Trust at a Crossroads

creativity, intuition

The Universe has been telling me that I’ve been at a crossroads for about a year, or rather stuck on a stone that I’ve finally become strong enough to lift, if even a little ways, and now have allowed the stream of my own life to move forward with or without the weight of this misunderstanding.

Many songs have come out of it, and so I often wonder if this is the ultimate purpose. There are many souls who have tried to save me from my truth, as have appeared in dreams multiple times to hear me plead saving from the truth of my intuition… or consequences. I knew, deeply, that with my lack of understanding there was going to be a deep consequence either way.

No matter how hard I let go, I am learning to still trust my own feelings and also the Spirit. I must dedicate this post to the strength of the Wise Owl Spirit, and also Source. I have been absolutely bewildered at the messages that have come through while I attempt to speak my own truths… whether this has been in the form of a literal owl messenger coming to visit someone I still held words of loving truth for, or in the dream state of a trusted friend confirming this message of what I still needed to do!

The other day, I saw multiple signs from Spirit letting me know what action to take. Whatever pops into your mind at the first sign of a possible signal from Spirit, this is the action you must take. Sometimes we are hesitant or doubtful about taking such steps, which I am learning is normal and perhaps even necessary. I have especially been bogged down by doubt, multiple times, but each time I ask a question, I am inevitably led towards a very clear answer from a Source definitely of more importance than my own ego.

When I asked, “Please assist me in trusting that I should really be taking this action,” after I saw the first signs at a stop during my “road trip”– at the next stop, I pulled in front of a Colorado license plate with the last digits of 111. 1’s are always a sign of reassurance from Source, as I have been bewildered to find proof of with the owls and the thoughts or words that are reflected whenever the time is 11:11 or 1:11, etc. I still had some fear about taking the action. As I was pulling out, I passed a car pulling into the parking lot with a license plate reading, WHY NOT …

Well. Sharing all of this may affirm that perhaps I’ve been carrying a little too much uncertainty and fear for too long, but if I were to tell you the whole story you would be better off with a few cocktails on board. Maybe if I’d simply been consuming more B vitamins and ashwaghanda at the time…

So even in a state of utter doubt and confusion… I have learned that worry is simply unnecessary. Possibilities are that in somewhat confusing connections, there were only misunderstandings that need to be confronted and healed. Follow your own truths, and you will be assisted by the Spirit. Try not to take yourself so seriously, though. Surround yourself with people who laugh to enhance your own personality, especially when confronted with facing the darker issues of life. I am so grateful for the presence of the multitude of hilarious people who have so naturally entered my life to assist me in doing this, in a much less serious way.

Often times, it is difficult to shift your perspective about certain circumstances, problems, or people from a dark state of mind to a brighter one. You may find yourself questioning what the crossroads you are facing actually implies…

But regardless of uncertainty, I am learning to move forward no matter how difficult it is on the mind. Finding one thing you know for sure will help move you forward in life is best to focus on than anything that is uncertain. However, you mustn’t be so obsessed or anxious about moving forward in life… any action you take that is meaningful to you or other human beings is always the best thing to do when the opportunity arises (when the Spirit moves you) and it is the best thing for the World or yourself at the moment. Write these things down, confirming to the Greater Source your goals that you will be assisted with after writing. Sometimes immediately.

The most important lesson I’ve learned is that when making decisions, even if they seem like the most daunting thing you can possibly do, is to trust the breath whenever the opportunity arises. The most effective, real results will come out of following your breath. Every breath. Don’t forget to breathe. We are all constantly in a state of support from the Universe, and we are connected with all the endless magic It has to offer through nothing more than our breath. The breath is what ties our threads of destiny together.

Don’t let the dragon eat your stars- reclaim them with the power of trusting your own breath. When we trust, we don’t have to worry that we are a single person sailing on an isolated boat in the middle of the ocean. We are, in fact, all one. We are a part of something much bigger and vast, and when we feel something and have the urge to do something about it, we can remember that it is not only us feeling this… it is something part of the Universe pulling us together for a purpose. Just remember that you are not your labels, not your ego. You are your spirit, and when you are called to do something, just do it. (Hence my song, “Do You Remember”.)

Also remember that not everyone else is quite in tune with their own spirit selves, which could reason your hesitation… but when the moment arises, it is best to take a chance rather than allowing your mind to be overcome with snakes, spiders, or dragons.

Focus on the butterflies and dragonflies of the Spirit self, of the breath. Free the Self.

Life is a castle of open doors. Don’t focus on the ones that have closed. They may open again at a different time, but in the meanwhile, look for the treasures inside every other open door you may encounter.

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Becoming the Stream

Soul heartedly

If you’re afraid, do not fear. You are not alone.

