Into Darkness

In three day’s time the last full moon of 2022 – the Cold Moon or long night moon (so named due to its proximity to the winter solstice, the longest night of the year) will rise. This full moon will be direct in the sign of Gemini on December 7, 2022 at 11:08 pm EST.

The sign of Gemini will dictate the energy during this time when the full cold moon takes place. “A mutable sign, often linked with feelings of duality and curiosity, we’ll likely all be feeling the need to express our true selves,” Rhianne says.

Source

How do we ‘express our true selves’? Do we even know who or what that means?

Tonight I attended a zoom meeting entitled “Navigating the Dark”. Chivito Cowa explained the difference between the Colonized mind’s approach to struggles, pain, and grief compared to the mind of our Indigenous brothers and sisters. The People of the Earth not only understand but embody the seasons and cycles of their Mother. They strive to go with the flow of nature rather than fighting against it. Winter is a time of contraction, a descent into darkness, representative of difficult times, grief and loss. The question posed tonight was whether we are willing to honor the cycle of contraction and expansion.

We who have been conditioned by mother culture want to escape all pain, as if contraction is bad, or life is not life apart from expansion. We have been taught to believe that when we find ourselves in a state of contraction, something must be wrong. Mother earth knows better. To remain in a constant state of expansion sets us apart from Gaia herself. We are creatures born of earth, one day to return to her. In our bones we know that contraction must precede expansion, and descent is necessary if we are ever to ascend.

I would like to share more of the nuggets I gleaned from tonight’s call:

  1. Bad storytelling casts spells; good storytelling breaks spells. Colonized mind pushes to ‘get through’ the difficulties – to end the pain. Indigenous mind remains present in the struggle of the current story as it unfolds, knowing that dark times are the gateway to progress. What story is my life telling right now?
  2. We each came into the world with a song. We can only sing that song when we have been broken open. Being broken is a form of descent that takes us deep into the darkness of our inner shadow(s). What old stories still bind me?
  3. The Celts understood an ‘old hurt’ to be an invaluable initiation into wisdom. How am I being invited to a new story, to growth and new ways to show up?
  4. The descent into the dark resembles gravity pulling us downward into our true gifts. Like the roots of a tree reaching deep into Mother Earth to discover what new form wants to grow up and out of me. What new strengths am I being asked to grow into?
  5. There is uncertainty and pain along the dark path of the hero’s journey; there are questions to be found as well. In the darkness, these questions stalk us, and when we finally discover them, we will see paths that we could not discern before. How can I stop trying to fix things, and instead lean into the struggle in order to find different questions – questions that will bring clarity to my path and newfound wisdom into my life?
  6. Grief and loss reveal what we love. The downward path of loss leads us into the belly of the beast where we experience uncertainty and pain. Here we are tested, broken open, and brought into the medicine we are to embody on this earth. How is clinging to who I was preventing me from discovering, becoming, and embodying who I am now?

Wednesday evening at 8 pm EST I will be offering a Full Moon Ceremony using a new gathering platform called Teacup. The app is free and all are welcome to join. Look for the Full Moon Ceremony Tearoom under the Wellness tab. You can RSVP or just show up. Light a candle, bring a journal & pen, and come ready to release the stories that bind you. The darkness awaits, inviting us to find new questions, clarity, and the path of ascent that will bring forth the song we were meant to sing.

Sweet Darkness

by David Whyte

When your eyes are tired
the world is tired also.

When your vision has gone
no part of the world can find you.

Time to go into the dark
where the night has eyes
to recognize its own.

There you can be sure
you are not beyond love.

The dark will be your womb
tonight.

The night will give you a horizon
further than you can see.

You must learn one thing.
The world was made to be free in.

Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
to learn

anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive

is too small for you.

Where are you on your hero’s journey? Feel free to share in the comments.

As always, thanks for reading. Namaste.

-C

The Why and the How of Things

If we possess our why of life we can put up with almost any how.

Friedrich Nietzsche

Last week someone wrote this to me in an email, “I pray every night that I will not wake up.” The rest of the message had to do with the heart-wrenching ‘hows’ of their life – the difficulties, hardships, frustrations and heartaches. I had to resist the urge to argue, cajole, or in some form or fashion try to fix things for them. But I left behind that way of being me long ago. It would not be the day that I picked it up again.

Today I ran into the Nietzsche quote above and a light dawned. Suddenly everything made sense. When the why of life is lost, you cannot put up with any how. Not gracefully. Not forebearingly. Not willingly.

It also explains my inability to ‘fix’ things. A why cannot be given, only found, cultivated, cherished. And that within the heart.

What is your why? Does it help you put up with the hows?

CheerPeppers2022

Moon Journey

Last night was a thing. Ten souls under the energy of the Taurus full moon, talking about eclipses and how to trust our intuition. Visions and messages came through. Leaving off fear and doubt, we opened our hearts and together committed to moving forward in the quest for … something more.

I didn’t expect her to show up. Well, maybe I did. She was taller than I imagined, and thinner. Straight black hair stretched down her back past the shoulder blades. I knew she was ancient, but she didn’t look it. A massive black pearl spread across both her palms. Can an oyster make a pearl that big? Is there even an oyster big enough??

She showed up too. Her matronly shape, gray wispy hair and white apron formed a sharp contrast to her compatriot’s slim form covered entirely in ebony. I call her “grandmother” when she comes, but I’m fairly certain she is my great-grandmother. Either way, I never met her.

There they stood before me, staring at one another, their expressions unreadable. Two sides of a coin, except I made three. Three of us like a triangle on a round black slab. Mother maiden crone came to mind, yet there was no maiden here, unless it was me: the initiate, the fool, the youth, still on the path for deeper meaning.

No words were spoken. I shifted my gaze between them until I understood.

Love and power, together within me.

I’ve Lost My Bearings

Now how in hell do I find them again?!

You know the last time I was happy?

Me to my eldest daughter, the summer of 2014

She did not miss a beat,

Hawaii!!

My very wise child

~ ~ ~

In 2014 I was miserable. Of course life has its ups and downs, but an eight-year stint of misery was not characteristic of my personality. Realist, yes. Pessimist, no. Never mind that 2014 was the first year without my sister and 50th Birthdays really can suck. I think in that moment, as I looked back over the past eight years, wondering what had become of the happiness I had once known, my higher self said, “Fuck this!” and a new journey began.

I did not know the first thing about numerology in those days, but if I had, I might have recognized where I was in the process. Here’s a quick blurb on how numerology affects us, in case you are unfamiliar.

The Personal Year is a year-long cycle of energy, running from one birthday to the next. It describes the events and opportunities being presented for the upcoming year. The personal years run sequentially 1, 2, 3, … up to 9 at which point they start over again.

https://www.adrienneabeyta.com/personal-year-number

~ ~ ~

There are differences of opinion as to when one’s personal year begins (January 1 or your birthday), but there is a general consensus on what each number actually means and how it plays out in your life.

If you’d like to calculate your personal year just take the month and date of your birthday and then add the numbers of the current year … keeping in mind whether your birthday has come or not. For example: May 9, 2022 – 5+9+2022 = 2036 = 2+3+6 = 11 = 1+1 = 2. In my example, this person would already be in their 2 year since their birthday already occurred.

But back to me.

2014 was a four year in my cycle.

4: Work, Practicality, Security, Stagnation

This year you are building the foundations for the future, so you can imagine the amount of work you will be participating in! Security will be of paramount importance as you begin to structure your life accordingly … Due to the feeling of maintenance and holding onto security, there can be a tendency to stagnate. Although your intentions may be to see it through, stagnating in the avenue of outworn relationships or unfulfilling jobs is self-defeating and will dilute your natural effort. This is a period of building foundations, not standing still. This year will be best experienced through self-discipline and organization. You have the ability to structure your life in a way that allows for maximum comfort; just be sure that you are still growing in your personal and emotional life while you are doing so!

Ibid.

~ ~ ~

Looking back, it is almost uncanny how accurate numerology can be! I really don’t want to rehash 2014 in this post, except to say that I definitely was not growing in any part of my life at that time. Stagnation was everywhere.

The following year could not have been more on point.

5: Freedom, Change, Discovery, Travel

This year should be viewed as an adventure. Things as you know it will be different. Traditionally this is the hardest year for people to deal with; particularly those not accustomed to change. However, once you understand that this is a year for exploration, then there are many buried treasures to discover! You are in the stage of expansion, both physically and mentally. There may be pursuits in the name of knowledge that cause you to search into unfamiliar territories, such as metaphysics, or literally, you will be doing some traveling to other places as a way of experiencing culture and diversity. Freedom is the biggest issue. If you feel restricted in any area of your life you can bet that there will be disruption, be it in a relationship, work, home environment, or really any self-imposed limitation. You are being challenged to make a personal transition.

Ibid.

