GREAT HIKING TRAILS AT THE NEW PLACE… 

Though the owner told me about it (roughly) when I moved in, I was delighted to 'discover' hiking trails near this new house I'm renting — which were fully legal to use. No one would come raging out their front door with a shotgun, saying "Get off my land!"

(OK, maybe I WAS in Kentucky too long. No one in LA would do anything like that…

…they would be holding a 9 millimeter, of course.) 

Already I'd been making use of our fantastic lemon bushes — juicing two lemons a morning and drinking them down with water — but since I always held the lemons the same way in the juicing process, I wore a rough patch into my middle finger from all the rubbing on that spot. That was where the tip of the lemon would pivot.

I got all excited when I found the trails, and wandered through bushes, weeds and the like, feeling quite blissful. I found some great fossils in the rocks, which has powerful emotional importance to me thanks to a childhood experience. 

 

HOW I GOT HOOKED ON FOSSILS

When I was still a little kid, my grandmother took me to Thatcher Park in upstate New York, which has streams that are loaded with fossils. After one of the most enjoyable days of my entire childhood life, I could hardly believe my eyes when I found a perfect dinosaur footprint in a loose rock, under another rock I overturned in the stream!

Dinosaurs were my passion — my obsession, like many other kids — and this was a birdlike footprint that was framed in a perfect oval, small enough to hold in your hand but large enough to impress. Still to this day I've never seen any other fossil like it. The scales and the claws were sharply detailed. It was a symmetrical three-toed footprint. 

I was so proud of myself I could hardly believe it. God, The Universe, or whatever had graced me with the ultimate gift. I loved reflecting on the fact that our own planet used to be overrun with giant lizards, and that you could still find their bones and footprints in the rocks — but I never, ever expected I'd find such a perfect specimen!

I ran to show it to my grandmother, breathless with excitement. Surely she would be thrilled with my discovery and marvel at the explicit detail and perfection of this find. 

Standing no taller than her waistline, I ran forward, my little hand holding the ultimate prize out for bragging rights. "Nana, look!" I said, "Look what I found! There's a footprint in the rock! A perfect dinosaur footprint! You see? "

To my utter horror, my grandmother replied, with cold precision, "That's dirty." 

I was reeling. "What? I… I don't…" My eyes searched longingly for this to be a joke… but found nothing of the kind.

"That's dirty. I won't let you bring it into the car. Now go and put it back, and wash your hands."

"But Nana!" I cried, tears sliding down my cheeks. "You… you can't really mean that! This… this is…"

"It's dirty, David," she answered again. "Now go put it back. We have to leave. It's time to go home now."

In shock and disbelief, I clutched the prize — absolutely priceless to my young heart — and somberly walked with it as I held it against my chest in mourning. I knew I had to memorize exactly where I would put it. I carefully set it against a tree near the stream.

Still to this day I know exactly what the tree looked like, its relation to the stream, and what the rocks looked like in the stream next to it.

As children do, I addressed it as if it had a sentient consciousness. "Someday, I'll come back for you," I said. "Wait for me. I don't know how I'm going to get back here, but I'll find a way, and you wait for me." 

In retrospect I should have shoved it down my pants or done SOMETHING, but this was classic David — I did exactly what other people told me to do, no matter how painful or horrible it made me feel, or what level of sacrifice was involved in carrying it through.

I tearfully left the perfect fossilized footprint by a tree, hoping I could come back one day and retrieve it… but of course I was 6 or 7 years old at the time and it never panned out. Now I am thrilled to receive fossils as gifts and especially to find them in nature. There are some marvelous specimens in the rocks I encountered on these hiking trails near my new place. 

 

A BAD CASE OF POISON IVY… 

I didn't realize that Southern California had similar problems with poison ivy as did Kentucky and New York… at least not until about a week afterwards.

It started very innocuously with the "lemon spot" on my middle finger getting gradually worse by the day. I altered my juicing technique and figured it would go away, but it just kept increasing.

Long story short, by last week it had spread across most of the upper surface of my hands — and the irritation was so severe that it made it very difficult to think or work.

As a Law of One scholar, I knew there had to be a spiritual issue going on, regarding irritation, that I wasn't properly dealing with. As the quote goes, paraphrased, "Catalyst unprocessed by the spirit spills over into the mind. Catalyst unprocessed by the mind spills over into the body." 

"Catalyst" is roughly defined as any experience we have that promotes growth. This can be as simple (and as profound) as simply being in the moment, and taking in whatever you see in that moment with Full Awareness. However, it is far more typical that the most valuable catalyst we receive (until we become far more conscious) is in the form of those experiences that are difficult or trying in some way.

The body is a fully realized three-dimensional hologram of the mind and spirit. It is constantly giving you feedback about your mental and spiritual issues by its innate strengths and weaknesses. Hands symbolize your ability to get things done, and skin eruptions symbolize irritation — so I knew that my body was telling me I was feeling irritated about what I was doing. Therefore, my body ended up making that irritation so great that I HAD to stop using my hands for a while, as otherwise I could not concentrate.  

 

LOTS OF IRRITATION IN MY PHYSICAL SPHERE… 

In the midst of enduring this, I also had one hurdle after another arise with trying to set up the payment gateway.  Authorize.net said they'd put a rush on the order for us, but that it generally took 2 business days. In our case it took 3 business days. Then we found out that we had a processor named ChargeToday, and another business day went by before I found out that ChargeToday liaises with a West Coast bank that underwrites the account. 

Billy and I had taken a single-day flight to San Francisco and back to meet with potential investors for the film, and we had a great time in the meeting, talking about the implications of all of it. We had discussed how much of a commercial success "The Secret" had become — and even though it was metaphysically flawed, (now being widely accused of spiritually sanctioning greed and materialism), the value was that it opened a dialogue and showed that people are hungry for this kind of information.

The next thing we knew, two women were seated at the table next to us and immediately were talking about the "Art of Attraction" and The Secret. I am able to follow two conversations at once, while participating in one of them, so I was listening to them while also tracking what was going on at the table.

I finally felt compelled to interrupt the two women and tell them that we were having a production meeting about a film that discussed concepts just like The Secret but took them much farther. They were pretty impressed, and of course said we must have "attracted" them to that table by our intense enthusiasm and energy about the project — and that certainly could be true.  

Later in this same meeting my phone started ringing — a disquieting vibration in my pants that I still haven't really adjusted to — and found out that since I hadn't switched over my ID and bank account to the new address, and didn't yet have a land line in my own name, I was being pinged for fraud from Authorize.net's merchant processor so we could transition out of PayPal and get a dedicated gateway going on this site… after having been around since 1999. 

Now I needed to send them a truckload of personal financial information, turn my head and cough — but I would have to wait until Monday to send it because I wouldn't be back home in time to hit off the end of their last business day for the week.

I was certainly not pleased but did not take it out on the staff… they were only responding to what was probably an automated system that looked for such discrepancies. 

My attitude for the whole week had been rather low, because I felt as if you, my reader, were punishing me for not being able to pay with a credit card unless you downloaded the Firefox browser or originated and used a PayPal account. It appeared that when we first launched the product, and didn't TELL people they might encounter a slight difficulty, everything was fine… but then our reward for telling the truth was that I didn't get a single email notification telling me anyone had ordered. 

Ever since we originated this online system back in the fall of 2005, we had a strange problem where roughly 25 but some times as much as 40 percent of all our transactions were unsuccessful.

People were trying to place orders and never completing them. We might end up seeing multiple pings of the same order as the person kept repeating the purchase attempt with the same result. I usually shipped the orders anyway and let people send me a check once they received it. 

Finally, when the Science of Peace came along, there was such a phenomenal increase in the level of interest in our material that we had many more opportunities in a short time to deal with these problems — and that was when we discovered that the PayPal system put Internet Explorer users into an endless loop if they tried to pay with a straight credit card.

It would show you a scrambled password, you typed it in, and instead of going to the screen where you'd fill in your numbers, you'd just get dumped back into the same password screen again, but with another new password. Around and around she goes… and some people kept trying it with the futility of slot-machine players in Vegas, hoping to hit the jackpot but getting nowhere fast.

 

TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW…