Summer is filled with gardening, preserving, get togethers, coffee on the porch at sunrise, and blessed warmth. Autumn brings with it the first fire in the hearth, flannels, and skies filled with stars, majestic colors splayed upon the trees. Winter brings holidays and rest, crafts by the fire, and a bit of cabin fever. Spring is the loudest season. It bursts forth with wild temperatures, hints of summer, reminders of winter, plants expand and burst with new life. Ready to shake off the winter doldrums, spring teases with ideas of planting and sunshine. She can be finicky, but she does bring us one of the greatest gifts, baby season.
From my bathroom I hear the gentle chirping of cotton ball sized chicks and the splashing of half pint ducklings.
Baby goats on their last week of bottles yell incessantly from their pasture to remind me. Their calls suspiciously sounding like a loud, “MOM!” They hop on their dog and play Jackie Chan off the chicken coop.
My eight month old Siamese gets cuter and louder each day. She can play fetch with a milk jug ring for hours. Seems like I got a Border Collie instead of a kitten. Her sister delights us as well.
I am always a bit crazy in the spring. Spring fever is a real thing, folks! It is always the time that my mind races with ideas and dreams and future plans. Usually once the garden is in full swing I calm down, but this year with the lockdown, Lord, I am even worse! Let’s see, I am registered for full time classes at the local college to start in the fall (though the debt certainly is freaking me out), I have devised a business plan for a whole new apothecary set to open down in my neck of the woods, and of course, the quarter acre garden and all the land’s inhabitants I have brought home!
I do wonder if anyone else is like this in the springtime. My husband is so beautifully steadfast all year. It is easier to take a breath and live one day at a time with so many darling babies here. Blessed Spring.
My heart is a little heavy today, but I know why- it’s midwinter. All the dreaming of gardening and spring and trying to keep busy do not completely veil the wintertime blues, or Seasonal Affective Disorder. My mind wanders and ponders and when the mind is given too much berth it tends to get into trouble! I wonder about social media. I wonder about this blog. I wonder of my own worth and contribution to society. Then I quiet it down again with a gardening book and a cup of tea, thankful for the respite of winter and the rest before the miraculous madness of farming season.
Whatis the point of my being on facebook? It began as a way to reconnect with old friends. Which I did. And I never see them and few would even notice if I left facebook. I use it to promote my blog. What is the point of my blog? I like to think that my purpose is to inspire others. To help them bring the quiet simplicity of a handmade life into their own lives. To be able to walk softer on the planet. To find joy in an old fashioned lifestyle. It is particularly useful for highly sensitive people like myself. But, does it really make a difference at all? And then there is Instagram. Do sharing photos of our life really inspire anyone at all? Ah February. I will have my hands in the soil towards the end of next month.
In these moments of quiet insecurity when the sun still goes down way too early and the outdoors beckon but it is still too cold, and Vitamin D stores are low, minds do begin to wander. I believe what most of us are really worrying about is our purpose. Our contribution to the world. We receive so many blessings, are we returning them in a good way and are we appreciated? I tend to hermit myself into my home and adore the company of my animals to crowds and office buildings. I could easily fall into my only socialization being social media and this blog (though I have a handful of great friends, children, and a husband that won’t let me). But I do have a dream that I would love to see come true, though the universe would have to arrange it. Still, I believe it could happen. When a dream is put upon our hearts, it is map, a blueprint of our current purpose.
High school age and young twenties, I love their energy, their smiles, their hearts. I have such a desire to be a mentor, a friend, a surrogate mama to those that need someone to be there for them. I have a handful of past students and my children’s friends that consider me one of their mamas and I try to keep up with them. Make sure they feel loved. Make sure they have the encouragement they need to pursue their purpose.
Over the last ten or so years my farm and homestead has revolved around how to make it profitable (or rather, how to survive), but now that my husband supports us, other ideas come forth. This is my biggest garden plan ever, my most ambitious homestead yet, and I will surely need help. I also want to share my skill set with the next generation so that they can feel secure in the fact that they could be subsistence farmers, homesteaders, nature restorers, and find peace in the soil of our sustenance. It could offer a safe place while they are learning by working with me. Have family style meals and be a positive influence and encouragement while working alongside future gardeners and friends.
I am so grateful to live this homestead life. This old fashioned, apron wearing, reading by oil lamp, warming myself by the woodstove, kitten on my lap, homegrown and handmade life, that I cannot help but share it. And hope that it brings inspiration.
