Thursday, May 22, 2008

traveling and sitting still

home again, home again, boy that feels good! my own soft bed and snuggly dog, quiet mornings and little green car. yet going away was wonderful too. six days of talking and laughing with my big, loving family and a few precious friends. what a tonic! my love cup is full to overflowing and i finally got the daily recommended number of hugs.

there is something really powerful about a good long hug from people that have known and loved you since forever. i'm smiling just thinking of it.

it was important, this trip.

two dear people, my friends for ten years, got married and i was witness to that magical day. the bride worn jewelry i made just for her wedding day. when the groom got teary-eyed at the beginning of the ceremony, i started crying too. after so many months of thinking about me and crying about my troubles, it was so good to cry happy tears.

for my family it was important to see me, to touch me and verify in person that after all this cancer crap, the surgeries and radiation treatment - i was ok. i was in one piece and ok.

my young nieces and nephews are such gems. eleven kids, from ages three to thirteen, all busy with their ideas and questions, with their art and sports and music. i loved reading books with the smallest ones curled in my arms. i loved teasing my nephew who is starting high school next fall.

i had a few hours on the plane there and back to write in my journal and think. it's a different kind of processing than i tend to do when on land. being on an airplane is a strange act of faith. you're flying, captured in a bubble for four hours without escape. it's a good time to meditate, a good time to let things just float for a while. after all, nothing on the ground can really be done, or solved while in the air.

i bought the book, a new earth, by eckhart tolle in the airport on my way to chicago. it made for good reading in small doses, bits just big enough to soak in. already, i feel some healing happening in my spirit.

i was writing today over on my other blog, found object, on how some big ideas grew out of the time i had my first round of breast cancer, the turnip from 2001. as i wrote, a truth was revealed to me with stunning clarity. it's as if i had the answer, written in my own hand, stuck on my back and i couldn't see it. i couldn't reach around and pluck that note off my back and read it until today.

today, i remembered what i did to heal my spirit after the first cancer. when i told you the story here before, i left out an important chapter. now that it's become clear again, i can't believe i forgot it.

the summer following my first turnip, i learned to meditate.

first, i went on a mostly silent retreat to gambo abby in nova scotia. it's high on a lonely cliff, overlooking a ocean wild with wind. ravens caw and prayer flags flap. it's of place of raw beauty, where i finally found compassion for myself for the first time in my life. the place of real stillness opened up inside me and i was able to rest for periods of time, free from the chatter in my brain. that was two extraordinary weeks, living with the monks and nuns.

then i went on for another three weeks to the mountain shambhala center in colorado, almost on the continental divide. i worked on the crew that was finishing an incredible sacred structure, the great stupa of dharmakaya. it wasn't a silent experience, but it was equally intense as my time at the abby.

those weeks were healing in a way that no therapy had ever been. it was hard emotional work. only through a mediation practice have i been able to learn compassion, in particular compassion for myself. therapy is a valuable tool, but it's part of the busy mind. as evidenced by my writing here, my busy mind is eager to run away with thoughts and spin them over and over again.

we all do that with our stories. we all get stuck in our minds.

i didn't make it to the zen center yet, but i will soon. another couple of days and i will be caught up on the work that piled up while i was gone. a couple more good nights of sleep and i'll be rested after the jam packed week of traveling.

Monday, May 12, 2008

stepping out of fear

well, my dear friends, there is big news over on my other blog today. i'm stepping out into the world with my business in a new way, with a new name. check it out right here. it's exciting and i am thrilled to be lining up my business name with positive intention and abundance.

what's in a name? for me, hopefully an clear indication of the future.

i was into panic mode when i wrote my last post here. it comes and goes like the wind. i should know by now that getting scared and shutting down, looking at choices as black & white - that isn't who i essentially am. that is my bullshit, my baggage. i would sure like it to be my past! for all those messy, nasty fears to stay in the past. but i think i've got to just make peace with them. judging myself harshly for being scared is just compounding the problem.

