Time to once again find the courage to break free of a self-imposed cocoon. I need you right now, Butterfly. Remind me:
Lighten up. Stop taking everything so seriously. It’s time to make a change. In spite of the challenges, you’ll get through this transition…as always, remember, “this too shall pass”. (Farmer, S.D., 2006)
Ok, ok. I can do this.
Every Single Time, I Freak Out!
I’ve lived long enough to have experienced change before. Many times, actually. Yet, every single time, my brain goes into “freak out” mode. Still, still, I never ever let that fear stop me from making that change! NEVER!
Sometimes, it slowed me down, though, I have to admit. Fear is such a powerful force. And, slowing down is actually not a bad response. So I will say that fear can be a healthy thing, for a time. But, fear should never be used as a REASON to stop you from changing.
So, over my life time, I have learned how to breathe through fear and embrace change.
Praying Through It All
You know, when I was a little kid, I was taught to say specific prayers. Raised Catholic, I endured rosary after rosary and it was called “praying”. I didn’t get it. I wasn’t praying! I was simply barking out memorized lines of a chant. “Hail Mary, full of grace, the lord is with thee…” Over and over again, we would repeat these lines because we needed to ask God for forgiveness for our sins.
It wasn’t until I was older that I actually found the courage to tell my mother that I wanted to just talk to God, not say so many Hail Mary’s and Our Father’s. She did not approve! Still, it was then that I truly learned how to pray. But for years, I didn’t pray because I thought praying was all about asking for something, begging for something and I didn’t think it was right to think that I deserved anything better than anyone else. It was years later that I found that I could actually pray to God in thankfulness. And I did, and I do most every night.
But then there are those times where I am going through a change and my brain is freaking out and I find myself begging for a sign that everything will be ok. It was during one of these “freak out” sessions that I learned of Animal Spirit Guides by Steven D. Farmer. It was at this moment that I felt, for the first time, that I could feel and see guidance from the spirit world. And, for maybe the first time in my life, I felt that I didn’t have to push through a change on my own anymore.
Now, I talk to God but I also talk to family members who have passed before me. I ask them for help freely. And then I pay attention to the signs. Most of the best signs I see in nature with the guidance of the Animal Spirit Guide and a set of cards. Messages From Your Animal Spirit Guide by Steven Farmer is the deck of cards that I use on a regular basis. And when I’m going through a change, I will get messages that may say things that include “go for it” to “slow down” or “step back to see the big picture”.
And Sure Enough, I Get Through It
Yes I do, with the help of my guides, I move through change with strength and conviction but also with thoughtful reflection. Fear does not define me. Fear slows me down. Fear tells me to proceed with caution but I don’t let fear stop me. It’s when I feel fear that I reach out to God and all the spirits of my loved ones and say “I need help with this one. Please, tell me what to do.” And then I listen.
Pay attention. Messages are all around us. Today, I needed the message of the Butterfly. I am headed into another change.
No, I’m not going to mention this robin right now. Wait for it.
First, I need to share this:
Yesterday was one of those days; an incredible day that ended with me feeling as though I had real purpose.
It started simply enough with me taking my brother to a doctor’s appointment. It wasn’t any simple appointment though. He was to be scheduled for quadruple bypass surgery. The doctor’s office is in an area unfamiliar to my brother so I offered to meet him halfway and drive him in. The first road was blocked with a bridge out. He instantly panicked but luckily I knew a different route. He was thankful, at that moment, for me. The appointment had a twist. We thought we were to schedule surgery, instead he needs to return to meet, first, with another cardiologist. They have to make his heart strong enough for surgery. My brother has a bit of a short fuse, so luckily I was there to keep everything calm. Then, as we tried to set up a schedule for this additional doctor, I felt that the directions had been listed wrong. I was right! He needed a “heart failure” cardiologist not just a regular cardiologist. It was because I had taken notes during our meeting with the surgeon that I was able to catch this and get it checked out and corrected before we made an unnecessary trip in to the wrong doctor. My brother was safely delivered back to our halfway meeting point and he was calm. My duty was done and he was very thankful. I was pleased.
