Two Years and Some Dandelions

Two years ago I started a journey of release. I was prepared to let go of all that no longer served me in hopes of making room for a greater life. It has literally taken all this time, 2 full years, to become free of my past so that I could enjoy my present and have the life I desire.

I feel as though I have been in an Earthling graduate course for the last 2 years. It has been one lesson after another. There were days when I didn’t think I would be able to make it because the emotional pain was so great. I have experienced some of the darkest nights my soul has ever experienced during this time of growth and release….and, I asked for it all. I actually called it to me so that I could be the woman I came to this planet to be.

I cannot guarantee that if I knew what was coming when I asked to release my past, that I would have said I was ready and willing. I guess that’s the good thing about NOT knowing the future. I started my journey full of hope, believing that by opening to the notion of releasing it all I would automatically have joy and success. HA!!

By being willing to release all that no longer served me I opened myself up to lessons I had no idea I needed to learn. The very things I complained the most about where the lessons that have been the hardest to learn.

I wrongly believed that release would be a passive experience, like the warm water in the bath, my past mistaken beliefs and desires would all disappear once I decided to open the drain. It turns out that is not how my release worked.

My release turned out to be more like a field of dandelions that needed to be eradicated!

First, I pulled the tops because if you don’t see the yellow flower they aren’t there, right? NO! not true at all. However, plucking the tops off turned out to be a good first step. Once the flowers are off the plant they cannot turn to seed and grow more dandelions! I applauded myself for getting started

The second step was to pull all of the little green plants up. This was hard and time consuming, but I was ready and willing to release and rid myself of all that no longer served me, so I persevered with help from friends and professionals. I pulled and pulled and pulled. When I was finished I looked at the field, patted myself on the back and said, “What a great job you have done ridding yourself of the past”. In my naivete and arrogance I rested and claimed success for all of my hard work.

But, pulling up dandelions does not eradicate a dandelion! My ego wanted me to believe I was finished, that I had done the work. False pride, fake happiness, and my ever present know it all attitude needed one more lesson and a little more time.

I woke up one day and every spot that I had not done the very hard work of pulling up the roots of all those weeds, there was a dandelion! There they were again, in full bloom, taunting me, reminding me that I had not done the hard work of digging deep and taking out the very root that created the plant that was no longer serving me.

The job of planting a field full of plants I desire had to start by removing the roots of the plants that no longer serve me, and in some cases lovingly accepting a few dandelions in my field.

It turns out that dandelions have tasty leaves and their roots have many healing properties. I am also told that if you put a dandelion under your chin and your chin reflects the yellow, it means you love butter.

In the two years I have been gone from my blog I have learned many lessons. I am looking forward to sharing many of my lessons with you in the future. For now I am going to go make myself a cup of dandelion tea, reflect on my past, enjoy the moment, and create my future.

Saying Good Bye is not always Easy

Our-Woman-of-Sometimes Good-Byes are forced upon us through an unexpected death, sometimes by a sudden break up. Other times good-bye comes after much thought and realization that something or someone no longer serves your highest good or you theirs. Good Bye can be a temporary situation or a forever event.

What does Good Bye mean to you?

To me Good Bye is sending someone or something away with well wishes.

Today I am saying Good Bye to all of my past dreams and desires. I will be honest with you, I truly do not know how to do this. I have Googled it. I have contacted Friends and Healers. Each person has their own way of ritualistically saying Good Bye. I believe saying Good Bye is personal. I do not believe there is a right or a wrong. Is it a list you burn? Is it a letter you write? Is it words and wishes you send into the air? Is it drops of coloring you flush away with water? Is it rocks you throw of a cliff? Is it the tears you release into your bath or shower? Is it a candle you watch burn slowly knowing once it is finished your Good Bye is complete? Or, is it just a knowing that it is done, with no ritual send off at all?

How so ever this Farewell with well wishes happens, I know it is time for it to be done. I have accumulated dreams and desires over my lifetime. I would consider myself the ‘Hoarder of Dreams’. The home I dwell in, my body, specifically my mind, has become full of dreams I never used. Long forgotten dreams that I set aside instead of saying Good Bye to. Dreams that I somehow think that I can revive someday so I keep them alive in me, often lamenting the fact that I did not follow through with them when they first arrived in my mind. Dreams that did not have the outcome I desired so they became disappointments. Dreams that have no point today. Dreams that didn’t really matter when I saw my eldest son laying on what I thought was his death bed.

