From Self-loathing to Self-loving. Thank you Dad

Last week, I fell into a nasty abyss. My reliable defenses searched for a reason, outside myself. It must be the change in seasons. It must be the tragic world events. Then, in the recesses of my mind, I quietly (unknowingly) decided the darkness was somehow my hubby’s fault. I’m admitting this to you because the sooner I share the shame, the longer it stays lifted. (Old BS does not understand the word goodbye!)

Apparently, I’d been in need of a pitstop for rest and recharging. But instead of taking a break, I proceeded to royally beat myself up for it. Why can’t I be a 24/7 vehicle of eternal joy and inspiration?

For the love of Chrysler, Julie.

Let’s back up, shall we?

I drove through August with awesome self-care. Every day I was taking a long walk in the evening, while listening to powerful podcasts and webinars. Every day, I was eating well and making my super-nutritious-green-smoothie-liscious drinks. Every day, I was practicing fabulous techniques to say sayonara to ol’ BS (belief systems). Every day I was using EFT tapping, declaring fierce affirmations and plentiful prayers. Every day, I was supporting myself, my family and my clients with zest and love. By September, I was so impressed with my progress that I became extra intent (read: obsessed) on staying in alignment with my soul, if it was the last thing I do!

Well okie-dang-dokie. Do you feel the car-wreck comin’?

I didn’t.

I thought it was the best kind of Blissipline. Consistent. Enthusiastic. Dedicated driving. But I guess that’s what snapped my inner pit-crew awake. Progress threatens the well-being of BS, after all. They got very confused and afraid. Do you think that healthy sh*t means you’re good enough? Ha! The winner’s circle isn’t for sloths and slackers. You can’t compete on this road-trip! You’ll just lose, over and over. It’s not worth the pain! It is NOT SAFE out there. You’ll drive merrily straight over a cliff. Not on our watch!

You’d think I’d recognize their scare-tactics by now. But nope. Joy down-shifted to doubt. I whipped out my control-freak’s manual for old wounds – apply more pressure. You can do better. More GAS! Go, girlfriend, Go! My inner taskmistress grabbed the wheel. She’s a dogmatic driver, quite convinced that she can bend the road of life to her will.

Sometimes there’s a thin line between positive personal-growth …and FORCING the matter.

I added a faster second walk in the morning. A second round of tapping. I got serious.

Still, I didn’t see it.

Then my unsuspecting hubster said something slightly snide to me.

Oh snap.

Perfect deflection material for the blamer-babe. Ah HA! It’s HIS fault that I’m not happy! An argument ensued. Blame, defense, avoidance, punishment. We know the drill.

I spent two days driving in angry circles (in silent retreat from my family, to protect them from unfair treatment…)

It’s his fault!

Oh crap, it’s my fault!

No it’s his fault!

Oh Lord… It’s all my default.

When I’m busy tearing myself down, it’s hard to love anyone else. Intellectually, I know I’m responsible for what I see in the mirror of my family. Self-help 101. But first. I tend to take a detour into self-punishment.

I’m such an idiot! I deserve to feel miserable – that MIGHT just keep me from mistreating anyone in the future! I’m not allowed to just self-love-myself out of my repetitive mistakes, again and again!

In the midst of my poop-party, I dreamed of Dad, who passed two years ago. The first time I saw him in a dream, I found myself yelling, “It’s Dad! It’s Dad! I love you, Dad! I love you!” I was over the moon. It was Dad! Then I realized his back was to me. Why didn’t I hug him or talk to him?!

In the next dream, Dad was helping my sister. I squealed with glee, “There’s Dad! It’s Dad! Wow Dad! Hey Dad!” I woke up happy. But again, I stood apart.

I saw this beautiful wing and fire rainbow on a walk!

Carl Jung’s dream theory says that everyone (and everything) in the dream is an aspect of ourselves. Our emotional response IS the message. Why wasn’t Dad looking at me? Why wasn’t I making it happen? Was Dad a projection of some ignored side of myself?

The next few dreams were similar. But. Each time I was getting closer to him.

A few weeks ago, I almost hugged him! I was elated! I wrapped my hands around his forearms; I could feel the crunch of his old coat. I hooted and hollered, “Dad! Dad! It’s YOU! Dad!” He looked at me very seriously and said, “let’s just get down to business.”

Huh?

When I woke up, I realized that my abyss of anger had been my “serious business”… about being better. Me. Bill. Doing better. Me. Bill. How can I feel the joy in my life, when I drive myself harder? When I insist that a fender bender deserves a life sentence?

Two nights ago, there was Dad! He was smiling into my eyes for the first time! He hugged me! And he whispered one tender word in my ear. He called me, “Kitten.”

In life, Dad would not have called anyone Kitten. He loved us deeply, but he was not overly sentimental.

Kitten? It wasn’t like him. Or me. Dad could be demanding. Black and white. Hard on himself and others.

Hello. That’s what I’ve been doing.

I repeated “Kitten” to myself, the way he had, with empathy. Understanding.

Then the tears hit. I’d been feeling downright hatred… for that kitten inside. The vulnerability. The need for validation. Reassurance. Rest.

When my inner perfectionist insists that it’s all or nothing, it’s easy to “fail” my high expectations. When I feel I’ve missed the mark, I punish myself by becoming stingy with love, as if THAT will correct my bad behavior. I assumed Bill’s snide remarks meant I didn’t deserve nurturing, because that’s what I believed!

Would I punish a kitten for not trying hard enough? For falling down? For being too soft? Can I scare her into doing better? Would I drive her to grow faster and just be a damn cat already?

I thought back on my BS band, which had come out to play. What they wanted was to be hugged, healed, and then relieved of their instruments. Especially those mental drums at midnight. Instead, I’d felt ashamed that they were assembled, at all.

I am tough to please.

The harder I chase my own light, the longer I stay disgusted by my darkness. Judging and denying my imperfections, leaves them feeling orphaned. When my friends, family and clients are willing to look into the face of their fears and BS, and embrace them, I’m thrilled! It means progress! Accepting our humanity! But sometimes, I forget to invite myself to my own love-fest. So my cowardly-lion-crew roars out from the scary jungle, hoping I will honor their human-mess. This time.

Welcoming the “worst” of ourselves to the party, is a humble road to freedom. A brave path to our Divinity. To love our embarrassingly disconnected parts means to give them what they continue to need – to come back Home.

Today, I’ve returned to celebrating. Accepting and singing my own slower-paced song. Smiling at my sacred silliness. Sending love to a world in need. Bill and I are laughing again. This spirit-led road is actually a real healing riot.

Next dream with Dad, sky’s the limit! I’m ready to rock the casbah! Climb trees, watch birds, and relax in the light. Cat’s meow.

So. When the next BS ball of yarn rolls my way, maybe I’ll remember that accepting and loving “what is” transforms a loathing lion into an innocent kitten. Paws crossed.

with lotsa love and deep thanks for being there :)

xoxo Julie

FYI – I’ll be interviewed for a powerful upcoming Summit starting Monday October 23, 2017, called,

THRIVING AFTER DIVORCE: Powerfully Reclaim Your Life and Turn Your Breakup into Your Breakthrough!

I was thrilled when my friend and colleague, Tanya Marie Dubé, told me she was hosting an interview series all around the topic of mindset, confidence and motivation. THRIVING AFTER DIVORCE was born out of Tanya’s difficult divorce and her extensive research on how women can TRANSFORM their lives after a massive life change. Wait til you hear Tanya’s personal story (I got to interview HER!) She had incredible childhood challenges making her personal transformation all the more inspiring! Register here to watch the free series!

