I Got Quoted!

 A story I told at a minister's graduation ceremony got quoted my friend and fellow instructor, Teri Goggin-Robbins, the developer of the Strong and Wise system. It was a cool story about some thoughts I had about my GPS as I drove to the ceremony. Click here to see her blog which contains my quote. While you're there, sign up for her blog. She always has bright ideas to share. I'll write the story myself soon.

The Point and the Wave

The Moment of Creation
An origin story by Annabella Wood
April 8, 2010

In the beginning, before there was the earth for the winds to blow through the trees or the rain to fall down onto, before there was the sun, before there was light and before there was dark, before there was time and before there was space, there was sound; the sound of ohhmmm. This sound of ohhmmm was a wave of perfectly smooth crests and troughs of perfectly identical shapes. Every wave was exactly the same shape and height and width as every other wave in the ohhmmm, so it was all one ohhmmm wave. This wave moved all about at a constant rate of movement, but since the speed at which it moved never changed, and there was no one there to see it, it really didn’t move at all. In other words, it was both an infinite number of waves and one wave; both moving and not moving. Everything was peaceful and serene in the universe and everything was good because the sound of ohhmmm was everything that was.
One day, the ohhmmm wave ran into a point of infinite, pure energy that was not moving. As the wave tried to sweep up the point into itself and make it part of the wave, the point did not move nor change. It stayed right where it was and remained a point of infinite, pure energy. The wave said to the point, “Unmoving point of infinite, pure energy, you must become like me, for you will become as happy as I am, and as long as I am everything that is, there is peace throughout the entire universe.”
The point replied, “I am happy as I am, where I am, and what I am. I will not join you, nor become like you. You are welcome to be you, and I will just be me.”
The wave felt a little threatened by such self assuredness in something so unlike itself, for if something so different from the wave could be happy, then perhaps something was wrong with the wave. The wave decided that it was absolutely necessary for it to make the point like itself. It tried to hypnotize the point with its ohhmmm, but that didn’t work. It tried once again, to convince the point to become part of the wave, saying, “Unmoving point of infinite, pure energy, you must become like me, for you will become as happy as I am, and as long as I am everything that is, there will be peace throughout the entire universe.”
The point said, “I am happy as I am, where I am, and what I am. I will not join you, nor become like you. You are welcome to be you, and I will just be me.”
So the wave focused its full force of the ohhmmm onto the unmoving point of infinite, pure energy, but the point did not waver, nor move, nor merge with the wave. Instead, the point rested peacefully, waiting for the wave to settle down and restore itself to peace, slightly amused at the wave for insisting that the point must become wave-like for the point’s own welfare. The point said again, in a patient, calm voice, “I am happy as I am, where I am, and what I am. I will not join you, nor become like you. You are welcome to be you, and I will just be me.”
The ohhmmm wave became quite fearful that it would lose its peace forever in the face of something so unlike itself; something so unfamiliar. It felt that its very survival hinged on incorporating the point to become part of the wave. The ohhmmm wave raised itself to its full height and threateningly told the unmoving point of infinite, pure energy, “If you don’t willingly become like me and take my form, I will crash upon you and forcefully make you like me. Then you will see how much better and more peaceful your life will be. Once you are just like me, I will be everything that is, and peace shall be restored throughout the entire universe.” Then the wave started yelling ohhhmmmm at the point, to illustrate to the point how happy and peaceful the wave was.
The point, unimpressed by the wave’s unsuccessful demonstration of peace and happiness stood fast and this time had to yell to the wave to be heard over the oohhhmmmm, “I am happy as I am, where I am, and what I am. I will not join you, nor become like you. You are you, and I am me, so let’s just let that be.”
In a fit of rage borne from fear of its own demise because of the presence of something unlike itself, the wave increased the volume of its oohhhmmmm to a deafening roar and then yelled, “I will crush you, and kill you and fracture you or dissolve you until you become a part of me, for I must make you like me so that I can be everything that is and then I can restore peace throughout the entire universe.” Then, the wave crashed over the unmoving point of infinite, pure energy in an attempt to crush it, kill it, fracture it or dissolve it and make it part of the wave forever so that the wave could, once again, be everything that is and then it could restore peace throughout the entire universe.
As the wave thundered down upon the unmoving point of infinite, pure energy, the wave tore itself, creating uneven wavelengths and irregularities throughout the ohhmmm wave. Suddenly it was no longer one wave, both moving and not moving, but rather an infinite number of different waves, with different shapes, speeds and directions. At the same moment, as the wave cracked across the unmoving point of infinite, pure energy with all its force, it completely shattered the point’s outer shell, exposing the raw energy within. Instantly, concurrently, everything within the unmoving point of infinite, pure energy was released and the ohhmmm wave fractured from one into an infinite number of waves.
The point and the wave exploded in unison; a gigantic fireball of light, sound and matter. They zoomed past their notions of the pre space-time universe and catapulted themselves into the unknown, creating time and space as they broke through the barriers of their old thoughts. They spread themselves throughout the universe in the forms of light, planets, galaxies, stars, dark matter and anything else you can imagine. In this one instant, time and space, matter and energy and everything that is, was created from everything that was.
And that is how the world began.