Everyone’s afraid of something. Everyone’s afraid of words. Everyone’s afraid of love. Everyone’s afraid of success. Everyone’s afraid of truth. Everyone’s afraid of rejection. Everyone’s afraid to dream. (Well, maybe not everyone is afraid to dream, although it is a terrifying concept). And it’s really hard to keep moving forward pursuing your deeepest desires when we dwell within such a fearful mindset. It’s really easy to “go with the flow” and try to forget about your fears and remain in a place of stagnancy, stuck on a stone in the river with water cascading past you, without you.

And there you remain plastered to an ancient, cold, lonely stone… growing mold and trying to tell yourself you’re at peace with your mind and your heart. Well, this is a great place to be. Sometimes it’s the only place to be, because moving forward with or without the fear might disrupt your comfort zone and cause so much anxiety that you could die. You don’t consider the option that you could become the stream, that you are the stream and always have been the stream.

Be aware. Be aware that anxiety is not your own– that possibly anxiety exists in everyone because we are all human (except a select few coming from distant galaxies reincarnated in human form, of course– but even they have to learn to overcome fear), and this is the reason we’re all in a lonely place of fear and rejection and not extending our power into the Earthy realms nor the ether! And perhaps our personal fears are reflected into worldly fears (politics, weather, wars, etc)…

However, this is not a story in which words are the answer. This is a story of acceptance and understanding that if you feel you’ve done all you can do, maybe you have. Then ask yourself, is this something you can really live without? Is this something you CAN find in another form? If the answer to either of these is yes, then leave the situation behind to be recycled into something even better.

Sometimes we don’t overcome our fears in time, but this is only because we must learn from our fears. We must recognize the growth process around such fears, bringing us into a new state of confidence and courage. From this place, we CAN move forward and overcome anything we want to overcome in order to be wherever, whoever we want to be. The good thing is that if we don’t die of our anxieties, whether we face our fears or not, we are inevitably guided towards a better place in our lives to which eventually, fear of a certain situation will literally evaporate and we will have a magical revelation of the truth.

Sometimes there are mistakes we make, and sometimes we talk ourselves into the extreme of saying, “There are no mistakes so I must be in the right place at the right time, and I must be doing the right thing by following my fears instead of leaping outside my corner of the forest and into the vast ocean of bravery and freedom.

This is also a story of utilizing our innate powers of intuition and following the signs that lead us on, even if we are rejected, even if we don’t receive the outcome we desire. Because the signs are only trying to push us outside our comfort zones and teach us that it is possible to do something we never thought we’d be bold enough to do, because it “just isn’t who we are” to be brave or to be courageous or to act out of love for acknowledgement of self.

We DO have the authority and the capability to take actions towards our truths because we are more than our fears. Even if something we believe in doesn’t matter to anyone else, we must still believe in it because it matters to us. And we have helpers to help us along the way.

Some things you might try to overcome anxieties and begin living your new, fearless, courageous, beautiful life:

  1. Forgive yourself and express gratitude towards those who have hurt you.
  2. Learn about Flower Essences. These can create shifts in something specific you may be overwhelmed with. Flower spirits are close allies.
    1. Red Chestnut~ allows you to love without fear and recognize how your fear affects not only you, but others. (When I began taking this, I was overcome with a sudden slap in the face of how extremely I was causing a disturbance of natural factors by telling myself I was too afraid. After freaking out for a bit, I was sent into a state of clarity and realization of the steps I needed to take to move forward.)
    2. Willow~ denotes some of the anxiety you might feel when it is difficult to move forward.
    3. Mimulus~ an aid in encouragement which pushes you to do things you feel otherwise might be impossible.
  3. Drink more water. Dehydration may be one factor of irrational fears, or so I’ve been guided to say.
  4. Soak in a hot springs as often as possible, or take salt/mineral infused baths.
  5. Omega-3 supplements
  6. Vitamin D + SUN to brighten your perspective
  7. Earthing- aka allowing the Earth to absorb your worries as you lay on the ground or walk barefoot
  8. Trust the process.
  9. EFT Tapping.

Still, you must know that you are strong enough to speak the truth of your heart to others, to do what you believe in, to stand up for yourself– to express yourself in any necessary way– in exactly the condition you are. You have the power and the right to do these things despite your fears, anxieties, sinus problems that cause speech problems, dialect, accent, mental fog… despite your insecurities, the perception that you’re overweight, that your face is too red or too dry to talk to anyone today, despite your chronic sinus congestion, your oily hair, the fact that your feet hurt, that you don’t feel free because you’re deprived of the sun… despite your age, the color of your hair, your height, and any other weaknesses.

