Ride Away, Ride the Wave

intuition, Small Miracles, Soul heartedly

I woke up in a fog– a fog of overthinking something I have overthought for such a vast time period that for most would seem unnecessary. For me, it’s always dwelling on the intense original life purpose I have energetically paved for myself to the extremity of falling into a black hole after the of not taking action upon my own intuition in perfect timing last year. It’s had many pitfalls, and has become my best method of self-sabotage. For the past two years, I haven’t been able to discern whether I’ve been grieving my self-proclaimed life purpose, a person, or an idea of a person. Having conversed with Spirit in writing the night before, I asked for guidance into a more positive current situation that would bring about clarity. Perhaps rather something more along the flow of the current that would get me out of my head.

I had almost forgotten about that intention when I headed out to Natural Grocers in search of a yoga mat and some fruit. My yoga mat was a torn-out disaster, and I really needed to do some yoga. I had the fortune of running into a friend who told me she’d give me a new yoga mat for free… which, of course, was a divine opportunity I couldn’t easily pass up. When I got in line, I noticed that a friend I knew from yoga and repeatedly crossing paths –for the past nine or so months– was behind me. I told her about my recent dog-sitting gig, to which she responded,

“I could use you for dog sitting, because I’m going to Mexico to swim in some cénotes and maybe find some traditional healers to talk with,” she paused in optimistic contemplation, “Unless you want to come with me.”

So despite the wildly painful overthinking that has been my habit for so long, I booked the ticket to Cancún the next day with little hesitation. I tried to ignore the slight anxieties I held about losing possessions during flights to foreign countries, and just trust that it would be a good, smooth experience. As it would happen, we were both sending intentions of a smooth trip into our journey while conversing with angels, and so that’s exactly how it transpired.

I packed very few possessions with me; the bare minimum of clothes that would get me through the four days of our journey. I began to become aware of the pattern of following my breath, and really breathing. I’d recently come to the awareness that I hadn’t actually been doing this… and that this has been the main source of obstacles that I have experienced throughout life. Taking away months and years of true fulfillment. In order to regain this lost sense of self, I was going to need to actually start breathing from the depths of my heart and soul… and it isn’t easy, because this brings up various instances in which I must, time after time, come to terms with my Truth and how that truth is working out in this lifetime. I was coming to know that Life listened to me so long as I was nurturing my own Spirit with breath.

We sat in the airport eating fruit and drinking coffee at five a.m., having a spiritually fulfilling conversation. I was so grateful and amazed that of all people, having planned this less than a month in advance, I would be joining Sadie on the venture to Valladolid and Tulúm, Yucatan, Mexico. It’s only been a destined prophecy for me to return to this sacred, ancient land which feels so much like a second home to me since visiting a traditional Mayan village a few years ago on a college study abroad for six weeks.  In this study abroad course, I apprenticed with a Mayan herbalist and also gathered data from multiple other shamans on the Peninsula. My project at the time seemed so extensive that I knew eventually I’d have to come back to further my passion of studying and practicing plant medicine. Jungle plants are really the most intriguing of all medicines.

When I found my seat in the airplane, my seatmate was getting up to switch seats with another woman. The woman who sat down next to me in the center seat was relatively familiar looking, and we instantly connected. She was also a blogger and began telling me the themes of the entries on her blog… which were all coincidentally in alignment with my recent experiences and current process of life. The one she explained most in detail was the one on grief– not necessarily the death of a person, but rather the death of an idea of some significant life purpose one may have an attachment to, so now must find an alternative life purpose. Our next seatmate who entered was tall, gangly and handsome and he was also a blogger. We told our stories of synchronicity and unity, finding meaning beyond coincidence in human interactions. Our conversation was loud and bright, overcasting all other sleeping passengers on flight 71. When we were served plastic cups of water, I made a toast to synchronicity.

The familiar yet exotic aura of Valladolid was comforting and enticing as Sadie and I entered it in the rental car. Even the scent of this traditional Mayan city warmed my heart and comforted my soul. We navigated the series of one-way roads towards the hotel, which was a magical cove of jungle plants and antique brick walls painted in ancient Mayan-Mexican styles. Shortly after arriving, we walked the village streets towards downtown, asking for directions from other visitors in Spanish. However, we quickly noticed that those visitors were the only other tourists to be seen.

To be among the Valladolid villagers and immersed in this culture with Yucatecan aromas steaming from every other door we walked past is a beautiful thing. To take in this culture fully without the extra perceptions of any other foreigner is to take it in clearly in a new sense that nobody has yet discovered. Like first impressions: to be looked upon for the first time without hindrance of a third party is to see clearly. To smell clearly, and to think clearly.

An exuberant energy vibrated from every carefree child and into the air of the Plaza, which reflected any other Yucatecan Plaza with their historic fountain centerpieces and white-stone loveseats along the edges; tall shadowy trees, and the enchanting sound of the Spanish and Mayan languages escalating in laughter. We ate at a traditional Yucatecan open-air restaurant with neon colored lights penetrating the dark evening air. In any Yucatecan meal, I most look forward to the homemade cornflour tortillas hopefully cooked on limestone (“kal”), and so was delighted to have an entire stack of them sitting in front of me covered in a creatively patterned hand-woven basket.

