Too Old, Too Young

Soul heartedly, Uncategorized

To my elders:

Do not fear your increasing age. Some say age is only a number. Age is not only a number; age is power. Do you remember being a young adult who lied about your age to feel like you were something more than you were; to feel more superior and accepted by the world? Do you remember feeling paralyzed by young age because, in this particular society, you weren’t allowed to have a voice? You weren’t allowed to vote for what you believed in. You weren’t even allowed to attend a show by a band you’d always wanted to see perform, because they were playing in a bar, even if you didn’t plan on drinking alcohol your entire life?

Embrace your age, because age is beauty. Your years possess so much knowledge and power and inspirational journeys within them. With each passing day, you’ve dealt through changing circumstances and travel experiences, even if they were short excursions. You’ve enhanced your personality with every pair of eyes you’ve ever peered into and every hand you’ve held, with every dance you’ve ever danced in the musty alleyways or attics with green carpet… With every year, you have both gained love and sacrificed love. Those are treasures to nourish in your memory, and in the way you live life each day. Try to remember how each new experience has changed you in some way, into a person that you should be proud to accept.

Take this advice from an old soul who has lost her voice from trying so hard to be twice the age she is, who cringes at the sound of her real age like it’s an insult, and who has hidden away from the world because she believed she wouldn’t be taken seriously if she told her secret. Increasing age means increasing freedom.

To my youth:

Age does not have to mean power. You are free to express your truest self regardless of your age. You are allowed to form friendships with any soul who is 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, and maybe even 90 years older than yourself. You may treat them not as elders, but as you perceive their souls. You are never too young to begin pursuing your crazy endeavors. Your youth is, in fact, a blessing to any of your creative endeavors.

Perhaps you may not be regarded seriously when you express your powerful thoughts and ideas~ but I believe these ideas are likely just as mature as you will ever become, so do it anyway. So long as you are passionate and persistent about anything you love, your ability will only grow stronger. Begin doing what you want to do with your life NOW– not when you’re older and have more qualifications. Never dismiss any idea that tugs at your heart and causes your soul to weep tears of joy.

Take this advice from a girl who was too easily influenced by the discouraging words of others, losing her soul’s passion and motivation in the process, choosing diagonal paths in the opposite direction of her true destination. Never be humiliated by words that were written from the most authentic sincerity of your heart.

With love,

Camille

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Emergency Day Trip

Cultured Narratives

“This could be a good bar joke, like when you walk into a bar and meet a girl who gives you the wrong number. Except it’s not like that: Three herbalists walk into a hot springs and exchange numbers…” I joked to a faceless stranger via text message as I tried to justify my message proclaiming my identity after receiving the ironic response, “Okay… do I know you?” I wanted to say yes, you probably do. And you definitely know the person whose number I apparently typed in wrong, given the reality that your phone numbers are one digit apart in a town with a population of just over 1,000.

We got it situated.

Ultimately, a delirious exchange of riddles and laugh-crying emoticons with God-knows-who  was the outcome of my emergency trip to the mineral hot springs in Saratoga, Wyoming. That’s not quite a bad thing. And that’s not the only outcome of this 5.5 hour round driving trip, either.

On a day when most people should be either bouncing off the wall or hungover, I was in a state best described as a manic depressive anxiety attack. This, perhaps, is also what a combination of the two latter states would look like. It turns out that on this day, the day after what is considered an auspicious birthday for most, I still had no better sense of direction towards my life purpose. Instead, my mind was scattered in a thousand different directions, leaving me in a hopeless state of despair similar to the despair I’d felt the day before, and throughout the entire week.

Too many messages to respond to, too many phone calls to make, too many children and pets and flowers to care for, too many websites to create, too many options for creative living and making entrepreneurship work… and I don’t even have a job, so why even bother with any of those things I love? Do I focus on completing my novel or making music? What was the point if I can’t be part of something bigger than myself? Should I keep my current apartment, or should I migrate to New Mexico for the winter to avoid loneliness associated with frigid air? Where would I be if I hadn’t gone to college, hadn’t gone to herbal studies school, hadn’t enrolled in any other certification courses, and had focused on art instead?

Too many decisions, too many mistakes. I was tired of trying. At this point, I didn’t care about whether making the drive was safe considering my sole three hours of sleep the night before, and extreme dehydration, and the time restraint (being already middle of the afternoon). I had absolutely no other option other than to drive west and soak up these so-called healing waters, something I’d only done twice before at a hot springs that smelled so strongly of sulfur I became nauseated. If I didn’t do it now, my heart would still be racing, my head would still be spinning, and my hands would still be shaking. I was just going to have trust my instincts and take a risk before anyone could change my mind.

Whizzing past I80’s familiar dry landscape, my mind began to settle. I was able to amuse myself by gazing across the open plains while communicating with the radio; absorbing the words as though these artists were speaking directly to me. Talking to the radio, as I see it, is a skill well-mastered amongst the rare spiritually inclined only-children. This skill is sometimes the secret motive behind decision making, and it will sometimes drive you crazy. I tried to ignore it– I didn’t need any more words influencing the clutter in my mind– but as I was pulling into town, Carly Simon still made me laugh as she sang, “Well I hear you went up to Saratoga, and your heart naturally won… You’re so vain, you probably think this song is about you, don’t you?”

The entrance was beautiful: cattle grazing near mineral ponds, a glistening lake to the left of the road, and elegant Western archways to ranches on the right. I couldn’t recall ever entering this magical town before, though my family says I have. I swerved into the nearest parking spot on what appeared to be the most ‘bustling’ street of downtown. I got out to stretch my legs and walked into a bar, because, firstly, why not? Secondly, I was automatically attracted to the large, brightly-colored sign which read “LIVE MUSIC” above the doorway.

There were only two people in this bar, including the bartender. They told me a man comes to sing here every night but Sundays and Mondays. I was compelled to come back when it started, but it was Monday. The man sitting at the bar described his style of music– an East coast country folk vibe– which sounded very intriguing and similar to my own style. I noted that I was also a musician, and they invited me to casually sit in with this singer sometime. Sure, I would come back for that.

I could practically feel the hot springs pulsating from there, drawing me near. Even better, I couldn’t smell them. I continued my journey along the river and followed signs to the Hot Springs. I dismounted my car and walked along the river path, bordered by aspen trees. Now I could smell the springs. There they were, populated with smiling people washing away their own worries. For free. However, I didn’t feel the need to socialize on this particular day, which was a rare occasion. I chose the smaller, cooler spring, which at the time only two people were dipping their feet into.

The late afternoon sun was still warm upon my shoulders. I waded into the clear blue water up to my neck. Immediately I felt a surge of something nourishing rushing through my pores. I was floating in a warm blanket of comfort and hope, one with the Water, one with Earth. I tuned out the conversation between the couple and simply soaked up the healing warmth, listening carefully to what the water had to say to me. Feeling with every cell what the Earth and the Sky were giving to me. I was realizing that the combination of sunshine and mineral water could probably cure anything.

Soon, two more hot springs soakers arrived, saying they were from New York. I couldn’t resist conversation if we were sharing the circle with practical foreigners. I have too much Wyoming pride to do that; I wanted to know why they were drawn here. We learned that the New Yorker ladies were boho elementary teachers, enjoying their seventh week of wanderlust. They asked the woman across from me what she did; she was an herbalist! I chimed in that technically I shared that common title, but couldn’t call it a profession. I explained I was a “foundational herbalist”. Within five minutes, five more people had entered the pool. Was it my willingness for conversation drawing in the entire surrounding area? These new people were locals and Boulderites.

The woman next to me overhead this as she walked in, saying, “For the record, I’m an herbalist too! An herbalist of personal study for twenty-seven years.”

The New Yorkers were astounded. How was this possible, that three unacquainted herbalists could end up in a hot springs on the same August afternoon? Well, this IS a hot springs, the local acknowledged, regarding the ancient magic. We rambled off the benefits of cayenne pepper, the dangers of essential oils, and common immune boosters. They were delighted when I shared the basics of making flower essences. Aspen bark is not only an analgesic and coagulant duo, as they mentioned; the flower essence is a courage and anxiety remedy. We shared the common herbal mantra, “When in doubt, use nettle!” The local shared the Saratoga hot springs history and what it is, exactly, that makes the water healing.

“You’re absorbing essential minerals directly through the pores of your skin, so it’s like taking a multi-vitamin. Magnesium, zinc, copper, etc.” I continued the conversation with the newest member while the herbalist and her husband from Denver and the New Yorkers carried on about cultural and climate differences. Soon, I revealed to the local herbalist, Tasha, my profession as a singer-songwriter and my interest in playing somewhere in town. She was elated; she was going to a meeting in forty minutes where I could meet the town’s music booking agent! She was adamant about me meeting them there ten minutes before the meeting began. When I introduced myself, she repeated my name in such a suave way that my entire perspective of introducing myself was transformed.

