for the broke’ means coming up with something that helps those who have nothing or nothing left; those who are broke.”

From a private email, 2 March 2008:
“Challenges ahead. Be on the lookout.
Then  it stops. The whole world stops to watch some major event on the horizon with global implications. After three weeks none of it makes any sense. New forms, new criteria…. Ship of Fools [from the old movie title with Oskar Werner and Simone Signoret re: the beginning signs of WWII]. Prelude to war? Perhaps a war of a different kind?

Something new kicks in of global proportion, political and other. Feels like another 9/11 type event, or political moment that captures world attention. elements of both tearing apart and bringing together for good….

[Follow-up: The three weeks from October 6-24 changed the world and the way we think about things. The fallout continues throughout the world, into and including the Arab Spring and the potential demise of the Eurozone as European country after country teeters on the verge of bankruptcy, or falls over its edge in the summer of 2012.]

Some major feeling of impropriety at high levels.”

[Follow-up: The heads of the eight largest banks are called to Washington to testify before Congress about potential malfeasance in the fall of the U.S. housing industry and their use of credit default swaps and other derivatives instruments. Goldman Sachs is called to task for betting against its own loans, knowing full well that the loans would be defaulted.]

From a private email, 17 March 2008:

Europe is under some pressure now, and this leads to political fallout and consequences of an enormous nature. The ill will towards the U.S. grows dramatically as the walls begin to press in on the European economy. This kicks the continent into retrograde thinking, failing to take a true and deeper look at contemporary complexities and issues….”

From a private email, 17 April 2008:
“Some new twist on insider trading or price-fixing phenomena. Charge of collusion to pass risk and loss on to consumer will follow on the heels of subprime issues and trigger more than a slap on the wrist of financial institutions. There are some who are looking for punishment.”

Follow-up: In 2012 two individuals were found guilty of insider trading and sentenced to prison.

From a private email, 9 May 2008:
“This is the way the world ends; not with a bang but a cigarette. The vices continue uninterrupted, and increase….Recession driven social constraint and social rebellion[both at once].”

From a private email, 22 May 2008:
“All of the resources of government and certain sectors of business will be devoted to mercenary and rogue treasure hunts….The impact as other news unfolds over the next 2 years will be nothing short of amazing….[revealing a] Machiavellian approach of certain individuals in leadership circles.”

From a private email, 23 June 2008:
“Another awakening before all settles down and settles in….it’s not over for the short term.

Taking on too much water makes the boat sink. When water is coming in, unloading is better than taking on. If you think the ocean will not know the boat has sprung a leak [because you have placed furniture over the hole], think again. Nothing…nothing is outside the all-encompassing ocean.”

From a private email, 29 June 2008:
“Gets a thrashing like never before.
Yes, this is the way down to the flood plain. Washout…and more. Going to go this way before the rest is finished.
Disaster. Then she flies out of the ashes like before: beautiful, strong, clear on her role in the world….Lots of losses before the rainbow this time.”

From a private email, 15 July 2008:
“Not the way it is going to be for a long time. This isn’t over: the toll goes on and on into the future. This great depression will be remembered for along time to come, and the impacts are just beginning to trickle up to an intensity that makes all take severe and sincere notice.

It is no longer a question of being acquired or sold or merged; it is a question of ceasing to exist, and this strikes many. Zero value. Zero degrees of separation. Zero potentiality for rescue.”

From a private email, 21 July 2008:
“‘This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a whimper.’”
Godot doesn’t live here anymore. It is pointless to wait for a savior who no longer saves.”

From a private email, 1 September 2008:
“This isn’t the one that goes away. And then you must wonder what the rest is about. There are other stories not told that surface just as the water subsides. Watch and wait. Listen for the undertow, the rip tide that is still to come….

Going to go away….The end of all that we know now and later. Some critical shift in the air….”

From a private email, 9 September 2008:
“They still cant’ believe the numbers. Wait until they really, really know what they have to do.”

From a private email, 14 September 2008:
“There are those tho have begun to see the handwriting on the wall, the true meaning of ‘What goes around comes around.’ This has to do with economic policy and practice; with shortsightedness regarding actions taken long ago; with a realization that the empire could fold without [the presence of] heart….

This dates from the end of WWII. Some consequences or implications on the horizon now date from these economic, political, military decisions.”

From a private email, 21 September 2008:
“Pay attention to Europe. There is pain and suffering there that is not addressed in these measures. Confidence may be restored in the U.S., but anger comes along with the restoration. The carnage is unmistakable and unintentional, surpassing any and all expectations and calculations. The toll cannot be computed unless you bring in the physicists, who are used to infinite numbers and factors of trillions. The societies will be leveled. And while there will be those alive to tell the stories, many get dragged into this undertow.

The rip tide from the hurricanes is matched by and reflects the rip tides in the world’s economies.

This is only the beginning. Actually a short-term middle that stems from a past older than 9/11 or [the stock market crash of] 1987.

This is the beginning of the end of time for others….

Another institution bites the dust. Or it could be a rescue plan that does not rescue.”

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