Ever since I was a small child, I always had the innate sense that time here on this earth is limited. That each day is anew with experiences and exhilarating breath. I feel like I blink and my husband is kissing me goodnight again. These days go fast. Better be living in a way that brings about joy! How do we balance living in the present, moving towards a future that we dream of, and learning from the past?
Let’s start with the past. Okay, great- now let that go. Seriously, the past is filled with learning lessons and decisions that got you where you are now, of bittersweet memories of when the children were little and of people past, and traumatic experiences. Tip your hat at it, close the door on it when things pop up, and then look around you in the here and now. Breathe. Look up. There is simply no time to waste on it.
Present. No time like the present. Several times today, just look up. Look around. Smile. No matter what is going on. Gratitude can get you through anything. It can fortify the best days. Notice the details. There is a breeze kicking up. The mountains look bright against the deep blue sky and the horse across the street is running circles around his house- all muscle and brilliance- to wake his dad, who has apparently forgotten breakfast. I am writing- my favorite occupation and pastime- and, I am afraid, I made my coffee too weak. The kittens are running around the house. All these moments make up a life here. Seemingly minute details of everyday life, each decision we make, moves us towards a life well lived, and affects the future of the next generations. How do you want to live?
In my lowest moments I have often wondered what is the point? If we are just going to be struck down dead at any given time, what is the point of pursuing a new career, or completing a dream, or dreaming at all? We are painting a picture of the new world to come, of life for future generations, for- depending on your beliefs- our own future when we come back to try again.
Each one of us are given a set of lessons to learn here. Every circumstance and coincidence in your life is a means of learning and mastering the lesson. Every passion, every talent, every dream is there on purpose to move you towards and through the lesson and gives you an opportunity to paint a brighter world and future. We are always one step into the future. Already, everything I just wrote is in the past. Let us live moving forward.
I tend to get stuck in the status quo, what always has been done, how things have always been, and figure they are the way to be. But we change, things change, our dreams change, we must morph with it. Even if it doesn’t make sense, or if it doesn’t seem possible, if you have it in your heart, and it feels right to you, then it is good. If you lead with kindness, and lead with love, you cannot go wrong.
My last post prompted me to reanalyze how I am living my life. I do that often, particularly this time of year, as Autumn always seems a good time for contemplating. Ask yourselves the same questions and see where they take you:
How do you feel physically? How do you feel mentally/emotionally? How do you feel spiritually?
Does your work bring you joy? How does it serve others? How does it serve you? (It has to go both ways.)
What are your dreams right now? What are your goals? If you could do anything and not fail, and had ample money to do it, what would you do for work? What would you do for play? What experiences do you want?
What is heavy on your heart?
What are you passionate about?
I tend to look at the past to govern my future, but the things that made me happy before do not do so now. The ways I have lived in the past do not serve me now. So, even if it is difficult, not socially acceptable, or risky, answering these questions helped me paint in my mind what I do want my life to look like. When you paint that in your mind, the universe goes straight to work painting it with you. (So, watch your thoughts and words!)
Using bullet words helps it all come together. Animals. Farming. Herbs. Writing. Health. Homesteading. Family. Vitality. Life. Kindness. In my life now, I don’t feel the need to be a professional herbalist in the ways that I have been. I don’t feel the need to do a lot of things I used to do. My job and life desires have changed, as I have.
Create a new mantra. I do this every year and it really helps me make decisions and move myself to where I want to be. “Never make a decision based on fear” was one year’s. I think my new one will be, “Lead with love and promote life.”
My daughter and I are now working as Doulas. (http://SacredHeartbeatDoulas.com) A new way to use my herbs and my expertise but very different from what I have been doing. I have a great desire to farm, and I can visualize my herb gardens, my vegetables gardens, the orchard, the wild land left untouched so the wild life have a place to be and the wild herbs can flourish, and the animals. But the animals are not going to be for meat and milk. We will rescue some furry farm kids and allow them a life of fun and ease and love. That feels tremendously right to us. I will eat plant based, because I am spiritually, emotionally, and physically healthier when I do. I will continue to write to inspire. My family is the most important aspect of my life. Everything else will be filed under, the past. All of that matches my new year’s mantra;
I read the most beautiful book this week. It has helped me get my groove back.
