Creative expression through the written word

Posts tagged ‘learning’

HEAL…thy self

I had a conversation with my son today about all the things I am learning on this journey toward healthy living and it almost made me cry to think that I am creeping up on 50 and just now really giving a damn about my health. 

The good news is…I do care now and I’m educating myself and learning what I chose to ignore for so long. Do I have any urgent health issues making me take this step? No, but I started taking this little yellow pill that changed my life so much that it woke me up to how unhealthy I was feeling without even knowing it. 

The changes brought about by this little blend of 5 natural herbs shocked me and as I read, everyday, how it’s helping others too I can’t help but be excited by it. However, it opened the door to health for me that I had previously shut, believing I was genetically predisposed to a long life. That may be true but what quality of life is what I should have been asking myself. 

So here’s the thing, this journey isn’t about losing weight although that is a huge portion of it for me but it’s about developing a mindset and a lifestyle that is healthy. I’m a firm believer that change starts in the mind and we create it into physical manifestation. My weight is slowly dropping in small increments but it’s the mindset and willpower to make better choices that I see the most progress in. 

No one said this journey would be easy, in fact it’s not but then again ignoring my health for 30 years has not exactly helped either. So what I’m learning is that healthy really stands for HEAL…thy self. No one can do it for you. It’s a choice I have to make every day, sometimes even moment to moment. 

Am I blessed beyond measure to have found a little yellow pill that costs less than a Starbucks coffee everyday that turns on my survival genes and and makes my miraculous body heal itself? Absolutely! I thank God everyday for that blessing but my biggest blessing to date is believing in myself and taking every step forward, backward, and forward again towards a new me. 

So my new mantra is HEAL…thy self. If you want it to be your new mantra too, let me know. I don’t care if I’ve never met you, spoken to you before or if you are a world away….I’m happy to support you in your goals and dreams. After all, independence is great but together we can soar. 

Level Up

One of my favorite books is called, “The Game of Life and How to Play it” by Florence Scovel Shinn. It was written in 1925 and it’s truths still hold true today.  The basic premise of the book is that ignorance of, or carelessness with the application of various ‘Laws of Metaphysics’ can bring about undesirable life events.

We are creating even if we are creating in a state of unawareness. Scary thought right? So, this book goes about discussing metaphysical laws so you can go about creating with awareness.  We are all in this grand game and adventure called life, and this is a guide book on how to play the game. 

It may sound simple but it is anything but easy to put into practice. It’s about flying in harmony with the divine around us. It’s about learning mastery over self. Every failure, every challenge that comes our way is an opportunity for us to grow mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. An opportunity for us to “level up” and to get better at the game of life. 

I’m constantly trying to level up, to grow, to better myself, to learn, to function at a higher level. To be the best version of myself that God created me to be. It’s a daily choice. Some days I get knocked on my ass but in the words of video games, I get experience points and eventually those points add up and I get to level up my life.

Nothing is truly a failure if you learn from it. However, part of what I’m learning about the game of life is that not everyone is on the same level as you. You have to allow people to level up in their own way, in their own time, through their own experiences. Sometimes that means paths have to diverge. Sometimes that means getting put in with new teams. Sometimes that means you’re the only one at your level for a while. The point is to never give up, to always keep trying and to believe in yourself and your ability to play the game and play it well.

This is life and I’m living it. Are you? 

Double dipping

Double Dipping…. I am not talking about double dipping your veggies or chips in dip. Although I am sure I could make a post on that too. No today I am using the reference of double dipping in regards to the fact that for the next 90 days I have agreed to take part in the Team Heart 90 Day Live Facebook challenge and I blog. A lot of what I am doing in the 90 day Live video challenge is stuff I could just as easily write and post to my blog. 

I guess I decided to save myself some time and share across platforms as I can and maybe not have to create double the content. Cheating? Um….probably but that’s okay it won’t be word for word, just maybe theme for theme. 

So today in my live video I talked about taking action even when afraid. Now I am no expert on doing something despite my fear. I can honestly admit that yes, I have allowed fear to hold me back. I have allowed fear to make my decisions sometimes. It sucks. What’s worse is that no matter what I have told others I know the real reason I didn’t move forward, chase a dream, or take action. Living with my self after that is way worse than if I had just faced me fears head on and taken action. 

Fear can be debilitating. Paralyzingly so. You can literally have a whole body physical reaction to fear. I’m learning to not let fear stop me. I’m learning to take action despite the risk, real or imagined. I’m learning to stop the conversations in my head about doubt and unworthiness and I am learning to quit making excuses so I can stay in fear. I mean, who wants to live there anyway?

