Sunday, February 28, 2010

Full Moon Energies

Good afternoon, blogland.  How is everyone doing on this Sunday afternoon of a full moon?  Darn, why do these weekends have to pass by so quickly?  Truthfully, I've been doing a lot of thinking about retirement lately...but that is all it has been...thinking.  Budget wise there is no way, it's just not financially feasable at this time.  It just doesn't seem fair.  I've worked for 46 years; you would think that at age 63 I could settle down. 

Well enough whining for the day. Let's celebrated the arrival of the full moon, that jewel of the night who proudly displays Her cycles of illumination and shadow.  She is steady, constant, and incredible...our Lady of the Night.  She is the Maiden, the Mother, the Crone...and powerful enough to influence the vast oceans on our earth.  She is birth, death, and renewal.  She resides within the cells of our bodies and the fabric of our souls.  She is the Creator Goddess, our teacher..."Mother of the Universe"...."The Eternal One".  She brings us solace when we are down.

According the the Old Farmer's Almanac it is the "Snow Moon". This was the name given to it by the Native American tribes of the North and the East.  They called it this because some of the heaviest snowfalls fell during this time.  Some tribes referred to it as the "Hunger Moon" because the harsh weather conditions made hunting nearly impossible.

The Celts called this full moon the "Chaste Moon" which reflects their belief of entering the New Year with a pure soul.  This moon stands for renewal and youth.  The Celts also called this the "Moon of Ice" because snow still blankets the ground, but it is time for the  winter to begin fading away. 

To appreciate the energies of the full moon, find a place that is peaceful and quiet.  It may be indoors in a spot near the window where you can view Her, but preferably this should be done outdoors. 

When you find your place, make yourself comfortable by sitting or lying down...quiet your mind and still your thoughts.  Relax your body...and focus on your breathing.  Inhale slowly, deeply, through your nose...hold your breath for as long as possible, then exhale slowly through the mouth.  Repeat a minumum of two more times.

As you watch the full moon, close your eyes...and see yourself as you slowly begin to float towards Her...Her energies become more magnetic as you float closer to Her...She is now before you.  Watch Her energy as it surrounds you...and become one with it.

It is here that you will find all knowledge and wisdom...Connect with creation and the part you play in reality.  Stay as long as you wish, as long as you are comfortable.  Open your mind and go beyond your thoughts.  See...listen...hear the things that are beyond your imagination as you connect with your genetic encodings. 

If you truly connect with this energy source, you might feel dizzy, light-headed for Her power is great.  Enjoy your journey.


Saturday, February 27, 2010

Listening to the Wind

And a wonderful Saturday afternoon to everyone out there in blogland.  Hope all of you are having a great day.  When I peer through the curtains, I find it very hard believe that a major storm blew through here yesterday.  Today, the sun is shining so brightly, if it weren't for the piles of snow on the ground, I would think it a springtime day.  It is a beautiful day indeed. 

"Live in each season as if passes; breathe the air;  drink the drink; taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of each...Be blown on by all the winds.  Open all your pores and bathe in all the tides of nature, inall her streams and oceans, at all seasons. --Henry David Thoreau

Last night I was sitting in my warm and cozy room, playing a game on the computer, not really into it, but actually, I wasn't into anything.  Didn't feel like reading or watching television. I was feeling kind of lost.   I guess you can say that I was in a restless mood last night.  And as I sat there, allowing my mind to wander, i began to listen the wind outdoors that was howling; it was such a deep and mournful cry of the Earth.  And as I sat, listening, to this  wail of the winds, I was suddenly reminded of one of the beautiful lessons that I had completed in my Bardic course...that of the song of life...and before I knew it, I was digging out my old course and reading through the old lesson.  I'd love to share a summary of it with you... if you don't mind. 

Although modern science has only recently begun to investigate the symphony of the Universe, our Celtic ancestors knew all too well that the world was supported and sustained by a melody which they called the "Oran Mor" or "The Great Song"; they were very much aware that all of creation was a part of this song. They knew that the "Great Song" is always present in all things and that we can be access at anytime as a means of healing and to re-align ourselves with the powers that have created life. The "Oran Mor" is not a song or story that can be told or written; it is an ancient rhythm of the Earth,  the melody that one hears in the wind, the waterfalls, and in the great music that stirs ones emotions and feelings.  The "Song of Amergin" is so beautiful in the way that it calls to the earth, that it is an "Oran Mor". 

In the beginning there was nothingness...silence. But, gradually the Earth began to develop its own music.  The wind was born, and to the Earth, it became the Caorneadh...a great keening; the wind is the spirit sound of the ancient Earth. It is already within us, but we not only do not take the time to listen to the song of life, but we are also hell-bent on destroying the ancient rhythm, that which is the song of the Shapers and of the Shapes.  Granted, it is hard to hear the "Oran Mor" when you live in the city, but if we listen closely, we find that it is waiting for us, waiting silently for us to remember Her.  In the summer, I have learned to hear it in the waves that crash upon the shore...and in the silence of the night, if you take the time to listen closely, you can hear the ancient melody in the breezes which rustle the leaves, in the calls of the animals, in the crunch of the earth or the snow beneath your feet. Even our own breathing is sound.  The song is everywhere and anywhere.   

In recent months I haven't been paying attention.  The cold has been keeping me indoors and lately, with all the snow and ice on the ground, I've been paying far more attention to remaining on my feet and taking the gifts of nature for granted.  Last night the wind reached out to me as a reminder of the beauty of creation, and I accepted Her invitation.  It was about midnight when I had finished reading.  Hubby was asleep, and the neighbors were all snug in their houses.  And I dressed myself warmly and went out into the yard and practiced the reawkening of the sacred skills of listening and hearing that I had been taught..and yes, it was beautiful, and today I am at peace with myself.  Thank you for listening. 

Song of the Wind

Listen closely as the gentle wind blows
It sings songs of joy for you.
Of sweet places where pure water flows,
It sings of mountains, trees, and misty dew.

It sings a lonely sacred song,
As it whistles through the pines,
It sings to us and we must listen
With our hearts, our souls, our minds.

