Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Waltz Anyone?

As with all good intentions, the one to try to write at least every other week has fallen by the wayside as my family and I have been walking a difficult path these last few months. It has seemed so difficult to face the day on some days that I simply stare at my computer, at this link to a community of loving people, and turn away to sit quietly in my chair in the corner and think.

Transitions are yucky, uncomfortable, beautiful, messy seasons in our lives. It becomes so difficult to see the beauty when you are in the midst of the mess, and it has been more important than ever for me to nurse my inner hermit with long stretches of silence and sitting in contemplation of the current moment.

I started this blog during a very low point in my life with my husband's encouragement. I chose my name - Sulwyn - and created a character in my mind for this wise woman and her quiet cottage. Somehow, this wise woman I thought I had created in my imagination is becoming a deeper part of me. That I have called her out of my depths into my reality, and I love the wisdom that she is sharing with me. But I have continued to hold her at arm's length, to believe that she is somehow imaginary - like the imaginary friends from childhood who nonetheless gave you good advice. But even this is changing, and I am embracing the reality of this part of myself. It isn't easy, and sometimes I fail to recognize the growth that she is calling me into. Sometimes I turn away from that growth because I am afraid of it. But that is honest and true fear speaking, and eventually we waltz together and I end up on the other side somehow and I am stronger for it.

All of this to say that my writing will likely be erratic for a while still. There are some mighty big waltzes with any number of fears currently and ahead of me. But I am still here, still reading and following the things my friends share. Still praying for all of you.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Just Dropping In...

Apparently I need to work on maintaining my discipline of blogging... though, thankfully, I have not slipped out of the discipline of writing in my journal!

It has been on my mind to return here and post for weeks, but it has been so easy to let it slip to the next day, or the next. I'm not sure what to write about today... I'll make time tomorrow... that is too trivial to write about... that is too serious to write about...

Before I knew it a month and more has passed. Where did it go? Perhaps the same place the beautiful autumnal weather that was here for a few days and fled again went to. To be honest, I find that I have been in a time of deep soul work, transitions that may not be obvious or clear on the outside but have been rocking my inner world on a regular basis. My energy has been focused inward, on healing and accepting the grace that has been pouring over me. Perhaps soon I will be able to express this in words, to open to you the windows and doors that are opening around me. In the meantime, know that I have not forgotten you, or this blog. You all remain in my prayers and I know that Spirit is watching over all of us.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Fire Season

The end of September - the Autumnal Equinox - has brought with it a huge heat wave and fires. It seems to happen every year, this turning of the seasons from summer to I-can't-move-I'm-burning-up. Of course, I have to admit that this body of mine does not handle the heat, especially high heat with extremely low humidity, very well. Yesterday we were well over 100 with a humidity well below 15%. Add in some wind and you get the perfect recipe for wildfires.

There have been a handful since our experience here at the cottage last weekend, but none so dramatic as what I saw yesterday.

Taking the stepdaughter back to her mother, we decided to take the road through the back country. This is a treat for me as it is a little bit longer, but I love to tootle along on the two lane highway and look at the mountains and trees, the blink-and-you'll-miss-it "towns" on the side of the road, the view of the border... where we realized after we had turned past any detours back to the big freeway that there was an awful lot of smoke rising. Looking it up after returning home, there were three large fires burning out of control across the border. As we drove along we could look across the valleys and see the fire lines raging out of control across the hillsides just beyond the reach of our own firefighters on this side of the border.

In the past, this would have terrified me, knowing that we would have to continue past these raging fires where we could see no hint of organized attempts to control the flames in order to reach the relative safety of a road that would go away from this little old two lane highway. But I have been making peace with this childhood terror, and at one point we paused briefly to take advantage of a teaching moment for the stepdaughter about fire safety. We stood outside of the car, watching the firefighters watching the fire (they could do nothing to fight the fire until it crossed the border or they were invited to cross to give assistance) and in the silence of a relatively little traveled back country road we could hear the hiss and pop of the fire from a distance of a mile or more away. We were able to show the stepdaughter about how wildfires spread so rapidly, how fire likes to go uphill but is not so happy about going down, how the wind drives it forward, and how helicopters and other firefighting machinery that assists at wildfires looks and works.

As we drove home after the drop off, we looked out over the hills at the orange glow in the south and I felt a great respect for this beast. I still don't want to have one in my backyard by any means. But I feel as if this important part of our ecological development is no longer my enemy, to be greeted with fear. You see, here in this part of the world nature developed a wonderful mechanism to control the grasses and underbrush that would otherwise choke out the young seedlings of trees and hardier scrub. These grasses and underbrush that die back each year after their wet season growth burn very hot and very fast. If the environment is completely pristine with no human interference, lightning strikes or hot dry winds spark fires that rip through and consume these hot, fast burning fuels without being able to stay in any one place long enough to consume the trees and tougher scrub. As humans have moved in and shifted the balance of what grows and doesn't around our homes as well as adjusting to fight the natural fires we throw off the balance of our native burn and renew environment, setting the stage for the fires to burn longer and slower, consuming everything in their paths including the trees and scrub that used to have protection from fast moving wildfires. The firestorms that have raged across our county in past years are a result of that human interference with the natural cycle of fires.

So peace is being made between myself and wildfire. Like any wild creature it is to be respected, and I am coming to that point.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Little Excitement

Saturday afternoon was spent standing in a parking lot with my husband and many neighbors, watching a wildfire rampage across the hills behind the Cottage. It really was rather alarming, and I find that I am angry at the "kids" (no real way to tell ages, sometimes even genders) who have used the area for their hangout to smoke and do drugs as well as the general management of the area who refuses to take responsibility for their own property.

Yes, I am still steamed.

I was, however, awed, impressed, and very grateful for the skill and dedication of the fire crews that responded. As hours passed and I watched a pair of brush trucks that we were able to determine were parked directly in front of the cottage to maintain that edge of the burn area, I relaxed knowing that they and the many other crews were fearless in their determination to stop this blaze. The precision water drops from the helicopters and the bombers dropping bright orange-red retardant kept my attention as a well-choreographed but improvised dance. Toward the end a Chinook (the kind of helicopter with 2 large rotors that was designed to be able to haul a tank and then some) arrived with what we are guessing was a 500 gallon bucket. The ability they had to drop the water exactly where they wanted it was fascinating! The maneuvering and delicate balancing to react to the loss of the weight of the water was incredible. I was even impressed watching the mop-up crews work late into the night to ensure that no hot spots were left behind.

Today I look out over a half-charred hillside from my front porch and ache for the earth that was so suddenly laid bare. I realize that this area evolved as a burn and regenerate ecosystem, but it just doesn't feel right knowing that this fire was human-caused. Even my husband's cheerful observation that at least part of the tinder-dry brush has been consumed and will create a break for any other fires rings a little hollow right now.

So I thank the firefighters, the amazing pilots who work with them, and the earth herself that this was no worse than it was. But next time I could use a little less drama.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

New Eyes

There has been a great deal of growth happening here at the Cottage since I took a deep breath and hit publish on my last post. It seems as if that has opened a door for me to accept myself a bit more, to lean into the scary side of being the woman that I have been created and shaped to be.

It makes regular posting here a bit more difficult sometimes, as I know that early on what interested people was the writing of bits of everyday life at the Cottage. But everyday life here is taking dramatically wild and amazingly divine leaps and bounds daily now; the everyday commonplace is no longer the same old bits of garden, herb, and tea information. Is there still some of that? Sure (except perhaps the garden, which I have decided in this climate with our particular brand of totally stubborn soil is to be given over almost completely to succulents!). But there is more now, too.

I see more magic in life with my daily Reiki practice, with learning even more about tea and the beauty and health benefits it can provide, with opening my heart to allow myself to be the unique wild, holy, mystical, wise woman that I am. Of course, I have days when I forget that I am a goddess (one who is a female embodiment of the divine image), when I forget that the purpose of my life is to live my truth and by myself.

But the magic and the mystery of life is pursuing me forward into places where I am exploring and discovering new (to me) territory. Some of it is quite tender and difficult to share, some of it has been shared better by others in whose footsteps I am dancing. All of it incredible. And Beautiful.

