Welcome to my Journey

Hello, and welcome to my Journey. Over the last few years I have been learning more about my personal journey, my Path and my Soul Purpose. The further I travel, the easier I find it to share my journey with others, and to learn from their journeys as well. The most recent evolution has caused me to expand my Universe and allow more people access to my travels, as well as allowing me access to more people, their travels and what they have learned as they walk their own paths. Feel free to share your journey here as we all have much to learn in our lives as Divine Beings having a Human experience.

Love and Light.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

May 29, 2011 On this day, a bunch of years ago, I stepped onto the stage for the first time.

I had the most amazing birthday last night at Borderline!  Heather and Mathom gave me a Tangled theme birthday with cake, banners, even figurines!  And the gluten free cake she made was both gorgeous and delicious!  One of our friends even asked her to make one for his wife's birthday!  And the necklace, bracelet and earrings she made are absolutely beautiful.  Another of our friends ordered one for herself in a different color.  What can I say?  My kid is multi talented! 

I got some more written for my book yesterday, relaxed some, got some necessary paperwork done, and even cleaned a little.  (ok, I went through one box of old papers and got rid of most of it.)  I'm working, albeit slowly, towards getting this place completely decluttered before the construction starts in what I'm estimating will be the end of July or beginning of August.

What can I say?  Things are chugging along just as they should right now.  I'm really enjoying the feelings I'm getting from opening up more, as a result of my book.  I seem to be getting closer to people, although the true friendships with new ones are going to take time, and that, too, is as it should be.  Even the friendships I've had and lost over the years didn't happen overnight, but took time as we got to know each other.  They lasted as long as we fit each other, and we moved on when we no longer fit.  At the moment, it seems I'm feeling my way to those new friendships which have the potential to carry me for the rest of my life.  Somewhere out there are the souls who have been part of my life before, but have not yet been part of this one, but were waiting for me to learn some lessons before appearing in my life to help me learn some more. 

Dancing was superb last night!  I no longer have that uncomfortable pounding of my heart I was experiencing and as my blood pressure has returned to normal, I can only guess that that is part of it.  I do need to spend some time each day stretching out my leg and hip muscles as they tend to lean towards being stiff and get worse when I sit for awhile (which was not the case last night!)  Barb suggested a watch which would beep every 15 minutes so that I'd get up and do a little stretch, but I can't see me being interrupted that often.  I do need to do better than 2-3 hours though!  This will also be a challenge as my book starts to come together as I tend to lose track of time and volume.  As with everything else, I will find that perfect place when the time is right. 

I woke up this morning with Dylan snuggled up against me, but didn't realize it until I rolled over on him to explain once again to Mr. Toby that while mom is sleeping is not the time to practice his music.  (why oh why did I name him after a musician?)  He responded by draping his rather oversized body across my stomach and getting the snuggles he probably wanted in the first place.  There's no doubt in my mind that our cats definitely train their "staff".  Toby's demands and Loki's haranguing had me doubting they'd been fed despite the noise of the TV from the living room.  But Heather confirmed that, once again, Loki was lying through her little kitty teeth, hoping she'd get fed her wet food a second time today!  The little sneak!  And of course, as she lied, Toby swore to it as he wouldn't mind a second helping of something in gravy either.    At least Munchkin and Scooby are happy with the can they share each morning.  I checked on Cinders and Hailey, but they're apparently sleeping off they're nocturnal hunt this morning, although the food and water were seriously depleted.  I didn't hear any ratty noises either, but they, too, may be sleeping off the night's circus.  I am seeing fewer of them now, and the ones I see are pretty small compared to the ones I used to see, leading me to believe that only the juveniles are left.  And I wouldn't put it past the girls to toy with them for a bit, luring them into a sense of complacency before they sneak up behind them and send them off to ratty heaven, or wherever rats go when their natural predators enter the picture. 

I was reading on Petfinders that one of the rescue groups actually got it's start because an actor on the Warner Brothers' lot took issue with having his wool cap chewed by rats, telling them that they needed cats as they were Nature's rat exterminator.  He showed up the following day with a limo full of cats and they and their progeny have lived there ever since, keeping the lot free of rodents.  But of course, being cats, they procreated and ultimately there were too many for their home so the rescue group is catching, spaying and neutering, and releasing the adults and finding homes for the kittens.  Obviously, they will have a hard time catching them all, but it does thin the ranks to a more manageable level, and allows them to make sure everyone is healthy as well.  I understand Disneyland also has it's resident cats and I'm sure the problem would be much worse there given all of the food stands and careless people.  The rats would have a field day were it not for the intervention of the "exterminators".  Still another story was one Heather stumbled on about shipboard cats from about the 1700's to now.  There again, a rat infestation would be disastrous, especially in the days when a ship took many days to reach the next land mass.  The presence of rats could mean starvation as they are impossible to keep out of the food supply.  But a couple of cats on board would take care of that little problem in short order.  And if they were anything like my two girls, would thoroughly enjoy their job!

So I don't have any qualms about simply encouraging the cycle of life in my garage.  :)  I do feel good, though, about not putting more poison into the environment like some would do to eradicate the rats.  I am going to have to find out soon, though, where any leftover parts might be stashed.  YUK! 

I noticed last night that I'm no longer adding the card of the day to my blog.  I started it initially because I was having trouble getting started or had very little to say.  It seems I've eliminated that problem in spite of working on the book, or maybe because of it.  Could writing perpetuate writing, so that the more I write, the more I write?  Interesting concept which I will have to explore in the coming months as I complete my first book and, perhaps even start the next.

Love and light.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

May 27, 2011 A much needed relaxing day

I highly recommend a monthly massage, especially if you can find someone as good as my massage therapist.  In the world of "me time", there's nothing quite like what can become the ultimate guided meditation.  I look forward to it for a week before, and feel the effects for at least a couple of weeks after!

So half my day was spent enjoying the effects and after effects of my massage, and the conversation afterwards, and the other half with cleaning off my desk, talking to lenders and relaxing with the kids.  All in all, a very good vacation day!  And the perfect precursor to a couple of days of writing.  My mind is ready to move on to whatever flows from my fingers in the next couple of days as I continue to talk to people and get other perspectives.  It really is helping me get my own stuff into perspective, and more, out of the deep, dark hole I shoved it all into over the years.  I'm truly my father's child in that regard! 

And now, I'm off to cuddle kitties who have been perfectly content to snuggle with us in the living room tonight!  Spoiled little darlings that they are!

Love and Light.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

May 26, 2011 So much going on, I don't know where to start!

Wow!  What a crazy week!  Work was proposals, meetings, taxes, software and, amazingly, a relatively quiet Thursday (although working 2+ hours from home last night ensured that, I think!)  I now have four blissful days off, and start tomorrow with a massage!  Yummy! 

Hailey and Cinders are loving their job of ridding the garage of rats.  I actually saw Hailey go after one this evening, and don't expect that rodent to be in one piece by morning.  Hailey seems to be in charge of all things above ground and Cinders takes care of the ones on the floor.  She's so into her job that she heard scuffling in our little store room and had her nose under the door while she whimpered to get in.  Heather opened the door and pulled stuff out to give her easier access to her prey, and Cinders seems to be much happier this evening.  I've noticed that although they are eating, their cat food consumption has drastically decreased since we started letting them have free reign of the garage.  I'm really surprised that the rats haven't bailed after watching several of their number meet an untimely end, but I saw one running across the garage door opener tonight, with Hailey weighing her options as to how she was going to catch it.  My money is on the cat. 

I talked about my book to a couple of more people at Borderline tonight at Kitty's urging.  She's really supportive of my little efforts.  Turns out, one of them also had her mother commit suicide when she was an adult, but in her case, the mother had been threatening for years, had attempted a few times and nobody took her seriously.  The common thread we had was the feeling of relief when the deed was finally done!  Her boyfriend was really excited about my book and agreed that it will definitely help a lot of people (I'd be happy with a few) who just don't talk about the experience for various reasons. 

I plan on spending a good chunk of this weekend writing, although, I have to admit that the more I delve into it, the harder it seems as I really am opening up old wounds.  But as Robert John said at the sweat ceremony, you have to let things scar over and clearly, some of my wounds are still open.  Writing will allow them to finally heal and I'll be much stronger for it. 

Heather and Mathom plan to go up to Bakersfield to visit her best friend tomorrow, and she thinks that will give me the day to write, but with a massage at 10 and various phone calls and such I need to make as it's a work day for most, I don't know that I'll even have a chance to start writing until sometime tomorrow evening, but Saturday is definitely free, as is Monday for sure!  Sunday is my birthday so I'm just going to play that one by ear.  

I've also been helping keep the Petfinder site updated for Pink Paws so that takes a little time in the evening as well, but it, too, is a labor of love.  And I get to see the kitten pics first!  I even named one of the litters this week! 

About half of the brick wall in the entry way is now down, thanks to Heather's and Mathom's efforts.  It started out slow, but once they got a pair of tin snips to clip the strapping that was used to hold some of the bricks in place, the job started going faster.  At least the ladder is put away for now so Loki can't climb up and try to help, but now Dylan thinks he needs to climb the wall!  Everyone wants to supervise! 

At any rate, I do have a little time right now and I want to support Michele's efforts to educate people through her own experiences as well so I'll cut this short (yeah, right, as if I can do that these days!  But I always said that I get my point across in 10,000 words or more!)

Love and Light.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

May 24, 2011 The calm has ended. Here comes the storm!

Well, just as I take on a couple of new things, my book, the website for Pink Paws...wouldn't you know that after over a year of not one single proposal, we're now getting slammed and of course, everything has a very short turnaround.  I guess we'll just have to follow the edict that bids and proposals is not an 8-5 job.  Tee hee.  Guess working the last one at 2 AM qualifies, huh?  But me and my buddy Steve will make it happen just as we always do!  Good thing his wife isn't the jealous type, with the amount of time we spend on the phone while working one of these!  (not that she has a single thing to worry about!  It's just work!) 

Meanwhile, Cinders and Hailey have been having a field day killing rats.  I was in the garage with them this evening.  Cinders was wandering around and finally jumped into the cage and let me give her some attention.  Hailey was standing guard on top of the storeroom to make sure the rats' friends and family didn't decide that it was still safe!  I'm guessing that there are lots of dead rat parts up there now!  They've definitely lived up to expectations!  As soon as they got out of the cage, the carnage began, although, so far, they've left no parts where we've found them. 

The book is still coming along, though slowly.  I'm spending more time letting things percolate right now.  In the meantime, I'm back to regular postings in my ACIM blog and have just about reached lesson 60.  The main problem I'm finding with it now is that, so many times, the lessons talk about not seeing, illusions and such, but I'm way ahead of the lessons.  I'm still going to keep plugging along though.  I simply add my own dialogue to the lesson and it tends to just make me aware of how far I've come on my own. 

Went over to TJ's last night with Heather and Mathom.  A guy was standing on the corner with a sign saying "Jesus won".  We made jokes about it, and Heather posted it on her facebook page.  Lots of funny commentary afterwards.  I know this sounds kind of disjointed, but ACIM tends to refer to G-d, the Father and the Son a lot.  I always change it to the Universe as that's what feels more real to me. 

And on another note, I'm talking to lenders about refinancing the house to accommodate the remodel, and waiting to hear from the 3 contractors I sent my bid checklist to.  It does seem like the rates have come down some since last Friday, so I'm not rushing to commit to anything.  Besides, all of the lenders seem to have the same rates, it's just the fees which vary, and the last two were quite a bit higher than the first guy I spoke to, so if he can do a little bit better deal than the one we discussed on Friday, he'll probably get my business.  I'd like to see a couple of serious bids before I do make that commitment, though, despite the fact that I'm hearing about 45 to 60 days to close the loan, but 30 days to get the plans through the city.  However, there's also the amount of time it will take to actually draw up the plans, so it may work out about right.   Just have to keep organized, but it looks like, if things go according to plan, we might be in remodel mode about the time Priti is in India, which will be interesting, at best.  Heather will have her trig class 4 days a week, I'll be working my butt off and the we'll have to be figuring out how to move the cats around (not to mention the furniture!) to allow for the inside work.  I'm not sure, at this point, how long it is going to take them to put the addition part together, though, so it might actually run into August, which might be better.  One way or another, all of the details will be worked out, and I may even manage a week off to just stay home and write!  Ah, bliss!

Love and Light.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

May 22, 2011 Busy weekend, busy life, but still the writing continues

Lots going on these days.  I've accepted partial responsibility for maintaining our kitties on Petfinder with Heather's photographic help.  I've put the bid list together for the contractors and contacted a couple of banks to get quotes on the refi.  I'm moving forward in many ways.  Yet I still managed to write about 700 words today, ran errands yesterday, helped with adoptions today and got a couple of chores done as well.  Even had some down time to watch a movie with the kids and play a computer game.  Life is good, and the busier I get, the more I seem to get done.  Wild, isn't it?  Added another post to the ACIM blog too. 

Next project will be to find a grant writing course so I can help Heather get started on writing some grant requests for CSUN next fall.  I like the feeling of energy when there are lots of things to do.  Now, I just need to make time to yank a bunch of weeds out of my front planter!  At least it's staying light later now, and I do have a four day weekend coming up this week!  I will just pace myself and get lots done, including the writing! 

Love and Light.

Friday, May 20, 2011

May 20, 2011 My mind is spinning with new ideas

Just as I think I've run out of stuff to say, my mind starts to spin and I find that I'm heading in a whole new direction.  And the new direction is usually triggered by something else I wrote which just opens up more doors.  Is it really that it was always there or that the kickstart the writing is giving the healing process just knocks down walls I had erected over the years, even before my parents died?  I seem to have lost chunks of time between one set of memories and another.  Certainly, in time, those chunks will come back if there's anything significant in them.  But still, the writing process continues as I'd suspected, and just goes off on it's own.  I seem to be the tail and the writing is the dog these days.  I do find that I need a few days in between to let what I've written before just percolate.  Once it has had time to settle in and loosen some more of the mortar, as it were, I'll sit and write another couple of thousand words or so on the new train of thought.  The real challenge will be to put everything together into a logical order once the main task of writing everything down is done.  As it is, I've already changed the title, and after being reminded of the very Christian based "Left Behind" series, I know that the change is a good move.  I even put the new title in my manuscript, though I haven't actually changed the name of the manuscript's word document. 

I've also added the task of helping keep the Petfinders website updated for all of our kitties who need homes.  Possibly just in time as our web mistress extraordinaire just got into the EATM program and her life is getting so busy she won't even be able to foster any more.  I'm taking bets on how long it will take her to go into withdrawals!  She just loves the kittens! 

I'm sending out inquiries about the loan and need to put together a bid package for my contractors this weekend so I can get this show on the road.  One of the lenders said it would probably take 45 to 60 days to get funding because of the cash out and the HELOC.  They will have to subordinate in order for me to refi, but I'm really not worried.  It will all come together just as it should.  My boss shared his checklist with me, and the house he had redone for his in-laws is the same size as mine so I'll be able to get a rough idea of costs, though I know he did some more expensive things which I don't need or want to do.  So, lots to do this weekend, and I hope to get some of the weeds pulled in the front yard too, as the house will appraise better if the yard doesn't look so messy!

Love and light.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

May 18, 2011 The book may be shorter than originally planned

I've reached about 9400 words and seem to have said most of what I need to say, but find that while certain aspects of the healing process are pretty much completed, others are just getting started.  And as they are, and I don't know how or where they will go, I've hit a bit of a wall with the writing although I added another 1000 words or so tonight.  Part of that was reading through what I'd already written and adding here, deleting there.  I'm sure that process will continue until I get the whole thing wrapped up!

I got an email for a webinar about writing a book in a weekend, so I figured it must have come right now for a reason and gave it a listen.  It turns out that the woman is promoting her process for putting out a book which will be like a giant business card to, essentially, promote a business and it's product.  A small portion of what she said was relevant to my project, but mostly it wasn't.  However, I don't discount things like this coming into my life as from each one, if I glean a single gem, I'm that much richer for the experience.  I've learned not to discount any relevant information that has potential value to my overall goals. 

I also got my first quote for the remodel from the contractor I'm referring to as "Flirty Guy" because he seemed to think that flirting with "lonely single woman" (he clearly didn't get a good read on me!) would cause her to overlook the fact that he ignored half of what I told him I wanted and then put both carpet and tile flooring throughout the house into his astronomical bid of $230K!  I sent him a very polite "thanks but no thanks" email.  I wonder if it's significant that his quote went directly into my junk mail folder?   

I started to look into financing by requesting a quote from the bank I do business  with, but they came back with a few points above their best rate and I told them, too, that I'd look elsewhere.  I know that, just like everything else, it will come together as it's meant to and WHEN it's meant to, so I won't worry about it.  I still have to get JD's bid checklist and send it to the other contractors.  I suspect that one of the others will come in very high as well, though.  As for the other two, I'm hoping they'll be more reasonable and more realistic. 

Meanwhile, I move forward with my writing and visualizing that book tour and days spent writing instead of going into an office.  I also visualize some very nice checks as a result of my writing and, something I added tonight after listening to the webinar, speaking engagements as well!  So that is the gem I acquired from the experience.  Writing the book is just the beginning, the tip of the iceberg to my becoming amazing!  To manifesting the woman within who will finally do something to help others find not only their peace but their joy.

Love and light.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

May 17, 2011 Life just slips on in!

It has been brought to my attention that I've missed a few days of blogging lately, for the first time in awhile.  My only excuse is that life happens!  I was away for two weekends in a row and am running like crazy to catch up.  Plus, I took on a few more activities.  We've been talking to contractors for the last few days about possibly remodeling the house.  If I decide the project is a go, I'll need to then secure financing (or re-financing as it were) on ye olde humble abode.  Meanwhile, the two huntresses have finally taken up temporary residence in my garage until they realize that this is their new home.  The rats continue to tromp around my garage, little realizing that they are giving the two felines a road map as to where they can be found once the cage door opens permanently.  Woe be to said rodents!  So not only do I have to make sure my original furry children are getting enough attention, I have to make forays into the garage to pay attention to the new kids as well (not that it is any real trial as both Cinders and Hailey are total loves.  Hailey was shy at first but has come to realize that skritches from this stranger are at least almost as good as they were from her previous human parent.  Cinders, on the other hand, is an attention whore and really doesn't care who gives the attention as long as she gets it!) 

So both writing and blogging have suffered the last few days, although I did get some writing in over the weekend on the book.  And when I'm not writing regularly, dreams take on any number of weird directions though sleep is still much better than it used to be.  Maybe unloading is a really good sleep aid? 

Heather is now out of school for the summer and has already begun demo-ing the brick inside my house.  Even if the remodel does not take place, we still want the brick down, so she may as well get started, and work off some frustrations from the last month of studying for finals.  It looks like, work-wise, she'll be getting plenty of hours again, though!  And soon, she'll be working on finding some grants and then the fun will begin!  We are probably going to attend a seminar on grant writing so we can improve her chances of getting money for her education once she transfers to the university. And the practice will be good for when she starts doing research. 

Work for me is...interesting.  Lots of meetings lately, and proposals seem to be real this year instead of just empty promises.  Hopefully, we'll see more contracts soon to keep my staff busy and happy.  The dynamics in the office, which changed as of the first of the year are still off.  Although I can't exactly put my finger on what is out of whack, I do know what the cause is and there's really nothing I can do but learn to live with it, so I do.  And since I have so much going on in my own life, and so many possibilities now opening up, those work dynamics are becoming the least of my concerns.  Essentially, I'm trying to do the job without getting caught up in the interpersonal stuff.  My energy is better used for my writing these days. 

Anyway, a little blog so y'all don't think I'm neglecting you.

Love and light.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

May 14, 2011 The writing continues, the direction becomes murky

I continue to work on my book, though the words don't come as quickly as I'd like, and the direction is murky at best.  When I sit down to write, I find that I just spill out whatever is on my mind at the time, whether it was impacted by the day's events, a dream, or just my mind's meanderings.  What I am finding is that I seem to be evolving away from the original title into something more like "Life after suicide: healing and forgiving".  This isn't necessarily a bad thing, just that as I get into the project, it, as I rather suspected, begins, in part, to write itself.  I don't seem to have a lot of control over what I'm going to write next.  I just sit down at the computer and the words come out.  I may struggle, at times over which word to use in a particular place, but the words that are coming out cover a particular aspect of my parents' lives or an aspect of my mindset.  Either way, they evolve into something over which I have very little control.  Sure, when it's all down, I'll certainly have editorial control and will decide what order all of my little snippets will take, but by then, the tale will be told, and I'll just be cleaning it up a bit.  I'm also finding that when I sit down to write, time becomes meaningless.  I may feel that I've only been writing for an hour or less, but when I look at the clock on my computer, two or three hours have actually passed.  Granted, each sitting produces a minimum of about 1200 words these days, and despite the fact that I have not managed to write every day, I still am closing in on 10,000 words already.  Clearly, the more days a week I sit down and write, the sooner it will be ready to organize and edit, but I also want to make sure I include what needs to be there, and that can't be rushed or glossed over. 

I have found, though, that in sitting down to work on the book, using the same approach I use for this blog seems to be the most effective.  I simply start writing whatever happens to come into my head.  As I write, what I've written causes other things to come to mind, and they, too, ultimately appear on the screen.  It's not an organized or practical way to write, but my thoughts get written down and that's the ultimate goal.  And for those thoughts which don't fit into the book or just to comment on how the writing is going, I still have my little blog in which to vent and dump and share and whatever else my flying fingers need to do.    I'm also finding that I'm putting the "notes" option on my iPhone to good use when a thought comes to mind that needs to be recorded now.  I think there's a voice recorder too, which I'll have to check into for those times when I'm driving and can't stop to type.

Love and light.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

May 11, 2011 11:11 PM. Hmmm, is this significant????

As I try to juggle my writing assignments, I'm rethinking some of the things I'm doing.  My book is currently just a bunch of revelations, observations and concerns jumbled together however they come out of my brain.  But it makes me think that the long posts I've been putting in my blog could well be torturous for the reader.  As a result, I've decided that the posts will, from now on, be short and sweet, leaving the longer dissertations for the soon-to-be published work.

I do find it very telling that the date and time I started this post are filled with "1's".  This year clearly is continuing to remind me that there are major changes and new beginnings coming my way.  Once the book is published, I suspect the changes will start happening a lot more quickly, because many of them are directly tied to the publication of the book and all that will come after as a result. 

The sense of excitement and anticipation, at times, takes the form of nausea.  In fact, I've come to accept the fact that, most mornings, I wake up queasy but after I begin my morning ritual, it passes and I just get on with my day.  As the pace of my life quickens, I acknowledge that I must pay more attention to my health and do things which will revere and protect every cell in my body!  This will be my focus in the next days, and hopefully, the ideas will sprout forth in this blog as well. 

Love and Light

Monday, May 9, 2011

May 9, 2011 Departure day

Sedona seemed to unleash her powers last night, as if she knew it was my last night and she wanted to leave a lasting impression.  The wind howled such that I finally closed the window which had been open all weekend.  I finally crawled under the covers because the room was quite chilly.  At one point, I heard a loud crash,, but didn't get up to investigate until the call of nature grew insistent. It was then I discovered that I'd failed to latch the front door adequately and the wind blew it open.  My L.A. mentality immediately looked around to see if anything was missing, which of course nothing was.  After latching the door securely this time, I went back to bed to a series of very disturbing dreams which, at times, made it difficult to fall back asleep.  I woke up terribly unsettled from it all to an overcast, and still very windy day.  The temperature has dropped about 20 degrees. 

I decided to follow Jeanie's advice and have breakfast at the Coffee Pot instead of eating my last oh-so-delightful breakfast bowl, though I did pull the OJ out of the refrigerator to find that, like my turkey and ham, it had also frozen, though not completely so I was able to pour myself an orange slushy. 

In an effort still my unsettled feelings, I followed the routine I'd set and walked down to the lookout.  The view is ever more amazing with clouds casting shadows on the rocks!  As it is Monday, my meditation was not interrupted by people talking, but it was relatively short, but effective.  I feel more centered now, and that was my intention.  I know I'm worrying about my heartbeat being so strong and blood pressure being up, but I've also been experiencing shortness of breath a lot the last few days.  Of course a large part of the problem could well be that the city of Sedona is at an elevation of 4200 feet and the hotel is on a plateau of about 4800 ft.  My little sea level lungs are working hard here! 

I've had a wonderful time, not the least of which was visiting with an old friend, and I did get quite a bit of writing done, though I didn't devote entire days to my craft.  Now, I look forward to some time spent wandering the town and going home to my daughter and cats.  I hope Dylan doesn't give me the cold shoulder for leaving him! 

Love and Light

Sunday, May 8, 2011

May 8, 2011 Another perfect day in Paradise

I don't even know where to start this morning.  I had a wonderful day reconnecting with another friend from high school who, once again, gave me more to think about with regard to my book.  I may be going off in too many directions at this point, but my intention is to get things down and edit later.  We went to see a show that was being put on by some ladies she knew called "Dancing through the Decades".  The show was just adorable and the ladies and one gentleman who performed were great fun!  Driving over there showed me more of how much Sedona has changed.  Roads have been widened, two lane roads split into two parts with two lanes of their own, and rerouted so we passed much closer to Bell Rock (I only hope that the hiking trails near it weren't severely impacted).  There are roundabouts everywhere you go now, so I was very glad she was doing the driving.  We went up to a chapel that is built into the rock where the whole front is glass and overlooks the valley.  On the way up, we passed what I can only describe as a castle without the turrets.  It even has its own private observatory!  She said it's a single family home but the place is huge!  I got some pictures of it from the chapel which sits right above it.  They have a fountain in the driveway and a natural pool and a gazebo in what normal people might call a back yard.   It seems that there was a lot of flack from the city about building it, but as it's outside the city limits, the owners got to do what they wanted (and if you ask me, probably made some nice contributions in strategic places as well)  We had a late lunch at a far from ordinary pizza place sharing a pizza and a delicious greek salad.  It was the first non gluten free pizza I'd eaten in months, but combined with the hamburger bun the night before, my body very quickly and with little fuss just rejected the whole thing.  But it tasted great going down! 

I met her for Karaoke later in the evening and stayed out late enough to wear myself out.  (and no, I did NOT sing, at least not into a mic)  So I actually slept in this morning, though I woke around 5:45 with a headache again.  Do you realize that at 5:45 AM it is full daylight in Sedona??  Yikes!  Toby is bad enough when the sun is up by 6:30!  But I was able to go back to sleep until just before 9 before getting up and resuming my morning routine of wandering down to the Lookout to enjoy the view and a meditation.  This time, I sat closer to the fountain and had the water as a backdrop for a short meditation.  They very thoughtfully place chairs and benches around the patio area and leave a couple of pillows to cushion your back against the wrought iron backs.  Today, I even found a wrought iron bench to put my feet up on.  I don't go into a deep meditative state on these jaunts, but it's more of a morning quickie to just let my thoughts drift.  I do a deeper one on the balcony of my room which overlooks the gardens.  Although people occasionally pass by, crunching the gravel as they walk, if they speak at all, it's usually softly and they're moving so it doesn't last long, unlike the outlook where people will come and hold conversations. 

I hope to meet up with Jeanie and her boyfriend later today for our own Mother's Day lunch.  It was funny, she said last night "let's go somewhere none of us has ever been!"  I had to laugh as I've only been to a couple of places here.  So it will be interesting and, no doubt, great fun to see what she finds! 

As I was wandering through the gardens, taking a different route, as I always do, I realized that I was incredibly relaxed, unlike any vacation I've taken before.  I came here to write, yes, but the writing is part of the process of letting go, and sitting here in this amazing place with the wind blowing through the trees and those amazing red rock mountains off in the distance, I am struck by an incredible sense of calm and of rightness.  Of course it doesn't hurt that one of the vortexes is just down the road from the hotel. According to Jeanie, this one is masculine energy, but that doesn't mean that I wouldn't be affected by its energy. 

Card of the Day:  Prince of Pentacles.  (I actually did something I don't normally do because my first pick was the same card as yesterday, but as this is a new deck, I felt that maybe having pulled the card it was a bit out of shape from the other cards)
I see An Indian brave stands next to a buffalo, wearing a small headdress and holding a large buffalo embossed coin decorated with feathers of red and white,. He wears a crown of red feathers adorned with two red, black and white feathers standing upright at slight angles,.  The man wears a collar from which dangles some sort of ornament.  He stands on a barren landscape, not unlike the mountains I see from my window, which although not completely bare, are not covered in vegetation.  One rock comes to a peak and seems to point at a pentacle hanging in the sky  behind which is a shadowy rock structure which may have a castle atop it's crest, but is more likely just the rock itself. 
I feel:  my journey will be lonely for a time, but will ultimately take me to a place of abundance where friends, family and future friends meet in harmony.  My goals will be met and I will find a new kind of financial freedom as well as a creative freedom in which to pursue my purpose.
I think:  This card is the embodiment of my weekend in Sedona where I'm finding new directions and parts of myself that have long been buried.

Love and Light

Saturday, May 7, 2011

May 7, 2011 A perfect start to what will be a very productive day

What an amazing way to start the day!  I woke up much earlier than I'd planned, but either the bed was too hard or my mind was too full of my book, or maybe a little of both!  But despite my brain being in overdrive, I refused to be rushed and forced it to submit to a 45 minute meditation before I got up and started my day.  First, I took another walk through the gardens to what I've come to think of as the "Meditation patio" as it overlooks downtown Sedona with the gorgeous red mountains and some of the vortexes as an incredibly beautiful backdrop.  I sat down in one of the chairs they so thoughtfully provided and closed my eyes to do a nature meditation with the birdsong and a fountain as my background noise.  Although a group of people including a rather loud man with a Texas accent started talking nearby soon after, I was able to get to my quiet place for a few minutes.  I took a number of pictures of the patio, the view, and the gardens on my slow stroll back to my room.  The gardens have a more desert-y look to them with cacti and bentwood chairs and benches.  There's even a small lily pond with goldfish in it!  My workspace is a table by the window, looking out over the gardens and a bit of the red rock mountains off to the left.  There's a nice breeze so the door and window are wide open.  This is exactly how I imagined it would be, only better! 

Every so often, I hear the sound of a small plane engine as someone either arrives or departs from the small airport just beyond my hotel.  The birds who woke me have finally settled down, babies with full tummies, parents relaxing until the starving brood again demands food.  And speaking of food, upon my return to my room, I changed into what I'll come to know as my writing clothes (formerly known as workout shorts and a sleeveless, oversized t-shirt), popped one of the breakfast bowls I bought yesterday into the microwave, poured a glass of orange juice and opened the doors and windows to this amazing day.

And my final part of today's posting is a card of the day from a new deck, the Gendron Tarot.  I've never used it before so it will be interesting to see how it resonates with me.  These cards have a beautiful celestial painting on the back with a center circle filled with butterflies and flanked by dolphins.  Above and below are two more circles in which lovebirds reside.  I can only believe that the faces of the cards are equally beautiful.

Card of the day:  Prince of Wands (I've changed decks yet still the Wands favor me)
I see:  A handsome bearded man dressed in purples and golds holds a black wrapped staff with two pieces of purple cloth dangling from gold cockades.  As the sun rises over the trees behind him, it's beams appear to emanate from the top of his head and frame a full moon which has not yet set.  He stands in a field, or perhaps a clearing surrounded be trees in full bloom.  A gold medallion rests on his chest and he wears a smile as if what he sees in front of him pleases him greatly.
I feel:  It's time to leap into action, unmindful of consequences or outside influences.  the guidance I need is clearly in place, and, in fact, haunted my dreams all night long. 
I think:  There is no doubt in my mind that I will have a significant amount written by the end of this weekend towards a book that will be highly successful.

And on that note, I need to start The Book

Love and light

Friday, May 6, 2011

May 6, 2011 Brought to you live from Sedona

Made it to Sedona safely and happily albeit on rather small planes, one not much bigger than a puddle jumper.  What a wild ride into Flagstaff!  My seatmate explained that the thermals are quite active this time of year, so I got a roller coaster ride, Disney style.  But silly me left the camera safely packed in the laptop bag under the seat, and the quarters were too close to get to it.  And flying over Sedona into Flagstaff was truly spectacular!  I hope it will still be daylight when I fly out on Monday as I don't want to miss another chance to capture that view! 

I had a couple more paragraphs come to me while in flight, and was quite thankful for the notes function on my iPhone, although it was quite challenging to hit the right letters on the touch pad with the plane bumping all over the place, but I persevered.  Especially as one in particular caught me by surprise.  I was comparing the way your stomach drops on takeoff to the elevator in the old May Co. downtown when I flashed back to how my mom shared that with us when we were little and it was such fun!  Suddenly, I started to tear up and it crossed my mind that it's \Mother's Day weekend.  This is weird because I haven't gotten emotional about mom being gone in a very long time.  It caused me to think that this book may be harder on me than I currently realize, albeit very cathartic in the long run.  (I'm also realizing that the little keyboard I bought was a waste of money as I'm typing quite well on the laptop keyboard, especially with the elevation the cooling pad provides)  I also realize that from this moment on, I go nowhere without my camera! 

