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

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We ARE the Missing Threads

Soul heartedly

If anyone has ever told you, “In order to be loved, you must first love yourself…” and left it at that, I want you to recognize that this is a very dangerous and melancholy mindset to dwell within. What does it mean to love yourself fully, and how is it humanly possible to grow into a space of self love if you believe that you are unable to receive love from others if you don’t even know what it means to love yourself? I want you to know that it is extremely difficult to feel isolated in the world, cut off from support for fear that you are being judged for your imperfections, which represent proof that you don’t fully love yourself (right)?

Love is not something we can do alone. We are all the missing threads that complete one another, and if we become so absorbed within our own heads that we become blind to the outside beauty and numb to the outside energy that is yet a vital part to our being. So if anyone has ever told you this, they are probably not lonely only children and have never truly been in a place of extreme isolation and desolation. And yes, both of these things are only illusions… but they can become so real in the physical world if we truly believe we have to conceal our love within ourselves, solely.

Love has to be reflected, whether it is in the eyes, in energy, in clear lakes, in the stars. We have to realize that we’re part of all of that. I have learned that others’ perception of selfish love leads one down a desolate path plagued by ego. The egotistic mindset haunts you, whispering all your imperfections and insecurities to you through the gusty wind.

What we must learn to do is expand our minds to the external beauty and cultures and how this is a total reflection of us. What we see in the eyes of others: the anger, the beauty, the cosmic illumination, the ever-changing colors, sparkling blue oceans, intimidating red hues as real as the core of Planet Earth– these are all reflections of what we have within us. And we have to learn that these are all safe qualities. We have to learn that living life to the fullest means making mistakes and consciously not following rules staked down in our paths. That we cannot exist for ourselves, because without knowing others and without knowing the world and the outer worlds, we have no way of understanding ourselves in the least bit.

Because if we release the anxieties of our personal lives and expand our minds even further into the Universe, we might realize we are an essential part of all of it. That the Universe exists in all of us, and for us. And the we exist for the Universe, that we are the Universe. We are whatever we want to believe. We have more power than we think. And yet we think too much.

Most importantly, we must realize that there is a multitude of magical beings desperately hinting their love and attraction towards us, frustrated that we still don’t recognize that within ourselves despite our constant strides towards “self-love”, still blinded by the fog of guilt and not being perfect yet. We won’t ever be perfect as we perceive it, but in the eyes of many complimentary beings, we are so perfect as we are. Some are even blind to our self-perceived imperfections because they see us as their own beautiful reflection. Not only are external factors a reflections; it is two-sided. WE are a reflection of the Universal, Godly magic and beauty in everyone else if we can see ourselves this way.

Most importantly, love has to be reflected in words. You need to understand that you are so beautiful as you are even in your imperfect health, facial flaws, inconvenient setbacks, etc… and that so many people are already placed in your path, eager to love and accept you for all of that whenever you allow them to. Loving yourself is accepting yourself for all the beliefs you lock down deep within, accepting that everybody has insecurities that won’t be resolved no matter how hard we try until we surrender to acceptance. 

And accepting that nobody else we love will ever be perfect, so we must learn to love beyond the flawed perceptions and into Truth and wholeness of oneness.

®Camille M. Garcia (2017)

 

Neediness: Plot Twist

Abstract Essays

You move to the mountains because you think you need to restore your energy. You go because you didn’t find what you were looking for in your hometown and you weren’t enough for anything or anyone there. You go to the mountains pleading for answers for your needy, desperate soul. Constantly you beg God and the Universe to send people to you so you’ll be satisfied. You search from town to town looking for people to heal you. You feel so deprived, so desperate for these people and landscapes and then so discouraged when, one day later, you can’t seem to find the answers written clearly in front of you.

You need an anchor. You need somebody to be there for you in your times of need (which is always). The need is so intense, so urgent that you conduct a private ceremony to manifest your solutions right here and now. Why wait patiently for the right timing in the future when you can just as easily control the outcome of your present? You feel confident stepping into your own power. The answer will come, you say, tomorrow morning if not NOW.