Then, my sister called. She’s been living through several tough years. She hates her job, also has heart issues, and just recently went through breast cancer surgery. Through all of this, she has had a dream of running her own business; a shop of up-cycled treasures. Last summer, we worked together to try it out by setting up displays at flea markets. That worked well enough but made her tired and disappointed. Still, the spring warmth and sunshine has her longing to try again. With her energy level low, I’d offered to drive to her home every Saturday (75 minutes away) to help get things ready. Then she hears that someone has a booth at an antique mall and would like to split the cost with her. I jumped at the chance to encourage this. “I’ll split the cost with you”, I say. Still it took two weeks before she contacted her friend and followed through with signing a 6 month lease for her half. I was there again this Saturday to price some items and take them over this last Saturday. She begins placement of her treasures and I could see that she was in her happy place. She has an eye for design. She started immediately rearranging the items already there, placing them in ways that compliment their value and then started placing hers. In a little over an hour, we were done and she was pleased. But it was yesterday when she called that there was actual joy in her voice. She had returned to her booth to place a few more items. The owner made a special point of telling her how nice the booth looked. She told her more than once. My sister mentioned it to me five times during our conversation. She then shared a story about this job that she hates. She’s been moved back to the deli area; the area that she had said was way too hard on her. Today she was super busy. Why? Because people are glad she’s back! She was overjoyed! Her hate for the job replaced with a new sense of value. I ended this conversation feeling as though I maybe had a bit of role in moving her towards her dream. She was happier than I have heard her in years. And I smiled.
Third Story And This Is Where The Robin Comes In:
I was sitting down, ready to eat and the phone rings yet again. I see who’s calling and my instinct was to ignore it and go on with my dinner. Instead, I answered. “Jane, you’re my bird lady. You have to help me. There is this robin that has been flying into my window all day long. What is wrong with this bird?” I tell her what I know about this kind of bird behavior but truthfully she really just wants to tell me how frustrating it all was and how she’s tried everything to make it just stop. Then she changes topic a bit and tells me how upset she’s been lately with her life and how she even prayed to God to send someone to help her. At that point, I said that maybe the robin was trying to get a message to her and while she continued to share her despair, I looked up the spirit message of the robin and then stopped her and said, “This is the message from the robin.”
If Robin has flown into your life; Robin signifies stimulation of new growth and renewal in many areas of life. He teaches that any changes can be made with joy, laughter and a song in your heart. This bird shows you how to ride the winds of passion within your heart and become independent and self reliant through this change. The energy of this bird will teach you how to move forward with grace, tenacity, perseverance and assertion. Are you letting go of personal dramas? Ones that no longer serve your higher purpose? Are you exercising compassion and patience in mental, spiritual and emotional areas? This creature will teach how to incorporate new beginnings with faith and trust in the process. It is time to believe in yourself and use the inspiration that is given. Listen carefully. It is time sing your own song for a new period in your life.
When I finished, I waited for a response and instead heard silence. I was worried that I had gone too far. Perhaps she wasn’t interested in the possibility of animals sending messages to her. But instead, she said, “You have no idea how amazing it is to hear that right now and let me tell you why.” She went on to share how so many things have been out of order in her life for the past months, how she had just told her husband that she needed to do something to change it, to bring back the joy in her life, to find her way back to taking care of herself, how she needed to back away from trying to be everything to everyone else. And then she spoke of how much she missed our time together at the gym we had belonged to and I agreed. We had been healthy and strong and we had both been away from that for too long. We made a plan to meet tomorrow to get some exercise. And then she said, “Well, I asked God to send someone to help me and I never thought it would be a bird!” And she laughed. I smiled and then said, “Maybe God sent me.”
When waiting for something seemed like an endless chore? “I can hardly wait until…I turn sixteen so I can drive.. graduate from high school… turn 21 so I can legally drink… graduate from college… get married… have a baby… buy my first house.” And then something happens. All of a sudden, the “I can’t wait until” becomes “I don’t want to turn 30…40…50…60! Slow down! Hold on! Everything is going too fast!”
And then, something inside your head says, “Just breathe.”
You stop for a moment and do just that and it’s like the first time that you actually heard birds singing or saw that tiny flower poking through the ground. It’s the first time that you stood still and actually felt the warmth of the sun and saw the rays beaming through the branches of a tree. And hearing a baby cry sounds more like a miracle instead of a noise.
It’s at this point that you realize that each day is a gift and you have a choice. You can rush through the day and fall exhausted into bed each night feeling as though you will never ever get everything done and time is passing you by. Or, you can find it in yourself to slow down and look at everything as a gift. Today is a gift. My home, the people who surround me, my health, the food in my cupboards, and that sunshine are all gifts.
Enjoy the moment
Once you allow yourself this moment, you realize that nothing is more important…not yesterday…not tomorrow. This moment is a gift. Enjoy it.
“I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world.” Mother Teresa
I’ve taken a long extended break from WordPress but have continued to write in my journal – three pages, every day.
After writing, I feel a need to simply be still, for a while, and have found this to be a good time to read a book called Spiritual Literacy – Reading the Sacred in Everyday Life by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat. It’s a book that’s been around for awhile; copyright 1996, but I have carried it with me, with good intentions, and now seems to be the right time to savor the words.
So there I was, reading for a bit, after writing in my journal and up crops this quote. This is one of those quotes that jumped out at me and I knew I would have to write about it further. One of the reasons that I stopped sharing in this blog was exactly this. I had come to feel as though God had picked up my pencil. I was being guided through thoughts and feelings too personal to share. Too many things happening too fast. I couldn’t process it all. I was being told that I was stronger than I believed, that I had to let go, lead each day with gratitude, believe in my creativity, intuition, and most importantly, believe in the messages. For some time, my journal entries were assisted with “Spirit Guide” Cards by Steven Farmer, as well. Every day – shuffle the deck of Spirit Animal cards and pick number 14. Why 14? That’s just what I seemed directed to do. Every day; number 14. Every day, the message was different but it always seemed to fit me that day.
Today, I felt as though it was time to shuffle the Earth Magic cards instead. I use this deck of cards only when I feel as though I am going through a transition. This deck gets shuffled. I count to number 14 and pull that card. That will stand for my Past. I keep counting out another 14. This one will be my Present. And finally, another 14 and this will represent my Future. For some reason, today was the day to do this.
My Past: Forest (Breathe)
This one caught me by surprise. It was so perfect. I have moved away from the home on the edge of a nature preserve. I would walk these trails every day, sometimes twice. I felt I had been brought to this very location for a reason. I needed a place where I could feel safe and I found it under the trees (the Standing Ones). I found gentleness and courage with the animals: deer, squirrels, chipmunks, turtles, and birds. And then, I saw the glorious beauty of the butterfly on flowers and I came to understand that this signified a time for a change. It was time for me to move on.
My Present – Crystals (Focus)
“Where your attention flows, your intention goes.” Since moving away from the woods and going through significant change within my family, I have struggled with the idea of allowing things to just be. I have needed to come back, again and again, to “Focus”. Focus on the moment. Focus on gratitude, Focus on positive energy. It has been hard, hard work! That might be why this card presented itself upside down!
My Future – Mountain (Strength)
In the center of this frame is a photo I took from the side of a mountain in Sedona. At the time, I was sitting there alone and afraid. Now, I get a Mountain card as my future and it says “It makes no sense to deny the strength you have at the cost of allowing yourself to be reactive and subject to external influences far beyond what is healthy for you.”
It says that the current situation requires vigilance but not to the point of fear or paranoia. I am to imagine myself as “a mountain of strength, solidly grounded, head touching the sky.”
See, God speaks to me.
“I am a little pencil, in the hand of God who is sending a love letter to the world.”
Oh, autumn woods, I thank you!
So many lessons learned beneath your trees,
You’ve taught me what to do.
You’ve guided with your gentle breeze.
But it’s time.
Your tree’s brilliant colors captivate!
Reds mixed with yellow and hues of green and brown.
You told each leaf that it’s time to celebrate.
Listen! The leaves are applauding all around.
Change is happening. I can see it in the sky.
Summer’s warmth, while so sublime
Now chillingly says “It’s time to fly.”
Time to let go. It’s time…
Then the winds grow still all around
A quiet respect fills the air.
Geese take to the sky with a mournful sound.
“Good-bye”, they seem to share.
Colors explode with each new day.
Trees still filled with brilliant splendor all around.
Then suddenly the leaves exclaim, “I can no longer stay.”
And they drift, unceremoniously, to the ground.
The leaves are now a burden to the tree
But they did their job and they loved it so.
Drifting, floating, suddenly free
They understand. They need to let go.
The sun peaks out from behind a cloud
Shining, now easily, through branches of the tree.
“Don’t be sad”, it seems to say out loud.
“I’ll put sparkle elsewhere, you’ll see.”
Animals are busy, scurrying about
Gathering food to tuck away.
It’s like they’re telling me, “There’s little doubt
We must prepare for another day.”
Plants, dropping seeds everywhere, you’ll find.
They tell us this is how they survive.
They say, “Leave a little bit of yourself behind.
Then you, too, will stay alive.
Oh autumn woods, it’s so hard to say good-bye.
“Don’t worry, my child, you’ll be fine, you know.
It’s time, now, for you to learn how to fly.
You can do it. You just have to let go.
It’s time, you know. It’s time.
Journal Entry - July 16, 2015.
Part Two of how Morning Pages(my journal)helped me process through a change.
Searching for a way…to reconcile my feelings with what will, inevitably, happen. I walked my woods looking for a sign.
There was the robin, never leaving my path.
“Let go of the drama and allow as much joy and laughter into your life as you can.” (S. Farmer, 2006)
Dragonflies have been plentiful, as well, and I have been ignoring this part of the message because I felt safe.
“Be on the lookout for any falsehoods, deceit, or illusions that are clouding a current situation or relationship.”
In the pond, turtles are poking their heads up between crowded lily pads.
“At this time, pay particular attention to the shifting sensations in your body, as these are, energetically, resonating with subtle changes in the vibrations of the earth. Get out on the land and walk around at about half your usual pace, using it as a meditation.”
Then, the geese.
“This is a time of good fortune.”
Ah, it doesn’t feel like that, actually.
“Call on your ancestors for guidance and protection and once you do you’ll notice a significant increase in your spiritual awareness. Even though it may not always appear to be so, you are very well protected.”
Then, I came upon a deer, too suddenly, and scared it a bit.
“You’ve been involved in some aggressive, negative circumstances and need to seek out safe, nurturing situations and people.”
And, that’s what I did last night. My head hurts from a bit too much wine, but it felt good to listen to the prospective of another (outside eyes). She gave good sound advice even through my tears, of which there were many yesterday.
Ok, so here it is again…my daughter and her family are working on a move to North Carolina. Her husband is committed to finding work there and has indeed interviewed, now twice, with a company. My daughter is pregnant with my second grand baby. It doesn’t matter. My other daughter and I have tried so hard to help with their son, giving them opportunities for nights out, even whole weekends for small vacations, not to mention providing weekly childcare so he has never had to deal with the rush of a morning schedule, or leave his home.
I think, my daughter wants to go 100%. My other daughter thinks that she has to want this for her husband. She doesn’t have a choice.
Still, yesterday, I nearly lost it when I realized that this daughter sought out guidance, from a trusted shaman, on how to deal with ME! I had picked up vibes that something was going on, so I asked her if her husband was interviewing for another job. When she said “yes”, my only response was, “Where, this time.” I stayed quiet. No tears. Still she contacted her shaman. As I reflected on that, further, I did, indeed, feel as though I had become a burden; the one obstacle in the way for their true life. Here, I had been thinking that I was working hard to be a great help. I called my other daughter, sobbing. She helped right my sinking boat for the time being. Yet, still today, I feel old and in the way.
But then this daughter calls and says,
“Could you come early today. I have a meeting at 8:30.”
And, of course, I will be there.
My grandson doesn’t know the ache I feel, right now, anticipating lost moments.
The season is spring. It always conjures up images of new beginnings, but it doesn’t have to be spring time to begin again. We can begin, again, every day. Every time we make a choice, it’s a new beginning. Think about it:
every time we open our mouth to say something
every time we choose
to buy or not to buy,
to exercise or not to exercise,
to be happy or not to be happy,
to accept or not accept what is.
Spring time is a reminder that we always have the ability to begin again. It’s about choosing how we frame any event, every moment; how we choose to live our life. Choose humility. Choose healthy habits. Choose happiness. Choose acceptance.
Today is the day. Feel the warmth of the sun. Open yourself up to a new life. It’s time for a new beginning.
Looking out on the horizon, when you’re young, you are confident that you’re sailing towards great things; you know, that pot at the end of the rainbow. that buried treasure. During my generation, I assumed that I had to start at the bottom of the ladder and work my way up but when I wasn’t at the top by the time I reached 50, I got impatient and resorted to dreams of winning the lottery. Then I’d have that pot of gold, by, say, tomorrow! And then, I could just go out and buy that fabulous life. I mean, come on, now, I’m 50 years old! Well, I waited for that instant wealth, but, still, I had to go about the day to day business of sailing the vessel that I had, in the meantime. I’ve never been fond of water. I don’t swim well, at all, so thinking about being on a sailboat out on open water, with all of the elements, makes me just quiver. But, symbolically, it is a perfect way to talk about life’s journey.
So, now, I reflect on my life as a sailor. I knew, kind of, that I needed a plan (map), the right tools, and the skills to sail. But life doesn’t automatically set you up with those things. I actually had to put this all together myself?
Again, this is a big ah-hah that I’ve learned now that I’m old and know what it’s like to get on that damn boat without all of the above.
I suppose someone told me that going off and sailing my own boat wasn’t going to be easy but you know, kids! I assumed all those “old people” were just trying to scare me to keep me stuck at home.
For me, I went sailing off to college, with all my graduation presents (still in boxes) to set up my first dorm room; a brand new clock radio, a portable hair dryer, and a new portable typewriter. My new three piece luggage set carried all, and I mean all, of my clothes and other valuables. I was ready! Let’s do this college thing.
But then, I got to my designated room only to find out that my roommate was the floor monitor which meant that she was a Senior and was supposed to have the room to herself only there were too many new Freshman. That meant that she was forced to share her room with me! So, guess what, she was mad. She had also been told that I was a non-smoker but she was a smoker so now she was going to have to leave her own room to find a place to smoke. Lucky for her, I had taken up the habit over the summer and when she found that out she didn’t think I was half bad after all. That was the only time, I think, that smoking worked in my favor. Still, she didn’t plan on hanging out with me much. I mean, really! I was just a freshman; such a newbie that I had to read the directions that came with my new clock radio to figure out how to set the alarm!
My mother thought that college was a waste of time for a girl so it didn’t help that I had no plan for a major. I guess I thought I’d figure it out as I went along. And sure enough I did. There were little clues along the way that rocked my boat but pointed me in the right direction. For instance, I found myself begging one teacher for a “C”. The course was accounting. Did you know that the role of debits and credits change depending out which side of the ledger you are looking at? I promised him that I’d leave the school of business if he’d just pass me. I was drowning in assignment due dates, test after test, after test. My ship was rocking in a sea, of courses, that I didn’t even like! It was the end of my Sophomore year that I decided to pick up a map and plot the course. What a concept!
I charted out a course and found myself in calmer waters for the rest of my college days. In fact, for a period of time, there, I even got to enjoy the peacefulness of sailing and the beauty of a sunset or two.
Still, you know, it probably would have been wiser to get my sea legs steady, on a little boat, on a smaller body of water, rather than putting that sailboat into the ocean and just trusting that there would be enough wind and that the wind would take me to my destination, when even I didn’t know where my destination was.
I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I set sail and then veered off course, sometimes on purpose, sometimes purely by accident. I can tell you that even when I did plan out the course, it wasn’t a given that it would be smooth sailing. Usually, the storms took me by surprise and some of them threw me around wildly before tossing me up onto to shoreline and there I’d be, looking around, thinking “how the hell did I get here? This wasn’t part of the itinerary.” And “friends” would seem to come out from behind the rocks, everywhere, to say “Well, I could have told you that would happen.” or worse yet “I TOLD YOU THAT WOULD HAPPEN but you didn’t listen.”
But, sometimes, these events feel like some kind of cosmic occurrence, pushing you whether you like it or not. And, it’s here, right here, where we decide our course. Our response. Do we push against the current or let the tide take us? This is exactly where I was and how I felt about my divorce. I was in the middle of a storm, and I felt the wave pushing me, throwing me. Then, there would be periodic calm spells, time to collect my thoughts and almost enough calm for me to turn back but then the winds started blowing again and now, instead of being pushed, I was being pulled into my destiny. I don’t think, at that point, I could have stopped it. But, you know what, I could have. I could have turned back, avoided the storm. And then what? Then I would have been left, back on the beach, left to live in the body of a person I wasn’t destined to be. I know too many people who have denied their storm, too afraid to let the winds take them to their next destination. I see them, now, as empty shells, trying to figure out why God abandoned them. So they, in turn, abandon God.
I know that people who call themselves “Friends” try to convince you that you’re headed in the wrong direction but if your inner voice is strong you need to just stay the course, remain calm in the middle of your storm. I know I didn’t want to end up an empty shell, feeling discarded on the beach. I needed to continue to develop my inner pearl. So, I sailed, again and again, metaphorically speaking, because that’s what you do. It’s like the song sung by Garth Brooks called “The River” (1992).
The River by Garth Brooks
You know a dream is like a river Ever changin’ as it flows And a dreamer’s just a vessel That must follow where it goes Trying to learn from what’s behind you And never knowing what’s in store Makes each day a constant battle Just to stay between the shores…and
I will sail my vessel ‘Til the river runs dry Like a bird upon the wind These waters are my sky I’ll never reach my destination If I never try So I will sail my vessel ‘Til the river runs dry
Too many times we stand aside And let the waters slip away ‘Til what we put off ’til tomorrow Has now become today So don’t you sit upon the shoreline And say you’re satisfied Choose to chance the rapids And dare to dance the tide
There’s bound to be rough waters And I know I’ll take some falls But with the good Lord as my captain I can make it through them all…yes
I will sail my vessel ‘Til the river runs dry Like a bird upon the wind These waters are my sky I’ll never reach my destination If I never try So I will sail my vessel ‘Til the river runs dry.