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Gregory Drambour
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Never ever - ever - give up!  My favorite Cat Stevens song, Miles From Nowwhere.

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The Shaman & His Daughter - Part 9 
"Sparkly-Mind & Chocolate Chip Cookies!"
*Dedicated to a Karyn, a special client and my friend, Dicken.
It's Monday and I'm sitting against the same giant Arizona Cypress tree I always do when I am waiting for Angel-girl's school bus. I can feel the Tree People are waiting for her too! If you've read previous stories you know the Tree-people are very important to Angel-girl and I am sure she is important to them! Sometimes, I talk to this big tree, asking how I am doing as a Dad. It's heard a lot of Dad-freaking-out stories!
This waiting for the school bus is one of my favorite things to do! It feels important. There is a principle I try my best to live by from Andrew Vachss: "If you can't be counted on, you can't be counted in." I want Angel-girl to know I will be always be there. I don't use this waiting to be on my cell phone and under no circumstances am I ever on it when she gets off the bus! (for the record I'm barely on my phone--more on this worldwide-obsession later!) Angel-girl usually gets off the bus excited to tell me about her school day. My friends with teenagers tell me, enjoy it while it lasts!
The bus pulls up and Angel-girl jumps out and I can see by her sad face that something is up. I ask her, right away, "What's wrong, baby?"  
"Nothing," she responds flatly.  
"You sure?" I check.  She gives me a silent nod.  
I hold her hand as we walk the block back to our house. I know not to push her and go into an interrogation. I need to let go of my desire for her to be happy all the time and to fix it when she's not!
After a minute of walking in silence, she blurts out, "Daddy, the kids were very mean to the teacher!"
"Really? What happened?"
"Well, our teacher, Miss Philips was sick today, so we had sub teacher, Mrs. Cooper. The kids made fun of her when she wasn't looking!"
"Why did they do that?" I ask, looking down at her to show her I am really paying attention.
"She has metal things on her legs."
"You mean like braces?" I inquire.
"I guess so and she has things that hold her up..." she mimes something around her hands and forearms.
"You mean crutches, baby?"
"I think so, Daddy. She doesn't walk real good."
"Oh" I say, sadly.
"Why are people mean?" She asks me with a hurt voice.
"That's a good question, baby. I can see it hurts you."
"What should I do, Daddy? She's a cozy teacher. I liked her."
"Well, I guess the first question you want to ask yourself is, am I in 'sparkly-mind' or 'mud-mind?'" (Sparkly-mind is when we are in our wisdom and mud-mind is when we are not in our wisdom or in a low mood)
"Definitely mud-mind!"
"Then we don't do anything, right? And wait for sparkly-mind to come back, like it always does? Then I am sure something will come to you."
She nods reluctantly, "Okay, Daddy. I don't like mud-mind!"
"Me neither." I wait a few moments and then ask her, "Should we have a snack and then go "visiting" (hiking)?
"Chocolate-chip cookies?" She asks expectantly.
"You got it!"
"Yayy, chocolate-chip cookies!" She runs ahead and into the garage and the door to the kitchen. I chuckle, thinking, I guess I said the right code word-chocolate-chip cookies!
Fifteen minutes later we are out on the hiking trail. Angel-girl has brought along one cookie. This is a ritual of hers. She waits for the right moment to offer the Old Ones a cookie!
"Daddy, look at this!" She is pointing at the ground. I walk over and look down and see a big paw print clearly outlined in the soft red soil. Much bigger than what a dog would leave.
"Wow!" I exclaim. "Good eye, my Angel!" I study the print a little closer. "You know what? I think it's a mountain lion track!"