However, you’d almost forgotten how God, the Universe, and the Cosmos work in absurdly strange and mysteriously ironic ways.

You wake up in the morning prepared to go out in the world and manifest the solutions to all your needs and desires. You’re dressed to the nines with your newly inherited yoga suit- PLUS an extra dress to stroll the sidewalks of downtown after you’re finished with your yoga sesh in the ever-renowned studio a few miles south. This is it: the day you find exactly what you were looking for. The day you finally manifest your life partner and eternal sunshine and nine kittens, and an everlasting zest for art and creativity that cannot be killed off by anything- sickness, rodeos, or Donald Trump.

Plot twist.

You’re taken aback when, halfway out the door, you receive a text from your friend. A friend! You know, the one you met right here in your new mountain town. But you don’t necessarily know how to respond to texts in such a frenzy, so you call instead. Turns out, this friend has been throwing up consistently since 4am and tells you she’s desperately in need of someone. Living a little too high up the mountain and miles away from town, she needs someone to bring her electrolytes to restore her energy. She’s desperately in need of healing.

Of course, you want to help, so you run to the store and purchase all the essentials she needs to rehydrate. Beforehand, you followed your intuition and packed along the crystalized ginger and holy water that happened to fall off your shelf just as you were leaving. You thought you might as well utilize these in the healing session.  When you open the door to her cabin, you’re greeted by the most beautiful kitten that reminds you of the one you left with your parents back home. Your friend is so miserable she can’t even drink water. “There’s nothing anyone can do to help me!” she cries in desperation.

But you know this is not true, as you feel that the power of love energy can heal anything. You also know that you are certified in reiki, which can be very powerful, so you offer this assistance. After the reiki and Recharge and holy water, your friend feels much better and is no longer heaped in a fetal position on the floor.

While you’re here, simultaneously experiencing the power of love and its healing effects as well as angelic guidance, you receive a voicemail coming in later than it was recorded from another friend that you’re supposed to meet for lunch down the hill. At that moment. (The message popped up later than it was recorded because there is no service where you are currently located.) Now that your friend is doing better, you’re able to speed down the hill and arrive to your lunch appointment albeit forty minutes late.

The meal is more than satisfying to your physical hunger you’d forgotten about. It was exactly what you’d been craving all week, and finally on a Sunday you are able to fulfill this desire! And you’re sitting in a sheltered patio underneath the sunshine in January! Your conversation with this other new friend is spiritually satisfying. After lunch, you’re invited to her home where you are greeted by another precious cat- this one reminds you of the very first cat you ever had. Something in the conversation you have here catches your attention. You catch your friend saying, in comparison to another scenario, “…just like I needed someone to toss things back to, like we did at lunch today”. This new friend needed you there on this day, too.

At this point, you’re kind of getting the hint that everyone here’s in the same boat. And maybe you didn’t need the mountains after all, and maybe the mountains actually needed you.

This becomes even more evident when, upon your return from town after a refreshing solo hike around the lake at dusk, you receive yet another phone call. This time from a number you recognize but never saved as a contact.

“Hi, this is Sara,” the voice says as you frantically unplug your headphones so you’re able to talk. In the midst of this chaos, you both immediately begin the conversation with laughter.

Long story semi-short: you have a brief history with this name you’ve never met. Her sister called your work looking for her and you’re the one who answered. Apparently ‘Sara’ used to work there, too, but nobody knew her. A week later, you stumbled into a shop you had a dream about visiting. The owner, who for some unknown reason believes you need a new place to live even though you’re perfectly content where you are, asks if you know ‘Sara Parsons’. A familiar light flashes in your memory. This is the exact same name you heard a few days ago when her sister called your work looking for her!

