Dr. Julianne Hanson

Psychologist - Chaplain - Intuitive

Ask Dr. Julianne

Posted by admin - January 2nd, 2012

Aloha Dear Ones,

Happy New Year’s Day.  Maui is spectacularly beautiful today.  Blues of sky and sea, greens of palm trees and exotic plants, fragrant flowers painted bright fuschia, all alive and vibrant in the soft sunshine.  Gentle trade winds blow across small waves, tease blossoms, and caress my face.  I feel a part of everything flowing and ever-changing.

Just got done watching the last half hour of, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” for the, God-knows-how-many, time.  Even with the passionate contingent of true alien believers on Maui, I’m not really a space brother/space sister, kind of new-ager.  It’s pretty logical that other beings exist in the galaxy.  I just don’t go around focusing on them.  We have plenty to do here.  Don’t get me wrong, I love SciFi.  I’d be happy giving tax dollars to NASA, so that we can, “boldly go where no one has gone before.”

That wonder of going forward into the unknown, is what resonated so deeply with me, watching, “Close Encounters.”  It seemed downright prophetic, this time–of change in motion.

How many times have thoughts like, “Things will never change.  I had dreams, goals, for 2011, the same ones I’ve had for so long. How will anything ever be different,” crossed your mind? Or is it just me?  At the end of each year, we are besieged with well-meaning emails, classes, invitations of all sorts, trying to give us a new twist on goal setting.  All these promise us that if we can just tweak the process the right way, our goals will come to fruition.

Yes, there are ways of focusing our intention that make our dreams more likely to take shape, to grow into recognizable form.  Taking small, consistent steps, day after day, and giving each step a deadline, or due date, is one.  Being willing to try something we’ve never done before is another.

There is a new, evolutionary perspective, a bigger truth I’m asking all of us to consider. Whatever we do, it’s never just about us. Our sweetest, wildest dream, if we imagine living it, are we ever alone? Isn’t there someone, or many, sharing it with us? Just imagine the most powerful manifestation of your dream impacting, blessing the earth, and everyone on it. How does it look?  How does it feel?

You may be imagining something very grand.  A multi-modal, global healing center, somehow accessible to anyone in need, is the big dream of more Mauians than I can count, and what a beautiful, altruistic dream. Here’s the thing–each choice, no matter how small, of the dreamer, is just as important, potentially just as beautiful, just as altruistic, as the grander vision.

One day, we get out of bed, and we don’t want to work on the planned step towards our goal. It’s such a small thing, not glamorous, not leading to any clear result on its own.  Maybe it’s not even an action towards the goal itself, but an internal preparation, like a daily meditation practice.  On the days when we haven’t had enough sleep the night before, or we were disappointed by a friend before breakfast, from where does our motivation come?  What does it matter?

It matters, dear ones, because we are responsible to each other in this life. If we give up, we take away from our brothers and sisters.  If we do that which is right for us to do, we contribute to the well being of our family, our community, our country, our earth, to all humanity.  This is easy enough for good, spiritual people to get on board with, intellectually, even emotionally. But when it is real for us, when this sacred interconnection becomes our lived reality, a miracle happens.

Our motivation shifts.  We may not feel like doing the right thing for ourselves, when it is especially inconvenient, or if we feel inadequate to the demand.  But, we have a deep and abiding awareness of everyone in our circles, and their circles, depending on us, needing us to show up as the very best within us. Our love for these precious ones, our commitment to them, lifts us up, makes it possible for us to act for the greater good. Then, miracle of wonders, we discover that doing what is for the greatest good, however difficult or terrifying it seemed, turns out to be our greatest happiness, also–not in abstract, but in the most real, bottom-line, fulfilling, exciting way.

More of us are waking up to our innate inter-relatedness.  A divinely inspired evolution of our consciousness is unfolding. In a world motivated by doing the right thing for the greatest good, we don’t need to worry about, “How will anything ever be different?”  For any pattern of limitation, any holding back from expressing all the love of God, becoming–its days are numbered.  Something more good, more true, more beautiful, and more holy, is emerging.

As 2012 begins, we are indeed going where no one has gone before, together.