Today I say Good Bye to the dream that I would be married only once. Today I say Good Bye to the dream that I would be the most bestest mom on the planet. Today I say Good Bye to the dream that I would have a PhD and somehow save the planet. Today I say Good Bye to the dream that I will travel the world helping people help themselves, especially women. Today I say Good Bye to the dream of being a Master Sensualist, helping women navigate what it means to be living in a material world as a spiritual being during these times. Today I say Good Bye to having a business that improves people’s lives and enriches the world. Today I say Good Bye to all the properties I have owned and longed to own. Today I say Good Bye to all the not for profits I was going to start, for young mothers, abused women, sex workers, elders, families, homeless. Today I say Good Bye to the retail shops I dreamed of opening, the cute shops where people could come and drink a beverage and shop for things they wanted but did not need. Today I say Good Bye to the career that I never had.  Today I say Good Bye to all the events I never produced. Today I say Good Bye to the retreat centers that never got started. Today I say Good Bye to causes I never volunteered for and boards I was never on. Today I say Good Bye to the book that never got written. Today I say Good Bye to all the baked goods I never made. Today I say Good Bye to the garden that has never been what I want with Sunflowers growing everywhere. Today I say Good Bye to a situation that was not what I believed it was. Today I say Good Bye to all the hopes and dreams I had before I started this piece. Good Bye to everything that was a hope or a dream.

My plan for the rest of my day is to cry, bathe, eat chocolate, and burn sage. I will be kind and loving to me as I release the things that were only thoughts but have lived with me, in me for a number of years. I will mourn for the entire day. I will be gentle to me.

Tomorrow I will wake up fresh, new, different. Tomorrow I will not think of my past nor my future. Tomorrow I will live from the moment I wake up, in the moment.

For today though? I shall mourn….

The Call You Never Want To Get

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This is not a blog I ever thought I would be writing. My next blog was to be on gossip (that will come, I promise) or what bits of knowledge the Universe downloaded to me while I traveled through Peru and Ecuador for the last 7 months. Truly, anything but this.

My third week after arriving back to the USA was one of the most difficult weeks of my life. I was having interpersonal relationship situations popping up left and right. I had decided if the universe was ready to weed my garden I was open to the loss. However, I was not open to the loss that a phone call threatened to create.

It was 7:20am on May 20th. My husband had come downstairs about 10 minutes prior to tell me my phone, that had died for good the day before, had come back to life. He handed me my working phone (a miracle) and my morning tea. After kisses and thank you I started looking at my phone. A number rang through that I did not recognize. I answered it with Hello. The woman on the other end asked if I was Cindy Palmer. No, I am not, unless it relates to one of my adult children. She asked if I was the mother of…and named my eldest child. I am I said. She then went on to explain that my son was in the hospital getting ready for emergency brain surgery. That he had been found unconscious on the side of the road and raced to the Trauma Hospital in Seattle, Harborview. They were going to do everything they could….they could to what?!?! What the hell was happening? My head was spinning. My baby. My first born. Who is this woman? She explained that a Doctor would be calling to get permission to operate in a few minutes.

I have 5 children, 1 husband and one wasband all of which I was now in charge of informing, and yet I was having a hard time thinking straight. I called my wasband, the father of my elder children. No answer. I tried to text 911 but I couldn’t get the numbers straight because my hands were shaking so badly. I called my middle son next, the two boys are best friends as well as brothers. No answer, so again a 911 text. All the time I was trying to contact our inner family circle I was getting dressed and ready to go. My husband came down and must have seen that something was off because he asked what was wrong. I couldn’t answer, I went upstairs to put a bag together. He asked again, I could only say “I need a car.” I then called my eldest daughter. She is in the Army reserves and this was her weekend. She did not answer either. I did not want to scare her so I left a message. I told her that everything was fine but that there had been an accident, I was grateful that she was safe and she may or may not want to come home. Apparently it was an odd message, according to her. At this point my husband, who had not left my side and was calling a Lyft and trying to figure things out, stopped me and said I had to tell him what was happening because my car had arrived. I looked him square in the eyes and said, “My son is dying”.

