252 Reflecting on the “Holy No”

And today, the holy no is about my mind, watching my mind. It can be very busy! In the past, I once identified eight tracks of thought happening in the same moment.

In the Woman Unleashed program, well, in any self reflection program, I have looked at the reasons and the actions my mind decides to take on the planet.  When Amber wrote about the “holy no”, I could see one of my blind spots.  I have been a person who says yes, when NO is the right answer.
I think this happened a lot when I was younger, involved in everything, volunteering for multiple organizations.  My prioritization was not what I would have wished, or, perhaps it was not as balanced as I would have wished.  I did accomplish a lot.  I did alter the world.  I know I did what was “right” in that moment.

handwritten art dark sign
Holy No Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com


Amber saw that she wanted to spend more time with her sons, yet, was unable to say yes to experiences with them because of her busy schedule. She decided to use her conscious choice to alter that, to use the “holy no”.
I definitely second guess my priorities of the past, and feel a sense of mental regret. (Again, I did what was right in that moment.) 


I could have played more and scheduled less.  I could have built time, required time, for casual self care, read more books for myself, done more artistic work for the sake of the action.  I could have been more present for the kids, more light hearted and available for play.  


Of course, the past is unalterable, and the space of regret can make a person crazy.  Noticing history is about deciding what today will hold.

And today, the holy no is about my mind, watching my mind.  It can be very busy!  In the past, I once identified eight tracks of thought happening in the same moment.  It would be like setting up eight stereos in the same room.  Each had a theme and intention, and each was functioning independently. 

One may have been on music, another on making breakfast, a third was writing or pre thinking a grocery list, the fourth directing the steps for getting the family out the door to school and events.  The fifth track may have been planning a Scout event, the sixth getting myself dressed and ready, the seventh was analyzing the news, and the eighth may have been looking at the other seven and considering how those tracks applied to a course I was taking.  That’s an example, and it was pretty common for my mind to run like that.

closeup photography of stacked stones
The Holy No and meditation Photo by Shiva Smyth on Pexels.com


And, again, it wasn’t wrong.  Pretty talented really.  But busy.  I consciously chose to alter it.  I learned to quiet the lines, to limit the number.  I built the capability to isolate one track, and then to have no track at all.  Meditation.  
Sometimes meditation has one true track, the watcher.  The extra tracks drop outside of self, and the watcher just looks at them, and knows they are something to watch rather than a part of self.  The other tracks try to claim existence, and the watcher continues to just watch, to acknowledge the thought… but to recognize it as being something to look at.  (And, for me, the most exciting and healing meditation is when the watcher drops away, and the sense of being is expansive, universal, and has no edges whatsoever. No tracks.)  But I digress.


Today, my “holy no” is about my mind.  Currently, the outside world is made of mandatory actions and appointments.  There are holy yeses, where I choose family, Reiki, mentoring.  But I need to look at how my mind prioritizes the moments, how many tracks have distracted me.  I want to apply the holy no to put more beauty into each day. 

 
God willing, I can be gentle with myself.  This is a process. I am a lifelong project, an evolution.

251 2021 Collage

February might be the best time to breathe energy into 2021. Is it fool hardy, in my situation, to face a year without a collage? What will it entail?

There is no collage, no 2021 collage. For the past two years, I attended a day long, ceremonial event with Starfeather. We completed large picture images that would speak to us from the walls.

Pictures were cut from inspiring calendars and magazines. Some people incorporated words. Joy, peace, dream, or even more specifically, words that reminded them of someone that they were honoring, with picture images or small possessions mounted to the foam board.

collection of colorful photo collage on wall at home
Collage Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

My 2019 collage became a string of three circles, with lacing and beads. The bottom circle honors my mother, brings an image that makes me think of her Spirit, her love, right there in the bedroom. The smallest is the most important.

The center circle honors a group of spirit animals, images I see in my life, or have seen in dreams and visions and feelings. They symbolize areas in the four directions, keep an etheric quality. A particular animal may draw my attention and my thoughts on any individual day.

The top circle has a ring of hands, the way we reach out to serve. Figures in that ring are touching water, holding a book, reaching others in assistance, holding another in love… It could be seen as observation of my role, our roles on the planet. Or it might be an honorarium of gratitude, a place to be thankful for how we touch others and are touched.

The lacing is always about ancestors. A lot of my creations have lacing. I have amazing ancestors. (If you aren’t fond of your own, trust me, there are ancestors that do ring truth to your spirit. They are there! There are no mistakes. And all of us have inspiration and support from those in the generations of history.) The beads are prayers, caught in the glass, held and loved and prayed.

That was 2019. I did not abandon one for another. It still hangs in the same place, still catches my attention and brings me spaces of awareness.

In 2020, my affinity for larger art exploded into four panels, one for each season. The way it went up on the folding doors of the closet started with the darkness of fall in blacks and deep blue, and moves to winter in white, spring in reds, and summer in green. The colors were taught by White Horse Woman, the Pacific Northwest interpretation of her spiritual wheel. They do depict nature scenes, in twisted, collaged imagery. The ancestors are represented by a large round piece, shaped like the sun, with faces of elders in the center.

