It's been a minute.
I've been doing lots of reflecting, writing, regrouping, lately. As I reflect over the past year, what I've done and seen, what I've learned, where I've traveled, what I've come to see and understand about myself, and about my perceptions of others... I am just blown away, at the process. At who I am now, when I look back at who I was then. I've made another lap around the circle. The absolute truths I knew then, versus the illuminated and ever-changing perspectives that I have now. Oh, these blessed spirals.
And I'm writing through all of it:
Wild Horses and Mistakes: The Year I Followed My Bliss, Accomplished Absolutely Nothing, and How it Changed My Life Forever
(Subtitle is a bit long...it's in progress, but that's the feel of things.)
Meaning, I didn't "do" anything but choose myself, my priorities, my health, my joy, my creativity. I didn't have a list to tackle or a pile of to-dos and must-haves. I followed my heart, my intuition. My wild horses. And that's a concept, in and of itself. It's never just about the horses, is it?
Anyway, I know you'll enjoy getting under the hood, peeling back my chest-plate and seeing my heart and my reassembled guts in this new sacrifice to the Gods of Creativity and Musing. I can't wait to share it and set it free, but I am deep into revisiting, mindfully, each place, chapter, and section.
The Soul writes; the ego edits.
The past year has had me up in the clouds, soaring with birds of prey as they watched the wilds below. Galloping across rugged terrain, not knowing where I was going, stopping at water holes, weathering storms and fire, and just knowing that I'd get there. Somehow. It's had me waking in new places to new faces, smelling and sensing and feeling new things, absorbing new vibrations, and healing on levels so deep that I didn't think I'd ever reach them. It's had me shatter illusions and chase new ones, only to see them disintegrate in my fingers and drip slowly out of my hands, back into the seamless expanse of energetic alchemy that surrounds us. Constantly. And it does. We are, at all turns, exactly where we need to be.
Hold out your hand, take one step, and begin. It really is that simple.
We are sublime players and doers and crafters and actors and creators...who can, at our best, move effortlessly through what may feel like a heavy minefield of pain, disappointment, shattered hopes, dramatic fears, deep loss... and we can get through, easily, with all that we need... when at our best, most true versions of who we are, as living, breathing, dynamic, sensing, beings.
The past year in question began last fall with a trip out to the east end of Long Island, the furthest trip I'd taken solely and purposefully on my own... it was an hour or so away. I stayed in a bed and breakfast and unearthed a sacred chest full of memories, pain, stories, and experienced powerful growth. And that trip began a quest, a Campbell-esque journey of my own. Because I saw that not just solitude, but the allure of the new and strange and unknown, brought the most amazing spiritual insight. In the way of facing our own demons, our most disturbing beliefs about ourselves and each other. Because it's all thought, really. Perception and response.
And I can't possibly sum up in one blog post all the truths I've witnessed, the stories I've rewritten, the deep healing, the pain. The numbing, seething, darkest pain that I never thought I'd see eye to eye again. And meeting it, head on... and surviving through it. And the freedom in that. Finding the most special souls who understood what I was experiencing, as I experienced it. Possibly keeping me in one piece and lending me their strength. Flashlights. Candles and Light and Love and symbolism and reminders and guidance and whispers and hope... and faith. Always faith. Just... keep... going. And the passing of Life before my eyes as we got rear-ended and sent back to the starting gates, at the peak of Bliss and perfection and understanding. Always, the pendulum swings. And the gratitude for those setbacks, for those life-changing illuminating moments: that remind us in such a powerful, unmistakable way... what is truly important.
Self, family, friends, community. And living through to heal. When we take that often painful, scary and tumultuous journey within, to know ourselves, deeply... we begin to heal. In healing ourselves, we heal others. But also, we heal the karmic past, the residue, the eons of pain that lingered heavy in our bones. Women who came well before me and were stricken down and cut out for their wisdom. And the gift that these times bring, in carrying that wisdom forward. In never letting that Light die.
