Vanity and the Choice of Ego; Careful, You Just Might Get Burned

We fly out in less than a week. I haven’t been back to Southern California in almost 13 years. I was born and raised in sunny Southern California but it’s hard to call it my “hometown” or “where I’m from” anymore. It feels like a lifetime ago.

I most certainly don’t feel Californian anymore, but apparently when I’m angry, tired, hurt, or frustrated I’ll react in unflattering ways (like a toddler, now that I think about it). When this happens, my husband will simply fold his arms and give me a wry smile and call me his “Cute Little Valley Girl.” He has also become quite good at mimicking my squinted-eye glare. Sometimes to my horror, I still give him the satisfaction of an involuntary hair-flip.

I really need a new shtick.

So when he called me on my immaturity today, I became embarrassed rather than angry. But you see, I need a new bathing suit because the one I have is literally 11 years old. Granted, swimsuit season is pretty short where I am now, meaning my old swimsuit could easily live to see another 8 years. “But dammit”, my ego tells me, “you deserve a nice bathing suit. Just think about all that time you’ll have to hang out at the hotel pool with the kids…with your husband…with lots of other women who will be in bikinis and look waaaayyy better than you.” (granted, it’s the Disneyland Hotel, not a Laguna Beach resort).

I decided to go to the specialty swimsuit store in Portland. If their clientele was just as ego-driven as I was, consisting of beyond pale moms who were insecure with their bodies, I would surely fit in.

This was a smart store, (brilliant really) where the dressing rooms had lighting that flattered, a salesperson who acted genuinely interested in what a bathing suit could do for my boobs as well as my gave birth to 4 kids tummy. They even served free beer. I accepted it (there were cup holders inside the dressing rooms). The fact that they knew I was going to need alcohol in order to take my clothes off in front of a complete stranger was not lost on me but I recovered quickly thanks to the amber colored beverage that snaked its way down into my belly.

Finally, after trying on 8 swimsuits, I found the perfect one. Except when I turned around. Wow, I was pale. Very pale. I’ve been trying to be good and haven’t laid out in the sun for the sheer purpose of a tan for well over a decade. But truth be told, I’ll sometimes look back on those California days of built-in swimming pools in my backyard that resulted in deep, golden tans. Back in the day when my teeth were a dazzling white and I didn’t need beer in order to take my clothes off in front of a stranger. I turned to the side and sucked in my belly. I stuck out my chest. If I just had a little bit of sun on my legs, just enough to take away some of the glare….maybe some of the dimples…

Besides, whoever said Witches can’t have a tan? When did that become the rule? I’ve done the pale Stevie Nicks thing long enough, and in my defense, I’m very deficient in vitamin D. I mean, isn’t that what happens when there’s not a lot of sun? I think so.

My next stop was the tanning salon. This is coming from someone who just a few months prior looked at herself in the mirror, completely naked and admired her female body and all its flaws. But the salon smelled like pina-colada. The bubbly girl behind the counter explained all the package deals and as a lightly bronzed woman was leaving, she was asked how her session went. She answered with, “it felt amazing, as usual.” So I did what any nonsensical witch would do, I signed the release, consenting to new wrinkles and further skin damage. All in the name of ego.

I went the full 10 minutes in the “platinum” bed because I needed a tan real quick.

Of course I didn’t tan, I burned. No, I fried. I should have known better. I did know better. I could have simply painted my toenails. I could have remembered the way I lovingly saw my body, with all its honest flaws. I could have remembered what truly mattered; We were taking the kids on their first plane ride, on their first trip to California, to spend a week at Disneyland, “The Happiest Place on Earth” for their first time.

And here I was thinking about how myself and how I would look to others. That night as my husband was smearing aloe-vera gel on my back, I felt ashamed at my selfishness. I had gotten caught up in my own petty self-consciousness because I was comparing myself to a body from a lifetime ago and worried how I would stack up to others. Anxious about how others would see me. I spent far too much money on a bathing suit that I’ll hardly ever wear because I was burnt to a crisp. Instead, I would have to be covered up and wear a sunhat.

All in the name of Ego.

I knew better, and now I realize how much more I liked myself before I allowed my ego to get the best of me. Before I got burned. Just Live, Learn, and Love your Body.

Many Blessings on Your Journey )O(

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The Accidental Marvel

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My youngest daughter fell off the bike at school yesterday. The class was riding on a gravel path and she rode down the hill way too fast, didn’t see the big rock coming right towards her, and…well….the result was a big, deep hole in her knee. She’s now got plenty of stitches and I must say she was pretty brave. Me, not so much. Now I’ve seen a lot of things over the years being a mom of 6, but when they started scrubbing with wadded up gauze and saline….well…they scoured her wound like I would scour my bathtub. It wasn’t a pretty sight.
On our way home from Urgent Care we stopped by and picked up her very first pair of glasses. I had gotten a phone call last Friday letting me know they were ready but I didn’t feel like I had the time to drive into town to get them. Besides, what was a few more days? She’s come this far without glasses, so what difference did it make?
Maybe the fact that she (perhaps) would have been able to actually see the rock up ahead in plenty of time.
I have felt guilty watching her limp around on a stiff leg while wearing her new glasses and then bumping into walls because her depth perception is off. It’s a good thing she has a sense of humor, otherwise I would have had a hard time keeping my laughter in-check. Shame on me, I know. But like most parents, I’ve learned to at least try and make light of minor yet unfortunate events; for the sake of all concerned, whether guilt ridden or not.

But hey, let’s not stop there. (yes, there’s more!) To help heap on the guilt, her class is heading out on an end of the school year field trip tomorrow that she has been excited about for months. The doctor wasn’t very helpful by way of opinion and told me to use my own discretion on whether or not she should go. I guess I wanted a green light. However, it’s a two hour hike including some switchbacks. I didn’t think the field trip was going to happen for her now. In fact, it was pretty obvious, I just needed to find a way to tell her that.
And there, in the midst of my dilemma, a touching moment occurred that made me take pause. While eating her cereal my daughter looked thoughtfully out the window (she had put her glasses on first thing this morning) and she said, “Momma, I never knew leaves looked like that. They are so…so vibrant!” Her statement, though a tad bittersweet, made me smile. She continued looking out the window, pointing out birds in the distance, the defined puffiness of the clouds and their trailing wisps….and on and on she went, not caring that her cereal was getting soggy.
With her big, beautiful gray eyes, she gazed upon the world with new-found wonder and curiosity. She explained to me how excited she was to see everything in a new light. To really see. She couldn’t believe how different things looked now that they were more clear. Such surprise in how blurry things were before. She just never knew.

I didn’t want to tell her the field trip was off.
My daughter’s fascination with how clearly she now saw the world reminded me of a moment we had when she was two years-old. I was holding her on my hip and we were both watching the big snowflakes land in her bare hand and I vividly remembered the way she would marvel at the sight of them melting before her very eyes. This memory made me pause. If she only knew the significance of her words. How often am I just going through the motions, not really looking at my life as I live it. The only way I really know how far my mindfulness has wandered is when I pause to refocus. To actually look in order to be aware.

I stopped emptying the dishwasher and went over and sat down next to her at the table. She came over and sat on my knee and together we looked out the window and watched the world happen. She took a big sigh and said, “I know I can’t go tomorrow, but it’s okay. I shouldn’t have gone down the hill so fast.”

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My little girl (who’s not so little anymore) has no idea how much she continues to prompt me to open my eyes and marvel at my surroundings, which at the moment included her. To see clearly not just with my eyes but with all of my senses. If I can find the patience to pause and take in all that surrounds me then the better my chances are of finding the strength to pull back on the force of my whirling world; a world that can all too easily become a blur. To remember that ‘shit happens’ but you learn from it in order to move on to the next marvel.

Many Blessing on your Journey )O(

A Beacon of Light; a Lesson in Trust

 

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I recently spent a sunny afternoon gazing up in awe at the simplistic beauty of a lighthouse. It stood tall and proud against the crashing waves, ready to weather another storm as sentinel upon the cliff.

 

It was a fairly clear day, lacking most of the coastal fog. Looking out over the water, I sensed ethereal silhouettes of bygone ships that had traversed those choppy waters from the time the lighthouse lamp was first lit in 1873. Even in the bright midday sun, it continued flashing its beacon of light, reaching out to guide those who became vulnerable to the whims of the waves. The lighthouse could be trusted 24 hours a day to send out its never ending pulse. I had watched it the night before from the hotel room balcony, mesmerized by its rhythm; two seconds on, two seconds off, two seconds on, and 14 seconds off.

And there I was the next afternoon, standing in the sunlight and within arm’s reach of the lighthouse. Even though I was unable to see the flashing light, I found myself just as captive as I had been captivated the night before.

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How many times had I been like the ships on the crest of a wave, holding my breath in moments of vulnerability, when I knew more than ever it was time to trust. When I really had no choice but to trust.

Dare to Trust.

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Trust is precious and more easily broken than it is earned. Trust is something I struggle with every day. Trust frightens me because to trust means I am allowing myself to become vulnerable to betrayal. Many of my fears and difficulty with trust are based on past experiences such as abandonment by both of my parents as a young child. Many of my basic needs were not met and oftentimes I went hungry.

Dare to Trust once again.
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Trust is complex and delicate. I’ve seen trust lead to success but I’ve also seen it lead to loss and sorrow. To make the brave decision and go all in means I must set down my battle sword and shield. I must remove my armor and place it aside. The possibility of being wounded, to have my heart crash upon the rocks, is a powerful driving force reminding me of my priorities, my loyalties, and most of all, my worthiness.

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Dare to Trust that I am worthy of love.

I know how badly I want to fully trust, but in the same vein I also know how badly I want others to trust me. When I stand strong like the lighthouse, I can trust that others will choose to do the same. I can trust in my resiliency to bounce back from hurt. I can trust that I have learned from past experiences. I can trust in the goodness of other people. I can trust in the Goddess. And I know without a moment of hesitation that others can trust in me.

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Dare to Trust that I am not alone.

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Many Blessings on your Journey )O(

The Gnome Project; Mother’s Day Musings

I have always said that I don’t want or need a Hallmark card or flowers for Mother’s Day because what I really want is a hug and a kiss from each of my kids. Even so, I was brought a warmed cinnamon roll to me in bed this morning along with little laminated poems my children made at school. They took great pride in their work so I read the poems out loud and shared the cinnamon roll with them.

I was then cryptically told there was one more little thing waiting for me in the dining room. I reminded them that I just wanted lots of hugs and kisses (although I must admit the cinnamon roll was a nice treat). I was shushed and told to close my eyes while I was led by little hands to the last “little thing”.

“Okay, you can look!” I opened my eyes and was immediately face to face with a 3 foot tall garden gnome standing on the dining room table staring at me. Much to the delight of my youngest children, I jumped in surprise, my hand clutching my throat, more than likely to hold back a scream. Oh but what sweetness there was in hearing them squeal in excitement and laugh at my reaction.

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One by one, my grown children came by to share a hug, kiss, and an “I love you”. One brought me a pot of tulips, (my favorite flower) another brought me a very sweet card (even though he knows how I feel about cards) along with a tiny Tarot deck (one of the itty bitty teeny ones) and a small book on mindfulness. The third one brought over Chinese food for everyone and we all shared a meal that I didn’t have to cook which was really nice. I even got a text from my oldest daughter who leads a very troubled life. It was such a relief to hear from her.

After my older kids left, I finished loading the dishwasher with the help of my two youngest. I sent them off to finish their homework as I wiped down the counters. Smiling over the events of the day, I finished up in the kitchen and rebooted the dryer. Turning to head back to the living room, I gasped, startled by the presence of The Gnome.

He has got to go.

Maybe no one was truly aware of how creepy I would find this giant garden gnome. But then again, maybe they were perfectly aware. Perhaps that was the point. I swear I saw his eyes move more than once, following me.

Since this morning I’ve been trying to think of what I was going to do with him.

I thought about chucking it into the neighbor’s yard but realized that was silly. Mostly because I knew I couldn’t throw something that heavy (this thing is ridiculously dense) at least not well enough to go over the blackberry brambles and onto the other property. And there was also a part of me that was afraid of being successful only to get up in the morning to find him sitting in the exact same spot on the dining room table (cue Psycho violin screech)
So I’m attempting to compromise, which as a mom is something I oftentimes must to do for the benefit of my children. I would hate to hurt their feelings (never-mind pissing off Mr. Gnome). I’ve been trying to think of a secluded spot for him to be placed…some hidden corner of the far garden… somewhere very, very hidden…someplace where I couldn’t see him and he most certainly couldn’t see me. Somewhere very close to the property line.

Today I’d like to acknowledge not only the loving mothers out there but all women who choose to nurture others. It matters not whether it’s people, pets, plants, or nature. Thank You just the same. Thank You for allowing the flow of love to lighten the world. Thank You for your willingness to give selflessly of yourself without demanding anything in return. Thank You for venturing forth even when you may be frightened by what you may face. Thank You for giving all that you can to create something better for someone or something else. Thank You for loving and cherishing that which you nurture, for you are the embodiment of the Great Mother Herself.

Happy Mother’s Day~ May your day be as Beautiful and Blessed as you are.

Many Blessings on your Journey )O(

The Birds, the Bees, and Fairy Beltane Blessings

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The clover has become a wonderful carpet, soft and lush, telling us it’s time to tend the Fairy Garden. So much of our little Fairy Village has taken quite a beating by the rain and winter winds. It’s time to clean up the damage and spruce up the garden in hopes of another magickal, fairy-filled summer. Of course we will keep some mud and grime because of course, fairies love that.

 

The temperatures have been very warm and mild for early spring so the daffodils and tulips have bid their farewells for the year. In their place, the air is bursting with the smell of the rosemary bushes and the lavender is ripe with unopened buds. The mint is gaining momentum, and the return of the thyme and oregano in the little herb garden is a welcome sight. I love to look up towards the heavens to see more blue skies with white puffy clouds, and then to the trees that are filling out nicely with tender new leaves.

 

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The birds are singing and the bees are buzzing keeping company with all the other miraculous living things that have come out from the shadows of winter and are ready to play. Once again a blackbird has nested in the birdhouse outside the art studio, her hungry baby birds making quite the fuss. Mamma Bird will make sure her presence is known to me if I get too close (like when I try to enter the studio). Out she’ll fly, whooshing over my head, making me jump or squeal. Sometimes both. Personally, I think she gets a kick out of scaring me.

The whimsical ringing of wind chimes mingles with the rustling sound in the cedars where squirrels dart back and forth. And then there are the wondrous, soothing night sounds of the tree frogs who are out calling again tonight. I opened all the bedroom windows to let in some cooler air and welcome the song of the frogs. My husband is out at a poker game he plays with his buddies once a month and the kids and I stayed up well past their bedtime. After realizing how late it was, we quickly brushed and flossed our teeth, fed the dog and cat, and refilled our water glasses. Then I tucked them in bed with lights out and left their windows open the cool breeze and the soft lullaby sounds of the little frogs. They’d be asleep in no time at all…

Some time later when I was about to turn out the light, the symphony of chirps and whistles was crashed by a loud, annoying toad. Well, I think it was a toad. Before I knew it my kids were climbing into my bed with me, furiously kicking their legs beneath the covers to protect them from whatever was making that loud racket. “Probably just an old toad,” I told them. But even I began to wonder…It (whatever “it” was) eventually quieted down long enough for us to drift off to sleep. I woke them when my arms began to ache beneath the weight of their ever-growing bodies. I nudged them off my bed and tucked them back into their own. We have a long day ahead of us tomorrow, what with it being the Eve of Beltane and all.

Many Blessings on your Journey )O(

May We Honor Mother Earth Today and Every Day

When we heal ourselves, others are healed. When we nurture our dreams, we give birth to the dreams of humankind. When we walk as loving aspects of the Earth Mother, we become the fertile, life-giving Mothers of the Creative Force. When we honor our bodies, our health, and our emotional needs, we make space for our dreams to come into being. When we speak the truth from our healed hearts, we allow life abundant to continue on our Mother Planet.
~Jamie Sams

Many Blessings on your Journey )O(

Full Moon Tarot Activity

April Pink Moon Blessings!

I hope you are enjoying the Full Moon Energy as She illuminates us with Her loving glow. Allow your intuitive abilities to shine!

I’m teaching my Tarot class tonight so I created a Full Moon Tarot Activity to share with my students and I thought I’d share it with you too. Please feel free to print it out for your personal use. (copy and paste should work, if not just let me know)

Suggestions:

Turn off your phone, smudge, ground and center, light a candle, and cast a Circle if you wish. Counting down to alpha or opening your chakras before you begin will also be helpful.

After you have finished,(as with any magickal working) remember to ground properly by closing your chakras or counting upwards to normal consciousness, closing your Circle in your normal fashion, thank your guides, eat and drink something, etc.

Many Blessings on your Journey )O(

 

 

 

 

 

Find Your Voice; Light Your Future

Speak, Listen, Watch, and Learn from your past experiences; all of your triumphs and mistakes. If you didn’t like the outcome and you feel that your present course is once again leaning in that direction, then it’s time to Reflect. Reflect your inner light upon your gained knowledge and look to your future; for this is wisdom and your future will shine as bright as you are willing to let it.

-Journal Entry August 2015

This morning I drew two cards from my Thoth tarot deck and placed them in front of me while sitting on the bed. The Nine of Wands and Adjustment. How succinctly put. To the point. I expected no less from the Thoth imagery and yet I only grab this particular deck when I’m feeling bold and courageous. After surviving a day like the one I had yesterday, I woke up feeling a simmering frustration within, an annoyance that felt like it was going to boil over at any moment. It was residual negative emotions and I knew I needed to direct the energy, but where? What lesson could I learn from yesterday that could make me stronger today? And better still, what about stronger tomorrows?

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9 of Wands. Today the 9 of Wands represents both the reflective and reactive parts of me. The Sun stretches high towards the sky, his masculine energy represents taking action. The Moon reaches far into the depths of the soul, her feminine energy represents intuitive realization. It’s about blending action with realization to complete what is necessary for success. These aspects are both powerful on their own working within their elements, but here they bring their energies together by reaching across the card to become balanced with one another. As Above, So Below.

VIII – Adjustment. I look at her and I see honesty and integrity in the face of adversity. She is about standing up for what you belief is right. She is a reminder to me that If I feel the need to change something in my life, something I am not satisfied with, then I have the freedom of choice to change it. She is Justice and sheds light on the path towards balance. She speaks of being objective in the face of adversity and trust that the universal law of balance will adjust accordingly. This is also represented by the Sun and Moon, Masculine/Feminine energies intersecting in the 9 of wands.

I meditated a while on these two cards and I journaled. I wrote about how I am blessed with many things in my life, but strength and balance are hard to come by. Those two things are easy to forget when I’m living in pain and feeling the fear that I feel during a pain flare. But strength and balance are the two thing needed most during those difficult times. When I don’t have both strength and balance within my life, I begin to suffer beyond the physical symptoms. The pain then begins its personal attacks on my emotions. I start to question everything I feel is wrong in my life, wondering if maybe I deserve all of this because I’m weak. Then my self-esteem plummets.

Yesterday’s experience was a rather frustrating one as it was my monthly check-in with my pain management doctor. I needed a prescription refilled for a special compound cream. The doctor’s office had partnered with a new pharmacy and she was adamant about me using it instead of the usual place. I told her I had been trying to get it refilled there for two months but there were always excuses as to why they couldn’t. They didn’t have all the ingredients, they were too swamped, they were in-between pharmacists, and my all-time favorite: The pharmacist didn’t know how to make it.

I finally gave in and left the doctor’s office knowing that she didn’t really listen to me at all. It was all a waste of time, now I was running late and had an hour drive home ahead of me. I hurt all over and I felt drained, beaten down, hopeless and even worse, helpless. I was lucky to even have a pain management doctor; a doctor that some people will wait years to get. She could end our contract at any time and I was afraid to push the envelope. I drove away without a new prescription for the compound cream and in my frustration and rush, I forgot to get the referral to the doctor she had mentioned at the beginning of the appointment; a rheumatologist that specializes in lupus and MS and might be able to help me more than my current rheumatologist.

I am not one for confrontation, and I know I have a tendency to avoid it to a fault. But just imagining myself spending another day and another dreadful night dwelling on my lack of assertiveness was incentive enough to make changes. My fear the day before allowed me to feel bullied by someone who is supposed to help me and support me in effectively dealing with my pain. The contract between us goes both ways. Where was my voice?

I looked at the cards again. There was a difference between causing conflict and being assertive. Finding my voice doesn’t mean I have to yell to be heard. I can be effective in expressing myself, my feelings, my emotions, and my needs while at the same time being mindful of the sensitivity of others when choosing my words. I brought my thoughts back to the cards. I took a deep breath and felt my inner struggle begin to cease. What was I fighting so hard against anyway? These were simply situations that I could deal with effectively, or not. It was my choice. I just needed to find my voice.

To deal with the important matters in regards to my health, I would have to make phone calls. More than likely a lot of them. This is something I avoid as often as possible, but if I wanted things to change I needed to dedicate the day to making those calls. I spoke with doctors and their assistants, pharmacies and my medical insurance company and got some things sorted out. After the first few calls I learned the truth about the price differences between the pharmacies for the same exact medication and that the “new” pharmacy wasn’t the “preferred” pharmacy as far as my insurance company was concerned.

The phone conversation with my pain management doctor took longer than it should have as I kept trying to explain the issues I had with having the special compound cream filled by the new “preferred” pharmacy. Not only did I feel uncomfortable about the lack of knowledge and organizational skills of this new pharmacy, it was going to cost me $70.00 for 60 grams when the original pharmacy only charged me $35.00 for 240 grams. This difference was huge and could not be ignored. She was insistent on using the “new” pharmacy and I kept telling her that option wasn’t going to work for me, and on and on it went. But I stood my ground and calmly persisted knowing that there was no justification to have to spend that kind of money. I had found my voice and spoke with confidence in being my own advocate. She finally accepted what I was saying  (I had been heard!) and we ended the conversation on a positive note.

There’s now a new refill order phoned in to the original (non-preferred) specialty pharmacy and the compound cream will be here at my doorstep within the week. I also got the referral to the rheumatologist and spoke to the new patient coordinator there; the paperwork will be here the day after tomorrow. This prompted me to go ahead and switch my primary care doctor with a different doctor within the same clinic; something I’ve been wanting to do for quite some time. He has always been unfriendly and cold towards me and I choose to no longer put up with that sort of treatment in regards to my health care if I don’t have to.

I had a long overdue conversation with my oldest child’s doctor and even compromised diplomatically with my ex-husband about the bill for her latest hospital stay. I spoke to a medical billing office and we are now getting reimbursed for charges that should never have been paid for out of pocket in the first place.

Finally, and without guilt, I made one last phone call to secure a time slot this Saturday for a floatation therapy session (I have yet to try this) after my acupuncture appointment.

I accomplished so much in one day and at the moment I feel power over my life. I had tied up loose ends and dealt with the things I had been consciously avoiding. All of those little things were causing me big stress and that stress was slowly bleeding into all other areas of my life. It spiked my pain levels and dropped my self-esteem.

Later today I cleared the deck, thanked its imagery, and put it away. It was the beautiful imagery in the cards that spoke to me at a time I was willing to listen. They reminded me that I had a strong voice, I just had to make the choice to use it. I’m glad I did because It felt liberating to finally be clear and assertive in expressing my needs, especially to those I have sometimes felt intimidated by in the past. I had a right to be heard, truly heard by others. I took what I have learned over the years since my pain began and turned that knowledge into action by weaving wisdom into power. Yes, I made the right choice and have had a say in how I light my path towards a brighter future.

May you always find your voice.

Many Blessings on Your Journey )O(

Baring it All

This morning, after my shower, I wrapped a towel around my hair and another towel around my body. As I was about to leave the bathroom I stopped, because out of the blue, like a slap on the butt, I decided to do something completely out of character. I dropped the towel I had wrapped around my body and courageously stood in front of the bathroom mirror naked as I wiped the steam from the mirror unveiling my body; baring it all.

I don’t spend a lot of time looking at my naked self. I’m not sure if it’s pure avoidance, some kind of shame or form of embarrassment. Maybe it’s simply fear, because fear will branch out into all of those other things; (avoidance, shame, embarrassment). But there’s a part of me that is downright angry at my body because when the pain flares up and things seem like they’re spinning out of control, I feel so fragile; like a raw egg that could crack at any moment. But I was tired of looking the other way unless I was clothed and in front of a full length mirror.

On the contrary, at this moment I stood facing myself, looking into my own eyes. Was I seeking an ally? Some sort of approval? Would I find that part of myself that sees beauty in all things, even the physical me? I think I did find it because I took a deep breath and relaxed, allowing my eyes to move slowly along my body.

My eyes were immediately drawn to the deep surgical scar that ran vertically from my navel down to my pubic bone. The evidence of a failed back surgery. My gaze then wandered across my lower abdomen, along the faded yet thick scars from two C-sections. Just above those were five small incision scars scattered across my lower belly from a laparoscopic uterine lysis surgery to remove scar tissue adhesions.

Then across my torso were four puncture-like scars from when I had my gallbladder removed. There was a small scar that ran under my left breast from a cyst removal when I was fourteen. I knew without looking that I had a five inch scar down the middle of my back from another failed back surgery; the one that caused permanent nerve damage.

Ah yes, I mustn’t forget the faded stretch marks that had inched their way across my belly and ended in thin tendrils along my hips.

What I was looking at was a roadmap of my life.

Then in a flash of clarity, like another slap on the butt, came the realization that my avoidance of looking at my body wasn’t just the physical scars, my widened hips, my enlarged breasts that fed and nourished my children, or the little laugh lines forming next to my eyes.

It was the lack of willingness to really see.

Each of those things are filled with strength, hope, survival, nourishment, laughter, love, and life itself.

Each one of those things are a facet of me.

I looked again, this time more closely at myself and searched for the strong woman that I know I am. I want to get out of the habit of feeling like a failure as a wife, a mother, and a witch. I must truly look at myself and honor my many strengths while acknowledging my many weaknesses. I know in my heart that I need to surrender and trust in the fact that my physical body, even though its limitations and pain, holds me and supports me through the good times and the bad.

I want to enrich my life and let go of The fear, judgement, and the ugliness of self-doubt that holds me back from living my life to the fullest. Gazing into the reflection of my own eyes, I saw the warmth and comfort within. Now is the time to shed away all that doesn’t serve me. This will be a perfect starting point on my journey towards re-balancing and repairing my body, mind, and spirit.

I am not a failure. I am a strong, independent, loving woman and I need to be proud of all the things I have lived through and fought for in my life. It’s time for me to be proud of all the things I am currently living through and fighting for at this moment and those moments yet to come.

I then spoke gently to myself.

“You will no longer be a victim. You can face your pain and fear head on because you’ve done it all of your life; you just didn’t realize you were successful at it. You now know you are. You no longer have to pretend you’re not in pain or overwhelmed. It’s okay, and it doesn’t make you a failure. It’s time to claim loving acceptance of your physical body, trust in the knowledge your mind now holds, and align with your spirit exactly as you are.

Only I have the power, knowledge, and control to overcome the obstacles in my life to promote healing on every level.

Now, where do I begin? Hmmm….Actually, I think I already have.

Many Blessings on Your Journey )O(

That Which is Me

There is a special place for me that is down a little path. It sits between two giant cedar trees and is far enough away from the main house to feel like I’m away from it all. I suppose it’s really a private place where I can deal with my life in general. It has a door that locks and three windows that let in enough natural light when I want it and blackout drapes for times I need darkness and privacy. I appreciate this place I have and am so grateful for the opportunity to be able to enjoy it (“it” being what I affectionately call my “Lair”) as much as life allows.

It’s my office and workspace with a big desk where I can write, draw, or waste my time. There is another craft table for collage/mixed media projects, painting, etc. I find that the cycle in which I move through these different projects remains in harmony with what my spirit needs; the nourishment coming from the creative flow of what I choose to do. There are walls with bookshelves stuffed with way too many books, and 2 reading chairs where I can read or crochet. It also has a massage table and placed in one corner is my altar and in front of that is my ritual/meditation space.

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There are many times I have to tuck back the sheer nettings, stack the pillows, and roll back the sheepskin rug to make room for my sewing table or to pull the massage table away from the wall. Sometimes the entire room is a cluttered mess with projects in progress.

Today I thought about all the reasons I go out there and what I use that quiet place for. The list got ridiculously long, so I decided to pare it down to describe what I feel is the most important and basic need I have of it. My altar.

The one thing in the “Lair” that never gets moved, untidy, or packed away is my altar.
It’s the one place in my life that I know will be there the way I need it to be at any given moment. I love being in that spiritual space in front of my altar, but it’s not limited to one location….. Yes, it’s a physical space, but it’s also with me by being within me. The only boundaries are those that are created by me whether on purpose, accidental, or coincidental.

When I clean my altar, rearrange the items on it, change the cloth, or update the essentials, I commit the changes to memory so that I can access it anytime, anywhere. I can be in the middle of the grocery store and feel the familiar spike in anxiety or pain. I can choose to tense up and try and rush through or I can close my eyes for just a moment and allow the image of my altar to flow into my mind. I can reach out and touch an item, smell the incense, and feel the warmth of the candle flame all within a moment and a deep breath.

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Meet Seymour, Guardian of my Altar

I need that place, not just the physical location, (although that’s also nice) but the true nature of what it embodies and my accessibility to it. It exists far beyond my physical reality. It’s teeming with emotions and memories; it’s a vessel of intention and magick; it’s about love and passion; music and poetry; it’s brimming with mantras and dreams; it’s overflowing with my wishes and desires; It’s a place of creative prompts and encouragement to do what it is that makes me happy and fulfilled. This is the altar of my private sanctuary, and mine alone. It’s where my heart can dance because it is simply me.

Many Blessings on Your Journey )O(