Category Archives: Mother Nature Heals

Moving from Self-Judgment to Mindfulness: Healing a Fearful Past Through a Present Challenge (or Three)

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When it comes to alternative health vs. the medical world, I’m a recovering extremist. Although I’ve softened my black and white thinking over the years, strange aches or illness can send my level-headedness AWOL. The following is an embarrassing example of one such silly, yet sacred, jihad.

After a stupendous day with my son and his friends at the lake, I wake to a mound of mosquito bites. I’m pissed. Arthritis has never allowed me to scratch my ankles, lower calves, feet or back. The situation triggers a frenzy – a strange and fearful loneliness. Life is always out of my reach.

Note: words like “always” and “never” are indicators of old BS (Belief Systems.) As you read, I’ll put my BS in italics or followed by exclamation points. Fear will be in CAPS. “Right and wrong” dogma and perfectionism will be all over the place.

When there is holistic hubris, a humbling may be on the horizon.

DAY 2

CRAP it’s POISON IVY! Deep breath. My spiritual medicine cabinet is at the ready – miracle supplements, organic nutrition and a positive attitude! I’ll triumph in record time! (It will NOT be like that HORRID hot summer as a kid – three agonizing weeks with P.I.) I’m so healthy and aware now!

I. WILL. NOT. ITCH!

I. WILL. NOT. TAKE. MEDICINE. PERIOD!

DAY 3 – 7

I’m SO DOOMED. The raging rash has taken charge! The pus is gross and the itching is KILL. ING. ME. It’s all over my calves – it burns, it bleeds, it sucks! DO. NOT. ITCH. DO. NOT. ITCH!

DAY 8

I lunge for the bristle hairbrush to rake every seething inch. After a burning-teeth-gnashing three minutes, I hang my head in shame. I’ve made it worse! I’m an idiot! How will I last THREE WEEKS?!

I look down at my alarming oozing calves, over and over. I’ve forgotten to keep looking up.

I realize I have swollen cankles. There are NO signs of healing! The poisonous b*tch is as firey as ever! Pain, panic, prison. Unanswered prayers. Devastation. Trapped inside my skin.

DAY 9

Is the rash a little better?? I feel a speck of hope.

Until.

I find the teensiest deer tick attached to my left boob. WHAT?! Doctors. Lyme disease. Medical nightmares. The fury is building. What the hell have I done wrong? Don’t I do what’s right?

(Ah judgment. My greatest BS . . .)

“I won’t go to the white coats! In their books I’m defective. Broken. A genetic mistake!”

Then it hits me. This week is the anniversary of my knee replacement surgeries, after which my calves had itched RELENTLESSLY. One went completely numb for six weeks. Morphine, codeine, bandages and wounds all brought a deep untouchable itch. Pain, panic, prison. Unanswered prayers. Devastation. Trapped inside my skin.

My body remembered.

“Deja Moo. When you realize you’ve seen this Bull Shit before.” ~unknown

Our wounds often revisit us, not to hurt, but to help us heal. The connection somehow settles my grief. My frantic molehill was echoing the old medical mountain. My fear of facing it again keeps mindfulness out of reach.

DAY 10

The P.I. is drying! Oh supreme joy! High five!

Wait.

There’s a small itchy rash where the tick bit me. NO. NO. NO! “D-d-don’t I properly adore all things au natural? Escorting bugs out of my home? Cheering for deer, dandelion or dirt? This is my thanks?

DAY 11

I cry on the way home from the holistic doctor. Four weeks of antibiotics. I bless the bottle of doxycycline as I take my dose. Such a hard pill to swallow.

The side effect I manifest is . . . itching. It’s backlash for forsaking the natural ways!

So far, I’ve kept my melodrama and panic inside. I’ve resorted to denial and “control” to keep from looking like a loon.

But.

A tidal wave of self-judgment is ready to crash.

Enter the hubster.

Sweaty from yard work, he stands at the threshold of our bedroom and proudly announces he’s just clipped the poison ivy vine on the far side of our home.

“YOU WHAT!?!?!?” I scramble & scream, “IN THOSE CLOTHES??!!?

Raging Rambo, formerly known as Julie, goes into full frontal finger pointing. “The POISON IVY OIL can stay ACTIVE on clothes and tools for FIVE YEARS!! It does NOT evaporate!! HAVE YOU TOUCHED ANYTHING IN THE HOUSE?!??”

Hubster had believed he was a hero for saving me. I, already seriously compromised, can only see an infidel! P.I. can steal in on shoes, shirts and shitheads!

That night, itchy bumps erupt on my arm and pointer finger (nice metaphor.) OMFG!!

I go to sleep crying and cursing the hubster for his careless act of love and devotion. I’ve lost all control.

I wake up to smooth arms and finger. The bumps must have been the meds ~ I go and give the hubster a humble hug.

A few hours later, my son has an I-hate-my-life-and-all-of-you melt down. This week, I’ve fought P.I., my period, ticks, medics and the hubster. But I don’t overreact to my son. Huh? I don’t try to sway him from his anger with a list of all the goodies in his life or all the people who love him. I listen. I feel a tenderness. While he fumes, none of his ridiculous claims hurt.

As I’m calling-all-angels, I realize my other son’s hamster has died (she was heading there.)

My angry boy comes to the cage . . . it helps him cry. Me, too. We hug. I listen to all his earthly complaints for an eternity (an hour.) They’re true for him in this moment. I keep calling in the light that I know he is. I understand the deep isolation. The injustice. The loneliness of feeling lost in our own skin.

I feel no need to do the things I’d planned today. Broken by my own panic, I’m now present. With his pain. His wholeness. And my own. I breathe in the fear and the fullness, and I’m there with him as he breaks open, too.

I realize the fight is gone (for now.) Life has emptied out my control freak fears. My self-judgment. There’s compassion for the itch that can’t be scratched. For my dangling human dread. I realize my own nature can move closer to Mother Nature’s after a fall. There’s power in yielding to the flow of every season, not just the fine ones.

In the Great Mystery of life, I’ve only just begun to scratch the surface.

One thing I continue to learn ~ the medical and the metaphysical don’t need to shake fists at each other from opposite arenas. Yin and yang work more peacefully when they shake hands somewhere in the middle.

Pema Chrodron says, “We are the sky and everything else is the weather.”

It’s tempting to rail against the tides, to feel hopelessly tossed back and forth across the ocean of who we really are.

When we trust there’s a deeper current, and bless the crazy life that keeps us afloat, then slowly, again and again, we can surrender to the rhythm and the light beyond the storm.

 

with lotsa love and ginormous joy,

Julie

P.S. I have to wait a few weeks to have blood work to test for Lyme. I’ll letcha know…

P.P.S. The hubster has poison ivy.

 

Can You Drink in Your Dreams? Are You Creating Fungus or Fabulous?

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What the heck can rice prove when it comes to the unimagined power of our thoughts, feelings and words?

I wanted to see it with my own eye balls. So my boys and I started an experiment in positivity, inspired by Dr. Masaru Emoto. Although our attitudes obviously affect our personal decisions and lives, here’s a wild illustration of how they ‘mold’ the world around us, as well. It blew me out the back door.

We took three small containers and put 1/2 cup of cooked white rice in each. I labeled one, Love Joy Peace. I labeled another, Fear Hate Stress, and the third was the control rice so it had no label.

The three containers sat on the same shelf separated by six inches or so. Each day we quietly sent the “Love rice” good vibes, thoughts and prayers. We sent the “Hate rice” anger, stress and fear (rather awkward to do.) The control rice was ignored.

I was surprised to find that suddenly I had doubts.

What if all the containers mold at the same rate? My boys will just stare at me sideways and think, that’s just Mom and her spiritual stuff. But after about six days (check out the youtube video progression) a small hunk of blue fungus appeared on the Hate rice. wOOt-wOOt! Holy mold. I’ve never been so psyched about decay. A few days later, a bit of blue-green graced the control rice too.

The Love rice was still rawkin’ white. Cool.

Another week past and the Hate rice was even moldier. The control rice had some mold but less than the Hate, and the Love rice was still holding strong with nada. Go love!

The Hate rice was soon host to an ominous tsunami – condensation on all sides and a doomsday grey fur on top. Whoa. It was a primeval forest of fungus and fear. It was amazeballs.

The control rice mushroomed some more pink mold and some blue, but nowhere near the ferocious growth on the Hate rice. It wasn’t until the 4th week that the Love rice surrendered to some pink ick on top and a brownish breakdown on the bottom.

What an incredible experiment!

My 13-year-old said to me, “mom, even though I’m a believer, I wasn’t sure this would work.” Aw, a believer. I told him I’d had my concerns, too. Doubt seems to be built-in to the forgetful human suit.

Yesterday I grabbed three sugar soaked donut holes and, one by one, mindlessly popped them into my mouth. Then I spotted the small sign I’d posted where the experiment used to be, “Remember the Rice.” Oops. So I took a deep breath and blessed my belly and it’s bounty. It made me smile.

Gratitude boosts our immune system, metabolism and well-being. It’s never too late to prevent an inner tsunami by chowing down on thank you, thank you, thank you. What’s the hurry, bless it all!

We need consistent inspiration and reminders of what we already know; the power is within us. When we’re numb, negative or uncaring we’re feeding ourselves rot, but when we’re mindful, hopeful and loving, we’re wielding the power of light.

For most of us, it isn’t whether we believe in the power of positivity or prayer (we do.) It’s whether we’ll remember to stop, take a deep breathe and implement. Slow it way down. Snap out of the race. Go against the ‘grain.’ Bless our grub. Pause and send love bombs. Smack some affirmations on our frig, mirror, wall or forehead.

I like to make co-creative-coasters ~ I take a sticky note & write a word like, “LOVE” or “JOY” or a phrase, “RADIANT HEALTH” or “FINANCIAL ABUNDANCE.” I take fat clear tape and cover the whole note to ‘water proof’ it (sort of.) It sits under my water glass daily. It sinks into my heart. Dr. Emoto has researched how “water listens.” Our words and intentions imprint on our world. So bottoms up. Drink in the dreams. Expect miracles . . .

According to the rice, what we’re being, believing and blessing is spreading the mold or the marvelous. What beliefs and feelings are you feeding your friends and fam? Your neighbors? What silent thoughts are you dining on daily?

Don’t succumb to fungus. You can choose fabulous!

 

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Seeing a forest of grace and greatness within you,

& always LOVE!

Julie

 

Celebrating Everyday Miracles & Mother Nature’s Magic

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“Anyone can slay a dragon, he told me, but try waking up every morning and loving the world all over again. That’s what takes a real hero.” ~Brian Andreas

The day started a mess. It didn’t help when Mocha arrived, our neighbor’s bouncing black lab. She regularly escapes from her house to call on our yellow lab, Merlin. It’s inspiring lab love ~ leaping, frolicking, slobbering and panting. When she visits, though, I feel the need to stay in the backyard as chaperone; Mocha is a Houdini. After she and Merl are done romping, she’ll wriggle under our fence like an octopus and be off to greener pastures. Her family would be heartbroken if Mocha Latte was lost.

I dial my neighbor to retrieve Miss Mocha. No one answers. This means she’s at work and her boarder has come and gone and left their gate open. Again.

Grrrrr. I don’t have time for this today.

But until I hear back from Mocha’s mom, I’m relegated to the backyard. The dogs are thrilled. As they bound about, lapping up the life and the sunshine, I begin to unleash as well.

I breathe in the spring and suddenly notice the effervescent violets… the glorious green sprouts … tiny chipper birds. The wow is everywhere, hiding in plain sight. The natural world is dynamic ….and healing. It’s a work of art that wants a home in me. I was agitated before, but now peace is riding shotgun. Whoa.

I realize that the past week felt so heavy because I’d forgotten the everyday miracles. Again.

Just as my heart is remembering that all-important key, something catches my eye. I turn to see . . . a ginormous Great blue heron gliding across our suburban green! What incarnation..!? With a massive six foot wing span (I Googled that) she nearly blots out the sun. My jaw drops in shock.

The gentle giant glides effortlessly, swooping low and steady through a hole in the trees. HOLY JUMBO JET she’s so close! Nearly at eye level, I can almost reach out and touch the freedom, the soft gray body, the sleek white of her majestic head. No beating wings, no sound, she just sails, luminous and still. My pulse races behind her as I follow in giddy pursuit, hoping to hold onto her a bit longer.

Mocha and Merlin catch sight, too. Oh dear. But strangely, they only lope along, curious but not barking. Bless their furry spirits.

Time has stood still as the heron wings through the yard, swoops up over the far fence and down into the brook. Although she’s in no hurry, my bare feet are quickly picking their way through pine needles and prickles, as I yipe and squeak in excited disbelief. I spot her in the water! Standing there gangly yet graceful, unperturbed, is my lean four foot dinosaur, in search of fish or frog.

She tiptoes forward on spindly legs, her neck doubling back like a slow motion rocking chair. With all the time in the world, she makes her way through the bubbling brook in a contagious calm. She holds my breath captive. Her mastery steals my heart.

In an instant, she has wiped away my worries. My weak places are mended by her wildness. Her unshakeable presence. It’s spackle for the soul.

If it hadn’t been for Mocha disturbing my ‘important’ plans, I would have missed this powerful pixie dust.

That’s the trick, isn’t it ~ loving our everydayness. The mundane tasks. The painful detours. The awe inspiring universe will bring us back to what we already are. How do I forget the pleasure of a backyard, of clean water, electricity and food in the frig? Such luxuries all around. Such joy waiting within.

I wish I celebrated it more. That’s what hero(n)s and heroines do. Everyday nobility lives in the simple stuff. Like my fingers typing on these keys right now – technology is just amazing! My eyes are watching (and understanding) the words strewn across this screen – fabulous! My son is calling me (interrupting for the third time) from the other room – splendid! Love him!

I don’t want to be numb to the glory just because I am gifted by it everyday. The flashy wins are easier to applaud ~ Academy awards, Olympian feats, the newest gadget. The everyday successes are quieter. Intangible. When I’m able to honor them, I feel full and on fire.

I double back on the goodies of my ‘commonplace’ existence and remember a beautiful bubbling brook. A great blue dive. When I’m awake and aware, I have all the time in the world. The paradox is that by loving the small moments, I find Life’s grandeur. And that makes room for even more magic.

This day holds everyday miracles for you.

Mocha and Merlin told me so.

 

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Sending you Mama Nature’s mojo, with much love,

xo Julie

P.S. The heron in the photo was not my beautiful backyard guest. This one posed for me at a local pond : ) They thrill me wherever I find them!