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Have you ever felt trapped? Not many people are physically caged, but even in this day and age, tragically, some still are. Freedom takes on various dimensions for any individual, once you begin to observe what is really happening and delving into the truth of the moment. On a different level, let’s say you are at a social gathering and someone spontaneously asks you to speak, maybe you are in a toxic relationship of one kind or another, or perhaps in a cage constructed by your self.

The design of self-imposed cages, while cunningly personalized, is exceptionally strong. The bars gain a certain sturdiness over time, as the person melding it together has become a seasoned professional at finding the weak points and fortifying accordingly. At least that is my experience. I am realizing that most of the issues I face are things that my psyche constructed to protect my ‘self’ from some emotional or physical trauma. I am sure they were needed at the time of construction, for my own safety. But they have become an entrapment of which I am currently attempting to shrug off.

 As much as I would like to blame the depression for the anxiety and agoraphobia, by experiencing the symptoms in observational role rather than as an emotional participant, interesting self-learned truths are revealed. Layer after layer of them. Some good, some questionable and some downright ugly…you know what I’m talking about, if you’ve ever honestly evaluated yourself…trying to dig down deep enough to find that churning, molten core. The truths are like dandelion roots in the garden; all connected in some twisted underground network. Discovering the mother root might be considered downright impossible, but I’m doing my damnedest to get there. At the very least, some monster weeds are laid to rest along the way. Once accepted, loved, and even understood these truths begin to weaken the structure and integrity of the very bars that they originally created. It’s not often pretty. The work can be downright dirty, painful, and exhausting, but so far, most of the discoveries made are well worth the effort, even the gnarly ones. So I continue.

I happened upon a contemplative quote from Mooji today. He advised, “The strength of the problems we feel we face are directly in proportion to the strength of personal identity in us. But you are neither of these things. This is the simplest and the most crucial point and pointing, but it is overlooked again and again.
Out of habit, we assume the position of a person who has such and such a problem and situation, but we are only identifying with the idea and memory of an imagined someone who had, have and may have a problem – past, present and future. Everything and everyone on your path comes only for your freedom, to point you, consciously or unconsciously, beyond the ever-changing realm of illusions.  Keep quiet, and discover the place in you which is unmoving. It is the already perfect Self, untouched and unalterable. Know: I am both that which shines as conscious presence and its root which is unborn Awareness.”

 This year, Independence Day has taken on a whole new meaning for me. There is some freedom gained from each little victory in this ironic series of ‘self vs. self’ battles. I have discovered that I can do ‘it’. Whatever ‘it’ is, anything, really. I’ve found out that things I had once deemed impossible are very doable. Not too long ago, I decided to change my mantra up for a bit. In the past, it has been “I trust myself, I trust the universe” (I still love this one). Recently, enmeshed in the self-work I am engaging in, I stumbled upon a new mantra. “Oh well, I’m doing it anyway”. I know it doesn’t sound like much of a mantra but don’t judge too quickly. It is born of little pitfalls like “I am shaking so bad, I can’t brush my teeth or put on my make-up”, or “I am grinding my teeth so badly my jaw hurts”, or “The vertigo manipulates my perception” <insert your choice of debilitating symptom>  that turn themselves into yawning sink holes…this new mantra adds a courageous “Oh well, I’m doing it anyway”. Like a gesture of salute to the mirror as I force myself to actively participate in the day; it combines a gigantic kudos and a big fuck you to myself, reflecting a focused resolve… oh well, I’m doing it anyway.

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You can find my creative expressions at Rootiebirds ~ Etheric Jewelry to Adorn Your Authentic Self

~ Oṃ śānti śānti śānti ~
Namaste~We.Are.One

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the catwalk

the catwalk

Ever tried putting a harness on a cat, or giving a cat a bath, or really even trying to get a cat to do anything it doesn’t want to do? The ears flare and flatten back, the eyes go wide in anger or terror and sometimes they even play dead. A good mental image is a feline howling for a mate…you’ve heard that…they get beside themselves and instinct kicks in. Perhaps you’ve discovered you beside yourself…after the loss of a loved one or in the midst of a tragedy or devastation. You might have an understanding of how that cat feels.