Whoa! This wasn’t even the same town we’re talking about! And ‘Sara’ lived in a town forty minutes away from the shop– how is this conversation even logical? So you took this as some sort of sign. You’d been texting this lady about her potential room for rent even when you weren’t looking for a room, and now she was calling to figure out if you were actually interested. You confess the entire story from her sister to the shop and the town she lived in, figuring this story has to be 60 miles long but you sum it up in one sentence. You both agree it’s a little strange.

Yet the conversation flows so naturally that you immediately begin discussing the most personal issues in your lives, forgetting you’ve never before met in person. Turns out you’re both on the same path to self worth but you actually hold some important information to Sara’s blockages, and know exactly what words of wisdom to hand down to her. You’re completely confident at this point that you were the one who needed to give constructive criticism for the betterment of this stranger’s life. In 33 minutes, you discuss signs from the Universe, work history, future hopes, toxic home environments, unhealthy relationships, being stagnant in bad situations, flower essences you both should be taking, Kate’s Magick anointing oils, and the paint color of your rooms.

You plan on hanging out Tuesday.

Yes, you needed the mountains… but this is precisely for the reason that the mountains were desperately in need of you.

And when somebody or something needs you, you realize that your needs no longer matter and feel filled with purpose. Your desires are naturally fulfilled without having to conduct ceremonies to manifest them. (Did I mention Sara has seven cats? Count the number of cats mentioned in this post and it will equal nine, just as I subconsciously predetermined in my sarcastic list of needs in the earlier paragraphs.)

To be continued…

“A Place I Will Call Home”

Uncategorized

I tread two thousand miles over mesa valleys, vineyards, naked mountains, the River of Lost Souls, the rugged desert, and finally, mining towns– in hopes that one of these landscapes would pull me down from the star I float upon and into a more grounded state of being. I bypassed the forest canyon on my first stop without looking back or thinking twice about it, paying no heed to its personality or character. It was a place I’d driven through inside cars before, after all– nothing too foreign. It was only 130 miles from home. Why should it ever demand my full attention?

I should know better than to ignore a living landscape and judge its level of magic by proximity to my own homeland, which is in itself magic after all – albeit a magic I’ve become too accustomed to after a number of years. I should have known all along that of all the places I was attracted to, this land would be the one to call me back if only to defy my judgemental interpretation, my underestimation. If you return, I shall give you breath. I shall give you life.

The most profound contrast of this move is the quality of breath. Not the air, necessarily, but the breath. I believe it has to do with the aromatic properties emanating from the pines, which have many healing and magical properties that have significantly reduced the inflammation of my swollen tubercles and eliminated all my sinus congestion to such a state of clarity, that I can ACTUALLY BREATHE! I had attempted to resolve my sinus inflammation through a multitude of actions for three years. Doctors could not define the origin or explanation, and could never recommend anything that didn’t worsen the issue. Some kind of magic in the air.

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The difference between breathing clearly versus shallow breathing is that you may begin to see, hear, and interpret things to an even more extreme intensity than before. Your intuition may become even stronger, and your emotions may come even closer to surface. Memories may begin to flood your mind, and you may recognize in remorse how many experiences and opportunities were shattered by your former congestion and shallow breathing, unable to process or express their significance properly in the moment.

So this change of location is not about finding myself, as I’m sure many have interpreted. I am myself and will always be; it’s more about finding oxygen and from there, remembering myself. Remembering my passions, remembering how to define myself as a true artist and how to live the creative, crazy spiritual artist lifestyle in the healthiest, most balanced way possible. It’s about starting anew and trying to make sense of all the connections and opportunities I’ve lost because of my inability to be present and process. Before breathing clearly, I was only half (or less than half) alive.

Since my ability to integrate my travel experiences and live my daily experiences with full breath, I’ve felt the true magic in the air and have noticed odd patterns which make me wonder who is responsible for writing my life as though it is a mystical fairytale fiction novel– not quite the one I’m writing with my own hand. Then I quickly remember there are, in fact, a few suspects {wink}.

The fairytale is very clever and witty. The characters are truly authentic and eccentric, involving mysticism, wizards, fairies, angels, saints, witches, dwarfs, giants, potions, apples, mushrooms, numerology, astrology, and a play on names when it comes to town names and people names (including my own). The key theme is immortality, hence the town’s name “Evergreen”– it’s definition meaning forever young, or never-aging. I assume it an effect of the landscape and perhaps the timeless fairies floating amongst the pines here which cause the inhabitants to believe in such a thing as immortality. At times I have guessed that perhaps my middle-aged protagonist, whom I portray in first person, has thrown me into this mystical place to regain my own identity separate from hers in order to reverse my age. It is one thing being an old soul… another to completely take on physical aspects of old age which nobody seems to understand.

The metaphors are deeply defined and overwhelming in number. The plot is an everlasting comical twist that ascends in deeper, more complicated bends every day and every hour. However, the setting is a bit stereotypical, taking place in a mystical forest land where time is irrelevant and which nobody seems able to place in geography… and the author, whomever she may be, has apparently experienced a block in creativity when it comes to naming characters. I plead no offense to any of the multiple unique variations of Adrian’s, Adrienne’s, and Adrianne’s; Kathy’s, Cathy’s, and Katherine’s; Valerie’s or Victoria’s; Kevin’s or KevinAnn’s; Elizabeth’s and Beth’s; and Brooke’s– this greatly simplifies the process of remembering for which I am grateful and amused, but also confused.

Well, what more can you expect to find when you literally throw your fate to the winds of cosmic destiny?

There are people who were born with a clear motive on how to direct their life paths, hurdling effortlessly over any obstacles; those are the people who breathe clearly and have a strong mindset that won’t let judgements of others get in their way. This is not the way I was at the time I made a “decision” to move. At this time two months ago, I wasn’t even sure when I was making decisions or when I wasn’t. I was in such a miserable state of confusion in which all my former “career paths” had fallen through, and I was so accustomed to letting others make decisions for me that I couldn’t trust my own intuition although I had greatly defined it during the course of my solo travels. I wanted the best for myself, but had no idea how to go about that at this point. I heard Elizabeth Gilbert’s voice in my head, Not this. God, not this. Anything but this. I hadn’t a clue how Cheyenne was negatively affecting my physical, emotional, and spiritual health but I knew my time here was becoming less and less purposeful. It was taking too much effort to be in sync with the flow. I couldn’t find a flow there anymore.

In a mere state of amusement and curiosity, I found myself making a list of intentions under the header, A Place I Will Call Home. Among this list of 11 intentions were: (6) Genuinely happy people (7) People to play music with (8) Able to express myself freely… (10) Always healthy. I then proceeded to brainstorm places I thought might be potential candidates for such specific qualities of change I desired in my life. Just for the fun of it. This list of towns began with the places I dreamed of most, places I thought my soul obviously belonged like Taos, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Durango, or Grand Junction. I even included Laramie and Fort Collins just to be fair to them because I could logically pinpoint potential, though I’d lived in both cities before and couldn’t find a reason to stay. Just as I was cutting up each of these places to set into a box, I heard a voice in my head that clearly whispered, “Evergreen”.

It was a word that had been showing up in my path for about a year, so nothing compared to all my four billion North Carolina or California signs.  My first impression of Evergreen’s significance in my path was that perhaps it was a parallel town to that of my fiction novel I’ve been attempting to write for over seven years now. I thought maybe I was supposed to retreat in a log cabin for awhile to gain more experience and write. It never occurred in my mind that I would live here in official residency and work on living my own life instead of writing fiction; I wasn’t necessarily a fan of snow or hidden tourist-y mountain towns where driving a car every day is mandatory. Regardless, I jotted Evergreen onto my paper and threw it in the box with all my other fantasy town options. Asking for guidance from the highest source, I called upon my intentions and highest guides as I pulled my answer.

Evergreen.

