Counting Blessings

My life is blessed. It is far from perfect. Just as everyone else in this world there are trials and tribulations. Things happen that rock my world. Things that hurt so deep that I wonder if I will ever recover. When I look at the larger picture though I know that my life is blessed.

I have love in my life. My family is there no matter what ups and downs I face. I have friends, real friends, the kind of friends that no matter what time night or day I need them, they are there. Bumps in the road do not deter them. They are always there and vice versa.

I have a roof over my head. I have food for my body. I have my beliefs and my path that bring me peace. I may cry and I may hurt but always I have the knowledge that when the world seems upside down it is because something great is on it’s way. I will persevere. I will survive.

There is nobody alive that has not faced hurt. There is nobody alive that has not faced trials. Our record for getting through it all is 100% thus far.

A bad day does not mean a bad life. A difficult year does not mean several difficult years. It just means that life will be a bit rocky for a while and climbing the mountains in front of you just means when you get to the top the view will be beautiful.

So as I work through the trials. As I work through the pain of loss and the lesson of letting go I grasp onto my faith and knowledge that this too shall pass. Lessons tend to repeat themselves until they are learned. All I can hope is that this lesson, the lesson of loving, losing and having to let go is done repeating itself. It is getting old and I am getting tired of the lesson. Do you ever get to that point? The point where you say “enough already I get it!?” I am there.

This time it will take me time to recover. I don’t love lightly. To give my heart is something I have yet to learn to avoid. I never want to. I can’t be anyone but who I am and because of that I grieve those I lose, whether they walk away or die, loss is loss and grieving is grieving. My time to grieve is not over. I still have more to learn. In the process I will work to deepen my connection with Spirit and move on in life with the sole focus of achieving my dreams and staying on my path.

Yes, my life is blessed. I am loved. As the losses mount up I am reminded that life is to short not to live it. Live fully, love wholly and be you always.

In Her Service,

Sage

Widow – Another Label

According to websters A “widow” is defined as “a woman who has lost her spouse by death and has not remarried.”

I really dislike this word. I mean really! There seems to be a stigma attached to the word “widow.” When someone uses the word you can see the connotation of sympathy in their eyes and yet somehow it feels more like they look at you as though you are helpless.

I am a lot of things, helpless is not one of them. I am stubborn. I am ornery. I am intelligent. I am funny. I am beautiful in ways that shock people. I am sad. I am happy. I am many things but helpless is not one of them. Not yet anyway. There are definitely things I need help with. I am a human. We all need help with something.

Our society has the weirdest ways of seeing things. We have to label everything. Single, married, divorced, widowed. All labels. All carry their own meaning. Why? Why can’t we just base things on the individual. Why do we have to define people by their marital or lack of marital status? It isn’t just your marital status you are labeled with it is your sexual orientation, color, religion, political views, the list is endless. It is how we define ourselves as well as others. Why?

I have no answers. I only know that I really dislike labels and out of all of the labels I have carried in my life “widow” is the one I dislike the most.

When Mike died I changed my status on facebook to widow. It seemed appropriate at the time. I had never been a widow and had no clue how that label would affect me. After a year of being a widow I decided that if I were going to be labeled I would prefer to be labeled as single. Why? Because I don’t like the way people look at me when they are told I am a widow. I am not helpless. I am a capable, intelligent, woman who is getting through life the best way she knows how.

There are many labels I have carried in this life. During my training the shaman I worked with explained that most of these labels are roles we choose to step into. The role/label of wife, daughter, sister, auntie, mom, grandma. The role/label of friend and foe. We label everything. We step into and out of the roles that these labels portray daily. How many of us are conscious of the choice of stepping into them and out of them? How many of us see them as ways we define ourselves as well as how others define us?

