Monday, September 2, 2013

Defenses Against The Dark Arts

Texas skies ~ I think miles and miles of blue skies covered with billowy clouds ~ or beautiful sunsets painted with brilliant pinks, oranges and reds. This photo was taken by my Mom shortly after touching down on Texas soil. Hauntingly beautiful it is. Enveloped me completely ~really. 

I don't know how to explain it but the color BLUE has been coming up more and more in my life. Blue reminds me of water and sky ~ this blue is very inky and seems to hold many treasured secrets. Reminds me of a section in Brene Brown's book ~ Daring Greatly ~ If you want to read the whole piece ~ click on this link ~ otherwise ~ here's my favorite passages about shame and Harry Potter:
 Sirius told Harry to listen to him very carefully, then he said, 
 ‘You’re not a bad person. You’re a very good person who bad things have happened to. Besides, the world isn't split into good people and Death Eaters. We've all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.’”
“We all have shame. We all have good and bad, dark and light, inside of us. But if we don’t come to terms with our shame, our struggles, we start believing that there’s something wrong with us – that we’re bad, flawed, not good enough – and even worse, we start acting on those beliefs. If we want to be fully engaged, to be connected, we have to be vulnerable. In order to be vulnerable, we need to develop resilience to shame.”
Reading this was a good wake up call for me to embrace the dark and the light ~ they are both a part of who we are ~ what do the dark, inky night skies tell you?

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Insightful Dino

I had to take a picture of this display at Barnes and Noble ~ so perfect and true! Has it only been a few months since the end of  Game of Thrones ~ Season 3?

Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Light Shines in the Dark

I recently took some time out of my busy work week to spend the night at a quiet, remote retreat center. After the sun set and darkness enveloped me I was greeted by a host of busy fireflies. Never in my life have I seen such brilliantly lit creatures. Perhaps they have upgraded their bulbs to LED lights?

Fireflies have always captivated and fascinated me. They have always reminded me of fairies and heavenly spirits. Amazing to me how much light they create and yet they are so small. Since nature speaks to my heart, this is what I found about fireflies showing up in my life ~ May you have some firefly visitors this summer, too.

For those to whom the firefly appears, it is time to trust in your own rhythms--physical and spiritual. Our hopes will begin to manifest, and our ability o inspire will grow. Fireflies remind us that there are others who will respond to us and who are like us. They flash with similar creative rhythms. They will make their presence known soon, and they will make our life more creative and healthier.

Fireflies generate light without heat, a process of chemistry and physics that is still baffling to science. Whereas most electric bulbs waste 97% of their energy in heat, a firefly concentrates 90% of it's effort into light. The glow emerging from so tiny an animal is sufficient to read a printed page, reflecting wonderful opportunities to make the seemingly impossible a reality, inspiring wonders that will be flickering and manifesting around us.

When the firefly appears is a wonderful time to jot down all of those creative ideas that are flickering in our mind through this time. We needn't worry about what to do with them now, for just by taking them out of the mental realm, their creative force is released into our life and they will provide inspiration that will affect us for a long time in the future.

The firefly looks ordinary during the day, but by night they sparkle, flickering like a star. They hold the promise of accomplishing our goals. Spiritual gifts are awakening. We are on the right path, and there are strong spiritual forces around us. When fireflies appear, people begin to reassess their former opinions and perspectives. We begin to shine and sparkle. Opportunities to fulfill dreams, to inspire wonder, and to awaken greater hope will begin to flicker strongly within our life.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Where Do You Put Down Roots?

Wish I had seen this magnificent tree in person ~ a friend of mine has allowed me to share this image of courage and determination. It's clear to me that this wise old tree is firmly rooted. It began it's life as a sapling  on the banks of a lake and that's where it's stayed. No doubt, this tree has endured torrential downpours and floods, threatening it's life over and over again and yet it's proven to be resilient ~ but at what cost?

Resilience, determination, courage ~ these are all close cousins of one another. When they join hands and work together survival becomes a reality.  How does this relate to me and my life? I've never felt like a physically "rooted" person ~ ever. I've embraced the wonder and adventure of change. But, something I've learned that's essential to survival is knowing yourself and what you are deeply rooted in.

