Category Archives: Manifesting

A chemo dream

I’m listening to answering machine messages. Mother says, “Take care of your cousins”.  Cousin A says, “so sad”. Cousin P says, “Crying, crying”.  They are talking about the death of my grandmother, which was ‘way back in the early 90s.  I’m thinking, That was years and years ago, how could you still be crying, why would you want to?

Now I’m in the car with my brothers; it’s the next day. At first, I think it’s Orlando, yet it’s not because my grandmother’s house in Queens (NY) is nearby. It is morning, and the sun is coming up to our left, which means we are headed south. It is reflecting, glaringly so, off these fancy buildings – one of them seems to be the Dolphin hotel, but no, it is shaped quite differently and the infrastructure of it (holding all this freakin’ glass together) is like white PVC pipes.  The glare has slowed down traffic immensely, and I’m thinking it should not be allowed, to make buildings like that so close to a major thoroughfare that it would cause danger to drivers.

Now I am in the clinic, and Dr. Karen S. comes out to get me.  I am surprised because 17 years ago, she was my radiation doctor, but I’m here to get chemo.  I don’t know why a radiation doctor would be administering chemo. She brings me in and I start asking questions about side effects.  There is a nurse there assisting her in discussing this with me.  It is Christa, one of my internet Disney geek friends! I ask if I will be too tired to drive myself home after – I can always drive to my grandparents house and crash there, I say, but Karen says I won’t be all that tired until later that night.  I get to the most important, most burning question – will I lose my hair? Karen looks away and says, “That’s what it looks like” and I’m like, “muthafucka…” under my breath, but out loud I say how I finally have a haircut I really like….  As she hangs the bag and prepares the needle, Christa kids that they will top off my cocktail with some fancy hair conditioner.

The alarm goes off.

ANALYSIS / REACTION

I was diagnosed on 10/12/1992, which is my older brother’s birthday.  The anniversary of the death of my grandmother, which was several years prior, I believe is around the same time, maybe 10/10 or 10/11.

For the casting decisions in this dream, I’m applying the technique that everyone in the dream is me, or some aspect of me. We can clearly see that even after all these years, I am still somewhat concerned about cancer, and I still miss my grandmother.  I do tend to become impatient with myself when I behave in ways that reveal what I perceive as weakness.  Actually, that’s my mother talking.  I know that, yet I still feel impatient and scornful of myself for my own vulnerabilities.  Other people are allowed to have them, sometimes, but me, NEVER.  Here, I feel like my cousins are either wusses, or else they are liars, being overly-dramatic, mourning my grandmother’s death like it was yesterday instead of 20-ish years ago.  That’s DEFINITELY my mother talking.  I am so intolerant of myself.

I also have other fish to fry.  Why “Mother” thinks I should take care of **them** when **I** am the one headed off for chemo, is beyond me.  I have tended to do this through life – distract myself from my own shit by taking care of other people’s shit.  Notice that I don’t do that here.  I just listen and then go about my business.  I also cast my brothers as my posse, my “backup” – I did watch “About A Boy” last night, which is about building your support system, your tribe, so you’ll have “backup”.  The person who wrote the “Wear Sunscreen” speech had it right -“Be nice to your siblings. They’re your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.”  I know I can count on my brothers.  And there they are, my personal entourage, “I’m feeling alright, I’m with my boys, I’m with my troops, yeah”.  That’s Paul Simon’s “Late In The Evening” and yes, damned near everything reminds me of a song.

On the way from our house on Long Island to my grandmother’s house in Queens, we had to pass the World’s Fair grounds in Flushing Meadow Park.  The World’s Fair was in 1964-1965 and Walt Disney had a hand in designing it.  He also had a few attractions there, such as Carousel of Progress and It’s a Small World.  I loved going to the World’s Fair and remember quite a bit of it, even though I was quite small at the time.  I guess this is why I think it’s Orlando while we are on our way to the clinic and passing my grandparents’ house.

Christa cracks a joke, even while she prepares the implements of destruction and unhappiness. Isn’t that so like me? I will find something either ironic or ridiculous about every situation. Sometimes, it’s to make me feel better, but much of the time, it’s to make others feel better. Taking care of others does seem to be a theme here….