“So that must be the reason you’re here today, right? You didn’t just drive 128 miles for nothing.”

Well, there are other reasons. But, yes– that’s really what I was looking for. To imagine playing at The Yard, a music venue overlooking the river, during Ladies Night where other solo female singer-songwriters performed… that’s one destination I knew I belonged to. How did I never know about this location only twenty miles west off the interstate I traveled biannually? How did the world not know about this hidden, magical location? I was going to have to exit the spring before my face turned purple. There was just one issue: my face was still going to be red as a tomato by the time I met this booking agent, and I hadn’t brought any makeup with me.

The inspiring words came to mind: With creativity, I can solve any problem. I was back at my car, dressed in a maxi dress I’d luckily not had time to donate to a thrift store that day. Otherwise, I would have been out of dry clothes and out of luck. Frantically, I searched for some sort of pale concealer or powder that might have fallen under a seat three years ago. I found none. I stood at the door in distress when one of the boho teachers came walking towards me. We officially introduced ourselves. I told her about the meeting I’d been invited to. In desperation and embarrassment, I asked her if she had any concealer. To my dismay, she replied, “Concealer? No… I’m sorry. I don’t own any makeup at all. But I don’t think you look red. You look great– you look tan.”

Then, even more surprisingly, she pulled down her sunglasses and exclaimed, “Why are you standing like that? Don’t cross your arms. Have you heard of power poses?” She landed a pose with hands on her hips. “Studies show that if you do this for two minutes a day, it will boost your confidence. It’s what animals and men do naturally. Expand yourself; be expansive.” She demonstrated a few more poses. I was humiliated. Of course she didn’t own makeup; she didn’t shave her armpits or tweeze her eyebrows, either. Those were only traits of pure confidence, though, and I was also grateful for this encouraging advice. She concluded with, “Google it! You look great.”

In exchange for my tip about making nettle powder with a mortar and pestle, she’d given me a confidence resource. I thanked her as she walked away. And as I peered at my reflection in my mirror once again, I acknowledged that this is one good reason to travel. No one I know personally would ever tell me they don’t like the way I’m standing, but this new acquaintance from New York did so because she cared about my future– and she might not ever see me again.

I met Tasha at the top of the hill across from the local greenhouse, where the meeting was supposed to be held. She informed me that it was canceled, but called the ill director and made sure I would at least be booked for next year’s music events at The Yard. I was given various sites to drive past while still in town, which I did. Every car I passed waved to me, like I was one of them. I could live here to soak in the springs every day and wave to all the locals who pass by, I thought.

I drove back home off the beaten path, past the infamous mountain and the lake my existence is based upon (due to my parent’s wedding twenty-five years ago). I hadn’t dared to venture anywhere this beautiful in too long, perhaps for years. In my closed mind, I hadn’t realized 128 miles was so close. I drove with confidence and appreciation of this entire experience, beauty surrounding me in all directions. For the first time since childhood, my mind was rid of fear and anxiety, overflowing instead with a sense of peace.

This is only way I could have ever mustered the courage to finally upgrade this secret, four year old blog into a website. There was just no other option. I was also able to cross a couple other decisions off my decision-making list: I can rent my apartment while traveling for a month. and finishing my novel. Maybe the reason I bothered interning with a Mayan healed through my college study abroad and attending a separate 7-month intensive herbal studies course was to be able to converse with two other herbalists in a hot springs. Who knows?

When in doubt, use nettle… Or if you’re too anxious to even think about brewing a cup of tea, go to a hot springs. Just make sure it isn’t infested with brain-eating amoeba like what was just detected in Kelly Warm Springs this week.  Glad I didn’t go there.

 

 

 

 

 

Flutter

Soul heartedly

But isn’t it hard to leave the disorganized disaster of your first apartment and your only hometown? Isn’t it heartbreaking to abandon all ten thousand of your soulmates whom make up one sixth of this city’s population, even if only for a month? Isn’t it frightening to not know your destination?

But I do know my destination. My destination is to release all of my fear, all of my doubts, all of my skepticism out the windows, flying at eighty miles per hour so that they are free to roam the wilderness and foreign grounds, but they may never latch onto the high plains again.