When I roll over in bed, I see the sun first, the sun of the collage. It is directly in front of my vision. Guidance, support, love, healing. We generally look to the North for that. But the sun is at the base of the summer. This power encompasses the full year, all of our time. I stare into the faces. I don’t use my mind. There are no thoughts.

So 2021 is socially distanced. I do not have stock piles of magazines. My old calendars are pictureless, as I’ve moved to the versions that are kept in a drawer. Most people are using apps and google.

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Photo by Olya Kobruseva on Pexels.com

I am pondering a new version of collage, something more three dimensional. I have definitely watched January be more connected to 2020, the closure incomplete. February might be the best time to breathe energy into 2021. Is it fool hardy, in my situation, to face a year without a collage? What will it entail?

People often begin with a vision. I haven’t. I generally don’t know what the collage means, even as I hang the finished product for observance. I listen to it. I watch it. Each time the collage calls to my understanding, my internal self, shifting.

They evolve. I evolve. 2021 needs to declare a format, since traditional collage is out. I’m excited for its unveiling. I can’t wait for it to speak. I am grateful for the powerful intertwining, for God in my fingertips, and the physical representation and speaking that comes from on high.

250 Troop 309

College was up my alley. A bit more than a decade after that graduation, a marriage and two kids later, the barriers of the mind ran pictures of doubt and fear.

This is not where I was going. But when I sat down and clicked on the computer, the time read 3:09. Seeing those numbers is extraordinarily common for me. The price of gas. The house number of an airbnb (yes, I chose that one, that time). Commonly the time I glance at a clock. Randomly, wherever.

silver imac on desk
The Order in randomness 13:09 or 3:09 ? Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

When I started as a scout leader, nervousness shook my body. I knew nothing about the program. I didn’t speak the language. Badges, ceremonies, songs. Everything was waiting to be learned. I didn’t know if I was capable, if I could be a leader when I had never been a scout. The pressure shook me more than heading to college. I felt in over my head. College was up my alley. A bit more than a decade after that graduation, a marriage and two kids later, the barriers of the mind ran pictures of doubt and fear.

There are so many classes for leaders to take! In fact, there were several that the prospective leaders were required to complete, before and soon after meeting the kids. The group came from Kindergarten. Nyasha went to Mountain Way Elementary, and when we began, eight Kindergarten girls, probably as nervous as I, arrived at the house after school.

I had experience, experience as a teacher. My degree and occupation had been education, multiage K-3. The kids would probably survive. And the lingo and songs and games and ceremonies were twists on things I had done so many times before, in different ways, with different types of young people, for a lifetime.

As we journeyed through the next 14 years and beyond, Troop 309 grew. We added the next two grades, counted up to 12 girls, and eventually to 18. Our experiences were amazing, crazy, creative, too numerous to mention. It was not a craft group, but we did a lot of crafts. It was not a travel group, but we traveled a lot. It was not a volunteer group, but volunteering in the community pushed 200 hours of possibility in high school alone. (I only know this because my own daughters did everything, every hour.)

Incredible adults made it happen. Carolyn Fisk steadily attended as assistant leader, thousands of hours. Without her, the whole thing would have been impossible. Scout programming required two trained leaders to be present at every meeting. Lori, Diane, and DeeDee jumped in to help, and so many other parents drove and assisted, supported and provided, whenever needed.

It was family. It is family. We emerged with wider capabilities (adult too). We grew together, and were empowered in personal growth. This story is a synopsized book, because I could write paragraphs about each “girl”, and have on job application recommendations, for college boards, wherever someone needed needed verification of excellence.

Where are they now, the younger generation of my enlarged family, pushing or toppling into their 30s? Notable to their power, they surround you. They are your doctor, lawyer, engineer, teacher, nurse, accountant, environmental advocate, the person working to bring fairness to the incarcerated, to train/communicate with/care for your dog, the people changing the education possibilities of today’s children, the teacher, the business owners, your insurance guidance, your yoga master/guru and physical trainer, and the powerful mothers (and future mothers) who reach out for higher awareness and capabilities that will bring their children to be the superheroes of tomorrow. I am being entirely specific.

There are so many more who also bloom into their destinies. The weddings, the baby showers… joy keeps evolving! I am so grateful for every moment. I am thankful to be reminded with the numbers 309. I am inspired by their stories and their lives, from the quiet and simplest to the wildest and most well travelled (this generation sure gets around, multi country, multi continent). Not one is better than another, but as a whole, they advance the world with an awareness I did not expect.

We are left with “who led whom”? The younger generation will lead us out of the darkness of the past. I feel my eyes twinkle and tear up, and my heart swell. The epitomy of beautiful young women! Namaste.

249 The Realities in Chemo Cycle Eleven

“I am health.” I go out and garden. I take walks, shop, do the laundry, clean, live the normal stuff.