--Unknown--

Friday, February 26, 2010

Slammed Again...and This Time a Good One

Good morning, everyone.  We've got about 18 inches out there already.  Last night I played like a little girl and ventured out into my back yard.  the wind was blowing frighfully and the snow was swirling all around, but it was wonderful.   It's a beautiful storm...even more beautiful since I am home.  I'd planned on being home today one way or another.  So yesterday, when my sinuses were acting up, I allowed them all to think it was a nasty cold, thereby setting up a sick day in motion.  But then, when the weatherman said it was best to stay home, he didn't have to tell me twice. Sadly, yesterday a man died in the park when the snow became too heavy and a branch broke off and fell, killing him as he made his way home through the park...and this morning I saw on the news that many of our beautiful trees could not withstand the storm.

 Today would have been a really long day for me.  There's a party for the graduates of the program tonight, and we are all expected to stay overtime to set up, serve, and clean up...so usually on graduation day, which happens twice a year, it is a 8:30 am to 7:30 pm day.  And usually, it is quite enjoyable, but this time, not only do I have no graduates, but I also don't totally agree with their choices of graduates.


To me, graduation should be based on a certain set of criteria; of course, good attendance and remaining drug and alcohol free are the biggies, but the graduate should also be in the process of doing something to better his/her lifestyle...i.e. GED classes, vocational training, internship, job or even job search.  This is why I have no graduates.  Although I have clients who satisfy the first criteria, they are doing nothing else with their life.  Two of tonight's graduates come to mind.  One is a young man, 21 years old, with his entire life ahead of him.  His attendance was 'okay', his urines clean, but he has done nothing else.  He was disruptive in groups and hasn't even taken the first steps to obtain his GED.  Instead, he got involvd with an older women, got her pregnant, and is now crying the blues that he made a mistake.  You know what that says to me? Relapse mode, not graduation.  But, because he has been so disruptive, they are graduating him to get him out of the program.  Another client has done absolutely NOTHING and I mean nothing.  He's never even once shared in any of my groups.  He has done no work on himself, but because he and his counselor have had a few words, they are graduating him. 

Somehow this speaks to me of the old social promotions of the New York City school system when students were passed from grade to grade and graduated, receiving high school diplomas, just because of their ages. And what are the results of that? Today we have thousands of adult men and women who cannot read and write. 

By the way, that photo isn't from me.  The battery went in our camera.  But, that is a photo of another snowstorm that hit Brooklyn a few years back, and it gives you some idea of what it is like here today.  And, with that, it's been awhile since I have posted any poetry, so I will leave you with the following'

THE STORM

Jove descends in sleet and snow,
Howls the vexed and angry deep;
Every storm forgets to flow
Bound in Winter's icy sleep,
Ocean waves and forest hoar,
To the blast responsive roar.

Drive the tempest from your door,
Blaze on blaze your heartstone piling,
And unmeasured goblets pour,
Brimful high, with nectar smiling;
Then, beneath your poet's head
Be a downy pillow spread.

--Alcaeus (7th-6th century B.C.)


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Just When We Thought it was Over

Good morning out there in blogland.  Winter sure is giving spring a run for its money this year, isn't it?  Just when we thought it was slowly making its way out of here, another storm slides in to pile us up with snow again.  So far it's a sleet sort of things with no accumulation, but they say later this afternoon when the cold air moves in, it's all gonna turn to snow, and by the time I get up tomorrow, the ground will be covered with about 8-10 inches of the white stuff.  I see a long weekend coming up for me. (Smiles)

"Nature does nothing uselessly"--Aristotle

Each morning as I get ready to go to work, I open a page of my book, "Earth Medicine: Ancestors Ways of Harmony for Many Moons" by Jamie Sams, and read.  It always leaves me with a good feeling.  How ironic that today's reading was one about snowflakes.  If you don't mind, I'd love to share it with you.

"Snowflakes hold the patterns of our dreams and desires inside their frozen Medicine Wheels.  Our thoughts and aspirations are alive and contain spirit.  Like wisps of smoke in a snowstorm, the spirit contained in our dreams takes form, fashioning the the unique patterns in each snowflake.

The frozen mound of collected dreams that form the glistening white crowns of majestic mountains return to us in spring to feed all living things.  The melted waters of the Snowflake Clan teach us to drink deeply of the sweet dreams that through mingling create harmony and nurture all of Creation until the end of time."

We all have dreams; we all have hope.  But we don't share them with others.  Perhaps we feel that they will laugh at us;  or maybe they will think our dreams are too unrealistic.  But holding our dreams to ourselves robs us of a level of friendship and intimacy with others.  So, tell someone your dreams.  Be vulnerable.  Open yourself up to someone.  For, according to the Clan Mother of the Second Moon, when we share the goodness of our personal dreams, we learn to piece together the shards of the Mother Earth's dream...which is Life abundant for all things.  

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Family Roles

Good morning, everyone.  Well, I am feeling better and am back to work.  Actually, I don't start until 11 am so I have a few minutes here to type away before I go run my group.  Thanks all for your concern. I was feeling pretty miserable yesterday, I must say, the rest did me a world of good.  It also made me realize that I do need time for me; I've been a caretaker for far too long. 

"Just remember, you don't have to be what they want you to be".--Muhammad Ali

The above quote just about says it all, doesn't it?  So many of us spend our lives trying to fit into someone else's model of what they want from us.  We don't appreciate the 'real' us, not just the job that we do.  We don't recognize and cherish that unique, loving, person that resides within.  Many of us grew up in dysfunctional families and took on roles that have been with us since childhood.  Children who grow up in such families tend to take on roles...survival roles.  The result is, we usually have a twisted, distorted view of who we are.  For those who grew up with siblings, you can see the roles that you and your siblings took on to survive.  I was an only child, so at times in my life, I was each of these roles.  I was cooking meals for the family a 9, being left alone to fend for myself all summer long at 10, a good student in school when I wasn't acting like the class clown.  By adolescence I had become very shy and socially isolated...loving my books and television more than I care about having friends. 

The Responsible Child/Family Hero is the child that who takes over the parent role at a very young age.  You are the good child, the child the parent's look to to prove that they are doing a good job.  You are used to taking care of everything.  As an adult, you can be very controlling and judgmental.  Although you are successful on the outside, inside you are cut off from your emotional self.  You are compulsive and driven because deep inside you feel inadequate and insecure.