You still have the right to do whatever you want, wherever you are and however are you currently, because nobody requires you to be perfect. We all know that when we have a seemingly perfect day, we can count on something to go wrong the next. Yet we find beauty in it. We find a way to move forward and believe in ourselves because we matter. We are matter, after all, and nothing is out of place. We have our own beliefs and ideas for a reason. All we have to know is how to trust the process.

® Camille Garcia, 2017

Day 4~ Palisade/ Downtown Grand Junction

September Retreat

My host, Poppy, prepared a breakfast of Palisade peaches, coffee, and homemade muffins. I thoroughly enjoyed every portion of this meal along with the scenic view of the vineyard and the Mesa. I couldn’t get enough of it; the sunlight pouring through this large window seemed eternal. There was something so sacred about the mesas to me… Just being present in a valley surrounded by them was enough to fulfill my spiritual desires, whatever those may have been. 

I drove up the Grand Mesa as the sun was setting the first day I pulled into this area. Driving down The Mesa Canyon along the majestic Colorado river was reviving; the magnificence of it all silenced my thoughts so that I was able to simply expand my own presence into this canyon. 

I couldn’t resist the pull of gravity to walk towards the Mesa around sunset as it turned pink. I was breath taken… The pleasantly cool air was filled with some sort of magical essence which I could not decipher, but whatever it was- it was full. Perhaps this was enhanced by the full moon that night.

As I walked and ran around the vineyard, absorbing the Grand Mesa energy in the morning air, I perceived the air as humid. I felt like I could finally breathe! According to others along the road, it was not this way. But for whatever reason, I was filled with an energy I had never been able to harness before coming to this place. 


My second place of residency for 4 nights in Palisade, CO

Unfortunately, my phone claimed to be “out of storage space” on and off for the entire day, but I managed to spend my time wisely in downtown Grand Junction without photographic evidence. I met some lovely people and made a point to carry out the conversation longer than necessary in order to acquire an unbiased opinion of this whole area. Coincidentally, every person I became friends with that day was from Southern California. 

I stalled time at a juice bar I found along the way which also offered olive oil tastings. I spent more than half an hour tasting these delicious, fine, and organically sourced oils while talking to the new employee from Southern California. It became natural for me as the day went on to introduce myself to each person, and it was simple to begin with, since normally they introduced themselves to me first. 

I was enthralled to come across an apothecary, since my mission is to find an apothecary to work or intern at. I became fast friends with the enthusiastic woman working there. It wasn’t long before we casually discovered we were both singer-songwriters but hadn’t been playing out much, because we both would rather be playing along with others! The obvious solution to our mutual dilemma was to schedule a jam session the very next day.

Eavesdropping on her conversation with the next customer, I recognized the essential oils she was referring to that were right in front of us: House of Aromatics (from my post Piñon Pine)! I exclaimed this fact, that I had spent a week where these oils are derived from with the owner, actually making them in the process. She exclaimed that the owner is a good friend of hers- and what a small world! 

I was able to meet my friend Gabe, who had been part of our six week Maya Art and Culture study abroad course in Yucatan, Mexico three summers ago. It had been this long since I’d seen him! We ate dinner at a Nepali restaraunt, satisfying my everlasting craving for Indian food.

Indian food appears to be my stable during the course of this trip, which is not the worst case scenario.

Day 1- Idledale area

Uncategorized

I happened to remember bringing my road bike along with me, and found this magical trail in Morriosn to ride along. I had to stop in at the Cyclery, where Mark gave me lessons on putting my wheels back on after I had sabotaged my bicycle by de-wheeling it and stuffing it in a tiny car in three pieces.When I saw a sign which read “Mother Cabrini’s Shrine” on my way into Idledale, I knew it was a place I was destined to visit. I climbed 373 steps, a meditative walk, to reach the statue atop the hill. Here, the Golden area and Denver were visible.Basking in the sun in front of Jesus

Complete Liberation

September Retreat

There comes a point in one’s confused state of living in which being bold is not only the bolder option; it is the only option. You can either live with the ridiculous weight of conformity within your chest, or you can fly away from it. You can either live with twenty-one items of furniture in a very small space, or you can pass them on to others so that you can experience the clarity of mountains and rivers surrounding you.

You can either live by words others have written for you, or you can write the words with your own hand and sail through them yourself. You can either pollute the earth through the electricity you use to fuel your home after the sun has set, or you can pollute the earth in a fuel-efficient car traveling through vineyards and hot springs towns.

And if you can’t make up your mind about a certain decision that your heart not only desires, but needs, your body will surely decide for you.

There comes a point when living in fear is more dangerous than all the ten thousand things you were afraid of, because they will begin literally weighing on your entire physical being and making you ill.

Feelings not of oppression– but compression– were weighing on me as I tried to talk myself into keeping my apartment I’d rented for a year and two months. I’d made up my mind about leaving in a month on July 22nd, but retracted the notice in hopes of things working out. My life was “being pulled in a thousand different directions”, as I constantly found myself saying, and so I was constantly falling behind in all my endeavors. I was feeling the responsibility of each month’s rent, while also feeling responsible for finding the answer to Life if it would just reveal itself to me in certain objects, people, or words. For some reason, I was listening to words of advice such as, “It’s a good idea to keep your apartment”, when everything in my soul knew it wasn’t.

Eventually, after a month of all this pressure, I got sick. I was tired of trying so hard to find the answers, and practically drowning in the fears of my conditioning since birth, that I physically couldn’t take it anymore. After two weeks of mentally combating my illness, there were two options: coma, or going forward with the dream I’d held captive for an entire year.

This time, I didn’t have to make a decision. It was as though someone put me on autopilot and my body instantaneously began taking actions towards a goal I wasn’t even aware of at the time. Friday, my fingers dialed the Wyoming Tribune Eagle to put in notice of a garage sale. Next, my feet drove me to my property management to put in my 30-day notice. Saturday, running off 3 hours of sleep, I began preparing for the sale at 6am. Sold all my furniture and clothes despite the eight customers that attended. Monday, I pulled my first all-nighter of sorting through every single object in the large apartment, ascending and descending two flights of stairs in the freezing cold rain until five a.m. in preparation of my final inspection on Tuesday.

With each item I sold, donated, gifted, recycled, or threw into the landfill, I felt lighter in my heart and in body mass. Though I must have been exhausted in my dangerous lack of sleep, I had never felt more energized. It became an obsession (I mean, I had no choice but to make it an obsession– given the thirty hours I had before my final inspection). Did these items somehow represent fear? I was so overwhelmed in dealing with all of these items that eventually I couldn’t. I couldn’t make decisions about what to keep, so I eventually decided I couldn’t keep anything. I couldn’t keep clinging onto clutter that only made my life more scattered than it ever should have ever been.

What I was doing wasn’t merely decluttering; I was setting myself free. Setting myself free from all objects associated with worry and reject. Setting myself free of responsibilities that weren’t my own. Setting myself free of fears and regrets I’d absorbed from the molecules of air others exhaled in a city sometimes dense with fear. I didn’t realize the extend to which I had simply been sacrificing all of my power, freely handing it down to whichever hands happened to appear in front of me next! And I hadn’t just been doing this for a year, I’d been doing it my entire life. The things I had been holding onto were all anchors, holding onto me, causing what can only be described as an auto-immune disease: cells attacking themselves because they aren’t in alignment with the intentions of their highest selves.

And what I didn’t quite foresee, in this process, was that I would gradually dwindle my possessions down to such a light number that I had the freedom to begin anew. Material items could always come back to me if the Universe decides this is absolutely essential… but generally, new growth hinders new possessions. I also realized that the city I loved unconditionally had not truly been loving me unconditionally in return, and I musnt’t feel obligated to return.

Thursday, I completed the dauntingly impossible task of sifting through and discarding things in my room at my parents’ house since childhood in order to make room for the very few items I would store sort through whenever I return. I didn’t want to hold onto anything I had been before, and I realize what a bold statement this is; but I couldn’t possibly be clingy, fearful, or indecisive any longer.

Upon finishing these mandatory tasks in a frenzy, I packed my car with only the lightest and most necessary items I could behold. I didn’t even pack my guitar, nor my violin– because I couldn’t withstand any bulkiness on this trip if the intention was being a light traveler. Instead, I packed my guitelele and my road bike. There was no time to waste as I took off on my journey at 4:00pm sharp. Though my destination this day was only two hours away- my cousins’ woodsy stone home- I couldn’t get there fast enough. I’d waited so long to begin this venture, Time knew that I was supposed to be there much sooner, and there was nothing that would prevent me from arriving now.

By setting myself free and achieving a state of complete liberation, I have subsequently set so many others free by the threads that bind us together because everything is connected. Those threads have become much lighter and much more flexible. If you are suddenly feeling like a weight has been lifted off of you, this is not the only reason but could be one of them…

 

Touch of Teal

Magic City (of the Plains)

Whenever I used to ponder getting streaks of gray or silver in my hair, I would always hear “Touch of Grey” by Grateful Dead playing on the radio. I took this as a sure sign that this was a right move for my life path, given the fact that my spirit is approximately thirty-five years older than my physical body. I would just feel more myself. There was only one dilemma: I’m a naturalist, and I’ve never stripped my hair of anything.