The hotel is quite quaint with open beamed ceilings and wood paneled walls.  The bathroom is roomy and the kitchenette area is quite functional, although why there's a strainer for pasta when the only cooking utensil is a microwave baffles me, but I figure I'll only use it for breakfasty and lunchy kinda stuff.  The balcony has a small table and two chairs, perfect for relaxing, though most of the view is blocked by a large tree.  When they said "partial view" they weren't kidding!  But the table where I'm working is right next to the window, which is so totally perfect and, frankly, exactly as I'd envisioned it.  I will probably open the window in the morning and work with my tea and a whole lot of fresh air! 

With the help of the hotel desk clerk and my gps I found a grocery store and stocked up on the essentials.  Breakfast bowls, sliced chicken, ham and cheese, oranges and bananas, juice, and of course, munchies.  I decided to treat myself to a bottle of wine but as nothing sounded good I took the easy way out and bought some Mike's hard lemonade which actually tastes wonderful after a long trip when coupled with a turkey burger with mushrooms and some kind of seasoned fries.  Half the bottle is gone and no buzz yet!  Must be the food! :)  The market, surprisingly, had quite a selection of gluten free foods, but I promised myself that, within reason, I'd eat what I want this weekend.  OK, so the munchies include brie, cashews and fritos.  I can't afford to totally destroy my stomach, now, can I?  The bun on this burger may be more than enough to remind me that gluten free is better for me. 

But for now, I will finish my dinner, then take a stroll in the lovely garden that winds through the hotel grounds.

Love and light.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

May 5, 2011 One more day until Sedona!

Card of the Day:  Two of Pentacles (this one is brand new to this exercise!)
I see: A woman dressed as a court jester, shirt of black and white diamonds with large red buttons, two pointed hat with a bell on each point.   She stands on a lake shore, flanked by two red and blue hills, holding a large coin/pentacle in each hand.  Her demeanor is calm and relaxed, her eyes closed as if in meditation.  She holds the coins at the same level on each side, as if balancing them.
I feel:  This is a card of balance, of equalness.  Everything is in twos, the mountains, the bells on the hat, the pentacles, even the flowers on either side of the woman.  The buttons on her dress number 4, also in balance.  Thus, life is balanced, work and play, happy and sad, joy and sorrow, all aspects are important and must have their time.  Each brings value into life and leads us to grow and become who we are meant to be.
I think:  My life is balancing.  The sorrow has led me to begin this book.  The work  has led me to take a break and relax.  The sense of aloneness has led me to learn that the Universe is always there for me, and that I am never truly alone.

Interesting that the cards I'm pulling lately are either wands or pentacles, action and abundance.  Success in endeavors for which I've put forth sustained effort.  I find this significant in that I have taken on more than one new endeavor and am putting forth a certain amount of effort while, in my regular work, I'm almost too comfortable.  The processes work, for the most part.  I know what I need to do from one day to the next.  I don't need to rush for the most part, but just work through all of the steps to complete the repetitive processes.  There are places for improvement, and I work on those, but so much of what used to take me awhile to get through is very routine at this point.  Maybe that is part of what prompts my creative side to get into the picture.  I lack a challenge lately and need the challenge in order to grow.  So I will write.

I'm not sure what's going on today.  I'm a bit tense and had to relax through not one but two attempts by my body to have a migraine this morning!  So what's the deal?  Am I stressing over starting my book?  Being away from home?  Flying?  (this would be odd as I have always loved to fly)  In the short bursts of worrying about any nature of catastrophe, I keep picturing myself sitting on the balcony in Sedona, writing, enjoying the view, sipping wine...  And of course, there are the book tours! :)   The Universe is so behind me on this that I know all will be well.  Maybe a little performance anxiety?  I found out today that a co-worker is doing what we've been encouraging Joleen to do: put her journals into book form.  It was interesting though.  She said that she has to freehand her writing.  When I said I do better sitting at the computer and typing, she gave me a look as if to say "oh, that's nonsense!  The only way to truly write well is to write it out longhand!"  To each their own.  I know that my methodology in a lot of things (including dealing with family tragedy) will not be the same as what other people find effective.  The beauty is, there are lots of methods for doing nearly everything, and as we are all individuals, we get to choose what we use!  Isn't that amazing?  Choice?  That has to be one of the greatest blessings bestowed upon us.  The ability to choose and to be individual!  Maybe taken individually, the things we choose match those of many others, but if you take all of our choices together, they form a wonderful, unique individual, because it's unlikely that anyone makes exactly the same choices we do, so when you put the whole package together, it's distinctly our own!  (hmmm, this looks like something I can USE!!!)  Just as we all came into this lifetime with our own soul purpose, and just as some of us will find that soul purpose and some won't, some will look for it and some won't, some will seek their joy, their passion, and some won't.  Again, it comes down to choices.  We choose whether to be aware of more than our material surroundings and we choose whether or not we want to take it even further.  There are no wrong answers.  We do what we must do, and I believe that some are meant to simply be human.  That is part of the lesson they are here to learn this time around.  One can't be a truly spiritual being without understanding the human part of our nature, and, in some cases, that may take a few tries before we get it right.  It's like building a house.  You have to start with the foundation which is, essentially, attached to the earth.  Once the foundation is securely in place, you slowly build he rest of the structure, continuing to work from the bottom up, adding layers until you have the full building which now touches the sky as well as the earth.  As Divine beings having a Human experience, our ability to "touch the sky" as it were, is limitless, but we need to establish a strong foundation, else we lose touch with one aspect of our true selves.  For some, that foundation is rooted in some form of organized religion and may be guided by an individual who professes to be more closely tied to the Divine than normal people.  For others, that connection to Divine is direct, as it can be for anyone who allows it.  That isn't to say that we can't utilize information from the discoveries of others, nor is it a bad idea as it makes us think, and, more than think, open our minds further to the Universe.

And in opening my mind I was given yet another gift.  A suggestion that I put a picture of my book cover up where I'm writing, picturing the book as complete and already published as this is a good focus for letting the ideas flow from fingers to keyboard.  I'm going to put something together tonight and print it out to take with me.

And on that note, the next posting will be from Sedona as I have to get going early tomorrow in order to have an early Mother's Day breakfast with my baby.

Love and Light.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

May 4, 2011 May the 4th be with me!

Card of the Day:  Ace of Wands
I see:  A celestial hand reaches down from a churning red sky to gently touch a shaft of wheat growing on a mountain top.  The fiery reds, yellows and oranges of the sky are in sharp contrast to the green of new growth which covers the ground as far as the eye can see.
I feel:  This is the hand of change, of the Universe guiding every living thing into the next phase of it's life, and that the roiling skies indicate that this is a storm of change which will take everyone with it, willing or not, because the changes are inevitable, they must occur and they will ultimately be for the benefit of all.  Those who choose to be part of the change will find themselves running lightly and freely as the storm carries them along on its back.  Those who fight the change will find themselves tossed around as the storm flows, because stagnancy is no longer an option.
I think: I am the shaft of wheat and the Universe is the hand which reaches down to help me, guide me and keep me on the path it has shown me.  I stand on the threshhold of a brand new life and, once I take the first step, the changes I see will be magnificent.