As to the dangerous situation that impedes traffic – I got nuttin’, except maybe that’s cancer itself.  It did throw me off the track of what I’d been striving towards at the time (singing career). But there’s a distracting, blinding aspect to it, and the blindness is what creates the danger. What has blinded me, and what is it that I cannot see? Is it that I cannot see, or is it that I *will* not see? And why is not seeing it so dangerous?

Anyone? Buehler? (that’s an invitation to comment, please!)

Why is Dr. S. doing chemo now?  There’s something not right about that…. if she is me in this dream, well she’s doing something really important, yet radically different from what she did before.  Either she was doing the wrong thing before, or else she’s doing the wrong thing now.  There are people in this world that would say the same of me – they’d say, “I don’t know why a poet-star would be playing Madam Vice President at a bank”.  I cast her in the wrong role in this dream, I did.  Poor “Karen”! 

“Poet-Star” just popped into my head – it’s the name of a poem I wrote, ‘way back in 1979.  The pertinent verses:

One girl lives with music and another lives with death.
One girl’s counting money while another holds her breath.
One girl is a poet, is a singer, is a star.
She searches for a galaxy that seems so very far.
She wants to be the center of a universe somewhere.
She wants to be with sunshine, but it’s raining over there….

The poet, singer, star was always me. The other girls were all friends of mine, people who aspired to be a musician, a nurse, a banker and someone who was in sort of a holding pattern at the time. But how prophetic – today, you could say they are ALL me, pieces of me at points in time. I studied voice and performed for 20-something years. I had cancer, a brush with death. I am, indeed, Madam Vice President at a bank. Waiting, waiting, waiting…. for what? For “something”…

Don’t get me wrong. I have a good life, one that is largely of my own making, a fact that is personally pretty satisfying. But clearly (and on several different fronts), I’m not where I’d intended to be, all those years ago, and the urge to fix that, to embark upon a terrifying course-correction, is going to come to a point of critical “mass”, probably soon.

I do believe cancer is only a metaphor this time. Actually, it was a metaphor last time, too, only it manifested into reality, somehow.

“Something’s coming…..”. I will need to remember the entire verse this time, so it manifests into what will make me happy.

Something’s coming!
I don’t know
what it is
but it is gonna be great!

You know what, I do too know what it is. But it’s terrifying. I have that awful/exhilarating adrenaline rush that you get AFTER you just narrowly avoided a car accident. I’m shaking while typing this. I never shake. Shit.

The blank slate of Yule beckons

IMG_5154-Christmas-Radio-City-Music-HallOne of the great things about going home to New York, to The Loverly Isle of Long for Christmas is that I get to see the “back home” tribes and hang with them just like old times. This year is special – I’ll be home in plenty of time to make a Winter Solstice celebration with my friends. The Winter Solstice aka Yule is typically observed on December 21st, the shortest day/longest dark of the year. Solstice is all about the rebirth of the sun; in terms of the Wheel, we are at the lowest point of the year, but you know what that means – the only way left to go is up 🙂 The purpose of the feast is to celebrate the beginning of the end of the dormancy period of the year, and prepare for a fresh start. The clean slate of a new year stretches into the future before us, upon which we get to write… ANYTHING WE WANT! How cool is that?

And so, we’ll go to the woods to gather greenery. Back at home, we’ll prepare the meal, deck the halls and set the table. We’ll light the candles and we’ll write on those clean slates, earnest notes filled with our desires, our requests of the Universe. And then we shall set them aflame and watch as the fire transforms them into sparks of prayer, rising through the crisp air into the night sky to become one with the stars, to be heard and fulfilled.

And then, we shall feast.

I did a little googling this weekend, to find appropriate foods upon which we should be feasting on the Solstice. Feasting and celebrating is something people can look forward to as the earth turns ever colder and darker leading up to Solstice. Anticipation of the celebration, of being able to put the darkest days behind us helps to counteract the depressive psychological effects of winter. When it’s so dark like this, we have too much melatonin, which causes malaise. That might be appropriate for bears, who are supposed to sleep away the winter, but most adult humans are expected to be productive. We need to find ways to assist ourselves in pushing past the darkness.