~ ~ ~

About midway through my five year I walked away from a 28-yr. marriage, and soon after picked up my first deck of Tarot cards. For someone who spent 35+ years in a legalistic branch of Evangelical Christianity, change doesn’t get any bigger than that! (Did I mention I was married to a pastor and marriage and family therapist? I love irony.)

Without a doubt my eight year delivered!

8: Power, Responsibility, Finances, Prosperity

This is the year to own and direct your power in a deliberate and efficient way that will extract the best possible results.

Ibid.

~ ~ ~

In 2018 I published my first novel, started reading Tarot cards as a career, took my first real vacation – 11 days alone exploring Ireland, and literally manifested a car from thin air!

Fast forward to today. I am in a three year right now, but it sure doesn’t feel, look, or taste like a three to me.

3: Self-Expression, Creativity, Planning

This year is full of creativity, new ideas, dreams, and optimism all waiting to be shouted from the top of the hill to anyone who will listen. You may find yourself in intriguing social circles, like school, discussing things you’ve always wondered about, or you may finally make the contacts needed to pursue a desired venture. Information of every kind will be swirling around you, waiting for you to grab a hold. You are like a magnet and will attract many admirers! There is something carefree about you that others will thrive on. For those not in a serious relationship, anything casual and fun will be best for you because there is a tendency in a three year to fall in love with love; not necessarily with the other person, so it may be best not to start anything serious until next year.

Ibid.

~ ~ ~

In the Tarot, the number three represents expansion, but my life in 2022 felt more like a contraction. Certainly not in every area, mind you, just as an overall, general tone. I have felt out of my depth in work, writing, family, living situation – all of it! I shocked myself a couple of weeks ago when this thought crossed my mind:

I am ready for 2022 to be in the rear view.

Huh? You have to understand, this sentiment is not like me. Despite the collective, even 2020 did not feel this way! I remember an old saying, “Lost as a ball in high weeds.” Never thought I would be applying it to myself. But there it is. Here I am. And wherever you go, there you are. Now how to find my way out?

Perhaps that is why I grabbed hold of NanoPoblano this year, as an attempt to bring some sort of sane order or familiarity back into my life. If you wander around my blog (or even my personal journal), you will notice how little I have written since 2018. It almost seems like publishing a book and trying my hand at travel writing sucked all the words right out of me. Writer’s block? Nope, I’ve experienced that before. 2022 has been something else altogether.

Fifty-eight is not a time when anyone wants to feel like their life is up in the air – no job, no relationship security, and no idea what the future holds. For a little bit this year, I even forgot how to dream. But clearly something new is stirring.

Interesting that I am on the brink of another personal four year. I still meditate, I exercise, I put out job applications, I spend time with friends, family, and loved ones, but nothing in my life is even stable, much less stagnating! Still, something is off. And it’s me. And I hope to god that this post is my higher self saying, “FUCK THIS!!” I am ready for something new to begin again.

What do you do when you feel lost or off-track? How do you rediscover your bearings?

I would love to hear your story. Feel free to share in the comments below. Hey, thanks for reading!

Namaste from the weeds.

Only Magic Enough for Me.

This post is brilliant — and a beautiful reminder that caring for others begins with self care. If only we all knew ourselves so well. But then, the true magician knows their own limits. Self-awareness is a prerequisite to performing magic of any real substance.

Gabor Mate commented on self-care this way: “The best gift that you can give your kids [or anyone you love] is your own happiness.” What I know is that you cannot give away what you do not possess, so if you’re trying to bring the ‘world’ joy but you’re bereft, well, how’s that workin’ for ya?

Enjoy this reblog in honor of a very talented NanoPoblano Pepper!!

cp2022png

William S. Friday

I once wrote, “Magic can be stressful as fuck.  More stressful than people who don’t rely on it can know” (August 23, 2017).  In the years that followed that adorable tweet, I went from this tenuous-at-best belief in magic, to no belief in magic at all.  But now, I may have learned the most important lesson magic ever shared,

“I have only magic enough for me”.

I will spare you all the nonsense and double-talk, smeared on society’s cage bars like angry gorilla feces at the zoo, about “the magic in all of us”, or “the way of the empath”, or any other such crap that South Asian-appropriating white saviors and plagiarist self-help gurus fling around the internet, and simply say that I, in whatever way you wish to define it, still do believe in magic.

And it is in short supply.

I mean look, I’m writing a blog post…

View original post 387 more words

Dia de los Muertos

Fall has long been my favorite season. The cooler temperatures encourage me to move at a slower pace, giving me the time and energy to pay attention to the changes happening around me. Trees display their most brilliant colors in dying leaves ... the songs of migrating birds vie for my attention every morning and evening ... I breathe in the bright color and aroma of the last of the blooms: marigolds, roses, mums, and herbs (rosemary, mint, and sage). 

I celebrated Samhain season with carved pumpkins and bonfires (both courtesy of a close friend). 
October 31 to November 2 is thought to be the time when the veil between the physical and the spiritual realms is at its thinnest. For me, it presents a unique opportunity to honor those I love who have left the earthly plane behind. My Day of the Dead display sat in storage for the past while, so this year I decorated in mid-September, wanting to extend my enjoyment of the familial connections I now hold in Spirit. I was not disappointed. On multiple occasions I sensed and 'saw' them with me — many more than I ever actually met. Their presence served as a reminder that I am rooted in a long lineage of life, hope, and love.

Whatever your family relationships look like, or even if you do not know who or where you came from, we all have an unseen entourage cheering us on and need only tune in to perceive the love directed towards us from those who served as the umbilical cord connecting us to humanity.
The Naked Heart grid is a symbol of my commitment to stay open to love, letting go the type of grief that makes the heart sick. Clear quartz, tourmaline, and merlinite represent my physical connection to the earth, as well as my body's determination to one day return there. Photographs and other mementos keep me mindful of those who have moved on from this physical realm, yet have left an indelible mark on the lives of generations to come. 
As winter nears, bringing the Northern Hemisphere's dormancy closer, I am reminded that truly death is a sham. If it teaches us anything, the Wheel of the Year asserts that what looks like an ending is merely a doorway to rebirth and abundance. Ultimately, Dia de los Muertos is a celebration of life! While I honor those who have crossed over, I review my living relationships. Many of them bring fresh air into my life on a regular basis. A few present challenges and spur me on to grow in ways that if left alone, I'd rather not. Others have gone the way of my ancestors, and that’s okay too. One lies dormant, yet full of hope, waiting for Spring to awaken it in due time. 

As we move inexorably through twilight and into darkness, may we remember the light of life that our ancestors gave us, and may we honor them even as we await the dawn of a new year and the coming light of Spring.
https://cheerpeppers.wordpress.com/2022-team/

The Road to Resilience

Trauma is the invisible force that shapes our lives. It shapes the way we live, the way we love and the way we make sense of the world. It is the root of our deepest wounds. Trauma cannot always be conquered, fixed, or resolved, but it can be heard, held and loved.

Gabor Maté, The Wisdom of Trauma

The road less traveled…

My road to resilience has been a long one, and still going. At times the smell of burnt rubber from my spinning wheels made me wonder if I had ever gained any ground, or if I dared hope I would one day arrive at wholeness. In those times it helped me to remember that the universe moves in circular motion – that our very hearts beat to the rhythm of daily, monthly, and yearly seasons and cycles. A deepening spiral into the depths of ourselves more accurately reflects life on earth than the idea of a direct route to any sort of destination or end point, and the process of awakening inside 3-D reality has convinced me that growing into the fullness of our humanity may in fact take several lifetimes – both collectively and individually.

Looking back at my movement towards resilience, I would have to say that (in this lifetime, at least) my journey began at age 13 – the year I started thinking seriously about ending my life. This suicidal ideation would continue throughout my teens, and even into my mid-twenties, although the relationship I established with the god of the Bible prevented me from carrying out the deed.

So What is Resilience?

re·sil·ience/rəˈzilyəns/noun

  1. the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.
  2. the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.

It used to astound me how two people could have virtually the same experience and come away with completely different reactions. My family of origin illustrates this well, actually. Four children raised by the same parents, all assigning their own personal meanings to their childhood. This phenomena makes sense when you understand that the nature of an event itself neither supports nor negates the definition of trauma; rather the subjective experience of the one affected by the event defines that event as traumatic or not.

Perception really is everything.

In college, one particular friendship made all the difference in my perception of the world and my place in it. A late-night conversation in her car stands out in my mind to this day, and while it may not have meant all that much to her, I believe that it literally saved me at the time. My friend’s willingness to not only see through my meticulously crafted walls, but also dare to find a way inside them introduced me to a new resource: vulnerability. To this day I do not do vulnerability particularly well, but she showed me that as painful as it can be to face and reveal the darkness inside, vulnerability also has the power to strengthen, liberate, and connect us together.

To me, resilience means having access to an abundance of resources (inside and out) that can aid in navigating the difficult storms of life, but despite the lesson(s) my college friend taught me, I managed to recreate the pain of my childhood in my marriage. When you are at the mercy whim of a person with narcissistic tendencies, vulnerability seemed like an UNuseful tool, so out the window that went.

