Andrea de Michaelis, Publisher

Photographer Debi Buck

Hello and welcome to the September 2014 Horizons Magazine. The topic for the month seems to be FOCUS! I guess that's really the topic every day, isn't it, since where we place our focus of attention is what determines our experience. I used to work side by side with people, doing the same job they were doing, and some of us loved the job and some hated it. The only difference was our individual, subjective perceptions of what we were doing and why we were doing it.

What's the difference between work and vacation if I'm on the computer all day? No matter where my body is, my experience is formed in my mind according to my focus.

It's been a busy month. I'm supposed to get a rest and recupe week after getting the magazine to press each month, but I end up working each day anyway. What's the difference, a friend asked, between a work day and a vacation day if you're still at home on the computer all day? Good question. The answer is: no matter where my body is, no matter what the appearance, my experience is formed in my mind according to my focus. No matter where my eyes are looking, it is my inner eye that sees. It is my mind that takes me on the journey and the mental journey becomes my experience.

I've been enjoying painting and watching tutorial videos. Although I don't paint in a photorealistic style, watching tutorials is the same as me attending a class or workshop and I always learn something. I like seeing the process go from sketch and underpainting to completion. It reminds me that I may have to go thru a lot of stages where I don't like how anything looks, but that its all part of the process. That's true with life as well. Mostly the tutorial videos remind me how to see. They make me aware and mindful of the minute details of what is around me in physical form right now: shapes, light sources, shadows, reflections; where colors cross and blend, the red and blue and yellow within the white, the shadow within the shadow.

Think of closely scanning your lovers face with your eyes, alert to the slightest detail of texture and shade. You become aware of every object around you as if being in love with it. As Rumi says, Seeing her, my face became all eyes, and my eyes all hands. And when we look at everything around us this way, with appreciation as if its all there to delight us, we begin to fall into the divine Love the mystics all speak of. When we fall into that divine Love, it begins responding to us.

Better said, we begin attuning to the signals It's been sending out all along. We receive the response as a feeling of being connected to something we cannot see, we feel recognized and accepted and appreciated like never before. We're used to only feeling that from certain people: our parents, our partners, our children, our pets. It can be disconcerting to feel it come from Within.

Along with feeling comes thought. The feeling of being connected on an inner dimension or plane to something you cannot see yet know exists, begins your mind questioning, who is that? and who am I relative to that? When you begin asking questions internally, the answers start pouring forth.

If you're interested in spirituality and/or personal growth, this is a good time -- when the inner questioning begins -- to begin a daily meditation practice. Create the time and space to sit and allow thoughts and questions to arise and think them through. This is your Soul speaking to you. Some say it's God speaking to you and through you. It's helpful to have a notebook to write thoughts and ideas down, that clears your mind for new thoughts and ideas to come in. This is what is meant by having an inner life. This is what is meant by being washed in the Presence. This has nothing to do with religion, it has to do with encountering the creative force of the Universe in a very real and personal way and using it in beneficial ways to improve your life.

And you'll know when you encounter it, because it will flow through you like a river, like being in love, and you will begin finding many creative outlets of expression. In 1992, I was 40 and Horizons Magazine began. I left my 22 year career as a paralegal, began working full time as a professional psychic, and also began making gemstone jewelry and tie-dyed altar scarves, as well as my own clothes. I drew, I painted, I taught yoga and meditation, I created jewelry and fabric art, I danced, I drummed, I had many creative outlets.

So now, for me, watching the art tutorial videos remind me to also more closely attune to that flow of divine Love, and one way I do that is by looking at the things around me as closely as a lover's face. So if you see me sitting and staring oddly, know that no matter where my eyes are looking, it is my inner eye that sees.

My life gets rebooted in a flash

Last month I was looking out into the yard as it was raining, and a sudden flash of lightning and thunder startled me. The lightning was so bright that it whited out the entire backyard. That let me know it hit close. I found my internet, cable and land line phone lines were down. Brighthouse arrived 36 hours later and he first wanted to find the amplifier that sent a signal to his equipment, which should be, he said, a cable connection that is plugged into an electrical outlet. We looked at every outlet in the house and couldn't find one. Then at the cable box outside he found a splitter looking thing that he says is typically attached to an amplifier and not supposed to be in there, and that it had gone bad. It looked, he said, as though a technician prior to him didn't have the correct device on his truck when he came out and replaced it using this one, then the tech didn't alert the office that it needed to be swapped out. The message I take from it -- because everything contains a spiritual message for me -- is that I've been rebooted. That an overload had weakened the system, so a reboot, a reconnection was necessary. I HAVE been feeling like I need a reboot.

My lesson from the faux-amplifier that had gone bad and lost signal? A message to me that I can't depend on anything outside myself to motivate me and amplify my experience. If I don't do it myself, the Universe will take it out of my hands and arrange a blowout to reboot me. As in the defunct amplifier, the quick fix that seemed like a good idea at the time to the tech -- the one in charge -- the one I trusted to find the remedy -- was not a long term solution. My lesson is I am the only one who can amplify my experience. I do it by focusing on what I am doing and finding things about it to appreciate. That's what amplifies anything in my life. Right now, I'm appreciating being back in the art studio. I'm appreciating that a whole lot.

I'm doing a series of paintings as a form of shamanic soul retrieval

I'd been feeling a little off signal and like I was ready for a reboot. Now that I'm back in the art studio after years away, I'm feeling enthused on many levels, re-motivated and back in the slot. I know one reason is that art is a form of meditation for me, and more meditation and self reflection is always good for me. In shamanic fashion, I've been working on a series of paintings for the purpose of soul retrieval, showing the spirit version of the various fragmented parts of myself, each bringing back a healed part. Before I create each image, I meditate on what the next step in my personal journey is. As I wait for thoughts to arise in answer, an image comes to me who I take to depict a part of me, a facet of my personality or character, in this life or previous or future lives. A soul retrieval in shamanic tradition has you meditate to alter your consciousness, then takes you, via inner imagery and creative visualization, on a journey to the astral realm to enlist the aid of helping spirits to locate and restore lost soul fragments. These soul fragments are restored by recognizing they exist, then discovering what gifts each part of your soul is handing back to you. I am painting the parts as individual messengers and power totems that I encounter along my journey. In my daily life, I take note of everything that comes into my minds eye, because I know everything has meaning. A link to my art gallery is here

A 7 Step Process To Journey for Soul Retrieval

When I want to journey for the purpose of soul retrieval, it begins as a mental process and unfolds from there. These are the steps to the mental process.

1. I set the intention to retrieve any pieces of myself I may have lost along the way.

2. If I am aware of an issue, I focus on that one.

3. If I am unaware of an issue, I let come up what may.

4. I then engage in a mental review of my life story. Since I am asking for something to work on and keeping my mind clear of distractions, soon enough will come to mind a past event or person or place and a scenario will unfold for me.

5. In the scenario that comes into my mind, Ill see where I encountered resistance in some form and how I felt a piece of my power was taken from me at the time.

6. When feelings arise, I notice and ask where they originate from

7. I then ask inner guidance and my own body wisdom how I should go about retrieving what was lost. How long it takes and how much power I call back depends on whether or not I'm willing to face all that arises.

I'm enjoying watching what unfolds on the canvas, and what unfolds within me as I work on it. Time and awareness reveal lifes patterns to us, then we see how simple it all is. If youd hit me over the head with it 10-20-40 years ago, I wouldnt have seen it. I wasn't tuned to the right channel. I was not in a vibrational place to receive it. I'm more open now and ready to receive. Its a process. I'm in no hurry. I've got all the time in the world, and not a moment to lose.

Accept all things. It's the only way to wake up. Anything else perpetuates the dream.

Enjoy our offering this month. Hari Om.