Animal Guide

tortoise lesson

I am continuing this animal mediation even as we speak. I am recognizing how animal wisdom will be able to help me when I am feeling unbalanced.

A visual animal representation of my root chakra becoming unbalanced would be the gopher tortoise on it’s back. What message is present here to help me find my balance again when I am not feeling grounded.

Give myself the time I need. A gopher tortoise can correct itself on its own but it takes time, and often times determination.

You can always find safety within. When I am feeling a general feeling of disconnection or overwhelmed, all signs that my root chakra is unbalanced, I can take a moment and retreat within myself no matter where I am. While yes, the gopher tortoise has a physical home under ground the tortoise also carries his home with him thanks to this shell on his back. At any moment when he feels overwhelmed or scared or unsure he can retreat within himself until he feels safe again to reemerge. When I am out in the world my inner wisdom is my sanctuary I carry with me, it is always there when I need it.

Remember the earth. The tortoise walks slowly, methodically across the earth with intention in each step, he makes his home beneath its surface, the tortoise has a deep connection to the earth and relies on it to survive. This is no less true for me and I can rely on this connection whenever I am feeling unbalanced.

 

The mocking bird; my throat chakra. What message does this animal hold for me about speaking my truth?

Stand up for yourself/your truth. The mockingbird is territorial and will chase off birds much larger than themselves, even predators like hawks, to protect their nest. When I feel my nest (representing any part of me) is being threatened it is time to stand in my truth and set a boundary much like the mockingbird.

Be open to learning from everything around you. The throat chakra is not just about speaking, it is also about listening. It is the energy space for communication and all good communication encompasses both giving and receiving. The mocking bird is unlike other birds in that it does not sing just one song. Most birds species learn there song early on from a parent, mocking birds listen to the sounds of their environment and interpret what they hear. They are not limited to bird call either, they can mimic other animals and even cell phones. This amazing ability to listen and speak the language of their environment represents universal communication. The ability to listen intuitively and speak the universal language that all speak, love.

Don’t forget your own song. I think it is important to recognize that while it is an amazing feet to be able to listen and communicate in a language that transcends so many barriers this gift is not solely intended for others. The mocking bird was given its name because of this amazing gift it has to interpret others so accurately. That is all well and good, it is of equal importance for me to know what my song is and sing my song for me as well. I do not want to be labeled like the mocking bird and be known just for my ability to communicate with others. I need turn my gift inward and listen/speak my own wisdom as well.

 

 

 

 

Animal Meditation

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The second half of my meditation today was spent not on philosophical ponderings like the first half but instead on an inspiration shared by my new soul friend last week.

She was talking about how each of her chakral energy sources has an animal representation in addition to the colors and symbols already applied to the chakras. I totally identified with what she was saying and so took some time today to see what my inner knowing had to say about this.

I may explore this further in future posts, today I am only sharing the vision that came to me as I moved up my energy pathways starting at my root chakra.

My root chakra came to me the easiest, it is the gopher tortoise.
My sacral was blank, I cannot see anything yet.
I will come back to my solar plexus.
My heart chakra was also very apparent, I immediately saw the rabbit.
My throat chakra is the mocking bird.
I will come back to my third eye.
I do not have a clear knowing about my crown chakra yet but it feels light and airy, a winged animal like a butterfly, humming bird, or dragon fly. I will know when it is time.

Back to my third eye and my solar plexus. When I was done meditating on my throat chakra instinctively without realizing I was doing it I closed my eyes and put both hands, finger tips only, on my forehead on either side of my third eye. At first cognitively I thought I was doing this to brush something away from my face but then I turned my mind off and knew what I was doing. I massaged my third eye with my finger tips with my eyes closed and started seeing the color orange and red, like veils lifting, first orange then red then orange then red. I opened my eyes and saw in my mind’s eye the red fox. I sat with this for a moment and knew it was true. What was unclear was where he fits in. He came to me during my third eye meditation but he feels connected to something lower down, my sacral or what really feels more true is my solar plexus. Some how he feels connected to both my third eye and solar plexus. I feel like there is another animal that solely represents my third eye, as I said that I saw the two large eyes of an owl looking into me. I need to sit with all of this a bit more. The ones that came easy were the energy sources I have relationships with and where I most often experience balance. My middle and top chakras are areas where I am still building connection.

Now that I have put this out into the Universe I am wondering what kind of symbolisms and signs will begin popping up. I am open to receiving what I am meant to receive.