Driving home tonight, I'm thinking about today's ACIM lesson and doing my best to be open to what the Universe is trying to share with me when I realize that at this point, either I'm wide open, or the Universe has ceased to care whether I want to listen or not and is just making darn sure I hear what they're telling me.  It reminds me of when the girls were small and would say "mommymommymommymommy" endlessly until they were sure they had my attention.   Or maybe like the cell phone commercials "can you hear me now?"  But it's a good thing as I'm not without a certain amount of trepidation about starting my book.  I don't have a real plan, just a few disconnected paragraphs.  I've been talking to people casually, but nothing formal.  I have a vague idea of how I want to set the tone, but nothing really concrete, but heck, I didn't know what I was doing or where I was going when I started this blog, and how many thousands of words and months later, and there's a lot here.  Granted, even I find some of what I've written over the last few months dreadfully boring, but there are some real gems here as well, and I plan to mine those nuggets as I go along.  I'm hoping that either there's a table close to the window or one on the deck as I keep envisioning writing with the view in front of me, but I can always rearrange the furniture if need be.  As I'm thinking about packing, I realize that I don't really need much in the way of nice.  A couple of decent looking things in case I decide to go into town in the evenings for more than just a bite to eat, but otherwise, I want clothes I can hike in or comfy stuff to write in.  So a couple of pairs of shorts, a pair of sweat pants and maybe some of my workout shorts, since the days are supposed to be rather toasty, and I should be set.  But I'm taking the big duffle in case I find things I want to bring home with me.  I do want to spend some time on Monday wandering through the shops on 89A.  There are some really amazing and diverse offerings, if memory serves.  I do need to find out what the cooking facilities, if any, are in the kitchenette.  I know there will be a way to make coffee or tea, but as for the rest, I should email the hotel and find out.  

At any rate, the rest of the evening will be spent packing and maybe relaxing.  I need to check out all of the accessories for my laptop and download my word document onto the flash drive.  I don't want to leave things like that until the last minute, so I'll end this with my usual

Love and light.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

May 3, 2011 Letting it all sink in, and Universal head slaps.

Card of the Day:  King of Wands (again??????????)
I see: A regal man garbed in robes of red and yellow, staring out at the world, expressionless so as not to reveal the thoughts within.  He wields both staff and seedling while a young dragon stands guard at his side.  Flowers sprout from his staff as a sign that all he touches will be fruitful and abundant.
I feel:  By following the guidance of the Universe, I shall reap much for the Universe is abundance in all things:  health, wealth, friendship, love, knowledge, and uncountable other things.  I am being guided gently but firmly along the path I can no longer help but take.  I have the love and support of many and cannot help but succeed in anything I do.
I think:  The fact that this card keeps coming up is incredibly significant.  I am still unsure as to whether it's the qualities in me or someone else's influence which the card foretells, but either way, I know that I'm continuing in the right direction, and that's really what matters.

Driving home tonight I was listening to CD's we'd put into the player on Saturday since my free trial of Sirius XM expired.  Rascal Flatts was making my drive even more enjoyable than the amazing scenery I'm blessed to have for my ride home when a song came on which made me listen to the lyrics.  I don't recall hearing this song before, or, if I did, I wasn't really paying attention, but as I heard the words "why you'd leave the stage in the middle of a song" my attention was grabbed.  And it was then I realized that, although people don't write many books about suicide from a family member's perspective, there are actually quite a few songs out there which ask why, just why.  Some progress to "was there anything I could have done?" but so many just struggle to understand why a person would be so unhappy that ending their life was the only solution they could see. 

My point though, is that the Universe is doing it's best to keep my attention on the goal, and to encourage me as often as possible.  I am incredibly grateful for the encouragement, the ideas, the people who are being brought into my life so that I can and will accomplish my soul purpose which, I'm beginning to think is only starting with this book, and that there is a much bigger picture I have yet to see. 

My daily writing is suffering a bit from my other activities, not the least of which is getting ready for my trip.  I hope to go dancing the next two nights, but will need to work on the packing tomorrow night after two-step if I'm to be ready to go by Friday morning.  I have my packing list started and laundry is done, so it's just a matter of choosing a suitcase and starting to put things into it.  I also want to switch laptop cases, and need to pack up the cooling pad and keyboard I got to make my arms able to type for longer periods of time.  But I'm not going to try and force myself to keep up the writing pace I have been on the blog as I know it will soon be better served writing the book (not that I won't post here as well, but it will probably be much shorter posts!)

Love and light.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

May 1, 2011 Experiencing the Sweat Ceremony

It's hard to know where to begin to describe this amazing experience, of which the actual sweat is only a part.  We arrived at our hotel after taking a bit of a circuitous route as I'd put myself on auto pilot and took the 5 instead of staying on the 210, then got stuck in the far left lane when I might have gotten back on track by taking the 134 to the 210, so it took us a bit longer to get there, especially with a couple of patches of traffic caused my accidents along the way (fortunately, it did not appear that anyone was seriously injured in either).  We checked in, dropped off our overnight stuff and did a little walking to find a place to eat and walk off nearly two hours of sitting.  After lunch and another quick stop at the hotel, we headed over to my friend, Frances' ranch.  As we're reading the note on her front door directing everyone around back, I hear, "She's Here!" and Frances bursts out the door and envelops me in a warm hug!  We embark on a tour of her beautiful home which of course, includes being introduced to all of her non-human children and I see how she's set things up so everyone is protected from their natural predators but everyone is allowed to coexist (predators included).  The cats have an outdoor area that is fully screened so they can go out but the bobcats and coyotes can't get to them, but at the same time, they can't get to the birds, squirrels and mice which they might otherwise hunt.  Chickens are in two screened in enclosures, one for the older birds and one for the younger, with a separate enclosure within an enclosure for a disabled bird that she might be protected from attacks from the other birds.  (this is rambling all over the place, but I'm just trying to get all of my thoughts and observations down!).

I see the infamous gardens with strawberries, artichokes and many varieties of lettuce (which I understand the squirrels find tasty as well).  Along the small hillside, I'm sure I spot some kind of squash plant as well.  Perhaps pumpkins?