This summit is for you if you are going through a divorce, have just gone through a divorce or are contemplating getting out of a bad relationship and don’t know how to get your mindset around what is going to happen (or happening to you now). During this summit, 21 awesome entrepreneurs (including me!) have joined forces to share our stories of personal, sometimes extreme adversity, how we used our pain to create a whole new life for ourselves and help others.

A handful of experts will be talking specifically to what comes after divorce including dating, becoming an entrepreneur, co-parenting and helping your children succeed, starting an online business, coaching, psychological personality disorders, self love and healing, and building up your mind and your memory so that you can let go of the feelings of being too tired to start over or to start something new.

Register here for the summit!

If you’re going through major adversity, this summit will offer coping skills, techniques and strategies for getting yourself up and over feelings of loneliness, abandonment and fear. Although I’ve never been through a divorce, my clients, friends and family sure have! I deeply relate to how  these devastating events can trigger past pain, hold us back from our highest potential, and leave us questioning our worth.

Together, we want to support you in feeling empowered and inspired to THRIVE AFTER DIVORCE so you can have the life of your wildest dreams.

I hope you’ll join us for the Thriving After Divorce Summit! 

 

What if your fears and dreams exist in the same place, would you still go there?

  Super Solar Warriors!

~~~~

Riding shotgun alongside our dreams, we’re often entertaining some heart-stopping nightmares. Once upon a time, we noticed that dreaming had it’s cost. Disappointment. Humiliation. Rejection. Failure. Been there, done that, no thanks!

Growing up, Fear told me that I needed protection – I was weak, not good enough, a target at the mercy of senseless events and unfair circumstances. So armor up, sister. Put away those cray-cray dreams. Stay hidden. For your own good.

Fear has plenty of reasons why things wouldn’t/didn’t/can’t work out for us. Excuses are as addictive as potato chips. The longer we’ve stayed away from our salty passions – ignored their calls, deleted their sweet texts and shrugged off their pillow talk – the less energized we feel. After all, we’ve unplugged from our power Source. Empty tank. Running on fumes.

Great Scott.

Then, in that unprotected state of discontent, we watch the news. Fear whispers, “It’s worse than anyone thought! I told you, IT IS NOT SAFE.”

Step away from the remote.

Don’t drink that cool-aide. Fear needs followers. Love creates leaders. These turbulent times are the learning ground for Grace – where our united souls slowly remember the Great Love we were born to forget.

Neale Donald Walsch says that when we were in Spirit, we were like “candles in the sun.” We couldn’t truly know and appreciate our own light because we were indivisible from it. So if we wanted to know “Who We Are,” we’d have to blindfold ourselves to it. Total eclipse of the fun. But where/how could we hide our truth? Hmm.

Then brilliance hit!

How about a convincing Shakespearean comedy! We would all agree to forget our divinity for the duration of the play. Everyone would have their characters, lines, props and stages. We’d be tightly bound in heavy earth costumes. Born to people already steeped in the dark drama. Grow up in a culture which covets applause, golden awards, image, status and salary. We’d be surrounded by “Who We Are Not” so that we could, step by step, remember Who We Are.

Plot twist!

The priceless gold would actually be found in the last place we’d look on our treasure hunt.

Within.

But we can’t knoweth that teensy fact ahead of time – methinks it would totally spoil the end of the tale.

It’s mad genius!

Opportunity of a lifetime. Worth every bitter tear.

No matter how convincing and chaotic the performance gets, we’ll still be on point. It’ll be part of the cosmic script – a love story of opposites.

Bring it on.

Of course, our soul will keep placing signposts to joggle our memory. We’ll know them by the Peace they bring. The Possibilities. They’ll wake us from the darkness and disillusionment (natural casualties of amnesia) and call us up for the Oscar.

So let’s follow the simple, small stirrings in our own backyard – those love-notes-to-self that say: take that dance class, start that memoir, make that green smoothie, do that volunteer work, pick up that guitar, take that vacay, do that yoga, follow that ‘selfish’ longing. Those puppies are our personal fountain of youth. Drink ‘em in.

When we are fit and fierce, making powerful choices in our lives, we are warriors for the One. While Fear is busy chewing on her own dark derriere, Love turns up the Lights. Camera. Action!

But wait. I’ve failed before. They laughed and threw tomatoes. I got horrible reviews. I absolutely sucked. Why try again? I can’t even stick to a New Year’s resolution.

Fear loves drama. Like Sherlock Holmes, she’s always looking for evidence to prove her scary-ass case.

Entertaining our dreams can trigger past trauma and trash-talk. You’re in good company if you’ve relied on these smoke screens: I don’t have the money (I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of that one.) I’m too undisciplined. It didn’t work before. I’m too old. Too technically challenged. Too slow. Too uncredential-ed. Too tired. It’s just tooooo late.

It’s hogwash.

Louise Hay started Hay House, the biggest self-help publishing house, at age 56. Julia Child wrote her first cookbook at 49. Laura Ingalls Wilder began her Little House on the Prairie series at 65. Grandma Moses began painting after 80. Ernestine Shepherd, world’s oldest female bodybuilder at 78, started working out at 56.

They started doing what they loved.

In the wake of hate, we gotta carry our heart’s happily-ever-after out in the open air. We don’t need to wait for the path to be smooth, the winning lotto ticket or the red carpet to roll out, before we do what our soul has been jonesing to do.

What could knock the rust off your dreams? Here’s the kicker. It will probably involve embracing the ‘small’ stuff.

Did you once adore horses? Henna? Hiking? Can you make room for that fun this week? Life is much less intimidating when we take care of our powerful corner of today. It starts with appreciating the love we already have.

Right now, I’m enjoying the cool air from the fan. My fur-friends stretching and smiling. Picking garden greens for my smoothie. Smelling the honeysuckle. Listening to the birds. Saying good-morning to my  boys. Holding my husband’s hand. Free stuff.

Simple things bring me into the Present. They’re elixirs for the soul.

In a room full of tuning forks, when one is struck and begins to vibrate, the rest of the tuning forks start to sing out, too. Our energy echoes across the eons. It’s contagious. It cures amnesia. It raises our resonance together and rocks the Shakespearean stage.

Joy is wifi for the Soul.

As the moon eclipses the sun today, remember the romantic comedy we collectively forgot. We are divine dreamers, players and directors.

We are the light!!! 

 

Keep dreaming ~ with lotsa love, laughter

and a big bowl of popcorn,

XO Julie
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I wanted to let you know I’ll be interviewed for a special free event​~
The Spiritually Fulfilled Woman: Tap into your Inner Peace so that Happiness, Freedom and Peace of Mind become your Reality.
My colleague, Patricia Daly, personal transformation coach, has brought together 21 experts to create a unique event that is designed to help you tap into Inner Peace and Happiness, and unlock an unstoppable
burst of joyful-spiritual energy
‘knowing’ you have the ability to create what you desire.

Some topics, tips and tools will cover how to:
Release painful memories from the past
that still have their energetic hooks in you.
Breakthrough your feelings of unworthiness & undeservingness
so that you can call in happiness and peace of mind.
Shift your thoughts from fear,
and learn the power of forgiveness and connection,

so that you recognize the unique values and gifts you bring to the world.
Take practical steps towards overcoming challenges