The Relationship Between Energy and Matter

 The following is an excerpt from my final paper for my BA in Quantum Physics Theory. I hope you enjoy.  - Annabella

A Little Bit of Science, and Why We Might Care - April 2010

According to Albert Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity, energy = matter times the speed of light squared. So what and who cares, other than that this equation is the corner stone of both a new science and a new mathematics? What difference does this make in our lives here on Earth? These are the questions I have been exploring during my studies here at UI&U. I expect I will continue exploring them long after graduation. The song whose video I am creating as my culminating studio project this semester is one which speaks to these questions in visual form. It is my energy self traveling at the speed of thought (light) to join with my matter self. The joining of these two aspects of myself is the alchemical process of me becoming all I can be during this physical life. I liken it to the union of the wave and the point in my creation story.
Throughout this lifetime and perhaps many others before, my experiential self has been seeking knowledge of my spiritual self. Upon attaining a little of that knowledge, my spiritual self became so overpowering, I couldn’t maintain my experiential self. It seemed they were mutually exclusive. Neither extreme brought me the experience I was seeking, because neither self is the whole picture. It is in their joining that my own joy abides, and it is this joining which I am facilitating through my studies at UI&U and in my life. It is both parts of myself walking together on this physical plane which fulfills me, and which I am just beginning to consciously experience. It is the acknowledgement of the journey and moment of recognition that the “I’m Coming Home” music and video are about.
What is creativity? Is it the fabrication of a piece of artwork? Is it the writing of a book or a song? Certainly, these are considered creative endeavors, but creativity is much more than just that. I see it as what takes place every time something moves from the quantum field of infinite possibility into a fixed or semi-fixed material state. For instance, when someone dreams a dream, that is the act of dreaming. It can be a specific dream, often referred to as a thought, such as a picture that an artist wants to paint. It could be a less well defined dream such as a life one wants to live. Regardless of the type of dream, it is through the creative act that one’s dream breaks through the veil separating the field of infinite possibility from the physical realm and the dream becomes something we humans consider “real”; an experience or a material thing, but either way, it is a presence in the physical realm.
I believe that Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity gives a mathematical representation of the creative process. The theory of special relativity has long been an object of fascination to me. Literally it states that the amount of energy within an object is equal to that object’s mass times the speed of light multiplied by itself once. From a mathematical standpoint, that means that if we know the mass of any object we can calculate how much energy is required to hold that object together.
Let’s take a nickel for instance. According to the web site hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/Hbase/thermo/nickel.html, a nickel weighs about 5.1 grams. Running this information through the Theory of Special Relativity we find that a nickel is the material equivalent of 4.5 x 10 followed by 15 "0's" Joules. A “Joule” is simply a unit of measurement of energy. So what does that number mean? How much energy is that? Through further calculations, we find that
4.5 x 10 followed by 15 "0's" Joules is enough energy to run the average desktop computer for 5 hours. Who would have thought there was so much energy in one little nickel? Imagine how much energy your body is using to hold itself together!
It is very surprising how much energy matter requires for its existence. This is the reason an atomic bomb is so devastating. In an atomic bomb explosion the materials used in the bomb release their energetic equivalent all at once. A small amount of matter emits tremendous amounts of energy.
As interesting as all this is, it is only the literal use of the equation. This equation is actually much more provocative than it seems on the surface. The thought process that Einstein went through on his way to finding this equation helped to midwife the birth of quantum physics, which, in turn, is bringing the science of physics face to face with such interpretive studies as philosophy, theology and spirituality. No longer can a cutting-edge physicist live in a world of nothing but equations, measurements, invariant solutions and certainty.