I remember in my thirties coming to the stunning realization that amidst the vast number of emotional tools available, I had truly developed only one: anger. For most of my life, anger was my go-to problem solver. Anger helped me survive. At first I kept it in the dark. My childhood taught me in thousands of ways that to reveal a negative feeling about anything led to vilification through guilt and shame. Happy was the order of the day. Every. Single. Damn. Day. Whether I felt happy or not. I learned to build thick walls, and at the same time, stuff my anger deeper and deeper down, making the eventual explosions that much more painful for me and those around me. Much later I learned that anger turned inward often manifests as depression. Despite my moody broody Pisces nature, I never did depression any better than I had vulnerability.

Instead, my body manifested an autoimmune disease.

The Body Keeps the Score

Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D.

In 2004, during a routine physical, my doctor discovered nodules in the right side of my thyroid. An ultrasound and eventual lab work dismissed cancer but revealed extremely high numbers of antibodies. My anger-turned-inward had literally caused my body to begin attacking itself. Considering how much difficulty I had in expressing my feelings (remember, crap at vulnerability), it is no wonder that my immune disorder of ‘choice’ targeted my throat, my voice, my self-expression. When the body begins to manifest disease, it’s time to face the hard truths about the source(s) of chronic illness.

Owning up to trauma and its devastating effects does not necessitate blame. Trauma is my response to an event, so facing it makes me response-able, as Gabor Maté puts it.

Taking responsibility requires self-awareness and a willingness to either walk away from toxic relationships or develop the self-care tools necessary to diligently acknowledge, own, and heal our own trigger points. Today my toolbox holds way more than anger inside, although I came to learn that anger properly expressed proves quite useful at times. When we allow our emotions to teach and inform us, true healing and incredible growth can occur, but –

You must feel it to heal it.

Michelle D’Avella

So many events in my life contributed to the building of my resilience toolbox that it would take a memoir or three to adequately talk about them all. Some that stand out in my memory:

I daresay that every experience in life potentially adds to our resiliency toolbox, depending on our perception and level of awareness. The big ones stand out, but the little ones carry weight too. And my teachers – WOW!! Dr. Joe Dispenza, Abraham Hicks, Alan Watts, Bruce Lipton, Michelle D’Avella, Niraj Naik, Marshall Rosenberg, Daniel Quinn, Patrick McKeown, Gabor Maté, Peter Levine, and so many more have expanded my toolbox in ways that I find hard to express. These days Byron Katie’s idea of approaching thoughts with curiosity has become a helpful point of focus for me.

What about you?

  • What life experiences have helped build your resiliency toolbox?
  • What teachers/ideas influence and inform your growth towards resiliency?
  • What does your practice of self-care look like and what place does it have in your toolbox?

For me, resilience must offer more than the ability to recover from trauma – it also must give me the strength to walk in love day-to-day through a world that at times feels like a mass of painful meaningless chaos.

May you develop within yourself a resilience powerful enough to shine the light of joy into every moment, every trauma, every sorrow, every fear, and become a beacon of gratitude strong enough to anchor you into an inner knowing that the source of this universe truly is pure positive energy love.

Thanks so much for reading!

Namaste,

~Cindy

My 5-Day Water Fast

I have known for decades the benefits of fasting. But fainting in the middle of a 7-day fast back in the 90’s left me reticent to try another water only fast. Thankfully, I’ve learned a lot since the 90’s. 

When I turned 40, I undertook a series of Master Cleansers. The Master Cleanser was originally designed to heal stomach ulcers and other gut issues and you can read all about them online if you care to. I’m really glad I did them, actually, but now that I’m nearer to 60, my health goals have changed.

For the past several years I have been working to heal an autoimmune disease. While I am very close to eliminating that little bugger, I have been experiencing increased inflammation and all of the pain that comes along with it. Having learned a bit about the devastating effects of long-term inflammation – the risk of cancer being one of them – I am highly motivated to do something about it. After all, you either know enough or hurt enough to bring about change. I’m there on both counts.

At the end of March, I decided to take another hard look at fasting. Since I had tried everything else, from diet changes to anti-inflammatory supplements – with little to no success – I turned once again to the age-old practice of water fasting. Here’s what I learned this go-round.

1. Water fasting is really not that hard.

Fortunately for me, I did my research this time. I discovered that the body on a water fast requires rest. That was not a luxury I had back in the 90’s, raising toddlers, and my habit during Master Cleansers was to go even harder than I did when I wasn’t fasting. But why not? I had energy like never before! What I didn’t know then is that you lose more lean muscle mass if you exercise while on a fast. Counterintuitive, perhaps, yet scientifically true.

This time was different. I literally spent days 1-3 lying around or in bed most of the time. The hunger pangs were completely gone after the first 24 hours, and I wasn’t so much tired as I wanted to give my body all of the tools it needed to do the work I was asking it to do: let go of inflammation and extra body fat. I always notice more clarity and energy while fasting, and this time was no exception. My only ‘crises’ were on days 3-4, when I woke up with severe hip/lower back pain. In actuality, those aches and pains have been a part of my experience for years now, but I believe this time it was pain leaving my body. 🎉

Of course, drinking enough water is key. In fact, not drinking enough is probably the most common mistake for fasters. Word of advice: if you’re thirsty, you’ve gone too long without water. Since I had done so many Master Cleansers, I also knew the importance of helping the toxins to move out of the body, so I added in the salt water flush 3 out of the 5 days. This gave me another benefit as well: replenishing some lost electrolytes. The flush is easy. Just warm up 1 quart of filtered water and stir in 2 tsp. of unrefined sea salt. Drink within 15 minutes. You’ll spend the next hour or so in the bathroom, but the reward is that you will feel so much better throughout the rest of the day.

The body truly does have the wisdom to heal, and when we shut down the digestive system for an extended period of time (5-15 days, say), the cells are freed up to clean house. Damaged parts are eliminated and old fat stores are burned for energy. This process was literally built into our DNA by our hunter-gatherer ancestors who had to adapt to short periods of food deprivation. Ironically, they did not experience the host of diseases our indulgence has given rise to. Everything from diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and cancer can be traced to the food we eat. But I digress…

2. How you prepare for and come off of a fast are way more important than the fast itself.

If you do not want to be miserable during a fast, make sure you have eliminated sugar and caffeine well before starting. 

I talked to some folks about fasting and one of them said that fasting always gave them a terrible headache. I asked if they drink coffee. Yes. In fact, the headache was never from fasting, but from the caffeine withdrawal! I have been caffeine-free for almost a year now and eat very little sugar and no meat products. I had the slight beginnings of a headache on day 2 which I quickly corrected with a tall glass of water. Other than that, my head felt great the entire time!

One of my biggest failures in the past was coming off of the fast. I have never been able to take my time and introduce foods back slowly. This time I did! 

I chose to begin my fast at noon on a Monday and end at noon on a Saturday. I did this to gear my body up for a future commitment to intermittent fasting – eating in a 6-hour window between 12-6 pm every day. The morning of day 1 began with a concoction of green juice and water. 5 days later, at noon on Saturday, I began drinking fresh fruit juice which I continued through Sunday. Monday was fruit salad and Tuesday green salad with lime juice and a little salt. Wednesday was the first day I began taking in cooked vegetables. My plan moving forward is a simple diet of fresh fruits and veggies, quinoa, green tea, and lots of water for 21 days post-fast. We’ll see what my body says at that point.

3. When done correctly, fasting is the body’s most powerful reset button.

My goal for this fast was simple: give my body the energy and space it needed to heal. But the fast itself gave me so much more than that. My tastebuds are firing like never before. I now know that I can miss a meal (or 20) with no problem. But the most encouraging benefit has been my breathing. I have been working for almost 3 months now (using the Buteyko Method) to reduce my control pause, with little to no success. But over the course of the fast, my BOLT score increased by about 5 seconds! This is huge! Carrying extra weight – especially in the form of inflammation – stresses all of the body’s systems, particularly heart and respiratory. I now have hope that I may one day achieve the my ultimate goal: an easy 30-second control pause. Time will tell.

Overall, I am very happy that I made the decision to fast. The week went quickly and surprisingly smoothly. If you should decide to undertake a water-only fast of any duration, I highly recommend you do your research first. Clean up your diet way before you miss your first meal. Rest is paramount, so be sure you can build that into your fasting time. Above all, listen to your body. Mine had been telling me to do this for some time, but if yours is saying no, then don’t do it! Instead, ask your body what it needs and treat it well. It is the only one you will have during this lifetime. Care for it, love it, and be grateful for it.

Thanks so much for reading. Here’s to your good health!

Namaste,

C

For more information on fasting, check out True North Health or the following videos. For info on the Buteyko Method, follow Take a Deep Breath on YouTube or watch Patrick Mckeown’s Ted Talk. To learn about other great breathing techniques, check out SOMA Breath.

