My friends have learned that it’s a useless task to chat with me about the news. In fact, I had to ask someone to explain Obamacare because I didn’t have a clue.

I’m happy with that. I keep a distant eye on world affairs and that’s close enough.

The pervasive negativity of the news gets into my blood and with my sharp memory, it’s a potent combo. I literally can spin on a story — like slavery, the decimation of African elephants, etc — for weeks and feel depressed and helpless.

I learned long ago to respect my sensitivities and that if I wanted a successful business and a healthy life, that respect would extend 24/7, not just when I’m teaching or in a Tarot session. So, I started with turning off the news. I don’t have a TV but that doesn’t mean much in the computer age — even when I search for something on Bing, there’s news at the bottom of the page.

As much as I love the expansiveness of technology, there are times I want to completely unplug (I think it’s because I’m a Gen X baby, straddling both worlds) but rely on it too much for work and information. I have two computers, a Kindle and just bought a phone that connects to the mothership, so I’m not walking away anytime soon.

What I do is control my time/presence online and connect it all to Shivaya Wellness or my writing. I power down my electronics at night and don’t have any in the bedroom. I have no interest in a personal FB account or tracking the minutiae of my days. I’m even careful with the movies I watch right before bed, as they will filter into my dreams. It’s super important for me to have time to think, write and dream. I need the space that nature and quiet offer. If my mind is crowded with tasks or stories that bring me down, I’m of little use to the world.

In my classes, we often talk about having boundaries and dealing with negative people. But energy is energy, and it’s held in everything: what we eat, think, watch, say, project. And if you’re sensitive, all of it is highly influential.

This isn’t to say that you have to throw out your electronics or stop watching the news. You just have to choose your filters and know when to press “off”.

I’m in the final stages of Just Another Crazy Cat Lady Story and will have it ready for you by 5/5, Cinco de Mayo, the day of freedom.

This is how I know I’m close to being done: I’m sick of reading the chapters and could probably quote each one verbatim. I LOVE the book, however — and have no need to add anything else. I’m still tweaking as I go along but the major stuff is done. Whew. Now it’s in Sigil (epub), which is the final step before pushing “Publish” on Amazon.

I’ll confess: I do have a bit of nerves when launching a book — but it’s mixed with the excitement of having my 7th work out in public. 7!! Whodathunkit?

JACCLS mainly focuses on my life with Avery, my fat, joyful cat who spent 20 years with me on the road. I probably couldn’t have written this book any earlier because not only were we living the story, but I would have felt embarrassed to show such emotion for an animal. But thank heavens for the 40s, right? I just don’t care as much as I once did and hey, I read Tarot cards for a living! Can’t get much kookier than that…

I hope that you’ll read Just Another Crazy Cat Lady Story — because Avery was an amazing cat and deserves to have his life celebrated. Talk about a little healer in feline form!

JACCL cover

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It may not seem like much — a $1.50 notebook that I scribble in — but it is a powerful tool.

It’s my magical manifesting notebook.

“Manifesting” is an overused word in woo circles, but bear with me.

I’m a believer in the power of thought and how our daily practice guides our life. However, my brain has a mind of her own, and it’s a task just to get her to settle down. Sure, there are things I want in my life — both material and non — but until I focus and get clear, not much happens. Or…it does happen but I’m too scattered or grasping for the next, the next, the next and don’t notice the arrival.

Thus, the notebook. Once I sit with my coffee and start to write, it…solidifies things. I’ve always been connected to ink on a page that both calms and directs my mind. I re-read, speak it aloud and feel it in my bones. I tweak and ask myself, Is this what I really want? I get clear. I notice what I resist, even if I think I desire it.

But I don’t ask: I claim. That’s bold. I was raised to ask — beg, more like — to a God who seemed loving on the outside but punishment lurked somewhere around the corner. Do this, and maybe you’ll get that. Live a good life and be “saved” and you’ll inherit the kingdom of heaven. Screw up, and all bets are off.

I claim, as Florence Scovel Shinn says, all that is mine by Divine right. As soon as I do that, a part of me jumps up and says, Who are you to ask that? How DARE you!

That voice could be from my Christian past. Could be that I was born a woman. Could be that I feel like I don’t deserve the spoils of this life for whatever reason or karma. It’s similar to how I felt the other day when gifts flooded out of my mailbox. Overwhelmed, a little nervous — like when I was a child and after unwrapping my presents, I’d hide the most precious ones in my bedroom closet, afraid that my brothers’ grubby hands would find them or that I’d open the door the next morning and they’d mysteriously be gone.

But it’s a new world everyday — isn’t it? A new world in the games we play as humans. This whole world is a playground and I’m leaning towards the energy of benevolence that directs it. Call it God/dess, Source, People, You There, Divine Ones — they’re all about benevolence. I use my magical book and note the beautiful things that arrive: a sense of peace, sales on Amazon, writing that flows, food in my fridge. Everything. Gratitude is a huge piece, too — and I can feel invisible heads nodding like, you’re getting it, Raven and maybe even a refrain of good-natured laughter.

They’ve always been about benevolence — it’s up to me to take the blinders off my work horse, the one that plods in a circle believing that I only get what I deserve and I don’t deserve much.

Benevolence. When I type that, I see “beloved” and “violence” and “benefit” and “lovely” within the letters. Which one do I believe?

It’s not the notebook. It’s me, tuning my thoughts to a softer channel. And damn if it doesn’t work!

Benevolence. Benevolence. All this for 2014 and beyond.