When you own your story. When you are able to take responsibility for who you are and stand in your own truth you no longer have to take the labels of the society you live within. You can create your own if you feel like it. For me I choose not to be a widow. It isn’t who I am. Yes, my husband died and no I am not remarried but ultimately that makes me a woman standing on my own two feet. Living life on my terms and being who I am. Finding my strength and weaknesses and embracing them all. I do not need another person in my life to define me yet I will choose to love someone else when it shows up. I do not need to be married to be complete but if I choose to remarry it will be because I want to be with that person for the rest of my life. They will be my best friend. I will need them in many ways but I will not need them to define me.

I will step into my roles when I choose to and today and every day after I choose to never step into the role of widow again. I am not helpless and it is alright to always just be a woman whose husband died without the label.

How many labels do you carry? Are you conscious of how they affect your life? Do you choose what labels you wear? Are you aware when you step into a role that is labeled? Do you know why you choose to wear the label? Do you know why you choose to step into the role that is given to you? All things to think about. All things to knowingly be conscious of. Are you choosing or are you allowing the world to choose for you? Are you defining yourself or are others defining you and you just go along with it? Be aware. Choose. Step into your roles with full awareness. It not only will shift your perspective it will make you more aware of the people around you and how you view them. Step into your own sovereignty and love who you are.

In Her Service,

Sage

Allowing Life

It has been a year since Mike passed away. This last week has been a week of reflection. Where did I change? What perspectives have shifted? How is my life different than it was? The list is endless when it comes to the questions that I ask myself. For me these questions are necessary to keep moving forward. I am not good with staying stagnant and I am always looking for where I am, in this moment, and why I feel the way that I do about anything that comes up. It is one of the ways I keep myself in check and aware of my own way of being.

Sometimes asking the hard questions brings up things that I don’t much feel like facing. I know that not facing them keeps them hidden in the shadow and growth is in the shadows of life. So many just don’t face their shadows. So many just take their thoughts and ways of being as “just who they are” and they never change that because it is their comfort zone. Living in your comfort zone is a nice place to be but it doesn’t seem to help me grow much so I try really hard to step out of it as often as possible.

Anyway, a couple of things that I have seen and learned this last year are things that I knew but had pushed to the back. Most are related to relationships. I am good with relationships as long as I don’t have to pursue them. I am not good at pursuing people I figure if they want me in their lives they know where I am.

One of the things that came forward is that no matter how much you think you love someone if it is not returned you are fighting a losing battle. You can’t make someone love you. Why would you want to? If it doesn’t flow freely why do you want it in your life? Many times when you are pursuing someone you are pursing what you imagine it will be like and not facing the reality of what it is.

Sometimes leaving someone you loved in the past is best left in the past. People change and not always for the better. Some people stay right where they were when you knew them and never move forward. Life knocks them down and they turn ugly and bitter. They stay knocked down. They can’t find the strength to get back up. It is not a pretty sight but you can’t fix them. You can offer them a hand but they don’t have to take it and when they don’t you have to let go or they will pull you down there with them. Letting go sucks but it is a part of this world we live in.

Another thing I have learned is that sometimes you have to put your dreams on hold. You face obstacle after obstacle and you know that this is showing you that the timing is all wrong. I am there. I know what I am suppose to do but life keeps throwing one obstacle after another in my way so I have to keep climbing over and getting through all of the obstacles.  It is alright because when the time is right, when I finally get through all of the obstacles I know that the journey will be there waiting for me. In many ways, I look at the obstacles as part of my journey. You see I have to face the fears, find the trust and walk through the obstacles before I can get to what I look at as my journey. That means that I am on a journey within a journey and nothing will be a waste of time. I know that it will be better than I ever dreamed and I know that I will then be right where I am suppose to be. For now I am biding my time, doing what I need to do and seeing where it is taking me in the future. Obstacles are temporary set backs but they are not permanent deterrents.

Nothing in this world is permanent. You can plan your life yet that doesn’t mean that life will adhere to your plans. How many times do you wake up in the morning with a list of things that you need to get done and half way through your day a wrench is thrown into the mix and you aren’t able to stay the course? This is life. It is never going to be exactly as we plan and in many ways that is a beautiful thing.

