What awakening means to me

spt morning     What does awakening mean to me? It has taken a lot of thought to come up with an answer and I am not sure that there really is a definitive answer. It has to be something that is so personal that only the soul knows. Yet, there must be a level of established acknowledgement; there has to be a place of achievement. As I face the blank page and reminisce about the thoughts that I sought to answer this, I hear the birds in my garden. I see the golden sunlight streaming as it pokes its head over my garden fence. I hear a chipmunk scolding my dogs for interrupting its breakfast. I see the golden spots mixed within the dark green of the leaves in my trees. The air is sweet, filled with the dusky smell of damp earth and fall blooms. The dew is still cast on the lawn leaving a gossamer film that shimmers and sparkles in the light. My flowers are radiant in the saturation of colors of pink and red. Even the grain on the wooden deck demonstrates the life force there in. I am one with this all. To me, this is part of being awakened.

I walked through life surrounded in a claustrophobic wrapper that I thought was protecting me from being hurt anymore. I had become something I did not like. I was fearful all the time. I did not trust and I did not love much of anything. My anger and pain was a cloak that never came off but was becoming so heavy I could not move. And so I did not.

Without going into too much history, I reached an apex when one night in the light of the full moon. I stood within the parameters of my garden circle that I had created and cried with my arms out to the Goddess, Mother Moon and all the spirits that could hear me to heal me. My words were, “I do not want to be so afraid anymore.”  full moon

The rest of my life will be spent in healing. I am in such an early stage of being truly receptive to learn and understand my intended purpose. Part of that is awakening. I have spent my lifetime learning. But the learning I am doing now engages not only my brain, but my heart and soul. I feel, therefore I am. I see with my heart as well as my eyes. The compassion within has always been there, but not felt. Sometimes it can be overwhelming and so I progress in stages of release. My vulnerability is apparent to the predator that smells the eagerness in me to serve and love. I am learning to protect myself in a whole new manner that allows the innocent me to be wise. This too is part of awakening.

The decisive moment in awakening for me is that I decided to do any and all of this. I knew as I stood in the garden that night there was a better way. There was something within that I still cannot explain well that said, “stop, look, learn and be whole.” I knew enough to ask to be healed, even after years of attempts in finding salvation from external resources. It has to come from within. All the money and success and credentialing was never going to make me whole and I knew it intrinsically. There was a seed planted that needed to be nurtured and grow. I always had a hollow feeling within my solar plexus. It ached constantly as if something was haunting me. I thought it was because I was alone and scared and that was part of it. But now I know it is the true essence of me needing to be cultivated and cherished. I need to find my real place in this world and do what I am meant to do. But I understand that I need to grow into it because no plant flowers without early intervention. It needs nutrients and energy to reach its full potential.

So awakening to me is this process. It is opening the door and asking for help. It is the inner knowledge that something needs to change. It is the acceptance that there is more to life and that not everyone gets that and that is ok too. Awakening to me is like being in a dark void which is ok because there is no harm or danger, but there are also no feelings of any kind. And then one day, you come upon a door that is closed, but through the crack of the door jamb you see a brilliant light. You want to open it, but you think it is locked and you are not allowed. And then one day, something makes you push that door ajar. You peek through and see the most beautiful place you can imagine. And that vision is different for each person. You want to be of that place but fear holds you back. But something with in you tells you to take the next step, whatever that maybe. There are hands outstretched to guide you and support you. All you need to do is be available and aware. You need to be open and receptive and learn. You know mistakes will be made but it is all part of the process. Awakening is not the final result of anything. It is only the beginning. It is the opening portal and each step, each lesson, each breath taking moment, each sorrow and loss, and the resolve that there is a purpose to your life.Flying heron

Sacred Space

morning 2014 We have returned from our second visit this year from The River. I want to share not only my pictures from this trip, but also a lesson I received about Sacred Space. I did not have a clue what Sacred Space meant until I was working with MarDrag in my ongoing lessons with her. She has taught me many, many things. Sacred Space to me is somewhere that I go, mentally, that is safe. It is the most safe space in the world. No harm, no danger, and no one else can be there unless I allow it. It is where I go to do a lot of the work I am doing on myself and where I go to pray and also send gratitude. It is mental and so it goes with me where ever I go.

long shot   However, there are places that can be sacred space that are physical and nature offers many opportunities for us to find them. The River is my sacred space where I go to recharge, find my spirit and soul, and release and heal. Often I draw upon this place in my head when I am stressed, and I have surrounded myself with photos in my office to focus on when I need to. The River is so special to me and I am so blessed that I have this to go to. I have been coming here to this spot now for many years.

edgewood from boat         Edgewood and cover from boat   The Edgewood Resort is located in Alexandria Bay. Many think of that town as a tourist trap. It is. The Resort itself sits on the opposite side of the Bay and is on its own land with a private road. It sits right on the river. The room we always get is the last room on the most distant part of the property overlooking a private cove. Most of the time we have this to ourselves as there is a pool on the property and many people do not come down this far. There is a rock ledge surrounding most of the cove. The water is gorgeous, but not really good for swimming as there is a lot of weeds. I will walk on the rocks and wade in. Most often, I walk to the back of the cove to where an old piece of dock remains. That is where I sit, with my legs in the water for hours. med dock  This spot to me is my sacred space.  The River offers many beautiful spots where you disconnect with all the garbage in our lives and reconnect with what is important. It is very difficult for me to leave at the end of our stay and so with the mental images and internal feelings I create, I can bring this sacred space to me anytime I need to.

Sometimes, I figure out some pretty important things about life while I am there. For example, life is not easy and there is always something coming at you. It used to create terrible fear within me, but I have learn to become much more resilient and go with the flow. From the geese, I have learned that no matter how you fly,            crooked flying            It is the landing that counts.

geeze td                     geeze t 1        geeze t 2rain   Rain will fall and there will be tough times.

But we can fly through it if we remember who we really are.                                   opsrey                                  c and friends       There are people to support us.

The sun does come out again. Namaste. sun set

 

 

 

All photos jdemeis@2014

August Garden

garden August 2014

Somehow so quickly, the summer has past. It was a cool and wet summer but the flowers loved it. I spent as much time as I could, which is never enough, sitting out and enjoying the beauty. This is my canvas and I paint  in spring with my flowers. Mother Earth fills in and takes over as the summer progresses. It is the first place I retreat to when I come home and I end my day out there. This is my garden at night.

At dusk

At dusk

The long view from my chair

The corner of the deck

The corner of the deck

View from my chair

View from my chair

View of my chair

View of my chair

During the day I have many visitors. I also have my favorite tree named Elgin in honor of Rising Hawk. Elgin gives me great advice.

Mrs. Bunny                       Elgin in the light

This weekend we leave for Sacred Ground. We are off to The River for a long week.

My meditation spot at the River

My meditation spot at the River

 

The suitcases are packed. However, I had to face this look all day. They know we are going. But they have their Auntie Carolyn to cuddle and smooch them up all day and every night and Uncle John, their favorite is coming over too. So they will be fine. However, I still had this face.

ms attitude

Namaste.

 

Peaceful, easy feeling

wild chives

Summertime and the living is easy. I have been living easy all summer. My blog has been sort of dormant because, and this is a good thing, I am at a place I am calling “in neutral.” I am not stalled out nor am I running my engines at full blast, just I am not in gear. I can be at any moment, but I do not feel the need. I think it is important to take breaks and pause on any effort in hopes to renew interest and vitality to the journey. I am still working on things; just do not feel the need to go into it.

I have been enjoying the wonderful weather and my garden has been fabulous. Everything seems so strange because of the summer shift in so many areas. For example, driving to work in the winter with dry roads can take up to a half hour to forty minutes. In the summer, I am there in fifteen to twenty minutes tops. No significance except that it impacts me by not making me crazy before I am even to work. I have little patience for stupid drivers, people who are texting while driving, or apparent feel they are the only ones on the road. And of course, there are only a handful of school buses and that helps immensely. There is one bus driver who has to pick up kids on every driveway and street intersections on this one road. However, if he sees he has a car behind him, he pulls over. I want to thank him for that.

relaxing with the kids

I wish there was a way to take the easy style of people in the summer and blend it into the frantic craziness that starts to rev up around the end of August. I know “back to school” influences the drama which flows into the air even if you do not have children. The Christmas crap starts with the introduction of Halloween, which around here gets as much decoration attention as Christmas. And then after we all are exposed to the insanity of the holiday BS (sorry for those of you who like it but I am completely turned off by it now) we slam into the winter doldrums. This is an extensive period of time where bitching and complaining about the weather and greyness is an art form. Then after about four months of that, we come to my favorite part of the year where green returns and so does civility.

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I am not sure where everyone goes. My workplace is pretty empty. I work on the second floor with all the other managers and C suite. There was one day it was so quiet I played nature sounds on my computer out loud for the few of us there. It made the interior bleakness of the overly air-conditioned staleness much easy to take. There used to be a tradition in many manufacturing and other corporate places where they actually shut down for the first two weeks in July. I know many people who live only for those two weeks of vacation instead of incorporating the vacation attitude into their lives year round. One time we were driving around a state park up by the River and it was during a very rainy period of time including that day. As we slowly drove past campsites, people were wet and miserable and the looks on their faces were so telling. There was anger and disappointment. I bet they were fun to be around.

orange moon

Full moon at the River in August 2013

Friday night was full moon. I sat in the radiance of the slightly orange glow as wisps of vapors and feathered rainbow clouds drifted slowly across the sky. I am wishing everyone who reads my blog the peace and tranquility of the summer day and the connection of spirit in the summer night.

all photos jdemeis@2014

June and July garden views

Normally I write inside and I though I would show you where I write. In the summer, I move my laptop outside to the garden. I decided tonight to show pictures of the garden. There is another page I added to this blog which shows pictures of the garden in May. These are June and July shots. I spent a lot of time today giving plants a good trimming and weeding and we worked on the new rose bed. I love roses. For my birthday, my husband gave me a dozen and I had them next to me in my indoor spot.

writing spot

Birthday roses 6-15-14

 

I love to grow roses but I have very little sun. I put in one rose bush last year and it  gave me

eight beautiful roses. open roses  This year I added another one that makes abundant little ones.                                            new roses

Now to the rest of my garden, my paradise.

Garden to the left

  Garden to the left

Garden to the right

Garden to the right

This may look like a lot of work to maintain, but it is not.  Having said that, I can hardly move tonight but it is ok….it is a good hurting. I have the mulch put down and the only thing I do is water, mow and prune….. ok, and plant and weed.  The Rhododendron had a tough winter like us all and I did not have the normal blooms. The oldest one suffered freezer burn and I had to whack it back. But it is back completely and blooming. Joe and I  did put work on the lawn and put in new grass as we had nothing after winter. But we had heavy rains and it washed a lot of the seed down the hill. Matter of fact, the drain by our property has wonderful grass growing from it. The new stuff we put in way in back looks great.

Ms. Cookie

Ms. Cookie

The kids love the garden almost as much as Bishop did. I do have a planter in honor of the Bish.

Bishop's planter   Browny and Cooke spend as much time as they can playing and laying in the sun.Browny

This year I skipped growing tomatoes and went for herbs and lettuce. The lettuce is ready to be picked. herbs and dirt for the dogs

basil and catnip   And I am growing all different Basil and catnip for Magoo, our cat.

tiger liliesElgin and friend

                                                                                                          I love my garden.

A Passing Storm

storm and heron

It is pouring out and we have had a series of thunderstorms blow in tonight. I love storms, except blizzards when I have to go somewhere. It can snow if I can stay home. But I have a passion for thunderstorms. It fits my mood tonight. I am not sure why I am so stormy…ok, I do. But it is alright. I will get through this.

0mist on the water

When someone like me goes through trying to negotiate life in the present moment, it takes an abundant amount of focus and stamina to stay in the present moment. After all this time of working things out, I still struggle with memories that haunt me. They are a mere vapor as opposed to the huge specters they used to be. But every once in a while, I get hooked up by their gossamer tentacles. This most recent visit is my father’s voice. In this case, it is not something about me as much as I hear myself sound like him. It is very disappointing that I hear my father’s anger and hatred in my own thoughts. I do not vocalize it, but I hear it in my head. An example of this is when I look at people and his judgment would pop in. I am not like him, but there is this moment when I hear his critical comment on EVERY thing. I think, “wow, I hope they do not see that on my face.” And if you know me, you know my face shows everything.

001

But there are times when I do make a judgment and then say it. I can be very opinionated. I gave up for a long time and went belly up. And people would roll over me as I suffered in silence. Now I do ask for my needs to be met and I also know when it is not my turn. But lately, I see there are times when I am too strong or too weak and finding balance is tough.

Rain coming up the River

My dear friend told me that she was going through a phase of weird dreams. This weekend, the phase hit me. I had very lucid and mildly disturbing dreams. But I wake suddenly and feel the fear that was plaguing me in my dream. It is very frustrating to start your day with the first breath of morning being one of sadness or fear. This morning I actually had tears spill out of my eyes and I cannot tell you why. I think I shake it off, but then I know I have not as the day progresses. I am in a freeze and it manifests in my physically.

090

I am also in a learning phase again of my journey to connect more pieces of my mind, body and soul. I have come to a place of feeling blocked. All of this will pass eventually, but for now it is unpleasant. Much like the storms that are blowing through tonight, the day will break eventually and things will be better than before.

sunset view

All photos @Jdemeis 2014  taken at the River

Views from the River 6-2014

I decided to do something nice for myself and work on publishing some of my photos. I never get tired of sharing views from the River. This visit, there were a lot of babies to take pictures of. In the four days, I shot over 260 photos. Heron in the clouds

My favorite bird and totem is the Blue Heron. I shoot an extraordinary amount of them when I see them. I like this shot of the blue sky and the clouds. flying heron This one’s wings are a bit messed up. heron 2 Not this one. Magnificent. heron 4

I waited every morning to see one on the rock as traditionally there is usually one there. Finally on the fourth day she appeared. heron3 and then sailed off in front of me. I swear she knows I have a camera.

There were a lot of geese but not as many as in previous years. It was because the winter was so hard. I was wondering if the goose I named BW made it. I hope so. But here is Momma and her nursery. There were three different families that camped on the rocks below the room.

quiet nursery  nightsleeping babies

There were other Mommas.    Here is a turkey and an Osprey for Rising Hawk.

Mom Turkey       Hawk

Here is a grown up bunch of geese taking off.   I love the dance they do.    take off

This shot is where I go at least once a day to meditate and sit in the River. This time, the rocks were covered with slim and I slipped and found out how cold the water is in June. Fortunately I caught myself. I hope they dry up a bit before we go back.

my sitting spot  and this shot is the view when I sit up in bed. Every morning I am greeted with this view. view from bedAll photos copyright of Jdemeis @ 2014

 

Summer Transitions

looking ahead

I survived. Not sure what option I had, but I got through my 60th birthday. I had a lovely week of celebration. I think people should be honored at their birthday and I like to have it linger. It is a holdover from childhood that I think is a good one. We went to the River for a long weekend. I took over 260 photos which I will share as time moves on. Today I want to muse about the upcoming summer, the summer solstice and the energy that seems to be currently around a lot. This is my circle that I am reflecting on and it may not be like this elsewhere. Does it not seem lately that the energy seems pinched? It is like so many of us are going through a tiny passage and we are being squeezed as we pass. Some people are not making their way and others are reacting by being snarky or frustrated. I too seem to be in another place where I am dealing with a big issue that I have had all my life. It is so deep that I am not even ready to share it. Just the concept of working on it has been very overwhelming.

Summer to me is a time of doing things outdoors, so I am at my most connected. The garden is gorgeous and I have a series of pictures which somehow I ended up creating a second blog page when I posted it. I enjoy sitting out at night and meditating and this is the time of year where the nights are the longest. When I was a child, I used to hate having to go to bed when it was still light out. I love it now as it is like having a gift of freedom to enjoy even when you work until 5PM. In the winter here, I go to work in the dark and return in the dark and it really gets to me. The solstice is the point where things will start to shift and the light will begin to decrease. The month before the solstice is my favorite time of the year. But it may be that energy of the shift that I am sensing and seeing in others. The energy that we are headed to a new period and the transmission is causing unrest. The solstice is a time to honor the Earth Mother and all her gifts to us. I love the greenness of the area I live in and the beauty of the flowers and plants. It is amazing that every year this gift comes back to us. This year I sense another energy just on the other side and I am not sure what or why. It is making me a bit off center, a little dizzy.

That is what it feels like, unrest. It is not always bad but can be disturbing. People who I talk are describing this feeling in their lives and how unsettled they feel. At work, we have a lot of turmoil and have recently found out our CEO is leaving. When you work in healthcare, there is nothing but change but having your leader leave can be altering. I know people who seem to be normally pretty focused now seem unraveled and disheartened as to their life direction. I am struggling to articulate this well.

To me it seems like many are on a roller coaster ride. You pay to take the ride and then spend most of it trying to get off the ride. I do not feel that off kilter, that I am up and down. I feel more like I am going through a tunnel again with a tiny speck of light just beginning to appear. I have done this before and came through to a wonderful place, so the fear factor is minimal. Actually, there is some excitement about whatever is coming and I feel that for others too. For now, I will hold on and encourage those around me to do the same.

 

 

Turing 60

river morning

This coming week, we are off to the River. It is the first trip this year. Usually, we go up just when the ice is flowing off and the trees are just starting to wake up. But we did not this year. I need the River so much right now. Next Sunday, I will turn 60 and I cannot think of a better place to be. I am struggling mightily with this. I have all sorts of phobias and fears associated with aging. The alternative is not very enticing either. I am grateful for being alive this long.

fledgling eagle

The last couple of years have been a review of my past. I have been looking at things with the guidance of some wonderful people who have helped me to see things for what they are. I feel I have grown wiser and more balanced. I would not trade the experience for anything and yet, I never want to go through it again either.

But now, here is this number staring at me. I cannot avoid it. My mother did not see 60. She died at 59 from an aggressive lung cancer. I was 23. I thought she was not really old. I remember her mother, my Gram, when she was 65 and she WAS old. She had kinky grey hair, and boney gnarled fingers. Her eyes were sunken with dark circles. She had a tough life until her daughter, my Aunt took her in. My Aunt and Uncle were millionaires and they took great care of her. Gram died in her sleep at 92. My Aunt died bitter at 89. Her life was her husband and my Uncle died suddenly six years before and nothing was the same for her. She too, went in her sleep while in hospice care. Although my Aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer at 21, she survived with no re-occurrence. She and my Uncle had a great life, especially in retirement. I never saw my Aunt as being old.

My Aunts Ashes and Flowers

MY Aunt B

My father lived to be 71. He went in pieces. He had several bypass surgeries and had his leg amputated when he was in his early 50’s. His side of the family has factor V Leiden which is a blood condition that causes clots. They did not know much about it back then. His mother, my Nana, had it too. He slowly built up plague on his tubing and that caused him to lose the leg and other plumbing issues. It is his illness that causes me great fear. I also have the condition. There is nothing to do about it accept take Coumadin. I was diagnosed with it in 2003 when they found five clots, one located almost in my heart. I was totally blessed and have written about the experience as they all miraculously disappeared. But every time I have cramping in my legs, which I have often, I think…crap…here it comes.

dancing geese

This past month I have been having some major health issues. I have been like the golden goose and passing kidney stones. This condition came about from being over medicated years ago. The drugs caused my right kidney to stop working. I got it functioning back to 41%. This past few months, I have been passing stones again after none for several years. This past week, Tuesday, I was pleased to give birth to triplets, one stone being almost an inch long. One of my dearest friends, who lacks sympathy, has decided I should polish the stones (I have over 30 ) and open up a jewelry shop and call it Pissery Barn. In reaction to having a slow moving collection of stones in my urinary plumbing, I ended up becoming toxic. My output slowed down and what was coming out was battery acid. Yes, I have an immensely high threshold for pain. This was coming on for a couple of weeks. I finally went to the doctor who immediately reacted with more drugs. These drugs, I think, have caused another reaction which is to thin my blood too much. Yesterday and the night before, I was in horrible pain with leg cramps. The solution was to simply stop the drugs and eat a salad.

End of day

End of day

But all this, after not having anything so critical was very scary and disheartening. And then…there is turning 60.

I know I have so much to live for. This is the best time of my life so far. I have something I never had before and that is feeling safe. I think the fear of being so ill suddenly shook my newly built foundation. I have so little faith in western medicine. It was just like I was just getting my head fixed and my spirit in line and then the body went out of alignment. I have heard though that this is not that unusual in the healing process. I am hopeful that this too shall pass. I will find solace in the beauty and peace of the River and I am sure it will help heal me.

What amuses me is that the age of 61 does not bother me a bit. Maybe I will just skip 60.

all photos @jdemeis 2014

Floating

roses

New rose bush 2013

I can believe it is Sunday again. This week went by very rapidly. Makes me sad to think we are already at the end of May. My favorite month and time of year is June. Not because it is my birthday month, which it is, but because it is the most beautiful month of the year. The weather is usually perfect. The animals are visible and have babies. There herons are here and at the River. My plants are in and it is primetime for my favorite flower, the rose. A beautiful rose will capture my heart and my breath. I have several bushes, some I just put in last year and some have been here forever, and all are doing terrific.

open roses
I see a lot of growth happening with friends and myself. I have talked about this with my Spiritual Counselor who said this was a real phenomenon. It seems like the heavy stagnant energy that has been with us for a long while seems to be lifting. I know personally, I had a horrible winter which brought on some real moments of angst and fear. I felt lost and angry in all my relationships and felt I had fallen off my path and into a deep muddy gulch. I cannot express how grateful I am for the strong hands of support that helped me out and guided and worked with me to get back on my way. I highly recommend working with a mentor, guide, counselor and being with people who have similar interests to help facilitate growth and healing.

flying geese 1
Now is a great time for many to shake off the dust from their feathers and start to fly in the direction they feel is their path. For myself, I was stuck on having hard concrete path to follow. I have found it does not work that way. It is very difficult for someone like me who has been totally goal oriented and based her life on measurable achievement to refocus. This is a whole different approach for me to let go and float. I equate it to being on the air filled float in a pool or stream and just letting it take you where it wants to go. You do not fight it and you do not control it. I have discovered that when I let go, I automatically drift in a direction that really is amazing and where I wanted to go all along.

1 kid jump
The trick is to be in the right place to start. That takes lots of work to drop off unneeded baggage and things that weigh us down. It takes trust. That is the float or foundation that supports the journey. That has been extremely hard for me. Not so much trusting others, but to trust myself and to believe in myself. When my float is full of trust and confidence I move along but when it is deflated for whatever reason, I slow down.

geese to cove
We have to build at least a body of work to float on. This is figuring out the things you want in life and casting off the things that no longer work. I think of this as finding the right stream or body of water to float in or on. I am still working on this but as part of trusting, it is also forming on its own. I think we discover small rapids and difficult passages our whole life, but when the trust is there and the foundation is strong, the stream flows easily again and we prevail.

Annuals one of many flats

Annuals one of many flats

In upstate New York, this weekend heralds the summer with many traditions. People open their pools. The garden centers are mobbed as people rush to get their annuals and vegetables. Very few people grow from seed here as the season is too short. Farmers are turning their fields and planting. My backyard becomes my sanctuary. Even this space represents the feeling of this period of transition. When the snow finally left the yard, we did not have a lick of grass in most places. It was a mud pit and barren. With a little work and trust, it is now a lush green carpet.

I hope everyone enjoys their weekend.