Possibility Warrior

Lighting The Way Forward

Type Power

February 27, 2018
by PoWa

What Else is Possible?

A friend of mind recently made a good point that humility and curiosity go together. It takes some humility to admit you don’t already know everything, and not already knowing everything is prerequisite for the curiosity to learn more.

When I look at the natural world, or at a machine, I don’t think: “I know all there is to know about how this plant/animal/object in front of my eyes works.” Yet, somehow an immediate explanation for other people’s behavior jumps into my mind and I tend to run with it straight into whatever emotional upset that hypothesis requires, without ever even noticing that I literally just took a stab in the dark of my own head for their motivation.

Part of my current spiritual practice (by “spiritual” I mean exploring my unconscious motivations) lately has been to notice when I’m making an assumption about the motivations of other people, and then asking myself: “Can I think of any other explanations?” This is a great question to ask to challenge our assumptions in general.

If we asked this question about the ad we just saw, we might not get drawn into whatever assumptions the advertisers want us to hold that will increase the odds we’ll buy their product. (Ad: People are constantly looking at your wrinkles and judging you! Quick, spend your money on this wrinkle cream! Spend hours of your life applying it while looking at yourself in the mirror judging yourself for your wrinkles so that you’ll keep buying wrinkle cream for decades!! OR… just forget your wrinkles, laugh and enjoy your friendships, and assume that no one else is even noticing your facial skin folds!)

If we asked this question about the news we read, we might not get drawn into emotional outbursts over fake news. (OMG!!! A Muslim Scholar Advocated ‘Colonizing’ U.S. and Canada with Sharia Law? We have to kick out all the Muslims!!!!  OR… Hmm, I wonder if this is actually true? Let me go to Snopes.com and check. Ah, I see this is a fabricated story designed to sow fear and discord among Americans. So glad I didn’t fall for it.)

If we asked this question about the motivations of the people in our lives, we might have more harmonious relationships. (OMG! He didn’t reply to my text! He hates me. He’s rude. He doesn’t care about me. He only thinks about himself. OR… Maybe he’s really busy, couldn’t think of a response to the text immediately and then got distracted, or didn’t have time to respond immediately and then got side tracked. Maybe I’ll give him a call later tonight and see how he’s doing.)

The key here is to pause, take a deep breath, and not run with the first story (assumption) that occurs to us or is handed to us. Have the humility to consider, it might be wrong! After taking a step back, we can look at this story and wonder with curiosity if it is true, or if there might be other explanations. Before reacting, we can ask ourselves:

What Else is Possible?

Thanks Cherri, for both inspiring this post, and inspiring me to get it published!  😉

used car

January 29, 2018
by PoWa

How much can you afford to spend on a used car?

When I decided to upgrade my 20-year-old Corolla, I wanted some guidance on how to figure out how much I could afford to spend on a used car upgrade. I didn’t find much advice that was helpful to me, so I’m sharing what I learned through experience.

First, look at your budget and see how much you can afford to spend monthly on financing. If you don’t have a budget, it would be very wise to start one before making a large purchase! A budget is simply a monthly list of all your income vs all your expenses so you can see how much cash you have to spare. Make sure the number you come up with is an amount you can actually afford every month. It’s a good idea to keep a budget over at least one year in order to see how your cash flow changes throughout the year.

Take into account that your financing will last for 3-6 years, but your income might not go up as much as all your expenses. To be safe, when you come up with a number, reduce it by 10-20% to account for unexpected expenses and increased cost of living. When deciding how many years to finance, allow yourself some buffer room. Finance for 4 years if your budget says you can afford to pay off the car in 3 years. Then pay more per month according to what you budgeted. If all goes well, you’ll pay off your loan early! But this way if something comes up, you have a built in safety net allowing you to pay less per month and still pay off your loan within the agreed time.

So now you have a total number representing what you can afford to spend on your car. Let’s say you came up with either $10k or $20k. Don’t go out looking at cars priced at $10k or $20k! First, subtract 10%-20% for after purchase expenses on the car – it is a used car after all. Issues that may come up requiring you to dish out more money could include tires, a maintenance check-point coming up based on mileage, general repairs, or just pimping your ride.

