Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Struggles, Cravings, and Premature Grievances

Today I had a rough day. I woke up after the strangest most vivid dream that weirded me out all morning....that ever happen to you? Yea...I bet it has.

Anyways. In occupational therapy today I transferred onto a mat on the floor and tried to bump myself up the stairs there. I can do this at my home..but in the therapy gym, it was so difficult. Then I couldn't get myself back into my chair from the floor (like I can at home). I was soooo exhausted and found that when I got in the car I just wanted to sleep or cry....both ended up happening.

It's been a while since I felt like I needed to hop back into my bed immediately after therapy. I noticed how much time I spend on "doing this and that" rather than respecting the calls of my body. After resting a bit and eating lunch in bed (thanks dad!), I found myself craving a mocha espresso....arrgg I wanted it so bad. Well, instead I started writing and drank Kombucha. Then I realized oh. I'm finally cycling again. After months and months of my body being out of whack hormonally, I hadn't experienced what some call PMS! Lol....being the "doll" I "am"...I spent many years telling others that I simply didn't get like that...No way No sir No mam...not me! "I don't get bitchy or cramps or tired." Well...laurie the times have changed. I now confess that maybe I just wasn't noticing my own behaviors....maybe it's that whole sub-conscious mind thing that I blogged about during my gratitudes...we simply don't recognize those sub conscious behaviors and patterns. We need mirrors.

So then I began journaling....I realized today that I am one of those people-and perhaps you can relate to this-who likes to create little outings and dates and experiences for my future. I choose the friends and family who I want to experience something with and then I imagine that we are there...in my mind we're there at the pool or the park or doing partner yoga together. So yea..I am really good at this and also really good at holding on to this imagined future reality with the hopes that it will manifest. But then life comes knocking on my door with the real picture...like OH that day won't work or that person won't be here... I realized that in my attachment to the future I am setting myself up for consistent and imminent loss. I begin grieving the experiences that have never manifested...that are a figment of my own imagination. How can I grieve something that doesn't even exist yet? I do this a lot. It sucks. ouch. Can you relate? I can't be alone in this...ughhh and doesn't it suck to be let down by your own expectations?

............hmm....so.

One of my roommates at Kessler came with both liver cancer and paralysis from her hips down which resulted from loss of blood to the spinal cord during a surgery for her cancer. (That surgery was actually the same day as my birthday...which I found interesting cuz I'm like that). She was and is an amazingly strong woman. A mother of three and just so alive and spirited and determined. She was thrilled to be my roommate because I was young unlike most of the other women...and she could tell I was an artist.

During our many weeks sharing the room, we laughed and helped each other learn to cry. We stayed up late drinking Cacao, dipping crackers and telling stories we would never tell our mothers....drawing late into the night in our beds with the curtains drawn, giggling because we couldn't wait to share them with one another in the morning. We grew to find more love in our lives and to be grateful for our meeting...for our stories that seemed so laughable now that our lives were full of hospitals, catheters, suppositories, nurses, aids, pills, more pills, therapy, wheelchairs, loud beeps, shots, yelling, and icky food. We read prayers and enjoyed the days when we could roll outside onto the patio for some fresh air. We even dreamt about one day visiting her beautiful country of Columbia where we would wear high heels and ride donkeys up the mountain to a village where beautiful purses were made.

She filled me with determination to move. There I was in sporty chair...barely able to bend over...unable to dress myself...transfer into my bed alone, catheter myself....let's face it..I was pretty needy at the time. I often stayed in bed for long periods of time. But then came Gloria. She had a giant chair with big foot rests, clunky handles, and big wheels. She charged around with power and did everything herself...she sponge bathed every morning and made herself look beautiful every day. She took me in like her best friend, like her daughter....she waxed my legs, painted my toes and fingers, and dressed me in her expensive designer clothes. She showed me that I had all of that too...I could still be sexy and be in a wheelchair. She wished for me to have a date...to be romanced...and giggled with me about boys. We had FUN in spite of our depressing situation. I started to try things that the nurses didn't want me to do on my own yet...and I DID. I DID start dressing myself...transferring into my bed alone. And by the time she was ready to go home..I was even showering in a shower chair instead of a stretcher. She was a model for me. I changed myself because she showed me strength. She didn't make me change....she simply showed me what was possible.

The point of this story is that recently, my beautiful roommate Gloria from Columbia has been told that her cancer is spreading to her lungs and body...that there is nothing more she can do. Told 2 years ago that she had 6 months to live...she has been a true fighter through it all. Her strength is unimaginable. When she told me that she felt her body weakening and how much she loved me after only knowing me a short time, I lost myself. I lost all of my dreams and I lost her before actually losing her. I grieved before the loss because so many of my hopes and dreams were destroyed in that moment. I thought about this today...It makes me feel so torn...dazed...and confused.

So what I am getting out of this?....that dreaming and imagination are there for me to play with...to enjoy...to use as tools to be and do and heal and transform.... But not for becoming attached to. Finding peace and happiness because I am attached to a belief that they are real or will become real is not true happiness. Like making a decision to walk and feeling like it's in my future...only to wake up every morning with the same nerve pain and paralysis. Being attached to what you want to happen creates an immediate let down...you're setting yourself up to lose. At least that's what I'm feeling right now today.

It's kind of like the controlling thing I was talking about....trying to change someone. In my mind I can create a beautiful picture of someone's potential...I can see this person being so much more than I see them being in reality~ so I start to love them because of my imagined perspective....not because of who they really are. Sure my perspective of their potential may be possible but if they are not living that expectation then how am I truly appreciating who they are? Yes. I'm admitting to this! It's prevented me from being authentic in relationships with family, friends, boyfriends....I want to make everyone their best self and yea that's "great" and all but it's not possible. We can't control other people. I can't get exactly what I want all the time ~ that's just not how life works. I must detach, let go, release!

So this is a big shift for me. Yes~ I love lifting others up to higher realities and to higher possibilities...Rise Up is a way of life for me right now....but it's MY life...not anyone else's. I can only control one thing....and that is my consciousness...my choices...my boundaries...my actions. I am only going to lift others as I continue to lift myself. OH How much this hurts my "gotta help gotta give" self....the one who finds compassion for everyone by lifting them to their highest in my mind rather than accepting what's being offered. hmm....

Hmmm....

Ok well last point is that I am recognizing the need to "know" pattern that I have always had. When did I step out of the creative energy of life? When did I step away from the pure joy of following sychronicity and signs? I am a channel for pure creative energy and I am able to allow myself to be guided as I become more conscious of these blocks and fears and obstacles that often bring me face to face with myself. It's time to get out of my own way. I've learned many things from Eastern philosophies in the past...about suffering and detachment...but sometimes the gifts are received from your own struggle. For that struggle I am grateful...back to the mountain....back to the essence to meditate.....

I miss nature....I really reallllllly do. I just want to walk in the grass...I actually want to be buried in the earth with my face sticking out haha...I want so badly to be back in the woods alone...to stumble upon the beauty of a random feather or acorn or snake skin or bear scratching mark on a tree trunk...I want to sit by water and write songs and cry to the trees and hug them as I used to...to see the tail of a fox...to get down real close to a little frog...to hold a flower and admire every little detail. It's been a long season for me....my winter has been happening since June when, at first, just 3 weeks inside seemed like forever....now my months have turned to eons of waiting and longing and missing.

I am grateful for the many gifts I am receiving. This journey is full of them...now if I can only detach from thinking I can "know" them all.

