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antlered-dreams-2013

Last night I had a vivid dream. It stayed with me all day: I had been invited to spend the day with a group of teenagers. They were unknown to me (meaning that they were not friends of my own three teenagers). Their intention was to show me The Ways of the Future.

They put me in a classroom (it actually had a whiteboard!) Then they started telling me how working with ancient gods and goddesses is no longer good enough. We need to actively create the gods and goddesses of the future. If we do not do this, we will continue to create a future shaped and delineated by the past.

As I have a very great love for (and intimate relationship with) many ancient gods and goddesses I felt some resistance rising. I felt I had to speak in support of  of those ancient deities. The teenagers laughed and gently pressed me down on my chair again.

It is simple! They said. The future will not resemble the past. We young people live in a time of unheard of opportunities and dangers. We need gods and goddesses that patrol the internet. Gods and Goddesses invigilating social media. Facebook needs a Face Goddess and Twitter needs a Bird Goddess. We also need a True Face God and gods in charge of the drugs that teenagers use at parties… As our concept  of reality expands (reality has never been what we think it is anway!) ever more gods and goddesses can enter and fill our consciousness. We conceive them just as they conceive us!

I am feeling dizzy. Here I thought I was progressive in the way I teach and work. The teenagers proceeded to draw faces on the white board. The face of gods and goddesses. They proceeded to name them and invoke them, welcome them.

They said: gods and goddesses are shape-shifters and Reality is the greatest shape-shifter of them all!

Imelda Almqvist

 

About the author:

Imelda Almqvist’s book Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit For Life (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages) was published by Moon Books on 26th August 2016.  She is based in London,UK and teaches shamanism and sacred art internationally.

www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk

https://imeldaalmqvist.wordpress.com/

http://shamanismsummit.com/

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Last week I learned a new meaning of the word ‘ghost’: a person you stay ‘friends’ with on Facebook but with whom you never interact otherwise.

This was in the dentist’s waiting room where I picked up a woman’s magazine as my dentist was running a little late. And it is not every day I learn a new word – though living outside my country of birth it does happen from time to time.

From the same article I also picked up another concept: Dunbar’s Number. This indicated a limit to the number of relationships any person can reasonably maintain and invest time and energy in:

Dunbar’s number is a suggested cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships. These are relationships in which an individual knows who each person is and how each person relates to every other person.[1][2][3][4][5][6] This number was first proposed in the 1990s by British anthropologist Robin Dunbar, who found a correlation between primate brain size and average social group size.[7] By using the average human brain size and extrapolating from the results of primates, he proposed that humans can only comfortably maintain 150 stable relationships.[8] Proponents assert that numbers larger than this generally require more restrictive rules, laws, and enforced norms to maintain a stable, cohesive group. It has been proposed to lie between 100 and 250, with a commonly used value of 150.[9][10] Dunbar’s number states the number of people one knows and keeps social contact with, and it does not include the number of people known personally with a ceased social relationship, nor people just generally known with a lack of persistent social relationship, a number which might be much higher and likely depends on long-term memory size.

Dunbar theorized that “this limit is a direct function of relative neocortex size, and that this in turn limits group size … the limit imposed by neocortical processing capacity is simply on the number of individuals with whom a stable inter-personal relationship can be maintained.” On the periphery, the number also includes past colleagues, such as high school friends, with whom a person would want to reacquaint themself if they met again.[11]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunbar%27s_number

For me this raises an interesting question: as someone who professionally deals with “ghosts” – am I a ghost myself?! And following this definition: yes indeed! I am “friends” on social networks with people I have never met or have practically lost touch with (other than keeping a ‘flimsy’ Facebook connection).

About two years ago I left Facebook for three months and deactivated my account. My intention was to free up time and space for other things (like reading, playing the cello, going for walks by the river). In reality I discovered that I lost touch with many people I do not maintain any ‘intensive’ or regular communications with’ but now I never heard from them at all. So I climbed back in (“ghost accounts can be re-activated any time. They never truly disappear. With one click of the mouse I was back in – as if I had never been away) because the social loss still felt greater than the gain of ‘free time’. After all one can ignore Facebook for weeks (months, years) on end without de-activating an account!

