These woods I am talking about are the woods that surround my incredible apartment in Bedford, Massachusetts. I was here again, these last two weeks. I love this place. I walk these woods and each step sounds that crunch of snowy leaves and soil beneath my feet. The tall and abundant trees, some with evergreen, others sparce and bare in these wintery months, stand tall against an almost white sky. The cold air on my face, there is a smell to it, of moisture and moss. This is a good place.
And then, on a walk that I took with my landlord’s son he walked me to see the Emu. I wanted to create the story that the facility that housed this bird was a secret, hidden place. But it was just here. No apology at all. And here, behind a chain fence, stood the bird.
He’s been here for as long as I can remember, said my woods walking companion.
And in that instant, despair landed in the beauty of the trees. Because I immediately projected that this was not a good place, nestled in my good woods.
But it is. It is the Concord Field Station and supports the “physiological and biomechanical laboratory-based research of animal performance, seeking to understand how animals operate in their natural environment.” It is research, not testing.
And then there is this bird.
I had so many questions. Does someone love him? Is he out there all alone all the time? And so is he lonely? What do they do with him? Is he a him? Or a her?
She/he looks incredibly healthy. Did you know that an Emu in the wild may live only 10 years or so (though some will live to 20) but in captivity they can live up to 35 years! And an Emu in Eastern Victoria is almost 60!
I went back a second time. And then, again, a third. And this Emu, here in this place, behind this metal fencing, this bird that has been here for as long as my previous walking the woods companion can remember, each time I show up he/she runs to the fence, and then along the inside edge, lowering and raising their head up and down, up and down, as they looked at me. Do I make him nervous? Or is she happy to see that someone is here with them? I truly could not tell though worried I was kind of upsetting them and perhaps should not stay for too long.
I called the facility, while I was standing on the path with my bird, to ask, am I bothering him? Is she happy to see me? How old is my bird anyway? And I learned he is 18 and loves company so feel free to step off the path and come in close to say hi.
Which I did. And while I did not stay for too long, it felt good to come in close to say hello out loud to this bird and not just to this bird. To the air out here. And the trees. To the path that I walk along to reach this place again. To say out loud, I see you and I know that you are here.
My Monday Morning Writing May Not Be Every Monday
But on the other hand, it may.
Some weeks, the writing may come weekly. Other weeks maybe not. Because this is where I’m at these days. Because, as I sit to write this Monday morning writing that lands squarely on this Monday, I am reflecting on this thought I had a few days before, that not every writing wants to do that. That not every writing wants to come every week.
And this revelation of when my writing should flow up out of me and be shared with you, it mirrors the trajectory of where my life is taking me now. There is a duality in this. In the structure of my commitment to my commitments against the commitment to honor what may unfold in every moment.
I am trying to be in every moment as it is. I am trying.
And so, these things that I do, especially the ones that are a scheduled commitment in my day, those need to be examined to see if there is flexibility that will allow for an alignment of these activities with the inner workings of me.
When I write allows for this alignment. And so…
My Monday morning writing may not be every Monday. It may be every other. Or two in a row and then a few weeks of no writing at all. It will be what it is in the moment I feel the creativity call me to share my words with you. And while this Monday morning writing may not be every Monday, I guarantee it will show up on a Monday.
Oh, and this pic of my sneaks….this has nothing to do with this writing at all. Just a cool pic. On this Monday day.
Thank you for reading my writing today.
It is a new year. A weird stepping in for me. I am not quite sure where I am in this new place that is this new year. It feels the same for me because the paths I am navigating these days I am still on, and they still look the same to me. I can see a glimpse in the distance but no clear new views yet. I can feel the possibility of growth, but the same weeds and thorns and roots trip me as I walk on my way. No fresh fauna or fern covers the dirt, no new birds sing. I am not accompanied by any new species of totem animal to light my path with wisdom blessed down upon me. Not yet. And so, this stepping into the new year, this is not a new year yet for me. My new year will be when I leave these woods. I am not sure when this will be.
So let’s talk about the rain instead.
It rained this past week in Ojai. A bit of a downfall and a lot of sprinkling. For three of the five days. And more days of more rain are coming this week that is starting now. Which is a very good thing for us. Because we need it. We have not had much rain for a very long time. And our land is hard and thirsty. Our trees dig roots deep to keep growing high and our oranges and lemons and oh our poor avocados, their harvest is not as abundant as we would like. And so this rain, it is very good for us.
