Financial challenges …

(posted on the TMS forum July 13, 2017)

There are so many nuances to explore. In being financially devastated, what is left but the self and utilizing imagination and creativity in transforming our lives into something genuine and meaningful? There is so much we can learn about ourselves, and about the real nature of society. The ‘throw-away’ culture can only manifest when there is excess. To whittle down and diminish our impact on our planet is one of the greatest gifts. When I step through the doors of any store, my eyes see …. garbage. Truly. Garbage. The packaging that will be doing into the landfills. The poison that lurks within the packaging. The processing that went into the productions of ‘things’ that are disposable, built with planned obsolescence, or just plain junk that we do not really even need. The edible products that are labeled as food, yet are toxic.

To have ‘less’ money is the perfect, eye-opening opportunity to make a real difference to ourselves, and others. Re-using, reducing, minimizing. Trading goods and services when possible. Growing your own medicines (herbs, weeds, flowers, fruits, vegetables…). This can be done in re-used Greek yogurt containers or milk containers or any sort of packaging that might normally be tossed (if there isn’t a yard available).

To breathe in the moments, listening to the Trees whisper their secrets, and the vibrant energy they share when you stand within their shelters. To watch as the magical Spiders weave their glistening webs, to laugh when a Hummingbird becomes curious about your earrings. To run your fingers through the woody brush of Thyme or Sage, releasing soothing scents.

When you fall in love with Nature, you will start to fall in love with yourself.

Being financially barren is not to be ‘poor’ at all. It is a starting point, an awakening.

We are taught to be afraid of being poor. We are taught to fight for jobs so we can make lots of money and spend it on ‘things’ that only make us happy for brief moments.

Our fears do not serve us, nor does it serve others.
Imagine saying “I can do this.” And believing it.
“I can do this.”
And you can.
There is a beautiful, strong Light within us all, and when we allow it to shine, we become empowered.

Breathe. Be the songs, be the colors, be the energy.
Just. Be.
You are worthy, and you are perfect as you are.

… with Love and Gratitude <3

Resisting Hate

An interesting article about why resisting with violence helps the other side …

How To Protest Neo-Nazis

It provokes despair to realize that history repeats itself, and the hate continues.  It rolls through generations. Children are taught this hate. It becomes just another ‘fact of life’ that they are ‘better’ than [fill in any group]’.

Each person can BE the change.
Each person can choose.

Be …. Love. And Compassion. And Kindness.
<3 <3 <3

Social Anxiety Disorder

Over the years, I have been diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, General Anxiety Disorder, Seasonal Affective Disorder, OCD.  Add Fibromyalgia, IBS, unstable joints, and at the moment, a damaged SI joint that has been getting re-injured for the last eight months.

What a mess!! And what a daunting looking list.

I have been off all pharmaceuticals for years.

I think it is the OCD that serves me the best. It keeps me fighting!   Being vigilant, setting boundaries, and relentless self-talk. Medicinal plants and herbs and food.  Keeping my home ‘sacred’ with practical and green-living products (most I make), and creating a sanctuary that feels safe. Yoga, Poi Spinning, Belly Dancing. Breathing. More self-talk. And trying to help others. This is an under-rated activity. When I step outside my internal chaos and share pieces of myself, my intentions, my compassion, my love …. this rates high on creating moments of contentment.

There is no single answer to coping with such issues. It is a constant journey of exploration and adjustment. It is a life-long commitment to adapting and changing and getting back up after feeling battered.

It is not easy. But it does get …. easier. In increments. And sometimes more. Minutes. Hours. Days. Quicker recovery times from a crash.

My biggest challenge: “The Triggers”.  I know my triggers, so I carefully avoid situations that I know will set them off. But situations can arise that I just don’t see coming, and I’m hurled into a defensive response.  Anxiety overrides reason. Even in the safest, most loving situation, an unexpected pattern change of behavior can set off alarms.