For most people, they are rooted in family, a job, a town or a house. For me, it's been my faith and intuition that have grounded me to the planet.  The aftermath of brain surgery has been a potentially catastrophic uprooting event for me. I've felt like my roots have been ripped out of the ground. Many times I've felt awash at sea, not knowing if I even had any roots left to dig in and hold onto solid ground again. The image above is a gentle reminder that, yes, I still have roots, strong roots that can grip and take hold of solid ground even in the most unlikely circumstances. How do you find your footing again and do you dare to take hold of something you believe in?

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Outside the Box

A picture says a thousand words, right? I've made the photo above my screen saver at work. It's a constant reminder to think outside the box and to look up every once in a while. So many times a day I find myself a victim of brain farts ~ ooo shiny! What was I just thinking about? I had a thought and just like that, poof! It's completely evaporated.

So, like I was saying, I've been thinking way outside the box ~ looking for a unicorn or a zebra in a herd of horses. I saw my most favorite endocrinologist in the world last week and after listening to me rattle off my numerous growing neurological chiari/cranial settling related symptoms, he emphatically told me that I was skating on thin ice. That's always a wake up call when you hear that from someone that you trust in the medical community. ~ sigh ~

After digesting my doctors concerns for my health, I took a deep breath and shared this bizarre, outside of the box idea with him to help validate that my idea wasn't completely off the reservation. I've been thinking lately, most of my symptoms lately: migraines, vertigo, trouble breathing, insomnia... are all related to cranial settling. After seeing my Chiari friends go through fusion surgery only to have the fusion rods re-done just a few years later, I really want no part of that routine. With that said, I vividly remember my Invasive Cervical Traction procedure that I had the day before my brain surgery.

At one point during the procedure, even through the twilight haze, I remember Dr. M discovering that when they lifted my head up and over and then down there was a remarkable change in symptoms and CSF flow. He was very intrigued since he had not seen a positive result before with that set of motions. So, I was thinking, if this procedure helped me to feel pretty good for a few years, why can't I go in for this type of surgical procedure again? Sure, I would miss a few days of work, but it's an outpatient procedure with no recovery time. How crazy would it be to at least start a dialogue with my doctors to see if this is a possibility.

Shockingly enough, my doctor totally was on board with my idea and didn't think it was crazy at all.

I feel like I keep buying time ~ waiting for technology to advance, looking for a less invasive more long lasting solution. I know there's no cure for Chiari ~ but this girl is still searching for a silver lining ~ a sliver of hope....

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Hurt and the Healer

What a profound message - I'm alive, even though a part of me has died....what a great comfort this message brings

The Hurt And The Healer ~ MercyMe


The question that is never far away
But healing doesn't come from the explained
Jesus please don't let this go in vain
You're all I have
All that remains

So here I am
What's left of me
Where glory meets my suffering

I'm alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I fall into Your arms open wide
When the hurt and the healer collide

Sometimes I feel it's all that I can do
Pain so deep that I can hardly move
Just keep my eyes completely fixed on You
Lord take hold and pull me through

So here I am
What's left of me
Where glory meets my suffering

I'm alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I fall into your arms open wide
When the hurt and the healer collide

It's the moment when humanity
Is overcome by majesty
When grace is ushered in for good
And all the scars are understood
When mercy takes its rightful place
And all these questions fade away
When out of weakness we must bow
And hear You say "It's over now"

I'm alive
And even though a part of me has died
You take this heart and breathe it back to life
I fall into your arms open wide
When The hurt and the healer collide

Jesus come and break my fear
Awake my heart and take my tears
Find Your glory even here
When the hurt and the healer collide 

Jesus come and break my fear
Awake my heart and take my tears
Find Your glory even here 
When the hurt and the healer collide 

Jesus come and break my fear
Awake my heart and take my tears
Find Your glory even here

Monday, May 13, 2013


Tears ~ I've been thinking about them a lot lately. I taught myself at a very tender age of TWO, to try my hardest to stuff my tears way down deep to the pit of my stomach. Hey, I  put on a smile that stretched from ear to ear and that worked for decades!

But once I allowed myself to feel my feelings as they bubbled up to the surface ~ there's no stopping the tears. They show up out of no where ~ on a sunny day when I think everything is right in the world. Recently, for the first time in my life I awakened myself out of a dead sleep to the sound of my own sobbing. We are talking crying so hard I can't stop ~ and I just might need a dry pillowcase cover and a full box of tissues.

I don't know exactly WHY this is happening now ~ but I have to say it gives me a  great sense that I am really alive and I haven't felt that way in a very long time. The most recent occurrence was this morning at 5 am. I remember the dream well ~ it wasn't a particularly emotional dream, but when I felt the e?motion swell within me like a tsunami ~ I could feel the ache in my chest as I tried desperately to hold back the swell of tears ~

When I think about it, most of my most favorite movies and TV shows have tearful moments. I've gotten a lot more comfortable with watching those scenes again and allowing myself to be swept up in the moment and cry alongside the characters.

Here are a few of my favorite tearful scenes ~ What are yours?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

What Grace Has Given Me ~ Let It Pass to Him

This has been a heart breaking week ~ I've always felt ever since my Chiari diagnosis that it was my burden to bear, my dark forest to walk through . I grew comfortable with that feeling very early on. I felt like a ring bearer myself. I always have known that for me, it's easier to be in pain and struggle than to watch someone else I love go through the same thing. How right I was!

My Dad's been in a great deal of pain over the past couple of months. And for him to feel pain this must have been some kind of Jurassic pain from hell. You see, he's got this incredible tolerance to pain ~ luckily he passed that DNA onto me. The trouble with this is that by the time he feels pain, he's in real trouble. He finally went to the doctor and underwent a battery of tests. Well the results are in and they aren't good.

Dad's been given a chance to fight like a rabid lion ~ the fight of his life! Cancer has invaded and it's time to kick it the hell out of Dodge! This news has been shocking and earth shattering for all of us, but I know we will get through this.

When the call came in ~ I stepped outside my office for a couple of minutes. The sun was shining, the cold air hit my face and I braced myself to hear the 'C' word. My body went numb, I crumpled to the ground in a crouch. While I was listening to Dad dispel this not so good news, a movie scene immediately was rolling through my head ~ and from the Fellowship of the Ring ~ no doubt. Shocked you are, right? This quote was rolling over and over in my head:
 "What grace has given me, let it pass to him.  Let him be spared.  Save him."
What I would do to take this from Dad ~ I feel so helpless ~ I can't stand by and watch ~ I have to do something to help take the pain away...Sending a band of angels to surround you Dad, protect you better than a She Elf of Middle Earth ~ you will beat this ~ I know in my heart that you will ~ love you much!

Arwen and Frodo  

In Tolkien's novel, Glorfindel's horse Asfaloth bears Frodo alone to the Ford of Bruinen, and Frodo collapses after resisting the will of the Nine Riders.  In Jackson's movie, Arwen bears him across the Ford and is the agent of resistance.  There she speaks Words of Power to make the river rise against the Nine.  Here, Jackson's choices establish Arwen as one of the most potent powers in Middle-earth, capable of employing the same kind of powers that Gandalf and Saruman use at Caradhras.  (In the novel, the flood is the work of Elrond's wielding of one of the three Rings of Power, with flourishes provided by Gandalf.)  

Arwen then kneels over the fading Frodo and says, "What grace is given me, let it pass to him.  Let him be spared.  Save him."

To whom is Arwen speaking?  What's this "grace" she's talking about?

If Jackson holds true to Tolkien's intent, it is the grace extended to Arwen by the Valar (Middle-earth's pantheon) to pass into the Blessed Realm.  As one of the children of Elrond, the Halfelven, she is allowed the choice of leaving Middle-earth to dwell in immortality with the Valar, or to remain in Middle-earth as a mortal and suffer death.  In the eventual passing from the Grey Havens, Frodo takes Arwen's place in paradise.  Arwen's "grace," then, is the gift of immortality.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A Hopeful Sign

If you've been following my blog ramblings over the past 4 years, you know that music and nature speak to me on profound levels. I've always looking for 'signs' ~ a language that speaks to my heart when words have fallen on deaf ears.

New Years Day, we were driving home from spending the night out. We were driving down a highway that I travel on daily. Sitting in the passenger seat, I gazed out the window to my right, looking at how wistful the freshly fallen snow looked as it hung on the tree branches like an Ansel Adams painting. Just then, something, actually two creatures caught my eye. 

I'm always on the lookout for Red Tailed Hawks, they are common in our region and are easy to spot perched high in a tree along the highways. The white coloring on their chests always gives them away. But these creatures I had spotted were definitely not hawks. They were much larger in size and quite magnificent. I had spotted a couple of Bald Eagles!!! I had heard of sightings, but this was the first time I had seen them. 

What message was the universe sending me to have spotted TWO Bald Eagles on New Years day....The sky is the limit in 2013 ~ no boundaries ~ no limits ~ soar above it all ~ 

According to the Native Americans, Bald Eagles have great symbolism:

Size does matter to the Native mind. It is the mammoth size of the eagle that, in part, wins its title as the King of the Birds in myth and lore. In spite of its enormous size, the eagle still takes flight, seemingly effortlessly. This is the first of many symbolic cues from the eagle about perception (not judging a book by its cover) and, not allowing the illusion of limitation to ground us in our flight.

What else matters when considering symbolic eagle meaning? Here are a few attributes and keywords associated with Eagle Medicine:

  • Opportunity
  • Protection
  • Guardianship
  • Masculinity
  • Dominance
  • Control
  • Freedom
  • Community
  • Command
  • Action
  • Authority
  • Skill
  • Focus
  • Determination
  • Vision
  • Power
  • Liberation
  • Inspiration
  • Ruler
  • Judgment
  • contemplate the power cased in the heart of the eagle.
  • Synchronize your own heart beat with that of the eagle's - visualize each pulse as a flash of lighting - an impulse of divine thought.
  • Picture the power of the gods clapping like thunder with each flap of their wings. With each crack of thunder consider barriers and blockages in your life being shattered.
  • Then see the great 7 foot wingspan of the eagle growing even longer in your vision in order to swipe away the rubble - making all trace of limitation disappear.
  • Look into the eyes of the eagle, and see the dawning sun shine clarity upon the dawning of your own awareness. These eyes are like a light into your own contemplative vision - let them illuminate your from the inside out.
A representation of prime matter, the start of an alchemical operation. The eagle spreads its wings over the step into creation and fans the fire, encouraging growth of new matter.
The eagle carries the veil of night and dark over our existence and awareness. It's affiliated with the dawning sun, and is a magnificent celestial power, able to shine light into our world.
Associated with the symbolism of water, and the intuitive oracle water serves as. Perhaps because our Celtic kin observed their magnificent ability to see into waters with miraculous clarity. 
Associated with the Christ himself. Because the eagle seems to easily ascend the skies, looking into the sun with unblinking focus, we relate symbolism of Christ's unblinking faith in the Way, the Truth, and the Light. We also see themes of renewal (baptism) as the eagle plunges the soul of man into the sea, and lifts them out renewed and cleansed.
Another reference as a solar animal, the eagle is symbolic of authority, rulership and virility. It's depicted with thunderbolts in each talon. In my mind, this seems like a phallic reference would bolster sexual energy as well as warrior status (energy, thrust, courage, bravery, fearlessness). I get a confirmation of this by Zeus's strong affiliation with the eagle in myth.
Last word on the symbolic eagle meaning: "Fly Higher."
Native wisdom also honors the eagle for their opportunistic ways. It's not that they're skilled hunters (they are), but the go about gaining their needs in ways that are most efficient. This is a lesson for conserving resources. Work smarter, not harder.
Some Native American (plains tribes) refers to the eagle as an earthly incarnation of the great Thunderbird spirit. Legend further states that lightning bolts shoot from the eyes of the bald eagle, and with the beating of its expansive wings, rain is conjured from the skies. That's easy to envision.
Coming from the mindset that all energy is interconnected, an average wingspan of 5-7 feet (in Golden's and Bald's) could understandably cause some massive energetic ripples in the cosmos. Even prompt rain. I love how eagles as rain bringers segways into the cleansing theme of water.
And, we see from the Native mind that eagle feathers are tribal tools resonating patterns of healing within ritual. Do a little research into Native wisdom, and you will find the eagle is invoked for revitalization, creation and healing purposes. I like to think this deals with the eagle's connection with water.
In this vein of thought, we can contemplate the healing messages the eagle may offer us in our daily life. When the eagle soars into our psychic vision, it may be a sign of getting prepared for symbolic cleansing rains. What needs cleaning in our lives?
Of course, as rulers of the sky, eagle meaning is connected with the air element, which symbolizes communication and thought. All bird totems speak to us about higher thinking, dreams, and mental liberation. As king of the birds, the eagle's message of mental acuity is super-dominant.
Visually, everything about the eagle's appearance is sharp. Streamlined, sleek, chiseled. This prompts our deeper minds to hone our thoughts and skills. The eagle commands us to tailor our intelligence and talents in a form that best suits our needs. We all have inner abilities, but when the eagle shows up - it's a clear sign it's time to use these abilities in a laser-like fashion to bring about focused change in our lives.
To revisit the Thunderbird association, eagles are said to bring down lightning with the storms. This makes me think of flashes of insight, surges of power - electrifying vision.
I also like to look into the eyes of the eagle. There I see the lightning. I see the sun itself living in those all-seeing bright yellow orbs.
Do these observations this strike a chord with you? If so, take flight with the eagle meaning by experimenting with these visualizations:
These kind of powerful connections can liberate on so many levels.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


New Year's Day a discovery was made while cleaning out cabinets in the kitchen:  an old and tattered paper bag. You see, this wasn't any ordinary bag.  The contents were infused with pain ~ both physical and emotional. There were 6 unopened boxes of liquid Morphine and an opened bottle that was almost full. Additionally, I found a hand-full of hospital bracelets from North Shore Hospital ~ 2008. The expiration dates on the boxes told me to throw them out, but I have a strange attachment to them.

How sick and twisted is that!?! I still remember going cold turkey when I got home after my brain surgery. I had a bag of morphine with many refills. I was set for feeling no pain for several weeks if not months if I stretched out my doses. Me, I'm a bit on the stubborn side of life, the docs gave me pain relief, I wanted to get off the high powered drugs and tough it out on my own. I know ~ CRAZY LOCO ~ she is!!!

I've never thought of this before, but perhaps I see the unused drugs as a badge of survival ~ a sign that I could recover without any extra assistance from the pharmaceutical companies. Still ~ twisted ~ Did you know that Morphine has been around since 1805. Detoxing from Morphine is just like detoxing from Heroin ~ it's not fun at all! 

Morphine withdrawal symptoms (or Opiate withdrawal symptoms in general) are as follows: Sweats, Chills, Muscle Aches, Diarrhea, Vomiting/Nausea, High Blood Pressure, Fatigue, Restless Leg Syndrome (leg aches), Insomnia, Severe Depression, Heightened Sensitivity to Pain, Dysphoria, Muscle Spasms, Allergy Symptoms (yawning, watery eyes, sneezing).They generally last for 5-10 days, with some symptoms lasting longer (insomnia, depression, fatigue). Morphine withdrawals are exactly like Heroin withdrawals, because they are almost exactly the same drug. In fact, the proper chemical name for Heroin is Diamorphine. When heroin is ingested and reaches the brain, it is turned into morphine.

So back to the conundrum of what to do with an expired bag of Morphine. I know I should get rid of it ~ can i burn it in the fire pit maybe? I think my idea of making Morphine laced martinis for my next Oscar Party might not be a super great idea. There must be some kind of ritual, rite of passage ceremony. Any readers out there share my same feelings or am I the only coo coo one. Don't be shy...