And very hard for me.
My other lives as a cat (I am sure there was at least two) or a Doberman (because my dog acts as if the raindrops are daggers piercing into her skin) cause me to avoid the rain at all costs. I just don’t like it.
Interesting for a Pisces to say. Because I do love the water. To be on it (rowing). In it (swimming but it has to be warm water). Having it fall on me within the contained space of my shower floor (anyone who knows me knows this is a safe place for me, along with my car). Interestingly, I do not like hot baths. Too sweaty. But I do love Jacuzzis (as long as they are very hot and, yes I know, hot baths, very hot Jacuzzis, why do I like one but not the other? This I do not know). Suffice it to say I do love hot Jacuzzis. But rain--
Not so much.
But let’s talk about my dog. I wrote a piece about her and the rain a while back. How much she does not like it. Like hates it. Like, will not go outside and once I had to take her in a parking garage when I was out of town and it was raining and I could not get her to go out for a walk with me. It was quite a torrential rain, but still. I had to go down to the bottom level of an indoor parking garage, with a poop bag, some grass I pulled up from the ground, a bucket of warm water and some paper towel (because I am a responsible dog owner) and let my dog do her business on sub level 4! She was embarrassed. I could tell. But not so much that she would go outside.
Her limits are crystal clear. My limits are, as yet, unknown.
I did a burning last week. In my caldron. I have a caldron. : ) Usually it is full up with dog toys and tennis balls because what better place to keep my soul dog’s things than in my witchy caldron. I talk about this before, in a writing I did back in September, 2016. Here is the link if you feel called to read it, because that writing, it compliments this writing. Down to my dog’s things.
So I did this burning back in 2016, with a plan to do more which I never did do. And now it is now, and without much thought beforehand, I was called to burn again.
This time my burning was writings. I had started to journal a bit a few months before this time. A pen to paper writing release. Back towards the end of October after a session with a wise, spirit-calling sage who suggested that I needed to get my thoughts out of my head and onto a page rather than have them spill constantly out of my mouth and into the world. These thoughts were not world sharing thoughts. They were private and chaotic. Some were toxic. Most were way too emotional for anyplace other than the paper they fell on.
I did this through three blank books over the course of less than two months. The first book was beautiful. Handmade paper that has that rough texture I love. Even the sound of the pen as it wrote across the page had depth.
When I decided to start this pen paper writing, I remembered that I already owned this blank book. I am not sure where it first came from. I believe it was a gift. But I am not sure. I do know that I had it for a very long time, always loved it, and that I never ever had any desire to journal in it until just these few months ago. But I knew exactly where it was, on the shelf in my closet, and I knew it was to be the first container of this writing process that was beginning for me for how long I did not know.
I also purchased a pack of 12 black disposable fountain pens. Because my handmade paper book needed a special pen. It needed to feel old. As in ancient. As in wise. And so I purchased a cheap alternative to a true fountain pen so I could feel the history of language as it flowed out of me.
This first book was small, 3 x 4.5 and I filled it up fast. Words tumbled out daily. And by mid-November I needed more. I looked for another blank paged book like the one I just filled and there was nothing I could find. Not on Amazon, or Etsy—except for one seller whose books were leather bound, and while beautiful did not call to me in the way this first book held just the right space for my words to find ground—nor any of the local book and gift stores in my town, or Ventura or Santa Barbara. If ever I was compelled to start a business perhaps it would be to source beautiful paper and handmade bindings and journals for writing that fit just right in your hand. Because there was nothing I could find, anywhere, that matched my first filled book that I already owned.
And so I purchased two, generic but doable, 4.5 x 7-inch journals., They were not quite the same as writing on the beautiful paper that played the sound of my pen just so, but they held the thoughts that released from my brain good enough.
And then, on the day of this burning last week, I realized I was done. The words did not need to come out through my hand any longer. But more, I realized that I didn’t need to even have these words around me any longer. I didn’t need to reread them. I didn’t need to save them for a later visit. I didn’t need to hold on to them just for safe keeping.
The purpose was to get the thoughts in my head out of me and onto a place where they could land. That was it. And then, on this day when I realized I was done, I knew the offering up of all I had written in a burning with sage was the closing act of this deliberate endeavor.
