December 15, 2015

what gets in the way...


It's been days and days since I moved to this online space. It's still not totally ready-ready (as in, I haven't added some things or done some things I plan to do). And after moving almost half my posts here, I posted a couple of times... and then I stopped.

Things here came to a stand-still. No new pages. No new posts.

What stopped me? What got in my way?

Me.

For whatever reason, I felt sort of... intimidated. Intimidated to start posting new blog posts in (yet another) new space. Intimidated by wondering if folks think I'm flaky for changing online homes twice in less than a year. Intimidated by wondering if anyone will even read what I post in this new space.

I've gotten in my own way far too often in my life. I've made the decision and the commitment that I'm not going to do it here.

So - I'm doing this new post. And by the writing of it and the posting of it, I'm hoping to break the stuckness, the hesitancy, the almost-paralysis I've been feeling about posting here.

And I think what I'll start with is an update...

I've been keeping busy with some background things regarding this space and other things connected with how I'm planning to do things in 2016. I've been doing intuitive readings and facilitating the Holiday Inner Harmony program.

I'm taking a break from facebook. I've deactivated my personal account - and it's a temporary thing but I'm not sure how long "temporary" will be. (The Subtle Harmony page is still active, so stop on by!)

Instagram is where I'm hanging out a lot these days. My account is here (I'm @subtleharmonyginwhite on instagram) and it would be great to connect if you're there too.





I've been reading. (And I've come across some really good stuff.)


I've been making new things for the etsy shop.


I've been painting. Lots of painting. Playing with paint, just letting myself paint whatever comes out, is so incredibly nourishing to my soul.


I've been doing the usual out and about things (including more doctor visits and tests, as I continue to search for what's going on with my balance issues).




I still take my cane with me when I go out - I'm using the cane I got several years ago when I broke my foot and had a long healing process of physical therapy. It's colorful, so that's a perk for me when it comes to using a cane!

My grandmother had a fabulous wood cane (her "walking stick" as she called it) and I always thought it was so full of character. When she died, someone else in the family claimed it - sometimes I think it would be good to have a cane like that too, and I could swap out the colorful and the wood as I wanted.

To be honest, though, I would prefer to need no cane at all. But I'm grateful for being able to walk, even if it means using a cane when and if I need one. I am incredibly grateful - and daily reminded of my gratitude - for being able to walk and move.

When physical things happen, they can remind us of things we might sometimes tend to take for granted.

So I'm being grateful a whole lot these days.

And I'm looking for the lessons I'm meant to learn... from my current physical challenges, and from whatever life brings. I'm looking for the things I'm meant to release as well as the new things I'm called to do.

I'm moving along on the spiral.

Because that's what we do as we journey through a life.






December 3, 2015

it is okay...

As I've been going through blog posts, deciding which ones to move over here and which ones to archive for my own personal memories of my writings, I came across some posts that somehow missed the last blog / site transition.

The (a-little-revised) post below is one of those. It's from November 2011. I want to remember what I wrote back then - I want to remember it and I want it to sink in for me even deeper now - and I decided not to keep it tucked away only in my personal digital storage locker. So here it is...
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I never tried to draw a face until recently. But thanks to some things I'm doing at willowing, I recently did an art journal page that had a face for the first time.


The person I drew doesn't look like me (although sometimes I wish for purple hair!).

But she represents me.

On the other side of the page, beneath the words that are visible, beneath the layers of markers and paint and watercolor pencils and gesso, there's a whole page of sentences of stuff that goes through my head sometimes - the negative stuff, like... I'm not good enough.

And - I can't do this.

Those kinds of icky thoughts that make us not feel good about ourselves.

But then, at the end of the project, I'm left with the words that are visible...

it is OKAY to be ME

I've been thinking about this two-page spread and how it relates to all of my seven major chakras...

As a first chakra issue, the root chakra - It is safe for me to BE.

From a second chakra viewpoint, the sacral chakra - It is okay for me to be myself in relationship with others.

As a third chakra issue, the solar plexus chakra - I can step into my personal power, I can be self-actualized.

Looking at it from the fourth chakra, the heart chakra - I can love myself enough to accept myself.

As a fifth chakra issue, the throat chakra - I can speak and express my truth.

From the viewpoint of the sixth chakra, the third eye chakra - I can be open to my intuition and see the guidance to live my life and follow my own path.

And looking at it from the seventh chakra, the crown chakra - I am connected to God, one with all, and that connection makes me whole and okay.

All of this is big for me.

For so much of my life I was afraid of being myself - because I might be rejected, I might fail, I might not measure up, I might not be accepted. But the thing is... I am so beyond tired of living that way.

The past several years have been a time of learning to stop living that way - and gradually, very gradually, I have come to the place where (most days) I really know that the words in my art journaling project are true.

It is okay to be me.

It's more than okay, actually. It's necessary. It's needed. It is essential to my life to be who I am.

And if that means risking displeasure, if that means rejection, if that means not meeting certain expectations, if that means being unfriended on facebook or not being invited to a gathering... then so be it. I'm finally willing to take those risks, because I have realized - finally, fully, deep-down-realized - that some things are worth the risk.

And being okay with being me is worth the risk.

It is okay to be me.

It really is okay. It is okay for us all to be who we are. It is okay for you to be you. It is OKAY. Be yourself. Trust yourself. It might mean letting go of some things, letting go of some ideas or thoughts, letting go of some people.

And although letting go can be hard, it's not good to lose yourself in the process of trying to hold on.

Sometimes letting go is the path to peace, the path to inner harmony.

And it is okay. It is all okay.





November 29, 2015

you will have created something...


Creativity matters. Making art matters.

It doesn't matter if you think it's any good or not. It doesn't matter if you make money at it or not. It doesn't matter if it's something big or something small.

It's part of soul-nourishment and self-care.

It's part of living a fulfilling life and connecting to your inner self.


"The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem.
 Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward.
 You will have created something."   ~Kurt Vonnegut

Create something. Anything.

