Looking to attend this. My soul is so filled by the cultural events and powwows of Native American celebrations. So blessed to have this site close by.
Looking to attend this. My soul is so filled by the cultural events and powwows of Native American celebrations. So blessed to have this site close by.
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, not 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.
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!
More 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 another 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.
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!!
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,
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”.
A children’s book for grown-ups too
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 his 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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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!!!
There is always a sort of preference when it comes to choices. But that just shows us that we do know what we want right?
Once 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?
Vanished 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
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 out. 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 (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 Families, 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.
Several weekends ago I headed into the woods on what was to be the first stop on a local excursion to snap photos for the WPC Local (WordPress Photo Challenge), but I ended up spending hours alone, exploring the trails; immersed in nature; in solitude; in quiet.
There are three marked trails in this forested area and all three cross over and co-mingle with each other in various locations. Some are well groomed while others are more rugged. Some are even unmarked!
As I travailed through the forest all up in my head, I began to contemplate why an outing as this brings me such solace. I know myself well enough to understand that nature is a very healing place for me regardless of the season or the milieu. I am just as much a zen baby in the woods as I am at the beach. I prefer the beach in the off seasons than in summer and in early morning or evening (during the summer) as opposed to during the day. It is impossible for me to truly hear the ocean’s voice when it is drowning in the cacophony of human jabbering.
In the woods, it tends to be quieter no matter what the season. On this particular trek, I barely encountered a soul despite the beautiful day in Fall. What continued to bubble up in my mind was the sense of adventure that the forest gifts us. While many paths were manicured and marked, I tended to be attracted to the more rugged and unmarked trails I discovered. Why is this? Why do I gravitate to the path less traveled? The path unknown? What is it that I am searching for?
I’m not sure I fully understand why the more difficult trail appeals to me, but it probably has something to do with my love of solitude, and maybe even a need to prove to myself that I can navigate successfully on my own. At 54 one would think I should have this ingrained, but I guess I don’t completely, and I’m ok with that. Sometimes I actually do choose an easier route, especially so when visiting the quarry where I rock climb, but I digress.
The other realization and insight I gleaned from this hours long ambling through the wooded wonderland was the multitude of occasions upon which I ended at a crossroads. Which way did I want to go? Which path did I want to take? Which one looked less traveled? But yet, I didn’t want to miss anything hidden within the paths I chose to ignore. Now in this small forest, I can easily revisit and opt to explore the other pathways, even though they wind back around on each other. Not always so in life.
What have I missed by choosing the paths I have walked? Was there a lesson I missed? I don’t have any regrets on where I am in life or of the paths I have taken thus far. I am very grateful for what I have, what I have accomplished thus far, and for where I am headed. I like to believe that if I missed a treasure on a path I chose to ignore that maybe either I didn’t need to discover it or that it will appear on a path yet to be chosen.
So I will continue to find nuggets of inspiration and insight as I traipse through the forest, through life, and dare to go deeper into the woods. For there is where the real treasures are hidden, and maybe that is why I am so drawn to the darker, more rugged path less traveled.
Chaos is inherent in all compounded things. Strive on with diligence – Buddha
All great changes are preceded by chaos – Deepak Chopra
Diligence is indeed necessary, especially today , November 8th, for the United States.
Changes are on the horizon….love them or hate them but learn to bend with them as the willow bends with the storm.