So things may be changing on the blog over the next months as I get my bearings in the world that is opening up around me as I open my eyes and live into my truth. Bear with me.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Preamble

Since my "return" post I have been flitting here and there in the blogosphere filling up on juicy bits of bliss and wisdom. Most of these are listed in my sidebar, but I thought I'd point out places where I've been spending my computer time (besides Ravelry!). I love Lucy at Attic 24 and her truly bright outlook on life in her corner of England. Her crochet is wonderful and the colors cheerful. The other fiberly connected blog that I have been hanging out at is Juniper Moon Farm. I love all the great information and sweet pictures of the flock and Susan is a wonderful correspondent (unlike those of us who disappear for weeks at a time!). The rest of her site is just as full of fibery, sheepy fun as her blog! For nourishment on a deeper level I have been truly enjoying the challenge of keeping track of Joy at Unfolding Your Path to Joy and her beautiful outlook on the changes and joys of living life truly connected to the Universe. The other place I've been getting filled up and lifted up is Goddess Guidebook. I really admire what Goddess Leonie does and is and I love to read her posts on her adventures through life.

A lot of this has been fueled by avoidance. I knew I had promised to tell my story, but I hadn't really liked the way any of my attempts had gone. My voice wasn't genuine. So I looked to people who have a genuine way of writing to get past my own frustrations. They each have a story to tell, and in the case of another blog I've been following, BlissChick, the story is as raw and fresh to her as mine is to me.

So, with a few months of preparing and a whole collection of posts about being authentic to self and embracing fear over the past few days I am getting ready to hit publish on a post in which I tell my story. Stay Tuned.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Lace Preview

While I was gone, a friend profiled a picture of a doily I made for her on her blog. Kimberly Shaw makes some beautiful cards, and I love being able to share them with my friends as a suprise in the mail.

I have enjoyed the challenge of doilies and finally got some pictures of a few of them, thanks to my dad and his light box. I'll throw a few around on my blog now and then - like this one:

More to come...

Monday, August 9, 2010

I'm Back!?

Dear Friends and Blogosphere Buddies,

I'm back. I think. This month away has been quite pleasant but it has also brought out a lot of questions for me about the nature of where this blog is going and what kind of posts I am writing. Yes, for those of you who are interested I am still planning on sharing my "story" - the deep truth about the things in my past that have made me who I am. But I am also wondering where I am called to focus my writing. My journal is truly where I ramble and without a center of focus for this blog I was having difficulty deciding what and when to write here. So I am doing some deep consideration about my writing and blogging activities.

On a different note, I also have the wonderful news to report that I have a new job. I am currently a part time seasonal (with the possibility of going permanent) team member at the local Teavana store. I am in heaven - and no, I am not making a pun on the name of the store, which does mean "heaven of tea" - with all of that wonderful very high quality tea and tea accoutrement's! It is sales, which I am not sure I am good at, but since it is tea, which I can talk about until the cows come home and then leave again, I have a feeling that it is a good fit.

My home is coming together again after some backsliding while my stepdaughter was visiting. Things are finding their way back to their homes or are finding new ones. With full-time kid-care I did get a few things accomplished. Between huddling on the beach under my umbrella to try to avoid sunburn (did I ever mention that I think I might be allergic to the sun?) and curling up under trees in various parks I got quite a bit of crochet done. There are 4 new completed shawls and two are almost finished. My homemade Christmas presents are planned out and most of the materials collected (I have to start early or I'll forget until December that I wanted to make something for certain people and then I'll get down on myself for not planning better!). I even got a book or two read!

I hope all is well with you, too. Please do bear with me as I get my bearings back here online!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Visitor

My stepdaughter is visiting for the month of July - she arrived Friday night. While we enjoy having her, I have discovered that I am not one of those for whom latent parenting instincts have bloomed with the addition of a child to my life. In the interest of giving this beautiful girl the attention she needs I suspect that I will be disappearing from this space for a little while.

Though who knows, I may be more inspired than ever since I'll be stretching my imagination in an attempt to find common ground and entertain her without boring her to tears!

I know that I promised to tell my story, and I will as soon as I am back to my attempted-regularly-scheduled-writing-time.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wishcasting Wednesday - Well Being

I have an unusually busy couple of days ahead so I wasn't planning on joining in over at Wishcasting Wednesday since I won't have the chance to get to look at everyone else's wishes today or tomorrow, but the question stopped me in my tracks and I knew I needed to express this one to the universe.

What do you wish for your well-being?

I have so many wishes that all tie into this one question, so many parts of the whole that feel out of place and out of touch. I have, in the last year, let so much of my wholeness go. Of course, that wholeness that I remember and seek was actually destroyed 15 years ago, with various permutations on the theme in the passing years.

I wish to embrace my wholeness - my self, my healing, my gifts, my power, my purpose in this world, and my health.

I have been feeling that it is time for me to tell my story - 15 years is a long time to have a piece of your identity be made up by something you are afraid to admit because of how others might see you if they knew. No more. I am preparing a series of posts to share this story, this part of myself, to own the reality of it's effect in my life.

So I wish to embrace my wholeness, knowing that it will bring me to a place of well-being in body, mind, and spirit.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wishcasting Wednesday - Fun

Today's Wishcasting Wednesday prompt from Jamie really hit me this morning:

What fun do you wish to have?

I went to sleep last night in the midst of a deep soul struggle, digging to uncover the root of my recent slide into yet another depression, realizing that this particular month holds a lot of historical wounding for me, yesterday the 1 year anniversary of the most recent, and I wake up to a question like this???? Who am I kidding, I just want to be a little less depressed than I was last night - I can't think about fun right now!

Then I realized that this is precisely when I should be thinking about fun. When it seems most absent from my life I need to cultivate it consciously and dive deeply into every hint of fun and joy that manages to swim through the miasma of depression that currently engulfs me. June reached out and swallowed me into a gulf of frustrated struggle with my history, some of it more on a conscious level, some of it not. The worst of it began 15 years ago and I am contemplating sharing that story here for others to learn from and to know that they can survive and thrive, too. But that is not really about fun. It is when I believe I lost my ability to trust that there was something in my life called fun. I am only recently rediscovering it.

My wish today, on this overcast and cloudy June morning, is to learn again the joy of having fun, to become friends with it and be able to embrace it back into my life as a constant companion instead of a rare visitor. To see and enjoy fun in my daily life instead of looking back and wondering "was I having fun?" at the end of the day.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wishcasting Wednesday - Nourishing

Today Jamie's Wishcasting Wednesday question is

What do you wish to nourish?

I wish to nourish my soul. I continue to seek out ways to live as my most authentic self in everything I do, but I find that the excavation process to find that self can be painful and slow. I wish to continue this work, even during the painful and slow times, because that nourishes and strengthens my soul. I am here in this time and place as a unique creation and I have a purpose to pursue and fulfill. I have been placed here to do and be something that no other person can do and be in each moment of my life. I may have spent a good deal of time covering that up and trying to do what others believe I should do and be, but that just slowly starves my soul.

I am not pretending that I will get rich or be famous or any other thing by pursuing my personal purpose in life. Most likely I will continue to run into obstacles that I must work with and around. It certainly won't be glamorous. But I will be most gloriously alive in every way that counts to me if I follow my soul's leading. So I seek to nourish my soul. That sweet, fiercely gentle flame at the heart of me that burns with the fire of living and living well.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tea, Anyone?

There is no doubt in my mind that I am a tea girl. I love the ritual of brewing it, watching the leaves and herbs infuse and bloom in the water, sipping (or drinking, depending on my mood and the tea) from a lovely cup, the taste, the aroma. I love the culture surrounding tea.

I will never qualify for a total tea nut as I am not always careful to get my water to the exact best temperature for each tea and sometimes I can be a bit lax about steeping times. Any pot or cup I enjoy is good enough for me. I'm not picky, though I have a few I cups and teapots I actively avoid using. I am enough of a tea snob to know that while I will drink Lipton in a pinch (if I'm caught in a restaurant without the stash I carry in my purse or am a guest in someones home) it will never be my favorite and I will not buy it for myself. I sip the tea in Chinese restaurants with appreciation (usually - some serve pretty atrocious over brewed green teas) and am always thrilled when I end up somewhere that serves a simple oolong or well-brewed jasmine tea. I consider myself tea-adventurous and often take my herbal training in one had and my love of tea in the other to whip up a small batch of something for myself.

Last evening I hosted a tea tasting at my parents house for a friend who will be selling a selection of teas that I have blended at her booth at a local lavender festival. I will be making three blends for her: a black tea, a rooibos blend, and an herbal tisane. I had a wonderful time sharing these teas that I have dreamed up and learned a great deal in the meantime.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wishcasting Wednesday - Leaping

Today is Wishcasting Wednesday with Jamie Ridler and her question is:

What leap do you wish to take?

