My Inner Mystic

reflections and insight into my healing, transformation, and journey of the heart <3

Category Archives: grief

My Heavenly Father

As this Saturn’s day draws to a close, I’d like to tell you about my father, whose name was Robert Eugene, and for whom I was named. While my father, my dad, no longer lives on Earth, he lives on in the Heavens.

My dad passed on, returned to Source, nearly 6 years ago on March 11, 2010. He died as a relatively young man at the age of 65.

I did not have a close relationship with my dad. Instead, it was one of hardship and strife. My dad was a very angry and volatile man. He hurt me, my mom, and my siblings much and often with his hands and his words. I could share many, awful stories of the horrific things my dad did. It’s enough for me to tell you that my dad was a rotten man.

I have a very different relationship with my dad now that he’s gone. I even consider my dad a spirit ally and summon him when I need protection or support. I am still cultivating my relationship with my dad, my Heavenly Father and maybe someday he’ll be an ally that serves me in other ways too. For now, I am grateful for his protection and the guidance he provides to me as I awaken my relationship to Spirit, to the Divine Intelligence that is in all things, the Intelligence with which we can participate as we co-create and manifest our reality.

My relationship with my Heavenly Father began on Sunday, January 5, 2014 on my hike down into Haleakala, the big crater of Maui. My dad loved geology, loved rocks. He studied earth sciences in college and had several prized rock collections. As I trekked down into the crater in the first hours of the day I found myself thinking of my dad and wishing he could see and experience what I was seeing. I felt sad that because my dad worked so hard to support my family, declined, and died an early death that he did not get to see and experience the places that I have been so privileged to see.

Haleakala

Up there in the crater, I felt so close to the Heavens. I called out to my dad and asked him to join me and experience through me and with me the beauty and wonder of Haleakala. For those miles I trekked down into the crater I had a “conversation with my father.” Other than expressing my sadness that he didn’t get to see what I was now seeing and expressing my gratitude for the sacrifices he made, I don’t really remember the content of our conversation. The content really isn’t that important. What’s most important is that I invited my dad, now my Heavenly Father, into my life and he’s been with me ever since.

I mentioned that my dad has been providing me with guidance as I awaken to the Divine Intelligence that is in all things and this notion that we co-create and manifest our reality. For me, life is a bit like living in “The Da Vinci Code.”   I receive messages and attempt to unravel the mysteries. Many messages take a bit of decoding – that’s especially true to when I began to more fully awaken to the Divine Intelligence.

In the spring of 2014, during my participation in a shamanic women’s circle, we were doing work with feathers and I found myself wanting feathers of my own. I said out loud something to the effect of, “I’m ready for feathers.” Within days, a Northern Flicker starting gifting me feathers, 3 the first day. In all, I was gifted 11 flicker feathers. I tried to make meaning of it and unravel the mystery. I arrived here: my brother’s death date is 3/11.

3 flicker feathers

Not long after I was gifted the 11 flicker feathers, I was gifted 10 goose feathers. What did this mean? 21 feathers. 11, a number of mirroring. The mirror of 21 is 12. 12/21. My dad’s birth date. I unraveled this mystery with a friend. As I uttered out loud the connection to my dad’s birth date and that I believed my dad was communicating with me, we both felt goose bumps and a shiver around us. Kinda spooky, but I think that was my dad’s spirit we felt around us. (writer’s aside: magic moment, synchronicity…I hear honking geese as I write this).

December 21, Winter Solstice, my dad’s birthday. Last year I shared in “Light Born OF and TO dark” my revelation that the Winter Solstice is my conception date. I was conceived in the darkest days of winter, when the sun stands still in a pregnant pause, and was born into the bright shining light of the September sun when the sun was high in the sky. Whoa. Revolutionary! A powerful story of my inception as a being of light.

To celebrate the Winter Solstice, to celebrate my dad’s birth date, and most importantly to honor the light within and welcome back the light without, I offered a “second annual” Winter Solstice ceremony. Eleven (11) of us sat in all candle light and shared stories about our relationship to this date and quotes about Light. I led us through a guided meditation and facilitated a partner meditation, where I invited those present to mirror back each other’s Light. The ceremony was rich, meaningful, and spiritual.

sacred objects

To this ceremony I brought 3 sacred objects: my ❤ rock from Haleakala, a matching pair of duck feathers from the Klamath River, and my owl friend from Peru. After the ceremony ended, I packed up rather hurriedly but made sure my sacred objects were safe. When I got home and unpacked, my feathers were nowhere to be found. I checked every pocket again and again. No feathers. I started to feel sadness fill my being. I had collected those feathers from my stomping grounds and also my dad’s stomping grounds on a recent trip “home” while out kayaking with the pastor from my home church and sharing with him about my “relationship” with my deceased father. I knew there was a risk taking the feathers. The feathers and the ❤ rock both had a direct connection to my dad and I chosen to take them to the ceremony.