Do it for your soul.




November 27, 2015

nourish nurture love...


Nourish your heart, your self, your life, your relationships, your body, your creativity, your spirit, your soul, your world.

Nourish love.

Nurture your heart, your self, your life, your relationships, your body, your creativity, your spirit, your soul, your world.

Nurture love.

Love.

Just love.

It all comes back to love.




November 16, 2015

the power of music and memory...


Late Saturday night, feeling distracted and unsettled, I picked up the remote and started clicking through tv channels.

I was stopped by Austin City Limits on PBS, James Taylor singing and jamming with his band.

My heart immediately lightened as I listened to the music.

~~~~~

You've got a friend.

It's the early 70s and I'm riding in the backseat on the long drive across the state to drop my brother and his friends at a church retreat before my parents and I spend a few days exploring Jekyll Island. I'm too young to join the teens at camp - our five-year age difference puts my brother in high school while I'm only in elementary school.

I want my brother and his friends to think I'm cool and interesting, but I'm shy and tongue-tied. As usual, I'm the invisible little sister. The quiet one. The weird one.

I listen to the radio as the road unfolds in front of us for hours.

Music is one of my best friends.

~~~~~

It's our song, she tells us as we sit around the table at Pizza Hut. One of our songs, I mean. He said it reminds him of me, and I said it reminds me of him. And it does, It really describes how we feel. We make each other smile, you know?

She's talking about James Taylor's Your Smiling Face. We're in high school, a group of girlfriends out for pizza and a movie. The rest of us nod knowingly. We've seen our friend and her new guy, the two of them smiling and laughing together, their blond heads close.

I love the time spent with friends but the high school years are difficult for me, for many reasons, and I'm not-so-secretly looking forward to the next phase.

~~~~~

As I watch James Taylor on Austin City Limits, Carly Simon comes to my mind...

It's 1987 and I'm in grad school, immersed in writing a paper that's due the next day. I study and work best with music blasting and my thick hair piled on top of my head, which means the radio is blaring in the 1-bedroom off-campus apartment I share with my black cat. I move back and forth between the typewriter on the old wooden desk I refinished several years earlier when I was a freshman in college, and the papers and index cards spread all over the floor.

Coming around again.

Carly Simon's latest song is playing and my body sways to the music as I sort through notes for the paper I'm writing. I moved out on my own when I was 20, living in a tiny apartment in my hometown, finishing college and working various jobs. But grad school is my first time living in another state, away from family, moving there alone with my sweet kitty.

I have a blond-haired guy of my own now, we've been together for a few years, and things are rocky with us at the moment. But although my romantic life is shaky, my social life in general is full and fabulous to an extent like never before.

Do I realize that I'll always think of my grad school time - even decades later - as one of the best times of my life?

~~~~~

I love this movie, I say to my husband as we snuggle on our couch watching Sleepless in Seattle on video.  It's the mid-90s, we've been married for several years by now, and we recently left apartment living to purchase a house. I didn't marry my blond-haired guy from earlier years; my husband's hair is dark-almost-black, one of the few physical indications of his Creek ancestry.

Carly Simon sings In the Wee Small Hours while Meg Ryan, as Annie, gets out of bed during the night and goes downstairs, her thoughts on Tom Hanks' character, Sam.

I nestle into the cushions even more, cozy and content in my own home, with my own love, watching the movie.

~~~~~

Listening to James Taylor also makes me think of Carole King...

The songs on the Tapestry album are embedded in my life's personal soundtrack. They are interwoven with my years, part of the literal tapestry of my life.  I played my LP so much it was scratchy; I played the cassette so often it was worn.

I think of those songs, memories of decades flashing through my mind, while I watch James Taylor sing on the screen.

I feel his music lift my spirits even more. And not only that, the music grounds me. It brings me more fully to center, more completely into my body.

Even as the memories pass through, I can feel myself in the present and enjoying the moment.

Enjoying the music.

~~~~~

By the end of the show, my mood was in a much different place than when I first picked up the tv remote.

Music can do that.

Music is powerful.

And so are memories.


direct link to video: https://youtu.be/ZLo1Camqa9s


November 12, 2015

replenish...

For the past few years, I've chosen a word of the year. Or - to be more accurate - a word has chosen me each year.

New Year's resolutions never really were my jam. But when I heard about the word-of-the-year as a way of choosing a word or theme to focus on and incorporate through the year, it resonated with me.

The words always seem to choose me, coming to me and fitting inside my bones with a knowing of this is my word. It usually happens when I'm not consciously thinking about a new word-of-the-year. And the words have always shown up for me sometime during the period of mid-August through mid-November... along with a strong nudge not to wait until the calendar year begins before I put the word into action.

(Not that these words aren't in action at other times anyway. But the word-of-the-year gives that theme more emphasis in my life - and my experience has been that the word, the theme, shows its light side and its shadow side as it teaches me, gives me its medicine, roots into my being.)

I carry all my previous year-words with me, as they continue to work magic and healing, as they continue to offer me lessons and guidance, as they continue to be important reminders and touchstones for me.

Nourish.

Clarity.

Integration.

Sovereignty. (The word with me this year, 2015.)

Several weeks ago, in the middle of watching a tv show and not consciously thinking about a word-of-the-year, all of a sudden I knew what my 2016 word would be. And just as surely, I knew I wasn't meant to wait until 2016 to embrace this word, this theme.


Replenish is the word that has chosen me this time.

When I google the word, these meanings come up:

fill (something) up again

recharge

freshen

restore

I'm already incorporating the word - replenish - into my life, on all levels. Physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. In my work, in my play, in my self-care, in my health, in my time.

My commitment is to replenish myself and my life. To fill the well. To recharge and restore.

In every area of my life.

And as I do, I'll continue to embrace previous words of previous years, because they're important too. Nourish. Clarity. Integration. Sovereignty. (And so many other words that are important to incorporate but haven't appeared as my word-of-the-year.)

