Reckless Decisions & Divine Messages

One of those mornings. A decision made on a whim that looking back now, makes me realize everything happens for a reason. And also maybe I should be a little more careful. I don’t always need to test limits.

Nate ended up staying home today, so when it was time to take Dillon to school, I asked Logan if he wanted to go with or stay with Daddy. He chose Daddy, to my surprise. He usually loves going places.

I loaded Dillon up and took him to school, stopping to talk to his teacher. She mentioned something interesting. On a whim I went to go look at it, despite the heavy snow on the rarely used road. Meh, there’s tracks, Black Betty (my Jeep) can handle it. Later Nate pointed out that they were tractor tracks and snowmobile tracks…

Black Betty did great until it was time to turn around. I could have just thrown her into reverse and floored it with the 4WD but for some reason I went to turn around…and was stuck. 4HI, 4LO, nothing. I needed help.

I have no phone service from mile marker 11 all the way up to mile marker 40, in Fort Benton. Yet at mile marker 27 I had just enough of a signal to call Nate to come help me out. He told me to make sure the exhaust wasn’t blocked by snow (oh yeah…that would be good to check…) and that he’d be there in a bit.

I got out and looked. Sure enough the snow was almost covering the exhaust. I’ve seen patients with carbon monoxide poisoning and I was grateful Nate is level headed enough to remember to remind me of this.

I got back in and waited. Finally I decided to turn the engine off to save gas. I was toasty warm anyway. Several minutes later I went to start the engine and the battery was dead. Whaaa? Could anything else possibly go wrong?

Eventually Nate arrived after having to dig through his shop for the ball we use for the Jeep. Only he couldn’t find the tow rope pin so we just had to cross our fingers. When I told him the battery was dead, he explained leaving the headlights on in this cold weather kills the battery quickly. Oh. Good to know.

He was able to get the Jeep pulled out most of the way and went to turn around so he could jump her. A few minutes later I could hear him yelling.

I ran over and he was frantically throwing snow on the engine–it was on fire. I didn’t think, just started throwing snow. There happened to be some clumps and I threw them up to him. He was able to reach down and put the snow right on the fire and put it out.

As we headed home to get his farm truck, who I like to call Clifford (he’s red and a great truck) I started visualizing my morning prayers. We made it home, 7 miles away. I immediately took Logan inside while Nate looked at his blue truck. I went downstairs and with gratitude said my morning prayers the right way.

As we got in, there on the floor of the red truck was the pin for the tow rope Nate needed. I knew everything was going to work out. As we headed back, Nate said he knew it was a fuel line leak and it was probably a good thing it started on fire there, with snow available and not on the highway somewhere in the middle of nowhere.

We jumped the Jeep and Nate gave me some pointers on getting out of the snow–I was panicking when it would start gaining traction–don’t stop, just keep going!!

We loaded up and Nate jokingly (or maybe seriously, lol) asked me to please stick to the main roads. As I drove home, the radio station was on 95.1 for some reason and the volume was up. I rarely listen to the radio and I never listen to talk shows or sermons. It was some religious station out of Havre. Yet something the preacher was saying caught my attention.

He was talking about being stressed, and how people tend to freak out and try everything in their human power to make things better, with no luck. Really, they as mere humans, don’t have the strength or wisdom to know unless they trust God. He mentioned Isaiah 30:15, which Isaiah has always been one of my favorite books.

“In quietness and trust is your strength”

I don’t need to try to figure everything out, to worry about the future. I will be strong enough to face whatever comes my way, because if nothing else, I can be quiet and trust Him.

And always remember my morning rituals, no matter how busy or distracted I get.

What a morning…

Soul Journey

Brain zaps. Vestiges of an antidepressant I want so desperately to be free of. The worn Band-Aid I no longer need but can’t quite bring myself to rip away quite yet… Insomnia. Random pictures sketched and water colored, paper soaking up rich pigments of fleeting ideas. The images flow out of my subconscious as I let them go… Finding my way in a world I haven’t quite found my sea legs yet it continues to captivate me daily.

Random moments of exquisite beauty. A “dangerous” thistle in a transplanted field of grain. She belongs here, they don’t…yet we pluck her away before she can take over. Never mind the bumble bees and butterflies she helps to thrive. Her demure beauty captivates me as her angry thorns juxtapose the radiance of her violet down. A siren call on a late summer night, catching my eye as I wander by. Society says she shouldn’t be here, but I can’t let her go.