After sleeping in a beautiful silky hammock which I swore somehow changed colors from yellow to pink overnight, I awoke to roosters reminding me of the sacredness and the calm of which I was simply a part of being in this foreign land. Breakfast was the finest and simplest of foods: fresh fruit and fresh bread with local coffee, black.

We walked around town for a few minutes in the morning sunshine upon which everything seemed to dazzle and everyone seemed to be so content, so simple. Though work for the artisans daily in their shops is not so simple as they would have it seem, each shop owner at every storefront was beaming a smile of welcome. There were women setting up a market on the sidewalk full of vivid vegetables and fruits; the girl offered me half an orange which I gratefully savored. Sharing flavors of the culture.

We set out in search of some cénotes after collecting some directions from the hotel on which ones might be best. Tunneling down the roads outlined with jungle trees was such a restoration to the soul… bringing greenery and refinement to all its hidden aspects, as jungles of Mexico always have a tendency to do. Descending down the steps into the cave, it was a cool and mystic atmosphere. We were the only two swimmers in the large cenote, granting us freedom for spiritual and physical healing in the magical, deep waters. Catfish occasionally could be spotted. Birds fluttered in and out of crevices within the stone walls. I spent time floating, reflecting in one specific pool illuminated by strong rays of sunlight, making visible the depth of the cenote. I asked for a clear answer, and as I emerged out into the hotness and newfound clarity of the day, a multitude of butterflies in varieties of different colors fluttered around my face.

There is only one other natural resource, in my opinion, that has more healing power than a cenote– and that is the Ocean. Before arriving in Tulum, we made a stop at the ruins in Coba. I was reminded of my song I started writing, in Spanish, the last time I had been in Yucatan. We sat on a log and connected with the roots of this land, the ancient mysticism of the Mayans and secrets of the Sun which they held. I purchased a hand-woven dreamcatcher with an owl woven within the center. Just being present here, I could sense the humidity of the Ocean and the mysteries of the Mayans pulling me in further to their homeland.

As we drove into the village of Tulum with the windows rolled down, the air was vibrant with exuberance and joy that only a special place such as this would exhibit– something particularly magical about the warm, clear waters of this coast. We settled into the cabana loft with shimmering dark wooden floors. Next, we walked through the village radiating with love and humidity, a shimmering happiness that could only be found on a coast such as this one… the street signs displayed messages in segments: “If not now…” “When?” Though it was a touristy atmosphere, everyone seemed perfectly content. Exiting the car, we made our way to the beach and walked on the sand to the cabana loft.

I pulled out a book to read on the beach for the first night, but soon couldn’t contain the urge to run along the coast. I started out running, inhaling deeply the warm, humid, salty air. This was my first trip to the beach in nine years, and to be near the water felt so liberating to the soul. I paused occasionally to step into the water and allow the waves to wash over me, cleansing my heart and mind. I sent out healing intentions through the palms of my hand, directed into the ocean to be washed up on every other shore in all directions. I ran all the way to the opposite side of the coast, to which I couldn’t count the number of miles and instead was only blinded by the sunshine shimmering across my skin. I observed all the people who were laying out along the beach, soaking in the vastness of this sea and sky.

The full moon on the last night was radiant and shone upon the dark waves of ocean. Along with the sound of a wedding DJ playing rock ‘n’ roll tunes and the aromas of the finest seafood in the near distance, the atmosphere was magical and inspirational. The intentions I had cast were now pouring into my own being and radiating along the atmosphere of all other beings. I was absorbing the beauty and magic of this land as it was absorbing me. This was the most peaceful setting on such a full moon… one in which I could remember myself and forget all other false perceptions, especially while swinging on a wooden swing overlooking the ocean.

I was carried back from this ancient, tropical land with a state of clarity and renewal; a sense of strength obtained from the ocean. My normally constricted nasal passages were suddenly clear, and I could breathe life in to such a greater state of fullness. I stared out into the morning waves of the ocean for awhile before departure. I awaited the newer, much clearer state of living that I was about to enter upon returning to the Colorado snow. I remember striking up conversation with two elderly passengers who resembled family members of mine on the shuttle back from the airport. We talked about living in the area and found we had some mutual connections in the music community and also commonalities in areas of living. The energy upon arrival was evident that life was changing for us in positive ways– big ways.

I reminisced about the sun and the people I encountered during this journey, and would reflect on bringing that energy into the everchanging, sometimes terrifying, uncertainties in my life to move forward with, despite the “grief” of my missing piece of my life purpose that I somehow felt motivated to restore… no matter the cost. I am an octopus with multiple paths in front of me out of not simply seeing the way out of my own dark hole I’ve been digging. Valladolid and Tulum were quick sources to the light of connection and simplicity of living. Who else knows one to be afraid of living large? Is it the fear of uncertainty we are dealt with, or the fear of being free and bold?