This is not to say that classical physics is no longer accurate. It is as accurate as it ever was. It is still very useful, in much the same way that it is useful to consider the earth to be flat. On a daily basis we just don’t use the fact that the earth is round, even though we know that it is. We move about as if we were on a flat surface, and it works quite well unless we are planning the flight path of a jetliner. Then it is important to know that the earth is round. In this manner, the rules of classical physics work quite well. They don’t break down until one is working with very small or very large quantities.
Among other things, the Theory of Special Relativity states that energy and matter are closer than equivalent. Einstein is often quoted as stating that, “matter is energy condensed to a slow vibration.” If this is true, then energy and matter are not just equivalent. They are made of the same stuff. They are different forms of exactly the same thing. That “thing” is vibration.
It has long been known that matter can be converted into energy, such as the burning of wood. The wood becomes the light and heat of the fire, and the ashes. Since the weight of the ashes is so much less than that of the wood that burned, where did that extra weight go? It became energy in the form of the light and heat. It is no longer matter. The same is true of gasoline in a car. The liquid gas is burned in the engine and the heat and light of that fire is harnessed and turned into the movement of the car and its occupants. Processes such as these are going on continuously all around us.
What about energy being converted into matter? One place we see this is in the development of plants. They take sunlight (energy), mix it with water and dirt, and create plants. The action of energy becoming matter is often considered to be that of creation, and matter becoming energy to be that of destruction.
It could be said that all matter was formed out of pure energy at the time of the big bang. Brian Swimme starts out his book, The Universe Story, with the following statement: “Originating power brought forth a universe. All the energy that would ever exist in the entire course of time erupted as a single quantum—a singular gift—existence” (17). According to this point of view, energy existed before matter, and some of it became matter while much of it remained energy. According to this creation story, energy becoming matter is the ultimate act of creation — the last word, shall we say, of creativity. Notice he also mentioned that it was “All the energy that would ever exist in the entire course of time.” He didn’t say, “All the matter that would ever exist.” Isn’t it interesting that energy is considered the constant in this universe, and matter is considered to come and go? As matter disappears it is becoming energy and as matter appears we now accept that it is energy appearing as matter. We never talk about matter appearing as energy when we are looking at something like a lightning bolt or the Northern Lights or something that is pure energy. That is because energy is accepted as being the building block of the entire universe, not matter. Everything that exists is either energy appearing as energy or energy appearing as matter, and when energy appears as matter it is because of creation: the act of creativity.
Picture the equation e=mc2 as a spectrum, with “e” at one end of the spectrum and “mc2” at the other end of the spectrum. In this case, the end of the spectrum with the “e” would represent the state of the universe at the time just before the big bang, and the other end of the spectrum would represent a world where all the energy was appearing as matter, such as in a black hole, perhaps. The spectrum represents the unchangeability of the total amount of energy that makes up the universe. No matter where one is on this spectrum, the sum total of all the “e” on one side plus all the “mc2” on the other side will always equal the entire spectrum. Our physical world sits somewhere on this spectrum, and just where we sit is constantly moving. As matter is created, our place on the spectrum moves toward the “mc2” end of the spectrum. As matter becomes energy, we move the other way. As with any other spectrum, the things on the ends of the spectrum, often considered opposites, are actually the same thing appearing as opposites. After all, the ends of a stick are still the stick.
Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity states that everything is actually energy, no matter what it looks like. So thoughts are energy, ideas are energy, tables are energy and cups of coffee are energy. Our calculation with the nickel demonstrates the massive amount of energy required to make even a small amount of matter. This energy can be in the form of thought, ideas, inspiration or anything else known to humans since everything in this world is some form of energy.