I let it be so ~ and so it is

Namaste and many many prayers for everyone to be free from fear ~ to have mental and physical happiness...and ease of well being.

Bless.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Day 21 ~ release, reclaim, discover


"Jungle Soul" by Laurie Kammer November 2011


21 days of Gratitude. Well, no joke, no lies, that was for SURE a commitment that both challenged and opened my beliefs, my choices, my intentions, my behaviors, my relationships and much more than I could possibly express in words. What a ride. I've enjoyed the process of recounting my days and sharing those moments here. Blogging is a funny thing..for me it is a practice in sharing and trusting and letting go of whether what I say is the right or wrong or good or bad. I admit it is a beautiful thing to feel I have connected or inspired or related in some way to another human. I feel strongly that it's really about trusting my self...because someone, somewhere is listening and actually needs to hear the words I am sharing.

so. here's my 5 for today.

1) I am grateful for self discovery. I am in my eleventh week of "The Artists Way"...I have had about 4 months of Art Therapy at home....and I am STILL feeling the ongoing resistance to seeing my own reflections. Discovering who you are means finding out things you often pass off as other peoples shit...or "they do that, not me?!"....or "I'm this way because of this person or that situation.....how can I possibly change that if I can't change them? If I can't change what happened?" ARghhh the strenuous work of self discovery....literally~ back-breaking work. But self discovery is an ongoing path...and I am now allowing myself to see the creative side to things. Today, my art therapist talked with me about seeing an opportunity to create rather than seeing in terms of good or bad. It's a difficult thing to shift from black or white thinking when that's the program you've been running for most of your life. Time for a new upload...download...upgrade....whatever ya want to call it. My self discovery is becoming a self blossoming...and ever unfolding journey for which I am grateful.

2) I am grateful for release. In my process today I went back to some very tough days when I was younger. I was able to release my grip on the baggage it carried by creating an art piece which showed me the gifts and the hurts. Once I was able to get a clear understanding of my past and how it is affecting my present...my therapist asked me to go over it in any way I wanted to release it. With release comes a feeling of weightlessness...and with that letting go I am transformed into movement. There are many ways to release...releasing the scar tissue in my back when my brother does his myofascial bodywork...releasing the tears and grief in my body when I am held by my sister...releasing a good belly laugh when my dad swears...(it cracks me up)...what's the use of holding on? Release and free myself...I can do this for me.

3) I am grateful for reclaiming. I have been focusing on those things (people, situations, etc) in which I need to release for a long time. I am now in the process of self discovery as I said above...really though when are we not discovering new things about ourselves?....anyway ~ As I connect with the power I have lost or given away, I am able to set a new intention to reclaim or begin fresh with what I wish to have, be, or do instead. Reclaiming makes my life more empowered and self driven. I admit that there are women I wish I could be rather than the woman I am. I admit that I have put myself last just to make other friends or family or boyfriends feel better about themselves. I admit to giving away my power on purpose because being powerless gave me access to attention that I wanted. Reclaiming is a scary process when it means now owning your power. Reclaiming is my gift to myself.

4) I am grateful for the gift of one single seed. Most of my artwork has revolved around growth...often looking like trees and flowers and plant life. I am amazed at how such huge beautiful beings can be created from one tiny little seed that is given water, sun, and dirt. My next venture is to begin planting my own seeds and turning it into a therapy for myself. I desire to feel the grass under my feet again...the sand between my toes...the waves washing up against my legs. Seeds are little miracles. We all began as a seed....in fact something I learned this morning is that the same cells that created our skin, also create our brains. The skin is our contact with the world and what we do to it sends information to our brains. This is why essential oils have such an affect on our bodies through the topical use, the smell, and even the ingestion of some. To me seeds are this mixture of complexity and simpleness...they make me feel connected to nature.

5) I am grateful for the unknown. Like I have said before...I just love "knowing"...I love planning something so that I KNOW what to expect. Life has given me a situation FULL of unknowns. I couldn't possibly tell you what I am going to be doing tomorrow....I can only guess. If I can continue to remind myself that even when I have a good idea of what is next to come...my experience can always change. Maybe I know I am going to have the same ginger tea tomorrow morning...I can expect it to taste the same way it did today....but perhaps I'll take the time to smell it before each sip ~ or press the warm cup into my heart ~ or spill it alllll over the place! Life brings us exactly what we bring to life. The unknown awakens me to be more conscious or else fall victim to my reactions...to my control dramas. So...here's to stepping boldly into my self. Who knows what is waiting for me...I'm ready to roll.

Here's tonights vegan vegetable quiche (alright i did put a little vegan and non-vegan cheese on at the end) made by Me! I actually had fun, and it tasted good too.






This night's blog was a hard one....I could feel the pressure to deliver some special speech or some awesome insight....but at the end of the day I am really more concerned about getting myself out of my chair and into my bed. And being honest! I have so loved being back on the bloggggg....but I'm taking a break! 21 days to create a new habit... What is next? who KNOWs... we'll see.

Keep on Risin Up every day. Stay Tuned ~ I'll be back.

Lots of love ~ Namaste

Monday, March 19, 2012

Day 20 ~ Tis the gift to be true

1) I am grateful for the artist child in me. When I treat myself with love for the gifts I was born to give, I feel like a channel of creativity. Taking my artist child to the arts and crafts store was a super fun time and something I rarely allow. My creativity is worth the treats and the fun! Haha see she is a child!

2) I am grateful for those things I miss... Someone today who is also paralyzed asked me what I miss most .... I said hiking and dancing. I miss them so much that I feel even more grateful to have had the many many amazing experiences in my life. Without those good times I wouldnt miss them as I do now.

3) I am grateful for exercise. I read an amazing passage from "the Artists Way" speaking about how exercise is a way of seeing your process....it's realizing that you are stronger than you thought you were...it's getting out of your mind and into your body. I was never an "exerciser" unless it had to do with the arts. I have had to become someone entirely new through this process and I am so so surprised at the mountains I am climbing. I know that in this process I can only grow.

4) I am grateful for the turn of the season. I was nervous about winter and being in a wheelchair. I am glad it was mild! yet there is still a noticeable change in the air with spring arriving. I feel more expansive and things have taken a softer tone, a slower sweetness is brewing. At least for me, I am feeling a burden lift as the earth wakes up and starts to sing again.

5) I am grateful for gifts. I love giving gifts. This could be a whole blog about my journey of over giving and also of allowing gifts to come to me. Anyways, today I told a friend in therapy who I barely know that I loved her hair clip. She had been on her way out when she turned her chair around, rolled up to my walker, pulled the clip out of her hair and handed it to me. I was like really?? Why? And she said, "because you love it" and left. I realized that when I give I rarely let it be so spontaneous...as I said last night I am an obsessive planner and visionary. So gifts have to be well thought out in detail. This was a beautiful lesson. Grateful grateful grateful.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Day 19 ~ From Estrangement to Enthusiastic Communication

"Redbird" by Laurie Kammer January 2012

Ahhhh yes....chocolate brain. Here I am showing up for my blog with the lingering taste of dark chocolate in my mouth. mmmm yum

1) I am grateful for spontaneity. I am an obsessive planner. I love to organize, schedule, prep, visualize. Let's face it....I'm basically admitting to my control issues. BUT spontaneity happens and when it does....it reminds me that I'm not always in control...actually who knows how much I really end up controlling when the day is done. Today I was sprinkled with spontaneous moments and it made me feel excited...it gave me this adrenaline rush of pure be-ingness.


