holdmyhand

There are things that scare me — that knock on the door of courage and call out be noticed. Sometimes, it’s the fear of being alone. An illusion of course, but a powerful one. Other times it’s just my mind getting in the way of my voice of truth.

Once the fear begins, it’s not always easy to stop the cycle. Yesterday, as I was driving along the country road leading to home, my body decided that enough was enough. The pressures I’ve been carrying — both my own and those of the collective — were too much to haul around any longer. I knew what was happening as my breathing began to change, my heart sped up, and the veil between this world and another lifted a little bit more.

I’m no stranger to anxiety. It’s been showing its colors for quite some time. More often than not, I notice its presence and step into stillness before fear takes over. Yesterday, I knew I went over the threshold.

On the side of the road losing consciousness, with my son in the passenger seat, I realized that I couldn’t do it alone. As the emergency assistance arrived, I could feel the waves of embarrassment wash through me. There’s nothing like the stigma of “panic attack.” It feels like you’re dying, yet there’s nothing life threatening about it. Other than driving off the road of course.

I could hear his voice, vaguely see his face, but I couldn’t understand what was being said. I remember hearing, “you can have your hand back.” “NO!” I screamed within my soul. “Please don’t let go. Just hold my hand. Let me know I’m not alone.” Of course none of this crossed the line between my heart and my voice. I remained silent, trying to listen for a way back to this world.

The rhythm of his voice was like a melody of courage, inviting me to come back to the present moment, breathe, and release the fear. I wasn’t alone. Someone was there. Someone with compassion and a gentle presence of power. Someone who will likely never read these words, but will always kind of be my hero.

I’m reminded today, as my body is beginning to feel solid once again, that the simple things we often overlook are really the ones that make the biggest difference. Fear can easily be replaced by trust, as courage steps in and makes her presence known. Sometimes, just a gentle touch or soothing word is all that’s needed to change the course of someone’s day…or entire life.

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Born to be a Wildflower

October 27, 2014

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I drive by the same little garden center just about every day. Today was the first time I actually stopped and went in. I had no idea that this seemingly ordinary place was actually a sanctuary of magical offerings. With each step I took, I could feel my anxiety melt away, leaving only peace and joy.

I was the only customer in the place, with free reign to savor each leaf, blossom, and stem. The bonsai trees reminded me of the importance of patience. Lavender filled the air with its gentle way of saying, “I’m here. Come sit with me for a while.”

Little white and yellow daisies smiled at me, as the nearby cactuses invited me to embrace the parts of me that are a bit more abrasive. Each plant had something special to offer. Together, they created a lovely melody that only nature ever could.

I picked out a beautiful little cyclamen with sweet pink blossoms. It sits on my table while I write. Color for the rainy days of winter that are soon to arrive.

I close my eyes and imagine that I’m a wildflower, growing wherever I choose to be, no rules or walls to confine me. I’m free to feel the wind upon my face, as I simply “be.” Just BE. Nothing to prove. Not one thing that I have to do. Just be the beauty that I am here to offer.

I was born to be a wildflower. I was born to simply “be.”

Image found here.

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“Forget about enlightenment. Sit down wherever you are and listen to the wind that is singing in your veins. Feel the love, the longing and the fear in your bones. Open your heart to who you are, right now, not who you would like to be. Not the saint you’re striving to become. But the being right here before you, inside you, around you. All of you is holy. You’re already more and less than whatever you can know. Breathe out, look in, let go.” — John Welwood

Sometimes I feel like I have to be “more.” More of something that maybe I’m not right now. Maybe more worthy. Or perhaps more lovable. More creative, productive, or talented. Just more.

So I try and become that “better person” that (I think) the world is looking for. With every attempt, a little bit of life force drains out of my core, until I become weary and drained.

I’m learning, with every experience that life gives me, that perhaps I am imperfectly perfect just the way I am. Is it really about becoming better and better all the time? Or could I just sit here in this moment and cherish who I already am?

There may always be things that I wish I did differently, or things about me that I don’t truly love. Even those less than desired parts deserve to be honored.

I’m learning that maybe I am sacred, even with all my doubts, insecurities, and flaws. Today, I wrap my arms around my heart and honor the wholeness of who I am right now, in this moment.

I open my arms to you, and honor the wholeness of who you so beautifully are.

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botanicals

I sometimes forget how healing it is to create. As soon as I opened my little box of essential oils today, inhaled the luscious scents, and began blending my creations, I felt an immediate sense of peace wash over me. Everything in my mind began to dissipate as I became enchanted by the beauty of my botanical friends.

When I opened my Etsy shop not long ago, I wasn’t really sure what I would be guided to create. I knew I wanted to offer something that blends healing vibrations with beautiful scents and elixirs. It’s a continuous process of listening deep within my heart, opening to divine guidance, feeling the harmony of the earth, and allowing my intuition to guide me to the blend that wants to be birthed through me.

Enchanted melodies fill the air, mantras are gently sung into the little bottles of blended oils, and each finished creation is placed upon an altar of stones. Love is infused into each and every one.

Gentleness is so very powerful. Lately, I have been drawn to gentle ways of healing. I am leaning toward the subtle calls from earth and spirit. Embracing, nourishing, lovingly powerful offerings that create harmony, peace, and openness.

Whatever your day holds for you, may you carve out a few moments to savor the simple moments that nourish you and offer a warm embrace. Sometimes, just taking a deep cleansing breath is all that’s needed. ♥

p.s. A beautiful meditation blend is almost completed. It’ll be in the shop very soon!

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You know those little messages that come at just the right time — those words that feel like a warm embrace, nurturing you from the inside out?

Yes. These messages of love are a gift, always there to offer a bit of respite from the chaos of my mind. I awoke to cleansing rains, gray skies, and a tiny spark of fire still left within my creative core. I opened my email to these words: “I am so grateful for you and all your rose-colored, hopeful beauty as well as your tired and weary curled up in a ball beauty.” How often do we appreciate our weary, worn-out, hopeless parts? All of those crevices that we try to cover up and wish away.

I’ve been noticing how much I wish I could get rid of these parts of me that come across as “something” other than the norm. Rather than just embrace my quirks and insecurities, I get caught up in how I can conform, especially now that I’m back in the American way of life. What was considered beautiful in the land I have been living in for the last decade is seen as “out there” and unrealistic in the land I reside in now. But is it?

Maybe not. In the mind, perhaps. But certainly not in my heart.

What if I could just embrace and love all of my oddities and silliness? What if I could allow myself to be tired and weary for a little while? Perhaps what I really need right now is to curl up in that beautiful ball of love and comfort, and know that it’s perfectly okay to do so.

Exhale, and open to all of it. This is what this moment invites me to do.

There is beauty in the wholeness of every human experience.

Illustration by Jo Thilwind

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Oh Wise Pumpkin Patch

October 9, 2014

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They were everywhere — so bright and inviting with their beautiful vines and reminders that Fall is here. I could sit in a pumpkin patch for hours and hours, taking in the magic. For so many years, I lived in the tropics, where the only seasons are “rainy” and “not quite so rainy.” How wonderful it is to be back in a land where there are Autumns.

The simplest things bring me so much happiness these days. Even with all the turmoil that has been happening in life, I am taking little moments every day to appreciate the wonders around me. It’s so important.

As I was chatting with my dear friend Christina last night, she in Bali and me in my little cabin in the Oregon woods, I was overcome with gratitude for all that I have in this life. Her vibrance and encouragement was just what I needed to come back to center — to that place where harmony and peace reside, no matter what’s going on “out there.” It’s so easy to let negativity take over, especially in challenging times.

Even as I was turned down today for a job I would have loved (at a garden filled with pumpkins and flowers), I didn’t allow it to discourage me or throw me off center. I know that I am here to give. I am here to offer my heart in any way the Universe chooses to flow through me.

Maybe I can learn to be more like those pumpkins. Just grow and expand, surrendering to my purpose without questioning or analyzing it so much. We’re all in this together, as our vines reach out and intertwine with one another. I like that.

Illustration by Oana Befort

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Honoring Saraswati

October 3, 2014

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Today is Saraswati day in Bali. This was always such a special time for me when living on the island. Everyone was dressed in their beautiful ceremonial attire, going to temple with offerings to the goddess of knowledge, wisdom, music, and the arts. Frangipani blossoms and streams of sandalwood smoke filled the temples, as haunting chants swirled through the air.

For me, it was a time to honor the gifts of creativity that fill my life with such joy. Although I’m not a Hindu, I am so enchanted by the mysticism that runs so deep in the Balinese culture. There’s always a sense of sacred, even in the ordinary.

As I sit in my little cabin in the Oregon woods tonight, I will light a candle in honor of my Balinese friends and family, who taught me the importance of celebrating the spirit in every moment. There is always reason for celebration. Every day is a gift.

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That Friday I Found Magic

October 1, 2014

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She called shortly after my son left for school, offering to take me into town to get some much needed groceries. Just a week prior, my lovely old (very very old) car called it quits. Being so new in town, there wasn’t anyone I felt comfortable calling for a bit of help. I was sitting at the table wondering how I was going to get to the store. She found me through my Etsy shop, saw that we live in the same town, and reached out. A beautiful angel who floated into my life to remind me of the magic that is still here.

We headed into town, talking about all the things that have led us to where we are today. It felt like we’d known each other for years. You know those kinds of friendships that seem to pick up where they left off in another lifetime…yes, that’s it.

Trader Joe’s was our destination. Up and down the aisles, I stuffed my cart with everything I thought I might need (and not need…chocolate covered almonds…ahem). At the checkout aisle, I became entirely absorbed in the story of an upcoming camping trip that the awesome employee was sharing with me. A little glimpse into another’s life. What a gift that is.

As I was waiting for my new friend to finish at the cashier, I heard my name called out from somewhere. At first, I was sure I was imagining things. I know two people in this town; what’s the likelihood of running into one of them? Pretty good, I guess. I looked around and saw the face of another angel. I’d been thinking about her, wanting to initiate contact, but let that little “she’s probably too busy” voice take over. And there she was. We knew it was time to get together and catch up on life. More magical moments.

As that was taking place, one of the other employees, who was checking out my friend (at the register I mean), heard my comment about knowing two people in this town and decided to reach out and give me his number, and his girlfriend’s as well. I’d talked with him in the checkout line before, on the day I arrived in Oregon. We discovered we have a Bali connection (small world). I don’t think he knows how much that simple gesture of reaching out meant to me. One day I may just tell him that in that one moment of kindness, my life changed. I felt like maybe, just maybe, I do belong here. All the prior days of questioning myself, doubting my decision to move back to the States, faded away.

Light entered my life that Friday morning. Magic unfolded right in front of me. My heart opened and I did the one thing I’ve always been so scared of doing: I allowed myself to receive. There is beauty and kindness and love (oh yes…so much love) everywhere, if only I am open to notice it. It’s an ongoing invitation to simply say “yes” and allow this beautiful cycle of giving and receiving to flow. I don’t have to do it all on my own. Our culture places so much importance on independence, often forgetting about the even greater importance of connection.

We need each other.

To those three angels who came into my life last Friday, I want you to know how much I appreciate you. The gifts you gave to me are beyond words. I will tuck that day into my heart to go back to whenever I feel alone in this world. I will remember that the illusion of separation is just that: an illusion.

Connection. Oh how it matters.

 

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The Journey

October 1, 2014

journey

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