I wish to take that flying leap that will allow me to soar into a place where I belong, where I am whole enough to be content being myself, and where I can help support our family using the gifts and talents that bring joy to myself and others.

Yes, I have been absent from my blog for a while. At least two Wishcasting Wednesdays have slipped past me without even a single post or message to others. I have been busy with my mom, cleaning and moving things around in my cottage to bring in more space and light. When we cleaned last summer we closed off a lot of space - I needed the energy of being closed in as I healed through the traumatic endings that I had just gone through - but now I am healing in a deeper way and able to trust enough that being open does not equal being trampled to pieces and so we are making a place for me in the office and opening up space throughout the house for air and energy to circulate and thrive, bringing new opportunities and fresh perspectives.

With all of this in mind my wish is simply to believe that I have a place where it is not "unusual" to be a little different from the norm, and where faith and healing and crafting with yarn and a hook and tea all come together in some way that does not automatically get me that "and just how useful is that" look. I have gotten that a lot throughout my life - I never was the best at fitting in with the in crowd - and I know that I am who I am for a reason other than confusing the people and culture around me!

And so, my fellow wishcasters, I am leaping into the wild unknown and trusting that there is a place for me among the stars and that I will grow the wings I need to get me there.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Quickie Updates

No, I haven't fallen off the edge of the planet. I've been keeping myself busy - or should I say my mom has been keeping me busy - these past few days helping me to clear the clutter I had surrounded myself with. Two more rooms to go, but those are going to be difficult. We are planning on switching our current "office" and guest bedroom locations so that I can finally have a desk in the office in a room that isn't likely to a)trigger migraines with heat and glare and b)is a favorite room of mine to begin with! Our guest room is less frequently used, so it makes sense to change it out with a room that we can close off if we need to.

All of this sorting and separating, moving around, rearranging, and purging has taken time. But oh! the cottage is feeling so much better that it has in a very long time. Last summer we did some organizing, but I was in a place of endings and trauma and so my ability to purge what needed purging was certainly not at it's sharpest - I held on to all kinds of things and moved things around in a way to close off a lot of space. This time things are finding homes where I look around and think "ah... space and openness!" which is rather like breathing a sigh of relief.

This has kept me from much blogging as I have been taking my rest time to work on some doilies - yep, I'm making lace again! I hope to have a few new pieces blocked and pictures taken so I can post them soon. At one point I swore off of lace because of the fineness of the thread, but now am finding that the challenge of the small thread combined with the complexity of the patterns is really stimulating my brain. I guess it is a crossword and word search for the fiber minded!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wishcasting Wednesday - Experience

Today at Wishcasting Wednesday Headquarters, Jamie has posed a very interesting question:

What do you wish to experience?

I wish to experience the exhilaration of the desert Southwest monsoons on a bare mesa. The intensity of the thunder and lightening of these storms in awesome and I have loved the thrill of them for as long as I can remember. I now live in a place unaffected by the monsoons, but still feel the pull of the desert on my spirit and know that there will always be a place in my soul that craves the sacred places of the high desert.

I wish to experience the solemn wonder of the rain forest of the Olympic Peninsula. Not to mention the prime lavender growing area nearby at Sequim. It has been on my list of places to visit for a very long time and I know that a piece of my soul will always long for a visit.

I wish to experience the grandeur of Alaska. My husband spent several years of his childhood in a remote part of Glacier Bay, and listening to his stories has only increased my longing to see this vast and formidable environment. Not to mention that I have always wanted to see the Northern Lights.

I wish to experience the joy of traveling by train through the Canadian Rockies. Part of my family is Canadian, and hearing the stories they told has made me wish to see these mountains. I'm sure it helps that I am a mountain girl in my soul - I love mountains!

I wish to experience finding my family's roots in Saskatchewan. I know the homestead is long gone, but it would be lovely to walk in the area and remember the stories in the general place where they took place.

I wish to experience gathering among family in England. We have done this once and it was such a delight to be among so many people and know that we are all related. Literally. By blood. Suddenly I didn't feel so alone in the world.

I wish to experience the chill of the air in Scotland. Not sure why, but Scotland has been one of those places that has called to my soul ever since I can remember. But the soul does not need a reason, so I plan and wait until I have my chance.

I wish to experience the solitude of the Welsh mountains. Another place, like Scotland and parts of England where my soul is calling to me to go.

I wish to experience the peace that comes from being at home with the one I love. To have my home tidy and orderly. To rest together in a sanctuary that nourishes and protects us from the world.

I wish to experience the spontaneous joy that comes from being at peace with myself and my body. This is the biggest of all, because without this one the others lose their savor. I am beginning this journey already and look forward to each step I take towards making peace with myself.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wishcasting Wednesday - Rules

Today's Wishcasting Wednesday question from Jamie Ridler is quite thought provoking:

What rules do you wish to make or break?

I have been doing a lot of listening to New Thought teachers and reading books and articles that stress the importance of the story I tell myself as I am working on my recovery, which has led to a lot of listening to my inner dialogue - and can I just say that after that, it's no wonder I am prone to disabling depressions? Yikes! So my primary wish is to break the rules that are in my head that make it difficult for me to know and be the person I know that I was born to be. Perhaps that sounds a bit vague, but it is amazing how many "rules" I have in my head and in my heart about what I can and cannot be, do, say, or anything else.

I suppose the best examples are recent ones, and over the course of the last week or so my mom has been coming over to help me clean and organize. We've been working in the kitchen and dining area, and as we empty cupboards to change around their contents I hear things in my head like "why are you bothering? It won't stay this nice for more than a few days since you are a worse housekeeper than Grandma Grace" and "look at this mess! You are just not meant to have anything nice because you can't keep it that way!". Of course, there are excuses, too: "it got this way when I was so caught up in depression and illness" and my favorite "I'm not the only one in this house!". So my rules have included such things as: if I can't keep it perfect I don't deserve to have it, or even have "close enough"; it is all someone elses fault if it isn't "just right"; I'm never going to be able to do it "right" so I'm a failure before I start. What a lovely group of beliefs and rules to live by, right? No wonder I have issues with getting trapped in depressive cycles!

So I wish to break the rules of paralyzing perfectionism, self-doubt, shame and lack. I wish to replace them with the gentler and more loving "rules" of do/say/be it anyway, self-love, joy and abundance. I wish to live by the rules of who and what I was born to be and not what has been imposed from outside to make me into something I am not.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Lessons from a Prayer Shawl

With all of the time I am spending recovering from surgery, I find that my mind is working overtime! Mostly I have been observing myself and seeing if I can root out where my illnesses have grown into my identity. Once I find that, I can go about blooming more freely as I know where to watch for the weeds that try to choke out the good, healthy growth.

Perhaps that sounds a bit dramatic, but I have always had a rather dramatic streak - though it usually keeps itself confined to my imagination. One of my projects that I have been working on the last two weeks is a prayer shawl based on a series of granny squares using bits and pieces of yarn left from various other prayer shawls and baby blankets that I have made over the last few years. As I crocheted the squares from small leftovers I saw myself putting my life back together. There was a time in this most recent month of conventional treatments that I began to wonder if I were really being called to be a healer, especially one drawn to natural modalities. I mean, with such a powerful tool as Reiki along with proper dietary changes and other work shouldn't I have been able to take care of the gallstones without surgery? What kind of healer am I that I couldn't heal myself?

So I stitched and I thought. Squares were made and stitched together to form a rectangle, and I began to work on the border stitching that makes this one big shawl, and I began to realize that I am like those squares. Many different parts coming together from who knows what to form a cohesive whole something new. I had yarn from a baby blanket next to yarn from a shawl I crocheted for a dying person next to some that had been in my stash so long I no longer know what it was originally used for. Reiki sits beside the new pills I take to help control the debilitating headaches beside the drug intolerance that led me to embrace natural healing in the first place. Embracing all of those strands and all of those squares are the basic truths I know about myself - even though I am finding that those have been hidden for so long behind illness that I seem to have forgotten their names.

Today I read over at Unfolding Your Path To Joy about her choice to live in love, to know herself through her experience of nature and nature's moods and another strand was added to the shawl I am making. Her words reminded me of how I used to be so in tune with nature as a child, embracing the windy afternoons that sometimes threatened to blow me away or the soft and tender touch of fog or rain on my cheeks. Coming home from the beach or the local pool, or after running through the sprinklers and lying out in the sun on the brick porch to dry. I have missed that connection, and though I have tried to return to it over the years since I have grown up I have never been able to embrace the depth of truly knowing myself as a child of the earth. I have hidden in my head and tried to be totally and completely a child of the culture and utterly failed. Especially since I have never had much love and admiration for the culture I have been surrounded by.

So today, although I am still taking it easy and working on allowing myself the leisure to recover fully from the surgery, I am opening my heart to those small whispers that tell me to listen ever deeper to myself and my heart and to wrap myself in the story that is unfolding as I crochet this prayer shawl.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wishcasting Wednesday - Investing

Today is Wednesday, which means that over at Jamie Ridler Studios there is Wishcasting Wednesday! This week our question is:

What do you wish to invest in?

I wish to invest my time and energy in shaping this little cottage of ours into a place of refuge from the worries and cares of the world, a place where we are eager to spend time, a place where we can go to heal and renew ourselves. With my depression and other physical illnesses our home has become a place I would rather run away from, so as I am recovering from surgery my mother has been gracious enough to come out and begin helping me chip away at the layers of buildup keeping me from being able to even know where to start. So far it has been a fruitful apprenticeship for me, learning the little tips and tricks that I didn't care enough to bother learning when I was still under her roof and finding that I really do care if my house is clean and tidy.

I also wish to invest in my future. This one is a lot more vague because it doesn't really have a shape or a name yet. I only know that as I have been trapped in depression and physical illnesses I have also been in a cocoon of transformation. I cannot go back to the person I was at this time last year. I could try, but I would know how unhappy that life was and how it was slowly killing me. I am investing time and energy to discover my truth, to live it, and what that looks like in all areas of my life. In many ways I feel like the worlds biggest toddler. So much of my identity that I had taken for granted is slipping away from me to be transformed into something truer and more beautiful than I ever dreamed.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Wishcasting Wednesday - Daring

Today over at Wishcasting Wednesday Jamie asks us

What do you wish to dare?

I am just home from the hospital where I had emergency surgery to remove my gallbladder. This was the latest in what I knew were obstacles to my blooming into my greatest self. I have been so fettered by pain and frustration that I could not see the sky or the earth supporting me. I could only see the smallest part of what makes me me. While I still have pain, my range of vision is opening out wider again and I wish to dare to embrace the daringness of my new life. I hear whispers of it calling to me as I work with Reiki and herbs, healing and creativity, crochet and cooking.

I wish to dare to embrace my new life as it forms itself around me in this clarity of space that is being left as the illnesses are healing. I wish to dare to bloom and live so fully into my truth that it is no longer a vague dream but a grounded and whole reality. I wish to rival the vivacity of the blooms that I saw in the municipal rose garden where I had a picnic lunch with my honey on Saturday. I am daring to bloom!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Wishcasting Wednesday - Gentleness

It is Wishcasting Wednesday again and this week the question is:

What do you wish to be gentle with?

I wish to be gentle with myself. A couple of days after my lumbar puncture I was able to go to the class and receive the attunement for level 2 in Reiki. I can honestly credit the preparation that went into the pre-treatment that I was even able to go at all. In the past a lumbar puncture would mean 9-14 days flat on my back with an agonizing headache. This time I was able to sit up to eat late the next day, even though I was mostly flat the rest of the time.

But back to Reiki. Since it was a class of two students I was easily able to accommodate my need for lying down and still get the information. (I was able to sit up for the attunement, however!) I find that this latest opening and infusion of energy has made a difference in how I am willing to see myself. This particular shift is of seismic proportions in my life. There is an ongoing struggle with a very negative self image which Reiki is helping me to re-frame.

Most of my life I have had a rather unpleasant view of how I measured up in the eyes of others, which translated to how I saw myself. There has already been a great deal of healing in this area but there has been a great deal of difficulty not falling into the black pit of negativity in the last year or so. With all of this medical stuff going on I have tended to see myself as a burden on others and quite frankly, rather useless. Not the best way to look at oneself, and certainly not a constructive visualization image! With Reiki 2 I have started to shift that to a view that is more acceptable and supporting of where I am at this time in my life. That doesn't make me any more patient with the waiting for a return to full health, but it makes my image of myself friendlier.

So I wish to be gentle with myself - not only through the medical and physical healing, but through the deeper spiritual and emotional healing that will give me the foundations I need to stand on my own and be true to myself.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wishcasting Wednesday - Blooming

With all of my medical stuff this week forcing me to limit my computer time beyond what little I can usually handle, I wasn't going to take time to participate in Wishcasting Wednesday until I saw the question:

How Do You Wish to BLOOM?

Since bloom is my word for this year, I just couldn't pass this by! Once my surgery (May 19), Spinal Tap (tomorrow), and a plan for how to handle my big nasty headaches (in ER on Easter) are under control I have big dreams of blooming out all over! I will be getting my Reiki level 2 attunement this Sunday if all goes well - meaning that if my spinal doesn't spawn another headache from hell - and I am looking into various other modalities that will complement Reiki and allow me to develop a healing practice where I can help others. Soon my house will be a little better, at least to a point where I can find things more easily, and I will be able to pursue my dreams with a fully open heart. I have struggled for so long to find myself that it is amazing and a little frightening to me to see myself blooming out so quickly.

I have to get off the computer now, but I will be wishing for all of you even if I am unable to make it to each of your posts!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easter Vigil and Easter - Not the Holiday I had Planned

My journey through the rest of Holy Week and Easter did not turn out as planned. I last wrote on Good Friday, and though I had the best of intentions of completing my meditations on Easter Vigil/Holy Saturday and Easter, a big thing got in the way. Easter Vigil began like any other Saturday before a Sunday holiday - preparing good food, enjoying the time puttering in the kitchen with my husband. I wasn't feeling my best, but not so bad that I could point out that I was feeling any worse than usual.

We gathered up our bells and went to church, where I realized something might not be right. The Easter Vigil service starts in the dark, out on the porch of the church where the priest strikes the new light of Easter and lights the Paschal Candle. The congregation lights their own candles from this great big special and beautiful candle, and then turning to share that light with their neighbors before filing in and filling the church. The first part of the service is then conducted solely by candlelight, as we read and sing together of the salvation history, from creation through the resurrection. Just before we read the Gospel, the whole church is lit up, we sing a beautiful Holy, Holy, Holy while ringing our bells and removing all of the black drapes that have covered the flowers and dressing the altar and clergy in their glorious golden Easter vestments. Easter has arrived!

With my uncertain balance, I waited inside for the rest of the congregation and choir. I had a bit of a headache, but nothing too horrible. I did notice myself flinching from the brightness as the lights came on and we completed the service, but I put it down to being tired and late at night. Joining the feast after the service I still felt a little odd, but again put it down to eating a light supper at 11:00 at night which is totally outside of my usual routines.

I went to church on Easter morning with a headache, thankful for my Easter bonnet that shaded my eyes from the direct glare of the overhead lights, even though I was still staring into the bright stained glass window that forms the wall behind the altar. Later, at brunch with my parents I noticed that the headache hadn't eased and that I did not eat as much as usual.

It hit that afternoon after the earthquake. My husband and I had gone back to our bedroom to lie down for a while and enjoy the quiet. Suddenly the quiet was shattered by the unmistakable sound of the house shaking with an earthquake. No big panic, but the intensity kept growing and the shaking kept going. At one point I stood up, thinking that it was over. No dice. It just kept on, and I began to feel a bit of panic as all of my childhood "earthquake preparedness" stories bubbled up, and the terrors that I thought I had put away came with them. Finally it ended, and we lay back down (after spending quite a bit of time looking it up online!). I stoically rode through the aftershocks, privately waiting for "the BIG one" that my childhood fears told me was still coming - especially since the cat was still crammed into the few inches between the floor and the bottom of our bed!

Shortly after that I noticed that my headache was ratcheting up in intensity. My husband was ready for dinner, but I was starting to get a bit nauseous so I passed. By six or so I called the nurse line to find out if I should be going to urgent care. Around seven the lovely nurse called back after conferring with a doctor - with my symptoms I should go to the Emergency Room.

By eight my mother had joined us for the wait. I had blood drawn and a couple of other tests. By that point I could barely walk. Finally, a bed was available and I was taken back. I've never been so happy to have drugs that work extremely quickly in my life! Unfortunately, they seemed to wear off quickly, too. A second dose and they sent me home around one in the morning.