I think about all of the plans I have made in my life that didn’t happen. I didn’t plan on having anymore children after my third son was born and yet I had a beautiful daughter and my darling son. I didn’t plan on having my only daughter die, instead she was suppose to be my last, if she had been then Jeremy wouldn’t be here and I honestly can’t imagine my life without my son.

I didn’t plan on ever having to bury my husband. We were suppose to grow old together. Sit on the front porch and watch our grandchildren grow up. We were suppose to have a lifetime of memories to share with our kids and leave for our grandchildren. We were suppose to love each other until we were old and senile. Now I find myself alone. He is gone and I am left to figure life out again. I didn’t plan this. He was suppose to me my last love. This is not how we planned our lives. Those plans are gone and so is that life.

We plan and the Universe laughs. So what do I learn from this? How do I find a life without plans? How do I just let it all go and see what happens? This is not how the world works right? We always have to plan. Well the last year has taught me that planning is of no use, at least not in my life, all I can do is let it all go. Be where I am led to be when I am led to be there and allow life to happen. It has been an interesting way of being. What are you doing Monday? I have no idea. What are you doing next month? Hmm, let me get back to you.

I imagine that allowing life to flow, following the Universe’s lead and going where I am led to go will lead me to the life I am dreaming of. It doesn’t have to make sense to anyone but me. All I know for today is that life is a roller coaster and I am along for the ride. When I slide into my final base I hope that I have someone standing next to me, laughing and saying thanks that was one hell of a ride. I know that somewhere out in this world there is someone dreaming of me just as I am dreaming of him. Life is to short to be alone forever and we all need someone to laugh with.  So go out and love and allow yourself to be loved. It is what life is all about. Throw the plans away and just allow!

 

In Her Service,

Sage

 

 

Stepping Out Of Our Comfort Zones

My son, Jeremy, taught me a very valuable lesson this week. He doesn’t know it but he did. You see he was homeschooled and because of that he had to get his GED. He went to school for the testing before Mike became sick. That is going on well over a year and a half now. It came time for his testing and he was unsure of himself. Especially with his math. He doesn’t like math and it is his weakest subject. He was sure he would fail the test and even after taking it he was sure he had failed. He was none to pleased with himself. I kept telling him he could do it, that I had faith in him, but he didn’t have faith in his ability. He did it anyway. He took the tests. He stepped out of his comfort zone and didn’t delay taking the test. He knew if he failed he would be able to retake the test but he wanted to pass them all the first time. He passed! He passed all of his tests! I am extremely proud of him.

The lesson he taught me though was that no matter how unsure, or how sure, you are stepping up and stepping out of your comfort zone may not be easy but it is well worth the risk.

You see, I know that I have been called on this journey. I know that I have to leave. Regardless of how it turns out, whether I have to come back home, the point is that I have to trust. I have had a lot of issues with trusting people for many years. I trust me but I have made a million mistakes in my life and sometimes I will back away from what I know I should be doing because I don’t trust myself enough to know that what I am knowing is a sure thing.

I am one of those people that believes that some things happen to delay you from something that you think you need to do only to point you in a new direction. That is what I believe has happened here. I was determined to head a specific way and then everything was delayed. I believe that there was good reason for the delay and I now find myself heading in a direction that I would never have anticipated. I have a renewed excitement. I can’t wait to leave.

Yet, I have worried about all of the things that are still unresolved here at home. It hit me last night and again this morning that I need to step out and step up and trust that everything is working out the way it is suppose to. Me staying here isn’t fulfilling what I have been called to do and me leaving will. If I leave with unresolved issues I have to trust that they will be resolved because I am suppose to go. So I am going.

So to my son, Thank You for the lesson. You are an inspiration to me. Sometimes we just have to step out of our comfort zones and let things be what they will knowing that one way or another it all works out in the end.

In Her Service,

Sage

New Normal

It has been 5 years now since my dad died. I cannot begin to tell you how hard his death was. I was devastated when he died. He was my hero. Since his death I have lost my father in law, aunt, cousin and ultimately my best friend my husband Mike.

One of the most important things I learned when my dad died was that waiting for “normal” to return was futile. I kept waiting for things to get back on an even keel. For life to show me some sort of resemblance to what it had been. Then one morning I was blessed to actually hear the words “this is your new normal.” It was life changing.

When we have life changing events happen, a death of a loved one, a divorce, an accident, it doesn’t matter what the event is, it changes our lives. We often wait for our lives to get back to normal. What we don’t see at the time is that our lives are now presenting us with our “new normal.” We never get to go back to the way things were before the event. It is a hard pill to swallow most of the time. It is heart breaking. We crave the normal that we knew. As humans we are not good with change. We are creatures of comfort.

I was very fortunate that I learned this lesson when my dad died. I am not sure I would have been as prepared as I was when Mike passed without this lesson. You see there are many things that shift and change when your spouse dies. It is different than any other death you have been through. All of a sudden your life as you knew it is no longer. You no longer have that person to talk to, to turn to when you are happy, sad, angry or any other emotion you can think of. When you crawl in bed at night there is an emptiness that is indescribable. You are use to having your person there and all of a sudden there is no snoring, no breathing noises to lull you to sleep. The world is different. You adjust, no doubt, but knowing that this is your new normal helps alleviate some of the waiting for things to return to what they were.

We don’t necessarily have to like the new normal that we find ourselves in. Embracing it gives us the opportunity to move forward. It isn’t always easy and there are days when it seems impossible. You take one step forward and three steps back but the next day is a new day and you awaken and try again.

We move forward whether we want to or not. Life continues to go on. The birds still sing. The sun still rises and sets. We still continue to breathe and we live. The alternative is not an option so embracing the life we have and finding a new comfort zone is what we strive for. As we do so we create our new normal and somewhere in that normal we find laughter, love, yearning and life again. There is always sadness but we befriend our grief and live again.

Finding your new normal does not mean you ever forget. You never forget what came before, you just accept that your life has changed and what was is no longer. You have changed, your life has changed and the future you once dreamed of has changed. It is alright, you will dream a new future. You will live your life and move on, you just won’t forget what was.

Have you found your new normal? It is this journey we call life and at some point we will all face finding it. May your “new normal” bring you solace and happiness.

In Her Service,

Sage

Spiritual Disconnect

Turtle

 

Recently this picture was posted in a group I am in.  As a response a member asked (paraphrased) if the reason that people in the U.S. are emotionally and spiritually bereft due to what our Ancestors did to the Native Americans.  This got me thinking on why people in the U.S. are so disconnected from Spirit.  I am not discounting the history of our Ancestors.  There is a lot of hurt and pain in their actions that we have to live with but ultimately I feel that there are several reasons that we are disconnected and here I will address a few of them.

1) We live and walk on concrete and asphalt.  We wear rubber soles on our feet.  We are surrounded by buildings and artificial light.  We very seldom feel Pachamama (Earth) under our feet.  We do not feel Her rhythm or heartbeat.  We do not see the sun rise or set.  We are disconnected from the very planet we live on.

2) We are always trying to obtain “more,” we are very seldom just satisfied with what we have and even less grateful.

3) We have no rituals from our homelands.  We are disconnected from any ritualistic ways that our Ancestors may have had.  The rituals we now have focus on work and obtainment not on the land and appeasing the Gods.  Any rituals that our Ancestors had were destroyed by religions that did not want us to know about them.  We find through archaeology some of the things that our Ancestors did by piecing the artifacts together but very few true rituals exist today unless we had a grandparent that carried them forward and few did!

4) We have no ceremonies.  We celebrate holidays with an abundance of food and family but most ceremonies to honor are gone.  The current ceremony is watching the game of whichever sporting event is on during the family get together.  There is little honoring going on and most have forgotten what the meaning of the holiday is.  If you are not a Christian then most of the holidays celebrated in the U.S. are not significant to you as the majority are based on the happenings of Jesus.

If you are pagan you know that the majority of these holidays were taken and changed to fit the story that is told by the church.  There are many similarities but things have been changed enough that the ceremonies once practiced are no longer in full form so we recreate to honor our beliefs.  As honorable as this is and as necessary as it is for those of us walking alternative paths we still miss the connection with our Ancestors because it was not their ways.  We can only continue to work at the connection and follow their lead when we are creating ceremony to ensure that they are included.

5) Lack of prayer!  Most people pray for things, for miracles, for money, for whatever item they feel they can’t live without today.  Prayer has turned into a pleading rather than a conversation with Spirit. Any thankfulness is an after thought rather than a forethought.

The majority of people do not walk in prayer.  Prayer is there to fulfill a need not to communicate with the Gods/Spirit.

I believe that our Ancestors walked in prayer.  They believed they were at the mercy of the Gods and made offerings to stay in their good graces.  They made offerings to the dead knowing that the dead were still available in their realm. They made offerings in thankfulness and in hopes that they would be blessed. They were blessed because they were thankful.  Their offerings were given from the heart.  Things that meant something to them.  Not things that they ran to the store and bought!

Now, most bury their dead and forget about them.  They don’t feel the connection to them because they do not honor them in anyway.

6) The disconnection of the land is profound.  We no longer know where our food comes from let alone what is in it or how it is made.

Microwaves have replaced cooking.

Televisions have replaced dinner tables where families sat and shared their days.

Our Ancestors cooked their meals, they planted their food and killed their animals for meat, clothing, utensils and many other items they would use throughout the year.

7)  We live in a disposable society.  Nothing is made to last.  We have significant waste.  Something breaks and we buy a new one.  We want for nothing.  We buy food and don’t eat it so we throw it away.  We are not invested in the production so we have no qualms in the tossing out of things.

8) Our survival is not dependent on others.  We no longer depend on a tribe of people to survive or do their part.  The majority feel that their survival depends on how much money they make and what they can afford.  No longer do we have to depend on others to help us get through a rough winter or stock the cabinet with food to get us through the dark months of the year.  Now we can go to the grocery store and buy what we need whenever we need it.  Sick?  You don’t need a Shaman and the Spirits to heal you, instead you go see a doctor.

9)  We no longer see the person sitting next to us as connected to us.  There is hatred and discrimination based on religion, color, sex – anything “different” than what we view as “us.”

We hate over politics.

We hate over religion.

We hate over social classes.

We hate over skin color.

We hate over what we call foreigners.

We hate over sexual preference.

We look at others as being “less than” and hate when someone is “needy.”

Hatred begets anger, anger begets hatred, it is a vicious cycle and all of it stems from judgment and a perspective of self against the world.  If someone isn’t like us we hate, we judge, we don’t understand their ways so they have to be wrong.

10) Lack of communication – We live in an age of technology where we have the opportunity to reach millions yet we don’t know how to communicate.

We start with our own judgments and we voice our opinions based on our perspective at that moment in time.  The problem comes in when someone disagrees with us.  We do not keep an open heart and approach differing opinions with love and listening.  Instead we take offense and immediately find that person offensive.  We become angry and divisive.  We have lost the ability to listen to others because the world revolves around “me” and “my opinion.”

We no longer lead with our hearts.  We do not walk in compassion.  Everything is based on logic and the brain and what we “think” we know.  In turn no matter what the other is saying we can twist it to what we believe it to be.  Our media does this daily and we follow suit.

None of these things happened over night.  They have been years in the making. We are the only ones that can change our perspectives.  We are the only ones that can create the change we are seeking.  We start with our connection to Spirit/God/Goddess and we slowly build upon it.  These are just a few things off of the top of my head that seem very obvious to me so I tend to find it surprising that so many don’t see them.  Hopefully, something here struck a cord and your perspective has changed a bit by reading this.

Can you think of other ways we have become disconnected? I would love to hear your thoughts!

In Her Service,

Sage