What If: Contrast?

What if you couldn’t know joy without sorrow?

What if you couldn’t know peace without turmoil?

What if you couldn’t appreciate being able to breathe
unless you experienced times when you couldn’t breathe?

What if experiencing these contrasting feelings
makes life so much sweeter?

What if unless and until you experience contrasting feelings
you don’t know life?

What if unless and until you experience contrasting feelings,
you don’t know yourself?

What if the primary reason we are all here is to experience this contrast
in our feelings, so we can know ourselves more and more?

What if the bigger the contrast, the sweeter the experience,
the more we know ourselves?

What if?

Imagine the possibilities!

contrast

 

Posted in inspiration, Inspirational Quote, Spirituality | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Some More, What If?

What if you knew that pain isn’t bad?

What if you knew that struggle isn’t bad?

What if you knew that feeling uncomfortable in any way
isn’t bad?

What if you knew that pain is a motivator?

What if you knew that feelings of “shitty” are here to serve us?

What if you knew that feeling uncomfortable is how we
are motivated to move, to change, to expand and grow?

What if you knew that the soul wants to grow, and it will use
a variety of ways for that to happen?

What if you knew that the soul doesn’t judge these ways?

What if you knew that every life experience is valued?

What if?

Imagine the possibilities!

 

Posted in inspiration, Spirituality | 11 Comments

What If?

What if we didn’t tie our children’s inherent value to their performance?

dont-tie-value-to-performance_heart_m2m

What if they aren’t good only if they can behave?

What if they aren’t smart only if they get good grades?

What if being good isn’t the goal?

What if one definition of smart doesn’t fit?

What if what someone does, isn’t judged?

What if we could all see ourselves through God’s eyes?

What if you knew you were valid, and valued, and perfect
simply because YOU EXIST?!

What if you knew that you don’t have to DO anything or BE anyone
other than YOU, to be valuable?

What if?

Imagine the possibilities!

 

 

Posted in inspiration, Inspirational Quote, Spirituality | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

Giving Thanks Tonight

Suns Rays

Here it is, on the eve of Thanksgiving here in the US, and it’s easy for me to find many things to be thankful and grateful for. I am fortunate in so many ways, from having a stable home to live in, with a loving and healthy family, to having friends both in real life and online, with whom I share my life.

I am so very thankful to be where I am in regards to my life’s journey; with so much healing under my belt at this point. Yes, there is always more, but when I think about who I was a decade ago, there is no comparison.

Having experienced many different cultures and countries through traveling, I am grateful for the things in everyday life that I don’t have to think about, like having mostly reliable electricity, clean running water, and a dependable food supply, that are not always so available in some countries I’ve been to. And equally grateful for the luxuries I have, like a nice camera, a dependable car and other creative outlets, like soapmaking.

Having experienced a lot of contrast in life, there were times, mostly in my younger years, when it was much harder to be thankful for my life and things going on in it. But I’m grateful for those times now, because I understand that my life had a plan that has been beautifully unfolding as it was designed. And to be where I am today, I had to go through what I did back then. Judging any part of it as bad or wrong, is not what we are here to do.

I am so very grateful to know that every step of my life has been valid and holds value; as does every step of your life, no matter what it feels like right now.

One of the things I’m most grateful for these days, is having woken up spiritually, seeing the world and my life through a different lens. Knowing that I have the power to create real and meaningful and lasting change in my life, if I so desire, because I have done just this. I know that life is not done to me; it is lived and created through me.

Have a happy Thanksgiving Day to my American friends, and a great Thursday to those abroad.

 

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Another Year, Another Adventure

To my Little Man,

I can’t believe we have another year under our belts as a mother and son team. What an adventure it’s been! I can’t believe you’re turning into a full-fledged teen; not a newbie teen of thirteen, but a teen with a full year under your belt, at fourteen. And I can’t believe you’re almost a full four inches taller than me now!

What a crazy journey we’ve been having together.

Your entry into the world will always be special in more ways than one. Of course, it was special because your long anticipated welcome finally happened. But it was also special because you decided to make your entrance almost two full months before we expected.

You flew the coop of my womb and flew from the hospital in a helicopter only two hours later. And just as the little voice whispered in my head the first moment I heard you squeak (I mean, cry), you did just fine. With a few more weeks of baking in an oven not of mom, you were finally given the green light to come home, two weeks before Christmas.