It didn't do much beyond make me feel sick to my stomach. I think I slept a little, but not much. I listened to the rain and my husbands breathing until the alarm went off. My mom was coming to sit with me while my husband went in and got things started for the week with his staff so he could head back home and not have the phone ringing off the hook. I was in agony. The neurologist was called, and decided that we needed to try a migraine medication. Migraine? I've never had anything anyone ever called a migraine before, but I'll try it if it might help. I'd probably try anything at that point. It helped. Immediately.

So now I am working on yet another possibility for all of this pain and frustration. Migraines. In the meantime, we will still be doing a spinal tap to at least get a baseline reading if not a definitive diagnosis on the intracranial hypertension and removing my gallbladder as soon as we can get it set up. I'm so tired of being in so much pain!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday

It seems odd to me that today dawned clear and bright. Good Friday is a day of deep darkness for many, for this is the day our Lord was crucified and buried.

It has been a personal tradition - learned from observation in my childhood church - to wear black today, as for a funeral, and to fast as much as I can without creating a medical issue for myself. I will spend the midday hours at church, where we will be spending time focused on the events of the cross.

Noon is the preferred time for services today because biblically it was at the noon hour that Jesus died. There was a solar eclipse, an earthquake, and the curtain in the temple that hid the Holy of Holies was torn in two from top to bottom. All creation recognized what we in our humanity did not.

Good Friday is a solemn day. A day of death and sadness. A day to reflect on what it was and is that put Jesus on the cross and what that horrific death granted to us.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Maundy Thursday

Today is Maundy Thursday - the name comes from the latin for commandment, and recognizes Jesus' commandment to his disciples after he washes their feet to love one another as he has loved them and us. On a more literal level it is the institution of the Last Supper as it has been passed down to us in the Communion Service. To take bread and wine, bless them as Jesus did, and to share them with those gathered around the table with us in love and charity. This loving of community is a hard commandment to follow. It is even harder when, just a short while later, he is betrayed by a kiss from one of his own.

I believe today gives me the greatest glimpse into the foundations of the Christian tradition as I understand the day-to-day living of it. To serve those around me as generously and graciously as I would serve Jesus. To wait patiently and expectantly for the outcome, even when it seems that all is lost. To bask in the loveliness of each moment as it comes, full of the power and presence of the divine, even knowing that the loveliness may be hidden in what appears to me to be a heap of mouldering refuse.

Within the tradition I was raised in, today is the day to celebrate and remember the Last Supper, the Washing of the Feet, and the Vigil in the Garden. The services this evening throughout the Anglican, Episcopal, and Roman Catholic world share similarities in that they will, to some extent, re-enact each of these events. The Last Supper is communion. The washing of the feet often brings people to a point of discomfort, for who wants to have the priest (or bishop) kneel in front of them and wash their feet? It is even more uncomfortable when one realizes that the person kneeling there so humbly before you is there as the hands of Jesus, not as themselves only. My favorite part comes after the service, though. The vigil in the garden.

Growing up, my parish would decorate a special altar of repose, where the consecrated host would be placed with reverence and surrounded by white linens, vases of white flowers, and as many candles as we could fit onto the small portable altar. The church was left silent and available to any and all who wished to come and keep vigil with Jesus from the ending of the service on Thursday until noon on Good Friday, when that service started.

I loved to sit in the dark silence of the little church, steeped in the aroma of years of incense and candles, and watch the small flame of the red votive candle dance in the reflection of the immaculately polished paten beside it casting a rosy glow onto the white of the consecrated Host. This was holiness. Me and God, waiting for who knows what. As I grew older and went to a different church there were other traditions. I tried to keep the vigil, but without an altar of repose and with the church stripped bare in preparation for Good Friday I felt bereft. No candle shining through the dark, no aura of incense to remind me of the holiness of this place. There was no presence to wait with me, and I was plunged prematurely into the darkness of Good Friday. I wanted to bask just a little longer at the feet of the living Jesus, to offer my presence back to Him in His hour of agonized prayer as He had been with me in mine.

Tonight I seek again that moment of close communion with Jesus. The depth of the beginning time of the Triduum - the holy days of Eastertide. I am going to a different church, one that is a bit closer to the traditions of my childhood. But not only do I know that the church is different, I am different. I, too, am in a time of waiting for my trials to be completed. I, too, am suffering still from the sting of betrayal. I feel ready for this season this year, and I am throwing myself headlong into the rituals as I know them.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wishcasting Wednesday - Accomplishments

Today's Wishcasting Wednesday question from Jamie is spot on!

What do you wish to accomplish?

I wish to accomplish developing routines that support and nourish me, and by extension, my family.

One of the healthiest times in my life was when I had a routine that was almost monastic in it's development and implementation. I loved knowing that each day would start and end in a specific way. I would have certain days to do certain tasks instead of rushing all over creation to get it all done today. I had time and energy left over to nourish myself more deeply and truly.

This is my goal and my wish - to find the spark within me again to develop a healthy routine for this stage of my life and to support myself with the familiarity and freedom it gives me.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wishcasting Wednesday - Taking a Break

Today's Wishcasting Wednesday question from the lovely Jamie is

What do you wish to take a break from?

The very first thing that comes to mind is that I wish to take a break from all of this healing drama! I went in last week for a spinal tap that the neurologist decided he couldn't complete after all. I'm waiting to hear from the radiology department to reschedule and have it done under fluoroscope. In the meantime I have been set up for a consult with a surgeon about my gallbladder, I have broken a tooth, had more blood taken for testing, and am fed up with spending a lot of my time in doctor's offices.

I know that I have ignored myself for way too long, but to have it all come crashing down on me this way has been quite disheartening. Then I remind myself that I did invite it all by seeking Reiki training, though my first attunement came after much of this had already started. I just completed my first 21 days with Reiki 1 and am continuing to learn a great deal.

Which leads to another thing I need to take a break from - my head. I have taken my Reiki and tried to turn it into an intellectually understandable exercise. I've been devouring books on energy and psychic healing, chakra systems, auras, and all manner of other healing modalities. But all of that has been a cover for actually sitting down and using the energy and finding out what it means for me. I am burying myself in my head, seeking out what Reiki means to everyone else, then comparing myself to what I find. It isn't pretty.

Parts of my healing that come together, today I declare that I am taking a break from focusing on my medical issues and trying to live only in my head. What are you taking a break from?

P.S. I am wishing heartily for each of you, even though I am still having difficulty spending much time on the computer and reading or commenting.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Anger and Gallstones

I have been working on issues of swallowing anger and injustice and letting it sit inside festering into bitterness. I've known I have a temper issue for a while, but it took this most recent diagnosis of gallstones to really make me take a look at what is going on. Who does it hurt more when I choke back any expression of hurt and upset? Certainly not the person or system I am hiding it from. I am not advocating just flying off the handle, either. That is equally dangerous. I am learning, however, to stop being afraid of powerful, just anger in myself.

Screaming into a pillow or punching the daylights out of some poor inanimate object is still something that a part of me cringes in shame and fear at. So my poor husband listens patiently as I rant and rave and pace through the house, or I go to my journal and pour out my hurt and anger onto the page in words that I may or may not understand later. It is a start.

The hardest part is what to do when I have physically expressed my feelings but there is still a physical sensation of helplessness and terror inside of me. The part that wants to hide from all of the white hot intensity of my rage. The part that was the white hot rage and has cooled and deflated until it doesn't know itself anymore. The part that is still hurt by what was done or said but is not angry. Just hurt and sad.

I like to think that I can simply curl my arms around myself, give myself a Reiki self-treatment, and let it go. But it stays. It is hidden in the smallest parts of my, like mold or mildew that slowly multiplies undetected until I burst out from it's hidden den and back into my awareness with it's illness.

Removing my gallbladder will remove the stones of a lifetime of bitterness accumulated unawares, but it cannot remove the emotional residue left behind by that bitterness. That is up to me.

It seems that daily I am made to face this issue now. My husband still works for the same people who betrayed me so deeply last June, and I want to protect him from their deceit and underhanded ways. He struggles so hard on the side of God and Justice and they are constantly creating lies and crises he must deal with. It hurts me deeply to see from the outside what they must have done to me as they built up to that final betrayal that still cuts me like a knife. I am bitter and angry with myself for not being able to function through the physical pain I am in, as if I could break through to the other side if only I try hard enough or push myself far enough. I resent my current position of "weakness" - being unable to work outside of the home, being unable to bring my home out of chaos and into a place of refuge and peace, being in so much pain and so tired.

Daily I lift up the whole thing to God, asking for guidance and help. With my health struggles, I seek to make it through the day without another crisis. To hold up my end of the bargain and pull my own weight. But the bitterness intrudes even in my moments of peace.

I am actually looking forward to the gallbladder surgery. The cessation of the constant pain will be a blessing. Rather like looking forward to the Lumbar Puncture. I know that there will be pain following it, but after that acute pain heals I will be out from under my current burden of constant dull, dragging, draining physical pain.

So I do what I can do. I write. I fold the laundry. I do a small bit here and there as I can. I let myself cry in frustration even when it makes my headache and vision worse. I seek answers within myself and with God. I crawl into God's lap and curl up there, waiting for the healing that I have been promised. Taking the small steps as I am shown them that add up to a larger whole.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Let's Try This Again

I am thankful I have a wise neurologist. We started the lumbar puncture yesterday but he was unable to get the needle where it needed to go. There were several tries, but it just would not get to a place where he could feel safe completing the procedure. So now I have a very tender lower back where the muscles and ligaments protested the intrusion of a large needle and a wait for Radiology to call to schedule a time for me to go to the hospital to have the procedure done under Fluoroscope.

There is certainly a sense of deflation that it has not been done, as I had spent a great deal of time preparing myself for the follow up and after care that I knew I would need and now I must start the waiting and build up process over again.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Today's Procedure and a Blog Break

Today I will be seeing my neurologist for a lumbar puncture, also called a spinal tap. I had no idea that a spinal tap was anything other than a really loud band that I never listened to until I had to experience my first one 9 years ago. It is not a difficult procedure, but one that can have some pretty serious complications if it is not done properly.

Essentially, I will be going to the neurologists office where he will be inserting a large hollow needle between two vertebrae and into the spinal sac in my lower back. First, he will check the pressure of the fluid and then decide if any needs to be drained off in addition to the small amount needed to be sent to the lab for analysis. Once the needle is removed, I will need to stay very flat for as long as it takes for the little hole to stop leaking and heal over. It is this leak that causes the headaches that I am known to have had with past procedures.

For a better explanation, you can visit this link. It goes into really deep detail, though.

I will be away from my computer and lounging flat on my back in a pillow less bed for a few days in any case, but hope that this one will heal quickly for me. My last one took me 14 days to be able to sit up again without excruciating pain. See why I've been trying to put this off? Unfortunately, a lumbar puncture is the only way to make a definitive diagnosis of Intracranial Hypertension so here I am.

I am looking forward to some resolution from this. It should give us some answers as to my headaches and vision disturbances, and to know where to go from here. In addition, it will hopefully create a baseline record to work with in establishing or disproving the diagnosis of Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension that I have lived with for the last 9 years.

Your thoughts and prayers are appreciated. Thank you! I hope to be back to my usual lurking and occasional commenting on your blogs soon!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wishcasting Wednesday - Pay Attention

Today's Wishcasting Wednesday question from Jamie is

What do you wish to pay attention to?

With my work that I am doing with Reiki I and preparing for Reiki II in April, I wish to pay attention to my intuition, my guides, my angels, and most of all to myself. I have been learning incredible and amazing things about healing and moving toward my highest good these last 17 days since my Level I attunement, and I know that it is because I have been paying attention.

Tomorrow I have a Lumbar Puncture, also known as a Spinal Tap, to attempt to diagnose this health condition I have been struggling with. I am rather dreading it, as the last two times I have experienced this procedure I have been flat on my back with the worlds worst headache for 9-14 days. I have been preparing with extra Reiki self treatments and plenty of affirmations and visualizations, but there is certainly still some apprehension. I am paying attention to what my body is telling me, and working with those concerns as I look toward my continuing healing.

I continue to have difficulty with my eyes and computers, that is part of what the spinal is for, so please know that I am wishing heartily for each of you even if I can only leave a brief message on your blogs.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Update for Friday

Just a quick update (unless I start rambling, which is a distinct possibility!) for today. It looks like posts will continue to be sparse around here for a couple of weeks longer, as I am preparing to undergo an MRI and Spinal Tap next week (Monday and Thursday). In the past I have not had a great recovery time for Spinal Taps - think 9-14 days flat on my back, unable to lift my head, with an agonizing headache - but have great hope that with this doctor and his understanding of the Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension recurrence that we suspect and are creating a baseline for diagnosis of things will go better. Also at some point in the near future I will be meeting with a surgeon to discuss the removal of my gallbladder, which is apparently quite full of some really nasty stones. The diagnosis is not new to me - I have known about having gallstones for 5 or so years now but have kept the attacks under control with diet and exercise. Unfortunately they have now grown to the point where that is no longer an option. Ugh.

With Lent being nearly over, I must confess that all of this medical stuff has been an important part of my Lenten discipline of taking steps on the path of learning to truly love myself. I find that I have neglected and denied my physical self and needs for so long that now I am paying the price. It seems overwhelming that it is all coming at once, but I know that having opened the door, everything is rushing in because my body can no longer prioritize the pain and needs that it has. Working slowly through this, especially with the use of Reiki, has been an amazing experience so far. Yes, I do still get really depressed about it. I have had my share of "if this is what I truly am, just take me out and shoot me now!" moments. In the end, I know that I will be healthier, clearer, wiser, and more compassionate. The journey, however, is not an easy one.

I find that in embracing the 21 day self-healing portion of my Reiki 1 training, I am getting a better grip of how the Reiki energy is working on me. I would have expected it to go to the physical level of the dis-ease that I am manifesting, but although I find that it has an effect on it, that is not the primary level of work. Neither is the emotional level, though it has done wonders for me at that point. The energy seems to be working at the very deepest spiritual levels to find the lessons that I need to learn in order to not repeat these physical issues. Most of them are lessons that have appeared in my life numerous times. I would pat each issue on the head saying, "oh, look! I need to deal with (name the issue)! Isn't it cute?" and then shove it back under the rug and tell myself that I had dealt with it sufficiently. Hah!

While I believe that I must treat the physical illnesses, I do believe that there are deeper lessons and issues tied to them and that in order to heal these chronic issues I must work on the deeper levels even as I work on the physical level. It certainly isn't easy, and I find my dreams and unguarded moments full of thoughts of things that I had thought were long gone and dealt with. It can be very difficult at times, but I know that this time I am aware enough to take each one to God for counsel, learning, and ultimately, healing. I may not be strong enough to see or acknowledge the complexity and enormity of some issues, but I am doing what I can with what I have, and that is enough. God is with me and will give me what I can handle.

Enough rambling! Have a pleasant day, and I hope to be back soon!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wishcasting Wednesday - No

Today, Jamie asks the Wishcasting Community

What do you wish to say no to?

On a personal level, I wish to say no to the apathy that feels like a threatening fog waiting to envelop me as I struggle through this phase of my illness. I have been dealing so long with the daily questioning of "how are you?" and "can you function today?" not only from myself but from those around me who are concerned, that I sometimes wish I could just roll over and give in to the symptoms that oppress me. I know that thinking like that only makes it worse, but expressing it helps me to deal with it. I have the tools to help me, but they cannot clear the energy completely yet, and so I still struggle daily to maintain my use of those tools - Reiki, positive thinking, Healing Touch, meditation.

With this personal drama going on, I also wish to say no to the negativity and attacks on my husband and his work. The same people who attacked me last June are doing their best to do the same thing to him. Fortunately, he learned from my experiences and has been able to see the web of lies and deceit that they are attempting to weave. Unfortunately he has been cutting through the lies and showing them the truth which only upsets them more because they cannot stand the good and they attack harder. All of this from the county-wide leadership of a Christian denomination. Sometimes it makes me wonder how I can still be a Christian in any sense, even if my definition of Christianity is different from theirs (thank any and all gods out there for that!).

So I wish to say no to the defeatist attitudes, the negativity, the dark clouds of depression, the attacking evil of others under evil influences, and all manner of That Which Is Not Good; we are children of Light and we live in the Light.

P.S. I still have difficulty working for long on a computer so please know that I am commenting as I can and wishing with all my heart for each of you, even if I cannot make it to your blog or if my comment is short.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wishcasting Wednesday - Time

This week's Wishcasting Wednesday Question from Jamie of Jamie Ridler Studios is a really good one:

What do you wish to make time for?

This one is difficult on so many levels for me! Much of it comes down to health and energy levels rather than time, though when I had the health and energy to do be able to do more I had a few things I struggled to schedule. So I will go back (or ahead) to when I am healthy again with this wish!

I wish to make time for my house and myself. I have always resented the time it will take to bring my house out of chaos and into order, and then the amount of time that it takes to keep it orderly and happy. Of course, it is a form of self care for me because the better my house feels the better I feel. Which leads to the second part of my wish, to have time to take care of myself. I need to exercise more, cook nourishing foods, and in general do the things that will keep me healthy and whole. Of course, there are things that I would rather be doing, but these are important ones to me.

I have been trying to see this time of enforced stillness as if it were time spent in the seed, waiting to be ready to start fresh and to live more authentically. After my Reiki I attunement this past Sunday I feel that I am on the right track to blossoming into my authentic self. Perhaps as I continue to grow and bloom I will discover the lessons that are within this illness that I am trying to learn as I seek to return to health.

P.S. As I still am not much better on time I can spend looking at a computer screen, please know that I would love to be able to write more as I comment and wish with you on your blogs but that I am wishing deeply for each you even if all I can leave is a sentence!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Happy St. David's Day

If you are Welsh you will know this as a day of Welsh National pride and history. If not, just sit back and enjoy the explosion of daffodil joy as we welcome March!

Yesterday I had a beautiful day getting my level 1 Reiki attunement. I am studying through Judy Knoll of The Healing Center of San Diego, who is an excellent teacher.

I am finding it hard to put into words what Level 1 has already done for me. My energy level is much higher than it has been, although my symptoms have not been completely alleviated. I came home last night and had the energy to stand in the kitchen with my husband, talking nonstop, while he cooked. I haven't done that in months. Lately it has been all I could do to sit quietly in my corner of the couch in our living room with the lights dimmed while he did the cooking. We laughed a lot - something else that has been missing from my life lately. I am also finding my outlook on life has improved. The depression that was weighing my spirit down has become a lighter burden to walk with.

In the coming days I will be journaling with this journey of developing my Reiki. There is a 21 day cleansing/opening/adjusting process as I give myself daily treatments and work on treating others. Most of the journaling will be private, but I plan on sharing a bit here, too. There is so much for me to learn, and I know that Reiki has much to teach me. I can feel the joy waiting for me to grow enough to embrace it fully.

And this morning the coyotes sang for me!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wishcasting Wednesday - Permission

Today at Jamie Ridler Studios, Jamie asks us

What do you wish to give yourself permission for?

Do you have all day? I probably have a list a mile long! It all comes down to giving myself permission to discover my authentic self and to live from that place of truth.

So much of my life is currently ruled by fear. Fear of the power that I hold within myself. Fear of what others will say of any non-conformity I may exhibit. Fear of the unique place I occupy in this world. Fear of the changes that living my power and truth will bring to my life and the lives of those around me. Fear that my current illnesses will hold me back. Fear that my current illnesses are caused by my fear of living my fullest truth and power. Fear that my current illnesses are a catalyst to a new life. Fear that my current illnesses are simply that illnesses and that they will never go away. Fear that the demons whispering inside of me, urging me to do something I know is foolish and unhelpful, will wear down my resistance and cause deep damage. Fear that if anyone knew what was going on inside of me, how much and how powerful my fears were, that I would remain an outcast for the rest of my days.

I wish to give myself permission to feel the fear and then to move on. To befriend that fear as a teacher and guide on my path to my deepest truth. To know that fear is a key to unlocking my passionate, powerful, exquisitely beautiful, divinely gifted Truth and not fear the fear.

I will write myself a permission slip today, decorated with paints and colors, signed with a flourish in a wild color. Embrace the fear and truly feel it, learn from it and grow into myself.

P.S. One of my frustrations as my illness is progressing is that I cannot spend the time on the computer that I wish to. Know that I long to post encouraging thoughts to each of you, but for the sake of my vision and headaches must limit myself to wishing with you briefly in words. Know that I will carry each of your wishes into the world with me for pondering and wishing with away from the painful light of the computer screen.

Friday, February 19, 2010


I was reading Goddess Leonie's post today about walking her wise woman way over on Goddess Guidebook when I was struck by the idea of remembering who each of us is inside, and that we have a connection to much greater wisdom than we know if we would only take the time to listen and plug ourselves in to it.

Wednesday I went to meet my new general practitioner, and I handed her a long list of current symptoms and drug intolerances. Our family jokes about it, but we have not been known for having easily diagnosed or treated medical issues. This is part of my path as a healer, because if I could simply go to the doctor and take drugs to fix (or cover up) things I would never have had to turn to alternative medicine. Not being medically "normal" has opened my world wider than I ever would have imagined. I see plants as allies and friends, able to ease some of my discomfort when little else can. Folk remedies and energy healing bring their own relief. But I walk this path alone in so many ways.

Like Goddess Leonie, I struggle with trying to fit in, trying to shape myself so that I can be a part of that "sea of normal" that she describes. Most of the time I do a pretty admirable job of it, but at what cost? Since July I have been trying to understand this cost to myself. I have hidden my light under a mountain of rubble in the effort to please people who only care about how much they can control and manipulate others into doing things that are detrimental to any individuality they may possess. For two years I focused my life on fitting in at my workplace, doing my best to not let on to myself that I was letting their ridicule of me destroy any personal strength I may have had. When they destroyed me by their final deep betrayal I began the long process of slowly digging out of that pile of rubble that I had pulled down upon myself. Only now am I beginning to see my light shine more brightly than it has in a long time. I am returning to the wisdom of the path I was created to walk, listening to the knowledge deep inside of me that tells me how to ease the headaches, how to use what little energy I have to make it last longer, how to care for myself and eventually others.

I may not be around as much for a time, as my symptoms are progressing. I have less and less tolerance for the brightness of the computer screen (or pretty much any bright lights) and the headaches, general soreness, feelings of illness and fatigue are worsening. I have an MRI and Venigram scheduled for March 15th and Spinal Tap following on the 18th, but am on a list to get in earlier if there is a cancellation.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wishcasting Wednesday - Difference

Today is Ash Wednesday, marking the beginning of a 40-day journey toward Easter. This has always been an important time in my year, one that in the past was characterized by attempting to give something up and making an outward show of repentance. That is what was required, and I was always an obedient child in that respect. But for about 15 or so years now I have been on a slightly different journey with Lent.

It began in my freshman year at college as I spent much of Lent barely conscious in my dorm room with an undiagnosed illness. March passed me by completely, and I was barely convalescent by Easter. Walking outside was a miracle, and I felt that I had experienced a resurrection of my own as I went to church. It was a literal shift in thinking, but it planted seeds that were nurtured for many years before coming to light. In 2003 I was part of an amazing experience called the Micah Project. This is an intense discernment year hosted by the Diocese of Massachusetts and held in Boston. During that time I was surrounded by spiritual friends and teachers in a way that I had never experienced before. They saw me with fresh eyes. Having just been diagnosed with a mild (are they ever mild?) eating disorder in the weeks leading up to Ash Wednesday, my internship mentor and spiritual director both suggested that, having proved how capable I was of denying myself, I needed to take on a discipline of self care for Lent. What? I could do something like that?

Since that challenge seven years ago, my Lenten discipline has been less about denial and more about what I can do to nurture my soul and reconnect to Spirit. This year I will be doing several things, at least one of which will challenge me deeply as it comes up against some of my fears.

One: obey my doctors. This is a difficult one, because at this point I have an MRI, a Venigram, and a Spinal Tap scheduled. The last is the worst, because I have not had a good recovery record from them previously.

Two: take care of myself. While this includes such exciting things as taking Level 1 Reiki training (just two more weeks!), it will also challenge me to play (not something I am good at) and to examine my relationship with myself through an experience of Radical Self Love.

Three: make time to connect deeply with Spirit. I have been so shut down with my fears and illness that I have not made the time to do the things that nurture my relationship with the divine.

Appropriately to me, Jamie asks us on this Ash Wednesday

Where do you wish to make a difference?

Having said all of that about Lent and Journeying, I wish to make a difference first and foremost within myself. I struggle with self-loathing and a host of other things that tear me down, and I have come to recognize that until I can treat myself with true gentleness and love I cannot truly treat anyone else with gentleness and love. I grew up hearing the entreaty to "love thy neighbor as thyself" but have only now learned that in order to love my neighbor I must love myself. Otherwise, even though I treat those around me with utmost respect and love they will look at how I treat myself and wonder if I am secretly judging them, tearing them down in my heart, and that doubt will poison the gifts I am offering.

My greatest desire is to make a difference in the lives of others who struggle; to be a beacon of hope to those still in the darkness. So I am preparing my lamp to shine brightly.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wishcasting Wednesday - Travel

This week Jamie asks the Wishcasting Community

Where do you wish to travel?

I have many travel dreams, almost all connected in some way to stories from my childhood and dreams of a climate and experience different from the coastal desert and high desert that I am intimately familiar with.

My family stories connect me to my fascination with Canada - my grandmother was born in a homestead on the prairie in Saskatchewan and moved with her family to Vancouver where she met my grandfather. After they married they were lured by friends to Southern California, where my mother was born and they stayed until their deaths. With occasional visits to family throughout my childhood I saw only small glimpses of Vancouver and heard quite a few stories of what they missed when family visited us. I have never seen any other part of Canada, and if you add in the books like Anne of Green Gables and Emily of New Moon I have quite a list of places Canadian that I would like to see.

With a family lineage directly connected to England I don't remember the first time I remember wanting to visit. I have been several times, and each time I leave wishing to see more and stay longer. My fascination has expanded to include Scotland and Wales, especially with the further genealogical work my dad has done and my own spiritual journey.

Having married a man who was raised (at least part of his life) in a remote and tiny town in Alaska on Glacier Bay and hearing the stories he tells of the beauty and awesomeness of Alaska, that is also on my travel list. For quite a while I have wished to see the Northern Lights and also to see the glaciers and all - mostly this manifested in the desire for two different trips, a cruise and a second trip since the best time for the Northern Lights is winter.

My husband is also of Danish descent, and learning about Danish traditions and foods from an amazing neighbor of my parents has gotten me interested in Denmark as well.

I have quite an itinerary, and hope someday soon to be able to travel in more than my imagination (which has logged more than a few billion miles itself!).

On a less literal note, I wish to travel the path of healing set before me. While it may not be as romantic as a bed and breakfast in a secluded cottage overlooking a highland loch it is much more practical. I believe now that the medical tests are coming in that my current illness is much exacerbated by stress and that is something I can do something about on my own. So I have set my foot upon this path and I will travel it as far as it leads me.

Where are your travel dreams leading you?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Quick Update

This past weekend I had two episodes of total blindness. Each lasted a minute or so, and I just ignored them. Yup. Clear signs that things are getting worse, and I ignore them. Of course I've been ignoring the escalation of my symptoms for a long time. I guess that is what happens when your doctor tells you "it's all in your head" and he isn't making a bad joke (he isn't my doctor anymore, either). With my eyesight getting worse anyway this was a wake-up call and I went in to see my optometrist this morning. He sent me over to urgent care, where I managed to baffle three doctors. On the bright side, I provided an opportunity for them to play with a new "toy" - a new instrument for performing visual checks of the back of the eye. From there I met with a neurologist and tomorrow I am heading to an ophthalmologist to establish a baseline record and figure out where to go from here. It sounds like an exciting ride, as my experiences with IIH (Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension) symptoms have not been this thoroughly checked out previously. Don't get me wrong, my diagnosing doctor was wonderful and did what was available at the time, but there is more that they can do now.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wishcasting Wednesday - Stories

Today, Jamie asks us

What story do you wish to live or let go of?

I wish to live the story that my soul has been quietly singing to me since birth, the story of myself as spiritual being and healer. So far (at least since I can remember making this kind of choice) I have resisted this story, fearing the change that it would bring into my life. Fearing being "different" or labeled as "strange". I had enough of that in my childhood without embracing the truth that I am a unique creature, though by no means was I "normal" to the crowd that I met in school! So now I am 9 years and my third flare-up into a diagnosis of a life-changing condition, and I am finally realizing that it is just going to keep happening until I embrace the change and lessons this condition has to bring me. I'm a little slow at grasping the obvious when motivated by deep fears of change and being "different"!

On the other side of that same coin, I wish to let go of the story that tells me that it is wrong to be "different", that I must strive to be the same as those I have been surrounded by all my life. That story no longer fits, has never truly fit, and I need to let go of it. I have struggled with the dichotomies of my self for too long, never really finding a place where I belonged. I joined a Christian Healing Order thinking that I would find people who accepted alternative healing methods as part of the system of healing prayer and discovered that I was a "witch" and a "heretic" for utilizing or studying such systems as Reiki and Healing Touch. I found a local Herbal Studies program and hoped that I would fit there, but it became obvious when I was not interested in mind-altering herbs that I was too "straight" and "stuffy" for them. I have wandered long, one foot in one world, the other foot in another. It is time to embrace my experiences for what they are: my personal story, the lessons I had to learn to be the person I am today. I now see myself as a bridge - I was raised as a strict vegetarian at a time when my peers and their parents had no experience with vegetarians; my paternal grandmother whom I admired was a strong, wild woman (and I take after her in many ways) who lived alone in the middle of nowhere; I was raised in an Anglo-Catholic Episcopal church that still clings to the old ways, but have spiritual experiences and knowledge that are not acknowledged by such a background; my feet have always been in two worlds, I think.

In reality, my wish today is to embrace my story for what it is: to live the truth of my soul while letting go of the parts of the past that I held onto but were not my truth or my story.

What stories do you have to tell?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Yarn Stash and a Birthday Weekend

Much has been happening here at the cottage, and I have been adventuring through the dresser where I am attempting to organize my yarn stash. This has kept me quite busy, but has not been particularly interesting!

Over the weekend the family celebrated my bonus daughter's birthday with a trip to Corvette Diner for lunch. What a hoot! She and my husband had never been there, and my family hadn't been in a long time. Since it has recently relocated close to where my parents live it made a perfect lunch outing. We were seated in the Groovy Room, complete with black lights, a yellow submarine, and a table that held shadows for a few minutes after you covered it with something. Rosie, our waitress, put 26 straws in the birthday girl's hair in quite the wild and wacky updo to top it all off! After we had stuffed ourselves on burgers and malts we finished up at my parent's house with Chocolate Raspberry cupcakes from a local bakery and Harney and Sons Valentine's Chocolate tea with Rosebuds, which my mom had picked up at Kimberly Shaw's open house at Christmas time. I really enjoyed the tea and mentioned that I might order some for our house when I saw that Kimberly is giving away a tin as part of a really neat give away on her blog. Of course I entered, but I certainly don't want to be selfish and keep such a sweet gift a secret!

We finished the weekend by visiting the snow in the local mountains as we made the drive to return my bonus daughter to her mother. It was as cold and slippery as I remembered it from living for a time in Boston, but for the bonus daughter it was a novel and fun experience. We had packed a picnic lunch and ate at a picnic table surrounded by snow, watching people sledding down the hill among the trees around us. I kept waiting for them to crash into the abundant trees, but that only happened once. She was able to make a cute little snowman from the icy snow pellets and played to her hearts content while I ended up back in the car to warm up!

I think that covers the weekend, now back to the stash organization!

Friday, January 29, 2010

An Update and Some Felted Flowers

Things have been busy around here... I have an appointment with a doctor in a couple of weeks to start the process of getting to know them and developing a new network of specialists. When I was first diagnosed with IIH I had a team of caregivers including my optometrist who first noticed something wasn't right, my primary care physician, a neurologist, and a neuro-opthamologist. Doesn't that sound exciting? In all honesty, it was the best care I have received so far. Once my insurance changed I was assigned to a doctor and neurologist who told me that "it was all in my head" and that I was simply making all of this up to get attention. The neurologist even scheduled my therapeutic Lumbar Puncture (aka spinal tap) just to make me stop telling him something was wrong. It was such a horrible experience of care that I have avoided doctors for the last three or four years and successfully managed to convince myself that I wasn't feeling any of the symptoms again. Thank you to everyone who expressed support for me on this journey of learning to be compassionate with myself through all of this. I do suspect that I will be keeping you somewhat abreast of what happens as there is little out there about living with this condition. If it can help someone else who is living with this then I will do what I can. Perhaps it will even keep me honest with myself about taking care of it.

I have also been crocheting flowers like crazy. The flowers turned out quite lovely, and I even managed to remember to take a before picture of the last two before I felted them! Below is a picture of two white roses - one large and one bud, that I took prior to felting along with two similar felted flowers.
Below is the collection of flowers I delivered to At Home With Laurie Ann, a local design store that I made this particular batch for. We had lots of fun dreaming up places to put felted flower pins, and I did in fact put one on a felted hat that I had made a while ago. It looks really cute! To the center left you can see the large white rose from the above picture while the white bud is next to the turquoise flower to the right, both after the felting process.
I hope to have some more pictures up soon of the projects I completed as Christmas presents this year. I know it is a bit late to be showing of Christmas projects, but I used my dad's camera to take the pictures and then forgot that they were there until recently!