I could write for days about it, and I do, in this new project. I write about a lot of things, though, because really... it's about a divine and very human balance. It's about seeing energetically and intuiting and listening, but it's about using that insight to sculpt the present moment, here and now. It's about meditation and self-love, and also about using your voice and knowing when to let your tiger teeth show, just a little. it's about loving and doting and giggling and cherishing our babies and kids... and knowing that we can also plan and strategize, make the right decisions, and plant our feet firmly in soil, getting it all done, while we dance in the clouds, looking down upon it all in gratitude. It's about a healthy, grounded, free-flying balance of all things. It's about equilibrium, and what it takes to find the right balance, for each of us. Because it's different. That's the key. One doesn't suit all. That's why we do this work. It's why I do. To find what works for me, and to utilize it here, now, in my Life, in my world, for myself and for those that I love. it's about authenticity. Truth.
Wild. It's not about being reckless and obnoxious and surly and crude and promiscuous. Although it can be, without apology, but not always. For me wildness is about nature. That includes human nature. Just as a wild mare runs through a barren landscape, she knows to stop for water when she sees it. She knows to rest. She knows to protect and teach her little ones. She knows when to run and when to fight. Intrinsically, it's in her nature. It's in her wildness.
So, finding our wildness I think, is more about finding...ourselves. And listening.
In that quest, I've made a discovery. Any of you who follow me on social media have seen my fluctuating posts about health, fitness, different diets, and so on. Trying to get back to that more slender, more youthful, more exuberant "me," from my my youth. That in itself has been a journey. I had a lot of success with the Paleo diet, in losing weight and warding off sugar cravings. it was great for that. But in the process, I developed a lot of joint pain: bursitis pain in my hips, low back pain, well, I've fought that since my c-section. Knee flare-ups. And the crash over the summer, well, it set me back something fierce. All the progress that I'd made went out the window. I was grateful that we survived, that my son was okay... first and foremost. But the glimmer of that wore off and my pain got worse. Much worse. As the summer wore on, I felt crippled. Frustrated. Defeated and bit depressed. I felt, in body, like I was twice my age. I was wearing belts, taking salt baths, sleeping with special pillows.
i turned inward.
And I did get back up and back to the gym, for physical therapy, as I healed through it. But I still felt like a chronic patient, always hurting, wearing a cloak of perpetual sadness and feigning hope and joy. It was exhausting. I was depleted and felt guilty for not being able to be...me. The cheerful, light-shining, optimistic joie de vivre type of me that I can be. But I got through it. As people do.
So, here's what happened: it all caught up with me, as things do when we ignore them. I was knocked on my ass with a bug, a virus of some sort. My whole body shut down. All I could do was lay in bed. Everything hurt. I was completely out of control. And a friend recommended I... do an enema. Gross... thanks for nothing, I thought. Or... a juice fast. Hm...
I had tried the raw diet, the juicing, the vegan lifestyle, and it never, never worked. And I now know why: fat. Ten or so years ago, when I first tried to go vegan, I went low-fat vegan. And I never did processed food. So... that didn't leave me a lot to eat and I eventually went mad and started eating people on the train. No, I made that up. But I did invade a local restaurant and wolf down an entire rack of ribs, in a very not-demure fashion. I was completely deprived and starving. After that, I swore it off and kept eating the way I wanted to. I started eating seasonally: heavier in winter, lighter in summer. I tried to listen to my body, and it worked for a while. I found the Paleo diet and it promised all the solutions to my problems! Yay! Well, I don't know anymore.
I had a re-deux, with the juicing, about two weeks ago. To get my ass out of bed and healing, I lived on fresh-made vegetable and fruit juices and my old-reliable bone broth from my Paleo book, for a few days. No solid food, although I added some probiotics and supplements, too. And within days, I was up and at 'em and nearly pain-free. As of now, I haven't eaten meat in about two weeks and I've never felt better. Joint pains that have plagued me all year, are nearly gone. I can't explain what that means. To be in "chronic pain," and accept it as such, and for it to leave. It's...awe. A miracle. I'm a believer. Spiritually, I let Gaia heal me. Real-world speak: plant-based is no joke. It works. Get the sludge out, and your body will heal. Period. We are amazing, miraculous, self-healing machines.