Happiness is an Inside Job

2020 was a strange one, eh? Difficult for some. Devastating for others. A year filled with pretty much everything. The near impeachment of a President, peaceful (and some not so peaceful) protests, the death of a Chief Justice, life-threatening storms, fires, and other natural disasters, an election filled with more political shenanigans than I could ever imagine (does anyone remember the days when we knew who was President close to 24-hrs. after the polls opened?? 🙋🏻‍♀️), oh yeah, did I forget to mention the global pandemic?

That's what I'd call the kitchen sink!

Certainly no one’s life went to plan in 2020. I can hardly believe that at this time last year I was enjoying frigid temps in sunny Florida, without a care in the world. Who knew that a mere 60 days later the country would be in lockdown, the least of my worries would be the cold weather in FL, and I would dedicate 77 straight days to caring for my parents, sans pickleball? Despite steering clear of mainstream media, unfollowing every annoying (read: politically obsessed) friend in my Facebook newsfeed, and the help returning in June to lessen the load, by December my exhaustion was complete. In utter disgust, on New Year’s Eve, I deactivated my Facebook account and this time I am not looking back. Gone are the inane, endless debates about whether or not a mask is effective (wait, is Covid-19 even real?!? 🤦🏻‍♀️). No more memes stating the obvious fact that Donald Trump will go down in history as the greatest embarrassment the United States has ever had for a President. And on January 6, I managed to wiggle back out of my hometown and into the open arms of my grandchildren. Whew!

Yeah, 2020 was hard on all of us, and some definitely more than me. RIP 🥀 Cousin John. Still, when December came, every time I heard something along the lines of, “Thank the stars 2020 is gone! It was horrible! I can’t wait for 2021 to get here!!

In 2021 (when the virus is contained, a vaccine is found, and the madman ousted) I can finally be happy again!!”

More times than I can count I had to bite back my reply:

If you did not find a way to be happy in 2020, rest assured that happiness will not find you in 2021.

Packing for move number 31 (or is it 34? clearly I’ve lost count), I was reminded that a change in location had never markedly improved my happiness factor. If anyone knew that, it was me. As far back as 1991 I learned (the hard way) that ‘wherever you go, there you are.’ Turns out time is the same (read whenever in place of wherever). In truth, despite the global difficulties we all waded through last year, I managed to accumulate many beautiful amazing memories, gained a treasure-trove of relationships, achieved personal milestones, developed new skills, read life-changing books, learned all sorts of useful things, had fun, and discovered ways to take care of and appreciate myself and others on a whole new level.

As I look back on my life, it occurs to me that there have been even harder years in the past. I remember standing in my kitchen in 2014, having just ‘celebrated’ my first birthday without my sister, begging my was-band to let me join him for counseling in a last-ditch attempt to save a marriage that had died many years earlier; and when I asked my daughter if she knew the last time I had been happy, she answered without missing a beat: “Hawaii,” she said. Too bad I hadn’t lived in Hawaii since 2005!

Happiness is a fickle companion when we allow circumstances to dictate it.

I spent oh so many years doing that! Enough to teach me that happiness is a state of mind, one that I can find in the blink of an eye – completely apart from any outer circumstance.

Did you know that you become what you practice? There is an old saying among caregivers of the elderly:

When you grow old, you just become more.

More of what you were when you were young(er). I used to think it was due to the loss of impulse control. But having become more intimately acquainted with the elderly, I now believe it is simply a matter of habit.

They say that workers in nursing homes can tell the angry from the forbearing and the kind from the nasty in the first few minutes they spend with a resident. It is as if what we choose moment by moment when we are young eventually cements into a personality – a fixed way of being that is not easily altered. With age, some not only lose the desire or capacity to change, they become inured to their bad behavior altogether – or worse, they feel entitled to it.

AT MY AGE I CAN SAY WHATEVER THE EFF I WANT I'M A CRAZY OLD LADY - Keep  Calm and Posters Generator, Maker For Free - KeepCalmAndPosters.com

Having experienced first-hand the end result of people committed to a life of complaining and otherwise negative thoughts/behaviors – people who cannot enjoy the good in life without finding something to complain about – I cannot see a downside to seeking the kind of happiness that is not blown about by every wind of circumstance.

Sometime in late summer or very early fall of 2020 I asked a family member a question that I hope I never forget. They had spent several minutes lamenting how miserable Donald Trump had made their life, how unhappy they were because he was President, and how Trump had basically ruined their life. I had been listening to this diatribe in one form or another for close to a year at that point, and just couldn’t take it anymore without voicing the question that bubbled up inside me every time anyone of privilege complained about their quality of life under the regime of Donald Trump:

Give me one example of how your personal everyday life has been affected (for good or ill) since the day that he took office almost 4 years ago … … …

IF you never watched the news.

Perception really is everything. And perception is dictated by one thing and one thing only: Focus. Keep your attention on what is bad in the world and you will feel bad. Focus on what is good in the world and you will feel good. But when we realize that good, bad, and even great have always been and always will be present around us, maybe then we will finally turn inside to discover the divine spark that is able to bring forth the joy of being alive despite any outside circumstance. That, my friends, will be a great awakening. And it is one that each of us can choose to have at any point in time.

I will not look for happiness in 2021. Instead, I will focus my gaze on the one place that happiness is always available to me – inside my heart. Nothing can shake it loose – except my willingness to place my attention elsewhere.

Happiness is right here, right now. It is within me and within you. Do you have the courage to go within to find it? I warn you, it will demand that you drop everything else. The happiness inside will require you to let go of all the stories you tell about your past, and you will have to release all of the ‘what ifs’ and ‘how tos’ of your future. The past is a murky, half-remembered thing and the future does not – will not ever in fact – exist, apart from your dream of it. You and me, right here, right now. I choose to celebrate that.

Please don’t go looking for happiness in 2021. It is not there. Happiness is within you. All it will take to find it is a little bit of focus.

Much love, much light,

~C

Change and the Flow of Life

In December of 2018 a painting class inspired me to find my own unique artistic style, and I soon became lost in the vast world of fluid paint. In many ways pouring paint mirrors the life I have lived. 30 moves in 38 years through 7 states and 1 foreign country taught me that life, like fluid paint is in constant flux. All that moving highlighted the importance of learning to ‘go with the flow’, and no artistic medium demands that more than acrylic paint pouring.

After almost two years of working with fluid paint, I have discovered that like our journey on this earth, the real beauty of the process comes when we relinquish control of the medium, allowing form to appear out of chaos. Admittedly, this can be scary at first. It took awhile for me to learn that making a mess of things is not a working definition of failure. In fact, many of my best paintings came from what I thought at the time was a ‘mistake’.

An 8″ Lazy Susan I believed was a lost cause … turned out to be one of my best works ever, and is now the foundation of my brand.

In real life too, this has been the case. Out of a religion propounding the innate depravity of man, a true sense of human divinity emerged. Out of a failed marriage came three beautiful children and three amazing grandchildren, not to mention a level of self-awareness & love I doubt I would ever have been able to achieve otherwise. Out of disillusionment with traditional work settings bloomed a vast and complex garden of creativity leading to true inner fulfillment.

Many of life’s most powerful lessons are taught through pain and failure, yet we often do not see them this way until years later. I wonder what would happen if human beings learned to view the present through the lens of that future right here, right now? In other words, what if we assumed that everything that comes into our experience is always and only ever for our good? I believe our lives and our world could be altered dramatically simply by learning to see our failures as valuable lessons, our difficulties as signposts pointing out what no longer serves us, and our pain as a white-hot fire with the power to transform us into something altogether precious.

My love for paint pouring revolves around color itself. I find it fascinating to watch the same eight or ten hues blending together in a myriad of different ways from canvas to canvas – truly when it comes to fluid paint, no two pieces are ever alike! Even more fascinating is the number of times my friends and family see shapes and forms amid the splashes of color. “There’s a bird there, see?” or “Oh, that looks like a dragon!” and “I can see a tree with falling leaves right there.” What’s more, two people looking at the same painting often see completely different images. If the same lines of color can evoke vastly different interpretations, how much more do we each see life and its nuanced complexity through our own lenses? In life as in art, perception really is everything.








As a Tarot reader and an artist, it is my goal to help others fully develop the lens that is their individual way of seeing and interacting with the world, in order to come into complete alignment with their life purpose. Through readings and classes I endeavor to lead others on a mindful journey designed to help develop a deeper connection to their own intuition – the creative center of our being. Unlocking and unblocking this center is crucial to moving forward in our lives, to clear out the things that hold us back from reaching our full potential.

May you be empowered to experience your full potential with confidence and joy on your unique and beautiful path.


Namaste,
~C

Visit the Nano Poblano page for links to more posts from August’s Cheer Pepper Day!

Parting Words

August 1, 2020 marks the estimated date of the end of my relationship with a child I have helped to support for the last 15 years. This morning I sat down to compose what could be the final letter I will ever send to him. Since these may be the last words this child ever hears from me, I wanted them to count for something. I had to ask myself what wisdom I want to leave behind knowing that I had only one short letter left to write.

