Start With One Thing …

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We watch American Ninja Warrior and Spartan Race (via Hulu). I can’t remember which show it was that showed someone explaining how they began training for the course.

The gentleman said (and I apologize for not remembering who said it, on what show, or when) that he started with one push-up and one pull-up a day…

You start with one whatever a day—and you build from there.

It was one of those life-altering moments.

Wait, I thought. I can do this? I can start here, now, and do this, one moment at a time…and I can accomplish whatever it is I set my mind to?

Wow.

It percolated for a few days…although for those few days every day I would do something. I started with stretching. A little bit of stretching. I stop, take a few belly breaths, stretch some part of my body. It’s not the same stretch every day. Sometimes I stop and take three deep breaths. Sometimes I take more…sometimes less.

Just take a moment. What do you want to do?

It doesn’t have to be run a marathon, or run an obstacle course. What if you want to write a collection of poems? A novel? Knit a sweater? Crochet an afghan?

What could you do if you did something every day?

I am still working on my Grain shawl that I started last December—and I will work on this at random, usually when my partner is driving. It takes roughly twenty minutes to complete one row. I haven’t timed it in a while and I am betting it is more like twenty-five minutes now…but just think about it…one row … guesstimate thirty minutes a day…I might finish that thing before, say, this coming December (which is my goal, honestly).

Knit one row a day.

Take one deep breath per day.

Do one stretch per day.

Take five minutes to smear paint.

Take five minutes to write.

Take five minutes to sketch.

Or just one minute.

Start small, teeny tiny, then as you grow more strength, more confidence, you add more.

Maybe in a week, I will knit two rows per day.

By the end of that week, I’ll be taking one deep breath every waking hour.

By the end of the week, I’ll move into doing two stretches per day.

And so on, and so forth.

What will you do?

Where will you start?

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Questioning Karma

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My mother is reading the books of an authoress she loves.

In one of these books, the author says that her angels tell her over and over again there is no karma as we humans think.  There is no hold-over from life to life.  There is no you do bad in this life and bad comes to you.

My friend asked me how I could translate this, into my/our framework of belief and knowing.

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Well, for me, there are two components here.

One: There is the body itself.  The flesh.  It has been documented that cells, tissue, carries memories.  Emotions leave scars in the tissue of the body.  Memories leave scars in the tissue of the body.  For lack of a better way to put things…every experience is felt and categorized in some way in the flesh, whether good or bad.

This flesh memory is then mixed between father and mother and passed down to the children.  So, I feel there are racial memories, there are familiar memories.  These may not be karma, per se, but they have an effect.  This is why every child is born with its own outlook, its own personality, before the world begins to shape the child.

Two: What you send out returns to you.  I do believe that when you incarnate in this world, you start with a clean slate.  You don’t carry the baggage from your past life in with you.  However, I do believe in what you put out, what you surround yourself with, that is what comes to you.  If you see the dark clouds, if you see the Universe against you, then that is what you get.  If you cheat others, if you lie, eventually it all catches up to you.  If you look for the silver lining, if you smile at all you see, then that is what you get in return.

For the most part.

Do bad things happen to good people?  Yes.

Do good things happen to bad people?  Yes.

I do not claim to know the Will of God, nor of anyone else.

I do believe if you do bad things, you will attract that to you.

I do believe if you do good things, you will attract that to you.

I believe there are problems to be solved in every life, and your own outlook defines what those problems will be.

What about you?  What do you believe?

 

A Question Of Forgiveness

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The question has been put to me: do you think everyone deserves forgiveness?

This is a weird question for me because I have long been a proponent of forgiveness for all.  You forgive someone or else you carry that burden around with you, where it does you far more harm than it does the other person.

I had a dream recently where I was in conversation with … someone … where we discussed, at great length, forgiveness and the nature of forgiveness.

During this conversation, this…other…took me through scenario after scenario after scenario of my life.  Not even my favorite thing ever.  I do not dwell in the past.  I let things go, as much as I am capable.  But there I was, answering every question, pondering every query, mulling it all over.

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It’s a strange thing in and of itself to have such a thing happen in my dreams–but it is stranger still that I remembered any of it at all–much less as much of it as I actually remembered when I woke up, or remember now.

I had this conversation where I learned, where I learned to believe, that it was not, it is not, all about forgiving the other person–it’s all about forgiving myself.  Forgiving myself for all those things that happened, for all the choices I made, for all the things that have happened to me.

Forgiving someone else is easy compared to forgiving myself.  Even when there is no way I could have done anything about anything that happened to me, forgiving myself is the hardest thing, has been the hardest thing, continues to be the hardest thing.

