Whats in a meme?

In response to Thoughtsalone’ blog about similarity of bloggers. http://thoughtsalone.com/2013/08/29/people-or-memes

Meme: “an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture.” A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols, or practices that can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals, or other imitable phenomena. (Wikipedia)

I definitely see a small group of us who always check in with each other and comment and support each other. I have a very small following and I really do not care about the number of people who respond to my posts. It is not why I write. I started writing as an outlet for my journey to ask questions and to help me think through the process. I actually never have thought as myself as a writer. Through time and by no actual means, I think we all gravitated towards each other because of the time and effort put forth by all of us to acknowledge each other. And yes, of course, it was the similarity of content that was the draw.

The idea that people put up masks and have multiple exposures is probably true. Is that not the concept of a pen name? I actually did not even think to use a pen name when I set up my account. And the reason was I did not ever think anyone would really read my “stuff.”  My writing is the most honest exposure I have. In my “real” life, I have been accused of acting and playing roles. I think I do not do that as much and I work hard at being just me. But then I had to figure out who me was.  I think we all adapt to some role in order to fit in with society. But as I have written many times, I often feel ostracized and different. It does not bother me anymore for multiple reasons but mostly because we are not ever separate from the whole. We can be different and we need to be different to be an individual, but we all are connected. I do embrace individuality because I like the variety and because there is always something to learn from people.

People who hide or show a front usually are very much in pain of some sort. It takes a lot of courage to accept one’s self when one thinks their past is tainted or they have never felt worthy. And if you do not understand that you are not your history, it can be very hard. The world does not want people who are bleeding from their soul. We do not want other’s issues. Well, most people do not want to bother. Some people do want to help and are willing to let the actor truly expose themselves and become a whole person. It takes a lot of guts to assimilate our pasts and put the harm and pain in perspective and move on. This process would not be necessary if we did not judge. But people do. So people hide and portray a role they think will be more acceptable because they still have not learned who they are, accept it, and embrace their current life. I get that! I am not saying I accept out and out lying however. But I understand why people may seem fake or whatever you want to call it. We have to give them the space to come out and be. Very scary stuff when you are on the other side of the shell. But I think if someone is actually taking the time to react to one’s blog, it is a plea for a hand. Maybe not in all cases as I am sure there are antagonists out there.

As far as there being meme here:  Yes, of course there is. Is that not what this is this is all about? I cannot fathom that there would be any other recourse than a gravitational pull of like minds. When I first started participating in WordPress, I would spend  time looking at other people’s blogs. I am not even sure how and who I connected with at first. I actually started that game of going to posts and liking them in hopes they would look at mine. Some did, and then I stopped doing it because it was taking away the real reason of my writing. But I connected with one or two and started following them because I liked what they said. It was the direction I was going. Then I saw comments made on their blogs and I went to those writer’s blogs because again, I liked what they said. I stopped the game of trying to build readers. I have a pretty small group of blog’s I follow all the time and a very small group of followers. My intent to write is only to reflect and maybe someone will find solace in the fact that someone is in the same place they might be. When I first started my journey, it was the isolating feeling as I thought no one had ever been where I was  or did what I was going through. HA! Boy was I wrong. I found great comfort in reading and commiserating with fellow travelers.

The biggest blessing I have with this blog has been the small band of authors that check in daily or often. When I do not see their blog or hear from them, I have true concern about their wellbeing.  I have been uberblessed (smile) with some very special relationships. I have written about them and it is apparent in the comments we make back and forth of that connection. I have gone beyond WordPress with two of them and I am grateful for their support. Would anyone of us know each other physically if we were to walk by each other on the street? Probably not. Is that really knowing someone if you cannot not recognize them in the physical form? I think the connection is a deeper one than that and I am not sure I can do justice with describing it in words. The connection is a soul connection. For me, it is just perfect in that and so I do not really think beyond that. If it all turns out that it is all pretense, then ok, it was what it was for the time I needed it to be. But I have more faith in myself and the people I have connected with that they are very real. And I also know myself well enough to know that I really deeply care for them and I hope they know that.

This WordPress was placed in my path for what was originally one reason and has turned into another. It is absolutely a meme. But it is also much more. It is an embrace on a day when the preverbal boot was meeting the butt. It is an oasis of ideas which provide a comfortable hug to the soul. It is a place to be real as much as the viral world will allow. It is a hand reaching out when you are searching. It is school for those who wish to grow and learn. Our blogs are the collection of ideas and expressions of total strangers but of the same Source. We express in words and pictures but it goes way beyond in some cases.

 

Return to reality

river morningphotograph @jdemeis 2013

The world spins on today as I return from an extended vacation. I never realize how bad I need vacation until I actually slow down and get into the groove of not being in the groove. My whole being changes. My vibrations change, I can breathe deep and slow and the pain that normally permeates me in some fashion abates. This trip was the longest time away I have had in years. I had a new person taking care of the house and my complete faith in her helped me let go. It took a few days this time to become calm because I left in such turmoil about things.

The River brings such calm to me. I spent many hours in soft contemplation staring at the water. I thought a lot and I did not think at all. I was able to go beyond me and really feel nothing and everything at the same time.

When we first got there, the animals were not evident to me at all. Usually, the rocks below our porch are covered with geese, seagulls and ducks. There were none until the second day. I have to think my vibration was so negative that they stayed away. By the third day I had many visitors including Broken Wing who came every day. There is a mink who resides under the building that started coming out to fish and I snapped her image often. One day I went to the place near and in the water that I sit on and she was there. We actually looked at each other from about a couple of feet away for a while before she realized she should hide in the flowers. That sweet face is imprinted only in my head because I did not want to break the moment with my camera. The one being missing was my heron. Because the Osprey have really come back to the River, the herons are not as abundant. There is one rock that for the past years a heron will come and perch on. I must have at least a hundred shots of her. I call her Charlene. (I named the mink Flower) Charlene did not make an appearance until the fifth day there. I was so filled with joy to see her. She made only three other appearances the rest of the time. In all I took over 750 photos. I posted some yesterday with my blog story about BW.

It took me until yesterday, 24 hours after our return, to connect the feeling of the River here. As I sat in the garden I could again feel the calm, although not as easily. I had to really quiet my mind. A year ago, I would have no clue what I just said meant. What so naturally came to me at the River is within me always, I just need to put the crap away and let it come. Some of you will laugh when you read this, but I finally get “just be.”  It was so easy up there to “just be” because all the usual offenses are not there. I am not working, no house to clean and maintain, no worries and no real demands. It will take work to bring that sense into my real life. This was the gift of this time away: To be able to completely get just being quiet and still. The still is the thing I did not get before.  I am not sure if I could have gotten that here. Although I love my mind, it is not always my friend. I think too much. It was impossible for me to quiet my mind a year ago. I worked hard at learning to be able to meditate, which now comes fairly easy. But to really become still is something I need to become more proficient in.

I read a couple of great books while there. One I am still working on by Eckhart Tolle called Now. This was exactly what I needed to help guide me to the place of stillness. If you do not know what it is you can miss it. I am not going to go into what I learned because it is not possible for me to put the experience into words actually and I am sure it is different for everyone.

But now, I must move on with the day and put into practice what I learned. The River is in my soul and I must count that the peace is always there. I just need to be still to find her again.

The Story of Broken Wing

BW in waterThis is the story of Broken Wing. BW lives in the 1000 Islands. He was born there and he will die there. He is a big goose by anyone’s standard. But when he was younger, someone took a shot at him and hit is wing. cu of BWHe is unable to fly. He feels different and is often all by himself because he can never fly off with the other geese. flying geese 1 But he has friends. His mentor is John Gull. He is a wise bird who has taught him how to survive. He shows him where the best grass is to munch. He leads him to visitors who toss him food. He often finds the offerings very salty, except for the Lady of the River who knows him and feeds him unsalted treats. He wishes she would stay and take care of him and she wishes she could. But that is not possible.John Gull

But Jon Gull is a smart bird. He tells BW that everyone has something to offer. Even if he cannot fly, he is still a special bird and there is no one else like him. And he should celebrate that fact. And so BW does. He starts to dance. He discovers he can dance like no other bird. His joy is in his feet. He is a powerful dancer because he swims all the time. He can swim very fast too. But his dancing is magnificent. It is so wonderful that when BW starts to dance the other birds join in the dance.

BW dancemore dancing geese  Soon everyone is dancing with BWdancing geese

BW finds great happiness in his dancing and it brings great joy to the flock. Even though BW cannot fly away he knows he is a special goose. And because he brings great joy to those around him, the flock returns every night to swim to the cove to rest for the night and  BW goes with them.geese to cove

At the River part 2 Birds of Prey

river morning Morning breaks so beautifully on the river. Our hot spot internet seems to be giving us some difficulty. I am going to try and publish this and see if it goes. Today we had the best boat ride. The Captain knew us from all the trips we have taken and knows I am a photographer in search of birds. Since we were the only ones on the boat for a while, he gave us quite a tour. flying egrets

Our guide went searching for something I have never seen. He also explained that the Osprey, who were once an endanger species has come back to the River in abundance and since they are natural enemies, the Herons are less. I did see my favorite heron again this morning, but my camera was not up and ready.  Todays birds were all birds of prey. And I have never had the shot like I got today of an eagle.

fledgling eagle Here he is in the tree. It is a fledgling. Later we saw the parent. eagle in tree

flying eagle

After we came back from dinner, I went for a walk and was thrilled at the site of the orange moon over the property. What a wonderful day. I shot over 207 photos today. Blessings to all and to all a good night.orange moon

At The River part 1

hunting  osprey

 

Arrived at The River yesterday afternoon. I immediately went out on the porch and looked up to see an Osprey flying over head. I just smiled and said “Hi, Rising Hawk and thanks.” We were there two minutes and did not even unpack. Later, I went to down to the water to bless my charms and rest in my spot. I was there two minutes and at least three Osprey flew over….. I laughed and said “Ok… that was showing off.” Turns out we are near a nest and there is a family.

golf cart

Today we went for a river cruise and I will save the pictures for another time. Joe is back to playing golf so we decided to go to the historical course on Wellesley Island and check it out. There are actually two courses. We went on the newer one that is where the old Boldt farm was. There are old canals all over this place that Geo. Boldt put in. They have filled in some of them and left plenty for water hazards. It is beautiful. I took pictures and drove the cart. We had and absolute blast. golf pond

Boldt barns

This is one of the old barns on the property. There was a front farm and a back farm where they had the cattle and other animals. This was part of a pasture once and is now the 16h hole. It is beautiful. When we came back around after the ninth hole, I could hear a familiar screeching and there was a Red tailed hawk and its youngster was yelling from the tree.

Ironic Meassgaes

The combination of   planetary positions in today’s sky is a key element to your sign. Therefore,   you need to think about making some big resolutions in your life, Jane. Your   life is probably full of rich, exciting relationships, and you are probably   quite satisfied with your career. Do you really feel that you’re living up to   your aspirations for yourself? Is it possible you do what you do just to show   off to other people? You have a fairly philosophical day ahead of you…

  This has been a week of interesting messages and situations. I am so glad it is over for multiple reasons. I learned about spirit guides this week and that has been so very beneficial because I used one to help guide me though the hardest times this week. I have to thank my newest dear teacher for helping me understand and   use a spirit guide. I had no idea. Seems we all have them and there are a series of roles they play but I never felt connected. She showed me how to sense and know. I have become aware that the voice in my head is not always my own. Wacky as that sounds to some, it is a truth for those who know guides. I have been working on knowing one particular guide and I am grateful that this is the one she taught me to hear. It is the Higher Self. She is the one who often speaks through when I am writing. She is the one who says very loudly, “take the higher road.” I had to do that this week. I am excited about learning more about spirit guides and how to work with them.

My first post this week was about a message I heard from a squirrel on Sunday about trust. (I have to laugh that if I read this post without context of all my other writing, other blogs and authors, and what I have been going through you would think I am certifiably nuts.) The squirrel’s message was a good base to go through the rest of the week. Trust myself and trust that the inner voices in my head, once weeded out had all the instructions I would need to survive and flourish. That’s the trick. It takes practice to learn to weed the ego   out, the voice of the past that said failure is all you have, and the “you can’t do it” voice.

This week was started off with a visit to my dear friend and mentor who I have been working with for a year. The message that came from him was about healing my inner child. He also repaired some pain in my foot and ankle that was making walking painful. He is amazing.  Upon reflection, I decided it was time to honor all the inner selves. There is one who I need to work with a bit more and she reared her little voice later in the week. She needs to be heard and then I will work with my teacher to comfort her and let her go back to where she should be.

Wednesday night’s message was one of great comfort. I attended my monthly healing circle and discovered that I am ok. I am where I should be and everything is fine in my spiritual growth. It was panacea I needed to be able to turn off the diligent work I have been doing for a while and just be.

Thursday brought a lot of anguish. I also started having a physical problem that manifested on Tuesday that has not happened for a long while. I had a diverticulitis attack. I knew that the sunflower seed kernels that I have been eating in my salad are the culprit. I did not listen to the voice that said, “danger Will Robinson”,   when I bought them, ate them and then suffered. I knew better and yet I ignored the voice and paid the consequence for it. And the worse thing during an attack is to be stressed. It exacerbates the condition.

This week I had to do a presentation of the Pillar (strategic focus) I head to the whole Communication group. The Communication group is anyone who is a manger and up and facilitated by the CEO. I got through the presentation fine, even though one of my most threatening people had to interrupt me and question me right I the middle of it. I knew she would do it. She thrives on being a pain in the ass and has a big agenda with me. She did the job I am doing for nine years and moved on. Her chosen successor lasted less than a year and was fired. She has never been kind to me and never taught me a thing. Instead she takes it upon herself to challenge everything I do and often in public. I thought I handled it well and the presentation was ok. I spoke too quickly because standing there is like being a Milkbone biscuit in front of a pack of starving dogs. There is no love, just the impatience of you interrupting their day.

Later, I was going down the hall when the one remaining director asked me to step in her office. She told me in a laughing and kind voice that I needed to watch my facial expressions because I made a face at this woman. Now, I am unclear as if it was during the presentation or later, when she hammered someone else during their presentation. She lives to be caustic. I was not aware of it and said thank you to the director for her kind advice and we joked about this woman’s ability to be irritating and off I went.

The mood at work has been very uncomfortable for a long time. Actually, since the day I was hired I have struggled to be accepted because I am not a clinician. I do feel now that there is a very strong group of people who accept and respect me and there is an extremely strong bond between me and my direct right hand. She   has the biggest influence of anyone in the company with the visiting staff. But there is another woman who I have been struggling with for about five months. She is very threatened by me. I have had multiple one on one conversations about this with her. I do not want her job. What she wants is the connection and acceptance I have by the clinical managers and senior nursing staff which we call Clinical Specialists. The problem is the CS nurses have absolutely no respect for her and they do not want to work for her. They requested earlier in the year to the VP that they report to me. Of course she found out about it. There is a very long explanation of how my relationship with this woman has deteriorated because of her total ineptitude. Unfortunately for me, her   best friend is the VP of Clinical who has to hear her constant one sided complaints about me over cocktails. I have been called in twice to give an explanation of some major crisis she created and upon hearing my side, the VP had to agree that her friend was totally wrong. But people do not like to hear that their handpicked right hand person is a buffoon.

On Thursday, I was scheduled for my weekly meeting with my supervisor after she had pushed it off. I really like my boss. She is an administrator and sits on the board, however her title is director. This is why I will never become a director as one director cannot report to another. All the other Board members are VPs. She is the only who is titled Director. I think it is because she does not have the required Masters to be a director. What transpired in the meeting was not the message I expected. I had been written up for misconduct. Written up….. I have never had a written discipline in my career.

I am not going to go into detail of the stupidity of this action. I will tell you I was accused of some pretty petty, stupid things. The gist of it was I supposedly said things that were reported third hand and made a face….really? The accusation clearly said “I rolled my eyes”…. Really? They write up a disciplinary document for rolling eyes?  If that were the case then three quarters of the company would be in issue, except the VP of   Finance. His eyes are shut as he loudly snores in meetings. The funny thing is the accuser never used the words “rolled my eyes” when we spoke, she said I made a face. She also elaborated in her report that I said I hated this woman which is a bold lie. The action was also based on remarks made by the other woman who I have been struggling with for five months. Supposedly her accusations were based on comments said to her from another source. And that the report was based on her comments to the VP and then to my boss. Really? In other words, the accusations were based on gossip from one source. The same source who has been trying to discredit me for five months. My boss has been fully aware of the ongoing situation as I have talked to her in order to get advice about how to handle this woman. This sad soul has been at this company for forty years and was all the way to VP herself when she was removed and sent to IT to work as a clinical advisor.  That was until her best friend resurrected her this year and made her a director. No one knows why she had been casted down because there are very few who are close to her or have been there that long. I am sure it is because she is insufferable. So now I have a disciplinary document that  states that I rolled my eyes and that I supposedly said things. (I laughed later with someone that this is reminiscent of  “She touched me” mentality) During the 2.5   hour interview I tried to hold my own. Remember that I am also feeling extremely poor with the gut issue from hell. Once it was just my boss and I, the little girl reared her little wounded head and I got very emotional. My boss can be the coldest bitch out there and even she had a tear in her eye. But the Higher Spirit was there and supported me and I did not cave or agree to the accusations in anyway. I did vehemently try to show them how one sided and ridiculous this was and no one could look at me in the eye.

Once home, I sat and thought about all that had happened. I was wounded only in the sense that I have put so much into my work. There were several messages I was to take away. The big one is that it was not about the petty issues, it was a warning from the VP of Clinical to back off. She wanted to throw her muscle by having my boss write this crap up and put me through this to show who is in charge. Hence my boss’s tear later as she could not say what really had transpired. The mentality of this work environment is stuck in the 80’s and it is not going to change. Nothing is ever going to change there and that is what they want. They do not want a change agent like I was hired to be. They want someone to validate that they are just fine….and they are not! Even though part of my job that I was hired for was to make change improvements, they do not want it. Better explained, the VP does not want it. I am the fifth person in a two year time frame who has come up to this point. Three left on their own volition because of the frustration. I know this because two of them were very close to me and we often talked. Two were eliminated when their job was dissolved.

I am getting this message loud and clear: Sit down, shut up and do as you’re told. Unfortunately it is not what I do. But then again I have not ever been in the place I am before. I am close to retirement and have money in the bank and a pension I  am now old enough to tap from teaching. So when I saw this horoscope this   morning, it was a pronounced message that I need to sit and think about what it is I want out of the next years. I need to really evaluate my intentions. The thing that is amazing to me is the messages I heard and saw after I left the rotten experience at work. Driving home, I saw a hawk flying overhead and it   followed above for a brief part of my journey home. I saw another later that day closer to home. I also saw one perched on a pole the next day coming in. I saw two herons and they have been extremely rare lately. The most loud and clear message  I got while driving was this voice that said that there was something coming that was going to be much better….now that is not the verbiage, but you don’t actually get words when you get messages like that. It is just a sense of clear understanding. That sense of a better situation has not left me.

My Higher Self scripted  a written rebuttal where I gave my side of the story and refuted the lies based on facts they can verify if they wanted (which they won’t because they already know). I did not agree to the disciplinary document. I stood completely up for myself.  I heard and felt the message that I need to take better care of my physical self and that I need to make that a priority. One message it is stark reality was very profound yet has made me giggle. I have been in the same office for almost two years. On Tuesday, my name plate with title fell off the wall. It crashed down and I made a joke to a passer bye that it was a message. He stuck it back up and said it meant nothing. Friday, when I came in the morning, it was on the floor again. Hmmmmm.

So I am off to the River with the hubby tomorrow. Already the short reprieve is healing my gut. The message to take care of myself will be heard and since I do not want to spend any more time in gut agony, I will be mindful of my food intake. We always overeat on vacation. I have lost the six pounds I put on recently this summer and I want to keep it off. I am going to bring my computer because I want to keep writing even if it is sporadic. I have my new camera and it will be my third appendage. I am so looking forward to the time to think and   reflect, pray and meditate and in the truest sense just be. Namaste, everyone. Love……

Healing Circle

Last night was my Spiritual Healing Touch circle group meeting. If you had told me a year ago I would be meeting with a group of ladies I have nothing else in common with to talk about spiritual growth and practice healing touch I would have said you were nuts. But there I was. I love this group. We were shy about four of our members because of vacations.

We first got together to take a class in a series for certification for Spiritual Healing Touch back in June. I found out about the class which was strongly recommended for me to take by the source of a few of us. There usually is one connector and in this case it is my medical doctor from a while back. It seems that upon investigation that she is the link to most of us in the group. Last night I got to know one of the ladies a bit better and was amazed to hear her story was almost identical to mine in her relationship to Dr. Kates.

I first went to see her thirteen years ago as my regular PCP (primary care physician). She was very popular I found out and had a fabulous reputation in the community. At the time, my husband and I had been seeing this other PCP and felt his care was not the best. He seemed more into the numbers of patients than the patient themselves. A couple of times he had prescribe something without explaining about the medication and I am not sure if he had checked on the interaction of the drugs. I was very dissatisfied with his care and a friend recommended we see Dr. Kates. This was at the time of our dissent into the divorce process which began shortly after our first meeting with Dr. Kates. This in hind sight reassures me there was a plan in place and everything did turn out fine.

Dr. Kates had an alternative practice and would go beyond just talking and then giving pills. One day she told me to take the last appointment in the day of her week, and so I booked a late appointment. She never rushed a patient so I waited for her office to empty and she called me back. She had already introduced me into Ayurveda but only with diet. I like what she was telling me about the idea of improving health by more than ingestion of drugs. Our conversation that day was the door opening for me for my journey and I walked through and have never looked back. She made some suggestions about where to look for more guidance and to learn more about my path. She knew things about me that I had never verbalized or shared. By this time I was on my own for the first time in my life. She was a life raft in very turbulent seas. I continued to see her until she changed her practice and stopped taking HMO insurance.

A few years later, I did call her and went to see her. I was in between doctors at the time. She had focused more on the type of care she wanted to give. In our medically restrictive environment here in Rochester, she was a pioneer and possibly a renegade. I had been studying Wicca and I told her about what had transpired in my life during my absence. Although I was there for a medical reason, the attention she gave me did more to calm my soul. She also knew I was where I was supposed to be, even though I did not.

I did not see Dr. Kates for a while only because she was private pay. The next time I saw her was incredibly serendipitous. My new husband and I had a tiny wedding dinner in this miniscule restaurant that was very popular in our area. I was pretty preoccupied during the dinner, but kept catching glances at this woman sitting a few tables away eating with a young girl. It finally dawned on me it was Dr. Kates and so I went over and said hello. We still laugh that she crashed my wedding. This restaurant only sat about ten tables. The fact she was there that night was amazing. We had often eaten there and I had never seen her there before.

The next time I went to see her was this past December. It was like it was totally planned to be that way. She opened her door to me and connected so many dots of my path. She simply knew all the things I had been experiencing and what was happening to me in my journey. She told me little about this class but I took the leap of faith and signed up. Since then, Dr. Kates, true to herself, left the area to continue her work and journey on the West Coast.

And as we sat around last night and shared experiences and stories I felt the rush of gratitude I so often experience now. I looked across the group at our leader who had reached out to me from the moment I signed up for the class. I went to see her and she practices in a space right across from Dr. Kates. She reassured me about the class and I actually drove with her to the class which helped to allay my huge doubts about the day. I now see her on a regular basis for therapy sessions which are more like private lessons than anything. We often sit and talk for an hour or more and her insight and sharing has been priceless.

I thought about our evening last night and how blessed I am to have found this group. We meet once a month and it is the best therapy and not because we do Touch on each other. Matter of fact, we spend little time on it. Our leader tries to do one technique and last night we had talked so much we only spent a short moment practicing. But I think the talk was more powerful.

I realized that everyone is on a journey in that room. Where we are on that path is as random as life is. When I went to the first class, I felt as I was the only novice in the room and I was completely overwhelmed with the self- induced lack of ability. After the class, I was so reassured I was on the right path and right where I needed to be for the most part. But I knew I had a ton to learn and in true Jane fashion wanted the information in huge quantities and immediately. And so I connected with mentors and delved deep into my learning.

Last night I realized that what I have been going through is similar to everyone in the room. There was one woman who opened her heart and told us of what a difficult time she was having. She has had her own Reiki practice and I was sure she was a totally seasoned veteran. She chose the word to describe her feelings as being disconnected. I got it immediately because I have been there too. The ladies
all shared methods they used to heal that particular feeling by spending more time pampering themselves. One suggested a foot bath. My only offering was that I completely understood that there are times you feel unworthy and pull away thinking you do not deserve to feel wanted and loved. And that there are times when your tank is empty because of whatever reason like maybe you have been giving too much to others. I said those are the times when we have to really work on accepting and loving ourselves. You could hear a pin drop when I finished. My words came from within and flowed without effort. They were not said in criticism, but in sharing because I had felt the same thing. She just looked and me and then sat back and was quiet. I thought, crap, that was too personal. But later when we were all saying good bye, she came up to me and gave me a big hug and said thank you.

Another woman had asked about spirit guides. She too was in a quandary about how to access them. I smiled the whole time she was speaking and I am sure I looked like the Cheshire cat. I was in the same quandary and have been working with my sage mentor and friend on processes to learn about spirit guides. I spoke up when it came my turn and told them a little bit about a guided mediation I had worked on but did not give them all the details because my first attempt was not successful. I suggested some books I have been reading as well. To hear her ask for the very exact thing I had been asking for was, in a strange way, so comforting.

The biggest “thing” I came away with last night was this IS a process. I know many say just be and I think there are times you must just be. But I think you have to work at getting to a place to just be. And if you do not know what that looks like, how are you to know how to do it? And I agree it does not have to be a struggle the whole way, but complacency does not produce growth. As I typed this, this image popped into my head: I pictured a person walking on a tight path with many curves and a slight incline. As the person progresses, the incline gets steeper. Finally the person is walking up a steeper hill with this small paved path winding up the rocky terrain. But the person reaches the top and it plateaus to a vista. The person walks to the edge and there is a vast beautiful view of lakes and valleys filled with flowers and animals. It is like a Disney movie. Off to one side is another path which is shimmering in light, but the person stops to breathe the air and rest for a while and simply enjoy the view. I feel today I am on the plateau and will spend some time there resting. It is a very calm and safe place.  But, honestly, that path off to the side is beckoning and I know I will continue.

Each one of us eight last night are on a similar path but each brick is a different as our faces. Our goals are similar and so it is so reassuring to hold each other’s hands on the way. I sat in quiet contemplation as I heard each story and thought, “Phew, I am ok.”  And I know we are not supposed to compare each other on the path, but it offered great assurance that I was not alone in my work and that others experience a lot of the same things I have. I have abundant love and respect for Dr. Melanie Kates for inspiring all of us to work individually and together. I cannot wait until we all get together for her class in September. I especially cannot wait for my private appointment when I can truly thank her.

Heros in my head

There are voices that are in my head which today I want to pay homage to. When I started writing this last night, it was mostly to heal something that happened. When I reread it this morning, I saw great value in the application to help someone who is struggling with self-worth. Maybe by taking pieces of me in chunks, I can see their contribution to the whole and celebrate this value. It turned out to be a great exercise and I recommend it. Now to some of you, this may sound as wacky as the day and that’s OK. You are welcome to read on or not. This was really an exercise for me. Putting ideas down on paper is a tool I use to validate experiences I am going through. It is a process I have used for over a year now and it has done wonders for me. This journal piece is in regard to some special people who have been part of my life because they are my life. These women vocalized their pain and love for me as I went through the past year. It is time to honor and I want to thank them. I must ask for their forgiveness as well.

I am going to start with the youngest member of the group. She is a little red-haired, freckled faced sweetie who just wanted to love and snuggle with anyone and everyone. She would run around with her soft ringlets of crimson and gold and sparkling green eyes and offer kisses blown off her little hand. She had been born the last of five and had little fear. But something changed. The grown up me does not know what happened but something changed very early on to terrify this little one. She went from an outgoing cherub to a scared child who hid in closets and whose memories at some point included fear and loneliness. Many pictures of her pre-kindergarten show a grimace and a look of distrust in those green eyes. Her once baby pudgy body had grown to make her more round than she should have been for that age.  She only wanted to be protected and loved and somewhere, someone failed that. I cannot tell you now what happened, only that I am aware of something on my fringe of my grown up memory. It can stay there as I do not think knowing will help change anything in my current life. It was at this point my body printed the withdrawal reflex. It is this autonomic response that causes me pain as an adult. I still withdraw when frightened and I do not even need to be aware of what frightened me. My body pulls in and up and then freezes. Babies do this naturally when you tickle their feet or startle them. As an adult, it manifests in leg cramps and muscle pain especially in my feet and legs. When really bad, the cramps migrate. I stop digesting food properly and cannot take deep breaths.

But in her honor, this is the little girl who still gives me the ability to believe in magic. She is the one who gets so excited at something new. She brings joy and laughter that is as honest and pure as a crystalline stream of water. She can sit and watch animals and they know they can trust her. But she is also the most vulnerable of all the people who I am. I did a terrible thing last month and subjected this little one to her tormentors. Even though I, the adult, thought I had it covered, she did not. And she pulled up and froze. I did not think about her and the muscle cramping and pain that I have been in the last two weeks is a manifestation of that withdrawal. I knew something was up, but had no clue because I thought it was all behind me. I am sorry I did not protect her, and it really was not a good thing because of the damage I did to my physical body. I am grateful for my therapist and guide who knew exactly what happened and worked on the muscle groups in order to release the freeze. The thing I did not connect was that the event was over a couple of weeks ago and I really thought I had it under control. This little one was hell bent on telling me she was pissed. I gain a ridiculous amount of weight in a very short time span and was in so much discomfort to the point again of suffering with nightly charlie horses. I also was starting to want to hide, which is a method she used when hurt.  As I listened to the explanation of what was going on, I really felt the wounded inner child in me. Tonight I am hugging her and saying I will not do that again. I am all she has and I put her in a place of great harm. Memories are more than thoughts and if anyone tells you that they are harmless, they are wrong. They imprint on every system and cell of your body. Many bring you joy, others….not so much

There is a young girl who is my next hero. She is the one who of all the women who suffered the most. I am not going to reiterate her trauma. But I honor her because she is the performer of my life. She is the artist and the songstress. She is the one whose creativity was so integral to who I am. It was her voice that brought me awards and accolades. I lost her for a long time and I am slowly bringing her back into focus. With the good, came a lot of bad. But I had a lot of support to deal with the trauma. She is once again playing music. She is the eye who looks through my camera. She is the one with all that happened to her, who still sees beauty in so many things and people. I honor her for teaching me forgiveness. I look forward to playing and creating together again.

The next hero in my life is the Warrior Princess. This is the young girl who at fifteen stood to her tormentor face to face and called him on his abusive behavior. She was very brave. She stood up for justice and fairness in many aspects of her life. She was an advocate for the underdog. She champion causes for a better tomorrow. She drove cars without a license and recklessly enjoyed mischief. She has the greatest sense of humor and saw the futility of worry. She was the one who befriended the outcasts in the school yet had many who called her friend. She was the center of the theater crowd and loved an audience. Although popular, she too hid. She was often more comfortable in isolation for that was when she did not have worry about who she was and what she was living in. She needed a release and escape from a domicile of explosive and violent behavior. It was at that age she learned to put up a facade. This was the young woman who started to explore without fear. She was an outlaw whose behavior often was dangerous and risky. She hitchhiked; she roamed the nights and often partook in dubious and nefarious activities. But she was brave and would try things without caution. She experimented solely on interest to learn new things. But I honor her because she is the voice who spurns me on when I am feeling timid. She is the one who says, “go on, you can do it.” She is the one who helps me get up every time I fall. And she is the first one to laugh at me when I am being a fool. But it is her freedom that teaches me to be brave in my current life and makes me want to go on and be what I am destined to be. I honor her for all the lessons I learned from her mistakes and the strength to overcome what she did. When I stand tall it is she who holds me up. At times, I still see the glint in her eyes and smirk on her lips when I look in the mirror.

The next hero is the mother in me. Granted I did not have my own children, but there is a nurturing being inside me who practices motherly skills. This is the soul who suffers the most from the loss of family. It was this one who wanted to reconnect and was most disappointed from the family reunion. But it was she who said it was what it was, forgave and moved on.  This woman brings Grace and love to me.  She is the one who looks at the soul of someone and offers a loving embrace. She is the teacher, who sees the potential of her charges and with guidance and support develops the student to reach their potential. She is the one who is at the center of my caring, the woman of my heart. She is a survivor and is the one who teaches me forgiveness. She is the being that is most connected with Mother Earth and breaths with the soul of plants and animals. This is the one who sees.  It is her voice that cried out to me to get help and heal. She is the one who fights to protect from harm the only being she really had the ability to take care of. She is the one who is teaching me patience.She mourns and grieves and loves and forgives.

I am not sure who will be next. I was thinking when I wrote this that the grandmother voice was learning to speak. But I think I have a lot more to learn and experience. So I honor all the players in this saga of life called me. “She is Jane and that is just fine with me.”

Trust

symbolicsquirrelmeaning

I think one of the hardest issues I have to get over is trust. I have a series of words that I often think about and this is the Kahuna of words. But it is not just a word for me, it is the action that I must learn to deal with. I think I have two approaches to trust: one I do it too easily and one I do not do it at all. I know this is a paradox but then life is. I am learning about balance, another word I do not do well in practice. It goes along with my favorite B word, being…just being.
I have been working with going up a spiral path. I thought a year ago that when someone said path it was level and may have curves in it but it progresses linearly. Not so. It is actually a series of circles that form in a spiral and you progress upward as you go around. On the levels are the people who help you obtain the knowledge you need to continue upward. You never really go backwards but sometime the climb is a bit slow.
Well true to me, I wanted to race up the spirals. I never want to wait for anything and we will add patience to the list of things I am working on. When I first stepped on to the spiral it left me dizzy. As I starting the spinning ascent, I had a great teacher and guide to help me. Often times I would want to run ahead and would end up tripping and falling on my face. He would reach out, dust me off and ask that I slow down. There was no way I was prepared to do that and so I repeated this many, many times. But in order to even begin to move I had to do something that when I first began I did not do AT ALL. And that was trust. I remember the exact moment when I knew I could trust him. He leaned into me to do something and without looking at me and in a low voice he said he cared. A sensation went through me which I now know what it is but back then I had no clue. But I decided to trust with my full heart and it was the right thing to do. This man has been there for me completely. There have been times when the climb was not smooth and he would say something and I would be hurt. But I would eventually see the wisdom and learn. My ascent was rapid and I worked at it like a marathon runner. And because of the work I was physically challenged. We worked through so much it amazes me to think where I was a year ago. I will never be able to express my gratitude for his support and compassion and I have to trust that he knows this.
I have other great sages who have been on this spiral. And every time, there would be a moment of deciding whether or not to trust them. When I did and I let them guide me, it has always been a wonderful miracle. There were moments of doubt and I would pause to think do I trust this? And when I did, it would always produce momentum up the spiral. Somewhere from within me, I felt the need to do something with my writing. I remember right now the feeling I had when I went to publish the first post of this blog. I got up and walked around only to return to my computer and with a poised and shaking finger worried about hitting the publish button. By the way, worry is also on the list. This used to be my “MO”. I worried about everything.
But because I did trust that it was the right thing to do, I hit publish and never looked back.
Along this part of my journey I met a great group of writers who every day stop in to read and comment on my post. I trust their input and this band of authors have become very dear to me. Part of my daily confirmation is the comments and input I receive from them. I have been honored by two of the wordsmiths who have allowed me to work directly with them. Rising Hawk is a great warrior, spiritually and in real life. His book and time spent in correspondence with me helped me to achieve the next progression up my spiral path. Currently I am working with MarDrag who is an amazing female shaman who is teaching me techniques and skills to help me with my upward climb. I had to trust myself in order to reach out and ask for their help. This was a big step for me because I rarely ask for things for myself. It is because I do not trust people because I am afraid they will disappoint me. Both MarDrag and Rising Hawk, I use their pen names to honor them, have receive my utmost trust and faith and they have not disappointed me or let me down in any manner. I am very grateful.
Trusting me, trusting my inner voice has been difficult. I have a very loud and caustic inner voice that likes to scream in my head. I have lived with this voice my whole adult life. It has drowned out the other caring and loving voices that are slowly becoming apparent to me. These caring and validating voices are the ones I need to trust. Sadly, they have not been strong enough to overpower the other voice who says all the things that are wrong with me. And I parrot those thoughts in my own self-talk. I validate the voice every time I comment how stupid or ugly I am or any lack I articulate. It is easy to trust this voice because the society we live in accepts that self-degradation in women as a rite of passage. We hone this to perfection. I also know I do it because I think I am protecting myself. I figure if I say it first, I will beat anyone else from saying. It just shows the lack of trust I have in my fellow associates that they will say something positive. But because I articulate my lack or failures I teach them that this is what I am. And it isn’t. See why the path is circular; we go around and around sometimes.
Sometimes, I want to trust and I put trust where I should not. I have learned the hard way that there are people out there who you should not trust. Because I am as sensitive to hurt as a five year old, it digs deep into my core when someone I trusted lies to me. I usually give them more chances to prove themselves because I have an innate sense I want them to be honest and forthright. But I am learning to trust my gut sooner and let them off my path so they may continue on their own journey. It is a hard lesson to learn because I internalize this loss as a failure in me. But then that is when I trust the wrong voice. And I go once more around.
Trusting me has been very difficult. I feel very alone right now, like a small child whose parent has let go of their hand in a crowd. I know it is temporary and due to being exhausted from my year of climbing. I am trying to cull through the voices in my head to seek the ones whose voice is totally to my benefit. I need to trust that this will happen and that for a while there may be some shouting from the one who is so loud and unhealthy as I learn to mute it. This process is like exercise to me. I have to work at it very hard. I do damaging self-talk so well that I do not even know I do it. I am trusting the guidance of my mentor to help show me the way to clear out the spirits that are not healthy in order to make room for the strong spirit warrior guide who I so long for to be there. I have to put a lot of trust into this and it is not easy because there is so much junk to clear out. I need to call for a mental roll-off dumpster.
This weekend, I spent a moment in the sun on my chaise lounge. I was resting for a moment of gardening and it beckoned. I settled back for a while feeling the sun’s rays reaching right into my sore muscles and relaxing them. I had not been there too long when out of the corner of my eye I saw movement. It was a frequent visitor to my garden, a grey squirrel. He scurried along the telephone wire clearly with a plan of action. He got to the pole which was directly in front of me and about four feet away. He paused only for a slight moment as if to refocus on his mission. I thought to myself how absolutely cool that he was so close. I figured he would continue on the wire on the other side, but that was not his goal. He climbed down the pole, pausing momentarily to assess his safety and then stopped at the point where the fence meets the pole. He turned directly at me and at this point he is eye to eye. He starts chattering at me. It was a scolding like I have never had from an animal. At first it startled me and then I realized he was telling me something and loudly. He continued for about a minute with this chatter and then, I hear the rumble of paws as my fierce protectorate could not stand it any longer. Bishop charged the squirrel. He came out off the porch and to my side in a flash that was reminiscent of his youth. The squirrel left and I sat in a cloud of fur and dust adoring my canine guard. I have learned that when an animal does something like chatter at you, you should listen. So I looked up squirrel animal guides and I have copied what I found. I think we do get the messages and guidance we need when we trust.
Squirrels are very trusting and are one of the few (wild) animals that will eat out of a person’s hand. This symbolizes a need to let down your defenses, and to learn to trust more. Trust issues can be present in all aspects of a person’s life from personal intimacy to trusting the universe. Because the squirrel is always prepared, if this is your power animal you must realize and remember that you will be taken care of. Building a strong sense of trust where it is missing would complement the power of this medicine.
http://www.shamanicjourney.com/

Getting ready for vacation.

One week from tonight I will be sitting on the porch overlooking the river. I can hardly wait. The soft breezes and abundant sunshine will do wonders for my weary body.

room with a view

In preparation for our new house and dog sitter, I spent the day cleaning and washing.

LaundryThe garden is beginning to wind down. The Impatients have lost their blooms. I am not sure if it the change in light or too much rain. It is early for them to drop. I did manage to get the shed painted thanks to my friend Laurie. I have some trim to add and some touch up. I got the beds weeded and deadheaded the hostas and roses.

Elgin

I have a busy week ahead in preparation for our trip. I am also meeting with some people for a project for this fall which is very exciting. Although summer is almost over, I am looking forward to fall this year for the first time in years.

Flamingosglobe

But for tonight I will take my aching body to my chair and turn towards the sky in hopes of catching a falling star.

chair