All I know is that if I do not do this, I will be succumbed to a twenty-one year long pattern of high plains lifestyle; where words are stated but not acted upon, where unreliability is the anticipated outcome, where love is timid and limited. Another thing I know is that my imagination cannot fathom another frigid Antarctic season, in which limbs freeze and inflexibility is a custom trait, and fog resides heavily atop the mind.

My imagination can, however, foresee the colorful culture of the unknown and un-acted upon possibilities. Those possibilities are not timid, are not limited. Those possibilities are sculpted from love alone. Love from a higher source, love derived from intuition.

Upturning Soil

Soul heartedly

Salvage as much as you can and get rid of as much as possible.

There’s a saying that goes, “Always leave a place better than you found it.” I realized that for that past year, I’d done just the opposite. Living in the attic-esque upstairs portion of a peach colored 114 year old house, I did for the interior what I could, but never was able to keep it very kempt. Last summer I purchased and potted as many houseplants as I could afford. I regularly attended garage sales in hopes that the treasures I found would help me better organize my junk.

I’ve inherited and snipped cuttings of more plants since then. I have been forced into receiving hand-me-downs in the forms of furniture and rugs, so I now have copious amounts of such items. I’ve bargained and traded with half the people in town (well, maybe that’s an exaggeration). Anyhow, for a moment I believed it was impossible to turn such a disorganized, cluttered living space into something semi-permanently inhabitable. But the coming of June 1st has given me hope– ever since I found a job at the garden store, the plant spirits have conjured up a garden of inspiration in my mind and have made it clear to me that I must not leave this place dingy and haunted as it once was.

It began as I was walking up my steps last week, when my downstairs neighbor called out to me. I stepped onto the roof to more easily communicate with her, and our neighbor to the right called to me, “Are you trying to kill yourself?” I had a rooftop laughing session while my two neighbors laughed along with me on ground level. After I stepped inside, she came to my door with a jar of lilacs and a single poppy from the back yard. That night, I took my rose tile table out to my entrance and placed my potted Creeping Jenny vine there, anticipating Jenny would creep upwards along the house. I twisted my Tibetan prayer flags around the deck railing. I repurposed some large containers into planters and replanted succulents which were growing out of their original smaller jars.

Today, as the sun shone its rays heavily upon our block and I made my way around to the front entry of the house, I found my neighbor in a determined state of moving the 500 lb bathtub underneath the steps of the abandoned house next door. We’d been discussing turning this into an herb garden, or some sort of flower garden. This determination was contagious and caught onto me also. We were so determined that we somehow managed to summon 4 strong construction men to help us within fifteen minutes by the sheer power of our minds.  The six of us were finally able to move it. In those fifteen minutes of waiting, I also found a fence, some stepping stones, and part of a railing I thought we could use as ornaments to the new garden.


Soon, one bathtub garden became two as I arranged the stones and bricks into a half circle around  the other side of the front house. I tilled the earth with the 100 year old hoe we had available (until I broke it, but just in time). My feet were bare for half of it, soaking in the fertile earth, giving me energy.  I pulled the roots of weeds with my bare hands and revealed earth fully. Just the act of doing this made me high with sun and earth energies. I was ecstatic and proud of my work, as though I’d already planted various beautiful flowers in this area with bountiful results.

I can envision it, though. Perhaps this goes against the renter’s agreement… but you have to do what you can to make each day more beautiful and full of color instead of living in a colorless, careful world. My soul is content for the first time in the entire year of living here… And it’s all because of the flowers. They’ve completely resurrected my creativity and have eased my paranoias. I thank the flowers and this ancient house for giving me such an opportunity. Gardening has changed my mind about moving anywhere else for now, because I’ve always strived to feel settled where I’m at before I enter an unsettled place. Though I have no plans for how this is going to work out, I can trust the process.

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.

 

 

 

 

220: Reality of Consciousness

Uncategorized

The thing is, it doesn’t really matter where you go; once you acknowledge the fact that Magic is a constant and real energy, Magic finds YOU.

I came to a Wyoming town of 10,000 residents to visit my grandma in her quaint countryside neighborhood that sits in a valley between the indigo mountains which always reveal some kind of mystical creature carved out of the snow. (This particular month, the featured creature is an Eagle.) I came  to escape the chaos of my own mind, to melt away the anxiety built up in my system as a result of somehow surviving the life of a single solo entrepreneur. It’s working so far—the intensity of both the sun and the moon have raveled my heart and soul in a positive way.

I’ve felt gravity pull my consciousness towards the full moon as night settles in, and the sun’s light pulling the melatonin from underneath my skin as it shines on. I’ve been away from music, away from my disaster of an apartment, away from the hustle of the busiest coffee shop in the state. (Another story about that soon to come.) I’ve completely disregarded and forgotten about the anxiety of my time working there, and the aching of my feet. And so you’d think I’d be in this clear state of mind in which recurring people and numbers don’t mean much to me.

I didn’t ask synchronicity to follow me out of Magic City and into the beauty of this rural land… but it’s found me, even in a town 300 miles away.

Not even 12 hours after my arrival did I experience the crossing path connection—at the county DUMP, of all places. As my 83 year old grandmother had me stationed in standing position in the back of her trunk, hoisting trash bags into the field of other treasures, a familiar face called out of a truck window: “You have Camille throwing trash for you already?” It was my cousin, Brett, pulled up next to us, partaking in the very same duty on this random day in April. We took the opportunity to visit him and his new baby later that day.

As far as recurring numbers are concerned, 220 has been adamant about catching my eye. Every other license plate that flashed before my eyes both in town and on the highway contained 220—keep in mind Wyoming license plates only consist of five digits.While my grandma leisurely drove me around different local locations, each house address I happened to catch a glimpse of was 220. So what is it trying to tell me, here?

This one became obvious to me as soon as I wrote the number out for myself. Earth Day full moon. 22 of April; 0 symbolizing fullness. I cannot say I’ve ever physically felt the gravity of the moon so intensely until last night as my cousin and I sat out of the front porch, watching the moon framed underneath the bare branches of a tree, rising as the sky gradually turned navy blue. As I lay in bed, I couldn’t help but notice how all of the energies around me were SO REAL. Anything I thought, anything someone else thought. I was feeling… dare I say it– psychic.

And it appears that the full moon had some answers for me, delivered straight through the mouth of my very logical cousin 2 years my junior. Our mouths have actually been compared as uncannily similar. I began talking to her about my persistent signs of North Carolina, and she smoothly told me I didn’t have to move there right away.

“See that tree over there? Not the scrawny one, not the short one or the tall one. The medium sized tree. That’s you. You’ve grown just enough to know that most of your roots say Cheyenne.” When did she ever say things like this? “And I feel like 3 is a good number for you. Maybe wait about 3 years before planning a move across the country.” And now with the numbers! How I had underestimated the psychic ability of my little cousin her entire 19 years!

 

On my walk this morning, the dawn of Earth Day, I strode along the freshly paved gravel road that stretches out to no end. I had no choice other than to make this a meditative walk, eventually regarding the true endlessness of this road. I could have picked any element, but naturally I chose Earth as subject of meditation, oblivious to the fact that this element’s holiday was today. I asked Earth what she thought was best for me, what path she thought I should walk down. What could I do that is best for you? I felt the Earth absorbing my thoughts. Any pending thoughts or unsaid phrases, she would be sure to deliver those straight away. Any desires I held secret, she would send out through her roots and relay my message. And I trusted Earth. It feels too real to deny. She would relay these messages in a timely fashion but in a fashion that also seems suitable to her own desires.

Earth made me realize this was more about letting go of my fears and my worries, surrendering and trusting.

Fallen rain gutter

Abstract Essays

“What would you do if you were experiencing my unfortunate overload of ideas?” I asked Bill today while sitting at a table by the window of the rustic coffee shop, the sun still shedding a little gray light upon us as the day faded. When I came across this familiar coffee shop character sitting in my favorite spot, I was compelled to sit down and absorb any inspiration he might try to share with me. He’s always been a supporter of my slow-progressing novel. He says he’d never met a novelist before– I’m not sure I could title myself as a novelist quite yet, but perhaps if I did, my progression would accelerate.

He pulled out a hand-sized notebook out of his back pocket. “I always carry this on me, because this notebook is like a rain gutter. If ideas are rain, I have to have something to catch them as they fall, otherwise they’ll come flooding down all at once.”

It dawned on me: my rain gutter had mysteriously fallen to the ground about four feet aside from its so-called-secure placement underneath the roof a few weeks ago. I’d called my property management, and this had apparently seemed too daunting a tragedy to fix themselves. They needed a bigger ladder, and haven’t come back since. Not even after the record-breaking avalanche of snowfall– 14 inches in one day! Finally, I moved the fallen gutter to the other side of the pathway so that the campanula could spring up freely as the snow melts. This, however, has created a miniature flood on my beloved unborn campanula that also rains down on my head whenever I leave and come back to my apartment. Of course– it’s all tied into the symbolic and metaphoric Feng Shui concepts I read, religiously, months ago.

My ideas are not being contained to flow in a river-like fashion, gently to the ground. My ideas are flooding atop my head, raining down all at once. As hard as I’m trying to focus on one thing at once, as the symbolic 1234 recurring number keeps reminding me  to do, I simply can’t. What is focus anymore, anyway? 123, etc, is constantly nagging me to finish what I’ve started. Little does it know that my rain gutter has fallen and no one has a tall enough ladder to screw it back on! Not only that, but I’ve made so many different beginnings with all of my endeavors that I’ve become overwhelmed by options in such a wild maze.

I’m not just implying creative writing ideas. I have about ten writing ideas as it is, and as a result, have not made actions towards any of them . I’m pondering traveling to New Mexico for ten days and finishing my novel there. I’m considering starting a blog on either or all of the following topics: crossing paths with certain people persistently, numbers appearing persistently, traveling solo and being a freelance musician and artist, Cheyenne tourism, Downtown Arts, or the importance of herbalism in Western medicine. There’s more to it than that, still.

I am struggling with perfectionist issues such as the “right way” to record my album, how many songs should be on it, and how to do all of this by April 14th. Should I finish recording all my songs by myself, and be left to obsess with worry about the quality? Should I record with my unresponsive friends who say they have committed? What about the magical, sunny  recording studio on a ranch in the boondocks? Yet, how can I begin to decide on any of these options when , by this point, I’ve almost lost interest in my music altogether?

A few days ago, in spontaneous attempt to forget about deadlines for music and writing, I began my spring moon herbal creations. I finally began up-cycling old wine bottles into herbal hair rinses, which felt exhilarating to begin, knowing I’d finally be getting rid of some clutter I’ve kept in my cupboards. I poured my heart and soul into shaking the bottles filled with apple cider vinegar and different herbs, blessing them with the best… but the infusions won’t be totally ready until next month. When to keep up with making those products is another interesting question to worry about.

I did make a couple firm decisions, surprisingly, this past week. I decided I will not only finish my Reiki II training with my original teacher in Boulder on April 8th; I will also do another I and II training in late April from a Reiki master in town, followed by a Cacao ceremony led by a Guatemalan chocolate shaman’s apprentice. I will be doing lots of communing with trees this month, hopefully obtaining a sense how they manage to expand their heights and stay rooted deep into the Earth. And hopefully by this time next month, my rain gutter will be fixed.

 

Midnight Flying

Cultured Narratives

Last March, I was settling into my new apartment complex in the dead center of Fort Collins, Colorado (although in all my five months of living there, I was never close to settled). However, it was a new adventure that gave me hope for my future dreams. I was under the impression I’d be nourished by an artful way of living surrounding  me in all directions, expanding my creative horizons and increasing my health.

What I didn’t expect was that the opposite would occur. While I was gaining irreplaceable knowledge about nature and health from my six-month herbal studies course, my physical and spiritual self were quickly declining. As for my emotional state, I remember being withdrawn from any that might have arisen. I couldn’t really feel anything of my emotions any time I was on my feet, being one step out of my original roots– my home city, Cheyenne.

The only time I ever recognized my emotional state in Fort Collins, the city of adventure and liberty, was when I was flying. More specifically, when I was flying through the dark and couldn’t see my tracks.

On my road bike, I felt free. Scents of the setting sun, the evaporating pond, the wilting grasses, and the windswept willows blew into my nostrils, acting as my oxygen. These scents were distinctly unique to this city I’d always dreamed of living in. Cheyenne’s air simply didn’t have as much dampness to it; it wasn’t quite so heavy nor so warm. It wasn’t quite as dense with mosquitos and fruit flies, either. There was a sweet sadness to Fort Collins’ air, but it was the sweetness I did appreciate.

I’ll choose to remember the times dew stuck to red vines grazing silver gates, when I flew down to the Poudre River and sat with the herbs growing there. On occasional June nights, my roommate and I got lost riding bikes in the dark through a neighborhood with only tree species for street names, and we would fly down Lemay at midnight in jean shorts, exhilarated to be riding so close to the lake dazzled with yellow lights that seemed to stretch out forever.  I’ll remember the groundhogs grazing hills full of burdock underneath a silhouette of street smog during late afternoons. But I also flew uphill to the base of the mountain on the verge of summer, when apple blossoms were blooming and I saw hues of green in every direction I gazed upon, spotted with pastel blues, pinks, oranges, and yellows.

