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.

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!

Acting on a feel

Did you ever get little nudges and hints from the Universe? Recently I’ve been getting nudges to slow down. I have mentioned before that I usually get the Cosmic 2×4 on the head because I am simply not paying enough attention to fill-in-the-blank. I hear messages, feel and sense I must pay attention to something, and start making changes to accommodate. Sometimes my efforts are not enough. I’m dancing around it but not getting it. And I don’t realize I am not getting it because my nose is too close to the grindstone. When the Universe sees you working on it, but you don’t really get the core message, it will let you know. The following story illuminates this perfectly.

Starting the Work

I started slowing everything down. Work is as slow as it gets this time of year so there is no frenzied feeling. My right rotator cuff went on the fritz about 5 weeks ago and is not healed yet. So I cannot do any small projects around my house. That really bugs me but I can’t do a thing about it except let it heal. My personality and energy needs something to work on. I have a driving need to be productive. About 50 times a day I’d have to remind myself I can’t do this or that project. Sigh. I would often have people over to my home because I enjoy their company and the conversation. But it can also be draining for an empath. I put that on hold. I can’t walk my dogs due to the over 100 degree heat (unusual for this time of year). I can’t ride because my horses have since gone over the rainbow bridge. In this slow environment, I had cleaned and rid myself of clutter on ever single level. Every drawer and file cabinet and cupboard. Every molecule of things at my home is about as perfect as it can be. So there is nothing TO do. I had slowed down, or so I thought. This was a huge, huge shift for me. But was I really slowed down energetically and in my mind? Is this my best effort? 

Uh Oh

This past Friday as I left work for my 48 mile commute home. For the record, I’m not a speed demon. For two miles there is a stretch of road that is one lane per direction of traffic. There are no houses or businesses of any kind, and no intersections. If you don’t go faster than the limit, people will tailgate you, honk, flash their lights, and make it clear they are unhappy. I was going along and felt I was not fast enough to warrant a ticket. Didn’t see a soul on the road, bright sunny day. The Universe was still waiting for me to really embrace slowing down. However I wasn’t there yet and the Universe was about to show me just that.

Out of nowhere a police officer going in the opposite direction flashed his lights and I knew I had to stop. I always have my license, registration, and insurance at the ready. He dispensed with the ticket, giving me a few pieces of friendly advice. The ticket was not much money and I was guilty as charged. The good news is that I had recently received a rebate that would perfectly cover this ticket.

The Cosmic 2×4

About five minutes after the ticket incident I was thinking about why I attracted that into my life. After all I have been driving this road for almost 17 years five days a week. I go the same speed every trip, along with the flow of traffic. Why today? What’s up with this? What part of the Law of Attraction am I not doing right? Where’s the message? When it hit me like a cosmic 2×4 on the head I burst out laughing. The Universe sent a message that could not be ignored! It was so obvious. SLOW DOWN! Really slow down! Waaaaay slower than you think is necessary. Because you don’t know what slow really is! Explore this and take it to heart starting now. 

The Right Work (Fine Tuning)

The rest of the way home I went well under the speed limit not caring if I was harassed by other drivers. There was no reason to rush, so why not change the pace of my normal race to get home? It might be fun to really embrace slowing down. The rest of the weekend I slowed down my mind chatter by meditating, and putting on meditative music. I did a few sessions with my Mala beads, had no company over, stayed off the computer, and spent as much time out in nature as I could despite the heat. I read a book. Sat doing nothing. This was different. I can tell you, I’ll be doing this a lot more often. Slowing down in earnest gets me out of my head. I started with my environment, then my body, and the mind followed. This. Feels. Better. Slowing down means more than going slower. It’s being more mindful on every single level. But the payoff was about to happen and I didn’t see it coming.

The Payoff!

Along with signs to slow down, I had been also getting hints about acting on a feel. I had heard the person training a neighbor’s foal talk about this. It’s the way training is done with horses. Not by force, but rather showing the horse how to act on a feel. I actually saw the foal get it! I saw the moment when the penny dropped. The foal acted on a feel, got the idea, and acted accordingly. Isn’t acting on a feel part of how we receive intuitive hits? Isn’t that how we best manifest? Feel is what it is all about. I have been reading a book that talks about how important feel is to manifesting the life you desire. More so than I thought.

Ah HA! Now I am really getting why slowing down was necessary. It declutters your head so the rest of you can see things clearly and receive information quicker. Many small pieces were starting to show up because I could see them swirling above my head, and gather them to me. Pop, they would drop into my head and the big picture became clearer. Pop, pop, pop, more pieces keep coming! ❤ I love this! ❤ This is the first wave of  insights and messages about the next chapter of my life. Gotta love how the Universe works! So, the point is not slowing down per se, it’s what slowing down did for me. It allowed an environment where information could come to me, where before it could not get through the clutter. Now I get it! Now the real work can begin. This is a new way of operating for me, for the rest of my life.

 

The wonderfully irritating way the Universe helps you change.

One way the Universe helps me change is wonderful, and it’s also very irritating! Sure enough, when you want to stop drinking caffeine, or stay clear away from carbs and you swear them off, the coffee and bagels of the world will follow you everywhere and it won’t stop until you are immune.

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Why does this happen? It’s my opinion that you are not necessarily being tested because the Universe does not pass judgment. It’s more like you are given chances to succeed at whatever you wanted to change. The Universe gives you many chances to try out your new whatever-it-is. And believe me the Universe knows the nano-second you make the choice. The good news is, this way you have a lot of different opportunities to succeed. If you don’t succeed every time, you might learn something from those trials. Maybe you will learn you are not ready and you need to give it a rest for awhile, and then get back at it. Maybe you will have insights from those trials. Be open minded.

Sometimes you can make a change lickety split, in the blink of an eye you just decide you are ready. I was able to do that the other day when I had a change of heart. Most of the time that doesn’t happen, it depends. When people say it just happened overnight, my belief is it really took years to cultivate that new way of being. With trying to eat a healthy diet it took me till the age of 59 to Grok the idea and totally incorporate it into my routine in a way that seemed totally natural. It probably felt natural because I had worked on this for most of my adult life.

When I started bringing salad to work every day, I was tempted with cookies and chocolates, birthday cake, bagels, banana bread, bars, candies and you name it. But by that time I was really so happy with the way I felt after eating healthy for months that those foods did not tempt me. Really it’s not an immunity as much as you realize the plus side of your goal. If it’s eating healthier food, you will learn over time what fuels your body. This is an important distinction to whatever you think you need to be eating. Trial and error will tell you what you need to feel your best.

If you want to have less contact with certain people, like needy, draining, or dramatic types, for sure you will be surrounded by that sort of person as soon as you make the decision. It happens so you can practice your desired skills. You’ll get good at extricating yourself politely but firmly if you really want to achieve your goal. You can do it without hurting anyone’s feelings, and you will take pride in your progress. Believe me it’s not mean hearted to cut down on the dramatic, needy or energetic vampires of the world.

I did the same thing with recreational drinking. I absolutely adore a glass of good red wine, and about once a month, a shot of Patron Tequila. Since I take heavy nerve meds that don’t go well with alcohol, I eventually stopped drinking altogether. For years I felt the energetic pull from the Universe to stop. It got to the point where I would experiment with it to see if I needed it for relaxing or partying. I got down to one glass of wine a night, and I realized even that did not make me happy at all and I still felt like crap the next day. I realized there was no benefit whatsoever. Sure enough the day after I swore I would not drink again, well meaning friends came over with alcohol and would not believe I was not going to have any. I had to make myself clear by saying this handy phrase:

“Thank you for thinking of me, but it is not in my best interest.” 

In fact staying sober during a party was very enlightening and fun!

Whatever you are trying to change, modify or kick, know in your heart that you will very soon get opportunities to try your new way of living. The Universe seems to know this the instant your mind is made up. Another apt phrase is to keep in mind is, “If you ask for patience, your patience will be tested!”

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 Chödrön 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. 

 

 

Flow is the answer

This is more a reminder to me as it is to anyone else out there. I was under some pressure lately and found myself learning a few new things to make my situation much better. It started with something that really upset me on Sunday. I recall thinking I had ‘the whole rest of the week to get through’ and how was I going to manage? I was feeling so tired and down. This is not like me. I’m usually feeling that flow of life.

Well, how silly of me. How was it I already forgot that living in the moment mantra of mine? How did I so easily get sucked back into the ‘waking world’ and pulled away from my Spiritual self? Why was I assigning a bad flavor and a tired feeling to this block of time, a whole week, that had not even occurred yet? When I heard myself utter that phrase about having to get through the next week and it seemed like such a burden, I realized I had it all wrong. The answer was, and always will be, to live in each moment. It’s not a saying, it’s something you actually experience, on purpose. It’s something you can do.

I found my first real mindful moment was when I was doing dishes. When you live in the moment, as in doing dishes slowly and mindfully, time does not exist. You might find the same thing happen if you sweep the floor. Lovely meditation! That was when I had my first epiphany of slowing down and living in the moment. When I live in the moment—each moment—I feel happy and contented. I can always have this feeling if I keep it in mind. But when pressure looms, or things go off track, that’s when it is most needed, and easiest to forget. The learning and realization comes in just after the down period of life’s ups and downs where you have some hindsight. But that doesn’t help in the moment.

Like many, I have the responsibility five days out of seven to go to work. Being single puts the pressure on for me to provide for myself and my animals. Some days I feel tired and it’s only Monday, and I wonder how I’ll get through the week. But I know that’s an illusion. If I buy into that mindset, I have just ruined my whole week. That’s bullshit. Don’t do that to yourself. It’s bad juju and negative energy. Same with having a bad day. Don’t say you are having a bad day. Maybe say, you are having a bad moment. Whatever it is that feels bad, make it small! Make that change and lighten up. You have the power to make the rest of your day great. With a little reminder there is no problem because living moment to moment is the answer to dropping all that fake stress. It’s gone, poof! My reminder will be one word. Flow. (Thanks Kristin for that insight!)

So, a note to self is in order. Take each moment of each day and don’t worry about the next. It will take care of itself. Remember to be IN each moment fully and don’t worry about what comes next. Wash that one dish mindfully. Really BE there. Get into the task at hand. Work on what is in front of you. Feel the flow, don’t fight the day. Don’t worry about the next thing. I know there will be times in the future where I will forget and be all caught up in the illusion of stress and worry and feeling rushed. I’m human just like you. Let’s all remind each other to live in the moment and stop stressing about the next moment, hour, day, or week. Just let it go and be in flow. Okay? Okay!

 

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.

Note to self: Begging is not co-creating

Funny how a simple statement like the headline above has to be learned. Last week Friday I discovered all three dogs had cattle ticks deep in their ears. In the past they have had to go under anesthesia to remove ticks from the ear drum. Expensive time consuming, hard on the animal, and disruptive. Situations like these can bring on a mild panic. My regular vet was out of town so I had to make some calls. Finally I found a place that would take all three dogs. Small miracle! As a friend put it, I did a great job of co-creating to make that happen, through a passionate heart. (I love feedback like that.) So far so good.

As the day unfolded, what would normally be a stressful situation was somehow okay. I noticed a small tug when I felt panic rising about what could be an expensive, time consuming aftercare nightmare. This tug I felt made me feel more grounded. More calm. I gave credit to this new feeling to meditating regularly using Headspace. (Thanks Judy!) Meditating is relatively new for me and without the Headspace app, it would not be possible. As a result I am making progress in handling what life throws me. I am continually finding places to improve that will help me feel more grounded in all situations. Life takes practice. Often one small step at a time.

After the vet visit, in my rush to get back home, I realized one dog had no ticks but still had ear problems and I had not discussed it with the vet. The pain would send my dog rocketing across the room in a fright. Through the weekend we were unable to sleep. Monday I took him to the vet again, and we decided to have him neutered while he was under anesthesia for the ear checkup. It was long overdue and would be nice to get that out of the way.

Life can be stressful with a recovering animal. This particular pet goes into freakout mode so easily. I live 42 miles from work (one way). I spend time planning and making sure everything’s hunky dory so I can care for my pets and fit the rest of life in there somehow. I can’t run an errand or grocery shop with a pet in the car it’s too hot here yet. Too much activity wears me out. I needed to be able to care for my dog, Goat Cheese, and have a clear mind for my job. (Cochise is his name, but it’s hard for many to pronounce, so we call him Goat Cheese.) I had already taken most of Friday off for the first dog emergency and I felt bad about having to take more time off. Time to talk to Spirit.

As I was driving to the vet to pick up Goat Cheese after his surgery, I was talking to Spirit asking “Please make sure everything is great….so I don’t freak out. So I can handle it.” But I stopped mid sentence and changed my mind altogether. My plea did not sound right. I thought, hey let’s do it a new way instead. Let’s confirm with Spirit that I will handle anything that comes my way. Small changes can bring big results. My new wording was a complete reversal. Asking for things to be okay is begging and that didn’t feel right to me. By changing my verbiage, I am affirming with with Spirit that I will be able to handle anything, as in “I can do this.” This felt much more positive, light and happy. In fact it felt very freeing! I was filled with confidence and I was happy! You can’t help but be happy when you know you can handle anything. This was a way of positively anticipating feelings of groundlessness or anything contrary to the norm. More growth!

Spiritually minded people know the time of duality is ending and oneness is coming. But right now we are all in the trenches, and life is going to present us with a lot of chaos. No one wants this. We all want a relatively stress free life. But we all know that is not how life is at the moment. Anything that is out of sync, possibly stressful can be upsetting emotionally. We all want to go back to our normal routine for that feeling of safety and security. For me, I hate it when any of my animals is sick or hurt. They are my kids. It is another Achilles Heel. Since I teach others to handle life with grace and ease, I ought to practice what I preach. I realized mid-sentence that begging is not a great way of co-creating. To ask or beg is to be in reactive mode, not in co-creative mode. Now we’re cooking with gas! This changes everything. It empowers, thrills and delights!

Having blogged about this previously, it can’t hurt to remind my readers that putting new habits into practice can be an ongoing process. It takes time to make a new behavior and a new mindset and way of life. No one is perfect, especially me!

“For years I have read about, and really tried integrating this mindfulness into everyday life. But life has a way of making you rushed and crazy sometimes…It’s going to take some time for it to really come home to roost. I’m not yet at the point of 24/7 mindfulness or totally unstressed life. But, coming a little closer to it doesn’t suck!”

I also recently talked about the obvious solution to feeling rushed off your feet here, so why am I still needing to improve when I already know the answer?  Because I am a spiritual being in human body. We need time to really incorporate things we know (intellectually) into our lives until we get it on a whole other level, a soul level. Practice makes perfect, unless you have an a-ha moment. That’s instant!

Learning to handle stressful situations by dumping the idea of being panicked is something I will work on until I get it. It’s all I have talked about to others: Living in the moment, being the author of your life, dropping the worry, not jumping to conclusions, trusting that Spirit has my back, flipping it, and so on. This time I was a little closer. I felt a little better and a little more grounded. Good co-creating means learning to tackle your demons along the way. Tackling these demons can become some of the most freeing moments of your life.

Ask, relax, and allow the answer in

If you are using your intuition but are not getting anything, ask Spirit. I have heard it hundreds of times, and I know it intellectually. But sometimes it takes an awareness during or after an experience to really bring it home. It needs to rest in your heart. For me this has been a hit and miss affair. Something happened to me the other day that helped me get that part of the co-creating process. It was the lynch pin to my understanding.

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I tend to overthink things, but I am both a technical as well a creative person. It’s like having a foot in each world. I usually think things over a lot—sometimes too much—to get to know the How To part of anything new. This is part of the process of how I Grok something. Even something spiritual and intuitive in nature can be intellectualized before understanding dawns. Breaking things into smaller pieces to analyse them is a good way to understand the process. Experience and observation leads to internalizing. Once internalized, then you have something new for your toolkit! But something was missing for me. The other day I had an experience that brought it all home for me. Now I have this process internalized in a way that I will always know how to succeed.

Side Note: Observation about yourself is how you learn to do things differently in order to succeed. For me, the most surprising activity that helps incubate an a-ha moment is writing. I often take a few days to write my idea out, leave it, then pick it back up. Things will bubble on the back burner. Later I may see things differently, and sometimes solutions come up as I write. I am in no way a professional writer, and in fact only started a few months ago, so you can do this too.

This life changing a-ha moment was a combination of receiving heartfelt instruction, a bit of left-brain thinking, some writing, and then relaxing and letting go to receive the answer. It’s not quite …do these steps, 1, 2, 3, then you get it. It’s a sort of a hodgepodge. Once experienced you will not have to think on it. You’ll have it.

The problem: In an earlier blog post I explained how I hate the modern idea of marketing. There must be another way that is more authentic, more fun, more me. As I ruminated on an answer, I received the following advice from Rena kindred spirit. This advice helped me approach the answer in a new way.

“Look to Patty [yourself] for answers. Go to your God inside. You will know how to reach out and find “Patty People”. Your heart is a brain.”

Side Note: The idea that your heart is a brain is a relatively new idea kicking around the Spiritual community. In a newsletter I get from Gregg Braden he states: “The recent discovery of the ‘little brain’ in the heart [is] a collection of sensory neurons that think, remember and learn independently from the neurons in our brain…” It’s a topic worth looking into. Our society is sorely in need of balance between head and heart. 

The Key: The advice from Ren was heartfelt, simple and worked like a charm. Future support I received from her that day was as follows:  You got this! Deep breath. Go ride a horse, touch the earth, hug a tree, relax. Let go and allow in. You will succeed. I thought briefly about her advice, knowing she was right about the allowing part. The word ‘allow’ resonated with me and I knew for me that was key. But how to do that? Yep there I go thinking too much! It must be experienced. The fact that she was sure I would find my own answers was unexpected, kind, and lovely support. Being supported in that way felt great and very energizing! Do it when you can for others.

Knowing I have a tendency to overthink things, I knew the answer was to get outside to do chores. Physical activity is a great way to take a break. A dreaded chore for (some) horse owners is picking up horse poop with one of those large scooper rakes. For me, it’s a wonderful way to meditate. Like doing dishes by hand. It gets you in a frame of mind to be receptive, and you forget about everything else. This is good, like preparing the soil to be receptive to the seed.

The catalyst: As I scooped poop my mind went elsewhere and I relaxed. The day was lovely with bright sun and the coolness of autumn in the air. The quality of sunlight in October is unparallelled! Read the poem, October’s bright blue weather, by Helen Hunt Jackson. It was like being in one of those snow globes, experiencing a rare and gorgeous clear fall day. I was experiencing life in the moment. Then a solution to my marketing delima popped into my head and floated down like a leaf. There it was, waiting for me. It might not be the whole enchilada, but it is a stepping stone to success. Something doable and something very me. And I would not have thought of this on my own, without asking and being receptive to an answer.

The answer: Yes ladies and gentlemen, puttering is the answer to allowing. Finally I got it. Finally I understand the process! Allowing was the point where I was not getting it. (Your blocks may lie elsewhere.) I was working too hard and that intent focus became a roadblock to success. That had been the hiccup in my process. Now I know, puttering is a great way to get out of my own way and allow the Universe in!

So, if you feel stuck for answers, ask the Universe, do a little research to show that you are invested in working toward your goal, and go pick up some horse poop. ;-0 You will find where your roadblocks are if you are a genuine student of yourself/the Universe. If you strive to learn and understand, you will succeed! If you get outside support, good for you! Please don’t give up on yourself. You are worth it and your new understanding contributes to the whole, in ways you cannot imagine.

Please feel free to join in a dialogue, as this blog is meant to be a community forum for ideas, learning and sometimes a little entertainment. 😉