 

 

 

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5/5: Big Magic

Abstract Essays, Numerology, Small Miracles, Soul heartedly

Two weeks ago, I bought a fairly expensive ticket to see my favorite author and one of my biggest inspirations, Elizabeth Gilbert, speak about her newest book Big Magic. I assumed I wouldn’t find anyone to go with me, because who else would be so ecstatic to drive 100 miles for a motivational speech on Creativity? I knew it wasn’t rational to spend so much money on such an event that would last a maximum of two hours– especially when I am in an insecure job situation, especially when I am risking the possibility of getting lost in a city 100 miles away and four times the size of my own… basically, I was “risking my life” [for the selfish purpose of creative motivation] as my mother warned.

As the event date drew closer to reality, I hadn’t been thinking too much about it. It wasn’t until a couple days before that I realized it the event occurred on May 5, or Cinco de Mayo, aka 5/5– a possibly dangerous day in numerology due to the superstition that multiple 5’s indicate a huge life changing event. Perhaps I’d already talked myself out of it, which is why I wasn’t too worried. No one would go with me, I didn’t have anywhere to stay the night in an area that would likely be dense with drunk drivers, my little car might not have been completely reliable (even though my car-expert of an uncle told me it was just fine last week), etc, etc.   I could  have simply canceled or sold my tickets, regaining my money to be that much more wealthy once again.

These fears came just an inch close of directing the course of how I spent my Thursday, May 5th, 2016. These fears almost cornered me in my room that night, almost spending it safely and soundly in the comfort of my own home… as well as in the regretful distress of my mind. They almost had their way with me… but fortunately, I had more voices telling me, “You’ll be fine” with consoling smiles than the voice that told me, “This is the most dangerous thing you could even THINK of doing– why would you do it?! And in rush hour traffic!”

As I read a few more pages of Big Magic the afternoon of the event, my heart grew full of possibility and wonder. Fireworks were sparking.  It was like Elizabeth Gilbert herself was smiling at me, saying, “You’ll be fine. Just do it! THIS is your life-changing event! This is BIG MAGIC!”

And so it was: my fear was outweighed by not only curiosity, but MAGIC. I was more driven by the very alive force of magic working amongst the Universe as I read those pages about overcoming fear.

I used my magical powers to divert traffic away from my car on the highway and into Denver city, creating a bubble of protection. There was fear, but I pushed it to the distance. When it came time to park in the parking garage, I had to circle around a few times in desperation before finally entering and finding a spot… and memorizing it. I have been known for getting lost in parking garages. Shaking as I walked downtown, I took some deep breaths of the polluted city air and tried to collect myself. What magic was possible here, Universe?

Well, as I was walking, I remembered it was one of my long-lost best friend’s birthday. I messaged her to wish her well and inquired about her plans. She had none! On this party girl’s 21st birthday, she had no plans! I almost didn’t even attempt to contact this friend since I never knew where she was living or how to contact her anymore, but she responded. She was living in a Denver suburb and gave me her address so I could stop by later to catch up… she only lived 9.3 miles away from downtown, according to my GPS. This was much safer than 97.3 miles… and how magical it would be to spend time with a best friend I hadn’t seen in a whole year!

Still, I had the entire hour to spare in downtown Denver before I needed to arrive at the theater. I meandered the sidewalks packed with a variety of people strolling down them, together. On the other side of the street, a music duo caught my ear. One was playing guitar and the other ukulele. I crossed the street to get a closer listen… they were playing folky Grateful Dead covers. The familiar-looking girl with red dreads took a break and talked to me. We instantly became friends when I told her I was also a singer-songwriter/ guitar player, and she went on further to explain her wanderlust journeys with her travel partner. Their van had broken down somewhere in New Mexico so they were planning on spending the summer in Manitou Springs.

“I was thinking about moving to Manitou Springs this fall because of a job opportunity!” I exclaimed. So we agreed to run into each other there. So now if I move to this foreign town, I will at least be acquainted with other musicians of exactly my style.

I found my way to the theater in plenty of time before Liz began, only to collect myself. I’d been hoping to make a connection with whomever sat next to me so I didn’t quite have to say I was “alone” at this event. 15 minutes later, my seat partner did arrive. I hung up a phone call and attempted to spark a conversation with her, hoping she would be somewhat responsive and not think I was a weirdo for my interest in meeting people. This woman also looked very familiar to me and I wondered if I’d crossed paths with her before.  We did have a connection; speaking easily about traffic and parking garages and where we lived… but nothing too colorful. We talked until the speech began.

Throughout the entirety of Liz Gilbert’s speech, I was smiling to my cheekbones while tears rained down my cheeks, mostly for the reason that every word she spoke about creativity and synchronicity was so true to my soul. The very first thing she said was the largest reason I was there. It would have been enough had I gone for the sole purpose of hearing her say, Your life will become a work of art in itself if you lead a life driven more by curiosity than fear.

I almost regretted that I didn’t write my question down for the Q&A session afterward… but I had a feeling whatever questions I had would be answered through her speech. And of course, they were. She asked a question that made me think deeply in a couple of different areas:

What is it that excites you the most? What ignites you enough to bring you to life each day?

This made me question all of my creative endeavors I’m currently trying to pursue and make a living out of: (1) singing/ writing songs (2) writing stories/ essays (3) practicing reiki  (4) making herbal remedies and (5) making vintage button jewelry. Which one brings me to life the most? This was probably the hardest question for me to answer. It seems that all of these passions coming together at once have been more destructive to me than igniting.

