Surrender Dorothy, and all that implies

Recently I was chatting with a friend. We both felt that we were each experiencing lives of confusion and both of us felt a bit out of control. Our discussion lead us to deduce each of us would best be served by letting go and embracing it all. A phrase ‘stop pushing the river’ comes to mind. It’s not a place you can go to with your thinking brain. You must let go. That takes trust. I feel I have a big ‘something’ coming up. I know I must let go and sink into it to come back to the surface. As I was talking to my friend the phrase “Surrender Dorothy” came to mind from the movie, The Wizard of Oz. It is a perfect reminder to let go when worry starts in. Accomplishing this would have to be at a non-verbal place inside me. It’s hard to explain or wrap my head around, because words don’t seem to adequately express this idea, and that’s okay.

Surrender Dorothy could be my watch phrase for recent hurdles I am facing. Detach from caring about the outcome and surrendering to my true north. Yup. I know I have to do it. But can I? I’m not the kind of person who can easily take my hands off the steering wheel. But I must. This is not something you can intellectualize. You cannot plan for this to happen, or force it. You cannot say…

“I will detach and be in free fall so that I can experience this uncomfortable thing, so that I can have a breakthrough, an epiphany.”

It does not happen that way. For me it is not second nature to let go and surrender to what is happening. Especially when experiencing chaos, illness, or physical and emotional pain. Instead we want to protect ourselves and always be in a happy moving-forward place. Growth takes place in uncomfortable spots. Going outside your comfort zone makes you stronger. Surrendering to what is may be the best thing to do. But I am not sure how to let go enough for that to happen.

Every time I come up against another hurdle, even a small one, I am starting to change how I approach life. Instead of saying “How can I fix this? What is the best path forward? Quickly get a fix in place!” I remind myself to accept what is happening and sink back to that feeling, whatever it is. Let it roll over me. Let it come. Surrender Dorothy. I want to face what is going on, and surrender to the need to be in control and fix things. My experience with Buddhism may come in handy, as the mindset of ‘having tea with your demons’ is a practice put forward by Pema Chödrön. I understand the idea. I love the idea! And I can do that for small fears that come visiting. It’s kind of like saying ‘everything is as it should be’ and ‘this too shall pass”. But the big stuff. The stuff that keeps hanging on and on. The hard stuff. That’s different. It seems like a wall I cannot scale. I must stop asking why, and how, and instead sink down into the comfort that I am finally where I should be, so I can become one with it, and like the peacock, turn poison into medicine, pushing beyond my fears.

Comments and dialogue are encouraged and welcome. Likes tell me someone is listening. Love and Light, Patty.

Hearing words I never thought I’d hear

You may have heard of a book by Catherine Ryan Hyde called Pay It Forward. Recently I was reading The Wake Up, by the same author. In this story we see through the eyes of the lead man what it is like to be a sensitive and an Empath. The fact that the author chose a rough and tumble cowboy for her lead character was genius. No one expects a person who is tough on the outside to be sensitive on the inside. We see him discover new found awarenesses and sensations, and the arc of his life is changed forever. It is awkward for him as he wakes up to this new way of being. Some people in his life cannot deal with the change. But he knows he cannot go back, nor does he want to. He must live this new life making his way forward in a totally new landscape. He finds his true north by surrendering to the new, and going in a new direction.

Much of the book was like reading about my own life in the lead character’s sensitivities. My IBS was going full blower at the time. This was partly due to many different worries eating away at me. I am in my head too much. Part of IBS is in your head. Yes my doctor even told me that. Worries will translate to the ganglia in your gut they refer to as your ‘second brain’. A network of half a million nerve cells and neurons in the gut wall, responsible for controlling the gastrointestinal system. Your gut and your brain are in constant contact. A gut feeling…yes you guessed it. That’s it too. In horses this huge nerve network in their gut helps them survive. Read Linda Kohanov’s, The Tao of Equus—a book that changed how I see the world. I am still in a phase of waking up to this ability of sensing with my gut. I’m in the early phases of finding out how to read these new signals. This uncomfortable experience helps me to open up and be less complacent and has made me hugely vulnerable and sensitive. I am trying my best to surrender to it. To do otherwise would be avoiding personal growth.

During all this internal upheaval I have a dream. In order to better understand the dream, you will need a bit of my history. I went through years of abuse, verbal and emotional, with a narcissistic hoarder who went through 30 jobs in 18 years. I was constantly told I was not good enough, and there was always this invisible, unknowable thing I was ‘responsible for fixing’ but he would never tell me what it was. My every action and sound was harshly criticized. I had no rest from the chaos. This life drove me crazy. He had complete control of my life, as I had given my power away totally. It was to the point I thought I would not get out of the marriage alive. I am eleven years free at this point and rarely think of that life anymore.

In this dream I am with my ex-husband, and the scene is chaotic. I am getting ready for work, trying to be responsible. All the while my ex is trying to buy some huge piece of junk like an old sailboat or an old house trailer. It’s another crazy project we don’t need to complicate our lives. His friends are living with us eating us out of house and home, and acting like children. I’m being run over roughshod again and have that familiar sick feeling of trying to hold everything together while he does crazy stuff. I am the eye of the storm trying desperately not to be overtaken by it. He is totally ignoring my needs, and our situation. I am standing facing my ex husband trying to salvage things so I don’t end up paying for his chaos. Time slowed down to a stop. When time stops in a dream I know what comes next is important. As I try desperately to tell him I need to get to my job! Please! Finally he looks me in the eye and says…

“Let’s get you to work, what I want is not important.”

His words are sucked into me like a sponge gulping up water. I am still. My heart opens for healing. I feel relief. The chaos is gone. I can hardly believe what I hear. The words sounded sincere. Heartfelt. This tiny, momentary acknowledgement in a dream, of my ex actually seeing me for even a few seconds was big. Really big. The person that had been my oppressor stopped what he was doing, saw me, and apologized for his behavior. Wow. Even this small admittance was huge, because I never got that in life.

You cannot get out of the after effects of being abused overnight. It has taken eleven years of happy on-my-own-ness to get here. Did I really hear those words? What a lovely feeling it was! What a gift! I feel a relief I never knew was missing. Maybe that is what I am processing and why my body is rebelling, and finally dumping the debris from these hard years. Maybe that is what all this churning miasma my gut is about. There was something big that was coming and my body sensed it before it became something to intellectualize. It is not something that would have ever happened in ‘real life’ so it had to happen in another plane of existence. It was time.

Writing to the public about this personal experience may help others who feel they will never hear words they need to hear in order to heal. In the dream state, time and space are no longer hurdles to overcome. Therefore it can happen even if your oppressor is deceased. It happened to me even though I had not been thinking of my ex-husband or that old life. On some basic level, I needed to hear those words in a heartfelt and believable way. On some level I created this experience for healing. It is a healing that will most likely take place over the rest of my life. Not to say I am damaged goods or that I feel like a victim. Quite the contrary! I feel very empowered and happy with my new life. Ecstatic even! This experience is more like the Japanese art of Kintsugi where broken ceramics are fixed with gold. Kintsugi makes the scars hard to ignore because now they are beautiful and part of the story of the piece. I felt so lucky I was sent this dream, this scenario, this message. This healing. I am in gratitude.

Comments and dialogue are encouraged and welcome. “Likes” tell me someone is out there listening. Love and Light, Patty

Losing a horse helped heal my heart

My horse Silver left the morning after a blood red moon this past January. I had to make the difficult decision to have him put down after two days of pain, confusion, and chaos. His leaving had me totally spent physically and emotionally. I was gutted. My goofy, silly, drama queen horse and loving friend was gone. He was 22 years old and I only had him for four and a half years. I expected him to live to see 30 and be a gentle old bag of bones wandering around my property keeping me company in my upcoming retirement. My soul dog Google died in March 2017 and my first horse, Scar, died three months after that. Only seven months had gone by. This was heavy. It wasn’t supposed to happen like this.

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Horse people will tell you that they cannot imagine a day will come when they lose a horse, much less don’t have any horses. It does not seem conceivable. It is a way of life that gets into every pore. My horse dream was not realized until I was in my mid 50s. This was so rich and beautiful a life! I recall every morning before the sun was up I would walk out of my home in the darkness with the yard light on. My two large horses would be standing at the bottom of the steps waiting for me. I’d throw my coat on and walk down the four steps and reach out my arms and run each hand along the side of my horses tracing a line all the way to their rumps. I would think, and sometimes say out loud, “I am such a lucky lucky girl!” I could not believe my luck and my life, with these two huge galoots as partners in crime. Scar, the 1400 lb. overly muscled quarter horse who I referred to as an old war horse, and Silver the 900 lb. skinny but fast off-the-track thoroughbred. They had spent much time together before they came to me. Scar always protecting Silver. They were without a doubt brothers from another mother. Horses are the best of companions! I can tell you, it’s not about the riding, it’s about the companionship and the horse soul you get to share.

A week after Silver died, I was still in shock. Walking to the kitchen to get a cup of coffee I heard myself say out loud, to no one, “I feel like I was slammed to the ground again. Unexpected loss can hit hard. I started writing this post in January and needed until October until I could even look at it again. In fact I quit blogging altogether. The feeling of abandonment over losing him is there, but muted with some distance now. Time is your ally when it comes to loss. When I think of him I still feel a stab of pain. I wish I didn’t feel so vulnerable. So hurt. There are friends of mine that have lost people, and all I lost was a horse. Who am I to grieve so much? So deeply? Why am I so hurt at being left here, feeling abandoned? That is sometimes how the mind thinks, trying to minimize the loss of a pet. No, not a pet, a companion, a kindred soul. Matters not if it be clothed in fur or skin.

This reminds me of a chant to honor the animal kingdom. Citing: Sable Taylor in her interview in Ellen Evert Hopman’s “Being A Pagan”. You can listen to a lovely rendition of it here. 

Fur and feather and scale and skin,
Different without but the same within,
Many of body but one of soul,
Through all creatures are the gods made whole.

When I lost my dog Soul Dog Google, I knew he was leaving for many months. Over time his aged body would freeze up with arthritis. He wore neoprene hock braces and took pain meds. He would not eat unless I cooked him something soft and hand fed it to him. He gingerly took the offering and politely nibbled it. Then that look of “Gosh I sure do appreciate the home cooking darlin’ but I just can’t do it no more.” Since his decline was natural and slow, there was time to plan his last days. I would snuggle with him in his den outside, a 10×10 enclosure filled with straw under my porch. On his last day many friends came over to say their goodbyes. I had him from almost day one, to the last day—his entire life! Losing him was a natural part of his life, and our time together. Everything about it felt good.

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My heart and body have been bombarded with physical challenges, losses and change for many months. It is a time of great personal change. Constant pressure is part of making stiff leather into something soft and pliable. Another example is a caterpillar in its cocoon magically transforming from a worm to a beautiful winged creature, resembling nothing of its former self. Humans and science still marvel at these transformations shrouded in mystery and magic. We don’t know what is going on inside that cocoon. This time of personal change is a time of transformation and opening for me.

Through Silver, I learned that I’ve had a closed off heart to protect myself, and I didn’t even know it. Now I understand I no longer need to protect my heart. But you can’t open your heart by wishing—it is a process. Silver knew exactly what he was doing by leaving how and when he did. He timed his exit just right to be part of helping open my heart and my transformation. You can still see the hoof print and cracks on my heart from his dramatic exit. That reminds me of Leonard Cohen’s lyrics,  “… There is a crack, a crack, in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”  

There is much more in this that I would love to explore. Many more paths of healing have opened for me and this excites me greatly! Imagine a lotus with a thousand petals. There is magic yet to come! Silver was a gift I treasure on my path to living much more openly. What a great message and parting gift from my friend Silver. What a lesson! Long may you run!

When Things Get Tough: What’s Your Self Care Plan?

In previous posts I have talked about creating good habits, modifying your life as you go, and getting a good self-care plan going. Well now I have one to share. The past six weeks have been difficult but not impossible. I was handling everything okay until one thing sent me over the top. Only then did I realized I needed to take a good, serious look at my self-care routine. Remember no one is bulletproof. Realizing you have to slow your roll actually leads to growth (thanks Al!). If you find this happens more frequently for you than for others, don’t sweat it. You are learning what you need to do to be a Spiritual Being living in the waking world. Constantly modifying your life or your routine is good for you and good for everyone around you. 

The items in this blog post are the things I need to do when I feel super stressed and ready to pop. For me these items are key areas to be given attention. I hope this works for you as well. 

First a note on establishing new habits because that’s the basis of making change in your life stick. Hint: It’s a built-in part of being human. The urge to do things habitually is very strong in humans. In fact I would venture to say it is hard wired in us. Use this urge to your advantage. New things can be incorporated in your life without much thought. With all my animals to care for, my long commute, my full time job, almost anything extra can seem impossible. I make things habitual so they seamlessly fit into my life. Have a routine down. Change it when it does not work. Modify your world to suit you. 

  1. What’s Your Energetic WEATHER REPORT Today? First thing in the morning take note what you feel like energetically. Storms on the horizon? Grumpy with a chance of rain? Giddy with clear skies? Moderate your energy when needed. Even being upbeat and happy to the point where you can’t focus is not good. Plan your day accordingly. Don’t fight the day, find the flow. 
  2. Rely on Your Friends and ask for help when you need it. Throughout this post are tidbits of wisdom I have received from friends. No one lives life alone. We are all in this together. Ask for help when you need it. I tend to forget this until someone bangs me on the head with a 2×4. 
  3. Schedule Daily Relaxation Time as if it were a matter of life or death. R&R is mandatory. It is not extra or to be considered splurging. Relaxation is of paramount importance especially with a grueling schedule. If you have reached rock bottom, or close to it, you must make time for it now. It’s the quickest way to destress. You need your sanity for functioning normally. Do your de-stressing by yourself, not with a bunch of friends. No alcohol either, that will only drain you. As much as I love a glass of wine or a good dark beer, I have found alcohol to be a total energy drain. It’s not something that makes me feel better. If you are at a low point and you need TLC, alcohol has no place. If you are feeling fine, go for it but take it easy.
    Find a relaxing activity: I Read a lot of books and take a lot of hot baths. The baths relax me and reading gets me that entertainment and escapism I need and look forward to. Schedule it into your week, seriously. For me Monday evening is always bath and reading night. My brother watches Antiques Road Show (very low stress and very entertaining), while lounging in his jammies every Monday night. It’s a great way to treat yourself after the first working day of the week. Maybe you like doing puzzles or walking or Tai Chi  or Yoga. Whatever floats your boat and your mood!
    Don’t forget about the restorative powers of water. Recently I was urged by a friend to take a shower or bath when I was exhausted and dead to the world. I started out totally exhausted, but when I was done, I felt so energized. I was amazed.
  4. Find Time to Meditate. Meditate on top of doing other relaxing activities as outlined above. Meditation helps you get to know the real you at your core, and helps you throughout your day in ways you may not be aware of.  I use an application on my computer and phone called Headspace for meditating. A friend turned me on to it. The interface is great, easy,  and intuitive. You can choose the length of time to meditate, and the subject. It is free for a while and then the yearly cost is $79. Well worth it for peace of mind. You can do it before work, or with the phone app, at lunch or during a break. Find something relaxing that you enjoy. I meditate for only 10 minutes a day. Better than not doing it at all!
  5. Get Enough Sleep. The one most important thing to good health is getting enough sleep. If you must have meds, try an anti-anxiety which works for the first few hours to relax you, not a ‘sleeping pill’. Those will only knock you out and you won’t feel well rested at all. In fact, the next day you will feel worse. Naturally consult your doctor. I’m not one and I don’t play one on TV. (That’s an old Marcus Welby joke.) Find drinks like warm milk (or warm coconut milk) just before bed. There is a great paleo drink for insomnia on the internet that went viral.
  6. Keep Electronics Usage to a Minimum Plan two or three evenings per week without these. Turn them off totally and as Bugs Bunny would say “Really and for true!”
    Get the TV out of your bedroom and watch a lot less than you do now. Much of it is mindless activity that does not refresh you. Trust me on this one. I thought I had to have my TV in the bedroom. The day I moved it to my living room I slept so well! I was able to relax instead of binge watching useless, crappy TV. That’s just mindless and not even entertaining. All it did was suck the life juices out of me.
    Stop watching shows or movies that make you uncomfortable or give you bad vibes, even if they are high quality shows. Example: I was watching two different masterpiece theater shows on PBS on Sunday. The running thread through both of them were that women were second class citizens and/or being abused in some way. This show generated a lot of negative, uneasy energy in me. Even if it is ‘historical, has good costumes and actors, and lots of horses, the energy created by the storyline still comes out of the screen, and your body will resonate with that negativity. If it makes you uneasy, you don’t need it. Listen to your body, it knows what you need.
    Watch TV shows you pick on Netflix, don’t just mindlessly surf.
    Phone (if you have to keep it on for emergencies, spouse/kids, at least turn off noisy notifications for chat & email and keep the phone on buzz.) I tell my friends not to call after 8pm. They know I go to sleep early.
    Internet/Computer/Social media Wasting time in front of the computer or your smartphone sucks your good energy out and drains you. Unless you are vigilant about what you are doing online, and few of us are. Keep as free of electronic devices—as tempting and handy as they are—as much as you can once you are home. Home is for nesting and relaxing. If you like to read quality blogs, do so. I can’t because I’ve been in front of a computer all day and I can’t possibly do any more at night.
  7. Practice GOOD Nutrition Don’t eat from stress, this can be a lifelong project, depending on who you are. I eat lots of pasta when I am stressing. I eat Chocolate for a diversion at work. For me food has been a lifelong struggle to get right. Slowly but surely, I’m finally changing my habits from bad to good. I tried being vegetarian and vegan years ago. Didn’t work. Don’t go cold turkey. Try one new thing every week. Don’t beat yourself up. I’m not a vegetarian but many of my meals are.
    Keep it simple and Start Small. On Sunday I roast a whole chicken in the oven and fill the oven with sweet potatoes, acorn and butternut squash. This feeds me for a long time and is easier than pie! 🙂 Slowly incorporate good habits. Use a crockpot once a week for quick meals that are easy, hearty, and filling. I started making morning shakes with a bullet blender. It was $40, not $140 like some are. So it was not a big investment of money and it takes up almost no space.
    If you are urban, find a few good, healthy restaurants with simple atmosphere and go a few times a week if you are too stressed to cook. Keep it simple to keep the bill down, but enjoy and take advantage of someone else cooking for you and doing those dishes! I love Indian or Thai restaurants. Since I live far from town, it’s a treat for me.
  8. Be a Staunch Guardian of Your Free Time If someone invites themselves over, have your canned response ready: “I can’t today, Church of Patty!” That’s my phrase for telling people I want to be alone. Most of my friends are familiar with what Church of Patty means. It means I need or want to be left alone and I will not go anywhere in my car. Or I say, “I would love to but I really don’t have time today. Maybe you can have me over to your home some day soon?” Which puts them in the hot seat and takes you off the hook.  
  9. Learn to Say ‘No’ Confidently and Politely Don’t be tricked into doing something you don’t want to do. This goes with the previous topic of being protective of your free time. Don’t get duped into doing favors for people if you don’t want to. Learn to respond to people who (sometimes unknowingly) manipulate you into doing something for them. Some people do not mean to trick you, but they operate that way. It may not be malicious on their part. The following is a classic exchange:The Wrong Way
    Friend: “What are you doing Saturday?”
    You: “Oh nothing much. The usual.”
    Friend: “Great! You can come help with my rummage sale! Be at my place at 7am with tape and markers and don’t forget to bring some coffee and your lunch. I need you to stay till 9pm and help me put all the stuff that didn’t sell in the garage. I have a bad back and I really, really need you. This will be an all day thing and it will be so fun! I am so excited!”
    You: [That Deputy Dog look of, oh no what have I gotten myself into!]The Right Way
    Friend: “What are you doing Saturday?”
    You: “Oh I have a full schedule, why do you ask?” (said as politely as possible.)
    Friend: “I have a rummage sale and I really need your help. I am really counting on you.”
    You: “Let me see, I can possibly stop by between noon and two. I am not certain so I’ll have to check. Let me get back to you on that. The rest of my weekend is spoken for.”
    Friend: “Great! Let me know! I really appreciate any help.”
    You: That great feeling of satisfaction that you weren’t roped into doing something unexpected, even if it was for a good friend or a good cause. You have the free time you need, and if you want, you can help out a bit—but on your terms. Your life is yours to run. You feel great!
  10. Learn to Answer Quickly with Confidence in a way that tells the other party your time is valuable. There are many creative and friendly ways to say no. I learned these in a class on handling conflict years ago. Learn where the verbal traps are and have an answer ready. Practice. And I mean in front of the mirror or with a good friend. You will enjoy getting better at polite, to the point replies.
  11. Avoid Busy Bodies Like the Plague. Don’t listen to people who make everything into a drama, or look to stir the pot. Even if their cause sounds good. Think about whether or not they are interfering in another person’s life. Stop listening to them, or change the subject. Often these people are not mean, but they love to get things going. Either cut them out of your life as much as possible, or learn to shut them down when the gossip mill gets going. If you are good at it you can be polite but firm and say “Hey this sounds like gossip and I don’t participate in that. Too much negativity for me! Say, I’ve been dying for your recipe for Chai tea. I’d love it!” Be up front if you have to and change the subject instantly. Boom, you are out of it.
  12. Communicate Clearly. Or as Mom would say, make your wishes known! Don’t mumble. Do speak clearly, and get to the point. Don’t assume. Don’t complain. It’s the worst thing you can do to lower your vibe and your energy. And it only makes you feel worse when you are done. Having clear communication is important to not feeling or being stressed out. Know your mind. Let others know where they stand with you.
  13. Look for the GOOD in Every Situation Look for ‘flipping it’ in every situation. I forget to do this too! My class offers many tools to help live life in the moment.
  14. Urgency is Overrated. Yes. It is. Really. A friend said this to me and when she did, my whole life flashed before my eyes, like that time warp in the  movie Ratatouille when the evil food critic takes a bite of the dish and is instantly transported to his childhood. I realized almost every single aspect of my life I was treating with great urgency. Especially if it had to do with everyone except me! I was living a life of urgency supporting others. I was the last person/thing on my list of priorities. The first rule of giving care to others is, the caregiver (you) needs care first and foremost.

*** Aids for a better life ***

Use a wall calendar specially for anything that does not happen every day. This is great for kids sports schedules. I have a calendar for horse and dog care in the kitchen. When is the farrier coming? When did the dogs get their last heartworm meds? Senior animals and people need special care. It helps to have a calendar in front of you in the kitchen. I could not function without mine.

Use an electronic calendar to schedule your private time, just like it is any other engagement. That way you get your time to relax and unwind. Time to relax is absolutely imperative. Trust me, this is really a great idea.

Have dry erase markers near mirrors, especially in the bathroom for quick, late night notes. You’ll sleep better this way.

Feel free to share any self-care routines you have, that work for you. 

Strange energies abound—How about you?

The following is mostly word-for-word between myself and a long time friend. It pretty much describes the feeling of being in a holding pattern, being involved, yet not seeming to get anywhere despite lots of work. Not quite stuck, but not going anywhere yet. Experiencing some of the crazy energy patterns at this time of great change. My friends response to me was articulate in a way that is clearer than I could have described it. Plus she hit the nail on the head several times. Read on.

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Dear Faye,

I have this feeling of not being able to land….and flying round in the air instead. Yup. That’s the stuck feeling I have been in for a while. Stuck is really too harsh a word. It’s more like a holding pattern. I feel like I’m doing everything right, but things are not aligned yet. Much is happening on many fronts, but I don’t feel like I am moving forward exactly. It does not feel wrong by any means. I can’t go back to where I was, and going forward is not quite ‘a go’ even though I know what I need to do. I also feel exhaustion off and on. Mostly on. What’s your take on it? Are you experiencing the same thing?

Dear Patty,

This energy lately has been hard. That’s the only word I have for it. I can see everyone around me stressed all at the same time. Sometimes interactions are coming out sideways.

I know that every moment there is a choice to buy into the negative expiring energy or relax and find the fresh and new. Sometimes I fall back into patterns and “everything sucks, this isn’t fair, etc.” Other times I am able to take a breath and rise above. Either way it’s hard to stay unaffected.

It’s feels like watching that storm happening outside. You know you are inside where it is warm and dry. You know it’s unlikely a tree will fall on your house or a tornado will tear off your roof, but you still can’t really relax until the storm passes.

Interesting thing is that I am noticing more and more people that seem asleep. I don’t know if that means I am becoming more aware or just that energy changes are highlighting things.

The other day I needed to drive downtown. I was passed by a car going too fast who cut me off. You know the situation: I’m following a car going the speed of traffic, who is following another car ahead of you, etc., etc. There really is nowhere to go faster than the crowd, but yet, this person just “needs” to pass you because you’re not going fast enough. We drove together for 20 minutes. I went the speed of traffic. They tried to pass and weave and get ahead. We arrived down town literally side-by-side, but I think we had much different trips.

I’m trying really hard to not be the person in that car who is not recognizing that they have a choice. They are only making it difficult for themselves and less enjoyable for others traveling with them.

I resonated so deeply with her response. She said it better than I could have. I loved to hear her perspective on things since we seem to have parallel experiences in the Jungles of Time and Space. The storm analogy gave me chills and I felt that was true for me. I feel like I am part of a huge worldwide energy storm, witnessing it in action as I sit on the sidelines in wonder and awe. Sometimes I have to get dressed in my mukluks and macintosh and go out and be in that storm. Sometimes I can sit on the sidelines. One thing is true, no one can get out from under what we are experiencing now. We are all in it. Some feel safer than others and some are more affected by it. Some days are great, some days I’m Dorothy in the cyclone.

The story of the driver of the other car is a great reminder to me to slow down my thinking and return to center when I am in a panic. Being in a panic is not being very grounded or spiritually connected. It happens to all of us. It’s a crazy disjointed way to expend energy since you can’t get to where you want to go any faster than the ‘traffic’ around you. I have to remind myself what is going on in the outer world is not always serving the highest good, and to take note of it, and act/or not, accordingly. I hate it when I have relapses of panic or frustration. They seem to happen almost daily with life’s little ups and downs. It feels a little embarrassing to lose my cool or get flustered. Conversely if I see others in a panic, rage, frustrated or doing other similar activities, I like to be the space for them to do what they need to, and send love. 

This is another way meditation helps. As soon as you notice you are off track, gently return to center without judgment. My image is like moving a bubble with a feather. Gently acknowledge you were off track and return to grace. You can do this anytime, not just in meditation. That’s as graceful as it gets. Every time you return to center is a victory. Even if you feel you were the bull in the China shop. Every time you return to center makes it easier to do it next time. And it energetically helps everyone else.

Make some small movement and things that have felt stuck will eventually shift. Give it time. keep forging ahead in little ways each day. There will be periods of rest that seem like stagnation. Nothing is stagnant. Trust me on this. Every day I do get better and better. Some days I feel the weight of many more years of ‘stuff’ to get through. Some days I feel like I am one of the lucky ones to be on earth at this time. Elated, energized and ready to rock!

If you need inspiration, keep in mind it’s not just all about you, or me, or one individual. It’s not even just about your town, the country or the planet. Spirit is always learning from us. I always think of it this way, Spirit is helping us and we are the ones in the trenches. They admire us for being on the front lines. You are a trailblazer right along with the best of them. So keep on keepin’ on, and be good to your fellow travelers along the way.

Personal power and those ruby slippers

Looking back on my very difficult, abusive marriage, I realize I always had a choice. I could have left the instant my instincts said this was a bad pairing, a bad marriage, a very bad experience. Like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz story, she found out about the magical powers of her shoes late into her journey. Many people would have been angry at finding out so late, that they had the power to fix things all along. But Dorothy had no regret in the difficult, mysterious, scary path she had taken that seemed out of her control. 

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She had a fantastic journey and met many friends along the way. Had she chosen to use the power of her magical ruby slippers sooner, she would never have found her voice and her own personal power. Without this difficult journey, she would not be the same person she was by the end of the movie.

I felt the same was true with my situation. Even though my marriage and split was hard and seemed out of my control, was full of pitfalls, daily emotional and mental drama, and frustration at every turn, it made me stronger and is still giving me insights. Through this baptism by fire, I found my voice and my personal power, and no one can take that from me, ever again. (Cue the happy ending music!)

The most life-changing insight of all was that I always had a choice. As hard and painful as the path had been to get to this insight, I was happy to be where I was at once I was on the other side of all the drama and chaos. I have no regrets about the past, nor do I feel I ‘wasted’ my time, as some people say about a failed marriage. It was the path leading to my own personal freedom and power, that taught me to be a compassionate person toward others. I would not give it up for anything! It was hard won and now I own it. I am fully in charge of my life, co-creating my future, compassionately, lovingly. Our paths have many joys and many pitfalls. All experiences are for our highest good, even though at the time, we may not think so.