Sadness continued to fill my being. I had to go back out and see if I could find them. Somehow I knew what the outcome would before I started to retrace my steps: I found just one feather on the ground, a small miracle on this windy day. I found the one feather on the sidewalk outside the coffee shop, Revolutions. Though filled with both grief and gratitude in the moment, I took note of the spot where I had lost and then found my feather. Revolutions. Curious. What was my dad telling me now? I have my guesses.

Losing one of these two feathers revealed to me that unprocessed grief still lives within me. These feathers were not given to me by my dad in his life time. I had collected them. I had attached meaning to them; for me the matching feathers were like the number 11. I had become attached to them and what they represented. The depth of my grief over the loss of one of the feathers speaks less about my attachment to an object and more so to my relationship to my father – the relationship that it was not while he lived and what it is now that he lives on in the Heavens. And this relationship is twofold: my Heavenly Father is now my spirit ally AND on a deep, psychological level, I am invoking my inner father and healing that part of myself.

my earthly father - 2002

With my dad, circa 2002, on my graduation day.  My dad was pretty proud of the fact that I’d just earned a master’s degree in English.  My dad had glimmers of Light and did and does LOVE me!

Good Grief

Is grief good *or* is “good grief” an oxymoron, a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction?

good grief

Members of my family of origin used to and probably still do say “good grief” to express frustration, exasperation, annoyance, and those such feelings. I didn’t realize this was a family idiosyncrasy until my older sister’s college boyfriend, who came to visit at Christmastime, pointed it out to us.

I don’t think “good grief” is an oxymoron. In fact, I think grief is good, that experiencing grief is a healthy way to get in touch with and release the pain of the past. I had a good grief experience just this week, like a relief valve that had been holding a lot of pressure finally opened up and out came the grief. Ahhh . . . that felt good.

How did this all come about? Through connecting with and sharing stories of my past. Last Sunday I met with a guy who reached out to me for relationship counsel. He knew I had been married and knows that now I am not and wanted my advice and input on some challenges and strife he is experiencing in his own marriage. I never really considered myself “married.” Our marriage lasted all but a series of weeks, but I was in and out of that relationship for nearly 10 years so I do have a lot of history and experience to draw from.

As this guy described the conflicts within his relationship – the unresolved and perpetual fighting, his wife’s combative behavior, what sounded to me like the classic behaviors of separation anxiety and the insecurity that ensues – I saw into my own relationship of past, saw into a version of myself and some of my historical patterns that played out in my relationship. (If you’ve read or seen, “A Christmas Carol,” – it was kind of like that).

My relationship had also been one of conflict and strife and I fought passionately because I so wanted my needs to get met, I so wanted to be seen and heard, I so wanted to receive empathy and understanding…I just went about it the wrong way and I was dancing with someone who was not skillful or awake in communication and of course, neither was I. Drawing from lessons of relationship past, I heard myself say to this guy, “something will have to change or it will just be more of the same.” Communication patterns and how we show up in relationship must be up-leveled in a relationship of conflict and strife for there to be peace and harmony and deeper intimate connection and really, it must be up-leveled no matter the kind of relationship for us to move deeper into connection and intimacy with others, to experience deeper love, including with ourselves.

I was rolling this conversation around in my mind as I walked home under the light of Saturn, who is viewed by many as having a fatherly presence in the sky. Standing in my kitchen, I had what I am calling an “Archetypal Ah-hah.”   I was thinking about what I said, that “something will have to change or it will just be more of the same” and an image of rams butting heads flashed into my mind. Fighting. Aggression. Locked Horns.

rams butting heads

I’ve been moving deeper into astrology study under the guidance of celestial navigator, modern mystic, StarryTeller, and shamanic astrologer, Gemini Brett of More Than Astrology, of whom I’m a huge fan. From my birth chart reading with Brett, I learned that at the time of my birth the moon was in Aries in the Zodiac and in shamanic astrology, moon is our ancestry, our lineage. A moon in Aries means I come from the Aries tribe, a fiery and warrior lineage, and a tribe whose totem is the ram head. That rings true to my fire and my passion *and* definitely speaks to the conflict and struggle, the warrior “training” of my youth. And these were not healthy models of fighting, but downright hurtful and destructive. My father was the “worst” and the “best,” showing me all the ways I don’t want to fight and show up in relationship and yet…I had to do that dance and then go out and learn new ways of relating and communicating so I could put down the brutal weapons of my past, of my lineage.