2) I am grateful for eavesdropping. I have gotten pretty angry at people when I feel like my conversations are being eavesdropped...but let's face it again...if you're human, you've done it! Anyways. I sat in Starbucks today and overheard/eavesdropped in on the convos around me. 2 statements really struck me...and I ended up using them as writing prompts in my journal for stream of consciousness. Both eavesdropped prompts led to paragraphs of self discovery. I felt kind of sneaky but again...this little adrenaline rush of "doing something I'm not supposed to do"...little did these people know that their chit chat was creating thoughtful responses in my journal.

3) I am grateful for communication. This morning a friend of mine reminded me about how much of a gift it is to be able to communicate with others. For some of my friends who have suffered higher level spinal cord injuries...they had months in which they could not speak or breath on their own because of a vent in their neck. This simple reminder to speak up when the spirit moves me rather than create excuses as to why it's not the right time, place, astrological line up....whatever. If you feel the inspiration to speak, then most likely its a sign and invitation to act on that impulse. I had so many wonderful conversations today...some of them were with people I had just met like the woman in the toy store who shared with me in our love of colored gel pens....or the woman outside of starbucks who was having a hard time putting her little dog into a backpack so she could grab a coffee inside...I held the bag open for her and we giggled...we shared a moment of our day and in an instant we became acquainted rather than estranged. I also met 3 of my neighbors this week....no I met 4! And you know what? They all were so open and kind and inviting...they were genuinely attentive and curious and offered their time and company whenever. Communication is a gift...this is a lesson I am still cultivating but today I felt outgoing and social...but I also felt clear within my own inner communication...with all those convo prompts popping up around me...


4) I am grateful for my wheelchair. Wowzah....Sometimes I do a morning meditation with Louise Hay. She leads me through my life and environment, blessing absolutely everything and everyone and all the situations I have lived and are yet to live. She gives us time to look around and bless the furniture and objects that are so crucial to our daily lives. I always say a little thank you to my wheelchair for holding me and moving me around in the world. Without it I'd be stuck in a bed all day or getting seriously jacked from dragging myself in an army crawl. But seriously...my body from the waist down has become super sensitive and fragile. I need a special cushion to prevent sores from having to sit all day. My circulation has slowed, my bones and muscles are atrophied...and I actually don't sweat from the point of injury down....I guess that's part of having a spinal cord injury. My wheelchair supports me for now in keeping me safe (as long as I dont fly myself off a curb or run into a wall of course) and mobile. I'm still in shock that this has become the way I move in the world...I'm still grieving...I feel disabled and the chair reminds me of that, especially every time we pull into the handicap spots. I never knew that symbol would become a reflection of me. For now, I feel grateful for this wheelchair for making me feel like I have an alternative to being stuck and stagnant...I can move ~ so lets keep rollin.

5) I am grateful for my enthusiasm. This morning as I was writing at Starbucks I noticed how quickly I become enthused over things...like a small child who's been told they are getting the dog or cat or toy or whatever it is they have been wanting forever. My eyes light up like I've finally hit my shovel against the top of a buried treasure chest. So many times today I felt my enthusiasm bubble and fill me with an energy I haven't felt in a while. It's like butterflies in your stomach when your high school crush calls you up. Enthusiasm reminds me of that spontaneity and pure joy that is reminiscent of being a child in a world that is yours for the "gifting"....it's yours for the "receiving." Children are naturally enthusiastic about helping others and sharing their gifts or creations. I met 2 girls today that live near my house...they are probably about 11 or 12 years old and they are friends through dance class. Oh how my eyes lit up when I began asking them about what kinds of dance they took...they were so full! They were so beautifully joyful about telling me that they did "lots!" of different kinds of dance. Enthusiasm feels like pure, authentic, joy of being. Yes~ being and being-ness are my new fav words for my authentic self power vocabulary. lol. Enthusiasm feels like a big huge smile that comes straight from the heart. there. enough said

Soooo off to bed before week 3! Week 3 of leg braces, wheel chair scares... I mean SKILLS..some art therapy...some b-day action in tha house too. OH and watch out foodie people...I am attempting to make a dinner this week....biG Deal haha. Might cry....or blame the onions.

Thank God for chocolate brain...I just rambled that off in no time.

Thought this photography was soooo beautiful (from a framing shop in Morristown)

This was the salad my dad brought me today...I'm beginning to wonder about his "plating" OCD. haha

LOVE and an enthusiastic NAMASTE

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Day 18 ~ Inventing

Today was one of those spontaneously fun and mellow days. Here's my feel good 5 for today...

1) I am grateful for the people you can trust with absolutely anything. I've tried and tried to hide myself from some people...I've tried and tried to put on the right disguise to please certain people....even to please my own high expectations. But there are some people you simply can't hide from. My sister (my bro's wife but she's my sisssta) is one of those people. She knows without me saying...she knows whats up behind my smiles and she's still there for me on days like today when I needed her to help me at the spa. I had a waxing appt. (ouch! but hey, there are advantages to being paralyzed and numbed) and I realized in there that there are very few people I trust to see me at my most vulnerable, essentially seeing me practically stripped of every cover up I try to hide myself with...in my purest most naked self (and I mean that on a multitude of levels). I'm grateful for her because she makes me feel as though I am accepted no matter what face I am showing the world.

2) I am grateful for my niece Neena. She has grown so much since I moved here in the beginning of 2010. I watched her play with friends from her school today. Diagnosed at the age of 2 with a rare genetic disorder and told she may never eat, walk, talk, or grow....I marvel at her accomplishments. She is so incredibly driven regardless of the nights when she wakes up choking because of her throat or reflux...regardless of being "different" or "disabled." Today 6 years old Neena didn't just nibble...she devoured veggie straws, dehydrated mango, raw chocolate....she not only walks, she dances and slides and climbs on the playground...then jumped on a trampoline! She swings and sings and laughs and just purely loves and enjoys life. She cuddles you and finds strangers to hug in the grocery store. She's my teacher, my hero, my inspiration. I absolutely adore and admire her essence and the beautiful gift of simply "being Neena" that she brings the world.

3) I am grateful for my life experience being Neena and Kai's nanny....today I was reminded of the last 2 years....learning how to care for my niece and nephew changed my whole life. I gained a family, a purpose, and a life experience that would open me up to the limitlessness of being a child again. Today on the playground I reminisced about swinging on the swings with them....hula hooping...running around...all that fun stuff that I can't do right now. Yes ~ I'd be completely lying if I said I wasn't sad about not being able to do that with them. Yes of course I miss being their nanny. Life is teaching me new lessons now...I am still their "Titi" and I can still be fun, nurturing, and there when they need me. Having that experience and being able to watch them grow makes me feel proud and just plain grateful for this journey. Check out the pics from the playground today down below!

4) I am grateful for easily accessible places. With trying to get out in public more and more...I am realizing all the obstructions and obstacles that come with maneuvering life in a wheelchair. For example the sidewalk to the spa was a hill and cobbestone...then the door was super heavy. It would have taken me like 10 minutes to get inside as opposed to about 2 for the walking person. Things like sidewalks are a big deal to me...every crack causes a bump that can knock my feet off the foot stand...every curb can send me flying out of my chair if I don't gauge the wheelie just right. There is so much left for me to conquer and adapt to in order to feel comfortable in the world. When I find places that have such amazing accessibility for wheelchairs...I feel so grateful...like someone out there was thinking about the minority population that needs those ramps and door opening buttons. Sometimes I get so upset...like seeing stairs in front of cute shops or restaurants...no ramp....or the fact that the train station less than a mile from my house is not a handicap stop. Its incredibly frustrating!