Them Keeps Us Scared, Them Keeps Us Safe

Something I love about my new job, the number one thing I love about my new job, is the freedom. I had a meeting by phone today and when I was done I went in the backyard with Lu and laid in the hammock meditating for 45 minutes.

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I laid there and for the first few moments I counted gratitude.

It is 1:45 on a Monday and I am in yoga pants, braless, laying outside.
I get to decide when it feels right to do the work I need to do today.
I have a schedule that allows me to rise with the sun rather than yelled at by a clock.

I am so very grateful.

As I was counting my gratitude, staring up at the branches of Nana our Live Oak tree – who is not in fact ours but her own, we just share this land we live on- I started thinking of Ofglen and OfWarren and Ofrred, and the other handmaids from my book. I was thinking about these luxuries that I just listed and how they are just that, luxuries.

Being braless, having a say in what I wear based on what feels good on my body.
Having say in my daily schedule, freedom to rise and sleep and eat when my body tells me it is time. Living a life guided by my own wisdom about what is right for me.

These are all extravagant luxuries. Luxuries that the women in my novel would covet. To be able to go outside at all on one’s own accord, a luxury.

Then I started thinking bigger, outside of the pages of the book. I live in a world where the terrifying reality of The Handmaid’s Tale is someone else’s reality. There are women in this world who are forbidden to read therefore never given the opportunity. There are women in this world who have no say in what they wear, their bodies are given no consideration to what feels right and comfortable to them because the reality they live in states that their bodies are not in fact their bodies, their bodies belong to men. Their are women in this world that are used strictly as vessels, just like the women in this book. They are possessions, not people.

In the story Ofrred talks about how before the change took place she would read about women raped and murdered and oppressed in the news paper, when she was still allowed to read the newspaper, and think Oh that is awful and then move on with her day because it had never happened to anyone she knew personally. This was not her reality therefore it was not a reality for her at all.

There was this feeling of Us and Them and as long as whatever tragedy or atrocity was happening to Them and not Us then it was of no concern.

I sat with this for a while and it began to manifest. Us versus Them in this sense makes Us feel safe. As long as it is not happening to Us then we are safe. We are not morally responsible for what happens to Them, just Us.

Us versus Them has historically been used in another way as well. It is a classic way to create and build fear. It is the creation of a separation that does not actually exist. Politicians stand behind podiums warning Us about Them. Them, the ones who mean to hurt us, kill us, steal our jobs, rape our women, take what is ours. We elect people to protect Us from Them.

I sat with this for a while as well and then came back to my truth, that there is no true separation between Us and Them, only the separation that we as humans create. We have created this oppressive fear. We have created this divide to keep Us safe.

When I stand in my truth that all life is connected and the illusion of separation is in fact a fallacy this is the deeper truth that is uncovered:

Because we are all connected that means that if one person has darkness in them we all have darkness in us. If one person has light we all have light. If one person is capable of killing that means we are all capable of killing. There is no Us, there is no Them, There is only We. We all have light and dark and the potential to stand in there at any given time. What one person is capable of We are all capable of, for better or for worse.

I do not have answer on how to save the world with this knowledge, it is a knowledge many already possess yet here we sit demanding women wear bras and killing each other. Afraid or each other and thankful for the illusion of separation that allows us to believe some invisible line exists to keep Us safe.

For now I will hold my gratitude and cherish it because I understand that one woman’s oppression is also my burden to bear. I will look into the faces of those I meet and know that we are one and that their shadows are my shadows and my light resides in them as well. I will hold this truth sacred above all. I will hold this truth sacred.

Decisions Made from Love

Ever since leaving Soul Camp in April I have been sitting in a lot of fear and other emotional muck that for a while I was having trouble sorting out. This, as well as fear stemming from other places, made me feel completely uncertain and resistant to Soul Camp in the fall.

I have been very back and forth. I have a list of excuses:

I don’t want to do this work with other people
I don’t want to hold space for anyone else doing this work
It is too much money
The timing is off
I do not want to take time off work to recover after Soul Camp

I have been making all of these excuses as a case for why I shouldn’t go, all the while there has been a pull, a pull that absolutely would not exist if I felt completely sound in even one of these excuses listed above. When I am standing in my truth there is no pull telling me: that is not the whole truth and you know it.

The whole truth, my whole truth is I am afraid AND I know this is where my work is. I am afraid BECAUSE I know this is where my work is.

Soul Camp this fall is all about connecting with the sacral chakra and solar plexus chakra, our power source as women. It is about sexuality and sensuality and our relationship with these parts of ourselves. It is about standing in our power as women.

I am terrified.

After meeting my new soul friend last week though and having the experiences that I did at Red Tent, and that have now extended beyond the tent, I feel like that blockage has been cleared and I can finally make this decision from a place of loving and knowing rather than a place of fear.

I am going to Soul Camp and I will take as much time off of work as I need in order to do this, and the money will come to support me in this, and I will take care of myself as I share this space with other women, and their truths will help me realize and step into my own.

I know this is the decision I am meant to make.

My husband and I will go to the celebration of our friend’s wedding AND take our extended vacation in the mountains AND I will attend Soul Camp AND it will all work out as it is meant to.

I feel so sound in all of these decisions now, I no longer feel a pull of some other piece of me holding a truth that I am not speaking. I am grateful to be able to move forward knowing that everything will fall into place. I don’t need to know how this will all work, just that it will and I know that now.

power source

Hostage

Yesterday I agreed to be part of a girls day with a few family members, it was the most exhausting experience I have had in months. It was a stark contrast to the rejuvenating experience I had with a different group of women Friday at Red Tent. In one scenario I left feeling grounded and inspired, in the other I left feeling completely drained and resentful.

There is definitely an AND present here, it was not a terrible experience on the whole.

I really enjoyed being with these women in my family AND it was too much. Too much stimulus, too much time, too much giving without enough receiving, too much of my mother, too many different energies clashing. Just too much.

There is a family wedding approaching and the bride wanted to attend a bridal show at a local hotel. This is not my scene. I went to one of these things when I was engaged and was overwhelmed. I have not seen the bride in  months though and she went with me when I went before so I agreed. I figured it would be a few hours of being over stimulated but that trade was worth the time I would get to spend with her and the other women in my family.

My first mistake was not getting all the information. I agreed to something without understanding what I was agreeing to. What I thought would be a few hours was over 7. My entire day was consumed by this and I had no out. I was at the mercy of the group.

That is really what made this day hard, the length of time.

I can handle my mother complaining about her life and only talking about my brother and his family without ever asking about me and mine in small dosages, not for 7 hours.
I can handle being in an over stimulating situation in small dosages, not for 7 hours.
I can handle superficial conversation in small dosages, not for 7 hours.
I can make allowances for boundary violations, especially during special occasions, not for 7 hours.
I can handle postponing a meal, not for 12 hours.

I ate breakfast at 8am and then did not eat a meal again until 7:30pm. During that 12 hour window I ate one bite of wedding cake, a mint, a handful of goldfish, and edamame.

When we finally left the bridal show everyone was starving. The group decided on a Chinese restaurant, I immediately spoke up and reminded my family that I cannot eat Chinese food due to a food allergy I have. I was told the same thing I am always told when it comes to eating out with my family: you can order a salad.

This right here is one of the main reasons I no longer go to restaurants with my family.

What if I don’t want to eat a fucking salad? What if I am starving just like you and want to eat something more substantial? I don’t see anyone else ordering a fucking salad, yeah it is because you are fucking hungry and lettuce just won’t do it!

When we got to the restaurant I discovered that my allergen is used in the salad dressings and the marinades for the meat. If I ordered a salad I would have to order raw vegetables with unseasoned meat in order for it not to make me sick. And you know, there are times when I do eat that way and it is okay but I had not eaten all day and that was not going to cut it. I ended up ordering edamame to hold me over and decided I would eat dinner at home with my husband in a few hours when I was finally released.

Everyone around me ate rice and chicken and vegetables while I sat there with my edamame and hot tea. My mom kept trying to feed me her fried rice and I kept having to tell her, No it will make me sick. I was supremely frustrated. Please stop waving your delicious food in front of me, yes I would love to eat it but I don’t feel like shitting my pants today.

I did finally have an opportunity to share some things in my life I am excited about right now but soon after I was given the floor it was taken away again. Interruption after interruption. Me trying to tell my story quickly became someone else telling theirs. I did get to finish but only because I redirected multiple times.

I love my family AND they are not my people. That is my truth.

I live a life they do not understand. The way I live, the way I communicate, the things that I am passionate about, are not valued in my family, even among the women, so I am silenced.

I have nothing to contribute in the way of gossip, or complaining, or what I like to eat at the newest chain restaurant. And they have nothing to contribute when I talk about the sacredness of a space like Red Tent other than side ways glances at one another and concerned questions.

I love my family AND they are not my people. That is my truth. A truth that once made me feel isolated and lost. A truth that now makes me feel liberated. I can love them AND live a life outside of them that is not for them. I do not have to belong to my family in order to belong. Family is not the most important thing, connection is. That is my truth.

On Friday I spent time with strangers, sharing a meal I could eat, talking about things that excited me and made me feel heard and understood. I left that gathering of women feeling completely connected to myself and these women. I knew who I was.
Yesterday I spent time with women I have known my entire life, watching them share a meal I could not eat, listening to them talk about things that frustrated me and made me feel invisible and outcast. I left that gathering of women feeling completely disconnected from myself and these women. I felt sick with the over exposure to this energy field.

When I finally got home my husband came outside with my sage already lit and brought in some groceries I picked up for our dinner while I cleansed myself in the driveway before entering my home. We ate together and talked about things that mattered to us and I felt connected again.

I love my family AND they are not my people. That is my truth. I have so much gratitude to be able to stand in that truth with love rather than fear. I have so much gratitude for the places I do belong. I have so much gratitude for the inside connection I have built that allows me to stand in my truth and be free.

ecstacy maxfield parish

 

It Only Gets Harder

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I have spent a lot of time with mothers recently. Between my women’s circles, and clients, and even family. And over and over I a seeing this same theme of shame. I am starting to understand that for many women daring to step into this incredible role of mother comes with the most consuming sense of shame imaginable. Over and over and over I have literally heard women share stories of their feelings of not-good-enough in this role and under the surface this energy seems to be ever present as well.

We are shaming each other, we are internalizing the messages of shame from others, we are also running our own internal broadcast that plays one channel: the shame network.

You’re not feeding your child organic: you’re a bad mother.
You gave birth in a hospital: you’re a bad mother.
You gave birth at home: you’re a bad mother.
You didn’t breastfeed: you’re a bad mother.
You didn’t breastfeed long enough: you’re a bad mother.
You raised your voice, you let your child sleep in your bed, you feed your kid ice cream, you homeschool, you don’t homeschool: it really doesn’t matter, someone out there thinks you are a bad mother.

It has to be difficult to drown all of this out long enough to hear your own wisdom as a mother, let alone allow yourself to be present enough to tune into your child’s intuition and knowing.

All my life I have felt like the whole world has an opinion about how I am supposed to be and who I am supposed to be based solely on my gender. Sitting with these mothers recently made me realize this never stops, if anything it only gets louder and worse as we get older. Especially for those of us who have the audacity to follow our own path and does what feels right to us, as mothers, as workers, as wives, as women.

 

I have no answers to this dilemma, just a simple acknowledgment of the truth.

What I leave you with is this, I am fucking thankful for audacious women. And I know for my part I will remain aware of this ever present shame and resist any urge I might have to rush to judgement when I see or hear about a momma who is struggling, after all so often to mother is to struggle.

Broken Cookies and Dog Water

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I have had a few calamity Jill moments over the last few days. It started when I was baking 2 extra batches of lemon rosemary shortbread cookies to share at Red Tent. I pulled one batch from the oven and began transferring the cookies to the rack for cooling when it happened, I dropped nearly the entire batch of hot cookies. I looked down at my feet, covered in crumbled cookie remains and sighed. This is so my life.

I picked up the mess and cleaned cookie crap from my toes and then I prayed to the cookie Gods that the remaining batch turned out well because everything was riding on the second batch.

They were a little wompy looking truth be told, but they tasted good and that is what counts. One of my cookies was a bit bigger than the rest and needed another minute so I shimmied the other cookies off the tray and stuck the last one back in for another minute.

The cookies were a hit at Red Tent, I got rid of most of them.

Today Lu and I were over at the pond by our house. I brought us a whole cute set up. We had a towel to sit on, I brought a mason jar of iced lemon ginger tea I had just finished brewing, I brought my book and journal, and some water for Lu. I was sitting there reading my book when I felt a drop of water; I thought it had started raining, there were clouds overhead, so I looked up and found Lu drinking my tea right out of my mason jar! Thankfully I had already gulped most of it down so she did not get much. I tossed the rest mournfully and poured her some water which she lapped up gratefully.

This evening I was putting away clean dishes and noticed that my cookie tray was missing. I could not for the life of me figure out what I had done with it, then I remembered. Shit! I opened the oven and there it was, with a single black cookie sitting upon it. I totally forget about the loner that I left in. I turned the oven off last night after a while but never did retrieve the last cookie. Oh well. Sometimes all I can do is laugh.

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