Love and blessings,

Dr. Julianne

 

 

 

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Ask Dr. Julianne

Posted by admin - December 31st, 2011

Aloha Dear Ones,

I was blessed with a wonderful experience today.  The experience is unique to Maui, and to my little part of  South Maui, Ma’alaea Bay.  Every year, around mid-October, Humpback whales begin to return to the waters of West and South Maui.  The whales spend April-September around Alaska, feeding.  In the fall, they begin their long swim South, towards Hawaii.

Humpbacks come to Maui to have babies, and to make more.  In the eight years I’ve lived on Ma’alaea Bay, I’ve seen three baby Humpbacks born from my third floor lanai, or balcony.  The mamma whale gracefully swims around to her new calf, and ever-so-gently, puts her nose underneath it and lifts it just above the surface of the water, so the baby can take its first breath. It is an enchanting and deeply touching display of loving care.

Ma’alaea Bay is a natural harbor, about five miles down the road from South Maui, towards the West side of the island.  Our beautiful aquarium, the Maui Ocean Center, is in Ma’alaea.  A variety of fishing and pleasure boats dock in the harbor, and a few small shops dot the shore. It takes me about five minutes to walk down to the harbor shops, past the modern Coast Guard station, and the old Buddhist temple long closed to the public.

Ma’alaea is home to the Pacific Whale Foundation (pacificwhale.org), a research and educational facility that promotes the welfare of cetaceans, dolphins, sea turtles, monk seals, and other ocean life, as well as whales.  The staff of scientists and  mariners are remarkable people, truly dedicated to protecting the ocean and all the beings that live in it.

Humpback whales are the local stars of the sea.  Visitors come from around the world each year to participate in the Pacific Whale Foundation’s educational and monitoring programs, and to go on whale watch cruises with the Foundation’s naturalists.  Visitors as well as locals can volunteer to assist the staff with a variety of  activities. During whale season, one of the favorite events is the week long, “Ocean Camp,”  for kids who love the sea and want to learn more about its fascinating creatures.

Children from many different countries eagerly look forward to Ocean Camp.  The kids spend mornings on field trips with naturalists trained to provide the most direct encounter with sea life possible.  In the afternoons, everyone returns to classrooms in the harbor, and the naturalists explain the life cycles of the whales and dolphins, how the health of the ocean affects the health of those who live in it, and how the kids and their families can help to protect the whole ecosystem.

Very early this morning, I had the pleasure of being an Ocean Camp volunteer.  Twenty of the most glorious children in the galaxy, from ages five to ten, were very excited about going on a whale watch cruise with naturalists who were experts on Humpbacks.  The children were so bright, so open, so radiantly alive and charmingly curious, they had me laughing, and almost crying, after the first 15 minutes.

We had a splendid whale watch.  Our captain let us spend about an hour with one mother Humpback and her calf, their male escort, and a pod of spinner dolphins, who seemed to be just playing with the whale family, jumping and diving, to the delight of everyone, whales and humans, alike.  The children fell in love with the baby, who jumped out of the water enough for us to clearly see it several times.  Near the end, the adult escort breeched, or jumped completely up out of the water, causing even the captain to exclaim,”Wow, that’s an incredible animal, look at the size of him!  He’s giving us a rare gift–that’s only the second breech I’ve seen this year.”  The kids were actually speechless–briefly:).

In spending time with these sweet, awake, children, being encouraged to learn about the miraculous beauty and variety of life, and how to nurture it, I experienced a palpable sense of our future being in very good hands.  I’m deeply grateful for today’s adventure, and lesson of loving care, and for the precious little ones who will bring this lesson forward to our world.

Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve.  Our focus is on releasing the past, and moving into the year ahead with a willingness to experience more of the divine adventure, more of our essential oneness with God, with each other.  Let’s do it with the excitement and openness to love and learning the children at Ocean Camp showed in meeting the whales in Ma’alaea Bay.

Love and blessings,

Dr. Julianne

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Ask Dr. Julianne

Posted by admin - December 29th, 2011

Aloha Dear Ones,

It’s a beautiful day on Maui, sky the color of the, “Sky Blue,” crayon in your childhood box of 100 Crayola Crayons.  Big, round, white clouds float above the horizon.  The trade winds have been up for the last few days, tossing palms about, fanning the sea into long, peaking waves that shine silver in the sunlight.  It’s a good day to explore the mystery.