5) I am grateful for inventors. Invention is a cool word...just popped into my head as I was thinking about the new gadgets coming out on the market...including things like the ekso skeleton robotic legs that I was fortunate enough to trial this past fall at kessler. Check out the video here. Inventors are creators who are pushing the bottom line of what is possible. Without invention we would be stuck and life would start to taste like bland oatmeal. Inventions bring us newness and create a surge of excitement that life indeed continues. We all have the gift of inventor inside us.....I wonder what I will invent for myself? hmmmmm....












Lastly....I want to share a photo of the drawing I made while in my standing frame this afternoon. I haven't given it a title....but I feel the image speaks from my soul. It's about facing my fear...it's about what happened to me....it's about letting go/giving up and striving ahead/conquering challenge all at the same time. It's my gift and here it is to share with you now.


Night ~ Namaste and Blessings. Ommmmm shanti (as Kai was singing in the car ride home today, that little yogini)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Day 17 ~ for you

I would just love to be this little girl.....

Ok, I've noticed that my blogs are longer and longer...oh how I ramble on. Tonight I am challenging myself to 5 super simple things I am grateful for ...really because I need to catch up on some zzzzz's. Call me lazy ~ oh wellll.

1) I am grateful for self-care. If I don't take care of myself and ask for what I need, who will? Self-care helps me feel self-loved.

2) I am grateful for the droughts of life. In nature and in life there are times when the water just isn't there. It is in these times that we find clarity. Call it my vision quest....I feel the stillness of this season in my life.

3) I am grateful for touch. I have blogged about the benefit of a real hug...Everytime I experience the gentle touch from someone who loves me, I understand why we need this so badly. Being held, kissed, hugged, makes me feel real...my body thanks me for allowing touch instead of pushing it away. It reminds me that I am a physical being with the ability to sense the world.

4) I am grateful for my anxiety. Anxiety is one of those emotions that can be used as a powerful force to act. I feel pulled....it tugs on my sleeve and tells me...keep going, do something, slow down, draw, sing...whatever! Of course it's uncomfortable...it can make you want to throw up ~ which is why it's another one of those wake up calls.

5) I am grateful for you. Whoever you are...you're listening to me. I may not be that great at communicating but I am tryin. Honestly, it's people like you who are reading and sending me support with your thoughts and messages that motivate me to share more.

Goooooodnight. Namaste and much love

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Day 16 ~ self work and self play!

So yesterday was such an interesting day for me. I tried new things and I shared my fears. Today I began my day with so many questions. I am eager to learn through my journey about the life I can live, about the people around me, about the purpose of suffering. As I said in yesterday's blog....I am so grateful for the journey. Here's my 5 today.

1) I am grateful for my journal. My journal is the friend inside me that always has her ears wide open. She doesn't speak back or judge the words that fill her body. She holds my grief, pain, anger and frustration. She celebrates my AHA moments with me and she even gets down on her knees and prays as though her life depended on it. I've never filled 4 journals in 3 months before....I must have a lot to say? My journal is a place I can go to feel safe, validated, and HONEST! Here's a pic of all my journals...



This next one is my new Peacock Journal and it is fresh and ready to start for tomorrow....my fifth journal in three months...crazytown. I have to say, the Peacock is such a strikingly beautiful male bird...like the ultimate dude...so elegant and refined, just not your average "male"...but I guess that's what makes birds so cool to me...how come the dudes get to be so pretty?! yea yea yea...whatever.


2) I am grateful for Therapy. I mean therapy as a very broad term. Before my injury I was studying psychology with the intention of becoming a mental health counselor with some kind of specialization in the creative arts. I had never thought about seeing an actual psychologist for my own therapy....that would mean I needed to admit I had something wrong, right? Well, from where I sit right now...I look back at myself and I say no Laurie, you're wrong. Therapy is a gift you can give to yourself. It doesn't mean that anything is wrong or right with you. Therapy is a whole universe in itself...there are tons of different styles to choose from. You can create a therapy that caters to what you need most in the moment. Maybe its a therapeutic bodywork, maybe its re-training a bad habit like biting your nails...maybe it is something serious from your past that you need help letting go of. Art, Music, Dance, Drama......maybe you need a cat or a dog to play with! My point is that my whole perspective on what it means to seek out therapy has completely changed as a result of my injury. Without the help of physical, occupational, art, essential oils, acupuncture/energy....all these types of therapies are serving me so much. I confess that yes it took admitting that I needed help...that something was "wrong"....but I see that it's so not necessary to be hurt and in pain as a requirement for counsel. Therapy makes me feel guided, respected, humbled, and received.

3) I am grateful for play. Playing with my niece today, I was overwhelmed by how joyful it is to forget about my adult mind and step back into the realm of possibility. Neena marched while I sang and spontaneously created songs, conversations between toys, etc. We can hang out together for a good 10 minutes just enjoying the twangy, boiinggy sounds that came from hitting my metal water bottle with her toys. The best part about playing with Neena is that we can have fun and not say anything at all. We just hit that bottle, looked at each other, and giggled like little friends. Play reminds me that life is what we make of it. Play makes me feel Joy and it brings me back to the simpleness of life.

4) I am grateful for destruction. This morning I wrote about becoming a tornado and a tsunami. I was reminded of last years chaos when the tsunami hit and completely changed the world. Every time something catastrophic happens on Earth, it affects us as a whole being. It is a moment when we unite and re-evaluate what is happening, why it happened...and we ask ourselves.."what if that were me? my family? my home?" The forces of destruction are a crucial part of life. They knock down the structures that aren't strong enough to withstand the force. I think of the goddess Kali...she dances the dance of destruction and creation...it is a beautifully organized part of the life process.....destruction makes me more aware of the journey I am on. Destruction is a wake up call.

5) I am grateful for boundaries. Did I already write about this? I feel like I wanted to but now I can't remember. Boundaries have been a huge part of my journey. I never wanted to admit that I needed boundaries...in fact I had no clue what that even meant before I was paralyzed. I thought that I could keep letting people in to see all of me...to take whatever they needed and to just plain live in my space all they wanted. Well, after my wake up call from Kali, I was shown a multitude of reasons why boundaries create empowered women, stronger relationships....and leaders out of victims. I admit that I am still learning to trust my boundaries....to create them when I need to. Sometimes I let things get overwhelming before I lose it and realize I am trying to run away rather than claim my personal space. Anyways....I am learning to trust that I can not only fear dishonesty, I can fear dis-empowerment.

Ok ya'llll ~ another day in this life. I sooo wanted to blog about the amazing spelt flour burger rolls and grass fed beef burgers my dad made, so instead i'll just give the visual because it was soo freakin amazing I captured my every bite with so much love and gratitude for this night's family dinner.

My dad made these rolls from scratch....."hiiigh vibe" sprouted organic spelt flour. So Soooo tasty...seriously not a noticable wheat or grainy flavor..just soft, fresh, and amazing.


His burgers had some yummy spices, garlic, mushrooms, and HEY you could even add some finely chopped sauteed kale in to give it a nice green hit.

I am having a seriously sensual moment right now.....

Raw artisan cheeses and roasted garlic...a little honey mustard
I don't want this night to end.
But it had tooo!=)


Namaste! Blessings.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Day 15 ~ My journey to fear



Today I had a conversation which questioned if gratitude can be found in the things in life that are not so positive. Sometimes my boat gets rocked by a really great question. I am beginning to understand how true expression in relationships comes with all the stuff that I previously spoke of as the subconscious mind; the behaviors that others notice about me and yet I never catch on my own. This is the gift of a true relationship! Someone who cares and who will stand by you no matter what you look like, say, or do. I need a mirror every now and then. Someone who is devoted to supporting my growth asked me some wonderful questions today.