Anything that puts us in the presence of negative ions will lift our mood and make us feel energized. Isn’t that odd, that “negative” produces positive in us? In nature, places that tend to be negatively ionized are mountains, streams, forests and beaches. This may be why people flock to these types of places for relaxation and rejuvenation. There are other negatively-charged things we can use to help erase stress and seasonal fatigue. A wood fire, bees wax, green plants – all of these things can help to make us “of good cheer”. I guess we now know why we burn candles, deck the halls and have a Yule log. These things make us feel better and help us to to feel celebratory, to have hope that winter WILL end and that the life-bringing warmth of spring WILL return to us. The ancients may not have known about a substance called melatonin, but they knew that the air was filled with a magical, uplifting energy after a lightening storm, and that communing with nature by the side of a waterfall brings comfort and peace.

So you can see where I’m going with this. I now wanted to know – what foods carry a negative charge and make us feel good? Survey says – those foods that are alkaline help deposit negative ions into our bodies and are good mood enhancers. Most fruits and vegetables are alkaline, and they assist in combating the acidification of the blood. The more negative ions our blood carries, the better our metabolic, autonomic and immune systems function, and our skin and tissues are more elastic.

Googling once again, I discovered lists of alkaline vegetables, and most of them seemed to mention root vegetables like carrots, garlic, turnips and onions (we already knew about the root veggie-Yule connection). Other interesting things at the top of a few of the lists I found were broccoli, artichokes and leeks.

When I read about the leeks, I remembered a book I’d read called French Women Don’t Get Fat and how leek soup – with or without root vegetables and beans – is a staple food of the French woman’s diet. There’s even a recipe in the book, which uses lentils as the beans and can optionally be turned a little “creamy” by melting together a pat of butter and some flour and throwing that in at the last moment. They sometimes throw in some sort of browned French sausage that’s described in the book as a high-end hot dog. Ewww! I think we’ll be forgiven if we alter the ethnicity a bit and use Italian sweet sausage instead 😉

All the while I’ve been writing this post, my thoughts have been drawn repeatedly back to the prospect of the blank slate. I have that feeling that I used to get (and sometimes still get) when I was a young girl, filling marble-covered composition books with poems, stories and the minutiae of my existence. When one book is all done, you get to start a new one, and THAT, my friends, is a magical and sacred moment. You walk it reverently to the desk and turn back the cover… it’s blank! The pages are pure, empty yet ripe with the promise of endless possibility. What events, what aspirations, what desires and dreams will manifest upon these pages?

Anything we want.

Anything we want!

Ch-ch-changes

102320091313-WDW-DAK-Expedition-Everest-Single-Rider

The future’s in the air
I can feel it everywhere
Blowing with the wind of change …
Take me to the magic of the moment
On a glory night
Where the children of tomorrow dream away
In the wind of change
(Scorpions)

Need to make a list:

  • I spend too much time in front of the computer
  • I spend too much time doing things out of a sense of obligation/duty/responsibility
  • Although I am capable of extreme focus, my interests tend to roam far and wide
  • All of the above leads to a deficit of personal bandwidth
  • … and in the last few years, a deficit of personal accomplishment
  • Changes at work again *sigh*
  • Change because you have to SUCKS
  • Change because you want to is liberating
  • A little less dreaming, a little more doing
  • I need to reprioritize

Turn and face the strange
ch-ch-changes…
(David Bowie)

Selling out – w00t!

102320091313-WDW-DAK-Expedition-Everest-Single-Rider
Gonna put it in the want ads
(want ads!)
this girl’s in misery
Gonna put it in the want ads
(want ads!)
somebody rescue me….

I told mah sistas today that I’m selling out. I’m tired of the ups and downs of Corporate America, the endless cycles of re-orgs, mergers, acquisitions and the associated beheadings. I’m tired of the lies, the platitudes and the BS. I’m gonna find me a sugar-daddy, a millionaire.

WANTED: Impossibly wealthy, motherless lost boy to transform me into the SAH-Princess I was born to be. In exchange for being the only adult in the room at all times and attending to every minute detail of your existence, you must agree to participate in the hunt for seashells, be willing to provide shoe budget and support my blogging habit. DVC* a plus. Contact DoNotSpamMe@gmail.com

Wouldn’t it be lovely if it really worked that way? 😉

Don’t mind me. I’m just grouchy because I had to work late and I’m being re-org’d again. Same old, same old.