Replenish.

Is there some area of your life that needs to be restored or recharged? Do you need to fill the well? Do you need nourishment and replenishment?

If so... what can you do today that would help replenish you?

Do that - whatever it is - if you can.





October 20, 2015

the hours of your days...

[Below is a slightly revised version of a post I wrote in the spring on a former site. This topic has come up in several personal conversations lately, and I decided to re-visit this post - for myself, and also in case it resonates with you too...]


Many months ago (almost a year now) on a late autumn Sunday afternoon, I got very quiet - inside and out - and asked myself about my life and how I wanted it to look.

I'd done exercises before, prompts from books or workshops, asking what I would do if I didn't have to think about money.

But that Sunday I asked myself a slightly different version of the question.

If we somehow had sooooooo much money that I didn't need to take money into consideration... how would I spend the hours of my days?

What would a typical day look like for me?

How would I spend my time on a "normal" day?

How would I spend the hours of my days?

Phrasing the question like this turned out to be more illuminating for me than other prompts of this kind I've done before.

My answers weren't all unexpected - but there were some surprising pieces.

I immediately started making some changes in my life, things to bring me closer to the vision (and the feeling) I discovered that day.

When I make decisions now, when I try to figure out the next steps to take, I go back to that day and remember.

And I also look (and feel) for changes in how I respond. Because what we wanted a year ago might be different in some - or many - ways from what we realize we want now.

Knowing how I would want to spend my hours during a typical day, without needing to take money into consideration, helps me stay connected to my core desires and what I truly want to do.

The key thing was being honest with myself. Really plugging into that imaginary-alternate-reality space of my question... and then getting very honest with myself about what I really truly would want to do, how I really truly would want to spend my hours.

Not what others tell me to want.

Not what I think I "should" want.

Not what I hear or read other people saying what they want.

(I've been consciously trying hard to get away from subtle forms of peer pressure, or group-think, or going-along-with-the-crowd (even the crowd that believes it's not "the crowd" but in reality - yeah, still "the crowd") ... and, instead, getting clear and honest about what is true for me.)

What I want. For my life. The hours of my days.

What would those hours of my days look like? And do the decisions I make - and the ways I spend my time - resonate with that? And if not, what can I do to be more in alignment?

So...

If you get very quiet inside and connect to the question and connect to your inner self.. how would you spend the hours of your days?

Knowing the honest answer to that question can be an amazing thing.





October 8, 2015

with just a smile...

Sometimes something small - even just a smile - can have more impact on someone else than we might think.

I hear and read a lot about people looking for their life purpose, their mission, what they're meant to do... (and I've thought about these things too)... and I don't think it always has to be some big or grand "thing." As we live our life, we live our purpose - and sometimes our purpose on a given day can be something as simple as just a smile.

Yesterday I had a stress-filled medical appointment. Health-related stuff (including doctor visits) is a huge anxiety trigger for me in general, so I went into that physician's office feeling anxious (and putting my calming tools to work - the breathing techniques, the prayers, the crystals I had with me). I felt self-conscious being out and about with my cane. I've been anxious about my symptoms, I was anxious about the possibility of bad news from the doctor, and I was anxious in general because it was a doc appointment so hello, anxiety trigger.

The front desk staff was courteous but curt, and gave me totally different information than I'd received in my phone call to the office the day before - which resulted in having to fill out forms I'd already completed and submitted online. No big deal but it meant I'd been given the wrong time to arrive (or the wrong info on either the phone call or at the desk) and it caught me off-guard. I started to feel rushed and flustered.

The other staff - once I was in the "back" - treated me professionally but it all felt so automatic and rote and non-personal. It's a big specialty practice with several doctors, most patients aren't there on a regular basis, and I can understand how it might be challenging to deal with so many patients, so many people, all-day-every-day.

And the time with the doctor was ... not good. He kept interrupting me, he got frustrated with me, and I got increasingly flustered and anxious as I tried to answer his questions. He sent me to another part of the building for a couple of tests, then saw me again in the exam room - and in the time between those exam room visits, as I did those tests and sat in a small waiting room before being taken to the exam room again - I had to fight back the tears... and it's rare (and I do mean rare) for me to cry in public.

Does your doctor ever make you feel stupid? That's how I felt yesterday. (I know, I shouldn't say anyone made me feel a certain way because I'm responsible for my feelings, and there's the whole No one can make you feel inferior without your consent (as Eleanor Roosevelt said) and all that) - but I ended up feeling stupid and flustered, and my emotions were a reaction to the way he handled the appointment.)

This wasn't my first visit to this office but it was my first appointment with this doctor - my former doc went into an even more specialized area of care and no longer sees patients with my symptoms. I'd heard this guy wasn't only a good doctor but also a good, kind person... so when my experience didn't match that, the self-blaming, self-kicking started up - maybe it was just me, maybe it was something about my personality, or maybe I was talking too much, or maybe I was being too sensitive, or maybe it was a case of a physician seeing a woman my age who is overweight and unemployed and honest about being anxious and he was thinking "unintelligent neurotic housewife here."

Or maybe he was just having a bad day.

I sat in the exam room the second time, nodding at what he said, trying not to let him see how upset I was feeling, and just wanting to get the hell away from there.

And then he left the room and a woman came to guide me to another part of the building to schedule some tests. When she came to get me, she smiled really big and then she said something and we laughed... And I felt better. For a little while, I felt better. We stopped at her work station and she gave me a sheet of instructions for the tests (what to expect, things to avoid) and then she walked me the rest of the way to turn me over to the person who would do the actual scheduling of said tests.

As she left me, she gave me a final big friendly smile and a soft touch on the shoulder.

My thank you to her as she walked away was full of huge gratitude.

Gratitude for her kindness. Gratitude for her moment of connection. Gratitude for her smile helping me feel less stupid and scared.

It reminded me of what I've said before, and truly believe.

We never know how much we might touch someone - or what a difference we might make - with just a smile.





