Could you Please just throw me a piece of fruit! Even if it’s just a Blueberry!

It has taken me a week to be able to sit down and write this post, not completely sure that I am comfortable sharing such a raw moment in my life. However, to anyone who chooses to read this, I hope that you will draw some inspiration and comfort from my experience.

Last week I hit a spiritual low. Snake’s belly low. Crisis of faith low. Pitch dark, sobbing, img_2110-001not able to catch my breath low. Clutching a pillow to my chest as if it were a life vest low.

A few words from a text, that in my heart I knew were false, sent me in a downward spiral to a place so dark. A place I’ve only ever been once before, about a year ago.

For hours I sat on the floor, death grip on the pillow, paralyzed by fear and doubt, desperately counting my gratitude amidst audible sobs and pleas for help. Questioning what I’m missing, what I’m not seeing. Am I a fool? Who do I think I am? Doubts, doubts, doubts and more doubts. Fear at its ugliest. Asking… no, pleading really… for awareness and clarity. Just hit me over the head if you must! What the #*@& am I missing?

Sitting with such pain and fear is necessary, according to Buddhist practice, for pain and fear are our teachers. And so I sat….and sat….and sat, clinging to what minute ember of faith I could feel, until I was at least able to begin to breathe normally again.

While clarity and strength took days to resurface, I managed to pull myself together to run a necessary errand. If I could have put it off a day, believe me I would have. But it was meant for me to do that day, and at that specific moment, no matter the emotional wreck I was at the time.

Still red-eyed from crying, and disheveled, I drove down the road toward my destination, and in the perfect timing that is Universe, I looked up into the trees along the side of the road and saw my spirit animal. A Red-Tailed Hawk.

red_tailed_hawk
My Spirit Animal – Aumakua
  • Digression – These hawks are very prevalent in my area, however, I never noticed them with any level of awareness until after my mother died, nearly 11 years now. Since then, I am aware of their presence and see them when I am in most need of reassurance and comfort. Just the day before I had seen three! The first was on my way to a meeting and two more on the way home from the meeting! Needless to say, it was a great meeting. Sometimes their presence is a surprise beacon, like just yesterday, and then I know that I am on the correct path.

Once home, I spent the remainder of the day perilously reaffirming my blessings, meditating, and focusing on my breathing, struggling to remain only in the present moment, mantras running through my mind, as if on auto-pilot.

Feeling completely shattered, fiercely wanting to retreat into hermit mode, I was mulling over canceling my training for the week. However, when morning dawned, I decided it might be beneficial to go and throw some heavy weight around. I did and it was exactly what I needed, add in some poignant therapy from the best trainer in the world!

peaceMore clarity came from sharing my breakdown with her, perilously keeping the tears at bay as best I could. At the end of our session, she summed up part of the crisis by revealing that I have not yet received any fruit from my arduous toil along this journey. That, and my spiritual fruit was less than fresh!

Aha, yes, I need a piece of fruit! Any piece of fruit. Even if it’s just a blueberry! A cherry! A raspberry! Could you please just throw me a piece of fruit! While I am waiting on the watermelon (I know to expect miracles) 😉 I am starving for any piece of fruit to sustain me until the harvest.

And now a week later, I am stronger in faith, yet still expecting a watermelon but asking for a blueberry, cherry, or raspberry while enlightened enough to know that anotherRood-fruit-framboos-braam-en-blauwe-bes-SXC crisis is inevitable. For each crisis is necessary to break down the ego a little more in order to strengthen our spiritual connection.

This I must do alone. I retreat into the darkness. I sit with the pain and the fear. I beg, plead, scream, and cry until exhausted, when finally silence then speaks its truth. Expect the watermelon, but here’s a blueberry for now.

A friend with whom I shared this experience asked why I hadn’t called her, or anyone. My answer is simply that I must sit with this alone. It is my journey. My path. My growth. My test. My awakening.

We all will experience times like this in our lives, but we must not expect, nor allow, someone to rescue us from it. They are incapable and it isn’t their responsibility. Some may benefit from comfort from a friend, and that is fine. But we all must push through the darkness and emerge on our own efforts, spiritually stronger than before.

