Tag Archives: healing

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

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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
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-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

Weeping Trees: The Healing Power of Nature

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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.

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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

How Will I spend My Heart Today? On BS or Mindfulness?

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Hiya Radiant Renegade,

How do you feel about really truly deeply being seen? Including your insecurities, shadows & secret darkness? I had an enlightening run-in with some of my old BS just last week.

As I’m basking in the quiet of my favorite park, writing by this very peeeaceful pond (in the photo), a noisy group sauntered into my sanctuary and plopped down in the shade behind me.

Ugh.

I continue writing, trying to ignore the prickly feeling of eyes and action behind me. One dude is particularly loud. Generally, I love listening to other languages – I have this excited feeling that I understand what’s being said, even when I don’t. But today, his foreign tongue is like a jackhammer and he seems to be the only one carrying the conversation.

I ask my angels if they’d help !@#$ quiet him. Oh wait. Trying to change him is a disempowering focus. Instead, I need to shift my own intention and response. It feels better to say, Thank you angels, in advance, for helping me tune out the distraction.

Soon enough I notice a tremendous turtle sunbathing on a rock. Some swallows are swooping and playing in the air. A goldfinch flies past. Colorful dragonflies are whisking all around. Ducks and geese are feeding nearby in their funny bottoms-up way. Earlier, a small snake had swam seamlessly through the sunlit water.

While marveling at this wide-eyed world, I forget my cares and remember what matters.

And I’ve been able to ignore, somewhat, the incessant talker, who is still rattling away. My goodness.

It’s getting too warm sitting in the sun and I want to gather up my books, beach chair and snacks and waddle over into the shade, about twenty feet away. But I hesitate. I fear the roving eyes behind me. Oooph.

My residual BS has bubbled up – the old Belief System that fears my dwarfism & I will be judged, rejected, humiliated. I shake my head. Why do I care what they think? What will they do, throw stones? Tomatoes? Call me ugly? Laugh? WHO CARES!

Apparently, I still do.

I take some deep breaths, relax and prepare myself to stand up and BE SEEN. Go ahead Jule, they can’t hurt you. You are free to be yourself in this world. This is a great opportunity to bust through the BS. Reclaim the joy.

I awkwardly stand and . . . you know what?

The chatterbox shuts right up.

Hee hee.

By facing my fear, I get my wish ~ his mouth is firmly muzzled. (My inner BS was speechless, too.)

In the past, I’ve dreaded that hushed reaction to me. The shocked looks. Today, the quiet is my reward.

I grab my gear and shuffle into the shade, chuckling to myself. I am an anti-gab Goddess. A shift in perspective is everyone’s super soul power, available anywhere, anytime.

I sit back down and put my notebook on my lap. Suddenly a white-tailed dragonfly (I Googled it) lands on my writing. I watch in surprise as her tiny velvety body breathes. It isn’t a quick flutter – her whole body expands slowly and then contracts. Wow!

Then I realize her fabulous domino looking wings are perfectly covering just one sentence. I’d written it in the upper corner of my page this morning~

“How will I spend my heart today?”

Will I give away my joy because of other people’s reaction? Or will I stand up and be who I am, in peace (or flat out enthusiasm.)

Will I focus on an argument with an old friend/partner/sibling/kids? Or will I send them love bombs and release thoughts of right or wrong.

Will I try to control the outcome of some ‘uncomfortable’ circumstances? Or will I breathe deeply, expand my heart, my love and my willingness to grow.

Will I judge what’s ugly in me/them/the world? Or will I search for what’s beautiful around me and within me.

Will I spend my heart on self-doubt? Worry? Criticism? Shrink away from my challenges?

Or will I trust life to unfold in spectacular ways.

The dragonfly’s work has dominoed and is done. She lifts off the page, hovers for a moment and then zips toward the open water, taking some of my black and white BS with her.

How will you spend your heart today?

Let me know in the comments, I loooove hearing from you : )

You'll never rise any higher than the way you see yourself

I see you, 

with lotsa love~

Julie 

 

Mama Maples – Finding Peace Amidst the Fast Pace

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Three gentle giants wait for me in the backyard. Eighty feet tall or so, my magical maples watch over our home, guard our dreams. They stand in a curved row, committed back-up singers, ready to harmonize with those who’ll listen.

Daily, I feel them calling me away from the computer, out of the rush, past my worries. Humming, encouraging, being. They know when I’ve forgotten to breathe again. Meditation has fallen away this week, as I push for more book promotion, more people to contact, more life to live. I’ve been captured by the pulse of perfectionism.

I search for what’s missing in my post-its, my emails, on my to-do list. I’ve forgotten that joy and gratitude are productive companions. The kids call, the laundry moans, and the phone screams my name. I plug my ears. I can’t hear myself over all the questions. So I answer the maples.

I step out the backdoor and we sigh in unison. They are the quietest of teachers and it is their peace I seek. “There you are,” they whisper sweetly. “Come sit down with the dandelions.” The lawn chair scoops me up and I rest in it’s arms. I stare at the maples, waiting.

In the front yard, someone is crying. Drat. I get up, unlatch the gate and walk away from my sanctuary, knowing I may never return today. Down our drive, I spot the two five-year-old friends facing each other. I check my son Kyler’s face, but the hurt isn’t his. I switch to our neighbor, Jeremiah. His mouth is wide and wailing. Both boys are sitting on the sidewalk, scooters flung to the side.

Just as I’m about to call to them, I see Kyler raise his finger and gently, lovingly, touch Jeremiah’s nose. I catch my breath. A tiny giggle spurts out of Jeremiah, defying his tears. Ky blesses his friend’s nose again, light as tinker bell. They both giggle more. I back away quickly, not wanting to disturb the vision, the sweet sharing, the love being passed on. I walk back to my place in the sun with a heart open wider.

As I sit back among the maples, I remember an email I must return. My busy train chugs out of the station when I hear a firm and penetrating, shhhhhhhhhhhhhh. My body freezes. My mind dumps it’s contents. Did anyone hear that? But no one is there. The maples are definitely addressing me. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Whoa, there it is again. They are swaying inside their own message. They are perfect in their tone and their lullaby. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh they coo, as their leaves wave and laugh. The sky is rocked clean in their easy, soft spell. My smile sails across the yard.

I hear the clank of the gate unlatching and I turn to tell the intruder that I need time alone. But before I can, Ky asks brightly, “Mommy, wanna a piece a gum?” My smile surprises me. “Sure,” I answer. “Jeremiah had to go home,” he reports, as he hands me a soft piece of Bubble Yum. We unwrap the pink puff and eat our gum together, in silence. Kyler rests so naturally, cross legged in his chair. His breathing is free, his spirit, whole. The maples say shhhhhhhhhhh one more time and I remember what I’ve forgotten. I close my eyes. The magic sits before me, within me, like a wide-eyed child. My son, and the mama maples, have settled the breezes inside me, again.