But then she said something else– that she wanted to fully meet people, everyone she encountered throughout her book tour, and ask them this question.

This concept is very parallel to an idea I once had about crossing paths with people persistently. I thought that perhaps I should actually meet these people and get to the bottom of WHY we happened to cross paths so often, and then write about these connections. But for what? Would the answer to meeting recurring people resolve the mysteries of the Universe? What would happen if they thought I was a stalker?

Well, she had an answer for that too. Because disaster really means ‘exploding star’. If your creative ambitions lead to a disaster, which is very possible, at least you participated in the way of the Universe: making something out of nothing. Besides, it’s not like I would be killing anybody by writing about them. Right? And if I didn’t write about these experiences, at least I would have satisfied my spell of curiosity. This applies to every single one of my creative aspirations listed above, but a thought came to me for a moment:

Is crossing paths with new people and making soul connections the thing that excites me the most?

Ridiculous. I don’t have time for that. Singing has always been the top of my list, so I really should go after that (after I resolve my sinus inflammation issue) . But is my favorite part of singing that act of singing… or meeting people afterward? I can think of plenty stories.

Little did I know that by the end of the most impactful speech to my personal life I came out to witness, my favorite author would be having us singing! Explaining that singing in groups (karaoke!) is her most important routine ritual, she asked us to sing a song no other than the one that has always been a form of unity in my Wyoming community: “Country Roads” by John Denver. The vibration of the theater raised a couple hundred kilohertz as the entire audience sang in unison to our hearts’ content. How could I ever have almost missed this magical occurrence of union and feeling at home in an unfamiliar city with my favorite author and my new friend, Jen?

My heart was sobbing with exuberance afterward. As I exited, walking with Jen, I decided to ask her an important question. “What is it that excites you the most?”

This question led to a conversation about the exhilaration of traveling alone, a mutual gluten sensitivity, and… of course, a mutual love for meeting new people. We stood on the corner of bustling 16th Street talking about our passions for awhile before we departed, and decided to keep in touch.

I am grateful to the big magic which paved my way to this event. To think that I almost missed forming some new friendships, having a spontaneous sleepover with a childhood friend, and singing “Country Roads” with my favorite author!

5/5 did turn out to be a completely life-changing date, as prophesied. I learned  to accept my fears without allowing them to overcome me on my solo adventure, all the while doing the thing that excites me most: making connections.

 

 

 

 

1111: On Signs from HP

Abstract Essays, Small Miracles

Every year my family has a white elephant party. We exchange the lowest scale junk from the depths of our dark closets including old Barbies, kid’s toys, ugly sweaters, and comical party favors. Though these items are predictable, they are different in some way each year. In other words, I wouldn’t receive the same ugly sweater that someone else received last year. No—there is only one item that is allowed to recycle itself upon the same circle each year, and that is Sally’s Angel.

When the Angel was born unto this Earth, finished with a careless brush stroke atop a navy blue canvas, she was not blessed. Instead, the ear was dotted on her face just in time for her to be welcomed with a condescending chuckle and the cruel proclamation: “This is the ugliest angel I’ve ever seen.” And how can an insult like this be more any more condemning, coming from the mouth of no other than that of that her Creator? The Creator didn’t even have the wit to sign her own initials; instead, she forged a crooked “HP” near the Angel’s head.

If I hadn’t been there during the time of her creation, I would have been among those pondering the origin of this great mystery. Each year, the chosen one tears off the last of the wrapping paper to come face to face with the strange angel. The first reaction is always hysterical laughter, followed by a solemn gaze of pure confusion—and finally, the question. “What’s HP?” And it was always my grandmother—never the true creator—who would have to explain the story to the entire group. She confessed it was a mock painting, not the original. My grandmother’s friend, Sally the artist and the hoarder, had given her a painting of an “ugly” angel for Christmas one year. When my grandmother asked Sally what her inspiration was for this “lovely painting”, Sally poked her thumb up in the air a few times and whispered, “H.P.” with a divine force. What’s H.P.? Harry Potter? Grandma had asked. Sally only responded, “You know… higher power.”

I could have never foreseen myself becoming anything like Sally the artist, the hoarder, and angel-whisperer years later… but not long after the first year of her rotation, I began receiving signs. California license plates were everywhere. Everyone I met was from California. Some of them still are. Now, however, it’s changed to North Carolina. So what is it about North Carolina?  And what about the recurring numbers I see at least twenty-two times per day? This subject may deserve a separate post. The point is, it’s come to the point in which I cannot ignore these signs being thrown at me with such force everywhere I go.

I could only take an educated gander at the giver of these signs, and I’m not sure how to explain It any better than HP. You know. Higher Power. And now here I find myself in a tiny apartment hoarding blank canvases, waiting for signs from HP to tell me what needs to be painted. I’m hoarding blank notebooks, waiting for signs from HP to inspire my words. Then there are those instruments basking in the dark corners of my rooms, some of which go untouched, waiting for HP to dominate my fingertips and strum.

I’ve had some success so far. Ever since I’ve acknowledged that HP is in fact living in my hands and my heart, I have experienced floods of inspiration. It’s not so difficult to finish things anymore. Knowing that HP is the source of signs I receive, I’m more willing to trust the recurring signs… places, symbols, numbers, names, etc. It’s seeing how the order of my life can play out, placing the opportunities in front of my eyes and allowing me to put together various puzzle pieces that might just come together and form a beautiful picture.

When the Sun Stood Still

Small Miracles, Soul heartedly

When the sun stood still and so did we, it harmed our world and our galaxy…

The stars don’t shine, they seem to sing, ‘Return to your festivities’. 

I’ll admit it was a dark month. I’m sure all living beings across the entire Earth felt it, too. The days had never seemed shorter. My feet were constantly aching, my sinuses were chronically clogged, people were unresponsive. It was like the Universe was ignoring me– something I’m not quite used to. I had to call upon Universal sources in all the ways I could possibly think of to get Someone’s attention… I felt like a neglected child, but perhaps I was only throwing a dramatic tantrum after being put in time-out for a mild amount of time. Looking at the bigger picture, meaning the poverty and crises of the whole planet, I suppose my conditions could have been worse.

Still, I wasn’t being creative enough to cure my cold, empty heart. I was asking Higher Powers for assistance but I forgot about the Law of Attraction. Here I was, laying on the floor in a heap of adrenal fatigue, cursing the world for ignoring me, when there were a billion stars in the sky ignored by a good portion of those still awake in their homes watching TV!was the one ignoring the Universe! How could I expect anything in return when I put no energy into admiration of the natural law?

My sickness had prevented me from doing lots of things. I would only work 4 hours and feel exhausted beyond measure. I couldn’t breathe at night because of my clogged sinuses. I was a low-functioning disaster treading pavement and polished tiles in the few hours of the sun provided its rays. My self-esteem was falling down a bottomless pit. Even my nervous system was a wreck; I experienced severe brain fog, speech problems, vertigo… and my feet were the only ones crackling out of twenty meditators during mindful walking (I was the youngest of all by 30 years). It occurred to me that not only was my spirit ancient… my physical body was experiencing symptoms as though it were as old as my soul!

Feeling handicapped, it was hard to make decisions. It still is. After all, it’s only been like six days, and here I am speaking in grave past tense. (At least we don’t have to hear me try to vocalize it, because the intro would have been even longer and more off-track than this one). So you can probably imagine how hard it was for me to decide to attend a Winter Solstice yoga event at 2pm when I got off work at 2pm. After working longer shifts, I usually go home and become immobile for at least two hours. Doing absolutely nothing, because I don’t have a television and I’m too tired to read.

This was different, though. Something stirred my spirit when I had the idea, or what some might say a calling, to bring my Winter Solstice Song to the potluck afterwards instead of a dish. I didn’t have the time or the energy to prepare a dish, but I did have a year-old song relevant to the event. There would be a singing-bowl performance and guided meditation following the yoga practice. I needed to attend. So I got off work eight minutes early, ran back home to get my guitar and change into yoga clothes, and arrived to the studio only two minutes late. That was a 10 minute round trip. Magic, I thought to myself. I am magic.

With that decision, I began celebrating the Solstice two days early, and I’m never early for anything on a normal basis. The two-hour celebration of movement connecting us to the core of our beings and our love, then being washed over by singing bowl songs, was felt even more intensely after being processed with water. While everybody sat down on their mats afterward with full plates, I sat on a chair and sang my song to the studio  completely packed with lovely souls. The girl selling jewelry told me my voice made her tear up. It nearly surprised me that the singing bowl-ist told me she’d love to sing with me. But with the unresponsiveness I’d been receiving the past month, I assumed we never would but accepted the kind thought.

Two days later, on the actual Winter Solstice, we did. I was invited to a fire ceremony welcoming the return of the light. Some people were late, and we didn’t want to stand outside for any longer than we needed to… so I shared my Winter Solstice Song for everyone who was there to kick things off, just in the warmth of the old house. This was the time to do it. I could have talked myself out of it, by why wouldn’t I play it ON the Winter Solstice? We stood outside for nearly three hours, embracing the cold and the wind and the snow at my feet. We acknowledged the four directions, the winds, the natural forces of the Earth. All the great healers of the city were present. And there, too, was I. Time was in the process of reversing itself from days of darkness to days of more light. So naturally, I shouldn’t have expected things to stay the same. However, I didn’t know my entire life perspective was about to halt and reverse its order.

I stayed up until 3am drinking cacao and singing my soul out with the singing bowl lady/ renowned massage therapist and her husband. We even added cayenne pepper, turmeric, butter, and coconut oil in our cacao to celebrate the return of the light. Moreover, we added these things to activate the fire in our creative endeavors and in our music. It worked. I mean, you can talk about “healing vibrations” to anyone on a daily basis, but how often do you feel strong vibrations radiating throughout your whole body? On your body? Outside of your body? That’s how this was.

So why hadn’t I ever considered making music with healers? That night as I stood outside in a circle around the fire, I also spoke with an acquaintance  who’d just lost her husband and the custody of her three daughters. They had a family band, and now all that’s left is her and her son. When I told her I’d like to hear her band, she said, “I’d rather you play with us.”  So today I sang with them. We began learning “Heart of Gold”, “Dust in the Wind”, and “Blackbird”. They said they use music as their primary form of healing from heartache and grief. And it’s working, energetically. To be asked to sing with them is the highest form of praise I could be given; to them, my music is healing. I left the house feeling warm and enlightened, tingling with magical sensations everywhere.

Yes, all of this happened in 6 days– the busiest week of the year for everyone in the middle of the Christmas season– but somehow the Universe provided time for the healing art of music collaborations. There is a reason. It’s simply because we were celebrating the return of light instead of standing still as the time reversed. The galaxy is your oyster once you admire the natural forces of all that is. Look at the stars with love, and you will be given love in return…

 

 

 

A Taste of Fort Collins (so far)

Small Miracles

3/12/15

I’ve finally made it to my dream city after years of unhopeful wishing. I’d always pictured myself in my twenties biking the streets of Oldtown on a yellow cruiser and savoring the fresh tastes and smells its streets had to offer. I imagined attending CSU and meeting fun college friends, staying up late at night, being a singer in a band. It truly was a dream destination; the sun was always shining and my soul felt exhilarated whenever I visited. As a young spirit, I couldn’t think of anyplace else I’d rather be.

I would have never believed I could do it at such a young age—although I feel decades older than my real age. No one else who knows me would have believed I could do it either, especially since it isn’t for the purpose of attending the University. I didn’t move to Colorado for the privilege of getting high on marijuana, either, believe it or not. My move was, however, based on educational purposes as well as the use of herbs: I am attending the first year of Equinox School of Herbal Studies to become a certified herbalist. There happens to be more than one type of herb, and I am fascinated by all the wonders medicinal plants can provide for us. The third reason why I moved to FoCo is because I was able to transfer my job at Starbucks at exactly this time (after six months of being a partner).

I haven’t yet begun the herbal program and I’ve only lived here for four days. So far, the reality of living in Fort Collins is much different than the images I had floating around in my mind. So far, I can only express how Fort Collins has been an endless stream of noisy cars backing up traffic and an endless stream of whiny customers waiting to get their coffee. My new Starbucks store doesn’t own a Clover machine OR reserve coffee, so the coffee options are much less exotic for my personal tastes. But I suppose the city itself contains enough exoticness to go around and make up for the lack of Starbucks Reserve stores.

With all the obstacles of moving into my first apartment and feeling on edge with my first roommate, I haven’t had much time to delve into the spicy flavors of Fort Collins just yet… well, except for last night’s dinner at Star of India, my favorite Indian restaurant in town that I happen to be within walking distance of. I’ve discovered that it takes much time and persistence in living someplace to be exposed to all its magic, but since I’m on the lookout for those mystical aspects, I’ve been able to spot a few.

Within these four days, I have driven to work just early enough to catch the glowing orange sunrise peeking through purple clouds. Once on my way to the garage at 6:20am, I met my adorable elderly neighbor who’d gone out the get the newspaper while it seemed to me no one would be moving at a time before there was any light in the sky. I was feeling hesitant about singing in my car although it is an almost uncontrollable passion when I pulled up into the parking lot of Trader Joe’s and began rolling up the window as a gray-haired woman with her windows also rolled down blasted opera music loudly and sang along shamelessly. She even turned towards me to make sure I was listening, and she didn’t turn off her car until the song was finished.

I still encounter people I recognize from Cheyenne, just not as consistently. I’m beginning to experience inspiring moments from strangers, whereas before, I thought that constantly seeing everyone I knew was the most magical thing. The customers have called me by my name more often within my two days of work here than they ever did in Cheyenne, which is kind of magical. It makes me feel welcome to something new, rather than being to one to welcome new people to my hometown like I used to.

Today, a woman came in and asked me for a cup of ice without first going to the register. She wore an expression of pain on her face and told me she’d just had a tooth extracted. She smiled kindly and said with a serious look in her eyes, “You’re my guardian angel today.” Shortly afterward, I did see someone I knew from Cheyenne! Two Starbucks regulars, in fact. They were just as happy to see me as I was to see them.

I’ve always managed to find remnants of home everyplace I go. It’s bittersweet leave everyone and everything I used to see everyday for a temporary amount of time, but I’m confident that I will become just as much of a socialite here as I was in Cheyenne. A bigger city paves the way to bigger opportunities, after all. As long as I’m able to survive the traffic, anything is possible. 

truth behind coincidence

Small Miracles

“I don’t understand what it is,” I kept complaining (though I’m sure I sounded grateful) to everyone who would at least not think I’m completely crazy. “I don’t understand why these ‘coincidences’ occur all the time. Anything that I say– or even think about subconsciously for two seconds– happens.” And then I would elaborate, and receive the general response:

“Wow, that is strange. You should start thinking about me winning the lottery.”