Like all too many things, it is an on-going process.

What does forgiveness mean to you?  Do you think everyone deserves forgiveness?

Spirit Animal

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Is a spirit animal different from a totem animal?

According to whatever Tradition you follow, they may be the same thing…or they may be different.  In some Traditions, they are similar, but handle different aspects of different jobs, shall we say?

I have two totem spirits that are always with me.  The Raven and the Wolf.  They work together; they work in conjunction; they work singularly; they work alone.

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I have Messengers that show up.  I have those that travel with me for a Time–sometimes a short time–sometimes I longer time.  I have Spirit Animals, those that work with my Totem animals, but seem to be … lower in the hierarchy than my Totem pair.  This makes them in no way less powerful nor their messages less important.

I work with much Trickster energy.  Long have I known the Fox…I also work with much Mutable energy, those who shift through worlds, the Spider, the Octopus.

I also work with animals of my choosing, those who do not come to me with messages, but those I look to for aid, for counsel, for strength.

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One thing I have come to learn of late is not only working with a particular animal, it behooves me to work with the place of the animal as well.  To work with the trees, with the grasses, with the flowers.  To work with other animals that work with the animal to which I am reaching out.  That has opened up an entirely different level of interaction and work for me, one that I find most gratifying while I’m working.

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What about you?  What are your spirit guides, your spirit totems?  What are the best ways you work with them?

 

Life Before Facebook

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My friend, whom I have known since middle school, and I were talking recently about how different things were when we were kids.  I look at my two oldest children versus my youngest child…(I have a 15 yo, an almost 13 yo, and a 4 yo) … and I am amazed by the differences in … so many things.  As my mother says, it is almost as if kids today are being born pre-wired to pick up devices and start working on/playing with them.

I have been talking about leaving facebook for awhile.  I have taken that step where I am not on facebook at all for extended periods of time…this after having given myself a time limit (five minutes, no more) in order to participate in different groups or to post or whatever…five minutes per day…usually five minutes per week.  I haven’t missed it at all.

This past week–the entire household, minus the toddler for the most part– was ill.  You can tell by the lack of my posting here that — I didn’t touch my computer.  Seriously.  It wasn’t, oh, I’ll check my email real quick, or anything like that.  It was a total disconnect.

It felt pretty good.  My only issue is — yahoo does not like it when I try to purge my email more than a couple emails at a time.  So I have this build up of email that I have sitting there that I cannot look forward to sitting down to in one session and just mass deleting anything.  Other than that…I’m pretty ok with having been completely off line…for nearly a week.  Now, there are family members with whom I communicate via email regularly that I have missed talking to … and I owe them emails…but at least I did let them know what was going on.

Now, there is actually one reason I will not delete my facebook account completely–teenagers in the house.  I need to be able get to my kids’s facebook accounts whenever necessary, but otherwise, my intention is to stay off facebook — I have let go of groups and as much other as I can.

And other than facebook?

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I have trouble reading lately.  Books.  I feel more and more like my grandmother every day.  I remember later in her life, my grandmother and her magnifying glass.  Recently, I found a beautiful magnifying glass, with octopus tentacles as the handle, on sale–and now I use that periodically.  I have also found this … disconnect … where if I haven’t had a real book in my hand for awhile (due to toddler belligerence mostly)it does take awhile for my eyes to adjust to reading.

To aid my desire to read more, off line, I have stopped using my ipad for the most part.  I no longer peruse my normal sites for news, gossip and fandom wares.  I have deeply curtailed my ipad use  to save my eyes.  This has been and continues to be an on-going process.  I know that the digital screens and my eyes are not so compatible.

Another thing I have begun lately is limiting my time surfing while on my laptop as well.  If I need an image to inspire a sketch or something, I give myself five, maybe ten minutes.  If I don’t have one in that time, I’m done.

I have cut back on nearly all social media.  I deleted my original, personal pinterest account.  I did create another one, for my own edification, as well as for keeping up with my kid.  I’ve just not done a while lot with it yet.  The same goes for instagram.

I am working on the websites, yes, but this blog is my focus. And one that indeed does and will be laid aside when sickness arises.  Sad as I may be to say that.

I remember life as a teenager: the boom box, the radio playing, books and more books.  No computers.  No computers in my life until the 90s, when the ex introduced me.  Much like video games, my brain is not well-geared for such things.  I prefer the fantastic world of books–and of movies, which are also few and far between for me of late, again due to toddler intervention–even many of my documentaries are not exactly toddler friendly.  And since we are still working to adjust sleep patterns since my partner finished his PMBA program, I cannot find the time to watch really interesting things while waiting for the toddler to wear out.  I miss real MTV, but that’s been gone far too long for me to worry about now.  I spent a great deal of time outside too.  In the woods, running through pastures filled with cattle.  In the woods, on the mountains.

I miss trees like that.  I miss mountains.  I even miss the turkey vultures.

It was a much different world than stranger glaring at me every time we go out and I pull out my phone when we walk the public parks around here.  Glaring due to thinking they have yet more competition for some phone-oriented video game which I shall not name–and which I do not play.

It was a much different time when the entire world now has ear plugs in, oblivious to those around them.

Strange days are these.

Strange days indeed.

 

If I Knew I Could Not Fail…

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This post was inspired by Lisa Jacobs (Thank you SO MUCH, Lisa.)

If I knew I could not fail–what would I do?

I would — embrace my own inner Jehanne la Pucelle.  I would stand my ground and never waver, no matter what Inquisition came knocking on my door.

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I would — write more.  I would write fiction, non-fiction, poetry.  I would write articles.  I would talk about things that have made me … outcast from people who claim to be…open-minded and/or loving and/or otherwise people…I would write for my own edification.  I would write for publication.  I would write because it feels good.  I would not think of nor worry about what anyone else in the whole wide world would say.

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I would–paint more.  And then I would paint even more.  And I would sell it.  I would cast about and find fairs and shows to set up exhibits and sell my work.  Oddly enough, one thing that I have done in the past and now have no desire to do is to sell prints of my work.  I want to sell the originals and let them go.  I have reached a point where I have begun to worry about not being able to let go of things in order to allow new things to flow in.

WIP. ..starting with courage…watercolor in altered book… #expressitmonth

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I would — make more books.  Bind my own books.  Create more hand-bound journals.  I would … give them as gifts…and I would sell them.  Then I would make some more and sell them too.

I would make more videos, not just the chatty weekly check-ins that I do.  I would do painting videos.  Tutorial videos.  Discussion videos.  I would create meditations.  I would release them in video and in audio form.  Oh, the path this course could take…

I would knit more, for the fun of it.  If patterns surfaced that I could write up and sell, then so be it, but the idea of forcing something to create a pattern–or forcing myself to make something just to test out the pattern…I can let go of that.

Test knit cloth…free pattern in bloom by Kathleen Brundige

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I would crochet when the mood hits me.  And that’s about it there, lol.  Crochet is hard on my hands and although I hold out hope that at some point my youngest will want me to make him softies, I am not holding my breath.  I am waiting for the grand-kids at this point.

I would sew more, because I actually enjoy sewing.  And not just sewing.  I miss being able to do embroidery.

I would embrace bolder, more Romany cleaning routine for the household…and if I could manage it, make the kids do it and stick to it.  Because they are the issue anyway…the teenager’s cruddy habits have rubbed up on the toddler…not that he came out with the best habits…but hers have made his so much worse–and she is his Queen and Master…whatever she says or does goes with him…but I don’t really guess that belongs on this list, does it?

I would — sell more of my work, create more work, create more workshops and online courses, and earn the money to buy us a new house, with more than enough room for all of us, with land, with space for garages, sheds, maybe even a barn or two…and a swimming pool for the kids.  Then, when I had the space and was actually not completely horrified at people coming over and having to step over everything and everyone to do anything, I would open office space and office hours and I would take in-person clients.  I would get back to my energetic healing practice, and perhaps even into my intuitive counseling practice again.  In person.  I might even be willing to host retreats.  I would definitely teach classes and workshops outside the home–and that too is a goal.

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I would — I would plant more flowers as well…because, why not enjoy the beauty?  I would raise bees…and rabbits…and finally have that animal menagerie I have always wanted.  Maybe even a horse.  Definitely a donk or two.  And guinea fowl.  Oh, yes.

And one really odd thing…I would buy a Jaguar frame and have the car rebuilt from the engine out.  I want to help do this–I would say I would do this all myself, but I don’t think I am all that mechanically inclined, but maybe I am and I’ve never really been allowed to try my hand at doing things…and this would be the project I would want to do.

I know I could break the first few sections down (writing, art, book binding…writing) into smaller and smaller bits…but how long do you want to sit here and listen to me micromanage the smallest details that in a year will have been forgotten anyway?  I need to get the big points down (write, darn it, write…then write some more–and then SELL it…) and then get busy doing that…not mire myself in details ( I will write 2-500 words articles on x topic 3 times a week for 5 weeks and send them out to x sort of publishers…yada yada…I won’t stick to that sort of stricture anyway.) But–I can write more.  I can art more.  I can bind more books.  And I can be happy doing that.

Thanks for listening.

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Trusting The Universe

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Learning to trust the Universe, to trust the Divine, is not an easy process for me.

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I have been very clear…I am not happy in this house.  I am not happy in this city–or county–or section of the country.  I deeply miss my home.  Even though I have lived here in this area since 1999, with about 2 years elsewhere.  I went back to where I came from, but my oldest son lives out here, so I came back.  I had to leave back East to realize just how good it is, how much I miss it, and how I cannot wait to get back there.  I made a choice to stay here until my oldest was old enough to be on his own and I abide by that, no matter how miserable this place makes me.

However, I am trying to re-write my I hate this story, because I cannot bear the negativity of telling myself this story over and over and over again.  It isn’t making anything better to do this to myself.  So, I have started to work on reframing and retelling my story.

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In my new story, much to my chagrin, I have to stop focusing on the here and now and focus on the future–which is something I genuinely hate to do.  I am all about be here now and live the life you have.  But when here and now sucks swamp water and monkey a$$, I try the best I can.  I have to focus on the positive…and that is the future, hands down.

Instead of focusing on the house I live in — I work to give gratitude that it holds us safe from storms, from hot weather, from cold weather, from floods, from thieves, from gunshots.  I am grateful to have a place to sleep, for my children to sleep, for a washer and dryer that work.  All of those simple things that can be taken for granted until you don’t have them.  I work to focus on what we are looking for in the new house, the one that we are moving to at some point in the near future: a swimming pool, a fire place, a privacy fence, a bedroom for each of us, studio space, storage space, a beautiful kitchen, a two to three car garage, land for the dogs and kids to run, room for chickens and bunnies and gardens…just to make sure the Universe understands that the ideas are not changing here.

It began as a difficult process, this trying to find positives inside the negative.  And then, after fighting to do it for several (several) months, there was a flip–and it became easy.

And, once it became easy, there was a shift.  Now, I am looking to paint the walls in this house, hopefully with a paint that can cover nuclear fall-out, ahem…but still…the paint has to be able to cover…after my adventures in trying to scrub the walls here clean in the past (on many occasions) I worry that no matter what we do…the dirt and grime will show through…but I am going to have faith in the house working with us so it can find new hosts to live within its walls.

Along with my shift about the inside of the house, a shift has come for the outside.  I want to plant again.  This isn’t the greatest year to plant things.  It was too cold to plant anything in May…and there was one weekend that we could have done it, but we didn’t–and then it was too hot to plant anything.  Seriously.  I worry about the little finches who come to feast on our sunflowers because this year there is only one sunflower, if the dog and the heat don’t kill it before it gets to bloom.

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I want to plant bearded iris.  I miss them.  My grandmother used to grow them, in one long row (that I always thought was, uhm, really bizarre actually) behind the house.  Not a bed or anything…the flowers just came up in one long row…and they were not thinned out yearly that I know of…so they just grew.

I want to plant more daylilies.  And move the ones we have.  I have a list of things I want to do…my main goal is to work on the outside of the house more once it grows cooler again…and to focus more on the inside of the house as best as I can all the time.

Along with the shift in looking at the house, I work and I have been working on the way I view other things.  Myself.  My children.  Other relationships.  Laundry (laundry…not my favorite activity).  I wonder what it will take for me to unpack all my icons and statuary again.  Well, ok, my toddler really has to grow up more…we’ve lost several other statues and knick knacks to his…curiosity … we still need to replace our crèche, but we’re getting there.

There’s a lot to do.  A lot to focus on.  And I have to trust the Universe.

I am here, putting down roots in a place I have no intention of staying, in a place I deeply dislike and distrust, but I have to put roots down somewhere, because if I don’t…there will be no foundation for the family…and we need that foundation as a unit…so I put down roots, slowly, tentatively and often grudgingly…in the hopes that the roots I put down here will travel with us as we move and grow, as we travel to our new home, as the family expands.  Rooting down here, finding that place, that bedrock, upon which to build our safe positive and compassionate foundation–this is another practice, a daily practice, often a moment by moment practice.

The one thing I learn again and again is that I have to let go of dogging myself out and condemning myself for not being able to maintain a level of positivity every single moment of every day.  I just have to take a deep breath and let it all go…and begin again.

It’s a practice.  Every day, it will always be a practice.

Life is a journey…not a destination…

I have to keep telling myself that.  Trusting the Universe…not always easy…

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