September 30, 2015

feeling safe and root chakra work...


I'm going to just say it... I haven't been feeling safe lately.

My anxiety is very related to feeling unsafe, and my anxiety has been amped up a lot this year.

Some family stuff is hitting some deep-rooted places, so that's part of it.

Our financial situation can affect my feelings of safety and security, so that's an issue.

And health stuff (which is my biggest anxiety trigger that most anxiety-reducing techniques I've learned and used over the years haven't helped much, or helped enough) has been a problem. I've mentioned a few things about my health here and there, but I haven't shared the full extent of what's going on.

I won't get into all the details but here's some of what's happening... The fall I took in January 2014 left residual problems for me. I injured my foot a few months ago and it hasn't fully healed - and yesterday I re-aggravated it and today I'm back in a walking cast. And vertigo - which has been a periodic visitor in my life since 1998 - has been with me for weeks... and a recent doc appointment revealed that the initial diagnosis for the equilibrium problems might not be what's going on after all (or not the only thing). So I've got more doctors, and more appointments, ahead. In the meantime, I walk with a cane at times. I stay at home more than usual, even when I'd like to go out and be around people... or go for a walk.

There's a lot of uncertainty in my life right now about several things, some of them major.

And I've been feeling quite alone (even though i know I'm not really alone). Calls with friends don't always happen, I tend to withdraw when I'm not feeling well and if others don't reach out then no connection is made (and yes, I do realize it's on me to reach out and let friends know what's going on and tell them it would be helpful to have some extra support or more frequent touching-base-even-briefly times), plus there's that thing I mentioned above about staying at home even when I'd like to go out.

All of this contributes to feeling unsafe.

In addition to traditional medical things, alternative health things, and abundant self-care and calming techniques, I'm doing some focused work with my root chakra.

The root chakra is related to physical survival, feeling safe, being rooted and grounded, being connected to this existence on Mama Earth.

I'm giving my other chakras attention too, but I'm doing extra focusing on my root chakra because of my feelings of not being safe... and my anxiety... and the distrust I'm feeling for my physical body that makes me want to not be fully embodied, which means my energy can stay too much in-my-head or my upper chakras... and my feelings of not being fully rooted and grounded (not only can anxiety lead to those feelings, but so can the vertigo and my feelings of being off-balance and literally feeling like I'm not rooted).

Here are some of the thing I'm doing for root chakra work...

I'm a crystal-lovin' woman, so of course my stone helpers are with me.


Red jasper, smokey quartz, garnet, black tourmaline, black obsidian, snowflake obsidian, black onyx, red tigerseye, jet... these (and others) are helpful stones and crystals for the root chakra.

I diffuse essential oils such as cedarwood, frankincense, vetiver, pine, patchouli - these are some of the oils that are grounding or help boost the energy of the root chakra.

I've been doing some root-chakra-specific meditations. This one on youtube with Tibetan singing bowls has become one of my new favorites.

the direct link is here: https://youtu.be/-V0IMYlYVZQ

Eating grounding foods and doing grounding visualizations also help the root chakra.

Another thing I've been doing is spending more time with my etsy shop. Making things helps ground me. And crafting and painting are activities I can pick up or put down depending on how I'm feeling physically.

I've also been making time to intentionally do things that help me with centering. Self-care is big on the list. So is connecting with joy as much as possible.

But I'll admit it's often difficult lately.

At times like this, though, self-care and joy and creativity and connection are probably even more important than ever.

And then there's that root chakra again, and its relationship to physical needs, survival, feeling safe, security, stability, being grounded, being rooted, being embodied, the reality of this earthly life.

The root chakra is the I AM chakra.


 So I focus extra time on my root chakra, I give it extra energy, I work to balance it and cleanse it and clear it and strengthen it.

And I repeat to myself some root chakra mantras...

I am here.

I am safe.

I am.



August 27, 2015

calming the anxiety...


For a variety of reasons - some I can identify and probably some beneath my conscious awareness - my anxiety has been amped up this summer.

Some of my usual tools haven't been helping as much as they typically do. And sometimes I forget to use some of the tools I've learned and gathered over the years. (I don't know why, but there can be times in the midst of 'stuff' that I can forget that I know what I know.)

Around a month or so ago, I realized the thing this summer that's been absolutely calming my anxiety, every time, no matter what, is painting.

Playing with paint on the canvas.




Or in the big spiral-bound pad.



Moving the paint on the canvas or the paper as I stand at the table-top easel in my kitchen.



I'm still using the other tools in my "toolkit" of anxiety-reduction techniques that help me.

I'm being more conscious about returning to some of the tools that I'd been forgetting (or had let slide).

I'm focusing a lot on my self-care.

But the sure-fire way to still my inner trembling, to completely quiet my anxious thoughts and underlying feelings of anxiety - for me, this summer - it's turned out to be painting. More than anything else.

When I realized this was happening, I was sort of surprised. But I welcome the times of total freedom from the anxious feelings.

I've known for quite a while that letting myself paint was soul-care for me. Painting whatever colors seem to be calling to me at the time, moving my hand or my brush in whatever way feels good at the time, not worrying about how it looks, not wondering whether I'll show it to anyone, not being concerned what anyone will think if I do show what I've painted.

Just being with the paint and the painting. In the moment. In the flow. In the now.

Losing myself and my anxiety in the calming of painting.

Whatever does this for you - whatever stills the anxiety, whatever calms you, whatever connects you to the flow that helps you find your inner quiet when you need it - I hope you make time for that.  ♥




June 11, 2015

coming back to the present with garnet...


I've been quiet here on the blog lately.

I recently deactivated my personal facebook account (it's a temporary break from fb).

I've cut back on my Subtle Harmony work.

I'm not writing as much as I want, or as much I expected to be writing - but that's okay, and I'm not forcing it.

Other events in life are taking priority right now.

There's the injury I sustained over the weekend and the recovery time involved with that.