a friend wrote to me last week about the latest book by eckhart tolle called the new earth. she was burning to send me a copy and i was so caught up in my crappy state of mind, i said, oh no. just bring me your copy when we meet in august, there's no rush. ah, what a wise friend. she reads this blog and sees that i need the teachings of that book to bring me back to grace. (thank-you, h.) so, in my typical fashion, this weekend i read an article about the book in oprah's magazine and immediately felt better. for about the 1,000th time, i saw my busy, panic-driven mind for what it was. not me, the real me, but just my busy, panic-driven mind. and, i realized something that has been poking at me for months and months as well. what my life is missing is stillness. mediation is the tonic i need, not talk therapy. i've had plenty of that in this lifetime. and my talking-processing type of therapy is really happening here on turnip.

thanks for listening, by the way. *cringe* -you all are so good to me!

it's time to return to the zen center. time to set up a place of uncluttered stillness in my home and get back to practice. because i do know from past experience that in the present moment, each moment i am truly present, fear floats away and my abundant mind expands. this was part of my intention when i quit my day job, to return to a sustaining spiritual practice.

i'm taking off early tomorrow morning for michigan. a dear old friend is getting married and i will be visiting my family as an added bonus. after these past few months, it will be especially
wonderful to snuggle my sweet nieces and nephews. i may get a chance to write while away, but am not planning on it.

til then, talk amongst yourselves.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

evidence of abundance

first order of business: the back is way, way better. it took quite a bit longer to heal than this impatient, sick-of-being-a-patient would like. but thankfully, it is nearly 100%. i am so grateful to a new chiropractor of mine who is a miracle worker. i asked the universe for a female practitioner, under my insurance plan, less than two miles from my home and with an opening to treat me nearly immediately. seems like a rather tall order, doesn't it?

amazingly, the universe delivered the perfect chiropractor for my needs. huge sigh of relief.

thank-you for all your concerned comments and support, i really appreciate it.

a couple of weeks ago, i was panicking about my business, about the rapidly dwindling bank account and wringing my hands in a perfectly inefficient manner over however was i going to make it?

i had a couple of sessions with the colon hydrotherapy and started walking everyday and badaboom! things looked different. in fact, nothing had changed except how i was looking at my life. the bank account was still frightening, the post office was still delivering bills in a tireless fashion. i just snapped out of my deprivation mind set and rediscovered my abundance mind set.

i'm here to report, i am holding steady. abundance, abundance, abundance. let's say it all together now. a chant in the back of the brain. how wonderful it would be if i could get all those crazy monkeys in there to chant the good stuff, the messages i am trying to believe with all my being!

funny thing is, when i look at the evidence, i see that believing in abundance does seem to work. the chant, (along with actions like marketing my jewelry & going to the studio) appears to inspire sales. or, sales follow a change in my mind set. sounds so freaking easy when i write it down like that.

yet the stark reality is, i have only enough in savings to cover a couple of months at the most. sales may continue to increase and business expand into a comfortable income...but what if it doesn't? so i am brought to this:

i've been pondering getting another job, one that provided health insurance. i'm wondering if i do that, does that mean i am failing at my business? would i be letting down all the people that have been inspired by my journey this past year? yet, i am so weary of struggle. for the last few years, with two jobs and my business, it was a struggle to take care of myself well and i became very socially isolated. since november, with just one part time job and my full time business, it's been a struggle to survive financially and pay my bills. oh, wait. yeeees. there was also that whole breast cancer thing for months and months. my health insurance premium just increased by $45 a month. the weight of carrying all that feels too heavy for just me many days.

truth is, i don't want to have to choose between living a healthy, balanced life and being able to make a living. it's hard to sort out the right path at this point. i don't know how my leap into doing my business full time would have gone if the cancer chapter had never been written. would i be making it right now and living the life i imagined, the life i planned so carefully?

i sure like to think so.

Friday, May 2, 2008

oh, my back!

i'll only write a few words, just to update you. on tuesday some over-enthusiastic jumping first thing in the morning before stretching, produced a strained back, which has had me in pain and not able to do much this week. forget walking long distances. forget having a booth with my jewelry at 1st thursday last night. (bitter disappointment there) and forget sitting and typing for long.

i'm resting, using ice packs round the clock and yesterday saw a new chiropractor. so i will mend, i am mending. but it is slow. hopefully you will see me back here in just a few days, will all sorts of inspiring stories.

sometimes i just cannot understand why my body won't play nice with me!