Afterwards, it is hard not to berate myself for my responses.  This is where my ‘safe activities’ become invaluable. I put myself in a soothing mode, and remember that I am doing the best that I can, and I will do better next time!

Everyone has challenges. I believe those challenges can be faced a lot more easily IF (this is a big one!) … IF we didn’t criticize ourselves so cruelly.

You are worthy!
You are powerful!
You are strong!
You are beautiful! (yes, men too!)
Just remember to use your power to do good 😉

Love~Compassion~Kindness <3

The Depression Demon took a good hard swipe at me, so I went outside to wander under Sebastian, letting his willowy branches surround me. Then I headed over to one of the Apple Trees and wedged myself in a fork of two large branches, and listened to the Bees and marveled at the blossoms, and watched some Turkey Vultures cruise the sky. It was almost sunny, but mostly not, and rain fell very softly. After awhile, I moved over to the herb garden, though the bright yellow Dandelions called first, so I popped some flower heads into my mouth, then munched on some mustard greens (hot! love it!), and chased it with some Oregano, and Thyme, then Rosemary, then back to the bright yellow Dandelions. Some of the Dandelions had transformed into Faeries, so I blew them into the breeze.

One moment at a time … and being NOW.

Now is the sound of the river, the song of birds, the whisper of trees, and the soft hum of bees. Now is the flames of warmth in the wood stove and my beautiful Lucy enjoying the warmth as much as I do. Now is fuchsia pink emerging on a spindly tree that looks dead most of the year framed in the sliding glass door, and neighbored by the Ben & Molly, the Holly Couple. Now is the stalks of Elephant Garlic growing by inches, and the Grape Hyacinths, and the orchid colored bell flowers (I don’t know what they are).

Now.
This moment.
And reminding myself I am not perfect, and I can make mistakes. The world will not end, and nor will I.

Love is all that matters. Love is everything.

<3

“Look at what he’s done to me already. I think of him every time I have a drink. I think of him every time I decide NOT to have a drink. If I even meet a man who drinks or if  I see a bum on the street or smell bourbon, his face is the first thing that comes to mind.”

“Oh God, and if I’m around someone who’s had too much, I can’t stand it. I disconnect.”

“My life is filled with reminders of him. His apologies and his phony, wheedling charm, his boo-hooing when the booze got to him. ”

“There are laws for everything except the harm families do.”

… D is for Deadbeat- A Kinsey Millhone Mystery by Sue Grafton

This describes ‘it’ well, whether it is ‘he or she’.  Smell cannot be reasoned with. Smell always triggers. My trigger is beer and wine (which also masks harder alcohol like vodka). The slurred tone in the voice. The mood swings. The loud voices which easily escalate into yelling. The hard laughter with the dark edge.

So many tiny details that can trigger a flight response before the mind even registers why.

Time does not diminish this …. it worsens, deepens.

Running away from it never works.

Instead … acknowledgement must occur. Awareness.  Use this pain to help others. Share the stories. Show that while it feels isolating, there are others who understand … show that YOU understand. And then cast such bright Light in other areas of your life, that it bathes your soul. Spread that Light. BE that Light.

Be Love.

<3

We moved back to California in 2007 in a moderately ‘well off’ financial condition.  Due to a family situation, by 2012 our most of our life savings had been whittle away and there was no income for five years of full-time-working, seven days a week.

Fate, timing, whatever you want to call it … intervened. My Mom had suffered a brain aneurysm, and I had been traveling to Oregon to stay with her. On a walk with a friend up on the mountain, she pointed down into the valley at an abandoned house. After a long, complicated series of events, we took the gamble of losing even more of what was left of our savings, and began the new journey.

Living in the country is very hard on finances, but we moved here primarily to be near my Mom. If we had not done this … we could have far more easily recovered by simply leaving the prior situation and living in our giant motorhome.

It was the right choice, but still it has been complicated. Our income hovers in the ‘legal’ poverty region, but we are better off than we were in California.

We’ve …………… maintained, always living on the edge, but … still … not crashing.

It is amazing what becomes unnecessary when life becomes frugal. I’ve realized that so many things are just junk. The more money there is, the more wasteful one can be.

Many people in this community struggle financially. And one thing has becoming astonishingly clear: The less that some people have, the more generous they are!  I’ve been witnessing this phenomena consistently. And people who are farmers/gardeners are extremely generous! There is also a lot of ‘sharing’ that goes on.

Being ‘poor’ financially does not mean being  unhealthy. It is quite possible to purchase organic products and eat healthy foods.  In fact, often it is less expensive because less ‘junk’ is purchased, which is more expensive (pound-for-pound).

It is stressful … there is no escaping that.  But so is living in a city, or working in cubicles. There are many things that are stressful.

Whatever happens … happens. We just do the best we can. We need to be here for my Mom, so we work with what we have to make that happen.

Our wood stove keeps us warm, the river sings, the trees whisper, the birds entertain, the flowers dazzle, the herbs nurture. We have shelter, running water, and half the year we have a functioning septic. When we don’t have a septic, we use a grey water system for dishes and laundry and sink baths, and we use buckets that get poured into deep holes with ashes in place a toilet that uses 2 gallons of fresh water for flushing.  And before the next winter season, the compost toilet will be installed.

We are a lot better off than many people. Shelter, land, running water, good food, wonderful friends, and a solid community.

Now, if we could just get a few days of sunshine! 😉

<3 <3 <3

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Just finished this skirt and wrap a couple days ago. It took almost 2 months in my spare time. The beadwork was the most intensive. The band around the waist is a netting of beads. The crochet work didn’t take too long. The panels of the skirt took a while, as each panel had to have a rolled hem sewed around it. The material is recycled (or UPcycled as the new phrase is) from material I found at Sunrise thrift store in Myrtle Creek. I also got the crochet thread there. I still need to make an underskirt for this so I can wear it without leggings.

Now on to other projects!

<3

There is a pattern emerging that suggests a direct correlation between Facebook and … my depression.

Mid 2015 I began Facebook. By January, I crashed into a severe depression that last many months. The rest of the year remained a moderate-high level state. I noticed in a distant way that when I was away from Facebook for a few days, I felt better.

By the time 2017 rolled in, and the horror of the political situation had devastated me, I began pulling back just to avoid the onslaught of ‘news’. And I felt a little better.

March 7th, I got sick. Being sick, for me, is a mixed experience. The pain and annoyance factor is heavily offset by a very strange phenomena …. when I am sick, the depression is 100% absent.  My mood is almost always buoyant (though tempered with that annoyance factor of a sinus painfully packed!).

It is an amazing feeling … the continual struggle and weight is lifted.  It also confirms that depression is a chemical imbalance. When my body is fighting invaders, that chemistry changes.

Yes, life-events can trigger a depressive episode. Emotional distress in any form can trigger it. Emotional overload, sensory overload … all this contributes. I am in a constant state of vigilance where I expend a great deal of effort trying to keep my thoughts away from the danger-zones. When that fails, the effort goes into a sort of endurance marathon.

It is exhausting, and more so when tied with any emotional pain causing Fibromyalgia flares.

But when I’m sick ……. !! Ohhhh, the emotional relief!

After 11 days, it was over, and I noticed I didn’t ‘crash’.  The depression was there, but at the very low-grade level it had been in mid 2015. What was different??  Ahhh. I haven’t been on Facebook for weeks.

My grandmother died in her sleep last Wednesday. She had been living with my Mom for the last 4 months, and my job was the ‘morning shift’ so that my Mom could sleep. The last 5 weeks, my grandmother was bed-ridden after a fall.  The work involved was tremendous, and heart-breaking.

Her agony is finally over.

I am not sad that she is gone. I’m sad (and very angry) that she had to endure so much pain and that our society is so cruel and indifferent to the our elderly.

This sort of daze I am in now is not unpleasant.

And I still haven’t returned to Facebook.

Patterns. Life is filled with patterns.

Sending Love & Compassion to All <3