Best Christmas present ever!!

Happy and smiling at six months.

Happy and smiling at six months.

As you grew and experienced the world, you figured out sometimes the learning curve doing something new is a bit steep. But when you really want something, you figure it out until you’ve got it down. Mastery!

When it comes to being your mom, just when I thought I’d mastered the learning curve of figuring you out, you’d change. Something new kept coming up.

I do like puzzles, but you’ve been my first living, breathing, ever morphing puzzle. I like a challenge, but holy cow! Challenge after challenge after challenge. Sometimes I wondered how I could ever sign up for this. And then I’d realize that you are here to teach me every bit as much as I’ve been teaching you.

This past year in particular has been a steep learning curve for us, again. I’m now versed in something I’d hoped I never be dealing with: homeschooling. It’s not that I don’t believe in homeschooling being a great way to educate a child (because I definitely believe that more than ever at this point), but I didn’t want to have to do it. And I’m still finding my way on that one.

Something else I’ve been learning more than I ever wanted to know about, is anxiety and panic attacks. Holy moly, what a lesson there! I thought I understood a bit about anxiety, but I knew nothing. Just as I discovered your school teachers knew: nothing.

So that I can be here for you without flipping out (as much), I’ve been working on healing my own internal reactivity. You know me. When I can’t change a situation, I work on changing how I feel about it and react to it. And the most effective way I’ve found is energy healing. And guess what, kiddo? In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m doing better.

Because I know what an amazingly powerful tool energy healing is, especially when it comes to our emotions, I know that your experiencing anxiety and panic attacks won’t be forever. I know that these things, as real and debilitating as they’ve been this past year, won’t always be so. And because I’m bound and determined and stubborn as a mule sometimes, I won’t stop looking for the ways to help you with this. I think you’re already noticing some changes since the healing session you had a few weeks ago.

You certainly don’t let me off easy with much of anything except for one thing. I got off easy with having a kid with a heart-directed compass, and who is tuned in to his intuition. (Oh yeah, you’re pretty smart and funny too). I don’t have to worry about your ever being a bully or hanging out with kids who are headed for trouble. Your heart and intuition won’t let you. You know who to hang out with, and who to let go of.

Those things makes everything else a cake walk.

I know that one day all the years of therapies (speech, occupational, physical, vision, and energy) and schooling will fade in your memory as you are out on your own, doing your thing, changing the world.

spread-your-wings-and-fly

Thank you for coming into my life, for giving me lots of opportunities to grow and to learn, and for loving me.

Just do me one little favor? I could use a break from this past year, so let’s make this next year just a little less exciting, ok? Growing is an awesome thing, but as you know from occasional leg pains, it’s not always pleasant in the moment.

Happy Fourteenth, Kiddo! Love you buckets!

Mom

 

Posted in Mental Health, The Voyage | Tagged , | 18 Comments

What Gets You Jazzed?

The other afternoon, I was speeding up the interstate, when off to my right, with the lighting absolutely perfect, was a massive flock of snow geese, and a handful of Canadian geese. There were probably a few hundred in the air, with several more on the ground. It was a blizzard of white birds in rare November, beautiful lighting.

My heart jumped. It leapt for joy. There was an actual pull from my chest, towards the field. My instinct was to pull over, whip out my camera, and fire away, trying to capture that moment of perfection. I was instantaneously elevated.

About three nanoseconds later, I wished I had my good camera with me. The one with the beautiful lenses that do an amazing job of crystallizing the moment. And then I remembered the groceries I’d just bought; the ones that needed to be put in the freezer and fridge. But the kicker was my location: our local interstate, with its speed limit of 70 mph and moderate traffic. It was not a safe place to pull over unless absolutely necessary; and this was not absolutely necessary (although it almost felt like it at the time).

On the other side of the field of geese, there’s a road that runs parallel to the interstate, and I knew a place I could safely pull over and fire away with my camera. But my heart sank a little bit because it would mean shooting in to the sun. There are times for shooting into the sun, but this wasn’t one of them. With a tentative heart, I took my exit, turned onto this parallel road, and found my parking spot.

The sheer number of birds was amazing! The flock went on and on, squadrons taking flight and then circling back around to land just a bit away from where my presence disturbed them. I snapped and snapped, zooming in and out, switching between still shots and a quick video. I was in heaven.