A's Stories

Singing at the LA Forum  

I dream I am on a big stage with a wireless mic in hand, no guitar and a full, professional and well rehearsed band behind me. 20,000 or more people have come to the concert and I'm singing my own stuff, music and songs and doing a couple of favorite cover songs. I can see the fans and they are loving the show. I hear the music through the loudspeakers and it sounds so good. I sort of want to stop singing and just listen. I start dancing while I sing. I am so happy, smiling, dancing singing, I can't contain my joy. It is coming out all over me.

I am in a deep, bright blue shirt with sequins, jeans and tall, brown swede boots that lace up the front. I'm so comfortable singing on this stage it is almost uncomfortable. You know that feeling when you can hardly take any more it feels so good? I want to merge with the music, my band and the crowd.

We could go on forever, singing and playing, dancing and sharing. We continue the end of the song longer than usual just because we are having such a great time and it sounds so good. We finally bring it to a close, and all of us on stage are smiling broadly from having too much fun. It's usually illegal; feeling this good.

Then my stage assistant brings out a stool for me to sit on and my perfectly tuned guitar. I gently put the mic into the stand, lay the guitar strap over my shoulder and sit on the stool in front of the mic. A hush moves through the crowd as I gather myself for the next song. It is a slow, emotional number about the moment in my life of my greatest sadness. It's called, That's What Happened, a waltz ballad. As I sing, the auditorium is silent. You could hear a pin drop. I close my eyes. I wrap myself around the instrument and sing my heart out to my 20,000 or more friends gathered for this evening of music. Without cracking voice nor shedding tears I cry through this song and pour my heart out to the fans. They receive me with understanding and I can hear some crying in the first few rows. The band behind me is playing slowly, softly moaning with me as we breathe as one being through the music. We come to the end of the song, and the last note rings out in stately harmonics and slowly the vibrations give way to stillness and silence.

A few full seconds later, the auditorium erupts into loud, boisterous applause, the kind that comes from deep within the heart; the kind that is generated from the deep sharing of experience between strangers who have just become friends; the kind of sharing that two people seldom share, much less 20,000. But share it we did and the experience is promotes powerful healing on a large scale.

I stand up from the stool and take a long, deep bow, knowing that something real shifted for the better for hundreds, maybe thousands of people in the room. I am bowing in deep gratitude to Spirit for using me, to the band for facilitating the musical healing and to the fans for receiving us.

The concert is nearly over. Standing up out of the bow, I give my guitar to my stage hand, grab the wireless mic off the stand and start bouncing in anticipation as the drummer counts off the cadence to our final number; Home is Where the Heart is. I sing out loud and strong knowing that I have just accepted this group's invitation to make this stage my home, if only for a few hours, for we have fully shared our hearts on this night.

As we move through our last song the crowd is on its feet, clapping, dancing and singing along with us, enjoying their own fantasy of living in an 18 wheeler rolling down the highway. Once again we keep the music going a little longer than usual after the singing is done. Then we hit the final chord and this time it doesn't have time to ring out to silence. Immediately upon striking the chord the crowd is up on its feet clapping, raising lit cell phones and yelling for more, thanking me and the band.

I turn to my band, and they are looking at me. We're all feeling the euphoria that comes from putting on a great show for a large crowd; for singing and playing our hearts out and from receiving all this love from so many people. The excitement, adrenaline, peace and passion thrill us to the core.

There's just nothing else like putting on a great concert. Nothing else like it on Earth. 

Ode to FTTZ

 We said good-bye to an old friend last night. She was a good friend who would always listen quietly while I went on and on about whatever. She didn't mind, as long as we kept petting her. She loved to be petted. As soon as she thought about the idea that we might pet her, she started purring. If she were on the floor and we were somewhere in the room, she might look at us and start purring, arch her back, pitty paw the carpet and her skin would twitch with anticipation of the coming stroke. We didn't even have to be near her for her to do this. It was all in her mind. Then she might rub up against whatever was there, the couch, the leg of the bed, anything... purring like mad. Then she would move away from the object and walk on her tippie toes to the spot where it all started, about a foot behind her, and she would look at one of us and do the whole thing again. It was her dance. We would laugh and enjoy watching her completely satisfy herself by herself, on her tippie toes, back high, tail straight up, skin twitching like mad and purring, purring, purring. She was a way-shower of how to keep oneself happy.

