My pretty foot.

My pretty foot.

All the way around to my ankle.

All the way around to my ankle.

These were done by Daphne.

Yep. They were among her first attempts at even doing any sort of henna tattooing.

This all came about because of my sweet sister.

At the beginning of our Sisters Retreat Weekend, we are asked to stand up and announce to the Circle who we are, and what we bring to the community. Some women respond with, I’m a massage therapist. Others say, I’m really good at listening. I spoke of my own truths and talents. Daphne’s response was: I’m Daphne, and I’m not good at anything. I don’t have any talents.
😦

My sisters strove to change her mind on that. And Saturday morning one sister asked Daphne to put a mandala on her belly. She, like many of us, know about Daphne’s talent for free-handed drawings of mandalas. She brought some henna and told Daphne to decorate. So she did. After all, even Daphne knows not to speak back to one of her aunts. LoL

Beautiful henna - made even more so by the little boy inside.

Beautiful henna – made even more so by the little boy inside.

I am so grateful to her, and the others, who encouraged my child. To the ones who complimented her talents. To her for decorating my own foot and ankle. I feel so ubber pretty with my decorations. The only direction I gave her was to start at my big toe, and end around my ankle area. I think that she did an amazing job. I am looking forward to more of her talents being displayed upon my body.

At the end of the weekend, we are asked to give our thoughts on our experiences. Daphne said, “I’m grateful that I now know what my talent is.”

((*BIG MOMMA SIGH*))

Good morning Slimey!

Good morning Slimey!

Yes this is what I just found, creeping across the arm of my Grandfather’s chair. The chair that I have placed in my office, for sitting in and relaxing, as I look over pages, read up on new stuff, and plan out my day, week, month.

Obviously I have been “Doing” too much and not “Being” enough. Hence this slimey, creepy-crawler, who is very very slow at moving off of my chair – and doesn’t seem to have any plans for picking up the pace, any time soon – slithered into my path this morning.

He is not the first person to notice this, and bring it up to me. I am getting brow-beaten by my Sweetie into going to bed earlier. It turns out that I am not 19 years old any more, and cannot function in a beauteous way, when I stay up past midnight. Again and again and again and again – for nearly 2 weeks now. (*Please note: Last night I did make it to bed by 10pm – and slept until 7! I clearly needed the rest.*)

I also look back on my Sister’s Healing Weekend Retreat and the ways that Spirit was talking to me, through my Sister’s stories. I see a sweet sister working herself to death. She is suffering physical bodily problems that are directly related to burning the candle at both ends. I watched as another sister, who is Western medically trained, listen to her chest, for signs of heart-attack. I don’t want to work myself into a state where I feel a vise-grip around my chest. I know that she doesn’t either. She is looking into ways to find more balance in her life, between her work, that she loves to do and is very good at – and her home life which is suffering, along side of her body. I can take a lesson from her experiences.

But first: I am going to gently thank Mr. Slimey for the reminder, and carefully put him back outside in the yard – where he belongs. Message received. In gratitude.

So although I have the bottle of meds for Russell’s different brain, I have yet to give him even 1 of them. I cannot bring myself to do that to his body. Nor the chemical make up of his brain. Its such a harsh, and un-reversable course of action. Once started, you can’t just stop. Once started, you can’t truly know the effects of such a chemical on his body.

Even if there are nights when taking off my jewelry, and preparing for bed, that I think; “Tomorrow I’m just going to start. I can’t take this any more. The outbursts. The frustrations. The lack of respect. Tomorrow I will start him on these meds.” The morning comes, and I look at the bottle, and I want to throw up. The bottle look like a poison. Its whole energy reeks of foulness.

So I reached out to my sisters. To my tribe. To my community.

Well the first thing we have done is have Solara, see him. She is an acupuncturist. She wasn’t sure how still he would sit with the needles, nor his reaction to them. so she started with laser instead. Quicker, but not as focused. It seems to have helped him with his sleep a bit, but with any acupuncture, it takes time to help clear up the meridians.