But actually, this reminds me that I did scrawl a sort of a “want ad” to the Universe late one night several weeks ago. It’s here on the desk, somewhere. It’s on a piece of paper from a yellow legal pad. Ah ha, here it is:

What Do I Wish For?
I wish for my True Companion. With him, I feel safe and special and loved. There is a euphoria in his arms that is unmatched by all else. There is completion in our connection, a fitting-together of puzzle pieces that have long called out for and are now made whole by one another. There is laughter and healing in his company. There is fearless joy in my unabashed expression of love for him and there is gratitude for our union.

I don’t know that I’ve ever written anything before that was quite so… so sentimental and MUSHY, even. It was late. I was tired, yet sleep, that faithless, two-timing, backstabbing SOB, was not putting out for me. I guess there’s a vulnerability to late-night scribblings. But I’m pretty shocked that something like this came from MY pen. Hmmm, food for thought…

*Disney Vacation Club

Something’s coming…

A friend recently blogged a Facebook note about how old habits and routines break down and fall away to make room for new habits that more directly align with whatever is coming next. She said the Black Eyed Peas’ current hit kept playing in her head –

I got a feeling
that tonight’s gonna be a good night
that tonight’s gonna be a good, good night…

– and that she had a feeling of anticipation, that she was on the edge of some great change.

Reading her thoughts brought to mind something I’d written to my friend Penny long ago. Penny moved away to California while we were still in our twenties and we began to write to one another. One night I saw an episode of thirtysomething and got an idea. Two of the characters had written a poem together over a long distance, passing a notebook back and forth through the mail, each adding a stanza before mailing it back. Why couldn’t we do that, I thought. So I bought a notebook and we began to write.

Lo these many years later, I read my friend’s “I got a feeling…” entry and decided to make a foray into The Box. Out came Volume V of the books that got mailed back and forth between New York and California for so many years. I didn’t have to turn too many pages before I found what I was looking for. I was surprised to see that my handwriting, usually so anally neat, was a bit scraggly-looking, but then I realized I’d been on the train when I wrote it, so I forgave myself 😉

Thursday 22 December 1994

6:40 PM

Just passing through Hicksville…

I made a note to myself to tell you about the “something’s coming” vs. “something’s missing” phenomenon.

“Something’s Coming” is a feeling I used to carry with me while growing up. I had this feeling until very recently. I realized it was gone when I started last summer (1993) to get the stage fright thing and the paralysis dream.

“Something’s Coming” is actually the name of a song from West Side Story – you recall, I’m sure, the line that goes, “Something’s coming, I don’t know what it is, but it is gonna be great!”. That’s the feeling, right there in that one line. There was nothing I couldn’t get through because I knew I was destined for “something”. Whatever it was, it would be wonderful, exciting and totally awesome. It would have a staggeringly positive impact on my life and maybe even the world. Whatever it was, it was BIG.

Now, I am horrified to suspect that it may just have been cancer.

I am rather upset that I have been deprived of feeling special and significant, however self-delusional that feeling was. At certain times in my life, it was all I had. It saved me, I am sure, from sinking into the abyss. In its place, there is now a big, fat nothing. “Something’s missing”.

I am not certain that I have ever stopped to articulate this so clearly before, even to myself. Reality really sucks, for it was a mega-dose of reality that wiped out my conviction that “something’s coming”.

So, how now to fill up the hole? I just bet there’s some sort of long, drawn-out, sucky mourning period involved here, on account of my profound loss of “something”. Yes, I know I’m being sarcastic, and no, I don’t care that I am. I prefer my world to be filled with peace and love, with equal doses of joy and wonder and excitement at the mere thought of life. And mostly, that’s how I am. I really detest all this negative shit that comes up in therapy, and I often wonder if the source of all this crap is endless or do I just keep manufacturing it anew?

I remember those years well, when my secret knowledge of “something” had me living on the giddy precipice of anticipation. What happened?