She remains in my sacred room. She has a purpose.

Listen. Be quiet. Follow what resonates. Stop following the mindless drivel that plagues my existence. These songs, these words, my lonely thoughtful meanderings. My mind wanders until finally I lose my self-imposed shackles and let myself free. Dancing beneath diamond studded Milky Way skies, grass beneath my feet and the chill as my dance partner. I’ve never felt so alive as I do in these moments. An ancient melody calls my name and I must follow. The sweet cows bellow as they keep our tune. I don’t know where I’m going, and I don’t know why. Yet I follow…it’s the only thing I really know is right.

They say I should follow societal norms, be meek and obedient. They say. I tried to listen and obey yet nothing ever felt so wrong. My heart and soul tell me otherwise…

Songs that resonate so deeply my jaw aches with unshed tears.

Well, I’ve been afraid of changing ’cause I’ve built my life around you…

Can you accept my in my allness, my fullness? Will you still love me when I’m not the person I was 10 years ago? If it means I’m healthier, happier, more radiant and whole? Or would you rather I be the empty wine-soaked soul trudging through the days and nodding as I smiled meekly and obediently as I was did back then?

We were born before the wind, also younger than the sun…the Bonnie boat was won as we sailed into the mystic…

There is so much more out there, so much we don’t know, or understand. So much more than the sitcoms and daily news. There is an entire life to be explored, and countless who have gone before us to show us the way. Those with open minds and hearts will see, and find this amazing path…

super omnia, caritatem <3

Benefits of Meditation

Running nowhere fast

Endless hamster wheels in rat races

Won by no one

Why?

What’s the point?

Silence.

Breathing in, and out.

I’m in this moment

Right here, and now.

Trying to make my world around me

Just as I need it to be.

Distractions.

‘I should’s’ roll around my mind;

Empty beer cans in the bed of a pick up

I’m worn thin

Saltwater taffy, stretched in all directions.

Diminished, pulled to a wisp

By everything I don’t know to not need

Listen.

There’s silence.

Don’t try to fill it

Just feel it

Silence

Home.

Everything is better through their eyes…

“…It’s easy to feel like your present situation is how it will be forever, when it’s viewed as negative or not favorable.

When it’s a positive time, it seems to fleeting before fading away to monotony or more difficult moments.

Yet when I look back on my now 34 year old life, whether in journal entries or looking at pictures with my grandmother, I feel I’ve so far lived a pretty blessed life. I might not have always been able to wear the expensive clothes or have the newest car, but that’s just materialism anyway, and doesn’t mean anything.

My family might not be perfect, and there may have been a few holidays with tense undercurrents for whatever reason, yet when I look back on them, I don’t remember the mild discord as much as I do feelings of gratitude of the many memories we share.

If I had it to do over again, I would remember to take pictures in the monotonous moments. The Cribbage game played to pass the time, grandkids sitting on their grandparents lap, eating ice cream. Doing the dishes together, then playing the worst game in the world, Aggravation, just so my dad could gleefully toss our marbles off our spot and watch us try to catch it before it landed on the floor.

Maybe I’m more of a pessimist than most, but I find it easy to dwell on the negative and lose sight of my blessings, something I’ve been working on over the last several months.”


I wrote the above back in September, after looking at some photos with my Grandma. I wasn’t quite ready to publish it for whatever reason. But after re-reading it now I can see how I’m progressing…I might still be a little too pessimistic at times, but for the most part I’ve realized that life is what I make of it, and if I don’t like something, change it. If I can’t change it, accept it & maybe try looking at it with a new perspective.

This holiday season it’s easy for me to get overwhelmed by all the things I *should* do. There is that word again–should. Who says I need to do all these things? If they don’t resonate at the moment I’m not going to force it.

We have the Christmas tree up. The train that goes beneath is completely derailed thanks to a very active 2 year old, and per usual our house looks like a toy bomb just detonated, but the boys are happy, and healthy.

Instead of looking at my overwhelming to do list, I’m going to look through their eyes. They don’t care if we miss a few traditions. Santa is coming! <3

The video is best if you have the sound on 🙂

Speak Your Truth, Even if Your Voice Shakes

I’ve chronicled my struggles with drinking and cough syrup ad nauseum. But why do I struggle with feeling like I need to self-medicate? Why do I look for easy ways out to numb myself, to stop feeling, stop thinking? What if I was doing it because I was afraid to admit who I really am?

At first I thought it was just because I had made it into a habit, and when I was bored it was just what I did. And then I realized no, that wasn’t it.

Then I thought it was from old emotional wounds and I was drinking because of this. This didn’t feel quite right, either.

I knew when I was chasing my spiritual side, my formerly unquenchable urge to drink diminished. In fact, it was the last thing I wanted. I had to relinquish the fear that I wouldn’t feel as connected spiritually without the cough syrup, but with my husband’s steady encouragement and support, I realized the need for over the counter cold medicine to feel something spiritually was a lie, too.

So as I peeled back all these layers, I found myself with a new truth, an uncomfortable truth to say out loud, but one that resonates so deeply within me I can’t deny it.

My Christian faith was so good for me, to me, for so long. It gave me the glimpses of something deeper that kept me searching for more, for my truth. Some moments of prayer and worship were ecstasy, while some things I struggled with, deep inside. Like a good Christian I stuffed them down and told myself I was being tempted, that it was sinful to feel this way.

Until I gave myself permission to let go of every preconceived idea I’d been taught of good and bad, right and wrong. I recalibrated my inner compass to follow my soul and not my brain.

I started connecting the dots. Hebrew is a magical language, based on numbers. It goes so much deeper than this, but there is a reason sacred texts were written in Hebrew. It lent a deeper meaning to the words, the letters even. Numerology? It’s directly connected to Hebrew. Shirley Blackwell Lawrence spells all of this out for me in her book The Secret Science of Numerology.

I keep following the breadcrumbs. Pythagoras (faint memories of high school trig come to mind, and I still remember a2+b2=c2) was on to so much more. These written words, when spoken, become vibrations. Sound waves. Just like music. And then she explains how there is a mathematical synchronicity between music notes and the color spectrum. Red is C, Orange D, Yellow E, Green F, and so on (Reader’s Digest Great Encyclopedic Dictionary, 911). She goes on from there and explains how it is all connected. God and science. Numerology and Hebrew, Tarot and astrology.

Growing up I’ve always had a fascination for Tarot cards and numerology, and the spiritual world. I just could never reconcile the two worlds (the esoteric/occult with Christianity) without feeling like I was doing something wrong. Blackwell’s book was the key I needed to reconcile the two and to let myself give myself permission to explore what really rang true for me.

Once I let go of my preconceived ideas, it was like the Universe just opened to me and I was realizing new truths everywhere I went, meeting people to guide me on my journey without even consciously seeking them out. A podcast (Weirdly Magical) listened to on my way home from work brought me to Lou Edington, someone who gave me so much of her time and attention as I was trying to figure all this out. When she did my astrology report, everything was so spot on, things I’d never told her or even my husband, she revealed after a glance at my chart. She gave me the encouragement to follow my heart’s desire with my art and nursing career, and gave me insight as to how I could reconcile the two (art therapy). She gently helped me come to my self-realization that I am not happy being a desk nurse, and this isn’t where my gifts lie. With this realization I spoke with my ever patient boss and told her I knew last year this desk job wasn’t a good fit for me and asked if I could work the floor as a registry nurse. I start Monday, and I am so excited.

I met a local woman who while looking for sage, who on first glance, felt like home. Kindred spirit, I found myself confessing everything of my spiritual journey as she nodded and smiled and showed me where the sage was.

A few weeks later, she helped me figure out what white sage looks like in the wild, and it turns out we have it growing everywhere on our property!

I started doing things instinctively. My husband couldn’t figure out my sudden aversion to plastic and wanting to compost, and watched with curiosity as I traded in my wine libations for tea.

I researched whatever called to me and felt right. I had my little diary, that I call my “Will o Wisp” diary, and would write down anything someone suggested, or that I read (it was my breadcrumb diary…the universe throws things at me so quickly I can’t keep up…)

This is the same diary that I looked back on recently and realized something that left me breathless. I never paid much attention to eclipses. But hearing Lou’s podcasts and reading her posts, that were so spot on, I couldn’t help but be intrigued. So I looked up where I was for each eclipse.