Somehow I got my shaking body into the car. I told the driver Harborview. My phone rang. It was my middle child. I told him I was on my way to Harborview and that his elder brother was going in for emergency brain surgery. His sound and No were almost as heart wrenching as my earlier phone call. He said he would meet me there. Next was to tell my youngest of my adult children. The baby of the pack. Saturday is her day to sleep in and I hadn’t wanted to ruin that for her and yet I knew she had to know. I called. She answered. She wailed. Another moment of my heart shattering into a million pieces. The driver, a stranger from a foreign land, handed me tissue from the front seat. The phone rang and I had to again tell one of my children, my eldest daughter who was over 4 hours away. She screamed into my ear a sound I hope to never have to hear again. Somewhere in all of this a Doctor called. She told me what type of surgery would be happening. Something about removing the skull and having to keep it removed due to swelling. She wanted to tell me the risks but I would not let her because I only wanted to thing positive thoughts for my son. I imagine my wasband called at some point though I do not remember. When I exited the car my driver looked at me sincerely and said he would be praying for my son. I held his prayer, his compassion and his kindness in my heart.

The rest of the morning is a blur. I had been able to text the rest of the family on our family thread. My middle son was at the hospital when I arrived. I fell apart, nausea, sobbing, hyperventilating. The social worker took us to the surgery waiting room. Slowly our family began to trickle in. I was numb waiting to find out if my child would live or die. I would think of wonderful things about this magical child and laugh out loud and then immediately burst into tears. I remembered his birth. I remembered his achievements. I remembered his sorrows. The life that lives my eldest son is beautiful. My son is a wonderful human. I looked around the room and saw all of our family. My eldest daughter had arrived. My brothers were there. My mother. My husband. My wasband. I turned to my youngest daughter and said, “There isn’t even a baby being born and we are all here.” I realized in that moment that humans come together for life and death. We gather when a soul is entering the planet and we gather when a soul is departing.

My son did not leave our planet that day. He stayed. The week that followed was up and down. It was thought that he had a stroke because the trauma happened on the left side of his skull and he was not moving his right arm. After CT scans and an MRI it was found that his right arm had been broken in 3 places. He leaked spinal fluid from his ear for several days before they put in a spinal drain. He slept as often as the nurses would let him. Sometimes he had memory and other times he did not. The conversation was about what was next if the fractures didn’t heal enough to stop the spinal fluid leak. I could not imagine another brain surgery for my son. So, I did what any mother would do, I called on the world to pray for him. One of my best friends is a Dr, I asked her to help put together a specific healing prayer. She did. She wrote exactly where people were to be focusing their thoughts. I sent the specific prayer far and wide. I stated that the healing was to occur by Friday, May 26th.

On Friday, May 26th, my son woke up a different person. There was healing of Epic proportions! His drain was healed. He walked!!! He was remembering many words. By Saturday he was kicked out of ICU and taken to acute care. He spent a week in acute care and is currently on the in-patient rehab floor. He is doing so well that he only has 10 days of in-patient rehab.

This story is merely a skimming of my total experience. It has expanded me in a way that 7 months in South America could not. Forced Zen as one friend put it. Our lives are precious. We never know when we are going to be called to leave or when a person we love will leave. I am so very grateful that it was not my son’s time. I am so very grateful that I saw how our family comes together. I am so very grateful for each moment I am taking in breathe and experiencing the beauty of this planet. The Lyft drivers, The mountains, The rivers, The ancients, The python that got loose in my home while I was at the hospital. I am grateful for it all.

Jane of All Trades

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When I was a teenager I first heard the term ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’. It was used in a derogatory way however, I liked the idea.

To me, being the Jane of all trades seemed that I could get a taste of many things. I could do a little of a lot versus a lot of a little. As time went on a totally forgot about this concept. I spent my twenties trying to raise four children and be a ‘good’ housewife. I basically failed at it all. It was nice to try but that was definitely not my box. I then spent my thirties trying to discover who I was and find my one thing. Again, a failed project. I moved into my forties deciding I would create myself whoever and however I wanted to be. I had a job in marketing Senior Care and though I was no expert I truly loved what I was doing. Helping elders be as independent as they are able falls in in line with my life mission of Helping others help themselves, especially women. The universe must have seen I was beginning to get a little mastery in this field so IT helped me along by giving me an accident that stopped me, literally in my tracks. After my fall, and probably a little before, I started to fantasize about being famous. I mean really, who doesn’t fantasize about this? I bought some web sites. I started to write. I took some classes. I got a coach, or two. I sat back and fantasized about how I would have a famous web-site, book, business, retreat, whatever, and I would then have ‘it all’. The problem is, I couldn’t figure out what I was meant to do. I read books, went to classes, bitched, moaned, groaned and still no breakthroughs on who I was/am supposed to be! I was living in a perpetual world of envy and self-disapproval…

In this continued state of envy and self-disapproval and still trying to find myself, I requested that my little family spend one school year in S America traveling. My husband and our son’s bio father supported this request and off to Peru and Ecuador we went. When I left I had the focus of helping my son, bonding our little family of three, and figuring out how my husband and I could go into partnership. I mean, if I can’t find myself outside of our relationship maybe I could find my business self within our relationship! Can you see how I was still searching even a couple of months ago? We came up with plenty of great business ideas, food trucks, novelties, food bikes, restaurants. Do you see the theme? Guess what my husband does for a living? Yep, he is a restaurant consultant! I was still not seeing what my value and worth was. I still saw myself as nothing but support! Wait, what? I still saw myself as ONLY support? Who am I at my core? I am a supporter. What is my life mission? Helping others help themselves, especially women. Why is that an ONLY? Why is it bad in my mind that I am a supporter? Where did I decide that I had to be THE MASTERY of ONE thing? When did I decide I had to be THE EXPERT? This started to percolate within my being.

I am not sure why but I am the woman that wakes up in the morning with the ah-ha. Sleeping and being in an airplane are the times my brain connects to the ALL that Is. I woke up a couple of weeks ago and remembered the statement ‘Jack (Jane) of all trades, master of none’. All of a sudden I was able to give myself permission to be the I AM that I am. I am a supporter and that is good for the world. I am the master of no one thing but have tasted many and so have a larger world vision. I am an expert on being me and that is enough.

With my epiphany I decided that I am changing my personal blog page into an online women’s magazine. I am going to support many women in getting their message out in the world. I am going to help women who are Masters share their wisdom with other women. I will be helping women learn more and be more because they will have a place to go and get information from experts. YES! I get to be a supporter. I get to help others help themselves, especially women! More women means more women helped! We are a community of women helping women! For women by women!!!!!

I may not be a Master of one thing but I am the Jane of many trades and I hope that because of this I can help women help themselves.

The Right Side of the Sun

Solstice, December 2016, I was in Peru (where I am still). On that day we planned to climb Machu Picchu where my husband and I would renew our vows to each other. As we left our little cabin in the Sacred Valley to walk to the train station, I looked up at the sun and thought to myself, “I am so grateful for the sun!” As soon as I had this thought, I had another thought, “Oh no, the sun represents the masculine!” All at once all of the negativity I have experience at the hands of males crossed my mind….

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Since puberty began for me I have had problems with the right side of my body. I have skin issues on my right side. I have pigment discoloration (think Michael Jackson) on my right side. I have lower back and hip issues on my right side. I even broke my right knee cap in half! I understand that the right (where our political right comes into play) represents the masculine and with that knowledge have done what I believed I needed to do to love and accept the masculine within myself to help heal my body. It was not until the moment I looked at the sun on that Solstice Day that I realized how repelled and deeply upset I am with the masculine in general.

One of the things I believe to be true is that to heal our planet we must come back into balance with the divine masculine and the divine feminine. Because of the imbalance within the current patriarchal system I do everything I know how to do to support and push the feminine forward. I also do what I can to help educate others on how Christianity has tried to strip the world of the divine feminine to more easily control the masses. I believed I was doing a great job of working toward supporting the restoration of balance until that Solstice Day while looking at the sun.

In that moment I realized my own personal mistake. My eyes welled up with tears and I thought of the time I was raped and left with a venereal disease, the times my father molested me, the times men treated me as though I was less than, the times I was emotionally/physically abused by a man, the time my boss grabbed my ass, or the times an older woman in my life preached the patriarchy to me. I also thought of the times I played weak, the story of the maiden in distress, to get what I wanted. The times I used my feminine ways to obtain financial gain. I thought of all the times I weakened myself to take advantage of men.

How can I support balance in the world when I’m still playing the game of wounded woman? How can I support balance in the world when I’m still so angry and hurt by the masculine? When I am still willing to play the role of weak female to get what I want both emotionally and financially? How is balance to be restored when I am still fitting so neatly into the box that was built for me by the pussy grabbing patriarchal system?

I do not have any answers yet, but that solstice day over a week ago is the first day I was enlightened enough to even ask myself the questions. In the sun is great opportunity for reflection as well as shadow. I am grateful for the gifts the sun showed me on summer solstice in the southern hemisphere.

I look forward to the day when I am celebration with the masculine versus being angry, frightened or using him….I am ready for change, for freedom, and for celebration of balance within the divine feminine and masculine.

A Penny in Peru

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I thought my next blog would be on what it took to leave Seattle and get to Peru. Believe me when I say that the story is juicy and full of adventure. However, with all the adventure, deceit and planning that happened….the makings of a truly great novel, it is nothing compared to the spiritual growth and magic that has occurred since arriving in Yarinacocha.

The place that we are living is truly the Garden of Eden. Jeff has become Adam and I Eve.

Our first night in our hut the weather did for us the same as it has done on other momentous occasions. There was a HUGE storm. The thunder and lightning was that which I have never seen before. The noise of the thunder was ceaseless. The lightning kept the hut and sky continually light. The beating of the rain coming down on the thatched roof was even greater then when I was a child and visited a friend in a trailer during a rain storm in Seattle. The Gods were speaking again, there was no doubt. We had made the right choice. In the morning the garden was a river. Everything, including our spirits, had been cleansed. The sin and din of the States was well behind us and we were looking at our new life in the jungles of the Amazon living amongst a family of Shipibo people.

If you have ever lived or visited near the Equator you understand that the day is 12 hours and when night comes it arrives quickly. In our Garden there is very little power. Our hut had no power at all the first week we were here. The kitchen hut has two lightbulbs hanging from wires on the ceiling that serve as light between the hours of 6-12pm. For cooking there is a 4 burner propane cooktop that you might see in a glamping situation. Our drinking water is in in 5 gallon water jugs that we go into town, across the lake, to have filled. Our washing water comes from a catchment system and there is no heating or refrigeration system. Though I don’t usually use a washing machine or dishwasher in our home in the States, it is not because our home doesn’t have them, it is because laundry and dishes are not a chore I choose to do. Here I am washing our clothes myself and, as can be seen on the video at #agirlsroom, I am doing it by hand using what they refer to as soap berries. As well as having no lights, no machines, no hot water, no refrigeration and no flushing toilets we also have no phone system or internet.

Putting my family smack in the middle of a Garden in the Amazon Jungle with no conveniences of home has started to change us all. Our son, who is considered special needs by some, is finding his groove. He has lived with very high anxiety in the past. Here, where there are bugs everywhere and fun is climbing high, has started to become accustomed to that which has made him scream and cry in the past. My husband, who avoids feelings by being an excellent worker, has no internet or phone to distract him from the present moment. I am a perfectionist who needs order and sense and the jungle is teaching me to chill the fuck out and get over it! We are all learning to be in the present moment, accept what is and trust that all is well as it is.

Our feeling of calm did not happen overnight. As with many things there was a Rupture before the Rapture. Our rupture started before we even left our city. My husband’s ex wife decided she wanted to keep a connection between her and him so she served him with papers the night before we were to get on the plane. In my distracted state I left all of our passports and travel information on one of the planes we had flown on. Our son had numerous and continued melt downs that we have not had to deal with in a number of years. All this before we even landed in Peru! Then, once we got to our destination, there was the reality of having no modern conveniences, no bug spray that would keep the biting insects at bay, and critters that share our hut with us. We all took turns melting down our first week here.

And then, as if by magic, it did happen. Each of us started to find our happy. Finding a community pool with a flushing toilet helped. I think in all of my writings I forgot to mention that the temperature hovers around 90 with the humidity at about 100 until it finally rains. We are adjusting. We are seeing the beauty in it all. We named the tarantula that shares our hut instead of being frightened by it. We are grateful for the abundance of Mangos that are hitting our hut all night long versus caring about the noise all night long. My husband has become so creative in his cooking it is amazing. I am spending time teaching my son and learning new things. We are seeing the spiritual and enchantment of all that is. From this Garden in Peru I can see that each of us has a purpose. We are all on this planet for some reason. Logically I know that we are all one and here I can feel it. In this place creation happens overnight. Plants grow, questions are answered it is wonderful.

