Spiral of Healing

When this gorgeous orange cat showed up meowing at my front door at the end of October last year, I knew he had been sent to me on purpose. I had literally cleared my heart and spoke my intention into the Universe that our next dog would arrive at our door a day or so before. My son was dying for a dog here. I decided I was ready if the Universe thought it was good for us.

Fast forward to a pet communicator telling me that this cat was an answer to my prayer and a powerful healer here to help me not worry because things were all working out. Here to remind me to keep me collecting as much joy as possible.

I didn’t understand then. I didn’t feel like I needed a powerful healer. And then the last month or so of my life happened. This cat came to be with me NOW.

Nothing major has happened. I’m like many others on this planet right now who have been cycling through some tough stuff welling up from my past. You know…the bit of a roller coaster clearing cycles we’ve been feeling in recent months. All just being brought to the surface so we can finally heal and move forward completely with the new energy we’re able to tap into now.

Abandonment wound. I have one. From my research, most of us might. Can happen in childhood when we feel abandoned by our parents emotionally. Can happen when a parent leaves and doesn’t have anything to do with us. Can happen when a significant person to us dies. Can happen when a lover leaves or a divorce happens.

What I’m realizing is that it’s my big thing, meaning the big thing that’s healing in me every time one of these waves comes over all of us. It’s what I was healing in my last relationship.

I thought I was done with it. It got triggered recently, but almost as soon as I did, I realized that I wasn’t feeling the emotions of that moment, but instead of moments past. You’re probably feeling some things from moments past too, because I’m hearing that a lot from other people. It’s not just our moments past that we’re healing now, it’s our parent’s moments and their parents etc etc. It’s important work. Tiring work. So naps might be needed or earlier bedtimes. Crying might happen. Extra self care and love is needed.

What I’m being shown is that it’s really all about learning to feel what we feel when we feel it and allowing those feelings to flow how they need to. I know I put off a lot of feeling from when I was a kid experiencing things I didn’t really understand. I made up stories in my mind about what was going on and why. And I’m realizing that that’s OK that I did that, but now, I’m stronger and able to deal with those issues. They’re coming up to feel now. Sometimes it’s obvious as to where my feelings are coming from. Luckily, our triggers make things known, so we can feel and heal those old wounds. Amazing to be grateful for triggers. Never thought I’d write that sentence. If we feel these things, we’ll release them and they won’t have a stronghold on us anymore. It doesn’t have to be more complicated than that to release what is coming up to be healed right now.

If you’re like me, your mind might get satisfaction in looking up traits associated with abandonment. Did you know that serial monogamist relationships in succession without break can be a form of self-medication? Guilty. We’re all human. Me, you, that person who drives you crazy. We’re all doing the best we can with where we are and we’re healing as we go. We all have lessons to learn and we all have things that need healed, or we wouldn’t be here. You are not alone. I know that for me, reading some of the things that go with abandonment wounds added clarity to my life and also reminded me of how far I’ve come.

Stop right now. Take a deep breath in. Think of the last year and all you’ve come through. Take a moment to feel good about how far you’ve come. Sending you so much love as we continue forward on this spiral of growth and expansion. We have not begun to move backwards. We’re simply digging deeper, so that more suppressed pain can be released to make way for even more light. Hang on. This all holds purpose for all of us.

Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this post, please like and share it. Sending you so much love!

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Blogging for a Year!

I have been officially writing on this blog for 1 year today!  It is said that a lot can change in a year.  My life is living proof!  Over the year that I have blogging, so much has happened.  Just from a blogging perspective, a lot changed once I made the decision to start sharing more of myself and my story with other people this way.  I think the biggest thing I learned is that my story is a powerful one that can inspire others on their own journeys.  The other thing I learned is that we can truly rewrite our stories if the old version is causing us strife or disempowering us.

It is a very humbling thing to have someone read your first blog post and reach out to you saying that your post gave them hope on a day when they were feeling suicidal.  I decided then that if my writing did no more than give that one person hope on their own journey, it would be enough.  Through this blog, I have reconnected with old friends, reconnected with family, and made new friends.

Prior to starting this blog, only those closest to me really knew my story.  Because of my depression, struggles in my marriage, and illness, I kept a lot to myself.  I now see that I was sort of holding myself captive by staying so closed in.  I am a Gemini and a communicator by nature, and to be otherwise makes me feel a discord with myself at the soul level.  Writing here has opened me up in ways that I had really been craving, both with myself and with other people.  I have found that opening myself up to this level of vulnerability and authenticity here has also opened me up in the same way in real life.  There’s a lot of power in sharing, because you no longer feel like you have anything to hide.  You realize that more often than not, people reach out to you commiserating and saying they’ve felt the same way.  You realize that all you have kept inside was nothing to be ashamed of and in fact, by sharing all of it, you can help a lot of other people navigate their own lives.

I thank all of you who have been reading along on this journey of mine!  I now have 50 subscribers to this blog who receive a notification every time I publish a new post.  Thank you all for subscribing!  It lets me know that my words are resonating and not just falling silent once I press the publish button.  In 1 year, I have had 1,047 visitors to my site.  I have had 2,214 blog views.  In 1 year, my blog has been viewed from the US, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, India, Philippines, Sweden, Ireland, Serbia, Netherlands, Romania, Singapore, Hong Kong (China), United Arab Emirates, Costa Rica, Botswana, Japan, Russia, Belgium, New Zealand, Italy, Trinidad and Tobago, Taiwan, Croatia, Brunei, South Africa, Turkey, Puerto Rico, Greece, Spain, Denmark, Germany, Nepal, Austria, Monaco, Nigeria, Ukraine, Thailand, and Switzerland!!  The internet has really connected us all more than we normally even consider in our day to day lives.  How amazing that my words can be read in so many different places all over the world?!  Thank you to everyone who has read my words near and far, I hope that they inspire you in some way.

If you would have told me last year this time what my life would look like a year from then, I would not have believed you at all!  Absolutely everything has shifted for the positive in my life!  At the beginning of the year, as I had been dealing with negative health effects of the stress of my job for a while, I had an inspired idea that left me unable to sleep.  On thinking of what would make 2018 my best year ever, I thought that it would be epic to quit my job, start my own healing business, and travel to Australia (my life-long dream destination) and Hawaii all in the same summer!!

Friends, since May, I have done all of those things!  I am amazed at the unfolding of my life!  I couldn’t be more grateful for all that I have experienced this year, and for the fact that I still have 5 MORE MONTHS of this year still to go!  I see the divine hand that has led me on this path and it has been even better than I could have imagined because of the added bonus of growth and insight that has come from my experiences.

We usually walk around feeling very stuck in our lives.  We think we can’t leave jobs because we’re worried our business won’t work out, so we usually don’t even try.  We say we can’t travel because we don’t have the money.  We give ourselves one good vacation a year, because it’s like a weird, general social norm in the US to work more than we play.  Everything is still evolving for me on this new path, but just the feeling I have to be so connected with my higher self on a daily basis has been worth it.  Let alone the amazing places I’ve seen and the people I have met.  Australia you guys.  Wow.  I am in real love with that place!  I plan to post more about it, including a slideshow of my pictures, but so far, I’m mostly still at a loss for words for that experience.  My sister and I were able to have our first family vacation together with our families in Hawaii.  I spent much-needed time meeting, and then snuggling with my baby niece.  Plus, tons of snorkeling!  My son got to snorkel in the ocean for the first time.  I saw a few sea turtles, an eel, dolphins plus thousands of tropical fish!  Ah, I could get used to having at least two epic vacations a year!

I’m in a place of trust and it’s causing me to release all of my old doubts about myself, my old beliefs about what is possible in life, and my old beliefs about lack just to name a few.  I’ve gotten more committed to meditating and checking in with my higher self about every decision from what I eat to what I do.  I have had so many inspired ideas come to me in the time since returning from Hawaii.  Following through on those ideas is connecting me with more amazing people and opportunities.  I’m looking at life in a whole new way that has given me a sort of freedom that I have never experienced before.

Life is truly is what we make it.  If we want more adventure, we’ve got to look for ways to incorporate more adventure.  If we want more travel, we need to travel.  If we want better health, we need to start meditating daily and connecting with our higher selves, so that we can follow the guidance from within needed to heal ourselves.  Drown out the outside influences of your life that make you neglect to listen to your own intuition.  Turn off your TV, stop listening to people who haven’t been living their dreams, stop letting outside people and things influence you more than your own heart. When you connect with yourself in this way, you will find amazing ideas, people, situations, and opportunities begin to appear in your life in perfect timing!  I have had so many things happen in the last week and a half that I can’t keep up with it all as far as writing it all down to share.  I see how every seemingly little thing is by design and it’s really beautiful!

I’ll share an example.  One of the things I have written and read aloud every day since a workshop hosted by Jake Ducey that I attended in November as part of my larger Chief Aim is “I am a part of a thriving community of healers and artists.”  Earlier this week, I got the inspired idea to create a gift basket focused around “Healing Arts” for the Center for Spiritual Living’s annual fundraiser this year.  My idea is that the basket will showcase the work of various healers and artists in my town, so that people will realize what is available to them right here.  I am donating a Distance Reiki session to the basket, and after several contacts, I have secured multiple gift certificates for various forms of healing including Reiki, Sound Healing, and a How to Create Sacred Space & Crystal Grid Manifesting session, a painting, and a cool pyramid made of shungite that is a very healing stone.  In two days, I reached out, connected with, and met several new people, and learned about new healing modalities offered in my area.  This is how life can work when we are in the flow.  Our inspired ideas (the ones where you get excited to your core) happen on purpose!!  When you start following them like I have been doing, they lead to amazing things for you and others around you!  They even help you manifest your desires!  In my experience, inspired ideas lead to all that I am seeking to manifest in my life and more!  Whoever wins this basket is in for a serious treat!!

On this journey I am on, I would get nowhere if I compared myself or my journey to others, because they are not me.  Even when our journeys look similar, they are not the same, and they are not meant to be the same.  We are all here to shine the light that WE have, not dim our lights, or try to blend our lights in with everyone else’s.  I understand that conformity was once an act of survival, but at this level of the game, conformity is killing us all slowly.  The key to this game is to live our joy, so that we can match the frequency of all that we wish to manifest.  I know that life can discourage us, especially when the energy is such that is bringing our old patterns and beliefs and anxieties back to the surface for healing.  Even in such time, we are all being taken care of completely.  You will know that you are aligned with your higher self when your thoughts and words start showing up as things and people in your reality.

Once you find a way to tap into that magic, life glows like it’s radioactive.

I’m living it right now! We each have something we came here to do.  What did you come here to do?  Are you doing it? Are you working towards doing it?  What is stopping you?

I am starting a meeting group locally centered around the book “The Surrender Experiment” by Michael Singer.  My idea is that everyone who comes to the meetings will have read the book and are willing to surrender to the flow of life more.  I will share my story and ways that I have surrendered and what that has created in my life.  After that, we will meet on a weekly basis to discuss what has shown up for us in our lives and how we have flowed with it and what doors that has opened for us.

I just had the idea that it could be really fun to coach people in this way!  It could take place via phone and I would share more details about how I do this and what has shown up for me, and I could provide individualized support for you as you begin to allow more flow in your life.  You don’t have to change every area of your life to live this way.  Even focusing on one area where you’re currently dissatisfied would make a huge impact.  My coaching would mean 1:1 support, as well as all of my intuitive insights about you and your journey that I receive during the time that we work together.  If this resonates with you, please read the book, and reach out to me at peacefuljellyfish@gmail.com!  I’d also love to hear from people who are currently living this way!  Please leave comments down below!

Thank you for reading!  If you liked this post please like and share it.  Much love!

Time Travel

A few weeks ago, I was talking with a good friend of mine and I told her that I wish that I could go back in time and relive my life, but with my current mentality.  I wanted to go back and have the experiences of the traveling and hiking for work with the level of gratitude and mindfulness that I currently experience.  I just had this idea that I would appreciate every experience, every hike I was able to do, every connection that I made with other people back then so much more with my current perspective on life.  In those days, I traveled, hiked, and LIVED in some of the most amazing and beautiful places that you can visit in the United States!  And I enjoyed it all at the time, but my life sort of splits at the time that I lost my health.  There’s the ‘before I lost my health’ time, and the ‘after I lost my health’ time.  Can you relate?  Did something change your life so dramatically that you also have a before (fill in the blank) time, and an after (fill in the blank) time?

Before I lost my health, I did what my body could do and didn’t even really think about it.  My body did whatever I wanted it to do.  If I needed to hike 17 miles in a day for work, I did it.  If I needed to carry a heavy backpack for 10 miles for work, I did it.  If I needed to lift a recliner into the back of a truck by myself, I did it.  After I lost my health, I experienced times when I couldn’t get off the couch because my chest pain was so bad.  I couldn’t walk to my mailbox that was maybe 30 feet from our house.  Actually come to think of it, maybe I am living in the after I lost my health AND after I got my health back time.  I am the same person, except now, I have all of the collective memories from all the time periods of my life.  And with the memories of the stark differences in what my body was able to do, I live with an immense gratitude so enormous that when I hike (or do something else that I thought I would never get to do again), I am usually brought to laughter and tears of joy.  And I am not exaggerating in the slightest.  I’ve asked friends of mine if the hikes they do ever bring them to tears, because it happens so often to me now.

As my friend and I discussed my time travel idea, we came to the conclusion that if I could go back with my current perspective that my life would likely be completely different now.  And really, I wouldn’t want that, because I would always choose to have my son.  But what I have realized since talking to my friend is that while we cannot currently (I never say never about anything) travel back in time physically as who we were then and experience things over again all “Back to the Future” style, we do have the ability to travel back to places that we once visited, experiencing it as our current selves.  And over the last few weeks, I have found that it’s pretty damn close.

I went to Southwest Utah last weekend on a whim.  I have been called (ie my heart/gut/ intuition/soul keep bringing it up over and over) to revisit the beautiful red rock of Zion National Park now for a long time, especially for the majority of this year.  Because I do not usually have a three-day weekend off all to myself, I was not about to waste it by sitting at home doing things that I could do on any other day.  I worked in SW Utah back in 2003, initially hiking through the desert looking for desert tortoises, and later using seining and electroshocking in rivers and streams to collect data on various fish species.  I even did some work in the Virgin River in Zion National Park.  I fell in love with the contrasting colors of the red rock against the bright blue sky and earthy green sage and cacti.  It’s art for the eyes unlike any other place I have ever seen.  When I realized that I had a 3-day weekend coming up, I began thinking of things that I could do during that time, specifically where I could go hiking.  I immediately thought of Zion National Park.  But as quickly as I thought of it, my mind started to work against me.  It’s an 8-hour drive and I haven’t done a long road trip like that by myself in a long time.  Can I stay awake, driving for that long?  How much is this going to cost me?  Can I afford it?  I can do it if I find a free place to stay, but not if I have to pay.  How much gas am I going to end up using and paying for?  Is 3 days really long enough to go all the way to Zion?!  I mean I’m basically going to drive there, hike, and drive back.  But, luckily, there are bigger forces at work than my mind that obviously wanted me to go to Zion.

I began to get messages in the form of Instagram and Facebook posts.  For instance, upon sitting on my couch and contemplating the trip while looking up places to camp and stay, I checked my Instagram to find two posts from two separate accounts featuring pictures taken in Zion National Park.  You can believe whatever you want, but I have seen enough in my own life to know without a doubt that there are no coincidences in this life.  If you feel like you’re getting messages, you are.  One of the pictures was taken from the top of Angel’s Landing, one of my favorite hikes in Zion that I planned on doing if I made the trip.  I also began to have other quotes, and articles pop up on my Facebook feed dealing with blocks that we sometimes create between ourselves and money, and also about the importance of following your intuition and doing the things that you are feeling urged to do.  So between message after message essentially yelling at me to go to Utah, and a sweet guy in Utah who runs a camping airbnb who hooked me up with coordinates for free camp sites on BLM land with a fall back option of his backyard if they were all full, I decided to go to Utah!  And man, am I happy that I did!!

Zion was always a magical place to me, but I think it was even more so during this visit!  I was able to experience the entire trip with the perspective of getting my health back after losing it, and during every shuttle, and hike, and conversation, I was saying to myself, I cannot believe I am lucky enough to be here right now!  I looked around with awe and a huge smile on my face the whole time.  I noticed some of the other hikers walking with almost grimaces on their faces, and I wanted to shake them and say “Can you believe that we are here in this magical place?!  This place is AMAZING!  Aren’t we so lucky that our bodies allow us to hike like this??!!”

I got there on Friday, set up my camp, and then went straight to the park to hop the shuttle and ended up hiking the Emerald Pools trail.  As I hiked, I smiled BIG!  It felt so right to be back there!  I looked around amazed as if I was seeing the Park for the first time!  On the shuttle to Emerald Pools, I struck up a conversation with a woman beside me, and asked her what hike she was going to do.  We started talking about where we were from and how long we were going to be there.  And we talked about hikes that we were going to do and that she had done.  She told me that she had hiked The Narrows the day before and that it was so beautiful and that I should do it if I had the time.  I had thought about it before my trip, but was not sure that I wanted to rent the gear for $40.  This conversation sealed the deal for me, and she told me where she rented the gear and what time they opened in the morning.  So again, flying by the seat of my pants, on Saturday, I hiked The Narrows, one of the most iconic hikes in Zion National Park.  I have hiked a lot in my life, but The Narrows is now my absolute FAVORITE hike!  My soul was overwhelmed with joy to be hiking through a river surrounded by a red rock canyon!  If your body is able, and hiking in a place like that makes your soul happy too, you MUST get yourself there and experience it for yourself.  No picture, no matter how beautifully taken, can ever capture the feeling of being there yourself.  In my opinion, Zion National Park is a must-see and The Narrows hike is a must-do!

Me on top of Angel’s Landing in the Fall of 2003:

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Me on top of Angel’s Landing on October 15, 2017:

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Our souls/higher selves really do know what is best for us.  I see it play out in my life all the time as opportunities and people are placed on my path.  After my trip to Utah, I knew that I could in fact travel in time by revisiting places I have lived and loved in the past.  But, I had no idea that another hike I did yesterday in Sequoia National Park would show me that again.

I had wrongly assumed that I was working all weekend this weekend, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, until I looked at my work schedule again last week.  It turns out that I had Sunday off.  So again, I began to think of hikes that I could do that day.  I have a friend that I have written about before who does all sorts of cool, epic hikes in this area, and he’s always happy to give me trail recommendations.  When he told me about the Lakes Trail in Sequoia National Park, it sounded perfect!  There are four lakes on the trail, all at various distances from the trail head, so you can decide on how short or long you want your hike to be, and the scenery at any of the lakes is gorgeous, so you win regardless of how far you go.  Before I left, he said to take the Watchtower trail vs. the Hump trail at one of the junctions on the way to the lakes, because of the scenery along the Watchtower trail.  Inspired by my friend, I set my alarm, and ended up being on the road to go hike by 4:45 am!!  I started the trail at 6:45 am, just before sunrise.  I was leaving my plan open-ended and decided that I would see how I felt at the various lakes before deciding on my ultimate destination.  The trail was so beautiful!  I had the trail all to myself until I hit the first lake, Heather Lake, when I started passing people who had camped at the lakes going in the opposite direction as me.  Aside from that, I felt like I had the entire trail to myself.  I stopped to take some pictures at the Watchtower.  The view up there is amazing!  All of the granite peaks and drop offs, the sun just making its way up into the sky.   Stunning!  I thought of how grateful I was to be able to hike that trail.  I felt so lit up from the inside.  I kept going.  At one point, there was a sign that said something like Emerald Lake 1 mile, Pear Lake 2 miles, and right then, I decided that I was feeling good enough to do the whole 12.4 mile round trip trail to Pear Lake.  There was no way that I was going to stop short just 1 mile from Pear Lake.  The hike was just what I needed!  It felt so good to get out there and do the whole 12.4 miles.  I went to bed feeling exhausted (in a good way) and full of love and gratitude for my life.  All of it.

When I checked Facebook this morning, I had memories to look back on.  Wow, did I!  As I scrolled down, I came to a group of photos that were part of an album labeled 6 to 11 months.  There was a picture in particular that I noticed where I was holding my son at an overlook on a hike that we did when he was 6 months old.  I wondered where the picture was taken, because I had no memory of the trail or its name.  So I clicked on the picture and under it was the caption “At the Watchtower.”  My son turned 6 months old on October 23, 2009.  We must have done that hike almost exactly 8 years ago.  And as I just wrote that sentence, I checked today’s date and got chills when I saw that today is October 23, 2017.  Wow.  There are seriously NO coincidences in this life!  I could have gone on any hike yesterday, but I was led to go on the same hike that I had gone on 8 years ago almost to the day!  Again, I got to relive my past with my current perspective and level of gratitude and mindfulness.  In 2009, the first picture was taken not even two weeks before I started having symptoms that ultimately led to my complete loss of health, so it falls just into the ‘before I lost my health’ time period.

My son and I at the Watchtower in October 2009:

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Me at the Watchtower on October 22, 2017:

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I know I have said it many times, but without the perspective of gratitude that I have gained from having my life split into two when I lost my health, I would not have hiked with as much joy as I did yesterday, last weekend, or during the last few years as I have been getting back on the trails.  I would not be as grateful for all that my body is able to do, because I would not know any other way.  The scenery and trails haven’t changed, but I have!  I am lucky, because life has given me the opportunity to go back and really soak in the experiences that I have had.  I have gotten a second chance at life, so I do not intend to waste it.  This perspective is why I do the things I do.  It’s why I live my life seeking the things that bring me the most joy.  It’s why I don’t wait around for other people to be available if I really want to do something.  I know that I woke up this morning and am alive TODAY.  I know that I am healthy enough to go on long hikes by myself TODAY.  Tomorrow is not guaranteed, friends.  What are you putting off for another day?  I would encourage you to do it!  Be here NOW.  I hope that you, too, are living this amazing and magical life to the fullest!

I sang Michael Franti’s song, “Gloria”, all weekend as I drove to and hiked around Zion NP.  I was really feeling the lyrics, because I am so glad to be alive!  I had no idea of the story behind the song until I just searched for a link to add here!  Watch an amazing video of Michael Franti talking about and singing his song, “Gloria” HERE

or the album version of “Gloria” HERE

Forgive Others

What does it mean to forgive someone?  I’ve been grappling with this question for years.  Various memes, articles, and quotes tell me that forgiveness does not mean that you are excusing the person’s behavior, but that when you forgive, you are freeing yourself.  There have been times when I believed that I had completely forgiven a person, but then something comes up, and buried feelings float back up to the surface, and I am reminded of more work that I need to do.

This morning, a friend posted a video of a Holocaust survivor named Eva.  During the Holocaust, Eva was a young girl living in Romania.  She and her entire family, including her twin sister, were taken to the concentration camp of Auschwitz.  Within 30 minutes of getting off of the cattle car that transported them there, Eva was separated from her Dad and Mom and never saw either of them again.  When the SS Officers realized that Eva and her sister were twins, the two young girls were sent off to special barracks were the doctors were performing experiments on twins in an attempt to figure out a way for the Aryan race to proliferate faster.  As you can imagine, it’s a very sad story, but also a very inspiring one.  You can watch the video HERE.

The reason that I am writing about this video is because in the end, years after the Holocaust had ended and Eva was an adult, Eva took it upon herself to go to Germany to meet with one of the doctors from Auschwitz and later, ultimately forgave him for his part in the torture and killing.  She later forgave Dr. Mengele, the doctor directly responsible for the torturous experiments that were done on Eva and her sister.  To me, this was extremely powerful.  Here is a woman who lost everyone but her sister at Auschwitz, and she’s finding it in her heart to forgive the people responsible??!!  While I acknowledge that all struggles are relative and that we don’t have to go through the Holocaust to have deep wounds from a painful past, to me, if Eva can forgive these SS doctors, who am I not to forgive people in my life?  Later, Eva was denounced by many other Holocaust survivors, because of her act of forgiveness to these doctors, but she stood by her decision.  Eva saw that forgiveness had led to her own healing, and to her, that was more important than staying in line with everyone else.  So I went for a walk on this gorgeous day.  And as I walked, still amazed by Eva’s ability and willingness to forgive those SS doctors, I started thinking about forgiveness and my own relationship with it in my life.

In the years when I was struggling with illness, I felt trapped in a body that I no longer recognized and simultaneously,  I also felt trapped in a marriage that had become toxic for me.   My belief is that we all choose the big, key players in our lives.  As souls before we incarnate into this life, we choose our parents, siblings choose each other, and I believe we also choose those who we share major relationships with in our lives.  And likewise, our children choose us, their parents.  In every case, our souls make agreements with each other to help each other learn various lessons in this life with the ultimate goal of our incarnation being to awaken.  (If you want to read more about this, check out  the book, “Your Soul’s Plan:  Discovering the Real Meaning of the Life You Planned Before You Were Born” by Robert Schwartz that I posted on my book list.)  Each of our souls reincarnate to this Earth School many times over, thousands of times, in order to learn the lessons that we are meant to learn that will eventually wake us up. And many times, we travel with a soul group that we have known in past lives.  So it is highly likely that my ex-husband and I have been closely connected in many past lives.  We choose the souls in our lives knowing the details of what the relationship with them will look like.  To put it in the simplest terms, I think that his soul lovingly agreed with mine to enter into my life this time around in a relationship that would tear me down, so that I could eventually build myself back up from the ground to be the person that I came here to be, and to do the things that I am meant to do.  And for that, I am very grateful.  It’s like the story of myself was broken down, and when I got back to re-writing it, I relocated some of the positive aspects of myself, but released a lot of the negative parts.  I believe had that not happened, I would have likely been carrying some of those negative parts of my story around with me for a lifetime.  I see now that I was ready to finally question and work through the self-limiting beliefs and the story that I had held about myself for so long.

My human mind has worked hard to come to terms with the way things happened, and I am still working to forgive, so that I can be free.  I see myself as a willing participant in a marriage that I chose for myself.  That being said, I learned some lessons the hard way.  I questioned everything I did, said, and felt, and I allowed myself to completely lose my sense of self.  And the situation, with us living so far from any family members, was very isolating.

I have forgiven lots of people in my life, and have also been forgiven lots of times.  And I know the relief that comes with forgiveness.  The act of letting go of what happened moves you beyond suffering, so that you can go on and live your life.  I am very aware of the feeling of stuck energy in my body when I’m holding onto the feelings of resentment.  I know that to end my mental suffering, I must FULLY forgive people.  So what is the process of releasing that?  How do I move past the abstract thought of forgiveness and actually forgive?  A big part of it for me is remembering that we are all humans doing our best in the life that we have been given.  I do not claim that I was a perfect spouse.  I had baggage with triggers that were getting activated regularly, and I was not mindful of them during that time.  I realize now that a lot of the time, we all walk around with our baggage getting triggered, and we think that it’s all happening because of one person, or one situation, when in fact, we are likely dealing with feelings, emotions, and beliefs that we picked up during childhood, or even from our ancestors.  A marriage is bringing two people with all of that baggage together, and if neither person is even aware of their baggage, it can be a disaster.  When I look at my ex as a whole, I can see the story of his life and all that he has been through, and I can see how he came to be, and I feel compassion towards him.  I know that we were both doing our best in the marriage even if our best was less than either of us believed we needed at the time.  I also recognize that if it wasn’t for him, I would not have my amazing son.  I highly recommend doing this practice in your own life.  That’s a big part of the work I’ve done to get me to a place of true self-love.  I look at the whole picture of myself, from my birth to the present, and I am reminded of all that I have experienced in this life, and how far I’ve come.  Think of a person that you’re having a difficult time forgiving (even yourself), and do a quick overview of their (your) life in your mind’s eye.  (this requires that you know the person pretty well, otherwise you can just trust that everyone you meet has been through a lot to get them to the person that they are now).  Can you see how the pieces might fit together?  Can you view them with compassion as a fellow human being doing their best in this life?  Can you step back and stop taking things personally, so that you can see that no one’s actions or words have anything to do with you, but everything to do with them?  I know sometimes the things we have to forgive are absolutely horrific, so in that case, can you forgive solely out of kindness to yourself, for your own healing?  To free yourself?

We all have similar baggage and triggers, but we can react to those triggers in very different ways, which is why relationships can be so complicated.  It takes a certain level of mindfulness to navigate through the triggers and subsequent reactions that come out during a relationship.  It also takes mutual forgiveness to get through those times, and come back together.  I am extremely grateful that I have experienced first-hand how drastically mindfulness can positively impact a relationship.  When two people can be triggered and react, yet come back together and talk about what happened, and are able to see that their individual reactions had nothing to do with the other person, it is a beautiful, beautiful thing.  And it allows for self-awareness, individual growth, and compassion to blossom in such an amazing way within the relationship.

As I was out walking today, I actually asked my guides out loud for help and support so that I can finally forgive.  I told them that I was having a really hard time with it, but that I am ready.  So as I switched gears and headed to another spot, I was just enjoying my surroundings and the weather, not really thinking of anything in particular when I came upon this little sign that someone hung on the bridge that read “Forgive others.”  And I just started laughing.  There really are NO coincidences in life!  I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried!  As my friend, Erin, likes to say, nicely done, Universe!  Nicely done!

 

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While my health problems did have physical causes, I believe that the disease I experienced stemmed from the fact that I had stopped listening to my intuition. Eventually, when you live in a state of mental and emotional stress for so long, the toxicity will manifest in your physical body.  If you don’t listen to your intuition, your gut, your heart, and take care of yourself first and remove yourself from negative situations, the Universe will step in and make you physically ill to get you out of them. That’s how the Universe works:  we get small warnings, then bigger warnings, and then it eventually knocks us on our asses!  So, it is important that we learn to pay attention to the small warnings, or better yet, learn to follow our intuition more closely and trust it.  When we follow our intuition and live in the flow, we will find that we no longer need to experience the big tests, like a complete loss of our health, and that our lives become easier and more fluid.

I had to almost die, so that I would finally start giving myself the love, attention, and care that I always deserved from myself.  But you don’t have to wait until you get to that point.  We have all heard that chronic stress is bad for our health.  Well, after getting sick, I would physically feel the effects of stress on my body.  I noticed that stress caused flares of the pericarditis.  So, naturally, I started limiting the stress in my life.  I began to stop sweating the small stuff, because none of it was worth my health.  Knowing that my body couldn’t handle the stress of my marriage AND the stress of being a new nurse, I finally worked up the courage to get myself out of the marriage.  Once I started following my intuition again, I immediately became healthier without changing any other part of my health regimen.  And over time, with regular use, my intuition has only gotten stronger and stronger.

We must all work to forgive the people in our lives who have hurt us, because we are the ones who suffer, not them.  We must recognize that holding onto negativity or resentment creates stress in our own bodies which will eventually bring about pain and disease.  And we must forgive regardless of if we ever get an apology or not, because it’s really about us and our own healing at this point, not them.  Remembering that I have made mistakes and have hurt people in this life helps me respond to others from a place of empathy and compassion when they hurt me.  Regardless of what we think about some people in our lives, they, like us,  are on this Earth for a reason, and they are in our lives for a reason.  And they are experiencing their own set of struggles in this life.  Again, the message comes back to self-love.  Love yourself enough so that you are able to move on and forgive others.  More self-love = more love for others = what the world needs right now.

Sending you all so much love!

Michael Franti “Let It Go”

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We Are Never Alone

I’ve had enough experiences in my life to show me that we are never alone.  I’m not just talking about our friends and family members who are there for us when we need them, but I am also talking about our spirit guides.  And it isn’t that I knew that or felt that my whole life as things were happening, but as I experience instances in my current life where I am obviously being guided and supported, I can look back to past events and see that I was also being guided and supported back then.  A few examples come to mind right away.

One of them is from the Fall of 2006 when I flew to North Carolina to visit some dear friends in my beloved college city of Asheville.  I flew into Charlotte and my friend Michele picked me up.  We then drove the 2 hours back to her house.  I was exhausted, so I ended up taking a nap in the spare bedroom where I was going to be staying.  Before I went to sleep, I only briefly saw the layout of their house as I was walking through it.  My friends had two young boys who were ages 4 and almost 2 at the time of my visit. At one point, I woke up needing to use the bathroom.  I sort of half asleep walked out looking for the door to the bathroom in the hallway.  I came upon a door that had a little hook latch lock up high locking it from the outside.  I unlatched it thinking that maybe they locked it to keep the kids from going in the bathroom unsupervised. (I did not have my son at this time, so I was pretty clueless about this type of thing).  I unlocked the door, opened it, and sleepily took a step.  As I watched my surroundings fly by me as I fell, I was very confused.  I hit the concrete floor with my bare feet before landing on my side.  As I laid on the floor, I laughed to myself, because I was like “Holy shit!  What just happened??” The door that I had blindly stepped through led to my friends’ basement.  I had fallen 8 feet to concrete. Before my visit, Mike had removed the basement stairs (he was going to replace them), and up until recently had been storing all of his saws and tools in the spot where I landed.  My feet hurt, but it wasn’t an excruciating pain.  But I was a little nervous that maybe I could be more hurt than I felt, so I was hesitant to get up.  I yelled for my friend, Michele.  I remember the look on her face as she peered down into the basement at me lying on the ground.  She called her husband, Mike, at the fire station where he was on duty, because it just felt like we needed advice.  I ended up sort of crawling out of the basement through a door to the outside and up the steps to their back deck.  It was my first day of 7 or 10 days that I was going to be there visiting.  I had health insurance at the time through my job in Oregon, but I really didn’t know how that transferred to getting care in North Carolina, so I didn’t go to the ER or even a doctor while I was there.  Michele felt awful, so she called a good friend of hers and got me in for a massage where the woman focused on my feet and wrapped them in warm compresses.  I felt like I had a guardian angel watching out for me that day. Actually, I remember feeling like my good friend, Matty, who had died in 2001 was watching out for me.  I went on to have an amazing vacation.  The tendons and muscles in my feet would be really cramped up when I woke up in the mornings and it would hurt to walk, but as I walked more, they would loosen up.  I didn’t let my fall hinder any of my activities that week.  I ran around the house with Mike and Michele’s boys, even pulling them around in a carry on suitcase at one point.  Michele and I went and saw a band one night where we proceeded to dance for HOURS non-stop!  I went to my alma mater, Warren Wilson College, and enjoyed a party with dinner and live music with more dancing to celebrate our 5 year college reunion. When I went back to Oregon, I was having pain in the heels of both of my feet, and because my job involved a lot of hiking, I sought the care of a holistic chiropractor. The bones in my heels were bruised, and luckily, she was able to use ultrasound therapy to decrease my healing time.  Later on, I went to a podiatrist who told me that had I broken any one of the tiny bones in my feet during my fall, I could have easily been crippled for life, unable to walk.  I was obviously meant to get through that time unscathed.  I finished up that field season with no problem.  I am seeing that this experience with this holistic chiropractor opened my eyes to a completely different type of health care than I had ever known before, which made me more open to alternative therapies when I needed them later on along my journey.

Of course, if you’ve read my post titled, “Lost: Part 1 of my Health Journey”, you know that in 2009, I landed in the hospital with some serious heart complications from a mysterious illness.  If you pick the story apart a bit more, you see that the timing of when I passed out at home was divine in nature, as if it had happened on any other day during the week, my now ex-husband would not have been home to witness me passing out, and would not have been there to call 911.  I was obviously meant to live through that day.  The Physician’s Assistant from that story was placed on my path then, and again later as I started seeing her for homeopathy.  And homeopathy changed my life!  The Universe we live in is really amazing and connects people up with us so well.  Have you noticed that in your own life?

In my healing journey, I have witnessed the right people showing up in my life at the right time with just the treatment that I needed in that moment.  And that continues to happen to this day.  I find that the more aligned with my soul and trusting of the Universe that I become, the more guided and supported I notice that I am.  How have you come to find your own healers?  Can you see that the ones that have helped you the most were divinely placed on your path?

Yesterday, as I was going about my day, a few things lined up in a really cool way.  I went to have labs drawn after not having them done for a very long time.  I got there and the phlebotomist who was working is one that I have known since my early days of losing my health.  One of my labs always throws them off, because it’s not a common one ordered for most people.  So she had to get on the phone with her supervisor about how to process it.  When she got off the phone, I said something about how much I love my primary, a Nurse Practitioner, because she figured out what many specialists could not. I asked her how she had been, and she started telling me that she had been having a lot of mysterious symptoms and that she was frustrated with her doctors and the current plan of care.  I urged her to make an appointment with my NP to at least get her opinion, because my NP is one that will do a lot of research to get to the bottom of her patients’ illnesses.  I think she thrives on uncovering mystery illnesses.  Well, this conversation made me late to meet up with a new friend.  I was feeling bad about it when I finally walked into the coffee shop to meet her, so I told her a little about my conversation and the fact that I felt like I was supposed to have connected the woman with my NP.  Then, this new friend goes on to tell me that someone in her family has been having a lot of health problems that no one can figure out, so again, I recommended my NP!  Now, had I not been getting labs prior to this meeting and not had the conversation that I had with the phlebotomist, I would have been on time for this meeting with a new friend, but a conversation about my NP likely would have never even come up.  At this point, I can’t know for sure that my conversations yesterday will help anyone, but with all that I have witnessed in my life, I trust that they will.  Do you notice synchronicities like this in your own life?  I could write a whole blog post on the magic of synchronicity!  Synchronicity is defined as the simultaneous occurrence of events that appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection.

My last example is what prompted me to write this post.  This summer, as I was hiking solo off-trail heading back to camp, I veered off in a different direction than I had taken on my way up.  Before I had left the top of the rocky table I had hiked up to, I took in the peaks around and the lake below, so that I knew the general direction to head.  I expected the terrain to look familiar to me on the hike back down. But as I hiked down, I had a hard time finding the same ravine that I had climbed up during my ascent.  So, I just kept walking in the generally right direction.  I did start to get a bit worried at one point, and I asked my spirit guides out loud for guidance.  I acknowledged their presence and the fact that I knew that this wasn’t where my story ended, and I asked them to help get me back to camp.  I told them to get me to something familiar, so that I could get myself to the lake that was the start of the off-trail part of the hike.  Eventually, I made it to a lake, but it did not look familiar to me.  I took a picture of a cool tree in the water with my phone.  I scanned the edge of the lake for the rock formations that I knew the lake I needed to get to had.  I decided that I would skirt around the edge of the lake in the direction I thought I should be heading, but the granite rocks prevented me from staying right at water’s edge for long.  So I kept going, trusting that I would be led to where I needed to be.  It was a hot day with temperatures in the 80’s, and a lot of the hiking was exposed, so I was getting pretty heated up from the sun. After hiking for about 20 minutes, I ended up on the edge of a lake.  In fact, I checked the pictures on my phone, and found that I was indeed at the same spot I had been nearly 30 minutes prior. And I cannot tell you how I even did that!  Nothing until that moment looked the same to me as I hiked.  So it felt a bit “Blair Witch Project” to me, and it made me panic a little. But it also made me get more serious about finding my way out of there.  I knew the direction I had come from the first time I had landed at that spot, so I looked up and got a good sense of where the sun was and that I needed to keep it behind me as I hiked.  I also made note of the rock formation in the distance that gave me an idea of where I was in the scheme of things.  And I asked my guides for help.  I started hiking again.  And this time, I was headed in the right direction.  On my way in, I had noticed a line of rocks on the curve of the trail in one spot where had they not been there, hikers could get confused and veer off the trail.  I remember thinking, “that’s nice that someone did that”. So as I had asked, on my way out, my guides spit me out onto the trail in the only place that I had specifically noticed on my hike in.  And because I remembered that spot with the rocks so well, I knew the direction that I had been walking on it on my way in, and so I knew what direction I needed to go on my way out. And just like that, my guides helped me.  That experience reinforced the fact that we all have guides with us all of the time who are there to help us along our journeys.  But they can only offer their help when we ask for it.

Some people may think that these things are merely lucky coincidences or acts of a god. I personally do not believe in luck or coincidences.   I see that everything in my life has worked out exactly as it was supposed to, and that there have been reasons for absolutely everything I have done, said, written, and been through.  Really, I don’t think that it matters how you explain it, so long as you acknowledge the presence of a power greater than yourself, your own soul/higher power, and ask for help when you need it.  I believe that this is why prayer really does work.  Prayers and asking guides for help is really one in the same.  We all have our own beliefs for various reasons, and that’s OK. It only matters that we understand and connect with the fact that we are always being taken care of by the Universe/God/a higher power to learn and grow in the ways that our souls set out to in this life.

We should all examine our beliefs to see if they create peace or suffering in our lives.  In my life, when I identified with being a victim of life circumstance and felt surely that I was being punished or that I had bad luck, I suffered greatly.  Putting it simply, I got tired of suffering, so I started being open to other ways of viewing things.  I sought new beliefs that offered me more inner peace and happiness along my journey.  Inner peace and happiness are choices, they’re not something that will come when you get that other job, meet that perfect someone, or acquire your ideal amount of material objects.  Inner peace is learning to accept the present moment of your life completely while trusting that that moment is all part of a much bigger plan for your life than you can even imagine.  Life is much too short and beautiful to suffer through it. Nothing in life is happening TO us, it’s all happening FOR us!

Matisyahu “Bal Shem Tov” Live

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