I have a very hard time with this. I confess...I really care about what others think about me. I confess....I am terrified of being judged as unkind, stupid, unsuccessful, ugly, as boring or a total drag....I mean...who wants to be labeled with any of that crap? Ohhh the journey of life...

I have always been a girl who can create quickly...I've always been on the move...thinking I knew where I was headed...thinking I had all the answers...thinking I was never going to fall. Little did I know, with all that running around, that I was running away from people I loved and I was running away from myself. I know I would still be running if I hadn't fallen. I have always thought that life would just suddenly get better...my needs would always be met and somehow~someway~my happily ever after would come.

No one in their right mind asks for a traumatic injury like becoming a paraplegic...just like no parent wishes for their child to be born with a disability. We would be crazy to go around asking God for a miserable, painful, and just plain difficult life. But somehow, underneath all the makeup, the cute outfits, the fun parties, and wonderful silverware and leather couches....I feel most people want...and yearn for more.

I am asking God for a journey, not for answers. I have been asking day and night for years to the people around me and to the universe for healing, for purpose, for love, for fulfillment and whatever enlightenment was to come and find me. It is all inside me now...unfolding as it is meant to...and I believe this journey has always been unfolding. Now I feel it is screaming at me..."WAKE UP!"

I have never experienced the kind of pain and suffering I am now experiencing through this spinal cord injury. I honestly thought that I was going to be one of those people who never fell, never messed up. I was going to be the girl who saved the world one day. I was going to be that girl everyone loved.

The truth? ..that girl is afraid...and I am still that girl

Instead of writing 5 things I am grateful for because they have made me a better person and made me stronger, etc...I am going to write 5 FEARS I am grateful for. I can't honestly say that these fears have changed my life...I don't know when or how I will get over these fears. I know that everyday I still see that girl inside me...she's curled up and crying with a stone wall to protect her. She's been living in my heart for a long time...I recently discovered her whimpers. Why am I grateful for her? I am grateful for her because she is a part of me, and this is her honesty.
From the girl inside the stone wall...
Art therapy has helped me to discover myself ~ Laurie Kammer Feb 2012

1) I fear of pain....behind this wall I can assure that no one will hurt me

2) I fear expressing my anger... I give up speaking my truth...because I don't want to hurt others.

3) I fear imperfection...if I am not perfect I will not succeed

4) I fear judgement....what if others judge me and decide they don't like who I am?

5) I fear falling....if I fall, I fail...and no one likes people who fail

It's hard to read these feelings...and I had to dig to find them. If you're reading my blog, you've witnessed part of my journey, my good times, my struggles, my prayers. This is a place where I share, and behind my sharing, I definitely still have fear. Being honest is still scary...sometimes I need those people in my life that give me a good smack in the butt to push me through or get me to tell the truth.

So today's blog was dedicated to that fear....and I am most grateful for the people in my life who love me enough to call out "bullshit." Those who love me enough to tell me why they disagree. In my Laurie fantasy world I never fail, I never fall, and everyone loves each other. I can't tell you how hard it is to be in my shoes right now...how it feels to sit in a wheelchair with nerve pain all over...afraid of all my imperfections, un-gracefulness, all those flaws that have come to my awareness. To stand for only an hour a day and not know where my feet are below me without looking for them. Because only I can experience my life. Only I can find the answers. I'm glad that I asked though....because I am grateful for the journey.

Today my journey showed me my fears. In both physical therapy and occupational therapy I admitted to my fear of falling and failure...it didn't come from this injury. It was there before and the action required now is to pick it up, own it, and keep going. I dove forward today off the mat table and onto the floor mat...terrified of falling...terrified of hurting myself...terrified of not looking perfect and graceful. I own it. It's there, it's always been there and now I am learning that it is simply a part of my journey.

Maybe it's being grateful for hardship simply because it is what it is...because it is real and it is my experience right now. I will always be good at using my imagination. I am a creative genius and turning things into positive experiences is not something I have to try to do. But learning to give a clear and honest picture of the whole person I am is something I am trying now, and it's hard!

I trust that I can learn to fear dishonesty instead of fearing honesty.

With love and gratitude for all of you who are on this journey with me, Namaste.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Day 14 ~ Creative Visions and Blessings

Tonight I am sharing prayers, meditations, quotes, mantras, intentions..... Here's 5 from today that I am grateful for because they make me feel creative, alive, and aligned with a greater and mysterious energy. I am also including pictures from my creative process working on my art therapy piece today...my artwork is my vision and my gift...and my visions are my prayers and intentions. My Blessings.

1)From the book "Prayers for Healing - 365 Blessings, Poems, and Meditations from Around the World" (It's long but I feel it is so worth sharing the entire Navaho Chant with you...)

House made of dawn. House made of evening light. House made of the dark cloud. House made of the male rain. House made of dark mist. House made of female rain. House made of pollen. House made of grasshoppers. Dark cloud is at the door. The trail out of it is dark cloud. The zigzag lightning stands high upon it. An offering I make. Restore my feet for me. Restore my legs for me. Restore my body for me. Restore my mind for me. Restore my voice for me. This very day take out your spell for me. Happily I recover. Happily my interior becomes cool. Happily I go forth. My interior feeling cool, may I walk. No longer sore, may I walk. Impervious to pain, may I walk. With lively feelings may I walk. As it used to be long ago, may I walk. Happily may I walk. Happily, with abundant dark clouds, may I walk. Happily, with abundant showers, may I walk. Happily, with abundant plants, may I walk. Happily, on a trail of pollen, may I walk. Happily may I walk. Being as it used to be long ago, may I walk. May it be beautiful before me. May it be beautiful behind me. May it be beautiful below me. May it be beautiful above me. May it be beautiful all around me. In beauty it is finished. In beauty it is finished. -Navaho Chant

2) This one is from Iyanla Vanzant's daily emails...

I will not die an
unlived life.
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
more accessible,
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance;
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.

-fully alive - dawna markova

3) "My Body is the Garden of my Soul......of my Soul" - Deepak Chopra

4) "A garden is not a Darwinian world....A garden is a community of cooperation. All the plants and all the organisms that constitute a garden by definition are working in harmony with each other" - Bruce Lipton



5) "You've got to paint a picture, and then walk into it." - Tera Warner

Monday, March 12, 2012

Day 13 ~ Breathe it in

"Flower Hoop" by Laurie Kammer summer 2009

1) I am grateful for my physical therapy session today. I got into the walker for the first time with the new leg braces. I hop both feet together and then right and left steps... Def not your average step, with knees and ankles locked, but a step nonetheless. I had a different therapist...she pushed me harder and got me to move quicker than I thought I could...helped me stop looking down at my feet and stop hesitating before moving the walker out in front of me. Today's session makes me feel stronger, more confident, and super excited to get my walker ordered so I can start hoppin around this house.