Now that you have an idea of what I am currently doing and where we are living, I want to leave you with the most magical and mystical story of all…

Once a week we go into town and stay at a hotel so that Jeff can use the internet for work and I can take a hot shower. This week we packed our clothes in the carry on and set out. The week prior to our night away Jeff had read East of Eden and I had listened to E-squared by Pam Grout. My thought upon listening to her words were, “what kind of miracle could I have out here? This place is pretty much a miracle.” I liked listening to her experiments though, because of all my years as a Religious Scientist, knew that what she said and did was accurate and that I didn’t really need a display but, deep down inside I wanted one. I wanted to see that The All wanted to communicate with me. Jeff and I had been having some very intense conversations about the next phase of our relationship and I wanted something to help me know I was on that right path. I wanted to see that I did the right thing bringing us to Peru. Anyway, the thought went out of my mind. I started to notice some of my character defects. I talked to Jeff about my feelings of lack in our life, about where we were out of partnership and about where I get financially miserly. In short, I started to think about my relationship with wealth. I meditated, talked and read my Tarot regarding the material world and where I live in it.

Now you have the background to what is about to happen.

After arriving back to our Garden from town this week our son wanted to get into the carryon bag to get out a souvenir he bought. Typical of his hurried style he opened the suitcase on our front porch and from the side of the suitcase that had his stuff, he opened the divider, got his toy and left. Jeff was in the kitchen hut putting away our supplies for the week. I opened our hut door to get the clothes out of the case. Sitting on top of the clothing was a coin. No big deal, in Peru much of the money is in coins. I picked up the coin. It did not look to be the color of one of the Peruvian coins. I looked at it. It looked like a one cent wheat head from the US yet different. It read one cent in English. I turned it over and there staring at me was an Indian. The date was 1905. This coin is in mint condition. I found Jeff and asked him if he put a coin into the carry on. He said no…..Where had this coin come from? What an odd thing. My husband was reading a book from the time period and I had been thinking about finances and what we would be doing when we return to the USA. This coin is a complete physical manifestation of the Universe speaking to me. I am loved and safe in this world. You are loved and safe in this world. I will continue to update you on how our lives our unfolding in Peru.

 

How Peru Began to Whisper in my Ear

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Deciding to take my family to Peru for 6 months was a big choice that started over 10 years ago.

It was standing in front of Stonehenge that my first desire to go to Peru showed up. Looking at this wonder inspired me to want to see other wonders of the world and Machu Picchu was the first thing that came into my mind. I held that desire in my heart from that point forward.

Fast forward a number of years, in walks a nice man who asked me if I wanted to go anywhere in the world where would it be. I quickly explained to him my desire to see Machu Picchu. He did not understand why, if I could go anywhere in the world, I would pick Peru! To show me that I was not in my right mind, he took me to Italy and introduced me to Venice, Florence, Rome, Naples, Ischia and Pompeii. Of course, Pompeii was amazing for me.  We had a private tour guide that took us behind numerous locked doors but, it still did not fulfill my desire for Peru.

Enter into the story Jeff, four years ago. Like the beginning of many relationships we talked about our dreams and desires. Again, Machu Picchu came into the conversation. We talked about the wonders of the world and the important spiritual spots on the planet. We discussed my strong desire to see Machu Picchu and his desire to go to Australia. We took a trip that I had previously planned to The DR to get the magical stone Larimar. During that time we realized that together and as a family we are great travel companions.

In August of 2015 Jeff and I were married. As soon as all the planning of the wedding was complete we started discussing a trip to South America. The trip itself has morphed several times over. One of the important aspects that we had to address was our 10 year old son who has a biological father that is not Jeff. A long trip to South America, we thought, would be a great educational experience. We were not sure that G’s bio dad would agree. Happily, he did agree. As some of you know our son has some challenges and our big hope is that time away, learning new things, will help our son find his happy.

With helping G find his happy as our new primary mission we started to look at South America differently. The spiritual aspect that had first drawn me to the desire of Peru was soon replaced with, how can we best educate and help our son. We decided on a full school year away, September-June. We took G to see the iMax movie on the Galapagos. We talked to people we knew in Ecuador realizing that Ecuador is an easy place for Americans to live. Machu Picchu and Peru became secondary to Ecuador and helping our little man….That is, until I went to Vipassana in February of this year.

While sitting in silence for those 10/12 days, I had the opportunity to reconnect with my deep desire to follow my spiritual callings. I had been called to Peru not Ecuador. Yes, Machu Picchu was how I was first called but, it was the country itself that I could feel pulling me to her. I knew that Jeff had a distant relative who had ties to Peru. As soon as I got home, Sunday night, I asked Jeff for his relatives email. I sent a letter to this man asking if we could stay with him for an undetermined number of months. To my surprise he said YES! With this yes, Jeff and I began the planning of our journey to Peru.

How I stay inspired~~~

The dictionary says, “Inspiration is creativity that appears to come from an external source”; therefore, it is important for me to stay vigilant in regards to the information and data that I allow into my psyche.

As a woman in a leadership position I not only need to stay inspired it is my job to inspire others. Because of this, it is of utmost importance that I keep creativity flowing around me and through me at all times.

Being surrounded by creativity keeps my inspiration alive and constant even when I am feeling low.

One of the first things I have done to make sure that my inspirational juices continue to flow is to have a home that is full of art and reminders of people, places and things that inspire me. On my bedroom wall hangs a beautiful watercolor that is meant to be a flower but looks more like that place where life begins. Below this picture of divine creation I have placed my altar. On my altar are trinkets of personal importance as well as photos of my closest family and friends. Next to my bed hang two pictures; one is Durga, the other is the Virgin Mother. Above my bed hangs a huge photo of three women, two are playing chess while one sits watching. All 3 are in burlesque style costume, in a dressing room, apparently between acts. In the background is another woman putting makeup on at the mirror. This is a picture of beautiful women engaged in the intellectual game of chess while at the same time owning their physical beauty and grace in a sensual art of dance. When I wake up, I am surrounded and greeted by pictures and things that inspire me.

Throughout the rest of my home there are similar areas that inspire me. I have painted my kitchen ceiling in blocks of six bright colors. I had a huge tree painted on the wall next to my front door; we call it the En-Tree. A corner of the living room has a pink polka dot table holding a vintage orange typewriter. Next to that is a chaise lounge with a Kurt Vonnegut drawing looking over it all. There is a full map of Peru in my living room, as well as other pictures of people and places that inspire me. Mixed amongst these pictures are pieces of original art made by people I know and love. My dining room is my favorite. Each wall and the ceiling are canvases that are covered in eclectic and eccentric pieces. This is where I write best, sitting at my dining room table, surrounded by things I love, things that inspire me.

Another way for me to keep myself inspired is the people I allow into my life. I spend my time with women and men who inspire me. Of course, I totally understand that you can’t choose your family. However, you can choose who you spend your time with. It is important for me to constantly maintain an inner and outer circle of friends as well as a larger circle of acquaintances. This third circle I have less control over and it does not really affect me. My inner circle however is of utmost importance to my inspirational and creative processes. Who these people are and what they are doing in life directly reflects where I am in my life. Are they doing things that I admire? Are they doing things that I support or that make my mind and soul smile? As with any healthy garden, my inner circle of friends has times when it has needed weeding. I have found that sometimes friends from one circle move to another circle in the process of my growth. As a creative woman in leadership, my inner circle is of extreme importance to me. I need to be surrounded by people who keep me inspired. My outer circle is important too, just not as significant to me as my inner when it comes to keeping myself inspired.

One of the most important areas that I keep constant watch over is what I allow into my mind. To stay inspired and able to keep in the flow of all things, I do everything I can to guard what my mind is exposed to. I read books that fascinate me and push my growth versus novels that are, for me, like eating junk food. I learn about ancient teachings. I go to live performances of many kinds. I listen to all types of music. I watch films that are made as art. What do I keep out of my mind? What have I noticed kills my drive and flow? News, Sitcoms, Social Media. I understand that some of these things are necessary in this day and age AND I have learned that they stop me in my creative tracks. My mind is like a sponge, it is constantly taking in data. It is my job to be in control of what data I allow into my mind. My mind is my tool and I need to keep it clean at all times.

Because my life purpose is to inspire women to explore their most intimate selves, I look at every event, every situation, and every object as a source of inspiration. Keeping myself healthy and surrounding myself with people and things I love is how I stay inspired so that I can inspire you.

 

Death as my teacher.