I had decided last year as my business was failing that I would go back to school to be a chef (but it is hard to be a chef when you don’t use animal products and the busy catering description gave me anxiety). So then I thought teaching. I love teaching! “What would you teach?” everyone asked. Oh…anything. Then I got the bill for the first semester and promptly dropped all classes. I would be retired before I could pay off that degree. I look around and I love and am fascinated by so much. My friend is a surgical tech. That sounds cool! My friends are nurses. I was a candy striper in high school. I wanted to be a nurse. I could maybe work somewhere or do something. Anything. But, I know my pattern. I go get a job, become overwhelmed, am shocked at the measly paycheck, am behind on dishes for weeks, and then quit. I am better at being an entrepreneur. But that failed. Again. Last year. And that is when I went off kilter. I lost my purpose. I was no longer a full time herbalist. No longer a shop keeper. No longer healing baby calves around the county that were sick because they just got picked up from auction. Heck, I am not even in the country anymore.
And then my beloved aunt and grandma passed away, I became sick, I think my dear friend, Steve, in California killed himself, and I have been listless and depressed. Which is not like me. And something had to give.
It is amazing how a book can change your life. So many books, so much literature, has changed my life. And this week, this book, I am so grateful for. I realized that everything I feel is stemmed from my losing my purpose.
IKIGAI; the Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles is a beautifully written and researched tome. The authors delve into the science and stories behind longevity and happiness, primarily in Japan, where the most super centenarians reside (over 100 years old). What do they do? What do they eat? What are their days like? I adore research and am very interested in the longevity studies and other cultures. They touch on diet (tons of fresh vegetables, soy, and fish), social networks (lots of valued friends, social get-togethers, small amount of alcohol daily), spiritual health (honoring all of the spirits and their ancestors), and exercise (they move, not more strenuously, but all the time, biking and walking everywhere). But the main thing that keeps these folks so alive and well is purpose. Their IKIGAI. If they know what that is, they have reason to get up every morning.
What is it that makes you spring out of bed in the morning? What would you do even without pay? What is your passion? What could you talk about without hesitation? What do you do naturally? My aunt gave me this picture for Christmas. I guess she knew.
I am a writer. I never have to think about writing this blog. In fact, it bothers me to take days off but I want to make sure y’all can catch up! I love writing; books, poetry, articles, snippets of thoughts…I am a writer. It is my IKIGAI. I get a modest payment every month from Amazon and the local museum that carries my books. It won’t support us, but that doesn’t matter. I am also a gardener, a farmer, a lover of animals. I need a greenhouse. I need to be around plants, and I need to grow my own food, and I need to be around animals. Sanctuary.
After reading this lovely little book I realized that I do not need to have any new degrees, careers, or paths. I am on it. If I write every day. If I take care of my chickens. If I get into the garden. I will be okay. That is my IKIGAI. And with that knowledge, I am free. I have purpose. What is your IKIGAI?
My friends, we are on the cusp of 2019. It is not a new thing to be thinking of what we want to change, manifest, or release. This is a wired into us. Before the modern world, the people knew that the wheel was turning. The twelve days of Christmas was originally the twelve days of Yule and it ended on the 1st of the month, right when the wheel turns. It is the thick of winter, a time of deep contemplation. A bright new beginning. A time of rebirth from the solstice when the sun begins to shine a bit more each day. The light in us grows ever more as well.
My work is as an herbalist, a clairvoyant reader, medical intuitive, and spiritual guide. This is an unusual time. Most everyone is in great transformation. It is as if the universe is plucking things right out of people’s hands; relationships, jobs, identities. Our worst traits are being exposed to the sun in order to change. Our paths are being laid out in drastic form. It is best if we just release.
We are in a time of great change. We are in a time when the young have more intuitive and sensitive people among them and they are struggling to understand why they are the way they are and are looking for mentors…or masking medications. We are all being called to find our path. To release our bad habits, fears, and ego and to embrace a better sense of self. 2019 may be a miraculous year for us all. There are whispers and questions in the air that need answers.
What relationships cause you pain and stress?
Are your food choices compassionate, healthy, and karmically sound?
Are you honoring your body with movement?
Are you honoring your spirituality by being open to listen to truths being taught to you? Are you taking time to honor that which you believe in?
Are you emotionally taking wellness breaks?
Are you working yourself every minute of the day for the car payment, for the dishes to be done, for the endless errands and hours at work to be done?
Your passions and desires are the road map to your destiny. What do you dream of? What does your life look like in your ideal world? Who are you with? What do you do?
What fears need to be released? What negative habits need to be let go of? What regrets do you carry? Forgiving yourself is as important as forgiving others.