2) I am grateful for my conscious mind. This morning I listened to most of a free talk with Bruce Lipton, author of "Spontaneous Evolution" and learned that science has discovered some interesting stuff about our conscious and sub-conscious minds. We know now that our conscious mind is responsible for our creativity...it's not time bound...it can travel anywhere to make plans, remember facts....it makes decisions...it is our true self because it is our aware and "present" mind. Our subconscious mind is our programming...it's the tape recorder that plays over and over in response to certain tasks. It's how we walk without really having to think about it...drive, chew....they are programs and they are our habitual self. I learned that most people only operate in their conscious mind 5%....giving 95% to our subconscious mind. Woah...becoming more conscious in our everyday affairs will help us to be our true selves...rather than reacting all the time based on old programs..most of which we learned before the age of 6 when we had no choice but to download all the information given to us from parents, environments, cultures, etc. I love this information..."Knowledge is power.....but instead turning it to- SELF knowledge is Self Empowerment." The choices we make after age 6 become our conscious programming or UN-programming. Becoming a conscious creator of the life you want. Love this stuff....practicing consciousness in my life makes me feel expansive and infinite.

3) I am grateful for the ability to let go. Today I decided to go through a bunch of boxes of old clothes I had gone through after coming home from rehabilitation. My dad had labeled these boxes..."Laurie's clothes...not for now..." Meaning...hoping I could wear them if I walk again. I went through and decided to give away almost everything and then some....because yes- I want to walk again...but I don't want to walk the way I used to...I am letting go of that life. This injury forced me to come face to face with the me I was living and the me I want to create. They are very different women...and I know that letting go is the only way to make room for newness. I still don't know what clothes to buy and feel very challenged being in a wheel chair and trying to feel pretty, sexy, fashionable, expressive, you know~ tryin to look like me! But how can I do that if I'm not quite sure what that looks like? I trust that by letting go, the answers will come. So today was yet another step in the right direction. Letting go makes me feel nervous but also a sense of openness for what is yet to come.

4) I am grateful for real food! Yes MORE about food. This morning I saw an advertisement for the new loco dorito taco bell crap and was like ewwwwww I totally would have loved that when I was younger and now I can't even look at it. It's NOT food. I think its funny that I saw that this morning and then enjoyed some wholesome vegetarian tacos with my family tonight. We havent had veggie tacos in forever....the table was beautiful. Bowls of scallions, cilantro, raw cheeses, carrots, fresh guacamole, refried beans, and a veggie sautee of yellow and green squash, onions, mushrooms, and some chicken too from last night. I didnt have the corn tortilla but wrapped it all up in a big piece of romaine lettuce. No picture though it certainly deserved one. I continue to be grateful for the choices my family makes in how we feed our bodies and the children. I feel so lucky.

5) Keeping this one simple...I am grateful for sunny days. Today was gorgeous...I love closing my eyes and breathing in the sun on a very spring like day. This makes me feel refreshed, renewed, reenergized, just lovely. ahhhhh

namaste everyone. Cheers to conscious creativity and breathing in the free, abundant source of energy from our sun

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Day 12 ~ Rise Up ~ get funky ~


"Rise Up" by Laurie Kammer July 2011

Day 1) I am grateful for Rise Up! Those two words have completely changed my life since last June....My dear friend Rising Sun (that's his name =)) spent 3 weeks in the hospital with me and not only fed me and held me when I cried...he also helped me to create a name for my fundraising events and website ~ Riseuplaurie.com (created by another wonderful friend Taylor). The words were just perfect for the situation and for spreading the news...then a few months later I came to find out that there was a non-profit called Rise Up To Cure Paralysis and the founder David McCauley was working on beginning an adaptive art studio for artists living with Paralysis. I'm now a part of the Rise Up Gallery and helping to co-create the studio space. It's surreal because this has given my life a purpose that I was longing for before my injury when I was considering and almost enrolled in an Art Therapy master's program. I actually got accepted to a grad school while I was in the hospital....but life took me in a different direction. Instead, I became the one who needed the art therapy..and this injury has led me to meet David and the other artists...I was able to create artwork and have my first real gallery reception since being in college 5 years ago. I am so grateful for those two words...for Rise UP. They make me feel purposeful and empowered.

2) I am grateful for my techno gadgets. I have so many ways in which I am able to share with others. Without the network of communication...I'd be way more of a cave woman! Not being able to go out on my own or even get out of my house without assistance, I've missed being the nomad I once was. I've been shown that those who love you will come to you. I've spent hours with myself to contemplate my life, create artwork, connect with old and new friends, grieve, pray, and really enjoy being home. Technology is a wonderful tool for giving and receiving...there's really no limit to the possibilities. For the ipad I watch movies and skype on...the iphone...the apps...the computer..the design programs...I am grateful and I feel connected and supported. It's like another dimension where I live...where I can also create the life I want just as I am doing now in my woman cave =)

3) I am grateful for feathers! A few years ago my sister nick named me feather as a joke because I was so flowery and hippie chicky...and such a freakin nomad tree hugger. haha. Anyways...I began collecting feathers when I saw them and putting them into my artwork...and created my album "Rainbow Roots" under the name... Funky Feather. I love this...I think of birds and how they are able to view life from so many different perspectives. They can get down to the detail and pick the littlest bugs from the ground or soar way way up above and get the bigger picture. They sing their songs and are true to themselves...plus there is such a beautiful diversity. Love feathers...they make me feel funKy....unique...and remind me of my inner essence which flys free. (I can almost hear my sister saying it now...."she's such a freakin feather =))

4) I am grateful for Zee Avi. Random...but she is a musician I can't stop listening to lately. She's got a serenading...soothing...kinda cute but sexy sounding voice. Plus she plays ukulele and guitar...so gotta love that. I enjoy really merging into one musical style or album for a few weeks...if I like it that much...I think that when we are drawn to a certain style of music or if a specific song just has to be playing all the time, it is like a vibration or energy that our body needs. Eventually we move on from our first love syndrome...or maybe we don't and thats when we become the loving devoted fans. Whatever...I'm feeling funky still and I am diggin on her style. It feels like a summer day...a cool breeze...and day at the beach in Hawaii...floating in the water and sippin on a razzzzzberry lemonade

5) I am grateful for people who are genuine. I'm not sure if I am saying this right...but today I experienced being out in Morristown and I continue to notice the people who feel genuine...maybe it's just the feeling behind how they speak, how they move, how they smile at you as they walk by, or how they nod their head....hmmm. It's so strange viewing the world from the height of a child. Sometimes I get the "oh look at you down there" or "awwww that's a shame" or they ask my dad if they can help instead of asking me. I tell you...it's quite a strange and sometimes annoying experience. It's all perspective though and it's really just a practice in awareness. I am practicing myself - in speaking, but mostly, in listening with that feeling....this genuineness....haha I guess that's a word! score. It feels comforting to be received in this way. Genuine attentiveness... genuine smiles especially...it is a feeling of unity..that spark of connection where we see past the surface to the light within. (there I go again all feathery)

Ok clearly day light savings is getting to me...trying to get to sleep earlier tonight. Not quite sure if I'm ready for another 4 days in a row of physical therapy but don't really have a choice on that.

Onward I roll. love and NAMASTE =)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Day 11 ~ eat more Kale


mmm.... day 11. Today was such a yummy day ~ so I'm writing mostly about food. =) If you know me fairly well, you've probably heard me talk about how I don't each much sugar, avoid dairy, wheat, and red meats...you've probably seen me eating sheets of Nori seaweed...popping spirulina tablets....and chompin down on kale salads with eziekiel bread. So yea...because I am tired and it's been such a yummy day, I dedicate it to the foods I love.

1) I am grateful for Kale. Kale is like the number one super green as far as getting all of your vitamins and minerals covered. If you have tried it and disliked it, try it again! There are sooo many ways to get your "Kale On." We sautee it with garlic...you can steam it and throw some eggs on top for a morning eggs and greens...you can eat it raw mixed with other lettuces and chopped up real small like...or throw it in a fruit smoothie to pack in the greens....oh and of course there are those really tasty Kale chips they sell at Whole Foods or you can make them yourself. People, I'm telling you ~ google it and get your KALE ON! It makes me feel sooooo highhhh viiiibeee.....hahaha

2) I am grateful for sprouted whole grains....like eziekiel bread. Am I spelling that right? hm. ANyways, I have learned over the last few years since really honing in on my food choices, that I have certain sensitivities that have caused inflammation, skin and hormone problems, digestion issues, all that fun stuff...and one of those is to wheat. I've also learned that many people also have this problem but are unaware of it. Actually, most grains are not easily digested because of their skins...this is why soaking brown rice before cooking it, eating sprouted grains, or soaking your almonds is recommended because it creates an enzyme that helps your body fully digest the food. I love sprouted whole grains...they can be used as an alternative to white and wheat bread, pasta, pancakes, pizza, cupcakes....my family is allll about it...and I tell you, to me? They are wayyyy tastier. My body can tell the difference and I've watched myself shift away from some of the crazy carb cravings I used to have. Ok...yea I admit I'm still a good eater. I love food though! Mm Yea...sprouted grains also so good. Here is a pic of my sister's pasta dish which she just made up on the fly....it's 2 different grains for pasta...one is eziekiel and the other is an ancient grain called Farro....both are high in protein. She made an awesome sauce using white beans, broth, basil, mushrooms, garlic, and other spices and yumminess....tellin you..."to cool for the room" as my dad likes to say.



3) I am grateful for ginger tea! Not just because the band I play in is named after this delicious beverage...but because of the incredible health benefits and overall satisfaction of starting my day with a hot, soothing cup o gingah. I love how the body can sometimes tell us exactly what it needs...I began craving this and soon learned about how ginger root is awesome at helping inflammation. That of course works for me as my entire back is still hot with inflammation and scar tissue while I continue to heal and mend from the surgery! Forget about the back break...they had to cut my muscles! eekkk sorry for any heebie jeebies people. Ginger tea starts my day...it's soothing to my soul and always makes me smile when I think of playing music with my girls...check out our last show at kessler this past summer with special guest and stand in ginger, Alexi ~



4) I am grateful for my sisters super creative genius in the kitchen. Every mama probably understands that the real special ingredient in food is love. Cristina not only makes super fun and innovative food creations that taste amazing....they also feel amazing. Like I actually can't control the mmmm's and Oh my god's.....I often take pictures because they also looook so good. I've had my fun in the kitchen...but really...she's a Kitchen Goddess Queen...I'm lucky to be practically married to her lol. Here's my mama sista made breakfast today...eziekiel french toast with almond butter and chopped walnut/pecan/almond mix and fresh organic strawberries and a couple sexy razzzzs. I wish she would just start a freakin cafe with my father....it would be amazing. mmmmmm I'm still having my moments



5) I am grateful for teamwork. Even though this week has been rough with everyone coming down with strep, colds, pink eye even....we manage through because we are a tribe. I have been able to help out soo much more than I thought I would be able to despite being in a wheelchair. Of course I was told over the summer I would be able to play with and feed my niece and nephew...but it was hard to adapt to this new way of being. Having people you love on your side and always there for you is sooo crucial. Creating trust, providing support, listening to one another, taking responsibility for our mistakes.....it's a powerful thing being a part of a team ~ or as I like to say....tribe. I'm learning more and more how true independence doesn't mean going at it alone...it's about finding the people who reflect back to you the virtues and beliefs that you want to live by, it's about connecting with your tribe and walking the path together through commitment. Commitment to being uniquely creative and to co-creating a better together life as a team. Go team =) Here's my little angels....Kai laid his hands on my belly today, and when I bumped up the stairs I was greeted by lots of hugs and kisses from both of them as I sat on the floor. I am blessed to live with these healers.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Day 10 ~ for Feng Shui and Faith




Wow, I'm noticing throughout the day many things to be grateful for. The practice of writing this blog has definitely helped me bring more awareness to my life.

1) I am grateful for hot showers! This morning I took a shower and the hot water started to run out when I was only about half way through. This immediately made me think about how grateful I am to be able to change the temperature of the water to my comfort level. How much I take that for granted! I know that most people can relate to this experience...when your shower goes cold! eek. Hot showers make me feel abundant....hot water is a luxury and a miracle.

2) I am grateful for Feng Shui. One of my therapists lent me a really great book, "Move your Stuff, Change your Life" by Karen Rauch Carter and it was an easy and fun way to begin changing my space. I am having fun putting intention into my environment...going slow and steady. The old me would have attempted the entire room in one day...and I probably would have done a pretty good job making it look nice...but I am learning now that the process and intention behind the overall goal is so important. And can I just say that decorating a room and moving things around is a much slower process when both hands need to be wheeling. It becomes a practice of lap balancing ~ and a core workout with constantly bending, reaching, etc. Taking it slow and one step at a time is necessary. =) Below is my health and family section where I have my meals...on the wall I have a collage of pictures. Comin along! Feng Shui-ing makes me feel co-creative!




3) I am grateful for my Native American Flute. Today I took a few moments to pull out a couple instruments and play some music. After coming home from the hospital I started listening to flute music and was so taken by the sounds that I purchased a pretty cheap but really well made flute in the key of Am. I used to play flute in elementary and middle school...and had started collecting flutes from around the world...so picking it up was not a huge challenge for me. It's extremely therapeutic and easy to learn even if you've never played an instrument. The sound is enchanting. The flute music and playing the flute myself make me feel peaceful and "in the flow."

4) I am grateful for role models...This month is dedicated to women. I have sooo many women whom I look up to, I could write a whole gratitude blog about them. I have grown and learned so much from people like Laura Hollick, Iyanla Vanzant, Oprah, Gillian Welch, Laurie Berkner, Louise Hay, Doreen Virtue...and many many more famous and local heroes in my eyes. More importantly what all of these women have taught me is that what matters most is the full expression of your authentic self. I have been saying this for over a year now....and I get it... yet- it is still the lesson of my life! To fully express who I am - confidently - fearlessly - to the world. This blog is one way for me to do that...so thank you to those who have listened and learned with me! Role models show me the beauty of authenticity and truth. They make me feel inspired and motivated to allow my true self to really begin blossoming and showing up for those who need to hear, see, and experience "Me."

5) I am grateful for faith. Being faithful, holding faith, trusting faith...I am grateful to have found my own way to this word. I was not raised in one religion and therefore had the belief that "faith" was not really something I could say. I am however, a faithful being. I enjoy learning about the religions and beliefs around the world, and developing a spiritual path of my own based on my life's experience. Without faith, hope, and optimism, this journey would be very different. Even without religion or spiritual connotations..."faith" is universal. I am faithful to myself...my family...my loved ones...my creativity...my books and education...my food choices (well most of the time!). Faith feels like a divine surrender....it's trusting in the unknown that everything is happening and unfolding exactly as it is meant to.

Love to you all and extra extra love to my family tonight...5 out of the 6 of us are on antibiotics...been a rough winter with strep here. Love and gratitude for them in my life and for their vibrant health returning as quickly as possible. Praying I am spared the sickness.

Namaste my loves ~ <3 Sat Nammmmm Shanti Shanti Ohmmm

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Day 9 ~ Keep on Keepin On

"Greeeeen lovin....my creation process ~ progressing ~ learning ~ sharing" March 8th, 2012

1) I am grateful for the color green. mmmmm yes I just love the color green. I had my art therapy session today and I painted over my multi-layered piece with just one beautiful grassy green color. It makes me feel renewed, I have a sense of relief, release, healing, calm, it feels like a foundation upon which I can begin to create anything I my heart desires. I'm lovin on this greeeeeen.

2) I am grateful for the ability to progress. Today I had the most intense workout with my personal trainer. A 30 minute push around the neighborhood followed by strength training with resistance bands, free weights, push ups, sit ups.....but what made it different was that I was actually hot ~ I was able to feel how much stronger my core has become...I could feel my hip flexors flexing! Even if they are micro movements....I can see and feel a difference. Now, I've never been a workout girl...and def never ever thought I'd be able to do the kind of weight training I am doing now. He even has me boxing~ left carve, right jab...left right left right. It's amazing. The progress I have made makes me feel like I can do and be anything if I really keep at it....its motivation to keep on keepin on...keep truckin....go go go. I can use this time to really access the energy that has been sitting stagnant since June 9th. The ability to progress is the guarantee that life is always moving forward...so now I am making healthy choices and always striving towards being my best self.

3) I am grateful for water. Water is so incredibly important. It makes up most of our earth and our body. It is the element of emotion. It can cleanse you, hydrate you, cook your food, be mixed with colors to create paint, baptize you....it rains upon your fields and brings us flowers, trees, vegetables, and fruits. It can change from cloud to river to ice to waterfall. Water is our life source. When the sun hits the water just right....it makes a beautiful rainbow of color. Check out some realllly cool sites about how water is affected by intention and can be used for healing....Masaru Emoto's beautiful water crystal photos, and Source Energy Medicine water healing. Water makes me feel alive, cleansed, and as though I am one with the source of creation.


This water crystal was shown the word "GRATITUDE" ~ taken by Masaru Emoto

4) I am grateful for my bed. Tonight I talked with my sister about getting out of my hospital bed. Yes....I would love to. Right now...I still use the railings and the tilt to move myself from one side to the other. Every morning I wake up and have a little moment of "ohh man....now I have to move..." It's such a struggle because my legs are so stiff. But aside from that...my bed right now is supporting my needs and it really is comfortable for me now. I surround myself with pillows and props to protect my skin from pressure sores. When I get all settled in...I really feel so comfy cozy that sometimes I can forget that I have pain and paralysis. Anyway, my bed is serving it's purpose and I'm grateful for it...it makes me feel comforted, warm, and it's like my little sanctuary...surrounded with crystals and all =)

5) I am grateful for my crystals. I am such a geek when it comes to my rocks. I started collecting back in 2nd grade when we went on a field trip to the Peabody Museum. I remember buying hematite, tiger's eye and a peacock ore. Haha I also remember collecting the white quartz rocks from my driveway...saving the pieces of mica and bringing them in for show and tell. I'd put the mica in a jewelery box with wet leaves because I thought it looked prettier when it was wet. Of course...they had dried up by the time I got to school. Now I collect them because not only am I fascinated by Natures beautiful creations...but I believe they are like Earth's angels. They have meaning and healing properties. This is sometimes looked at as "New Age"....but really these ideas go back way way way back to ancient times...to the Bible and before. For example...check out these: Lapis Lazuli and Ruby (my birth stone). My crystals make me feel appreciation for the earth's creations, they are mysterious creatures and I feel there is still much to learn from them as tools and friends. =) told you I was a geek....but hey like the Great Pyramids were made out of 3 types of stone...each served a specific purpose! They made whole structures out of quartz crystal! ok...haha done with that one.

P.S. ~ It's international women's day....here is a great and free teleseminar for Women's Health!

Hope everyone enjoyed the day ~ Blessings ~ Namaste ~ Love

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Day 8 ~ Dream Catcher

"Dream Catcher" by Laurie Kammer 2010 ~ made from the tall grasses in my yard

1) I am grateful for diversity. I was thinking about this before going to Kessler this morning. When I was an inpatient there over the summer I was with people from all over the world...I learned about different cultures and beliefs and had awesome conversations. I had EIGHT roommates during that 3 months...one from Italy, one from Columbia, one from Nigeria, one from Spain....it was soo cool! Diversity is what makes us unique, beautiful, exciting, interesting....I guess that's why I'm such a rainbow lover...anyways..I visited a bunch of my favorite people at inpatient today and felt that beautiful connection that rises above where we come from, how we talk, and what we believe. When life brings trauma it can also bring a wave of unity...think about 911, the tsunami, the earthquakes....do we really need to discriminate? I mean in the end..we all want to be loved for who we are...Diversity makes me feel curious, adventurous, unique...I want to explore and learn and teach and share and experience.

2) I am grateful for truth. Today as I walked myself back and forth in the parallel bars I had a very open and truthful conversation with a good friend of mine who is also getting back on their feet. I find that as I allow myself to be more open and truthful, my relationships become more meaningful and nurturing. Of course I feel you have to be able to know when to be open and when to hold back...who to trust with your truths. I have been such an open book and a give give giver in my life (lifetimes) that my lesson is to learn how to listen to that. Truth makes me feel free.

3) I am grateful for boundaries. This injury brought a lot of my "shit" to the surface. I had to basically re-evaluate how I was living my life and begin to shift into a new way of living. Boundaries was one lesson I had to learn....and of course it has now become a life practice. Riffing more on my last paragraph about truth....I had to take a closer look at the people in my life and how I was communicating with them. Like I said...I'm learning. In the depths of my heart I have so much love for this world and I want to give it to everyone...even when they have hurt me or taken advantage of my give give giving. Creating boundaries still stir up a bunch of turmoil for me but they are slowly helping me become the independent and empowered goddess I have always wanted to be.

4) I am grateful for my body. My body has carried many burdens, many experiences, memories, dances, children, relationships....it's carried a lot and it's carried me to many beautiful places...it's walked me out onto long piers off the coast of Cali...it's road tripped me up and down the eastern coast...learned many cool tricks...danced tons of dance recitals, late night concerts, and campfires... My body has endured pain and now my body is working so very hard to recover from the most traumatic break I have ever experienced. I mean, I was a dancer you know? You don't take risks when ya got a recital to perform in...so I've never broken a bone in my life. My body is my temple...it's still beautiful and it's still working, still bringing me to beautiful places, people, and experiences. In my dreams I still fly, dance, walk, wheel, and best of all the pain is gone. I'll keep dreaming....and believing. Dream catchers have become my guide...they surround me in my space and I love to create them. There's something so divine in the weaving and wrapping process...like I'm creating my own existence. My body makes me feel...everything. Every emotion lives in my body...and has its purpose, story, and remedy.

5) I am grateful for the creative process. Today on the way to Kessler we drove by a plot of land where a new complex has been under construction for months now. Before the complex? It was a gnarly bunch of trees and brambles....it took 2 days to tear it all down and backhoe loader the dirt into huge piles in preparation for the building to begin. I thought about how the destruction process takes seconds in comparison to the creation process....My back broke in a second and that was it ~ paralysis. To walk again...to be pain free....to heal and recover takes months to years. It's the re-creation process.....like a gestating baby...layer by layer...phases, stages...whatever you want to call them. It's this process that is showing up in my artwork now. It's new for me. I've always learned things quickly...I can write a song in a night and make a beautiful painting in a day....but I'm trying something new now. To slow down and become the process instead of the creation...because the creation IS the process....and it makes me feel more attentive, conscious, and aligned with how things are really brought into existence.

Love ~ Namaste and Blessings