There's the close family member whose melanoma has metastasized to the brain. I won't share all the details because they're not mine to share - but there's so much to that whole situation and it's affecting time, energy, and the focus of daily life in my household. My husband is heavily involved in the day-by-day changing details of taking care of things... and there are so many things. Plus countless calls and texts he gets and makes, and I've been doing some of that too, to try to help ease (even a little bit) the load he's carrying.

There are the long talks my husband and I have had about things we need to put into place and take care of in order to better prepare for an end-of-life situation when it happens with us. Sure, we've done some of that already - we both have wills, we both have living wills, we have important documents in a safe place. But this family experience has been a reminder, an eye-opener, for us.

I helped care for my parents during the last several months of my father's life. In some ways, the situations are similar: the enormous emotional and mental and physical energy it takes, the time involved with even little things that never occur to you until you're faced with them, the time and energy in dealing with out-of-the-blue things that aren't necessarily uncommon in these circumstances but (again) come as a surprise because most people don't even consider these things happening... until they happen.

In other ways, though, the situations are different: my parents were much older, yes, but a main thing is they had made certain plans and preparations that didn't leave so many questions or had family members scrambling for certain information.

A few in-my-face observations of this time... Tension and stress have been high in my world and my family. We treasure any chance to laugh. The world can be very narrow some days to what needs to be done that day to get through and take care of immediate needs. Priorities can come into sharp focus.

And then there's my own anxiety. And my anxiety triggers.

Some days I've had meltdowns about the uncertainty of the future. Fear of the what ifs.

It's hard to ignore the realities of life when they're staring you right in the face - and some of those realities can be scary indeed.

I've had times of crying or times of being on the verge of panic - and I have to consciously and intentionally do my best to bring myself back to the present moment.

My trusty and beloved black tourmaline is always helpful to me in grounding and centering, but almandine garnet has been another almost-constant crystal companion these days. It's grounding. It's protective and calming - and it's strengthening. When I'm feeling fearful about the future, when I notice the lack of feeling safe and the lack of feeling secure, almandine garnet helps with those root-chakra issues and helps me connect with feelings of safety and security and love and strength.  As this site states: Its energy helps alleviate worry, panic and fear, and assists in maintaining a calm connection to the present. It allows one to perceive the absolute support of the Universe.


Again and again, I bring myself back to the present, back to center.

I breathe. I connect above and below. And I tell myself: In this present moment, all is well. In this present moment, I am fine. In this present moment, my husband is alive and healthy. In this present moment, I have all I need.

What happens, though, when those statements are not true?

What happens if, in the present moment, you're in incredible pain? Or if, in the present moment, a spouse or a child is taking final breaths of life? Or any number of things that feel far from all is well?

I'll honestly admit I have those questions.

And I'll honestly admit I have no concrete answers.

I can say things like: trust.

I can say things like: ultimately, no matter what, whether things seems wonderful or things seem disastrous, all will be well.

But in the down-and-dirty day-to-day, it can be hard to hold onto those beliefs... or even believe them at all.

And I don't have the answers. I'm not a theologian. I teach - and sometimes what I teach can have spiritual aspects - but I don't, at all, hold myself or put myself out there as a spiritual teacher or spiritual leader. (And I'm incredibly picky about who I call my "spiritual teachers" - and even pickier about who is a "spiritual leader" for me -regardless of the subject they teach or the work they do.)

I know what I believe, but I also know those beliefs can feel shaky at times - and incredibly strengthening to me at other times.

So, not knowing the answers but trying to get through my days as best I can and with as much grace as I can, I connect above and below, I pray and I ground, I hold on to anything that might help me (including crystals and stones), and I breathe and I talk and I come back to the present.

Because the present is the only moment that's right now.



April 21, 2015

death and rebirth...


Last year, when going through the priestess process with Lisa Michaels, one of the things necessary to do before emerging as a priestess was to go through a shamanic death and rebirth.

This year I've been in her high priestess program, and recently I went through another shamanic death and rebirth... this time, being reborn into New Earth with the frequency of high priestess.

This week I'll go through an emergence ceremony - emerging as a high priestess.

What does this mean for me?

I'm changed. Again.

Parts of me have died. Again.

Part of me has been reborn. Again.

We are always changing, evolving, marked by time and experiences as we go through life.

There are many deaths - some big, some small, some internal within us, some with things / situations / people.

The shift for me into being a priestess was a change I felt inside. The same has been happening during these months of being a high priestess initiate. A greater sense of personal power. A sovereignty within myself in a way I didn't know sovereignty until relatively recently in my life. Being able to hold a higher and cleaner frequency of energy even more than I used to be able to do. Being able to hold space (holding space is very much a part of what a priestess does) in an even deeper and more extensive way... holding space for groups, holding space for others, holding space for an individual or a situation, and holding space for myself.

All of this is happening on a deep level, inside of me, energetically and spiritually.

But it carries over and impacts everything for me.

Almost two weeks ago, I hit a very difficult period (in the midst of what has been a very difficult 2-plus years) with several hard things happening at once. By the end of last week something within me shifted. In some ways it was subtle. In other ways it was extreme.

Do I believe it's connected to these past two years of priestessing, of connecting to the priestess energy and archetype within, to shedding what doesn't fit with that energy, to going through my shamanic death and rebirth into high priestess?

Yes. My priestess process isn't the only reason - I believe several things intertwine and work together to bring me to the place I find myself now - but I firmly believe it's connected.

Do I believe this will be the last shift or evolution or iteration I experience? No, not unless my life ends now. I believe we're always in process. We're always continuing along the spiral.

Will this shift impact my work?

Oh, yes. It already has. And more is to come.

Aho.





April 19, 2015

reminders of heart loves...


For a few different reasons, much of this month so far has been difficult. Hugely difficult with some tough stuff going on.

But something interesting has happened in the midst of the upset and worry and fear and tough stuff...

I've been reminded of what my heart loves.

These aren't new revelations for me. I tend to think that sometimes we are reminded again and again, whether over the years or over the months, and sometimes we re-remember at a new or deeper level, and we get reminders.

