The Storm

Here comes that old familiar feeling again.

That foul taste with every swallow.

The immanent arrival of an unwanted and unwelcome storm.

Batten down the hatches.

Take stock of supplies and grab a few necessities while you still can.

Do we have enough sacks of flour, barrels of whiskey, and bags of potatoes?

Are there still fresh herbs in the larder and powders in the medicine cabinet?

Coil the ropes, batten down the hatches, fasten every loose item

for this one’s going to be a nasty blow!

Tempestuous seas, howling gale, tossing the hull to and fro.

Feverish heat waves and icy frosts fight for domination, first one, then the other.

Reef the main! Too much sail! Take down the mizzen and keep her close hauled.

Almost on autopilot the crew responds, doing what they must to make it through.

There hasn’t been a blow like this in decades.

Storm of the century they’re calling it.

After three days and nights the worst was over.

The captain cautiously ventured out on deck to survey the damage.

Only minor injuries to the crew. The sails made it through with minor tears.

The seas were a confusing chop, responding to changing winds.

Although some of the cargo shifted, it wasn’t badly. Stability was still intact.

And her hull was still sound.

She always was his favorite vessel. No matter what the weather and seas threw at him,

She always came through for him.

What he never realized, was that it was his undying love for her that gave her the

Strength to keep going.

His love and tender care.

Just then, there was a break in the clouds long enough for

the navigator to confirm their position.

Looks like we’ll make it again.

Trust in our navigation, knowing how to handle rough seas, and a nice mug of whiskey pulled us through again.

We’re almost home.




Posted in Poetry | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Video Interlude

Living in one of the wettest and most cloudy areas of our country (in the winter), presents a host of challenges for photographers. I’ll admit it, I’m a fair weather photographer, for the most part. I don’t want to have to wrap all my gear and myself in waterproof wrappings. But, I do like to have some sort of camera handy almost all the time.

I live in the woods, with our home surrounded by trees that grow to a hundred feet and taller. And besides that, we’re in a bit of a hollow, in the lowlands where a small river flows. With all of this beauty and splendor, our view of sunset is far above any horizon. I do miss my days on the sea, when there’s a spectacular sunset or rise. Not only is the view of clouds reflecting all manner of oranges, reds, and purples, up high in the sky, but at this time of year, it’s fleeting, lasting maybe fifteen minutes.

Late yesterday afternoon, as I glanced westward out the front window, I noticed the day’s light rays bending into yellow. Quick as a bunny, I grabbed my GoPro and a small tripod, putting the camera into time-lapse video mode. I tripped over a pair of Crocks by the door, and stumbled outside with my gear, ready to capture the splendor to come. But where to set it up?

The ground? No. Need to crank the angle of the camera really high into the sky, and I didn’t want to lay belly-down on the sopping lawn to frame it right. The deck? Nope. Bushes are in the way, and the table is still put away for winter. Aha! The grill! High enough to miss most of the bushes, and no crawling on my tummy.

With the ultra-wide angle, it captured trees on both sides of the yard, a tiny bit of a nearby mountain, and the tops of the bushes. I’m happy with that frame. Easy part was next: push the go button and go back inside until sunset’s amazingness wasn’t quite so amazing.

Here’s what I got, with a little editing, including speeding it up a bit. First time shooting a time-lapse. Easy and fun! Enjoy!! (It’s quick – just one minute).

Posted in Photography | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

Hanging Onto Hurts: What’s Up With That?

I was reading a fellow blogger’s Pearls of Wisdom, and became inspired. Other writers do that for me. (Thanks Ned!) He was giving advice on how to handle unkind critics, and the advice was spot on. I’ll let you check it out for yourself because trying to encapsulate it into a sentence or two wouldn’t do it justice.

As my brain is wont to do, I got to thinking about taking things with a grain of salt, or letting criticism roll off my back because opinions are like people’s backsides: everyone’s got one. And the next thing to hit me was times when that criticism hurts, when it pings on something in me and I can’t let it go. It won’t roll off my back, but rather clings to it like a twenty-five pound rabid raccoon. What’s up with that?

Why does another person’s opinion even matter at all?

We all just want to be accepted and heard. When I’ve slaved over something, putting my blood, sweat, and tears into it, the last thing I need is someone telling me it’s crap, or it’s some other form of refuse or waste. The last thing anyone ones is rejection.

But why? Why is it so damned important that someone I don’t even know, likes or approves of me or something I create? Why do I even care?

Because my nature as a human being is one of connection and community. We are hardwired for connection. How did we come to be hardwired for connection? Survival. It’s all about surviving.

Come with me down the rabbit hole.

As infants and children, we aren’t equipped to survive alone in the world. We carry eons of lifetimes when we, as a species, didn’t live very long until this thing called maternal instinct was created. Once mothers and fathers became very attached to their young, people started to live longer. We, as human animals, carry a deep-seated fear of death, because the human in us, that functions through our brain, isn’t aware that our true nature is that of our eternal soul. We, as a conscious person, as consciousness, never die. Our bodies don’t know this. (This is how I perceive our fall from grace.)

Our body’s number one job, is to survive. Period. And especially when we are young and our brains are not developed, our brains will do whatever they have to, in order for our human bodies to survive. Young children’s brains take time to develop the ability to understand certain concepts, like the concept of time, and some visual and spatial concepts, such as a baby recognizing that when they look at a mirror, they’re seeing their own reflection, not another person.

