QUICK CATCH UP

A few days off the farm will do me some good. I am off to spend some time helping care for my mom and hang out with my family.  I hear a lot of people tell me horror stories about their families, but for me, I adore my family. They are funny and smart and when disaster hits, they are mental and more funny even.  When we are at a hospital, we bring a tangible WAVE of energy into every room.  People comment on it all the time.  We ROCK.

I don’t have a fear of illness…or death…or dying people. It’s all part of the deal, and frankly, every part of the experience has something to offer.  I try to find what it is that can teach me in every person and in this way I stay unafraid.

I like being in places where I can cheer people.  And I think cancer sucks…

I encourage people to treat their cancer like an unruly horse or child.  Deal with it…but don’t pay it too much mind.  This too shall pass…in whatever way it will choose to pass.

Change sucks.  It shakes your foundation, makes you feel like the earth is not quite like it was a moment ago.  But that’s ok too..

The good part about having lived a full life is I have learned that I’ll make it through everything and come out even better on the other end.  BRING IT ON UNIVERSE…Cause I am READY.

I am not depressed. This is a miracle.  In fact, I have not suffered a major depressive episode in over three years…wow.  This is a real miracle after 17 years on antidepressant and bi-polar meds…ahhh….freeeeeedom. lovely. and it can be yours for the small price of…”make a better choice”…for YOURSELF. BE EMOTIONALLY SELF SUPPORTING THROUGH YOUR OWN CONTRIBUTIONS. 🙂 it works.

For example…I MADE A DIFFERENT CHOICE…JUST FOR TODAY…

I quit smoking. Today is day three… It’s EASY. I feel good..only three days now but that’s after 30 years and really…this is not as bad as everyone says. If you smoke…stop it.  It’s dumb.  It will cause your children to feel like I’m feeling…watching my mother be sick.

There’s my catch up. I send you all blessings.

Be back soon.

~Namaste~

~IT’S ALL IN HOW YOU SEE IT~

Pain IS the touchstone of progress ~12&12 AA~

The thing about the light at the end of the tunnel is that you have to be willing to strike the match.  That means you have to recognize that you have the power to create the light you need and this can mean a perspective shift.

Difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage. The human spirit is to grow strong by conflict.
~William Channing, theologian~

Cancer in your family can put things into perspective.

The other day we had a day one could only have when you have 7 kids, five of which are teenagers, and 5 cars (including a scooter) registered under you name.  The police were horrible – pulling over my 23-year-old pregnant (5 months) step-daughter, who was unaware of a problem with her license.  Our 15-year-old boy who gets a long ago scooter ticket, fails to mention it to dad – dad’s license gets suspended – the registration of the plates is suspended.  The police make a 5 month pregnant girl walk home – not even offering her a ride.  It was a nightmare. My husband was more furious than I have ever seen a human being.  Things twisted quickly out of control and suddenly the whole world was focused on this very temporary problem.  Most events in life are like this; they last only as long as they last and then it’s over. Some problems, like cancer, are more permanent.  It tends to make you see things with a wider lens.

For once I found that didn’t get all caught up in the emotions.  I could see that going “there” with all the angry people was not going to be helpful to them or to me.  So, I hung back, watched, stayed quiet. Then I began to see the BIGGER picture. “Do less to achieve more”, according to the Tao.

As predicted…the next day things were cleared up, without me needing to get angry or frustrated.  And of course as days go, a new set of challenges was presented to us.

We get her to work on time ( a new job) and she doesn’t realize she has to deliver food for the restaurant that night. The kid is working two jobs and managing an unmanageable relationship – this makes no sense.  Now she gets to work and realizes she can;t do her job because of having no car.  SO, I decide to be pizza delivery mom for a  night. I suddenly found myself telling her that in a while, maybe a long while or a short while, she will look back on the atrocities of the past couple of days, and be grateful for the experience.   She laughs at me and tells me she’ll believe that when she sees it. I knew this car problem would be rectified, one way or another.  We would find a way to work it out. Meanwhile, it caused a situation where I got to spend more time with my kid than I have in the past 5 years.  It was awesome and we both had a great time. i just smiled at her.

I asked her later – “so is it all that bad?” – she smiled and said that she could almost believe me.

I have figured out that it is not our job in life to make our kids happy – but it is definitely our ultimate challenge to show them how to see problems in life as opportunities or blessings.  To pay attention when the universe speaks and creates a redirection – to open to the possibility that there is a bigger picture; and we can;t teach that by telling it to them – we can only teach it by believing it ourselves.  Do you believe your problems are opportunities?  What about life altering problems like mental illness, or cancer even – can these be opportunities?