It was rare to receive a genuine answer, and I desperately wanted one. Of course, I’m a master at creating my own hypotheses, regardless of whether or not they are logical. So, naturally, I formed a partially logical conclusion: it was karma. It was because of those inspirational anonymous acts of kindness the short-lived “change the world” movement I was a part of last summer worked so hard to achieve. Our acts were so random that the universe had to really think hard to compete with us, but as far as I knew I was the only one receiving such constant synchronistic signs. Or was that just because I was more aware and accepting of these mysteries? I had also come to the conclusion that these occurrences weren’t simply mysterious coincidences; they were miracles.

Still, I refused to acknowledge my own underlying beliefs about the origins of miracles because my beliefs had been challenged in more ways than I could accommodate for in the past few years.

It wasn’t until my former best friend called me in college (which was also a spontaneous miracle because I had been wishing I could call her just seconds before) that I received an answer. A real, confident, non-sarcastic answer that I would have never pictured her saying– or even thinking– in person, and especially not over the phone. Yet her voice was assuring, not in the least way awkward, and not in the least way like her to say. Her life didn’t reflect those words. Her mother would certainly never believe she told me this. I wouldn’t have ever believed she would tell me this after I rambled on about all these strangely inconceivable miraculous happenings, but she did:

“You know, God works in mysterious ways and I think he’s on your side forever.”

I was speechless. Yes, I wanted to say, You are completely right. At this moment, my perspective of my own friend I felt I knew as a sister flipped a one-eighty. She was so much wiser than me, although she had always labeled me as the “wise” sister. I wanted to tell her this, and ask her where this profound confident knowledge was coming from.

He’s not on my side, though. All the things I’ve accomplished I’ve had to do all on my own. I’ve never had any help from him or anyone else,” she continued. “You’re lucky.”

Did this luck last forever? Or do I have to be seeking it? Seeking Him?

I couldn’t see her eyes when she told me this, but now I imagine they would look similar to those of the girl I received my second real answer from. We were lounging in cushioned chairs, consuming forkfuls of carrot cake as I rambled off my multiple stories to her while our mutual best friend gazed into her cell phone and temporarily became lost in a different dimension (after telling us a strange occurrence of her own which I will write about later).

The track star, the rebel, the girl whose heart continues to be shattered day after day, did not even mention the word “weird” in her response. She glanced off to the side, her gaze fixed on something invisible,  and she was smiling– almost smirking. She turned back to me and said, simply,

“You’ve been touched by an angel. That’s what it is.”

“Maybe,” I said and immediately regretted it. She, too, was also wise beyond what her life reflects. I shouldn’t have even questioned her knowledge.

She shrugged. “That’s what it is. I wish these things would happen to me like they do to you two.”

That night, I pondered if it was really that simple for an angel to reach down from heaven and brush my shoulder. Then I suddenly remembered a time when someone, a stranger to me, hugged me and said, “You have just been hugged by an angel.” I was filled with more skepticism than ever at the time, but now I wonder if it’s true. Or perhaps I have been touched by multiple angels, which I wouldn’t doubt.

Perhaps I will never know why they happen, but I have learned throughout the past few years one sure thing: there really are no coincidences.

Day of Happiness

Abstract Essays, Cultured Narratives, Small Miracles

Driving from Windy City to the City of Sun was almost unbearable. My friend and I decided to cross the state line on Thursday because we knew better things lay hidden on the other side, but as I drove, the wind whistled through my windshield wipers, ceaselessly howling at us for the entire hour it took to get there. When we finally arrived in the City of Sun, the wind abruptly stopped. It was like magic.

Our first stop was at a coffee shop in an alleyway. We climbed a flight of stairs to reach this supposedly legendary coffee shop. Upon entering, I took in my surroundings—the cultured people, the windows overlooking the town below, the aroma of coffee mixed with lunch food, the laughter, the different atmosphere of each of the four rooms one could choose to sit in—and I thought that in a way, it resembled a café in Hawaii I had once been to. This city has never failed to surprise me; it could be so many places at the same time, even bringing back island memories.

In that coffee shop, I sipped the best-tasting Sweet Chai I have ever had. The creamy texture and blend of spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom) were perfect. The rest of the day was spent exploring similarly magical places and strolling the sunny sidewalks of Oldtown. Whenever I come here, I never know if my happiness arises from the positive vibes that everyone in this city radiates, or if I’m just happy to not have to wear a sweater. Probably both—but I was feeling that way on this particular day, too: light and light-hearted and filled with light1 – perhaps an even stronger sensation than usual.

The last shop we entered was one that sells the most beautiful and expensive clothing that I would never buy but always enjoy browsing through. It also sells a variety of locally made jewelry and candles. I had to smell the candles in antique mugs because I always do—and they were the best-smelling candles I think I will ever smell. The candle-maker wouldn’t give away her secret, so I bought one: Fig. To this day the scent lingers in my nostrils.

We were so caught up in the spontaneity of the day that we could only find time to get lunch during late afternoon. After almost half an hour of deciding where we should go, we finally drove to a sandwich shop on the other side of town. The warmth of the day had been consistent, even at this time. As we arrived, I remembered that today, March 20th, was the first official day of spring.

“Hello! Did you know today is the International Day of Happiness?” a smiling woman greeted us when we walked inside. It was like she was asking us, “Did you know you’ve been wearing your shirts inside out for the entire day? No wonder everyone’s been staring at you!”

“Are you serious?” we gawked in unison. No wonder we were so happy.

“Yes, it really is! And it’s the first one ever!” she handed us smiley face stickers that we stuck on our shoulders. “Now if you’d like, you can write down on that poster what you’re happy about today.”

Well, I couldn’t have been happier that those threads of destiny2 had pulled me and Destiny to our favorite city on a sunny day to celebrate happiness on the first ever International Day of Happiness. We would have never known otherwise. I wrote, A day in my favorite place with my best friend and sunshine.

  1. See “Region of Pure Air” published Dec. 27
  2. See “Threads of Destiny”, published Feb. 19

Threads of Destiny

Poems, Small Miracles, Soul heartedly

I know why the air is clear.

I can almost see those glistening threads,

some thick and some thin

 binding all organisms,

some large and some small,

Together—one silky strand at a time.

Some hang loosely, so fragile they may fall

or break with the slightest gust of wind.

Some are tight, pulling Us with a force

across oceans, hills, and sidewalks

Together—those transparent threads,

some short and some long,

are our destinies.

Some are attached to the heart,

others to the feet; only one string between

two of the living—

I can almost see them all, billions

springing from each one I encounter,

radiating like the sun in all directions,

connecting living grass, water, soil, and hearts

Together. And when a heart stops beating,

its threads detach and depart

from all cells, all hearts;

coiling and collecting themselves

Together—

I know why hearts ache.

Transforming into liquid form,

they unite with fallen threads of the past,

creating streams, rivers, seas, and oceans;

dancing gracefully, they form waves,

nourishing the remaining organisms

that spring from the aged Earth–

I know why water is clear.

Gradually the former threads gravitate

towards the warmth of the sunshine,

placing blessings upon threads still hanging,

some loosely and some tightly.

Ascending up to the heights,

They eternally evaporate

And fall into

the Web of Life

Together.

Region of Pure Air

Abstract Essays, Small Miracles

This city is made of magic, I swear.

It must be something in this air … maybe it’s the rare purity of it that allows unique molecules to linger here instead of being blown away with the wind. Maybe it’s because this thin air allows us to absorb more light than others, despite not being able to withstand the harsh winter weather for long.

Because there’s something that happens here when you sit down across from a person and begin speaking to them. You’ll find yourself sparking a conversation about science fiction, historic figures, coffee flavors, preparing fossils, or why anthropologists would really be better off considering the similarities between gifts and commodities instead of contrasting them—things that don’t even seem relevant (but in reality alter your destiny)—and then suddenly you’ll feel as if you are floating. You begin to feel so light and light-hearted and so filled with light that you may start hovering about your wooden chair at any moment. Your eyes become fixed upon that person’s face and you can feel their emotions simply by observing their expressions.

You don’t even have to be sitting down; you might stall in the middle of the sidewalk for no apparent reason and strike up a conversation about eyebrows with a passerby, and before you know it, your feet are floating above the soiled cement.

There is no explanation.

Maybe it’s not just this city (as the above examples actually took place in two cities, one of which I am not fond of). Maybe it’s this region: the Region of Pure Air. On the other hand, I’ve been to less pure cities where I feel that way: light and light-hearted and filled with light, in which cases I didn’t even have to speak to someone to feel that way, because everyone there feels that way all the time.

Perhaps it’s not the altitude that matters. You don’t have to live anywhere for a certain amount of time to feel this way—you just have to be in the right place.

I still believe it has to do with light. Whether the light in a person comes from the sun; profound spiritual knowledge, or elaborate knowledge of anything, really; health; having a good relationship with nature; being an illuminist painter; etc, such passions will create sudden confidence. Sudden light.

It’s true what they say: Cada persona es un mundo. But when you find yourself in the right place at the right time (for some deeper reason unbeknownst to you), you will find that people are a world and a half.

Words

Abstract Essays, Small Miracles

A.k.a. “How I feel about writing”.

The power of words is timelessly underrated. The consequences of words we have handwritten late at night because we couldn’t contain them any longer have become the bases of our own lives’ mysteries. Words in letters we write to people within the realms of our minds–and never send– somehow have to capability to be transported straight into the receiver’s soul so that our words never go to waste after all. Words that we have written long ago, forgot about, then thought so much of later and put so much hope into them have become realities because some great spirit heard them and let them radiate across the universe.

Once the mind is free of constraint, God only knows what it is capable of. We have shoveled through topics that are supposed to make sense to us but have no meaning in real life. We have all been captives in some way or another…

But when we write, our souls are freed.

When I write, miracles are formed and released at a time only right according to the universe.

There is something magical about writing with my own hand. The words spill out onto the paper in front of me, and later I gape at them in astonishment, wondering where they came from. How can ink hold such lovely memories, such abstract dreams, and reveal what is hidden within the depths of my soul? This ink forces me to see what lies inside of me—it forces me to understand the reality of my self and others.

Most often, I explore lives and places unknown to me through the process of swirling blue ink across white paper between two thin blue lines. This happens subconsciously, and it is my thoughts becoming something existent. They are no longer hidden; they are swirled blue ink obvious to the naked eye.

And now my words shall be rewritten in electro-black ink, visible not only to myself but to you.