A short walk past the garden we come to the area where the sweat will be held.  A huge pile of logs lays waiting to be used to stoke the fire which is enclosed in a pit with a metal cage along the back to minimize the risk of sparks flying into somewhat dry vegetation (this year's rains surely held off the drying).  A path delineated by small rocks, and cleared carefully leads to the large domed structure which is covered in heavy tarps which appear to be quilted together.  As the tarps are being shaken out and readied for the ceremony, Frances leans down and starts picking up little gray bits of something.  The "somethings" turn out to be baby mice who didn't even look like they had their eyes open yet.  Mama seems to have taken off when all of the activity started, leaving the babies behind, so they, being another living being, were taken back to the house to be looked after and hand fed a gruel by Frances' youngest daughter and the Sweat Master's daughter.  Tables, benches and chairs are scattered around and a faucet which is linked to the irrigation system in the garden yields sweet, clear well water for drinking as well.

This sweat had a lot of first timers, so both Frances and Robert John, the Sweat Master took a lot of time educating us all in the protocol of the sweat ceremony, and making sure we all felt comfortable about the experience we were about to have.  A great deal of time was then spent just talking to the other participants, getting to know each other, sharing pieces of ourselves.  What was truly amazing was that, before we even entered the circle before the ceremony, we already had a sense of community.  There was no sense of awkwardness at meeting new people, everyone was open and friendly and quickly found areas of common ground.  In looking back, I am sure that where we stood was sacred ground, either because of it's past history, or because of what Frances, her family and friends have made it.  There is such a sense of peace and harmony that you can't help being affected by it, and more, want to return to it to live that experience again.  Everyone there was connected in some way to animals as well as to earth and to old traditions.  The ages ranged from children to older adults, but everyone was treated with respect and other than the responsibilites certain people held and for which they were, what I can only call honored, there really was no hierarchy, or any need for one.  I truly felt the fact that we are Divine beings having a human experience, and as such, human age has no bearing on the age or wisdom of the spirit within.  Especially strong for me was the fact that religious beliefs were respected, regardless of what they were, and everything was accepted.  We had all come together for the purpose of the sweat ceremony and differences didn't matter, were simply part of each of our uniqueness and what we brought to the overall experience.

Driving home, Heather, Mathom and I discussed the experience and began to understand that the sweat ceremony does not begin or end when you enter or leave the sweat lodge.  The potluck meal afterwards continued that sense of community whereby we could sit in a small enclosed space with people who might have been strangers to us before we arrived, but with whom we are part of the whole to which we all belong.  Everything from beneficial foods and cooking to experiences to be had later in the weekend and beyond were shared as we enjoyed each others' offerings and Frances' hospitality and Robert John's wisdom.  (I think someone is trying to inject something here, as a book and a can of dust remover just jumped off the bookshelf.  The book was Dan Brown's Angels and Demons)  But that's only the start.  We were all profoundly affected and the effects will continue to become clear in the coming days, at least.  We hope to attend their last sweat before they stop for the summer which will be next (or is it this?) month.

And the Universe, in it's infinite wisdom continues to whack me over the head so I don't forget my soul purpose.  In instructing us about the sweat ceremony, one woman mentioned that her mother had committed suicide and that the sweat ceremonies had helped her release the negative feelings and accept.  We talked a bit about my book and how I wanted to explore not only my feelings and experiences but how others had felt and coped and resolved their issues with family suicide.  She talked about a student who had gone back to school at 40 after serving in the military.  He'd been deployed when his son committed suicide and was still trying to come to terms with it.  As she spoke, I learned about yet another dynamic I'd like to include in my book eventually.  (Could it be that this is meant to be a series of books rather than just one?)  Currently, I have my own experience of parents, and will hopefully learn more about her experiences with her mother.  If Janet is up to it, I'd like to explore her experience with her son who lived close by, and with whom they had been using "tough love" to try to get him to straighten out his life.  I hope to have the opportunity to explore, also, the dynamic of a child's suicide when you're out of the country and had no knowledge or understanding of the depths of their despair, nor the ability to help.  In short, as I continue to open up to people about my own experiences, I learn about other dynamics which, I think, no matter how much research I do on the internet, I'll never glean from anything short of talking to people.  The fact is, the internet, however useful, still has an impersonal element, and the impersonal is not what I envision for the story I need to tell, to share.  Only by injecting a very personal element will I really reach people who have lived through the aftermath of a family member's suicide and come out the other side, different, changed.  Some will have come through, better for the way they dealt with the experience, and others may have never really dealt with it at all, and as with everything, there are many levels in between.  I can certainly see the woman at the Sweat Ceremony as the extreme who came through it stronger, better, more loving even, for the experience.  And the way she learned to work through her emotions is certainly not one that would work for everyone.  Janet in particular is a devout Catholic, and I know that in a lot of ways, her own faith has helped as well as her connection to so many of her son's friends.  And they, too, have been deeply affected by Matthew's passing.

Anyway, back to the sweat ceremony.  I regret to say that I didn't make it through the whole thing as I started feeling extremely nauseous between the second and third sections, and decided, after the third which, thankfully, was quite short, that I needed to ask to leave.  I must have really been feeling weak as the girl next to me had to repeat my request for permission to leave as the Sweat Master didn't hear me.  But once again, the sense of community meant that everyone looks after everyone else.  In the same sense of humor he used throughout, the Sweat Master told me that they didn't mind if I barfed on the rocks.  Somehow, I don't think the resulting stench would have been good for all concerned!  As I walked slowly back to the house, not the least bit chilled despite the drop in temperature that sent us all for jackets when the sun started going down, I ended up talking to Frances' and Robert John's daughters until everyone else started coming back to the house to set up the potluck.  They, too, were very down to earth and open, but young teenage girls as well.  It was clear that they'd been friends all their lives and were close and comfortable in each others' company.  Through the teasing and light bickering, the love they have for each other was as clear as if it had been written in the air above their heads.  But they spoke to me about their hopes and dreams for the near future as if they'd known me forever as well.  Meeting 13 year old girls who are that comfortable in their own skins says a great deal about how they've been raised.  If we all raised our children the way they've been raised, the issues with our environment would soon be resolved, self esteem issues (which lead to so many unpleasant actions) wouldn't not exist, and cruelty would be dealt with so kindly and patiently that it would be unable to thrive and would wither away.  So I learned even more from spending time with Rebecca and her friend about Frances and Robert John and others who have chosen a kinder, gentler more respectful way of life.

I realize that not only did the copious sweating bring physical toxins to the surface that they may be released from my system, but it also brought emotional and mental things out which will take longer to actually work through (despite the fact that I seem to be coughing up a great deal of goop from my lungs right now!)  and those things needed to be pulled out and dealt with so that, as Robert John said, scars can form so there are no open wounds. (A fantastic analogy, by the way, and one the kids and I discussed for a bit on the way home.  As another thought occurs to me that the long drive home was also a good thing as we were able to just sit and share our thoughts)

So today I end my post as I normally do, but with a lot more meaning than I've had in the past.

Love and Light