"Really!" She says.
"Yup. I heard they come down from mountains once in a while."
"Cool!" She shouts.
"Lets follow her path a little ways." I suggest. We walk slowly, examining the path of the tracks.
"Look at this, Angel, do you see how one paw drags a little?" I point it out to her with my finger. She studies the track closely, trying to see what I'm showing her.
"I see it, Daddy! What does it mean?"
"Well, it could mean she's hurt."
Angel-girl looks up at me, seriously, suddenly not happy, alarmed, "She's hurt?"
"I'm not sure, baby."
She eyes the track again. Very deeply. I feel her going very still. Then she places her little hand gently inside the paw print and closes her eyes. I slow my breathing matching hers. She is being her father :). Suddenly, she opens her eyes with a surprised expression and looks directly at me.
"Daddy, remember when you told me when a picture comes into my head real fast, it might be important?
"The occurring moment."
"Yup!"
"Did something come to you?" I ask. She nods emphatically!
"Daddy, you are right, it's a girl lion. She is okay. I saw her walking. That's just the way she walks! She is very pretty! Then she turned and looked me, Daddy, like she knew me. She has big eyes. I felt her heart."
I am so proud of her. I raise my palm in our formal gesture of the presence of Spirit, "A Ho, Angel-girl. A Ho."
She raises her little hand and says with seriousness, "A Ho, my father."
Then she steps firmly on the soft soil next to the paw print, creating a deep impression of her little hiking boot. She reaches in her pocket and takes out the chocolate-chip cookie and places it between her footprint and the big paw print. Then covers the cookie with her hand, closing her eyes. "This is for you, little mountain lion. My daddy made them, they are very yummy! My foot is right here next to you in case you get lonely."
"Good job, my Angel." If you honor them, they will honor you.
Next morning comes. Angel-girl runs into my room, very excited! I guess forgetting the "rule" about waking up Daddy from a dead-sleep unless the house is burning down.
"Daddy, Daddy!"
"What's up? You okay?" I say, trying to come awake.
"I woke up with sparkly-mind!"
"Awesome!"
"I know what to do about the new teacher, Mrs. Cooper!"
"Fantastic!"
"But it's a surprise, Daddy. Can I have permission to use some of the silver-stuff in kitchen?"
"Silver-stuff?"
"That you put food in."
"You mean the tin-foil?"
"Yup!" She's so excited, she is bouncing up down.
"Okay, I guess." Trying to process quickly how she could hurt herself with tin-foil.
"Thank you, Daddy!" She bursts out of the room. I hear her running toward the kitchen and then into her room closing the door. She shouts through her bedroom door, "No peaking, Daddy!"
"Okay!" I yell back!
Fifteen minutes later as I'm making our morning smoothie, I hear her walk into the kitchen behind me. I turn around to find her looking at me with a giant smile. I do a double-take because I see something bright around her legs. I focus in and see that she has taken the tin-foil and rolled it like a thick bracelet so it wraps around the ankle of each leg and then another wrap below her knees. She has connected the two foil bracelets on each leg with a straight column of rolled foil running down each side of both calves. It takes me a fast moment then I get it. She is matching the teacher's leg braces. The path without words--the language of a warrior.
I have seen beautiful breathtaking things in my life, brothers and sisters but never anything like this. I stand up very straight, my eyes filling, having no words.
"I am ready for school, Daddy." She says, beaming at me.
I open up my arms and she runs into them and I give her a big hug. I whisper to her, "You have a big big heart, my Angel! Thank you for choosing me to be your Dad."
"I love you, Daddy."
A Ho,
Greg