I was just thirty four when I wrote that letter to Penny. December of 1994 was two years post-diagnosis and about a year and a half post-treatment. I was floundering and resentful of the intrusion of catastrophic illness into my life.

It’s possible that life events had beat the crap out of me and I could no longer muster up the strength to sustain the illusion. Or, for a quasi-mystical point of view, it is possible that cancer really WAS what was “coming”. Or – and I think this was more likely – it was possible that I didn’t need it any more.

“Something’s coming” had gotten me through some grim times. I’d just proven that I could survive being gravely ill and all of the physical and psychological torment that had entailed. What need did I have for “something”?

Well, maybe I don’t need it, but I want it. I want that feeling back. The dream-giver DOES still wait for me. I’ve been on the smoothest course for a while now.

Time to shake things up 🙂

What am I good at? Survey says… part 2

ImFeelingInspiredAt last, I’ve finally had some time to continue examining the data collected during this merely quasi-scientific study of What I’m Good At, aka “Manifesting – The Musical!”. I’ll bet the handful of you who have been reading here probably forgot about this, it’s been so long. Well – on with the show!

Response Rates

89 people were polled, 37% by email and 63% on a private internet forum. A combined total of 25 people responded. 56% of the email population responded, as opposed to 44% of the forum population. The forum is female only; hence there are no male responses by the forum polling method. 38% of the females polled via email responded, as compared to 20% via forum.

Population Polled, by Polling Method and Gender

Figure 1: Population Polled, by Polling Method and Gender

Whereas email responses were made between me and the respondent, people from the private forum posted their responses in full view of the other members of the tribe. This may account for the higher response rate amongst the email population; it may have felt “safer” to opine only to me than it would have to opine in the presence of a wider audience.

Population responded, by Polling Method and Gender

Figure 2: Population Responded, by Polling Method and Gender

Approximately 87% of those polled were female; 13% were male. Despite the disproportion between males and females polled, it should be noted that fully half of the males polled responded, as opposed to only 24% of the females. Two of the male respondents are Siblings, two are Friends From High School, one is a Tech Geek and one is a Sanibel Fan. The distribution may suggest that I tend to engage in high-quality interactions or friendships with males who are similar to the ones with whom I was raised in in my birth tribe.

Normalization of Responses

Responses were made in free-form prose which had to be broken down and normalized across respondents in order to take measurements. Often, it was not enough to identify keywords as presented in the prose, because the same word used in different phrases by different respondents could translate into different concepts. Each respondent’s contribution was examined and broken down into the separate concepts that were being expressed. There were 124 concepts identified, which were then mapped to 55 keywords.

A few examples of this challenging task include:

  • The phrases “straight talk”, “telling it like it is”, “no bullshit” and similar phrases were all distilled down to single keyword, “Forthright”, because they clearly all described the same concept
  • The phrase “cutting through the bullshit and whittling down the issue to its essential core” became two keywords – “Analytical” and “Insightful”. Although this phrase shares the word “bullshit” with “no bullshit” in the previous example, it clearly implies something besides “forthright”. There are two concepts expressed in the phrase. One is “cutting and whittling” and the other is “essential core”. The former implies the tearing away of layers while the latter implies that there was some foreknowledge that the removal of these layers would yield something, even though that “something” might not be defined until the “cutting and whittling” had been completed.
  • Words and phrases like “entertaining”, “making an event special”, “making people feel cared-for”, “a good friend”, “you listen and make me laugh”, “good at bar crawling” were initially lumped under the single, somewhat whimsical keyphrase called “pixie dust”. However, there came the realization that again, separate concepts were being expressed, and the distinction was important. Therefore, this category was separated into “Fun” (“bar crawling”, “make me laugh”, “entertaining”) and “Nurturing” (“special”, “cared-for”, “good friend”, “you listen”).
  • Despite roughly 30 years of near-radio silence between us, a single participant ended up contributing a detailed and frighteningly accurate response that yielded 18 separate keywords. In fact, this individual is responsible for contributing, either directly or via normalization, 9 of the Top 10 most common keywords in the survey. This means half of his keyword responses are represented in 90% of the Top 10. And he had the nerve to accuse *me* of possessing “a highly effective vocabulary”. Pot, kettle, black! 😉

Top 10 Keywords

As a result of normalization, 126 instances of 55 keywords emerged. Many of these 55 keywords repeated only once or twice. To focus the analysis, the Top 10 most frequently occurring keywords were identified (Figure 3).