when it comes to believing in your hopes, dreams and life desires.

Quickly shift your negative stagnant energy,
attract spiritual alignment
 so that new opportunities present themselves to you.
 Click here to learn how you can get started :)

If any of this resonates with you, would you kindly share it with your friends and anyone you know that could benefit from this event?
The Spiritually Fulfilled Woman Free Summit:​ Tap into Your Inner Peace So That Happiness, Freedom and Peace of Mind become your Reality.
I hope you’ll join us!  xo

The Doggy Lama: Do Animals Reincarnate?

 When my hubby Bill and I met, he had a very special dog named Fred. I fell in love with both of them.

Fred had so many endearing qualities – his yellow lab enthusiasm, his bloodhound flop-on-top-of-you adoration, his snugglyness (think eighty pound lap dog) and his adorable nibbles on Bill’s beard.

One of Freddy’s unfortunate habits was when he buried his bone (from the butcher) in the bed. If we forgot to close the bedroom door, he would take that messy bone and shove it down into the corner of the mattress frame.

Then, trying to thoroughly ‘hide’ it, he’d push his snout so hard that the tip of his nose would start to bleed. As he dragged his bloody nose from every angle, he left a dramatic red sunburst pattern across the white sheet, at the corner of the bed. A bloody artist.

And then there was the time he stole the plastic bag of stinky sour-bread starter and dragged it (leaking) around the entire apartment. That stuff dries like cement.

Through it all, Freddy helped us lighten up, laugh, and feel loved, as only our fur-family can do. Such deep and mysterious attachments are soulmate kinda material.

It makes their loss incredibly profound.

It was a week before Christmas, when Fred was hit by a car, and killed instantly. Bill and I were devastated. Heartbroken. Unhinged.

My one source of hope was believing and praying that someday, somehow, Freddy’s jubilant spirit would come back to us. My hubby wasn’t so sure.

That would change.

A year later, we were ready to adopt again. We searched around for weeks until we finally found a yellow Lab/Shepherd mix at a local shelter. By the time we got there, another woman had the puppy on her lap. Bill started pacing. I chewed my nails.

The woman asked the shelter volunteer, “Does this puppy play at all? He’s awfully lazy.” The volunteer answered, “He was very frisky with his sister not long ago.” (The sister had been adopted just before we arrived.) “Well, he has zero personality now. Is he going to be big? I live in a small apartment,” the woman whined. Bill jumped in: “Take a look at those paws. He’s gonna be BIG.”

Fifteen agonizing minutes tick-tocked by. The puppy was oddly placid.

“Well if you aren’t sure,” the volunteer told the woman, “let these folks hold him – they came specifically to see that puppy.” HIGH FIVE!

As the volunteer handed the puppy to Bill, the pup sprang to life, wriggling, waggling and then nibbling on Bill’s beard. Aw! When Bill put him on the floor, he scampered away and then circled back and sat right between Bill’s legs. The volunteer was very impressed. “Sometimes the animals pick the owners. He sure picked you.”

We named him Norman. He turned into a 95 lb. blond shepherd, with cute speckled tan polka dots on his white paws.

About six months later, Bill brought home a butcher bone and gave it to Norm. As we were cooking dinner, I put his dog food down. When he didn’t appear, I went looking. I peeked into our bedroom.

“Bill! Come quick!”

There, in the corner of our bed, was Freddy’s bloody sunburst pattern. We stared in astonishment.

Bill laughed out loud, “I guess dogs do get recycled!” 

Time flew by. When our sons joined the family, Norm was their devoted gentle giant, a daily cornerstone of unconditional love.

When he passed away of old age, our hearts were demolished, once again. Bill believed he would never get over the loss.

That would change.

A few months after Norm left our world, we began the search. I showed Bill all kinds of online puppy pictures at local shelters – Bill wasn’t moved by any. Until.

      This one photo (below) creamed our hearts. 

The shelter was two hours away, but there was something about this puppy, in a litter of nine, that felt like Norm. But how will we know?

The adoption day was so big that we had to stand in line. We watched as, one by one, that litter of nine yellow Lab/Rottweiler pups dwindled down to one. By the time it was our turn to look, there was one puppy left and he was the dude in the photo. Yahoo!

As Bill held him, I saw it – one white paw with speckled tan polka dots. Norm!? As my older son and I stood in line with the new pup, waiting to buy some toys, I was still unsure.

I silently asked my guardian angels for another sign that this puppy was the one.

An older woman, ahead of us in line, was talking to the cashier when all of the sudden she yells out into the store, “Norman?! Did you find the birdseed?”

My son and I did a double take at the woman and then stared wide-eyed at each other.

Welcome Home Norm!

Merlin, aka Fred/Norm, is now 7 years old. I like to believe that, in one form or another, he is family forever. He’ll go on giving his daily dose of love. Happy to be alive. Reminding us of the purity and power of living in the present. When we can enjoy the ‘simple’ NOW, then the next moment starts looking pretty awesome, too. And we end up taking a brief, but vital, vacay from our worries.

And while we have responsibilities to tend to, there’s no reason we can’t pause for a moment, and live by their example. Unfettered by the future. Unattached to the past. Following our next breathe to a deeper peace and appreciation of everyday life. That sunny spot on the carpet. Those tasty tootsie rolls in the cat litter.

Montana photo by Joslin Fields

These fur-balls forgive us our sins (as we forgive theirs.) They pay no mind to our superficial distractions, fears and flaws. They don’t long to be leaner, stronger or prettier. They don’t need the coolest device, car, cash or perfect mate. They don’t judge gender, religion, race, appearance or smelly pits (that may even be a bonus.)

They accept what is, without regret, and they feel ecstatic just to be alive. Sniff the breeze. Go for a walk. Or rest in your holy presence.

Compared to us, they need very little, and they appreciate a whole lot. They save us from ourselves with their depth of love, loyalty, life, and uninhibited being-ness. If we mess-up, they don’t love us any less. They never question if we’re good enough.

And when they stare into our eyes – the love hormone, oxytocin – is released into our blood stream. And theirs. Fur free.

So go totally insane with joy. Over anything. Be your own oxytocin dispenser. We may not have everything we think we need, but we can be happy anyway, just like they are.

This earth is filled with creatures who increase our capacity for connection. Wonder. Joy. Just have a laugh at an animal video. Cuddle your cat. “Wag more Bark less.” Be pawsitive. Smile at an ordinary day. It all lets the love stream in. And out. Right where you are. Just as you are.  

It’s easy peasy doggy sneezy.

The Divine Giveaway ENDS tomorrow, Friday, 3/31!

Check out the FREEBIES – before it’s over…

The gifts are specifically geared for spiritual seekers – especially entrepreneurs, coaches, intuitives, holistic therapists, energy therapists, healers, etc…

Simply sign up and you can download any or all of the FR*EE gifts :)

– ebooks, audio trainings, audio meditations, video trainings, checklists, assessments, programs, healing sessions, intuitive sessions, services and much more…

Go get your goodies now – There’s tons of support and inspiration!

~~~~

with lotsa love & thanks (to fur friends, far and wide,)

and to us, their hilarious, hapless humans,

XO Julie

When Things Fall Apart: Learning to Lighten Up

It was 9pm and my oldest son and I were raring for our rockin’ road-trip to MA, in the morning. Then I got the call from one of my dearest friends, Lisa, whose house we’d be staying at for 4 days. She says there’s been a miscommunication – she isn’t expecting us until the following weekend.

WHAT THE!?!?!

I’m STUNNED. My brain is DUMBSTRUCK. I’m trying to fathom this news. Recalibrate. I GOT IT WRONG!? HOW DID I MESS UP SO BADLY?!

My hubby has taken off work. My older son has been so excited to see his friend! We’re ALL PACKED!!! ACK! This is cataclysmic to me! Perfectionist me. Inflexible me. Unforgiving me. I manage my calendar like a hawk. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN???

I feel heartbroken and I’m starting to cry. But… Lisa doesn’t sound as demolished as I feel. That’s when my protective inner Mob Boss picks up her armor, knowing just what to do with my mortifying emotions. Shut. Them. Down. Lock & Load.

Rut row.

I’d better hang up with Lisa before the heavy-duty blamer BS (Belief System) starts misfiring. It speaks fluent Aim & Blame in dramatic CAPITALS and exclamation points!!!! Have you noticed?!?!

Crap. I thought I was past this. I’m all about taking responsibility for myself, my reactions, feelings and beliefs. But here I am acting like a full-fledged card-carrying defensive victim. Ugh. *Hangs head in shame.*

Growing up, I became slightly militant about the ways I should/could/would be RIGHT. About details, plans, times, people. I feared that my body and I were just wrong all over the place. Making mistakes made me even more WRONG and unlovable. My Mobster BS insisted I’d better be perfect, if I wanted to be kept safe from a heartbreaking world.

BS #2 (they run in packs) was also hibernating in the dark recesses of my mind. “I should be able to perfectly heal and release these beliefs, once and for all.” Hahaha. Apparently, there is no such thing as “done” while living in a sticky earth-bound-suit.

#3 on the BS hit parade is C-O-N-T-R-O-L. Or my illusions of having it. Nuf said.

Blame, criticism, intolerance etc are powerhouse viruses. They’re going around. When fear runs amuck inside us, but we don’t want to feel or own those feelings, it’s very tempting to deny, dodge and judge. Hot potato. Toss the blame at someone else!

But since we perceive what is OUTSIDE us in response to what we experience INSIDE us, we’re still glued to the gloom. No matter how we serve up that French-fried blame, we’ll be wrecked by the wrongness we feel around us, because it is also simmering within us.

I think we revisit these painful old wounds, circumstances and BS because there is always another silver lining to light upon. 

There is always more humanness to forgive.

If we can notice the fears, and just embrace the little darlings, question the BS, and love our silly selves anyway (imagine!) we won’t be as reactive when other people (children, spouses, presidents) do what they do or be who they are. We’ll feel more inspired to settle the war inside ourselves and radiate the peaceful warrior self, instead of the bossy blamer babe.

The following morning, still very mad at myself, my hubster Bill calls out, “Hon! Come see this butterfly on the stairs – INside!”

Aw!  The little girl in me is thrilled when I spot it. I carefully lower my finger down in front of the butterfly and she climbs on.

Be.

Still.

My.

Heart.

I bring her to my bedroom, where the dog and cat are less likely to interfere. It’s freezing outside, so releasing her isn’t an option. As I get close to the window, she takes flight and lands on the sunny lace curtain. The light pours through her gauzy body and I’m infused with joy.

But. What about food?

The flowers from Bill! Come to think of it, maybe that is how she hitched a ride inside? A Valentine Visitor?

I put the vase of cut flowers, every flowering plant we have, sliced oranges, bananas and a tray of sugar water, in the window. “We are now The Butterfly Cafe,” Bill says with a smile.

The internet reports she’s a female “Cloudless Sulfur” butterfly – an inch high, fragile as pale yellow tissue paper, with tiny black dots on her wings. In Native American medicine, butterflies are a symbol of personal transformation. “The ability to go through changes with grace and lightness.”

Their transformation from caterpillar, to liquid DNA goo, to winged confetti, is miraculous! Vulnerable and strong, weightless and free. They seem directionless, and yet they have quite the internal GPS.

“Perhaps the butterfly is proof that you can go through a great deal of darkness and still become something beautiful.”

My attention to the butterfly, brings me into the present moment, and breathes me back into grace. (Bug bus to the rescue!) How can my heaviness stand up against her lightness of being?

The following day, I take some honey water on my finger and slowly put it in front of her. She hops aboard. And then I watch in awe – her teensy curled tongue (proboscis) which is a hair-thin straw, unfurls and begins probing the sweetness. And then . . . DRINKING. WHOA. I’m feeding a butterfly!

See the sugar water on my finger?

HEART.

BLOWN.

OPEN.

Did you know they can taste through the bottoms of their wee feet?

After a spellbinding minute, my feathery friend re-curls her tongue and stands like a quiet statue. Both of us are satiated.

The week flies by, and it’s time for my son and I to take the trip we’d planned! Bill is on butterfly duty while I’m away.

Soon after we arrive in MA, my son and his friend have a major miscommunication about a pick-up time and place. We land at his friend’s mom’s house (an hour from Lisa’s) while his friend is at the dad’s house (another hour drive.) WHAT?!?! My inner GPS is still MIA.

Rinse and repeat.

Guess who grabbed the wheel first? I wanted to blame his friend, then the dad, then my son, who wasn’t sure if his friend HAD given him the right address. I said I wanted to smack him.

Ouch.

After some wild texting with the dad, we were back on the road and I was breathing easy again. Quick turnaround! Phew.

But my son.

I noticed he was quiet and asked if he was ok. He said that NOW he understood why I cried over the previous mix-up with Lisa. He added, “I think of myself as a smart person, but this mistake makes me wonder.”

Oh boy can I relate!

Even our positive qualities can become limiting if we’re overly attached to that identity and too hard on ourselves when we ‘fall short’. I apologized to my son about my “smack you” attitude. Several times. We had a great talk, connecting over our shared BS. It felt freeing to be imperfect together. We don’t have to go it alone.

Humanness unites hearts. 

There is always more to love.

If Lisa and I hadn’t miscommunicated the week before, I might have missed the heart to heart with my son. I might have missed the laughter and openness with her.

I might have missed the butterfly.

I might have missed the walk in the woods when faeries seemed to send up <– rainbow flares from my camera.

I might have missed the opportunity to see more of who I am. Pimples and all. And to blossom anyway.

I might have missed the chance to draw closer to the divine. To flutter more like the butterfly, in and out of these changes and challenges. Isn’t this the everyday nectar of life on earth? Learning to grow with the flow – with butterflies, blamers, and mob bosses. They prepare us for the bigger dance – when life doesn’t do what we want it to do. When things fall apart. If we’re ready to release the heavy baggage – to step out of our comfortable cocoon, to let go and to trust our untested wings – then the soul offers abundant opportunities to lighten up and fly.

A female “orange Julia” landed on my forehead! At the Butterfly Conservatory, ONT Canada 2015

with love, lightness & more fun,

 Keep Calm and Shine on,

Julie

 

“When was the last time you sat and talked with a butterfly?” Pat Rodegast

My oldest with two butterflies (one is a “blue morpho”) at the Butterfly Conservatory 2016

 

Check out the Divine Giveaway!

My youngest with a “banded peacock” at the Butterfly Conservatory 2011

The awesome Rev. Anne Presuel & Sherry Bowers have just opened up their annual giveaway TODAY! It’s specifically geared for spiritual folks, especially entrepreneurs, coaches, intuitives, holistic therapists, energy therapists, healers, etc…
Simply sign up and you can download any or all of the FR*EE gifts!

– ebooks, audio trainings, audio meditations, video trainings, checklists, assessments, programs, healing sessions, intuitive sessions, and much more…

Anne & Sherry have gathered together 100’s of spiritual entrepreneurs to give you a whole BUNCH of fr*ee products and services.

Go get your goodies now – There’s tons of support, love and inspiration!

P.S. BTW when you do go, there are two pages of very low-cost offerings by Anne and Sherry, the hosts of this giveaway. If you aren’t interested, no worries. Just click “no thank you” and you’ll be taken to ALL of the gifts.

ENJOY! ❤

 

Has the Election Galvanized the Good? Plus Holiday Watercolor Cards :)

Warm Holiday Greetings!

xmas16-birch

My new blog post, Has the Election Galvanized the Good? is below.  Also, my one-of-a-kind watercolor holiday cards are for sale over here! To see my 3 new bookmarks – scroll to the bottom :)

xmas15-celebrate

xmas14-miracle

“Heaven and Nature sing” holiday bookmark :)

Has the Election Galvanized the Good? 

%22i-have-come-into-this-world-to-see-this-there-is-just-one-flesh-we-can-wound

After the shock and bewilderment of the political circus, my fears and flaws (which prefer to disguise themselves as ‘righteous’ anger) quickly convinced me that the menace was now truly OUT THERE. It’s an age old coping mechanism – the need to blame an enemy when life seems out-of-my-control. Unfortunately, this habit ignores the inner lions, tigers and elephants that need to be tamed, before the outer work can get done.

Wikipedia: Psychological projection is a theory in psychology in which humans defend themselves against their own unconscious impulses or qualities by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others.”

Like blaming the boss. The corporations. The media. The government. The man.

At first, I was finger pointing and condemning Trump, just like he was doing to others. Judging, defiling and making him wrongity-wrong, just like he was. Hmmmm. Two wrongs still won’t make the world right. Or me.

for-no-one-walks-the-world-in-armature-but-must-have-terror-striking-at-his-heart“For no one walks the world in armature but must have terror striking at his heart.” A Course in Miracles

My fear had suddenly grabbed the wheel and peeled out, while madly chanting, if I let down my guard, anger and indignation, I’ll be lulled into complacency, powerlessness, blind to injustice, and “they” will walk-all-over-me-and-you. Then we are TOAST.

We lose. The haters win.

The old “Us against Them” belief quickly enlists the most reckless driver of all – Anger (with defense riding shotgun.) Battles ensue. Guilt, Shame, Regret and Separation all pile into the scary clown car.

Outrage feels like a well-defended tank. A safe place to hide my vulnerability. My victimhood. Powerlessness. A place where my heart is closed. Where nothing upsetting can touch me. If I’m busy hating them it will numb my own hurt and sadness.

as-i-walked-out-the-door-to-the-gate-that-would-lead-to-my-freedom-i-knew-if-i-didnt-leave-my-bitterness-and-hatred-behind-id-still-be-in-prisonBeing walled off, though, means I’m separated from the empowering feelings, too. From hope. Acceptance. Forgiveness. Tolerance. Love. My past reaction to injustice was to shut down and fight, which just furthered the divide, mistrust, and isolation. The banishment became self inflicted.

If I thrash and spit at them, I’m disowning my own sovereignty, inner peace and freedom. If I blame the bully, for the unhealed wounds inside me, then I’m believing that the power is in their hands. I’m leaking my divinity by believing the BS. 

If I refuse to bear witness to the war within me, I can’t stop the outer struggle either. If I’m unloving toward myself, it’s difficult to feel love outside myself. I’m stuck on a crazy carousel.

So I have to pause. Breathe. Write (this post has already had three discouraging and discarded incarnations.) Meditate. Talk. Befriend the fears. Walk. Sob. Share. Chill.

When old fearful beliefs, lurking inside me, are sparked by a loud carnival OUTSIDE me, the circumstances don’t cause my fear, they reveal it. Oh it’s so embarrassing. I’ll still try to insist – it’s really THEM this time, THEIR monkeys! This can’t be me? Again? Why should I change? THEY need to change!

Step away from the scary clown car.

If I deny the fear, it just gets projected outside myself where I’ll see it high-flying all over everyone else! A clever universal mirror of The Greatest Show on Earth. We just can’t get away from our own acrobatic reflection. 

Resistance is futile.

Our feelings, like rejected kids who ran away to the circus, just want to be welcomed back home. They’re ashamed. Vulnerable. Oppressed. Exiled. Invite them in. Share a bowl of buttery popcorn. Turn off the circus music. Let them speak of their terror. Despair. Armageddon. It’s a shock to recognize our abandoned selves. We’ve been protesting our own humanness. Marching against our inner madness.

{{{{{{ Breathe. }}}}}}

As we tame the lions inside ourselves, we won’t need to shame the beasts on the outside. In fact, we might discover it’s our own gnashing teeth. It’s our own fearful ring master. If we focus, instead, on creating an inner playground, then we can stop feeding the fears. Eventually, the outer war will have no battlefield.

I keep working at (and this part is hardest for the ego) sincerely appreciating the traveling scoundrels and situations that have triggered my vulnerability. They’re the shocking (and fabulously under appreciated) answer to years of hopes and prayers. I’ve been asking for joy, equality, abundance, love, safety, healing, growth, contribution, unity, world peace. Only to find, via said scoundrels, that I’m standing in my own way by rejecting the alarming wake-up calls.

 I’ve forgotten that this earthly extravaganza is the healing path – the power of seeing myself in you and coming together to recognize our Oneness. “There is just one flesh we can wound.”

Yeah, somedays, I SO want someone else to fix it, do the right things, use their magic wand and make life grand. For us all.

But if it were all up to someone OUT THERE, how would I discover my own power, passion and purpose? How would I celebrate this life I’ve been given, if someone else held the keys to my daily Queendom? 

There is no external jailor for our inner joie de vivre.

And then Trump speaks… And I’m back to square one. I’m a work in progress with this whole Love thy enemy thing.

The vulnerability, hiding under the venom, is a pathway to our shared humanness.

the-holiest-spot-on-earth-is-where-an-ancient-hatred-has-become-a-present-love“The holiest spot on earth is where an ancient hatred has become a present love.” ~A Course in Miracles

So how do I stay mindful, powerful and take inspired action? Blissipline… A daily practice (lifelong practice…) of inner calm. Of learning to love the unlovable, in me. Then you. Patience with the impatient. In me. Then you. Tolerance for the intolerant. Me. You. Compassion. Courage. Creativity. Kindness. Especially for the toughest circus – ‘they’ show us our own underbelly. 

%22never-doubt-that-a-small-group-of-thoughtful-committed-citizens-margaret-meadeGood-will is a powerful picket line against reactivity, blame and any walls we’ve built within ourselves and against each other. The dark side is illuminating all the crud that’s blocking Love’s way into our hearts and out into our lives. As we heal our personal issues, we help heal the global ones.

Everywhere, there are awesome people doing awesome things. Let’s keep the spotlight turned on that goodness. With our conscious intent and focus, we embolden that universal light. Send love-bombs to the political arena, but don’t buy a ticket and park there. 

Let the chaos move us into a bigger heart space, transforming fear, growing our courage, calling forth our decency, evolving our sustainable spirit and creating a more humane world. Inside and out. 

The election was a zoo. But it has galvanized the good.

As peace deepens it’s roots within us, waves of love and cooperation move out into the world. We’re gathering momentum as we work, transform and play under our beautiful blue big-top.

See it.%22i-honor-your-gods-i-drink-at-your-well-ralph-blum

Believe it.

Make it so!

I love you. Thank you. 

Julie

p.s. For a powerful exercise to recognize and heal our projection, check out Byron Katie’s “Judge Your Neighbor Worksheet.” 

These new bookmarks below, are now available (1 1/2″ x 8 1/4″ laminated)

“Taking a step backward after taking a step forward isn’t a disaster it’s a cha-cha.” 

b-taking-a-step-backward-after-taing-a-step-forward-isnt-a-disaster-its-a-cha-cha

“They tried to bury us but they didn’t know that we were seeds.”

b-they-tried-to-bury-us-but-they-didnt-know-that-we-were-seeds

“Heaven and Nature sing”

What Incarnation Were We Thinking? Remembering What We Were Born to Forget

there-is-really-no-way-to-say-no-to-the-morning-dan-foglebergI recently shared my story about the Spirit Pub at the epic Life Without Instructions conference, an amazing community of free-thinking, unschooling, family-loving, nature-hugging, soul-seeking friends. A few folks asked if I’d written the story down ~ so here it is :)

Long ago, I stumbled across the idea that perhaps our soul, before birth, gets to choose it’s greatest challenges in it’s lifetime. Given my dwarfism and it’s accompanying complications, you’d have thought my reaction would’ve been something like…

HA! What insane #@!% HOGWASH!

Instead, I was intrigued.

A friend and I decided that we’d name this pre-birthday place, the Spirit Pub. If we had chosen our current life-on-the-rocks, we clearly had had one too many.

Or maybe, when we were made of pure star-dust and all blissed-out, the wild Earth roller coaster looked so dang appealing! Birth, puberty, love, marriage, divorce, forgiveness, compassion, plot-twists, faith, disease, drama, darkness. What a thrill! A reality show to top all reality shows!

%22remember-who-you-think-you-are-now-is-only-one-moment-one-grain-of-sand-in-the-vastness-of-your-spirit

So by the time I bellied up to the Spirit Pub bar, I was ready to take on the cosmos. One glance at the ginormous menu, and I knew. The special of the day stood out in lights: “spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita, dwarfism, with a heaping side order of degenerative arthritis.”

The tougher the troubles, the greater the glory.

I turned to my guardian angel, already by my side, and said, “I could really sink my teeth into that one.”

Excellent choice,” she said, sounding a bit like Glinda the good witch. “Let me give you some details: at your birth, the gods of medicine will automatically label your creative earth costume as defective, deformed, disadvantaged and disabled. You will believe and live their truth for years. There will also be many operations, including two brain surgeries.”

I quickly asked to recheck the menu.

But my angel continued on with strangely contagious enthusiasm. “This profound human pain . . . will ignite in you such a deep hunger to heal yourself. The darkness will serve as a spiritual springboard to the light. It will catapult you into alternative medicine, nutrition and empowering ways to care for your costume. These remedies will be a bridge back to your remembrance that healing comes from within. Inside you will be the best medicine of all – the choice of where to put your focus, on fear or faith.”

%22you-are-encoded-with-a-magic-filled-with-a-potential-jennifer-mclean“Furthermore,” she said, almost giggling, “The doctors won’t be the only ones who will take issue with your nonconformities; you will also be a billboard for bullies, strangers, children & adults who will stare, taunt and mock you. You’ll be a trigger for their own deep fears of separation and rejection.”

Before I could interject that I might be biting off more than I could chew, she was way ahead of me.

“My dear, your belief that you are isolated from the world will stir in you such a longing for love & connection. And because you will not be able draw that acceptance from the outside, you will at last turn your focus inside. That is where the memory will dawn – darkness is not a punishment or an accident. It is your soul’s creative catapult back into Oneness, the place inside of you where you can, and you will, remember that you are Light. And so is everyone else.”

“So you’re telling me,” I asked, “that I can’t lose in the end?”

“What the human believes is a loss, the soul experiences as a gain. Your family,” she continued, a mesmerizing pink glow around her, “will be the loving bedrock of your identity. They will not be distracted by your differences and will see and love you for who you really are.”

%22you-are-a-part-of-everythingYay! Good news!

“Out of respect and love for you, however, they will err on the side of silence about your dwarfism and it’s challenges. You will misinterpret that silence as shame.”

Hmmm. A strange pattern seemed to be emerging…

“Your heartbreak, however, will awaken in you such a desire to express yourself. When you turn your focus toward that, it will launch you into true heart to heart communication, through art, writing, speaking and being.”

“Isn’t it ideal?” she twinkled. “Silence leads to communication. Isolation leads to reunion. Physical pain leads to spiritual healing. Are you beginning to see the sacred love story of opposites?

I was. From a distance, it did seem rather remarkable.

“There is one last thing, my dear,” my golden Glinda added, “and it is very important. You know everything we’ve been discussing? . . . You are going to forget all of it.”

I sighed. “That part, I kinda know. Because if I remembered that I was eternal love, that no harm could ever come to my soul, then the earth journey would be like ‘Pin the Tail on the Donkey’ without the blindfold, or ‘Hide and Seek’ without a place to hide. We choose the body-blindfold to make it a really gutsy game. It’s a global treasure hunt where the gems are hidden within.”

My angel shimmered. “The wounds of your forgetting will be temporary, but the joy and wisdom will be yours forever. And remember, my dear, I will be with you at the doorway of birth, I will stay by your side every step of the way, and I will be there when you are ready to lay your body down and come Home. I will never leave you until you have fulfilled your reasons for being.”

I nodded to my fearless angel and I said, “Bring it on.”

%22a-mind-that-is-stretched-by-new-experience-can-never-go-back-to-its-old-dimensions-oliver-wendell-holmesMaybe we all agreed to the crazy ride.

But whether or not our soul chooses our circumstances, the belief that our challenges are for us, not against us, is hugely empowering. It’s not to blame ourselves, or others, ever. It’s the opportunity to take any ugliness and transform it into something beautiful and meaningful. To find out what’s right with what might feel all wrong. A nightmare is not the final verdict; it may end up being the vehicle to our soul’s desire.

There’s divinity in the darkness – let it inspire our brightest light.

~~~~~~~~~

Before you go~

MORE FR*EE STUFF!

Rev. Anne Presuel & Sherry Bowers have invited 100’s of spiritual entrepreneurs to participate in their annual

Your Divine Biz Gifts

 to give you a whole BUNCH of fr*ee products and services.

Things like:

  -ebooks
-scripts
  -audio trainings
  -audio meditations
  -video trainings
-checklists
-assessments
-programs
-free memberships
  -and much more

Register here and then go pick out what you like,

leave the rest behind :)

Wishing you an open mind, gentle heart, courageous soul, 

And lotsa love, always,

Julie

%22self-love-is-not-selfish-you-cannot-serve-from-an-empty-vesselHiya Pacha-Mamas,
…❤❤❤…

Like receiving freebies? Me, too. My friend & colleague, Catherine Franchetti, has hand picked 10 downloadable gifts, just for moms at: www.JoyfulMomsEvent.com
I’m participating along with an inspiring group of women who want to support other moms with their gifts. I’m giving away my ebook (which hopefully you’ve already downloaded) plus you’ll find 9 other different goodies, such as how to ~

Transform your home
Gain more energy
Develop or expand your yoga practice
Prepare for that next job search
Find Your personal style
…and more ❤

Go enjoy something just for you – and be sure to go get them today – they’re only available for a limited time at ~ www.JoyfulMomsEvent.com
P.S. Please feel free to share the link with any moms you know, & sign up yourself :)

Wishing you… peaceful days,
the-rising-of-the-women-means-the-rising-of-the-race-james-oppenheimdreamy nights,
& hope rising within,
as we fall into autumn
~~~❤~~~
xoxo Julie

 

There was an Angel Dancing at the Park

%22Angels believe in you. Jan Phillips - angelcloud

Last Saturday, I was sitting at Heaven Park (my favorite pond where my heron friends feed,) feeling kinda angry and sorry-for-myself after an argument with my hubby. Sigh. I asked my divine dad & my angels to help me return to peace and stop blaming anything or anyone else for my unrest. And then I went on with my day – writing, reading, gazing, watching the gold finch, and snacking.

 A few hours later, as I’m getting ready to leave, (feeling much more aligned after my time-out in Mother Nature’s nursery,) I look up and there’s this triumphant Angel, tiara and all, cheering me on from above. I laughed out loud! Or perhaps she’s toasting the world while dancing a cheeky cha-cha. Whatever she was doing in the clouds, it was the perfect tonic for old sour feelings.
cloud angel As I took a slew of pictures, another angel image, with what looked like big open arms, came up underneath the first brassy gal… see him? Well, what matters most (for me) is my own looking glass. What matters most for you, is your personal spectacles – that’s what will seize the day and make it troubled or triumphant. We always have that choice.
What uplifting lens will we choose to look through today…?
How do YOU shift a crummy mood? Take a walk? Write? Read? A snooze? Yoga? Music? Art? Facebook? A cruise? :) 
Let me know in the comments… 
%22You will never influence the world by trying to be like it. Sean McCabe I was recently interviewed, along with 30 others, for an inspiring online video interview series called,
This series is to help folks stop feeling frustrated, get clear about what’s right for them & take inspired action to create a life that lights ’em up.
We are meant for more than an everyday routine don’t you think? Our dreams are not going to materialize by fitting ourselves into a pre-designed package that society expects.
Imagine being able to:
Deeply access our powerful intuitive guidance.
Achieve our goals with confidence.
Live a life of deep meaning & profound joy. Yay.
Discover practical tips and tricks, new ways of thinking, simple practices, and powerfully inspiring stories to jumpstart the journey to becoming all we’re meant to be.
Wishing you…
a new creative lens, and the 
the willingness to keep looking up, 
the courage to keep looking within,
the inspiration to keep looking forward
& heavenly angels to dance you toward your dreams…
~~~~~~
xoxo Julie 

My Watercolor Cards

Holiday Watercolors

Inspirational Magnets & Bookmarks

YouTube 

My Huffington Post Blog

My art at RedBubble 

www.nothingshortofjoy.com

%22You have been assigned this mountain to show others it can be moved

Weeping Trees: The Healing Power of Nature

The amazing Green Diva Meg at GreenDivas.com, has created a quick sketch video (one minute!) of me making one of my watercolor/calligraphy cards, so exciting for me! It gave me a whole new and fun perspective on my work :) I hope you’ll watch it!

Also check out a be-you-tiful online course for Mothers and Daughters at the bottom of this post. There’s a generous discount code for all Nothing Short of Joy subscribers :)

Now for our regularly scheduled program… ;) my blog post: 

%22The Tree Couple.%22One of our trees, a Weeping Grandma Cherry, is losing limbs, losing life. I’m embarrassed by the flood of emotion… and I find myself hiding the tears. As I catch my breath, though, there is so much more to the story. There always is.

My hubby, Bill, has been warning me about her demise for years now, but I refused to believe him. He’d first declared it without much compassion, as if her death was a bother. It would cost money. It might fall on the garage. It might hit one of the kids.

Grandma Cherry Tree

See her sweet face?

Year after year, I’ve sat and recharged in her quiet shade, gathering my heart, breathing out the overwhelm, breathing in the peace. I’ve smiled into her gnarly face wondering how to practice her stillness. Under her calming pink parasol, I’ve written out my hopes and dreams. I’ve wept out my fears, anger, and despair.

Today, I wept for her. For the mysteries. For the violence. For the journey. For my Dad.

So many sad goodbyes in life – to those who move where I cannot go. These deep rules of heaven and earth, hidden in the rough bark of life. They leave their love, clues, and gifts in our own backyard.

“Everything I let go of has claw marks on it.Anne Lamott

One morning last year, as I was letting our dog, Merlin, outside, I was crushed by the sight – our restless neighbor had chopped down the colossal lilac between our yards. I reeled back in disbelief. In sobs. Every spring I’d reveled in this lilac’s scented curls. I’d gleefully waited like a kid, for her bountiful blossoms. I’d placed gushing vases in the kitchen and the bedroom just so I could bury my grin into her glorious purple perfume. The blissful smell of God-ness.

I couldn’t look at my neighbor for days.

amber sapAnd now our treasured Cherry is getting ready to fly away. Poison Ivy is creeping up her trunk, as if she has already been reclaimed by a greater night. Her amber blood oozes out from craggily warrior skin. As I run my hand across her Braille bark, some part of my soul understands the big Book of hers. Her silence craves a home in me.

For seventeen years we’ve been held safe in this home, this yard. My boys used to touch the cherry’s soft sap, in wide-eyed amazement. And after it hardened in the sun, they’d run their fingers over it’s glossy smile. They’d tug on her leggy branches to make it snow petals on their heads.

“Vulnerability is a portal to a deeper power.” Chameli ArdaghOne Spring, back when my sixteen-year-old was four, the wind was kicking up a perfect petal blizzard. My boy took one look and scampered toward the back door. As he burst outside, the sun simultaneously came out from behind the clouds. I called to him, “the sun came out just as you did!” He yelled back, “yeah, that’s because it didn’t see me before!” Then he ran through Grandma’s pink waterfall, with arms and heart open wide.

He believed, quite naturally, that the Sun cared. For him. That the Sun saw. Who he was. That God placed the sun and the stars and old cherry trees, for us. And these things, pulsing with life, somehow love us, because Life loves us. My boy didn’t question the synchronicity that day. Why do I question my grief when I’m feeling adrift? When the world isn’t what I want it to be?

I realize I’m trying to hold on to what was never mine to keep.

%22Be like a tree, let the dead leaves drop. .....~Rumi

When I hold on tight, it hurts more. That includes feelings. When I ignore ‘em, they’ll spew forth at the most inappropriate people and places. They’ll create dis-ease. They’ll separate me from me, and me from you.

Rejected emotions, like abandoned
inner kids, need to be accepted,
heard and honored. No matter how
old or annoying. Tears calm the
inner tantrum and clear the mind.
They set the pain free so we can let go. So we can trust the circle of life, again.

Until the next season.

“You have to feel it to heal it.”Our culture teaches us, and especially burdens our menfolk, with the notion that vulnerability makes us weak. I realize that this is hogwash… but… I still find myself ashamed of my deepest feelings, even though I feel stronger after I’ve acknowledged them. Even though they make me the most real. They deepen my compassion. Our common humanity. They open us up and pull us together, where we belong. As one.

 Cherry Tree Spence

My oldest sitting in our Cherry tree

I’m such a sapling.

Fortunately, I’ve had a loving Mom who knew the truth about feelings. But even with her gentle encouragement over the years to “have a good cry,” I still resist. And then a few days ago, Grandma Cherry dropped a limb right near my youngest son and his friend. And the dam broke.

“It’s time,” Grandma seemed to say, “to let go. Of the sadness you’ve been stuffing. Let it be.”

%22Everything happens for you, not to you.Byron Katie

 

I walk toward our three towering Mama Maples, who solemnly bear witness with me, bowing to Grandma. We watch her from afar, as if we might catch a glimpse of some holy spirit leaving us. As if the quiet would give up her secrets.

I remember the mourning dove pair that perches together on her high curves, and the crow clan that loves to gab and laugh up there. I return to these natural joys, often, when the world seems off it’s nut.

I wipe away the last of my tears. I hope my neighbors aren’t watching :)

Then I picture, said neighbors, joining me, without judgment or shame, to circle around Grandma, around the confounding mysteries, around the people and the things we love so fiercely. Around the life that can no longer be. Around the Greater Love that will always be.

I imagine the earth’s light coming up through our feet. Lifting us. The world. Higher – above the pain and the losses, to the joy beyond them all.

I thank the lilacs that once loved us, trees that breathe us alive, kids that teach us, a world that needs us, and Dad’s and weeping Cherry’s that leave us… better than we were before.

 I have watched the trees when they pray

click on the pic to read the poem :)

WHEN I AM AMONG TREES

by Mary Oliver

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust, equally the beech, the oaks, and the pines, they give off such hints of gladness.

I would almost say that they save me, and daily. I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment, and never hurry through the world but walk slowly, and bow often. Around me the trees stir in their leaves and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches. And they call again, “It’s simple,”
they say, “and you, too, have come into the world to do this, to go easy,
to be filled with light, and to shine.”

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

A wonderful colleague, Meg Tobin, is offering a beautiful online course for Mothers and Daughters! Plus Meg is giving a discount to Nothing Short of Joy subscribers – use code JOY16 for $125 off! Unlike the early bird discount she is offering, this one does not expire.

Click here for all the delight-filled details :)

Maiden Sisterhood: Join your daughter on a journey to discover a new story. Your story. Together.

MAIDEN

Meg Tobin“This fully online course brings together mommas and daughters ages 8 to 12 to explore the changing landscape of girls’ bodies and emotions as they enter puberty and the implications of those changes on the mother/daughter relationship. Come together with your girl for information, healing and joyous connection! The course begins on Monday September 19th. Mommas will meet online for 6 Mondays from 8-9 pm EST, with a focus on using EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique, or tapping) to heal past wounds that impact our ability to gracefully usher our girls to their place in the circle of womanhood. Mommas and girls will meet online for 6 Saturdays from 8-9 am EST with a focus on facts, self-care, boundaries and intimacy building.”

Meg Tobin is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified EFT Practitioner based in Upstate NY. Read more about her  here.

Check out the course here!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Wishing you
green, green meadows,
cooling shade,
summer fun,
and wide open sky…
~Julie

Signs from Dad: Finding Blessings in the Broken Places

%22To these memories I will hold. I bid you all a very fond farewell. Billy BoydI’ve been wanting to write to you about my Dad ever since he slipped into the great beyond last year. Sitting here at the keyboard, biting my lip, I’m intimidated and perplexed as to how to tackle something so big. A whole lifetime. A sudden loss.

I’m worried my words won’t do him justice. My feelings are too fumbled. I keep rereading my straggly sentences – and deleting. Grief is such an uncharted journey. What I thought I understood about saying goodbye, pales in comparison to the reality. The questions. The unknown.

So I hang on to the signs.

The morning after Dad died, feeling shocked and heartbroken, I asked him to please send a sign that he was watching over Mom – that his spirit was alive and well. That we’d all be ok.

As I sent the prayer, I pushed the backdoor open to let our dog out, and there was sudden thunderous honking from a long V of Canadian geese! They were flying very low, the lead goose cresting right over our home – I flinched in surprise, but my heart hit the sky! I cried and I laughed – it felt jubilant! Triumphant! Holy! Dad’s answer was swift, certain and celebratory – a lot like he was. Is. A free bird!

%22We go to the grave saying, ‘A man is dead,’ but angels throng about him saying, ‘A man is born’.Henry Ward Beecher

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Canadian geese are residents at my favorite pond, and after years of taking personal days there, to sit, write and just be, they feel like friends.

Julie & geese Hedden copy

That’s me and my winged friends at the pond :)

Last year, we even untangled a little gosling caught in fishing line. So on that bleak morning, a raucous and victorious V was the perfect messenger :)

In fact, Dad kind of reminds me of those geese. They can be bold and fierce – they’re not afraid to stand up for themselves or their goslings. They’re protective and proud parents (who are known to be black and white.) They hail from Canada where my mom’s family, and now all our families, have a very special summer cottage.

Since the first day without Dad, and that striking sign, I continue to ask for God’s reassurance that Dad hasn’t really left our lives. And Dad never disappoints. When I’ve asked, he has landed a flaming red dragonfly on my finger, sent sand dollars in ocean waves, perched a hawk right outside my window, and drawn a rainbow hawk in the clouds. (When I was a girl, his name in our Indian Princess tribe was “Thunder Hawk.”)

“Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come. ~Tagore

%22fire rainbow hawk

 

 

 

 

 

A few weeks ago, I had four blissful days to myself while cat-sitting at a friend’s. The morning I was leaving, I happened to read a post from Karen Noe’s newsletter ~ she recommended asking our loved ones for *without a doubt* signs that they are still with us.

So as I drove over to kitty-sit, I asked Dad for just that. Later in the day, I walked out into my friend’s beautiful backyard and noticed the woodpile. I thought Dad might send a chipmunk, which I adore. Although I don’t see them that often, I then dismissed them as too common to be *indisputable.*

But as I continued to walk, a chipmunk did pop up by the house… and then ran straight at me! I froze in place half wondering if a shy chippy would zip right over for a cuddle. It came within five feet. Wow. As it ducked under the shed, I laughed to myself… but not so sure that this was my sign.

Within a minute, something caught my eye in a nearby birch tree. I don’t know why I noticed it, really – the soft blush color was well hidden amidst the white and gray. As I walked closer, though, I saw her – the sweetest baby robin seamlessly camouflaged in the birch! See her? So precious, she melted my heart. The fuzzy white tuffs of new feathers were softly blowing in the breeze. Awwwwww! (You can see a quick video of her here, close-up! Sorry the video is sideways, I was too excited to realize!)

baby robin camouflaged

beautifully camouflaged baby robin :)

This is Dad’s work! He knows I’m a sucker for nature’s babies! I marveled and cooed and appreciated and photographed that adorable little robin.

As I turned to walk away, thrilled in my treasured discovery, a shadow from above caused me to look up, and there it was: a majestic great blue heron sailing across the sky! Another one of my heroines from my favorite pond. I could just imagine Dad cheering and laughing along with me!

“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin. Shakespeare

An old photo of my boys watching a V of geese!

Dad knows what I love, and from his heavenly place of camouflage, he speaks fluent heron, chipmunk & baby bird. He hit a loving triple play that afternoon, speaking *indisputably* to my soul.

Keep ‘em coming, Dad. I love you so much.

%22For all that has been - thanks! To all that shall be - yes! Dag Hammarskjold

wishing you victorious signs, comfort, and lotsa love, 

Julie signature copy

P.S. I wanted to invite you to a free online summit called,

The Intuitive Child, Nurturing The Inner Wisdom Within

❤  The Intuitive Child is hosted by my wonderful colleague, Abby Gooch, the founder of Life Force Connection. She’s a talented intuitive coach who helps her clients listen to, trust and act on the guidance their intuition provides.

I’ll be one of the 21+ speakers, so I hope you can join us! I’m looking forward to listening to all the interviews myself :)  Please register here. ❤ 

%22how fortunate are you and I who’s home is timelessness we who have wandered down.e.e.cummings