And so I did this burning.
I took the dog toys and tennis balls out of their cast iron container, layered in many sheets of aluminum foil for easier cleanup as burning books mean mountains of ash, and I sat outside with the setting sun and lit my words on fire.
One page at a time, ripped from first my handmade paper journal and then the two store bought ones. One page at a time to start and then sheets of two and three together. Some ripped in half or thirds, others crumbled into balls for better burning.
The flame ebbed and flowed with each paper piece addition to the caldron. The smoky smell had age to it, and plastic too, as the two, newer journal books had covers that were coated and smooth. The smoke burned my throat and eyes while I sat beside the flames and threw a ball to my dog down the lawn.
The sun set quicker than even I was aware and soon it was dark as I continued to feed my caldron with my words of woe. I added sage, wrapped in a thick leather thread and thin gold wire and the smell turned just to sage for a few moments before settling back into just smoke again. The leather thread burned quickly. The gold melted down before my eyes. And then it was done. The books were gone, even the covers burned and melted into the ash of reflection. The ambers twinkled in a good way, and I stirred them with these long grill tongs which allowed air to get in and spark the flame a few more times where still there was paper to burn.
I was in Massachusetts two weeks ago, in early December. I started to write about this last week, just when I arrived back here, to my west coast home. I started to write about this visit and two things happened. One—my dog pulled me in and a writing about her was essential to that moment. And two—I found my thoughts were not quite clear. I found my thoughts were not quite clear which I know my dog knew, and so she saved me from myself by pulling me in to write about her until I was ready to write about me.
Because my reflection of this visit needed more time to simmer, to percolate, and then to solidify so that my sharing of this visit in this early December would capture not just the story of my visit but the essence of my visit, too.
I will start with this photo.
This photo is the Concord River. It is beautiful here on this river in the mornings on my runs two weeks ago in Massachusetts. It is beautiful here, along this river. My runs here, in the early mornings, are gifts to me. Each day. Each day that I run here, to this river, is a gift that I take in and hold tight and do not take for granted. Not even for an instant.
Because in this gift of these runs along this river in Massachusetts sits many important things that are unfolding for me in this moment of my life.
I was in Massachusetts in this early December to help my dad organize his move to live full-time in Florida. And to organize moving my mom to a care facility. Full-time in Florida. And to set up an apartment in Bedford, along the Concord River, that I am renting here. Part-time. A place to land when I land back here to see the people I love that live on this side of my world.
It is less costly to rent a place that I have full-time and will only use part-time than it is to rent a hotel, or an Airbnb for only those times I am here. Of course I can stay with my son and my sister, but I find, as I set up this space, that I need a place to land that is mine. And this place is good. This small apartment in this amazing home on this beautiful land that abuts the Concord River that I am gifted to run along each morning that I am here. This place is very good.
My transition back and forth, and to and from, Massachusetts has been an evolution. We moved away because I was cold. The winters here, in my east coast home are cold. I am not a cold weather person by any stretch of the imagination and so, when it was that time in our lives where we could move without disrupting our children’s lives too much, we did. My plan was never to come back in the winter months, ever. Like ever. And that first year I was back pretty much every month.
It was a year of doctor appointments and memory studies and research and the hope for discovery around my mom’s deep dive into Primary Progressive Aphasia. We, my dad and my sisters and me, we tried to deep dive along with her. She left us on the surface.
So this first year brought many east coast visits in the cold of winter. The snow and the ice. The wind and the chill. I was not happy coming back. For many reasons.
These visits extended through the sweet smell of spring, the warm winds of summer and those deep and golden autumn leaves. The best times of New England. And this went on for many years.
There was a wedding and babies were born. Winter babies (can we please have some summer babies?).
And in between there was a three-month stint at the western end of my Massachusetts home. I journeyed back here six years ago this past summer to set up shop for a short time. This visit now reminds me just a bit of that visit then.
This is what I want to talk about.
Because I am in transition. Again. And these transitions, they happen during these times that Massachusetts pulls me back. The work gets started here. The triggers that spark the work show up here. The feelings of fragility are found here. The bareness of my vulnerability is barely bearable here. This is what Massachusetts seems to offer me.
It is the denseness of the space back here. The trees are big and full and take up half the sky and I feel that my energy is contained in a smaller space with not much room to flow from me to spaces far away. My energy, it cannot flow outward from me and so I must flow through it. I must flow through this because there is no way around this. The space I am in here is small and contained.