Everything I want, everything I dream about is literally on the other side of fear. I have to want those things more than I want fear in control. Believe me it’s a work in progress but at least I am consciously working on it. I’m choosing every day to take at least one step beyond my fear. 

Am I a raging success? Well, no but I can be as long as I don’t give up. As long as I keep putting one foot in front of the other. My point to all this? You can do it too. Just push yourself through the rapidly beating heart, sweaty palms, barely breathing moment and do it. You’ll live – I promise! 


Always Learning

When I was younger I absorbed information like a sponge. I loved learning. Okay, I loved learning with the exception of Math and Science. I really sucked at Math and Science. I’ve developed an interest in Science over the years but in no way do I think I am scientifically minded. Now Math….yeah that is still a big NO. I do math as it is impossible to live in this world and not do math on some level every day but man oh man, I really don’t like it.

As I got older I found I liked learning things related to my work but I kind of quit pursuing academic education in pursuit of life education in how to be a wife and a parent. Then as my kids got older I found myself reaching out to learn more, especially of a spiritual nature. As a matter of fact, I felt like when I was younger and absorbed information like a sponge again.

Then a few years ago I started to really embrace the creative side of my nature. I think everyone is creative in some way but I had convinced myself that I wasn’t creative at all. So, I had to undo the dam I had put in place and let my creativity flow. So I spent a few years really learning about my creativity.

So….here we are and I am finding that my learning is moving into experiential. I’m looking at learning line dancing, salsa dancing, quilting, book publishing, painting….my list keeps growing the more I look at my options. I think everyone should be learning in some way. If you aren’t growing my learning you are stagnating. Who wants to be stagnate? Not me.

Something New

If you aren’t learning….you are stagnating. If you aren’t pushing yourself to grow and gain knowledge and wisdom then you are missing the whole point of living. 

Every minute experience is teaching us something about the world we live in or about ourselves and if we are really paying attention it’s teaching us both at the same time. The truck to learning is awareness. Being conscious as you move through your day and not just on auto-pilot. Noticing your interactions through this thing called life and seeing how each time we touch another living thing it shapes us and our perspective of the world.

Last year was not a good year for me. It was emotional and we struggled financially and I can’t honestly tell you how we made it through the year because it looked bleak all year. The thing is…we did make it. Day by Day by freaking, exhausting, emotionally draining day. 

Over the course of the year I had multiple friends telling me how strong I was because if it was them they would _______(fill in the blank). What I learned about myself is this: I can handle a lot of shit, an amazing amount actually and keep going as long as my foundation is strong. 

What is my foundation? My husband, my children, my friends, my faith. I also learned this: Being the strong one sucks sometimes because when you need to fall apart it often throws the world around you into chaos and then you have to fix the chaos and fix yourself. I can count on one hand the people I feel I can show that fragile, vulnerable side to but my life wouldn’t be what it is without them.

So 2016 was a year full of learning for me but at least I’m growing and everyday a better version of myself is out there living, learning and experiencing life. 

The Vision Quest

According to Wikipedia a vision quest can be defined as a turning point in life taken before puberty to find oneself and the intended spiritual and life direction. In many Inuit and other Native American groups, when an older child is ready, they will go on a personal, spiritual quest alone in the wilderness. This usually lasts for a number of days while the child is tuned into the spirit world. Usually, a Guardian animal will come in a vision or dream, and the child’s life direction will appear at some point. Once the child has experienced this they will return to the tribe and pursue that direction in life. The vision quest can be a part of  shamanism, more exactly, the learning and initiation process of an apprentice for achieving the ability for shamanizing, mostly under the guidance of an older shaman. Taking both of those definitions into account I’d like to share a spirit quest I had the privilege to experience recently.

My parents bought a Native American music and chanting cd recently. It is said that the Chieftan, who recently passed away, who created the cd with the music artist was one of the last remaining that actually understood the power of chanting and how to harness it for connection into the spirit world. My father, a very spiritually connected man who I believe he is a Shaman in his own right listened to the cd and informed me that I needed to listen to the cd without interruption, without spouse or children around and I needed to listen in a state of meditation. What he told my mother that they did not tell me until later was that he knew something important would happen…to me…for me…when I listened to it. He said, “My daughter will hear this and be able to reclaim a part of her that was missing. It’s very important!”

When I was told over the phone by my parents that I needed to listen to the cd. Tears immediately sprang to my eyes and I felt the deepest desire to simply let go and cry. I had a hard time catching my breath and instinctively knewit would impact me greatly. A kind of nervous anticipation held me captive for the rest of the afternoon but it was uncertaintity that I would want to hear the cd that kept me putting it off until late evening. It was 8:30 before I finally headed to my parents house. Making sure that I was grounded and centered I sat in their living room, just me and my mom, lights off, the only sound in the room the cd and within moments was whisked away on a spirit journey, a vision quest of my own.

As the music began, the sound of the wind blowing, a Native American flute and faint almost imperceptible chanting filled the room. In my minds eye a journey began so deceptively simply I didn’t even realize it had started. I saw an eagle soaring through the brilliant morning sky, wings spread wide to embrace the current he graced with such magnificence. He dipped, soared and dove calling to me and each cry felt as if it came from the depth of my soul. He dove through the sky and crossed a treeline in the wilderness that drew my gaze to the forest.

As if my eyes were telescopes I honed in on a mountain lion loping along with sleek grace and quiet intensity. I watched as the mountain lion crossed miles of forest floor, bounding effortlessly over fallen logs and through thick undergrowth. I watched the mountian lion until he crossed paths with a small turtle. My focus was immediately diverted to the turtle and I watched it grow in size until it was as big as a large sea turtle. Suddenly the sea turtle stood on it’s hind legs and became a Native American man wearing a sea turtle shell as clothing. His eyes were black as night and he had green paint on his face. He was frightening to look at and spoke not a word but offered me a turtle shell filled with a milky white substance. I understood I was to drink it so I did and the man disappeared.

I looked around me and realized that the drink had to have been some kind of hallucinogen. As I walked through the forest I could see the life in all things. Every leaf, every flower, every blade of grass gave off a pulsing glow of life. I could literally see the trees breathing and I felt completely connected, one with all things. I seemed to drift through the forest absorbing the knowledge that I am part of the whole and that life is in all things. I came to the edge of the forest and as the trees fell away I saw the Pyramid of the Sun. Nothing was left of the people or the lives that were lived in that once vital community but I knew where I was. It was a sacred place, the place I had come to seek…something.

As I climbed each step, 365 steps in all, I had to say a prayer. I could not progress to the next step until my prayer was complete. I never heard what I was praying but I feel as if it was a chant of some kind, a plea for the divine mother to listen to my call when I reached the peak of the pyramid. At the top I climbed upon the alter and sat upon my knees bowing to the sun, praying earnestly for the source of all creation to hear me, to assist me and to guide me in the direction I was to go. I knew in my heart that I was seeking the same enlightment and wisdom that had been sought through the ages. I spent all day there praying and crying to the heavens. As I turned to leave and began desecending the steps each step I took brought the darkness of night closer.

At the base of the pyramid I meandered through the quiet remains of the once great city and found myself facing a river. I could see the moonlight rippling across the surface of the river and I dropped to my knees on the riverbank and stared into the swift but quiet river. A lok in the water reflected back the image and shape of a human body but there was no reflection, no face to see. It was blurred and unclear. I disturbed the water where the face was supposed to be in the hopes that the waer would clear but instead the image began to fade away altogether and in frustration I threw myself back against the shore and wept myself to sleep there in darkness.

As dawn broke over the river I awoke and discovered a tattoo had appeared on my arm. It was the sleek and dangerous black panther. The sight of that permanent mark on my skin was frightening at first for how did it get there? But as I gazed at it I felt a sense of rightness steal over me and joy began to unfold within my heart. I rose and headed back to the village. I had let my Chieftan down for I had not found what I sought but I did come away with something.

As I approached an empty field and the sun shone down I felt the desire to dance take ahold of me. I began to spin in circles and those circles were performed within one large circle around the meadow. I danced for joy, I danced with gratitude, I danced for the sun God and Mother Earth. When I could dance no longer I continued on my hourney to the village and came upon it soon enough. I walked through the village and no one looked upon me. I approached the teepee of the Chieftan and as if he knew I was coming to see him he stepped out to greet me. He said not a word but stared into my eyes, stared into my soul and I knew he saw what I had feared. I had gained nothing. I knew nothing. I had let him down…my vision quest had not been fruitful.

He led me to the sweat lodge and I laid down upon the grass mat that was prepared for me. I stared up through the smoke hole of the teepee and was aware that three people were with me. The Chieftan, Mantou my spirit guide, and Sari my guardian angel. They are with me on every spiritual journey and they were here with me. I knew that I was being put through a ritual to unlock something….to somehow set something within myself free. They chanted, the prayed, the saged me with feathers and cleaned my energy. It went on forever….and suddenly I was standing in front of the Chieftan instead of lying down. He stared into my eyes and then with one great breath he blew on the center of my forehead, just above and centered between my eyes…the place of the third eye where we “see” spiritually. As his breath hit my third eye it was as if a huricane blew throught my entire being. I felt myself falling back into nothingness.

When I came to I was standing at the edge of a forest, My father stood at the edge of a cliff in front of me, back to me, playing a Native American flute. He played to each of the four directions, North, South, East and West. He played to the Source of all and as I listened to the haunting melody I knew that he was praying for me.  Suddenly Sari appeared between us and she began to dance to his melody. It took me a moment to realize that she was transforming into a Phoenix. As a glorious Phoenix she soared into the sky, dipping, swooping and somersaulting in delight. She called to me….”Just like the legend of the Phoenix…out of the ashes comes life and it is a glorious thing. You can find freedom in flight…find freedom as the Phoenix.”

I watched her in the sky and suddenly faces began to flash before my eyes. I knew all four faces but could only name three. ***Flash, a face*** and I would say “Chieftan”. ***Flash, a face*** and I would say “Mantou”. ***Flash, a face*** and I would say “Sari”. ***Flash, a face*** I knew the face, knew I should know the name but it wouldn’t come to me. The faces would repeat and each time I would get more and more frustrated that I couldn’t name the four face. (outside of the vision quest in the real world – my father called home – my mother told him we were listening to the cd and he said he would call later.) The second my mother answered the call I had the name. It was Isaro, my father’s spirit guide. As his face flashed in front of me I called his name just like I had with others. “Isaro” and with the sound of his name leaving my lips I was sent spiralling through some kind of vortex.

The only way I know how to describe it was like on movies when people are time travelling and the eveything is moving so fast, colors stream by and you are tossed about through the tunnel of light free falling toward something. I heard as of from a very great distance the cd clicking off. I heard my Mother getting up ad moving about and I knew that I had to get back to my body. I had to return. I became aware of my body and a new experience began. I felt my spirit self trying to fit back in to my physical self. I was aware that I couldn’t move any part of my body. It felt like I was pushing through mud and each inch of pogress I made I felt a little more of my body. It seemed to take forever to get past my eyes but as I did I tried to open my eyes and struggled. They felt as if they were weighted closed. I became aware that I had been crying. As I sank into myself I could feel the tears on m cheeks. I could begin to move my fingers, then my hands. On and on the progression back into myself went and the more I returned the more control I had over my body. My entire body felt like…well tingly, almost painfully so like when your foot goes to sleep and you ‘wake’ it up. It took almost fifteen minutes to come back fully.

My mother told the story of how they came across the cd, who the Chieftan was, the experience they had withthe cd up to that point and how certain Dad was that it was important for me to listen to. I listened, I absorbed and then I asked for paper and her Native American Medicine cards. I looked up the things that seemed important to me. This is what I know and have interpreted of the vision, so far:

  • The Hawk is the messenger of God, when hey appear to someone they are there to tell you that a message is coming and that it is important. Pay attention the message is from God.
  • The Mountain Lion represents leadership. What I got out of the message in the mountain lion card is to lead yourself where your heart takes you.
  • The Turtle(Man) represnts Mother Earth and being grounded. It also represents knowing how to use protection.
  • I, we, are part of ALL and I had to be put in a position where my personal filters were removed to really see life as it is.
  • There were 365 steps – one for each day of the year.
  • The Pyramid of the Sun was once the center of a religious center and a highly powerful place. You have to walk the Avenue of the Dead to climb it.
  • I believe the river to be the river of life and from past exeriences I know that I don’t see myself often out of fear for who I truly am.
  • The Black Panther is highly revered. It represents the darkness and facing your fears. The black panther represents seeking and finding answers, accepting healing and accessing the hidden light of truth.
  • The Chieftan was a shaman my spirit guide and guardian angel were working with to free me – from what I don’t know yet.
  • The Chieftan cleared some blockage out of my third eye..opened some kind of ability to see.
  • I already know the legend of the Phoenix – it is several cultures and has intrigued me for years.
  • Isaro, my fathers spirit guide has something to teach me – I know and I get pieces of it as I go along. We are connected somehow.

Do I understand it all…do I think about it daily..yes. Do I know where to go from Has this changed my life..definately in ways I don’t even understand yet.

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