Alright, Universe. I’d already made my intentions clear, so was it possible this could actually be the answer? I didn’t doubt it. I decided to go with it instead of fighting against it. Evergreen, Colorado is a town of less than 10,000 people. All I knew was that I needed a new, fulfilling job and a place to live asap. I began looking right away, and found some possible opportunities in Golden, Colorado so I thought perhaps the Universe had been leading me towards a town a little more realistic to thrive in. Still, I couldn’t forget that voice in my head. Why would I hear such a specific answer, albeit random and unusual? I applied for some jobs in Golden, not anticipating much to happen. While I waited for a response or some kind of clearer answer towards my life direction, I spent the week applying for jobs in Cheyenne in case that really was my only option.

A week later, I still hadn’t heard anything from any of the places I’d applied at! (Except for one in Taos, but for some reason I couldn’t make myself call back). I began searching for jobs again, following any spark of inspiration that popped into my head. My fingers led me to click after click, guided by something other than my logical mind. I found myself searching all Natural Grocers positions in Colorado. I scrolled and found multiple different cities, but there was one that stood out to me. I began applying to the Evergreen Natural Grocers, somewhat peeved I had to go through the process of applying after I’d applied for the Cheyenne location so many times and my well-thought-out responses had seemingly been lost somewhere in cyberspace, unread. I shouldn’t have to try so hard, I thought. This was a phrase that had been in my subconscious mind quite frequently.

In the middle of filling out the application, my phone rang with the caller ID reading Denver, Colorado.  I answered, inquisitively. It was the manager of the Evergreen Natural Grocers..! I was bewildered. How was this possible, when I hadn’t even submitted my application? He wanted me to come in for an interview. Though it was two hours away, I agreed to coming in three days later because what else could I do with my time while I waited for the right opportunity?  It was as though we had a psychic connection somewhere in the cosmos as the mutual agreement happened to be on a Thursday. I remembered this was also the day a popular coffee shop in town held an open mic, and began to get excited.

The outcome? “Well, we’re definitely interested. It’s just going to be difficult finding a place to live here in the middle of October, so give us a call if you find a place to live!” Both managers and all the workers possessed such genuine, humorous and lighthearted qualities I hadn’t seen in any of my previous jobs situations. I had a feeling something would work out, I just didn’t see how. I did have a cousin who lived in the area, just not ideally close. After the interview, I stopped at a crystal/metaphysical shop where I had a thorough conversation about abundance and manifestation with an intuitive witch who wore a witch hat, along with two customers named Jeannie and Jeanine. I was persuaded into purchasing citrine for better luck with abundance. All three women encouraged me that I would find the perfect place to live; they were certain I was heading in the right direction already and everything would fall into place. I believed them, and was reminded of this every time I held the golden citrine.

After I left, I knew I should have gone to explore Evergreen more thoroughly if this was a potential place of residency. For some reason, I drove in the opposite direction. In the time I had before the open mic, I drove down Highway 73 in admiration of the foothills’ golden beauty. This specific drive along 73 was so familiar with ancient beauty, and though I’d travelled this highway before, I was always seeing something new and interesting. I didn’t know where I was going. Morrison? I didn’t really feel like traveling that far before the open mic. About 7 miles down, I had a spontaneous thought to stop at the nearest park to practice with my guitalele so I would be prepared. The weather was beautiful and the sun was still shining at around 5pm. I immediately spotted Lair O the Bear wildlife lookout and park, just as soon as I had this thought. I made a sharp fork downward into the canyon floor.

There were three different paths to take as I exited my car with my guitalele in hand. I followed my intuition straight into the forest of aspens and cottonwoods, much contrasting the forest of pines, conifers, and firs that made up Evergreen just a few miles away. I stumbled upon the lively creek (Bear Creek, another recurring name I’d encountered all throughout my travel journey) where I heard bluegrass music mingling with the rushing of the creek. Two older men stood at the bank with instruments in hand, while their wives and another couple sat listening on the man-made tiers of the bank. They all greeted me with warm, amused smiles as I encroached upon their setting.

“I guess I came to join the jam,” I said.

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They were overjoyed by my presence, as I was with theirs. We jammed together for about an hour, drinking wine by the creek. These were also humorous, light-hearted people whom I felt a sense of kinship with, as though I’d already known them all before we introduced ourselves. We took pictures and exchanged numbers. All of them lived in Denver, so I felt fortunate to have met them at such a strange time! I drove back into town feeling rejuvenated by the Bear Creek air. Already my breath and my mind were a little clearer; I didn’t feel so overwhelmed. I felt at home, like I’d found a rare treasure in this landscape.

The magical witch showed up at the open mic to see me, along with her Brazilian friend and another musician friend. I connected with this other friend right away, and again we spoke of the way crystals and positive affirmations manifest abundance. She said she was excited to play music with me. “Wait, you’re not going to Cheyenne tonight, are you?” She invited me over to her home to play music afterwards. So just like that, I had a new friend to play music with. This was the highlight of my Evergreen experience that day, and we spoke of a potential cabin which might be available for me to rent around December.

However, I came back to Cheyenne the next day carrying the weight of finding a living situation if I were serious about taking this new job. For a single day, I was in a frantic frenzy over it. Then, suddenly, I remembered my new friend Jennifer was from Idaho Springs and I acted on my spontaneity to ask her if she knew anyone who might be able to rent a room. I hadn’t expected anything significant in return, but it was an idea. Jennifer gladly posted this inquiry for me on an online Facebook site, and sent me back a response the next day. This had been the only response, posted by a woman named Cathy. I called Cathy the next day, who openly stated she enjoyed talking to me. By the time our conversation ended, she concluded that she was so excited for my move as though she’d already made the decision to have me live with her although we hadn’t met.

Exactly one week later, I was settled into the magical purple room in the forest and working happily at Natural Grocers– the place I’d associated with “home” in my south-most travels explained in Day 14: I-25 NM Decisions & Conclusions. Working in a health-focused environment in the Denver-metro forest would turn out to be the perfect place of retreat and rejuvenation for my mind, body, and spirit. At first, I was moving with the flow… the flow of Bear Creek. At times, however, there are certain stones we must swim around. I couldn’t simply toil upon a stone at the edge of the bank, growing mold forever. I was taking the path of least resistance, but there has been much expansive work to do here.

More details of the forest fairytale to be continued…

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‘We’ve all got holes to fill, and them holes are all that’s real. Some fall on you like a stone, sometimes you dig your own. The choice is yours to make, and time is yours to take. Some dive into the sea, some toil upon the stone.’ – To Live is to Fly

‘Now she stands on the forest floor, among the pines and towering firs. Rock still firm beneath her feet; bird perched high above her, singing songs of love’s betrayal. ‘I offered you my endless sky. You countered with hoods and chains. This song I sing will be the last I sing to be inspired by your memory.’ – “Rock and Bird”, Cowboy Junkies

® Camille M. Garcia, 2016

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Day 7: Scenic Route to Durango

September Retreat

I would have had a hard time leaving Palisade if my journey hadn’t already been prolonged enough. I found myself leaving Poppy’s palace a little late, anyhow. I was sad to leave the new friends I made as well as the old ones I’d reconnected with. Originally the intention here was to experience the beauty of Colorado’s wine country, which I did… I just didn’t expect that in this place, I would obtain so many friends by magic.

I still found it mandatory to begin my day with yoga on the deck overlooking the vineyard; something I would never, ever grow tired of. How could I, when I’d never experienced so much energy in any other place before? I think that simply being surrounded by vineyards, orchards, and rivers were the things which caused Life to surge through me. I was completely restored and renewed.

Due to the wind, I decided to reroute my direction towards Utah instead of heading directly over the mountain. The day was a little shady and intense, but I found beauty along the side of the road. My destination was Durango, Colorado– a place I’d only recently felt pulled towards and booked an Air BNB last minute. I still had no place to stay the second night in Durango, but figured I’d decide soon enough.