Expanding Your Personal
Criteria for a Low-Mood
The foundation of this column is that when you are in a "low-mood" under no circumstances should you trust what you are thinking and certainly not act on your thinking. Your thinking in that moment is trying to trick you as well as your feeling in that moment because the quality of your feelings will always equal the quality of your thoughts. We have all experienced this phenomena, especially in relationships with our partners. One moment you are really upset about something and then an hour later you suddenly have understanding and acceptance!  Another way of viewing this is you've had two different realties about the same event!  Which one would you like to choose!
One annoying but important aspect of a low-mood is:when in one sometimes we don't know we are!   There are the obvious low-moods states: anger, sadness, impatience, resentment, etc.  It's the subtle ones that can trip us up. How do we get out of a low-wood? First, become "aware" we are in one! So, discovering what are your subtle low-moods could be important! If you are here on a Sedona retreat with me and I get inspired, I will sometimes torture you by asking you to write what I call the low mood-list!  A low mood can simply be something that doesn't make us feel good, feel stressed, feel uncomfortable at any degree. Sometimes, you just feel a tiny bit off or icky, not at peace. Here are some examples:
Analyzing
Assessing
Rationalizing
Justifying
Projecting
Worrying
Excepting
Tired
Trying to figure something out
Obsessive thinking
Non-acceptance
Needing to make your point
Taking to someone in your head before you talk to them
Wanting
Needing
Wishing
Searching
criticizing yourself
Judging others
Trying to fix someone
Trying to control someone or the world around you (this has many sub-categories!)
Boredom
Numbness
I am sure you are getting the drift and the list goes on and on! All these states will automatically block your natural wisdom. These are all personal thinking states or ego states. This is not to say that sometimes analyzing a business situation can't be productive. But you be surprised how much of the time in business you could just trust your natural creativity and inspiration to flow something up inside you. 
If you read that list, and as many clients respond, "OMG, this is pretty much my life!" Don't worry about it—we have to start somewhere! Or if you doubt these are low-moods states in your life, ask yourself a brave and honest question, "When I am assessing or projecting, do I feel at peace?"
My suggestion is to explore what are your personal specific low moods states. For example: I had a highly-educated couple here on retreat last week and I noticed that they both did a lot of "qualifying" before they answered a question or even made a statement. That’s a tip off they are in their head or being little insecure and thus in a low mood. They really saw it—it was cool!
So you become aware you are in a subtle low-mood, then what do you do? Now, buckle up, this might surprise you! Don't do anything! Meaning, don't try and figure out why you are, don't try and get out of it, etc... Just point yourself in a nice direction and gently wait (without really waiting) for your innate wisdom/mental health to return.  And it always does! And through your natural health, you will "see" that thing you were upset about with greater perspective. If I showed you a film of your life, I could point out a thousand moments when that’s exactly what happened. You were crazy as a looney bird about something and an hour later you had perspective and understanding about that event. All I am suggesting you try is to do it on purpose! Wait it out! 
Again, use your feelings to gauge when you are in a low-mood, it can be very subtle. The more you expand your personal definition of a low-mood, the more you will be in your natural spiritual intelligence. That’s how it works—low moods obscure our wisdom—if you brush away what's in front of wisdom—you are in your wisdom. It's really that simple!!
A Ho,
Greg
PS. The definitive book on low-mood thinking is written by my buddy, Jack Pransky. It has my highest recommendation:

 Somebody Should Have Told Us!

Two Cups and Deserving
This is a story that has been long overdue and two beautiful coffee cups finally ignited the telling of this tale. Last year on my 25th sobriety anniversary (33 years now!) I decided I was going to buy myself a present. For years I have wanted a plasma or LCD flat panel television--who doesn’t! So I did a lot of research and finally decided which one I wanted--it was more money than I have ever spent on myself! Then I went into a stall.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but that old poverty consciousness flashed out, that old feeling of not deserving. So more researching, more arithmetic. My goodness, it was my 25th sobriety anniversary! What could be more at the top of the list of deserving than that?  
Like most people I have struggled financially in my life. But after years of trying to understand the power of manifestation I broke through and my success had finally come. There was no question I could afford this big present to myself but I held back. It took three months until something in me clicked, something inside that said it’s time to own your success and stop worrying that it will suddenly be taken away. I not only bought an LCD flat panel but I bought the best of the best!  I have gotten so much enjoyment out of this television--it was worth every dollar. It’s a wonderful feeling to really enjoy something you bought for yourself.  I feel so grateful that I allowed myself to give myself something--make sense, brothers and sisters?
But the story didn’t end there, it happened again almost one year later.  Nine months ago, I spotted a beautiful teak desk from Denmark--way out of my price range--and I mean way out!  Now, in my meeting with my accountant in early December she suggested that it might be time to finally furnish that home office that I had been threatening to do.  I am sure you know what I mean. So, I looked all over Phoenix and then on the internet, but couldn’t find anything--and kept going back to the teak desk.  I’m saying in my head, “Greg, don’t even think about it.”  I could hear my mother saying, “What? Are you kidding?”  Even though I know in her heart she appreciated my taste! Well, in the end I made the leap, because I’d rather spend it on this special desk than give it to you know who. 
And again, I am so happy I bought it. Every day when I walk into my office I just smile at its beauty, its organic quality and elegance. The wood fits me. When I was struggling, and I mean really broke, I dreamed of having special things around me, things that I would cherish and appreciate. 
Two days ago I was in Starbucks in Phoenix. I was waiting for my coffee and I noticed this beautiful blue coffee cup. I thought, “That cup is me.” I have this thing about blue! And for the briefest of seconds it didn’t occur to me that I could buy it. Old habits die hard! And then I thought, “Go ahead, brother--it’s ok, you can have it, its ok.” And so I bought two! I could feel my spirit inside smiling.
Of all the stories I have written, this has been one of the hardest to write. I know many of you have had these feelings and I want to encourage you to leap and let go of the old thinking and be good to yourself, maybe spoil yourself a little. It can be two simple cups or a big TV. The act of being nice to yourself is what’s really important and of having faith in what your spirit desires. You can’t go wrong doing that, brothers and sisters.
A Ho,
Greg

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The Shaman & His Daughter - Part 9
"Sparkly-Mind!"
*Dedicated to a Karyn, a special client and my friend, Dicken.
Today I am waiting for Angel-girl’s school bus. It’s one of my favorite things to do. It feels important. There is a principle I do my best to live by from Andrew Vachss—“If you can’t be counted on, you can’t be counted in.” I want her to know I will be always be there. Angel-girl usually gets off the bus excited to tell me about her school day. My friends with teenagers tell me, enjoy it while it lasts! 
The bus pulls up and Angel-girl jumps out and I can see by her sad face that something is up. “What’s wrong, baby?” I ask her.

“Nothing,” she responds flatly. I hold her hand as we walk the block back to our house. I know not to push her and go into an interrogation. I need to let go of my need for her to be happy all the time!

After a few minutes of walking in silence, “Daddy, the kids were very mean to the teacher!”

“Really? What happened?”

“Well, our teacher, Miss Philips was sick today, so we had sub teacher. The kids made fun of her when she wasn’t looking!”

“Why did they do that?”

“She has metal things on her legs and things that hold her up…” she mimes something around her hands and forearms.

“You mean crutches, baby?”

“I think so, Daddy. She doesn’t walk real good.”

“Oh” I say, sadly.

“Why are people mean?” She asks me with a hurt voice.

“That’s a good question, baby.”

“What should I do, Daddy?”

“Well, I guess the first question you want to ask yourself is, am I in ‘sparkly-mind’ or ‘mud-mind?’” (Sparkly-mind is when we are in our wisdom and mud-mind is when we are not in our wisdom or in a low mood)

“Definitely mud-mind!” 

“Then we don’t do anything, right? And wait for sparkly-mind to come back, like it always does?”

She nods reluctantly, “Okay, Daddy.”   

I ask her, “Should we have a snack and then go “visiting” (hiking)?

“Chocolate-chip cookies?” She asks expectantly

“You got it!”

“Yayy!” She runs ahead and into the garage and the door to the kitchen. I chuckle, thinking, I guess I said the right code word—chocolate-chip cookies!