The Scapegoat/Acting Out Child is the child that the family feels ashamed of.  This child acts out the tension and anger that the family ignores.  In other words, they provide a distraction from the real family issues.  This is the child who gets into trouble at school because he/she feels it is the only way they can get attention.  They have a lot of self-hatred and can be very self-destructive.  The truth is, these are the sensitive, caring ones, and this is why they grow up feeling such tremendous hurt.

The Family Mascot/Caretaker takes on the emotional well-being of the family.  This is the child that becomes the family clown who diverts the family's attention from the pain and anger.  As an adult, they are valued for their kindness, generosity, and ability to listen to others.  Their whole self-definition is centered on others so they don't know how to get their own needs met. As a result, they often get involved in abusive relationships in an attempt to 'save' the other person.  They usually go into the so-called 'helping professions' such as nursing, therapists, counseling, etc.

The Lost Child is the child who escapes by becoming 'invisible'.  They daydream, read a lot of books, watch a lot of television...basically anything that helps them deal with reality by withdrawing from it.  As adults, they are terrified of intimacy and often find themselves unable to 'feel'.  They are very withdrawn and shy and can become socially isolated because that is the only way they they know how to feel safe from being hurt.  

What happens is, that with this distorted view of ourselves, we are never able to see ourselves clearly.  The result is that when we look into the mirror, we fail to see the miracle of us.  Many of the messages we have received throughout our lives has been negative, and, as a result, we tend to focus on our flaws, our disappointments, our inadequacies instead of loving ourselves.  So, how do we do this?

Get help.
Learn how to identify and express emotions.
Allow yourself to feel angry about happened to you.
Practice taking good care of yourself.
Begin to change your relationships with your family...if you can.  (If not, do as I did.  Both of my parents are deceased so I wrote them both a letter expressing my feelings and offering forgiveness).

You know, I did it again.  I went in a totally different direction today than what I planned on.  I had planned on talking about taking care of self, but I guess, our childhood family roles have large part to play in what we are today and what we feel about ourselves.  I have found it rather striking that many beautiful souls had awful parents and childhoods.  And now, before I begin rambling on something else I hadn't planned on getting into.  Hope I didn't bore you all with some of this counseling stuff.  I love my co-dependence group and tend to get carried away sometimes.  

Not asking anyone to share their personal issues, but, to yourself, can you identify with any of these roles?  

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

On the Road to Wellness

Wow, it's evening already.  I slept most of the day.  Had a bowl of chicken soup earlier, and that's about all I had today aside from ginger ale.  Starting to feel better now. I can't believe how many hours I slept...most of the day.  Now, I am the kind of person that can never sleep in the daytime, so for me to sleep like I did today showed that I must have been pretty burned out.  When hubby came home I told him that I have to stop taking days off to DO things, but have to start taking off for me, to do something nice for me.  

By the way, hubby is kind of iffy about the new job.  He's uncomfortable, and that is to be expected.  After all, he was 11 years on the other job. He had developed so many friendships there.  Luckily, some of them still stay in touch.   He's also concerned that this job has no union, and it's been hard on him sharing an office when he has been alone for so many years.  But, he understands that adapting to his new atmosphere will take time...and as the days go by, he will develop some sort of comfort level.  He also realizes that right now he has no clients to work with which makes for a long and dull day for him.  He's thankful for the opportunity and willing to do whatever necessary to make it work.  

 I want to thank everyone for their kind words and concern.  It means a lot to know there are people out there who care.   

Good Afternoon

Good afternoon, all, on this rainy day in Brooklyn.   Took off work today.  I've been under the weather today and have been in bed all morning.  Seems like something I ate made me real queasy.  Usually my son brings me food home from the restaurant where he works, but Sunday night he didn't work.  And there are a couple places from work we order from all the time, and I trust their food, but yesterday no one but me was hungry...so I went across the street to Popeyes.  Now, I DO love their food, and know how fattening it can be, but I do love their chicken strips, bisquit, and mashed potatoes.  But yesterday, when I went, I saw that they had the calories of all their dishes posted on the menu...and the chicken fingers suddenly began to look pretty scary.  So, I grabbed what had the least calories...a chicken bowl.  Didn't really like it much, but I was hungry...and then last night, I realized I should have followed my intuition for the old tummy started getting queasy and this morning there was no way I was gonna make it to work. 

So, I'm up now and checking things out, but will be heading back to bed soon.  Just wanted to check in to say "hi" to all, and maybe be back later.  If not, may you all have a blessed and wonderful day.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Happy Monday

Good morning to everyone out there in blogland.  What a gorgeous Monday morning it is?  The sun is out in all its glory...but have to enjoy it today because from the looks of things, the sun won't return anytime soon.  Four days of rain and sleet ahead of us here.  I want to thank all of you who listened to my little rant yesterday.  It was something I just had to get off my chest.  The fact is, clients have become nothing more than numbers...and that is a fact that I have to accept.  Too darned old to look for a new career, and that's not something I would like to do anyway.  I guess I am missing the success stories of the past because now it seems to me, everything is geared for the clients to fail.  And, it's not just my program.  It's all over the city, probably all over the country, and it starts at the top.  And with that, I am going to let this subject go...for now.  By the way, hubby started his new job today.  I'm so anxious to see how his day went.  I had some problems with the subway getting here, and I am hoping that it didn't affect him too much.  We left one half hour apart so maybe by the time he left, the trains were back on track.

Don't you just love the above picture?  Reminds me that Spring is really on its way.  Butterfly Maiden is ready to appear and work Her magic.  But, just as our environment adjusts to the seasonal change, so does our human body.  During the winter, our energy was drawn inward to reflect, rejuvenate and rest. but now, as the season begins to shift, our energy begins to burst forth...and, as the days become longer, our energy really begins to flow.  Projects that have been put on hold begin calling us for completion, and bodies that have spent the cold, dark months of winter curled up on the sofa now begin itching to move.  Spring is a time of transformation and growth, a time which brings renewed optimism, hope and life.

Celebrating Spring is easy and fun.   I used to have my magical garden to look forward to, but it's been a few years since we had to move away, and I still miss the time I used to spend there...such a magical place it was ..., So now I usually buy some daffodils and enjoy their wonderful scent.    Spring cleaning is one of those rituals I strictly adhere to.  It's wonderful to be able to throw open all the windows, freshen up the house,  and give it a good cleaning.  Dig out the spring and summer clothes; pack away the heavy bulky things of winter.  Sitting outdoors in the wee hours of the night, communing with nature all around me.  The celebration of Ostara.  So many wonderful things are on their way.

What are some of your spring rituals?  How do you celebrate Spring.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Oh Gosh, It's Sunday Again

Good afternoon.  Hard to believe it's Sunday already...another workweek right around the corner.  I've got a week's worth of ironing done, my hair washed, nails done, and am ready to go...physically, that is.  Emotionally it's "Oh, no, I don't want to go."  It's really awful to go through this week after week after week, but, my hands are tied.  Hubby starts his new job tomorrow, and he is so excited.  Whatever happened to me?

I "chose" this job.  This is all I wanted to do, and it's all I still want to do.  I thought about it all morning.  What is really bothering me?  I love the clients.  I've never been in it for the money.  Heck, if it were money I were after, I'd sure have chosen another career.  It's the success stories that make it all worth it.  To see a client obtain their GED, or got back to college.  To place a client in an internship and see him later get hired...the first 'real' job he has ever had.  To see those women who are reunited with their children....to finally have your own aparent...heck, to have a roof over your head after spending years on the streets.  These are the things that make it worth it.  These are the things you remember...not what you bought wiith your last paycheck. 

I realized this morning that what has me so disgruntled is that I am not seeing this so often anymore...at least not on a regular basis...and us counselors and the clients are not to fault on this.  The heirarchy is.  Many of our clients come from what is called the Reception Center of our program.  This is a shelter like transitional housing program where clients stay while case managers search for something more permanent.  Problem here is, the Department of Mental Health has decided that 'everyone' there has to be on social security...and while they are there...which could be a year...they cannot go to school, look for a job, etc.  So, what happens in that time?  Clients who have always worked for a living become complacent.  In the beginning, many want to work, but are told that they can't.   They are receiving anywhere's up to $1700 a month from S.S. disability.   They receive almost $200 in food stamps.  They have breakfast and lunch at our program...at which they receive free metrocards even though it is walking distance to where they live...and when they do find an apartment, it only costs them 30 percent of their check.  So, do you see what I mean?  All incentive to return to work has been taken away.  For the life of me, I do not understand this.   Now, please don't get me wrong.  I have nothing against social security disability and some do 'really' need it, but what I can't understand is when you take someone, a healthy person, no mental illness, who has worked right up until the point where they hit their bottom due to drug use.

Part of recovery is learning responsibility.  In the above example, that is being taken away from these clients, but in my program, we are being hampered in still another way.  Management has made our clients feel that they can basically do whatever they want.  For example, scheduling.  When I meet someone for intake, I provide them with a schedule which includes their group times and the times they meet with me for individual session.  However, management likes an open-door policy.  What this means is, that let's say I schedule a client for 10 am, and he shows up at 12 pm, two hours late, I am still supposed to see him...week after week.  Used to be that we would be allowed to send them on their way, unseen, unless they had a darned good excuse...but that's all in the past...and clients know this.  And, if I refuse, immediately they go to see our superviser who, with their open door policy, gives them an individual session.  What gives?   Clients can come to attend a group 30 minutes late, but are told if they are late, they should ask to meet with a counselor...and that counselor is expected to drop whatever they are doing and meet with the client...even if it's not their client.

Unbelievable, huh?  Last Tuesday I had an intake scheduled for 12 pm.  He showed up about 2pm just as I was getting my lunch.  His excuse?  He overslept.  He  'overslept' and missed at 12pm appointment?  What time do you get up, anyways?  Well, I told him I would re-schedule.  My clinical superviser was there, and she pulled me to the side and asked me to meet with him just to do the mini-mental and give him a schedule.  I refused and told her, write me up if you have to, but if I see him today, two hours late for his first appointment, I am setting a precedence for him to be late whenever he feels like it.  If he had a job interview, he most certainly wouldn't be able to oversleep.  Well, she didn't write me up, but she did take the client in and do the mini-mental herself.  Now, he knows that he CAN be late and that he WILL be seen whatever time he arrives.  No responsibility being taught there. 

OMG!!!  Look at how I have ranted.  And I've still more tales to tell, but I've taken up enough of your time.  Oh, I am so sorry about this.  Never meant to carry on this much.  Frustration just got the best of me.  And please, when I spoke of social security, I do know that some do need it.  I am not condemning those who receive; I am condemning a system that literally forces it on people.
Thanks for letting me get all this off my chest.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Four Agreements

And a happy Saturday to all.  It's a gorgeous day in the city...warm, sunny.  Would actually think spring had arrived were it not for the snow on the ground and the threat of another storm looming.  I've already been out, done food shopping for two weeks, and have 8 meals on the stove and the oven.  Just makes it so much easier for me on work nights...and in the years I have been doing this, I have become quite adept at it.  Why, I even have some liver stewing for Minga on the stove, but don't let her know.  She won't leave me alone until she gets it.

"The only reality there is, is what we tell ourselves.  What we believe, we become."
                                                   --Ruth Ross

I love the above quote.  It spoke to me when I first saw it...because it is so true.  We are what we believe ourselves to be.  If we believe we are lovable, smart, and successful, we will draw this into our lives, but many of us, sadly, grew up in dystunctional households.  We became adults who had no idea who we really were.  We grew up in a world of beliefs created by others, and we believed that whatever they said about us had to be true.   As a result, we grew up having a distorted image of ourselves, an image that causes us a lot pain and emotional turmoil.   We grew to be those dysfunctional adults who draw even more dysfunction into their lives; hence, the cycle continues.  I see this every day.  And, for a long time, I was caught up in that cycle.

Has anyone here read "The Four Agreements?"  Well, according to the Toltecs, we learn through others.  Humans are creators, but our power of our creation is invested in our beliefs about the self...and the self we see is not our true self.  It is a dream that has been passed onto us by others.  We are the result of what we have been taught.  When we were born, our mind was completely innocent, our minds a blank slate, tabula rasa, ready to be molded.  We had no concept of good or bad...right or wrong.  This is something that we learned this from others...and these are good values to have...but what about the others?  How many of us have been told we are not good enough...or that we will never amount to anything?  Sadly, many have been told that they were fat or that they were ugly...and now they believe that this is what they are.  And to compensate for these perceived flaws, many turn to eating addictions, drugs, alcohol, sexual addiction, or, as in my case, forming dysfunctional relationships because I had always felt I didn't deserve anything better. 

But, we do deserve better...each and everyone of us.  It's not easy, but it can be done.  It take lots of hard work and willingness to change.  To be beautiful or ugly is just a point of view.  To be stupid or smart is just a concept.  It is not us and is not who we are. The first step to change is to reprogram our thoughts.  "I am a good person."  "I am a beautiful person."  "I deserve to be loved."   When you start to put yourself down, stop yourself in your tracks.  Give yourself a slap to bring yourself back.  We are all good people, and we all are deserving of happiness.  Don't give up  on yourself. 

I kind of rambled today, and I apologize.  Trying to do too many things at once.  I've been doing some client work with Rational Emotive Therapy which is similar to and reminded me of the Toltec belief that our life is a dream which is made up of others beliefs obout us.  RET is about changing your irrational belief system into a more rational one...and had in mind to share, but sort of lost my way in the middle of this post.  Sorry

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Healing Power of the Written Word


Good morning, everyone.  I've got one thing to say today.  TGIF!!!!  Not that it will be a restful weekend; I'll be slaving over the stove tomorrow, but, at least, I will be able to spend the day in my home.  

"Turn another page.  Write something every day.  If you don't know how to spell, make it up, draw pictures or doodle.  Write something good that happened today.  Writing is like talking to someone who is not there"--Mary Chloe Schoolcraft Saunders

I've noticed that many of us in "blogland" have been going through some emotional upheavels recently, and I think it is great when we can share our feelings.  Writing has always been a source of healing for me, and I have kept journals for years.  For me, writing has been a pathway to spiritual and psychological wholeness.  When I was young, I found that writing was one way I had for caring for myself, or feeling safe when I was lonely and scared.  And when I was trying to find myself and working through a series of difficult, emotionally abusive relationships, I found that pen and paper was a gentle therapist, one that led me through my grief and pain.  Writing opens our minds and hearts to things that are deep inside of us, and allows us to bring up memories that are buried deep within...both the good and bad, the forgotten joys, and understanding and forgiveness not only for those who have hurt us in the past, but also for ourselves.

Let's face it, writing is very therapeutic, and what I really find great is that blogs are like journals, and many who probably have never kept a journal are now experiencing the healing power of the written word.  I'm grateful that regular blogging has become a part of my life...and for the wonderful people who have become such an important part of my life.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Big Winds Moon


Everything on Earth has a purpose,
Every disease and herb to cure it,
And ever person a message.  
This is the Indian theory of existence.
--Mourning Dove (1888-1936) 

Wishing everyone a good morning on this glorious day.  It's Thursday, the week is almost over...what more could a working girl ask for?  Actually, I'd kind of like to see time slow up some; it seems to be passing by too quickly.  Before I begin, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your kindness yesterday.  Believe me, it meant a lot.  I'm not gonna lie.  At first, I was real angry, and I did go to her blog with full intention of posting something just as inappropriate, but sanity stepped in and I realized, like the trolls in Yahoo groups, that will only carry this thing on, and perhaps even blow it far out of proportion...so I chose not to.  I did see that she has done this before...and I also saw that we had absolutely nothing in common, so for the life of me, I cannot fathom what drew her over to my blog.  But, it's over, and I am going to forget and forgive.  She cannot get through to my blogs again.  

The Big Winds Moon
According to the Celtic Tree Calendar, this is the month of the Ash, but for the Native Americans, this is "The Big Winds Moon", the last moon of the Waboose (White Buffalo) , Spirit Keeper of the North.   
  
Animal:  Cougar
Plant:  Plantain
Mineral: Turquoise
Color: Blue-green
Element: Water

This is a moon of mystery when the season is almost ready to turn and the winds blow freely from all of the directions; it is a time of rapidly changing energies as the earth's children begin to prepare for the new growth that is to follow after their time of rest.  This is also a time when you will find that the mysterious and restless side of your nature intensifies.  

The cougar is the animal totem associated with this moon.  It  is an animal that is feared and misunderstood.  It is also known as the mountain lion, the puma, or even the panther.  Cougars are hunters and they like to chase.  The female is the aggressor but is loving and protective towards her kits.  They often work with their mates to hunt, and they hunt only for what they can eat.  They are mostly found in the western states, Florida, Canada, and Mexico.  The cougar teaches us about mystery and the need to establish a safe territory for ourselves.  When working on a spiritual vibration, cougars can teach us about speed, grace, sensitivity, mystery, and territoriality.  
 
The plant of this moon is the plantain.  It is a common healing herb which  teaches us about our healing abilities.   The entire plant can be used as a healer...both externally as compress to cool, soothe, and heal or internally as a tea.  The plantain is a reminder of the eternal promise of a new life; its deep roots demonstrate stability to help ground you to the earth. 

The mineral totem for this moon is the turquoise, the color is sky blue/green.  Turquoise is considered one of the earth's most protective minerals, and many Native Americans believe that this mineral will protect them from danger and injury.  In the past, it was used on shields to ward off enemies.  Turquoise has calming properties so it is a very good choice to give to someone who is going through a difficult time.
 
The blue and the green together helps you to feel the connection you you have been the Sky and the Earth.  There is an old Native American legend that say that the sky is blue because a golden spirit eagle sits atop of a turquoise mountain and reflects the mountain's color into the sky.  







Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Respect

 

"He who knows others is learned.  He who knows himself is wise." --Lao-Tzo

And a good morning to all my blog friends.  Hope your day is going well.  Just arrived at work and will be here until 7 tonight.   It's kind of icy outdoors, but at least the sun is shining, and somehow that makes everything all right.  And everything is all right.  Life is a blessing, a gift...and I am thankful to be here.

I don't know if anyone noticed, but I have put all of my blogs on Comment Moderation...something I really hadn't planned on doing nor wanted to do , but it is something I realize I will have to do from now on. You see, I have been invaded.  In Yahoo groups we call them 'trolls'.  I don't know what their title is here in blogland.  And, to be honest with you, it sure did take me by shock.  Something I was not expecting.  After all, I am always respectful of everyone else and would NEVER think of writing something negative on another person's blog; that is their space.  So, let's say I find a blog where someone is discussing the benefits of eating worms...something I definitely don't believe in and will not do.  But, I will not comment "You are crazy.  Where do you find these looney ideas?"  No, I will move on for everyone has the right to their own beliefs.   So, call me naive, but I never thought anyone would violate  my 'space'...someone I don't  even know, someone who wasn't even a thought yesterday morning.   Someone who doesn't know me.  And, my friends, it wasn't just one space that was violated, it was three of my spaces..."Inner Journey", Faerieland", and "Avalon".

Needless to say, at first, I was totally angry and even thought of lashing out on the other's blog, but, two wrongs have never make a right and never will.  Besides,  she has, in fact,  provided me with something important to write about today....RESPECT.    On a personal level, being trolled doesn't bother me anymore; I look at  it is a lesson learned...."Protect Yourself".  On a higher level though, it says a great deal about what is wrong with the world around us....a lack of respect for each others' beliefs.  When (and I don't mean us) don't understand something about another's beliefs, the first reaction is to  set out to destroy the other person  or, if we can't do that, mock them  and poke fun of what they believe in.  My question is "Where has open-mindedness gone?  How have we strayed so far?  Why is it that we can never find the time to research and try to understand before we speak?

Not everyone we meet shares our views, opinions, or ideas.  That's to be expected.  Without dark there is no light. Without hate there can be no love.  Without respect, we cannot learn.   Respect means honoring other people's wants, needs, ideas, differences, beliefs, customs, and heritage.  It means showing consideration for others.  It has everything to do with other people's rights to be themselves.  This involves tolerance and sensitivity on our part.  Sadly, many are quick to criticize or point fingers at others without taking the time to develop an understanding.  For example, the tale of Pandora is not some "looney tale" that I made up.  It reaches far back to the early reaches of time when our ancestors searched for a way to explain the workings of the world.  Tolerance, patience, understanding...these are the values that everyone needs to develop.  Peace and love come from understanding...not ridicule.  Speak kindly to others...and try to understand where they are coming from.

And with that, I have to go run my group.  Sorry for rambling.  There is much more I wanted to say, but I've run out of time here.  Just wanted to take the time to thank each of you who have become a part of my life.  I appreciate you all.  I appreciate what I learn from you...for if we do not take the time to learn, we will not grow.  

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Wonder and Beauty About Us

 "Seeing is different from being told." --Kenyan Proverb

Good morning, everyone.  It's back to work.  I was going to say Monday, but it's actually Tuesday.  I say we should have 3 day weekends every week.  Got to work and found a big surprise which must have arrived after I left Friday....the latest in the Avalon series, "The Sword of Avalon" by Diana Paxton.  Oh, gosh, I am so excited.  

I must share with you about my first experiences with the Avalon series.  Actually, it took me awhile to finally read "The Mists of Avalon" despite hearing rave reviews, but it was fiction...and I didn't read fiction.  But once I gave in and bought a copy I went into a frenzy that didn't end until I had bought and read the entire series.  I read from "The Mists" backwards through  "The Fall of Atlantis"...and then I turned around and read the series forward.  I was obsessed.  Couldn't put the books down.  Why, I fell so in love with the characters that I devised an elaborate chart which I kept with me as I analyzed the characters various incarnations.  Why, I even dreamed about Avalon!!!  

Well, another snowy day here in the city.  Not too bad out though.  Now it is more of a mixture of rain and snow.  The sidewalks are pretty gray and slushy...all and all, a pretty ugly day....but ugly is far too harsh of a word for this beauty all around us...no matter where we live and what kind of day it is.  What happens is that we become  oblivious to the richness of our environment when the details of our daily life take over.  For example, this morning all I could think about was "Why does it have to be so nasty when I have to go back to work?  Why couldn't I stay home today?"  So, what I was doing was concentrating on what I saw as the ugliness of the day.  But, sometimes we have to broaden our definitions of beauty and wonder.  For, in fact, there is a certain beauty of watching the storm clouds as they blanket the city or the delicate awe snow-capped trees which surrounded me.  And as I stood there, taking in the magnificence of all of the natural wonders all about me, I was grateful that I had stopped and taken the time this morning to stop and witness the miracle of our planet for my bad mood had completely vanished and I was looking forward to the day.

Observe.  Connect.  Go to a window or step outdoors.  Open your eyes and take in the beauty of where you are right now.  Appreciate your environment which is there...all around you...with beauty and wonder. 

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Eros and Psyche

Good afternoon, my friends and a very happy Valentine's Day to those who celebrate.  I'm not expecting anything today, nor do I want anything.  Hubby's finding employment is all the gift I need.  I'm not going to share about traditional Valentine's Day stuff today; instead, I'm going to be a bit different.  Hey, I am getting old...eccentricity is allowed.  LOL!!!  I've loved  mythology since I was a child, and one of my favorite myths is that of "Eros and Psyche."  Many think of it as a love story, but if you read between the lines, it is the story of the ultimate dysfunctional relationship...and the growth that can occur when the parties involved choose to work on themselves.

Eros.  Today we know him as "Cupid", and Valentine's Day is his most important time of the year.  His name brings forth an image of a chubby little winged baby who is flying about, a mischievious child whose arrows pierce the hearts of his victims and cause them to fall deeply in love.  Oh, if it was only that easy, right?  But, who was Cupid, really?

Eros was the son of the goddess, Aphrodite, and Ares, the god of war...love and war.  He was a youthful boy, slender and handsome, and as if paying tribute to his parents, he just 'loved' creating romantic troubles for unsuspecting mortals.  Eros would go flying about,  shooting his love arrows randomly at people, thinking it hilarious; that is, until he finally gets a taste of his own medicine.  Then, he shows himself to be the same love sick fool as everyone else he had shot.  As it happened in the tale of Eros and Psyche, Eros is flying about and sees the most beautiful mortal maiden he has ever seen...Psyche...who was changed to a rock below.  And then he grew careless and wounded himself with one of his own arrow; he fell madly in love.  He swooped down out of the sky and scooped Psyche up, rescuing her from her fate....the super hero saving the damsel in distress....but what we learn is that Eros was not the hero type.  Heroes make dramatic entrances, but Eros has no idea of how to make that triumphant entrance with the beautiful Psyche on his arm. 

In fact, Eros is totally unprepared for this and immediately, his inner critic begins to work overtime with a string of excuses.

"I can't marry her; she's only a mortal."  (Projection of his own imagined flaws onto Psyche.  He feels he is not good enough).

"Everyone will laugh at us...god and mortal."  (Fear of rejection).

"Mother will be furious if I marry a mortal."  ((Fear of growing up and standing up to his morther and other authority figures.)

Just what is happening here?  Well, let's take a look at Psyche.  Her name means 'soul', and Eros has just discovered that falling in love is really about touchning another's soul.  No one has ever gotten that far under his skin, before Psyche, that is, and now he is beginning to panic.  Someone will finally be close enough to see him for who he really is, and his self-worth is so low.  So far he has been able to hide his flaws under the guise of his mischievious behaviors.  In dysfunction families, Eros plays the role of the "Mascot", the family clown.   Now, he finds himself about to be exposed.  He is afraid to let her in for fear that others will finally get to see what he is like inside and be disappointed.  What does he do next?

Well, just as he was about to have 'his wings clipped', he devises a plan to control Psyche...and, because she is not without her own self-esteem issues, she goes along with it willingly.  He carries her away, surrounded by a dark cloud so that she cannot see him, and brings her to a beautiful palace high on the mount.  Here, the servants have already bee sworn to silence, leaving the only communication that Pyche has to when Eros comes to her....and he only comes during the night when she cannot see his face. He doesn't want to give her the chance to truly know him.  Why, the two are even married in the darkness.  Eros fully expects to be able to carry off this chirade indefinitely, for Psyche is the perpetual victim, the 'Lost Child" in dysfunctional families.  To her, the world is an unsafe place so the world that Eros has created for her has becaome her refuge.  No one can hurt her here.  It never occurred to either one of the pair that others might find their arrangement a little strange and make their opinions know. 

But that is exactly what happened when Psyche's sisters came to pay a visit, and they were appalled at the way their sister was living, how she passively accepted his total lack of information.  "How can you live this way?" they asked.  "You know nothing about him.  He keeps you in the dark about what he does with his life".  Alas, their visit served as a wakeup call for Psyche; well, at least their visit piqued her curiousity.  One night, while Eros was a sleep, she crept into his room with a candle, hesitating long enough that a drop of hot wax falls on him and wakes him.  He then panics and flies out of the window, the 'flight response' we feel whenever we feel that we have been exposed. 

It is now that Aphrodite, the force of love,  steps in.  Now, it was Aphrodite who first set this chain in motion.  So jealous was she of Psyche's beauty, that it was she who had chained the damsel to the rocks.  Aphrodite puts Psyche through a series of tests that makes her a stronger person and eventually, Psyche is elevated into an immortal...and, as an immortal, she can now face Eros down and demand his honesty.  Surpisingly enough, he gives it.  He's realized that no one is perfect, when one loves another, the perceived flaws seem to disappear.  So, with her persistence, Psyche has won love...when Eros finally accepted her and let her inside. 

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Self-Love

"I am willing to be willing to love myself.
I am willing to love myself.
I do love myself."

Good afternoon, my friends.  It's a cold and gray day here in Brooklyn, but I guess I shouldn't complain because I don't have to go out until Tuesday, and believe me, I plan to stick with it.  Too slippery out there to make any unnecessary trips.  They say the next snowfall should be on Tuesday.  Isn't that just great?  Just as last week, the snow doesn't fall when I can stay home; no, it waits until my day to return to work...and I really can't afford any more sick days right now.  I do have about 9 days, but I always like to have more than that on hand for emergencies...and I have been taking off a lot lately to regroup...a little over two weeks of sick time plus vacation days within the past two months...so you know there's been a lot going on with me. 

But, that's not what planned to write about today.  This morning I went through everything and read all of your blogs, and I saw there was a lot of talk about love.  (Before I forget, Ryan, I loved your blog today and wanted to comment, but for the life of me, didn't know how.  Your blog is different.  Hope you read this blog today so you get this message.)  Ah, where was I?  Oh, yes, love...lots of talk about love on the blogs.  But what is love?  And how do you find it?  That's not an easy question to answer, but what I have learned is  that one cannot love another until they learn to love themselves. And unfortunately, for many this authentic self-love is often times lacking. Some do not even know what it is, that it even exists.  They have been so conditioned to give of themselves to others, that they have never taken the time to look within.  Self-love is not selfish nor egotistical; it is that  inner environment we create for ourselves in which we can become our better people.  Self-love is caring for oneself.  It is not turning our backs on others; rather, it is creating a better place for ourselves and others.

One of the main factors that separate us from the animal kingdom is an awareness of the self, an ability to form an identity and attach value to it.  Each of us has been gifted with the capability of defining who we are; yet many of us in defining who we are have learned to reject parts of ourselves; and this act of judging and rejecting, in turn, causes us such immense pain.  As a counselor, I see this every day in my clients...and I, myself, at one time,  rejected so much of myself that I ended us "searching for love in all the wrong places" and from all the wrong men...one  dysfunctional relationship after another.  I just didn't have the ability to see that, until I learned that happiness comes within, that until learned to accept and love my qualities--both the negative and the positive--I would forever be looking  for someone  or something to provide me with the happiness that EACH of us rightfully deserves. 

Although it was an incredibly painful period of my life, my lessons came during and after my divorce from my emotionally abusive husband 19 years ago. I went into counseling myself at this time, and my therapist helped me to see that it was time to stop blaming all of my emotional pain  on others...although they did have a hand in it, I was the one who was drawing all of these dysfunctional men into my life. We bring into our lives that which we give out, and the fact was, that I had lived so long with such self-condemnation of myself, that not only did I not even like myself, but I had become unlovable to others, also.  Working through this rejection of myself was a difficult process; it just didn't seem right that I should think of loving myself.  After all, who was I?  I was no one special.  I'd heard so much criticism during my early life and teen-age years that I had come to believe it...a self-fulfilling prophesy.  But, my therapist made me see that that was so untrue.  Much like those children who end up following their parents' career goals for themselves and spend a life of unhappiness until they finally wake up, I was only following my mother's predictions...and they had all been based on her hatred for my dad's family.  Once I was able to admit that I had allowed someone else's thoughts and feelings to take over my life, I was on the path to healing.  The shame is that it took me so many years of unhappiness and pain to find the answer.

Having the courage to open up to loving myself opened up my eyes to a love that had always beeen available to me, but had been brushed aside because I felt unlovable.  Having the courage to overcome our discomfort and do it anyway works miracles in our lives.  Take a moment every day, everly morning as you are getting ready to go to work or start your day and say, "I will be a good friend to you, _________ today.  I love you."  Repeat again in the evening.  And, when Valentine's Day rolls around tomorrow, love yourself.  Pamper yourself.  Be happy that you are that special, unique individual that is you.

And, wow, have I rattled on today. 

Friday, February 12, 2010

Your Emotional State

Good morning.  It's a cool, sunny Friday morning here in the Big Apple.  And...it's a Friday of a three day weekend.  Hip, hip, hooray!!!  But, I've even better news today.  Hubby starts work on the 22nd. What a relief in so many ways.  Not only were we well on our way to being financially strapped, but although he tries to deny it, I can feel that he's not only been feeling bored and frustration, but also depression has been setting in.  It's hard after having worked for so long, and then to lose your job because you were defending yourself against a client who was larger than you, exhibiting violent behaviors, and struck you in the face.  But, unfortunately, that's how it is.    I'm scheduled for some training here...on restraining clients who have become violent and agitated.  Yeah, right!!!  I'm 62 years old, soon to be 63.  I can see myself now restraining some 250 pound male who is ready to explode. 

Yesterday, I was asked for the URL for the empath test.  For those who wish to take the test, here it is:  What Empathic Type Are You
I would be interested in learning how you score.


To be honest, I don't really know how accurate the test is because I am still learning myself. I am actually not even sure if I am an empath despite my test results which can be found at the bottom of the blog.    

I would like to end today with this quote by Helen Keller which says it all.

"We do not see things as they are.  We see things as WE are." 

 












 

Thursday, February 11, 2010

More on Empaths

Good morning, dear friends.  Well, the storm is over, and the cleanup now begins.  I made it into work today, and I must have been some sight to see.  The sidewalks in my neighborhood were a sheet of ice so I hung onto all the fences as I made my way to the subway station. Felt like I actually ice skated to work. I know, I'm crazy for coming in, but I haven't been here since Friday...and I really don't want to use up all my sick time.  And while looking for a scene with ice skating in it, I came across this one and just had to share.  This one looks so much like the one I have for my Christmas village...only my skaters move in a circle...and they actually DO move.  I can sit and watch it for hours.

Today I wanted to share a little more about empaths since many of you appeared to be quite interested in the topic.  

Empathy is an identification and understanding of another's situation and feelings; being sensitive to.  Most of us do have the capacity to be empathetic towards another, but as an empath, one's capicity for empathy is so much greater than others, to the point where they feel like they are going crazy or become physically ill.  In fact, some empaths are so sensitive that they appear to be psychic.   They have a high emotional resonance and are very sensitive to emotional energy.  They are able to tune into and amplify even the subtlest of changes.  An empath is the person who walks into the room and immediately picks up the vibes--positive or negative.


And empath can 'feel' the emotions of the people around them....and the danger here is that if one is unaware of their increased empathy, they can easily wind up believing that these emotions are their own.  An empath begins to question why they are feeling angry, or low, or sad.  There MUST be a reason, so the empath begins looking for one.  He/she doesn't realize that the only reason is their high level of empathy.


An empath's high level of emotional resonance can also make it difficult for them to spend time in any crowded environment in which one is surround by all kinds of emotions--excitement, anger, confusion, anxiety.  An empath finds that they are suddenly expressing the same emotions...and for no reason.  And, energy tends to build up whenever one spends some time amongst a crowd of people to the point where it can become so overwhelming that the empath actually begins to feel physically ill--headaches, nausea, high blood pressure; these are not unusual symptoms for an empath who has been swamped with excessive emotional energy.  


Before ending today, I would like to discuss what they call 'energy vampires'.  What are they?  I had mentioned the other day that complete strangers will approach me and begin discussing events in their lives which I have no business knowing.  The same was true for my neighbors, and it got so bad that I could no longer sit out on my front porch.  When one would leave, another would approach.  These are the 'energy vampires'.  They are drawn to empaths because they can intuitively feel when one will empathize and offer support without judging them.  They seek you out...either for advise or merely to vent.  And, vice versa, and empath will naturally gravitate towards people who are in pain.  Unfortunately, this opens one up to becoming a constant victim, of collecting all manner of troubled folk.


There's far more that I have learned, but it is just too much to tackle in one day.  So, until tomorrow, I will bid thee farewell...Hope you all stay safe and dry...and may this truly be the end of the winter storms.  Wishful thinking never hurts.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Blizzard of 2010


So, here we are in the midst of a blizzard.  The wind is howling, and the snow is swirling about.  We've had about 5 inches of snow already, and the worst of it is yet to come.  I woke up this morning, and it really looked like nothing, and I seriously debated going to work, but my fear of falling won out.  And all I can say is "thank goodness sanity won out."  I'm not a young chicken anymore so a fall is out of the question  I just stepped out and shot  a few photos....at least I can take pictures of the snow.  My moon shots never come out. 


Lately there has been much talk of spring, the season of hope and of new beginnings....and here we are, right in the midst of a snowstorm.  But, that doesn't mean there is no room for hope.  There is always room for hope, for without hope, there is no life.  So, if you don't mind, along with my photos, I would like to share some quotes.  These were sent to me at Christmas.


"If you can give people the benefit of a doubt, then you still have hope."


"If you refuse to let a friendship die, or accept that it must end, then you still have hope."  This one was a biggie for me yesterday and last night because I had to accept that a friend moved on, and I had to let go.  Clinging was selfish of me.

(Hubby's car)  Of course, he has already been out there twice cleaning it.


"If, when faced with the bad, when told everything is futile, you can still look up and end the conversation with the phrase..."yeah...BUT.," then you still have hope."


"If you can see the good in others, then you still have hope."


"If the smile of a child can warm your heart, then you still have hope."




"If you look forward to a time and place of quiet and reflection, then you still have hope."


"If you can look to the past and smile, then you still have hope."

"If you still offer your hand in friendship to others that may have touched your life, then you still have hope."



"If the suffering of others fills you with pain and frustration, then you still have hope."




"Hope is such a wonderful thing,
something to be cherished and nurtured, and something that will refresh us in return.  And it can be found in each of us, and it can bring light into the darkest of places.


NEVER LOSE HOPE!!!


Stay warm and dry.  Spring will be here, I promise, for the circle of life continues to turn.