If you've been reading my blog or following me for long, my reminders probably won't come as new revelations for you either.

I've been reminded of how much I love my calico kitty girl.

And writing - fiction and nonfiction.

And doing intuitive readings.

And doing energy work.

And painting.

I've been reminded of the presence and love and grace of God even when I sometimes feel I've lost that connection (but I never truly have, because the connection is always always always there, no matter how it feels to me).

I've been reminded of love.

And I've been reminded that sometimes heart love means letting go.

I have a renewed commitment to staying connected to my heart loves. I have a renewed commitment to myself, and to what I feel I'm here to offer.

Whatever you love, I hope you'll find ways to stay connected to it. I hope you'll keep it close.

But I also believe that sometimes you'll be reminded - all over again, or in a new way or a deeper way - of your heart loves. Like a new waking up. A little jolt of oh yes I love that! 

And with the reminders can come gratitude. So much gratitude. Because where would we be without those heart loves?










April 7, 2015

joy noticings...


This month I'm participating in Susannah Conway's April Love 2015 - and something I've realized is that the brief daily prompts help me notice.

And so far, they've helped me notice joy.

It can be in a small way, a little something, but the noticing of joy is there for me. The connection to joy is made even for a moment... and usually the moment stretches into longer as I take the photo, crop and resize and post the photo, and see prompt-pictures posted by others.

Truly, it can be a little thing.

But sometimes, it's the little things that make a difference.

And the ripples for me extend longer and deeper as I notice joy and make that connection.

Instagram has become one of my main sharing spaces - I'm posting my photos for the April Love prompts there, and I also post photos there that don't make it to facebook or other places. You can find me on instagram here - I'd love to connect.

What ways can you notice joy today? Even if it seems like something small, the joy can linger and ripple...


 






March 9, 2015

on being fierce...


Strong feelings about a certain situation led me to post something on my personal facebook profile about violating privacy. It was a post I wrote very quickly, the words flowing from a place of personal power and conviction about where I stand.

In one of the comments, a friend mentioned the term "fierce grace" in describing how I'd said what I said,  and later on another friend commented that the term perfectly described me.

And you know what? As soon as I saw that phrase in reference to myself, I knew it was a fit. It was a knowing in my gut, my bones, my core.

Yes. Fierce grace. That's me.

Those facebook comments were made over 24 hours ago. Fast-forward to just a few minutes ago when I looked through some past blog posts that I did not import from a former site - posts I held back because I knew I wanted to re-post them at another time.

I was glancing through the titles, wondering which one I'd post.

And there it was - a blog post I originally wrote in February 2012 as a response to a Wishcasting Wednesday prompt by Jamie Ridler. The prompt was this:

Where do you wish to be fierce?

And here is what I wrote (no revisions made)...

***

I wasn’t sure about my response to this right away. A few thoughts quickly jumped into my mind and then jumped right back out, because they didn’t seem like true answers to this question.

And then I knew my answer. Without a doubt.

Being me.

That’s where I wish to be fierce. I want to fiercely be myself – claim myself, own myself, be true to myself.

Be comfortable in my own skin.

Do the work I want to do.

Create what I want to create, what’s inside of me waiting to be created.

It includes embracing all parts of me… the quiet part, the feisty part, the introverted part, the creative part, the timid part, the dancing part.

It includes embracing my shadow self and the inner demons and the part of me that questions and wonders. It includes embracing who I am – all of who I am – even when others don’t.

And it includes embracing my strength. Because you know what?

I am strong.

Stronger than I usually even realize. Hell, I’m even fierce sometimes!

So that’s where I wish to be fierce – being me. Being all of me. Being the true me.

Fiercely being me…    that’s my wish.

***

That's what I wrote in response to the 'fierce' prompt - a little over 3 years ago.

When I read through that post just before coming here to post this, I had an ohmigod moment.

I am strong. Stronger than I usually even realize. Hell, I’m even fierce sometimes!

Yes. Yes, I am. Then and now.

Being the true me.

The phrase living true has become a guiding light for me, it's what I encourage others to do, it's how I try to live my own life even when it might mean discomfort, even when it's not easy.

The ohmigod moment as I read my words from February 2012 was a moment of knowing inside myself. A moment of recognition. A moment that lasts far beyond a moment.

Because the wish I made back then?

My wish has come true.






March 1, 2015

sharing about myself (or not)...


I am gentle clarity, subtle harmony, magical grace, living true.

I am fire passion quiet strength intense emotions light and shadow.

I am writer and storyteller, energy alchemist, healer, priestess, wayshower.

I am truth-seer and truth-speaker, sometimes couching it in gentle ways, sometimes blunt, and sometimes knowing silently.


I stand naked at the window, vulnerable and strong, standing in my power, letting myself be seen more than ever before and caring less than ever what others think. I'm loner and introvert and reclusive, yet crave relationship and friendship and community. I struggle with fear and trust.

I'm already me but on my way to becoming my truest self, not sure yet how that will impact how I share and show up in the world but curious to see where my spiraling path will take me.

So... all of that above, all those words?

I wrote those words about myself for a prompt and I posted those words in a private group. I posted that photo too, a photo I took mostly because of the prompt, and I took the picture of myself as I stood in a doorway inside my house next to a long sun-filled window and I looked out at the sunshine melting the last of the snow that fell a few days ago. (I was topless but there was no way someone could have seen me in that window, so I didn't have any worries about that.)

Those words I wrote about myself are my truth at this time.

But...

A few hours after sharing the photo and those words in the group, I deleted the post.

I already knew - when making the original post, I'd known almost immediately in my gut, my bones - that I would share those words and the photo on my blog.

So when I decided to delete the words and photo from the group, I asked myself why did I feel more comfortable sharing on my blog, which is much more public than the group where I originally posted those words?

And did deleting the post, removing those words from the group, mean what I said about myself is not true after all? Did deleting it mean I'm still hiding? Still caring too much about what other people think?