So now you are at $8k or $18k (on the cautious side). Don’t go out looking at cars priced at $8k or $18k just yet! The advertised price of cars does not include taxes, or the fees for registering your car with the DMV, or any other fees that the used car seller feels like adding. On that note, read up on what fees are reasonable and ask that unreasonable fees be removed. Take into account about 10-15% in taxes and fees (you can get a more accurate number by looking up your state taxes and the cost for registration at the DMV).

Now your car purchase price is around $7k or $16k! Here’s where there’s actually some good news. The advertised prices at dealerships and used car lots are way jacked up. You can often talk them down 10-20% and you should definitely try to, otherwise they are just robbing you blind! (Private sellers may be different.) Look at trade-in averages to give you a range on what the seller probably got for the car. Figure that they probably low-balled their trade-in price, then factor in a decent profit for the seller, then make your offer. Set a cap on what you are willing to pay and walk away if they won’t price the car within your budget.

Willingness to walk away is the hard part! The sellers do everything they can to make you fall in love with the car so you leave with it that day at a higher price than you had intended. If you can bring someone level-headed with you to help you stay firm on your budget, that’s a good plan. Calculate before you go what kind of bind you’d be in if you spent more than you intended. Maybe you could get by with financing an extra $1k, but $3k would squeeze you uncomfortably tight. Now you know before you go whether or not you really could pay a bit more for that awesome car you just saw and now can’t live without!

If you can establish your financing before you even start to car shop, you’ll be in a better position. Car sellers make a lot of money off of financing, so if they tell you they can save you money, you better believe they have their own interests in mind, not yours! Also, there’s almost never 0% financing – those deals usually come with monthly fees that are essentially the same as an interest rate.

Finally, you may think I’m being alarmist or overly cautious. This is the plan I followed when purchasing my used car. I took 20% out for after cost repairs, I took out about 10% for taxes and fees. I calculated a range of what I could actually pay – my preferred price and how far I could stretch that for a great car find. In the end, even with all those deductions, I ended up spending my max amount! Fortunately, due to all this thinking ahead, the amount I spent was an amount I could afford!

This is off-topic for my blog, but I wanted to share this valuable info! 🙂

January 10, 2018
by PoWa

Ways to Alleviate Depression

I apologize to my readers for being away from the blog for the past year. A great deal of my energy had to be diverted to pulling myself out and staying out of the depression caused by the results of the 2016 election. Thinking about that a year later prompted to me to share some of the techniques that have helped me overcome my life-long depression (and situational relapses). These suggestions can be tried in addition to care recommended by medical professionals.

Gratitude Practice: One of the top things you can do to help yourself is begin a gratitude practice. It does not matter if you feel grateful, or if you believe your statements of gratitude. If you practice long enough, eventually you will realize that things changed somewhere down the line and now you do feel the gratitude you’ve been cultivating.

Make “Thank You” a mantra that you repeat over and over, every time you can think of it, as many times as you can. Set a phone alarm to remind you several times a day. Keep a journal where you write 5 or 10 things that you are grateful for everyday. If you can’t think of anything, cover all the basics — food, shelter, family, friends, pets, clothing, health, limbs, etc.

Doggedly keep up your Gratitude Practice until it is such a habit, you no longer need phone alarms and journals.

Stop Complaining: The corollary of the gratitude practice is to stop complaining because it mires you in the negative. Recognize and acknowledge the negative, but only so that you can formulate a plan for surmounting it. When you catch yourself complaining, make a conscious decision to stop and redirect your thinking towards solutions, gratitude, happier thoughts — anywhere away from dwelling on what’s not great.

Pro-Action: Maybe there is some specific stressor in your life that is wearing you down, that you can’t do much to fix. First, limit your exposure. For example, don’t sit and watch bad news for hours. Don’t join in when your co-workers are complaining about your crappy work environment. Second, take steps, tiny as they may be, towards changing your situation. Write your congress people, sign petitions, join a march. Apply to different jobs, work on that career advancing degree, start a savings account even if you only save $1 a month. Doing something, anything gives you a taste of self-efficacy, which feeds on itself.

Notice the Good: Good feelings, happy events, and improvements in your life have a greater impact if you notice them. Be on the look out for anything nice that happens and celebrate it. Let yourself indulge in a nice big grin. Stop and take a deep breath of sweet clean air after a rain. Feel the awe spread through your body at the beauty of a sunset. Let that loving feeling melt your insides as you look at someone precious to you. Soak up those moments, revel in them, acknowledge them with gratitude.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy: Learning to recognize that you are in the middle of having negative thoughts is a pretty big deal. It’s the first step to changing the way you think. There are a variety of patterns of negative thinkings, such as overgeneralization, catastrophizing, and all-or-nothing. These are patterns that take your depression by the hand and say, “let’s jump.” You can learn to see the thoughts as unwanted bad influences in your life. Replacing these negative patterns of thinking isn’t going to suddenly turn you into a jolly elf, but it will begin to rewire neural circuits in your brain.

Smile Therapy: Yes, it’s corny, annoying, and disingenuous, but do it anyway. Force yourself to smile. Try to bring the smile into your eyes. Do it as often as you can remember, every day, day after day, for months. It doesn’t matter if you feel happy, just do it. You are training your body to recognize a different way of being. And your mind is easily fooled. It will start to think you must be happier just because your body is acting happier. No, this is not a cure for medical chronic depression. It is one tactic you can throw at it though – death by a thousand smiles.

Pet Therapy: Never underestimate the comfort a warm, furry, loving pet can provide. If you don’t have a pet, arrange to spend some cuddle time with a friend’s pet. You’ll be rewarded with waves of oxytocin.

Safe Place Therapy: Inner healing requires that you feel safe, however, you may not know how to feel safe even when you are safe. I suggest creating a place where you practice cultivating the feeling of safety. For me it’s in bed under the covers. I actively feel the soft sheets, warm blankets, snuggling puppers, overhead shelter, safe neighborhood… and remind myself that this is what Safe feels like. I am Safe. And I created this for myself. I create Safety. As you begin to embody this feeling, you’ll be increasingly able to address the parts of yourself trapped in the depressions of fear and insecurity.

Somatic Therapy: Embodied feeling is essential for recovery from depression. The illness is in your physical being — muscles, nerves, organs, digestive system, endocrine system. It’s important to learn to notice the physical sensations occuring in your body, tie them to feelings, and trace those feelings back to the traumatic experiences where they originated. From there, the trapped physical reactions can be released, which is physical healing. This should only be done in a Safe Place, or you are likely to be retraumatized. This should be assisted by someone trained to guide you gently through the process. I recommend reading the author Peter A Levine, PhD, especially In an Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness.

None of these recommendations is likely to work magic on their own. The idea is to resolve to take on a long term brain rewiring campaign, and to stick with it until you see results. Realize that could take months or years. However, the combined attack of these tactics (perhaps along with medication and therapy) WILL make positive changes in your life. You’ll still have ups and downs, but they will begin to happen along an overall upward trajectory. A few years down the line, you will look back and be so grateful you started and stuck with it.


January 16, 2017
by PoWa

The Darkness

It started as dark smudge on the horizon. Most people didn’t even notice it. The warriors squinted and felt a sense of foreboding. It grew bigger with every passing week, until no one could ignore it. It was blacker than night and blotted out an entire stretch of sky, relentlessly growing broader and higher and deeper.

No one understood it and everyone argued about it. Plants began to wither and animals fled. And then the noise started, an awful furious anger of souls damned, harsher than nails on a chalkboard. The darkness came faster, it encompassed everything. The warriors looked on in horror as it closed in on them in rage, disintegrating their shields and sucking the light from their staffs.

The land was swallowed in screaming, hateful darkness so thick the people could barely breathe. Many became depressed without the sun and despaired against the heavy weight of the pounding, insatiable darkness.

Then the warriors began to notice that just dimly nearby, they could make out the flickering, struggling lights of other warriors. And so they began to find each other and pool their light. As they did, each light strengthened in brightness and the group together shone greater than the sum of its lights. Then the warriors began to hand lights to those in despair and offered them hope and solidarity and the circles of light grew.

So the darkness was pierced by small, beaming pools of light. The darkness howled and stormed, but the lights together could not be put out. Instead they grew stronger. And those who had been lost in the dark forest for ages could see these lights and find their way out, renewed with purpose to fight as warriors and end the darkness.

The groups of warriors began to find other groups, to forge connections and to coordinate actions. And with each action their lights grew brighter. But it was hard. So everyday, all day, they reminded each other, over and over again:

We must keep working together, shining our lights, until the darkness is vanquished.


November 28, 2016
by PoWa

Thank You

I am Thankful …

That I was born in an urban area and grew up next to people of all races, so that I know I don’t need to fear people who look different from me.

That I have been able to travel to see other parts of the country and world where people live differently from me, and may not have the privileges I have had.

That I had the opportunity to get a good, broad education to inform my opinions and decisions.

That I have met so many wonderful people of all races, genders, and religions — giving me hope for humanity.

That I live in relative safety and privilege compared to nearly all humans who have ever lived.

That I have always found a way to pull through tough circumstances.

That I have found a network of support and no longer feel so alone in my desire for a progressive world.

That I live in a time when so many people are conscious and working for freedom and safety for all people.

For dogs, soft beds, warm blankets, and tea.

For YOU.


November 21, 2016
by PoWa

Projection and Hate

“If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself.”
~Hermann Hesse

Projection is a psychological process where we attribute qualities within ourselves to others . It’s a long recognized human emotional defense tactic of self-justification by blame shifting. In 500 CE, the Talmud warned, “Do not taunt your neighbour with the blemish you yourself have.” 

Freud explained that parts of ourselves that we can’t accept, we attribute to others. Jung called these projected parts of our personality our Shadow — things about ourselves we don’t want to acknowledge. “Look at how angry that person is!” we rant angrily. And there, now the focus has shifted off our own anger to their anger. We list and rehash their sins, in order to reassure ourselves that our own actions are justified, that we are right.

Projection is usually viewed negatively, but I see it as a compassion and consciousness development tool. For one, it can help us hear what people actually mean in what they say. When someone excoriates foreigners because “they hate our freedom,” it is useless to argue that foreign animosity is not due to a hatred for our Bill of Rights. That’s because this claim is a projection, not a reasoned argument. The person making the claim is themselves concerned about the growing freedoms in our country for traditionally marginalized groups, because they feel their own survival is threatened.

Projections occur when intense emotions are invoked, like fear for survival or anger at not getting ahead with hard work. When this is happening, there is no room for calm and reasoned debate. It also doesn’t help to point out that the other person is projecting, much like it doesn’t help to tell someone terrified of flying that most planes don’t crash.

When you learn to recognize projection, you can avoid pouring your limited energy down a black hole of agitation by walking away from projection conversations instead of feeding them with argument. Or, if you feel it is really worth your energy, you can try to learn and address the actual underlying root fear behind the projection, with compassion.

If we can mindfully catch ourselves intensely emotional and insistent on the flaws and horrid behaviors of another, we can explore our own projections to shine a light on the shadow aspects in our unconscious. The current political climate is an excellent time for this practice, as it has us all wildly projecting in every direction like a garden hose turned on highest pressure and flailing uncontrolled to assail anything within striking distance.

For example, in the past week, I’ve found myself absolutely appalled that those people would try to take away the freedoms my country has fought so hard and long to establish for the huddled masses yearning to breathe free! With some consideration and introspection however, I realized that I was actually appalled at myself for taking my freedoms so for granted that I became lazy about my involvement in politics and civil justice.

Here’s the part where you forgive yourself and vow to make a change, with compassion. Now’s the time to move beyond anger at them, and acknowledge we are angry at ourselves for letting it happen. Now it’s time to move beyond complacency and get to work. Now is the time to be grateful for the mass fire that has been ignited under the collective progressive majority, and to think of all we can accomplish with this energy united for positive change!


November 14, 2016
by PoWa
1 Comment

Fear, Anger, Hate, Violence

“Between stimulus and response there’s a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”  ~Victor Frankl

This is a really intense and emotional time in the USA. A large number of people are truly afraid and angry; and have good reason to be fearful for the lives of minorities and angry over false accusations and threats to eliminate freedoms.

Fear and Anger are emotions that carry a huge charge. They are emotions that trigger reaction, and the gut reaction is to look for confirmation of our fears and attack back. But that’s the reaction that got us into the mess we are in right now. The thinking that created the mess cannot fix it.

If we want our nation back so that we can continue to progress towards greater safety and freedom for all, we will have to do so in way that doesn’t include fear, anger, hate, or violence. This is not an easy thing to do because it requires the strength and courage to act rather than react.

The majority of people in our nation are progressive. Now is the time for us to build the strength and courage required to act out of calm compassion rather than out of fear and anger, so we can bring our progressive values back to our country. I’m not saying not to feel fear and anger — you feel what you feel. And when you do feel fear and anger, STOP.

Take a breath. Sit down. Wait. Emotions are waves. They come from the distance, growing larger and more fearsome. They slam into you and fall over you and you are for a time under the waters of the strong currents of emotion. Then the wave passes. You can stand up, shake off, and look around to see calmer waters.

In the calmer waters, you can plan how to act.

Here’s an example. When you see the latest hate note spreading around on social media, STOP. Breathe. DON’T post your initial response. Put the computer aside and wait. Feel the Fear — what if you, or someone you know and love is threatened or attacked? Feel the Anger — it is not okay that hate and discrimination won in this election. It is not okay that people are threatening others with impunity. It is not okay that the rights and freedoms we’ve worked so hard for may be taken away. Let yourself feel these emotions, but wait them out.

Breathe. Remember that our country (and the world) has a very long history of hate and violence. Remember that we have a long history of people fighting against that hate and violence. Remember that you are a fighter. Remember that you DO have power and that you WILL use it. Breathe. Resolve to act rather than react.

Now. Write to your State and Federal government representatives. Tell them this behavior is not okay. Ask them to stand up and publically condemn such behavior. Ask them to set up crisis support for those who are being attacked.

Now. Go introduce yourself to your neighbors who have dark skin, an alternate lifestyle, or are women living alone. Give them your number and tell them that if they ever feel threatened to contact you, because you will stand with them.

Now. Take a bold, progressive action like this every day between now and the 2018 elections. THIS is how we will take our country back. THIS is how we will reestablish our values of freedom and safety for all humans, regardless of race, gender, or sexual, political, or religious orientation.


November 7, 2016
by PoWa

Dear Julie,

Q. In every situation, there is clearly a protocol for accomplishing tasks most quickly and efficiently. Why am I the only person who can see this and get things done the right way the first time? ~ISTJ

A. It is an irony of humanity that most of us take far longer than needed to accomplish tasks, because we are too impatient to carefully and painstakingly follow the most direct path to accurate and timely completion. However, evolution itself did not follow an efficiently well-designed protocol to produce our cognitive capacities, so this is the mess we are left with.

Fortunately we have your type, with the steadfast perseverance to see a task through to completion, and the careful attentiveness required to complete the task correctly the first time. Really, the world would fall apart without your patient and deliberate vigilance in supplying the daily maintenance required to realize any long-term goal.

There are some types convinced that they would revel in the chaos left (they may call it something else, like “freedom”) should your type suddenly disappear from the planet. Until the metro doesn’t get them home on time and they can’t find a properly cooked meal when hungry. It is essential that you disappear (say for vacation) on a regular basis (they have a short memory), to remind such types just how essential you are to the happy frivolity they enjoy so much.

There are other types too busy entertaining ideas of what could be to attend to what is. Whatever you do, do not dismiss their ideas as frivolous, or they will take it as a challenge to harangue you with ever more impractical ideas until you throw up your hands and quit. Instead, half listen as you tend your work, compliment them on their ingenuity, and coyly ask how they will deal with the biggest obvious flaw in their hare-brained strategy. Don’t raise your objection condescendingly, convey it as a puzzle to solve, and they will run off happily to consider your challenge, leaving you in peace to get your work done.

Use your remarkable ability to see what’s in front of you, to bargain with the more scattered types. For example, offer to balance the books in exchange for Friday afternoon off. This will translate your skills into direct utility for those who don’t adequately appreciate your super powers, while simultaneously relieving them of the responsibility of devising ways to reward you for saving the day.

It’s tough to maneuver in a world full of irresponsible, unpredictable, unreliable humans. Learn to express sincere gratitude when any one gets anything right. I know you shouldn’t have to praise people for doing what they are supposed to be doing; but given that they actually do what they are supposed to do so rarely, if praise helps increase the odds, it’s worth implementing. Again, refrain from allowing your irritable frustration to show. For once they did not make your life more difficult. That really IS something to be grateful for!


October 31, 2016
by PoWa

Dear Julie,

Q. Hey, have you all noticed that your lips are so sensitive, they can feel your fingerprints? ~ESFP

A. Wow! I had never noticed that before, but you are right!

We all need to get back in touch with the physical reality of our bodies and the world around us. We spend way too much time worrying about the future, fretting over the past, and not enough time enjoying the moment.

It’s difficult for you as an Se (in the moment physical experience) to get any respect in this ultra goal-oriented, forward-striding, overly ambitious society that sacrifices today to the almighty dollar.

But the tide is turning in your favor! Society has begun to notice the value of returning to the moment and staying present. You are likely looking for a job right now, why not consider leading New Age Awareness classes at local yoga studios, athletic clubs, and outdoor stores. All you’ll have to do is take people out on your adventures with you.

Get one of your all responsible-like friends to set the business up for you (including liability release), and treat them to grand dinners with your proceeds. You’ll be great at doing your own sales and marketing, and think of all the new people you’ll meet and all the fun you’ll have! Quick forward this to that responsible friend before you get distrac…


October 17, 2016
by PoWa

Dear Julie,

Q. Why is nearly everyone on the planet so irrational and unreasonable? Can anything be done to save our species from its own ridiculous stupidity? ~INTP

A. With Ti (logic and reason) as your dominant function, it’s easy to understand why you view those who don’t naturally use Ti high in their function family as illogical and not reasonable. You are used to ordering your thoughts into a logical train before acting on them. When ordering your thoughts, you look at the broadest possible picture to find what is universally true, regardless of individual quirks, preferences, or opinions. So naturally, those who don’t go to that effort seem to be selfishly prioritizing themselves over the good of the collective.

There are two pitfalls within this viewpoint I’d like you to consider.

First, are you certain that the actions you’ve decreed as “most logical” are not tainted by your own views and experiences of life? For example, suppose you’ve decided it makes absolutely no sense to have more than one tissue box per room. Could it be that your wife has put 3 boxes in each room because she experiences events and sensations that are outside the norm of your own existence? Perhaps she has a constantly runny nose, but also has difficulty walking about due to hip pain. The box in every usable corner allows her to keep the mucus flow under control while minimizing the walking about she has to do. From her perspective, the plethora of tissue boxes makes quite a bit of sense!

In order to be most effective, you must use your Ti to carefully sort what seems most logical from a limited perspective, from what actually is logical from all perspectives. What I’m saying is that, believe it or not, your own logic often is tainted by your personal biases. Use this knowledge to relate to those you are condemning.

Second, if you’d like to communicate reason and logic for the benefit of the world, you’ll be more effective if you curb the condescension oozing from your frustration that others don’t see what is so clear to you. This is where it will be very useful for you to develop the Fe (social relationship) that balances out your Ti.

Regardless of the universality of absolute truths that apply to all humans (like gravity on earth and history repeating itself), the experience of the individual human and the collective experience of society affect how we deal with universal truths. Learn why people hold the beliefs they do, irrational as they may be. What purpose do the beliefs serve them? What experiences have they originated out of? What would be lost, if these beliefs are lost?

From this broader perspective, you can temper the delivery of your information. It’s not enough to provide an intellectual analysis. You must relate the information to the daily experience of people in society and the consequences to their loved ones. You have to provide an alternative for all that is lost if old beliefs and ways are given up to account for new information.

Above all you must have patience. People resist change and they resist what they don’t understand. Acknowledge that you do the same and learn from your own resistance.

The vast majority of the population does not have Ti in the upper portion of their function family. In order to come to understand how Ti works and why it is an important perspective, we need INTPs who will patiently explain the universal principles over and over in simple terms, gauging the receptivity of their audience and actively working to remain polite and respectful despite the perceived unsavory aspects of the message.

Of all the types, you have the inner calm to absorb over-reactions of vitriol and stay the educational course. Look to Sam Harris as a prime example.


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