Yesterday I was telling you about my experience as a Unity Church chaplain, and how the practice of evolutionary spirituality has been impacting the prayers I say in church.  I shared about being asked to give the opening prayer at our Christmas Eve service, held in a larger public venue than our regular meetings, attended by widely diverse mix of people.

I was grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the sacred celebration of the birth of Jesus. Christmas Eve was the most precious night my devout, Lutheran parents spent with my older brother and me each year.  Christ’s birth was proof of God’s love, manifest on earth.  For our stoic, Scandinavian family, it was the sweetest emotional connection we experienced.

The prospect of giving the opening prayer at the Unity Christmas Eve service also made me feel anxious about, “getting it right.”  I wanted to celebrate the Christ who was, “the Son of God,” and, “the son of man,” while honoring Unity’s belief that all paths lead to God, while being available to the emerging call of the evolutionary impulse.  It makes me smile, days later, the notion of being worried about getting mysteries so beyond my intellect, “right.”

My main concern was my ego casting it’s pervasive shadow on the message, of the prayer that could be for the greatest good being distorted through the lens of my egoic conditioning.  After all, this would be the biggest stage I’d been on, in the active role of chaplain.  My bravely choosing to, “not hide your light under a bushel,” would, of course, not proceed with smooth purity, however pure my intention.  Our human condition predicts our ego rising up with our altruism showing up.

Let me explain the way, “ego,” is meant in this spiritual context.  We are not referring to the ego proposed by Freud in his three part model of human consciousness.  Freud described ego as the psychic structure representing the conscious self, that mediates between the id, the unconscious, and the superego, the parental/socially-constructed conscious.  In this model, the ego is our friend, helping us sort through drives and patterns of which we are unaware, and the influence of cultural expectations.  When modern psychologists use the term, “ego strength,” they are speaking of a healthy self concept, a cohesive, resilient personality, able to function successfully in the world.

Ah–were it that simple.  For those of you who are saying, “Well, it is,” I’m feeling you. Really.  Let’s just say that functioning successfully means different things to different people at different times.  Many people brilliantly successful by worldly standards long for a deeper experience of life, for meaning, for truth, for freedom, for love–for the real thing.

People wanting more of the real thing become seekers, either diving more deeply into the philosophy and religion of their family traditions, or exploring other cultural and spiritual practices.  Sooner or later, seekers discover a teaching about humanity living in the illusion of separation, of being separate from the essential mystery that set life in motion, and from each other.

As seekers, we passionately want to break through that illusion, but how can we see clearly? We begin to de-construct the story that created the illusion of separation from God, from each other.  All the conditioning from eons of evolution, from culture, family, religion, all the defensive patterns developed as we make our way in a challenging world–this is what spiritual teachers refer to as ego.  In psychological terms, we might call this ego the false self, the conditioned personality self, automatically analyzing each moment in reference to past threats, responding with learned defenses.

Yes, we can see pieces of Freud’s three-part model of consciousness throughout the spiritual definition of ego, but let’s not make ourselves crazy.  Maybe it’s time for an article in, “Psychology Today.”

O.K., back to Christmas Eve and giving the opening prayer.  To be able to show up in the moment, free from patterns of less than/more than, deeply resonating with Christ consciousness, available to the Holy Spirit/evolutionary impulse, was my intention.

I remembered Craig Hamilton (IntegralEnlightenment.com), with whom I’d been studying evolutionary spirituality, saying something like, “As we become more aware of how our ego works, are able to see it kick in,  and then choose to act in ways more aligned with the greater good, the ego’s hold on us lessens, with practice.  But we always have to assume it’s there. We always need to be willing to see more clearly, to ask for feedback, to go forward with the humility of not knowing for sure.”

My response to this truth was mixed.  It was kind of a relief to know I couldn’t know, I couldn’t guarantee clarity.  I also felt overwhelmed by the scope of this inquiry, the complexity.  I had to release the hold my mind was taking, to let go of trying to get it right.  I said a simple prayer, “Beloved Presence, thank you for showing up on Christmas Eve for the greatest good, beyond my personality self.  I give myself to you, I lay my stuff at your feet.”

For the next week, I was aware of a caring presence, most of time just holding me. Sometimes, I became aware of a phrase, a feeling, that could be a sweet, deep part of the Christmas Eve prayer–but I had a sense of being guided towards something, rather than being given the thing whole. I meditated in an open way, intending to cling to nothing, yet gratefully receiving loving grace as I awoke to it.