The first eclipse, of the year? In February? Was February 15th. The night I found Kelly Rae Roberts’ art class and decided to quit drinking, and inadvertently launched into finding my way back to my spiritual journey path. I was blown away. I had felt the need to chronicle my thoughts in this blog, and as I look back, finding my religion back then, reopening the door to my spirituality that I had kept so carefully locked away for over 7 years…

I started to realize there is a reason I always wanted to go into medicine. I’ve always felt called to be in medicine. When people asked I would tell them I wanted to be a librarian, an author, and a doctor when I grew up. I love the idea of being a healer, and have built up my stockpile of herbs bought from a local organic store and a local wellness store to research and study. Growing them is another story (except basil and aloe…I’m convinced they can pretty much grow themselves).

I bought books on Tarot, numerology, astrology. I don’t have the patience for astrology, and I find I don’t like hearing what’s coming up—it leaves my mind feeling muddled and overwhelmed–but I love looking at my diaries and reconciling everything afterwards.

I love my Tarot cards, the High Priestess, the Empress. I did my Tarot spread, asking what was coming up for me in the next 3 months. The final card, outcome, was Death. How fitting. Not death in the physical sense, but death in the way that I am being emotionally, spiritually reborn. I’m no longer a slave to my addictions–for the most part. I still fall down at times, but the times in between stumbling are getting further and further apart–and as I get better at recognizing my triggers–my moments of weakness, and then learning how to work through them, the less of a hold my addictions have over me.

The universe led me to the most amazing art therapist who seems to understand me better than I do myself.

My go to book for insight is Women Who Run with the Wolves. It’s so deep I can only read a little bit at a time, but then when I digest it it’s exactly what my soul needed to hear, and I realize the answers are all within, if I can only quiet myself and be still for a moment.

I find amazing Facebook groups that resonate so deeply, and meet fellow women who I connect with on an inexplicable, primitive level. Rewilding for Women is amazing, and I adore the women who I Zoom with on Thursdays, one of which who sent me sand from across country for my abalone shell. I receive a friend request from another girl who is planning to move back to Montana and was also in the Rewilding for Women, and she suggests a book. Women Who Run with the Wolves. I can’t help but laugh as agree with her how great of a book that is. I suggest Paulo Coelho’s Brina and The Witch of Portobello. Both books left me breathless and feeling so inexplicably close to something that I can’t quite explain.

She suggests another book–Witch. Unleashed, Untamed, Unapologetic.

I read the Kindle sample, then order it. It strikes something so deep, and visceral. The same feelings I had when my mom told me my sister and her were going to Salem, MA next month for a tour, and invited me to go with. I found myself finding a dirt cheap airplane ticket, and talking with my husband about going. I can’t really explain it, but it’s as if I’m being drawn to go and I need to see this, hear this story for myself.

But what about the negative connotations? The judgment? Condemnation?

It can’t be any worse that the self-judgment, the self-condemnation, of living a life barely half lived, a life of half truths and feeling empty inside. With every fellow woman I meet who dares to stand tall and say she is not afraid to embrace being a female, and is not afraid to meet her deepest, darkest fears head on, I feel a little more empowered.

And when I read of what happened to millions of women years ago, and what continues to happen to women via shaming and guilt trips, and suddenly I feel a lot more empowered.

It’s only when I deny who I am that I am weak.

It might not always be easy, and society might not always understand. But I know the deep love I have for my earth, my fellow women, the children, the elderly, the broken, the hurting, and my fellow women, and if using my power to help them makes me a witch, then that is exactly what I am.

Our Suicide & Drug Epidemic

Depression and other mental illnesses are widespread in America. I could take time to link studies, but I’m not going to. My toddler will be up soon and Google is free. 🙂

I always felt things more deeply, it seemed, than my brothers. I find it interesting that I’ve always been more spiritual than they are, too. I self-medicated with alcohol, starting in 8th grade. I live in a state where alcohol consumption is prevalent, and until my mom moved out of state, I didn’t realize how out of the norm the drinking culture is in Montana.

So whenever I was uncomfortable, upset, or bored, it was easy to find peers and alcohol. As I got older, I found myself in situations that I felt ill-equipped to handle. (I wrote more about this in my previous post—Nice Girls Finish Last). As a result, I had more layers of things to work through. But drinking was easier. I tried weed, but I really didn’t like the way it made me feel. I was offered other drugs, but I think my guardian angels stepped in and I just never felt the need to try cocaine or any of the ‘hard’ drugs.

I’ve taken opioids for surgical pain, and honestly, they don’t really do anything for me. I’d rather take ibuprofen for pain, and I really hate being constipated. Looking back now, I’m grateful for this quirk my body has–that I don’t find that same high others do.

After I had Dillon, I was diagnosed with post-partum depression and started on an antidepressant. I don’t really know if it helped, because I still self-medicated with wine. I do know it left me with horrible brain zaps–like someone is sticking an ice cold needle right to the center of my brain for a second, whenever I moved my head. Zap, zap. Zap, zap, zap. I looked it up and it was a symptom of withdrawal from my SSRI.

So if an SSRI was supposed to make me feel better, why did I still find it compulsory to self-medicate with alcohol? Maybe because it wasn’t an organic condition like diabetes or hypertension that could be treated with insulin or a blood pressure pill. Maybe because it’s not a physical condition so much as a spiritual condition.

Life isn’t fair, and you’re going to have painful experiences. It’s part of being human, and growing and learning. But instead of listening to my soul crying out for attention, I took the easy way out. Re-reading this, I examine this statement. It might seem like the easy way out at first, but really, isn’t this the hard way out in the end? I’m still left with everything I’m struggling with, yet now I have to deal with the hangover, my family’s frustration, and most of all, my new layer of self-disgust, my feelings of being weak and wondering why I can’t just get it together…

2018 has been eye-opening for me. It is hard to feel that restlessness, that deep discomfort even though all might be well in my life. I’m still trying to figure out what works for me. I found an art therapist whom I love and just seems to get me. I’m finding more and more amazing people in Great Falls who understand this concept of how important holistic medicine is and are so generous with their knowledge. I trust them, because of the way I feel inside as I listen to what they tell me and feel my parched soul soaking up everything they’re telling me, and because when I’m still and I listen to my intuition, I know this is what I need.

The opioid crisis? The suicide crisis? I truly believe it’s a crisis of the spirit, and if our modern medicine would look beyond just the physical body that we can scan with X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs and test with fancy blood work, if we could stop trying to Band-Aid with these slew of psychotropics with proven nasty side effects, we could be so much more effective at healing our walking wounded, and in return, heal our country, and our world.

#metoo

This video may be very triggersome. But it is so powerful and made me realize some deep, dark truths that I felt compelled to share.

As I watched this video, my first thoughts were of times I felt violated, of the stories I’ve listened to from tearful friend, and I wonder how these men could ever think this is okay to do this to another woman.

And then as I watch further, I realize I’m just as guilty.

I’m guilty of laughing at crude jokes that objectify women.

I’m guilty of judging another woman based on her outfit, a rumor.

I’m guilty of perpetuating rape culture.

I’m guilty of being silent, and in being silent, condoning this type of culture.

My #metoo hashtag isn’t my story of my experiences being objectified because I was born with an extra X chromosome.

My #metoo is because I’m guilty of not speaking up, not respecting my own sex. I’m guilty of perpetuating rape culture, a culture that says it’s okay to treat women disrespectfully.

I can’t change my past actions, but I can change my mindset right now, and make it my personal promise to gently hold myself and my peers to a higher standard so that we can change this culture to a better one.

Mommy, My Knees Hurt…

“Mommy, my knees hurt. I don’t feel good.”

My former ER nurse brain glances over at him as I flip his pancake. He’s walking normally, his mucous membranes are moist, he still has his ‘sparkle’ in his eyes. I brush him off and tend to Logan’s fussing.

“Mommy, my head kinda hurts.”

I glance over at him once again. He looks fine, he ate a hearty breakfast, he’s afebrile (no increased temperature). He’s fine.

We drive to school and my usually talkative son is quiet. We get out, I talk to one of the other moms, and head in. Dillon balks. “I. Don’t. Feel. Good!” Tears in his eyes. My first thoughts are, “Your teacher has already started class and we’re being disruptive!” I don’t know what to do. Is he faking it? Now that I’m writing this I think about this thought and examine it–my sweet boy, who had an excellent first day yesterday, who loves his classmates and his teacher, why would he fake it?

I try to talk to him, cajole him. Finally I tell him to get in the Jeep, but when we get home, he’s going straight to bed, no iPad, no TV. He can read books, but he’s not playing. Inside I feel like I’m failing as a mother, and I can only imagine what his teacher thinks of me.

I put his little brother down for his nap. I’m overtired, having worked yesterday, and then stayed up late painting and meditating, and even though I woke up feeling refreshed, my self doubt as a mother and feeling of inadequacy are pulling me down. My fantasies of day drinking at 9 in the morning quickly make me realize I’m being triggered, and as I retreat to my quiet space to think, my sweet boy follows me downstairs.

I have my online Vibrant Happy Women’s circle in a bit, so I tell him to get his iPad and his headphones and lay down on the bed in my craft room. As he situates himself, I feel compelled to talk to him. As I sit next to him, he sits up and folds himself in my arms. “I don’t like it when you’re mad at me, Mommy.” My heart melts and I get a flashback of myself at his age. Instinctively I realize he’s scared.

“Dillon, your knees hurt because they’re growing. They’re telling you to get ready, because you’re going to start turning into a man like Daddy. They might feel like pain, but really it’s just discomfort. It’s your body talking to you.” He looks at me and embarrassed, laughs. I tell him we can give him some ibuprofen, but in the meantime, he’s missing out on learning all the wisdom his teacher has to offer. That he needs this education to learn how to be a good farmer/rancher like he wants to be, that this beautiful woman won’t be around forever in the physical sense, and we need to soak up everything she has to teach us while we can.

I see a gleam of understanding in his eyes, and feel a peace in my own heart. My self doubt as a mother is replaced with an understanding by viewing the world through my sweet boy’s eyes. His knees are hurting. He doesn’t know why, and it’s scary.

This is the first of many changes he’s facing, and I realize now, writing this, that I made the right choice by letting him stay home with me today. We can make up the numbers and reading, but I can never make up for these moments when he reaches out for me and tells me he needs me.

Nice Girls Finish Last

I was raised to be a ‘good’ girl, a ‘nice’ girl, to be a people pleaser, to not offend anyone. I wanted to make everyone happy. Until I got older and suddenly found myself in precarious situations. They want one thing, but I’m confused. It doesn’t seem right, I don’t want that, yet I don’t know how to stand up for myself…

Not that I’m blaming my parents in any way–they had and have nothing but love for me, and I never once doubted I was loved by them growing up, even when I tested them beyond reason. But back then, it was almost like a societal expectation. The meek, shy, good girls were praised, while the outspoken girls who dared to stand up for themselves were labeled as ‘tomboys’ or ‘dangerous’ or ‘unruly’ or even ‘bad girls’.

I’m reading my old diaries, my poems, and remembering. I came across this one entry, and it stings. Do I dare publish it? It’s painful, but then I read it, and think of my sister, my cousin, my niece, the sweet girls in my son’s elementary school. I think of my younger self, and I know I need to…for her.

If I can share my experience and if these sweet girls that I love, with their eyes filled with trust and their sweet spirits can learn from it, if they can walk a different path …at least some good will have come from my lesson. This is from way back when, long before I met my sweet husband and built this life I love.

I made this mistake last night

Said I don’t know

When I should’ve said no

Why can’t I learn to fight for my right to say no

So I come home numb

Stand in the shower and try to cry

But no tears come

I can’t get the water hot enough

To erase the stains of his touch

My heart turns to stone

I’ve never wanted so much to be alone

I forget my past again and trust

When will I learn–

If I believe, I’ll pay the price of being naive

I never wanted that to happen

I’m not that kind of girl

I hate this price I have to pay

Now I cling to the hope

I’ll wake up and it was just a dream…just a dream. Just a dream.

Maybe if I repeat it enough

Tell myself over and over, I’ll finally believe…

It truly is simple. If you’re in a moment and you’re not sure, listen to that voice in your heart. If you’re uncomfortable, not sure what to do, or just feel confused, stand up and walk out. Make up an excuse. <3

Something Wonderful

This is the journal my mom made me when she was visiting last Christmas. She told me to buy paper, so I bought mixed media white paper, 18″ x 24″, at Michael’s. I lugged this home and watched her skillfully cut it up into pages after asking me what length I wanted. I loved the idea of being able to make flaps and pages that opened this way and that. Once I had my signatures (the bookmaker’s term for a couple of sheets of paper), Mom and Nate worked together to sew them. I held onto it, not quite ready to use it. I knew it had a purpose, and now I know what for. This is my spiritual journey journal (I’m pretty proud of that little alliteration that just popped out, ha ha).

I’ve been pretty quiet on my blog and social media. I’m still wrestling with the fears of alienating people if I reveal to them my true self. I thought I had this lesson covered, but the fear and self doubt are still there. I’ve been busier than ever, reading everything and anything that I find in my path, meeting new people, learning new things, and realizing life is so amazing. Yet when it came to sharing my experiences and my art work, I felt…stuck. Held back by my fears.

A phone call to my cousin in a moment of procrastination gave me the truth I needed. As I told her my issue, I knew instinctively what I needed to do. This is my truth, and this is my journey. I can’t live my life trying to make everyone happy, trying to please everyone, or trying to fit myself into a box so I don’t upset someone.

I wrote in my last post that I just can’t go back to being the ‘nice’ diminutive girl. That doesn’t mean I give myself permission to be disrespectful or not care about others–far from it. But I do give myself permission to follow my own arrow, to explore wherever it leads me, and when I get there, to be still and decide if it feels right for me.

My mom and I had an interesting talk the other day. I was 17 when my little sister was born. Mom and I were raised to be ‘nice’ girls, while Ronda was encouraged to be respectful of others yet to stand up for herself and to be true to herself, even if it went against the status quo. She is so amazing, and an inspiration to me. I look at my baby sister and want to be like her when I grow up. 🙂

Yet I would be lying if I didn’t admit that it’s a little scary, putting myself out there. My spiritual walk is as strong as ever, and I am so amazed at how everything just…fits together. Yet it also means I’ve changed, and I don’t know if everyone will accept these changes; accept me…

I’m learning about things I always (secretly) scoffed at, such as aromatherapy, Reiki, acupuncture, and other alternative medicine. I wondered why I went through everything this spring, only to realize it was to give me a glimpse of what it’s like to be a patient in today’s healthcare system.

It sucks.

Not the doctors, not the nurses, not the X-ray techs, not the CNAs. They all valiantly want to make their patients feel better. They put their heart and soul into what they do, and are just as discouraged as their patients when they can’t quite say what is wrong, when the labs and imaging don’t quite explain why their patient is so miserable.

Our healthcare system seems to focus on one aspect of healing–the body–and not so much the mind and spirit. Or maybe it’s society in general, and not necessarily our healthcare systems’ fault? All I know is my spirit was on life support, because I had shut it down for so long, until I felt like life was no longer worth living. As a result, my mind was depressed, so I drank too much alcohol to self-medicate. This was as healing as putting a Band-Aid on a broken bone, Bacitracin on a ruptured appendix. Yes, it numbed the anxiety and pain for a bit, but once the anesthesia wore off, the pain was right there waiting for me.

Once I started listening to my spirit again, I started healing. This seems so simple now it makes me feel a little foolish. I can see clearly why we have such an opioid problem. People are looking for something to quench their spiritual thirst. They need something to make life worth living for, otherwise what are we but robots, going through the motions? Some people are content with their lives the way it is, and there is nothing wrong with that. At the end of the day, their mind and spirit are at peace, and that’s what matters.

But for others, they need something more. And when you feel like you have the perfect life and have pretty much everything you want, yet feel empty, it’s pretty easy to feel ungrateful and to give in to the fear that you’re not enough and everything is pointless.

So when the body is assessed and nothing is found to explain the patient’s ailment, then maybe it’s time to start looking at the mind and spirit. That’s where complementary and alternative medicine come in. It might seem ‘woo woo’, but everywhere I turn I find people who are convinced it works. Even I’m convinced, and through my research, I finally figured out how it works. It’s all connected.

For so long I’ve questioned if I made a mistake becoming a nurse. When my beloved mentor passed away, I felt like my nursing path ended. I no longer felt like I was meant to go back to school and become an educator. It honestly felt like that door was shut and locked.

So now what? I love my art but I also love being with the sick and hurting and watching them heal. Everything happens for a reason, and I’m realizing now my path is to become a holistic nurse–focusing on not just healing the body, but the mind and spirit.

As I research this Eastern medicine, I can’t help but delve into the religions and cultures. Certain quotes and poems have always resonated with me, but now I’m looking at them more closely, and realizing they feel good, they feel right. I read everything and anything. Some things don’t feel right–like it gives my heart claustrophobia–and I quickly back away from anything that makes me feel nervous. But I give myself permission to let go of preconceived beliefs and just let my mind be open. Some things don’t resonate with me, and that’s okay. Others do, so intensely that I feel compelled to write them down.

Luckily I have a special journal made for me by two of the people who love me most. <3