All kinds of newness!

Hello, there.
Have you seen my new website? It’s here. I’ve launched a healing practice and I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am. Shamanic work has utterly changed my life and left me breathless to share it with others. I don’t think I’ve ever been so inspired!

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve had little wiggly self-doubts and second-guesses, but they always seem to be followed by some big, wild gift. Like when I was handed a massage table for free. Or when all I had to do was mention to a networking group that I was interested in sharing office space, and I had an office literally the next day. Or last week when I needed a retreat space for my first women’s workshop, and a lovely person opened her home (with its full finished basement) to help me.

It’s hard to keep asking my bad habit questions (“can I really do this?”) when the universe seems to be prodding me gently towards it, over and over again.

While I’m getting everything off the ground, I invite you to sign up for my newsletter. Once a month, you’ll get some holistic tidbits gleaned from my work and personal studies, and I’ll also keep you posted if I’m offering workshops or private healing consultations in your area. For a little while, I may not blog as often, so the newsletter (or Facebook fan page or Twitter) is a good way to keep in touch.

I look forward to seeing you soon! Enjoy the spring, and be well!

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Happy Spring!

i thank You God for this most amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday;this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any—lifted from the no
of all nothing—human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

— e.e. cummings

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The magic of ?

“Leap and the net will appear,” said some Zen guy a long time ago.

Let’s just say this is not the attitude I’ve had for the better part of my life.  Generally a cautious person, and perhaps a little too self-reliant, I’d probably want to make the net and tie it up myself before triple checking the ladder from which I’d leap, holding my nose and saying prayers.

And then a magical year happened.  I’ve talked about this before, all the giant life changes that silly-walked their way through my existence.   When the usual habits, routines, and social structures you’re used to fall away, what’s left can take the form of a big, honking question mark.

Do you like question marks?

I didn’t.  I fought against them, sometimes pouting, sometimes railing, though somehow always knowing in the back of my mind that if I just sat still for a little while and let the process happen I’d be fine.  But that took faith I didn’t think I had.  Better to be industrious and think everything through.  Powerpoint, anyone?

When I started to study shamanism in the fall, something said to me, “Leap and the net will appear.”  No, no.  I can’t afford it, it’s not practical, who does that?  But the voice got louder, and that same day, I came across a magnet that said (guess what?) “Leap and the net will appear.”  Which I promptly bought, right after signing up for eight more months of classes.  I can take a hint.

Suffice it to say, it’s been a fantastic and life-changing experience, and not just because I have a new career (details forthcoming).  Everything that I’m doing for others I’ve also done myself, resolving and healing some very old wounds.  I’m learning what magic happens when I’m truly present for clients – for them, and for me.  I’ve learned to ask for help when I need it, and to my amazement, have gotten it every time!

Recently, I was gifted with the long-term loan of a new massage table for my practice, a logo design, admission to a networking event, and an affordable office-share arrangement.  The office situation appeared literally overnight.  Without the effortful, fearful trying that always felt like carrying a load of bricks up a hill, I’ve somehow managed to be in business for myself.  It’s been easy and joyful.

To my astonishment, the net has appeared.

And it makes me want to keep leaping.

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Home-work

Russ and I have been living together for about a year and half now. I thought when I moved in that I had streamlined my existence pretty well, fitting everything I owned into a U-haul van. Some things are in storage, but most of my worldly possessions are here in our little cottage, nestled snugly against my husband’s stuff.

Cute, yes.  Kinda cluttered? That, too.

It feels like a struggle sometimes to keep the house clean, but I do my best.  Or at least, I thought I was doing my best until I learned more about clutter.   As part of my coursework (I’m learning Peruvian energy medicine), I was assigned the task of clearing clutter from my house.  It’s practice for what I’ll do for other people in my healing work, but like all such practice, it’s really healing for me.   Ordinarily, clearing out some space would be a chore reserved for the annual trip to Goodwill or somesuch, usually in combination with switching out the winter clothes or doing some tedious spring cleaning. This time, I’m approaching it with a more scientific mind, curious about how I’ll feel about the process.

I decided to work with mental clutter, too, to get through those pesky little errands on my to-do list.   It’s so easy to procrastinate on the things that don’t affect anyone but me.  And then, I thought about that for a minute and asked myself, don’t I deserve to stop being affected by them?   So I polished my silver jewelry, finally made it to the DMV and the Asian market, and downloaded those last few cds.  Check, check, check, and check.  Aahhh.

As for the physical clutter, I’ve gotten halfway through our house, looking at every object and asking two questions: do I use it? and do I love it?   If neither answer is yes, the object gets a kiss goodbye (and a “don’t let the door hit ya on the way out”). Suffice it to say, even doing half the house already feels amazing. It’s a process not only of minimizing what I have to keep tidy, but of releasing what doesn’t work for me anymore.

Take for example the medicine cabinet. I used to have a minor but chronic health issue, and even though I haven’t had any pain in many months, I still had the medication on hand, “just in case.”  It had long ago expired (and was therefore useless), and it carried with it the memory of a very different lifestyle and body-consciousness.  I don’t need to tell you how good it felt to dump those pills. That discomfort will not be an issue for me anymore, and I’ve got the cabinet space to prove it!