Ultimately I decided the answer is no. The words I wrote are my truth.

But among those words, are these: I struggle with fear and trust.

And I believe fear and trust both played a part in my decision to remove my post. I felt vulnerable after some hours passed - not even as much because of the photo, I think, as with what I wrote in sharing myself.

Also, although I don't care so much about what other people think as I used to, I do still care to an extent and maybe I always will (and maybe caring to some extent is even a good thing).

I gave thought to my decision, I checked in with myself, gave myself time to decide, before I finally removed the post.

My decision came because ultimately it felt safer - and felt better to me - to delete it. Maybe later, when I've settled into the group over time, I'll share more deeply, I'll share more of myself.

What I believe is this...

It's okay to decide when and where we choose not to risk being or feeling so vulnerable, to choose not to share so openly, to choose not to push past discomfort or fear.

It might be because of timing or circumstances or surroundings or any number of reasons.

And I believe that's part of claiming personal power, and part of setting boundaries.

Sometimes doing things that don't feel safe is very good for me. If I stayed with only what felt comfortable and safe... well, I'd be stuck in many ways.

But sometimes it's okay (and sometimes even for the best) for me to follow those feelings to not push - because of boundaries or safety or trust or timing or self-care.

Or simply because sometimes I just need to give myself a break for a while from doing things that feel vulnerable or risky.

And sometimes that's okay.

There have been times - and a couple of major examples from the past 12 months - when people made assumptions and judgments about my not moving forward with something. They said I was giving into my fear. (I wasn't - I was very, very clear with myself about that... because there are times when I do give in to my fear, and it's important to me to get honest with myself and know my true reasons.)

The thing is... it's up to each one of us - not someone else - to know what's going on inside, to know what our life is like, to understand our reasons for making the decisions and choices we make, and to do what's best for us at the time.

Self-knowledge, self-awareness, self-understanding... those are key.

And someone else - who only knows what we've shown them or told them, but doesn't know the all of us, and hasn't walked in our shoes - someone else doesn't get to try to shame or guilt or blame or judge us for making the best decisions for ourselves.

People are far too quick to make assumptions. And so often, assumptions can be wrong.

And people, unfortunately, can be quick to judge.

But until someone has been there? They don't know.

For each of us, we are the one who knows what takes courage for us.

For each of us, we are the one who knows when it's best to push past something and when it's best to ease up.

No one else gets to say what courage is for you (or me.)

There are some days when the most courageous thing to do is simply breathe and make it through the day. There are other days when the greatest way to move beyond the comfort zone is looking a stranger directly in the eye and saying hello. Some days the bravest thing to do is picking up the phone and making a call that feels scary. Some days it's posting a vulnerable selfie on social media. Some days it's taking a class. Some days it's making the decision that the healthiest thing to do is to not take that class. Some days it's starting a brand new job. Some days it's quitting that job.

Courage is different for each person - what comes easily and is no-big-deal for many people might be a hair-raising-phobia-to-face for others.

And whether or not (or when, or in what way) to deal with the scary thing, or the phobia, or step outside the comfort zone - that's an individual thing too.

No one needs to be doing any shaming or assumption-making.

But it happens.

So far, shaming and making assumptions haven't happened (that I know of) about my decision to delete my post in the group. But it's been done about some other decisions I've made and I decided to discuss it in this post - because although there's no direct connection, it all ties in with knowing what is best for me and what isn't, listening to my spiritual guidance and my intuition, and following those things... even when some people might say or think I should be doing the opposite as a way to push through fear or take a risk or be (what they consider as) courageous.

No one gets to tell me what I 'should' do to be courageous - except me. (And maybe a very few people who truly know me well enough to know more of the "all" of me.)

As for why I knew I'd be sharing the photo and my words about myself on my blog but ended up deleting my post in the group, I think it's because my blog feels like my online space, my online home, and I felt ready to share in my blog-space...even though I eventually realized I didn't feel ready elsewhere.

And that's okay too.

Noticing. Being aware. Having discernment about when to push through something or give in to something or stand still about something or change something... All of this is important.


So I continue to notice what I do. I continue to ask why I do it. I continue to get to the truth about my motivations and reasons.

Among what I wrote in the post are these words: I am truth-seer and truth-speaker.

I am. And it goes for the truth about myself too. As much as I'm able to see what's true about myself, and as much as I'm able to see my truth, that's where I come from.

Living true.

Even when it might get a bit messy.



February 10, 2015

missing Chance...


{The post below first appeared on a former blog, posted July 24, 2010. Even after all this time, I still miss Chance...}


It's been almost 6 weeks since our cat Chance died, and we still miss him terribly. He was 16 years old, totally sweet and fun and loving, and completely spoiled.


We've talked about the possibility of getting another cat or two at some point, but it doesn't feel like the right time yet. Not only do we miss Chance because of missing him and his wonderful, loving presence, but these past weeks have also seemed strange because this is the first time in over 20 years of marriage that we haven't had any animals. It makes the house seem... odd, and even a bit unfamiliar in some way.

[We did get another kitty a few months later.]


Making jewelry and working on my etsy shop have helped keep me busy during this time of grieving and adjusting. I've needed something to do, something to focus on, and this has been a big help. I can lose myself to looking through my gemstones and charms and findings, deciding what to put together next, working out a design or a theme if it's going to be that kind of piece.

It's been therapeutic.

One of the other things to help during this time has been aromatherapy. Many, many days I have used oils or blends - either in an oil burner or aromalamp, or in a carrier oil to use for a soothing massage - to help with my emotions. I've reached for oils such as cypress, sweet marjoram, lavender, bergamot, or orange to help with grief. Lemon, grapefruit, petitgrain, melissa, roman chamomile, peppermint, and juniperberry are others that I've found especially helpful during this time.

Reiki has also helped me a great deal during these past weeks. Whether I'm doing a self-treatment or seeing another Reiki practitioner for a session, the healing energy has been in aid in soothing the grief and making my way through this time of adjustment and transition.