Aries totem

So here I was, standing in my kitchen, butting ram heads flashing into my mind and I got it – I experienced a deeper understanding of the Aries archetype and my lineage. Thursday, 7/16/15, Pluto in Capricorn squared my Aries moon. This particular transit is unique to me and my chart – it is how the alignment of the planets in the sky are relating to and interacting with my celestial fingerprint. Ok, so I’ve got Pluto squaring my moon. What does this mean? Gemini Brett says this is a time for me to “know Aries,” to “retrieve the warrior goods,” to connect with the “righteous warrior of the Aries lineage,” and through alchemy to “turn led into gold.”

The conversation of Sunday past was a real gift, an opportunity to see into my lineage and to do just as Gemini Brett advised, to “know Aries.” And in synchronicistic fashion, because I live in a land of synchronicity, I had another very significant recollection of how the ram has showed up in my life, of how deeply connected I am to the Aries lineage.

My dad, that vicious, brutal character who was my earthly father, raised sheep. When it was time to breed the ewes and make lambs, he’d bring a ram to our property. I was four or five years old on one of these occasions and somehow I found myself out in the field with the ram. It charged at me, butt me with its head, and knocked me to the ground. I got up and it knocked me down again. I tried to run away, but it ran after me, butting me down over and over and over. I couldn’t get up. I couldn’t get away. I didn’t think I was going to make it. My older sister was watching (I have no solid memory of her presence, but know she was there through her own retelling). She screamed out for help and my dad ran onto the scene and with a Godlike presence swooped me up, like the strong, warrior man that he was and saved my life. My dad, my earthly father, the one who hurt me so much with his hands and his words, pretty much until the day he died, saved my life. He gave me life AND he saved my life.

hand of God

In one telling of my story this week, I felt the flood of emotion start to move from deep down inside and I let the good grief flow.

The Warrior that I am today.

MANifesto: MAN MOST WANTED

Six years ago – June 27, 2009 – I got married. Though the relationship was long – nearly 10 years – the marriage was short, unraveling fast and then exploding 8 weeks or so later. For nearly six years, I have been a single woman.

My relationship ended in a giant “ka-boom.” I was devastated, hurt to my very core. The loss of my person was excruciating. I was in A LOT of emotional pain, pain that lasted day after day, month after month. The pain was tangible and felt like a brick was sitting on top of my heart. I remember having a thought that the pain could actually be measured – put a dip stick in my heart and draw it back out to see dark red blood all the way to the “full” line.

It took a full year to cycle through the pain, for the intensity of it to subside, for the grief to fade away.  That year came with other losses too.  My dad died nearly 7 months after the “ka-boom” and my best friend of 15 years, and also my maid of honor, “broke up” with me over email just weeks before the one year anniversary of the “ka-boom.”

At some point within that first year after my relationship ended I realized I was given a second chance to find lasting love, to have a truly happy and healthy relationship.  I still believe in this second chance.

Yet, as time has passed, the bar has been raised. The more I meet conscious, heart connected men, the more I see and know what I want is so very different from my past. I lacked a positive and healthy male model in my father. My relationship of nearly 10 years was with a man who also was not emotionally, mentally, or physically healthy and like both my mother and my father, he did not meet my emotional needs in a sustaining and healthful way. Today I am grateful to have many new healthy and conscious male (and female) models in my life.

Nearly six years later, I know what I am looking for and what I need in a partner.  I am looking for someone truly amazing – a new and lasting life partner, a partner who is healthy, skillful, and awake/awakening.

MANifesto: MAN MOST WANTED

Heart connected. ❤

Shares a commitment to healing, personal discovery, growth, inner exploration, expansion, transformation, awakening in relationship, and the soul quest.

Skillful – conscious and awake/awakening in communication and self-expression. Self-responsible. Responsive. Expresses feelings and needs and makes requests. Expresses appreciation and gratitude.

Empathetic – mirrors and reflects back my emotional experience and self-expression. 

Empowering – mirrors back my gifts.

Spiritual *and* spiritually open. Woo Woo.

Has a healthy relationship to self, along with healthy friendships and relationships. Values community.

Present. Spacious. Sensitive (both emotionally and energetically). Supportive. Patient. Thoughtful. Gentle.

Attentive.  Tender.

Upbeat. Vibrant. Charismatic.  Passionate.

Inquisitive. Open. Curious.

Smart. (maybe even Brilliant! 🙂 )

Fun. Funny. Adventurous. Playful. Silly *and* emotionally mature.

Chivalrous.

Outdoorsy. Loves and respects nature.