[Click on a photo below to see it enlarged and presented as a slide show.]

The only time I even noticed the road I was standing just off, was when either a dump truck and trailer went flying by, or a tractor-trailer. As my hair was blown across my eyes, I searched my pockets for an elastic, in vain. Next time I’ll tuck one away, just in case.


For about fifteen minutes, there was nothing in the world except me and those birds: walking around pecking for a meal, lifting off to find another place, and circling around, feet outstretched and wings bent in preparation for landing. Oh, there was one more thing there: the sun. The glorious rare November sun casting its beams across the valley, lighting up everything in its path.

This experience is just one reason I always carry a small camera in my pocketbook. Opportunities to light up my heart can happen anywhere, any time. And the desire to preserve these moments is often so strong, I can feel the ropes of desire pulling my chest towards joy.

What in your life lights you up, fills you with unbridled joy, and makes you forget about everything but that one thing you’re engaged with? Whatever those things are, make sure they’re a regular part of your life. It’s important to connect with your joy as often as you need it, all year long.

Posted in inspiration, Photography | Tagged , , , , , | 15 Comments

Winter In The Pacific Northwest

The winter rains have arrived.

Darkness falls before we are ready.

Clouds dip down until they blanket treetops.

Wet is everywhere.

Light tries to filter through thick clouds.

But it is reflected back to the sky.

The salmon are returning

To begin the next cycle.

Eagles scavenge the rivers for carcasses

Dropping bits of uneaten fish from trees.

Remnants of an eagle's feast, found on my lawn beneath a large tree.

Remnants of an eagle’s feast, found on my lawn beneath a large tree.

Leaves have left their branches

And compost on the ground

Joining the decaying fish

Creating the soup

That will fertilize spring’s new growth.

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Disconnection Is Killing Us

We are all designed for connection. Period. We need each other. When we are born, it’s the love and connection to our mother and the rest of our family that provides the assurance and safety that we need in order to grow well and develop a healthy sense of self. Babies who don’t receive this loving connection don’t do well. And they often die because of it.

Our first relationships determine how our the neuron connections in our brains become wired in. Do we develop a relaxed sense of well-being, or do we learn that we must be constantly on alert, flooding our tissues with cortisol, without the physical exertion necessary to release it? Connecting with our family in a safe and loving manner creates the petri dish that we need to continue to bring in our own love and well-being as we develop.

As we grow and reach out beyond our family, our relationships and communities become the extended version of our family. It’s where we experience kinship of a different sort. It’s where we discover common wants and needs of people, even when they look different, sound different, speak a different language, eat different foods, espouse different values, and communicate in different ways. It’s where we find our people.

There are times when we don’t see beyond the differences. Only looking at the surface, we create artificial divisions, in the form of racism, sexism, and other isms. We are taught to fear that which is different, and to push it further away. We create artificial divisions in the form of us versus them, Seahawks versus Patriots, Red Sox versus Yankees, our team against theirs, our country against theirs. We create separation in the form of patriotism, or religion. We create separate political parties, each fighting to be the winner, the one, pushing against each other, enlarging the feeling of separation until we believe it’s real. But it’s not. When one person wins, what have they won? They’ve won an artificially created spot on the continuum of separation.

The artificial creation of anything that divides and disconnects us either from ourselves or from each other, causes pain. Disconnection is painful.

The real race is to figure out how to reconnect. How to find our common ground, our common unity. How to create community and unity.

As within, so without. As above, so below. What we see outside of ourselves is first created inside. That’s the bugaboo. We grow up not knowing this tidbit. We live reacting to our surroundings, instead of understanding that our surroundings are a reflection of us. It all starts from within. It’s truly an inside job.

The pain of disconnection from ourselves is killing us. And when we are disconnected from ourselves, we disconnect from the whole.

The gravest disconnection of all is when we block the part of us that is our connection’s transmission center: our heart. We unplug. We get hurt and pile up bricks, stones, boulders, sheets of thick steel, barbed wire, thorns, and more, in an attempt wall off and protect ourselves from becoming hurt again. We close our heart up tight, sealing it shut with Gorilla glue, and wrapping it in duct tape.

As a child, with a child’s mind, I did just this, thinking that I could protect myself from ever being hurt again. What my child’s mind didn’t know, is that we are quite literally designed to be able to be hurt and broken, and hurt again and again; and still be able to rise up from the ashes.