Massachusetts is like this. The trees are full and the roads are narrow. The towns are piled next to each other, one after the other after the other again and I move through them, one after the other after the other again, as I drive to where I am going.
I get to places fast when even the trip is long. Even a few hours’ drive feels faster here. Because I am passing through so many places in a moments time. It is all packed in.
I am all packed in.
On July 20th, 2016, I wrote a piece—Where Every Place Reminds Me—about my visit to Massachusetts to visit a farmhouse I would be renting that September 2016. For just a few short months. But still, a renting of a space that was my space then just as this, my new full-time apartment that I will use part-time, is my space now.
My visit these few weeks ago feels like that visit then. And while much is different—as this apartment is a long-term endeavor to create this bi-coastal life I crave for to see my children and grandchildren that live on each end of this vast land I fly across as often as I can—the process seems to be the same. I am setting up shop again. In this new space in the woods near the Concord River. A workshop. Of introspection and exploration. A small space in the woods, where I will sit in the music of my emotions as I run through the deepness of my soul.
~photo credit Madeleine Altmann
I love my dog.
Anyone who knows me, knows this. Plus I have written about her many, many times on this—I’ve Just Gotta Say This—blog. Because she is just amazing. And smart. And oh my, so gorgeous and perfect. And amazing. Did I say amazing? She is.
What makes her so is not the fact that she is probably one of the most beautiful dogs. She has this truly lovely face. And she is lean. And her coat is so shiny. She was pick of litter. Her collar was pink. She was called Miss Pink until I named her Nava. Which means beautiful in Hebrew. She is beautiful. And very fancy. Very well bred and very well kept. So she is fancy. And just so beautiful.
And it’s not the fact that she is smart. So smart. She can learn anything. She knows so many things. She hasn’t learned more things because we haven’t learned how to teach them to her. I say we, but I really mean he. As in my husband. He is the teacher of new Nava tricks and tasks. He loves to work her. She loves when he works her. He needs to learn new tricks and new tasks so he can teach her new tricks and new tasks. She learns them in like two tries. This is how smart she is.
But it’s not these things.
What makes her so extraordinary is her soul. She is my soul dog. Truly. She is. She is my grounding rod. My stability. She is the place I rest my spirit, often as I lay myself on top of her. She is that big. And strong. And she can hold the weight of me, both my body and my heart. Held by her body and her soul.
Nava reads my mind. And I read hers. We both have a bit of anxiety and I wonder, sometimes, if she has mine or if I have hers. A whole separate writing I will reflect on another time. For now, I will simply say that our minds are attached. I will think a thought and she is there, ready for what escapes from my head and into hers. She will think a thought and an image will come to my mind. And I know exactly what she needs. We are connected in this quite incredible way.
She knows I am writing about her, right now.
I rowed in a race yesterday. Two actually. Two rowing races. Down in Long Beach at this really cool place called Marine Stadium.
This was quite the experience for me as a new/novice rowing person.
And here’s the thing. While I am an internally competitive person and expect a level of excellence in what I put my mind to doing, I do not think of myself as an outwardly competitive person. My running and biking and triathlon races were internal. In my preparation before I began. And in my process within each race. How well can I do. Against me. How far can I push. Myself. How fast can I run against the clock in my head.
But this, racing in a boat with others who want to race to win. To place. To beat another team. This has not been my headspace as an athlete. And so this was new yesterday.
And I think I like it.
I think I like it because this being in a boat as part of a team and doing my best as a piece of the whole feels good. I like being in this place of being in community with this greater team of not just my boat(s) but all the other boats and rowers. The Masters Rowers and the Junior Athletes. The young 17-year-old who gave me advice because this was my first race day and he’s been doing this since junior high. The teammate who checked that my shoes were secure. This. I really like this.
And with this, within the beauty of these relationships that I am growing into within this community of rowers, I find that I can still settle into my internal reflection that is essential in every challenge I step into.
I was not sure the environment would lend itself to this.
I was worried this regatta would be too frenetic. It wasn’t. Even with the bustle of so many people and so many boats and getting your shoes attached and the right oars in place and your feet positioned and … go!... There was still a sweet calm before the race. I need this.
I need to go to introspection. I need to sit in my mind and play my plan for my race. In a quiet space.
This reminds me of when I was acting. A lot. For a period of time I was acting a lot. On the stage, and in independent films. Commercials and industrials, too. And this acting, I would stand in the wings and wait for my cue before that sweet moment of drama began and I would be sitting in my mind. I would be in the darkness of the wings of the stage, quiet and alone and sweet and calm. With that bit of adrenalin that comes from knowing you are about to step into creativity in a big way. This bit of adrenalin that propels you along the route from the wings to the stage.
And I got to do this here, too. To sit on the sand with a small bit of sun on my face between the clouds and light rain. I got to step into my head preparation that I long for before any outward manifestation of my creative and productive energy come forth.
The environment that contained this rowing race regatta offered this.
I have always been swayed by my environment. It is why it is so important that I live down dirt roads or long driveways. And that my home sits against the nature of a hillside or the edge of a forest or the sea. I need my feet on dirt and my eye to extend out further than the street. It is a blessing that I have been able to find homes like this. Places that contain me. A container of safety. It is external and it is important.
So this race day regatta—It offered this. And I believe I will do more of this. Because of this.
When I woke up yesterday morning, before this race was rowed, I assumed that I would not. Like this. That I would not like this, racing like this. I prepared myself that I wouldn’t like this.
Yesterday was a lovely surprise. A community of rowers that embraced each other, created space for interaction with each other and supported the space for introspection with ourselves.
The day could truly not have been any better.
It started with a conversation where I said something that I thought upset the person I was talking with. And then I felt discomfort and, God forbid I sit in my discomfort and learn from it, I had to fix that and say something more to diffuse the reaction I thought I saw and make amends.
And, of course, the reaction that I thought I saw that I felt compelled to make amends for, that reaction didn’t exist. Except in my mind. Which I then projected outside of me and onto them.
And so I reached out. Hey, I am sorry I projected onto you. I am doing that a lot lately. Please feel free to call me out if I do it again. With a silly emoji smiley face at the end so I didn’t come across as too heavy and cumbersome.
This habit, of projecting out, it kind of lives in the same bucket as the perseverating as preparation that I reflected on last week, and the stories that I lay on others about who I think they are that I mentioned a few weeks before (do ya think there’s a theme here in my current soul journey lessons?)
But my projecting, while it kind of lives in this bucket, it is really a beast all its own. And here’s the thing about this. While these other two, in my head and creating stories patterns, are patterns of behavior I am aware of despite the fact that I sometimes/often can’t stop myself from doing them. This projecting, of my emotions and reactions and feelings onto others, this I don’t know I am doing till after.
And the after often means I don’t know that I did this until I talk about it with the person I did this with. When I reach out to make it all ok, because my discomfort is such that I have to reach out to make it all ok, and you say, um, nope, I wasn’t feeling that. That was all you. That’s when I realize I did this. Again.
I get that, my friend said. And then he said, it’s like looking in a mirror.
And there it is.
I know that we are mirrors for each other in so many really lovely ways. And I see this clearly. When I am triggered, and because I have grown to be grounded enough into self-responsibility around my triggers, I can (eventually) say thank you for showing up in just the right way for me to do my work. You are a mirror for me here.
And when those I love shine a light on my beauty and my gifts at those times when I can’t see myself clearly. You are a mirror here, too.
What I did not realize, until this conversation that I just had, is that you are my mirror in this instance, also.
And here is why I couldn’t see this clearly until now.
Because here, I don’t realize that I am seeing myself reflecting back, because I look like you. So, unlike my triggers and my gifts, where I know it is me, this…this looks like you. My defense mechanisms make this you that I see shining back at me. I see you. And so, of course these emotions that I project out onto you land squarely on you and feel, to me, like they are yours.
So now, what to do with this deep dive down into this projection dilemma.
The first piece of this puzzle of projection is a deeper self-awareness of what is actually going on. My mind is so quick to take my feelings that are uncomfortable and create a story and place that shit right outside of me for someone else to hold. My mind, she does this in an instant. Quicker than an instant, a nano instant.
Along with this too quick mind, I am an empath and a psychic at times which throws a wrench into the process because in these, laying my emotions on others, there are times when I cannot differentiate my gifts from my projections. When I am picking up a feeling that is then settling into me and when I am feeling a feeling that I am laying out on you. When I am receiving information from another and when the thoughts in my mind are mine first.
I need to slow myself down. Sit in the discomfort (there this is again) for longer to reflect more deeply on where I am at. Am I looking through a different filter than I think I am? Am I coming from a place of lacking or a place of disconnect within? Or am I truly grounded in my best and higher self, with gifts a flowin’ and lots of love?
And then once I know where I’m at, I can ask you where you’re at, too.
Seek first to understand and then be understood (Stephen Covey). I use this all the time in my mediations and my coaching with others and forget to use it with myself. (we teach what we need to learn, don’t we)
When I am in this place of not knowing and think am I projecting onto you? but I’m not sure, I just need to ask you. Ah, the simplicity in that.
So I am driving to row practice a couple of weeks ago and sitting in my head and worrying about the future and perseverating (God I love that word) over all the things that I have no control over. Which is a huge problem for me. Because I want to. Control things. Specifically things out of my control.
So I’m driving to rowing and I’m talking to the Universe and I’m asking her to please, um, can you help me here with this because I’m losing my mind.
And she’s so fucking smart. Which is what I really truly love about her but which also really kind of bugs me sometimes. So anyway, I’m driving to rowing and I’m thinking all these thoughts, and I’m really swirling and kind of losing control and getting way too in my head. Help me, I say out loud in the car even though she can hear me whether I say it out loud or not. I’m in pain here. What am I supposed to do? And the Universe, in all her great wisdom, she says row. The Bitch says row. Because that’s all I can do. In this moment.
All I can do on this day, in this moment, is row. The answer is brilliant. (Because all her answers are brilliant). And it makes me laugh, which breaks my stream of incredibly unproductive and also quite painful thought processes. And I was ok. For that moment.
My pattern, with this pattern I have of perseverating (that amazing word again!) as much as I do, is a pattern that goes to a quite negative/worst case scenario place. And I have been doing this for a very long time. And have been thinking about why I have been doing this for a very long time.
It started when my kids were little. Just babies. And my husband would travel all the time for work. And I would sit at home and think about his plane crashing, or a car accident or god know (God knows 😊) what other thoughts there were.
It felt like preparation. It was preparation. I was preparing for what I would do if something terrible happened so that I wouldn’t be surprised when it did. My plan would be in place. My emotions would have warning. I would be ready.
I did some looking into this, early on. Because why am I doing this? And I found Carl Jung. According to Carl, the collective unconscious is made up of a collection of knowledge and imagery that every person is born with and is shared by all human beings due to ancestral experience. And, because our brains interpret uncertainly as danger, thanks to our ancient ancestors, our brains are designed to expect the worst.
So when we were cave dwellers and the strong went out to hunt the wild boar and the rest of us were left in the cave with not much food for our children, we had to prepare ourselves that they might not come home. That food might not be arriving. That we would possibly be on our own. And so we got ready. In case they didn’t come back.
And this made a lot of sense then. And sometimes makes a lot of sense, now. Until it doesn’t.
Because what happens, when we worry about all these things we can’t control, is we are far away from where we actually are. Which is in the moment we are in. And so I am missing all these moments. I am missing all these moments because I am worrying about the things in the future I have to prepare myself for. That I really don’t have to prepare myself for at all.
I am recognizing that I am in the habit now of doing this. It’s not a mindful decision to reflect on the future to prepare for the worst. I just seem to slip into my future more often than not. And so I am working on breaking my habit.
The first step is dismantling the justification that I can’t help this because my ancestors set me up. I like to use that excuse so that I can continue to stay in my head and out of the moments of my life. Why I want to stay in my head is a puzzle, it’s painful in here. And so I am catching myself when I do this and letting the ancient ones off the hook.
And I am diving into new things. As I create new patterns in my spirit and my soul, I am called to create new patterns in the movement of my body. I am rowing. I tried Aerial Lyra and I am doing Pole (It’s ballet on a pole, I am in heaven). I am filling up my soul by filling up my body. And in turn, I am in the moment of these movements and not in the meanderings of my mind.
And I am writing again here. Behavioral change needs consistency and accountability. So I am sending it all out into the world each week. Making the sharing of these writings my declaration of what I am stepping into.
And always there is gratitude. Thank you obsessive brain, it’s amazing that you are so creative and I know you are showing up because you believe you are helping me. But I am doing this right now. And then I am back in this moment. Right here.