She is also giving him some herbals to help heal his adrenals. The adrenal glands are over stimulated, by the body’s reaction to the brain’s needs. Its like being in a war zone.. The ‘fight or flight’ mode that your body goes into. ADHD will force the body’s adrenals to secrete that extra fluid needed to handle the situation. Hence such a strong, and forceful reaction. We are trying to calm his adrenal system down to more healthy levels, and to give it some relief.

We have gotten the insurance to finally approve the Behavior Therapy… but it means taking him away from his current therapist, J.
He has warmed up to J in a unique way, and she sees all of the children. So she is able to get a clearer picture of the family unit, and to help each kid with their issues.

She was really supportive of having him tested. Of my choices to not medicate him. She said: “Well the diet/ routine / structure stuff that you have to follow takes a BUNCH of effort. But of all the parents I know, you are one parent who could make this work without the meds.”

I appreciated her compliment.

As for the diet, it isn’t too far off from what the diet is here at home anyhow. Except for find some more ‘protein’ for his diet, we are already doing most of the diet. Very little gluten. Almost no sugar, except for honey and stevia. But there were some suggestions the K, the behavioral therapist, gave me that I had to check out.

1 – Caffeine for breakfast.
Or any time that I need him to slow down and focus.
Which sounds like complete opposite of what people use caffeine for. Yet, is not too far fetched based upon my own personal experiences. It has never failed to unnerve my friends, and family to watch me down a soda, or cup of tea, or coffee after 8pm, and still have no troubles falling asleep.

2 – Melatonin for bedtime.
I did not know that people with this brain-wiring difference are found to be lacking in melatonin.
Which is produced by the body naturally, in balance with serotonin and dopamine. Without sufficient amounts being produced, the serotonin and dopamine become too pronounced, and thus equate to some unhealthy choices. Such as ‘not thinking before acting’. It is not like iron and vitamin C, which can be gotten from food sources, thus must be replaced with a pill. Unlike iron, and much like Vitamin C, the body absorbs and used the melatonin, and does not store any of it for future use. So it has to be done daily.

By replacing the melatonin in the body, and thus the brain, we balance the 3 chemicals for brain activity. Since the dopamine and serotonin are designed to Ramp things Up… To give us the adrenaline when we need it. To help us Go… The melatonin does the opposite, it helps the brain to shut down. To make the brain quiet, and easier to fall asleep.

One area that I am not sure how to help Russell with is breakfast. I can give him all the things he needs – like the Sweet tea – and turkey sausage on an Whole wheat English muffin. Problem is: The school already provides breakfast every day. Regardless if you’ve already eaten at home. Regardless of pay. It is provided Free. In the classroom. It is a crappy breakfast. It is nothing but sugar / dairy (which he shouldn’t eat) / and carbs. It will do nothing but help him to crash faster – mid morning.

Russell does not want to be any different than anyone else. So even if I were to insist that his breakfast consist of more protein, like a hard boiled egg / PB and J / or Sausage in a Blanket…
He wouldn’t want it. Typical child.

So we are working on utilizing the Non-Chemical-Made-in-a-Lab pills. Instead using the ones that Mother Earth is already providing for us.

There are posts to be ‘posted’ – many of them written down in my paper journal, and working their way here. There are some I’ve written but not posted in public that really should be opened up. There are some that I don’t have words to express, so they stay hidden away in their fragmented state.

I guess you could say that I’ve been hiding. Well at least these last couple of weeks. Some of life’s experiences have been rather harsher than I would like to admit to anyone… least of all to myself. Hiding seems to help that problem. Its amazing the things you can ignore, here in the shadows of a shell. The things you don’t want to look at. In the world around you. In the people you know. In yourself.