So, for now, amid all the other changes in my life... I am living 80/20 plant-based. I indulge in some good cheeses and free-range eggs here and there. And my collagen-filled bone broth. And my raw wildflower honey with capping. So, Moby would still hate me. But... I don't. I love me. And I'm happy to say that I'm taking better care of myself than I ever have, which frees me to do so much more good in this world. And we need it. I'm just so grateful to be here, I don't what else to say. I'm just so fucking grateful, not to hurt. I'm like Oscar-speech-emotional as I write this, which sounds hokey, but for me... it's that big of a deal. I don't know if this is my forever lifestyle and way of eating. I don't make those promises anymore, because... Life. But I promise that I will listen to what my body asks for, and come through for myself. Because to let go of this... would be stupid.
So. Good things coming. Wild Horses is writing itself, and I'll not rush it. But it's coming, more every day. Writing it, living it, has changed me. It's brought me back to my natural, wise-woman-wildness in all the most beautiful ways.
And for all my readers still feeling the dark... keep walking. Please. It doesn't last, you'll get stronger, the Sun will come. The Light is everywhere, once you let the darkness fade. Let the pain through and then out of you. You can. I promise. You're okay. I see you. And woman to woman, or human to human, I love you. We're all in this together. xoxo
The passage in Ana J. Awakens about the Native American prophecy has been coming up. I'd love to say, here...go buy the book and read. And I'd love for you to read my book, truly. But, that's just not me to push it onto people. It was never about that for me. Whomever is meant to find and be transformed by my words...will be. So, find the passage here...get from it what you will. Kahente Genesee was a young, light-skinned woman, who was taken in by Northern tribe in the 1600s. She, and this following passage, were inspired by many readings from Black Elk and other indigenous leaders, the Hopi prophecy, and many hours of secluded meditation in nature with Native flute music. It was an enchanting experience, feeling and writing these parts of the book. I really enjoyed it, it was a blessing and quite an illumination. There was a lot more about Kahente that I'd written: lineage and so forth, her back story...but it didn't appear in the book.
And if you haven't heard...something epic is happening right now. Native tribes from all over, in unprecedented ways, are coming together at Cannonball River/Standing Rock, in South Dakota to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline. It gives me chills to see these brothers and sisters flock together, to fight for water. Water, indeed is life. But it's about so much more than the pipeline. Our indigenous people, across our sacred Earth, have time-honored respect, reverence, and love for our planet's natural resources. I, for one...am eternally grateful to them and am inspired by their protest. To see the old ways, these ideas of caring for our Earth, as our Mother...which I do believe that she is...as God is our Father...a sacred balance of masculine and feminine divine energies... to see attention brought to these people and communities is awe-inspiring and I believe signals great changes for us.
Groups all over the world are waking up, blinking open their eyes, and knowing...that something is off. Something isn't working. Something just isn't right...and that perhaps it is time for change. And more and more, change is upon us. Welcome to the Shift. Consciousness. Compassion. Humanistic values. Collaboration. Community. Gifted communication. Dreams and higher ideals. Visions of a better world for our children's children and growing exhaustion with the status quo.
Forgive me while I let it all go and muse, a moment... If you don't get me, it's cool. Stop scrolling and go back to what you were doing. A year ago, I wouldn't get me , either. But those who do find resonance here...this is for you...or for us.
We are waking up in different ways, with different focal points: environment, spirit, exposing corruption in multiple areas, financial chaos, a government that doesn't care about us, fighting for clean food and water, vocal opposition on the front lines. It goes on and on. Some of us lean toward the physical...peak performance, stealthy bodies that are ready for anything. Survival in any condition, without excuses. These people are warriors, they inspire us to achieve our greatest health and fitness, which is important. Motivational speakers and evolvers...help us to go within and find peace, balance, and hone our mental health, developing a fierce mindset and focus. And spiritual leaders guide us back toward our souls, our spirit center, and the Great spirit or universal energy that connects us all. And women...with children or not...you are our Mothers. Extensions of the feminine divine, pumped full of compassion, nurturing, charged with inspiration, creativity, a heart bursting with love for anything small, fragile and delicate, a protective passion for nature, in all its forms. A desire to mend, heal, protect, comfort, and support. This is your true nature, and it is not weakness, by any means. It is essential, it is needed, and it is sacred. Let yourself shine, be a beacon of kindness and nurturing for your fellow human beings, in an auspicious time in our history. Whatever your line of work, rich or poor, young or old. Allow your heart to release its armor and let the Love out. Our Earth needs it. Humanity needs it. Striving for our best selves includes balance: mind, body, soul.
We are...waking up. In profusion now. Those who've learned and grown and found deeper connections can help others through as they go through confusion, mental strain, anxiety, the storms that we all talk about...wondering what the shift is going on. Help each other. Lift each other up. I would be lost without my group of evolving friends, near and far, as we fought through the chaos together, seeing the world change...or witnessing ourselves change, on deep levels. And coming through it...to see peace, connection, calmness, and purpose. Oneness. A synergy, an unconditional Love beyond what we used to believe in, was born and it spread out. As it is for so many of us. And please, if you are experiencing anything like I've mentioned and feel lost, confused, anxious, like your world is crumbling and your ideas and beliefs are being challenged...you aren't alone. Allow your process, find support, and stay strong through it. You are loved and are so much more important than you know...if you are going through this transformation. It truly is a gift. But it's harder before it's easier. You're not crazy, you're not losing your mind. If you are, than many, many, many of us are. If you feel genuinely depressed or can't get out of bed or function...get some help, reach out and talk to someone that you trust.
I believe that we are finally seeing our social structures and systems for what they are...and we are seeing through them. As if they were bars of iron. And losing these safety nets, of who we are...our very identity as members of societies with certain established norms and understandings and expectations...is terrifying. "The old world must crumble, so the new world can begin."
Many ideologies and philosophies...even prophecies...point to what may be going on for us, and I will let you find what you find, on your own. But always remember to come back to your breath. Your body. The present moment. Find and listen to your inner voice, nurture that connection. Hear yourself. And find some faith...in something. God, the universe, yourself, a friend who can mirror you and keep you steady. The Flying Spaghetti Monster. Something. An anchor of some sort.
That said...here is Kahente's vision, reprinted from Ana J. Awakens ©2016, Stacie Hammond. If you share this passage, please credit my work.
These are my words. 1675. Kahente Genesee
I see a time when Earth will take a deep, cleansing breath; her children will slowly begin to wake, filled up with love and hope. I see [that] new generations of my children’s children will shed the false world to be imposed upon them. They will know and feel that there is more. They will love, trust, and bring back the dying old ways, in the constructs of the new. This wave of awakening will spread across the Earth; some would remain asleep, but little by little most would awaken. These children will breathe in the new life and air of their Earth mother. I see that spirit, wonder, reverence, and peace will be restored. And that the Earth, stripped bare and weary, will heal, as will its people. New generations will return to the land, with respect for it, they will honor it, practice gratitude and patience in growing their crops, and in their hunt. They will respect all living things, including each other. They will honor the sun and moon and all the natural beauty of life. They will honor the wind, and the water of Life. They will honor the early ones, before them.
My words have been hidden for many years, I’ve never shared my visions. I know the time isn’t right. I know all of the people that took me in have a slightly different set of beliefs, however well meaning they are. But my vision will stand, I have seen this as well.
When the time is right for Earth’s children to awaken, my words will be found, and a series of signs will begin to pass.
A few chosen people will be awakened and inspired with Light, and they will know not why they must, but will spread love and peace effortlessly throughout the Earth, regardless of adversity, with the speed of lightning piercing the sky. Their mission will be only to love and to spread love. This love, this remembering, will be the first wave, that begins the awakening.
A Tribe will come together to aid many children, who against all odds, despite fear and hatred of others, will go into the world spreading peace, restoring natural and sacred spaces; this act of kindness will echo throughout the Earth, warming the hearts of many, leading to the second wave.
Wise ones will emerge, hidden but conditioned for years with a mission to heal the Earth, but finally having the proper channels of spreading their messages. They will continue to love but will educate others. Teachers and leaders and storytellers and healers will grow from the Earth like blessed flowers, blossoming outward with divine guidance, to lead the rest. By now, many, many children have been awakened, and they march on knowing their mission. These awakened, chosen children will always flock to each other, like the crows on the plain. They will see it in the eyes of one another, they will feel it instinctively, as the bee recognizes the flower. But they will not fight nor battle; they nurture, support, and love. They know that love, the ultimate power, is their weapon. They know it is a force of formidable power; the mightiest arrow against oppression. They work together for the greater good. This wave may last for many years. This is the third wave of awakening.
A great and terrible challenge will come, as the Earth’s people still battle one another, and many still sleep. Humanity will face a point of no return. To heal and change, or to stay sleeping and perish. The challenge of the many awakened people will be to overcome the selfish deeds, the violence, the consumption, the fears, and to maintain peace, love, reverence, respect, renewal of the Earth, forgiveness, and above all...connection to Spirit. Hate will bring more hate; the awakened must remain vigilant in their mission. They must stand firm in their resolve, allow the veil to be lifted, to show the truth. They must see their oppressor, and this will be painful. For the oppressor, is among them. Humans have created a dangerous oppressor, the violator of the sacred, and must work in peace to reverse the damage done. The people, the children of Earth, must come together and remember who they are. Remember the old ways, utilizing the new.
The Earth, their mother, will provide sustenance in harsh climates. She will cleanse herself and nourish herself, and all the creatures, big and small, that she cares for. The awakened will overcome, steadfastly. The Earth, the stars, the sun and moon, the early ones, and the elements, all work to bring about the desires of humanity. The hardships arise when humans desire terrible things, that are born of fear, regret, greed, doubts and shame. The waves of awakening will slowly cleanse these ugly feelings. With each deep breath from Mother Earth, more ugliness will be purged out to the surface, like bad spirits that corrupt us being chased away. More of the wicked and lost will awaken to the Source of love that surrounds them. They will let go their frightened ways and learn to trust their Mother, Spirit, and ancestors again. Many, many souls will walk in faith, harmony, love, and peace, with a collective vision of the healed Earth. A spiritual Earth. This will be the fourth wave.
When the spirits and grandfathers and grandmothers have been satisfied and see that humanity has awakened to rejoice in their gifts, to return to the ways of the first people, the Earth and its people will truly begin a major healing, and the path back to the sacred will become clear. This paradise on Earth will require changes. Great changes, for great changes were harshly imposed and allowed that took the spirit and beauty and majesty away. I do not foresee destruction of our Earth, as many do. I do not foresee only one kind or tribe of people to be herded together and saved. I see awakened souls from all corners of the Earth, coming together in unity, in harmony, to reset the balance of all things. When this balance and natural order is restored, a beautiful and sacred Earth can be found and celebrated once again.
If these changes do not occur, and the ways of old are lost, given to more and more heedless death, destruction, disrespect for the Earth and all of her creatures and resources, I foresee a great cleansing of the Earth, which may appear as destruction, but it will be simply a deconstruction, of a false world that was built upon the back of what is eternal.
But, if all the awakened can work together, using the tools and speed and wisdom of future generations, honoring their Creator, they can create their own paradise, once again. It all depends upon their desires and actions, and respect and love for their Earth mother and each other.
When the time is right, when enough have awakened, these words will come out and be seen and heard. Light will be shared once again. The awakening and path to healing will begin.
Blessings and Light…
(before her time; from the beautiful valley)
Stop the Black Snake. It's time for renewable energy. It's time for a shift.
It's been a while. Between spurts of outlining and drafting my next book, I've been spending so much of my free time in the garden, lately. In the pics (clockwise): a new pink Hydrangea to compliment the blues. And I've already forgotten the name of the top right... gladiola? Then, a young Japanese Maple. And an old remnant of fallen wood from many years ago. I used to sit on this warped log as a young girl and set out piles of flowers and treats for the fairies. Yes...it started young. So, I'm just delighted to have freed it again. Perhaps, my son will enjoy sitting on it now, dreaming his own dreams. You know, I often get funny looks when I blither on about the garden... (is there NOTHING you'd rather be doing?) Well, there are actually oodles of folks who love gardening, for different reasons, but I'll tell you why it's so good for me, because I like to share.
