Pick Me Up

For me, gratitude is the fastest way to pick myself out of a funk, to shake out crust and dust from my spirit, and fill it with creative sparkles. To put love in front of the disgusting and embarrassing choices that cause and perpetuate pain.

Thank you, Sun, for giving life to my greenest friends, and my greenest friends for giving life to me. Thank you, Water, for your soothing touch. We’ll continue to work hard to protect you, you necessary component of life. I put my intentions out the universe. Let me be filled with creative storytelling, from heart and soul, and let my heart and soul be healed and shiny in order to bring forth stories of beauty, love, and strength, to lift our hearts if they may fall to the ground. Let me dance among the misty shores and swaying grasses, along the mighty boughs that have escaped saws and wild winds and gravity. Let me sing to the sky all that is in my heart, not words that I’ve heard with my ears, but that I hear from a deep well inside of me.

Thank you, Stories, for staying with me while I ignore you in the name of trying to keep balance in my life. Like a brilliant and close friend says, do what you have to do just enough so you can do what you want. Hopefully, what I want to do (write and illustrate Stories) will one day be enough.

Thank you, dear Reader. What inspires gratitude in you?

HH

Meddle

/’medl/ verb. to interfere in or busy oneself unduly with something that is not one’s concern. to touch or handle something without permission. intrude. tamper. infringe. impose.

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What would I be like, where would I be if I had meddled in my affairs long before? Somewhere along the line I left myself to wander wherever I would go. This is different than the saying Not All Who Wander Are Lost. That’s wandering for a purpose, even if the purpose is to wander. This is saying I hopped on any passing wind with little thought to where it was going (yes, there are always interesting unexpected bits to any wind, but this isn’t that either). This is saying I lived my life with no intention, without thinking about my thoughts, with trying to hide things from myself, things I wanted. Because I was afraid to want something other than what others thought I should want.

So I started meddling in my own affairs. I sat down with myself, and meddled through my hopes and fears, with wide open eyes and wider ears. I listened to myself, because if I didn’t, who would? I sorted my thoughts, poked my nose in where I didn’t want it. And I aired myself out so well that I could converse with any passing wind (heh, passing wind).

I thank myself for meddling. And I wonder what I would be like if I had meddled earlier. I would probably have finished writing more books and walked through more forests. I would have made more of my clothes and learned to cook earlier (though I was never banished from the stove or oven). I would have traveled to see what life was like in various places.

For so long, I stayed in school, college and university, because I was afraid to face life outside of school. I learned a lot. I met amazing people. My horizons were broadened. I had my most expensive experiences there, because of tuition. Crushingly expensive experiences. I now live a rich life with little money, full of love, writing, illustration, music, magic. Perhaps one day the right wind will carry me back to what I went to school for. Perhaps a piece of the fear remains because I am still a student, but of a much bigger world now. But for now, I am so wildly happy writing and illustrating books of magical realism and celebrating the bounties of farmer’s markets (with reusable bags ❤ ), splashing in big water, walking in the rain, getting dirty in the garden, and best of all wrapping my arms around my love.

I’m so glad I meddled.

via Daily Prompt: Meddle

Art. Meditation. Sacred.

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Today I gather myself together and set the energy of ideas in motion. We are always in an in-between place. It’s called the present, and it’s situated nicely between the past and the future. I sit here among sacred Ceiba trees, listening to the variety of languages floating around the hostel that has become my temporary home for the week, and contemplate what ideas I would like to put energy toward.

I’ve started writing a second novel. My first one was for the forest and for me. My soul needed soothing. My voice needed to be empowered. Both feel wonderful. The Ceibas help. This second one comes from a story that is knocking at the door of my imagination. At least, it is knocking harder than the many others that want to be told. I feel them there. And I will write as many as the length of my life will allow.

Here’s to anyone who puts their heart and soul into their art. Thank you.

What else do I want to put my energy toward? In addition to doing things with my life, I want to sit back and feel that I have life. I want to spend time every day feeling the blood flow through my veins, the air on my skin and in my lungs, the vibration of sound in my vocal chords- sometimes as language and sometimes as songs of love and gratitude, to flow where they will, around stones and trees and lunch. I will spend this energy listening to myself and the world around me. I will also seek places where I can hear sounds other than people sounds, which are often nice, but there are lots of other sounds to hear.

Here’s to the listeners.

Where else do I want my energy to be? To the sacred. To the sacred of everyday life. I will be present with my food, the stuff that makes my cells. I will be present with others of my species and all species. I will see how I aeffect the world around me, and choose consciously from there. That, I feel, creates sacred moments. I will also spend time to appreciate sacred moments and spaces others have created. My gratitude to anyone who does, has, or will.

Here’s to the sacred and all that that may mean.

I know that putting too much energy toward too many ideas slows things down (though, I do love slow). So. Try to keep the list short, and rework it as needed. Art. Mediataion. Sacred. What else?

As always, from lists before, love, life, joy, health, healing.

Ok. This is good for now. Back to listening to the Ceibas. Be well. Oh, here are some photos. Guatemala.

It’s Time To Nerd Out

I love gardening. I love science. I love soil. Here is an absolutely gorgeous video I came across with a real up-close look at soil, the stuff that keeps us all alive. I don’t think it will embed properly without a wordpress upgrade, but here’s the link ^____^

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Go Ahead, Give Up

the fool
Quitting sounds awful. There are so many sayings against quitting. Quitters never prosper. Get up and try again. Never give up.You only lose when you quit. Yes they’re nice and inspirational and sometimes inspiration is what we need. But sometimes we need to quit. We need to give up. I feel almost naughty saying it. At the same time, some of the best things have entered my life after I’ve decided to give up and quit.

Several years ago I was miserable. I knew exactly what I was going to do with my life. I was in a relationship with a good person, a loving person. I was healthy and strong from lots of gardening. I was surrounded by wonderful friends. And I was absolutely miserable.

A friend did a tarot card reading for me. A week later, another friend did another tarot card reading. Both times, the card that represented me was The Fool, walking off the cliff, head in the clouds, flower in hand. The little dog barking. One interpretation says the dog is trying to warn the Fool, another is that the dog is encouraging. Either way, the Fool happily steps off the cliff into the unknown. What the card doesn’t show is the ledge below. That foolish Fool has unknown support and will be fine.

Lo and behold, I stepped off the cliff. I gave up the things that looked right, perhaps seemed right when I started. But something was tapping me on the shoulder and whispering that it wasn’t right. And that something made me cry and want to bury that feeling because the changes that I knew were right, somewhere inside, were scary. Only a fool would step off into the unknown.

Skip through the year I spent crying, but different tears that time. Skip the guilt of hurting others (including my relationship partner, who is currently in a different happy relationship). Skip through the letters I wrote myself, telling me all the things I needed to hear. Skip the road trips alone to clear my head and re-befriend myself. And get to the point.

Sometimes quitting all the things you thought you knew to fall into an unknown place can be beautiful. I found support in places I didn’t think it existed. I worked different work. I shared my honest feelings, and figured out feelings I didn’t know were there. I cried some more and got rid of the shame of crying. It’s surprisingly good for you. I opened up to a new relationship that makes my heart sparkle, after several years still. I found myself in new and wonderous place. I found my voice.

Sometimes you can fake quit, like all the times I packed up my homework from university and tossed it in the recycling bin. The stress relief was immediate, and I could always go back.

So, quit. It’s ok. We live in a big, complex world. There will always be other stuff to do, and sometimes that stuff is worth it. It’s ok not to have a plan. It’s ok to have a plan, and change it. It’s ok.

Dear Women,

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I heard a piece of lore at the Southeast Wise Women’s Conference last year. The goddess saw her husband and sons coming to kill her, so she broke herself into millions of pieces and hid inside the women of the lands. She will be whole again, and powerful, when women everywhere unite. Today, on every single continent, women have united in love and solidarity. I am grateful to be alive at this time, to be able to witness and be a part of these events.

However, I did not march today. I was at a farmer’s market in Antigua, Guatemala when I learned of the march that happened today in parke central. A friend showed me pictures of the women with linked arms, and I was momentarily stunned because I thought I would have heard about something so monumental going on in the town I’ve been in for the last month. My friend reported roughly 130 women standing together. I wished I would have been there. But since I was elsewhere, my resolve to add to the movement strengthened.

I hope the people who marched today, and others who didn’t, feel similarly. Much more needs to be done in many more ways to increase the aggregate justice, integrity, beauty of the world. Keep strong. And know you are loved and appreciated.

One thing I have wanted to do, now with increased resolve, is to host a Red Tent. I read the book by that same name a few months ago, and have attended several Red Tents. The time of the flow of our Moon Cycle used to be a time of honor. It was understood that women are most prophetic during those few days. We would gather, and feast, tell each other raunchy jokes, and listen to our innermost thoughts. We did not have to deal with all the mundane crap that currently makes us a bit murderous. It was wonderful.

Then, we were thought of as unclean. All that gross blood. Bleh. And so we were tossed out of the way, shunned because we have wombs that clean themselves up every month.

Now, we ignore it. We call it silly or insulting names. We make products that let us go about life as ‘normal’, while often hating every moment. We, as the civilized people we pretend to be, make PMS jokes, and scoff at any woman feeling anything different than commercial happy smiley. I’m not the only one who is fed up with all that.