Getting lost was only spiritually reviving when I was on my bike. I discovered hidden paradises that way: a green fairytale jungle in the middle of a random neighborhood, a Hawaiian-esque hostel/ yoga retreat, and an artsy old blue door draped with ivy, for example. Such colorful images filled the gap in my soul where love was missing.

Love didn’t mean much to me there. It was the scents and the scenes that kept me going, which are memorable and worthy of writing so I can account at least some good of those five months which, in reality, I spent lost in a land where my heart wasn’t present.
®Camille Garcia, 2016

 

Green Chili Roots

Cultured Narratives

Sometimes we must retrace our own footsteps and dig deep into our own roots in order to bring forth new beginnings. We must dig deeper than our youth, deeper than our time of birth, deeper than our parents’ births.

Deeply entwined within the heart of my soul is a native New Mexican essence. Generations of memories have been passed down to me through my ancestors, and I begun remembering them at the time I started writing my novel when I was 14. I hadn’t actually visited the specific scenes I visualized as I wrote… until four years later, when I went on a summer road trip from Cheyenne to Santa Fe and spotted peculiarly familiar locations on roadsides, in churches, and adobe houses (some of which my grandparents and great-grandparents built).

San Luis, located in southern Colorado on the border,  was especially distinct in my instinctive memory. I remember walking out of a restaurant/bar and double-taking the view before me. No. It couldn’t be… It was Anaranjado, the fictional city I thought I’d been clever enough to create from scratch! It was my grandmother’s hometown, where she learned to flip tortillas from her mother and helped mold adobe bricks with her father. It was where she attended school taught by nuns at the convent. It was where the entire community of Spanish settlers held kitchen dances, removing all the furniture and dancing just for a good time.

I can see the smiles and laughter on their faces as they danced. I can hear the accordion and banjo music my relatives used to play together as a band. I can smell the corn tortillas broiling and the posole simmering. I can feel the warmth radiating from the hearts of those people, as warm as the New Mexican sun. I can relive those moments, for now, until I go back and experience that once again.

In a month of windy weather and dark clouds, I can’t help but crave the taste of the sunshine. I can’t help but dig out old New Mexico magazines and envision myself playing gigs in Santa Fe wearing the dress I bought specifically because of that. Or sitting on a rock near the river, finishing my novel.  Perhaps also wildcrafting herbs and working at an apothecary there while I’m at it… And still, maybe it’s only important to keep these visions and memories in my heart at all times so that I never lose that root essence of myself. Today,  I wear green turquoise earrings and a patterned pendant around my neck to remind myself of this, and also to spread NM’s essence to all others I encounter.

221: Celebrating Friendship

Numerology

February 21

Today, David told me that the world’s greatest geniuses including Albert Einstein– who also happen to be some of the most productive and successful of the Earth’s inhabitants, only slept on average an hour per night. So it’s probably okay, he said, that I only got five hours of sleep last night and feel great. I wake up smarter each morning by staying up late to write and research and scheme. 

(I meant to post this yesterday on 2/21, but for the record, it is now 12:21am.)

As I mentioned earlier, I am on a mission to undercover the messages behind number sequences that appear to me on a daily basis. 221 is one of them, so I dedicated February 21st to solving its mystery– or any part of it. I discovered that the main theme of 221 is celebrating the love of friendship.

In the past 24 hours, I have been fortunate enough to spend time with both my closest and longest friends. All in 24 hours, I’ve made a music video with my artsy friend from senior year of high school, had quality morning coffee time with my best friend/sister since first grade, enjoyed a formal high tea with my writing group gals, mingled with all my favorite Starbucks customers, and sang 90s songs with my coworkers. I’ve also been reminiscing on memorable times with friends I haven’t seen in awhile, those living out of town.

These kinds of things don’t just occur on a daily basis. Do they? Perhaps this may just be the beginning of my fortune in friendship.

In reality, I should have done a better job of hiding from the public since I bailed on the Unitarian Universalist Church and their request for me to sing at their service today in which the main theme was “Love and Friendship”. However, I failed to finish the song I began writing about friendship. I believe I have found the inspiration to finish it now.