The day came, however, when I simply couldn’t wait another fifty years for natural silver to appear amongst my strands. I somehow mustered the courage to make an appointment at Teal House, not quite sure if I was really going to follow through with this year-long desire by the time I arrived the next day. Did stripping my hair of its natural color and then dousing it with some kind of metallic substance really resonate with my morals?

Oh well– sometimes, even if it is once per lifetime, a creative spirit must take a risk in the name of Creativity. At least I would be following my intuition.

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So as I was sitting on the edge of the salon chair while the owner and sole stylist proceeded to brush bleach into “small” strands of hair and folded them into foil strips, I didn’t realize what I was in for. I didn’t realize, initially, that I wasn’t there to obtain “slivers of silver” and interrogate Rebecca Caswell about the origins of her self-owned salon decorated with her remodeled furniture. I was there to address the origins of all my irrational fears that have prevented me from achieving my most outrageous dreams… because she’d already lived a parallel experience relating to her own dreams.

I found it impossible to prevent myself from ranting to her all my worries about the million different directions my paths were leading me (i.e. my aspiration careers in the singing/songwriting field, becoming a best-selling author, and other side art gigs. I ranted about my loneliness, my feelings of disconnection, my anxiety about it all.

It wasn’t long before she exclaimed, “Look! You already have some natural gray coming in! You worried yourself gray– good job.” Discussing long-term visions with Rebecca shed some light on some of my own obstacles.

I told her of my greatest passions, of my travel plans, and how my travel plans would pave the way towards accomplishing my greatest passions. She listened and told me to stop asking for advice. I knew what it was wanted to do; I was just taking on the worries of ten thousand people that weren’t my own. She was one of the few people who had ever been encouraging about this subject, while I’d let the rest talk me out of my own plans. When I accidentally blurted that my last resort was flipping a penny, I quickly realized how pathetic I held my own strength. I hadn’t been strong enough to see that I was lacking willpower in my own beliefs. I came to the epiphany, in that moment, that I was the only one who would stand up for any of my best ideas.

After opening my eyes to the horror of foil bundled up in my 28-inch-long hair, I was astonished to see I wasn’t in a typical hair salon anymore. I was in a life coach/psychology session!

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“It’s so hard to be a creative person because the average joes aren’t going to get it,” she said, “so you have to say, ‘It’s not going to make sense to you, but it makes sense to me’ and then go do it anyway.”

She explained that the rebellious process of opening her own salon seemed an impractical task to most of her family and friends. She learned early on not to reveal her destiny’s secrets, because they wouldn’t make sense to the less creative types. Before she became licensed, her hair master/teacher had told her this was impossible; nobody does that! How many successful salons have only one stylist? According to her teacher, being employed by an already-successful salon was the only direction to go.

She had the resilience to tell her, “Well, that’s not my dream” and did it anyway.

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Teal House (Beauty Lounge and Furniture Design) was conceived on an auspicious date: January 1st, 2014, and birthed on April 1st, 2014 (Rebecca’s birthday month; making this an extra auspicious date). It wasn’t easy locating an open studio space in which she would perform solo hair styling and furniture remodeling for the next two years… But her determination was never faltered. She always maintained faith of finding the right place for her dream business, and eventually, it came along.

“When it’s right, it just comes together. It’s hard to be patient, and it’s hard to be perfect.”

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She found the perfect place here in Cheyenne, located on the intersection of Logan and 11th Street, only one month after she began her search.

 

“I don’t like small talk,” was not her first response to the question Why did you dream of opening your own hair salon without employees? but it came up in the same conversation and so we’ll leave it at that. It’s true; don’t you hate going to a hair salon and forcing small talk with the hairdresser even though you really want to know the details? When there are no other people to distract the conversation, this isn’t an issue.

Her passion for styling hair arises from the satisfaction of seeing transformation and change– a way in which she can express her creativity, similar to remodeling furniture. Her dreams for her business continue to grow; she would like to relocate to downtown  where there is higher foot traffic. In addition to the salon and furniture design, she also dreams of combining these with a clothing boutique. Her vivid visions appear to be paving the way towards reality, as she is currently considering downtown storefronts that look exactly as she’d imagined.

Throughout this motivating four hour pep talk on creativity, I was inspired to prioritize my aspirations, beginning with the greatest ones first. I was advised to define my most important value in order to go about succeeding. At first I had no idea what I valued most.  Freedom is the utmost value Rebecca has lived by, and this has lifted her to great heights. After thinking through, I acknowledge that freedom has always been on the top of my list; I’d just forgotten I’ve had it with me all along. Some of the last words of advice I was left with were:

“What you’re looking for isn’t in New Mexico or California or North Carolina… It’s within you. You already have everything you need.”