I packed more than boxes into that U-haul last year. And now, I get to finish unpacking in a way that makes me feel even more at home in my new life. I’m ready to let so much go, and I’m grateful for the “homework” that helped me realize it. I’m even excited for spring cleaning. Vernal equinox, you won’t know what hit you!

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“Food” glorious “food”

Russ and I try to do a lot of whole, organic, non-GMO, and local food.  I cook at least three nights per week with enough for leftovers, and would actually be happy to cook more if we had a dishwasher (I admit that the extra work of cleaning up is a deterrent).

The search for ingredients is not always easy.  The bulk bins have become a scheduled stop on our shopping route, and I can’t wait for the spring and summer months, when produce will be plentiful and less expensive.  The real challenge lies in finding the quick snack and lunch items we both need.  Packaged food definitely has its conveniences, but being committed to a healthy diet means reading labels.

And reading labels means asking questions.  And asking questions leads to genuine righteous indignation.

Now, trust me – I’m no sanctimonious prude, and where food is concerned I really appreciate rich, traditional recipes and love nothing more than gathering at a lovely restaurant and spending an evening talking, eating, and drinking.  I have a well-known penchant for baked goods.  But in my family, we’ve seen heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and hypertension in various permutations, and I want to live a long life in a healthy body.  I know it’s up to me.

So imagine my disdain when I noticed that my usual lunch of packaged organic low-sodium vegetable soup contained evaporated cane juice (can you say sugar?).  Different flavors, brands, stores: same story.  When I make soup at home, I don’t put sugar in it, so why is it in a packaged brand?  If I’m going to eat sugar, I’d rather save it for a cupcake.  Wouldn’t you?  Great, I thought, am I going to have to cook more?  What a drag.

Today, I came across Jamie Oliver’s talk on Ted.com.  I’ve always liked him for the way he makes simple, healthy food so accessible and delicious.  His righteous indignation over our food culture – which incidentally is not particular to the U.S. – takes all of us to task.  Now, I’m inspired to keep cooking, keep reading labels, keep away from the fast food, and make sure that the kids in my life know the difference between an eggplant and a pear.  I encourage you to take twenty minutes to watch this.

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The Web

I went on a one-day retreat recently that had no agenda other than to bring women together.  I knew no one there, but got an email invitation as part of some website or other that I subscribe to, and decided that it was the perfect way to spend a Sunday.

Comfy pants, tea mug, and open heart went with me  into that retreat around 10am, and I can’t describe to you what left with me at 6pm.  I want to.  I really do.  But it’s the mystery of spontaneous sisterhood that grows wherever you let it.  I don’t have the words to explain this special kind of solidarity.

There is this intangible, beautiful thing that happens when a group of women gets together to just be.  There is no need to produce anything, no competition, no gossip, no rules.  And though I knew none of these women going in, and though I may not cross paths with them all again, if we need each other I know we have each other’s backs.

I am very lucky to live where and when I do, that a spontaneous Sunday retreat is an option.  How wonderful would it be if every woman could experience this on a regular basis?  How much better if our teenage girls could, too?  How much could our mothers and grandmothers have benefited?  Yes, we can gab in the kitchen or meet for brunch and get a little taste of what it is, but I know there’s something more, something that’s been missing from my life and I’m betting from some of yours.

As I tried to piece this ineffability together, I was reminded of the horror of domestic abuse.  It’s awful enough to fear a man, but worse is how women tend to devalue their own– and each other’s– power.  Anger came up for me, certainly, but also such a deep well of sadness.  This was a very old story, told in a hundred languages every day.  Turning to one of my favorite books, I came across this (now ellipse-ridden) passage.

“When we fend only for ourselves, the sense of sisterhood is gone; there is just mistrust… Feminine energy is an energy of connection.  The truth is, if I am happy, my happiness overflows to you.  If I am not happy, my unhappiness overflows to you.  We are connected… Many women individually have suffered abuse, and this abuse has damaged women’s connections to the web of life and light…The abuse of women is something that must be healed in order for wider transformation to take place… Unconsciously, women know they have power, but consciously they are scared to acknowledge it…  Because other women have drunk from the same source that we have, only they know what it is like… There is a tone, a chorus between women, a shared experience.  Women can hold the mirror up so other women can see… When one woman becomes healed, it reverberates onto others… As women heal, feminine spirit heals, this healing affects us all.  These connections can change the world very quickly.”

(Hilary Hart and Sobonfu Some, The Unknown She)

These connections can change the world very quickly. And now I can say exactly why that retreat meant so much, and why I’ll do my best to reinforce the web every chance I get.

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Wings and stars

I know you are not beyond pettiness, beyond jealousy, beyond greed, beyond anger. But I don’t talk about going beyond them for the simple reason that if you start struggling with your pettiness you will remain petty; if you start struggling against your jealousy, you will remain jealous. An ancient proverb is: ‘Always choose the enemy carefully’— because you will be fighting with him, and in fighting you will become just like the enemy because you will have to use the same methods, the same means. Enemies are very precious. I don’t want you to fight with small things. Rather than looking down at the earth, and all around is your pettiness and jealousy and anger, my effort is to show you the stars and help you to know that you have wings. And once you start moving towards the stars, those small things will disappear on their own accord.

-Osho

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