If you take two eight-ounce glasses, one taller than the other, and fill them (using the same measuring cup), with exactly eight ounces of water, a three year old child will argue all day long that the taller glass holds more water. Take that same child at six years old, and they understand that the two glasses, even with different dimensions, hold the exact same volume of water.

While it takes years for the human brain to develop fully, we are born able to feel the complete range of emotions, right off the bat. Using our toolkit of emotions, they steer us through the first few months of our lives fairly unencumbered. But as we go along, when our actions bring us pain, our brains step in and create scenarios the lessen that pain. These scenarios take on a life of their own, and they become beliefs.

Beliefs about life, and beliefs about ourselves. And they all center around helping us to survive. Imagine an infant in their crib, having just been put down for the night, and all they want is to be held, loved on, and paid attention to. When mom or dad leaves them, they become afraid or just want more loving, and they cry in upset. When they are left to cry without being attended to, the baby has choices to make. They can choose to believe that not being attended to is a signal of abandonment, and their life is now in danger. Or, after falling asleep in exhaustion and then waking up refreshed and in a better frame of mind, might discover that falling asleep alone won’t lead to their death, and they can do this.

The event of being left alone and falling asleep carries only the meaning we ascribe to it. Because we are emotional creatures, our emotions lead the way in giving meaning to everything in our lives. Events themselves are inherently neutral. We decide how to feel about them. And our brains create stories to explain the feelings and justify them. The survival instinct part of us drives our emotions in a very specific direction: fear of death, in order to survive.

Picture a toddler, happily following whatever grabs its attention. Playing with this or that, exploring their world. When an adult comes along and wants the little one to stop what they are doing, the most expedient way many adults coerce a young child away from what’s got their attention, is with pain: physical or emotional. Both forms of pain signal danger to our brains. Emotional pain in the form of disconnection and disapproval puts the brain into a state of fear for survival. Physical pain also put the brain into the same state, using the same brain pathways. When pain happens repeatedly, or is shocking to the system, the brain creates a belief in the form of a story that relaxes it.

If a young child spends their time exploring their world, and they are very curious and strong, with a lot of energy and enthusiasm, they might want to discover what’s in every cupboard and drawer in the kitchen. And after discovering every pot, pan, scrubber, tool and dish in the lower cupboards, they’ve seen their parents open upper cupboards, and decide to figure out how to get to those unopened treasures.

Upon being discovered standing on the kitchen counter, one hand holding a cupboard door open, and the other one having just dropped a glass onto the counter, where it bounced and crashed to the floor below, a young child’s enthusiasm for discovering their world might be met by an angry, frustrated, or scared (or all of the above) parent. When the parent’s emotions hit the child in the form of a spanking or being banished to the naughty chair (where they experience forced disconnection from the family), the child is likely to create the belief that they were bad and deserved to feel the pain that was rained down on them.

Whammo! Fear of death! Fear from the parent, afraid of their child getting hurt or worse, and from the child who is now afraid of being abandoned by their parent or hurt by their parent. And fear has created a core belief in the child. I am bad. I am a nuisance to my parent. I am a danger to myself. Take your pick.

So what in the world does creating a belief based on our need to survive have anything to do with handling hurts in our lives?

When we create a piece of art or work, and then put it out to the world, we put a piece of ourselves out there. When someone doesn’t like our creation, by extension, they don’t like us. They don’t accept or validate us. If we carry around beliefs of unworthiness in any form, when someone criticizes our work, our craft, what we’ve made and put out there, it threatens our existence. As simple as that. Their negative feedback pings on that time when you were a toddler, exploring your world, and you were taught that you were not ok just exactly the way you were.

You were doing your thing, minding your own business, and whammo! Pain. You were taught that doing your own thing, playing, having fun, being lost in your own world, is not ok. It’s not safe. It’s dangerous and life-threatening, in fact.

So, later on in life, when you are happily letting your creative juices flow and you’ve put your amazingness out into the world, when even one person comes back at you with negative feedback, that very old pain speaks up. It’s still there, even though you’ve grown up and see life through very different lenses. That beautiful, fun-loving, care-free, crazy curious toddler in you, is stuck with that shitty belief that she is less than, is a burden, is bad, will die.

So how can we let that little one who’s still living with those old outdated beliefs, become free? That’s the million dollar question. A belief that was created by a child’s mind, and now lives in the subconscious mind of the adult, is best accessed in an altered state of consciousness, like meditation. That little one still exists (and will continue to do so), but in a different time-space. When we quiet our minds through practices like meditation, we can travel to where that little one is, and have a conversation with her, explaining what happened with our adult wisdom and perception of events.

With a different perception of an event, we can give it very different meaning. Something that initially brought pain into our lives, can be let go in a moment. Once that little one understands from the adult perspective, she instantly lets go of the fear, pain, and all of the beliefs she created because of it. It’s like a miracle, only because most people don’t understand all the mechanics around our feelings and beliefs, and how they affect our lives. How do I know this? Well, let’s just say I’ve seen it in action in my own life more than a few times.

By the way, I have just shared the nugget of healing. Life events are inherently neutral. We ascribe meaning to them. If we can find a way to change our perception and perspective, we can change meaning we had ascribed to an event. This goes for everything in life. Every-freaking-thing.

When life brings us pain, whether it’s physical or emotional pain, it’s our emotions’ way of talking to us (yes, even with physical pain). Screaming at us, really. It’s our emotions way of letting us know that there is something living inside of us, from our past, that wants to be addressed and set free. It’s that infant who was abandoned, that toddler who’s still in pain, that tween or teen who is still holding onto anger and sadness. That part of us that got fucked over in the drive-through, and that part of us that’s still afraid to die. They all live in us, crying out to be rescued.