We are designed for our emotions to flow through us, not to hold onto them for dear life. We were made to experience joy and wonder, confusion and clarity, pain, anguish, and fear. Our physical and energetic human bodies are self-healing by design. We skin our knee and it heals. We were created to experience the entire range of our emotions, over and over. We experience an emotion and then let it go. Nobody teaches us these things.

When the flow of our emotions becomes stagnant and stuck, it leads to the creation of physical and emotional illness. Over time, our system becomes corrupted, like a computer with malware.

When we shut down the heart of our internal combustion engine, we are left out of gas, with no spark to ignite our fire, and with no air to breathe. When nothing is allowed to flow, the system completely shuts down. Nothing in, nothing out. Our beautiful eight-cylinder Caddies are left by the side of the road, useless.

Complete disconnection is excruciatingly painful. It’s depression. It’s despair. It’s hopelessness. In its most extreme form, we die.

When we block up our hearts, we are not protecting ourselves from being hurt by others, we are hurting ourselves. It’s like when we are hurt by someone’s words or actions, and choose to hold onto that anger for another twenty or thirty years. When we hold onto anger, it doesn’t do anything to the other person, but it sure fucks us up. (I know because I’ve been there, done that).

At an energetic level, when we hold onto disconnection, it creates stagnation, that leads to disease and dysfunction in our bodies and emotions, heart disease, anxiety, and depression.

To connect to others gives purpose and belonging: the sense that we matter. To connect to ourselves, and I’m talking about our truest, highest selves, reminds us of who we are at our core: love. In remembering this, we can once again embody that love. I’m not talking about fickle romantic love, or even the love we feel for our children and our pets. I’m talking about the most powerful, compassionate, totally accepting and encompassing love that you could ever imagine, times a thousand. That love that instantly reduced me to a bucket of tears the few times I really connected into it.

When we reconnect to that bit of ourselves that’s our core – love – we allow it to flow again. That golden honey drizzles into us and flows from our pores, sweet and delicious. That warm summer sun shines through us, falling on everyone nearby.

When we reconnect to who we truly are, what we are not becomes glaringly obvious. It’s then, that our eyes open to everything we’ve invited in, that isn’t really us. And it becomes that much easier to let it all go: our socialized programming of “shoulds” that dictate what we should feel, how we should behave, what we and our lives should look like, and the list goes on. It becomes easier to recognize when we’ve turned our “shoulds” outwards and they become darts of judgment we throw at others.

As we let go of fear’s death grip that walled off our hearts and strangled our connection, we reconnect to ourselves more deeply. It becomes easier to cast off coats of shame, blame, and other people’s “shoulds”. And before long, we are literally lighter. We discover avenues to reconnect to our limitless love and creativity, feeling when we’re in the flow and in the zone, when we’re tapped in and turned on.

It is through connection to ourselves that we feel better in every way. And it’s through our connection to others that we feel worthwhile and valued.

I was going to leave it at that, but having dealt with mental illness in my family, I know that things like depression are not this simple. Yes, disconnection at its extreme creates chronic depression and can lead to suicide, but that’s only part of the equation.

In my own life, depression showed up looking exactly like it did for my mother (she was bi-polar), as extreme exhaustion and inability to move forward. So I’m pretty sure there’s been a familial connection there. I know that there is a biochemical condition in my physical body that contributes to feeling depressed, involving my endocrine system (thyroid, hormones, etc.), and certain foods.

And I know from my own experience, that addressing physical imbalances, healing beliefs I created through trauma, releasing shame I carried, and especially dissolving the wall around my heart that disconnected me from myself, spirit, and others, has been the way to feeling better, bringing more peace into my heart, and experiencing shorter and few bouts with depression. My mind, body, and spirit, have all needed to be addressed.

 

Posted in Energy Therapy, Holistic Healing, Mental Health, Spirituality, The Voyage | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Why This Election Feels Like A Big Zit

Right now, we are one week before our 2016 presidential election. And it’s the hottest election I’ve experienced during my half decade existence.

I live in a household of extremely sensitive people. My son especially, picks up on energies that you’d never suspect, like the contention in the ethers around this election.

When he was about eight, I wanted to shut off the TV with our remote so the little Dude would go to bed. Being silly, he jumped in front of the TV, facing it, blocking the remote signal. After pressing the button several times, I heard the kid say, “Ya know Mom, I can feel that.”

