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!