After many false starts and mental log-jams, I am finally writing my first blog post in 2017, actually my first in over a year, and just in time to say "Happy LUNAR/CHINESE New Year! It’s taken the realization that my art site posts want and need to be holistic. “Holistic?”, you ask? Yes, holistic… “the whole is more than merely the sum of its parts…” Synonyms: complete, integrated. Holism : “a theory that… nature is correctly seen in terms of interacting wholes…” Like good art and poetry, like a life evolving in mindful balance of body, mind, heart/soul, and spirit. So consider yourself forewarned. GRiN! Here’s to whatever topics the spirits guide the whole of me to share; revelations and recipes, challenges, works-in-progress, nature writing, poetry, other peoples writing, science, Mama Earth musings, or tips, trips, and quips.
Yes, watershed moments… in a good way!” I’ve experienced three critical turning points in my life recently. I feel compelled, if nervous, to share them—but share I must. If only to make a difference for another soul, or to add increase to our individual and collective sense of hope, empowerment, resilience, growth and well-being, then it is worth any vulnerability I feel. (Vulnerability, it’s gifts?.. that’s another post.)
The first watershed moment came when I learned that the cure for Hepatitis C had worked for me. Over the last year I've grown increasingly stronger and left behind the symptoms and effects of this disease. Life-changing!
The second watershed moment came with my mother’s passing last March. (Hey, you said “in a GOOD way”!) Yes, death, in a good way. I didn’t say easy. It was a gift that my siblings and I were with her as she shed the confines of a body much depleted by the ravages of Parkinson's disease. I had the privilege of witnessing her spirit pass with her last breath. It was luminously beautiful--an ephemeral crystalline flower plume—like the pink Apache plume and prairie smoke that blossom here in New Mexico. (Mom's favorite color was pink!) I retain a deep sense of awe, wonder, and eternal gratitude for this experience. I hadn’t know it was possible to witness such a thing. I am forever changed.
I did not realize that witnessing my mom’s spirit pass and my own openness allowed a huge infusion of divine grace. It opened up all my ‘pipes’ so to speak… opened me up so completely that every bit of emotional rust, sludge and debris that was still stuck my being loosened up and insisted on being let go of… bit by bit so as not to blow my circuits. As summer came I was confounded by and unable to shake the dogged depression that rose with me each morning—conscious of the effects of shocks that the arose in tandem with my mom’s death (oh, happy family). This depression lived beside the healthier acceptance and grieving process I was experiencing. I signed on for some wise, high-vibration, enlightened counsel from the gifted Donna Wetterstrand, Master Mentor (who I knew of through my 10 year practice with Lola Jones book, online courses and Divine Openings website. Life-changing stuff! Check it out, begin with her book, “Things Are Going Great in My Absence: How to Let Go and Let the Divine do the Heavy Lifting”.)
In the first session Donna shared a mindfulness practice. “Drop the story and feeling the feeling” is an oft repeated ‘mantra’ in Divine Openings. And as I learned from Donna that day, the word that describes an emotion can become the story. I gratefully learned that the “Why—after all this time, growth, whatever—am I still feeling this ---------- (fill in the blank… angst, distress, anger, depression) can become the story. It can keep us from fully feeling our feelings, instead of allowing it to rise up the emotional scale to a better feeling place. Yes, any feeling, fully felt in the body, softly… rises.
I followed Donna’s wise suggestion, a suggestion based on her own personal experience and insight. Every morning, as I woke feeling depressed, fearful, often ‘hungover from disturbing dreams’, (which is simply energy moving because we are out of our own way when we are asleep) and observing the fear monkeys having a party in my head; I would remember to drop the story, and any words for what I was feeling. I made a habit of softening into what I was feeling, accepting and allowing what I was feeling, focusing on my breath… breathing into the tensions and sensations in my body… breathing as I had my cuppa and allowing as I moved forward into my day. Soften, accept, allow, breathe… soften, accept, allow, breathe… soften, accept, allow, breathe… So simple, not easy, but simple. I gradually began to feel some relief.