What????!

“I can feel it when you press the button.”

Vacillating between disbelief and want to test it out, I had him stand with his back to me, and I pushed the remote power button a number of times, asking him to let me know when he felt it. I have to admit that he didn’t get every single time that I pressed the button, but every single time he said he felt it, I had indeed pressed the remote. Whoa!

That was one of the experiences we shared that taught me just how sensitive my son is to energy.

Since then, I’ve had conversations with intuitive friends who are as sensitive as my son, and more, and are aware of what they are picking up. The thing about a lot of sensitives, is they are never taught how to figure out what they are picking up on, and their brains often translate the information they’re receiving as unfamiliar, and thus, dangerous. What happens in these cases, is the brain kicks into fear mode: anxiety and panic. It goes into survival, we need to save this human body, mode.

So, with the upcoming election being an avatar or representation for tons of unpleasant and uncomfortable energies rising up from us all, ready to leave, my son is picking up on all of it. And his anxiety is in full swing. His brain can’t handle the level of energies swirling around lately, or their exact content.

The energies feel just like a big zit that is very red and painful, yet doesn’t have puss to pop out quite yet. They are intense and very compressed and uncomfortable, and not quite to the point of explosion, release, and relief. After the day of release (election day), things will still be red and irritated for a while, as it all settles out and eventually feels like relief.

Posted in Mental Health, Spirituality | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

When Is Anxiety A Diagnosable Illness?

With Little Man experiencing a resurgence of not only anxiety but triggered panic attacks, I wanted to create a PSA about anxiety. If you have never personally experienced a panic attack, and don’t have a family member who experiences them, know that they are different from becoming anxious because of a situation or ongoing situation.

Little Man’s sixth grade teacher was a classic example of someone who thought they knew all about kids by virtue of having taught for many years. She thought that my son should be able to dig deep and man up; willing his way through his anxiety. For a long time, I did too. Until he wanted to die. You can’t overpower anxiety by sheer willpower.

I should have known better because during my last year of college, I experienced panic attacks, with no precursor anxiety. I was sitting in class, and all of a sudden, it felt like my heart stopped and I was about to die. A few times, my vision became a tunnel, and I almost passed out. I had no idea what was going on.

Fortunately for me, my panic attacks were caused by extreme stress, and after I graduated from college and moved back home, they went away, never to be experienced again. My son’s experience is different.

From the National Institute for Mental Health, anxiety is defined as:

“Occasional anxiety is a normal part of life. You might feel anxious when faced with a problem at work, before taking a test, or making an important decision. But anxiety disorders involve more than temporary worry or fear. For a person with an anxiety disorder, the anxiety does not go away and can get worse over time. The feelings can interfere with daily activities such as job performance, school work, and relationships. There are several different types of anxiety disorders. Examples include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder.”

When Little Man was ten, he was given a diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder. These days, I would add that he also deals with panic disorder as well.

When someone has a diagnosis of anxiety disorder, they might experience triggers, but anxiety often shows up without any as well. And panic attacks can develop when the person can’t put themselves into a place where they can decompress from the anxiety. Or, in my case, the panic attacks happened out of the blue. You feel like you are literally about to die.

Certain activities that are anxiety triggers cause my son to have headaches, nightmares, stomach upset, and more. He will be up all night in anticipation of a triggering event that he’s supposed to do the next day.

For years, I knew that my son would become anxious about having to go to school, but I never considered that he had a disorder, because when he was home, he was always fine. Until last year. Looking back, I can see a correlation to an increase in anxiety and Little Man’s hitting puberty.

And after we took him out of school, I thought his anxiety would be gone. It wasn’t. In fact, it took almost two months before he wasn’t experiencing constant panic attacks. He was doing pretty well last spring, and had a so-so summer. With my taking him to tutoring recently, it brought up all of the old “school” triggers.

A few days ago, I found out about a healing modality that might help Little Man. After speaking with a practitioner, I am hopeful that this will create shifts and make a change for the better. Because if it doesn’t, I feel like we’re about down to our last option of using pharmaceutical drugs. With a thirteen year old, there is only so much he will do to help himself. We should know if this modality will be helpful, this week.

Posted in Energy Therapy, Holistic Healing, Mental Health | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments