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On Day 1 of the Blogalong, I was “Arguing with Proust,” a French author who lived quite a long time ago (1871 – 1922) and apparently responsible for this rather innocuous, but to my mind extremely outdated, quote featured on a contemporary thank you card. After purchasing the card for a friend, I started thinking about the quote and it really annoyed me. (Isn’t annoyance grrrrr8 inspiration for an energetic blog rant!).
Today, however, when I was cruising through my “Quotes useful for Nature Wisdom Journey” folder looking for inspiration for a blog less subjective than a number of my preceding posts, I found this delightfully relevant quote from Marcel Proust himself:
“The real voyage lies not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes”
~ Marcel Proust
I can get behind this quote! It speaks of a voyage—a journey of discovery, and of how to get to the desired destination—which is a new way of seeing (or, I might add, thinking). With new ways of perceiving, we find treasures hidden in unexpected places. We also notice things that need changing, after tolerating them for such a long time (my clutter comes to mind). My coach has helped me find—and transform–subconscious beliefs that really hadn’t served me well for a very long time (or perhaps ever!), and I am excited by the prospect of helping others in that way.
To go on a journey to new inner landscapes can be as exciting as a voyage of exploration in the physical world. We can access our subconscious mind via hypnosis and neurolinguistic programming techniques (NLP). Or we can go on shamanic journeys to access intuitive knowing in wonderfully playful ways. I call my shamanic world Shamalandia, and each journey is interesting, amazing, playful, insightful in its own unique way.
Another technique to invoke inspiration and find answers and content is to invoke our Muse to access our creativity for art or writing. I have found that if I write my question for my Muse, then switch the pen to my non-dominant hand I can “download” Her answer. It often seems that my Muse and my shamanic Guides tell me things I already know, but their choice of what to say is helpful, and they often surprise me, especially if I use divination cards before going into trance.
Do you have a Muse? Do you know her name? Have you made a portrait or image of her? How do you invoke her? (If you haven’t become conscious of, or created, your Muse, would you be interested in doing so?)
Do you travel the shamanic realms with your Guides? Would you be interested in learning how?
Have you worked on transforming your outdated subconscious beliefs? Would you be interested in doing so with a guide who is further along that path and eager to extend a helping hand?
As you can see, with today’s questions I am seeking expressions of interest in the programs and courses I am currently developing. ARTbundance coaching is already available (sign up while it’s still offered by “spirit-guided donation!), and I will take an NLP intensive in the Fall to deepen my coaching skills.
By whatever means you choose, “Goddess speed” on your personal journey! May you find “new eyes” to discover the magic of your inner realms, where your inner wisdom awaits.
Not a Buddhist
In my early 20’s when I was shopping around for a spiritual path to replace the theologically uninteresting Presbyterianism of my childhood, I lived for a year at the Lama Foundation, an eclectic spiritual “intentional” community high in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of northern New Mexico. The Buddhism practiced there was Zazen, which seemed to me designed by sadistic depressives. I would sit in fiery physical (and sometimes mental) agony trying to “watch” my breath, eat in silence (cross legged on a zafu), sit still for what seemed such a long time, walk excruciatingly slowly, sit, “chop wood, haul water,” sit (again!)…. The “chop wood, haul water” part was fine for the young back-to-the-land hippie that I was, but my legs, my back, my spirit were in such pain from the sitting still, with my scoliosis, my busy mind. Where was the fun, the playfulness, the ecstasy that I craved? And so from the smorgasbord of spiritual paths practiced at Lama that year, I chose Bakti Yoga. It delighted the hypomanic part of my bipolar self, which I still hoped was the “true me.”
Now a Buddist
Decades later, bipolar disorder finally stabilized (naturally–thank goddess those tricyclic meds didn’t work for me!), my metaphorical cup is no longer less than half full but actually overflows frequently with creativity and happiness. When I learned of the Goddess revival, I finally found my “true religion” and I became a born-again” pagan. That wasn’t enough to cure my bipolar (natural minerals and NLP did the trick), but it kept me alive during some really hard years. Now my Earth-based spirituality feeds my senses, grounds me, and helps me soar from time to time.
I am creating my life now, rather than letting it happen to me. I plant seeds of intentions in what I call my Gratitude Garden: seeds of okayness, seeds of peacefulness, seeds of happiness. Seeds of the life I desire: health, community, home, right livelihood via a heart-based business. I’ve been planting these seeds so my “garden” (myself!) will flourish all through my “wisdom” years. Some seeds are already blossoming, others still germinating. Wondrously, some have borne fruit already (thus I’m able to “open shop” as a creativity/ life coach, to help others bloom).
Changing the garden metaphor a bit, I’ve pruned out some unopened buds of outdated dreams, and some shriveled fruit that never ripened. This allowed new buds to emerge (via self-evolution and conscious intention) on the tree of my life, buds of peace, happiness, abundance, home, community…. Each bud opens “in the fullness of time,” showing first color, then opening slowly (but more frequently now, rapidly!) into full flower, then ripening into fruits that can be shared with others, seeds that will grow in their gardens.
and the occasional fern frond or cottontop grass (even some wild oats in remembrance of my crazy youth, and occasional baby’s breath for gentle youthenizing!). This varied boquet pleases my senses and nourishes my spirit; its colors and textures suit my “multifaceted” personality.
Are you a Buddist too?
What buds are forming on your Tree of Life? Which buds are showing first color? (What color?) Which are in full bloom? Any buds or dried up fruits you need to prune out? What fruits or seeds are ready to share with others?
Rainbow blessings that your Tree of Life receive the nutrients it needs, warm sunlight, plenty of rain… Be a Buddist and blossom!
I sometimes journal using my free account at http://www.penzu.com. The folks at Penzu send me journaling ideas from time to time, and today’s prompt inspires my post for the Blogalong w/ Effy.
Penzu: ““The thing about my own nature is…”
Me: …it’s not WILD enough!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not eager to give up the hard earned wisdom of age for the crazy wildness of my youth. But perhaps I’ve settled down a bit over much?
What the word wild now means to me is being attuned with the rhythms of the natural world, living peacefully with snakes and other wild creatures, eating wild food when it is available in my habitat, understanding some of the conversations of the local birds (and hurrying quietly to see what they’re excited about–might be a Gila monster!), keeping an open mind and exploring new territory, being spontaneous, feeling free, feeling sensuous….
My body’s health challenges, the deep fatigue of “adrenal burnout” and fiery pain of fibromyalgia, too often prevent my feeling pleasure in my body–other than the delight I can take in the taste and texture of food 😉 (I’ll append my recipe for a delectable green smoothie with wild nettles, yum!). Tiredness and sensitivity to wind (and skin already damaged by sun) too frequently lead me to take my siesta indoors, and to sit for hours slouching at my computer (as I am doing right now. Sit up, Grrrlfriend!).
I feel so much better when I walk barefoot on Mother Earth, literally grounding (or Earthing) my Air-predominant nature. My feet love the various textures of sand, silt, and clay that change depending on rain shifting them and sun drying them down again. Firm sandstone or smooth granite, what strength they transmit. Newly sprouted grass, tickly! Moss, spongy….
I love the spontaneity of throwing off the constricting shoes (ANY shoes, even my comfy slip-on sandals, constrict the toes, limits full range of motion, and their usually synthetic soles reputedly prevent the Earth chi from entering out bodies through our feet). There’s a rush of wildness as I hurry to the delectable sandy place in the driveway, and yes, wondrously sensual pleasure!
If you haven’t gone barefoot outdoors since childhood other than occasionally at the beach, I invite you to try it regularly. Whatever your environment offers as natural substrate, grass, moss, loose sand, firm packed moist sand, sandstone, yummy mud…will feed your wild spirit–through your feet!
There’s another sensual thing I used to do often, a way I experience a wonderfully pleasurable sense of sinking into “heavy gravity” when I take my fatigue to the reclining chair in my little Healing Grove. Pain becomes pleasure as I tilt back in the magic chaise–aaah! Last year I spent a lot of time “flying” mentally there while too exhausted even to read. And so I watched the mesquite trees leaf out in early April, their blossoms emerge and bees buzz busily in them (mesquite honey is the best!), thin green pods elongate and turn to straw (or burgundy!) colors as they ripen, then fall to the ground (and on me!).
After the harvest, which I take to a milling party so I can “eat mesquite” to attune to place in the wild locavore way, I watched the old leaves turn grayish (rather like what’s happening to my red hair!), cling to the branches deep into the winter, then finally let go and fall in early February. The sky changed color with the seasons, the weather, the time of day, and the lacey branches (seeming delicate with their small, pinnately compound leaves) often danced in front of the beautiful sky backdrop, especially when clouds were perhaps bringing rain. Various birds came and went, and the tiny Lucy’s Warbler built a nest in a saguaro “boot” I had hung in the tree. That “perky” little bird, and the small bark lizards gave me so much pleasure, opening my heart in the way of small creatures.
I’ve done a lot of deep inner healing work last year and this with my coach Scout Wilkins, and during my ARTbundance coaching training, along with seasonal cleanses with Ingrid de Hart, so this warm season I have a lot more energy than I did last year. Occasionally I’ll get hit by a wave of fatigue when I’m working in my gardens, and fall gratefully into the magic chaise, experiencing once again that “hitting the wall” pain instantly morphing into “heavy gravity” pleasure. My spirit soars through the mesquite branches into the evening sky, and I wonder why I don’t “find” time to “float” there every day.
Now that I’ve confessed that publicly, I feel “called” to commit to making”time-out of time” in the magic chaise a daily practice! Yes, I’ll do it! How about you–do you need some time resting and attuning with the natural world around you? I invite you to join me!
PS, For the delectable wild greens smoothie, harvest enough nettle tops (wearing gloves!) to yield about 2 cups of leaves. In this order, put into your blender 1 banana (frozen is nice!), the yummy part of a mango (or a cup or so of frozen pieces), a scoop of protein powder, 2 Tbsp of chia seeds presoaked in a cup or two of coconut milk, 1-2 cups of nettles leaves (or spinach or kale). Add enough coconut milk, coconut water, or other liquid for easy blending, and perhaps a few ice cubes if you didn’t use frozen fruit. Blend until smooth.
Optional: include a sprig of mint w/ the nettle leaves, &/or use as a garnish. Be sure to enjoy your smoothie in that perfect Nature-watching place in your yard! Imagine the strenght of the nettles empowering your body….
I highly recomend Ingrid de Hart’s seasonal “Nutritional Cleanses (http://eatwellenjoylife.com/), Scout Wilkins’ self-transformation programs and coaching (http://scoutwilkins.com/), and ARTbundance coaching training and a multitude of creativity enhancing offerings at http://artellaland.com. For enhancing your “nature connection” and finding your own wild wisdom, inner happiness and creative flow, stay tuned for the upcoming launch of my own e-programs at http://naturewisdomjourney.com
,Midday, the tenderest plants in my gardens wilt in the desert heat. And so does the gardener! As I practice cultivating a happy life in my inner Gratitude Garden, I notice my tendency to get “complainy” when temperatures linger in the teens (typical of our “Dry Summer”) or when sticky sweat doesn’t evaporate on the muggy days after monsoons set in. What’s a gratitude gardener to do in the face of daily physical misery? Other than investing in a coal-fired electricity- devouring a/c, that is? (Not an option: this gardener by definition is dedicated to “living lightly” on Mother Gaia).
My mentors like SARK and my coach Scout Wilkins tell me to “allow” what is, without judgment, and to focus on the things I can be genuinely grateful for. Pollyanna (remembered very unfondly from childhood) would have me look for the silver lining to the clouds [my old Inner Cynic would reply, “clouds–of steam?”!].
I now believe Pollyanna may actually have had the right idea: to focus on the positive wherever we can find it. I still object to her obnoxious, overly cheerful denial of “what is.” There’s often a blessing, a gift or lesson, in the heavy, hard, or miserable things that life throws at us. By accepting the unpleasant, we can access the gift. Then, by diverting our minds to what we can be grateful for in the midst of the misery, we plant the seeds for happiness to return. Every grateful thought cultivates the soul’s soil to grow more things to be grateful for!
And so, each summer morning as I soak the earth in my permaculture gardens with water from the neighborhood well, I savor the brief blessing of the cool air with its hint of moisture. My garden beds are mulched to hold as much water in place as possible in this low desert where evapotranspiration vastly exceeds precipitation. My spirit is mulched by the morning’s gratitude practice. Garden and gardener accept the day’s challenge, wilting midday if we must, then rebounding with the evening’s watering (coconut water for me, yum!) and the return of [relative] coolness.
Lest this sounds too Pollyannaish, and unlikely to work for the harder challenges of life, let me give a testimonial. Last week I left Trader Joe’s in the early afternoon with a big bag of frozen food, including a quart of my favorite Coffee Blast! ice cream. On my way out of town, my van’s water pump died with quite scary loud banging. I was able to pull into a parking lot, grateful for that refuge from the extremely busy street and for the small remaining charge on my phone battery. It took over two hours for the tow driver to show up and get the van to my mechanic on the other end of Tucson. The repair shop office had a new air “freshener” (which should read “air toxifier”–those chemicals are toxic for anyone, but especially for someone with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities!). I had to wait outside in my car for over an hour (no a/c cool refuge for me, gotta breathe!) before my best friend got off work and came to retreive me.
I was please to notive that I easily maintained my pleasantness with all involved in my little drama—including with my own mind! The months of gratitude gardening have borne fruit! I was able to maintain inner and outer peacefulness in spite of unpleasant physical symptoms from heat and pollution, long waits in challenging locations, a large repair bill, and yes, the completely melted ice cream! Everyone involved in my story was helpful (even if a bit slow!), and formerly shy me initiated mutually enjoyable conversations where I was able to affirm each person’s abilities and express gratitude for their help. Interestingly, my recovery from that day’s chemical exposures and stresses was remarkably brief, done by midmorning the next day rather than taking several days as it used to! I believe gratitude made all the difference. And I believe gratitude is helping me not only be happy “in spite of” my illness, but actually healing it.
HOW ABOUT YOU?
Would YOU like to become a happier person? If you would, do you have a regular gratitude practice? If yes, you want more happiness, but no, you don’t have a gratitude practice to help you, here’s the simple one I use:
Start keeping a gratitude journal: Each morning when you wake up, take a few minutes to write down five* things you are grateful for in that moment. Take a few deep breaths and feel into your deep gratitude for these things you have listed….
You can go deeper…. Where in your body do you feel your gratitude at this moment? What color is it? What does it taste like?What does it sound like?
Yes, even on a morning after too little sleep, feeling headachy or perhaps even “down with the flu” there are things to be grateful for—the stove that is heating the water for your favorite beverage, the reward that whatever task you’ve gotten up to do may bring you, abundant food in the larder, the pillow that awaits your return…. (I have noticed that thoughts such as these help my morning headaches leave more quickly! Grumping about how bad I felt certainly did not. Many people are now teaching that what we focus on is what we get more of, and experience has made me a believer.)
If you want to accelerate your progress toward greater happiness, start a complementary celebrations log, listing 5* things you celebrate from your day just before you go to sleep. This journal is the place to notice evidence of “the magic happening”—desired changes taking place, dreams coming true, little (or big!) miracles…. Feel into this “celebration”—does it make you feel satisfied, joyous, ecstatic, excited … grateful, happy?
*You can change the number five to your own magical number (some coaches suggest three, but I often have trouble stopping with five!). Feel free to elaborate as inspired with longer journal entries or perhaps some artplay. My own journal entries have become more colorful over time, which makes me even more happy when I look at them. (I intend to start adding glitter soon!)
I believe that by doing these simple practices you will one day soon realize you are HAPPY and that your dreams are coming true.
ps… Coming soon, the launch of my first e-course, Journey to the Gratitude Garden–Seven Weeks to a Happier Life. I think it is beautiful!
I’ll give a 50% discount on the course to all who post substantive comments on this blog!
Lunar Lammas, Solar Lammas, Celebrating Lammas in the Desert (or wherever you are)
I live the pagan part of my life on Lunar time—that is, all of my life that is not scheduled to interface with the dominant Julian calendar oriented culture. I prefer to celebrate my holydays not by mathematics (halfway between Solstice and Equinox) but by the closest Full or Dark/New Moon. I began observing the holydays this way, based on the We’Moon Calendar—Gaia Rhythms for Womyn, intuitively knowing the rightness for me of this “feminine” way of observing the Wheel of the Year.
I usually agree with the We’Moon collective’s choice of Full or New moon for the holydays. Spring Equinox, Beltane, Summer Solstice seem very celebratory to me, and so celebrating them on the nearest Full Moon feels appropriate, I usually find Brighid and Samhain very Dark Moonish (they call it New Moon; I distinguish between the waning and waxing energies before and after the astronomical “point in time”). Brighid is my time for going within to do the deep work of recommitting to my priestess vows and Samhain my time to commune with my beloved dead, both very Dark moonish.
Of course, in Tucson’s dominant Hispanic culture, communing with the ancestors (Dia de los Muertos) is very festive! And so this year I may see what I’m inspired to do at the Samhain Full Moon, perhaps a celebration! Likewise with Brighid—in my new reincarnation as a Happy Person, I may emphasize this celebration of the return of the Light. (I’m also seeing the possibility of two balancing observations of any holyday, one more “inward” at the Dark or New Moon, the other more “celebratory” at the Full!)
The next holyday coming up (after today that is), Autumn Equinox, can go either way for me—celebrating the harvest or grieving the waning light (and I’ve observed it both ways). And of course Yule can be not only the “happy birthday” to the Goddess or the New Year, but also the deep inward stillness like seeds waiting in frozen ground.
Lammas, the summertime cross quarter holyday which most pagans are celebrating tonight (on its Eve, August 1) or next weekend for convenience, was a celebration of the early harvest. In northern Europe and Britain, this would be the winter wheat or other staple grain, made into the first loaves of the year (The Catholic church co-opted Lammas into “Loafmass”). Imagine for a moment how wonderful this celebration would be in an agrarian society, and especially in a subsistence culture! Our challenge is to bring that deep gratitude for the food that nourishes and sustains us, and the cycles of Nature that brought it to fruition into our modern celebration of this holyday.
Lunar Lammas fell this year on the last Full Moon (July 22—the closest full moon to “solar” Lammas on Aug 2). Without a community of pagans in my physical reality, my celebration was simple and quiet, and I thought a lot that day about adapting one’s ancestral religion to the seasonal cycles of a radically different bioregion (for me, the low desert of southern Arizona). Lunar Lammas came at the peak of ripening of the nutritious pods of our native mesquite trees, the low-glycemic carbohydrate (and rather high protein) staple of local tribal peoples prior to their adoption of the SAD diet. And so I took more time and care with that day’s harvest.
Mesquite seeds are iron hard (ruining blenders!) and their protein lost in hand grinding of only the softer sweet pods. We modern folks usually wait until after the second mesquite harvest for the hammer mill to visit the farmer’s markets and neighborhood festivals (in November) to get our pods ground into the flour/meal that we use to replace some of the flour in our breads. So on Lunar Lammas I made mesquite atole—a sweet drink made from toasted whole mesquite pods, broken into a pot of water and in my case simmered in a solar oven. Thus I had the “ale” if not the “cakes” for the Queen of Heaven! And my trees were thanked and blessed.
I believe it is good for modern, too often “livingroom” pagans to get out into the fields or gardens or wild places to regain our connection with the food that sustains us, and with the seasonal cycles that we can loose touch with in “climate controlled” environments. This holyday is a perfect opportunity to reconnect with Nature and with the sources of our food! For those of us not able to harvest the grains that make our bread, we can at least bake our own loaf, perhaps hand grinding whole kernels in honor of the old ways. We can harvest whatever is ripe in our gardens, for a veggie loaf to be eaten with some reflection of the sacred honor given to the first loaf by subsistence farming peoples. We can go into the wilder places, forests and meadows and creeksides, the weedy verges of farmers’ fields and our own gardens to wildcraft the wild foods eaten by our own ancestors or the indigenous peoples who lived where we do now.
After thinking more about this, I have decided I will celebrate Lammas a second time this year. I’ll use my mortar and pestle to grind enough mesquite for a solar baked blue cornbread, and make a sacred veggie loaf with some of those amazing volunteer carrots in my gardens and the remnants of last year’s I’itois cowpea harvest (a traditional local Tohono O’odham selection). I’ll add herbs from the Healing Grove, and circle there with the spirits of my awesome homesteading grandmother Callie and my great aunt Anna (my dad’s mother and my mom’s aunt–I know they will love meeting each other!).
Due to appointments in town tomorrow, I’ll celebrate Solar Lammas a day or two late by the mathematics (or convention) of this cross-quarter date, but who cares? I challenge you also to do something a bit ancestral and Earth-honoring regarding this time of “early” harvest. (Pagan wuwu optional but recommended). It’s okay with me if you celebrate next weekend, or any time this summer month, just get out of the house, and do some local “slow food”, okay?
May you never hunger, may you never thirst!
Start with this photo, shot # 60 on my new camera, January 2013
Cold feet briefly venture out onto frosted ground in cozy house slippers….then back indoors for “Unearthing Your Creative Nature” and “Creative Journaling” then ARTbundance Coaching Training….
Fast forward through Time and Technology to my first Animoto’ed slideshows, created to complete ACT8. They’re composites of silly yet symbolic pedal-portraits from March April May (& don’t worry, they’re short–only a half minute each!) …The captions on the slides tell the tale!
The chosen Animoto themes? EARTHing first, then getting all FIREd up w/ creativity, then, I’m ablaze w/ “Inferno”–a name which reflects this first “triple digit” day of summer 2013 when all this digital creativity comes together, here!
This journey has been an amazingly playful yet deep, and surprisingly creative journey so far, and yes, the magic has begun! Blessed Be!
I created this business vision collage in January, during Jennifer Lee’s Creative Live Right Brain Business Plan workshop. I’m inspired to post it now, halfway through Jennifer Lee’s “Right Brainers in Business Summit”. Being in her very lively chat room makes it seem more real that yes, I am becoming a “creative entrepreneur”!
Here’s my 2-sentence summary of Nature Wisdom Journey that I wrote for my scholarship application for her Premium Pass program: “Nature Wisdom Journey will soon be a women’s mystery school that assists midlife women to re-create our lives. It will offer e-courses with supportive forums, group and 1-on-1 coaching using techniques from ARTbundance and basic NLP, and intimate work/playshops, ceremonies and retreats, using a synthesis of Nature re-conncection, shamanic journeying, goddess and Earth-based spirituality, art creativity, and aspects of permaculture.” That may look like a crazy combination, but it’s “me”!*
Here’s the reason I’m applying for the Premium Pass: “Being on the Summit is helping me believe I can become a creative entreprenuer. The Premium program will help me actually become one!
“I feel so full of vision and ideas, teetering on the brink of actually manifesting this amazing business…. The extra boost from your coaching calls and the Facebook forum will encourage me to do the “hard stuff” that is so easy to procrastinate on without accountability and support….”
Here’s my status: “Preparing to launch my first programs!” and what I’m doing toward that: “Creating the website, finishing free download and course content; training to become an ARTbundance coach.” Here’s what’s holding me back: “A case of temporary technophobia caused by the complexities of website design, plus the distraction of being in a (wonderful) coaching training program.”
And here are some of my “takeaways” from the first week + one day of this 2-week summit :
Gratitude accumulates [make a Cool Stuff Jar w/ gratitudes written on slips of paper to see gratitude pile up!)].
“Perfectionists must LAUNCH and THEN create final content.” [Gee, how that hits home!]
“Budget”=”Map of Intention”! [Rename budget categories to make budgeting more fun and visionary].
Ask what my business believes in! See “her” as a person separate from myself. Then talk w/ her!
MICPD=Multiple Ideal Client Personality Disorder 🙂 –Just pick a clear focus for right now.
Create, then share my content via social media! Blog, Facebook posts, Tweets….
Fear and excitement elicit the same physiological responses. When afraid, lie! Tell myself I’m excited. [Definitely gonna try this!]
Show up as “authentic me”!* (One presenter got a client because she swore in something she posted) [It’s so nice to have permission to be real. Watch out, world! And stay tuned for Nature Wisdom Journey’s eventual birth, to be announced sometime in 2013!]
Bright Blessings this cross-quarter (between Solstice and Equinox) day! The Sun has returned enough that we can notice (and celebrate!) longer days and increased light on the north side of our homes (apologies for my Northern hemisphere perspective to all those easing out of Summer!).
Before she was co-opted into the Catholic pantheon of Saints, Brighid was the Sun Goddess of my Celtic ancestors, so for me (and many others) this pagan holyday is sacred to Her (and my priestess name is Brighidsdottir). Although the church fathers did not recognize the Sun Goddess, they kept Brighid’s sacred powers as Smithcrafter (transforming by Fire), Muse of bards and poets, and Healer. Like the Virgin, she wears a cloak that comforts and heals, but it is her hair–often depicted as flames–that bring her energy to me when I’m tired. I envision Her mantle surrounding when I’m sad or ready to sleep.
If you didn’t celebrate Candlemas/ Imbolc/ Brighid last night on the Eve, all day today is sacred–and secular (look for the groundhog or its equivalent in your biome today!). Think about emerging from hibernation now–or slowly as we approach the Vernal Equinox (the groundhog is our Guide in how quickly to emerge each year). Plant seeds–literally in my desert garden or in pots for transplanting after your garden thaws (or my soil warms enough for summer crops)–or metaphorically as seeds of intention. I love to combine literal and metaphoric seeds to get the garden planted and cast spells of intentionality as I “work.” Take wheat stalks and weave Brighid’s crosses (sunspirals!). Invoke the Sun and light candles in honor of Her return.
Celebrate (again!) at Lunar Imbolc/ Lunar Brighid at the upcoming DarkMoon (wonderful for divination and letting go of what no longer serves us) and NewMoon (perfect for planting seeds of intention!)–one week from today.
fyi if this is unfamiliar: DarkMoon is the day and night (or several) right before NewMoon, when the moon is invisible in the sky and the energy is most inward for attuned we’moon. Our energy turns outward after the balance point called “New Moon” on our calendars, that astronomic point when the Sun and Moon are closest together in our sky. I like to celebrate NewMoon when I first see the lovely tiny crescent in the evening sky a day or two after the astromomic balance point–isn’t that a special sighting?! The evening just before New Moon is when I love to hold DarkMoon circles. I will resume after the Sun returns enough for us to meet outdoors in the Healing Grove; meanwhile I am doing my Imbolc magic as a solitary, mostly indoors by lamplight pagan, except for daytime seedsowing and moonsightings whenever the sky is clear.
Wherever, whenever, solitary or in circle, celebrate as you are called to do! And when you need comfort, know that Brighid’s mantle awaits to cover you with Her nurturing warmth.
I’m taking Jani Franck’s wonderful (and affordable) Creative Journaling e-course, Our second week of the month-long course focuses on gratitude. The Day 1 exercise was to list 3 people we’re grateful for. Mine grew to so many I was limited only by the size of my journal page! I’m so grateful for mentors/ guides/ teachers, friends, some of my family, and strangers becoming online friends! On Day 2 we listed or doodled about 3 possessions (My life is so abundant!). Day 3’s assignment will likely challenge most of the class, but I’ve done a lot of thinking about this already…and am extemely grateful to be on the other side of this four decades-long “hard life lesson”!
Day 3: This Hard Life Lesson–What I’ve Learned the Hard Way
It’s not hard for me to choose from the many possibilities of hard life lessons offered by my getting-to-be-quite-long life story (single parenting, Mom’s death too early in our beginning-to-resolve troubled relationship, chemical sensitivities, painful endings of too many relationships, “mistakes”, this loss, that loss, …). Because one huge challenge almost killed me (literally), and at many points I declared it had ruined my life. [Note passive voice here, yep, that old poor-me victim consciousness!]
“WHAT on Earth?” you ask.
“Bipolar II,” I answer. [“The dreaded” modifier implied and understood]
For this assignement, I’m going to do an art page, but I need the newly risen Sun to warm up this cold Winter day so I can set up my paints outdoors. This journal page will not be one of my signature colorfully cheery kid-marker doodles! I will do it with the darkest blue watercolor (acrylic being too shiny). Blue, color of the West and home of the emotions in my Medicine Wheel, dark because depression is “seen” as darkness in western culture. [Note to self: memorize name of this color! 2nd note to self: blog about Wisdom of the Dark.]
I’m imagining jaggedy, disorderly pokes at the page with the end of the largest square tipped brush, overlapping blotches covering a lot of the page, darkest on left side and bottom (representing my “foundation” of depression and my life extending a bit past “mid”life). Then some words of gratitude diagonal across the upper page, getting happier toward the top right, where I’ll paint the sun. Maybe I’ll paint the waxing crescent moon top left as well, for balance….and add glimmers of sunlight yellow down into/inside the jaggedy blue, because it was the hypomania that gave me courage to survive the depths.
[Not yet having achieved the artistic expertise to match my emerging identity as an artist, I may or may not post the painting here. It will for sure be on the course Facebook page where I feel safest to share].
I am grateful to my BiPolar II “disorder” for teaching me that quality of life is a totally subjective thing. That nothing stays the same forever. That there is always hope of something better after the hardest times. That healing IS possible! That even the most established cycles can be transformed. That “stability” is not static and boring, but more continuously joyous in a quieter way than hypomania’s unsustainable flights. That the overall effect of Lithium orotate, Equilib, and Traveling Light Discovery and Breakthrough processes is a marvelous “dynamic equilibrium” that is long-term sustainable with infinite possibilities for further healing on all levels. That there always IS hope, somewhere, somehow, that it’s okay to ask for and accept (and pay for) it. That choosing life was the right choice after all!
I’m also grateful to BiPolar II for giving me a doctor’s excuse to bail out of the oppressive academic science career world, where I never really fit, for living close to Nature at my own rhythms and inspiration, and for helping me become the strong person I am. Amazing things are possible when “survivors” become “thrivers”! I’m also grateful that the experience of this life-threatening illness, and its eventual healing, have given me the ability to become a healer in my “wisdom” years. Blessed Be!