For as long as I can remember I have been very comfortable with death. To be clear, my own death versus other’s. My comfort with death began well before I started working in the Senior Care field in 2004. Though I can say that working with and around the elderly helps create a comfort with death but, not the personal comfort in which I am referring to.

Last week I went to the columbarium where my grandmother and great-grandmother’s ashes are housed. It was a spontaneous decision that came after 3 weeks of being ill. As I stood in front of the matriarchs of my father’s family I started thinking about mortality and the immortality of DNA. For this blog I am going to discuss my thoughts on mortality and death as it has been a teacher for me.

joe black

When I was in my twenties I was involved in a group by the name of Context International. I took a series of their courses. This was my first introduction to death as a teacher. The question that was asked of me was, “What if you died tomorrow? Have you cleaned up all of your relationships?” From that point forward I started cleaning up, what they referred to as My Side of the Street. I did all the things I thought were important. I confronted my father for molesting me, I told my husband I didn’t like his family, I told my mother where she had failed me. Being in my twenties ‘cleaning up my side of the street’ mostly looked like telling everyone else what I thought of them, and not necessarily the nice parts. The best part of my twenties was outgrowing them! As I entered my thirties I learned a different way of keeping my side of the street clean and I pretty much live with this ethical code today. How do I do it? I stay as present in my life as possible. When I have a difference of opinion with a person I think, “How important is this to me?” If it is important to me or, if the process of coming to a mutual understanding is important to me, then I approach the situation. I do my very best to approach each situation in a way that is loving, kind and mutually respectful. I want to be sure that if death comes in my next exhale that I have honored myself, my values and the people that I love. Living from the understanding that I could breathe my last breath at any moment also means that when there is something off in my world I clean it up or let it go, as quickly as possible. Having emotions linger for extended length of time does not serve me. Asking myself regularly if a situation would bother me if I was on my death bed does serve me. It helps me to filter what is truly important to me and what is not. My son was listening to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone this last week. I was impressed when Dumbledore said to Harry, “After all, to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.” JK Rowling must have a similar belief to me.

In my thirties I evaluated the choices I had made in my life and determined where I felt I wanted something more or different. I had spent all of my twenties raising children and being a man’s housewife. Upon review I knew I needed more. I started making my personal life goals. What do I want to have done before my death? What places on this planet do I want to visit before I die? Who are the people I want by my side upon my death? While looking at all of these important questions, I totally readjusted my life! I did not want to settle for a life that was expected of me, instead I got started on creating the life I dreamed of and longed for. If I am only on this planet for a short time, what do I want to achieve while I am here? This is the period of time I adopted my personal belief of life here on this planet. I invite you to view your time here from this perspective because it makes things way more fun! My view of my life on this planet is; I am here on vacation! Yep, it is that simple. I view each day as another vacation day on the planet earth! I like to imagine that I chose to be born to humans so that I could experience all that human life, on planet earth, has to offer. I believe it is an adventure that I am choosing to have. I am fully aware that at any moment my vacation may end. With this knowing I do my best to live my life exactly how I desire to live it. Think National Lampoon’s Vacation. It may not always be pretty but in the end they had a great adventure!

During my forties I worked for, with, and around the elderly. It has been a great way to learn. The one knowing I gleaned from these wise people was to do the thing or things that you long to do. I have heard stories upon stories of regret about what a person did NOT do, especially as they neared their end of life. In my experience with elders, their regrets about what they did not do appeared to outweigh the regrets around mistakes they believed they had made. Some never left their marriage when they knew it was the best thing for them, women that did not get the education they wanted because they felt obligated to have a family, men that did not travel because making money for their family and retirement were most important. These are just a few off the top of my head. Whatever the story that was told, it often ended with sadness and regret when they were discussing missed opportunities. What I learned from the people I met who were naturally closer to end of life than I am is to live life fully! Throw caution to the wind! Do what you have always longed to do! Travel. Quit your job. Start a new career. Wear crazy clothes. Eat from fine china. Tell that person (who is not married) that you are attracted to them. As long as your desires do not hurt another, go for it! You are only on this planet for a finite amount of time as the you that you are! What are your dreams? Make a list.

In conclusion, I will leave you with a quote from Michael A. Singer for you to ponder:

“You really don’t need more time before death; what you need is more depth of experience during the time you’re given”.