Fifteen minutes later we are out on the hiking trail. Angel-girl has brought along one cookie. This is a ritual of hers. She waits for the right moment to offer the Old Ones a cookie!

“Daddy, look at this!” She is pointing at the ground. I walk over and look down and see a big paw print clearly outlined in the soft red soil. Much bigger than what a dog would leave.

“Wow!”  I exclaim. “Good eye, my Angel!” I study the print a little closer. “You know what? I think it’s a mountain lion track!”

“Really!” She says excitedly.

“Yup. I heard they come down from mountains once in a while.”

“Cool!” She shouts.

“Lets follow her path a little ways.” I suggest. We walk slowly, examining the path of the tracks.

“Look at this Angel-girl, do you see how one paw drags a little?” I point it out to her with my finger. She looks closely, trying to see what I’m showing her.

“I see it, Daddy! What does it mean?”

“Well, it could mean she’s hurt.”

Angel-girl looks up at me, seriously, suddenly not happy, alarmed, “She’s hurt?”

“I’m not sure, baby.”

She looks down at the track. Very deeply. I feel her going very still. Then she places her little hand gently inside the paw print and closes her eyes. I slow my breathing matching hers. She is being her father :) Suddenly, she opens her eyes with a surprised expression and looks directly at me. 

“Daddy, remember when you told me when a picture comes into my head real fast, it might be important?

“The occurring moment.”

“Yup!”

“Did something come to you?” I ask. She nods emphatically!

“Daddy, you are right, it’s a girl lion. She is okay. I saw her walking. That’s just the way she walks!  She is very pretty!  Then she turned and looked me, Daddy, like she knew me. She has big eyes. I felt her heart.”

I am so proud of her. I raise my palm in our formal gesture of the presence of Spirit, “A Ho, Angel-girl. A Ho.” 

She raises her little hand and says with seriousness, “A Ho, my father.”

Then she steps firmly on the soft soil next to the paw print, creating a deep impression of her little hiking boot. She reaches in her pocket and takes out the chocolate-chip cookie and places it between her footprint and the big paw print. Then covers the cookie with her hand, closing her eyes. “This is for you, little mountain lion. My daddy made them, they are very yummy! My foot is right here next to you in case you get lonely.”
"Good job, my angel." If you honor them, they will honor you.

Next morning comes. Angel-girl runs into my room, very excited! I guess forgetting the “rule” about waking up Daddy from a dead-sleep—unless the house is burning down.

“Daddy, Daddy!”

“What’s up? You okay?” I say, trying to come awake.

“I woke up with sparkly-mind!”

“Awesome!” 

“I know what to do about the new teacher!”

“Fantastic!”

“But it’s a surprise, Daddy. Can I have permission to use some of the silver-stuff in kitchen?”

“Silver-stuff?”

“That you put food in.”

“You mean the tin-foil?”

“Yup!” She's so excited, she is bouncing up down.

“Okay, I guess.” Trying to process quickly how she could hurt herself with tin-foil.

“Thank you, Daddy!” She bursts out of the room. I hear her running toward the kitchen and then into her room closing the door. She shouts through her bedroom door, “No peaking, Daddy!”

“Ok!” I yell back!

Fifteen minutes later as I’m making my morning smoothie, I hear her walk into the kitchen behind me. I turn around to find her looking at me with a giant smile. I do a double-take because I see something bright around her legs. I focus in and see that she has taken the tin-foil and rolled it like a thick bracelet so it wraps around the ankle of each leg and then another wrap below her knees. She has connected the two foil bracelets on each leg with a straight column of rolled foil running down each side of both calves. It takes me a fast moment then I get it. She is matching the teacher’s leg braces.

I have seen beautiful breathtaking things in my life, brothers and sisters but never anything like this. I stand up very straight, my eyes filling, having no words.

“I am ready for school, Daddy.” She says, beaming at me.

A Ho,
Greg
 
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