Listen. Be brave. Let go. Release. Embrace. Smile. Hope. Surround yourself with your tribe. Take up yoga, or walking, or Zumba. Eat food from the earth. Open doors, compliment, teach. Love! Take hot baths, meditate, light candles, read books. Make steps towards your goals. Breathe.
The wheel is turning. Let us become our brightest, truest, happiest, most intensely magnificent selves.
(Let’s say it is the end of your days, look back, is that how you want to live?)
1- Just because you are very good at something doesn’t mean you have to do it. You can always reinvent what your life looks like.
2- Life is meant to be experienced. There is no one purpose. You will have plenty of time to ponder the meaning of the universe, right now be human and experience life.
3- Change is never easy. Allow yourself to mourn. But keep that glimmer of hope because the best is yet to come and closed doors lead to wide open opportunities.
4- Quiet your chattering mind. Tune into the activity around you. As I sit here on the porch on this lovely late summer day I watch a mouse quietly approach the bird seed and begin to nibble as dozens of finches take flight, their silhouettes artful in the filtered light. I listen to the crickets’ songs of summer and feel the cooling breeze on my skin before the dog days of summer heat that is to set in later. There is a much bigger world than what is going on in our minds.
5- Listen to your passions and follow their road. Do not try and figure out where they go, just follow their lead.
6- See people’s spirits. See them as children. Banish ignorance. Don’t give into fear.
7- Release the past. Past relationships, events, hurts, happenings, eras. Leave them behind with a blessing and move forward. Cut the ribbons that keep you bound. Fly.
8- Be enchanted. Life is brief and blissful. It is what we make it. It is what we create. A large black bird lands on a trellis next to me. He is fascinating in his mottled browns and blacks and tussled feathers. I wonder if he was born this very year. The glorious blue jays screech their joyful song across treetops.
9- Have faith. Know that you were not just dropped on this earth without lifelines. Fear is the lack of faith.
10- Treat yourself with care, my dears, and follow your heart.
My birthday is Saturday. The years fly by in the breeze faster than I can blink but I am grateful for each and every year that I get to celebrate being on this beautiful earth.
New Year’s makes me ponder how I can do things better and makes me set lofty financial and personal goals. Autumn makes me rethink what I need and what I don’t need. It is a cleansing of sorts. My birthday makes me think of ways that I can live. How can I take in each day more deeply? How I can be more present and more compassionate and more alive? It makes me think…what if?
What if I stopped making a to-do list? Would anything actually get done? Instead of cramming sixty-two things into one day, what if each thing was done as I thought of them.
What if I stopped counting every penny? Would money begin to flow in after I loosened my grip on worry?
What if I stopped circling back every time I began to move forward in my work? Can I let go?
What if I got a Buddhist hair cut? Would people think I was sick? Or ugly? What if it didn’t matter? What if I released my appearance and symbolically started anew on my journey? How fun would that be to not do my hair. Or to not have a headache every night from hair ties?
Why is cutting my hair or releasing worry or moving forward or not having a to-do list so monumental?
What if I took more time to do yoga and to sit in coffee shops writing or got a bicycle and rode around town? What if I spent more time in the garden or with my children or reading? What if I had tea time every day at 4? What if I cut my hair?
We all have a purpose. There is not just one purpose but many interwoven with each other through time. You are not just a mom, a wife, a farmer, a nurse, or a teacher. You are a spiritual and feeling being and a human with desires and passions. Identifying those passions that you have right now (passions change as you complete your paths) will help you find what will bring you the most joy.
It may be a career, or learning a new skill, it may be a profound change in yourself or your family for the better, whatever it is, it will create ripple effects throughout the world and space because everything that you do that is positive and with passion will grow and inspire others and will help you do what you are here to learn and experience. Your dreams are not coincidental or fanciful or elusive. If you have that desire now, it is for a reason.
Quiz time! Grab a piece of paper (or a journal because this may the beginning of your journey!) and let us begin to piece it all together.
1. In your ideal life when you wake up in the morning where are you? Hawaii? South Dakota? Italy?
On a farm? In the city? In a cozy home? Be detailed. Even if you think it is impossible. Be exact.
2. In your ideal life who is there with you? Be honest. Are you happy in your relationships? Are there things that need to be addressed? Who are the people that you love most and that make your life beautiful and fulfilling?
3. In your ideal life, when you first wake up, what are you doing? What is your role? Are you a writer? A farmer? A traveler? A doctor? What do people come to you for?
4. Picture yourself in your mind’s eye. What do you look like? What do you want to look like?
5. Name all of the things you have interest in right now, no matter how small. Gardening, running a bed and breakfast, starting a sanctuary, going back to school, opening a restaurant, learning yoga, getting rid of clutter, losing weight, writing a book, getting a dog….write down everything! They may not seem related but upon further analysis you may see that they are all related!
6. What are you best at? What do people come to you for or say that you are the best at? Does that thing bring you joy?
7. Name twenty blessings in your life right now. Name five things you would like to see morph into something better.
Now go back and answer questions 1-3 in present tense. How things are now. Compare them to your ideal life.
Really study what you do, where you want to be, who you want to be with, what your passions and interests are, how you want to be seen, what your life does and could look like. You may love your life and that is great but we are always moving and morphing and our path keeps winding so to have a fresh perspective on what we want to do, where we want to be, and what we want to experience in this lifetime are important. Keep learning, keep dreaming, be your best self, don’t become complacent or hopeless, move bravely down the path of your passion!
Have you ever wondered what is next? Where your path is leading? What you will become next? Some people work a career their entire life and then retire. Some raise children and become entrepreneurs, like myself. I have reinvented what I do so many times because I have so many interests but they all really dance around each other. They are all interconnected.
I breathe in the cool morning air as the sunrise reaches rose pink across the winter sky and crows hover about.
I lead an enchanted life of miraculous happenings, unusual animal and bird sightings, healings, and things happen to us that just do not make sense in the cookie cutter mind of our world. This thrills me. But there must be a reason why I see these things. Experience these things.
I have an influential voice. That comes with responsibility to make sure that I am speaking and teaching what is compassionate and what is beautiful and what is real. Before bed I ask my ancestors and friends to help me see answers to what is next. The pictures in my dreams are always of me leading a group. Or of me being a type of Martha Stewart with a compassionate twist. I love creating; whether it be gardens or art or words or great food or inspiration or encouragement or a new life.
The Universe has seemingly freed up some time for me. I have time to do something. I teach herbalism courses and shaman courses and I write and help with the shop and answer the apothecary phone and help people. I’ll be on a radio show next week talking about my herbalism and plants in homesteading and promoting my book, Homesteader Pharmacy (click to see on Amazon).
There is more though. I am on the cusp of something. I am not just an herbalist. Our goal is to pay off debt this year. I want to work towards getting a farm and animal sanctuary in the future, but in the here and now….ideas swirl overhead like dust devils but don’t quite land.
I fill my time just fine and come summer I will be really busy with gardens and wildcrafting and markets but there is just something below the surface that ties in everything that I do. Something to give me purpose. I have been working on a book for the past year. I put it aside in order to write a novel. I wrote said novel but I can’t say I am a great fiction writer. I am a non-fiction writer. This book keeps bobbing to the surface. It just needs some dedication. Writing a few hours a day has to make the to-do list.
I know I am more than just an herbalist. It used to consume twenty-four hours a day for me but my daughter has taken on most of the work. Finding my other passions and moments of inspiration are what I need to ponder. Something to tie them all together…
How wonderful that we will have a full moon tomorrow night, a Super Moon at that. Perfect for manifesting those deep seeded intentions!
By now you have looked at what you want to transpire in 2018. You have examined fears that may hold you back. Respected that dreams are imbedded into your path for a reason. You see the reasons behind what you want. You know it will make you a better person and make your life better, therefore making you a happier person and a person who has the ability to help others. Now. We make it happen.
Fire and full moon are a spectacular ways to use high frequency power to send your desires out to the universe. You have many helpers beyond the screen. Ancestors, friends, angels, the universal web of information and wisdom, plus all the information stored in your DNA, chakras, and in the spirits all around you. You got this.
You should have your resolutions written down in a prominent place, like the first page of a journal or a daytimer so that you can see them often. Now, write on slips of paper each desire, each intention, each dream. Focus on them intently.
Write down the things that you wish to release on other pieces of paper. Perhaps of a different color.
In a blazing fire, focus on the things to release first. Then one by one throw them in the flame. As the smoke rises it will take your notes to the skies. Then repeat with the manifestations. You just increased your success by 90%! Now the rest is up to you. If you want a new job, go apply. If you want a strong body, start a yoga class. Get out there and be the best person you can. And know that your soul is perfect, therefore you are as well. Be kind to yourself. Speak lovingly to your body. Love all that cross your path.