I’d never been called, specifically, to the landscapes of Utah. But it was hard for me to deny my newfound taste for red rocks. I didn’t expect to find anything significant in Moab, but as I arrived I was astonished to encounter a plethora of kindred spirits and unique shops in downtown! I hadn’t even been expecting to visit this town, but I ended up purchasing my new favorite outfit at one of the shops. As I was driving away and sunlight fell in the windy valleys of golden grass and red mountains, I knew this was a place I would like to come back to eventually. More likely, on a real music tour than a solo road trip without sound equipment.

The drive towards Durango felt as though I was constantly in spiritual communication with the landscapes surrounding me. In what some would call “no man’s land”, I could sense the beautiful ancestral history of all that had occurred (all the while listening to historic country western radio). I wanted to be taking pictures while driving, but simply allowed the landscapes to become part of my spirit. The was a point in which traffic came to a halt, and I was grateful for this to admire the open land.

It was foreign, and I got lost only nearing the end of the drive, but I was still being pulled in the right direction.

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My temporary residence in Durango, CO

I hadn’t realized my Air BNB residency for my first night in Durango was 8 miles out of town. As I arrived, I was greeted by most host, chickens, dogs, and cats. Barbara and I immediately had ten thousand subjects to talk about. Her home was the warmest of all my travels so far; I had never felt so welcome in a stranger’s house before.

She happened to live less than a mile from Trimble Hot Springs– and I was craving a soak in a hot springs after my far drive into the beauty and mystery of southwest Colorado. When I arrived at the hot springs spa, it was dark. I was a little hesitant about being alone in a hot springs far out of town in the dark, but it felt more adventurous to me than frightening.

I met a new friend there, who was an amazing resource to my next destination: Albuquerque, New Mexico, as she had lived there for sixteen years prior to Durango. I left with a list of Albuquerque herb shops and Durango music festivals. I was also invited to a bluegrass festival out of town that Saturday, and I felt compelled to stay… However, I had already made plans for Albuquerque and didn’t want to cancel 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.

 

 

Susto

Abstract Essays

Susto is a common ailment in Mexican and southwestern United States traditional medicine or curanderismo, referring to the loss of one’s soul due to extreme fright.

I first became acquainted with this term three years ago when I apprenticed with a Mayan herbalist in Yucatán, Mexico for six weeks. There, it is more commonly referred to as nervios. Nervousness, loss of soul… same thing. Por ejemplo, he said, it is common to lose one’s soul if you become frightened by the appearance of a snake. I associated this idea with the instinctive thought of death—being so scared for a single moment that the soul leaps from one’s body so as not to be harmed.

Those who are diagnosed with susto experience symptoms such as loneliness, emptiness, nervousness, anxiety, and panic. In severe cases, they are unable to breathe due to feelings of constriction and heaviness in the chest. Some are unable to speak. The longer one’s condition remains untreated, the more physical ailments will progress such as serious ongoing infections, particularly in the sinuses. Long-term cases will inevitably lead to death.

Nervios, for a reason nobody in the village could fathom, was most commonly detected in infants. Various herbal and shamanic remedies could be prescribed to cure this, each one different depending on the chosen practitioner, and the baby or the client would be on their way to resume daily life. The thing that boggled my mind the most was how frequent this ailment, if you could call it something so minor, occurred amongst villagers here. Many Westerners would probably conclude that it was ‘a mental thing’.

 

It took me three years to unearth a few mysteries behind susto. Just because it isn’t typically spoken of in this culture doesn’t mean it doesn’t still exist in this culture, disguised behind masks of peculiar words in the English vocabulary. Unfortunately, western medical vocabulary doesn’t normally relay the root of any disease within the word itself, so we are often left without the simplest tools to detect the most obvious counteraction to the cause. Linguistic anthropology classes can tell you that, but so can common sense. (Though I do give us credit for keeping malaria– bad air.)

It took me even more time to finally accept that maybe there was a reason as to how one contracted this disease, and why babies were the regular victims. What IS shyness, and why was I shy as an infant? Why, when I’d never lived any experiences of my own, would I escape from the womb still acting like a prisoner of worry?

 

My father once revealed a hidden belief of his, in explanation of my strange déjà vu encounter with Colorado’s oldest town, San Luis. When I first passed through this town on a road trip with two of my aunts, years ago, I exclaimed, “I WROTE about this town in a segment of my novel!!!” My two aunts were a little wary of this sudden exclamation, more likely to assume I’d gone overboard with the definition of ‘fiction’ than to come up with any spiritual explanation. His response was unexpected and I could have perceived it as sarcastic, like many of his jokes, but I knew it was serious:

We have generational memories still engraved in our brains from all of our New Mexican ancestors. Maybe that’s why.

             We didn’t discuss generational diseases.

I’d been attending doctor’s offices for ten years, coming in with strange dilemmas nobody could diagnose. Hm, that’s an interesting one, they would say. I really can’t say why that is. Eventually, I gave up. There was no point of being prescribed birth control to counteract odd symptoms of anxiety. When a doctor inquires about your family’s history of disease, he or she isn’t normally referring to emotional distress passed down to the offspring from ancient ancestors, causing seemingly physical illnesses in the living generations. Doctors aren’t about to diagnose, say, generational fright as a chronic disease.

Were my ancestors really so terrified of following their heart’s passion that their souls left their bodies, only to come back in the form of me, still carrying all that fright? And why, of all things, did this have to include love? Life goals and love stories all have had two trending commonalties: hopelessness and failure. I could reveal ancient secrets I’ve exclusively been told, but I can’t do that here. All I need mention is that generational curses do exist, and it doesn’t help any to be indirectly discouraged since infant years from conquering the thing you’ve been trying to overcome throughout the course of generations and past lives. It doesn’t help to be told by any alternative medicine practitioner that if I don’t achieve what it is I’m trying to overcome, my body will continue to wither up and die.

 

At home amongst the Colorado-Wyoming border, I turned to such alternative healing methods—the closest we have to traditional herbalism and curanderismo– in search of possible root causes. I became certified in such professions myself, in hopes that doing so would cure me of all my issues. On the contrary, I ended these certification courses with even more confusion and anxiety, taking too long to integrate the true meaning of these practices within myself. I was experiencing life but not actually living it. I was living not from the heart but out of obligation to ensure the peace of mind for those who cared for my wellbeing.

I couldn’t have foreseen the true beginning of my transformative healing, if I had to pinpoint a day since birth, on July 28th when I decided I should attend the Indian Pow Wow. I dragged along the first familiar soul I randomly encountered that day to accompany me, whether he liked it or not. I was afraid to get out and dance freely with everyone at the event—of course I was; I was afraid of everything. But this compulsion was too strong, and I was tired of being afraid. I followed the lead of a young-spirited grandmother wearing a sunhat out to the “dance floor”, the grass stage, forcing my friend to trail along. We danced in a circle to the beat of a drum, the sound that signifies the heartbeat in Native American tradition.

They say the drum is nurturing to a broken heart; it should be able to beat life back into one’s body when played in rhythm. It is the first sound we hear in the womb, the sound that literally brings us to life. Tradition has it that this sound can heal any disease associated with lack of life. I didn’t realize at the time that it would also efficiently beat the life back into my soul.

The grand finale of my healing came crashing down on my birthday exactly a week later, as my downstairs neighbor’s antlers simultaneously came crashing down off the wall. My party of eight had been stomping too loud, he claimed—stomping to the beat of 50s music, stomping the fear out of our souls. We all do it. He wouldn’t be the one to complain, after all, when just hours ago my rooftop sunbathing session had been interrupted by his metal band blasting music through the roof. A hardcore metal band knows the importance of release. Their excuse for loudness is the loudest instrument: the drums.

This time, there were no rituals or herbal remedies involved– only drums, dancing, 50s hop, and wine. Since the drum, I have had hope to continue living life from the heart. Since dancing, I have had courage to pursue endeavors that spark fireworks in core of my being. So, there exist alternative remedies even to typical alternative medicine.

Whatever you must release, do so.