Enjoys travel.

Values education and learning.

Smells the roses. Looks up at the stars.

Healthful lifestyle loves to eat good food; devoted to physical activity and movement, such as yoga; not dependent on drugs or alcohol; ideally is not allergic to nuts and is gluten and dairy tolerant.

Financially responsible. Professionally stable. Motivated. Reliable. Clean/Tidy.

Handy – owns tools and knows how to use them; good at fixing things. Computer Savvy. Mechanically inclined.

A man of integrity.

Shares a desire to create life, to bring a little person into this world, and share the joy of raising this little being together.

Together we resonate and share a connection, a kinship, a consciousness. (and we laugh together, A LOT!)

Loves me, cherishes me, values me. Appreciates that I am unique, bright, intelligent, insightful, independent, curious, adventurous, playful, strong, spirited, sensitive, loyal, devoted, and simultaneously traditional *and* unconventional. Sees me. Gets me. Is jaZZed about me.

MANifesto

I offer up my MANifesto on this Gemini new moon to the Divine Intelligence that guides us in this life.

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A special shout out to my friend in consciousness, TimO, for being the inspiration for this MANifestO. We share space in our NVC (non-violent communication) community group and he expressed a strong desire to grow the number of men in our group to balance out gender dynamics. I started to craft a clever invitation, “Men Most Wanted,” to manifest men for our group. Men Most Wanted turned into “MAN Most Wanted,” my MANifesto. Thank you, Tim. I value you as a huMAN and as my friend.  May we both MANifest!

Punctured!

puncturedOn 9/9, the day before my 38th birthday, I started to see a new friend / connection for acupuncture treatments. I was going through a bout of insomnia and experiencing (again – *sigh*) a surge of mysterious twitches and pulsations in muscles around my body. I chose to start treatments on 9/9 for two reasons: 1) to me, the date represented balance and alignment and 2) my intention was to start my 38th year with balanced energy, in energetic alignment.

After I scheduled my first appointment, I heard a little voice in my head, a voice that is very likely my voice of intuition, tell me that these treatments were going to provide holistic healing and more specifically, an opportunity to heal a little wound I have with this friend.

Visit 5 – there I am on the table, face down, needles in my back, body literally punctured. My acupuncture guy steps back into the room minutes after pushing firmly on tender spots around my shoulder blades and gently inserting needles into those same tender places. He tells me he just had an intuition hit, that right now is not the time to start a specific aspect of treatment as discussed and planned. The energy inside and around me immediately started to shift, feeling very heavy and thick. My little wound had just been punctured.

When I got home later that evening it hit me. I had a simultaneous flash of insight and an intense somatic knowing as I connected the surface wound to the original core wound and the series of wounds that came in between. As it hit me, the grief rose from the depths of my core and came out in sobs. By putting needles in tender, vulnerable spots in my body and inadvertently pricking the surface wound by sharing his intuition hit, my acupuncture guy released the energy block sitting on top of these wounds, creating an opening for an up chuck of grief.

The wound that was punctured is the wound of no choice. It was not my choice for my 10 year relationship to end. It was not my choice, just one year after my relationship ended, for ties to be severed with my best friend of 15 years. It was not my choice for a new romantic relationship to not be given space and time to blossom into the relationship I so wanted it to become; and in addition to that, to be bewildered, frustrated, and hurt that he moved away / “ran away” without communicating.

In each of these experiences, I had no choice; I had no sense of power. The “termination” of each of these relationships was decided for me, I was “abandoned,” and I had to live with ensuing pain and grief created by the choices made by the other person. And with my acupuncture guy, he had also made a choice that was not my choice in our history and here again in the clinical setting. That’s the thing with wounding, the heart recognizes the likeness and feels the prick, the stab, the pain.

Sure, it was painful for me that night of the up chuck of grief to connect with the core wound, to see a pattern of wounding in my life, but it is such a blessing and a gift to release deep grief still trapped in my body and my being. I knew there was potential for holistic healing with my acupuncture guy, but this release far exceeded anything I had envisioned. I feel strongly that this release occurred because of our history and though there is a tiny wound there, the wound is a gift that continues to inspire healing, continues to challenge me to work through the pain and patterns of my own wounding.

I need more healing around my little surface wound, but I am so grateful for the emotional healing of my deeper wounds, so grateful for the safety and trust we have cultivated together that is allowing for deeper healing. And my intuition tells me there is a divine intelligence guiding this process, creating little places of friction and pricking at the surface to get at what’s deeper underneath.

Connecting with Joy

Washington apples

Washington apples

Biting into a crisp and juicy Fuji apple, I had a small revelation about my relationship to joy.

