The End of Black & White Thinking

Well, I hope it is the end of black and white thinking! I had a great experience that will forever remind me to think outside of the Capricorn stick-in-the-mud black and white thinking mindset. Don’t get me wrong, us Capricorns are great for getting things done. We have great organizational and fiduciary skills, plus are very grounding for a lot of folks. We strive to accomplish, by simply and quietly putting one hoof, er foot, in front of the other, while keeping the end goal in sight. Ah but we can be stubborn creatures as well. Yes that word stubborn. That “thing” I have been working on as of late. Case in point follows.

I understand the Universe brings many things we don’t like or expect, and usually I can weather the storm. My Achilles heel is when things that are out of my control, regarding my home, crop up. I have put a lot of back breaking work into it, and let’s say it really gets my goat when there is a new problem I have no way of fixing myself. I have spent years updating an old living quarters into what looks fairly new and downright cozy. I owe no one a mortgage and my land is paid for. True to Capricorn style!

Electrical problems in particular are super frustrating and can be expensive. I love to get out my tools and fix things, but I’m not an electrician or plumber. Pluming is safer and in many cases easier to fix, almost fun. Not so with electricity, which can kill you or burn down your house. I have recently spent $1700 to replace outlets in three rooms and fix a few other minor wiring problems. This did not include new switches or any new fixtures. Since the wiring was old, and in one room tongue-and-groove paneling made the job harder, it took longer. I paid the going rate for a wonderful, honest, and hard working local electrician. Since he came out on the weekend and did not charge extra I will use him again. He was very educational, telling me everything he was doing and why. Plus he and his wife are local, each from a different reservation near my home. I like to support local people. But after the $1700 bill right near Christmas, a propane fill, and paying property taxes, I’d had enough of spending money on stuff I really couldn’t see.

Last weekend I was going to get some baking done. I went to turn on the kitchen light and it was dead. Here’s my thinking and actions: “Okay change the bulb. There. Oh, no light? What? Shit. Ugh.” Earlier that year I had one switch and outlet in the living room that the electrician could not get to go live. It was one me and my partner in crime, Bud installed long ago. We know it was working when I moved in. I assumed it was something-with-teeth in the ceiling chewing on wires for the casings. “Dang. Really do I have to hire the electrician AGAIN? He’s been out twice. That sucks!” I also felt a fury of rage inside me. Well it wasn’t rage exactly, but I was rootin’ tootin’ frustrated and mad. When I face something out of my control that I can’t fix, I jump to conclusions that it will cost an arm and a leg to repair. Grrrr and harrumph!

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My partner in crime was using my car to go to town to get parts to fix his truck. When he returned the car I told him about the problem. He said he’d look at it when he got a minute free. Thank God for good people! He came by and we took a look at it. He first suggested it could be the fixture. The fixture? (Well slap me on the forehead and call me silly.) Could it be that simple? The fixture was relatively new, only four years old, but I guess that’s the first thing to troubleshoot other than check to see the bulb is working and the breaker is on. Why didn’t I think of that? We looked at it, checked the wiring with my voltage tester, and it was not getting any power. Dang. We fiddled with the wires to reconnect them to make sure they were on correctly. Still nothing. Dang!

After the “Is it the fixture” comment, I realized how silly I was to not have thought of any of the things it could be in between ‘is the bulb burnt out’ to ‘hire an electrician’. My mind had immediately jumped to my greatest fear, spending more big cash on what was out of my control. I decided to change my thinking to manifest something more positive. This is not the first time I’ve been caught off guard by my own silly thinking. I didn’t think in those gray areas that life is made out of. When will I learn this? How many times would I have to go through this? Silly me. As we fiddled with the fixture and the wiring and testing the bulbs, Bud had another idea. He said, “Hey what about the wall switch for this light?” Brilliant idea! So we replaced it with a spare switch I had out in my garage. As we were about to test the light to see if that was it, we knew if that didn’t work, I would have to call the electrician back to my home. I changed my vibe to one of gratitude and positivity, and voila, the light went on with the flip of the new wall switch.

Boy did I feel silly. Have I mentioned that word yet? Yep. I have, because I was so, so silly. Now I have the visual, a light switch, and a positive memory of me changing my thinking. It was a memorable reminder of not having my head, or my vibe, or my trust in the right place, and the idea of how easily it was all fixed. Can you say Yay? I know you can. ūüôā

The happy end to the story other than a changed noggin, and a fixed light, was the making of a large loaf of banana bread. It was naturally freely shared with my partner (who said it was the best he’d ever had), in thanks for helping me see the light. (Enough puns?) ‚̧

Those uncomfortable feelings that come with change

Being in a new landscape between point A and point B is very disconcerting. It’s downright annoying, uncomfortable, and I wish it would go away. Sort of. Lately I have been changing the landscape of my life. Getting out of the habit of visiting with my riding partner every day for coffee, dropping off groceries, horse medicine or tack, or what have you. They have all been excuses for me to have someone to talk to before or after my work day. An excuse to ‘play house’ when that’s not what is good for my future or his. This is not my new family. I’m pretending and I’m hiding. For awhile it has meant someone to bond with. Someone to talk to. But this is not a good choice for me going forward.

My riding parter and I have a totally platonic relationship. He’s a good friend, but that is where it ends. I do not wish anything more with him. To say I have been hiding inside that relationship as an excuse to not take chances with my heart would be stunningly accurate. It has been a nice place to rest, on a plateau, for awhile, to let my soul stretch out a bit. For the record, single life has meant a lot of enjoyment for me to do exactly as I please, when I please. After having lived with a controlling abuser for 18 years, it’s been a lovely ride being on my own! I have created an almost perfect life for myself. Almost.

I have known for a long time now that¬†things need to change.¬†I have still not made the change totally but I’m almost there. Otherwise how will I ever move on to the next phase of my life? When will I have time or opportunity to meet my new life partner? Don’t I have a dream of meeting that perfect man who has a great sense of humor, loves horses and animals, and has his own property? How will that happen if I am not getting myself out there or always at someone else’s home hanging out? Where is the partner I can wake up next to that has fun over a cup of early morning coffee as we both try and squeeze open our eyes to the supposed real world. Where is that guy I go on long rides with and can spend my remaining years with as a lover and friend? I know he’s out there.

The first part of going from point A to point B was drastically reducing my visits to my platonic partner. He has done nothing wrong at all.¬†In order to change, I needed to refocus. Making the change was hard and yet in some ways it was easy. It meant a lot more time alone at my somewhat isolated home in the sticks. I made the change a few weeks ago with the plausible excuse that I needed more time to prepare for my job, more time to cut stress out of my life by meditating each morning, more time to prepare for my day. I had a stressful week the week before and it showed on all levels. This was mostly true so it felt like a natural way to break things off, with the exception of the one weekend ride we do together. Okay, that’s done and no one got their feelings hurt. What’s next?

This change would mean a talkative person who likes to converse, being alone much of the time and it was not something I was looking forward to. How would I handle it? I knew that I needed to face my fears before moving forward. This happens one moment at a time. To give you an idea of my mindset, it is important to know that in the past five months I have lost my soul dog, my first and most loved horse, Scar (which about tore my heart out) and two geese, one of which was with me for over 13 years. My little farm family was greatly reduced. Today I am hurting and still numb. Spending more time with myself at the core, at the center of things, energetically was a scary prospect because of my recent losses. What would I find when I went within? How would I handle it?

Once I spent some time alone and slowed down, something really good came up out of the numbness. I had this picture of my much smaller animal family and myself, all our hearts in unison, in a smaller orbit. It felt like a smaller but higher quality life we were all building together. Good juju. New. An unknown and unexperienced landscape.

The next month is being spent being alone and sometimes, doing nothing which is actually almost impossible for me. I crave accomplishing things at my property and home because it needs work, and my ego loves seeing progress. Doing nothing is much harder said than done but will get my human doing mind to be a human being mind again. I need to get back to ground zero, a new ground zero. In a way it is like getting to know myself better, as opposed to filling the time with activities that avoid the inevitable meeting myself at my brand new level of existence. This is a big part of creating a new inner landscape.

I am a big proponent of the saying, you are the author of your life. Authoring your life moment-to-moment can be the in-betweeny part that hurts like hell. It feels so odd, so new, and yet so darned uncomfortable. There are no way markers in this new landscape to know if you are on the right path, or lost. Hey maybe being lost for a bit is good? That’s also food for thought. Here is where great insight and change is felt and experienced. This is the time for me to stick with it, form a new alliance with myself, my new life and prepare for the next step. I can feel the runway is clearing for takeoff!

Comments are welcome and encouraged! Please click on the title of this blog entry so all you see is this one entry, and scroll to the very end to make a reply. 

Messages via forgotten lyrics

The other day I was feeling out of sorts, at odds with the world and myself. Think square peg in a round hole. A general malaise of having no focused life’s purpose in serving others yet, despite many attempts at different ways to serve. I have a very strong feeling to be of service.¬†My chosen lifestyle in the country makes it hard to find the energy and time to commit to a business of my own where I can serve others. I am constantly on the go and already over extended. But it’s the life I love! So when exactly was I expecting this total life change to occur out of thin air?

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Perhaps I have unrealistic expectations. But I can feel something is out there, down the road a bit. Something bigger. Something better. My way to¬†be of service will materialize at some point. But it feels so overdue. That’s a hard feeling to resolve when it’s a gray day outside and you are in the day-to-day trenches. I guess I felt like Charlie Brown with a little rain cloud following me around.

Haven’t you heard it before? All you have to do is follow your passion. I have taken it to heart seriously. Which passion¬†do I choose? My¬†efforts to serve have, over the years, included landscape and rodeo photography, reiki, psychic readings, teaching classes on dumping drama, using intuition, and reading and teaching Tarot to¬†others. Other interests I am working on include¬†crystal energy, numerology, astrology and animal communication. I am passionate about all of them. There isn’t one interest I would drop. They are all important to my Earth School education. I feel I am like a sponge soaking up information left and right and I don’t want to stop.

But that feeling of not being out there in service persists.¬†Perhaps I should trust in Source a little more? Maybe even though I’m pushing 60, I am not meant to blossom in a public way yet¬†or at all?¬†Maybe I don’t need to follow the popular¬†path of making a business out of it and striking out on my own?¬†Maybe I already serve in others ways I am not aware of? Maybe I’ll run into this way to be of service¬†when it is meant to happen and not before then? I have¬†a habit of living too much in my head, but I love the questions I have and the answers that often follow later. Like little puzzles that get solved over time. I also balance the over-think mindset with tons of feelings. Think Empath. I experience it all. So I feel very balanced, but man there is a lot to process regarding thinking and feeling.

As I was having my day-long pity party I thought about ways to get out of a funk. Smile. Get active. Dance. Jump around. Sing a song. So I started singing an old song:

To everything turn turn turn
There is a season turn turn turn
And a …(forgot lyrics)...¬†heaven.

What’s with that? I know those lyrics. Why does that part¬†escape me? Still trying to conjure them up I kept singing out loud. I figured that way it would come out of my mouth without having to think about it. Sure enough on the third time, it was a charm.

To everything turn turn, turn
There is a season turn turn turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven.

A-ha! Lightbulb time! Take a gander at the words I had to work at recalling. This made them stand out to me. What an obvious way for my inner voice/ intuition/Spirit to tell me to be patient, and that the time will come. I had this ‘message via forgotten lyrics’ happen one other time years and years ago. So it’s not a well used catalyst for communicating messages, but very effective. It is very conducive¬†to an a-ha moment, which sticks with a person.

Feel free to share ways you have received messages. This blog is meant as a forum for discussion and commentary. Comments are welcome and encouraged. 

A catalyst for change, from the heart.

There’s a fun song by Ray Charles called Smack Dab in the Middle. Have a listen, it’s a fun song.¬†My question to you is, are you smack dab in the middle of your world?¬†If not, why not? I know it sounds selfish and self-centered to make you be first.¬†But isn’t that¬†the best way to be able to assist others? I think I have written about this before here.¬†The message is, you can only truly be of service once your own house is in order.¬†Caring for myself¬†first, I¬†knew on an intellectual/informative level. Think Head. But the idea had not quite come home to roost. Think Heart. This post explains how¬†I made the change from head to heart.

If you are the caretaker for others, be they human or animal, you have to be and think and do for yourself first. You can’t keep giving and giving without you at the center. Otherwise your well will run dry and when you¬†try and ‘fix’ what is wrong you’ll be out of energy. You might not even realize what is wrong. That’s where I have often found myself of late. But I have felt so very connected to Spirit these past years, how could this be? (Chuckling to myself.)

The almighty Universe has¬†a way of sending lessons when you need them, in the most unlikely of forms. Usually one after the other in quick succession to get your attention. I call that the 2×4 over the head. You’d think by now I’d be wearing a cosmic helmet! The last lesson to¬†me came by way of my¬†horse, Silver.

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In the middle of a rare sleet storm¬†at 10:32pm my horse Silver went sick. I was surprised when my vet returned my call about a minute after I left a voicemail message.¬†Off we went arriving in town around midnight. We left Silver in good hands. Silver went for two visits over a 10 day period until we figured out what it was. At first we thought it was colic, which can kill a horse. Turned out he has ulcers. At least ulcers are treatable and not fatal. So relieved, but that 10 days was hard on my nerves. It felt like I was walking on pins and needles, the feeling in my core was panic. Yeah, that’s not good. What’s up with that? Where did my calm demeanor go. You know, the one that comes forward when I give other people advice? (Oh the irony!)

Worries that compounded my situation¬†were many. My elderly dog, Google, is my soul dog. His attitude is stellar but he’s near the end of his time on the planet, that is clear. My elderly mother is on my mind. I live 1200 miles away from her and¬†I miss her. A family member who is dear to me¬†has been diagnosed with cancer. The family is still reeling from the news. At my job, I work with good folk, but I¬†have to be there in mind and body. All these things plus Silver’s problem added up to feeling totally overwhelmed and a little wobbly. Pema Ch√∂dr√∂n would say it is good to get used to that feeling of groundlessness. Oh that’s hard to do. It takes practice. I know I should not let things I have no control over worry me a la Byron Kaite. But it’s hard to drop all that other stuff, especially if those involved are close to your heart.

During this ten day ordeal¬†before we got the diagnosis on Silver, my friend Ren¬†and I were texting. I told her I felt overwhelmed, drained, and in a panic. This is not my usual ‘from love’ space. It was a ‘from fear’ space, and she and her son could see this. She asked me a question. A real life changing question. She said…

“Got a hard question for you: Is Patty or are Patty’s Animals #1 in your world?”

In the past¬†the answer has always been, my animals come first. I would brag to people my animals¬†are fed in the morning before I eat. I pop out of bed like toast, rush to get outside to feed. I am out in my chore boots, PJ’s, bathrobe and coat before the sun is up, complete with headlamp so I can see the hay bales in the dark. I look like a walking rummage sale.

Is it necessary to eclipse my own life to care for others? Is this level of care really necessary? Well knock me over with a feather! By answering the question, I could see past events of my life with deep clarity. On the spot I was able to rethink my core actions and act from that new center of self-love. Wow. Powerful stuff.¬†I had been¬†putting everyone else first, and that had been so hard wired in me. There is nothing wrong with caring for your critters or other folk, but to not put yourself¬†first means you can drain yourself unnecessarily. Your world will seem¬†off center, like seeing¬†from the perspective of being picked up by the tornado. If you come from center, you can be the calm eye of the storm. I knew¬†my friends’ words rang true and it was a great catalyst for change. It was a large pivot point for living the rest of my life from.

There is a better way to live and still care for everyone.¬†As nurturers, women¬†are taught to¬†give¬†and do and make and cook and bring and organize and tutor and orchestrate and comfort and direct and teach and you name it. I needed to unlearn a lot of old programming in how to approach this role.¬†¬†Ren¬†told me when she made this change to loving the self first, she didn’t love her kids any less. In fact she loved them more, because she loved herself more. Folks this is a golden nugget of information, founded in love. I could work with this! I could still work with Spirit, love and care for myself, and then tackle what the rest of the world brought to my door. Wise words indeed! I am much indebted to Ren for this awakening in me. ‚̧

I instantly was able to re-arrange my day on the fly, taking care of what I needed, before caring for others. It was a small change, that made a big difference, and no one was left wanting as a result. In fact everything felt better, more right, and more natural. So simple, yet so powerful. Now this lesson had come home to roost in my heart. ‚̧

Before you go out into the world assisting others, keep this in mind. What base are you operating from? A base of self-love first, caring for yourself first? Are you really truly coming from love, or are you coming from a sense of guilt or a sense of duty? It’s a hard question to ask. But for me, it changed my life in an instant. You can do this too.

Comments always welcomed and encouraged.