Top 10 Most Frequently Occurring Keywords

Figure 3: Top 10 Most Frequently Occurring Keywords

The number of occurrences of the Top 10 keywords represents about half the total occurrences of all keywords that resulted from normalizing the survey responses.

Figure 4: Top 10 Keywords, Percentage of Total Occurrences

Figure 4: Top 10 Keywords, Percentage of Total Occurrences

Occurrences of the Top 10 Keywords were most often found in the responses of the Sistas and the Friends Back Home.

Figure 5: Distribution of Occurrences of Top 10 Keywords Among The Tribes

Figure 5: Distribution of Occurrences of Top 10 Keywords Among The Tribes

It may be surprising that a tribe with whom interaction takes place almost exclusively online should be so well represented in the Top 10 Keywords. However, it should be noted that the Sistas tribe is primarily focused on the discussion and resolution of life problems and issues. Discussion topics are often deeply personal, which produces interactions that are generally more intense than those taking place in other tribes. The nature of the interactions in the Sistas tribe may account for the high volume of occurrences of Top 10 Keywords that the Sistas tribe produced.

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Those of you who aren’t asleep by now Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….. will be happy to know that there is only one more part to this series. Next time, in Part 3, we will take a look at what everyone said I should be when I grow up. Ciao for now! 🙂

What am I good at? Survey says… part 1

ImFeelingInspiredYeah, so, probably wasn’t the best time to start a new blog! Job has been chowin’ down on my life with a fair amount of regularity and consistency. At last, I’ve managed to carve out some time to work on Manifesting… The Musical! 😉 I still like that title, but it’s more whimsical and self-indulgent than descriptive. Therefore, we’re going with What am I good at? Survey says… for this series. I’ve polled the tribes and they have spoken. Without further ado, let’s get started!

What Am I Good At?

A (merely quasi-) scientific exploration into my mad talentz and skillz

Introduction

The purpose of this exercise was to find out what skills and talents I possess according to people who know me from all walks of life. The exercise is modeled after one that appears in the ebook, “The Principles of Successful Manifesting” by Thomas Herold, founder and CEO of Dream Manifesto LLC.

Population Selection

Over the years, my key interests have driven me to seek out communities of the like-minded, in both real life and online. These communities – or tribes – were targeted for population selection. Individuals with whom I’ve had frequent and/or high-quality interactions have had ample opportunity to observe my behavior and form opinions as to my particular talents and skills – What I Do Well. “Frequent” does not necessarily mean “recent”. My key interests tend to morph as the years pass. “High-quality” is harder to define. It pertains to the level of exposure to one another via shared experiences, whether they are shared virtually or in real life (IRL). The more we share, the more we know about one another. Therefore, the better the respondents knew me, the more accurate – and therefore, useful – their responses would be.

Method

The population received a message, either in an email or else posted to the private forum, which said this:

Hola, friends –

I’m working on something – myself!

I’d like to ask y’all for the favor of your opinions. I am asking people from all different walks of my life, people that know me well and people that know me not so well. If I get the same general responses from people who know me in different ways, then that means they’re all on to something. I realize that a few of you know me only from the internet, but what you have observed over the years is in fact behavior, so I believe it’s valid to ask cyber friends as well as RL friends to respond to these questions.

Here are the questions – feel free to answer some, all or none, as the mood strikes you!

– What do you think I’m good at?
– What do you think my talents are?
– What do you think I should do with my life?

The first thing that comes into your head is probably the best answer.

Thank you in advance for your time

xxx
Erin

Responses were received on the same platform as the request was delivered (email or on the forum). Responses were analyzed and normalized for measurement, and the resulting data was plugged into a spreadsheet along with some demographics.