The previous couple of months have found me spending more time ‘living new experiences’ rather than ‘writing new experiences’. Which has been good for me. Which I am oh so grateful for. I am so blessed by all of the people, places, and experiences I’ve gotten to meet, see, and do. I know from having tried it this way for the last couple of months, it doesn’t work too well for me either. I need time to ‘think’ and to ‘write’ and to ‘let go’. It gets too jumbled up in my brain otherwise.

Beyond my normal feelings of wanting to just be quiet, in the normal ways… I have been feeling this pull to sit in the west. To sit in introspection. To be still and quiet. I started feeling it around my birthday. I thought it was just my moontime coming. But stronger than just a normal moontime. It is more than that.

I looked upon the calendar, and the stars, for some clues. To the astrology of the planetary alignments, for some hints. To the people around me, and their knowledge, for some understanding. Not too many answers in any of those places that could explain to me, why I was feeling such a strong pull.

So I looked to me, to where I am… and there it was. Becomes Her Vision. 13th Clan Mother of the cycle that I follow.

I’m 12 now… and on my birthday I completed 12 years of sitting in The Circle. I step up now, and walk into my 13th cycle. I have noticed each year as I follow this path, that I find myself spending a great deal of time with one clan mother, or another. I can remember my 1st year, and the newness of everything in my life. In the circle. How I was just learning my rhythms and how to listen to my own inner voice, let alone the world around me. Then in my 7th year, and the lessons of forgiveness. Both in the people I loved, and in myself. My 9th year. My 11th year. Each one, so colored by the stories and lessons of the next mother in the cycle.

This past year I have felt more gratitude and been shown more ways to count my blessings, than ever in my life. In those moments of doubt, and hurt, I find myself turning towards the lessons of thankfulness, for each one. Knowing that in their teachings, I am shaped into the woman that I am meant to be. I know that there is nothing to regret in my life’s journey, because each ‘so-called’ negative thing, is really a beautiful lesson to be grateful for.

So I sit now, with Becomes her Vision… I look inward and try to see the “Who” and “What” of who I have become so far. I open myself up to the Dream time, and all of the possibilities of “Who” and “What” I can yet be. Which takes time away from the world. It takes time of shutting off the phone and not answering each email as it comes across the wires. It means laying on the sweet grass, in the moonlight, staring at the stars, from which we came.

I’m trying to find a balance between this need and the world.

I got the greatest gift this weekend. The most amazing, precious, sweetest gift. My sister, Tall Bear, returned to sit in our circle for a time.

I have been missing her for a long time now. Asking about her from time, to time, from other sisters who live in the area that she used to live in. I haven’t seen her sweet face in over 7 years. A very long time.

I didn’t even recognize her when I first saw her. Nor the time when she offered her help to me. But later, as she was introducing herself, and her friend, to those of use she knew, around the table; I knew then.

Tall Bear: *looking at me, next in line for introductions*

me: *who usually responds with Marcella, to anyone new* Otter

Tall Bear: *standing there slightly stunned*

me: “I know you don’t I?” *but I couldn’t place her in that moment*

Tall Bear: *smiling in gratitude* “You should. I named you.”

me: *leaping for joy, out of my chair, and wrapping my arms around her* “I’ve missed you so much!”

To which she laughed. Hugged me back.

And then the tears started to flow for me. And once they started, I couldn’t make them stop. I was so consumed by my sadness. My gratitude. My love for her. My love for my God-mother. Her arms around me. Her happiness at such a greeting. She just held me. I just cried.

I sobbed through the whole singing of our prayer song. I sobbed though the giving of the blessing. I sobbed on my way out the door, to a quiet place. I sobbed into the earth for all that I had / all that I knew / all the people in my life.

I spent hours this weekend with Tall Bear. Talking about our lives. About our circle. About life. About forgiveness. About the power of the Circle. I learned things about my sister that I didn’t know until this weekend. I was given such a gift, of having her walk back into my life, on this weekend, in this time.

She was a gift from my God-mother for me, during this time. I had not planned on going to the Sister Circle this month. Or really even the Sweat Lodge. Although with all that I’ve been through, I knew that I needed the magic of the lodge. Since other plans for relaxing, were not going as planned. I headed out. Camping for the weekend. Maybe even doing some much needed journaling.

Everything happens for a reason. I am so filled with gratitude.

She is cutting herself.

I can’t stop it.

I can’t control it.

I can’t fix it.

I could loose my baby. And it’s a very real possibility. I was warned of this. Years ago. The only time I have ever consented to having my palm read. The only time I thought, I need to hear what she has to say. When the psychic warned me.. “You could loose one of them. Don’t push so hard. Or control so much. You’ll end up losing her all together, in trying to keep her. Drugs. Something of that nature.”

Here it is.

She is slowly killing herself.

I am doing my best to keep the woman’s warning in the forefront. To keep as much ‘hands off’ as possible. But how to balance that with my need to protect her. Especially her. I nearly lost her once. I don’t know how to survive that sort of loss. I don’t want to learn. It is not a lesson I am willing to learn. I am doing everything I know, the prayer. The intention. The wording. Everything I’ve been learning for the last 13 years, in Circle, through reading, through my own questing, through my sisters… everything for this. Keeping her alive…. On the Planet…. Living.

I knew that something was wrong last year. I knew it then. I suspected then. I had no idea of how to handle it. How to confront her. How to balance this need for controlling and Not losing her. So I just backed off. I watched. I did what I could to keep her safe.

When a few weeks prior to her birthday – that time of major flux each year for her – for each of them – she really screamed out her need for help. I did what I thought was best. I wanted to have her committed. I knew then, like I know now, that she could do it. Its not just a threat with her. She is that far gone, down into that rabbit hole of depression.

I backed off. I remembered Spirit’s warning to me. Don’t push too far, or try too hard to keep her… you’ll end up losing her. So I backed off… and had her father help. Lots of help that was… Pfft… DCF. Group therapy. Eventually counseling set up for all of them.

But in the time it took between Barry’s “help” and the actual help – she cut herself.

2 weeks, and 3 days ago. She took a sharp object to her skin.

Where. I don’t know.

I am trying to do that whole “respecting of privacy” – “backing off” – “not up her butt” parent thing. Its hard. Its soooo fucking hard. I swear this is THE HARDEST THING I’VE EVER DONE!

I struggle – every day. Sometimes every hour. To not strip her down – look at the marks – scream at her to explain WHY!!!!??????!!!!! – then put her in some sort of straight jacket – carry her around with me – like when she was weeks old – and insisting on being breastfed 24/7. To keep her safe.

To keep her with me.

This isn’t like losing her to growing up. I’m working on that. The idea that one day each of my children will be 18… living their dreams… creating their own lives… in homes of their own… with their own spouses.. and having their own families. I’m starting to be okay with that idea.

But to lose her to death. I’m not okay with that. I will never be okay with that. Ever.

I know enough of cutting – of self manipulation – to know enough to scare me. I don’t know enough on how to fix it… or solve it… to keep her safe.

I do know that I have to keep using what I do know – my words / my prayers / my intentions / my resources / to keep keep her here. Without trying to hold on to her soooo hard.

I know enough – to know that I have to have Faith in her Orenda… and to let go.

Well…. sorta.

It was a mixed bag… but then most of life is. LoL

I set out with no real ‘issue’ that I needed to deal with. No major trauma that I wanted to release. No intense healing that I was going through. Usually I would then set my prayers, to each direction, to coincide with what ever that was. This time it was just ordinary life. So with that in mind, I set out an intention with wanting to be a better person.

“Help me to remember where I came from. Why I’m here. How I got here.

Help me to surrender, so that I can enter the cave of Bear, to that place of introspection.

The grace to go in. Fill me with Strength and Courage, to stand, in that space. To find the Beauty of the Truth.

And with Love in my whole being, let me Trust in the Truth. And the Clarity to see it.”

Sometimes we don’t know what we are looking for. We don’t have a particular path that we are climbing over. We don’t have a goal in mind, that we want help in achieving. We are just walking on our path, doing our thing; and living our life. Culling out the things, people, and places that no longer help us, or need us. Gathering to us those that bring joy into our lives.

I spent time with this prayer in the course of tying my 452 prayer ties. (*No, I’m not going through all of that again… find link here*) Vision Quest Process link As in years past, it was pulling me into that “Bubble” or “Head space” that Vision Quest can become. Only unlike, in years past, I ended up doing them literally at the last hours. I have been so busy with things at the restaurant, that I haven’t had much time to myself. Not to journal, as the many empty dates will show. Not to hang out with my friends, which I’ve already planned to ‘dates’ this week. Not to settle myself and prepare for Vision Quest.

I have only ever tied them all in 1 day… that was a humbling experience. I have only ever tied them a few months in advance… that was a weak experience. I have usually done it in the course of a weekend, giving myself some time in between sections, or directions. This time I did it in 2 days, so to speak: Thursday night and Friday afternoon. Then I did a really ill-planned thing… which I give gratitude that I survived.

I drove the car.

LoL

It was like being drunk. That is the only analogy that I could possibly come up with, to explain what being in my “Bubble” is like. I’ve never had a conscious out-of-body experience, but I imagine this is what people talk about. Its like flying, while also stuck inside of your body. The world is a whole new place. Everything is brighter. Crisper. Cleaner. Better. Hell, even my glasses work better.

So you would think that being inside of my Bubble, when I get to the property, that Vision Quest is held on, would mean I was already on Vision Quest when I got there. Not so much.

Unfortunately, the hour-long drive does begin to break through that Bubble. Even with the phone turned off. The radio off, because the music was just irritating to my system. Once you get there, you’ve got to do ordinary things, like: find the space you’re going to camp in / set-up the tent / donate your items to the fire-tender / help with setting up the Sweat Lodge / and socialize.

I love the socializing that happens when my sisters and I get together. My cheeks always ache a bit when I have to drive home, after a visit with them. Yes, there’s that much smiling and laughing. I learn so much, just being in their company. From mothering and food tips, to healing and health tips. New recipes for things. Places to find things that we need… and want. Joyously celebrating accomplishments… their’s and their family members’.

I must say though that I wish there was less ‘chatter’ when we are in ceremony. I’ve noticed it more and more in the last year, or two. I appreciate that as a group of women, we are like centipede, who keeps growing new legs, and thus having to regain his balance between the older ones who know what to do, and the newer ones who are just beginning. We reclaim more and more sisters each year. Some older sisters, spinning off and creating even more circles of sisters in other places. Newer sisters taking their place, in the circle and asking questions. Their curiosity is a beautiful thing. There has to be a balance in the times to “teach” about ceremony, and the times to just “be” in ceremony.

Between the socializing, which I could have done less of, by hiding away in my area… taking a walk… and choosing not to participate; and the chatter while we are in ceremony; it felt more like we were all out there for a great big camping trip. I found it hard to find my Bubble.

I searched and searched for it all weekend. I tried all of the tricks that I knew to do. The things that have worked in the past. The things that never worked in the past, but I tried them any ways. I couldn’t find my way back into my Bubble.

That Bubble is an amazing place to be. I’ve been blessed to be in that place, while in vision quests of the past, and had the most amazing things happen to me. Shown to me. Given to me. Such beauty, that to begin to describe would never do it justice with mere words. Yet I will never ever begin to forget about.

I felt disconnected this year, in a way that I haven’t felt before. As if I had been forgotten somehow. I know that I wasn’t. I am sure that my sisters thought of me, as much as I thought of them. I know that I am never truly alone in the world. Not any more. I have the full backing of my sisters, no matter where I am in the world. Even if I’m the furthest tent away from the house, I’m just as close as everyone else.

I learned a great number of things, don’t get me wrong. I just miss being in my Bubble, that’s all.

I was blessed to have time to think… to gather my thoughts about different issues… make lists about them… and get it all down on paper! That is a blessing – in and of, itself. But I didn’t need my Bubble, or a Vision Quest to make it happen. I just needed time. Time away from the world, my boss, the phone and all of my friends. I needed time away from FaceBook! LoL

I did get something from my prayer that I set forth, in my Prayer ties. I wanted to be shown the Truth, I didn’t indicate about what though. I forgot to BE Specific… duh! I had a Blue Heron fly over me. Low. Like he was trying to get into my space. I’ve seen them on the ground. Never had one fly over me though. This was just after I was journaling about a text message I received from a friend, on Friday.

“you have such a sweet, genuine spirit about you that seems to make people feel special and important when they are in your presence. I know I did… and it felt good. One of the things that impressed me most about your personality was when we were at Crackle Barrel. As I was coming back from the restroom, you had engaged a couple sitting at the next table with their children in conversation. and I could see how proud they were to talk about their family to a perfect stranger. There is a kindness in that, and it made me puff up a little with pride that you were were there, and I was with you.”

I realized that people say things like that to me: You’re kind. You’re sweet. You’re giving. You’re talented. and my favorite, You’re the most Christian person I know!. That one always makes me cringe and laugh, at the same time. If they only knew. brouhaha

I in turn, will quickly point out each and every bad fault that I have. I argue that they simply don’t know me well enough. That they haven’t seen my ugly side yet. Instead of just accepting the truth about myself – and walking that truth. Being the Kindness, the Sweetness, the Generous, the Talented, the Christian person that I am.

The medicine of the Blue Heron is to remind us to look at our selves, though Self-Reflection. To see ourselves clearly, without the cloudyness of self-pity, low self-worth. To understand our place in the world. To accept ALL of the parts of ourselves without denying any emotion or thought.

A pretty big truth to accept and digest.

I also was blessed to know that I can survive a thunderstorm, in a tent. It didn’t just rain – it was a Frog choker, of a storm. It poured. There was rain and rain, and more rain. There was thunder. Rolling bands of it. Singing song after song, after song to me. The lightening showing off the night’s clouds in new and beauteous ways. And the wind. We cannot forget about the wind, that tried its best to take my tent out from, under me. So glad that I decided to stake it down this time. I usually don’t bother with the stakes. Hahahaha

But I survived. I chanted – a lot. I sang – a lot. I prayed – a lot. I mentally and emotionally called out to those around me. I even pictured Nina in my head, laying her head down in my lap, and keeping me company. I stayed in my circle. I was safe if I did… and I did. The lightening which seemed to be hitting everything close by, based on the amount of light it was throwing off. Never touched anything inside of my circle.

Not my first time in a tent, in a thunderstorm. Nor will it be my last. But it was my first one that I couldn’t leave my tent and find shelter in my car. Or had to look after my children and calm their fears, to take my mind off of my own.

Oh, and I thought about food. I mean food was on my brain, almost every time I turned around. I dreamed of food, in some fashion, every time I fell asleep. I dreamed of sneaking sugar cookies at a conference event. I thought about the yummy food that Coyote was preparing for us for Sunday. I thought about the food that I had made for Turtle, and willed her to eat some of it. Especially the chocolate. I was actually hungry. A completely new experience for me. I have never even so much as given food a second thought when I’ve been on a Vision Quest. Not had a single tummy grumble moment. I had lots of those moments. Lots of them. I even dreamed of pizza being delivered, but realized when I woke up, that my phone was in the car.

I know that I am judging my experience — and not giving it enough credit. I am trying to point out a balance of wonderful with the ‘eh’. I feel like there was this amazing Bubble that I created in making those Prayer Ties, and in a short expanse of time. I mean there was some power in those ties. I could feel it, even as I laid them out on the ground around my tent area.

Powerful energy that I somehow, wasted.