Compassion International is a Christian-based (evangelical) child-sponsorship group which we became a part of in the late 80’s – early 90’s. When I thought about how much I have changed over the course of my time within this organization it made me smile. I would have laughed if not for the heaviness in my heart at having to say goodbye to a young man I have never met, but helped care for since he was six years old.

My introductory words to any sponsored child even 15 years ago would most certainly have been quite different from the words I wrote today in farewell. But evolution is the name of the game, and I have certainly changed right along with my beliefs. This week Aaron Abke put out a 4-part spiritual growth series called “The Shortcut to Enlightenment”. The series was designed to help bring into focus our higher self as the I Am that lives within us. If there was anything I would want to communicate to someone still steeped in the Christian religion, it would be that we are all actual children of god, exactly as Jesus was. But how to say this in a manner he could understand became the real question.

Fortunately, I also listen to Alan Watts, and his discussion of the religion of Jesus gave me hope that I could find a way to communicate my heart to this young man standing on the brink of adulthood.

Even as I share my parting words with you, I have to wonder what changes may come over the next 15 years! I hope that my readers today will continue to walk with me through the journey of our collective evolution, for what we all are becoming is as yet to be revealed. ❤️🧡💛💚💙

~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~

Dear [Child],

I am writing to you on Saturday, August 1, 2020, Compassion’s estimated completion date for my sponsorship. In 19 more days you will turn 22 years old. Happy, happy birthday! I am not certain how much longer my letters will be delivered to you, but I want you to know that you will always be in my heart and my thoughts. I can feel the gentleness and love in your soul that will live between us forever.

Remember that life is a journey, a process of growth, and there is no ‘goal’ to achieve. So let life flow – in and through you – with acceptance, grace, and our greatest superpower: forgiveness. The seasons and moon phases give us a glimpse of life’s cycles and can help put us back on track when we lose our way. No matter what is happening today, it has happened before and will happen again; you don’t fail god’s tests, you just take them over and over until you pass. The only true failure in life would be failing to live. Accept and enjoy every moment – the good along with the bad. Take it all in with gratitude, for everything comes to teach us to love, first ourselves, then others. Be true to who you are, [my child]. Do not let anyone else define you or try to tell you the path you are to take (especially the religious leaders around you). You were born to be the captain of your own soul. The life that is you is everlasting, so give no energy to the fear of death. Only love signifies, but love must begin with acceptance and appreciation of who YOU are. The only path to real and lasting love is self-awareness – connection with the divine that lives within you and everyone around you.

I have learned over the years that we always find what we seek, so be careful what you wish for. That thing you believe will bring happiness may quickly become a tiresome burden. True happiness is found inside yourself. Meditation is the fastest path to inner happiness, peace, and love. Taking time each day to close your eyes to the outside world and simply pay attention to the sound of your own breath can connect you to god faster and firmer than memorizing any bible verse. Trust your inner knowing and always go with what brings you peace. Your heart will never steer you wrong! You are the blazing spark of the divine in the flesh right here on earth. Trust that spark and SHINE!

It remains my hope that we may one day reconnect again. All my love and prayers for your safety and health,

~C

If you had one last letter to write, what would you want to say that would leave your mark on the heart(s) of your reader(s)? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Not Now

I’m too needy to be needed now
I’m too feely to be felt (up) now
I’m too hungry to feed now
I’m too thirsty to quench now

I’m too lost to find now
I’m too deep to splash now
I'm too many questions to answer now
I'm too many thoughts to listen now

I'm too much to be small now
I'm too bright to be dim now
I’m too new to be old now
I’m too me to know you now

Inspiration found in “Untamed”, by Glennon Doyle July 10, 2020

The Light of Context

When you figure that out, write it down,

he says. As if relationship were a concept, an abstract idea easily understood once pinned (or penned) down. But relationships, like words require context and that context is us. You. Me. Complex humans who cannot come to any word without interpretation specific to you, to me. Where ne’er the twain shall meet…?

I laughed when you said, “Write it down.”

You have no idea. Behind pages and screens I hide, safe at last to distill my thoughts into carefully crafted scripts. The words form a wall, my own personal fortress – the one place I can be truly me, whether anyone else understands or not. 

With you I force myself to speak, an attempt to be done with hiding. This time I will see, hear, know what comes of my words. The relationship that cannot bear the weight of them is a mirage, an oasis shimmering in the distance with only the empty promise of connection.

words too heavy
float like boulders in my mind
i fear the fall of their weight on
ears too fragile

Most often the words will not come. When they do, the anticipation of possible outcomes catch them in my throat. I watch you do it too, ill-prepared for the vulnerability that revelation invites.

Peter Pan Diamond Edition - Peter's Shadow Clip - YouTube
Peter tries to catch his shadow.

What if the fear is a lie, the mere shadow of a monster cast by our own egos upon that flat featureless expanse of time we see stretched out before us? Unlike Pan, we reject it, content to let it drag along behind, weighing us down with the burden of truths we are unwilling to face in the glaring light of context.

Finding Peace in a Violent World

My eldest daughter recently introduced our family to a practice called Nonviolent Communication

“NVC is about connecting with ourselves and others from the heart. It’s about seeing the humanity in all of us. It’s about recognizing our commonalities and differences and finding ways to make life wonderful for all of us.”

As I understand it, the basic premise is that in every human interaction, a request is being made. The principles found in Nonviolent Communication address 1. how the request is expressed, and 2. the response if/when the request is refused. 

To talk about Nonviolent Communication necessitates some discussion of its more prevalent opposite, violent communication. When it comes to communication, most people operate from ego or the unconsciously remembered pain of the past (often referred to as subconscious programming). After all, hurt people hurt people. Violent communication typically involves 1. a demand for particular behavior from another (in order to supposedly secure happiness), and 2. a refusal to take no for an answer without some form of retribution. Guilt and shame are commonly used to manipulate, and rarely, if ever, do communication issues find full resolution. 

Violent communicators have difficulty acknowledging their own needs. For instance, when person A accuses person B of saying or doing something person A dislikes, it is rare that person A is aware that they have an underlying need that is unmet. Further, if person B is unaware of person A’s unspoken need and/or their own underlying needs, the communication can be perceived as a personal attack, simultaneously triggering them as well. The ‘violence’ escalates when neither party is able to articulate or acknowledge their own underlying needs or find constructive ways to meet them. Violent communication is the basis for all broken relationships from the occasional spat with a spouse to all-out war between countries. 

The goal of Nonviolent Communication is the actualization of the natural capacity we all have for compassion and empathy towards one another. It involves the realization that everyone shares the same basic needs, and that each of us is personally responsible to meet those (our own) needs. Without this understanding put into practice, Nonviolent Communication is impossible.

The most important and challenging factor for me personally has been taking the time to identify the underlying unmet needs within myself and the person I am interacting with. Knowing these needs (or learning the questions that will help uncover them) develops both self-awareness and a deeper relationship with others (because, empathy). Communicating in a manner that seeks to meet everyone’s needs not only enhances our own well-being but can significantly strengthen our relationships. 

NVC teaches that every human being has seven basic needs:

  1. Connection
  2. Physical Well-Being
  3. Honesty
  4. Play
  5. Peace
  6. Autonomy
  7. Meaning

Beneath these larger topics are sublists of multiple emotional needs. So how do you identify your own or other’s underlying needs in the heat of the moment? By paying close attention to the body. When we are triggered by someone else’s words or behavior, it can be difficult to step back and observe, but that is exactly what is necessary in order to avoid escalating conflicts. The body is the key – recognizing and giving our attention to negative emotions and thoughts that arise during an interaction can mean the difference between violence and peace, resolution and discord. 

Over the past year or so, I have begun analyzing ‘triggered’ reactions (mine and other’s) in an attempt to learn a better, gentler way of communicating. Sometimes I have been able to avoid a conflict altogether, simply by taking the time to detach and look at the situation more rationally, while still listening to my body. Obviously the greatest hurdle to overcome is communicating nonviolently with people who approach me with violence. But responding with empathy and compassion can open doors to conflict resolution even when the person you are communicating with remains unwilling to acknowledge or explore their own unconscious behaviors and unmet needs.

The final key to nonviolent communication is forgiveness. We must begin by forgiving ourselves for the many ways we have used violent forms of communication in the past. By showing ourselves compassion and acknowledging that we are always doing the best we can with the information and experience we have, we can then extend this same grace to those around us. 

We all have needs, we all seek ways to meet those needs. As we do, may we learn to communicate with kindness, empathy, compassion, and forgiveness. 

Thanks so much for reading! 

Namaste,

~C

On The Matter of the Breath

Life begins on an inhale and ends with a final exhale. Most of us will take innumerable breaths in between, and while it could be said that breathing is arguably the most important thing we will ever do, it is something we think very little about.

Breathing is a function of the autonomic nervous system, but unlike the majority of the body’s involuntary functions, we can exercise some control over it – if we give our attention to it. Unless you meditate, practice yoga, or have a serious chronic lung condition, you probably never think about breathing, but you may want to start. According to Dr. Artour Rakhimov,

Over 90% of modern people suffer from breathing problems … [including] chest breathing, mouth breathing, and hyperventilation, all of which reduce oxygen levels in body cells and promote chronic diseases.

http://www.normalbreathing.com (emphasis mine)

Over 90%.

Consider that number for a moment. I am willing to bet that you and I are in there. My own journey with the breath began many years ago while reading an article on running. Most runners breathe in rhythm with their feet. For example, the inhale and exhale happen when either the left or right foot strikes the ground. Apparently some scientists discovered that breathing in and out with the same foot strike can lead to heart problems. Even today when I run, I count steps between breaths – in for 3 (through the nose), out for 4 (through the mouth). In this way, I ensure that each time I inhale, I alternate feet.

I began meditating and practicing yoga in 2015. Yoga encourages a slight resistance in the throat to help regulate the breath. Yogic breathing makes a comforting sound in my head like ocean waves crashing on the beach. I have worked with that some, and Kundalini as well. Wim Hof‘s method of breathing has been scientifically tested many times. I especially encourage you to look into his work if you strive for peak athletic performance.

Fast forward to the summer of 2019. I will not rehash the experience since you can read about it here, but Dr. Tom’s initial perception of my inability to take a deep breath stuck with me. That and the respiratory distress that had sent me to Georgia in the first place got me thinking about breathing again.

In November I scrolled right into a Facebook post about a breath technique called SOMA. A few short weeks into the practice I noticed an increase in my stamina, heightened focus during meditation, and a deeper sense of relaxation overall. Then, in January, 2020 I blundered into Michelle D’Avella’s method of breathwork. Her brother Matt’s YouTube video convinced me that there was something there for me to explore. Turns out, he was right.

Modern metaphysics has a name for belief systems that cause us to behave in ways we would rather not: subconscious preprogramming. Some of these programs we inherit from our ancestors (through our DNA), but most we acquire from our families and peers.

Children spend their first 6-7 years in a Theta dream state, incapable of analytical thought, yet everything seen, heard, and felt is imprinted onto the subconscious mind and these imprints – or rather our unconscious interpretations of them – form the belief systems by which we interpret the world and our place in it. To complicate matters, children lack the capacity to understand or manage their own negative experiences (aka traumas). Societal norms and family expectations often teach us to reject or stuff the more volatile emotions of anger, fear, jealousy, even grief. Through conditioning, we learn to automatically pull away from these feelings in ourselves and others, contracting not only mind and spirit, but the body as well. These repressed emotions become what Carl Jung termed the shadow, and our shadows become triggers.

trigger is something that sets off a memory tape or flashback transporting the person back to the event of her/his original trauma.

https://psychcentral.com/lib/what-is-a-trigger/

To hide from our shadows, we develop stories around our past that form the basis of our unconscious belief systems. Each story carries with it a negative emotional charge. These negative emotions then form ‘blocks’ in our psyche which hinder our ability to move through life with ease. Left to fester long enough, blocks manifest as overwhelm in the mind (anxiety, depression, addictive behaviors) and/or pain/disease in the body.

On some level, we all fear looking at our shadows. After all, they are built of painful memories that often evoke feelings of shame. But 95% of human behavior is borne out of subconscious preprogramming. That means that whatever traumas and emotions you are unwilling to face are probably controlling your life.

I never would have believed that breathing could heal if it had not happened to me

There is something about consciously breathing deep into the belly that opens the door for emotions to arise and be cleared. Breathing with intention can rescue us from the pain and shame of the past if we learn to give our bodies permission to feel through all of those rejected emotions. By allowing our blocks to come into conscious awareness, we can release them with love and acceptance.

Daily, moment to moment, the body is breathing itself. We need not do anything, but with conscious use, we are capable of many things. In an alchemical way, we can turn our dark matter into breath, to flow with breath, to release with breath.

On the conscious exhale, the willingness to sit with the rising up, we become capable of the letting go of weights. We held them so strongly that we had no idea just how heavy we were, until we’re floating.

https://upliftconnect.com/breathwork-for-clearing-trauma/

I began pouring paint in December of 2018. After a few months, I noticed new levels of creativity and experienced a peace and joy that I had not known before. My love for fluid acrylics crystalized into a desire to pass this freedom of expression on to others, so I offered paint classes that included meditation focused on connecting with the creativity found inside each of us.

The effects of COVID-19 have provided me with a lot more time and energy to explore my inner world than I would normally allow myself. During the second week of a 21-Day SOMA Journey, I realized that breathwork was the direction I want to go in terms of meditation – both personally and in the art classes I will one day teach again.

Ironically, I have not been able to put paint to canvas since my self-imposed quarantine began on March 15 (50+ days ago). But I sure have been breathing! And healing … and dreaming. I plan to develop my own style of breathwork, something that I hope will inspire deeper depths of creativity in myself and others. In the meantime, I would love to hear about any and all aspects of your journey in the comments below!

If you are interested in learning more about breathwork, please visit the links I provided in this post. For information about classes that combine meditation with fluid art, connect with me at ripplesofinsight@gmail.com.

Namaste, and thank you so much for reading.

~Cindy

Paint pouring with Cindy, with a focus on exploration and creativity in the moment, what could be better? Cindy gives lots of options for self discovery and helps you to design a lasting memory, as well as sparking a desire for experiences yet to come.

Gee Lawrence, Pickleball aficionado extraordinaire

Tonight Cindy Welch taught me a way to use meditation with pouring art. And it was amazing! I went back to attempting to paint from the things I learned from my meditation … and I felt like I accomplished my goal!! Working with Cindy was such an insightful and spiritual experience. I know that it helped me unblock what was interfering with what I was trying to create!

Rebecca Webeck

Creative Flows

I’ve been busy! Between pickleball sessions, a lot of paint has been wandering around on canvas. Check out my most recent creations below and let me know what you think.

Click here to take a look at some of my other work.

As always, thanks for reading!

Namaste,

~C

Another Year … Another Decade

Hard to believe that it’s New Year’s Eve once again. It seems like yesterday I was hanging out with my grandchildren on this night last year, reminiscing about Ireland and contemplating what I thought might be one of my toughest years yet. Turns out that 2019 was kinder and gentler than I had imagined, but not without its challenges. It was a personal 9 year, after all.

Of course, my life for the past 30 years could be most easily characterized by the words ‘let go’ and this last decade was no different. Since 2009 I moved 6 times, started a blog, pulled off a wedding and a divorce, buried a sister, witnessed 3 grandchildren come into the world, published a novel, began a new craft, found a new sport, became a Tarot reader, and spent 11 glorious days in Ireland. All in all, 2019 was a much tamer beast than expected with only 2 job changes and one move – practically dull! 😉

Perhaps it’s me. Hopefully 4-1/2 years of meditation begins to count for something. Living a more minimalist lifestyle helps. If I had not become a paint pouring addict aficionado, everything I own can now fit into one bedroom. But I am not entirely sure how moving back into my home of origin fits into the theme of letting go. The end of a 9 year is also the beginning of a 1 year – a whole new journey of self-discovery. This feels like the old, not the new – like moving backwards, not leaving the past behind to move forwards. And yet … something about being here now is so completely different than before, it could almost be called ‘new.’ Besides, my personal 1 year does not actually begin until my 2020 birthday so, I still have some time.

To say I am looking forward to the coming year would be an understatement, truth be told. I am very excited about what looms down the pike for me. It begins with the cherished time I have now to spend with my parents. We celebrated my mother’s 90th birthday this month and will mark my father’s 92nd year this coming March. I have multiple books begging to be read and at least two asking to be written; my vision for a place to pour paint and read Tarot is coming into focus; I have plans to hike the Northern coast of Ireland and search out my Scottish origins; and there are new relationships waiting around every corner. I expect my next decade to be just as full or fuller than the last!

Now it’s your turn. What words would you use to describe your last decade? 2019? What about the year(s) ahead? I hope that you are as excited as I am about the future we are making together.

If you feel so inclined, please let me know all about it in the comments. I look forward to our conversations! As always, thank you for reading.

I wish you all a happy, healthy, and all-out amazing New Year!!

Namaste,

~C

True Love Is …

True love is … receiving a custom made sign commemorating key locations in my novel. 😲 I cannot think of a more creative and thoughtful gift than this!

Click the picture to visit Houser House Creations, home of Dragyn’s Fyre Designs.

Roxanne, you just succeeded in making the Christmas of 2019 BEYOND special and amazing and incredible and stupendous, and … I have no words. ❤️💚💜🧡💛💙

The maker of this amazing sign wants to use it to promote my book!
This is like the gift that never stops giving!!!

Thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart!

X X X O (kisses, kisses, kisses, HUG!) Or as my sister would say, love you bunches and bunches & tons and tons!

Your bestie,

C

Blessed Yule!

A Sunday Meditation

Welcoming back the light.

Even though this is not getting out until Monday, the energies for the reading are good for 1-6 months. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 21 marked the 2019 Yuletide and Winter Solstice. In an intimate celebration, a friend and I welcomed back the light of the sun. Winter has never been my favorite time of year, so thinking about longer days filled with sunshine left me feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. In the process of researching the various ways that Yule has been celebrated throughout history, I ran into this tree Tarot spread and decided to pull some cards for all of us in honor of the season. This is a general reading for all signs of the Zodiac.

I used my Waite-Rider-Smith Centennial Deck – a new go-to favorite of mine.
  1. Ideas/Inspiration – the 6 of Cups, nostalgia. It is no surprise that this card came up during the Christmas season. There is something about this time of year that brings up the past like no other. I am sure that many of you have spent more than a few moments this year thinking about what Christmas was like when you were growing up. This card is asking you to pay attention to those memories – to consider the dreams, visions, and ideas you had as a child. It is also time to uncover the ways you may be stuck in that past. If Christmastime was less than happy for you as a child, perhaps you can find ways to reimagine the season to bring you joy. This rewriting of the past has the power to unblock the root & sacral chakras, allowing new ideas and imagination to flow. It is a good idea to look back with gratitude and love on the people who have impacted your life to bring you where you are today. Consider how your past experiences can ground you, and draw on that energy moving forward.
  2. What is growing – the King of Pentacles, prosperity & mastery of the material world. Many of you are figuring it out & becoming the captain of your ship and the master of your domain. This could also be another person who has come into your life to bless and take care of you. It could be someone who is grounded and well-able to manage the things they value. Look to them for advice and guidance in the areas of finances, time management, or even relationships.
  3. What you give (bring to the table) – the Hanged Man, faith, patience, and a new perspective. Trust in your unique viewpoint, even though it may be different from those around you. Or maybe the cards are telling you that it is time to look at things in a different light, trusting that everything is working out for your highest good. Be willing to sacrifice your habitual ways of dealing with difficult issues as this could be what opens the doors for the new growth and change you desire. Ultimately this card is a call for patience, so work to temper your desire for immediate results.
  4. Your plans – the Hierophant, education, mentoring, and traditional ways/values. This card can also indicate a departure from tradition, which I believe may be the better interpretation in light of the Hanged Man with his ‘other’ perspective. This can also be the marriage card. Perhaps some of you are about to receive a proposal or will be tying the knot this Christmas! Whatever the circumstance, I am getting that it is time to both learn and teach. Be willing to sit at the feet of those who are ahead of you on the path and listen to their wisdom (take it in). Likewise be willing to give that knowledge away to help others along as well. It may be time to open your mind to other possibilities and beliefs.
  5. Process for bringing plans into being – Strength, facing the shadow, standing in the power of compassion, humility, and gentleness. Find the strength within to admit where you have missed the mark and do this in light of your commitment to learn, grow, and perhaps find a new way of moving forward on your path. No matter what, you got this.
  6. Be attentive to … (potential obstacle) – the 8 of Cups, new journey, leaving behind what no longer serves you. It is time to give some attention to the things from your past that are continuing to trip you up. Holding on to the emotions of the past will only hinder your progress forward. It is okay to look back (6 of Cups), but this is best done through the lens of gratitude, with a view to the lessons the past can teach. Memories can be useful teachers, but hanging on to the things that brought you pain (breeding unforgiveness and resentment) can keep you stuck in an unhappy life. You cannot change what was, and you can only move forward into all that can be by letting go of the past. Perhaps some focused journaling is in order.
  7. Your gift – what emerges (resolution/completion) – the 7 of Cups, choices. Sevens always indicate evaluation, and cups are emotions, feelings, and inspiration. This card carries with it a sense of overwhelm, but for me the message is simple: The choice is yours, you have the power to decide whether to stay stuck in the past or move forward.
  8. As clarification, I decided to pull another card. The 10 of Cups promises abundance and fulfillment in every area of life. It comes as assurance that the decision to let go and move on is a good one. Keep in mind that there is no bad choice, only what is. Stand in your power and do not fear making this choice. Your destiny awaits!

As I looked again at the spread, I was struck by a couple of things. First, the progression in the second row from the King of Pentacles, through the Hanged Man, to the Hierophant. This looks to me like movement from the material to the spiritual with a flip in perspective on the way. It is as if your ideas of what is of value are being turned on their head, and you are moving from an obsession with the things you can see, taste, hear and touch to a renewed focus on the unseen world of spirituality.

In the next row up, notice how the woman is facing left (for me, the past), the man is walking to the right (future), and the 7 of Cups hangs betwixt them. It is as if the 7 is taunting you, even daring you to make the choice – remember that no decision is a decision. Facing yourself, your shadows and weaknesses, coming to terms with your failures, is the requirement for progress forward. Once you make that choice, the journey promises to be so much sweeter than the past. I do feel there is some sorrow involved in this path, but the 10 of Cups stands as a promise that you can trust it will be worth it. It is high time to leave behind the emotions and beliefs pulling our energy away from the now! Time to throw off all that hinders our journey into the light.

It is time to choose.

The numbers (without the clarifier) add up to 8 – manifestation, power, and the energy embodied within the Strength card. You can do this. Never doubt it.

I hope this reading was helpful to you. Feel free to email me at ripplesofinsight@gmail.com with insights, questions, or anything else you would like to say. If you are interested in diving deeper on a more personal level, I offer intuitive Tarot readings in person (in the Greater Richmond, VA area) by phone, or video chat. You can email your question (and specify your preferred format) to cecetarot@yahoo.com. Payment of $40 can be made via PayPal and is completely refundable if you are in any way dissatisfied with your reading.

May this Yuletide season be bursting with love, gratitude, and peace.

Sending you much light,

C

NanoPoblano Leavings

November 30, the last day to post, read, comment, or link share for Team Tiny Peppers 2019, has arrived. Many are celebrating a great accomplishment, and well they should. I am so proud of everyone who met their writing goals this month – whatever they were!

On October 31, I intended to make the most of November – to write 10 posts, leave 10 comments, and share 10 links. While that goal was probably quite doable, the month did not exactly pan out the way I had planned. Still, I cannot view this as a failure. After all, I wrote, commented, and posted links more this month than I have in the past year. I also managed to pack up my stuff and move it to a house a few hours away, all the while continuing to teach pickleball, paint, and spend time with my amazing family! I just cannot find it in myself to feel bad about missing the mark this time.

Guilt, as a whole, lost its appeal to me years ago, when I saw it for what it was: a feeling of unworthiness masquerading as a noble emotion able to effect change. In fact, guilt and shame are the worst motivators I have ever come across. I do at times succumb to their lure, both towards myself (I must be to blame) and others (he/she/they must be to blame). But time and again I find the tactic painful and unrewarding.

Much better to finally discover that no one is to blame, that judgement itself is a construct of the ego, an outdated software program compelling me to do whatever it takes to survive. Perhaps the shame/blame game had a place in our earlier evolution when life literally depended on connection to the community. But throughout history are examples of those who understood that the shame/blame game was not the way, that judgement only ever leads to misery (for everyone involved), and that love alone signifies (Jesus, Gandhi, and other ascended masters come to mind).

In the spirit of link shares, I would like to give you a little something that has helped me begin to identify the problem of ego in my own life. I hope that it will inspire you too.

This universe began with love and the story of life must end with love as well. Sure, we may blow this world to kingdom come in an effort to keep the shame/blame game going, but I believe in a universe that will continue to expand even if earthlings do not course correct in time. We are part of the eternal Source of all that is, and there is no power able to bring about the ultimate demise of Source.

If and when this world is shattered, we will surely build another.

Until then, I choose to walk the path of love: taking care of myself, taking care of others, continuing to explore life while letting go of shame and blame. It all must start with me.

So I close November with grace – towards myself, towards you, towards all who can receive it. And I send out the message I have been hearing all year: I am enough … you are enough … we are enough.

May you come to discover the incredible freedom found outside the bounds of the shame/blame game. May you grow to know the amazing person you are and always have been. Today, apart from any perceived success or failure, may you realize your worthiness to thrive. May you come to believe, without any shadow of doubt, that you are enough!

Hope to see you in December. Much love and light.

Namaste,

~C

Link Share #3

Blessed Sagittarius season, everyone! I plan to begin writing again once my move is complete, so stay tuned for some holiday explorations and an upcoming Yule Tarot reading! In the meantime, I found a wonderful article I wanted to share. Enjoy!

One Native’s perspective on Thanksgiving. Beautiful read. ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜

See you soon!

Namaste,

~C

Thanksgiving Meditation

On Thursday this week, many families in the US will celebrate Thanksgiving. Somewhere in the cloudy memory of my younger days, I recall being taught that the holiday commemorated a camaraderie between Pilgrims and the Indigenous peoples of the land. I came to question that narrative as I grew older, and considering how we continue to mistreat and marginalize the people whose land the settlers stole, I have my doubts about any sort of harmonious relationship between the melting pot of invaders and the Indians of the Americas. Certainly if it ever existed, it was short-lived. I once heard someone say, “The winners write the history books.” That sounds about right to me. 

Yet here we find ourselves year after year, coming together around a table to indulge in the abundance of the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave … well, depending on who you are. Apparently, freedom is a fluid concept that may or may not be dependent on the color of your skin. 

Which begs the question, what is freedom anyway? 

I remember a man speaking to a full auditorium about his life as a prisoner of war. I do not recall his name, which war he fought in, or what country held him. I do remember hearing him talk about the sense of freedom he experienced during that the days, months, and years spent alone at the bottom of a hole in the ground. Freedom must be more than the ability to go and do where and what you want. 

Could it be that freedom – like love, joy, and appreciation – is a state of mind? Maybe true freedom is knowing that there is no substance to the things that enamor us in this world, that what we see, hear, smell, taste, and touch is merely energy coalesced into different forms, enticing us to believe that something outside of ourselves owns the power to grant those higher emotions. What if true freedom is not possessing the land, having the job, getting the vacation, or the ability to eat ourselves into a turkey-induced coma? What if freedom is the understanding that no circumstance, thing, situation, person, or place outside ourselves can ever bring or take true happiness?

I cannot help but wonder if we who indulge our appetites so recklessly every fourth Thursday in November are not the real prisoners. Enslaved by the sheer hunger for more, we do not stop our indulgence on Thursday, but now carry it on through Friday – the day we try to fill a different hole in our hearts, the one reserved for more stuff.

A quick search of the origin of the term “Black Friday” yielded this little gem. It seems to me that the establishment of Thanksgiving as a national holiday was more of a political ploy or an excuse for a couple of paid days off than an opportunity to focus on gratitude. Maybe that’s just my propensity for cynicism talking.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Thanksgiving as a rule. I am glad that our family has an excuse to get together every year around a table full of food we all helped to prepare. And I am one of the lucky ones – my family comes together often, without any excuse but our love for one another. For that I am immensely grateful. 

My heart goes out to the countless Americans who have no family with which to celebrate this or any holiday; those who are estranged from the ones they love; and those who have no means for a feast. Sad conditions indeed. Sadder still are the ones who have all of those things yet live a life enslaved to their perception of reality, complainers, unable to find joy or peace within despite their abundance without. 

The true inspirations are those who manage to find joy without any of those things. Just as a bad circumstance has no power to steal my joy, freedom, love, or gratitude (unless I let it), so abundance and good fortune lack the power to give any of them to me. 

I confess, my original plan for this post was to tell you that on Black Friday I will be moving instead of shopping, that it would mark the thirty-something time I have moved since I was 18, and that the thought of moving again makes me tired. Instead I was made to remember that everything I need already exists inside of me. To top that off, my outer world is a place of abundance, a veritable feast of loving family members, places to live, and countless wonderful things I enjoy doing! These thoughts made me realize the many ways that I allow my perceived circumstances to dictate my sense of freedom or bondage, joy or depression, love or fear. My own words have confronted my propensity to complain rather than to thank.

Today I choose to remember that freedom, joy, and gratitude are states of mind that nothing in my outer world may alter without my consent. 

May you find the joy that nothing outside of you can steal, the love of yourself that you deserve because you are worthy, and the gratitude & appreciation for the wonder of life itself. May your Thanksgiving be truly blessed – both within and without.

With a thankful heart, Namaste,

~C 

Connection …? We Really Have NO Idea

It’s worth thinking that maybe the meaning of our lives are actually not even within the scope of our understanding.

Tom Chi, TedX Taipei

This video is for anyone who thinks that their life doesn’t matter. If only you knew how crucial your existence is to everything and everyone else!

Everything is connected.

No matter how long you spend on this earth or what you ‘do’ with your life, please know that you matter.

Namaste,

~C

Just Breathe

I know, I know, November was supposed to be a month of blogging. My life and writing? Not particularly in sync right now. The full schedule will certainly let up right around the first of December – just after NanoPoblano ends. 😒 Mind you, I am not complaining. I may not be writing, but I absolutely love what I am doing.

In lieu of a post tonight, I would like to share an exciting process with you. I may not be writing, but I am most definitely breathing. Enjoy!

SOMA Breath – highly recommend the daily doses. But watch out! They might just change your life – for the better!

Namaste,

~C

Finding My Flow in North Georgia

It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then. 

Lewis Carroll

This is a continuation of the journey I began early in the summer of 2019.

I have long understood that everything in our physical realm is made up of invisible energy. This energy must flow freely or our lives will be filled with pain, chaos, and misery. Maybe that’s why I love fluid art so much. Pouring paint has helped me to learn to tap into the flow. But this summer it came to my attention that something was blocking the natural flow of energy inside me. I reached out to Dr. Tom and Emily to see if they could help me identify and eradicate it for good.

At approximately 11:00 in the morning on July 20, Tom Dill offered me a seat on a massage table in his office in the North Georgia Wellness Center. “So what brought you here today?” he asked, graciously omitting the unspoken but implied, all the way from Woodbridge, VA. Emily Francis sat on the couch to my right, preparing to take notes on her phone. At the time, I was unaware that Emily no longer accepted patients and that Dr. Tom never agreed to treat anyone who lived out of state. I still do not know how or why my email persuaded them to see me, only that I am so very grateful it did.

In the middle of my narrative, Dr. Tom glanced at Emily and said, “Do you see that?” “I sure do,” was her immediate response. He waited until I finished before asking, “Can you take a deep breath for me?” It was my first clue that I had come to the right place. Sometime in 2018 I had lost the ability to breathe deeply, as if a stone had lodged in the center of my chest. I felt pain in the area from time to time. I did not know what it was, but I did know that it was completely unrelated to my physical heart. I had an energy problem.

Most of us are unaware of the beliefs and thought patterns we carry around in our subconscious minds. When those beliefs tend towards the negative, they can become blocks in the energy field that eventually cause problems in our physical bodies. While there are several ways to hack the subconscious (many of which I already use, like meditation), I knew that whatever I was dealing with needed something more. I needed help from people who were trained to work directly with energy.

We skipped over the conventional NAET tests for allergens. Instead, Dr. Tom muscle tested me for various emotional issues, beginning with the general heading of ‘my past’. During this portion of the treatment, Tom made some interesting discoveries.

  1. I ‘tread lightly’, fearful of making mistakes.
  2. I hold patterns from my childhood in my chest (go figure).
  3. My heart was broken in the past (like most everybody else).
  4. My fifth chakra (throat) has always been weak. I found this one the most enlightening – a reminder that the gift of gab does not indicate a healthy throat chakra. The ability to effectively speak my truth has long been an issue.

NAET practitioners typically identify negative memories, beliefs, and thought patterns that have morphed into energetic blocks, then clear them using acupressure along the meridian points of the spine. It was quite similar to some of the treatment I have undergone with my acupuncturist. Dr. Tom wanted to know when I first experienced the block in my chest. While trying to remember, I commented how odd it was to me that I could not take a deep breath. “Every trained singer knows full well how to belly breathe,” I said. But I had lost the skill – even during meditation. Muscle testing revealed it began around November 22, 2018. “That was moving day!” I exclaimed. “The day we moved into the house that we love.”

“That makes sense,” Tom said, “since you have trouble allowing yourself to be happy.” Always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Which it rarely does. But if you believe you are not allowed to be happy and you are happy, self sabotage is your only recourse. Dr. Tom proceeded to clear my subconscious aversion to happiness. I couldn’t help but wonder if it would ‘stick.’

Emily’s turn came. The raw pain in my connective tissue brought me up from the table several times. I knew in my head that her brutality was a necessary evil and reminded myself that I hadn’t made the 10-hour drive to be coddled and left in my current condition. Something had to shake my body from its chains. When the massage was over, Dr. Tom returned for a final round of clearing and we were done. Other than the pain I had experienced at Emily’s hand, nothing particularly earth-shattering had happened. I drove back to my friend’s house in Marietta and wondered what I had really accomplished by coming all the way to Georgia.

The next morning I woke up and took the first deep breath I had taken in almost a year. I understood then that my trip had been worth every second and every penny. Life is all about flow, and Tom and Emily had helped my body find it once more.

Today I dream of running an art studio where fluid art and metaphysics come together. Until I open the doors I will learn everything I can about both, thanks to amazing teachers like Aaron Abke, Gilly Kube, Joe Dispenza, Gina Deluca, and many others. For now, I will set my intention, dream my dreams, and learn to live in the flow.

How about you? Is flow something that comes naturally or is it a struggle for you to find? When you detect blocks, how do you go about clearing them? Let me hear from you in the comments.

Thanks so much for reading!

Namaste,

~C