Metrics

Data collected and analyzed includes the following:

• Polling method (email, forum)
• Gender
• Venue
• Tribe
• Common Interest
• What I Do Well
• Career Suggestions

Venues, Tribes and Key Interests

Venues
The three venues or contexts within which the tribes I belong to generally meet to interact are –

• Real Life
• Internet
• I-2-RL

Behavior (interaction, relating) is not limited to “real life” in this, the 21st century. Internet life can be active, rich and rewarding. However, interaction on the internet requires different methods than interaction in real life. The chief difference is the mode of communication. In real life, the primary mode of communication is verbal; whether face to face or on the phone, it usually involves vocal cords and ears. Verbal communication can also be accompanied by vocal inflections, facial expressions and other bodily cues that convey context and nuance. Alternatively, internet communication has been primarily via text – the written word. Recently, audio and video communications have been introduced, but the prevalent mode is still text. Lack of vocal inflection, facial expression and body language can often lead to misunderstandings on the internet. Therefore, successful internet communication requires an additional level of attention to the selection and interpretation of language in the written form that is not generally required in IRL.

In addition to Real Life and Internet, there is a third venue, a hybrid of Real Life and Internet. It has become more and more common for people who initially meet and interact via the internet to arrange to meet in real life. In the cases of my Sanibel and Disney tribes, the initial meeting usually occurs at the travel destination that is part of the common interest, often for large “meets” but just as often for smaller groups who happen to be vacationing at the same time. Sometimes, these meets result in cases where Internet relationships take hold and cross over into Real Life. For the purposes of this survey, this venue will be identified as “I-2-RL” (internet-to-real-life). One-time or infrequent interaction offline is not considered for inclusion in this group.

Tribes
A tribe is the community and context within which I have had the most interaction with the respondents. Tribes are more than just collections of people; they are also the socio-ethnographic backdrop against which the respondent has observed my behavior. In some cases, a respondent and I belong to more than one tribe together. To simplify the analysis, I selected the tribe within which the most frequent and/or highest quality interaction has occurred.

The tribes selected for the study are:

Disney Fans – lovers of all things Disney. Primary focus is on animated films and and visiting Disney’s theme parks. Interaction began 5-7 years ago
Friends Back Home – these individuals are primarily friends from high school or from the performing community on Long Island. Interaction began 10-30 years ago.
Sanibel Fans – these are people who have belonged to a few forums online devoted to visiting Sanibel Island and collecting seashells. Interaction began 5-7 years ago.
Siblings – this is my birth tribe. In this survey, a “sibling” is a respondent who is either one of my brothers, or married to one of my brothers. Interaction began 20-45 years ago.
Sistas – these are women who are members of a private, all-female support forum. All of them are also members of the Disney Fans tribe; however, greatest quantity of high-quality interaction has occurred in the Sistas forum. Interaction began 5-7 years ago.
Tech Geeks – my oldest online tribe, this group of individuals started together in a technical support forum for distributed computing in the early to mid 90s. It is also the smallest tribe I belong to, consisting of three Englishmen, a dude from Pennsylvania and me. Interaction began about 15 years ago.

Key Interests
Disney – shared primarily with Disney Fans and Sistas tribes; secondary interest with Siblings tribe.
Family – primary interest shared with Siblings tribe.
Geekery – primary interest shared with Tech Geeks; however, technology has become a very mainstream interest and therefore is a secondary interest shared with virtually all other tribes.
High School – primary interest shared with the majority of the Friends Back Home tribe. “High School” really means “we were once all young together”. It should be noted that not all of the tribe still lives “back home” but once a member of the tribe, forever a member of the tribe  😉
Long Island – catch all for friends who are on Long Island and therefore “back home” but with whom I never performed and with whom I did not attend high school. Typically, I met these people when I was already an adult but not within the context of work or music/performing.
Performing – the third leg of the “Friends Back Home” stool, performing is an interest shared with people I know from studying vocal music technique/repertoire and participating in musical theater and opera productions in New York.
Shelling – the collection of sea shells, primarily from Sanibel Island. The Sanibel Fans tribe often self-identifies as “militant shellers”. “Militant” shelling involves the study of optimum conditions for shelling and the use of tools and other gear to facilitate the hunt and capture of specimens. For some, the interest also extends to cleaning, polishing, displaying or crafting with the collected specimens. This interest is shared almost exclusively with members of the Sanibel Fans tribe.

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So… fun stuff thus far, huh?   Wait till we get to the part about normalization of responses – woohoo!   Until next time….

