you are living
you are breathing
perhaps a bit hurt
you are breathing
you are breathing
and that is enough to wake
the angels still living
in your chest.
Loss and heartache isn't limited to the dying or moving on of beloveds. There are daily losses, wholly personal, intimate losses of self, that can create deep and abiding grief when felt in their leaving.
To talk about specifics isn't necessary, may even distract us into comparison - "who has experienced the greatest loss..." Whatever it is that has gone missing from our lives leaves us sleepless, appetite-less, bewildered, and lost in our own wilderness for a time. For some, it may be a long time. As I sit and sometimes wail and sometimes wander, in my own wilderness, I see there is no guidepost to offer to you, except to let the emotion move and allow your heart to breathe.
Photo Credit: Nakia Angelique
I am in a re-entry phase this week. I've spent the summer in another world and I did not realize how far away I've traveled in that experience. It brought up questions about my place in life and my relationship with me work... how do I continue with it and let it grow..?
There are other, deeper questions that have come up this summer, and today, I feel like a wild, weird thing in a wild and weird world. That feels unrecognizable. With a starless sky.
And I, in a leaky canoe.
Thank goodness for friends. I received a text with a link to a Joanna Macy interview on Krista Tippett's On Being and it led me to this poem... and some momentary peace of mind.
I live my life in widening circles
that reach out across the world.
I may not complete this last one
but I give myself to it.
I circle around God, around the primordial tower.
I've been circling for thousands of years
and I still don't know: am I a falcon,
a storm, or a great song?
Book of Hours, I 2
Rainer Maria Rilke
Things are such, that someone lifting a cup,
Or watching the rain, petting a dog,
Or singing, just singing --- could be doing as
Much for this universe as anyone.
This possibility is on my mind often, lately.
When I was in high school I had big dreams of making an impact in the world with journalism and research discoveries in seaweed as a marine biologist. I wanted to write for National Geographic.
I lived in south Florida at the time I had those goals in mind and there is something to be said for a high energy, outwardly focused geography and its impact on an impressionable young mind. I’ve moved a lot since then, inwardly and outwardly, and I’ve been asking new questions like, what is my life about and what have I contributed so far? Have I contributed?
I took a very different path, from the verbally visual journalism, and the widely, impactful potential, of discovering cures for cancer in ocean vegetation. For the longest time I couldn’t see my reach. Or, my value. I’ve been a much quieter participant than I imagined myself to be when I was in my teens. I took a professional path that only now is becoming sought out again by the larger culture. I’ve contributed on the edges and mistook professional obscurity for lack of meaning and impact. However, I am beginning to see that my touch, in the world, has rooted deeply with a small and intimate group of friends, clients, students.
In our culture, in the USA, we are encouraged to reach far and wide with our ambitions and be bright and glamorous as we do it. We are especially encouraged to sparkle and shine with our moment to moment activities and contributions in our social media.
But, I am realizing that our reach and our gifts in the world can be created through small actions in our immediate communities. Mundane and miss-able, probably, but profoundly meaningful to the people closest to us, even, if only, a community of one Other. Our presence with one another has meteoric impact potential.
There may be worlds around us, waiting for our genius, but, I’m learning that they are much closer to home, and asking much less of us, than they once seemed.
If you’ve held back because your vision for your life hasn’t seemed compelling enough or exciting enough to earn a thousand hearts on IG – put yourself out into the breathing, pulsing world in-spite of your potential unimpressive-ness.
Someone, somewhere, will be moved by your particular way of showing up in the world, and your willingness to be, as you are, without needing to be more or less, will pull others into their own gifted currents of expression.
When things fall apart.
That’s the title of at least two different books and could be the title for this year. 2016 is being called the year of purification by a number of people. Upheaval, right?
And these past months, April and May, have been a deep reckoning for many of us. A handful of planets forcing us to slow down and look, with honesty, at our habits of living.
Mercury -R (Taurus but goes direct today – thank heavens), Venus, Mars -R (Saggitarius), Jupiter (Virgo), Saturn -R (Saggitarius), Pluto -R (Capricorn).
So why care? It’s an opportunity, on some level, to sit with our light and our dark places.
Our shadows and secrets.
We tend to feel some variation of nutty, cloudy, shut down, wiped out, and unenthusiastic about every damn thing during retrograde periods. Even if sky watching is 'not our thing'.
The planets that have been putting us through our paces the past many weeks symbolize our relationships with intimacy, communication, sex, responsibility, structure, work, contribution, home, aggression, masculinity (that quality of, in men and women), personal growth, expansion and contraction, secrets, and our shadow – those qualities in ourselves we’d rather hide from. Or hide from others.
This is a period of slowing down (and getting down and dirty with our own truth) as well as reflection, and eventual transformation, if we are willing to be in the discomfort of bringing these things we discover about ourselves to light. It’s tempting to say f@&k it and withdraw from everything and everyone.
Downtime is an important and necessary skill to develop in times like this.
However, the world needs those of us willing to be awake, aware and uncomfortable.
So, how do we hold steady?
We use our tools. Connection, prayer, meditation, bodywork, movement practices, songs, chant, dream tending, teas, stone communication, vibrational tools, aromatic tools, journaling and whatever else helps you anchor in the energies of stillness, transformation and, yes, chaos.
Our capacity to contribute to the evolution of humanity is astonishing. It will continue to take discipline - as in devotion - to our own deep, personal transformations.
As above. So below.
As within. So without.
When you are beginning to gather a collection of oils you may want to start making blends to address certain issues. There are many ways to approach blending and I’ll share a few of my favorites with you through these posts.
First, it’s a good idea to keep things simple. Begin with 3-5 single oils as you are learning.
You can use a variety of carrier oils including olive oil, apricot oil, jojoba, coconut oil etc. The oils that have their own aromas’, for example, olive oil and coconut oil, may require slightly higher percentages of essential oil to balance the essential aroma with the carrier aroma.
So, to begin, we consider three layers to the oil blend:
1. The core oil represents the core issue you’ve decided needs attention. If you have multiple challenges you aren’t alone, however, it’s easiest to focus on one challenge at a time. You’ll choose your core oil based on the individual properties of the essential oils (and qualities of the carrier oils if you’d like to take those into consideration) and their relationship with the symptoms and signs you may be dealing with.For example, if you are struggling with chronic pain that seems to lead to difficulty sleeping, you might look into oils that have anti-inflammatory and stress relieving properties: lavender, helichrysum, basil, bergamot, and cedarwood are examples of these. Once you’ve found oils that may be able to talk to the issue, then choose what you’re attracted to aromatically.
Keep in mind that If you don’t like the smell of something you’re unlikely to use it.
2. Next choose an essential oil that compliments the core oil. Some aromatherapist’s call this oil the enhancer. It can be your second runner up from the previous group. Or, maybe you feel your inflammation is stress related so you choose a stress reducing oil. Lavender, bergamot and cedarwood are good choices from the above list. Each of these oils have anti-inflammatory properties as well as calming properties for the nervous system.
3. Finally, we can choose a harmonizer oil. This oil can bring your blend together aromatically. You can choose this oil purely for the aroma if you like. This is the oil that can bring the others you’ve chosen into a cohesive aroma.
A lovely blend with the oils mentioned above could be, lavender, cedarwood and bergamot.
You can use the dilution chart in the previous message to begin putting your blends together.
Here are some other suggestions for musculoskeletal pain and fatigue:
bergamot, black pepper, roman chamomile, ginger, helichrysum (one of my favorite oils), lavender, sweet marjoram, rosemary, sandalwood, spearmint, vetiver and ylang ylang.
“People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they're not on your road does not mean they are lost."