Of course, sometimes we would actually pet her. She loved this too. As I held my hand in the air, she would come and walk under it. This was her sign that she was ready for some real contact, as opposed to her imagined contact. She would slide her head into my extended hand, thereby signaling that it was time to pet her. As my hand ran down her back she pushed up against it to get the most contact possible. When my hand would get to her tail which she always held in an upright position, pointed to the sky my hand had to change direction at the base of her tail. It was non-negotiable. Then, at the top of the tail my hand came back down to stroke her again. And as all this was going on she would pitty paw the carpet, the bed or whatever surface we were on, and purr, purr, purr. Hers was the sound of total satisfaction. 

In her later years, she wouldn't push back as hard, but sometimes, if she was lying on her side and I came to pet her, as my hand ran down her back she would extend her hind legs as if to push back. And then she would take her top hind leg and flip it straight up into the air exposing her snow white belly for major satisfaction, all the while harmlessly pitty pawing into the air with her fronts and purring, purring, purring.

She was a shy cat. I lived with her for nearly six months before she let me see her. I was told she was there, but I never caught a glimpse. She made me work for the very priviledged position I finally occupied in her life, that of one who could pet her. She was very careful about who was allowed to see her and who was not. I would know she was under the bed, where she lived most of the time. So I would get on the bed and talk to her. I would talk about all kinds of things to her, about my day, about my feelings, asking her how she was doing. Though I never heard an audible answer from her, I believe she was listening and answering. Then one day I was doing this, as usual, and she jumped up onto the bed. I looked at her. She was beautiful. She was an orange and white tiger stripe cat with perfect symmetry where her white blaze ran up her nose, very intense green-orange eyes and deep concern on her face. She was not sure this was really OK. At all. So I kept talking sweetly to her and then reached out to pet her. Mistake. She was gone off the edge of the bed and back under it. It was another few days before I saw her again, and this time I was going to do it differently. I was lying on the bed and lifted my hand so that my elbow remained on the bed, hand in the air. I just hung it there. I didn't watch her, I could tell she didn't like being seen. I kept talking as if she were still under the bed, keeping my hand suspended by my wrist in the air. I don't know how much time passed, maybe 10-20 minutes. I tried to watch her through the corner of my eye without letting her know. She would look at me from a few feet away as if I were not to be trusted, then look at that hand and start her dance, paws moving, back arching, tail up, skin twitching and loud purring. She would walk a few steps in a random direction, then look at me again with trepidation, then the hand and dance again. I knew she was imagining what it would be like to be petted by that hand. She really wanted it, but wasn't sure it was worth the risk. She would rub against the headboard, purring, looking, twitching, wondering if she dare do it. 

And then it happened. She bravely walked forward and ran her head under my hand so that it touched. She stopped under my hand and rubbed her head into it. I was too afraid to move, I didn't want to startle her again thereby losing her to the underside of the bed again. She rubbed her head into my hand a couple of times then looked straight at me as if to say, "Well? Are you going to pet me or what?" So I did. I let my hand fall onto her back as she walked underneath it. Then she turned around for another pass, and then another. She was hooked. That night as we were drifting off to sleep I heard her jump up on the bed and come up above the pillows. There she purred and pitty pawed, doing her dance as she rubbed against the headboard while walking from side to side. Eventually she settled down right at the top of my head. Every night from then on she joined us at bedtime. Sometimes she parked at the top of my head, sometimes she came down my side to get a good rubbing, but wherever she was, I would pet her until I fell asleep.

It's hard to say good bye to someone as sweet and loving as our 17 year old feline friend. She lived during the day under or on the bed in my office. We actually came to call it FTTZ's room. Sometimes she would be over there and just start purring. I loved to take a break from the computer and go over and just pet her and talk to her. She would just listen, and purr. I look over there now and the indentation left by her body is still in the covers, surrounded by her beautiful orange hair. I know I have to clean it, and I will, but not just yet. Right now I am just rummaging through the memories. 

Thank you for sharing your life with us. Thank you for braving the demons that kept you in hiding for so long to come out and grace us with your presence. You had all the courage you needed, and more kindness than anyone could ask for. I trust that your sweet soul is happy to be freed from you body and I want you to know that I'll never stop talking to you and petting you, even if only in my mind.

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