Expect the watermelon but be grateful for the blueberry, cherry, or raspberry to sustain you until harvest. 

 

 

 

Book Update: Flat Tire and in Need of Assistance. Please Prepare Tow Trucks for Standby!! (Revised)

Well, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted here regarding my first children’s book. In fact, those of you who are most observant have noticed that I had removed the milestone marker from my sidebar that denoted the countdown to release. Look in the sidebar….it’s BACK!!

 

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OK….it’s not this bad…LOL

 

In short, I hit an unexpected pothole that caused a flat tire this past January with word from my publisher that they were halting all production and were “in transition”. What that means for me is no book; they are not forthcoming with any additional information. What they have communicated is that they are working to place all authors with a new publisher….we shall see. In the meantime, I have decided to proceed with a new title and self-publish!

 

This new title is “The Safety Jewels”, in which we meet Kozette as she narrates her journey to school utilizing self-protection gems, forging her shield of self-defense. I am excited to be working with the talented Shari Brandt as the illustrator of my project.

This title is based on the guidelines from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in the US. Proceeds from US sales will support this organization’s efforts. In addition, because this title will be available on Amazon, hopefully by July but I’ll continue to post updates, it can be purchased outside the US on Amazon’s international sites. This is where I am in need of assistance from all of you that reside in countries other than the US, particularly Canada and Europe for now.

What is the national organization in your country that champions efforts to provide resources to combat this serious issue of missing and exploited children? If you could please either provide assistance through the comment box or visit my contact page and provide your assistance through that outlet, I would very much appreciate this. I would like to support these organizations through my Canadian sales and European sales respectfully.

Despite losing money to the previous publisher without receiving any book ☹, lessons learned, I am able to move this book project along,

flat tire
just need a tug and repair

just a bit stuck in a ditch at the moment and in need of some assistance in getting out. Prepare the tow trucks for standby!! A fundraising campaign may be in the works 🤔

Thank you to all of you for your continued support of this blog and along this maiden journey. I am hopeful that by summer we will be reading and enjoying this first book with the young children dear to us, as well as supporting those children suffering and less fortunate, but no less worthy and deserving, through the purchase of “The Safety Jewels”.

 

Book Review: Our Father (in other words)

A children’s book for grown-ups too

EARLY CHILDHOOD EDU-PLAY-TION

This past week I had the very distinct pleasure of sitting down with the author of the children’s book, Our Father (in other words), Penn Ketchum. I asked him to bring a copy of wp-1488734780053.jpghis book because admittedly I had not yet had the chance to get my hands on one and I very much wanted to read it. He obliged, giving it to me as a gift! Thank You!!

Mostly, I wanted to hear Penn’s story of his journey from concept to book in hopes of learning a few things to take along with me on my journey and learning what potholes in the road to avoid. Our chat was delightful and insightful, for both of us!

Upon returning home, I eagerly sat down to read his book. Barely into the first few pages, I realized just how beautiful and unique this work is.

Simplistic and Elegant. Traditional…

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WPC: THE ROAD TAKEN

My chosen road is usually paved by dirt, sand, leaves, or sticks and meant for travel on foot. If paved with macadam and meant for travel with a vehicle, my road travels through the wooded wonderlands of nature.

These are some photos that have crossed my path from various media outlets. Others I have taken with my phone while trekking through the woods. Many have appeared in other posts on my site. Some are brand new. Each one has whispered a unique message to my soul. Enjoy!!!

WPC: A Good Match: Feet in the Sand

Not just a “good match” but a “Perfect” match.

Anytime I am able to be in nature and contemplatively engage with her is a perfect day. Whether at the beach,  or in the woods, or sending a crag, I am one happy Zenbaby!

Why Are Ears Still Deaf?

2Once again a young life leaves this Earth too soon.

Talents and gifts uniquely bestowed, now forever gone.

Love and admiration poured out on ears now deaf.

Do we share this love when ears still hear, when hearts are beating and open to receiving?

If no, then we must surely begin!

If yes, why isn’t it enough?

If yes, why are ears still deaf? The heart still closed? The soul still famished?

If yes, why do they their precious life extinguish? They their flame snuff out?

What are we missing?

What do we not see? Not hear?

What are we ignoring?

What are we afraid to ask? Afraid to hear?

Are we unprepared to answer?

Where do we begin?

What changes must we make?

Do we even care of the stranger’s life, now lost?

1Vanished potential. Vanished passion. Vanished Solutions. Vanished gifts and talents.

Do we feel a deep remorse for the loss of a stranger, especially young, now forever gone?

Deep compassion must begin in us each!

For we are each a rare thread in the beautiful tapestry. A unique character in the awe-inspiring play. A particular instrument in the magnificent symphony.

Remove a thread, the tapestry is weakened

Remove a character, the play is incomplete

Remove an instrument, the symphony is off key

The masterpiece suffers, noticed only by the most attuned, yet all infinitely impacted.

Compassion, Connectedness, Vibrations of Love, may not be enough

Nonetheless, we must engage, for to not is surely death

 

 

 

Life on the Rocks: A Tortoise on the Wall

Yesterday I tried out a new climbing gym with my family. In order to climb, we had to pass the belay test and also the bouldering test. The belay test was nothing new and I passed without issue, no surprise there. The bouldering test consisted of demonstrating a controlled fall and an uncontrolled fall. After watching my family complete the test I

bouldering
dropping from a boulder

decided to skip it and not boulder. I am a newbie climber and the idea of falling still geeks me out. I only started falling from a boulder route last week….previously I would climb back down instead of allowing myself to drop from the wall. I just wasn’t ready to drop myself from the wall and fall onto the mat, landing on my back, arms flailed out to the side, the demonstration of an uncontrolled fall. I probably could have passed the controlled fall, as that one lands on your feet into a crouch with fists hitting the mat between your legs. I need to “practice” falling more to build my confidence before testing. This was the first gym that required a bouldering test…I was unprepared mentally for it.

While there, I attempted one climb, a 5.5. I bailed after about half way up the wall. I have bailed on every wall climb I have ever attempted in any gym. On the crag, I have never bailed. There is some mental block that creeps into my head when I’m climbing in a gymhalf-way-up that stifles my ascent, but for some reason, I can push past it outdoors. What is that all about?

When I come down from the wall, I am immediately disappointed with myself, not relieved that I’m on the ground. An hour or so later I want to try again but I don’t because I’m not convinced the attempt will not end in another bailout. Why does that even bother me?

Somehow I need to figure out a way to keep going. Do I need to just dangle in the air to strengthen my resolve? Do I need to initiate an announced and an unannounced fall to test my trust of the rope and my belayer? Do I need to dangle in the air and just rest and shake out my arms and legs? Am I physically tired? Am I afraid of something? If so, what am I afraid of? Falling? What am I not trusting? The rope? My family on belay? Myself? My body’s physical abilities? I still struggle with trusting my body in my weightlifting too.

I have always had a fear of heights but I started climbing because it looked like fun and I didn’t want my fears to prevent me from trying something new that I thought I’d enjoy. I also have a fear of falling that stems from a childhood experience. I have not yet taken a fall, planned or otherwise, on the rocks or the wall. Just writing this seems to resonate with me that maybe this is a necessary evil to progress past at least one mental block.

I also have not allowed myself to just dangle in the air. As a newbie climber, I’m like the

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tortoise climbing a dirt pile

tortoise, slowly progressing in my efforts, but regressing into the safety of my shell when feeling threatened or unsafe. But if I want to continue to progress in my skill, and I do, I want to begin lead climbing, then I am going to have to emerge from the safety and comfort of my current abilities, stick my neck out and press forward.

Each time I have an opportunity to go climbing, I grab it. I know I need to continue to climb in order to improve. I actually begin jonesing when I haven’t climbed in a while. I know this block is in my mind, but it must be fairly deep because it continues to limit me. I just need to figure out how to create a deeper desire to complete a send, than the deepness of the fear that is holding me back.

golden-6585
tortoise climbing a garden wall

I am ok with progressing as a tortoise on the wall; I just need to learn how to more accurately assess what threats are real, and what threats are imagined. But to be honest, that is a relative assessment dependent upon the situation in which each tortoise experiences the journey of life, or climbing in this case.

 

(Images are from Bing.com)

 

Lighter Fare: Dining on Soul Food

In recent weeks, many exciting possibilities and opportunities have been presented to me. Some I have taken hold of like a ravenous beast in hopes of satisfying my soul’s hunger for food. Not just hunger for any food, though; hunger for soul food. A craving for clean, raw, pure food that nourishes, not just satiates. A voracity for sustenance that comes from philanthropic efforts of improving the lives of others. Nourishment that springs from a life of service to others. I have been craving this cuisine for some time. Saturday I finally received a meal so replete that I felt glutted upon leaving the venue. Let me describe this absolutely divine dining experience to you.

A friend invited me to attend a Gifts That Give Hope Alternative Gift Fair. Well, I have never been to such an event, but I was familiar with alternative giving, so I was up for checking it gtgh-logoout. There are several Gifts That Give Hope events around the United States. Check out the link above.

Upon entering the venue, I was presented with a decorative paper gift bag that contained a “menu” showcasing 30 non-profits and the 3 entrees (gifts) each was featuring for the day. Once I stepped into the “dining hall” I was immediately presented with 30 bountiful tables each lusciously displaying their entrees of soul food. Aromas of pure passion wafting in the air from 30 tables of spiritual fare (information) and I could choose any or all of them to sample.

30 non-profits displaying tables of literature with representatives so passionate to serve me a dish of quintessential nourishment in the form of pertinent information relating to their mission, their goals and priorities for the upcoming year, their successes, their needs for volunteers and funds. Each non-profit fervently showcasing two distinct entrees footer-3(alternative gifts) and one common entrée served by all (open donation gift). An array of entrees ranging from “purchasing” alpacas, llamas, goats and chickens for impoverished 3rd world citizens to providing clean water, educational supplies, and housing for those in need globally. Entrees ranging from animal therapy to music lessons to bicycles and helmets to journey bags (for foster children) to weekend food backpacks for families in need.

Gifts designed for infants through adults, underprivileged individuals to special needs individuals, and everyone in between. All entrees (gifts) categorized into 12 cuisines presented as: Basic Needs, Education, Freedom & Safety, Strengthening Families, Women & Children, Sustainability & Self-Reliance, Equality & Nondiscrimination, Justice & Peacekeeping, Spirituality, Health & Wellness, Cooperation & Empowerment, and Caring for the Environment.

After 3 ½ hours of sampling each tables’ fare, I finally settled on purchasing 3 entrees from the cuisines of Sustainability & Self-Reliance, Education, and Strengthening moringa-treeFamilies, Women & Children. I bought 1 Moringa tree, a packet of vegetable seeds, and a general donation, all to benefit the 2 Seconds Or Less organization. 2 Seconds Or Less is dedicated to ending childhood malnutrition with sustainable solutions to hunger. They plant nutrition gardens at government schools and teach the children about sustainable agriculture. For more info visit 2 Seconds Or Less.

The Moringa Tree is a fast growing tree whose leaves provide a great deal of nutrition. The Vegetable Seeds Packet supplies a variety of common vegetable seeds for an entire garden. The open donation can be used for education or other priority that 2 Seconds Or Less deems

necessary. Three entrees sure to provide many meals for the children and families in Zimbabwe, while also satisfying my starvation for an abundant dish of soul food.

If you too find yourself enduring a starvation for pure, clean, and raw food to nourish your soul, served by attentive and passionate staff yearning to dish up a beautiful bounty of nourishment for your soul, I highly recommend this dining experience or one very similar to it. Trust me, you will leave the table feeling deeply satiated, energized, and passionate to share its bounty with others.