On Christmas Eve, I arrived at Iao Theater early (not my pattern–I really must have been motivated beyond my usual conditioning:), hugged some friends and found the seat reserved for the prayer chaplain.  There was a flutter of nerves in my stomach, and a flood of visual and auditory sensation as I took in the preparations for the service, the musicians, the choir, the hula hui.

For a half hour, I sat in stillness.  There was a serene, expanding aliveness, that seemed to be the nature of everything.

The service started.  I knew the opening prayer was after the first carol. The woman who was platforming was also leading the carols.  After  the first verse, she motioned me to come up on stage.  I carefully climbed the steps (yes, in heels too high), and stood beside the singing woman, thinking the carol was about to end, smiling as I joined in singing what I thought was the last phrase.  We didn’t sing more than two verses of any other carol that night, but, by God, as I stood in front of 500 people, I discovered  we were going to sing all four stanzas of, “Joy to the World.”

Now, who knows those last two verses?  I certainly didn’t, but here I am, singing away, hoping my memory will be jogged.  My spirits were bright enough through the third stanza, but my memory had not been jogged much at all, and I had faked half the words as best I could.  As my partner on stage zealously began the fourth verse, I felt a sinking sensation–a decision had to be made.  Was it better to stop trying to sing, would that be more authentic?  If I didn’t sing, would it detract from the field that was being created, would it distract someone?  Would I be less connected to everyone who was also trying to make it through that tune?

As these questions are swirling through my mind, I happen to glance down and catch the eye of the only woman in our regular congregation with whom there is an ongoing discomfort (she said something nasty about me years ago, and hasn’t accepted any reconciliatory gesture).  O.K., it could have been the lens of my ego, but I could have sworn she was smirking.  She was close enough to see me faking the lyrics.

I could not go there.  I chose to stay with the carol, singing the words I could make out.  I put my focus on the woman who was leading the carol, watching her lips, letting her words be mine.  I didn’t match her all that well, but I let go of needing to get it right.  As the music ended, I gazed around the room, marveling at all the souls, at the one soul, present.

My partner on the platform introduced me.  I looked into the faces across the theater, took a breath, made eye contact with a few more people, and began, “Sweet Beloved Presence,”…all of a sudden, my friend on the platform decided the microphone needed adjusting.  She fumbled with it, finally removing the mic and in a stage whisper, told me, “I’ll just hold it.”

It felt like the whole theater held its breath, waiting to see, well, more where the energy would go, or what the quality of it would be, rather than what would happen next.

Magically, my personality self stopped being triggered, stopped worrying, stopped needing to figure out or control anything.  I gently put my hand on the mic, lifted it to me and resumed praying.  I felt connected with the soul of everyone present, in that serenely alive awareness I’d experienced meditating before the service.  I can’t recreate the prayer, but I would like to share my memory of it with you.

“Sweet Beloved Presence, we know that your love created all that is.  We know that your love, and your grace, and your mercy, are the only true powers at work in our lives.

Beloved Presence, on this night, we celebrate the birth of your love as Christ Jesus.  We know that you loved us so much, that you sent one in form to be a way show-er, to teach us how to know you more, to love you more, to teach us how to love each other more.  We rejoice in that Christ light.

Yet, even as we rejoice in the birth of Jesus, we know that there are those here with a care on their hearts.  We are aware of our brothers and sisters around the world who need our love now, and so, Beloved, we claim the power of your love for these dear ones, not only for ourselves.  We put our awareness on the space between us, knowing that in the space between, there is a deeper, higher reality, a truer experience of your love emerging.

Sweet Dear One, we lean forward, together, into the edge of that space between us, into that pure love, knowing that in that holy space, healing is possible, transformation is possible, knowing that together, the power of that evolving love is so much stronger than any challenge we could face alone.  We open ourselves to your living Presence, that we may hear with the ear of the heart, that we may truly receive your love, as we give thanks for the gift of Christ.

Beloved Presence, we release this prayer unto your deep heart–we rely not on the brilliance of our minds, nor on our conditioned personality selves. We place our trust in the perfect unfolding, on this night, in the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

And so it is.  Amen.”

Love and blessings,

Dr. Julianne

 

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Ask Dr. Julianne

Posted by admin - December 28th, 2011