During my second session with Donna, as I repeatedly stumbled over words about moving forward and creating more prosperity in my life through my art, she started to get a lot of red flags. She got the ‘hit’ that I’d experienced an extreme number of shocks/traumas since I was born and had never quite gotten my sea legs back before the next one hit and the next. In brief she taught me that as my awareness rises, as I continue to practice accepting and allowing, I will re-stabilize and get rubberized. I find my home vibration… within myself… an inner stable place for myself. Shocks happen but they need not throw me down, or if they do, I don’t stay there for long. My job is to be aware, accept and allow, and from that centered place I am naturally inspired, creative, free!
I continued to allow and accept, not perfectly mind you, but as consistently as I could. Deep sadness, anger, resentment, feelings of betrayal… allowed, accepted, felt. Breathing, allowing, letting it ride so it could rise; day after day, week after week, through the summer and into the season of falling leaves.
Autumn. Yes, autumn, my favorite season; the natural softening, slowing down, savoring the harvest of foods, the year’s accomplishments and growth. A season of release, too, as the veils between worlds become their thinnest during Halloween and El Dia de Los Muertos. Or Samhain (SAH-win) in the Gaelic tradition, the day marking the end of harvest and the beginning of winter.
Why all this talk of autumn, thinning veils, and Samhain? Because it was at that time last year that I walked through them metaphorically speaking, as I slept. I woke on November 1st feeling… good! Not depressed, not scared, not sad or tearful, but lighter. I felt so much lighter! Vibrations of shock and trauma released, transformed like autumn leaves, falling one or a few at a time from the tree of my body, some gently, some as if from a dervish.ing autumn wind. Sublime. Tears falling more gently now, nourishing my roots… my rootedness. Sea legs steady, strong as taproots. I become the tall tree from which I can see for miles the larger arc of time over the plains. The grand picture. Everything is beautiful from up here. Everything makes sense or doesn’t need to from this vibration… in this moment.
It was shortly after this, as I reveled in feeling more and more peace, feeling more my joyful, engaged, creative self, that we experienced the shock, the trauma of the election results. Talk about a watershed moment… historic! DJT will be in the White House? Hopefully not long enough to cause too much PTSD for the good people of the USA, other nations, and Mama Earth herself.
It was at that moment, as the news was sinking in shortly after midnight in the early hours of November 9th that I shouted out on Facebook, “I didn't come this far in my life... through life-threatening illnesses, traumas, deep depressions, PTSD.ness... to let THIS get the best of me! May we all find our deep and inherent strength as we are called to rise ever higher in goodness and light! Grace, more grace!”
THIS was the third watershed moment for me. This was a stamping of my soul’s foot on solid ground with strong sea legs and tree legs. The something that had shifted at Samhain was since allowing me to step out of the many years of news fasting and insulating my heart. I’d thrown opened the doors of my protective tower…actively engaging in the Standing Rock/Dakota Access Pipeline issue, “Water is Life!”, on-fire Facebook news sharing, marching in solidarity with the Water Protectors at the Army Corps of Engineers here in Albuquerque, calling the White House, helping to gather food and supplies for fellow artist, Monty Singer, to take to Standing Rock. So much grace! For sensitive, empathic me to be able to read and listen to harsh news reports without feeling destroyed, distraught, or being hurled back down into depression; for being able to pull back mindfully and recenter, re-stabilize as needed, astounded me.
My deepest gratitude for these watershed moments, this journey, these gifts divined by grace. My deep gratitude for Donna’s wisdom and insight, for the love of so many dear and cherished friends and family, for the rising strength in my voice, and for helping me find home. My deep and abiding gratitude to Great Mystery for blessing my joyful soul with resilience and determination to live a whole and happy life! And for this year an expanded mantra... “I am more than I know. I am that. All is well.”
Beauty in all things, and grace, as onward and upward we rise! Julie