I was enjoying my apple.  I was telling myself how much I love apples.  (Of course I love apples.  I live in Washington, the apple state, after all.)  Recently I discovered Jazz apples and Lady Alice apples…so delicious and so fun to try new varieties!  As the sweetness and crunch of this Fuji apple filled my mouth, I became intrigued by its “imperfection.”  The color of the skin was not uniform – one side of the apple was a light yellow/dull green and the other side a dull, streaky red with yellow splotches.

As I munched joyfully on my apple, something I said to someone in an open moment came to mind.  I remember saying, “because of everything I’ve been through, it’s hard for me to feel happiness and joy.”  My remembrance of uttering this statement has gnawed at me for months.  I’m not a gloomy, dark, negative person.  In fact new people I meet often experience me as bright and cheery.  Despite my projection of brightness, there are times I feel an inner gloom, when sadness takes hold of me.  As I reflect back on this moment, I offer myself compassion and recognize that I expressed this self-observation during a darker season, literally darker outside and darker inside (the transition from fall to winter was hard for me and I struggled to hold on to my inner light).

For the last several years as I’ve progressed from the heaviness of devastation and grief from my relationship ka-boom to less heavy to lightness and a growing brightness, I’ve been contemplating and cultivating a connection with joy.  At times I’ve doubted my ability to feel joy, as my statement above illustrates.  Other times I’ve been felt bewildered.  “Joy?  What’s Joy?”  To myself I’ve wondered, “how can I feel joy if I don’t know what joy is?”

I remember asking myself once during my journey out of the sadness and heaviness of grief, “do I even know how to be happy?”  I actually sat down a year ago (probably on a day or a week where I was struggling to connect with a feeling of happiness) and wrote down a list of everything that brings happiness, and yes, joy, into my life.

Here is a snapshot of my list:

  • birds (their songs, playfulness, and curious behaviors)
  • sunshine
  • nature – wildflowers, blue sky, clouds, sunsets, mountains
  • cooking and eating my creations
  • time spent with my friends
  • interacting with the kids on ICO outings and witnessing their discoveries of nature
  • learning and self-discovery

My small revelation, my moment of insight, emerged in the space just after remembering my declaration, “because of everything I’ve been through, it’s hard for me to feel happiness and joy.”  It’s not just that I’ve been through a lot of hard stuff in my life (a tough childhood, the death of a sibling, a tragic and traumatic end to the most important relationship of my life) which has undoubtedly darkened my perception of my experiences and my reality, it’s also, and quite significantly so, that joy was not modeled for me during my childhood.

My dad was an angry, scary man.  He was also a workaholic and so often put an end to our play – instead we were barked at and commanded to do work.  I spent a lot of my childhood, along with my siblings, stacking fire wood, weeding the garden, and helping my dad corral the sheep he raised.  My mom was and still is a very timid person and lives in a chronic state of fear and depression.  She typically represses her feelings and emotions and “suffers in silence.”  My mom is also quite negative and often expresses her belief that something will go wrong, always assuming the worst, not believing in the possibility of the best.

These were my behavioral models:  anger and aggression from one parent; fear, negativity, and timidity from the other.  Sadly, there was not a lot of joy experienced or expressed in my family.  It’s no wonder that I’ve had such a hard time connecting with joy.  Joy, for the most part, has been a big unknown for me – obscure and elusive.  I’ve had to discover joy on my own and for myself.  And then I had to re-discover joy as I emerged from the heaviness of my grief, from heart wrenching pain.

I now celebrate that joy is no longer so elusive and bewildering to me.  My enjoyment of my apple, the pleasure I experienced eating it and taking it all in, splotches and all, illustrates my ability to connect with and feel joy.  More and more I experience joy in everyday life, whether noticing a dog at play, a crow burying its food in my back yard, a perky and cheerful daffodil, or a notable moon rise.   In each of these noticings and much more, I feel joy permeate and fill my being.  Hooray for that!

On my journey I have discovered that curiosity is the pathway to joy.  Curiosity, being inquisitive, being in a state of wonder, helps us to discover (or perhaps uncover) the essence and the fullness of joy in all things, in all experiences.  When we are curious, we are open to receiving the fullness of life.  Additionally when we are curious, we are fully present in each moment, squeezing and savoring every last drop out of JOY in each moment of life.  The pathway of curiosity is the path of mindfulness.

How does JOY live inside me?

When I feel joy my heart feels light and buoyant, the corners of my mouth and eyes turn up into a smile, I feel playful energy stir within me.  When I feel joy, I feel an inner brightness. 
When I feel joy, I AM bright!!!

How does JOY live inside YOU?