As you travel throughout your day, when something hits you sideways and pushes you off-balance, ticking you off, or hitting you below the belt, understand that there’s an old piece of you wanting to come back into the fold. Wanting to reunite with your amazing sparkly self. Instead of getting mad at someone for “causing you pain” or wanting to brush it off or make it go away, make time to go within and witness it. Look at it and let it speak. Let that part of you have its say, and then have a conversation with it, explaining how you now perceive what went down, way back when. Know that whatever that other person said or did this morning, was merely a catalyst, a flaming red arrow pointing you in the direction of yourself. It was the easy button of life telling you there’s a part of you that was disconnected by a belief it created, and it’s time to let that old belief go, so you can come home.

This has been the process I’ve been using and understanding at deeper and deeper levels for the past several years. Any time there is something in my life that doesn’t work for me, I look for what’s beneath the surface feelings. Where do they lead me? What belief pops up, and what scenario went down to create it? I discover events that still hold uncomfortable meaning for a piece of me, and in shifting the meaning or perception, old shitty beliefs are released, and that piece of me comes home, happy once again.

This, my friends, is how to let go of hurts and create peace.



Posted in Holistic Healing, inspiration, Mental Health, The Voyage | Tagged , , , , , | 9 Comments

About Writing

I find myself in a bit of a pickle, a quandary. I’ve always loved to write, and yet never considered myself a writer simply because I’ve never been concerned with studying the craft of writing. I’ve never become obsessed with another writer’s style, or even what my own style is. And I never had the goal of writing a book. But recently, thoughts of creating a book have been swirling around me. I don’t see it happening for a few years at least, but the idea has been tapping me on the shoulder.

When I was young and in school and was required to read all sorts of literature (I don’t even know how something earns the title of “literature”), it was not fun. Especially Hemingway. Holy cow! Those sentences went on for half a page. What was up with that? It wasn’t until I was in my twenties, and living in Key West that I visited one of Hemingway’s homes, bought a book or two, read them, and finally got into them. I couldn’t appreciate The Old Man And The Sea until I had lived where the author had become inspired, and had experienced deep-sea fishing in those waters.

So many classics went right over my head. When symbology of a story had to be explained to me, I didn’t care to read. Especially in my youth. How could I consider myself a writer when I don’t care too much about reading classical literature?

But then again, I loved classes when I could write. As much as I’ve never thought of myself as a writer, there’s something about the process of writing that has always grabbed me. Taking my thoughts and letting them wend their way onto paper (or screen, as the case may be), creating something tangible from the thin air of my brain synapses, has always called to me.

Allowing the cascade of thoughts to materialize, has always been cathartic. There are times when I have to dump the cacophony of ideas in my head, so I can sort them out. To organize and make sense of them, and my life. And when an idea is finally splayed out, with all its tendrils and other bits and pieces in place, I can rest. It can be as satisfying as coming up with the idea for a quilt, going through the process of selecting just the right fabrics, cutting out all of the pieces, and swimming in the accomplishment of the finished product.

When my emotions are on overload, vomiting them into words has always been a huge release for me. Keeping a journal is a fitting receptacle for raw emotions. When things have calmed down and there is something worth sharing, translating feelings into metaphors, and relating them to things others understand, has always been satisfying. Sometimes it’s painting a picture with words, and sometimes it’s using an actual picture to emote and evoke a feeling.

Very recently, I’m becoming more aware of the thoughts that roil around in my head. And when I write, there are times when I’m in the zone and the words just flow. There are times when bits and pieces of ideas click into place, arriving with an epiphany. I’m now recognizing these times as when I’m connecting to something other than just me.

Sometimes when I read other people’s words, they inspire me, either through the topic of what was written, or the way they write. I love to grab onto the thread of that inspiration and hang onto it, shining the thoughts coming from my brain through that new lens. It connects me to something other than myself, bringing through words, thoughts, or information.

I’m recognizing that this is what channeling is. Opening up my head and allowing flows of thoughts and inspiration to pour in. I know that others experience this. It’s when they’re in the zone, when they get so deeply into something they’re doing that they lose track of time and don’t hear the knock on the door. It’s when I’ve been writing for a while, and when I stop, my brain is fuzzy and takes a minute to reconnect to this world.

People channel doing all sorts of things they love or are drawn to, from writing, to cooking, to painting. It’s when attention is focused, their heads are clear and open, and they’re in the zone. It’s when creativity is flowing into and out from them. It’s connecting to inspirational threads that swirl around, waiting to be captured, blended with your own style or color of thread, and spun out into your own new yarn. Several yarns merging into a giant tapestry.

Some people pick up threads of ideas to create systems or objects that will improve people’s lives. While others gather threads spurring them on to please the senses, whether they create with food, music, or sculpture. We all have the ability to tune our antennae to different channels of inspiration.

There are some who can tune their antennae to another level of inspiration, the level where people exist in spirit. Tuning into spirit is where the words inspire and inspiration come from. These people have long been called channels, being seen as a conduit between worlds. They tune into a field of energy that is home for people who exist no longer in a physical form. And into the field of energy that holds that part of us that isn’t busy being a human body: our higher selves.

Hang in there with me. Channeling spirit is actually not any different from being hit with a great new idea, when you’re trying to solve a problem that seems insurmountable. But instead of connecting to a picture in your mind of something new, it’s connecting to a personality.

Where do you think inspirational ideas and solutions come from? It’s all connecting to things that exist in the non-physical: thoughts and consciousness. And from what I’ve learned over the past few years, some of the big (and even smaller) inspirational hits that have flowed into people’s heads (like Einstein’s Theory of Relativity), were downloaded as people were able to tune into the big computer cloud in the sky where all information of everything and everyone, for all time exists. Some people call it the Akashic Record. Even the idea for a machine that could compute, was first an idea that landed in someone’s head.

Many years ago, I read that people, after they pass away, spend their time doing all sorts of things, from playing, to making music, and even performing research. As they come upon solutions in their research, they look for people in our physical world, who are working on solving a similar issue, and give them ideas to reach solutions. Spirit will reach this world through dreams, and coincidences, and even putting thoughts directly into our heads during a time when our monkey minds are quiet. For me it’s when I’m in the shower, washing dishes, or driving a long boring stretch of highway.

About a year after my father passed away, I asked a local channel (a medium) what my dad was up to lately. She said he was doing research. When I asked what type, she said medical. I didn’t get details on exactly what he was working on, but it was fascinating to know that as in life, his focus is still in the world of medicine. And I have no doubt that as he discovers cures or improvements for this or that, he’ll work to inspire a research scientist in our world.

I believe that we have much more assistance in our lives than we even know, with thoughts and ideas presenting to our brains like our own, when they might have been suggested as a whisper into our ear or our dreams. I now know that when I write, it’s like hanging a sign on my door saying open for business. Spirit and inspiration are invited in.

When I write I process my life and world, making connections and having epiphanies. Information threads that have caught my attention are added to and woven into beautiful and useful new tapestries, adding to the fabric of the universe. That’s what creating is all about. Collecting ideas, putting your stamp on them, and sending them out to inspire others.

What are some activities you do that invite inspiration? When are you hit with aha’s and new ideas? During these times, you are channeling.

Posted in inspiration, Spirituality | Tagged , , , | 20 Comments

Who Am I?

Who am I?

Am I a woman?

Am I a mother?

Am I a thinker?

Am I a writer or a photographer?

Am I what I do?

No one asks anything of a tree, and yet they are a tree. No one asks anything of the sun, and yet, it is the sun.

Are we our relationships?

Are we our accomplishments?

Are we our feelings?

Even asking the question, begs for a static, one or two-word answer.

Why do I have to be one thing or even three?

I’m as complicated as the ocean, and as simple as a puppy.

I’m as fluid as oxygen and as solid as old oak.

I’m as weak as a blade of grass and as strong as mother’s love.

I am warmth of a summer day and the cool breeze that brings relief.

I am destruction of an earthquake and the majesty of sunrise.

I am many and one at the same time.

If you strip away my conditioning and my culture, who am I?

I am the flame of a candle.

The beacon of a lighthouse.

Lighting the way.

Follow it.

Follow it until you find yourself.

Posted in inspiration, Poetry | Tagged , , | 14 Comments

How Being A Mother Is Changing Me

Becoming a mother was something I dreamed about since I was a teenager. I dreamed about loving being pregnant and being able to show it off to the world, walking around with a big round belly full of baby. In fact, when I was pregnant with my son, one of my favorite things to do when I was far enough along, was to feel him move around inside of me. Even during the days that I’d sit watching my tummy morph, I had no clue what was in store for me. NO CLUE!

Six years ago this spring, when I was searching for things to help my young son be more comfortable in this world, and simultaneously wanting to help myself in life, I experienced a spiritual awakening. Because of it, I see the world differently today. I not only see what my eyes see, but I understand that there are things going on in the background that I can’t see. And one of the biggest gifts of seeing things differently has been learning how to create changes in my life. Today, when there’s something going on in me that’s uncomfortable, or that I don’t like, I know a bunch of ways I can try to create change.

And because of that, I have tools to work differently with life.

Because I’m a bit of a science geek at heart, I love to learn about the unseen world using the language of vibration and energy. It just works for me. When I can relate things that explain the unseen world, in terms of metaphors and similes, my brain gets it more easily. I sing a note to a glass, and it resonates with that same note. The glass holds a specific resonant frequency. The pitch of the glass changes as you add or take away the water inside it.

Very simplified, I see myself similar to that crystal glass. I have a resonant frequency that is partially made up of my thoughts and beliefs. As I change those thoughts and beliefs, my resonant frequency changes. And as my resonant frequency has been changing, so has my family and my life experience.

One of the strongest motivations a person has in life to create change, is pain. Another amazingly strong motivation to make changes is having a child. That parent-child relationship is like no other a person will ever experience. Not everyone will have this experience in every lifetime, but I sure am in this one. In fact, I can see how pivotal my relationship with my son has been. One of the strongest motivations I’ve ever had has been my son’s pain.

The first time I was introduced to one of my life lessons that I wanted to experience in this current lifetime, was when my son was in about the second grade, and was having a hell of a time with school. It killed me to see him in so much pain, especially at such a young age. At the time, I thought I could figure something out; I thought I could fix something either about my son or about his school experience, that would alleviate his pain.

The lesson that was brought to me (during a hypnosis session where I was looking into food cravings), was that we each have our own path in life to walk. We might struggle along this path, and it might be painful, but it’s our path and ours alone. We can have support, but we are the ones who must put one foot in front of the next. It was crystal clear that my son’s struggle was something that yes, I could try to help him with, but that it was ultimately his journey and his alone.

Of course, knowing this truth, and figuring out how to walk in this world as a mother to a boy whose life experience included so much emotional pain, are two different things. It’s really only been in the past few years that I have figured out more of the “how to”.

Simply, the “how” involves making decisions through my heart. When I have the big, scary decisions that involve my son, I try like crazy to not become ruled by my head (as that is the place where fear rules the roost).

The “how” also involves asking myself just what is living inside of me that is getting all riled up when I think about… my son’s future. There have been so many times over the past few years that I look at something acting up within me and make grand assumptions about my son’s future. And these assumptions love to put me into states of fear and panic. They really love to fuck with me.

One thing I’ve done that has helped my peace of mind, has been to heal subconscious beliefs I carried that became activated when I’d think about certain things. I do this work in a deep meditative state with guidance (hypnosis). With more of my “crap” gone, day-to-day issues and struggles pass much more easily and quickly. And with my reactions gone, it only helps my son be more at ease as well.

Another “how” is simply to remind myself that in each and every moment, no matter what it looks like, my son is already perfect and whole. He is an amazing being that’s having a crazy, sometimes painful, life experience, learning what he came here (to a physical body) to learn. Because this is part of my truth basket these days, I remind him that he is a brilliant, amazing, beautiful soul, riding a meat suit whose brain loves to mess with him from time to time.

The more my son can learn to distinguish his true essence from what’s in his life because of being in a physical body, the more comfortable he’ll be, and the more he can blast off and fly in his life. And yes, part of this is working with his body/ brain to help it be happier.

As I heal bits and pieces of me that love to cry out in fear and pain, I know I am changing because of how I relate to my world. Things that used to bug me no longer do. I have much more patience in general. And I’m noticing recently that because I’m less snippy to my family, the peace is permeating them as well. My gratitude for things they do, flows out of me and they are feeling it and responding in kind.

It might not be every moment of every day, but it’s often enough that I’m seeing and feeling change.

When you have a child whose head likes to mess with them, every day is a new adventure. Some days are good, some not so much. And then there are the stretches of bad days that feel like they’re never going to end. Last winter when I ended up pulling my son from school, I felt like I was holding my breath, waiting for him to get all better. For him to not be held prisoner by anxiety. I thought that within days his anxiety would be gone. I was wrong. I waited and waited for him to be better; to get over the hump. But things only got better in tiny bits, if at all.

He’d take a step forward and two steps back. Then two steps forward and two steps back. I finally realized after seven months that this is what our new “normal” looked like, and it didn’t sit well with me. I needed to delve into what was inside me causing so much pain directly because of my son being in pain. The fact of the situation was that my brain wasn’t telling me that I was going to die – my son’s was. So why was I responding as if I were the one having horrible anxiety?

Last spring, I had a hypnosis session around this issue, and the healing and wisdom that came forth in the session took me back to my youth, having to do with feelings around “perfection” and my not wanting to screw up my kid. It was in intense session and created a lot of healing, allowing me to let go of buckets of very old muck. And another session this past fall created even more healing for me.

Since those sessions, I’ve been able to be less reactive to my son’s bad days, and to hold my own, being a more solid and stable mom for my son. And feeling less stress around the entire situation (more often than not).

The other day, something happened that showed me that yes, I am really changing, and the change is going deep. My son had a bad morning. And not just a “I don’t feel well” type of morning. He was feeling deep despair and hopelessness. He’s learned to cope with bad days, as he’s had so many, but the days of feeling hopeless have been few and far between lately.

These are days when he has talked about not wanting to be here, and the other day he was able to use the word hopeless, when I asked him how he was feeling. There are teens who struggle and who feel hopeless from time to time, and some of them choose to alleviate their pain by taking their lives, often in an impulsive moment. I believe that my son could do the same thing, if the conditions were just so. He has issues with impulsivity and other brain issues. This could happen.

But is it likely? I think not. I talk with him about kids who make this choice, feeling like they are backed into a corner with no way out. I remind him that his feelings change, and that relief can be just a thought away. And I am actively working to create real change in myself and to help him create change for himself, so the possibility of this shrinks until it disappears.

A previous time my son talked about not wanting to be here anymore, through tears and with a very fearful heart, I expressed my fears to him about suicide, about my fearing that he might take action to take his life one day. He steadfastly and tearfully reassured me that he would never do it. As much as I heard his words, I know that he meant them and wants to believe them, and I also know that in the perfect storm of pain, people will do whatever they have to do.

The other morning when he said he didn’t see an end to feeling hopeless, instead of being gripped by fear for my son’s life, I did not totally freak out inside. I was able to be with him, asking him to talk to me about what he was feeling, to let his feelings out. He was feeling hopeless about something specific, so we were able to talk about taking steps to move forward. I don’t have all the answers for him and his life, but I can help him learn how to get through. And I can be that safe place for him to fall apart.

I did get a little bit rattled and flustered at one point, but not too badly. The wonderful thing was, before too long, with the help of his father, they were outside doing things, and even having fun sledding around the yard, with my son being pulled on a sled behind our small yard truck. The dark and destitute mood passed.

I have been having an energy healer work on my son, to help rid him of beliefs that live in his subconscious. Beliefs that make his life uncomfortable and fearful. It’s been a few months now, and one of the biggest changes I see has been the end of regular nightmares.

It is my hope that with time, my son will be able to let go of trauma triggers he’s had about school for the past few years. One of his healing sessions identified an early experience in his life, when he was four, that was traumatic for him, and being in school pinged on that early trauma over and over again, causing reaction upon reaction. Because he no longer resonates with that experience as being traumatic, the painful pathways in his brain that were created from it, are dissolving.

When confronted with a child who can’t handle being in school because of their extreme sensitivity to energy (everyone around them), and a child for whom life in a physical body can be so painful that they want to return to the spirit world, most people become scared, panic, and seek out medical intervention and medication.

If my son weren’t so exquisitely sensitive to psycho-pharmaceuticals, I would have had him on meds four years ago. But the experiment we did with medications was a short-lived miserable failure. And since then, I’ve learned that my son’s soul chose to manifest anxiety in this lifetime to give him an opportunity to overcome it. And I really believe he can.

I could say that it won’t be an easy or short road, but I honestly don’t know. The truth is, I expect my child to wake and feel normal every single day. It’s still a bit of a surprise to me when he doesn’t. I keep remembering one morning when he was first struggling in school, and I was having a healer work on him over distance, when he was asleep. He was around eight or nine. That morning, he woke up and exclaimed, “I feel normal!” At the time, I didn’t fully appreciate how big that was for him.

Even though it didn’t last, I know that he can be there again. And I’ll stand with him until he gets there, and beyond.

Posted in Energy Therapy, Holistic Healing, Hypnosis, inspiration, Mental Health, Spirituality, The Voyage | Tagged , , , , , | 14 Comments

Shooting Eagles

Photography has been a lifelong passion, and lately, my son and I have been getting into videography. He’s been totally rocking flying drones, working on his piloting skills and also his videography skills. As he edits and puts together more videos, his editing skills will grow as well. Wouldn’t you know it, but his excitement about videos is rubbing off on me.

My photography passion began with shooting stills, capturing the moment. No sound. No movement. Just the moment. I shot pictures with whatever camera I had, and when I was in my twenties and had a full-time job, I moved up to a single lens reflex camera. The kind where you can switch lenses. It was amazing!

Because I took a 3 week long class studying humpback whales, and we were going to live on a schooner for a good part of the class, I bought a zoom lens: 70mm- 200mm. Incredible! I could take something that was far away, and bring it up nice and close, filling the frame. The whale was no longer a small black blob, I could get right up close to its mouth when it was feeding.

As my life went on, photography was always an interest, but it wasn’t as convenient and portable as it is today. I wish I’d taken a bunch of pictures when I was working on ships. There were so many cool things I saw that remain only in my memory.

Over the past six or seven months, my son’s passion about flying his drone and shooting pictures and videos from the air is igniting a passion in me. The perspective of shooting something from a few hundred feet up is amazing. And looking at a drone video is like being able to fly. (Note the new header banner photo that I shot the day before Christmas).

It’s my intention to create more of my own videos using drone footage, but until I do that, here’s a video that I edited (with DJI’s Go App), using my son’s footage. The music comes with the app, and editing with their editor is ridiculously easy. The YouTube channel where this video is posted is my son’s, and he has about a dozen very short (about a minute or two) drone videos he’s created so far.

The past month or so has been salmon spawning time where we live. And because of that, there are many eagles around, eating the dead and dying fish. Easy pickings. I’ve been snapping away, mostly with a smaller point and shoot camera that lives in my purse, because it’s convenient. It’s a decent little number, has a kick-ass zoom capability, and can shoot video as well.

When I use a lot of zoom to capture something far away, the resulting photo isn’t nearly as crisp and clean as when I use my big guns (Canon 70D), but as I already said, having a point and shoot camera with me just about all the time, means I’m going to get shots that I’d otherwise miss.

You wouldn’t believe the amount of eagle (and other bird) captures I’ve gotten on the way to or coming home from grocery shopping. Or sitting here in my living room, writing, glancing out the window.

I think that if I’m going to make any New Year’s Resolutions at all, other than getting my now teenage son’s bedroom moved to a larger, more private room in our house, I’d like to put more attention and effort into shooting, editing and sharing videos. Yes, and some more stills as well.

Here’s something I shot yesterday to get you going. As I was sitting, writing, I noticed movement out a window that points to our back yard, which is transected by a small river that salmon spawn in. A bald eagle flew from the river to a massive fir tree that sits about a hundred feet or so from the house.

I was wearing my bathrobe and slippers, and stepped outside to the deck. Staying under the eve overhang, to protect the lens from rain (as it’s almost always raining here this time of year), I captured a few short videos. Enjoy this short playlist.

Posted in Photography | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

Letter To Myself On Jan. 1, 2016

January 1, 2016

Dear Susan,

Hi there! Happy New Year, Chick!! I decided that because time is an illusion, and it really doesn’t exist (except by virtue of our left brain), I wanted to write you a letter of encouragement for the year 2016: the year that is ending for me. And yet, hasn’t happened for you yet.

You, the eternal optimist, have had a very bumpy last four months of 2015, after a hellish first six months of 2015, and you’re certain the bumps have finally been smoothed out, paving the way for a much better 2016. You are ever so hopeful that 2016 is finally going to be the year that your son will be ok with school, and your worries there will wind down. Ha! Get ready for the rollercoaster of your life! (Sorry chick, the big fun hasn’t happened yet).

Get ready to be stretched and tested, challenged and pushed like you haven’t been in a very long time.

Spoiler: this will be one of the most challenging years in a long time a year from fucking hell, and yet, you will make it through. You might have to belly crawl for a while, but you’ll get there. Another spoiler: the challenge will roll into 2017, but it won’t be new and scary anymore, and you’ll be able to deal with things there a little bit better.

You’ll go through very scary times with Little Man, and because you’ve learned a lot about life, yourself, and how to handle scary shit, you’ll reach out and all sorts of help will come. And not only that, but because you know what to do when your “human” side is freaking out, big-time, you’ll delve into more healing for both yourself and the kid.

I’ll let you know right now that when it comes to the kid and healing work, remember that he’s a teenager! He’s not into this sort of thing, and you’ll feel like you’re spinning your wheels a bit there, but hang on. Don’t get overstressed. You’ve got all the time in the world. And you’ll find a modality that fits him near the end of the year.

Got another spoiler that you won’t want to know about: you’ll have a health scare that will test your ability to trust yourself. You’ll feel a little schizophrenic when two different doctors whom you both trust, tell you diametrically opposite ways to deal with the problem. And you’ll decide which way to go. Hint: the quick and easy way out isn’t the way. But taking the road less travelled will sit well in your heart, so that’s the way you’ll go. And in taking that road, you’ll learn even more about yourself and about the creation and healing of disease in your body.

Be prepared to make some big changes for your inner self this year. With a lot of challenge and pain, will come a lot of healing work and results. Must I remind you that you totally rock at digging up stuff that doesn’t need to be with you anymore, and tossing it off the back of the ship? Do I really have to show you how far you’ve already come? Well, take how much you’ve healed in the past three years, and that’s how much you’ll advance in just the year 2016. Yup. It’s gonna suck, big-time. And it’s going to be so absolutely amazing.

So, my dear Susan, as you are on the precipice of 2017, your eternal optimism firmly in place, you are a very different person than you were a year ago, and with a few things still in flux, still not ironed out, you’re making it through one step at a time. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…

Know that Little Man will be ok and will continue to progress (even when you’re not sure, are scared, and crying), and that your health will continue to improve, especially because in order for it to keep getting better, you’ll need to take great care of yourself. Self-care won’t be an option, it will be a must. And you’ll figure that out too. (Yes, that one will test you with some great pain, but you’ll get there).

You not only have a huge toolbox these days, you’re reaching in and using the tool you need, as you need it. And you’re realizing the incredible importance of the tool of self-love, and love in general.

As you know, life is change, and sometimes change isn’t fun or pleasant. And even though as a kid you were really scared of change, you’re totally rocking it now (at least, with most things – it’s a process). You’ll even learn to become excited by change instead of fearing it. It’s gonna be a helluva year, and by year’s end you will barely recognize yourself.

I send you all of my good wishes, my thoughts, love, and encouragement for your upcoming year, and the year after: 2017. May 2017 bring more fun adventures, with as much grace and ease as possible, and peace.

All my love,

Your future Self

Posted in Holistic Healing, inspiration, Spirituality, The Voyage | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

Christmas Eve Memories

candle in holder

Growing up, I remember Christmas Eve, and the excited anticipation of presents on Christmas day. Our church always had Christmas Eve services, and when I was old enough, I joined my mother on our violins, accompanying the choir singing a holiday spirited piece, like Handel’s Messiah, or Vivaldi’s Gloria. I love Christmas music.

We played two Christmas Eve services, running home in-between to scarf down dinner. One year when Mom was too tired to cook dinner, we picked up pizza. It went over so well, it became a Christmas Eve tradition: pizza dinner – picking it up after the first service, giving us time to eat and catch a break before the 11 pm service.

Moving out on my own took me away for Christmas for the first time in my early 20’s. Over the years, whether I was away working, or able to come home for Christmas, I always enjoyed the anticipation of the big day.

Having my own child brought my own childhood excitement right back.

That all changed four years ago when Christmas Eve became the day that my mother took her life. As painful as that was, it was also a bit of a gift to me. You see, our relationship was complicated. The call that brought news of Mom’s death brought on a rush of emotions, from shock to pain to relief. I could breath again.

Our society has certain definitions and expectations of what a mother is. My mother was and was not a “mother”. A mother is supposed to be nurturing, loving, compassionate (at least at times), and a safe place to fall. Mom was not safe. She fed us, took care of us, taught me the domestic arts, and I know that she loved me. But at times, I was her target.

Because she was bipolar, there were times that she was so depressed that she couldn’t be a mother to three young children. And when she was manic, those were the times when I had to duck and cover. Not my brothers. Just me.

The last few years of Mom’s life were particularly difficult, especially after she had a bad fall and almost died. She was never the same after that fall. Because Dad was in the hospital for a broken bone at the time, I dropped my life and flew across country to be there with them for a month. When they were finally both home, I arranged and managed their in-home care. Less than five months later, Dad died. He’d lived with cancer for over 25 years, and as much as he fought leaving, I let him know that we would always take care of Mom. With that burden off his shoulders, he died.

After Dad’s death, Mom’s mental health was out of control. First she spiraled into mania so fast and so far that within weeks of Dad’s passing, she became delusional. Calls went round and round, from the caregiver to me to the doctor, psychopharmacologist, and therapist. As Mom shot up like a rocket, I tried to get her help. But due to the way the system is structured, I couldn’t help her until she became a danger to herself. She finally reached that point, and after four weeks in the local mental hospital, they sent her home, with the caveat that she have care around the clock. She was still very high, and still a bit delusional, and they sent her home.

From that time on, for the rest of her life she was never without care for at least 12 hours a day. As she came down from the mania, visited “normal” for less than a week, and started to dive into depression, it became clear that her illness was not going to let Mom even begin to be able to process Dad’s death.

She spent the last six months of her life in the deepest depression I ever saw, necessitating another hospital stay during the autumn before she died. Mere weeks after being released from the hospital, her in-home care had gone from around the clock (again) to 12 hours a day.

Once the caregiver had gone home, and Mom was ready for bed, she took pills. A lot of them. Several psych meds. The next morning, Christmas Eve 2012, after letting Mom “sleep in” the caregiver found her dead in bed.

The gift in her passing was that I could finally dig in to working on myself, without incurring further assault or having to deal with everything her mental instability brought to my life. Actually, in the beginning, I didn’t even know how deep the damage went, because of blocking out most of my childhood memories.

With some inheritance money, I decided to return to a modality of healing that had brought some surprising metaphysical experiences into my life: hypnotherapy. Having been introduced to a woman through a local healing center, I decided to give this new-to-me hypnotherapist a try. With her background in counseling, spirituality, and hypnosis training, she was a great fit for me. And we delved into my lifelong issue with weight.

What I didn’t expect, was to discover that just about everything I worked on, had its roots in my very early childhood. And it all revolved around my relationship with my mother. Food cravings, body image, self-esteem, self-empowerment, and so much more. It was a bit shocking to discover just how intensely I had been affected.

Let me just say, that when it comes to matters of survival, the brain can be genius. It creates wonderful beliefs to make it happy (even if they are lies), and buries things that are too painful to hold onto for long.

Over the past four years, I’ve healed so very much, reclaiming lost chunks of myself, letting go of decades of pain, and remembering myself as a divine being. I’ve had an ultra-master class in human behavior, thoughts, emotions, and beliefs.

So, as much as Christmas Eve has been a reminder of the horrible day that my mother killed herself, year by year, I’m unwrapping more and more of the gifts of our relationship.

My wish for everyone, is for you to discover how to find gifts in the challenging experiences in your lives. And to unwrap your gifts, proudly wearing them for all to see. Because the biggest gift you’ll receive is you.

PEACE! (Enjoy this beautiful rendition of Joy To The World).


Posted in Energy Therapy, Holistic Healing, Hypnosis, inspiration, Mental Health, Spirituality, The Voyage | Tagged , , , | 16 Comments

Life Is Not A Guided Tour, Or Is It?

When I started this blog just over six and a half years ago, I titled it, “Life Is A Journey, Not A Guided Tour” because that’s how I felt about life. That it’s a grand journey full of all sorts of adventures, good and bad, that I have to figure out. No one is going to come along and do it for me. At that point, my life had taken me places I’d never anticipated when I was a teenager.

By the time I was about sixteen or so, I thought I had it all figured out. What teenager doesn’t think they’ve got it all figured out? I’d go to college, get out and find a job, within a few years get married and a few years later, have a family. By the time I was twenty-six, I’d probably have a husband and a kid or two with more to come. I never really saw beyond that. My life was all planned out. Or So I thought.

But one by one, as I listened to my heart, my plans changed. First in college, switching my major half-way through, which meant graduating with no real direction. By the time I was twenty-six, I’d floated around from here to there and found some direction by following my passion (the ocean), and went back to college. Pretty soon, my life took me around the globe, sailing on ships.

Growing up, I’d never had an interest in travel or in foreign countries, so I found it funny that my life would take me to almost every ocean, several seas, and almost every continent on the planet.

And I never planned on meeting my husband on a ship. In fact, I recognized that most merchant seamen were not what I considered husband material, and I was absolutely not looking. My plans were to ship out for 3 – 5 years, long enough to pay off school debt, save some money, get some experience under my belt, and find a job that would be back on a smaller vessels that allowed me to be home more often than 30 days a year. (I’d worked on small boats and had a limited captain’s license before going back to college).

Once again, life laughed at my plans and I met the man who would become my husband, during my first year of shipping out. We married six years later. And having my first and only child at 38 was certainly never in my plans. Yet, that’s how things worked out.

Another thing that was never in my plans was having a child who is a little bit different from the norm, with some developmental delays and a brain that is wired differently. That rocked my boat in ways that I’m still adjusting to.

Something that was certainly not on my radar, was having a spiritual awakening. I was not raised in a religious or even spiritual home. That topic fell along the lines of politics: not to be discussed at the dinner table. So, they actually weren’t talked about at all between my parents or us.

But awaken I did. And with a new perspective of life and new understanding of the unseen realm. Since that fateful time, almost six years ago, I’ve had a bunch of experiences that have deepened my understanding about the unseen realm and have moved a bit of what I used to believe into the category of what I now know.

And one of the things I now know, is that I have a team in the spirit world that supports me whenever I ask. I am never alone. And I am always unconditionally loved. Sometimes I forget these things because I’m human. And at this stage of life, brain drop-out is a real thing.

But there really, truly is otherworldly guidance we can access at any time. It’s taken me a few classes and a bunch of experiences to recognize guidance that hits me as such. But the hints and clues are all around. You may or may not get big alarm bells in the front of your head. You might get very quick whispers at the back of your head (mostly what I get). You might hear a song on the radio or see something on a license plate of the car in front of you. You might have a friend share something that speaks to you.

Or you might bring in a professional clairvoyant to help you hear the messages more clearly and easily. FYI, if you see a psychic and the things they tell you don’t resonate with you, don’t go back. Everyone worth their salt will be telling you things you already know at some level. They might be able to add more details and more information.

The very best guidance of all is learning to listen through your heart. Looking back on my life, it was when I made big and often scary decisions through the lens of my heart, that I was carried to where I was supposed to go. Not that there truly is a right and wrong place in life to go. But, I believe that our souls have goals for us, and to further those goals, if you follow your heart as much as you dare, you’ll get there.

So, once again, the joke’s on me because yes, life is a journey, and yes, it is also very much a guided tour, as long as I pay attention and listen through my heart.

Posted in Spirituality, The Voyage | Tagged , , , , | 18 Comments