I think it all depends on your perception.  Any time you are in a “victim mentality” – you are unable to find the beauty in the situation. However, as soon as you can take on the point of view that whatever is occurring in your life is meant as a tool to continue helping you move forward, you can look at the event and your feelings about it as a learning tool to move closer to yourself.  Each challenge can teach you some valuable insight into the very nature of your being.  How different would your decisions be if you saw all your problems as opportunities?

The way to achiving this mindset is to simply make a choice to be in this mindset.  At first it feels really foreign. Some terrible thing happens, as does in life – you get the phone call, the door, your boss calls you into his office, someone dies – bad things happen in life.  The next time it does though, try and stand back and see the event from a wider perspective. \see it firstly, not all about you.  There are always many people affected by any circumstance.  Take into account that others are also being affected, and that everything is moving in some great coordinated dance that you are a part of.  Believe in the GOODNESS of the universe and that, even though things might look bleak to you at this moment, they will change and the universe will guide you gently if you want to be guided.

I have seen many people with cancer over the past year.  Some of them I know well, and some I don’t.  They shared a very important things in common – they were happy.  Funny things about cancer is it forces all of your bullshit to melt – and suddenly you are left with your honest and true self.  Cancer forces you to like yourself and honour your feelings and intuition.

If everyone lives like they had cancer, our relationships would all be much more honest and forthright. We would spend time pursuing our creative potential, and healing any relationships that required mending. We would make decisions based on self-knowledge and personal need.  We would become self-aware.

Cancer is making me enjoy ice cream more, driving, talking with my kids, eating a bowl of soup or playing a game of chess much more enjoyable – and it’s not even my cancer!

Cancer is a permanent problem – but even that changes and morphs as the days go on.  The feeling you have about it changes, the way you make decisions can be affected.

I am finding myself living pretty fully lately.  Enjoying food, my ability to walk freely with no pain, I am not sick – my mother is. And yet it is giving me a sense of appreciation about the things I would never have given a second thought to.

In gratitude…

~ Peace~

Abit of a Rant…

Since my mother was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer last August, I have been diligently avoiding researching, reading or informing myself on anything that has to do with the treatment or cause of such things.  I knew it would drive me to insanity and I would become terrified at both the abundance and inconsistencies in information we find on the internet.

Yesterday I broke my deal with myself and started reading.  It didn’t take me long to become embroiled in information.  It began when I posted about the movement of the cancer from the lungs into the brain, I received a surprising number of response of people who had similar experiences with friends and family.  I learned something new; there is a real correlation about the movement of cancer from lungs to brain. One person even told me that their parent had received preventative radiation in the brain when they were diagnosed with lung cancer.

I have stayed quiet, up until now – I said nothing to her, or to the doctors.  In fact, when we were in her doctor’s office the last time to receive the news that she was in remission for the lung cancer, I could feel the doctor not saying things.  Did she think we couldn’t handle it?  Or was she just playing god?

My mother complained many times about fear that something was ‘wrong with her head” – pain, burning – an intuitive feeling.  No one listened to her, discounting her intuitive feelings for their pragmatic science.

Singularly dimensional approaches to healing result in this lack of capacity for “modern scientific” doctors to listen to the patient’s own awareness about themselves.  It is archaic and results in people dying.

I don’t know if we would have found the cancer when she said something, if in fact it would have made any difference. I’d like to think not.  Maybe, then again, lesions caught early are operable often.  Use of preventative radiation decreases ROD from 55% to 19% .  I think these doctor’s are thinking inside a teenie little box they call their personal reality.  Life as they have been taught – programmed by a conventional system which no longer functions in the best interest of its people.

I can;t change the world, or the way the medical system thinks, the limitations of science, the ignorance of the pharmaceutical companies, the materialism of our population, our abject lack of respect for the planet we live on – I know I can;t change any of that.  But I don’t need to be a part of it either.

But I can say it out loud in the hopes that someone out there. maybe reading even, may follow their intuition and make it clear that these feelings are a valid form of personal insight – although not measurable but scientific means – which does not discredit their validity.

I don’t know what to do with this helpless frustrated anger, except share it out loud and hope it helps someone else.

~Peace~

A Prayer for When Bad Things Happen to Good People ~

My mother’s cancer was upgraded from stage 4 lung cancer in remission to full-out spread to her brain. The cancer was a determined kind of cancer. We tried to eliminate it in one place and instead of taking it nicely and politely it picked up its gear and moved on to a less treatable portion of the body – her brain. Now…I have doom.  So, I find myself at a crossroads. one of those moments like when i was a little girl and saw an enormous wave in the ocean and realized how small and powerless we all are beside’s the enormity of mother earth and life itself.

So, I wrote a prayer.  I don’t usually write prayers, but this one i did with the conscious intention of each word.

Finally, I thought I would share it because I think a lot of people need a hand up lately ~ and most of us (me included) have no idea how to pray…so I figure this will do and Spirit will understand the intention behind the words, which is what really counts anyways.

Please forgive my glib vernacular. God and I have been on a familiar first name basis for year now so I may sound a little informal if you have ever  stepped foot in a church.

Dear God ~

I am on my knees, afraid for the lives of people I love very much. Their bodies and minds are faulty, just like all of us – but their hearts are made of pure gold. They love you and have tried very hard through their lives to get to you so – please give them a break. Heal them or take them – but please be easy.

Give me the clear direction I need to do what i have to do. Make my shoulders strong and help me not to make everything about me all the time.  That is not the point and it is the point all at the same time. I get that now.

Take care of my children and all of the people who will feel lost as we go through this process of change and upheaval.  Help our eyes to see the small and large miracles you will perform on all of our behalf.  Remind us all that death, like life, is another side of the same miracle – another dramatic transition into another unending cycle.  Remind us that you are with us all the time – so we don’t have to feel alone or lonely or sad.

Remind us that we come from YOU! and so we have your powers to heal and transform and create.

Help us to see with eyes wide open unafraid to be blinded by your light.

Give us the strength and willingness to walk your path every minute and in every way each day. Give us the facility to breathe you in like air and float in you like water.

Amen.

How Hot Are You?

The summer is panning out to be quite the scorcher here in Canada.  Apparently South Carolina is getting a cold deluge and we here in Quebec are in full-on drought.  It’s nasty; my horses are getting grouchy and so is everyone around. We had about a minute and a half of rain early this morning, and late last night, which did absolutely nothing but tease my poor garden into hopeless wilting. It’s time to turn down the heat.

Tempers tend to run high in the heat. We’re not used to it. I doubt people in africa get grouchy every day the temperature goes above 100, because they would have mostly bad days. But for us, it takes some physical adjusting time, which we don’t really get, in the north.  I had a friend who studies Ayurveda Yoga and Healing, recommended that when our heat (pitta) gets high, we should make a conscious and intentional physical action to counter the imbalance.  When “pitta” (heat, fire, inner fire) is elevated, by cause of emotion or of exterior heat, one of the things to do, she recommends, is to take yourself into a cool place. Take an action to counter the “heat”.  Even if your “heat” is emotional and not necessarily environmental, taking yourself into a place for a “cooling off” period” is a good idea and can only lend to better results.

The body is a tool in understanding. It helps you understand and manipulate your environment. You can either do that consciously or unconsciously; Pitta is a way to understanding in which direction to take yourself.  Your body is not who you are; it is only a tool for discovering who you are.

Some people have very high inner heat.  My youngest son has always been high pitta in nature.  At 3 he would regularly toss off his coat to wrestle with his older brother in the snow in january of february in minus 15 degrees.  I would panic and urge him to put on his coat, but really, what he was doing was instinctively lowering his “pitta”.  I was just interfering.

My 15-year-old daughter has high inner emotional heat right now at this time.  I know around her I have to be “cool” like water because if my heat comes out at the same time as hers, I am pretty sure there will be a formidable explosion.  Having conversations with her always work out better in a cooler room, and place of deliberate cooling.  Having a cold drink together and not allowing “heated” arguments, in the actual environmental heat, can keep the energy of the exchange more level.

Some people’s inner heat is manifested in other ways, like creative fire, or passion about something in their lives.  This passionate approach fuels and moves forward the life of a person. Pitta is essential to progress.  But, it must be managed, because excessive pitta can imbalance all of your energetic centers: your chakras – which leads to addiction, avoidance, depression and all sorts of control issues which are neither healthy or fun.

I don’t know much about this topic yet, and am only learning, but I find it is interesting to apply to it.

Today I will take an “inner” day. This is time I put aside specifically to try to sit quietly and read myself from the inside and refuel my spiritual energy. My back went out with a harsh crack this morning, and I know that it’s my body’s way of telling me that it’s time to take the actions I need to reconnect to Source.  It is important to take these reconnection days for everyone. They ground and center you, and I guarantee you will be more productive in everything you do, if you can set aside the time to sit quietly and check your inner temperature.

~peace~

CIRCLE OF FRIENDS

My father used to tell me that if I could count the numer of real friends I had in my life on one whole hand, I will have lived a very rich life.  At the time I was a burgeoning teenager with a huge gamut of friends.  I had no clue what he was talking about.  I thought myself very wealthy indeed since I could count my “friends” on all my fingers, toes, nose and probably a good deal of strands of hair.  I was a social butterfly.  But, I also had only one person with whom i shared anything real serious – my friend Margaret.  She and I would tell each other the worst of the worst (and still do today).  That kind of intimacy really slips away as we get older, and as relationships impact our lives in a more deep way, then it is time to take stock and see where you are at with your people.

The people in our lives exist in circles.  First there is our inner circle which contains our most intimate relationships.  You are the first on that list, having the most intimate relationship is always with yourself. Then,  the normally few people who really know your daily life activities and who have a handle on where you are at emotionally –  your check-in people.  The “how was your day?” people. The ones who know when you are going to do groceries or when you are in crisis.  This circle includes a friend or two, your significant other if you have one and maybe some family members.  It’s a small circle and who you allow into it is usually pretty guarded and entirely depends on what you need from relationships.  Then the next circle outside the inner contains people you frequent often. Those involved in your life, but are not necessarily privy to all of the intimate details.  These can include acquaintances, work mates, other friends, even some family members you are not particularly intimate with yet have a steady communication with. Then there is the third circle level, containing those that you interact with, but have no relationship with at all – the clerk you always meet at the grocery store, the guy who delivers your water to the office.  Inconsistent but constant interactions with non-intimate relationships. The way these relationships come into your life, and which circle you end up placing them in, is very often a subconscious action.  rarely do we actually sit down and decide consciously where people fit into the grand scheme of our life.

•frequent/infrequent interaction
•Work mates & sport friends
•Partner & intimate friends
•constant friends
•You

Sadly, we tend to spend the most amount of time, energy and resources on the less intimate relationships, and our most connected ones can go uncared for. Many of us spend 80% of our time in work relationships (non-intimate) and have very little energy at the end of the day to care for the inner ones. Most importantly, our relationship with OURSELF goes uncared for.  If we don’t place  and prioritize ourselves in the center of that circle and care for our emotional physical, intellectual and spiritual health, how is it we will have anything to give to anyone else?  We have to be our first priority in order to be of optimal use to others in life. All relationships take work, no matter what circle they are in. But the kind of work you put into them depends on their place in your life.

In my life, I have a crazy number of people with whom I interact with.  Depending on if I am working on the farm, or in music, drumming, writing, I have any number of dozens of folks I see and interact with on a multitude of levels.  However, lately I find myself not enjoying the interactions and have become overwhelmed and feeling sucked dry by the end of the day.  This is no one’s fault but my own – we teach people how to treat us. No one is a victim of another person’s interactions. But, it has become clear that it is time for me to make a conscious evaluation of how I am choosing my relationships, what they bring to me, what I bring to them and whether or not they are energy taking or energy giving relationships. This includes my marriage and closest friendships.

I was recently given the good advice of being told to move “towards things that give energy and away from those that don’t or that take energy”. The advice has sat with me for about a week, and my mind has been quietly taking notes on how I feel after being with certain people and the jury has reached a verdict: It’s time for me to take my own good advice  and make some conscious choices for myself.  There are some people who I don’t spend very much time with, there are optional people, and non-optional people (family and non family).  Some I spend very little time with are sometimes the ones that bring me light and love and energy.  Then there are (many) others who gravitate towards my higher energy and bring their low energy, which after a while wears on a person.  I am managing my time badly in my relationships.

So this week is dedicated to relationship choices. I am going to really look at who I have inside my life and see how that relationship makes me feel. Maybe I have to work harder on some of my more important relationships – like with my 15-year-old daughter who I find communicating with particularly challenging to say the least.  I will spend less time with the people who continuously come to me with their problems and anger issues and do nothing to change their circumstance.  I figure it’s ok to listen to a friend, but it’s another to listen to a friend who s doing nothing to help themselves. I can relate!  So often in the past of my life I have found myself miserable and unable to see a way out fo the circumstances.  But, over time I know that even the smallest positive action that honours what i can and cannot do, can make an enormous difference when life gets heavy.  I have begun to notice that in some cases, people define the relationship by how miserable they feel.  This means essentially that if I allow the relationship to continue along the lines of “you complain, I listen” – often I am not doing anyone, nor myself, any favours.  Sometimes loving someone means taking away the energy that you are giving that is feeding their “neediness”. In my case, this means making choices about who I interact with, at what level  I interact with them and what kind of energy it brings us both after.  Letting someone struggle with their issues can motivate them to find solutions.

Just like everything else in life, relationships change, and the place they hold in your life also changes.  If you can’t recognize the change, then one day you will be caught off guard by a stranger in your midst. You can either wait for the surprise, or you can make a conscious decision to choose as to where that relationship fits into your life.  You can decide which topics you will and will not cover with that person, and how much of your time they get.  Decide consciously if you are helping or hindering someone by allowing them to always bring their negativity into your life.

This ability to choose consciously is my ticket to freedom.  Although people will always cross my path and I will always want to help – there is a time and a place for everything.  I don’t quite have the answers for all of this yet – I only woke with questions.   I think this “discomfort” about my circles and relationships is simply the beginning of some form of guidance urging me to make some healthy choices and changes in the way I interact with people on a daily basis.  I would like to have kept some energy for myself by the end of the day and not spread it around to those who wouldn’t use it productively anyways!

So just for today ~ this is where I am at.

~ peace~

Has Native Culture Faded Into Folklore?

Have you ever noticed how we go through “thematic” periods in our lives? In my case, I find that I go through very specific “themes” which I am usually only aware of in hindsight. But every once in a while I am overwhelmed by a multitude of themes and this is where I am at today. My life seems to be rolling and moving at a river’s pace. But always one topic takes greater importance so, over the past few weeks the emphasis has really been on building a “community” for myself and my family.

After the workshop I attended my ‘theme” was connection to the planet and our personal responsibility here.  Of course this is still a daily focus in my life and has been for many years, but by focusing on it through conscious intention that weekend I was really brought to a deeper understanding of our interrelatedness and connection to everything alive.  The other very important thought that the weekend offered me was of the importance of community.  We are also connected to each other, and because the human is the only creation (we know of so far) that has conscious intention and foresight in their bag of tricks, then it is also our responsibility to consciously promote interrelated functioning (community) between humans.  But as you already know, we are sorely lacking in community in our culture.  It’s one of the things I envy about those who live in second or third world culture. they haven’t been torn apart from the proper functioning of one human being with another yet.  Our lack of community only throws gasoline on the fire that makes us believe that we are separate from nature.  In fact, it is this inherent belief that we hold which has caused us to make every single environmentally detrimental decision throughout history. If we really understood how absolutely connected we were to the living world, we would and could not make the decisions we are currently making.

We have a huge job of changing the way we interact with the world ahead of us, and I think it is only the indigenous cultures of every nation that can be the leaders of this change. Most in second and third world nations have never lost their innate cultural connection to the earth, the seasons and the deep intimate understand of the balance of things. Although they may express it all very differently, at its very roots, every indigenous culture relies on a set of belief systems that is positively co-existent with nature. But our culture seems to have ruined something very important, and after what I saw last weekend, I have great doubts as to whether or not it can be regained.  We do not have a clue how to survive on this earth. Most of us wouldn’t have a clue where to find food, or create shelter.  Not that i am being all “doomsday”, but aren’t these basic skill every human being should have? How to cloth and feed and house yourself based on the natural resources at your disposal?  Given the opportunity however most of us would perish pretty quickly in some of the conditions these people live in.  They have skills and knowledge and an energetic connection to the earth which for us at this time is critical. My fear is…maybe they have lost it?

Last weekend,  I was extremely disheartened when I drove through our local Mohawk reserve in search of some sage for smudging with my husband.  Every ten feet there was a little shack selling cigarettes and maybe one or two touristic crafty crap places selling little plastic native dolls with dresses all beaded to “made in china” perfection, but not a leaf of sage to be found anywhere.  No drums, no sage. Only cigarettes and Playboy Lighter’s at “discount prices”.  It was really sad and pathetic all rolled up into one.

Now it feels like we don’t have an indigenous culture here anymore. And I must say…we are truly screwed if this is true.  Of our own actions and governmental stupidity, we have systematically extinguished the very essence of what we need to turn this speeding train around. We have bitten off our noses despite our face. ( I have always wanted to use that line…it’s a great visual. )

So, that’s my  “theme” today.  My conundrum is wondering whether or not after everything we have done to damage our Native Cultures – do they still have what it takes to teach us what we need to know or have they forgotten as well?

~Peace~