Manifesting – The Musical

No not really, but wouldn’t it be cool if there WAS a musical called Manifesting? I, of course, would be the star 😉

I’m reading this e-book about manifesting. I downloaded it a while ago and then forgot about it. Was cleaning out my Thunderbird email so I could move it to the new computer (a neat little netbook) and there it was, attached to the original email that delivered it to me.

Printed it out today – 65 pages. Don’t worry about my carbon footprint – I duplexed! 😀 Anyhow, there are exercises. One was for my friends. I posted it for some of mah sistas to answer and I emailed it out to about a bazillion people. I will naturally share the results, but I won’t share names unless I have permission to do so.

There’s a whole list of questions to answer that are designed to make me do a deep dive into who I really am, authentically speaking. One of these questions, I’ve covered before; my Sanibuddies (fellow Sanibel Island lovers) will recognize this from long ago –

What does a perfect day look like for you?

MY PERFECT DAY

There are no attendants at the toll plaza, and the gates are stuck in the up position, so I don’t have to pay to make the perilous crossing over to Sanibel Island. Likewise, the parking meters at the beaches have mysteriously vanished, and everywhere I go that day, there’s an open parking space close to the water with perpetual, all-day shade. The water in my water bottle never gets warm or runs out, and if I have even a fleeting thought of it, it will miraculously change into a mango margarita, then back to water again, if I desire. If I decide that I’m hungry, someone from Hexter’s Deli appears before my eyes with a rare roast beef and provolone on whole wheat, mayo, lettuce, tomato, salt & pepper, and a sweet Nestea, ice cold.

My perfect day has a full moon visible at all hours, and a very low tide all day long! A few white, puffy clouds wander by in the blue, blue sky. It’s about 80 degrees, all the no-seeums are dead, the Nanny* is unheard of, and there are heaps and mountains of really good gastropods on the beach and in the shallows. AND, I have finally found the most awesomely perfect pair of shelling shoes. They fit like a dream, don’t give me blisters, don’t fill up with sand, and dry off on my feet immediately when I want them to.

Sanibel Island SeashellsThe only people I see on the beaches are Sanibuddies, cheerfully waving their claws and nets as I pass by. They are all carrying mesh bags full of booty, so everyone is happy, happy, happy! Wandering along the shore, a 10 inch long, fat red tulip washes up at my feet, followed by some colorful cousins. Then, a fleet of 2″ – 5″ long mac n cheese appears, and then a perfectly pink monster horse conch. My shell net on a stick barely touches the water, and it’s full of fabulous finds, including some very bright and shiny olives with their pointy little heads still intact. None of these shells needs a rinse or a bleach bath – they are all perfectly, spotlessly clean, inside and out.

The most awesome wildlife appears before me everywhere I turn – dolphins, blue, blue herons, bald eagles – and I get the perfect photos of them, as they patiently pose and wait for me to focus.

After I’m done at the beach, I head off to get a 90 minute, four-handed massage at the day spa. Then I go watch the sunset, which is remarkable because that perpetual full moon, huge and low in the sky, is right beside it.

On the way home, I stop at 7-11 and purchase the winning lottery ticket – $50MM, after taxes. When I get to my house, I send an “I quit” email to my boss and fire up the blender for a celebration.

PS – throughout this entire perfect day, I am 5 shades tanner with no ill effects on my skin, and 10 pounds thinner!

* “the Nanny” is a phrase I coined to describe the red algae bloom that sometimes plagues the beaches of Southwest Florida. See this trip report from July 2003 for further details.

FINIS

I wrote all that on Wednesday November 8th 2006 – someone asked the question and I remember typing with great speed and no edits and posting it just the way you see it here. That was apparently the right way to do it, for the book says to answer “spontaneously” for the best answers. Reading it now, what strikes me as remarkable is that I was apparently already “manifesting”, but didn’t know to call it that, much less to do it deliberately.

There will be more as I try to get through all these questions. What I’m hoping to get out of all this is figure out what I want to be when I grow up. I’m really tired of fearing the reaper in Corporate America and doing boring, meaningless work that feels like a chore. I want to find work that pays the bills and brings me joy. Quite demanding, aren’t I? 😀

to be continued…