My brain is glitching. Sometimes I cannot speak the correct words. Sometimes I spend a lot of time on google, looking for a word when I type. They are not complex words. I might not remember what the room with the stove and refrigerator is called.

My body is glitching. Systems are slipping. This is the first chemo cycle that I have entered with a blood circumstance marked “Low” on the labs. All other cycles, they have been normal on Day 1. The tests are done the day before. The body has had two weeks to process the last cycle and “recover”.

Systems are slipping. Dry, cracked skin, lips, feet, private parts, ostomy parts. Bladder infection. Ostomy hernia pain. Sinus issues.

I get it now. I was definitely surprised at first, when it was “easy.” But now I understand the movies, the way chemotherapy is portrayed. They are picturing the end parts, either the death part, or the end of the set of cycles part. They are teaching us empathy for the worst, for the time when others are needed most, or have no chance to be close (because the person just has nothing left).

When I described my symptoms at the Cycle 10 appointment, I honestly thought that I wouldn’t be doing Chemotherapy that day. Too many symptoms, too much break down, no week of balance in Cycle 9.

But I did not understand that this is “normal.” The further we go, the tougher it gets. The “quality versus quantity” equation is tested. Quality is observation. It was a week of harder, and a week of easier, and now there is no respite. Can consciousness bring awareness away from the deepest hardships? Do I have the ability to override the pain, to manage it with my mind and spirit? Can I forgive myself for crashing, for crying, for experiencing the depths of this process? Can I just be with it, flow with it?

woman with floral headdress lying on green leaf plants
Chemo Cycle eleven is like a woman in labor Photo by Ezekixl Akinnewu on Pexels.com

The chemotherapy is not a cure, but a postponement. In the ANRP appointment, she implied that I would go directly into the next cycle. I haven’t seen Dr. Wilfong for a while. He doesn’t work on Tuesday, the day of my infusions. I just noticed that they have automatically scheduled a session 13, 14, and 15.

I did not agree to this. I did say to Nyasha that I thought I might be able to do a couple more, if the advantage was tremendous. But no one has spoken to me about any of it. And my body is pretty down, with this one to finish (I am hooked to the at home pump until tomorrow), and then process. And then another. Where will I be?

When I was in labor with Nyasha, I told myself I could survive 24 hours. Babies are born in 24 hours (I thought), in fact that is a generous number. When we came to 23 1/2, I was doing a lot of desperate praying. It is likely that “transition” does that to most women. Nyasha was born at 23 hours, 45 minutes of labor, which when I think of reality, means the birthing process took the full 24. Did I create that? Poor manifestation. Go for 12. Not too short, stressing the body, but certainly long enough.

I’m in chemo labor. Twelve cycles. I have set myself up to make it through 12. I scheduled a trip to the ocean, a week and a half after infusion 12. To heal, to regroup. It is not flexible or refundable. It isn’t even optional.

“I am health.” I go out and garden. I take walks, shop, do the laundry, clean, live the normal stuff.
“I am joy.” I laugh, read, write, smile, share, inspire and am inspired.
“I am emergence.” I can watch my experiences, process, consider my body in separation and in communion with God. I am the eye of the storm. I am grateful.

248 Eagles Everywhere

Little things are exceptional, depending on our interpretation. Repeating patterns are often the voice of the Eternal. It is our job to do the interpretations.

I was sitting in the Infusion Center yesterday, in the back row of two. The curtains were pulled between my chair, and the chair of the man at the window. At the moment, we were alone in the room. He was speaking loudly into his phone (which is not considered kind or appropriate, but he either did not consider this, or did not know I was still behind him).

I learned that his infusion was a once a month dose for Crohn’s Disease.

But more to my interest was that he watched an eagle fly through his viewpoint and land nearby! And he told his friend, so I was swept into the experience by sound and proximity.

close up photography of bald eagle
Photo by Flickr on Pexels.com

On Sunday, Kwami and I were driving North on Highway 99, and a pair of eagles swooped across in front of us, landing on an Eastern tree. City scape, near Edmonds. Why would they be in the middle of the city like that? Wouldn’t they prefer to be down by the beach, a five minute flight away? But it was the joy of witnessing the oddity that struck us.

Mic and Tessa were headed to Whidbey Island on Friday. They also saw two eagles. Mic was beginning to think the experience was more common than exceptional. Little things are exceptional, depending on our interpretation. Repeating patterns are often the voice of the Eternal. It is our job to do the interpretations.

My recent life brings eagles. So many experiences have evolved in the last two years. Sitings, feathers, reflections. Eagles are the symbolism of the spring, of the higher self viewpoint from far above, new beginnings. They are the messengers of Spirit, or the embodiment of Spirit, of strength and bravery.

Currently, we can also focus on the coming of the spring and rebirth. It is nest building season for the birds. As they watch over us, we can be more aware of them.

We are honored by our experiences, reminded of the partnership we live with the Divine.