Other things have helped too, but I'll stop for now before this becomes too very long.

Loss... of animals, people, jobs, friendships, dreams... is hard. When you're dealing with grief and loss in your own life, I hope you'll find your way to whatever helps ease the pain and soothe your soul.




February 4, 2015

face the day...


I wake up
after a few or many hours,
sometimes struggling to
face the day.

Sometimes I talk to myself
or give myself Reiki
to gather what's needed to
face the day.

I give thanks for the sleep
and thanks for today
even if it feels hard to
face the day.

'Cause even when stuff's hard
and I bitch and resist,
I'm thankful for the good.
Gratitude's how I roll.

Mornings have never been
my time.
I'm a night owl by nature
not a morning early bird.

But I know some days that's not
what's really going on
when it comes to my struggle to
face the day.

Sometimes it's just hard,
so fucking hard,
just to get up and
face the day.

I sit on the side of the bed
or stand up beside it,
my feet on the ground
to help ground me.

Surround me with your protection,
I whisper
or say silently
or way out loud.

The volume doesn't matter,
because you know
my heart-words
even if I don't speak them.

Reaching up I ask for your light
and your love and your healing
to fill me completely
and ground me to earth.

The soles of my feet
kiss the earth that's the floor
and I ask for mama's energy
to nourish me.

I stay there not moving
until I know for sure
I'm firmly connected
to heaven and to earth.

As above, so below.
As within, so without.
And I take a deep breath and I
face the day.




January 30, 2015

a new talisman, sacred adornment, touchstone...

I'll admit I can't seem to stop looking at my new mandala ring! It arrived earlier this week but it seems (energetically) that the ring has been with me for a few months because that's when I first started gazing at the selection of mandala rings from The Fifth Element Life trying to decide which one to choose. More than one called to me, and finally I narrowed it down... but even then it was a while before I knew for sure which one to order.


I chose this one - Vision - for several reasons.

My superpower (discovered through a facilitated process with Fabeku Fatunmise) is Gentle Clarity, and inner vision seems important when it comes to clarity.

Inner vision is also necessary for my imagination and my creativity and my intuition.

It's also helpful for knowing where I want to go and where I'm being guided to go, and in maintaining focus to get there.

Vision, in general, is very important to me (including the literal vision of seeing with my eyes).

Each of Sarah's mandala rings is associated with an element. And each is associated with the spirit energy of an animal. The ring I chose - Vision - is associated with the element of spirit. And the animal energy is white tiger.

Two years ago White Tiger started showing up as one of my animal guides in my shamanic journeys, and has been with me in almost every journey since then.

Some of the information for this ring says this about white tiger: She brings her clarity of vision and her wide spectrum of awareness. This majestic cat sees all that she needs, with precise clarity, focus and full attention. She helps to keep you grounded, whilst maintaining focus on your ambitions.

I had finally narrowed my choice to this ring... and then I took a fun quiz on the site that helps in choosing - and the element of spirit is what came up for me.

It felt like confirmation. And I placed my order, and now my ring is here and I love it.

Why am I talking so much about this ring?

Because it's one of my talismans. I knew when I ordered it that it would probably be a talisman for me - and it is.

Wearing this ring helps me connect to my essence. It's a touchstone for me, reminding me of who I am. It helps me be me in the truest sense.

I have other talimans too. Some of my main ones are pieces of jewelry - talismanic jewelry, sacred adornment. Other talismans for me are certain crystals. A note I carry. A piece of artwork.

There are many things that can be a talisman for you - and you can have many talismans - but whatever your talismans are, they are important and helpful ways for you to connect to your true self, your core strength, your essence.

Your talismans help you remember who you are and they remind you to live true (and they help you live true).

Quite a while ago I wrote on my blog that I planned to write a future post about talismans (and especially jewelry... jewelry as talismans, jewelry as sacred adornment). What I've written here isn't all I want to say about this - but it's a start.

What talismans do you have in your life?

What do you wear, or carry, or keep near, or have as a touchstone, that helps you connect to you?





January 29, 2015

a little about listening...

Recently I felt guided to do a series of shamanic journeys - one journey each day for at least five days in a row - specifically about a certain relationship in my life.

I sometimes have crystals and stones with me when I journey. Sometimes I don't. The ones I have with me for journeys will vary, depending on how I'm guided, but I usually choose from a certain selection because some stones are better suited for journeying.

When I received the guidance to do this series of journeys, I also intuitively knew I was meant to have this one stone with me - this picasso jasper sphere.


I did those journeys, one each day, and some amazing healing work and valuable lessons came from them.

And with each of those journeys, I had the picasso jasper sphere in my hand as I listened to a drumming track and journeyed to the lower world for the healing work and information gathering I set out to do.

Picasso jasper is very grounding.

It helps with strength, calming, and self-discipline.

It helps with shadow work and integrating that work.

It helps with ancestral work.

It helps with transformation of relationships.

With all the journey work I've done - and with all the various crystals and stones I've had with me in journeywork at different times - picasso jasper was never one I'd had with me for shamanic journeying before.

When I intuitively heard the message to do these journeys for this certain purpose, I didn't research to try to "figure out" what stone to use - at the very same time I received the message to do the journeys, I also intuitively heard the message to use this particular stone.

I listened. And I heard. And I followed the guidance.

What picasso jasper helps with - especially regarding grounding, relationships, and ancestral work - makes so much sense, given my intention for the series of journeys.

Reading about and researching the properties and purposes of crystals and stones can be very beneficial. I do it a lot myself.

But also... if you listen, the stones will speak to you. Your intuition will speak to you. Spirit will speak to you.

You can discover the crystals and stones to work with for a certain purpose (or on a certain day) by listening.

So listen to the stone people.

Listen to your intuition.

Listen to Spirit.

Listen to the messages that come with the wind or a bird or a song on the radio.

Listen.

Guidance is there.