Here's what I know: I am someone who loves beauty. That's what it is; when we boil it down. As much as I can feel into the world and the trauma and pain that exists, I also see and experience beauty in the world, and now I am enhancing that. I am creating a beautiful life. I like beautiful food. Beautiful music. Beautiful scents. Beautiful souls. Beautiful eyes. Beautiful smiles. Beautiful landscapes. Beautiful moments. Beautiful joy and passion for life.
"Planting a garden is to believe in tomorrow..." - Audrey Hepburn
And I suppose, much like writing, or any art...I'd like to harness the beautiful ideas from my head, my dreams, my heart...and create them, physically. It's simple. And it brings me peace. Sanctuary. When we are spiritual seekers, dreamers, believers, doers, creators...we can often get lost in the ether. In the awe and magnificence of things. The magic and wonder. The connection. Or, it can be the reverse. We can get lost in the dark, as well, and in the momentum, the wants, the greed, the desires. Getting grounded is vital. Working with the earth, respecting each creature that comes to visit...the birds, the insects, a rabbit here and there...it connects me to my soul, to everything, in a way that I can't describe. It brings me home. It quiets my mind. It's...healing, for me. Getting dirty up to my knuckles, feeling worms wriggle between my fingers, witnessing the color and beauty of each new flower, shrub, stone...it reminds me of who I am and where I came from. It fills me with gratitude. The cool earth balances me, much like the water does. Also, I've always been a self-proclaimed "black thumb." But, I've been rediscovering myself lately.
I thought I hated seafood. For my entire life. And now, oysters are one of my favorite things to eat. Who woulda thunk it? So, I figured...let me try the gardening thing. And guess what...I love that, too.
In my reading about different cultures, religions, traditions; I came across shadow energy. What this means is... there may be things that we fear or have a strong dislike for. So we avoid them and dismiss them entirely, without understanding them. Extrapolate that...to anything. Experiences, situations, people, animals, insects, anything that we see as a dislike or aversion. This is the shadow energy, and it presents us with great opportunities...it challenges us, confronts us, repels us or ignites us in some mysterious way. So, I've found that if I have a predisposition toward something, instead of a natural curiosity, as it should be, it becomes a challenge to investigate whether I really feel that way...or whether it was something that I made up about myself, or about the situation...who knows when, based on who knows what? And so it was, with seafood and gardens, among other things.
"No man ever steps in the same river twice; for it's not the same river and he's not the same man." - Heraclitus (or woman...just saying.)
Seafood...was a fear of the unknown, mostly, but also it was a texture issue that I had as a child. I've grown past that, and realized...it doesn't all taste the same. Some I still don't like. Some I really do like. Gardening... was a patience thing. When I was younger, it seemed like a waste of time to spend hours moving dirt around, or I'd forget to water the plants, and so on. Now, I find indescribable peace in it. So, I would recommend to anyone to try things again, if you can't explain your dislike. Our tastes can change, or we could just be full of it, stuck in a story.
The other great thing about my new love for the garden and putting my hands into the earth...is the reminder, that she is our Mother. And working with her, knowing her rhythm, her responses, her preferences...is life-changing. How? Well, in honoring and showing reverence for Mother Earth, we are reminded about the feminine side of divine energy. And what came to me...out there in the soil...is how important that is. A mother nurtures, provides, loves, sustains, teaches, and heals us. And in return, she should be respected, cared for, tended to, valued, and appreciated. Do you see where I'm going with this? What does that say for how we treat our planet? Are we respecting our Mother, who has always sustained, fed, and nurtured us? And in the microcosm, are we respecting our women? Are we valuing, protecting, and caring for our women? And women...are we valuing and loving ourselves, setting healthy standards, are we celebrating our gifts, or hiding them? Are we respecting the feminine energy within all of us -- to nourish, nurture, emote, lift up, heal, inspire, and love each other?
"Let us dedicate this new era to mothers around the world, and also to the mother of all mothers -- Mother Earth. It is up to us to keep building bridges to bring the world closer together, and not destroy them to divide us further apart." - Suzy Kassem
This is why it always starts within. If we know who we are and value and cherish ourselves, as we are, and we are open, caring, generous, and nurturing with ourselves; we can then send that love out. To heal. Heal each other, lift each other up, empower each other, walk with each other...and maybe our dear old Mother Earth will get a spa day and some needed love.
The hard truth is...she will be fine. Our planet will do what it needs to do to heal, with or without us. But we need her: We must bring back the balance. Let's create a beautiful, nourished Earth. Where food is grown -- naturally, beautifully. Where each species, including humans, can co-exist in harmony. Where the power of God and Love is revered and honored, but religion doesn't divide and destroy us. Where the circle of life, the balance of all things, is respected, honored, and practiced. Not perfection, not utopia...but a healthy, sustainable balance. That's the best that any of us can ask for, and work toward. For ourselves, for our home. For tomorrow.
What a few days it's been...
I took a much needed detox from social media, among other things, and wow...what I've missed.
I was severely saddened to read about Prince leaving us. What a unique and expressive soul. But rather than write a soliloquy to Prince, as the Internet now drips with memes, videos, slogans, articles, and quotes that honor his life...I will just say that I'll enjoy his music, all memories from my youth, playing on the radio in memoriam.
Anyway. I have been OUTDOORS lately. It's been absolutely lovely in my neck of the woods! So, in my near-separation from social media, which did me a world of good, I have reconnected to my heart: nature. The green Adirondack chair in the photo below, is my favorite spot. I call it my Walden chair. I just sit there and let the birds sing their secrets. The wind fills me in. The treetops sway and lean, and come back to center. They're flexible. They bend, sure...but they bounce right back. And my birds...Cardinals, Blue Jays, the Robins building their nest in the old pine next to the garage. I had a little bunny hop by today. I name every wild "street bunny" I see, Nacho. I don't know why, it's a thing I do. So, Nacho the bunny sat back: his little nose twitching a thousand beats per minute, nibbling some crab-grass. He was watching me break up sod and turn some dirt over this afternoon. I didn't have my camera, then. I never have it ready when my animal friends show up...maybe...they just know. He only stayed a few minutes, anyway.
So, I finished up my project today. Four glorious, back-breaking hours under the sun, covered in dirt. And I've never felt more at peace and inspired. Warm sun, fresh breezes, the sound of the birds, my hands in the earth, relocating grubs, keeping the worms (earthworms aerate the soil, they're keepers.)
I now have a bed of freshly turned and nourished earth, ready for planting...to let Mother Nature do her thing and turn bulbs into flowers. It's a bit early, for this area, to do a full planting of crops or flowers (I still bought two potted plants, though. Stubborn I am)...we might still get a snap of cold air. But bulbs? They get tucked away, covered by the soil, and warmed by the natural fertilizer (I found an awesome non-GMO, all-natural, non-toxic mix to feed the soil with. Forgot the name, but they exist. No contaminants, and safe for creatures that might visit your garden. Including curious toddlers.) The bulbs are protected from the elements under there, and come summer, we'll have lush, colorful, vibrant dalias, lilies, gladiolas, and I can't even remember what else. But I am excited to bring the life and beauty of these blossoms and blooms into the backyard. Next month, veggies. :-)
I had used the rest of my basil-in-a-bag from the grocery store, and there was a root-bulb at the bottom. So...yes. I stuck that in the dirt. I hope it regrows more basil!
So friends, beyond soaking up the sun, breathing deep, trying out a new restaurant called Thyme (outstanding!), I don't have a whole lot of profound or exciting things to report to you. But here is the sum-up... I did learn a few things this week, continuing along my self-love month (I think really, this is just how I'll be now...even when April stops):
1. Train Trouble
A friend of mine gets her hair done with some sort of special treatment...and must go to Queens to get it done. She told me all about her recent experience... She took the train (LIRR, which was already running 7 minutes late) to change at Jamaica, and found out on the Jamaica platform that the connecting train would not be stopping at Woodside, due to an emergency on-board. But...my friend's hair appointment was in Woodside. NOW WHAT? She was already running late because of the first train.
She waited for the emergency to be sorted, pacing, checking in with train personnel...nervous, annoyed, frustrated, the works. She thought about just going back home, or calling a taxi, or finding a bus...but at the very last minute, as the doors to the departing train began to close, she heard the train worker yell to her, "they're stopping at Woodside, they cleared it up!" She ran in, quickly.
She arrived in Queens, and found the location of her hairdresser. However...as she approached the building that she'd been to so many times before...she found it was closed; boarded up. She shook her head; confused. Once again, she was ready to give up and walk away, back to the train...and just go home. But simply out of bewilderment, she turned around. She did a complete 360, and viewed the whole area. Her hairdresser...had moved directly across the street. She dashed in...and was first in line for her hair treatment. She was quite pleased.
What if we didn't worry? What if...it would still be there, whatever IT is? What if we just relaxed into the train ride and enjoyed the scenery, without watching the clock? Would we still get there? I think so. Did the frustration and pacing make the emergency on-board get resolved more quickly? I don't know. I doubt it.
The more I learn about life, people, motivations and communications...the less I know, in general. Truly.
What I do know...is that we can become addicted to these screens. The messages, the statuses, the videos, the interchange...at times it feels like a whole other world, another layer of existence interlaced with this one. It's immediate, it's thought-to-thought. Instant gratification. But...it's not. We are living in the matrix folks...take a few solid days away, with no contact, no status updates, no flashing screens and so on...and see what happens to your mind. To your headspace. To your own, personal freedom to think and clarify and understand yourself. The Internet, just like TV, and all the rest...can brainwash us, if we let it. The more you ingest, the less you think for yourself. Don't get me wrong, it's a great tool. My mother lives in another state and I love sharing photos with her, for example. I have friends spread out across the globe, and Facebook helps connect us. There are positives, to be sure. It's the culture of addiction that worries me. A world of folks who'd rather read and repeat than understand and make a choice. Go wild and think for yourself...it's thrilling, liberating, to live life answering your own questions.
And how vital and important it is for us to interact with each other, face to face. We are losing our social skills to machines, and I think it has huge implications for the younger generations. I'm not suggesting that everyone needs to go frolic outside, just because I love to. We are all different, and different things motivate and drive us. But we need to keep our social skills alive...whatever your interests are, even if you're spiritual. And I'm not one to judge...maybe for some...God, magic, connection, and beauty, are found in cyberspace. Maybe that's the most adventure they get, due to other limitations. For me, it's all found beyond. In the natural world and in the silence of the mind. This is where the divine flows through and inspires. For me.
I am very grateful for those parents, and I know that you're out there, who insist upon outdoor play, playdates with other children, throwing a ball, going to a museum, etc... At the risk of repeating myself, I say again...I think digital technology is important and a great tool for us. But not at the expense of our social skills, of knowing how to have conversations, of knowing how to make eye contact with people. Sharing a smile. Laughing. Crying. Uniting for a purpose.
I have a friend who once told me that he would rather stay in a room all day connecting with his social media friends, than engage the outside world. And, to each their own, to be sure. But I think we have a responsibility to the next generation to lead and model healthier behavior than that. To breathe in life, to gaze at the sky, to appreciate natural beauty. To support and visit our parks and fresh-air spaces. To know what a praying mantis looks like. If our kids don't care about the natural world...why would they be motivated to help us clean it up? Why would they want to help us heal Mother Earth, if they never witness her majesty?
So, it's fitting that my learning curve is centered on nature...for Earth Day.
It was delightful feeling the fresh earth in my fingers, the worms wriggling, the grass beneath my knees, the wind in my hair. I am grateful to have the opportunity and the perspective to enjoy such simple things. I feel blessed that I am someone who feels at home outdoors, not everyone does. So I'm grateful for that connection. Oftentimes, I don't even need to sit and meditate. Just being outdoors does this for me. It plugs me in, clears out the cobwebs from my mind, and helps me to regain clarity. Focus.
Thank you, Mother Earth. You're beautiful and exquisite, and like a great mother, you know just how to heal me. I'll take better care of you, from now on. I'll do my part. <3