Our Moon Time tends to be a dreaded time, rather than the special, sacred time it should be. In my own little local way, I will put energy toward returning the sacredness. Women are all on different Moon Cycles these days, but the next New Moon is coming up. That’s enough time to … not plan anything … and invite some ladies over for snacks, laughs, and make vagina pendants or something.

Disclaimer: this is not an attack on men. It’s meant to be part of a discussion on a piece of the puzzle of injustice. I know many, many, menny, stand up men who are all about equality, liberty, and justice for all. All. ALL. I know some women who are more about the oppression of women than those men.

In my perfect world, we’d all just get together and hug it out. But this is a real world, and a lot of stuff needs to be worked out. Let’s work it out. Let’s talk about it and face the uncomfortable thoughts and prejudices with as much grace as we can. Let’s listen to each other to hear what needs to be said, with open ears, not to block and blindly reply. Let’s listen. True listening makes all that violence that happens when important issues are ignored unnecessary. What do you hope to see? What will you do?

Check out The Amplifier Foundation for more information concerning Shepard Fairey’s art seen in this post.

I’m Scared, and I Love

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I’m afraid of more things than I can name. Some of them are well-founded and logical, like the current state of politics in USA, the country of my roots, where so many people I love dearly live. Too many people are having basic human rights stripped. Too much physical, mental, and emotional torture is legitimized by recent political choices. Too many people defend broken integrity and injustice, whether out of their own fear, ignorance, or whatever reason. And it makes me scared. Not knowing what to do makes me scared. Feeling overwhelmed, either from not knowing what to do, bad time management, or to I many choices, makes me scared. The dog on the hill that barks with a strong hint of snarl makes me scared. Dirty water, polluted air, and messed up land makes me scared. The Unknown makes me scared. The list goes on.

I turn useless when the fear hits. I hate to be useless, especially when we have such a short time (compared to eternity) to do something useful, and support the beauty of the world.

So, I’ll talk about beauty, and love instead. I love putting seeds and cuttings of plants in soil to see what will grow. I love dangling shiny beads from sticks to catch the light. I love love love Taco Tuesdays that have started up, the rotating potluck where everyone brings a topping, and laughter and friendship rule the evening. I love the market, where local farmers sell their delicious produce, and you can watch the camaraderie of people sharing lunch together. I love being able to walk anywhere in town, and not use stinky gas. I love when the street kitten with one eye pokes his head up to the window, asking politly for breakfast. I love volunteering at local gardens\farms. I love that there is a storytime event coming up at one of those gardens, and I’ll be able to read to children. I love them scent of lavender. I love that a song can change the entire day.

So, when I’m scared, I try to remember the things I love. Sometimes I make a list of a few (see above ^____^) because those are things I can do something about. I’d much rather be overwhelmed with things I love than things I fear. Here’s to the love! 

Cheers to 2017

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The kitchen smells of ponche, or my version of the hot winter drink, with the apples, pineapple, cinnamon, nutmeg, raisins, and unrefined sugar that tastes like maple syrup, because those were the available ingredients. Winks, our one-eyed neigborhood kitten, wanders in and out of the open window, sniffing the scarlet runner beans sprouted in old bottles. My love paints Popol Vuh gods on the wall. Fireworks explode somewhere in the city. I pause my gravity puzzle of light, which consists of dangling beads on strings and sticks so they can rotate and catch the sun. I want to catch the first moments of the first day of the widely accepted New Year (though, personally, I much prefer the cosmological winter solstice as a new year because the days begin to grow longer then). I want to spend these first moments awake with love, art, real food, meditation, and writing. Let this set the pace of this year! (and spending time with family, who are currently far away but never so far from my heart)

I woke up with great expectations last New Years. Many of them were fulfilled, even some unexpected ones. I published my book (Puddle: A Tale for the Curious), enjoyed a most excellent road trip across USA, Mexico, and Guatemala, played with goggles in the ocean, made many mountaintop lunches, met amazing people full of love and creativity and justice, brought baskets filled with local food from the market home, walked through the woods with people I care dearly about, made potions (some people call it tea), swam in bioluminescent dinoflagella, and ‘accidentally’ attended the Unity Concert in South Dakota (listen to that whisper that has no sound but guides you to the really great stuff!) where we met people building their spirits to get ready to protect the water from the Dakota access pipeline (the concert is an annual festival full of growth, healing, and sharing).

The past year also held pain and disappointment. Politically, very much. Very. Very. Much. The most disappointment. Many people who have added to the beauty of the world passed from their corporeal bodies. And much individual pain on more local levels. May this year heal.

My affirmation for this next revolution around the sun: Thank you for love, health, and healing. Thank you for clean air and water, and deeply appreciated land. Thank you for growth and learning. Thank you for serenity and the meta fire to get things of beauty and justice done. Thank you, the you of anyone who needs a bit of gratitude, the you of the world, the you on this journey of life.

Village Life

We rocked up to a tiny fishing village, where candies and sodas may be purchased through the window of a beautiful blue convenience store that is also a family’s house, with chickens pecking about the yard. We had to slow down for a herd of goats walking down the dirt road.

I love hostels, but sometimes you have to keep moving around in order to find a quiet place to hear your memories. It’s even more difficult because usually the people who are talking have really interesting stories themselves. But I loved this memory and want to write it out. Woosh.

We parked to swim in the ocean, and a man walked over to say there was a cabaña to rent and another place to swim, but we were fine where we were, either way. We were from out of town and he wanted to share that information. We swam where the dunes met the shore and a school of tiny fish bit at my legs with their tickly mouths. We met a dog, who we named Dune, who might have been distantly related to a coyote and followed us around. Sometimes dogs follow you to protect you in a way, even though the other friendly dogs seemed to be her friends or pups. We rented the cabaña and watched the sky turn stormy as the sun went down.

The fishing village isn’t the kind of place where you can just go out to a restaurant in the evening. Many houses double as a restaurant, but aren’t open at any hours unless ask around and make plans in the day. We ended up at a place near our cabaña with a friendly family who had caught a couple of big fish. Normally I prefer vegetables, but local cuisine has a big big place in my heart. One reason I love the Mexican state of Oaxaca is the tendency toward the value of having a sustainable local system. And since there were farms nearby, we had salad in addition to our fish.

¡Poner Reggaeton! declared the mother to one of her sons when we started singing, and he played music from his phone.

The question of money and justice came up during dinner conversation. We came up with a few examples when someone from outside a town came in with money to start something up in a just way. A hostel or two, a farm. Normally it’s in an exploiting way. And we pondered, what if someone pumped a bunch of money in this town, if they came in and made friends with the people living there, asked them their dreams, how they thought improvements could happen (improvements, development, such tricky terms, often because I feel forests are already developed as forests and people come to cut them down for their version of development). We had talked with a couple people throughout the day. Some people loved the town the way it was. They were fine with life as is. A part of me wanted to join that life to see what it was like for more of a long term. The other part of me was eager to get to Antigua, because we clicked instantly with that town and are trying to see if we can live there for a while. And like us, some people in the village wanted to travel. But that costs money. That means changes. I love changes and fear changes, because perhaps those changes mean that the places where you can see the night sky get covered in orange lights, and places where you hear the waves while you eat dinner next to the place your dinner was caught get covered in traffic.

Sometimes I get so afraid that people are going to shove their influences in every single corner of the planet and there won’t be any room at all for nonpeople things. With people comes people sounds. And sometimes I want to hear nothing but the wind, and chirping birds, and rustling beetles in fallen leaves, or waves on the shore without a traffic background. Like that village.

And, like usual, I have no answers. There are so many sides to everything.

To Gratitude

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I feel the waves in my body still. Each breath in pulls me backward. Each breath out is like the surf breaking on the shore, stretching me forward in a bubbly roll. Perhaps it’s because I went too deep to check out a shell, though it wasn’t deep enough to take the bright red of its crabby homeowner, and my ears are having difficulty with equilibrium. Perhaps I drank too much salty water and absorbed the ocean into my blood. The tides flow even more in my veins than before. Thanks Moon.

I love goggles. We discovered a murky pink pair hanging on a branch by my favorite lake early on this trip. They were still there a few days later, so we figured they were fair game. They’ve allowed me to discover a whole new world, populated by gills and fins. I thought the sand sweeping back and forth was amazing. I thought a few rocks were spectacular, with fish or two hanging out in the lee of the stone. Then coral happened, and a ray, and whole schools, and the constant sound of nibbling that’s a lot like static. Love.

We spent yesterday, Thanksgiving Day – a genocidal holiday in USA that I’ve struggled with after I really thought about it, and have since used it as an excuse to get together with people I love (my heart to MI family!), and do things that make beauty manifest – snorkeling the magical coral reefs of Mazunta, Oaxaca, Mexico, and playing word games to increase our Spanish vocabulary. I am immensely thankful for this country that doesn’t deserve the reputation it tends to have in USA. We are such close neighbors. We have a complicated history. We have a complicated present. Both countries have such great and glorious aspects. I know people from both sides of the border who are hesitant to traverse that line. There are stories. There are truths. There are misconceptions. And above all, there is some very rich – muy rica – Awesome to be shared. I’m not talking money riches, to be clear, because I am not a great fan of money. I’m talking experiences.

Here’s to boldness, and following that heart-call. Here’s to loved ones close and far, and those who have left their corporeal bodies. Here’s to creating beauty, and having intention in every moment. To coconuts on the beach, and scarves in the snow. To handmade gifts and live music. To fresh water, clean air, loved land. To the things that bring us closer together in this infinitely expanding universe. Much love.