After contemplating this, I have harnessed my long-lost sense of power that I’ve held within me all these years. Somehow, I believe stripping my hair of some pigment simultaneously stripped away some of my fears so that I can now see clearly what was there all along. With a lighter color and layers that lift some weight off my head, I do feel lighter and more confident. (Who knew so much power could be directly related to highlights, red glasses, and green eyeshadow?)


 Hair can be such a metaphor. However, I attribute my change in perspective mostly to the conversation and creative atmosphere of Teal House.

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To the Lonely Artist

creativity

 

The entire Universe is being so unresponsive. You’re usually such a synchronicity magnet; everything generally falls into place at exactly the right time. You’re always bumping into your favorite people constantly, and you haven’t encountered a familiar soul in three whole days.

You can’t find solace anywhere; your friends have suddenly made plans the rest of the year. They don’t have time for you. But then they’re not really your friends, are they? You don’t have any friends—remember? You’re completely alone.

What’s wrong with you?

It’s probably because you need to lose at least fifteen pounds ASAP. Soon as in this week, otherwise you’re out of luck. Obviously, the only effective way to do this is to juice garlic and lime for seven days and drink green tea at every manageable hour. And you’ll have to fast—you mustn’t eat anything while you’re on this juice cleanse. You might find yourself regurgitating the first few days, but don’t worry about it; you’ll become accustomed soon enough.

But wait. Now you’ve lost fifteen pounds… and nobody has noticed! You’re still just as alone as you were yesterday and the week before, and the week before that!

Again, what’s wrong with you?

 

After experiencing all these symptoms of Artist’s Loneliness, I can personally tell you exactly what’s wrong with you.

Your friends aren’t being unresponsive because they don’t have time. They’re being unresponsive because YOU don’t have time.

It’s not that you don’t have good intentions. Your intentions are totally pure of heart, after all.

The thing is: you expect praise when you have no work to show for it. You haven’t really worked at your soul craft all month. How can you expect any creative magic to come across your path when you haven’t given it a reason to?

You didn’t even do the dishes this morning because you were obsessed with running into serendipity. You forgot to shower and rode your bike right out the door, forgetting there were eight steps in front of you.

You crashed.

The first thing you must do as soon as you get up on your feet is: the dishes. But maybe you’re not lying in a heap at the bottom of the steps. Chances are, you’re lying stiff in bed, alone. Same concept. The sun is trying it’s best at peeking through the slots in your closed blinds, and you think this is the most obnoxious sight you’ve ever seen.

In this case, prioritize opening all the blinds immediately.

Now, you’re overcome with an intense craving for coffee with lots of added syrups and sugar, even though you’re very sensitive to caffeine and sugar and you are clearly aware of how this will inhibit your creativity, directly blocking your first and second chakras.

You would crash, later in the day. So, same concept.

These distractions are so tempting. This is where lime and garlic juice comes in—just make sure not to drink this concoction on an empty stomach. If you’re too drowsy to fathom piecing together the juicer on this already-late morning, maybe you’ll have the resilience to unlock the doorknob and step outside.

Take a deep inhalation of (hopefully) fresh air. Nature will revitalize your motivation and begin cleansing your airways. Absorb the sunshine. Think to yourself all the things you intended to do yesterday. What about the tasks you failed to complete last week? Last month? Last year?

Are those “goals” still engraved in your mind? What have you been waiting for all this time—an angel sent from heaven to do all the work for you? Yeah, you have a list of good intentions as tall as your pile of dishes sitting in the sink. This is why you’re such a mess. No wonder you don’t have any friends.

So go for a walk. Overdose on matcha green tea. Do whatever it takes to get oxygen flowing to your brain so that you can begin your work. Wipe down the windows and begin cleaning out your cabinets.

 

You have abundance locked up in your cabinets. Literally! Look inside your deepest, darkest cabinet. I opened mine only to reveal nine bottles of herbal hair vinegars finished with their month of infusion. NINE! That’s $270 sitting in the bottommost, most forgotten depths of my kitchen.

Determine your biggest goal and your greatest fear (they’re the same thing, aren’t they?) and do what you need to do NOW. Send a letter to your favorite duo band, pleading they take you in as a worthy third member. Thing big. And if at first you don’t receive a response, move along to your second greatest goal. You will have obtained at least some confidence in taking steps towards your craziest, most irrational dreams, dissolving a bit of your irrational fears in the process.

Get to work on what it is you really want with your life. It’s your own, after all.

After you’ve crossed even just three things off your list, you’ll be getting all sorts of invitations from lost-lost friends.

Just make sure you don’t take on too many tasks at once—stay focused on your real work. Prioritize, and don’t start with the small things. Start with your greatest endeavors. Doing so will over-qualify you for the small tasks, making them appear simple.

Please take these words of advice that have distracted me from completing my real work tonight, but please don’t be like me; finish what you need to do today.

Piñon Pine

Abstract Essays, Cultured Narratives

My sense of time had been seriously distorted that week due to sleeping in a dark room and being an opener at a coffee shop at 4am, while also subconsciously aware mold must have been seeping through the walls of that apartment and into my sinuses. I was barely breathing, in a state of minimum consciousness when my alarm screeched unpleasantly, piercing my eardrums. I didn’t open my eyes. I was nauseous and dizzy, better prepared for death than I was a road trip to Utah.

The voice telling me this would be an instant life-changing trip was the only thing propelling me to roll out of bed two minutes after I was supposed to arrive at Emery’s house to depart to Utah. A painful rush of cold blood flooded my head as I did so, but I miraculously found myself capable of throwing my five luggage items into my car, throwing clothes on my body, and driving a mile and a half all within ten minutes.

I was headed there with my class of Fort Collins herbalists to visit House of Aromatics, a essential oil distiller lab. The concept of distilling essential oils from scratch intrigued me, but Utah was the last place I planned on travelling to within my lifespan. My imagination could never quite grasp what it would feel like to be there—to drive through flat-topped sandstone hills with red dirt mountains sprouting bushy bundles of Artemisia.

The descent winding down the western Colorado-Utah border was overcome with traffic but surrounded by beautiful scenery, including majestic mountains and equally mystical ghost towns blanketed with fog. Despite the beauty, two hours of riding in the backseat made me so cold and nauseated I could have passed out. Fortunately, I was in a car full of intuitive herbalists—one of which happened to possess a homemade ginger tincture. After consuming a few drops of that, stopping for coffee, and walking briskly through the cool, mountain morning air of Georgetown, Colorado; I witnessed the healing powers of nature already reviving my health and my spirit. We were walking along a full river in search of a coffee shop, which I spotted just in time.

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I savored the taste of comfort; a sweet, warm soy latte while walking back along the river lined with vivid green grass and medicinal plants that our Mother Herbalist pointed out to us. That crisp, cold and rainy air flowed through my veins, allowing me to breathe a little more clearly. Our next stop was also by a river that I walked downhill towards… and my soul shouted for joy at the view of yet another element I clearly didn’t visualize enough: water. Water, earth, fire, wood, air. It occurred to me indirectly along this journey that I hadn’t been surrounding myself with the essential life elements, so it was no wonder I was experiencing so many ailments such as respiratory issues, fatigue, and infections.

Now nearing our destination as we wound up the mountain, I was feeling the most enlivened of the entire group. I was transfixed by the pink reflection of the setting sun illuminating the valley with cirrostratus clouds overhead, casting contrasts of pink and indigo upon the plateaus. I had never seen a more expansive sky than this one. The expansiveness allowed me to breathe in the atmosphere, appreciating the journey. I almost choked on my water when I suddenly spotted a formation of white sandstones perfectly shaped like a guitar, right there on the hill! It was a large formation, obviously natural. I shouted at the other passengers my revelation, but we’d already passed the hill and they’d been oblivious.

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Though this caused me to double-take on dreams versus reality, I knew I was not mistaken. Guitars were engraved in these hills, playing music to the sky and the valley. I felt instantly at home. The trees were smiling at me.

We were there for the Wood and the Earth, but I was astounded to recognize that the wood and the earth were there for us, before anything. The entire time, we wore the scent of the trees upon our skin in the form of hydrosols derived from piñon pine’s essential oil. This way, we absorbed that aroma both internally and externally while emitting Piñon’s scent from our own pores so that we could better connect with all of nature. Especially the trees. After collecting pines from the forest, walking barefoot, and sniffing flowers, we stuffed the pines into a large barrel that would sit, generating heat, for days.

I believe it was the trees, out of all elements, which transmitted a wonderful idea to my soul whilst I was amongst them. They made me believe that all of my aspirations are beautiful and magical, surely possible to achieve. Don’t give up, they said. Everything is always okay. Nothing is a mistake; only part of the plan. They shed light upon the fact that not only had I been so out of touch with the elements- I was out of touch with the entire Universal cycle and it was making me crazy and forgetful and depressed. But spending time with a multitude of trees twenty-five times older than myself rooted some ancient wisdom within me. One being: we are part of them. We are part of a living, breathing organism and our personal health influences the entire body of the ecosystem.

Another forgotten “element” I rapidly remembered along this trip was space. Is it an element, or all the elements? Our existence is something else compared to space—something quite small and seemingly irrelevant to the entirety of the Universe and beyond… yet somehow, each one of Us is actually composed of all the elements that our Universe is composed of. Though we’re merely “atoms in the hind leg of a dog on some foreign galaxy”, according to Eryl, we are also God to one of our living cells.