And so this image that I share, from an idea that I stole off the internet--but isn’t it so cool that I did it with Nava!—it truly does capture what I am striving for. Basically, I want to be my dog.
I’m drawn to flowers and plants and things that grow from the earth. And for most of my life, I was a terrible plant owner. I was not sure when to water them, I didn’t know when to talk to them. They tended to die on me.
But not lately. A while back my middle daughter convinced me that some plants in my home would be a good thing. Which I kind of agree with because they are lovely and they are a life force that supports my well-being as they add oxygen to the space around me. And which I also kind of don’t agree with because it means that there is another living thing that I need to take care of. But that’s a whole other conversation.
My daughter convinced me and I chose to stand in the I am bringing plants into my space bucket. And I am actually doing pretty well with them. They’ve lasted this long and they’re all still green, though one of them did become very brown when I sat him in the sun for a period of time thinking he would like that and then learned that he is not a sun plant.
But I’ve nursed him back to health and while he’s very small now he’s coming along and he’s happy to see me when I come down to my desk in the morning.
So, these plants…
They hold a very deep importance for me, and so my learning to care for them, for them to survive with me and perhaps even thrive with me, this is a big deal.
Because in another time (life, incarnation, realm, space) I was a Witch and brewed potions to calm souls and heal beings with this life force that comes up from this earth. And now, in this lifetime, this calling to be surrounded by plant medicine is a constant pull. And these plants now, in my home, this is good.
Before I was able to land in this sweet gift of caring for these growing beings of leaf and stem, I laid these plants on my skin. Tattoos of flowers and fauna, leaves and bark dance across my body. The intention is twofold.
The need to have these plants on me is an honoring of the gifts I had with them in other times. The choice to have these plants on me is the act of bringing onto me those I love deeply. My flowers and trees, leaves and stems, they are the visual representation of my family based on Celtic Tree Astrology.
Developed from the Druid's knowledge of earth cycles and their profound connection with trees, Celtic Tree Astrology is grounded in the belief that the formation of our personality and behavior is based on the time of our birth within the lunar system of the thirteen cycles of the moon. Each cycle is linked to one of the sacred Celtic trees that the Druids believed were vessels of infinite wisdom.
I am the Ash Tree. In Celtic Mythology, the Ash tree is the World Tree—the tree that spans between worlds and the tree that represents The Tree of Life.
My son and middle daughter and my husband are all Holly—one of the most beloved and respected trees and the noble one among Celtic Tree Astrology. The Holly possesses protective qualities.
My youngest daughter is Hawthorn—one of the most sacred trees and the Illusionist. Just like Gemini in Western Astrology, this shapeshifter isn't all that it appears to be. Fairies live under the Hawthorn tree as its guardians.
And there are more, for over these last four years, four new souls have joined this family lineage and only recently joined in this forest on my skin.
Two are born under the Birch Tree. The first of the tree symbols, the Birch is the symbol of new beginnings, regeneration, hope, new dawns and the promise of what is to come.
One is the Elder Tree. The last in the Celtic Tree Astrology Pantheon, the Elder Tree embodies the seasonal energy of diminishing of light, the last leaves dropping, the plant's concentrated essence sinking into the root, the quietude and mystery of the earth itself in a wintery landscape.
And one is like me, the Ash Tree. The Enchanter. The possessor of vivid imagination and deep intuition, the Ash is drawn towards the arts and writing and all matters spiritual.
These four grandsons, nestled in and inked on my back, are the manifestation of the continuation of life. They are the as yet unknown opportunities. They are the creators of what is to happen. They are their next step in the evolution of their lifetimes—a huge undertaking and still a small step in the journey of their souls.
I am in awe of these children and the placing of them on my back as a part of the whole is an important task for me. In the nurturing of all that grows—their leaves intermingled within the other plants on my body means that they are held within this sacred fold as they grow forward into this time called their life time. This placing of their leaves is a hallowed act. It is an honoring and a welcoming, as it is a marking of time and place. Adding these children to the whole in this permanent way is my way of thanking them for choosing to become part of this family. Of saying how grateful I am for their contribution to our tribe.
~ Thank you to from 'onetreeplanted.org' and 'treecounsil.ie' ~
Mother, Wife, Friend, Sister, Daughter, Dancer, Rower, Runner, Dog and Cat lover.