The world has moved on since the time my husband and I (living in Amsterdam and Stockholm respectively) wrote each other long poetic old-fashioned letters. The social world is even moving on from emails now. My three children (aged 15, 13 and 11) never check their emails. It is ‘too slow, too old. too dead’ – meaning that they buzz each other through Facebook, WhatsApp and other group sites and apps instead. And they often seem to communicate as crowds too (flash mobs being the extreme end of that phenomenon) and not so much one-to-one. So the long thoughtful emails I get are all from people aged 40+ or thereabouts. And I have started printing off the truly lovely ones – to make them more like old fashioned letters. To be able to treasure them and re-read them.

Yes, and then there are ‘Followers’. Here on WordPress, on Twitter, etc. So a Follower is different from a Friend or a Ghost: it carries no obligation to ‘be in relationship’ with the person. It just means that they receive updates when you post something (if I understand this correctly).

So I have Friends, Followers and Ghosts…. I am a Friend, Follower and Ghost myself…

And maybe this is just part of living in a ‘Global Village’. It is also part of being in a profession where I see a large number of individual people and teach groups of people. And do I expect myself to stay in relationship with them all? I may try (I write a newsletter for this purpose) but I know that I can’t.

A very good piece of advice I received once was: “Never let your Inbox become your To Do List!’

But working from home I admit I like making flying visits to Facebook to see what the rest of the world is doing.

And I have just given myself permission to no longer reply to ALL  messages or emails I receive.

There is something to be said for being a GHOST sometimes…

Imelda Almqvist

 Life Force TV Interview about shamanism with Imelda Almqvist

www.imelda-almqvist-art.com

www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk

Imelda Almqvist is a Dutch shamanic practitioner, teacher and painter based in London, UK

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XXX

A good many years ago I was slower than most people in understanding the ‘XXX’ appearing at the bottom of SMS messages and emails. It must have been when my husband decided to buy me my first mobile phone (for when I was out and about with three very young children). One ‘fellow Mum at the school gate’ sent me one of my ‘first ever text messages’. Next time I saw her I said: “I understood the message, but what about those 3 X-es next to your signature?!” She said: “An X stands for a kiss” and we just looked at each other rather sheepfacedly for one moment, realizing that we were hardly on ‘kissing terms’ in every day life!!

So for me that was ‘my first virtual kiss’!

Today I must admit I sign off with virtual kisses myself – but only in correspondence with friends. I get many emails from clients booking sessions (people I have never met) who sign off with kisses.

It always makes me wonder: are they truly exceptionally friendly and loving people? (The song “All you need is love” comes to mind!) Or has the XXX become a habit, a mindless scribble at the end any message.

For some people it seems to mean something like ‘See you soon!’ but the world of texting and instant messaging has already given us “CU SOON’.

If we are going to ‘seal things with a kiss’ – shouldn’t we at least imagine blowing people a kiss, so there is some substance behind the X?

I did a bit of research on-line and discovered that many ‘office romances’ start with an X. Putting an X on an office message can, apparently, be an indication of willingness to ‘engage in something not so business like’.

As myself

a) have been married for 18 years

b) am self-employed and work from home

c) see clients for one-to-one healing sessions where sexual innuendo is completely out of the question

I may be missing something here. Could someone ‘put me in the picture’ please?!

X also reminds me of situations where individuals have traditionally signed with an X (not a kiss) for reasons of being illiterate or too disabled to write their name in full. I found the following explanation in the on-line legal dictionary:

“X” AS A SIGNATURE

“X” as a signature refers to a cross that is printed in lieu of an individual’s signature.A signature is required to authenticate wills, deeds, and certain commercial instruments. Typically, individuals sign their full names when executing legal documents. Sometimes, however, individuals use only their initials or other identifying mark. For illiterate, incompetent, or disabled people, this mark is often the letter X.Documents signed with an X sometimes raise questions as to their validity and enforceability.

So, in the age of social media, twitter and mass literacy, why are we going back to putting X-es all over the place?

Can you even remember your First Virtual Kiss?

Imelda Almqvist

www.imelda-almqvist-art.com

www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk