Spirit Guide Troubles

Advice Column

From: Troubled Spirit Guide
Subject: Spirit guided meditations

Message Body:
Dear Alisa,

Recently I went to a wiccan shop/cafe- Crone’s Hollow and had one of the most accurate and applicable psychic readings. However, the psychic informed me that one of my spirit guides is trying to contact me. I have been doing meditations where I see my spirit guide and follow them around, but the last ones I have done have been confusing. I don’t understand the lesson my spirit guide is trying to teach me, I will say the last couple times the spirit guide and I have had some… miscommunication. I don’t know what to do that might help me understand what they are trying to teach me as well as help me see things from their point of view. Any ideas?

Dear Troubled Spirit Guide,

I will admit that I am not very familiar with Wicca, but I have done meditations and a bit of spiritual searching for myself, so hopefully applying my knowledge of that will make this beneficial to you.

One of the most important things that I have realized I need to focus on when meditating is making sure to be open and releasing any thoughts and distractions from what is going on at that time. As you seem to know a bit about meditation, I won’t go into detail on this, but just try to make sure that you are clearing your mind of any distractions and are open to the different stimuli and information that you spirit guide may direct toward you.

When I am trying to figure out things spiritually, it helps me to think about why spirituality matters to me and what I want to gain from my spiritual experience. While this can be difficult, and I admit I don’t always have the answers for these questions myself, it helps me to find a place to start exploring spirituality more.

From there, I would suggest working from the basic ideas of communication and relationship building. By keeping these in mind it may help you to understand what your spirit guide is trying to communicate.

In the basic communication model, there is a sender and a receiver. The sender encodes the message and it is sent to the receiver who must decode the message, and send feedback to the sender by encoding a new message and sending it, and the pattern continues.

This is the basic system, but there is a lot that can influence it. One of the key things that is necessary for communication to be effective is to have a shared understanding of something, even if it is just language. Now I hope you have this in common with your spirit guide, or some other form of shared understanding, or else communication would be virtually impossible.

So assuming you do have a shared understanding of meaning, you need to make sure that you are able to decode the message that is being sent, which can be interrupted by things like distractions, so that’s why I strongly suggest letting go of all outside influences, as I mentioned earlier.

With this understanding of the very basic idea of communication, you can begin trying to figure out where the communication is breaking down, and how you might be able to fix it.

Being open minded is something that can be very crucial to situations of miscommunication, and especially when exploring spirituality and learning lessons.

Something else that may help you in this case is looking at yourself and seeing if you can identify vices that you may have, and see if you can see any connection between those and the interactions you have had with your spirit guide. Perhaps your spirit guide is trying to teach you about something in regards to those.

These tips have been very general, but without more insight on the situation, I feel that looking at the basics of communication is the best way to start interpreting where the miscommunication may be happening, and being open minded will help to ease some miscommunication and allow you to be more open to what your spirit guide is trying to tell you.

Dorm Room Halloween Decorations

It’s that time of year when there are colorful leaves all around, a chill comes to the air and pumpkin flavored everything is everywhere.

It’s also the time for carving pumpkins, getting candy and decorating for Halloween. This time can be a difficult time for those who absolutely love this spooky time of the year, but live in a small space like a college dorm room or residence hall.

I suggest getting a few little Halloween decorations to help you get into the Halloween spirit. I don’t have a ton of room in my apartment, but I love Halloween decorations, so I’ve settled for a few small things that are easily transported and stored for my dorm room Halloween decorations.

I don’t have much, but It’s enough to make me think of Halloween when I come back to my room. It also makes me happy to see them, so it works well for me.

I have a cute little door sign that I found last year, and a few pumpkins and some cute Halloween storage book decorations. Although it is simple, it still gets you in the mood for Halloween and adding some dorm room Halloween decorations can really brighten up the look of a dreary dorm room.

To make your own little Halloween set up, all you have to do is get some little Halloween themed things from any shop or store that sells Halloween things. small and flat-ish things work well for dorm rooms because they are also easy to put into storage or pack back and forth from home to college.

Dorm Room Halloween Decorations

My little Halloween room additions.

Emerson Quote

This is a Ralph Waldo Emerson quote that I find very inspirational. I know that I need to work on letting go of mistakes that I’ve made and work on moving forward from them. I find myself thinking about little mishaps that I have throughout the day, and bringing them to mind frequently. I feel like many people could use the advice provided in this quote. There are so many little things that can happen in the course of a day. We just need to keep moving forward and see each day as a new day and a new opportunity without the burden of yesterday. (Yeah, I know, easier said than done, but just try, okay?)

Emerson Quote

Inspirational People: Paul Pullman

Today I said a final goodbye to a man who has made such a positive impact on my life. Paul Pullman taught me so many things over the years, and was a bit like a grandfather to me. I hadn’t seen him in a while before he passed away, but I will miss him greatly.

The first time I met Paul was at the new Karen Pullman’s Pro Shop and Bowling Center that had opened up fairly close to my house. My dad and I just decided to go bowling just for something to do. There were only a few people in the center, and Paul came up to me and asked, “Are you having fun?” I replied that I was. Little did I know that a short while later I would be bowling at the center nearly every Saturday morning in the Saturday Juniors league a short time later, with my first team name being Paul’s Angels.

I spent 8 years on Juniors leagues where Paul was one of the coaches, starting at Karen Pullman’s and moving over to All Star Lanes when the Center was closed and the league moved to join All Star. The team name Paul’s Angels would come up a few more times during the years, and during those years, the number of times that Paul asked me if I was having fun is uncountable.

Fairly early on I realized that If I didn’t enjoy something, it wasn’t worth doing, and that if you’re not enjoying yourself then you’re missing the point. This is just one of the many valuable lessons that I learned from Paul. He focused primarily on the fun of bowling with me. Yes, he coached me and helped me to become a better bowler, but it was in reminding me to have fun where he helped me most. There were many times when I became frustrated with myself, and with bowling in general. Then Paul would come up and remind me to have fun, and although sometimes it always help my mood, it put things in perspective.

This lesson that I learned from Paul has extended far beyond the bowling lanes and has followed me now into my college experience, especially when trying to figure out what I want to do in my career. I want to make sure that I find something that I enjoy doing and that I can excel at, just like bowling.

Paul had an amazing life. He was involved in so many organizations and touched the lives of so many people. He was always a joy to be around, and I wish that I had more time with him. He really meant a lot to me, especially at the time he came into my life. I just hope I can be half as wonderful and touch as many people as he did.

Paul Pullman and Alisa

Paul Pullman and I

For more about Paul Pullman and his life, you can read his obituary here.

Fall on Campus

Fall Campus Picture

Westminster College Campus in October

This is a picture of the my college campus in fall. The campus is really beautiful, and I find it inspiring just to sit around campus and be surrounded by the beauty of nature. I also find it fascinating that there can be times that are so quiet on campus, but other times it is just bustling with activity. It kind of reminds me of the natural ebb and flow of life. There’s a time to be busy, and an time to relax and go with the flow.

Long Distance Relationship Concerns


Advice Column

Subject: LDR With a Genius

Message Body:
Dear Alisa,

I’m dating this really amazing girl. We’ve been in an LDR (long distance relationship) for about 9 months now. She’s a super genius. Like she goes to Harvard, quite literally. Last semester we were totally able to keep up regular contact and date times, but I’m worried about this semester.
See, she want to take 5 full courses, which is basically considered crazy by everyone at her school. I don’t want to tell her to take fewer courses or anything, but I’m just worried she isn’t taking our relationship into consideration when making this decision. I’m afraid she won’t have time for me and we’ll just fizzle into nothing. Do you have any advice on how to broach the subject? Or even just how to get over my feelings of abandonment?

Backburner Girlfriend

Dear Backburner Girlfriend,

Your concerns are valid.  They make sense, and I feel like they would be concerns for a lot of people in your situation.

I’ll start with broaching the topic of feelings, as I feel like that is a good place to start in order to build up to bringing your concerns to your girlfriend.

I understand the fear and concern that you have about being left behind. Even though it’s not the same, I have that fear with some of my friends who go to school far away, or who are accomplishing more with their lives than I feel like I am at the moment. While these feelings are negative emotions, I try to put them in a good light.

I feel that it’s okay for you to feel concerned about her not having time for you, and that you don’t want your relationship to fizzle out. It’s okay to feel those emotions because it shows you care about your relationship. They show that you are serious about what is going on between you two, and that you don’t want to lose it.  Also, negative emotions are just a part of life. It’s acceptable to feel concern, fear, sadness, and other negative emotions because they are just another part of life. They’re the lows that come with the highs on this wonderful emotional roller-coaster that we call life. Just don’t act negatively on top of these emotions. That’s when you get into trouble. If you can act in a more positive way, it will be better.

So, as for resolving the feelings of abandonment, I feel like the first step is acknowledging that they are there. Then I recommend trying to pinpoint what exactly is causing those feelings, which in this case your girlfriend’s busy schedule, the distance, and the fact that you seem a bit intimidated by the fact that she goes to Harvard all seem to be playing a role (I’m just guessing here, so don’t shoot me if I’m wrong). Now, I don’t have any solid tips for getting over the feelings, other than talking about them, and the person you’re going to have to talk to about these feelings is your girlfriend.

So now here’s the scary part, talking about the subject with your girlfriend. I can’t really tell you what method of bringing it up will be best, but do it in a way that is more personal. Don’t do it over text unless there is no other alternative. Call her or talk to her on Skype when doing it. Contact this way will allow you to hear vocal tone and if on Skype see body language.

It might be good to find an in during a conversation relating to the amount of classes she’s taking or her schedule, and go for the time aspect. If you go for that route, it would be a good idea to bring up that you are afraid that she won’t have time to keep up regular contact first, and see if you can make those regular contact and date times you mentioned you had. You could also frame it in a way that you are concerned for her and that you want her to have time to relax, and have time to have date times, etc.

If it turns out that you are going to need to bring it up without a nice segue, I suggest bringing it up in a way that doesn’t put too much pressure on either party if at all possible. Say that you have concerns, but be clear that you want to do what is best for the both of you, and that you don’t want to hinder her personal pursuits.

I also suggest bringing it up sooner than later. You don’t want to let your feelings sit and fester until they become too much and may cause a greater threat to the relationship (I’m not saying this will happen, but it could if you bottle up a lot of negative emotions).

In general, don’t be snappy about it. Be considerate of what she has to say. Listen, and she may even have a solution that you don’t know of yet. And although it is scary because you don’t know what her reaction will be, I doubt she will hate you for it. This is just a bump. Things like this happen in all relationships. The key is communication.

Best wishes,


P.S. Congrats on 9 months. I’m sure you guys have made it this far beacause your relationship is strong. It’s even more of a reason why you’ll totally get through it.


Tips to Improve Concentration In Class

Advice Column

From: Off In La La Land
Subject: Concentration Help

Hi Alisa,

I’m having trouble concentrating in my classes. I know that I need to get this fixed before I get much farther in the semester if I want to save my grades. Do you have any tips for paying more attention in class?

Hi La La,

I understand that concentrating  can be difficult sometimes. It can be difficult at all levels, whether it be Elementary school all the way up to sitting in meetings when you’re in an actual job. Paying attention in whatever situation you are in can really help in the long run. It will help you retain more later, like on the final test, during a work project, or when you find yourself in a situation where the knowledge you learned may come in handy.

Luckily, I can usually pay attention pretty well in class, but I do have some tips that help me and help others that I know when we do have those difficult times concentrating

Alisa’s Top 10 Tips To Improve Concentration

  1. Don’t Sit by Distracting People- This is one of the most basic ways to help improve concentration. Don’t sit by the people who you will talk to, or who will take your attention away from the main part of the class by messing around on the internet, making jokes, or talking about weekend plans. Yes, it may be hard to say no to sitting by your friends, it will help you in the long run if you know you will talk to them. (This can sometimes be difficult if you have a seating arrangement, but if it is a serious problem, talk to your teacher and they will usually be understanding.)
  2. Face The Front of the Room-I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but sometimes you may find yourself turning your body away from the front of the room and becoming distracted by things around you. If you just position your body facing the front of the room (and oftentimes, facing front in your seat), it causes you to look more at the teacher, which improves concentration by allowing you to make eye contact and pay more attention to what is being said.
  3. Stop Checking the Clock Every 5 Minutes- Just stop, honestly. It’s not doing you any good. Staring at the clock doesn’t make time go any faster, and it distracts you from the topic at hand. When you keep checking the clock it causes thoughts about how slow time is passing, and causes you to get frustrated. If you don’t check, time will seem to move faster, and you won’t be as frustrated, even if it is a class that you just don’t like at all.
  4. Disconnect From Technology- Oh, yeah, I went there. If you really want to improve, you have to disconnect from technology. It’s insanely distracting. If you don’t need to use a computer for a class, don’t. If you do need to use the computer, just disconnect from the Wi-Fi if at all possible, it’s a lot harder to get distracted that way.  I know in today’s world, it’s hard to ignore your phone and all the different things it can do. I love my phone too, but it’s better to just turn it off during class time. 
  5. Take Notes- This is definitely one of the most important things to do when trying to pay attention in class. Taking notes improves memory also, so when you take notes you are helping yourself to do better on tests as well. Taking notes by hand (yes, by hand, I told you to get rid of your technology) is something that can help you improve concentration by  allowing you to keep track of the main points of the lesson.
  6. Doodle, but Don’t Overdo It- Are you a visual learner? Well, then by all means, doodle. Draw diagrams and tables if it helps you remember the information. You can even draw a nice flower or other design in the margins. Just make sure not to get too carried away by it. Keep the doodling to a minimum and keep it relevant.
  7. Participate- Yes, the dreaded class participation. I know participating in class can be a bit scary sometimes, but it really does help. Adding to the discussion will show your teacher that you are paying attention, and it can even help you understand the material better. Asking a question is another good way to participate and improve concentration. You can even make it a goal for yourself to either add to a discussion or ask a question once or twice per class. It will help you focus on what is going on in the class.
  8. Fidget a Little Bit- Your body is made to move. Sitting in one position for a long time can be very uncomfortable (and some desks don’t help the comfort level one bit). If you’re feeling uncomfortable, stretch in place, shift positions, just move a little. It will help improve concentration because you won’t be sitting and thinking about how uncomfortable you are.  If you need to fidget a bit more to relieve stress or anxiety, or just because you’re a fidgeter, do it in a way that will not attract much attention, as to not distract others (i.e. tap your foot, twirl your pen between your fingers, etc.).
  9. Take A Breath- I’ve left the two most important tips for last. Simply take a deep breath. Close your eyes and breathe. Just take a moment to do this at the beginning of class, and at any moment you are feeling particularly distracted. It will help clear your mind, and help you to clear your head a bit.
  10. Focus On Being In the Here and Now- I know this is easier said than done, but i you combine it with #9, you’ll have an easier time. Do  #9 and then work on clearing your mind of any other obligations, assignments, classes, tests, anxieties, etc. Then you need to try to be present in the moment. If you work on being in the moment, then you won’t be thinking of anything else other than the moment that you are in, and the class that you are in at the current time. Being present mentally will help you pay loads more attention, I promise.

Best wishes,


Rockin’ with the Scotts

Considering the title of this post, one may think that I am just referring to my family, but oh no. I’m talking about a diverse group of people who come from all over the world, but trace their ancestry back to the borders of Scotland, back to the mighty Clan Scott.

Clan Scott AGM

The red modern Clan Scott tartan with my lanyard from the 2015 AGM.

A couple of weekends ago I traveled to Estes Park, Colorado to attend the Longs Peak Scottish-Irish Highland Festival where Clan Scott Society held their Annual General Meeting. Clan is means family, or a group of closely related families, and is usually used in reference to groups of Scottish families.

The Clan Scott AGM happens every year at different places throughout the US. This is the first time that I have been able to attend one and fully participate.

First, I want to discuss the festival itself. It is so much larger than the one that we have locally. The location is so much bigger and there are so many more places to go and things to do. It was hard to figure out where I wanted to be because I wanted to be everywhere at once.

There were some awesome vendors and I was able to get a lot of cool stuff that I wouldn’t have been able to get had I not been at this festival. There was also a ton of great food. The Scottish barbecue was incredible. I also enjoyed being able to walk around and see different events going on around me. There were bagpiping competitions, highland dancing competitions, the traditional Highland athletics, and many other entertainment opportunities.

One of my favorite parts of seeing all of the events was being able to see some awesome new bands that I had never heard of before. I really enjoyed the music from The Elders and Albannach. The Elders have a kind of Irish Folk/Rock vibe, and Albannach has a Scottish primal sound. I don’t know if that makes a whole lot of sense, So I’ll link to a couple of videos to show you guys what I’m talking about at the bottom of this post.

Now, back to the Clan Scott AGM part. I enjoyed being able to participate in this. The actual meeting part was kind of boring, it was great to meet so many other people who are part of Clan Scott, as well as seeing a different and bigger Clan Scott tent setup than what my family puts up at local events. (My dad is comissioner for Clan Scott Society in our state, so we go to the local festivals and set up an information tent, and we never see this many members of Clan Scott drop by.)  Here’s a picture of the tent with just a few of the people who were there visible:

Clan Scott Tent Colorado 2015

Clan Scott Tent, Longs Peak Highland Festival 2015

I was one of the youngest participants, and part of the meeting discussed attracting younger members. Due to this, I may be helping the Clan to expand their social media presence. This is exciting for me because it will give me experience and it gives me a way to be a bit more involved with the clan overall.

The biggest takeaway I experienced from this trip was to meet with others who are as passionate about their heritage as I am. It was wonderful to be surrounded by so many people who care about keeping their heritage alive, and not only Scottish heritage in general, but that of my clan. Now I have a greater feeling that I am a part of something bigger than what I see on a daily basis. I feel that I can see the “bigger picture” a bit better now and that I’m a part of a community that I hadn’t really felt like I was a significant part of before.

I’ll probably be posting a Longs Peak Scottish-Irish Festival haul video in a few weeks. Keep an eye out!

Here are those videos I promised earlier in the post: