Witness


 Staring out the large windows into the frigid January sky, I was remembering when my young son told me that not talking about problems is like being in a room of stinky farts. But when we start talking about our problems and what’s bothering us, it’s like opening a window and all the stinky air goes out the window.
 
I think to myself, I like that kid.  He’s pretty smart.
 
I’m brought back to the present moment.  Waiting in the lab with my husband for the blood draw before his chemo treatment.  We are by far the youngest people there.  But no one makes eye contact as I look around, a public voyeur.  No one seems to want to acknowledge why the other is there.  Especially us.  We’re so young, right?  Is 50 the new 30 in this place?  
 
I watched my husband closely this time.  Eyes gray, beard thin, crows feet newly scratched. I feel the breadcrumbs of fear that still linger after 11 months of treatment. (Did I feel that from my husband, from the room, or from me?)   Weariness proclaims, “Here we go again” and a deep whisper from the Monkey Mind asks, “for how much longer can this go on?  Is this what’s going to kill me instead of those damn tumors?” 
 
I suddenly felt a tsunami of emotion overwhelm me.  I started to berate myself. Why have I not been here by his side for every single lab draw?  Why am I only seeing TODAY, sixteen chemo sessions into it, how weary he really is?  Why have I not been better for him? In some weird deflection move, the problem quickly becomes about me after witnessing the suffering of my beloved.  I need to fix this, make it better, Ego says.  But you can’t, my inner knowing says.
 
All the nurses there know him.  I’m a bystander.  An observer.  But this is my husband.  My partner for life.  Why have I not been a part of this experience with him, trying to make it a little less ___ for him?  The nurses don’t know my name.  I am a stranger in these halls.  I felt like I had just walked into the Teacher’s Lounge in middle school- I was witness to some sort of alternate reality that exists without me having any part of it, even though I’m a relevant player. This hurt me because I felt powerless all over again.  I felt like I was a ghost, reaching out to touch someone, only to have my hand go through them. 
 
So,  we pull our masks down for a kiss goodbye.  I’ll have to get the kids off the bus then come back to pick him up.  Off he goes to the Teacher’s Lounge.  Off I go back to class. 
 
Chemo days and weeks have been difficult from the beginning. COVID prevented me from going to treatments with my husband early on. Should I have fought harder? Did he even want me to? Could I have prevailed? How did I end up accepting the “no”? I can’t remember anymore. 
 
What I do remember is dropping him off at the hospital, my gut wrenching each time, wishing this was over, the miracle manifested already so we can move forward with our lessons learned, in the hardest way possible.  (OK! WE’RE LISTENING!  YOU HAVE OUR ATTENTION!). Hopefully I was able to keep all of that under wraps from him, instead sending him off with a kiss, a smile and an I Love You.   
 
Should I have done more, could I have done more?  Why have I not insisted on being there with him every single step of the way?  Every blood draw, every intake, every meeting, every infusion.  Shouldn’t I have arranged for someone to get the kids off the bus?  Get them sorted, snack and homework done, screen time monitored?
 
Was trying to create a safe, predictable environment for the kids, as their dad endures this journey, just a ruse to keep my own fear of losing him at bay?  Is it really just ME who needs the safety and focus of something else, so I don’t get swallowed up in the rabbit hole of dis-ease? 
 
The threat is real.  My determination to not let fear rule me is as fluid as the sea.  I think sometimes the Fear renames itself as Denial or Distraction.  But I don’t care.  I guess it’s what it needs to be in the moment. 
 
Perhaps I have I been guarding myself all along.  Then, recently, feeling confident in our new rhythm, my defenses were down so I decided that I’d join him for half of his hospital day.  What could go wrong? 
 
It’s a weird space to occupy, especially in those times when I have experienced a profound sense of grief and melancholy that settles in my bones before a chemo session.  So far, the intensity of these feelings is my barometer for how well “scan news” is going to be every few months.  These last two meetings went well.  And I felt no worry beforehand.  But the continual reminder that we are not out of the woods yet lingers, remains; there is more work to be done.  There always will be.  We have to keep going, keep planning, keep changing, keep getting better.
 
But he’s a pro, my husband.  That’s what they call him.  He wears his Superman tee shirt every chemo day.  And he is just that, Superman.  He goes in, greets the front desk, switches masks, goes to the lab, waits for the tech.  Sometimes they can find a good vein, but not always.  Sometimes he’s stuck several times.  Amidst comments of “oh you know what to do!” and “Oh, you’re a pro by now!” meant to liven the unfortunate familiarity of that particular environment.  Despite the nurses’ best efforts and the love energy, I still felt, saw and sensed weariness, of all kinds, from all people. 
 
My guidance has recently told me I must be The Witness more.  I must let things wash over me, around me and through me.  “This is part of it” is what my soul tells me.  “I surrender” I say in response, so I must do exactly that when the opportunity is given.  No controlling.  No fixing.  No talking.  No changing.  No convincing. Just the understanding that there is no sharing of the burden that happens when I’m there.  I am simply there to hold space for my beloved, as a Witness. 
 

Sacred

What is sacred to me?  What is sacred to you?   Two different answers, always, is my guess.  I am my own sovereign self, my own sovereign being. I just know that and feel that.  I haven’t remembered this lately though.  And to understand this, to feel this, is to be in the world but not of the world. 

I’ve felt blocked, stymied, tired, spent, POWERLESS. I’ve been resisting, angry, irritated, squirrely.  I could not WRITE!  Thankfully, gratefully, this has shifted as I do re-member my sovereignty.  No more resisting.  I’ve had to let go, move through, melt and be re-shaped. I’ve been catatonic, un-inspired, shiftless.  I have not been nice to myself! Sadness, tears, insomnia…  I’ve felt all of you, I get it, I’m moving through now.  Thank you.  I’m realizing as I write this that it is all NECESSARY; I do believe one of my hardest lessons in this lifetime is how to BE with the ickyness, the feeling of being lost, of having no purpose, bouts of no self-confidence.  I want to fight, stuff it down, forget about it, ignore it.  Kids, don’t try this at home!  Because it doesn’t work.  I say this with confidence. Let me be your poster child for how much that DOESN’T work!

Many incarnations ago, my life came to a very abrupt and violent end.  The physical carrier, the body for my soul, was enlightened enough, powerful enough to understand the magic of her (our) own soul.  She needed her healing power magic to be preserved, protected, and safe; understanding with this foresight that this soul-family magic will be “un-earthed” in time, as it needs to make its way into the world again. 

My clarity of purpose, my healing journey, comes from this.  Moving through all of the emotions seems like a walk in the park compared to the struggles of my Ancestors. So I shift myself, my energy, my perspective out of respect for them.  I was shown their power, influence and LOVE for me.  I can feel them around me.  It’s very humbling.  Someone always walks before us.

With them, I feel moved to freedom.  I feel moved to be inspired again.  I feel the CONNECTIONS between tragedy, despair, hope and blessings.  I feel moved to be kind to myself and live life on life’s terms, and to really accept that.  If something feels really awful, it doesn’t have to stay feeling that way forever.  Yet I have felt awful for many months now.  So I will sit with deep respect and gratitude to all that is around me, helping me, seen and unseen, as I take in healing and blessings. 

This journey that I’ve been on with the uninvited guest we’ll name as cancer, has left me feeling powerless, tapped, inept.  Thankfully my healing explorations, experiences and trainings over the years have allowed me to cross the paths of some really incredible healers and magical beings.  Like minded souls.  Another Fool on the Journey.  We all speak the same language even though we all speak different languages. 

10 months of walking the Cancer Path with my husband as we work to release the disease in him.  Sometimes we run, sometimes we crawl, sometimes have to sit and rest for a day or two before continuing on. 

Where is the gift?  Where is the joy? I often ask myself.  Why is it all sh*t, all the time? The fog hasn’t lifted. What has happened to my life? 

Fact is, life as I have known it has been forever changed.  Forever.  It’s taking me a long time to REALLY feel into this.  This is what “life on life’s terms” means to me.  It’s a really hard concept or feeling to grasp.  I thought that’s what COVID was for- to remind us that life will never be the same again and things have to change- WE need to change in order to move forward into our new life paradigm.  So what’s with the double-whammy, huh?! HA! Joke’s on me!

I like to make jokes because it helps me be friends with hard truths.  My life “pre-cancer” needs to be mourned.  And the hard truth is, that I have been resisting this, even if I didn’t fully understand it.  

I realize there is so much power in the day.  The gift is in life itself, every day. Just when I feel like the four walls are closing in and I can’t be where I am for another minute without exploding and raging, the magic comes back to remind me to RE-member.  The energy of that incarnation all those lifetimes ago rises like a swelling sea, lifting me, moving me to shore.  Somehow, I remember the gifts I’ve been given, I remember the magical people around me who are here to help me.  Thank you.

I walk a little lighter now.  My neck isn’t so tense now.  I’m ravenously hungry as I write this, but these words need to come out first, because someone needs to hear them.  I know I need to hear them, too.

It’s the gift.  The gift of life.  The gift of loving.  The gift of loving someone so much that it seems unbearable to live without them here on earth.  To know we are capable of such depths, moves me.

I recall the faces and expressions of well-meaning people who looked at me with sorrowful, doe-like eyes after listening to me expound upon my optimism of a bright future with my husband despite a dire diagnosis and prognosis.  I eventually stopped sharing my POV, because it just doesn’t matter, does it? 

It doesn’t matter what breaks me, because there is always the opportunity to become whole again.  Remember the Leonard Cohen song, Anthem, “There is a crack, a crack in everything That’s how the light gets in.” It’s true.  I’ve got so much light coming in me now, and I now there is more to come.  I know on every level of my soul what’s to come, but I won’t dwell on any of that.  It almost seems inappropriate or like I’m spoiling a surprise.  I don’t want to deny any of the gifts being offered to me.  I don’t want Santa to put me on the Naughty List.

I prefer to dwell on the gift of the present.  It just FEELS better, so why not?  The gift of the everyday is all around me: cuddles from a 90 pound dog who thinks he’s 30 pounds; snuggles from my cuddle-bug boy who tells really funny jokes; smiles from my daughter that simply melt my heart every day and I’m continually in awe of HER magic; and of course, hugs from my tall, handsome husband that make me feel every bit as loved and safe as they did 16 years ago.  Messages from friends that love me and hold me sacred as I do them. The beautiful rain, the way it washes everything away.  The vision of breath on a cold morning.  Candles in the windows, a brightly lit tree with thoughtful, handmade presents underneath it already… These gifts matter.  All of this COUNTS.

A Wise Healer said to me: Sometimes in order to know what our soul needs, we have to feel broken. 

Well, hot damn.  I think we just found a new Leonard Cohen. 

Wisdom Walking

Image by Christine Engelhardt from Pixabay

All the time, every day there is something.  Something to make me cry, to make me feel pain, to make me smile to make me laugh.  In other words, every day shows me lessons in love and grief, anger and optimism, betrayal and connection.  I’m in a traffic circle in my mind and google is telling me to take the first exit off the traffic circle, then the third, re-directing, then the second, re-directing, then the last….. 

Once I’m off the wheel, the circle, the grid, I experience wholeness.  A sense of relief.  I can gain my breath again.  Fully.  Deeply.  Meaningfully. 

For four glorious days I was off the grid, with my family, in absolute respite.  Surrounded and held in the warm loving embrace of Mother Nature, of the elements and of love.  I hadn’t seen my kids that happy in a while.  I hadn’t seen us all connect like that, all at the same time, in a while.  I hadn’t been able to sit, rest, listen, in quite a while.  I hadn’t seen my husband smile at me like that, in quite a while.  Going off the grid helped me to RE-member what it is that matters most to me and also how I actually got there in the first place. 

Sixteen years ago, my partner and I had a plan.  We were (are) a team, a group plan, of living our lives as it met our artistic and intrinsic passions and goals, whilst raising kids that understood and “got” that concept of being true to oneself, of living one’s passion, of living an authentic life; a life that feeds your soul.  Because we believe, when you do that, the bank is full, the love is even fuller, and life is good.  We can do anything!  Those lean years proved it.  Those soul searching years proved it.  And now cancer is proving it.   Don’t get comfortable, obstacles.  You won’t like it here.  We’ve proven an inhospitable environment for your ilk.     

I’ve had a life of adventure.  Adventure meaning something different in each decade, of course. But it’s what I always wanted.  And I still do.  And I certainly have it, for better or for worse. Just when I thought that I had enough f%cking lemonade to last me a life time, up popped another stand, needing my restraint, smile, 2 cents and ultimately, gratitude.  I have to say THANKS and give THANKS for all of life working out as it has. 

Strife, Grace and Grit.  That’s our experience on this earth plane in this life time.  I can expound upon the past lives I’ve had, or the one I’ve seen in you, but right now, right here, this is the place we need to show up in every day.  THIS is the place where our family needs us, our friends need us, WE need OURSELVES.  Remember that?  I do. 

I’ve recently written in one of my notebooks, “Why does everything related to GRACE need to be airy-fairy, pretty and pure? Why does every search of “Angel” or “Spiritual” or “Grace” bring up the image of pale, fragile, half-starved females?  WTF is that all about?  TOTAL BS!”  I’ll spare you the rest of the profanity and details, but that is a softer version of my raw unadulterated self.  What I mean to convey , is that the feeling and images are not congruent with the REAL or the AUTHENTIC energy of life.  To achieve grace, we must have grit, and be dirty, and sweaty and gross.  I must have dirt under my finger nails, grease in my hair, and bags under my eyes before I ever reach GRACE.  I must endure weeks of only remembering to shave one leg, forgetting to do laundry, or feed the dog (he’s 90 pound, he’s fine), even as he follows me around, looking at me with those eyes of, I love you, so what’s the problem!?  I have to forget the simple, important things, then repeat them over and over again, only to remind myself that I had already said that, or done that, or filled that bowl….

This concept comes easily to me as I am in yet another growth spurt in my life.  I thought perhaps I’d have a year or 2 of boredom and complacency to sit in before I’m reminded I’m about to step into the next decade of my life. 

And I’m better off for it.  I am often uncomfortable, itchy, grouchy, anxious, jittery while simultaneously elated, open, allowing serendipitous relationships to occur and flourish, my heart expands.  My wisdom grows.  And I am always, ALWAYS, very simply, brought to my knees in gratitude, tears, and prayer in awe of all of the guidance and love and support from my Ancestors, my Council, Spirit and the earth angels all around me. 

I don’t believe in talking for the sake of talking or making conversation for the sake of conversation when it comes to meaningful authentic experiences.  This life now, as we have it, if what we’ve got.  I choose to infuse magic into it.  I choose to live life in close connection with spirit and love and light.  I choose to sit through and feel the awful, ugly, hard parts, in order to make me more whole and wise and full.  It makes me a better partner, mother and friend to myself.  How could I possibly counsel others without walking through the desert in a snowsuit myself?  I’m trying every day. 

I live for love.  I live for the love of my husband and my kids.  And I also live for me.   Feeding my soul is just as important as taking care of my family and my clients/extended soul family. 

It seems as of late, of all the things I write, my word count is lower.  I find this interesting.  Am I simply less verbose as I grow older, become more familiar with my own and other’s “dark nights”? Or maybe I just simply have less f*cks to give? All are possible I presume. I’d rather live authentically than live up to a word count. I’d rather my words or words that are channeled through me reach those who need it, who find it helpful, on whatever level. Isn’t that the greatest gift? To help another?  Talk about soul food! 

I’m RE-minded that uncertainty must be embraced in order to RE-member the roots of the Willow gifted to me by Mother Earth.  I don’t know what’s next.  What kind of tears will the next PET scan bring?  How many more days of sickness will he have to endure?  What love will grace our Friendsgiving this year?  Who will be at my table this Solstice Season who will be at the next one? How will my children grow at their age, in this New World?  What will they make of it? 

Truth is, I just don’t know.  But I do know that my husband and I are better together, and I know that our kids are pretty amazing, and our support network is comparable to none. 

I TRUST in spirit and divine design. Those of you reading me for a while may be sick of hearing that, but it is a true beacon for my soul in the darkest of nights.  The further I move with Spirit and The Ancestors by my side, held by my Earth Angles and loving hands of guidance and support, from all over the world, it is simply irrefutable proof of the power of the unseen, of the “non-ordinary” world at work, here, every day. 

The Gooey Space

Autumn shows us how beautiful it can be to let go

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about metamorphosis.  About what it feels like to be in it mid-process.  The squishy, confined, unattractive, uncomfortable space the caterpillar struggles to move around in. 

An intersecting thought I have with this is the necessity of embracing the darkness, the shadow.  The caterpillar has to accept what is happening or else it dies.  This time of year, I feel these are natural thoughts for me to have,  as a person connected to vibrational hums and rhythms of the earth.  I can’t help but feel like change is on the horizon, again, as I’ve been forced to stand in the goopy, slimy, uncomfortable space.  “Adapt or Perish.”   It’s necessary that I allow it to happen, allow the discomfort to pour over me, envelope me, integrate in me until it becomes a part of me.  Then, voila! A newer Self emerges.  But what does the new Self look like?  Is it a happier Self?  Is it a healthier Self?  Is it a more abundant Self?!  If we stick with the butterfly analogy, sure, it’s going to be great, beautiful, colorful.  But how long will it last before the next phase? Or the next metamorphosis of the soul?  What aspects of Self are changing?  Will I come out exquisite, only to be a tasty snack for a passing woodpecker a minute later?

Uncertainty is the new black.  There’s not much I can do about the uncertainty in the world, in my life, besides keep my own house clean; emotionally, spiritually, metaphorically, and physically (if I must).  Previously, a point of pride for me was the ability to moor myself in a storm, in ANY storm.  I’ve proved it to myself time and time again…  be resilient, unaffected, objective, stronger, smarter….  Then life became more than just about me.  Ah! And therein lies the most complicated and delicate facet of all.  I decided to open up and let love in. I allowed my heart to expand.  And that’s when everything becomes more personal, doesn’t it? 

I needed to integrate the understanding that a new part of my Self was being born then.  Hardest to reconcile though is that everything is different when the suffering belongs to the ones you open your heart to, and not just you. That’s a whole different kind of storm, and requires a different Self to emerge in order to honor the upgrade in resilience training.

I find myself standing in a mist, hesitant and a little skittish, despite my knowing that I must be patient.  I am experiencing what feels like some kind of initiation.  I’m taking just a step, not a leap, but it feels like a significant step.  I’m being guided to hold my breath less, and to breathe into the discomfort more.  My guides show me a movie of my life and remind me of all the times that I have let go and just understood there would be a net for me to fall into.  Trust there is a net.  RE-member there is a net.  Trust in the nature of surrender.  Allow for the energy of surrender to keep me safe as I FREEFALL into the darkness, the abyss, the unknown, towards the small round hole of light at the bottom.  The small round “whole” that gets bigger and bigger and bigger the more I freefall into the loving arms of the Universe.  This process, as fantasy-like as I just made it sound, cannot be rushed.  And it is co-creative, meaning this stuff doesn’t just happen without my participation.

If you’ve been following me for  a long time, you’ll know I love to say that anything I’ve ever tried to let go of has claw marks on it, and probably a few blood blisters.  But it’s different now, and I should probably stop saying that.  That was then.  This is now. The path to resilience is paved with Vulnerability.  I need to RE-learn and RE-member (FEEL) the sound and sting of the wind biting my cheeks and the unrecognizable sound of my own sobs; the painful realization that sometimes I can only bear witness to the pain and suffering of those I love the most.  I’ve experienced the FEAR of loss to be so great that my mind becomes paralyzed with dark spaces and it doesn’t feel like I will ever get out.  But it’s not true, is it?  I need to have patience for the process.  All of the gooey uncomfortable space needs to be experienced, it is a necessary part of the path at this point in time and I will embrace it, I must, even if it gives me so much agita.

Shamans, witches and tribal medicine healers of long ago helped their communities work through these spaces.  They understood the healing power and strength that comes from vulnerability.  As I see my own Healers that help me traverse these roads I’m on, and help me through this metamorphosis, I can only hope that I am becoming  a more expansive healer so I can better serve those for whom I am meant to help. 

Thanks for listening.

Love,
Julie.

Dear Cancer

Dear Cancer,

You and I have become fast aquatinted.  I’ve witnessed you take up residence in my beloved without being invited.  You are a squatter.

I’ve witnessed my beloved experience many a hardship in his life where I’ve been powerless to act.  I could only observe from the sidelines and offer moral support, whilst keeping my own boundaries in check.  I’ve seen shadows fall upon him, crippling his sense of self; robbing him of certain joy and love and abundance that we all deserve as human beings.  I’ve seen fear and resentment projected onto him in the most personal and intimate way.  I’ve seen this damage his heart center, his spirit, and his ego. 

Did he ever give up?  No.  Did he ever give in? No.  What you may not know about my beloved is the wildly strong will and determination this man has.  His mind is a steel trap, guarded by bulls.  And it’s only grown stronger since you’ve come around. 

The capacity for change that we have as humans is vast.  Yet, so many of us are afraid of change and react in ways that make life harder.  I am guilty of this.  But right now, in this moment, that’s not me. And that is certainly not my husband. 

Every day is an opportunity to begin anew.  Every day we can make the choice to wake up and say, “This is the day my life is going to change.”  We can say, “Today, I am confident.  Today is going to be a good day.”  Every day is a chance to bring joy to ourselves and others.  Even if it’s just a little bit at a time, day by day, hour by hour.  Even if we don’t believe it, or don’t feel like believing it.  It doesn’t have to be a smashing success right away.  In fact, there’s more success in the daily, smaller triumphs. 

I’ve also found strength in waking up and saying, “Today, I’m just going to feel like crap. So be it.”  I let myself do that.  My husband does that, too.  We are strong together.  But you can’t take credit for that. 

It’s been seven months since you’ve been discovered. Apparently you were in there under the radar for maybe even a year before that.  And I know the two of you have had your own conversations about staying and leaving.  But I’m here on my own accord. And  I’m telling you it’s time to go.

You did not inhabit me.  Why?  Is it because you know he has a greater capacity for change?  Is he more resilient? Is this another test of his will and integrity? Of his humanity? He has all of that, with or without you. 

Cancer, no one deserves you, yet you seem to be everywhere.  Why?

I see you as the unloved, neglected child, all grown up, and ready for vengeance against all of those who did you wrong in your life.  Don’t you know that only makes you worse?  You are only hurting yourself. 

Maybe you chose my husband because you know the depth of his character, his altruism.  You know the sacrifices he’s made in his life, selflessly.  Maybe you know the complexity of his mind and the depth of his love for his family and friends.  This is all I can come up, cancer, because these are all of the reasons why I fell in love with him. 

Cancer, I see you.  I see what you’re doing.  I know where you’re going.  I know that you are here.  I feel you in there when I put my hand on his chest.  I hear you at night when my hand is on his back. 

It’s time for you to wake up and realize that this is the day that your life is going to change.  You can transmute yourself into gold, loving energy and be welcomed with open arms elsewhere.  You can be useful somewhere in this world.  We all have the capacity to change.  All things are just energy. 

This is how I see you now: I see you lifting and rising up and out of his lungs, out of his body, turning into gold light. I am ready to help you gain the traction you need to unhook, unhinge and RELEASE.  I have it on good authority that you have ample opportunity to transmute into something good.  In this world or the next.  You have help.  I’m in your corner alchemizing you every day.  In fact, many of us are. 

You need to understand that I am not afraid of you.  Neither of us are.  We come from a long line of warriors and strategists.  We may succeed getting you out, we may not, but it won’t be from anything that we haven’t done.  I know eviction laws for squatters are tough, but I am truly relentless. All we want is for you to find a more appropriate place to be. 

Truthfully yours,

Julie

Water Spirits


 
Have you ever felt like you’re just going against the grain with everyone you meet?  And you think that it’s everyone else’s problem?  Clearly, they totally suck and have no sense of humor.  Obviously, they get offended too easily at the occasional, yet well timed,  f-bomb.  Without a doubt, there is something wrong with THEM, and besides, their kids have bad manners… 

Well, yes, I suppose that could be the case, but what is really bugging me about those types of interactions?  I sense some old insecurities rearing their ugly heads in these shifting times of my life right now.  The uncertainty.  The roller coaster of emotions.  One minute feeling worthy.  The next, well, not so much.
 
But truth be told, sometimes I do feel like living my own truth is something that comes from outer space that no one else sees, gets or understands. 
 
I often feel like I have zero answers to 100 questions.  I have to go forward anyway, don’t I? Samuel Beckett, one of the greatest literary figures of all time, comes to mind: “I Can’t Go On, I’ll Go On.” 
 
I meet people all the time.  I am, generally speaking, an extroverted person.  But nowadays I know I’m a little prickly.  And I’m allowed to be that way when I need to be- everyone does, that doesn’t make me special. Perhaps like you, I’m experiencing major shifts in life.  It’s time to buckle up.  I do trust in Divine Design.  But I still wonder if every failed attempt to make a new friend, or client connection, mean that I need to be someone I’m not in order to accommodate their understanding of me as I occupy this space.  Where is the line drawn between making an effort when you really don’t feel like you have it in you and wearing someone else’s skin, and pushing through because you want to be helpful and friendly?  My challenge now is meeting life on life’s terms. 
 
About 15 years ago, maybe a little more, I made a commitment with Spirit to live an integrated life.  No more silos of work, personal, and family.  No more labels.  No more living up to someone else’s expectation of who or what I should or shouldn’t be. I was exhausted.  I wanted to live as my true self, my spiritual woo-woo self without fear of judgement and/or being cast away. 
 
Coming out of the woo closet was a big deal for me. As a former people pleaser and perfectionist (OK, I’m still working on that one), overachiever and “one with all the answers,” I feel a bit of sadness about how much I hurt myself with all of those labels and expectations I placed upon myself.  I can sit here and tell you all about how other people did this, said that, but at the end of the day, my feelings are my responsibility. 

My insecurities and traumas led me to a very long Dark Night of the Soul, which is to say that I was in a place in life where taking a deep dive into where the darkest parts of me lived could no longer be avoided. This is what taking responsibility for my feelings looked like for me.  Time to clean house. 
 
As a person meant to be here to serve and help others in a way that isn’t mainstream (yet), it’s a necessary prerequisite that one has at least one Dark Night of the Soul experience.  This is what I’ve been taught and have also experienced.  It does ultimately make me a better healer.  
 
I am currently walking through another Dark Night.  A clean house needs to be maintained, right? The shifts occurring in me feel seismic.  Globally and personally.  The anxiety and  fear I experience about the uncertainly of what may or may not come, feels impenetrable and crippling at times.  Those are my feeling and I’m responsible for them. So where do I go from here?   
 
When I get overwhelmed with fear and anxiety I feel like there is an elephant sitting on my chest and a heavy hot rain pouring over my head.  Breathe, I tell myself.  Just breathe.  I invariably go for a pen or anything I can write with and go quiet.   Then whatever garbage comes out does, and I occasionally find some epiphanies in there, too. 
 
So, to live my truth and an integrated life, as I committed with Spirit all those years ago, I need to wade through the muck and LOOK to see what is in there.  It’s as much an analytical process as it is an emotional one.  It’s me meeting life on life’s terms. 
 
I am not perfect.  I am not a one size fits all.  I am not going to be “friends” with everyone I meet as I once was.  I am not the person who has terrible boundary setting issues.  In fact, I am quite good at setting boundaries now.  But I still hurt and feel scared like a child when I just can’t see through the windshield of life because the storm is so bad.  Even with the wipers on at high speed, I can’t see anything. Just what is. 
 
What do you do in a bad storm?  Hopefully, you pull over.  Spirit has been at my door telling me to pull over and I’ve been resisting.  Put on the hazards, turn on the radio, look at all the pretty glowy lights on the console, be grateful I have a safe vehicle.  Look at with awe Mother Nature’s power raining over the windshield and take a moment to honor Her power with a slight nod of respect.  So right now, I tell myself that it’s raining hard now, and I can’t tell if it’s going to clear up soon or not.  I just have to trust that it will.  Because it will clear up, won’t it?  Will there be a rainbow? Or a completely new landscape? I just don’t know.
 
Gratitude also helps me navigate such depths.  I’m actively seeing the blessings around me as I dig deep at this point in my life.  I also feel hurt, and wail, and scream and I understand that how it looks on the outside doesn’t matter.  Living my truth and staying in the presence of love far exceeds any other way of being.
 
I want to be the river rock.  I want to allow the water to move intuitively and freely around me, imparting to me nuggets of wisdom that she’s collected on her travels.  I change over time from edgy and sharp to round and smooth.  She reminds me to go with the flow and she is grateful for my presence.
 
I will think about this a lot.  And I will unapologetically be who I am and continue to receive and give love and wisdom with those who sit with me, and I with them, in complete truth and comfort.   I am grateful for their presence.  My people won’t mind when I’m edgy, or cranky, or quiet.  They won’t bother me when I’m not partaking and they will laugh at my dark jokes.  They just let me be me.  These are the people you want to be pulled over with in a bad storm, and I’m lucky enough to have a full carload. 
 
 

“…knowing your true power, your true worth, and knowing that you matter, are the backbone of truly living a meaningful, and inspired life.”
~ Anita Moorjani

Labyrinths

Stop and release

My mind is tired and confused.  I am at a point where I feel like I am having a total identity crisis.  I feel isolated and clam up.  I start to reach towards the outer world, the world of “let me just get this thing, and then I will be OK” only to realize I was waving my own red flag.  This flag looks like pride, envy and insecurity.

Physically, my body expresses the spiritual health of my soul.  Different aches and pains, heartburn, and other minor maladies that let me know I’m in the red flag zone of my well-being.  I am being urged to stop, slow down.  Be the flow.  Be the water in the stream flowing around the rock, and not the salmon fighting upstream.  Don’t fight the current, rather move to the right or to the left. 

In the midst of the chaos of my mind, I imagine scenarios that will never happen.  Catastrophes that maybe were once a possibility when I lived large and recklessly.  Although my soul has eternal youth, and drinks from that fountain daily, I am also much wiser now, thankfully.  I’m closer to the Crone than the Maiden, that’s for sure.  I no longer hear the echoes of the revelries of the past.  They’ve been loved, and absorbed by the wisdom keeper inside of me.

And I am grateful for that.  And I am happy to feel the wisdom of my ancestors around me, signaling to me that I am here, now, as I need to be, as I am meant to be. 

Sometimes I see myself in the middle of the labyrinth in my brain, and when I fail to get to the end because I can’t see over the hedges, I feel the flash of the red flag.  Again, my ancestors, my soul, my intuition, leads me and shows me the red flag is not a natural part of me.  It’s a signpost telling me to stop and look around.  It is a signal that I am reaching outwardly to satisfy the hole, the lack, the need within. 

I don’t always listen though, do I?  Of course not.  So I keep trying to get around it, keep going down one way, then another, and another, each path giving way to more frustration.  I must do this thing!  I must win!  I am expected to!  I come from Celtic Warrior Blood forfuckssake! And there it is.  Pride.  Expectations.  Self-inflation.  I talk about extracting wisdom from the past and embodying it to create a better present and future for myself.  But I still fall prey to the trappings of a mind that becomes tired and confused.

I reach a point, thankfully, where I get sick and tired of being sick and tired.  I get tired of hearing myself say the same story over and over about why I am dissatisfied.  Have you ever done that?  It becomes so irritating, that I can’t even stand to look in the mirror.  It hurts that much.  It annoys me that much!

So I stop.  I release, if only to get some quiet.  Most recently I was able to reason with myself (lots of Air energy around!) that those hedges in the labyrinth are only there b/c I put them there.  I’m reminded that the hedges don’t really exist.  I have built them. 

So why not simply remove them?  So I did.  I imagined myself in the middle as all the greenery gave way to sand, then the sea, then the breeze.  I was going with the flow.  I didn’t have anything to prove to anybody.  And neither do you, by the way. 

I am exactly where I need to be at this time.  No matter the funny looks I get for my eternal optimism that seems crushing to some or makes me look like the fool to others.  It doesn’t matter.  I am meeting the needs of my very own soul that I’m being called to meet.  Right Now.  I want to go where my energy is nourished and flourishes, not where I am diminished or depleted. 

Now I sit better with the discomfort, the uncertainty of life, the physical discomforts of my imaginative fallout. I can do this because I allow the darkness to come in, sit next to me, it looks around, then I watch it leave.  The important thing is to let the murky, uncomfortable arrogant, yucky energy in. Answer the door.  Then just as you let it in, let it out in due time.  “OK, it’s time to leave now.  I’m tired of hearing myself talk your same old story.” And then off the nonsense goes. 

From this most recent labyrinth experience, I’ve come out with some serious bits of wisdom and reassurances:  Number one, I am loved.  I am so loved, it’s amazing and no words would suffice how deeply I feel supported.  And I do feel like the luckiest girl in the world.  Number two, there can never be enough gratitude for the awe and wonder of the workings of Spirit.  Number three, when I let go of the world that I think I am seeing around me, the one that I’m not good enough to be in,  I realize it was never really there in the first place.  What exists is love, flowing abundance and high vibrational energy.  That’s what is real. 

When I go back to my roots, my authentic way of living, of being true to myself and what my intuition tells me, and keep the outside noise of the world of what I should or shouldn’t be at bay, I am home.  Exactly where I need to be. 

Mother Dragon

When I was a little girl, I wanted a dragon.  I imagined her to be beautiful, powerful and majestic.  The Mother Dragon.  Whenever I wanted to go to some far away land, or simply go for a ride, I could summon her telepathically, she’d wake up, come get me, and off we’d go.  I imagined that whenever I found myself in trouble, she’d be there for me, ready to fight for me.  She’d inexplicably show up from out of nowhere and catch me on the off chance I fell off a cliff; she’d reach me right before I hit the water.  All the kids that ostracized me or the adults that had “bad energy” around them and came near me, well, my dragon would burn them alive.  Alas, as a highly empathic and sensitive child, I immediately regretted that decision…

I still dream of my dragon.  I still dream that she comes to rescue me.  And that’s an interesting term, isn’t it?  Rescue. When the weight of the world gets too heavy, I imagine her swooping in and rescuing me. 

My world was turned upside down with my husband’s late stage cancer diagnosis in February of this year. 2020 was a walk in the park compared to that one month in 2021.  You bet I wanted that dragon to come rescue me.

I felt like I had no recourse for self-care.  Everything went dark. There wasn’t space for anything but taking care of my husband, my kids, running a business, being House Manager of our home, PR rep for the family, each separately and collectively.  I was last, again, as usual.  And I was sick and f*&^ing tired of it.  Why this?  Why now?  What does it mean?  What am I supposed to do?  How do I heal my husband? How do I run my healing practice this way? How do I help my kids?  How do I help myself? 

I went into “doing” mode and stayed there until recently.  My priorities had to shift, swiftly and dramatically, as I began to navigate the tumultuous waters that threatened my ability to BREATHE at any given moment.  I was treading water while holding the ship above my head.  Mother Dragon was nowhere to be found.  I was on my own.

Until I wasn’t.  There, in the dark corner.  She was there all along.  It was I who was ignoring her calls to be summoned.  She literally sent me to the fire multiple times to get my attention.  Thanks to the grace of the universe and the earth angels that surround me, she led me to many a fire pit where I found myself releasing, decompressing, yelling, crying, laughing, swearing, raging.  She sent me to the fire so I could see her.  She sent me to the fire so I could see me.

We have since rekindled our longtime relationship.   We have coffee together, we laugh together.  She’s the one who helps me to re-member that she and I are the same energy, the same essence, the same spirit in this human body, and that cannot be forgotten.  I am the one who will rescue me.  I am the one who will learn my lessons.  I am the one who chooses to re-prioritize, re-evaluate, re-consider and re-direct the trajectory of my path with the light of Mother Dragon’s illuminating fire.

She and I share the bond that creates the vision of the path that lay before me.  Now and always, I only see my loving husband in full and complete health, and I expect miracles.  And so it is.  I am beginning to see a change in my work which better positions me to share my gifts and talents with the world.  And so it is.  I see my writing evolve into what I’ve always wanted it to.  And so it is.  I recognize my children for the beautiful sensitive souls they are, and I remain proud and present with them.  And so it is. 

The dragon that lay in the shadows isn’t anything to be feared.  It’s not there to light US on fire.  It’s there to inspire and re-veal our very own truth that we are powerful beings when we embrace it. 

As we grow and evolve, our experiences eventually inform us of who we are and of what we can do.  When we look to our shadow for help, that’s when we learn what we are truly capable of and she encourages us to keep one foot in front of the other, just like any good mother.  That kind of knowledge and feeling doesn’t go away.  It only builds.  It’s like wisdom, no one can take it away from you.  It’s always going to remain in the library of your mind.

When I dreamt of being saved by my Mother Dragon, loved by her, protected by her, it was really just a part of me that I didn’t recognize yet.  No one is going to save me.  No one is going to save my children.  No one is going to save my husband.  We are all going to save ourselves. And collectively, those are some pretty powerful dragons that get to fly together. 

I’d encourage you to face your Mother Dragon.  Put your hand out, let her sniff it, and then go gently from there.

Thanks for listening. 
Love,
Julie.


 

Portals

Portal

PORTALS

I’ve been seeing portals for most of my life.  I’ve seen them in meditations, healings, with clients, in my dreams, or sometimes I see them sitting on the porch with a friend drinking coffee.   When I see them, it’s important.  It tells me to be extra aware of myself and my surroundings (or for a client) and how I interact with this world.  A portal is Spirit’s way of telling me that I am on the hard path, the “right” path for my growth and evolution and it’s time to summon up the courage to walk through.  I am being presented with an opportunity to change the trajectory of my life; some of it in my control, some of it not.  Sometimes portals look like doors, or glowing spots in trees, or it looks like a different configuration of air.  It makes sense that it’s coming to me now for a lot of reasons, and on some level I think I knew it was coming. 

When life gets upended we can do a couple of things.  We can freak out, disintegrate and become the victim and only ask WHY ME? And OF COURSE THIS IS MY LIFE!; We can live in denial and become separated from our emotional and spiritual bodies, experiencing pure lack of joy or gratitude in our life; or, we can do those things AND ultimately realize that there isn’t a thing that happens to us that we can’t use as an opportunity to make our own lives have a deeper meaning, and create stronger connections with ourselves and others.  Spirit’s calling card for me to do the latter is by nudging my gaze towards portals.  And here we are.

February of this year brought with it a serious cancer diagnosis for my husband.  That was a Tower card moment for me and for us (in Tarot, that’s the card that says let go because the rug is going to be pulled from underneath you whether you like it or not!).  At that time, we were experiencing a host of other personal and professional issues.  The diagnosis made some of those drop away for good, and brought to the forefront others.  We are now coming to the end of our 3rd month of this new dynamic.  In numerology, 3 marks the end of a first phase of something, the fist culmination of a larger project, endeavor, path.  And as it’s the full moon as I write this, she brings with her the permission to release all that doesn’t serve us so we can move forward.  So as I look at the time around me of this first culmination phase of the journey I’m now on, I take stock of what has been in the last 3 months and what is now: upheaval, shock, deep pain and despair, sadness, (did I say shock?), integration, some clarity, deep love, deep connection and appreciation, and now … a portal. 

This current portal I see looks like heat coming off of a hot street. It’s about 10 feet tall and 10 feet wide.  What’s different is that this time, I see myself walking through the portal. This is kind of  a new thing for me.  I’ve been on the precipice before and have seen only colors and light or hear different vibrations at these portals, but this time I see myself actually go through it.  On the other side the physical world LOOKS the same, but it FEELS very different.  I am still here at my home, but not here at my home.  It all has changed greatly, completely. But what feels completely intact is the sense of unconditional love and safety.  It’s still so totally scary though.  Who am I bringing with me?  What will be there?  How am I manifesting?  And of course, what does this look like for my husband and our family? I am very comfortable with expecting and receiving miracles.

The world I leave behind as I walk through the portal is old and heavy and no longer needs my skin.  It’s like I’m a hermit crab that needs a new home,  and I’m in the “oh-crap-I-better-get-a -new-shell-soon-or-something-is-going-to-eat-me” stage.  The reality for me however, (and not for the poor crab) is I will NOT be eaten or DESTROYED as part of the food chain.  However, if I deny myself this walk and this experience of movement through the portal, then I will die on a metaphorical level.   I’ll remain in a feverish state of agitation and crankiness.  Everything will be “fine” and opportunities for growth and change will be missed.  I will live in reaction and not response.  I will remain short of patience, I won’t attend to my energetic, emotional or spiritual wounds.  I will be tired, all of the time.  I will just exist.  I am not here to live like that.  None of are here to live like that.  We are all here to find our magic. We all have it.

I’ve had a healing session recently that has left me feeling like my skin is on fire and my mouth and throat have been scraped out.  I know, it sounds gnarly, but I am familiar with this and it’s a good thing.  It’s a good sign.  And I know that for me, it’s a reminder that this is the beginning of the next culmination.  I’m being cleansed and I’m releasing a lot of gunk on this powerful Wind Moon in Scorpio, which is the sign of death and transformation.  So I choose to walk through the portal whilst feeling so very vulnerable.  I am doing it to be well.  I am doing it so my family can be well.  I am doing it because I know it is the way for me to be able to help as many people as I can be well. 

My allies on this particular journey are birds of flight.  They remind me to take the 50,000 foot view of life.  See all the possibilities that lay before me.  Birds are clairvoyant seers, they can see what is to come long before we on earth can.  So as I walk on my path in this specific time experiencing these particular events of my life, I honor and call on bird medicine for assistance.  I am confident that as I walk through that portal, that ring of fire, my wings will not burn. I’m merely molting. 

I feel strongly that unless we all walk through our own portals, and let go of all that doesn’t serve us, it leads to paralysis; analysis paralysis, or a kind of paralysis where we forget that there is so much that happens & exists in this world that we do not see.   It all doesn’t have to happen the first go through.  You only need to start walking through the uncomfortable vulnerability until you feel loving and nurturing guidance envelop you.

How do you get there? Ask yourself: WHAT BRINGS ME JOY?! And remember, “No mud … no lotus” (Thich Nhat Hanh).  So even in the midst of your muck and mire, what feeling puts a smile on your face? What brings you up to your higher self?

My love for adventure and art brings me joy.  My love for my partner and our family and our life together brings me joy.  I love how very different my love for adventure looks now, as I approach my 5th decade on this planet, than what it did during only my 2nd decade on this planet.  I am so very grateful for this life.  As one of my guides recently told me, “You are pure love in this world, but remember you come from fierce warriors in all the other worlds!”  I can dig that. 

As I write this to you, I feel the momentum getting stronger.  I feel it for me, and I feel it for you.  Don’t let go.  Keep moving towards the portal.  It’s time. 

Long ago, I committed to living my life in only the most authentic way.  I remain true to that conviction.  So I will listen.  I will write and I will sit with the uncomfortable feelings with grace and gratitude because I know it will always transform into the healing loving guidance I’m meant to be paying attention to.

Maybe walking through a portal is like cliff diving.  I’ve never been, but this is how I imagine it goes:  first, coming up with the courage to even start running up to the jumping off point.  Then the jump.  Flying through the air, completely at the mercy of something larger than you that you didn’t realize existed until that very moment…. then plunging into the deep and resting in the silence of the water for just a moment.  Next, bursting up through the water’s surface, victorious, elated, exhilarated. Ready to do it all over again.  A new adventure, embracing a new gift of courage which, doesn’t even consider the shadows where a shark might be hiding. 

Thanks for listening. 

Love,

Julie.

“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself.”

~Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Beauty for Ashes

When we die, our souls return to the One Source from which we all come.  This is my belief.  I’m not preaching dogma.  I’m just sharing with you what I’m hearing right now.  When we hear certain things in this lifetime that make us stop and think, or meet certain people in this lifetime, it is significant.  Always.  So learn to love and pay attention for gods-sake.  Hear the person you get bored with.  Listen to the annoying clerk who is distracted and rambling, because they need your smile of understanding.  Say “I Appreciate You” to whomever will listen.  It matters.  It all matters. 

We learn our lessons this way, by extending ourselves and our kindness.  We learn to give, receive, forgive, love and we learn empathy.  It doesn’t matter how late in life you learn or practice these, or experience these things.  No matter who it is, or how you love, these lessons serve as a bridge to an opportunity to be who we truly are and who we can be. 

I am one of those people who tries to put as much kindness as I can out into the world.  Even now, when I feel the horrific beauty of the present moment.  Or, to borrow from Yeats, I will say a “terrible beauty is born” on this day, in this year.  2020 or 2021, this is our collective “terrible beauty” which is born.  We have been through struggles, we have witnessed others and their struggles, and have hopefully come to understand that we all suffer on some level, and it’s important to let others in so we don’t take up residence in our despair.  We can remember it, honor it and know how it shapes us and forms us.  The suffering is a lesson, a hurdle to be worked through, in the appropriate time. 

In congruence with the struggle is the acceptance.  The acceptance of death and transformation. Literally and figuratively.  But when our time is up on this earth and we leave our physical body, in what capacity are we supposed to consider our loved ones left on earth?  For instance, when I die, I know my soul flies free, goes home, and continues to evolve.  But is that what we say to our living relatives, loved ones, children, that we leave behind?  “I’m fine, don’t worry”?  What exactly are our loved ones supposed to do with our ashes?  Bury them? Honor them? Memorialize them? Pray to them? Kneel to them? Scream at them? Cry to them? Talk to them? I ask again, what in the world are the living meant to do with our ashes? The soul isn’t *there*.  Rather, it’s *everywhere*.  But they need something, don’t they? They need a place to go and do all of those things above. Let’s not leave them without a proper nest to mourn in. Let’s show them the beauty of our ashes.

Two months ago, my husband was told by a group of doctors that he is sick.  Pretty damn sick.  He could very well be dying.  This moment.  Right now.  (But aren’t we all dying in this moment, right now?)  However, I need to see the miracle instead.  I need to see the gift of the opportunity that lies before us. We can heal and be propelled to the place where we both live together in our full truth and health, always, unabashedly, together, holding hands, as we always do.  Call me foolish, delusional, the wife and mother in denial; the mystic shamanic witch that doesn’t live in this flat dimensional plane.  You see, all of those things make me a realist.  His cancer diagnosis has brought back to the surface all of that which matters most to us, thank goodness we have been gifted that chance.  I watch him sleep and feel such deep rivers of love and light and darkness all at once.  A terrible beauty is born.

Seeing the past, present and future all together, all at once, is a gift I embrace.  I see the love of my life, the light in his eyes, the love in his soul, and feel the inexplicable soulful bond we’ve had since our first date almost 16 years ago.  I see his love and feel his heart energy.  And that’s all I need to believe in a miracle.  And so it is.

Most of us have been touched by death.   Death is a part of life, a beautiful transformation in many cases.  I fully support and believe in a divine design for my life, for your life, for my husband’s life.  We are all sacred.  We are all loved.  We all have at least one other who loves us, cherishes us, wants us to live and be around.  How can this be anything but beautiful?

I listen to a meditation called Welcome Home.  Each time I listen to this, I feel like I’m dying out of this life and ascending to the others- past and present and future all turn into one.  But I still have to come back home, to here, to now, to my family with all of its imperfections and uncertainty and pain; and of course the love and the laughter, too.  This is exactly where I want to be now, in this moment of time, because I could not feel or be any more loved.  A terrible beauty is born.

How do you feel?  Are you where you want to be, around the people you want to be around?  Do you feel love? Do you have love? Do you see love? My wish for you is that you have love around you all the time, and if you don’t, find it.  Radically transform your environment so you feel love around you.  And accept that it can come in so many different forms and shapes and sizes, human or animal.  If you feel like you can be you, authentic, beautiful, ugly, unforgiving and compassionate you in the presence of another, then you’ve found love.  It really is that simple. 

I am many things, as you are, too.  I am love, faith, rage, hate, joy, god, goddess, compassion, fun, laughter… I will tell you unbelievable tales until you laugh, and then I’ll keep going… I will always tell you the truth in the most compassionate way I know how.  I will always lead with my heart. And I will always tell you a story about the beauty of our ashes and how a terrible beauty was born. 

Thanks for listening. 

Love,
Julie.

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

~Wendell Berry