 This week I began taking our shelter cat, Murphy for walks. My son and I had gone to the shelter to see if one of the animals there took a cotton to us. I wanted a dog…so I could start going for walks again and perhaps find some recovery in that. Then Murphy found us. He and my son, Chance, bonded almost immediately. Chance knew it, then I gave in, and we got the cat. But still wanting to walk, I decided to get a harness and leash to see if Murphy was willing to assist me in my journey.

 At first he wasn’t going for it, although he is pretty good-natured for a cat. He begrudgingly let me put the harness on him, but then he rendered his body completely motionless…playing dead. Once we were able to get outside, all of the noise, commotion and new scents overwhelmed him. We had to stop every few feet and if a vehicle rumbled by the planet seemed to stop rotating altogether while we waited in utter angst for it to pass. I remember observing his reactions and realizing he was doing a good job expressing his anxiety… exactly as I was feeling it.

 He would splay his legs and dig his heels in…. adopting the craziest stature and wildest eyes, as if he were falling from some tall precipice and the only way to stay balanced was to triangulate his posture and fluff up his tail… and there was no way anyone was going to get near him to hurt him. Survival is a strong motivator. This is exactly what anxiety feels like: survival mode. So Murphy and I crept along at a snail’s pace those first couple of times…even now sometimes it is more of a slow stroll than a walk.

 He’s adapted and is getting used to the routine and I work around his greatest fear – vehicles, by taking him out early in the morning and late at night, when there are less cars…so he can enjoy the walk and want to continue with me. Not only am I able to get out of the house ‘alone’, I am able to be amongst the amazing energies of the earth and my community. We have been doing this twice a day for the last three days; three whole glorious days after years of not being able to go out for a walk alone without panicking (even if we are in survival mode). I have to admit: we did not rescue Murphy…Murphy is in the process of rescuing me. I think I shall go enjoy a cup of tea and sit beside myself to ponder while Murphy enjoys a snooze. I am able to do that today…life is good!

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You can find my creative expressions at Rootiebirds ~ Etheric Jewelry to Adorn Your Authentic Self

~ Oṃ śānti śānti śānti ~
Namaste~We.Are.One

DSCN0041 Ever been on a road trip or vacation and the way home seemed to take forever? Sometimes I feel as though I will never truly make it home again, but perhaps I can look forward to a new place that is constructed from the pieces of my past…decorated with difficult lessons and bits of beauty picked up along the way. It’s a long and winding road, this one. At times it feels like a maze, full of wrong turns and dead ends. But there comes a time on the way back in which the realization of where I am longing to be might be closer than imagined…it illuminates the pavement, like the welcome throb of a dimly lit streetlight on a desolate stretch of highway. The recognition of a landmark or familiar bend in the road allows for a slight sigh of relief.  

The most recent meditation that I participated in had a focused intent on peace to all paths. I used the Fluorite stone pictured, as it is a promoter of peace. The stair steps on this particular specimen resemble a complex maze. Focusing on the energy of the stone the meditation continued, while thoughts of different pathways, both physical and spiritual, familiar and not, well traveled and rugged, floated in and out… wandering around. Some paused for a moment to rest for a while before moving on. I let them come and go, leaning into the moment…the breath… until I reached this place of emptiness…the field where nothing matters, yet everything exists…the spot where ripples of consciousness subside into the smoothness of serenity.

After the meditation I sat for a moment to ponder the thoughts that floated by during. I realized that not so long ago I worried if there was even a way out of here…if perhaps I had wandered so far into this dwelling that a certain resignation had settled in for an extended stay… thinking as though I am not making much progress…questioning if this is some self imposed purgatory in which the gates are so thickly covered in ancient vines that the entrance is easily overlooked altogether, leaving me to ramble in eternal circles. I’m learning to not rely so strongly on my thinking… it tends to lead me in the wrong direction.  

Today is different. I am just coming out of yet another dark hole. As I was sucked into the vortex of this shadow, it felt like depression’s gnarly claws had sunk deep and I prepared myself for several days of isolation and desperation. I am thrilled to simply say, it did not. I stepped outside of my comfort zone a few times and survived. Some of the things I feared happening…happened…and while it did push me back into that dreaded darkness…yet still here I am, tenderly crawling out, observing that I hadn’t stayed quite so long this time. I also have a better understanding of how I got there, that the shadows are only that…shadows… the faint flickers of light were visible to guide me out, and also allowed me a moment or two to peer into the darkness with a bit more clarity. I am realizing that while I am fragile (aren’t we all?), I am also surviving, taking one tiny step at a time…and this awareness allows the road to not seem so endless, even if it is long and winding.

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You can find my creative expressions at Rootiebirds ~ Etheric Jewelry to Adorn Your Authentic Self

ingredients: chlorella, tahini, raw honey, blueberries, bee pollen, pumpkin seeds, sea salt

ingredients: chlorella, tahini, raw honey, blueberries, bee pollen, pumpkin seeds, sea salt

Of all the things anyone has said to me,  ‘take care’, while simple…had a dynamic impact on my psyche. Actually, it was two persons that I was close to during one of the darkest phases of this shadow called depression who told me I should be taking better care of myself. Matter of fact, one of them specifically said “Kate, if you took care of yourself you would be one of the most powerful people I know.” I argued with him that I do not crave power. I was wrong. Personal power is a strong motivator. The ability to not only positively impact my life, but the lives of those around me is an important part of my journey.

It’s been a rough week, having to postpone counseling therapy, I was frustrated, scared, and frankly feeling more than a little sorry for myself. However, I also realized that I had been focusing so much on therapy work, and was beginning to get lazy with my body’s needs. Eating more processed foods, drinking coffee as a thermos full was always available during the day, letting my yoga fall to the wayside. So…here I am again, focusing on my raw/super/whole food lifestyle (attempt). I’ve been doing a little research on the role iodine plays in thyroid function. Being of the opinion that my thyroid is not participating as it should in my body’s efforts to combat this depression, I’m incorporating seaweed, kelp and chlorella into my diet as these are excellent sources of iodine.

This morning, I made one of my staples for the freezer…energy bars. I decided to focus on chlorella intake for the week. They are simple, no cook, mix and eat goodness for the body. I am no nutritionist, or health food expert…so I’ve included none of the dietary nutrients or calories/fat….tho I can guarantee you these are calorie laden high energy yummies. I am less concerned with weight than I am nutritional impact. So…here is the recipe 🙂

looks gross...tastes good :)

looks gross…tastes good 🙂

Ingredients:

6 tablespoons Chlorella, 1 cup Pumpkin Seeds, 1 cup dried Blueberries, 1/4 cup Tahini, 1/4 cup Raw Honey, 1/4 cup Bee Pollen, 1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt

Mix all together and smoosh into mini muffin tins or roll into tablespoon size balls. This recipe makes @ 20 mini muffin sized energy bars 🙂 I usually freeze mine and take out 1-2 per day … I start with one a day and build up to two or three.

Here is where I got the stuff:

Sea Salt: http://www.etsy.com/shop/TheSpartanTable  < this is one of my most favorite shops…ever 🙂

Chlorella: http://www.etsy.com/shop/ElixirofLife

Honey and Bee Pollen: http://www.etsy.com/shop/KlineHoneyBeeFarm

Pumpkin Seeds, Blueberries, and Tahini were purchased at my local health food store

***Care should be taken when adjusting the amounts of iodine ingested to avoid overdose. Personal research and consultation with a physician should be used when making any dietary lifestyle change of this sort***

raw/super/whole food energy bars

raw/super/whole food energy bars

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You can find my creative expressions at Rootiebirds ~ Etheric Jewelry to Adorn Your Authentic Self

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Intention Burn With a Focus on Peace To the Four Corners of the Earth  ~ Ingredients: Rosemary, Hojari Frankincense, Copal, and Shaman Stones

On this particular leg of the journey, after moving forward with a bit too much confidence, I stumbled and stubbed my toe…ouch! I’ve been told this is what some consider a ‘set back’ or a ‘down’ in the ups and downs. Trudging along my way, with newly gained confidence, doing the therapy work, practicing my spirituality; Also, turning to creativity, and hardening off sensitivities by stepping out of comfort zones…lots of strides forward…oh yea I was feeling good…excellent even!

 I’m not sure if I stepped too far out of the safety zone or perhaps took too many little steps in too close proximity, but things pretty much collapsed. I spent most of the weekend physically ill or on the jagged edge for long periods of time. I tried not to acknowledge it much at first, but then collided with it, which culminated in some incredibly rough days that have left me visibly impacted.

 Much of the time spent picking myself up and dusting off my knees was spent in frustration, shame, and anger. Ego, perhaps? I’m doing the work… I should be getting better, not worse… right? But these things happen and it’s best to just keep marching on as best one can. Just like the pain of a stubbed toe… hobbling along for a little while, a few choice words directed at self for not paying attention, but you keep going because you know without thinking that it won’t hurt forever. I’m getting there… with the assistance of patience… bless her soul…and a helping hand or two.

 It’s difficult to contemplate all of the troubles in this world and not take them on in a very personal way, or at the very least gain perspective… particularly, this week with all that has happened around the world. Mindfulness has provided much needed comfort these last few days, as that it is where I frequently turn for solace. Moments in meditation, sometimes burning resins and incense with set intentions, most often, it is as simple as mindful breathing while holding a crystal or stone. A combination or all three is, for me, a very effective way to focus, absorb and release. Call it escaping if you like…because any spiritual practice can be, in certain moments, a respite to run to out of the storm; a beautiful oasis to dip travel worn feet in and cool off. It can even soothe the most painful of stubbed toes. Be gentle with yourself 🙂

Apophyllite Stalactite with  Stilbite Zeolite crystals growing on it

My meditation stone ~ Apophyllite Stalactite with Stilbite Zeolite crystals growing on it ~ Shes a beautiful workhorse 🙂

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You can find my creative expressions at Rootiebirds ~ Etheric Jewelry to Adorn Your Authentic Self

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Spirituality is such a personal and yet universal thing isn’t it? Mind you, one can find religion in just about anything. The Bible, the Qur’an, the sun or stars, a running river, the petals of a bud peeling open to reveal their true being, the warm companionship of a friend, music, a hot cup of coffee… you get the idea. Heck, logic and facts are a thing of wonder to behold, when you get down to the nitty gritty… and if you look close enough you can even find it in yourself.

 Mindfulness is an important part of my daily practice. Not only do I find comfort and solace in it, I also find clarity and truth. I have rocks and crystals that I hold when I sit and just ‘be’ or perhaps I will burn a bit of sandalwood to connect or rosemary to focus. In any case, this is my spirituality…where I find ‘God’. Sometimes, this is everywhere I look and I have noticed in stillness that it is also in me…ohhh yea and I am here to tell you it’s in you too, whatever your religion, spirituality, philosophy, or logic… just in case you forgot, I know I did.

 I have been practicing this spirituality for quite some time, and sometimes sharing with others who had the same and/or different concepts, just as in any religion. There is an unfathomable connection there. However, there came a point where I lost my faith, misplaced it, so to speak, along the path. Mind you, it was still there, but I was so exhausted and battle worn from fighting this mental, emotional, and physical inner conflict that even participating in a personal source of strength had become overwhelming. I often began to postpone or skip it in order to have enough energy to complete the tasks of the day. I also let my thoughts preoccupy me to the point that nothing else was clear, and I simply forgot. That, too, was a big wake up call. I realized I was setting aside one of the most simple, basic pleasures in my life…my spirituality… neglecting my own sacred self… to accommodate this illness. But, fleeting guilt over my behavior has been replaced with a renewed dedication to practice. I am astounded at the relief and respite there is to be found in just being still…even if only for a few moments.

Mindfulness is like sitting down and honing so far inside of your self that you discover there is nothing. It is in this nothing where everything resides. Almost anyone who has begun a meditation practice understands the irony of trying to think about nothing. It’s darn near impossible. Especially when you are sick or anxious or preoccupied (and who isn’t right?). So, when I meditate, I just let thoughts and ideas come and go, focus on the beauty of my breath, and let the vibrations of those thoughts and ideas that are wandering by fall into the spaces where they are needed, and finally quiet down. That’s all they want, a place to rest before they carry on…and eventually I found myself there…just being. Mindfulness is one of the finest healing spaces I have ever visited.

 Mooji said it well, “Day by day become more and more intimate with the inner stillness, joy and love which is the fragrance of your own pure Heart. Keep Quiet.”

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You can find my creative expressions at Rootiebirds ~ Etheric Jewelry to Adorn Your Authentic Self

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Children are a blessing, aren’t they? So many times I hear people moan and groan about their teenagers and I realize just how blessed I am. Sure we have our moments…I am talking teenager, here…I was one once too, so I know. Disagreements in opinions and exhortations of independence…it’s all so dramatic and unpleasant, but beautiful too…in a complicated way. I don’t mind a dispute now and again…there are lessons hidden in the pockets of arguments and meetings of the minds alike. So, if you listen closely, even in the most irksome of teenage scrimmages, you will discover who your children are and it will astound you.

 For many years my son has wrestled this beast right beside me. There was no adding a spoon full of sugar to make it palatable. He has gone through the shadow so many times with me and, more often than not, has been the brave one holding the light so I could find the way out.   I worry about the ripple effects this disease has had on him, and have succumbed to great guilt over it once I woke up and realized how far down the hole I have wandered.

This child has gone from wondering why I don’t want to go out to eat, to wondering why I cry all the time, to wondering why I am sitting in the car, parked in front of his school after his band concert, sobbing incoherently. He has gone from playing with his mom in the park, to offering to go pick up a pack of gum for me, so he could take an adventure on his bike, to learning how to use a check card and loading up his back pack at the grocery store so we could eat for a few days. Yes, I am ashamed to say this happened, more than once… okay, quite often…fine, truth be told, it had become our routine. I shudder to remember him witnessing my moments of despondency, desperation and despair while in the throes of some encounter with the darkness. These are not cherished memories and certainly not the ideal childhood. Somehow, each time, I managed to sit down with him afterwards and explain that none of it is his fault or responsibility. Such a wise old soul, his gaze never wavered from mine, nor did his fierce love fade in the face of such adversity, but I can only imagine the confusion that pervaded his thoughts as he tried to make sense of it all.

 His face is the portrait of a child with a parent struggling from depression, agoraphobia and anxiety. He has his scars, I see them pop up during certain discussions, but underneath it all, he is kind, compassionate, understanding, loyal, highly creative and incredibly intelligent. So, despite the hardships and strife, at least he has taken what he needed from those circumstances in order to bloom and grow. This is my rationalization anyway.

I think back to one day, a few years ago, that I had taken my work, my passion, and thrown it in the trashcan. I was giving up. He later picked those pieces out of the trash and brought them to me, saying ‘You can’t give up, Mom. You make beautiful things and should share them with the world.’ How could I argue with that? We carry on… muddle through. Matter of fact, last night I was able to drop him off and pick him up at the school dance without incident. I’m pretty sure he didn’t notice … so cool. He is my heart and, and my foundation. Bless his sacred soul…this magnificent creature is one of the few reasons I have continued to carry on these past years…in more ways than one. That is the cold hard truth…and I owe him my life… more importantly, I owe him his back.

Yes, children are a blessing.

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You can find my creative expressions at RootieBirds ~ Etheric Jewelry to Adorn Your Authentic Sel

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