 

So it’s no wonder the six of us found ourselves laughing nonstop in the oil distiller’s kitchen for four hours that night while everyone else sat outside drumming around the fire and searching for the spiritual truth. The spiritual truth sometimes means nothing more than laughter—the kind of laughter that is so relentless it hurts. The kind of laughter that ignites smiles to every one of the cells forming your body—all the atoms spinning around at the speed of light, holding you together in one piece. The kind of laughter that causes you to gasp for oxygen because your muscles are uncontrollable in the moment. The kind which causes you such shortness of breath you don’t take heed the very real possibility of death, because the overwhelming load of serotonin rushing to your brain makes you forget everything. It makes sense that laughter creates a higher vibration when your entire organ system vibrates with the untamable action.

Sometimes, stillness and silence may also lead to the most serendipitous moments. While I was lost in silent wonder, staring up at the sand hills basking in the golden evening sun, I met Jackie from Florida and Nora from Switzerland outside of a barn party in the small town of Boulder, Utah (population 150). How either of them ended up at this particular barn party was a mystery to me, until I wandered inside the barn and was confronted with the most passionate, lively energy I’d experienced… ever. A marble dancing stage sat at the south entrance, and hanging lights of all colors lighted the north stage. The sound coming from the stage was one that would instantly bring to life even the most lethargic of souls, such as myself at the time. I came to life, fully, as I became one with all the other colorful dancing spirits from all over the world in this middle-of-nowhere-Ute barn.

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I danced with the crazy locals to a cover of Gnarles Barkley’s “Crazy”. My body flowed with the rhythm, inspired by the reckless, carefree dance moves of everybody in the front crowd including my Mother Herbalist and the owner of the field on which we were camping. Absorbed in the band’s sound, I was astonished when the reckless, dancing local woman with whom I was barely acquainted suddenly turned around to face me and placed her palms on mine, hands still in midair.

“You know what’s crazy?” she looked gravely into my eyes, staring straight into my soul. If I hadn’t learned anything about magic and synchronicity within that past year, I would have merely thought she was drunk. She was, but I knew she had turned towards me, specifically, to make an significant point worthy of permanent remembrance. “The world we live in, where we’re so afraid of being what we really are.” I agreed that it is a crazy world. “But now is the time to break through society and just be our crazy selves. Right? Just let go of everything. Be free. That’s what we really need in our world.” The guitarist kept rocking a riff while repeating “Crazy… crazy… crazy…” and the crowd roared under a hundred multi-colored lights. “Don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid to just be you.” The woman with brown eyes squeezed my hands before letting go, then turned back around to dance facing the performers.

I lost myself in the music as the song transitioned into “Moonage Daydream” and two free-spirited young girls reenacted a 1980s David Bowie rage. I allowed my entire body to move freely, synchronized with the rest of the audience who felt as much. I let go of everything and just felt. (I did not get up on stage with the girls and rage.)

The sky was densely lit with mysteries clearly visible in the open field throughout those nights: beaming stars, galaxies, and the Milky Way. The sky was also looking at us during those Central Utah nights while we made music by the fire, danced carelessly in a barn, made friends from across the world, drank wine, and gossiped about the stars. The galaxies would undoubtedly remember us, the Herbalists, simply trying to shed light upon other living beings united in our system as a whole. And I believe it was a success, especially there in a land where we, the plants and the plant-lovers, could view what was happening up there on a tangible level.

On the last day, we gathered in a circle around the barrel of pines and lifted the cover off the top. A multitude of three whole trees– or more– had created a mere five ounces of essential oil. Steam emanated from the barrel and into my sinuses; it was lovely and sweet, but also powerful and healing. It was as though a blast of clarity hit me directly in the face. I could breathe. My heart was open. No one said a word; we were all suddenly still. Tears were shed around the circle. We had co-created this substance with the Earth, asking her permission, and now she was thanking us. This steam carried more with it than its anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antimicrobial, and anti-viral properties… it carried the Spirit of Piñon Pine.

We gave the remains of Piñon Pine back to the Earth. I was feeling light, like weight had been lifted from my heart and mind. The golden sun paved the road home, shining past our sunglasses, igniting some kind of hidden light within our souls that evaporated any doubtful parts of us, replacing those parts with hope and wonder. I took with tools of healing and wholeness derived from a variety of sources, silently thanking each source.I experienced a newfound appreciation of the layered sandstone canyon walls surrounding us, and mountains freckled with sparse bright green trees contrasting with vividly red dirt.We drove under tunnels holding our breaths, and I was reminded of the ancient concept of emerging from underground caves with a new perspective of life. We emerged from the tunnels every time in bursts of laughter.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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.